Workers under arms: the Red Guards in the Russian Revolution
About this session
The formation of the Red Guard in Russia after the February revolution of 1917 was a response to the situation of dual power that prevailed until the Soviet claimed power in October that year. It became the nucleus of the Red Army, which fought and defeated the White reaction to the revolution and 14 imperialist invaders between 1918 and 1921. The deprivation of this period frequently overshadows the heroic sacrifice, social mobilisation and triumph of revolutionary strategy of the Civil War years. This talk will argue it should be seen in this light, as well as examining some of the debates among revolutionaries about it, the Stalinist persecution of some of its leaders and whether even in victory against the Whites, it contributed to the later defeat of working-class power in Russia.