The Bolsheviks were not a majority in Russia but Lenin recruited the Free Sh*t Army (thanks, augger), promised them “stuff” and demonized the wealthy, the business owners and the landowners.
Prior to the Russian Revolution, the Bolshevik party was not the most powerful. Lenin’s leadership, and his usage and manipulation of events taking place in Russia after his return, facilitated their ability to seize control. The Bolsheviks came to power at an especially volatile time in Russian history – the Provisional Government was weak-willed, disorganized, and ripe for Bolshevik insurrection.
The Provisional Government
The Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks, and the Socialist Revolutionaries were three that took part in the formation of the Provisional Government, instituted in February 1917. The Provisional Government, democratic in spirit, was loosely organized, internally conflicted, and incapable of making firm decisions. The Bolsheviks held a minority position in the Provisional Government, and this party’s ideology did not differ greatly from that of the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries.
Lenin’s Return to Russia
That spring, with antagonistic motivations, Germany aided Lenin’s return to Russia, who was then residing in Switzerland. Lenin reshaped the Bolshevik party into one with a firm platform that appealed to peasant demands. Lenin promised distribution of land among peasants, socioeconomic reforms, and an end to Russia’s role in WWI. While the peasants felt that Lenin was on their side, he was less concerned with giving peasants what they wanted than he was intent on encouraging them to follow his leadership. Through this conduit, Lenin gained the power he needed in order to render the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries impotent; while Bolshevik efforts to mobilize were not unknown to members of the Provisional Government, little was done to undermine their plans.
Lenin didn’t care about the Russian people, he cared about power.
Sounding more familiar by the minute.