1.1.05 Nature of Gov- Repression+Enforcement



Repression = to control, restrain, prevent or inhibit the thoughts and actions of others. Epidemics of extreme repression = terrors, and were especially evident during communist rule. Main four tools of repression that all rulers used were:

  • the Secret police (to investigate, arrest, imprison, execute and exile opposition)
  • the Army (to deal with riots and unruly mob behaviour incl. strikes)
  • Propaganda: to manipulate the ideals values beliefs and attitudes of the people
  • Censorship: to control access to information that might affect the above of people
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The Third Section

  • Third Section=form of Secret police inherited by A2 to exile opponents. Replaced it with the Okhrana in 1880, less openly aggressive body. Ohkrana was used to target specific individuals and small groups of dissidents. 
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  • The Okhrana was given much more far-reaching powers under A3 with the Statute Concering Measure for the Protection of State Security 1881/ Law on Exceptional Measures, which allowed military courts to be set up, property to be confiscated and elected officials removed
  • Main job was to look for internal opponents who could threaten the government, eg the SRs and the SDs
  • A2 used Okhrana to spy on, arresst, imprison or exile opposition. Relative stability of 1890s = lower profile of the Okhrana. Members of the Okhrana were used as agents provocateurs eg Father Gapon as the SRs and SDs became more active with peak in 1905 and executioners. 
  • Also used by N2, lasting until Feb 1917, when the PG disbanded it in liberal move, 
  • PG focused more on wartime security, establishing the Counter Espionage Bureau of the Petrograd Military District-> was designed to weed out those undermining the war effort eg Bols.
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Cheka (+GPU)

  • Established in Dec 1917 by Bols (All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter Revolution and Sabotage) and led by Polish Communist, Dzerzhinsky.
  • Specific role was to deal with counter-revolutionaries eg Left SRs especially after they were linked with an attempt to assassinate Lenin in Aug 1918. 
  • Cheka DIFFERED to other secret polices because they used terror to victimise people based on who they were. 
  • Under Trotsky's guidance, formally implemented the Red Terror 1918-1921. In addition they implemented Lenin's War Communism (+ grain requisitioning) , the Labour Code, labour camps and the militarisation of labour (workers forced to be soldiers or labourers)
  • Was replaced by the GPU from 1922-1924 then OGPU in 1924-1934 both less brutal. 
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  • When Stalin felt an increase in dissidence to his personal rule, created the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs or NKVD in 1934. Return to days of the Cheka-> relentless clamping down on opposition using show trials and purges, creating permament terror
  • NKVD crucial in purges and helped administer the Gulags- OVER 40 MILLION PEOPLE sent to these prisons during STALINIST REGIME
  • Headed by Yagoda 1934-6, then Yezhov 1936-8, infamous for gathering evidence about high-ranking officials including Bukharin, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky.
  • But by 1938 Stalin suspected NKVD of conspiracy and Yezhov was replaced and executed by Beria. By the start of WW2, the NKVD itself had been purged of around 20,000 members
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  • in 1943 NKVD replaced by NKGB which in 1946 then replaced by MGB (Ministry for State Security) and MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) in 1946. MGB = general population, MVD basically NKVD 2.0
  • 1953, MGB and MVD merged to form a large version of MVD. Beria still controlled until NK ousted him.
  • Under NK, in Mar 1954, MVD reorganised into 2 departments: MVD for dealing with ordinary criminal acts and civil disorder and KGB (Committee for State Security) focusing on internal and external security of USSR
  • These 2 bodies placed under responsibility of Party and not just 1 individual, and had a geunine desire to move away from terror of Stalinist era.
  • Did have a noticeable impact on Russian society: no. of political arrests plummeted, use of Gulags largely disappeared, torture of dissidents no longer existed
  • By 1960 estimated only 11,000 counter-revolutionaries in captivity, hugely smaller than those of 1930s+40s.
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Army up til 1905

  • Start of period in 1855, army around 1,400,000 men, mostly peasant conscripts. Officers from nobility. Army used to deal with interl law and order and wars.
  • Crimean War 1953-56 revealed a number of deficiencies in army, and this coupled with the 1861 Emancipation led to Military reforms under A2
  • Under A3, Russification led to the army having an enhanced role as a peace-keeping force and regulator of reional frontiers
  • Under N2, Army sometimes excessive force such as Bloody Sunday 1905
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Army 1905-1917

  • Army used to dismantle strikes, protests and riots. Social unrest of Feb 1917 dealt with forcefully by the army. Troops did desert and join protestors.
  • Around 150,000 members of Petrograd Garrison supported the revolution.
  • Lenin and Trotsky encouraged members of the army to form the Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) which became the vanguard of the revolution.
  • During October Rev, MRC and Red Guard seized power from PG PM Kerensky. Commandeered transport, public buildings utillities and Winter Palace (tsar St P residence). 
  • Bols consolidated power, using the military to deal with flash strikes from civil servants and financial workers.
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Red Army, Army 1945-1964

  • Led by Trotsky, instrumental in Bols winning the Civil War 1918-21
  • By end of war had 5 million conscripts, Whites only 500,000
  • Army and the Cheka used to impose War Communism (POLICY)
  • Were still issues of desertion eg Kronstadt Rebellion Feb 1921, sailors mutinied 50,000 red army troops sent, 10,000 casualities
  • Stalin further used the Army to implement econ policy in Collectivisation. 
  • Also helped to administer the purges and took a part in Great Terror
  • Army figures later were removed and executed during the Great Purge 1936-8, due to Stalin suspicion. By end of purge, over 40% of upper levels of Army were dead/imprisoned
  • During WW2, huge military casualties and fought to 'the last drop of blood', policy responsible for Russian successful defence of Stalingrad and Moscow
  • Post WW2 Army leaders still treated with suspicion such as Marshal Zhukov who was removed from the Party Central Committee and exiled from Moscow.
  • Role of army began to change, although still used internally such as in the Doctors Plot under Stalin, under NK, more focused on international conflicts in Cold War Satellite states.
  • Army used to put down uprisings in Berlin in 1953, Budapest in 1956 (12,000 die) and Prague in 1968
  • Size of army did decrease during the Detente period after 1963 3.6-2.4m
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  • A2 = glasnost for first time. 1865 Censorship relaxed,but gov retained power to withdraw publicatins of a 'dangerous orientation'. 1855 -140 periodicals, 1894- 10,000+ books
  • A3 = clampdown, officials censoring written materials pre-publication and closed down certain newspapers, journals and educational institutions
  • N2= back to glasnost of A2, no. of different periodicals increased x3 from 1900-1914. Pre-publication censor disappeared, but could still close down things. 
  • During WW1, censorship increased, most news from foreign press
  • Bols 1917+ one of first measure = abolish press freedom to suppress counter-revolutionaries. 
  • 1921 Agitprop (Agitation and Propaganda dept) founded, and supervised all culture.
  • Under Stalin censorship increased further, By 1932 all literary groups closed down and anyone wanting to write had to join the Union of Soviet Writers (USW)
  • All material had to be under the banner of socialist realism, representing the heroic efforts of workers and peasants. Those who rebelled -> Gulags
  • WW2, high levels of censorship, radio airways distoreted, news fictionalised
  • Writers were still valued highly as the 'engineers of men's souls' but only if they focused on glorifying the concept of the NEW SOVIET MAN
  • NK- easing of censorship, BY 1959 135,000 libraries x10 of that of 1913.
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  • V limited use under the Tsars-> only pamphlets, portraits, photos and staged events. Only real example is the 1913 celebration of 300 years of Romanov rule, but this was a disaster anyway
  • Real masters = Communists:
  • Slogan usage: 'Peace Bread and Land' 'All power to the Soviets' Lenin Bol Rev
  • Cult of personality: Lenin and Stalin promoted this, examples include, imagery of lenin, Embalming of Lenin's body in Mausoleum, renaming of Petrograd as Leningrad in 1924, renaming of Tsaritsyn as Stalingrad in 1923, slogan 'Stalin is the Lenin of Today' 1924
  • Newspapers: Pravda and Izvestiya used as propaganda tools, promoting achievements of FYPs
  • Groups: youth groups Pioneers and Komsomol, membership increased x5 from 1929 to 41
  • Arts: manipulated to represent popular culture that emphasised role of little man + trad. values
  • Stakhanovite movement: based on Alexei Stak. ,102 tons in 1 shift, extraordinary efforts coal miner, turned into a model of a worker and rewards such as red carpets and holidays in Moscow used to incentivise hard work.
  • Film+Cinema: by late 1920s Stalin used cinema to promote collectivisation and FYPs.Under guidance of Sovnarkom, Soviet cinema immersed in 'socialist realism', but under NK more creativity was allowed. 
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