The Provisional Government wasn't able to stop Lenin and the Bolsheviks in 1917 because of its inability to gain support from all sections of the population. Many factors contributed to the Provisional Governments downfall. Most importantly was their decision to continue the war, their failure to act upon the urgent social and economic problems, the fact that they were weakened by the actions and authority of the Petrograd Soviet, and the rising influence the Bolshevik's had on the people.
The authority of the Provisional Government had been completely undermined by the disastrous policy of defeatism - continuing the war. Military defeat, mutiny, insurrection on the front, continued food shortages, inflation and the collapse of order and authority at home had been the result. Factory owners used the Bolshevik defeat in July as an excuse to apply discipline on the shop floor. Consequently strikes had occurred, productivity had fallen, food had remained scarce, wages had not kept pace with rising prices and fuel shortages continued. The people began to get impatient once again, demonstrating their discontent. Events even not of their own making continued to work in the favour of the Bolsheviks. Nikolai Sukhanov, a Menshevik member of the Soviet Executive Committee went so far as to state that the rise of the Bolsheviks had less to do with 'Bolshevism' and Lenin's ideas, more-so a general dislike for Kerensky and the policies of the Provisional Government.
The Provisional government had delayed any real ...