Author Topic: Kerensky-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villain?  (Read 59474 times)

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Offline bkohatl

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #60 on: February 22, 2009, 07:25:58 AM »
I have always sensed that Nicholas was a man trapped by history, not controlling it. I can imagine the tempting argument that his Generals and Nobility made that a War with Japan would unite the Russian People and return Russia to Greatness.  I know how easy it would be to fall into that trap.
Witte and Stolypin saw that Russian would become a superpower, but she needed 50 years of peace. Had she gotten it, there would still be a Royal Family in Tsarskoe Selo.
It would taken the Czar(Tsar) who realized that his power didn't come from the Rich(like Ayn Rand's family)or the nobility(most of whom were self-serving and self-involved), but that his real power came almost exclusively from the peasants and their love for and loyalty to their "Father," the Czar. He couldn't win the intelligenzia over, the rich and powerful had their own agenda's, but once WWI cost millions of dead, he lost his most loyal supporters. Millions of Orphans, Widows and mourning parents, cost him all that he had. He didn't realize that the real backbone of the Monarchy were the poor.  I only wish that Witte and Stolypin had persuaded the Czar that they were right and he was wrong.  Lenin saw what the Czar and Kerensky didn't see. The slaughter of World War I was pointless and horrific. It wasn't the Great War. It was the Abominable War.
I remember hearing several recordings of Kerensky, some with Ronald Reagan. He became a right wing extremist in the 50's and 60's. Took none of the blame for that which there was so much blame to go around(The British manipulating the Czar and then Kerensky. Oswald Rayner proves that to me). Everything was this person's fault, that person's error. But never his. I think anyone with an iota of intelligence would have realized that he needed to secure refuge for the Imperial Family. Anyone paying attention could have seen what dire straights they were in. Their rapidly worsening treatment by succeeding military regiments at Tsarskoe Selo foretold Yekaterinberg. If Kerensky was as good a man as he claimed he would have sent the royal family into exile, if not to a foreign country, then Vladivostok, Archangel or Livadia. At least they would have had a chance to escape. The picture of Aleksey and Olga on the Rus, proves they knew what Kerensky claimed not to know. And yet he was not stupid, so he says. 
And then the millions of dead after the February Revolution, proved how really stupid Kerensky was.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2009, 07:29:46 AM by bkohatl »

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #61 on: February 22, 2009, 09:40:19 AM »
Their rapidly worsening treatment by succeeding military regiments at Tsarskoe Selo foretold Yekaterinberg.

To my knowledge, there wasn't any "rapidly worsening treatment" at Tsarskoye Selo -- only at Tobolsk following the Bolshevik coup. As far as I know, the regiments comprising the guard were consistent throughout the Romanovs' house arrest at TS, and two out of three regiments were openly sympathetic to the family. Even the 2nd regiment, which gained a reputation for being antagonistic to the family, had some officers that the Romanovs became fond of.


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If Kerensky was as good a man as he claimed he would have sent the royal family into exile, if not to a foreign country, then Vladivostok, Archangel or Livadia. At least they would have had a chance to escape.

IMO, Kerensky's choice was not without its advantages -- Tobolsk was isolated, insulated, loyal, and provided comfortable accommodations. At the time he sent them into exile, Petrograd far was more dangerous than Siberia, though apparently Kerensky expected the revolutionary fervor to die down; he'd told the Romanovs there was a possibility they might return to Tsarskoye Selo by November. Kerensky didn't even forsee his own overthrow, so I don't think it's a matter of morality, of being deliberately negligent of the Romanovs. More like shortsightedness, perhaps.


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The picture of Aleksey and Olga on the Rus, proves they knew what Kerensky claimed not to know.

I've seen that photo, but I don't know what you're referring to.
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Offline bkohatl

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #62 on: February 23, 2009, 05:43:00 AM »
Have you ever read Olga's prayer found in Yekaterinberg which went:
PRAYER
Send us the patience, Father, to support us in this year of dark days and tempests, these persecutions of the people and these tortures of our executioners.
Give us the strength, O just God, to pardon the wickedness of our neighbors, and to carry the heavy bloody cross with your humility.
And in these riotious days , when our enemies strip us, help us, Saviour God, to suffer the shame and the insults.
Master of the world, bless us with your prayer and give the peace to our soul appeased at this terrible hour and unbearable.
And at the gates of the tomb, make us born again with the lips of your slaves the superhuman force of humble prayer for our enemies. A twenty-two year old who says "to suffer the shame and the insults," "these tortures of our executioners" is someone who saw Yurovsky approaching long before she ever met him. Then look into Aleksey and Olga's eyes as they sat at that table on the Rus and tell me that you can't feel what they felt and know what they knew.
And Sydney Gibbes, recalled hearing the grand duchesses screaming in terror as they were being ferried on the Rus to join their parents in Yekaterinberg; he often spoke about how he was haunted by his inability to help them. Anna Voruyba recalled the seizing of Aleksey's toy gun by the guards and how Deverenko berated Aleksey into cleaning his boots at Tsarskoe Selo, but even worse was the deliberate humiliation of the Czar himself. It was far more the epaulets, chevrons and medals. It was humiliation born out of sadism and revenge and that started long before Tobolsk. I remember that Colonel Kobylinsky saw his every effort at moderation and reason being challanged. He saw it Tsarskoe Selo and would have told Kerensky. Kerensky did nothing.
I may be mistaken, but I believe that the Empress Marie felt, as I do, getting the family to the coast was the Romanov's only chance for survival. Yekaterinberg and Alapayevsk proved her right.
But getting back to Kerensky, "The Kerensky Offensive" or 1917 agaisnt Austria-Hungary cost 400,000 Russian Casualties and that was nearly ten times more than Axis casualties in the same battle. Every bit as deadly, awful and stupid as  General Paul von Rennenkampf's betrayal of Samsonov at Tannenberg Forest.
I have sought to bring honor to the memory of Nagorny for his courage on a human level, but to me Kerensky leadership in WWI  was as bad as Rennenkampf's; he betrayed the Russian People and both their name's should live in infamy. Then to listen to this man in the 1950's and 60's say how nothing was his fault. The truth doesn't bare him out.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #63 on: February 23, 2009, 09:06:02 AM »
Have you ever read Olga's prayer found in Yekaterinberg which went:
PRAYER
Send us the patience, Father, to support us in this year of dark days and tempests, these persecutions of the people and these tortures of our executioners.
Give us the strength, O just God, to pardon the wickedness of our neighbors, and to carry the heavy bloody cross with your humility.
And in these riotious days , when our enemies strip us, help us, Saviour God, to suffer the shame and the insults.
Master of the world, bless us with your prayer and give the peace to our soul appeased at this terrible hour and unbearable.
And at the gates of the tomb, make us born again with the lips of your slaves the superhuman force of humble prayer for our enemies. A twenty-two year old who says "to suffer the shame and the insults," "these tortures of our executioners" is someone who saw Yurovsky approaching long before she ever met him.

Olga didn't write that poem/prayer. It's by a Russian poet named Sergey Bekhteev.


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Then look into Aleksey and Olga's eyes as they sat at that table on the Rus and tell me that you can't feel what they felt and know what they knew.

No, I absolutely cannot. I can only speculate.

Much has been made of that photo, but I don't see it the same way others do. Olga and Aleksei's expressions are certainly rather sober, but I'm not about to infer that they knew their death was on the horizon. I chalk that up to the fact that they were tired and anxious from their journey and their separation from NAM, but even that's really not visible in the photo unless you know its context. We see what we want to see, because we know more about O&A's fate than they do themselves.

Try showing that image to someone who doesn't know the history of the Romanovs and doesn't know the significance of the moment it's captured. I bet not one of them will say "They look like they know they're going to die." In fact, my mother says: "The woman looks bored, and the boy's curious about who's taking the picture." My father: "The boy's eyes are too blurry to see, and the woman is looking off in the distance, so I don't know."

I'm wandering dangerously close to snarkiness here, but if you want to infer Olga's state of mind from a photograph, I find this one from 1916 much more telling than anything taken after the revolution:




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Anna Voruyba recalled the seizing of Aleksey's toy gun by the guards and how Deverenko berated Aleksey into cleaning his boots at Tsarskoe Selo, but even worse was the deliberate humiliation of the Czar himself.

In Charlotte Zeepvat's book, Romanov Autumn, there is strong evidence to suggest that the incident between Derevenko and Aleksei never happened.
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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #64 on: February 24, 2009, 09:55:36 PM »
Did Kerensky make mistakes while he was in a leadership position within the Provisional Government? Certainly. My opinion is that his worst mistake was in arming the Bolsheviks during the Kornilov Rebellion. Had he moved to the Right, the country might have been spared 70 years of Bolshevik terror and mismanagement.

But, was he the worst villain? I beg to differ. Stalin was the worst of them. There was every chance without him that the Revolution would have died a natural death within a generation of Lenin's passing. But, Stalin was history's most prolific mass murderer, with over 40 million killed.

Kerensky may have refused to take responsibility for his mistakes, but he is scarcely the first person to have done this and he will not be the last.

As to the Imperial Family, Kerensky could have killed or harshly imprisoned them, and he did neither. Certainly in retrospect external exile or a port city would have been a better choice than Tobolsk. Yet, even that city would have been a safe haven for them had not the Bolsheviks not intervened and removed them to Ekaterinburg.

What I know of the man is second hand and anecdotal, but one of my professors wrote a book with him and he said AFK felt badly about not getting the IF to safety. He was impressed by the Imperial couple's patriotism and they with his.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #65 on: February 24, 2009, 11:29:54 PM »
I agree Kerensky made mistakes, but foreign countries willing to take in the Romanovs were hard to find. Recall the battle with England over the Tsar going there. The Tsar and his family were percieved as a liability to a country so even if Kerensky had arranged their leaving or given them a chance to escape, finding a country willing to take Nicholas and (Alexandra as well) because of the political implications was tough. The girls and Alexei would have had an easier time finding refuge in a foreign country. Kerensky was in the middle of a rapidly changing sitiuation, as where the Romanovs, and predictions were hard to make. I think Kerensky never bore the kind of ill- will towards the Imperial Family Lenin did, etc.

I agree World War I was a mistake. Even Rasputin scarcely the wisest of people spoke out against it,  saying that it would cause the fall of the dynasty. Russia's worst time of revolution prior to 1917 was when in 1904-1905, the Russo- Japanese war was going badly. So that World War I might speed up or ignite the flames of already existing discontent was not a conclusion that couldn't have been forseen. Nicholas II had alienated the poor of Russia in many ways before World War I. So it wasn't only the war that alienated them. I think Nicholas and Alexandra did believe that the real backbone of the monarchy was the poor-,actually. Many statements by Alexandra in letters exist to the effect that she believed the poor really had a good image of the Tsar, or something along those lines. She believed the peasants where the real Russians, Nicholas seems to have believed this too. So I think their mistake was not that they didn't recognize that the poor were the backbone of the monarchy- it seems they did. But, their mistake was thinking that the poor worshiped the tsar and the dynasty no matter what the conditions of their lives were, no matter their lack of rights, and that they were always content. They didn't see the growing disillusion with the monarchy among the peasantry, and so had this idealized image of the poor being the foundation of the monarchy, while ignoring that that was becoming less and less true, and that they couldn't give the poor forever no rights. So it wasn't that they failed to see the peasantry's value to the monarchy, it was that they interpreted it in the wrong way. World War I and going to war was a rush of emotional, not rational caluculation, and also Nicholas and Alexandra no doubt believed the peasantry would support them no matter what in the war, simply because it was patriotic to do so. Anyway, they could not have seen the scale of the war.

When they were on the Rus, correct me if I'm wrong, but that was Spring 1918, and Keremsky hadn't been in power since autumn 1917.The sitiuation changed so fast, and Kerensky wasn't sure what to do. I believe he wasn't particularly a champion of the Romanovs, but that he did his best. If the Rus photo shows Olga and Alexei possibly aware of impending doom, since it was taken when Kerensky wasn't in power, he can't be to blame for their possible doom, or their awareness of it. That photo is haunting, but taking it alone as evidence they were aware of their doom is precarious. They don't look happy in the photo, but who would have been happy under the circumstances? Kerensky may have been the first person with the power to possibly save the Romanovs, but he wasn't the LAST person. As such, he can hardly be blamed completely or even in part for their eventual fate.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 11:38:34 PM by imperial angel »

Offline bkohatl

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #66 on: March 06, 2009, 06:51:50 AM »
I don't want anyone to think that there weren't heroes, like Admiral Kolchak. He was brave and honest from all that I've read and seen. But radicals like Sverdlov, Trotsky and Lenin are always the ones who profit from disorder and Kerensky's War Policy guaranteed disorder and more revolution. But I guess what was obvious to me, never even occurred to the oblivious Kerensky.

I only wish the assassin's bullet had missed Stolypin(I think it was at the Opera House in Kiev).
I have always been convinced that the only person who could have convinced the Czar to avoid war.

Part of my resentment of Kerensky is his career start as a reformer, ending as one of the worst reactionaries. There was a reason Russia was ripe for reform or Revolution: the suffering of millions of poor. Stolypin's Agrarian reforms certainly headed Russia in the right direction. I think the only way for the Czar to have avoided Revolution was never Kerensky, it was Stolypin.
I wasn't surprised and much heartened that the Russian people named Alexander Nevsky the Greatest Russian and Stolypin second. I think that was well deserved.

And though there is so much to hate about Stalin, no one having read the 900 Days by Harrison Salisbury and other books of the suffering of the Russian People that Stalin's refusal to accept defeat was one element in the extraordinary defeat of Hitler at Stalingrad, St. Petersburg and the Crimea.

As to Olga's picture, your right that is much more to my liking. But I like the ones in which she is pensive, because "silent waters run deep". Also a few, mostly limited to the family, she has the most wonderful whimsical smile. I even recall one very bizarre photo from the Yale Collection where Olga and Maria(?) are sitting on either side of their mother and eyeing her or each other with the strangest expressions. Charming. As to the prayer, I meant that it meant enough to her that she copied it in her own hand. A very somber prayer.

I have never understood Anna Vyrubova. I read her book and her police interviews as posted here. She knew as much or more than anyone else about the Romanovs, but you have a definite feeling that a lot of what she says is hearsay. But the point about hearsay is that somebody probably told her. True about Alexei and Deverenko. I don't know, but it could be true. The only thing that she did that I really resent was demeaning the Czar. I like Nicky. I think he was a good man in an impossible situation. Just one man's opinion.

It took a lot of courage for those who stood by the Romanovs to have done it. Maybe that just wasn't in Deverenko's character and who could blame him, by the summer of 1917 the handwriting was on the wall .
I've beaten up enough on Kerensky.

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #67 on: March 15, 2009, 03:57:06 PM »
It is my understanding that Kerensky tried hard both to establish a moderate government and to deal farily with the Imperial Family.  It was not until the communists took power that the seizure of property began as well as the wholesale slaughter.  The purpose in moving the IF to tobolsk was for their safety.  It is my understanding that Alexander Kerensky tried to find a foreign home for them but that he was repeatedly turned down.  I agree about the worst mistake being the arming of the Bolsheviks but it ranks only slightly above sharing the Duma with them.  My reading of Kerensky is that he was too weak to be the leader that Russia needed at that time.
    As for Kolchak, my understanding is that the forces under him were responsible for some of the worst attrocities during the Russian Civil War.  He was probably responsiible for more people turning to communism voluntarily than any other major Russian figure.

Offline Zvezda

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #68 on: March 16, 2009, 02:26:36 PM »
Kerensky committed many unpardonable crimes against the Russian people. The most outstanding was the brutal suppression of the July 1917 protests in which the participants merely called for peace and freedom. Kerensky's conspiracy with the bloodthirsty Kornilov to destroy the soviets was outright treason against Russia.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #69 on: March 16, 2009, 07:52:02 PM »
Kerensky committed many unpardonable crimes against the Russian people. The most outstanding was the brutal suppression of the July 1917 protests in which the participants merely called for peace and freedom. Kerensky's conspiracy with the bloodthirsty Kornilov to destroy the soviets was outright treason against Russia.

Do you have any sources for this? In studying the Bolshevik coup of November 1917, one of the reasons they were able to seize power was Kerensky's release from jail of prominent Bolsheviks, including Lenin, and arming them to suppress the Kornilov Rebellion of July 1917! Had Kerensky not done this, chances are the Bolsheviks would have remained in jail and the right could have prevented many of the left's crimes against the Russian people.

Offline Zvezda

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #70 on: March 16, 2009, 10:21:37 PM »
Quote
Do you have any sources for this?
For the July Days, read Alexander Rabinowitch or O.N. Znamensky. For the Kornilovshchina, there is abundant scholarship from Russian historians on the topic.

Quote
Bolshevik coup of November 1917
This delusional conspiracy theory of the Russian Revolution originating with cranky White Russian emigres has been consigned to the rubbish bin by even moderate western scholars like Alexander Rabinowitch, Sheila Fitzpatrick, and others who demonstrate the popular nature of the Revolution in their works. The fact that over 500,000 Russians were in the streets of Petrograd in July 1917 demanding the establishment of soviet power and an end to the Provisional Government is itself overwhelming evidence of the massive character of the Russian Revolution.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 10:24:57 PM by Zvezda »

Offline JStorey

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #71 on: March 17, 2009, 11:46:44 PM »
Kerensky committed many unpardonable crimes against the Russian people. The most outstanding was the brutal suppression of the July 1917 protests in which the participants merely called for peace and freedom. Kerensky's conspiracy with the bloodthirsty Kornilov to destroy the soviets was outright treason against Russia.

Kerensky, a student of French history, was acutely aware of the threat Kornilov posed to the Provisional Government.  Kornilov was Napolean waiting on the wings; a coup d'etat would have surely followed.  Kerensky leaned far more to the left than right; do not forget he was vice-chairman of the Petrograd Soviet and helped form it in the initial days of the revolution!  He gave them a whole wing of the Tauride Palace.

Keresnky was (initially, at least) an idealist; he was trying to reconcile forces that could never be reconciled, no matter who was in power.  Pulling at the various reigns, he was destined only to be drawn and quartered.  A brutal civil war was inevitable. 

I would also strongly disagree with those who portray him as "the worst villian" in regard to the Romanovs.  He was no such person; one could argue his policy towards the Imperial Family was a contributing factor to his downfall.

Offline Zvezda

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #72 on: March 18, 2009, 02:00:05 PM »
The Provisional Government did not resolve the national question. It refused to recognize the right to self-determination or even autonomy for peoples such as Finland and the Ukraine. The old apparatus of oppression, hostile to the natives, was left in charge with almost no change.

The Provisional Government was anti-popular. It did not decree an eight-hour workday, nor did it pass a single law for the improvement of working conditions. It did nothing to combat economic disorganization and starvation. It declared that all land seizures were illegal. The soviets were transformed into and appendage of the Provisional Governments and ceased to be organs of power.   

The Provisional Government openly waged war against the Revolution. During the July Days, the regime gave an order for an armed attack by military officers and cadets against the workers. Hundreds of workers were killed and wounded. The regime ordered the kidnapping and trial of V.I. Lenin and there were terrorist attacks against the offices of Pravda and the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee were destroyed. The regime's goons began to disarm workers, disband revolutionary military units, and carry out arrests.

Above all, the Provisional Government was an accomplice to Kornilov's counterrevolutionary conspiracy. This amounted to treason against the Revolution.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 02:01:41 PM by Zvezda »

Offline RichC

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #73 on: March 19, 2009, 06:21:33 PM »
Stalin was the worst of them. There was every chance without him that the Revolution would have died a natural death within a generation of Lenin's passing. But, Stalin was history's most prolific mass murderer, with over 40 million killed.


I think the part of about the revolution dying a natural death had Stalin not risen to power is debatable.  There always seems to be some blood-thirsty butcher waiting in the wings in Russia.  Stalin just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Beria came close to replacing Stalin in the 1950's unless I'm mistaken.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Kerensk-Life-Provisional Government-Escape-Villian?
« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2009, 03:32:06 PM »
The Provisional Government did not resolve the national question. It refused to recognize the right to self-determination or even autonomy for peoples such as Finland and the Ukraine. The old apparatus of oppression, hostile to the natives, was left in charge with almost no change.

The Provisional Government was anti-popular. It did not decree an eight-hour workday, nor did it pass a single law for the improvement of working conditions. It did nothing to combat economic disorganization and starvation. It declared that all land seizures were illegal. The soviets were transformed into and appendage of the Provisional Governments and ceased to be organs of power.   

The Provisional Government openly waged war against the Revolution. During the July Days, the regime gave an order for an armed attack by military officers and cadets against the workers. Hundreds of workers were killed and wounded. The regime ordered the kidnapping and trial of V.I. Lenin and there were terrorist attacks against the offices of Pravda and the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee were destroyed. The regime's goons began to disarm workers, disband revolutionary military units, and carry out arrests.

Above all, the Provisional Government was an accomplice to Kornilov's counterrevolutionary conspiracy. This amounted to treason against the Revolution.


The Provisional Government was by its very definition a temporary caretaker government and was never charged with the responsibility to do anything but govern until the Constituent Assembly took up the issues of a permanent post Tsarist governance. The Bolsheviks so feared the process of liberal government that they shut down the Constituent Assembly with armed force.

The eventual Soviet Union also declined to solve the National questions, taking over popular governments in Ukraine in the Baltics.

In Lenin's own words, "In 1917, Russia was the freest country on earth". The PG abolished capital punishment and other oppressive laws, "deficiencies" remedied bu the Bolsheviks.

The July Days showed how the Bolsheviks were in rebellion against the government, which then jailed the leaders.

The treason against the Revolution was the murder of millions of its own people by the government of the eventual USSR.