Joseph Stalin rose through the ranks of the Bolshevik Party by writing Marxist editorials and articles for

the Bolshevik newspapers. He also helped finance Bolshevik activities by making "expropriations" of funds (bank robberies). He was in exile in Siberia when the Tsar abdicated so he got back to Petrograd as quickly as he could. Lenin came to value his dedication to the cause and willingness to do whatever was needed to further it. He was not very involved in the actual coup that was the October Bolshevik Revolution, but afterwards he was given positions of importance in the Bolshevik Party. Lenin made him Peoples' Commissar for Nationalities, which allowed him access to all of the various republics that later became the Soviet Union. Lenin also made him the first General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. This gave Stalin his first real power because he was able to appoint people who were loyal and beholding to him to positions of importance in the government and Communist Party. When Lenin was disabled by strokes in 1922 -1924, Stalin teamed up with Grigori Zinoviev and Lev Kaminaev to both run the country and to eliminate Leon Trotsky, whom Lenin had chosen to succeed him. Once Trotsky was eliminated as a rival for power, Stalin allied himself with Nikolai Bukharin and eliminated both Zinoviev and Kamenev from the party. Once it was just Stalin and Bukharin, it was no problem to eliminate Bukharin since Bukharin had few supporters in important positions. Stalin pretty much had control of the Politburo of the Central Committee and soon had Bukharin expelled from the party. Stalin made very effective use of the secret police to bring false charges and intimidate others that held important positions, like Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin. Stalin was still answerable to the Central Committee and could have been voted out by it, but he bided his time until he had all five spots on the Politburo filled with his cronies. Once that was done and had full control of the secret police, he became the dictator he is remembered as today.

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