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Major Russian Leaders, 1900-1939

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Russian Leaders 1900-1930

Tsar Nicholas II


Nicholas II was the last Russian czar, who, as described in Historic World Leaders as the czar, "whose failures as a leader combined with the deep problems of his country to bring on revolution in 1917" 1. He lived from 1868 until his assassination in 1918. From the start of his reign, he faced a Russian population increasingly hostile to the government, and popular anger soon centered around the Tzar and his family.

He became the czar of Russia in 1894, and by 1904, Russia was already at war with Japan. The next year, the Russian Revolution of 1905 sprung on Nicholas II, forcing him to grant constitutional government to the people of the Russian Empire. In 1918, Nicholas and his family were executed by Bolshevik secret police in the beginning months of the Russian Civil War. Nicholas had many children and a large family who was executed along with him. Including the famous Grand Duchess Anastasia, his youngest daughter.

Tzar Nicholas II was ruling around 130 million people at the time of his reign. Russia was a very strong country when he was in power. At home, Nicholas found popular unrest rising. January 1905, on Bloody Sunday, crowds of Russians tried to petition the tsar to help them. Hundreds were shot down in front of the Nicholas's winter palace. It was after these killings that the 1905 Revolution began against the Tsar. Revolutionaries battled the Tsar by organizing workers unions that refused to work in protest of their treatment. Unions were formed in protest by sailors, doctors, lawyers, industrial workers, and other professions.

When Nicholas received the word that he was going to be crowned as czar following the death of his father Alexander III he wept. He claimed that he knew nothing about ruling a country and he was unprepared. When he was the ruler he was unsure of him self and quiet so even in the army he was called "Little Colonel" for his quiet personality. Nicholas also came into power of a nation that for decades had been seesawing between reform and repression. this made Nicholas's job very hard.2.

Overall his main goal was to build up Russia's industry, but the rapid industrial growth brought many problems to this ideas. Pay was low, working conditions were awful, and children were now forced to work started at a very young age. Some people hated this and went on strike and would follow the idea of Karl Marx.

Tzar Nicholas II Believing firmly in his duty to preserve absolute power in the Russian monarchy, he opposed any concessions to those favoring more democracy in government. He tended to rely for advice on his wife, to whom he was devoted and who bore him four daughters and a son, and was influenced by her mystical beliefs. One of Nicholas goals was to expand Russia to the far east, this later sparked the disastrous Russo-Japanese War (1904–5). Despite his personally friendly relations with his cousin, William II of Germany, their two countries were on opposite sides when World War I broke out in 1914.3.

Leadership of Russia Post-Russian Revolution

(post 1917)

After Tzar Nicholas II was overthrown in 1917, the Bolshevik's took over Russia. These revolutions eventually led to the end of reign of the Tzar in Russia, causing Tzar Nicholas II to be proclaimed as the last Tzar. This whole turn of events led to the creation of the Soviet Union, and the power and control over all of Russia was juggled around, and, in the midst of all of the chaos, members of the Duma assumed control of the country. The Dumas control led to the creation of the the Russian Provisional Government.

The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution and Czar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Czar of Russia, abdicated, effectively leaving the Provisional Government in power. The Soviets (workers' councils) which were led by more radical socialist factions initially permitted the Provisional government to rule but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias. The February Revolution took place in the context of the First World War, with much of the army in a state of mutiny.

Vladimir Lenin


Vladimir Lenin was the Russian Bolshevik political party leader who endorsed an organized revolution. He believed that revolution without order or leadership would bring unnecessary chaos to all parties involved.4 He was a supporter of scientific socialism and the ideals of Marx and Engels; Lenin discovered Marx's theory when he was attending the University of Kazan. Lenin referred to organized revolution with the statement, "“Without a revolutionary theory there cannot be a revolutionary movement.”5.

Lenin also was a key supporter of the proletariat and using the concept of social-democracy to fuel his "programme" for the proletariat uprising against the ruling classes in Russia. He supported the ideals of Marx and Engel, in which all the classes should be united under equal wealth and status, thus eliminating the class system in Russia. Lenin described the average Russian worker as, "robbed and plundered by the capitalists and the landowners", "bound hand and foot by the police", "mouth gagged and any attempt to defend the rights of the people", etc.6 Lenin is a strong supporter of the working class in Russia and of their feud with the ruling class in Russia.

Lenin was a strong believer in improving the nations literacy rate so they can become smarter as a whole. He asks for an improvement in funding for better teacher training and better communication between towns and country sides to help promote a more even literacy through out the entire population. He also sees that doing this would help promote Communism. 7

Lenin also used a lot of propaganda so he could reduce the Bolshevik slogan of" peace bread and land" this was somehow relating him to get a lot of support and gaining powerful weapons. In the encyclopedia of Russian propaganda,8 it states the Lenin propaganda effects helped him win supporters who were a major influence is the soviet union , which was good for him because this meant he got through to the racial, gender, and economic equality.

Joseph Stalin


Between 1902 and 1913 he was arrested 8 times and exiled to Siberia. He escaped 7 times!
While in prison he adopted the name Stalin which translated as "Man of Steel". He felt that it would be good for his image
Also, he was a very good at the part he played in the November 1917 Revolution.

After 1917, he was rewarded with a number of seemingly unimportant party positions which nobody else wanted. But they gave Stalin a perfect insight into who could be trusted to support him and who could not.

Biography of Joseph Stalin:

Joseph Stalin, born as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, was born in Gori, Georgia. He later changed his name to Stalin, meaning "steel". At a young age Stalin's mother sent him to Tbilisi, Georgia to become a priest. However, Stalin chose another path, and got involved with revolutionary activities, that opposed the Russian tsarist government. These groups were greatly influenced by the ideas and writings of Karl Marx. As a dedicated and honorable member, Stalin did whatever it took to contribute to the Russian communist party. Whether it was being arrested for striking or protesting, or playing a major role in robberies to gain money for the party. Lenin admired Stalin's loyalty to the party and appointed him to various low ranking leadership positions. Stalin excelled in his leadership roles. In 1924, Vladimir Lenin, the previous leader of the communist party, died.

Before Lenin's death, he and Stalin clashed a number of times, and Lenin wrote a letter to the party saying, "After taking over the position of General Secretary, Comrade Stalin has accumulated in his hands immeasurable power and I am not certain whether he will always be able to use this power with the required care."9 Many people thought that Stalin's solid qualities overshadowed the bad ones. After the defeat of his rivals in a series of purges10 in 1935, Stalin was left as the sole power of Russia

Joseph Stalin became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1922 - following the death of Lenin. Stalin's policies and leadership, based on Marxist-Leninist ideology, are often considered the foundation of a political and economic system called Stalinism.
Under Stalin's rule the Soviet Union was transformed from a nation based on agriculture to a global superpower. The industrialization of USSR was successful and critical to defeat the Axis invasion of World War II.

While it is certain that Stalin's social and economic policies laid the foundations for Russia's emergence as a superpower, the harshness in which this transformation took place was later repudiated by his successors in the Communist Party leadership. This became clear later on with the denunciation of Stalinism by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956. Stalin is generally thought to be directly or indirectly responsible for the death of millions of Russians.
Stalin frequently engaged in all night partying. On March 1, 1953, after an all-night dinner Stalin collapsed suffering a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. He died four days later, on March 5, 1953, at the age of 73.

Began his rule in 1929 and ruled till his death in 1953. Under his rule he changed communism from just a revolutionary idea to the main ideology of Russia. Before ruling Russia, he was one of the powerful leaders in the Bolshevik, Russia's communist party, by using his ability to organize and also because he was a favorite of Lenin. Stalin built the Soviet Union into an industrialized nation. In order to instigate industrialization, Stalin mandated a famine to occur in many agricultural regions to lower the amount of produce so that technology could come under way and citizen loyalty would be directed to the government in order to gain nourishment. Stalin inherited as well as valued the ideas of Adolf Hitler12 whom, was one of the most hated men in the world at the time. Stalin and Hitler instantly became great friends as well as alliances.
Stalin who was once named the Man of the Year in 1939 did not get off to a good start in the year to come, and he would need to do some major revising in his ways if he wanted to regain this image. Soviet Russia formed a pact with Nazi Germany, and it was a non aggression pact between the two powers. This divided all of Eastern Europe into two different ideologies of power those influences of power were both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Although Hitler went behind Stalins back and invaded the Soviet terriotory wich inniciated the war on the eatern front. Stalin was hesistant to believe that it was Hitler who truly signed off on the attack, because he thought they wouldnt move forward until they defeated Britian.

Stalin and His Impact

He has impacted many people. A man by the name of A. O Avidenko feels he is just God's gift to the world and he was a great educator, strong, beautiful, wise,and marvelous.Everytime Avidenko found him self in a hard time he would go to Stalin's words for advice and to find eternal peace. he said that Stalin was " the chief of our great country" meaning he is the best.14

When Stalin came to power he wanted change immediately and those who opposed him or wanted to keep things the same were taken out of office at once. Top leaders such as Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky who opposed this new change and urged restraint and more realistic procedures, were taken out of office swiftly. 15
What Stalin wanted was a centralized government. He faced a lot of criticism and many doubted his way and became opposed to him. When people wanted Kirov to take office and overthrow Stalin. In December of 1934 Kirov was murdered, this began the reign of terror. It lasted till 1939 and during the time many executions.

Stalin's role in 1917 was important, though not heroic. He was not a popular or charismatic leader who stirred crowds with his oratory, as fellow revolutionary Leon Trotsky did. Stalin preferred to work within Party committees and became special assistant to Lenin for "delicate assignments" where he utilized his astuteness, reliability, and conspiratorial skills. In October, when the Bolsheviks, led by Trostsky, seized power in the name of the soviets (popular governing councils formed in 1917), Stalin's part was minor or nonexistent. But he did receive in the new government as commissar of Nationality Affairs. Over the next five years, his main task was to help design the federal structure of the Soviet Union.
Also, Stalin abolished the 'New Economic Policy' and trade. He instituted central planning, designed to rationalize production, but demanded growth rates that were impossibly high. As justification, he proclaimed that Russia had only a limited time to prepare itself for outside attack:

Stalin's Purges

Before the purges, when Stalin first got together his secret police, their job was to seek and arrest enemies of the Party. As a result, thousands of Party members were expelled. At the 17th Communist Party Congress in 1934, Sergei Kirov mentioned that restraint should be used when carrying out these purges. Nearly one thousand delegates voted against Stalin, and some suggested that Kirov should even replace Stalin. Less than a year later, Sergei Kirov was assassinated, along with over one hundred other conspirators, who were round up and executed by the secret police.

Stalin's Purges began shortly after his rule as a way to secure communism as the governing power in Russia. Hundreds of thousands of kulaks (farmers and peasants) were executed in order for their land to be transferred to government control. Even after land and produce control was gained by the government, the purges continued out of Stalin's paranoia of a coup against him and many military officials were executed on suspicion of treason. S.M. Kirov was a major figure that Stalin was suspected of assassinating. He was one of Stalin's most trusted aids, and a member of the communist party. Stalin used the Kirov murder to institute the parties purges and the treason trials.

When faced with criticism for his disregard of human life in his purges, Stalin declared, "Death solves all problems - no man, no problem.”16

Alexander Kerensky

Alexander served as the second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government until Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known commonly as Lenin, was elected by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, following the October Revolution.
He hoped to keep Russia in the war. Most people didn't agree with the section because they were tired of fighting and wanting to end it. they would form Soviets against him. his rule ended very quickly.17

When the February Revolution rose up in 1917, Kerensky was one of its most eminent leaders: he was member of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and was elected as a vice-chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. He simultaneously became the first Minister of Justice in the Provisional Government which was newly formed. When the Soviet passed through a resolution prohibiting its leaders from assisting the government, Kerensky conveyed a moving speech at a Soviet meeting. Although the decision was never formulated, he was accepted a de facto deduction and continued acting in both capacities. The New York banker Jacob Schiff made large loans to Kerensky's government.

During the Kornilov Affair, Kerensky had distributed arms to the Petrograd workers, and by October most of these armed workers had gone over to the Bolsheviks. On October 25 1917 - October 27 1917 the Bolsheviks launched the second Russian revolution of the year. Kerensky's government in Petrograd had almost no support in the city. Only one small force, the First Petrograd Women's Battalion, was willing to fight for the government against the Bolsheviks, but this force too crossed over to the revolution without firing a single shot. It took less than 20 hours before the Bolsheviks had taken over the government

Kerensky lived in Paris until 1940, engaged in the endless splits and quarrels of the exiled Russian democratic leaders. In 1939, Kerensky married the former Australian journalist Lydia ‘Nell' Tritton.[3] When the Germans overran France at the start of World War II, they escaped to the United States. Tritton and Kerensky married at Martins Creek, Pennsylvania. In 1945, his wife became terminally ill. He traveled with her to Brisbane, Australia and lived there with her family; she suffered a stroke in February, and they remained there until her death on 10 April 1946. Thereafter Kerensky returned to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life.


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