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By Georg von Rauch

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It became doubtful, in these circumstances, that a continuation of the war could be considered at all. The Social Revolutionaries were at first in the majority in the Soviets. Above all, they considered themselves to be the representatives of the peasantry. In addition there were the Menshevik and Bolshevik Socialists. The members of the Soviets had been elected in factories, workshops and barracks. The St. Petersburg Soviet consisted of 2,500 representatives, one worker for each thousand, one soldier for each company.

The year 1916 ended in gloomy hopelessness. Hand-in-hand with the continued economic disintegration grew the opposition in the country against Nicholas II's reactionary court coterie and against the^ uncontrollable influence nf^Raspiitin and Other sinister figures. It began in liberal circles. A n example of the^sperity of the protests voiced at the time were the words of the leader of the Kadets, the historian P. Miliukov, who said, at the session of the Duma in 34 T H E REVOLUTION 35 November, 1916, that the incompetence of the government bordered on high treason.

A s early as September, 1914, Lenin wrote that Czarist Russia's military defeat was the indispensible condition for the victory of the revolution, the basis for any success. Lenin bitterly assailed the Socialists in all countries who remained loyal to their governments, labeling them social chauvinists. He challenged the Second International, and at the beginning of the war he already played with the idea of founding a new Third International. Among Lenin's opponents was Plekhanov. The Mensheviks were not quite united among themselves.

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A History of Soviet Russia by Georg von Rauch


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