2 ‘There was more change than continuity in the ways Russia was ruled in the period from 1855 to 1956.’ To what extent do you support this view?Key Phrase is ‘More change than continuity’Good starting point would be 1917 and the overthrow of the Tsarist systemThis would suggest a complete break with the pastAutocracy overthrown, landed gentry lost power, the Church reduced in statusElections organised in 1917 which would give Russia a truly representative parliament for the first time
3 But how much change was there? Constitutional Assembly dissolvedLenin instituted One Party stateForbade criticism of the PartyLenin re-created secret police – the CHEKAIntroduced centralised economic controlUnder Stalin growth of elite classLeadership cult and use of propagandaThe Great Purges
4 Change or continuity under the Tsars? Alexander II made fundamental changes to Russian society and made the first steps towards a more democratic/liberal societyIt is important to question his motivesSome changes forced upon him as the result of Edict of EmancipationDismayed at reaction to the Edict Alexander II fell back on repressionRepression continued under Alexander III who aimed to undo previous reformsStatus of gentry re-established – Land Captains
5 Change or continuity under the Tsars? Nicholas II introduced national Duma – first in Russian historyTechnically Russia now no longer an autocracyHarsh methods used against demonstrators/protesters eg Bloody Sunday 1905 and Lena Goldfields 1912Policy of Russification forcing uniformity onto citizens in EmpirePersecution of specific groups eg Jews under all Tsars
6 Change or Continuity? Weak Duma Secret Police Autocrat supported by small eliteAutocracyPersecution of minoritiesTsar worshippedDissolution of Constit AssemblyCheka/OGPU/NKVDStalin supported by small eliteDictatorship of the ProletariatPersecution of minoritiesCult of LeninRemember in both regimes there is a lack of freedom of speech – heavy censorship, Siberia used as place of exile
7 Turning points in Russian History 1855-1955 Assassination of Alexander IIThe 1905 RevolutionThe abdication of Nicholas IIThe Bolshevik take-over in 1917Stalin’s accession to power
8 1. Death of Alexander IIReign had given hope of new attitude towards reformEmancipation marked greatest change for centuriesDeath saw return to repression as tool of governmentAim was to strengthen the autocracyReforms were pragmaticReign showed more repression than reform
9 2. 1905 Revolution Duma established – autocracy ended Stolypin’s reforms saw change in tack for peasantsDumas's power very limitedStolypin used force to regain controlSmall percentage of peasants benefitedConsider reasons for reformHow much change had occurred?
10 3. Abdication of Nicholas II Marked change in government – end of 300 years of TsardomIntroduced liberal govt under PGThis led to Bolshevism – Dictatorship of the ProletariatOne form of autocracy replaced by anotherPeasants still being exploitedPersecution of minority groups continuedLack of freedom continuedBetter life for some
11 4. Bolshevik take-over Little real change in the nature of Prov govt Nicholas II’s abdication led to first truly democratic govtEnded War for RussiaLenin ended Constit AssemblyDecree on LandSuccess in Civil War cemented controlDoP establishedLittle real change in the nature of Prov govtDoP = new autocracyCentralised control of economyPeasant suffering continued in long term
12 5. Stalin’s accession to power Accession saw imposition of personal controlHuge changes for peasantsImpact of 5 Year PlansChange in Russia’s statusLink with LeninStalin = ‘Red Tsar’Exploitation of peasants not new5 Year Plans = Witte’s ‘Great Spurt’Party bureaucracy = gentry
14 Reasons why change occurred Trotsky described war as the ‘locomotive of history’. How far can it be argued that change in Russia in the period 1855 to 1956 was caused only by involvement in wars? ‘Military needs were always the main reason for Russia’s economic development.’ To what extent do you agree with this judgement? ‘The need to modernise their backward economy was the most important why the rulers of Russia introduced reforms.’ How far do you agree with this assessment of the period from 1855 to 1956?
15 War as a Factor of Change(1) War caused collapse of the economy and of the political systemImpact ofFirst WorldWarGave opportunity to enemies of the tsarist system1914 Tsarist state still quite strongCounter-argumentRussia in 1914 on verge of collapse – still far behind western powers in economic/social/political development
16 War as a Factor of Change(2) Impact ofRusso-JapWarDirect link with 1905 RevolutionTsar forced to make concessions via the October ManifestoAttempt at social engineering by StolypinBUT political changes limited – pragmatic? How likely without pressures of revolution?Agrarian reforms were limited in scope – attempt to redress balance of industrial expansion?
17 War as a Factor of Change(3) Civil WarFactories nationalised, small businesses seized, food supplies requisitioned = War CommunismWar brought famine and suffering to millionsKronstadt Revolt forced change of direction – introduction of the NEPHow significant was this?
18 War as a Factor of Change(4) Huge social changeEdict of EmancipPolitical changesEg local govtCrimeanWarChange to judicialsystemSerfdom had already been recognised as a weaknessEducation andArmy reform
19 Other factors of change? Military needsDefeat in Crimean War triggered reform – Edict of EmancipationUnder Witte economic expansion to strengthen Russia as Great PowerStalin’s ‘Socialism in One Country’ designed to defend new communist state
20 Other factors of change?(2) Serfdom already identified as major problem – holding Russia backAlexander II looking to strengthen autocracyIndustrial expansion under Alexander III & Nicholas II result of wanting to close gap with West- not as result of defeatStalin (as above) – expansion during time of peace – Lenin had left behind problem of NEP
21 2. Economic considerations Crimean War demonstrated backwardness of Russian economyEmancipation of Serfs pre-requisite of changing economic baseLocal government, legal and Army reforms have no link with this
22 2. Economic considerations(2) Witte’s ‘Great Spurt’Argued that State must play major role in promoting industrial development in order to compete with other GPsOnly effected transport and the peasants –did not lead to political or social changes
23 2. Economic considerations(3) Political changes introduced by Nicholas II NOT result of economic considerationsChanges in regime in 1917 political not economicNEP introduced to save the regime?Stalin’s reforms linked with need to strengthen the state (like Witte?)