Joseph Stalin in the Russian Revolution, Russian Civil War, and Polish–Soviet War - Wikipedia
In the Russian Revolution of , The Bolsheviks revolutionary leadership was . Joseph Stalin replaced Lenin as the leader of the USSR and became one of the most . After the war, relations became that of mutual distrust and conflict. Vladimir Lenin: Founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution of , and first head of the Soviet state. key questions centred around the relation between the party and the proletariat, .. the non-Russian nationalities in the reorganization of the state in which Stalin was playing a key role. Joseph Stalin () was the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist After Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin () died, Stalin outmaneuvered his but afterward engaged in an increasingly tense relationship with the West known Three years later, in November , the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia.
When his brother, Grand Duke Michael, refused the throne, more than years of rule by the Romanov dynasty came to an end.
The 2, delegates to this soviet were chosen from factories and military units in and around Petrograd. The Provisional Government was unable to countermand the order. All that now prevented the Petrograd Soviet from openly declaring itself the real government of Russia was fear of provoking a conservative coup.
Between March and October the Provisional Government was reorganized four times. The first government was composed entirely of liberal ministers, with the exception of the Socialist Revolutionary Aleksandr F. The subsequent governments were coalitions.Russia: 100 Years on from Revolution - BBC News
Inwhen Soviet control was considered secure, there was a very brief period of free cultural development. This policy aimed at fusing national cultures with communism, but it actually produced a vigorous development of these cultures, especially in Soviet Ukraine. In Moscow, this raised fears of Ukrainian nationalism and separatism; therefore, extensive purges of literary organizations took place in Ukraine in These purges were replicated in Belorussia now Belarus and other non-Russian republics.
For a few years, Soviet Jews were allowed to use Yiddish in Jewish schools and to publish Yiddish and Hebrew newspapers. However, synagogues were closed down. In fact, while Yiddish and Hebrew were tolerated, or at least encouraged, the official policy was to use these languages as instruments to effect the total assimilation of the Jews. Thus, while the Soviet government officially condemned anti-semitism, it aimed at eradicating the Jewish faith.
Furthermore, Jewish self-help organizations were abolished and pre-revolutionary Jewish political parties were banned, as were all parties except the communists. Most of the Jews in the Soviet Union lived in towns. At one time, Soviet policy aimed at persuading as many as possible to take up farming in compact Jewish settlements, which were hardly conducive to assimilation.
The most ambitious such project was launched in ; init led to the creation of the Jewish Autonomous district of Birobiian, located 78 miles west of Khabarovsk, near China Soviet Far East. This was a failure, for most Jews preferred city work and in any case collectivization meant the Jews could not farm their own land. This was to counter Zionism, which called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Soviet policy toward the Jews was a success. The official condemnation of anti-semitism and the policy of equal rights for all quickly led to the assimilation of the vast majority of Soviet Jews, while also attracting sympathy and support for Soviet communism and the USSR from Jews outside the Soviet Union.
However, although Russian anti-semitism was muted, it remained strong, manifesting itself in anti-Jewish discrimination in higher education and employment. Jews had their race listed in their identity papers "Yevrei"but then all Soviet passports listed the owners' nationality.
The Moslem peoples of the Caucasus and Soviet Central Asia also benefitted briefly from early Soviet toleration for they were allowed to use the Arabic script. However, the Soviet government aimed at their total integration in the Soviet state and therefore cut them off from their brethren in neighboring states.
Furthermore, Arabic script was soon replaced first by Latin, then by Cyrillic. Moslem mosques were either destroyed, or allowed to fall intointo disrepair. However, from the s onward, the government permitted the restoration of some key mosques as historic monuments. The Cyrillic alphabet is named after St. Cyril, a Macedonian missionary of the 9th century, who, together with St. Methodius, was sent out of Constantinople to convert the Balkan peoples to the Greek Orthodox faith of Byzantium.
They created a Slavic language written in a new alphabet based on Greek. From that time on, old Slavonic, or "Church Slavonic," has been used in the Russian and Balkan Orthodox Churches, whose missionaries travelled to Russia.
Therefore, all Russian as well as Serbian and Bulgarian writing uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Gorbachev allowed the return of hundreds of churches to the faithful. However, although the Ukrainian Greek Catholic or Uniate Church was legalized in Decemberthere seems no end in sight for the bitter war over church property in western Ukraine between the Ukrainian Uniate Church union with Romethe Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Underlying and envenoming this conflict is the fact that the Uniate Church lies at the core of Ukrainian national identity in western Ukraine, and that the Orthodox Churc h was used by the Tsars as an instrument of Russification, just as it was by the communists. He did, however, a visit independent Ukraine, where he was given an enthusiastic reception in June The Rise of Stalin.
Joseph Vissarionovich Dzugashvili -- his revolutionary name was Stalin, meaning "man of steel"l -- was born in in the village of Gori, near Tiflis, Georgia. His father was allegedly a cobbler, who is said to have been a drunkard who beat his wife and son. However, Stalin once hinted that his father was a priest, and there were also rumors of a noble father Whatever the case may be, Stalin's mother was a pious washerwoman who wanted Joseph to have an education.
Since she was poor, she sent him to the Orthodox Seminary in Tiflis, to be educated as a priest. Joseph soon became a rebel. At first, he dreamed of leading a revolution to free Georgia from Russian rule; in this he resembled Napoleon Bonaparte who first dreamed of freeing his native Corsica from French rule. Both the Corsican and the Georgian became absolute rulers -- although Napoleon was an enlightened one -- conquerors, and founders of empires. Napoleon lost his empire inbut the Soviet empire was greatly expanded by Stalin.
It became a world power, second in military might only to the United States, and survived until it was dissolved in late December He organized strikes and bank robberies. This was a common way of obtaining funds for revolutionary activities, though strongly condemned by most socialists.
He was arrested and sent to Siberia five times, but escaped every time. These easy escapes made some of his political enemies suspect that he was then in the pay of the Tsarist Security Police, the Okhrana, but no evidence has been found so far to confirm this. If there were any such documents, Stalin had plenty of opportunity to destroy them. He met Lenin, when the latter was living near Krakow, in Austrian Poland. Lenin was impressed by the rough hewn revolutionary from the working class.
InStalin became a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee. In the following year, after he had spent some time doing research in Vienna one of the two capitals of the multinational Austro-Hungarian empire the other being BudapestLenin helped him write Marxism and the National Question. This pamphlet set out Bolshevik views on the nationalities' problem in Russia, i. We should note that this was also the view of the Mensheviks moderate communists and the Socialist Revolutionaries S.
When the revolution broke out in MarchStalin was again in Siberian exile. Petersburg and became the editor of the Bolshevik paper, Pravda Truth. However, though Lenin clearly respected his abilities, he did not play a leading role in the period March-Novemberexcept for a brief period in July-August, when Lenin was hiding in Finland and the other major leaders were in prison see ch.
In fact, a diarist of the revolution, Nikolai N. Gimmer who was first an S. Sukhanov, born inwas killed in the Stalin purges of the s. Key Factors in Stalin's Rise to Power. These can be summarized as follows: We know that one of Stalin's favorite books was Machiavelli's The Prince. He certainly knew how to apply the counsels given to leaders in that famous, little book. While accumulating power, Stalin maintained a "centrist" position, throwing his support to those he needed, and then "dialectically" switching policies.
That is, he would support a policy in order to defeat one set of leaders, and then adopt the policy of those he defeated to crush those whom he had supported, as was the case in the Debate on Industrialization. Some scholars believe that in Bolshevik practice, policy issues were always secondary, i. Thus, it is clear that, like Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders, Stalin's ultimate aim was collectivization of the land and industrialization.
However, it seems unlikely, from what we know about them, that any of these leaders could have equalled Stalin's monstrous tyranny which cost the lives of millions. Stalin began his struggle for power with several handicaps. He was not an orator; he spoke slowly and with a heavy Georgian accent. He was not an intellectual, as were the top Bolshevik leaders. Therefore, his colleagues at first saw him as a slightly backward comrade who was a good administrator and could be entrusted with the paperwork.
This was a great mistake on their part. He was also an avid reader, as evidenced by his library. Stalin soon realized that he could use the party bureaucracy as the tool to gain power. Byhe held the following positions: Orgburowhich supervised party organizations; 4 head of the Party Secretariat, which set the agenda for Central Committee and Politburo meetings; 5 Commissar Minister of the Workers and Peasants' Inspectorate acronym: Rabkrinwhich was to control the administrative apparatus and, ironically, to guard against bureaucratization!
Thus, on top of all the other posts, Stalin now held the highest position in the party. The combination of these posts and memberships allowed Stalin to monitor grassroots party appointments all over the Soviet Union and thus build up an army of henchmen. This, in turn, meant that he was soon able to control the election of deputies to the Supreme Soviet, the top legislative body, and to the Partv Congress, so he could "pack" them.
Stalin also drew strength from the fact that in the last two years of Lenin's life he died in Januaryand shortly thereafter, Trotsky was seen as his obvious successor- and was feared by other leaders. However, in the last year of his life, Lenin came to have doubts about both of them. In his "Testament" really a letter to party leadersLenin wrote that Stalin should be removed from the post of General Secretary.
Provoked by Stalin's rudeness to his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaia - whom Stalin berated for not following doctors' orders to keep party matters from Lenin, after his stroke - he called Stalin "ruthless and rude. Finally, he warned of the danger of rivalry between the two which, he said, could split the party. When the "Testament" was delivered by Nadezhda to the top party leaders and read by them at a meeting held during the 13th Party Congress, Stalin offered to resign.
His colleagues decided, however, not to publish it as Lenin had asked. In fact, they ignored it. They did so because they believed that such public criticism of Stalin would ensure Trotsky's election as General Secretary, and, with France's Napoleon I in mind, they feared that the "father" of the Red Army would become a military dictator and get rid of them. Lenin's "Testament" was first published in the New York Times in It was obtained from Max Eastman, an American communist who had turned against Stalin.
The Soviet government denied its validity for years, calling it a forgery, until Nikita S. Khruschev finally acknowledged it as genuine in his secret speech to the 20th Party Congress in February For the history of this document, see: Yuri Buranov, Lenin's Will.
For Trotsky's involvement, see: Thus, Stalin had allies in the top leadership because they feared Trotsky. Indeed, already inhe had formed an alliance with Kamenev and Zinoviev against Trotsky. This alliance was known as the "Troika," or threesome. They feared Trotsky would use the Red Army to become a red Napoleon and did not suspect Stalin of plans to make himself absolute ruler of the Soviet Union. Inthe year of Lenin's death, Stalin published the pamphlet: Socialism in One Country.
This was seen later as an attack on Trotsky, who was known for his belief in the need to spread world revolution. However, according to a recent study, Trotsky did not oppose the concept of building Socialism in one country, at least not at the time.
He tried to squate the circle by stating that Socialism could be built in one country, but could not be completed until revolution broke out all over the world. This point of view was accepted by most party members because they saw the Soviet political-economic system as a socialist one. ByKamenev and Zinoviev finally realized that Stalin was out to get absolute power, so they teamed up with Trotsky -- but it was too late.
They were helpless in the face of the Stalin - packed Party Congress and Supreme Soviet, also his control of the radio and the press. They decided to admit they were in the wrong so as to stay in the party. Stalin played his cards expertly. His tactic of playing his opponents off against one another can best seen in the Debate on Industrialization, which took place in As it turned out, this was the last open, public policy debate in the party until Gorbachev's party conference in All party leaders agreed on the need to industrialize Soviet Russia init was renamed the Soviet Union, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, acronym: USSRso the debate was on how fast and bv what means to proceed.
There were two opposing sides: They argued that surplus production should be exported to obtain capital for investment in industry. Preobrazhenskyliquidated in the purgeswanted to "bleed" the peasants by collectivizing the farms, and thus control production and prices. The difference between state prices for food produce paid to the collective farms and the higher prices at which they would be sold in state shops in the towns was to provide investment capital for industrialization.
Stalin supported the "Right, " so it won. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in He continued to oppose Stalin from abroad until he was murdered by a Stalin agent in Mexico in Although the "Right" had won the industrialization debate, witnessed the so-called "scissors crisis, " in which the prices of agricultural products were much lower than industrial products.
Since the peasants could not buy what they needed, they produced less food, especially grain, so there was not enough for export and even shortages in the cities. In Decemberthe 15th Party Congress confirmed t Central Committee Resolutions to reduce the influence of kulaks rich peasants in the villages.
The resolution also spoke of collectivization, but said it should be carried out by persuasion, not by force. However, Stalin imposed very heavy taxes on the peasants, and had them collected by force.
The argument for collectivization sounded plausible: The problem was, however, that the Soviet Union was not an industrialized state, so there were very few tractors and other farm machinery. There were also very few experienced farm managers in the Party. Finally, it was a well-known fact that peasant farmers did not want to give up their land. However, these considerations carried no weight with Stalin. In his eyes, the private peasant farmers who tilled the land and raised the livestock, were opposing the demands of the party leadership; in fact.
Therefore, they were capable of influencing the state's economic policy, and even of becoming a political opposition. Finally, Stalin's letters to Molotov show he saw grain exports as the key to industrialization, for they were to pay for it. He believed these exports could not be assured without collectivization, even if it had to be carried out by force 3a.
We should also bear in mind that in he had defeated all his key rivals for power, so they could not oppose his policies.
In Aprilthere was some opposition in the party to the first draft plan on collectivization. This plan was intimately connected with collectivization, which was to provide much of the capital investment for industrialization.
When collectiziation began, there were protests and peasant riots in the North Caucasus. When Bukharin criticized the policy, Stalin answered that a "temporary peasant tribute was needed. Bukharin came out openly against Stalin in January He sent a statement to the Central Committee that Stalin's policies were synonymous with a military-feudal exploitation of the peasantry, the disintegration of the Comintern, and the bureaucratization of the party, which turned out to be a correct diagnosis.
Though Stalin pretended to forgive him, he never did and made up his mind to destroy him. However, since Bukharin was very popular in the party, Stalin bided his time.
In Marchtwo versions of the Five Year Plan were presented: The 16th Party Congress, packed by Stalin, approved the maximum version.
There were also attacks on Bukharin by Stalin's supporters, made on his orders. But in the summer ofafter Stalin had broken all internal party opposition, collectivization went forward at breakneck speed and was implemented by force. The peasants resisted fiercely, so Stalin decided on all-out collectivization.
They burned the villages and shot the people. The peasants then killed off their livestock and burned the grain. In late Marchhe made a speech saying the party was "dizzy with success," and blamed local party members for excesses.
Russian Revolution of 1917
In this way he headed off a mass revolt, but after a few months the pace quickened again. Still, the issue was not yet settled. InStalin's use of force against peasant resistance to collectivization led to a man-made famine in some regions s of the Soviet Union.
Indeed, Ukraine was the traditional breadbasket of Russia. To break resistance in these regions, Stalin did not allow any food to be brought in, while he exported grain abroad. Also, every bit of grain was taken from the peasants, who were left to starve. People were shot for "stealing" grain. Aside from those who starved to death, some 4 million Ukrainians were deported to labor camps in Siberia or to other forced labor, e. Historians estimate that 4- 7 million Ukrainians died as a result of Stalin's policy.
Churchill, at a dinner in his "dacha" country house near Moscow, that collectivization had been imposed because agriculture had to be mechanized to avoid famine. The peasants, said Stalin, had in a few months "spoiled all the tractors" they were given, so they had to be collectivized. He claimed there was no alternative to collectivization, but admitted it had been "a terrible struggle," involving 10 million "kulaks.
In fact, most ended up in labor camps or in huge industrial projects like Magnitogorsk. The bulk of those who resisted were killed, not by their "labourers" -- for most had none -- but by the military forces of the security police. It was only inunder Gorbachev, that the Soviet press admitted Stalin's collectivization was a very costly "mistake. We should also note that many Bolsheviks were horrified by Stalin's methods at the time. It is certain that Stalin deliberately ordered the starvation of millions of peasants, particularly Ukrainians, and that this was done with the involvement of local Ukrainian party members.
At the same time, he liquidated those Ukrainian communists who wanted a real measure of autonomy for their people. Since peasants also starved in other parts of the Soviet Union, the question is whether Stalin specifically targeted the Ukrainians for physical and cultural extermination, which is the claim made by Ukrainians and by some Western historians.
Whatever the case may be, collectivization did not increase Soviet agricultural output, but reduced it catastrophically. First of all, the losses in livestock were not made up until the early s, although without the war this might have occurred sooner. Furthermore, there were few agricultural machines to go around, so in "Motor Tractor Stations" MTS were established, each of which had to serve several collective farms. This meant in turn, that collective farms had to compete with each other in bribing the local MTS and some always came off short.
Also, there was shortage of trained farm managers; so at first, they were party workers sent down to run the farm and coerce the peasants. Finally, and most importantly, the peasants were unwilling to work hard because they were paid very little and mostly in kind. So, inStalin had to allow them to have small private plots on which they could raise vegetables, fruit, and even some livestock.
Russian Revolution of , Communism, Cold War
He also had to allow them to sell this produce at their own prices, thus creating a limited type of free market. Note on the Problems of Soviet agriculture. Soviet agricultural production was inadequate for most of the Soviet period. It is true that production tripled over the years, but the urban population increased dramatically at the same time. Urban growth also took place in most Western countries, especially in the U. We know that key Soviet problems were very low productivity and enormous waste.
Peasants worked as little as possible. Also, Russian experts admitted under Gorbachev that at least one-third, and in some cases half of the collective farm produce rotted for lack of timely transport and adequate storage. Khrushchev began importing grain from the United States in It is true that according to official Soviet statistics agricultural production in the s was about four times as high as in the s.
For Gorbachev's and Yeltsin's attempts at reforming agriculture, see ch. The production targets set in the Five Year Plans of were totally unrealistic. So was the basic assumption that - apart from government profits made on the price difference between purchase price from the collective farms and the sale prices in the towns - most of the investment capital would come from increased production.
However, this simply did not happen. The standard of living in the cities was definitely higher in than it was in This was pulling the country up by its bootstraps. It meant that industrialization was achieved by exploiting the workers and peasants.
After World War II and the imposition of communism on most of Eastern Europe, a joke originating in one of these countries stated: Strict labor discipline was imposed, as were piece work wages along with constantly rising production targets.
Leading workers were called "Stakhanovites" after the miner Aleksei G. On August 30,he was given the most up-to-date machinery and an excellent crew, with the result that they extracted more coal in a single shift than any crew before them -- allegedly tons of coal in one shift of 5 hours.
After that, miners, equipped only with pick axes, were told to produce the same amount of coal. Therefore, Stakhanov's name was hated by the workers.
BrezhnevSecretary General gave him the order of "Hero of Socialist Labor" on August 30,and designated the date as "International Miners' Day. During the first two Five Year Plans FYPs ofhuge hydroelectric dams were built as well as canals, mines, and factories. They were built in record time, using both free and prison labor. Stalin turns on the Right[ edit ] After the United Opposition were illegalized in Decemberthe Kulaks and NEPmen were emboldened and exerted much greater economic pressure on the Soviet government in the months afterwards.
In JanuaryStalin personally travelled to Siberia where he oversaw the seizure of grain stockpiles from kulak farmers. By the latter months ofa critical shortfall in grain supplies prompted Stalin to push for collectivisation of agriculture. Stalin began pushing for more rapid industrialisation and central control of the economya position which alienated Bukharin and the Right Opposition, but which appeared close to what the Left Opposition had advocated before they were banned.
Stalin birthday in Stalin's agricultural policies were also criticized by fellow Politburo member Mikhail Kalinin. In the summer ofStalin exposed Kalinin's embezzlement of state funds, which he spent on a mistress.
Kalinin begged forgiveness and effectively submitted himself to Stalin. The other Politburo members agreed with Stalin, and supported his nomination of Vyacheslav Molotov. Death of his wife[ edit ] On the night of 9 NovemberStalin's wife, Nadezhda Alliluyevashot herself in her bedroom. Stalin was sleeping in another room that night,  so her death was not discovered until the next morning.
To prevent a scandal, Pravda reported the cause of death as appendicitis. Stalin did not tell his own children the truth to prevent them from spreading the truth accidentally. The death of this popular, high-profile politician shocked Russia, and Stalin used this murder to begin The Great Terror. Within hours of Kirov's death, Stalin declared Grigory Zinoviev and his supporters to be responsible for Kirov's murder. In JanuaryZinoviev was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, and Kamenev was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.
Stalin sanctioned the formation of troikas for the purpose of extrajudicial punishment. Hundreds of oppositionists linked to Kamenev and Zinoviev were arrested and exiled to Siberia. Kamenev and Zinoviev were interrogated again, and the exiled Trotsky was now accused of being the leading mastermind in Kirov's murder. A few weeks later, after a show trial, Kamenev and Zinoviev were both executed on 25 August Spearheading Stalin's purges was a Commissar called Nikolai Yezhova fervent Stalinist and a believer in violent repression.
Only Ulrikh, Budyonny and Shaposhnikov would survive the purges that followed. The Tukhachevsky trial triggered a massive subsequent purge of the Red Army. In Septemberthe People's Commissar for Defence, Voroshilovreported that a total of 37, officers and commissars were dismissed from the army, 10, were arrested and 7, were condemned for anti-Soviet crimes.
Since his falling out with Stalin in —, Bukharin had written an endless stream of letters of repentance and admiration to Stalin. However, Stalin knew that Bukharin's repentance was insincere, as in private Bukharin continued to criticize Stalin and seek out other opponents of Stalin the NKVD wiretapped Bukharin's telephone. Shortly before their executions in AugustKamenev and Zinoviev had denounced Bukharin as a traitor during their show trial.
Bukharin confessed to conspiring against Stalin, and was executed on 15 Marchon the same day that former NKVD chief, Yagoda, was also executed. Stalin eventually turned on Yezhov. He appointed Yezhov Commissar of Water Transport in April a similar thing had happened to Yezhov's predecessor, Yagoda, shortly before he was fired.
Yezhov was executed on 4 February