Analysis of a section of Geoffrey Hosking's book on the history of the Soviet Union from within. Discusses the October 1917 Revolution. Background of the abortive 1905 Revolution, and establishment of a Soviet by proletarian and military factions. Ensuing political factionalism. Social revolutionaries including Mensheviks, Lenin and Bolshevik-led revolutionary government model.
This research provides a condensed account of a portion of Hoskings's First Socialist Society. The background of the October 1917 Revolution was the... more
This research provides a condensed account of a portion of Hoskings's First Socialist Society. The background of the October 1917 Revolution was the abortive 1905 revolution, during which proletarian and military factions established a soviet in St. Petersburg (called Petrograd, by 1917). That form of organization was revived in the city when the tsar abdicated, and those factions reemerged in that city and other cities in 1917 to run the urban infrastructure. However, factional political leaders formerly members of the Duma and representing Kadets and Mensheviks organized a Provisional Government for reformed national governance, pending formal reconstitution (35).
Initially these two large factions had a symbiotic relationship. That is because the former Duma membership did not have armed support, except from the officer corps and because the new u
Analysis of Vera Figner's 1921 book. Portrayal of her youth in Csarist Russia. . Impact on her of changing social order in Russia. Her sense of commitment to her principles and ideals. Sympathy for the Serfs. Progression of her left-wing point of view. Belief that reform could not work within the social system. Social reform from outside. Her adoption of terrorism as a viable strategy.
Vera Figner was born into a family of aristocrats and seemingly grew up with all of the benefit and privilege afforded to persons of similar means in... more
Vera Figner was born into a family of aristocrats and seemingly grew up with all of the benefit and privilege afforded to persons of similar means in Russia, at the time. Yet, she describes this upbringing as Spartan (Figner 37). To some extent, the “Spartan” characteristic of her upbringing could have been due to some level of exploitation of the lower level of the “aristocratic” class by the Tsar. While there was clear exploitation of the peasant, working class (the serfs), Figner’s portrayal of her youth demonstrates that some of this exploitation occurred within in the lower levels of landed gentry, such as her father, as well. This may also explain why her father had to work in a bureaucratic job to help make ends meet for his family. Vera appears to have been a very attractive young woman and
Emergence & development of dictator's political career. Facfors of personality & circumstances.
THE CAREER OF STALIN: CIRCUMSTANCES OR PERSONALITY
A longstanding question in the study of history is whether major historical... more
THE CAREER OF STALIN: CIRCUMSTANCES OR PERSONALITY
A longstanding question in the study of history is whether major historical developments are primarily due to the actions and personalities of "great men" -- or women, like Elizabeth I or Catherine the Great -- or to underlying forces, which "great" individuals either ride as a surfer rides a wave, or which bring to the fore particular individuals who in some way fit the temper or requirements of the time. Did Einstein create a scientific revolution, or did the condition of physics after the turn of the century make it inevitable that someone would reach the conclusions that Einstein did? Did Hitler cause World War II, or did the conditions of Germany in the 1930s in effect cause Hitler? Put broadly, is history driven by personality or circums
Argues that while Soviet economy was responsive to political direction, that direction & the model of development chosen were disasters.
Introduction It has been repeatedly pointed out that much of the legitimacy that the Soviet regime enjoyed was connected with the modest growth... more
Introduction It has been repeatedly pointed out that much of the legitimacy that the Soviet regime enjoyed was connected with the modest growth in the standards of living that have been a feature of Soviet society, especially after World War II and during the early portion of the Brezhnev period. The insignificant cost of housing, food and other basic necessities--whenever available and whatever low quality--guaranteed full employment and some possibilities for social mobility. In this sense it can be argued that the Soviet economy was largely responsive to political direction in the Stalin and post-Stalin periods up to 1985. However on a deeper level the Soviet system was about to become undone because it was based on a developmental model that appears to have been outmoded (Colton, "What Ails the Soviet System, pp.
History & evolution of govt. land policy from 1918 to 1998. Objectives, impact, politics, collectivization, reform.
In 1926, one of Josef Stalin's favorite writers, Vladimir Zazubrin, wrote what would be the attitude governing land use for much of the history of the... more
In 1926, one of Josef Stalin's favorite writers, Vladimir Zazubrin, wrote what would be the attitude governing land use for much of the history of the Soviet Union: Let the fragile green breast of Siberia be dressed in the cement armor of cities, armed with the stone muzzles of factory chimneys, and girded with the iron belts of railroads. Let the taiga be burned and felled; let the steppes be trampled. Only in cement and iron can the fraternal union of all peoples, the iron brotherhood of man, be forged (cited by Pearce, 1994, 36). Russia at the time of the Revolution was a huge but economically backward country, and the new Communist regime sought ways to expand the economy and to do so as quickly as possible. Land use for this regime meant exploiting resources as fully and quickly
Critical review of journalist's impressionistic study of Russia from 1939 to fall of Soviet Empire.
Ryszard Kapuscinski, in Imperium, examines crucial eras in the modern history of Russia: 1939-1967, 1989-1991, and 1992-1993. His conclusions about... more
Ryszard Kapuscinski, in Imperium, examines crucial eras in the modern history of Russia: 1939-1967, 1989-1991, and 1992-1993. His conclusions about the nation, its people, its leadership, and its power and collapse, are far from clear or definitive. However, this does not weaken the impact of the book, for any such attempt at clear conclusions about Russia in the mid-1990s would be folly. Kapuscinski knows this and seems to draw journalistic energy from the fact: The whole does not end with a higher and definitive synthesis, but, on the contrary, it disintegrates and falls apart, and the reason for this is that in the course of writing the book, its main subject and theme fell apart--namely, the great Soviet superpower (x). The author does not pretend to know what will happen to what
The Russian Revolution was a social movement as well as a political one and involved the assertion of a people that they wanted a change in... more
The Russian Revolution was a social movement as well as a political one and involved the assertion of a people that they wanted a change in leadership, in economic structure, and in how society was ordered. The revolution was based essentially on principles espoused by Marx and Engels and then reshaped by Lenin and others in the era prior to the onset of the revolt. The Russian Revolution would serve as a model for other revolutionary movements to come, notably that in China, with modifications according to the specific needs in a given situation. Yet the revolution was only incidentally ideological, for the mass poplar unrest leading to the revolution derived more from other forces and long-standing grievances. The Revolution was the culmination of a long period of ferment, not the beginning. For half a century Russia had been
Background of crisis, rationale for, leadership, democratization, military, political & economic factors.
The decision on the part of the Soviet Union to invade Czechoslovakia came about because of a combination of forces and crises. The invasion followed... more
The decision on the part of the Soviet Union to invade Czechoslovakia came about because of a combination of forces and crises. The invasion followed what has come to be known as the Prague Spring, a period of liberalization of policies in Poland, which came at a time when the Soviets were faced with problems in Romania. Efforts at liberalization by the Dubcek regime in Czechoslovakia raised fears in the Soviet leaders that this would be only the beginning of widespread demands for changes of the same sort in other East European countries. In addition, there were changes taking place in Czechoslovakia in terms of self defense and foreign policy which threatened the membership of that country in the Warsaw Pact, and the Soviets could not abide any potential defection from the apparent unity of the Eastern bloc.
Evolution of govt., leadership, socialist ideology, economics, authoritarianism, patriotism, the Communist Party, conservatism, reform, demise of Soviet Union, from Lenin to Gorbachev. Outline.
The Evolution of Soviet Politics This paper will discuss the evolution of politics in the Soviet Union after the Revolution of 1917. The first... more
The Evolution of Soviet Politics This paper will discuss the evolution of politics in the Soviet Union after the Revolution of 1917. The first part of the paper will examine the political situation under Lenin, including a discussion of the similarities in government between Imperial Russia under the Tsars and the Soviet Union under the Communists. The second part of the paper will discuss the changes in the political structure of the government under Joseph Stalin and how these changes transformed the nature of Soviet government during these years. The third part of the paper will look at how Stalin's successors repudiated his governmental structure and returned, in part, to the structure and policies of Lenin. The fourth part of the paper will examine how Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to reform Soviet political structure just before it collapsed.