Death of Lenin:

Authoritarian Transition & the Communist Experiment

The death of Lenin was perhaps one of the most intriguing transfers of power in history. As the first leader of the USSR, Lenin utilized his charisma and intellect to radically transform a vast nation that was on the brink of turmoil. Yet, after his untimely death, his line of succession was unclear. When Lenin’s health was declining in early 1923, he dictated 'Lenin's Testament', which contains his opinions on others in powerful position. He denounced Stalin, asking for his removal as General Secretary of the Communist Party, deeming him ill-suited for the position. He praised Trotsky, whom he called "the most capable man in the present Central Committee." However, as we know, Stalin succeeded Lenin. Why? This tale is one of power, backstabbing, death, and Machiavellian politicking. In our committee, we begin with Lenin’s demise. Who will succeed Lenin and how will the future of Russia unfold? That’s up to the Central Committee of the Communist Party to decide.

Delegates in this revolutionary committee will come face-to-face with leftist opposition, post-WWI international pressures, the drafting of the 1924 Soviet Constitution, internal Party power tradeoffs, and the inner workings of history’s first large-scale communist experiment.

In the game of politics, there are winners and losers (just ask Donald Trump), and with regards to the near absolute power associated with leadership of the USSR, politics unsettlingly resembles a zero-sum game. In order to gain control, delegates must win powerful allies, but not ones that are too ambitious, and they must crush all other formidable delegates. It sounds brutal and selfish, but here in Soviet Russia, everything is done for the good of the proletariat, right? To that we exclaim, "Workers of the world, unite!"

Zubin Koticha
Megan Conner
Crisis Director