This NEW history conference will provide students with a highly valuable and motivational revision day.  The conference has been designed to improve student understanding of key topics through varied, interactive sessions held throughout the day.

Students will hear from leading historians on Russian history and receive high quality advice, guidance and examples from a senior examiner for producing examination answers of the highest levels. The conference is designed for students of all examination boards. The course is updated with lessons from the 2019 examinations to make sure your students are fully equipped for 2020


  • Ask questions and gain first hand advice and guidance from a senior examiner and expert historians
  • Enhanced understanding of key themes and topics, all linked directly to the exam papers
  • Interactive examiner workshops to improve performance in the exams
  • Up-to-date ideas about the period leading to strengthened exam technique
  • Get a full set of conference notes, with examination tips and example answers
 DATE AND LOCATION  London | Wednesday 26 February
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Conference


10:25– 10:35am
Welcome and Introductions

10.35 – 11.15am
The end of the Romanovs and the triumph of the Bolsheviks: to what extent did Communist methods replicate the rule of the Tsars?

  • The significance of Bloody Sunday 1905: strikes and mutinies; formation and impact of the Union of Unions
  • The condition of Russia before the revolution of February/March 1917: the Tsar and political authority; the war effort; the economic and social state of Russia; discontent
  • The October/November 1917 revolution: causes, course and extent of revolution; leadership and the establishment of Bolshevik authority
  • The consolidation of the Communist dictatorship: the establishment of one-party control; the removal of the Constituent Assembly
  • Economic and social developments: state capitalism; social change; conditions in cities andcountryside during the Civil War; war communism; the Red Terror: revolts of 1920–1921

Dr Michael Lynch, Honorary Research Professor at The University of Edinburgh

11:15– 11:45 am
Effective evaluation of Historical Interpretations on Bolshevik Consolidation, 1918 to 1924

  • Analyse example responses on the Bolshevik Consolidation, including the introduction of the NEP that demonstrate the skills that gain the highest marks
  • Examine what differentiates top from lower level responses when answering questions on the value of sources
  • Improve real student responses to confirm how to reach higher mark bands and strengthen student exam performance

Keith Milne, Author, experienced presenter and Head of Department, Senior Moderator and former Principal Examiner for a major awarding body

11.45 – 12.05pm
Break – Students get the opportunity to submit their questions on Russia History to our expert panel

12.05 – 12.45pm
To what extent can Stalin’s rise to power, 1924-1929 be seen as showing that Communist ideals had failed?

  • The power vacuum and power struggle: ideology and the nature of leadership; Lenin’s testament
  • Divisions and contenders for power: character, strengths and weaknesses of Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Kamenev, Rykov, Tomsky and Zinoviev
  • Ideological debates and issues in the leadership struggle: NEP and industrialisation; ‘permanent revolution’ versus ‘Socialism in One Country’; how and why Stalin became party leader and the outcome for the other contenders
  • Economic developments: reasons for and impact of the ‘Great Turn’; the economic shift; the launch of the first Five Year Plan and the decision to collectivise
  • Government, propaganda and the beginning of the Stalinist cult

Professor Robert Service, St Anthony’s College, University of Oxford

12.45- 1.25pm

1.25– 1.35 ~
Ask the Experts
Michael Lynch, Robert Service, Keith Milne

  • The experts answer the questions submitted by the students

1.35 – 2.15pm
Economy and society, 1929–1941: Soviet success or national disaster? =

  • Agricultural and social developments in the countryside: voluntary and forced collectivisation; state farms; mechanisation; the impact of collectivisation on the kulaks and other peasants
  • Industrial and social developments in towns and cities: Gosplan; the organisation, aims and results of the first three Five Year Plans; new industrial centres and projects; the involvement of foreign companies; the working and living conditions of managers, workers and women; Stakhanovites; the success of the Five Year Plans
  • The social and economic condition of the Soviet Union by 1941: strengths and weaknesses

Dr Michael Lynch, Honorary Research Professor at The University of Edinburgh

2.15 – 3.10pm
How far did Stalin’s legacy survive his death?
Stalin 1941-1953 and attempts to reform the Soviet System  

  • High Stalinism: dictatorship and totalitarianism; renewed Terror; the NKVD under Beria
  • The transformation of the Soviet Union’s international position: the emergence of a
  • ‘superpower’; the formation of a soviet bloc; conflict with USA and the capitalist West; death of Stalin and Stalin’s legacy at home and abroad
  • De-Stalinisation: the speech to the Twentieth Party Congress 1956; resistance in the party, including Molotov in 1957.The political, economic and social condition of the Soviet Union by 1964
  • Administrative reforms: decentralisation; the restructuring of the security apparatus. Extent of new intellectual and cultural freedom, and limitations, including the closure of churches
  • The differing approaches of Khrushchev and Brezhnev

Professor Robert Service, St Anthony’s College, University of Oxford

3:10 –3:40 pm
Workshop – The key to excellent essays on Russian History, focusing on Stalinism, politics and control, 1929-1941

  • How to write high quality essays on 20th Century Russia, using examples on Stalinism, politics and control
  • Analysing the question – examine a sample question on the USSR to establish its key aspects
  • Explore exemplar responses to determine what examiners expect on Russian History at grades B to A*
  • Excellent essay practice: students improve example responses to understand what the examiners want

Keith Milne, Author, experienced presenter and Head of Department, Senior Moderator and former Principal Examiner for a major awarding body

Keith Milne

Keith has 25 years of teaching experience in a wide range of schools and is currently Head of History in a large and very successful department of eleven full-time teachers. In addition to lecturing part time at university, whilst studying for a PhD in European History, he has written and also advised on a number of textbooks for A Level History students. He is a highly experienced Principal Examiner and Principal Moderator for a major examination body, leading a large number of very popular online and face-to-face conferences detailing the routes to exam success for all A Level students.

Dr Michael Lynch

Dr Michael Lynch is an honorary fellow of Leicester University, has written over thirty books and articles on modern history, his particular interests being European and Chinese history. Among his recent publications are Russia 1894-1941 (2016), Mao (2017), Mao’s China 1936-97 (2019) and Bolshevik and Stalinist Russia 1917-53 (2019). He has served as an A-level senior examiner and is currently editor of the A Level‘Access to History’series (Hachette). A regular speaker at conferences and VI-form gatherings, he also appears in a number of current television series on modern history, including ‘Hitler’s Circle of Evil’ and ‘Greatest Events of World War Two’.

Professor Robert Service

Professor Service is Emeritus Professor of Russian History St Antony’s College, Oxford.  He was elected to an Emeritus Fellowship at St Antony’s in January 2014 and remains a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His books and articles, dealing mainly with Russian history from the late nineteenth century to the present day, cover economic, social and cultural as well as political aspects.   He accompanies this with work on contemporary Russia.

His Trotsky won the Duff Cooper prize.   He has been a British Academy fellow since 1998.   He writes for the newspapers and broadcasts in both the UK and the USA; he served as an expert witness in the Berezovsky-Abramovich trial and at the Litvinenko inquiry in London.   He enjoys hill-walking, singing and strumming.  His latest books are The Last of the Tsars:  Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution and Russia and Its Islamic World, From the Mongol Conquest to the Syrian Intervention. is a study of the two superpowers at The End of the Cold War, 1985-1991. Currently he is conducting research on Russia in the Putin period since 2012.

Selected publications include his latest, ‘Russia and Its Islamic World, From the Mongol Conquest to the Syrian Intervention’ (2017).

Students £25+VAT

One free teacher place for every 10 student places
Additional teachers £35+VAT
Individual teachers £80+VAT