1.) RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
A major event in the history of mankind.
The Russian Revolution heralded a new age, for the first, the working classes could establish their rule and the beginning of real history started in this regards it is said that the Russian Revolution was the logical end of the French Revolution.
Secondly, it was a logical end also for the other reason what the ‘chance’ Rousseau talks about in the French Revolution an attempt was made to break them in the Russian Revolution.
It was definitely influenced by the Marxian idea of ‘workers of the world unite, nothing but to lose your chance’.
It was unique for the reason for the beginning to the end it was carried out and conducted as per the ideas envisaged by Karl Marx in the text ‘Das Capital’.
The textual nature of the revolution makes it unique as no other revolution in history was influenced by the ideology of the text.
The other unique aspect is the role of one man called ‘Lenin’.
In the revolutions before we find either a class or a community taking the lead.
No, where we find one leader shaping the course of the revolution as it happened in Russia.
i.) REASON FOR THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
Russia continued to remain under feudalism even in the second decade of the 20th century.
In its population, there were 45 million serfs and bonded laborers who were exploited by the feudal class.
The bonded labor and the serfs continued to demand better living conditions.
Czar Alexander -II for the first time liberated the serfs working in the crown lands in 1858 (land of the estate).
Afterward, he introduced the edict of Emancipation bonded labor in Russia.
Bonded laborers who were liberated from their problems continued to remain just the same survival became the major problem
A provision was made for the liberated bonded labor to buy small land holdings in 49 installments.
However, the land should remain under the village community ‘Min’.
This naturally made the liberated bonded labor unhappy as they had to part their earnings for the land holdings at the same time.
At the same time take care of their essential requirements.
This dissatisfaction continued to remain in Russia and when the revolution started the same bonded labor class turned violent and aggressive, and took an active role in the revolution.
The slow process of industrialization started in Russia and created its own problem.
Russia depended upon France for investments.
Lack of sufficient agricultural land was the other main problem of industrialization that started with Peter the Great and made progress under Catherine the great.
The consequent effect was the formation of industrial labor and small-scale industrialist and capitalist classes.
As the labor market continued to remain, cheap industrialist workers were exploited by the capitalists.
In Russia, labor unions were not allowed and strikes were banned this naturally made the labor class turn restless.
The problem of the Capitalist class as they were rich but had no recognition and no role in decision making they demanded constitutional reforms.
Thus the formation of new social classes in Russian society created more restlessness.
Russia also witnessed the formation of political parties.
In 1898 parties for industrial workers called ‘workmen’ social democratic party was formed.
In 1908 a split took the part diving into Moderates and Radicals.
Moderates were called Mensheviks which were led by Alexander Kerensky.
Moderate wanted socialism in due course of time that too by constitutional reforms.
Whereas radicals were called Bolsheviks they were led by Lenin Trotsky for the class struggle was unavoidable and they wanted socialism to be established at the earliest.
The agricultural labor and peasantry also had their own party called the social democratic party founded in 1901.
Thus the formation of political parties in Russia caused the political consciousness required for revolution.
The ruling dynasty of Russia called Romanov was highly discredited and became unpopular both inside and outside Russia.
They lost all the battles they fought against their enemies.
When Russia was defeated in the Crimean War in 1856 -58 to revive its image the public emperor Alexander II issued an edict of emancipation.
When Russia was defeated in 1905 by Japan’s Russian parliament Duma was provided.
In 1914 when world war -I started the war itself ended the Romanov dynasty in the form of a revolution.
Russia also experienced an intellectual revolution and a type of romanticism movement with great intellectuals like Leo Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov, Edmond Gorky, and Dostoevsky.
The new political ideologies formed in Russia were liberalism, radicalism, Nihilism, and Universalism.
Liberals were for a smooth and gradual social transformation.
Radicals were for dogmatic socialism in toto, Nihilists were for a new social order completely replacing the existing one.
Universalist like Leo Tolstoy views a moral and ethical value-based social life.
The immediate cause of the revolution was Russia’s participation in WW-I.
The economically not sound Russia entered the war on behalf of Serbia.
She sustained heavy losses on the other hand agricultural production received a severe setback.
There were widespread demonstrations, disturbances, and bread strikes in Russia’s rural and urban centers.
On March 8, 1917, a massive people’s movement started in Moscow Army supported the movement.
The ruling Romanov administration lost its credibility with unscrupulous leaders like Alexandria and Rasputin.
ii.) THE COURSE OF REVOLUTION
The provincial government was formed by constitutional democracy under the leadership of Professor Malenkov.
It was replaced by social democrats under the leadership of Alexander Kerensky. Both governments failed to stand up to the expectations of the people particularly the working class, peasantry, and the army.
In October 1917, the Bolsheviks captured power under the leadership of Lenin & Tolstoy.
iii.) REASON FOR SUCCESS OF BOLSHEVIKS
They promised everything for every section. Nationalization & distribution of land for the landless, control of factories & industries to the working-class & end of war giving relief to the army.
This was precisely why they would win the sport of the major sections of society.
Wherever force was required to suppress anti-revolution movements, the Bolsheviks did not hesitate to use force.
The red army of Bolsheviks commanded by Trotsky used a force of extreme nature in eliminating the opponents of the revolution.
Like Jacobians in the French Revolution who had their own committee on public safety, to eliminate the enemies. They even killed the royal family of Romanov.
They successfully dealt with external challenges.
Lenin immediately concluded the war with Germany and signed a treaty called Brest – Litovsk.
When European powers threatened to attack Russia, Bolsheviks mobilized this support within the society and offered stiff resistance, thus they saved the revolution.
iv.) THE REASON FOR THEIR SUCCESS
They promised radical reform like making the peasantry the owner of their land, workers as the ownership of the industry, and ending the war by giving relief to the army.
Bolsheviks followed a policy of ruthless suppression of capitalist and feudal classes who opposed them.
They formed a secret society Chakav – like committee on public safety in France during the French Revolution to identify the enemies.
With the support of the people under the Red Army of Trotsky, Lenin could save the save revolution from external threats.
France, Japan, and England, all declared war on Russia. However, the war could not lost long as they were already exhausted by participating in World War I.
The newly formed Soviet Union was recognized by Germany, France, and England.
However, the USA had not recognized it until 1934.
v.) WAR COMMUNISM
As part of the revolution, Lenin went for his policy called ‘war communism.
Under these drastic changes were introduced land was nationalized and distributed for landless and agricultural coolies.
Industries and factories were nationalized and workers were given the management.
In social and religious life contact with the Roman Catholic church ended.
All the debt Russia made and the investments made by France in the Russian industries were all abrogated.
The consequent effects of war communism were more so severe, finally forcing Lenin to go for changing his own policy.
The main drawbacks of war communism were farmers and agriculture coolies were happy to own the lands but were not ready to generate surplus production and parted with the stated.
Rather they were for selling the surplus and to make a profit out of that.
Similarly, the workers were interested in better wages than generating the output.
Moreover, they lacked the expertise to run the industries.
Ending the contract with the Catholic church was also not welcomed by major sections of Russian society.
The revolutionary atmosphere against suppression in Russia as production came virtually came to a standstill.
To save the situation Lenin had to go for a new economic policy peasantry were permitted to sell their surplus production in the market and to make a profit by paying tax to the state.
In industrial policy, wages were fixed and decided on the basis of the production generated.
The profit-wage ratio was worked out.
Small-scale entrepreneurship was encouraged.
Foreign investment was invited on profit sharing basis, however, the state retained the right to exercise its final control over industries
By relaxing the control Lenin could save the situation and the revolution.
He justified his policy as one step backward towards capitalism so as to have two-step forward towards socialism.
vi.) RUSSIA UNDER STALIN
It was a different Russia when compared to Lenin, under Lenin it was the dictatorship of communist parties whereas under Stalin it became totalitarianism of the communist party.
Stalin infused a very strict discipline in the production process.
His main problems were an expansion of agriculture, generation of surplus, capital formation, and development of major industries.
The great achievement of Stalin was he made Russia not only self-sufficient but also the largest exporter of food grains in the world.
It was made possible by what was called the collectivization of ‘Agriculture’.
Under the process, individual ownership completely undermines, and completely ended.
Vast tracts of agricultural land were meant for the mechanization of agriculture.
Stalin used Brut force and even went for the communal massacre of the people and communities opposed collectivization.
With the surplus production Russia could generate entire capital formation from the agriculture sector itself.
For Stalin industry meant power and its source of strength was capitalist countries.
From 1928 onwards Five Year Plans started in Russia with rigorous planning and implementation of the ideas.
Very soon Russia reached the targets much before the set time.
It surpassed England and Germany in coal mining and Iron-process.
Stalin also followed a rigorous discipline for the workers even going against human rights.
In society, religion and learning all were brought under the strict control of the communist party.
This was why Stalin’s Russia was a totalitarian Russia.
The main drawbacks of the Stalin policy were:
Undue importance was given to major industries or big industries.
The small-scale industries were neglected
The wages of the workers were decided on the basis of the profit margin who were the commodity manufacturers.
This was the other reason why the working class opted for high-cost and high-profit manufactured goods.
The entire system of development was forced upon Russia without the willing cooperation of the people.
This was exactly why the collapse of Russia proved unavoidable.
vii.) THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE SOVIET UNION
With the revolution of 1917, USSR was formed with fifteen republics iron curtain.
An iron curtain descended upon the USSR under which civil rights, liberties of workers everything was closed.
The world didn’t know what was going on in Russia.
The crisis started generally from the times of Brezhnev, it took a serious turn when Gorbachev took over the reins.
The disintegration of the USSR started at a tremendous speed between 1982 to 1992 within a short span of 10 years.
viii.) THE REASONS FOR DISINTEGRATION
The way the communist government was formed in Russia and administrators implemented the policies of socialism itself created a major crisis.
In other words, Russia had no strong foundation of socialism, it was not the socialism Marx envisaged and expect.
In other words, without proper capitalism, Russia entered into socialism.
Russia failed to develop a socialist and communist culture for sustaining socialism.
This was why the system collapsed.
The new President of Russia Gorbachev introduced new policies Glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring).
The main purpose of the new policies was not to end communism but to mend and reform it.
In foreign policy also he made his stance quite clear.
Withdrew the Russian army from Afghanistan.
Sorted out problems with China.
Initiated a process to end for him Russia incurred waste of resources on useless warfare and supporting its communist allies.
ix.) POLICY of GLASNOST AND PERESTROIKA
It was meant for restoring human rights and grating freedom in the cultural affair that was denied by the communist governments.
Under the policy, the bitter critic of Stalin Sakharov was released from the jail from the prison camp or jail.
Bukharin chief critic of socialist ideas was executed and declared innocent.
In cultural affairs, the official news agency Pravda was granted absolute freedom in publishing news and shape public opinion.
Similarly, anti-Stalin literature and anti-Stalin movies were all allowed into the markets for the first time an attempt was made to make the public understand where things were going wrong in Russia.
The policies were made public.
The public inquiry into the Chornobyl Nuclear reactor explosion was telecasted and in a similar way, the proceedings of the legislative assemblies were also made public.
Under the policy of perestroika (restructuring) communist parties controlled by a central planning system ended.
Small-scale entrepreneurship was permitted, and restrictions and limitations on economic activity and production were completely removed.
In the political sphere, the single-party system was given up, and elections were thrown open for a multi-party system.
Gorbachev’s policies personally created problems for him as the President of Russia.
A serious difference started between Gorbachev and the local powerful leader of Russia Boris Yeltsin.
Yeltsin demanded drastic change in the model of western democracies whereas conservative communist leader Ligachyov opposed reforms as they were too drastic, threatening the very existence of the communist party.
The problem of Gorbachev was he was caught between the two.
When the elections were held for the new supreme Soviet, Yeltsin was not elected due to the opposition of Communist party leaders.
A massive rally started in support of Yeltsin in Moscow.
The rally clearly marked the end of communist party control over the administration, because of a rally that type has taken place only in 1917.
On the economic front, the reforms failed to give immediate results.
The national income of Russia continued to fall by 15% from 1990.
Russian factories continued to manufacture more expensive goods expecting more salaries.
The consequent effect was small-scale industries were completely neglected.
A severe shortage of essential goods arose in order to cover up the finance Russia was forced to go for minting currency, in turn, lead to hyperinflation.
The coal mine workers of Siberia organized a major strike that was never seen before.
x.) THEIR DEMANDS INCLUDE
Supply of essential goods, better wages and interestingly ending the communist administration in Siberia.
They were very much influenced by the Poland solidarity movement of coal mine workers started in Poland against the communist party.
One-fourth of the Russian population continued to remain below the poverty line.
Gorbachev completely lost control of the reform movement he had started.
xi.) INTERNAL ISSUE
In the internal issues within the republics also the communist party central command virtually lost its control.
In the 1986 civil war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the communist government failed to solve the crisis.
In March 1990 Baltic republics like Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia declared Independence.
In 1991 Ukraine the second-largest republic also announced its Independence.
Boris Yeltsin, the elected President of the Russian Republic Suggested for Union republic.
Ukraine and Belorussia joined the Union in Dec 1991.
Eight more republics of the USSR also became members of the Union.
Thus the formation of a Union called the Commonwealth of Independent States once and for all ended the idea USSR.
The disintegration was completed.
Gorbachev’s role ended as president and he resigned on 25th December 1991.
The whole problem in the disintegration of the USSR was apart from the internal crisis President Gorbachev lost complete control of the forces unleashed.
In other words, he himself was the victim of his own grand design.
xii.) THE FACTORS DECIDING THE REDRAW OF BOUNDARIES
The problem of the redrawing of boundaries was essentially European in its origin.
Before the 15th Century Nation States were not formed in Europe as such the Problem of redrawal had not taken place.
With Renaissance in Europe, local cultures developed local histories and local languages, all developed, and as a result, the nation-states were formed with common characteristic features.
Thus formation of the nation states had become the first criterion for drawing the boundary line.
With Reformation Europe was divided into countries following Protestantism and Catholicism 30 Years War (1618-48) started between Protestant Union and Catholic League.
War ended with the Westphalia Treaty of 1648.
European countries came together for the first time and a common agreement was reached on certain issues like freedom of religion, and the Concept of International Law.
The consequent effect was countries got organized and reorganized on the basis of religion
Boundaries were redrawn when continental wars started in the Bourbons of the France and Hapsburgs of Austria and Spain.
Austria extended its control on the Southern part of Germany, and Northern Italy, and even occupied a portion of the Netherlands called the Austrian Netherlands.
France Occupied Alsace Lorraine in Germany and continued to rule South Western Italy.
Napoleon disturbed the geographical map of Europe between 1800 to 1850.
He created new countries by ending the concept Holy Roman Empire, he created two republics in Italy and reduced 330 German states into the Rhine Confederacy of 16 states.
After the Fall of the Napoleon Vienna Conference was held in 1850.
It was conducted under the Principle of balance of power, legitimacy, restoration, and compensation.
Under these principles, Austria got back all her territories and thereby redrawing the political map of Europe.
The boundaries that were drawn in 1815 remained undisturbed until 1817.
The unification of Germany and Italy in 1817 ended the European disorder in the sense that disunited Germany and Italy got united by liberating themselves from the control of Austria and France.
They made again the Political map redrawn with Italy and Germany having their natural boundaries.
The political map of Europe was again redrawn after Words War I as per the Paris Peace Conference Germany was divided between Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, and Czech Slovakia.
Hungary was separated from Austria. A new state called Yugoslavia was formed.
Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, and Bohemia.
After World War II, Germany was a divided Germany with Berlin Wall divided Germany into the West and East
The Problem of the redrawl of boundaries in Africa and Asia was mainly because of England and French colonialism.
It was partly due to the policy of divide and rule as a result of that India was divided into India-Pakistan without consulting China the McMahon Line was drawn which China is not accepting today.
In Indo-China and Korea, North South divide was created particularly due to the cold war politics North Vietnam and Korea came under the influence of Communist Russia and China whereas South Vietnam and Korea remained under the influence of the US.
The Problem of the redrawal of boundaries even affected Latin American countries.
A continent relatively free from this problem was Africa where boundaries were drawn on the basis of Tribal ethnic group and their settlement
2.) COLD WAR
The term was first used by Bernard Baruch an American Senator/statesman in his address to South Carolina in 1947.
The cold war had been a predominant factor in International relations after WW II.
It neither led to war between the Soviet Union nor the US and their allies.
It may be defined as a state of tension between two countries in which each other adopts policies to strengthen itself and weaken the other, the line being short of actual war.
It may be defined as a war of words, strategy vs. counter-strategy, propaganda vs. counter-propaganda, and sanctions against counter-sanctions.
Everything except the clash of weapons.
MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction.
Historians were not clear about the origin of the Cold War and the exact starting point.
For sectional historians, it had its beginning in the 2nd half of the 19th century when Russia’s interest in Central Asia clashed with England and France finally leading to the Crimea War.
Another school of historians believed that it had its beginning when Russia entered into socialism.
The USA and other capitalist powers targeted Russia as a communist country.
In another section, the war had its beginnings during the course of WW II itself.
Even though Russia joined with allies she was not given financial support by the US, the US did not bother about supporting Russia in defending the Western world, and the US not taken Russia into confidence when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan.
When the US declared Japan a conquered territory against the wishes of Russia.
Division of opinion among historians led to the formation of three different schools of thought.
According to the orthodox school, Soviet Russia was responsible for the cold war as its established a communist government in the Eastern part of Europe after WW II.
The second school called revisionist argued that it was the USA responsible for always creating a situation against Russia whereas the third view was that of objectivists that held that both Russia and the US were responsible.
i.) RUSSIA’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE COLD WAR
Russia never accepted democratic government in the liberated countries from the Nazis and on the other hand, installed a communist government in Poland, Hungary, Romani, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, and East Germany.
Even though America and Britain withdrew their armed forces from Iran, Russia continued to maintain its army in Iran.
President Stalin continued to maintain a policy of suspicion against capitalist power.
ii.) RESPONSIBILITY OF THE US FOR THE COLD WAR
The US had not recognized the communist government of Russia and established diplomatic relations until 1933.
America refuses to sanction financial assistance to Russia and did not disclose its Manhattan Project, a project of developing an atomic bomb.
Not informing the USSR of the planned attack on Japan.
The USA also resorted to propaganda against Russia that human rights were violated.
iii.) EVOLUTION OF THE COLD WAR
It evolved under 6 different stages:
Stage 1: was characterized by the cautious friendship between 1945-46 both agreed for cooperating in protecting the peace.
Both agreed for setting up UNO at the San Francisco conference. American representative in Moscow George Kenan sent a detailed program and asked for a policy to constrain Russia.
Stage 2: By 1950, the cold war shifted from Europe to Russia with the Korean War, North Korea was Supported by USSR while South Korea was supported by the USA.
The third stage was characterized by a policy of adjustment it was because of Stalin’s death and the new President of the USSR Khrushchev agreed to a peaceful settlement of issues and avoid armed clashes.
In the Fourth stage (1963-1968), both the Superpowers realized the futility of the Nuclear War after the Cuban crisis, and the Vietnam crisis, the Indo-China war, both powers almost constrain and avoid a clash.
In the Fifth Stage (1969-1978), both agreed to form détente (goodwill association), and both agreed to a trade agreement and even a transfer of technology.
Even though America made Dio-Garcia a military base, a place was given for discussion and to resolve the issues.
The next stage (1979-1987), called the Age of New Cold War again got strained and cooperation was replaced by confrontation.
In the discussion started between President Carter of the US and President of Brezhnev of Russia, the difference started on SALT – II.
In spite of the differences finally, an agreement was reached.
In the last stage (1987), it is said for all practical purposes, the cold war ended and détente was revived.
It was mainly because of the efforts of Gorbachev.
In 1991, the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was reached between George Bush and Gorbachev. It reduced the nuclear installation by 30% virtually helping in ending the cold war of 50 long years.