Stalin's Authority Over the USSR Essay example

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Stalin's Authority Over the USSR

During the period between Lenin's death, 1924, and the end of the 'Great Purge', 1939, Stalin managed to assert personal authority over the USSR by gaining complete control of the Communist Party and using terror to eliminate opposition to his role as leader.

After a successful joint effort with Kamenev and Zinoviev to remove Trotsky from the Communist Party, Stalin turned his attention towards eliminating Kamenev and Zinoviev themselves, as they were a threat to his influence over the party. Both had attacked Stalin's authority and criticised the idea of having one single leader in the party. Therefore in 1926 party meetings were held in Moscow and Leningrad and
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As Fitzpatrick states, "Like previous oppositions to Stalin the Right was defeated by the Party machine which Stalin controlled". By eradicating his most powerful opposition from the party, Stalin secured his position as leader and gained almost complete control of the Communist regime, which, in time, would lead to the assertion of his personal authority over the USSR. This may be seen as cunning on Stalin's part, but there is also the view that he was simply the beneficiary of the mistakes of other leading figures of the party as he was the only one who appeared to stick to party policy.

Stalin's abandonment of the New Economic Policy in 1929 is another way in which he gained control over the USSR. He did not consider the NEP as being Communist as it allowed the peasants to "have their little bit of capitalism" (Lenin). The policy allowed peasants to sell extra surplus in free markets and legalized small businesses. Only industry, transport and banking remained under State control. This was not acceptable to Stalin who saw the NEP as unpopular and believed that the Party should oppose private property and profit. Collectivisation, started in 1928, was seen to be the solution to this problem as it gave the State, and therefore Stalin, complete control

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