Welcome to the Russian dictatorships section of the site.

Those of you who used the old site will know it as predominantly a vehicle to discuss Russian history. These pages are designed to support Little Heath A2 students studying for their summer examination. Our examination board is OCR, and the paper is Historical Themes – Option B: Modern 1789 – 1997. The paper code is F966/02, and we are studying Russia from 1855 to 1964.

As before, we envisage that different students will use different parts of the site in different ways. Most students find the schemes of work and assessment sections above as particualrly useful for reference. You should however also look at the additional materials section. This has lots in it to support and extend your studies. Look for example at the excellent quotation bank from a previous student. Below this post will be articles of news about Russian History. You will also see posts here that will be used for online discussion homeworks where we will want you to add (ideally constructive) comments.

Above all however, we want this to be your site. However you use it is fine, but please take ownership of it.

 Mr Kydd


Oh and just for old times sake, here are two top historians (Mr Podesta and me circa 2030 ?) debating the Sevastopol mutiny of 1905 – perhaps…


Please find here the department’s 5Rs document (Research, Reflect, Review, Read around, and Respond to feedback). It sets out what A Levels students should expect from us, and what we expect from you.

Finally,  this is a complete list of all the past questions from the new course. However, students are reminded thar the latest Ofqual pronouncements on examinations which instructed the boards that;

  • All parts of the course must be examined.
  • No question should be (exactly) repeated.

You class teacher will discuss what this means for your revision with you. Perhaps more useful in essay planning is this revision work booklet.

Mr Kydd.

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Half Term work

Please click here for your half term work and securing video on Alexander II’s reforms.

Mr Kydd.

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Enrichment – Russia’s most unruly ruler ?


Year Thirteen,

Great to all of you at History Society today. We will finish off Ivan the Terrible next week. Perhaps Empress Anna Ioannovna was not so brutal, but this article suggests that she was certainly more of a party girl; as well as another true autocratic ruler.

“On March 8, a coup d’état headed by Anna’s most trusted retainers rounded up members of the Supreme Privy Council. Anna shredded the contracts before their eyes, and sentenced them all to death or exile. With the power of the Russian throne consolidated, Anna was officially crowned Empress of Russia on April 28, 1730. Empress Anna was protective of her newfound position to the point of paranoia. This led to the dreaded revival of the Secret Search Chancellery. A secret police force beholden only to Anna herself, they bore full authority to kill or torture any political opponents to the throne.”

How do all this relate to our A Level course ? Well, think about our timeline today. Perhaps repression was the only way to effectively rule this “prison of peoples”.

Mr Kydd.

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Introduction materials


Electronic versions of the materials used today ( from this website ).



Mr Kydd.


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Lavrenti Beria Executed on this day in 1953

Lavrenti_Beria_Stalins_familyIf you click here you will get to Richard Cavendish’s 2003 article in History Today describing the fate of the hated Georgian. I have included a paragraph below…

“At a hastily convened meeting of the Presidium, Khrushchev launched a blistering attack on Beria, accusing him of being a cynical careerist, long in the pay of British intelligence, and no true Communist believer. Beria was taken aback and said, ‘What’s going on, Nikita?’, and Khrushchev told him he would soon find out. The veteran Molotov and others chimed in against Beria and Khrushchev put a motion for his instant dismissal. Before a vote could be taken, the panicky Malenkov pressed a button on his desk as the pre-arranged signal to Marshal Zhukov and a group of armed officers in a nearby room. They immediately burst in, seized Beria and manhandled him away…”

Have a read and see what you think…

Mr Kydd.

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The assassination of Alexander II – understanding turning points in government

Attentat_mortal_Alexander_II_(1881)Well almost all…

Little Heath Upper Sixth students,

You will soon be discussing the importance of turning points within the 109 years of your course. The fate of Alexander II is very noteworthy – click here for a 45 minute discussion from Radio 4’s In Our Time series. The programme description follows.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. On 1st March 1881, the Russian Tsar, Alexander II, was travelling through the snow to the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. An armed Cossack sat with the coach driver, another six Cossacks followed on horseback and behind them came a group of police officers in sledges. It was the day that the Tsar, known for his liberal reforms, had signed a document granting the first ever constitution to the Russian people.But his journey was being watched by a group of radicals called ‘Narodnaya Volya’ or ‘The People’s Will’. On a street corner near the Catherine Canal, they hurled the first of their bombs to halt the Tsar’s iron-clad coach. When Alexander ignored advice and ventured out onto the snow to comfort his dying Cossacks, he was killed by another bomber who took his own life in the blast.

  • Why did they kill the reforming Tsar?
  • What was the political climate that inspired such extreme acts?
  • And could this have been the moment that the Russian state started an inexorable march towards revolution?

With Orlando Figes, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London; Dominic Lieven, Professor of Russian Government, London School of Economics; Catriona Kelly, Professor of Russian, Oxford University


Mr Kydd.

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Closing Post

thatsallfolksAs I am no longer teaching this course I will not be posting on these Russia pages from now on. I will however leave them open in case they are of use to anyone.


Mr Kydd.

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On This Day: Khrushchev made Soviet premier after Stalin dies.

8d168c70-3a99-11e4-af39-4dcfe03a6226_PA-2620626Click here for a super Yahoo News article on Nikita Khrushchev. It is a good summary of his decade in charge of the USSR and the Secret Speech.

“The miner’s son, who rose to prominence while serving in the defence of Stalingrad during World War II, would later denounce his former boss as a murderous dictator. The new Communist Party boss first took a swipe at Stalin’s personality cult, which he claimed had reached ‘monstrous size’ and transformed him into a ‘godhead’.”

Mr Kydd

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Russia’s Lost Princesses

I know some of you have expressed a (fairly enthusiastic) liking for the (NOT Disney) film Anastasia, which if we’re looking for historical accuracy is really not a winner. However, the BBC have made a documentary that is probably more informative if you are interested in the lives and fate of Nicholas II’s daughters. It certainly helps give a sense of Russia at the time, and I always find it helpful to be able to picture what we’re talking about in lessons.


The first one was this evening and the second one is on Tuesday.


Mrs Canning

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Reading and Note taking example

Reading and noting modelAll,

Please find Michael’s excellent example of reading and note taking on the left. Again, whilst you need to develop your own style and approach, this shows the five steps very clearly.

Mr Kydd.

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Enrichment – The People’s Century – Red Flag


This episode of the excellenty oral history series looks at the establishment of Communism under Lenin and Stalin. A super introduction to this part of the course. You should think about continuity and change with Tsarism.



Mr Kydd.

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