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Russia: Stalin’s rise to power represents the triumph of bureaucracy over ideology.

USSR 1917-41 Historical Analysis




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Library of Congress

Having come to power in October 1917 by means of a coup d'état, Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks spent the next few years struggling to maintain their rule against widespread popular opposition. They had overthrown the provisional democratic government and were inherently hostile to any form of popular participation in politics. In the name of the revolutionary cause, they employed ruthless methods to suppress real or perceived political enemies. The small, elite group of Bolshevik revolutionaries which formed the core of the newly established Communist Party dictatorship ruled by decree, enforced with terror.


Joseph Stalin's forced industrialization of the Soviet Union caused the worst man-made famine in history.

Mussolini in Italy, Stalin in Russia, Franco in Spain, Tōjō in Japan and Hitler in Germany – all presided over harsh, brutal regimes. Ideologies differed, but their methods of enforcing and maintaining power were similar. This programme studies the rise, decline, and legacy of Stalin after World War I. It is an ideal resource for students of modern European history and politics.

WARNING: This programme contains disturbing images, including images of dead bodies, executions, and war. Teacher discretion is advised.

Leon Trotsky is considered one of the most controversial revolutionary figures of his time. Was he a practical revolutionary or a naive idealist? On the practical side, he was the mastermind behind the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, and was totally ruthless during the ensuing Civil War. As an idealist, he was committed to the pursuit of international revolution, but created many political enemies. After Lenin's death, Trotsky lost in a power struggle with Stalin, and later was expelled from the Communist Party. Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union, eventually finding refuge in Mexico. In 1940, Stalin ordered his assassination, and Trotsky died after being struck in the head with an ice-pick. History records that Trotsky was a master theoretician, a skillful propagandist and a brilliant orator.

We look at the rise of party General Secretary Stalin ahead of army chief Trotsky and the disastrous policies he put into practice in an attempt to modernise the Soviet Union ahead of the rest of the world.

Stalin was a visionary but ruthless leader. Under his totalitarian regime, Russia’s industry prospered and the general quality of life improved but this did not come without sacrifice. The Russian people lived in perpetual fear of persecution. Stalin controlled everything from where they worked to what they were taught, read and heard. Using archival footage and sound recordings, this program explores Russian life under Stalin.

For 30 years Stalin rules the Soviet Union with an iron fist. Anyone who stands in his way will be destroyed.

EBSCO ebooks

Search within the Bennies EBSCO eBook collection with your keywords for example Stalin's five year plan.


The Manifesto of 17 October 1905 and the new Fundamental Laws of 1906 that followed brought significant change to the state order of the Russian empire. The creation of a State Duma restricted the legislative prerogatives of the monarch, who nevertheless retained veto power.


IN A SIGNIFICANT DEPARTURE from the materialist proletarian internationalism charac- teristic of the first 15 years of Soviet rule, the role of the state, individual and Russian ethnos underwent a major rehabilitation in mid to late 1930's


The Soviet Union is a highly bureaucratized society, perhaps the most bureaucratized society the world has ever seen. The purpose of this article is to explain and substantiate this statement, and then to qualify it along lines that may be unfamiliar to most read.


At least as far back as the reign of Tsar Nicholas I, Russia's state bureaucracy has been widely considered to be top-heavy, corrupt, inefficient and tyrannical. By the early twentieth century, the real driving force of Russian history and society was neither the constitutional façade erected by the autocracy to stifle the revolution nor the subsequent Bolshevik seizure of power, but rather the growth of the state bureaucracy. Similarly, in the course of the twentieth century, analysts on both the left and the right came to view hyper-bureaucratic growth unchecked by democratic constraint as the major problem of Soviet society. Attempts to reduce bureaucratic interference in the economy of post-Soviet Russia have not resulted in positive change.

Spartacus Education

The Anarchist Library

People have not finished talking about the Russian Revolution, its problems, its degeneration, and about the regime it ultimately produced. And how could one? Of all the revolts of the working class, the Russian Revolution was the only victorious one. And of all the working class’s failures, it was the most thoroughgoing and the most revealing.

ANU Press Library

The personality cult of Stalin draws from a long tradition in which leaders in precarious positions of power sought to strengthen legitimacy and unite their citizens into an entity that identified as a collective whole. This chapter is devoted to examining how a persona was created for Stalin via the mechanism of the cult. The question will be approached from two angles: first, by an overview of artistic production under Stalin; and, second, by outlining some of the devices that were used to construct the symbolic persona encompassed by the name ‘Stalin’.

Socialist Alternative

Ninety years ago this January, Leon Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin and his increasingly powerful bureaucracy gave the command. The motivation was not personal rivalry, but their need to wipe out the original ideas and methods of Bolshevism, the legacy of the 1917 October revolution, and any element of workers’ democracy within the Soviet Union.