Russia 1855-1964 Nature of Govt Ideology

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  • Nature of Government- Ideology
    • Autocracy
      • Three Pillars of Tsarism
        • God
        • Paternalistic duty
        • Practical necessity
      • Pobedonestev beleived that the russian population was too illiterate to understand democracy
      • Alexander II
        • Stuck closely to autocratic principles
        • Willing reformer, but wanted to preserve autocracy
      • Alexander III
        • 'The Reaction' to father's assassination
        • Beleived the Slav people to stupid, 'inert and lazy' for greater freedoms
        • Willing to enact reforms if they benefit Russia as a whole
      • Nicholas II
        • Continued severe autocratic rule from his father
        • October Manifesto and Duma step towards democracy, but limited by Fundamental laws
    • Dictatorship
      • Lenin based his ideology of govt on the work of Karl Marx and Engels. It was centered on two key principles
        • The 'superstructure' of institutions from Tsarist times had to be destroyed and replaced with bodies that would create an egalitarian society
        • Marx's Labour Theory of Value became a justification for Lenin to overthrow Tsarist rule.
      • The 'Labour Theory of Value'
        • Claimed that under capitalism the proletariat would never gain full value of their efforts, disproportionate wages would go to capitalists, in others words they would be exploited
        • Marx predicted that a government formed by workers would result
        • Workers would eventually overthrow the capitalists
        • In the short term, intellectuals such as Lenin would be needed to help workers govern
        • Once the proletariat became more educated a dictatorship of the proletariat would form
      • Lenin implemented his ideology by:
        • Using his writings, What is to be Done? 1902 argued that they needed to bypass a democratically elected assembly and go straight to a govt led by a party central committee bc workers did not have the political knowledge
        • Leading a Bolshevik revolution in Oct 1917
        • Engaging in Civil war 1917-21
        • Using War Communism to keep support, implemented with a degree of ruthlessness (similar to A III Russification, both used secret police)
        • NEP to make concessions, ensuring backing of moderate Bolsheviks, but caused split in party eg. Trotsky wanted to move away from NEP to more 'permanent revolution' throughout the world, whereas some like Bukharin wanted to focus on 'socialism in one country'
    • Totalistarianism
      • Stalin redefined Marxism-Leninism towards a more totalitarian state, with two main strands :
        • Implementation of a command economy, based on centralised planning and collectivisation
        • The personalisation of the superstructure so that total control of the economy, society, and politics was in the hands of one person- Stalin. Achieved through the use of propoganda, cult of personality, increased censorship and repression of opposition
      • Stalin and totalitarianism was possibly because:
        • He exploited circumstances to implement a practical solution to Russia's problems. If 5 yr plans + collectivisation were to be successful no one could question them
        • Another view is that he was a megolomaniac, who did anything to get more power
        • He believed that he built upon what Lenin made, the establishment of the Party Central Committee and the use of the Cheka
      • Destalinisation
        • By 1956 Khrushchev had implemented a plan to move the Soviet Union away from stalinism, he denounced stalinism on the grounds of:
          • It was not Lenin's wish that Stalin should become leader
          • Stalin had not prepared the Soviet Union adequately for WWII
          • Stalin had committed crimes against the Russian people
          • Possible 'outsider' allies such as Yugoslavia had been alienated by Stalin
        • Khrushchev proceeded with destalinisation by:
          • Releasing political prisoners from Gulags
          • Relaxing censorship
          • Attempting to remove the cult of personality
        • However, did not signal a move away from authoritarian rule, Khrushchev continued to use physical force to repress opposition


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