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Timeline History Of Russia 1533-1991 Essay, Research Paper
The Russian Empire, covering over one-sixth of the world, is
governed by the sovereignty of Czar Ivan the Terrible. The feudal
system oppresses every man, woman and child as the Czar releases “Tax
Collectors” to maintain support for the nobles in the land. Brigands
and financial extortionists persecute any lower class citizen who
refuses to help contribute to the Czar’s regime.
Under Czar Peter I (Peter the Great), the Russian Empire begins
to flourish with traces of traditional social structure modifications
in the country. Observing the radical advances of western
civilizations, Peter orders the modernization of the army, creation of
a navy, encourages mercantilism and foreign trade, and gives women
more rights. Nevertheless, the Empire remains stricken in poverty over
slow reforms and the overbearing presence of feudalism. 1825-1861
The feudal system begins to fail when the goals and desires of
the common peasant cannot be achieved through such an archaic
doctrine. Various successive Czars attempt social reforms which do not
leave an impact on the country’s well-being. In December of 1825, an
uprising from the populace occures when they demand changes to the
economic system. With the development of the American, French and
Spanish constitutions, the serfs now demanded the abolishment of the
monarchy dictatorship, communal ownership of land and many other civil
and social reforms. Unfortunately, their rebellion was quickly
dismantled by the Czar’s military faction and the system remained in
Czar Nicholas II finally realized that his current economic
monarchy was holding back the development of the empire. He therefore
created a parliamentary system in 1905 which would decrease the number
of strikes and violent outbursts generating from the peasants. This
representative assembly (called a Duma) was convened a total of four
times during the first World War and gave legitimacy to other
political factions within the empire and would hopefully increase
World War I led to the abdication (resignation) of the Czar as
the people revolted against his useless monarchy. Famine, disease and
death were spreading like wildfire as the Russians aided France
against the militia of Germany during World War I. The population lost
its faith in the monarchy and installed a provisional government that
would keep the country from disintegrating. However, this government
refused to intervene during the fragile years of the war and lost its
power to a communist party called the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks, led
by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Nikolai Lenin), overthrew the provisional
government and implemented their style of authority to the empire.
Their objectives were to lead the Russian empire into prosperity while
utilizing Karl Marx’s proposed doctrine for a communal, classless
environment where the workers will be using their abilities to satisfy
their own needs. The Union was now born and the Communist Manifesto
was finally going to be activated. The C zar and his family were
captured and executed, thus ending the oppressive autocracy that had
befallen the empire for hundreds of years. Eventually, the central
government was overtaken by Lenin and his military leaders, Leon
Trotsky and Josef Stalin. Although a minority party, the Bolsheviks
decided to implement capitalistic modifications to the fragile
economy in order to aid the communistic backlash that would follow.
The New Economic Policy (NEP) created by Lenin would allow peasants to
keep a certain amount of profit for themselves, rather than having the
government subsidize all of it. Unfortunately, Lenin died just as his
policy had started to work.
The two apparent heirs to Lenin’s regime were Josef Stalin and
Leon Trotsky. Although Trotsky was better suited for the position
(with his strong political inclinations towards reasonable social
adaptability), Josef Stalin assumed controlled and subsequently
ordered the exile of all apposing cabinet ministers, including
Trotsky. Anyone in the Union who objected to his decisions was sent to
Siberian prison camps or murdered. He now had full control without any
intervention from other liberal or moderate parties. He decided to
concentrate on improving military strength and building on improving
the Soviet economy, rather than follow Lenin’s revolutionary goal of
dominating the world. In order to obtain the immense amount of money
needed to maintain his militia, he began a series of five year
programs which would force the average farmer to meet a quota by the
end of the harvest and then have the state subsidize all of the
production. This system, aptly named collectivization, reprimanded all
of the average worker’s liberties and created great suffering during
the Stalin regime. Such suffering was magnified during an anti-war
treaty that Stalin had signed with Hitler’s Germany in an effort to
avoid a confrontation with the Nazi military. However, Hitler violated
this treaty in an effort to dominate all of Europe and was denied at
the expense of millions of Soviet lives who fought for freedom against
his tyranny. Not only did this lead to millions of deaths and a severe
decrease in productivity. Stalin eventually passed away in 1953, and
the conservative trend would now shifted to a more liberal form.
Nikita Krushchev, a dedicated liberal leader, managed to become
the leader of the Soviet Union after a conservative mogul by the name
of Malenkov could not gather enough support from the Political Bureau.
Krushchev proceeded to moderately alter the rigid, despotic structure
of the Union and dealt vigorously with other foreign countries. The
improvement in foreign relations, outer space developments and
housing/employment allowed Krushchev to improve the Soviet economy. In
1964, he became the first leader ever to lose power when the Political
Bureau (Politburo) ousted him due to his extreme radical policies.
Brezhnev had now assumed control of the Union. A rigid Stalinist
with hard-line ethics, Brezhnev’s goal was to make the USSR into one
of the strongest political superpowers in the world. The military was
richly funded and the authoritative influence of Brezhnev could be
felt in the asperity of the population. When Brezhnev died in 1982, he
left behind an empire with one of the world’s strongest military
sectors, but weakest population morale. The Soviet Union was an empty
superpower with crumbling financial, social and political sectors.
In the following years, the Union witnessed very little
political reform in terms of enhancing social and production factors.
Yuri Andropov died early before he could establish any noticeable
reforms and Konstantin Chernenko was inefficient as the leader of the
KGB and the Union. At age 54, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev emerged to
inherit the economically devastated Union and began establishing
political reforms that the world had not encountered since the
Bolshevik revolution of 1917. With radical ideologies such as Glasnost
(Openess) and Perestroika (long-range capitalistic restructing), along
with improved foreign trade and diplomatic association with the United
States (elimination of most ballistic nuclear missiles), the reformist
had arrived to change the face of his dominion. Gorbachev’s economical
strategies had transformed the Soviet Union from a desolate oppressed
wasteland to a socially liberated jungle. Such radical policies and
reforms not only encouraged the development of a revolution, but the
global transformation of Europe as we know it. As the hard-line coup
was formed in early 1991, Gorbachev managed to hold on to power thanks
in part to his liberal nemesis, Boris Yeltsin. In return, he had lost
all popularity and support from the people and eventually witnessed
the destruction of the Union and the death of communism in Russia.
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