Communism in Russia

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Table of Contents

Communism in Russia 4

The Russian Civil War, 1918–21 4

New Economic Policy (NEP) 6

Stalin’s rule 7

The Stalinist state in peace 7

Case study: Stalin’s show trials 10

The Soviet alternative: Transforming society and the economy 13

Industrialisation – The Five-Year Plans 13

Collectivisation 13

Communism in Russia

What did Lenin and Stalin contribute to communism in Russia?

Lenin and the Bolsheviks took over Russia in a revolution in October 1917. They held on to power by setting up the Cheka (secret police) and making peace with Germany in the First World War (Treaty of Brest-Litovsk).

The Russian Civil War, 1918–21

The Bolsheviks (later called the Communists or the Reds) were jointly led by Lenin and Trotsky: Lenin organised the economic and political areas. Trotsky organised the military (the Red Army).

The Bolsheviks were opposed by the Whites in the Russian Civil War.

The Whites were composed of many different groups (former Tsarists, landlords, industrialists). They were helped by the Allied powers (Britain, France and the United States) while the First World War was still on.

The Whites attacked the Reds from three sides:

1. General Kolchak attacked in the east. He seemed likely to rescue the former ruler of Russia, Tsar Nicholas, and his family, so they were executed by the Bolsheviks.

2. General Deniken attacked in the south.

3. General Yudenich attacked in the west.

The Allies landed troops to help get Russia back into the First World War; but when the war finished, they withdrew from Russia.

All the groups were opposed by Trotsky’s Red Army. The Red Army controlled the centre of Russia, used the trains to transport troops and defeated each attack in turn.

The Poles attacked from the west and took a good deal of land before peace was made.

Communism: Communists believed in government control of agriculture and industry.

Lenin organised ‘War Communism’ – all industry and agricu...

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