Rasputin's Own Bear
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Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:38 pm

ERISS wrote:The difference between Red and Whites for the peasants, is that they knew the Whites for long and didn't want to be under tsarism rule again.


Whites ≠ tsarism. They never viewed themselves as a monarchist force, nor were they viewed as one by common people. Some whites indeed had monarchist sympathies, but these were never openly proclaimed. They rose to counter the bolshevik coup, not to protect the Tsar who abdicated long before that.

As for the peasants, to tell the truth, they didn't really want to lose private property and join the communes. What they wanted was quite the opposite: personal land ownership. Wrangel was ready to give them that and more.

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ERISS
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Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:41 pm

Rasputin's Own Bear wrote: for the peasants,, they didn't really want to lose private property and join the communes. What they wanted was quite the opposite: personal land ownership. Wrangel was ready to give them that and more.

Yes. But Wrangel was ready to give what the peasant had already taken with their village soviets (which very rarely were 'communes'), how generous! Peasants didn't want the Whites to take them back in order the Whites could give them back :D

Even, once the Whites had removed the Reds, once in power, the Whites would need private capitalism (like the Reds needed State capitalism) to legaly steal the private properties of the peasants:
To use the product of the peasant for the White State as they want, the White would have to help and be friend with some big landowner who would capitalize the lands of poor people then enslaved the paesants as waged labourers (in their property, or in town).

Rasputin's Own Bear wrote: a monarchist force, nor were they viewed as one by common people

Maybe, but it seems common people saw the Whites as a kind of dictatorship which was alike.
Many soviet paesants had welcome back the Whites (start 1919??), but soon chased them. If the Whites really wanted to help them, they would have fight together against the Reds. Instead, the peasants used the Reds to fight the Whites...
Maybe for the Whites, like for the Reds, paesants were only idiot moujik...

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andatiep
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Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:20 pm

Rasputin's Own Bear wrote:As for the peasants, to tell the truth, they didn't really want to lose private property and join the communes. What they wanted was quite the opposite: personal land ownership. Wrangel was ready to give them that and more.



I just finished the Orlando Figes book, and that's not its conclusions. If i try to summarize, it would be :

- At this period, most of the peasants wasn't really for the private property. All the reforms from the few Tsarists "liberal" ministers and from the Kerenski government failed to create a peasant middle class of owners. The village commune already works from centuries with a half-collective ownership & management : most of the lands belongs to the village which assembly (Skhod) regularly (re)dispatch the lands fairly in proportion of the number of the families members. To keep this management which protect them from dying alone on a poor little private land and share instead the risks among the community, peasants were ready to fight any factions who wanted to change this system. The Skhod village community was actually already a kind of Soviet under the Tsar !! It was very democratic and egalitarist on the village level, but totally egoistic on the Nation/State level (or even internationalist level...). As soon as the 1917 revolution happen, peasants took the lords' lands and just don't care of anything around... till the starving Reds and Whites came to them...

- The Whites never succeed to get the support of the peasants because they never wanted to have a clear official political project for the future the peasants could understand (because they were to many different factions among them, from the constitutionnal monarchists to the republicans including Liberals and social-democrats). Whites always said : "We don't do politics, we are the "army"". "All rural reforms should be decided later by the Constitutionnal Assembly like the one of 1917."
But the peasants didn't trust such stuff ! They were all waiting for a faction that say : "all the territories you took in 1917 from the nobility and the church, you keep it as communal lands" !
Wrangel was probably the best white leader who were personnally ready to do radical rural reforms, but he never succeed to declare it and apply it even in his last stand in Crimea were he had less internal oppositions inside the White factions.
Figes noted that even when Wrangel finally did a declaration on rural reforms (for more peasant private property but also that the peasants have to give back the lands from the lords OR buy it, what they couln't do of courses), the Whites even SOLD the declaration papers for few hundreds roubles around, when the bolcheviks published and distributed for free millions of tracts explaining that they will let the lords' lands to the peasants...

Propaganda rules, men :cool: ! Wrangel didn't had any buizness communication plan...


EDIT : I also remember some reports from liberal bureaucrats of the Zemstvo which say that lands private ownership could not be implement in Russia in the interest of the peasants, unless they are equiped with modern technologies (then the lonely owner can avoid famines risks). Of courses Wrangel wasn't able to give a tractor to each peasant, so the communal system was the only possible for this times. Oppose to it and you oppose to the peasants and say goodbye to your conscripts incomes.
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Baris
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Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:23 pm

Andatiep- Good writing. Also Im not sure if peasants can differentiate whites, monarchy,republic or vs.. Lenin come with more clear ideas about power to Soviets or etc ..(also gave less meaning to nationalism) As Russian empire was composed of many ethnic groups I suspect Whites were not clear about the model of the new society. Naturally if western bourgeoisie democracy is aimed then it needs some kind of ethnic concessus. Other empires as such as Austria-Hungary, Ottoman was divided from ethnic tension and formed their republic after losing borders and different ethnic citizens.After that they maintain unity and formed national bourgeoisie. Soviets maintained unity with communism . But if whites have succeded no doubt many federations would form after a time.

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Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:37 pm

ERISS wrote:Instead, the peasants used the Reds to fight the Whites...


It would be more accurate to say that peasants took no part in the struggle.

andatiep wrote:The village commune already works from centuries with a half-collective ownership & management.


Yes, actually the commune (mir) was a big social problem in pre-revolutionary Russia. It was too egalitarian, too old-fashioned - really slowed much needed middle class development down - for example, a peasant could not buy more land without commune permission even if he wanted to and had enough money. Or leave the village and travel to a big city in search of work. Or even marry sometimes.
The government understood that, but still kept the commune in fear of losing control over the peasant masses. Which, ironically, happened anyway.

As far as I know, peasants had no love for the mir, which was quite understandable. Why obey a council of bossy old men, distribute the land equally between those who make good use of it and those who are too lazy to work hard, and listen to your annoying neighbors if you can just have all this land for yourself alone, use it, profit from it and buy and sell it whenever you want? :D

As for Kerensky's reforms failure - well, no normal government can create a whole new class in a year, and Kerensky's government was by no means normal - it was a horrible hopeless mess.

andatiep wrote:- The Whites never succeed to get the support of the peasants because they never wanted to have a clear official political project for the future the peasants could understand...


True. But remember, we're talking big what if here. The whites had won the war, and now have to pacify the country somehow. My point is - Wrangel could do that using the agricultural reform of his, and that could result in much more healthy and universally popular regime. The agricultural politics of the reds resulted in mass peasant rebellions of the 20s and Golodomor, as you know.

EDIT: Yes, the whites sold the tracts, but firstly they were really desperate - all allied help stopped by then, and secondly, the price was really symbolic. Could be replaced by one-time food donation to the army stores even.

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Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:53 pm

andatiep wrote: Whites always said : "We don't do politics, we are the "army"". "All rural reforms should be decided later by the Constitutionnal Assembly like the one of 1917."

Propaganda rules, men :cool: ! Wrangel didn't had any buizness communication plan...


Tu put it simple that's exactly what happened...The White Movement was too busy fighting the Reds, the Anarchists, the Ukrainian Independantists and others to have time to do politics.
Politics was to be given to a Constitutional Assembly after the victory...which never happened.

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Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:48 pm

I wish I could write on English better, I have a lot to say in this topic, but can not find best english words. But the point being made about Whites not having plan to run country, just worrying about war was why i meant earlier saying Reds were in best position if they won war.

As andatiep said peasants were not really ready for private property, but even much less ready for democracy, much like serfs were not ready for the freedom as quickly as Alexander II gave them.
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Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:11 pm

Alexor wrote:Tu put it simple that's exactly what happened...The White Movement was too busy fighting the Reds, the Anarchists, the Ukrainian Independantists and others to have time to do politics.
Politics was to be given to a Constitutional Assembly after the victory...which never happened.


Yes, the mass of the peasants didn't care of this remote (in a geographical, sociological and chronological sens...) urban and bureaucratic Assembly and prefered concrete warranty right away on their revenge over the nobility, that is their lands.
Warranty offered by the Bolcheviks, the Socialists (left SR & Mensheviks), the "ethnic" Nationalists, the Anarchists ...well everybody except the Whites :neener:

I wonder how to simulate in the game an option were Wrangel is an early Leader of the White (So exit Denikin) who try to really care on politics and propaganda and succeed to (re)establish a provisional government based on a provisional Constitutional Assembly which declare radical rural reforms.
For me it's the only realistic way to allow a victory of the Whites, mostly because of less peasant hostility and a much longer support from western liberal democracies.

But what would be the costs in EP, NM, internal conflicts which first divide the troops but later gather more support from abroad ?
The same if the Whites gave up with their Empire dream and allied with Finland, Ukrain, Baltic states, instead of fighting them...

В wrote:but even much less ready for democracy, much like serfs were not ready for the freedom as quickly as Alexander II gave them.


Yes, like US Slaves in the 1860's ! But nobody is ready for big changes anyway...
Can you imagine : no social & health public services, no armies of psychologues like in the US TV series to take care of them, ...only bands of psychopats with multicolored flags :w00t: !!
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Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:54 pm

В wrote:As andatiep said peasants were not really ready for private property, but even much less ready for democracy, much like serfs were not ready for the freedom as quickly as Alexander II gave them.



I am not so sure, Lenin's New Economic Policy would suggest the opposite.

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Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:02 pm

andatiep wrote:
I wonder how to simulate in the game an option were Wrangel is an early Leader of the White (So exit Denikin) who try to really care on politics and propaganda and succeed to (re)establish a provisional government based on a provisional Constitutional Assembly which declare radical rural reforms.
For me it's the only realistic way to allow a victory of the Whites, mostly because of less peasant hostility and a much longer support from western liberal democracies.

But what would be the costs in EP, NM, internal conflicts which first divide the troops but later gather more support from abroad ?
The same if the Whites gave up with their Empire dream and allied with Finland, Ukrain, Baltic states, instead of fighting them...


Could make a really interesting alternative history scenario.
Losing southern white troops for enacting reforms and guaranteeing Ukranian, Polish and Finnish independence seems most reasonable.
But it's hard to balance. Allying with Finns, Poles and Ukranians at the same time is pretty much an instant win. Problem is, it WAS and instant win option IRL, Denikin just considered it to gamey :D .

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:59 am

Rasputin's Own Bear wrote:Problem is, it WAS an instant win option IRL, Denikin just considered it to gamey :D .


:mdr:
he probably thought he was wargaming an AI...

But i'm not sure it would be too easy. This little countries would act like western troops : helping around but not invading the center. And they had no "national" long term interest to make it too easy too.


Concretely, knowing their state of mind, what could makes the Whites give up with the Empire dream ? A strong Western allies pressure (no supports without independences) ?
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Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 am

Alexor wrote:The White Movement was too busy fighting to have time to do politics.

All sides were busy fighting. But the White had few people to do politics.
Makhnovists tried as they could to organise their civil society. They somewhat succeded, until 1920 where Reds were effectivly forbidenning the ukrainian soviets and killing all elected (or not).

В wrote: peasants were not really ready for private property, but even much less ready for democracy, much like serfs were not ready for the freedom as quickly as Alexander II gave them.

Peasant were living in democratic courts: the soviets. Anarchists helped them organising to be less selfish and think in unity of all soviets, rather than just the village.

The Reds, on the one hand, incriminated paesants of selfishness,
and on the other hand prevented them from building the tools of altruism!!... (and by this way, Reds were then starving everybody, even their own people)

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:08 am

andatiep wrote:But i'm not sure it would be too easy. This little countries would act like western troops : helping around but not invading the center. And they had no "national" long term interest to make it too easy too.


Well, Finns had a considerable army, highly motivated and well-eqipped by the standards of RCW. IMHO, Mannerheim could take Petrograd relatively easy. He even offered to do this several times, provided that Whites guarantee Finnish independence, but Denikin refused. Same story with Poland. Both Pilsudski and Mannerheim meant full-scale offensive.

This could certainly take a great deal of pressure off the southern whites .

andatiep wrote:Concretely, knowing their state of mind, what could makes the Whites give up with the Empire dream ? A strong Western allies pressure (no supports without independences)?


I don't think so. Historical Whites command would probably be offended, call it "blackmailing", provoke a quarrel, lose Western support and then lose the war even faster.
Less idealistic leaders, like Wrangel, would have snatched the first opportunity to strike a deal with Poles and Finns. Poland never wanted to be part of the Empire anyway, always bringing more problems than profit, and, besides, it had already broke away de-facto - something that could not be fixed without a long and bloody war. Finland had a long history of semi-independence and was too smal, cold and generally unimportant. Of course, if they knew about Nokia back then... :D
Ukraine was different - old imperial lands, almost totally Russian ethnically and culturally, and the pro-independence government was quite weak and unpopular.

Why Denikin continued to insist on "united and undivided" concept always was somewhat of a mystery for me. The dream of bringing Poland and Finland back into the Empire was completely chimerical, and still two powerful allies were exchanged for it.

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:23 am

ERISS wrote:Peasant were living in democratic courts: the soviets. Anarchists helped them organising to be less selfish and think in unity of all soviets, rather than just the village.


It wasn't the utopia you are making it seem, not all villages lived like this, and it wasn't universallly accepted. A big problem was also working with others. It sounds like you are trying to say everyone way living in peace and harmony utopia until Bolsheviks and Whites came and ruined every thing. It simply not true.

andatiep - I have read of some of the similarities and differences between newly freed USA slaves an serfs. I am not an expert so I can't comment much.
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Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:03 am

В wrote:, not all villages lived like this, and it wasn't universallly accepted.

Yes, Soviets were where they could, and not only in villages. They were accepted only by the workers, and some anarchists (many were against, as soviets were not enough anarchist for them) in the intellectuals. The Reds, intellectuals, succeded in controling them that's why they won.

It sounds like you are trying to say everyone way living in peace and harmony utopia until Bolsheviks and Whites came and ruined every thing. It simply not true.

Not utopia: The power of the family was something bad. If waged labour could be forbidden, some in-family slavery could remain.
And yes, not only Reds or Whites wanted to destroy or control them: Petliourists too, and others.

A big problem was also working with others.

Soviet congress could do it. But, how to work with who they were at war?...

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:29 am

I don't mean to get personal Eriss but I think you're idealizing the Makhnovists a lot...
Their main activity during the civil war was looting and killing people as far as I am concerned. It's not because they were better organized than most bandit gangs roaming the country side at the time that they were any different.

(but again I come from a "White" background so I might not be totally 100% objective here ;) )

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:49 am

Alexor wrote:I don't mean to get personal Eriss but I think you're idealizing the Makhnovists a lot...
Their main activity during the civil war was looting and killing people as far as I am concerned. It's not because they were better organized than most bandit gangs roaming the country side at the time that they were any different.

(but again I come from a "White" background so I might not be totally 100% objective here ;) )


This is what I meant earlier, people involved in these political beliefs tend to see people they agree with as the perfect side that had no faults in civil war and think all was fine where they controlled. Everyone has desire to make their side seem like good guys, when in reality every side was made up of both good guys and bad guys.
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Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:36 am

Alexor wrote: Makhnovists main activity during the civil war was looting and killing people. It's not because they were better organized than most bandit gangs roaming the country side at the time that they were any different.
(I come from a "White" background)

I know. For the makhnovists point of view, reverse the names Makhnov<->Whites.

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Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:41 pm

В wrote:It wasn't the utopia you are making it seem, not all villages lived like this, and it wasn't universallly accepted.


I would say, most of the villages lived with Peasants Soviet OR with "Skhod" system, at least in the central zone, but like you and the Rasputin's-private-property-Bear ( ;) ) said, it wasn't a such beautiful utopia, since the local families' patriarchs could rule like little despots without any control of the violences and the old generations always tried to lock and keep the youth quiet and steady inside the village, opposing the departure and any new things from outside. All this is supposed to explain also the incredible Hate of the peasants most of the Bolcheviks' former peaseants had, including their top leaders.
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Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:18 pm

andatiep wrote: local families' patriarchs could rule like little despots without any control of the violences and the old generations always tried to lock and keep the youth quiet and steady inside the village, opposing the departure and any new things from outside.


This could in a way describe the villages in Russia today to an extent, except now more village people come to cities and get lost in such different Russia. Many fail in city and return to village and family and ignorance of government society. This was true during Soviet times as well. Actions and motivations of Russian villagers changed, but mindset hasn't even with 3 or 4 different government style trying to change them.
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Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:54 pm

Rasputin's Own Bear wrote:Well, Finns had a considerable army, highly motivated and well-eqipped by the standards of RCW. IMHO, Mannerheim could take Petrograd relatively easy. He even offered to do this several times, provided that Whites guarantee Finnish independence, but Denikin refused. Same story with Poland. Both Pilsudski and Mannerheim meant full-scale offensive.


Mannerheim & Pilsudski would for sure took Petrograd, Belorussia and Ukrainia too "help" a White government to be installed, but they wouldn't get involved in a total war against russian inlands and hunt the Bolcheviks till Moscow and Siberia. I thing they were clever enough to see that if they did this, they would have to burn and starve many russian regions (or be accused to) and the hate of russian population wouldn't be a long term warranty for their independences.
See how the finish always tried to not hurt the russian nationalist susceptibility to keep as long as possible good relationship with such a big neighbour.


Rasputin's Own Bear wrote:I don't think so. Historical Whites command would probably be offended, call it "blackmailing", provoke a quarrel, lose Western support and then lose the war even faster.


Mmmh. Does it really matter if there is a quarrel ? If Allies just choose then to support any secondary White leaders and former Kerenski government ministers and 1917 constitutional Assembly deputies which agreed a deal subordinating the foreign help to some unified White provisional government and provisional parliament which produce rural reforms and let get away at least Polen & Finland.

I think we reach now the responsibilities of the Western liberal democracies in the RCW which at this stage had no clear political strategy against the Bolcheviks in Russia. A decade later and they would probably adopt a much more strong support to the "world's fight against communism" and would for sure switch a Wrangel/Denikin/Koltchak to another leader or even install a puppet regim if necessary, just to fight communism.

But it means maybe too much "what if" in 1918, since it would supposed a Churchill's government and a Nationalist government in GB and in France just after the WWI... and for sure it's not really realistic ... especially because the social-democrats in the western countries still didn't saw that the Bolcheviks were dangerous for them and did already controlled completely the 1917 revolution.

Finally, the more realistic alternate scenario is maybe somewhere around a German victory in the WWI and its possible plans with the Whites, Poland & Finland...

Well, it's surely time for me to play the main campaign scenarios of this game (like Drang nach osten) to see what AGEOD's team already implemented about that... Stop talking, play :bonk: !


В wrote:This could in a way describe the villages in Russia today to an extent, except now more village people come to cities and get lost in such different Russia. Many fail in city and return to village and family and ignorance of government society. This was true during Soviet times as well. Actions and motivations of Russian villagers changed, but mindset hasn't even with 3 or 4 different government style trying to change them.


Yes, at least now, there is maybe "only" the conscription army system which is the last government's policy which clearly penalize painfully the rural/poor population...

But now, i think we should all admit that we all walked far far away from the original topic of this thread... :siffle:

So everybody back to the game now : Bolcheviks players could cry "The Power overto the Soviets !" and the Whites' "Don't do Politics !" :rolleyes:
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Rasputin's Own Bear
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Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:48 pm

andatiep wrote:a total war against russian inlands and hunt the Bolcheviks till Moscow and Siberia.


Won't be needed in my opinion. I mean, bolsheviks didn't have THAT much support. Taking Moscow and Petrograd would mean winning the war.

Anyway, you're right, time to stop talking and start playing. :D

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Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:18 pm

So, about soviets, Bolsheviks were for the soviets (they destroyed or controlled them) like the Whites were anti-tzarism (they would put a new tzar in a fake democracy) and the SR were for the land to the paesants (promises not kept while in the 'revolutionnary' government, and finaly their KomUch gave back the big properties to the returned kulaks..).

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