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"People's Republic" is a title used by some sovereign states with republican constitutions. The term was initially associated with populist movements in the 19th century such as the German Völkisch movement and the Narodniks in Russia. A number of the short-lived states created during World War I and its aftermath called themselves people's republics. Many of these were in the territory of the former Russian Empire which collapsed following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Additional people's republics were created following the Allied victory in World War II. The term has become associated with countries adhering to communism, although its use is not unique to such states. A number of republics with liberal democratic political systems, such as Bangladesh and Algeria, adopted the title after popular wars of independence given its rather generic nature.
In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.
A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.
The völkisch movement was the German interpretation of a populist movement, with a romantic focus on folklore and the "organic", i.e.: a "naturally grown community in unity", characterised by the one-body-metaphor (Volkskörper) for the entire population during a period from the late 19th century up until the Nazi era.
The first Marxist–Leninist people's republics that came into existence were those formed following the Russian Revolution. Ukraine was briefly declared a people's republic in 1917,and in 1920 the Khanate of Khiva and the Emirate of Bukhara, both territories of the former Russian Empire, were declared people's republics. In 1921 the Russian protectorate of Tuva became a people's republic, followed in 1924 by neighbouring Mongolia. Following World War II, developments in Marxist–Leninist theory led to the appearance of people's democracy, a concept which potentially allowed for a route to socialism via multi-class, multi-party democracy. Countries which had reached this intermediate stage were called people's republics. The European states that became people's republics at this time were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia. In Asia, China became a people's republic following the Chinese Communist Revolution and North Korea also adopted Marxism–Leninism to become a people's republic.
The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets.
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
The Khanate of Khiva was an Uzbek state that existed in the historical region of Khwarezm in Central Asia from 1511 to 1920, except for a period of Afsharid occupation by Nadir Shah between 1740 and 1746. The Khans were the patrilineal descendants of Shayban (Shiban), the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. Centred in the irrigated plains of the lower Amu Darya, south of the Aral Sea, with the capital in the city of Khiva, the country was ruled by an Uzbek Turkic tribe, the Khongirads, who came from Astrakhan. It covered present western Uzbekistan, southwestern Kazakhstan and much of Turkmenistan before Russian arrival at the second half of the 19th century.
Many of these countries also called themselves socialist states in their constitutions. During the 1960s Romania and Yugoslavia ceased to use the term people's in their official name, replacing it with the term socialist as a mark of their ongoing political development. Czechoslovakia also added the term socialist into its name during this period; it had become a people's republic in 1948 but had not used that term in its official name.Albania used both terms in its official name from 1976 to 1991. In the West these countries are often referred to as communist states. However, none of them described themselves in that way; they regarded communism as a level of political development that they had not yet reached. The communist parties in these countries often governed in coalitions with other progressive parties.
A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country is a sovereign state constitutionally dedicated to the establishment of socialism. The term "communist state" is often used interchangeably in the West specifically when referring to single-party socialist states governed by Marxist–Leninist, or Titoist in case of Yugoslavia political parties, despite these countries being officially socialist states in the process of building socialism. These countries never describe themselves as communist nor as having implemented a communist society. Additionally, a number of countries which are not single-party states based on Marxism–Leninism make reference to socialism in their constitutions; in most cases these are constitutional references alluding to the building of a socialist society that have little to no bearing on the structure and development paths of these countries' political and economic systems.
A Communist state is a state that is administered and governed by a single party, guided by Marxist–Leninist philosophy.
During the postcolonial period a number of former European colonies that had achieved independence and adopted Marxist-Leninist governments took the name people's republic. Angola,Benin, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique and South Yemen followed this route. Following the Revolutions of 1989, the people's republics of Central and Eastern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland ) along with Mongolia dropped the term people's from their names as it was associated with their former communist governments. They became known simply as republics and adopted liberal democracy as their system of government. At around the same time most of the former European colonies that had taken the people's republic name began to replace it as part of their move away from Marxism-Leninism.
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.
Benin, officially the Republic of Benin and formerly Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. The majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 square kilometres (44,310 sq mi) and its population in 2016 was estimated to be approximately 10.87 million. Benin is a tropical nation, highly dependent on agriculture, and is a large exporter of cotton and palm oil. Substantial employment and income arise from subsistence farming.
Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country in the northeastern part of Africa, known as the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Djibouti to the northeast, Somaliland and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, South Sudan to the west and Sudan to the northwest. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world and the second-most populous nation on the African continent with a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa, which lies a few miles west of the East African Rift that splits the country into the Nubian and Somali tectonic plates.
The current officially socialist states that include the words people's republic in their full names:
Historical examples include:
The People's Republic of Angola was the self-declared socialist state which governed Angola from its independence in 1975 until 1992, during the Angolan Civil War.
The People's Republic of Benin was a socialist state located in the Gulf of Guinea on the African continent, which would become present-day Benin. The People's Republic was established on 30 November 1975, after the 1972 coup d'état in the Republic of Dahomey. It effectively lasted until 1 March 1990, with the adoption of a new constitution, and the abolition of Marxism-Leninism in the nation in 1989.
The People's Republic of Bulgaria was the official name of Bulgaria, when it was a socialist republic.
Other titles commonly used by Marxist–Leninist and socialist states are democratic republic (e.g. the German Democratic Republic or the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia between 1943 and 1946) and socialist republic (e.g. the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic).
The collapse of the European empires during and following World War I resulted in the creation of a number of short-lived non-Marxist–Leninist people's republics during the period 1917–22. In many cases these governments were unrecognised and often had Marxist–Leninist rivals.
The Russian Empire produced several non-Marxist–Leninist people's republics after the October Revolution. The Crimean People's Republic was opposed to the Bolsheviks and the latter went on to capture its territory and establish the Taurida Soviet Socialist Republic. The socialist-leaning Ukrainian People's Republic declared its independence from the Russian Republic, but it had a rival in the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets (later Ukrainian Soviet Republic) whom it fought during the Ukrainian War of Independence. The Belarusian People's Republic tried to create an independent Belarusian state in land controlled by the German Imperial Army, but the Socialist Soviet Republic of Byelorussia replaced it once the German army had left. All of these territories finally became constituent parts of the Soviet Union.
In the former Austro-Hungarian Empire the West Ukrainian People's Republic was formed in eastern Galicia under the political guidance of Greek Catholic, liberal and socialist ideologies. The territory was subsequently absorbed into the Second Polish Republic. Meanwhile in Hungary the Hungarian People's Republic was established, briefly replaced by the Hungarian Soviet Republic, and eventually succeeded by the Kingdom of Hungary.
In Germany the People's Republic of Bavaria – a name sometimes translated as People's State of Bavaria (German : Freier Volksstaat Bayern) – was a short-lived socialist state formed in Bavaria during the German Revolution of 1918–19 as a rival to the Bavarian Soviet Republic. It was succeeded by the Free State of Bavaria which existed within the Weimar Republic.
During the 1960s and 1970s a number of former colonies that had gained independence through revolutionary liberation struggles adopted the name people's republic. Examples include Algeria, Bangladesh and Zanzibar. Libya adopted the term after its Al Fateh Revolution against King Idris.
In Ukraine in the 2010s, separatist movements during the War in Donbass declared the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk to be people's republics, but they have not received diplomatic recognition from the international community.
Founded in socialist ideals, though not necessarily Marxist-Leninist:
The term "People's Republic" is sometimes used by critics and satirists to describe areas perceived to be dominated by left-wing politics. Some examples are the People's Republic of New Jersey, [ citation needed ]the People's Republic of California, the People's Republic of Dublin South-Central, the People's Republic of South Yorkshire, the People's Republic of Boulder, the People's Republic of Brighton, the People's Republic of Madison, the People's Republic of Takoma Park, and the People's Republic of Johnson County.
Leninism is the political theory for the organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party and the achievement of a dictatorship of the proletariat as political prelude to the establishment of socialism. Developed by and named for the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, Leninism comprises socialist political and economic theories, developed from Marxism and Lenin's interpretations of Marxist theories, for practical application to the socio-political conditions of the Russian Empire of the early 20th century.
In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), of the parties of the Communist International, after Bolshevisation; and is the ideology of Stalinist political parties. The purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the revolutionary transformation of a capitalist state into a socialist state, by way of two-stage revolution, which is led by a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, drawn from the proletariat. To realise the two-stage transformation of the state, the vanguard party establishes the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy through democratic centralism.
In political science, a communist party is a political party that seeks to realize the social and economic goals of Communism through revolution and state policy. The term communist party was popularized by the title of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. As a vanguard party, the communist party guides the political education and development of the working class (proletariat); as the ruling party, the communist party exercises power through the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin developed the role of the communist party as the revolutionary vanguard, when social democracy in Imperial Russia was divided into ideologically opposed factions, the Bolshevik faction and the Menshevik faction. To be politically effective, Lenin proposed a small vanguard party managed with democratic centralism, which allowed centralized command of a disciplined cadre of professional revolutionaries; once policy was agreed upon, realizing political goals required every Bolshevik's total commitment to the agreed-upon policy.
The Communist International (Comintern), known also as the Third International (1919–1943), was an international organization that advocated world communism. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state". The Comintern had been preceded by the 1916 dissolution of the Second International.
The Sino-Soviet split (1956–1966) was the breaking of political relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), caused by doctrinal divergences that arose from their different interpretations and practical applications of Marxism–Leninism, as influenced by their respective geopolitics during the Cold War (1945–1991). In the late 1950s and the early 1960s, Sino-Soviet debates about the interpretation of Orthodox Marxism became specific disputes about the Soviet Union's policies of national de-Stalinization and international peaceful coexistence with the Western world. Against that political background, the international relations of the PRC featured official belligerence towards the West, and an initial, public rejection of the Soviet policy of peaceful coexistence between the Eastern bloc and the Western bloc, which Mao Zedong said was Marxist revisionism by the Russian communists.
The history of communism encompasses a wide variety of ideologies and political movements sharing the core theoretical values of common ownership of wealth, economic enterprise and property.
In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.
Within the Marxist movement, the word revisionism is used to refer to various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises.
The International Communist Seminar (ICS) was an annual communist conference held in Brussels, Belgium in May. It was organized by the Workers' Party of Belgium (WPB).
Hoxhaism is a variant of anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism that developed in the late 1970s due to a split in the Maoist movement, appearing after the ideological dispute between the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania in 1978. The ideology is named after Enver Hoxha, a notable Albanian communist leader.
People's democracy was a theoretical concept within Marxism–Leninism which developed after World War II, which allowed in theory for a multi-class, multi-party democracy on the pathway to socialism. Prior to the rise of Fascism, communist parties had called for Soviet Republics to be implemented throughout the world, such as the Chinese Soviet Republic or William Z. Foster's book Towards Soviet America. However, after the rise of fascism, and the creation of the popular front governments in France and Spain, the Comintern under Bulgarian Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov began to advocate for a broad multi-class united front as opposed to the pure proletarian dictatorship of the Soviets. The possibility of a trans-class democracy was first put forward during the popular front period against Fascism.
Anti-revisionism is a position within Marxism–Leninism which emerged in the 1950s in opposition to the reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Where Khrushchev pursued an interpretation of Leninism that differed from his predecessor Joseph Stalin, the anti-revisionists within the international communist movement remained dedicated to Stalin's ideological legacy and criticized the Soviet Union under Khrushchev and his successors as state capitalist and social imperialist due largely to its hopes of achieving peace with the United States. The term "Stalinism" is also used to describe these positions, but it is often not used by its supporters who opine that Stalin simply synthesized and practiced Leninism.
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution often, but not necessarily inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage. The idea that a proletarian revolution is needed is a cornerstone of Marxism; Marxists believe that the workers of the world must unite and free themselves from capitalist oppression to create a world run by and for the working class. Thus, in the Marxist view, proletarian revolutions need to happen in countries all over the world.
Proletarian internationalism, sometimes referred to as international socialism, is the perception of all communist revolutions as being part of a single global class struggle rather than separate localized events. It is based on the theory that capitalism is a world-system and therefore the working classes of all nations must act in concert if they are to replace it with communism. Proponents of proletarian internationalism often argued that the objectives of a given revolution should be global rather than local in scope—for example, triggering or perpetuating revolutions elsewhere.
Contrary to Western usage, these countries describe themselves as 'Socialist' (not 'Communist'). The second stage (Marx's 'higher phase'), or 'Communism' is to be marked by an age of plenty, distribution according to needs (not work), the absence of money and the market mechanism, the disappearance of the last vestiges of capitalism and the ultimate 'whithering away' of the State.