When Lenin he died in 1924, everyone expected the brilliant Trotsky to succeed him, but through a trick on Stalin’s part Trotsky didn’t make it to the funeral and Stalin went to Lenin’s funeral as Chief Mourner. In the Communist Party there were divisions including the rightists and the leftists. Stalin used these divisions to gain power. In 1924 Stalin joined together with Kamenev and Zinoviev to stop their opponents becoming the leader (their opponents were mainly Bukharin and Trotsky). Stalin then switched sides in 1926 and supported Bukharin; this was to get rid of Kamenev and Zinoviev.
In 1927 Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky were expelled from the party, in 1928 Trotsky is exiled to Siberia and Stalin turned against Bukharin, in 1929 Trotsky was exiled from the country and Bukharin was expelled from the party. Stalin now had full control of the country. Stalin ruled Russia from 1928 until 1953. This period, quarter of the century, was one of the hardest for USSR and Russian people. Stalin made a few short-term impacts on Russia but he was single-minded and not as practical as Lenin therefore the impacts he made were mostly long-term. Once in power, Stalin became obsessed with power and obedience.
History books were changed to remove the names and pictures of discredited people. In 1928 USSR was mostly agricultural country. The millions of tiny peasant farms created by Lenin (during the period of the NEP) were too small and poor to be efficient. Therefore in 1929 Stalin announced that collectivisation would be compulsory. By 1928 most people lived in villages and worked on farms. Stalin gathered all the tiny farms in each village into one big kolkhoz (collective) which would be able to introduce machinery and new ideas. In 1931 Stalin correctly prophesied, as it turned out, that Russia had 10 years to modernise before it was attacked.
He therefore set about modernising Russia’s economy. Stalin wanted the USSR to be an industrial country and strong against attack from the West. Because of this he introduced his Five-year Plan. Stalin ordered the State Planning Commission (Gosplan) to devise a series of plans which would set out exactly what the country’s goals were for the next five years. The Five-year Plan was planned economy with targets for each industry, The goals were broken down into smaller and smaller goals until eventually every worker knew what he or she had to do for his or her specific shift at the factory.
If the worker worked well he got rewards. For example some workers in favorable conditions produced huge amounts. The USSR was turned into a modern state (which was able to resist the Nazi’s ten years later). There were huge achievements in many areas including; the building of dams (i. e. the Dnieprostroi Dam), hydroelectric power (most places in thee USSR now had electricity), new cities, The Moscow Underground, Transport & communications, Fertilizers, No unemployment, Doctors & medicine and Education.
Were there was no industry Stalin created one, before his five years plan the USSR didn’t have a machine industry, nor a Electric, Coal, Steel or Plastic industry New industries were built, new towns, cities and industrial complexes arose and the railways and canals built. Great projects like the Moscow underground system were undertaken. But they came at a terrible human cost. Millions of citizens were imprisoned in labour camps in the infamous Gulag – the concentration camp system that covered the vast country – where they were worked to death.
For example, about one hundred thousand died building the Belomor Canal and ten thousand died building the Moscow Metro. In 1934, Kirov, a rival of Stalin’s was assassinated in Moscow. Stalin used this as the excuse to begin the ‘Great Purges’. The NKVD arrested any opponents to the party. Twenty million people were put to death. He demanded continuous applause (the first person to would be arrested as someone who didn’t support Stalin). Stalin felt more secure to use his secret police to crush any opposition. Stalin was less popular than Lenin, perhaps because of his cruel way of eliminating opponents.