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Summary From Tsarism to Communism

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A snapshot of the summary - From Tsarism to Communism

  • 1 Historical Interpretation of the Russian Revolution

  • What does Edward Acton put forward in his exploration of the Russian Revolution?
    Emphasises the importance of 'ordinary people' in the overthrow of Tsarism; Bolshevik Revolution and establishment of a communist dictatorship
  • What was the historical interpretation of the Russian Revolution under communism?
    Tsars were vilified whist an almost religious cult was built around Lenin
  • How did historical interpretation of the Russian Revolution change after the collapse in communism?
    • growing sympathy for Nicholas II; Stolypin and the old regime; a growing idea that without revolution there would have been a gradual move to liberalism in Russia
    • Lenin is held responsible for all calamites that have befallen modern Russia
  • What is Edward Acton's argument against focusing on the individual in the Russian Revolution?
    "The genius or villainy of those figures [Nicholas II and Lenin] is unlikely on its own to explain why, of all the states of early twentieth-century Europe it was in the Russian Empire alone that a highly centralised, one-party communist dictatorship was established" - Edward Acton, 1993 (writing just after the fall of communism; could the focus of Edward Acton's on the 'ordinary man' be reactionary to focus on Lenin during Soviet Union?)
  • 2 Why Liberalism Failed

  • What aspects of Russian society marked as different to the West and potentially therefore caused the rise of Communism which didn't evolve in any other European State?
    marked social tension
  • What are two examples which could imply that in the last years of Tsarism liberalism was growing?
    1. Rapid expansion in a middle-class of doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals
    2. increase in independent, liberally-minded commercial press
  • What is a counter-argument to the idea that the growing liberal middle-class in Russia could have liberalised Russia peacefully without a revolution?
    1. Middle class was deeply divided among regional and cultural lines
    2. Unable to win support for liberal reform from economically powerful upper classes or numerically powerful masses (peasants and workers were being given no encouragement to see radual, reformist ways forward)
  • 2.1.1 Rural

  • What is an example of social tension in the agricultural areas of Russia?
    1. Small minority of noble landlords owned the majority of the best land
    2. Whereas the peasantry (80% of the Russian population) never accepted the Landlord's right to that land, instead they believed that the land belonged to those who worked it
  • How did peasants demonstrate their determination that private land should be distributed among them without compensation for the landowners?
    1. popular protest
    2. mass petitions
    3. first two elections to the State Duma (parliament established in wake of revolution of 1905)
  • What did the Landowners urge the Tsar's government to do in reaction to peasant demands for land?
    1. reject peasant demands
    2. crus rural disorder
    3. drastically reduce popular representation in the Duma
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