Opposition 1955-1964

Opposition from peasants, workers, individuals and national minorities

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Opposition from Peasants

  • Peasant unrest was prevalent throughout the whole period
  • Relatively successful under Alexander II as resulted in the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861 which was the first time a tsar had given in to any unrest - however this did lead to more disturbances involving 10000 peasants and the use of the army leading to the slaughter of 200 peasants - successful to begin with but crushed when continuing to demand more
  • Unrest under Nicholas II similar where unrest became more organised and reached a new level in 1900-7 revolting against redemption payments, land distributions and rising prices. The Black Earth Regions were the worst areas and large amounts of force needed to crush the revolts. Stolypin began land reforms to appease the peasants - partially successful
  • Also similar to Lenin and the introduction of NEP in 1921 to appease the peasants after grain requisitioning - another example of peasant opposition achieving some of its aims.
  • Different to under Alexander III, Prov Gov and Khrushchev as there was very little unrest under these rulers - under control or as in Khrushchev's case no reason to revolt
  • Stalin again very different, managed to impose collectivisation with 90% collectivised by WW2 resulting in a famine (1932-3) and the end of the mir. Even though peasants opposed this e.g. slaughtered their animals, Stalin refused to conceed to any opposition
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Opposition from Workers

  • Came mostly through political parties which were beginning to emerge before 1917 such as the Social Democrats and the Liberals
  • Lenin was a leading SD who initially supported workers to improve pay and working hours. However he wanted to go further and completely change the system.
  • Liberals wanted to move Russia towards being governed as a Western European Democracy - very successful under Nicholas II as Duma created in 1905 and a fully elected constituent assembly began to be considered. Continued in 1917 with the creation of the Dual Authority as troops sided with workers rather than Nicholas II. Petrograd Soviet made up half of the Dual Authority with the Duma which was to form the core of the Provisional Government - huge success for the workers
  • This was the only major success of workers as under Communists workers were fairly docile and effectively dealt with when necessary e.g. Stalin's purges which ensured trade union officials were kept in line and the 5 year plans which were widely accepted throughout the 1940s. Suicides were increasing suggesting that workers knew any opposition would be ineffective. 
  • Similar to under Prov Gov and Alexander II and III as there was very little opposition
  • Workers mainly ineffective but did achieve a reduction in working hours and better working conditions
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Opposition from Individuals

  • Much more of a problem after 1917 than before
  • Lenin and Stalin experienced a large amount of opposition from individuals. During Stalin's rule some people believed he was too powerful in 1925, however they had little success e.g. Kamenev and Zinoviev were removed as secretaries. This was also similar to how the United Oppposition Group was dealt with  as Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky were all excluded from the Politburo and Trotsky expelled from the party in 1927. This continued to occur e.g. Bukharin removed in 1929 after opposing collectivisation.
  • Very similar to how the Tsars dealt with 'inside' opposition from individuals - any disapproval by the Tsars was dealt with by removing miscreants from their post e.g. Witte demoted from finance minister to Chairman if Ministers in 1903
  • Individual opposition had little effect during Lenin's rule as was effectively dealt with e.g. opposition to War Communism was dealt with by introducing NEP in 1921.
  • However in contrast was opposition from individuals under the Prov Gov as Lenin managed to overthrow system and start a civil war although some opposition faced with by Lenin e.g. Kronstadt Rebellion in 1921
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Opposition from National Minorities

  • Generally effectively dealt with throughout the period
  • Under Lenin and Stalin all opposition was effectivelt dealt with e.g. the Ukrainians and the Purges
  • However under Khrushchev there were more issues e.g. Hungarian Revolt in 1956 and Prague Springs in 1968 which both caused a threat and had to be put down using force.
  • Similar to revolts under Alexander II and III who in general managed to maintain control over national minorities e,g Pogroms and the Jews
  • Only under Nicholas II and the Prov Gov that some national minority opposition was successful. e.g. the Poles through the representation in the Duma and the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk under Lenin in 1918 they gained full independence from Russia - Nicholas II struggling with other oppostion and had pressures of War to deal with
  • Overall mainly ineffective as even after they had a small amount of success, order was restored after 1917.
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