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Life in Stalin's Russia

All the past papers are here — just take 10 minutes to cut and paste the appropriate questions into your own file to create an essential tool for your preparation. Reform in Tsarist Russia The survival of Tsarism The fall of Tsarism — February The fall of the Provisional Government — October The Bolshevik consolidation of power Stalinist economics — collectivisation of agriculture. You are commenting using your WordPress. Over that period Trotsky sustained a whole series of defeats at the hands of Lenin's party. According to Edvard Radzinsky , the author of Stalin : "The opposition then organized demonstrations in Moscow and Leningrad on November 7.

These were the last two open demonstrations against the Stalinist regime. The GPU, of course, knew about them in advance but allowed them to take place. In Lenin's Party submitting Party differences to the judgment of the crowd was considered the greatest of crimes. The opposition had signed their own sentence.

Russia: from Lenin to Stalin, | Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)

And Stalin, of course, a brilliant organizer of demonstrations himself, was well prepared. On the morning of November 7 a small crowd, most of them students, moved toward Red Square, carrying banners with opposition slogans: Let us direct our fire to the right - at the kulak and the NEP man , Long live the leaders of the World Revolution, Trotsky and Zinoviev The procession reached Okhotny Ryad, not far from the Kremlin.


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Here the criminal appeal to the non-Party masses was to be made, from the balcony of the former Paris hotel. Stalin let them get on with it. Smilga and Preobrazhensky, both members of Lenin's Central Committee, draped a streamer with the slogan Back to Lenin over the balcony.

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Stalin argued that there was a danger that the party would split into two opposing factions. If this happened, western countries would take advantage of the situation and invade the Soviet Union. This decision was ratified by the Fifteenth Party Congress in December. The Congress also announced the removal of another 75 oppositionists, including Lev Kamenev. The Russian historian, Roy A. Medvedev , has explained in Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism : "The opposition's semi-legal and occasionally illegal activities were the main issue at the joint meeting of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission at the end of October, The Plenum decided that Trotsky and Zinoviev had broken their promise to cease factional activity.

They were expelled from the Central Committee, and the forthcoming XVth Congress was directed to review the whole issue of factions and groups. Trotsky refused to sign and was banished to the remote area of Kazhakstan. One of Trotsky's main supporters, Adolf Joffe , was so disillusioned by these events that he committed suicide. In a letter he wrote to Trotsky before his death, he commented: "I have never doubted the rightness of the road you pointed out, and as you know, I have gone with you for more than twenty years, since the days of permanent revolution. But I have always believed that you lacked Lenin unbending will, his unwillingness to yield, his readiness even to remain alone on the path that he thought right in the anticipation of a future majority, of a future recognition by everyone of the rightness of his path One does not lie before his death, and now I repeat this again to you.

But you have often abandoned your rightness for the sake of an overvalued agreement or compromise. This is a mistake.

Stalin's Russia- full revision notes

I repeat: politically you have always been right, and now more right than ever You are right, but the guarantee of the victory of your rightness lies in nothing but the extreme unwillingness to yield, the strictest straightforwardness, the absolute rejection of all compromise; in this very thing lay the secret of Lenin's victories. Many a time I have wanted to tell you this, but only now have I brought myself to do so, as a last farewell. Stalin now decided to turn on the right-wing of the Politburo.

He blamed the policies of Nickolai Bukharin for the failure of the harvest. On 6th January, , Stalin sent out a secret directive threatening to sack local party leaders who failed to apply "tough punishments" to those guilty of "grain hoarding". By the end of the year it was revealed that food production had been two million tons below that needed to feed the population of the Soviet Union. During that winter Stalin began attacking kulaks for not supplying enough food for industrial workers. He also advocated the setting up of collective farms.

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The proposal involved small farmers joining forces to form large-scale units. In this way, it was argued, they would be in a position to afford the latest machinery. Stalin believed this policy would lead to increased production. However, the peasants liked farming their own land and were reluctant to form themselves into state collectives.

Part one: The Russian Revolution and the Rise of Stalin, 1917–1929

Stalin was furious that the peasants were putting their own welfare before that of the Soviet Union. Local communist officials were given instructions to confiscate kulaks property. This land was then used to form new collective farms. There were two types of collective farms introduced.

The sovkhoz land was owned by the state and the workers were hired like industrial workers and the kolkhoz small farms where the land was rented from the state but with an agreement to deliver a fixed quota of the harvest to the government. He appointed Vyacheslav Molotov to carry out the operation. He attacked the kulaks for not joining the collective farms. No, we cannot. Can Soviet power and the work of socialist construction rest for any length of time on two different foundations: on the most large-scale and concentrated socialist industry, and the most disunited and backward, small-commodity peasant economy?

No, they cannot. Sooner or later this would be bound to end in the complete collapse of the whole national economy. What, then, is the way out? The way out lies in making agriculture large-scale, in making it capable of accumulation, of expanded reproduction, and in thus transforming the agricultural basis of the national economy. Stalin then went on to define kulaks as "any peasant who does not sell all his grain to the state". Those peasants who were unwilling to join collective farms "must be annihilated as a class".

As the historian, Yves Delbars , pointed out: "Of course, to annihilate them as a social class did not mean the physical extinction of the kulaks. But the local authorities had no time to draw the distinction; moreover, Stalin had issued stringent orders through the agricultural commission of the central committee. He asked for prompt results, those who failed to produce them would be treated as saboteurs. Local communist officials were given instructions to confiscate kulak property.

This land would then be used to form new collective farms.


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The kulaks themselves were not allowed to join these collectives as it was feared that they would attempt to undermine the success of the scheme. An estimated five million were deported to Central Asia or to the timber regions of Siberia , where they were used as forced labour. Of these, approximately twenty-five per cent perished by the time they reached their destination. Taylor : "Many of those exiled died, either along the way or in the makeshift camps where they were dumped, with inadequate food, clothing, and housing.

Ian Grey , in his book, Stalin: Man of History : "The peasants demonstrated the hatred they felt for the regime and its collectivisation policy by slaughtering their animals. To the peasant his horse, his cow, his few sheep and goats were treasured possessions and a source of food in hard times In the first months of alone 14 million head of cattle were killed. Of the 34 million horses in the Soviet Union in , 18 million were killed, further, some 67 per cent of sheep and goats were slaughtered between and Walter Duranty , a journalist working for the New York Times , observed the suffering caused by collectivisation: "At the windows haggard faces, men and women, or a mother holding her child, with hands outstretched for a crust of bread or a cigarette.

It was only the end of April but the heat was torrid and the air that came from the narrow windows was foul and stifling; for they had been fourteen days en route, not knowing where they were going nor caring much. They were more like caged animals than human beings, not wild beasts but dumb cattle, patient with suffering eyes. Debris and jetsam, victims of the March to Progress.

Riots broke out in several regions and Joseph Stalin, fearing a civil war, and peasants threatening not to plant their spring crop, called a halt to collectivisation. During this policy led to 2, rebellions involving more than , people. Stalin wrote an article for Pravda attacking officials for being over-zealous in their implementation of collectivisation.

To do so would be stupid and reactionary. Stalin portrayed himself in the article as the protector of the peasants.