To what extent did Stalin’s rule mar the key turning point in Russia’s political development 1856-1953?
In an historical context, a ‘turning point’ can be categorized as an event o impact caused by an individual that, had it not occurred, would have altered the final outcome of a period of history. In the period of Russian history 1856-1953 there is no doubt there was a huge amount on political change, at the bringing of the period Russia was a state ruled by an autocratic Tsar and by the end it had seen provisional governments, local and national assemblies and a whole variety of rulers, some more autocratic and reactionary than others. Stalin’s period of rule in Russia could be seen as the most brutal rule Russia saw in this period, but a lot of changes were made whilst he was in power. Historians’ opinions on Stalin are, as ever, wide ranging, Marxist historians tend to be of the opinion that the brutality was a means to an end which was a necessity. Martin McCauley believes that Stalin’s personal impact was not that great and that he was simply at the head of a machine that ran by itself with him as the public figurehead. There are many other events that may be turning points in this period including the reigns Tsars Alexander II, Alexander II and Nicholas II, the October Manifesto, Lenin’s actions in abolishing the Constituent Assembly and the overthrow of the Provisional Government. However one of the most key of these is the period 1916-1917 during which Russia lost its Tsar, gained a Provisional Government which was subsequently overthrown and replaced with Bolshevik rule under Lenin. A period of extreme political change which provided an overwhelming different style of government.
Following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the rejection of the title by his brother Grand Duke Michael, Russian politics was thrown into turmoil with a system of Dual power, shared between the Provisional Government and the Soviets. This was essentially a...
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