Was Stalin the Most Successful Candidate to Succeed Lenin?
Stalin was not the most likely candidate to succeed Lenin. By looking at the facts and the background history of Stalin, it is quite clear that he was not the favoured candidate. The cons outweighed the pros and numerous reasons such as Lenin’s testament, Stalin’s poor revolutionary record, not being an intellectual thinker and being a dull and uninspiring person all led Stalin to being a less favoured candidate. Lenin was the overall leader of communist Russia, and was very well respected. His word was law, and they carried weight in the party.
Therefore, Lenin’s testament would have made the party biased against Stalin due to the fact that he criticises Stalin by calling him “rude” and by mentioning that he proposes “the comrades to find a way to remove Stalin from that position and appoint to it another man who greatly differs from Stalin. ” By mentioning such a thing makes it clear that Lenin does not think highly of Stalin for he wants to remove him, and if Lenin, the great leader of the Communist party does not want Stalin as secretary for he believes he holds too much power, then surely being the leader of the Communist party is more power than Stalin needs?
Stalin was not a revolutionary man with people such as Trotsky having a far greater revolutionary record than him. He was a man of little initiative and preferred to take on the role of a follower rather than that of a leader. This would have been a problem for the party required someone with initiative and great leadership to steer Communist Russia in the right direction- something which Stalin lacked. He was also not an intellectual thinker. This was a bad thing, for being an intellectual thinker was one of the qualities the party looked highly upon.
To be an intellectual thinker meant that you would be able to lead Russia into great heights and prosper, so for Stalin to fall short upon such qualities did little to improve his favour. By being from the South, the opposing parties could argue whether or not Stalin should be able to lead, for he lived near the Turkish border. Therefore, Stalin could be criticised for not truly being Russian, and Communist Russia required a Russian leader. Stalin also had a few bad qualities such as being dull and uninspiring.
He was unable to rouse up crowds in the way Lenin and Trotsky were able to, so the party deciding who would take over after Lenin may have feared that the public would not take Stalin seriously if he could not win the crowds over. Then there was the fact that there were better candidates than him. Bukharin was more popular than Stalin, with Lenin calling Bukharin “the favourite of the whole party” and Trotsky was widely seen as the no. 2- the person most likely to take over after Stalin.
However Stalin did have some chances of being chosen. He had the appeal of the Politburo party, as he was responsible for the recruitment, appointment and promotion of Party members. This would have led to the Party members being grateful to Stalin and so would have backed him as a candidate due to it. Then there was the fact that Stalin was the secretary to the Communist party, and had control over all the inner workings. This meant that he was able to make things go in his favour, by not informing his competitors about important things.
This was seen in the case of Trotsky, where Stalin told him the wrong date for Lenin’s funeral, causing Trotsky to lose favour from some of his supporters. Lenin Enrolment was also a key factor. As Stalin was in charge of Lenin Enrolment, he was able to choose who was enrolled in the Communist Party. By recruiting 50, 000 members, Stalin undoubtedly had a good chance of winning, for like with the Politburo party, the party members would have been grateful, and would, in theory, have backed him as the leader. Stalin also had the ‘common touch’, meaning he would be valued by the proletariats as they would see him as an ordinary man.
By having such a quality, it would have gained him a higher percentage of support amongst proletariats as they would have classed him as their own. Stalin was also a cunning and highly political man. These would have been good qualities to have, for Communist Russia was based on a series of politics. Therefore, a leader with prior knowledge of what the politics were would have undoubtedly have been helpful. By being cunning, it would have also allowed Stalin to have a chance, for he would have used his cunning to make his opponents seem like bad choices- which would have put him in a good limelight.
Then there was the fact that Stalin did not choose any “wing” such as Bukharin and Trotsky. By being in the centre, Stalin did not alienate any side, and by contrast, was able to gain much more allies than that of Bukharin and Trotsky. However, judging on Stalin’s qualities, and the background history of the other candidates, it is clear that though he may have been a good candidate, he was not the most likely candidate to take leadership. With Bukharin and Trotsky being more favoured, it is easy to assume that they would have had the most votes.