How Far Had the Bolsheviks Created a 'Totalitarian State' by 1924?

1072 Words May 4th, 2013 5 Pages
A totalitarian state, is a where the central government of a state does not tolerate any parties with opposing views and exercises complete dictatorial rule over all or most aspects of life. Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, took many measures in an attempt to create a totalitarian state, including the dissolution of Constituent Assembly, the use of decrees and the establishment of a secret police group called the Cheka. However there were also some ways in which he failed to achieve full totalitarianism.

The most basic characteristics of a Totalitarian state, are lack of free speech and state control over the media. This is important to establish social control over the state. Lenin's described free speech as 'bourgeois prejudice',
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This ensured that Lenin and the Bolsheviks had strict control over all communists. Alongside the ban on other political parties, these measures are extremely totalitarian in nature, and centralised government control and authority to a high degree, ensuring Lenin and the Bolsheviks had complete political control over the country.

There were however many limits to the Bolshevik control over the country. The totalitarian control that the Government enjoyed with its 'War communism', was lost by Lenin. The introduction of the NEP, showed Lenin was prepared for loosening economic control in favour of growth to save the economy. The abandoning of 'War communism and the introduction of the NEP, shows the Bolsheviks losing control over the economy, and capitalist control emerging. Corruption was thus aloud to prosper, as many took advantage of the loser controls. The failures of the NEP and the corruption it introduced offers evidence of the Bolsheviks failing to create a complete totalitarian state.

An important factor when considering Bolshevik totalitarian control are the events of the Kronstadt Rebellion. The naval base at Kronstadt were among Lenin's most loyal supporters, and home of the revolutionary Baltic fleet. However they had become disillusioned with Lenin's rule, and made certain demands, notably the end of the special position of the communists and the restoration of free speech. Consequently the base rebelled. The loss of authority over an

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