Stalin pp 68-84 | Cite as


  • Robert H. McNeal
Part of the St Antony’s book series


Lenin was only nine years older than Stalin. As founder and unchallenged leader of the Bolsheviks, maker of the world’s first dictatorship of the proletariat, it was reasonable to assume in, say, 1920 that Lenin would have many years as effective head of the Soviet regime, that Stalin would spend most of his career in Lenin’s shadow and that he might be too old to be a plausible successor to Lenin by the time the founder’s career did reach its end. Not that Stalin in 1921 was by any means the heir apparent among Lenin’s lieutenants. But Lenin was not genetically fortunate. The same premature arterial sclerosis that had felled his father at the age of 54 announced its claim on him during 1921 through headaches, insomnia and — so unlike Lenin — apathy toward his work. From early December to 1 March 1922 he spent much of his time on leave, living outside Moscow, trying to rest and regain his vigour. Then, on 25–7 May, he suffered a cerebral haemorrhage that temporarily paralysed his right arm and leg and impaired his speech.1 For Stalin, and perhaps others, a whole range of new opportunities suddenly appeared.


Central Committee Soviet Regime Soviet State Party Congress Minority Nationality 
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  1. 10.
    V. I. Lenin, Sochineniia (Moscow, 1929 ) XXV, 624.Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    L. D. Trotsky, The Stalin School of Falsification (New York, 1971) 66–7, which provides the document in part. The whole is in the Trotsky archives at Harvard, T755. W, IV, 72–4; W, V, 146, which edits the original version in P, 18 November 1922 to cover up Stalin’s later acceptance of bicameralism.Google Scholar
  3. 16.
    VILBK, XII, 390; CW, XLV, 582; S. V. Kharmandarin, Lenin i stanovlenie zakvkazskoi federatsii 1921–1923 (Erivan, 1969) 351–4; Dvenadtsatyi s’ezd Rossiiskoi Kommunisticheskoi Partii (bol’shevikov): Stenograficheskii otchet (Moscow, 1923) 157.Google Scholar
  4. 23.
    L. Fotieva, Pages from Lenin’s Life (Moscow, 1960) 182.Google Scholar
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    L. Ivanov and A. N. Shmelev, Leninizm i ideinopoliticheskii razgrom trotskizma (Moscow, 1970 ) 349.Google Scholar
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    P, 4 April 1922; B. Bajanov, Bajanov révèle Staline (Paris, 1979) 52.Google Scholar
  7. 46.
    On this subject in general, N. E. Rosenfeldt, Knowledge and Power (Copenhagen, 1978). Also Bajanov (1979) 51, 54–55. This memoirist established his credentials as an actual member of Stalin’s staff by publishing what appears to be an authentic identification pass in his first book [Avec Staline dans le Kremlin (Paris, 1930)]. One hopes that the modest points mentioned above on the basis of his testimony are reliable. However, his second book (Bajanov révèle Staline) gravely undermines his credibility on the more pretentious assertions that he offers, which attempt to magnify his importance and ability. One major case is his claim to have drafted the first major post-revolutionary revision of the party statutes in 1922, when in fact the first such revision occurred in 1919, before he had joined either the Orgburo or Stalin’s secretariat [Bajanov (1979) 20–4, 28–9; RDCPSU,II, 908]. A second case is his claim to have proposed and prepared in 1922 the first edition of the basic collection of party decrees [Bajanov (1979) 28–9], when in fact this publication (Spravochnik partiinogo rabotnika) first appeared in 1921. The credibility of his second book also suffers from his willingness to make assertions concerning events that occurred in the USSR after his defection in 1928; for example, the suicide of Nadezhda Allilueva, the alleged murder of her classmates at the Industrial Academy and statements by Stalin’s son Yakov to his German captors during the Second World War.Google Scholar
  8. 50.
    L. D. Trotsky, The Challenge of the Left Opposition (1923–25) (New York, 1979) 50–144, especially 55, 83.Google Scholar
  9. 50.
    According to J. Hough, How the Soviet Union Is Governed (Cambridge, Mass., 1979) 133, 65.3 per cent of the delegates to the party congress of 1924 were party officials and in the same year 38 per cent of the Central Committee consisted of these people.Google Scholar
  10. 51.
    A. I. Mikoyan, V nachale dvadtsatykh (Moscow, 1975 ) 140 – 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert H. McNeal 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. McNeal
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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