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The Russian Revolution, 2nd ed., by Sheila Fitzpatrick - Essay Example

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The Russian Revolution, 2nd ed., by Sheila Fitzpatrick Sheila Fitzpatrick in her book “Russian Revolution” agreed that Stalin’s “revolution from above” was a continuation of Lenin’s revolution. The first two soviet rulers Lenin and Stalin were linked to the one great process of the revolution…
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The Russian Revolution, 2nd ed., by Sheila Fitzpatrick
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Download file to see previous pages To prove this statement, firs of all, I need to define the term revolution. Secondly, I need to trace and compare the features of Stalin’s and Lenin’s dictatorships in economic policy, social policy and party policy. So, the first task to be done is to understand how Sheila Fitzpatrick defined the revolution. According to her, revolution “is coterminous with the period of upheaval and instability between the fall of an old regime and the firm consolidation of a new one” (3). Russian Revolution began with the February 1917 and ended with the Great Purges in 1938. Author distinguished five stages of the revolution: the February and October Revolutions in 1917, Civil War, the interlude of NEP, Stalin’s “revolution form above” and the Great Purges (4). Each of these stages had its own features and was continuation of the previous one. So, the Russian Revolution lasted about 20 years that had not only changed the regime but also formed the new one. Lenin was a great organizer, ideologist and the inspirer for many Bolsheviks. Bolsheviks seized power during the October revolution only thanks to the Lenin’s strategy. Stalin was the one who deeply consolidated the new regime in the USSR with Lenin’s ideas and radically changed economy, society and party. Russia’s economy in the interwar period went through many extreme things like War Communism, NEP and Five Year Plans (with Collectivization and Industrialization). Each of them had its own aims. The main aim of the War Communism (1918-21) was to save the power, to feed soldiers and workers – it was “radical policy as answer to desperate situation” (79). But the nationalization of large-scale and small-scale industry, pressure on peasants and merchants, high level of internal resistance, instability at the front – all these forced Lenin and Bolsheviks to calm down the situation and introduce NEP. According to the author, NEP “purpose was to restore the shattered economy and to calm the fears of the non-proletariat population” (96). Bolsheviks needed to consolidate the victories of the revolution. Lenin didn’t want to stop the reforms and the process of building the communism. But, his illness disturbed him and after 1921 he wasn’t actually the one who had real influence in the state. I think NEP was some kind of strategy “step back - two forward”. And, indeed, less than a decade later, Stalin abandoned most of the NEP policies and initiated a new phase of revolutionary change with the First Five Year Plan (1929-32) Industrialization drive and the Collectivization of peasant agriculture (116). He believed that this was a true Leninist course. War Communism and First Five Year Plan had the same aims: to make communism closer. Both Lenin and Stalin wanted to industrialize the state, because, according to Marx, communism was possible only in developed industrialized countries. But Bolsheviks didn’t have enough administrative power in the beginning of 1920s to start Industrialization. In the end of 1920s they had power and plan. The First Five Year Plan was planned to industrialize the USSR by building giant new construction projects (f.e. - Magnitogorsk) focused on iron and steel. But industrialization needed money that could be taken from peasants. That’s why Stalin began Collectivization. Collectivization was undoubtedly a real “revolution from above” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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