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Myth: Lenin was opposed to Stalin.

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Post 01 Nov 2012, 16:12
A common myth originating with Kruschev's 20th party meet was that Lenin was opposed to Stalin and desired him expelled from the party.

Here is Lenin's text Kruschev referred to:

"Сталин слишком груб, и этот недостаток, вполне терпимый в среде и в общениях между нами, коммунистами, становится нетерпимым в должности генсека. Поэтому я предлагаю товарищам обдумать способ перемещения Сталина с этого места и назначить на это место другого человека, который во всех других отношениях отличается от тов. Сталина только одним перевесом, именно, более терпим, более лоялен, более вежлив и более внимателен к товарищам, меньше капризности и т. д."

"Stalin is too coarse, and this deficit, although manageable in relations between ourselves, communists, becomes unbearable in the status of General Secretary. So I recommend comrades to think of moving Stalin away from this position and appoint in his place someone who differs from Stalin in only one area, namely, greater patience, greater loyalty, better manners, less outbursts and etc."

No individual differs from another individual "in only one area"- thus it is clear Lenin was simply suggesting Stalin become more patient and learn better manners.

Considering Lenin was even more viciously critical towards the other major Bolshevik leaders, charging Trotsky with "чрезмерно хвастающего самоуверенностью", "over-the-line arrogant self-confidence", calling him a "Judas" and a "non-Bolshevik". Kamenev and Zinoviev were alleged to have made mistakes "not by accident".

Stalin on October 23, 1927 responds to Lenin's criticism:

"Да, я груб, товарищи, в отношении тех, которые грубо и вероломно разрушают и раскалывают партию... Я на первом же заседании пленума ЦК после XIII съезда просил пленум ЦК освободить меня от обязанностей генерального секретаря. Съезд сам обсуждал этот вопрос. Каждая делегация обсуждала этот вопрос, и все делегации единогласно, в том числе и Троцкий, Каменев, Зиновьев, обязали Сталина остаться на своём посту. Что же я мог сделать? Сбежать с поста? Это не в моём характере, ни с каких постов я никогда не убегал и не имею права убегать, ибо это было бы дезертирством. Человек я, как уже раньше об этом говорил, подневольный, и когда партия обязывает, я должен подчиниться...

"Yes, I am rude, comrades, in relation to those who rudely destroy and fragment the party. I on the very first meeting of the Central Committee after the 13th Party gathering [when Lenin criticized Stalin's rudeness] asked the Central Committee to relieve me of my responsibilities as General Secretary. The Committee discussed this question. Each delegation discussed this question, and all delegations unilaterally, including Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, obliged Stalin to remain on the post. What should I have done? Run away from my post? This is not in my character, from no posts have I ran away, nor do I have a right to run away, as this would be mean being a deserter. I am a person, as I talked about before, answer to the party, and when the party asks, I must follow through."

Lenin even earlier called Stalin "the magic Georgian", surprised that the son of a cobbler was able to write such intelligent prose on subjects of great importance.

Thus, it is clear the myth that Lenin did not want Stalin to take power is bogus- in fact, out of all the possibilities, Stalin was both the closest ideologically to Lenin as well as his most liked comrade.
Post 19 Nov 2012, 02:35
Just to add something of rather significance:

"On April 3, 1922, the day after the end of the Congress, it was announced that Stalin had been appointed to the new post of General Secretary. The function of the office was to co-ordinate the work of the complex party apparatus. But it was also intended that the Secretariat would examine the membership more closely and ensure that delegates to future congresses were more carefully chosen... Apparently no one, not even Lenin at this stage, paused to reflect that Stalin was now the only Bolshevik leader who was a member of the Central Committee, Politburo, Orgburo, and the Secretariat, the four closely interlinked organs which controlled every aspect of the party and of national life."
(Grey, Ian. Stalin: Man of History. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1979., pp. 157-159.)

Lenin even earlier called Stalin "the magic Georgian", surprised that the son of a cobbler was able to write such intelligent prose on subjects of great importance.

Just out of curiosity, what work of Stalin's was he talking about? Was it Marxism and the National Question?
Post 19 Nov 2012, 08:19
Post 09 Jan 2013, 11:41
Even more and more anti-communist historians such as Norman Naimark, writer of the book Stalin's Genocides, admit the nonsense of a "stalinist takeover" of power against Lenin's will. In the description of Stalin's life before he became General-Secretary (which is the only more or less honest part of the book), Naimark writes that Stalin was probably one of the main, if not the main, trustees of Lenin in the revolutionary struggle. Stalin rallied forces for the Bolsheviks, ensured funds (most importantly the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery), and led armed forces during the Civil War at important fronts. Communication between Lenin and Stalin clearly show their close cooperation that preceded the Revolution by over a decade.
This contrary to Trotsky, who as we know joined the Bolshevik party in 1917, right before the Revolution.
Post 09 Jan 2013, 12:43
I don't know whether you're aware of it, but the anti-Communist historians are saying things like this mainly to spread the discredit which Stalin already has to people like Lenin also. So far the smear campaign against communism has had limited success in dragging down Lenin. They would dearly like him to be regarded with just as much contempt and loathing that much of the world holds for Stalin.

They argue firstly that Stalin was bad (which they regard as proven) and then they argue that Stalin was Lenin's legitimate successor and consequently any flaws which they claim proved about Stalin they also claim to be proved about Lenin and Leninism too.

My point isn't so much to agree or disagree with the question of Stalin being Lenin's legitimate successor, but about the suitability of using anti-Communist historians in examining such an issue.
Post 09 Jan 2013, 19:03
Yes, I am aware of that fact. Yet it is interesting to see how historians, for this end, are using arguments comepletely contradictory to the traditional historiographical view of Lenin's legacy being 'stolen' by Stalin. This discrepancy and hypocrisy by itself can be used as an argument against them.
Post 10 Jan 2013, 02:46
The Trotskyist view was never the dominant view of western historians. That was only promoted by petty-bourgeoisie radicals who aimed to discredit those same western historians' view that Lenin would only lead to a person like Stalin.

Also on a side note: I personally have major problems with Trotsky but impugning his revolutionary (read: Bolshevik) credentials is underhanded and disingenuous. Lenin recognized this, and Stalin recognized this (until it became troublesome for him), so please quit insulting your own intelligence by spreadin this nonsense of an opportunist Trotsky. He was many things, foolish, heated, bureaucratic, but never an opportunist. Otherwise he would have fully sided with the Mensheviks rather than shitting on them at every chance. Despite what you may believe even Lenin needed to hear he was wrong, whether he was or not.
Post 10 Jan 2013, 12:13
I have to say I don't really agree with your point that it wasn't the dominant view. For as long as I can remember I have always heard and been taught the idea that Trotsky was, at least presumably, the "appointed and most wished for successor of Lenin" and that Stalin through some evil scheming behind the scenes somehow managed to establish his power. Even in university, studying history no less, this has always been the ruling idea about the post-1924 USSR. In fact Naimark's article is the first one ever to appear in a my historiographical curriculum that does not state that Stalin somehow "stole" his position.

Also, I don't think Trotsky was an opportunist pur sang. But the fact that he joined the Bolseviks only in 1917 does refute the point that he somehow was a founding or highly important member of the Bolshevik movement, or even an "Old Bolshevik", which is often stated. I don't deny his extensive military capabilities and his leadership when it came to combat, but I wouldn't deem him an actual Bolshevik at all. That doesn't necessarily mean he was an opportunist, though.
Post 21 Mar 2013, 00:50
Although Trotsky only joined the Bolsheviks in 1917, he was more or less a Bolshevik from the split of 1903. Even though he sided with the Mensheviks in the split Trotsky remained ideologically closer to the Bolsheviks, and that led him to break with the Mensheviks abroad shortly after the schism.
Post 12 Apr 2013, 10:18
How could he be a bolshevik even thoug he opposed Lenin on every fundamental question related to the line of the Bolsheviks? He opposed the Bolshevik slogan of the "Democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry", thus he wasn't with the Bolsheviks.

The difference between Stalin and Trotsky is that Stalin was criticized for his actions, or his manners, while Trotsky was criticized on a theorertical basis. Thus Stalin was a bolshevik, maybe not the best of the bolsheviks, but still a bolshevik, while Trotsky wasn't.
Post 15 Apr 2013, 05:23
He opposed Lenin more out of bitterness as Lenin wanted to remove some of the founding members in London, as Trotsky felt the movement was beholden to them. He opposed Lenin in a very emotional way, but he soon found out that the Mensheviks were opposed to his views, and that ideologically he was far closer to a moderate bolshevik that any part of the Menshevik party.
Post 15 Aug 2014, 15:34
Dagoth Ur wrote:
Also on a side note: I personally have major problems with Trotsky but impugning his revolutionary (read: Bolshevik) credentials is underhanded and disingenuous.

QFT. He was a pivotal figure in 1905, sided with the Bolsheviks when it mattered and was instrumental in organizing the Red Army into a fighting force that could beat the Whites and defend the Revolution.

As for Lenin's testament, I always thought he sharply criticized everybody in the Politburo in order not to appoint a successor and help ensure collective leadership.
Post 15 Aug 2014, 21:39
So you basically 'refuted' a historical document on the basis of your opinion ?

Very scientifical.

Criticisms of Trotsky against Lenin, Lenin against Trotsky etc, must be understood on the light of Lenin's idea of democratic centralism. Everything was supposed to be debated withing the party ranks. At every level.

So Stalinists take "snapshots" of the relationship among those actors as if gospel, or set in stone forever. So do some trotskysts. But, theres a fundamental problem with closed circles of power, and its that people can hide their true intentions. Leninists usually ignore the personal side of people, as if men was a pure consequence of society (and so deterministic), as if this intentional ignorance avoided the unscientifical human factor, emotions, biographic past, things that are hard to pinpoint in a theory etc. But people have their differences, that go way beyond the sociologic. By being able to hide their intentions and feelings, people can avoid to hurt, but so can avoid to show bad intentions. Power hungry people can be very manipulative in that regard. The root element of that debate lies in the faith that Lenin could judge people's character acurately. He could not. Neither do I, or you. But we can see tendencies. Lenin is no god. Stalin had a very subservient relationship to Lenin. Lenin was his "father". He obsessed with him. Might have been true admiration. But this has a side effect. Subservient people tend to be quite harsh when they reach power. Trotsky was a more self-assured person. He was able to challenge Lenin's opinions openly. This is actually good if you want Lenin's democratic centralism to work.

Between people who are more theoretically minded, we can have a fight today - about a intellectual concet - and be friends tomorrow, because the theory is the passion. The intellectual achievement is the passion, the uttmost objective. And thats the relationship between Lenin and Trotsky. About Stalin, being no intellectually driven person, the relationship with Lenin lies in a more personal side. Lenin talks about Stalin rudeness, because being intellectually insignificant meant that all that Stalin could do is follow Lenin bindly. How can Lenin have an intellectual difference to a subservient Stalin ? They were way rarer. As a side note, being human means that Lenin might very well trust Stalin, just to have him show his true colors after taking power. Lenin personal opinion about Stalin or Trotsky means nothing to me.
Post 12 May 2016, 22:50
Do you guys know what medieval theologians argued most fervently about?
There were fiery debates on how many angels can stand on top of a needle.

I better write another sentence so as to be clear - do you understand the connection of this and your arguments below?
Post 13 May 2016, 03:09
EdvardK wrote:
Do you guys know what medieval theologians argued most fervently about?
There were fiery debates on how many angels can stand on top of a needle.

First of all, even I know that isn't true. As I recall, the primary debate subjects of the Scholastics were predestination vs. free will, the "Filioque" clause, and the rightful spheres of influence of the Pope and Emperor.

Meanwhile, you're wasting your precious time and energy thread necromancing in an effort to troll a page full of people who no longer post here.

I better write another sentence so as to be clear - do you understand the connection of this and your arguments below?

Establishing the legitimacy or illegitimacy of Stalin's succession to Lenin isn't as sectarian and fruitless as you make it seem. There are real issues here that remain relevant, especially if another state succeeds to socialism in the coming years.
Post 15 May 2016, 23:11
You just live in an illusion. Aunt Reality will catch up sooner or later.
Post 16 May 2016, 00:28
Comrade Gulper is absolutely correct, especially if Russia ends up being the country that makes the next attempt at socialism. After all, if Lenin as a political figure is polarizing (with roughly 50% of Russians now support him), Stalin is not, and regularly gets 80%+ support in all sorts of polls and sociological surveys. This is because Stalin has additional support from all sorts of so-called patriotic forces and great power nationalists that Lenin cannot rely upon (even though he too united a crumbling country and basically saved Russia as a historical entity, but that's another matter).

The point is, the closer Lenin and Stalin are made out to be (politically, theoretically, etc.) in Russia's case, the more the Left can say 'hey guys, do you support Stalin? Well guess what? He was the original Leninist.' Globally, it's less important I suppose, although it should help lead to an evaluation away from 'Lenin gave us everything and then Stalin came and ruined everything and the Stalinist experience in the USSR has no historical value.'
Post 02 Jun 2016, 22:25
God save us from that happening. No one needs any more attempts at socialism from anything besides Europe and the US, there's been enough of those failures for a 1000 years from now. In any case Russia a 100 years ago had a strong revolutionary party and intelligentsia, now they have Zyuganov.
But that's all just empty talk anyway. We're not in revolutionary times now. What hopes some people had in South America are evidently gone.
Post 25 Jan 2018, 02:58
Stalin was no Lenin. I believe Lenin truly care for his country and his people, as for Stalin I sadly cannot say the same, it appears Stalin only cared about power.
Post 26 Jan 2018, 00:43
Why would a man who only cares about power try to resign four separate times? Also Stalin would have agreed that he was no Lenin. In fact he was pretty ardent about the fact that everything he did was a continuation of Lenin. But I'm sure Stalin is still the most demonized Communist leader because he wasn't a communist lol
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