The Rise of Single Party State in Russia

Introduction

Russia is the biggest country in the world with its capital Moscow city. It was initially called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that existed between 1922 and 1991. It consisted of Russia, Armenia, Moldova, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Estonia and several other countries (D’Agostino 45). After 1991, the USSR was dissolved into the many nations we know today.

The communist state in Russia was formed after the overthrow of the monarch that had ruled the country for several decades. There are several reasons that led to the revolution that overthrew the rule of Romanov of the Tsar dynasty, rulers of Russia since 1613. The Tsars ruled Russia under a fundamental law that gave the monarch dictatorial power claiming that such a ruler was ordained by God himself.

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The rule of the empire was composed of three main bodies (Daniels 74). The first important arm of the ruling government was the Cabinet of Ministers that run the government and the various departments. The second arm was the Imperial Court, which was a group of advisors reporting directly to the Tsars.

Finally, there was the Senate that supervised the operation of the law (Manfred 45). The outcome of this tyrannical rule was widespread poverty and a totally failed economy. Their total failure by the leadership of the state failed to address the extremely poor social economic state of the country. The literacy level of the peasant population was the lowest when compared to the neighbouring countries.

Politically, Russia was extremely backward in terms setting up a stable political system. Russia had no parliament, political parties were outlawed and any attempt to undermine the rule of the emperor was punishable by death (Mirza 102). The regimes’ secret police called the Okhrana was tasked with enforcing the oppressive law of the country.

This resulted in the eventual uprising of the people of Russia against the leadership. The educated elites of the country saw that they were deliberately alienated by the monarch. Thus, they started a revolutionary call for a change of leadership. This group of revolutionaries considered themselves socialists, who followed the philosophy of the great German philosopher Karl Max.

Lenin was the first of such intellect and began a party called the Russian Social Democratic Party while in exile in Finland. These Marxists were argumentative with others seeking a social country while the others wanted a strong industrially developed Russia (Tucker 45). In 1903, the Lenin party split into two, with one forming the Bolsheviks while the other formed the Mensheviks.

The struggle for a new Russia continued until 1917 when the country was deep at war. Russia decided to go into world war one for three main reasons.

The first reason, perhaps the most important reason for Russia’s involvement in the war, was that Germany was fast becoming a powerful nation. The leaders of Russia feared that if Germany won the war, it would be unified into the powerful nation of Europe and the world.

Such an outcome would have spelt doom for Russia. Secondly, the formation of the Austria- Hungary nation also introduced an upcoming powerhouse at the Russia‘s doorstep. The Ottoman Empire of Turkey, which was an ally of Russia, was in constant decline and this was not good for Russia (Brovkin 145).

These circumstances forced the leadership in Russia to go into war thus the concentration of fighting internal aggression reduced. This gave the revolutionaries the opportunity to consolidate their forces and drive the idea of revolution in the minds of the people of Russia. Eventually on October 27, 1917, the emperor of Russia was overthrown together with the provincial government. They did so in the banner of ‘All Power to the Soviets’ (Manfred 198).

However, even as they took power, a fierce war against Germany resumed in 1918. The disagreement between Lenin and Trotsky did not do well to end the war. While the two men wanted an end to the war, Trotsky was quite reluctant. However, in the end a treaty called the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed ending the war for the soviets.

As soon as the Bolsheviks took over the leadership of Russia, Lenin did not waste time in consolidating power. However, the Bolsheviks could not do this immediately. First, Russia was still engaged in World War I with a force declining in morale and equipment. Secondly, the followers of the old regime were still influential; thus, the Bolsheviks were simply fighting to survive (Manfred 78).

To do this, Lenin decided to consolidate the Bolsheviks party by having its leader as elected persons. Such elected member would assume leadership position. This strategy would distribute the power of the country to many parts of the country by having the Bolsheviks membership in every part of the country.

The important measure Lenin might have undertaken was the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. As to any assembly that would be formed, Lenin was totally against the idea of a democratic assembly. It was his view that a democracy would wash away the influence of the Bolsheviks. Thus, when the Constituent Assembly met in 1918, it was dissolved at gunpoint following the orders of Lenin (Streissguth 78).

The second measure that Lenin considered vital was the issue of landownership and the problems associated with tyrannical property owners. One main undoing of the monarch was giving absolute power to property owners over peasants.

Thus, Lenin understood well that property owners did not have room in the new Russia. At the same time, giving full ownership of the land to the peasants was not possible. Thus in the 1917 Land Decree, Lenin declared that no private ownership of land and that all land would become the property of the people (Manfred 78).

There was also a similar decree about factories in the Russia. Worker had taken the ownership of factories after the 1917 revolution. Thus, Lenin did take away the factories but forms committee that look to the running of the factories. The workers were to elect members to such a committee and that order was to be maintained at the work place.

Lenin also formed a new police force referred to as the Cheka. The new force was to be more organized and efficient as compared to the Okhrana. The new force was also mandated with destroying any anti-revolution forces. However, this mandate was widely defined by the Bolsheviks who misused the Cheka to their advantage (Brovkin 148).

As the new rulers took control of the country, they introduced a policy called the War Communism. This policy involved the nationalization of all industry and centralization of all output. It also sought to get rid of the free exchange of money as well as eliminating private enterprise (Streissguth 78).

In conclusion, Lenin was a revolutionary with great ideas. His communism ideals were based on Marxism. He started one of the greatest communist states to have emerged. He set a good ground for Joseph Stalin to rule with absolute power for several decades. He died in of stroke in 1924.

Works Cited

Brovkin, Vladimir. Russia after Lenin: politics, culture and society, 1921-1929. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print.

Daniels, Vincent. The rise and fall of Communism in Russia. New York: Yale University Press, 2007. Print.

D’Agostino, Anthony. The Rise of Global Powers: International Politics in the Era of the World Wars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.

Manfred, Steger. The rise of the global imaginary: political ideologies from the French Revolution to the global war on terror. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Mirza, Rocky. The Rise and Fall of the American Empire: A Re-Interpretation of History, Economics and Philosophy: 1492-2006. New York: Trafford Publishing, 2007. Print.

Streissguth, Thomas. The rise of the Soviet Union. London: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Print.

Tucker, Robert. Stalinism: essays in historical interpretation. New York: Transaction Publishers, 1999. Print.