Why was Russia more prone to internal subversion than the Western Allies were during WWI?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
12,805
SoCal
#1
Why was Russia more prone to internal subversion than the Western Allies were during World War I?

Specifically, Russia crippled its military discipline after the February Revolution and then experienced the Bolshevik Revolution several months later--ultimately culminating in Russia's withdrawal from World War I. However, Russia could have avoided being in a losing position in World War I had it maintained military discipline and avoided the Bolshevik coup. As of early 1917, Russia was not actually in a losing position in World War I--unlike Germany in late 1918. In early 1917, both the Eastern Front and the Western Front were holding steady and the U.S. was just about to enter World War I. Thus, there was no reason that Russia had to collapse during World War I.

In contrast to Russia, though, France, Britain, the U.S., and Italy never experienced an internal subversion of their war effort on a level that Russia endured. Rather, all of these countries were able to maintain military discipline and to remain in World War I until the very end of this war. Now, my question is--what made Russia so different and so fickle in regards to this? Specifically, why were the Western Allies able to maintain and continue their war efforts up to the end of World War I while Russia couldn't do this?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
7,686
#4
Russia was more divided society, more fragile under pressure. The exertion to maintain a massive army imposed a much higher relative cost. Russian society relied on a vary narrow industrial base being still a very agrarian economy. The peasants ceased to get any real benefit from the economy once the war started, all their 'excess' being required for the war, and what industrial production there was was not going to be about giving the peasants something in exchange. Teh diversion of railway resources, manpower, horses lowered agricultural production. The Russian army had much lower relative number of officers for the amount of men, and officers were harder to replace. The bonds tying and uniting society were less robust.

The freeing of the serfs earlier was done much om teh terms of the Nobility with compensation being paid to the former serf owner, meaning peasants were shackled with large debts.

Emancipation reform of 1861 - Wikipedia
 
Nov 2015
1,474
Kyiv
#5
Why did Russia betray the Allies in the WWI and why did powerful social upheavals begin in it? There are a number of serious reasons for this.

If to say very shortly -

1. The elimination of serf slavery in Russia in 1861 without providing land for the peasants threw millions of landless Russian peasants into the cities. They have created there a huge marginal mass, "cut off from the roots" and very labile to populist and extremist ideas.

The Bolsheviks relied on this marginal mass. In the countryside they relied on the poor part of the Russian peasants who were the absolute majority there.

2. Since 1861, the role of the Russian nobility in the life of Russia began to fall sharply. And the Russian nobility was the main conductor of civilized standards in the life of Russia. Russian raznochintsy - some sort of commoners - officials and teachers, whose parents were peasants, took the stage. And they began to rock with all their might the Russian empire created by the nobility

3. The Russian peasants at the end of the 19th century were a dark, illiterate and inert mass, which for many generations lived in conditions of slavery and lawlessness. They extrapolated their lack of freedom and stagnation to the cities when the exodus of the Russian village to the city began.

4. Bolshevism was essentially a great riot of the reactionary and inert Russian hinterland against the Russian "roof," which was trying to move Russia towards the civilized standards for almost 2 century.

The Russian hinterland under the leadership of the Bolsheviks demolished Russian “roof”, eliminated the green and weak “February” democracy in Russia - and soon turned Russia to the standards of state slavery, lack of freedom and lack of rights.

In some ways the Bolshevik coup of October 1917 was a counter-revolution and the return of Russia to a whole series of standards of the Moscow tzardom of the 16th century. To pre-Petrine Russia!

5. Russia always had a very thin and weak cultural layer. Until the 18th century there were no universities, secular literature, poetry, theater, there were no philosophers and there were no schools in Russia. There was nothing that distinguishes a barbarian country from a civilized one

By the middle of the 19th century Russia with great difficulty was able to create her own cultural layer. But it was fragile and could not level the Bolshevik coup, which appealed to the simplest slogans - TAKE AWAY ALL AND (THEN) SHARE ALL. Все отнять и все поделить. Russian cultural layer was subjected to beating and exile

6. In fact Russia did not become a Christian country. She was considered Christian - but for several centuries Russian priests did not read the congregation sermons from the pulpit, and a Russian philosopher called the Russian church the Orthodoxy without Christianity.

The 10 commandments in no way became part of the worldview of the Russian people. Therefore, the Russian people so calmly and indifferently perceived the defeat of the church by the Bolsheviks and the replacement of the "Russian faith" by the teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin

7. In the Russians there was no respect for the property of others. The Russian village was still living in the community - община, and the readiness of the Russian ordinary people to rob someone else’s property was ubiquitous

8. The nobiliary part of the Russian officers became a quick victim in the battles of the WWI. It was replaced by raznochintsy with their strong peasant batch, who put straps on their shoulder. The concepts of officer duty and officer honor were something new and unusual for them. And they could not level the soldiers' riot that began in the Russian army in 1917

9. It is hard to imagine how dark, narrow-minded and uncultured was the Russian peasant - мужик - that was the bulk of the population of Russia. Ultra-radical Bolsheviks could knead it like clay. Ultra-radical Bolsheviks could knead it like clay. And the Bolsheviks used the Russian peasant as a building material in their social upheavals and radical social experiments. In the cities they relied on the same yesterday’s Russian peasants, who became the urban proletariat

This muzhyk gave birth to the Russian intelligentsia, which Lenin called the ******* intelligentsia. And by the end of XIX century he gave birth to the Russian officials and Russian revolutionaries.

Russia was pregnant with a riot at the time. And the big Russian riot which was led by the Bolsheviks tore Russia from her allies in the WWI and turned her into something irrational, strange and unpredictable. Into the main destabilizer and terminator in the world in the 20th century
 
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arkteia

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
4,386
Seattle
#6
Corruption was a constant factor in Russian Empire, but WWI demonstrated its depth to the extreme, to its own people. The only thing the Russian front was not in want of was manpower (in contrast to ammunition), but the loss of manpower during WWI was huge.

On January 19 of 1917 in his speech in Petrograd general Gurko stated that "Russia had mobilized 14 min people; lost 2 min in killed and wounded and 2 min of the imprisoned. Currently has 7.5 min «under arms» and 2.5 min in reserve".

Huge losses.

This war and ineptitude of the government had angered people to the extreme; they probably felt that the regime was not worthy of defending it.
 

Maribat

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,892
#7
The Russian peasants at the end of the 19th century were a dark, illiterate and inert mass

Russia always had a very thin and weak cultural layer.

Russia with great difficulty was able to create her own cultural layer.

In fact Russia did not become a Christian country.

In the Russians there was no respect for the property of others.

It is hard to imagine how dark, narrow-minded and uncultured was the Russian peasant - мужик - that was the bulk of the population of Russia.
You've wrote so many words. You could save time and effort by just saying that Russians were (and are) Untermenschen.