The Policies of Lenin and Stalin Essay

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Identified within this study is the argument that whilst many of Lenin’s theories and practices were continued under Stalin, many were in fact developed and extended to new levels, possibly reflecting different motives: what Pipes refers to as Stalin’s ‘personality of excesses’. Although for many years, numerous historians including both members of the Western school of thought (such as Pipes), along with the official Soviet historians of the time believed that Stalin was the natural heir of Lenin, opinions have changed with time. As more evidence came out of Stalin’s mass atrocities, the Soviet historians soon began to see Stalin as the betrayer of the revolution as Trotsky had always maintained,…show more content…
According to this view, had Lenin lived, these policies would probably have been reversed as political and economic stability was restored, and certainly would not have given rise to the mass extermination of millions of peasants and party members, which prevailed under Stalin in the 1930s. In scrutinising the actions of Stalin, I have examined especially how they differed from those of Lenin, and in what ways the motives for similar actions changed. One aspect of continuity is reflected in the control and influence that both Lenin and Stalin had over their parties. In 1921, Lenin effectively destroyed democracy in the party through his ban of factionalism. Although this was used to end the problem of splits (during the crisis of the same year), many see it as a key factor in allowing Stalin to rise to power. Stalin often accused people of factionalism (e.g. Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev) as a response to any challenges to his authority. It also created a situation that allowed the party leadership to do what it wanted and dismiss any opposition. Pipes argues that as a result of this, the Bolsheviks were carefully coerced into always following Lenin’s will, and that his policy of ‘democratic centralism’ was merely a façade like many of the other
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