Power Struggle
09 December, 2010
Power Struggle

This was an intra-party struggle, the elite struggle. Stalin created a block against one particular person. He would in no way reveal his claim to become number one. Simon Maskharashvili has more to say.
GJ – The power struggle among the 1917 Russian Revolution inspirators and implementators was unleashed right from the first days of the coup. The confrontation was exacerbated immediately after Lenin’s death. Stalin put on a truly vigorous struggle against his most natural and formidable enemy Trotsky.

SM – Following is the sequence of events: Zinoviev became figure number one in 1924 right after Lenin’s demise. He was succeeded by Kamenev. Stalin was just number three in terms of the post he held, his recognizability and the clout he exerted. Rikov functioned in the capacity of a prime-minister. Stalin managed to win them over. Kamenev, Bukharin, Rikov and Stalin built a block against Trotsky. This was as an internal party war fought by the elite. Stalin was not revealing in any way his aspiration for the highest party post. Talking about the Communist party and the Russian society in general, Stalin’s authority was much less than that of Trotsky.  
GJ – What kind of an effect those intra-party relations and the on-going power struggle have on the reality in Georgia?
SM – In the years of 1922 and 1923 there never stopped taking place in Georgia the revolts and manifestations against Russia. The national-liberation movement was headed by Kakutsa Choloqashvili. Svaneti was all agog, and Khevsureti was poised too. The incident in the railroad workers’ club in connection with Stalin’s appearance there took place right at that time. The danger of Georgia’s serious revolt against Russia was obvious. Stalin knew very well that most of the Georgian communists were angry with him because he had dragged Georgia by force into the Soviet Union. The entire West (the leading countries of the League of Nations) considered Georgia a de jure independent country. Stalin was aware that Trotsky would never do anything on behalf of the Kremlin to stop the revolt in Georgia if such a revolt took place in Georgia.
GJ – And why would he not? Why was Trotsky comfortable with Georgia’s independence?
SM – If Georgia seceded from the USSR, the fact would belittle Stalin’s authority in the Kremlin. That would really be the beginning of end for Stalin. Hence Trotsky was even directly interested in the triumph of the revolt in Georgia. 
GJ – More so if Trotsky was in close touch with the Georgian communists . . .
SM – Not only that! Let’s have a look at the preceding processes! First, Trotsky was a Menshevik until the summer of 1917. He had joined the Bolsheviks only after the October coup.
GJ – Would this mean that he was friendly with the Georgian Mensheviks, and accordingly, with the persecuted Georgian Menshevik government?
SM – Certainly! And second, Trotsky was nicknamed the Red Bonaparte, the author of the October Revolution and the founder of the Red Army. He probably was a huge authority in the Georgian Bolshevik military units. This meant that Stalin’s block would be left without any support, including the army, if a major popular revolt was to be organized in Georgia. This is why in 1922, Stalin sent a certain Mogilevsky to Georgia who was one of the founders and organizers of the Russian foreign reconnaissance. He was put in charge of the South Caucasus ‘Cheka’ (KGB – the State Security Committee), and the command of both the internal border military forces. And not like the Army, the internal and border units were complete with Russians. 
GJ – Does this mean that Stalin could rely on them more than the Georgian Bolshevik military units?
SM – Indeed! They fulfilled Mogilevsky’s orders momentarily. Mogilevsky was sent on the mission to Georgia with a specific purpose of studying the current processes and for having those processes under his control. In 1924, when Lenin passed away and Moscow witnessed a serious power struggle as a result (and it was not yet clear who would emerge a winner), the political fluctuations in the center could very well give an impetus to unleashing a major war in Georgia. Meanwhile, if this process was left uncontrolled by Moscow, the Kremlin would be deprived of any resource to curb the national-liberation movement in Georgia. That’s why the Kremlin made a decision to provoke a revolt in Georgia.   
GJ – Why? What did the Kremlin expect to achieve by that? 
SM – They hoped to have the situation in Georgia under control, and to immediately neutralize the force that was capable of bringing the revolt to a final victory if the revolt erupted naturally. Let me give you an analogy: When avalanche is inevitable, smaller landslides are usually provoked to avoid the danger of catastrophe.    
GJ – Sounds like it was Stalin’s plan . . .
SM – Of course it was Stalin’s scheme. In 1913, the heads of the revolt military center were shot, among them Kote Apkhazi, Rostom Muskhelishvili and other 15 men. The covert organizational forces were always available in Georgia because the Soviet occupation was not acceptable for the bigger part of Georgia’s population. Neither the Army nor the political elite made an exception.
GJ – I am concluding from your words that there existed every precondition for saving Georgia from the violently imposed red occupation. 
SM – This was quite possible in case of a serious organizational readiness.

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