Khrushchev took office, he took a measure to limit the term of office of cadres, which is a meaningful measure to abolish the lifelong system of cadres. Khrushchev was finally overthrown by a large number of cadres in the party, which was one of the reasons for his coup.

there is a clear system for the transfer of power in most countries in the world. Most modern countries elect their leaders through elections, some kingdoms adopt the system of succession to the throne, some countries implement the system of succession designated by their predecessors, and some countries solve the problem of the supreme power of the state through coups. So how did the supreme power of the Soviet Union under the leadership of the Communist Party transfer?

did not formulate a power transfer mechanism.

after the October Revolution, Lenin was the natural leader of the party, which is no doubt. By the early 1920s, Lenin began to envisage the ideal combination of Leadership: the combination of different age groups. In fact, the leading group at that time was quite in line with Lenin’s vision, including cadres of all ages, which was an ideal trapezoidal structure.

at the end of 1921 and the beginning of 1922, Lenin began to have health problems, and then had to rest frequently. By the end of 1922, due to two strokes, he could no longer preside over the work of the Political Bureau and the people’s Committee and deal with daily affairs. At this time, Lenin obviously felt the problem of succession, but did not adopt the practice of appointing successors.

during Lenin’s administration, the leaders of the party and the state were very young, and Lenin himself died at the age of 54. Therefore, at that time, there was no system for the transfer of power, and even the highest position in the party was not determined. Lenin is a member of the Political Bureau within the party and presides over the meetings of the Political Bureau. Outside the party, he is the chairman of the people’s Committee. Lenin’s leadership was naturally formed by his role in revolution and construction and was tacitly accepted by the whole party. It was not clear at that time which of Lenin’s positions was the key leadership position. When Lenin was unable to attend the Politburo meeting for some reason, gaminev presided over the meeting. After Lenin’s death, it was likov who served as chairman of the people’s Committee, but it is difficult to say which of them was Lenin’s successor.

at the end of December 1922, Lenin wrote a letter to the Twelfth Congress of the party, in which he put forward his views on the six party leaders, pointing out their advantages and disadvantages as well as their shortcomings and mistakes. These six people should be Lenin’s priority successors. The six were divided into three groups: Trotsky and, Zinoviev and gaminev, Bukharin and pidakov. Among these six people, Lenin believed that Trotsky was the most capable, Bukharin was the most theoretical and cultivated, and Stalin was the most powerful. Lenin did not express his preference for anyone. He told the Congress these views, obviously to make a collective choice on behalf of the Congress. However, before Lenin died, the letter could not reach the 12th National Congress. After Lenin’s death, at the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the “troika” (Stalin, Zinoviev and gaminev), who held the highest power at that time, out of consideration of their own interests, did not publicly read out and seriously discuss Lenin’s letter at the Congress. Instead, it was conveyed orally among the delegations. The delegates listened to it in a hurry and did not discuss it, so they hastily made it. It is difficult to grasp the essence of such an important document if you only listen to it once and don’t let it be discussed.




have been popular for a long time. At the plenary session of the Central Committee after the Eleventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1922, “Lenin proposed” Stalin as the general secretary of the Central Committee, implying that Lenin appointed Stalin as his successor. This statement is completely inconsistent with the facts.

first, Stalin’s appointment as general secretary was not proposed by Lenin. Now all kinds of data confirm that this matter was negotiated by Zinoviev and gaminev, and perhaps Stalin himself, and proposed by gaminev, who presided over the meeting. Of course, Lenin who attended the meeting did not object (see book (15) “how did Stalin ascend to the top leadership position step by step?” One article).

third, on January 4, 1923, in the “supplement to the letter of December 24, 1922”, Lenin clearly proposed that in view of Stalin’s rudeness, he proposed to revoke his post of general secretary and appoint another person to hold it (complete works of Lenin, 2nd Edition, Vol. 43, P. 340). Two months later, on March 5, 1923, Lenin sent a letter to Stalin to sever relations with him (complete works of Lenin, 2nd Edition, Vol. 52, P. 555). It can be seen that one thing is clear that Lenin has clearly excluded Stalin from the succession.

after sverdlov’s death, Lenin once said that no one can take over his work, and only a collective can take over his work. For Lenin’s successor, no one had such ability and prestige at that time, and what could be replaced was only a collective. It seems that Lenin commented on the six members of the Central Committee in his letter to the Congress.

after Lenin was ill and died, the party was in a headless state for some time. Who made the political report at the 12th National Congress became a problem from the beginning, and there was no popular figure. Stalin falsely recommended Trotsky. Trotsky falsely recommended Stalin. As a result, Zinoviev came out to make a central political report, Stalin made an organizational work report, and Trotsky made a report on industrial issues. However, no one ever thought that Zinoviev, who made the central political report, was Lenin’s successor.

during Lenin’s illness and after his death, a “troika” composed of Zinoviev, gaminev and Stalin actually took power. They united because of the common interests of anti Trotsky, because in the view of Stalin and Zinoviev, the only opponent for the supreme leadership is Trotsky. Stalin’s absolute leadership in the party was not given by Lenin, but the result of his maneuvering in the 1920s. He first joined forces with Zinoviev, gaminev, Bukharin, likov, tomsky and others to attack TrotskyThen they united Bukharin, likov and tomsky to defeat the alliance of Trotsky, Zinoviev and gaminev, and finally focused on defeating Bukharin, likov and tomsky’s “right”. In this way, through the cruel inner-Party struggle, by the end of the 1920s, Stalin finally won the absolute leadership within the party and at home.

Stalin and his successors

Stalin has been in power alone for 24 years since he assumed power in 1929. Did Stalin consider the question of succession? He talked about succession. In April 1923, at the 12th National Congress of the Russian Communist Party, Stalin talked about the issue of successors.

Stalin said in the report of the central organization that we should talk about the improvement of the central organs, that is, the expansion of the Central Committee. He said: “The situation of our party’s central organs is as follows: we have 27 members of the Central Committee. The meeting of the Central Committee is held every two months, and there is a core of 10 to 15 people in the Central Committee. These people are skilled enough to lead the political and economic work of our organs and are in danger of turning themselves into leading magicians. This may be good, but it also has great potential The dangerous side is that since these comrades have accumulated extremely rich experience in leadership, they may be infected with the habit of conceit, and may be complacent and divorced from mass work… If they are not surrounded by a new generation of leaders who are closely related to local work, these highly skilled people may become rigid and divorced from the masses. ” The second reason put forward by Stalin is, “Aging” of the leadership: “the experienced core of the Central Committee is aging, and it needs successors. You know the health status of Vladimir Illich. The other members of the basic core of the Central Committee are also quite old, and you know it. But there is no new successor yet – unfortunately, it’s here.” He believed that it was time to consider training new successors (complete works of Stalin, Vol. 5, pp. 177-178).

however, the so-called “aging” of the team is simply untenable.

on September 2, 1922, Lenin talked with his sister Maria ilinichina about the youth of revolutionaries, who was the oldest of the closest comrades and which generation entered the Central Committee. He gave play to the idea that the Central Committee should be attended by several generations: 50, 40, 30 and 20. In this way, young people can participate in the work of the Central Committee and become familiar with and accustomed to this work. The Central Committee can “remain young forever”.

Stalin’s secretary bagenov also said in his memoirs, Lenin once said at a meeting of the Political Bureau in 1922: “comrades, we are over half a hundred years old. You, comrades, are all people in their 40s. We should train successors, train people in their 30s and 20s, and select and train them to gradually take up leadership.” (written by Boris baganov, translated by Hong Gang: Memoirs of Stalin’s secretary, Knowledge Press, 1982 edition, page 24.)

this is Lenin’s assumption of the best age matching of the leading group. It can be seen from here that Lenin put forward his views on the six Central Committee members one by one in his letter to the Congress (“political will”) at the end of 1922, which is not accidental from the perspective of age. Lenin himself was 52 years old in 1922. Trotsky and Stalin were born in 1879 in the same year (there is a saying that Stalin was born in 1878. If so, Stalin was the oldest in the leading group at that time except Lenin). They were both 43 years old; Zinoviev and gaminev were born in 1883 in the same year, at the age of 39; The youngest two, Bukharin was born in 1888, aged 34, and pidakov was born in 1890, aged 32. This is a fairly ideal age echelon, which is fully in line with Lenin’s idea of talking to Maria.

the six people mentioned in Lenin’s “will” obviously do not have the problem of aging. Stalin’s talk about “aging” at this time is nothing more than to bring his own people into the top leadership.

but the question of successors at this time is not about taking over Stalin’s shift.

Stalin came to power. After the victory of the patriotic war, when he was in his 60s, he was in poor health and ill for some time. At this time, he began to think about his successor.

as far as we know, he officially proposed two candidates – Kuznetsov and wozniesynski from Leningrad. These two men performed prominently in the patriotic war, in the battle to defend Leningrad, and in the post-war economic recovery.

when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Zhdanov, the first hand of Leningrad, was on vacation in the south. Kuznetsov, the second secretary, was responsible for all the defense of Leningrad and the arrangement of residents’ lives. Stalin once wrote to him: Voroshilov and zhidanov are tired and restless… They need a good sleep… I can only rely on you for all the work of organizing defense and mobilizing all forces.

one day after the war, when Stalin was resting in Lake Riza, he said with emotion that I was old and I was thinking about my successor. The most suitable successor to the chairman of the Council of Ministers is wozniesynski. The most suitable successor to the general secretary is Kuznetsov… Well, comrades, don’t object. (A. afanasiyev: the truth of the “Leningrad case”, see Wan Qizhi and other editors: the Kremlin, Xinhua press, 1988 edition, page 96.)

? Ya? Kuznetsov (1905-1950) served as the Second Secretary of the Leningrad State Party committee and the municipal Party Committee since 1937. He was a member of the military committee of the Baltic Fleet, the north and the Leningrad front during the patriotic war. From 1945 to 1946, he served as the first Secretary of the Leningrad State Party committee and the municipal Party committee. From 1946 to 1949, he served as member of the organization Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Bolshevik), Secretary of the Central Committee and director of the cadre management department.

ni a wozniesynski (1903-1950) , member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, chairman of the Leningrad Municipal Planning Commission and vice chairman of the Leningrad Soviet Executive Committee from 1935 to 1937. From 1937 to 1949, he successively served as vice chairman and chairman of the State Planning Commission of the Soviet Union. At the same time, he served as vice chairman and first vice chairman of the people’s Committee of the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1946. From 1946 to 1949, he served as vice chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union. He is an academician of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

Stalin was not at ease with the two cadres who came from Leningrad. He created a “Leningrad case” from 1949 to 1950 and killed them on unwarranted charges. From then on, Stalin did not talk about succession any more. Instead, he was determined to get rid of his comrades in arms who had worked with him for many years, including Molotov, Voroshilov, belia, Michael Yang and so on.

there is a saying that Stalin appointed Suslov as his successor, saying that he was a “grey cardinal”. This argument lacks convincing basis. To allow a person to take over, it can not be carried out secretly. He must be empowered to appear in public and win public recognition. This is the minimum approach. It is hard to imagine that an unknown “successor” who is not even a member of the Political Bureau will be accepted by all walks of life.

historian Medvedev believes that Stalin “did not leave any form of political will or appoint a successor”. Among the more than 30 member presidium formed by the Politburo, “no one can say or dare to say that he is Stalin’s successor”. (Luo Medvedev and Ruo Medvedev, translated by Zou Ziying: Khrushchev’s ruling years, Jilin People’s publishing house, 1981 edition, pages 10 and 12) At that time, malinkov, vice chairman of the Council of ministers, belia, chairman of the National Security Council, and Molotov, foreign minister, were really in power. This was a temporary “troika”. Even these three men were not appointed successors, especially Molotov’s precarious position in Stalin’s last years.

the day after Stalin’s death, the Central Committee, the Council of ministers and the supreme presidium of the Soviet Union held a joint meeting and decided to appoint malinkov as prime minister, merge the Ministry of the people’s Committee for internal affairs and the Ministry of national security, under the leadership of belia, Molotov as the first deputy prime minister and restore the post of foreign minister. Voroshilov served as chairman of the presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The number of the presidium of the Central Committee was reduced to 10, and its ranking order was: malinkov, belia, Molotov, Voroshilov, Khrushchev, Bulganin, kaganovic, migyang, sabrov and berusin. Malinkov, who came first, had no conclusive evidence that Stalin appointed him, and Khrushchev, who later came to power, came fifth. In other words, we have not seen enough documents and facts to prove the existence of designated successors in the change of power after Stalin’s death. Khrushchev, who ranked fifth, was soon able to squeeze malinkov, who ranked first, out of the Central Secretariat, and malinkov accepted it, which showed that it was really unclear at that time what position was the key successor. Before Stalin’s death, he served as chairman of the Council of ministers and Secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee.

the final decision of the Soviet Communist Party and government leaders after Stalin’s death was solved through inner-Party struggle and the reorganization of various forces.

in a country where the Communist Party is in power, the most critical position is the first leader of the party. It has different names at different times. During Lenin’s period, the party did not set up the first leader. Lenin filled in the post of “member of the Central Committee” and did not even mention the identity of a member of the Political Bureau. He presided over the Politburo meeting, that’s all. His position as chairman of the people’s Committee is of course very weighty, but all important decisions of the people’s Committee must be submitted to the Political Bureau for discussion and decision. After Stalin knocked down all kinds of opposition, the highest status of exercising power was the general secretary. The general secretary became the first hand of the party and the state from Stalin. Later, in order to give orders for convenience, Stalin often crossed the party and acted directly as head of government. This is a simple form of leadership in a country with the integration of Party and government, but Stalin’s power first came from the position of the party’s top hand. Because he controlled the party, he was able to appoint Molotov as the chairman of the people’s Committee, or he could remove him from this position and serve as the chairman of the people’s Committee himself.

this exposed a serious blunder by malinkov. After Stalin’s death, malinkov was the first leader of the party and government at first. But soon after, Khrushchev, who served as the Secretary of the party’s Secretariat, managed to remove malinkov’s post in the name of concentrating on leading the government. As a result, Khrushchev, who was originally ranked fifth, quickly rose to the position of the party’s top hand. The establishment of the supreme leader after Stalin’s death was not the result of Stalin’s designation or arrangement, but the result of the struggle of various forces in the party, including the removal of belia, the reduction of power to malinkov, the smashing of the “Molotov malinkov anti Party group”, and so on.

after Khrushchev took office, he took a measure to limit the term of office of cadres, which is a meaningful measure to abolish the lifelong system of cadres. His measure violated the interests of a large number of cadres and was one of the reasons for the defection of people. Khrushchev was finally overthrown in the party coup. Brezhnev’s succession is not the result of appointing a successor, which does not need to be demonstrated. Even when the coup group elected Brezhnev as head, he was extremely reluctant.