Thus, Lenin decided to appoint Stalin as the first General Secretary of the party. It was because at that time Trotsky was the Commander of the Red Army. Other Bolsheviks saw these jobs as a part of the dull routine of party bureaucracy and paid little attention to him, which gave Stalin an enormous advantage as the “Grey Blur” in the battle for power. For the rise of Stalin, the crucial factor was having the position of General Secretary. After controlling the first step of the ladder, Stalin controlled over every step of the ladder of hierarchy. Now Stalin had the advantage of selecting a new member for his team on whom he had faith and who was loyal to him. Therefore, having the title of General Secretary was effective to place supporters in key positions to win and deliver votes that out manoeuvred political opponents. Stalin set agendas for the meetings of Politburo and he controlled what Politburo talked about. Most importantly, the leaflets were controlled by Stalin, which meant that he had the power over the enemies’ political image. After the death of Lenin, the whole Political Machine in USSR was under the control of Stalin.
One of the reasons for the rise of Stalin’s power was his cunning manipulative personality which was clearly seen in the event of Lenin’s Funeral. Stalin wanted to display his image as a legitimate successor and wanted to destroy the positive image of Trotsky. On January 21, 1924, Lenin died and after six days, his funeral was held in the Red Square. The cult of Leninism had just begun after the Red Terror and Stalin gave it momentum at Lenin’s Funeral by acting as a pallbearer. In addition, he gave the oration with an oath of loyalty, which was made to the Lenin’s legacy. When Trotsky was resting in South Russia because of his illness, Stalin contacted him. Stalin, who was also known for his cunning personality, destroyed Trotsky image.
Stalin convinced Trotsky to not to come for Lenin’s funeral because his health was not good and he might not have been able to reach there on time and would have merely been a wastage of time. Trotsky accepted Stalin’s proposal and this ultimately resulted in ruining his image. Stalin had a very successful outcome at the end of the funeral. The public had the impression that Stalin was designated to become the successor of Lenin. This shows the real image of Stalin that how he used the weakness of Trotsky for ruining the image of Trotsky by convincing him not to come to the funeral. It does show that Stalin was not only clever but he was an evil person and in fact was a true personality of Stalin (Radzinskiĭ, 1996).
The real image and true personality of Stalin became more transparent from 1922 onwards. In the communist party, Stalin posed as a moderate spectrum between Bukharin on the right wing and Trotsky on the left wing in the early 1920’s. Stalin decided not to make any definite political decisions until 1928 because it would allow him to stay away from the political disputes within the party and it would help him to get support from both the Conservatives and the Liberals. The policy of disagreement was adopted by Stalin to cut off his opponents (Service, 2005). The views of his opponents were successfully presented as anti-Leninist or anti-communist. By using his cunning strategies into his advantages, Stalin successfully manipulated Lenin’s Ban on Factions.
It was stated by Robert Conquest, “Stalin out manoeuvred a series of opponents in six years; first he made an alliance with the rest of his colleagues, and then he demoted and opposed and Trotsky. Then in alliance with the Bukharin-Rykov “Right”, he defeated the Zinoviev-Kamenev “Left” block and finally he and his own following attacked their hitherto allies, the “Rightists”. Robert Conquest is a very well known historian of Britain who retold the timeline of Stalin’s rising to power. Some used to think that to become the sole leader of Soviet Union, Stalin did whatever it took to be there. (Bullock, 1992)