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Bolsheviks introduced new

– Why did the Bolsheviks oppose the Church?
– After the revolution its property was confiscated and in
1921 to 1922 its leaders were persecuted and 8000
people killed.
– Bolsheviks introduced the most liberal divorce law and
abortion law in Europe
• Did these laws increase the freedom of women as
they were supposed to?
– The freedom of the arts was soon censored by Glavlit
(1922). Why censorship?
What has become of the proletarian
freedom at Lenins death
• Limited political rights
– One party-state
– party institutions dominate state institutions.
– Politburo replaces the Sovnarkom.
– Party members 500 thousand.
– ban on factionalism limited political debate.
– The local party replaces the soviets.
The death of Lenin.

• Lenin didn’t appoint a successor.

– Was he supposed to?
– In his Testament he damaged all the possible
successors. Why?
– The power struggle began in 1922 after Lenins
first stroke.
– The contenders were Stalin, Trotsky, Zinoviev,
Kamenev, Bukharin, All members of the
Constitution of 24
• Constitution of 24:
• Presidium
• Excutive central committee
• All-Union Congress of soviets
– Republican soviets
• Provincial soviets
– District soviets
• Local soviets
Stalin played on the tension
within the Politburo
The left opposition wanted The rightist wanted to develope the
immediate industrialisation NEP-policy for other twenty years.

Trotsky Kamenev,
(permanent Bukharin

Stalin 25-26
Stalin 23-25
Stalin 27-29 alignment
Why did Stalin Succeed
• He was general secretary of the party’s
central committee.
– He exercised control over the party machinery
• Put himself at the center of the cult of Lenin
• Old dedicated proletarian party member
• His theory of socialism in one country had
more appeal then Trotskys “permanent
Stalins revolution
• Rapid industrialization by the five years
– End of NEP Abolition of State ownership of
industry and trade
– Collectivization of agriculture
• Created a strong centralized state
– Cult of Stalin
– Purges
Stalins Government
• The real political forces
– The party
• 3,5 mil. members 1933, only half workers
– The political police NKVD
• performed the dirty work of the party and
government (central role in purges)
– The Red Army (but party had always authority
over the army)
Why did Stalin industrialize
• Planned and centralized economy to make
the Soviet Union af force comparable with
the United States
• To defend Russia according to Stalins
policy of socialism in one country
• To appeal to the proletariat
• To beat the rightists (Bukharin)
• To modernize agriculture
The Five-year Plans
• What kind of Plans were these Five years
plans? What were the weaknesses of those
• Stakanov movement.
• Were the plans a success?
• Was this industrialisation “from above”?
• Lebeshev, 1936
we do like Stachanov!
Stachanov, a miner
achieving incredibly high
production figures, is held
up as shining example for
workers throughout the
soviet union. Here he is
emulated by Azerbaijani
cotton workers.
The Five-year Plans
• Three plans before WW2
• First plan oct 1928 to dec 1931.
• Plans formed the administrative-command
• With production quotas the direction was
set for the economy
• Industrialisation from above
The giants of the Five Year Plan
• 1933. Stalin towers over
the dam in the river Dnepr
and the industrial
complexes in
Magnitogorsk and Stalinsk
and says: 'The results of
the Five Year Plan show
that the working class is
not only capable of
destroying the old, but
also of building the new'.
First, second and third plans
• First plan emphasis on raw materials and
energy resources.
• Second more emphasis on building factories
and producing investment goods (tractors,
trucks). Stakhanov-movement
• Third emphasis supposed to be on consumer
goods (toilet paper, soap) but WW2 forced
government to turn to arms.
First five year plan
• Full speed ahead for
the fourth and final
year of the Five Year
This was totally
• Konstantin Vyalov,
Let's consolidate the
victory of socialism in
the USSR! Let's
technically reconstruct
the country's
Effect of industrialization
• Industrial output grew 4-fold. Check statistics.
Electricity 9-fold
• 11 mill. Workers 1928 – 27 mill. 1937
• Wage equality abolished
• New elite of specialists and managers, often of
worker origin.
• Urbanization
• Russia becomes a world power
– Check historical consequences
80 Production units

1928 Actual production

1932 Actual production

1933 Actual production



Electricity Coal Pig iron Steel Wool cloth
(billion KW) (million tons) (million tons) (million tons) (million meters)
Five years plan
Living standards
• The industrial worker had to bow to the needs of a
rapid industrialization from above
• Trade unions organs of the state
• absenteeism punishable
• internal passport system (like in tsarist times)
• subsidized canteen meels
• free medical attention
• decline in living standards at a low in 1933
• housing shortage
• industrialization emphasized heavy industry instead of
consumer goods
• stakhanovites got higher wages
Criticism of canteens
• The quality of food and
service in communal
eating houses and
canteens is denounced in
this unusually explicit
poster. Even the
'completely unacceptable
sanitary conditions' in
some establishments are
mentioned. 1931
Why Collectivisation
• Growing dissatisfaction among the working class
and the communist party rank and file with NEP?
• Procurement crisis 1927
• Class war:
– Gov vs peas or rich peas vs poor
• From 1925 industrialization was main party
• The Five-year-plan meant industrial growth and
extraction of grain to pay for machines.
"We kolkhoz farmers are liquidating
the kulaks as a class, on the basis of
complete collectivisation."
Collectivisation started in 28.
• The state grain shortage 1927 forced the state to
do something.
• Stalin and his supporters opted for collective
• land held communally or owned by state
• large units of lands for mechanized agriculture
• labour available for cities
• grain becomes available
• easier political control of peasants (elimination of
the Kulaks.)
Process of collectivisation
• No response to voluntary collectivisation 1928
• Peasants didnt like it. Why?
• Free market in grain abolished 1929
• Stalin calls for the liquidation of the kulaks as a class”.
What is the meaning of this.
• “Party leaders call for mass collectivisation.”
• “Communists start to enforce collectivisation.”
• Stalin blames local officials for using force
Velkominn á samyrkjubúið
1937 coll. was done
• Was collectivisation a success? Politically?
• What was the cost of collectivisation?
Cultural revolution 29-32
• Workers are encouraged to:
– enter the party
– criticize non-party specialists
– seek education
– “Far from being a totaliarian puppet master dominating
Soviet society [Stalin] was more of a political surfer
who knew how to recognise and ride the waves of
social tension which he had sometimes encouraged but
not created.” Whittock p. 37. What is he talking about?
Would intentionalist agree?
Culture, education and religion
• During the Lenin and Stalin period we see
basicly two distinct phasis:
• The twenties: A mixture of experiment,
freedom and repression.
• The Thirties: After Stalin was firmly in
control we see the needs of the state, the
economy and the Stalin cult direct this field.
The twenties
– Why did the Bolsheviks oppose the Church?
– After the revolution its property was confiscated and in
1921 to 1922 its leaders were persecuted and 8000
people killed. The church lost control of schools.
– Bolsheviks introduced the most liberal divorce law and
abortion law in Europe and divorce and abortion rates
became the highest in Europe.
• Did these laws increase the freedom of women as
they were supposed to?
– The freedom of the arts was soon censored by Glavlit
(1922). Why censorship?
– The campaign to eliminate illiteracy among workers.
The Stalin period
• Family values introduced after 36- abortion becomes
criminal offence (except for medical reasons) and divorce
made more difficult. Still women received education and
jobs in industry.
• After brief attach on schools and teachers as bourgeois
compulsory education was intruduced 1930. Illiteracy
decreased from 75% 1917 to virtualy none 1940. 70.000
public libraries.
• National minorities had right to education in their own
• In science there were political blindroads like Lysenkos
marxist geneology.
Stalin period in culture
• Some of the church former autonomy restored
during the war.
• Social realism became the official line in arts. Art
serving societal goals. During Stalins time
emphasis changes from the common worker to the
manager. No great achivements in art.
• The cult of Stalin and increased nationalism,
especially during the war.
Campaign for literacy
• Dors, 1936
We will change the Soviet
Republic of Azerbaijan
into a republic of
abundant literacy
Campaign against
illiteracy in Azerbaijan. In
the background the two
natural resources of the
region: oil and cotton.
The Great Purge 34-38
• Purges and terror was not new.
– Kronstadt rebellion.
– 116.000 expelled from party 1929
• Still terror in Lenins time was usually against clear
opponents of the party and usually under
circumstances of war or threat to the bolsheviks.
• Stalins terror was when the party was firmly in
• What is terror?
The course of the purges
• 1934 Kirovs murder is used as a pretext for
establishing the machinery for terror and purges of
minor figures in the party. Stalins part in Kirovs
murder is not proven.
• 1936 Show trials of major figures like Kamenev
and Zinoviev. They admit to counter revolutionary
activity. Still Bukharin and Rykov were aquitted
• 1937-38 The great wave of terror, Purges in the
army for example. Ends with the execution of
Yezhov, head of NKVD, the main purger.
Did Terror hurt USSR

• Stalins position was unchallenged

• All the bolsheviks of the revolution were dead.
• The army was almost without leadership
• Stifling of creativity and discussion in the USSR in
administration, army and industry.
• The victims often managers and experts.
• Casualities:
• three million people killed.
• 2 million in labor camps each year
• 23 thousand army officer killed
• Still USSR survived the acid test of 41
What was the reason?
• There are debates about this?
– Stalin wants to be an absolute leader of the
Soviet union and purges were supposed to
crush any opposition or possible opposition
inside the party (Kirov), bureucracy and the
army. (Khrushchev 1956)
– This explanation puts much emphasis on that
the purges were controlled from above. This is
the totalitarian explanation.
Alternative explanations
• Why was the Terror started:
– Fascist threat made Stalin afraid of enemy spies and
army Coup (possibly rightfully)
– Solution to party rivalries (the arrest of Piatakov and
Yezhov becomes chief of secret police) Still approved
by Stalin.
– Stalin also used the murder of Kirov (wether or not
Stalin was involved in it) to purge the party.
– Attack and criticism on party secretaries by the center
unleashes a wave of spontanious terror.
– Once the terror is started it has the tendency to get out
of hand, lawless government, lawless people.
Alternative cont.
• Even though Stalin did not control the whole
Terror he triggered it by some key decisions like
backing Ezhov.
• And when Stalin wanted to stop the terror he had
the power because when he fired Ezhov 1938 it
was a sign and terror stopped.
• Stalin was the leader of the terror but maybe he
did not plan the whole thing. It was a “licence to
kill” to the rank and file of the party. Young party
members removing the old
Foreign policy 1917-41
• Isolation 1917-21
• Soviet Union not at Versailles or in League of Nations
• Comintern: Links with communist abroad. Communists are
told not to work with social democrats.
• End of isolation
• The world revolution did not come
• Treaty of Rapallo 1922. Trade and secret military cooperation
with Germany
• Relations with other countries developed. Still suspicion.
Stalin and the fascist threat
• Stalin was among the first to understand the threat
from Hitler.
– Joined league of nations 1934
– Communists instructed to work with socialists
– Supported republicans in the Spanish civil war 1936.
– Stalin was not invited to the Munich conference 1938
– Stalin thinks that the western powers will do nothing to
stop Hitler and are directing Hitler to the east.
– During the spring of 1939 Stalin tries to approach
France and Britain for union against Hitler but he is
turned down.
Stalins Appeasement with Hitler

• To insure the Soviet Union a breathing space

Stalin Concludes a non-agression pact with Hitler
in 1939.
– Stalin takes half of Polland, the Baltic states and
attempts to take the border regions in Finnland.
– They win the winter war with Finland but only after
loosing 200 000 soldiers.
– Hitler and the west think the soviet army is not worth
– Relation cool after Stalin takes parts of Rumenia not
mentioned in the non-agression pact.
The Great Fatherland War
• Just after Stalin signed the neutrality pact with
Japan 1941
• Hitler invades Russia 22. June 1941. Operation
nicknamed Barbarossa.
– The ultimate goal of Hitler, lebensraum in the east +
hatred of communism
• The the three pronged Blitzkrieg was answered by
the “scorched earth” policy.
• The germans made huge advances but were not
able to take Leningrad or Moscow before chrismas
The russian war effort
• Why did the russians fight at all?
– Patriotism
– Cruelty of Germans
• How was Russia saved
– Factories were moved east
– Bad weather winter 41-42
– Lend and lease aid from USA
The Germans ran out of luck 42
• The offensive against Leningrad continued but the russians
kept germans away.
• The southern offensive towards the oilfields in Baku was
halted when the Germans were trapped by Stalingrad.
• Part of the german army had to surrender by Stalingrad in
February 1943
– One of the most decisive victories in the war, especially
– The Battle of Kursk in 1943 further sealed the fate of
the Germans.
– At this time the russians are occupying 70% of german
Different interpretations
• Check the list on page 45 and check if you
find any Revisionist interpretations in the
Was Russia totalitarian?
• Totalitarian system :
– Centralized government, single party.
– All political opposition supressed
– Media and social organizations used to control
peoples minds and actions
– Propaganda, personal cult, censorship, purges.
– State intervention in the economy.