Every state is based upon and driven by some ideology. Imperial Russia was based upon autocratic absolutism for over 400 years. Following the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, a new era dawned upon Russia. For the next 36 years she would be in the hands of two men that would attempt to apply a new, vastly different creed in ruling and transforming this country. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, as the leader of the Bolshevik party, ruled Russia from October 1917 till his death in January 1924. He was succeeded by Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, who also ruled until his death in March 1953. Both men claimed to ascribe to the broad ideology of Socialism and Marxism; both were to develop their own versions -- later to be called Leninism and Stalinism; both were to attempt to practically apply their respective ideologies whilst attempting to deal with a plethora of prevailing conditions such as internal resistance and civil war, economic collapse and foreign invasion. This paper will examine the similarities and differences between both the ideologies, and the actual economic and political practice, of Lenin and Stalin's beliefs.
A significant historiographical issue to be aware of in the comparison of Lenin and Stalin is that between the two, Lenin was by far the greater political theorist and ideologue and yet had much less effective time, 6 years, to put his ideas into practice . Stalin on the other hand, was much more a man of action who produced comparatively far less written material, but who exercised his power for almost 30 years. Also Lenin had the unique opportunity to oversee the installation of a new order from scratch whereas Stalin...
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...actice were the 5 year plans, collectivization and industrialization. In November 1929, Stalin published an article called The Great Turn. His main argument was that for the USSR to move into the modern age she had to industrialize and the agrarian problem had to be solved once and for all. His solution was to collectivize all agriculture and to destroy the "kulaks" as a class. Over the next six years the Russian and Soviet peoples endured a holocaust comparable to that suffered by the Jews in World War 2, one that would cost over 5 million lives. The language Stalin used was as evil as any denunciation of the Jews by Hitler:
"To take the offensive against the kulaks means to deal the kulak class such a blow that it will no longer rise to its feet…Of course the kulak can't be admitted to a collective farm. He can't because he's an accursed enemy…"
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