The Significance Of The Role Of Individuals In The Creation & Development Of The Communist State, 1917 – 53.
Russia as a communist state was undoubtedly, even if only on a local level, shaped by the collective. Workers soviets, unions and Zemstvo played an important role in the early development of Russia. However Russia is the nation which has lent itself to the 'Great Men' of history. These men were not great in a sense of achievement, mercy, honour or as a Renaissance prince; these men were great because Russia allowed them to rule as Autocrats. The development of the USSR can be considered the result of the blank canvas which Russia presented to its ruling elite, they painted their own vision of a communist Russia and as a result Russia undertook many great surges of growth and decline. .
The Russian Revolution of October 1917 can be seen as the first great surge of the future USSR. Lenin and his party took control of Petrograd block by block using the MRC under the command of Trotsky. Lenin as an individual played an essential role in the October revolution. From February to the revolution Lenin managed to raise party membership from 10,000 to 200,000. This was partly due to Lenin's April thesis, great speeches and targeted slogans such as "Peace, Bread and Land!". Robert Service argues that Lenin made key decisions that shaped the development and formation of Russia, without which, the USSR may have never been formed. He states "Lenin did make history. In the April Theses of 1917 he drafted a strategy for the party to seize power. In October he insisted that power should be seized. In March he fended off a German Invasion of Russia If Lenin had not campaigned for these strategical shifts, the USSR would have never been established and consolidated."1 Many would argue that the 1917 October revolution would have not succeeded had it not been for the weakness of the provisional government, or the Petrograd soviets assistance.