The Revolution Of The Reign Of Nicholas I Essay

The Revolution Of The Reign Of Nicholas I Essay

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Astolphe de Custine, a French Marquis who visited Russia during the reign of Nicholas I observed, “Under an absolute despotism, it is the government which is revolutionary; for the word revolution signifies arbitrary system and violent power” (Custine 574). This remark was true not only for Tsarism, but also became true under the Revolutionary leadership of Lenin and then Stalin. When Tsarism ended in Russia, the people as well as the new leadership thought a new and better state would emerge. Communism was supposed to launch Russia into the future in a radical way. What actually emerged was a state very similar to the autocracy under Tsarism. Tsarism, Leninism, and Stalinism were all different theories and instances of rule but there are major similarities between them. However, there are also key differences. Although not by original intention, Stalin, and Lenin before him, was extremely similar to Tsar Nicholas I, the “Iron Tsar” with Tsarism and Communism not seeming too different to the people of Russia.
Nicholas I was the “Iron Tsar” and ruled from 1825-1855. He came to power by crushing the Decembrist Rebellion. He was a military man never meant to be Tsar because he was the youngest of his brothers. He was very intelligent but also narrow-minded, orderly, and precise. Nicholas I was not originally a total reaction. Even though he came to power after crushing a rebellion, he did not become thoroughly reactionary until after the Polish rebellion in 1830-1831. Before the Polish rebellion, he even wanted to abolish serfdom, but afterwards all liberalism stopped and oppression increased. Nicholas II’s beliefs about ruling Russia created an awkward situation for Russia in relation to the rest of Europe. Following the d...


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... against the will of the proletariat? No it cannot and must not” (Service 171). Obviously, Stalin’s opinion changed between when he wrote that and when he came into power over that very party dictatorship. The power structure that Lenin had left behind almost required the selection of a new dictator. When Stalin claimed that role, the Politburo was already accustomed to blindly follow the leader and not question his policies. More importantly, the rest of the country was used to absolute law from the Politburo, whether it was coming from Lenin or Stalin did not really matter. Overall, despite some key differences, Stalinism and Leninism were not that much different and I think Lenin would have been proud of Stalin’s U.S.S.R. Both men were ruthless dictators who did not tolerate opposition and believed they knew best what the proper fate was for Communist Russia.

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