A-Level Topic Guide: Russia and the USSR

Russia and the USSR

Published: 26th May 2020

Russia and the USSR in the nineteenth and twentieth century is a popular area of study at A-level across the examination boards. Whichever board you are studying with and whatever the focus of your study unit on Russian history, the resources in this unit will support you as you develop your subject knowledge, write essays and revise. 

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  • Introduction

Peter the Great & Catherine the Great

  • Introduction
  • Peter the Great
  • David Pearse explores St. Petersburg
  • Enlightened Despotism

Reform and the end of the Romanovs 1855-1917

  • Introduction
  • Alexander II
  • Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe
  • Tsarist Russia 1855-1914.
  • Between the Revolutions: Russia 1905 to 1917
  • The Russian Constitutional Monarchy, 1907-17
  • The Fall of the Romanovs 1906-1917
  • The Romanov Tercentenary
  • Alexandra and Rasputin


  • Introduction
  • The Provisional Government and the October Revolution
  • Changing views of the Russian Revolution
  • The Russian Revolution 100 years on: a view from below

Lenin's Russia

  • Introduction
  • Lenin's Objectives and the Civil War
  • Agitation in the Russian Civil War 1917-21
  • ‘Our March’: art and culture in the Russian Revolution

Stalin's Russia and de-Stalinisation

  • Introduction
  • Stalin, Propaganda, and Soviet Society during the Great Terror
  • Stalinism
  • The Impact of Stalin's Leadership 1924-1941
  • Women, War and Revolution
  • Nazism and Stalinism
  • The Impact and Significance of the Great Patriotic War

The end of the Soviet Union

  • Introduction
  • The Significance of the Brezhnev Era
  • Key elements that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union
  • Polychronicon: The End of the Cold War

Reading and Revision

  • Revision Quiz
  • Mind Maps
  • Reading List
  • Timeline
  • Viewing, Listening and Fiction
  • Past Exam Papers