The Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire and began during the First World War. Commencing in 1917 with the fall of the House of Romanov and concluding in 1923 with the Bolshevik establishment of the Soviet Union (at the end of the Russian Civil War), the Russian Revolution was a series of two revolutions the first of which overthrew the imperial government and the second placed the Bolsheviks in power.

Introduction of The Russian Revolution

Late Awakening:

The Bolshevik Revolution of Russia (1917 ) did not e place in the Age of Revolutions (1750-1850) This does not mean that there was no discontent in Russia at that time. Russia under Peter the Great (1672-1725) and Catherine II (1762 – 1796) became a great power, but the vast masses of people got no advantage from the country’s greatness. Naked exploitation went on till it was unbearable. No monarch, however powerful the may be, can close the doors of his country to keep out new ideas. Foreign armies can be stopped, but not ideas. In spite of the best efforts of the Tsars to save the minds of their subjects from being polluted by ideas of liberalism, nationalism, democracy, liberty and equality, revolutionary ideas ultimately influenced the minds of the Russian people. Karl Marx was a great force that inspired the Russians to stage a revolution against their ruthless and autocratic rulers.

In the 18th century two great revolutions shook the world. One was the American Revolution (1776-1783), and the other was the French Revolution (1789). But nothing of that kind happened in Russia, though the condition of the Russians was no better than that of the French.

 Causes of the Russian Revolution:-

We may briefly analyses the causes of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

1. Oppressive Rule and Backwardness:

Oppressive rule and backwardness of the country formed an important cause of discontent. Russia remained a backward country in spite of the Europeanisation introduced by Peter the Great and Catherine II. The country did not keep pace with advanced countries like Britain and America. Naked autocracy, feudalism, illiteracy and ignorance of the masses of people were the features of Tsarist Russia. Russia had fought against Napoleon successfully, but the people got nothing in return. Nearly seventy per cent of the people were illiterate.

Entry of New Ideas:

Metternich, the Prime Minister of Austria, who was the champion of the old order strongly influenced the mind of Tsar Alexander I, who was at the peace table at the Congress of Vienna (1815). The Tsar exercised the powers of life and death over his helpless subjects. He took steps to ensure that the ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity did not enter the country. Nicholas I imposed very strict censorship of books and newspapers. Traveling was not free, as the government was afraid of liberal ideas. But in course of time, ideas which were against autocracy entered the country and roused the minds of the people.

Socialist ideas of Karl Marx and Engels gradually influenced the minds of the people. The ideas that the exploited people had the right to revolt got firmly rooted in the people’s mind. In cities particularly Marxist ideas spread rapidly.

Nihilism also entered Russia side by side with socialism Nihilists stood against all the existing institutions of national life. The disgruntled Nihilists wanted to destroy monarchy, the Church and other institutions, and have an entirely new social order.

Anarchism too influenced the people. Anarchists preached that government was an evil, and it should be overthrown. Nihilists and anarchists became terrorists among whom the ult of the bomb prevailed.

3. Misery of the People:

The condition of the people Was miserable. There was grinding poverty. People were cowed Introduction to Western Civilization down by the Tsar and the nobles, who enjoyed all the good things of life. Serfdom prevailed on a large scale. It continued as long as 1861, when Tsar Alexander II abolished it. This did not bring adequate relief to the people. The loss of the rich was made good by liberal government grants to them. Liberal-minded people were sternly dealt with. It was the same old story imprisonment, exile censorship, spying, and torture. Most of the land was owned by the upper classes of people clergy and nobles. Agriculture wag primitive. The farmer, who had neither the necessary capital nor good tools and equipment, eked out a miserable living.

People, who found the conditions unbearable, formed revolutionary Societies. But all of them were ruthlessly crushed. Serfs were ill-treated and beaten with a whip called the knout. People, who whispered against the Tsarist regime, were tortured and persecuted. The organization of Pogrom (torture and liquidation) struck terror into the hearts of the people. Large number of families were uprooted from their homeland to be exiled to the Steppes of Siberia.

The condition of the workers in cities and towns was pathetic, Long hours of work, poor wages, lack of facilities; and great hazards in factories made the life of the workers dull and miserable.

4. Defeat and Disgrace in the Russo-Japanese War:

The defeat of Russia on land and sea in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) had great repercussions in Russia. People shouted that the inefficient and corrupt government had defeat and humiliation at the hands of Japan, a small country vb was a great contrast to Russia, a big country and a great. People with revolutionary ideas said that the Tsarist government, which had wasted money on a ruinous war, should be uprooted and should not be allowed to further exploit the people in the country and bring further disgrace in the international sphere.

5. Hope Given by the Revolution of 1905:

When the condition of the people became intolerable, and poverty, famine and hunger stalked the land, a peaceful demonstration led by Father Gapon was made at St. Petersburg on January 15, 1905. The people were not revolutionary or defying, but wished to express their woes of poverty and misery. They wished to submit a petition of their grievances worded n the humblest language. Tsar Nicholas II issued an order to whip the people. But when the , people refused to be cowed down, firing was bordered, and many fell victims to bullets. The people were shocked, and discontent further increased. In big cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow, where there were strikes, the workers formed a new organization called Soviet, which provoked agitation and, conducted. strikes, Trotsky was the leader of the workers at St. Petersburg. Everywhere anti-Tsarists movements broke out, and ultimately the Tsar was forced to make concessions.

Nicholas II promised to create a Parliament known as the Duma. This was to make law, but its powers were under severe restrictions. He also agreed to grant civil liberties. However, it was clear that the Tsar was not serious about keeping his promises. The government adopted high-handed measures, and thousands of people were killed in the course of a revolution, which failed, The Soviets of St. Petersburg and Moscow were crushed. The human toll was heavy, as the government followed a vindictive attitude and executed hundreds of people without trial and imprisoned 70,000 people.

The Revolution of 1905 in which 14,000 people perished failed, as it could not destroy the Tsarist regime. But-it Was of great significance. It taught the masses how to organize themselves for a revolution against the stubborn and incorrigible regime, which borrowed money from France to crush the people. It gave hope of success in the next revolution. Twelve years later, the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) pulled out the government of Nicholas. II root and branch, and Russia became a communist republic.

6. Great Setback in the First World War:

The First World War broke out in 1914, Though the Tsar could not solve the problems of his own country, he joined the war on the side of England and France against Germany and Austria. The war severely demoralized Russia, which was playing a great part in the international field. While the people suffered in the country the soldiers died on the war front, the Tsar’s court had become devilish of the worst type of scandal under the influence of a and scheming monk called Rasputin (literally the meaning dirty dog). He led a scandalous life, and the people and nobility hated him. But he was in the good books of the Tasrina. In the court he commanded great patronage, and re promoted or sacked on his recommendation. The country heaved a sigh of relief when, after repeated efforts, Rasputin was shot dead in 1916.

Russian armies led by selfish, incompetent and corrupt generals were smashed by the German army. Soldiers had neither been trained nor equipped properly, and they easily became cannon fooder. While soldiers died like flies, and Russia’s casualties in the war were the highest, warlords and business men in the capital were piling up neat fortunes, Like Louis XVI, who was under the influence of Marie Antoinette, Tsar Nicholas II was under the sinister influence of the Tsarina, who was under Rasputin’s spell.

The soldiers, who ultimately thought it was futile to be in the army, deserted their posts and joined the ranks of the communist dominated proletariat, who on March 12, 1917 kindled the flames of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Course of the Revolution:-

At lest Tser Nicholas II, who thought that he could put off the evil day and continued the merry song of misrule and exploitation, paid with his throne and life. He was as tactless and obdurate as Louis XVI of France, who, as observed earlier, was guillotined.

Two Revolutions:

Russia had two revolutions, one in March 1917, and another in November 1917. The first put Kerensky, the Menshevik leader, in power and the second made Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, as the dictator of Russia.

The Revolution in March 1917:

The Cossack -patrols, who made common cause with the people, said on March 9, 1917 that they would not obey the order of firing on the people. The next day there were disturbances, and 200 people were killed. The Prime Minister prorogued the Duma, which chose an emergency committee for dealing with the explosive situation.

On March 12,1917 the Household Guards rebelled and shot dead several Officers, Many regiments also mutinied. They seized the arsenal and handed over arms and ammunition to the revolutionaries. Thus a great revolution broke out. Prisoners were set free. The fortresses of St. Peter and St. Paul surrendered.

The Duma elected & provisional government of 12 members. All armies, which came to the capital, joined the revolutionaries, A meeting was held between the Duma Committee with Alexander Kerensky and the Extremist Council of Workmen and Soldiers Delegates or Soviet. Both of them made proclamations, The Duma Committee proclaimed a constitutional monarchy and the revolutionary committee proclaimed a republican type of government.

On March 15, 1917 the Tear granted constitutional monarchy. But the very next day he was compelled to abdicate in favor of the Grand Duke Michael, his brother. A Coalition Government of the Center and the Left was established under Prince George Lvov and Kerensky. The Grand Duke Michael gave all his powers to the Coalition.

Kerensky, the Menshevik leader, appealed to the Soviet to support the Government till the end of the First World. War. The Provisional Government was recognized by the allied Powers, as it agreed to continue to take part in the war.

The Mensheviks, who formed the moderate minority under Kerensky, favored a liberal democracy. The Bolsheviks, who formed the aggressive majority, wished to have radical reforms and to withdraw from the war. They cried out Peace, Bread Land. Civil war broke out between the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.

The Revolution in November 1917:

The people, who were becoming more and more dissatisfied, were attracted towards the Bolsheviks. They were eager to come out of the war and have radical reforms. Under the leadership of Lenin, the Bolsheviks engineered a second revolution.

Lenin tried to win over the masses of people by making a strong appeal to them in April 1917. He had in mind a revolutionary programme to-change the entire complexion of Russia. The main points of this programme included the following :

  1. Establishment of a revolutionary Bolshevik Government 7 after overthrowing the provisional government of the Mensheviks.
  2. Withdrawal from the World War.
  3. Nationalization of factories, dig estates and other key means of production without paying compensation.
  4. Removal of all political p power and rights from the hands  of the propertied classes.

 

Meeting of All Russian Congress Soviets:

At the meeting of the All-Russian Congress Soviets on April 18, 1917, the minority under Lenin’s leadership, who had returned from exile, demanded immediate withdrawal from the war.

New Coalition Government:

In May 1917 a new Coalition Government was formed. This changed the War commanders,  Kerensky tried his best to maintain discipline in the army.

Military Revolutionary Committee:

Trotsky, a great Bolshevik leader, tried to strengthen the military power of the Bolsheviks. He formed a Military Revolutionary Committee. On November 7, 1917 this committee tried to capture command of the Retrograde army. Side by side on November 7, 1917 the Bolsheviks under Lenin established their headquarters in the suburbs and proclaimed that they formed the ruling party.

Finding the situation beyond his control, Kerensky fled and the Red Guards captured the palace. Since he fled abroad, Kerensky spent much time in lecturing against Bolshevism. He opened an anti-Soviet paper in Paris. During 1938-40 he visited the United States.

Bolshevik Government:

On November 8, the Bolshevik party formed a Council of the People’s Commissars to run the government. Lenin was its President, Trotsky the Foreign Minister and Krylenko the Commander-in-chief of the Army.

Peace Treaty of Brest Litovsk:

On March 3, 1918, Russia, eager to come out of the war, signed with Germany the Peace Treaty of Brest Litovsk. Russia had to pay a heavy price to buy peace and surrender to Germany a huge chunk of territory including Eastern Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. This treaty was later annulled after the collapse of Germany.

Reforms of Lenin:

Lenin introduced revolutionary reforms. His policy was ruthless and merciless. He got rid of all those who stood against him on the revolutionary path. The secret police organization known as the Cheka (1917-21) arrested all those whom it suspected and shot them dead. The Cheka was replaced in 1921 by the OGPU. It was only a change in name. The character and methods of both were almost the same.

Lenin established what the Bolsheviks called the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, that is, the landless and the  propertiless masse of people. His aim was to liquidate the power of the nobles and the bourgeoisie, and put the workers in power.

Great economic and social changes were introduced. The privileges of the upper classes-were removed, The houses and the property of the rich were confiscated. Farmers were allowed to retain only the land they actually tilled. The state became the owner of all land, forests, mines, railways, banks, factories and all important: means of production. No compensation was given to the rich, whose vast property was seized. All the debts of the old government were repudiated.

The communists had no belief in God and religion, and all those who became members of this party gave up their religion, which was regarded as the opium of the people. The orthodox Church lost the support of the state. The state had the red flag, and the old Russian flag Was removed. The capital was shifted from Petrograd to Moscow.

Communist Constitution:

The Russian communists known as Bolsheviks functioned through Soviets or Councils. The National Congress of Soviets framed a constitution in July 1918, under which the country. was called Federal Republic of Soviets of Workers, Soldiers and Peasants Delegates. The clergy, the nobles and the bourgeoisie had no right to vote. Franchise was given to all male and female citizens over 18 years old, doing productive work.

Nature and Importance of the Revolution:-

The two revolutions in Russia in 1917 were violent. Much blood was shed and terrible destruction took place.

The November Revolution of 1917 was engineered by the Bolsheviks, the extreme socialists: or communists of radical views. They overthrew the Mensheviks, who wanted a liberal democracy With gradual changes. The Bolsheviks liquidated the power of he clergy, the nobles and the bourgeoisie, and established a government of the workers and peasants.

While the French Revolution was engineered by the bourgeoisie, who did not abolish private property, the Bolsheviks staged a proletariat revolution and confiscated all important means of production and property.

Karl Marx, the father of communism, did not lead any actual revolution. But the Russian Revolution was staged on the basis of his revolutionary ideas 34 years after his death.

The Bolshevik Revolution is a great landmark in the history of the world. It not only changed Russian history, but altered the course of world history. Though the Bolsheviks claimed to put power in the hands of the proletariat, power was monopolized by the communist party of Russia, and in this party actual power fell into the hands of the few leaders. In the name of the workers, these leaders exercised dictatorial power.

Lenin became the dictator of Russia. After him Stalin came to power. Both of them established totalitarian control. All opposition was abolished. No political party except the communist party was allowed to function. Soviet Russia became a one-party totalitarian state. The enemies of communism were tortured and put to death. The Cheka, the secret police organization in the beginning (191721) and the OGPU later struck terror in the minds of the people. Even today Russians do not have the type of fundamental rights enjoyed by citizens in democratic countries like Britain, the United States and India.

Results of the Revolution:-

The results of the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia were great and far-reaching.

1, Great Political and Constitutional Changes:

The Romanov dynasty of Russia was overthrown. Monarchy fell, as Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) was compelled to give up power. Nicholas II came to the throne in 1894. In July 1918 he was assassinated by the Bolsheviks at Yekaterinburg. Russia became a republic, in which communist dictatorship was established. In July 1918, Lenin proclaimed the first constitution of the Russian Socialist Federated Republic.

In 1923 Russia became the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In 1929, there were 9 republics. This number later rose to 16. In 1936, Stalin introduced a new constitution. We find much difference between the written word in the Russian constitution and the reality. Though Stalin’s constitution guarantees the right to property (not for exploitation), right to employment, right to free education, right to leisure, and right to religious freedom including freedom of anti-religious propaganda, citizens are under the iron control of the communist party, and they do not enjoy freedom as in democratic countries. Soviet Russia is a one-party, communist dominated, totalitarian state, in which all aspects of life are under state control. Life is regimented, and the actions of the dictators cannot be criticized.

2. Great Social and Economic Changes:

The Bolshevik Revolution tore into pieces the old social order by introducing great social and economic changes. The landlords, industrial capitalists, the nobles, the clergy and the bourgeoisie were deprived of their power and privileges. Society was reorganized, and means of production were brought under state control.

3. Russia a Great Power:

Russia became a very powerful state which could play a vital role in the international field. In Stalin’s time, when Russia expanded rapidly and great improvements took place, it became a Super Power. Soviet Russia developed imperialist plans, and tried to spread her influence all over the world.

4. Great Scope for Marxism:

As Marxist ideas succeeded well and stabilize themselves in Soviet Russia, they got vast scope for spreading themselves. Following Russia example, China overthrew the Manchu dynasty and established a communist system of government. Communism spread in several Asian countries and in East European countries. One-third of the world became red.

Great, Leaders of the Revolution:-

Among the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia, the greatest were Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

Lenin (187 0-1924)

Did Not Belong to the Proletariat:

Nikolai Lenin (1870-1924), who successfully engineered the Bolshevik Revolution of Russia in November 1917, himself did not belong to the proletariat Class, though he established what he called the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

Early Days:

His real name was Viadimir Ilyich Ulianov, He was born at Simbrisk in 1870.  His father was an Inspector of Senools. As a young man, he experienced reasonable comfort and had good formal education. He became a socialist at the age of 17 particularly after his elder brother was hanged for plotting against the life of Tsar Alexander III. Owing to his revolutionary views,, he was expelled from the University of Kazan, where he was studying law.

Professional Revolutionary:

After his legal education at St. Petersburg, he did not practice law, but became a professional revolutionary at the age of 33. During 1897-1900, he was living in exile in Siberia. He spent most of the years during the period  1900-1917 in Western Europe working for the cause of the Social Democratic Party of Russia. He wrote a revolutionary pamphlet – What Is To Be Done (1902), in which he clearly marked out. the goal of communism and outlined the strategy to be followed.

In 1905 Lenin was s present in Russia for some time during the Revolution.

Architect of the Bolsheviks Revolution:

In March 1917 Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate, and the Mensheviks formed the provisional government under the leadership of Alexander Kerensky. It is interesting to note that in 1917 Kerensky’s Government issued a warrant for Lenin’s arrest to-escape from which Lenin was hiding behind the Finnish border. In 1917 Lenin wrote the State and Revolution. The Menshevik Government was over thrown in November 1917 by the Bolsheviks, who were led by Lenin and Trotsky. The success of this Revolution was owing to the dynamic leadership of Lenin. The Bolshevik Government had to face tough opposition. Foreign powers tried to crush it. Civil war, which broke out in 1917, lasted till 1921.

Prime Minister:

Lenin became Prime Minister after the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917. He introduced radical reforms. As he wanted to draw out Soviet Russia from the war, he agreed to sign the Treaty of Brest Litovsk with Germany in March 1918 surrendering the richest of the agricultural land, the chief industrial districts, most of iron and coal mines, and a large proportion of railways. This he did to consolidate the gains of the Revolution.

As a Prime Minister, he was practical-minded, and was against, doctrinaire approach. In the beginning, he entirely abolished private property, but when he found that production was going down under War Communism (1917-1921) he thought it advisable to relax rules. Therefore in New Economic Policy (NEP) he abandoned impractical communist principles, and introduced modifications. The NEP lasted for 7 years 1921-1928.

Constitution Maker:

In July 1918, he prepared the First Constitution of the Russian Socialist Federal Republic.

Great Theoretician:

Lenin was an original thinker, fine writer and socialist theoretician of extraordinary calibre. C. C. Maxey Says:

Nikolai Lenin, the now beatified saint of Bolshevism, was not only a revolutionary leader of great sagacity and practical ability, but was also a writer and thinker of exceptional penetration and power. He claimed to be nothing more than a faithful disciple ‘and authentic interpreter of Marx and Engels, but he was also a thorough student of Hegel, and his writings reveal a mind quite aware of the deeper philosophical implications of the Marxian creed.

Great Party Leader and Organizer:

Lenin was a born leader and organizer. He used the party as a strong tool to see through his programme. In 1921 his health broke down as a result of very heavy work, and in 1924 he died.

Trotsky (1879-1940):

Revolutionary Activities:

Leon Bronstein, later on called Leon Trotsky, was born in 1879. His father, a successful farmer, Was a Jew. Like Lenin, he indulged in revolutionary activities and was arrested in 1898. He disagreed with Lenin and was & Member of the Menshevik party. He played an important part in the Revolution of 1905.

Role in the 1917 Revolution:

He joined the Bolsheviks in 1917, and like Lenin played a leading role in the Revolution of 1917. He became the Chairman of the Retrograde Soviet in 1917, As Commissioner of Foreign Affairs (1917-18), and Commissioner of the Army and Navy (1918-25), he handled foreign affairs. He also carried on negotiations with Germany for signing the Brestlitovak Peace Treaty in March 1918. During 1918-21 he organized the railways and the army, He was a leading Bolshevik orator and a highly distinguished writer.

Straggle with Stalin:

On the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin  and Zinoviev conspired to exclude Trotsky from the Committee of the Politburo, and early in 1925 Trotsky had to give up his post as the Commissioner of War. Trotsky was exiled to Siberia in 1927, and two years later deported to Constantinople. In 1940, he was murdered in Mexico. Had Trotsky been as clever as Stalin in intrigues, he could not have been removed from power.

Trotsky was more thorough revolutionary than Lenin and, Stalin. He believed in the establishment of world communism. He felt that communism in Russia alone could not survive unless it spread all over the world. He was far superior to his rivals in the intellectual field.

Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)

Revolutionary: J oseph Stalin, the son of-a shoe-maker, was born in 1879. Like Lenin and Trotsky, he became’a revolutionary, and in 1890 he joined the Tiflis Marxist, Organisation. For revolutionary activities; he was arrested in 1902 and exiled to Siberia. He started underground activity, and was exiled again in 1913. In 1917 he returned and participated in the Bolshevik Revolution | under Lenin’s leadership. He became a member of the Politbureau of the Central Committee in 1920.

After Lenin’s Death:

After Lenin death in January 1924, Stalin crossed swords with Trotsky. Taking full advantage of Trotsky’s absence from the capital in 1924, Stalin drew up his plan to get rid of his rivals. Besides Trotsky, Stalin got rid of Zinoviev, Kamenoy, Rykov and Tomsky.

Five Year Plans:

To make communism a reality, Stalin ended Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1928, and introduced the First Five Year-Plan. He made the Russians sacrifice much for the sake of nation-building activities. He wanted to industrialize Russia rapidly and increase agricultural production through collective farming. He thought mechanization of agriculture, public ownership of farms as means of production and totalitarian control were possible only through forced collectivization on the farmers.

Brutal Methods:

Those who went against Stalin’s plan were brutally suppressed. The cost of Stalin’s social and economic revolution during 1929-33 was about forty or fifty lakhs of people, who were either uprooted from their homes and sent to slave labour camps, or were actually subjected to slow and painful death.

Industrialization:

Stalin plan of heavy industrialization brought Soviet Russia only second to the USA in industrial power. Before World War I. Russia was primarily an agricultural country, and in industry she was far behind America,England, Germany, Austria and Japan. The breathtaking progress of Russia’s industrialization was owing to Stalin’s lead.

Dictatorial Power at Home:

Stalin followed the policy of oppression at home and aggression abroad. As chief of the on Government and supreme boss of the Communist Party. Stalin wielded unlimited power, which perhaps no king or leader exercised anywhere else in the world. Nobody in Soviet Russia dared to cross his path, and those who went against him paid with their lives. All had to bow down to him and worship him. Thus the way was cleared for the Stalin cult.

Though communism expressed itself against religion an opium Communism of the Stalinist brand encouraged worship, if it was if God Stalin. Those who did not agree with Stalin had to suffer degradation, torture or death. Thousands of People were arrested, thousands deported and driven to slave camps and thousands tried and executed for the guilt they confessed.

Foreign Policy:

In the international field also, Stalin’s policy was cunning and opportunist. Stalin’s Russia joined the League of Nations in 1930. When Stalin could not get support from democracies to serve his selfish ends, he made a non-aggression pact in 1939 with Hitler,the dictator of Nazi, Germany Hitler committed aggression on Western European countries, and Stalin on Eastern European countries. But Hitler betrayed Stalin, and, disregarding the non-aggression pact, attacked Russia on June 22, 1941.

In World War II:

Stalin agreed that World War II ( 1939- 45) was an antifascist war, a war of liberation. Communist Russia fully co-operated with the capitalist powers like the USA, the UK and France, when such a policy served her own selfish interests. After the overthrow of Hitler, Soviet Russia did not lag behind other powers in claiming spoils of war.

Stalinism:

Stalin continued Marxism-Leninism as far as it was consistent with his policy of grabbing as much power as possible for the sake of self-aggrandizement. Stalin spent all his energy to build and strengthen his dictatorship. As a theory, Stalinism was nothing but a rehash of Marxism-Leninism.

World Front of Communism and Common Front of Revolutionary Movement in All Countries:

Stalin mentioned the existence of two camps in his book Foundation of Leninism (1924)

  • The World Front of Communism, and
  • Common Front of the Revolutionary Movement in All Countries.

He wanted the communist, states in Europe to make a coalition with revolutionaries in Asia.

Dictatorship of Communist Party:

Under Stalin, instead of Dictatorship of the Proletariat, there arose the authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorship of the communist party. Stalin pressed all Soviets into service to increase his own power and. in holding millions of people in his iron grip. He believed that the power of the state had to increase (instead of the state withering away), as the USSR was surrounded by capitalist states. In championing the cause of communism in a single country, Stalin dissolved the Comintern, as an unnecessary obstacle in the way of Russia’s war efforts. Between nationalism and international communism, he preferred the former.

Stalin’s Highhandedness and Bullying Tactics in Dealing with Foreign Communists:

Stalin wanted international communism to be like a monolith, and wished to control communist leaders in other countries also. Communists all over the world were to regard him as a high priest and boss, and constantly turn to him for guidance. In other words, they were to be treated, as communist vassals, who could be bullied into submission, if they went against him.

Tito’s Challenge:

President Tito of Yugoslavia challenged Soviet leadership. He expressed his unwillingness to be Russia’s camp follower and to accept the Soviet brand of socialism. The success of the communist revolution in Yugoslavia was not owing to Stalin’s help, and Tito felt that he was not under the obligation of Stalin. The Soviet dictator condemned Tito as a defector in 1948, and expelled him from the Cominform.

Nation-builder:

In spite of all the excesses and crimes, which stand to the discredit of Stalin, he has to be regarded as a great nation builder. The son of a cobbler rising to dizzy heights of power was not a mean achievement. The spectacular achievements through Stalin’s Five Year Plans brought Soviet Russia to the forefront, and she could bargain on terms of equality with the Western. Powers Lenin’s-New Economies Policy (NEP) which was introduced in 1921 was ended by Stalin in 1928, the year m which the First Five Year Plan was begun.

Stalin’s Ego:

Russia had never witnessed such terror and Violence as in the Stalinist regime, and in 1953, when Stalin died, the country must have secretly heaved a sigh of relief. Though Khrushchev and others were not to change communism to favor its enemies, they felt that Stalin had overreached himself even by the communist standards. What was most disgusting was Stalin’s boundless ego. Stalin boasted of his great achievements, and allowed himself to be flattered in the most extravagant language.

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