How Far Does the Study of the Period 1855-1964 Suggest That the Russian People Simply Exchanged Romanov Tsars for Red Tsars Following the Revolutions of 1917? Essay

680 WordsMay 6, 20153 Pages
In the period 1855-1964 there were many rulers, and with the exception of the provisional government, they were all either Romanov Tsars or communist leaders. The communist leaders are often referred to as “Red Tsars” as there are clearly many similarities between them and the Romanov Tsars. The revolutions of 1917 represent an evident turning point as there were some clear areas of change in the nature of government but when examined in detail it becomes obvious there are fundamental similarities despite apparent change in regime. The comparison between Romanov Tsars is too simplistic, there were a variety of characters and differences within each era, for example the difference between Alexander III and NII is a significant one, just as the difference between Stalin and Khrushchev is. Therefore it is difficult to make a comparison; nevertheless it is apparent that there are more areas of continuity that suggest the Russian people did exchange Romanov Tsars for Red Tsars. In order to accurately compare the two eras one must examine the following themes; ideology, centralisation, use of coercion and role of leader. In terms of ideology there is very clear evidence which shows continuity between the eras, the main area of similarity is the fact that ideology played a fundamental role in both periods. Ideology became the main source of legitimacy to justify the lack of competition to the regimes. Stalin and Alexander III were particularly good at using ideology as a basis of legitimacy; they both rejected all alternatives on the basis that their ideology was superior and the only form of government which wasn’t corrupted which therefore meant that violence was necessary to maintain the pure control. The key similarity in both eras is that they used their respective ideologies in order to keep a system of absolute power with no viable alternatives. The Tsars
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