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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

How could the Bolsheviks exert control over Russia between October 1917 and 1921 when the Provisional Government had failed to do so after the February Revolution? This chapter reassesses those turbulent years through the prism of centre-periphery conflict and state-building, arguing that the process of civil war served to extend Soviet control through the elimination of armed rivals and the suppression of the centrifugal social forces accentuated by revolution in 1917. If the Provisional Government sought to govern at a time when state sovereignty was disintegrating, the civil war was, to a large extent, a struggle for re-integration—a struggle characterized by the projection of armed force and the exercise of violence against civilians. Military domination of the countryside proved a necessary condition for the medium-term socialization of formerly insurgent populations who initially harboured strong grievances against the new Soviet state.

Keywords: revolution, civil war, insurgency, violence, Provisional Government, centre-periphery relations, state-building, Red Army, Whites, Lenin

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