Russian History. Theme 1 - Government

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  • Created on: 02-04-18 14:27
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  • Russia: Theme 1 - Control
    • Lenin
      • Establishment of a one-party state
        • 10th Party Congress of 1921
          • In the first 3 months of 1921, 5,000 Mensheviks were arrested
          • Banned all parties as well as the formation of cations within the Party
        • Constituent Assembly dissolved in 1918
          • The SR's had emerged as the largest party with 21 million votes
          • The Bolsheviks had only gained 9 million
        • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
          • Took Russia out of WW1, at the cost of the Baltic States, Finland, Ukraine and parts if the Caucasus region
          • National Humiliation. Spurred on opposition like the Whites
        • Russian Civil War 1918-21
          • Red Army fought against the Whites, who were made up of liberals, Tsar royalists, minorities and SR's and Mensheviks
            • This led to divisions within the army. There was very little co-operation compared to the Red Army
          • The demands of the war led to the centralisation of the state, and the use of extensive terror
      • Nature of Government
        • Soviet Government
          • 1. Sovnarkom: Council of People's Commissars, taking the role of the cabinet
          • 2. Central Executive Committee: Oversee work of the government
          • 3. All-Russian Congress of Soviets: Approved laws issued by the Sovnarkom.
        • The Communist Party
          • 1. Politburo: Key decision-making body.
          • 2. Central Committee: Supposed to make key decisions on policy,
          • 3. Party Congress: made up of representative of local party branches.
          • Local Party Branches which were each headed by a Party secretary
        • Democratic Centralism
          • This system claimed that it was based on Democratic Centralism.
          • In reality, the Soviets power was undermined. They weren't involved in decision-making and were instead used for rubber-stamping laws.
      • Growing Centralisation
        • Power Centralisation
          • During the Civil War, power was transferred upwards to the Politburo to aid in decision-making.
          • After the Civil War, those with power were reluctant to give it up.
        • Lenin's Personal Power
          • Lenin was the Chair of the Sovnarkom and a Politburo member. His power became limited after he became ill from 1922.
          • Lenin preferred a collective leadership, by which issues were discussed before decisions were made
          • However, he exercised influence due to his own personal authority by making threats to resign,
        • Nomenklatura System
          • Drew up lists of approved party employees suitable for certain jobs.
          • Encouraged loyalty. To not be loyal would mean you would lose your place on the list.
          • By 1924, membership had reached 1 million.
        • 1924 Soviet Consitution
          • Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
          • Brought republics like Ukraine under the control of the central Party structure
          • Confirmed the power of the Party. It was an important step in the centralisation of power.
        • Use of Terror
          • Cheka, headed by Felix Dzerzhinskey, was formed in December 1917
          • Replaced by the OGPU in 1922. Terror became more beaucratic
    • Stalin
      • Elimination of Party opponents
        • Stalin's Opponents
          • Leon Trotsky - seen as the obvious successor
            • Gregory Zinoviev - Party Sec. of Leningrad
            • Left-Wing
          • Gregory Zinoviev - Party Sec. of Leningrad
          • Lev Kamenev - Party Sec. of Moscow
            • Leon Trotsky - seen as the obvious successor
              • Left-Wing
          • Nikolai Bukharin - 'Golden Boy' of the party
            • Mikhail Tomsky - leading trade union figure
              • Right-Wing
          • Mikhail Tomsky - leading trade union figure
            • Right-Wing
          • Alexei Rykov - Chair of Sovnarkom
          • Removal of Political Rivals
            • Left-Wing Opponents
              • View's criticised at the 15th Party Congress in 1926.
              • Accused of forming factions, they were expelled from the Party.
              • Only Kamnev and Zinoviev renounced their views and were readmitted
            • Right-Wing Oponnents
              • Stalin accused Bukharin of forming factions, and accused him of Trotsky ism
              • 1929 Bukharin was forced to admit the errors of his political judgement
              • Supporters of the Right in Moscow's party branch and the trade unions were removed
            • By 1929, Stalin was in a dominant position, having developed a personal dictatorship.
        • The 1930's Purges
          • 1932-35 Chitska
            • Purge of Party membership
            • Designed to speed up the implementation of economic policies
            • By 1935 22% of the party had been removed
          • Instruments of Terror
            • Party Secretariat collected information of Party members that could be used to condemn them
            • By 1934 the OGPU had evolved into the NKVD. They ran gulags.
            • Stalin set quotas which gave a percentage of each party branch to be identified as enemies of the state
          • The Great Purge
            • The 1934 murder of Kirov by Nikolayev was the catalyst for the purging of large sections of the CP, due to the theory that Kirov was part of an opposition.
            • Show Trials
              • Trial of the Sixteen: In August 1936, Zinoviev and Kamnev were accused of working with Trotsky to undermine the state
              • Trial of the Seventeen: In 1937 Party Officials like Karl Radek were accused of working with Trotsky to sabotage the economy.
              • Trial of the Twenty One: Attack on the Right in 1938. Bukharin and Rykov were accused of forming a Trotskyite-Rightist Bloc.
            • Within the Red Army, 3/5 marshals, 14/16 commanders and 35,000 officers were purged
            • In 1936, Yagoda, head of the NKVD, was replaced by Yezhov.
        • Stalin's Power over party and state
          • The Communist Party
            • By 1930 Stalin was the only original member of the 1924 Politburo
            • The Politburo was filled with his cronies, like Molotov and Kalinin.
            • By the 1930's the Politburo only met 9 times a year, due to Stalins growing power
            • Power became focused in subgroups set outside the Politburo were Stalin could exercise control
          • 1936 Soviet Consitution
            • The Constitution appeared to be highly democratic, giving civil rights and a guarantee of employment
            • However, it was a fraud. It listed restrictions of the rights of citizens, making it clear that nothing could threaten Stalin's dominion
          • Limits to Stalin's power
            • It was impossible for Stalin to stay on top of all events, and thus he had to prioritise and focus on specific issues
            • There is evidence of the Politburo opposing Stalin's wishes
              • They refused to agree to execute Ryutin in 1932.
              • Some saw the targets of the 2nd FYP as too high, and that it would result in chaos and opposition. Stalin was forced to redraft it.
          • 2nd World War
            • The military were coordinated through the Supreme Command (Stavka)
            • Terror reduced, and some ex-Party officials were released
            • Stalin emerged from the war as a hero of the Soviet people
          • High Stalinism 1945-53
            • Party moved to reassert authority after the war
            • Stalin's health had been in decline since the war, and so increasingly relied on political scheming to divide potential rivals
      • Khrushchev
        • Reform of the government
          • Secret Speech
            • At the 20th Party Congress in 1956, Khruschev took to criticise Stalin
            • Accused Stalin of his economic mistakes, and creating a cult of personality.
          • De-Stalinisation
            • Regular meetings of the Presidium and Central Committee continued
            • de-centralise decision-making powers by giving power to regional orgainsations
            • No longer prison time for failure to meet targets
            • Secret Police brought under Party control, and they lost control over gulags
            • 2 million political prisoners were released
        • Crisis and further reform
          • The 1957 Crisis
            • The moving of decision-making powers threatened to reduce the power of Party leaders
            • This led to the Anti-Party Group opposition, led by Malenkov and Molotov, who persuaded the Presidium for Khrushchevs resignation
            • The issue went to the Central Committee, where it was rejected. Molotov became ambassador to Mongolia and Melankov was put in charge of electricity.
          • Party Reforms of 1961
            • Purge of local party secretaries
            • Division of the party into agricultural and industrial departments
            • Limit to the tenure of Party Officials to 3 years
              • Threatened the power and privilege of Party Officials
            • Stalin's statue was removed from Lenin's mausoleum in Red Square
        • Downfall Of Khrushchev. 1964
          • Growing Unpopularity
            • economic mistakes and the humiliation of the Cuban missile crisis, as well as his unpredictable behaviour made him unpopular
            • 1963 saw a disastrous harvest, led on by the failure of his Virgin Lands Scheme
          • Removal
            • The Central Committee dismissed him from his posts, as his reforms had made the party bureaucrats uneasy
            • The fact that he was sacked and retired was a sign of his impact on the Party. Stalin would have had them shot.
      • Brezhnev
        • Return to Stability
          • Reversal of de-Stalinisation
            • Division of the party was dropped
            • Limits on the tenure were removed
            • Guiding principles were to be a collective leadership and 'trust in cadres'
              • Party Officials were to enjoy long, unbroken tenures
            • No more subjectivism. Decisions could no longer be made by the leader without consulting the party.
          • 1977 Soviet Consitution
            • the right for citizens to criticise ineffective Party secretaries.
            • Positions were gained through appointments instead of elections
            • 'mature socialism'
        • Power within the party and government
          • Personal Power
            • Brezhnev awarded himself numerous medals like the Lenin Peace Prize
            • Despite the symbolism of power, he exercised less personal power than his predecessors
          • 'Trust in Cadres'
            • Brezhnev preferred to trust Party comrades and let them get on with their jobs
            • This made him popular, but it led to stagnation and corruption
        • Growing Political Stagnaton
          • Party Strcture
            • By 1980 the structure developed under Stalin had become so entrachnhed that it was difficult to change
            • The Party leadership had developed into an oligarchy.
              • Brezhnev had ensured the promotion of his old colleagues, like Kosygin and Suslov
          • Corruption
            • Corruption went unnoticed. The cotton affair for example led to millions of roubles being claimed for non-existent cotton
            • Nepotism was common was jobs were given to the family members of party officials

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