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Thread: A still am puzzled by Stalin

  1. #1 A still am puzzled by Stalin 
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Fort Lee, NJ, USA
    How Stalin managed to outmaneuver so many

    After reading an interesting, and rather unique, book about Stalin, I just posted a very short review of it, at the Amazonís website. Here it is, for those who might be interested:

    I agree with those who wrote that Montefiore's voluminous "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar" is not always easy reading. But it is certainly worthwhile for the light it sheds on relations between Stalin and his close subordinates, those whom he liquidated and those who survived him. Stalin's methods of domination--both brutal and ideological--are skillfully described. The same applies to personal relations between communist leaders. The Soviet Union was the first country in which the idea of proletarian dictatorship, formulated by Marx, was implemented. That is why all aspects of Soviet history are worth studying. Be aware that the number of characters is unusually large. Fortunately, Stalin's family tree and the introductory section entitled "List of Characters" should help readers to deal with this problem.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    It doesn't look like your link works. What exactly puzzles you about him? That he was successful, or what he did with his power? I can never decide what he was aiming at, whether it was personal gain, or genuinely a grand vision for Russia. I'm torn between sympathy for the Ukrainian farmers he brutally killed by starvation, and thinking he was a hateful monster, and wondering whether his misguided love of Lysenko and other misconceptions simply took a good intention and made them into a nightmare? Was he dumb or just a sociopath who didn't care who he hurt? Or a bit of both?

    I wonder sometimes if we would ever think about Lennin if there hadn't been a Stalin. Somebody had to industrialize Russia, and coordinate their war efforts so they'd be a force to reckon with.

    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    A lot of things puzzle Mr. Kowalski. If you would like to see any of these things, just wait on some message board and his spamming will show up.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Think kowaskil just wanted us to see his clever and "deep" review. Stalin did not maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat either in the USSR or via the so-called Popular Front concept sold externally via the Comintern.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I am sure Stalin was motivated by power, but also by ideology. I suspect ideological considerations became less important as he became older.
    There is an excellent summing up of Stalin by the Harvard academic, Adam Ulam, at the end of his book- Stalin ( the man and his era).
    I would like to add that Stalin was certainly a brutal dictator, but was a master of the techniques necessary to hold onto power.
    Stalin won the power struggle after the death of Lenin because of his skill at this type of intrigue but also because none of his "comrades" were as determined to achieve total power. He became Lenin's successor and this gave him great status so making it harder to ever remove him from his position.
    Stalin established a body called the Special Sector of the Central Committee. The membership consisted of his "creatures" who were totally loyal , mostly out of fear, to him. This organisation made it possible, for example, for Stalin to bypass the heads of the NKVD (secret police) when he felt this was necessary. The Special Sector was especially valuable when he wanted to get rid of many of these top policemen who would then be described as "enemies of the people".
    Stalin also used Political Commissars and also appointed high ranking military officers, such as "political" generals in the Army, to supervise the Soviet Armed Forces. From the time of the 1917 Revolution the top leaders, not just Stalin, were deeply afraid of a military coup. In addition, because of savage purges in the Armed Forces, organised by Stalin, in the late 1930's the military were cowed into submission altho' any evidence available suggests that a coup was nothing more than a very remote possibility.
    Last edited by Halliday; November 19th, 2011 at 12:24 PM.
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