Lead: To eliminate opposition to his personal domination of the Communist party indeed, all of the Soviet state, Stalin perfected a new twentieth century art form: the show trial.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: V.I. Lenin, author of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet state, after a series of incapacitating strokes, died in January 1924. Already the struggle for succession was under way. This struggle would last until the eve of World War II. The leading candidate for leadership was Leon Trotsky, but Trotsky had problems. He was not a modest man, was a relatively late convert to Bolshevism, and his strong ties to the Red Army, which he had sculpted nearly from scratch in the early 1920s, made the rest of the party clan very nervous. His chief rival was Josef Vissarionovich Stalin, who, after abandoning seminary preparation for the Orthodox priesthood, made his initial mark in party circles as a bank robber. Lenin had given Stalin charge over the central party machinery and the Georgian bureaucrat took to this less than desirable task with relish. He gradually came to dominate the secret police and re-shaped the party in his own image, removing allies of his rivals and installing his own supporters in places of authority.