The Power Struggle: Detailed Revision Notes

AS Edexcel History

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Reasons for the power struggle 1924-1929:
1. Lenin sets no end date for the NEP
2. Following Lenin's death, top Bolsheviks began to jostle for position as his successor/heir
3. Lenin left behind a last will and testament
Strengths Weaknesses
Personality/background: Revolutionary record:
Poor peasant background No significant role in the October Revolution
Violent Lenin's will criticises Stalin:
Seen as boring and dull ­ "the grey blur" Rude, intolerant, too powerful
Tells party to remove Stalin
Revolutionary record: Lenin falls out with Stalin before his death
Bank robberies
S Civil war organisational skills (Lenin values this)
Relationship with Lenin:
A Trusts him
Recognises his talent for organisation
I Positions of power:
Member of the Central Committee
N Member of Politburo (role in all party decisions)
Member of Sovnarkom (vote in all government decisions)
General secretary (interprets decisions, sets agenda for
meetings, writes minutes, appointing, promoting and
demoting members)
Head of Central Control Commission (investigate corrupt
party members, discipline and expel them
Head of the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate (expel
corrupt members of the government)
Revolutionary record: Feared by the party:
Planned October Revolution Could become a military dictator
Civil War (Red Army)
1905 Revolution ­ one of the leaders of the soviet Lenin's will criticises Trotsky:
T Intellectual theorist: Uncompromising ­ could cause splits
Marxism Arrogant
R Debate
O Menshevik 1903-1917:
Positions of power: Makes him look disloyal
T Leader of the Red Army (organisation and orator) Rivals jealous of the power he acquired in such a shor
Member of the Sovnarkom space of time
S Politburo
K Relationship with Lenin:
Doesn't bother engaging with people
Y "the most able man" "aloof"
Very close and trusted "too westernised" not traditionally Russian in his
Very loyal to him manner
Suffered repeated bouts of illness from 1924 onwards
Middleclass family

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Critical of most Bolsheviks, names no successor
Power Struggle key contestants:
The Left-Wing of the Communist Party based their The Right-Wing of the Communist Party based their
interpretation on War Communism interpretation on The NEP
Class-based rationing Small-scale industry run by private owners
Use of terror and force Heavy industry under state control
Heavy industry under state control Peasantry permitted to sell grain for profit
Small-scale industry under state control Transport and banking under state control
Grain requisitioning Peasants required to pay grain tax
Private…read more

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This was not very Marxist. According to Marx, Communism would only be achieved in a country
which had first gone through a capitalist stage and industrialisation
3.…read more

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How did Stalin win the Power Struggle?
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Ruling The Triumvirate: The Duumvirate:
Alliance Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin Bukharin and Stalin
Opposition Left Opposition New Opposition (Z&K) Right Opposition (Bukharin, Rykov
faction (Trotsky) United Opposition (T&Z&K) and Tomsky)
The great industrialisation The great industrialisation The great industrialisation
debate debate debate
Key issues
The future of the Revolution World revolution? The future of the Revolution
The future of the revolution
1.…read more

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Stalin expels Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky for forming a faction
Due to his control of the delegates at the congress
Kamenev and Zinoviev apologize and are readmitted (destroys their authority)
8.…read more

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Need to build a more communist society
Defend the USSR through industrialisation and production of weaponry
To beat Bukharin in the power struggle…read more


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