Russia before Stalin

Russia before Stalin

Collapse of Tsarism

Bolsheviks in power

Marxist-Leninist theory

Civil War

War Communism


Structure of Party and Government


The collapse of Tsarism

  • Tsars simply ignored, exiled or executed radicals who called for reform
  • 1905, a year of revolution revealed the vunerability of the Tsars position
  • End of year, Tsar Nicholas II forced to concede
  • Promised limited civil rights and an elected Parliamnet (the Duma)
  • New laws soon reasserted the Tsars supreme power
  • 1914, Tsarism seemed secure
  • The outbreak of WW1 rallied Russia's people behind their Tsar for a short while
  • Strains of war were too much for Russia's backwards economy and outdated political system
  • Russia had very little industry and was consequently unable to produce the weapons and supplies needed to fight effectively.
  • War production slowed down the manufacture of consumer goods, food became scarce
  • Made worse by so many peasants fighting at the front
  • 1917, Russia faced economic collapse and military defeat
  • The people of Moscow and Petrograd revolted
  • Tsar Nicholas ordered his army to crush the uprising but instead they joined the crowds
  • Called for overthrow of the Tsar
  • No support from his people or Army
  • February 1917 Tsar forced to abdicate
  • Power handed to 'Provisional Government' (formed very quickly)
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The collapse of Tsarism

  • April 1917, Lenin returned to Russia
  • Said a new kind of government was needed
  • Currently councils were set up spontaneously across the country
  • As the Provisional Government broke down these councils (soviets) took over the management of local affairs
  • Soviets highly democratic
  • Represented workers, peasants and soldiers
  • Lenin thought these soviets represented a form of workers' democracy that was superior to the elected parliament promised by the Provisional Government
  • Lenin demanded that the soviets seize power on behalf of the workers and peasants
  • Initially Lenin gained little support
  • Economic conditions worsened and military victory didn't happen
  • Lenin's call for 'PEACE LAND BREAD' became increasingly attractive
  • 1917, Provisional Government lost all credibility
  • Lenin argued for an armed seizure of power
  • Lenin's daring plan was carried out 25th October
  • Early hours of 26th October Lenin proclaimed the birth of the world's first socialist republic
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  • Lenin's bold ideas were motivated by a particular ideology known as Marxist-Leninism
  • Idea's of 2 mean (Marx and Lenin)
  • Aiming to achieve complete Communism (human equality, no government necessary)
  • Live together in 'Primitive communism'
  • Stages were: Primitive Communism... Feudalism... Capitalism... Socialism... Communism
  • Change from each stage would be accomplished by a revolution
  • Marx believed capitalist societies would be dominated between two classes (bourgeoisie and proletariat)
  • These classes would clash and lead to a final revolution
  • This would abolish the class system and create a socialist society
  • Lenin believed this was his mission
  • He argued because Russia was a 'backward' country, a revolution would not happen spontaneously
  • Many Marxists believed any revolution in Russia would create a capalist economy and society
  • Lenin thought it would be possible for Russia to miss out the capatilist stage and go straight form Feudalism to socialism
  • He justified this by caliming Russian peasants were unusually politically radical and would support the revolution
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