During the civil war thus unleashed by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk the Bolsheviks (Reds), who controlled Petrograd, Moscow and the central Russian heartland, soon found themselves surrounded by hostile forces (Whites) - made up of the more conservative elements in Russia - who launched a series of campaigns in 1919 that threatened to crush the revolution.
Anarchist and Bolshevik agitators played their own part in destroying the Russian Army's ability to fight. Many anti-war radicals, along with the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, were ferried home from exile in Switzerland in April 1917, courtesy of the German General Staff (which had spent roughly 30 million marks trying to foment disorder in Russia by the end of 1917).
Essay: Russian Revolutions of 1917 - Online Essays
The summer offensive was a disaster. Peasant soldiers deserted en masse to join the revolution, and fraternisation with the enemy became common. Meanwhile, in an attempt to restore order and resist the German counter-offensive, most of the generals and forces of the political right threw their weight behind a plan for a military coup, under the Russian Army's commander-in-chief, General Kornilov.