Dictatorship in the Soviet Union

World History Honors
1) Bright red to symbolize revolution
2) Hammer and sickle symbolized worker and
peasant unity
3) Star stood for the Communist Party
In 1922 the communists seized power and
imprisoned Czar Nicholas II, his wife, and their
five children.
They were shot, many communists believing
they had ended centuries of oppression under
czarist rule.
Within a few years, however, Russia was again
at the mercy of an absolute ruler, Joseph Stalin.
Under his leadership, the Soviet Union became
a powerful police state.
In 1920 Russian farmers produced significantly
less grain than they had grown before WWI.
Factory production was less than one-sixth of
its pre-war levels.
By 1921 the Communist leadership faced
economic collapse and social disorder.
New Economic Policy- the major industries
(heavy industry, communications,
transportation, and the credit system)
remained under government control
The New Economic Policy allowed some free
Individuals could buy, sell, and trade farm
Some private business was allowed.
Soviet agriculture made important changes
during this period.
During the revolution farmlands had been
seized from wealthy landlords and divided
amongst the peasants.
The government tried to persuade peasants to
form collective farms- land was pooled into
large farms on which people worked together
as a group.
On a collective farm, peasants shared the scarce
modern farm machinery.
The Communists claimed to believe that both
men and women in Soviet society should be
1) Women received the same pay as men.
2) Women were granted time off from work to
take care of newborn babies.
3) The Soviet government made it much easier
to obtain a divorce.
4) Emphasis on education (hoping to increase
literacy rates and teach socialist doctrine in the
Technical schools were established to train
industrial workers.
Educators had limited success because they
lacked funds.
Students lacked supplies such as pencils and
notebooks, and some schools were forced to
close in the winter because they lacked heat.
The government also emphasized higher
education, often ignoring the needs of
elementary schools.
First-Five Year Plan
 Agricultural, industrial, and social goals were
outlined for the next five years.
Goals (under Stalin)
 Double the production of oil and coal
 Triple the output of steel
 Ultimately to create a more modern, industrialized
 Collective farming-to produce enough food for the
Soviet people, as well as a surplus for export to
other countries
Numerous hardships for the people of the
Expecting peasants to voluntarily join
collective farms was unrealistic.
As a result of the initial failures of collective
farming, peasants were forced into collective
By the 1930’s, 90% of productive farmland was
converted into collective farms.
The plan ultimately failed, causing millions of
people to die from famine and crop failure.
The economy grew under the First Five-Year Plan
(steel production increased dramatically).
Second Five-Year Plan
 1933
 Despite the optimism of the government, the
production of consumer goods actually decreased.
 As a result of this, the government focused most of
their effort on military production.
 Consumer goods and food became scarcer.
Stalin ruled with an iron fist, ultimately
creating a state of fear.
People were forced to obey the demands of the
Communist Party.
Two areas of Soviet life that the government
sought to control was religion and art.
All property of the Orthodox Church was
seized and religious worship was strongly
Many ministers, priests, and rabbis were
executed or imprisoned in the Gulag.
All music, artwork, and literature was seized
by the government, forcing the work of artists,
musicians, and writers to be subjected to
government censorship.
Artists were forced to produce works that
depicted the “realism of the socialist state,”
proving their loyalty in the process.
1936-Stalin created a new constitution that was very
similar to the one under Lenin.
The parliamentary body (The Supreme Soviet) met
twice a year.
The Council of Ministers held administrative and
executive authority.
Most of the power lay in the hands of the Politburo
(Political Bureau) of the Communist Party.
The parliamentary body elected members to the
Politburo, which was under Stalin’s complete control.
1934-Stalin purged party members who were
supposedly disloyal to him
Stalin purged anyone whom he believed was
working against the interests of the Soviet
Outside of the government, people were
imprisoned without a trial for the most minor
1939-more than 5 million people had been
arrested, deported, executed, or imprisoned in
the Gulag