Military Review

The luxury of war and the labor of revolution


And haters, and even more so the apologists of the October Revolution, evaluate it as the most important historical a milestone that had a huge impact not only on our Fatherland, but also on the development of all mankind, radically changing the trajectory laid down in previous centuries.

In Soviet times, this event was naturally rated as the greatest and extremely positive for the country and the world. After the collapse of the USSR and the restoration of capitalism in Russia, the estimates of the revolution radically changed to sharply negative ones. And now it is important to try to understand from objective and impartial positions - was it a blessing or a scourge? Has it become a natural result of the development of Tsarist Russia, a logical conclusion of the chain of mistakes of power and contradictions of the social system, or was it the product of some evil will of certain sections of society?

Who in Russia lived well

First of all, let us turn to the assessment of the measure of oppression of the working people of tsarist Russia. Look through the newspapers of those times. Ekaterinodar newspaper "New Life" in one of the 1907 numbers of the year reported: "The administration of the cement plant" Chain "took the former stables as housing for workers. They remained stables until now, except for windows and bunks. These premises were reconstructed during the reign of Tsar Pea ... An inadvertent push into the wall - and whole piles of plaster are falling on the floor. ” She is echoed by the “Kuban Regional Gazette”. Talking about the joint-stock company of the Vladikavkaz Railway, the newspaper writes that the company’s management “does not make it difficult for itself to care about the more or less tolerable position of those hands with which it rakes heat, and even a fair heat. The workers are hiring a room in a one-cubic sazhen settlement in Methodius, where they rest up to 10 – 15 people. ” Would you like to live like this? Where do these people grow love for their owners and the authorities conniving at them?

There are many such quotations. It is important to make one simple conclusion: in tsarist Russia, the working people did not live in a sweet way, otherwise why would they begin to rebel, risking their lives. It may be objected that there are plenty of places in Russia today where living conditions differ little from those described in pre-revolutionary newspapers. But so much the worse for our capitalism and the Russian government. So the myth of the prosperous life of the workers and peasants in tsarist Russia should nevertheless be swept aside. And if at the individual owners, hired workers lived well, then this was a rare exception. In addition to poverty, you can still recall the wretched education for commoners and the same medical care, inaccessibility due to class limitations of prestigious professions and positions.

The situation was aggravated by the fact that in tsarist Russia there was a deep spiritual contradiction: the official religious and ideological system of the country proclaimed love for people and the Fatherland, service to him and the king, selflessness as the highest value, while the real masters of life were for the most part extremely mercenary, thieving people and corrupt. By 1917 they were not erased from the memory of the people and the atrocities of serf-noblemen. Leskov wrote a lot on this topic. So not only the property split was huge in tsarist Russia. She was also torn by spiritual contradictions. The people perceived the tsarist and bourgeois authorities as extremely unjust. Another confirmation of Russia's serious illness was systematic riots in the army and navy. The most striking expression of internal conflict was the 1905 revolution.

But not only the people were dissatisfied. The bourgeoisie was also extremely positioned. In particular, in the elections to the State Duma, four votes from the estate of merchants and industrialists corresponded to one nobleman’s vote, and eight in general to workers and peasants. Dominating the economy, the bourgeoisie also sought political power. According to the results of the 1905 revolution, this was only partially achieved. Capital wanted more, at least equality with the nobility, and ideally, the attainment of full-fledged political power. The ideas of transforming Russia into a bourgeois republic found a response in noble circles, and even in the royal family.

Against this background, the parties and organizations of the revolutionaries looked very pale. They were capable of maximum individual attacks against some tsarist officials, but not mass demonstrations. And it certainly could not have influenced the situation in Russia by the Bolsheviks, who were significantly less than the Social Revolutionaries, populists, and others. At the same time, the RSDLP (b) itself assessed the possibility of a revolution in Russia only in a very remote perspective and did not take part in the overthrow of the monarchy - for Lenin, the tsar’s abdication was a surprise.

The luxury of war and the labor of revolutionSince the beginning of the First World, internal problems have become aggravated. Wartime tsarist government mainly solved at the expense of the lower strata, which suffered the greatest losses during the fighting. Especially hard for the peasantry. And so barely making ends meet, starving people, for the most part, lost their breadwinners. According to the general of the tsarist army and subsequently the prominent leader of the White movement Nikolai Golovin, 47,2 percent of able-bodied men were drafted into the army and the fleet only from the peasant environment. At the same time, the peasant households were levied with additional taxes, and no one reduced the rent payment and did not cancel it. It was also not easy for the working class — inflation was not accompanied by an adequate increase in wages. It even shrank in most enterprises. And the government showed a clear inability to rectify the situation. This led to the fact that, as Golovin writes, even in the officer corps hatred of the government settled, although at the same time loyalty to the crown and the Fatherland was kept. “The general dissatisfaction with the“ rear ”, by which we primarily understood the activities of the government ... prepared the ground in all layers of the army, which was extremely favorable for all sorts of rumors about lack of talent, abuses and even betrayals in the upper parts of the country.” The French supply minister, Tom, said of the tsarist government: “Russia must be extremely rich and very confident in its abilities to afford the luxury of having a government like yours, where the prime minister is a disaster, and the war minister is a disaster.”

In society, the opinion was spreading that treason was ripening in the higher echelons of power. And it is no wonder - in the activities of the tsarist government it was difficult to distinguish inconsistency, incompetence and stupidity from betrayal. Against this background, landlords, industrialists, high-ranking officials, and other masters of life continued to bluff themselves, which saw the working class, front-line officers and soldiers, and the peasantry, who were on the verge of survival, when entire areas suffered from hunger, perfectly.

No revolutionaries with their fiery speeches and newspapers could do more for the uprising than the king and his government. Moreover, an analysis of the state of the imperial army indicates that the situation in it was close to a catastrophe. And the further continuation of the war did not promise anything good for Russia. The report of the members of the State Duma's Naval Commission to Emperor Nicholas II says: “The lack of projectiles, lack of preparation of fortifications, contradictory actions regarding the civilian population - all this cast doubt on the minds of soldiers - both officers and lower ranks - in the ability of top leaders to defend the country” . The situation was aggravated by the removal from the post of Supreme Commander Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich, respected in the officer corps, with the assumption of these duties by Nicholas II, who did not have such authority.

Oligarchic February

Against this background, it was the liberal Fronda who understood that her hour had come and that one could finally resolve the issue of power. After the deliberate creation of food supply disruptions in Petrograd and Moscow, unrest began there, quickly developing into a general strike, which the authorities tried to suppress by force. But it only heated the situation. Soldiers of the Petrograd garrison, including guards units, joined the workers. At the same time, not all officers remained aloof from the unrest that began among subordinates. Some joined them and even led the protest. Even one of the great princes sported a red bow. It was not the rebellious workers, and certainly not the Bolsheviks, who were forced to renounce the tsar, but the oligarchs of that time, the highest officials and generals.

But having seized power, the liberal strata demonstrated complete inconsistency in governing the country in wartime. Their interest was one - as soon as possible to replenish their states. This was very well shown by Lenin in the article “A Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It” At the same time, in striving to gain prestige among the masses by populist measures, the leaders of liberal Russia began the actual defeat of the army. It is on Kerensky and Guchkov that General Golovin, relying on extensive factual material, puts the responsibility for the collapse of the army and navy. He points out that the Provisional Government was unable to stop anarchy, effectively putting the country on the verge of death. Liberal leaders understood this, and at the opening of the Constituent Assembly, Kerensky, describing the situation in the country as catastrophic, said that there was no party or movement in Russia capable of taking responsibility for bringing the country out of crisis. It was in response to these words that Lenin's sounded: "There is such a party."

At the same time, the Provisional Government tried to continue the war, condemning the soldiers and officers to senseless death. The widely publicized offensive of the North-Western Front failed with huge losses. It was a crash. Further continuation of the war was impossible and led to the loss of sovereignty. The troops actually ceased to obey the government - the Petrograd garrison refused to carry out its orders already on October 16. As Lenin wrote, the power was lying in the mud.

True folk

The beginning of the self-organization of society around capable political structures was natural. The Bolshevik Party had a clear organization, an ideology understandable at the slogan level, which attracted the masses and, most importantly, firmly promised to end the war. Most of the politically active strata have oriented themselves towards it. That's right - a people makes a revolution, and parties only lead its movement. Therefore, those who do not meet people's aspirations find themselves on the sidelines of history, which happened to the much more organizationally powerful Octobrists, Cadets, Socialist-Revolutionaries and others. Having taken power in their own hands in a defeated country, the Bolsheviks were forced to take urgent measures to save the state. That is what the Brest Peace was aimed at, since the country could no longer continue the war.

What did the Bolsheviks bring to Russia? Immediately remember the "red terror" and repression, civil war and the subsequent tough industrialization. It is worth recalling that civil strife was unleashed not by the Bolsheviks, but by the White Guards, whose core were the very liberals who overthrew the tsar, and then removed from power because of their insolvency. The Bolsheviks were supposed to defend themselves. And the "red terror" was the answer to the "white". As for repressions, it should be recalled that they were largely extended to representatives of other political parties, including those that were revolutionary: The civil war continued in the thirties, when ideologically monolithic power was being formed. They were subjected to repression and simply incompetent people who did not correspond to their posts: their mistakes were often qualified as deliberate betrayal of the state. No wonder - the people were started by the events of the First World War, the Revolution and the Civil War. At the same time, in the OGPU, in the NKVD, the majority were representatives of ordinary people, the most active and sometimes the most embittered part of it. Win white, blood would be spilled no less. At the same time, despite all the problems, by 1940, the population of the USSR had grown by more than 15 percent, and this after the Civil War and repression. It is worth recalling in this connection that over the 25 years of prosperous liberal government in modern Russia, its population has declined annually. The situation has changed only in the last two or three years.

The results of the red power are impressive. For example, in the Kuban, by the year 1940, in comparison with the most successful 1913, the number of industrial enterprises increased by 8,5, the number of the working class increased by more than five times, and the volume of gross output - by almost one and a half orders of magnitude. Already by 1937-m (relative to the same from 1913-th) oil production in the region increased 18 times, oil refining - in 17, cement industry - in 9, food - in 7 times. What can our liberal government offer today? She is saved only by the colossal Soviet legacy. Had they been at the helm in 20's, that is, if the White movement succeeded, our country would not have been long ago. Opponents of the Bolsheviks for the sake of foreign military assistance showed full readiness to pay with Russian resources and even territory.

Army myths

A little about the myths. The first of them is about the high fighting efficiency of the tsarist army, that supposedly it was she who bore the brunt of the struggle against Germany and her allies. Let us turn to the same authoritative source - the fundamental monograph “Russia's Military Efforts in World War” by Nikolay Golovin. On the Eastern Front, 31 acted from a maximum to 39 percent of the troops of the Central Powers (opposing the Entente Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ottoman Turkey). Accordingly, in the West - from 61 to 69 percent. At the same time, the bulk of the weak Austro-Hungarian army acted precisely against the Russian, and the proportion of German troops was even smaller. And it is impossible to argue that Russia bore the brunt of the war, that its outcome was decided on the Eastern Front. Unlike the Second World War, when against the USSR acted from 70 to 80 percent of the combat-ready parts of the Wehrmacht and its allies.

Golovin estimates the provision of the army with rifles as catastrophic - only a third of the real needs. Even worse was the case with machine guns. Despite foreign supplies, the acute shortage of guns and ammunition for them could not be mitigated. The armored vehicles of the imperial army consisted of vehicles on foreign chassis, its share in the troops was very small. The total number of armored cars on the entire front from the Baltic to the Black Sea did not exceed several hundred. Tanks it didn’t exist at all, though in England about three thousand released them during the First World War, and more than five thousand in France. Didn't look better aviation. There were few of their own aircraft, and with the exception of the heavy Ilya Muromets bombers, they were all significantly inferior to foreign aircraft, primarily German ones. Thus, the Russian Sikorsky S-XVI fighter had a maximum speed of only 120 kilometers per hour, while the German Fokker developed up to 180. The allied aircraft were outdated and often thoroughly worn out.
With such technical equipment and morale, talking about the lost victories of the imperial army, which the “bad” revolution did not allow it, is at least not serious - there was no material or spiritual base for them. The Bolsheviks are not to blame for the collapse of the country and the army. But when they came to power, the Red Army was created, which, having defeated the main forces of Hitler-united Europe, entered Berlin.

We state: in spite of all the problems and costs, the Soviet government did the most important thing - it ensured not only the survival, but also the development of the people in the critical twentieth century. For this, she is honored and praised. A liberal government can not boast such success. Its achievements are mainly with a minus sign both in economics and in the spiritual sphere and in demography. With sadness, we have to note that our elites do not draw conclusions. And the story is not a teacher, it does not zhurit those who did not learn its lessons, and punishes, and often very cruelly. Today, the actions of the Russian authorities are very much like the policies of the tsarist government. What to expect from tomorrow?
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  1. Some kind of compote
    Some kind of compote 11 November 2017 22: 39
    to speak of the lost victories of the imperial army, which the “bad” revolution did not allow it to make, is at least not serious - for them there was neither a material nor a spiritual base.

    Fashionable I look today reasoning
    The Bolsheviks are not to blame for the collapse of the country and the army.

    Even more fashionable
    The trouble is that some reasoning
    From 31 maximum to 39 percent of the forces of the Central Powers acted on the Eastern Front (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Ottoman Turkey opposing the Entente). Accordingly, in the West - from 61 to 69 percent.

    And these figures are erroneous, it is not clear where they came from
    Therefore, only this is true in the article
    our elites do not draw conclusions.
    1. Sergey-svs
      Sergey-svs 12 November 2017 09: 49
      Quote: Some kind of Compote
      Therefore, only this is true in the article
      our elites do not draw conclusions.

      I do not agree! stop The article very accurately describes the spiritual contradictions in Russian society:
      ... The situation was aggravated by the fact that in tsarist Russia there was a deep spiritual contradiction: the official religious and ideological system of the country proclaimed love for people and the Fatherland, service to him and the king, selflessness as the highest value, while for the most part the real masters of life were people extremely mercenary, thieving and corrupt ... Leskov wrote a lot on this subject. So not only the property split was huge in tsarist Russia. She was also torn by spiritual contradictions. The people perceived the tsarist and bourgeois authorities as extremely unjust ...

      Very relevant today. yes The so-called Russian “elite” should study the story more, otherwise they risk not even having time to reach Paris by boat! laughing
  2. polpot
    polpot 11 November 2017 22: 53
    Revolutions from scratch do not happen; any revolution is an example to all subsequent rulers
  3. AKC
    AKC 11 November 2017 23: 28
    that is, without communists, to the Russian people of the khan?
    and tomorrow you need not wait. and to do so that it would be better than today and yesterday! and for this you need to work a lot. pay taxes. develop a country, observe traffic rules and other stuff! I like today's life, yes there are difficulties, but when there were none! and the modern achievement of power and the Russian people is the development of the economy, the development of the spiritual sphere and the improvement of demography! Of course I would like it to be done faster and better. but understand. that after what the communists have done on Russian soil, centuries are needed to fix everything!
  4. Amurets
    Amurets 12 November 2017 00: 15
    Golovin estimates the provision of the army with rifles as catastrophic - only a third of the real needs. Even worse was the case with machine guns.

    We can agree with this. This is confirmed by the book of V.G. Fedorov "In search of weapons."
  5. parusnik
    parusnik 12 November 2017 01: 40
    The Bolsheviks are not to blame for the collapse of the country and the army.
    ... So Denikin writes about this .. And the collapse of the country began while the Provisional Government was in power ..
  6. Ural resident
    Ural resident 12 November 2017 10: 39
    You can’t redo history. At that time, the country was really in complete collapse. Exhausting war, insoluble contradictions between different layers of society, weakness of power, imperfection of the political system itself. It is not surprising that there was a party that was able to take power into its own hands. It is a pity that there was no other strong "pro-Russian" party. And as a result, a sea of ​​Russian blood besides losses in the war. The element escaped to freedom, bitterness and hatred supplemented by permissiveness. Of course I would like to see the evolutionary path, but what happened happened. It is a pity for people from both sides - these are all future unborn children.