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Idealism Becoming Realism: The Actuality of Revolution

             With the coming of the 20th century, socialism began to take hold in Russia. Russia's backward position relative to the West, its lack of arms, poor training, and corruption in the high levels of government and the army finally translated into unparalleled unrest with the Tsar Nicholas II. Demonstrators took the opportunity to set up their own Provisional Government, forcing Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate his thrown and ending centuries of Romanov rule. In October, the Provisional Government was itself overthrown by socialist radicals under Vladimir I. Lenin. Lenin was a Marxist revolutionary with the desire to create a socialist Russia. However, as in all successful revolutions, the leaders begin with idealist principles that are forced to change to more practical doctrines because of realism. Often, revolutionaries are too radical for the majority and their success depends on their ability to change.
             An ideal is "an ultimate object or aim of endeavor,"" one that politically is used to change the government of the country. Under Lenin, the Bolshevik revolution was an attempt to change the government of Russia to that of Marxism, or communism. The idea that the proletariat will revolt against the bourgeoisie and form a working class that is all equal is very radical, but seemed to Lenin to be the ideal government. Once the Bolsheviks had taken power in Russia and began to implement their idealist policies, it was obvious that realism was necessary to slowly transform an entire country to socialism. Yet many of the Bolshevik policies skewed the lines between socialism and authoritarian rule. "It was a party with authoritarian tendencies, and one that had always had a strong leader "even, according to Lenin's opponents, a dictatorial one."" Idealism was thrown away by realism in Russia as Lenin failed to convince the whole of Russia of his policies, meeting much resistance in a country already exhausted from World War I.

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