Why did Stalin become leader of Russia in 1929?

  • Created by: jmpollard
  • Created on: 05-02-17 14:55

The personalities of the contenders for power

  • Stalin was committed, hard working, and determined. He did the jobs that others didnt, making him a cunning shadow in the background. 
  • Trotsky was aloof and dismissive, considered himself the only real contender. He was so determind to stick to his policies it made people question his loyalty.
  • Zinoviev was extremely disliked for being vain, weak and ambitious. Overly not popular.
  • Kamenev was intellegent but too soft a leader.
  • Bukharin was the best in terms of personality, very well liked and liked by Lenin,but not cunning enough t deal with Stalin.
  • Rykov drank lots.
  • Tomsky was too nice.
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The power-bases of contenders for power

  • Stalin controlled the politburo agenda, party promotions, party discipline, and delegates for party congress. So he had great power/influence.
  • Bukharin had the Pravda so he could publish what he wanted, but his powerbases we overall weaker. 
  • Trotsky had the army but their loyalty made him seem dngerous, plus they couldnt vote for him as they werent party members. 
  • Zinoviev had the Party secretary position + chairmen of the comintern and the Petrograd party but lost a position in the Sovnarkom bc he fought with Lenin.
  • Kamenev had the moscow party and was commissar for trade but disagreement with Lenin lost him influence. 
  • Rykov had the Sovnarkom but little else very influencial. 
  • Tomsky was head of the Union but was not in an important enough position of power.
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Devious tactics by Stalin

  • Stalin ensured Trotsky missed Lenin's funeral

Stalin convinced Trotsky to stay on holiday when Lenin died as he likely wouldn't make it back for the funeral. Stalin used the funeral to discredit Trotsky and his failure to attend looked like he was not committed. 

  • Stalin ensured Lenin's testament was never revealed.

Lenin's testament instructed senior officials to remove Stalin as Lenin understood what a danger Stalin posed. Stalin convinced Zinoviev and Kamenev to help him stop its reading as they too were mentioned. As a result the party never knew of Lenin's intention. 

  • Stalin ensured Bukharin missed an important meeting

After the split with Bukharin in 1928 Stalin grounded Bukharin's plane twice to ensure he underwent medical checks so that he would miss the meeting. As a result Bukharin didnt have the oppertunity to extend his influence in the Central Committee. 

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Stalin switched alliances during the ideological debates multiple times in order to ensure he was always on the correct side. 

Triumvirate vs left

Initially Stalinw as on the right with Zinoviev and Kamenev, trying to defeat Trotsky on the left. Once they defeated him they split as they had nothing in common.

Duumvirate vs United opposition

Kamenev and Zinoviev moved to the left wing, and Stalin moved to support Bukharin on the right. Trotsky joined the left again, but they were all defeated.

Stalin vs the right

Stalin switched to the left (effectively joining the side hed always been against) and argued against the NEP, by using this against Bukharin he won the power struggle. 

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Ideological debates, the economy and foreign polic


  • Made Stalin popular becuase he switched sides as soon as the NEP started to fail.
  • It made Trotsky unpopular becuase peasants were against long taxation and working in collective farms (lol)
  • It made Buhkarin unpopular becuase he stuck with the capitalist view even when it started to fail. 

Foreign Policy

  • It made Stalin popular becuase he made Russia sound strong and patriotic.
  • It made Trotsky sound weak as he made Russia sound weak. 
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