Decay of Russian Army in 1917: Factors and Actors Cover Image

Разложение российской армии в 1917 г.: факторы и акторы процесса
Decay of Russian Army in 1917: Factors and Actors

Author(s): I. N. Grebenkin
Subject(s): History
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: World War I; Russian revolution; army democratization; volunteer campaign; national divisions; antidemocratic opposition

Summary/Abstract: The article presents our analysis of such a complex and contradictory socio-political and institutional phenomenon as Russian army decay, which took place during the last year of World War I and was accompanied by revolutionary events in 1917 — beginning of 1918. Traditional historiography considers this process to be a direct natural consequence of 1917 revolt, measures taken by the new Russian authorities to make all aspects of life in the country democratic, as well as anti-war propaganda conducted by representatives of various political trends and parties in the army. However, some prerequisites for the decay were caused by a number of social peculiarities of the Imperial army while features of the decay could be seen in progress during the whole war period. The events of the revolution only facilitated disintegration of the old army and made it irreversible. Moreover, the army decay in 1917 was not limited to downfall in discipline and fighting efficiency as a result of democratic innovations and ‘left’ propaganda. The article shows how the army became an arena for a clash of various political trends’ propagandist efforts, which lead to aggravated confrontation in the army. The commanders are sufficiently responsible for the army decay, for they tried to maintain control over the military forces by facilitating creation of legal and secret officer organizations and unions, as well as formation of volunteer and national divisions and regiments. The result of the army decay was not only its destruction as a state military force, but also creation of forces inside it which lead to internal, Civil war.

  • Issue Year: 4/2014
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 145-161
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Russian