The article deals with the conditions of the emergence in early 1926 of the so-called united opposition, which united previously hostile to each other party leaders – Leo Trotsky and Grigory Zinoviev. Trotsky, who was in a temporary alliance with Stalin and was neutral during the political battle between Stalin and the Leningrad opposition at the XIV Congress of the Party, realized in early 1926 that Stalin was fighting behind the scenes against him, forcing him to join the opposition. It turns out that Stalin had a plan, which included the expectation that Trotsky and Zinoviev would be defeated not one by one, but together. The emergence of the united opposition in 1926 was not the result of spontaneous unification – Stalin deliberately created conditions for the removal of opposition leaders from any decision to break them as one force, opposing the «party», with the opinion of which he identified his dominant group in the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Stalin's «general plan» could not be limited to the struggle with one faction – his personal plan initially provided for the victory over all factions, and this required an awareness of the struggle on «two fronts», which Stalin began to think and talk about after the XIV party conference. His «combinatorialism» consisted of both the art of separating his enemies and beating them one by one, and the art of connecting them «for the benefit of the cause» when a new political maneuver was required.
I.V. Stalin; Lev Trotsky; Grigory Zinoviev; united opposition; Stalinism ideology.