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Jakelinne Capella Aponte

Professor Perparim Gutaj


Pols 2200
March 29, 2016

Does The National Identity Matters?

To make a comparison between these two important communist countries: Russia and
China, it is important to talk about Karl Marxs political theory because his ideology was
widespread among all communist countries. Marx, a political and economic philosopher (18181883) collaborated with philosopher Friedrich Engels to write the masterpiece The Communist
Manifest. Marx also wrote The Capital. These documents enormously influenced the destiny
of the countries.
Marxist thinking expresses that in a society there is a constant conflict between bourgeois
or middle class and the proletariat or worker class. The ones who control the production, the
bourgeois, do not produce anything; instead, they receive the profit from what the proletariat
produces, creating a social inequality: the capitalist system. Marx believed that at certain point
the proletariat will realize it has the power to change this type of society, and this can only be
achieved through the revolution of the masses.
Prior to the introduction to communism in these two countries, revolutions took place in
both. As an autocratic regime, Tsar Nicholas IIs government was supported by three pillars: the
army, the nobles, and the clergy, that he commanded. The Duma was the parliament which
members where appointed and removed by the Tsar. Russian economy was based on agriculture,

and the majority of peasants were dedicated to this activity, and the other five percent were
working in the industry. Compared to other countries at the time, the agricultural system was
technologically backward. In 1905, Japan defeated Russia in a war to conquer Manchuria. This
war marked the beginning of the end of the Russian Empire under the Tsar Nicholas II regime.
Meanwhile, China, one of the oldest civilizations of the world, was ruled for centuries by
Dynasties. Qing was the last dynasty before the revolution in 1911, and Puyi was the emperor at
that time. Unlike Russia, the agriculture in China was more developed and foreign crops like
potatoes were introduce into the country. The trade market of silk and tea was constantly
growing. One of the advantages China has compared to Russia is the geographical location along
the coastal city ports that allows them to trade with other countries
Despite this development the emperor maintained strict trade rules in China that did not

let people compete at the same level with people in other countries. China also was involved in
several wars with other countries including Britain, France, and Japan. As a defeated country,
China had to give up part of its territory to the winners. The Qing Dynasty was getting weaker,
creating a growing discontent among the population because the emperor was not modernizing
China as much as other countries in Europe and Japan that were constantly invading their
territory.
Russia was a precarious agricultural country where the minority of nobles owned the
land, and where the discontent among the workers was increasing constantly. At this time, a man
named Vladimir Lenin, a revolutionist and great opponent of the tsarist system, organized the
masses, founded the communist party the Bolshevik, and began the communist revolution in
1917, defeating and killing the Tsar and his family.

On the other hand, by 1911China experienced the Wuchang Uprising that overthrew the
Qing Dynasty. A year later the Republic of China was established, and a provisional president,
Sun Yat-sen, was appointed. However he did not have military power, so he ceded the presidency
to the military leader, Yuan Shikai, who in 1915, proclaimed himself emperor of China. He died
in 1916. After Shikaiss death, Sun Yat-sen took command and tried to unify the Republic of
China, which was fragmented in different warlord territories, but he died in 1925 before he could
accomplish this. Then, the Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek assumed power and governed China
with the help of the Communist Party until approximately 1949 when the communist party took
over with the help of the masses.
The cultural history between these two communist nations makes a difference. While in
China, a peasants uprising occurred where the masses of poor people were mobilized, in the
Soviet Union, there was a revolution of workers where not all the people were convinced that a
communist system was going to be the better option of government for them. On the other hand,
China had a large period of adjustment between the end of the Qing Dynasty and the Communist
Party, allowing them to absorb the new ideology. In contrast, the Soviet Union did not have that
transition process; instead, they passed directly from the Tsarist autocracy to a communist
government, missing an important coupling period.
Along the same line, the Communist Party in the Soviet Union was established by Lenin
who was the leader of the party. The power always remained under just one person, this trend
continued until the fall of communism in Russia in 1989. In contrast, China, although ruled by
one party, is a Standing Committee that makes the important decisions. Even though in both
countries there are various ethnicities, for the Soviets, it was very difficult to find their national

identity because they do not have a specific ideology that relates to all; by contrast, the Chinese
have the Confucius mindset, the glue that keeps them together to these days.
In short, unlike Russia, communism still persists in China because their revolution was a
real revolution of masses where the peasant participation was crucial. Because their politics is
based on meritocracy, the abilities and virtues of their rulers are very important for the people. A
society in evolution where its government was restructured to offer their citizens greater
freedoms and the creation of a free market economy, positions China as one of the biggest
economy power of the world. Meanwhile Russia remained stagnant in the revolution of the past,
not adapting changes in its political and economic structure, and not establishing a national
identity causing the fall of communism in Russia.

References

http://www.e-ir.info/2010/11/17/why-did-communism-survive-in-china-but-not-in-the-ussr/

http://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_marx.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_China_before_1912#Developments_during_
the_.22Kang.E2.80.93Qian_Age.22

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuomintang