History Coursework – B Question
To what extent do you consider that the October 1917 Revolution was a key turning point in the development of modern Russia in the years 1856-1964?
The October 1917 Revolution is undoubtedly a momentous and extremely important event in Russia’s history, one that ousted the centuries-old Tsardom that ruled over the empire, in favour of the radical communist movement in the form of the Bolsheviks, headed by one Vladimir Iliych Lenin. However, did this sudden move from autocracy to a supposedly more progressive democracy actually bring about the modernisation of Russia industrially, agriculturally and culturally, or was it simply a rebranding of a totalitarian state that would continue to oppress the Russian citizen? There are other key individuals, whose ascendancy to the head of the regime must also be considered as possible turning points in the development of a modern Russia. Was it Stalin and the Five Year Plans that turned Russia from an agrarian backwater in the world order, in to a country capable of competing with the western powers, with its crowning glory being the victory over a modern and extremely capable Germany, or did the forced Collectivisation and the persecution of the Kulaks, coupled with the eradication of any political opponents in the Great Purge outweigh the economic progression? It was Krushchev who inherited Stalin’s Russia, a monument to the man himself that discouraged any form of opposition with force and therefore a country where the populace was petrified from acting for themselves, so then, is it possible that Khrushchev’s denouncement of Stalin and the increased freedom of the countries’ artists and his success in preventing war with the USA that led to Russia becoming the culturally modern country it was in 1964? In the mid-1800s Russia was an Empire of over 100 years and of considerable size, with its only competitor being the larger British Empire, yet it was a country still firmly stuck in...
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