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The Future of Russia After Soviet Victory

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Committee Design for BDMUNC 2017s

Committee: The Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets (全俄苏维埃第二次代表大会)

Official Language: English

Topic Area: The Future of Russia after Soviet Victory

Introduction:

After the February Revolution, a Provisional Government took control of Russia, with the abdication of the Tsar, people rejoiced at the end of the monarchy. The whole country seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, and looked forward to the better future they believed Russia’s new government would bring. However, in fact the new government proved quite unable to deliver what was expected. It was increasingly seen as a product of the old regime and as unrepresentative of the Russian people.

In July the masses swelled again pressing their demands for peace and land, this time not finding any "compromise", but bullets, mass arrests and deportations. On October 25, 1917, soldiers and workers were storming the Winter Palace, renouncing the Provisional Government that for eight months had not met their demands of an immediate end to the war and nationalisation of the land.  

The Second Congress of Soviets then had been convened by the Petrograd Central Executive Committee immediately, while the shooting was still be heard at the White Palace. By nightfall however, delegates swarmed into the Smolny Institute, and the Congress saw the tide rise to an overwhelming majority of boisterous and sweating Bolsheviks; elected to the Congress by Soviets throughout the country. Minority leaders took the floor first, putting forward plans of concilliation and backpedalling of the revolutionary tide, explaining that the masses ought to lay down their weapons, and enter into negotiations with the Provisional Government. (A. M. Kulegin) The Congress hall, packed with men and women in every place conceivable, let up an enourmous roar at the suggestion: it was time for power to go into the hands of the Soviets, into the hands of the people.

Size and Combination:

Reality: 649 delegates were elected to the Congress, representing 318 local soviets; 390 were Bolsheviks, about 100 Left-Wing Socialist-Revolutionaries, about 60 Right Social Revolutionaries, 72 Mensheviks, 14 United Socialist Democrat-Internationalists, 6 Menshevik Internationalists and 7 of other factions. (A. M. Kulegin) It was dominated by Bolsheviks, which gives too much power to them in passing the decree favoured to them.

Plan: 30-50 delegates, individual roles, percentage (estimated 30% of Bolsheviks, 25% of Left SRs, 20% of Right SRs, 20% of Mensheviks, 5% of Liberals)

Topics and Problems:

  1. New government

Before the revolution, Russia was actually governed by a ‘Dual Power’ system which contains two political parts. One is the Provisional Government consisted of members of the Duma who had played a key role in pressing the Tsar in abdication. It was a temporary government which would run the Russia until elections could be held in November. Another part is the Petrograd Soviet consisted of workers and soldiers representatives, looked after their interests and appeared all over Russia.

What should be the form of new government? Whether it is ‘all power to Soviets’, ‘power to democracy’ or ‘coalition government’?

Should the new government cancel the election?

If decided the ‘all power to Soviets’, how to deliver the power and form a new government?

  1. The war

The Foreign Minister of the PG, Muliukov, promised the Allies that the government woul honour its promises to them to continue the Great War to ‘decisive victory’.(Joel Carmichael) But the Petrograd Soviet called for a ‘peace of revolutionary defensism’- a war of defence to preserve the Revolution’s gains but without costly attacks on the enemy. Meanwhile, Lenin demanded an immediate end to the war.

Whether the new government would continue the war or make peace?

  1. Land issue

Many fanatic peasants had already seized land estates and formed peasants committees to take control over their villages. They did several things like cut rents and increased wages, but they expected to benefit form land reform soon from the new government. Also in the cities the peasants now had the guns of the deserters returning to the villages.

How to give the peasant land and pass the land reform?

Whether the land should be nationalised or privatised?

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