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Backgrounds to the Russian Revolution of 1917 Sources: Julius Lecture: “Whither Russia?” (1995) The Face of Russia (PBS) Russian History (Bucknell) Chronology of Russian History (Bucknell) . Table of Contents. Geography is Destiny Themes of Russian History Kievan Rus

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Backgrounds to

the Russian Revolution

of 1917

Sources:

Julius Lecture: “Whither Russia?” (1995)

The Face of Russia (PBS)

Russian History (Bucknell)

Chronology of Russian History (Bucknell)


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Table of Contents

Geography is Destiny

Themes of Russian History

Kievan Rus

Conversion to Christianity

Mongol Conquest (1247)

Rise of the Tsars

Time of Troubles (1584-1613)

Peter the Great (1689-1725)

Catherine the Great (1762-1792)

Victory over Napoleon (1812)

19th Century Economic Structure

Whither Russia?

The Role of Writers

The Fathers

The Sons

The Grandsons

1917 Chronology



Geography is destiny the impact of a harsh climate on social structures l.jpg
Geography is Destiny:the impact of a harsh climate on social structures:

  • Inefficient agriculture

    • Only 10.8% of the land is arable.

      • Permafrost: only top 16” will thaw, creates a swamp

      • Pine Forest: acidic soil (Ukraine has most fertile lands)

      • Temperature extremes; little precipitation

      • Brief growing season

      • No mountains to block east/west prevailing winds

    • No fertilizer, no seeds, no modern equipment

    • Despite hard work of the peasants, the government must import food to feed its people.


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Themes of Russian History

  • Autocratic political systems (Autocracy gives way to anarchy at regular intervals.) Asian model in which the state controls the principle source of wealth (land)

  • Slavery: two stories: the gentry and the serfs are both enslaved in different ways

  • Cultural Schizophrenia: proud, patriotic connection to ‘Russian-ness’ simultaneous with a inferiority complex with the European West

  • Geography is destiny: Russia’s sprawl makes her subject to invasion.

  • Geography is destiny: linguistic, racial, religious and ethnic diversity creates powerful centripetal forces that constantly threaten imperial unity.



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Kievan Era to 1237 AD

  • Economic System:

    • in Ukraine on the Dneiper River on Byzantine trading routes

    • Trade with Vikings to West and with Constantinople to the South

    • Subsistence farming

  • Ethnicities:

    • Slavic Language with overlay of Varingian (Viking)

    • Turkic peoples

  • Culture

    • Pagan religious customs: animistic ala Greece, Germany, India


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  • Kievan Era to 1237

    • Social Structure:

      • Ruling class:

        • druzhina: small efficient cavalry warriors, like Knights of the Round Table.

        • Varangian Warriors had Viking ancestry. (Myth has it that the Russian Princes could not rule themselves, so the Varangians were invited to take over: first borrowing from the West)

    • Political Structure:

      • Loose confederation: Prince of Kiev appoints sons to rule over local cities.

      • Long tradition of local rule; town councils served as check on power to local prince.


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Conversion to Christianity

  • Orthodox Christianity selected by Prince Vladimir of Kiev between 980 and 1015

  • Byzantine Architecture

  • Byzantine alphabet

  • Tradition of icon painting

  • Ancient Jewish Culture

    • Jewish communities on eastern shores of Black Sea

    • Perhaps Eastern Europe’s Jews were descended from them and not from Israel.



  • Impact of mongol rule 1247 1462 l.jpg
    Impact of Mongol Rule (1247-1462)

    • Mongol Invasion: important in the establishment of autocratic rule and the centralization of power in Moscow

    • No Renaissance in Russia

    • Mongol Khans authorize Russian Princes to rule lands for them. They are only interested in payment in tribute and soldiers.

    • The Tartars become the enforcers for Russian Princes.

    • Moscow Princes are helped by the Tartars to put down rival princes, and then they came to imitate the Mongol Khans in their absolute rule as Tsars.

    • The Byzantine Church becomes the propaganda arm of the state.

    • Frontier Mentality: Armed forces are needed to protect the frontiers from future invasions; this requires the militarization of the state.


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    Muscovite Rule (1462-1584)

    • Mongol liberation/Slav consolidation: Moscow becomes the center of Russia

    • Ivan the Terrible: Livonian Wars against the Poles and Swedes for Baltic States

  • Resistance to Autocracy:

    • Boyar Duma- highest ranking noble families form a ‘senate’, a deliberative body to advise the tsar

    • Zemsky Sobor- “from the land” an assembly of different classes from all the lands

    • Mestnicestvo- Tsar grants government jobs to most ancient and powerful families: the first nomenklatura. Nobles desire for power thus channeled and controlled

    • Votchina- Nobles in the Kievan System owned land on the basis of heredity. That system was replaced by a new feudal system in which a family owned land as long as it pleased the state


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    Time of Troubles (1584-1613)

    • Ivan the Terrible dies. Having brained his son, Ivan leaves a dimwit Feodor to take the throne.

    • Boris Gudonov, regent until Ivan’s third son Dimitri is murdered, and Boris is elected Tsar. Boyars and Poles ally in opposition to Boris.

    • 1605- Boris Gudonov dies, and the Poles try to seize the throne.

    • Social Anarchy: Peasants and Cossacks in revolt

    • 1612-13- National Revulsion at Violence. Michael Romanov, son of a high church leader, is named Tsar. His dynasty would rule in Russia until 1917.

    • Consequences: Russians will tolerate repression in return for order. (1917-1921: A Second Time of Troubles)


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    Peter the Great (1689-1725)

    Great Northern War: Peter captures the Baltic States and establishes St. Petersburg as the new capitol.

    To compete with the Western (European) Powers, Peter needs to tighten up the state, and make it more efficient.

    Reforms:

    • Table of Ranks- Noblemen must work for the state. (two story slavery: noblemen must work.)

    • Administrative Colleges- Western style bureaucracies

    • Abolishes Patriarchate (Head of Orthodox Church) and makes Russian Church a branch of the government

    • St. Petersburg- Nearly overnight, Peter creates a Western European Capitol, built atop the graves of thousands of forced laborers.


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     E. Falconet. "The Bronze Horseman." Bronze statue. 1782. St. Petersburg


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    The Enlightenment in Russia statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Catherine the Great (1762-1792)

      • Models herself as an Enlightened Despot ala Voltaire’s model. She promises reform, but backs off when it comes to surrendering autocrat’s power.

      • Enlightenment science does not impact the economy. Russia would not begin its industrial revolution until the end of the nineteenth century.

    • Successful Wars of Conquest:

      • Partition of Poland: land was not returned until after WWI

      • Ottoman Empire Wars: Russia expands to the Black Sea

      • Peasant rebellions as the Russians spread serfdom. (Pugachev Rebellion)

    • Alexander I

      • Like Catherine, he too wanted reform and even had a councilor draw up a liberal constitution

      • Napoleon invades, and Alexander instead imposes the Arkacheevna: a new police state with intense repression.


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    Nineteenth Century Economic Structure statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Inefficient agriculture

      • Only 10.8% of the land is arable.

        • Permafrost:only top 16” will thaw, creates a swamp

        • Pine Forest: acidic soil (Ukraine has most fertile lands)

        • Temperature extremes; little precipitation

        • Brief growing season

        • No mountains to block east/west prevailing winds

      • No fertilizer, no seeds, no modern equipment

      • Despite hard work of the peasants, the government must import food to feed its people


    Early nineteenth century russia l.jpg
    Early Nineteenth Century Russia statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Political Structure: Autocratic

    • Economic Structure: Backward

    • Social Structure: Regressive

    • Diplomatic Posture: Conservative and Imperialistic

  • Nineteenth Century Tsar:

    • Head of a vast bureaucracy and a huge army

    • The Tsar’s power depends on his ability to control the nobility:

      • Catering to their desires with land grants and job promotions.

      • Secret Police to prevent any liberalization of the government’s structure


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    Early Nineteenth Century Russia statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Nobility: (dvorianstvo) 6%

      • All nobility are officially registered by the government in a specific rank.

      • Most nobility are not wealthy (fewer than 100 serfs)

      • Status is measured in rank (mobility through military service)

      • Cultural Isolation: Western Education makes the nobility less Russian.

    • Middle Class: (merchants, doctors, lawyers, urban) 4%

      • Tiny size compared with burgeoning Middle Class in England and France which broke the traditional power of the aristocracy.


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    Peasantry statue. 1782. St. Petersburg(90+% of the population)

    • Kievan Era

      • peasants owned land: the mir: a collective unit

    • Muscovite Era: the origin of serfdom

      • Tsar’s grant lands to favorite nobles

      • 14th-15th c.: peasants become tenant farmers

      • the Obrok- peasant pays for land with part of crop

      • the Barschina- labor tax: peasant owes work to landlord

    • Romanov Era: the codification of serfdom

      • Ulozhenieof 1649: codification of serfdom

      • Peter the Great: poll tax indebted serfs and enabled the tsar to draft them into military service’

      • Catharine the Great: geographic spread of serfdom. State serfs owned directly by the tsar.


    Nineteenth century serfdom 90 of the population l.jpg
    Nineteenth Century Serfdom statue. 1782. St. Petersburg (90+% of the population)

    • Obschina: peasant village: the basic organization of peasants before, during, and after serfdom until Stalin

    • the kulak: Some families could hold and work more land indefinitely and thus profit.

    • Poor hygiene, illiteracy, alcoholism, intense religious belief

    • Survival: geared to harsh adversity of Russian climate and culture: “You don’t work; you don’t eat.”


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    “Whither Russia?” statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Political Reform in the Nineteenth Century:

    • Nineteenth Century Tsars:

      • Nicholas I (1825-55) repressive

      • Alexander II (1855-1881) reformist

      • Alexander III (1881-1894) repressive

      • Nicholas II (1894-1917) reformist

    • Conservative Forces:

      • Gentry Self Interest

      • Tsar’s Self Interest

      • Church’s Self Interest


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    “Whither Russia?” statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Forces for Change:

      • Gentry Idealism: liberal writers who have been educated in West, have traveled in Europe, and who look at Russian society through Western eyes (1825: The Decembrist Revolt)

      • International Necessity: Russia begins losing wars because of poor technology:

        • Crimean War (1856) leads to freeing of serfs

        • Russo-Japanese War (1905)- leads to first constitutional monarchy

      • Birth of Middle Class

      • Peasant Misery: they want land. Past revolts had been anarchic. By the end of the century the peasants will be better organized.


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    “Whither Russia?” statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • The Role of Writers:

    • State Censorship prevents any direct expression of dissent.

    • Therefore, it is the writers of literature, not the gentry, the clerics or the politicians, who will tell a growing literate public what must be done.

    • Writers in Russia occupy a special place in 19th and 20th century: the George Washingtons, Thomas Jeffersons, and Abraham Lincolns of Russian History are all writers.

    • Two Main Streams of Ideological Debate:

      • Westernizing: Make Russia like Western Europe:

        • Liberal (gradual reform and constitutional democracy)

        • Radical (revolutionary nihilism, socialism and marxism)

      • Slavophile: Russia has a unique destiny, non-Western and non-capitalist.


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    The Role of Writers: statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Three Generations of 19th c. Russian Writers used poetry, short stories and novels to debate the direction of Russia’s future.

      • Each generation became more and more radical in their ideas and methods. By the end of the century, terrorism and political violence became commonplace as the country spiraled towards revolution.

    • Fathers (1830’s –1855) (Pushkin, Gogol, Belinsky)

      • Aristocratic, idealistic, liberal and reformist

    • Sons (1855-1881) (Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy)

      • Heterogeneous, materialistic, radical, revolutionary

    • Grandsons (1881- 1917) (Chekhov, Lenin)

      • Ideologically diverse and politically practical


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    • 1812 June 24 Napoleon's statue. 1782. St. Petersburginvasion of Russia

      • August 26 Battle of Borodino

      • Sept 14 Napoleon enters Moscow

      • October 19 Napoleon departs Moscow

    • 1813-1814 Alexander's pursuit of Napoleon to Paris

    • 1815-1825 Ascendancy of Arakcheev and the Secret Police

    • 1819 University of St. Petersburg founded

    • 1825 NICHOLAS IROMANOV named Tsar

    • 1825 Decembrist Uprising

    • 1830 AlexanderPushkin completes Eugene Onegin

    • 1832 Uvarov's three principles enunciated: autocracy, orthodoxy, nationality


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    Fathers: Alexander Pushkin statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • The father of Russian Literature

      • An innovator in Western Forms: the historical novel, short story, epic poems

        • The Captain’s Daughter (ala Walter Scott)

        • Eugene Onegin (Shakesperean Tragedy)

        • The Queen of Spades (realism/fantastic)

      • Inventor of Russian Prose Style

    • High Romantic Lifestyle

      • Marries the most beautiful woman in Russian Court

      • Tsar Nicholas: his personal censor

      • Shot dead in a duel


    Fathers mikhail lermontov a hero of our times 1840 l.jpg
    Fathers: statue. 1782. St. PetersburgMikhail Lermontov, A Hero of Our Times (1840)

    • Lermontov explores the Romantic hero, basing his novel on a Pushkin-like character: a pro-western Byron-esque hero set lose in a Russian landscape:

      • A highly educated, charismatic, ambitious, ruthless, social climbing hero ala Napoleon,

      • but in Russia these qualities change nothing.

      • In the end he just gets bored and chooses to reject life.

      • Purposely gets himself killed in a duel.

      • Last words: “Le fin de commedia”


    Fathers nikolai gogol l.jpg
    Fathers: Nikolai Gogol statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    Gogol picks up on the fantastic aspects of Pushkin’s fiction and spins utterly original visions of a decidedly irrational reality. Russia has contracted a spiritual disease from contact with Western capitalism. In his St. Petersburg the Devil lures bureaucrats mad for status and money into a spectral anteroom to hell.

    The Inspector General

    “The Nose”, “The Overcoat”, and other Ukrainian Puppet tales

    Dead Souls, part one

    Dead Souls, part two

    (Gogol starved himself to death in despair over failing to conceptualize a way for Russia to achieve her unique destiny.)


    Fathers vissarion belinsky l.jpg
    Fathers: Vissarion Belinsky statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    The first in a great line of Russian writer/activists, Belinsky edited a literary magazine which introduced to the Russian reading public many of the greatest writers of the century: Gogol, Turgenev, and Doestoevsky to name a few.

    Belinsky was a child of the Enlightenment who, like Voltaire, believed that Russia could only overcome backwardness and achieve social justice by adopting Western liberalism: a constitutional government and free market capitalism.

    Belinsky insisted upon strict empiricism in his political philosophy. He believed that the Russian ruling class maintained its hold on power by confounding the masses with religious belief.

    Belinsky, Letter to Gogol (1847)


    Fathers alexander herzen 1812 70 l.jpg
    Fathers: Alexander Herzen (1812-70) statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    Alexander Herzen (1812-70) was a social thinker who became known as the "father of Russian socialism." Under the influence of utopian socialists like Charles Fourier, Herzen envisioned a loose federation of self-governing communes. That ideal society would be a free association of individuals which provided for the full flowering of each individual.

    After the failed liberal revolutions of 1848, Herzen argued that socialism would actually come first to Russia because communal institutions such as the peasant commune (the mir) survived and bourgeois attitudes hadn't yet emerged. This sense of the advantages of Russian "backwardness" was influential among the Populists in the 1870s.

    Herzen has been called a "gentry revolutionary." The revolution he envisioned was for the people but would be led by the intelligentsia; however, he was not a Marxist: his socialism was a national destiny rather than a class one; also he promoted the value of individualism in collectivist form--in other words, the full flowering of the individual could best be realized in a socialist order.

    See Spartacus: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSherzen.htm


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    1847 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgHerzen leaves Russia forever; Belinsky's “Letter to Gogol”

    1849 Dostoevsky sentenced to forced labor in Siberia

    1852 Turgenev's Hunting Sketches

    1853-1856 Crimean War

    1855 Death of Nicholas I

    1855-1881 ALEXANDER IIROMANOV


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    1861 Feb 19 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgEmancipation of the serfs

    1862 Turgenev's Fathers and Sons

    1863 Chernyshevsky's What Is To Be Done?

    1866 Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is published

    1869 Tolstoy's War and Peace is published.

    1870 April 22 Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) is born

    1872 Russian translation of Marx's Capital

    1873 Beginning of the movement To the People (V narod)

    1878 Tolstoy'sAnna Karenina

    1879 People's Will Party and Black Partition established

    1880 Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov

    1881 March 1 Assassination of Alexander II


    Sons ivan turgenev l.jpg
    Sons: Ivan Turgenev statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    A nobleman who lived most of his life in self imposed exile in the European West, Turgenev also endorsed liberalism. However, his literary art was of such high quality that he clearly foresaw the coming generation’s abandonment of liberal ideals for revolutionary nihilism in the wake of the failed revolutions of 1848.

    Hunting Sketches: A moving collection of sketches of peasants and owners that was so popular that it helped push the tsar to finally emancipate the serfs.

    Fathers and Sons: Central Character: Bazarov, the first in the line of revolutionary nihilists that would culminate in the real life figure of Lenin.


    Sons fyodor dostoevsky l.jpg
    Sons: Fyodor Dostoevsky statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    Discovered by Belinsky after writing a harrowing and realistic depiction of poverty, Dostoevsky broke with his mentor in his Gogol inspired psychological novel The Double.

    Dostoevsky was imprisoned for belonging to a reading club which professed Utopian Socialist beliefs. He spent 10 years imprisoned at hard labor in Siberia.

    When he returned to St. Petersburg in 1860, Dostoevsky embarked on a twenty year burst of creativity, writing completely modern novels which examine the irresolvable paradoxes of human nature and the impossibility of creating a utopian state.

    Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Possessed, The Idiot, and finally the great The Brothers Karamazov.


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    Sons: Count Lev Tolstoy statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    Tolstoy pursued a grand vision of reconstructing Russian along unique lines which would pursue a class system based on merit and use Western science to modernize the nation’s agricultural system.

    Tolstoy is best know for the unmatched skill with which he brings complicated and fully rounded characters to life. When you read a novel like Anna Karenina, you encounter characters so artfully that they seem to exist in real time. This may be the ultimate liberal accomplishment.

    War and Peace

    Anna Karenina


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    1881-1894 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgALEXANDER IIIROMANOV

    1884 Reactionary regulations for universities

    1891 Beginning of the Trans-Siberian railway

    1891-1893 Making of the Franco-Russian alliance

    1892-1903 Witte as minister of communications, finance and commerce

    1894-1917NICHOLAS IIROMANOV

    1896 production of Chekhov's The Seagull in St. Petersburg

    1897 Jan 28 First all-Russian census counts 128,907,692 people

    1898 Moscow Art Theater founded, Chekhov's Sea Gull

    1st Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Party (Minsk)


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    The Grandsons: Anton Chekhov statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    The son of a peasant, Chekhov used his writing ability to pay his way through medical school. Chekhov fought cholera epidemics among the peasants, like the Turgenev hero Bazarov, and he conducted a ground breaking study of the scandalous conditions in the Russian prison system.

    Chekhov’s short stories and plays are regarded by many as the greatest in their genres. He observes human nature with the rigor of a scientist and concludes that no plan exists which can satisfy our ideals of social justice. The problems of society and human nature are just too complex and ever changing. Many of his educated, passionate, and hopeful characters seem doomed to utterly superfluous lives. Despite his skepticism, Chekhov depicts humanity with enormous compassion and he celebrates the richness of our moments together: evanescent, fragile, beautiful. Plays: Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and The Three Sisters.


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    • 1900 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgBoxer Rebellion; Russia occupies Manchuria

    • 1901 Jan 31 Chekhov's Three Sisters opens at MKhAT

    • 1902 Gorky's Lower Depths opens at MKhAT

    • 1903 2nd Party Congress (Brussels) Split into Mensheviks and Bolsheviks

    • 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War

    • 1905 January 22 1905 REVOLUTION:

    • General Strike

      • Bloody Sunday

      • October Manifesto

    • October 17

      • Potemkin Mutiny3rd Party Congress

      • Constitutional Democrats (Kadets) Program


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    1906 April statue. 1782. St. Petersburg4th Party Congress First DumaFirst Constitution (Fundamental Law)

    1906-1911 The Stolypin | Land Reforms

    1907 Second Duma 5th Party Congress Emergence of Triple Entente (France, Britain, Russia) against Triple Alliance (Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy) Third Duma

    1908 Trotsky becomes editor of Pravda in Vienna

    1910 November 7 Igor Stravinsky's Firebird scandalizes Paris

    1912 April 4 Fourth Duma Lena gold field massacre (from which Lenin took his pseudonym)

    1913 Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring

    1914 World War I begins


    The grandsons vladimir illych lenin l.jpg
    The Grandsons: Vladimir Illych Lenin statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    The brother of a man executed for participating in the plot to assassinate Alexander III, Lenin is the epitome of the modern revolutionary. In a lifetime of political agitation and argument, Lenin formed the party which would successfully bring the first socialist government in European history into being

    The Bolshevik (minority) wing of the Marxist Social Revolutionary Party broke with the Mensheviks (Majority) over their interpretation of Marx’s “dialectical materialism.” Marx had argued that built into capitalism were the inevitable seeds of its own downfall. A highly developed capitalist economy must eventually collapse and bring into being a revolutionary worker’s state.

    The Mensheviks believed that Russia would have to go through a stage of industrial capitalism before the revolution could take place.

    Lenin disagreed. He was not willing to wait.


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    The Grandsons: Lenin statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    Lenin believed that a revolutionary vanguard, a small group of ruthless and utterly committed revolutionaries, could topple the Tsar and institute a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’

    These absolute rulers would then drive Russia quickly through the bourgeois stage of industrial development, consciously and quickly remaking the state into a socialist economy.

    The state would command all economic decisions: setting commodity prices, wages and production goals for all industries and business. The state would collectivize all agricultural enterprise, manage labor and divide production among the people.

    Lenin’s goal was to export revolution as well. In formulating an alternate model for modernization to capitalist imperialism, Lenin’s brand of Marxism became popular among countries throughout the 3rd World during the 20th century.


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    1917 Chronology statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • 1916 Dec 16 Murder of Rasputin by Felix | Yusupov et al.

    • 1917 REVOLUTIONS(February 23/March 8)

      • February

        • Duma convened

        • Bread riots and strikes in Petrograd

      •  March

        • Abdication of Nicholas II in favor of GP Mikhail

        • GP Mikhail transfers power to Provisional Government

        • Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies Order No. 1

        • Kamenev and Stalin return from Siberia


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    • April statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • Finland Station: Lenin returns to Russia

      • Lenin's April Theses

    • May

      • Miliukov's note to Allies

      • Coalition Provisional Government

    • June

      • Election of Constituent Assembly set for September 30

    • July

      • Russian offensive against Germans

      • Uprising against Provisional Government

      • Prince Lvov resigns; Kerensky becomes premier


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    • August statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • Kerensky becomes dictator

      • Constituent Assembly election postponed to November 25

    •  Sept 9-14 Kornilov uprising

    • November

      • OCTOBER | REVOLUTION(October 25/November 7)

      • Constituent Assembly elections begin

    •  December

      • Armistice negotiations at Brest-Litovsk December 20

      • Establishment of Cheka

      • Left SRs enter coalition with Bolsheviks


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    • 1918-1924 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgVLADIMIRILYICHLENIN

    • 1918   January Constituent Assembly is dissolved

      • March 3 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk(KOI8)

        • 7th Party Congress

        • British land at Murmansk

      • April

        • Japanese land at Vladivostok

      • June

        • Committees of the Village Poor established

        • Nationalization of industry

      • July Intervention | beginsLenin (RFSFR) Constitution ratified


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    • July 17 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgMurder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg

    • August

      • American troops land in Vladivostok

    • September

      • American troops land at Archangelsk

    • November

      • End of World War I

      • Soviets repudiate Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (copy)

      • French troops land at Odessa

    • December

      • British troops land at Batum


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    • 1919 Founding of the Comintern statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • March

        • Kolchak launches drive against Bolsheviks

        • 8th Party Congress

      • April

        • French withdraw from Odessa

      •  June 28

        • Height of Denikin advance

        • Treaty of Versailles

      • October

        • Allies withdraw from Murmansk and Archangel


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    • 1920 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • January

      • Kolchak shot by Bolsheviks

      • Allied blockade lifted

    • March

      • 9th Party Congress

    • April

      • Wrangel replaces Denikin

    • November

      • Wrangel evacuates Crimea

      • Civil War ends in Russia


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    • 1921 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgNEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP) BEGINS

      • Kronstadt Uprising

      • 10th Party Congress: orders for Purge

      • Treaty of Riga with Poland; establishment of Curzon Line

    • 1922

      • Cheka replaced by OGPU

      • Stalin becomes secretary general

      • Treaty of Rapallo with Germany

      • 11th Party Congress

      • Lenin's first stroke

      • The USSR declared

      • Dec. 23 Lenin begins his Testament


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    • 1923 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg12th Party Congress

      • January 4 Lenin finishes his Testament

      • Lenin's second stroke

    • 1924

      • Lenin's death (January 21)

      • 13th Party Congress

      • USSR constitution ratified

      • Petrograd renamed 'Leningrad'

      • USSR recognized by Great Britain, France, Italy

    • 1925

      • 14th Party CongressTrotsky removed as war commissar


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    • 1926 statue. 1782. St. PetersburgTrotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev ousted from Politburo

    • 1927

      • 15th Party Congress:

      • Trotsky, Zinoviev and followers expelled from Party; Stalin takes control

      • Communist revolt in China crushed

    • 1927-1953 JOSIF VISSARIONOVICH STALIN

    • 1928

      • First Five-Year Planadopted


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    • 1929 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • Trotsky deported

      • Nikolai Bukharin ousted from Politburo

      • Collectivization and industrialization begins

    • 1930

      • 16th Party Congress

      • Stalin's"Dizzy with Success" speech

    • 1932-1933

      • Ukrainian | Famine


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    • 1932 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

    • Dissolution of Russian Association of Proletarian Writers

    • January 27

      • Non-Agression Pact with Finland

      • First mention of "socialist realism“

      • Soviet/French non-aggression pact

    • 1933-1937

      • Second Five-Year Plan

    • 1934

      • Kirov assassinated; beginning of Stalinist purges


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    • 1935 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • Collective farm statute

      • Campaign of Stakhanovism begins

    • 1936

      • Stalin constitution promulgated

      • Show trials of Zinoviev, Kamenev, et al. prosecuted by Vishinsky

    • 1937

      • Trial of Radek, et al.

      • Much of Soviet army command executed

    • 1937-41

      • Stalinshchina (Stalin Terror)


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    • 1938 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • Trial of Bukharin, et al.

    • 1938-1941

      • Third Five-Year Plan

    • 1939

      • 18th Party Congress

      • Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact signed.

      • World War II: Germans invade Poland

      • Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

      • Stalin named 'Man of the Year' by TIME

      • Soviet attacks on Poland and Finland


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    • 1940 statue. 1782. St. Petersburg

      • End of war with Finland Baltic states are annexed

      • Bessarabia are annexed

      • Trotsky is murdered in Mexico

    • 1941

      • GERMAN INVASION OF USSR (June 22)

      • Stalin names himself head of government


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