Key Profiles in Russia

  • Created by: fawnloker
  • Created on: 16-04-19 14:34

Tsar Nicholas II

  • Nikoloi Aleksandrovich Romanov never wanted to be Tsar, but was determined to fulfill his divine callong & uphold autocracy.
  • Found escape in his family life.
  • Defeat in a war against Japan in 1904-1905 brought strikes. this led to a 'revolution' as events spiralled out of control after the Tsarist army shot at a crowd demanding reform in St Petersburg.
  • Tsar Nicholas II was forced to establish a state Duma, but restricted its power & continued to use his Okhrana to crush opposition.
  • Handling of First World War led to popular demonstration in 1917, forced the Tsar to abdicate.
  • Executed by Bolsheviks in January 1918. 
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Tsarina Alexandra 1872-1918

  • Her mother was the youngest child of Queen Victoria of England.
  • Proved a great comfort for Nicholas but her lack of political understanding & her devotion to Rasputin weakened his position.
  • Distraught by Rasputin's murder in 1916 but vontinued to urge Nicholas to stand up to the revolutionaries in February 1917.
  • She was shot, along with her family, in March 1918
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Vladimir Lenin 1870-1924

  • Came from a well-to-do professional family & trained as a lawyer.
  • Attracted by Marxism & his activities brought him to the attention of the secret police.
  • Wrote a programe for the new Socail Democrat Party in 1898 despite being in exile in Siberia.
  • Went into exile in Switzerland.
  • In 1902 he produced the pamphlet 'What is to be done?', in which he argued the Party needed to redirect workers towards a revolution that would destroy the Tsarist autocracy.
  • Founded the Iskra, new revolutionary newspaper, & helped develop a stromg underground Party network.
  • Harsh & uncompromising attitude led Social Democrats to split into Bolsheviks & Mensheviks in 1903.
  • Remained in exile until 1917.
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Aleksandr Kerensky 1881-1970

  • Was a lawyer who became involved in radical politics.
  • In 1912 he was elected to the State Duma & in 1917 he joined the Social Revolutionaries.
  • Became an SR representative in the Petrograd Soviet & Minister of Justice in the Provisional Government after the February revolution.
  • Became Minister of War in May & Prime Minister in July.
  • Deposed by Bolsheviks & fled to France.
  • Finally moved to the USA & wrote extensively on the Russian Revolution. 
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Aleksandr Guchkov 1862-1936

  • Became leader of the Octoberist Party.
  • Became Minister of War & of the Navy in the Provisional Government of 1917.
  • Resigned when his policy of continuing war until victory was rejected by the Soviet in May.
  • He supported the Whites in the Civil War & emigrated to Berlin. 
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Pavel Milyukov 1859-1943

  • Founded the Constitutional Democratic (Kadet) Party.
  • Became Foreign Minister in the 1917 Provisinal Government.
  • Forced out in May over his support for 'war to victory'.
  • Also supported the Whites in the Civil War & emigrated to Paris when they were defeated.
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Leon Trotsky 1879-1940

  • Exiled to Siberia in 1898 for his involvement in radical groups & studied the work of Marx & Lenin there.
  • In 1902, he escaped (using the passport in the name of a prison guard-Trotsky).
  • He went to London, met Lenin & returned to founf the St Petersburg Soviet in 1905
  • Escaped prison in 1907, travelled & was in the USA in 1917 at the time of the first revolution.
  • Returned to Russia in May, became a Bolshevik, chaired the Petrograd Soviet & organised the Military Revolutionary Committee which he used to plan the Bolshevik takeover in October.
  • Became Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  • Expelled from the Party in 1929 & murdered by a Stalinist agent in Mexico in 1940.
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Lev Kamenev 1883-1936

  • Was the son of a Jewish railway engineer, who joined the Social Democrats in 1901.
  • Arrested many times & deprted to Siberia where he met Stalin.
  • He returned in April 1917 & edited Pravda opposing Lenin's April Theses.
  • He voted against an armed uprising in 1917, preferring  a coalition with the Socialists.
  • Nevertheless he was made a Commissar in Lenin's government  & joined Trotsky at the Brest-Litovsk negotiations.
  • He was forced from power by Stalin.
  • Expelled from the Party in 1932 & executed in 1936.
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Josef Stalin 1879=1953

  • Was the son of a Georgian cobbler.
  • One of the few leading Bolsheviks who could claim peasant roots.
  • He had trained as a priest but was attracted by Social Democracy.
  • He was repeatedly arrested & exiled to Siberia , but he escaped several times, taking the name Stalin (Man of Steel)
  • He became a Bolshevik & helped raise money by robbing banks.
  • He played only a minor role in the October revolution byt was made Commissar for Nationalities because of his background.
  • He eventually took the leadership of Russia after Lenin's death.
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Grigorii Zinoviev 1883-1936

  • Was of Jewish origin.
  • He joined the Social Democratic Party in 1901 & was a member of the Central Committee from 1907 -1927.
  • He was close to Lenin on exile & returned with him in 1917 in the sealed train.
  • He supported Kamenev against the October revolution, favourig cooperation with other Socialist groups.
  • He became the head f the Party's Petrograd organisation.
  • He was expelled from the Party by Stalin & executed in 1936.
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Felix Dzerzhininsky 1877-1926

  • Had joined the Social Democrats in 1895 & had spent much time in exile before 1917.
  • His loyalty to Lenin & reputation for toughness led to his involvement with the Revolutionary Military Committee.
  • In December 1917 he was made the head of the Cheka-a new secret police force set up by Lenin.
  • In this position he was to be responsible for the 'Red Terror' of the 1920s.
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Mikhail Tukhachevsky 1893-1937

  • Had served in the Imperial Army in the First World War & was an officer in the Red Army from 1918.
  • He led the defence of Moscow, commanded forces that recaptured Siberia from Kolchak & led Cossack troops against Denikin in 1920.
  • He also took part in the Russian war with Poland (1920-1921) & the suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion (1921).
  • He led the modernisation of the Red Army prior to the Second World War & served as Chief of Staff (1925-1928) & Deputy Commissar for Defence from 1931.
  • He was convicted & executed by Stalin during the purges of 1937.
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Karl Radek 1885-1939

  • Was a revolutionary socialist active in Poland & Germany before 1914.
  • He joined the Bolsheviks & rose to become Vice Commissar for Foreign Affairs under Trotsky.
  • He firmly beileved in the world revolution & became secretary to the Comintern.
  • He joined the Left Opposition in support of Trotsky in 1923.
  • He was removed from the Central Committee in 1924, expelled from the Party in 1927 & deported to Siberia in 1928.
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Nikolai Bukharin 1888-1938

  • Opposed making peace with Germany in 1918.
  • During the Civil War he backed war communism but later supported the NEP.
  • In the mid 1920s Bukharin & Stalin were virtually joint rulers of the USSR.
  • Bukharin opposed Trotsky & supported Socialism in One Country, but later split with Stalin & became part of the Right Opposition, with Tomsky & Rykov.
  • From 1928 he was outmanouvered by Stalin & his influence declined.
  • In 1937, he was expeeled from the Central Committee; in 1938 he was executed after a show trial.
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Mikhail Tomsky 1880-1936

  • Was from a working-class background.
  • He was in charge of the trade unions from 1920 but fell out with Lenin over the role of the unions under the NEP.
  • He was elected to the Politburo in 1922; he was one of the pall bearers at Lenin's funeral.
  • Tomsky was hostile to the left & allied himself with Bukharin.
  • He was expelled from the Politburo in 1930.
  • He committed suicide in 1936 to avoid being killed in Stalin's Great Terror.
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Alexei Rykov 1881-1938

  • Was a moderate Bolshevik who supported the idea of a coalition with other socialists in 1917.
  • He was Commissar of the Interior in 1917-1918 & a member of the Politburo.
  • Was Lenin's successor as Head of Government  (the Council of People's Commissars) between 1924 & 1930.
  • He was briefly Stalin's ally against Trotsky, but then joined Bukharin's right-wing group & supported the NEP.
  • Rykov was sacked from the Politburo & all other posts after Bukharin's downfall.
  • He was executed in 1938 after a show trial.
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Vyacheslav Molotov 1890-1986

  • The son of a shop assisstant.
  • He joined the Bolsheviks in 1906, was twice exiled to Siberia & was involved in the Bolshevik seizure of power in Petrograd in 1917.
  • A loyal ally of Stalin, he was Second Secretary from 1922.
  • Played a key role in Stalin's rise to power.
  • He replaced Rykov as as Party Chairman in 1930 & was then Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939-1949.
  • He was ousted by Krushchev in 1956.
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Sergei Kirov 1886-1934

  • Ws active in the revolutions of 1905 & 1917.
  • Was a flamboyant military commander in the North Caucausus in the Civil War.
  • He became prominent in the party organisation in Azerbaijan; in 1926 he was handpicked by Stalin to replace Zinoviev as Party boss in Leningrad.
  • He was popular with the Party membership & seen as a rising star, possibly why he was assassinated, on Stalin's secret orders, in 1934.
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Maksim Litvinov 1876-1951

  • Was from a wealthy family of Lituanian Jews.
  • Ge was active in revolutionary politics fom 1898 & joned the Bolsheviks in 1903.
  • He was exile from 1906 mostly in Britain.
  • In 1918 Lenin appointed him Soviet envoy to Britain.
  • He was Chicherin's deputy & replaced Chichrin as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in 1930.
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Martemyan Ryutin 1890-1937

  • Had become a member of the Central Committee in 1927 & was a supporter of moderate agrarian policies.
  • He was expelled from the Party imn 1930 for criticising collectiviastion.
  • On realease from gaol he circulated documents which blamed Stalin for the USSR's economic problems.
  • He was arrested in 1932 & given a ten-year prison sentence.
  • Ryutin was ultimately executed in January 1937 as part of the Yezhovshchina.
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Genrikh Yagoda 1891-1938

  • Had joined the Chek at the end of the Civil War.
  • Became head of the secret police (NKVD) in 1934.
  • He was responsible for preparing th efirst major show trial in 1936, but was accused of being insufficiently thorough, arrested, tried & executed in 1938.
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Nikolai Yezhov 1895-1939

  • Had been a political Commissar during the Civil War & afterwards worked for the Party & Komsomol.
  • He joined the OGPU & in 1936 replaced Yagoda as the head of the NKVD.
  • During his time in this role, from September 1936-December 1938, he was responsible for the Yezhovshchina-a period of purges & terror.
  • He was one of Stalin's proteges-intelligent, hard-working & loyal.
  • However, he had a more sinister side as a tension-riddled, alcoholic, drug-addicted deviant who persoanlly supervised torture.
  • In 1939, when Stalin wished to end the terror, Yezhov was quietly removed from office & shot, being made a scapegoat for the excesses of the purges.
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Lavrentii Beria 1899-1953

  • Was, like Stalin, from Georgia.
  • From 1953 he became part of the Moscow Party elite: he replaced Yezhov as NKVD chief in 1938 & played a key role in Stalin's purges.
  • During the war he organised mass deportations of 'suspect' nationalities including the Crimean Tatars in 1944.
  • He also organised the use of workers in the gulags for war production.
  • In 1945 , he was put in charge of developing the Soviet atomic bomb.
  • He was also central to 'High Stalinism' & renewed purges.
  • In 1953, he was overthrown & killed in a coup led by Krushchev & Zhukov, after Stalin's death.
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Trofim Lysenko 1898-1976

  • Was a Soviet biologist & agronomist who exercised considerable influence over Soviet policies.
  • His genetic theories influenced agricultural practices in the 1930s & were extended to account for the evolution of Soviet man.
  • Lysenko received unconditional backing from Stalin: those who opposed his views were silenced.
  • His doctrines were not discredited until after 1964.
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Maxim Gorky 1868-1936

  • Already a renowned author in tsarist Russia, Gorky had becme disillusioned by the Civil War & lived abroad between 1921 & 1928.
  • Stalin persuaded him to return to Russia because of his reputation & he helped in the development of socialist realism.
  • He received many honours & had a major street in Moscow named after him, as well as the town where he had been born.
  • He died while undergoing medical treatment. It is possible that he was murdered on Stalin's orders.
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Boris Paternak 1890-1960

  • Was a leading Russian poet who had initially welcomed the revolution, but by the 1930s, was considered 'bourgeois' for his failure to embrace socialist realism.
  • Pasternak found it impossible to write in the atmosphere of the 1930s.
  • Stalin is sid to have had Pastenak's name removed from a list of intellectuals to be purged because he admired his translations of Georgian classics.
  • Although he became internationally famous for his semi-autobiographical Doctor Zhivago, written in the war years, he continued to be persecuted in the USSR during Stalin's later years.
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Dmitri Shostakovich 1906-1975

  • Was a world famous composer of symphonies, chamber music & choral works.
  • He was ofen in disgrace with the Soviet regime, particularly during the Zhandov cultural purge after 1946.
  • During the war he was treated as a hero for his 'Leningrad' symphony, composed during the siege of Leningrad, but he never felt safe until after Stalin's death  in 1953.
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Georgy Zhukov 1896-1974

  • Was a career soldier in the Red Army.
  • He won medals in the First World War & in the Russian Civil War.
  • He was promoted to senior positions in 1937 & 1938, during the army purges.
  • In 1939 he was given command on the Mongolia front; his victory at Khalkhin Gol led to him being made a Hero of the Soviet Union.
  • He was probably the most important of all Stalin's generals in the Great Patriortic War from 1941-1945, though the two men often crashed.
  • He was demoted in 1948 but was restored to favour by Krushchev after Stalin's death.
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Andrei Tupolev

  • Was a talented engineer who had a prominent role in the design & development of Soviet military aircraft, especially bombers.
  • From 1929 he was chief designer, basing his work on the Junkers factory near Moscow that was part of Soviet-German military cooperation after Rapallo.
  • In 1935, Tupolev designed the biggest-ever aircraft the Maxim Gorky,.
  • In 1937he was arrested during the urges but released in 1941 to work in war production.
  • He was not fully rehabilitated until 1956.
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