The Nature of Government

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Autocracy - Tsars


✏️ ALEXANDER II: stuck to autocratic principles, especially after the first assassination attempt on him (1866). He was a willing reformer, but his policies were carried out to preserve autocracy in mind - e.g, Emancipation Edict (1861)

✏️ ALEXANDER III: His reign is often seen as a period of more intense authoritarian rule. Reffered to as 'The Reaction' (a response against the more reforming period of
AII. He strongly believed the 'Slav Peoples' lacked the intelligence to participate in a democratic political system (often viewed them as 'inertness and laziness' therefore undeserving of greater freedoms) -> A III only willing to reform if it benefit Russia as a whole.

✏️ Nicholas II: Continued w/ the more severe autocratic rule adopted by Alexander III. The 'OCT Manifesto' of 1905 & the setting up of The Duma - appeared to be a move toa ads democracy. However, this impact of reforms, through was cushioned by the passing of the autocratic FUNDAMENTAL LAWS of 1906.

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Sustaining Autocratic Rule - The Communists


✏️ LENIN: (DICTATORSHIP) - Russia was governed by a form of dictatorship after the 'OCT REV' (1917). Lenin based his ideology on Marxism & Lenism, centred around three principles:

-> The 'Superstructure of institutions' that formed the base of the old tsarist society had to be replaced w/ egalitarian society (in which everyone has equal rights).

-> Marx's 'Labour Theory of value' became a justification for Lenin to overthrow Tsarism, especially as tsars were started to move towards Capitalism.

The Exploration of the Proletariat and the 'Labour Theory of Value':

-> This Theory clamped that under a Capitast economy the proletariat would never gain full value for their efforts. A disproportionate amount of wages would be taken away to provide Capitalists w/ profits far in excess of what was needed to maintain industrialisation.

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Sustaining Autocratic Rule - The Communists

Implementation of Marxism-Leninism - (Lenin implemented his ideology by:)

  • Passing on his views through his writing i.e. The publication of 'What is to be Done?' (1902). Lenin argued the need for Revolutionairies to bypass the implementation of a democratically elected assembly & go straight to a g'ment led by a Party Central Committee (who would govern until the workers were ready to take over).
  • Leading a Bolshevik Rev against the 'P.G' (OCT 1917).
  • Engaging in a Civil War (1917 to 1921) against the opponents of the Rev (the whites).
  • Using War Communism - endure no drift from his followers or those he perceived should have supported Marxism-Leninism (proletarians & peasants). Implemented w/ a degree of ruthlessness through the Cheka, to brutally enforce their policies.
  • NEP (concessions) - Trotsky wanted a more 'permanent rev', which meant spreading Communism throughout the world. Others (Bukharin) disagreed & believed that the NEP was a necessary temporary measure to enable the consolidation of 'socialism in one country'.
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Sustaining Autocratic Rule - The Communists

The Communists:

New style of dictatorship - Totalitarianism:

✏️ STALIN: exploited circumstances to implement a practical solution for Russia

  • 5 Year Plans & Collectivisation. For these to be successful no one would be able to question whether the policies were appropriate.
  • Another view was that Stalin was a megalomaniac. He would do whatever was needed to maintain his power.
  • Another idea was that Stalin internationally built on a base laid by Lenin. The establishment of the Patry Central Committee & the use of the Cheka. Indicating that Lenin had every intention of centralising control of all aspects of Russian life.
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Sustaining Autocratic Rule - The Communists

The Communists:

✏️ KHRUSHCHEV: (Desalinisation)

  • After Stalins death in 1953. A collective government emeged w/ a collective leadership, one mainly by Khrushchev the Secretary of the Central Party Committee.
  • (1956) he formulated a plan to move from Stalinism. His Speech (1956) to the 20th Party Congress demanded Stalin (i.e. Lenin didn't wish for Stalin to become leader, didn't prepare the Soviet Union for 2WW committed crimes against Russian people & alienated 'outsider' allies like Hunguary.
  • He proceeded with DESTALINISATION by releasing political prisoners from Gulags, relaxed censorship attempt to remove the cult of personality.

OVERALL: There was no real move from an authoritarian rule by the Communists i.e. Khrushchev continued to use physical force to repress opposition (e.g. Hungary 1956).

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Methods of Repression & Enforcement - Tsars

The Secret Police

✏️ ALEXANDER II: He initially used the Third Section to exile opponents. In (1880) replaced w/ the Okhrana - they were less openly aggressive & was used to target specific individuals and small , rather large groups.

✏️ ALEXANDER III & NICHOLAS II: Used Okhrana, especially against SR's & SD's. The Okhrana lasted untill the Feb Rev (1917).

The Army

✏️ ALEXANDER II: After the Crimean War, it acted as a catalyst for change and make improvements of the army. Tsars mainly used it to quell rebellions and strikes.

✏️ ALEXNADER III: used troops to enforce Russidication (policy aimed at transforming the different people of the Russian Empire into 'pure' Rus. Tsar hoped it would quell discontent minors groups (i.e. Jews targets through the instigation of pogroms).

✏️ NICHOLAS II: used army to control workers protests.

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Methods of Represion & Enforcement- Tsars


✏️ NICHOLAS II: Used portraits, pamphleting, photographs and events to increase his popularity. Especially after 1905 (BLOODY SUNDAY).

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Methods of Repression & Enforcement - Communists

The Secret Police:

✏️ LENIN: established the Cheka (Dec 1917) to deal w/ to those who opposed the Bolshevik's seizure of power. Used them to implement War Communism & Red Terror during the Civil War.

✏️ STALIN: Cheka replaced w/ less brutal United State Police Administration (OGPU) in 1924. He also introduced (NKVD) in 1934. Marking a return to he days of the Cheka. NKVD were relentless in clamping down opposition through show trials & purges.

✏️ KHRUSHCHEV: implemented a clear structure of policing resulted in the MVD (responsible for 'ordinary' criminal acts) & KGB (dealt w/ internal and external security matters).


✏️ Communists: control became more rigid under the communists with the establishment of Agirop (the association of Proletarian writers). & offices newspapers i.e. Proavada.


✏️ Introduction of slogans like cult of personality & Stakhanovite.

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Methods of Repression & Enforcement - Communists

The Army:

✏️ LENIN: The Military Revolutionary committee (MCR), was a body of soldiers from Petrograd. Encouraged by Bolsheviks to become the vanguard of the 'OCT REV'.
MCR merged w/ the Red Army to form the core for Trotsky's Red Army - which helped them win the a civil War.

✏️ STALIN: He continued to the use the Red Army - it was utilised as was the Cheka, to requisition grain, also administer the purges.

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