On March 22, 1924, Nadezhda Krupskaya, Vladimir Lenin’s wife, released the notes of an address by Lenin to the Bolshevik party. The piece that Krupskaya presented was a part of the legendary “Lenin’s will”.
This document still shrouded in mystery contained Lenin’s ideas about the future of the country and his private opinions about each member of the Politburo. This information could have undermined the position of the first people of the country, particularly Joseph Stalin, so it was deliberately kept secret and only made public after Stalin’s death.
After a series of strokes, starting in 1922, Lenin felt the end was drawing near, so, he rushed to put all his incomplete works on paper as a guideline for the rest of the party to follow after he was gone.
It was the political situation Lenin was most worried about. The fierce battles that raged between the Party and the opposition could one day lead to war, and Lenin urged the party members to seek compromise and to be wise while choosing his successor. His major concern was about Stalin and Trotsky*. Trotsky was very unpopular with the old Bolsheviks, and particularly Stalin, who strongly disapproved of his breakaway to the Menshevik wing (a milder and more liberal variation of socialists) and placed little confidence in him.
Stalin’s confrontation with Trotsky worried Lenin. In his notes, he described Stalin as rude and incapable of restoring peace in the party. These characteristics were later exploited in the process of Stalin’s “dethronement” by Nikita Khrushchev. According to him, Lenin never wanted to hand the steering wheel over to Stalin. It wasn’t personal dislike that drove Lenin to do so, but his desire for the party to function properly.
Some other measures that he proposed also speak in favor of this hypothesis. Lenin made a series of comments about a possible cabinet reshuffle and adding new blood to the party. His plan was to attract ordinary people, like workers or peasants with no political background, to the party’s administration, to clean it of corruption. Needless to say, this measure was never considered. Impossible to be implemented by the majority of the party members, the will was set aside and soon forgotten, until Khrushchev opened his Stalin dethronement campaign.
*Leo Trotsky – a leader of the international communist revolutionary movement, Marxism ideologist; one of the brewers of the October Socialist revolution in 1917, founder of the Red Army; People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs and later People’s Commissar of Defense. In 1923 Trotsky became the head of the opposition; in 1927 he was removed from office and exiled. He was assassinated by a Soviet Secret Service agent in Mexico in 1940.