REVIEW of REVIEWS

Ex-Clerk As Lenin’s Successor

Stalin, a Hitherto Almost Unknown Figure, Becomes a Vital Factor in Russian Politics

NEW YORK TIMES April 15 1923
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Ex-Clerk As Lenin’s Successor

Stalin, a Hitherto Almost Unknown Figure, Becomes a Vital Factor in Russian Politics

NEW YORK TIMES April 15 1923

Ex-Clerk As Lenin’s Successor

REVIEW of REVIEWS

Stalin, a Hitherto Almost Unknown Figure, Becomes a Vital Factor in Russian Politics

NEW YORK TIMES

THE very evident seriousness of the illness of Premier Lenin has given much cause for speculation as to his successor, should his illness prove fatal. A writer in the New York Times contends that the man most likely to succeed is a man hardly known outside his own country, the one-time clerk Stalin.

is there a second Lenin in Russia? the writer asks, and continues: An effort to answer the question was made in some measure during the periods of the Premier's illness, when the burden of his work had to be assumed by another. Was it Rykov, First Vice-President of the People's Commissariat, to whom Lenin’s duties were shifted? Or was it some mysterious person of whom the world has not yet heard who navigated the Russian Ship of State during this interim? Who are the strong men of Soviet Russia?

The two men who have been associated with Lenin since his exile days and who are still his faithful lieutenants are Zinoviev and Kameniev. Once, at the beginning of the November revolution, they disagreed with Lenin and wrere ready to resign from the Executive Committee of the Communist Party, but in general they have voiced his opinions accurately.

While Zinoviev and Kameniev are old and tried friends of Lenin, the most trusted of all is the present Commissar of Nationalities, Stalin. He is Secretary of the Communist Party, and of all the Soviet notables he is the least visible to outsiders. Trotzky, Radek, Bukharin, Rykov. Rakoysky, Dzerzhinsky and many other Commissars have been close enough to Lenin, but his real intimate is Stalin. And because Stalin is so inaccessible, many legends have been woven around his personality. He was born in Georgia and raised in the Greek orthodox faith. He was once a clerk and took an active part in the 1905 revolution. In the last revolution he handled the nationalities question of Russia with great skill and also was an important member of the Supreme Council of Labor and Defense.

'W hen Lenin was stricken a year ago the important question for the Bolsheviki to decide was not who should take his place, but rather who should do his work. The Bolsheviki knew then that Lenin’s illness was serious enough. But they were confident that he would recover in a short time, and so it was easy to shift the task temporarily to the desk of the Chairman of the People's Commissars. Rykov, although an excellent person for the subordinate office, was not the man who could carry on the functions of the Premier. And so it seemed that an unwritten understanding was reached by which a few others also were to share Lenin’s power during his absence. The group consisted mainly of Stalin, Trotzky and Radek. Zinoviev and Kameniev, as very old mends of Lenin, were drawn into the ring. But the three others made policy. The Communist Party, the ruling power, approved of their actions because it believed 5.a“!? to the most suitable for the work. Stalin, who showed his abilities in handling matters of internal policy, was apparently the person who had more to say in home affairs, and Radek and Trotzky dealt with foreign affairs.

When Lenin resumed his work in October of last year he did not undertake all his former duties. He was not the old Lenin. He looked happy and talked engagingly. But something of the former Lenin was-missing. He did not look a sick man, but appeared tired and less quick at repartee than in the old days. He said nothing new in his speeches.

The important question now is whether the death of Lenin might not bring about the overthrow of his whole Government, and if the world mind should not be prer pared for a new Russian revolution. If not would his death bring to power a group of Bolsheviki likely to inaugurate a new policy?

All those who recently have been in Russia agree that his death is not likely to bring about an overturn of the Government. There was a period during the Bolshevist Revolution when Lenin’s death might have brought about interior rebellion. But at present that does not seem probable. He was the only; person in Russia capable of guiding the Bolshevist ship. Now his work is completed. The policy to be followed by his party for the next ten years has been outlined.

It is more speculation than prophecy to attempt a forecast on who might be appointed in Lenin’s place. But after all the new man probably will be selected from a small group in the Kremlin

circle. Tchitcherin, Rykov,1 Bukharin Krassin and Stalin are old Communists and all (Slavs. Tchitcherin is unlikely to be the next leader. He is a veteran Bolshevik, but has not sufficient influence in the Communist Party. Rykov is now First Vice-President of the People’s Commissars and might automatically follow Lenin. But only for a brief interval.' He is not made of the clay of a leader and his health is not of the best. In case he should be selected his friends, Trotzky, Radek, Stalin and Bukharin, would help him form his policy.

Krassin has > less chance than Rykov, notwithstanding his superior abilities. .

He is an able engineer and the Bolsheviki recognizehis services as their representative in London. But he has not the magnetism to inspire the masses. Bukharin has an attractive personality and is muchloved by the Communistic youth.

Of all these it is most probable that the formér Georgian clerk and the present Secretary of the Communist Party, Stalin, will inherit the place. As the most trusted friend of Lenin and as Secretary of the powerful machine of revolution, he has about the best chan ce.

For the immediate future no changes are likely to be made in Soviet policy, nomatter who succeeds Lenin.