Segments descriptions
      Revolutions Series
Russian Revolution, Part 2
           Description: Gorbachev 2

Russian Revolution, Part 2
               sampler  4’46”    (53’ lecture)

Why Gorbachev’s role is more significant than Reagan’s
in ending the Cold War
                                     play sampler



The Revolution .(continued)



Trotsky’s fate.  As a threat to Stalin, he is removed from office, then from the Party, then is exiled and assassinated in 1940.  Because the people are exhausted by now from conflict, Trotsky understood that the Russian people will respond to Stalin’s message of building socialism in only their own country, instead of Trotsky’s message of sacrifice and struggle for world communism.



Rapid industrialization.  Stalin is firmly in control.  He ends the New Economic Policy in 1928, begins 5-Year Plans for rapid economic development which includes collectivization of farms under government ownership and control.  Farmers are forcibly removed from farms to cities to work in heavy industry factories making production machinery.

Consumer goods are discontinued.  Farmers’ resistance is met with harsh repression.  In 10 years Russia remarkably industrializes in the 1930s from a backward country, accomplished with heightened brutality which is Stalin’s way.  Questioning rapid industrialization motivated to face coming Nazi threat.  The rapid industrialization started in 1928, much before the emergence of Nazi Germany and any perceived existence of a threat.



Purge Trials.. Stalin’s mistrust of the original Bolshevik generation.  The 1917 Bolsheviks are tried and confess to absurd charges.  All are killed or sent to gulogs, including families.  The revolution swallows its own.  Possible psychological reason for confessions beyond usual conditions.  They are subject to Party discipline all their adult lives.  Believe the Party is always right, so we must be guilty if the Party says we are.



Agriculture becomes the weakest part of the Russian economy for generations, although it is still the major economic segment..  Why the West builds up Germany.  Motivation behind the non-aggression pact with Germany.  Role of industrialization in withstanding Nazi invasion in 1941.  Russia fights 80% of the German army, enduring great horror.  WWI ends.



Nazi aggression in 1939 With the threat of Nazi Germany including the Spanish Civil War, England and France rebuff Russia’s seeking an alliance against Hitler.  Hitler cleverly plays on the Western democracies’ fear of communism.  August 1939 non-aggression pact between Russia and Germany is intended to buy time for Russia to further industrialize.  Poland is the sacrificial lamb, with Russia moving into eastern Poland, and Germany attacking western Poland, which begins WWII in September, 1939.



Nazi invasion of Russia, June, 1941.  Stalin is caught flatfooted, is unprepared for the massive assault.  He has ignored intelligence about massing of German troops at its border.  Russia bears the brunt by fighting 80% of Germany’s army.  Stalingrad is the turning point, and the Russians begin to push the Germans back.  Russia loses from 20-30 million people.  Germany is eventually defeated by the Allies.



The Cold War.  Russia’s main interest is its own security, is nationalistic, not internationalist.  Stalin clamps down on Eastern European countries it has conquered in the war, making them satellite states as a security buffer.  Stalin holds trials for doctors, with Jews targeted, for plots against the state.  Stalin dies in1953.



Kruschev emerges at the top.  In the mid-1950s he opens secret files about Stalin’s crimes.  A slight loosening of control results but the country is still dictatorial.  Recovering from WWII devastation to become the world’s largest power after the U.S.  Hungary and Czech Republic rise up but are crushed by Soviet troops.



Achievement of Russian Revolution Free medical & dental care (quality is ofteb poor).   Public housing (shoddy).  Free education for all (college level greatly restricted).  Creative people in art, music, and literature are a privileged class but creativity is dictated, throttled, and many artists flee to the West.  The well connected elite have plenty of high end consumer goods, but not the average citizen.



Last years of communism.  Succession of leaders. 

Leonid Brezhnev is an old liner, likes sports cars.  The Cold War and deprivation continue

Mikhail Gorbachev can be credited for ending the Cold War by treaties with the U.S. to reduce Cold War tensions, begins openness and serious reforms, hopes to put a human face on socialism. 

President Reagan is erroneously credited crumbling Russia’s economy with the arms race, but Russia’s economy is already weak and heading for a crash before the arms race.



The Soviet Union collapses in 1991. 

 Gobachev falls from power despite achievements which are too little, too late to change much.  The system fails rapidly, surprising the world. 

Boris Yeltsin brings startling change.  Shock therapy of new capitalism with a vengeance.  Privileges for the common people are ended.  A handful of elite become instantly extremely wealthy, everyone else suffers.  The quality of life decreases remarkably since 1991.  Ultranationlism emerges, anti-Semitism increases.  The new leader,

Vladimir Putin is associated with increasing dictatorship.  Russia’s power is decreased and is t the mercy of a world economy.  Concern about control of nuclear weapons.  Terrible record on the environment, especially the Chernobyl catastrophe.



Future of Russia.  Dictatorship with the appearance of democratic rule.  Putin has virtual control of the media.  Opposition parties are throttled.  Issue of whether Russia will assert its old power in the future.  The failure of the Russian Revolution, but there is the question of what will take its place.