The Russian Soviet Republic

By Edward Alsworth Ross | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE FATE OF THE BOURGEOISIE

WHEN the bureaucratic pyramid capped by the grand dukes and the czar was overturned in March, 1917, the landed proprietors, merchants, and manufacturers believed that, of course, it was a bourgeois revolution and that they were to control it. They understood very well that certain expectations of the peasants and the workingmen would have to be fulfilled, but they imagined that they were to be in charge and hand out the sops. That the spokesman for muzhiks and factory-hands might grasp the steering-wheel never occurred to them. The first Provisional Government was composed almost exclusively of business men and landed proprietors, while the Socialists had but one representative, Kerensky. It was members of the bourgeoisie that were appointed governors for the different districts or representatives abroad. Then these groups insisted that the war must be fought through so that Russia might get Constantinople and the Straits of the Dardanelles. To the masses, utterly sick of an interminable war in which they saw no possible good to themselves, such a program was detestable.

Their resentment at being expected to fight longer after three years of horror was intensified by what the soldiers found on returning to their villages. Invariably they found their homes in a very bad way. Separation allowances had not been paid, and the soldier's wife had had a hard struggle. Prices had risen greatly, and it was almost impossible to live. She might have sold a sheep, a cow, or a horse, and when the horse was gone how could she work the land prop-

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