From Submission to Rebellion: The Provinces Versus the Center in Russia

By Vladimir Shlapentokh; Roman Levita et al. | Go to book overview

4
THE CENTER AND REGIONS IN THE SOVIET PERIOD: THE PROVINCES WITHOUT A VOICE

The Soviet system, born between 1917 and 1922, had less toleration for regionalism and regionalization than the previous Russian empire. As before, changes in the CP relationship in Soviet society depended only on the amount of power the political elite regarded as expedient to delegate to its local agents.


The Center and Regions' New Relations After the October Revolution

The new Russian government that was created in the aftermath of the February Revolution of 1917, which took place in the wake of two and one-half years of fighting during World War I, tried to restructure the old autocratic state. However, this reform failed to result in the creation of democracy in the country. The provisional government, which was at the helm for only eight months, failed to substitute a bourgeois-democratic state for the state of the nobility. All of the bureaucratic apparatuses, in the center as well as in the provinces, remained intact. Only regional governors were replaced with commissars of the provisional government. All tsarist laws were preserved; procurators, judges, and investigators kept their jobs in the capitals as well as in the periphery. The nobility, clergy, and merchants retained their privileges. Even the titles of the nobility were not abolished.1

The majority of Russia's population "permitted" the Bolsheviks to successfully carry out a coup. The people did not actively support them, as Soviet historians claimed, nor did they thoughtlessly obey a small group of conspirators, as some people today insist in an effort to explain the easy victory of the October uprising.2 The Bolsheviks came to power as a political force, promising not only to imple-

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