Communist Russia part a) questions

  • Created by: Olivia
  • Created on: 27-03-13 17:28

Explain why the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 was n

  • Revolution should take place in a highly industrialised nation- Russia still feudal and run by Tsar
  • The proletariat should also be the largest group in society- the largest group in Russia were the peasants (took up 80% of the population)
  • The proletariat would become class conscious because of their exploitation and start spontaneous revolution- exploitation was felt in major cities where strikes took place but not across Russia- revolution was not spontaneous but planned by Lenin and the Bolsheviks- not started by exploited parties but carried out by Red Guards
  • A dictatorship of the proletariat should then be established- instead there was dictatorship of the party (Closing of the Constituent Assembly in Jan 1918)- imposed Marxist regime on workers and peasants who wanted democracy not communism
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Explain why Lenin wanted a collective leadership t

  • Marxist Ideology believed in dictatorship of proletariat rather than single leader- Leninism recognised that the party collectively would have to rule in place of the proletariat which was undeveloped in the USSR
  • Lenin did not believe that any of the leading Bolsheviks were suitable to rule the country- Trotsky was too arrogant and obsessed with administrative matters, his intelligence was seen as patronising and he was an ex-Menshevik so was not seen as a true Bolshevik- Zinoviev and Kamenev were the 'October Deserters'- Bukharin's views were not fully Marxist because of his support for the NEP- Stalin was too powerful, lacked caution and had ignored Lenin's instructions, using the Red Army and Cheka to control what happened in party
  • Lenin considered that the party was likely to split because of the conflict between Trotsky and Stalin- favoured collective leadership through enlarged Central Committee and the removal of Stalin as General Secretary- Stalin and Trotsky were strong characters and could argue and split party and weaken it
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Explain why the NEP was ended by Stalin

  • NEP was always a temporary expedient- it was capitalist and an adaption of Marxism- Bolsheviks had seized power when the population was 80% peasants, so ending the NEP would finally create socialism
  • NEP no longer working- by 1927/28 grain procurements were falling
  • Rapid industrialisation could be adopted- this is due to Trotsky and the United Opposition having been defeated
  • Ending NEP allowed Stalin's policies to create a distinction between his policies and those of Bukharin- this would defeat the right wing in the power struggle and would secure him majority of the party, including Kirov and Kaganovich
  • 1927 War Scare- Britain had broken off diplomatic relations and French trade links- Japanese threatened war- Stalin believed rapid industrialisation was needed to defend the USSR which influenced the ending of NEP
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Explain why Lenin adapted Marxism in the years 191

  • Marx believed that the economic system should determine the political system, therefore countries with a developed working class who were aware that they were being exploited would see spontaneous workers revolutions
  • In the USSR, the political system determined the economic system in that the peasantry were 80% of the population and the country was not ready for a worker's revolution and so the USSR had to skip a stage in Marx's stage theory, moving from Feudalism to the stage of Socialism
  • The internal and external context also required adaptations to Marxism; the civil war required the discipline of War Communism with requistioning and terror; the famine, Scissor Crisis and Kronstadt Rebellion required the retreat from communism to the capitalist NEP
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Explain why Trotsky lost the power struggle with S

  • The weaknesses of Trotsky- Jewish, ex-Menshevik, lacked partisans and a power base
  • The mistakes of Trotsky- he did not attack Stalin over his actions in Georgia at the 1923 Congress, did not push for the publication of Lenin's Testament, missed the funeral of Lenin, attacked party bureaucracy and therefore appeared to be guilty of factionalism, attaced Zinoviev and Kamenev in 'Lessons of October' and then sided with them in the United Opposition, programme of World Revolution appeared to be unrealistic and unpatriotic, whilst arguing in favour of NEP appeared to be contradictory to Leninism
  • The strengths of Stalin- as General Secretary he hired and fired the top 5,500 officials and he was able to manipulate the timing of the 1925 Congress and ensure that the delegates were pro-Stalin and anti-Trotsky; his policy of Socialism in One Country was realistic and popular, whilst continuing the NEP was presented as being consistent with the wishes of Lenin
  • Luck- Lenin had a stroke before he could remove Stalin; Trotsky was suffering from malaria at the time of Lenin's funeral
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Explain why Stalin position as General Secretary g

  • He was the link between the Politburo and the government and as the head of the party Orgburo Stalin controlled the flow of information. He reputedly used this power to tell Trotsky the wrong date for Lenin's funeral
  • Stalin had the power of patronage over the top 5,500 officials, including the inability to hire and fire, promote and demote the Regional Secretaries. He used these powers to promote his supporters, for example Kirov was made Leningrad party secretary and Molotov was made Moscow Party secretary- this allowed Stalin to create a group of loyal supporters
  • Stalin was able to dictate the timing of the Party Congress, delaying the 1925 Congress until December when he had a majority amongst the delegates so that his support outnumbered the support of the United Opposition
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Explain why Stalin supported the policy of 'social

  • Russia's backwardness was preventing that country from becoming the great power Stalin wanted- Russia needed to catch up with the West against the Stalin/ Trotsky clash- his quest for power acted as a higher priority in his resoning than Russia's practical needs
  • Stalin saw the strengthening of Russia industrially as the underpinning of the Communist revolution - and his regime
  • Stalin believed the strengthening of Russian industry was the only way to protect the country and its revolution from other (capitalist) states
  • The economic problems of Russia had never been resolved by Lenin who left an ambiguous legacy
  • Stalin chose to use the policy to challenege his rivals in his bid for leadership struggle. It proved particularly usseful in challenging Trotsky, whose theory of permanent revolution was less immediately appealing within Russia
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