Lenin’s actions after seizing power

Once Vladimir Lenin seized power of Russia and created his Sovnarkom, he made many new policies and decrees. The Decree on Land ratified the actions of Russian peasants who seized private land and redistributed it among themselves. In addition the Decree on Peace ended Russia’s involvement in the war at a high cost through the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Other decrees which were made by the Sovnarkom included:

  • All Russian banks were to be nationalized
  • Private bank accounts were confiscated
  • The Church’s properties were seized
  • All foreign debts were repudiated
  • Control of the factories was given to the soviets
  • Wages were fixed at higher rates than during the war
  • A shorter, eight-hour working day was introduced.

As a prequel to the Civil War, the Bolsheviks also moved to seize power in the rest of Russia. This led to fierce fighting in Moscow where the Bolsheviks were successful in gaining control. Leaders of opposition parties were now being arrested and opposing political parties banned.

Lenin wrote ‘What is to be done’ in 1902. It laid out the formation of power and the  way to seize power for the Bolshevik Party. This acted as future political foundations for Lenin. Through the Russian Constitution of 1918 Lenin established dictatorship of proletariat over ruling class. However, this was not long lived with the Sovnarkom becoming an all-powerful cabinet in Russia. Furthermore, ‘On Party Unity’ in 1922 called for an end of factionalism thus meaning that all politicians had to follow the Bolshevik regime and all other political parties were seen as illegal. There would be no differing opinions.