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Arts and Humanities
History of Russia
Terms in this set (47)
The ideas for Russia's future that Vladimir Lenin expressed upon his return to Russia in April 1917. They were published in the newspaper Pravda on April 7. In short, Lenin called for the overthrow of the provisional government and its replacement with a communist form of government led by the working class. He believed that other countries would follow Russia's example.
A radical political party, led by Vladimir Lenin, that split from the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903. The party favored a closed party consisting of and run by professional revolutionaries and supported the idea of a dictatorship that would accelerate the transition to socialism. It placed an emphasis on the working class, from which it drew much of its support.
A political group (an acronym for Constitutional Democrats) that wanted to see Russia established as a democratic republic governed by a constitution and an elected parliament. This stance put them at sharp odds with the Bolsheviks, who favored a dictatorship of the proletariat. They drew support primarily from professional workers and the bourgeois class.
An elected body of representatives from around Russia, created in November 1917, that was meant to decide on the country's governmental structure. When Nicholas II abdicated in February 1917, the provisional government that took power made plans for the formation of this body in order to choose a more permanent government for Russia. After Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks took power in the October Revolution, they initially allowed elections for the assembly to go forward as scheduled but changed their minds after receiving less than 25 percent of the vote in those elections.
A term referring to the two governments that Russia had following the February Revolution—the provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet.
The Russian legislature from 1905-1917. The term, an ancient Russian word referring to small village councils that existed in early Russia, was resurrected when Tsar Nicholas II agreed to allow the formation of a legislature after the uprising of 1905. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the term has once more come into use, this time specifically referring to today's lower house of the Russian parliament.
A political group that, like the Bolsheviks, split from the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. The group, less radical than the Bolsheviks, supported the idea of a socialistic party that was open to all who wished to join and that would be ruled and organized in a democratic manner.
A body that existed prior to the February Revolution as a sort of underground revolutionary labor union for workers and soldiers in the Petrograd area, containing members of a number of different political parties. During the February Revolution, members of the Petrograd Soviet saw an opportunity and declared themselves to be the government of Russia. However, they quickly found themselves competing with the provisional government.
A government that members of the Duma formed following the February Revolution. The body was meant to be temporary and would rule Russia only until the Constituent Assembly decided on a permanent government later.
Russian Social Democratic Labor Party
A party that formed in 1898 and was among Russia's earliest revolutionary movements, though by no means the first. In 1903, the party split into two factions, the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks.
Socialist Revolutionary Party
A Russian political party during the revolutionary years that was more moderate than the Bolsheviks but less so than the Mensheviks. The party drew its support primarily from the peasantry and thus had a much larger base than the other parties in Russia. Before and during the October Revolution, the members were probably the Bolsheviks' closest allies among Russia's many political movements. After the revolution, however, the Bolsheviks abandoned the members after the party enjoyed a major victory over the Bolsheviks in the elections for the Constituent Assembly.
A Russian word literally meaning "council." In the early twentieth century, Soviets were governing bodies, similar to labor unions, that existed primarily on the local/municipal level and collectively made policy decisions for their respective regions. The idea of Soviets was popular among the various socialist parties of the time, including the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and Socialist Revolutionaries. When Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in early 1917, the powerful Petrograd Soviet wielded significant political power in Russia.
The February Revolution (1917)
A popular uprising which removed Tsar Nicholas II from power, developed spontaneously out of a series of increasingly violent demonstrations and riots on the streets of Petrograd, during a time when the tsar was away from the capital visiting troops on the World War I front. Though it was a popular uprising, it did not necessarily express the wishes of the majority of the Russian population, as the event was primarily limited to the city of Petrograd. However, most of those who took power after the uprising, in the provisional government and in the Petrograd Soviet, generally favored rule that was at least partially democratic.
The October Revolution (1917)
Also called the Bolshevik Revolution, it overturned the interim provisional government and established the Soviet Union. It was a much more deliberate event, orchestrated by a small group of people. The Bolsheviks, who led this coup, prepared their coup in only six months. They were generally viewed as an extremist group and had very little popular support when they began serious efforts in April 1917. By the month of the uprising, the Bolsheviks' popular base was much larger; though still a minority within the country as a whole, they had built up a majority of support within Petrograd and other urban centers. After the uprising, the Bolsheviks realized that they could not maintain power in an election-based system without sharing power with other parties and compromising their principles. As a result, they formally abandoned the democratic process in January 1918 and declared themselves the representatives of a dictatorship of the proletariat. In response, the Russian Civil War broke out in the summer of that year and would last well into 1920.
A Polish-born revolutionary who joined the Bolshevik Party after getting out of prison in 1917. Following the October Revolution, Vladimir Lenin appointed him head of the Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force and an early forerunner of the KGB.
A prominent member of the Bolshevik Party who initially resisted Lenin's call to hold a revolution sooner rather than later. After the revolution, he went on to serve in the Soviet government but was executed during Josef Stalin's purges of the 1930s.
A member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and an active participant in both the provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet. At first, he acted as a liaison between the two governing bodies. Within the provisional government, he served as minister of justice, minister of war, and later as prime minister. After the October Revolution, he fled the country and eventually immigrated to the United States, where he taught Russian history at Stanford University.
The founder of the Bolshevik Party, organizer of the October Revolution, and the first leader of the Soviet Union. He spent most of the early twentieth century living in exile in Europe (primarily Britain and Switzerland). He was a devout follower of Marxism and believed that once a Communist revolution took place in Russia, Communism would spread rapidly around the world. Though not involved in the February Revolution, he returned to Russia in April 1917 and orchestrated the October Revolution that turned Russia into a Communist state.
The last Russian tsar, who ruled from 1894 until 1917. He, who assumed the throne with trepidation upon his father Alexander III's death, was a clumsy and ineffective leader whose avoidance of direct involvement in government caused resentment among the Russian people and resulted in violence in 1905. He abdicated on March 2, 1917, as a result of the February Revolution. In July 1918, the Bolsheviks executed him along with his wife, Alexandra, and their children.
A Russian peasant and self-proclaimed mystic who gained significant influence over Tsar Nicholas II's wife, Alexandra, in the years immediately prior to the revolutions of 1917. His sexual escapades in the Russian capital of Petrograd caused scandal, and the Russian people began to believe that the tsar himself was under his influence. Aware that his presence was damaging Nicholas II's credibility, supporters of the tsar had him killed in late 1916.
A Bolshevik leader who became prominent only after Lenin's return to Petrograd in April 1917. Although he was very much a secondary figure during the October Revolution, he did gain Lenin's attention as a useful ally, and following the October coup, Lenin gave him a position in the government as commissar of nationalities. As he was a member of an ethnic minority—he was from the central Asian region of Georgia, not Russia proper—Lenin felt he would be an effective ambassador of sorts to the many ethnic minorities within the former Russian Empire. After the revolution, he became increasingly powerful and eventually succeeded Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union upon Lenin's death in 1924.
The prime minister under Nicholas II. He was renowned for his heavy crackdown on revolutionaries and dissidents, in which thousands of suspects were given quick martial trials and promptly executed. A hangman's noose was often referred to at the time as a "_____ necktie." He was assassinated in 1911 by a revolutionary activist.
A Bolshevik leader and one of the most prominent figures of the October Revolution. He was in exile abroad during the February Revolution, returned to Russia in May 1917, closely aligned himself with Lenin, and joined the Bolshevik Party during the summer. He headed the Revolutionary Military Committee, which provided the military muscle for the October Revolution. After the revolution, he was appointed commissar of foreign affairs and led Russia's negotiations with Germany and Austria for the armistice and subsequent peace treaty that made possible Russia's exit from World War I.
A prominent member of the Bolshevik Party, closely associated with Lev Kamenev and a close friend of Lenin during Lenin's years in exile. Initially resisting Lenin's call to hold a revolution sooner rather than later, Zinoviev played virtually no role in the October Revolution and temporarily receded from party activities after the revolution. However, he became a member of the Politburo in 1919 and went on to serve in the Soviet government until he was arrested and executed during Stalin's purges in the 1930s.
A radical dictatorship that exercises "total claims" over the beliefs and behavior of its citizens by taking control of the economic, social, intellectual, and cultural aspects of society.
The result of projects of state-controlled social engineering dedicated to replacing individualism with a unified "people."
Interpretation of Marxism: Based on centralization, totalitarianism, and the pursuit of communism. This government system that was achieved in the name of Communism but was more like totalitarianism; benefited only government and relied on terror tactics, secret police, bogus trials and assassination.
Interpretation of Marxism: This included his belief that workers alone cannot organize a revolution; they need professional revolutionaries to give them a "shove" (inspiration), as well as his belief that sometimes a revolution must be slowed or reversed to ensure that power can be maintained by the proletariat. And finally, this made clear his belief that revolution can occur at any time, in any place, and not just in an advanced capitalist nation. This three points justified the need for Lenin and the Bolsheviks, the NEP, and all the Russian Revolution.
A movement characterized by extreme, often expansionist nationalism, antisocialism, a dynamic and violent leader, ad glorification of war and the military.
A pseudoscientific doctrine that maintains that the selective breeding of human beings can improve the general characteristics of a national population, which helped inspire Nazi ideas about "race and space" and ultimately contributed to the Holocaust.
New Economic Policy
Lenin's 1921 policy to re-establish limited economic freedom in an attempt to rebuild agriculture and industry in the face of disintegration.
First Five Year Plan
A plan launched by Stalin in 1928, and termed the "revolution from above," aimed at modernizing the Soviet Union and creating a new Communist society with new attitudes, new loyalties, and a new socialist humanity.
USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
The name given to Russia and the other Soviet Socialist Republics which was established by Vladimir Lenin.
The better-off peasants who were stripped of land and livestock under Stalin and were generally not permitted to join collective farms; many of them starved or were deported to forced-labor camps for "re-education."
This was the central planning agency set up to administer the Five-Year Plans. Made all the decisions - who produced what, where, where it was distributed, etc. Controlled the flow of resources which in a capitalist system would be controlled the laws of supply and demand. In was beset with problems of management and bureaucracy.
The Great Purge
Josef Stalin's rein of terror on the Soviet Union. Time period when all opposition to the communist government under Stalin were sent to labor camps.
Collectivization of Agriculutre
The forcible consolidation of individual peasant farms into large state-controlled enterprises in the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Treaty of Brest Litovsk (1918)
Peace treaty signed in March 1918 between the Central Powers and Russia that ended Russia participation in WWI and ceded Russian territories containing a third of the Russian empire's population to the Central Powers.
Russian Civil War
1918-1920: Conflict in which the Red Army successfully defended the newly formed Bolshevik government against various Russian and interventionist anti-Bolshevik armies. Red vs. White Army.
Wanted to be the savior of Russia. Tried to stage a coup. Demanded the resignation of all ministers. Kerensky ordered him to turn over command, but soldiers refused to follow him.
Stood for the Extraordinary All Russian Commission of Struggle Against Counterrevolution, Speculation and Sabotage. Was the first institution set up by the new regime. Changed over years and most recently as the KGB. Carried out the Red Terror in civil war. "Justice" or retribution carried out without tribunal. Series of summer executions.
Lenin's 21 Points
Pamphlet written by Lenin that set the conditions for membership in the Communist International.
Bloody Sunday (1905)
Russian workers planned to walk to the Winter Palace, petition in hand, campaigning for better conditions. The workers, full believing that the Tsar would sympathize with them were mistaken and the army opened fire on the protesters, killing hundreds, resulting in overwhelming discontent amongst the population.
Revolution of 1905
Japan's victory over Russia for territory in Korea brought about this political upheaval, which lead to the Bloody Sunday Massacre and October Manifesto.
October Manifesto (1905)
Issued by Nicolas II, it attempted to quiet strikes, local revolts, and promised freedom of speech and assembly, and called the Duma into session.
Supposedly the most important body in a communist party; its influence declined as it grew in size and the party needed daily leadership.
A seven-member committee that became the leading policy-making body of the Communist Party in Russia
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