The Russian bourgeoisie, or the middle class, was largely opposed to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. They were largely opposed to the Bolshevik’s idea of a proletarian dictatorship, and were fearful of the new government’s policies of nationalization and collectivization. They were also fearful of the Bolshevik’s radical social and economic policies, which threatened their wealth and power. Many of the Russian bourgeoisie fled the country, while others remained and attempted to oppose the Bolshevik’s policies.

Bourgeois revolution

Rapid, fundamental political change from a feudal aristocracy to a capitalist democracy

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Bourgeois revolution is a term used in Marxist theory to refer to a social revolution that aims to destroy a feudal system or its vestiges, establish the rule of the bourgeoisie, and create a bourgeois state. In colonised or subjugated countries, bourgeois revolutions often take the form of a war of national independence. The Dutch, English, American, and French revolutions are considered the archetypal bourgeois revolutions, in that they attempted to clear away the remnants of the medieval feudal system, so as to pave the way for the rise of capitalism. The term is usually used in contrast to “proletarian revolution“, and is also sometimes called a “bourgeois-democratic revolution“.

According to one version of the two-stage theory, bourgeois revolution was asserted to be a necessary step in the move toward socialism. In this view, countries that had preserved their feudal structure, like Russia, would have to establish capitalism via a bourgeois revolution before being able to wage a proletarian revolution. At the time of the Russian Revolution, the Mensheviks asserted this theory, arguing that a revolution led by bourgeoisie was necessary to modernise society, establish basic freedoms, and overcome feudalism, which would establish the conditions necessary for socialism.

Other theories describe the evolution of the bourgeoisie as not needing a revolution. The German bourgeoisie during the 1848 revolution did not strive to take command of the political effort and instead sided with the crown. Neil Davidson attributes their behaviour to the late development of capitalist relations and uses this as the model for the evolution of the bourgeoisie.


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