Overview of Russia
Key Figures (U3)
Just like the glossary, there are many people and significant figures that you must have an awareness of when it comes to studying Modern History. Familiarise yourself with these individuals to gain a better understanding of the course content.
Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) The last Tsar of Russia. He ruled from November 1894 to March 1917.
Tsarina Alexandra (1872-1918) The wife of Tsar Nicholas II.
Prince Georgy Lvov (1861-1925) A Russian aristocrat who was the first leader of the Provisional Government.
Alexander Kerensky (1881-1970) The second leader of the Provisional Government. Also served as deputy chairman of the Petrograd Soviet.
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) Leader and founder of the Bolshevik Party.
Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) A key Bolshevik revolutionary who served as Commissar for War, Commissar for Foreign Affairs and commander of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War.
Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) Member of the Bolshevik Party who accumulated vast amounts of power. He became leader of the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death in 1924, acting as its virtual dictator until his death in 1953.
Nikolai Bukharin (1888-1938) A key Bolshevik and editor of Pravda. He allied with Stalin to bar the publication of Lenin’s Political Testament and helped oust Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev from the Communist Party. He became a victim of Stalin’s Great Terror in 1938.
Grigory Zinoviev (1883-1936) A Bolshevik and head of Comintern. He teamed up with Stalin and Kamenev to oust Trotsky from the Communist Party during the Bolshevik power struggle. He was purged, trialled and executed in 1936.
Lev Kamenev (1883-1936) A Bolshevik and premier of the USSR. He teamed up with Stalin and Zinoviev to oust Trotsky from the Communist Party during the Bolshevik power struggle. He was purged, trialled and executed in 1936.
Alexei Rykov (1831-1938) A Bolshevik and premier of the USSR. He was also responsible for overseeing the policy of War Communism during the Russian Civil War. He was found guilty of treason and executed in 1938.
Mikhail Tomsky (1880-1936) A Bolshevik and head of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions. He was accused of terrorism and treason, committing suicide before his scheduled execution in 1936.
Sergei Kirov (1886-1934) A Bolshevik who acted as head of the Party in Leningrad. Stalin used Kirov’s assassination in 1934 to pass the Kirov Decrees: a set of laws that gave Stalin the power to purge the Communist Party.
Alexander Shlyapnikov (1885-1937) A Bolshevik who served as Commissar of Labour. In 1920, he became leader of the Workers’ Opposition, a faction within the Communist Party that fought against the bureaucratisation of the Party.
Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952) A leading female Bolshevik revolutionary who worked as Commissar for Welfare. She founded the Zhenotdel (the women's department) in 1919 but grew critical of the Communist Party and joined the Workers’ Opposition in 1920.
Inessa Armand (1974-1920) Another leading female Bolshevik. Born in France, she spent most of her life in Russia and was director of the Zhenotdel.
Other Significant Figures
Karl Marx (1818-1883) A German philosopher, writer, historian and active revolutionary. He published the Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels in 1848.
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) A German writer, historian, political theorist and activist who worked closely with Karl Marx on the Communist Manifesto.
Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926) Also known as "Iron Felix", Dzerzhinsky is best known as the leader of the Cheka.
Nikolai Yezhov (1895-1940) Nicknamed the "bloodthirsty dwarf", Yezhov was leader of the NKVD at the height of the Great Terror (also known as the Yezhovschina) from 1936-38. He became a victim of the system he helped create and was executed in 1940.
Fanny Kaplan (1890-1918) A Socialist Revolutionary who attempted to assassinate Lenin in 1918. She was executed the same year.