Stalin`s Rise
Stalin's rise to power was a combination of his ability to manipulate situations
and the failure of others to prevent him from taking power, especially Leon

Trotsky. Trotsky did not take advantage of several opportunities which would
have helped him to crush Stalin politically. When he failed to take advantage of
these opportunities, Stalin maneuvered himself into a stronger position within
the party by allying with Zinoviev and Kamenev. He manipulated them into
crushing Trotsky, thus eliminating the strongest opponent in his path to power.

Stalin deftly avoided potential political ruin when Lenin formulated his

Testament in December 1922. Lenin's Testament described what he thought of the
future of the Party and Party leaders, especially Trotsky and Stalin. Lenin
warned of a potential split in which Stalin and Trotsky would be the chief
factors. When describing Stalin, Lenin felt that he had concentrated
"...unlimited authority... in his hands and whether he will always be
capable of using that authority with sufficient caution." (Clark 472). The
content of Lenin's Testament eventually became more detrimental to Trotsky than

Stalin. Coupled with the Lenin incidentally undermining Trotsky, Stalin
manipulated the content of the Testament to enhance his stature. By mentioning

Stalin as one of the prominent members of the Party, Lenin raised Stalin's
stature to that of Trotsky. The equivalent stature of Stalin and Trotsky made

Trotsky seem to be less important in relation to Lenin and thus to the Party
apparatus. Further damaging Trotsky, Lenin described him as possessing
"...excessive self-confidence... and overly attracted by the purely
administrative aspects of affairs..." (Clark 472) The latter
characterization of Trotsky was one that Stalin employed against him throughout
their struggle for power. Lenin then added a postscript to the Testament on

January 4, 1923, characterizing Stalin as a poor choice for Secretary General by
stating, "...Stalin is too rude and this defect... becomes intolerable in a

Secretary General." (Clark 474). Lenin continued on to state that
"...the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and
appointing another man..." (Clark 474). Lenin felt that if the removal of

Stalin was not acted upon, the conflict between Trotsky and Stalin would
escalate, which would in turn endanger the party as a whole. Combined with the

Testament, the Postscript could have served as a tool for Trotsky to obtain
power, instead Stalin squashed it in the Central Committee. Another possible
advantage left unused by Trotsky was Lenin's disagreement with Stalin on how to
handle the Georgian Affair. During the war with Poland, the Soviet republic
signed a treaty with the Menshevik government of Georgia, "...which
solemnly undertook to respect Georgian independence." (Segal 240). Lenin
wanted to maintain that Georgia remained a "...sovereign and independent
unit which would have joined the Russian federative state." (Clark 477). As

Commissar of Nationalities, Stalin ordered the suppression of the Menshevik
party in Georgia. In order to achieve his goal, Stalin was preparing a
constitution which was " be much more centralistic... and would
curtail and abrogate the rights of the non-Russian nationalities..." Also
in this new constitution, Stalin was going to change "...Soviet Federation
of republics into the Soviet Union." (Pro 51) Through a series of notes,
after the postscript, Lenin, with a guilty conscience, admitted that he had not
sufficiently stopped the new oppression of the weak by the strong and viewed the
centralistic nature of Stalin's scheme as being "borrowed from Tsardom and
only just covered with a Soviet veneer..." (Pro 71). He proceeded to
dictate notes on the Georgian Affair, which were scathing criticisms of Stalin's
conduct. He described Stalin as a "truly Russian man, the Great Russian
chauvinist, who is essentially... an oppressor..." (Pro 71). Lenin
communicated to Trotsky that he desired him "...take upon yourself the
defense of the Georgian affair at the Central Committee..." (Clark 479) and
attached a copy of his notes on the subject. Warning Trotsky not to show
weakness or uncertainty and not to accept any compromises that Stalin might
offer. He stressed the need to avoid warning Stalin and his associates of the
offensive. Stalin's antagonism towards Trotsky was apparent. He criticized

Stalin's performance as Commissar of Rabkrin by stating that " was
useless to look to Rabkrin for guidance if the need arises for any change of
policy or for any serious reform in organization..." (Pro 47). Zinoviev,
the most popular member of the Politbureau, acted as Lenin's "...loud and
stormy mouthpiece... whos knowledge about the world was unrefined and
unpolished... consequently... leaving him devoured by ambition to rise higher in
the party..." (Pro 79). Kamenev, though less popular, was more respected by
inner party leaders. Armed with a more cultivated intellect and a