Sunday, 31 December 2017

How Stalin Rode to Power Defeating the Revolution and Consolidated it Against the Revolution!

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 1.1.2018

Profound contradictions of world capitalism, that had produced WWI in 1914, further compounded by the horrors and sufferings of the War, three years later in 1917, opened up the revolutionary threshold to world socialist revolution in Russia. Upon the rising tide of this revolutionary wave, Bolshevism was catapulted to power, with Lenin and Trotsky at its head!

Bolshevik Revolution posed a direct threat to capitalist Europe at next corridor. The organization of Comintern signaled and confirmed the plans of the revolution to take on the world. Aiding and fomenting revolutions and even direct revolutionary wars into Europe were the unambiguous roadmap.

Imperialist powers joined hands to immerse the revolution in blood and destroy it through violence. Alongside direct armed interventions, white terror and civil wars comprised the counterrevolution.

Russia defended itself successfully and emerged victorious in the civil war, but it paid heavy price for it. The organized working class that had created the revolution in industrial cities was now completely dispersed with disintegration of the industry. There existed no organized working class at the end of the civil war. The best part of the militants in the party and the red army was destroyed during the war. Completely exhausted, Russia was left in tatters.

Alongside this, the attempts at revolutions in Europe were defeated one after another in absence of revolutionary parties to lead them.

The tide of revolution thus turned into an ebb for the time being and the Revolution was forced to beat the retreat! The great offensive came to halt. Regime of war communism was thus relaxed and concessions to the peasantry in the shape of NEP, were forced upon the revolution.

As in all previous revolutions, the thermidor appeared at the rear of the retreating revolution. Its flag bearer was bureaucracy and the Kulaks and its proponent was the right wing under Bukharin. It demanded abandoning of the project of world socialist revolution for Socialism in One Country.

None in the Party and the Soviets though took the right-wingers seriously. They were yet to muster more strength and more influence to get audacity.

In 1922, when Lenin proposed to the tenth party congress, the introduction of the post of General Secretary in Party’s Secretariat, Zinoviev, immediately proposed the name of Stalin to the apparent disliking of Lenin. However, no one cared for it as the Secretariat of the Party was no more than Secretarial Staff under the 
real leaders of the Party-Lenin and Trotsky.

In December 1922 itself, Stalin as Commissar of Nationalities, misbehaved with and put the leaders from minority Georgian nationalities under arrest.

Infuriated at this, accusing Stalin directly of not being a Marxist but a national chauvinist, Lenin wrote 
on Dec 30, 1922 that it was necessary "To defend the non-Russian from the onslaught of that really Russian man, the Great Russian chauvinist, in substance a rascal and a tyrant... I think that Stalin’s ... spite against the notorious 'nationalist-socialism' played a fatal role here. In politics spite generally plays the basest of roles". V.I. Lenin: 'The Question of Nationalities, or Autonomisation', in: 'Collected Works 1, Vol 36; Moscow; 1966; p 606.

On the following day, 31 December 1922, Lenin dictated a postcript on the same lines, referring to Stalin as : "The Georgian who. . casually flings about accusations of 'nationalist-socialist', whereas he himself is a real and true nationalist-socialist’ (and even a vulgar Great-Russian bully)...The political responsibility for all this truly Great-Russian nationalist campaign must, of course, be laid on Stalin and Dzerzhinsky". V.I. Lenin: 'The Question of Nationalities, or 'Autononisation"', in: 'Collected Works', Volume 36; Moscow; 1966; p. 606

By March 1923 Lenin was dictating a letter to Trotsky asking him to defend the case of the 'Georgian deviators' in the Central Committee: "It is my earnest request that you should undertake the defence of the Georgian case in the Party CC. The case is now under 'persecution' by Stalin and Dzerzhinsky, and I cannot rely on their impartiality. Quite the contrary, I would feel at ease if you agreed to undertake this defence".V.I. Lenin: Letter to L.D.Trotsky, 5 March 1923, in: 'Collected Works', Volume 45; Moscow; 1970; p. 607

On the following day, Lenin dictated a letter to the leading 'Georgian deviators', giving them his whole-hearted support to their case and offering to assist it with notes and a speech: "I am following your case with all my heart. I am indignant over Ordzhonikidze's rudeness and the connivance of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky. I am preparing for you notes and a speech". V.I. Lenin: Letter to P. G. Mdivani, F. Y. Makharadze and Others, 6 March 1923,  'Collected Works', Volume 45; Moscow; 1970; p. 608.

On the initiative of Stalin, vested interests made the attempt to destroy the state monopoly in foreign trade and prepared to open it up for private profiteering and manipulation. Stalin laid all the groundwork to get the proposal cleared by CC of the Party. Lenin immediately got dictated a letter to Trotsky seeking his help. With Trotsky’s intervention, the proposal was blocked.

However, Stalin’s wife Nadezda Allulieva who was working in Lenin’s secretariat got news of the letter and alerted Stalin. Stalin abused Lenin’s wife Krupskaya for getting dictation of the letter. Krupskaya alarmed Lenin and Lenin broke his relations with Stalin. 

With downturn in the revolution, the influence of reactionary bureaucracy, an offshoot of NEP, inside the party and the state continued to grow. The right wing inside the party and the state, represented the vested interests of this bureaucracy and was backed by it. Alongside Bukharin, Stalin was the man in CC who favoured continuance of NEP through mid twenties.

By the Summer of 1923 effects of NEP started to surface. Social inequality started to rise and the class of Kulaks started to consolidate its influence among the ranks of the Party and the State through its right-wing. Summer of 1923 was marked by the ‘scissors crisis’, produced by a widening gap of prices between the falling prices in agriculture and rising price index of industrial commodities. This created food crisis in cities and low production in villages. Major unrest grew in city and villages both.

Alongside this, the bureaucratic methods brought another defeat of the German Revolution. On October 8, 1923, Trotsky wrote a letter to Polit Bureau, denouncing bureaucratic methods of appointing Secretaries to local Party organizations from above and demanded halt to NEP, the bedrock of Kulaks and bureaucracy. Trotsky’s letter was supported and followed by 46 top Bolshevik leaders, who got organized in ‘left opposition’ against the right-wing and bureaucracy. This set up the right-wing led by Bukharin and Rykov against Trotsky.

Taking benefit of his position in the Party as General Secretary, Stalin started the system of appointing secretaries in Party Committees from above and placed his supporters everywhere.

Lenin’s untimely tragic demise in January 1924, provided the opportunity to bureaucratic counter-revolution to stage a coup against the revolution.

Immediately before his demise, Lenin, however, had dictated two letters to his wife and his secretary Krupskaya, addressed to the Central Committee in which he had denounced Stalin and asked the CC to consider the proposal to remove Stalin from the Party posts. The CC however, did not place it before the party Congress. 
Trotsky did not make it an issue. This proved fatal to revolution. 

Stalin though offered his resignation in accordance with the Will of Lenin, but convinced the CC that if any of the leaders- Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev or Bukharin- all of whom were jews, succeeds Lenin after removing him, it may result in mass rebellion in Russia. 

As was later confirmed by many including his own daughter Svetlana and his personal secretary, Boris Bezhanov, Stalin was a Jew hater and a convinced anti-semitic. Later, while removing Litvinov as Soviet emissary to Germany, Stalin assured Ribbentrop to assist Hitler in his campaign to undermine Jew domination. Despite all demagogy, Stalin shared the anti-semitism of Hitler. 

To undermine the influence of seasoned Bolshevik leaders, traditions and struggles inside the Party, Stalin in the name of Lenin’s Levy, threw open the doors of the Party to recruit more than a quarter million new party members to all organs of the Party. It were these recruits like Khrushchev, who would blindly support their recruiter in all his crimes against the revolution.

Immediately after failure of the revolution in Germany, a major setback to world socialist revolution, Trotsky, in his article “Lesson of October” published in early 1924, frankly and honestly reiterated the historical course to October conquest in Russia to illuminate the path to victory for socialist revolutions elsewhere. This obviously included the pernicious role played by Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev in it, who all had opposed the course to October Revolution supporting the Capitalist Government of February under Kerensky as apostle of democratic revolution. While Stalin had changed his mind after majority Bolsheviks and workers supported the line of Lenin and Trotsky, while Zinoviev and Kamenev had opposed October revolution throughout.

Publication of “Lesson of October” and exposure of their pernicious roles in the revolution, made Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin hostile to Trotsky. They got united into an unprincipled Triumvirate or Troika, against Trotsky. As they held important positions in Party, State and Comintern, they succeeded in turning tables against Trotsky.

Restless to grab the power, Stalin, took to opportunist and unprincipled zig-zags. He first aligned himself with Kamenev and Zinoviev, the leaders who had opposed the October revolution openly and were now fighting Trotsky, the leader of the revolution. In February 1924, immediately after the demise of Lenin, Stalin declared himself against the reactionary idea of ‘socialism in one country’. But in the same year in October Stalin took a volte face to declare himself for ‘socialism in one country’.

To appease Kamenev and Zinoviev, both of whom, despite their mistakes and weak character, were staunch internationalists, and were opposed to rightwing under Bukharin and Rykov, Stalin, declared himself against ‘Socialism in One Country’, and in favour of ‘World Socialist Revolution. 

Attacking Bukharin and his idea of 'socialism in one country', Stalin wrote in February 1924, in his introduction to 'Foundations of Leninism', “The overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of a proletarian government in one country does not yet guarantee the victory of socialism. The main task of socialism -the organization of socialist production—remains ahead. Can this task be accomplished, can socialism in one country be attained, without the joint efforts of the proletariat of several advanced countries? No, this is impossible. To overthrow the bourgeoisie the efforts of one country are sufficient- the history of our revolution bears this out. For the victory of Socialism, for the organization of socialist production, the efforts of one country, particularly of such a backward peasant country as Russia, are insufficient. For this, the efforts of the proletarians of several advanced countries are necessary. Such, on the whole, are the characteristic features of the Leninist theory of the proletarian revolution.”

However, as the power struggle grew and the right-wing under Bukharin started to grow strong due to isolation of Soviet revolution, Stalin started to change his position.

By the end of the year 1924, the book 'Foundations of Leninism' was re-issued. Resiling from his earlier position, Stalin claimed, “Proletariat can and must build the socialist society in one country,” followed by the assertion that this constituted the “Leninist theory of proletarian revolution.” Taking a volte face from his earlier position, opportunist Stalin wrote, "The party always took as its starting point the idea that the victory of socialism in one country means the possibility to build socialism in that country, and that this task can be accomplished with the forces of a single country". He wrote further, "If we knew in advance that we are not equal to the task (of building socialism in Russia by itself), then why the devil did we have to make the October revolution? If we have managed for eight years, why should we not manage in the ninth, tenth or fortieth year?"

The slogan of 'socialism in one country' was an apparent retreat from and a betrayal to the project of 'world socialist revolution', whose embodiment was its headquarter 'Comintern'. The same was an adaptation to defeats of proletariat and stabilisation of capitalism, an adaptation to 'Capitalism in other Countries', a path to peaceful co-existence between Socialist and Capitalist countries. 

The bureaucracy, in fact, looked upon the World Socialist Revolution as a danger to its privileges and the efforts upon it as sheer wastage of resources. It was interested only in consumption of the fruits of Russian revolution in the form of privileges to it.

Stalin's private Datcha at Kuntsevo
As soon as he rode to power, Stalin himself acquired luxurious and palacial private datcha at Kuntsevo near Moscow, among many others all over Russia. This ran counter to the policy of Soviet State and Revolution.

Trotsky was most ardent opponent of the reactionary project of 'Socialism in One Country', the banner of nationalist-bureaucratic counter-revolution against 
the World Socialist Revolution. He viewed bureaucratic privilieges as an anathema to revolution.

With the help of Kamenev and Zinoviev, Stalin succeeded in isolating Trotsky and the Triumverate succeeded in removing Trotsky in 1925, from his position as War Commissar, for his opposition to NEP and Bureaucracy.

It was easy to remove Trotsky from the posts through dirty maneuvers, but it was impossible to wipe out the role and great deeds of Leon Trotsky from the pages of History. 

Underscoring the role of Trotsky as leader of the October Revolution, Stalin had written in Pravda of Nov. 6, 1918: "All the work of practical organization of the insurrection was conducted under the immediate leadership of the President of the Petrograd Soviet, Comrade Trotsky. It is possible to declare with certainty that the swift passing of the garrison to the side of the Soviet, and the bold execution of the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee, the Party owes principally and above all to Comrade Trotsky".

This was written by Stalin when Lenin was alive and the command of the Party and the State was in the hands of Lenin and Trotsky.

However, six years later, immediately after death of Lenin, in 1924, Stalin took volte face. He wrote: "Comrade Trotsky played no particular role either in the Party or the October insurrection, and could not do so, being a man comparatively new to our party in the October period". ('Trotskyism or Leninism', page 68 and 69, of the Russian edition).

Trotsky was not only the leader of October Revolution, but he was chief organizer of Red Army and the Commander in Chief during the Civil War, while Stalin held only subsidiary posts under him both times. Stalin’s betrayal during the Soviet-Polish War, was also part of Party records. To overcome it, Stalin resorted to petty bureaucratic maneuvers.

After isolating Trotsky in 13th and 14th Party Congresses, Stalin, in no time leaned upon the right-wing. Now to appease the right-wing against the left, taking a volte face, Stalin, openly supported the program of ‘Socialism in one Country’ advocated by Bukarin-Rykov. By November of 1924 itself, the new edition of ‘Fundamentals of Leninism’ had appeared with a change in earlier text of introduction, that read just reverse to it, “Socialism in one country is not only possible but is the only path”.

With Stalin’s turn to ‘Socialism in one Country’, the core nationalist program of right wingers, both Kamenev and Zinoviev turned against Stalin. Leaning upon the right-wing now, Stalin supported its program that included- the support to NEP, more reliance upon Kulaks, industrial development at snail’s pace and free market economy in agriculture.

Stalin now focused on isolating Kamenev and Zinoviev for their opposition to Socialism in one country and the other program of the right-wing. In conjunction with Bukharin, Stalin succeeded in isolating Kamenev and Zinoviev in 1925 itself.

But the policies of right-wing- the continuation of NEP, slow industrial development, free market in agriculture, strengthened Kulaks and brought devastation to economy.

By 1928, however, the Soviet Union was heading to a crisis and Stalin made Bukharin a scapegoat for it. Refusing to share any responsibility, Stalin set out to isolate the Bukharin and Rykov combine. He accused them for failures and succeeded in isolating them, once again with the help of Kamenev and Zinoviev, both of whom were readmitted into the Party after capitulation. Bukharin was isolated, degraded and then taken back after capitulation.

Meanwhile the victorious workers led revolution of 1925-27 in China, was destroyed after destruction of a strike wave in England in 1926, due to the false policies of Stalinist bureaucracy. These policies, rooted in Menshevik conception of 'two stage' theory of revolution, were sanctioned by the Kremlin bureaucracy under Stalin.Trotsky was most vocal opponent of these policies.

By this time, Stalin was focusing all his might against Trotsky, while Trotsky was engaged in his principled fight against bureaucracy inside the Party and the State and its pernicious policies.

Kamenev, Zinoviev and after them Bukharin continued to capitulate to Stalin and the bureaucratic apparatus one by one. However, instead of showing any signs of capitulation, the fearless Trotsky, pledged to fight Stalinism, the banner of bureaucracy, at all costs. Undeterred by maneuvers of bureaucracy, Trotsky continued his relentless fight in defence of the conquests of the October.

Stalin would rope in these capitulators to isolate and defeat Trotsky. All of these capitulators, however, would be later shot dead by Stalin, after their frame-ups in show trials of Moscow.

To fight the revolution, Stalin finally invented ‘Trotskyism’ to pose it against Leninism and started to manipulate the old principled disputes between Trotsky and Lenin, to isolate Trotsky.

For his principled opposition to bureaucracy and the NEP, Trotsky was removed from his post of Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs in January 1925, by Troika. He lost his position in Polit Bureau in October 1926 for his opposition to the core nationalist program of Stalinist bureaucracy, ‘Socialism in one Country’. In October 1927, Trotsky was removed from the Central Committee and expelled from the Party in November 1927. He was exiled to Alma Ata in January 1928 and finally externed from Soviet Union in February 1929.

However, externment of Trotsky was only the first step to open the broadway to major offensive by the bureaucracy against the revolution. In cold blood, Stalin planned the Moscow Trials to finish off the entire Bolshevik guard of the Party and the Red Army.

Meanwhile, in January 1933, Hitler captured power in Germany defeating the full grown workers' movement. Again the false policies of the Comintern under Stalinists were responsible for it who refused to make alliance between the workers led by Communist KPD and Social-Democratic SPD, terming SPD as 'social-fascist'. Trotsky was ardent advocate of this alliance. While Stalinists were engaged in false imaginations of a 'third period' of revolutionary upsurge,to cover-up their crimes that pushed victorious Chinese revolution to defeat after defeat, Hitler rose to power in Germany.

With defeat of the German revolution at the hands of Hitler, in close heels to destruction of the Chinese revolution, Stalin was completely degraded and faced opposition from Trotsky, who declared the death of Third International, called for the organisation of the Fourth International and restoration of the revolution inside Soviet Union by forcible overthrow of the Stalinist bureaucracy. 

With opposition outside, the resistance inside of the Soviet Union to the false bureaucratic policies and the regime of Stalin started to mount.

Stalin, sensed the danger and planned the offensive against the revolution through unprecedented repression, frame ups, tortures, executions- in one word the methods of degenerated bureaucracy, the methods of Okhrana. 

Stalin was repeatedly accused by his comrades for his Okhrana past. Stepan Shahumyan his longtime aide had accused him of this in late 1916. Stalin’s personal Secretary Olga Shatunovskaya told that this opinion was shared by many prominent Bolshevik leaders in the Party including Stanislav Kosior, Iona Yakir and others. The six known, among many other unrevealed, miraculous, unbelievable and almost impossible escapes of Stalin from police custody are living proof of it. Domenty Vadachkory, in his memoirs exposed that Stalin was issued a badge by Okhrana to escape. Both Malinovsky and Stalin were promoted among the top ranks of Bolshevik Party by Okhrana police. Malinovsky was exposed by chance by Menshevik leader Dan, which initially Lenin did not believe. Stalin escaped direct exposure.

Stalin is also strongly suspected to be behind the fatal attack upon ailing Sverdlov inside a Moscow factory, that took his life. Stalin hated Sverdlov to the extent that he had named his dog after Sverdlov. 

Stalin is strongly suspected to be behind poisoning of Lenin in 1924 after Lenin wrote to CC to remove him from party posts and appoint someone else instead of Stalin. Suspicion is fortified by the fact that despite protest by Lenin's wife Krupskaya, Stalin embalmed Lenin's body to keep in mausoleum, which necessitated taking viscera out. This reactionary act was done to exclude the possibility of later exhumation of the body after return of Trotsky, which would have confirmed poisoning. Trotsky, who was in Caucasus at that time, was deliberately misinformed of the date of funeral of Lenin.

Criminality of Stalin knew no bounds. With an express motive to head off all opposition, on 1st December 1934, Stalin, got murdered the head of the Party organisation in Leningrad, Sergei Kirov, through secret police NKVD. This was probably for that Kirov had got concrete evidence of Stalin serving in pre-revolutionary Russia on the payrolls of Tsarist secret police, Okhrana. 

Applying the methods of Okhrana, Stalin knitted a ‘Terrorist Conspiracy’ behind the murder of Kirov, into a huge net to rope in all Bolsheviks one by one into it, torture them in cells of secret police to extract confessions and finally execute them. Confessions, common to all victims were to participation in conspiracy to murder Kirov as part of bigger Trotskyist conspiracy to overthrow the state in collusion with Nazi Germany.

Menshevik Vyshinsky, who had worked under capitalist government of Kerensky, and who had issued arrest warrants for Lenin and Trotsky after July demonstration under his signatures, was appointed by Stalin to conduct all investigations and prosecutions in frame ups and show trials of Moscow. Vyshinsky hated Bolsheviks to the core of his heart and was brutal in their treatment. He claimed that he would shoot Trotskyists like mad dogs on the streets of Moscow. Stalin chose him consciously for the purpose.

By 1938 the whole Bolshevik top leadership that included all comrades of Lenin standing to his left and right, who created the October revolution, was wiped out on the trumped up charges of being Trotskyists and German spies.

The whole maneuver was though thoroughly exposed when in immediate aftermath of these purges, Stalin himself made a War Treaty with Hitler in August 1939 and openly coordinated with Hitler, in the attack upon Poland paving way for the WWII. For opposing this war treaty, Trotsky was got murdered on August 20, 1940, by Ramon Merceder, an assassin sent by Soviet NKVD. This was second assault upon Trotsky, in quick succession to another failed murderous attempt carried out by Soviet NKVD 
in conjunction with German Gestapo.

With elimination of Trotsky in 1940, the last living legend of the Russian Revolution, Stalin’s power was reinforced, facing no real threat!

Stalin’s role, both in October Revolution and Civil War was pernicious. He supported the capitalist government of Kerensky and his war policy against the policy of Lenin in February 1917 and betrayed the war front in Soviet-Polish War that resulted in overturn of a dashing victory for Soviet forces.

None of Stalin's writings except 'Marxism and the National Question' could gather any moss. This book, appearing as a bright patch among all tatters of Stalin's works, was in fact written by Bukharin upon instructions of Lenin and edited by Lenin himself. For this, Stalin could not include this work in his collected works published in 1928. He instead published it in his name in 1936 after incarcerating Bukharin, its de-facto writer.

Stalin, who was no match to Trotsky or even to any of his contemporary Bolsheviks, succeeded to grab the power on the back of the ebbing wave of the revolution after the defeats in Europe and exhaustion of Russian revolution in the civil war. He consolidated his power through the bureaucratic maneuvers, the methods of Okhrana.

On the rising waves of the revolution, Lenin, Trotsky and Sverdlov were catapulted to power, on its ebb, Stalin. The bureaucratic counter-revolution found its saviour in Stalin. Stalin, promoted counter-revolution to tighten its noose around the neck of the revolution and the counter-revolution in turn consolidated Stalin and his thermidorian power.

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