Consequences of Joseph Stalin's Leadership
Stalin began his rise to power after the death of Lenin in 1924. At
this time, Russia was in social, political and economic turmoil and
suffering from ailing international relations following the revolution
of 1917 and growth of a one party communist sate. The 'uprising of the
proletariat' had occurred in a country without a recognisable working
class. In order for Russian industry to develop, the political system
needed stabilising and capital invested in the major companies. Stalin
implemented hard-line tactics to obtain this in the shortest possible
time - the consequences of this method of developing the country are
to be discussed in this essay.
The politicians of the period had to contend Stalin's ruthless quest
to become the omnipotent and unopposed ruler of Russia. The communist
system was a relatively new radical political system within Russia.
Stalin felt that the less extremist governments preceding him
(Provisional Government) had failed drastically, and that the only way
to rule such a large country, further hindered by its retarded
industrial revolution and multitude of minority nations was through
force. He considered purging any suspect opposition as a way to
establish the legitimacy of his control. In February 1929, he emerged
as the undisputed leader through the manipulation of official posts
and forcing opposition out of the Party. For instance, Zinoviev and
Kamenev (who had made up the Troika with Stalin after Lenin's death)
were imprisoned until 1936 when they were executed after the 'show
trails' for 'crimes against the Party. These public 'confessions'
tortured out of the victim would become a frequent occurrence during
'high terror' of the late 1930's. Stalin was ruthless in his
intolerance of criticism and dissent. It was for the personal
achievement of obtaining total control by Stalin that the Russian
population would pay with their dignity and for well over 20million by
the time of his death in 1953, their lives.
Stalin believed that Russia was '50-100 years behind the advanced
countries' and that she 'must make good this gap in 10 years otherwise
they will crush us'. He also believed in 'Socialism in one country'
i.e. the expansion and strengthening of Russia in order to allow
attack of and defence from the capitalists rather than the immediate
propagation of communism abroad favoured by Trotsky. This also
exacerbated the disastrous effects of collectivisation as the Russians
could not ask for foreign aid to eases the famine or for investment in
the newly founded industries.
Under Stalinism, society was controlled and indoctrinated from all
possible angles. He developed the 'Cult of Personality' in which
pictures and statues of him were placed throughout every town and
village, many of which ere...