Preventing the October Revolution in Russia?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What would you have done to prevent the October Revolution of Russia?

Who is the “you” you’re referring to? Assuming you refer to the Provisional Government that itself ascended to power after an earlier revolution of February 1917, its policy options were severely limited. Whatever they could do would be too little too late… And many things they could do, they wouldn’t…

The country was extremely overextended due to the lunacy of the Romanovs and their advisors. Too many people, instead of growing food in their villages, were feeding fleas in the trenches of World War I, too much gold that could be used to buy food was wasted on the war. The country needed peace and food. Theoretically, both goals could be achieved by immediately concluding a separate peace with the Central Powers and sending farmers home in time for planting, but in practice, it took the Bolsheviks, who were even more desperate, nine weeks to negotiate such separate peace in 1918. So even if the Provisional Government did decide to negotiate it immediately after taking power in February (and it had no such intentions; instead, it proclaimed that the war would be fought “until the victorious end”), it would be too late to get the farmers back home in time for planting.

But even if by some miracle the farmers did make it home in time for planting, what would they plant? The country was basically eating through its seed supply… And on what land? The majority of land was owned by the royal family and other noble families…

Whichever way you turn it, some combination of food aid, peace treaty, and land reform was long overdue. The problem was, the only country rich enough to provide food aid, the U.S., was also the ally in the hopeless war. So food aid and peace could not be had together. But the Provisional Government, while maintaining an aggressive stance on war, made no attempts at either food aid or land reform…

Needless to say, at this point the Bolsheviks, with their program of immediate separate peace, nationalization of agricultural lands, and distribution of use rights to farmers rent-free, started looking mighty attractive, especially because 80% of Russian population at the time were farmers… The city-dwellers could also be persuaded by the fear of German occupation (after all, the German army literally stood at the outskirts of St. Petersburg)…

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