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The growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government was a result of many factors; however, the arrival of Lenin must be the key factor as it was the foundation for the other contributing factors which followed – the July Days and the Kornilov Revolt.
Lenin’s return as the Bolshevik leader meant belief amongst the Bolsheviks and his April Thesis speech outlined his party’s aims – getting Russia out of war, support worker’s revolution and not to co-operate with the Provisional Government. The people of Russia agreed with their policies as they realised the Bolsheviks were the only revolutionary group supporting radical change. Therefore, it can be argued that Lenin’s return was the main cause of the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government because due to the growing popularity of Lenin’s policies, simultaneously there was growing discontent with the Provisional Government leading to the collapse of the first Provisional Government. However, there were other contributing factors which were important for the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government, such as the July Days.
Furthermore, another factor responsible for the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government was the July Days. The July Days in 1917 accounts for the unplanned uprising in Petrograd, Russia. The people of Russia had been reacting to the war, bread rationing and the Provisional Government’s lack of reforms. The July uprising was smaller than the February Revolution in 1917, however this time the people were chanting the Bolshevik’s slogans, “Peace, Land, Bread”. The Provisional Government responded like the Tsar, ordering to clear the streets and arrested several Bolshevik leaders. The response of the Provisional Government was similar to the Tsar, who the people disliked, hence growing unpopularity for the Provisional Government was also due the July Days. However, the effects of the Kornilov Revolt is a more significant reason why people started to lose faith in the Provisional Government, leading to the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government.
Lastly, it was the effects of the Kornilov Revolt which was the root for the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government. Kornilov’s Revolt in August 1917 was as a result of the disturbing unrest in the countryside so Kornilov urged Kerensky, the leader of the Provisional Government to impose the martial law and break the power of the Soviets. Kerensky decided to side with the Soviets so he ordered Kornilov to advance his troops on Petrograd – Kornilov thinking they were saving the Provisional Government from the Soviets. However, Kerensky then claimed Kornilov was leading an army coup, hence he armed the Bolshevik Red Guards and released them prison to stop Kornilov. Kornilov and his 7,000 supporters were arrested and people saw the Bolsheviks as the heroes rather than Kerensky. Therefore, this showed the effects of the Kornilov Revolt gained support for the Bolsheviks and presented the Provisional Government as weak, leading to the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government. However, it is true to say it was a contribution of all these factors which ultimately led to the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government.
In conclusion, Lenin’s policies were the most significant reason for the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government. The Provisional Government were not doing much while Lenin’s policies seemed ideal, hence decreasing the popularity of the Provisional Government. However, equally, if the July Days did not occur then the people would not despise the Provisional Government as much hence preventing the lead up to the Kornilov Revolt which further reduced the popularity of the Provisional Government. Therefore, all factors were important for the growing unpopularity of the Provisional Government, however, Lenin’s policies were the most significant reason.
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