The October coup of 1917 that resulted in the Bolshevik consolidation of power revealed that all the party's efforts had been directed towards preparing for revolution, however little attention has been given to the details of how affairs would be organized after this was accomplished. Russia was essentially a one party state, with a government who had no detailed programme for leading the country. .
Lenin's government was presented with an immediate problem - the Bolsheviks had only won a quarter of the seats in the November elections for the Constituent Assembly. Lenin had originally supported the idea of a Constituent Assembly but judging by the results of the elections he calculated that it would be impossible for his party to govern effectively alongside an assembly that was overwhelmingly non-Bolshevik. So, in January 1918, the Constituent Assembly was dissolved at gunpoint by the Red Guards.
The Bolshevik's crushing of the Constituent Assembly and subsequent outlawing of all other parties showed that they were not prepared to share power. This claim to absolute authority by the Bolsheviks resulted in the Russian civil war, which took place between 1918 - 1920. The conflict was not just a matter of the Bolsheviks (Reds) facing their political enemies (Whites) in a military struggle, but a far more complex affair, with a number of Russia's national minorities fighting in the war primarily to establish their independence from Russia. The Reds emerged as the dominators in the struggle as they were sustained by a driving sense of purpose and an unshakable belief in their own victory. .
The Bolshevik party (renamed Communist Party in 1919) attempted to come to terms with the reality of power over a period of conflict during which they were forced to resort to authoritarian measures. This repression that characterized the imposing of Bolshevik control over Russia later became known as the terror.