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Access to History. Stalin's Russia 1924-53 by Michael Lynch

By Michael Lynch

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Extra info for Access to History. Stalin's Russia 1924-53

Sample text

But such planning as there was occurred not at national but at local level. It was the regional and site managers who, struggling desperately to make sense of the instructions they were given from on high, formulated the actual schemes for reaching their given production quotas. This was why it was so easy for Stalin and his Kremlin colleagues to accuse lesser officials of sabotage while themselves avoiding any taint of incompetence. Cadres Party members who were sent into factories and onto construction sites to spy and report back on managers and workers.

Are you going to argue that the handling of this indicates a misjudgement on Trotsky’s part? It is clear that he failed in the propaganda war of the 1920s (page 27) and that this was politically significant. Did he misjudge the atmosphere (page 26)? Stalin’s strengths as a tactician and propagandist are clear from this and they are the other side of the coin, highlighting and increasing Trotsky’s weaknesses. Stalin’s strengths can be seen in his: • successful undermining of Trotsky over the issue of NEP (pages 22–23) • promotion of ‘Socialism in One Country’ (pages 25–26) • exploitation of rivalries within the Left (pages 27, 28) • exploitation of his Party position (pages 16–18, 25) • ability to ‘deliver the votes’ (page 27) and the political significance of this in weakening Trotsky.

One feature of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered because of her backwardness. She was beaten by the Mongols. She was beaten by the Turks. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by the British and French capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her – because of her backwardness, military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, 36 | Stalin’s Russia 1924–53 industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because to do so was profitable and could be done with impunity.

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