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Lenin's April Theses
The Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin returned to the capital of Russia, Petrograd, on April 3, 1917, just over a month following the February Revolution which had brought about the establishment of the liberal Provisional Government. He set out his analysis of where Russian politics should develop in his famous April Theses published in the newspaper, Pravda.
The theses dealt with various areas - for instance, the Bolshevik attitude to the First World War, their attitude to the Provisional Government, and how Russia should be governed in the future and the future of the Bolsheviks.
Particular measures proposed by Lenin included no co-operation with the "bourgeois" Provisional Government; opposition to the war on the grounds that it was a war fought in bourgeois interests by bourgeois governments; and the abolition of the police, army and state bureaucracy which he argued held up the interests of Russia's ruling bourgeosie. Lenin also argued against parliamentary democracy and called for workers control of the state through the system of soviets.
In the theses Lenin also argued that the time had come for the Bolsheviks to consider changing their name to disassociate them from mainstream European social-democracy as he felt this term was devalued by many leading social-democrats supporting their respective country's participation in the war. This was an argument he first developed in his 1915 pamphlet Socialism and War where he called the pro-war social-democrats Social-Chauvinists.
Much of the arguments laid out by Lenin in his theses were aimed directly at the Bolsheviks themselves as much as the wider population. After the events of the February revolution returning Bolshevik leaders from exile such as Josef Stalin and Lev Kamenev were arguing a much more moderate line, that Russian involvement in the war could be justified and that there should be co-operation with the liberals. However, Lenin's arguments reflected those made by the leading Bolsheviks in Petrograd at the time of the February events, such as Alexander Shlyapnikov.
Lenin succeeded in persuading the Bolsheviks of his arguments as laid out in the April Theses and they provided much of the ideological groundwork for the events leading up to their ascendency to power in the October Revolution.
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