The Rise Of Stalinism

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The Russian Revolution created a foundation for the USSR and a transition to communism. Initially, Lenin had been at the forefront of the revolution. He had turned the vision of revolution into a reality, promising liberation for the downtrodden. A heart attack that caused his death in the mid 1920s created a power vacuum inside the Communist Party, which held the power in the newly formed Soviet Union. The hole that Lenin left was filled by Joseph Stalin, a revolutionary who had been a steadfast ally of Lenin for the past two decades. Effectively operating as a dictator, Stalin instituted an ideology and policies collectively known as “Stalinism” that allowed him to lead the country without any opposition. This was radically different from …show more content…
Multiple countries had had failed communist revolutions, and it was clear that global socialism, thought to be necessary to reach communism, would be impossible to achieve any time soon. Nicholas Bukharin led the Right-leaning communists, saying that Russia should not force socialism because the world is not ready. Trotsky, on the Left, believed that the Soviet Union should support revolutions abroad while at the same time supporting socialist reform in their own country. Stalin, in the Center, declared that socialism could survive in Russia without the need for the global revolution (Riasanovsky 443). This “Socialism in one country” policy formed the basis of Stalinism, and was built on the idea that Soviets could build their own socialist society without global revolution first. Stalin quoted Lenin’s ideas in order to sway the masses and convince them that he was the rightful heir to the revolutionary, legitimizing his position as General Secretary and leader of the Communist Party. It should be noted that Lenin had actually foreseen this, and had written a testament on his deathbed warning that Stalin already had too much power to be trusted to always exercise proper caution. Once ascended to complete leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin would deny the testament’s existence and references to it were treated as illegal propaganda. This …show more content…
This required a centralization of powers and an acceleration of technological progress, and Stalin devised a central planned economy that would allow the state to have complete control over economic production. As an alternative to the capitalist free market, the planned economy allowed Stalin to hone in on specific goals for Russian. Stalin pushed heavily for increased industrial production, which had been lacking in his traditionally agricultural society. This need for industrialization comes directly from Marxism, where socialism is seen, particularly by Bolsheviks, as an advanced industrial society where the means of production are owned by the workers. Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture was too a step away from capitalism, eliminating a sense of ownership (Riasanovksy 444). The planned economy is perhaps one of the simplest examples of the idea behind Stalinism: the state must have enough power to protect and foster socialism before it can be broken down. The danger in Stalinism lies in this concentration of power. In the 1930s, Stalin was able to use state power in order to purge the Communist party and the Soviets of anyone who he thought could pose a threat to him, including those who had opposed him in the past. Stalinist policies rarely showed mercy to alleged anti-Soviets as the Stalin became the undisputed leader of

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