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Analyse the Ways in Which Stalin Came to Power in the Soviet Union in 1929

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Analyse the ways in which Stalin came to power in the Soviet Union in 1929 (15 marks)

Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953. For Stalin to reach this high position in the Soviet Union and gain power in authoritarian Russia, he had to stabilise a credible and highly tactful plan. This included betrayal, terror, force and most importantly power. However all were successful in gaining Stalin power in 1929.

Stalin had many influences that drove him join the USSR. For example in 1899, Stalin previously known as Joseph Dzuhugashvili rebelled against the seminary and was expelled. This influenced Stalin as he realised he was not religious and however strove his life mission was not religion. In addition, another early influence was the Messame Dassy revolutionary group; they fought for the Georgian Independence from Russia. This helped Stalin understand the idea of revolutionary power which encouraged him to join the Russian Social Democratic labour party. The RSDLP helped Stalin find Lenin through the Bolshevik faction of the party. Lenin became a major part of Stalin’s rise to power. Furthermore, this period helped Stalin adopt his name as he became fully committed to overthrowing the Tsarist regime and taking over Russia.

In 1902, the realisation of Stalin’s determination for the communist revolution appeared and Joseph Stalin was arrested and sent into exile in Siberia but escaped in 1904 by which time the Bolsheviks had formed their own party. Stalin was arrested several times after this however he always returned showing Stalin was dedicated. This helped Stalin gain power and recognition from the Bolsheviks and in particular Lenin. Stalin was seen as a heroic figure as he kept on returning.  

From 1905 onwards many revolutions broke out resulting in Russia ending up in a crucial state. One of the largest revolutions that occurred was the February revolution in 1917. This particular revolution removed the Tsarist regime and instead introduced Stalin and several other Bolsheviks back into the capital Petrograd. This was an important moment of Joseph Stalin’s rise to power as it reassured Stalin and the Bolsheviks that there is a chance to make a change in Russia and therefore it is not as impossible as they may believe.

However, the boost to Stalin’s rise to power he gained in his early life were only minor factors. Once the civil war broke out in Russia, as a result of opposition to the new Bolshevik dictatorship and the terms of the treaty of Brest Litovsk. Stalin did not have a high profile role. On the contrary, Trotsky did. Trotsky also had the approval of Lenin and he was a great speaker. What was not to love about Trotsky? However, Stalinstayed under the radar about himself.  He retained links with the Caucasus, although they declared independence from Russia, he also kept links with the military leaders who were fighting. In 1918, Stalin was given permission by Lenin to take over control of military operations as this would be a beneficial action towards the Bolsheviks. Stalin was correct as the Bolshevik red forces defeated the Whites and defended the city due to Stalin using his own initiative. This gained Stalincredibility and made him more willing to challenge Trotsky. This incident may have triggered the rivalry between Stalin and Trotsky and encouraged Stalin’s determination even more leading to his immense power in the Soviet Union.

Stalin additionally gained a support base in the Bolsheviks. This indicates a factor that Stalin and Trotsky did not making Stalin significantly more powerful than Trotsky. Stalin was also highly regarded by Lenin who was impressed by his skills. Stalin also gained a good relationship with Lenin between 1918 and 1921 when Stalin supported Lenin in passing the Resolution on Party Unity in 1921. This helped Stalin to gain power because if the nation recognised that Lenin had an appreciated of Stalin the nation would then grow to like Stalin as well. Consequently, Stalin support base was large enough to help Lenin in passing the resolution on party unity in 1921 and introducing the new economic policy to replace war communism. Stalin was rewarded with the additional role of General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922 by Lenin. However, this may have been considered a bad move for Lenin.

 On the Contrary, this gained Stalin immense power. Stalin used this great power during one of the main reasons to gain of power in the Soviet Union in 1929. Lenin favoured having a decentralised system of government with the different minorities in the USSR having autonomy whereas Stalin favoured having a tightly controlled system led from Moscow. The dispute came to climax with the ‘Georgian Question’ in 1922 in the USSR. Stalin forced Georgia to join Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Transcaucasian Federation. Lenin, on the other hand, wanted these three areas to be separate but Stalin, having a larger and stronger power base in the communist party and the Caucasus was able to overpower Lenin and get what he wanted. This was a large turning point for Stalin’s rise to power. As this displayed that the connections Stalin had to party members helped him rise and overcome Stalin. Stalin could surpass any issue in the government and most likely get his way as he had a higher superior power to Lenin. This was the first time Stalin’s power was recognised in the party.

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