By Gladwell M.
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He had a reflective rather than a rapier wit. Like all Russians he had a strong sense of irony. It was in the soul. Centuries of hardship had honed it into an art form. Young Yuri learned quicker than most how to make s()N oF A't'RO1'SKYITII 23 Yuri, like all students in the Russian Middle School, had to study, some of it by rote, Stalin's short History of the Communist party of the Souiet (Jnion. This boring text out-did everything that had gi"e before. claiming to be the 'first accurate and docirinally correct' work in the field, the document re-wrote the party,s hisiory from the 'new and revealing perspective' of the show triais the charade of Stalin's perceived enemies recanting their 'subversion' in public courts.
Ivan Modin marched in a Moscow military ceremony early in 1930, and Stalin emerged at the top of the Lenin mausoleum in Red Square, in what looked like a general's uniform. Ivan and his fellow officers couldn't recall any mention of him during the l9l7 War, or afterwards in the civil conflict, yet here was this moustachioed Georgian standing on Lenin's tomb as if it were a mere podium for his greatness. Ivan found it confusing and even depressing, and this was compounded by the importance of not querying the weird developments engulfing the nation's Government.
Stalin stayed in the background, accumulating more power through his serpent-like use of administrative levers, until he gained the position of General Secretary. All the time he was advancing the concept of 'socialism in one country', as opposed to Trotsky's idea of the Comintern and world revolution. z The fledgling Soviet Union was now at a cross-roads. Trotsky had enormous support within the army. 3 Ivan Modin and his fellow offrcers across Russia discussed possible moves once Trotsky lost the job that had given him power and fame.