To what extent did Stalin’s rule mar the key turning point in Russia’s political development 1856-1953?
In an historical context, a ‘turning point’ can be categorized as an event o impact caused by an individual that, had it not occurred, would have altered the final outcome of a period of history. In the period of Russian history 1856-1953 there is no doubt there was a huge amount on political change, at the bringing of the period Russia was a state ruled by an autocratic Tsar and by the end it had seen provisional governments, local and national assemblies and a whole variety of rulers, some more autocratic and reactionary than others. Stalin’s period of rule in Russia could be seen as the most brutal rule Russia saw in this period,
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Murphy and Morris write that ‘Nicholas was unable to comprise his autocracy’1 and this lead his inevitable downfall as his country was progressing whilst he was not willing to politically. ‘The Provisional Government of a Republic was largely due to the indecision and fatalism of the Tsar himslef’2 Following this period the Provisional Government lost a lot of it s support to other factions of political within Russia, a power vacuum remained. ‘only one party had their sights fixed firmly on power and that was the Bolsheviks’3 sums up the situation they found themselves in. however it is questioned as to whether this was down to successes of the party or Lenin as its leader. Robert Service argues that ‘there would probably have been a socialist regime in Russia by the end of 1917 even without Lenin’s intervention, though it is not certain whether it would be Bolshevik’4 . On of the key things that Lenin did was to abolish the Constituent Assembly in 1917, the combination of this and the Laws Against Factionalism kept the Bolshevik Party strong and united, ‘Lenin’s importance within the USSR was as great in death as in life, and until the break up of the USSR he was beyond criticism’9 this is contested by A.J.P Taylor who claims that ‘Lenin was the first to discover that capitalism 'inevitably' caused war
‘. The real question here is how far was the turning point in this time period Lenin’s doing and how far the actions of Stalin after