Stalin/Alexander Iii Was More Successful at Dealing with Opposition Than Any Other Ruler of Russia in the Period from 1855-1964. How Far Do You Agree with This View?
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Opposition is a constant theme faced by any political ruler. A common measure of success is how effective a ruler is at dealing with the problem of opposition, in comparison to his previous/succeeding rulers, in this instance, comparing Stalin to the Tsars Alexander II,III and Nicholas II, and Communist Leaders Lenin and Khrushchev, over a decade of Russian history.
Under Stalin, the campaign to crush opposition began almost instantaneously. Initially, this came in the form of political opponents such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamanev and the left. Beginning with Trotsky, Stalin seized opportunity and dominated the 12th Party Conference in 1923, after Trotsky failed to capitalise on the chance to make the principal speech, which would…show more content… This highlighted not only Stalin’s fear of being subsided as leader of the USSR, but his ruthlessness in the face of opposition. Then followed the 1936 Show Trials, in which there were many arrests of party members, ex-opponents, military figures and non-party members. The first involved Zinoviev, Kamanev and their allies, who confessed under force for falsified crimes of being responsible for attempts to wreck Soviet industry and to kill Soviet leaders, and subsequently were shot after being convicted. The second followed in January 1937, in which Karl Radek, a well known Trotskyite and Pyatakov was shot, again on falsified crimes. In March 1938, Bukharin and 20 members of the old Right Deviation were tried, and found guilty of working with Trotsky and foreign governments against the USSR. All confessed and were shot, with Tomsky being so crippled by fear that he committed suicide. The Show Trials were a grotesque sham by which Stalin cast immense fear into the hearts and minds of Russia’s political clout, ensuring total control over any opposition through fear alone. Removal of any potential opposition was extended in July 1937 when Yezhov (Stalin’s head of the secret police from 1936) drew up a list of over 250,000 ‘Anti-Soviet elements’, which included intelligentsia such as artists, writers, musicians, priests and so forth. This became known as the Anti-Soviet List, ad anyone unfortunate enough to be found on it was arrested,