After February, Russia lost the possibility of waging war with the Central Powers. As the military operations of the summer of 1917 showed, the Russian army was disorganized, decomposed and could not conduct offensive operations. Further degradation of Russia led to the fact that the army lost the ability to even defend. The policies of the Provisional Government and Westernizers of the February list led to the destruction of Russian statehood. The Troubles began, caused by the fundamental contradictions that have accumulated over the centuries in Russia of the Romanovs.
It was a disaster. Russia was writhing in agony. Fueled national suburbs. The policy of national separatists was one of the reasons for a large-scale civil war. Before October, peasant Russia exploded - the Peasant War began. The peasants divided the landowners' lands, burned estates, removing the hatred that had been accumulated for an entire era of social injustice. The criminal revolution began - the eternal companion of unrest. Formed gangs that terrorized entire settlements and localities. Cossacks remembered their liberties. The industry and transport system was falling apart, the cities and the army were left without supplies. The village did not want to feed the city, not supplying them with industrial goods. Started hunger.
Russia could not fight. The generals mired in intrigue, many top commanders supported the February-March coup to occupy high positions in the "new Russia". Then part of the generals came out against the Provisional Government to restore order, but the mutiny failed. Another part of the generals went the way of supporting the formation of various national "armies". The Provisional Government by its actions finished order, unity of command, discipline among the troops. The rear collapsed, the transport system, industry could not supply the army and the city. I.e Russia has lost the ability to wage a regular war. - provide all the necessary millions of soldiers. The soldiers themselves (yesterday's peasants) and the Cossacks did not want to fight anymore, they wanted peace and return home, to take part in the redistribution of the land. But the Provisional Government was so hated or completely indifferent to it, that when the Bolsheviks went to take power, nobody defended the temporary workers.
Old monarchist Russia died. Along with it, the “new Russia”, a pro-Western democratic-bourgeois type, also died. A socialist, Soviet Russia — statehood, army, economy, etc. — was still to be created. Under these conditions, other powers were preparing to divide the "skin" of the Russian bear. Our enemies - Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey, were preparing to occupy the western regions of Russia. Our western "partners" —England, France, and the USA, divided the Russian land into spheres of influence and also prepared for the seizure of strategic ports, cities, and points. The masters of the West needed the resources of Russia for building their “new world order”.
Under these conditions, the Soviet government was forced to conclude a truce and begin negotiations for peace. The negotiations dragged on. The Bolsheviks knew about the difficulties of the German bloc. Germany itself was barely holding on. The blockade has completely exhausted the country. The army still had a powerful potential and was ready to fight. And the population was tired of the war, the economy was cracking at the seams. There were practically no resources to continue the war. Hope was only on forcing Russia to peace and the seizure of its resources, with the withdrawal of part of the troops from the Russian front to the West. The condition of Austria-Hungary and Turkey was even worse, they were on the verge of complete collapse (following the example of Russia). Therefore, the Bolsheviks hoped that while negotiations were underway, a revolution would take place in Germany and the Central Powers would lose the war. This will allow Russia to maintain the status quo.
However, the Germans also understood the complexity of their position and their allies, they were not going to pull with a peace agreement. The Ukrainian factor also helped them - the Ukrainian nationalists concluded a separate, separate agreement with Germany. This allowed on the "legal" grounds "to begin the invasion of Ukraine, where Soviet troops were able to occupy Kiev and most of Little Russia, freeing it from ukronatsistov. In addition, Trotsky, who was an agent of the influence of the owners of the United States, in every way provoked the Germans, in order to resume military operations and, in a crisis, strengthen their positions in the Bolshevik elite. Trotsky 28 January (10 February) 1918, made a provocative declaration that Soviet Russia stops the war, demobilizes the army, and does not sign peace. In response, the Germans said that the non-signing of a peace treaty by Russia automatically entails the termination of the truce.
18 February 1918, the German troops launched an offensive on all fronts. A few days later they were supported by the Austro-Hungarian troops. The Turkish army launched an offensive in the Caucasus even earlier. February 19 chairman of the SNK Lenin sent the German government the consent of the Soviet government to sign the German conditions. The German side demanded an official written notice, and continued the offensive of troops in the north in two directions: Revel-Narva-Petrograd and Pskov. During the week they occupied a number of cities and created a threat to Petrograd.
February 22 Trotsky, recognizing the failure of his negotiations with the German delegation, resigns from the post of Commissar for Foreign Affairs. G.V. Chicherin (he headed the department until 1930 of the year) becomes the new drug minister. At the same time, Trotsky, for supporting Lenin during the discussion in the party leadership, rose even more. Lenin already on March 4 appoints Trotsky chairman of the Supreme Military Council, and March 13 - Commissar of the Military Commissar. That is, Trotsky became the military leader of Soviet Russia, concentrating enormous power in his hands.
23 February the German side conveyed a response that contained even more severe conditions. On the adoption of the ultimatum SNK was given 48 hours. The first two points of the document repeated the ultimatum of January 27 (February 9), that is, confirmed the territorial claims of the Central Powers. In addition, it was proposed to immediately clear Livonia and Estland from the Russian troops. In both areas were introduced Germanic police forces. Germany demanded: immediately make peace with the Ukrainian Central Rada, withdraw troops from Ukraine and Finland, return the Anatolian provinces of Turkey, immediately demobilize the army, withdraw its fleet in the Black and Baltic Seas and the Arctic Ocean to Russian ports and disarm it, etc. d.
February 23, 1918 passed historical meeting of the Central Committee of the RSDLP (b). Lenin demanded a peace on German terms, threatening to resign otherwise, which in fact meant a split in the party. Trotsky, despite his negative attitude to the peace treaty, refused to participate in the discussion, and supported Lenin. In the end, Lenin received the majority of the vote. During the vote, Trotsky, Dzerzhinsky, Ioffe and Krestinsky abstained, which allowed a majority of 7 votes to 4 with 4 abstentions to make a historic decision to sign the peace. “Left communists” led by Bukharin entered the world.
At the same time, the Central Committee unanimously decided to "prepare an immediate revolutionary war." Soviet Russia began to take extraordinary measures to recreate the army, first on a voluntary basis, and then on traditional military service. February 23 SNK from February 21 "The Socialist Fatherland is in danger!", As well as "Appeal of the Military Commander-in-Chief" N. V. Krylenko, which ended with the words: "... All to arms. All to the defense of the revolution. " The mass enrollment of volunteers into the Red Army detachments, created under the Decree of the SNK of the RSFSR "On the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army" of 15 (28) of January 1918, began.
On the same day, February 23 held a joint meeting of the Bolshevik and Left Socialist-Revolutionary factions of the Central Executive Committee in the late evening. Left SRs decided to vote against peace. After the joint meeting, a separate meeting of the Bolshevik faction alone began. When voting, Lenin gathered 72 votes against 25 votes for “Left Communists”. February 24 Lenin with great difficulty, 126 votes against 85 with 26 abstained, managed to push his decision through the Central Executive Committee. The left SRs called for the organization of a mass guerrilla war against the German troops, even if such a war ended with the loss of Petrograd and significant territories of Russia.
The Soviet delegation returned to Brest-Litovsk on March 1. 3 March agreement was signed. 6 - 8 March, March 1918, at the VII Emergency Congress of the RSDLP (b) Lenin also succeeded in pushing through the ratification of the Brest Peace. When voting, the votes were distributed as follows: 30 for ratification, 12 against, 4 abstained. 14 - 16 March 1918, the IV Extraordinary All-Russian Congress of Soviets finally ratified the peace treaty - by a majority of 784 votes against 261, with 115 abstaining. The congress also decided to transfer the capital from Petrograd to Moscow due to the danger of the German offensive.
According to the conditions of the Brest Peace, Russia was to carry out the complete demobilization of the army (the old tsarist army, and also the Red Army) and the complete demining of its part of the Black and Baltic seas. The Baltic Fleet was withdrawn from its bases in Finland and the Baltic States. Russia yielded to Germany areas lying west of the Brest-Litovsk-Kamenets-Litovsk-Pruzhany-Zelva-Bridges-Orel-Dokudova-Dzevenishki line-to the west of Slobodka-Gervyaty-Mihalishki-east of Svenciany-Malengyany-Driesvyaty-Druya and further downstream Oger, and leaving Riga to the west, the border line went to the Gulf of Riga, passing along it to the north between the mainland and the Moonsund archipelago and to the exit from the Gulf of Finland, which remained entirely to the east of the boundary line. Russia ceded Ardagan, Kars and Batum districts to Turkey and withdrew troops from all parts of Eastern Anatolia.
Soviet Russia should immediately make peace with the Ukrainian People’s Republic and recognize its peace treaty with Germany and its allies. Russia has withdrawn troops from the territory of Ukraine. The same applied to the Baltic provinces, where the border ran along the River Narva, the Peipsi and Pskov lakes. Finland and the Aland Islands were also cleared of Russian troops.
Russia also paid 6 billion marks of reparations plus the payment of losses incurred by Germany during the Russian revolution - 500 million gold rubles. The annex to the contract guaranteed the special economic status of Germany in Soviet Russia. Citizens and companies of the Central Powers were removed from the action of the Soviet decrees on nationalization, and those who had already lost property were reinstated. That is, German citizens were allowed to engage in private business in Russia. The Brest Treaty restored the customs tariffs of 1904 of the year with Germany extremely unfavorable for Russia. In addition, Russia was forced to confirm all debts to the Central Powers (from which 1918 was refused in January), and to resume payments on them.
Thus, the Vistula provinces (the Kingdom of Poland), Little Russia, Byelorussia, Estland, Kurland and Livonia provinces, the Grand Duchy of Finland departed. Moreover, the boundaries of the new territorial entities (under German rule) were not clearly defined. The territory of 780 thousand square meters was torn away from Russia. km with a population of 56 million (one third of the population of the Russian Empire) and on which before the revolution were: 27% of arable agricultural land, 26% of the entire railway network, 73% iron and steel were mined, 89% sugar was mined, 90% sugar was mined, there lived 40% industrial workers, etc.
Despite the peace agreement, German troops continued their offensive. 1 March German troops in Kiev, the power of the Central Rada was restored. April 5 German troops entered Kharkov, in late April - early May entered the Crimea and the southern part of the Don region, April 22 seized Simferopol, May 1 - Taganrog, and May 8 - Rostov-on-Don, causing the fall of Soviet power on the Don . On the Don, the Germans helped the establishment of the ataman P.N. Krasnov in power. A puppet government was created in the Crimea. In June, the Germans entered Georgia. Using the absence of a border treaty between Soviet Russia and Ukraine as a formal pretext, the Germans seized a number of key points in Russia. In Finland, the Germans helped crush the Reds. The nationalist regime that plans to build "Great Finland" at the expense of the Russian lands was established in Finland. In the Caucasus, Turkey continued its offensive with the aim of seizing Baku, Dagestan, and areas of the North Caucasus with the Muslim population.
Thus, the Austro-German and Turkish intervention allowed to tear away large areas from Russia and support the creation of anti-Soviet state formations on them. This led to a new round of the Civil War and the increase of its scale. With the help of the interventionists (they were then joined by the British, French, Americans and Japanese), various anti-Soviet forces strengthened and launched a counter-offensive.
The Brest Peace allowed the Austro-German High Command to concentrate all the main forces against the Entente troops in France and Italy, and to organize the last decisive strategic offensive on the Western Front. So, the German command transferred about half a million soldiers and officers from the Eastern front to the Western and on March 23 launched an offensive operation. Turkey had the opportunity to strengthen its position in Mesopotamia and Palestine. However, significant military forces in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey were diverted to the continuation of the intervention, protection and looting of the occupied territory of the western part of Russia.
The Entente took the Brest Peace extremely hostile. England and France have already divided Russia into spheres of influence and have begun intervention. On March 6, English troops landed in Murmansk, April 5 - Japanese troops in Vladivostok, August 2 - British in Arkhangelsk, etc.
By the fall of 1918, it became obvious that the Entente would win and eventually Germany would capitulate. In Berlin they decided, in the conditions of the growing Civil War in Russia and the beginning of the Entente's intervention, to conclude additional agreements to the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty. 27 August 1918 in Berlin, in the strictest secrecy, a Russian-German supplementary agreement to the Brest Peace and a financial agreement were concluded. It was signed, on behalf of the government of the RSFSR, by the plenipotentiary Adolph Joffe, and from Germany, Paul von Hinz.
According to its conditions, the demarcation commission was to determine in detail and immediately establish the eastern border of Estland and Livonia. The German troops east of the demarcation line were immediately withdrawn. Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine and Georgia, refused from Estland and Livonia, bargaining for the right of access to the Baltic ports (Revel, Riga and Windau). Also, to facilitate Russian trade through Estonia, Livonia, Kurland, and Lithuania, free transit of goods was established through them in both directions; low railway and freight rates; free shipping on the Western Dvina. The Soviet side bargained for control of Baku, losing to Germany a quarter of the products produced there.
Germany also agreed to withdraw its troops from Belarus, from the Black Sea coast, the Crimea, from Rostov and part of the Don basin, and not to occupy more than any territory of Russia. Germany pledged not to interfere in the relations of the Russian state with national regions and to encourage them to secede from Russia or to form independent state entities. Germany guaranteed that Finland would not attack Russian territory, especially Petrograd. In the secret agreement (the so-called “Hinze note), the mutually expressed consent of the parties to make mutual efforts to fight inside Russia with the Entente interventionists, the Volunteer Army and the uprising of the Czechoslovak Corps was recorded.
Thus, the Brest Peace, and the Additional Agreement, which Russian liberals and Westerners so much like to reproach Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and which were signed by Soviet Russia, which actually had no army, under the threat of the German invasion and capture of the capital, were much more profitable than Gorbachev's shameful surrender - Yeltsin in 1991 year. In addition, Russia already in the same year 1918 had the opportunity to abandon the conditions of the “obscene world.”
Lenin showed great insight. He made huge concessions to Germany and her allies, not only because of the lack of an army, but also the inevitable defeat and fall of the German bloc. Lenin repeatedly said that the Brest peace would not last even several months, and that the revolution in Germany was inevitable. 3 November 1918 in Navy rebelled in Kiel, and thousands of soldiers joined them. Soon the uprising swept Hamburg, Lübeck, Bremen and other cities. In Bavaria, the Soviet Republic was proclaimed. 5 November, the Soviet government suspended diplomatic relations with Germany. November 9 revolution in Germany won. 11 November Germany signed a truce with the Entente powers. 13 November, the Brest Treaty was canceled.
As the American historian Richard Pipes noted: “Having shrewdly went to the humiliating world, which gave him time to win, and then collapsed under the influence of his own weight, Lenin deserved wide confidence of the Bolsheviks. When 13 November 1918, they broke the Brest Peace, after which Germany capitulated to the Western allies, Lenin's authority was lifted up to unprecedented heights in the Bolshevik movement. ”