Why did it take so long for Stalin to emerge as leader of the USSR?
Marxism as a philosophy was never likely to create a united party under one leader.
Marx had been vague over the issues of:
In practice, the Bolshevik party was therefore never united.
Policy: Lots of different ideas from different figures:
Power: Lenin’s idea of a “dedicated revolutionary elite” was frowned on by Democratic Centralists and Workers' Opposition. So his Testament calls for an expansion of the CC to dilute the influence of key individuals, each of whom he suggested was unable to rule alone:
So, when Lenin died, both power and policy in the party was evenly split, making it difficult for a leader to emerge.
Stalin was General Secretary, and but in itself this was not enough to seize control.
Moreover, Stalin deliberately sank into the shadows, playing a clever waiting game rather than rush into a seizure of power.
None of them regard Stalin as a worthy successor
Uses posts of General Secretary and Commissar for nationalities to appoint people to key positions
Does not rush his game, but methodically plays each side off against the other:
Only when it was too late did Bukharin recognise the threat posed by Stalin