russia entered the XXth as a politically and economically backward country => no
constitution nor a working national parliament.
Nicholas II ruled as his father and grandfather :
• Autocrat uncontrolled by the power of law or political opposition.
• Lived separately from the masses.
• Served by the privileged nobility
• No national unity : over a hundred different ethnic groups and languages.
• Agricultural economy despite the efforts to modernize it
• There was a will to embrace the western society, hope to one day force a
rupture with the nobility who dominated political life. "westernizers"
• Within the westernizers there were those who wanted a liberal democracy and
those who wanted to preserve the social form of industrial modernity.
• Although the Bolsheviks wanted to build a new kind of society they still had to
build this society in a world of unwelcoming countries
• Other dilemma: how could all this be done without capitalist markets and be
made into something called socialism and communism? Lenin died too
early to deal with these questions and his successors were forced to deal
with little else.
• Lenin's successor Stalin undertook what some comparativists have called a
second revolution and created distinctive communist economic and
political institutions in the successor to the Russian empire, the soviet
Union. The communist party became the sole ruler of the country,
• agriculture was collectivized
• economy transformed into a command economy, planned and administrated
• the result of the Revolution was to create a totalitarian dictatorship that
succeeded in rapidly industrializing the country and creating a huge
• Gorbatchev lead the most important communist reforms : he too failed but he
implemented important political changes=> the economic programs were
futile which permitted the society mobili