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Dizzy with Success - lenin and stalin

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Introduction

Lenin once observed that Stalin had a tendency to "make a rotten compromise in order then to deceive." In other words, he was willing to make tactical retreats in order to lull his rivals or his enemies into a false sense of security. These concessions were meant to be temporary- not, as he would have enemies believe, genuine changes of heart. Nowhere was this propensity for deceit more clearly displayed than during his article of March 2, 1930, Dizzy With Success. Stalin, in addition to passing responsibility for his mistakes on to "some of our comrades," deliberately lied to the peasants by insisting that the organized terror and theft that had hitherto characterised the collectivisation was completely contrary to his wishes. This was a crucial tactical retreat in Stalin's attempts to crush and collectivise the Soviet peasantry. A brief chronology of the preceding years is necessary to place all this in context. From 1918-20 the Bolsheviks were engaged in a bloody civil war. The ravaged state of the country at the end of this struggle, combined with foreign opposition and further internal unrest in 1921, illustrated that their grip on power was uncertain. Lenin, seeing the need to rebuild the economy and appease the people, instigated the New Economic Policy (or NEP), which allowed for the limited reintroduction of capitalism. This measure worked, but most Bolsheviks regarded the NEP as only a temporary piece of pragmatism. ...read more.

Middle

"But successes have their seamy side, especially when they are attained with comparative 'ease'- 'unexpectedly,' so to speak. Such successes sometimes induce a spirit of vanity and conceit: 'We can achieve anything!' 'There's nothing we can't do!' People not infrequently become intoxicated by such successes; they become dizzy with success, lose all sense of proportion and the capacity to understand realities; they show a tendency to overrate their own strength and to underrate the strength of the enemy; adventurist attempts are made to solve all questions of socialist construction 'in a trice.'" So Stalin has now blamed his own idea of crash collectivisation- his own desire to do everything "in a trice"- on certain "people" imbued with "a spirit of vanity and conceit." This is a lie. He then adds to this lie by promising to punish those responsible. "Hence the Party's task is: to wage a determined struggle against these sentiments, which are dangerous and harmful to our cause, and to drive them out of the Party. It cannot be said that these dangerous and harmful sentiments are at all widespread in the ranks of our Party. But they do exist in our Party, and there are no grounds for asserting that they will not become stronger. And if they should be allowed free scope, then there can be no doubt that the collective-farm movement will be considerably weakened and the danger of its breaking down may become a reality. ...read more.

Conclusion

'There's nothing we can't do!' They could have arisen only because some of our comrades have become dizzy with success and for the moment have lost clearness of mind and sobriety of vision. To correct the line of our work in the sphere of collective-farm development, we must put an end to these sentiments. That is now one of the immediate tasks of the Party. So Dizzy With Success marked a retreat by Stalin in his war on the peasantry. While some peasants no doubt believed that they had taught Stalin that their centuries old way of life could not be altered by force, he had actually learn a different lesson; he had concluded not that he needed to abandon collectivisation, but instead that he needed to massively increase his terror to implement it. As a result the peasants- especially those in the Ukraine- paid a terrible price in the next few years for their earlier resistance. Stalin decided to deliberately starve the Ukrainian peasantry into submission; seven million were to die in the next three years. By such means, he finally managed to collectivise the Soviet Union. Another statement by Khatayevich, spoken to an activist in 1933, speaks for itself. "A ruthless struggle is going on between the peasantry and our regime. It's a struggle to the death. This year was a test of our strength and their endurance. It took a famine to show them who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay. We've won the war. ...read more.

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