AQA Russian History

1H Tsarist and Communist Russia, 1855–1964

This option allows students to study in breadth issues of change, continuity, cause and consequence in this period through the following key questions:

  • How was Russia governed and how did political authority change and develop?
  • Why did opposition develop and how effective was it?
  • How and with what results did the economy develop and change?
  • What was the extent of social and cultural change?
  • How important were ideas and ideology?
  • How important was the role of individuals and groups and how were they affected by developments?

Part one: Autocracy, Reform and Revolution: Russia, 1855–1917

Trying to preserve autocracy, 1855–1894

The collapse of autocracy, 1894–1917

Part two: the Soviet Union, 1917–1964 (A-level only)

The emergence of Communist dictatorship, 1917–1941 (A-level only)

  • Political authority and government: new leaders and ideologies; Lenin’s Russia, ideology and change; Stalin’s rise, ideology and change
  • Political authority and government: the consolidation of Bolshevik authority and development of the Stalinist dictatorship
  • Economic developments: Lenin’s decrees; the Stalinist economy; collectivisation and the Five Year Plans
  • Social developments: effect of Leninist/Stalinist rule on class, women, young people, religion and national minorities; propaganda and cultural change
  • Opposition: faction; the Red Terror and the purges
  • The political, economic and social condition of the Soviet Union by 1941

The Stalinist dictatorship and reaction, 1941–1964 (A-level only)

  • Political authority, opposition and the state of Russia in wartime: the political, economic and social impact of war; effect on Stalin, government and ‘the people’
  • Political authority and government to 1953: High Stalinism; the revival of terror; destruction of ‘supposed’ opposition and cult of personality; the power vacuum on Stalin’s death
  • Political authority and government: Khrushchev’s rise to power; policies and ideology; de-Stalinisation; political and party change
  • Economic and social developments: changes in industrial organisation from Stalin to Khrushchev; agriculture and the Virgin Lands scheme; social and cultural change from Stalin to Khrushchev
  • Opposition: cultural dissidents; communist divisions; hardliners and reformers; opponents of Khrushchev and his fall from power
  • The political, economic and social condition of the Soviet Union by 1964
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