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18 Cards in this Set

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A term used by Karl Marx to denote the industrial workers, a new class that had emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution.


The owners of factories, industries and shops, that is, those who own the means of production.

Dictatorship of the proletariat

A government that rules on behalf of the working class. It would take over the reins of power and use that power to smash the bourgeoisie and prevent counter-revolution.

Constituent Assembly

A parliament elected by the people of Russia. It was seen by many politicians as the first step in forming a democratically elected government. Kerensky, the leader of the Provisional Government, had delayed calling the Assembly and was heavily criticised for this. After the October Revolution, Lenin agreed to hold elections for the Assembly in November 1917.

The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs)

A groups committed to democratic socialism who believed in the right of groups to govern themselves, for example, peasant organisations.

The Mensheviks

A communist group, more moderate than the Bolsheviks. They had split from the Bolsheviks in 1903 over differences of policy. The Mensheviks were prepared to work with the bourgeoisie in order to bring about gradual reform.


Those opposed to the Bolsheviks during the civil war of 1918-20. The Whites were largely conservative groups within Russia who did not want the old social order changed. The leaders of the Whites were generals and military leader from the Tsar's armed forces.


The Bolsheviks and their supporters. The Bolshevik forces were known as the Red Army. Bolshevik support was made up of the industrial workers and many peasants who saw the Bolsheviks as the best guarantors of their gains from the Revolution.

Kronstadt Mutiny (1921)

The mutiny of sailors stationed at the Kronstadt naval base against the imposition of orders on the local soviet from the Bolshevik government. The slogan of the mutineers was "Soviets without Bolsheviks". The mutiny was brutally crushed by the Red Army, but the affair was a severe shock to the regime because the sailors had previously been strong supporters of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Tambov Rising (1920-21)

A peasant uprising in the Tambov region of central Russia that was sparked off by the arrival of Bolshevik units to requisition grain for the use in the cities and the army. The uprising was largely spontaneous at first, but the peasants were able to build on their strength by forming a Green Army and establishing control over a large area. It took over 50,000 Bolshevik troops to put down the revolt.

Trade union

An organisation that represented workers' interests according to trade, for example railway workers or steel workers.

Factory committee

A small group that represented workers within a particular factory and often contained workers of different trades but who were based in the same workplace.


The key decision-making body made up of an inner group of Party leaders. Its decisions were then passed on to the Sovnarkom for implementation. Elected by...

Central Committee

In theory this was the key decision-making body in the Party but its size, usually 30-40 members, became unwieldy and this function was exercised by the Politburo on its behalf. Elected by...

Party Congress

A body made up of representative of local Party branches. It discussed the general programme of the Party. The ban on factions, in 1921, limited discussion. Some local Party representatives could be quite powerful within their area, for example, as Party secretary in Leningrad. Appointments were controlled by the General Secretary using the nomenklatura system. Elected by The Communist Party


The Council of People's Commissars. Its officials were members of the Communist Party. Elected by...

Central Executive Committee

Co-ordinated all government administration and oversaw the law-making process on behalf on the Congress of Soviets. In practice it largely rubber-stamped decisions made by the Sovnarkom. Elected by..

All-Russian Congress of Soviets

This supreme law-making body of the state. All laws had to be passed by this body. In practice it became a body that rubber-stamped laws drawn up by the Party. By the later 1920s, allrepresentatives at the congress had to be communist party members . They were elected by local soviets and could raise issues they felt needed to be addressed. Elected by The Soviet Government