Lives of the Urban Workers 1855-1964

Living conditions, working conditions, education and political representation of the urban workers from 1855 to 1964

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Living Conditions

Under Alexander II very few urban workers, Russia had no real economy.

Alexander III - began to focus on industry, however living conditions not changed, just became more and more over populated.

Nicholas II - some improvements to social conditions with the creation of trade unions, health insurance - lead to a decrease in strikes

Prov Gov - hyperinflation meant wages fell by 50% leading to tougher living conditions

Lenin - grain requisitioning meant there was more food for urban workers, however many riots meant that populations of Moscow and Petrograd fell

Stalin - Rouble devalued in 1947 by 90% damaging everyone's savings, rations still at starvation level after the war

Khrushchev - introduced some social housing although as they were cheaply and badly built they were not sustainable. 7th 5YP focused on consumer goods meaning that 50% of households had a TV and washing machine by 1968.

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Working Conditions

Very little focus on industry under Alexander II however the need is beginning to be seen.

Alexander III - mainly ignored light industry but saw the need to change with help of Witte. Created Trans-Siberian Railway and Witte secures French loan to help industry and working conditions

Nicholas II - west still growing faster with industry still only employing 5% by 1913. Very little done to improve the working condutions  themselves

Prov Gov - created state monopolies, a New Economic Councils and increased income taxes - nothing done to improve the working conditions

Lenin - NEP (1921) allowed for private ownership of small scale industry however workers' councils replaced with Vesenka - people couldnt have a say

Stalin - focused heavily on industry and doubled the output e.g. double tracked Trans-Siberian Railway. 5YPs focused on industry however harsh and unprincipled methods used e.g. labour camps and 12 hour day maintained. Stakhanovite program used to encourage workers

Khrushchev - destalinisation helped to reduce harshness and decentralisation lead to a decline in the influence of the part on industry.

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Education

Alexander III introduced chruch schools when he came to power as a part of Russification - this was to impose the Russian language and the Russian Orthodox church on every one. 

Lenin bought in 4 years of compulsory education

Stalin bought in a far more uniformed school system however very different to Alexander III school system as was purely based on Communist ideology and indoctrinating people to become good Communists.

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Political Representation

Creation of the Zemstva in 1881 led to first political representation however not very influential

1905 revolution saw the creation of the Duma- mainly full of urban workers so first real political representation - however could be closed down whenever Nicholas II wanted.

1917 revoluation saw the urban workers take power of Russia, however those who were not members of the Bolshevik party did not get any say. Also Lenin using the support of the workers as means to get into power rather than because he really wanted to help them

Stalin ruled completely independantly no one had any political representation

Khrushchev similar to Lenin - had ministers who helped him to rule - however only a select few who had any representation 

Continuity of very poor political representation throughout the period

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