Soon after the Russian revolution, the Communist International (also known as the Third International or Comintern) was formed for promoting revolutions on an international scale.
- The left-wing sections in many socialist parties now formed themselves into communist parties and they affiliated themselves to the Comintern.
- Communist parties were also formed in other countries, often with the active involvement and support of the Comintern.
- Thus the international communist movement arose under one organization which decided on policies to be followed by all communist parties
- The Soviet Union was considered the leader of the world communist movement by the communist parties in various countries and the Communist Party of Soviet Union played a leading role in determining the policies of the Comintern.
- It is generally agreed that Comintern was often used by the Soviet Union as an instrument for pursuing its own objectives.
- However, the formation of communist parties in many countries of the world with the objective of bringing about revolution and following common policies was a major consequence of the Russian Revolution.
With the formation of the Comintern, the socialist movement was divided into two sections — socialist and communist.
There were many differences between them on the methods of bringing about socialism and about the concept of socialism itself. Despite these differences, socialism became one of the most widely held ideologies within a few decades after its emergence. The spread of the influence of socialist ideas and movements after the First World War was in no small measure due to the success of the Russian Revolution.
The growing popularity of socialism and many achievements made by the Soviet Union led to a redefinition of democracy. Most people who did not believe in socialism also began to recognize that for democracy to be real, political rights without social and economic rights were not enough. Economic and social affairs could not be left to the capitalists. The idea of the state playing an active role in regulating the economy and planning the economy to improve the conditions of the people was accepted.
The biblical idea, revived by the socialist movement and the Russian Revolution, ‘He that does not work neither shall he eat’, gained widespread acceptance, adding a new dignity to labour. The popularity of socialism also helped to mitigate discriminations based on race, colour and sex.
The spread of socialist ideas also helped nip promoting internationalism. The nations, at least in theory, began to accept the idea that their relations with other nations should go farther than merely promoting their narrow self-interests. Many problems which were considered national began to be looked upon as concerns of the world as a whole. The universality and internationalism which were fundamental principles of socialist ideology from the beginning were totally opposed to imperialism.
The Russian Revolution served to hasten the end of imperialism. According to Marx, a nation which enslaves another nation can never be free. Socialists all over the world organized campaigns for putting an end to imperialism.
The new Soviet state came to be looked upon as a friend of the peoples of the colonies struggling for national independence. Russia after the Revolution was the first country in Europe to openly support the cause of independence of all nations from foreign rule. Immediately after the Revolution, the Soviet government had annulled the unequal treaties which the Czar had imposed on China. It also gave assistance of various kinds to Sun Yat Sen in his struggle for the unification of China.
The Russian Revolution also influenced the movements for independence in so far as the latter gradually broadened the objectives of independence to include social and economic equality through planned economic development.
Writing about the Russian Revolution in his Autobiography, Jawaharlal Nehru said, “It made me think of politics much more in terms of social change.”