Compare the Characters and beliefs of Lenin and Stalin

Lenin and Stalin had many similarities and differences in both their character and beliefs. The most noticeable of the similarities was their belief in Communism inspired by the writings of Karl Marx, they believed in state ownership, one political party, revolutions, no religions and for everyone to be equal in Russia. Both Lenin and Stalin spent long periods of time in exile in Siberia due to their strong beliefs and one similarity was their sense of duty to their belief. These beliefs were the basis of the next seventy years of communism and the dramatic change in Russian life.Regardless of this basic similarity, they still had very different beliefs about some things. They both believed a Communist revolution was the only way to improve Russia after the incompetent government, however they disagreed on how it should be done. Lenin believed that a typical revolutionary action was the answer, for example, the November revolution outside the Winter palace. Stalin however wanted to set up brothels and fund a revolution with the profits. Lenin believed this was wrong and disagreed with Stalin’s views about women, he said ‘changed his women as often as he changed his shirts’.Lenin was born in Simbirsk on April 22nd 1870 had a privileged upbringing. His first breech in rebellion was in 1887 when he was arrested for plotting to assassinate Tsar Alexander III, his brother was hanged for the same crime. This gave Lenin the basis for his hatred of democracy and the taste of revenge against the Tsar, unlike Stalin who had no such strong motive for revenge. Later that year, Lenin enrolled in Kazan university but he was quickly expelled as a radical troublemaker. He was exiled to the village of Kokushkino where his grandfather lived.Stalin’s school life was a different story however. He was born on December 21st 1879 to his Georgian parents, they couldn’t speak Russian and were poverty stricken, the family had to work extremely hard to fund the education their intelligent son deserved. Unlike his parents, Stalin was forced to learn Russian when he attended the Gori Church school in 1888-1894. He was not a trouble maker to start with, he was the best pupil in the school and earned a full scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary. He later become a revolutionist and was expelled from college for failing to take his examsThe difference in Lenin and Stalin’s beliefs lay in the opinion of the use of Communism in Russia, Lenin wanted to improve the lives of the workers, achieve equality and abolish the Tsar whilst Stalin was concerned with the reputation of the Soviet Union and later became an immoral extremist killing over 40 million.The character of Lenin and Stalin were similar and different in many ways, they both found difficulty in trusting anybody and were awfully cruel to the opposers. They believed in terror and cruelty to force people into line. Lenin used Red terror and Stalin used purges and show trials.Both Lenin and Stalin were strong minded and determined leaders with the target of changing Russia to a complete communist country. They both seized power through revolution but unlike Lenin, Stalin used ruthless methods to gin power after Lenin’s death, for example the removal of the prospective leader Trotsky from a the leadership line-up. Lenin was more morally acceptable than Stalin, causing far fewer deaths and he began to actually change Russia for the better before his death and Stalin taking power.A major difference in Lenin and Stalin’s character was their pride, Lenin was willing to accept his unsuccessful policies, such as War communism and change it to a more successful one like the NEP. Stalin would never be prepared to back down even if he knew he was in the wrong and he was causing millions of deaths, he had too much pride and could not admit his weaknesses and he even seemed to enjoy killing millions of innocent people.Assess the impact Lenin had on Russia and the Russian peopleIn 1917, Russia, then known as the Soviet Union, was in utter chaos, the Russian people had had enough, there were food shortages, numerous strikes, freezing temperatures, million of soldiers had been killed at the front and most importantly there was an incompetent government. This led to the abdication of the Tsar, he had been overthrown and the Russian monarchy was finished. When Vladimir Lenin heard of the Tsars abdication he returned to Petrograd in autumn 1917 from exile in Switzerland.Lenin was the leader of the Bolsheviks, he wanted another revolution, he was to overthrow the provisional government to put an end to the war, nationalise the industries, give land to the peasants and give all power to the soviets. This was all part of the April Theses, summed up as ‘Peace, Bread and Land’.The Bolsheviks soon became very powerful with Lenin as their leader, The July days were over and things were finally going Lenin’s way. After the Kornilov revolt, Lenin and Trotsky prepared for ‘The Great October Socialist Revolution’, later known as the ‘November Revolution’ where the Bolsheviks sailed the cruiser up to the River Neva outside the Winter Palace. There, Lenin announced the end of the provisional government and Russia became a communist country for the next seventy years. Although, it hadn’t existed for very long, the overthrowing of the provisional government was a long term change. It was only a revolution, but this revolution was different, it enabled Lenin to gain complete power with the Bolsheviks as government, and without it, the communist may never have survived for seventy years. It changed the way of Russia for ever. Not all revolutions had such impact, the July Days for example didn’t go to plan and backfired on Lenin as he was forced to flee the country in attempt to escape from the police.Lenin had a great impact on Russia and the Russian people. Although there were only five deaths at the ‘November Revolution’, he accomplish many aims, and this had many consequences on the Russian way of life. Not only was Russia a communist country for the next seventy years, he set a one party state, where only one political party were allowed and changed the government from an autocracy to a dictatorship. This was a long term change as dictatorship remained for many years and completely overturned the autocratic government that had existed for centuries. He set the precedent for future leaders, the nobles were made to flee Russia and events finally led to the Tsar family murder. The death of the Tsar only had short term effects however the fleeing of the nobles and monarchy was a very dramatic long term change as to this day Russia has not had a Royal family. Most importantly however, he made peace with Germany, with an armistice, they signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk which had many harsh consequences. Russia were forced to lose 26% of its population, 27% of its arable land, 26% of its railway mileage and 74% of its iron ore and coal. Although, at the time this had bad consequences, in the long run, after Lenin’s death, it had good effect as who knows what state Russia would have ended up in if the war with Germany had continued. Russia may have gone beyond salvage and continued on the road to complete backwardness. During the Civil war however, Russia managed to regain some of the lost territories.As part of Lenin’s strategy to change Russia, he set up the Cheka, a secret police organisation. The Cheka were responsible for dealing with law and order and political opposition, to gain information, they would often torture and beat the prisoners, before finally executing them. They completely abolished all opposition by rousing fear, they killed 200,000 people and imprisoned a further 85,000. The Cheka played an important part to Lenin’s plan to keep communism in existence, Felix Dzerhinsky, the leader of the Cheka, performed his job well. The Cheka had an enormous impact on the Russian people, they were terrified of the Cheka, they were forced to obey Lenin and nothing they could do could change the communism Lenin had brought to Russia. The Red Terror had long and short term effects, the short term changes were the deaths of 200,000 people, which was a major aspect however it didn’t have that much of an effect on Russia. Another short term change was that people lived in fear as they were so terrified of the Cheka, this was only short term as the Russian people were soon brainwashed by propaganda and even if they weren’t, there was nothing they could about it. The long term changes were that it completely stopped people trying to bring Tsar back as they were so scared of the consequences and it ensured Lenin survived as leader of Russia, it was certain that communism would survive and it set a precedent for future leaders, if Lenin could bully the Russian citizens by drastic and horrific tactics they why couldn’t Stalin and other future leaders?Lenin changed the lives of Russian people to this day, he even changed the name of Russia to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which stayed in place until December 21st 1991 when the soviet union formally ceased to exist.Throughout 1918-1921, the Bolsheviks were losing popularity, they were facing serious threat to their survival. Civil war broke out against the communists, they were under threat everywhere, even from their former allies. Other countries formed the anti-communist crusade, they wanted Russia back in the war to ease the pressure of the other troops. They wanted to put a stop to communism in Russia before they cause trouble elsewhere. By 1920, the Reds had managed to gained control of the large towns and railways and most of the fighting was over. Kolchak, one of the leaders of the ‘white’ armies was executed and the other leaders retreated and left Russia. Lenin’s harsh discipline and policies during the civil war caused three years of devastation after World War 1, he had gained the support of 0.5 millions communist to join the ‘Red army’ but communism was frowned upon by most other countries, Russia was isolated and could never turn back. During the civil war, Russia had become a completely devastated country, even more backward than it already was, and things had been neglected as all energy had gone into defeating the ‘white armies’.This is when Lenin began his changes to Russia’s economy, he set up requisition of food, which led to famine, one in five of all Russians were starving and he nationalised all industries. War communism was too harsh, Lenin banned trade unions and conscripted people to work in factories, this led to strikes, opposition from within the communists, the situation was critical. Lenin made the decision to abandon War Communism. War communism had both short term and long term effects, the killings and the food shortages although had great impact at the time didn’t really effect Russia in the long run. The defeat of the whites however, ensured there was no chance of another Tsar or autocracy returning and guaranteed the survival of revolutions and communism for years to come.In 1921, Lenin set up the New Economic Policy (NEP), which made two very important changes to Russia’s economy. The first in agriculture, he stopped taking surplus crops and allowed peasants who could manage to grow more food than they needed to sell any extra for a profit. This was only a short term effect but it encouraged the peasants to cultivate more crops, however the government taxed any profit by 10%, which were to be paid in crops. So this policy was pretty much the same as it was before, the peasants could earn some money but Lenin still got his crops from the peasants. The second main alteration in the NEP was in industry, Lenin kept control of all large industries i.e. coal and steel, the transport system and foreign trade but factories with less than 20 employees were privatised and could be run to make profit. He believed the large industries should be controlled by the government for the benefit of everyone, he called it ‘the commanding heights of the economy’. The NEP improved the economy in the short and long term as after Lenin, the economy continued to improve with the changes Lenin made. The NEP made certain that Russians continued to support Lenin and communism as this way they could make profits and benefit from it.The NEP had a enormous impact on Russia’s economy and the changes happened rapidly. The end of requisitioning food made the peasants realise it was in their interest to produce as much food as possible so the amount of cultivated land grew by 50% between 1921 and 1927. Lenin’s policy also led to the increase of tradesmen that bought and sold, rather than actually make things, these men were called Nepmen, this would never have happened without the NEP and it effected Russia’s economy for years to come. The NEP’s main long term effect was paving the way for Stalin to build on the agricultural and industrial changes Lenin had started. Stalin followed Lenin and changed the industry and agriculture in Russia dramatically. Lenin admitted he was making a retreat but this was only so they could ‘run and leap forward more vigorously’, but communism never seemed so far away, how could Russia ever become a socialist country whist the NEP encouraged a minority to become rich at the expense of the majority? Although Russia was economically better in 1924 than in 1917, communism seemed very distant for a supposed communist government. Lenin had taken on Russia as a backward country and it appeared that he had slightly improved the economy and agriculture but for what costs? The unhappiness of the majority of Russian citizens and a future in communism which resulted in millions of deaths.All the changes Lenin made not only had an impact during his life, way after his death, his actions went on to effect Russia. The NEP was still causing the peasant to produce more crops until it reached its maximum in 1927. He started communism government and left future leaders to follow in his footsteps. Would future leaders carry on with the Cheka or the NEP? Or would they go back to War communism and civil war? There are many different opinions of Lenin and how he transformed Russia, some bad and some good, there are mixed opinions because he had mixed effects on people, some people benefited and some people drastically lost out. He had promised a communist country but the NEP didn’t seem communist, he left Russia with an aspect of prosperity but classes had been reborn, there was a growing gap between the prosperity of few and the misery of the many. This is not what the majority of the Russian people wanted, they were losing out, they were desperately unhappy with Lenin and the new communist Russia. The rich minority of the Russian people however, gained from Lenin’s new policies, they could become rich, whereas before that would be almost impossible. There was two extremes in Russia at this time and Russia as a country was in a muddle with two different sides. They had lost foreign support, a great deal of land, the country was isolated from the world and was communism worth it with all the devastation it brought?ByLauren SimpsonAssess the impact that Stalin had on Russia and the Russian people.Joseph Stalin was born in 1879. His real name was Djugashvili, but he later changed it to Stalin which meant “man of steel”. He came from Georgia in southern Russia and started to train to be a priest, but joined the Bolshevik party in about 1903. By 1917, he had become the editor of Pravda, the Bolshevik newspaper and had taken a minor role in the Bolshevik seizure of power.Stalin was a loyal Bolshevik who supposedly supported Lenin and was in charge of the party organisation before he came dictator. When Lenin died, Trotsky was the obvious successor of Lenin, he had been a military organiser of the Bolshevik revolution, he had been a commissar of war and was in charge of the red army, he was a brilliant tactician and a loyal Bolshevik. Trotsky did not become leader however, Lenin had wanted him to but he was unpopular, Lenin also wanted the other Bolsheviks to get rid of Stalin but Stalin drove out his opposition and Trotsky was killed. By 1928 he had complete control.Before Stalin came to power, Russian economy was very poor, Russia couldn’t compete with any of the western powers, it was at least fifty economic years behind other advanced countries such as Britain and America.When Stalin gained total control, he soon set about his plans of improving Russia, agriculturally and industrially. He set up the five year plans which were set targets to improve the range of industries in Russia, the power supplies and transport across Russia. This was a long term effect as it put Russia in the same position as world superpowers like America and completely changed the face of Russia forever.Part of the five year plans was collectivisation. Collectivisation was an attempt to modernise industry by the state taking over all farms and businesses. Stalin ordered all farms to be collectivised, all farmers had to pool their land, machinery and livestock into one great farm which was controlled by the state. This meant there were 5 million richer peasants but farmers were forced to hand over their produce to the government and were either paid wages or had to feed themselves on what was left over. Kulaks burnt their crops and killed their animals, rather than hand them over. 5,000,000 people starved to death in the Soviet Union between 1932 to 1934. Agricultural production fell by 15% and there was a nationwide famine. Collectivisation had huge impact on Russia and the Russian people, it had long term and short term effects. In the long term, collectivisation increased production and improved literacy and made farms more efficient. It had many negative aspects however, 5million kulaks were killed or starved and many farmers were sent to camps for disobedience, in the short term production dropped.Stalin also introduced industrialisation, Stalin was focused on heavy machinery product such as coal, iron, oil and steel. In the short term, industrialisation caused a big economic depression and killed 8 million prisoners in 1938 alone in prison camps. In the long run however, it rapidly increased the production of coal and steel beating the production of coal and steel in the UK, the increase in coal and steel also led to an increase in secondary production.Overall the first three Five Year Plans, which ran from 1928 to 1941, increased industrial production by about 400%, but how much of that increase was genuine is very difficult to say as many workers gave false production figures to the government to avoid being sent away and being killed.In December 1934 Sergei Kirov, the Communist Party leader in Leningrad, was murdered. It is now widely believed that his murder was ordered by Stalin, who was frightened, because Kirov appeared to be more popular than he was. As a result of this murder Stalin initiated ‘the Purges’ as a means of removing any perceived opposition. From 1934 to 1938 at least 7,000,000 people disappeared. these included the Bolshevik leaders whom he had forced out from 1925 to 1927, poets, scientists, managers of industries who did not meet their targets for production and millions of ordinary Soviet citizens, who often did not know what they had done to anger Stalin. Most of the senior officers in the Red Army and the Red Navy were also executed.The leading Bolsheviks were given “Show Trials”, where they were forced to confess to ridiculous crimes which they could not possibly have committed. The purges and the show trials were Stalin’s way of stamping out his opposition, people lived in fear and didn’t have enough courage to speak out. This had a huge shirt term effects on The Russian people, they lived in fear of Stalin and he could take advantage of this power. Stalin killed 24 million people and imprisoned 40 million, he even killed people like scientists who could have helped build Russia into a superpower. The long term effect of the purges and show trials were the lack of opposition for many years to come, without any opposition Stalin was free to run Russia how he liked however extreme his policies were. He ensured communism would survive and Russia would never be the same again.A major aspect of Stalin’s brutality, was the labour camps, where people would be sent if they stepped out of line, said something bad about Stalin’s leadership or didn’t produce enough crops or coal. People were forced to obey him, it was either that or the appalling conditions and harsh inevitability of death. Labour camps didn’t really have any long term effects, Russia was able to get beyond labour camps, but the short term effects were obvious, the deaths of millions of innocent people which shook the Russian people for years of their lives.Stalin also had a major impact on the Society of Russia. In Stalin’s power more children attended school but teachers were only allowed to teach the communist view which in some cases was completely inaccurate and obviously biased. Many children joined communist youth organisations, they had been brainwashed by the heavy propaganda brought by Stalin in schools, he wanted children to grow up respecting him with great faith in communism. This had some good and long term effects, it improved education increasing the opportunities for children.Life in Russia was very hard for soviet women, they were encouraged to work as there was a shortage of workers. They were forced to have a full time job, look after the home and to have more children. Abortion became illegal and he encouraged women to have more children, larger benefits were given to larger families. In the short term, this encouraged bigger families whilst increasing the amount of workers as well. Religion also suffered in Russia under Stalin’s control, he condemned religion, and closed many churches, this was to make workers more focused at work with more time spare to look after children and help Russia build it self to be a world superpower. Stalin’s leadership also effected the life for the social elite, peasants and ethnic minorities. The social elite had a higher standard of living than other groups, they learnt more and had special shops and holidays. Ethnic leaders were persecuted in purges, Stalin undermined the national groups, he was suspicious of anything different and encouraged the speaking of any non Russian languages. He undertook ‘Russification’ where all non Russian were to become Russian citizens. Peasants lived in the grim countryside within deep depression. Most peasant grew resentful of the government and would have found it hard to survive without the private plots of land they were allocated. Life in Russia, for the majority of people, be it workers, peasants, women, or ethnic minorities lived in appalling conditions just for the increase in agriculture and industry at the cost of millions of peoples lives.Of all the dictators who came to power between the two World Wars, Stalin was the most successful. Not only did he murder more people than any of the others, but lived to be seventy-three, dying in 1953.By Lauren SimpsonWho do you think had more impact in Russian history, Lenin or Stalin?After studying the life, beliefs and impact of Lenin and Stalin I have come to the conclusion that Stalin was the most important figure in Russian history out of the two. In the following essay I will explain my reasons for this statement saying why Stalin had the most impact and why Lenin had the least.Stalin was dictator of Russia from 1924 to 1953 He ruled by terror and was responsible for the deaths of millions of people. But he also transformed the USSR into a major world power. He set up the five year plans, transforming the production and efficiency of both agriculture and industry. By 1941 there was a 400% increase in industrial production, how genuine these statistics are however is debatable because farmers gave false figures to avoid being sent away to labour camps. In the long run, Stalin increased agricultural production and increased the average farmers wage considerably, but between 1932 and 1934 there was a nationwide famine, killing 5 million people causing the agricultural production to fall by 15%. Stalin also managed to improve literacy in Russia which helped to upturn the backwardness of Russia.Although Stalin managed to transform Russia into a world superpower he did it in the most horrible way, he used labour camps, show trials, purges and murder to scare people into obeying him, he was a shock to he Russian people after the fairly satisfying leadership of Lenin.Lenin obviously didn’t have as much impact as Stalin, he was only leader for 5 years and in that short amount of time, the effects he could have made were limited, especially because he was busy fighting the civil war and recovering from Russia’s backwardness. He killed hardly anybody compared to Stalin and he was a decent man, he wasn’t stubborn like Stalin, he could admit to his mistakes and do something about them. One example of this was when war communism wasn’t working so he abandoned his plans and set up the NEP instead which was great success.Stalin had far greater impact to Russia and the rest of the world, he was not only involved in changing Russian history but world history too, he was involved with the conferences of Yalta and Potsdam, the arms race with America, the Cuban missile crisis and of course World War II, whereas Lenin had no real experiences of worldwide crisis’s.Lenin may have initiated the Russian revolution and transformation into communism and Russia wouldn’t be the same without his input but when Stalin took over he did it with far more impact and he took greater, more noticeable and shocking actions to change the face of Russia. He is the more memorable leader having been in power for 29 years and he definitely had more importance. Without Stalin, Russia may have been able to return to life before Lenin. with no real problems, maybe not abolishing communism completely but certainly keeping it at a sensible level causing no harm to the Russian people. Without Stalin there definitely wouldn’t have been the drastic changes in Russia and there would without doubt have been millions more people alive with no terrified people sent to labour camps to be punished in appalling conditions.It was a difficult decision deciding who had most impact and importance in Russia but I decided on Stalin purely on the basis that he was such an enormous character being dictator for 29 years and killing over 40 million people. I think he was the nastier of characters lacking any evidence of humanity, he managed to unite all orthodox communists from all over the world and he completely evolved Russia into a completely new country, for the better or worse is debateable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top