Past IBDP Paper 1 Exams on The Russian Revolutions & the New Soviet State 1917–1929

Lenin IB DP Past Paper 1

May 2000

These documents relate to political activity 1917 to 1924.

NB: Dates used are according to the new style calendar although this was not adopted until 1 February 1918.

DOCUMENT A: An appeal from the Central Committee of the Kadet Party, 3 March 1917.

The old regime has gone. The State Duma has forgotten its party differences, has united in the name of the salvation of our homeland. All citizens should have confidence in this regime and should combine their efforts to allow the government created by the Duma to complete its great task of liberating Russia from the external enemy and establishing peace inside Russia, on the basis of law, equality and freedom. Forget all your party, class, estate and national differences.

DOCUMENT B An extract from a lecture given by the American historian Richard Pipes in Vienna in 1995. The lecture was later published.

Lenin took power not on behalf of the Bolshevik Party — the words Bolshevik Party do not appear in the early documents — but on behalf of the Soviet. And he intimated [implied] that he wanted to have a democratic transitional government; the word ‘socialism’ does not appear in the announcement proclaiming the overthrow of the Provisional Government which he drafted ... it seemed merely a shift from dual power to unitary [single] power, under which the stronger power, the Soviet assumed full responsibility.
It seemed to be just another of those government crises that had been occurring with increasing frequency since the Tsar had abdicated. The Bolsheviks contributed to this perception by calling theirs also ‘Provisional Government’. It was widely believed that as soon as the Constituent Assembly had met the Bolshevik Government would yield [give up] power.
The Bolsheviks did hold elections to the Constituent Assembly, but when they gained only 24% of the votes and saw that the new government would be run by the Socialist Revolutionaries, they dismissed the Assembly ... and set themselves up as a one-party state.

 DOCUMENT C A resolution by Lenin passed at the Tenth Party Congress, 16 March 1921.

It is essential that every party organisation must take the greatest care to ensure that the undoubtedly essential criticism of the shortcomings of the Party is directed not towards the discussion of groups adhering to [supporting] some platform or other but towards the discussion of all Party members. Anyone making criticisms must take into account the position of the Party, surrounded by enemies and also must strive to correct the mistakes of the Party by active personal participation in Soviet and Party work.
Congress orders the immediate dispersal of all groups, without exception. Failure to execute this Resolution of the Congress must result in unconditional and immediate expulsion from the Party.

DOCUMENT D: Stalin’s views of the role of the Communist Party in Russia, written in 1924. 
The Party must absorb all the best elements of the working class, their experience, their revolutionary spirit, their selfless devotion to the cause of the proletariat. But in order that it may really be the vanguard [leader of the movement] the Party must be armed with revolutionary theory ... the proletariat needs the Party for the purpose of achieving the dictatorship of the proletariat ...
Our party succeeded in creating internal unity and unexampled cohesion of its ranks primarily because it was able in good time to purge itself of the opportunist pollution [corruption], because it was able to rid its ranks of the destroyers, the Mensheviks. Proletarian parties develop and become strong by purging themselves of opportunists and reformists.

DOCUMENT E: A Stalinist official poster from the 1920s entitled ‘They try to stop the Revolution’. The two small figures are labelled Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries.

 1. (a) According to Document A why is the Kadet Party urged to support the State Duma? [2 marks] 
     (b) What is the message of Document E?  [2 marks]

2. Using Documents C, D and E explain how Lenin and Stalin worked to secure the supremacy of the party.  [5 marks]

3. With reference to their origin and purpose assess the value and limitations for historians studying the Russian Revolution of Documents A and B.  [5 marks]

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge explain why the Central Committee’s wish to establish a regime based on ‘law, equality and freedom’ [Document A] was not fulfilled. [6 marks]

1. (a) According to Document A why is the Kadet Party urged to support the State Duma? [2 marks]
[1 mark] for each of the following: the Duma is working for the good of Russia; it needs support to secure peace abroad; it has abolished the old Regime. Also allow similar points; e.g., to support establishing peace inside Russia.
(b) What is the message of Document E? [2 marks]
It is an official poster which is trying to show a strong Party/Government [1 mark] and the Government is being hindered or opposed by the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries [1 mark].
NB: Do not enter half marks but compensate where necessary between (a) and (b) for a final mark out of [4 marks].

2. Using Documents C, D and E explain how Lenin and Stalin worked to secure the supremacy of the party. [5 marks]
Document C shows Lenin using the Party Congress to obtain enforcement for his policy of keeping the Party free from disagreement and cliques. He used persuasion-  criticism is essential but must be in front of the whole party; fear - the Party is surrounded by enemies; and threats - expulsion from the Party.
Document D shows Stalin cajoling the proletariat to support the Party with their revolutionary spirit and selfless devotion; but they must subordinate themselves to the Party otherwise they will be purged and enemies such as the Mensheviks must be purged.
Document E shows Stalin again citing political enemies, Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries, as enemies of the Revolution and hence of the party by means of propaganda in the form of a poster.
Thus, there is much material to use for ëhowí and candidates will probably tackle each document separately, but the more able might do it in a more structured way, seeking an all powerful Party by unity, opposing factionalism within the Party and other political parties outside, use of fear, threats, etc. The best answers will document their references clearly, and include analytical comments, but do not demand all the above for full marks.
If only Lenin or Stalin is discussed then candidates can only achieve a maximum of [3 marks].

3. With reference to their origin and purpose assess the value and limitations for historians studying the Russian Revolution of Documents
A and B. [5 marks]
Document A is a primary source, coming from an official political body, exhorting the members of the Kadet Party - and a wider audience - to support the State Duma. It is also a contemporary document and candidates can assume that the Central Committee was based in Petrograd. Because of the above it has value as showing support from the Kadet Party for the overthrow of the old regime and for the new provisional government, in the early days of the Revolution.
Document B is a secondary source, as a lecture given 78 years after the events described, then published, by an American historian, regarded as an academic expert on the Russian Revolution. He was speaking and writing with the benefit of years of study and research. The statistic, 24%, lends some weight but his assessment would need to be verified from his and other sources. Candidates familiar with Pipes' work might add some personal comments; some might know that he was born in Poland, others that he had had access to Soviet archives, newly available with the collapse of the Soviet regime. But his ëbiasí or lack of absolute objectivity might be noted by some candidates.
Mark out of [5 marks] but reserve at least [2 marks] for the document less well done. If only one document is addressed, [3 marks] is the maximum. The question also requires candidates to make reference in their assessment to both origin and purpose.

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge explain why the central committee's wish to establish a regime based on "law, equality and freedom" [Document A] was not fulfilled. [6 marks]

The documents show Lenin's political duplicity towards obtaining a Bolshevik one party state [B], strict party control with no equality or freedom [C], with a similar approach by Stalin to purge opposition and dragoon the workers into compliant unity [D], and his persecution of Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries in documents D and E. Own knowledge could include the failure of the Provisional Government, the Bolshevik dismissal of the Constituent Assembly, the Cheka, conditions induced by the Civil War, terror, famine, etc. Candidates should be able to produce a mini essay from all these elements. Do not demand all the above for [6 marks]. [4 marks] is the maximum if only material from the documents or own knowledge is used.

November 2000

These documents refer to the rivalry between Stalin and Trotsky to succeed Lenin.

DOCUMENT A: Lenin’s Testament, 25th December 1922.

Since he became General Secretary, Comrade Stalin has concentrated in his hands immeasurable power, and I am not sure that he will always know how to use that power with sufficient caution. On the other hand Comrade Trotsky, as has already been shown by his struggle against the Central Committee over the question of the People’s Commissariat of Means of Communication, is distinguished not only by his outstanding qualities [personally he is the most capable man in the present Central Committee] but also by his excess of self-confidence and a readiness to be carried away by the purely administrative side of affairs.
The qualities of these two leaders of the present Central Committee might lead quite accidentally to a split, and if our Party does not take steps to prevent it the split might arise unexpectedly. ...
Postscript, 4th January 1923.
Stalin is too rude, and this fault, entirely supportable amongst us Communists, becomes insupportable in the office of General Secretary. Therefore, I propose to the comrades to find a way of removing Stalin from that position and to appoint another man who in all respects differs from Stalin only in superiority; namely, more patient, more loyal, more polite, less capricious [changeable], and more attentive to comrades.
This letter to Congress was dictated by Lenin after his second stroke; it was held back until 1924 and as it also criticised other Congress members it was never acted upon.

DOCUMENT B: An extract from L Trotsky, On the supposed testament of Lenin. 31st December 1932. Trotsky’s opinion of Stalin in the years 1922 to 1923.

Lenin undoubtedly valued highly certain of Stalin’s traits: his firmness of character, tenacity [determination], stubbornness, even ruthlessness, and craftiness - qualities necessary in war and consequently in its general staff. But Lenin was far from thinking that these gifts, even on an extraordinary scale, were sufficient for the leadership of the Party and the state. Lenin saw in Stalin a revolutionist, but not a statesman in the grand style. Theory had too high an importance for Lenin in a political struggle ... And finally Stalin was not either a writer or an orator in the strict sense of the word. In the eyes of Lenin, Stalin’s value was entirely in the sphere of Party administration and machine manoeuvring. But even here Lenin had substantial reservations. ... Stalin meanwhile was more and more broadly and indiscriminately using the possibilities of the revolutionary dictatorship for the recruiting of people personally obligated and devoted to him. In his position as General Secretary he became the dispenser [distributor] of favour and fortune ...”.

DOCUMENT C: A contemporary photograph of Lenin in 1923.
Lenin at Gorki, 1923.

DOCUMENT D: An extract from, Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, by the US historian Richard Pipes, Vintage Books, first published in 1994.

Trotsky’s behaviour at this critical juncture [point] in his and Stalin’s careers has mystified both contemporaries and historians ... various interpretations have been advanced; that he underestimated Stalin; or that, on the contrary, he thought the General Secretary too solidly entrenched to be successfully challenged ....
Trotsky’s behaviour seems to have been caused by a number of disparate [different] factors that are difficult to disentangle. He undoubtedly considered himself best qualified to take over Lenin’s leadership. Yet he was well aware of the formidable obstacles facing him. He had no following in the party leadership which was clustered around Stalin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev. He was unpopular in party ranks for his non-Bolshevik past as well as his aloof personality. Another factor inhibiting him ... was his Jewishness. This came to light with the publication in 1990 of the minutes of a Central Committee Plenum of October 1923 at which Trotsky defended himself from criticism for having refused Lenin’s offer of deputyship. Although his Jewish origins held for him no meaning, he said, it was politically significant. By assuming the high post Lenin offered him, he would “give enemies grounds for claiming that the country was ruled by a Jew”. Lenin had dismissed the argument as “nonsense” but “deep in his heart he agreed with me”.

DOCUMENT E: Stalin’s speech on the eve of Lenin’s funeral, January 1924.

In leaving us, Comrade Lenin commanded us to hold high and pure the great calling of
Party Member. We swear to thee Comrade Lenin to honour thy command.
In leaving us, Comrade Lenin commanded us to keep the unity of our Party as the apple of our eye. We swear to thee, Comrade Lenin, to honour thy command.
In leaving us, Comrade Lenin ordered us to maintain and strengthen the dictatorship of the proletariat. We swear to thee, Comrade Lenin, to exert our full strength in honouring thy command.
In leaving us, Comrade Lenin ordered us to strengthen with all our might the union of workers and peasants. We swear to thee, Comrade Lenin, to honour thy command.

 1. (a) According to Document D why did the Bolshevik leadership not support Trotsky? [2 marks]
      (b) What can be inferred from Document C about the nature of the struggle for leadership in 1923?  [2 marks]

2. Compare and contrast the views expressed about Stalin in Documents A and B. [5 marks]

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents D and E for historians studying the rivalry between Stalin and Trotsky. [5 marks]

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge explain why Stalin succeeded Lenin. [6 marks]


1. (a) Award [1 mark] for Menshevik [non-Bolshevik] past and [1 mark] for arrogance or something similar [aloof personality].
(b) Award [1 mark] for a comment about Lenin’s illness, hence the possibility that he was not in control and [1 mark] for the urgency of securing support in case he died quickly.
NB Do not enter half marks or + and - but compensate between (a) and (b) if necessary for a final mark out of [4 marks].

2. Both documents criticise Stalin’s personal character and find fault with him. Document A cites him as ‘too rude’ and by implication infers that he lacks caution, patience and politeness. According to Document B Stalin is ruthless, crafty and devious as ‘the dispenser of favour and fortune’. Some candidates may compare the statement in Document A that Lenin wants to remove Stalin from the position of General Secretary with Trotsky’s view that Stalin did not have the qualities to lead the party: others could legitimately use this in contrast. A clear point of contrast is that Lenin in Document A did not refer to Stalin’s lack of intellect, oratory etc. , but Trotsky in Document B stressed this in arguing against him.
Award [1 mark] for each point clearly expressed and referenced but only give full marks if both similarities and differences have been addressed.

3. Document D is a secondary work by a US academic historian, its purpose is to present the Russian Revolution in a scholarly way after years of research. It was written with the benefit of hindsight and the reference to the minutes of the 1923 Central Committee Plenum suggests that Pipes’ research is thorough and up-to-date. For limitations candidates will probably note that it is a secondary source and that as a US citizen, Pipes could be biased, but they should gain little credit for bare statements to that effect. Further analysis of the difficulties of researching Russian history during the Cold War, language problems, Soviet secrecy etc. would earn credit.
Document E is Stalin’s speech on the eve of Lenin’s funeral. Its purpose - as well as praising Lenin was probably to convey Stalin as [in his eyes] the natural successor to Lenin, and to point out the policies that he would like to continue, or at least like the public to believe he would continue. Its value is the fact that Stalin gave the oration; and what he emphasised about Lenin. Its limitation is that it is a funeral oration, stylised, and of course limited as to what could be said on such an occasion as the death of the revered founder of Soviet Russia.
NB The question refers to the rivalry between Stalin and Trotsky, not to the qualities of Lenin. The expected division of marks would be 3/2 either way; if one section is excellent and the other omitted or very sparse, there could be a split of 4/0 or 4/1, but this would be exceptional.

4. Documentary material could include:
From Document A, that Stalin was General Secretary and had amassed much power by using this position to his advantage.
From Document B, Stalin’s character traits especially ruthlessness and craftiness, as well as his party manoeuvring and buying of support as the ‘dispenser of favour’.
From Document C, Lenin’s incapacity which Stalin exploited. From Document D, Trotsky’s weaknesses and Jewishness.
From Document E, that Stalin was in a strong enough position to deliver Lenin’s funeral oration.
For ‘own knowledge’ the points above could be expanded. Most candidates should know that Trotsky did not attend Lenin’s funeral. They should also be aware of the continuing feud between Stalin and Trotsky; perhaps of their different views about the party. Trotsky was expelled from the party and exiled in 1927. By 1928 Stalin was able to implement his policies of Socialism in one Country and was the recognised leader of the party and the USSR.
Do not demand that this mini-essay contains all of the above, but if only ‘own knowledge’ or documentary material is given, the maximum mark that can be awarded is [4 marks]. 

May 2001

These documents relate to the period between the two 1917 revolutions.

DOCUMENT A An extract from Lenin's April Theses, 4 April 1917.


In our attitude towards the war not the slightest concession must be made to 'Revolutionary Defensism' for even under the new government the war on Russia's part unquestionably remains an imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government. We must organise propaganda of this view among the whole army on active service.
The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that it represents a transition from the first stage of revolution which led to the assumption of power by the bourgeoisie to the second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorer peasantry.
No support must by given to the Provisional Government; the utter falsity of its promises must be exposed. It must be explained to the masses that the Soviet of Workers' Deputies is the only possible form of revolutionary government, and therefore our task is, as long as this government is influenced by the bourgeoisie, to explain the error of its ways.


DOCUMENT B: A resolution passed by the All Russian Conference of Soviets, 5 April 1917.

In agreement with the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the Provisional Government has published a programme of governmental works. The All Russian Conference of Soviets recognises that this programme includes the basic demands of Russian democracy. The Conference also recognises the necessity of gradually gaining political control and influence over the Provisional Government and its local organs [organisations] so as to persuade it to conduct the most energetic struggle against counter-revolutionary forces, and to make preparations for universal peace.
The Conference appeals to democracy to support the Provisional Government without assuming responsibility for all the work of the government, as long as the government steadfastly confirms and expands the gains of the revolution and so long as its foreign policy is based on the renunciation [giving up] of ambitions of territorial expansion.

DOCUMENT C An extract from a lecture given by Richard Pipes, Professor of History, Harvard University, in Vienna in 1995.

Lenin wanted power, Lenin's rivals did not want it. In 1917 the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries were quite content to let the ëbourgeoisí Provisional Government govern while they kept up a steady barrage of denunciation and criticism. But Lenin wanted much more. In April 1917 he had just returned to Russia from Switzerland. His followers lined up with the Mensheviks in expressing satisfaction with the arrangement under which the Socialists through the Soviets controlled the ëbourgeoisieí and prevented it from straying from the democratic path without themselves assuming responsibility for administering the country. At the All Russian Conference of Soviets held in April, the Menshevik, Irakli Tsereteli said, "there is at present no party in Russia willing to assume responsibility for governing." To which Lenin from his seat shouted, "there is". This hunger for power more than compensated for the relatively small following of the Bolsheviks.

DOCUMENT D: A report by General Alexei Brusilov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian army, from the northern war front May 1917.

When I arrived at their camp, I demanded to speak to a delegation of the soldiers. It would have been dangerous to appear before the whole crowd. When these arrived I asked them which party they belonged to, and they replied that before they had been Social Revolutionaries but that now they supported the Bolsheviks. "What do you want?" I asked them. "Land and freedom," they all cried. "And what else?" The answer was simple, "Nothing else!" When I asked them what they wanted now, they said that they did not want to fight any more and pleaded to go home in order to share the land their fellow villagers had taken from the squires [land owners], and live in freedom. And when I asked them: "What will happen to Mother Russia if no one wants to defend it, and everyone like you only thinks of themselves?", they replied that it was not their job to think about what should become of the state, and they had firmly decided to go home.

DOCUMENT E: A photograph of volunteers for the Womenís Death Battalion queuing to have their hair cut to military length, June 1917.

For the Motherland
The Women's Death Battalion was formed in June 1917 to shame male deserters who were destroying the Russian army as a fighting force. About a million soldiers left their units between March and October 1917.

1. (a) What can be inferred from Document D about the following?
  1. (i) Why the soldiers wanted to go home. [2 marks]
  2. (ii) Why the soldiers now supported the Bolsheviks. [1 mark]
   (b) What propaganda/political message is intended by Document E? [1 mark]

2. In what ways do Documents A, B and C support the assertion made in Document C that "Lenin wanted power, Lenin's rivals did not want it"? [5 marks]

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents A and B for historians studying the period between the two 1917 Russian Revolutions. [5 marks]

4. Using the documents and your own knowledge analyse the contributions of both continued participation in the First World War and widespread unrest and disorder within Russia, in causing the downfall of the Provisional Government. [6 marks]

1. (a)  What can be inferred from Document D about the following?
(i) Why the soldiers wanted to go home. [2 marks]
Document D states that the soldiers wanted land and freedom. They wanted to go home to obtain their share of land which the peasants at home were taking from the landlords. They were afraid that they would fail to get any if they were away from their villages. Award [1 mark] for a sentence on land. Freedom could be inferred to mean freedom from the landlord's authority or being out of the army. Award [1 mark] for either, but note that Document D does not mention the horrors of war.
(ii) Why the soldiers now supported the Bolsheviks. [1 mark]
The inference here is that the Bolsheviks supported both ending the war and land redistribution. Award [1 mark] for either of these or the implicit inference that the Social Revolutionaries did not support them.
What propaganda/political message is intended by Document E? [1 mark] The message is continue fighting the war. Award [1 mark] for this or something similar

(e.g. to encourage women to replace male deserters).
N.B. Do not enter half marks or + and - but compensate between (a) and (b) if necessary for a final
mark out of [4 marks].
2. In what ways do Documents A, B and C support the assertion made in
Document C that 'Lenin wanted power, Lenin's rivals did not want it'? [5 marks]
For ìLenin wanted powerî candidates could use the opposition of Lenin to the Provisional Government, their policies and lack of revolutionary spirit stated in Document A. As well as his incitement to soldiers, workers and peasants to opposition, and by implication, to support him. Leninís ambition is spelt out clearly in Document C with his conduct at the All Russian Conference of Soviets, when he shouts that one party was willing to 'assume responsibility for governing,' implying that the Bolsheviks wanted power, and he their leader wanted it.
For ìLeninís rivals did not want itî, candidates could quote ìrevolutionary defensismî from Document A and the ambiguity and caution of Document B to support the Provisional Government without assuming responsibility etc.; candidates could, however, also contradict this in B with ìgradually gaining political control'. Document C contains a definite statement from a leading Menshevik that no party wanted to shoulder full responsibility.
Probably marks should be split 3/2 either way for each statement, or for those who tackle each document separately 2+2+1 in the most appropriate order. Specific references to the documents must be given for full marks but do not demand all the above material.
3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and
limitations of Documents A and B for historians studying the period
between the two 1917 Russian Revolutions. [5 marks]
Document A, part of Leninís April Theses was issued by him the leader of the Bolsheviks the day after his return from exile in Switzerland. Its purpose was to set out Bolshevik and Leninís aims and policies. Lenin wanted to undermine the Provisional Government and replace it with a more revolutionary government, therefore he aimed to appeal to soldiers, workers and peasants by telling them that they would gain more from a more radical revolution. Its value is that it is reliable as presenting Lenin's views or at least what he wanted to be understood by his audience. Its limitations are that Lenin had been out of Russia for some time and was out of touch with the situation in Russia and even with the local Bolsheviks, who had not yet been consulted, and there was not general Socialist agreement.
Document B is a resolution passed at the All Russian Conference of Soviets, thus it expressed the views of the delegates and its purpose was to record these views. It was an internal official document. Its value is as an expression of the conference at this time, when the Soviets were emerging as a powerful body. Its limitations could be that it is not known how many delegates were present, how they had been selected, if there was dissent etc. The tone of the resolution is ambiguous.
For maximum [5 marks] ensure that candidates use both documents and assess both value and limitations. If only one document is addressed award up to [3 marks].
4. Using the documents and your own knowledge analyse the contributions of both continued participation in the First World War and widespread unrest and disorder within Russia, in causing the downfall of the Provisional Government.
Documentary material for the war could be:
[6 marks]
Document A, the war was regarded as an imperialist war and Lenin was determined to oppose it and thus make it even more unpopular.
Document D, indicates the unpopularity of the war, the general's fear of meeting a large number of troops, their wish to go home etc.
Document E, reports the number of desertions and the desperate formation of a women's battalion.
Own knowledge could include defeats, low morale, shortages at the front, and at home. Documentary material for disorder is in Document D with the taking of land by peasants, the
loss of authority of the squires etc.
Own knowledge could include strikes, lockouts, general anarchy, workers' organisations,
formation of the Red Guards, the Kornilov affair, inflation etc.
Demand balanced and evidenced answers. If only documentary material or own knowledge is used, [4 marks] is the maximum. If only the war or only disorder is addressed, then mark out of [4 marks]. Do not expect all the documents to be used, use of a range of them is sufficient on this demanding question.

November 2001

These documents refer to the period 1918 to 1923, with Lenin in power.

DOCUMENT A: Lenin justifies the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, 5 to 6 January 1918, in one of his many writings of 1918.

Those who point out that we are now ‘dissolving’ the Constituent Assembly, although at one time we defended it, are not displaying a grain of sense, but are merely uttering pompous and meaningless phrases. At one time we considered the Constituent Assembly to be better than Tsarism and the Republic of Kerensky, but as the Soviets emerged, being revolutionary organisations of the whole people, they naturally became far superior to any parliament in the world, a fact that I emphasised as far back as last April. By completely smashing bourgeois and landed property and by facilitating [making possible] the final upheaval which is sweeping away all traces of the bourgeois system, the Soviets impelled [led] us on the path that has led the people to organise their own lives.
The people wanted the Constituent Assembly summoned and we summoned it. But they sensed immediately what this famous Constituent Assembly really was. And now we have carried out the will of the people which is, “All power to the Soviets”, and crushed the Constituent Assembly.

DOCUMENT B: Lenin’ s speech at the 7th Bolshevik party congress 6 March 1918, urging acceptance of the peace treaty with Germany signed on 3 March 1918.

It will be a good thing if the German proletariat rises up in revolution. But have you discovered such an instrument, one that will determine that the German revolution will break out on such and such a day? No, that you do not know and neither do we. You are staking everything on this card. If the [German] revolution breaks out, everything is saved. Of course. But if it does not the masses will say to you, you acted like gamblers.
A period has set in of severe defeats, inflicted by imperialism, armed to the teeth, upon a country which has demobilised its army, which had to demobilise. What I foretold has come to pass; instead of the [first] Brest-Litovsk peace, we have received a much more humiliating peace, and the blame for this rests upon those who refused to accept the former peace.

DOCUMENT C: Trotsky’s order to Red Army Troops, issued on 24 November 1918.

Krasnov and the foreign capitalists who support him have thrown onto the Voronezh front hundreds of agents who have penetrated Red Army units and are inciting [encouraging] men to desert. I declare that from now on an end must be put to this by using merciless means.
  • 1. Every scoundrel who incites anyone to retreat, or to desert, or not to carry out a military order will be shot.
  • 2. Every soldier of the Red Army who voluntarily deserts his military post will be shot.
  • Death to self-seekers and to traitors!
  • Death to deserters and to the agents of Krasnov!
  • Long live the honest soldiers of the workers’ Red Army! 

DOCUMENT D: An extract from Lenin, Life and Legacy by Dmitri Volkogonov, a former Colonel-General in the Soviet Army, first published in 1994, in Russia.

There were some 80,000 churches in Russia, most of them Orthodox. Several times Unshlikht reminded Lenin of the fabulous treasures to be found in them. Finally the opportunity to deal with the Church presented itself, the famine of 1921 to 1922 [...] there were about twenty five million people starving in Russia. During this time the Party leadership was sending vast sums of money, and a large quantity of gold and treasure to foreign Communist Parties to help ignite [incite or start] world revolutions [...]. In the course of 1922 gold and treasure, much of it of Church origin, to the value of more than nineteen million gold Roubles was sent to China, India, Persia, Hungary, Italy, France, England, Germany, Finland and elsewhere in a bid to give a new impulse to the revolutionary process.
The famine meanwhile was appalling. People were eating dead bodies, although the Politburo banned any mention of cannibalism in the press. On 23 February 1922 the public learned from their newspapers that a government decree had been issued on the forcible confiscation of all valuables from Russian churches. It was not stated that this decree had first been personally approved by Lenin.
Patriarch Tikhon resisted, so Lenin personally set about formulating the Party’s policy to crush the Church [...]. On 11 March 1922 he requested regular information on the number of clergy being arrested and executed.

DOCUMENT E: Economic Realities. Statistics put together from Soviet Sources.

1. (a) According to Document E what can be inferred about the economic situation in the new Soviet state between 1918 and 1923? [2 marks]

(b) According to Document C what message is Trotsky intending to convey? [2 marks]

2. Analyse and account for Lenin’ s defensive self-justifying attitude in Documents A and B. [5 marks]

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents C and D for historians studying Lenin’s rule of USSR. [5 marks]

4. ‘For Lenin the Revolution was everything, the people of Russia nothing.’ Using these documents and your own knowledge, explain to what extent you agree with this assertion. [6 marks]

May 2002

Prescribed Subject 1 The Russian Revolutions and the New Soviet State 1917-1929
These documents relate to the 1917 February/March Revolution (dates used are according to the old style calendar).

DOCUMENT A Extracts from a letter to a colleague and a cable to the Tsar, both from the President of the Duma, Rodzianko, who witnessed the events of 26 and 27 February 1917 in Petrograd.

26 February
Unexpectedly there erupted a soldier mutiny such as I have never seen. These, of course, were not soldiers but peasants, taken directly from the plough, who now found it useful to make their peasant demands. In the crowd all one could hear was, "Land and freedom" "Down with the Romanovs", "Down with the officers". In many units officers were beaten. This was joined by the workers, and anarchy reached its peak.

27 February
Situation serious. In the capital anarchy. Government paralysed. Transport of food and fuel completely disorganised. Public disaffection [discontent] growing. On the street chaotic shooting. Army units fire at each other. It is essential at once to entrust a person enjoying country's confidence with the formation of a new government. There should be no delay. All delay is death.

DOCUMENT B: An extract from the manifesto of the central committee of the Social Democrats, 27 February 1917.
Citizens! The strongholds of Russian tsardom have fallen. The Russian people through huge efforts and at the cost of blood and many lives, have thrown off the slavery of centuries.
The task of the working class and the revolutionary army is to create a Provisional Revolutionary Government which will stand at the head of the new-born republican order. The Provisional Revolutionary Government must draw up temporary laws to defend the rights and liberties of the people, to confiscate church, landowners', government and crown lands, and transfer them to the people, to introduce the eight hour working day, and to summon a Constituent Assembly on the basis of a suffrage [right to vote] that is universal.

DOCUMENT C: An extract from The Russian Revolution 1899-1919, by Richard Pipes, London 1990, dealing with the Tsar's response to reports from Petrograd.

Nicholas chose to ignore the warnings and said to his aide, ìThat fat fellow Rodzianko has again written me all kinds of nonsense, which I shall not even bother to answer.î
But as the day went on Nicholasís equanimity [calmness] was severely tested, for Rodziankoís alarmist assessments received confirmation from sources in which he had more confidence. A cable came from Khabalov [an adviser] to the effect that he could not prevent unauthorised assemblies because the troops were in mutiny and refused to fire on the crowds. Galitsyn [prime minister] informed the Tsar at 2 pm in the name of the cabinet that the raging mobs were out of control and that the cabinet wished to resign in favour of a Duma ministry. He further recommended the imposition of martial law and the appointment of a popular general to take charge of security. Petrograd had become unmanageable.
Nicholas still thought he was facing a rebellion not a revolution: he refused to turn over control of administration to a Duma cabinet, and ordered his cabinet to remain at its post.

DOCUMENT D: Nicholas's letter of abdication, 2 March 1917. 
By the grace of God, We Nicholas II, Emperor of all the Russias, to all Our faithful subjects;
In these days of terrible struggle against the external enemy who has been trying for three years to impose his will upon Our Fatherland, God has willed that Russia should be faced with a new and formidable trial. Troubles at home threaten to have a fatal effect on this hard fought war. The destinies of Russia, the honour of Our heroic army, and the welfare of Our dear country demand that the war should be carried to a victorious conclusion at any price.
Our cruel enemy is making his supreme effort, and the moment is at hand in which Our valiant army, together with Our glorious allies will overthrow him.
In these days which are decisive for the existence of Russia, We think We should follow Our conscience by facilitating [helping to bring about] the closest co-operation of Our people and the organisation of all its resources for the speedy realisation of victory. For these reasons, in accord with the Duma, We think it Our duty to abdicate the crown and lay down the supreme power.

DOCUMENT E: Petrograd crowds burning emblems of the Imperial regime, 26 February 1917.

1. (a) According to Document D why did Nicholas II abdicate? [2 marks]
    (b) What message is portrayed by Document E? [2 marks] 

2. In what ways do Documents C and E support the views expressed in Document A? [5 marks]

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents B and D for historians studying the 1917 February/March Russian Revolution.
[5 marks]

 4. Using these documents and your own knowledge, explain why the 1917 February/March Russian Revolution was successful. [6 marks]


1. (a)  According to Document D why did Nicholas II abdicate? [2 marks]
Award [1 mark] for each of the following to a maximum of [2 marks]; the dangerous situation "at home"; to obtain co-operation from the people to win the war; to follow the dictates of his conscience and/or fulfil his duty; to obey the wishes of the Duma.

(b) What message is portrayed by Document E? [2 mark]
The message is anger against the Russian Imperial family the Romanovs, and a wish to destroy/overthrow it. Award [1 mark] for a simple statement to this effect, and the second for some elaboration.
N.B. Do not enter half marks or + and − but compensate where necessary between (a) and (b) for a final mark out of [4 marks].

2. In what ways do Documents C and E support the views expressed in
Document A? [5 marks]
The views expressed in A are of a dangerous situation on 26 February with mob violence, and a mutiny of soldiers largely caused by recently conscripted peasants, who wanted ìland and freedomî and who opposed the Tsar, and their officers. On 27 February the situation deteriorated with the breakdown of law and order, shortage of fuel and food and the failure of the government to alleviate it.
C supports A in reporting the troop mutiny, raging mobs which the government failed to control and therefore it wished to resign.
E supports A in picturing mob violence and a threat to overthrow the Tsar, on 26 February 1917. A probable breakdown of marks would be [2 marks] for A, [2 marks] for C and [1 mark] for E.

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations
of Documents B and D for historians studying the 1917 February/March Russian Revolution. [5 marks]
B is an official contemporary document issued by the Central Committee of the Social Democratic party. Its purpose is to set out party policy. It is valuable as showing the partyís aims and policies and revealing support for the people, the setting up of a provisional government and opposition to the Tsar. Its limitations are that it is a manifesto seeking support so its policies and support for the achievements of the people,  "huge efforts" "cost of blood and lives" may be exaggerated in order to win support.
D is also a contemporary document written by the Tsar to explain why he was abdicating. Written at the height of the revolution its value is that it reveals his fears, his feelings for Russia and the Russian people and his concept of his duty. Its limitations are that in many ways it is both an apology and a justification, seeking to put his actions in the best possible light.
Assign [2 to 3 marks] either way for each document. Candidates must refer to origin and purpose to obtain [5 marks].

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge, explain why the 1917 February/March Russian Revolution was successful. [6 marks]
There are many reasons contained in the documents that candidates could use to show why the revolution was successful, for example:
A the strength of the peasants' demands and opposition to the Tsar and the Romanov dynasty, the quick break down of law order and government control and hatred of officers.
B also reveals the strength of the revolutionary outbreak and the popular demands.
C shows the weakness and indecision of the Tsar, a main cause of revolutionary success.
D also portrays the weakness of the Tsar and his government. E pictures hatred of the Romanov dynasty.
Own knowledge could include war conditions at home and in the war zone, for which the Tsar, in command, was blamed; Alexandra and Rasputin; failure since 1905 to reform, for example failure and criticism of the duma, economic problems.
Do not expect all the above, but for full marks candidates must explain clearly why the first 1917 Revolution was successful by referring to long term and immediate causes of increasing disaffection as well as the actual events in February/March 1917. If only own knowledge or documentary material is used [4 marks] is the maximum that can be obtained.

Student example:

November 2002

Prescribed Subject 1 The Russian Revolutions and the New Soviet State 1917-1929

These documents refer to the USSR under Lenin, 1918 to 1920.

DOCUMENT A: An extract from a speech by Lenin at a conference of Bolshevik leaders, 4 April 1918.
Without the guidance of specialists in the different branches of science and technology no transition to socialism is possible. But the majority of specialists are bourgeois. These specialists can be used by the state [USSR] either in the old bourgeois way, by paying them large salaries, or in the new proletarian way, by instituting a regime which controls everyone, which would automatically control the specialists so that we can enlist them for our work.
Until we have achieved this control we must be prepared to pay specialists. This is clearly a compromise measure, but the Russians are bad workers as compared with advanced nations. It could not have been otherwise under the Tsarist regime with the system of slavery still alive. To learn how to work is a problem which the Soviet power must place before the people.

DOCUMENT B: A decree by Sverdlov, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee, 22 April 1918.

The Russian Soviet Republic, surrounded on all sides by enemies, has to create its own powerful army to defend the country, while making its social system on Communist lines.
The Workers' and Peasants' Government of the Republic considers it its immediate task to enlist all citizens in either work programmes or military service. This work is meeting with stubborn resistance on the part of the bourgeoisie, which refuses to part with its economic privileges and is trying, through conspiracies, uprisings and traitorous deals with foreign imperialists, to regain state power.
To arm the bourgeoisie would cause trouble within the army, and hinder it in its fight against the external enemies. The Workers' and Peasants' Government will therefore find ways of making the bourgeoisie share, in some form or other, the burden of defending the Republic.
Female citizens are trained, with their consent, on an equal footing with males. Persons who avoid compulsory training or neglect their duties shall be called to account.

DOCUMENT C: An extract from Lenin, a biography by Robert Service. London: Macmillan, 2000.

The old problems with his health-  headaches and insomnia [sleeplessness] - troubled him [Lenin] throughout spring and summer 1918. From April to August he published no lengthy piece on Marxist theory or Bolshevik party strategy. This was very unusual for Lenin. His illness was stopping him from writing. His inability to sleep at nights must have left him in an acutely agitated state. Everything was done in panic. Everything was done angrily.
On 11 August he sent a letter to the Bolsheviks of Penza:

Comrades! The insurrection [rebellion] of the five kulak districts should be pitilessly suppressed. The interests of the whole revolution require this because "the last decisive battle" with the kulaks is now under way everywhere. An example must be demonstrated.
  1.  Hang (and make sure that the hanging takes place in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers.
  2. Publish their names.
  3. Seize all their grain from them.
  4. Take hostages in such a way that for hundreds of kilometres around people will see and tremble with fear.
These words were so shocking in tone and content that they were kept secret during the Soviet period.

DOCUMENT D An extract from a speech by Lenin to a meeting of Peasants' delegates, 8 November 1918.
Division of the land was all very well as a beginning. Its purpose was to show that the land was being taken from the landowners and handed over to the peasants. But that is not enough. The solution lies in socialised farming.
You did not realise this at the time, but you are coming round to it by force of experience. The way to escape the disadvantages of small-scale farming lies in communes, cartels [collective groups] or peasant associations. That is the way to combat the kulaks, parasites [those who live off others], and exploiters.
We knew that the peasants were attached to the soil [earth], that they clung to old habits, but now the poor peasants are beginning to agree with us. A commune or collective farm can make improvements in agriculture that are beyond the capacity of individual small owners.

DOCUMENT E A poster by a Russian artist Alexei Radakov, 1920. It shows a blindfolded man stepping off a cliff. The caption reads, "He who is illiterate is like a blind man. Failure and misfortune lie in wait for him on all sides." 

1. (a) What can be inferred from Document A about the following?
                (i) Why Lenin thinks that specialists are needed. 
[1 mark]              
                (ii) How he intends to secure the service of specialists then and later. [2 marks]   
   (b) What message is intended by Document E? [1 mark]

2. Compare and contrast Lenin's attitude to kulaks in Documents C and D. [5 marks]
3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents A and B for historians studying the USSR under Lenin, 1918 to 1920. [5 marks]
4. Using the documents and your own knowledge, explain the origin and nature of problems facing Lenin between 1918 and 1920. [6 marks]