This highlighted not only Stalin’s fear of being subsided as leader of the USSR, but his ruthlessness in the face of opposition. Then followed the 1936 Show Trials, in which there were many arrests of party members, ex-opponents, military figures and non-party members. The first involved Zinoviev, Kamanev and their allies, who confessed under force for falsified crimes of being responsible for attempts to wreck Soviet industry and to kill Soviet leaders, and subsequently were shot after being convicted. The second followed in January 1937, in which Karl Radek, a well known Trotskyite and Pyatakov was shot, again on falsified crimes. In March 1938, Bukharin and 20 members of the old Right Deviation were tried, and found guilty of working with Trotsky and foreign governments against the USSR. All confessed and were shot, with Tomsky being so crippled by fear that he committed suicide. The Show Trials were a grotesque sham by which Stalin cast immense fear into the hearts and minds of Russia’s political clout, ensuring total control over any opposition through fear alone. Removal of any potential opposition was extended in July 1937 when Yezhov (Stalin’s head of the secret police from 1936) drew up a list of over 250,000 ‘Anti-Soviet elements’, which included intelligentsia such as artists, writers, musicians, priests and so forth. This became known as the Anti-Soviet List, ad anyone unfortunate enough to be found on it was arrested,
It is plausible to suggest that Joseph Stalin was essentially a Red Tsar. Whilst Stalin was committed to communism, his ideology and authoritarian reign was reminiscent of the Tsarist autocratic rule that proceeded him. For nearly six centuries Russia was ruled under a Tsarist autocratic government until it was overthrown during the 1917 revolution that led to the introduction of the first communist government in Russia and the leadership of Joseph Stalin. During his reign, Stalin enacted a ‘cult of personality’ in which he was worshipped as a god-like being similar to that of the autocratic Tsars who ruled before him. Likewise, there were immense similarities in the social structures and quality of life for Russia’s people under the reign of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and Joseph Stalin. There is considerable evidence therefore to support the idea that Joseph Stalin was essentially a Red Tsar.
Soso Djugashvili, more commonly known as Joseph Stalin, ‘man of steel’, dictator of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) Russia, can be considered a ‘Red Tsar’ to an extent when features of Stalinism are compared to those of Tsarism and Russia ruled by Nicholas II’s autocratic regime from 1894 to 1917. A ‘Red Tsar’ is a communist leader whom follows similar principles followed under the leadership of a Tsar, that were influenced by few opinions allowing sole leadership and little opposition from others. Stalin can be considered a ‘Red Tsar’ to an extent as he ruled Communist Russia as a somewhat totalitarian state and was considered a ‘God-like’ figure sent to Earth to lead the nation and its people. From Stalin’s reign of terror from 1929 to 1953 there can be similarities seen in his regime to features of Tsarism as well as differences, this is why there are alternative interpretations for Stalin being considered a ‘Red Tsar’.
Although collectivization and the 5 year plans were a success, Stalinism faced its primary negative impact through these polices; the Bureaucracy. This is a system of government in which lesser members of political parties make most of the important decisions or control the happenings of the state. The peasants were the ones carrying out Stalin’s policies; however, they were working for nothing, which resulted in quotas not being met, forcing the Bolshevik in charge of that sector to lie. Plans were developed to try and contain the bureaucracy. Alexei Stakhanov allegedly cut 16 times the normal amount of coal in one shift. Stalin and the government used this to provide ideological incentive for the workers, thus inventing the ‘Stakhanovites’. Despite this however, the bureaucracy was to remain, serving as the foremost negative impact to Stalinism.
The Russian’s loss in the Russo-Japanese war was the another way that they got the public to turn against the provisional government and strengthen the communist revolt. The revolt got stronger and stronger until the Bolsheviks finally revolted and took down the Russian Provisional Government. Because of this, civil war erupted all over the country. At the end of this war, in 1920, the Bolsheviks set up the USSR, or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, under control of Vladimir Lenin. When Lenin died, Stalin aggressively worked his way up until he was the leader of the USSR. In his control, Stalin set up a “5 year plan” to advance the Russian economy from just farming to also having industry. In this plan, he would also advance the military and “cleanse the country of villains” or those he saw as villains. To “cleanse the country”, Stalin would have unfair trials that would have many on trial at once. These were called his “Show Trials”. The majority, if not all, of these people were found guilty and sent for execution. They were executed all at once, and the executions were called the Purges. To advance the Russian economy, Stalin would work the farmers to death… literally. When the farmers revolted, Stalin stopped sending them food and even more died from starvation. On the last of the purges, 16 men were put on trial and accused of acts of terrorism towards Stalin and the Soviet government. Two of them were Stalin’s allies after Lenin’s death, Zinovyev and
Adding to the deplorable oppression borne by the proletariat during the Five Year Plans, Stalin introduced a collectivisation campaign which not only sparked a persecution of kulaks, but also induced a widespread famine. The Stalin government’s compulsory agricultural policy was largely a failure with regard to its goals. Beginning in 1929, all farms were to be collectivised, with the aim of improving agricultural output and hence, industrialisation. The USSR’s initial system of farming was inefficient, but the introduction of fertilisation and tractors modernised agricultural techniques, increasing the nation’s capacity for production, supporting Historian Jamieson’s statement. However, the policy was catastrophic due to the mass movement of peasant resistance that saw farmers defiantly burning crops and slaughtering livestock, regarding the campaign as a violation of their freedom. By 1933, agricultural production fell dramatically; grain by 17 million tonnes and cows and pigs by a total of 23 million, to below what it was in 1913 (Downey, 1989, p. 19). This
One of the most important reasons why Stalin won the power struggle is that he used his high positions in the Communist party and the power that came with it to his advantage. Several factors fall under this category. Firstly is how Stalin used his position as General Secretary, as well as jealousies between the leaders and Trotsky’s illness to stage-manage Lenin’s funeral. To the general public, it appeared that Stalin was very close to Lenin, and as a result
The purges not only impacted those openly opposed to Stalin and party members, but had devastating effects on ordinary people too, also resulting in the prevention of progress in the Soviet community, impacting it’s future. During Stalin's rule of the country over 20 million people were sent to labor camps of the Gulag, where nearly half of them died. Fear of losing his power and dictatorship led Stalin to believe that the educated would be most likely to challenge his authority. The origins of Stalin’s lower class background are rumoured to have left him feeling inferior towards the educated class, also leading to obsessive determination to remove the threat. Subsequently, scientists, doctors and engineers, became targets, and were also imprisoned and killed. As a consequence, the execution of Russia’s educated during the Terror, stopped the social development and growth in the Soviet initiated after the revolution, predominantly in the area of science and technology. Many people in Russia believed everything Stalin said, with most blinded by the vision of a father figure of authority who would do them no harm. If anyone
Joseph Stalin greatly influenced Russia in the years 1924 through 1932. His rise to this power can be explained by the Russian Revolutionary experience that allowed him to gain authority in Russia. Although historians often refer to Stalin as a ruthless, mindless dictator, he redirected the Russian Revolution to major economic development. Stalin’s character in Russia during the Revolution catalyzed the many events that took place during the time period. Because of Stalin’s ability to both appeal to the masses, and take advantage of events, like Lenin’s death, Stalin was able to rise to power. Essentially, the Russian Revolution fostered the development of Stalin’s dictatorship leading the country into a state of economic growth and influence. The Revolution fostered Stalin’s ability to maintain a central leadership, use violence to gain control, and regenerate a previously disconnected economy.
Joseph Stalin, from the time that he was a low level revolutionary to the years that he spent as the dictator of the Soviet Union, always knew what he needed to do to achieve his goals. His organized rise to power allowed him to gain a steady flow of followers who would support him for decades to come. Stalin received a minor government position in 1917, but by the time a new leader was needed in 1924, he “had turned the largely routine post of Party general secretary into the most powerful office in the Soviet Union” (“Joseph Stalin) and “had built a personal empire for himself through his control over committee appointments at all levels . . . expand[ing] the leading Party organs with his supporters, who then voted against his rivals”
Stalin used propaganda to rise to power and build a totalitarian state in the 1920's and 30's. The use of propaganda helped Stalin gain followers and make him look better to the public so they would want to follow him and help him rise to power. Propaganda helped with building of a totalitarian state by helping convince the public of whatever Stalin wanted them to
Stalin used the media in order to convince the Russian citizens that there were saboteurs and spies within Russian population. Stalin used the secret police and military forces to carry out the arrests of so called
Thus, the “Cult of Personality” was flourishing. Propaganda glorifying Stalin and Soviet ideals brainwashed the minds of Russian people. Stalin successfully impressed his socialist philosophies on millions of workers and peasants. Over time, socialism transformed into Stalinism, and it took hold. Stalin was able to hypnotize people towards one belief, the love of Stalin. When they saw Stalin being portrayed heroically everyday in the news or on posters, they began to idolize him. Stalin is like Big Brother; he was the main focus and had total power over the people and their actions.
Joseph Stalin used his intellect, and power, to outmanoeuvre his rivals to become leader of the Soviet Union. Using carefully planned propaganda including, painting, statues, and a series of cultivated posters Stalin immortalised and glorified his leadership. These state-manufactured images created a ‘cult of personality' around him, subsequently, creating an image of a heroic worshipped figure, who was associated with every aspect of soviet society. Stalin controlled the media and according to the historian Moshe Lewin, Stalin single handily, ‘become the system,’ (Lewin in Pittaway, 2008, p.137.)
Joseph Stalin built up this love with the "Cult of Personality". He was glorified with giant statues and monuments. Stalin appeared daily on the cover of Soviet newspapers; he was in every facet of Soviet life. Daily visual imagery of Stalin portrayed him as a Georgian peasant, which emphasized socialist principles of power from the people. In addition, people called him “father and teacher of the peoples” (Runyan 66) and a deity, because he replaced the Czar and the Church. These daily images were engraved in the minds of the people. Thus, the “Cult of Personality” was flourishing. Propaganda glorifying Stalin and Soviet ideals brainwashed the minds of Russian people. Stalin successfully impressed his socialist philosophies on millions of workers and peasants. Over time, socialism transformed into Stalinism, and it took hold. Stalin was able to hypnotize people towards one belief, the love of Stalin. A simple cause and effect: they saw imagery of Stalin portrayed heroically everyday in the news or on posters and they began to idolize him. Stalin is like Big Brother; he was the focus and with the love and loyalty of his people, he had total power over them and their actions.