The structures of the Soviet State were created by Lenin and abused by Stalin. Discuss.

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The structures of the Soviet State were created by Lenin and abused by Stalin. Discuss.

        The moment Lenin had stepped into power, he was clear of his aims. Lenin had wanted a Proletariat Revolution, which had already been achieved, and then a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, in which he would rule on their behalf. As Marx had said in his writings that it was necessary to put down all opposition and put Communist reforms into place, Lenin’s made it so that his government would have complete power and the people would not have any opportunity to decide if they wished to be controlled by other parties. Stalin was an

enthusiastic defender of Lenin and the Marxist exiles who published the socialist paper Iskra.

Once he gained power after Lenin’s death, he began to build up Russia as he said; “Other countries are 50 years ahead of Russia. We must make this up in 10 years”.

It was Stalin’s belief that Russia was so far behind the rest of Europe that I they didn’t “catch up and overtake these countries in the technical and economic sense (…) We [Russia] shall be crushed”.

Two of Stalin’s main aims, therefore was for a centrally-planned economy called a “command economy” and a totalitarian system of government. Historians believe there are

“striking similarities”

between Hitler’s Nazism and Leninist/Stalinist Russia, as Stalin spoke of “Socialism in one country” and the Nazis were the National Socialist party of Germany. While the similarities in the policies of the Nazis and the Bolsheviks is clear, it is also clear that the differences between Lenin’s and Stalin’s methods of running Russia was the fact that many see Lenin’s use of terror as justified due to the civil war threatening the very existence of the regime, whilst Stalin’s was for his own self-gain. There are several points of continuity and discontinuity between both Leninism and Stalinism, judging them fairly, however, is difficult due to the lack of archival evidence preceding 1991. When taking into consideration many Western historian’s views (also known as those being ‘politically Centre-Right Liberal to Conservative’s), Leninism is judged equally as harshly as Stalinism is and goes along the belief that Stalin didn’t abuse what Lenin, created, he merely continued it. This hostility to Lenin is shown by historian Richard Pipes when he writes about Lenin being:

“a man of ferocious hatreds and manic energy, ideologically besotted, ruthless to the core, and utterly devoid of ethical sentiments”.

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Other Centre-Left to Socialist historians judge Lenin less harshly and believe Stalin’s policies as discontinuing those of Lenin’s. Stephen F. Cohen, when talking about Leninist Bolshevism and Stalinism said:

“they were two radically different phenomena”.


        Stalin’s use of fear-mongering

(“the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end”)

was by far the greatest way achieving the results he wanted. His ingenious use of the Cheka and the other names it underwent was what had the Russia population petrified of him. The secret-police, while certainly the most popular instrument of Stalin’s terror, ...

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