How Did Stalin Lead To Tsarist Rule

1958 Words8 Pages
Before answering the question, one must define ‘improve’; to make or become better therefore the position of the urban workers must change in 1964 versus that of 1855. To judge whether the lives of the Russian proletariat improved one must consider the ideology of the period’s leader, working and living conditions, and the repression that they faced. Looking across the period, there was much continuity with the deterioration of the working class conditions, yet varying levels of improvements. There is a strong case to be put forward that the conditions were worse under Bolshevik rule as apposed to tsarist rule. One would argue that Stalin was the worst of all the six leaders in this period; industrialisation and urbanisation was all too much…show more content…
In 1855, the conditions of the workplace were very dire as little focus was placed on industry under Alexander II, yet the need for improvement was starting to be seen. There was some improvement as Reutern increased the track from 3532km in 1862 to 22,000km by 1878. It was his son, Alexander III, who took action on this necessity. Alexander III mainly ignored light industry but saw the need to change with help of Witte. Together, they created the Trans-Siberian Railway improving the infrastructure and mobility of the country. Much like Alexander III, Stalin focused heavily on industry and increased the output by doubling the track size of the railway infrastructure. Therefore, there were big increases in coal production during the tsarist period where 26.8 million tonnes were produced in 1910 compared to 3.2 million in 1880. Furthermore, the communists enjoyed similar booms in pig iron – 116,000 tonnes in 1921 compared with 2.4 million tonnes in 1926. It is questionable as to whether these improvements directly affected the urban workers, as there was little reward of their hard work. The urban workers also enjoyed the benefit of the Stakhanovite program under Stalin as it gave way to incentive, allowing workers to move up the ranks and gain from the benefits. One could argue that this program was simply a façade to keep workers in check through indirect repression. Lenin’s establishment of the NEP in 1921 allowed for private ownership of small-scale industry. On the other hand, conditions worsened for the urban workers Stalin’s Five Year plans as harsh and unprincipled methods were used. Stalin maintained a heavy12-hour day and introduced labour camps. The gulags were first established in 1919 under the Cheka, but it was not until the early 1930s that the camp population reached significant numbers: by 1934, the Gulags had several million
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