Communist Russia- Political Theme

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Why would communism be popular in Russia?
The vast amount of people made it hard to govern, one government would never satisfy the variety of nationalities and religions. The nobility were in charge-only make up 1% of the population- peasants hated this. The Tsar ran an autocratic state
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How was there a system of dual power after the Tsar was taken over?
The provisional government parliament system was the Duma- made for richer middle class citizens, whereas there were also Soviets for the peasantry and working class
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Why did the Germans send Lenin to Russia?
They sent him on a sealed train to Russia to cause a revolt during the unstable political period so that Russia would back out of WW1
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When was the April Thesis written and what was the slogan?
April 1917, 'Peace, Bread, Land!'
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What was the Summer Offensive?
Soldiers were told to fight on the Eastern front, when they refused it sparked rebellions in Petrograd
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What was the Kornilov affair?
General Kornilov was appointed to commander in chief of the army and planned to direct them to Petrograd to stage a coup against the provisional government. The president, Kerensky, armed the Bolshevik army with weapons to stop his coup
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What was the nature of the October 1917 Revolution?
Red Guards took over post offices, bridges, and the State Bank- the provisional government realised this and most of them fled. When they stormed the Winter Palace, there was little resistance and the Bolshevik guards arrested the rest.
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Who in the Bolshevik party opposed the decision to revolt in 1917?
Zinoviev and Kaminev- they believed that it would end like the July Days
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What were the weaknesses of the provisional party?
They allowed Lenin into the country, Kerensky armed the Bolshevik army during the Kornilov affair, there was a lack of resistance at the Winter Palace, they lost support after the July Days
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What were the strengths of the Bolshevik Party before the revolution?
They had support from the army, April Thesis was attractive to the proletariat, they used propaganda effectively, Lenin planned the October Revolution
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What was the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
Lenin signed this Treaty, pulling Russia out of WW1. 27% of farm land was lost, many of the Baltic States were lost and 62 million people were independent from Russia. The conservative party hated this move and it humiliated senior military officers
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Why did Lenin sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
He realised that resources and money were being drained with little chance of success. He pulled out so that the Bolshevik party could deal with internal opposition to consolidate their power
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When did the civil war start and end and why?
It started in 1917 and ended in 1921. The growing opposition to Bolshevik views created this- conservative groups, Baltic states and Britain, France (who wanted money) and Japan and the USA (who wanted land)
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How did the 'Whites' weaknesses contribute to Bolshevik victory?
The 'Whites' were scattered around Russia and each were fighting for different aims so army commanders didn't trust each other, lack of discipline in White troops, the lack of propaganda meant there was a lack of motivation in the soldiers
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How did the Reds' strengths contribute to Bolshevik victory in the Civil War?
They were centralised to Moscow, they had control of the railway so could easily be transported to fight, Trotsky was a good military leader -1918- and organised the army into units for attack, discipline was good- soldiers were focused, conscription
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How was industry and agriculture re-directed for soldiers during the Civil War?
All industry was nationalised so that supplies were re-directed for the Army, and there was requisitioning of food from the peasants to feed the Red Army
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What were the results of the civil war?
It showed opposition that the Bolsheviks were not to be challenged, it consolidated Bolshevik power as they made quick decisions regarding economy and industry, it set the tone of development preceding the war
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When and what were the events of the Kronstadt Mutiny?
1921, the sailors rose against the Bolsheviks- their slogan was 'Soviets without Bolsheviks'. They planned an attack but were intercepted. Lenin was shocked because the sailors had once supported them and he realised there was a change needed.
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When and what were the events of the Tambov Uprising?
It spanned across 1920-1921, a peasant led uprising about requisition of grain during the Civil war. They formed a 'green army' and took control over a large area of land- it took 50,000 Bolshevik soldiers to stop the rebellion.
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What happened at the Tenth Party Congress in 1921?
After Civil War victory, the Bolshevik party boasted 730,000 members. Lenin placed a ban on factions forming- labelling any factions as opposition of 'On Party Unity'
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Who opposed Bolshevik rule?
Liberals, Tsarists (their social order was under attack, more power to proletariat class), the people of the Baltic States -saw the collapse of the Tsar as a way to assert independence, Socialist Revolutionaires and Mensheviks (denied share in power)
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How did Lenin oppose Left-wing threats to communist regime?
SRs and Mensheviks had hoped to have a Constituent Assembly where they would have some political power- this posed as a threat to Lenin and he dissolved it as being to captialist. He then created the All-Russian Congress of Soviets- they dominated
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How did Lenin destroy other parties from taking over?
He banned any newspaper apart from Bolshevik ones, he arrested 5000 Menshevik members in 1921, in 1918 it was renamed the Communist Party and all other parties were banned, removal of Constituent Assembly,
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What was the apparatus of the Russian state?
The Sovnarkom headed the All-Russian Congress, made up of around 20 key decision makers- they were elected by the Central Executive Committee who oversaw the law-making process- elected by the All- Russian Congress, representatives from Soviets
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What was the apparatus of Russian government?
The Politburo was the key decision making body that dominated the Sovnarkom, the Central Committee were supposed to make key decisions to propose to the Politburo, underneath them was the Party Congress made up of Local Party delegates
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What was democratic centralism?
This is where representatives were elected up from lower levels into larger conferences and meetings to express their views. This in practice seemed highly democratic to foreign countries but senior delegates over-rode their decisions
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What was entailed in the Soviet Constitution of 1924?
Red Army troops were sent in to encourage peasantry revolution in Baltic states. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was created which binded Baltic States with Russia. The name suggested it was a federal state, however Russia still was 90%
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What did the system of secret police do under Lenin's rule?
The Cheka, headed by Felix Dzerzhinsky, killed 200,000 people. They were based in Moscow and arrested people without trial, it distilled fear in Russia. It was replaced in 1922 by the OGPU and they performed efficient chistka's.
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How did the Cheka undermine the Communist Party power?
It showed they still needed to fear to control the nation, even after the Civil War and it suggested Lenin was using it as his own personal agenda of terror
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Who were Stalin's opponents in the Politburo?
Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky
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How did Stalin undermine Trotsky?
He gave him the wrong date for Lenin's funeral so it looked like he was being disrespectful. Also, Stalin recited a speech at Lenin's funeral setting him up as his succesor
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How was Lenin's will and testament bad for Stalin's rise to power?
It was given to the 13th Party Congress in 1924, and outlined Stalin as too fierce to bceome a leader. Zinoviev and Kamenev urged it not be read out because it was harsh on them. Trotsky stayed silent because he didn't want to get involved.
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How did Stalin remove Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky from the party?
They formed a triumvirate at the 13th Party Congress, and bashed Trotsky as the Central Committee was filled with supporters- he was humiliated. Then Stalin gained support from the right, Z & K attacked him and tried to form a faction- but Lenin bann
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How did Stalin remove Bukharin and Rykov from the party?
Stalin turned against the NEP (what he had favoured to gain their support). Bukharin launched a campaign in protest and both himself, Rykov and Tomsky were outvoted by the Central Committee. Stalin was the only member of the Politburo, leader of Russ
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What were the causes of the purges?
Stalin's megalomania, the consolidation of power of the NKVD, reaction to the threat of war, fear of factions, they were difficult to stop once they had started
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Why was there a Chistka from 1932-1935?
Because 22% of the Party were not following the policies of the 1st Five Year Plans. They were removed to increase the speed of industrialisation
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In which year and why did Ryutin criticise Stalin?
1932, he released a document to the Central Committee criticising Stalin for creating a dictatorship and he was sentenced to 10 years hard labour
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Explain the Murder of Kirov
In 1934, Kirov entered the Smolny Institute leaving his bodyguard downstairs. Nikolayev passed him in the corridor and shot him dead. Nikolayev was an ex-communist party member.
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What evidence is there that Nikolayev killed Kirov for personal reasons?
Nikolayev's wife was sleeping with Kirov, Stalin personally questioned him which shows he was truley worried, Nikolayev hated the communist party after being expelled on ground of discipline
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What evidence is there that Stalin ordered Kirov's assassination?
There were no guards in the building, Kirov had criticised the 5YPs and has a lot of support in the Central Committee, his death acted as a catalyst for the purges
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What happened at the 17th Party Congress in 1934?
It was meant to celebrate the success of the 1st 5YP but Kirov presented some criticisms- which were heavily enthused by the delegates. In the span of three years 2/3 of those at that conference were executed.
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When and what was the first show trial?
August 1936, Trial of the Sixteen- purges of the Left, Zinoviev and Kaminev were labelled Trotskyites and executed. Their trails were filmed and distributed to cinemas and radio stations
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When and what was the Trial of the Seventeen?
1937, Purge of party officials for being Trotskyites and aiding foreign allies (Nazi Germany), in reality they had criticised the Five Year Plans
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When and what was the Trail of the Twenty-One?
1938, Purge of the right, including Bukharin and Rykov, they were blamed for supporting Trotsky and an attempted assassination of Stalin. 18 were sentenced to be shot
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What was the nature of the show trials and their impact on the USSR?
They were staged, most confessions were caught on tape under immense torture. They warned party officials (even at the top) not to disagree with Stalin and not to express bourgeois attiudes or go against communist ideology
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When and what were the events of the Purge of the Secret Police?
1936-1938, in 1936 Yagoda was replaced with Yezhov (known as the Bloody dwarf). Yezhov purged 3000 of his own men in 6 months. He was then dismissed in 1938 - Stalin only needed him as a scapegoat
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When and what were the events of the Purge of the Army?
1937-1938, a supposed conspiracy was uncovered and 14 out of the 16 army commanders and 35000 soldiers were executed. In reality, they had criticised the process of collectivisation and Stalin needed to reduce their numbers to gain loyalty.
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When and how was Trotsky murdered?
In 1940, the NKVD found him in Mexico and murdered him with an ice pick
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How were local party officials purged?
Stalin introduced a quota system for the number of arrests and executions, he'd write lists of names of officials that had to be purged, this resulted in a mass purge of managers from the working class, denunciations were made according to hatred
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How could Stalin justify the purges?
A way of reducing the bourgeois class and distilling revolutionary spirit, however the Great Terror was occuring at a time of weak party opposition so perhaps Stalin has his own agenda
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What was entailed in the Soviet Constitution of 1936?
Every citizen got the right to vote- even the bourgeoise class. It boasted full employment as well. Votes however could only be for the CP, as multiple parties were a product of class conflict. It appealed to foreign countries as democratic
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What was the structure of the new soviet constitution 1936?
The Soviet of the Union and the Soviet of Nationalities elected the Presidium (using democratic centralism). The council of ministers were at the top, controlling all decisions of the union
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How did Stalin himself limit his own power?
The system needed Stalin to multi-task with different sectors, and he prioritised heavy industry. Also, Stalin was very frantic and scared of opposition which meant he couldn't expend his power over a collective of people
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How were there limits imposed from the party itself to Stalin's power?
The Politburo made Stalin re-draft his ideas for the 2nd 5YP, Kirov represented a growing opposition to Stalin, the Politburo still effected his decisions, Yezhov carried out his own Yezhovchina
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How did Stalin's power change during the Second World War?
The State Defence Committee and the Stavka worked during the war, making him look inferior. Ex-party officials were released from labour camps, Stalin was used as a nationalist symbol. When Germans invaded, Stalin retreated and suffered from a breakd
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Why was high stalinism needed?
After WW2, the USSR was in a terrible state- Stalin needed to reassert his authority because his power was relaxed during WW2.§
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What happened during High Stalinism?
Older party officials were replaced with younger ones and Stalin had the doctors arrested for attempting to murder him with medicine
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How did the collective leadership in 1953, effectively remove Beria?
Beria was the head of the NKVD and he was not trusted by Khrushchev or Malenkov. They had him arrested and executed for being a British spy
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When and where did Khrushchev deliver his secret speech?
In 1956, to the 20th Party Congress he presented the speech 'On the cult of personality and it's consequences'
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What did Khrushchev challenge in his secret speech of 1956?
He denounced Stalin and his actions regarding his 5 Year Plan's and collectivisation, it shocked so many party delegates that some committed suicide
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What were the specific accusations in Khrushchev's secret speech?
Blamed him of betraying communist ideology, he said the purged were innocent, he compared him to Lenin was a vicious leader for his irrational attacks. He didn't mention industrialisation because it was a success
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Why did Khrushchev deliver his secret speech?
To gain support from Marxist-Leninists, it created a cult of personality for him, he was regarded as a truthful leader, he needed the support of ex-Gulag prisioners
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Why did the crisis of 1967 occur?
Khrushchev decentralised power to regional levels and Malentov and Molotov countered this as it reduced their power. Th
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How did Khrushchev deal with the Anti-Party group in 1967?
They pleaded for his resignation, Khrushchev suggested they open it up to debate in the Central Committee (full of his supporters) and they declined the request. Molotov and Malentov were demoted
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What were the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
In 1962, Khrushchev placed nuclear missiles in Cuba- which threatened John F Kennedy. Soviet ships reached the quarantine zone and turned around. Bringing humiliation to Russia and it's troops
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How was Khrushchev removed from the party?
After his agricultural and economical mistakes, and the Cuban Missile crisis, his division of agriculture and industry and his limits of tenure meant the Central Committee asked to remove him, and he left without question
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Who replaced Khrushchev in 1964?
Leonid Brezhnev
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What were Brezhnev's initial policies?
The division of agriculture and industry was dropped, limits of tenure were removed, 'trust in cadres', there would no more subjectivism, the Soviet Constitution of 1977 (criticisms to the party)
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What was 'trust in cadres'?
It was Brezhnev's principle of letting party members, who served at all levels to get on with their job without interfernce
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What happened at the 23rd party congress in 1966?
Referred to as the congress of silence, there was very little discussion and the only policy changed was renaming the Politburo from the presidium
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What were the causes of political stagnation?
Corruption, gerontocracy and nepatism, and Brezhnev's policies
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What is the evidence of gerontocracy in the party under Brezhnev's rule?
It was ruled by an old oligarchy, the average age was increasing- 7 out of the 11 Politburo members were 70+, meetings were extremely short
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What was the effect of gerontocracy?
It meant there was a generation gap between society and the government, there was little incentive to work and decisions were passed very slowly,
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What is the evidence of corruption in the party under Brezhnev's rule?
The Dnepropetrovsk mafia , aided Brezhnev's power, no could be fired or promoted so corruption boomed, the cotton affair claimed millions of roubles, 'Boris the Gypsy' smuggled diamonds out of the USSR
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When was Brezhnev replaced and who by?
In 1982 by Andropov
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What were Andropov's reforms?
His concern was on corruption, his recognition for reform symbolised how a younger generation were going to change Russia
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How and when did Andropov die? Who did he choose as his successor?
1984, he had ongoing kidney failure, he chose Gorbachev as his successor
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Who was chosen as the new leader of Russia in 1984?
Chernenko, he only was in his position for one year
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How was there a system of dual power after the Tsar was taken over?


The provisional government parliament system was the Duma- made for richer middle class citizens, whereas there were also Soviets for the peasantry and working class

Card 3


Why did the Germans send Lenin to Russia?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


When was the April Thesis written and what was the slogan?


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Card 5


What was the Summer Offensive?


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