Revision – Essay Planning

Russia Revision
Tuesday 31 May 2011
Topics for Today
The Peasants
• Did their lives remain the
• Were their lives uniformly
poor (or bleak) / consistently
• Did their lives improve / not
improve across the period?
Linked to Rulers
• Treated better / worse by
communists than Tsars?
• Which ruler did most to
improve their lives?
Russian Government
• Comparison of their aims /
methods / outcomes
• Comparison between
individual rulers or between
communists and Tsars
• Turning points in Russian
• Comparisons on some specific
– Dealing with opposition
– Improving lives of the people
– Modernising or industrialising
Assess the view that the lives
of the peasants in Russia
were consistently miserable
in the period 1855 – 1964.
First thoughts
• Key Words
• Key Theme to focus on
First thoughts
• Key Words
consistently miserable
• Key Theme to focus on
Was life for the peasants uniformly poor?
Did life for the peasants sometimes improve?
Did life for the peasants sometimes get
The Russian Peasantry 1855 - 1964
Tsarist Russia
Communist Russia
The Romanovs had a paternalistic attitude as
the ‘Little Fathers’ of their people
Serfdom had existed throughout the
Romanov dynasty from 1613 to 1861.
Under Marxist theory the exploitation of the
people would be replaced by Utopian
1861 Emancipation
1878 - 86 Bunge’s more progressive policies
as Finance Minister ( e.g.1883 Peasants’ Land
Bank; 1886 abolished poll tax)
1906+ Stolypin’s Kulak policy
1917 Decree on Land
1921 NEP
Bad Treatment / Conditions
Bad Treatment / Conditions
Terms of Emancipation Decree
Imposition of Land Captains
Taxation Policy i.e. Monster Tariff 1891
Famine e.g 1891
1918 - 21 War Communism
1929 Collectivisation
1929+ Stalin’s persecution pf the ‘Kulaks’
Famine e.g 1921 1932-33
Possible structure
• Introduction
• Overview of generally miserable lives (brief)
• Focus on periods where lives became
significantly worse
• Focus on periods where lives became
significantly better
• Conclusion
Assess the view that the
Russian people swapped one
form of autocracy for
another in 1917.
First thoughts
• Key Words
• Key Theme to focus on
First thoughts
• Key Words
swapped one form of autocracy for another
in 1917
• Key Theme to focus on
A comparison between the Communists and
– Aims
– Methods
– Outcomes
How was Russia governed?
Autocratic: Tsars (Romanov dynasty)
Claimed Divine Right to rule by birth
Supported by Orthodox Church
Secret police (Third Section / Okhrana)
Tried to silence /crush opponents
Alexander II 1855-81 (some reforms)
Emancipated the serfs
Set up Zemstva (local councils)
Faced opposition / assassinated in 1881
Alexander III 1881-94 (reactionary)
Abandoned reforms – was very autocratic
His reign nicknamed ‘the Reaction’
Silenced opposition
Appointed Land Captains to control
Nicholas II 1894-1917 (abdicated)
Tried to be as autocratic as his father
Described plans for constitution as
‘senseless dreams’
Faced revolution in 1905
Survived by granting a Duma (parliament)
From 1907 rigged Duma elections
Stolypin used terror (the ‘Stolypin
necktie’)to crush opponents
Influenced by Rasputin from 1906
Had to abdicate in 1917 during WW1
Autocracy & Dictatorship – two very
authoritarian systems
Both very undemocratic (e.g. Nicholas II
rigged Duma elections/ Lenin shut
down Constituent Assembly)
Both systems used secret police
(Okhrana / Cheka) to crush opponents
(but the communists did this more
Both used terror (e.g Stolypin & Stalin)
though the scale of terror much greater
under communism)
Under both systems the ruler who tried
to reform came badly unstuck
(Alexander II assassinated / Khrushchev
forced to resign)
AFTER 1917
Dictators: (Communist Party)
Claimed to rule on behalf of the
Banned organised religions
Secret police (Cheka e.t.c.)
Banned all opposition parties
Lenin also banned factions within the CP
Lenin 1917-1924
Shut down Constituent Assembly
Banned all opposition parties
Defeated White Armies in Civil War
Cheka used ‘Red Terror’ against
Crushed the Kronstadt Revolt
Banned factions in Communist Party
Ill from 1922 (a triumvirate ruled for him)
Stalin c.1925 – 1953
Defeated rivals in power struggle to be
firmly in power by 1928
In 1930s used terror: (purges, show trials,
dekulakisation; the gulags)
Ruled through fear: ‘Soviet citizens came
to fear their own shadows’
Khrushchev c.1954 – 1964
Defeated rivals in power struggle to be
firmly in power by 1956
Used ‘secret speech’ to launch
Tried to reform but failed: resigned 1964
Possible structure
• Introduction
• Arguments in support of view that swapped
one form of autocracy for another
• Arguments against the view that swapped one
form of autocracy for another
• Conclusion
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