Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Russian Revolution

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The Russian Revolution and the end of the Soviet Union

In March 1917, Russia organized a historic mass uprising against Tsarist rule. As a result, on March 15, the last emperor of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II, was forced to resign. Provisional government assumed responsibility. On October 25, 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia through an armed revolution led by Vladimir Lelin. In world history, it is known as ‘Russian Socialist Revolution’ or ‘October Revolution’. The right-wing, moderates and imperialists united to form the White Army. A civil war then broke out between the White Army and the Bolshevik-led Red Army. On 17 July 1918, Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed in an Orthodox church in Yekaterinburg.

In November 1917, the Constituent Assembly elections were held. The Bolsheviks won only 175 seats in the 715-seat assembly. During the civil war, in December 1922, several other socialist republics united to form the USSR or Soviet Union. On June 16, the Bolshevik-led Red Army won the battle. The ideology of socialism and communism gradually spread in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of East and West Germany, the socialist and communist governments of Romania and Poland fell. Even then, Mikhail Gorbachev remained in power as the sole ruler of the Soviet Union.

In the 1970s, the Soviet economy was very strong. Even in 1990, the Soviet Union was established as one of the world’s superpowers. But because of the black market, the Soviet Union reached the brink of destruction. The economic system of the Soviet Union became fragile as the powerful leaders of the Communist Politburo became involved in corruption.

On 11 March 1985, Gorbachev took over as General Secretary of the Communist Party. Meanwhile, the people of Russia were fed up with the tyranny of the Communists. Mikhail Gorbachev realized the importance of reforming the Soviet Union. In 1986 adopted policies of glasnost (transparency) and perestroika (restructuring).

In August 1991, hard-line communists attempted an uprising to overthrow Gorbachev. Thousands of people took to the streets in support of Gorbachev and thwarted the uprising. Independence movements gained momentum in many of the 15 Soviet republics. Referendums for independence were held in several other republics, including Ukraine. Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk dreamed of establishing ‘an independent Ukrainian state’. The idea was how to rescue millions of people from the ruins of an old state.

On December 7, 1991, Russian leader Yeltsin and Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk met at a large farm house in Belarus at the invitation of Belarusian leader Stanislav Shushkevich. The house was very luxurious. A lot of drinking was organized. As per the Soviet custom, the meeting was attended by a large dinner party. The next day, on December 8, the three leaders held a formal meeting with their prime ministers. At the beginning of the meeting, consensus was reached on the first line without argument. The line – “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR does not exist” as a matter of geopolitical reality and international law.

Over the next few hours, they reached consensus on a total of 14 articles of the agreement. By 3:00 p.m., the draft treaty ending the Soviet Union was ready. The agreement is waiting to be announced in front of the whole world! From the meeting, Belarusian leader Shushkevich spoke to President Gorbachev by telephone. The two were having a tough conversation. At one point Gorbachev got angry and said, what are you doing! The whole world has turned upside down. Everyone is in panic. But Shushkevich was calm and steady. Belarusian leader Shushkevich tried to explain to President Gorbachev what kind of agreement he was going to sign.

Gorbachev replied, what will happen to the international community? Shushkevich said that Yeltsin was actually talking to President Bush at the moment and that President Bush did not seem to mind. Just a few hours later, the three leaders officially signed the historic agreement at a press conference. As a result, the Soviet Union ended. Ukrainian leader Kravchuk, Russian leader Yeltsin and Belarusian leader Shushkevich hammered the last nail in the coffin of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Yeltsin spoke to President Bush and informed him of the matters mentioned. Ultimately the three regional parliaments ratified the agreement. Other Soviet republics also joined [Source: BBC News – Bangla].

Officially issued on December 26, 1991, as Proclamation No. 142-2(1) recognizing the independence of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union. Finally the Soviet Union officially ended. The declaration recognized the independence of the former 15 Soviet republics. Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, resigned and declared his post abolished, and handed over control of the codes for Soviet nuclear missile launches to the new president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin.

A prominent historian of the Russian Revolution and Lenin wrote that during the subsequent period of 1917-1991, about 7 million people were killed in the Soviet Union against the so-called revolution. Where is equality, equality, new society? Who is responsible for the death of so many people? At 7:23 p.m., the Soviet flag came down from the Kremlin for the last time in the evening and was replaced by the former flag of Revolutionary Russia.

Ajax, Canada

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