The Bolsheviks came to power on a tide of popular support for‘peace, bread and land’, powerful slogans that captured the spirit of exhaustion after nearly three and a half years of war. The old regime bequeathed to the new not only a backward economy but also a society ravaged by war. Russia’s victorious revolutionaries inherited a country on the verge of complete collapse. The output of basic manufactured goods had plummeted, a fuel crisis threatened the lives of vulnerable people, severe shortages of food made mass starvation a strong possibility, particularly in Russia’s swollen towns and cities, and inflation undermined economic transactions.