Steve Smith

Oct 27 2016

How much popular support did the Bolsheviks enjoy 1917-1921?

The period between February and October 1917 was remarkable for the extent of mobilization by workers, soldiers, peasants, nationalists and other groups. This tended to work in favour of the Bolsheviks up to the winter of 1917-18.  Thereafter much of this support ebbed away and rather rapidly. How far, if at all, was the Bolshevik victory in the civil war determined by popular support?


Stephen Smith is Professor of History at the University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College. Previously he taught history at the University of Essex (1977-2008) and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (2008-12). He is author of Red Petrograd: Revolution in the Factories, 1917-1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), and of a new history of the Russian revolution to be published by Oxford University Press in 2017. In addition to modern Russia, his research interests are modern China and comparative Communism. He is author of Like Cattle and Horses: Nationalism and Labor in Shanghai, 1895-1927 (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2002) and A Road is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920–27 (Honolulu/Richmond, UK: Curzon Press/University of Hawaii Press, 2000), and also of Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) and The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). University web page