"A small, unpopular party whose success was due solely to the determination of the leader to seize power" Examine this assessment of the Bolshevik party's success in the USSR 1917-1924.

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“A small, unpopular party whose success was due solely to the determination of the    leader to seize power”

Examine this assessment of the Bolshevik party’s success in the USSR 1917-1924.

 This assessment of the party is based around one of many views on how the Bolsheviks gained power and consolidated their rule. This particular assessment focuses on the “brutalisation” of the party and Lenin’s constant concessions in the face of danger despite contending his ideology.

 The Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917, after the capture of the Winter Palace; the consolidation of their rule included the calling of a constituent assembly, signing of the Brest-litovsk and the introduction of the NEP after War Communism. What I now have to analyse, is the validity of each point in the above assessment, was the party small? Or unpopular? And if so why?


Firstly the size of the party has to be considered, before the February revolution the party’s size in comparison with other parties was relatively little. The largest parties were those who directly contended the Tsarist regime in towns and villages, one party in particular was the Social Democratic party, as written by Susan Hasler (1989)

 “Nevertheless, Marxist theories did spread quite widely in Russia, especially through

  The Social Democratic Party,”

This shows how the Marxist ideology spread to the common people of Russia, not through the actions of the Bolsheviks but through the more aggressive Social Party.

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Another factor to consider is the split that occurred at the turn of the century between the more patient Mensheviks and the forceful Bolsheviks, supporters tended to side with the idea that “biding time” was better than forcing a revolution, one person in particular was Trotsky, who before 1917, was a member of the Menshevik Party.

A final consideration looks at Kamonev’s and Zanoviev’s reaction to Lenin’s revolution consideration in 1917 in which, both members of the Party doubted the size and strength of the party to pull off the revolution, so much so that they reported the plans to ...

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