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Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964. An overview. This overview. The Nature of Russian Government Ideology Structures and Institutions Opposition The nature of opposition and how it changed Repression as a way of controlling opposition Reform as a way of controlling opposition

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this overview
This overview
  • The Nature of Russian Government
    • Ideology
    • Structures and Institutions
  • Opposition
    • The nature of opposition and how it changed
    • Repression as a way of controlling opposition
    • Reform as a way of controlling opposition
  • Social and Economic Change
    • In the countryside
    • In the towns and cities
  • War and Revolution and the development of Government
this overview1
This overview
  • The Nature of Russian Government
    • Ideology
    • Structures and Institutions
  • Opposition
    • The nature of opposition and how it changed
    • Repression as a way of controlling opposition
    • Reform as a way of controlling opposition
  • Social and Economic Change
    • In the countryside
    • In the towns and cities
  • War and Revolution and the development of Government
government ideology
Government - Ideology
  • Strong continuity in autocratic Tsarist rule
  • 1832 Fundamental Laws (Nicholas I)
    • “The emperor of all Russians is an autocratic and unlimited monarch: God himself ordains that all must bow to his supreme power, not only out of fear but also out of conscience”
  • 1906 Fundamental Laws (Nicholas II)
    • “The All-Russian Emperor possess the supreme autocratic power. Not only fear and conscience but God himself commands obedience to his authority”
government ideology1
Government - Ideology
  • Subtle changes in the extent to which different Tsars were autocratic.
  • 1861 Emancipation Edit (Alexander II)
    • Though Alexander II used his autocratic powers to enact the edict, this was only after a long period of discussion and consultation with his nobles, which started in 1856.
  • 1881 “The Reaction” of Alexander III to his father’s assassination.
    • Under the influence of Pobodonostev, who believed that most Russians were incapable of understanding the complexity of the world, and therefore could not be given freedom, or the vote (he said democracy was “a great lie”)
    • Russians would therefore have to be ruled in order to be protected.
government ideology2
Government - Ideology
  • Marxism
    • It was the workers who gave real value to the world – all the others lived off their labours.
    • It was inevitable that, as the upper classes tried to extract more value out of the working classes, there would be conflict
    • There would be a period when intellectual elite would guide the working classes ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’.
  • Marxism – Leninism
    • “What is to be done?” 1902
    • A central committee of communist party would control the Russian masses until they were developed enough to take control themselves.
    • After 1917 cabinet discussions were allowed, but once a decision was made all supported it publically “democratic centralism”
  • Trotsky -v- Stalin
    • Permanent Revolution -v- Communism in One Country.
government ideology3
Government - Ideology
  • Stalin’s Totalitarianism
    • The working classes could only be made ready to rule if they had been industrialized.
    • This industrialization would only work if one individual had total control over its direction.
    • Parliaments and democracy only got in the way and only helped the interests of the middle classes – the bourgeoisie.
    • Took terror, destruction and the use of death to new heights (or lows!).
  • De-Stalinisation
    • Khrushchev got rid of his rivals (Malenkov demoted, Beria Shot), and by 1956 even a third of the membership of the party were new members.
    • “Collective leadership” - disagreement between Khrushchev and Malenkov over direction saw Malenkov demoted to minister for power stations.
    • Relaxation of rules of censorship, release of political prisoners.
    • Continuing use of Army (Hungary 1956) and sacking of those who opposed him.
government structures
Government – Structures
  • Tsarist government structures were largely stable
    • Autocratic – all answerable to the Tsar
    • Hierarchical
    • Many different bodies and levels
    • Some Reform
      • 1861- 1905 - Committee of Ministers – purely and administrative body – ideas came from the Tsar.3
      • 1905 – Duma – no authority to pass laws, could only block them, and could be dismissed by the Tsar if he disagreed (1906, 1907 and 1917).
      • Local Government – Zemstva introduced in the Emancipation reforms of 186, dominated by middle class and nobility but increasingly in some areas by middle class intelligensia – doctors, lawyers and teachers. Land Captains introduced in 1889 to monitor their activities.
government structures1
Government – Structures
  • Eventually Communist government structures were also largely stable
    • Autocratic – all answerable to the Soviet Leader
    • Hierarchical
    • Many different bodies and levels
  • At first though Lenin ruled without an fixed constitution
    • Shut down the Constituent Assembly which met in November 1917 (the SRs had more seats than the Bolsheviks).
    • Issued the Decree on Land, The Decree on Peace in 1917.
  • Lenin’s constitution was eventually ‘democratic’ on the surface:
    • Chain of elections produced representatives that sat on Sovnarkom – the central council of Commissars.
    • Cheka – set up to quash counter-revolutionary movements.
government structures2
Government - Structures
  • Stalin’s Constitution
    • Sovnarkom – supreme soviet, drawn out of representatives of national, regional and then local soviets
    • Communist party membership was required to take place in elections.
    • Local communist party dominated by central communist party.
  • Little change to this arrangement, even with de-Stalinisation.
government structure
Government - Structure
  • What about the Provisional Government?
this overview2
This overview
  • The Nature of Russian Government
    • Ideology
    • Structures and Institutions
  • Opposition
    • The nature of opposition and how it changed
    • Repression as a way of controlling opposition
    • Reform as a way of controlling opposition
  • Social and Economic Change
    • In the countryside
    • In the towns and cities
  • War and Revolution and the development of Government
opposition how it changed
Opposition – how it changed
  • Under Tsarist Rule left wing opposition changed
    • Shift from intellectual protest and polemic
      • ‘What is to be done?’ – pamphlet produced by the Narodniks (Popularists)
    • To persuasion and education
      • Going to the People – 1873, 4000 students off to the countryside to educate peasants
      • Land And Liberty – 1876
    • To violence and assassination
      • The People’s Will – 1879, made four attempts and succeeded in 1881
      • Socialist Revolutionaries 1898
    • And Revolution
      • Social Democrats (SDs)
opposition how it changed1
Opposition – how it changed
  • Liberal opposition
    • Westernisers – wanted to see more western influence and ideas at work in Russia
    • Active in the Zemstva
    • Ideas found their peak in the 1905 reforms
      • Kadets
        • Called for a Western ‘constitutional monarchy’
        • Formed the main opposition in the first Duma
      • Octobrists
        • More loyal to the Tsar but also wanted liberal changes.
      • Leaders of both became key members of the P.G.
opposition how it changed2
Opposition – how it changed
  • During the P.G.
    • Bolsheviks dominated the opposition
      • The moderate Tsarist opposition had become the government!
    • Initial freedoms of the P.G. worked in the Bolsheviks’ favour.
      • Used propaganda and slogans
    • P.G. reluctant to use terror to control them.
  • During the Civil War
    • White and green armies (Tsarist and National) were largely defeated and by 1921 Communist victory was certain.
opposition how it changed3
Opposition – How it changed
  • Internal Communist Opposition
    • Over the ending of the War, over the NEP / War Communism
    • Over Lenin’s succession – 1929 this was truly settled.
    • The Purges
      • party membership - 2/3rds gone by the mid 1930s.
      • Show-trials, including 5 full members of the powerful politburo were dead.
rural opposition
Rural Opposition
  • Seldom showed political allegiance
  • High levels of unrest following the Emancipation Edict
      • Setting fire to aristocratic property a common way of protesting.
      • Peaking at 1906-07 Black Earth revolts.
      • Stolypin used repression and land reform to control this opposition
  • 1908 – 1914 fewer peasant revolts.
  • First World War set off a new wave of rural revolts
    • High food prices
    • Lack of fertilizer (used to make ammunition)
    • High death toll in the fighting
  • Civil War saw peasants fight against both White and Red Armies
    • NEP partly brought in to pacify peasants
  • Collectivisation and dekulakisation
    • Started more unrest – intially successful, by 1930 the peasants were offered an opt out of collectivisation – this was only temporary. By June 1941 90% of farms were collectivised.
opposition from workers
Opposition from WORKERS
  • Workers had hard lives – no factory inspectorate until 1882 and a 10 hour working day was normal.
  • Strikes
    • Localised before 1880
    • 1885 Morozov Dye strikes – 8000 workers
    • 1905 After Bloody Sunday, wave of strikes in sympathy
    • 1912 Lena goldfield strikes - 200 dead
    • 23 Feb 1917 Putilov strike
  • Civil War – a turning point in worker’s protest
    • Many workers died, replaced by incoming peasants
    • Not as political, not well organised
    • NEP
    • Taken together, this meant that workers were less likely to strike
  • Great Patriotic War and afterwards
    • No strikes
    • By early 60’s protests about falling living standards were starting
    • Working hours reduced to 7 a day in the 60s.
opposition from national groups
Opposition from National groups
  • Poles
    • 1863 Rebels protested against unfair distribution of land after Emancipation
    • By 1890s there was a politically active proletariat.
      • 1982 – Polish Socialist Party, 1893 Social Democratic Party
    • Fought for independence in Civil War, and won it until 1939.
  • Ukrainians
    • 1863 and 1876 – Decrees banned publication of books in Ukrainian.
    • Ukrainian independence crushed in Civil War
    • Resisted Collectivisation – suffered greatly during the purges
    • During the GPW many accused of being German collaborators
  • Caucasians
    • Muslim / Orthodox Christian divide
    • Some tried to gain independence in 1920/21
opposition from national groups1
Opposition from National groups
  • Finns
    • Autonomy removed during Nicholas II’s reign, and full policy of Russification put in place.
    • Autonomy granted in 1905, but withdrawn the following year.
    • Gained independence in 1918
  • Jews
    • Alexander II allowed jews to live outside ‘the pale’
    • Alexander III – much more anti semitic.
      • Forced to live in the Pale of Settlement
      • Banned from purchasing land in prosperous areas
      • Not allowed to vote for Zemstva
      • Not allowed senior positions in the Army or in medicine
    • Nicholas II continued in Alexander’s footsteps
    • Communists continued in the same vein.
      • Special settlements in the 30s
      • Ban on the religion and on Jewish schools and on publications during the GWP
      • Doctors plot of 1952 saw 15 Jewish leaders executed
      • ‘anti-communist’ jews executed during Khrushchev’s reign.
repression secret police
Repression – Secret Police
  • Third Section – used to exile opposition leaders
  • Okhrana
      • Initially ‘softer’ than Third Section
      • Powers grew as opposition grew, peaking in 1905
      • Still focused on opposition groups and leaders
  • Provisional Government
    • Abandoned Secret Police activities
  • Cheka
    • Shift from targeting individuals to ‘bourgeois’ groups
    • Increased use of terror against classes of people
    • “Red Terror” – enforced war communism
    • Renamed OGPU and became less repressive following victory in Civil War
  • NKVD
    • 1934, a reversion to Cheka levels of repression, crucial role in terror of purges in 30 and control of 40s.
    • Murder of Trotsky 1940
    • Turned in on itself – 20,000 members purged and disbanded in 1943.
  • MGB/ MVD
    • Under Beria’s control until death in 1953, replacement the KGB was under the direct control of the party , rather than one person.
    • Even by 1964 there were still 11,000 counter-revolutionaries in prison.
repression the army
Repression – The Army
  • Reforms in 1861 led to a better trained army
  • Used to stop strikes and suppress protest in Tsarist Russia
    • Bloody Sunday 1905 – 200 deaths, 800 wounded
    • 1917 Unrest from february till November
  • Committees of radical soldiers supported the Bolsheviks in 1917 – formed the Military Revolutionary Committee
  • Lenin and Stalin both used the Red Army to implement economic policy – War Communism and Collectivization.
  • Played a role and was attacked itself during the Great Purge.
    • By 1938 40% of the Army’s leaders had been sacked.
  • Emphasis on internal control lessened over time.
repression censorship
Repression- Censorship
  • Alexander II – Glasnost ‘openness’
    • Relaxed censorship (though they could still ban publication
    • By 1894 Russia published 10,961 books – about the same as combined total in USA and Britain.
    • In 1855 the total had been only 1020
  • The line wasn’t one of steady increase
    • Nicholas II had relaxed the rules, following a clampdown by Alexander III
  • Easier to get things published if they were patriotic
  • Nicholas II’s glasnost saw newspapers being aimed at urban working class – 3 times as many in 1914 as in 1900.
repression censorship1
Repression - Censorship
  • Bolsheviks abolished press freedom and gained control over news
  • Agitprop – Agitation and Propaganda department 1921
  • Writers who supported Bolsheviks flourished
    • ‘Fellow Travellers’
  • Stalin centralised control over authors
    • Union of Soviet Writers
    • Socialist Realism – struggle of ordinary people to overcome oppression.
  • Khrushchev eased censorship
    • Boom in publishing – 60 million read newspapers in the early 60s.
    • Official newspapers still the most popular
repression propaganda
Repression - Propaganda
  • Not used by Tsars until after 1905
    • Then used pamphlets, photographs and events
    • 1913 celebrations of 300 years of Romanov rule.
    • Increased during FWW
  • Bolshevists were experts in propaganda
    • Slogans ‘peace, bread and land’
    • Pamphlets ‘what is to be done?’
  • Cult of Personality
    • Increasingly used by Communists until Khrushchev
    • Lenin’s imagery used after his death
    • Stalin’s image used everywhere
  • Newspapers. E.g. Pravda
  • Youth Groups
  • Arts
  • Stakhanovism
  • Cinema – especially after the 1920s to promote collectivisation, then during the GPW.
opposition reform
Opposition – Reform
  • All hoped that reform would help control the people
    • Emancipation
    • 1905 Constitution
    • Provisional Government’s dismantling of the Okhrana
  • Communists more likely to direct reform against opposition and against groups
    • War communism and collectivisation
    • Went hand in hand with repression and terror
this overview3
This overview
  • The Nature of Russian Government
    • Ideology
    • Structures and Institutions
  • Opposition
    • The nature of opposition and how it changed
    • Repression as a way of controlling opposition
    • Reform as a way of controlling opposition
  • Social and Economic Change
    • In the countryside
    • In the towns and cities
  • War and Revolution and the development of Government
economic change in the countryside
Economic Change in the Countryside
  • Extremely important aspect of the economy in the whole period
    • Majority of population worked in Agriculture
    • Link to industrial development
  • Land Ownership a continuing theme
    • Emancipation didn’t meet the demand for fairer redistribution of land.
    • Communist controlled all land – resented by peasants
economic change in the countryside1
Economic Change in the Countryside
  • Changes
    • Emancipation for serfs brought the right to own property, run a business and marry
    • Stolypin’s Reforms aimed to create a class of wealthier peasant
      • Land Banks
      • Consolidation of holdings
    • Peasants seized land themselves during the PG and the Civil War
    • War Communism and then NEP, reversed policy directions, followed by Collectivisation
    • Khrushchev increased cereal production, with an emphasis on encouraging peasants to produce more.
economic continuity in the countryside
Economic Continuity in the Countryside
  • Lack of Land
    • Nobles handed over a proportion of land, but kept the best and obtained new rights to charge for access to common land.
  • Control over peasants’ lives
    • The mir still controlled many aspects of peasants lives and stopped them from moving away until redemption payments finished. This control increased with the Introduction of Land Captains under Alexander III.
    • Redemption payments due for 49 years
    • Tsars saw problems in the countryside as the fault of the bad character of the Russian peasant – Land Captains
  • Little incentive to modernise or to grow surpluses. These disincentives continued.
    • War Communism
    • NEP ‘scissors crisis’
  • Communists continued to treat peasants with contempt
    • War Communism
    • De-Kulakisation and Collectivisation
  • Backwards methods and Famine were two continuing threats to development in the countryside.
    • This even had an impact during the Virgin Land Campaign
social change in the countryside
Social Change in the Countryside
  • Housing remained crowded and shared with animals for many throughout the period
    • Stalin and Khrushchev’s attempts to modernise peasant housing
    • Kulaks made homeless
  • Famine was a continuing threat
    • Over-reliance on grain
    • Mir restricted development of modern farming
    • 1891, 1981, 1921, 1932-4, 1947
    • Continuing need to import right through Khrushchev’s rule.
    • Diet of workers worse under communists – meat and fish consumption fell by 90% by 1930s.
  • Work
    • Subsistence level work continued throughout the Tsarist period, and mentality continued afterwards
    • Central control dictated targets and working methods after 1921
    • Punishments for those who stepped out of line.
industrial continuity
Industrial Continuity
  • Use of Foreign Capital and Expertise during Tsarist period
    • Ludwig Loop & JJ Hughes during Alexander II
    • Witte’s use of foreign loans in 1890s.
  • Raising of Taxes and selling of bonds to raise capital
    • Reutern, Bunge, Witte
  • Export of Grain to fund industrialization
    • Leading to famine in 1891.
  • War interrupting / damaging industrialization
  • Ongoing focus on railways and heavy industry until Khrushchev
    • Reuternincreased track from 3532 km in 1862 to 22,000 km by 1878. Witte took it to 52,000 km
    • Big increases during Tsarist period in production of:
      • coal (3.2 million tonnes in 1880 compared with 26.8 million in 1910)
      • pig iron (0.42 million tonnes in 1880 compared with 2.99 million in 1910)
    • Also big increases during early Communist period:
      • Coal (8.9 million tonnes in 1921 compared with 27.6 million by 1926)
      • Pig iron (116 thousand tonnes in 1921 compared with 2.4 million tonnes in 1926)
industrial change
Industrial Change
  • Bunge – nationalisation of the railways
  • Witte’s ‘Great Spurt’.
  • War Communism
  • NEP
  • Five year plans
    • Coal 35.5 million tonnes in 1928 up to 166 million by 1940 and 510 million by 1960
    • Steel – 4.3 million tonnesin 1928 up to 18.3 by 1940 and 65.3 by 1960.
  • Khrushchev’s focus on consumer goods
    • Plastics 21.3 thousand tonnes in 1945 – 312 thousand in 1960
    • Clocks and watches 0.9 million made in 1928. 0.3 million made in 1945. 26 million by 1960
social change in towns and cities
Social Change in Towns and Cities
  • Industrialisation caused urbanisation, especially St Petersburg and Moscow, where populations doubled by 1914
    • Overcrowding, diesease(100,000 deaths from Cholera in St Petersburg alone in 1910
    • Worker Barracks
    • Promises and some redistrubution following 1917
    • Deterioration during Stalinist period – average living space per person fell from 1905 8.5 m2 to 1935 5.89m2
  • Some improvements
    • 1911 Sewarage system in St Petersburg
    • Khrushchev tackled post war shortage
      • Doubled housing stock
      • Emergence of better housing for professionals
  • GPW
    • Made 25 million homeless
war and the development of government
War and the development of Government
  • Crimean War
    • Zemstva created to give the nobility a local role, which had been taken away by emancipation;
    • Military reforms
    • Railway construction
    • Autocracy remained in place
  • Russo-Japanese War 1904-5
    • Discontent with the Tsar’s leadership
    • Introduction of the Duma following protests in 1905
    • Further investment in Railway and communications
  • Neither of these wars was as destructive as FWW and GPW
war and the development of government1
War and the development of Government
  • First World War
    • Undermining and then deposition of the Tsar
    • Weight of the war hindered the provsional government
    • Worked with existing processes – building up of the proletariat and with opposition to the Tsar’s rule.
  • Bolshevik Revolution and the Civil War
    • Radical Bolshevik seizure of power
    • Dictatorship
    • Distrust of outside world
    • Destruction of the Army and creation of the Red Army
    • Use of Terror and repression
    • Centralizing of Power
  • Great Patriotic War
    • Formally, Stalin took control of several important committees, but this reflected the reality before the war, that he was in charge absolutely
    • Made Stalin less controlling – listened to people, took advice.
    • Increased Communist party membership
      • Soldiers who were awarded medals for bravery were also given party membership.
    • NKVD crackdown on traitors and non-Russian ethnic groups
  • Cold War
    • De-Stalinisation – attempt to put the USSR in a better light?