Joseph Stalin

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Examine how Stalin was able to assume power after Lenin. 

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The study of how Stalin became the successor to Lenin is an examination of power dynamics.  Such an examination shows how power was something that Stalin coveted more than anything else.  Stalin understood that an incremental and gradual rise to power would benefit him greatly as he coveted more influence in Soviet affairs.  It becomes clear that Stalin designed political life after Lenin so that he would be the only possible choice to lead the Soviet Union.

In 1922, Stalin was able to convince Lenin to appoint him to the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party.  From this position, Stalin was able to envision himself succeeding Lenin. It was in this capacity that Stalin was able to organize appointments and configurations that would be supportive of his claim to power.  Such movement enabled him to build a supportive structure of power that would facilitate his move to assume power after Lenin died. When the time came in 1924, Lenin's death made the position open.  Stalin was able to consolidate his own power and ensure that there could not no rivals for his claim to political power.  Stalin was able to advance the "socialism in one country" debate to masquerade his expulsion of political rivals.  He did this to ensure his power base and lay a claim to power would never dissipate or be questioned.  Such actions enabled Stalin to assume power after Lenin in the history of the Soviet Union.

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