For hundreds of years, Russia had been under the rule of the Tsarist regime in which they were given the right to rule by God and had absolute power. In this period the Tsars had sat on their laurels and allowed Russia to get into a backwards, agricultural and generally a weak country that was not living up to its full potential. This however all changed when the February revolution of 1917 occurred in which from the ranks of the Bolsheviks Lenin arose to become the leader of the new and improved Red State.
To determine whether or not Lenin rulings were enough to make him a ‘Red Tsar’, the similarities between the two regimes need to be addressed. There are many similarities from that of the rulings of the tsars to the way that Lenin ruled communist Russia, for one thing both Lenin and the Tsars believed that they had been elated to this position from a higher power, Lenin that he had been destined to rule by the ‘forces of history’ while tsars thought they had a god given right.
However whereas the Tsars believed that they should have absolute power, Lenin distributed his power in the form of the setting up of the communist party in which he would have to debate with other members who could actually criticise and to an extent veto any idea that he put through. This was a massive difference to the tsarist regime in which questioning the tsar would and could not be tolerated.
This meant there were no such limitations to the power of which the tsars had and so when the Duma was made by Nicholas the 2nd there were no mechanisms in place (such as other people in a position of power) to limit his power and make sure he stuck by his word. Could this be the reason for the inevitable collapse of the Tsarist regime?
Another aspect which both regimes shared is that both generally repressed the forming of other political parties and general freedom of speech of the people, although Alexander the 2nd did take out a reform that allowed the formation of the zemstva, it did not have the effects that it should have had on the people as it still enabled Alexander to have all the power and so in this aspect it failed, however it was the closest Russia came throughout all the rulings of the tsars and Lenin to be a democratic state.
Nicholas the 2nd and Alexander the 3rd also repressed the people in if anything a greater degree which started to lead to a more and more resentful working class, however Nicholas did pass the October manifesto in 1906 which allowed the formation of opposition parties this made little difference to the power structure in place as Nicholas still retained power thanks to article 87 of the manifesto, however it was an important historical step for Russia as it was the first time in the whole of the Tsarist regime where political parties were allowed.
Lenin also repressed political freedom; however the motives behind it were for a completely different treason than that of the tsars. While the Tsars wanted to keep a strict control on the population as to retain complete power, Lenin imposed the restrictions so that the country could put all its focus into making Russia a world superpower. This was the fundamental difference between the two.
Lenin to a degree was forced to ‘clean up’ on the many faults of the tsarist rule that had left Russia crippled and floundering in the water and in this regard he was forced to rule as the tsars did to change the state as to enable it to be on par with the likes of America. The reforms both made can also show the comparison between the rulings and how they differed. During Lenin’s rule the major reforms to have passed allowed the peasants were their own land. Increased Literacy rates from 25% to around 65% (at the time of Lenin’s death).
Under the tsars peasants mainly worked on land owned by aristocrats and Women were considered the chattel of their husbands, could not vote, could not go to university, cold not initiate divorce, and could not have an abortion. Under Lenin they could do all of these things. The philosophy of both rulings also shows the major differences, Lenin believed in his slightly altered version of Marxism (Leninism) whereas the tsars had no such philosophy and ruled from their god given right.
This in itself is proof against the fact that Lenin was a red tsar as Leninism itself is to do with the betterment of the state. The tsarist regime not so much. To answer the question, no, I do not think that Lenin was a red tsar. The transformation of the country under Lenin was rapid and dramatic, and was not simply replacing one form of authoritarian despot for another.