Your Smartass List of

Russia Specialist Terms

   

  

     

 

 Do you recognise the terms below?   Use them in your answers to impress the examiner!!!

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  •   Tsar
    • The title of the monarch of Russia (derived from the Roman word ‘Caesar’). The last Tsar of Russia was Nicholas II (1859 - 1941), who was forced to abdicate in 1917 and was subsequently shot with his family.
  •  Autocracy
    • A government in which one person has absolute (uncontrolled and undisputed) power. Nicholas II before 1905 was an autocrat, but in 1905 was forced to accept a Duma.
  •  Repressive
    • A government which oppresses its subjects – eg imprisonment without trial/ secret police.
  •  Duma
    • The Duma was a kind of parliament which met four times in the period 1905-1917. It was unlike the British parliament, however, because it did not have the power to make laws – it only had the right to debate laws. The Tsar ignored it. Stolypin liked it, because – from the speeches of the members – he could see who opposed the government, and who he therefore needed to arrest!
    • The First Duma (1906) was dominated by the Kadets and was outspoken against the government; in July 1906, after just 42 days, the Duma was dissolved.
    • A second Duma was elected in 1907, by which time the Kadet leaders had fled to Finland and many Kadets were forbidden to stand for election. Instead, 135 left-wing Social Revolutionaries were elected. The second Duma was soon, also, therefore, dismissed.
    • Stolypin then changed the voting areas so that people from the towns could not be elected, and the result was a Duma dominated by the Octobrists and the Rights; this was a Duma which did exactly what the Tsar wanted, and it lasted until 1912.
  •  Law 87
    • This was one of the ‘Fundamental Laws’ of the Russian constitution. It gave the Tsar’s government the right to pass any law it wanted in an emergency. In the period 1905-1907, Stolypin used Law 87 to pass all the laws. This was a misuse of Law 87, which was only supposed to be in emergency, and shows the repressive nature of the Tsar’s regime.
  •  Abdicate
    • Where a monarch gives up his rights and powers.
  •  Peasants
    • Poor, often ignorant, country-dwellers. Russian peasants had been serfs until 1861. Most peasants regarded the Tsar as their ‘little father’, and were completely loyal. The Social Revolutionaries saw the peasants as the force which would form the basis of the Communist revolution; Marxists, however, denied this, saying that the Revolution would come from the proletarians – the town-dwelling working classes.
  •  Proletariat
    • In Marxist theory, those town-dwelling working classes in society that possess no property, and therefore depend on the sale of their labour – they are the true ‘wage slaves’ of industrial society. Marxist communists believed that these were the people who would rise up and take power in the Communist revolution.
  •  Corner-dwellers
    • The majority of town-dwelling working class people in St Petersburg were desperately poor. Some actually lived and slept in the factories they spent all day working in! Many others had to share a room with another family; they were called ‘corner-dwellers’ because sometimes up to four families shared a room – they had a corner each.
  •  Putilov Works
    • The huge engine and car manufacturing establishment in St Petersburg. Forty thousand workers were employed there before 1914. A strike by the ‘Putilovtsi’ (Putilov workers) started the Revolution in January 1905. In 1907, the ‘Putilovtsi’ again went on strike, helping to force the Tsar to allow elections for the third Duma.
    • Again on 4th March 1917, a strike at the Putilov factory – for a 50% increase in wages to buy food – started the March Revolution. The Putilovski were militant Bolsheviks – they rebelled during the July Days, helped during the November coup, and defended Petrograd against Yudenitch during the Civil War. They were, in a way, the proof of Lenin’s belief that the proletariat would bring in the Communist Revolution.
  •  Little Father
    • The peasants’ name for the Tsar, whom they believed was God’s living representative on earth and a saint. This belief was somewhat dented by the events of Bloody Sunday.
  •  Tercentenary
    • In 1913, the Romanov dynasty (family of rulers, descended from Tsar Michael Romanov, 1613-45) celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1913. This caused a wave of celebrations and pro-Tsar feeling; in 1913 the Tsar was in the strongest position since before 1905.
  •  Orthodox
    • The Russians were Christians of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Church supported the Tsar, teaching that he was appointed by God and should be obeyed, and in fact the Headquarters of the Okrana were in the Ecclesiastical Academy in St Petersburg.
  •  Zemstvo nobility
    • In 1864, soon after he had freed the serfs, Tsar Alexander II set up Zemstvos in each district of Russia – local councils to provide roads, hospitals and education for the peasants. Only the nobles were allowed to vote or sit on the zemstvos. However, they do show that not all Russian nobles were reactionary ‘black’ nobles, and not all peasants were ignorant and stupid.
  •  Black Hundreds
    • Lenin’s name for the ‘Rights’ in the Duma who wanted to abolish the Duma and bring back autocracy.
  •  Okhrana
    • The Tsar’s secret police, led by Sergei Zubatov. It seems to have had 26,000 paid informants in 1912, and to have killed 26,000 people without trial. Okhrana agents were everywhere – Evno Azef, the leading Social revolutionary, and Roman Malinovsky, a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee, were both Okhrana double-agents, and the Russian Prime Minister Piotr Stolypin was assassinated by an Okhrana double agent..
  •  Trans-Siberian
    • Russia WAS beginning to modernise/industrialise before 1914. The Trans-Siberian railway – the longest railway in the world – connected Europe to Vladivostock on the Pacific coast. Most of the line was built 1891-99 in record time, and when it was finished in 1915, it had a total length of 5,772 miles (9,289 km).
  •  Kadets
    • The constitutional party in the Duma (and who dominated the first Duma) – comprised mainly of zemstvi nobles and middle class liberals – who wanted a British-style parliament.
  •  Social Revolutionaries
    • The extreme left-wing party in the Duma (and who dominated the second Duma) – comprised mainly of intellectuals and rich peasants – who wanted a a peasant revolution, and to take all the land from the nobles.
  •  Das Kapital
    • The book, written by Karl Marx, which explained that all history was the story of the struggle of the proletariat for power. It claimed that the worker had always been oppressed, and demanded a classless Communist society where the people owned the means of production process and shared its rewards equally.
  •  Mensheviks
    • From the Russian word: menshinstvo meaning ‘minority’. Until 1903, they were members of the Russian Social Democratic Party, but left after a split with the Bolsheviks. They were Communists, but wanted the Communist Revolution to come about peacefully, and did not object to capitalism and industrialisation.
  •  Bolsheviks
    • From the Russian word: bolshinstvo meaning ‘a majority’. Until 1903, they were members of the Russian Social Democratic Party, but left split with the mensheviks. They were Communists, but wanted the Communist Revolution to come about by a violent proletarian revolution, and demanded that all the means of production be placed immediately in the hands of the people.
  •  Bourgeois
    • The Marxist word for the middle classes capitalists who owned the means of production – landowners, factory owners.
  •  Iskra
    • Literally: ‘the Spark’. Exiled from Russia after 1900, Lenin produced a newspaper – Iskra – which was smuggled into Russia.
  •  Stolypin’s necktie
    • Piotr Stolypin: large landowner who became the governor of Saratov province, where he was very successful at getting rid of all revolutionary troublemakers. As a result, Nicholas made him Prime Minister in 1906. Stolypin tried to create stability in the countryside by creating a class of prosperous farmers (the kulaks); he used the zemstvo councils to improve conditions in the countryside.
    • At the same time, he sought out and hanged 3,000 political revolutionaries – the noose became known as ‘Stolypin's necktie’. In 1907 he introduced a new electoral law, which assured a right-wing majority in the Duma, and was assassinated on 1st September, 1911by Dmitri Bogrov, a Socialist Revolutionary who was a double agent for the Okhrana.
  •  Octobrists
    • During the troubles of 1905, the Tsar and his chief minister Witte had published the October Manifesto, which promised freedom of speech, no imprisonment without trial, and a Duma to approve all laws. The Octobrists were supporters of the Tsar who did not want to go so far as to restore autocracy, but wanted him to keep to the October manifesto.
  •  Tannenberg
    • (along with the Masurian Lakes) one of two huge battles of 1914 where the German army annihilated the Russian armies. The Russian generals sent out their orders over the radio – so the Germans simply listened in and out-manoeuvred them. Only 10,000 Russians escaped; the Germans took 90,000+ prisoners. The remaining 30,000-or-so Russian were killed
  •  Rodzianko
    • Mikhail Rodzianko: a Russian general who got involved in politics and was president of the fourth Duma. He hated Rasputin, but was intensely loyal to the Tsar, and during the crisis of March 1917 sent a number of telegrams to the Tsar trying to get him to return to St Petersburg and save the monarchy – of all which were ignored. He disliked Keresnky, and supported the Kornilov revolt in 1917.
  •  International Women’s Day
    • 8 March 1917: said by modern historians (including Orlando Figes) to be the start of the March Revolution. On that day the temperature rose to -5 degrees, so many women came out to join the International Women’s Day marches that had been planned for that day. Demonstrations by women textile workers in the Vyborg district turned into riots, which started the train of events which led to the abdication of the Tsar.
    • In fact, this is a modern interpretation of the revolution, which sees bread shortages, and women as the carers who had to find bread, as the key to the revolution – actually, there had been strikes about prices since the Putilov strike on 4th March (which could support a more traditional Marxist interpretation of events as a proletarian uprising).
  •  Cossacks
    • A people of the Ukraine, who held their lands in return for military service in the Russian cavalry. The Tsars used them to put down peasant revolts (the Cossacks were usually happy to slaughter the Russian peasants). It was the decision of the Cossack troops in St Petersburg in March 1917 not to put down the riots which led to the fall of the Tsar’s government.
  •  Provisional government
    • The government, set up by the Duma after Nicholas had abdicated. Its head was prince George Lvov (a zemstvo landowner who was chairman of the All-Russian Union of Zemstva) but its most powerful member was Alexander kerensky (a lawyer who had been in the Social Revolutionary party).
    • The dictionary defines ‘provisional’ as ‘temporary provided for present need, requiring future confirmation’. The provisional government was expected only to ‘hold the fort’ until it could arrange the election (by universal suffrage) of the new ‘Constituent Assembly’. In the event, the provisional government fell to the Bolshevik coup in November 1917, a month before the Constituent Assembly met.
  •  Kerensky
    • Alexander Kerensky: a lawyer who had been in the Social Revolutionary party. He was the most powerful member of the provisional government, and became minister for war. His decision to keep fighting, and his failure to keep the loyalty of the army, led to the collapse of the provisional government to the Bolshecik coup in November 1917.
  •  Soviet
    • A Russian word meaning ‘Council’. Originally set up as strikers’ councils during the 1905 revolution, they turned into elected committees representing workers, soldiers and groups of peasants. These councils in turn sent representatives to the All-Russian Council of Soviets.
    • Thus, in March 1917, the system of Soviets formed an alternative government to the provisional government which had developed from the Duma – for this reason, the period March-November 1917 is sometimes called the ‘Dual government’. The St Petersburg Soviet (now called Petrograd) was so powerful that its Order No.1 instructed its member sonly to obey the provisional government IF the Petrograd Soviet agreed.
  •  Executive
    • A ruling council; in the Provisional government, the name for the 12-man executive committee which ran the government.
  •  Death squads
    • Faced by mass desertions, the provisional government tried to stop desertion by setting up ‘death squads’ to execute deserters. Not only did these fail to stop the thousands of soldiers going home, they turned the army against the provisional government, so that it did nothing to stop the Bolsheviks taking it over in November 1917.
  •  Finland Station
    • The station in St Petersburg where Lenin (smuggled though Europe by the Germans) arrived on 3rd April 1917. Later Communist films show him arriving in triumph to huge cheering crowds, but it seems that in fact they were much smaller than the later films made out.
  •  April Theses
    • Having returned to Russia on 3 April 1917, Lenin went to the All-Russia Conference of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, and on April 4 1917 read his manifesto to them – the so-called April Theses (a thesis is a proposition).
    • These advocated that the war was ‘an imperialist predatory war’ into which the workers were being deceived by the bourgeoisie; that the proletariat in Russia had awakened and was ready for revolution; that the imperialist capitalist provisional government should be replaced by ‘a republic of Soviets’; the abolition of the police, army and government bureaucracy; and the confiscation and nationalisation of all the nobles’ land. They are often summed up in the phrase: ‘Peace, Bread, Land’.
  •  July Days
    • A Bolshevik attempt to seize power by mobilising a popular uprising. It failed, convincing Lenin that he had to take power by a military coup.
  •  Kornilov
    • A Tsarist general who led a rebellion against the Provisional Government in August 1917. The army refused to support Kerensky, who was forced to appeal to the Bolsheviks for help. Kornilov was turned back, but the Bolsheviks became very popular, and immediately took over the Petrograd Soviet.
  •  Kronstadt
    • A naval base. The sailors were fanatical revolutionaries – many of them anarchists (believe that a government should have no powers). They supported the Bolsheviks during the July Days and the November 1917 coup, but rebelled against them in 1921.
  •  Red Guards
    • The Bolshevik army, trained and organised by Leon Trotksy.
  •  Aurora
    • A cruiser of the Russian navy which was anchored in Petrograd harbour. The crew were all Bolsheviks, and during the November coup the cruiser had its guns trained on the Winter Palace (the HA of the Provisional Government). It never shelled the Winter Palace, but fired a blank shell to signal the start of the coup.
  •  Pravda
    • A Russian word meaning ‘truth’. The Bolshevik newspaper, run by Lenin from exile abroad to publicise Bolshevik views. In March 1917 Stalin became editor – he was quite supportive of the Provisional Government. On his return, in the April Theses, Lenin attacked this policy and took over as editor. It carried on a propaganda war against the provisional government, and attacked all Mensheviks as traitors.
    • After the July Days, it was closed down by the provisional Government. It continued publishing, constantly changing its name (coming out as Lislok Pravdy, Proletary, Flaboehy and Raboehy Put) to beat the censorship laws. After the November coup, it became the organ of the new government, and simply pushed the party line and supported the government.
  •  Eisenstein
    • Sergei Eisenstein: Soviet film director who produced propaganda films (eg Battleship Potemkin 1925 and October 1928) which spread the Bolshevik interpretation of the Revolution. He invented the concept of montage (putting shots together to create a particular effect). Under Stalin he found himself increasingly hostile to the regime, and the second part (1946) of his three-film epic Ivan the Terrible was banned.
  •  Oktybar
    • The title of Eisenstein’s film which told the story of the Bolshevik coup of November 1917. Although the seizure of Petrograd and the Winter Palace was a virtually bloodless, unresisted coup, Eisenstein presented it as a popular revolution – which has affected out view of the events ever since. The film was called Oktybar because (according to the Russian calendar which was 13 days behind the rest of the world) the coup took place on 26th October.
  •  Death Battalion
    • One of the units defending the Provisional Government was the Women’s Death Battalion. Kerensky’s Provisional Government formed several ‘revolutionary battalions of death’ intended to inject aggressive spirit into the army. One of these battalions was formed by women under the command of 25-year-old Maria Bochkareva, who hoped to shame men into acting bravely. 2,000 women joined the battalion, but Bochkavera’s strict discipline soon reduced its size to just 300. It fought in the Galicia offensive of 1 July, but was forced to retreat, losing third of its strength.
    • During the October revolution, Bochkareva and around 140 of her women defended the Winter Palace. Rather than the she-devils depicted in Eisenstein’s film, however, the Red Guards found the women hiding in the cellar; they were so distressed that the Bolsheviks disarmed them and allowed them to go home. On 21 November Lenin ordered the battalion disbanded and Bochkareva fled to America
  •  Constituent Assembly
    • Elections were held in November 1917 for a new government – the Constituent Assembly. The Bolsheviks won 175 seats and the Social Revolutionaries won 370 seats. When it met in 1918, Lenin used the Red Guards to close it, and killed anybody who objected. Instead, Lenin ruled by decree
  •   ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’
    • Although the April Theses had called for rule by the Constituent Assembly, Lenin soon abandoned this idea when it became clear that the Assembly did not have a Bolshevik majority. He dismissed the Assembly and ruled by decree, arguing that the people had been beguiled by years of oppression, and therefore were not yet ready to bring in Communism – for a while, he argued, until the people understood properly, there would have to be a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, which would bring in the Communist way of life by force.
    • The Bolshevik Party would exercise this dictatorship, on behalf of the proletariat. In this way, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, however Lenin chose to justify it, really meant dictatorship by Lenin.
  •  Politburo
    • The executive committee – 18 members – of the Supreme Soviet in the USSR, which laid down party policy. This was the group which wielded REAL power in the USSR.
  •  Brest-Litovsk
    • The peace which ended the war between Germany and Russia in 1917. By the treaty, Germany took huge amounts of land in the Ukraine and western Russia, including some of Russia’s richest farming and industrial areas. Some of these were returned to Russia by the Treaty of Versailles, but Versailles created independent countries of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
  •  Red Terror
    • On 30 August 1918, Fanya Kaplan, a Social revolutionary angry at the dismissal of the Constituent Assembly and Lenin’s seizure of power, attempted to assassinate Lenin. On 3 September 1918, the Bolshevik newspaper Izvestiya published an ‘Appeal to the Working Class’ encouraging the workers to ‘crush the hydra of counterrevolution with massive terror’.
    • This was followed by the decree ‘On Red Terror’ ( 5 September 1918). The Cheka immediately killed 10,000 ‘counter-rvolutionaries’ and set up the Gulag of concentration camp (70,000 imprisoned by September 1921). During the Civil War, the Red Terror increased. Captured ‘White’ soldiers were systematically murdered, more than 7000 people were executed, and Red Army generals were kept loyal by taking their families hostage.
  •  Cheka
    • Cheka: the Bolshevik secret police 1917-23 – the name is formed from the Russian letters Ч and К (che and ka) of the two Russian words Чрезвычайная Комиссия meaning `extraordinary commission´.
    • The Cheka was the ‘All Russian Extraordinary Commission for combatting counterrevolution, sabotage and speculation’, and was formed from the tsarist Okhrana for ‘the repression of counter-revolutionary activities’, and also conducted espionage and smuggling. More than half its senior officers were Jews, although many jewish officers were killed during Stalin’s Great Purges of the 1930s. Its name changed successively to the OGPU 1923-34, the NKVD 1934-46 and the KGB from 1954.
  •  War Communism
    • An extremely repressive form of Communism, designed to extract as much as possible from the people in order to win the Civil War. The Bolsheviks nationalised the factories, and introduced military discipline. Strikes were made illegal and strikers were shot. Food was rationed. Peasants were forced to give food to the government. This gave the Bolshevik armies the supplies they needed. In 1921, after the Kronstadt Rebellion, Lenin was forced to relax War Communism – though this angered many Bolsheviks, who believed that ‘War Communism’ was, in fact, pure Communism and should become the normal way of life.
  •  Whites
    • The loose alliance of Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Tsarists, former army officers and landlords who had lost their land, along with the Czech legion of escaped Prisoners of War and British and American troops, which tried to destroy the Bolshevik state in the Civil War of 1918-1921. The main White generals were Yudenich, Denikin, Kolchak and Wrangel. They all attacked on different fronts, but found it difficult to coordinate their attacks or keep the disparate elements of the alliance united.
  •  Comintern
    • In March 1919 Lenin founded Comintern, in Moscow with Zinoviev as its President. The Comintern was the Third Communist International, and its task was to co-ordinate with all the Communists in the world to bring in the Communist revolution and destroy capitalism everywhere. It was this that frightened Britain and America and brought them into the Civil War on the side of the Whites.
  •  Capitalism
    • Private enterprise in business and private ownership of wealth and possessions. It was the aim of Communism to destroy capitalism which, Communists said, oppressed the working classes.
  •  Joseph Djugashvili
    • Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili: the real name of Stalin. ‘Stalin’ was in fact a nickname, meaning ‘Man of Steel’.
  •  Lev Bronstein
    • Lev Davidovich Bronstein: the real name of Trotsky. Trotsky took this name (it was the name of one of his jailers) to avoid detection by the Okhrana while he continued his revolutionary activities Zinoviev
  •  Gregory Zinoviev
    • a Bolshevik who returned to Russia 1917 with Lenin and played a leading part in the Revolution. He became head of Comintern in 1919. He was an ‘Old Bolshevik’ who regretted the NEP. In 1925 he allied himself with Stalin to cover up Lenin’s will and dismiss Trotsky. Later, however, Stalin turned on him and he was shot.
  •  Internationale
    • The anthem of the Communist movement.
  •  Yudenich
    • Nikolai Yudenich: Russian WWI general who fought against the Turks. In 1919 he commanded the White armies in Finland. He failed and was arrested, but was allowed to go into retirement in France.
  •  Denikin
    • Anton Denikin: Russian general of the Russo-Japanese War and WWI who in 1919 organised a 60,000-strong White army and attacked the Bolshevik state from the Crimea. He failed and fled to France.
  •  Kolchak
    • Russian WWI Admiral who in 1917 was forced by his soldiers to resign. He led a White army from Siberia and established an anti-Bolshevik government in the Urals in 1918. He defeated the Bolsheviks a number of times, but was captured in 1919 and shot 7 February 1920.
  •  USSR
    • After the Bolsheviks victory in the Civil War, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed in 1922, with a constitution adopted in 1923. Its government was organised in the same way as the RSFSR, which was the largest and most powerful Soviet.
  •  Ekaterinburg
    • The town in the Urals where the Romanov family were imprisoned, and eventually shot as the White armies advanced in 1918.
  •  RSFSR
    • The Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic, which was inaugurated in July 1918 by the 1918 Soviet Constitution. This Constitution declared that the Bolshevik Party, an alliance of workers and peasants, was the ruler of Russia. Supreme power rested in theory with the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, made up of deputies from local soviets across Russia.
    • The Congress was led by a steering committee known as the Central Executive Committee, which acted as the ‘supreme organ of power’ between sessions of the congress, and a Council of People's Commissars was set up for the ‘general administration of the affairs of the state’. In effect, the country was run by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR. In 1922, it became the largest (and most powerful) of the 15 Soviets in the Soviet Union.
  •  NEP
    • The New Economic Policy. After the Kronstadt rebellion of 1921, Lenin was forced to relax the strict and repressive War Communism. The NEP allowed greater freedom to nationalist and religious minorities within the USSR, brought in foreign experts, on high wages, to increase production, and allowed a limited amount of private enterprise – small factories were handed back to their owners, small traders (called 'nepmen') were allowed to set up small private businesses, and peasants were allowed sell their surplus production (and the Kulaks became rich). Many ‘Old Bolsheviks’ hated the NEP and left the party as a protest.
  •  Petropavlovsk
    • The battleship harboured in Kronstadt, which became the headquarters of the anti-Bolshevik rebellion in 1918.
  •  Koran
    • The holy book of the Muslims. Under the NEP, in the Muslim areas of central Asia (such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) bazaars were allowed to reopen, mosques were taken from Soviet control, the Koran was restored, and native languages were encouraged. Under Stalin, all this stopped and the Muslim religion was persecuted.
  •  Nepmen
    • The nickname for the small private traders who were allowed to set up under the NEP.
  •  Kulaks
    • The name for the rich peasants who were allowed the sell their produce under the NEP. Stalin declared war on the kulaks and ‘eliminated’ them as a class. Some 7 million kulaks were killed or sent to the gulag.
  •  Testament
    • The will of Lenin, which warned the Bolsheviks not to allow Stalin to become their leader.
  •  Bukharin
    • Nikolai Bukharin: Bolshevik politician and one of the main theorists of Bolshevism before Stalin. He was quite moderate, supported the NEP and in 1927 allied himself with Stalin to get Zinoviev and Kamenev dismissed. He wrote the 1936 Constitution of the USSR. He was seen by Stalin as a threat, however and in 1938 he was put on trial as a traitor and executed.
  •  Kirov
    • Sergei Kirov: Bolshevik leader, Party boss in Leningrad, whose murder in 1934 (possibly on Stalin’s orders) was used by Stalin as the excuse to start the Great Purges of 1934-1938.
  •  Show Trials
    • The public trials of Bolshevik leaders who were accused during the Great Purges. They were even allowed to be seen in the west. The trials were regarded as amazing because the accused always pleaded guilty, admitting incredible crimes of which they could not possibly be guilty. The public humiliation and punishment were part of the psychological element of Stalin’s Terror – the establishment of an underlying fear of the government.
  •  Purges
    • Stalin’s terror to remove all opposition from the army, civil service, church and society. In 1937, the Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army and 7 leading generals were shot. In 1938–39, all the admirals and half the Army’s officers were executed or imprisoned. Religious leaders imprisoned; churches closed down. Stalin enforced ‘Russification’ of all the Soviet Union. And even ordinary people were denounced/ arrested/ sent to the Gulag (the system of labour camps). At least 10 million Russians died. People lived in fear.
  •  Russification
    • Under the NEP national identity was allowed (eg In the Ukraine, the Ukrainian language was used in government and business, and children were taught it in schools). Under Stalin, all this stopped and Russian became the sole language.
  •  Gulag
    • or ‘Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps’. Stalin’s system of concentration camps. Most of the csamps were in Siberia and the Far North. The Gulag was vital for the Soviet economy.
    • Gulag prisoners constructed the White Sea-Baltic Canal, the Moscow-Volga Canal, the Baikal-Amur main railroad line, numerous hydroelectric stations, and strategic roads and industrial enterprises in remote regions. GULAG manpower was also used for much of the country's lumbering and for the mining of coal, copper, and gold. Conditions in the camps were harsh. Prisoners received inadequate food and insufficient clothing, and frequently died because of the severe weather and the long working hours.
  •  Apparatchiks
    • Party members loyal to Stalin who got all the new flats, jobs, holidays etc.
  •  NKVD
    • The name for the Communist secret police (formerly the Cheka) 1934-1946.
  •  Kolkhoz
    • The Russian word for the collective farms that Stalin enforced on the Russian peasants.
  •  GOSPLAN
    • The word ‘Gosplan’ is an abbreviation of Gosudarstvenniy Komitet po Planirovaniyu, which means ‘State Committee for Planning’, which was set up in 1921. Under the five year plans, GOSPLAN set the production targets for every industry, each region, each mine and factory, each foreman and even every worker. There were two Five Year Plans – 1928–33 (during which time the leading Communist minister Kuibyshev was in charge of GOSPLAN) and 1932–1937 (Mezhlauk).
  •  Pioneers
    • Idealistic young Communists, who would move into a new area and work sacrificially to set up the new industrial towns in the east of the USSR. The Young Pioneers were a Communist scout movement which encouraged healthy hobbies, took children away on camps, and taught them Communist ideals and theory.
  •  Stakhanovites
    • Alexei Stakhanov (who cut an amazing 102 tons of coal in one shift) was held up as an example. Good workers who achieved exceptional production were nominated as ‘Stakhanovites' and won a medal.
  •  Belomor
    • The Belomor Canal, built with slave labour and incredible cruelty in the 1930s, was held up at the time as a model of Stalinist achievement, but is now seen as an example of Stalinist oppression.
  •  Dniepropetrovsk
    • A hydro-electric dam on the river Dnieper, built with slave labour and incredible cruelty in the 1930s, was held up at the time as a model of Stalinist achievement, but is now seen as an example of Stalinist oppression.
  •  Magnitogorsk
    • One website calls Magnitogorsk ‘one of the modern wonders of the 20th century as well as a constant reminder of the blunders of modern industry’. The town was built from scratch in the southern Ural Mountains as part of the first of Stalin's Five Year Plans. After the site was selected in 1929, its construction began with extreme rapidity. The centre of the town was the huge steel plant that dominates the eastern bank of the Ural river.
    • By 1932 the population had grown to 250,000, most of whom were still living in the original barracks put up in 1929, or in tents. Most of the workers were local peasants or gulag prisoners. Magnitogorsk represents the achievement and the blunders of the Five Year Plans. Although the local mountains were rich in iron ore, there was no coal or wood locally, all of which had to be brought in by train; but the railway was so shoddily built that trains could not travel faster than 10 kph!