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Who should succeed Lenin?
When Lenin died in 1924 he left several
leading communists who were possible
candidates to take his place.
Kamenev and Zinoviev were contenders
who played important roles in the
Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Bukharin was a moderate member of the
party who favoured the NEP and wanted to
introduce communism gradually
Stalin and Trotsky were bitter rivals and
were both two leading figures in the
Communist party.…read more

Slide 3

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Trotsky or Stalin?
Trotsky was a brilliant writer and speaker and was
the party's best political thinker.
He organised the Bolshevik revolution and was
seen as a hero of the civil war as he was the leader
of the Red Army
He was also the person that negotiated peace for
Russia with signing the Brest-Livosk Treaty.
He was arrogant and offended other senior party
He also made little effort to build up any support
in the ranks of the party and frightened many
He argued that the future security of the USSR
was to spread permanent revolution across the
globe until the whole world was communist…read more

Slide 4

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Trotsky or Stalin?
Stalin was a clever politician and planned his bid for
power carefully.
He made great efforts to associate with Lenin and got
off to an excellent start at Lenin's funeral.
He was extremely clever with using his power within
the communist party. He took on many boring but
important jobs. (e.g. General Secretary)
He used these positions to put his supporters into
important posts and transfer rival supporters to
remote postings.
He was ruthless in picking off his rivals one by one. E.
g. he took Bukharin's side in the debate on the NEP to
get rid of Trotsky and then opposed Bukharin with
exactly the same arguments as Trotsky
He thought that should try to establish `Socialism in
One Country' rather than spreading it world wide.…read more

Slide 5

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Political Purges
In 1934, Kirov, the leader of the Leningrad
Communist Party, was murdered, probably on
Stalin's orders.
Stalin used this episode to order massive
purges by which anybody suspected
of disloyalty was murdered, sent to prison
camps, or put on public show trials at which
they pleaded guilty to incredible crimes they
could never have done.
The Communist leadership was purged - 93
of the 139 Central Committee members were
put to death.
The armed forces were purged - 81 of the 103
generals and admirals were executed.
The Communist Party was purged - about a
third of its 3 million members were killed.
Photographs and history books were changed…read more

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Purges of Ordinary People
By the end of the 1930s, the Great Terror had
spread to ordinary people - anybody who
looked as though they had a will of their own.
Some 20 million ordinary Russians were sent
to the gulag - the system of labour camps
mostly in Siberia - where perhaps half of them
The Christian Church and the Muslim religion
were forbidden. Ethnic groups were
persecuted, and Russification - the acceptance
of Russian language and customs - was
enforced throughout the Soviet Union.
People who had annoyed their neighbours
were turned in to the NKVD (the secret police)
and arrested, never to be seen again.…read more

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