The soviets were hesitant to claim direct governmental authority because they were afraid that the army generals would stage a military takeover.
Initially, they acted more as monitors of the Government than as confident or assertive leaders.
The soviets were so unpredictable that there was a further problem.
Their meetings were often chaotic and their procedures were constantly changing.
The soviet delegates were elected in a way that benefited the urban working class and the rural peasantry.
The French Revolution had a third power, the seething urban mobs, that constantly pressured the soviet delegates.
It is difficult to believe that any form of government could have responded adequately to the intransigent demands of the Russian Empire at this time.
The angry genie of revolution would not be easily calmed.
The authority of military officers over their men had often vanished by the summer months as authorities were everywhere being challenged.
Workers were taking over factories.
Peasants were taking over large landholders and soldiers were rushing home from the front to get their share.
National minorities wanted independence.
The opening stages of the revolutions of 1789 and 1848 were going to solve everything.
The revolution contributed to a breakdown of social discipline and economic productivity.
Mass starvation was threatened by the drop in food deliveries from the countryside to the cities.
The Provisional Government was ill-equipped to satisfy mounting pressure from all sides, who were trying to prevent chaos and preserve Russia's credibility with its war-time allies.
A shake-up in May 1917 resulted in the addition of three more socialists and Kerensky taking over the leadership of the government.
Adding more socialists in subsequent months didn't make a difference because it was too late.
The most divisive decision of the government was to continue the war.
The new offensive against the Austro-Hungarian army in Galicia fell apart after stalling.
Most of the Russian army could no longer be considered a reliable fighting force because the military front had ceased to exist.
Those who hoped that the revolution could be kept within moderate bounds thought that Kerensky was the man of the hour.
He was praised for his oratory, but he lacked the decisiveness, astuteness, and ruthlessness of his Bolshevik enemies.
The July Uprising in Petrograd was largely driven by the Petrograd mob and was blamed on the Bolsheviks.
Even if they had exploited the popular resentments that produced it, the Bolsheviks did not plan it or control it.
The Bolshevik Party's leaders reluctantly identified themselves with the uprising in order to be wrong on the side of the revolutionaries.
Kerensky ordered the arrest of the leaders of the Bolshevik Party because he believed they were the instigators of the revolt.
Many Bolshevik leaders were captured and thrown into jail after they escaped in disguise.
200 rebels were killed in street battles.
The conclusion was that the revolutionaries had overplayed their hand and had been crushed.
That was not the correct conclusion.
At the time of his return from exile in Switzerland to Petrograd in April 1917, his popular following was small and his party in disarray, but the drama and significance of his return was embellished in Bolshevik propaganda.
His most loyal lieutenants were confused by his April Theses, which called for a soviet-led government.
It's not easy to describe the evolution of Lenin's ideas at this time because he so often changed position, yet he came to be accepted by millions throughout the world as the mostEminent theorist of Marxism, and the revolution he and his party made came to rank as the model for Few at the time understood either his theory or his action, and to this day scholars debate both, although most agree that Lenin and his lieutenants were playing it by ear, so to speak, divided in opinion and not really sure where they were headed.
The Marxist position that Russia must pass through a stage of capitalism, but his evolving conception of the nature of that bourgeois stage came close to denying its necessity - or to shortening its duration so much that it had little significance.
The native bourgeois class in Russia was weak and obsequious, so any bourgeois revolution would tend to slide back in reactionary directions.
The question of whether the allied proletariat and peasantry could give up political power to their class enemy was important.
Many true believers in the Bolsheviks were confident that they were acting in the long-term interests of the people.
There is little doubt that many prominent Bolsheviks were driven by a hunger for power or corrupted by the realities of exercising and retaining it.
By the autumn of 1917, political power in Russia had become more accessible as a result of how and why the Bolsheviks were able to take power.
Political authority has become weakened and dispersed so much that formal claims to control the existing organs of central political power have little meaning.
The events of an unpredictable nature and unexpected consequences were played into the hands of the Bolsheviks.
Kerensky's plan to collaborate with the generals in establishing a military dictatorship that would destroy the soviets and reestablish firm authority in Russia gave rise to fears that he wanted to be the Napoleon of the revolution.
Kerensky was worried that the commander-in-chief of the Russian army, General Lavr Kornilov, had a plan to get rid of him.
Kerensky turned for support back to the revolutionary leaders who he had only recently jailed.
The threat of a military takeover, and the refusal of railway workers to transport the troops to the capital, became known as the Kornilov Affair.
The workers and soldiers in Petrograd and Moscow were the most important group in the victory of the Bolshevik Party.
The opportunity to seize power immediately should not be lost, as was argued by Lenin, who urged his fellow party leaders to do so.