The Power Struggle

The personalities and powerbases of the 5 contenders that had a realistic chance of becoming the new ruler of Russia - Trotsky, Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev.

Their authority was based on a few different factors - background, revolutionary record, relationship with Lenin and appeal within the Party.

Stalin would eventually emerge as Lenin's successor, but at the time of Lenin's death, he was not expected to take power at all.

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  • Created by: Rhi_
  • Created on: 27-04-14 18:25

Trotsky

Background

  • Jewish, was exiled to Siberia

Revolutionary Record

  • won support for Communists during October Revolution
  • mastermined the Bolshevik seizure of power
  • responsible for consolidating the Communist rule
  • leader of the Red Army during the Civil War

Relationship with Lenin

  • at first, he sided with the Mensheviks
  • from 1917 he worked closely with Lenin - saw eye to eye, eg. on the Red Army discipline
  • Lenin said, 'no better Communist', 'most able man', but 'too far-reaching self confidence'
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Trotsky

Appeal within Party

  • support of young communists, students and loyalty of the Red Army
  • many enemies within party
  • many resented him for joining party so late but being so high up

Party Powerbase

  • No party job

Government Powerbase

  • Head of Red Army
  • Commisar for War
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Stalin

Background

  • claimed to be leader of world proletariat, but was Georgian, Marxist
  • became a Communist in 1902
  • was a member of the Central Committee by 1912

Revolutionary Record

  • Committee member during October revolution
  • refused Trotsky's authority during the Civil War
  • had a position at the highest level of government in 1921

Relationship with Lenin

  • Lenin called him 'that wonderful Georgian'
  • however, once Lenin became ill, Stalin began to oppose him
  • Lenin was critical in his testament, wanting Stalin removed from the party
  • however Lenin still said he was one of the 'most able'
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Stalin

Appeal within Party

  • Threefold:
    • he could advance careers of those within the party
    • was seen to be the voice of calm moderation
    • was prepared to appeal to the national pride of those he sought to lead

Party Powerbase

  • Gereral Secretary
  • Head of the Central/Control Commission

Government Powerbase

  • Commisar for Nationalities on the Sovnarkom
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Bukharin

Background

  • parents were teachers
  • joined Communists 1906

Revolutionary Record

  • wrote in Communist papers, encouraging German Communists to seize power in their own country

Relationship with Lenin

  • Bukharin admired him
  • Lenin said he was a 'golden boy'
  • however, after the revolution Bukharin headed the Left Communists, criticising Lenin's signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
  • after the Civil War, he abandoned the Left Communists and supported the NEP
  • 'favourite' of the whole party, the 'most able', but was 'fully Marxist' (criticism)
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Bukharin

Appeal within Party

  • 'honesty, fairness' <- appealing to party members
  • in 1921 a foreign visitor said he was the 'eventual successor to Lenin'

Party Powerbase

  • Unofficial party theorist
  • Had control of the media

Government Powerbase

  • No position
  • Couldn't vote
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Zinoviev

Background

  • Jewish
  • joined Communists 1903

Revolutionary Record

  • during Civil War, stayed in Petrograd's most luxurious hotel, far from the fighting

Relationship with Lenin

  • worked together on books, accompanied Lenin into hiding mid 1917
  • however violently disagreed with Lenin:
    • about the Communist seizure of Power - didn't think they should do it
    • suggested they should share power with other parties after the seizure of power
    • Lenin said, 'I will only remind you that October episode of Zinoviev and Kamenev was not, of course, accidental'
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Zinoviev

Appeal within Party

  • vain, ambitious,
  • had obvious political failings
  • sometimes a good speaker

Party Powerbase

  • Head of Petrograd Party

Government Powerbase

  • Did not serve on the Sovnarkom
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Kamenev

Background

  • only potential successor with a working class background

Revolutionary Record

  • more cautious
  • opposed April Theses, October Revolution, and having an all-Communist government
  • had no notable part in the Civil War

Relationship with Lenin

  • opposed Lenin's vision
  • close during his final years
  • testament reminded readers of his abscence in 1917 - 'I will only remind you that the October episode of Zinoviev and Kamenev was not, of course, accidental.'
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Kamenev

Appeal within Party

  • little personal ambition
  • intellectual
  • uninspiring public speaker
  • gave up easily in the face of opposition

Party Powerbase

  • Chairman of Central Committee
  • Leader of Moscow Party

Government Powerbase

  • Deputy leader of Sovnarkom
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Summary

Key: Trotsky, Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev

Background: Jewish, Georgian, parents were teachers, Jewish, working-class

Revolutionary Record: leader of Red Army; position at the highest level of government; wrote in Communist papers, wanted German's to seize power in Germany; stayed in luxurious hotel during Civil War; opposed April Theses, October Revolution and the all-Communist government.

Relationship with Lenin - his Testament: 'no better communist' but 'too far-reaching self confidence'; 'that wonderful Georgian', but wanted him kicked out; 'golden boy' but 'fully Marxist'; violently disagreed with seizure of power, absent 1917; opposed Lenin's vision, absent 1917

Appeal within Party: many enemies within party, could advance careers of those within party, honest and fair, obvious political failings, vain, little personal ambition, gave up easily

Party Powerbase: None, General Secretary, Head of the Central Control Commission; controlled media; Head of Petrograd Party, Head of Moscow Party

Government Powerbase: Head of Red Army, Commisar for War, Commisar for Nationalities, None, None, Deputy Leader of Sovnarkom

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