A system where government has/takes total control over an entire country and all

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  • A system where government has/takes total control over an entire country and all aspects of life and functionality. All this is controlled by central government and/or its leader. A system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.


  • A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator whom is not restricted by a constitution, laws or opposition.

Features of Totalitarianism

  • An official ideology carried out under a one-party state.

  • Monopoly over mass communication (Censorship and ownership).

  • Monopoly over terror (Police State and Secret Police.

  • Control over the economy, state owns all industry.

  • Worship of the Leader, considered as a god.

In this revision document:

  • Russia - Stalin

  • Italy – Mussolini

  • Germany – Adolf Hitler

Russian Revolution 1917:


  • Russia had been ruled by Tsars since the 16th Century.

  • House of Romanov ruled from 1613.

  • First example of democracy in Russia was in 1906, when, Tsar Nicholas II created the first ‘Duma’  Russian for ‘to consider’

  • State Duma was a legislative assembly – which met in Taurida Palace.

  • The majority of Russian population are peasants.

Impact of WWI:

  • Military Defeats

  • Russian army was big but poorly equipped.

  • Lost 2 major battles in 1914, one of which being Battle of Tannenberg.

78,000 Russians killed or wounded - 12,000 Germans (Russia state 30,000)

  • Caused a fall in civilian and military morale.

Impact of Tsar’s Character:

  • Poor military commander and political leader.

  • Left his wife ‘Tsarina’ in charge of government (Wife was German)

  • Tsarina was inexperienced and incompetent.

  • Often refused advice from Duma.

  • Rasputin – Claimed to be a healer, disliked by many, yet held influence over both the Tsar and Tsarina.

Economic Problems:

  • Railway system was very poor.

  • Over 15 million men joined the army.

  • Subsequently there were not enough workers in industry and agriculture.

  • Caused shortages of food and materials.

Social Discontent:

  • Food shortages and price rises caused widespread discontent.

  • War had seen some people move from countryside to cities.

  • Cities soon became overcrowded.

Events of Revolution - 1917


22nd20,000 steelworkers go on strike.

23rd Women take to streets to demonstrate.

25th - Half of Petrograd is on strike.

26th Tsar closes Duma.

27th Soldiers mutiny and establish the Petrograd.

March 2nd – Tsar Abdicates
Results of the February Revolution

  • In March 1917, when the tsar's government collapsed, the members of the Duma set up the Provisional Government, led by Alexander Kerensky. Planned to rule until elections were held.

  • The provisional government FAILED to deal with almost all challenges it faced. It was a divided government, made up of members from several political parties. Government split many times.

  • Middle-class kadets wanted to restore order and create a parliamentary democracy.

  • Socialists wanted to push the revolution further and transfer more land to the peasants.

  • 21st July 1917: Kerensky replaced as Prime Minister

  • The Bolsheviks had overthrown the Provisional government – November 1917 – Civil war lasted till 1920.

Problems of the Provisional Government

  • The Provisional Government had to share power with the Petrograd Soviet. Members of the Soviet always rejected the Provisional Government.

  • The Provisional Government did nothing to stop the war. In fact, as desertions increased, it set up death squads to hunt down and execute deserters. The soldiers came to hate the Provisional Government.

  • The Provisional Government was unable to end the shortages of food and fuel in Petrograd. This was because it continued the war, which was causing the shortages. The workers came to hate the Provisional Government.

  • The Provisional Government did nothing to solve the land problem. In the countryside, peasants started taking over the land of the nobles, many of whom had run away. The Provisional Government sent soldiers to take the land back by force. The peasants came to hate the Provisional Government.

  • The Provisional Government did little to deal with its opponents and allowed political freedom. Even after the Bolsheviks rebelled in July 1917, it allowed Lenin to preach his popular message of 'all power to the Soviets'. People came to despise the Provisional Government.

Lenin’s April Theses

  • According to this the Bolsheviks had to overthrow the government as soon as possible. Allowing them to create a socialist dictatorship. For this the following needed to happen:

  • Gain control of the Petrograd Soviet.

  • All Russian congress June 1917, Bolsheviks were a minority and had fewer than half as many delegates of the Mensheviks and the social revolutionaries.

  • Lenin believed that a party of determined revolutionaries could seize power and introduce communism.

  • The Bolsheviks rapidly assumed the mantle of the official opposition, and took advantage of the new socialist presence in the Cabinet to attack them for the failures of the Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks began a strong run of propaganda. In June, 100,000 copies of Pravda were printed daily. In July, over 350,000 leaflets were distributed.

From Provisional Government to Bolshevik Dictatorship

Provisional government February 197 was meant to solve the problems under Russia’s Tsar, yet within a year the government had been overthrown and the Bolsheviks had claimed power.

Timeline that led to the fall of the provisional government:

  • June: Provisional government uses troops to attack Germany, Russia is badly defeated. Demands for peace are made.

  • July: 16-20th: Demonstration of soldiers and industrial workers in Petrograd turns into a premature Bolshevik uprising against the provisional government. Referred as ‘the July days.’

  • Trotsky becomes chairman of Bolshevik.

  • August: 1st: Kerensky, leader of the provisional government appoints General Kornilov as the commander-in-chief of the Russian army.

  • September: 10th:

  • Right wing coup led by general Kornilov collapses in defeat.

  • Bolsheviks and Red guards have some of their old leaders released and armed by Kerensky in order to protect Petrograd.

  • Kornilov’s men are hungry and scared and they mutiny to join the Petrograd Soviets.

Meanwhile: Lenin is busy writing letters to other Bolshevik leaders urging them to make preparations for a revolution.

  • Bolshevik’s popularity grows.

  • October: 23rd: Bolshevik Central Committee under Lenin vote for revolutionary measures. At this time in Russia. Prices of goods are ten times higher than they were before the Great War. People are starving, food and supplies are not getting through.

  • November: 3rd: Trotsky’s military revolution committee take control of the Petrograd garrison after the mutiny in the July days.

  • November: 6th: Red guards begin to occupy strategic government buildings across Petrograd; Kerensky flees. Provisional government barricade themselves in Palace.

  • After seizure of power:

  • On the 8th November 1917, all Russian congress of Soviets give power to the 15 Bolshevik Commissars under the leadership of Lenin.

Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power?

  • They had a strong political and economic centre in Petrograd Soviet.

  • Own armed forces: The Red Guards.

  • Organised disciplined and had clearly planned strategies.

  • Realistic, practical clever in setting short term goals.

  • Provisional government was weak, stupid and ineffective.

  • Lenin was an in spring leader with visions, clarify and ability.

What do Marxists believe?

  • Economic determinism

  • The idea that money and wealth dictates all other aspects of society.

  • Marxist stage theory

  • That societies would eventually/naturally become communist.

  • Criticism of Capitalism

  • It exploits the workers, it corrupts people.

  • Means of production

  • Factories should be owned by everyone, not just a few rich industrialists as such the ‘state’ should control industry.

Explain why Policies introduced by Lenin differed from Marxist theory?

  • Did not have industrialism/capitalism.

  • Vanguard  Workers weren’t read.

  • 80% Peasants – Nature of Russia not allow Marxist theory (not ready to revolt)

  • Threat of power (Bolsheviks wanted to skip stages and go straight to communism, Mensheviks were democratic sticks to Marxist stages).

  • Too many peasants, arguably already similar and lived a ‘Communist’ style life.

  • Believed Political system should determine economics, opposite to Marxist theory.

  • Russia was an unlikely setting for a Marxist revolution as 80% of the population were peasants and not aware of exploitation; therefore Lenin had to use the ‘vanguard of the proletariat’ for the revolution.

  • Having forced the revolution and formed a revolutionary elite Lenin had to abandon the dictatorship of the proletariat in favour of the dictatorship of the party who represented the proletariat

  • Lenin was not prepared to wait for the natural progression of Marx stage theory and spontaneous revolution, skipping from feudalism to socialism

  • War Communism had caused a famine in which 5 million people died, therefore Lenin ended War Communism and introduced the NEP, allowing the political system to determine the economic system – the complete opposite of Marxism

  • Lenin feared he was losing support after the Kronstadt rebellion (1921) and famine, so loosened the Bolshevik control of the economy.

Lessons of October (1924)

  • Is a polemical essay, essay was harshly critical of the purported revolutionary failings of Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, two key members of the collective leadership. The leadership mutually perceived as a threat to accede to supreme power.

The United Opposition

  • Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky

  • What was the key ideological argument between the united opposition and Stalin?

  • Socialism in one country – Supported by Stalin and Bukharin.

  • NEP

Why was Stalin able to all himself to Bukharin?

  • Coined term ‘Socialism in one country’ – Attacked Policies of UO.

  • United Opposition targeted them both, Stalin supported his idea.

What was the key weakness of the United Opposition?

  • They were unpopular, back stabbing, supported Stalin then turned to Trotsky.

  • Use of Trotsky backfires, last year attacked him, now joined him, had lost power.

  • Could have used Lenin’s testament against Stalin but were too late.

  • Kept changing their minds.

Why was Stalin able to defeat the United Opposition?

  • Highlighting they’re factionalists

  • Either UO continued to argue or be accused of factionalism.

  • It demanded, among other things, greater freedom of expression within the Party (in effect, lifting the Ban on Factions imposed by Lenin as a temporary measure in 1921) and less bureaucracy.

  • During 1925 Zinoviev and Kamenev moved into opposition against Stalin. They argued that the NEP had made too many concessions to the peasants. They were opposed by Bukharin. It was within Lenin’s wishes the NEP were to be continued in order to reach the social revolution – would help reduce rationing.

  • Zinoviev and Kamenev joined with Trotsky to oppose Stalin and Bukharin in a form of United Opposition. However, Stalin was able to undermine the power bases of the opposition leadership by replacing their supporters with his supporters in key party position.

  • In January 1925 Trotsky was removed as People’s Commissar for Military Affairs and he was removed from the Politburo in December. In January 1926

Stalin did not stop with eliminating Trotsky.

  • In 1927, he removed the left-wing Communists old Bolsheviks such as Kamenev and Zinoviev who had opposed the NEP - from the Politburo.

  • Two years later, he claimed that the NEP was uncommunist, and got right-wing Communists such as Rykov and Tomsky thrown out of the Politburo.

The Right Deviation

Views on NEP Vs Rapid Industrialisation

Used Bukharin to defeat United Opposition

Trotsky  Permanent Revolution

  • Envisaged by Leon Trotsky, of a country's continuing revolutionary progress being dependent on a continuing process of revolution in other countries.

Bukharin – Always in support of NEP and socialism in one country, views are consistent.

Socialism in one country was more popular than permanent revolution as people became worried about war.
Left side dominated by Stalin, the right side by Bukharin – was not stupid and did not want to be accused of factionalism – NEP doomed, lack of support.  Ends NEP when proletariat take power.

Stalin’s Power in 1924

General Secretary:

  • Post war supposed to limit his power, as it was a party post not a government one.

  • Stalin realised that it game him the power to obtain information on party members.

  • Organised and spoke at funeral  Heir of Lenin  Successor would need to be heir of Lenin.


  • Had the ability to hire and fire the top 5,500 officials and he was able to manipulate the timing of the 1925 congress and ensure that the delegates were pro-Stalin and anti-Trotsky.

  • Socialism in one country, realistic and popular.

  • NEP consistent of Lenin’s wishes.

  • Lenin had a stroke before he could remove Stalin , Trotsky suffering malaria before funeral.

  • Position allowed to form relationships, ensuring that when needed Stalin had the support required to out vote opponents.

Main issue in the leadership struggle after Lenin’s death:

  • Many party members didn’t want 1 person running the party and government

  • They wanted collective leadership.

  • During civil war, state became centralised with Lenin taking executive decisions.

  • It was thought collective leadership was a more socialist way of running the state.

  • Members fear a dictator could emerge – as Trotsky was commander of the red army, he could crush opposition and they feared he would become a dictator.

  • Members worried the party would disunite after Lenin’s death and didn’t want a leader who would cause divisions – Trotsky seen as arrogant.

NEP – Rapid Industrialisation

  • Party agreed that Russia needed to industrialise – key to creating a large class of proletarian workers to build socialism.

  • 1920s many party members disliked NEP – high unemployment amongst workers, wages for those in work didn’t keep up with inflation – food shortages reappeared.

  • NEP was meant to be a temporary measure, not agreed on how or when it ended.

  • Left wing (Trotsky & Kamenev) wanted to end NEP in favour of Rapid Industrialisation.

  • Right Wing (Bukharin) wanted to continue NEP, encourage peasants to become richer so they would spend more on consumer goods, leading to growth in manufacturing industry. Kulak class emerges, surplus wheat can be sold for profit once quota is met.

Permanent Revolution

  • USSR was the only communist state in the world & world revolution had not taken place, what should the party’s future policy be?

  • Permanent Revolution (Trotsky believes this).

  • Thought Russians should put energy and money into helping working class In other countries to stage their own revolution – should fight a permanent revolution until a world communist revolution had been achieved.

  • Also thought the USSR should continue the revision process to become socialist.

E.g. Forcing Peasants into collective farms.
Socialism in one country

  • End of 1924, Stalin put this policy forward.

  • Russia should build a socialist state in USSR without help of the people from outside.

  • They would solve their own problems and create a workers society that was superior to capital west.

  • They would be world leaders.

Explain why Trotsky lost the power struggle with Stalin

  • Trotsky  Jewish  Ex-Menshevik  May have prevented him taking leadership.

  • Lack of party power base  Popular with Red army, civil war leadership.

  • Did not push for publication of Lenin’s testament, recommends Stalin’s removal.

  • Missed Lenin’s funeral.

  • Did not attack Stalin over his actions in Georgia.

  • Attacked party bureaucracy and appeared to be guilty of factionalism.

  • Attacked Zinoviev and Kamenev in ‘Lessons of October’ and then sided with them in United Opposition.

  • World revolution appeared to be unrealistic and unpatriotic.

  • Contradicted NEP, part of Leninism.

Why was the NEP ended by Stalin?

  • Created by Lenin in 1921.

  • NEP was always a temporary expedient as it was capitalist and an adaptation of

Marxism. The Bolsheviks had seized power at a time when 80% of the population were peasants.

  • Ending NEP would finally create socialism

  • NEP was no longer working by 1927/8 as grain procurements were falling.

  • Rapid industrialisation could be adopted as a policy as Trotsky and the United Opposition had been defeated.

  • Ending NEP allowed Stalin’s policies to create a distinction between his policies and those of Bukharin, and defeat the right in the power struggle

  • 1927 War scare – Britain had broken off diplomatic relations, France trade links and Japan threatened war. Stalin believed rapid industrialisation was needed to defend the USSR which influenced the ending of NEP. ECONOMY RECOVERED TO SAME LEVELS AS 1913!!!

Stalin’s Economic Policies

  • 1st 5 year plan 1928 – 32 focused on heavy industry and creation of new towns Magnitogorsk and Stalinsk.

  • New factories in Stalingrad + Kharkow

  • Gosplan planned targets for entire economy.

  • 1928  Planned published

  • 1929 NO TARGETS met in oil, coal and iron. However 1.5 million ex-peasants retrained.

  • Stalin pursued the policy of collectivization in agriculture to facilitate the process of rapid industrialization; this involved the creation of collective farms in which peasants worked cooperatively on the same land with the same equipment. This was intended to improve the efficiency of agriculture and eliminate the "kulak" class of landowners.

Failed to reach targets by end of plan, however ended early with tampered numbers to show it was a complete success. Plan was not a failure, economy on road to recovery, achieved and built so much.

  • Forced Labour, Kulak’s  Belomor Canal 126,000 constructed, 12,000 to have died.

  • Socialist competition, industries to compete with one another.

  • Targets for individual workers.

  • Alexey Stakhanov, August 1935 – 102 tonnes of coal mined personally. Propaganda - had help, results faked.

  • FEAR, fail to meet targets –arrested or executed workers.

  • Low wages in 1932, 50% of what they were during NEP.

  • Shakhty – 55 engineers aiding “organising sabotage… foreign forces” as they did not achieve targets.

How was Stalinism different to Marxism?
Russian Nationalism

  • Marx believed that the ‘workers of the world unite’

  • Stalin supported Socialism in one country.

  • Stalin believes harsh treatment on minorities.

  • 1921 Georgia – helps workers reach/gain proletariat rule, he invaded instead.

  • Outbreak of popular uprisings against the Menshevik government in Georgia, the Red Army invaded to assist workers to reach proletariat. The extent and popularity of the uprising, however, had been exaggerated and it took the Red Army ten days of heavy fighting to enter Tiflis. Trotsky, head of the Red Army, had not ordered nor even been informed of the invasion of Georgia, which was mainly instigated and carried out by Stalin.

Socialism in one country

  • Nationalism over internationalism preferred.

  • Russia’s economic issues 1913 – 27 (improve Russia first).

Cult of Lenin

  • Lenin was the biggest opponent of a cult of Lenin.

  • Creation of cult of Lenin served a purpose for Stalin:

  • Stalin trying to justify himself as ‘next divine right to rule’  Heir of Lenin

  • This done at the funeral where he promises to continue legacy of Lenin.

  • Lenin enrolment, increase size of the party in the name of Lenin.

  • 500,000 to 1,000,000 in 2 years

NO LEADER IN MARXIST STATE/THEORY  Stalin enforcing sole leadership.
Ending of NEP (1921) – 1927

  • More Marxist – Promoted capitalism by allowing private ownership – Kulak.

  • Requires industrial revolution and exploitation for proletariat revolution.

  • Stalin supports it until 1927, wanted to continue Lenin’s policy.

  • POWERSTRUGGLE against NEP and Rapid Industrialisation he fought against it – 5YP.

  • Rapid industrialisation against Marxism as is state controlled.


  • Marxist theory believes in collective leadership of working class.

  • Lenin tried to form collective leadership through discussion – personal dictatorship.

Intolerance in Stalin’s Russia

  • Individually – Totalitarian, an exclusive ideology.

  • Primary (only) views allowed in that state.

  • Communism does not have to be totalitarian but as exclusive ideology.

  • Private ownership?

  • Creating a Utopia, everyone needs to be equal – NO FACTORY OWNERS OR KULAKS

  • Kulak either becomes re-educated or destroyed.

  • Subordination to the state (under the states power).

  • Communism REJECTS RELIGION – “Opium of the people” believe life is good.

  • Anti-Semitic

Economic diversity


  • The ending of the NEP suggests that Stalin did crush economic diversity, totalitarian style economic control.

  • NEP allowed for degree of diversity, growth of Kulak class shows this.

  • By ending NEP, he ended opportunity for diversity.

  • Persecuting those who benefited from it, executed or arrested – Gulag camps.

  • Belomor Canal – 12,000 Gulag inmates died.

  • 5 year plan meant economic decisions were made by the Gosplan.

  • Fear of being seeing as a wrecker, not meeting targets, Shakhty trial!!!


  • 1935 private peasant plots were still allowed 50% of Vegetables and 70% of milk came from these plots. By 1937 there was still reliance on these plots.

  • Peasants also found loop holes to try and work on their own private plots rather than collectivised – lying by saying they had festivals to attend etc.

Five year plans a success?


  • USA suffered negative growth 1929 – 34, USSR experienced 100% to 150% growth.

  • Built vast factories in Stalingrad and Leningrad.

  • Built hydro-electric dams, canals, railways and other projects – modernise industry.

  • In Urals Stalin stated Russia was 100 years behind rest of the world, had 15 years to turn this around. Roads were unmade, wooden house and no electricity.

  • Created massive working class, most of country was electrified.

  • 1.5 million ex-peasants re-education and trained.

  • Collectives would free peasants from servitude under Kulaks.


  • Government blamed for oppression of Kulaks, forceful implementation of the plan.

Aims of Collectivisation:

  1. Create a rural working class – peasants paid wages, machinery and land owned by collectives.

  2. Modernise farming practices to create a surplus to sell abroad for hard currency.

  3. Break the peasants as a political force, peasants were religious and conservative – threat to the regime.


  • Ukrainian famine caused by collectivisation killed about 2.5 million, peasants angry having their land taken – however complaining lead to arrest, deportation or death.

  • Being late for work was an arrestable offence.

  • Dramatic falls in animal numbers:

  • OWNERS chose to kill or sell their animals rather than hand them over to collective farms, grain supplies low in the 30s. between 1929 and 1930 cow population dropped by 20 million!!!

Political Intolerance

Define one party state:

  • 1 Political Party.

  • No other political parties were allowed.

  • Only 12 years of legalised parties.

  • Communist party, only allowed to “legally” exist.

Decree against factionalism (1921) – Russia intolerant to political ideas:

  • Does not allow for expressed differing political views.

  • Tyranny of majority  General Secretary  Lenin enrolment.

  • Destroys views other than Stalin’s.

1936 Constitution: USSR Government

  • Bukharin --. State centralised power (party)

  • One Party State – SOCIALISM ACHIEVED – Kulaks removed.

  • Second 5 year plan nearly ended.

Sergei Kirov?

  • Member of Politburo.

  • Replaced by Zinoviev as head of Leningrad party 1926.

  • Known as dictator of the North of Russia.

  • Supported Stalin and Bukharin in power struggle.

Why was he assassinated?

  • Suggested because he was a liberal, Ryutin  publically opposes Stalin, Stalin ordered.

  • Major competitor of Stalin, him and his family was murdered.

How Stalin manipulated the assassination to his advantage

  • Executes Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin as part of purges – show trials.

  • Charges included forming a terrorist organization that supposedly killed Kirov and tried to kill Stalin and other leaders of the Soviet government.

  • Prior to the trial, Zinoviev and Kamenev had agreed to plead guilty to the false charges on the condition that they not be executed, a condition that Stalin accepted, stating "that goes without saying." Nonetheless, a few hours after the conviction, Stalin ordered their execution for that night. Shortly after midnight, on the morning of August 25, Zinoviev and Kamenev were executed by shooting.

  • The Great Purge was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1934 to 1940. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, and widespread police surveillance, suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and arbitrary executions.

Cultural Diversity

Why was Alexander Nevsky ‘Battle on the Ice’ Produced in 1938?

  • Ensures the loyalty of the Russian people, propaganda video produced to express and highlight the Russian army has an unstoppable force.

  • Around this time period war with Germany was inevitable with Hitler make public speeches about wanting to “crush communism” and spread through the east finding living space under “Lebensraum,” this film exploits this by stating that the Germans can be beat, reaching out and forming a sense of patriotism and nationalism in the Russian people; getting them ready for the possibility of war.

What is ‘Socialist Realism’ and why is it important?

  • The theory of art, literature, and music officially sanctioned by the state in some Communist countries (especially in the Soviet Union under Stalin), by which artistic work was supposed to reflect and promote the ideals of a socialist society and communism. It was effectively used to sell government economic and social policy to the Russian people.

  • It was important as it was used to not only portray Stalin in a positive light but furthermore to get people in the same mind thought in which Stalin wanted them to be in, this done by the control of the media. This furthermore making them more loyal and obedient, as the propaganda would force and make the majority of people succumb to the government’s ideals due to it being in great circulation.

Does Stalin’s attitude towards women fit within Marxist theory?

  • Under Lenin, more tolerant attitudes had developed towards Russian women, and women in Lenin’s Russia enjoyed genuine equality and freedoms such as being able to obtain an abortion or divorce their husbands.

  • 1936 Constitution guaranteed their social and political rights and gave the impression that they were the most liberated women in the world.

  • Position of women changed drastically under Stalin, he closed women’s section of the party in 1930, a clear indication that he saw politics as a male sphere of life. He wanted to increase birth rate so in 1936 he made abortion illegal except on medical grounds. The mother becoming a symbol of stability in Russia, with mothers of 5 children being awarded “medals of motherhood”. Furthermore sexual freedom of the 20s had ended with contraception no longer available and prostitution and homosexuality being made illegal.

  • Population failed to increase in the 30s as the number of women in work from 1928-40 raised from 3 million to 13 million as women represented a mass of cheap labour, as they were in fact paid less than men.

Brief Notes

Stalin was a master of political trickery. He used his position as secretary to put his supporters on the Central Committee of the party. He even told Trotsky the wrong date for Lenin's funeral, so Trotsky turned up a day late. And so it was Stalin who became party leader in 1924. Trotsky was dismissed, then exiled and murdered in 1941.

Socialist Realism Notes

Only approved form of art in USSR:

  • Was idealistic

  • Showed equality

  1. Define Socialist realism

  • A new artistic style which had to be followed in all forms of creative work, controlled by government.

  1. Describe why it is important

  • It enabled government to broadcast/sell economic and political policy to the Russian people through propaganda.

  1. How can socialist realism be seen as PROOF of Soviet Intolerance to Diversity?

  • Artistic and intellectual freedom was destroyed, showing a clear lack of cultural diversity or intolerance to it.

Stalin Crushing diversity


  • Expulsion of 1,000,000 party members, Ryutinites

  • Great purges

  • Show trials – Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev

  • Lenin Enrolment

Religious Intolerance Anti-religious campaign 1928 -41

  • 1 in 40 churches left.

  • 7 bishops remaining. 117 bishops arrested.

  • 85,000 Orthodox priests were shot in 1937 alone.

  • Only a twelfth of the Russian Orthodox Church's priests were left functioning in their parishes by 1941.

  • 1927 -1940, the number of Orthodox Churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29,584 to less than 500.

  • KAZAN Cathedral converted into Atheist museum.

  • 55.3 million or 56.7% of those who provided answers stated they were religious, 1937 census.


  • Kulak class – canal

  • Private peasant plots, reliance on private plots!!!


  • Alexander Nevsky

  • Socialist realism

  • Introduce diversity in exams previous methods not working – no qualifications.

  • Ethnic suppression, requisition (taking of food) Ukrainian famine – 2.5 million dead.


  • Exams deemed bourgeois, adult educated focuses on solely literacy.

  • By 1935 many changes revised such as exams.

  • Must be of proletarian to attend university, removed by 1936.

  • Compulsory primary education for 4 years.

Sexual diversity

  • Homosexuality and prostitution made illegal 1934.


  • 1936 abortion made illegal, except for medical grounds.

  • Banning of contraception, medal of motherhood.

The Cult of Stalin

  • Stalin’s influence on Cult of Lenin, he sought to further it.

  • Claimed to be the heir of Lenin.

  • Lenin’s funeral: Trotsky recovering from malaria in the Crimea when Lenin died. Told him wrong date for funeral, realised and was too late. Image of disrespect tainted his reputation.

  • Carried on his policies

  • Doctored photos of him and Lenin.

  • Referred as ‘Lenin of today.’

  • Tsar – God ordained – “little father” batyushka

  • Nature of people wanting leader, tsaristic.

Stalin successful in creating a totalitarian state

Strength of official ideology of Marxist

  • Leninism that was promoted and the extent to which adherence was expected, alternate ideologies crushed. Labelled Trotskyites and wreckers etc.

Religion, alternative to communism

  • Arrests, executions etc.

One party state under Lenin maintained under Stalin, confirmed 1936 constitution.

State had monopoly over the mans of legitimate force through NKVD and Red Army.
Political opposition put down:

  • Ryutin criticised collectivisation and was expelled along with 1 million Ryutinites .

  • Kirov defended comrades and called for a reduction in the speed of collectivisation and was assassinated in 1934.

  • By 1940, only Stalin remained from Lenin’s original government.

State had a monopoly over the means of mass communication, radio, film and newspapers and the arts were all under state control. Banning of foreign films.

Limiting success

  • 57% of population still religious 1937 census.

  • Economy not as tightly controlled. Different wage rates on collective farms and industry, with higher wages paid to more skilled workers, private peasant plots existed, producing 50% of vegetables and 70% of the milk in 1937.

  • Traditional peasant way of life, private plots, local festivals, religious celebrations and minorities survived.

  • 1936 constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and association.

Why was Trotsky deemed to be the most obvious successor to Lenin in 1924?

  • Was the commissar of war and the creator of the red army.

  • Concerned an ambitious man like Trotsky would use the army to secure his place a leader.

  • Proven leadership in the civil war and is very popular with red army, not in party.

Defeat of Trotsky

  • Recovering from malaria, couldn’t attend funeral 1924.

Weaknesses and strength of opposition


  • Believed he did not want to take the role as leader as he was Jewish, maybe discriminated for it by party members. Excessive self-belief and arrogant

Strength of opposition

  • Did not attack Stalin, did not publish testament which would damage Stalin, no mention of Georgia 1921.

Lenin’s approach to Marxism

Why was Russia not ideal?

  • 80% peasants, capital revolution would first be needed, industry required. People were already similar. No class consciousness.

What did Lenin mean by “Vanguard of the Proletariat” (workers who go first)

  • Working class had control of political power, small professional revolutionary elites should form VOP, these revolutionaries would carry out the revolution for the working class.

Differences between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks

  • Bolsheviks – elite party of revolutionaries – skip capitalist, go to communist straight away.

  • Mensheviks – mass organisation with membership open to trade unionists – democratic.

Did Lenin follow stage theory?

  • No, Lenin tried to skip the stage of capitalism and moved Russia straight from feudalism to the stage of Socialism, doing this with the NEP.

What role did he envisage for the party and how many classes did Lenin rely on?

  • Abandon dictatorship of proletariat to communist party.

  • Peasants and workers.

Relationship between politics and economics?

  • Political system to determine economics, Marxism is opposite.

Historic materialism
Primitive Communism

  • No classes

  • All perform same function.

  • Most successful and skilled gained power and control over others, all society combined.


  • Superiority gathering resources, emperor would own all land. Would grant land to others in return they would provide soldiers to defend the country.


  • Development of the land owning class, capitalist.

  • Start of trade and industry, exploitation begins.


  • New technology needed, peasants become workers.

  • Churches taught suffering was part of gods will.

  • Polarisation, workers more left wing, owners to the right.


  • Dictatorship by the workers.

  • Industry state, share profits equally.


  • ‘Administration of things’ no need for money/government

  • - class-less society

  • Stage would reach all countries, all become class less, no longer competition.

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