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Strengths as a leader

  • Stalin led the Soviet Union out of post-revolution turmoil and stabilised the country after Lenin's death
  • He revolutionised Soviet industry using the Five Year Plans, making it a much stronger country, economically
  • Stalin led the Soviet Union through wartime hardship and to ultimate victory in WWII
  • He brought the Soviet Union out of international isolation from the 1930s onwards
  • By the time he died in 1953, the Soviet Union was established as one of the world's two established superpowers, along with the USA.
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Weaknesses as a leader

  • Like Lenin, he had dictatorial tendencies and suppressed democracy and civil liberties to an even greater extent in Communist Russia
  • Stalin terrorised Soviet society with the secret police, mass executions and expulsions from the country
  • Stalin distorted the truth and re-wrote past events with his use of propaganda
  • He removed all opposition and any potential rivals including Trotsky
  • Stalin pushed the Soviet Union into a damaging "Cold War" with the West, resulting in almost forty years of international tension.
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Tactics Part 1


  • important as showed loyalty to Lenin
  • Stalin used to discredit Trotsky
  • Stalin told Trotsky the wrong date of the funeral
  • Trotsky was regarded as disloyal as missed funeral


  • instructed for Stalin's removal
  • Stalin persuaded Zinoviev & Kamenev who were also criticised to stop it being published
  • conviced Central committee to not pass it
  • were then able to hide Stalin's repuation


  • Stalin adopted industrialisation & socialism in 1 country = most popular policies of the time
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Tactics Part 2


  • Stalin used his influence as General secretary to prevent Buhkarin from attending important meetings
  • When Buhkarin travelling by air, Stalin arranged for plane 2 be grounded twice
  • inisisting Buhkarin needs medical checks


  • 192 ban on factions
  • alliance between Zinoviev,Kamenav &B done in secret meeting in which Stalin was present so he spilled the beans and got them in trouble
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Purges: The Party

Purge of the Party

  • all those who had played prominent roles in 1917 revolution /Lenin's government purged
  • Stalin was the only one left from the orignal Politburo
  • Trotsky- exile mexico- assaisinated in 1940
  • members were executed/committed suicide
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Purges: Army

The Purge Of Army

  • Claimed to be supported by Nazi forged docs
  • 1/3 army officals, rest commisars/political supervisors
  • removed 3 of 5 marshalls, 13 of 15 commanders
  • showed Stalin was loosing touch with reality- needed them as expected war
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Mass Murder

Mass Murder

  • NKVD ordered to remove 'anti soviet element'
  • produced list of 250,00 ppl
  • helped by ppl- denounced friends & neighbours
  • survival stategy
  • some denounced for beneifts e.g.  for better housing
  • 1937-8= 1.5 million executed
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Victims of the Purges

Who were the victims?

  • Communist part people
  • Bourgeois
  • Armed forces/ NKVD
  • 10% of adult males
  • urban areas / less educated
  • 30-45 yr olds in managerial / professional posts
  • 5% women
  • nationalities
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Importance of Stalin controlling the Party organis

  • Truimvirate was established to ensure Trotsky wouldn't have a majority Politburo
  • He managed to fill congress with well instructured stalinist delegates
  • General Secretary was a dominant places in the Party Structure
  • Drew up approved lists of candidates sent to the party congress
  • Stalin formed a tatical alliance with Bukharin forming the Duumvirate therefore could command a majority of delegates that atteneded congress
  • As Head of the Central Control Commission to formally disclipine his oppentants for advocating trotsky polices
  • Commissar for nationalities
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Stalin's political skill/ personal characteristics

  • Trumvirate had two strategies of denying trotsky power by unabling him to master the party and destroy his influnence and ideology for Lenin
  • Kamenev and Zinovev argued Stalin case therefore Stalin kept his job
  • In 1925 Stalin's policy of socialism in one country proved popular with the party masses
  • Ruthless and pragmatic
  • Stalin didn't get involved in arguments therefore denigity intake
  • growing idelogy prestiage and tactical manevouring that assured victory
  • ability to manipulate appointments and promotions within a party
  • Stalin gave speeches at Lenins funeral
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Weaknesses/mistakes of Stalin's oppopents

  • Lenin's testament was kept a secret despite it asking for Stalin's removal
  • Trotsky did little to further his own cause, por health mean neglected his powerful position in the the Politubro, refused to make private alliances
  • Zinonev and Kamenev lost the debate meant losing all authority
  • Trotsky remained aloof during the debate
  • Zinoviev and Kamenev authority had been shattered
  • Trotsky refused to apologise and sent into exile
  • Bukharin had frequent disagreements with Lenin
  • Trotsky didn't attend funeral
  • Underestimated stalin
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Luck/Other factors

Lenins ban on factions meant Trotsky could be expelled

Lenin was seriously ill could expolit position in the power struggle

Lenin didnt give a successor wanted a collective leadership

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