The standard line on Stalin’s relationship to Lenin is that the man of steel borrowed and then developed or twisted (depending on your perspective) some of Lenin’s key concepts, which the latter had developed from Marx. A close reading of Stalin suggests otherwise. I have yet to determine whether Stalin’s advocacy of the dictatorship of the proletariat predates and thereby influenced Lenin. It is certainly a consistent theme in Stalin’s writings (in Georgian) from the early years of the first decade of the 1900s, and it seems more developed than Lenin’s effort from 1905, ‘The Revolutionary-Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry’.

But on the question of fostering a military wing, armed and trained, of the Party, Stalin is clearly earlier. Lenin seriously writes about arms after the Potemkim revolt of June 1905, the event obviously pressing upon him and other party comrades of the importance of red brigades. However, before that time, Stalin was already writing consistently and systematically of the need for arms, training, and red detachments. By the time Lenin comes around to think about such matters, Stalin and the Georgian wing of the party already had a clear program.

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