Lesson Six Lenin’s Economic Policies Outcomes (swbat)

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Lesson Six - Lenin’s Economic Policies
Outcomes (SWBAT)

  • Evaluate the failures of War Communism and connect it to Lenin’s New Economic Policy

  • Identify the structure of the Communist Party and understand how its structure led to a dictatorship

  • Evaluate Lenin’s legacy of irony, in that through a communist revolution, the U.S.S.R. became a dictatorship that polarized the world along communist and democratic lines


  1. Civil War and War Communism – PPT to reinforce concepts from last day

  2. Russian Revolution in Colour DVD – “Freedom and Hope” chapter 8 on the Cheka

  3. Student Hand-out : “Russia Under Lenin : 1818-1824. Go through the details of this lengthy hand-out and identify where students are to fill in answers from their textbooks. Take up after 20 minutes or so.

  4. Source Documents: Student assignment on Cheka and war communism.

  5. Review class tomorrow. Responder review to end class.


  1. Civil war map and notes

  2. Civil War/War Communism PPT

  3. Student hand-out “Russia Under Lenin”

  4. Source Documents

  5. Responder review quiz

History 12 Name ___________________________

Ms. Lacroix

Russia Under Lenin – 1918-1924 : Notes

Lenin spent most of his life waiting for an opportunity to stage a revolution in Russia. Most of his time from 1918 to 1922 was spent coping with the Civil War and foreign intervention. By 1922, Lenin was too ill to play a major role in running the affairs of the state. His successor, Joseph Stalin, through his actions would make the Communist government hated at home and abroad.

Question? One of the great unanswered questions of modern history is:

“Did the Revolution have to turn sour: did Stalin pervert what would have been a liberating revolution, or are slave-labour camps a natural outgrowth of Marxist-Leninist thought?”

The Communist Party in Russia

  • Under Lenin, the Communist Party was the only political party allowed in the state as opposition to the Communist Party was opposition to the Revolution and therefore treason

  • Not all Russian are members of the Communist Party

  • Only about 5-8% are full fledged party members – they are the elite according to Communist standards

  • No one can hold a position of any importance in Russia unless a member of the Communist Party

  • The theories of the Communist Party are founded on the teachings of Karl Marx, as modified in practice by Lenin

  • In theory, the worker rules the U.S.S.R. In Lenin’s time, most Russians had the right to vote (secret ballot and universal suffrage in 1936 constitution), but:

    • Voters can only vote for a single candidate

    • Every candidate has been selected by the Communist Party

    • These candidates have no effective say in government

    • Effective control is in the hands of the political commissars whoa re all leading members of the Communist Party

    • Supreme over all of Soviet Russia is the “politburo” (Presidium of the Central Committee)

    • During Stalin’s rule, this group took orders from no one but Stalin

  • Since the 1920’s, the Communist Party could say that it operated a Soviet democracy:

    • People stood for election

    • People turned out to vote

    • Real power would then lie in the hands of the “apparatchiks”, the party officials

    • The Cheka would enforce that control

    • Lenin established a dictatorship which he and the Communist Party claimed to exercise on behalf of the Russian people, but in doing so he established a system easily corruptible into a one-man dictatorship

QUESTION: Describe the role of the COMINTERN and the

conditions laid down for the parties who wished to join. (H. p 59)

The Economic System of Soviet Russia
The absolutism of Communism turned out in practice to be not very much different from the absolutism of the Tsars. However, economically there were differences:

  • Communism swept away the former Russian economic system

  • Private ownership of wealth and property was replaced by all wealth and all means of production under state control

The economic policy of Lenin can be divided into two main phases:

  1. War Communism (1918-1921)

  2. The New Economic Policy (N.E.P.)

Acting on Marxist principles, the Communist Party instituted “war communism” – the economic policies followed by the Bolsheviks during the Civil War

QUESTION Identify Lenin’s motives for “war communism”.

(H. p 55)

QUESTION Describe the system in action and its faults (include

Kronstadt Garrison Mutiny) (H p. 55-56)

Faced with the breakdown in the manufacturing industries, the Communists realized that their experiment in “war communism” was doomed. As a result, the NEP was introduced, which was a distinct retreat from the pure communist policy.

QUESTION The N.E.P. – its goals, strengths/weakness?

(H p. 56)
QUESTION Describe how party control was established as the

Bolsheviks transitioned into the U.S.S.R. (H p. 56)
QUESTION Describe the terms of the Treaty of Rapallo.

(H. p. 56)
Religion and Education in the Soviet Union

The Bolshevik revolution condemned the Russian Orthodox Church. Christian worship is today no longer forbidden in Russia. How successful the policy was is not accurately known.

In education, the Communists strove to wipe out the widespread illiteracy of the Tsarist regime by introducing free and compulsory education, plus providing for the needs of higher education. The paradox of the Soviet education system is its propagandizing nature compared to its production of a tremendous scientific tradition.

Soviet Foreign Policy (1919-1924)
When the Bolsheviks first seized power in Russia, they expected that within a short time “workers of the world unite” (Comintern) would become a reality. By the time of Lenin’s death (January, 1924), it was evident that communist philosophy was not going to destroy the capitalist world – thus the realization that the Soviet Union was going to have to form some policy for dealing with the capitalist nations. Dissension developed between Lenin’s two leading deputies:
Trotsky believed Russia should be used as a base for an immediate

worldwide Communist Revolution.

Stalin wanted to concentrate on building a Communist state in Soviet


This conflict was not resolved in Lenin’s lifetime

The Formation of the U.S.S.R.
In 1918, the fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets established the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (R.S.F.S.R.) in which all power belonged to the workers, the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat”. The R.S.F.S.R. got control of all European Russia and by 1922 had extended its control over the whole of Siberia or Asiatic Russia as well. In 1923, the U.S.S.R. came into existence which is in theory a federation of autonomous republics of which the R.S.F.S.R. was only one member. Originally only 4 republics – by 1936, 11, and after WWII, 16.

Map: The Creation of Communist Russia

Lenin’s Legacy of Irony
In an attempt to liberate the Russian people, he isolated them under a Communist dictatorship
In an attempt to revolutionize the world on Communist principles, he began the process that was to divide it into two.

History 12 Name __________________________________

Ms. Lacroix

Lenin & his Economic Policies

Civil War

Reds vs Whites

Trotsky vs Allied Intervention

War Communism

  • Bolsheviks allowed the peasants to seize the land

  • Factories came under the control of worker’s committees

  • Nationalized banks

  • Private accounts confiscated

  • Foreign trade became a state monopoly

  • All opposition groups made illegal (including Mensheviks)

  • Nature of War Communism?

New Economic Policy

The Treaty of Rapallo


The Cheka

The Red Terror

Concentration Camps

History 12 Name ___________________________________

Ms. Lacroix



  1. Describe fully the problems faced by the new Bolshevik government between 1918 and 1921.

  2. Explain why discontent was widespread among the Russian people by 1921.

  3. To what extent did the Bolshevik government rule by deliberate use of terror in Russia?


  1. What examples of bias and exaggeration can be seen in Source A? What is the purpose of these?

  2. Do Sources B and C provide similar and consistent evidence of Bolshevik attitudes in 1918? Support your answer.

  3. Were the views expressed in Sources B and C typical of Bolshevik viewpoints in 1918? Explain your answer.

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