After the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917 took place, Lenin ruled the newly communist USSR until his death. “Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashivili,” commonly referred to as Stalin, was the one man he warned his country not to put in power. The man who appeared most qualified for the position, was rather Lev Davidovich Bronstein, or Leon Trotsky, the leader of the USSR’s military, an important member in the Communist party, and a close friend to Lenin (Rempel). Despite Trotsky’s superior position, Stalin became the new communist leader. To answer the question: “What were the factors that lead to Stalin, rather than Trotsky, rising to power in the post-Lenin USSR?”, several in-depth biographies, including: The Life and Death of Lenin by Robert Payne, Trotsky the eternal revolutionary by Dmitri Volkogonov, as well as several books on the USSR: The rise and fall of the Soviet Union and The USSR under Stalin by Stewart Ross; will be searched for any information pertaining to Stalin’s overtaking.
With The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, a pair of German philosophers, established the foundation upon which the principles of the Russian revolution of November 1917 were based. Promoted by Lenin, the chairman of the communist party in Russia, as well as Trotsky, another prominent leader who was in charge of the Red Army, the values of a classless society, equality for all, equal distribution of resources, and a place for everyone became the basis of a revolution that transformed Russia into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR (Stoff 16).
Under Lenin, who became the new leader, the country was able to recover from the economic disaster it faced as a result of poor leadership and post WWI conditions. Lenin instituted his New Economic Policy, or NEP in 1921, and allowed some capitalist aspects of business back into the market, in an attempt to promote business, after they had been removed due to conflict with communist values (Rappaport 165). Private business and competition were again allowed. It was considered a minor setback, in order to allow for future total socialism (Stoff 17). Lenin also created the first form of secret police in the USSR, the Cheka, in 1917, who eventually evolved into the KGB. Despite his control, Lenin promoted a degree of artistic expression, legalized abortions, and encouraged women to enter the workplace. Eventually, however, the USSR increased oppression, limiting allowed expression, and censoring anything it didn’t agree with (17). The oppression only grew worse as Lenin ceased to be their leader.
On May 26, 1922 Lenin had a stroke. This took a great toll on his health and in 1924, he died, leaving it leaderless and in a state of disarray. The natural successor to the position he held was a close friend and long-time ally of Lenin, Leon Trotsky: leader of the Red Army, and another character high in the ranks of...