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How did Stalin's economic policies differ from Lenin's?

Stalin favored rapid industrialization and scrapped Lenin's New Economic Policy for "5-Year Plans" that established a command and control economy with well-defined goals for the Soviet industry.

The policy was successful and by the late 1930s Russia trailed only the United States and Germany in industrial capacity. It was also disastrous in that millions died of the famines brought about by the Plans.


What was Bloody Sunday?

On Sunday, January 9, 1905, Russian demonstrators peaceably assembled near the Tsar's Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to present the Tsar with a list of grievances. Tsarist troops opened fire on the crowd, killing 96.

In response, a wave of protests and looting broke out and a general strike was declared by the city's unions. Bloody Sunday marked the start of the 1905 Russian Revolution, and revolts quickly spread to the peasantry.


How did Lenin and the Bolsheviks manage to seize control of Russia between April and November 1917?

Lenin, with the able assistance of his ally Leon Trotsky, first instituted Bolshevik control of the workers' soviet in Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg). Working in opposition to Kerensky's Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks argued that power should reside in the Soviets.

In late October, Lenin and Trotsky planned a coup, and by early November had used the Petrograd Soviet to seize Petrograd's key strategic, transportation, and communication centers. By the night of November 6, the Winter Palace had been captured and the coup was complete.


The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk resolved what conflict?

After six months of negotiations, the new Soviet Union signed the treaty with the Central Powers in March 1918.

The treaty ended World War I on the Eastern Front, freeing the German forces to concentrate on the war in France and allowing the Soviets to turn their attention to the civil war raging inside Russia.


What were the causes of the Russian (Bolshevik) Revolution? 

A variety of factors had been leading up to the revolution in Russia for a long time. Through the 1800s and 1900s, discontent grew as Russian Czars resisted needed reforms.

In the late 1800s, Alexander III and his son Nicholas II wanted to industrialize the country and build Russia's economic strength. Although the Czars wanted to import western industrialization, they hoped to block the ideals of the French Revolution. Both Alexander and Nicholas used harsh tactics, such as the use of secret police to suppress reform.

Czarist harsh rule, peasant unrest, and Bloody Sunday led to the March Revolution in which even the military rebelled against the Czar.


What were collectives?

Stalin forced peasants to give up their small farms and live on state-owned farms called collectives. The collective owned all farm animals and equipment.

The government controlled prices and farm supplies and set production quotas. Stalin's plan was for the collectives to grow enough grain for the workers in the cities and to produce surplus grain to sell abroad.  

Many peasants resisted and killed farm animals, destroyed tools, and burned crops. Stalin responded with a ruthless policy aimed at crushing all who opposed him. 


Command Economy

Stalin established a command economy, in which government officials made all the basic economic decisions.

Under Stalin, the government controlled all factories, business, and farms instead of allowing the market or supply and demand to dictate prices and production as it does in a capitalist society. 


Explain some of the key principles of Communism.

A government plan in which there are no social classes. Individuals act in the interest of the state and all property is evenly distributed.  In a communist state, the government owns everything and controls the economy.

The idea to irradicate social classes was popular amongst the lower classes in societies with economic hardship. In reality, many leaders used the principles of communism to gain support from the lower class, only to establish a totalitarian government once power was seized. 

Karl Marx and Fredric Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848 which birthed the idea.


How did Tsar Nicholas II react to the outbreak of the 1905 Russian Revolution?

Tsar Nicholas II agreed to convene a representative legislature (known as the Duma); granted civil liberties such as freedom of the press, speech, and assembly; and declared that he would reorganize the government. 

In the wake of the Tsar's promises, the Revolution slowed in momentum. In the years following the Revolution, the Tsar did convene the Duma, but basically ignored it. Most of his other promises were rescinded within a few years.


Under Stalin's leadership, he ruled through terror and brutality. Stalin believed the Communist party members were plotting against him. What was the name of Stalin's plan to irradicate these supposed threats?

During The Great Purge, Stalin accused thousands of people of treason. Many of the accused were executed; others were killed or sent to prison camps. For the next 20 years, he pursued ruthless policies that created a totalitarian state.


Who was Vladimir Lenin?

Vladimir Lenin was a professional revolutionary, who was exiled from Russia in the wake of the 1905 Revolution. After Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne, the Germans arranged for Lenin to return to Russia to instigate a Communist revolution against the Kerensky government.


In 1921, Lenin announced that the Soviet Union would follow a New Economic Policy. What did Lenin mean?

Soviet agriculture had yet to return to pre-World War standards and starvation was rampant. Lenin's New Economic Policy allowed for some small-level capitalism but still mandated government control over all high-level economic production.

The New Economic Policy was largely successful, and agricultural production returned to its 1913 level within a few years.


Which two sides fought the Russian Civil War, which lasted from 1917 to 1922?

The Russian Civil War was fought between the Russian Communists, known as the Reds, and a conglomeration of forces with little in common except being anti-Bolshevik, known as the White Movement. In 1922, the White forces were defeated, and the Soviet Union was firmly established.



During the Russian Revolution, the Soviets were "Councils of Workmen's and Soldiers' Deputies," who were to serve as local governments under the Provisional Government.


Who succeeded Lenin as head of the Soviet Union in 1924?

Following Lenin's death in 1924, there was a brief jockeying for power before Joseph Stalin emerged as the head of the Soviet Union. Over the next few years, many of Stalin's potential rivals were executed or exiled.


What kind of government was the Soviet Union under Stalin?

Stalin ruled the U.S.S. R as a totalitarian state.  It was a one-party dictatorship in which he attempted to regulate every aspect of life and used fear and violence to suppress dissent.