Author Topic: Everyday life during the Revolution  (Read 24359 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2004, 12:41:45 PM »
"Russia embarked upon an orgy of destruction, the deliberate crushing of a culture, the civilization of imperial Russia." p. 201, The Flight of the Romanovs by Perry and Pleshakov.  "With the Bolsheviks in power, any act of violence seemed justifiable.  The revolutionaries rejected everything created by or belonging to the 'exploiters'."  On p. 202 they go on to say:  "Mobs of peasants sacked and then destroyed, sometime mindlessly, sometimes with meticulour thouroughness, the country mansions of aristocracy.  Mobs used fine carpets to start fires.  Objects of art were smashed and burned: rare books, tapestries, sculptures, rare plants...all destroyed....."

"The rage of the assailants did not stop with the great homes but extended to the outbuildings as well.  Farm implements and machinery, herds of oxen, studs of workhorses and thoroughbreds alike, forges, shops and mills... The seed corn of an agriculutral civilization, and all that the black earth had yielded over the generations, was swept away in the mad frenzy...."

Life didn't go on as usual.

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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline Annie

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2004, 01:49:28 PM »
Wasn't that silly? What a waste! They could have kept it all for themselves! Apparently plenty did survive to this day, so somebody must have been a little level headed at the time. And don't forget most Soviet leaders had several residences and daschas themselves, so the 'opression' simply changed personas :-/

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2004, 10:41:00 AM »
The estimated lost of life between 1917 to 1922 was 25 million men, women and children.

A high price paid by all people living in Russia.

AGRBear
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Dashkova

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2004, 11:09:20 AM »
AGRBear, please post the citation for those figures. My research (from several sources) shows less than half that amount for the period in question.  Just wondering.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2004, 11:18:17 AM »
I had posted this earlier over on the Red and White thread:

Quote
On p. 385 of The White General by Richard Luckert is written:  "There are no casually lists for the time period known in most history books as the Russian Civil War 1918-1922.  More men and women died through the famine, disease, and reprisals than as a direct consequence of military action.  The toal number of deaths can only be approximately estimated:   twenty-five million is a possible figure.  Half a million died in the Siberian retreat, half a milion were killed by the Cheka...."  The number killed by the Whites is constantly debated because of Soviet propaganda.  The number killed by the White may have reached as high as 500 thousand....  There were, also, the "Greens" who killed a large number....  The Allies [USA, Great Britian, others] may have kept records but that number is, also, unknown.

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Dashkova

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2004, 11:32:27 AM »
Ok, I still don't understand how you arrived at the 25 million figure (of course, it goes without saying that a single death is too many).  The quote from the other thread states there are no definite figures for the time period.

However, here are several scholars views based on their own research for the period (roughly) between 1917-1922:

Russian Civil War (1917-22): 9 000 000
Eckhardt: 500,000 civ. + 300,000 mil. = 800,000
Readers Companion to Military History, Cowley and Parker, eds. (1996) [http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/mil/html/mh_045400_russiancivil.htm]:
Combat deaths: 825,000
Ancillary deaths: 2,000,000
TOTAL: 2,825,000
Davies, Norman (Europe A History, 1998)
Civil War and Volga Famine (1918-22): 3,000,000 to 5,000,000
Brzezinski, Z:
6 to 8 million people died under Lenin from war, famine etc.
Mastering Twentieth Century Russian History by Norman Lowe (2002)
TOTAL: 7,000,000 to 10,000,000
Red Army
Battle: 632,000
Disease: 581,000
Whites: 1,290,000 battle + disease
White Terror: "tens of thousands"
Red Terror
Executed: 50-200,000
Died in prison or killed in revolts: 400,000
Typhoid + typhus
1919: 890,000
1920: >1M
Urlanis:
Military deaths: 800,000
Battle deaths, all sides: 300,000
Dead of wounds: 50,000
Disease: 450,000
Civilians: 8,000,000
TOTAL: 8,800,000
Dyadkin, I.G. (cited in Adler, N., Victims of Soviet Terror, 1993)
9 million unnatural deaths from terror, famine and disease, 1918-23
Richard Pipes, A concise history of the Russian Revolution (1995): 9 million deaths, 1917-1922
Famine: 5M
Combat: 2M
Reds: 1M
Whites: 127,000
Epidemics: 2M
not incl.
Emigration: 2M
Birth deficit: 14M
Rummel:
Civil War (1917-22)
War: 1,410,000 (includes 500,000 civilian)
Famine: 5,000,000 (50% democidal)
Other democide: 784,000
Epidemics: 2,300,000
Total: 9,494,000
Lenin's Regime (1917-24)
Rummel blames Lenin for a lifetime total of 4,017,000 democides.
Figes, Orlando (A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution, 1997)
10 million deaths from war, terror, famine and disease.
Including...
Famine (1921-22): 5 million
Killed in fighting, both military and civilian: 1M
Jews killed in pogroms: 150,000
Not including...
Demographic effects of a hugely reduced birth-rate: 10M
Emmigration: 2M
McEvedy, Colin (Atlas of World Population History, 1978)
War deaths: 2M
Other excess deaths: 14M
Reduced births: 10M
Emmigration: 2M
MEDIAN: Of these ten estimates that claim to be complete, the median is 8.8M-9.0M.
PARTIALS:
Small & Singer (battle deaths, 1917-21)
Russian Civil War (Dec.1917-Oct.1920)
Russians: 500,000
Allied Intervention:
Japan: 1,500
UK: 350
USA: 275
France: 50
Finland: 50
Russian Nationalities War (Dec.1917-Mar.1921)
USSR: 50,000
Bruce Lincoln, Red Victory: a History of the Russian Civil War 1918-1921
Death sentences by the Cheka: ca. 100,000
Pogroms: as many as one in 13 Jews k. out of 1.5M in Ukraine [i.e. ca. 115,000] (citing Heifetz)
Nevins, citing Heifetz and the Red Cross: 120,000 Jews killed in 1919 pogroms [http://www.west.net/~jazz/felshtin/redcross.html]
Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): Cheka responsible for maybe 250,000+ violent deaths.
Paul Johnson
50,000 death sentences imposed by the Cheka by 12/20
100,000 Jews killed in 1919
Green, Barbara (in Rosenbaum, Is the Holocaust Unique?)
4 to 5 million deaths in the famine of 1921-23

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolutionhttp://ency
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2004, 09:20:07 PM »
Dashkova

The number of 25 million was not my own.
On p. 385 of The White General by Richard Luckert

Also go to the following URL for more information in the encyclopedia than what follows the URL:
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Russian%20Civil%20War
" At the end of the Civil War, Soviet Russia was exhasted and ruined. The droughts of 1920 and 1921 and the frightful famine during that last year added the final, gruesome chapter to the disaster. In the years following the originally "bloodless" October Revolution, epidemics, starvation, fighting, executions, and the general breakdown of the economy and society had taken something like twenty million lives. Another million had left Russia -- with General Wrangel, through the Far East, or in numerous other ways - rather than accept Communist rule, the emigres included a high proportion of educated and skilled people. War Communism might have saved the Soviet government in the course of the Civil War, but it also helped greatly to wreck the nation's economy. With private industry and trade proscribed and the state unable to perform these functions on a sufficient scale, much of the Russian economy ground to a standstill. It has been estimated that the total output of mines and factories fell in 1921 to 20 per cent if the pre-World War level, with many crucial items experiencing an even more drastic decline. Production of cotton, for example, fell to 5 per cent, iron to 2 per cent, of the prewar level. The peasants responded to requisitioning by refusing to till their land. By 1921 cultivated land had shrunk to some 62 per cent of the prewar area, and the harvest yield was only about 37 percent of normal. The number of horses declined from 35 million in 1916 to 24 million in 1920, and cattle from 58 to 37 million during the same span of time. The exchange rate of the US dollar, which had been two rubles in 1914, rose to 1,200 in 1920."

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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rskkiya

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2004, 01:10:17 PM »
ohhh gawd...

Agrbear
A Civil War and a number of famines are NOT The Same Thing -- no matter how suddenly they may follow upon one another! >:(
Maybe you are thinking of the death toll from World War II... that one was closer to 25 million.  

I am happy to discover that you have read about the greens...are you familiar with the Black or the Anarchist movements in the Russian Civil War ?  

So sorry to all that I have been gone for a few weeks-- I will try to be more regular in my future posts.

Rskkiya

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2004, 02:37:49 PM »
"...In the years following the originally "bloodless" October Revolution, epidemics, starvation, fighting, executions, and the general breakdown of the economy and society had taken something like twenty million lives. Another million had left Russia>>>"

This occured between 1917 to 1922 according to the articles and books I've  read.  

Here is another quote: Joseph S. Height's Homesteaders on the Steppe p.  373: "...the death toll had readly reached devastating proportions."   "...while the Christian countries of the world were making honest efforts to help stem the mounting tide of starvation, the Red czar in the Kremlin continued, with cold blooded cynicism, to export Russian wheat to foreign countries in order to establish credit for industrila imports!"  He goes on to say,   "In what must be regarded as one of the greatest famies in history, the Bolshevik regime was untimately responsible through its system of wholesale exploitation of the peasants, for the death of more than ten million people."  This is just the count of those who starved by 1922 and doesn't include the numbers of others who died in battle, raids, etc. due to the Civil War.

He goes on and tells us various areas of the deaths reported.  One mention was Tiraspol which had 350,000 Catholic souls and by July 1922 some 100,000 Catholics starved to death.  It didn't mention the numbers who were non-Catholic in this particular book but I can imagine the toll was higher since the Catholics were a small pecentage living in that area at that time.

In one of the Siberan camps Height tells us  40 to fifty children died from dystentery every day.   In the winter, the bodies couldn't be buried and were stacked like cords of wood.....

On p. 388 Height writes:
"Was this the 'new humanity' for whom th Marxist-leninist planners were preparing the utopian Communist paradise on earth?  What monumental hypocrisy must inspire the Soviet ideologists who blantantly harp on the threadbare Marxian theme that the laboring class is exploited by evil capitalists, while they themselves have in fact established the cruelest exploitation system in the history of the world!"

This is dated material and is a  statement of what Height  felt in 1975 and earlier by Height and others who had been victims of the Bolsheviks under Lenin then the communists under Stalin and those who followed....

Yes,  I am familar  "... with the Black or the Anarchist movements in the Russian Civil War ? "   When you have time Rskkyia  perhaps you'd like to explain who they were.

AGRBear



"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Dashkova

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolutionhttp://ency
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2004, 08:10:28 PM »
Quote
Dashkova

The number of 25 million was not my own.
On p. 385 of The White General by Richard Luckert

Also go to the following URL for more information in the encyclopedia than what follows the URL:
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Russian%20Civil%20War
" At the end of the Civil War, Soviet Russia was exhasted and ruined. The droughts of 1920 and 1921 and the frightful famine during that last year added the final, gruesome chapter to the disaster. In the years following the originally "bloodless" October Revolution, epidemics, starvation, fighting, executions, and the general breakdown of the economy and society had taken something like twenty million lives. Another million had left Russia -- with General Wrangel, through the Far East, or in numerous other ways - rather than accept Communist rule, the emigres included a high proportion of educated and skilled people. War Communism might have saved the Soviet government in the course of the Civil War, but it also helped greatly to wreck the nation's economy. With private industry and trade proscribed and the state unable to perform these functions on a sufficient scale, much of the Russian economy ground to a standstill. It has been estimated that the total output of mines and factories fell in 1921 to 20 per cent if the pre-World War level, with many crucial items experiencing an even more drastic decline. Production of cotton, for example, fell to 5 per cent, iron to 2 per cent, of the prewar level. The peasants responded to requisitioning by refusing to till their land. By 1921 cultivated land had shrunk to some 62 per cent of the prewar area, and the harvest yield was only about 37 percent of normal. The number of horses declined from 35 million in 1916 to 24 million in 1920, and cattle from 58 to 37 million during the same span of time. The exchange rate of the US dollar, which had been two rubles in 1914, rose to 1,200 in 1920."

AGRBear


Alright, look, AGRBear, it's abundantly clear whose side you were on with regard to the 1917-1922 period.  Even you have stated (and so have your sources) that there are no concrete statistics as to how many deaths occured during that time.  Yet you continue to post the 20 to 25 million as *fact*, when you have been provided evidence of other (and in my view, more respected, historians) researchers who cut that figure in half.  

To be quoting an online "encyclopedia" to disupte the likes of Figes and Pipes and others is a little silly, don't you think?  Didn't your professors ever warn you about trusting info found on the internet?

If you choose to insist the larger figure is the last word on how many died during those years, FINE.  You don't need to continue to point out something you believe and others dispute...we get it, ok?

And some choose to think differently -- also fine.
Continuing to insist that you are right and others are wrong in an instance where there are no absolutes does not add to this discussion, and is a major reason why I recently stopped posting in certain threads.  I foolishly did so the other day because you were posting information as fact when I knew it was not.  As usual, you ignored the figures I presented.  My mistake, I knew this would happen!

At least the good news (for me, and I think also Ryskkiya) is the academic year begins in less than a week and I won't have time to be tempted to respond, hopefully for a while!

What a relief!

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2004, 03:59:41 PM »
Moving away from the debate of numbers.....

From the numberous books I've read, the time period between Nicholas II abdication [Revolution of Feb/March 1918] and the Bolshevik Revolution, which started in Oct/Nov. 1918,  was celebrated by the majority of the peasants who were in favor of the new govt..  

In one of my German-Russian history books it describes the mood:  "The Februrary revolution of 1917 brought the colonists the long-awaited freedom:  German newspapers again appeared, German organizations were formed and German schools re-opened.  Everything looked full of hope and promise, and the colonists set about early to help with the task of reconstruction.  But the October revolution of the Bolsheviks quickly suppressed all these aspirtations."  Joseph S. Height's HOMESTEADERS ON THE STEPP p.  368.

Does anyone else have any additional remarks about this time fame between  Feb/March 1917 and Oct/Nov when the Bolshevik Revolution began?

AGRBear

PS
....Dashkova,  you have a geat deal of information in your head and if you don't,  you find the information you need to back your information.   You may not miss me,  but I shall miss you.  So don't stay away long.  And, good luck  in your school year.  :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2004, 10:06:58 AM »
I've always thought one of the best personal accounts of the period following the March Revolution is found in E.M. Almedingen's memoirs. I can't remember the precise title, even though I've read it twice. "There Will Be Sunrise" or something like that? Maybe someone else here has heard of it.

Almedingen's mother was a widow living in genteel poverty in St. Petersburg before the Revolution began.  In terms of education and background, the family belonged to the Russian elite, but in terms of material resources, they had next to nothing. The book is fascinating because it shows how very quickly living conditions deteriorated for ordinary people after March 1917 (to be fair, some of the country's infrastructure was already deteriorating before this date, under the pressures of a war-time economy, but the whole system obviously began falling apart at a rapid clip after the March Revolution).  Almedingen's depiction of her life in this period, before she finally managed to escape to Finland (I believe it was as late as 1920?) is relentlessly grim.  Things go from bad to worse to unbearable in a remarkably short time frame.

My impression is that things were only "better" in the period between March and October 1917 if you were a peasant who could appropriate land (many did so, before October); or a wealthy person with liberal ideals who also happened to have plenty of valuables handy to barter for food; or a worker-activist or outright revolutionary (in which case your dreams were all coming true). While some emigres later remembered the period between March and October as a kind of "honeymoon" before the coming of the Bolshevik terror, most of these people came from well-to-do families. The fact was that the delivery of food to the cities was already breaking down before October, while civil unrest, massive dislocations of the population, and political divisiveness were putting an intolerable strain on government at the local levels.  Half the time, no one knew who was really in charge.

As for the period of the Civil War, some of the most evocative descriptions of ordinary life during this period are to be found in Russian literature. Probably the most famous story is "The Cave," by Evgeny Zamyatin (he later wrote the novel "We," which gave Orwell the idea for "1984"). "The Cave" is about a day in the life of a St. Petersburg couple. Very, very disturbing, and highly, highly recommended.  It is a classic of 20th-century Russian literature.





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elisa_1872

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2004, 10:15:31 AM »
Elisabeth, thanks so much for posting that information on Almedingen's memoirs. These must be very interesting, as i read that she grew up in pre-revolutionary Russia. I know she wrote three volumes at least of autobiographical works - "Tomorrow will Come", "The Almond Tree" and "Within the Harbour", but this was in a list of all her books, including her novels and biographies. Perhaps the one you read was the fourth book of her autobiography? It would be great if you come across it, you could post the title of the book you mean.

Best wishes Elisabeth! :)

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2004, 10:36:20 AM »
Elisa, thank you so much for this info! Now I remember, of course, the title was "Tomorrow Will Come." It was the first volume of her memoirs, then -- I had no idea she wrote three. I will have to see if I can find the others through interlibrary loan. (By the way, did you ever read her children's books? I remember loving these as a child: "Fanny," "Anna," "Frossia" -- I'm not sure about those titles, either, but I remember those were the names of the heroines, and Fanny and Anna were both ancestresses of hers.  Do you know by any chance, are these books still in print?)  I love memoirs, and I love this website!

... I love my poor earth
because I have seen no other

-- Osip Mandelshtam

elisa_1872

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Re: Everyday life during the Revolution
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2004, 11:38:33 AM »
Elisabeth, you are so very welcome :) I too rather surprised when i found the complete list of her books, to see how many she wrote. If you have trouble getting hold of her titles, i really recommend www.abebooks.co.uk (It has an American version too). I searched under her name, and there are many copies of "Frossia" available through the site. :) I've not read any of them, i only as yet have her books on Grand Duchess Serge, Empress Alexandra, and the "Romanovs" book. But in the list, there was also given the titles "Russian Fairy Tales" and "The Young Pavlova" for children. Don't they sound charming?!  :)

Happy reading Elisabeth!
Thanks very much for finding out the title of the one you read first :)
Elisa