Weekly Discussion and Review Questions

 Chapter 8 Russian Revolution

Questions of the Documents: :

Define "Revisionism." What caused Engels to write "we have been shown to have been wrong by history?" What tactics did he propose? What does Eduard Bernstein criticize in the Social-Democratic Party? What tactics does he propose? Why does Karl Kautsky argue against this revisionism?

What are the three most important points inLenin's 1902 book, What is to be Done?.? Where do they break with Marxism? where do they agree? On what issue do Rosa Luxemburg and Trotsky criticize Lenin?

Why does Lenin condemn trade unions; why can't they lead the socialist revolution? Leninism consists of a sophisticated set of new "tactics" for a revolution, first of all in Russia, and then elsewhere. What are the ingredients in this plan, conceived already by 1905? What is the role of the international movement? of his understanding of imperialism?

What are the reasons Stalin gives in his 1924 essay for why Leninism succeeded in Russia?

In 1861, the Czar emancipated the serfs. Did this improve or worsen the condition of the peasantry? Why? What is the mir and what role did it play in determining peasant life?

Compare the relationship of the Russian factory worker with his employer to that of the Russian peasant to the local noble. What similarities are there? Are there mirs here?

What is a "Soviet?" What role do Soviets play in March 1917?

How would you characterize the behavior of the peasantry during the initial stages of the revolution. What are their goals?

After the initial revolution in March 1917, why do Russian generals have so much trouble maintaining order on the front lines? What are the complaints of Russian troops?

From the documents, how would you rank in importance the major forces which contributed to the on-going radicalization of the revolution: confidence in the government? political agitation? effectiveness in waging the war?

Arriving in Petrograd Lenin "improvised" a theory to take power away from the Provisional Government. What are the ingredients of this new theory? Why do the orthodox Marxists (Mensheviks) object to Lenin's tactics?

Specifically, what importance do local Soviets provide to Lenin's tactics? Which Lenin arguments do you think carried the most weight with other members of the Bolshevik Central Committee?

After seizing power how does Lenin adapt Marx's model to the largely rural, agricultural environment of revolutionary Russia? What does he use to effect that change in a scenario that Marx himself might not have foreseen? Why is Lenin so opposed to "democracy?"

Reviewing the various decrees passed after the Bolshevik victory, what power base is Lenin deliberately creating?

Compare Trotsky's view on Terrorism with Robespierre. Why did the Bolsheviks claim they had to use terror?

What is the significane of the Kronstadt rebellion in 1921?

What is the "New Economic Policy?" What does it reveal about Lenin's tactics?


Chapter Summary Questions :



Terms to Know

Social Democratic Party
"spell of the barricades,"
Social Revolutionary Party (SRP)
Professional Revolutionaries
Provisional Government
New Economc Policy (NEP


Some Key Dates in the Russian Revolution

[old style date is first; Gregorian date in brackets]










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