The making of the new Vozhd - Personalities and Powerbases
A) THE DEATH OF LENIN:
- Lenin's death in 1924 (several strokes) had left a power vacuum at the top, much as when he had become leader. He had become leader through several factors, such as revolutionary stature, driving personality and popularity, not through an election. There was no 'set way' to decide on the new leader to take his place, which was why there was a struggle for power between five key Communist contenders.
B) THE CONTENDERS:
Born in 1789 into a relatively wealthy Jewish farming family. He joined a revolutionary group, but was exiled due to his radical theories. In 1902 he escapes, and joined Lenin and other Marxists in London.
- Revolutionary record:
. Trotsky was a significant figure in the 1905 Revolution (against the Tsar, failure)
. He was a leading figure of the short lived St Petersburg Soviet of November 1905which organised a general strike of the workers in the area.
. He won the support of other Bolsheviks during the October Revolution of 1917, boosting his reputation with his great speaking skills.
. Was the mastermind behind the reconstruction and training of the Red Army in the Civil War of 1918 to 1921, which was crucial for their success (consolidated Communist rule)
- Relationship with Lenin*:
. In 1903, he disagreed with Lenin's desire for a secretive, disciplined party, and instead sided with the Mensheviks.
. This tension continued until 1917, until he came to join the Communists in the summer of that year.
. Lenin spoke of there being 'no better Communist' than Trotsky, but also acknowldged his arrogance and over self-confidence.
- Appeal within the Party:
. Trotsky was popular due to his heroism and prominence in the 1905, 1917 and the Civil and won the support of many young Communists, students and the Red Army.
. However, he also had many enemies; he had been in excile in Paris, London and New York, and was therefore the more 'Western' Communist (Russia had hostility in Europe)
. He was the most urban (Russia was becoming increasingly proud of its rural identity)
. Many other Bolsheviks were jealous that he had Lenin's trust, and many important positions within the party.
. Born in 1897 into a Georgian peasant family and was educated to become a priest.
. He joined the Communist party in 1902, and became a member of the Central Committee in 1912. He was constantly in trouble…