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The October Revolution

Graham Darby argues that the Bolshevik success of 1917 was rooted in the failings of the Provisional Government and the aspiration of ordinary people.

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia with the order of St. Vladimir, 1905. By H. Manizer With the eightieth anniversary of the Communist Revolution looming large on the horizon, it is probably an appropriate moment to consider once again how it was that the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in October 1917. Of course until 1991 the Revolution remained very much a part of living history, part of the Cold War - an event which according to Soviet sources, was part of an unfolding grand design as predicted by Karl Marx, part of the inevitable process on the road to world socialism. In short, the Bolshevik Revolution was bound to happen. Admittedly this view never found much favour in the West, but now with the Soviet Union consigned to the 'dustbin of history' it should be ignored and our focus can turn back to the Provisional Government - for it was the failure of the Provisional Government (and the other socialist parties) that allowed the Bolsheviks to seize power and hijack what had had become a large popular revolution.

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