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Background


A detailed analysis of the data on how the political institutions operated indicates that a large number of people were attending
Politburo meetings in the 1920s and 1930s up to 1937. These were not only the formal members and candidate members of the Politburo
but a large number of Central Committee members and senior state employees. In a sense these were the unofficial senior political figures.
Over time some of these important unofficial senior political figures would have their political status made official and they would become
formal members or candidate members of the Politburo. The data presented here allows us to chart the rise and fall of these political figures
in terms of their direct involvement in the political process.

Stalin's personal involvement can also be charted in terms of his involvement in these senior party committees and his direct involvement with
other figures in meetings in his office. From these data it appears that Stalin in the 1920s, 1930s and early 1840s had been fairly collegial
and had met with very large numbers of people, who he continued to consult in his decision-making process. This situation would change dramatically
from the late 1940s.

The data also shows that the Politburo handled an enormous mass of material. Drafts decrees that were forwarded to the Politburo were often revised
within committees and there are indications that Stalin and his team were working extremely hard to keep abreast of the vaste amount of material
that was passing through their offices. The Stalin team was a massive and generally efficiently working bureaucratic machine.

For more details on how the Politburo operated see:
O. Khlevnyuk, et al, Stalinskoe Politburo v 30-e gody, Moscow 1995
O.V. Khlevnyuk, Politburo mekhanizmy politicheskoi vlasti v 1930-e gody, M. 1996

For a reconsideration of Stalin's relationships with his colleagues see:
T.H.Rigby, 'Was Stalin really disloyal to his colleagues', Europe-Asia Studies

For a more detailed account of the transformation in Stalin's style of leadership from the more collegial style within oligarchic groups in the 1920s
to the tyrannical style of the late 1940s and early 1950s see:
S.G.Wheatcroft, 'From Team-Stalin to Degenerate Tyranny: Stalin and the Soviet Political Elite' in E.A. Rees, (ed.) The Nature of Stalin's Dictatorship: The Politburo,1924-1953, Palgrave 2004, pp. 79-107.

And see also Stalin's written exchanges with his closest colleagues when on holiday in Sochi.
See O.V. Khlevnyuk, R.W. Davies, L.P. Kosheleva, E.A.Rees, L.A.Rogovaya, eds., Stalin I Kaganovich perepiska, 1931-1936gg., Moscow 2001, now available in English from Yale University Press.


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