The Sickle under the Hammer: The Russian Socialist Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule

The Sickle under the Hammer: The Russian Socialist Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule

The Sickle under the Hammer: The Russian Socialist Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule

The Sickle under the Hammer: The Russian Socialist Revolutionaries in the Early Months of Soviet Rule

Excerpt

In revolution as in war it is inevitable that the victor should receive more attention than the vanquished. A lost cause is soon overlaid by the dust of neglect, and its surviving image is grossly distorted by prejudice and purposeful misrepresentation. The adherents of "agrarian" socialism in Russia, and more particularly the Socialist Revolutionaries, who had made the peasant cause their own, experienced the common fate of losers, but neither this fate nor the exceptional vindictiveness of the "industrial" socialists who came to power in Russia can altogether account for the barrier of ignorance and error behind which the truth has been concealed.

As related in The Agrarian Foes of Bolshevism , to which this book is the sequel, the Socialist Revolutionary movement had, by the fall of 1917, disintegrated into three warring factions -- right, center, and left -- not one of which has received its due in history. Their role in the revolution as well as their essential character has been misinterpreted, willfully distorted, or simply ignored, and the stereotype of error, once created, has been endlessly copied by uncritical writers, either from the source or from one another. The Bolsheviks are only partially to blame for this situation. In part the SR's themselves are responsible, since in the heat of factional strife they did not hesitate to malign one another. As for the rest, the fault lies in the way in which history is written, or, rather, with those who write it.

The right SR's have fared best so far as friendly treatment is concerned. They backed the Provisional Government and so have been considered exponents of democracy, they inveighed endlessly against the evils of Prussian militarism and endlessly extolled the virtues of Allied unity, they were against violence and bloodshed . . .

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