In: Historical Events

Submitted By iamelle
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Lenin’s death created a power vacuum at the top of soviet politics. Whilst leading figures replaced him in various official capacties, no leader could replace his supremacy over party and government. This was the central problem facing the soviet communist party.

There were five contenders for the rule of Russia.

Members of the Soviet government called Stalin ‘the grey blur’, meaning that there was nothing outstanding or controversial about him. He had played a minor role in the October Revolution and in the Russian Civil War. However, his real gift was for administration, and due to his peasant upbringing he understood the way that many ordinary Russians thought and acted. He also had a reputation for loyalty to Lenin. Nonetheless, when Lenin became ill, Stalin started disobeying his orders. Lenin’s Testament criticised him for this, but, as the Testament was kept secret, Lenin’s final instruction that Stalin should be sacked from his position within the Party was not widely known.

Trotsky was the most heroic of the contenders. Together with Lenin, he had planned and led the October Revolution and had commanded the Red Army during the Civil War. He was extremely glamorous, and a gifted theorist and orator, who inspired the loyalty of his troops. Trotsky had a radical vision for the future of Russia, which appealed to young and idealistic members of the Party. Indeed, Lenin’s Testament praised Trotsky as ‘the most outstanding member’ of the Party. However, he was also viewed as arrogant and too western by many more cautious communists who were reluctant to trust him because he only joined the Bolshevik Party in 1917.

Bukharin was the youngest of the contenders. Like Trotsky, he was known as a thinker and an orator. However, he lacked Trotsky’s arrogance, and for this reason Lenin described him as…...

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