Having this powerful position in the party made people scared of him and that he sack them so they stayed very loyal to him. On the other hand his rivals, Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev had little power in the Party. Trotsky did have a lot of power in the Red Army but none within the Party. This shows how important Stalin’s Party position was in him emerging as leader of Soviet Russia in 1929. Another very important reason in why Stalin emerged as leader was Tactical maneuvering of Stalin and his making and breaking of alliances.
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.
He was a ‘man of the people’ since he spoke simple, coarse language as he was born into a Georgian peasant family. After ‘Lenin Enrolment’, Stalin’s popularity within the party surged as he could sympathize with the many illiterate party members from lower class backgrounds. In contrast, his contenders were portrayed as upper class personnel due to their wealthier backgrounds. His main opposition, Trotsky, was an intellect and a gifted orator, however this gave him an air of arrogance. His complicated public speeches gained him less support than Stalin’s connection with the working class.
Bukharin’s position in the media allowed him to shape opinions and Zinoviev’s and Kamenev’s positions gave them support from the largest sections of the communist party. However, Stalin’s power of patronage extended throughout the party and allowed him to undermine his opponents. Stalin was successful in the leadership struggle because he only abandoned the NEP as it began to fail in 1928. His move from right to left wing increased his popularity. In contract, Bukharin continued to argue in favour of the NEP and lost popularity as a consequence.
He turned his opponents against each other while keeping his eye on the prize and being sure to never do anything that would endanger his chances of becoming the leader of the Soviet union. Although he was clever he seemed not to show this - he is described as awkward and even boring. He is generally shown as having no character. He became the leader of the Soviet Union at age 51. Adolf Hitler’s rise to power was very different to the way Stalin’s.
With the power that Stalin had now acquired he could appoint new members for the party and demote members of the party. This meant that he also had access to all information on the party members; through this he could effectively build himself a power base. However compared to the other positions in the party the General Secretary was positioned lower and did not have a large input into the politics of the party, it was required to keep track of the members of the politburo. This meant that Stalin did not hold a powerful position and was positioned below his rivals. The position although considered a minor position, placed Stalin in a decent position.
Being head of Secretariat was considered an unimportant role by senior members of the communist party, but this made Stalin responsible for various branches of the Party bureaucracy, this included interpreting and implementing the politburo decisions. He also had to oversee all affairs of non-Russians within the USSR, which was approximately 50% of the nation’s population. He was also responsible for the communication with senior officials; he manipulated those he was responsible for to gain great loyalty from them, this made Stalin popular within the communist party. Stalin was also in the Sovnarkom along with Trotsky, many senior communists were jealous of Trotsky’s job as leader of the Red Army as it was a highly respected and glamorous position, many young communists admired him. Although Stalin had a strong revolutionary record he was never established as a revolutionary
One reason why Stalin won the power struggle was through his positioning within the party. He was the General Secretary of the party, which meant that he organised most events and positions within the party – he relayed all the important information. Many people saw this role as unimportant and useless as you did not appear to directly influence anyone or anything and could not make decisions. However, Stalin took this role as he saw it’s true potential, where he could see just about anything he wanted within the party, such as Lenin’s testament and he could also pass on information or not, as he does. This meant that he had a lot of control in the power struggle situation as he could ruin what other people know about and certain times of events.
Furthermore, Stalin’s use of devious tactics also played a large role in securing his position in the party, as they allowed him to undermine his opponents and strengthen his position by reducing support for them. Overall, although the main reason that Stalin was able to succeed in the leadership struggle was his ability to manipulate the party machine, Stalin’s devious tactics and his alliances were also vital in securing his position as leader. Stalin’s ability to manipulate the party machine was extremely vital in securing him success in the leadership struggle, as it allowed him to eliminate Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev from the struggle. As General Secretary, Stalin was able to control who sat in Party Congress. By placing his supporters in Party congress, Stalin was able to ensure that his opponents could not gain any power or support, therefore ensuring that these opponents could be ruled out of the struggle.
How did Stalin's dictatorship develop? Stalin made his way into becoming dictator by a series of manipulative and clever tactics he would use to aid his influence. After Lenin and his party took over the election of the Provisional government which had been elected after the fall of the tsarist regime through a series of well-aimed political hits and armed threats; Stalin ascended the ranks of the government through extensive manipulation and threats as well as gaining the strong loyalty of some socialist idealists. In 1922 Stalin received the majority vote to become the General Secretary of the Communist party; a role that really no one else in the party really wanted as they deemed it unimportant and much like “House-chores”. What the other members of the soviet party such as Trotsky did not realize however; was that Stalin would use the position to gain a mass of followers for his socialist ideals and would use it as a stepping stone to achieve greater political influence and manipulate his way even further in the ranks.