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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

civil rights.


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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