Opposition

Events with regard to the theme of Oppostion

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Degree of Support

  • Tsarist Era
    • Various Opposition groups, Narodniks, People's Will, SRs, SDs, Liberals.
    • SRs held most widespread support up until 1917 revolution 
    • Bolsheviks were able to exploit the negative effects of War and Industrialisation to gain popular support for the party and the revolution
  • Communist Era
    • Opposition largely absent due to repression
    • Kulaks with capitalist sentiments opposed collectivisation 
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Aims and Motives

  • People's Will broke away from 'Land and Liberty' , were successful in assassinating Alexander II , However in reality the effect of this was 'The Reaction' Under Alexander III
  • Social Democrats were founded in 1898, but split into the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in 1905
  • The Bolsheviks remained largely a minority group up until the revolution 
  • The SRs divided into left and right factions in 1905
  • During the Civil War, Opposition to the Bolsheviks was split into Whites + Greens. Whites were conservative, Greens were mainly peasants who resented Bolshevik policies
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Government Repression

  • Govt. Repression:
    • Secret Police used throughout the 109 year period, with the exception of the brief liberal era of the Provisional Government. 
    • Secret Police under the Tsars (Okhrana, Third Section) largely used to put down strikes and riots.
    • Communist Secret Police (Cheka, NKVD) used to implement a class war against so-called 'Anti-Revolutionary' and 'Bourgeois' groups
    • Communist Secret Police systematically removed suspected 'wreckers' and 'rightists', i.e during the 'Ezovchina' or the Great Purges during 1936-38. 
    • 40 million sent to Gulags during the great purges.
    • 'Guests of the Tsar' - Political Dissidents sent into prison or exiled under Alexander II
    • Stalin's Show trials
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Use of Military force

  • 1905 -  Bloody Sunday - 200 protesters shot dead
  • 1921 - Kronstadt uprising ruthlessly dealt with. Rebels were executed or deported to concentration camps in the Arctic Circle
  • 1956 - Hungarian Uprising - Khrushchev stated 'My arms are up to my elbows in blood'
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Impact Of War

  • Crimean War  - Emancipation Decree issued as a result. 
    • The Zemstva proved useful as a platform to challenge the ruling élite 
  • Defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, 1905, October Manifesto issued.
    • Duma allowed the previously banned political opposition groups to express their views freely.
  • The Great Patriotic War - Time of liberalisation with regard to the arts. 
    • The war was used to promote a feeling of national unity, and there was almost no domestic opposition to the regime 
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