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Russia: Stalin's Seizure Of Power, 1924-1929

In GCSE History one of the topics studied is Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. One subject that is looked at is how Joseph Stalin came to power in Russia following the death of Lenin.

Joseph Stalin seemed at first unlikely to win power after Lenin's death in 1924. But he had secured a powerful position in the Party, and was able to discredit his rivals one by one. By 1929 Stalin reigned supreme, and, once he was in power, he was now ready to make radical changes in economic policy.

Find out how Joseph Stalin came to power - and what he did when he got there - in this quiz on early 20th Century Russia.

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  1. Stalin accused his opponents of trying to divide the Party into rival groups. What name was given to this tendency?
    Stalin's argument was that he had always followed the Leninist line of total unity, and that his adversaries were trying to split the Party into warring groups
  2. Trotsky felt obliged to resign from one of his posts in 1925. Which job was this?
    Trotsky already felt isolated in the growing power struggle, and he hoped that resignation from one post might take the heat off him
  3. Having seen off Trotsky, Stalin now turned on the "Right" opposition, who advocated more cautious policies. One of these was Tomsky. For which organisations was he responsible?
    Stalin could not tolerate any aspect of Soviet life being under any other control than his own. One by one he brought these bodies into line, and dismissed their leaders if he felt that they posed a threat to him
  4. Where was Trotsky exiled within the USSR before he went abroad permanently?
    By 1929 Trotsky had lost the argument with Stalin, having always underestimated his opponent. There seemed little option but to go into exile
  5. What radical programme for agricultural re-organisation did Stalin introduce at the 1927 Party Conference?
    By now Stalin felt that he had overcome Trotsky's "Left-wing" opposition to domestic policy, and he now prepared to take on the so-called "Right" by outlining revolutionary plans for industry and agriculture
  6. Not the least of Stalin's assets was his secret police. What name were they given during most of this period?
    There had been a secret police force in Tsarist times. Under an even more authoritarian regime Stalin felt the need for one as he tightened his grip on Russia
  7. One of Trotsky's weaknesses was his former membership of the Menshevik Party. In which year did he join the Bolsheviks?
    Stalin always enjoyed the advantage that he had long been a Bolshevik Party member and associate of Lenin's. It was known that Trotsky had only joined quite recently
  8. After Lenin's death a big effort was made to increase the number of Party members from working-class backgrounds in memory of the former leader. What name was given to this process?
    Under Lenin, Party membership had remained stagnant. After his death in 1924, Stalin saw a further way in which to increase his power. By recruiting more members from humble backgrounds, Stalin could cement their allegiance to him
  9. Which of the following emerged from the 1924-9 period as a Stalin crony, serving him loyally into the 1930s and beyond?
    Surviving as a minister under Stalin was a high risk pastime. Through good fortune and good judgement several of Stalin's associates managed to cling on to power
  10. What name was given to Stalin's preferred economic policy in his long argument with Trotsky?
    Trotsky and Stalin differed over future policy: could Russia go it alone with a series of sweeping reforms, or would she have to ensure worldwide communism to have any chance of success?

Author: Edward Towne

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