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The importance of Stalin’s rivals, the use of propaganda and popular support to his rise of Power.

Updated on April 25, 2014


Stalin the most vicious and long-lasting leader of the USSR and successor to Lenin, achieved total power quickly and efficiently by backstabbing, utilizing mistakes made by his rivals, the use of propaganda and making use of his popular support among the party and the population. All aspects mentioned above have a different degree of importance in Stalin’s rise to power.

Stalin & Trotsky


The errors of his rivals

Stalin’s use and manipulation of the errors of his rivals, namely led to his rise to power and installation as supreme leader of communist Russia. Stalin joined Lenin in 1908 and had received early on important positions in the party after 1917. Thus Lenin was reluctant to expelling him from the party and allowed him even to become part of the Ogburo, the office responsible for the organization of the party, later to receive a position in the Politburo, the highest chamber of the USSR government and to act as Secretary General. Stalin later used high position of authority to manipulate the majority of the party into collaborating with him. Stalin’s main threat, however, came from Trotsky , the Commissar for War as he had the military under control. Also he possessed Lenin’s testament. Which stated that Stalin should not lead the USSR. By uniting with Kamenev and Zinoviev, Stalin was able to urge the Politburo no to read Lenin’s testament, thus securing public support. At the same time, Trotsky fell ill and lost all support, forcing him to leave the party in 1924 and flee into exil. Finally Stalin used his power as Secretary General to secure the support of the party and politically maneuver through policies, such as the NEP, and was able to outcast Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin and giving the highest position of authority.

Stalinist Propaganda



Stalin also managed to achieve total leadership over the USSR by hiding sensitive information from the public and using propaganda machinery to create a personality cult. Stalin succeeded in misguiding Trotsky about the time and place of Lenin’s funeral, thus taking the position of Chief mourner and idealizing the ideas of Lenin and communism. This gained Stalin a large and successful public image within and out of the party. Additionally by manipulation Kamenev and Zinoviev and the rest of the party not to publicly read Lenin’s testament, harmful to Stalin, the dictator managed to hide the sensitive information, which would have made it impossible for him to achieve total leadership over the communist party. As Secretary General Stalin also used state-media, the only existent media, such as newspaper and posters to idealize his image. The newspaper “Pravda” was often used to praise his achievements, which would benefit society. By the time Stalin had taken over power he had succeeded in creating a personality cult.

More Stalinist Propaganda


Popular Support

Stalin had also managed to gain much popular support of his views and ideas both within and outside the party. Among the Russian population of the time, Stalin used propaganda machinery to emphasize that his sole purpose was to work for the benefit of the people. His appearance at Lenin’s funeral has been publicized and generated large public support. Within the party often allied with different individuals and groups on various political and economic policies to gain support. Thus Stalin gained majority within the party.


All three aspects played an important role in Stalin’s 4 year rise to power in the USSR. Many of Stalin’s enemies made errors, which were effectively made use of by Stalin to gain more and more power until reaching the position of supreme leader. Propaganda played the important part of generating public support, hiding dangerous information and creating Stalin’s infamous personality cult. In combination with each other and Stalin’s ruthless nature all lead to Stalin successfully rising to the height of power and even playing an important role in his reign until his death in 1953.


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A Stalinist Propaganda Film


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