Unit 5C: The Making of Modern Russia, 1856-1964

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Unit 5C: The Making of Modern Russia, 1856-1964

  • In what ways was the rule of the Tsars in the years 1856-1917 similar to that of the Communists who ruled afterwards and it what ways was it different?

  • How did the economic changes of the period affect the Russian peasantry?

Course Content

  • The Tsarist political structure: the nature of tsarist rule; reforms and reaction 1856-1917.

  • The emancipation of the serfs and it’s effects.*

  • The communist state. The distribution of political power, the methods employed to maintain dictatorship by Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev.

  • Economic developments in late Tsarist Russia: industrialisation, the Stolypin reforms in agriculture.

  • The impact of the revolutions of 1917 – peasant land seizures, war communism, NEP.

  • The control and development of Soviet industry and agriculture: collectivisation and the 5 year plans under Stalin, Khrushchev’s agricultural reforms 1953-1964.

*NB: The highlighted sections are those aspects of the course content required to answer the first coursework assignment.

Coursework Assignment 1: Objective 2 (c 800 words)
Candidates are given 6 sources relating to Russian land reform between 1856 and 1964. They use the information provided to answer the following question:
To what extent do the sources agree that Russian government policy on agriculture consistently failed and that the peasants resisted it under both Tsarist and Communist rule? (16 marks)

Coursework Assignment 2: Obectives 1a and 1b (c 1700 words)

This task is designed to assess candidates’ ability to understand, analyse and explain the process, and nature of, change in a specific historical context over a period of not less than 100 years. Candidates will therefore need to demonstrate range. Historical examples need to be taken from the whole period when reaching a judgement about the importance of central control and about similarity and/or difference between Tsarist and Communist rule. The question is as follows:
Tsarist rule in the years 1856-1917 and Communist rule from the death of Lenin to the death of Stalin both depended on high degrees of central power and control by the state. The similarities between the two forms of government are therefore much greater than were the differences’. How far do you agree with this judgement? (44 marks)


Two general histories covering the whole period:
E. Acton, Russia, The Tsarist and Soviet Legacy, Longman 2nd edition, 1995
J.N. Westwood, Russia, endurance and Endeavour, OUP 4th edition, 1993

Books aimed at A Level students:
J. Hite, Tsarist Russia 1801-1917, Causeway Press, 1989
R, Sherman, Russia 1815-81, Hodder and Stoughton, 1991
M. Lynch, Reaction and Revolutions, Russia 1881-1924, Hodder and Stoughton, 1992
M. Lynch, Stalin and Khrushchev, the USSR 1924-64, Hodder and Stoughton, 1992
S. Phillips, Lenin and the Russian Revolution, Heinemann, 2000
S. Phillips, Stalinist Russia, Heinemann, 2000
S. Fiehn and C. Corin, Communist Russia under Lenin and Stalin, John Murray, 2001

Other books suitable for students:
E. Mawdsley, The Stalin Years 1922-1956, Manchester University Press, 1998
P. Waldron, The End of Imperial Russia 1855-1917, Macmillan, 1997
B. Williams, The Russian Revolution 1917-1921, Blackwell, 1987

Books containing extensive source material:
D. Christian, Imperial and Soviet Russia, Macmillian, 1997
R. Sakwa, The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union 1917-1991, Routledge, 1999

Two other major works:
O. Figes, A People’s Tragedy, The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, Pimlico, 1997
S. Fitzpatrick, Stalin’s Peasants, OUP, 1994
Directory: ecclesbourne -> content -> subsites -> history -> files -> Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Khrushchev and agriculture
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Source one
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> How did the Bolsheviks survive the first few months in power?
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> The Emancipation Edict of 1861 The condition of the Russian peasant
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Trotsky versus Stalin Trotsky (A. K. A lev Bronstein)
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Problems in Agriculture after 1881
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Document Exercise: Views of Lenin source a
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Opposition to Tsardom
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> Would Trotsky have been a more humane leader than Stalin?
Mr%20Mcs%20Russia%20Themes%20Resources -> The Soviet Economy 1928-1933 a summary

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