Stalin was, by opportunism able to gain control of the party machine and use it to his own advantage, and use his own political skills to out maneuver his opponents, while they often displayed lackluster tactics in a vain attempt to win support of a party loyal to Stalin. After the 1917 revolution, Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik political faction and the Russian Nation. Whenever possible, Stalin would present himself as Lenin’s right hand man, and following Lenin’s death in 1924, he defended Lenin’s legacy. Ironically, shortly after Lenin died, he told the colleagues that it would be disastrous if Stalin inherited the reins of the government. During the 1920s, Stalin appointed key people to Communist Party posts.
One of the main reasons why Stalin emerged as sole leader was because of how he used pragmatism to manipulate Lenin’s opinion of him to suggest that he was the most favorable leader to carry on Marxism throughout Russia. This key event that secured Stalin’s public support was around the time of Lenin’s funeral. His role as general secretary gave him the ‘grey blur’ title because of his reputation of being invisible, focusing his time on important paperwork. When Lenin released his testament, Stalin used his reputation to change it, which had previously had influential and opinionated views on Stalin, and if seen by the public, would inevitably have changed the success of Stalin’s emergence to a failure at becoming leader. Lenin’s real opinion of Stalin was highly negative.
Stalin’s desire to initiate collectivisation was motivated by his struggle against Bukharin and the Communist party’s right wing. The radical nature of collectivisation appealed to the left-wingers of the party. It was more appealing than the right wing alternative of importing grain as importing grain would reduce the pace of industrialisation because importing would mean spending the money needed to develop Russia’s industry. This allowed Stalin to appear strong because he showed that Russia’s agricultural difficulties could be transformed through strong leadership, and also asserted that peasants who refused to co-operate with the state agricultural policy were essentially terrorists and enemies of the people. When collectivisation was criticised by some local officials, Stalin published an article called ‘Dizzy with success’ in Pravda, defending the policy by arguing that the target for collectivisation had been met and therefore the programme would be suspended, in order to cover up the carnage that collectivisation had in actual fact caused.
Not only this but Stalin used Lenin’s Legacy when he once again falsely claimed he was there at the beginning of the original Russian Revolution, when he was actually in exile. There is a picture, taken from the Eighth Bolshevik Party Congress in 1919 in which Trotsky was absent and Stalin took the opportunity to sit himself at Lenin’s right hand side, gaining him credit and showing his subtle ways of propaganda. However, Stalin’s win couldn’t just be down to what Lenin had done previous to the power struggle. To achieve and successfully get away with all of the above he would have had to have great skill as a politician – which he did. He had the ability to control Lenin’s funeral and turn it into his own campaign,
In contract, Bukharin continued to argue in favour of the NEP and lost popularity as a consequence. In 1925, Zinoviev and Kamenev had abandoned the NEP in an attempt to gain control but due to the continuing success of the NEP, this failed as a result. Stalin’s ability to understand the right time to switch from right wing to left wing meant he was able to gain popularity and prove his intelligence. The alliances Stalin made and broke played a crucial role in his struggle to become the leader of the USSR.
The main point of George Kennan’s (1947) essay was that the Soviet Union “could not enjoy a peaceful coexistence with the capitalist world.” He said, the Soviets were seeking to spread Socialism and considered capitalism its greatest enemy which would not be allowed to influence the people of Russia. In March of 1947, Kennan views influenced President Truman, and were the basis for the presidential proclamation known as the Truman Doctrine. His essay “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” was the first article written referencing the policy of containment. The essay outlined the answers to five basic questions about the United States international environment and it analyzed the “Soviet Union’s postwar outlook; the background of this outlook; a projection on practical Soviet policy, both officially and unofficially; and deductions from the standpoint of United States foreign policy.” Kennan characterized the Soviet state as believing that it has been harness and girdled by the United States and its allies which is naturally combative and prone to become hostile towards the Russia. Kennan says that the Russian people are ruled by a tyrant and these ideas are not their views but the viewpoint the Communist Party.
He pursued a policy of what has been called ‘counter reform’. Counter-reform was partly a reaction to the murder of Alexander II, but Alexander III also believed that his fathers ‘Great Reforms’ had been a mistake, weakening Tsarism and leaving it vulnerable and insecure. He introduced political repression of opponents, counter-reform, increased central control, financial reform and the policy of Russification as the core stone of his reign. His policy was to undo the reforms as far as possible. In many respects, there is no doubt that Alexander III was the most effective Tsar in such the short reign that he had.
The cumulative effort of theses actions, among many other less noted ones, was the Bolshevik consolidation of power. Throughout 1917 Lenin promised the people of Russia ‘Peace, Land and Bread’. Almost immediately after coming into power, Lenin signed the ‘Decree on Land’ that abolished private property and distributed the land among the peasants. At the same time, the ‘Decree on Peace’ was made, stating Lenin’s intention for Russia to withdraw from WWI and seek a peace settlement with Germany. Lenin was aware that it was the Provisional Government’s unwillingness or inability to act on questions of land and peace that contributed to its unpopularity and allowed the Bolsheviks to take power so easily in October.
This gave Stalin a most important comeback and it was only the beginning of Stalin’s quest for the power of Russia. Lenin’s testament was send to the CC in May 1924 but it was not released to the party. If it had been it would have ended Stalin’s career. Zinoviev and Kamenev convinced the CC not to release it, because of the following causes it could have; the testament was not very positive about the party, Zinoviev and Kamenev thought that Stalin was no real threat to them and they wanted his help to get rid of Trotsky, and that the testament would help Trotsky. Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin were now ahead in the struggle to conquer the power.
Assess the reasons why Stalin emerged as leader of the USSR by 1929? Stalin emerged as leader of the USSR by 1929 for many reasons including: Party members tended to support Stalin's changes of policy line an example of a very popular policy was the ‘socialism in one country’ which was supported by many members of Russia. His control of the party machine was crucial factor in his success, as he was a skillful politician who outmaneuvered his opponents but he was also lucky. The weaknesses and errors of Trotsky’s judgments’ were important factors in his defeat. Moreover, Stalin was against the NEP, so he advocated industrialization which again strengthened his support.