How Far Had the Bolsheviks Created a 'Totalitarian State' by 1924?

Topics: Soviet Union, Communism, Vladimir Lenin Pages: 3 (1060 words) Published: April 22, 2013
A totalitarian state, is a where the central government of a state does not tolerate any parties with opposing views and exercises complete dictatorial rule over all or most aspects of life. Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, took many measures in an attempt to create a totalitarian state, including the dissolution of Constituent Assembly, the use of decrees and the establishment of a secret police group called the Cheka. However there were also some ways in which he failed to achieve full totalitarianism.

The most basic characteristics of a Totalitarian state, are lack of free speech and state control over the media. This is important to establish social control over the state. Lenin's described free speech as 'bourgeois prejudice', and thus ensured strict control over the media and speech. Understanding the role of propaganda to strengthen his rule, he established the Pravda. The Pravda controlled what media was available to the public and who could utilize it. The Bolsheviks were in reality the only group aloud to publish propaganda, and groups such as the Mensheviks, were not aloud to publish. These rules meant that no negative material about the Bolsheviks could legally be published, and all the public would ever see, would be positive Bolshevik propaganda, increasing their support. This is a key characteristic of a Totalitarian state, and thus is evidence that the Bolsheviks had successfully created a Totalitarian state.

Another common aspect of a totalitarian state, is the establishment of a secret police force. Lenin had created a terror police force called the Cheka. Shortly after the establishment of the Bolshevik government, a period knows as the 'Red Terror' saw mass killings, torture and oppression conducted by the Cheka under orders of the Bolsheviks. This force meant that Lenin could assert his physical authority over the people and counter any opposition. To supplement the secret police, Lenin also established a system of Gulags and...
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