Stalin's Russia: Ideological Conflict

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  • Created by: Vicky
  • Created on: 05-04-13 19:48

Rival interpretations of Leninism

  • After Lenin's death, senior communists began to promote 'Leninism' - ideas of Lenin
  • Caused left and right wing members of the communist party. Zinoviev & kamenev switched right to left

Left wing - Represented by Trotsky

  • Ideological rejection of the NEP
  • Ideologically committed to immediate industrialisation
  • Permanent revolution

Right wing - Represented by Bukharin

  • Ideological acceptance of the NEP 
  • Ideologically committed to industrialisation in the distant future
  • Socialism in one country. 

Centre - Stalin

  • Pragmatic commitment to NEP 
  • Ideologically committed to industrialisation in the near future
  • Socialism in one country
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Great industrialisation debate

Left wing - The dictatorship of industry

  • 1923, economy had stabalised.
  • Argued that NEP was ideologically misguided - Favoured peasants, returned power to capitalists at expense of working class. 
  • NEP was also economically misguided- failed to deliver growth, stimulated agriculture, failed to improve conditions & uneployment for workers.
  • A left-wing economist proposed high taxes for peasants and money raised would be invested in heavy industry. 

Right wing - socailism at a snails pace

  • Economic stability more important than rapid industrialisation
  • 'Smychka' (alliance between peasants and workers) would be threatened by increasing taxes on peasants. 
  • NEP should last for min. of 20yrs - industry would grow slowly


  • Similar position to right wing; more interested in industrialisation; unethusiastic about rich farmers; when NEP started to fail, Stalin abandoned it. 
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World revolution

Left wing - Permanent revolution

  • Trotsky's theory suggested that no socialist society could exist alone
  • Didn't believe Russia had economic resources or technology to become socialist itself
  • He hoped for a revolution in western europe, believing communist regimes in advanced countries would provide Russia with resources needed to build socialism

Right wing - Socialism in one country

  • 1924, Stalin and Bukharin claimed the unique character of Russian Revolution would allow for socialism in Russia. 
  • Believed it could be successful by itself due to the smychka between workers and peasants - made Russia economically self-sufficient, foreign aid unnecessary. 
  • Highly appealing, played on Russian nationalism, gave Russians a leading role in world history.
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Future of the revolution

Left wing - bureacratic degeneration

  • Concerned the Communists had turned from relvolutionists into government bureaucrats. Feared bureaucrats joined for a well-paid job, lacked revolutioned spirit & commitment to fight capitalism.
  • Declaration of the Forty-Six, 1923 - claimed ordinary party members had lost their power to 'bureaucratic apparatus' and stated that those who disagreed with party policy were afraid to speak out due to power of the bureaucracy
  •  Trotsky claimed process of bureaucratisation was accelerated by Lenin enrolment, it admitted poorly educated workers into party membership. his solution was greater openness and democracy within the party. 

Right wing- Bonapartism

  • Stalin argued Trotsky was main threat to revolution - French revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, head of army, gifted speaker. Trotsky would become a militiary dictator.
  • Trotsky's statement, 1927 stating he would assume position of dictator if Russia was attacked didnt help the situation. 
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