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In order to achieve and retain power a leader of a single-party state needed to be ruthless, blind to human suffering and yet charismatic. To what extent do you agree with this assertion?

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Question #8: "In order to achieve and retain power a leader of a single-party state needed to be ruthless, blind to human suffering and yet charismatic." To what extent do you agree with this assertion? Thesis: The above statement is to an extent correct, because in order for both Lenin and Stalin to achieve and retain power they used ruthless methods of suppressing the opposition and both were blind to human suffering as their enforced economic policies led to severe famine and the death of millions. However, while Lenin can be considered charismatic, Stalin depended much more on the use of force and greatly relied on Lenin's charismatic image to boost his own. Analysis/Argument: POV#1 - The use of brutality when suppressing the opposition can be seen in both Lenin and Stalin's Soviet Russia as they both used the Cheka or the NKVD to eliminate those who were against their economic, political and social policies. * Lenin used ruthless methods of suppression to deal with the opposition. * October Revolution, Lenin and the army he had organized tool control of public services and buildings. o For example they took control of the distribution of water. * Lenin with the help of Trotsky built the Red Army to fight against the counter-Revolutionaries or the Whites o Using the Cheka and the Red army, Lenin ruthlessly used terror in order to suppress any opposition. * Despite Lenin's defeat during the elections, he ignored the election and seized power anyways. ...read more.


New York: Longman, 1996. * Collectivization was strongly supported by Stalin and does who did not agree with the system of Collective farms was killed or their farms were destroyed. * "Peasant opposition was dealt with brutally, by using military force, deportation or expulsion." * The Great Purge or Great Terror which took place under the rule of Stalin was the prosecution of people who Stalin considered to be anti-revolutionaries. o In reality Stalin used the purge as a mechanism of eliminating certain dissident figures from the Bolshevik party and in doing so strengthen his authority. POV#2 - After the Russian Civil War, Lenin realised that he needed to improve the conditions of the people by replacing War Communism with the NEP; however, Stalin decided to keep a blind eye to the famine that was a result of his economic policies and instead accused the Kulaks of hoarding grain and executed many. However, neither leader took any considerable actions to prevent human sufferings. Wood, Anthony. The Russian Revolution. New York: Longman, 1986. * By 1920, when the armistice was signed with the Poles, the Reds had survived all attacks by the whites but it was clear that Russia was in a state of ruin. There were minimal industrial output; the economy was mainly being run by a system of barter while the railway rolling stock was rundown. * "To avoid requisitioning, the peasantry were sowing secretly in distant scattered strop - as much as 50 million hectares, it was reckoned by 1920 - and the failure of any satisfactory system of distribution was soon to lead to an appalling famine in the south." ...read more.


* For example, children were taught by their mothers that Stalin was "the wisest man of the age". * Other examples included the revision of photographs and history books, so that Stalin was displayed as the hero of the Russian Revolution. * This included the obliteration of names such as Trotsky, purged people. * Stalin censored things such as poems, statues, radio, texts, newspapers, and paintings to brainwash the people of Russia. o He even replaced religious statues with statues of himself and Lenin to win support for communism. * Stalin even altered his statues so that he appeared to be taller and good looking. * He also controlled what was written about his roles in the Bolshevik Revolution and made sure that they were exaggerated. * He named events, towns and many other things after himself and Lenin * However, it is important to note that an appealing personality or charisma did not aid Stalin or Lenin in retain power, because the Bolshevik party was not favoured among the majority of the population. It was because of Stalin's and Lenin's ruthless methods of suppressing that they were able to retain power. o Lenin's charismatic personality was not sufficient enough to unite the Bolshevik Party but terror. Conclusion: In order to achieve and retain power both Lenin and Stalin used the Cheka and the NKVD to ruthlessly suppress the opposition and throughout the suffering of their people both took very little or no action. Considering all these, Lenin was still charismatic, while Stalin lack any sort of charisma and mainly depended on the use of force and always associated himself with Lenin to boost his image. ...read more.

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