Stalin S.1: The struggle for power

Leadership struggle background
Lenin died 1924. Left no clear indication of who should succeed him.
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5 Bolsheviks that fought for the leadership
Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev + Kamenev
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Think: Roles in major events, skills, background, Relationship w/ Lenin
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Stalin. Weaknesses
Grey Blur. Minor role in 2 key events.
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Stalin, Strengths
Administration. Understood peasants due to his upbringing. Loyalty to Lenin
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Stalin. Lenins testament
Criticised by Lenin as his loyalty turned when Lenin fell ill. This went widely unknown by the Communist party
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Trotsky: background + personality
Joined in 1917. Most heroic and glamorous contender. Gifted orator + theorist. Radical vision for future of Russia
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Trotsky, strengths
Lead role in 2 key events. Gifted orator + theorist. Inspired the loyalty of RA.
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Trotsky, weaknesses
While his vision appealed to young idealistic members, cautious communists viewed him as arrogant + too western + untrustworthy as he joined late
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Trotsky, Lenins Testament
"most outstanding member"
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Bukharin: Background and personality
Youngest of 5. Thinker and orator. Leading advocate of the NEP.
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Bukharin. strengths
Lacked Trotskys arrogance = favourite of the party
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Bukharin, weaknesses
Older commies thought he was too young to lead. LW radicals were suspicious of his economic policy.
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Bukharin. Lenins testament
Criticised his theories as "not fully Marxist."
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Zinoviev + Kamenev: Background / personality
Lenin's closest friends. OG members of the Bolsheviks
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Zinoviev + Kamenev. strengths
As above, Lenin's closest friends and OG members
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Zinoviev and Kamenev weaknesses.
History of disloyalty and cowardice. Both publically criticised Lenins plans for Oct. Revolution.
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Who had minimal impact in which event and why?
Zinoviev in the Civil War. He was in the most expensive hotel in Petrograd surrounded by bishes.
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System of Russian govt was not...
... a democracy
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Significant because...
...The leadership struggle was fought internally and did not require popular support from the Russian people as a whole.
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Structure of communist party, bottom up
Commy party members, local party, party congress, Central Committee, Politburo
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Required to become leader was...
... majority support of the Politburo
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Key to success
Party Congress. It elected the CC, which elected the Politburo
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Why were positions / power bases important in terms of the leadership struggle
They helped determine popularity at Party congress level.
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Stalins Position (1)
General Sec. 1) Set politburo agenda. 2) Selected delegates for Congress. 3) In charge of promotions / appointments.
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Influence discussion at Politburo meetings. 2) Flood congress with his supporters. 3) Could reward those who displayed loyalty
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Stalin's Position (2)
Head of the Rabkrin which controlled party discipline
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Significance of leading the Rabkrin?
Investigate and sack anyone his opposition.
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Trotskys position
Head of Red Army
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1) Members were threatened he may use it to seize power. 2) Gained loyalty of army, some were members. 3) Many were not tho, and could not attend Congress.
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Bukharins position
Editor of the Pravda
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Could publish his own views and criticise others, shaping PUBLIC opinion
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Zinoviev role and significance
Head of Petrograd party = loyalty of a large section of the Party
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Kamenev role and significance
Head of Moscow party = loyalty of a large section of the Party.
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Impact of power bases
on the leadership struggle
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Despite Stalins roles being seen as X they gained him Y?
Mundane, they gained him power of PATRONAGE.
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He used this power in 1923 to... and this had the effect of
...appoint 30% of delegates to Congress, giving him increasing control over important decisions
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Trotsky's role. Appearance and reality.
High profile role which in reality commanded little power and ultimately made him appear threatening
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Why were Zino,Kam and Bukkys popularity insignificant?
Stalin's power of patronage allowed him to undermine his opponents in their own power bases.
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Communists anticipated...
revolution would occur within an ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL economy.
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Russian economy was...
...primarily agricultural
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2 schools of thoughts surrounding industrialisation
LW Dictatorship of industry. RW New Economic Policy
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3 Key areas of each policy
Taxes, Farming, State-funding
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Dictatorship of industry proposed
High Taxes for peasants to fund. / Encourage COLLECTIVE FARMS to increase agricultural productivity / Rapid state-funded industrialisation
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The NEP proposed
Low taxes for peasants to fund GRADUAL industrialisation. / Allow the FREE MARKET + peasants to OWN their own farms to ensure the POPULARITY of the regime / Slow state-funded industrialisation
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Who stood on the LEFT
Trotsky, believing it was a FULLY COMMUNIST POLICY. Zino + Kam joined in 1925. Stalin only in 1928
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Degrees of support for the NEP
Bukharin was the leading advocate. Initially he had the support of the remaining 3 candidates. Zino + Kam bailed in 1925 to try win left support. Stalin breezed in 1928
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Why was the NEP popular within the Party in the early 1920s (2)
Economic growth and increased production of CONSUMER GOODS. 2) Commys wary of increasing peasants taxes in fear of a backlash.
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Why and when did support for the NEP decline?
1927. Growth figures had stagnated. Stalin bailed the following year.
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Millions tonnes of grain in 1925, 26, 27 and 28?
1925 - 73. / 1926 - 77 / 1927 - 72 / 1928 - 73
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How did the economic situation within Russia from 1924 affect support for sides and people
Initial success, seen by a growing economy ensured the popularity of the RW.
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How did commitment to the LW affect Trotsky
Made him appear foolhardy as the NEP was helping the economy to grow while his theory was untested.
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How did timing affect the differences in success between Z+K and Stalins move to the left.
Z+K moved while it was still successful, undermining their bid as congress / majority supported the NEP
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In comparison...
...Stalin abandoned the NEP was it was obviously failing.
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Due to the NEPS failure, communists were more sympathetic to...
... radical left wing solutions.
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Therefore his moved was treated...
...favourably, infact increasing his popularity
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Bukharins resolve for the NEP...
...lost him CREDIBILITY
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Lenin and Communists belief after the 1917 revolution
Russian revolution would spark worldwide revolutions. Russia would be one amongst many.
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Situation by 1921
Apparent that world revolution was some way off
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Foreign policy responded to this in two ways:
RW: Socialism in 1 Country. LW: Permanent Revolution
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3 key areas of each foreign policy
1) Can socialism survive in 1 country? 2) Russia's role in triggering socialist revolutions. 3) Russia's immediate position at this time
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RW: Socialism in 1 Country
Socialism can be built in Russia alone and there was no need for Russia to immediately incite revolutions in other countries. They will lead the rest of the world in time.
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LW: Permanent revolution
No socialist society can exist on its own, therefore the security of Russia was dependant upon successful revolutions occurring in other countries. They should adopt an aggressive foreign policy.
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When did divisions over foreign policy emerge?
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Who advocated Socialism in 1 Country?
Stalin and Bukharin
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Who advocated Permanent Revolution?
Trotsky. After they broke in 1925, so did Zino + Kam
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Which policy appealed more to communists?
Socialism in one Country
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Why was this view well received?
It appealed to Russian NATIONALISM, stressing Russia's importance as the first communist country
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Why was PR received negatively?
It appeared defeatist, suggesting Russian communism was doomed due to the lack of european revolts
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Why were people sceptical of PR?
Feared it would lead to war, a daunting prospect for those who had experienced both wars
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How did the debate over foreign policy affect the leadership struggle?
Hindered the left wing. Stalin used it to discredit Trotsky, and after 1925 the United Opposition
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What did Lenins death create / leave at the heart of Soviet Govt.?
A power vacuum.
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Factions and alliances dominated Russian politics between...
... 1923 - 1928
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During this time the Govt. was commanded by
Alliances with majority Politburo support. Minority support = Opposition
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1923 - 25. Govt and Opposition (Led by)
Govt, Triumvirate (Stalin, Z+K). Minority = Left opposition (Trotsky)
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1925 - 28. Govt and Opposition (Led by)
Govt = Duumvirate (Stalin + Bukharin). Opposition = United Opposition (3 others)
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1928 - 29. Govt and Opposition (Led by)
Govt = Stalin VS Opposition = Bukharin
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Purpose of Triumvirate
Thwart Trotskys attempt to be leader
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Why was the Triumvirate wary of Trotsky?
Best known contender + his ambition was widely known.
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X party Congress in Y?
13th Congress in 1924
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What happened?
Triumvirate defended the NEP against Trotsky's alternative. Lost vote = end of Trotsky's leadership ambitions.
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What happened to the Triumvirate?
They lost their common enemy.
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X party congress in Y?
15th Congress in 1927
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What happened?
Duumvirates policies won vote over United Oppositions
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What were the Duumvirate's policies?
NEP and Socialism in 1 Country
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What happened to the United Opposition's leaders after they lost the vote
Expelled from the party.
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What did Stalin gain by abandoning the NEP in favour of left wing economic policies?
The support of the left wing
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In contrast...
.Bukharin remainded commited to the NEP, which diminished his credibility when it was obviously failing.
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What happened in 1928 which would trigger another vote between Govt. and opposition
Stalin introduced emergency economic measures, effectively ending the NEP.
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What happened at a meeting of the Central Committee
Bukharins challenge was outvoted, confirming Stalin as the ruler of Russia.
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Why did the alliances benefit Stalin and hinder the others?
Allowed Stalin to stay in the background while the others fought publically. While the others pettily squabbled, he gained party respect.
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How did the alliances tactically benefit Stalin?
Allowed him to deal with his opponents one by one. Allowed him to maintain majority Politburo support - never associated with opposition faction.
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5 events / areas demonstrating Stalin's cunning
Lenin's funeral, Lenin's Testament, Bukharin's medical, Faction fighting + Ideological tactics
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Why was Lenin's funeral significant to the contenders?
Gave them a platform to show their loyalty to Lenin
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Where was Trotsky at the time of Lenin's death?
Convalescing on the shores of the Black Sea
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How did Stalin capitalise on this?
Told Trotsky the wrong date of the funeral. Trotsky missed funeral and seen as disloyal to Lenin.
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Key bit of Lenin's testament?
Instructed senior communists to remove Stalin from his position.
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Who was also criticised in the Testament?
Zio + Kam
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How did Stalin capitalise on this?
Persuaded them to argue for Stalin to keep his post and the Testament should go unpublished. They convinced the CC and the Maj. of party never knew.
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How did Stalin use his position to thwart Bukharin after 1928?
Prevented Bukharin from attending important meetings. IE: had his plane grounded twice to undergo medical
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How did this affect Bukharin's bid for leadership?
Missed opportunities to extend influence within the CC.
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Lenin banned X in Y?
Factions in 1921.
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When did Stalin try to use this to setup who?
1928 to set up Bukharin
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What happened?
Spread rumours he was about to ally with Z+K. Bukharin called a secret meeting with the latter...
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...Stalin placed Bukharin under surveillance and revealed the meeting to the CC, accusing Bukharin of factionalism.
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How did Stalin's ideological tactics aid his attempt?
United the most popular policies at the time. Won support from both sides of the party.
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Impact on leadership struggle (tricks)
Tricks gave him important advantage + discrediting tools at CRUCIAL moments of the struggle.
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Impact on leadership struggle (ideology)
Ideological shift in 1928 = most appealing mix of policies, retain large support from right while getting new support from left.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


5 Bolsheviks that fought for the leadership


Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev + Kamenev

Card 3




Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Stalin. Weaknesses


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Stalin, Strengths


Preview of the front of card 5
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