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Joseph Vissarionovich "Rainbow" Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953), born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, was an ethnic Georgian revolutionary who schemed and murdered his way to the leadership of the Soviet Union, an entity that he helped to establish with other leading Bolsheviks.
His pseudonym, "Stalin," means "Man of Steel." A good way to shorten one's career (or, very possibly, one's life) was to "accidentally" change the T for an R or an S.
Second World War
Stalin's forced march approach to industrialization gave the Soviet Union the wherewithal necessary to defeat Nazi Germany in the greatest military struggle in human history. This provided the material basis that permitted the Soviet Red Army to do the heavy lifting to defeat the German Wehrmacht and thus decided the outcome of the war in Europe. However the Soviet paramount leader was also responsible for the purges and power consolidations that left the Soviet militarily weakened when the Nazis invaded on June 22, 1941. Stalin had many of his best generals and spies arrested and executed in the period immediately before the war. Some 25,000 Red Army officers were purged. Fortunately for the Kremlin, the surviving and newly promoted general officers were capable of learning how to wage a prolonged war and their military counterintelligence operations overwhelmed underdeveloped German military intelligence operations. No one is irreplaceable.
Stalin was deeply paranoid and more concerned about the Red Army's loyalty to him alone than their effectiveness as a professional military force. Unfortunately, he did not apply the same distrust to German intentions. He ignored warnings about an impending German attack, convinced that he still had more time to prepare before the inevitable showdown. As with Hitler, Stalin's personal involvement in military decisions proved disastrous. Many Soviet armies, totaling several million men, were surrounded and destroyed at the outset of the war because they were forbidden from retreating. However, unlike Hitler, Stalin learned to trust his generals as time went by and granted them more leeway. Between the Russian winter, Russian mud, Hitler's incompetence, Russians' fortitude and the industrial capacity established under Communism, the Soviet Union managed to survive and then defeat Germany (Stalin had many Soviet POWs captured and later liberated by the Germans executed or sent them to Siberia as spies.)
Altough Germany and Japan had descided to together free the world from communism, both countries signed non-aggression pacts with the Soviets. Stalin took those pacts very seriously, as mentioned above he denied into the very last the German attack, and not until the war was already won did he take actions towards the Japanese.
Starving the peasants
Among the most horrendous crimes perpetrated by Stalin were the famines that struck Ukraine and southern Russia. Stalin may have been motivated by antipathy toward Ukrainians and contempt for the peasantry but he was also engaged in stinting the entire population to extract resources necessary for rapid industrialization.
He has been accused of purposefully causing one of the worst famines of modern times: the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33.
The Soviet Union continued to deny this until its breakup, but the numbers of people denying it have dwindled along with Soviet foreign aid. The United Nations issued a joint resolution in 2003, signed by 26 countries, to the effect that the famine was a deliberate political act. In 2008, the European Parliament recognized the Holodomor as a crime against humanity, citing the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The former Soviet Republic of Ukraine, now Ukraine, has considered formally accusing Russia of attempted genocide, since it blatantly seemed that Stalin was trying to starve many of them to death. In 2010, a Ukrainian court conducted a posthumous trial of Stalin and a number of other CPSU brass, finding them guilty of genocide.
Stalinism, Uncle Joe's legacy to the world, is a ruthless approach to communism that relies heavily on an all-powerful supreme leader aided by a large body of secret police who "encourage" neighbor to inform on neighbor, purges of any potential adversary to the supreme leader (with emphasis on the comrades who helped him achieve his position in the first place), the imprisonment and murder of intellectuals, and the occasional mass murder of entire portions of the population.
Stalinism also covers the particular approach to economic development which Stalin pursued during his rule. It relies on complete state control and central planning of all economic activity and tries to achieve rapid development of the nation's heavy industry. The Soviet Union did indeed see rapid industrial growth under the first five-year-plans, but this came at a heavy price: the necessary capital had to be somehow squeezed out of an agrarian society, adding to the misery of Soviet peasants. Forced collectivization and resistance to it resulted in millions of deaths and a huge drop in Soviet agricultural production, which in turn led to the famines of the 1930s. In the short term, Stalinism gave the Soviet Union the industrial resources that allowed it to be victorious in the anticipated conflict with Germany. Despite the incredible devastation of World War II, it also permitted the Soviet Union to pose as as the other great power in the Cold War and to lead the United States through much of the Space Race. Nevertheless, in the long run its failure to facilitate the sort of rapid information exchange necessary for competing with post-industrial Western societies in the later 20th century probably doomed it.
While the jury is still out on whether the Holodomor was an extreme application of Grey's Law or anti-Ukrainian sentiments, one clear example of his racism was the Armenian Genocide. His predecessor Lenin had literally saved the Armenians from genocide from the Ottoman Empire remnants when he was dictator, one of the few feathers in his cap. Unfortunately, due to his paranoia and Georgian racism (the Armenian church was a subversive force during this time) he turned his back on them.
Not that this would be the last time he fucked over the Armenians; in 1947 he initiated a ridiculous annexation scheme from Turkey while using Armenian sovereignty as bait. When that failed he shipped them all to the gulag.
He also deported Volga Germans to Siberia after Hitler's invasion only based on etnicity. Even to his own kind, the Georgians, he was cruel. Communism in action, be equally racist towards everyone!
Stalin was a man of action and contributions to Marxism as political theory were slight. Here is an example of his work:
“”But the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the power of the proletariat in one country still does not mean that the complete victory of socialism has been ensured. After consolidating its power and taking the peasantry in tow, the proletariat of the victorious country can and must build up a socialist society. But does this mean that it will thereby achieve the complete and final victory of socialism, i.e., does it mean that with the forces of only once country it can finally consolidate socialism and fully guarantee that country against intervention and, consequently, also against restoration? No, it does not. For this the victory of the revolution in at least several countries is needed. Therefore the development and support of revolution in other countries is an essential task of the victorious revolution. Therefore, the revolution in the victorious country must regard itself not as a self-sufficient entity but as an aid, as a means of hastening the victory of the proletariat in other countries.
He was also known for his poetry during his youth, which was written in Georgian. A selection was published under the pseudonym "Soselo" in the Georgian newspaper Iveria ("Georgia") in 1895, some of which were later reprinted in anthologies of Georgian poetry.
While originally a Russian Orthodox who entertained dreams of entering the priesthood, Stalin lost his faith after his wife's suicide. In the minds of certain people, this proves that all atheists are potential mass-murderers (which is known as the association fallacy). By the same token, one could say that all Christians must be evil because Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic, casually disregarding the numerous contributions Christians such as Mother Teresa have made to the world. Stalin also went to Russian Orthodox seminary school before becoming a Communist, but they rarely condemn seminaries using the same "logic." Stalin's atheism and contempt for the Church were perhaps most accurately illustrated by his bold statement: "Fuck the Pope. How many divisions does he have, anyway?" Mind you, he made the Russian Orthodox church established diring WWII to induce fighting spirit and nationalism to the Russians, which is not such an atheistic move, although he immediatly after the peace shut the churches down. Aside from that, religion was generally discouraged under Stalin's regime in favour of worshiping Stalin himself and the almighty Soviet.
Communism in the West and Stalin
Once upon a time, most Communist parties in the West were openly Stalinist. After Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin, many of them fell apart under the internal dissension.
And following a common trend in which a certain portion of the population waxes nostalgic for the reign of a dictator ("when Mussolini was in charge, the trains ran on time"), there are tons of people in Russia who say (quite publicly!) that Russia needs to "bring back Comrade Stalin!" This is while they already have Putin to kick them around.
- ↑ Encyclopedia of World Biography: Joseph Stalin
- ↑ Writers or typesetters could die for one misplaced letter, as Andrei Tarkovsky's film Mirror suggests unforgettably. Substituting one consonant made Stalin 'pisser' or 'shitter' (ssalin, sralin), Stalingrad could be set to read 'Stalin is a reptile' (Stalin gad). Printing 'Lenin had kittens' (okotilsia) instead of 'Lenin went hunting' (okhotilsia) was punishable." (Donald Rayfield, Stalin And His Hangman). A. I. Solzhenitsyn, in Gulag Archipelago, relates that a poster in a bookkeeping office reading "Life has become happier, comrades, life has become more joyful -- Stalin" was modified by the addition of an a to Stalin's name, causing it to read " ...more joyful -- for Stalin." The entire bookkeeping office was arrested and dipatched to a gulag.
- ↑ Ronald Suny: The Soviet Experiment, Oxford University Press (1997), p. 309-311
- ↑ For the generals, see Suny (1997), p. 314. The intelligence service purge is mentioned in Allen Dulles's Craft of Intelligence.
- ↑ Chris Bellamy. 2007. Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War. New York: Vintage. ISBN 978-0-375-72471-8. Pp. 109-110.
- ↑ Robert W. Stephan. 2004. Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence Against the Nazis, 1941-1945. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1824-8.
- ↑ And a convenient scapegoat for self-justifying subordinates who wanted to excuse their own incompetence.
- ↑ Suny (1997), p. 316
- ↑ Suny (1997), p. 324
- ↑ Guido Knopp, "Krigsfångarna", ISBN 978-91-86369-28-6
- ↑ Competitors include Winston Churchill's Great Bengal Famine of 1943 and Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward, which both had higher body counts.
- ↑ http://www.artukraine.com/famineart/ukr_un_decl.htm
- ↑ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P6-TA-2008-0523+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN
- ↑ Paul Kennedy. 1987. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. New York: Random House (1987)
- ↑ Joseph Stalin. 1939. Foundations of Leninism. New York: International Publishers. Pp. 45-46.
- ↑ Montefiore, Simon Sebag, Young Stalin, London: Phoenix, 2008, pp. 53-66
- ↑ As are any humans which survive to an age where they could handle a weapon properly.
- ↑ Said sarcastically to Pierre Laval when asked about the proposal of bringing the Pope to participate in the Allies War Conferences, which were discussing the fate of post-war Europe; as quoted in The Second World War (1948) by Winston Churchill vol. 1, ch. 8. According to Wikiquote.