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The "Russian" Civil Wars, 1916—1926Ten Years That Shook the World$
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Jonathan Smele

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190233044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190233044.001.0001

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Red Victories, Red Defeats

Red Victories, Red Defeats

(p.237) Conclusion Red Victories, Red Defeats
The "Russian" Civil Wars, 1916—1926

Jonathan D. Smele

Oxford University Press

Apart from offering general explanations of the Bolshevik predominance during the “Russian” Civil Wars, the Conclusion to this book casts some doubt over the solidity and meaningfulness of the “Red Victories”, noting that not only did the Soviet government fail to conquer all the territories of the former tsarist Empire (having to accept the loss of Finland, the Baltic States, Poland and Bessarabia) and regions occupied by Russia during the First World War (in Western Ukraine and Eastern Anatolia, for example), but it also failed to achieve the principal aim of Bolshevik revolution: to inspire proletarian revolutions in Europe and Asia through the thereafter blunted instrument of the Komintern. It is also argued that the character of the Bolshevik party was indelibly and fatefully marked by the brutal experience of the civil wars, paving the way for the Stalinist purges of the 1930s and the attendant Soviet war against the peasantry of that decade. Attention is paid also to the contested role of propaganda in the Red victory, whilst contested memorialization of the civil-wars era as well as films and memorials to the civil wars are adumbrated.

Keywords:   Memorials, Films, Purges, Peasantry, Propaganda, Komintern

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