Stalin dies in 1930. Who inherits?

Say the year is around 1930. The USSR is not yet threatened by any other power, and it hasn’t been such a long time since Stalin came to power. Comrade Stalin suddenly gets a heart attack. Or maybe he decides to overcome his fear of flying only to end up dying in a plane crash. Who knows. What will the post-Stalin leadership look like, in that case? Who is the likeliest candidate to become general secretary? What are some of the immediate policy changes we can expect in 1930? And does Trotsky fit into any of this?
 
Kirov was only a candidate member of the politburo at this time and whilst he was popular in Leningrad and amongst certain sections of the party it would be doubtful that he would be a likely candidate for general secretary. Molotov would be the continuity of the "Stalinist centre" of politics I would say.

But, I mean, look at the Central Committee elected during the 15th Congress: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Committee_elected_by_the_15th_Congress_of_the_All-Union_Communist_Party_(Bolsheviks) and just look at how many of them were purged and murdered by or in 1937-38. Trotsky doesn't even figure into this really although there's a possibility that some of the Left Oppositionists end up being rehabilitated even if they don't end up in leadership positions. Two figures that would continue to have important political impacts would be Bukharin and Rykov.
 
Kirov was only a candidate member of the politburo at this time and whilst he was popular in Leningrad and amongst certain sections of the party it would be doubtful that he would be a likely candidate for general secretary. Molotov would be the continuity of the "Stalinist centre" of politics I would say.

But, I mean, look at the Central Committee elected during the 15th Congress: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Committee_elected_by_the_15th_Congress_of_the_All-Union_Communist_Party_(Bolsheviks) and just look at how many of them were purged and murdered by or in 1937-38. Trotsky doesn't even figure into this really although there's a possibility that some of the Left Oppositionists end up being rehabilitated even if they don't end up in leadership positions. Two figures that would continue to have important political impacts would be Bukharin and Rykov.
Wouldn't the most likely candidates cancel each other out?
In a surprise succession, either factions fight it out or, none of the likely Stalin cronnies being strong enough to be sure of preventing a military take over, a deal is made and a relative outsider chosen as a compromise candidate to avoid a fight.
 
Wouldn't the most likely candidates cancel each other out?
In a surprise succession, either faction fight it out or, neither of the likely Stalin cronnies being tough enough to prevente a military take over, a deal is made and a relative outsider chosen as a compromise candidate.
Well "likely" candidates have to overcome the concrete institutional realities. Stalin didn't come to power because he was extremely well liked by every section of the Party. If that was all that would be needed then Bukharin would have become the leader of the party. He also didn't come together because he had the best theoretical knowledge, was a great orator, or was great at political agitation. That describes someone along the lines of Trotsky and he was ejected from the party. Stalin overcame all his political opponents because of his institutional power and his organisational clout. He was appointed head of the Uchraspred in 1920 and the Orgbureau in 1922 - both were organisational institutions that allowed the promotion and demotion of members, the selection of candidates for congresses, the transfer of party activists to different parts of the country (allies to Moscow and opponents to Ukraine for example), amongst other things. This allowed him to build an institutional network that was reliant on him and allowed him to outmanoeuvre his political opponents. A very boring bureaucratic form of politics that overcame the more politically bombastic vibrancy of others.

Molotov was Second Secretary at the time, was a full member of the Secretariat, the Orgbureau, and the Politburo, and the Central Committee, as well as being on the Presidium of Comintern. He was a close ally of Stalin and held, second only to Stalin, much of the institutional power that allowed Stalin to control the party. Whether Molotov can actually levy this institutional power is another thing as perhaps he wasn't as ambitious or ruthless as Stalin was but still that's a lot of weight in his corner.
 
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Planes do not crash in glorious Soviet Union, Leader Stalin died of a heart attack . . . as did the pilot, co-pilot, and the 11 others on the flight.

The big question is Molotov's effect on the set up to World War II.

Would someone more diplomatic in charge lead to stronger anti-Nazi alliances or earlier Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact?
 
He was appointed head of the Uchraspred in 1920 and the Orgbureau in 1922 - both were organisational institutions that allowed the promotion and demotion of members, the selection of candidates for congresses, the transfer of party activists to different parts of the country
They were not initially, Stalin made them so.
The real question is not who, but which body: Central Committee or Sovnarkom?
 
Planes do not crash in glorious Soviet Union, Leader Stalin died of a heart attack
Da
as did the pilot, co-pilot, and the 11 others on the flight
They are so ashamed that they didn't know any medical techniques to keep glorious leader alive until he reached the hospital that don't show their face in public. From now on it is mandatory for all patriotic citizens over the age of 10 to learn and know first aid and first response medical techniques and use them to save their fellow comrades if ever they are in an unfortunate situation.
 
Molotov, hands down. He was the one man who was considered bland enough and non-threatening enough by the other comrades to make him a sure pick, as a "compromise candidate"...
 
Molotov, hands down
That's assuming the next Soviet leader has to be a General Secretary of the AUCP(b). Well, he hasn't. Lenin was a Prime Minister, without any formal post in the Party. The post of a general secretary under Lenin was a technical one, not political. Stalin made it political through paper pushing and intrigue, much of intrigue. But in 1930 this post can still be reversed to be purely technical, and Prime Minister Rykov can take the reins. I root for Rykov!
 
That's assuming the next Soviet leader has to be a General Secretary of the AUCP(b). Well, he hasn't. Lenin was a Prime Minister, without any formal post in the Party. The post of a general secretary under Lenin was a technical one, not political. Stalin made it political through paper pushing and intrigue, much of intrigue. But in 1930 this post can still be reversed to be purely technical, and Prime Minister Rykov can take the reins. I root for Rykov!
Rykov may have worked, with Stalin out of the picture...
 
Does it matter? He and the PC are going to have to tail end the Personnel Managers (stakhavovites) and Vicious murderers (young nomenklatura) straight into 5YP and blood.
 
Vyacheslav Molotov would be a prime candidate to take over the Soviet Union in 1930 in the event of Stalin's death, in my opinion.
 
Yeah Stakhanov and Stakhanovism weren’t leading workers. Stakhanov was fundamentally a foreman, that’s what the gang leader in manual coal cutting is.

The young nomenklatura created the blood, Sheila Fitzpatrick is great on this.
 
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