Life improved for many ordinary people in Lenin's Russia. But Russia was now a dictatorship [Dictatorship: A country ruled by one person, who makes all the laws and decisions for that country. ] and anyone who openly criticised Communism risked losing their life.
Five aspects of the communist state
The Bolsheviks [Bolsheviks: Russian revolutionary group originally led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Bolsheviks gained power in Russia in 1917, and became the dominant political party there. ] wanted to set up a Communist state. This comprised five aspects:
- Peace - as promised, Lenin made the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany although it meant that Russia lost vast amounts of its best industrial and agricultural land in Poland and the Ukraine.
- Communist economy - the Bolsheviks gave the land previously owned by the nobles to the peasants, and factories were handed over to workers' committees.
- Communist laws - the Bolsheviks banned religion; brought in an eight-hour day for workers, as well as unemployment pay and pensions; abolished the teaching of history and Latin, while encouraging science; and allowed divorce.
- Communist propaganda - there was a huge campaign to teach everyone to read. Agit trains' went around the country showing communist newsreels and giving lectures to teach peasants about Communism.
- Dictatorship - Lenin dismissed the Constituent Assembly, which was the parliament that the Provisional Government had arranged, and declared the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' (which was really, the dictatorship of Lenin). A secret police force called the Cheka arrested, tortured and killed anybody who tried to destroy the Communist state.