Josef Stalin is known throughout Russia for his legendry use of terror, political manipulation and demanding policies who would stop at nothing to achieve his goals. However, the question of the legitimacy of his position as leader of the Bolshevik party still remains. Following the death of Lenin in 1924, a power vacuum developed within the Bolshevik party and it was clear that a leadership race between candidates had begun. Stalin was able to rise above men like Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev to launch into new economic policies, collectivisation and industrialisation. The main key to Stalin’s success in gaining power after Lenin’s death was held in his alignment with the former ‘hero’ of Russia, as well as his ability to plan, manipulate and take advantage of situations and circumstances.
Stalin aligned himself closely with Lenin. After the 1917 revolution, Vladimir Lenin was the head of the Bolshevik political part and the Russian nation. Whenever possible, Stalin presented himself as Lenin's right-hand man, and, following Lenin's death in 1924, he loudly defended Lenin's legacy. Through the increased idealised memories of Lenin, the cult of Lenin formed, which elevated the former leader as almost a Christ-like figure. Stylised portraits became icons while his biography became like a bible. Lenin became a revolutionary immortal by which Stalin ensured he was associated with. Drawings, photographs and records were altered to incorporate Stalin in Lenin’s presence. Through this subtle propaganda, Stalin was able to align himself with Lenin in the public eye. He therefore gained national support by associating his image and policies with the former glorified national ‘hero’.
In Stalin’s successful bid for power within the Bolshevik party, he both aligned himself with Lenin in the public eye as well as asserting his power as General Secretary. Unlike Trotsky, Stalin was content with mundane administrative work and during Lenin’s reign, he handled the vast...
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