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Unit 3

V.I. Lenin

Leader of the Bolsheviks and the Communist Revolution. Wrote "What is to be Done" (1902), had the mantra: "Land, Peace, Bread!" which made him so popular, led during the War Communism and nationalization, and implemented the New Economic Policy. (4.1)


The communist party that overthrew the tsar's government. Followed Leninism, a brand of Marxism. Believed in democratic centralism and a vanguard party to guide the proletariat.(4.1)


Marxism: emphasizes the struggle between the exploiting vs. the exploiters (the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat) and the rise of the proletariat. Leninism: focused on the strategy of the Communist party to overthrow capitalism and seize power for Communism. (4.1)


The industrial working class. (4.1)


Capitalists. (4.1)

Democratic Centralism

A Bolshevik strategy. A hierarchal party structure in which leaders are elected from below, but strict discipline required in implementing party policy (a vertical power complex). (4.1)

Vanguard Party

Party leaders claimed to understand the interests of the proletariat better than the people did themselves. Created to "guide the proletariat." (4.1)

War Communism

From 1918-1921. A civil war for control of the countryside and outlying regions of Russia, so that Bolsheviks could ensure that they received the supply of materials necessary for the war effort. Came with political costs... (4.1)

New Economic Policy (NEP)

Lasted from 1921-1928 under Lenin in response to War Communism. State control loosened to revive private trade and enterprise, but the state kept control of large-scale industries. (4.1)

Joseph Stalin

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1929-1953. Forced industrialization and collectivization, directed a command economy (the Gosplan), imposed Gulags and Purges, and ruled during the Great Patriotic War and the Cold War. (4.1)


Process undertaken in the Soviet Union under Stalin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Agricultural land was removed from private ownership and organized into large state and collective farms. (4.1)

Command Economy

Established by Stalin. Form of socialist economic organization in which government decisions rather than market mechanisms are the major influences in determining the nation's economic direction. Because of this, the state gained control of all economic assets in the Soviet Union. (4.1)

Gosplan and Five Year Plans

Stalin's state planning committee, through which the state established economic control with highly centralized economic planning. This committee set production targets for every national enterprise, to encourage rapid industrialization. (4.1)

Nikita Khruschev

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1955-1964. De-Stalinization! Gave the Secret Speech, during which he denounced Stalin's policies. Revived the Communist party, and began to decentralized the economy. However, internal party structures remained centralized, and elections were uncontested. (4.1)


From 1953-1985. A bold policy under Khruschev that undermined the Stalinist system. Rejected terror in politics, revived the Communist party, lowered the KGB's authority in the party, held regular party meetings, and allowed the publication of some critical media. (4.1)

Leonid Brezhnev

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1964-1985. Heightened "Nomenklatura," "grayed" Communism, governed with a tacit social contract between the state and society, led during economic stagnation, a growth of the Black Market, high corruption, and the Afghanistan invasion. (4.1)

Tacit social contract

Idea of an understanding between the population and party-state in the post-Stalin Soviet Union. An implicit agreement that involved citizens granting political support for Soviet rule in exchange for benefits such as guaranteed employment, free social services, a lax work environment, and limited interference in personal life. (4.1)

Mikhail Gorbachev

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1985-1991. Implemented Glasnost, Perestroika, and demokratizatsiia (democratization), and introduced a new thinking of Russia's place in the world without being a militaristic threat. Ruled when the Soviet Union crumbled and ended. (4.1)


Economic restructuring under Gorbachev. Decentralization and rationalization of economic structures to enable individual enterprises to increase their efficiency and take initiative. Also meant to reduce the Soviet Union's international isolation. (4.1)


Social and political openness under Gorbachev. Relaxing of the controls on media, the arts, and public debate, and allowing diverse viewpoints. Led to an outburst of criticism from citizens of the Soviet Union. (4.1)


Democratization under Gorbachev. Part of Perestroika, meant to shift away from the vanguard party towards an acceptance of liberal democratic norms. (4.1)

Boris Yeltsin

FIRST president of Russia from 1991-2000. Battled with Parliament (attacked the Duma!), passed the 1993 Constitution, led during the overnight "Economic Shock Therapy," and the Chechen wars, saw the rise of oligarchs, and eventually lost legitimacy. (4.1)

Vladimir Putin

President of Russia 2000-2008, and now again most likely until he dies. Led during economic prosperity and domestic stability, but now an increasing illiberal democracy, and hires the "siloviki" (KGB/military personnel) to serve in the government. Is VERY POPULAR and notorious for his "rock star status." (4.1)

Dmitry Medvedev

President of Russia from 2008-2012. Putin's puppet: nominated Putin as Prime Minister, whose power increased during this time. (Not suspicious at all, right?) (4.1)

Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)

A hierarchal organization, in which lower bodies elected delegates to higher party organs, but elections were uncontested and top organs determined candidates for lower party posts. Dominated by the Politburo. (4.3)


The top party organ and real decision-maker of the CPSU. (4.3)


Aka Patron-Clientelism. A system in which someone with power (the patron) does something for a client, such as supply him with a job or money, who in turn does something for the patron, such as give him loyalty and support. Allowed the CPSU to fill key posts with reliable individuals. (4.3)

State Duma

The lower house of Parliament. 450 deputies, chosen by proportional representation voting (7% threshold), 5 year terms. Passes bills, approves budgets, confirms presidential appointments, can veto the president's nominee for/remove the prime minister, and override the president with a 2/3 vote. (4.3)

Federation Council

The upper house of Parliament. 178 seats, 2 members selected from each of the 89 federal regions. Passes/rejects Duma bills, approves bills dealing with taxes and budget, and approves/rejects Constitutional Court appointees, declarations of war, and international treaties. (4.3)

Clientelistic networks

Linkages that underscore the importance of personal career ties between individuals as they rise in bureaucratic or political structures. Played a key role both today in Russia and in the Soviet period; for example, Putin's hiring of the siloviki to government positions. (4.3)


Russian politicians and government officials drawn from security and intelligence agencies (such as the KGB), special forces, or the military. Many recruited to important political posts under Putin, so that he is surrounded by loyalty and support. (4.3)

Asymmetrical federalism

System of governance in which political authority is shared between a central government and regional or state governments, but where some subnational units in the federal system have more/less powers than others. Caused a drop in the perceived fairness of central policy in Russia. (4.3)

Power vertical

Involves an integrated structure of executive power from the top (presidential) level down through the local level. (4.3)

United Russia

Russian political party that backs Putin. Politically dominant on both national and regional levels. (4.4)

A Just Russia

Russian political "party" formed in 2006 by a Putin supporter to make the elections look competitive (just a little ironic). An amalgamation of 3 smaller parties. (4.4)

Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)

Russian political party headed by Zyuganov. Considered to be the only remaining opposition force represented in the Duma. (4.4)

Liberal Democrats

Russian political party that is very controversial. Extreme nationalistic positions, and headed by Zhirinovsky (anti-Semitic, Sexist, etc.) NOT like the UK! (4.4)

Union of Rightest Forces (URF)

Russian political party that is not very recognized. Outspoken critics of the current government, believe that Russia is turning towards authoritarianism. (4.4)


Russian political party that is more democratic. Didn't meet the 7% threshold in 2007 (targeted by Putin when he raised it from 5%). In the same position as the URF. (4.4)

State corporatism

Political system in which the state requires all members of a particular economic sector to join an officially designated interest group. Interest groups thus attain public status, and participate in national policymaking, which allows the state to have great control over the groups. The Soviet Union sought to do this to civil society, but it loosened with Glasnost and allowed some civil society to emerge. (4.4)


(Ours). Formed in 2005. A youth group with the goals to educate youth in Russian history and values, and form volunteer groups to help maintain law and order. HIGHLY supportive of Putin, and seen by some as an anti-Western, intolerant, and fascist program. (4.4)


The biggest cleavage in Russia. A Muslim region that hoped for independence when the Soviet Union imploded, but Russia kept it for its supply of oil. Has fought 2 wars since with Russia, and done many horrible terrorist acts (i.e. the Moscow theater hostage and Beslan school hostage) to get attention. (4.4)

Shock Therapy

Radical market reform endorsed by Yeltsin after the Soviet Union's collapse. The sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within Russia, including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets. (4.2)

Privatization voucher

Privatization method in which each Russian citizen was given a value of 10,000 rubles to allow workers to use these vouchers to acquire shares in the enterprises where they worked. Led to corruption and managers taking advantage of workers to usurp their shares. (4.2)

Insider privatization

Transformation of formerly state-owned enterprises to joint-stock companies or private enterprises in which majority control of the enterprise is in the hands of employees and/or managers of that enterprise. (4.2)


Networks of organized criminal activity to pervade economic and governmental securities in that country as well as activities such as the demanding of protection money, bribe-taking by government officials, contract killing, and extortion. Russian businesses have turned to it for protection in response to weak government capacity. (4.2)


(VERY) Wealthy individuals who benefited from the privatization process and who often hold significant political influence. Often do not reinvest their money domestically, thus weakening the state economy, and cause high levels of corruption between business and government officials Undermines Russian state sovereignty, so many are arrested (i.e. Khordorkovsky). (4.2)

State capture

Form of corruption. The ability of firms to systematically turn state regulations to their advantage through payoffs to officials. Detrimental to economic development. (4.2)

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