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Russia: 1921-1924 - Lenin's Last Years

GCSE History covers, amongst other topics, Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. One part of this subject that is looked at is Vladimir Lenin's time in power. This is the second of two quizzes on the subject and it focusses on the last few years of this period.

Vladimir Lenin had won the Civil War in Russia, but the last few years of his life, between 1921 and 1924 (the year of his death), were troubled. The Soviet economy was in a very bad way, and Lenin's own health was poor (not helped by an assassination attempt in 1918). In this atmosphere rivals lined up to compete for the Lenin's position of power as the head of the Soviet Union.

See how much you know about the last years of Vladimir Lenin's time in power in this quiz on early 20th Century Russia.

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  1. What name was given to the economic policy that replaced "War Communism" as the official state programme in 1921?
    Lenin was obliged to change his economic policy to deal with the dire conditions persisting in Russia by 1921 - including mass starvation. However, he also needed to persuade his colleagues that he was not betraying the communist revolution that had brought him to power
  2. Under his new policy for the economy, from 1921 Lenin ensured that major industries remained in state hands. What were these major industries called?
    Heavy industry, transport, banking and the like, had to remain in state hands for Lenin to convince his comrades that there was to be no return to the previous capitalist system
  3. Lenin suffered at least three identical medical emergencies in 1922-1923. What medical condition was this?
    A series of assassination attempts from 1918 did not help Lenin's general health. He died in January 1924 at the relatively young age of 53
  4. What name was given to the Soviet Communist Party's youth movement, first founded in 1918?
    Communist and Fascist parties always started up youth movements to indoctrinate young people, and to perpetuate their beliefs
  5. After the Revolution Stalin was given a job. He was made responsible for non-Russian minorities living in the USSR. What was the title of this post?
    Nearly half of all Soviet citizens were non-Russians, so the minister responsible for them occupied an important position
  6. Stalin received further promotion in 1922, when he was given responsibility for keeping the Communist Party's membership records up to date. What was the title of this position?
    This post increased Stalin's power enormously, and he also kept the minorities post at the same time. He could advance or block people's status within the Communist Party, or even prevent them from becoming members in the first place. Moreover, if they were already members, he could ensure that they were dismissed
  7. Which of the following leading Bolsheviks failed to attend Lenin's funeral in early 1924?
    When Lenin died it was important for those who wished to succeed him as Soviet leader to throw their hats into the ring. They could most easily do that by acting as pall-bearers at Lenin's funeral, to show their allegiance to their late leader
  8. In 1921 a former enemy of the USSR signed a trade treaty with Lenin's regime, although he would not refrain from interfering in her South Asian colonies. To which "former enemy" are we referring?
    Lenin was keen to re-establish relations with former opponents who had supported the White side over the Red during the recent civil war. However, a trade deal was one thing: full-blown political recognition was another
  9. One of the rival claimants for the Soviet leadership was Nikolai Bukharin, editor of the Communist Party's official newspaper. What was the title of this publication?
    The editor of the official paper held enormous power, and should have been in a good position to bid for the leadership in 1924
  10. In 1922 Lenin wrote his will or "political testament", in which he considered the suitability (or unsuitability) of his various comrades to succeed him as Soviet leader. Of which comrade did he write that he was: "...too rude and this defect...becomes quite intolerable..."?
    Lenin's political testament was rigorously scrutinised by his surviving colleagues for an indication of any preference. In fact Lenin criticised all of the contenders for power, possibly favouring some form of collective leadership on his death

Author: Edward Towne

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