Opposition Lecture

Opposition Lecture
Are you sitting comfortably?
I am not.
Lecture 2: The Opposition Strikes
Causes of Opposition + Reactions
Aims of the lecture:
– To identify all forms of opposition and identify
– To compare and contrast oppositions and
– To prepare for essay question (if there is time).
Alexander II – big statue
• Nardoniks influenced by Marxism and led
by Pyotr Lavrov, organised rural
campaigns, including 1876 Land and
• Repressed the January uprising in 186364, hundreds of Poles were executed for
their rebellions and Polish was banned.
• Known as “the Good Tsar” in Finland and
did allow an increase in autonomy and
allowed Finnish to be the national
• Alexander II survived several
assassination attempts, but did allow the
preparation of parliamentary reform to
head off further attempts.
• He was assassinated 13th March 1881 by
a People’s Will cell.
• Group of intellectuals who formed after 1861 to
reject peasant “wage slavery”.
• 1874 “Went to the People”, little support –
viewed as being too modernised and treated with
• 1877 Nardoniks revolted with support of
thousands of peasants, brutally crushed –
imprisonments and beatings followed.
• Caused the creation of the People’s Will
(Narodnaya Volya).
People’s Will – and rat boy
• Devolution of Nardoniks, created theory of
“direct struggle” that involved terrorist
• Political demands: constitution, freedom of
press and expression, universal suffrage.
• Its newspapers, "Narodnaya Volya" and “The
Worker’s Gazette”, attempted to popularize
the idea of a political struggle with the
• Tsars realised that there was little to no
national support, so counterattacked under
Al II and III.
• In 1879–1883, there were more than 70
trials of N.V.’s members (with about 2,000
people brought to trial). Narodnaya Volya's
members were imprisoned or exiled.
• Killed Alexander II and attempted to kill
Alexander III.
Alexander III – you looking at me?
• Continued to target the
People’s Will.
• Enforced Russification on
• Clamped down on migration
from the Jewish Pale.
• Carried out pogrom called
“Little Thunder” in 1882.
• Followed by anti-Semitic
measures, i.e. removal of
Jews from Zemstva electoral
registers and confinement
to the Pale.
Nicholas II
Social Revolutionaries
• SR’s focused on living
conditions of poor.
• Formed SRP in 1901 and by
1905 had split into radical and
moderate groups, by 1905
responsible for 2,000 political
• Moderates worked with
smaller parties and gained
support from peasants, largest
threat to Tsardom until 1917.
Social Democrats
1898 All Russian Social
Democratic Worker’s Party.
Based on Marxist principles
and aimed to educate
Initially looked at worker’s
pay and lower working
hours, but too slow for
Split into Bolsheviks and
More Nicholas II…Moron
Kadets and Octobrists
• Kadets also known as
Constitutional Democrats, led
by Paul Milyukov.
• Formed in 1905 they were the
Intellectual arm in first Duma.
• Octobrists displayed loyalty to
Tsar, but wanted changes to
system of government.
• Members went on to become
members of Provisional
Provisional Government – more than
you can shake a stick at…
• Formed out of
opposition to Tsar in
• Created dual authority
with Bolsheviks, Prov.
Gov. did legal change,
Petrograd covered
behaviour of workers.
Provisional Government Changes
• Allowed political parties to oppose.
• Allowed attacks by Bolsheviks, Lenin launched
April Theses.
• Propaganda used against Provisional
Government, i.e. Bread, Peace and Land.
• Couldn’t deal with Bolsheviks, attempted to
arrest them too late and allowed them
propaganda coup in Kornilov Affair.
Lenin – wearing a sarong
• Allowed opposition from Kamenev,
Zinoviev and Rykov to form coalition
with SRs (saw him as a German
collaborator), rejected by Lenin.
• Brest-Litovsk criticised by Trotsky.
• Allowed change from War
Communism to NEP in 1921.
• Allowed (though health was a factor)
triumverate to form against Trotsky.
• 1922 Testament criticised key
• Allowed elections in 1918, but
overruled results with military,
dismissed it as “malignant
Civil War – bad times
• Lenin also fought of the
Greens (peasant revolts)
and the Whites
(Mensheviks, Tsarists etc).
• Designed to wipe out all
• By 1921 left Bolsheviks in
complete control, banned
factionalism under paper
“On Party Unity”.
Red Terror
• Lenin, perhaps on Stalin’s
suggestion, launched the
Red Terror in 1918 following
Kaplan’s failed assassination
• 16,000 executed and
70,000 imprisoned.
• Was gradually reduced by
Stalin – Mad, bad, Manipulator
• Skilfully manipulated debates following
Lenin’s death.
• Formed troika with Kamenev and
Zinoviev to discredit Trotsky, achieved
by 1925.
• Split with Kam and Zin over foreign
policy and peasants, removed in 1925
and Politburo expanded to 8, filled
with Stalinists, i.e. Molotov and
• Kam, Zin and Trot formed United
Opposition, all excluded by 1927 and
Trotsky expelled, then exiled in 1929
after attempting United Opposition
Collectivisation and Bukharin
• Opposed by the right
wing Bolsheviks, including
Bukharin, Rykov and
• Argued it resembled War
• Bukharin branded a
• 1/3 of party removed in
mid 30s as critics of
• 1929 Bukharin removed
from position as
President of Comintern.
• Tomsky and Rykov
• Stalin needed approval
from supporters to
demote or remove
Stalinist Purges
• Started as removing
opponents, turned into
mass executions.
• Wanted to “liquidate the
kulaks as a class”.
• Began to also identify
“oppositionists”, i.e. Kirov,
Kossior. Led to show
• By WWII, Stalin had
wiped out most generals
and there was little
opposition left.
Khrushchev – lets dance!
• Much more open to
opposition, 11,000 in Gulags
in 1959, 5.5m in 1953.
• Does experience criticism for
releasing prisoners.
• Removed Beria, Malenkov and
Vorisilov as potential rivals.
• Instigated de-stalinisation, but
not a method of removing
Responses to Opposition as
Use of Secret Police
• Deemed to work “beyond
the law”.
• Originally 3rd Section,
abandoned in 1880 and
replaced by Okhrana.
• Lasted until 1917 and
varied in extremity, i.e.
heavy use under Al III,
less so in 1890s, peaked
in 1905.
• Provisional Government
removed Okhrana.
• Cheka created under
Dzerzhinsky, terrorised
class groups [bourgeois],
not individual targets.
• Launched Red Terror,
labour camps,
militarisation of labour.
• Replaced by GPU in 1922
and renamed OGPU 1924,
less brutal.
• Formed in 1934 at time
of collectivisation, 5
Year Plans and
personalised power.
• Very intense evidence
• Administered gulags,
over 40m sent there
under Stalin.
• Yezhov blamed for an
“anti-purge” group,
replaced by Beria who
then executed Yezhov in
• The NKVD had purged
itself of 20,000
members by WWII.
• In 1943 NKVD tarnished
and disbanded.
• NKGB under Beria
replaced by MGB and
MVB [Min. of state
security and Min. for
internal affairs].
• In 1953 merged into
MVD, Beria removed as
Khrushchev feared a
• Torture abandoned and
use of Gulags lessened.
• Dealt with ordinary
criminal activity and
had remit to use
counter espionage.
• Until 1964 the number
of political arrests
Censorship – I think ----------• Under Al II Russia experienced a certain level of
– 1865 relaxed censorship; daily newspapers and foreign
books not censored before printing.
– Could still withdraw publications if they had “dangerous
• Gov. departments published newspapers (Ruskii) =
increase in number of publications.
• 1855 – 140 periodicals
• 1855 – 1020 books
• 1864 – 1836 books
• 1894 – 10,691 books published
• Under Al II publishers could criticise gov. over
economy/social problems.
• Al III clamped down, but Nic II opened up again (idiot!).
– Officials censored material and closed down certain
publications, but work was allowed if it was deemed
patriotic, i.e. Tchaikovsky.
• Prepublication censorship disappeared and
newspapers aimed at the Proletariat were allowed,
including the Kopek newspaper, which hit 25,000
circulation within 2 years.
• Events in the Duma were also published, but some
finer aspects could be omitted.
• In WWI press was censored (soldiers only found out
about Romanovs through foreign press).
• Upon seizing power the Bolsheviks controlled press to
prevent “counter-revolutionaries”, 1920s Bol. Had
complete control.
• 1921 Agitation and Propaganda Department set up to
idealise Russian life.
• Constant surveillance of cinemas, radio and schools to
avoid counter-rev.
• Writers who supported the regime flourished, i.e.
Shokolov, whilst writers who predicted totalitarianism,
i.e. Zemyatin, were victimised.
• Censorship grew exponentially under Stalin, by 1932 all literary
groups closed and writers had to join Union of Soviet Writers.
• All members forced to produce “socialist realism” (heroic efforts of
working class).
• Some writers adapted, i.e. Pasternak, others were victimised,
arrested or executed and many, including Bulgakov, committed
• WWII saw “New Soviet Man” ideal created and Stalin became
glorified even more. News was fictionalised and radio reports
• Khrushchev eased censorship and by 1950s 65,000 books published
per year, double that of the mid 1920s.
• 1959 135,000 libraries and the Lenin Library alone held 19m books.
Newspapers had 60m readership by 1960s, but news still distorted.
Propaganda – Lenin is Great, All Hail
• Nic II used Propaganda, staged tercentenury
celebrations in 1913 of Romanovs, very
successful. Pictures used in Civil War.
• Slogans used well by Bolsheviks, i.e. Bread,
Peace and Land.
• Posters, pamphlets and newspapers used, Cult
of Personality built up.
• Newspapers mouthpiece of Bolsheviks, i.e.
Pravda and Izvestiya, used well under Stalin.
Cult of Personality Examples
• Imagery of Lenin continued
and body embalmed.
• Petrograd renamed
Leningrad [1924].
• Tsaritsyn renamed
Stalingrad [1923].
• “Stalin is the Lenin of
today” [1924]
• Pictures of Stalin depicted
as a peasant.
• Continued into
Khrushchev’s period.
But what is Art?
Art and Cinema
• Emphasised the role of the
“little man” and traditional
• Banned homosexuality, jazz
music and drug use.
• Cinema used from 1907,
over 1,000 by 1917.
• Used to promote
Collectivisation and 5 Year
Stakhanovite Movement
• Formed out of the actions
of Alexei Stakhanov –
produced more than usual
coal in one man shift.
• Held up as propaganda tool
to promote Communist
• Time and money invested
into Dynamo Kiev and
Spartak Moscow.
The Army
• Pre-Crimea army was 1.4m,
forced conscripts of 25yrs service.
Could be internal or external
• Crimea showed inefficiencies,
poor health and need for revision.
• Russification = police force, could
contribute to disturbances, i.e.
1903 Cossack attacks on Jews.
• Excessive force – Bloody Sunday
had 200 dead, 800 wounded.
• Dealt with strikes from 1905-1917
but summer of 1917 lost faith in
Kerensky and the Provisional
• By 1917 many soldiers willing
to join revolution, 150,000 of
Petrograd Garrison.
• Military Revolutionary
Committee formed 1917.
• Red Guard and MRC seized
power in October. Used to
keep power, dealt with flash
strikes and financial workers.
• Trotsky created Red Army, 5m
by 1921, compared to 500,000
• Still faced rebellions, 50,000
sailors at Kronstadt rebelled,
put down at cost of 10,000 RA.
Army under Stalin
• Used to requisition grain for collectivisation.
• Enforced Purges, but were ironically also purged,
40% of top echelon removed by 1938, including
war hero General Tukhachevski.
• Enormous casualties in WWII, desertion met with
executions and little/no civil unrest.
• Still suspicion after WWII, Marshal Zhukov
removed. Used for internal security, including
uncovering alleged Doctors’ Plot.
• Khrushchev reduced army from 3.6m to 2.4m,
but still used to deal with global flashpoints.
• Economic, political and social reforms
implemented under Tsars.
• Emancipation, Duma and Provisional
Government removed Okhrana – successful?
• War Communism and 5 Year Plans used with
repression in order to ensure success.
• Reform or die, opposition to the reform was
not tolerated = economic drive and repression
of opposition.
General Trends in Opposition?
Violent Opposition
Effective Opposition
Ineffective Opposition
Social Groups
How did the Tsarommisars deal
with other nationalities?

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