“How Significant Were the Personalities of the Contenders to Succeed Lenin in Accounting for Stalin’s Defeat of His Opponents in the Years 1924-1929?”

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“How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-1929?” The main personalities for the so-called “struggle for power”, namely Bukharin, Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, played a significant role in the success of Stalin as the leader of the Communist Party. The main reasons, however, include Stalin’s political shrewdness, Stalin’s manipulation of the Party machine and Stalin’s exploitation of the internal divisions of the Party. One reason as to why Stalin succeeded Lenin was his political shrewdness. He exercised his political shrewdness in two ways. Firstly, he capitalised on the ‘Cult of Lenin’ by painting himself as a natural successor to Lenin. The ‘Cult of Lenin’ was the elevation of Lenin; his ideologies and his life. For instance, Lenin’s face could be found on many everyday objects including light bulbs. This was an intelligent creation; if Stalin could depict that he was closely aligned to an almost divine figure such as Lenin, then he would able to win the popularity of ordinary Russians who were, to an extent, indoctrinated via this method. Thus, Stalin was able to consolidate his power by being depicted as Lenin’s natural successor. In this sense, it wasn’t the political shortcomings of his opponents that allowed Stalin victory per se, rather the way in which he moulded and manipulated his powerbase. The somewhat inherent internal divisions of the Communist Party during the 1920’s were due to the emergence of left and rightwing Communism. The leftwing, headed by Trotsky and his allies, were seen as radical and idealistic whereas the rightwing headed by Bukharin and his supporters. Stalin intelligently he avoided taking extreme positions on any of the most divisive issues. This is in contrast to Trotsky, for example, who was often at the heart of heated
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