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  • Policy imposed in 1885
  • Made non-Russians use the Russian Language and adopt Russian customs.
  • National Minorites saw policy as an attack on their was of life. 
  • 1900: Petrograd and Moscow owned many factories with bad working conditions. 
  • 130 million people lived in Russia. 
  • Anyone who opposed the Tsar (Alexander III) was sent to Siberia; everyone who hated him was in the same place this led to a lot of corruption within the system. 
  • Communications across Russia were poor. 
  • 4 out of 5 people were peasants.
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  • Economic Policy:
    • Wanted more railways built.
    • Thought that he had the answer to build up Russia's Industry.
  • Emancipation of Serfs: 
    • In 1862 around 80% of the population in Russia were serfs.
    • Forced to live on Mirs, this impeded the modernisation of Agriculture. 
    • The Transiberian rail was finished in 1903.
    • Poor Working conditions led to radical alternatives to the Tsar.
    • Russia developed military power. 
  • The 'Great Spurt' under Witte:
    • Modernisation was needed.
      • Russia was a backwards agricultural country compared to the USA, Britain and France.
      • Unable to feed workers. 
    • Modernisation was dangerous to the Tsar: 
      • Social tension - the best conditions were in the towns and cities.
      • The need for a more educated workforce meant that more people would be able to challenge the government and Tsar.
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Radical Parties

  • Bolsheviks ( Social Democrats) 
    • Working Class to rule.
    • Support from young militant peasant workers; Use of violence. 
  • Mensheviks ( Social Democrats) 
    • Anyone was able to join.
    • Support from non-Russians and workers.
    • Civilised.
  • Octoberists ( Liberals) 
    • Supported by the middle class.
    • Non-violent, this party wanted to control the Tsar.
  • Kadets ( Liberals)
    • Want a true parliament system
    • Middle class Support; do not want Tsar to rule.
    • Non-violent.
  • Socialist Revolutionaries
    • Industrial Workers and Peasants support.
    • Political power - Terroist Wing.
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What caused the 1905 Revolution?

  • Bloody Sunday:
    • Peaceful Protest which led to many protestors being shot and killed which then sparked sympathy strikes and protests.
    • Bloody Sunday damaged the Tsar's popularity, (many believed that he was on their side until this - Bloody Sunday destroyed a lot of peoples trust in the Tsar)
  • Russo-Japense War:
    • Conflict with the Japan over the control of Korea.
    • Russia suffered a humiliating defeat and this undermined support towards the Tsar = this defeat made him look weak which also encouraged Revolutionaries.
  • Russia was still an autocracy = Tsar had complete political power. 
  • The reformers all had little in common but all opposed the Tsar.
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The Dumas (Result of the 1905 Revolution)

  • The October Manifesto:
    • Promised freedom of Speech and the right to form political parties.
    • Established a Duma.
    • There were to be no new laws without the consent of the Duma.
  • The First Duma was the Duma of public anger: 
    • Lasted from April to June 1906.
    • Land reforms and release of Political Prisoners = The Tsar refused both.
      • This Duma was Dissolved after 72 days. 
      • Success - Duma was against capital punishment and in favour of relief.
  • The Second Duma:
    • Lasted from February to June 1907 (Only 3 months)
    • Social Democrats and Social Revolutionaries got seats. 
    • Achieved Land Reform (Stolypin).
  • The Third and Fourth Dumas:
    • 3rd Duma = November 1907 -> June 1912
    • 4th Duma = August 1912 -> August 1914 (Both had the longest Impacts).
    • Filled with the rich (This meant that these Dumas had little care for peasants. 
    • Achieved further reform by Stolypin.
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  • Stolypin replaced Witte as Prime Minister after he resigned. 
  • Stolypin was tough and brought the Tsar more power and authority.
  • First totalitarian leader: He had total control.
  • Is famously known for bringing land reforms to Russia.
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Did life improve for the Russian People? 1905-1914

  • Law and Order:
    • The Tsar appointed Peter Stolypin as Prime Minister to restore law and order.
    • Although the towns settled quickly after 1905, the countryside remained unsettled.
    • With a reputation for being tough, Stolypin set up military courts which could try a man on the spot and sentence him to death ( The hangman's noose became known as stolypin's neck tie).
    • The Secret police (Okhrana) remained very active and all Russians had to carry internal passports and register with the police if they travelled away from home.
    • Although freedom of speech and the press had been granted in 1905, newspapers were heavily fined for printing articles which upset the government.
  • Agricultural Reforms:
    • Peasants were allowed to buy strips of land and combine them to make plots. 
    • Some peasant became known as kulaks- wealthy land owning peasants. 
    • Peasants who sold their land became poorer.Many were encouraged to migrate along the Trans-siberian railway to the east but all the best land was taken anyway.
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Did life improve for the Russian People? 1905-1914

  • Industrial Reforms:
      • From 1906-1914 there was an INDUSTRIAL BOOM in Russia. 
      • Russia's industril output went up by 100% making Russia the fourth largest producer of coal and iron in the world. 
      • Factories used modern mass production techniques.
      • Workers gained little from the Boom.
      • Wages in real terms were as low as they had been in 1903. This left workers barely able to buy the bread they needed to survive. 
      • Striking workers faced harsh treatment by the army and many were killed or injured.
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Nicholas II and Alexandra

  • Had 4 daughters and 1 boy. 
  • Nicholas didn't give the order to shoot on 'Bloody Sunday', but people believed that it was hims.
  • Lenin was a Social Democrat and did not want the freedom of speech. 
  • Alexandra interfered with Government, she influenced many of his decisions.
  • At the time of Nicholas' ruling, there was no freedom of speech - Radical Parties were all illegal but many formed during his reign.
  • Rasputin was a priest (but also had a reputation as a womaniser and a drunk) 
  • Alexandra depended on Rasputin to protect her son who had a condition where he would keep bleeding if suffered from any cuts, etc. 
  • Priminister Stolypin was shot. 
  • Duma tried to shut down parliament.
  • People were rioting and on strike.
  • When Frans Ferdinand was shot there was a debate about what to do about assasination.  
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Nicholas II Part One.

  • He was the last Tsar of Russia ( Shows that people wanted change)
  • He succeeded his father in 1894 with little experience of government affairs. 
  • His son suffered from haemophillia.
  • Alexandra (His wife) was more dominant and she sometimes interfered with much of Nicholas' work and encouraged the weaker Nicholas' autocratic tendancies. 
  • Nicholas struggled to rule the vast Russian Empire alone but he had little trust in his ministers. 
  • After the event Bloody Sunday, opposition towards the Tsar began to grow and Nicolas was forced to grant a constitution and establish a parliament called the Duma. Voting laws were changed to prevent radical parties but the Duma did not give many people a voice in the government. 
  • Nicholas forced Witte to resign in 1906 and replaced him with Peter Stolypin. Stolypin attempted to provide a balance between the introduction of much needed land reforms and the suppression of the radicals. 
  • In Octobers 1906, Stolypin introduced a legislation that enabled peasants to have more opportunity to aquire land. They also got more freedom in the selection of representatives to the zemstvo.
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Nicholas II Part Two

  • Although Germany was ruled by his cousin Wilhelm II, Nicholas accepted the views of his ministers and in 1907 agreed that Russia should join Britain and France in the Triple Entente.
  • World War One strengthened the monarchy temporarily. Russia was allied with France and Britain against Austria-Hungary and Germany. 
  • In October 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government. Following a harsh peace treaty with Germany in March 1918, Russia decended into Civil War. On 17 July 1918, as anti-bolsheviks approached Yekaternburg, Nicholas and his family were all executed (By the orders of Bolshevik Leader, Lenin).
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  • What type of Person was he?
    • Manipulative.
    • Holy
    • Promiscuous
    • Social Misfit.
  • A lot of people feared him.
  • He was a good preacher- he could convince people very easily. 
  • He was a holy man- had some faith.
  • Destroyed the reputation of the Tsar
    • Rasputin heavily influence Alexandra who then influence and interfered with Nicholas' government affairs and decisions.
  • Alexandra truely believed that he was a good man.
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The First World War

When War broke out in August 1914, it brought an end to the industrial unrest in Russia. The Country united behind the Tsar and his government in an atmosphere of patriotism. At first Russia performed well; it had invaded Germany and Eastern Austria-Hungary in 1914. However, in 1916, the Russian Army was in retreat. The War also had a major effect on the position of the Tsar and his family, the Tsarina grew increasingly unpopular under the influence of Rasputin. By Christmas 1916, the Country was entering a period of major crisis and on the brink of collapse. 

Russian Advance was stopped at the battle of Tannenburg in which the German generals won a crushing victory over the Russian generals. At the end of the battle, 30,000 Russian troops were killed of wounded - 95,000 were captured. Only 10,000 managed to escape. Samsonov shot himself on the 29 August rather than report the loss of his army. 

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Why was Russia to fail in the First World War?

  • Behind on Weapons (Only allowed 3 bullets a day) and Germany has machine guns. 
  • Not enough factories, not fully industrialised. 
  • Lost thousands of soldiers in battle of tannenburg and Mussurian Lakes. 
  • Rasputin replaced people in the government with the people that he wanted.
  • The Trans-siberian Rail is still basic, was not able to transport a lot of goods. 
  • Desertion, Uprisings, Mutinies( killing of those in control) meant that there was little control of the army. 
  • How does World War One effect Russian politics and the economy?
    • Tsar abdicates. 
    • Role of Rasputin - When Killed, Tsar is to blame for all the failures.
    • The Tsar is too family orientated.
    • Country in Chaos (STRIKES) - Led to the March on the Dumas. 
      • Army joins people to march on the Dumas to take control. The army is against the Tsar for the first time (He sent them to war - Death) 
    • All of Russias money was put into the War.
    • All people move to the cities to work in the factories. The Cities became crowded. No food in the Cities. Railway on Strike so no food makes it to the City.
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QUESTION: 'How far do you agree'

How far do you agree that the main consequence of the First World War in Russia was a destruction of the economy?

    • Mistakes made by the Tsar and Government.
    • Role of protesters and Strikes. 
    • Role of the Army. 
    • Role of the Duma. 

Another Question to think about: How far were food shortages the key reason for the 1917 Revolution? Food Shortages caused by the mistakes made in the war. The mistakes in the war were caused by the Tsar.

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Why did the Brusilov Offensive Fail?

  • Nicholas was a very poor commander-in-chief.
  • Poor internal communications- railways in particular- meant that little military equipment made it to the front. 
  • By Christmas 1916, 1.6 million Russian soldiers were dead, 3.9 million were wounded and 2.4 million had been taken prisoner. 
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The Home Front (The First World War Continued)

  • The War had an enormous effect on Russia. 
  • The country had mobilised 5.3 million men - 9% of the population - in 1914 and by christmas 1916 15.3 million men had experienced military service. 
  • Cost of the war had a great strain on the Russian State. 
  • Between 1913-1916, higher taxes, loans and loans from Britain and France. 
  • In order to pay for the war - the Government printed more money leading to inflation. 
  • Loss of agricultural workers and horses to the army put a great strain on the production of food. 
  • The huge loss of life and military humiliations also undermined domestic support for the war, as 1917 began the Russian government was facing a massive crisis.
  • Political Impacts of the War in Russia:
    • Union of the Zemstva provided medical facilities for the army.
    • In July 1915 a Central War industries Committee was created by businessmen to help stimulate production of weapons and ammunition - something badly needed by Russia.
    • June 1915, the Zemstva and town Dumas formed ZEMGOR, the all-Russian union of Zemstva and cities to aid the care of war casulties. 
    • 236 out of 422 state Duma deputies formed themselves into the 'Progressive Bloc', frustrated at being able to take full active part in the Russian War Effort. 
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The Second Revolution (PART ONE)

  • MARCH 1917
    • Event: Power over Russia, Duma and Soviet.
      • Provisional Governement are weak as they cannot pass laws (Takes too long)
      • Bolsheviks are Strong as they have the right to strike and freedom of Speech.
    • Event: Decisions have been made. 
      • Provisional Government are weak as they will not give peasants back land. Russian soldiers desert Army to claim their land, no Soldiers to rely on to fight war (Russia wants to carry on fighting)
      • Bolsheviks are Strong because they can promise to end War in comparison to the Provisional Government who won't end it (MORE SUPPORT FOR BOLSHEVIKS)
  • APRIL 1917
    • Event: Lenin returns and makes a speech introducing a new policy and promises. 
      • Provisional Government are weak because Lenin is offering everything that they are not. The decisions made by the Provisional Government were their failing.
      • Bolsheviks are strong because Lenin has returned with an opportunity to take control. He introduces April Theses - LAND, BREAD AND POWER TO THE SOVIETS ( And to End the War) 
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The Second Revolution (PART TWO)

    • Event: Russians are angry that War and Food Shortages continue. Lenin Flees to Finland. 
      • The Provisional Government is weak because Russians want CHANGE - result to rioting. Kerensky sends in troops against rioters. 
      • The Bolsheviks remain Strong because they are the only party which is against the War. The rioters want to be lead by them. 
  • AUGUST 1917
    • Event: The Kornilov Revolt (General Kornilov wants to resume old ways of ruling Russia)
      • Kornilov wants power. This makes the Provisional Government weak because Kerensky panics and gives rifles to the BOLSHEVIKS. The Provisional Government are unpopular because they shoot peasants who take land by force. 
      • The Bolsheviks are stronger as a result of this event because they are now armed and look like heroes. Bolsheviks are beginning to gain a lot of support. Lenin tries to convince reluctant Bolsheviks that the time is right.
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The Second Revolution (PART THREE)

  • NOVEMBER 1917
      • Provisional Government is weak because Kerensky Flees and So the Bolsheviks are able to take control of the City.
      • Bolsheviks take control of train stations and bridges, main telegraph office and other key buildings in Russia.
    • Event: Storming of the Winter Palace
      • Provisional Government have been captured.
      • Army are now on the side of the Bolsheviks. 
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Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War?

  • Lenin and the Bolsheviks have declared victory and control over Russia.
  • Some people did not agree with this:
    • The Tsar Army officers ( FOR AUTOCRACY)
    • Local peasants and villagers (FOOD SEIZURE)
    • Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks (WANT POWER)
    • The allies fighting the First World War (DON'T WANT COMMUNISM)

Who were the leaders of the civil War?

REDS: Lenin and Trotsky
WHITES: Denikin, Yudenich and Kolchak

  • The Whites were separated and so communication was difficult, especially when Lenin (Reds) had control over the Trans-siberian railway. They also controlled the industry so the reds were more able to build weapons, etc.
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The Impact of War Communism and the NEP (PART ONE)

  • Lenin called the New Economic Polilcy 'One step foward, Two steps back'
  • The famine affected both the countryside and the cities, there were reports of cannibalism in some districts.
  • The Consequences of War Communism:
    • Cities were in chaos (Orphaned Children and Burglary)
    • Sailors protested about their living conditions and how the comminists did not appear to have any reguard for ordinary people. Lenin called this a lightning flash that lit up reality.
    • Currency Collapse - payment in food and fuel. 
    • Agricultural - 5 million die of starvation.
  • Lenin faced problems with farming, industry and getting people on his side, he introduced the NEP to solve these problems. 
    • Stopped the Practice of requisting food. 
    • Peasants now had to supply amount of what they grew to the government. 
    • Any Extra they were allowed to keep and even sell for a profit.
    • New Rouble was introduced to end inflation.
    • Programme of electrification continued and extended to rural areas.
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The Impact of War Communism and the NEP (PART TWO)

    • Small factories (those employing less than 20 workers) were privatised. However, all important industries, such as coal and steel remained nationalised. 


  • A Russian Peasant - FOR 
  • A communist member - AGAINST
  • A private trader - FOR
  • An industrialist - FOR
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Creation of the USSR

  • "Lenin becomes the new Tsar" BUT he is a Dictato, not autocratic like the Tsar.
  • The creation of the USSR was one of Lenin's Successes. 
    • The USSR meant that people who were of other nationalities could keep their own identity.
    • Run by communists. 
    • Each Socialist state has its own government and there was then one parliament overall which was dictated by Lenin.
    • Created in 1922.
    • There was no Freedom of speech and press.
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How Successful was Lenin as leader of Russia?

  • Lenin's Achievements:
    • Dictator - Complete polictical control.
    • NEP increased his popularity amongst people
    • No Competition. From 1921 = no other political parties allowed.
    • Electrification on the Countryside.
    • Cheka (Secret Police)
    • War Communism.
    • Victory in the Civil War.
  • Lenin's Failures:
    • Spent a lot of time in exile.
    • Signed the treaty of Brest-Litvosk which lost Ukraine to Germany BUT ENDED WAR
    • How to industrialise.
    • Government did not have complete control over the economy.
    • Split party
    • Power struggle
    • July Days brought radicals closer
    • How to build a new state of different nationalities
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QUESTION: 'How far'

How Far was Lenin's ability to stay in power after the October 1917 due to the victory in the Civil War?

  • Lenin's LEADERSHIP (War comminism, NEP)
    • Victory in the Civil War, Weakness of the opposition (Provisional Government)
    • Trotsky (Motivates soldiers = LOYALTY OF THE RED GUARD)
  • Lenin introduced War communism, Was One Step forward but two steps back.
  • Lenin introduced the NEP
  • Consolidation of power (THROUGH WEAKNESS OF OPPOSITION WHO WERE NOT UNITED) The Provisional Government and White Guard.
  • The White Guard was not united which made it weak because Lenin had the Cheka who pointed out the opposition. Lenin also had control over the Trans-siberian Rail and communication (WHITES WERE SEPARATED AND UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE)
  • Lenin stuck to his promises
    • He ended the war
    • He sorted out the issues with land (NEP)
      • Therefore solves the issues with food shortages.
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Marxist-Leninist theory

  • Marx believed that history progressed through a series of stages which would lead to communism.
  • Social classes had emerged - different classes had different aims. 
  • Lenin is impatient and believes that he can skip the stages. Russia is already 100 years behind. 
  • Lenin thought that he could change Russia from a stratified society to a communist one where everyone was equal; this would mean no nobles, etc. The theory meant that it would have to be forced upon people. 
  • He wanted the class conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat to lead to a revolution that separated the two. 
  • Argued that Russia was 'backward' and so revolution would not happen spontaneously. Proletariat were too weak to carry out revolution; Lenin introduced the 'Vanguard party' to carry it out for them.
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Lenin's Testament

  • Lenin believed that Stalin had a dark side that would be a danger to the party. Lenin had also fallen out with Stalin over the issue of the Soviet Republic.
  • After his second set of strokes in 1922, Lenin wrote a testament which was to be read after his death. In his testament, Lenin wrote that Stalin was NOT to be trusted and had become too powerful.
  • Stalin's wife was Lenin's secretary and so Stalin found out about the increasingly warm correspondance between Lenin and Trotsky. Trotsky and Lenin were working on plans to restore more democracy to the party and there is little doubt that if Lenin had survived for some time longer, Stalin would have lost his key positions in the party.
  • Stalin tried to visit Lenin but Lenin's wife would not let him, and so after Stalin was abusive on the phone Lenin added another note to the testament that would be very damaging to Stalin's reputation if made public.
  • Lenin's death was unexpected and people displayed a huge amount of grief. 
  • Stalin made the most out of Lenin's funeral to advance his position in the party. He made it look as if Trotsky was not bothered to turn up to the funeral even though that was not the case; Trotsky was unable to attend because he was ill. This severly damaged Trotsky's reputation.
  • Stalin set himself up as Lenin's deciple, the person who would carry on Lenin's work. 
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The Lenin Cult

  • The Lenin Cult begun in 1918.
  • It was a sort of quosi-religion in which Lenin's name could be invoked like a deity or his words trotted out, mush as the bible is used to justify actions. 
  • Under pressure from Stalin, after his death Lenin was embalmed and his tomb was turned into a shrine. 
  • No one could fight against Stalin (Who surrounded himself with Lenin) because it would look as though they were against Lenin and not a true bolshevik. Stalin was very clever. 
  • Trotsky was sickened by the whole business, but it was difficult to speak out against it without being accused of disloyalty and disrespect.
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Contenders to take over Lenin.

    • One of the few leading revolutionaries who had a genuine peasant background.
    • Was invited onto the central committee of the Bolshevik party in 1912.
    • His offices were close to Lenin's, at this time he was able to gain Lenin's trust.
    • When Sverdlov died in 1902; Lenin looked to Stalin. Stalin was put in charge of the Orgburo which controlled aspects of the party organisation. He was also appointed as the Party's first General Secretary; his reputation had grown.
    • Was disliked by other members of the party.
    • Known for being tough; was arrested frequently between 1902 and 1913.
    • In the Civil war he tended to refuse orders; wanted to do things his own way. 
    • Could rival Lenin's intellect and high contribution to the party in the years 1917-24.
    • One of the Bolsheviks best orators, he was able to work with crowds. 
    • Popular with the younger, more radical elements of the party.
    • Planned the October Revolution and organised the Red army during the civil war.
    • Position as commissar for war; gave him a strong base in the army. 
    • He was arrogant and seemed dissmissive to other Bolsheviks; lacked respect. 
    • Other members thought that he would split the party.
    • Old Bolsheviks treated Trotsky as an outsider; he joined in 1917 so people were not convinced that he was loyal to the party.
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Other Contenders to take over Lenin

    • Was an old Bolshevik.
    • Worked closely with Lenin before the Revolution
    • He was a good orator BUT not an itellectual.
    • He was unpopular and seen as vain, incompetant and cowardly; no one liked him. He had also fallen out with Lenin about the construction of a new Government.
    • He was a full-time revolutionary and Bolshevik from 1905 and a major contributor to the party; worked closely with Lenin and was reliable.
    • He was moderate, liked and well regarded BUT too soft to become a real leader. 
    • Against the October Revolution and wanted a socialist coalition; lost him influence.
    • Joined in 1906; one of the younger members of the party and a major influence. He was very popular and Lenin called him 'the golden boy'.
    • He was intellectually inquisitive and could argue his points fiercely, especially on the NEP BUT did not have the skills and political cunning of Stalin.
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1924-1929 The Power Struggle PART ONE

Three Issues affecting the Power Struggle

  • Leadership: Collective (more Socialist) or Single Person (Fear of Dictatorship)
  • NEP: End or Keep going?
  • Party policy about direction of revolution: Permanent Revolution or socialism in one country? 

Leadership: Many party members did not want to see one person running the party and feared dictatorship; the man they feared of doing this was Trotsky. They did not want a leader who would cause divisions amongst the party; again it was Trotsky they feared. 

The NEP: Everyone agreed that industialisation was needed, the NEP became more and more unattractive to party members due to the growth of a rich superclass. There were also problems that arose after 1925 such as: High unemployment, food shortages and industry recovering pre 1913 levels by 1925-26. It was a question of when and how the NEP should be ended. 

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1924-1929 The Power Struggle PART TWO

Two wings of the party emerged: LEFT WING: Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev wanted to end the NEP and go rapid industrialsation. RIGHT WING: Bukharin wanted to keep the NEP and encourage peasants to become richer to contribute as consumers of goods. Believed conflict with peasants would lead to economic collapse and endanger the communist state.

Party Policy about direction of revolution: Another Important issue in the 1920s was the overall policy that the party should develop for the future, now that the USSA was the only Communist state in the world and world revolution had not taken place. Trotsky and Stalin developed different lines on this:

PERMANENT REVOLUTION: This was believed by TROTSKY who was convinced that the communist revolution in Russia could not really succeed; the working class was too small and economy underdeveloped. He believed that the Russians should go on fighting a 'permanent revolution' until a World communist revolution had been achieved. Trotsky also wanted to subject the USSR to a continuing revolutionary process that would move society in the direction of socialism.

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1924-1929 The Power Struggle PART THREE

SOCIALISM IN ONE COUNTRY: Stalin put this forward in 1924, saying that communists had to accept that the World Revolution had not happened and was not likely to in the immediate future. He proposed that the Russians build a socialist state in the USSR without the help of others outside. He said that they would solve their own problems and create a Workers society that was vastly superior to the capitalist west. They would be world leaders. It was also a very flexible doctrine because it meant that the leaders of the Communist party could say what was the bast way to achieve socialism at any particular moment in time. 

Stalin, Trotsky and the struggle for power after the death of Lenin:

  • 1921 Ban on Factions.
  • Stalin gains power as 'Lenin's Deciple' and gives Trotsky the wrong date for Lenin's funeral. 
  • Stalin avoids crisis as the testament is kept quiet as Zinoviev and Kamenev would loose power if testament is revealed.
  • The triumvirate lead the party. Trotsky speaksout that too bureaucratic, less demographic under Lenin. Congress was packed with followers of Stalin - 1924 Trotsky is defeated.
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1924-1929 The Power Struggle PART FOUR

  • Stalin was determined to become Leader of Russia and Trotsky wanted to keep the party together.
  • Bukharin was the favourite: he wanted to keep the NEP, however, other party members believed he was too young to lead the party and not tough enough. Communists were against him and Lenin critcised him as not being fully Marxist.
  • Zinoviev and Kamenev were two of the first members of the party, however, they were disloyal and cowardly and went against the October Revolution.
  • Lenin didn't allow factions; Stalin used this against Trotsky because Trotsky formed alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev.
  • The Permanent Revolution was more dangerous; could lead to war.
  • Trotsky had the strongest powerbase: The Red Guard. 
    • BUT he was thought to not be a true bolshevik (Previously a Menshevik) 
    • People feared he would become a dictator because of his arrogant decisions.
    • Young people supported him.
  • Stalin stayed behind the scenes, he was apart of the October Revolution and was good at administration. Stalin also gained a reputation for being loyal to Lenin. 
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How did Stalin become party leader?

How did Stalin build up his power base?

  • PARTY SECRETARY: Gave him control, to some extent, of the business of the Politburo. Drawing up agendas and papers for the politburo meetings gave him control over what was discussed and what information other members received. 
  • POSITIONS IN ORGBURO AND THE SECRETARIAT: Control of appointments to positions of responsibilty in the party structure. He could put his supporters in Key positions.
  • CONTROL OF THE PARTY ORGANISATION: This meant that he could influence the selection of delegates who were sent to the annual party congress where major issues of policy were decided and the Central committee was chosen. He could pack the congress with his supporters. This accounts for the hostile reception Trotsky received at conferences from 1924 onwards and the number of delegates who voted the way Stalin wanted. Kamenev and Zinoviev sought his support. 
  • CONTROL OF PARTY MEMBERSHIP: Allowed him to get rid of the more radical elements (students and soldiers) who were likely to support Trotsky. 


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Why did Stalin want to industrialise the USSR?

1. To increase military strength: Stalin knew that a country that was not industrialised was a weak country. To fight a modern war, a country had to have a well-developed industrial base to manufacture the huge quantities of weapons and munitions that would be required. Stalin became increasingly convinced that the USSR would be attacked during the 1930s.
2. To achieve self-sufficiency: Stalin wanted to make the USSR less dependant on Western goods. Important that USSR has industrial base to produce goods needed.
3. To increase grain supplies: Wanted to end dependance on a backward agricultural system. Did not want the new socialist state to be at the mercy of the peasantry.
4. To move towards a socialist society: According to Marxist theory, socialism could only be achieved in a highly industrialised state. In 1928, 20% of USSR population were workers.
5. To establish his credentials: The economic transformation of the USSR, taking the revolution forward in a giant leap towards socialism would establish Stalin as a leader of historic importance. 
6. To improve standard of living: Stalin wanted to catch up with the West, not just military wise but also in terms of the standard of living that people enjoyed. Industrialisation created wealth for a society. The communist life should be a good life and people in other parts of the world should appreciate what it had to offer working people. 

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Was the NEP working at the end of the 1920s?

  • Backward agriculture
    • In 1927 there were 5 million wooden ploughs
  • Grain not reaching the market.
  • Needed surplus to sell abroad to afford new technology.
  • More TAX = Less Profit
  • Peasants hold onto grain and are feeding their animals. 
  • Smaller holdings of land so most people eat what they produce.
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The collectivisation of Agriculture

KOLKHOZ means collectivisation: Collectiivisation was the process by which Russian Agriculture was reformed. Traditionally peasants had worked on small farms with very limited technology. Stalin planned to merge all the small farms into larger 'collective' farms. 

Why did Stalin Collectivise the Countryside?

  • Ideological:
    • Stalin had a peasant background but had little knowledge of agriculture; his only visit to farming land was for less than a month.  
  • Political:
    • Appealed more to the left wing of the party. 
  • Economic:
    • From 1927-29, harvests were poorer. Decrease in production forced the price of agricultural products up -> decline in standards of living for urban workers. 
    • No grain surpluses meant no money to build Russia's industry (sold grain abroad).
    • Larger farms would increase efficiency of farming. Fewer workers needed. 
    • Collectivisation was essential if the capitalist peasant were to embrace socialism.
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The Grain Procurement Crisis 1927-1929 PART ONE

The richer peasants (Kulaks) started to withhold grain from the market in order to push the price up further.

  • Illustrates the economic, idealogical and political causes of the new policy. The crisis acted as the catalyst which ended the NEP and ushered into the new era of collectivisation.
  • Under the NEP, the government bought grain from the peasants on the free market.
  • Poor harvests from 1927 onwards forced the price of grain to go up. The kulaks started to withhold grain from the market in order to push the price up further. Stalin described this as the 'Kulak grain strike'; used as an excuse to revive the policy of grain requisitioning. 
  • For Stalin, the grain strike illustrated that the peasant could effectively hold the government to ransom and slow down the process of industrialisation. The strike demostrated the fact that peasant idealogy was essentially capitalist and therefore in conflict with that of the government. 
  • Finally, Stalin used the crisis as evidence of the NEPs failure, and in so doing undermined Bukharin's position on the right of the party. 
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The Collectivisation of Agriculture: Summary

Liquidation: Mass collectivisation began in December 1929. 'Dekulakisation' marked the end of capitalism and independant farming in the countryside. It also vastly increased the speed of collectivisation. Stalin had proposed that only 30% of Russia's famrs would be collective by 1934.
Emergency Measures: Stalin's response to the grain procurement crisis was to increase the power of the government over the economy. Winter of 1928-1929 Stalin re-introduced rationing to the cities. End of 1928, the state resumed requisitioning. Under article 107 of the soviet criminal code grain hoarding could be punished.
Twenty-five thousanders: Prior to the start of forced collectivisation, Stalin initiated a new policy. Local communists were unhappy. Stalin issued a decree sending 25,000 socially concious industrial workers into the countryside. The Twenty-five thousanders were supposed to offer help to the peasants and enforce dekulakisation.
Dizzy with Success: The first forced collectivisation resulted in kulaks and their families being shot of herded into trucks and exported to Siberia. Publicly, Stalin was not unmoved by the fate of his victims -> 'Moscow does not believe in tears'. Resulted in slaughter of livestock, created hostility towards government: Process ended in 1930.
Famine: Pressure to collectivise resumed in 1931, resulting in famine. The governement issued unrealistic targets and the punishment was harshed if they were not met. Farmers failed to reach targets and the Red army and secret police seized the grain. 10 million died during the famine.  

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To what extent was collectivisation a success?

  • Rural Areas:
    • 9-10 million peasants were exiled in process called Dekulakisation. In 1929, 150,000 kulak families were sent to Siberia -> Figure rose to 285,000 in 1931.
    • HARDSHIP: Peasants forced to meet unrealistic targets and were paid little.
    • Peasants no longer owned the land that they worked on and received little reward this lead to the decline in agricultural productivity and Collectivisation failed to raise agricultural production. Anger and resentment towards the government.
    • Exiled peasants were hardest working and most enterprising. The harvest of 1933 was nine million tonnes less than that of 1926 - economic growth declined. 
    • The government kept prices of tractors high to get peasants to grow more grain. Consequently, few farms were able to aquire new machinery.
    • OVERALL SUCCESS: In 1930 25% of farms collectivised, 100% were in 1941.
  • Urban Areas:
    • Grain procured and exported increased from 11 million tonnes in 1928 to 16 million tonnes in 1933. 
    • The standard of living fell in cities and wages halfed from 1928 to 1932.
    • Not a great unity between peasants and workers, kulaks blamed for poor harvest.
    • Stalin DID ACHIEVE URBANISATION -> 63 million lived in cities by 1940.
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Communist Parties and collectivsation

  • Famine in the countryside and poverty in the cities led to crisis in the Communist party.
  • Members were united behind their new leader and did not critise Stalin. 
  • Blamed Kulaks and peasants for the problems that Russia faced and were worried about a Civil war so they stayed loyal to Stalin. STALIN STRONGER POSITION.
  • Left wing viewed Stalins hard line with peasants as a return to War Communism.

ESSAY PLAN: Stalin and Agriculture:

  • 1. The Early stages of collectivisation were disasterous: 
    • Between 1928 and 1933 the number of cattle halved; not restored until 1953.
    • The new methods of measring penalised the peasants even further.
  • 2. The need for state intervention in 1929 was clear:
    • In 1928 the poliburo unanimously voted for emergency measures to be taken in order in increase the amount of grain available in the towns. 
  • 3. By the later 1930s the policy appeared to be more successful:
    • MTS Stations were set up, each covering about 40 farms to distribute seeds.
  • 4. The attack on kulaks played a central role in collectivisation:
    • Many peasants ate or destroyed their crops rather than have them collectivised.
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The First five year plan: 1928-1933

  • Focused on heavy industry: Stalin feared another war so prioritised heavy industry: 100,000 workers died. Prioritising heavy industry created problems, huge shortage of consumer goods.
  • Extraordinary targets set by GOSPLAN for workers: Most industrial workers were former peasants; used to working at their own speed. Focus targets meant that quantity was more important than quality.
  • Workers were heavily regulated: Workers who took time off were fined or lost their jobs - therefore lost their home. Bonuses were given to workers for exceeding targets.
  • Propaganda campaigns: Alexei Stakhanov was used as propaganda for exceeding his target by a vast amount. The campaign was stopped in 1934 suggesting it was not successful. 
  • Enormous increases in production: Coal increased from 35.4 million tonnes to 64.3 millions tonnes between 1928 and 1933, steel rose from 4 to 18 million tonnesBy 1938 Russia had overtaken Britain and Germany in industrial output. 
  • Expanding towns and cities: Towns created out of nothing such as Magnitorsk lead to rapid growth and therefore food shortages. Housing was poor and crime was increasing.
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The Second five year plan: 1932-1938

Stalin introduced the second year plan in 1933 because of the threat of war: he wanted peasant support and to stop dekulakisation -> Improve standard of living. Stalin also wanted to stimulate the growth of a new economy and devise incentives as well as enforcing new code of practice. 

  • Continued to develop heavy industry. 
  • The shortage of workers encouraged women to work. By 1937 40% of the industrial workforce was women. As a result there was a greater equality between men and women in Russia than in other countries and this was reinforced through propaganda showing men and women as equal partners in the socialist struggle. But no woman ever held high-office in Stalin's government. The state did encourage marriage and motherhood and discouraged divorceand abortion.
  • Development of new industries what somewhat undermined by the purge of capitalists that had taken place since 1919 and the purge of intellectuals that Stalin carried out in the 1930s. Foreign experts and engineers had to be recruited. 
  • There was also a return to inequality in society; to improve production, managers, scientists and party bosses were given much higher standards of living as incentives; they earned more bonuses and had perks such as holidays in the state-run resorts. 
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The Third five year plan 1938-1941

  • Planned to produce more consumer goods such as radios and bicycles, to raise the quality of life of Russian people. There was also a plan to improve the quality rather than just the quantity of goods produced. 
  • In reality much industry was directed towards defence. This is because of WW2.
  • Nevertheless, there were more economic improvements: Rationing came to an end and free education and medicine were made available to more and more of the population. 
  • Any economic growth was interrupted in June 1941 when the German Army invaded Russia. The Russians managed to resist the German invasion single-handedly until June 1944 D-Day landings.
  • However, in 1946, a 4th plan was announced, to help the Russian economy recover from the war and it was a great success.
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The 'Great Retreat'

 Women, Family and Education in Stalin's Russia:

The Five Year plans and women:

  • Collectivisation - Famine.
  • Ended up in Gulags - punished if married to a kulak, would be dekulakised.
  • The first Five year plan encouraged to consume. 
  • The second Five year plan encouraged women to work due to the shortage of workers - 40% of workers were women during the second plan. 
  • Not found in high positions of power.
  • No divorce; No Abortion. 
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Awakening Terror: Stalin and Yagoda 1934-36

  • Totalitarianism: During the 1930s, Journalists, Historians and Political Scientists began to discuss a new phenomenon that they described as totalitarianism. In essence, totalitarianism describes a government in which all areas of life are brought under government control. 
  • Political Terror: Is the term used to describe the violent acts of the government against its people which are designed to discourage and eliminate any opposition.
  • Purge: This is the process by which a ruling party cleanses itself of unwanted members. Originally in the USSR, purges were designed to rid the ruling communist party of members who had joined for the wrong reasons or who had become corrupt. During the 1920s, members who were purged simply lost their jobs and were expelled from the party but under Stalin, the process became more bloody.
  • The role of the secret police, the Cheka, steadily expanded as Stalin's power increased. In the later 1920s, the OGPU, the name by which they were now known, began to be concerned with opposition politicians within the communist party. 
    • They enforced the house arrest of Zinoviev and Kamenev and spied on Bukharin.
    • OGPU didn't use physical methods against communists: nicknamed 'dry guillotines'
    • From 1928, they organised dekulakisation: mass exile of around 10 million peasants.
    • They also organised prison labour camps: contributed to various projects.
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Causes of the Great Terror: Congress of Victors

Congress of Victors: Kirov recieved 1,225 votes compared to Stalin's 927. Old Bolsheviks tried to persuade Kriov to stand for General Secretary. Although Kirov refused, Stalin used this as evidence that the party needed to be purged of members who were not trusted.
Paranoia: Stalin felt unable to trust within the communist party, he turned to fear assassination attempts. Yagoda fuelled Stalin's Suspicians: Stalin believed that he would recieve the same fate as Trotsky, Zinoviev and Bukharin. He was fearful of old communists and feared that the Red Guard and the Secret police had gained too much power.
Terror Economics: Difficulties with the 5 year plans could be explained by the presence of Wreckers who were employed by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. Many important projects were completed by prison workers who were now accused of economic sabotage.
The Murder of Kirov: In 1932, Kirov had helped to defeat Stalin on an important issue concerning Mikhail Riutin. In December 1934, Kirov was murdered. Stalin had viewed this defeat as betrayal. The Murder ris Stalin of his most important rival and he was able to imprison Zinoviev and Kamenev for the conspiracy to murder Kirov (Stalin Claimed that they were responsible). The murder showed that the political disendents were plotting acts of terror which justified execution of those who opposed Stalin's policies.

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The Great Terror begins:

  • Paranoia: Stalin doesn't want to fall from power. 
  • Someone else wanted close power to Stalin?
  • Kirov was the middle moderate. 
  • Kirovs position of power in the second 5 year plan. 
  • Blamed Zinoviev and Kamenev BUT who was actually responsible?
  • Kirov was the main threat to Stalin: Was he responsible for the murder?

Stalin issued a decree authorising swift execution of political opponents. Sent Yagoda to investigate the murder of Kirov.

Stalin interrogates and Nikolayev confesses ordered by Trotsky, Zinoviev and foreign powers, 100 political prisoners shot by NKVD.

Party Secretaries and organisations root out Troskyites and purge concentrated on Leningrad; 30,000 to 40,000 exiled.

The Great Terror did not kill anymore people than what was usual for Russia. However more people were convicted and either exiledor sent to prison camps but the convictions for the first time affected the ruling party.

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The Great Terror 1936-1938 PART ONE

  • The Moscow Show Trials:
    • Trial of the Sixteen (1936): Zinoviev and Kamenev both charged for the muder of Kirov, plot to disrupt the 5 year plan and plan to overthrow the Government with foreign powers: Both were shot. 
    • Trial of the Seventeen (1937): 13 executed and 4 gulags to die. Trotsky's former allies charged with plotting with foreign allies, terrorism, and contact with Trotsky.
    • Sharpening Class Struggle (1937)
    • Trial of the Twenty-One (1938: This is the last showtrial - Stalin threatens to execute Bukharin's wife and newborn baby, Bukharin tried to prove his loyalty to Stalin but was accused for the murder of Kirov and attempt to overthrow socialism. Bukharin was charged with attempting to murder Stalin and was shot.
  • Radicalism of the NKVD:
    • Yagoda Falls: Sentenced to death in Trial 21, Stalin did not trust him and questioned his abilities. Bukaharin claimed that Yagoda supported Right wing rather than Stalin and the left Wing. Yezhov leader of NVKD after trial 16, suggests Yagoda step down.
    • The Old NVKD was loyal to Bukharin and Rykov. NVKD purged itself in 1937, the new NVKD persucuted 'enemies of the people'. The NVKD was made up of thugs who enjoyed violence: Stalin set targets for execution, arrests and exiles. 
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The Great Terror 1936-1938 PART TWO

  • Purges and mass murder under Yezhov:
    • Purges of the party and the army: Yezhov wiped out younger members of the party and targeted minority groups. From 1934-1938, 330,000 party members were convicted as enemies of the people, 34,000 soldiers were purged from the army.
    • Mass Murder: NVKD is assumed to have kept large numbers of people under surveillance and chose victims, had a list of over 250,000 people. Russians denounced friends and neighbours to the secret police for better housing, survival and attempt to prove their loyalty to Stalin. Youth would even tell on their parents out of loyalty to Stalin. 
    • End of 1938: Yezhov Resigned as head of NVKD in Novemeber and was arrested in April 1939. He was accused of terrorism and spying for foreign countries, BUT he argued that his only crime was not killing enough Russians -> Executed in 1940. A list of 346 of Yezhov's associates were killed.
    • Yezhov was replaced by Lavrenti Beria.
    • Yezhov and Yagoda failed to find Trotsky since 1930.
    • Trotsky was killed in his house in Mexico in 1940 by a member of the NVKD who used an Ice pick to kill him.
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Consequences of the Great Terror PART ONE

  • Social
    • New identies were forged to escape the terror e.g. Kulaks, NEP men, priests.
    • Family history was re-invented.
    • In 1937 massive purge of leaders in the communist party.
    • Elimination of the old elite. 
    • Terrorised families.
    • 1937 in Moscow blocks of flats deserted, wives of those in the top party were arrested too. Children expelled from university, school age would be humiliated by their teachers and peers or they would disown their parents. 
    • Victims included those of different nationalities (e.g. poles, etc), 635,000 were exiled and 650,000 were shot. 
  • Economic
    • Designed to boost production -> Wreckers.
    • Lied that targets were met to give better impression to Government to avoid arrest.
    • GOSPLAN purged to get rid of experienced economic planners.
    • Coal production BARELY GREW from the beginning of the Terror to 1940.
    • Third 5 year plan swept away experience workers and managers etc. 
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Consequences of the Great Terror PART TWO

  • Political
    • Established guilt and opposition towards Stalin.
    • Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Yezhov all removed -> OPPOSITION.
    • Show trials showed that everyone who opposed Stalin was for Corrupt reasons 
  • The Great Terror removed all potential threats:
    • Military 
    • Economic Leadership
    • Political Leadership
  • The Great Terror provided Scapegoats for:
    • Economic failures.
    • Cruelty of policy effecting everyday lives.
    • Gap between vision of socialist Russia and Everyday reality of shortages.
    • Executed 500,000 -> 1,500,000
    • Exiled 2,000,000 died in 1937-1938
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