Causes of the Russian Revolution

The Russian revolution was caused by the continual breakdown of the governments in Russia and the incompetency and authoritarian views of it’s czars. Their failures as leaders included policies that neither pleased nor benefitted the people. By the end of the nineteenth century, Russia’s economy, government, military, and social organization was at an extreme decline. Russia had become the least advanced of the major European nations in terms of political and social development. There was no parliament, and no middle class. The Church, officers, and other important people and institutions were irmly against social progress.

The disastrous defeat of Russia in the Crimean War in 1855 and 1856 exposed weaknesses of Russia’s various For the first few decades of the 1800’s, Russia’s outlook was brighter under Alexander I, who was relatively liberal. He became more reactionary however, and following his death, a group of young army officers tried to overturn the Czardom. This was called the Decembrist Revolt. The next czar, Nicholas, was a die hard authoritarian. The Administrative system continued to decay regardless of his iron fisted rule. The gap between the rich and the poorer continued to widen.

Over five hundred peasant revolts took place during his reign. Alexander II, who took the throne in 1855 tried to avert revolt by attempting reform. In 1861 he freed the serfs and gave them expectations of free land allotments. But to their surprise, and anger, they were only given the opportunity to share it as members of a village commune(mir). In addition, the mir had to pay back the government for the land over a period of 49 years with interest. Alexander also formed a series of elected local councils that gave districts restricted jurisdiction of certain aspects of life.

He too became more of a reactionary towards the end of his reign. The result was his assassination by a group of conspirators called the People’s Will movement. The next Czar, Alexander III, was yet another reactionary. He was active in silencing criticism of the government, exiling agitators, and stamping out revolutionary groups. Industrialization began to appear and with it an increase of dissatisfied workers. They were underpaid and forced to work in unfavourable conditions. The peasants farmers were doing fine on their farms but a famine in 1891 caused extensive suffering. Revolts again became fairly frequent.

Intellectual groups organized and continued the fight against serfdom and autocracy. At the beginning of the 20th century, Russian people were in the mood for revolution. The loss of the Russo Japanese war to Japan, and the resulting hardships, made concrete the opposition to the autocracy. In December of 1904, unrest surfaced in Baku. Strikes occurred in factories in the capital. Priest Father Gapon lead a peaceful march to petition the czar for a redress of grievances but it ended violently with the Czar’s troops firing on the crowd. In October of 1905 a general strike was declared that crippled the country.

On October 30th, Nicholas dispatched the historical October Manifesto which provided for a constitution under which civil liberties were granted and an elected state institution called the duma was formed. This broke the czar’s absolute power. However, the czar chose reactionary ministers to lead the duma and the secret police force was improved and strengthened. The first two were filled with radicals but quickly dissolved. The members of the third were conservative in outlook. Social conditions improved too slowly to reverse public opposition to the absolute monarchy.

Poor political and military leadership in the First World War led to widespread desertion of Russian soldiers. Their army suffered great casualties and a It was the accumulation of discontent for governments, czar’s, and living conditions along with Russian defeats in various wars, including WWI, of the working class citizens in Russia that eventually boiled over and resulted in revolution. The public dissatisfaction continued to fill for over a decade like a powderkeg and eventually as set off and caused an explosion of great impact to the future of Russia.

They displayed their anger in various ways, but the authoritarian Czar’s which attained power did not react to the incoming tide. In fact, they resisted change at every avenue possible and proved to outrage certain people to such a point that Czar’s were assassinated. By 1917, the Russian people had had enough, and a public disturbance in Petrograd soon spread throughout the city and had become a widespread revolt. The resulting revolution proved to restructure the politics in Russia for years to come.

Russian Revolutions of 1917

The abdication of Emperor Nicholas II in March 1917, in conjunction with the establishment of a provisional government based on Western principles of constitutional liberalism, and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in November, are the political focal points of the Russian Revolutions of 1917.

The events of that momentous year must also be viewed more broadly, however: as an explosion of social tensions associated with rapid industrialization; as a crisis of political modernization, in terms of the strains placed on traditional institutions by the demands of Westernization and of World War I; and as a social upheaval in the broadest ense, involving a massive, spontaneous expropriation of gentry land by angry peasants, the destruction of traditional social patterns and values, and the struggle for a new, egalitarian society.

Looking at the revolutionary process broadly, one must also include the Bolsheviks’ fight to keep the world’s first “proletarian dictatorship” in power after November, first against the Germans, and then in the civil war against dissident socialists, anti-Bolshevik “White Guards,” foreign intervention, and anarchist peasant bands.

Finally, one must see the psychological aspects of revolutionary hange: elation and hope, fear and discouragement, and ultimately the prolonged agony of bloodshed and privation, both from war and repression, and the”bony hand of Tsar Hunger,” who strangled tens of thousands and, in the end, brought the revolutionary period to a close after the civil war by forcing the Bolsheviks to abandon the radical measures of War Communism in favor of a New Economic Policy (NEP).

Throughout, the events in Russia were of worldwide importance. Western nations saw “immutable” values and institutions successfully challenged, COMMUNISM emerged as a viable social and political ystem, and Third World peoples saw the power of organized workers’ and peasants’ movements as a means of “liberating” themselves from “bourgeois” exploitation. As such, the Revolutions of 1917 ushered in the great social, political, and ideological divisions of the contemporary world.

Historical Background Historians differ over whether the Revolutions of 1917 were inevitable, but all agree on the importance of three related causal factors: massive discontent, the revolutionary movement, and World War I, each operating in the context of the ineptitude of a rigid, absolutist state. The emancipation of the serfs in 1861 left the countryside n deep poverty. The newly freed peasants received inadequate land allotments, particularly in areas of fertile soil, and even these had to be purchased with “redemption payments.

Class antagonisms sharpened, particularly since government-promoted industrialization sent impoverished peasants flocking to jobs in urban areas for low wages under oppressive conditions. Government efforts to industrialize also required huge tax revenues, which intensified pressures on workers and peasants alike. Meanwhile, the rising business and professional classes expressed unhappiness with tsarist rule and yearned or a Western-style parliamentary system. By 1905 discontent among the bourgeoisie, peasantry, and proletariat had spurred Russian intellectuals to create the major political organizations of 1917.

Populist groups, organized in the countryside by the 1890s, joined radical socialist workers’ groups in the founding of the Socialist Revolutionary party in 1901. The Marxist SocialDemocratic Labor party was established in 1898. Five years later it divided into two factions: the Mensheviks, who favored a decentralized, mass party; and the Bolsheviks of Vladimir Ilich LENIN, who wanted a tightly rganized, hierarchical party (see BOLSHEVIKS AND MENSHEVIKS). Middle-class liberals formed the Constitutional Democratic party (Cadets) in 1905. Russian losses in the RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR precipitated the RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF 1905.

The massive urban strikes, rural rioting, and almost total liberal disaffection from the tsarist regime in 1905 have been called a “dress rehearsal” for 1917. Reluctantly, Nicholas II granted a range of civil liberties, established limited parliamentary government through a DUMA, abolished peasant redemption payments, and under Pyotr STOLYPIN began an grarian reform program to promote the growth of a rural middle class. These measures momentarily quieted the populace, but they also raised new expectations; many concessions were later withdrawn, thus exacerbating tensions.

Furthermore, the social stability that some thought the tsar’s promises offered required time to develop, and this Russia did not have. The March Revolution In 1914, Russia was again at war. Land reform was suspended, and new political restrictions were imposed. Disastrous military defeats sapped public morale, and ineffective organization on the home front made the government’s incompetence obvious to all. The emperor, assuming command of the army in 1915, became identified with its weakness.

The sinister influence of Empress ALEXANDRA’s favorite, Grigory RASPUTIN, increased. By the winter of 1916-17, disaffection again rent all sectors of society, including liberals, peasants, and industrial workers. When food shortages provoked street demonstrations in Petrograd on March 8 (N. S. ; Feb. 23, O. S. ), 1917, and garrison soldiers refused to suppress them, Duma leaders demanded that Nicholas transfer power to a parliamentary government.

With the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, a special Duma committee on March 15 (N. S. ; March 2, O. S. ) established a provisional government headed by Prince Georgi Lvov, a liberal. On the same day, the emperor abdicated. He attempted to give the crown to his brother Michael, but Michael refused to accept it. The 300-year-old Romanov dynasty came to an end. The new provisional government was almost universally welcomed. Civil liberties were proclaimed, new wage agreements and an 8-hour day were negotiated in Petrograd, discipline was relaxed in the army, and elections were promised for a Constituent Assembly that would organize a permanent democratic order.

The existence of two eats of power, however–the provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet–not only represented a potential political rivalry but alsoreflected the different aspirations of different sectors of Russian society. For most Russians of privilege–members of the bourgeoisie, the gentry, and many professionals–the March Revolution meant clearing the decks for victory over Germany and for the establishment of Russia as a leading European liberal democracy. They regarded the provisional government as the sole legitimate authority.

For most workers and peasants, however, revolution meant an end to an imperialist war, major economic eforms, and the development of an egalitarian social order. They looked to the Petrograd Soviet and other soviets springing up around the country to represent their interests, and they supported the government only insofar as it met their needs. Political Polarization Differing conceptions of the revolution quickly led to a series of crises.

Widespread popular opposition to the war caused the Petrograd Soviet on April 9 (N. S. ; March 27, O. S. ) to repudiate annexationist ambitions and to establish in May a coalition government including several moderate socialists in addition to Aleksandr KERENSKY, ho had been in the cabinet from the beginning. The participation of such socialists in a government that continued to prosecute the war and that failed to implement basic reforms, however, only served to identify their parties–the Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and others–with government failures.

On July 16-17 (N. S. ; July 3-4, O. S. ), following a disastrous military offensive, Petrograd soldiers, instigated by local Bolshevik agitators, demonstrated against the government in what became known as the “July Days. ” The demonstrations soon subsided, and on July 20 (N. S. ; July 7, O. S. ), Kerensky replaced Lvov as premier. Soon, however, the provisional government was threatened by the right, which had lost confidence in the regime’s ability to maintain order.

In early September (N. S. ; late August, O. S. , General Lavr KORNILOV was thwarted in an apparent effort to establish a right-wing military dictatorship. Ominously, his effort was backed by the Cadets, traditionally the party of liberal constitutionalism. The crises faced by the provisional government reflected a growing polarization of Russian politics toward the extreme left and extreme right. Meanwhile, another revolution was taking lace that, in the view of many, was more profound and ultimately more consequential than were the political events in Petrograd. All over Russia, peasants were expropriating land from the gentry.

Peasant-soldiers fled the trenches so as not to be left out, and the government could not stem the tide. New shortages consequently appeared in urban areas, causing scores of factories to close. Angry workers formed their own factory committees, sequestering plants to keep them running and to gain new material benefits. By the summer of 1917 a social upheaval of vast proportions was sweeping over Russia. The November Revolution Sensing that the time was ripe, Lenin and the Bolsheviks rapidly mobilized for power.

From the moment he returned from exile on Apr. 16 (N. S. ; Apr. , O. S. ), 1917, Lenin, pressing for a Bolshevik-led seizure of power by the soviets, categorically disassociated his party from both the government and the “accommodationist” socialists. “Liberals support the war and the interests of the bourgeoisie! ” he insisted, adding that “socialist lackeys” aided the liberals by agreeing to postpone reforms and continue fighting. With appealing slogans such as “Peace, Land, and Bread! ” the Bolsheviks identified themselves with Russia’s broad social evolution rather than with political liberty or the political revolution of March.

Better organized than their rivals, the Bolsheviks worked tirelessly in local election campaigns. In factories they quickly came to dominate major committees; they also secured growing support in local soviets. A Bolshevik-inspired military uprising was suppressed in July. The next month, however, after Kornilov’s attempted coup, Bolshevik popularity soared, and Lenin’s supporters secured majorities in both the Petrograd and Moscow soviets, winning 51 percent of the vote in Moscow city government elections. Reacting to the momentum of events, Lenin, from hiding, ordered preparations for an armed insurrection.

Fully aware of what was about to transpire, the provisional regime proved helpless. On the night of November 6-7 (N. S. ; October 24-25, O. S. ) the Bolsheviks seized power in Petrograd in the name of the soviets, meeting little armed resistance. An All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, meeting in Petrograd at the time, ratified the Bolsheviks’ actions on November 8. The congress also declared the establishment of a soviet government headed by a Council of People’s Commissars chaired y Lenin, with Leon TROTSKY in charge of foreign affairs.

The Civil War and Its Aftermath Few, however, expected Lenin’s “proletarian dictatorship” to survive. Bolsheviks now faced thesame range of economic, social, and political problems as did the governments they had replaced. In addition, anti-Bolsheviks began almost at once to organize armed resistance. Some placed hope in the Constituent Assembly, elected November 25 (N. S. ; November 12, O. S. ); others hoped for foreign intervention. Few appreciated Lenin’s political boldness, his audacity, and his commitment to shaping a Communist Russia. These traits soon became apparent.

The November Constituent Assembly elections returned an absolute majority for the Socialist Revolutionaries, but Lenin simply dispersed the Assembly when it met in January 1918. He also issued a decree on land in November 1917, sanctifying the peasants’ land seizures, proclaiming the Bolsheviks to be a party of poor peasants as well as workers and broadening his own base of support. He sued the Germans for peace, but under terms of the Treaty of BREST-LITOVSK (March 1918) he was forced to surrender huge portions of traditionally Russian territory.

Shortly afterward, implementing policies alled War Communism, Lenin ordered the requisition of grain from the countryside to feed the cities and pressed a program to nationalize virtually all Russian industry. Centralized planning began, and private trade was strictly forbidden. These measures, together with class-oriented rationing policies, prompted tens of thousands to flee abroad. Not surprisingly, Lenin’s policies provoked anti-Bolshevik resistance, and civil war erupted in 1918.

Constituent Assembly delegates fled to western Siberia and formed their own “All-Russian” government, which was soon suppressed by a reactionary “White” dictatorship under Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. Army officers in southern Russia organized a “Volunteer Army” under Generals Lavr Kornilov and Anton Denikin and gained support from Britain and France; both in the Volga region and the eastern Ukraine, peasants began to organize against Bolshevik requisitioning and mobilization. Soon anarchist “Greens” were fighting the “Reds” (Bolsheviks) and Whites alike in guerrilla-type warfare.

Even in Moscow and Petrograd, leftist Socialist Revolutionaries took up arms against the Bolsheviks, whom they accused of betraying revolutionary ideals. In response, the Bolsheviks unleashed their own Red Terror under the Cheka (political police force) nd mobilized a Red Army commanded by Trotsky. The Bolsheviks defeated Admiral Kolchak’s troops in late 1919, and in 1920 they suppressed the armies of Baron Pyotr N. WRANGEL and General Denikin in the south. Foreign troops withdrew, and after briefly marching into Poland the Red Army concentrated on subduing peasant uprisings.

Some Western historians attribute ultimate Bolshevik victory in this war to White disorganization, half-hearted support from war-weary Allies, Cheka ruthlessness, and the inability of Greens to establish a viable alternative government. Most important, however, as the fact that even while Bolshevik popularity declined, Lenin and his followers were still identified with what the majority of workers and peasants wanted most: radical social change rather than political freedom, which had never been deeply rooted in Russian tradition.

In contrast, the Whites represented the old, oppressive order. Nevertheless, with the counterrevolution defeated, leftist anti-Bolshevik sentiment erupted. The naval garrison at Kronshtadt, long a Bolshevik stronghold, rebelled in March 1921 along with Petrograd workers in favor of “Soviet Communism without the Bolsheviks! ” This protest was brutally suppressed. The Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary parties, harassed but not abolished during the civil war, gained support as the conflict ended.

The Bolsheviks outlawed these parties, signaling their intention to rule alone. Lenin, however, was astute enough to realize that a strategic retreat was required. At the Tenth Party Congress, in 1921, the NEW ECONOMIC POLICY was introduced, restoring some private property, ending restrictions on private trade, and terminating forced grain requisitions. The foundations had been laid for building Bolshevik socialism, but the revolutionary period proper had come to an end.

Russia’ Economic Transition

In August of 1991, the collapse of the communist system in the USSR and it’s neighboring republics occurred. Out of the smoke emerged fifteen new republics and a union known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. These new regimes faced formidable obstacles. The collapse brought massive inflation which in turn forced the economy into a spiraling decline and a state of almost worthless value. Many people were quick to point the finger at their communist past, and even more eager to lay blame.

Traditional communist ideology was to “provide for every individual an equal amount of goods and services, thus reating a state of equality amongst the populous” (Leveler, 16). Many people felt as if their current hardships could be blamed on the communists and their economic policies, specifically their “Core-Periphery” plan. The communist sponsored “Core-Periphery” economic policy that was evident in Russia was quite simplistic in nature. The theory, traditionally used to describe inter-continental trading and production, was adapted for use in the Russian economic zones.

The theory was as follows; Areas which surround the capital (core region), usually rich in one material or another, would be used or the extraction of raw materials. These materials would then be shipped back to the capital in order to be manufactured into goods. From there, the manufactured products would be shipped back to the surrounding regions (periphery region) for resale. The citizens of Russia were surviving on this system, but barely. The Core-Periphery policy was not efficient, nor effective, for usually a product needed on one side of the federation, was produced at the other end.

Factors such as transportation costs and adequate use of human resources was very inefficient and cost-consuming. Strong influences from the world urged Russia to make the transition into the market-oriented economy. This seemed tempting, for the market-oriented economy preached individual wealth and prosperity. Seeing no better solution to their current economic woes, Russian policy-makers took the plunge. By 1995, 4 years since the beginning of the transition into a market- oriented economy, no satisfactory economic improvment had taken form.

Productivity in many states such as Turkmenistan and Belarus continued to fall (Table 2), and inflation was still at high levels. Many new Russian capitalists n the regions chose to exploit what had already been exploited in the past; raw materials. Looking to make a fast income, these new Russian capitalists sold whatever they could get their hands on, for practically no cost at all (Co- Existence, 146). Expropriation of state property, shady deals, and corruption were rampant. Productivity in industries such as agriculture declined as farmers did not want to take care of their land (Co-Existence, 146).

Nobody had money to buy their goods, so they questioned as to whether or not they should take the time to produce them. The economy was contracting and in turn, people were actually getting poorer. The newly separated states were yearning for economic growth and prosperity. This would hopefully bring stability and a much needed improvement in the standard of living as well as individual wealth. This however, has not been the case. Many of the breakaway republics have actually experienced considerable negative growth.

Many of the republics made the transition to the market economy hoping to make the individual citizen wealthier. In many of the republics this did not actually take place. In 1995, all but 2 of the 15 ountries saw their net exports per capita fall drastically. Lithuania, once with a net export per capita rating of 49. 2, was experiencing one of -54. 1 in 1995 (Table 1). On average the citizens now had less than before. Many countries began to realize that they were in many ways still dependent on so-called “mother Russia”.

The past Core-Periphery policy had made them heavily rely on internal domestic trade. Being nothing more than satellite states in the centrally planned economy, these countries were traditionally used for the extraction of materials or the production of a singular industry. Their economies were not diversified. Traditionally supplies had to be brought in, and this was still the case. Import statistics in the newly independent republics have seen a drastic rise in totals. In 1992, the Ukraine with a population of approximately 51 million people imported a total of 2. billion million dollars worth of goods (Table 1).

In 1995 however, the Ukraine with a population less than what it had been in 1992, actually imported more; 5. 6 billion dollars worth of goods (Table 1). This rise in imports was also evident in Georgia, Lithuania, and Uzbekistan (Table 1). For these countries, importing more than they are actually exporting is proving to be a tough economic obstacle to overcome. In order to import, they have had to borrow heavily from international sources. Without exports, they have been lacking sufficient funds to make these re-payments.

Diversification was not happening rapidly enough to help them cope. Many feared that their debts will become so large, that no matter what diversification occurred, it will be too late, thus making is almost impossible to repay what they have borrowed. The economic transition occurring in Russia has also led to political trife. Diplomatic relations between many of the republics and the Russian nation have been drastically reduced, if not completely severed. Ukraine, and Georgia have officially laid out in their constitution that they will have no formal ties with their Soviet past (McLelland 108).

The Ukraine was fortunate to border one of the only Soviet access points to a large body of water; the Black Sea. It was from this port that the former Soviet Union established one of it’s larger naval divisions, known as the Black Sea Fleet. Consisting of over 1700 warships of various sizes (McLelland 63), his fleet was one of the most dreaded in the world. Aboard those ships, there were approximately 430 thousand employed operational personnel (McLelland 66). Indirectly, in areas such as food production, and maintenance staff at the shipyards, there were approximately 15 thousand people employed (McLelland 66).

When the dissolution occurred, the Russian government declared that the Black Sea would fall under its permanent control. To the newly formed Republic of Ukraine, this was very alarming. To lose the Black Sea would mean to lose all the jobs that were directly or indirectly associated with it. Knowing that the upcoming years may be harsh in terms of economics, the Ukraine was not readily willing to accept a sharp blow to it’s employed work force. The Ukraine already had an unemployment rate of 7% (McLelland 24), and this was straining the limited social safety nets.

The last thing the Ukraine was prepared to do was pay out more to it’s people without getting anything in return. The Ukrainians were yearning for a future free of any Russian grip. The Russians, on the other hand, were still deeply in favour of upholding their Tsarist ancestors conquestial territorial gains. Ultimatums were sent back and forth between Moscow and the Ukraine. Neither side was willing to budge. Finally Russia backed down, and control was left to the Ukraine. Nevertheless, during that period of stalemate, Russo-Ukrainian relations, diplomatic and more importantly economic, suffered a great lose.

Slander and many outcries of corruption had been directed at many of the policy makers in both countries. Trade between the two nations has also dropped to an all time low. Out of Russia’s total exports, only a meager 1. 7% gets shipped to the Ukraine (Dart, 117). In these harsh times of conomic transition in the region, one would expect that the two countries would be more willing to co-operate for the goal of greater good. The Russian republic has also seen it’s fair share of strife; internally.

Harsh economic times, and less than admirable results from the transition to the market oriented economy have paved the way for much political opposition. Communists, the former leaders of the Soviet Union, were one of the first political movements to wage war against the newly formed liberal government. Traditionally, communist ideology preached that “no citizen will be in any reater position of status or economic wealth that that of another citizen” (Perdues, 66), and that “all citizens shall live with ample food on the plate, and little worries as to life” (Perdues, 93).

For the communists the time of economic hardship was heaven sent. Capitalizing on the citizens disgust in the shape of the country would be no challenge. This has led to the communists waging wars inside of the Russian parliamentary house. The Duma as it is known, is where most legislation and debate over domestic and foreign policy goes on. It is in this institution that the Communists have on numerous occasions ttempted to gather support to impeach the liberal government. The Communists’ goal: dissolution of the current government, and establishment of the old.

Instead of attempting to reform and fine tune the new economic policies, they wished to return to policies more consistant with the Communist ideology. The Communists are not alone. In Russia itself, there has been a spawning of over 12 new political parties (Co-Existence, 147) that pose threats to the current government’s stability. Amongst those parties, over 86% of the individuals do not approve of the market-place economy (Co-Existence, 149). Though Russia is constantly hindered by economic downfall in many aspects, that is not to say that all is bad .

Some of the new countries who have embarked on the long road to growth, have in fact showed signs of improvement. Many of them have realized that diversification is needed desperately. Both Uzbekistan and Georgia were traditionally used as resource extraction states in the Core-Periphery economic plan of the centrally planned economy. Since the establishment of independence, Uzebekistan now promotes a large degree of exploration, and thus has a large oil and gas industry (Blij, 321) they have lso experienced growth in their new found service sector.

Georgia is also experiencing diversification. With its fertile lands, Georgia has harnessed it’s agricultural sector into producing tabacco, various fruits, and even timber (Blij, 150). It also has a booming tourist industry because of it’s warm climate and scenic beauty (Blij, 150). Recent statistics show that in the year 1995, because of this diversification, countries such as Uzbekistan and Georgia have drastically improved their overall Gross Domestic Product when compared to statistics recorded in 1992. Uzbekistan had a rating in 1992 of -11. % and Georgia had a whopping -45. %.

In 1995, the totals showed signs of great improvement; both at -5. 0% (Table 2). Contraction was still occuring, but at a slower rate. This in turn provided some hope. There was even a larger increase in the country of Armenia where the 1992 statistic for GDP was -52. 4%, and in 1995, it had improved to a +5. 0% (Table 2). The question of economic coexistance between Russia and its former republics still remains a mystery. There are many stronger, much more controversial issues in Russia’s republics, when it comes to the issue of conomics, independance, and growth.

Many of the citiznes in the breakaway republics are not eager to have peace and open relations with their russian counterparts. The republics have yearned for independance for sometime now. Russian Census data showed the majority (60 to 80 percent) of the ethnic populations in Russia itself have supported movements for more autonomy. The root of the turnaround in opinion from supporting the federation to wanting soverign nation states, has been caused by one simple reason; nationalism. Oppressed for many years, culturally speaking, the republics wanted to ring rise to their ethnic beliefs and values.

The intelligentsia, long considered instigators threatening the Russian Federation, have been primarily concerned with cultural objectives, such as defending the use of national languages or controlling the local educational system, to ensure that history is taught from the perspective of indigenous peoples (Drobizheva, 2). There is a direct relationship between identity and peace. In an oppressed society, ethnicity assumes a stronger role, however, when democracy and ethnicity are balanced, political stability is possible.

As a result of a lack of democratic institutions and means for dialogue, the former Union’s inhabitants were increasingly identifying themselves as members of ethnic groups rather than as citizens of the Russian Federation. Many of the breakway republics are filled with ethnic russians; Kazakhstan 41%, Lithuania 8%, and the Ukraine 21% (Wells, 31). Hatred and distrust of these Russians is infact growing. This is especially true when Russians are in the minority, as in the republic of, for example, where Russians comprise 30 percent of the population (Drobizheva, 2).

In such circumstances, any perceieve the Russians as developing a “hyperidentity,” characterized by a low degree of tolerance for others and a feeling of being threatened (Drobizheva, 3). Many of these Russians tend to consider themselves members of a higher ethnic group whose rights are above others (Drobizheva, 3). This has fueled mch anger towards the Russians, and in many regions the Russians are now being alienated. Due to past abuse of rnatural and human resources, opression of fundamental rights such thought, voice, and opinion, has led to a severe feeling of disgust towards the Russians, and more importantly distrust.

In Short, the market economy did not bring any good to Russia immediately following its implementation. That is not to say however, that growth and prosperity will not occur in Russia and it’s former states. Statistics as recent as 1995 have shown that since 1992, on average, there has been an upward trend. Overcoming the obstacle of the core-periphery based economy that was imbedded in the Russian culture, and the ideology aswell, has proven to be no easy task. Relying on imports has taken its toll on many of the nations. To combat this, the republics must build their own production base, and produce goods domestically.

Diversification will mean continued growth, and who is to say that the newly sperated republics and Russia itself can not join forces in an effort to produce one large core zone, with the world as it’s periphery. As the nations utilizing the market driven economy continue to increase and reap it’s benefits, it was only a matter of time before the inefficeint bankrupt communist system would have to topple. The key to success in the region is not to expect too much too soon. Ultimately everything must start somewhere, and in today’s fast paced, market oriented global economy, so too must the newborn Russian capitalist baby.

Stalin: Did his Rule Benefit Russian Society and the Russian People

In this paper I plan to prove that even though Stalin made improvements in the Russian industrial system, his rule did not benefit Russian society and the Russian people. In order to accomplish this, several questions must be asked. How did Stalin affect Russia’s industrial power? How did Stalin try to change Russia’s agricultural system? What changes did Stalin make in society? What were Stalin’s purges, and who did they effect? Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili was born on December 21, 1879, on the southern slopes of the Caucasus mountains, in the town of Gori.

His mother, Ekaterina was the daughter of a peasant who married at fifteen and who lost her first three children at birth. Vissarion, his father, was a self-employed shoemaker who had a violent temper (Marrin 6-7). Young Djugashvili was small and wiry and had a deeply pitted face from a small pox attack that nearly killed him. He also had blood poisoning in his left arm that was probably caused by Vissarion’s beating fists. The arm would stiffen at the elbow joint and wither, making it lame and useless for the rest of his life (Lewis 8; Marrin 8).

He was dedicated to only one person, his mother, and her only ambition as for her son to become a priest and to bless her with his own hands. But, this dream was crushed when Joseph was expelled from Tiflis Theological Seminary for reading “forbidden books” such as Marx and Lenin (Lewis 8; Marrin 20). After his expulsion from Tiflis school, Joseph became a revolutionary. He organized strikes and demonstrations at factories and also found ways to gather money for Lenin and the Bolshevik party.

He was banished to Siberia six times between the years 1903 and 1917. Each time, he escaped easily, except the last, when he was released because of the February revolution (Lewis 19; Marrin 4). After the death of his first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze, Joseph became more cold and tough. He gave the child that his wife bore him to her parents and even chose a new name for himself, Stalin, the Man of Steel (Marrin 26). Then came the October Revolution and the rise of Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

Stalin became general secretary of the Bolshevik party’s Central Committee. He was also the commissar of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate and the commissar of nationalities (McKay 927; Treadgold 205). After Lenin’s, death Stalin gained power by allying himself with the moderates to fight off his ival, Leon Trotsky, who was a radical and another member of the Central Committee. Stalin expelled Trotsky and suppressed his radical followers. Then he turned against his own allies, the moderates. Stalin at last had gained complete control (McKay 927-928).

One of the great achievements that Stalin made for the Soviet Union were the Five Year Plans in industry. Russia had not yet had their industrial revolution and were far behind the other powers of the world. Even Stalin said,” We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good his distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall be crushed. ” So, that is what Stalin set out to do (Dmytryshyn 158). The First Five Year Plan was adopted in April 1929 by the Sixteenth Party Conference. It’s purpose was to increase Russia’s industrial production.

On December 31, 1932, the First Five Year Plan was declared officially completed ahead of schedule. Total industrial output increased two hundred and fifty percent, steel production increased three hundred percent, production of large- scale industry showed an increase of one hundred and eighteen percent, roduction of machinery and electrical equipment increased one hundred and fifty-seven percent, heavy metal increased sixty-seven percent, coal output increased eighty-nine percent, and consumer goods increased about seventy-three percent (Dmytryshyn 158; McKay 928; Treadgold 266).

After the success of the First Five Year Plan, the Seventeenth Party Congress formally adopted the Second Five Year Plan, covering the years 1933- 1937 in January, 1934. To overcome the lacking of iron and steel, the Second Plan ordered construction of forty-five new blast furnaces, one hundred and ixty-four open-hearth furnaces, and one hundred and seven rolling mills. Other goals of the second plan were an expansion of machine tool production, the development and production of non-ferrous metals, and the improvement and double-tracking of the main railroad lines (Dmytryshyn 159).

The results of the Second Five Year Plan were that some items reached their estimated targets while others lagged behind. Overall, by the end of the Second Five Year Plan, the Soviet Union was emerging as a strong industrial country. It possessed increased capability to produce iron, steel, coal, and electric power. It also had a whole new range of new industries, including aviation, tractor, locomotive, chemical, aluminum, nickel, and tin. The Soviet Union now had a well-established industrial base capable of further expansion and growth (Dmytryshyn 160-161).

Although rapid industrialization helped improve Russia, it hurt the workers. Industrialization moved so fast and was often so poorly planned that disasters frequently resulted . . . ” (Marrin 102). The amount of work that had to be put in was also hard on the workers. The workers had to work longer under Stalin than when they were ruled by the tsars. Depending on the industry, they worked between forty-eight and sixty hours a week, Sundays included . . . ” (Marrin 103). Once the industrial Five Year Plans started to roll, Stalin decided to make some agricultural changes to support the industrialization. In April, 1928, Stalin presented the draft of a new land law.

Although the draft failed to become a law, it showed a couple of Stalin’s objectives. One was the rapid and forcible collectivization of the peasants in order to industrialize the country quickly. The other was the liquidation of the kulaks as a class. Kulaks were lassified as, “Those peasants who were either industrious, or more prosperous than their neighbors, or simply those who were not enthusiastic about the policies of the communist party . . . ” (Dmytryshyn 167). Collectivization was the forcible consolidation of individual peasant farms into large, state-controlled enterprises.

It was suppose to help Russian agriculture and support the quickly industrializing country (McKay 928; Dmytryshyn 167). Soviet writer, Lyudmila Saraskina believed that, “Collectivization was a bloody, terrible, and monstrous means of the seizure of bsolute power, because the free peasant and master of the land, the farmer, constituted one of the main obstacles on the path to the absolute feudal power that Stalin really wanted . . . ” (Lewis 65). The kulaks were the well off peasants that opposed collectivization any way they could.

The way Stalin dealt with them was to first turn the bedniaks or poor peasants against them offering the bedniaks the kulaks castles and machinery. Then, Stalin had the rest of the kulaks either killed or exiled to the northern or eastern regions of the country. The death toll recorded in the nti-kulak campaign is between three and ten million killed (Treadgold 268; Dmytryshyn 168; Lewis 63). Many peasants killed their cattle, pigs, and horses; destroyed the farm implements; and either burned their crops or let them rot in the fields before being forced into collectivization.

Because of this, poor harvests, grain seizures, and the elimination of the better farmers, the kulaks, there was a man made famine (Lewis 65) . The famine was so bad that some people resorted to cannibalism. Mykola Pishy reported this about her neighbor, “Ivan was a good pecialist – a joiner, a tailor, a shoe-maker – a good fellow who could turn his hand at anything. But the famine was awful and he got to the end of his tether. He was so hungry that he killed his child, and ate the meat . . . ” (Lewis 66-67). In Targan, the city where Alisa Maslo lived, 362 people died from the famine.

They went from house to house and they took away everything to the last grain . . . and this included ours. And they really left the family to certain famine death. And so my grandma died and then one of my brothers. . . . My mother was lying in bed swollen with hunger . . . my older brother had died. And I told my mother that ‘we’re the only two left’, that my brother was also dead. Up came the cart and the man took my brother and dragged him to the cart, and then my own live mother. I started crying and the man said, ‘Go to the orphanage where at least you’ll get some soup.

She’ll die anyway, why should I come here a second time? ‘ And so I became an orphan (Lewis 65-66). Between five and ten million people died from starvation because of the famine (Dmytryshyn 169). Along with the improvements in industry and the attempted improvements in agriculture, Stalin started to make improvements in society. Soviet workers received some important social benefits, such as old-age pensions, free medical services, free education, and free day-care centers for children. There was also the possibility of personal advancement.

To improve your position, you needed specialized skills or technical education. Massive numbers of trained experts were needed for the rapid industrialization going on. High salaries and many special privileges were offered to the technical and managerial elite. Millions struggled in universities, institutes, and night schools for the all important specialized education. In Soviet Russia there is no capital except education. If a person does not want to become a collective farmer or just a cleaning woman, the only means you have to get something is through education . . ” (McKay 931-932).

Another change under Stalin was that there was an equality of rights for women. They were urged to work outside the home and to liberate themselves sexually. Divorces and abortions were also made very easy. “Young women were constantly told that they should be fully equal to men, that they could and should do anything men could do . . . ” (McKay 932). Most women had to work utside the home because it took both the husband and wife working to support their family. But, the woman had a heavy burden of household chores in her off hours.

Soviet men still considered the home and the children the wife’s responsibilities (McKay 933). Along with some of these beneficial changes that Stalin made to society came some non-beneficial ones, specifically the purges. One of the first to be eliminated was Stalin’s wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, who after being ridiculed by her husband at a party for the fifteenth anniversary of the revolution on November 8, 1932, apparently shot herself (Lewis 83-84; McKay 930). Then, at four o’clock in the afternoon of December 1, 1934, a young disillusioned Communist named Leonid V.

Nikolaev shot Stalin’s number-two man, Sergei Kirov, who had just been offered Stalin’s job of General Secretary from the senior members of the Party (Marrin 116; Lewis 86; McKay 930; Treadgold 278). Stalin used Kirov’s death to launch a reign of terror. Stalin blamed Kirov’s death on foreign powers, the exiled Trotsky, and the moderates. Stalin ordered the “purification” of the party. On August 19, 1936, sixteen old Bolsheviks were publicly tried for conspiring with Trotsky and for the murder of Kirov (Dmytryshyn 179-181; Treadgold 279). Anyone connected anyway to Nikolayev was also arrested.

Robert Conquest explains: Everyone who was remotely connected with the case was seized. One woman had worked as a librarian at the ‘Young Communist Club’ in Leningrad which had been disbanded in the mid-twenties but, with which Nikolayev had in some way been associated. Not only was she arrested, but also her sister with whom she lived, her sister’s husband, the secretary of her Party cell, and all those who had recommended her for jobs (Lewis 90). Then in January 1937 there was another trial for seventeen more party embers. They were accused of conspiring with Nazi Germany and Japan to dismember the USSR (Dmytryshyn 181).

The trials and arrests continued. There were mass arrests, confessions extracted by force, and the executions and deportations of thousands of peasants. Soviet officers were also arrested and convicted. The Red Army lost three of it’s five field marshals, fourteen of it’s sixteen army commanders, sixty of it’s sixty-seven corps commanders, 136 of it’s 199 division commanders, 220 brigade commanders, all eleven deputy commissars of war, seventy-five members of he Supreme Military Council, all military district commanders, all air force officers, all except one navy fleet commander, and all eight Red Navy admirals.

In addition, the army lost half of it’s officer corps, 35,000 men ranging from colonels to company commanders (Dmytryshyn 180-182; Marrin 127). Many that suffered from the purges were sent to labor camps or were just executed by the secret police. Local units of secret police were even ordered to arrest a certain percentage of the people in their districts (McKay 931). Graves were discovered in 1934 holding over 9,000 bodies of people killed around 1938 n the Ukraine.

Since then mass burial sights have been discovered outside major cities such as Minsk, Kiev, and Novosibirsk, and one with possibly 40,000 bodies in the Kirov region of Donetsk. A burial sight at Chelyabinsk, was found to contain more than 80,000 people. Zenon Pozniak, an archaeologist who has excavated many of these burial plots also found 510 burial pits in Kuropaty and calculated that each one contained about 150 bodies. That could mean there are around 75,000 bodies in there. Apparently there were as many as 1,000 pits originally (Lewis 106-107).

Pozniak has also researched the circumstances of hese people’s deaths: They were shot by NKVD (secret police) soldiers in NKVD uniform. They shot them from behind, in the back and pushed them into the pit. When that group was finished, they covered the corpses with sand like a layer cake. They got the contents of the next lorry and shot them, and in that way they filled the pit right up to the top . . . people who lived in the villages nearby told us that . . . the earth would breathe. Some people weren’t actually dead when they were buried, and the earth breathed and heaved and the blood came through (Lewis 107).

Capitalism in Russia

Imagine you are a high school student just about to graduate. You are about to leave your parents,who have directed your actions for your entire life. However, you have never had to make your own decisions, and are having trouble handling your new situation. Now imagine that on a larger scale. An entire nation released from the control of its “parents” with no idea how to use its newfound freedom. The Russian Federation is only a shell of its former glory as the U. S. S. R. because it had to withstand just such a change. The “high school student”, a socialist market in which the government makes all the rules, recently was overhauled.

The new economic condition in Russia is a free market. However, the people had no experience in handling the independence that they acquired as the capitalist market was established. It had been a long hard journey to get where they were, and now a longer, harder journey is beginning – the journey into capitalism. The Beginnings of Socialism Capitalism in Russia Russia did not exist as a nation just seven years ago. It was formed from the ruins of a greater nation. Russia’s current troubles are based on problems it found, or created, during the years it operated under socialism.

This theory, which proposes equality and the means of achieving it, has been scorned by the Western world. One must wonder why such a grand conception has failed. Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto By far, the most important document in the development of socialism was The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederik Engels in 1848. (Berki) This document was published as a reply to politicians who would accuse their opponents of being Communist for the sake of scaring the public. (Marx) Marx’s Manifesto was the driving force behind socialism and Communism in Russia.

In it, he described the fall of capitalism at the hands of the working classes. (Berki) The following paragraphs are excerpts from that work. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-masters and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended either in a revolutionary reconstruction of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

Marx) “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – bourgeoisie and proletariat…. The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors’, and has left no other bond between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’. (Marx) “Wage labor rests exclusively on competition between the laborers.

The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of their laborers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of modern industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces above all are its own gave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. (Marx) “In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.

In all these movements they bring to the front as the leading question in each case the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time. Finally, they labor everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their aims can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution, The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains, They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite! Marx)

The Theory of Socialism Socialism is a set of beliefs about the most desirable possible government. Socialists claim that their doctrines are superior because they would create total equality. A perfectly socialist state would incorporate cooperation, progress, and individual freedom as well. In a socialist state, all free enterprise would be abolished, and in its place would be a system of “public ownership”. The state would control production and distribution. (Berki) The basic principles of socialism developed from the writings of Plato and parts of the Old Testament.

However, modern socialism is considered by most scholars to be a product of the French Revolution of 1789 and the second Industrial Revolution in England. These two events created a democratically governed region with vast potential for economic growth. In this environment, the beginnings of a conflict between the property owners, known as the bourgeoisie, and the working classes, called the proletariat, developed. (Berki) Socialists propose a solution for this conflict. (Berki) All means of production and distribution are controlled by a central organization, likely a branch of the government.

These people instruct all those within the state as to how their capital should be managed. In exchange, all wealth within the state are distributed equally. The government also controls prices, ensuring that all people have the same amount of wealth. This eliminated both the rich and poor from society. As one might expect from such a system, the people with the most to gain – those under the poverty line – were the most staunch supporters of socialism. The wealthy, who would lose much of their money in a socialist society, were strongly opposed to the theory.

This division of support created an poor image for socialists, as the lower classes were the primary adherents to the socialist theory. Socialism has a number of benefits, especially in that it would truly create greater equality. However, there are fatal flaws in this theory. The black market is one major flaw. Citizens may be able to purchase goods at lower prices from non-governmental dealers. Also, because of the immense amount of power which the government has, socialism is a system extremely susceptible to corruption. (Fry) The Dual Revolution in Russia

In March of 1917, the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty was overthrown. (Lih) Massive discontent with the czarist state, an ongoing revolutionary movement, and the onset of World War I all contributed to the outbreak of fighting in Russia. Since peasants were freed from servitude in 1861, poverty was widespread in the nation, and inadequate resources pried apart the classes. (Rosenberg) Early in the twentieth century, Russians divided into unofficial political organizations. The Marxist Social Democratic Labor party was organized in 1898.

Populists, which had previously existed in the rural areas, and socialists combined to form the Socialist Revolutionary Party by 1901. In 1903, the Marxist party split in two: the Mensheviks, who favored mass rule; and the Bolsheviks (below), led by Vladimir I. Lenin, who wanted more organization. In 1905, middle-class liberals formed the Constitutional Labor Party. (Rosenberg) World War I forced reforms to be suspended and tight political restrictions to be imposed. Russian efforts were failing, costing morale.

A provisional government was set up on 15 March 1917 when Czar Nicholas tried to give his post as emperor to his brother Michael, who refused the crown. Although welcomed at first, a division arose quickly in the ranks of the new government. Again, the well-to-do and general populous had different interests, and different factions within the legislature. (Rosenberg) Aware of the crises within the government, Lenin quickly mobilized the Bolsheviks. He began using propaganda against both major factions within the government. The Bolsheviks grew in number quickly, using slogans such as “peace, land , and bread” to attract members.

They worked their way up in the system, winning many local elections and leading many committees in corporations. As Bolsheviks won a majority in Petrograd and Moscow legislatures, Lenin prepared an armed uprising. (Rosenberg) On 6 November, the Bolsheviks seized control of Petrograd with little opposition. They declared a Soviet government led by Lenin with Leon Trotsky in charge of foreign affairs. Few believed this government would last, however, as it inherited the problems which plagued the previous administrations. Lenin was determined, and quickly began to shape his nation.

He seized control of much land, requisitioned grain from the countryside, and nationalized most industry. Private trade was forbidden as the Communist state was established. (Rosenberg) Many people were unhappy with Lenin’s changes, and civil war broke out in 1918. One “All-Russian” faction was suppressed by a “White” dictatorship proposed by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. A “Volunteer Army” was organized in the south, and was a “Green” party led by anarchists. A guerrilla-style warfare erupted between each of these armies and the “Red” Bolsheviks. The Red Army had crushed all resistance by 1920.

Consolidation Of Democracy In Post-Soviet Russia

The fall of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union was more than a political event. The powerful interaction and fusion between politics and economics that characterized the state socialist system created a situation that was unique for the successor states of the Soviet Union. The penetration of the Communist regime into every facet of life left the Russian people with little democratic traditions. Russia faces the seemingly impracticable task of economic liberalization and democratization. This is combined with a necessity to answer nationalist and ethnic questions that have plagued Russia for centuries.

This paper addresses the problems of creating a stable democracy in Russia. The prospects for a stable democracy in Russia are limited at best. I will outline some of the concerns that academics have in the consolidation of Russian democracy. What is paramount to note is that a stable democracy must adequately address what Ken Jowitt calls the developmental trinity: nation-building; capitalism and democracy. The dilemma that is especially relevant to Russia it that these conditions are often contradictory. The often messy business of politically reconstructing a nation defies traditional democratic ideals.

The establishment of democratic institutions can hinder the development of a market economy and, conversely, programs that are designed to enhance capitalist expansion often are antagonistic towards democratic goals (Jowitt 7). These seemingly endless Catch-22s are at the heart of difficulties facing Russia in its attempt to create a stable democracy. The Process of Creating A Nation-State The question of who is the playing the game and what makes the playing field is an important one for the Russian Federation. Ethnic and nationalist questions plagued the Soviet Union and continue to stress the

Russia Federation during its nascent period. The dynamics of center-periphery relations provides Moscow with some of the greatest challenges in establishing a stable democracy. Phillipe Smitter writes, There is no simply democratic way of deciding what a nation and its corresponding political unit should be (Smitter 66). Later in his article, he writes those that have not yet resolved the dilemma of defining their national and territorial boundaries are unlikely to make much more progress in other domains (Smitter 73).

The dilemma facing the Russian Federation is that it finds itself with a charge of establishing and ollowing democratic institutions, while at the same time facing secessionary pressures that seem to require extra-democratic means to preserve the integrity of the nation. Nationalism in multiethnic areas in the Russian Federation has provided a substantial challenge for democratization. There is a direct relationship between democratization and ethnic peace (Smitter 72). In a democratically weak society, ethnicity assumes a stronger role, and when democracy and ethnicity are balanced, political stability is possible.

As a result of a lack of democratic institutions and channels for ialogue, Russias inhabitants are now increasingly identifying themselves as members of ethnic groups rather than as citizens of the Russian Federation (Drobizheva). An important development in center-periphery relations is the growing importance of economic nationalism, an effort to create an economic basis for political independence. Economic nationalism is a protective defense against the Russian federal governments economic dominance.

Alternatively, it is also a sign that the republics wish to retain relations with Moscow since politics remains primarily in the hands of the center (Drobizheva). For example, Tatarstan and Sakha-Yakutia both have a wealth of natural resources, giving them a potential advantage in economic development and a desire to establish control over these resources. Tatarstan, for example, strives to sell its oil at world market prices in foreign markets to generate income, and in 1993-94, the local governments in Tatarstan and Yakutia sought economic decentralization in Russia by refusing to pay federal taxes.

Consequently, an agreement reached between the federal government and the republics gave the latter what they wanted: increased economic autonomy (Drobizheva). Further inquiry into the agreements with Tartarsan demonstrates the flexibility the Yeltsin regime is willing to employ in dealing with possible powder-keg situations. A treaty signed on February 15, 1994 attempted to mollify the tensions on both sides. The treaty affirmed Tartarsan right to its own international and economic relations and, as previously noted, provided substantial autonomy in economic issues for Tartarsan.

Smoothing over contradictions in each states constitution, the agreement affirms the union between Russia and Tartarsan (Lapidus 107). The treaty with Tartarsan provides a ossible blueprint for future center-periphery relations. It forebears a evolving and fluid approach that should be beneficial in establishing a stable democracy. But in typical Yeltsin contradictory manner, the war in Chechnya has demonstrated the worst of the Yeltsin regime. The conflict between Chechnya and the Russian Federation should not be considered an ethnic conflict.

The authorities did not even give as a pretext for the invasion the defense of Russian-speaking people. Such a pretext would have been unbelievable, in light of the fact that Russian- speaking people suffered rom the bombing of Grozny at least as much as the native population. The war was connected more with the struggle for power in Moscow than with either economic or ethnic factors. The Chechnyan campaign was characterized by Yeltsin employing Soviet-era coercive measures. Paternalism, clientelism, and military intervention prevailed over legal methods and legal institutions.

Lilia Shevtsova considers the Chechnyan war a byproduct of the Yeltsin regimes reliance on personal politics. She writes Yeltsin saw the war as a chance to flex his muscles… neutralize he conflicts within his own regime; expand his political base… and appear before the world… as a strong leader (Shevtsova 67). The tragedy in Chechnya not withstanding, and with all due concern towards the dangerous tensions that exist between Moscow and it various ethnic republics, I agree with Gail Lapidus and Edward Walker that it is unlikely that we will see a significant secession movement in the Russian Federation in the near future.

Of paramount importance is the economic and political realities facing both Moscow and the various republics. Secession provides the republics with a myriad of additional stumbling blocks towards establishment of stable democracy. These include questions of international recognition, Russian implemented economic pressures, and devastating civil war (Lapidus 108). The costs of leaving the Federation would appear to outweigh any perceivable benefits gained by secession. Yet there are serious nationalist and regionalist concerns that the Russian Federation must address if there is a chance for democracy to take hold.

Economic chaos must be avoided by establishing a sound currency nd creating a common economic bond between the center and the periphery (Lapidus 108). There will be a deeper examination into the economic issues facing the Federation as a whole in the next section, but note that these concerns are magnified in the peripheral areas that lack developed agricultural and industrial economies. Issues of more effective regional and ethnic political representation must be addressed through a movement away from the Soviet system that unfairly distributes economic control and political power among ethnicities and nationalities (Lapidus 96).

Many ethnic minorities lack administrative recognition for seemingly arbitrary reasons. It would appear that the best antidote for ethnic and national ills is a healthy economy that would bind the periphery to the center, therefore making secession an unattractive option. Along with sensible economic reforms, political restructuring is essential for stable democracy to take hold. The Road to a Market Economy At the heart of the difficulties plaguing the Russian Federation are the economic reforms that the Yeltsin regime has imposed upon the Russian people.

Capitalism is viewed as a necessary ingredient (though not sufficient) contingency of a stable democracy. All established democracies are located in countries that place economic manufacture and aggregation in the hands of privately owned firms, with distribution of scarce resource achieved through market forces (Smitter 66). The movement away from the penetrative, all-encompassing Soviet economic octopus has caused enormous hardships for the Russian people.

It has placed economic uncertainties in the path of political realities, resulting in policies that attempt to address he often contradictory objectives of economic liberalization in the wake of political democratization. Sweeping in after the failed coup of August 1991, economic reformers, led by Prime Minister Egor Gaidar, placed the Russian economy on a steady diet of economic shock therapy. The governments misguided attempt to rest its reform program on fulfillment of a limited number of macroeconomic variables left the Russian economy in disarray.

Despite a precipitous decline in economic productivity, radical reformers defended their macroeconomic policy, arguing that the supply side of the Russian conomy would receive proper attention after stabilization. But what were the Russians to do in the meantime? The revolutionary fervor that characterized the early economic reforms did not take into account the punitive realities of their policies. As Steven Fish writes: All had advocated transition to a market economy. But this goal had been more of a dream than a demand, and few had actually considered how to achieve it (Fish 215).

With all due deference to cliche, the early Russian economic policies can be succinctly summarized in Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it. Khrushchev stated that a country may follow its own road to socialism, and in a perverse sense that logic is still be applicable for Russian affairs. But, rather the mandate should be that each country should follow its own road towards capitalism. An examination of what the Communist apparatus left in its wake should cause pause for any free-market optimist. Seventy plus years of state socialism has left Russia with a two-ton gorilla on its collective economic back.

On page 66 and 67 of his Dangers And Dilemmas of Democracy, Smitter outlines possible starting cenarios for incipient democracies. A best case scenario finds the nation with a preceding autocracy that had already concentrated profits, encouraged the private accumulation of wealth, increased the states fiscal capacity, invested in the countrys physical infrastructure and provided a positive starting point for international trade. Countries, such as Chile and Spain, that had inherited these elements, found the transition to a market economy easier.

Russia and the other successor states to the Soviet Union found themselves in a much more precarious predicament. The state socialist regime left a legacy of corruption, protectionism, price distortions, foreign indebtedness, inefficient public enterprises, trade imbalances, and fiscal instability (Smitter 67). Combined with the simultaneous need for political reform, Russia faces a tall task indeed. The dubious tradition of the Soviet era has led to an overdependence on foreign advise and models of capitalism. Yet, it is clear that this may not be a wise path to follow.

Much of the literature concerning post- communist literature warns of Russia relying to closely to the Western model of capitalism. Jowitt warns hat Americans should temper their missionary zeal in exporting an idealistic view of what we once were (Jowitt 7). The simultaneous difficulties of nation-building, marketization, and democratization place the Soviet successor states in a unique and precarious situation. Privatization in Russia did occur extraordinarily rapidly, with the idea being that getting productive assets into private hands as fast as possible would make economic reform irreversible.

This was arguably right – there is indeed a large and powerful group that has a great deal to lose from any effort to re-nationalize the economy. But this class is at the same time decidedly not interested in fair rules of market competition and an open economy. Rather it wants the state to preserve its privileges, protect its markets, and allow it to continue to reap the windfall gains of privatization. And neither does it seem to care much about democracy.

At the same time, privatization has contributed greatly to the popular conviction that marketization has been deeply unjust: state assets were distributed disproportionately to insiders, to people willing to skirt the letter of the law, and in many cases to outright criminals. Official corruption and the lack of fair and enforced laws and clearly-defined property rights, have only contributed to this perception. As a result, while there is a growing middle class in Russia, it is smaller, less democratic in orientation, and less politically influential than it might have been without the state socialist tradition.

The greatest misstep the Yeltsin regime took was moving forward with economic reform without addressing the need for wholesale, political renovation. There is a serious quandary that results in concurrent democratization and marketization. It derives from the basic difference between a government that strives to distribute power and status relatively equally (democratization) and an economy that distributes property and income relatively unequally (capitalism) (Smitter 67). This obstacle is magnified in Russian democratization with the fusion between politics and economics.

Shevtsova writes reformers cannot rest content with a rearrangement of relations among different institutions, but must strive to form new political and economic system (Shevstova 57). Democratization and the Reinvention of Russian Government An orderly exit from the Soviet past and progress towards stable democracy necessitates the development of a state capable of effective governance. Tsarism and state socialism have provided Russians with little experience with working governmental institutions, nor knowledge of how to coordinate the actions of state agencies in pursuit of a common goal.

As especially was the case with the early Gaidar economic reforms, political compromise and coalition building were ignored in favor of policies designed for the public good. The continued employment of Soviet-style politics by the Yeltsin regime bodes ill for the stablishment of consolidated democracy in Russia. To begin the movement to a consolidated democracy, Russian government most promote new institutional capacities and move towards more rational and pragmatic linkages between formal administrative agencies and their functions. This is a sharp break away from bureaucratic malaise that characterized the Soviet system.

Important in this development is the fostering of economic movements outside the old system (Shevtsova 56). Shevtsova raises an interesting question of whether the collapse of communism actually strengthened he hand of the nomenklatura , especially on the regional and local level, by allowing them to gain a novel claim of legitimacy as the leaders of new nations (Shevtsova 60). Along with this new found legitimacy came access to the new found economic resources. It is of foremost importance that wealth not be distributed solely among a small group of state officials and enterprise directors.

Such actions could lead to a continuation of patron-client and personalist relations that characterized the state socialist system. But the separation between the public and private sphere is not clearly defined in Russian society. The penetration and coerciveness of the Communist Party dulled the line between state and civil society. In order to consolidate and strengthen the budding private sector, Russia needs to create an administrative system that actively encourages its growth. Note my use of the word actively.. Laissez faire policies are not what the private sector needs to grow and develop into a true bourgeoisie.

A true bourgeoisie in the sense that economic opportunity and success is not achieved by simply being a former member of the nomenklatura. But recent improvements show that the distribution of wealth is becoming more equitable. Recent improvements in the privatization process, especially in dwellings, hold great promise for the expansion of small-scale property ownership; an important step in consolidating private ownership. This is along with a growing entrepreneurial spirit among less advantaged segments of the population, especially the young (Fish 234).

To allow a government to actively encourage private, economic enterprise, political appointments must move above the personal level. There must be a balance between the administrative and political roles of the members of the bureaucracy. Shevstova writes on page 69 that Yeltsin has a habit of ranking personal loyalty to himself far above professionalism when choosing appointees and subordinates. The clientelism of the Soviet era is alive and kicking in the Yeltsin government. To challenge this system, a professional bureaucracy, one that is limited in its ability to intervene directly in the policy-making process, must develop.

Another important component of democratization that Shevstova feels is missing from the current Yeltsin administration is a lack of imperatives to build broad consensus and foster genuine communication etween leaders and citizens at large (Shevstova 57). Much of this can be attributed to the Communist tradition that placed enormous authority in the local ministers. The autarkic, socialist system allowed executive agencies to acquire many legislative functions. Communication with constituents and consensus building was a unnecessary hassle. The real conflict existed within the decision-making elite.

As we will see later, elite conflict is still a major ingredient in the Yeltsin formula of power consolidation. Shevstova call this lack of consensus building and communication a hangover from Leninism (Shevstova 7). Political power was restricted to a self-selected elite which iniated new personnel less for their technical skills than their willingness to embrace Communist ideology or their relationship to powerful party elites. This system of clientelism retarded and made irrelevant any development of modern, responsive bureaucratic institutional arrangements.

Consequently, todays bureaucrats (and yesterdays communists) find it difficult to appreciate the need for compromise, power sharing, and local initiative. This is precisely the problem Russia faces with Yeltsin. It is painfully apparent from his tenure as the rchitect of Russia early transition period, that old habits die hard. Yeltsin: Presidential Power and His Communist Tradition A brief look at the Boris Yeltsin biographical sketch shows that he is truly a maverick who, on the eve of Ol Blue Eyes birthday (Sinatra that is; I think Yeltsin also has blue eyes), did it his way.

Rising through the nomenklatura , gaining a reputation as a fearless reformer, Yeltsin found himself as a member of the Politburo. Once again, Yeltsin proved an able and determined reformer, but an estrangement between himself and Gorbachev set in when Yeltsin began criticizing the slow pace of eform at party meetings, challenging party conservatives and even criticizing Gorbachev himself. Yeltsin was forced to resign in disgrace from the Moscow party leadership in 1987 and from the Politburo in 1988.

His Lazarus act is well documented. Just as well documented his tendency to become a political chameleon, changing his colors to suit any political condition. He has been a communist boss, a reformer within the communist system, a liberal slayer of communism and a nationalist warrior against secessionism (Shevstova 69). While the American president may wear many hats, Yeltsin has traded in is entire wardrobe numerous times over. He is truly a skilled political in-fighter, maneuvers he learned from his Communist political education.

Lilia Shevstova is ardently critical of the decisions Yeltsin has made in the post-Soviet era. She lays much of the responsibility for the politics of confrontation squarely at the feet of Yeltsin and his advisors (Shevstova 58). First, she debunks the idea that Yeltsin is a destroyer of the old system. Correctly, she considers him a reformer who has not attempted to address the institutional hegemony held by the former nomenklatura . His policies have resulted in the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the former communist elites.

And she lists a number of Soviet era tactics, such as playing the members of nomenklatura against one another, that still personify Yeltsin decision making (Shevstova 60). Yeltsin still digs deep into his Communist bag of tricks when trying to consolidate his power. The Presidential Revolution of 1993 signified a turn towards a more personalistic brand of rule for Russia. Shevstova argues, and I would agree, that the Constitutional Crisis of 1993 was largely predicated on Yeltsin attempting to outmaneuver his old Communist rivals, who had taken refuge in the legislature (Shevstova 62).

The supporters that Yeltsin lined up behind him for this insurgency upon the Supreme Soviet were wildly divergent in their political orientations and goals. They included liberal reformers, bureaucrats and pragmatists, statists and security officials, and extreme nationalists (Shevstova 63). This motley crew testifies to the bizarre landscape that makes up Russian politics. Yet it is that bizarre political landscape that Yeltsin appears to be most comfortable operating upon. Yeltsin can consolidate and maintain authority because of the lingering sense of crisis that hangs over Russian politics (Shevstova 65).

The widely held belief that a successor would be a worse option and an absence of any real alternatives has allowed Yeltsin to maneuver with impunity. The June presidential elections present a clear example of this phenomenon. Even with horrendous economic and political performance, Yeltsin still was able to defeat Zhyguanov, for the reason that the challenger was the pits, a tired political retread. Shevstova refers to the fear, inertia, and disorientation that pervade Russia Shevstova 65). Yeltsin has adeptly used these pathologies to create a system that Shevstova refers to as divide and conquer (Shevstova 69).

So what are the dangers in Yeltsins brand of governing? There has been very little change in how things are done under the Yeltsin regime versus the Gorbachev regime. The specific issues were addressed in the previous section. Another important point to note is that there has been too much reliance on Yeltsins personal prestige and charisma (Shevstova 64). Yeltsin operates outside of the nascent party system because parties constrain leaders. He is not an institution builder but, as his policies have demonstrated, he is a populist.

His communist background has not made him adverse to resorting to extra-legal means to achieving his goals. It is this procedural uncertainty, and reliance upon the man and not the measures, that create the greatest concern for the establishment of stable democracy. The Crystal Ball The problems that I have outlined in this paper do not bode well for the establishment of a stable democracy in Russia for the near future. The literature on the subject contends that consolidated democracy is not a likely option for Russia. Instead we are much more likely to see a unconsolidated democracy take hold in Russia.

Fish describes an unconsolidated democracy as a system that would include many of the basic elements of democracy, such as elections and considerable civil and cultural freedoms (Fish 226). Yet we are unlikely to see the establishment of durable and stable rules and institutions that are appropriate to their respective social structures or accepted by their respective citizenries (Smitter 60). Because of the lack of any credible alternatives to democracy, we are unlikely to see a regression back to authoritarianism. Yet if ppropriate reforms are not enacted, we are likely to see what is referred to as democracy by default (Smitter 60).

The basic rights of democracy will exist but regular, acceptable, and predictable democratic patterns never quite crystallize (Smitter 61). The 1993 Constitution excaberates this problem by placing enormous power in the hands of the president, laying the groundwork for discretionary, personal expressions of authority that contradict the needed objectives of broad based political aggregation. There has been growing disenchantment in Russia with the not only Yeltsin, the politician, but with the nstitution of democracy itself.

Public opinion show that most Russians evaluate democracy in negative terms (Whitefield). This is the danger of having a politician also represent a movement. For a stable democracy to take hold in Russia, Yeltsin and future presidents must not become institutions themselves. The personalization of transition politics presents enormous difficulties by hampering the institutionalization of necessary reforms. Still, with all these problems that have been outlined, I feel that it is unlikely that we will see a return to authoritarianism. Lilia Shevtsova concludes:

Despite the shallowness of democracys roots and the continuous attempts by some in power to curtail freedom, the obstacles to the establishment of a full blow authoritarian regime appear insurmountable. There are just too many active and self-conscious interest groups, too many people who have become accustomed to life in a relatively free atmosphere, too many competing elites, no united and effective bureaucracy, and a military establishment that seems highly unlikely to rally behind any would be man on horseback (Shevtsova 70). The character of the next regime will provide many clues to what the future of Russia might be.

Economic transformations are not sufficient conditions for the consolidation of democracy. I am not optimistic that Yeltsin has either the proclivity or the longevity to engage in any sort of meaningful political reform. If the next regime does not adequately address what, Smitter referred to as, the extrinsic dilemmas facing Russia, then consolidation is very unlikely. These dilemmas include political graft, privileged treatment of the elite, unequal distribution of wealth, and crime (Smitter 73). If they are not dealt with the future of democracy will be bleak, indeed.

Failure of Economic Reform in Russia

Formerly the preeminent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Russia has been an independent nation since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Because of its great size, its natural resources, and its political domination, the Russian Federation played a leading role in the economy of the Soviet Union. In the years preceding the disintegration of the union in 1991, the economy of Russia and the union as a whole was in decline. In 1992, immediately after the separation, the Russian government implemented a series of radical reforms.

Price controls were abolished as the beginning f a transition from a centrally controlled economy to a market economy. An immediate series of sharp price increases caused extreme hardships for the Russian people. 1 Inventor of the fictional five-year plan,2 the fake harvest, Russia introduced another novel economic concept in 1996. It was a society modeled after the capitalist society. High expectations of economic growth even with “shock therapy”– unemployment, social discontent and opportunities for corruption;3 influence of western politicians and the U. S. policy; and failing to completely reform the communistic system ere some factors to why some became rich but led many to misery and an early death.

Despite the huge infusions of Western money, millions of ordinary Russians struggled to survive in an economy neither capitalist nor communist, but something brand new and strange which ultimately led to the failure of economic reform in Russia. 4 In the Fall of 1996, Boris Yeltsin won the presidential election in Russia. He was viewed as the “personification of reform in Russia…. ho had vanquished the Communist dragon during the hard-line coup attempt of August 1991 — and the leader best placed to ntroduce democratic, market-oriented reforms. “5

In the same year Yeltsin became the President of Russia, the U. S. ambassador to Russia, Thomas R. Pickering, predicted by the fall of 1999, Russia would be one of Americas top trading partners. But in fact, three years after Pickering addressed his farewell speech to the American Chamber of commerce in Moscow, Russia ranked thirtieth in the list of American trading partners.

In 1998, Russias gross national product plummeted by nearly fifty percent over the last decade. More than sixty million Russians, which is nearly half of the population, lived elow a very low official poverty line. A steep fall in prices of their natural resources — oil, gas and gold consequently led to reducing both the export revenues and tax collection in Russia. Almost an article of faith for Russian reformers and their Western supporters, an assumption made was that Russia’s salvation lay in tight monetary discipline, rapid economic liberalization and a massive privatization program.

According to Richard E. Rawles, head of the Russian Psychology Research Unit, in University College London, western financial institutions were unaware of “the cultural traditions of Russia and omplicated interactions of pyschologies and mentalities with social structures”7 that had been largely ignored. E. Wayne Merry, who was head of the political section from 1991 to 1994, sent a telegram early 1994 which criticized America’s “evangelical attempt”8 to remold Russian society in its own image.

Just as Rawles had argued that Russia was physcologically and culturally unprepared for a free market so suddenly, Merry argued that such efforts would almost certainly fail because Russia — unlike Eastern European countries such as Poland nd the Czech Republic — had little tradition of free markets or the rule of law. The United States, in Merry’s view, would end up getting blamed for the failure of “shock therapy”. Reformers were well aware of the risks — unemployment, social discontent, and opportunities for corruption.

Nevertheless, foreign investors disregarded these handicaps and invested in the Russian stock market to unprecedented heights. It was believed these problems would resolve themselves if the economic medicine were applied with sufficient vigor. 9 In actuality, they played a role in the failed reformation. Since western investment was involved, it was inevitable that western politicians were also factors in the unsuccessful attempt to bring capitalism into the Russian economy.

There were reports of massive Russian money laundering through the Bank of New York, which raised new questions about the logic of pouring international loans into a country spending an estimated ten billion to fifteen billion a year in capital flight. Billions of dollars loaned by the IMF was going into the Russian economy but there was no evidence of progress. Foreign policy advisers to George W. Bush, the leading Republican presidential candidate, attempted to link Vice President Gore to the failure of economic reform in Russia because of his much exaggerated relationship with former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

For their part, the Democrats accused the Republicans of throwing away the best chance of influencing future events in Russia during the period of 1991-92, in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of communism. 10 With a country of two opposing views, how did they expect to successfully aid Russia in the reformation if they were unable to agree on what went wrong? That the attempt to shift to a more Westernized capitalist economy failed in Russia was immensely due the structure of the economy. Analysts called it a “virtual economy.

It was a false economy because Russia failed to reform the communist economic system. According to the Washington Post in June 2, 1998, Russia took strong measures to initiate transition from communism to a free-market, but in many instances it was not followed through. Land was not fully privatized and the tax code had not been updated. Although most companies were privatized in name, judicial and legal reforms ecessary to force them to behave like truly private corporations were not forthcoming. 1 It quickly became apparent that such words as privatization and economic reform and even democracy meant entirely different things in the Russian context than in the American context.

Russian privatization has come to mean the wholesale transfer of valuable state assets to a small group of tycoons known as oligarchs who are more interested in shipping anything of value out of the country than in investing their profits in domestic production. Moreover, inefficient factories were handed over to their Soviet-era managers, who bitterly resisted the necessary downsizing and restructuring. 2 In the fall of 1998, Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov wanted to gear Russia sharply away from the free-market approach that had shaped its economic policy since 1991.

According to Wellingtons Evening Post dated November 9, 1998, Primakov, with assistance of his First Deputy for the Economy, a communist Yuri Maslyukov, presided over a programme to step up State intervention in the economy. They were aware that it may have jeopardized the International Monetary Fund assistance ut the attempt at capitalist society was not successful. 3

To the beleaguered people of Russia, certainties of old-style communism seemed attractive. A joke on the streets of Moscow, according to World Bank staffer John Nellis, was: “Everything the Communists told us about communism was a complete and utter lie. Unfortunately, everything the Communists told us about capitalism turned out to be true. “14 The establishment of a free-market may require decades to accomplish since this quick attempt was not successful. The economy of Russia did not improve as speculated.

Due to years of practicing communism, the Russian people experienced “therapy shock” when a free-market was in action. Another explanation was: because of constant U. S. influence, Russia was never at a state where they decided on the major decisions until the end. And finally, capitalism never worked in Russia because they did not fully let go of communism. After experiencing many hardships, the Russian people are confused as to what will work in their country full of resources yet lack of economic stability. Maybe the answer is a return to state controlled industries.

The Russian Revolution Essay

During the late 1800s and early 1900s the Russian people began to build up the aggression for revolution. These feelings were developed upon the social and economic trends that began to build under several rulers. Tsars Alexander I, Alexander II and Nicholas II had many influences upon the revolutionary feeling among their people. Their choices were the building ground for Russian revolution. Alexander began his reign with many high hopes. His largest goal was to establish reform from above. After a military disaster, Alexander and his ministers were forced to quickly begin the reforms.

While he did begin to adjust the society and attempt to modernize Russia, many of his attempts were only half successful. His first reform was the freeing of the serfs. Once slaves were liberated, they received approximately half of the land. Despite this claim, land was priced very highly making it very difficult for former slaves to purchase the land. Hence while they were technically free they were still bound to the land. The angered the general population. It was frustrating for the former serfs to be liberated and yet still restricted in many ways. This feeling continued to build through the years before erupting.

Another halfhearted attempt at reform made by Alexander II was the creation of the zemstvo. The zemstvo was an addition to the local government. The assembly was to be elected by a three-class system of towns, peasant villages and noble landowners. Such an idea seemed to be a promising step toward popular participation. However, the Russian people were soon disappointed. The zemstvo stayed under the bureaucracy and the local nobility. The Russian people were once again excluded from the electoral process in their towns. The people were desperate for a chance to have a voice in their government.

Continued denial of this request would further aggravate the population. Not all of Alexanders reforms were social. Many reforms were economic as well. One of the greatest economic reforms came with the development of railroads. The establishment of railroads allowed greater power the agricultural Russia. Now it was more possible for Russia to export more grain and thus earn money for further modernization. This gave way to development and strengthening the Russian military and greatly pleased the nationalists and super patriots. However this mass modernization soon caused trouble for many of the typical farmers.

Eventually some would be replaced with larger more powerful corporations and mechanical equipment, thus wiping out the traditional family owned and operated farms. Once again the common people suffered due to Alexanders reforms. This was especially frustrating for the Russian people because such reforms were intended to better Russia and her people. These same people began to wonder if their needs would ever be acknowledged. This question would remain silent until revolution exploded. When Nicholas II began his reign, his people embraced him as a god.

However, as his reign continued the people would begin to disagree and outright revolt against his choices. One of Nicholass primary goals was to maintain the inheritance of royal power. To him this was the key to Russias greatness. Unfortunately he focused more on his family than on being the tsar that his people wanted. Nicholas failed to form a close relationship with the Russian citizens in order to fight the war more effectively. This failure proved to be a very large one. Without this unification the people began to loose the desire to fight for their country and tsar. Instead they wanted to fight against it.

Nicholas also depended on the old bureaucracy and distrusted the moderate Duma thus rejecting popular involvement. This was also a large mistake. With such rejection of the educated middle class, they become largely critical of the tsars leadership. As the people began to doubt their leader they acknowledged the consideration that someone else could possibly be more effective. Such attitudes towards the tsar added to the building revolutionary feelings. As Russian soldiers continued to fight in the continuing World War, their morale began a steady decline. Artillery barrages used Russian supplies of shells and ammunition.

When compared to the German armies, the Russians were far from well off. The better-prepared Germans caused the Russians terrible losses. Despite the shock of defeat with a loss of over 2 million casualties, Russia attempted to move towards mobilization to the home front. Factories began producing more than twice as many supplies however this still was not enough. The choice made by Nicholas to enter total war was crippling Russia. The economy began to suffer greatly as their factories now produced only war supplies and disregarded those necessary supplies they had one been responsible for.

Nicholas most fateful decision concerning the war was that to travel to the front in order to lead Russias armies. This decision left the Tsarina Alexandria to rule Russia. Alexandria attempted to rule the way she had always urged her husband to, absolutely. She constantly appointed and dismissed ministers. After the assassination of her trusted yet sinister advisor, Rasputin, Alexandria went into shock. Soon bread riots arose and spread to factories. The tsar order to troops to quiet the revolts, however the soldiers instead joined the common people.

The Duma, once rejected by the tsar, took control and declared a provisional government. In response Nicholas abdicated his throne. The revolutionary feeling that had been growing in Russia for so long finally erupted. Revolution had been building among he Russian people for many years. The social and economic trends that developed under Alexander I, Alexander II and Nicholas continued to fuel the growing fire in the Russian people. The common people were tired of being ignored and in became evident that their only way of ending this was through revolution.

Consolidation of Democracy in Post-Soviet Russia

The fall of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union was more than a political event. The powerful interaction and fusion between politics and economics that characterized the state socialist system created a situation that was unique for the successor states of the Soviet Union. The penetration of the Communist regime into every facet of life left the Russian people with little democratic traditions. Russia faces the seemingly impracticable task of economic liberalization and democratization. This is combined with a necessity to answer nationalist and ethnic questions that have plagued Russia for centuries.

This paper addresses the problems of creating a stable democracy in Russia. The prospects for a stable democracy in Russia are limited at best. I will outline some of the concerns that academics have in the consolidation of Russian democracy. What is paramount to note is that a stable democracy must adequately address what Ken Jowitt calls the developmental trinity: nation-building; capitalism and democracy. The dilemma that is especially relevant to Russia it that these conditions are often contradictory. The often messy business of politically reconstructing a nation defies traditional democratic ideals.

The establishment of democratic institutions can hinder the development of a market economy and, conversely, programs that are designed to enhance capitalist expansion often are antagonistic towards democratic goals (Jowitt 7). These seemingly endless Catch-22s are at the heart of difficulties facing Russia in its attempt to create a stable democracy. The Process of Creating A Nation-State The question of who is the playing the game and what makes the playing field is an important one for the Russian Federation.

Ethnic and nationalist questions plagued the Soviet Union and continue to stress the Russia Federation during its nascent period. The dynamics of center-periphery relations provides Moscow with some of the greatest challenges in establishing a stable democracy. Phillipe Smitter writes, There is no simply democratic way of deciding what a nation and its corresponding political unit should be (Smitter 66). Later in his article, he writes those that have not yet resolved the dilemma of defining their national and territorial boundaries are unlikely to make much more progress in other domains (Smitter 73).

The dilemma facing the Russian Federation is that it finds itself with a charge of establishing and following democratic institutions, while at the same time facing secessionary pressures that seem to require extra-democratic means to preserve the integrity of the nation. Nationalism in multiethnic areas in the Russian Federation has provided a substantial challenge for democratization. There is a direct relationship between democratization and ethnic peace (Smitter 72). In a democratically weak society, ethnicity assumes a stronger role, and when democracy and ethnicity are balanced, political stability is possible.

As a result of a lack of democratic institutions and channels for dialogue, Russias inhabitants are now increasingly identifying themselves as members of ethnic groups rather than as citizens of the Russian Federation (Drobizheva). An important development in center-periphery relations is the growing importance of economic nationalism, an effort to create an economic basis for political independence. Economic nationalism is a protective defense against the Russian federal governments economic dominance.

Alternatively, it is also a sign that the republics wish to retain relations with Moscow since politics remains primarily in the hands of the center (Drobizheva). For example, Tatarstan and Sakha-Yakutia both have a wealth of natural resources, giving them a potential advantage in economic development and a desire to establish control over these resources. Tatarstan, for example, strives to sell its oil at world market prices in foreign markets to generate income, and in 1993-94, the local governments in Tatarstan and Yakutia sought economic decentralization in Russia by refusing to pay federal taxes.

Consequently, an agreement reached between the federal government and the republics gave the latter what they wanted: increased economic autonomy (Drobizheva). Further inquiry into the agreements with Tartarsan demonstrates the flexibility the Yeltsin regime is willing to employ in dealing with possible powder-keg situations. A treaty signed on February 15, 1994 attempted to mollify the tensions on both sides. The treaty affirmed Tartarsan right to its own international and economic relations and, as previously noted, provided substantial autonomy in economic issues for Tartarsan.

Smoothing over contradictions in each states constitution, the agreement affirms the union between Russia and Tartarsan (Lapidus 107). The treaty with Tartarsan provides a possible blueprint for future center-periphery relations. It forebears a evolving and fluid approach that should be beneficial in establishing a stable democracy. But in typical Yeltsin contradictory manner, the war in Chechnya has demonstrated the worst of the Yeltsin regime. The conflict between Chechnya and the Russian Federation should not be considered an ethnic conflict.

The authorities did not even give as a pretext for the invasion the defense of Russian-speaking people. Such a pretext would have been unbelievable, in light of the fact that Russian- speaking people suffered from the bombing of Grozny at least as much as the native population. The war was connected more with the struggle for power in Moscow than with either economic or ethnic factors. The Chechnyan campaign was characterized by Yeltsin employing Soviet-era coercive measures. Paternalism, clientelism, and military intervention prevailed over legal methods and legal institutions.

Lilia Shevtsova considers the Chechnyan war a byproduct of the Yeltsin regimes reliance on personal politics. She writes Yeltsin saw the war as a chance to flex his muscles… neutralize the conflicts within his own regime; expand his political base… and appear before the world… as a strong leader (Shevtsova 67). The tragedy in Chechnya not withstanding, and with all due concern towards the dangerous tensions that exist between Moscow and it various ethnic republics, I agree with Gail Lapidus and Edward Walker that it is unlikely that we will see a significant secession movement in the Russian Federation in the near future.

Of paramount importance is the economic and political realities facing both Moscow and the various republics. Secession provides the republics with a myriad of additional stumbling blocks towards establishment of stable democracy. These include questions of international recognition, Russian implemented economic pressures, and devastating civil war (Lapidus 108). The costs of leaving the Federation would appear to outweigh any perceivable benefits gained by secession. Yet there are serious nationalist and regionalist concerns that the Russian Federation must address if there is a chance for democracy to take hold.

Economic chaos must be avoided by establishing a sound currency and creating a common economic bond between the center and the periphery (Lapidus 108). There will be a deeper examination into the economic issues facing the Federation as a whole in the next section, but note that these concerns are magnified in the peripheral areas that lack developed agricultural and industrial economies. Issues of more effective regional and ethnic political representation must be addressed through a movement away from the Soviet system that unfairly distributes economic control and political power among ethnicities and nationalities (Lapidus 96).

Many ethnic minorities lack administrative recognition for seemingly arbitrary reasons. It would appear that the best antidote for ethnic and national ills is a healthy economy that would bind the periphery to the center, therefore making secession an unattractive option. Along with sensible economic reforms, political restructuring is essential for stable democracy to take hold. The Road to a Market Economy At the heart of the difficulties plaguing the Russian Federation are the economic reforms that the Yeltsin regime has imposed upon the Russian people.

Capitalism is viewed as a necessary ingredient (though not sufficient) contingency of a stable democracy. All established democracies are located in countries that place economic manufacture and aggregation in the hands of privately owned firms, with distribution of scarce resource achieved through market forces (Smitter 66). The movement away from the penetrative, all-encompassing Soviet economic octopus has caused enormous hardships for the Russian people.

It has placed economic uncertainties in the path of political realities, resulting in policies that attempt to address the often contradictory objectives of economic liberalization in the wake of political democratization. Sweeping in after the failed coup of August 1991, economic reformers, led by Prime Minister Egor Gaidar, placed the Russian economy on a steady diet of economic shock therapy. The governments misguided attempt to rest its reform program on fulfillment of a limited number of macroeconomic variables left the Russian economy in disarray.

Despite a precipitous decline in economic productivity, radical reformers defended their macroeconomic policy, arguing that the supply side of the Russian economy would receive proper attention after stabilization. But what were the Russians to do in the meantime? The revolutionary fervor that characterized the early economic reforms did not take into account the punitive realities of their policies. As Steven Fish writes: All had advocated transition to a market economy. But this goal had been more of a dream than a demand, and few had actually considered how to achieve it (Fish 215).

With all due deference to clich, the early Russian economic policies can be succinctly summarized in Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it. Khrushchev stated that a country may follow its own road to socialism, and in a perverse sense that logic is still be applicable for Russian affairs. But, rather the mandate should be that each country should follow its own road towards capitalism. An examination of what the Communist apparatus left in its wake should cause pause for any free-market optimist. Seventy plus years of state socialism has left Russia with a two-ton gorilla on its collective economic back.

On page 66 and 67 of his Dangers And Dilemmas of Democracy, Smitter outlines possible starting scenarios for incipient democracies. A best case scenario finds the nation with a preceding autocracy that had already concentrated profits, encouraged the private accumulation of wealth, increased the states fiscal capacity, invested in the countrys physical infrastructure and provided a positive starting point for international trade. Countries, such as Chile and Spain, that had inherited these elements, found the transition to a market economy easier.

Russia and the other successor states to the Soviet Union found themselves in a much more precarious predicament. The state socialist regime left a legacy of corruption, protectionism, price distortions, foreign indebtedness, inefficient public enterprises, trade imbalances, and fiscal instability (Smitter 67). Combined with the simultaneous need for political reform, Russia faces a tall task indeed. The dubious tradition of the Soviet era has led to an overdependence on foreign advise and models of capitalism. Yet, it is clear that this may not be a wise path to follow.

Much of the literature concerning post- communist literature warns of Russia relying to closely to the Western model of capitalism. Jowitt warns that Americans should temper their missionary zeal in exporting an idealistic view of what we once were (Jowitt 7). The simultaneous difficulties of nation-building, marketization, and democratization place the Soviet successor states in a unique and precarious situation. Privatization in Russia did occur extraordinarily rapidly, with the idea being that getting productive assets into private hands as fast as possible would make economic reform irreversible.

This was arguably right – there is indeed a large and powerful group that has a great deal to lose from any effort to re-nationalize the economy. But this class is at the same time decidedly not interested in fair rules of market competition and an open economy. Rather it wants the state to preserve its privileges, protect its markets, and allow it to continue to reap the windfall gains of privatization. And neither does it seem to care much about democracy.

At the same time, privatization has contributed greatly to the popular conviction that marketization has been deeply unjust: state assets were distributed disproportionately to insiders, to people willing to skirt the letter of the law, and in many cases to outright criminals. Official corruption and the lack of fair and enforced laws and clearly-defined property rights, have only contributed to this perception. As a result, while there is a growing middle class in Russia, it is smaller, less democratic in orientation, and less politically influential than it might have been without the state socialist tradition.

The greatest misstep the Yeltsin regime took was moving forward with economic reform without addressing the need for wholesale, political renovation. There is a serious quandary that results in concurrent democratization and marketization. It derives from the basic difference between a government that strives to distribute power and status relatively equally (democratization) and an economy that distributes property and income relatively unequally (capitalism) (Smitter 67). This obstacle is magnified in Russian democratization with the fusion between politics and economics.

Shevtsova writes reformers cannot rest content with a rearrangement of relations among different institutions, but must strive to form new political and economic system (Shevstova 57). Democratization and the Reinvention of Russian Government An orderly exit from the Soviet past and progress towards stable democracy necessitates the development of a state capable of effective governance. Tsarism and state socialism have provided Russians with little experience with working governmental institutions, nor knowledge of how to coordinate the actions of state agencies in pursuit of a common goal.

As especially was the case with the early Gaidar economic reforms, political compromise and coalition building were ignored in favor of policies designed for the public good. The continued employment of Soviet-style politics by the Yeltsin regime bodes ill for the establishment of consolidated democracy in Russia. To begin the movement to a consolidated democracy, Russian government most promote new institutional capacities and move towards more rational and pragmatic linkages between formal administrative agencies and their functions. This is a sharp break away from bureaucratic malaise that characterized the Soviet system.

Important in this development is the fostering of economic movements outside the old system (Shevtsova 56). Shevtsova raises an interesting question of whether the collapse of communism actually strengthened the hand of the nomenklatura , especially on the regional and local level, by allowing them to gain a novel claim of legitimacy as the leaders of new nations (Shevtsova 60). Along with this new found legitimacy came access to the new found economic resources. It is of foremost importance that wealth not be distributed solely among a small group of state officials and enterprise directors.

Such actions could lead to a continuation of patron-client and personalist relations that characterized the state socialist system. But the separation between the public and private sphere is not clearly defined in Russian society. The penetration and coerciveness of the Communist Party dulled the line between state and civil society. In order to consolidate and strengthen the budding private sector, Russia needs to create an administrative system that actively encourages its growth. Note my use of the word actively.. Laissez faire policies are not what the private sector needs to grow and develop into a true bourgeoisie.

A true bourgeoisie in the sense that economic opportunity and success is not achieved by simply being a former member of the nomenklatura. But recent improvements show that the distribution of wealth is becoming more equitable. Recent improvements in the privatization process, especially in dwellings, hold great promise for the expansion of small-scale property ownership; an important step in consolidating private ownership. This is along with a growing entrepreneurial spirit among less advantaged segments of the population, especially the young (Fish 234).

To allow a government to actively encourage private, economic enterprise, political appointments must move above the personal level. There must be a balance between the administrative and political roles of the members of the bureaucracy. Shevstova writes on page 69 that Yeltsin has a habit of ranking personal loyalty to himself far above professionalism when choosing appointees and subordinates. The clientelism of the Soviet era is alive and kicking in the Yeltsin government. To challenge this system, a professional bureaucracy, one that is limited in its ability to intervene directly in the policy-making process, must develop.

Another important component of democratization that Shevstova feels is missing from the current Yeltsin administration is a lack of imperatives to build broad consensus and foster genuine communication between leaders and citizens at large (Shevstova 57). Much of this can be attributed to the Communist tradition that placed enormous authority in the local ministers. The autarkic, socialist system allowed executive agencies to acquire many legislative functions. Communication with constituents and consensus building was a unnecessary hassle. The real conflict existed within the decision-making elite.

As we will see later, elite conflict is still a major ingredient in the Yeltsin formula of power consolidation. Shevstova call this lack of consensus building and communication a hangover from Leninism (Shevstova 57). Political power was restricted to a self-selected elite which iniated new personnel less for their technical skills than their willingness to embrace Communist ideology or their relationship to powerful party elites. This system of clientelism retarded and made irrelevant any development of modern, responsive bureaucratic institutional arrangements.

Consequently, todays bureaucrats (and yesterdays communists) find it difficult to appreciate the need for compromise, power sharing, and local initiative. This is precisely the problem Russia faces with Yeltsin. It is painfully apparent from his tenure as the architect of Russia early transition period, that old habits die hard. Yeltsin: Presidential Power and His Communist Tradition A brief look at the Boris Yeltsin biographical sketch shows that he is truly a maverick who, on the eve of Ol Blue Eyes birthday (Sinatra that is; I think Yeltsin also has blue eyes), did it his way.

Rising through the nomenklatura , gaining a reputation as a fearless reformer, Yeltsin found himself as a member of the Politburo. Once again, Yeltsin proved an able and determined reformer, but an estrangement between himself and Gorbachev set in when Yeltsin began criticizing the slow pace of reform at party meetings, challenging party conservatives and even criticizing Gorbachev himself. Yeltsin was forced to resign in disgrace from the Moscow party leadership in 1987 and from the Politburo in 1988. His Lazarus act is well documented.

Just as well documented his tendency to become a political chameleon, changing his colors to suit any political condition. He has been a communist boss, a reformer within the communist system, a liberal slayer of communism and a nationalist warrior against secessionism (Shevstova 69). While the American president may wear many hats, Yeltsin has traded in his entire wardrobe numerous times over. He is truly a skilled political in-fighter, maneuvers he learned from his Communist political education. Lilia Shevstova is ardently critical of the decisions Yeltsin has made in the post-Soviet era.

She lays much of the responsibility for the politics of confrontation squarely at the feet of Yeltsin and his advisors (Shevstova 58). First, she debunks the idea that Yeltsin is a destroyer of the old system. Correctly, she considers him a reformer who has not attempted to address the institutional hegemony held by the former nomenklatura . His policies have resulted in the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the former communist elites. And she lists a number of Soviet era tactics, such as playing the members of nomenklatura against one another, that still personify Yeltsin decision making (Shevstova 60).

Yeltsin still digs deep into his Communist bag of tricks when trying to consolidate his power. The Presidential Revolution of 1993 signified a turn towards a more personalistic brand of rule for Russia. Shevstova argues, and I would agree, that the Constitutional Crisis of 1993 was largely predicated on Yeltsin attempting to outmaneuver his old Communist rivals, who had taken refuge in the legislature (Shevstova 62). The supporters that Yeltsin lined up behind him for this insurgency upon the Supreme Soviet were wildly divergent in their political orientations and goals.

They included liberal reformers, bureaucrats and pragmatists, statists and security officials, and extreme nationalists (Shevstova 63). This motley crew testifies to the bizarre landscape that makes up Russian politics. Yet it is that bizarre political landscape that Yeltsin appears to be most comfortable operating upon. Yeltsin can consolidate and maintain authority because of the lingering sense of crisis that hangs over Russian politics (Shevstova 65). The widely held belief that a successor would be a worse option and an absence of any real alternatives has allowed Yeltsin to maneuver with impunity.

The June presidential elections present a clear example of this phenomenon. Even with horrendous economic and political performance, Yeltsin still was able to defeat Zhyguanov, for the reason that the challenger was the pits, a tired political retread. Shevstova refers to the fear, inertia, and disorientation that pervade Russia (Shevstova 65). Yeltsin has adeptly used these pathologies to create a system that Shevstova refers to as divide and conquer (Shevstova 69). So what are the dangers in Yeltsins brand of governing? There has been very little change in how things are done under the Yeltsin regime versus the Gorbachev regime.

The specific issues were addressed in the previous section. Another important point to note is that there has been too much reliance on Yeltsins personal prestige and charisma (Shevstova 64). Yeltsin operates outside of the nascent party system because parties constrain leaders. He is not an institution builder but, as his policies have demonstrated, he is a populist. His communist background has not made him adverse to resorting to extra-legal means to achieving his goals. It is this procedural uncertainty, and reliance upon the man and not the measures, that create the greatest concern for the establishment of stable democracy.

The Crystal Ball The problems that I have outlined in this paper do not bode well for the establishment of a stable democracy in Russia for the near future. The literature on the subject contends that consolidated democracy is not a likely option for Russia. Instead we are much more likely to see a unconsolidated democracy take hold in Russia. Fish describes an unconsolidated democracy as a system that would include many of the basic elements of democracy, such as elections and considerable civil and cultural freedoms (Fish 226).

Yet we are unlikely to see the establishment of durable and stable rules and institutions that are appropriate to their respective social structures or accepted by their respective citizenries (Smitter 60). Because of the lack of any credible alternatives to democracy, we are unlikely to see a regression back to authoritarianism. Yet if appropriate reforms are not enacted, we are likely to see what is referred to as democracy by default (Smitter 60). The basic rights of democracy will exist but regular, acceptable, and predictable democratic patterns never quite crystallize (Smitter 61).

The 1993 Constitution excaberates this problem by placing enormous power in the hands of the president, laying the groundwork for discretionary, personal expressions of authority that contradict the needed objectives of broad based political aggregation. There has been growing disenchantment in Russia with the not only Yeltsin, the politician, but with the institution of democracy itself. Public opinion show that most Russians evaluate democracy in negative terms (Whitefield). This is the danger of having a politician also represent a movement.

For a stable democracy to take hold in Russia, Yeltsin and future presidents must not become institutions themselves. The personalization of transition politics presents enormous difficulties by hampering the institutionalization of necessary reforms. Still, with all these problems that have been outlined, I feel that it is unlikely that we will see a return to authoritarianism. Lilia Shevtsova concludes: Despite the shallowness of democracys roots and the continuous attempts by some in power to curtail freedom, the obstacles to the establishment of a full blow authoritarian regime appear insurmountable.

There are just too many active and self-conscious interest groups, too many people who have become accustomed to life in a relatively free atmosphere, too many competing elites, no united and effective bureaucracy, and a military establishment that seems highly unlikely to rally behind any would be man on horseback (Shevtsova 70). The character of the next regime will provide many clues to what the future of Russia might be. Economic transformations are not sufficient conditions for the consolidation of democracy.

I am not optimistic that Yeltsin has either the proclivity or the longevity to engage in any sort of meaningful political reform. If the next regime does not adequately address what, Smitter referred to as, the extrinsic dilemmas facing Russia, then consolidation is very unlikely. These dilemmas include political graft, privileged treatment of the elite, unequal distribution of wealth, and crime (Smitter 73). If they are not dealt with the future of democracy will be bleak, indeed.

Russian Revolution of 1917

The roots of the Russian Revolution of 1917 were deep. Russia had suffered under an extremely oppressive form of government for centuries under the rule of the czars. During the 19th century the nation was filled with movements for political liberalization. In the long run there were several revolutions, not one. The first rebellion, known as the Decembrist uprising, took place in December 1825. Members of the upper classes, including many former soldiers, staged a revolt after the death of Alexander I. The revolt failed, but it provided an inspiration to succeeding generations of dissidents.

The next revolution took place in 1905, after the Russo-Japanese War, which Russia lost. It appeared briefly that public discontent would force Czar Nicholas II to establish a constitutional monarchy. Such a change would not have satisfied either the czar or his opponents, however. Radical revolutionaries continued to fight for a democratic republic, and the czar wanted to retain his control of the peasants. The next two revolutions were successful. They occurred during World War I, when Russian military forces were hard pressed by the Germans.

The March Revolution of 1917 led to the abdication of Nicholas and the installation of a provisional government. The leader of this government was Alexander Kerensky, who was eventually forced from power. (He later immigrated to the United States. ) The last revolution took place in November of the same year. (Because the date was in October on the old Russian calendar, it is usually called the October, or Octobrist, Revolution. ) It brought to power the Bolshevik wing of the Communist party, led by Lenin.

The Bolsheviks established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under the dictatorship of the Communist party. In the end Lenin and his followers established a regime that was more rigidly tyrannical than that of any czar. Czar Nicholas had taken command of armies in the field in the fall of 1915. This left a power vacuum in St. Petersburg, the capital. The collapse of the government suddenly came in March (February, old calendar) 1917. Food riots, strikes, and war protests turned into mass demonstrations. The army refused to fire on the demonstrators.

A Soviet (or council) of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies was elected, and it formed the provisional government on March 14. The next day Nicholas abdicated. The provisional government was a coalition of factions representing divergent points of view. Some wanted withdrawal from the war and immediate economic reforms, with guarantees of political liberty. Others, including Kerensky, wanted to continue the war and postpone all reforms until the conflict was finished. No compromise seemed workable. Meanwhile, Lenin–the revolutionary genius–arrived by train from Switzerland.

He had been put on a sealed train by the Germans, who hoped that he would influence Russia to leave the war. This story has been well told by Edmund Wilson in his book ‘To the Finland Station’. Lenin’s slogan was “All power to the soviets! ” and he used it to undermine the provisional government. He demanded peace at once, immediate land reform, workers’ control of factories, and self-determination for the non-Russian peoples. Once in power he turned his back on all programs of reform, but he kept his promise to take Russia out of World War I.

It was Kerensky’s persistence in fighting the war that undid the provisional government, though other factors contributed. The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, undermined the war effort with propaganda among the soldiers. The government attempted to take action against Lenin, but he went into hiding in Finland. Kerensky tried to reinforce his authority by calling a state conference in Moscow. The Bolsheviks were not represented, but the conference was so divided that it could achieve nothing. A conservative revolt led by Gen. Lavr G. Kornilov was put down. This failed revolt was a turning point in the revolution.

It became clear that there were not two, but three, opposing forces in the government: the conservatives, the social democrats, and Lenin’s followers. To Kornilov, the enemy was socialism, personified by Kerensky. To Kerensky, the conservatives represented counterrevolution. Both factions despised and underrated Lenin. To Lenin, Kerensky was as much of an enemy as Nicholas II. The defeat of Kornilov and the exhaustion of the provisional government gave Lenin the chance he had been waiting for. The leading characters of the next phase of revolution were Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky would be murdered years later on Joseph Stalin’s orders (see Trotsky). Kerensky seemed unable to take action against the military preparations of the Bolsheviks, who were distributing arms, subverting the army, and appointing supporters as commissars of military units. On the night of November 6-7 (October 24-25, old calendar) the Bolsheviks acted. By the next evening the capital was in their hands, though fighting in Moscow went on for several days. Soon the Bolsheviks had installed their own general as commander in chief of the armed forces.

When the second All-Russian Congress of Soviets met in the capital, most members of other socialist parties walked out, leaving the impression that Lenin’s party best represented the interests of workers, farmers, and soldiers. The congress called upon all parties in the war to negotiate immediate peace. It also abolished all private ownership of land and took all property of the imperial family and the church. The eight-hour workday was made compulsory, and factory workers were given the right to supervise their enterprises. Kerensky had earlier planned an election for the end of the month.

Lenin let it go ahead. The results gave the Bolsheviks a distinct minority in the Constituent Assembly. Lenin then appealed over the head of the assembly to the people, claiming the workers’ councils (the soviets) represented “a higher form of democratic principle. ” By January 1918 the assembly was completely demoralized, and it ceased to function. Meanwhile, Lenin had to deal with the war. Calls for a negotiated peace failed. Lenin then bargained directly with the Germans. Faced with a crippling loss of territory or the collapse of his government, he chose the former.

Trotsky headed the Soviet delegation that signed a peace treaty at Brest-Litovsk, in what is now Belarus, on March 3, 1918. Under its terms Russia lost Ukraine, its Polish and Baltic provinces, and Finland. The treaty was effectively annulled by Germany’s defeat in November 1918, and the Soviet Union eventually regained all of the territory except Finland and Poland. At the time that the Congress of Soviets met to approve the treaty, the Bolsheviks changed their name to the Russian Communist party. The treaty had negative effects for Lenin. Opponents from different Russian factions were united by their opposition to it.

Patriotic indignation at the betrayal of Russia to Germany quickly surfaced, even in the army. This division between the Communists and their opponents led to a civil war that lasted until late 1920. Trotsky was appointed commissar for war. Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Lenin’s government, which had relocated to the Kremlin in Moscow, was determined to get rid of all opposition. All non-Bolshevik socialist factions were driven out of the workers’ councils, and they were forbidden to engage in political activity. In retaliation Lenin was shot and seriously wounded, and another leading Communist was assassinated.

The government responded by proclaiming a campaign of “Red terror,” which included shooting hostages and giving the secret police (the Cheka) the power to arrest, try, and execute suspects. Because the Communists feared that Nicholas might be liberated, he and his family were murdered at Ekaterinburg on the night of July 16-17, 1918. Although surrounded on all sides by enemies, the Communists had the advantage of controlling the heartland of Russia. Trotsky’s Red Army was able to plan operations and move men more easily than its enemies, whose bases were on the fringes and who were cut off from each other.

Although all the enemies wanted to destroy the Moscow government, they were not united in other objectives. For example, if the Ukrainians, who simply wanted independence, had won it, they probably would not have continued to fight on behalf of those opposed to the government. Trotsky managed to take an army that had once been demoralized by Bolshevik propaganda and turn it into an effective fighting force. He used former czarist officers whose training and experience were too valuable to be ignored. The rigid discipline of the Communist party helped to raise morale.

By 1919 the Red Army had become a much better fighting force than its opponents, who were collectively referred to as the Whites. A large part of the peasantry disliked the Communists, but they saw no point in supporting the Whites, who they feared would restore the monarchy. The industrial workers entertained no hope from the Whites, who had shown no understanding of city workers. After the civil war ended, the only threat to the government came from the Kronshtadt Rebellion of 1921. Strikes in St. Petersburg led to demonstrations demanding the release of socialists from prison.

In March a mutiny broke out at the nearby naval base of Kronshtadt. The sailors demanded political freedom and the end of the dictatorship of the Communist party. Lenin, whose chief goal had always been political power, refused any concessions. Trotsky led a force that crushed the mutineers. Lenin went far to allay economic discontent by advocating such policies as affirming the rights of the peasants to own land, by reducing taxes, and by permitting a certain amount of private enterprise in his New Economic Policy.

But in politics he was rigid. No opinions other than those sanctioned by the Communist party were allowed. The party itself was controlled by its Central Committee and increasingly by smaller units. Effective control passed finally to the Secretariat of the party. When Lenin died in 1924 power passed to the first secretary of the party, Joseph Stalin. Under him still one more revolution took place: the centralization of all political and economic power in his hands and the transformation of the Soviet Union into a completely totalitarian state.

The Rise of Communism in Russia

Unless we accept the claim that Lenin’s coup gave birth to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of mankind, we must recognize in today’s Soviet Union the old empire of the Russians — the only empire that survived into the mid 1980’s (Luttwak, 1). In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in which all class differences would disappear and humankind would live in harmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientific approach to socialism based on the laws of history.

They declared that he course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forces rooted in the economic system and the ownership of property. Just as the feudal system had given way to capitalism, so in time capitalism would give way to socialism. The class struggle of the future would be between the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalist employers, and the proletariat, who were the workers. The struggle would end, according to Marx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of full communism (Groiler’s Encyclopedia). Socialism, of which Marxism-Leninism is a takeoff, originated in the West.

Designed in France and Germany, it was brought into Russia in the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attracted support among the country’s educated, public-minded elite, who at that time were called intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution broke out over Europe in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the scene as a major historical force. However, Russia remained out of the changes that Europe was experiencing. As a socialist movement and inclination, the Russian Social-Democratic Party continued the traditions of all the Russian Revolutions of the past, with the goal of conquering political reedom (Daniels 7).

As early as 1894, when he was twenty-four, Lenin had become a revolutionary agitator and a convinced Marxist. He exhibited his new faith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against the peasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N. K. Mikhiaiovsky (Wren, 3). While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russian revolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, a claimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year a congress of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of the Russian Social Democratic Worker’s Party.

The Manifesto issued in the name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by the economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate legal Marxist group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The manifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian conditions, and of the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11). The first true congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer of 1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authorities to move to London, where the proceedings were concluded.

The Second Congress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the representatives of various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a deep split that was mainly caused by Lenin — his personality, his drive for power in the movement, and his hard philosophy of the disciplined party organization. At the close of the congress Lenin commanded a temporary majority for his faction and seized upon the label Bolshevik (Russian for Majority), while his opponents who inclined to the soft or more democratic position became known as the Mensheviks or minority (Daniels, 19).

Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading place mong the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second party Congress in 1903. He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could not reconcile itself to Lenin’s stress on the party organization. Trotsky stayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in 1917. From that point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to Lenin’s philosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to the surface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger, 13).

In the months after the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a rebellious group of Bolsheviks. This was to be in opposition of the new majority of the congress, the Menshiviks, led by Trotsky. Twenty-two Bolsheviks, including Lenin, met in Geneva in August of 1904 to promote the idea of the highly disciplined party and to urge the reorganization of the whole Social-Democratic movement on Leninist lines (Stoessinger, 33). The differences between Lenin and the Bogdanov group of revolutionary romantics came to its peak in 1909.

Lenin denounced the otzovists, also known as the recallists, who wanted to recall the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma, and the ultimatists who demanded that he deputies take a more radical stand — both for their philosophical vagaries which he rejected as idealism, and for the utopian purism of their refusal to take tactical advantage of the Duma. The real issue was Lenin’s control of the faction and the enforcement of his brand of Marxist orthodoxy. Lenin demonstrated his grip of the Bolshevik faction at a meeting in Paris of the editors of the Bolsheviks’ factional paper, which had become the headquarters of the faction.

Bogdanov and his followers were expelled from the Bolshevik faction, though they remained within the Social-Democratic fold (Wren, 95). On March 8 of 1917 a severe food shortage cause riots in Petrograd. The crowds demanded food and the step down of Tsar. When the troops were called in to disperse the crowds, they refused to fire their weapons and joined in the rioting. The army generals reported that it would be pointless to send in any more troops, because they would only join in with the other rioters. The frustrated tsar responded by stepping down from power, ending the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty (Farah, 580).

With the tsar out of power, a new provisional government took over made up of middle-class Duma representatives. Also rising to power as a rival government called the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies consisting of workers and peasants of socialist and revolutionary groups. Other soviets formed in towns and villages all across the country. All of the soviets worked to push a three-point program which called for an immediate peas, the transfer of land to peasants, and control of factories to workers. But the provisional government stood in conflict with the other smaller governments and the hardships of war hit the country.

The provisional government was so busy fighting the war that they neglected the social problems it faced, osing much needed support (Farah, 580). The Bolsheviks in Russia were confused and divided about how to regard the Provisional Government, but most of them, including Stalin, were inclined to accept it for the time being on condition that it work for an end to the war. When Lenin reached Russia in April after his famous sealed car trip across Germany, he quickly denounced his Bolshevik colleagues for failing to take a sufficiently revolutionary stand (Daniels, 88).

In August of 1917, while Lenin was in hiding and the party had been basically outlawed by the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks anaged to hold their first party congress since 1907 regardless. The most significant part of the debate turned on the possibility for immediate revolutionary action in Russia and the relation of this to the international upheaval. The separation between the utopian internationalists and the more practical Russia-oriented people was already apparent (Pipes, 127). The Bolsheviks’ hope of seizing power was hardly secret.

Bold refusal of the provisional Government was one of their major ideals. Three weeks before the revolt they decided to stage a demonstrative walkout from the advisory assembly. When the walkout was staged, Trotsky denounced the Provisional Government for its alleged counterrevolutionary objectives and called on the people of Russia to support the Bolsheviks (Daniels, 110). On October 10 of 1917, Lenin made the decision to take power. He came secretly to Petrograd to try and disperse any hesitancies the Bolshevik leadership had over his demand for armed revolt.

Against the opposition of two of Lenin’s long-time lieutenants, Zinovieiv and Kamenev, the Central Committee accepted Lenin’s resolution which formally instructed the party organizations to prepare for the seizure of power. Finally, of October 25 the Bolshevik revolution took place to overthrow the provisional government. They did so through the agency of the Military-Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. They forcibly overthrew the provisional government by taking over all of the government buildings, such as the post office, and big corporations, such as the power companies, the shipyard, the telephone company.

The endorsement of the coup was secured from the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which was concurrently in session. This was known as the October Revolution (Luttwak, 74) Through this, control of Russia was hifted to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. IN a quick series of decrees, the new soviet government instituted a number of sweeping reforms, some long overdue and some quite revolutionary. They ranged from democratic reforms, such as the disestablishment of the church and equality for the national minorities, to the recognition of the peasants’ land seizures and to openly socialist steps such as the nationalization of banks.

The Provisional Government’s commitment to the war effort was denounced. Four decrees were put into action. The first four from the Bolshevik Revolutionary Legislation were a decree on peace, a decree on land, a decree on the suppression of hostile newspapers, and a declaration of the rights of the peoples of Russia (Stossenger, 130). By early 1918 the Bolshevik critics individually made their peace with Lenin, and were accepted back into the party and governmental leadership. At the same time, the Left and Soviet administration thus acquired the exclusively Communist character which it has had ever since.

The Left SR’s like the right SR’s and the Mensheviks, continued to function in the soviets as a more or less legal opposition until the utbreak of large-scale civil war in the middle of 1918. At that point the opposition parties took positions which were either equally vocal or openly anti-Bolshevik, and one after another, they were suppressed. The Eastern Front had been relatively quiet during 1917, and shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution a temporary armstice was agreed upon. Peace negotiations were then begun at the Polish town of Brest-Litovsk, behind the German lines.

In agreement with their earlier anti-imperialist line, the Bolshevik negotiators, headed by Trotsky, used the talks as a discussion for revolutionary propaganda, while most f the party expected the eventual return of war in the name of revolution. Lenin startled his followers in January of 1918 by explicitly demanding that the Soviet republic meet the German conditions and conclude a formal peace in order to win what he regarded as an indispensable breathing spell, instead of shallowly risking the future of the revolution (Daniels, 135).

Trotsky resigned as Foreign Commissar during the Brest-Litovsk crisis, but he was immediately appointed Commissar of Military Affairs and entrusted with the creation of a new Red Army to replace the old Russian army which had dissolved during the revolution. Many Communists wanted to new military force to be built up on strictly revolutionary principles, with guerrilla tactics, the election of officers, and the abolition of traditional discipline. Trotsky set himself emphatically against this attitude and demanded an army organized in the conventional way and employing military specialists — experienced officers from the old army.

Hostilities between the Communists and the Whites, who were the groups opposed to the Bolsheviks, reached a decicive climax in 1919. Intervention by the allied powers on the side of the Whites almost brought them victory. Facing the most serious White threat led by General Denikin in Southern Russia, Lenin appealed to his followers for a supreme effort, and threatened ruthless repression of any opposition behind the lines. By early 1920 the principal White forces were defeated (Wren, 151). For three years the rivalry went on with the Whites capturing areas and killing anyone suspected of Communist practices.

Even though the Whites had more soldiers in their army, they were not nearly as organized nor as efficient as the Reds, and therefore ere unable to rise up (Farah, 582). Police action by the Bolsheviks to combat political opposition commenced with the creation of the Cheka. Under the direction of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the Cheka became the prototype of totalitarian secret police systems, enjoying at critical times the right the right of unlimited arrest and summary execution of suspects and hostages.

The principle of such police surveillance over the political leanings of the Soviet population has remained in effect ever since, despite the varying intensity of repression and the organizational changes of the police — rom Cheka to GPU (The State Political Administration) to NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) to MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) to the now well-known KGB (Committee for State Security) (Pipes, 140).

Lenin used his secret police in his plans to use terror to achieve his goals and as a political weapon against his enemies. Anyone opposed to the communist state was arrested. Many socialists who had backed Lenin’s revolution at first now had second thoughts. To escape punishment, they fled. By 1921 Lenin had strengthened his control and the White armies and their allies had been defeated (Farah, 582). Communism had now been established and Russia had become a socialist country.

Russia was also given a new name: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This in theory meant that the means of production was in the hands of the state. The state, in turn, would build the future, classless society. But still, the power was in the hands of the party (Farah, 583). The next decade was ruled by a collective dictatorship of the top party leaders. At the top level individuals still spoke for themselves, and considerable freedom for factional controversy remained despite the principles of unity laid down in 1921.

The Decembrists Essay

Russia has had a huge history as a country most of that history has been spread with a vast range of revolutionary activity, aimed at over throwing the autocratic governments of Russia. For the most part, the early revolts were provoked by the common folk who lacked functional knowledge of politics and economic to implement reforms had the revolutionaries had succeeded. In the early nineteenth century, however, the tides changed directions as revolutionary ideas began to build in the hearts and minds of young noblemen if Russia, who having witness the benefits of delivered by the constitutional governments to the countries in western Europe.

The young noble men after having the idea implanted in there heads decided it would be good idea to free the motherland of its tyrannical iron fisted autocratic oppression. These men were named after the unsuccessful uprising of December 14, 1825, these men from now on would be written down in the history books as Decembrists (Venturi 2). Although the Decembrist mutiny completely failed, it was none the less the first attempt in modern Russian history to overthrow the absolutory rule The small group of leader had in mind specific political goals for there motherland: a reorganization of the government and abolition of serfdom.

For the first time in the entire history of Russia, there existed an influential group of society that held the conception of Russian state as distinct and separate from the ruler and his administrative institution. Intoxicated with the progressive ideas of Western Enlightenment, these young men undertook an onerous task of eradicating the absolutist regime and backwardness of their country.

In the process wrote themselves in to the history book as the fathers of the revolutionary time in Russia weather they knew it or not. Socially, nineteenth century Russia developed along the lines very different from those of Western Europe. General backwardness of the Russian society, particularly evident in the dominance of agriculture and enslavement of the peasantry, contrasts sharply with the rise of modern urban capitalistic state in the countries of Western Europe.

The impact of the delayed progress was not as sadly perceived until the War of 1812 and subsequent exposure to the Western culture soaked with sentiments of individual rights and freedoms and fashioned in the manner of a modern industrial state. During the victorious march of the troops across Europe, many of the latter-day Decembrists became familiar with ideas of Enlightenment as well as a lifestyle devoid of autocratic repression and degrading institution of serfdom. Upon their return, however, they were thrust back into the totalitarian Russian society.

A wave of resentment and humiliation began to boil over the troops in response to the unjust treatment of the people at the hands of Alexander I, who earlier summoned his subjects to repulse “Napoleonic despotism yet imposed a regime more tyrannical than Napoleon had been. ” (Zetlin 35) Mikhail Fonvizin reflects on the powerful impression produced by the Western culture on the minds of his cohorts and the desire to transform Russian into a liberal, progressive state: “During the campaigns through Germany and France our young men became acquainted with European civilization, which produced upon them the strongest impression.

They were able to compare all that they had seen abroad with what confronted them at every step at home: slavery of the majority of Russians, cruel treatment of subordinates by superiors, all sorts of government abuses, and general tyranny. All this stirred intelligent Russians and provoked patriotic sentiment. ” (Mazour 55) Politically, Russia was pushed to the back burner due to its staunch adherence to autocratic government structure long abolished by the modernized, constitutional European countries.

While the progressive ideas of Enlightenment were dramatically changing social and political order of European society, Russia remained firmly unshakable in the ancient principles of absolutism partly due to tradition and partly due to isolation of the intellectual strata from the state affairs. Under the traditionally overbearing Russian monarchs, the nobles were victimized by the arbitrary display of monarch power as much as the peasants since their social and economic well-being depends on the unusual goodwill of the czar who controls the economic status of the nobility through regulation of their estates.

As members of nobility began to claim their independence from the czar, a schism developed between the state and the aristocracy (Raeff, Origins 78). Failure of the monarchy to take nobility into its confidence resulted in estrangement of the latter from state affairs producing an irremediable gap between the czar and the nobles. However, the widening gap between the monarchical and the aristocratic band allowed for the birth of a new social group within the Russian society known as intelligentsia (Venturi 109).

Comprised of the most intellectually advanced people of the time, intelligentsia issued its the first challenge to the absolutist authority in the form of the Decembrist uprising. Masonic lodges served as a springboard for many Decembrists into a deeper pool of political action (Ulam 6). Although many of them joined the lodges seeking a place to vent their liberalism, their interest in the establishments quickly soured as Masonry proved too narrow a field for the politically ambitious young men.

Dissatisfied with philanthropic formulae of the Masons, Alexander Muraviev organized the Union of Welfare that attracted the most prominent figures of the movement–Pavel Pestel, Sergei Trubetskoi and Nikita Muraviev (Mazour 66). Denial of freedom of speech as well as the perpetual suspicion with which the state viewed any efforts of nobility to consolidate necessitated establishment of the Union as a secret organization for whereas the government tolerated mild activities of the Masons, it would not permit an openly operating political party.

The chief goals of the Union consisted of political reorganization of the government and abolition of serfdom. However, the difficulty to establish organizational and programmatic continuity within the Union resulted in cripplingly underdeveloped platforms that are rooted more in political theory than reality of Russian society and lead to the Union’s dissolution in 1820, followed by establishment of separate political camps in the North and in the South (Mazour 76-77).

Unlike, their French and English revolutionary counterparts, who basked in the political tradition of participation in the government through assemblies of the Estates General and Parliamentary meetings, the Decembrists were terribly removed from the political arena and thus lacked the practical knowledge of political campaigning to implement their proposals effectively. The Northern Society situated in St. Petersburg consisted of moderate reformists who lean toward establishment of the constitutional monarchy, modeled after the English version, and it was headed by Sergei Trubetskoi and Nikita Muraviev (Mazour 78).

By contrast, the Southern Society instituted by Pavel Pestel in Tulchin gathered under its wings the more radical members of the movement who demanded complete eradication of the existing system and establishment of a republic upon its ruins (Ulam 27). In terms of political development, the Northern Society followed the pattern of nineteenth century liberalism as its members required to protect the person and property of individual citizens by imposing limitations on the up till now arbitrary power of the monarch.

As a reflection of the views of mild reformists desiring to preserve the traditional framework of the Russian society with monarch and aristocracy in tact, Trubetskoi and Muraviev’s Constitution rests on the principles of equality before law rather than equality among classes. Even though Muraviev designates people as “the source of sovereign power” (Schapiro 89), he does not imply a democratic composition of the society since in order to receive franchise, an individual has to satisfy eligibility requirements consisting of high property qualifications.

Essentially, this proposal limits participation in the government to wealthy landowners, as with aristocracy preserved, Russian peasant cannot hope to accrue the wealth required to subsidize his participation in the election process. Composed primarily of men of ancient noble origin, who rarely contacted with the populace, the members of the Northern Society were mostly concerned with the aristocratic elite and improvement of its social status hence neglecting the lower class, leaving it dependent on the wealthy proprietors as under the czarist regime.

In its attempt to augment nobility’s influence in the affairs of the state, the Northern Society is striving to compress the gap of political alienation created by centuries of autocratic rule. Removed from the political arena for a significant portion of its existence, the nobility was now essaying to establish itself as the dominant ruling force consequently subjugating the monarch to its will, as it had previously been subordinated to his rule.

The composition of the government outlined by Muraviev in the document is distinctly influenced by Montesquieu’s political theory of division of powers as it introduces the system of bicameral legislation and checks-and-balances (Agnew 223). The sentiment of nobility’s dominance over the monarch is clearly established through the system of checks-and balances whereby the veto of the executive power may be overridden by sufficient vote of the legislative branch.

Reversal of the roles is unmistakable for nobility ceases to be a plaything of the whimsical ruler and assumes the domineering part itself stripping the monarch of his powers and reducing him to a game piece in the hands of victorious gentility. The blatant naivet of the Northerners is depicted in their sincere belief that the traditionally absolute monarch would willfully acquiesce to the limitations on his power introduced by the Constitution.

Although the Northerners desired to eliminate autocracy, they nonetheless harbored a belief in the benevolence and broadminded of their monarch. Muraviev, as did his adherents, sincerely credited Alexander with submission to constitutional government once he became acquainted with its enlightened principles. The members of the Southern Society, led by the “Russian Jacobin” Pavel Pestel, perceived the political situation more clearly and less naively that their Northern counterparts (Venturi 384).

Composed primarily of impoverished nobility with the exclusion of Pestel and Muraviev-Apostol, the Southerners discarded the rose-tinted view of the benevolent czar, sheltered by Trubetskoi and Muraviev, pointing to the despotic rule of Alexander I as the source of wide spread decadence and misery. Therefore, Pestel’s constitution offers a less liberal and more radical method for eviction of autocratic rule–physical extermination of the royal family.

Cooperation with the tyrant as well as the concept of constitutional monarchy appalled Pestel who insisted it to be a clever means to deceive and lull people into obedience through democratic masquerade of equality in the parliament. Pestel’s argument bears significant weight when considering Muraviev’s proposal for property franchise which would launch the wealthy elite on the path to becoming the ruling clique of the state, working exclusively toward its own social and economic betterment, while allowing the peasantry to remain in political obscurity.

However, although Pestel extended universal male suffrage to all men exceeding age 21, there was no equality in Pestel’s Russia due to his intention to establish authoritarian government (Venturi 110). Whereas Muraviev advocates government rule through people yet restricts franchise to the wealthy aristocracy, Pestel in extending unrestricted male suffrage proposes a government that governs in the name of the people but is not controlled by their votes.

In actuality, both platforms fall considerably short of their high-soaring aspirations as notions of freedom and equality become nebulous and are transformed into a privilege or are obliterated altogether (Venturi 69,105). Locke’s theory of social contract, consisting of a pact between the government and the people, figures prominently in Pestel’s vision of the government structure and his division of society into two distinct groups: those who command and those who obey. Says Pestel in his testimony, “This distinction is unavoidable, for it is derived from human nature and consequently exists and should exist everywhere.

The former is the government the latter is people. Government’s role is to secure the welfare of people and for this reason it has the right to demand obedience from the people. People have the duty to obey the government and the right to demand it serves them without fail. ” (Raeff Decembrist 125) Furthermore, Pestel’s entire constitution is strongly permeated with socialistic spirit apparent in the proposals for a classless society, total annihilation of aristocracy and the merchant guilds as well as partial nationalization of land.

According to Nechkina, Pestel’s political doctrine is somewhat reminiscent of Lenin’s political ideals and methods (Nechkina 175). Both men exhibit a striking degree of similarity in the approach to reconstruction of the government through regicide, attainment of the equality in society by liquidation of the class system and subsequent establishment of a classless society and introduction of a dictatorial government that would insure a smooth transition from one political system into another.

Whereas the naivet of the Northerners resided in their belief in a benevolent czar, the blindness of the Southerners is located in the conviction that dictatorship is capable of instituting equality in the society. Such political ambition proved to be of chimerical quality when in 1917 Lenin’s Provisional Government became the ruling clique of Russia and merely replaced one form of empire with another. Lenin, however, takes into notice the cardinal miscue of Decembrists–failure to cooperate with the masses. Writes Lenin, “…

We see three generations, three classes at work in the Russian revolution. First, come the gentry and landowners, the Decembrists. The circle of these revolutionaries is narrow. They are terribly far from the people. ” (Yarmolinsky 102) The partial source of the Decembrists’ failure is to be located precisely in their removal from the populace whose alleviation they were campaigning. Although the Decembrists sincerely desired allayment of the yoke of serfdom from the necks of the peasantry, the idea of cooperation with the mob was repugnant even to the most liberal Decembrists.

As they confined themselves to the intellectual circle, the Decembrists developed erroneous perceptions of what freedom means to the Russian peasant. Although they have lived side by side with the serfs from childhood, none of the Decembrists truly understands the mind of the peasant. Consequently, inability to identify with him, vividly illustrated by the emancipation projects, and involves him into the revolutionary process results in the absence of popular support to produce a successful large-scale revolution.

Nurtured by the lofty ideals of natural freedom that deem any infringement on individual’s inalienable rights as degrading, Muraviev proposed emancipation from serfdom without allocation of land to the liberated peasants. Liberty itself is to be their greatest reward (Venturi 110). Lack of familiarity with the economic concepts and the traditional ties of Russian peasants to the land are clearly perceived in the ethereal foundation of this platform. Implementation of such proposal would yield mass pauperization, as there was no industry in Russia large enough to absorb the excess rural population.

Under the liberal laissez-faire economy, the emancipated peasants either would perish from famine or forced to hire themselves out on miserable wages to their former masters. In either circumstance, the economic condition of the peasant remains as impecunious as under the czarist regime. Furthermore, liberated without land, the peasants would inevitably revolt against the government that robbed them of their most precious attachment. Land represented a life elixir for the Russian peasant who was not able to picture himself apart from it and hence could not submit to the system that deprived him of it.

Pestel’s emancipation project is equally unbalanced, as it pays more heed to the economic status of the peasant than his social freedom. While Pestel allocates a plot of land to the liberated serf, he at the same time traps him within the fences of a centralized economy whereby the farmer is subjected to the rigid rules of production and is prohibited from obtaining profit. Both these types of emancipation have one thing in common: neither gives the serf complete freedom One offers him personal freedom but limited means to procure living, the other seeks to secure his economic status but denies personal freedom.

Lack of agreement and coordination between the Northern Society and the Southern Society as well as paralyzing underdevelopment of the liberation projects and governmental schemes revealed itself in the hopeless failure of the uprising on the December 14, 1825. Even though the political confusion within the Russian state, created by Alexander’s death and ensuing dispute pertaining to succession, generated a favorable atmosphere for a rebellion, the Decembrists were not able to seize the opportunity due to these very reasons.

As a result the only regiment that lend its support to the insurgents was easily disbanded by a few shots from the Czarist troops followed by the arrest of the leaders. The revolt in the South, which took place two weeks later, is just as easily suppressed, its leaders being arrested as well. The Decembrist revolt marked a turning point in the history of Russian revolutionary movement due to its introduction of influential and intellectually advanced individuals into the battle against autocracy.

Unlike their predecessors, who lacked functional knowledge of politics and economics to implement concrete reforms upon victory, Decembrists devised definitive platforms outlining the future course of the Russian state. Although for the most part these platforms were underdeveloped and conflicting in agenda, their significance lies in their being first concrete political documents in Russian history proposing a specific reform of government and the opus of society. The failure of the uprising to eliminate absolutism, does not constitute cheeping of the revolutionary seed planted by the Decembrists.

The Decembrists, in fact, came to be regarded as the forefathers of the Russian revolutionary movement by the future insurgent, including Herzen, Petraschevsky and Lenin who looked to the Decembrists as an inspiration in their fight against the autocracy (Ulam 27). The Decembrist have now written themselves into the history book as the fathers of moder Russian revolution. Weather they wanted to or not, did they know an uprising in the middle of December would write a new page in history for Russia. No but that revolution was like a stoned being dropped in a pool there ripple effect is still being carried out in the newly democratic Russia.

The Rise of Communism in Russia

“Unless we accept the claim that Lenins coup dtat gave birth to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of mankind, we must recognize in todays Soviet Union the old empire of the Russians — the only empire that survived into the mid 1980’s” (Luttwak, 1). In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in which all class differences would disappear and humankind would live in harmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientific approach to socialism based on the laws of history.

They declared that the course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forces rooted in the economic system and the ownership of property. Just as the feudal system had given way to capitalism, so in time capitalism would give way to socialism. The class struggle of the future would be between the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalist employers, and the proletariat, who were the workers. The struggle would end, according to Marx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of full communism (Groiler’s Encyclopedia). Socialism, of which “Marxism-Leninism” is a takeoff, originated in the West.

Designed in France and Germany, it was brought into Russia in the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attracted support among the country’s educated, public-minded elite, who at that time were called intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution broke out over Europe in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the scene as a major historical force. However, Russia remained out of the changes that Europe was experiencing. As a socialist movement and inclination, the Russian Social-Democratic Party continued the traditions of all the Russian Revolutions of the past, with the goal of onquering political freedom (Daniels 7).

As early as 1894, when he was twenty-four, Lenin had become a revolutionary agitator and a convinced Marxist. He exhibited his new faith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against the peasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N. K. Mikhiaiovsky (Wren, 3). While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russian revolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, a claimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year a “congress” of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of the Russian Social Democratic Worker’s Party.

The Manifesto issued in the name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by the economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate “legal Marxist” group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The manifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian conditions, and of the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11). The first true congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer of 1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authorities to move to London, where the roceedings were concluded.

The Second Congress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the representatives of various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a deep split that was mainly caused by Lenin — his personality, his drive for power in the movement, and his “hard” philosophy of the disciplined party organization. At the close of the congress Lenin commanded a temporary majority for his faction and seized upon the label “Bolshevik” (Russian for Majority), while his opponents who inclined to the “soft” or more democratic position became known as the “Mensheviks” or minority (Daniels, 19).

Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading place among the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second party Congress in 1903. He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could not reconcile itself to Lenin’s stress on the party organization. Trotsky stayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in 1917. From that point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to Lenin’s philosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to the surface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger, 13).

In the months after the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a rebellious group of Bolsheviks. This was to be in opposition of the new majority of the congress, the Menshiviks, led by Trotsky. Twenty-two Bolsheviks, including Lenin, met in Geneva in August of 1904 to promote the idea of the highly disciplined party and to urge the reorganization of the whole Social-Democratic movement on Leninist lines (Stoessinger, 33). The differences between Lenin and the Bogdanov group of revolutionary romantics came to its peak in 1909.

Lenin denounced the otzovists, also known as the recallists, who wanted to recall the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma, and he ultimatists who demanded that the deputies take a more radical stand — both for their philosophical vagaries which he rejected as idealism, and for the utopian purism of their refusal to take tactical advantage of the Duma. The real issue was Lenin’s control of the faction and the enforcement of his brand of Marxist orthodoxy. Lenin demonstrated his grip of the Bolshevik faction at a meeting in Paris of the editors of the Bolsheviks’ factional paper, which had become the headquarters of the faction.

Bogdanov and his followers were expelled from the Bolshevik faction, though they remained within the Social-Democratic fold (Wren, 95). On March 8 of 1917 a severe food shortage cause riots in Petrograd. The crowds demanded food and the step down of Tsar. When the troops were called in to disperse the crowds, they refused to fire their weapons and joined in the rioting. The army generals reported that it would be pointless to send in any more troops, because they would only join in with the other rioters. The frustrated tsar responded by stepping down from power, ending the 300-year- old Romanov dynasty (Farah, 580).

With the tsar out of power, a new provisional government took over made p of middle-class Duma representatives. Also rising to power was a rival government called the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies consisting of workers and peasants of socialist and revolutionary groups. Other soviets formed in towns and villages all across the country. All of the soviets worked to push a three-point program which called for an immediate peas, the transfer of land to peasants, and control of factories to workers.

But the provisional government stood in conflict with the other smaller governments and the hardships of war hit the country. The provisional government was so busy ighting the war that they neglected the social problems it faced, losing much needed support (Farah, 580). The Bolsheviks in Russia were confused and divided about how to regard the Provisional Government, but most of them, including Stalin, were inclined to accept it for the time being on condition that it work for an end to the war.

When Lenin reached Russia in April after his famous “sealed car” trip across Germany, he quickly denounced his Bolshevik colleagues for failing to take a sufficiently revolutionary stand (Daniels, 88). In August of 1917, while Lenin was in hiding and the party had been asically outlawed by the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks managed to hold their first party congress since 1907 regardless. The most significant part of the debate turned on the possibility for immediate revolutionary action in Russia a….. nd the relation of this to the international upheaval.

The separation between the utopian internationalists and the more practical Russia- oriented people was already apparent (Pipes, 127). The Bolsheviks’ hope of seizing power was hardly secret. Bold refusal of the provisional Government was one of their major ideals. Three weeks efore the revolt they decided to stage a demonstrative walkout from the advisory assembly. When the walkout was staged, Trotsky denounced the Provisional Government for its alleged counterrevolutionary objectives and called on the people of Russia to support the Bolsheviks (Daniels, 110).

On October 10 of 1917, Lenin made the decision to take power. He came secretly to Petrograd to try and disperse any hesitancies the Bolshevik leadership had over his demand for armed revolt. Against the opposition of two of Lenin’s long-time lieutenants, Zinovieiv and Kamenev, the Central Committee ccepted Lenin’s resolution which formally instructed the party organizations to prepare for the seizure of power. Finally, of October 25 the Bolshevik revolution took place to overthrow the provisional government. They did so through the agency of the Military- Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet.

They forcibly overthrew the provisional government by taking over all of the government buildings, such as the post office, and big corporations, such as the power companies, the shipyard, the telephone company. The endorsement of the coup was secured from he Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which was concurrently in session. This was known as the “October Revolution” (Luttwak, 74) Through this, control of Russia was shifted to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. IN a quick series of decrees, the new “soviet” government instituted a number of sweeping reforms, some long overdue and some quite revolutionary.

They ranged from “democratic” reforms, such as the disestablishment of the church and equality for the national minorities, to the recognition of the peasants’ land seizures and to openly socialist steps such as the nationalization of banks. The Provisional Government’s commitment to the war effort was denounced. Four decrees were put into action. The first four from the Bolshevik Revolutionary Legislation were a decree on peace, a decree on land, a decree on the suppression of hostile newspapers, and a declaration of the rights of the peoples of Russia (Stossenger, 130).

By early 1918 the Bolshevik critics individually made their peace with Lenin, and were accepted back into the party and governmental leadership. At the same time, the Left and Soviet administration thus acquired the exclusively Communist character which it has had ever since. The Left SR’s like the right SR’s and the Mensheviks, continued to function in the soviets as a more or less legal opposition until the outbreak of large-scale civil war in the middle of 1918. At that point the opposition parties took positions which were either equally vocal or openly anti-Bolshevik, and one after another, they were suppressed.

The Eastern Front had been relatively quiet during 1917, and shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution a temporary armstice was agreed upon. Peace negotiations were then begun at the Polish town of Brest-Litovsk, behind the German lines. In agreement with their earlier anti-imperialist line, the Bolshevik negotiators, headed by Trotsky, used the talks as a discussion for revolutionary propaganda, while most of the party expected the eventual return of war in the name of revolution.

Lenin startled his followers in January of 1918 by explicitly demanding that the Soviet republic meet the German conditions and conclude a formal peace in order to win what he regarded as an indispensable “breathing spell,” instead of shallowly risking the future of the revolution (Daniels, 135). Trotsky resigned as Foreign Commissar during the Brest-Litovsk crisis, but he was immediately appointed Commissar of Military Affairs and entrusted ith the creation of a new Red Army to replace the old Russian army which had dissolved during the revolution.

Many Communists wanted to new military force to be built up on strictly revolutionary principles, with guerrilla tactics, the election of officers, and the abolition of traditional discipline. Trotsky set himself emphatically against this attitude and demanded an army organized in the conventional way and employing “military specialists” — experienced officers from the old army. Hostilities between the Communists and the Whites, who were the groups opposed to the Bolsheviks, reached a decicive climax in 1919. Intervention by the allied powers on the side of the Whites almost brought them victory.

Facing the most serious White threat led by General Denikin in Southern Russia, Lenin appealed to his followers for a supreme effort, and threatened ruthless repression of any opposition behind the lines. By early 1920 the principal White forces were defeated (Wren, 151). For three years the rivalry went on with the Whites capturing areas and killing anyone suspected of Communist practices. Even though the Whites had more soldiers in their army, they were not nearly as organized nor as efficient as the Reds, and therefore were unable o rise up (Farah, 582).

Police action by the Bolsheviks to combat political opposition commenced with the creation of the “Cheka. ” Under the direction of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the Cheka became the prototype of totalitarian secret police systems, enjoying at critical times the right the right of unlimited arrest and summary execution of suspects and hostages. The principle of such police surveillance over the political leanings of the Soviet population has remained in effect ever since, despite the varying intensity of repression and the organizational changes of the police — from Cheka to GPU (The State Political Administration) to NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) to MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) to the now well-known KGB (Committee for State Security) (Pipes, 140).

Lenin used his secret police in his plans to use terror to achieve his goals and as a political weapon against his enemies. Anyone opposed to the communist state was arrested. Many socialists who had backed Lenin’s revolution at first now had second thoughts. To escape punishment, they fled. By 1921 Lenin had strengthened his control and the White armies and their allies had been defeated (Farah, 582).

Communism had now been established and Russia had become a socialist country. Russia was also given a new name: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This in theory meant that the means of production was in the hands of the state. The state, in turn, would build the future, classless society. But still, the power was in the hands of the party (Farah, 583). The next decade was ruled by a collective dictatorship of the top party leaders. At the top level individuals still spoke for themselves, and considerable freedom for factional controversy remained despite the principles of unity laid down in 1921.

Provisional Government

This so-called October Revolution was an armed insurrection carried out by the Bolshevik Party using the apparatus of the Petrograd Soviet. Lenin insisted that the transfer of power from the Provisional Government to the Bolsheviks take this militarized form rather than the political form of a vote by the forthcoming All-Russian Congress of Soviets, an approach favored by Zinoviev and Kamenev. Lenin did this because he believed, as did Marx, that the class struggle was class warfare and so necessarily involved physical violence. No other method could demonstrate where the real power lay.

In the same manner, Lenin understood the literal meaning of Marx’s call to expropriate the expropriators by urging the masses to steal the stolen. This was no violation of Marx’s view of the logic of history — armed coercion was always integral to that logic. And so, the October coup set the precedent for the continuing use of coercion by the Party through all the stages required to construct socialism. From his refuge in Finland, Lenin initiated pressure for such an insurrection in the wake of the Kornilov affair of the late summer, and by October 10th he had persuaded the Central Committee to vote 10 to 2 for such an action in principle.

But the task of organizing the insurrection fell to Leon Trotsky. In order to give the Party coup an appearance of greater proletarian legitimacy, Trotsky delayed it so that it would coincide with the forthcoming, national Congress of Soviets. This was against Lenin’s express command. Trotsky also engineered the creation within the Soviet of the Military Revolutionary Committee, which was in fact dominated by the Bolsheviks, to carry out the actual takeover of Petrograd. In other words, this Revolution was a minority military action, not a mass event like the one that occurred in February, or in 1905, for that matter.

To be more precise, what did occur was an amateur police operation of the Military Revolutionary Committee, some sailors of the Baltic fleet and a handful of Red Guards to take over the nerve-centers of the capital on the night of October 24th. The Petrograd proletariat and the city’s military garrison remained overwhelmingly neutral. Because there were no forces to fight for the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks had almost nothing to overthrow. As Lenin himself put it, the Party found power lying in the streets and simply picked it up.

Thus the strategy that Lenin had embraced in his APRIL THESES paid off in the October seizure of power. Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, hitherto unknown to most Russians as well as the outside world, suddenly found himself the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian Soviet Republic, a government that was in fact little more than the Bolshevik Party in power. This new power immediately issued two decrees. The first, On Peace, called for a negotiated end to the war. What this really meant was Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the conflict.

The second, On Land, socialized gentry and state properties. What this implied was an endorsement of the already accomplished agrarian revolution. As Lenin put it to Trotsky on the night of the coup, it makes the head swim. Our sense of wonder at the Bolshevik victory has lingered in the historiography ever since, where it has produced problems of interpretation The problem arises from the facts. First, that the Bolshevik Party was largely Lenin’s personal creation and second, that his personal insistence on armed insurrection was the driving force which led up to the October coup.

However, does all this mean that without Lenin there would have been no Red October and hence no Soviet regime? This rather extreme version of the great man theory has often been advanced. Even Trotsky, though committed as a Marxist to the social logic of history, comes close to holding Lenin indispensable to Bolshevik victory. Trotsky may have wished to be more cautious. The events of 1917 — from Order Number One in February to the emergence of the Left SRs in October — show that even without Lenin there was ample room on the Russian Left for an extremist party of revolution now.

Consider that statement carefully. Before October it was the case that Lenin’s Party, although the most hierarchical of all the Russian parties, was not as yet the monolithic instrument commanded at will by its leader that it later became. Indeed, Trotsky’s own historical role belies the overriding importance he attributed to Lenin. In addition, Trotsky’s role also points to the fluidity of the Party in 1917. After all, Trotsky abandoned the Mensheviks only in June 1917. And in October, it was Trotsky who was directing the Bolshevik seizure of power.

Go figure! He even countermanded Lenin’s impatient directives in order to coordinate the Party takeover with the Congress of Soviets, so as to enhance the coup’s proletarian appearance. Lenin, for all the impetus he gave to the coup, had nothing to do with carrying it out, since he was still in hiding when it began. Where Lenin was more than truly indispensable was in his role, over the previous fourteen years, as architect of the Party organization. However, even in this domain, by 1917, there were numerous little Lenin’s who could have pursued the same maximalist policies.

The maximalist strategy that Lenin worked out in the April Theses would work only in the exceptional social circumstances that the war had by 1917 created in Russia. The central fact of that year was that the linchpin of the over-centralized Russian Imperial system was removed. From that point on, all subordinate structures in the country began to quickly unravel. The army, the industrial economy, the social structure of the countryside, and the administrative system of the Empire, both in the Great Russian provinces and among the border nationalities all disintegrated.

By the end of the year, Russia no longer possessed any functioning, organized structures. The result was a generalized void of power, an interregnum in all aspects of national life. Thus, by the end of October the wreckage of the Russian Empire was up for grabs, vulnerable to whatever force with the will and organizational capacity to take it over. The dynamic of national disintegration began with the army and was driven throughout the year above all by the war. The policy of the Provisional Government was to prosecute the war to a victorious conclusion at the side of its democratic allies.

The policy of the Soviet was to fight only for a democratic peace without annexations or indemnities. Once discipline had been restored after the work of Order Number One, the liberal-socialist coalition government formed in April adopted a compromise war policy. As a result, Kerensky’s democratic offensive was launched in June. This offensive, of course, ended in nothing less than a rout. Army discipline was once again undermined and fueled the Bolshevik thrust of the July Days.

And that event in turn led to General Kornilov’s attempt in August to restore Russia’s fighting capacity by sweeping away the Soviets. But this failed effort discredited the army command and officer corps once and for all. After August, therefore, the army simply melted away, with the peasant soldiers trekking home to participate in the partition of the gentry’s lands. Thus, all the political crises of the DUAL POWER, from April to July to August, were directly caused by the army, and by the fall, the impact of these crises on the army was such that the coercive power of the state was destroyed.

The name for such a situation is anarchy — the genuine absence of government. In the course of 1917 all of old Russia’s structures — the state, the army, the Empire, the local administration, the economy and both the urban and rural societies — came apart simultaneously. Such a situation explains why, amidst a state of generalized collapse, that there was no chance of establishing a durable constitutional democracy. History militated against it.

Any government that would have tried to intervene against this revolutionary process before its full unwinding would have been discredited. Even if the Provisional Government had found the resolve to immediately convene a Constituent Assembly, to unilaterally take Russia out of the war, and to give the land to the peasants, this would have hardly had the desired result. These were measures that critics later felt the Provisional Government should have adopted in order to stop Bolshevism. These measures were also, in fact, similar to Bolshevik policy.

They would have been revolutionary and disruptive in their effect, and they would have only deepened the anarchy without giving the Provisional Government the new coercive means to master it — means that came quite naturally to the Bolsheviks. The fact of the matter is that in 1917 the impetus for disintegration was such that, once it had played itself out, only an authoritarian, coercive solution was possible for creating some new type or order. As the historian and leader of the Kadet Party Paul Miliukov put the matter, by the end of the summer the alternatives for Russia were either Kornilov or Lenin.

But since Kornilov and the forces of the traditional order that he symbolized had no real power, only Lenin and the Bolsheviks were in a position to pick up the pieces and to fashion a new type of order once the storm had spent its force. This new type of order would be the dictatorship of the proletariat proclaimed after October as the vehicle for the transition from capitalism to socialism. Drawing on Marx’s analysis of the Paris Commune, during the summer of 1917 in his book State and Revolution, Lenin had interpreted the direct proletarian democracy of the workers’ soviets as the realization of a new commune state.

As such, the soviets constituted the basis of the coming dictatorship and the new socialist state. Thus, although it is only amidst a general process of national disintegration that the Russian workers’ movement could have acquired world-historical significance, this broader process indeed received its political and ideological meaning from working-class action or, at the very least, from action in the name of the working class. It is for this reason that interpretation of the Russian Revolution both in the East and in the West, has been overwhelmingly concerned with the working class in relation to the Bolshevik Party.

This question is urgent because whatever legitimacy the Soviet regime could once claim, in its own view, depended on the ideological conformity of the proletariat with the Party and hence, on the socialist authenticity of October. How then to explain the coming to power of the proletariat in October 1917? In fact, the proletariat did not come to power. What came to power was a political and ideological organization, the Bolshevik Party. Yet, the historical myth surrounding Red October, is that of a revolution from below.

A revolution led by the Russian masses in the interests of the Russian masses. But our narrative of the events of October have shown how nearly absent the working classes of Petrograd were during the so-called ten days that shook the world. The myth of proletarian October is the myth of the triumph of the alienated and dehumanized masses over all their sufferings and deprivations. In this historically logical process, suffering is the criteria of authentic humanity. This was as true for Marx as it was for Dostoevsky.

And since intense crisis makes suffering most acute, the war and the social collapse of 1917 conferred on the humiliated and offended of Russian life quintessential human status. For the suffering of 1917 was no myth, but a most cruel, physical and mental fact. In these circumstances, the modest Russian proletariat could indeed appear in the eyes of its self-appointed leaders, and in the eyes of many socialists throughout the world, to be the universal class and the bearer of the logic of history. Thus this myth became a mighty empirical force, the indispensable launching pad of the whole Soviet dream.

Rasputin The Mad Monk

Throughout Russian history, there were many individuals who captured the interests and curiosity of scholars both domestic and foreign, but one stands out as the most ambiguous. Grigori Yefimovitch Rasputin, the so- called “Mad Monk” or “Siberian Mystic Healer”, has gained notoriety throughout the world for his astounding medical feats involving the stopping of the sometimes never ending bleeding of hemophiliacs. In the time of Rasputin, 1864-1916, there were no effective medical means to stop the bleeding that plagued hemophiliacs, yet the mystical powers of one man had the power to do so.

Since there were no written records compiled at the time to account for his legacy, the stories of Rasputin have been passed along throughout time by believers and skeptics alike. It is said that as early as 1900, Rasputin had gained fame in Eastern Russia as a faith healer, or wandering holy mendicant. He was said to have had the powers of precognition, foreseeing the future, clairvoyance, seeing events happening elsewhere, and healing the sick without medication or therapy. Many have attributed Rasputin’s powers to the arts of the Orientals, which he had picked up along his travels.

Many groups in Russia wished Rasputin dead, because they could not logically interpret his actions and could not rationalize his power. He was seen at this time as a sort of “Devil’s Advocate”, because no one believed that a Holy Man could posses such powers. His methodology was not that of the time period he lived in, and just as it is today, people fear what they cannot understand in rational means. Though Rasputin was a savior for many, he was looked upon by the majority of Russian peoples as a fraudulent evil doer.

No matter what the general consensus was, Rasputin extended the lives of many where they would have surely died without his help. (Candler 1). From an early age Rasputin’s mystical powers were present. When he was only a child, he had the ability to calm and heal farm animals. He also possessed the powers of clairvoyance at an early age. He could judge a man’s motives and character with just a glance into his eyes. On one described occasion in his childhood, Rasputin was in bed with a fever, when he envisioned the face of a man stealing a horse.

Rasputin identified the man, who was a rich and prominent villager, and though the man denied the accusation, it was later proven that he was the thief. These small accomplishments of his youth, along with the teachings he received at the Monastery of Verkhotourie, provoked Rasputin to speak with the holy hermit Makari. Makari informed him that God had some large tasks for him to overcome, and that he must travel abroad to sacred sites to enrich his knowledge of the divine.

He spent many years of his life wandering as far as Mt. Athos in Greece, walking twenty-five to thirty miles a day with little or no sustenance, searching for enlightenment. (Kwapien 1-2). While traveling abroad, Rasputin was introduced to some of the remaining heretical sects of the Old Believers. During this time, thousands of Old Believers were persecuted by the Patriarch Nikon, as he attempted to cleanse Russia of these sects and enforce Orthodox Christianity. Those who escaped fled to Siberia and continued to establish churches and communities.

Nikon’s rapid persecution of these sects weakened the Orthodox Church and gave rise to groups such as the Khlysty, which Rasputin is said to have taken part in. Their secret rites were extremely sexual and orgiastic in nature, and it was believed that through sexual sin, one could gain repentance. It has been said that Rasputin strengthened his powers through sexual acts performed while taking part in the Khlysty. (Kwapien 1-2). Rasputin’s greatest feat in spiritual healing was the aid he provided the Tsarevitch Aleksei, a hemophiliac, in 1912.

Aleksei had inherited the blood disorder from his mother, Alexandra, and the Romanov family had a history of the affliction. Aleksei had been badly bruised by his own actions and was bleeding to death. Nicholas and Alexandra were extremely reluctant to invite Rasputin, because their son’s condition was kept secret, in fear that if this information was made public, he would never become tsar. Finally, realizing the powerlessness of the boy’s doctors and the seriousness of his affliction, Rasputin was called to St. Petersburg. (Hollenbach 3).

Rasputin came to the boy’s bedside, and with only a few spoken words and a wave of his hand, pronounced the Tsarevitch cured. Rasputin had induced a feeling of calm and a sense of well-being in the Tsarevitch, which amazingly changed the boy’s body, slowing his bleeding, sending him into a deep tranquil sleep, and eventually stopping the bleeding altogether. Doctors were baffled, and Nicholas and Alexandra were forever thankful. According to those who viewed these actions, Aleksei did recover fully. Though this seems like something out of a fairy tale, Rasputin did indeed cure the Tsarevitch.

It has never been conclusively proven as to how Rasputin did in fact heal the afflicted, but the evidence in hand strongly points toward hypnosis. In hematology, the study of bleeding in hemophiliacs, it has been proven that the emotional state of a hemophiliac directly effects the flow of blood through the capillaries. Anger, discomfort, and mental anguish can cause an increase in blood flow, and if these feelings are turned to calm, comfortable, and jubilant, the blood flow will in turn decrease. It is hypothesized that Rasputin hypnotized the Tsarevitch and put his mind at rest, thus slowing the blood flow.

J. B. S. Haldane, a British geneticist said “it is also possible that by hypnotism or a similar method, he was able to produce a contraction of the small arteries [capillaries]. These last were placed under the regulation of the [autonomic] nervous system and although they are not normally controlled by the will, their contraction can be provoked in the body of a hypnotized subject” (Massie 190). This account along with research done throughout a three-year period, points to hypnosis as the only logical means of Rasputin’s healing abilities.

In Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, from 1961-1964, a research project was conducted by Dr. Oscar Lucas. One hundred and fifty teeth were taken out of hemophiliac patients without using a single transfusion. Under normal circumstances extracting teeth from a hemophiliac would be major surgery, and would require massive amounts of transfused blood. Dr. Lucas used hypnotism to erase his patient’s fears, because this procedure would normally cause panic and unrest to hemophiliacs. The doctor is quoted as saying “An emotionally tranquil patient has less bleeding difficulty than one emotionally distressed.

Bleeding engenders fear and fear of bleeding is considerably greater in the hemophiliac than in non-bleeders. The anxiety which results may be averted through hypnosis” (Massie 190). This evidence is the proof that was needed to understand the miracles of Rasputin. Using hypnosis, or some other means of comforting the Tsarevitch, the anxiety and fear which would have otherwise caused him to bleed to death was relieved, and replaced with feelings of tranquility which slowed the flow of blood through his capillaries.

Though Rasputin was viewed by most during his time as the “Mad Monk”, a shady and notorious character, modern science and methodology has proven that Rasputin was a pioneer of spiritual healing. In these times of little or no medical means to cure bleeding hemophiliacs, Rasputin used the power of his mind to induce his patients into healing themselves. Rasputin’s methods are a perfect example of mind over matter, and he single-handedly pioneered a totally new type of medicine substantially before its time.

Vladimir Lenin and his Rise to Power

Eventually, empires and nations all collapse. The end can be brought about by many causes. Whether through becoming too large for their own good, being ruled by a series of out of touch men, falling behind technologically, having too many enemies, succumbing to civil war, or a combination: no country is safe. The Russia of 1910 was in atremendously horrible situation. She had all of these problems. Russia would not have existed by 1920 were it not for Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the only man capable of saving the failing nation.

Russia in 1910 was a very backwards country. Peasants who lived in absolute poverty made up the vast majority of Russia’s population (Haney 19). Russia’s version of the feudal system had ended a mere 49 years earlier, but in effect it meant that peasants now owned the meager parcels of land upon which their survival rested. Their ruler, Czar Nicholas II, ruled aloof of his disorganized nation. His government of appointed officials and men in inherited positions did not represent the people (The Tyranny of Stupidity 120).

Even though all of Europe had experienced the Industrial Revolution, Russia had precious little machinery. To obtain more advanced machines, the government traded grain to other countries in exchange for machinery, even though it meant that more people would starve (Haney 17). Compound this with the devastation and desperation brought on shortly thereafter by the First World War, and there was no confidence left in the government. Different political factions formed, and none got along (U. S. S. R. 63).

Liberal constitutionalists wanted to remove the czar and form a republic; social revolutionists tried to promote a peasant revolution; Marxists promoted a revolution among the proletariat, or urban working class. The people were fed up with Russia’s state of affairs and ready for the change. Change was presented in the form of Vladimir Lenin, a committed,persuasive visionary with a grand plan. Lenin became hardened in his quest at an early age when his older brother Aleksandr, a revolutionary, was executed in 1887 for plotting to kill then-Czar

Alexander III. “I’ll make them pay for this! ” he said, “I swear it! ” (Haney 28) By 1888, at the age of 18, he had read Das Kapital by Karl Marx, a book about socialism and the evils of capitalism. A superb speaker, he could hold audiences at rapt attention with his powerful speeches (New Generation). People became convinced of his socialist views. He formed his own political party, the Bolsheviks, a split off of the earlier Marxists. Unlike other parties of his time, Lenin limited membership to a small number of full-time revolutionaries (Haney 41).

This dedication and tight organization later proved both useful and effective. From 1897 to 1917, he traveled all over Europe writing propaganda, organizing strikes, and encouraging revolution among the working class, especially in Russia (Lenin, V. I. 191). Lenin knew what he wanted, knew how to get it, and was willing to wait. During World War I, the time was right and Lenin was the man. Czar Nicholas II remained totally focused on winning the war, and did not hesitate before committing more men and supplies to the war effort(Haney 65).

But for an already starving country, every train that brought supplies to the front could not also be bringing food to peasants. With public sentiment and even the Czar’s own army against him, Nicholas abdicated the throne in March of 1917 (69). A government by soviets (councils) was instated, but did not last long. After that, Alexander Kerensky seized power. In November, Lenin and his Bolsheviks, with help from armed citizens, stopped the revolving door. They took over St. Petersburg (then Petrograd) and later captured Moscow, meeting little resistance along the way (Jantzen 613).

Lenin took over the government and signed a treaty with Germany to take Russia out of the war. Immediately thereafter, civil war broke out between the Communists, called Reds, and the anti-Communists, called Whites, who had help from Western nations (Johnson 43). This help from outside Russia actually helped Lenin, as it drove public sentiment against the Whites. Russian troops, scattered and dispirited, had just been through World War I. Somehow, though, Lenin and his good friend Leon Trotsky organized these troops into the Red Army and won the war (Liversidge 59).

It was now Lenin’s country. Once he was fully in power, Lenin set up a true Communist government. Russia became sixteen republics subdivided all the way from districts down to soviets (committees) representing the workers, soldiers, and peasants in that area. The country would be ruled from the bottom up rather than the traditional top down (Johnson 30). Lenin wanted a society where the working class was the ruling class; a society where there is one social class, everyone has the same rights, and, eventually, there is no private property.

For a short time, peasants were allowed to simply seize their former landlords’ land and workers to control factories (U. S. S. R. 54). Later, however, all industry was nationalized. To jump-start the economy, Lenin instituted his New Economic Policy, which began to rejuvenate the economy by permitting small industries to operate under their own control and letting farmers keep or sell more of their products while the government retained control of heavy industries such as metal working (55).

Lenin had earlier gained support with the simple promise “Bread, peace, land,” (Lenin, V. I. 194) and he had begun to make good. Lenin’s goals were becoming reality. Tragically, Lenin died in 1924, rendering him unable to see through any of his plans. He had suffered his first stroke in 1922, and it was that year that a young Bolshevik named Josef Stalin — a man whom Lenin had warned his associates about as being dangerous (Johnson 97) — began making his grab at power.

Unfortunately for Russians, Stalin beat Trotsky and became Secretary of the Communist Party upon Lenin’s death, a position which was as good as dictator (100). Stalin, who was probably mentally unstable (96) , trashed the ideals of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky in his own thirst for power. Marx had held the view that “The key to Communism is education,” (New Generation) and the working class must be a learned people. As dictator, Stalin resorted to censorship of all media to consolidate his power (Johnson 114). Had Lenin lived longer, he could have seen Communism through to its ideal state.

Nevertheless, even under Stalin, Lenin was virtually deified for having saved the nation. Were Lenin alive today, he could stand up and truthfully say, “Without me, a nation would not exist. ” He singularly shaped the course of history. Russia was floundering, and Lenin was the totally committed visionary that it took to bring it back from the brink. He laid them foundation for what eventually became a world superpower, and had he lived longer, Russia could have been even stronger. It is no wonder Lenin became a Russian national hero.

The Rise Of Communism In Russia

“Unless we accept the claim that Lenin’s coup d’etat gave birth to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of mankind, we must recognize in today’s Soviet Union the old empire of the Russians — the only empire that survived into the mid 1980’s” In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in which all class differences would disappear and humankind would live in harmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientific approach to socialism based on the laws of history.

They declared that the course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forces rooted in the economic system and the ownership of property. Just as the feudal system had given way to capitalism, so in time capitalism would give way to socialism. The class struggle of the future would be between the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalist employers, and the proletariat, who were the workers. The struggle would end, according to Marx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of full Socialism, of which “Marxism-Leninism” is a takeoff, originated in the West.

Designed in France and Germany, it was brought into Russia in the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attracted support among the country’s educated, public-minded elite, who at that time were called intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution broke out over Europe in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the scene as a major historical force. However, Russia remained out of the changes that Europe was experiencing. As a socialist movement and inclination, the Russian Social-Democratic Party continued the traditions of all the Russian Revolutions of the past, with the goal f conquering political freedom (Daniels 7).

As early as 1894, when he was twenty-four, Lenin had become a revolutionary agitator and a convinced Marxist. He exhibited his new faith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against the peasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N. K. Mikhiaiovsky While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russian revolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, a claimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year a “congress” of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of he Russian Social Democratic Worker’s Party.

The Manifesto issued in the name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by the economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate “legal Marxist” group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The manifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian conditions, and of the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11). The first true congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer of 1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authorities o move to London, where the proceedings were concluded.

The Second Congress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the representatives of various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a deep split that was mainly caused by Lenin — his personality, his drive for power in the movement, and his “hard” philosophy of the disciplined party organization. At the close of the congress Lenin commanded a temporary majority for his faction and seized upon the label “Bolshevik” (Russian for Majority), while his opponents who inclined to the “soft” or more democratic position became known as the Mensheviks” or minority (Daniels, 19).

Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading place among the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second party Congress in 1903. He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could not reconcile itself to Lenin’s stress on the party organization. Trotsky stayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in 1917. From that point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to Lenin’s philosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to the surface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger,

In the months after the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a rebellious group of Bolsheviks. This was to be in opposition of the new majority of the congress, the Menshiviks, led by Trotsky. Twenty-two Bolsheviks, including Lenin, met in Geneva in August of 1904 to promote the idea of the highly disciplined party and to urge the reorganization of the whole Social-Democratic movement on Leninist lines (Stoessinger, 33). The differences between Lenin and the Bogdanov group of revolutionary romantics came to its peak in 1909.

Lenin denounced he otzovists, also known as the recallists, who wanted to recall the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma, and the ultimatists who demanded that the deputies take a more radical stand — both for their philosophical vagaries which he rejected as idealism, and for the utopian purism of their refusal to take tactical advantage of the Duma. The real issue was Lenin’s control of the faction and the enforcement of his brand of Marxist orthodoxy. Lenin demonstrated his grip of the Bolshevik faction at a meeting in Paris of the editors of the Bolsheviks’ factional paper, which had become the headquarters of the faction.

Bogdanov and his followers were expelled from the Bolshevik faction, though they remained within the Social-Democratic fold (Wren, 95). On March 8 of 1917 a severe food shortage cause riots in Petrograd. The crowds demanded food and the step down of Tsar. When the troops were called in to disperse the crowds, they refused to fire their weapons and joined in the rioting. The army generals reported that it would be pointless to send in any more troops, because they would only join in with the other rioters. The frustrated tsar responded by stepping down from power, ending the 300-year-old Romanov

With the tsar out of power, a new provisional government took over made up of middle-class Duma representatives. Also rising to power was a rival government called the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies consisting of workers and peasants of socialist and revolutionary groups. Other soviets formed in towns and villages all across the country. All of the soviets worked to push a three-point program which called for an immediate peas, the transfer of land to peasants, and control of factories to workers. But the provisional government stood in conflict with the other smaller overnments and the hardships of war hit the country.

The provisional government was so busy fighting the war that they neglected the social problems it faced, losing much needed support (Farah, 580). The Bolsheviks in Russia were confused and divided about how to regard the Provisional Government, but most of them, including Stalin, were inclined to accept it for the time being on condition that it work for an end to the war. When Lenin reached Russia in April after his famous “sealed car” trip across Germany, he quickly denounced his Bolshevik colleagues for failing to take a sufficiently revolutionary

In August of 1917, while Lenin was in hiding and the party had been basically outlawed by the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks managed to hold their first party congress since 1907 regardless. The most significant part of the debate turned on the possibility for immediate revolutionary action in Russia and the relation of this to the international upheaval. The separation between the utopian internationalists and the more practical Russia-oriented people was The Bolsheviks’ hope of seizing power was hardly secret. Bold refusal of the provisional Government was one of their major ideals.

Three weeks before the revolt they decided to stage a demonstrative walkout from the advisory assembly. When the walkout was staged, Trotsky denounced the Provisional Government for its alleged counterrevolutionary objectives and called on the people of Russia to support the Bolsheviks (Daniels, 110). On October 10 of 1917, Lenin made the decision to take power. He came secretly to Petrograd to try and disperse any hesitancies the Bolshevik leadership had over his demand for armed revolt. Against the opposition of two of Lenin’s long-time lieutenants, Zinovieiv and

Kamenev, the Central Committee accepted Lenin’s resolution which formally instructed the party organizations to prepare for the seizure Finally, of October 25 the Bolshevik revolution took place to overthrow the provisional government. They did so through the agency of the Military-Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. They forcibly overthrew the provisional government by taking over all of the government buildings, such as the post office, and big corporations, such as the power companies, the shipyard, the telephone company. The endorsement of the coup was secured from the Second

All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which was concurrently in session. This was known as the “October Revolution” (Luttwak, 74) Through this, control of Russia was shifted to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. In a quick series of decrees, the new “soviet” government instituted a number of sweeping reforms, some long overdue and some quite revolutionary. They ranged from “democratic” reforms, such as the disestablishment of the church and equality for the national minorities, to the recognition of the peasants’ land seizures and to openly socialist steps such as the nationalization of banks.

The Provisional Government’s commitment to the war effort was denounced. Four decrees were put into action. The first four from the Bolshevik Revolutionary Legislation were a decree on peace, a decree on land, a decree on the suppression of hostile newspapers, and a declaration of the rights of the peoples of Russia (Stossenger, 130). By early 1918 the Bolshevik critics individually made their peace with Lenin, and were accepted back into the party and governmental leadership. At the same time, the Left and Soviet administration thus acquired the exclusively Communist character which t has had ever since.

The Left SR’s like the right SR’s and the Mensheviks, continued to function in the soviets as a more or less legal opposition until the outbreak of large-scale civil war in the middle of 1918. At that point the opposition parties took positions which were either equally vocal or openly anti-Bolshevik, and one after another, they were suppressed. The Eastern Front had been relatively quiet during 1917, and shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution a temporary armstice was agreed upon. Peace negotiations were then begun at the Polish town of Brest-Litovsk, behind the German lines.

In agreement with their earlier anti-imperialist line, the Bolshevik negotiators, headed by Trotsky, used the talks as a discussion for revolutionary propaganda, while most of the party expected the eventual return of war in the name of revolution. Lenin startled his followers in January of 1918 by explicitly demanding that the Soviet republic meet the German conditions and conclude a formal peace in order to win what he regarded as an indispensable “breathing spell,” instead of shallowly risking the future of the revolution (Daniels, 135).

Trotsky resigned as Foreign Commissar during the Brest-Litovsk risis, but he was immediately appointed Commissar of Military Affairs and entrusted with the creation of a new Red Army to replace the old Russian army which had dissolved during the revolution. Many Communists wanted to new military force to be built up on strictly revolutionary principles, with guerrilla tactics, the election of officers, and the abolition of traditional discipline. Trotsky set himself emphatically against this attitude and demanded an army organized in the conventional way and employing “military specialists” — experienced officers from the old army.

Hostilities between the Communists and the Whites, who were the groups opposed to the Bolsheviks, reached a decicive climax in 1919. Intervention by the allied powers on the side of the Whites almost brought them victory. Facing the most serious White threat led by General Denikin in Southern Russia, Lenin appealed to his followers for a supreme effort, and threatened ruthless repression of any opposition behind the lines. By early 1920 the principal White forces were defeated (Wren, 151). For three years the rivalry went on with the Whites capturing areas and killing anyone suspected of Communist ractices.

Even though the Whites had more soldiers in their army, they were not nearly as organized nor as efficient as the Reds, and therefore were unable to rise up (Farah, 582). Police action by the Bolsheviks to combat political opposition commenced with the creation of the “Cheka. ” Under the direction of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the Cheka became the prototype of totalitarian secret police systems, enjoying at critical times the right the right of unlimited arrest and summary execution of suspects and hostages.

The principle of such police surveillance over the political leanings f the Soviet population has remained in effect ever since, despite the varying intensity of repression and the organizational changes of the police — from Cheka to GPU (The State Political Administration) to NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) to MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) to the now well-known KGB (Committee for State Lenin used his secret police in his plans to use terror to achieve his goals and as a political weapon against his enemies.

Anyone opposed to the communist state was arrested. Many socialists who had backed Lenin’s revolution at first now had second thoughts. To escape punishment, they fled. By 1921 Lenin had strengthened his control and the White armies and their allies had been defeated Communism had now been established and Russia had become a socialist country.

Russia was also given a new name: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This in theory meant that the means of production was in the hands of the state. The state, in turn, would build the future, classless society. But still, the power was in the hands of the party (Farah, 583). The next decade was ruled by a collective dictatorship of the top party leaders.

The Russian Revolution Of 1905 Was In Fact No Revolution At All

The revolution of 1905, in Russia, was not a complete revolution at all. To be able to respond to this statement accurately, it is firstly advisable, to look at what a revolution is. It is then best to observe what the Russian society was like before 1905, during 1905 and after 1905, to establish whether or not, a complete revolution had in fact taken place in the so called revolution of 1905′. To identify what to look for in the Russian revolution of 1905, and to discover if it were or were not a genuine revolution, it is firstly important to define the true meaning of the word revolution’.

In The Macquarie Dictionary’ the word revolution’ means,” a complete overthrow of an established government or political system. ” In The Oxford School Dictionary’ it also says a revolution’ is an “overthrow of old government by force and replacing it by a new one. ” And in Chamber’s Twentieth Century Dictionary’ it says ” a great upheaval: a radical change, esp. in government. ” From each of these different dictionaries; the modern dictionary, to the early 1900’s dictionary, the meaning of the word revolution has been essentially the same.

This meaning is that if a revolution was to occur, in a country as a whole, the governmental system is to be abolished, and a new one is to be set in it’s place, (which would in turn create a completely different social structure). Knowing what the word revolution’ means, confirms that the revolution of 1905 was in actual fact no revolution at all, even though Nicholas himself believed at the time it was, indeed a revolution . This becomes clearer as each stage (ie. before, during and after) of the revolution of 1905′ is uncovered.

Secondly, it is crucial to look at the background of Russia, before 1905, prior to looking at the actual period of the 1905 revolution, as to understand how the events of the revolution of 1905 did not create a revolution in itself. Before the 1905 revolution, the living conditions of the majority of the public were appalling, and multitudes were unhappy. There were two sides to the Russian society, on one hand there was privileged Russia’ including nobles, bureaucrats, the run of educated Russians, and even the merchants, (who often had risen from the peasants), -they owned most of the land.

The peasants, or dark people’, on the other hand, were the bulk of Russian citizenry, -they worked the land that the nobility owned. Chekhov described the peasants in a story that he published in 1897: ” these people lived worse than cattle The most insignificant little clerk or official treated the peasants as though they were tramps, and addressed even the village elders and church wardens as inferiors, and as though he had a right to do so. ” Chekhov was from the privileged Russian society, he came from an educated background (he studied medicine at Moscow University).

Income for most was also severe, from October 1903 to October 1904 real wages declined by between 20 and 25 per cent. Rapid industrialisation caused a number of people to move to the cities and towns, which made them crowded. Many were unsatisfied with the major cultural barrier between Russia and Europe, as Russia was not progressing into modern times’ like them. This was to do with the Tsars lack of effort for reforms. The Romanov Imperial family had ruled Russia for more than three hundred years by absolute autocracy.

This meant no political power, other than the Tsar, was allowed, and citizens did not possess the ability of free speech, press etc *). In 1894 Nicholas became Tsar, he was determined to rule as harshly as his father did, but his character was weak, and incompetent. He did not posses the qualities needed to lead Russia through such Turmoil of revolutionary acts, and many revolutionaries saw this as an opportunity to act. Revolutionary parties were illegal up until 1905 but they had gradually becoming more popular in the underground’.

Nicholas and the government ignored the growth of Revolutionary parties through the 1890’s. In 1898 the Social Democratic Labor Party was established, and in 1900 the Social Revolutionaries were formed. They both wanted reform in social and political sectors. The Social Democratic Labor Party split into two groups in 1903, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks . The revolutionary word was beginning to escape from the underground, and an uprising of rebellion was starting to develop. As the Russian economics were falling into a depression, widespread urban and rural unrest was aroused.

Partly due to this unrest the government led Russia into a war with Japan. There were many Russian troops, but they performed very poorly, had insufficient equipment and inadequate clothes. The Russian army suffered a disastrous succession of defeats. The Russian forces were finally beaten . This defeat, in turn, led to the onset of the revolutionary events that were to come, and had already started to occur . Russia, at this stage, had a dominant power, the Tsar, he had the ability to rule as he pleased, and to get rid of ringleaders of bothersome affairs at any time.

Russia was under developed compared to the rest of the world and had extreme class struggles. Many were discontented. By looking at this overview of the Russian society prior to 1905 it will become easier to understand that the Revolution of 1905 was in fact no revolution at all, as the governmental system was not completely overthrown, and no major change in society occurred. Thirdly, it is important to establish what events happened, and why they happened over the year of 1905, to provide evidence that the occurrences were revolutionary, but the year in itself was not a revolution.

By the 21st of January,1905 more than 110 000 citizens had ceased work. Through February 1905 there was a time of the chaotic disconnected strikes. January 22, 1905, commonly known as Bloody Sunday, was a revolutionary event only because of what followed, not of what actually happened on that day: A group of workers and their families set out, with the backing of several officials, to present a petition to the Tsar. As they approached the Winter Palace, soldiers with rifles sprayed them with bullets.

Father Gapon, the leader of the procession explains what he felt about the Tsar after the horrific event, ” Perhaps this anger saved me , for I knew the very truth that a new chapter was opened in the book of the history of our people There is no longer a Tsar for us’ I exclaimed” A number of events then proceeded to take place. In June the crew of the battleship Potoinkin’ threw officers overboard, and took control of the ship. The Georgians and Poles took this time of chaos to their advantage; they declared independence from the Russian rule.

Thus the “October Revolution. ” Peasants and workers revolted in an elemental and anarchic rebellion, ultimately turning a large-scale strike and bringing the government, economy, and all public services to a complete halt. Trade after trade, factory after factory, town after town were stopping work. The railway lines were the channels along which the strike epidemic spread. The unrest of the towns encouraged the peasants to seize the estate, crops, and the livestock of the landowners.

Nicholas describes the disorders from his point of view in a letter to his wife, ” Nothing but new strikes in schools and factories, murdered policemen, Cossacks and soldiers, riots, disorder, mutinies” By October 1905, the relations between the Tsar and his subjects had come to a complete breakdown. The Tsar realised that there were two possibilities that could restore his status, and maybe even quell the revolution. These were to either, ” find an energetic soldier and crush the rebellion by sheer force[or]give the people their civil rights” He decided to go with the more peaceful way.

With the help of his advisers he wrote up the October Manifesto’, this he signed. It became an official document on the 30th of October 1905. It gave the citizens of Russia their civil rights, and the right to a Duma. It basically promised to end the abuses of the autocracy. The October Manifesto was met with a mixed reception, many were satisfied, others saw it as the first concession in a battle of more radical reform, and some doubted that the Tsar would keep his promises. After the Manifesto was written and received, in December all members of the Soviet were arrested and were sent into exile in Siberia.

The army was sent to crush the soviet and over a thousand were killed. The Tsar continued to quash other areas of the revolution and a gang of thugs often known as the black Hundreds organised massacres against the revolution. Even at the end of 1905 Russia still had a core governing power, the Tsar. He still had the ability to rule as he pleased, and to get rid of ringleaders of bothersome affairs at any time, this is shown through his attempt of trying to crush revolutionaries. Russia was still under developed compared to the rest of the world and still had extreme class struggles.

Many were unsatisfied with the Tsar course of action toward the so-called revolution of 1905. Lastly it is important to look at the aftermath of the revolution to observe the affects that took place in society, and to understand how the government, in essence had remained the same; no radical change had taken place. From the October Manifesto a Duma was formed. This Duma was meant to share the Tsars power with the citizens of Russia. But the manifesto was only a bunch of words on a page, and the revolutionary parties did not trust Nicholas to his word.

They were proven right in December that year when the soviets were arrested. By March 1906 the so-called revolution was over. The Duma met in May for the first time, and Nicholas had set out a set of fundamental laws, one which stated,” To the Emperor of all the Russians belongs supreme autocratic powers”. In other words as far as Nicholas was concerned, Duma or no Duma Russia was still an autocracy. Nicholas even appointed a new Prime Minister, called Peter Stolypin, to make sure that there were no more outbreaks of revolution.

The majority of the people of Russia were content with the new system. But as time progressed they begin to realise how little a change the 1905 revolution really was. The Tsar started to disappoint the public by showing how unreliable and how corrupt his governmental system was. This was shown through world war one when Nicholas made himself number one in charge. By doing this he took the blame for all of the defeats they received. Another problem that arose was that he left his wife Alexandra, a German, to govern Russia during his absence.

Rasputin, a close family friend made his way into governmental affairs through Alexandra. He sacked 21 ministers and replaced them with men of his choice. The public was greatly affected by all of these incidents, and it left them feeling somewhat unhappy and dissatisfied. After 1905 Russia still had an autocratic ruler, the Tsar. He still had the ability to rule as he pleased, and to get rid of ringleaders of bothersome affairs at any time, shown through Stolypin. Russia was still under developed compared to the rest of the world and had extreme class struggles.

Many were still unsatisfied with the Tsar and his place in the social structure. Therefore, “The revolution of 1905 was in fact no revolution at all the autocracy was shaken but not overthrown”(Floyd). A Revolution is “a complete overthrow of an established government or political system”; the autocracy in the so-called “1905 Revolution” was not abolished, but remained firmly in place. Hence, even though revolutionary acts may have occurred, a revolution did not take place. Though it could be seen as The Dress Rehearsal’ for the real’ revolution to come.

Powell and Putin begin to hammer and sickle out the fate of bombs and Chechen terrorists

Today, Secretary of State Colin Powell alights in Moscow on the sixth stop in his barnstorming tour of yet another of imperial America’s new backyards. He meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin to try to nail down the details of a new agreement dramatically reducing the two countries’ nuclear weapons stockpiles. Both Putin and George Bush committed last month to sharply reducing their respective first strike nuclear armaments, and Powell, working toward that end, has met three times with Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov in the last week.

But while media coverage of Powell’s trip will focus on the potentially momentous nuclear breakthrough, a whole host of other pieces of the relationship between Russia and the U. S. are largely operating under media radar. It is impossible to understand them without understanding what has happened to Russia — a country still in many ways even more complex than the United States — in the ten years since Christmas Day 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the U. S. S. R. , marking the official dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Scholars will argue for generations over what combination of factors toppled the Soviet Union. Economic rot from within played a major factor. So, too, did the classic arc of popular revolutions (violent or not), which tend to occur not at times of great repression, war, or starvation (note to those wondering why Saddam is still in power), but when there is hope for improvement, and that hope becomes threatened. The Communist backlash against Gorbachev’s reforms hastened, rather than slowed, the collapse of Soviet totalitarianism.

But a different sort of calamity has taken its place for ordinary Russians, one in which former pieces of the Soviet empire bolted for independence, not to be confused with freedom — hence all those new Central Asian dictatorships you’d never heard of ’til September. And international business interests descended upon a Mother Russia held hostage to the “shock treatment” of capitalism. For ten years, pundits have been blaming the rot of communism for Russia’s economic mess, but oddly, Russia had far fewer worries about, say, unemployment or poor public health (let alone famine) in the bad old days.

Now, when Putin walks away from Russia’s nuclear stockpile, he is also walking away from one of the last reminders that Russians were once part of one of the most powerful countries in the world. Now, it’s another colony for Coca-Cola and Weyerhaueser and people like Colin Powell, and the “freedoms” Russians sought in exchange are being doled out in small, careful doses by organized crime and remodeled KGB executioners like Putin.

The biggest nuclear security issue involving Russia isn’t those warheads; Putin is agreeing to cut them in part because they are old and decaying, new generations aren’t being developed (unlike here), and there’s no one and nowhere to aim them at. In dealing with Russia, the fate of the ABM treaty is far more important. (The Pentagon went ahead with another Star Wars test ten days ago, although it didn’t explicitly break the treaty as once threatened.

And the fate of all those old nuclear materials, and the scientists with the training to handle them, is also an enormous issue. There have been countless reports in the last decade of former Soviet components of weapons of mass destruction showing up on black markets. Russia is also trying to draw closer to NATO, at this point mostly so it can focus its security worries on its southern flank: China and its former republics, especially the Islamic ones, and especially the Caspian Sea region where Saudi Arabian-sized oil fields await development.

As with the forests and minerals of Siberia, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Russia no longer has the influence necessary to lock up those resources for itself; they’re now going to be shared, at best, with American corporations and allies. The former empire is being overtaken by the current, and expanding, empire. U. S. relations with Russia are at the core of the geopolitical maneuvering accompanying the public spectacle of the unseating of the Taliban and search for Bin Laden.

Apprehending Bin Laden will not stop Al-Qaeda, let alone terrorism, but if in the process new military alliances and economic commitments are cemented in a part of the world where the Soviet collapse has left something of a power vacuum, and where the close friends of an oil-soaked White House stand to make countless fortunes, well, call it more than a happy coincidence. When viewed at this level, the fate of ordinary Afghans at the hands of Kabul’s newest set of brutal warlords is profoundly irrelevant.

So is the fate of Chechnya — a former Soviet republic, mostly Islamic, which Russia has tried dearly to hold on to, at the cost of an enormous number of innocent Chechen lives. It is the great misery of Chechens to live close to the Caspian Sea. Photo-ops like today’s handshakes between Powell and Putin have an ugly subtext; the fate of an entire people, like the citizens of Chechnya, can hang in the balance of someone like Colin Powell “sweetening the pot” for an entirely unrelated issue (e. g. new pipeline in Kazakhstan, or abolition of the ABM treaty) by agreeing to look the other way when Putin reverts to old Stalinist habits of mass extermination.

America’s view of Moscow’s handling of the Chechen conflict has shifted notably in the past three months, and as Bush’s team has come to appreciate that Russia still has a few things left to auction off, Powell and Company have become more and more “understanding” of Putin’s need to deal harshly with the “terrorist” Chechens. Alas, the United States is also trying to convince Muslims that the War on Terrorism isn’t a War on Mohammed.

But there were, before October, four major ongoing conflicts pitting the Islam against the world, and the U. S. had its fingerprints all over two of them: Israel/Palestine, and the sanctions against Iraq. Now, in Islamic eyes, we’re going for all four. The U. S. is more overtly helping bankroll and support Russia’s attacks on Chechnya, and we are also pressuring Pakistan’s government to rein in the same Islamic fundamentalists that are at the front lines battling India’s incursions into Kashmir.

In other words, the United States is using the very process of burying its old Soviet foe to define and create a new permanent foe. For most of its first year, the Bush Administration seemed to be pining for a new cold war with China, an idiotic proposition given how closely intertwined our two countries’ economies are. But now we have a hot war, and like the old standoff with the Soviets, this one is being designed to last generations. And to think that it was just a year ago that we were worried about hanging chads.

The Rise of Communism in Russia

Unless we accept the claim that Lenins coup dtat gave birth to an entirely new state, and indeed to a new era in the history of mankind, we must recognize in todays Soviet Union the old empire of the Russians — the only empire that survived into the mid 1980s (Luttwak, 1). In their Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels applied the term communism to a final stage of socialism in which all class differences would disappear and humankind would live in harmony. Marx and Engels claimed to have discovered a scientific approach to socialism based on the laws of history.

They declared that the course of history was determined by the clash of opposing forces rooted in the economic system and the ownership of property. Just as the feudal system had given way to capitalism, so in time capitalism would give way to socialism. The class struggle of the future would be between the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalist employers, and the proletariat, who were the workers. The struggle would end, according to Marx, in the socialist revolution and the attainment of full communism (Groilers Encyclopedia). Socialism, of which Marxism-Leninism is a takeoff, originated in the West.

Designed in France and Germany, it was brought into Russia in the middle of the nineteenth century and promptly attracted support among the countrys educated, public-minded elite, who at that time were called intelligentsia (Pipes, 21). After Revolution broke out over Europe in 1848 the modern working class appeared on the scene as a major historical force. However, Russia remained out of the changes that Europe was experiencing. As a socialist movement and inclination, the Russian Social-Democratic Party continued the traditions of all the Russian Revolutions of the past, with the goal of conquering political freedom (Daniels 7).

As early as 1894, when he was twenty-four, Lenin had become a revolutionary agitator and a convinced Marxist. He exhibited his new faith and his polemical talents in a diatribe of that year against the peasant-oriented socialism of the Populists led by N. K. Mikhiaiovsky (Wren, 3). While Marxism had been winning adherents among the Russian revolutionary intelligentsia for more than a decade previously, a claimed Marxist party was bit organized until 1898. In that year a congress of nine men met at Minsk to proclaim the establishment of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party.

The Manifesto issued in the name of the congress after the police broke it up was drawn up by the economist Peter Struve, a member of the moderate legal Marxist group who soon afterward left the Marxist movement altogether. The manifesto is indicative of the way Marxism was applied to Russian conditions, and of the special role for the proletariat (Pipes, 11). The first true congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party was the Second. It convened in Brussels in the summer of 1903, but was forced by the interference of the Belgian authorities to move to London, where the proceedings were concluded.

The Second Congress was the occasion for bitter wrangling among the representatives of various Russian Marxist Factions, and ended in a deep split that was mainly caused by Lenin — his personality, his drive for power in the movement, and his hard philosophy of the disciplined party organization. At the close of the congress Lenin commanded a temporary majority for his faction and seized upon the label Bolshevik (Russian for Majority), while his opponents who inclined to the soft or more democratic position became known as the Mensheviks or minority (Daniels, 19).

Though born only in 1879, Trotsky had gained a leading place among the Russian Social-Democrats by the time of the Second party Congress in 1903. He represented ultra-radical sentiment that could not reconcile itself to Lenins stress on the party organization. Trotsky stayed with the Menshevik faction until he joined Lenin in 1917. From that point on, he acomidated himself in large measure to Lenins philosophy of party dictatorship, but his reservations came to the surface again in the years after his fall from power (Stoessinger, 13).

In the months after the Second Congress of the Social Democratic Party Lenin lost his majority and began organizing a rebellious group of Bolsheviks. This was to be in opposition of the new majority of the congress, the Menshiviks, led by Trotsky. Twenty-two Bolsheviks, including Lenin, met in Geneva in August of 1904 to promote the idea of the highly disciplined party and to urge the reorganization of the whole Social-Democratic movement on Leninist lines (Stoessinger, 33).

The differences between Lenin and the Bogdanov group of revolutionary romantics came to its peak in 1909. Lenin denounced the otzovists, also known as the recallists, who wanted to recall the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma, and the ultimatists who demanded that the deputies take a more radical stand — both for their philosophical vagaries which he rejected as idealism, and for the utopian purism of their refusal to take tactical advantage of the Duma. The real issue was Lenins control of the faction and the enforcement of his brand of Marxist orthodoxy.

Lenin demonstrated his grip of the Bolshevik faction at a meeting in Paris of the editors of the Bolsheviks factional paper, which had become the headquarters of the faction. Bogdanov and his followers were expelled from the Bolshevik faction, though they remained within the Social-Democratic fold (Wren, 95). On March 8 of 1917 a severe food shortage cause riots in Petrograd. The crowds demanded food and the step down of Tsar. When the troops were called in to disperse the crowds, they refused to fire their weapons and joined in the rioting.

The army generals reported that it would be pointless to send in any more troops, because they would only join in with the other rioters. The frustrated tsar responded by stepping down from power, ending the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty (Farah, 580). With the tsar out of power, a new provisional government took over made up of middle-class Duma representatives. Also rising to power was a rival government called the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies consisting of workers and peasants of socialist and revolutionary groups.

Other soviets formed in towns and villages all across the country. All of the soviets worked to push a three-point program which called for an immediate peas, the transfer of land to peasants, and control of factories to workers. But the provisional government stood in conflict with the other smaller governments and the hardships of war hit the country. The provisional government was so busy fighting the war that they neglected the social problems it faced, losing much needed support (Farah, 580).

The Bolsheviks in Russia were confused and divided about how to regard the Provisional Government, but most of them, including Stalin, were inclined to accept it for the time being on condition that it work for an end to the war. When Lenin reached Russia in April after his famous sealed car trip across Germany, he quickly denounced his Bolshevik colleagues for failing to take a sufficiently revolutionary stand (Daniels, 88). In August of 1917, while Lenin was in hiding and the party had been basically outlawed by the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks managed to hold their first party congress since 1907 regardless.

The most significant part of the debate turned on the possibility for immediate revolutionary action in Russia and the relation of this to the international upheaval. The separation between the utopian internationalists and the more practical Russia-oriented people was already apparent (Pipes, 127). The Bolsheviks hope of seizing power was hardly secret. Bold refusal of the provisional Government was one of their major ideals. Three weeks before the revolt they decided to stage a demonstrative walkout from the advisory assembly.

When the walkout was staged, Trotsky denounced the Provisional Government for its alleged counterrevolutionary objectives and called on the people of Russia to support the Bolsheviks (Daniels, 110). On October 10 of 1917, Lenin made the decision to take power. He came secretly to Petrograd to try and disperse any hesitancies the Bolshevik leadership had over his demand for armed revolt. Against the opposition of two of Lenins long-time lieutenants, Zinovieiv and Kamenev, the Central Committee accepted Lenins resolution which formally instructed the party organizations to prepare for the seizure of power.

Finally, of October 25 the Bolshevik revolution took place to overthrow the provisional government. They did so through the agency of the Military-Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. They forcibly overthrew the provisional government by taking over all of the government buildings, such as the post office, and big corporations, such as the power companies, the shipyard, the telephone company. The endorsement of the coup was secured from the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, which was concurrently in session.

This was known as the October Revolution (Luttwak, 74) Through this, control of Russia was shifted to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. IN a quick series of decrees, the new soviet government instituted a number of sweeping reforms, some long overdue and some quite revolutionary. They ranged from democratic reforms, such as the disestablishment of the church and equality for the national minorities, to the recognition of the peasants land seizures and to openly socialist steps such as the nationalization of banks. The Provisional Governments commitment to the war effort was denounced.

Four decrees were put into action. The first four from the Bolshevik Revolutionary Legislation were a decree on peace, a decree on land, a decree on the suppression of hostile newspapers, and a declaration of the rights of the peoples of Russia (Stossenger, 130). By early 1918 the Bolshevik critics individually made their peace with Lenin, and were accepted back into the party and governmental leadership. At the same time, the Left and Soviet administration thus acquired the exclusively Communist character which it has had ever since.

The Left SRs like the right SRs and the Mensheviks, continued to function in the soviets as a more or less legal opposition until the outbreak of large-scale civil war in the middle of 1918. At that point the opposition parties took positions which were either equally vocal or openly anti-Bolshevik, and one after another, they were suppressed. The Eastern Front had been relatively quiet during 1917, and shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution a temporary armstice was agreed upon. Peace negotiations were then begun at the Polish town of Brest-Litovsk, behind the German lines.

In agreement with their earlier anti-imperialist line, the Bolshevik negotiators, headed by Trotsky, used the talks as a discussion for revolutionary propaganda, while most of the party expected the eventual return of war in the name of revolution. Lenin startled his followers in January of 1918 by explicitly demanding that the Soviet republic meet the German conditions and conclude a formal peace in order to win what he regarded as an indispensable breathing spell, instead of shallowly risking the future of the revolution (Daniels, 135).

Womens Economic Role in Russia

Women in post-Communist Russia face violent crime, high unemployment, low wages and bear most of the responsibility for domestic duties. A colossal rate of alcoholism have given Russia one of the highest proportions of widows of any nation. The vast majority of Russian women must work full time to survive. They are also expected to do the bulk of the cooking, shopping, and childcare. Yet women earn, on average, only 40 percent as much as men and are three times as likely to be unemployed. Violent crime against women, including rape and spousal abuse, has also increased.

Women’s participation in paid labor outside the home was one of the defining features of economic life in the former Soviet Union. Levels of women’s employment increased rapidly following the introduction of a communist system in 1917. Since 1989, women have comprised 53 percent of the Russian population reflecting the WWII casualties. Women’s share of the labor force decreased somewhat after the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, when they comprised 53 percent of the labor force. At 51 percent in 1995, it is still among the highest in the world, and most women continue to be employed outside the home.

During the Soviet era (1917-1991), women were employed in all sectors of the economy. Today, as then, some sectors have a proportionately higher share of women than men, such as trade and food services, information, health and social welfare, education, culture and the arts, science, credit, insurance and finance, and state administration. Women’s proportion of the labor force in these areas has declined since 1991. The level of accessibility of income-producing occupations for those who desire and are able to work depends first of all on the competitive conditions in the labor market that determine the over-all dynamic of employment.

Since the beginning of shock therapy and until the end of 1998, employment had a steady downward trend, but it started to increase after the crisis was surmounted. According to data from R. F. Goskomstat, in 1992-1998 the number of employed dropped from 72 million to 63 million people, and the number of unemployed (according to the definition of the International Labor Organization) rose from 4 million to 9 million, but these values had been 65. 1 million and 8. 7 million people, respectively, as early as November of 1999.

During a period of economic decline, the employment of women declined more quickly than the employment of men (19. 3 and 17. 9 percent over 1992-98), but the expansion that has begun has made it possible to increase the number of female employees to a greater extent, and the gain in employment among women has been twice that of men. Nevertheless, the number of unemployed women rose by a factor of 2. 2, and men by 2. 4, over this period. This is explained by the fact that when there is a decline in demand for labor power, some able-bodied citizens leave the economically active population.

Many researchers regard this phenomenon as a latent form of unemployment (the “discouraged”), that it has specific gender features. Women’s educational levels continue to exceed those of men. In 1995, 20. 1 percent of employed women had higher education, compared to 17 percent of employed men. Approximately 69 percent of women, compared to 65. 7 percent of men, had secondary education. In the 1980s and 1990s, although the number of men and women receiving education in universities and technical colleges declined sharply, women’s proportion of the total receiving such training remained consistently above 50 percent.

Despite women’s high education levels, public sector employment figures from the fields of education and medicine indicate that women do not share equal opportunities in the workplace. Even in fields in which women predominate, men hold higher and more prestigious leadership positions. Women comprise a much higher, but decreasing proportion, of the unemployed who have registered with unemployment offices. In 1992, 72. 1 percent of the registered unemployed were women. This percentage decreased to 60. 3 in 1996.

The strong social stigma associated with unemployment, and the meager benefits available, suggest that under-registration of official unemployment is likely. Contributing to this problem is the hidden unemployment that has resulted from required reductions in hours or mandatory administrative leave, both of which have greatly increased. In 1995, 33 percent of unemployed women compared to 23 percent of unemployed men had secondary professional education. Many women who are nominally employed have shortened work weeks or are on required leave.

In areas with a proportionately greater share of women – such as insurance, finance, trade, and food service – women are experiencing greater competition from men as these fields become more lucrative. Discriminatory hiring practices in the workplace abound. Protective labor legislation serves as a deterrent for private business owners to hire young women of childbearing age. Bylaw, women are given up to two years of maternity leave, without losing their jobs. Many other provisions, such as those that prohibit the dismissal of single mothers, are not widely enforced.

While discrimination is officially discouraged, it exists. Open discrimination and mistreatment of women appear to be particularly widespread in the private sector where women may be requested to provide sexual favors or are sexually abused by their bosses. Older women who lose their jobs often encounter age discrimination. Job advertisements often read ‘young, attractive,’ or ‘over 25 need not apply. ‘ Western firms that would not be allowed to engage in these practices in their own countries frequently engage in them in Russia.

This is all prevalent because government employers discriminate against women workers constantly setting an example for the private sector. They discriminate by firing them in disproportionate numbers and by refusing to employ women because of their sex. Far from attacking such practices, the government has failed to enforce its own laws prohibiting sex discrimination. The Russian government, particularly its law enforcement agencies, has refused to investigate and prosecute domestic violence, dismissing women’s complaints as a ‘family affair.

Police in some instances have harassed women reporting sexual assault and refused to investigate their claims. Rural women, who have suffered particularly badly from the economic crisis in the former Soviet Union, are facing new problems such as longer working days and heavy manual labor. Increasingly, the rejection of manual farm work by young women produces a segregated female workforce, with middle-aged to elderly women working as laborers and livestock workers. Most rural areas have been steadily losing population.

More than 70 percent of the new rural unemployed are women, the majority under thirty, with young children. Women from rural areas who see no other prospect for employment are being enticed into joining prostitution rings. Despite the greater proportion of women in the labor force and women’s high educational levels, their earnings were approximately 65 to 75 percent of men’s during the Soviet period. Women’s concentration in sectors of the economy that had lower than average wages, as well as their low representation in leading economic and political positions accounted for part of this difference.

Many women with higher or secondary education were in skill categories that did not fully utilize their qualifications. The shift to the market in Russia has led to greater variation in earnings. Women and men with skills that are in demand in the economy -such as foreign languages, computer skills, and accounting – earn higher wages. Women’s monthly salaries from formal employment remained at 65 percent of men’s in 1992 and 1995. Differences between men’s and women’s wages decreased from 36 percent to 14 percent at the lower end of the wage distribution scale between 1992 and 1995.

Differences increased at the upper end of the scale. Men in the 90th percentile of wages earned almost 50 percent more than women in the 90th percentile in 1995. The private sector has expanded rapidly as a result of the privatization of state enterprises and the creation of new private businesses. Since 1993, many private and public initiatives have been launched to help privatized enterprises become viable and competitive in both domestic and international markets. Efforts have also been underway to foster the growth of new businesses, particularly small business.

But lack of start-up capital and access to loans with reasonable interest rates as well as corruption, are serious obstacles. Women confront additional hurdles. These include cultural and social biases and negative stereotypes of businesswomen in the media. Women’s low representation in positions of economic and political decision making in the national and local governments also limits their access to connections that their male counterparts have to set themselves up as entrepreneurs.

Some local governments have taken the initiative to foster skills training for women entrepreneurs and are offering information about financing alternatives. Progress on these fronts is slow. As women’s experience in other countries indicates, economic prosperity alone is insufficient to remedy persistent gender inequalities in the labor force and other areas. Women’s ability to change government policies is hindered by their limited representation in political leadership as well as by cultural and social attitudes.

The existence of a women’s party in Russia (Zhenshina Rossii) reveals a willingness on the part of women to engage in partisan politics. Although the women’s movement is small and fragmented, women’s explicitly feminist groups are raising political and economic issues as matters of public discussion. New organizations, such as the All-Russia Business Women’s Federation, are engaged in a variety of practical efforts including, training in business, negotiating, and advocacy skills to deal with the problems that economic change has created for women.

Starting in 1996, women’s issues were more prominent in government-issued special decrees and resolutions. In an effort to overcome the fragmentation of the women’s movement, as well as the lack of communication between women’s groups and government officials, representatives of forty women’s groups met with political leaders in March 1997. They signed a Charter of Women’s Solidarity. Effective action to deal with the impact of economic change on women will require a combination of government and private efforts.

The last years of imperial Russia

Catherine’s briefly reigning son, Paul, is remembered for two things. First, he declared himself grand master of the recently dispossessed Knights of Malta, a move more calculated to gain control of Malta than to support the work of the Knights. Second, out of dislike for his mother, he altered the succession law to exclude females from inheriting the throne. This would have tragic consequences a century later as the last Tsar and Tsaritsa risked the wellbeing of the country for the sake of a male heir. Paul was assassinated and replaced by his son, Alexander.

By the beginning of the 19th century, Russia was by far the largest country in the world. Not only had it reached the Pacific, but it had established colonies in Russian America, or Alaska. A generation later it would even establish Fort Ross, north of San Francisco, which it soon abandoned. At home, however, Napoleon was on the march and, when Catherine’s grandson, Alexander I, became emperor, he was faced with this looming threat from the west. Although Alexander made peace with the French emperor in 1807, relations worsened between the two. In 1812 France invaded Russian soil.

Alexander’s forces dealt a decisive blow to the French, from which they were not to recover. Russian troops would find themselves in Paris at the end of the war, apparently contributing the Russian word bistro (“quickly! “) to designate the French equivalent of a pub or bar. Like his grandmother, Alexander began his reign as a reforming tsar but became increasingly conservative with time. The end of his reign came under mysterious circumstances and coincided with the Decembrist uprising in 1825, which saw a group of young military officers stage an unsuccessful rebellion to back their demands for a constitutional monarchy under

Alexander’s younger brother Constantine — the same Constantine whose grandmother’s ambitions would have sent him to Constantinople. However, as Constantine had no interest in the throne, Alexander was succeeded by his youngest brother, Nicholas I, whose autocratic and military style earned him the title, “Gendarme of Europe. ” Deeply conservative, he sought to uphold Orthodoxy in religion, Russian nationality and autocracy in government, as part of his doctrine of “Official Nationality. ” When in 1848 another wave of revolutions broke out in Europe, Nicholas’ troops helped to crush these in some places, most otably in Hungary.

In 1835 a new code of laws was issued; this was primarily the work of Count Mikhail Speransky, who had been Alexander’s prime minister. Despite the reactionary tone of Nicholas’ reign, Russia had entered its golden age of literary and artistic endeavour. Alexander Pushkin (1799- 1837) was certainly the greatest of the literary figures of this era, his works eventually to attain for Russians something of the status of Shakespeare’s for the English-speaking peoples. In music Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) would have a similar stature. The brilliance of the Russian ontribution in these fields can hardly be overestimated.

One can scarcely list all of the names: Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821- 1881), Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883), Piotr I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Modest Musorgsky (1839-1881), Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov (1844-1908), and Anton Chekhov (1860-1904). Remarkably, the 20th century did not dim but only increased the Russian cultural achievement, even after the Bolsheviks came to power. Nicholas’ reign came to an end during the ill-fated Crimean War, in which the failings of his domestic and foreign policies became painfully pparent.

Nicholas was succeeded in 1855 by his son, Alexander II, whose reign was comparatively liberal and tolerant. Alexander is best known for having freed the serfs in 1861. In 1864 he established the first real system of local government, based on the zemstvo, a local assembly representing the landowners, the newly freed peasants, and the townspeople. (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn would make much of the precedent this reform created in making his case for a locally-based democratic system for post-communist Russia. ) The same year saw judicial reform based on western odels of jurisprudence.

Finally Alexander reformed the military, which had done so poorly against the Ottoman Turks, the British and the French in the Crimea. During Alexander’s reign an unsuccessful Polish uprising took place in 1863. In 1877 Russia fought a war with Turkey, came close to taking Constantinople outright, and would have created a large, pro-Russian Bulgaria in the abortive Treaty of San Stefano. However, the western powers intervened to prevent Russia collecting the spoils of victory, convened the Congress of Berlin the following year, and in the process parcelled out uch of the world amongst themselves.

On the verge of granting his people a long sought after constitution, Alexander was assassinated by anarchists in 1881. Alexander II If his father’s murderers thought they would browbeat Alexander’s son and successor, Alexander III, into implementing more reforms and more quickly, they severely miscalculated. The younger Alexander eschewed reform altogether and sought to rein in the various revolutionary movements, with harsh means if necessary. Alexander was a strong, decisive monarch, of large stature and imposing presence.

Among other things he sought to ussify the non-Russian nationalities within the empire, even those, such as the Poles and Finns, whose lands possessed the formal status of grand duchies in mere association with the empire. His chief advisor was the deeply reactionary Konstantin Pobedonostsev (1827-1907), who was also tutor to the tsarevich, the future Nicholas II. Alexander married a daughter of Denmark’s King Christian IX, Dagmar, who took the name Maria Fyodorovna. She was sister to the Princess of Wales, later Queen Alexandra, thus making Alexander nearly a brother-in-law to the future King Edward VII.

In this ime before the outbreak of the Great War, Europe’s royal families were increasingly interrelated, a fact which did little to tame the dangerous rivalries among their governments. Alexander died suddenly in 1894, and was succeeded on the throne by his unimposing and incompetent son, Nicholas II. As reactionary as his late father, Nicholas was nevertheless well-intended and deeply loved his people. He was also a devoted family man with little interest in affairs of state, but with a strong belief in God’s providence — bordering on fatalism — which he shared with his wife, Alexandra.

Born Alix of Hesse- Darmstadt, Alexandra exercised considerable influence over her husband, to the detriment of the country as a whole, particularly during the Great War. Nicholas’ reign was nothing short of disastrous, as Russia was defeated by Japan in 1904 and the rgime collapsed altogether in 1917. Although a revolution in 1905 was unsuccessful, it did lead, against Nicholas’ wishes, to the establishment of constitutional government and the enactment of the Russian Fundamental Law of 1906, which provided for, among other things, an elected Duma or parliament.

Solzhenitsyn believes that his rgime, under the reforms of Prime Minister Piotr Stolypin (1862- 1911), could have led to representative government within a stable constitutional monarchy. Of course, this was not to be. Russia entered the Great War on the side of Serbia, France and Britain. This bled the country’s resources, both human and otherwise, and served only to make way for the revolutions of 1917, which brought the Bolsheviks to power. Tragically, Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children would die at the hands of the Bolsheviks in the cellar of a house in Yekaterinburg the following year.

The Liberal, Radical and Conservative stages in the French and Russian Revolutions

First I want to say that both beginnings of the French and Russian Revolutions have two major similarities, Economic crisis and Constitutional Monarch governments. Second I think that all revolutions have three stages. I think the French Revolution did go through the three stages but I dont think that the Russian Revolution had the same three stages. I think in the French Revolution you can clearly see the liberal in the Constitution of 1791, the radical in the Constitution of 1793, and the conservative in the Constitution of 1795.

In the Russian Revolution the stages are hidden in February and October Revolutions and the their Civil War. Well you can start off with Russia in 1915 before all the revolutions. Nicholas II, a very incompetent leader, and not the smartest one either during a time of bad economic crisis. So that didnt help the government at all, not to mention they were fighting in WWI with half of the skilled workers fighting. While fighting in WWI, Nicholas thought that the troops would fight harder if he were leading them.

While Nicholas was fighting he left Tsarina Alexandra in charge of Russia. The problem with this is that she made horrible decisions, partly because of Rasputin (a monk, or faith healer), She would hear different sides of the argument and then the last person to talk to her would make her mind up for her. So Rasputin would basically just wait to be the last person to talk to her so that way he could get stuff done in the government. But this earned him a bad reputation and got him assassinated. This would lead to increasing problems and the start of a revolution.

The February Revolution (really in March) starts when Nicholas abdicates on March 15, 1917. The provisional government rules from March to November, which is the old duma that Nicholas created. Here is where you see the rise in the soviets power. But this does nothing for the country, they still have the problems of fighting a war, no food supply, and they wont redistribute land. Then Lenin and the Bolshevik party write the April Theses (Peace, Bread, Land). Lenin also takes control of the soviets, which is important because they are the skilled workers.

The October Revolution (really November) comes around because the Provisional government was defeated and the Bolsheviks start to take over cities, first at St. Petersburg and then Moscow. But they manage to sign a treat of Brest-Litovsk but they give up the best part of Russia in the treaty. The Russian Civil War starts out in 1917 and lasts until 1921. In the war the communists have the popular support and a unified army. This makes them unstoppable in the civil war, and they end up winning and setting up Moscow as their capital. The Reds (communists) were very right wing conservatives.

Now before France had their revolutions they had a Constitutional Monarchy just like Russia with Louis XVI and the National Assembly. The National Assembly tries to start the economy with destroying feudal privileges. All the land is to be owned by peasants and no longer nobles, but they are to pay it back slowly over time. Then National Assembly also adopts the declaration of rights of man, sells off church property for revenue, reorganizes the French administration, and institutes civil constitution of the clergy (all catholic priest are loyal to the state).

The liberal phase of the revolution happens at this time with the Constitution of 1791. It divided power between the king and legislative assembly, it have the right to vote to men over 25 (about of the population of men), it have the king power of suspensive veto, and it gave the officials responsibity to assemble. During this liberal phase they set up a development of public schools. The Radical Revolution was started between the Moderates (Girondins) and the Radicals (Jacobins). The Moderates supported the constitution of 1791.

But they wanted the revolution to end and wanted war to defend and establish borders. Then you had the Radicals that feel that the king cannot be trusted, favor a new constitution, and wan more revolution. This is when Europe gets involved, France declares war on Austria, Prussia but they dont have any money, King Louis XVI is removed from the thrown. The National convention is called and they write another constitution with no king. The Constitution of 1793 has no executive branch, no guarantees of personal liberty, universal manhood suffrage, and says that majority rules.

After that the trial of Louis XVI becomes famous with the introduction of the guillotine the humane way to die. Then the Jacobins take over. They start some new legislation; they abolished slavery, started mandatory draft, made a law of maximum on bread, started social security type programs, and made laws against free business. The rest of this revolution is mostly about the usage of mobs, particularly in Paris. The conservative part of the revolutions is where it ends, with the Constitution of 1795.

The constitution of 1795 had a separation of three powers, a restricted voting right, and elected officials (no king). But then Napoleon Bonaparte enters the picture, becoming a general of the military and putting down revolts. He becomes dictator in 1779 and Emperor in 1804. He uses parts of the Revolution, all political offices by talent and ability and keeps nobles privleges abolished so that none could raise up to challenge him. He also solves financial crisis, he just refuses to pay all debts to other countries.

He creates Code Napolean that guarantees personal liberty, religious freedom and poor position for women. To conclude both of these Revolutions had three stages: liberal, radical, and conservative. Both happened in much different ways of government and different times. But for the same reasons and under the same circumstances a government has to change and evolve with the time and the people. Im interested where the from of government now will go after we find the full effect of the Internet.

Catherine The Great

Throughout history, Russia has been viewed as a regressive cluster of barely civilized people on the verge of barbarism. In the eighteenth century, ideas of science and secularism grasped hold of Europe, and Russian Czars, realizing how behind Muscovite culture was, sought out this knowledge, attempting to imbed it into Russian society. Catherine II was one of these Czars. She listened to both the ideas of the philosophes and the problems of her people and strove to enlighten Russia by codifying the laws, establishing an elected government, funding hospitals, and forming a functioning school board.

Her attempts, however, were met with only partial success. Her reforms received much criticism, especially from the serfs, and Catherine was forced to realize, through the Pugachev Rebellion in 1773, that enlightening all of Russia was an impossibility. Catherine IIs greatest glory was seen in her foreign policies, as she solved two fundamental problems for Russia by winning victories over Turkey and Poland. As well, she established a League of Armed Neutrality and spoke out against the French Revolution.

Catherines reign created both prosperity and poverty for Russia. In order to decide whether she was truly great, one must evaluate her accomplishments upon the foundation of Russian ideals. At the end of the seventeenth century, Russia was a country in transition. The death of Czar Alexis in 1676 marked a change in Russian society, a movement from traditional Muscovite culture toward new, educated concepts. Reforms in the 1650s divided and weakened the Russian Orthodox Church, and a few bold individuals began to adopt a semi-westernized lifestyle.

By western standards, however, Russia still seem backward, and at best, a fringe nation of Europewithout benefit of middle class, universities, academies, or secular culture (Oblensky and Stone 144). The rebellion of the musketeers, or streltsy, in 1682 exposed a web of destructive feuds, religious superstition and xenophobia within Russia. Peter I took the throne in 1682 and reigned until 1725, with themes of war, love of foreigners, and love of the sea marking his rule. He and his army defeated Sweden at Poltava in 1709, he founded a navy at St. Petersburg, and he expanded the policy of hiring foreigners.

Peter wrought numerous changes, attempting to impose order on the Russian society, but, along with these reforms, he forged a gap between the upper Russian classes and the peasant population. After his death, Russia was turned over to several meager Czars: Peters wife, Catherine I, a self-indulged illiterate, from 1725-27; Peter, his 12 year old grandson, from 1727-30; his niece Anna, a woman with no political interests from 1730-40; and Ivan VI, an infant from, 1740-41 (Oblensky and Stone 145).

In 1741, Peters daughter, Elizabeth was raised to the throne, overthrowing Ivan VI. Lavish baroque palaces, an increase in western culture, and the taking of Berlin from Prussia in the Seven Years War characterized her reign. Again, Russia seemed to be establishing itself as a powerful society. However, Elizabeths successor, Peter III, undid much of what she had accomplished, as he returned Russias gains from the Seven Years War to his hero Frederick the Great (Oblensky and Stone 145).

Within six months of his succession, Peter was overthrown by a Guards coup in favour of his German wife, Catherine II. Catherine was thirty-three years old when she ascended the Russian throne. She had survived a loveless marriage, in which ambition alone sustained her (Gooch 6). Ignored by her husband, Peter III, she dedicated her time to learning the Russian language, studying the writings of the philosophes, and adapting cleverly to her new environmentskills which constitute important aspects of her reign.

Schooled by these teachings, she favoured religious tolerance, justice tempered with mercy (Gooch 91), education for women, civil rights determined within the bounds of class and estate, and the classical style in art and architecture. A women quite out of the ordinary, Catherine possessed high intelligence, a natural ability to administer and govern, a remarkable practical sense, energy to spare, and an iron will (Riasanovsky 256).

Along with her determination went courage and optimism, self-control, skill in discussion and propaganda, and a clever handling of men and circumstances to best serve her ends. Yet, together with her virtues, Catherine had certain weaknesses: her determination easily became ruthlessness, just as her ambition became vanity (Gooch 96). Even Catherine IIs admirers sometimes noticed that she lacked something, call it charity, mercy, or human sympathy (Riasanovsky 256).

Indisputably, however, for the first time since Peter the Great, Russia had acquired a sovereign who worked day and night, paying personal attention to all kinds of matters, great and small. Catherine began her reign with numerous enlightened, ambitious ideas, based on her readings of the philosophes. She took the first step toward liberalism by forming the Legislative Commission in which elections were introduced, codifying the Russian laws, creating a uniform school system and establishing a branch of public hospitals.

Upon her inauguration to the throne, Catherine had asked God to help her observe the law of the Orthodox Church, strengthen and defend the beloved fatherland, preserve justice, eradicate evil, all lies and impositions, and finally, to set up state institutions, by means of which the government would work within set limits and each department would have a defined sphere of action so that general good order would be maintained. For these purposes, she investigated every case that had come to her attention in order to discover the shortcomings that existed in Russia and how to best relieve them (Dukes 51).

In the first year of her reign, she noticed the general confusion and the inadequacy existing in the arrangement and the application of imperial laws. Peter the Great attempted twice to codify Russias laws, first in 1700 and again in 1714, with similar attempts made by his successors, particularly Elizabeth. None, however, were successful. For two years Catherine prepared her Instructions, or Nakaza set of principles which reflected her opinions on the political and legal structure desirable for Russia (Hosking 95).

Although Catherine had no intention of granting her subjects a constitution, and although her propaganda greatly exaggerated the radical nature of her intentions, the Nakaz was a strikingly liberal document (Riasanovsky 258). To discover the needs and wants of the Russian people, Catherine formed a Law Code Commission in 1767. The members were elected in local gatherings of the relevant estates: the nobility, the townsfolk, the state peasants, the Cossacks, the odnodvortsydescendants of the militarized peasants who had staffed the frontier linesand the non-Russians. (Hosking 98).

Deputies were sent to Moscow from all districts and towns, each with their own nakaz, or cahier, in which the requests and statements of grievance originating from their electors were drafted. However, the representatives were insensitive to the broad vision of creative statesmanship laid before them by their monarch (Dukes 100) and efforts were directed only at obtaining what they could within the existing system rather than recommending fundamental reforms. Catherine was quick to realize that the members were unaware of the needs of society as a whole and that they were unable to exercise self-restraint for the general good (Dukes 101).

Conveniently, she dismissed the Commission in 1768 when Russia went to war against Turkey. Nevertheless, the drafts written by the electives were not wasted, as the materials were employed in a Description of the Russian Empire and its International Administration and Legal Enactments, published in 1783. This proclamation was the closest thing that Russia had to a law code for the next 50 years (Hosking 100). It denounced capital punishment and torture, it argued for crime prevention and, in general, was abreast of advanced Western thought for criminology (Riasanovsky 259).

Catherine decided that, before positing common interests, which did not exist, she should put more backbone into fragmented Russia by creating institutions which would enable citizens to work together at least within their own estates and orders; Catherine adopted the task of laying the foundation for a civilized Russian society. Catherines first contribution toward forming an enlightened nation was to create a system of hospitals. Although medical science had yet to reach a respected position, Russia lacked, as did many other countries, a method of administering the small amounts of medical knowledge it did possess.

In attempts to alleviate this, Catherine funded the Town Hospital at St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg House for Lunatics, and the Foundling Hospital; as well, she popularized vaccinations. The Empress donated money to fund the Town Hospital at St. Petersburg, where poor were admitted without payment (Kochan 26). Upon admittance, they were shaved, bathed, and put in tidy dress. The hospital consisted of 300 well spread beds with curtains and a professor of electricity who was permanently employed to relieve diseases. Likewise, the St. Petersburg House for Lunatics was constructed, which became renowned for its gentle treatment.

Unlike other mental hospitals, it did not use chains to subdue raving patients, but instead used thongs, and, it only used gentle remedies, such as a strict diet, for mental disorders (Kochan 26). Finally, Catherine built the Foundling Hospital on the banks of the Muskva. This hospital broke new ground, for it was one of the first establishments of its kind. Through it, Catherine intended to discourage infanticide. A branch was set up in St. Petersburg in 1770, which acted as both a lie-in-hospital, admitting all pregnant women without pay, and a school, teaching girls sewing and boys the arts.

The function of the Foundling Home has been described as the transformation of private indiscretion into national benefit (Kochan 27) since all children were accepted without chargethe mother just had to state the name of the child and whether it had been baptized. Furthermore, it was through Catherine that vaccinations became widespread. Smallpox took the lives of many Russians, and permanently disfigured its survivors. Catherine was one of the first people in Russia to submit to an inoculation against the disease (Kochan 27). In 1768, she summoned the Quaker, Dr.

Thomas Dimsdale to perform the procedure; later that year, she had a Smallpox Hospital built, which, twice a year, inoculated children without charge. Through this, Catherine attempted to both instill scientific ideas in Russiashe decreed that Russia be equipped to produce its own medicines and surgical instrumentsand, to save the lives of many commoners (Riasanovsky 264). However, rather than seek medical aid, unenlightened peasants ran to The Virgin as a cure from the disease. The peasants were unable to appreciate the hospitals along with many of Catherines other broad visions.

Catherines final social reform was in the education system. Not only did the Empress reorganize the schools of elite classessuch as the Cadet Corpsand introduce the first female schoolssuch as the Smolny Institute for Noble Girlsshe also created a successful nationwide education system of elementary and secondary schooling. Russian education was a failure up to the 1760s for several reasons: it lacked textbooks, it had no set curriculum, it used a wide application of over-rigorous discipline, it stressed education for state-service purposes, and it was limited by Russian superstitions.

It was Russian tradition that reading secular books was a temptation from the devil (Miliukov 5), and so, grammar was taught with Church Slavonic print and church books until the 1760s. This practice was harmful because, by the 1700s, Church Slavonic was no longer the vernacular (Dukes 30). Catherine alleviated this by drafting an index of secular books to be used in schools, including The Primer, Rules for Pupils, On the Duties of Man and Citizen, History of the World, Introduction to European Geography, and Russian Grammar.

Prior to Catherine, the curriculum was as useless as the textbooks since it laid emphasis on only a few practical subjects, and was, for the most part, without rhyme or reason (Dukes 31). The Russians of the first half of the eighteenth century tended to view education as general, separate pieces of information, and that to learn these and become an educated man was simple (Dukes 31). Catherine observed this restraint, and formed a system of successive learning, where specific subjects were studied in four grade levels, each level increasing in difficulty.

Through this, Catherine gave her people understanding, not just superficial knowledge. Russians also believed that severe discipline aided knowledge, a belief which stemmed partly from the nature of military Russian education and partly from teachers wanting dumb obedience (Dukes 31). It was also the consequence of the seventeenth century religious theory, that children were naturally wicked and that they had to be purged before they could learn, that led to the physical abuse of children (Dukes 31). This abuse handicapped Russian education by creating mindless followers instead of outspoken thinkers.

Catherine condemned this practice by banning physical punishment in schools, and therefore, taking the first step in creating a non-militaristic, rational education system. Another concept that impeded Russian schooling was Peter the Greats notion that the purpose of education was the preparation of the young for services of the state (Dukes 32). Consequently, people did not learn for curiositys sake, and they did not experiment. The installation of provincial schools was Catherines solution. In 1786, the Statute of Popular Schools was produced and published.

Although F. I. Iankovich, a Serbian graduate, was its chief architect, the Statute reflected, to a considerable degree, the education plans composed by Catherine (Dukes 242). This education system was nationwide, with cost-free elementary and secondary schooling for boys and girls, including serfs with the permission of their land owners. The Education Statute stated that, in every provincial capitol, there must be one major school, consisting of four grades and, in every provincial and district town, one minor school with two grades.

The classes were to study reading, writing, catechism, elementary grammar and arithmetic, drawing, church historyfrom teachers rather than clergyand, rudimentary civics, all in their native tongue, as well as in the foreign language which was most useful for everyday life, depending on where the school was situated (Obolensky and Stone 211). This system recognized that, education is for the prosperity of the individual, and not the state, and in order for Russians to become broad-minded, they must acquire the fundamentals of knowledge.

The final concept that made Russian education a failure was the influence of a peculiar Russian culture, composed of ancient, Slavic superstition and folklore, and simple, but powerful Orthodox Christian faith (Dukes 34). Peter the Great began the struggle against the old culture by creating a strict order with uniform regulations, however, this organization was rejected by the vast majority of Russians who wanted to stick to the old ways. Catherine tried to create a school system that would be embraced by all Russians, with moderate success.

Although the education was free, and open to all classes, just after Catherines death, there were 49 major schools in operation, with 269 teachers and only 7 001 students enrolled; similarly, there were 239 minor schools, with 491 teachers and only 15 209 students. In comparison with the Russian population, these numbers were miniscule, but, in comparison with the number of students of 1727, which was no more than 2 000, her educational reform marked a great leap forward.

In many ways her principles were remarkableself-governing institutions and the spirit of free intellectual enquiry (Hosking 125). The Statute of Popular Schools was Catherines last major act in the cultural field. Three years after its publication, the French revolution broke out and Catherine turned her attention to foreign acquisitions. By the 1780s, Catherine had realized that her dreams of recreating Russia were not possible. Although she was greatly influenced by the philosophes, she argued with Diderot that his theories could not be applied to Russian reality:

Monsieur Diderot, I have listened with the greatest of pleasure to all that your brilliant genius has inspired you with; but all your grand principles, which I understand very well, though they make fine books, would make sad work in actual practice. You forget, in all your plans for reformation, the difference between our two positions. You work only upon paper, which submits everything. Whereas I, a poor empress, work upon human nature, which is on the contrary, irritable and easily offended. (Oblensky and Stone 210)

The bloody rebellion, led by Cossack Pugachev, showed too well that enlightened theories and domestic realities were often at odds. In 1773, a Don Cossack claimed to be the late Peter III, reclaiming his throne and bringing justice to the oppressed. He started his rebellion in southern Russia, and at its height, it encompassed a huge territory in eastern European Russia. The aim of the rebellion was to exterminate all officials and property owners and free the serfs, and to replace Catherine IIs government with a Cossack-style democracy.

The system failed, however, because of lack of coherent program and serious rivalries between different groups (Oblensky and Stone 225). Pugachev was betrayed by his followers, tried in court, and executed. The rebellion demonstrates a major flaw in Russian lower class: the serfs knew they were dissatisfied with Catherines system, but they were too self absorbed and uneducated to be able to work toward the general good.

Catherine had realized long before, during the Legislative Commission, that in order to abolish serfdom Russia would have to be completely re-instituted: priests must become as literate as foreign priests and the nobles as sharp-witted as the English, the peasants must know their ABC, become honest and obey the wrath of God and the rabble must have a better understanding of foreign crafts and become more intelligent (Dukes 31). The Empress realized that it was first necessary to educate the higher classes and to then let the knowledge seep down until it reached the peasantry.

Regardless, Pugachevs Rebellion was a shock to Catherines liberal instincts and it marked the most critical moment of her reign: a turning point in which she replaced her radical internal reforms with an aggressive foreign policy. Shaping foreign policy was one of the principal tasks of the Russian Czar and through it, Catherine accomplished her greatest glory for Russia. Russia had three fundamental problems in foreign relations: the Swedish, the Turkish, and the Polish (Riasanovsky 264).

Peter the Great solved the first and Catherine the Great the final two. In their struggle against Turkey, the Russians aimed to reach the Black Sea, to obtain their natural southern border, and to reclaim the fertile lands lost to the Asiatic in the days of the Kievan state. In The First Turkish War, 1768-74, impressive victories over Turkey were won by Count Peter Rumiantsev on land, and Alexis Orlov on sea. By the summer of 1774, Turkey was ready to make peace.

The Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji awarded Russia the strategic points of Kinburn, Yenikale and Kerch in and near the Crimea as well as part of the Black Sea coast (Kochan 5). In addition, Russia acquired the right to build and Orthodox Church in Constantinople. The First Turkish War marked the first decisive defeat of Turkey by Russia and, although the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji reflected the Russian victory, Catherines ambitions were yet to be fulfilled. The Second Turkish War began in 1787 when Turkey declared war on Russia.

Catherines troops, led by General Alexander Suvorov, scored a series of brilliant victories over Turkish forces, notably in 1790 when Suvorov stormed and won the supposedly impregnable fortress of Ismail. By the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, Russia gained the fortress of Ochakov and the Black Sea shore up to the Dniester River, and Turkey recognized her annexation of Crimea. The conquest of this region freed Russia from many of the chronic disadvantages it had suffered for centuries while hemmed in among the forests and on the poor soils of the north (Hosking 107).

Catherine had won for Russia her natural boundaries in the south, and essentially solved the Turkish problem. Catherine IIs Polish policy turned out to be as impressive as her relations with Turkey. It is often said that Poland was ready for partitioning in the second half of the eighteenth century: elected kings were unable to control their subjects and the only other form of authority, the sejm, or diet, failed almost entirely to function (Riasanovsky 267).

Catherine felt that Poland was constantly overrun with disorder and violence; she always looked with particular sympathy upon the oppression to which the lands and towns adjacent to the Russian empire, which were formerly her property had been subjected to (Oblensky and Stone 214). The conflicting interests of numerous religions and an avaricious gentry accentuated the weaknesses of the Polish government. For these reasons, Catherine felt it necessary that Russia take under her power all the lands, towns, and regions enclosed within Poland.

By the first partition of Poland in 1772, Russia obtained White Russian and Latvian Lithuania to the Dvina and the Dnieper rivers with some 13 million inhabitants; by the second partition in 1793, Russia took more of Lithuania and most of the western Ukraine with a total of 3 million inhabitants; by the third partition in 1795, Russia acquired the remainder of Lithuania and the Ukraine, with 12 million inhabitants, as well as the Duchy of Courland, where Russian influence had predominated from the time of Empress Anne (Riasanovsky 270).

The partitioning of Poland brought tragedy to the Poles, but glory to the Russians. Poland had always been regarded as a hindrance if not a danger to the growth of the Russian state (Kochan 5). Catherine had eliminated an old enemy, rival, and a source of conflicts, while at the same time adding to her own lands, resources and populations. After the division of Poland, Russia, Prussia and Austria cooperated closely on the international scene, holding Eastern Europe completely under their control. Catherine is criticized on the aggressive nature in which she, Austria, and Prussia seized the Polish lands.

However, Russias case differs greatly from those of Prussia and Austria: in the three partitions, Russia took old Russian lands, once part of the Kievan state, populated principally by Orthodox Ukrainians and White Russians (Hosking 60), whereas the two German powers grabbed ethnically and historically Polish territory. The Russians, therefore, came as liberatorsas Catherine had statedthe Prussians and Austrians as oppressors. Catherines foreign policy was not limited to the relations with Turkey and Poland.

Other important developments included the Russian role in the League of Armed Neutrality, a war against Sweden, and the Empresss reaction to the French Revolution. To protect the commerce of non-combatant states against arbitrary actions of the British, Catherine proposed a doctrine of armed neutrality at sea in 1780. It insisted that neutral ships could pass freely from port to port and along the coast to combatants, that enemy goods in neutral ships, except contraband, were not subject to seizure, and that to be legal a blockade had to be enforced, rather than merely proclaimed (Riasanovsky 271).

Several other European countries supported her proposals which eventually became part of international maritime law. In 1788, Sweden attacked Russia while the Russian armies were at war with Turkey. Repeatedly, the Swedes threatened St. Petersburg, however, with no success, as the Treaty of Werala in 1790 confirmed the pre-war boundary. Catherine triumphed in defending her adopted country. The French Revolution made a strong impression on Catherine: the heroes she embraced in her youth became the objects of criticism in her maturity.

I cannot believe in the superior talents of the cobblers and shoemakers for government and legislation, she wrote in 1789, they know ten times more and do ten times more harm than my employes who do not indulge in such fine phrases (Gooch 99). Catherine, however, lived in Russiaa backward country with no middle class, where education and science were rejected in favour of Muscovite superstition and religionand not Francea developing nation with a powerfully educated middle class.

Although Catherine had made the first step in progressivism, by introducing a system of government, laws, hospitals, and schools, the Russian commoner remained unaffected. In France, the peasantry knew their desires; in Russia, they only knew their duties. Consequently, the people of Russia were unable to govern themselves and remained solely dependent on the strength of an enlightened despot; no one need blame Catherine for accepting the prevailing ideology of her time (Gooch 107). Although Catherine IIs list of achievements is of great bulk, merely recording them is not enough to define her as great.

Rather, the reforms imposed by Catherine must be evaluated upon the background of ancient Muscovite beliefs. Catherine adopted a backward and ignorant society, installed provincial governments, codified the laws, created a school board, established hospitals, expanded the borders, and overall, took the first step in progressiveness. Influenced by the thinkers of her time, and observant of her countrys flaws, Catherine was able to combine the new ideas of the eighteenth century with the realities of traditional Muscovite society.

The Empress understood that, in order to bring Russia abreast with western society, she must first build a backbone of government institutions from which knowledge could percolate down through all ranks of society. Her greatness comes, not only through her internal and foreign accomplishments, but also through her appreciation of Russian antiquity, and her ability to apply the new enlightened ideas to its eccentric culture. She won for Russia a place among the Great Powers which since her day, has never been lost.

Rasputin Mad Monk

Throughout Russian history, there were many individuals who captured the interests and curiosity of scholars both domestic and foreign, but one stands out as the most ambiguous. Grigori Yefimovitch Rasputin, the so- called “Mad Monk” or “Siberian Mystic Healer”, has gained notoriety throughout the world for his astounding medical feats involving the stopping of the sometimes never ending bleeding of hemophiliacs. In the time of Rasputin, 1864-1916, there were no effective medical means to stop the bleeding that plagued hemophiliacs, yet the mystical powers of one man had the power to do so.

Since there were no written records compiled at the time to account for his legacy, the stories of Rasputin have been passed along throughout time by believers and skeptics alike. It is said that as early as 1900, Rasputin had gained fame in Eastern Russia as a faith healer, or wandering holy mendicant. He was said to have had the powers of precognition, foreseeing the future, clairvoyance, seeing events happening elsewhere, and healing the sick without medication or therapy. Many have attributed Rasputin’s powers to the arts of the Orientals, which he had picked up along his travels.

Many groups in Russia wished Rasputin dead, because they could not logically interpret his actions and could not rationalize his power. He was seen at this time as a sort of “Devil’s Advocate”, because no one believed that a Holy Man could posses such powers. His methodology was not that of the time period he lived in, and just as it is today, people fear what they cannot understand in rational means. Though Rasputin was a savior for many, he was looked upon by the majority of Russian peoples as a fraudulent evil doer.

No matter what the general consensus was, Rasputin extended the lives of many where they would have surely died without his help. (Candler 1). From an early age Rasputin’s mystical powers were present. When he was only a child, he had the ability to calm and heal farm animals. He also possessed the powers of clairvoyance at an early age. He could judge a man’s motives and character with just a glance into his eyes. On one described occasion in his childhood, Rasputin was in bed with a fever, when he envisioned the face of a man stealing a horse.

Rasputin identified the man, who was a rich and prominent villager, and though the man denied the accusation, it was later proven that he was the thief. These small accomplishments of his youth, along with the teachings he received at the Monastery of Verkhotourie, provoked Rasputin to speak with the holy hermit Makari. Makari informed him that God had some large tasks for him to overcome, and that he must travel abroad to sacred sites to enrich his knowledge of the divine. He spent many years of his life wandering as far as Mt.

Athos in Greece, walking twenty-five to thirty miles a day with little or no sustenance, searching for enlightenment. (Kwapien 1-2). While traveling abroad, Rasputin was introduced to some of the remaining heretical sects of the Old Believers. During this time, thousands of Old Believers were persecuted by the Patriarch Nikon, as he attempted to cleanse Russia of these sects and enforce Orthodox Christianity. Those who escaped fled to Siberia and continued to establish churches and communities.

Nikon’s rapid persecution of these sects weakened the Orthodox Church and gave rise to groups such as the Khlysty, which Rasputin is said to have taken part in. Their secret rites were extremely sexual and orgiastic in nature, and it was believed that through sexual sin, one could gain repentance. It has been said that Rasputin strengthened his powers through sexual acts performed while taking part in the Khlysty. (Kwapien 1-2). Rasputin’s greatest feat in spiritual healing was the aid he provided the Tsarevitch Aleksei, a hemophiliac, in 1912.

Aleksei had inherited the blood disorder from his mother, Alexandra, and the Romanov family had a history of the affliction. Aleksei had been badly bruised by his own actions and was bleeding to death. Nicholas and Alexandra were extremely reluctant to invite Rasputin, because their son’s condition was kept secret, in fear that if this information was made public, he would never become tsar. Finally, realizing the powerlessness of the boy’s doctors and the seriousness of his affliction, Rasputin was called to St. Petersburg. (Hollenbach 3).

Rasputin came to the boy’s bedside, and with only a few spoken words and a wave of his hand, pronounced the Tsarevitch cured. Rasputin had induced a feeling of calm and a sense of well-being in the Tsarevitch, which amazingly changed the boy’s body, slowing his bleeding, sending him into a deep tranquil sleep, and eventually stopping the bleeding altogether. Doctors were baffled, and Nicholas and Alexandra were forever thankful. According to those who viewed these actions, Aleksei did recover fully. Though this seems like something out of a fairy tale, Rasputin did indeed cure the Tsarevitch.

It has never been conclusively proven as to how Rasputin did in fact heal the afflicted, but the evidence in hand strongly points toward hypnosis. In hematology, the study of bleeding in hemophiliacs, it has been proven that the emotional state of a hemophiliac directly effects the flow of blood through the capillaries. Anger, discomfort, and mental anguish can cause an increase in blood flow, and if these feelings are turned to calm, comfortable, and jubilant, the blood flow will in turn decrease. It is hypothesized that Rasputin hypnotized the Tsarevitch and put his mind at rest, thus slowing the blood flow. Massie 191). J. B. S. Haldane, a British geneticist said “it is also possible that by hypnotism or a similar method, he was able to produce a contraction of the small arteries [capillaries]. These last were placed under the regulation of the [autonomic] nervous system and although they are not normally controlled by the will, their contraction can be provoked in the body of a hypnotized subject” (Massie 190). This account along with research done throughout a three-year period, points to hypnosis as the only logical means of Rasputin’s healing abilities.

In Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, from 1961-1964, a research project was conducted by Dr. Oscar Lucas. One hundred and fifty teeth were taken out of hemophiliac patients without using a single transfusion. Under normal circumstances extracting teeth from a hemophiliac would be major surgery, and would require massive amounts of transfused blood. Dr. Lucas used hypnotism to erase his patient’s fears, because this procedure would normally cause panic and unrest to hemophiliacs. The doctor is quoted as saying “An emotionally tranquil patient has less bleeding difficulty than one emotionally distressed.

Bleeding engenders fear and fear of bleeding is considerably greater in the hemophiliac than in non-bleeders. The anxiety which results may be averted through hypnosis” (Massie 190). This evidence is the proof that was needed to understand the miracles of Rasputin. Using hypnosis, or some other means of comforting the Tsarevitch, the anxiety and fear which would have otherwise caused him to bleed to death was relieved, and replaced with feelings of tranquility which slowed the flow of blood through his capillaries.

Though Rasputin was viewed by most during his time as the “Mad Monk”, a shady and notorious character, modern science and methodology has proven that Rasputin was a pioneer of spiritual healing. In these times of little or no medical means to cure bleeding hemophiliacs, Rasputin used the power of his mind to induce his patients into healing themselves. Rasputin’s methods are a perfect example of mind over matter, and he single-handedly pioneered a totally new type of medicine substantially before its time.

Discuss the reasons for the downfall of the Russian empire in 1917

There is so much that can be said in regards to the question “Why the Downfall of the Russian Empire? ” You cannot blame it on just a few individuals or because of any single factor, but you have to consider the historical and spiritual situation during the time Tsar Nicholas reigned. You have to consider historically development of Europe, its spiritual changes and also of course, the political aspects that had deeply affected the internal life of the Russian Empire and contributed to the downfall of the Tsar and the empire.

In Russia, there were various spiritual changes that took place. Citizens began to turn away from their beliefs in God, and instead were influenced by new philosophical ideals and beliefs, many of which came from writers based in Germany. These writings had a tremendous influence on the Russian political life. Atheism was the new philosophy. The outcome was highly significant for Russia. There was a turning away from Divine Revelation and from the former attitude of respect and love for Tsar. Treason also was a key ingredient.

From Germany, the Kaisers agents found Russian willing to collaborate with their plans of conquest, and used every means to influence supporters of the revolutionary cause. There were frequent, emotionally charged rallies, and much use was made of the press to exploit the revolutionary atmosphere being created. Rumors were encouraged and spread rapidly, and most citizens believed what they read, whether it was true or not. There was an assumption that if you were not Russian that you were a German spy.

Her Imperial Highness Tsarina Alexandria, the empress and wife of Tsar Nicholas was accused of being a spy, simply because she was born in Hesse, Germany. The war with Japan in 1904 didn’t help internal matters and the war with Germany in 1914 caused Russia to lose some territory. Both of these wars severely damaged the economy of the Tsarist Empire, and the revolutionaries took advantage of these internal and political and economic problems, and manipulated them to bring about the end of Imperial government.

The Russian railway system had never been adequate and the war had reduced its capacity to transport essential supplies. The lack of food and medical supplies, which could no longer be transferred from Western Europe rail, accelerated the problems of the Russian Empire, and the Germans made sure the trains did not get through to reach the needy people. The distress and anger this caused also contributed to the downfall of the Russian Empire. Then we must consider the political influences affecting the Duma at this time.

Several members of the Duma where very much influenced by the new philosophy and sought means to bring about rapid change in the country, indeed some of them had the same ideas as the revolutionaries. The Duma helped to destroy the Empire by failing to maintain its traditional ideals and purposes. Assassinations were on the rise too. In Moscow, alone twenty administrators appointed by Tsar within the government at the time were a powerful influence in keeping in Tsar in power. The revolutionaries knew that the best way to promote the downfall of the Tsar was to get rid of those who worked with and supported him the and the Russian Empire.

We begin with the assassination in February of 1905 of Grand Duke Sergei Romanov who was the Governor General 7T6T76T7TYof Moscow and the Prime Minister PytYGYGor Stolypin who brought abut reforms and found the means to helpGYGUGGHG the Russia with its internal progress and development. TheTRT87TGUGBJHB Prime Minister had implemented significant new economic8YY policies that astonished intellectIHHI87T98uals across the world. This death had a deep effect on the downfall of the Tsar and Russian Empire.

What were the causes of Russian revolution?

Before the war, there were lots of problems which led up to the revolution and we call them the long term causes. The peasants working and living conditions were very bad but the government made it even worse by its own policies. Russia needed to develop its industries, so that it was a modern agricultural country instead of a backward one and also to remain in an important military power. To aid this dilemma the government invested in enormous amounts of money in improving Russias industries.

Where did most of this money come from? From the pockets of the people in Russia! To do this, the peasants had to pay huge taxes ot only on grain but on nearly all everyday items such as alcohol and salt! Nevertheless, the workers wages still stayed very low and did not increase much at all as the government wanted to squeeze the people for every penny they could get to put into industrial development.

Soon later, all seemed well, iron and steel industries grew rapidly but then thousands of workers lost their jobs. This was a cause for strikes and rebellions against managers and the government. Also, things were not going very well in the country side. As if being taxed for all you were worth wasnt enough, there were very bad harvests for couple of years so now they were starving as well! To return the favour, the peasants became violent and started to burn landlords houses.

Then the Tzar went to war with Japan which he thought would make the public believe in the government again. However, it backfired on him and caused all the same problems again but by a greater degree. That really infuriated the people! Leading up to the war the peasants and workers still had: *Inadequate clothing *Insufficient and unhealthy food *Long, hard hours at work *Inadequate housing/shelter *Self-made entertainment *Impoverished standard of life *Very low quality of life Age of death-early 20’s-30’s.

These were the huge differences in the quality of life between the rich and the poor as the rich had: *More than adequate clothing *More than adequate food *Lived on rising and unearned income *Entertainment was provided for them *Excellent standard of life *More than excellent quality of life *Age of death-late 50’s, 60’s and above In these years leading up to the war, as you can see, the living standard of the peasants and workers did not improve as so they were forced to rise up against these massive inadequacies!!

Politically, Russia was very unstable as the people had lost a lot of respect for the overnment and the Tzar. When the Tzar started to use the Dumas people began to wonder whether they would have any real power. By the Dumas first meeting it was clear. They could not pass laws, they could not appoint ministers and they could not control finance in such important areas as defence. Was there much point in them if the Tzar did not like what they were doing or proposing to do, he could dissolve them?? So, no. In my opinion the peoples views were not being heard through the Dumas.

There are lots of opinions as whether the Tzar was fit to rule Russia. In my opinion, the Tzar was not fit to rule Russia but this was by no means his own fault. He was taught as a soldier and he was not taught to act and behave like a king so it was his statesmanship that was at fault, not him himself!! The War. The war did not only effect the army but the people at home. Food was getting short, all the male peasants had to be taken off to the army so only women and invalids were left to tend the farms, shops . etc.

All the working trains were being put to use for the war effort so food was not getting through from other places. Nearly all unnecessary factories in the cities were closed so that furthed in another massive nemployment. People were not getting coal and wood to burn because the coal industries were shut down so the people were freezing as well. Not only that but the prices were rising as well because of the shortages! Wages were not going up, workers had to work longer hours, and Vodka had stopped being made during the war so the people now had nothing to drown their sorrows in!!

There was a greater poverty all round, a loss in confidence in the government and there was no end to the awful news about the terrible deaths and casualties from far at the front lines! Nicholas II made two very large and obvious mistakes. The first was that he made himself head of the armed forces so when anything went wrong the people and soldiers blamed him as he was the head. What he should have done was make a General the head so that if anything did go wrong he would be blamed and not him. Then he could have sacked that General and given the job to another person!

His second mistake was that when he went away to fight in the war he left his wife in charge of the country and she was German and they were fighting the Germans so that was a unfortunate mistake. She did not know how to rule any more than he did so the government just carried on as they were doing nyway!! The Tzarina was then involved with Rasputin as he had (supposedly) saved her sons life, twice. She was a very religious woman and was convinced that Rasputin had been sent by God to save her son. Rasputin then became a close friend of the royal family.

Their relationship shocked even the highest level of government and society and their reputations suffered from it!! The Revolution. By March 1917 the situation had become desperate and there was a serious mood of discontent. The workers wanted political changes as well as food and fuel. Tens of thousands of workers were going on strike and ven the women joined in as it was International Womens Day . They were demanding food, fuel, better conditions and a better government. On the 12 March, soldiers refused to fire on crowds, some regiments shot their officers and joined in the demonstrations.

They had had enough of the war and the way they were being treated! The soldiers joined the strikers and the women in the streets marched to the Duma to demand that they take control of the government. I think that this was a major turning point. In my opinion it would have taken a much longer time to overthrow the government without the soldiers joining in!! Conclusions. In my opinion, most of the above issues are long term causes, the short term ones were about the lack of equipment and hospital facilities, the incompetence of the officers, inadequate armour, weapons . tc. , the massive loss of life and the 25% desertions!! In my opinion, it was not the Tzars fault intentionally to be a bad leader. It was his predecessors who did not train him properly. If they had really cared about what was to happen after they had died they would have done something about bringing up proper leaders. I think that they were very careless about choosing leaders but I also feel very sorry for the Tzar, it was NOT his fault!!