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knew his brief hour of glory in 1919, during the Civil War.
However, without question, in 1921--1923, it was Stalin who was
the second in the Party, after
Since the Eighth Congress in 1919, Stalin had been a member of the
membership did not change until 1921. Stalin was also member of the
Organizational Bureau, also composed of five members of the Central
, p. 151.
When during the Eleventh Congress, in 1922,
criticized the fact that Stalin led the People's
Commissariat for Nationality Affairs as well as the
Workers' and Peasants' Inspection (in
charge of controlling the state apparatus),
`(W)e need a man to whom the representatives of any of these
nations can go and discuss their difficulties in all detail .... I
could suggest any better comrade than
`The same thing applies to the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection. This is
a vast business; but to be able to handle investigations we must have at
the head of it a man who enjoys high prestige, otherwise we shall become
submerged in and overwhelmed by petty intrigue.'
Closing Speech on the
Political Report of the Central Committee of the R.C.P.(B.).
(28 March 1922). Works, vol. 33, p. 315.
On April 23, 1922, on
suggestion, Stalin was also appointed to
head the secretariat, as General Secretary.
Stalin was the only person who was a member of the Central Committee, the
Political Bureau, the Organizational Bureau and the Secretariat of the
Bolshevik Party. At the Twelfth Congress in April 1923, he presented the
had suffered his first stroke in May 1922. On
December 16, 1922, he suffered another major attack. His doctors knew
that he would not recover.
On December 24, the doctors told Stalin,
representatives of the Political Bureau, that any political controversy
could provoke a new attack, this time fatal. They decided that
`has the right to dictate every day for five or ten minutes .... He
is forbidden [political] visitors. Friends and those around him may
not inform him about political affairs'.
, p. 171.
The Politburo made Stalin responsible for the relations with
and the doctors. It was a thankless task since
could only feel
frustrated because of his paralysis and his distance from political
affairs. His irritation would necessarily turn against the man who was
responsible for interacting with him.
`The journal of
secretaries, from November 21, 1922 to
March 6, 1923, contained the day-by-day details of his work,
visitors, and health, and after December 13 it recorded his smallest
his right arm and leg paralyzed, was then confined to
bed in his small apartment in the Kremlin, cut off from government
business and, in fact, from the outside world. The doctors insisted
that he should not be disturbed ....
`Unable to relinquish the habits of power,
struggled to obtain the
papers he wanted, relying on his wife,
his sister, Maria
and three or four secretaries.'
, p. 172.
Used to leading the essential aspects of the life of Party and State,
desperately tried to intervene in debates in which he could no
longer physically master all the elements. His doctors refused to allow
him any political work, which bothered him intensely. Feeling that his
end was near,
sought to resolve questions that he thought
of paramount importance, but that he no longer fully understood.
The Politburo refused to allow him any stressful political work, but his wife
did her best to get hold of the documents that he sought. Any
doctor having seen similar situations would say that difficult
psychological and personal conflicts were inevitable.
Towards the end of December 1922,
wrote a letter that
dictated to her. Having done that, she was reprimanded by telephone by
Stalin. She complained to
`I know better than
all the doctors what can and what can not be said to Ilyich, for I
know what disturbs him and what doesn't and in any case I know this
better than Stalin'.
, p. 173.
About this period,
wrote: `In the middle of December, 1922,
health again took a turn for the worse .... Stalin at once tried to
capitalize on this situation, hiding from
much of the
information which was concentrating in the Party Secretariat ....
did whatever she could to shield the sick man from hostile
jolts by the Secretariat.'
Stalin, p. 374.
These are the unforgivable words of an intriguer. The doctors had
refused to allow
receipt of reports, and here is
accusing Stalin for having made `hostile maneuvers' against
having `hidden information'!
What enemies of Communism call
will' was dictated in
these circumstances during the period of December 23--25, 1922. These
notes are followed by a post-scriptum dated January 5, 1923.
Bourgeois authors have much focused on
which supposedly called for the elimination of Stalin in favor of
Professor Emeritus at the Belgian Royal Military
should normally have succeeded
thought of him as successor. He thought Stalin was too
Le communisme et l'aveuglement occidental
(Soumagne, Belgium: Éditions André Grisard, 1982), p. 48.
The U.S. Trotskyist
published this `will' in 1925, along with
laudatory remarks about
At the time,
had to publish a
correction in the Bolshevik newspaper, where he wrote:
says that the Central Committee `concealed' from the Party
... the so-called `will,' ... there can be no other name for
this than slander against the Central Committee of our Party ....
Vladimir Ilyich did not leave any `will,' and the very character of the
Party itself, precluded the possibility of such a `will.' What is
usually referred to as a `will' in the émigré and foreign bourgeois
and Menshevik press (in a manner garbled beyond recognition) is one of
Vladimir Ilyich's letters containing advice on organisational matters.
The Thirteenth Congress of the Party paid the closest attention to that
letter .... All talk about concealing or violating a `will' is
a malicious invention.'
Quoted in Stalin, The
Opposition Before and Now.
Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954),
pp. 179--180. Stalin's emphasis.
A few years later, the same
in his autobiography, would clamor
``Will'', which Stalin concealed from the
My Life, p. 469.
Let us examine the three pages of notes dictated by
December 23, 1922 and January 5, 1923.
called for `increasing the number of C.C. members (to 50 to 100),
I think it must be done in order to raise the prestige of the Central
Committee, to do a thorough job of improving our administrative
machinery and to prevent conflicts between small sections of the C.C.
from acquiring excessive importance for the future of the Party.
It seems to me that our Party has every right to demand from the
working class 50 to 100 C.C. members'.
These would be `measures against a split'. `I think that from this
standpoint the prime factors in the question of stability are such
members of the C.C. as Stalin and
I think relations between
them make the greater part of the danger of a split'.
Letter to the Congress. Works,
vol. 36, pp. 593--594.
So much for the `theoretical' part.
This text is remarkably incomprehensible, clearly dictated by a sick and
diminished man. How could 50 to 100 workers added to the Central
Committee `raise its prestige'? Or reduce the danger of split?
Saying nothing about Stalin's and
political concepts and
visions of the Party,
claimed that the personal relationships
between these two leaders threatened unity.
`judged' the five main leaders of the Party. We cite them here:
`Comrade Stalin, having become Secretary-General, has unlimited
authority concentrated in his hands; and I am not sure whether he will
always be capable of using that authority with sufficient caution.
on the other hand, as his struggle against the C.C. on
the question of the People's Commissariat for Communications has
already proved, is
distinguished not only by exceptional abilities. He is personally perhaps
the most capable man in the present C.C., but he has diplayed
excessive preoccupation with the purely administrative side of the work.
`These two qualities of the two outstanding leaders of the present C.C.
can inadvertently lead to a split ....
`I shall just recall that the October episode with
was, of course, no accident, but neither can the blame for it be laid
upon them personally, any more than non-Bolshevism can upon
is not only a most valuable and major theorist of the
Party; he is also rightly considered the favourite of the whole
Party, but his theoretical views can be classified as fully
only with great reserve, for there is something scholastic about him
(he has never made a study of dialectics, and, I think, never fully
, pp. 594--595.
Note that the first leader to be named by
was Stalin, who,
words, `always seemed a man destined to play second
and third fiddle'.
My Life, p. 506.
`Unquestionably, his object in making the will was to facilitate the
work of direction for me'.
, pp. 479--480.
Of course, there is nothing of the kind in
states quite correctly:
`Stalin emerged in the best light. He had done nothing to besmirch his
party record. The only query was whether he could show good judgment
in wielding the vast powers in his hands.'
, p. 176.
With respect to
noted four major problems: he was
seriously wrong on several occasions,
as was shown in his struggle against the Central Committee in
the `militarization of the unions' affair; he had an exaggerated
opinion of himself; his approach to problems was bureaucratic; and his
non-Bolshevism was not accidental.
the only thing that
noted was that their
treason during the October insurrection was not accidental.
was a great theoretician, whose ideas were not completely
but, rather, scholastic and non-dialectic!
dictated his notes in order to avoid a split in the Party leadership.
But the statements that he made about the five main leaders seem better
suited to undermining their prestige and setting them against each other.
When he dictated these lines,
was not feeling well', wrote his
and `the doctors opposed discussions between
and his secretary and stenographer'.
Souvenirs sur Lénine
(Moscow: Éditions Moscou, n.d.), pp. 152--153.
Then, ten days later,
dictated an `addition', which appears to refer to
a rebuke that Stalin had made twelve days earlier to
`Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our
midst and in dealings among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a
Secretary-General. That is why I suggest that the comrades think
about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another
man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin
in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant,
more loyal, more polite and more considerate to the comrades, less
capricious, etc. This circumstance may appear to be a negligible
detail. But I think that from the standpoint of safeguards against a
split and from the standpoint of what I wrote above about the
relationship between Stalin and
it is not a detail, or it is a
detail which can assume decisive importance.'
Letter to the Congress, p. 596.
Gravely ill, half paralyzed,
was more and more dependent on his
wife. A few overly harsh words from Stalin to
ask for the resignation of the General Secretary. But who was to
replace him? A man who had all of Stalin's capacities and `one more
trait': to be more tolerant, polite and attentive! It is clear from
the text the
was certainly not referring to
whom? To no one.
Stalin's `rudeness' was `entirely supportable in relations among us
Communists', but was not `in the office of the General Secretary'. But
the General Secretary's main rôle at the time dealt with questions of
the Party's internal organization!
In February 1923,
state worsened, he suffered from violent
headaches. The doctor categorically refused to allow newspaper reading,
visits and political information. Vladimir Ilyich asked for the record
of the Tenth Congress of the Soviets. It was not given to him, which made
him very sad'.
, pp. 173--174.
tried to obtain the documents that
reported another altercation between
... telephoned him ... once more for some
information, Stalin ... upbraided her in the most outrageous
all in tears, immediately ran to complain to
nerves, already strained to the breaking point by the
intrigues, could not hold out any longer.'
Stalin, p. 374.
On March 5,
dictated a new note:
`Respected Comrade Stalin. You had the rudeness to summon my wife to
the telephone and reprimand her .... I do not intend to forget so
easily what was done against me, and I need not stress that I consider
what is done against my wife is done against me also. I ask therefore
that you weigh carefully whether you are agreeable to retract what you
said and to apologize or whether you prefer to sever relations between
, p. 179.
It is distressing to read this private letter from a man who had
reached his physical limits.
herself asked the secretary
not to forward the note to Stalin.
These are in fact the last lines that
was able to dictate: the
next day, his illness worsened significantly and he was no longer able
, p. 175.
was capable of manipulating the words of a sick man, almost
completely paralyzed, shows the utter moral depravity of this individual.
Sure enough, like a good forgerer,
presented this text as the
final proof that
had designated him as successor! He wrote:
`That note, the last surviving
document, is at the same time the
final summation of his relations with Stalin.'
Trostky, Stalin, p. 375.
Years later, in 1927, the united opposition of
tried once again to use this `will' against the Party
leadership. In a public declaration, Stalin said:
`The oppositionists shouted here ... that the Central Committee of
the Party ``concealed''
``will.'' We have discussed this
question several times at the plenum of the Central Committee and
Central Control Commission .... (A voice: ``Scores of
times.'') It has been proved and proved again that nobody has concealed
``will'' was addressed to the Thirteenth Party
Congress, that this ``will'' was read out at the congress (
voices: ``That's right!''), that the congress unanimously
decided not to publish it because, among other things,
not want it to be published and did not ask that it should be
Opposition Before and Now, p. 178.
`It is said in that ``will'' Comrade
suggested to the congress that
in view of Stalin's ``rudeness'' it should consider the question of
putting another comrade in Stalin's place as General Secretary. That is
quite true. Yes, comrades, I am rude to those who grossly and
perfidiously wreck and split the Party. I have never concealed this and
do not conceal it now .... At the very first meeting of the plenum
of the Central Committee after the Thirteenth Congress I asked the
plenum of the Central Committee to release me from my duties as General
Secretary. The congress discussed this question. It was discussed by
each delegation separately, and all the delegations unanimously,
obliged Stalin to remain
at his post ....
`A year later I again put in a request to the plenum to release me, but I
was obliged to remain at my post.'
, pp. 180--181.
intrigues around this `will' were not the worst that he
had to offer. At the end of his life,
went to the trouble
to accuse Stalin of having killed
And to make this unspeakable
used his `thoughts and suspicions' as sole argument!
In his book, Stalin,
`What was Stalin's actual role at the time of
illness? Did not
the disciple do something to expedite his master's death?'
Stalin, p. 372.
death could clear the way for Stalin.'
, p. 376.
`I am firmly convinced that Stalin could not have waited passively when
his fate hung by a thread.'
, p. 381.
gave no proof whatsoever in support of his charge,
but he did write that the idea came to him when
`toward the end of February, 1923, at a meeting of the Politburo ...,
Stalin informed us ... that
had suddenly called him in and had
asked him for poison.
... considered his situation hopeless,
foresaw the approach of a new stroke, did not trust his physicians
..., he suffered unendurably.'
, p. 376.
At the time, listening to Stalin,
assassin! He wrote:
`I recall how extraordinary, enigmatic and out of tune with the
circumstances Stalin's face seemd to me .... a sickly smile was
transfixed on his face, as on a mask.'
in his investigation. Listen to
`(H)ow and why did
who at the time was extremely suspicious of
Stalin, turn to him with such a request
saw in Stalin the
only man who would grant his tragic request, since he was directly
interested in doing so .... (he) guessed ... how Stalin really
felt about him.'
, p. 377.
Just try to write, with this kind of argument, a book accusing Prince
Albert of Belgium of having poisoned his brother King Beaudoin: `he was
directly interested in doing so'. You would be sentenced to prison.
allowed himself such unspeakable slanders against the main
Communist leader, and the bourgeoisie hails him for his `unblemished
struggle against Stalin'.
, p. 53.
Here is the high point of
`I imagine the course of affairs somewhat like this.
poison at the end of February, 1923 .... Toward winter
to improve slowly ...; his faculty of speech began to come back to
`Stalin was after power .... His goal was near, but the danger
was even nearer. At this time Stalin must have
made up his mind that it was imperative to act without delay ....
Whether Stalin sent the poison to
with the hint that the
physicians had left no hope for his recovery or whether he resorted to
more direct means I do not know.'
, p. 381.
lies were poorly formulated: if there was no hope, why did
Stalin need to `assassinate'
From March 6, 1923 until his death,
was almost completely
paralyzed and deprived of speech. His wife, his sister and his
secretaries were at his bedside.
could not have taken poison
without them knowing it. The medical records from that time explain
quite clearly that
death was inevitable.
The manner in which
constructed `Stalin, the assassin', as well
as the manner in which he fraudulously used the so-called `will',
completely discredit all his agitation against Stalin.
Next: Building socialism in
Up: The young Stalin
Previous: Stalin during the
Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995