Stalin Changed the Nature of Russian Government More Than Any Other Ruler

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“Stalin changed the nature of Russian government more than any other ruler” How far do you agree 1855-1964? In many ways it could be argued that the nature of Russian government changed little during this period - ‘History repeats itself, only behind new masks’. All of Russia’s governments, with the exception of the Provisional Government under Kerensky, were autocratic and willing to repress their opponents. This is clearly demonstrated by Nicholas II’s rigging of the elections for the 3rd and 4th Dumas. Lenin also suppressed democracy, closing down the constituent assembly in January 1918 after ‘one day of democracy’. Both the Tsars and the communist rulers also showed no hesitation in the use of secret police and mass terror. Each regime had its own secret police - the Third Section under Alexander II, the Okhrana under Alexander III and Nicholas II, the Cheka, the NKVD and the KGB under the communists. The suppression of opponents was also a common practice throughout the period. Under the term of Pyotr Stolypin as Prime Minister (1906-11), hundreds of opponents were hanged - earning the hangman’s noose the nickname - ‘the Stolypin necktie’. Under high Stalinisim in the 1930s and 1940s, thousands were executed and up to 2.5 million ‘zeks’ sent to the Gulags of Siberia. However, many individual rulers did much to change Russian government, despite the apparent similarities. Khrushchev for example, introduced ‘decentralisation’, which involved the creation of the Sovnarkhozy (regional governments). Alexander II also attempted to bring about some degree of devolution with the creation of the Zemstra (regional councils). However, the degree to which these limited reforms truly changed Russian government is questionable. Alexander II still held absolute power and was determined to uphold his autocracy. Khrushchev also carried on with many of Stalin’s
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