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Stalin: From Patriot to Oppressor

Written by Animus AniKor Saxcian

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Seeds of a Dictator

The prevailing peace which had embedded itself into Russia, was the result victory against the Whites and withdrawal of the foreign insurgents. The Communist Party, with goal of reuniting the Russian Empire, began recovering the regions in which had been lost to the Revolution. Stalins next destination, in 1921, would be his homeland of Georgia; whereas, he would be leading the Red Army to destroy the Menshevik-led government. By summer of the same year, all resistance was eliminated and his native land was under Bolshevik control. It had been 9 years since he last was in his country, and a plethora of Georgians received him furiously. Stalin showed no mercy to his homeland, and wanted to rule it with an iron fist, whereas Lenin suggested a more lenient approach. This was the only major dispute between Stalin and Lenin, between 1920 and 1921. In 1922, this dispute would reach a higher level as the Politburo, the chief leaders of the USSR, was laying down blueprints for a formal constitution that would enunciate the relationship between Russia and other Communist Party owned regions. Stalin and Kamenev believed that all other nationalities should be subordinated to Russian; however, Lenin insisted on having constitutional equality in the new Union of Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR), thus overruling Stalin and Kamenev. It was also came to knowledge that Stalin and Trotsky had a deep seeded enmity for each other. With the approaching death of Lenin (he suffered a stroke sending him into a steep decline), it became a pressing concern due to the known fact that Stalin and Kamenev would enter into a power struggle once Lenin passed away. Stalin's election as General Secretary of the Party's Central Committee, caused Lenin to become distraught over his protégé's influence in the inflating Soviet bureaucracy. In December of 1922, due to his growing doubts, he decreed a Testament, warning of the already clear conflict between Stalin and Trotsky. It also stated that he favored Trotsky, and called his fellow Communists to remover Stalin from his position as General Secretary, due to his temperamental attitude and not being suited for the job. Trotsky and Lenin discussed purging the Stalin-controlled bureaucracy, and began an investigation of recent disturbances in Georgia. Lenin suddenly suffered his final stroke on March 7, 1923, losing his gift of powerful speech (He would only live until January the following year). This was the initiation of the struggle for power.

Trotsky had initially held the majority of the Parties favor, and was in one of the most powerful positions; however, Stalin was persistent and continued his conquest for power. Stalin's first alliance consisted of, Kamenev and G. E. Zinoviev, one of Lenin's closest aides in the Revolution. The name of this group was .troika. or .triumvirate.. This faction's initial attack strategy was to draw on his writings and speeches from his days as a Menshevik, and claim his disloyalty to his own movement. On July 21, 1924 Lenin finally died; Stalin took the opportunity to use the funeral to his advantage. Stalin telegraphed Trotsky, who had been away in the Caucasus, and said that the funeral was being held immediately in Moscow and their was no point in undertaking the long journey back to Moscow. Stalin had deceived Trotsky into being absent from the funeral, so he could create and use this symbolic absence to his advantage. Stalin held a prominent role in the mourning of Lenin's death; however, he was in a jubilant mood over the death, due to the advantages it game him. Despite having many advantages, the death had rose a few difficulties for Stalin. The anti-Stalin Testament that Lenin had conceived of was read at the next Central Committee meeting. If the Committee would have pressed for compliance, Stalin would not have been able to survive the attacks do to his small support base. Trotsky did not say anything concerning the Testament, and Stalin's allies came to his defense.

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