Why was Stalin able to become leader of Russia by 1926? (7)
In January 1924, Lenin, the Leader of the Russian communist party died. Trotsky, the leader of the Red army seemed like Lenin’s successor at the time as he played a major role in the civil war. Meanwhile, Stalin held two positions: People’s commissar for Nationalities (responsible for the different nationalities in the Soviet empire) and General Secretary (responsible for the day to day running of the party. He was also a member of the Politburo, the party leaders who ran the country after Lenin’s death. They consist of Stalin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky. As Lenin’s funeral was organized by Stalin since he was regarded as the party’s administrator because of his position as General Secretary, Stalin was able to deliver the oration. This enabled him to portray himself as the chief mourner, and heir to Lenin. Stalin also telegrammed Trotsky the wrong date. Many saw Trotsky’s absent as disrespect for Lenin who had assumed a God-like status so his reputation was damaged. As a result, Lenin’s funeral gained Stalin support and made Trotsky unpopular, contributing to his success in being the leader of Russia. Apart from that, the fact that the Politburo decided not to publish Lenin’s Testament which contains criticisms of them also contributes to Stalin’s success. This is because in his testament, Lenin had wanted Stalin removed from his position. Members of the party may not have supported Stalin if they had read the testament containing criticisms of him. They would probably support Lenin’s desire for Stalin to be removed from his position. Apart from enabling Stalin to gain support during Lenin’s funeral, his position as General Secretary also contributes to his success in becoming Russia’s leader in many ways. As it enabled him to access personal files of party members, Stalin gained information which he could use against his rivals. Furthermore, it also gave him...
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