Comparing the Ideology of Lenin and Stalin Essay

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Compare and contrast the ideologies and the political and economic practice of Lenin and Stalin.

Every state is based upon and driven by some ideology. Imperial Russia was based upon autocratic absolutism for over 400 years. Following the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, a new era dawned upon Russia. For the next 36 years she would be in the hands of two men that would attempt to apply a new, vastly different creed in ruling and transforming this country. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, as the leader of the Bolshevik party, ruled Russia from October 1917 till his death in January 1924. He was succeeded by Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, who also ruled until his death in March 1953. Both men claimed to ascribe to the broad ideology of Socialism
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As such any comparison then, will be somewhat uneven as we will compare not only actions to actions, but in Stalin's case, his actions to Lenin's theory as well as to speculation, as to what Lenin may have done in practice, if he had lived longer.

The main aspects of Lenin's ideology were outlined in a number of written works, the most important of these were: "What Is To Be Done" (1902) and The State and Revolution (1917). In "What Is To Be Done?" Lenin presented the idea that although the Russian peasantry was a potential revolutionary force, it was not capable of developing a revolutionary consciousness of its own. Marx had regarded revolutionary class consciousness to be the natural and spontaneous product of the life experience of the working class . Lenin, by contrast, concluded that "class political consciousness can be brought only from the outside". Without the assistance of the revolutionary intelligentsia, he argued, the working class could only develop a "trade-union consciousness" .

Lenin's solution was a revolutionary vanguard party that would come not from the peasantry or proletariat, but from the bourgeoisie and be composed of mainly middle class intellectuals. (Strangely enough he seemed to fit this criteria quite snuggly!) This party, he postulated, would have to be a small, closely knit, highly centralized, highly disciplined, conspiratorial and quasi-military organization of professional
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