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What is your judgement of Stalin?

A genius leader, a man under whose leadership Russia transformed from ruins into a modern country
10
19%
A bloodthirsty maniac, killing tens of millions of his citizens
13
24%
Both
21
39%
Other
10
19%
By Andropov
#14031604
Stalin was without a doubt the most successful leader in human history, leading Russia from ruins into a superpower with world-class education, science, and healthcare. Not only was he a gifted politician- he was also a highly skilled writer, whose speeches, especially when reading and hearing them in original Russian, still have not aged in 60-70 years. Stalin lived an ascetic life; he did not care for bourgeois materialism. If you visit the post-Soviet space today, you will find virtually all public buildings, e.g. libraries, hospitals, schools, universities, government buildings, all were built during Stalin's rule- the massive increase in living standards and national well-being was and remains unprecedented in the entire history of the human race.

Stalin today remains an extremely popular historical figure- in a massive 50 million person poll, Stalin was voted the greatest Russian, and was only pushed back to third after the people running the poll artificially decreased his rating: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm

As for the psuedo-historical nonsense of "tens of millions" dead, one only has to look at actual Soviet archives to disprove this Cold War propoganda once and for all.

Perhaps the leading "historian" of Stalin and of Stalinism, Robert Conquest, who is responsible for many historical falsifications about Stalin and his "crimes", is a proven fraud, who lied and manipulated numbers to fit his agenda.

Veteran Sovietologist Roberta Manning of Boston College said of Conquest, "He's terrible at doing research," and, "He misuses sources, he twists everything."
Data from the recently opened Russian archives prove that Robert Conquest hugely inflated figures for deaths and deportations in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Too many writers on the subject, like Stephen Cohen, Alan Bullock and Martin Malia, relied on what Pofessor R. W. Davies called, `Conquest's very high figures for deaths from political causes under Stalin'.
They all claimed that the opened archives would prove their figures true, but when the archives were opened, they went very quiet.
As Professor Richard Overy, Professor of History at King's College London, writes, "For years the figures circulating in the West for Soviet repression were greatly inflated. ... The archive shows a very different picture." Victor Zemskov, who Conquest called `a thoroughly reliable researcher', said the figure of 7 million executed in 1935-41 was `overestimated by a factor of ten'. Archive figures are 799,257 between 1921 and 1952.
The number of those sentenced to prison in those years was 3.85 million. Prisoners in 1939, Conquest said 9 million, a figure again repeated by Cohen. The camp and prison population in January 1939 was two million, not the 15 million that Robert Conquest alleged, which would have been half the adult male population. Alec Nove wrote that Conquest's figures `are indeed incredible'. Conquest alleged that 12 million were political prisoners; the NKVD figure was under 500,000. D. J. Dallin claimed that there were 10-12 million in the camps, 30-40 per cent of whom, that is 3-4 million, died yearly (this from an adult male population of 50 million). Wheatcroft and Davies point out that recent Russian estimates for the numbers in the camps are `far lower than those by Robert Conquest'. Conquest claimed that there were 12 million people in the camps in 1950: the real figure was 578,912. 166,424 died in the labour camps in 1937-39, not 3 million. Conquest's figure of 13 million exiled or sent to the camps during collectivisation was `four times the true figure'. The highest number in the camps was 2,417,468 in 1941, 2.4 per cent of the adult population. Compare the USA in 1996, 5.5 million, a record high, 2.8 per cent of the adult population. Gabor Rittersporn agreed that Alexander Solzhenitsyn's figures for deportations during the 1930s in the Soviet Union were `grossly exaggerated'.

Conquest wrote in 1969 `Great Terror' that 5-6 million died in the famine; by 1986, 14-15 million.
There were 17 million excess deaths in 1930-38, according to Conquest.
As Davies pointed out about excess deaths and the numbers in camps, "Extreme (and untenable) figures often prevailed." Zemskov claims that "the statistical data adduced by Robert Conquest and Stephen Cohen are exaggerated by almost 500 per cent."

Conquest alleged that in 1937-38, 35,000 of the Red Army's 70,000 officers were arrested. The archive showed indeed that 35,000 officers were arrested or discharged, but also that 10,994 were reinstated. It also showed that there were 178,000 officers in 1938, not 70,000, so the arrest rate was about 15 per cent, not 50 per cent. After the war, returning POWs were not `either executed or sent to the Gulag' as Malia claimed. 6.5 per cent went to the NKVD's `special contingent', 58 per cent were sent home, and 33 per cent returned to the army.


Here are Soviet demographic statistics:

January 1926 : 148,656,000[2]
January 1937: 162,500,000[2]
January 1939: 168,524,000[2]
June 1941: 196,716,000[2]


If Stalin killed "tens of millions", or even 100 million as some cretins allege, why is this not shown in the demographic data for the period? Everyone I know back in the post-Soviet space has at least 1 family member who died in WW2, but only 1 has a family member who was repressed during Stalin- her relatives were wealthy peasants sent to Siberia, who still live there today.
By Wolfman
#14031613
Both: He is heavily responsible for the industrialization of Russia and Eastern Europe and helped Russia win WWII. His regime and the regimes which followed however were carnivals of idiotic and immoral policy decisions in basically all realms of governance: political, economic, social, militarily, etc. Ironically, it was the failure of his regime which has significantly demonstrated the fundamental weakness of Communism, making even his terrible actions ironically good actions globally.
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By Preston Cole
#14031614
Other: he saved Russia from German occupation, but I despise him for what he did to my countrymen and I wouldn't hesitate to put a bullet in his brain if time travel was ever invented in my lifetime.
By Rugoz
#14031664
Stalin today remains an extremely popular historical figure- in a massive 50 million person poll, Stalin was voted the greatest Russian, and was only pushed back to third after the people running the poll artificially decreased his rating: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm


If Hitler would have won the war, germans would vote him the greatest german ever. Doesn't change the fact that he was a genocidal maniac.
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By J Oswald
#14031672
Other: He was responsible for Soviet industrialization and partly responsible for Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War, but was also a ruthless sociopath (not a bloodthirsty maniac, which implies insanity and/or a lack of self-control) willing to do anything to consolidate power.
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By SecretSquirrel
#14031684
Stalin stole everything from my successful grandparents/great grandparents, sent my grandmother to Siberia, murdered my family members in his gulags, and forced my family to live under the privation of the communist bootheel for 60 years (while fragmenting and destroying my ethnic homeland Romania in concert with Hitler)

He is the greatest criminal in history, period. If there exists a Hell, and if it is anything like the one we are taught about, then Stalin is the first in line.

For the record: I had 4 family members die in the War (2 in battle 2 as civilians), 2 die in Stalin's camps, and 1 die in the Holocaust.
By Baff
#14031696
J Oswald wrote:Other: He was responsible for Soviet industrialization and partly responsible for Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War, but was also a ruthless sociopath (not a bloodthirsty maniac, which implies insanity and/or a lack of self-control) willing to do anything to consolidate power.

I voted both, but this one nails it better than the poll option.
By Andropov
#14031699
I suppose a better way to phrase the question would have been; overall, did Stalin's achievements bring more good to the world than his brutality, or was his brutality more evil than his achievements?
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By mikema63
#14031700
His achievements are mostly gone and his brutality lives on so brutality.

I don't think that level of brutality was unnecessary for his achievements and would rate his brutality higher even at the heights of his achievements.
By Baff
#14031705
mikema63 wrote:His achievements are mostly gone and his brutality lives on so brutality.


Otherway round for me.
By Andropov
#14031706
Incredible revelation, mikema63; I thought the hundreds of thousands of hospitals, universities, summer camps, schools, and facilities for public recreation built during the Stalin period, many of which I have seen with my own eyes, are still standing. I had no idea they vanished into thin air.
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By The Immortal Goon
#14031714
Man, I would like to say, "neither."

I mean, I'll root for the Soviet Union, but Stalin was someone they got stuck with more than anything. Watching him bungle and drop the ball constantly in regards to Germany before the war is painful. The "Red Referendum" where communists were supposed to vote for Nazis and attack communists that didn't love Stalin; the Spanish Civil War was helpful to a point, until he started calling back lines of groups like the POUM that didn't love Stalin enough and let all the land they were holding fall to Franco, losing the war. His overtures to France were slavish in their desire to conciliate with the French bourgeoisie; his policy on China was horrifyingly counterproductive, demanding that the communists keep rallying to Kang Khi Shek while he was taking them in and executing them all; his Third Period policy was complete garbage, and his pathetic attempt to scrub history so it looked like he never came up with the idea and unpersoned those that tried to stop him is hard to justify; his social policies would make the American GOP uncomfortable; his reconciliation with the church had a lot more to do with petty nationalism than socialism; his collectivization policy was crude and cruel (though, admittedly, the alternative policies were all published after the fact); the show trials were obviously shamish and did a lot more damage to the USSR than anything else; the socialist realism strangled art that was getting to be truly revolutionary; the socialism in one country policy was clearly not true; and he set a dangerous precedent in putting so much power in his own hands. Lenin had been voted down as often as not, while Stalin was magically correct all the time.

Now, despite that list, he was not a cartoon villain that he's portrayed as being. He was a brilliant administrator that, basically, didn't know what he was doing despite the confidence he put in himself. He decided that the Soviet Union was going to be the bastion of all things socialist at the expense of strangling the revolution wherever else it popped up. The policy didn't work, and the fact that Stalin tried and failed to trump Engels when the latter explained:

[url]=http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/11/prin-com.htmEngels[/url] wrote:Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?

No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others.

Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries – that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany.


Was the death of the revolution for several generations. It was a staggering blow that we have yet to even begin to come back from. In trying to force history into something that it wasn't, Stalin also left a trail of propaganda to be used against the entire movement that we haven't recovered from.

This, of course, does not mean that I don't support the Soviet Union. It's just that World Revolution>USSR>whoever is in charge of the USSR

Trotsky wrote:We must not lose sight for a single moment of the fact that the question of overthrowing the Soviet bureaucracy is for us subordinate to the question of preserving state property in the means of production of the USSR: that the question of preserving state property in the means of production in the USSR is subordinate for us to the question of the world proletarian revolution.
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By Preston Cole
#14031719
lol @ SecretSquirrel's avatar. :lol:

Zionist Nationalist wrote:Stalin was a bloodthirsty maniac a bit less than hitler

Some would say Hitler's genocide doesn't compare to the deaths resulting from Stalin's horrendous central planning initiatives.

Then again, some would say Hitler killed kittens.
By Andropov
#14031762
Some would say Hitler's genocide doesn't compare to the deaths resulting from Stalin's horrendous central planning initiatives.


Those who say this are cretins with no knowledge of history. Actual archival data utterly disproves the anti-Stalin falsifications.
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By mikema63
#14031841
Weren't you just recently complaining that Russia has been allowed to go to shit and nothing Putin can do will stop it.

In fact you made two separate threads with the same exact statement. :eh:
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By Section Leader
#14031864
Both.

If the Germans had beat the Soviet Union, Stalin would today take the place of Hitler as the generic demonic leader in the popular imagination, responsible for death and suffering on an almost unimaginable scale. But he did save the Slavic peoples from slavery under the Reich and turned his country from an agrarian backwater into the mightiest nation on Earth. I understand how nations he oppressed, such as the Balts or Moldovans or the Germans, would despise him, but for the Slavs and Georgians he was undoubtedly a hero.
By Andropov
#14031872
mikema63 wrote:Weren't you just recently complaining that Russia has been allowed to go to shit and nothing Putin can do will stop it.

In fact you made two separate threads with the same exact statement. :eh:


Yes? Today's Russia survives off of its Stalinist, and to a much lesser degree (mostly in terms of housing) its Kruschevite and Brezhevite Soviet past.
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By mikema63
#14031875
Stalin did as much to create the conditions that destroyed the USSR as anyone.

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