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Lenin - Stalin Comparison

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Essay title: Lenin - Stalin Comparison

"A great luck for Russia was that at the times of hardships she was

headed by such a genius and talented commander as Joseph Stalin." W. Churchill

Stalin was a man of extraordinary energy, erudition and a powerful

will. Him even I, a person taught by the Parliament, could not counter.

W. Churchill

"Stalin is the Lenin of today," said a popular propaganda slogan of the thirties and the forties. The situation has changed drastically since that time; people's opinion of Stalin has changed in light of the new facts that came out during the course of history. One of such influencing factors was the "secret" speech given by Khrushchev during the Twentieth Congress of KPSS. This speech, however, does not give a real picture of either Stalin or Lenin: Khrushchev denounces the idolization of Stalin but supports the cult of Lenin. He also does not pay attention to Stalin's deeds that do deserve to be criticized (from an non-Communist point of view), but looks sharply onto something that Stalin should be thanked for. Khrushchev puts Stalin in opposition to Lenin and fails to recognize that those leaders were in many ways similar.

The first blame that Khrushchev puts on Stalin is idolization. To be honest Khrushchev never says that Stalin created it himself, but he never denounced it either. Khrushchev puts Lenin as an example of modesty. However, the cult of Lenin has been created as well, and though, Lenin did denounce it, his denunciation never had much result. Stalin's personal modesty is known as well. He had never concerned himself with having many awards, as, for example, did Brezhnev with Five Stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union. Stalin only had one, but never wore it (the only award we see him wearing is the Star of Hero of Socialist Labor). At his fiftieth birthday, to all the panegyrics Stalin answers: " To all the organizations and comrades congratulating meВ… Your greetings I refer to the great party of the working class, which gave me birth and taught me." (Radzinsky, 262) Stalin did not care for the pleasant words. His concern was real power. Stalin also wanted to look good in the eyes of history. That is why all the history books were rewritten.

Khrushchev also indicts him of fabricating cases against honest Bolsheviks. That is his major blame of Stalin. How could he destroy the party that brought him to power? Khrushchev gives Lenin as an example of a leader who forgave people even if they made mistakes (Revolutions, 81). However, it was Lenin who said that by the age of 50 revolutionaries should be sent to their ancestors (Radzinsky, 341). The honest Bolsheviks "murdered" by Stalin were Tukhachevsky, Blucher, Frinovsky, Yagoda, Kosior, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Radek, and many others who were a part of Stalin's 1934 Congress of the Victors. There are, however, sound reasons for Stalin's destruction of the Party. Reason one: most of those leaders still dreamt of the World Revolution, which would "bring freedom and prosperity to the oppressed." Instead of concerning themselves with the industrialization and planning of the economy, they wrote about the "World proletariat, which through the class struggle disrupts the imperialists' intentions to conquer the Soviet UnionВ…" (Tukhachevsky, 166) Reason two: they were not professionals in economics, military affairs, or anything but the party life. The quote above is from Tukhachevsky's book on strategy. There is no strategic teaching in it; only political activity. In 1937 Malenkov, who was an engineer at the time gave a speech where he said that 70% of secretaries of obkoms and 80% of secretaries of raikoms have primary education (Radzinsky, 341). And those people were in charge of industrialization. Most of the old party members got to the top not through hard work but through oppression of their own people during the Civil War. Tukhachevsky, Yakir and Blucher received their Red Banner orders for suppressing the Kronshtadt and Tambov Rebellions. Even the right-winged Bukharin talked about mass shooting as means of achieving Communism.

According to Khrushchev, Stalin had created an enormous beurocratic apparatus in the country, which was against Lenin's principles and the Communist ideals in general. He says that Lenin was preached for the "indissoluble unity [of the Party] with the masses (Revolutions, 76). It was during Stalin's times that the party nomenklatura started having its own shops, resorts, personnel, dachas, and plains. He "forgets" that Trotsky one of the "outstanding leaders" had his own train and enormous personnel over 250 people

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