Stalin's Russia: Shifting alliances

AS Edexcel history Stalin's Russia 1924-1953

  • Created by: Vicky
  • Created on: 08-04-13 14:39


Stage 1

  • Ruling alliance: Triumvirate 
  • Opposition alliance: Left opposition (Trotsky)
  • Key issues: Great industrial debate; future of revolution

Stage 2 

  • Ruling alliance: Duumvirate
  • Opposition alliance: New Opposition & United Opposition
  • Key issues: Great industrial debate; World revolution?; Future of revolution 

Stage 3 

  • Ruling alliance: Stalin 
  • Opposition alliance: Right opposition (Bukharin, Rykov & Tomsky)
  • Key issues: Great industrial debate; future of revolution
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Triumvirate Vs Trotsky & left opposition

  • No single person had power of the party 
  • Party was ruled by a number of alliances 
  • Triumvirate's main objective was denying Trotsky power, 2 ways to do this: Stop him getting power of party & destroy his influence by questioning his ideology, loyalty to Lenin and activities since the revolution

Denying Trotsky power

  • Lenin's last testament called for Stalin to be sacked which would destroy Triumvirates majority
  • Zinoviev & Kamenev argued Testament undermined authority of government and should therefore be kept secret – it was, also cliamed Stalin had changed.
  • Stalin’s use of being general secretary – drew up candidates to attend Party Congress as Party Congress elected Central Committee and they elected the Politburo.
  • 12th party congress, 1923, approx. 30% of party members recomended by Central Committee.
  • Trotsky failed to make the most of his position in the politburo and underestimated the struggle he faced
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Triumvirate Vs Trotsky & left opposition 2

Undercutting Trotsky's influence

  • Long term aim was to destroy Trotsky's reputation
  • Used 'Cult of Lenin' to suggest Trotsky was disloyal to Lenin
  • Stalin gave Trotsky wrong date for funeral so he missed it, making him look bad
  •  Zinoviev & Kamenev criticised Trotsky's book The Lessons of October, claimed it emphasied his role at the epense of Lenin's. used as evidence of Trosky's pride and betrayal of Lenin
  • Attempted to show 'Trotskyism' was far from 'Leninism'. Claimed 'Trotskyism' was a form of Menshevism, incompatible with 'Leninism'
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The Triumvirate split

  • No longer had a common enemy, nothing to keep them united.
  • Stalin - Socialism in one county, Z&K couldnt accept so they split early 1925
  • Zinoviev & Kamenev believed they were powerful enough to take Politburo, however, undignified arguments with Trotsky lost them respect  of many party members.
  • Zinoviev & Kamenev formed New Opposition and Stalin & Bukharin joined forces to make Duumvirate 

Duumvirate Vs the Left 

  • Stalin and Bukharin together had power and authority to rule.  Stalin controlled Party machine & Bukharin controlled media. 
  • Shared ideological ground, continuing NEP and Socialism in one county. 
  • Together they could command a majority on the Central Committee & Politburo.
  • Stopped the left gaining control
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The Triumvirate split 2

The Duumvirate Vs the New Opposition

  • New Opposition able to switch from supporting NEP to demanding immidiate industrialisation, also criticised socialism in one country 
  • Duumvirate defeated N.O in debate at 14th Parth Congress
  • Stalin was able to appoint majority of delegates who attended Congress. Won 559-65.
  • Vote proved how unpopular Zinoviev & Kamenev were.
  • Kamenev removed form Sovnarkom, neither re-elected to Politburo; Bukharin replaced Zinoviev as Chairman of Comintern & replaced Kamenev as Head of Moscow Party.
  • Trotsky forced to resign as Head of Red Army due to fears of him becoming a military dictator, lost his most important powerbase within the party. 
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The Triumvirate split 3

Trotsky returns

  • 1926-27 new NEP problems, industry couldn't produce enough goods to satisfy wealth peasants
  • Lack of goods to spend profits on meant no incentive to sell grain, or even produce extra
  • 'Kulak grain strike' led to food shortages in cities and rising grain prices
  • Threat of war brought Trotsky back from self-imposed retirement
  • Zinoviev & Kamenev allied with Trotsky to from the United Opposition.
  • United Opposition position strengthened by failure of NEP
  • 15th party congress, 1927, Trotsky, Zinoviev & Kamenev were expelled from the party
  • 1925, Stalin packed congress with loyal supporters & used position of Head of Central Control Commission to formally discipline opponents for supporting Trotskyist policies
  • Zinoviev & Kamenev publically appologised for ideological 'crimes', readmitted to party but authority was shattered. 
  • Trotsky was sent into exile 
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Stalin Vs Bukharin and the right opposition

  • 1928, Stalin rejected the NEP, ended alliance with Bukharin 
  • Bukharin appeared to be in a stronger position, part theorist; controlled media and education;favourite of the party; supported by Tomsky and Rykov
  • Stalin referred to as 'Comrade Card-Index' or the 'Grey Blur' 

Stalin's break with NEP

  • Only supported NEP when it was successful 
  • 1928, he advocated rapid industrialisation & agricultural collectivisation
  • Removal of Trotsky, Zinoviev & Kamenev, Left had no leadership
  • Positioning himself on the left assured support from those who opposer right-wing views
  • Adopting radical economic ideas similar to War Communism appealed to heroic aspirations of many Communists
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Stalin Vs Bukharin and the right opposition 2

Clash of powerbases

  • Bukharin controlled soviet media, advocate own policies and discredit opponents
  • alliance with Tomsky gave him considerable power in Russia's trade unions.
  • Rykov important ally - Head of State
  • Stalin's powerbase located at heart of party, ability to manipulate appointments and promotions within party, fill party congress with own supporters 
  • as General Secretary, able to issue directives which created opinion within the Party, allowed him to undercut influence Bukharin had through the media

Ideological battle

  • NEP problems showed Bukharin wasnt such a gifted theorist 
  • Stalin's book widely read by new recruits, perfect for those who signed up under 'Lenin enrollment' 
  • Staling brought up Bukharins disagreements with Lenin to show he wasnt committed
  • Bukharin accused Stalin of turning party into a bureaucracy. Stalin accused Bukharin of Trotskyism - Trotsky first to make claim of bureaucracy
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Stalin Vs Bukharin and the right opposition 3

Tactical manoeuvering

  • Stalin knew when to retreat - Stalin lost to Bukharin in Cenral Committee and temporarily stopped emergency grain requisitioning
  • Stalin excellent at manipulating party - Started false rumours about forming an alliance with Zinoviev & Kamenev, Bukharin set up a secret meeting with them and Stalin used this as evidence of factionalism - banned by Lenin, 1921
  • Stalin very devious, delayed Bukharins plane twice to make him late for important meetings
  • Stalin ignored Politburo and Central Committee, acted on own authority - restarted emergeny grain requisitioning, sabotaged NEP, ruining Bukharin's reputatuion 
  • Bukharin was keen to negotiate with Stalin in private, refused to publically condemn him
  • Chose to work within the frame work of the Party rules 
  • Didn't use media effectively
  • Tried to use Lenin's testament against Stalin, was condemned because Central Committee ruled it should be kept a secret
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