Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution
Q97. Differentiate between the ideas of liberals and radicals.
Ans. Difference between the ideas of liberals and radicals
- Liberals argued for a representative, elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. In contrast, radicals wanted a nation in which government was based on the majority of a country’s population.
- Liberals did not believe in universal adult franchise, that is, the right of every citizen to vote. Many radicals supported women’s suffragette movements.
- Unlike liberals, radicals opposed the privileges of great landowners and wealthy factory owners. They were not against the existence of private property but disliked concentration of property in the hands of a few.
Q98. Discuss the impact of Russian Revolution on the world.
What was the global impact of Russian Revolution?
Ans. Impact of Russian Revolution on the world
- In many countries, communist parties were formed like the Communist Party of Great Britain.
- The Bolsheviks encouraged colonial peoples to follow their experiment.
- Many non-Russians from outside the USSR participated in the Conference of the Peoples of the East (1920) and the Bolshevik-founded Comintern (an international union of pro-Bolshevik socialist parties).
- Some received education in the USSR’s Communist University of the Workers of the East.
- By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, the USSR had given socialism a global face and world stature.
Q99. What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?
Ans. Social Conditions - About 85 per cent of the Russian empire’s population earned their living from agriculture. Industry was found in pockets. Most industry was the private property of industrialists. Workers were a divided social group. Some had strong links with the villages from which they came. Others had settled in cities permanently. Workers were divided by skill. Like workers, peasants too were divided. They were also deeply religious.
Economic Conditions - The year 1904 was a particularly bad one for Russian workers. Prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 per cent.
Political Conditions - All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914. The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party was founded in 1898 by socialists who respected Marx’s ideas. The party was divided over the strategy of organization into two groups: Bolshevik group and Mensheviks groups.
Q100. Mention any two changes introduced by Stalin in the Russian economy. How did Stalin deal with the critics?
Ans. The following changes were introduced by Stalin:
- Elimination of Kulaks - He believed that rich peasants and traders in the countryside were holding stocks in the hope of higher prices. Thus, it was necessary to eliminate kulaks.
- Collectivisation programme – He believed that small-sized peasant farms could not be modernised. Thus, the land from peasants was taken, and state-controlled large farms were established. The Party forced all peasants to cultivate in collective farms (kolkhoz). Peasants worked on the land, and the kolkhoz profit was shared.
Enraged peasants resisted the authorities and destroyed their livestock. Those who resisted collectivisation were severely punished. Many were deported and exiled.
Q101. What effect did the First World War have on industries of Russia?
What was the impact of the First World War on Russian industries?
State the impact the First World War had on Russian industries.
Explain the impact of the First World War on the Industries of Russia.
How did the destruction of Russian industries after the First World War become one of the causes of resentment of people?
Ans. Impact of the First World War on Russian Industries
- The war also had a severe impact on industry.
- Russia’s own industries were few in number and the country was cut off from other suppliers of industrial goods by German control of the Baltic Sea.
- Industrial equipment disintegrated more rapidly in Russia than elsewhere in Europe.
- By 1916, railway lines began to break down. Able-bodied men were called up to the war. As a result, there were labour shortages and small workshops producing essentials were shut down.
- Large supplies of grain were sent to feed the army. For the people in the cities, bread and flour became scarce. By the winter of 1916, riots at bread shops were common.
Q102. Why did the Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917?
Ans. Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917 because of the following reasons:
- The Tsar dismissed the first Duma within 75 days and the re-elected second Duma within three months. He did not want any questioning of his authority or any reduction in his power. He changed the voting laws and packed the third Duma with conservative politicians. Liberals and revolutionaries were kept out.
- During the First World War, Tsar refused to consult the main parties in the Duma.
- Russia’s armies lost badly in Germany and Austria between 1914 and 1916. There were over 7 million casualties by 1917.
- As they retreated, the Russian army destroyed crops and buildings to prevent the enemy from being able to live off the land.
- The destruction of crops and buildings led to over 3 million refugees in Russia. The situation discredited the government and the Tsar.