Government of the USSR under Stalin 1924-53


1.     Struggle for Power – 1922-28

·         Lenin did not specify who should be the next leader of the USSR in his vague testament. The main contenders other than Stalin were Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev.

·         Stalin’s rivals: Thought that Trotsky was a bigger threat so focused on defeating him first. They underestimated Stalin’s strength at manipulating the Politburo.

·         Zinoviev and Kamenev were looking for popular support whereas Stalin did everything he could to gain power. However they were not very popular.

·         Stalin: His position as General Secretary gave him access to 26,000 documents, and he could appoint and dismiss anyone he liked (mainly appointed his supporters). The head of the secret police was loyal to him so he could monitor his opponents.

·         Used propaganda to his advantage for example an edited photograph of him sitting on a bench with Lenin to make it look like he was favored by Lenin. He also made Trotsky unpopular by telling him the wrong date for Lenin’s funeral so he missed it.

·         Leftists and Rightists: Split into Leftists and Rightists as opinions divided. Leftists (including Z&K) wanted a worldwide communist revolution and to abolish the New Economic Policy (NEP). Many people feared this would ruin Russia. Rightists wanted to continue the NEP until the country was stronger and ‘socialism in one country’.

·         Leftists: Stalin first joined the leftists to cover up Lenin’s testament which did not look favorably upon Stalin, and get Trotsky (far-left) removed in 1925.

·         Z+K: Next he got Zinoviev


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