The Russian Revolution 2 Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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service to the proletariat. [Laver (1994:64)] Also during the civil war Lenin issued many orders to his generals and other leaders in all areas of Russia. An example of such an order instructed these leaders to put in place ruthless mass terror against the kulaks, priests and white guards . [Thomas Mcandrew (1995: 90)] Lenin maintained that these acts of terror were being carried out because these classes of people were enemies of the proletariat and therefore must be crushed. On the 1st of March 1921 a rebellion broke out on the Naval base at Kronstadt. The sailors on the Kronstadt base were rebelling against the Communist party because they claimed that the workers had received far worse treatment under the Communist rule than in the time of the Tsar. The sailors claimed that

the workers had suffered greater enslavement [Thomas Mcandrew (1995: 100)] under the rule of the Communists and demanded that the Communists be removed and that the Soviets be given back the power they once had. Trotsky was responsible for putting down the revolution. He did so very ruthlessly. He sent waves and waves of troops over the frozen water that surrounded the base. CHEKA machine guns were placed behind the advancing troops to ensure that there was no cowardice or changing of sides. Thousands of sailors were killed during the fighting. However Trotsky ordered the massacre of some 15000 defenders without trial after the fighting had stopped with the Red Guard victorious. Trotsky gave no public justification for this massacre. Lenin on the other hand offered an explanation

for the retaking of Kronstadt. Soon enough Lenin justified his actions by branding the rebellion as counter-revolutionary, inspired by the agents of foreign governments and Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary dissenters. [Laver (1994:76)] On the 26th of March in an interview Lenin dismissed the rebellion as a very petty incident. [Laver (1994:76)] Apart from the Civil war, the Kronstadt uprising was the first large uprising against the Communists since they secured power some years earlier. It also had a large demoralizing effect because the same garrison of sailors had greatly aided the Bolshevik coup in October 1917. When Lenin died in January 1924 there was a void left at the top of the Communist party ranks. This void remained open for some time with a power struggle

occurring mainly, but not exclusively, between Stalin and Trotsky until Stalin effectively secured power in December 1929. After dealing with all of his political opponents from within the party Stalin s firsts opposition from out side of the communist Party was an old class enemy of Lenin s the kulaks. Stalin had implemented a policy of collectivization which meant the striping of land from all peasants and uniting the land to be farmed by large collective groups of peasants. For obvious reasons in the majority of cases the kulaks were not willing to give up there land. Even if they were ready to join a collective farm they were not permitted to do so. The kulaks were either exiled to different parts of Russia or imprisoned in concentration camps or Gulags. It is believed that

many millions of kulaks died during the process of collectivization. Stalin justified this class war by stating We have passed from the policies of restricting the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks to the policy of eliminating the kulak class. [Laver (1993:34)] He maintained the view that there was no room for this exploiting class in the new collective system. With the coming of collectivization and the five-year plans came another enemy of the state. Those who failed to meet the often unreasonable quotas set by the communist Party s shock workers or Stakhanovites were branded saboteurs or wreckers and subsequently arrested and either imprisoned or executed. Stalin began a massive terror campaign in December of 1934. Although he had been using terror since the beginning of his

reign, terror of such a large scale had never been used. This terror campaign, also know as the party purges, was no longer aimed solely at the bourgeoisie specialists [Laver (1993:43)] rather it was widened to include original members of the Bolshevik party, officers in the army, members of the bureaucracy, other party members and the intelligentsia. It is believed that 20 million people were arrested with up to 7million of these being executed. Stalin never personally justified his actions but his propaganda simply suggested that there were traitors amongst the population and that they must be rooted out. Some historians have also stated that another reason why Stalin carried out the purges was that he was paranoid of opponents that did not exist and that he was afraid that