How Did the Bolsheviks Consolidate Their Power?

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Wednesday, 1st December 2010

How did the Bolsheviks consolidate their rule?

The Bolsheviks implemented measures which allowed them to strengthen their rule over Russia. Some of these were due to victories, which gained them support and respect from the people. Other measures used force. This enabled the Bolsheviks to take control of certain aspects and ensure their rule was reinforced. In my opinion, the Bolsheviks treatment of their opposition was the main reason their rule was consolidated.

The Bolsheviks were determined to quell all opposition. A formidable secret police was set up in November 1917: Cheka. They rooted out political opponents and had them exiled or executed. Censorship was invoked. This guaranteed that nothing negative was portrayed about the Bolsheviks. To insure that there was no political alternative to the communist rule, the cadets were banned.

The occurrence of the civil war and its victory allowed the Bolsheviks to eliminate much opposition. The Red Army was set up in 1918. Trotsky's superb leadership of the army, and their unity, allowed them to quickly and efficiently dispose of opponents. Also, during the war, repressive measures were introduced, such as: no fair trial. This continued after the war and gave the Bolsheviks more control and authority.

The Bolsheviks used propaganda to consolidate their rule. Lenin's April Theses was a good example of propaganda. The Bolsheviks also used propaganda to turn the people against the opposition, for example, during the civil war many posters were reproduced portraying the White generals as puppets due to their foreign intervention.

War communism was an economic policy, adapted by Lenin to win the civil war. It involved feeding the Red Army and workers in key industries. It also allowed for some elements of socialism to be introduced. War communism was the repossession of factories. In the towns, factories were taken over by the government, so they directed...
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