When analysing a complex, contradictory and dramatic process of drastic transfigurations after October 1917, it is important to realise from the very start, that it's absolutely non-perspective to try to catch real lineament of the process, looking at it through unicolour glasses (of any sort: pink, black etc.) Each revolution demonstrates full assortment of mutually exclusive events, phenomena and tendencies, on the base of which all of the conceivable human virtues and vices are able to flourish.
The revolutionary discharge of unbelievable force in that fatal 1917 was (in this or that variant) inevitable. As a result of fulfilment of a complex of crucial innovations (the substance of which was to concentrate in the hands of the Russian state control levers primarily of regulation and then of managing economics and the entire society) pre-conditions were created of movement along the road of non-capitalistic modernisation. To accept that way wittingly to be a deadlock one would be a mistake. Since it's hard to find a country in the modern world, social forces of which didn't respond in some way or other to that challenge. But we ourselves were in for a lot of terrible hardships, underwater rocks, which we weren't able to go over. Cleansing of "Aegean stables" of old Russia, which was carried out with swinging arms and enormous cruelty, swept sometimes the frameworks of the society, hurting vitals of it's functioning.
A drastic evil in the Bolshevics' policy: destroying pluralistic structure of social forces, which was no question the main source of independent socialist movement. In economic sphere it was expressed in the fact that Bolshevics couldn't in the long run (narrowness of ideological vision was among other reasons) to get along with the market. In political area - in destroying traditions of political and ideological variety, which had just begun to take root.
Economic crisis is not only a source, a pre-condition of any revolution, but also a real field, on which its main social and political battles are spread. In that situation three basic tasks arise before the revolutionary power: (1) to set the destiny-making, backbone tasks of drastic reorganisation, remaking social relations and try to solve them; (2) to reach the turning point in the situation, first of all in its economic side, as soon as possible; (3) to define vector of movement towards historical perspective correctly.
Working energetically in all the three directions, the Bolshevics made a good job in realisation of the first task: they cleaned thoroughly from rust and radically reconstructed all the main units of the half-feudal, half-bourgeois machine. "Reverse movement from the edge of the gap", that is work in economic sphere, started as well. There were hopes for a certain improvement, of course, but the Civil War made its gloomy corrections.
Situation with solving the third task was more complex and tragic. Bolshevics' doctrinal belief in the idea that "after the country comes out of the crisis and gets to the smooth water it will be able to go along the roadway of socialism" couldn't stand the test of time. Primarily this belief was backed with a hope for the "world revolution" (to be more precise - for socialist overturn in the key European countries) and for effective help from revolutionary regimes of those countries. This idea brought a certain accent to all the actions in the first years of the Soviet power.
Paradox of the situation was that socialist (better to say - anti-capitalist) direction in Bolshevics' policy under the pressing of internal and external circumstances strengthened in the same proportion as their hopes for the "world" social explosive fizzled out. The understanding of socialism in those conditions became just ideological capsule with a random substance, which was dictated by circumstances, collisions and contradictions of the time.
The temporary effect, reached by means of a "cavalry attack" to capitalism, fortified the illusion of power in regard to unlimited possibilities of dictatorship methods in economics and other spheres of social life. The truce in spring of 1918 created certain preconditions for broadening the compass of search, which was expressed in appeal to build more in the realm of social relations and to destroy less.
Those gingerly ideas and understandings couldn't break the monolith of dictatorial methods in solving social problems. Moreover, real internal and external situation helped searching right ways to social progress just for a very short time.
Having passed the furnace of that horrible fratricidal war and having jellied into tough "military-and-communistic" structures, Russian society was in many respects fated for irreversibility of devolution in spirit of pseudo-socialism. The "reverse motion" switched on in the years of the New Economic Policy, couldn't change anything seriously. Having shifted to the authoritarian and bureaucratic metals, the state colossus responded more and more to ideological and political preconceptions and taboos, not to demands of the society. Calamitous aftermath of that revealed themselves soon after: the Soviet type of non-capitalistic updating in the current shape became a fundament for formation of totalitarian regime in the USSR with all logical tragic aftermath in different spheres of social life activity.
Revolutions of 1917
Russia in NEP
Industrialization. USSR in 30s
USSR in Second World War (1939-1945)
First Post-war Decade
XX CPSU Congress. "Thaw" (1956-1964)
Epoch of "Developed Socialism" (1964-1985)