What “specific qualifications” qualified Stalin’s cadres for Soviet leadership?

In “Stalin and the Making of a New Elite,” Fitzpatrick argues that Stalin believed his new cadres to have “specific qualifications that were essential for Soviet leadership.” (1992, 150). Fitzpatrick goes on to claim that Stalin’s Great Purge was a means of switching out the old cadres, who were not qualified, for the new cadres, who were qualified. The exact mechanism of this switcheroo is not my concern here, rather, I wonder about the specific qualifications that made the new more suitable than the old. Perhaps it was their proletarian background that made the new cadres qualified. Maybe their descent made them loyal to the party and hostile to the party’s enemies Maybe it was their specialized technical education that made them perfect cogs for Stalin’s rapid industrialization program. But what makes loyal, capable, and knowledgeable cadres fit for leadership specifically? What made Pasha Angelina, for example, fit to lead her tractor brigade?

 

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