- Created by: Abby Williams
- Created on: 29-01-14 17:19
Following the assassination of the Tsar Nicholas II, Russia had moved from autocracy, via limited constitutional democracy, to communism, all within eight months. To determine at which point the biggest change in the nature of government took place is a difficult task, however the move to a totalitarian state during the rule of Josef Stalin would imply the biggest change. Previous governments may have been rooted in autocracy or dictatorships, but they did not possess the same dominance as statesmen as was seen in Stalin. The nature of government was however changed in various ways by all Russian rulers during the period of 1855 to 1964. One thing is clear in relation to every ruler, changes made to government were not always accepted and every ruler faced opposition, how this opposition was dealt with seemed to play an important part in the nature of the government.
Opposition played a significant role in the nature of Russian government throughout the period of 1855 to 1964. All governments with the exception of the Provisional Government under Kerensky sought to perpetuate their authority by disposing of any effective opposition, by severely restricting personal liberties and by applying heavy persuasion and force, which can be demonstrated by Lenin and his suppression of democracy, closing down the constituent assembly in 1918 after only ‘one day of democracy’. All other governments also had their own secret police in order to enforce mass terror. These were the third section under Alexander II, the Okharana under Alexander II and the Cheka under Nicholas II, and the NKVD and the KGB under the Communists. It is therefore arguable that during the rule of the Provisional Government which began and ended in 1917, the Russian population saw the most dramatic change in the nature of government. The provisional government issued a manifesto containing eight principles by which they would function, one of which included the ‘freedom of speech, press and assembly, and the right to form unions and to strike…’ despite Alexander II’s reduction on press restrictions and the title of ‘Tsar Liberator’ restrictions were reduced even further and allowed the enemies of democracy to get the free rein. The lack of restrictions on the press meant that the Provisional Government were faced with more opposition than any other previous ruler, the lack of force used to suppress these threats to government meant that the failure of the rule was inevitable. This is the biggest change in regards to opposition as not only was the reaction from the state different from any other, but also that the opposition were alongside them in some cases, such as in the Kornilov Revolt were they turned to the Bolsheviks for help in desperation. This would imply that the biggest change in the nature of government came from the short lived Provisional Government.
It is also possible to argue another extreme to suppression was the biggest change in the nature of government, this is seen in the nature of Stalin’s government. Opposition from both…