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Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution Class 9 Questions and Answers History Chapter 2
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Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution NCERT Intext Questions and Answers
List two differences between the capitalist and socialist ideas of private property.
(i) The capitalists believe that individuals have right to own private property whereas the socialists believe that all property should belong to the society as a whole, i.e. to the state.
(ii) The capitalists believe that the profits from the property should go to the owner of the property but the socialists believe that since profits are produced by workers, so their (profits) should be shared by them (workers).
Why were there revolutionary disturbances in Russia in 1905? What were the demands of revolution aries?
There were several reasons for revolutionary disturbances in Russia in 1905—
(i) Russia had to face defeat in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904. As a result, prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 percent.
(ii) At the Putilov Iron Works, four members of the Assembly of Russian workers, which had been formed in 1904 were dismissed. This called for industrial action soon, there was strike.
(iii) One day a procession of workers was attacked by the police and the Cossacks in which over 100 workers were killed and about 300 wounded. The incident was known as Bloody Sunday.
(iv) This started a series of events that came to be known as the 1905 Revolution. Strikes took place all over the country which resulted in the creation of an elected Parliament or Duma.
The revolutionaries demanded three things.
- Reduction in the working day to eight hours.
- An increase in wages.
- Improvement in working conditions.
The year is 1916. You are a general in the Tsar’s army on the eastern front. You are writing a report for the government in Moscow. In your report suggest what you think the government should do to improve the situation.
The government should do something to boost up the soldiers’ morale.
Look again at source A and Box 1 (on NCERT textbook page 36)
Women in the February Revolution
“Women workers, often … inspired their male co-workers … At the Lorenz telephone factory, … Marfa Vasileva almost single handedly called a successful strike. Already that morning, in celebration of Women’s Day, women workers had presented red bows to the men … Then Marfa Vasileva, a milling machine operator stopped work and declared an impromptu strike. The workers on the floor were ready to support her … The foreman informed the management and sent her a loaf of bread.
She took the bread but refused to go back to work. The administrator asked her again why she refused to work and she replied, “I cannot be the only one who is satiated when others are hungry”. Women workers from another section of the factory gathered around Marfa in support and gradually all the other women ceased working. Soon the men downed their tools as well and the entire crowd rushed onto the street.’
From: Choi Chatterji, Celebrating Women (2002).
(i) List five changes in the mood of the workers.
(ii) Place yourself in the position of a woman who has seen both situations and write an account of what has changed.
Five changes in the mood of the workers:
(i) Earlier only meetings were being held in an organised way. Now the workers stopped work to press for their rights, as Marfa Vasileva did.
(ii) Earlier there were no women workers. But now the situation changed when a woman worker started the strike by stopping work.
(iii) Now the women presented red bows to the men, showing the unity. The men downed tools in support of the women who had gone on strike.
(iv) Now the workers showed that they would not just talk but take action. They become fearless. They were not afraid of some counter action from the management side.
(v) Unlike earlier days, they were more determined and positive.
I Since I have seen both situations, I can say that workers now were greatly changed. They could now handle the situation more smartly. They had become fearless and were willing to sacrifice their job. They welcomed women on the public platform which earlier only meant for men. Both men and women spoke in one voice and were ready to do anything for their collective benefit.
Why did people in Central Asia respond to the Russian Revolution in different ways?
People in Central Asia responded enthusiastically to the February 1917 Revolutions because it freed them from the Tsar’s slavery. They could now decide their own fate. But their enthusiasm ceased when there occurred the October Revolution because it brought violence, pillage, extra taxes and another dictatorial power to rule over them. They feared that they might lose their autonomy.
Compare the passages written by Shaukat Usmani and Rabindranath Tagore. Read them in relation to sources C, D and E.
Dreams and Realities of a Soviet Childhood in 1933 Dear grandfather Kalinin …
My family is large, there are four children. We don’t have a father – he died, fighting for the worker’s cause, and my mother … is ailing … I want to study very much, but I cannot go to school. I had some old boots, but they are completely torn and no one can mend them.
My mother is sick, we have no money and no bread, but I want to study very much. …there stands before us the task of studying, studying and studying. That is what Vladimir Ilich Lenin said. But I have to stop going to school. We have no relatives and there is no one to help us, so I have to go to work in a factory, to prevent the family from starving. Dear grandfather, I am 13, I study well and have no bad reports. I am in Class 5 …
Letter of 1933 from a 13-year-old worker to Kalinin, Soviet President From: V. Sokolov (ed), Obshchestvo I Vlast, v 1930-ye gody (Moscow, 1997).
Official view of the opposition to collectivisation and the government response
‘From the second half of February of this year, in various regions of the Ukraine … mass insurrections of the peasantry have taken place, caused by distortions of the Party’s line by a section of the lower ranks of the Party and the Soviet apparatus in the course of the introduction of collectivization and preparatory work for the spring harvest.
Within a short time, large scale activities from the above-mentioned regions carried over into neighbouring areas – and the most aggressive insurrections have taken place near the border.
The greater part of the peasant insurrections have been linked with outright demands for the return of collectivized stocks of grain, livestock and tools … Between 1st February and 15th March, 25,000 have been arrested … 656 have been executed, 3673 have been imprisoned in labour camps and 5580 exiled …’
Report of K.M. Karlson, President of the State Police Administration of the Ukraine to the Central Committee of the Communist Party, on 19 March 1930.
From: V. Sokolov (ed), Obshchestvo I Vlast, v 1930-ye gody
This is a letter written by a peasant who did not want to join the collective farm.
To the newspaper Krestianskaia Gazeta (Peasant Newspaper)
‘…I am a natural working peasant bom in 1879 … there are 6 members in my family, my wife was bom in 1881, my son is 16, two daughters 19, all three go to school, my sister is 71. From 1932, heavy taxes have been levied on me that I have found impossible. From 1935, local authorities have increased the taxes on me … and I was unable to handle them and all my property was registered: my horse, cow, calf, sheep with lambs, all my implements, furniture and my reserve of wood for repair of buildings and they sold the lot for the taxes. In 1936, they sold two of my buildings … the kolkhoz bought them. In 1937, of two huts I had, one was sold and one was confiscated …’
Afanasii Dedorovich Frebenev, an independent cultivator.
From: V. Sokolov (ed), Obshchestvo I Vlast, v 1930-ye gody.
(a) What did Indians find impressive about the USSR?
(b) What did the writers fail to notice?
See the passages on NCERT Textbook Page 47 and sources C, D and E on pages 43 & 45.
(a) India was then ruled by the British. India was a country where there existed vast class and caste differences and a large section of people lacked education. So, they were impressed by the fact that all persons in Russia were treated equally. In spite of them being very prosperous, they were happily going about their work. Russia was such a country where Asians and Europeans could freely mingle but this could not happen in India at that time.
(b) But the two writers failed to notice that people were not free to do what they liked. The Bolsheviks ruled like dictators and followed repressive policies to develop the nation quickly. These writers were unaware of the miseries of the poor who led a very hard life.
History Class 9 Chapter 2 NCERT Textbook Questions and Answers
What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?
The social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905 was quite backward.
(i) Social conditions: There was no equality among the working class. Workers were a divided group. Some had strong links with the villages from which they came. Others had settled in cities permanently. Workers were divided by skill. Workers whose jobs needed skill and training considered themselves aristocrats among other workers. Women were discriminated against. They were paid less than men. Divisions among workers showed themselves in dress and manners too. But there was unity among them. They could go on a strike when they disagreed with employers about dismissals or work conditions.
(ii) Economic conditions: Before 1905, the vast majority of Russia’s people were agriculturists. About 85% of the Russian population earned their living from agriculture. In the empire, cultivators produced for the market as well as for their own needs and Russia was a major exporter of grain. There were few industries. Craftsmen undertook much of the production, but large factories existed alongside craft workshops. Many factories were set up in the 1890s, when Russia’s railway network was extended, and foreign investment in industry increased. Coal production doubled and iron and steel output quadrupled. In spite of these improvements, Russia’s economic condition remained backward. There was acute employment problem among the workers.
(iii) Political conditions: Politically too Russia was a backward country. All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914. The Russian peasants formed the Socialist Revolutionary Party in 1900, This party struggled for peasants’ rights and demanded that land belonging to nobles be transferred to peasants. But as they were not a united group, they were not considered to be part of a socialist movement started by Lenin.
In what ways was the working population in Russia different from other countries in Europe before 1917?
The condition of Russian people, especially those of the working populations (farmers and factory workers) was pathetic in comparison to other European countries. In the countryside, peasants cultivated most of the land and lived a very miserable life. But the nobility, the crown and the Orthodox Church owned large properties. Peasants had no respect for the nobility. This was unlike France where, during the French Revolution in Brittany, peasants respected nobles and fought for them. In Russia, peasants wanted the land of the nobles to be given to them. Frequently, they refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords.
The factory workers too led a deplorable life. They were not allowed to form any trade unions and political parties to express their anguish. Most industries was the private property of industrialists. They exploited the workers by not giving them even the minimum fixed wages. There was no limit of working hours. They had to work from 12-15 hours a day.
Why did the Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917?
There were many factors that contributed to the fall of the Tsarist autocracy in Russia:
(i) The most prominent factor was the First World War. It made Russia economically very poor. As the war continued, the Tsar refused to consult the main parties in the Duma. Support went thin. Anti-German sentiment ran high. The Tsarina’s German origins and poor advisers made the autocracy highly unpopular.
(ii) The working population i.e. peasants and factory workers who formed large section of the population were miserable, deprived and frustrated. The Tsar didn’t pay any attention to them because he was a self-willed, corrupt and oppressive ruler.
(iii) The peasants did hard labour on the land but the produce went into the hands of landlords and the privileged classes. The workers were not given even the minimum fixed wages. They were forced to worked 12-15 hours a day. The Tsar remained silent spectator.
(iv) The bureaucracy that the Tsar recruited was inefficient and inflexible. Members were recruited on the basis of privileges and patronage, not on merit. This was a major cause of disappointment among the common people who in spite of having talents could not recruited for high posts.
(v) The liberal ideas of the west and growth of socialist ideology led to the formation of many socialist groups. These groups infused the’workers and peasants with a revolutionary spirit. These factors prepared the background and finally, the Tsar had to go.
Make two lists: One with the main events and effects of the February Revolution and the other with the main events and effects of the October Revolution. Write a paragraph on who was involved in each, who were the leaders and what was the impact of each on Soviet history.
Main events and effects of the February Revolution:
(i) On 22 February, a lockout took place at a factory on the right bank of the river Neva.
(ii) On 23 February, workers in fifty factories called a strike in sympathy. In many factories, women led the way to strikes. Demonstrating workers crossed from the factory quarters to the centre of the capital—the Nevskii Prospekt. However the government suppressed their agitation by imposing curfew.
(iii) On 25 February, the government suspended the Duma. Politicians spoke out against the measure.
(iv) Demonstrators returned in force to the streets of the left bank on the 26th. On the 27th, the Police Headquarters were ransacked. The streets crowded with people raising slogans about bread, wages, better hours and democracy. The government tried to control the situation but nothing happened. The regiments supported the workers. Eventually ‘Soviet’ or ‘Council’ was formed.
(v) On 2nd March, the Tsar abdicated and Soviet leaders and Duma leaders formed a provisional government to run the country.
The February revolution was not led by any political party but people themselves led it. Petrograd had brought down the monarchy and gained an important place in the history of Soviet Union. Trade unions became active and their number grew.
Main events and effects of the October Revolution:
(i) Apprehensive of the Provisional Government Lenin on 16 October, 1917 persuaded the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik Party to agree to a socialist seizure of power. A Military Revolutionary Committee was appointed by the Soviet under Leon Trotskii to organise the seizure. The date of the event was kept a secret.
(ii) On 24th October, the uprising began. But the Kerenskii government successfully seized the buildings of two Bolshevik newspapers with the help of troops. The Winter Palace and other government buildings were protected by troops.
(iii) The Military Revolutionary Committee responded swiftly. It ordered its supporters to seize government offices and arrest ministers.
(iv) The ship Aurora shelled the Winter Palace late in the day. By nightfall, the city was under the committee’s control and the ministers had surrendered.
(v) The Bolshevik action was approved. Uprisings took place in other cities too. By December, the Bolsheviks controlled the Moscow-Petrograd area. They successfully formed a communist government for the first time in Russia.
What were the main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution?
The following main changes were brought about by the Bolsheviks soon after the October
(i) The Bolsheviks were against private property. Hence, most industries and banks were nationalised in November 1917. This meant that the government took over ownership and management.
(ii) Land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility which they wanted from a long time. Thus, the nobles lost their power and position.
(iii) In cities, Bolsheviks enforced the partition of large houses according to family requirements. They banned the use of the old titles of aristocracy.
(iv) To assert the change, new uniforms were designed for the army and officials. The Soviets hat called budeonovka was chosen in 1918 in a clothing competition.
(v) The Bolshevik Party was given the name of the Russian Communist Party. In March 1918, the Bolsheviks made peace with Germany at Brest Litovsk. Russia became one-party state. Trade unions were kept under party control.
Write a few lines to show what you know about:
- The Duma
- Women workers between 1900 and 1930
- The Liberals
- Stalin’s collectivisation programme
Kulaks: It was the name given to prosperous peasants in the later part of the Russian Empire and early Soviet Union. Stalin was suspicious of them for hoarding. So, he introduced collectivisation of farming and raided them and seized their lands. Stalin believed that to develop modem farms, and run them along industrial lines with machinery, it was necessary to eliminate these Kulaks and establish state-controlled large-farms. Stalin’s move caused great anger among the Kulaks. They resisted collectivisation but were severely handled.
The Duma: Duma, an elected consultative Parliament, was created by the Tsar of Russia during the 1905 Revolution. In the beginning it promised that it would be a representative assembly and that its approval would be necessary for the enactment of legislation. But the fundamental laws, issued in April 1906, before the first Duma met in May 1906, deprived it of control over state ministers and limited its ability to initiate legislation effectively.
However, the Tsar dismissed the First Duma within 75 days and the re-elected second Duma within three months. He did not want any questioning of his authority or any reduction in his power. He changed the voting laws and packed the third Duma with conservative politicians, liberals and revolutionaries were kept out. The fourth Duma was also of limited political influence. Thus the Duma was reentered right from the start, and people knew it.
Women workers between 1900 and 1930: Women workers between 1900 and 1930 led a very miserable life. They made up 31 per cent of the factory labour force by 1914, but they were paid less than men (between half and three quarters of a man’s wage.) However, it was the women workers who led the way to strikes during the February Revolution in 1917. They often inspired their male co-workers.
The Liberals: They believed in the change of society. They wanted a nation which tolerated all religions. They also opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers. They wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments.
They argued for a representative, elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. However, they did not believe in Universal Adult Franchise. They were of the opinion that men of property mainly should have the right to vote. They also did not want the vote for women. In this way, we can say that liberals were not democrats.
Stalin’s collectivisation programme: Collectivisation was a policy of forced consolidation of individual peasant, households into collective farms called ‘Kolkhozes’. It was carried out by the Soviet Government in the late 1920s early 1930s. Stalin introduced this system to overcome the food crisis which was rampant in the country at that time and to increase peasant labour productivity.
The bulk of land and implements were transferred to the ownership of collective farm. Many peasants protested such attempts and destroyed livestock to show their anger. But Stalin’s collectiviasation programme did not bring the desired results. The food supply situation turned even worse in subsequent years because production did not increase immediately.
Class 9 History Chapter 2 NCERT Intext Activity Questions and Answers
Imagine that you are a striking worker in 1905 who is being tried in court for your act of rebellion. Draft the speech you would make in your defence. Act out your speech for your class.
My lord, you think that I have committed a crime but I don’t think so. I have done what I should do. You know how the prices of bread has gone up. If may wages are not increased accordingly, how I and my family would survive. You’ll be surprised to know that nowadays we only eat one time in a day. We are in acute crisis.
We don’t have enough money to buy food. So what a wrong if I demand increase in wages? You also know that the standard working hours in a day is 8 hours but we the labourers are forced to work 12 hours a day. Is it right and humane? What is more, the working conditions of the workers are too poor to describe. We work hard for long hours in suffocative and filthy atmosphere. If I raise voice on behalf of my fellow workers, these is no wrong in it. We want justice and nothing else. Now it’s up to you whether you provide me that or not. But one thing is sure I am not a criminal. I only want to be treated like a human being.
Write the headline and a short news item about the uprising of 24 October 1917 for each of the following newspapers.
- A conservative paper in France
- A Radical newspaper in Britain
- A Bolshevik newspaper in Russia.
- A conservative newspaper in France can never welcome the revolution and pray for its quick failure.
- A Radical newspaper in Britain, however, should be supporting the move.
- The Bolshevik newspaper in Russia should be glorifying the revolution.
Imagine that you are a middle level wheat farmer in Russia after collectivisation . You have decided to write a letter to Stalin explaining your objections to collectivisation. What would you write about the conditions of your life? What do you think would be Stalin’s response to such a farmer?
I would write about the miseries of my life that I am facing due to collectivisation. The bulk of my land and implements have been transferred to the ownership of collective farms. I am forced to work on the land but the profit from the collective farms is shared. This has made my life miserable. I find it difficult to continue farming in future. Stalin’s response is not favourable. He is very strict and is not ready to listen anything against his collectivisation programme.
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