Feeble Constitution - A Red-and-Green Russia 1917 Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Salvador79, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Threadmarks: One: Lvov Resigns (April 1917)

    Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    Hello everyone,

    this is my first timeline in the After 1900 section, and I'm still somewhat insecure about it all. I have a lot of ideas for this timeline, but this is part of history where, even though I have spent the last months reading up, others are way more knowledgeable than me, and there have been a number of good Russian Revolution timelines on this site. Therefore, I am reaching out to you and asking everyone for help: I'll gladly receive and consider your advice and feedback.
    In fact, this timeline has not only been inspired by @Hnau's old TL A Lenin-Less World, it is even building on another, currently ongoing timeline's PoD, and diverges from it mere weeks after that timeline's PoD from OTL: I am, therefore, indebted to @GiantMonkeyMan 's exciting project of Saving Soviet Democracy. For this timeline, I am borrrowing his primary PoD of a much fuller train of Russian revolutionaries travelling with V. I. Lenin to Finland Station, bringing many more prominent and illustrious left-wing revolutionary personalities into the game earlier.

    This TL departs from @GiantMonkeyMan 's with the following events which unfolded in the evening and night from the 20th to the 21st of Russia's old April of 1917, that is, from the 3rd to the 4th of May 1917 in the calendar we are more comfortable with. Like the next couple of updates, they will be pieces from ATL newspapers from different countries.

    So, here goes a public announcement on the front pages of: Delo Naroda; Rabotschaja Gazeta, Novaya Zhisn and Trud on April 22nd (May 5th) 1917:


    Lvov resigns!

    We print the declaration and appeal to all Russians adopted by the Petrograd Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviet last night in reaction to the collective demission of the provisional government:

    We, the working people and defenders of the revolution and our Motherland, have received the demission of the provisional government and acknowledged it with deep sorrow and serious concern. Now we must face our common challenges with courage and determination!

    Last night, our delegates conferred with Prince Lvov’s cabinet with the goal to achieve the utmost clarity that the sacrifices we continue to bring in the great war have the sole purpose of defending our revolution, that is, ourselves, our sisters and brothers, parents and children, and the democratic republic we strive to build together, and that both Lvov and [foreign minister] Milyukov commit themselves before the eyes and ears of the peoples of Russia and of our worldwide allies to this purely defensive endeavor, and to the relentless struggle for a peace without annexations or indemnities. With this most modest demand the provisional government was not willing to comply. When our delegates remained firm in conveying your, our brave people’s, exigencies, Lvov and all his ministers, with the exception of Alexander Kerensky, have resigned.

    Since last night, we have not been able to establish communications with the large factions of the Duma, and no new proposals have come forth in response to our calls. In light of these developments, and to prevent our motherland from stumbling onwards without a government, we have resolved, by 903 votes against 72, to accept the self-dissolution of the provisional government, and to make all preparations required for holding immediate elections to an All-Russian Constituent Assembly on the dates and in the manner laid out by the Duma’s law for municipal and provincial elections of April 15th, to be concluded no later than June 15th. Until then, and to secure the defense, provision, organization and order of our motherland and all its peoples, five committees have been established by democratic vote. We appeal to all citizens, to all soldiers, workers and farmers, to anyone working in the administration of our towns, uezds, volosts, and oblasts, to their Dumas and Zemstvos, to support our effort in protecting and upholding our common lives, and our effort to organize free, fair, secret, universal, and direct elections for all men and women from all of Russia’s peoples.

    The Military Committee [1] has elected Pavel Lazimir as their speaker and he has called upon the central command and we call upon all soldiers to hold their positions in the defense of the motherland and to counsel with the military committee about the further course of action. The military committee calls on all regional soviets to form regional military committees in order to guard the people’s safety, and to build up a mighty and united force of the people’s self-defense.

    The Committee of Industry, Labour, and Transportation [2] has elected Matvei Skobelev as their speaker. With the committee, we ensure to all workers in every corner of Russia the sacrosanctity of the limitation of the workday to eight hours and not a minute more, and we call upon all workers and their factory councils to counsel with the committee of industry, labour and transporation and to uphold the production of all the goods required to feed and clothe and protect our entire people.

    The Committee of Agriculture and Supply [3] has elected Panteleimon Vikhliaev as their speaker. The committee has immediately begun all necessary preparations for thorough and just agrarian reform, and with the committee we call to the farthest reaches of our republic to join in our coordinated effort to restore every obshchina and to ensure the daily bread to every man, woman and child.

    The Committee of Communications and Territorial Organization [4] has elected Irakli Tsereteli as their speaker, and with the committee we call on all defenders of the revolution to put their differences aside and stand together in saving our motherland and the republic we will buld in it, whose free people must now rise and take their fate into their own hands.

    For the General Committee of the Soviet of the Workers and Soldiers of Petrograd:
    Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky, Fyodor Dan, Viktor Chernov, Mikhail Liber

    [1] In further updates abbreviated as Voykom

    [2] In further updates abbreviated as Transtrudkom

    [3] In further updates abbreviated as Selposkom

    [4] In further updates abbreviated as Svyazkom
  2. GiantMonkeyMan Dirty Red

    May 3, 2007
    Thanks for your kind words in your introduction and I'm glad I've inspired something interesting!

    So the April Days leads to the fall of the Provisional Government and out of the ashes will stumble a Constituent Assembly... Likely, it will be SR dominated. Interested to see where you take it. And with the CA, comes all sots of interesting questions which were being put aside until the vague promises of the CA elections - the national question for a start. I look forward to more.
    Rifleman, Salvador79 and Cregan like this.
  3. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    Yeah, I guess the colour allusion in the thread's title is not quite so subtle :)

    I am so glad to have you on board! Yes, the national question(s) are going to haunt the CA not only from its opening meeting, but already throughout the electoral process and the weeks of an even greater power vaccum than before. I am curious what you (and others) will think of my answers - although Update Two, on which I'm currently writing, isn't going to offer any of these yet..
    Rifleman and GiantMonkeyMan like this.
  4. Threadmarks: Two: Chernov Elected (June/July 1917)

    Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    London (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland): The Times, July 6th, 1917, p.1:


    PETROGRAD, Russia · from our correspondent John Postlethwaite, who enjoyed the privilege of exclusive access to this historical moment ·
    In the Taurid Palace, Russia’s Constituant Assembly gathered for its inaugural meeting on Wednesday. The electoral process, which should have been the first free and fair one under a universal franchise, had been overshadowed by electoral irregularities, intimidations, and all manner of fraudulences (our newspaper reported). The first parliamentary session is not likely to dispel growing anxieties in reasonable circles both within the beleaguered empire and among its allies. Mirroring the atmosphere of growing radicalisation on the streets, the assembly has elevated Victor Chernov, a populist from the radical left, to the highest position of power in the emerging republic. The chairman of the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, a party which openly engaged in terrorism as a political means on several occasions, now bears the unfamiliar title of “Supreme Comissioner”. But the election of a man who has only ever criticised Russia’s engagement in the great war as the supreme commander of the world’s largest army was not even the most worrying development of the evening.

    An observer could have been forgiven for gaining the false impression that the solemn halls once designed for Catherine the Great had instilled a sense of duty in the 808 men and women representing Russia’s manifold nations and tribes, when they elected the popular and dignified icon of the revolution, 73-year old Yekaterina K. Breshko-Breshkovskaya, with overwhelming majority as speaker of the assembly, and then proceeded to unanimously consent to the proposal of adapting Russia’s time-keeping to the calendar used by most other civilized nations.

    Soon, though, division and strife prevailed. Pavel Milyukov, the leader of the liberal Kadet Party, whose disappointing electoral results surprised many, reiterated his accusations of electoral fraud: thousands of newly conscripted army recruits who had already voted in their home districts voted again in their military units; country houses of moderate candidates assaulted by mobs who, encouraged by extreme socialists, proceeded to divvy up the rightful owners’ property and then mocked their misery by declaring their squatted homes into village polling stations; self-proclaimed authorities of rural districts compiling ballots with Estonian versions of the candidates’ names in Latin letters only; and many more such occurrences. [1] His appeal for a parliamentary inquiry into these irregularities was shouted down by a furious radical majority.

    This radical majority is far from coherent, though. Populists and Marxists, agrarian reformers and labour unionists, advocates of so-called “revolutionary defensism” and those who espouse outright defeatism, all appear to detest each other, and to seek triumph over their next of ideological kin more than that over the German, Danubian, and Ottoman aggressors. Legal procedure provided more bones of contention, e.g. concerning the status of the occupied Polish and Lithuanian territories, whose population had not been able to participate in the elections, a circumstance which the Kadets and smaller moderate groups sought to acknowledge by declaring a number of seats corresponding to the missing electoral participants vacant. From the left, this proposal, which would have served to raise the threshold for a candidate’s election, making a broader national consensus inevitable, was vehemently rejected. The national awakenings of the countless nations and tribes of the vast empire, from Cossacks to Mahommedans, further complicate the matter – Chernov, for example, was not even voted into office by the Ukrainian delegates of his own party because in their eyes he did not offer sufficient commitment to the causes of national autonomy and increased defensive measures, and instead he relied on the support of Finnish, Georgian and Armenian social democrats for whose tastes he represented at least a better choice than their own candidate, Julius Martov, who is even more pacifistic and derides national sentiments as bourgeois illusions. Personal ambition only contributes to this state of confusion: Alexander Kerensky and Victor Chernov, two men who share a great degree of political goals and convictions, nonetheless candidated as rivals instead of joining their forces. Kerensky established his own “United Popular Socialist and Labour” faction of only 39 delegates after tumultuous scenes revolving around allegations of a freemasonic conspiracy which degenerated into undignified fisticuffs. And even farther out on the left fringe, the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Ilych Lenin, whom many suspect to be a German agent, denounced all other factions as lackeys of “imperialist capital interests”, indulging in what he labels “revolutionary defeatism” and unnerving the plenary with his rambling addresses to the “international proletariat” which he exhorted to rise up and “shake off their yoke”, alluding that the chaos and destructions of the past few weeks represented, in the eyes of his party, good omens for the coming overturning of all social structures.

    It was only in the small hours, when the lights in Starov’s splendid chandeliers competed against the pale dark blue of the “white night”, that Chernov was able to obtain his majority, courting, among others, even the utmost leftist fringes of the political spectrum. In the last round of speeches before his election, a number of experienced statesmen from previous state dumas spoke out with increasing anxiety and warned the assembly against a political course which prolongs and even condones the anarchic situation which grips the country, undermines property rights, and weakens the threatened empire’s ability to stave off the aggressors – but to no avail.

    Reliable sources in Russia’s leading social and military circles have confided their acute worries to us and warned us against the consequences of a crisis of leadership in these critical moments, pointing towards the current politically motivated replacements of some of the most capable military officers from Stavka. [2] It remains to be hoped that our own government sees the writing on the wall and steps up mobilisation and equipment efforts so as to ensure the necessary reinforcement of our positions against the possibility of a redoubled German onslaught made possible by a no longer purely theoretical withdrawal of Russia.

    [1] Such things are almost inevitable, and IOTL the Kadets used warnings against such developments as an excuse for endlessly postponing the elections for a constituent assembly.

    [2] This alludes to conspiratorial plans by leading anti-republican and anti-socialist officers having been unveiled by soldiers loyal to provisional Soviet rule and to the revolution, which forced commander-in-chief Mikhail Alexeyev to arrest Anton Denikin, the conspiratorial web’s spider sitting right below him at Stavka, but then contributed to Alexeyev’s own demission. Voykom replaced Alexeyev with Alexey Brusilov in early June.

    I am aware that such a significant leap over months of revolutionary developments and the lopsided presentation from the limited perspective of a conservative British newspaper is bound to leave open quite a few questions. I shall be happy to deliver additional information on your request.
  5. General Ripper Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2016
    Interesting start.
    Salvador79 likes this.
  6. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    Thank you, i'm glad you like it! Anything (missing?) you're particularly interested in?
  7. General Ripper Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2016
    Further updates?
  8. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    ;) Sure. Next one's likely ready by Friday and situated towards late July / early August.
  9. Hnau free radical

    Aug 13, 2007
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Great work so far! It's clear you've put a lot of effort into the writing and it shows. Glad to see another person so invested in proving out how Russian history wasn't predetermined to remain permanently under the power of despots.
    Salvador79 likes this.
  10. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2015
    Thanks for your kind words! I am sorry for the slow rhythm, I have to put in that extra effort since I am not a native speaker. Glad the result is acceptable.

    Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that there is no need to view Russia as being determined to stumble from tyranny to tyranny.
    Hnau likes this.