How Far Do You Agree That the Struggle for Power Following Lenin’s Death in 1924 Was Caused by the Ideological Differences Between the Contenders for Power?

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How far do you agree that the Struggle for Power following Lenin’s death in 1924 was caused by the ideological differences between the contenders for power?

After the revolution in 1917 Lenin led Russia. However, in 1922 he began to suffer strokes later resulting in his death in 1924. As he didn’t see him self passing away so early he had left no clear set of plans as to who should take over from him or how the country should be run. This was the first time such an event had happened as the hierarchy of the Tsars before him was clear. His death created a huge power vacuum at the top of Soviet politics between: Trotsky, Stalin, Bukarin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, who all tried to take over the leadership of the Communist party. Different ideological plans were significant in the Struggle for power, but so were personality factors, institutional factors and tactical manoeuvring.

A great deal untied the five contenders for power. These being; that they all believed the changes made due to the revolution had to be preserved, they had a common desire to build a modern socialist society, and they all thought that one day the revolution would spread through Europe. Despite all this, they were split on how this vision would be achieved so to win the Party over they had to convince them that their strategy would protect the revolution and build socialism in Russia. Trotsky represented the left(radical) interpretation of Leninism, Bukharin represented the right(moderate) and Stalin was in the centre, which allowed him to adopt and change certain ideological standpoints at crucial points during the struggle. Kamenev and Zinovev began on the right side but later switched to left in 1925, this lost them credibility within the Party as people saw them as unreliable and unable to make a decision. The three main debates they had were: industrialisation, world revolution, and the future of the revolution.

The industrialisation debate came around because Lenin’s view that the NEP would ‘last a long time, but not forever’ was interpreted very differently by the people on the right and the people on the left. When the communists took over Russia, Lenin attempted to solve the problem of Russia’s economy by introducing the NEP. The radicals on the left believed that the NEP was ideologically misguided as it favoured peasants and returned power to capalists at the expense of the working class. The NEP was failing to deliver industrial growth and employment, therefore Yevgeni Preobrazhensky proposed ‘squeezing’ the peasants through heavy taxes and using the profits to invest in industry. This would accelerate industrialisation, which is what the people from the left wanted to do. In contrast, the right wing people believed economic stability took procedure over industrialisation. They favoured the NEP because it was based on the alliance of workers and peasants. Bukharin believed that socialism would be achieved ‘at a snail’s pace’, suggesting it would last for almost twenty years. As Stalin was in the centre he was able to pick and choose ideas he liked in order to win over the Russian people who would help him gain power. During the 1920s he agreed with Bukharin, however he was always more interested in industrialisation, but would not form an alliance with the left wing because that would mean forming an alliance with Trotsky. When the NEP started to fail Stalin abandoned it.

Lenin’s view of would revolution was unclear. At first he claimed that the revolution could only survive with the help of revolutionaries in other countries. However, he also seemed to suggest that Russia might survive on its own. The first view was adopted by the left wing, and the second view by the right. Trotsky believed that no socialist society could exist alone, especially Russia as it didn’t have the economic resources or technological sophistication to complete the transition to socialism on its own. He hoped for a revolution in western Europe, hoping it...
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