Stalin and Machiavelli 3

  • E. A. Rees


From 1929 to 1933 Stalin’s personal dictatorship was firmly consolidated. The celebration of his 50th birthday in December 1929 led to an outpouring of effusive praise. The establishment of the dictatorship was underlined by a dramatic decline in the formal meetings of the Politburo and Secretariat, especially notable from January 1933 onwards.1 At the same time Stalin’s personal standing suffered a major blow; he was held responsible for the disaster of collectivization, and the famine of 1932–3. This created a major crisis within the party, reflected in the emergence of various opposition groups — for example, the Syrtsov-Lominadze group of 1930, and the Smirnov-Tolmachev-Eismont group of 1932. In 1932 the Ryutin platform, with its bitter attack on Stalin, which Kamenev and Zinoviev had helped to revise, was circulated. In 1932 Stalin’s wife committed suicide. In these circumstances of uncertainty, Stalin’s position was itself in question, with rumours of intrigues to remove him from office or to curtail his powers as party General Secretary.


Sixteenth Century Class Struggle Bourgeois Society Communist Manifesto Oppressive Class 
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© E. A. Rees 2004

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