A Study of Russian Governments in the Period 1855 to 1964 Suggests One Form of Autocracy Was Exchanged for Another. How Far Do You Agree? Essay

2540 WordsFeb 16, 201511 Pages
“A study of Russian governments in the period 1855 to 1964 suggests that Russia simply exchanged one form of autocracy for another after 1917”. How far do you agree with this statement? During this period, it could be deemed that the control of Russia was through autocracy, that is, absolute power in the hands of one individual who commands the respect/obedience of the population as a whole. This individual controls all aspects of the lives of the people; however, it would be too simplistic to state that one form of autocracy was exchanged for another- that is, Tsarist autocracy to Communist autocracy, because there are a number of fundamental differences between the two. The key concepts associated with autocracy in Russia are: Ideology, Structures and Institutions and Tools of government with emphasis on continuity and change between the rulers of this period. Firstly, the Tsarist rulers and the Communist dictators differed in their respective ideologies, and subsequently their reasoning for an autocratic state. The Tsars had absolute power which was said to be ordained by God, so therefore was based in religious teachings with the tsarist subjects being expected to have total submission to the “Little Father” of the Nation, as he was expected to be towards God – he was God’s representative on Earth, with an obligation to act as a ‘moral judge’ on behalf of God, ensuing a paternalistic duty towards the Russian people. In contrast, the Communist leaders derived their reasoning for an autocratic regime from the writings of Marx and Engels, which argued a period of the ‘dictatorship of the Proletariat’, where the proletariat would have to be dictated to before they themselves could dictate how Russia was to be ruled – therefore, it was seen as the natural progression towards an egalitarian society, based upon cooperation. For example, Lenin made modifications of

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