Russia Glossary

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  • Created by: Lolo23
  • Created on: 17-04-16 18:16

Abdicate

To give up the throne

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Anarchist

Someone who supports political disorder

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April Thesis

A document published by Lenin shortly after his return to Russia from exile in 1917. It insisted that no support be given to the Provisional Government, calling for an immediate end to Russia's involvement in World War 1 and for a socialist revolution as soon as possible

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Armistice

An agreement between opposing armies to suspend fighting in order to discuss peace terms.

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Autocracy

A system of government where all political power is vested in a single ruler called an autocrat (usually a king, tsar or emperor)

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Bolsheviks

(Russian, majority) Radical Marxist revolutionary group formed in 1903, following a split in the Social Democrat Party (SDs). The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, wanted a socialist revolution and the creation of a 'workers' dictatorship' as soon as possible.

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Bourgeois

Member of the middle class

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Bourgeoisie

French term used to describe the propertised, capital-owned middle-class. In Marxism, the bourgeoisie controlled the means of production.

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Bureaucracy

Departments or agencies employed to implement the policies of the government.

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Cadets/Kadets

A political party founded in 1906. It wanted a constitutional monarchy and an elected parliament (like in Britain).

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Central Powers

Name given to Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria who were allies in WW1.

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CHEKA

The Bolsheviks secret police formed in late 1917 to identify and deal with potential enemies of the state.

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Comintern

The Communist International, an organisation established in Moscow in 1919 to promote the spread of communism around the world.

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Commissar

Russian communist term for a government minister.

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Communism

A political ideology that aims to create a society with no classes or structures of government.

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Constituent Assembly

A representative political body, elected by the Russian people in December 1917. The Constituent Assembly met for one day in January 1918 before being dissolved by Bolshevik troops.

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Dictatorship

System of government where the ruler isn't restricted by a constitution and doesn't allow opposition.

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Dictatorship of the proletariat

When Representatives of the proletariat (working classes) would assume control of the government, eradicate democracy and make decisions to benefit the workers

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Duma/State Duma

The national parliament of Russia between 1906-1917. The Duma was formed by Tsar Nicholas II in the wake of the 1905 revolution, however it exerted little political influence during it's life.

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Dual Power

February-October 1917. The Petrograd Soviet and Provisional Government were both in charge.

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Food requisitioning

Government seizure of produce from the peasants.

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Haemophilia

A genetic blood disease carried by females but with symptoms that only affect males. It hinders blood clotting, leaving sufferers at risk of bleeding to death from even minor cuts or bruises. European royal families were especially prone to haemophilia due to their inbreeding.

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Kulak

A peasant who is wealthier than other peasants.

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Komsomol

The Communist youth movement

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Left-wing

An ideological position concerned with minimising or eliminating class differences and achieving economic equality, such as socialism, communism or Marxism.

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Marxism

A theory of history and political ideology developed in the 1840s by Karl Marx.

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Menesheviks

Members of the Social Democratic Party who split with Bolsheviks in 1903. They believed the party should be a mass organisation that all workers could join.

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Nepmen

A name given to the capitalist class of businessmen, merchants and traders that emerged during the New Economic Policy (NEP). The majority of Nepmen were small wholesalers ot retailers, buying goods or resources and selling them for a profit.

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Okhrana

(guards). The tsarist secret police force, created in 1881.

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October Manifesto

Issued by Tsar Nicholas II in 1905. Promised reforms.

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Peasant

A farmer or farming labour, usually with little or no wealth

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Pravda

(Russian- truth). A Russian Socialist newspaper formed in 1903. It came under Bolshevik control in 1912 and was later the official publication of the Communist Party.

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Proletariat

The proletariat usually refers to industrial or factory workers.

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Provisional Government

Temporary government set up in March 1917 after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II.

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Red Army

The official Soviet military force, formed in 1918 from the Red Gaurds, elements of tsarist Imperial Army and conscripts. The Red Army defended the Soviet state from the Whites during the Civil War.

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Red Guards

Militia units formed by the Bolsheviks in April 1917.

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Red Terror

A two-year period during the Russian Civil War, when the Bolsheviks used military force, secret police units to assert control and suppress resistance

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Right-wing

Describes a person, group or point of view which is conservative and opposes change or reform

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Russification

The policy of forcing non-Russians to speak Russian and follow Russian customs.

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Smolny Institute (or the Smolny)

Much of the preparations for the October Revolution were organised in the Smolny

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Socialism

Left-wing ideology that aimed to improve the conditions of the working class.

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Soviet

A council of working class delegates, each selected to represent their work unit (e.g. a factory, mine or military unit). The Petrograd Soviet, formed in March 1917, was the largest and most significant of the 3000 or so soviets across Russia.

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Soviet Order Number One

A resolution passed by the Petrograd Soviet in March 1917, requiring all orders from the Provisional Government to be endorsed by the Soviet's own executive committee. This order challenged and undermined the authority of the Provisional Government.

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Sovarkom

The executive committee or cabinet of the Soviet government.

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Stolypin's necktie

Term for the hangman's noose, the use of which was expanded considerably during the prime ministership of Petr Stolypin (1906-1911).

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SRs

The Socialist-Revolutionaires, a left-wing political party formed in 1902. Wanted improved rights and conditions for peasants and workers and the equitable redistribution of land. The SRs enjoyed considerable support from Russia's peasantry.

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War Communism

The name given to the Bolshevik economic policy imposed during the Russian Civil War (1918-1921). War Communism sought to supply the war effort with compulsory grain requisitioning, along with strong state controls over labour and production.

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