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Archive for February, 2011

The Leningrad Blockade

The 900-Day Siege of Leningrad
Preparations for defending the city from the Germans were slow in coming. Indeed, city party boss Andrei
Zhdanov remained on holiday in Sochi for a further five days after the German invasion and, in typical
Soviet style, little happened without him.
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World War 2

While the terror lessened after 1939 as it became abundantly clear that the country’s economy was suffering from the sheer numbers of people taken from the workplace to camps, it was Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 that put an end to it.
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Stalin’s ‘great terror’

When popular and charismatic local party boss Sergei Kirov was shot by an assailant as he left the Smolny on 1 December 1934, Stalin’s ‘great terror’ began, a movement designed to eliminate his enemies (real and perceived) which culminated in a series of show trials in Moscow that shocked the world.
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The Bolsheviks’ power after the revolution 1917

There was wide dissent after the revolution and a number of political parties sprang up almost immediately to challenge the Bolsheviks’ power.
The power struggle began peacefully in the November elections for the Constituent Assembly; the Socialist Revolutionaries won a sweeping victory, only to have the assembly shut down by a very angry Lenin. A multisided civil war erupted. Trotsky founded the Red Army in February 1918 and the Cheka, Russia’s secret police force designed to fight opposition, was established. Read the rest of this entry »

The events in Petrograd in 1917

The events in Petrograd in 1917 changed world history forever. The year saw two revolutions – that of February and that of October, and in the space of one year the world’s biggest country went from being a tsarist police state to a communist one.
With the deprivations caused by the war, along with a breakdown in the chain of command, morale was very low in early 1917. People were also incensed at the strong influence Rasputin had on the throne, via the Empress Alexandra. Nicholas II was blamed for failures of the Russian armies.
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Rasputin and the Royal Family

No name is quite as synonymous with debauchery and mysticism as that of St Petersburg’s ‘mad monk’ Grigory Rasputin (1869-1916), the Siberian peasant who became one of the most powerful men in the Russian Empire due to his enormous influence over Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra during the
last days of the Russian empire.
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