communism n.
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  1. Communism “Putin thinks that democracy stands in his way” (Gorbachev)

  2. Political Characteristics (communism is both an economic theory and a political system) • Government actions for the benefit of all • Theoretically democratic • Equal rights – Bill of Rights (many freedoms and rights guaranteed but not enforced) • Periodic elections (high turnout, but often only 1 candidate – one party state) • Control of media and education • Need to educate (indoctrinate) the masses to appreciate the values of communism

  3. Conditions in Russia leading to the Bolshevik revolution • Part of Europe but not industrializing at same pace • Awareness of Enlightenment ideals • Dissatisfaction with limited reforms made by Tzar (economic reforms outpaced the political reforms) • Why? • Civil rights, universal suffrage and elected Duma all introduced in 1905, but were suppressed • Losing the battles of World War One

  4. Justification • Based on established theories of Marx – communist system creates a society that encourages creativity and self-awareness (because you are not worried about mundane things) • Democracy is based on the idea that all people are equal, not freedom. • Rapid industrialization proved the superiority of the system • avoidance of Great Depression • Ability to defeat the Nazis

  5. Bolshevik Rise to power • Two revolutions – one to overthrow the Tzar, next to establish Bolshevik rule • Bolsheviks gained support of peasants and soldiers through Lenin – “peace, land, bread” • How does this differ from the group Marx expected to revolt? • 5 year civil war • War Communism: swift transfer to communist system (to support civil war efforts) • NEP – Lenin sees the dramatic transformation is not working, returns to minor forms of capitalism (eg. farmers selling extra produce)

  6. Politics In USSR • Only one party – CPSU • At elections, voters handed ballot with the approved candidates name already filled in • If you wanted to vote for someone else, you had to scratch out the name and write another: with fellow employees, leaders and government officials watching you, very few people did this • 6% of population members of CPSU (start at young age) • Perks: bigger apartment, better food, special medical services, nice vacation, better education for children (approx. 1% also had rights to overseas travel, foreign currency and personal servants)

  7. Stalin’s USSR • Rejected the NEP (need to devote to the communist ideology) • Collectivize farms to support rapid industrialization • Kulak revolts, reduced output, Ukrainian famine • Elimination of opposition (early removal of opposition will allow the socialist society to become truly communist) • Great Purge • After Stalin’s death, Khrushchev denounces his tactics

  8. The fall of communism • We will look at the collapse of the communist political system in more detail as we study the Cold War

  9. Stalin video Do the ends justify the means?