Opposition and how it was dealt with


The Army under the Communists


  • The Red Army were crucial in ensuring the defeat with the White Army who opposed Bolshevik rule
  • Both Lenin and Stalin realised the importance of the keeping the military on board if they were to remain in power


  • The five year plans were mostly designed to equip the armed forces with the resources needed to deal with external threats
  • Success at the Battle of Stalingrad and Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII
  • Clearly displays that with regards to using the army as a tool to deal opposition the communists more effectively maintained discipline and loyalty from the military which was used to deal with internal and external forces
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Censorship under the Communists

Censorship during the first world war and the Bolsheviks

  • Russian people, especially troops were subject to censorship
  • When the Bolsheviks seized power they abolished press freedom
  • By 1905 all reporting was done by the Bolsheviks
  • In 1921 the agitation and propaganda department (Agitprop) was founded with the main aim of creating an idealistic view of Russia
  • School and radios were under constant surveillance

Censorship under Stalin (Second World war and New Soviet Man)

  • By 1932, all literacy groups were closed down
  • Anyone wanting to write or publish had to join the Soviet Union
  • Everything had to be written in the language the most of Russia would understand and was to be approved by the party
  • Anyone who rebelled was executed, arrested or sent to exile (labour camps), some commit suicide
  • Writers were highly valued as the engineer of men’s souls, but only if promoting the concept of the New Soviet Man

Censorship under Khrushchev

  • Censorship was eased
  • By 1959, 135,000 libraries contained 8000 million books
  • The Lenin library alone had 19 million texts
  • News was still distorted
  • Newspaper sales flourished 
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Censorship under the Tsars

Censorship under Alexander II

  • He relaxed censorship
  • Newspapers were printed without being changed, government also produced publications
  • Increase of circulation of books, 1020 books in 1855, 1836 books in 1864
  • Policy of Glasnost
  • Ineffective, he was assassinated

Censorship under Alexander III

  • Clamp down on publications
  • Officials censored written material before publication and closed down certain newspapers and educational institutes

Censorship under Nicholas II

  • A reversion happened.
  • The penny paper aimed at the proles reached 25,000 after 2 years
  • The number of periodicals in circulation increased 3 fold from 1900-1914
  • Pre-publication censorship disappeared although publishers could still be fired or closed down for writing subversive material
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The Army under the Tsars

Alexander III

  • In 1905 the army shot dead over 200 protestors who marched onto winter palace
  • Led to being called Bloody Sunday, led to more discontent and opposition groups wanted to overthrow the Tsar.
  • They did not abandon him

Nicholas II

  • Abandoned him in 1917 leading to his abdication and thus failure to deal with opposition
  • Can be argued that the army was used more effectively under communist rule
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The Secret Police under the Tsars

Alexander III

  • Fully utilised the Okhrana who were certainly the harshest police force under the Tsars
  • Used as a tool for spying, imprisoning and exiling opposition
  • Successful due to the lack of open political opposition, especially from groups such as the Peoples Will whose leaders were executed
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The Secret Police under the Communists


  • Cheka were even more ruthless
  • Vital in Lenin’s Red Terror which effectively dealt with opposition to the Bolsheviks rule
  • Different to AIII police as they were used to victimise people not just for their actions but for who they were
  • This shows Lenin was more effective at dealing with opposition as they instilled a fear into people which stopped opposition from growing


  • Even harsher
  • NKVD became crucial to the purges and shows trials until the 1940s
  • Included collecting evidence against communists who had been held in high esteem including Trotsky
  • NKVD helped administer prisoner camps (Gulags) where over 40 million were sent
  • Stalin more successful at dealing with opposition than any ruler including Lenin and AIII 
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