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Josef -||- Lenin's Death -||- party politics- left vs. right-||- Stalin & Stalinism -||- World War II

~~~- Russia -~~~

The Death of Lenin

Lenin feared a split of the party after his death.  His suspicions were brought by the rivalry between Trotsky and Stalin.  The two made no secret of their great dislike for each other.  It was quite obvious what would happen to the loser of the political battle.  Trotskyites who believed in Trotsky’s genius and generosity should take note that if he succeeded, Stalin would have been dead.  Or perhaps that is the reason why Trotsky had many admirers.

            Lenin’s plans for the party were different though.  He did not want one clear successor, he wanted a group leadership.  In his final Testament (he never had an opportunity to present it to the Assembly), he praised and criticized all members of the Politburo.  Zinoviev and Kamenev were criticized for not approving of the date for the October Revolution (the very one that brought the Bolsheviks into power).  Bukharin was called ‘the darling of the party’ but was to dreamy apparently.  Bukharin actually, was my personal favorite, I found his policies having the most sense (besides the one about continuing war in reaction to the treaty of Brest-Litovsk).  About Stalin, you’ve already read what was written about him (it’s above).  What wasn’t included earlier was the post-script: “Stalin is too rude and this defect…is intolerable in a Secretary General.  That is why I suggest that comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from his post and appointing another man in his stead who…[is]…more tolerant, more loyal, more polite and more considerate to his comrades, less capricious, etc.”.  Stalin fell out of Lenin’s favor when he insulted his wife.

            As for Trotsky, he was not free from criticism either.  “Comrade Trotsky…is distinguished not only by his outstanding ability.  He is personally perhaps the most capable man in the present CC [Central Committee] but he has displayed excessive self-assurance and shown excessive preoccupation with the purely administrative side of the work”. 

            Lenin’s death therefore, left the party divided, and Stalin saw his opportunity at Lenin’s funeral.  Stalin made himself out to be Lenin’s great and loyal follower, addressing him almost as a god.  As for Trotsky, he didn’t turn up.  He later said that Stalin gave him the wrong date for the funeral.