Politically, Marxism–Leninism establishes the communist party as the primary social force to organise society as a socialist state, which is the intermediate stage of socio-economic development towards a communist state — a classless society that features common ownership of the means of production, accelerated industrialisation, and concentrated development of science and technology in support of the productive forces of society; nationalisation of the land and natural resources of the country, and public control of societal institutions.
In the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin established ideologic orthodoxy in the Soviet Union, and among the Communist International, with his narrow definition of the term “Marxism–Leninism”, which redefined the theories of Marx and Lenin and political praxis for the exclusive benefit of the USSR. In the late 1930s, after publication of The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (1938), Stalin’s official textbook on the subject, the term Marxism–Leninism became common, political usage among communists and non-communists.
Critical of the Stalinist model of communism in the USSR, the American Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya and the Italian Marxist Amadeo Bordiga dismissed Marxism–Leninism as a type of state capitalism. That Karl Marx had identified state ownership of the means of production as a form of state capitalism — except under certain socio-economic conditions, which usually do not exist in Marxist–Leninist states. That the Marxist dictatorship of the proletariat is a form of democratic state, therefore, the single-party-rule of a vanguard party is undemocratic. That Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism, nor a philosophic synthesis, but an artificial term that Stalin used to personally determine what is Communism and what is not Communism.
Within five years of Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin was the government of the USSR; to justify his régime, Stalin used the book Concerning Questions of Leninism (1926), his compilation of Marx and Lenin, which presented Marxism–Leninism as a separate ideology (Stalinism) which he then established as the official state ideology of the Soviet Union. In governing the Soviet Union, Stalin abided and flouted the ideological principles of Lenin and Marx as expediencies to realise plans.
Ideologically, the Trotskyist Communists believe that Stalinism contradicts authentic Marxism and Leninism, and identified their ideology as Bolshevik–Leninism, to differenciate their variety of communism from Stalin's ideology of Marxism–Leninism. Moreover, in Marxist political discourse, the term Marxism–Leninism has two usages: (i) Praise of Stalin by Stalinists (who believe Stalin successfully developed Lenin's legacy) and (ii) Criticism of Stalin by Stalinists (who repudiate Stalin's repressions), such as Nikita Khrushchev and his CPSU cohort.