When the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional revolutionary government on this day in 1917, bringing the Russian Revolution, begun several months earlier, to its climax, The Nation’s Simeon Strunsky wrote a piece, “What the Bolsheviki Really Want.”

To speak of the events of the last ten days as only another phase of the question whether Russia will make peace or not is to cling to an error which has persisted too long. The Bolshevik uprising compels a reexamination of the Revolution as a whole. For all the good will and self-detachment that the outside world might bring to an understanding of the Revolution, it was inevitable that between the foreign observer and the Russians themselves there should be a difference in the angle of approach. The Russians have naturally thought of the war in terms of the Revolution. We, on the outside, have thought of the Revolution in terms of the war….

What we see now in Russia is the latest phase in the struggle, not between two foreign policies, but between two internal policies. It has been a contest between the moderate programme of a political revolution preparing the way for the progressive realization of the Socialistic ideal—Kerensky—and the immediate realization of the Socialist commonwealth—Lenine. The Bolshevik conception—Lenine has virtually said it—is as follows: We had one revolution when the Czarism was overthrown. We have now put through a second revolution by deposing Kerensky and putting the powers of government into the hands of the “people.” When we have given the land to the peasants and the instruments of production to the industrial workers, we shall have put through the third, the final, the Revolution.

November 6, 1917

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