ERISS wrote: I don't think so, the difference would be on the Party, it would change nothing for people in Russia or in the world. Stalin did not invente the purges, Lenin and his Cheka made as many deaths than Stalin per year, but Stalin applied them on the party too, not just on others.
The Cheka was abolished by the Soviet government in February 1922. It was replaced by the GPU but the powers of the Cheka were not transferred to it. The GPU was only concerned with political cases and it did not have the power to sentence or execute prisoners. It was only after Lenin had died (in 1924) and Stalin had begun to tighten his grip on power (from 1924 onwards) that the GPU started to increase its power.
The other point is that you can only understand the nature and scope of the Red Terror during the civil war if you understand it as a response to the White Terror, something that has not been mentioned very much in the discussions on this forum. And the first example of what might happen if the White counter-revolution was successful occurred in Finland in the first half of 1918 where up to 23,000 Reds were murdered during and after the civil war. Most historians, even those hostile to the Reds would accept that the Red Terror did not really get underway until the second half of 1918 (after the failed assassination attempt on Lenin in August by Fanny Kaplan).
"The greater the terror, the greater our victories. We must save Russia even if we have to set fire to half of it and shed the blood of three-fourths of all Russians." General Kornilov