Stalinism

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Stalinism is the means of governing and policies which were implemented in the Soviet Union from 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin. It included the creation of a one-party totalitarian police state; rapid industrialization; the theory of socialism in one country; collectivization of agriculture; intensification of the class struggle under socialism; a cult of personality [1] [2] and subordination of the interests of foreign communist parties to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, deemed by Stalinism to be the leading vanguard party of communist revolution at the time. [3]

Contents

Stalin's regime forcibly purged society of what it saw as threats to itself and its brand of communism (so-called "enemies of the people"), which included political dissidents, non-Soviet nationalists, the bourgeoisie, better-off peasants ("kulaks"), [4] and those of the working class who demonstrated "counter-revolutionary" sympathies. [5] This resulted in mass repression of such people as well as their families, including mass arrests, show trials, executions, and imprisonment in forced labor and concentration camps known as gulags. [6] The most notable examples of this were the Great Purge and the Dekulakization campaign. Stalinism was also marked by mass religious persecution, [7] [8] and ethnic cleansing through forced deportations. [9] Some historians such as Robert Service have blamed Stalinist policies, particularly the collectivization policies, for causing famines such as the Holodomor. [7] Other historians and scholars disagree on the role of Stalinism. [10]

Officially designed to accelerate development towards communism, the need for industrialization in the Soviet Union was emphasized because the Soviet Union had previously fallen behind economically compared to Western countries, and that socialist society needed industry to face the challenges posed by internal and external enemies of communism. [11] :7071 Rapid industrialization was accompanied by mass collectivization of agriculture and by rapid urbanization, the latter of which converted many small villages into industrial cities. [11] :7079 To accelerate the development of industrialization, Stalin imported materials, ideas, expertise, and workers from western Europe and the United States, [12] pragmatically setting up joint-venture contracts with major American private enterprises such as the Ford Motor Company, which under state supervision assisted in developing the basis of the industry of the Soviet economy from the late 1920s to the 1930s. [13] After the American private enterprises had completed their tasks, Soviet state enterprises took over. [13]

History

Stalinism is used to describe the period during which Joseph Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union while serving as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to his death on 5 March 1953. [14]

Etymology

Joseph Stalin, after which Stalinism is named, referring to his doctrines and policies implemented (1927-1953) JStalin Secretary general CCCP 1942.jpg
Joseph Stalin, after which Stalinism is named, referring to his doctrines and policies implemented (1927–1953)

The term Stalinism came into prominence during the mid-1930s when Lazar Kaganovich, a Soviet politician and associate of Stalin, reportedly declared: "Let's replace Long Live Leninism with Long Live Stalinism!" [15] Stalin dismissed this as excessively praiseful and contributing to a cult of personality. [15]

Stalinist policies

Modified photo intended to show Vladimir Lenin with Stalin in the early 1920s Lenin and stalin crop.jpg
Modified photo intended to show Vladimir Lenin with Stalin in the early 1920s
Members of the Communist Party of China celebrating Stalin's birthday in 1949 Stalin birthday2.jpg
Members of the Communist Party of China celebrating Stalin's birthday in 1949

While some historians view Stalinism as a reflection of the ideologies of Leninism and Marxism, some argue that it stands separate from the socialist ideals it stemmed from. After a political struggle that culminated in the defeat of the Bukharinists (the "Party's Right Tendency"), Stalinism was free to shape policy without opposition, ushering forth an era of harsh authoritarianism that worked toward rapid industrialization regardless of the cost. [18]

From 1917 to 1924, though often appearing united, Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky had discernible ideological differences. In his dispute with Trotsky, Stalin de-emphasized the role of workers in advanced capitalist countries (e.g. he considered the American working-class "bourgeoisified" labor aristocracy). Stalin also polemicized against Trotsky on the role of peasants as in China, whereas Trotsky's position was in favor of urban insurrection over peasant-based guerrilla warfare.[ dubious ][ citation needed ]

All other October Revolution 1917 Bolshevik leaders regarded their revolution more or less just as the beginning, with Russia as the springboard on the road towards the World Wide Revolution. Stalin would eventually introduce the idea of socialism in one country by the autumn of 1924, a theory not only standing in sharp contrast to Trotsky's permanent revolution but to all earlier socialistic theses just as well. The revolution, however, did not spread outside of Russia as Lenin had assumed it soon would. Not even within other former territories of the Russian Empire―such as Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia―had the revolution been a success. On the contrary, all of these countries had returned to capitalist bourgeois rule. [19]

Despite this, by the autumn of 1924, Stalin's notion of socialism in Soviet Russia was initially considered next to blasphemy in the ears of other Politburo members, including Zinoviev and Kamenev to the intellectual left; Rykov, Bukharin, and Tomsky to the pragmatic right; and the powerful Trotsky, who belonged to no side but his own. None would even think of Stalin's concept as a potential addition to communist ideology. Stalin's socialism in one country doctrine could not be imposed until he, himself, had become close to being the autocratic ruler of the Soviet Union around 1929. Bukharin and the Right Opposition expressed their support for imposing Stalin's ideas, as Trotsky had been exiled, whereas Zinoviev and Kamenev had been thrown out of the party. [20]

Proletarian state

Traditional communist thought holds that the state will gradually "wither away", as the implementation of socialism reduces class distinction. However, Stalin argued that the proletarian state (as opposed to the bourgeois state) must become stronger before it can wither away. In Stalin's view, counter-revolutionary elements will attempt to derail the transition to full communism, and the state must be powerful enough to defeat them. For this reason, Communist regimes influenced by Stalin have been widely described as totalitarian. [21]

Sheng Shicai, a Chinese warlord with Communist leanings, invited Soviet intervention and allowed Stalinist rule to be extended to the Xinjiang province in the 1930s. In 1937, Sheng conducted a purge similar to the Great Purge, imprisoning, torturing, and killing about 100,000 people, many of whom were Uyghurs. [22] [23]

Class-based violence

Stalin blamed the kulaks as the inciters of reactionary violence against the people during the implementation of agricultural collectivisation. [24] In response, the state under Stalin's leadership initiated a violent campaign against the kulaks. This kind of campaign would later be known as classicide , [25] though several international legislatures have passed resolutions declaring the campaign a genocide. [26] However, some historians dispute that these actions constitute genocide. [27] [28] [29]

Purges and executions

Execute 346 Berias letter to Politburo.jpg
Execute 346 Stalins resolution.jpg
Execute 346 Politburo passes.jpg
Left: Lavrenty Beria's January 1940 letter to Stalin asking permission to execute 346 "enemies of the Communist Party and of the Soviet authorities" who conducted "counter-revolutionary, right-Trotskyite plotting and spying activities"
Middle: Stalin's handwriting: "за" (support)
Right: the Politburo's decision is signed by Stalin

As head of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Stalin consolidated near-absolute power in the 1930s with a Great Purge of the party that claimed to expel "opportunists" and "counter-revolutionary infiltrators." [30] [31] Those targeted by the purge were often expelled from the party, though more severe measures ranged from banishment to the Gulag labor camps to execution after trials held by NKVD troikas. [30] [32] [33]

In the 1930s, Stalin apparently became increasingly worried about the growing popularity of the Leningrad party head Sergei Kirov. At the 1934 Party Congress where the vote for the new Central Committee was held, Kirov received only three negative votes (the fewest of any candidate) while Stalin received at least over a hundred negative votes. [34] [lower-roman 1] After the assassination of Kirov, which may have been orchestrated by Stalin, Stalin invented a detailed scheme to implicate opposition leaders in the murder, including Trotsky, Lev Kamenev, and Grigory Zinoviev. [35] From thereon, the investigations and trials expanded. [36] Stalin passed a new law on "terrorist organizations and terrorist acts" that were to be investigated for no more than ten days, with no prosecution, defense attorneys or appeals, followed by a sentence to be executed "quickly." [37]

Thereafter, several trials, known as the Moscow Trials, were held, but the procedures were replicated throughout the country. Article 58 of the legal code, which listed prohibited anti-Soviet activities as a counter-revolutionary crime, was applied in the broadest manner. [38] Many alleged anti-Soviet pretexts were used to brand individuals as "enemies of the people", starting the cycle of public persecution, often proceeding to interrogation, torture, and deportation, if not death. The Russian word troika thereby gained a new meaning: a quick, simplified trial by a committee of three subordinated to NKVD troika—with sentencing carried out within 24 hours. [37] Stalin's hand-picked executioner Vasili Blokhin was entrusted with carrying out some of the high-profile executions in this period. [39]

Many military leaders were convicted of treason, and a large-scale purge of Red Army officers followed. [lower-roman 2] The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a "river of blood" separated Stalin's regime from that of Lenin. [40] In August 1940, Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico, where he had lived in exile since January 1937—this eliminated the last of Stalin's opponents among the former Party leadership. [41] With the exception of Vladimir Milyutin (who died in prison in 1937) and Stalin himself, all of the members of Lenin's original cabinet who had not succumbed to death from natural causes before the purge were executed.[ citation needed ]

Mass operations of the NKVD also targeted "national contingents" (foreign ethnicities) such as Poles, ethnic Germans, and Koreans. A total of 350,000 (144,000 of them Poles) were arrested and 247,157 (110,000 Poles) were executed. [42] [ page needed ] Many Americans who had emigrated to the Soviet Union during the worst of the Great Depression were executed, while others were sent to prison camps or gulags. [43] [44] Concurrent with the purges, efforts were made to rewrite the history in Soviet textbooks and other propaganda materials. Notable people executed by NKVD were removed from the texts and photographs as though they never existed. Gradually, the history of revolution was transformed into a story about just two key characters, i.e. Lenin and Stalin.[ citation needed ]

In light of revelations from Soviet archives, historians now estimate that nearly 700,000 people (353,074 in 1937 and 328,612 in 1938) were executed in the course of the terror, [45] with the great mass of victims merely "ordinary" Soviet citizens: workers, peasants, homemakers, teachers, priests, musicians, soldiers, pensioners, ballerinas, and beggars. [46] [47] :4 Many of the executed were interred in mass graves, with some of the major killing and burial sites being Bykivnia, Kurapaty, and Butovo. [48]

"Wall of sorrow" at the first exhibition of the victims of Stalinism in Moscow, 19 November 1988 Wall of sorrow at the first exhibition of the victims of Stalinism in Moscow.jpg
"Wall of sorrow" at the first exhibition of the victims of Stalinism in Moscow, 19 November 1988

Some Western experts believe the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated, incomplete or unreliable. [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] Conversely, historian Stephen G. Wheatcroft, who spent a good portion of his academic career researching the archives, contends that, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of the archives for historical research, "our understanding of the scale and the nature of Soviet repression has been extremely poor" and that some specialists who wish to maintain earlier high estimates of the Stalinist death toll are "finding it difficult to adapt to the new circumstances when the archives are open and when there are plenty of irrefutable data" and instead "hang on to their old Sovietological methods with round-about calculations based on odd statements from emigres and other informants who are supposed to have superior knowledge." [54] [55]

Stalin personally signed 357 proscription lists in 1937 and 1938 that condemned to execute some 40,000 people, about 90% of whom are confirmed to have been shot. [56] At the time, while reviewing one such list, he reportedly muttered to no one in particular: "Who's going to remember all this riff-raff in ten or twenty years time? No one. Who remembers the names now of the boyars Ivan the Terrible got rid of? No one." [57] In addition, Stalin dispatched a contingent of NKVD operatives to Mongolia, established a Mongolian version of the NKVD troika, and unleashed a bloody purge in which tens of thousands were executed as "Japanese spies", as Mongolian ruler Khorloogiin Choibalsan closely followed Stalin's lead. [47] :2

During the 1930s and 1940s, the Soviet leadership sent NKVD squads into other countries to murder defectors and other opponents of the Soviet regime. Victims of such plots included Yevhen Konovalets, Ignace Poretsky, Rudolf Klement, Alexander Kutepov, Evgeny Miller, Leon Trotsky, and the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) leadership in Catalonia (e.g. Andréu Nin Pérez). [58]

Deportations

Shortly before, during, and immediately after World War II, Stalin conducted a broad-scale series of deportations that profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union. Separatism, resistance to Soviet rule, and collaboration with the invading Germans were cited as the official reasons for the deportations. Individual circumstances of those spending time in German-occupied territories were not examined. After the brief Nazi occupation of the Caucasus, the entire population of five of the small highland peoples and the Crimean Tatars—more than a million people in total—were deported without notice or any opportunity to take their possessions. [59]

As a result of Stalin's lack of trust in the loyalty of particular ethnicities, ethnic groups such as the Soviet Koreans, Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Chechens, and many Poles, were forcibly moved out of strategic areas and relocated to places in the central Soviet Union, especially Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia. By some estimates, hundreds of thousands of deportees may have died en route. [60] It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million [60] [61] were deported to Siberia and the Central Asian republics. By some estimates, up to 43% of the resettled population died of diseases and malnutrition. [62]

According to official Soviet estimates, more than 14 million people passed through the gulags from 1929 to 1953, with a further 7 to 8 million being deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union (including entire nationalities in several cases). [63] The emergent scholarly consensus is that from 1930 to 1953, around 1.5 to 1.7 million perished in the gulag system. [64] [65] [66]

In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninism and reversed most of them, although it was not until 1991 that the Tatars, Meskhetians, and Volga Germans were allowed to return en masse to their homelands. The deportations had a profound effect on the peoples of the Soviet Union. The memory of the deportations has played a major part in the separatist movements in the Baltic states, Tatarstan and Chechnya even today.[ citation needed ]

Economic policy

Starved peasants on a street in Kharkiv during the Soviet famine of 1932-1933 GolodomorKharkiv.jpg
Starved peasants on a street in Kharkiv during the Soviet famine of 1932–1933

At the start of the 1930s, Stalin launched a wave of radical economic policies that completely overhauled the industrial and agricultural face of the Soviet Union. This came to be known as the Great Turn as Russia turned away from the near-capitalist New Economic Policy (NEP) and instead adopted a command economy. The NEP had been implemented by Lenin in order to ensure the survival of the socialist state following seven years of war (World War I, 1914–1917, and the subsequent Civil War, 1917–1921) and had rebuilt Soviet production to its 1913 levels. However, Russia still lagged far behind the West, and the NEP was felt by Stalin and the majority of the Communist Party, not only to be compromising communist ideals but also not delivering sufficient economic performance as well as not creating the envisaged socialist society. It was felt necessary to increase the pace of industrialization in order to catch up with the West.[ citation needed ]

Fredric Jameson has said that "Stalinism was…a success and fulfilled its historic mission, socially as well as economically" given that it "modernized the Soviet Union, transforming a peasant society into an industrial state with a literate population and a remarkable scientific superstructure." [67] Robert Conquest disputed such a conclusion, noting that "Russia had already been fourth to fifth among industrial economies before World War I" and that Russian industrial advances could have been achieved without collectivization, famine, or terror. According to Conquest, the industrial successes were far less than claimed, and the Soviet-style industrialization was "an anti-innovative dead-end." [68] Stephen Kotkin said those who argue collectivization was necessary are "dead wrong", arguing that such "only seemed necessary within the straitjacket of Communist ideology and its repudiation of capitalism. And economically, collectivization failed to deliver." Kotkin further claimed that it decreased harvests instead of increasing them. [69]

According to several Western historians, [70] Stalinist agricultural policies were a key factor in causing the Soviet famine of 1932–1933, which the Ukrainian government now calls the Holodomor, recognizing it as an act of genocide. Some scholars dispute the intentionality of the famine. [71] [72]

Relationship to Leninism

Stalin considered the political and economic system under his rule to be Marxism–Leninism, which he considered the only legitimate successor of Marxism and Leninism. The historiography of Stalin is diverse, with many different aspects of continuity and discontinuity between the regimes Stalin and Lenin proposed. Some historians, such as Richard Pipes, consider Stalinism as the natural consequence of Leninism, that Stalin "faithfully implemented Lenin's domestic and foreign policy programs." [73] Robert Service notes that "institutionally and ideologically Lenin laid the foundations for a Stalin [...] but the passage from Leninism to the worse terrors of Stalinism was not smooth and inevitable." [74] Likewise, historian and Stalin biographer Edvard Radzinsky believes that Stalin was a real follower of Lenin, exactly as he claimed himself. [75] Another Stalin biographer, Stephen Kotkin, wrote that "his violence was not the product of his subconscious but of the Bolshevik engagement with Marxist–Leninist ideology." [76]

Dmitri Volkogonov, who wrote biographies of both Lenin and Stalin, explained that during the 1960s through 1980s an official patriotic Soviet de-Stalinized view of the Lenin–Stalin relationship (i.e. during the Khrushchev Thaw and later) was that the overly-autocratic Stalin had distorted the Leninism of the wise dedushka Lenin. However, Volkogonov also lamented that this view eventually dissolved for those like him who had the scales fall from their eyes in the years immediately before and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After researching the biographies in the Soviet archives, he came to the same conclusion as Radzinsky and Kotkin, i.e. that Lenin had built a culture of violent autocratic totalitarianism, of which Stalinism was a logical extension. He lamented that, while Stalin had long since fallen in the estimation of many Soviet minds (the many who agreed with de-Stalinization), "Lenin was the last bastion" in Volkogonov's mind to fall and the fall was the most painful, given the secular apotheosis of Lenin that all Soviet children grew up with.[ citation needed ]

Proponents of continuity cite a variety of contributory factors, in that it was Lenin, rather than Stalin, whose civil war measures introduced the Red Terror with its hostage-taking and internment camps; that it was Lenin who developed the infamous Article 58 and who established the autocratic system within the Communist Party. [77] They also note that Lenin put a ban on factions within the Russian Communist Party and introduced the one-party state in 1921—a move that enabled Stalin to get rid of his rivals easily after Lenin's death and cite Felix Dzerzhinsky, who, during the Bolshevik struggle against opponents in the Russian Civil War, exclaimed: "We stand for organized terror—this should be frankly stated." [78]

Opponents of this view include revisionist historians and a number of post-Cold War and otherwise dissident Soviet historians including Roy Medvedev, who argues that although "one could list the various measures carried out by Stalin that were actually a continuation of anti-democratic trends and measures implemented under Lenin…in so many ways, Stalin acted, not in line with Lenin's clear instructions, but in defiance of them." [79] In doing so, some historians have tried to distance Stalinism from Leninism in order to undermine the totalitarian view that the negative facets of Stalin were inherent in communism from the start. [80] Critics of this kind include anti-Stalinist communists such as Leon Trotsky, who pointed out that Lenin attempted to persuade the Communist Party to remove Stalin from his post as its General Secretary. Lenin's Testament, the document which contained this order, was suppressed after Lenin's death. In his biography of Trotsky, British historian Isaac Deutscher says that, on being faced with the evidence, "only the blind and the deaf could be unaware of the contrast between Stalinism and Leninism." [81]

A similar analysis is present in more recent works such as those of Graeme Gill, who argues that "[Stalinism was] not a natural flow-on of earlier developments; [it formed a] sharp break resulting from conscious decisions by leading political actors." [82] However, Gill notes that "difficulties with the use of the term reflect problems with the concept of Stalinism itself. The major difficulty is a lack of agreement about what should constitute Stalinism." [83] Revisionist historians such as Sheila Fitzpatrick have criticized the focus upon the upper levels of society and the use of Cold War concepts such as totalitarianism which have obscured the reality of the system. [84]

Legacy

Stalin statue in front of the Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori Saxlmuzeum.jpg
Stalin statue in front of the Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori

Pierre du Bois argues that the cult was elaborately constructed to legitimize his rule. Many deliberate distortions and falsehoods were used. [85] The Kremlin refused access to archival records that might reveal the truth, and key documents were destroyed. Photographs were altered, and documents were invented. [86] People who knew Stalin were forced to provide "official" accounts to meet the ideological demands of the cult, especially as Stalin himself presented it in 1938 in Short Course on the History of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), which became the official history. [87] Historian David L. Hoffmann sums up the consensus of scholars: "The Stalin cult was a central element of Stalinism, and as such, it was one of the most salient features of Soviet rule. [...] Many scholars of Stalinism cite the cult as integral to Stalin's power or as evidence of Stalin's megalomania." [88]

However, after Stalin's death in 1953, his successor Nikita Khrushchev repudiated his policies and condemned Stalin's cult of personality in his Secret Speech to the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956 as well as instituting de-Stalinization and relative liberalization (within the same political framework). Consequently, some of the world's communist parties who previously adhered to Stalinism abandoned it, and to a greater or lesser degree adopted the positions of Khrushchev. Others such as the Chinese Communist Party chose to split from the Soviet Union, resulting in the Sino-Soviet split. The ousting of Khrushchev in 1964 by his former party-state allies has been described as a Stalinist restoration by some, epitomized by the Brezhnev Doctrine and the apparatchik/nomenklatura "stability of cadres", lasting until the period of glasnost and perestroika in the late 1980s and the fall of the Soviet Union.[ citation needed ]

Maoism and Hoxhaism

Mao Zedong famously declared that Stalin was 70% good, 30% bad. Maoists criticized Stalin chiefly regarding his view that bourgeois influence within the Soviet Union was primarily a result of external forces, to the almost complete exclusion of internal forces, and his view that class contradictions ended after the basic construction of socialism. However, they praised Stalin for leading the Soviet Union and the international proletariat, defeating fascism in Germany and his anti-revisionism. [89]

British prime minister Winston Churchill, United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin, the Big Three Allied leaders during World War II at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 Yalta Conference (Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin) (B&W).jpg
British prime minister Winston Churchill, United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin, the Big Three Allied leaders during World War II at the Yalta Conference in February 1945

Taking the side of the Chinese Communist Party in the Sino-Soviet split, the People's Socialist Republic of Albania remained committed at least theoretically to its own brand of Stalinism (Hoxhaism) for decades thereafter under the leadership of Enver Hoxha. Despite their initial cooperation against "revisionism", Hoxha denounced Mao as a revisionist, along with almost every other self-identified communist organization in the world, resulting in the Sino-Albanian split. This had the effect of isolating Albania from the rest of the world as Hoxha was hostile to both the pro-American and pro-Soviet spheres of influence as well as the Non-Aligned Movement under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, whom Hoxha had also denounced.[ citation needed ]

Trotskyism

Trotskyists argue that the Stalinist Soviet Union was neither socialist nor communist, but rather a bureaucratized degenerated workers' state—that is, a non-capitalist state in which exploitation is controlled by a ruling caste which, although not owning the means of production and not constituting a social class in its own right, accrued benefits and privileges at the expense of the working class. Trotsky believed that the Bolshevik Revolution needed to be spread all over the globe's working class, the proletarians for world revolution. However, after the failure of the revolution in Germany, Stalin reasoned that industrializing and consolidating Bolshevism in Russia would best serve the proletariat in the long run. The dispute did not end until Trotsky's assassination in his Mexican villa by Stalinist assassin Ramón Mercader in 1940. [90]

Max Shachtman, one of the principal Trotskyist theorists in the United States at the time, argued that the Soviet Union had evolved from a degenerated worker's state to a new mode of production which he called bureaucratic collectivism , whereby orthodox Trotskyists considered the Soviet Union an ally gone astray. Shachtman and his followers thus argued for the formation of a Third Camp opposed equally to both the Soviet and capitalist blocs. By the mid-20th century, Shachtman and many of his associates such as Social Democrats, USA identified as social democrats rather than Trotskyists, while some ultimately abandoned socialism altogether and embraced neoconservatism. In the United Kingdom, Tony Cliff independently developed a critique of state capitalism that resembled Shachtman's in some respects, but it retained a commitment to revolutionary communism. [91]

Other interpretations

Gulag Museum in Moscow, founded in 2001 by historian Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko GULag 2 Museum Moscow Russia.jpg
Gulag Museum in Moscow, founded in 2001 by historian Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko

Some historians and writers such as German Dietrich Schwanitz [92] draw parallels between Stalinism and the economic policy of Tsar Peter the Great, although Schwanitz in particular views Stalin as "a monstrous reincarnation" of him. Both men wanted Russia to leave the western European states far behind in terms of development. Both largely succeeded, turning Russia into Europe's leading power.[ citation needed ] Others[ who? ] compare Stalin with Ivan the Terrible because of his policies of oprichnina and restriction of the liberties of common people.[ citation needed ]

Stalinism has been considered by some reviewers as a form of "red fascism". [93] Although fascist regimes were ideologically opposed to the Soviet Union, some of them positively regarded Stalinism as evolving Bolshevism into a form of fascism. Benito Mussolini himself positively reviewed Stalinism as having transformed Soviet Bolshevism into a Slavic fascism. [94]

British historian Michael Ellman has written that mass deaths from famines are not a "uniquely Stalinist evil", noting that throughout Russian history, famines and droughts have been a common occurrence, including the Russian famine of 1921–22 (which occurred before Stalin came to power). He also notes that famines were widespread throughout the world in the 19th and 20th centuries in countries such as India, Ireland, Russia and China. Ellman compared the behavior of the Stalinist regime vis-à-vis the Holodomor to that of the British government (towards Ireland and India) and the G8 in contemporary times, arguing that the G8 "are guilty of mass manslaughter or mass deaths from criminal negligence because of their not taking obvious measures to reduce mass deaths" and that the "behaviour [of Stalin] was no worse than that of many rulers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries". [95]

Memorial to the victims of political repression in the USSR, in St. Petersburg, made of a boulder from the Solovetsky Islands Den' pamiati rossiiskikh nemtsev, 28 avgusta 2011. Vozlozhenie tsvetov.jpg
Memorial to the victims of political repression in the USSR, in St. Petersburg, made of a boulder from the Solovetsky Islands

David L. Hoffmann raised the issue of whether Stalinist practices of state violence derived from socialist ideology. Placing Stalinism in an international context, Hoffman argued that many forms of state interventionism used by the Stalinist government, including social cataloguing, surveillance and concentration camps, predated the Soviet regime and originated outside of Russia. Hoffman further argued that technologies of social intervention developed in conjunction with the work of 19th-century European reformers and were greatly expanded during World War I, when state actors in all the combatant countries dramatically increased efforts to mobilize and control their populations. According to Hoffman, the Soviet state was born at this moment of total war and institutionalized practices of state intervention as permanent features of governance. [96]

In writing The Mortal Danger: Misconceptions about Soviet Russia and the Threat to America, anti-communist and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn argued that the use of the term Stalinism is an excuse to hide the inevitable effects of communism as a whole on human liberties. He wrote that the concept of Stalinism was developed after 1956 by Western intellectuals so as to be able to keep alive the communist ideal. However, the term Stalinism was in use as early as 1937 when Leon Trotsky wrote his pamphlet Stalinism and Bolshevism. [97]

Writing two The Guardian articles in 2002 and 2006, British journalist Seumas Milne said that the impact of the post-Cold War narrative that Stalin and Hitler were twin evils, therefore communism is as monstrous as Nazism, "has been to relativize the unique crimes of Nazism, bury those of colonialism and feed the idea that any attempt at radical social change will always lead to suffering, killing and failure." [98] [99]

Public opinion

In modern Russia, public opinion of Stalin and the former Soviet Union has increased in recent years. [100] According to a 2015 Levada Center poll, 34% of respondents (up from 28% in 2007) say that leading the Soviet people to victory in World War II was such a great achievement that it outweighed his mistakes. [101] A 2019 Levada Center poll showed that support for Stalin, who is seen by many Russians as the victor in the Great Patriotic War, [102] reached a record high in the post-Soviet era, with 51% regarding Stalin as a positive figure, and 70% saying his reign was good for the country. [103]

Lev Gudkov, a sociologist at the Levada Center, said that "Vladimir Putin's Russia of 2012 needs symbols of authority and national strength, however controversial they may be, to validate the newly authoritarian political order. Stalin, a despotic leader responsible for mass bloodshed but also still identified with wartime victory and national unity, fits this need for symbols that reinforce the current political ideology." [104]

Some positive sentiment can also be found elsewhere in the former Soviet Union. A 2012 survey commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment found 38% of Armenians concurring that their county "will always have need of a leader like Stalin". [104] [105] A 2013 survey by Tbilisi University found 45% of Georgians expressing "a positive attitude" to Stalin. [106]

See also

Related Research Articles

Joseph Stalin Leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and the ruler of the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Despite initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he ultimately consolidated power to become the Soviet Union's dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies are known as Stalinism.

Leninism Political theory developed by Vladimir Lenin

Leninism is a political ideology developed by Russian Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin that proposes the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat led by a revolutionary vanguard party, as the political prelude to the establishment of communism. The function of the Leninist vanguard party is to provide the working classes with the political consciousness and revolutionary leadership necessary to depose capitalism in the Russian Empire (1721–1917). Leninist revolutionary leadership is based upon The Communist Manifesto (1848) identifying the communist party as "the most advanced and resolute section of the working class parties of every country; that section which pushes forward all others." As the vanguard party, the Bolsheviks viewed history through the theoretical framework of dialectical materialism, which sanctioned political commitment to the successful overthrow of capitalism, and then to instituting socialism; and, as the revolutionary national government, to realize the socio-economic transition by all means.

Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century. Marxism–Leninism was the formal name of the official state ideology adopted by the Soviet Union, its satellite states in the Eastern Bloc and various self-declared scientific socialist regimes in the Non-Aligned Movement and Third World during the Cold War as well as the Communist International after Bolshevisation. Today, Marxism–Leninism is the ideology of several communist parties and remains the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam as unitary one-party socialist republics and of Nepal in a people's multiparty democracy. Generally, Marxist–Leninists support proletarian internationalism, socialist democracy and oppose anarchism, fascism, imperialism and liberal democracy. Marxism–Leninism holds that a two-stage communist revolution is needed to replace capitalism. A vanguard party, organised hierarchically through democratic centralism, would seize power "on behalf of the proletariat" and establish a communist party-led socialist state, which it claims to represent the dictatorship of the proletariat. The state would control the economy and means of production, suppress the bourgeoisie, counter-revolution and opposition, promote collectivism in society and pave the way for an eventual communist society, which would be both classless and stateless. As a result, Marxist–Leninist states have been commonly referred to by Western academics as communist states.

Nikolai Bukharin

Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was a Bolshevik revolutionary, Soviet politician, Marxist philosopher and prolific author on revolutionary theory.

Great Purge 1936–1938 campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union

The Great Purge or the Great Terror, also known as the Year of '37 and the Yezhovschina, was Joseph Stalin's campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union that occurred from 1936 to 1938. It involved large-scale repression of the peasantry, ethnic cleansing; purges of the Communist Party, government officials, and Red Army; widespread police surveillance, suspicion of saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. Historians estimate the total number of deaths due to Stalinist repression in 1937–38 to be between 950,000 and 1.2 million.

Index of Soviet Union–related articles Index of articles related to the Soviet Union

An index of articles related to the former nation known as the Soviet Union. It covers the Soviet revolutionary period until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This list includes topics, events, persons and other items of national significance within the Soviet Union. It does not include places within the Soviet Union, unless the place is associated with an event of national significance. This index also does not contain items related to Soviet Military History.

<i>The Great Terror</i> (book)

The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties is a book by British historian Robert Conquest which was published in 1968. It gave rise to an alternate title of the period in Soviet history known as the Great Purge. Conquest's title was also an evocative allusion to the period that was called the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. A revised version of the book, called The Great Terror: A Reassessment, was printed in 1990 after Conquest was able to amend the text, having consulted recently opened Soviet archives. The book was funded and widely disseminated by Information Research Department, who also published Orwell's list collected by Conquest's secretary Celia Kirwan.

Throughout the history of the Soviet Union, millions of people suffered political repression, which was an instrument of the state since the October Revolution. It culminated during the Stalin era, then declined, but it continued to exist during the "Khrushchev Thaw", followed by increased persecution of Soviet dissidents during the Brezhnev stagnation, and it did not cease to exist until late in Mikhail Gorbachev's rule when it was ended in keeping with his policies of glasnost and perestroika.

The actions by governments of communist states have been subject to criticism across the political spectrum. According to critics, the rule by communist parties leads to totalitarianism, political repression, restrictions of human rights, poor economic performance and cultural and artistic censorship. Western criticism of communist rule has also been grounded in criticism of socialism by economists such as Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, who argued that the state ownership and planned economy characteristic of Soviet-style communist rule were responsible for economic stagnation and shortage economies, providing few incentives for individuals to improve productivity and engage in entrepreneurship. Ruling communist parties have also been challenged by domestic dissent.

Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. As such, communism is a specific form of socialism.

The 13th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) was held during 23–31 May 1924 in Moscow. Of the delegates attending, 748 had voting rights, and 416 had consultative rights. The congress elected the 13th Central Committee.

The ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) was Marxism–Leninism, an ideology of a centralised command economy with a vanguardist one-party state to realise the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Soviet Union's ideological commitment to achieving communism included the development of socialism in one country and peaceful coexistence with capitalist countries while engaging in anti-imperialism to defend the international proletariat, combat capitalism and promote the goals of communism. The state ideology of the Soviet Union—and thus Marxism–Leninism—derived and developed from the theories, policies and political praxis of Lenin and Stalin.

Joseph Stalin was a Georgian-born student radical who became a member and eventually became leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He served as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1953. In the years following the death of Vladimir Lenin, he became the dictator of the Soviet Union, by manipulating and terrorizing others in order to destroy his opponents.

There were many mass killings under communist regimes of the 20th century. Death estimates vary widely, depending on the definitions of the deaths that are included in them. The higher estimates of mass killings account for the crimes that governments committed against civilians, including executions, the destruction of populations through man-made hunger and deaths that occurred during forced deportations and imprisonment, and deaths that resulted from forced labor.

The Left Opposition was a faction within the Russian Communist Party (b) from 1923 to 1927 headed de facto by Leon Trotsky. The Left Opposition formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin's illness and intensified with his death in January 1924. Originally, the battle lines were drawn between Trotsky and his supporters who signed The Declaration of 46 in October 1923 on the one hand and a triumvirate of Comintern chairman Grigory Zinoviev, Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin and Politburo chairman Lev Kamenev on the other hand.

The anti-Stalinist left is an umbrella term for various kinds of left-wing political movements that opposed Joseph Stalin, Stalinism and the actual system of governance Stalin implemented as leader of the Soviet Union between 1927–1953. This term also refers to the high ranking political figures and governmental programs that opposed Joseph Stalin and his form of communism, like Leon Trotsky and other left wing traditional Marxists.

Excess mortality in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin Summary of the topic

Estimates of the number of deaths attributable to the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin vary widely. Some scholars assert that record-keeping of the executions of political prisoners and ethnic minorities are neither reliable nor complete while others contend that archival materials declassified in 1991 contain irrefutable data far superior to sources used prior to 1991 such as statements from emigres and other informants.

<i>Foundations of Leninism</i> 1924 publication written by Joseph Stalin

Foundations of Leninism is a 1924 collection by Joseph Stalin of nine lectures he delivered at Sverdlov University that year. It was published by the Soviet newspaper, Pravda.

Bibliography of Stalinism and the Soviet Union Bibliography of the Stalinist Era in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953

This is a select bibliography of post World War II English language books and journal articles about Stalinism and the Stalinist era of Soviet history. Book entries have references to journal reviews about them when helpful and available.

References

Citations

  1. Deutscher, Isaac (1961). "7–9". Stalin: A Polityical Biography (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
  2. Plamper, Jan (2012). The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. Yale University Press.
  3. Bottomore, Thomas (1991). A Dictionary of Marxist Thought. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 54.
  4. Kotkin, Stephen (1997). Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism As a Civilization (1st paperback ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 71, 81, 307. ISBN   9780520208230.
  5. Rossman, Jeffrey (2005). Worker Resistance Under Stalin: Class and Revolution on the Shop Floor. Harvard University Press. ISBN   0674019261.
  6. Pons, Silvo; Service, Robert, eds. (2012). A Dictionary of 20th Century Communism. Princeton University Press. p. 307.
  7. 1 2 Service, Robert (2007). Comrades!: A History of World Communism. Harvard University Press. pp. 3–6.
  8. Greeley, Andrew. Religion in Europe at the End of the Second Millennium. Transaction Publishers, 2009. p.89
  9. Pons (2012), pp. 308–310.
  10. Sawicky, Nicholas D. (December 20, 2013). The Holodomor: Genocide and National Identity (Education and Human Development Master's Theses). The College at Brockport: State University of New York. Retrieved October 6, 2020 via Digital Commons. Scholars also disagree over what role the Soviet Union played in the tragedy. Some scholars point to Stalin as the mastermind behind the famine, due to his hatred of Ukrainians (Hosking, 1987). Others assert that Stalin did not actively cause the famine, but he knew about it and did nothing to stop it (Moore, 2012). Still other scholars argue that the famine was just an effect of the Soviet Union's push for rapid industrialization and a by-product of that was the destruction of the peasant way of life (Fischer, 1935). The final school of thought argues that the Holodomor was caused by factors beyond the control of the Soviet Union and Stalin took measures to reduce the effects of the famine on the Ukrainian people (Davies & Wheatcroft, 2006).
  11. 1 2 Kotkin, Stephen (1997). Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism As a Civilization (1st paperback ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN   9780520208230.
  12. De Basily, N. (2017) [1938]. Russia Under Soviet Rule: Twenty Years of Bolshevik Experiment. Routledge Library Editions: Early Western Responses to Soviet Russia. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. ISBN   9781351617178 . Retrieved November 3, 2017. ... vast sums were spent on importing foreign technical 'ideas' and on securing the services of alien experts. Foreign countries, again – American and Germany in particular – lent the U.S.S.R. active aid in drafting the plans for all the undertakings to be constructed. They supplied the Soviet Union with tens of thousands of engineers, mechanics, and supervisors. During the first Five-Year Plan, not a single plant was erected, nor was a new industry launched without the direct help of foreigners working on the spot. Without the importation of Western European and American objects, ideas, and men, the 'miracle in the East' would not have been realized, or, at least, not in so short a time.
  13. 1 2 LTC Roy E. Peterson (2011). Russian Romance: Danger and Daring. AuthorHouse. p. 94. "As described in one account: 'In May 1929 the Soviet Union signed an agreement with the Ford Motor Company ... the Soviets agreed to purchase $13 million worth of Automobiles and parts, while Ford agreed to give technical assistance until 1938 to construct an integrated automobile-manufacturing plant at Nizhny Novgorod.'"
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  15. 1 2 Montefiore 2004, p. 164.
  16. Gilbert, Felix; Large, David Clay (2008). The End of the European Era: 1890 to the Present (6th ed.). New York City: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 213. ISBN   978-0393930405.
  17. Jones, Jonathan (August 29, 2012). "The fake photographs that predate Photoshop". The Guardian. Retrieved August 27, 2016. In a 1949 portrait, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin is seen as a young man with Lenin. Stalin and Lenin were close friends, judging from this photograph. But it is doctored, of course. Two portraits have been sutured to sentimentalise Stalin's life and closeness to Lenin.
  18. Suny, Ronald (1998). The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States . New York, New York: Oxford University Press. pp.  221.
  19. On Finland, Poland etc., Deutcher, chapter 6 "Stalin during the Civil War", (p. 148 in the Swedish 1980 printing)
  20. Deutscher, Isaac. [1949] 1961. "The General Secretary." Pp. 221–29 in Stalin, A Political Biography (2nd ed.).
  21. "Stalinism." Encyclopædia Britannica . [1998] 2020.
  22. Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 151. ISBN   978-0-521-25514-1 . Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  23. Rudelson, Justin Jon; Rudelson, Justin Ben-Adam; Ben-Adam, Justin (1997). Oasis Identities: Uyghur Nationalism Along China's Silk Road. Columbia University Press. ISBN   978-0-231-10786-0.
  24. Zuehlke, Jeffrey. 2006. Joseph Stalin. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 63.
  25. Sémelin, Jacques, and Stanley Hoffman. 2007. Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 37.
  26. https://holodomormuseum.org.ua/en/recognition-of-holodomor-as-genocide-in-the-world/
  27. Davies, Robert; Wheatcroft, Stephen (2009). The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia Volume 5: The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture 1931–1933. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. xiv. ISBN   978-0-230-27397-9 . Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  28. Tauger, Mark B. (2001). "Natural Disaster and Human Actions in the Soviet Famine of 1931–1933". The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies (1506): 1–65. doi: 10.5195/CBP.2001.89 . ISSN   2163-839X. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017.
  29. Getty, J. Arch (2000). "The Future Did Not Work". The Atlantic . Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  30. 1 2 Figes, Orlando. 2007. The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia. ISBN   0-8050-7461-9.
  31. Gellately 2007.
  32. Kershaw, Ian, and Moshe Lewin. 1997. Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0-521-56521-9. p. 300.
  33. Kuper, Leo. 1982. Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century. Yale University Press. ISBN   0-300-03120-3.
  34. Brackman 2001, p. 204.
  35. Brackman 2001, pp. 205–206.
  36. Brackman 2001, p. 207.
  37. 1 2 Overy 2004, p. 182.
  38. Tucker 1992, p. 456.
  39. Snyder, Timothy. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. Basic Books, 2010. ISBN   0-465-00239-0 p. 137.
  40. Tucker, Robert C. 1999. Stalinism: Essays in Historical Interpretation, ( American Council of Learned Societies Planning Group on Comparative Communist Studies). Transaction Publishers. ISBN   0-7658-0483-2. p. 5.
  41. Overy 2004, p. 338.
  42. Montefiore 2004.
  43. Tzouliadis, Tim. August 2, 200.) "Nightmare in the workers paradise." BBC.
  44. Tzouliadis, Tim. 2008. The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia. Penguin Press, ISBN   1-59420-168-4.
  45. McLoughlin, Barry; McDermott, Kevin, eds. (2002). Stalin's Terror: High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 141. ISBN   978-1-4039-0119-4.
  46. McLoughlin, Barry; McDermott, Kevin, eds. (2002). Stalin's Terror: High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 6. ISBN   978-1-4039-0119-4.
  47. 1 2 Kuromiya, Hiroaki. 2007. The Voices of the Dead: Stalin's Great Terror in the 1930s. Yale University Press. ISBN   0-300-12389-2.
  48. Snyder, Timothy (2010) Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. Basic Books, ISBN   0-465-00239-0 p. 101.
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  50. Comment on Wheatcroft by Robert Conquest, 1999.
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  52. Applebaum 2003, p. 584.
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  55. Wheatcroft, S. G. (2000). "The Scale and Nature of Stalinist Repression and its Demographic Significance: On Comments by Keep and Conquest" (PDF). Europe-Asia Studies. 52 (6): 1143–59. doi:10.1080/09668130050143860. PMID   19326595. S2CID   205667754.
  56. Ellman, Michael (2007). "Stalin and the Soviet Famine of 1932–33 Revisited" (PDF). Europe-Asia Studies. 59 (4): 663–93. doi:10.1080/09668130701291899. S2CID   53655536.
  57. Volkogonov, Dmitri. 1991. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York. p. 210. ISBN   0-7615-0718-3.
  58. Ellman, Michael (2005). "The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931–1934" (PDF). Europe-Asia Studies. 57 (6): 826. doi:10.1080/09668130500199392. S2CID   13880089.
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  60. 1 2 Boobbyer 2000, p. 130.
  61. Pohl, Otto, Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937–1949, ISBN   0-313-30921-3.
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  63. Conquest, Robert (1997). "Victims of Stalinism: A Comment". Europe-Asia Studies. 49 (7): 1317–1319. doi:10.1080/09668139708412501. We are all inclined to accept the Zemskov totals (even if not as complete) with their 14 million intake to Gulag 'camps' alone, to which must be added 4–5 million going to Gulag 'colonies', to say nothing of the 3.5 million already in, or sent to, 'labour settlements'. However taken, these are surely 'high' figures.
  64. Wheatcroft, Stephen G. (1999). "Victims of Stalinism and the Soviet Secret Police: The Comparability and Reliability of the Archival Data. Not the Last Word" (PDF). Europe-Asia Studies . 51 (2): 315–345. doi:10.1080/09668139999056.
  65. Rosefielde, Steven. 2009. Red Holocaust. Routledge, 2009. ISBN   0-415-77757-7. pg. 67: "[M]ore complete archival data increases camp deaths by 19.4 percent to 1,258,537"; pg 77: "The best archivally based estimate of Gulag excess deaths at present is 1.6 million from 1929 to 1953."
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Notes

  1. An exact number of negative votes is unknown. In his memoirs, Anastas Mikoyan writes that out of 1,225 delegates, around 270 voted against Stalin and that the official number of negative votes was given as three, with the rest of ballots destroyed. Following Nikita Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" in 1956, a commission of the central committee investigated the votes and found that 267 ballots were missing.
  2. The scale of Stalin's purge of Red Army officers was exceptional—90% of all generals and 80% of all colonels were killed. This included three out of five Marshals; 13 out of 15 Army commanders; 57 of 85 Corps commanders; 110 of 195 divisional commanders; and 220 of 406 brigade commanders, as well as all commanders of military districts.[ citation needed ] Carell, P. [1964] 1974. Hitler's War on Russia: The Story of the German Defeat in the East (first Indian ed.), translated by E. Osers. Delhi: B.I. Publications. p. 195.

Sources

Further reading

Books'

Academic journals

Primary sources