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1921 - Red Army victorious in Russian Civil War

1921 Russian Civil War_min.JPG

Title: 1921 - Red Army victorious in Russian Civil War

About:  Following the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia was ravaged by a long and bitter civil war between the Red and White armies. The removal of the Tsar led to a power vacuum in which the new republican government was not strong enough to maintain stability, and many factions began vying for power to determine Russia's political future.

The Bolsheviks faced massive opposition to their rule in the form of the White Armies, led by former officers of the Imperial state, and also from intervention by the forces of foreign countries. However,  they had various charismatic leaders - Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin - who rose to prominence and solidified the revolution that was reshaping society.


The leadership recognized the importance of organization, discipline and control, and Trotsky especially molded the Red Army into an effective fighting force. Political commissars were drafted into army units to spread socialist ideas and maintain loyalty to the Bolsheviks, while hundreds of thousands of peasants were conscripted. Trotsky himself travelled in an armoured train to the front lines to inspire and encourage troops. At times of crisis, he readily assumed personal command of areas under threat.

Under Lenin's leadership, the Bolsheviks displayed total ruthlessness in making sure that they did not face rebellion and revolt in the areas they controlled.  Once the Civil War began, the Bolsheviks banned all political parties and arrested their leaders. They also closed down newspapers that opposed them. The Cheka, the Bolshevik Secret Police, hunted down and arrested anyone who was suspected of hostility towards the Bolsheviks. By the end of the Civil War, they had executed over 100,000 political opponents.

In addition to repression and terror, propaganda was also effectively employed, with promises that living conditions would improve and wealth would be distributed more fairly. Contrasting warnings told how the White Armies and their leaders would destroy all the achievements of the Revolution, break up the Soviets and bring back the old system.


Eventually, by 1921, the Bolsheviks had defeated their enemies and could claim a complete victory (although some lingering resistance continued until 1923).  It was the dawning of one of the most powerful socio-political systems the world would see, the communist Soviet Union.

Decade: 1920s

Year: 1921

Region: Europe

Country: Russia

Conflict: Civil War

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 7

Artist: Jaroslaw Marcinek


Group: Genesis

Number: 21/100

Price: 0.7 ETH


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