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Tsarist rule in the years 1856-1917 and communist rule from the death of Lenin to the death of Stalin both depend on high degrees of central control by the state.

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Introduction

"Tsarist rule in the years 1856-1917 and communist rule from the death of Lenin to the death of Stalin both depend on high degrees of central control by the state. The similarities between the two forms of government were therefore much greater than the differences" How far do you agree with this judgement? From 1856-1917, up until a communist takeover, the USSR had three Tsarist rulers, Alexander II (the Reformer 1855-1881), Alexander III (the reactionary Tsar 1881-1894) and Nicholas (1894-1917). After the February Revolution of 1917, Lenin took control forcibly through the Civil War, but died in 1924. After several years of fighting opposition, Stalin took power in the late 1920's after antagonism from Leon Trotsky. His murderous regime however ended in 1953 in a peaceful death. Throughout the period of time that Russia was under the rule of the Romanov dynasty, [C-300] the Tsars ruled by divine right. This made them respectable and looked at as god like figures by the empire; it was therefore the Church and religion of Russia which consolidated the Tsars position as the 'father' of Russia. The autocratic monarchy of Russia was unfair and unrepresentative of the Russian people, as the majority did not have the right to vote, let alone its peasant class accounting for almost eighty five percent of the total population. ...read more.

Middle

The Fundamental laws did however disappoint the hopes of liberals for political power. Voting became indirect - one gentry vote carried as much weight as 3 burgher, 15 peasant or 45 worker votes. The government hoped that by reducing the workers votes, the Duma would be less hostile. The Duma itself was composed of elected representatives, and had the rights of voting legislation, including the budget, and questioning ministers. The role of Commander-in-Chief of the army meant that Nicholas was frequently away from home, leaving an incompetent Tsarina and Rasputin at the centre of Russia. Due to the Tsarinas German decent, it was dislike highly for her to be left in control of Russia, but it was a method of him redeeming control. When the Duma met in April 1906, it was dominated by liberal parties, with the Constitutional Democrats, or Kadets being the largest party. They were determined to press for a Constituent Assembly that would draw up a real constitution for Russia. The government, believing that the majority of peasant voters would ensure a conservative Duma, was shocked by the demands of the Duma, and dissolved it almost immediately. By the time of Lenin's death in 1924, the communists had eliminated all political opposition in Russia. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the widespread purges of the Communist party itself, Stalin now decided to purge the Red Army. Some historians believe that Stalin was telling the truth when he claimed that he had evidence that the army was planning a military coup at this time. In June, 1937, Mikhail Tukhachevsky and seven other top Red Army commanders were charged with conspiracy with Germany. All eight were convicted and executed. All told, 30,000 members of the armed forces were executed. This included fifty per cent of all army officers. Stalin did this to create a state that would comply by his communist views and none other. Stalin also used propaganda in order to gain control the USSR. Through the newspapers, 'Pravda' and 'Izvestia', Stalin had full censorship over what was and what was not to be published in his Empire. Extensive measures were taken such as the re-publication of textbooks throughout schools in an act of Russification. This would enable Stalin to have only his message put across to the people who were to be the future of the USSR. From examining the question and looking into information providing examples of acts carried out by the Romanov Tsars and communists from the death of Lenin to that of Stalin, it is apparent that both forms of government used central control by the state to an extent. This makes the similarities between the two forms of government greater than the differences, but once again, only to an extent. ...read more.

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