The Revolution of 1917 was a culmination and a beginning; an old order was ended, a new one inaugurated. The events were also an interruption. Economic achievement had been impressed before the First World War and was substantial again under the NEP. The social transformation initiated in the late Imperial period was resumed in the early 1920s. Both Nicholas Il’s government and the Bolsheviks enabled such modernisation. State economic intervention, which was not negligible before 1917, was massive thereafter. The thrust towards modernity was not generated exclusively by political action from on high. Society in general helped to create and sustain it. The Imperial authorities could never subject their people to anything near to close control, and their incapacity was growing from the start of the twentieth century. Only spasmodic repression was practicable. Subsequently the Bolsheviks, despite amassing greater resources for coercion, encountered resistance from sections of the working class and the peasantry in the Civil War; and concessions were an acute requirement by 1921. There were other continuities between the two regimes. Open political opposition was restricted severely under Nicholas II until 1905 and even more severely under Bolshevism. Abject poverty persisted widely.
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