Lenin promised his people ‘free elections’ to the new constitute assembly. However, the Bolsheviks were overpowered by the peasant-based Socialist Revolutionaries, something that Lenin feared. Lenin proved his political power, by sending the red army to shut it down. This showed his people that he would do anything to stay in power, and it shows then how much control he had and that he would take down any opposition that way in his way of doing so.
This was important in creating the Soviet Union because it meant that the USSR was kept under strict dictatorship and that the government depended largely on its people to obey its orders, to lead the revolution. Stalin wanted people to be afraid of him, so they would not go against him or disobey him, he had to do this by scaring his people, and this would lead the Russian people to think the same way Stalin did and agree with every word in fear of their own lives. Stalin put this fear into place by introducing ‘Purges,’ anyone who opposed him would be killed.
He had ordered secretly for many Bolsheviks to be killed, and Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev were some of which were murdered. Anyone who knew what Stalin was up to would be killed; he was paranoid and didn’t trust anyone. This is important in creating the Soviet Union because many people feared him and were terrified under his rule; this meant they would do anything for Stalin. Overall, I believe that Lenin was more in important in creating the Soviet Union as overpowering the constituent assembly sent out a clear message that there was no room for opposition.
In a way Stalin and Lenin were quite similar as they would both do anything to get their opponents out the way (Lenin with the constitute assembly and Stalin with getting rid of Trotsky etc), however Trotsky didn’t have that determination so that may be a reason why he didn’t carry on after Lenin. If it wasn’t for Lenin putting Trotsky in charge of negotiating the peace treaty and putting him there to do things like, improving the red army, then the Soviet Union would have never existed and the people would have never wanted him to be the leader.
SJ Lee in 1987 said, ‘Lenin… was the overall planner of the revolution’ this information is likely to be trustworthy as S J Lee was a historian who had done a lot of research into Lenin, however the soviet union was closed until 1991 so information coming out was not very accurate and historians would have less access to evidence. The quote shows how Lenin was much more important that Stalin as he didn’t need to kill of every opponent and people were on his side and believed that what Lenin was doing would lead to a massive communist country.
Stalin was paranoid an felt that people would overthrow him and didn’t have the trust of many people which is why he had to introduce the purges, but without it Stalin may not have been the leader of the Soviet Union and Russia would not have been the industrialised country it is. Society Life was very hard for peasants during War communism as all food was going to the government for the Red Army and discipline for workers and the conditions were terrible. Lenin was determined to make a communist country.
In the villages the peasant will not give grain to the Bolsheviks because he hates them… People are arrested daily and kept in prison for months without trial’ This was said a British businessman, this is unlikely to be reliable as it would be hard for him to create any profit with what was happening, also the Britain and Russia didn’t like each other very much so the British business man could have had bad views on the country to start of with. War Communism helped Lenin create the Soviet Union as he needed to win the War so helping the Bolsheviks got Russia to win the War.
However, things changed after the war and the new economic policy was introduced. They were brought out of communism and were able to make a profit. This was important because this when people started to trust Lenin again and helped him to go on to create the Soviet Union. Lenin dressed like a typical worker, by doing this Lenin was becoming one of them and he gained the trust of the workers, Lenin was almost brainwashing them to support him by acting like he was inspirational and acted like an ordinary man.
This could be seen in the times after Lenin died in 1924, ‘He is not one of the gentlefolk, he is one of us,’ this shows how clever Lenin was, and how he had thought about getting people on his side. This helped the creation of the Soviet Union, as it needed someone like Lenin, being ‘ordinary’ to take charge. Stalin was very strong in controlling society, he created a cult of personality, anywhere the people went, and they would find pictures and statues of him.
The level of control was unbelievable, everything the people saw was praising Stalin, every person in Russia supported Stalin, if they didn’t they would have been killed. This is seen when as communist leader Nikita Khrushchev gave a speech in 1937 ‘By lifting their hands against Comrade Stalin, they lifted them against all of us, against the working class… against the teaching of Marx, Engels, Lenin… ‘ this quote is likely to be biased as Khrushchev is on Stalin’s side, however it is also true as none of the people would dare to go against Stalin in fear of their life.
This quote shows that if anyone goes against Stalin, they are going against everyone else including ‘Lenin’, Stalin knew how much of an impact Lenin had on the people and how much they liked him so he made it seem like Lenin and him were very good friends. In Soviet Russia, religious worship was banned. In 1939 only 1 in 40 churches held regular services, and in the whole of the USSR, there were only 7 bishops, the control over the religion and culture.
Stalin had to do this, so the people would only worship him and no other person, it made Stalin seem like god, and if they went against him it would be like going against god. Stalin also had tight control over the education system ‘children had to do on the instructions from their teacher… people went through their books and burned the works of disgraced leaders’ this is from a soviet writer describing how children would revise in schools, this made all children believe that everything Stalin doing is right, and is socialising children from a very young age to support Stalin.
Stalin used children to his advantage as most children believe anything someone tells them and are influenced quite easily, so Stalin used this and set out to be a role model for children. To Conclude I think even though Lenin did influence the society in a big way, Stalin was still more important socially in creating the Soviet Union; this is because Stalin took supreme control in making sure everything was monitored in order to praise him.
This was important as he needs the support of the public for his regime to continue, making sure that all the Russian people could think of was how ‘great’ Stalin was ensured this, and made them believe that everything Stalin did was for them. Stalin changed the Russian society, even though millions of people were dying, all the praise that was towards Stalin influenced the people to only think positively of him and think that the purges were nothing to do with him.
It was important in the creation of the Soviet Union as it helped him gain control and do as he pleased to have made the Soviet Union as strong as it is. Conclusion ‘Stalin’s excesses were tempered by his foresight. ‘ Overall, I think that Stalin was much more important than Lenin because of the decisions he made and how he came about them. I think the quote above proves why Stalin was more important in creating the Soviet Union, he was prepared to make decisions based on the future and how that would affect the country, while Lenin only thought about how his policies would affect the industry in the current time.