Lenin died in January 1924, aged 53. Historians have varied views on Lenins role in RUssia between 1917 to 1924. Marxist and Soviet historians praise him as the founder of the Soviet State, but historians in the west see him as a tyrant who seized power, inflicting suffering, in self interest.
For: modest man who didn't have personal ambition, good speaker, excellent leadership qualities, without him there wouldnt have been an 1917 revolution, helped the Bolsheviks stay in power, he had to use the Cheka because of the civil war.
Against: Seized power without the support of most of the population, would not share power (ironically), ruthless methods to stay in power, stopped others epressing opinions.
Trotsky: most likely candidate to become the new leader, planned the November revolution, organisation of the Red army led to their victory, popular with the Red Army and young party members who were more 'radical'. Good speaker (rival to Lenin), hyperintelligent, arrogant, did not mix with 'stupid people', refused to get involved with the dirty business of political fighting. Believed in helping Communists around the world, an end to the NEP to run Russia in a more socialist way calling his poicy 'Permanent Resolution'. Older party members didnt trust him, worried he might become a dictator, only joined in 1917, extreme views. 1923 - 1926 he suffered attacks of fever.
Stalin: Powerful position as General Secretary of the Communist Party, could control the membership of the Party. 1922 - 1924, expelled younger party members and enrolled more of his own supporters. Not intellectual, dull or mediocre, but politically cunning, setting different groups in the Party against each other, criminal past (Exiled 8 times), peasant background, rude. Believed it should be a Communist state with no help from the outside, his policy was 'Soclialism in one country'. Loyal member for over 20 years, no extreme views and stayed in the background. Stalin was in the middle of the Party.
Lenin warned others of Stalin, 'great power concentrated in his hands, and I am not sure he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution... too rude... Therefore, I propose to the comrades that a way be found to remove Stalin from that post and replace him with some one else who differs from Stalin in all respects, some one more patient, more loyal, more polite, more considerate.' His note was never published or seen by the public, as it had other members names on it who wished not to be talked about.
Left wing of the Party:
- Zinoviev & Kamenev - old Bolsheviks, shared similar ideas to Trotsky, disliked him as they thought he would become a dictator. Wanted to end NEP, quicken the pace of industrialisation using shock brigades, force peasants to produce needed food.
Right wing of the Party:
- Bukharin - smart, NEP was the way forward, if peasants became richer they would buy more, making the industry grow, therefore become more prosperous. Socialism.