Before any state can ascend to the status of superpower a shared philosophy, or general direction, must first be established. In this paper I plan to compare and contrast the ideologies behind the political and economic practice of Vladimir Ilich Lenin and Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. The similarities between the men are staggering: each followed the teachings of Socialism and Marxism, each had the tribulations of applying their methods during hostile resistance, war, economic collapse, and foreign invasion. Furthermore it must be brought to attention the staggering time differences in Lenin and Stalin's time in power (Lenin ruled for six years, while Stalin ruled for almost thirty). Light must also shine on the fact that Lenin oversaw the installation of the Bolsheviks from scratch while Stalin had Lenin's foundation and was left with continuing the work rather than starting it. Throughout the remainder of this paper I will examine the similarities and differences, between both the ideologies and the actual practice, of Lenin and Stalin's beliefs.
Lenin, who was the more accomplished theorist and author of the two, outlined the major points of his work in his most important work: "What is to be Done." This particular book dealt with the notion that the Russian peasantry was a viable revolutionary force, but lacked the capability of developing on its own. Lenin believed that an outside force was needed to guide the working class into revolution. His solution was a revolutionary party that would come from the bourgeoisie and be composed mainly of middle class intellectuals. Digging farther he describes the party as being a small, highly centralized, highly disciplined, conspiratorial band of professional revolutionaries. The usage of violence would be at the core of dissolving the old social order and creating a new one. Lenin identified the enemies of the working class as being priests, Imperial Army officers, large and small businessmen, landowners and anyone opposed to his rule.