Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964 notes

Notes from the Heinneman OCR History A book on pretty much everything except the Provisional Government and the civil war :)

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  • Created on: 07-06-12 11:56
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Agriculture: central to Russian life.
Underlying factors: climate ­ imposed limitations on Russian farmers waste land unsuitability of a large
part of Russia for cultivation limited urban market.
State = a considerable force for change ­ consider: was life for Russian peasants better under the Tsars
or the Commissars? How much continuity/change was there?
Emancipation of the Serfs 1861
o Didn't change much of Russian agricultural tradition, especially the Mir
o Redemption payments restricted individual enterprise of peasants
Low productivity and investment
Famines = constant of Russian life, e.g. horrific famine of 1891
Major changes under Nicholas II (1894 ­ 1917)
o After 1905 revolution, Stolypin's land reforms ­ encouraged land purchase
o Mir abolished
o Peasants freer to migrate, encouraged to consolidate holdings and make improvements
o Seen by Lenin as a threat to the opportunity for revolution
o However, by 1915 peasants were returning to the Mir due to war fears
o During war, lots withheld to maintain a good price
o After war, peasants looked for land ­ offered by SRs and later by Lenin
Lenin and Bolsheviks in power Oct 1917
o Peasant support won by Decree on Land and by fear of the Whites in the Civil War
(although peasants also formed their own party, the greens)
o Bolsheviksruthless in taking resources for the war: requisitioning
o Met with violence by peasants, they burnt crops to stop them being taken
o 1921 ­ New Economic Policy, Lenin's form of compromise
Reversed requisitioning
Attempts at collectivised agriculture
1921 ­ 1928, Russian Peasantry farmed their own land for profit
But little largescale investment, low productivity, and tendency for smallscale
o Lenin's agriculture: too backward to provide for urban needs, too little capital for industrial
Stalin brought major changes
o 1928 ­ second Russian Revolution
o Large grain seizure to be used for foreign currency to finance industry and ensure grain
supplies saw violent resistance
o Policy developed into fullscale Collectivisation
Biggest change in Russian agriculture since Serfdom, biggest change on any country
Stalin was called "The Engineer of Human Souls"
State was now going to war against the peasants
Resistance met with repression
Kulaks denounced by other peasants and deported or killed
Crops burned
Manmade famine created in wealthiest regions
Cities starved, cannibalism existed
Process = remorseless
Bulk of Russian agriculture collectivised by 1935
Growing inwardness of Russian life ­ connected to political purges of later 1930s
Russia became a superpower after their victory in WW2, but that's not to say that
their agricultural issues at home were sorted
Khrushchev = first peasant born Russian leader so high expectations

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Central planning remained dominant philosophy
o Shied away from political changes which could have created the necessary freedom for
agriculture to flourish
o Virgin Lands Scheme
o Agriculture still a problem after the fall of Khrushchev
Similarities and Differences: 1855 ­ 1964
land remained highly important in terms of Russian economy
o more than 90% Russians were rural in 1856, in 1964 still 40%
o environmental factors that inhibited farming prosperity…read more

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Discontent showing amongst private serfs
o Crimean War rural unrest
"It is better to abolish serfdom from above than wait until it will begin to abolish itself from
below" Alexander II, 1856
Measures taken:
main principles of the Emancipation Act:
o freed peasants could become proprietors of land
o they were to receive land so they could support their family and pay taxes
o the state would compensate the nobility
o peasants would pay their former owners redemption dues
Reform = result of a need…read more

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­so still attachment to collective agriculture
political power of peasants limited by changes to the Duma
continuing unrest, growth of SRs, increased population ­ land hunger
More or less successful than 1861?
increase in production of 27% between late 1890s and 190913
Russia became leading world grain exporter
Greater rural market due to prices and wages rising
Growth in use of farm machinery
Reduction in illiteracy 51% male literacy in 1987 vs.…read more

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o 1922 saw a turning point ­ progress in production
o Greater efficiency
o Based on insecure foundations
Collectivisation, 1928 ­ 41:
introduced in 1928 alongside FiveYear Plans
October 1927 Party Conference called for `a decisive offensive against the kulaks'
Requisitioning started again: Winter of 192728
16th Party Congress Oct 1929 set target for 46million acres of land to be collectivised
These goals were made more extensive in Nov and Dec of 1929
Dec 1929: 30,000 activists campaigned against peasantry
o Take grain
o…read more

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Production and productivity were depressed due to labour shortage, animal and equipment shortage,
low agr. prices and high consumer prices
Biological yields weren't working
Kolkhozes were left lagging behind
Main elements of agricultural change under Khrushchev:
Collective farms made larger
o Greater central management
Higher prices paid for produce and an attempt to get rid of rural poverty
MTS became a sort of directing force **research**
National initiatives e.g.…read more

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Facilitated by limited control of imports, allowing entrepreneurial freedom and moderate taxation
under Von Reutern (186478)
Could be seen as a period of economic and social development
Contrast to post1880s economy, which is more in line with Soviet era
Late 1870s ­ Russia hit by economic downturn due to tariffs and the RussoTurkish was 187778, as
well as bad harvests of 187881, recurring in 1885 and 1891
The State and Industry
abolition of serfdom hadn't produced "an individualistic capitalist agriculture"
there wasn't a strong middle…read more

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Later Tsarist Development
Changes made after 1905 were built upon the foundations laid by Witte
Agricultural development used the railway network to market produce and built upon Witte's policy
of a Peasant Land Bank
Witte's low taxes on the rich meant at least some capital for investment when foreign capital was
less available
An available workforce = good
Financial ministers managed to avoid high taxation
Expansion of consumer goods
State was playing a leading role in:
o Railway construction
o Foreign loans
o Rearmament
o…read more

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Oil = 41% of 1913 level
Wheat = 43% of prewar levels
o Typhus, cholera and scarlet fever: short medical supplies
Lenin basically had the task of recreating modern industry which could defend itself
Comparison between Lenin and the Tsars
preAlexander II and Lenin era are similar in terms of freedom to the peasantry, without a great
degree of foreign investment
The NEP and Witte's great spurt are comparable in terms of forced economic growth
War disrupted the growth in both instances
The FiveYear Plans,…read more

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Oct 1853 between Russia and Turkey
fought on 3 fronts: the Crimean front Baltic pacific
embarrassing for Russia ­ they were losing badly
Alexander II brought it to an end ­ Treaty of Paris 1856: Russia no longer had access to the
High casualties: 250,000 allies vs.…read more



Thanks - this was great!

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