Difference Between Lenin and Stalin

Lenin vs Stalin

Lenin and Stalin happen to be the most prominent and influential leaders of modern Soviet Union. While Stalin ruled for almost three decades and was the successor of Lenin, it was Lenin who remains the father figure and a creator of modern day communist USSR (which ended in 1990 though). Both had many similarities in common. Both were exiled to Siberia; both were leaders of the communist party who wanted a communist revolution all over the world, and both were ruthless rulers. However, despite all the similarities and overlap in beliefs and character, there were differences between the two communist leaders that will be highlighted in this article.

Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin was a Bolshevik, a revolutionary who was a communist leader and politician. He rose to power through a bloody revolution in 1917 and served as the Premier of the newly formed USSR for two years from 1922 to 1924. He was a follower of Karl Marx and his own contributions to Marxism led to the formation of a new ideology that was later labeled as Marxism-Leninism. Not for nothing is Lenin credited with ending the rule of the tsar in Russia as Imperial Russia was drowned in a bloody Bolshevik revolution of 1917. He is believed to be a father figure; a man who tried with all his might to create a mighty socialist state in the world. It is indeed ironical that the man who ended imperialism in Russia and led to the formation of communist USSR can be still seen in a coffin with his body embalmed with communism having ended formally with the dissolution of the USSR in 1990.

Joseph Stalin

Stalin was a Bolshevik revolutionary who became the general secretary of the communist party and succeeded Lenin as the premier of the USSR. He shared the dream of making USSR the most powerful communist country of the world along with Lenin. He believed in Marxist socialism and, in fact, promised to his people that he would carry forward the policies of Lenin to turn USSR into a super power. However, he leaned away from the economic policy of Lenin and applied his own New Economic Policies. Stalin, like Lenin, believed that all industries should remain in the hands of the state in a bid to create a classless society.

Lenin vs Stalin

• Lenin ruled the newly formed USSR for only two years from 1922 to 1924, whereas Stalin succeeded him and remained in power for nearly 30 years.

• Lenin was a leader in the Bolshevik revolution and credited with being the founder of the USSR, whereas Stalin had a readymade system in place that he took forward with great force.

• While both were staunch communists, Lenin was more liberal of the two as he allowed some peasants to hold on to their land as well as some businesses to remain private.

• Stalin brought all agriculture under the control of the state and forced farmers to work on state farms.

• Under Lenin, standards of living rose for farmers and peasants, whereas they fell for peasants and workers under Stalin.

• Stalin was more of a politician than Lenin who was more of a revolutionary and father figure for the modern Soviet Union.

• While both leaders used private police in dealing with opponents, Lenin was more careful than Stalin in dealing with opponents. Stalin just crushed any opposition that he felt.

• Lenin was more popular among the masses.

• Stalin was more stubborn and ruthless than Lenin who was willing to make sacrifices to achieve success.