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The Progression from Leninism to Stalinism

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The question of whether or not Stalinism was a logical continuation of Leninism is a difficult one. Stalinism did take significantly more drastic measures than Leninism did. There were differences in policy. But in spite of these, Stalinism still found its basis in Leninism. Even Trotsky, a friend of Lenin and a staunch opponent of Stalin, grudgingly admits that "Stalinism did issue from Bolshevism" (Trotsky). Stalin's policy of socialism in one country, his use of terror to eliminate opposition, and his suppression of democracy and the soviets were all characteristics of Lenin well before they were characteristic of Stalin. Although some of Stalin's policies were different from those of Lenin, what difference Stalinism did show from Leninism were either policies which Lenin had called for but never put into action, or logical continuations of Lenin's original principles, but modified to suit the demands of the time. One of Stalin's main focuses was on the concept of "socialism in one country" - that is, the focus on the betterment exclusively of his own country rather than on the international communist revolution. "Socialism in one country" began with Lenin. In 1918 Lenin signed the Treaty of Brest-Livtosk, which pulled Russia out of WW1 and surrendered much of the Ukraine to Austria-Hungarian forces ("How Lenin Led to Stalin"). At this time, there was a revolutionary movement in the Ukraine composed of peasants and workers known as the Makhnovist movement. This group needed only the support of Lenin and Russia to launch their own socialist revolution. However, they were not given this support ("How Lenin Led to Stalin"). Clearly, Lenin's focus was on the well being of Russia rather than the International ... ... middle of paper ... ...ho were unable to escape. Leninism had demonstrated that it was opposed to a representative government designed with the wants of the workers in mind. All of the defining policies of Stalinism were either policies that had originally being instituted by Leninism, policies called for by Leninism but not put into action until Stalinism, or else Leninist policies modified to fit the needs of the situation. Stalinism was a logical continuation of Leninism. Bibliography: "How Lenin Led to Stalin." Online. Available http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws91/lenin33.html. "Russian History 1905-30." Online. Available http://www.dur.ac.uk/~dml0www/1905-30.html. Trotsky, Leon. "Stalinism and Bolshevism." Online. Available http://www.internationalist.org/stalinism%26bolshevism.html. Wood, Alan. Stalin and Stalinism. London: Routledge,
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