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The Provisional Government took over in Feb. /Mar. 1917, but ruled Russia for only eight months. Why did the Provisional Government last for only this short period of time?

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Introduction

The Provisional Government took over in Feb. /Mar. 1917, but ruled Russia for only eight months. Why did the Provisional Government last for only this short period of time? (2005) One of the causal factors for the Provisional Government only lasting for eight months was its failure to grant land reforms. This failure lost the Provisional Government support from the peasants which made up the bulk (84%) of Russian people. The peasants wanted official recognition that the land they claimed was actually theirs to own. Peasant committees arose and they personally took control of the land situation. The committees started redistributing land, livestock and farming equipment. By the summer of 1917 the land situation in the countryside was out of control, the Provisional Government was powerless to act and therefore didn't take any action. The Provisional Government felt that the issue of land was a hugely important decision and that it was to be left for the properly elected government of Russia to decide on what to do with land. The Provisional Government thought that, given Russia's current state at war, granting peasants the right to own land, all what the peasants really wanted, would cause many more mutinies and desertions from the army as peasant soldiers return home to realize their dream. ...read more.

Middle

However, in reality the Provisional Government had little choice but to continue the war for many reasons. If the government were to disband 9 000 00 soldiers, political stability would be threatened further. Russia wanted to fulfil its treaty obligations to its allies as well as Russia needed money from its allies to survive. If Russia were to pull out of the war, Germany would impose a humiliating peace treaty on Russia, something the Provisional Government was not willing to have. The decision to continue fighting the war was certainly a mistake for the Provisional Government but it certainly was not the most important factor contributing to its downfall. A more important causal factor still was that the Provisional Government faced threats from the politically left and right. The threat from the left was from the Bolsheviks in an attempt to seize power in July; this became known as the July Days. The attempt failed and was a serious blow for the Bolsheviks as Kerensky was able to reassert his control as he denounced Lenin as a German spy and put leading Bolsheviks in prison. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps the most important underlying causal factor contributing towards the collapse of the Provisional Government was that dual power gave it a weak foundation from the very start. Dual power only added to the chaos of the situation. Both the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet were uneasy allies. The soviet had a better claim to legitimacy than the Provisional Government as the workers, soldiers and peasants had elected its representatives whereas the Provisional Government consisted of self appointed Duma members whose authority was accepted by army commanders. The Petrograd Soviet introduced Soviet Order Number One. This set up soldiers committee's in every military unit, therefore it was the soviet which controlled the army, not the Provisional Government. This was a long term underlying weakness of the Provisional Government as in a country like Russia, whoever controlled the army, controlled the country. Lenin and the Bolsheviks used this as a foundation for their communist seizure of power in October 1917. In conclusion, the Provisional Government had many weaknesses and failed to act in certain situations. It has fundamental flaws in its design from day one but, it was not inevitable that it would fail as in July 1917, it successfully kept power when the Bolsheviks attempted to seize power. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jesse S Gordon 11H ...read more.

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