Why Stalin won the power struggle

  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 04-05-13 13:12

Personalities of the 'Power Five'

Stalin  Lacked the charisma and oratory skills of Trotsky; dubbed 'the grey blur'; dull and harmless; being underestimated allowed him to continue unnoticed; manipulative, eg tricking Trotsky out of attending Lenin's funeral. Ability to manipulate and go 'under the radar'.

Trotsky  Arrogant, hot-headed and a maverick, disagreeing with both the Mensh. (despite having formly been one) and the Bolsh.; constant disputes with allies saw him outlined. Radicalism and refusal to conform with the rest of the party.

Kamenev and Zinoviev  Succumbed to Stalin's pressure; Trotsky's diary during his Norway imprisonment said they were 'lacking in sufficient character'. Supposed inadequacy.

Bukharin  Honest, fair and popular; named 'the golden boy' in Lenin's Last Testiment; passivity possibly the reason Stalin was so able to overpower him. Incorruptibility.

Personalities could only go so far in achieving success for any of them, ie Bukharin was the favourite but didn't gain leadership. Other factors more signficiant.

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Policies and ideologies

- Left- and right-wing within the party itself; Trotsky on the left, radicalised side; Bukharin on the right, moderate side; Kam. and Zin. leaning more towards the left; Stalin in the pragmatic centre: 'the voice of reason'; easier to form alliances; seen as less of a political threat.

Whereas an alliance between Trotsky and Bukharin would have been impossible, Stalin had the ability to ally with any other contender, giving him a great position of power.

- Stalin's socialism in one country appealed to Russian nationalism, suggested superiority

- Trotsky's permanent revolution unappealing so soon as WWI and the Russian Civil War

- Stalin showed commitment to Lenin's legacy through support of the NEP; 'Leninism'

- Stalin generally quiet and cagey about his policies, leaving the party to argue amongst themselves

- Neutral ideological position allowed him to form alliances while the others, with their far-left and far-right views, saw the focus on each other as rivals.

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Performance - actions of contenders and alliances

Triumvirate, formed 1923, split 1924. Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev.

- Intended to keep Trotsky from power

- Hidden agenda: Stalin needed Kam. and Zin. to argue his case after Lenin's Last Testament; Kam. and Zin. needed Stalin to keep Trotsky from gaining majority in Politburo

Trotsky's Left Opposition, defeated 1924. Triumv. destroyed Trotsky's reputation by questioning his ideology and loyalty to Stalin, and split once he'd been destroyed

New Opposition, formed 1924. Kamenev and Zinoviev.

Duumvirate, formed 1924, split 1928. Stalin and Bukharin.

- Managed to remove Kam. and Zin. from their positions by 1925

- Split in 1928 when Stalin rejected the NEP after 1927 grain requisition crisis

Stalin's lack of integrity, use of underhand and dishonourable tactics, 'appetite for power'.

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Positions within the party

Stalin  General Secretary - approved candidates for Party Congress, which elected Central Commitee, which elected the Politburo; vicarious control of Congress meant that:

- 1924, he managed to defeat Trotsky

- 1925, Duumvirate v. New Opposition: Stalin's alliance won 559 votes to 65

Stripped Kamenev and Zinoviev of their positions and replaced them with members he approved of; filled Congress with loyal supporters

Had the right to issue official directives to party members, all biased in favour of Stalin

Trotsky  Leader of the Red Army, feared

Bukharin  Editor of Pravda, failed to use this to his advantage

Crucial in Stalin's campaign for success, hugely responsible for his ability to defeat rivals

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