How did Stalin become so powerful?

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It always interested me that one of the most murderous dictators of the last century officially held the benign-sounding title of ‘General Secretary.’ From what I understand, Stalin occupied relatively minor post and proceeded to make the post more powerful, rather than assuming an already-powerful post and consolidating power like you tended to see in the west. It was also known that Lenin didn’t think Stalin suited to his role and that Trotsky was a bitter rival. How does a guy like Stalin build a power base out of a relatively minor post and essentially against the wishes of the public faces of the Bolsheviks to the point that he did?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

>From what I understand, Stalin occupied relatively minor post and proceeded to make the post more powerful

Stalin did not start out holding a minor post he was one of the original few Bolsheviks. He joined the communist party only a year or two into its existence around the same time Lenin did, when it was still very small. He was generally known for being the guy to do the dirty work, bank robberies, racketeering, etc, got him nearly kicked out of the party a few times. But he was generally charismatic and this set him out as different from many of the “intellectuals who didnt want to get their hands dirty” in the party so he worked his way up.

By the time of the Russian revolution, he already was one of the top people in the party, and was given command of the red army.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

What makes you a good revolutionary doesn’t necessarily make you a good administrator, but you have to find people to do it.

Stalin gets to be the General Secretary, and that means he runs the Communist Party. As the Communist Party runs the government and the country this means he has great influence, as he gets to put people of his choice into important positions and people who want a position know to go to him or his cronies.

It is also highly relevant that Stalin is extremely talented, ruthless and almost entirely without scruple allying with people to destroy their mutual enemies and then discarding or destroying his former allies when he has no further use for them

Also within a lot of regimes, especially Communist ones, the actual job title doesn’t matter very much. Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev were never Head of State; Stalin doesn’t even become Head of Government until 1941.

Anonymous 0 Comments

During the revolution he was in charge of fund raising. Largely in the form of violent robberies. After the revolution when Lenin took over he was made the general secretary for the party, where the title came from. That position let him feed information to those who would use it to get themselves set-up in powerful positions, and also keep those who would oppose him from getting important memos on time keeping them seemingly behind on the working of the government. Once Lenin had his second stroke and died he called in all the favors he cultivated with the information he provided to his supporters, and used information he had on others to force them to back his bid for leadership.