Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas

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Unformatted text preview: I - The Making of the Modern Russian State Geographic Setting- December 1991 – USSR split 15 new independent states emerged o Focus: Russian Federation, the most important of the 15- Russia o 143.5 million ppl o Largest European country in population + size o Wealth: Oil, natural gas , mineral resources, extensive forestland- Pre-1917 o Large, unprotected, exposed to outside intrusion o Harsh climate o This encouraged expansionist mentality + centralized and autocratic state- Post WWI o Russian Republic Ethnic diversity + geographic scope Hard to govern • Evidence = Chechen crisis o Eurasian Located between Europe, the Islamic world, and Asia Critical Junctures The Decline of the Russian Tsarist State- Pre-1917 Revolution o Tsar (The Russian monarch & Emperor) headed Autocratic system- Patrimonial state : A state that ruled the country and the land o Feudal Peasants tied to the nobles, state, or church- 1861 - Serfs emancipated by Tsar : Effort to modernize Russia o Boost military competitiveness in West Remain a world power o Freed bondage but did not destroy the mir (traditional communal peasant organization in the countryside)- No Russian bourgeoisie/entrepreneurial class (unlike Western Europe)- Key impetus for industrialization instead: State & Injections of foreign capital o Trade unions illegal till 1906 thereafter, activities carefully controlled- Defeats in Russo-Japanese war Worker Discontent Revolution of 1905 o Widespread strikes in cities + rural uprisings Tsarist regime maintained control through repression + economic reforms Finally collapsed, 1917 The Bolshevik Revolution and the Establishment of Soviet Power (1917-1929)- 1917, during WWI: Two Revolutions o March Revolution Threw out Tsar Nicholas II Installed moderate provisional government o Bolshevik Revolution in November Vladimir Lenin Overthrew government Applied different blueprint for economic, social, and political development (than the rest of Western Europe)- The Bolsheviks: Marxists who believed their revolution reflected political interests of the proletariat (working class) o Leaders were intelligentsia , more educated and privileged o “Land, Peace, and Bread” slogan Appealed to working class + discontented peasantry – 80% of population- Political Party organization o Founded on Democratic centralism : mandated a hierarchical party structure in which leaders were elected from below, with freedom of discussion until a decision was taken, but strict discipline was required to implement this....
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Russiabooknotes - I The Making of the Modern Russian State...

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