Friday, April 01, 2011

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was not approved of universally by Russians either...

Connected to the right of nations to self determination. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed by the Soviet Union (then the R.S.F.R.) and ceded control of the Baltic states and the Ukraine to Germany, as well as part of the westernmost edge of Russia itself. If the new socialist Russia was to really be for liberty and democracy, surely ceding territory to a monarchy opposed to the right of nations to self determination would be a compromising step. That Russia had itself occupied them can be seen to be somewhat beside the point, because in theory at least the Germany of the Central Powers was much less democratic and sympathetic to minority nations than Russia itself.

By stopping the fighting and instead giving up part of Russia, the Soviets were willing to barter the freedom of large groups of people for temporary stability. I think that a probable position that others had was that it would have been better for the Russian army, that included Ukrainians and folks from the Baltics, to continue fighting until they could secure a better peace.

Emma Goldman reports in "My disillusionment with Russia" that a popular opinion was that things started to go bad after Brest-Litovsk, and the treaty was one of many reasons that the Left Socialist Revolutionary Party, or Left SRs, staged an uprising intent on overthrowing the Bolsheviks, an uprising that had anarchists as allies and that involved an assasination attempt on Lenin where he was shot.

The Left SRs are a group that deserves much more attention and study than they've previously received.

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