Literature: Lenin to Stalin


Lenin and Stalin source

Lenin’s style of leadership was much different when compared to Stalin’s. Lenin led by charisma, not fear. This can be seen in literature. Stalin created the Writer’s Congress to censor literature and allow only works that showed him, the Party, and Communism in a good light, in other words, propaganda.

In Writer’s Congress from Seventeen Moments this can be seen, “by the time of the congress, control of printing, distribution, publishing, radio, film and theater had been firmly centralized, with the Party Central Committee having absolute power of veto” (von Geldern). The congress had absolute control on all literature and the means of publishing that literature,

Lenin on the other hand led through charisma, as can be seen in Konstantin Fedin’s work, The Living Lenin, as can be seen when Lenin enters the auditorium for the meeting of the Second Congress of the Communist International, “Lenin entered the hall of Uritsky Palace at the head of a multiethnic group of congress delegates. A wave of thunderous applause rolled forward to meet him , drowning everything with it din” (Fedin, 1939). This work shows the leadership of Lenin and, as the Mass Culture book states, ” It might also have suggested – to critical readers – an alternative to Stalin’s style of leadership”(Geldern and Stites, 1995).

Although I do agree that given the circumstances, Lenin may have been forced to lead as Stalin did, through fear and censorship, we did not get to see how he would have led the Soviet Union and how events might have been different.


Fedin, K. (1995). The Living Lenin. In Mass Culture in Soviet Russia (pp. 291-294).                             Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Von Geldern, J. (2015, October 07). Writers’ Congress. Retrieved October 14, 2018,                            from

Von Geldern, J., & Stites, R. (1995). Mass Culture in Soviet Russia. Bloomington, IN:                            Indiana University Press.










3 thoughts on “Literature: Lenin to Stalin

  1. I like how you are comparing the leadership styles of Stalin and Lenin through the literature of their eras. You say that you think Lenin would’ve probably had to lead like Stalin did with censorship, but why do you believe that? What was the importance of censorhsip and controlling the access to literary works besides the power and control that it gave the leaders? Do you think that a communist state could’ve still come to fruition without the censorship?


  2. Fedin’s portrait of Lenin is so interesting! Yes, it’s a hagiography (no one really believed this stuff to be literally “true”). But it does depict the qualities of leadership that the society wanted to put forth as exemplary in this time of “heroes and heroines.” For some more thought on this (from a different angle) check out Ajmal’s post:


  3. Do you think that Stalin ruling through fear/with an iron fist was ultimately what got the Soviet Union through WWII? Do you think that If Trotsky was in power, the Soviets would have been victorious against the Germans?


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