stalin's russia 1924-1953 Booklet

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Preview of stalin's russia 1924-1953 Booklet

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The struggle for power
Personalities
Stalin
Members of the soviet government called Stalin `the grey blur', meaning that there was nothing outstanding or
controversial about him. He played a minor role in the October revolution and in the Russian civil war. He also had a
reputation for loyalty to Lenin. Nonetheless, when Lenin became ill, Stalin started disobeying his orders.
Lenin's testament criticised him for this, but, as the testament was kept secret, Lenin's final instructions that Stalin
should be sacked from his position with the party was not widely known. Lenin believed that Stalin had `concentrated
an enormous power in his hands' and did not always use it as wisely.
Trotsky
Trotsky was the most heroic of the contenders. Together with Lenin, he had planned and led the October revolution
and had commanded the Red Army during the civil war. He was extremely glamorous and a gifted theorist and
orator, who inspired the loyalty of his troops. Trotsky had a radical vision for the future of Russia, which appealed to
young and idealistic members of the party. Indeed, Lenin's testament praised Trotsky as `the most outstanding
member' of the party. However, he was also viewed as arrogant and too western by many cautious communists who
were reluctant to trust him because he only joined the Bolsheviks party in 1917.
Bukharin
Bukharin was the youngest of the contenders. Like Trotsky, he was known as a thinker and an orator. However, he
lacked Trotsky's arrogance, and for this reason Lenin described him as the `golden boy' of the communist party.
Following the civil war, he became the leading advocate of the New Economic Policy (NEP), a compromise between
communism and capitalism. Some older communists thought Bukharin was too young to lead the party, and radicals on
the left wing were suspicious of his economic policy. Also Lenin's testaments criticised Bukharin's theories as `his
theoretical views can only with the very greatest doubt be regarded as fully Marxist.
Zinoviev and Kamenev
Zinoviev and Kamenev were Lenin's closest friends. Indeed, they were among the first members of the Bolshevik
party. However, because of this they had a history of disloyalty and cowardice. They publically criticised Lenin's plans
for the October revolution. During the civil war, Zinoviev avoided the fighting by staying in the most expensive hotel
in Petrograd, surrounded by prostitutes. In Kamenev's testament, Lenin reminded his readers about their disloyalty in
the crucial months of 1917.
Party positions
Contender Position (s) significance
Stalin General secretary He could influence what was discussed at politburo
Controlled the politburo meetings.
agenda He could fill the party congress with his own
Selected delegates for the supporters.
party congress He had the power to reward those who were loyal
Controlled promotions and to him.
appointments within the party
He could investigate and sack from the party those
Head of Rabkrin who opposed him.
Controlled party discipline

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Trotsky Head of red army He was seen as a threat because party members
thought he might use the army to seize power.
He gained the loyalty of members of the army,
some of whom were also members of the party.
However, many members of the army were not
members of the party, and therefore could not
attend the party congress.…read more

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Idealism = the desire to remake a world to reflect a set of ideas, even if they are extremely unrealistic.
Pragmatism = focused on the world as it is, rather than unrealistic ideas about a future ideal society.…read more

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In 1917, Lenin and Bolsheviks assumed that Russia would be one communist country among many. However, by 1921,
it was obvious that world revolution was some way off. Leading communists responded to this unexpected situation
in two main ways.
Left wing view: permanent revolution Right-wing: socialism in one country
No socialist can exist on its own Socialism can be built in Russia alone.…read more

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Additionally because of the testament being critical to many senior communists, Zinoviev and Kamenev argued that
the testament should stay secret as it will undermined the government.
At the thirteenth party congress in 1924, the congress condemned Trotsky for forming a faction against the explicit
command of Lenin, who had banned factions in 1921.
The triumvirate split
In early 1925 the triumvirate had split because of the alliance no longer having an enemy, as they had defeated
Trotsky.…read more

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Dirty tricks
Stalin was also willing to use dirty tricks to gain power.
Lenin's funeral
Lenin's funeral in 1924 was highly significant because it gave the contenders for power a platform from
which to show their loyalty to Lenin. Stalin used Lenin's funeral to discredit Trotsky. Trotsky was
convalescing on the shores of the black sea at the time Lenin died and therefore was cut off from events in
Moscow. Stalin used this as his advantage to Trotsky the wrong date for the funeral.…read more

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Industrialisation was a key goal of the communist government. Farming reform was essential for rapid
industrialisation. Stalin planned to change farming so that it was more efficient. This would provide the
additional food needed for growing industrial workers, and release peasants to work in industry.
1913 1928
Steel (millions of tonnes) 4.0 4.0
Iron (millions of tonnes) 4.2 3.3
Steel and iron production in Russia 1913-1928
Ideological reasons
The communists had always been critical of the free market.…read more

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Twenty-five thousanders 27,000 volunteers sent to the countryside to assist in
9 dekulakisation.
193 `dizzy with success' Stalin stopped compulsory collectivisation, blaming the
0 confusion in the countryside on party members being `dizzy
with successes.
Farmers returned to their own farms.
193 Collectivisation restarts Forced collectivisation began again, at a slower pace.
1
194 Collectivisation complete All farms in Russia were collectivised.
1
The consequences of collectivisation
Despite stalins hopes, collectivisation was a disaster.…read more

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The planned economy was administered by gosplan, which set targets for production across Russia. The
plan focused on heavy industry ­ coal, oil, iron and steel ­ for two reasons.
These industries produced the raw materials needed for future economic development and for
arming.
The majority of Russian workers, many of whom had been peasants, had little experience of
industry and therefore were better suited to the relatively uncomplicated tasks involved in heavy
industry.
Production 192 193
(millions of 8 2
tonnes)
Iron 3.3 6.…read more

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One objective of the first five-year plan was to abolish the free market. However, the shortage of consumer goods
led to the development of a black market. Speculators sold vodka, cigarettes, food and footwear for expensive
prices.
Slave labour
Many of the successes of the five-year plan were achieved through slave labour. Peasants who had been arrested as
a result of dekulakisation were sent to labour camps and forced to work on industrial projects. For example, 40,000
prisoners were used to build magnitogrosk.…read more

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