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OCR A2 History: Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964 discussion thread 10 June watch

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    This thread is open to anyone, who is sitting the OCR A2 History exam on June 10th and is studying the Russia and its Rulers 1855-1964 topic. Please feel free to discuss anything related to this exam and topic. Whether that would be question spotting or just discussing the themes of continuity and change, in-order to help others and reinforce the content in your own mind at the same time.

    My-Content(so-far):
    1. Romanov Ideology.
    2. Romanov GO&S.
    3. Communist GO&S.
    4. War-Questions.
    5. Political-Parties - Essay-Structure/Plan.
    6. The Russian Civil-War.
    7. The Cold-War.

    I will start the ball rolling. Firstly, it is highly likely that a question related to wars will appear in this exam. It didn't make an appearance in January or June 2010. It most likely will be war as a turning-point. Questions related directly to the nature of government have been covered pretty extensively in the January and June 2010 exams - they probably wont make an appearance here. Opposition made an appearance in June 2010, it will probably appear in some format again on June 10th. Both workers and peasants were covered directly in January and June 2010, they probably wont be covered directly in the exam on June 10th.

    Ideology(nature & in-practice) - Romanov's

    On another note, I am going to discuss the general themes of continuity and change with the autocratic ideology of the Romanovs. Firstly, the most important thing to note is that Alex II, Alex III and Nich II continuously enforced autocracy, there was never any question of the Tsars ultimate and supreme power - Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationalism was continuously upheld. Even though Alexander II embarked on a reforming agenda after Russia's dismal performance in the Crimean War and introduced a number of 'liberal' reforms like the Zemstva as a resuslt, after the the first attempt on his life in 1866 - he reverted back to adhering very strongly to autocracy(Trial of the 50 etc.). Alexander III felt the need to enforce autocracy significantly after his fathers assassination in 1881. He reversed many of his fathers reforms and again used repression in the same fashion. The 'Peoples Will' were particularly targeted, the heads of the group were all executed inc. Sophia Perovskaya. This fortifying of autocracy was justified by his belief that it was his Paternalistic Duty - aka. it was for the benefit of the Russian people. In a similar fashion to Alexander II, Nicholas II introduced a number of 'liberal' and constitutional reforms like the Duma in 1905. However, these were forced upon the Tsar because of contextual factors like the loss of faith in autocracy/Tsarism because of the Russo-Japanese war and similarly like with the reforms resulting from the Crimea, they were certainly not introduced with the intention to relinquish any autocratic power. The Fundamental laws of 1906 ensured this, in-which again like Alex III manifesto in 1881, the Tsar reiterated the need for the upkeep of autocracy & that the Tsar is a 'supreme ruler'. Thus, even though there were moments when it seemed the Tsar was parting with some of his autocratic power, the society was always going to be subject to the ultimate authority of the Tsar.

    It turned out to be more like a mini-essay but anyway, hope that has helped some of you. This is a discussion, so feel free to add things - on the same subject or a different one - or even challenge the things that I have said, maybe offer better example etc. One thing I wanted to add, would be Alex II reform from the top instead of below statement. This is significant because it demonstrated that Alex II wanted to preserve autocracy through his 'liberal' reforms and therefore, did not introduce them to relinquish autocratic power!
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    I hope change and continuity in government will come up...
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    This exam is such a *****.
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    (Original post by LaMusiqueEstMaVie)
    I hope change and continuity in government will come up...
    Agreed. If I open the exam paper on June 10th and see one, I will be pleased. I am doubtful though from looking at the January and June 2010 papers. I imagine there was an exam in January 2011, no-one would happen to know what questions came up would they?
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    Government Organisation and Structure - Romanov's.

    Themes of continuity and change in government organisation and structure under the Tsars - some ideology manages to creep in also. The main continuity under the Tsars was that it was a top-down structure of government.

    Alexander II inherited a centralized government when he took to the throne in 1855. He made only one significant change with the introduction of the Council of Ministers in 1861(I think this is the date?). However, these ministers had a purely administrative role and were always answerable to the Tsar. Thus, the Tsar maintained ultimate control over policy formulation and approval.

    Alexander III didn't do anything worth noting here, he kept the government organisation and structure almost identical to that under Alexander II. I think he disbanded an organ of government that advised the Tsars but I can't remember which.

    Nicholas II clearly brought about the biggest change in government organisation and structure? Well yes, one could argue that the Duma - introduced as a part of the October Manifesto - was at least a representative body and had a Parliamentary basis. However, there were a number of problems. Firstly and most importantly, were the Fundamental Laws of 1906, these placed a number of restrictions upon the elected body. Most notably was Article 87, this allowed the Tsar to bypass both the Duma(lower-chamber) and the State Council(upper-chamber). Thus, one could question how much worth and power these elected bodies really wielded after the Fundamental Laws of 1906. From then on, one could argue that it just became a talking shop with a majority of people who remained loyal to the principle of autocracy(how this came to be is explained later).

    In-relation to the State Council(upper-chamber), it is worth noting that this body solely existed to keep a check on the Duma. It consisted of people who were many elected by the Tsar and therefore, were loyal to autocracy. The State Council had to agree to anything that the Duma suggested before it could be put before the Tsar. Importantly, both of these bodies did not have the power to formulate legislation. Thus, they were far from being Parliamentary - again basically talking shops - this was still in the hands of the Tsar - no change there.

    Another notable point in-relation to the Dumas, occurred at the dissolving of the second Duma in 1912. Nicholas II showed that he still posesed unquestionable authoritarian power when he condemned it, as a subversive institution that was going against the Tsar. It was this excuse that allowed Nicholas II to change the electoral system, so that when the third Duma came in-to sitting - it was full of property owning, Tsarist loyalists. The left-wing people/groups, were either removed from the Duma, or now simply ignored - the Duma now came to be dominated by right-wing or nationalists. One important continuity to note, is that this power to condemn a group/institution and resultinly, achieve ones authoritarian aims was also used extensively by Lenin. Both in demanding 'All Power To The Soviets' - in-relation to the Prov. Gov. 'old-guard'. - and also when Lenin claimed that the Constituent Assembly was elected on the 'old-register' and that it was 'bourgeois' and result-inly, Lenin managed to disband it with no popular demonstrations against his clearly authoritarian and unjustifiable action - though because it was Lenin who said it, the people saw it as a justified action. Russian revolutionary's never professed that a sole person should be taking rogue actions alone and unquestioned?... Marxism-Leninism professed in skipping this stage - ie. the democratically elected constitutional assembly - and jumping straight to the Leninist Party Central Committee. Again, when Nicholas II made this dubious change to the electoral system, nobody questioned his authoritarian power to do so.

    However, it is important to realize that this did not mean that the Duma was necessarily ineffective from a policy stand point, many of the political, social and economic reforms were beneficial to Russia. Even though the majority of the pop. ie. peasants/workers remained underrepresented. Changes brought about by the third Duma such as the reinstatement of JP's and the abolishment of Land Captains, for example - certainly benefited the peasants.

    One could conclude, that the Dumas were certainly not just a gesture towards greater democracy/representation. One could of-course take the view that these constitutional reforms showed Russia was heading towards a democratic future - Stolypin's reforms in the Dumas would support that -, if it was not for the interruption of the First World War. However, when Nicholas II took actions such as repeatedly dissolving the Dumas at will and suspending it during the First World War for example, in-order to give himself control of the military - going against the Dumas wishes...showing just how little worth he held their opinion in. Nicholas II proved that his sole position at the top and center of government was just as strong and unquestionable as it had been under Alexander II and all the Tsars before him. Obviously, the Dumas played a role in the abdication of the Tsar - the President of the fourth Duma famously told Nicholas II to 'change' his ways & they refused to disband when ordered to do so by Nicholas II - but certainly the catastrophic failure of the First World War and the collapse of the eastern-front, was the overwhelming contributory factor to the abdication.

    Clearly, Nicholas II made the most significant change in government organisation and structure under the Romanovs. Though whilst there were many themes of change with Nicholas II and GO&S, many continuity's remained as-well - this is the case with every ruler/theme in this topic. It's obviously down to your own judgement(supported judgments) on the amount of change they actually represented, possibly factoring in whether it was a positive change or negative change or whether it was a short or a long-term change - depending on the question etc.

    Once again, this is a discussion, so feel free to add things - on the same subject or a different one - or even challenge the things that I have said, maybe offer better example etc!
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    Government Organisation and Structure - Bolsheviks

    Themes of continuity and change in government organisation and structure under the Bolsheviks - again, some ideology creeps in & tools of government. The Main theme of continuity is that the Bolsheviks dominated all the organs of GO&S(ie. not really democratic), thats it. The key word you want to be learning here is Democratic Centralism, this never existed - even though the Bolsheviks claimed to represent it - and it was actually used by the Bolsheviks to guise a highly - some would argue more than even the Romanov's GO&S - authoritarian, hierarchical, bureaucratic and ultimately, one-party state.

    This did not change under Lenin, Stalin or Krushchev. Make sure you are not fooled by the 'Stalin' constitution introduced in 1936, certainly it did bring in-to function something resembling a federal style of government aka. the Supreme Soviet and therefore, a nod to democracy with the Soviet of the Union and Soviet Nationalities. Additionally, they were also more representative style of government that encompassed the majority of the USSR's different peoples/ethnics. However, these were once again dominated by Bolsheviks and therefore, in reality it was just another Bolsheviks guise - aka. democratic centralism - to cover up their absolute one-party state.

    The Soviets came to be completely dominated by Bolsheviks, so even though they democratically elected organs of government like the People's Commissioner's - it was always going to be headed by Bolsheviks, as everyone who was voting were Bolsheviks!

    Bureaucracy and highly hierarchical is a continuity throughout - under the Romanov's as-well. Under Lenin the Bolshevik party consisted of 40% administrators, who were educated and part of the growing middle-class under the Tsars. The other 60% of the party consisted of workers/peasants - change that they were represented as the majority? nxt. few lines downplays this positive - and in-contrast, they had to be activists in their own spare time - which 10-hour a day shifts don't really allow-, whilst these educated middle-class party workers were employed full-time/part-time by the Bolshevik party. Thus, it was no surprise that in-particular the urban proletariat became disconnected and uninterested in Bolshevik party activity - apathetic. The Bolsheviks were ignoring/alienating the very people they were suppose to be educating and empowering under Marxism-Leninism! to eventually create the Dictatorship of the Proletariat & the eventually dream of the state-less society that is Communism - which of-course we all know never existed all the way up-to the USSR's collapse in 1991, it was always headed by one-leader - one-party. Again, more evidence of the Bolsheviks not instigating the very goals that Russian revolutionaries had professed for decades, including Lenin etc.

    The Politburo certainly deserves a mention. This small elite group of Bolsheviks, solely formulated policy for the party - remind you of anyone?. The Politburo came to dominate the Central Committee and therefore, the entire Bolshevik party...

    To Conclude, a Bolshevik government seemed to bare a striking resemblance to the Tsarist one before it. The Bolsheviks were only allowed to form a government because the soviets aka. workers believed that it would be basically a Soviet government - all those goals that the Russian revolutionaries had professed they were expected to instigate. What the revolutionaries certainly didn't fight and die for was a government that was repressive on an unimaginable scale - nothing else throughout history has matched the sheer scale and extent of terror initiated by the USSR's/CCCP's police state(tools of government.) - that seemed all to similar to what they had abolished in the February revolution - similar? some would argue it took it to new heights. So remember, Soviet rule was suppose to represent freedoms and liberties for all working peoples, and what it certainly wasn't suppose to represent was the absolute control over every aspect of citizens lives that the so-called 'Democratic Centralism' created when Stalin seized power in 1928. However, Lenin arguably built the foundations for this type of Bolshevik state(ie. Cheka & the Red Terror), the outdated historical interpretation of Lenin being 'good' and Stalin being 'bad' has been revised! Brodsky notably, after the re-naming of Leningrad to St. Petersburg in 1991, when referring to Lenin said that it was ''Better to have named it for a saint than a devil."

    Completely off-theme & maybe exam!, but nevertheless, some of you may find it purely interesting and/or maybe relevant. Lenin in 1918 wrote in a letter: "Comrades!...Hang (hang without fail, so that people will see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers...Do it in such a way that...for hundreds of versts around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: 'They are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks'...Yours, Lenin." One could argue, that this shows just how cruel Lenin was and thus, one could question how different were Lenin & Stalin in-reality. Evidence like this from the Soviet archives makes it much more difficult to argue not that Lenin was not different at-all to Stalin but its importance lies in the restrictions that it creates if you argue this. What it restricts is the use of a difference between Lenin and Stalin in-the sense that it downplays the extent of the differences and thus, the importance/relevance of any similarities can be questioned because there are fewer of them.

    Once again, this is a discussion, so feel free to add things - on the same subject or a different one - or even challenge the things that I have said, maybe offer better example etc!
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    Thanks for starting this thread. We need to keep it active to help each other.

    If anyone has any notes in Word form, upload them! Every little helps.
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    (Original post by heartsandminds)
    Thanks for starting this thread. We need to keep it active to help each other.

    If anyone has any notes in Word form, upload them! Every little helps.
    Agreed. If you possess anything that you judge to be of any use for this exam & topic - you can also ask questions about exam style/structure, you do not just have to just post content on here - please, do not be afraid to post it up here! I want to get a variety of opinions/judgments/analysis/examples, it will improve all of our essays ultimately, whilst at the same time reinforcing the content in-to your own memories!
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    What You Should Be Doing For Questions Centered Around War - using the pre-1914 wars for exemplar purposes

    A summary of the continuity's of the pre-1914 wars!

    There were three pre-1914(WW1) wars that Russia was directly involved with - the Crimean, Russo-Turkish & Russo-Japanese. The obvious continuity throughout these three wars was that Russia was the loser and not the victor. Thus, they all led to a lowering of Russia's status as a European or 'great power'. This was because of the failure to beat enemy's that on paper Russia should have crushed ie. the Ottomans whose imperial days were dawning. It was also a result of the harsh terms of the treaty's that were formed - the treaty of Paris, San Stefano<>Congress of Berlin & Portsmouth ie. in the treaty of Paris Russia lost the crucial existence of a fleet with-in the Black sea. This all led to humiliation & a general realization of the need to reform both from people like the Slavophiles & the Tsars themselves. However, one can discern from the patterns of continuity and change, a judging of the different significance that these three war each differently brought to the nature/development of Russian government - politically, socially & economically.

    If one was to rank these three wars in-order of significance your order should resemble this:

    CRIMEAN WAR<>RUSSO-JAPANESE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>RUSSO-TURKISH


    There is no-right & wrong!

    Now the first thing you may have noticed, is how I have given equal significance to both the Crimean & Russo-Japanese wars. Now, obviously this is a generalization. However, this was done intentionally because I want to make the point that whilst both wars brought about around the same level of significance in-terms of changes/impacts in/on the nature/development of government. One could argue that one particular change/impact as a result of the war was more significant than the other particular change/impact that the other war brought - ie. judgement is the key to this exam, their is no- right or wrong. An example of this judgement would be that I could argue that the Emancipation Edict was far-more significant than any of the changes that the Russo-Japanese war created in-that it brought an end to the internal weakness of one social class enslaving another & as a result, this benefacted the army etc. However, someone else could argue that this change may have come about without the Crimean war & thus, the war was only a catalyst. They could also argue that the creation of the Duma as a result of the Russo-Japansese war & the lessening of the faith in the Tsar it brought was far-more significant - ie. people now saw Tsarism & autocracy as the problem, under Alex II it was other internal weaknesses. They could also cite the Duma's parliamentry basis etc. However, the candidate arguing that the Crimean war was of more significance in the changes that it brought could cite the fundemental laws of 1906 etc. to argue that their was actually little change in autocracy brought about as a result of this & thus, was it really a significant change?, as its Parliamentary basis in-practice meant very little - the dissolutions/suspensions etc. Again, this is one line of argument, there are of-course many more which could be equally as taken/justified - this is what makes History so much more than just dates on a timeline!

    Depends on the type of war question!

    Of-course, this type of comparison between these two wars all depends on the type of question you get asked in the exam! If it was a turning-point question arguing that WW1 was the most significant, obviously, I would not be comparing the significance of the Crimean war against the Russo-Japanese war. I would be comparing the significance of these three wars - possibly together because of their similarities(refer to above.) - against WW1 by discerning patterns of continuity and change & thus, being able to come to a substantiated - crucially not un-justified - judgement. Also, I was assessing the scale of impacts that came about as a result of these wars in the previous paragraph, it's not always necessarily about the significance of the impacts that war brought to bare. It could also be war as a locomotive for change type question, in this type of question you will be assessing more about whether these wars directly brought about these changes or maybe just acted as a form catalyst etc.(I talked about this in prev. para. somewhat). The whole WW1 historical debate surrounding optimist vs. pessimist historians is an argument that you should be looking in-to.

    Conclusion!

    Anyway, I hope this post has helped at-least one of you. The aim of this post was to generally go-over & explain, what type of exam answer you will be expected to construct surrounding a question centered around war on June 10th. Remember, all you need to learn/revise is the impacts that these wars had on the nature/development of Russian government - crucially, picking out continuity & change between them -, the examiner does not care if you know about the wars origins ie. that the Nazis were the cause of WW2 not the Soviets! It's all about the wars impacts on Russian government - though learning the origins etc. will give you a better overall understanding of the wars implications!
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    lexander II inherited a centralized government when he took to the throne in 1855. He made only one significant change with the introduction of the Council of Ministers in 1861(I think this is the date?). However, these ministers had a purely administrative role and were always answerable to the Tsar. Thus, the Tsar maintained ultimate control over policy formulation and approval
    Would the Zemstvo not be one? Technically it was a change to local government although they were restricted to health, prisons, roads, agriculture, the relief of famine and some areas of education. It certainly allowed some political education for peasants although this was restricted.

    God this thread is a gift. I'm currently writing essay after essay for this stupid exam.

    So what's your view on this?

    ‘Political parties only posed a serious threat to the stability of Russian government during the period of the First World War (1914 – 18).’ How far do you agree with this statement?
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    (Original post by yesioo)
    Would the Zemstvo not be one? Technically it was a change to local government although they were restricted to health, prisons, roads, agriculture, the relief of famine and some areas of education. It certainly allowed some political education for peasants although this was restricted.

    God this thread is a gift. I'm currently writing essay after essay for this stupid exam.

    So what's your view on this?

    ‘Political parties only posed a serious threat to the stability of Russian government during the period of the First World War (1914 – 18).’ How far do you agree with this statement?
    Yes, you do make a valid point. Certainly, the Zemstvo's were part of the GO&S - I included the Soviets role in Bolsheviks GO&S. However, the Soviets had a more direct-effect on central government through it's power to elect the Peoples Commissioner's etc. Your other comment is absolutely valid about it giving some 'political education for peasants'. One could say this marked a stark change from the past, were no attempts & in-fact, it was preferred to have an illiterate peasant populous to maintain serfdom. However, one could question their peasant status before the Emancipation Edict, as they certainly were enslaved & thus, more like a slave-class - you don't educate slaves.

    Additionally, you could say that this laid the foundations for the Bolsheviks educating of the peasant class decades later - the Emancipation Edict as a whole. Thus, arguing that the Bolshevik change in the educating of peasants was not as significant as it would first seem. However, one could argue that with the Bolsheviks it was done on a much more larger/formal/organised way & thus, it was more substantial, more significant. One could also question whether that was an intended outcome of the Zemstvo's.

    ‘Political parties only posed a serious threat to the stability of Russian government during the period of the First World War (1914 – 18).’ How far do you agree with this statement?

    Firstly, you should note the type of question & thus, you will be able to discern what type of structure the question is requiring. This question is basically asking you for a yes and no argument. Another way to put it is as a for and against argument - it is basically the same thing this allows you to show 'How far do you agree...'. It appears to be a turning-point question in the way that it focuses on the First World War? - I think I'm right in saying this. Thus, you would argue as a part of your first paragraph a 'yes' argument towards WW1 in-relation to the question but also in the same paragraph you would produce a 'no' argument towards WW1 in-relation to the question. After doing this you would then argue that there were of-course other periods that maybe are more significant in-relation to the question and also that there were other periods which were not and thus, you can use them to argue that WW1 was then the most significant - again, its all about YOUR judgement.

    The next thing that should catch your attention with-in this question is its focus on 'Political parties'. Therefore, do not start talking about opposition from individuals & cliques or peasants, workers & national minorities. Additionally, I said that this question was interesting and that is because of the amount of discriminators it contains. Firstly, you have 'only...during the period of the First World War' secondly you have 'a serious threat' and thirdly you have 'to the stability of Russian government'. In-particular the 'stability of Russian government' needs some sort of defining. Basically, what would you class as a stable government and what would you class as an destabilized government. If you define this, it will allow you to make judgement's by using this it as a gauge, when looking at the stability of Russian governments throughout these different periods. Other periods you would discuss could be during the 1905 'revolution, the Civil War, Alexander II assassination and the Crimean war period. Though I would struggle to think of anymore? If anyone has any suggestions again, please feel free to suggest them in any reply.

    What I found strikingly interesting about this question was the way it focuses on 'Political parties'. These didn't exist after Lenin's 'ban-on-factions' and of-course, we all know that the USSR was a one-party state until its bankruptcy in 1991. Therefore, I really don't understand how you could cover the whole hundred years in this question? If I'm missing something here with that judgement, please feel free to suggest why in any reply.

    Essay Structure - Turning-Point


    INTRO - define all of of the words that need defining and give a general line about what you think differs throughout the different periods in the 100 years. For example, recognizing that the extent and scope of threat differs through the period? and that you are going to factor that in-to your answer etc. Remember! This is an introduction, keep it short! and keep it smart!
    WW1 - yes and no arguments for it as a turning-point and recognize that that there were also other periods that one must consider(seen below).
    1905 'REVOLUTION' - show why it was and why it was not using themes of continuity and change and thus, these will allow you to judge the overall significance of it against what you should have already judged the importance of the WW1 period to be ie. this structure allows you to take a comparative approach(do this for following three also).
    CIVIL WAR
    CRIMEAN WAR?
    ALEXANDER II ASSASSINATION
    CONCLUSION - a final judgement either agreeing or disagreeing with the question being posed substantiated by the judgments in the previous paragraphs.

    My Conclusion/General Lines of Argument

    I would be inclined to agree with this statement but only to an extent of-course. This because one could argue that it was actually the army strikes/revolts etc. during WW1 that posed the most serious threat to the stability of Russian government because of there importance in maintaining an authoritarian regime & thus, one-line of argument would be that without the army mutiny's the political parties wouldn't have been able to achieve the destabilization of Russian government. Basically, the argument argues that the 'Political parties' did not pose a 'serious threat' by there-selves, even Trotsky admitted that if even just one battalion of the army remained loyal to the Prov. Gov. the revolution would have been lost. It was a myriad of circumstances that came together that provided the Bolsheviks the opportunity to destabilize the Prov. Gov. and only then could they pose a 'serious threat'. However, it is these circumstances that one could use to argue in-favor of the First World War - as this period brought them to bare. The Civil War did present a major/real threat to the Bolshevik government through armed conflict but one could question how serious a threat this actually was due to the 'reds' possessing so-many advantages over the 'whites'. The fact that Alexander III transitioned to power with ease after his fathers death showed how little his assassination had actually threated the stability of government. Again, I would argue that the army staying loyal during the 1905 'revolution' meant that political parties could never really pose a serious threat to the stability of Russian government - autocracy was preserved. Though one could argue that the 'October Manifesto' proved that they did certainly pose a 'threat'. Also, one could argue that 'Political parties' that formed in the period just before the 1905 'revolution' like the SR's and SD's were Marxist political parties & thus, through there very nature they made Russian government less-stable than it had been in the past, as there are now 'Political parties', who do not just question the Tsars absolutist power & maybe want a constitutional settlement, they want a 'revolution' - they want Nicholas II dead(if not dead then at-least exiled to Britain!). However, it took around another two decades to see this realized at Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918 & thus, surely WW1 gave the revolutionaries the conditions for a 'revolution' but it was certainly not the only time they could have posed at least a 'threat' to the stability of Russian Government. The SR's of-course managed to kill 2,000 officials before WW1 including Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia(Alexander III brother) - & thus, there can be no-doubt they posed an all to real and significant threat but was the Russian autocratic machine going to collapse because of this - no it wasn't or didn't. Possibly citing some points were the Tsar Nicholas II flexed some of is authoritarian powers like the dissolutions and suspensions of the Duma or when he changed the electoral system unhindered(refer back to the prev. posts for details). Another thing I would certainly note would be how in-effective the Bolsheviks were until WW1, the SR's were the strong populist movement before it. The Bolsheviks before WW1 were absolutely insignificant as an opposition in-comparison to the SRs in-terms of posing a direct 'threat'.

    If anybody else has been assigned an essay and would like me or anyone who feels like they can contribute to discuss and talk about the structure of that essay similar to the degree that I have just done to the one above. Feel free to post it to this thread in any reply. However, if you see a question that has already been posted but not answered by me or someone else - anybody can chip in. Then please refrain from doing so, until you have seen a reply to that question! Thanks.

    Remember! I'm not going to basically tell you all the content that you should include, just the structure and general lines of argument that can be taken with the question!
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    (Original post by GraviticWar)
    Yes, you do make a valid point. Certainly, the Zemstvo's were part of the GO&S - I included the Soviets role in Bolsheviks GO&S. However, the Soviets had a more direct-effect on central government through it's power to elect the Peoples Commissioner's etc. Your other comment is absolutely valid about it giving some 'political education for peasants'. One could say this marked a stark change from the past, were no attempts & in-fact, it was preferred to have an illiterate peasant populous to maintain serfdom. However, one could question their peasant status before the Emancipation Edict, as they certainly were enslaved & thus, more like a slave-class - you don't educate slaves.

    Additionally, you could say that this laid the foundations for the Bolsheviks educating of the peasant class decades later - the Emancipation Edict as a whole. Thus, arguing that the Bolshevik change in the educating of peasants was not as significant as it would first seem. However, one could argue that with the Bolsheviks it was done on a much more larger/formal/organised way & thus, it was more substantial, more significant. One could also question whether that was an intended outcome of the Zemstvo's.

    ‘Political parties only posed a serious threat to the stability of Russian government during the period of the First World War (1914 – 18).’ How far do you agree with this statement?

    Firstly, you should note the type of question & thus, you will be able to discern what type of structure the question is requiring. This question is basically asking you for a yes and no argument. Another way to put it is as a for and against argument - it is basically the same thing this allows you to show 'How far do you agree...'. It appears to be a turning-point question in the way that it focuses on the First World War? - I think I'm right in saying this. Thus, you would argue as a part of your first paragraph a 'yes' argument towards WW1 in-relation to the question but also in the same paragraph you would produce a 'no' argument towards WW1 in-relation to the question. After doing this you would then argue that there were of-course other periods that maybe are more significant in-relation to the question and also that there were other periods which were not and thus, you can use them to argue that WW1 was then the most significant - again, its all about YOUR judgement.

    The next thing that should catch your attention with-in this question is its focus on 'Political parties'. Therefore, do not start talking about opposition from individuals & cliques or peasants, workers & national minorities. Additionally, I said that this question was interesting and this is because of the amount of discriminators it contains. Firstly, you have 'only...during the period of the First World War' secondly you have 'a serious threat' and thirdly you have 'to the stability of Russian government'. In-particular the 'stability of Russian government' needs some sort of defining. Basically, what would you class as a stable government and what would you class as an destabilized government. If you define this, it will allow you to make judgement's by using this as a gauge when looking at the stability of Russian governments throughout these many periods. Other periods you would discuss could be during the 1905 'revolution, the Civil War, Alexander II assassination and the Crimean war period. Though I would struggle to think of anymore? If anyone has any suggestions again, please feel free to suggest them in any reply.

    What I found strikingly interesting about this question was the way it focuses on 'Political parties'. These didn't exist after Lenin's 'ban-on-factions' and of-course, we all know that the USSR was a one-party state until its bankruptcy in 1991. Therefore, I really don't understand how you could cover the whole hundred years in this question? If I'm missing something here with that judgement, please feel free to suggest why in any reply.

    Essay Structure - Turning-Point


    INTRO - define all of of the words that need defining and give a general line about what you think differs throughout the different periods in the 100 years. For example, recognizing that the extent and scope of threat differs through the period? and that you are going to factor that in-to your answer etc. Remember! This is an introduction, keep it short! and keep it smart!
    WW1 - yes and no arguments for it as a turning-point and recognize that that there were also other periods that one must consider(seen below).
    1905 'REVOLUTION' - show why it was and why it was not using themes of continuity and change and thus, these will allow you to judge the overall significance of it against what you should have already judged the importance of the WW1 period to be ie. this structure allows you to take a comparative approach(do this for following three also).
    CIVIL WAR
    CRIMEAN WAR?
    ALEXANDER II ASSASSINATION
    CONCLUSION - a final judgement either agreeing or disagreeing with the question being posed substantiated by the judgments in the previous paragraphs.

    My Conclusion/General Lines of Argument

    I would be inclined to agree with this statement but only to an extent of-course. This because one could argue that it was actually the army strikes/revolts etc. during WW1 that posed the most serious threat to the stability of Russian government because of there importance in maintaining an authoritarian regime & thus, one-line of argument would be that without the army mutiny's the political parties wouldn't have been able to achieve the destabilization of Russian government. Basically, the argument argues that the 'Political parties' did not pose a 'serious threat' by there-selves, even Trotsky admitted that if even just one battalion of the army remained loyal to the Prov. Gov. the revolution would have been lost. It was a myriad of circumstances that came together that provided the Bolsheviks the opportunity to destabilize the Prov. Gov. and only then could they pose a 'serious threat'. However, it is these circumstances that one could use to argue in-favor of the First World War - as this period brought them to bare. The Civil War did present a major/real threat to the Bolshevik government through armed conflict but one could question how serious a threat this actually was due to the 'reds' possessing so-many advantages over the 'whites'. The fact that Alexander III transitioned to power with ease after his fathers death showed how little his assassination had actually threated the stability of government. Again, I would argue that the army staying loyal during the 1905 'revolution' meant that political parties could never really pose a serious threat to the stability of Russian government - autocracy was preserved. Though one could argue that the 'October Manifesto' proved that they did certainly pose a 'threat'. Also, one could argue that 'Political parties' that formed in the period just before the 1905 'revolution' like the SR's and SD's were Marxist political parties & thus, through there very nature they made Russian government less-stable than it had been in the past, as there are now 'Political parties', who do not just question the Tsars absolutist power & maybe want a constitutional settlement, they want a 'revolution' - they want Nicholas II dead(if not dead then at-least exiled to Britain!). However, it took around another two decades to see this realized at Yekaterinburg on July 17, 1918 & thus, surely WW1 gave the revolutionaries the conditions for a 'revolution' but it was certainly not the only time they could have posed at least a 'threat' to the stability of Russian Government. The SR's of-course managed to kill 2,000 officials before WW1 including Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia(Alexander III brother) - & thus, there can be no-doubt they posed an all to real and significant threat but was the Russian autocratic machine going to collapse because of this - no it wasn't or didn't. Possibly citing some points were the Tsar Nicholas II flexed some of is authoritarian powers like the dissolutions and suspensions of the Duma or when he changed the electoral system unhindered(refer back to the prev. posts for details). Another thing I would certainly note would be how in-effective the Bolsheviks were until WW1, the SR's were the strong populist movement before it. The Bolsheviks before WW1 were absolutely insignificant as an opposition in-comparison to the SRs in-terms of posing direct 'threat'.

    If anybody else has been assigned an essay and would like me or anyone who feels like they can contribute to discuss and talk about the structure of that essay similar to the degree that I have just done to the one above. Feel free to post it to this thread in any reply. However, if you see a question that has already been posted but not answered by me or someone else - anybody can chip in. Then please refrain from doing so, until you have seen a reply to that question! Thanks.

    Remember! I'm not going to basically tell you all the content that you should include, just the structure and general lines of argument that can be taken with the question!
    Point of information, Political parties were only legal in Russia for 17 years, between 1905 and 1922. So I wouldn't include anything outside these days unless you're going to use a recognised organisation.
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    (Original post by crocker710)
    Point of information, Political parties were only legal in Russia for 17 years, between 1905 and 1922. So I wouldn't include anything outside these days unless you're going to use a recognised organisation.
    Yes, this is why this question just wouldn't come-up on the exam. Replacing 'Political parties' with opposition in-general would make this a more valid question for a 100-years synoptic exam.
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    While I absolutely adore History, I cannot get my head round the structure of the essays. Could anyone give some advice on this aspect?
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    So what three questions are going to come up do we all think?
    I think War will be one, peasants will be another and either something silly like effective leadership or minorities will be last.
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    (Original post by heartsandminds)
    So what three questions are going to come up do we all think?
    I think War will be one, peasants will be another and either something silly like effective leadership or minorities will be last.
    Well, I was just looking at the examiners report from 2011 and I noticed(I think?) that similarities and differences in Russian government came-up...dam, is all I can say :mad:. Anyway, at-least there was no war question, so thats a definite . Economic and social policies came-up which is good, thats my weakest area :cool:. Does anyone know actually what the questions were in Jan. 2011, does not exactly say the questions in the examiners report, so I'm doing allot of guess work here! Thanks. Basically, the nature of government has been covered extensively in the pass few exams - thats the general trend I've picked up.
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    Good idea to start this thread, i'll definitely keep an eye on it. Even though i enjoy the subject and everyone is reassuring me i'll be fine, i'm absolutely ****ting it about this exam!

    I only scraped an A at AS so i need to do well on this exam to meet my offer (for History, funnily enough), not knowing my coursework mark doesn't help. Since i'm getting most of my essays to around 48-50/60 without notes at the moment i reckon i'm finally getting the hang of how you structure the essays.

    Just need to go over the workers, peasantry and the economy some more. Its very comforting to hear that war and opposition are likely to come up as they're probably my strongest areas.

    (Original post by GraviticWar)
    Does anyone know actually what the questions were in Jan. 2011, does not exactly say the questions in the examiners report, so I'm doing allot of guess work here! T
    My teacher actually said on Friday two of the questions that came up in Jan 2011, but curse my luck i was in the middle of a conversation at the time! I'm pretty sure nature of govt was one of them as we spent all lesson planning those type of questions. I'll try and ask her tommorow.

    (Original post by LiamTheKook)
    While I absolutely adore History, I cannot get my head round the structure of the essays. Could anyone give some advice on this aspect?
    Have you been through the thread that Crocker710 made? That was a MASSIVE help for me.
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    (Original post by sr90)
    Have you been through the thread that Crocker710 made? That was a MASSIVE help for me.
    I don't think so. The only two History help threads I looked over were this one and another where it was a guy who proclaimed he was the fountain of knowledge on A Level History exams. Could you possibly link me to Crocker's thread? That'd be extremely helpful!
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    (Original post by LiamTheKook)
    I don't think so. The only two History help threads I looked over were this one and another where it was a guy who proclaimed he was the fountain of knowledge on A Level History exams. Could you possibly link me to Crocker's thread? That'd be extremely helpful!
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1500448

    Lengthy, but worth a look through.
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    (Original post by sr90)
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1500448

    Lengthy, but worth a look through.
    Many thanks. If it gets me into my first choice university then I don't care how long it is!
 
 
 
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