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Defenders of the MotherlandThe Tsarist Elite in Revolutionary Russia$
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Matthew Rendle

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236251.001.0001

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(p.230) Conclusion
Defenders of the Motherland

Matthew Rendle (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The conclusion argues that elites in Russia were far from obsolete by 1917 and that a move from a class‐based identity to one focused on professional concerns provided a basis for them to exist in the absence of Tsarism. The Russian Revolution facilitated this move, with elites responding to the mass movement by establishing new organizations. Elites engaged with the revolution and were far from an inert, counter‐revolutionary force. This demonstrates that revolutionary democracy enabled groups to participate, irrespective of popular support. Changing identities, however, fuelled the divisions that led to the failure of Kornilov's revolt and undermined the White armies in the civil war. The conclusion examines the weaknesses of White ideology. Finally, it argues that elites influenced the revolutionary process, fostering popular fears of counter‐revolution and encouraging Russians to see Bolshevism as preferable to the Provisional Government, offering real change and defending the revolution.

Keywords:   Elites, identity, Provisional Government, revolutionary democracy, White armies, White ideology, civil war, counter‐revolution

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