Lenin's successor w/o Stalin

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by samcster94, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. samcster94 Well-Known Member

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    Let's say Stalin gets shot before 1917 for doing something dumb and is dead. Who succeeds Lenin??? I am not expecting a socially liberal democratic society(like Finland developed once it got independence) nor am I expecting a 21st century China to pop up either, but I know Stalin's worst impulses can be avoided.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  2. Jack Hawksmoor Custodes Infinitorum: Multis Mundi, Specula Multa

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    Obvious candidates? Trotsky is too disliked by everyone and Beria is still rising upwards in the OGPU in Georgia in 1924.
     
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  3. Lalli Well-Known Member

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    Trotsky was too unpopular in party establishment and Beria was too young and low level party member. I bit doubt that he would be anything without Stalin. Perhaps Kamenev could be Lenin's successor.
     
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  4. Kaze Well-Known Member

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    I would fear a government under Beria. There is a story in old Soviet Russia that young women would not cross through Meshchansky District without escort - un-escorted woman might be taken to the basement of the world's tallest building and given a choice of "sleep with Beria or Siberia".
     
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  5. samcster94 Well-Known Member

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    How would he have ruled???
     
  6. samcster94 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, many of the alternatives were horrible too.
     
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  7. David T Well-Known Member

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    Beria is an absolute nobody without Stalin. I'm surprised he's even mentioned here.
     
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  8. Cregan Well-Known Member

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    Trotsky is unlikely to become leader after Lenin due to the many reasons exhaustively raised on the forum every time this topic comes up. And there aren’t any other Left Oppositionists who could overshadow Trotsky to rise to Soviet leadership.

    As for the alternatives..

    Without Stalin a collective Soviet leadership seems likely, with Kamenev or Zinoviev as “first among equals”. However, despite their high rank and revolutionary credentials, they were both somewhat politically tainted for opposing the October Revolution, enough that I don’t think they have enough backing to become leader of the Soviet Union. (And there’s always latent anti-Semitism working against both of them).

    For the Right Opposition the obvious candidate for Lenin’s successor is Bukharin, but he really wasn’t much of a politician so he could be outmanoeuvred by Zinoviev/Kamenev.

    No Red Army commander would become Soviet leader due to deeply ingrained Party fears of “Bonapartism”, so Tuchaveksky is out of consideration barring an actual outright military coup (which is very unlikely considering how closely the Red Army was monitored and subordinate to the Party).

    Maybe one of Stalin’s OTL goons takes the top spot after Lenin’s death - Molotov? Although I’ve always felt that “Iron Lazar” Kaganovich would be the most fascinating (though again very unlikely).
     
  9. Jack Hawksmoor Custodes Infinitorum: Multis Mundi, Specula Multa

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    The OP dishonestly edited his first post to remove his claim Beria is an "obvious candidate."
     
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  10. David T Well-Known Member

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    Zinoviev and Kamenev, despite the obvious handicap of their having opposed the October insurrection, still stand the best chance IMO. They may have had 1917 to live down, but Trotsky had decades of "anti-Leninism"--as well as the fear that he might be a "Bonaparte." Zinoviev and Kamenev had the two most powerful local party organizations (Leningrad and Moscow) behind them. And Kamenev was Acting Premier in the last year of Lenin's life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  11. Blorg Credit to comics I post is SMBC Gone Fishin'

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    Bukharin
     
  12. David T Well-Known Member

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    Well-liked in the Party but no politician. He wasn't joking when he called himself "the worst organizer in Russia." https://books.google.com/books?id=91fB88t2_zwC&pg=PA209 Anyway, he was not yet even a full Politburo member when Lenin died.
     
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  13. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Recent scholarship suggests that those stories were post-Stalin fabrication to justify purging Beria as Khurschev consolidated power. Beria was his biggest and most dangerous opponent in the post-Stalin struggle for power and apparently he was not exactly a doctrinaire communist (i.e. he wanted to legalize party leaders passing on their state assets to their kids and accept Marshall Plan aid for backing out of Central Europe), which did not endear him to the politburo. Plus by painting Beria as this well known monster that Stalin kept in power it also aided Khruschev's de-Stalinization plans.
    https://www.amazon.com/Stalins-Team-Living-Dangerously-Politics/dp/0691145334
    Above is the book if you want to see the argument made against Beria a notorious rapist-murderer.
     
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  14. Blorg Credit to comics I post is SMBC Gone Fishin'

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    Personal favorite
     
  15. markus meecham Marxism-Leninism-Bricksquad thought Banned

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    This sounds like it would result in an ussr thats even more of a corrupt fuckfest.
    it would be delightfully interesting to read about, if written by someone knowledgeable.
     
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  16. eldandythedoubter Well-Known Member

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    Corrupt fuckfest is a term I need to use more often.
     
  17. GiantMonkeyMan Dirty Red

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    Probably someone boring like Rykov with Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Trotsky nipping at his heels.
     
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  18. David T Well-Known Member

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    He's a favorite with a lot of people, but see E. H. Carr's not entirely fair condemnation of Stephen Cohen's favorable biography of Bukharin, where Carr rejects the idea of Bukharin as a serious alternative to Stalin and Stalinism:

    "'For three or four crucial years when Stalin was building up his impregnable hold over the party and the state and beating down the opposition, Bukharin was his zealous henchman.' Bukharin was no fighter, he [Carr] insisted; and Stalin never treated him as a serious rival. Granted, Bukharin was tried and executed in 1938. 'It was no act of disloyalty to Stalin on the part of Bukharin, but a paranoiac streak of almost motiveless vindictiveness, which caused Stalin to sweep him into the blood-bath of the last great purge trial.' Delivering the final blow with a backhand, he suggested that this attachment to Bukharin was to be explained by the feeble impotence of the American left:

    'A second and more agreeable factor may also have been at work in Mr Cohen's assessment of Bukharin — the desire, especially strong among American liberals, to believe that nice men make good political leaders. Cynical observation may throw doubt on this conclusion. In our own century, Lloyd George and Franklin Roosevelt were superb political leaders, but not perhaps very nice men. George McGovern and Edmund Muskie are exceedingly nice people, imbued with humane ideals and unimpeachable principles. But if a biography of one or other of them fifty years hence seeks to depict his hero as a lost political leader, frustrated only by the develish machinations of the wicked Richard Nixon, he will be seriously distorting history. And this is what has happened to Mr Cohen over Bukharin...'"

    https://books.google.com/books?id=bBpLFKl6X_0C&pg=PA276

    Cohen replied that he had made no such claim "His thesis did not depend upon alleged political skills, but on the ideas that Bukharin had developed from Lenin's last articles: a strategy for the attainment of socialism which amounted to a 'viable programmatic alternative in the 1920s." https://www.google.com/search?biw=1......0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.N65FC9R7WDo

    Whatever one thinks of the dispute between Carr and Cohen, neither of them seems to have a very high opinion of Bukharin's "political skills."
     
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  19. GiantMonkeyMan Dirty Red

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    Carr essentially accepts Deustcher's implied claim that the only valid alternative to Stalin was Trotsky.
     
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  20. The Lethargic Lett Giving Peace a Chance

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    I know Mikhail Frunze was a popular, often overlooked, and non-controversial figure (as far as Bolshevik politics and possible Lenin successors go), but from my limited knowledge of him, he was fairly uninterested in politics and was a Zinoviev supporter, and may have faced the same 'Bonapartist' stigma that Tukachevsky would've had to deal with. Maybe if Zinoviev is Head of Government, Frunze could be appointed Head of State?