One hundred years ago (Jan 19, 1918) the Bolsheviks forcibly dissolved the Russian Constituent Assembly, kickstarting the Russian Civil War.
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Brown = Social Revolutionaries; Red = Bolsheviks; Green = Regional SR’s; Yellow = Local parties.
More germane reason: The Bolsheviks had only gotten 24.5% of the vote, getting beaten out by the Social Revolutionaries with 40.4%.
This doesn’t change even if we account for the Left SR’s deserting to the Bolsheviks, since they only won 4o mandates to the Right SR’s 375 and the Bolsheviks’ 175.
Contrary to both Communist and Western Russophobe propaganda, Russians never voted in the Bolsheviks, let alone gave them license to usurp absolute power and launch a civil war.
The median point of public sentiment prior to the war was approximately between as-is (Right and nationalists) and constitutional monarchy (Octobrists). That median point shifted radically left by 1917, yet even so it remained firmly in non-Bolshevik territory, corresponding to the positions of the Social Revolutionaries, and of their main (“Right SRs”) faction – aka basically the equivalents of European social democrats – in particular. While a left turn was inevitable, especially on land redistribution, there was no plans for mass confiscations or ending a war that, despite its political turmoil, Russia was still winning (Austria-Hungary had been preparing to sue for peace immediately before the October Revolution). In essence, the Bolsheviks roundly failed the sole quantitative test of their legitimacy, namely, free elections. That is despite the demoralization of two revolutions, the Provisional Government’s persecution of right-wing parties, and incessant Bolshevik subversion of the army and the home front.
The Bolsheviks were never prepared to accept the democratic will of the people. Lenin made it very clear that giving the institution any power was effectively a betrayal of the proletariat and the Revolution. Sovnarkom fatefully undermined its authority before it even went into session (banning the bourgeois Kadets; decreeing that it needed to achieve quorum to meet, making it critically dependent on the Bolsheviks; decreeing that all power belonged to the Soviets anyway, and that anyone thinking otherwise would be treated as a counter-revolutionary).
On the first – and last – day of the Constituent Assembly’s convention at the Tauride Palace on January 18, the Bolshevik Sverdlov Yakov Sverdlov demanded they recognize the Soviets as the ultimate power in the land. The other parties refused. The Bolsheviks walked out, and the Left SRs followed them. The plan was to surround the Tauride Palace with Latvian Riflemen the following morning and bar the delegates entrance. But in the end, that plan proved superfluous; the red sailors who were tasked with keeping watch over the proceedings after the Bolsheviks departed kicked out the delegates early in the night. Most of those delegates soon left the capital for gathering centers of resistance in the provinces, or fled abroad. The Bolsheviks declared the Constituent Assembly to be a nest of counter-revolutionary forces on January 19.
Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917: Bolshevik share of the vote.
Who did vote for the Bolsheviks? The Latvians and Estonians of the Governorate of Livonia gave them 72% of the vote, the highest of any region in the Russian Empire.
They then proceeded to form the hard core of the Bolshevik’s armed muscle in the critical early months of the Civil War. Ethnic Latvians formed an outright majority (!) of the Cheka’s commissars in 1918, and the Red Latvian Riflemen played a central role in crushing the initial anti-Bolshevik uprisings in central Russia. Consequently, bereft of Russia’s industrial and logistical heartlands from the very start, the dice were loaded against the Whites.
Of course none of this stops Latvians from demanding Russia pay them muh reparations just for making them live with their democratic choices of 1917, come 1940.