The years of NEPNEP were marked also by the unstable and contradictive situation inside the Bolshevists regime. Strict authoritarianism could be effective only in case of implicit obedience of the representatives of the lower level of the authority hierarchy to the representatives of its higher levels. To obtain this the 'top' should have had indisputable authority recognized by the masses. Such an 'authoritative top' in the Party and Government pyramid became the historic leader of Bolshevism, the chairman of the CPC of the USSR Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
The most ambitious bolshevists leaders - G.Y.Zinoviev, I.V.Stalin, L.D.Trotsky - recognized his domination. For the Party masses (and not only the Party) he was the bearer of ultimate truth. After Lenin's death (January 21, 1924) the situation radically changed. The paradoxical situation arose - authoritarian regime without authoritarian leader together with 3 approximately equally influential trends: left - L.D.Trotsky's supporters; center - supporters of L.B.Kamenev, G.Y.Zinoviev and the member of the Politbureau I.V.Stalin; right - supporters of N.I.Bukharin, A.I.Rykov and M.P.Tomsky.
Contradictions existing at the 'top' were disorientating the lower level of the hierarchy of authority, representatives of which sometimes didn't know opinion of which leader take into consideration in practical politics. This confusion among politicians could paralyze authoritarian regime.
Impartially, there were two possible ways of developing events: either abolition of the decision of the X Congress of the Party about prohibiting fraction in the Communist Party, transition to social-democratic model of the Party, allowing co-existing inside it different officially recognized trends and platforms, and ultimately - to pluralistic political model, or nominating the new leader. Transition to social democracy was extremely unlikely. Ambitions of the bolshevists 'oligarchs' prevented from nominating the new leader. As a result, the Party appeared in confusion.
In the conditions of tangled party, government and economical power struggle of candidates for the leadership took the form of competition of different social-economic programs, appeared mostly in the periods of economical difficulties (in 1923, 1925, and then - in 1928-1929).
The Lefts believed complete building socialist society in the USSR, a background country concerning technical and economical development, to be possible only in case of win of the world (or at least European) proletarian Revolution.
The Rights thought it to be possible to built socialism first in one country - the Soviet Union. To achieve it, it was necessary to allow small private capital; in their opinion, the policy of planned economy shouldn't be too strict, the plan should be rather advisory then obligatory. Not being formally against democratization of the Party, in fact they strengthened basic structure of apparatus of officials inside the Party.
Stalin maneuvered between these two trends. That was he who created and in every way strengthened the apparatus of the Party hierarchy. Consequently, struggling with Trotsky, he received the support of real vertical of authority representatives of which were annoyed with the utopian (if not demagogic) projects of the Lefts on democratization and labour democracy together with preserving authority regime. During 1921-1925/26 Stalin supported social-economical line of the Rights. On the other hands, since the second half of 1920s he was more and more inclining to the Lefts positions in the field of economics and social relations. Later, Stalin declared that in the first years after the Civil War the country should have cured its wounds, restored economics and only after that the plans of industrialization on the expense of peasantry could be performed.
With the help of Kamenev and Zinoviev Stalin managed to discredit Trotsky, then leaning on Bukharin and Rykov pushed back Kamenev and Zinoviev in order to defeat a little bit later the Rights with the help of Ordjonikidze, Kuibyshev, Voroshilov and others. After each round of inner-Party discussion the number of the potential 'Lenin's heirs' grew les.
During the inner-Party struggle the contour of the new leader was becoming more and more recognizable. It was Stalin.