Chapter 30 Outline – Russia and Eastern Europe VI. The Present Era

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Chapter 30 Outline – Russia and Eastern Europe
VI. The Present Era (1914 – Present)

  1. Russia and Eastern Europe

  1. The Russian Revolution (1st Phase = February Revolution, 1917)

  • February Revolution (Actually occurred in March, but it was February on Russian calendar)

  • Strikes and food riots began in March, 1917 in Russian capital, Petrograd

  • The riots turned to revolution, and Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne

  • Causes of revolution: devastation of WW1, rural peasant problems and political repression

  • Soviet = council of workers that took over Petrograd, beginning revolution

  1. Liberalism to Communism

  • For the next 8 months, the revolutionaries ran Russia, but struggled mightily

  • Alexander Kerensky = liberal leader of February revolution, wanted parliamentary rule and religious and other freedoms

  • Liberal leaders grew unpopular b/c remained in WW1 and did not do enough to help peasants

  • October Revolution (Nov., 1917) = 2nd revolution, Bolsheviks took power from liberals

  • Russian Communist Party = Name of Bolsheviks when they got control of Russia (led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin); faced many problems when they came to power after October Revolution

  • Gave large amount of Germany in return for dropping out of WW1 (Treaty of Brest-Litovsk)

  • Since they dropped out of WW1, after the war the Allies gave away much Russian land – Poland gained a lot of land Russia had, and several new Baltic states were created

  • A second problem was internal political rivals, which Lenin solved by eliminating opposing parties

  • Council of People’s Commissars = select group of soviets, headed by Lenin, that ran Russia

  • Social Revolutionary Party = Political party that won majority in Russian parliament, Lenin responded by shutting down parliament and replacing it with the Congress of Soviets

  • Lenin disbanded the Socialist Party and claimed Russia was a one party nation (Communist)

  • A civil war broke out in Russia from 1918-1921

  • Tsarist generals joined with peasants and minority nationality groups to fight communists

  • Britain, France, U.S., and Japan opposed communists and sent troops to help opposition

  • Lenin announced redistribution of land to the peasantry and nationalization (government takeover) of basic industry; these measures angered landowning peasants, and both agriculture and manufacture declined and Russia faced economic problems

  1. Stabilization of the New Regime

  • Communists took control of Russia and restored order

  • Red Army = New communist army under the leadership of Leon Trotsky

  • New Economic Policy (NEP) (1921) = Lenin’s economic policy, involved government setting economic guidelines, but allowed individuals to take initiative (economy began to recover)

  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R) = New constitution/government; set up federal system of socialist republics with strong central rule (Soviet Union was Russia plus several republics, with Russia holding the power)

  • There was an elected parliament, but there no competition allowed in elections, and parliament was simply a legislative body designed to ratify decision made by the Communist leader

  • When the Communist leader Lenin died in 1924, there was a rivalry for his leadership position

  • Joseph Stalin = Beat out Leon Trotsky and become leader of the U.S.S.R. until 1953

  • Comintern = Soviet agency designed to spread communism around world; it failed to spread much in the 1920s, and Stalin pulled back from this, instead focusing on developing Russia

  1. Building Soviet Society

  • In the 1920s, the Soviet Union was much more open-minded than it would soon become (ex: women able to push for more rights, and access to divorce and abortion became easier)

  • Education spread and literacy rate increased dramatically

  1. Stalinism (centralized, totalitarian government)

  • Stalin got complete control in 1927 and set up authoritarian state, and the openness ended

  • Stalin wanted strict socialism, and an end to the NEP which allowed private business

  • Kulaks = Wealthy peasants who believed in profit motive and owned most of land in Russia

  • Stalin wanted to industrialize and modernize Soviet Union, but under state control, not private

  1. Centralized Economic Policies

  • Collectivization = Begun by Stalin in 1928, large state-run farms replaced individual owned ones

  • Kulaks against collectivization and rebelled, leading to devastating famines

  • Stalin had millions of kulaks killed or deported to Siberian labor camps in early 1930s, and production began to rise again

  • Collectivization never big success - farmers unmotivated and agriculture remained major weakness of Soviet economy (needed higher % of labor force to farm than rest of the West)

  • While he failed in agriculture, Stalin had great success in industry

  • Five-Year Plans = Government set priorities for industrial output

  • Government built massive factories with focus on heavy industry, which built on Russia’s great natural resources

  • State centralized (controlled) allocation of resources and equipment supplies

  • Thanks to 5-Year Plans, Soviet industry grew in the 1930s while West suffered from Depression (Russia became 3rd biggest industrial power in world, behind Germany and U.S.)

  1. Toward and Industrial Society

  • Industrialization caused same results as it did in West (such as overcrowded cities)

  • Soviets built a welfare system that was bigger than that of the West at the time

  • Though standard of living wasn’t improved much, workers had meeting houses and recreational activities, and protection in case of illness and old age

  1. Totalitarian Rule

  • Stalin increased his authoritarianism through his secret police (called Ministry of Defense)

  • Using fear and terror, he scared people from opposing him, and those that did were executed or sent to labor camps in Siberia

  • Politburo = The group in charge of making laws for the Soviet Union, it was controlled by Stalin, and the group approved whatever he wanted done

  • Stalin wanted to cooperate with Western democracies to stop Hitler, but Western leaders were suspicious of Stalin and unwilling to work closely together

  • Russia responded by signing non-aggression pact with Germany – gave them time to build army in case Germany did invade, and got land from Poland and Finland lost in WW1

  • Germany broke treaty, invaded in 1941, and Soviets allied with Western powers

  • War was devastating for the Soviet Union, but also exhilarating

  • Strong industry they had built allowed them to produce needed supplies for war

  • But war costly: cities Leningrad and Stalingrad attacked, and millions of Russians killed

  • Russia had been invaded again, and became even more paranoid of future invasion taking place

  • Russia gained land to the West, and eastern Europe fell under Soviet control

  1. The Soviet Union as a Superpower

  • The Soviet Union emerged from World War II as a world power

  • Soviets built up military and continued to build up heavy industries heavy industries, and then in 1949 got the atomic bomb, all of which cemented them as a superpower

  • Soviets expanded influence in Asia after WW2 – established protectorate over communist North Korea, aided newly communist China, and Vietnam became communist ally in the 1970s

  • Soviets had influence in Middle East, Africa, and Latin America (Cuba became ally in 1959)

  1. The New Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe

  • Eastern European nations had problems b/t WW1 and WW2 making them easy for Nazis to defeat

  • They were agricultural, and relied on sales to western Europe (so hurt badly by Depression)

  • No land reforms (aristocrats still owned land and peasants discontent) and aristocrats supported authoritarian leaders who crushed peasant uprisings, and nations no longer democracies (exception was Czechoslovakia which became more industrialized than eastern Europe and remained a democracy during the interwar period (1918-1939)

  • Soviets freed most of eastern Europe from the Nazis

  • Soviets worked w/local communist parties, crushed opponents, and set up communist regimes in eastern Europe (only Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia not under Soviet influence)

  • Yugoslavia was communist under dictator Tito, but acted independent of the Soviet Union

  • By the 1950s, eastern Europe nations began to look a lot like the Soviet Union

  • Soviets helped repress rivals for power, including the Roman Catholic Church

  • Collectivization was begun in agriculture, and 5-year plans used to improve industry

  • Warsaw Pact (1955) = Alliance of pro-Soviet countries in eastern Europe in response to NATO

  • In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev became leader of Soviet Union, and announced he would not be as hard-line as Stalin had been, but Soviets maintained control of eastern Europe and tensions arose

  • Berlin Wall = Built in Berlin in 1961 to stop East German citizens from fleeing for the West (was making communism look bad that so many people were desperate to get away from it)

  • Poland (1956) = Soviet army crushed rebellion (Polish upset over Soviet-led communist rule); rebellion crushed but it led to changes – collectivization ended and Catholic Church tolerated

  • Hungary (1956) = Reformer Imre Nagy allowed to come to power, but with support of Hungarian people, began pulling away from Soviet control; Soviet troops crushed Hungarian and a hard-line pro-Soviet dictator was installed

  • Czechoslovakia (1968) = Alexander Dubcek in power began series of reforms; Soviets responded by sending in troops and reasserting there power (bloodless compared to Hungary)

  • Poland (1980) = Solidarity Movement = Workers protested against communist Polish government; soon the Polish government, with help of Soviet troops, crushed the protestors

  • While the Soviets had all of these problems in eastern Europe, much change did take place

  • The arrival of communism in eastern Europe ended the long-held power of the aristocracy

  • Culturally, Russia began to have more influence over eastern Europe than the West

  • Russia had to have its troops ready to stop discontent in eastern Europe, taking away from potential Soviet power elsewhere

  1. Evolution of Domestic Policies

  • Strict limits placed on travel and media, and Soviet people and culture isolated from world

  • Communist bureaucracy grew under Stalin, and in order to keep job and advance, had to be loyal to communist ideology and to Stalin, which led to bland, boring officials

  1. Soviet Culture: Promoting New Beliefs

  • Communist leaders tried to control culture of the Soviet Union

  • Art and literature censored to ensure they were pro-Soviet

  • Education used to train Soviet bureaucrats and create a loyal citizenry

  • Soviet government didn’t abolish the Orthodox Church, but greatly reduced its influence

  • Church couldn’t teach religion to anyone under 18, and schools taught religion was superstition

  • Government stirred up anti-Semitism, and limited the freedom of Jews in Russia

  • Muslim minorities were mostly left alone in return for loyalty to the regime

  • Soviets opposed Western culture

  • Mocked Western artistic styles as too decadent (morally poor), and new forms of Western culture barred from Russia (older forms, such as classical music, remained)

  • Socialist Realism = Popular Soviet art style; glorifying heroic workers, soldiers, and peasants

  • In architecture, Soviets emphasized more functional, classical styles

  • After 1960, artists began interacting more with the West (ex: by 1980s, rock music in Russia)

  • Even though censorship eased some after Stalin, artists and writers had to constantly worry about censorship and government crackdown

  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn = wrote trilogy about Siberian prison camps called The Gulag Archipelago; exiles from Soviet Union, but found the West too materialistic

  • Nadezhda Madelstam = Russian whose poet husband arrested in 1938 and never heard from again; spent her life hiding from police, teaching English, and telling story of husband’s arrest

  • Soviet culture placed strong emphasis on science and social science

  • Science heavily funded and made great strides in physics, chemistry, and math

  1. Economy and Society

  • Fro the 1920s to the 1950s, the U.S.S.R. became a fully industrialized society, and by 1950, over 50% of Soviet citizens lived in cities

  • Soviet industrialization different than in West b/c in U.S.S.R. government controlled industries

  • While living standards improved, Soviet economy lacked consumer products – items like cars, and even bathtub plugs were hard to get, and had to wait on long lines for consumer goods

  • As U.S.S.R and eastern Europe industrialized, their societies had much in common with the West

  • Similar leisure activities - sports, movies, television, and vacations to the beach

  • In cities, different social lines emerged (one was workers, other more educated middle class)

  • Other similarities - lower birth rates, focus on nuclear families (not extended families), less infant deaths, better diets and medical care, and parents focused on education for their children (though children in Soviet Union more strictly disciplined, both at school and at home)

  • Similar to West, minority groups in Soviet Union were the ones with the highest birth rates (in Soviet Union, that group was the Muslims in the southern Soviet republics)

  • Difference: Western women homemakers while Soviet women needed to work in factories, and women played large role in some professions, including medicine

  1. De-Stalinization

  • After Stalin died in 1953, the strict Soviet government eased some

  • From 1953-1956, a ruling committee ruled the Soviet Union maintaining stability

  • Nikita Khrushchev = Emerged as Soviet leader in 1956

  • Began de-Stalinization = made speech criticizing Stalin for his ruthless tactics and Soviet repression eased to some extent

  • After Khrushchev fell from power in 1964, the U.S.S.R. had several leadership changes, but all went smoothly

  • Cold War policies eased some after Stalin died, but still had some tensions

  • Peaceful Coexistence = Soviets believed they could get along with U.S. (Khrushchev had no desire to fight U.S.), though Soviets continued to build up their military

  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) = Soviets backed down from installing missiles in Cuba after a firm American response

  • In the space race, the Soviets took the early lead on U.S., launching the first satellite, Sputnik, into space in 1957, and also sending the first astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961

  • Between 1950s and 1980s, Soviets faced many foreign policy problems

  • Had a growing rift with communist China, which shares a border with the Soviet Union

  • To prevent Muslim insurrection, Soviet invaded in Afghanistan; war went badly for Soviets and they got bogged down fighting well into the 1980s

  • By the 1980s, Soviet society was showing major problems

  • Government owned industries left little desire to work hard (lack of consumer goods available, as well as very high alcoholism levels, goods further upset workers and hurt production)

  • Youths wanted greater access to Western culture, such as rock music and blue jeans

  1. The Explosion of the 1980s and 1990s

  1. Economic Stagnation

  • By the 1980s, the Soviet economy was struggling mightily and near collapse

  • Rapid industrialization led to major environmental problems, and 20% of Soviets lived in ecological disaster area (both disease rate and infant mortality rates rose) sharply

  • Central (government planning), health problems of workers, and low morale further hurt economy

  • Soviets were spending huge amount on military to keep pace with the U.S.

  • With less production and higher military spending, Soviet economy near collapse by the 1980s

  1. Reform and Agitation

  • After a series of weak rulers, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of U.S.S.R. in 1985

  • Gorbachev was much more open to the West than his predecessors, and changed the Soviet’s Cold War stance, agreeing to several arms limitation treaties

  • Gorbachev also ended the Soviet was in Afghanistan and brought the troops home

  • Glasnost = Policy that allowed more openness/freedoms in the Soviet Union, although there were still strong limits on political freedom

  • Gorbachev wanted to end Soviet isolation which had left it behind technologically

  • Didn’t rush into foreign trade, but allowed for some changes (ex: McDonald’s in Moscow)

  • Perestroika = New Soviet economic policy allowing some private ownership of business and less government control (basically it allowed for some capitalism)

  • New constitution written, which allowed political parties other than communists, and Gorbachev was elected as president of the Soviet Union in 1990

  1. Dismantling the Soviet Empire (late 1980s)

  • As Gorbachev allowing reforms in U.S.S.R., east European nations saw chance for independence

  • Bulgaria – held free elections for first time in 1989

  • Hungary - Installed a non-communist president in 1988

  • Poland – Solidarity Party leaders came to power in 1988 and ended communism

  • East Germany – Ended communism in 1989 and worked to reunify with West Germany (Berlin Wall torn down in 1989, and by the end of 1990, Germany was reunified as one nation)

  • Czechoslovakia – Ended communism in 1989; new leader was playwright Vaclav Havel

  • East European nations got freedom from Soviets through peaceful demonstrations, except Romania

  • Romania – Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was killed, and communism ended

  • Despite being freed from communism, the eastern European nations suffered from both economic problems and also clashes b/t nationalities (example: Yugoslavia which split up when different Slavic groups each declared their own country)

  • Bosnians fought Serbs and Croats fought Muslims

  • In 1998, bloody fighting b/t Serbs and Albanians in province of Kosovo required U.S. and others to step in (stopped Serbian genocide against Kosovar Albanians)

  1. Shocks in 1991: The End of the Soviet Union

  • Gorbachev’s move towards democracy was threatened by a pro-communist military coup in 1991

  • The coup failed largely b/c people held mass demonstrations in support of democracy, and the failed coup led to further attacks against the Communist Party

  • Different nationality groups within the Soviet Union stepped up movements for independence, and several of the Soviet Republics began gaining independence (Belarus, Ukraine, etc.)

  • December, 1991 – U.S.S.R. officially ended; many Soviet republics had gained independence, and remaining ones combined with Russia to form the Commonwealth of Independent States

  • Boris Yeltsin (1991-1999) = Democratically elected president of Russia (replaced Mikhail Gorbachev who resigned when the Soviet Union disbanded)

  • The former Soviet republics (now independent) faced significant problems

  • Each had economic struggles, and also problems b/t ethnic groups living within its borders

  • Many ethnic Russians lived in these new nations, causing problems (such as in Ukraine today)

  • The Confederation of Independent States (Russia and its remaining republics) struggled mightily

  • While Yeltsin had popular support, many former communists (wanted to restore Russia to its past glory) held power in parliament, and were able to block many of his democratic reforms

  • Russian economic problems persisted throughout the 1990s

  • Low production, not enough consumer goods available, and unemployment all major problems

  • In 1998, the Russian economy nearly collapsed, and former communists pushed for more government control

  • Other problems Russia faced was rising rate of organized crime and the emergence of a wealthy, though much despised wealthy class (many got money through profiteering)

  • In 2000 , Vladimir Putin became president of Russia

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