Russia section 3 and 4

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Background to the power struggle:
Lenin’s 1st stroke in April 1922, 3rd stroke in March in 1923 and death in 1924 - assumed that Politburo would take over. 7 politburo members Trotsky, Stalin, Rykov, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin + Tomsky. Lenin Trotsky, Stalin + Rykov also in CPC.
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Why was Trotsky seen as a threat to the ambitions of others?
Seemed to be Lenin’s natural heir as he was his closest associate. Well known national figure – as war commissar he was popular + influential with the Red Army. Lenin considered him “most capable man in the Central Committee” (testament).
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What were Stalin’s advantages in terms of winning the power struggle?
Worked with Kamenev and Zinoviev to ensure that Lenin’s testament wasn’t read out. Work as general secretary kept him in Moscow (near Lenin + politburo members), let him fill posts with people loyal to him.
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What was the 1926 united opposition?
Kamenev + Zinoviev realised that Stalin was conspiring with the right wing (Bukharin + Rykov) they formed an alliance with Trotsky.
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How did Stalin use the OGPU to enforce control through terror?
Could arrest people+torture for confession, imprison people without trial, organise trials with verdict of guilty decided beforehand, send people into organisations/factories to look for evidence of sabotage by anti-communists (often incompetence)
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How did Stalin use Prison Camps to enforce control through terror?
Encouraged people to inform on neighbours, family + friends who spoke out against state. Prisoners were used as cheap labour. By 1928 = 30,000 people in camps, by 1938 = 7 mill in the Gulags (name of department running prison camps).
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What did Stalin do in 1934 when he feared growing opposition to himself and the state?
Began purges to destroy these enemies so that they were executed or exiles to labour camps or abroad. Stalin changed the way farming + industry were run to increase productivity + where there were failures the state suspected sabotage.
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Who did the OGPU purge in the 1934 purges?
Politburo, the Communist party, teachers, engineers/scientists/industrial workers, armed forces + even the secret police. Factories, schools + colleges purged of anyone thought to be “enemies of the people”. 1936-1938 was so harsh it was called Great
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Why did Stalin use propaganda?
To turn people against his enemies, get people to accept his decision (i.e. changes in industry + agriculture), get people to endure hardships, encourage people to work harder + build up a ‘cult of Stalin.’
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Free education was provided to wipe out the high levels of illiteracy in the USSR. How did Stalin this for propaganda?
Textbooks state approved + full of propaganda. Teachers purged if they didn’t teach Stalinist view of world –often changed history as people fell out of favour with Stalin, children then given paste + paper to cover faces of those out of favour.
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What was the Cult of Lenin?
Stalin removed political competition of early rev except Lenin. Lenin loved & respected before death. Stalin didn’t discredit him after death. Built up cult of Lenin, made Lenin even more important --> images of Stalin as chosen successor even more s
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What was the cult of Stalin?
Face on vast posters on shop fronts, blocks of flats + papers – which also praised his reforms + how much people loved him – all with Stalin’s approval. Ordinary people wrote to him asking for help – sometimes gave it making him more popular.
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Why was the 1936 constitution (“Stalin’s Constitution”) seen by most historians as mostly propaganda?
Democracy it set up mostly an illusion. Supreme Soviet only met for a few days a year (politburo had real power). Only 1 party – Communist party. State controlled officials chose all candidates – people bound to choose someone approved by state
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What did the 1936 constitution appear to guarantee?
Everyone could vote + was guaranteed rights ie right to work, education + healthcare. Local laws of 15 republics important as “national” laws from Moscow. Guaranteed rights incl freedom from arrest without proper trial were ignored “in the interest o
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What happened if writers, poets, artists + musicians didn’t work to produce “low” work with a simple patriotic message?
It made you an ‘enemy of the people’ –arrest + the gulag usually followed unless you could find a way to get back into favour. I.e Sergei Eisenstein –cartoonist for a Bol newspaper, worked in ‘low’ culture theatre, turned to film-making.
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How did Sergei Eisenstein fall out of favour?
1925 - Made ‘The battleship Potemkin’ film about 1905 revolution was very pop. + Stalin encouraged him to make more films. Next film about October revolution censored because it referred to Trotsky
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When was Sergei Eisenstein faced with the choice of going back to ‘low’ films or becoming an enemy of the state?
After he toured Europe + the USA with official permission and the fact that he has been to the West made many people suspicious + the films he made on his return were criticised by the Conference of Cinema Workers of being too ‘high.’
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Why did Stalin want to make changes in agriculture and industry?
As he wanted to move SU away from NEP + towards communism Bol fought for. Wanted SU to compete with capitalist countries of the West + to become self-sufficient + able to defend itself. Felt USSR was in danger-wouldn’t slow down.
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What was collectivisation?
United all farms into big Kolkhozy farms. State encouraged peasants to collectivise since 1917 (Sovkozy)-showed how it worked. Made fields bigger + introduced machinery i.e. tractors for efficiency.
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Why was collectivisation needed?
Needed increase food production in c’side so workers in towns had enough to eat & export grain to get money for industry for machines and materials. 1928 enforced-due to food shortages (increase production + control supply).
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Why were rich peasants (KULAKS) distrusted and thought to be enemies of the people?
Thought if transform c’side from peasant owned traditional farms to large collectives with modern machines= end of problem. Destroy kulaks & increase food production.
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What were Sovkozy and Kolkhozy farms?
Sovkozy- large state farms run by a manager. Often more facilities eg nurseries & schools- better organised. Kolkhozy farms run by committees.
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Why did most peasants object?
As they disliked being told what to grow & breed of animals. Didn’t want set hours of work/jobs or to be fined if not obey the rules. Kulaks objected most- worked hard under NEP did well and made most profit & hired workers.
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How did many peasants resist after collectivisation was enforced in 1928?
Carried on as before. Reacted badly- killed animals, hid seed, crops/tools. Some burned their homes so not taken for collectivisation. 1929-33: ½ pigs ¼ of cows in country slaughtered. Didn’t like feeding industrial workers, produced for selves only.
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How did Stalin deal with resistance to collectivisation?
Sent officials to search for hidden crops, slated down meat + tools. If failed, some died in process, sent in army. 1932 - peasants who refused to join collective = a kulak even if had no land of own. Shot if resisted arrest. Many didn’t survive jour
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What did Dekulakisation (kulaks purged) involve?
Army sent into villages to arrest + take them to nearest railway station & to labour camps- gulags. 1930-31 600 000 farms dekulakised. Kulaks chosen by village cttees or army. Anyone opposed to dekulakisation automatically counted as one, no matter h
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Why was Industrialisation needed and what did it involve?
Industry in SU which wasn’t very advanced anyway collapsed during civil war. Needed foreign ‘specialists’ to help rebuild industry. Still a struggle as they had to train worker + build new factories from scratch or work in old outdated/dangerous fact
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How did Stalin plan to industrialise the Soviet Union?
GOSPLAN= state Planning Ctte, est 1921 had job of making industrialise work. 1928 onwards organised: Five year plans(FYP) for industry =command economy- state decided what was to be produced, where & who produced it.
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Why were the five year plans introduced?
Set targets - target for SU broken down so each factory, mine, electricity plant had own target. At 1st focus on heavy industry=coal, iron, oil, steel (raw materials for other industries). Also focus on building factories & industrial towns.
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What was the first Five-Year Plan 1928-32?
Targets for production of iron, steel, coal, oil & electricity. By end 1929 posters urged workers to complete FYP in 4 years. Official statistics say it did. In reality 1st production targets for plan met in late 1940s.
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What was the second Five-Year Plan 1933-1937?
Began early as a result of success of 1st. Targeted same industries as 1st plan, also set high targets for tractors & combine harvester, & extend railways. Overall lower targets & started year earlier so met targets.
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What was the third Five-Year Plan 1933-1937?
First FYP to include ‘luxury’ consumer goods in targets eg radios & bikes. Interrupted by WWII(began 1939 & SU joined 1941)
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Who was Alexander Stakhanov?
Famous in 2nd FYP. Coal miner; target for shift = 7 tons in 6 hours, once did 102! Gosplan publicised his work. Encouraged other workers to copy him & not just aim for production targets. Workers rewarded (better housing more rations etc.) Propaganda
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What were the long term effects of Stakhanov’s fame?
Workers est Stakhanovite groups across country, regular competitions to see who could reach highest targets. Stakhanovite workers sent into factories to explain new production techniques->mass production-cheaper+easier to produce->greater efficiency
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How did Gosplan try to solve the problem of central control over such a huge country?
By setting up huge bureaucracy -led to more problems- slow & inefficient. Factory could wait for months for right worker to arrive to mend machine that the person who ran the machine could have mended if he was allowed.
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Did Gosplan actually solve any problems?
By 1934 Gosplan recognised quality control sig + put less pressure for rapid production. Stalingrad tractor factory overcame early problems- by 1939 produced ½ of tractors in SU. Tractors production in SU 1928= 50 000, 1936= 112 900.Also quite durab
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How had life in the Soviet Union improved by 1939?
After 1936 hardship of FYPs + collectivisation over. Constitutions of 1918 & 1936 promised:- social equality, regional equality, freedom for speech & religion, work for all hospitals, schools, other facilities.
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What was the state of social inequality in the new bureaucracy in SU in 1939?
Stalin spoke + dressed plainly but didn’t live like workers. Flat in Moscow & homes in c’side. Ate + drank well + had group of favourites who had extra privileges. Party workers had better standards of living than ordinary people.
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How was social inequality within workers in SU in 1939?
Workers in favour got tickets to concerts days off, extra food better job. Those not in favour=worse housing & lower on lists for operations, nursery places. At worst were enemies of the people & sent to camps/regions eg Kazakhstan.
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How did Stalin attempt to control ethnic minorities in 1939?
Propaganda stressed equality of republics of SU - posters/photos show him with people of regions (often in national dress). Local languages encouraged in literacy drives until early 1930s. Greatest resistance from heavily purged regions in collectivi
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What were the hardships faced by ethnic minorities in 1939?
From 1932 support for regional identity= counter- revolutionary. State encouraged ‘Russification’- dominant Russian culture. March 1938 Russian = compulsory 2nd language in all schools. Russification was patchy + most enforced where groups likely to
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What was the reality of religious equality in the Soviet Union as opposed to the theory that people could follow any religion?
Atheism encouraged + all religion scorned. People deported for religious beliefs. There were several purges of priests. 1915= 54 000 churches --> 1940=500 churches.
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How were the living conditions in the Soviet Union in 1939?
New towns built quickly but quality of flats better than most before. Workers: 1 room + shared kitchen with people from other flats. Space allowed per worker dropped from 5.4sqm in 1926 to 4.3sqm in 1939. Officials had more space + workers less.
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What was the structure in terms of power and management in factories in SU?
Early 1920s -Most factories had chief engineer (often foreign specialist) + a red manager (party member). From 1928 more factories had just 1 state manager. Some foreign workers deported, others allowed in under party manager (usually).
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What were the working conditions in SU in terms of workers’ rights?
State stopped free trade unions. Managers could now sack workers + set wages without factory committee’s agreement. Workers usually worked 5 days + had a day off. Average daily shift: 6-7 hrs. System in mines + steelworks was similar.
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What was ‘progressive piecework’ and when was it introduced?
In 1934. Workers no longer had a set wage, instead paid by amount they produced. With the rewards system this encouraged production.
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How did the state try to control workers moving around looking for better jobs (as they were in great demand as industrialisation grew)?
By a work passport system. Hoped this would force workers to stay in 1 place + learn 1 job thoroughly. But…work passports were widely forged – 1937: about 30% of all workers still changing their jobs every 3 months.
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What reforms did the Bolsheviks govt. introduce after the revolution that affected women?
Non-church marriage set up. Divorce made simple. Women had equal: voting rights as men, equal pay for equal work, equal educational opportunities.
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How did women become ever more important in the work force although the reforms weren’t enforced?
!928 – just under 3 mill women working, mostly in farming or as domestic servants. Almost all women who worked in factories worked in textiles. By 1940 –over 13 mill working in all types if industry incl building industry.
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How did the state help women work AND run their homes?
Provided free childcare until children were old enough to go to school. Free canteens fed parents at work + children in nurseries/schools. Free laundries did the washing but there were long waiting lists –many factory nurseries badly overcrowded.
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Card 2


Why was Trotsky seen as a threat to the ambitions of others?


Seemed to be Lenin’s natural heir as he was his closest associate. Well known national figure – as war commissar he was popular + influential with the Red Army. Lenin considered him “most capable man in the Central Committee” (testament).

Card 3


What were Stalin’s advantages in terms of winning the power struggle?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What was the 1926 united opposition?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How did Stalin use the OGPU to enforce control through terror?


Preview of the front of card 5
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