The fall of Nicolas II, the last Czar of Russia in February 1917 created a volatile political vacuum in the country, which the leader of the Bolshevik Party, Vladimir Ilyich Ulianov or Lenin was determined to exploit. From the very beginning, he was aware that if his party was to become the most predominant political power in the country, its members had to act swiftly to achieve the party’s objectives. First, they need to gain absolute control of Petrograd Soviet. This would eventually become a catalyst for seizing power in a similar fashion in other prominent cities and places in the country under the name of the Soviet. In this endeavor, Lenin’s drive, personal charisma and energy played a critical role in influencing other prominent leaders of his party to undertake this course of action.
Orlando Figes, a prominent historian and writer from Cambridge University, says that Lenin knew from the onset that the Bolsheviks had to increase their support within the Soviets in order to rule the country. With this objective in mind, he formulated and promulgated many political policies in accordance with the vision he had of his country after the Revolution of 1917 and made it his mission to implement them. The polities that he wanted the Bolshevik Party to execute in post-revolution Russia can easily be summarized that the slogan “peace, bread and land”.
Lenin was aware that after repeated defeats in the hands of a superior and well-equipped enemy during the First World War, the Russian people had become weary of the war and wanted to see an end to it.
In order to gain support in the hearts and minds of the common people in Russia, Lenin proclaimed that his Bolshevik Party could solve the acute problems of food shortage, which had crippled the economy. In the addition to this, the failure of the previous Provisional Government to find a permanent solution to this issue was also a catalyst in propelling his party to power in Russia.
After the abolition of the monarchy in Russia, Bolshevik Party had immense political influence in the major cities and industrial areas of the country but had very little support in the rural areas. However, Lenin knew that peasants constituted a significant portion of the country’s population and he could not afford to turn his back on them if he was to rule Russia. To gain the support of these peasants and ensure that they remain neutral as his Bolshevik Party rose to power, he began by implementing certain policies, which entitled them to own the agricultural land.
Orlando Figes goes on to explain that Lenin could not succeed in his endeavor to gain political dominance in the country without the support of Leon Trotsky. This political leader had exceptional organizational skills and a flair for improvisation. He was instrumental in the formation of the Red Guards and Bolshevik militia from among the factory workers, army veterans and sailors for the actual takeover of the country by the Bolsheviks in October 1917.