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How far do you agree with the judgement that Tsarist rule and Communist rule were more similar than different

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Introduction

Heleina Aston 'Tsarist Rule in the years 1856-1917 and Communist Rule from the death of Lenin to the death of Stalin both depended on high degrees of central power and control by the state. The similarities between the two forms of government were therefore much greater than their were differences.' How far do you agree with this judgement? Both Tsarist and Soviet rule under Stalin depended on high degrees of central power and control by the state. However it can be argued that the differences between the governments were greater than there were similarities thus disagreeing with part of the judgement. Firstly by examining the nature of rule in the two governments we can learn that they both relied on control by the state. The Romanov Dynasty had ruled Russia since 1613; this imposed an autocratic rule where there was no parliament, the Tsar had total power which was exercised through the army, police and the bureaucracy, this resulted in a high degree of central power. Communist rule operated under the Marxist theory that wanted power belonged to the working class. Communist rule developed into centralisation like Tsarist Russia, initially "Lenin's organisational principle was democratic centralism"1 this quickly vanished as he crushed the first constitutional assembly in 1918. ...read more.

Middle

A similar change came for the Soviet Union in the 1930's where it became a totalitarian state where a single party had power. Anyone that posed a threat to Stalin were imprisoned or killed by the newly reorganised secret police the NKVD. Stalin's terror was much more severe than that of the Tsar, purges began after the assassination of Kirov the party secretary in 1934, the death penalty was introduced for all terrorist acts. The main targets were part members "of the 1996 delegates who attended the 1934 congress, 1108 were executed in the next three years"6. Centralism was maintained largely by terror in 1936 the purges spread to Communist party leaders in a series of show trials evidence against the accused was often ridiculous, but it was a way that Stalin could keep total control over the state. This suggests that the Tsarist regime and Soviet rule did depend on high degrees of central power and control by the state but the ways that they went to achieve this were very different. The 1905 revolution is an important date for the change of centralisation in the Tsarist government. The events of Bloody Sunday on 22 January had triggered the 1905 revolution. ...read more.

Conclusion

Propaganda here was a means to get more control over a wider range of people, in conjunction with his terror it played an important role in control by the state. In conclusion both Tsarist and Soviet rule under Stalin depended on high degrees of central power and control by the state. However it can be said that the differences between the governments were greater than there were similarities thus disagreeing with part of the judgement. This is because the nature of the two rules were completely different, and also by looking at the extent to central power and control by the state changed within the two governments, it is clear to see that Stalin achieved a much higher degree of central power and control by the state to that of the Tsar. This suggests that they both aimed for centralisation and complete power but used different methods to achieve it thus resulting in different outcomes. 1 Modern history review. P6 2 Modern history review p7 3 Ibid 4 Reaction and revolutions Russia 1881-1924 p7 5 Endurance and Endeavour, J.N. Westwood p113 6 Russia and the USSR, Radway Richard, 1996. p15 7 Ibid 8 Russia and the USSR, p60 9 Stalin and Krushchev the USSR 1924-64 p33 ...read more.

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