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Intro

This section covers Lenin's final years (1921-1924) and the issues of his succession and political legacy. We will be asking how and why it came about that Stalin defeated Trotsky in the struggle to succeed Lenin? What was the relationship between Leninism and Stalinism? If Lenin had lived longer, would the Revolution have taken a different course? You will find some answers to these question in this section. Register here to get information on accessing more materials including my responses to exam questions on these themes.

Lenin and Stalin, Gorki 1922

Lenin and Stalin, Gorki 1922


Stalin versus Trotsky

During that summer, as he recovered at his country house in Gorki, Lenin concerned himself with the question of his succession. He clearly favoured a collective leadership to succeed him. Read more...

The Triumvirate

While Lenin recovered from his stroke Russia was ruled by the triumvirate (Stalin, Kamanev and Zinoviev) which had emerged as an anti-Trotsky bloc. The three met before party meetings to agree their strategy and instruct their followers on how to vote. Read more...

Lenin's Testament

Between 23 December and 4 January Lenin dictated a series of fragmentary notes for the forthcoming Twelfth Party Congress which became known as his Testament. Read more...

The Defeat of Trotsky

At the October Party Plenum Trotsky tried to defend himself against allegations of 'Bonapartism' by recounting how he had rejected Lenin's offer of high office. Read more...

The Left Opposition

The Left Opposition was a noisy critic of the triumvirate but impotent against the Party apparatus, which was increasingly in Stalin's hands. Read more...

When Did Stalin Come to Power?

It is hard to say when Stalin 'came to power'. Lenin's leadership was based on his personal authority - the Bolsheviks were his Party - and he needed no official post to sanction that power. Read more...

The Cult of Lenin

Lenin died on 21 January 1924. His death revitalized the cult of Lenin upon which the regime now increasingly depended for its own sense of legitimacy. Read more...

Leninism and Stalinism

What would have happened if Lenin had lived? Was Russia already set on the path of Stalinism? Or did the NEP and Lenin's last writings offer it a different departure? Read more...

Q & A

Here are some exam-like questions. Read more...

Podcast

A recording of a lecture/class about these themes using primary documents. Read more...

Further Reading

A list of further reading. Read more...

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