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Soviet-era propaganda poster lionizing Stalin. The text on the flag states, "Капитан Страны Советов Ведет Нас от Победы к Победе!" (The Captain of the Soviet Country Leads us from Victory to Victory!)
Join the party!
Icon communism.svg
Opiates for the masses
From each
To each

Creating terror with government purges, acting out all of his monstrous urges.

Big Brother Plots that would make Orwell blush. These are the things that will give me a rush!

Spying on Lenin and murdering Trotsky, vexing the West with his Communist plotsky.

Turning your dreams into scary nightmares. That is the way I forget all my cares!

When the Germans head for Moscow, and the weather's vile...

I simply look on as they all freeze to death, and that really makes me smile!

Feasting like Ivan while serfs live on rations, conquering dozens of satellite nations.

Starting my own personality cult, doing away with those who might revolt!

Sending your critics to rot in Siberia! That's how you get populations to fear ya!

Building a wall down the streets of Berlin! This kind of things make me flash quite a grin!

When the people call for freedom or democracy, I'll simply bump off everybody until: there's nobody!
—The Sound of Stalin, Histeria[1]

Stalinism (Russian: сталинизм, pronounced Stalinizm) is a far-left totalitarian communist ideology based around the views and policies of Joseph Stalin during his rule over the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. Stalinism is a communist extremist ideology and cult of personality based on Stalin’s twisted views of Marx’s core principles of communism. It consisted of the creation of a one-party totalitarian police state, the theory of socialism put into practice, rapid industrialization and mass collectivization of agriculture, the intensification of class warfare and conflict, a cult of personality (more on that later), and subordination of the interests of foreign communist parties to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which Stalinism claimed to be the ultimate representation of the world at the time.

Ol’ Joe was able to achieve a massive base of supporters despite being a brutal, ruthless, and bigoted dictator (much in the same way Hitler did). Hence, he and Hitler are the most atypical examples of dictators and authoritarians.[2]

Beginnings and rise[edit]

Stalinism itself emerged as an ideology sometime after the Russian revolution when the Bolsheviks took power. Stalin took out Lenin and Trotsky and seized power for himself, represented himself to the Russian people as a savior and a hero who would bring Russia into the future with his brand of communism, and fighting against barbarian fascism and western capitalist decadence.[3][4]

Stalinism in its early days began as a movement with violent thugs assaulting any opposition perceived as upholding the Tsarist past and participating with western bourgeois elites. Stalin's earliest allies were generally limited to the people in the Bolshevik movement, but gradually expanded to the Russian army and his personality cult, following his orders willingly or out of fear from reprisal by Stalin.[5]

Comparisons to fascism[edit]

Many critics of Stalin and his ideology across the political spectrum, ranging from rightist conservatives to anti-Stalin Marxists have pointed to legitimate similarities of Stalinism (and other Marxist-Leninist ideologies) to those of fascism such as Nazism.[6]

One element shared with Nazism was the brutal policies of ethnic cleansing committed by both regimes. Nazism targeted Jews, Romani, Slavs, and Afro-Europeans. The Soviets, on the other hand, targeted a much wider ethnic range (despite not having a solid ideology on race; rather, the case being that Russia is so large it houses many more ethnic groups). Among these groups were Tatars, Chechens, Persians, Koreans, Germans, Finns, Jews, Georgians, Armenians, Turks, and even other Slavic people such as Poles, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.[7][8][note 1]

Another element Stalinism contained that it shared with fascism was heavy militarism and removal of opposition. Stalin was known to send his critics to gulags or order them to be poisoned (much like his distant future successor Putin). The Soviet army was organized in an orderly, almost stringent way, eerily similar to fascist armies. In fact, this resemblance to fascism was so strong that Benito Mussolini himself (the founder of fascism) praised Stalin and the Soviet Union as being a great example of fascism, even more than Italy and Germany. And though Mussolini would join the opposing side against the Soviet Union, he modeled some of his militarism and cult of personality in a similar way to Stalin's.[9]

Similar movements[edit]

Movements inspired by Stalinism have propped up all over the world, only taking hold in countries with significantly unstable political climates. Some of these countries became allies of Stalin and the Soviet Union, while others were bitter rivals or just flat out disavowed by Ol' Joe himself (like Pol Pot).

Eventually, these regimes collapsed or are collapsing (except for North Korea, with Kim's tight grip on power there), like Vietnam and Cuba having a large demographic of young liberal and pro-western populace who want a better alternative to the current system.[10] The only unique exception is China, presenting itself as communist and even having a supposedly communist party running the country whilst engaging in market capitalism.

In modern times[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Stalin apologetics

As with many authoritarian supporters, there are still people who support and defend Stalin. Many proponents of Stalinism exist in Russia (not surprising since Russia was under Stalin's rule, and Russians today seeing the days of Stalin as the glory days in Russian history compared to the shitty legacy of Russia today) and beyond (such as the United States, China, Poland, Ukraine). Sovietism is a significant movement in Russia and post-Soviet countries, especially amongst Russian nationalists. Putin himself even idolizes Stalin as one of many Russian leaders and has modeled his variant of authoritarianism on him, adopting his many tactics.[11][12]

The Russian Communist Party is the successor to the Soviet Communist Party, but currently lacks any power and influence in the Russian federation unlike its predecessor. There are a few Russians espousing a return to communism in the vein of the Soviet Union and opposing the current regime in Russia as being corrupted by capitalism and responsible for its ills, but any hope to overthrow Putin and United Russia and replace it with an ideology losing influence worldwide to fascism is a pipe dream at this point. A prominent example is Nikolay Kharitonov and his flawed goal of reviving Russia using a communist style model of governance, tragic as his campaign is simply made by United Russia using him as a mockery and a fake opponent in the rigged Russian elections.[13]

External links[edit]


  1. Stalin himself was Georgian, but assimilated into Russian culture and considered himself fully Russian.
  2. Not surprising, given that Hitler and Stalin share many similarities despite being on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.