NOVEMBER 15, 1998

"Rise of Joseph Stalin"

In the early rebuilding years of Russia after the first world war and the new government coming into power. There was one main figure always striving for more. This man was Joseph Stalin. He was a very bright and manipulative man. Although his ways of forcing himself into power were of the most unconventional and brutal ways. We see a man who was never satisfied on a position, unless it was the highest and nobody could direct him or give him opposition. Stalinís unconventional ways were not always the way. Stalin and Lenin, thought a lot a like and had few disputes. Towards Leninís death is when Stalinís ways are formed.
In the last years of czarist Russia (1905-17) Stalin was more of an up-and-coming follower than a leader. He always supported the Bolshevik faction of the party, but his contribution was practical, not theoretical. Thus, in 1907 he helped organize a bank holdup in Tbilisi "to expropriate" funds. Lenin raised him into the upper reaches of the party in 1912 by co-opting him into the Bolsheviks' Central Committee. The next year he briefly edited the new party newspaper, Pravda, and at Lenin's urging wrote his first major work, Marxism and the Nationality Question.
After the Revolution of March 1917, Stalin returned to Petrograd where he resumed the editorship of Pravda. Together with Kamenev, Stalin dominated party decisions in the capital before Lenin arrived in April. The two advocated a policy of moderation and cooperation with the provisional government. Although he played a not insignificant role in the armed uprising that followed in November, Stalin was not remembered as a revolutionary hero. "In the words of one memoirist, he produced the impression of a "gray blur.""
As the Bolsheviks' expert on nationalism, Stalin was Lenin's choice to head the Commissariat for Nationality Affairs. Together with Sverdlov and Trotsky, he helped Lenin decide all emergency issues in the difficult first period of the civil war. Stalin participated in that war as a commander on several fronts. Within the party Stalin strengthened his position by dogged organizational work and devotion to administrative tasks. He was commissar for state control in 1919-23, and more important in 1922 he became secretary-general of the party. As Stalin converted this organizational base into a source of political power, he came into conflict with Lenin on several minor but ultimately telling issues. Before his death, Lenin came to regard the flaws in Stalin's personality and conduct as political liabilities. In his political "testament" Lenin doubted whether if Stalin would use his great power with sufficient caution. Lenin also attacked Stalin as being to much for power, not enough for the people, also Lenin felt Stalin was incompetent and called for him not to be his successor. In Leninís last testament, he stated Trotsky to be his successor for Stalin to be denied power. Stalin got hold of Leninís last testament and doctored the paper to favor him.
After Lenin's death Stalin joined in a troika with Zinovyev and Kamenev to lead the country. With these temporary allies, Stalin acted against his arch rival Trotsky, the foremost candidate for Lenin's mantle. Stalin forced Trotsky into exile in Siberia. Once the threat of Trotsky was eliminated, however, Stalin reversed course, aligning himself with Bukharin and Rykov against his former partners. Stalin being a very good manipulator convinced Bukharin and Rykov that Trotsky was a common enemy. Zinoviev, and Kamenev in turn challenged Stalin as the "left opposition." As Stalin turned on his once allies Zinoviev, and Kamenev by demoting them and stripping them of any power. By skillful manipulation and clever sloganeering also the occasional disappearance of his opposition, Stalin set his "IRON FIST" ways into action. With Bukharin finally realizing how Joseph Stalin had "{become}a new Ghenghis Khan; he will strangle us all." Bukharin soon allied with Zinoviev, and Kamenev, and as them was demoted and left powerless.
In the 30ís there was another rising star of the party, Kirov. The party had said that this man was the next successor of the party. An able administrator, he headed the Communist party in Leningrad from 1926 and was named to the ruling Politburo in 1930.