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Russian Themes:2591 Question Plans.

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Presentation on theme: "Russian Themes:2591 Question Plans."— Presentation transcript:

1 Russian Themes:2591 Question Plans

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 system This would suggest a complete break with the past Autocracy overthrown, landed gentry lost power, the Church reduced in status Elections organised in 1917 which would give Russia a truly representative parliament for the first time

3 But how much change was there?
Constitutional Assembly dissolved Lenin instituted One Party state Forbade criticism of the Party Lenin re-created secret police – the CHEKA Introduced centralised economic control Under Stalin growth of elite class Leadership cult and use of propaganda The 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 society It is important to question his motives Some changes forced upon him as the result of Edict of Emancipation Dismayed at reaction to the Edict Alexander II fell back on repression Repression continued under Alexander III who aimed to undo previous reforms Status of gentry re-established – Land Captains

5 Change or continuity under the Tsars?
Nicholas II introduced national Duma – first in Russian history Technically Russia now no longer an autocracy Harsh methods used against demonstrators/protesters eg Bloody Sunday 1905 and Lena Goldfields 1912 Policy of Russification forcing uniformity onto citizens in Empire Persecution of specific groups eg Jews under all Tsars

6 Change or Continuity? Weak Duma Secret Police
Autocrat supported by small elite Autocracy Persecution of minorities Tsar worshipped Dissolution of Constit Assembly Cheka/OGPU/NKVD Stalin supported by small elite Dictatorship of the Proletariat Persecution of minorities Cult of Lenin Remember 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 II The 1905 Revolution The abdication of Nicholas II The Bolshevik take-over in 1917 Stalin’s accession to power

8 1. Death of Alexander II Reign had given hope of new attitude towards reform Emancipation marked greatest change for centuries Death saw return to repression as tool of government Aim was to strengthen the autocracy Reforms were pragmatic Reign showed more repression than reform

9 2. 1905 Revolution Duma established – autocracy ended
Stolypin’s reforms saw change in tack for peasants Dumas's power very limited Stolypin used force to regain control Small percentage of peasants benefited Consider reasons for reform How much change had occurred?

10 3. Abdication of Nicholas II
Marked change in government – end of 300 years of Tsardom Introduced liberal govt under PG This led to Bolshevism – Dictatorship of the Proletariat One form of autocracy replaced by another Peasants still being exploited Persecution of minority groups continued Lack of freedom continued Better 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 govt Ended War for Russia Lenin ended Constit Assembly Decree on Land Success in Civil War cemented control DoP established Little real change in the nature of Prov govt DoP = new autocracy Centralised control of economy Peasant suffering continued in long term

12 5. Stalin’s accession to power
Accession saw imposition of personal control Huge changes for peasants Impact of 5 Year Plans Change in Russia’s status Link with Lenin Stalin = ‘Red Tsar’ Exploitation of peasants not new 5 Year Plans = Witte’s ‘Great Spurt’ Party bureaucracy = gentry

13 Historical Themes Factors of change

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 system Impact of First World War Gave opportunity to enemies of the tsarist system 1914 Tsarist state still quite strong Counter-argument Russia 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 of Russo-Jap War Direct link with 1905 Revolution Tsar forced to make concessions via the October Manifesto Attempt at social engineering by Stolypin BUT 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 War Factories nationalised, small businesses seized, food supplies requisitioned = War Communism War brought famine and suffering to millions Kronstadt Revolt forced change of direction – introduction of the NEP How significant was this?

18 War as a Factor of Change(4)
Huge social change Edict of Emancip Political changes Eg local govt Crimean War Change to judicial system Serfdom had already been recognised as a weakness Education and Army reform

19 Other factors of change?
Military needs Defeat in Crimean War triggered reform – Edict of Emancipation Under Witte economic expansion to strengthen Russia as Great Power Stalin’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 back Alexander II looking to strengthen autocracy Industrial expansion under Alexander III & Nicholas II result of wanting to close gap with West- not as result of defeat Stalin (as above) – expansion during time of peace – Lenin had left behind problem of NEP

21 2. Economic considerations
Crimean War demonstrated backwardness of Russian economy Emancipation of Serfs pre-requisite of changing economic base Local 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 GPs Only 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 considerations Changes in regime in 1917 political not economic NEP introduced to save the regime? Stalin’s reforms linked with need to strengthen the state (like Witte?)

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