Eight Months of Agony: Crises of the Provisional Government
The actions of the authorities, doomed to death
There is such a gloomy word - "stillborn." It refers not only to medicine, but can signify any undertaking that is deliberately doomed to death. The question of whether the activities of the Russian government from March to October 1917 can be attributed to such phenomena is still open. But there are no doubts that the numerous crises of the Provisional Government clearly demonstrated the entire non-viability of this short-lived structure.
Background of the crisis
The peasantry, which constituted the majority of the then population, was exhausted under the double weight. It was forced to make up for the continuous casualties on the fronts of the First World War, thereby losing its working hands, and at the same time meeting the food needs of the army and the country as a whole. The crises of the Provisional Government of 1917 were the inevitable consequence of the strategic mistakes of the new government, the main of which was the unwillingness to end the bloody war immediately,that went against the interests of the broadest sections of society.
Consequences of the crisis
Soldiers rushed home to their families and arable lands, they were deeply alien to the slogans of “war to the bitter end” and “loyalty to the allies” proclaimed at pro-government meetings. All three crises of the Provisional Government (from April to July 1917) were primarily caused by this circumstance, accompanied by such serious problems as issues of national disengagement, increase in workers' wages, division of landlord lands, and so on. The ideas of continuing the war were so unpopular in the peasant and working environment that all initiatives of the ruling circles in this direction inevitably developed into crises of the provisional government, which ultimately led to its complete collapse. The socio-economic situation in the country was rapidly deteriorating, inflation was rising, desertion from the active army became widespread, discipline among the troops was falling, and conflicts between landowners and peasants, tired of waiting for radical land reforms, were increasingly frequent in the village.The crises of the interim government were used (and often provoked) by its opponents to achieve their political goals, and the Bolsheviks, rushing to power, succeeded more than others in this. Having put forward their slogans “Down with war!”, “Land for peasants, factories for workers!” And other vivid expressions, they actively conducted anti-war propaganda, generously handing out unrealizable promises to people tormented by war.
The last item in the sad list, entitled “Crises of the Provisional Government”, includes the events of August 1917, when the attempt to overthrow the barely capable regime and establish a military dictatorship, undertaken by Infantry general Lavr Kornilov, failed. It is characteristic that the Bolsheviks also extracted the maximum benefit: by going to cooperate with the already agonizing Provisional Government, they eliminated the threat from the military elite, and this accelerated their rise to power, which went down in history as the October coup.