Redefining Stalinism

Redefining Stalinism

Redefining Stalinism

Redefining Stalinism

Synopsis

Born in 1879 in Georgia, Stalin joined the Bolsheviks under Lenin in 1903 and became General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. These edited papers reassess the deeds, policies and legacy of a man who was responsible for innumerable deaths and untold human misery.

Excerpt

Harold Shukman

Is there a Western world leader whose reputation has not been reanalysed and reassessed, usually to his or her detriment? How many societies have their histories carved immutably in stone? the strenuous efforts Stalin made to create an appropriate life story for himself, and the histories of the cpsu and the ussr that were written under his direct supervision to serve the aims of the Stalinist Communist Party and State, were all doomed to an ephemeral existence. However great the political persona of a leader or monumental the trappings of his regime, they are both intrinsically subject to interpretation and reinterpretation. Indeed, the greater the dimensions of the exertion involved in achieving greatness of either, the more certain the reassessment. and this applies fully to Stalin and his regime. Valuable writings on different aspects of Soviet life and politics emerged in the West almost as soon as Soviet Russia came into being, but it was the Second World War, the emergence of the ussr as a major international force after it, and above all the Cold War, that boosted Soviet studies in the West from their once marginal status to a more central position in area studies, political science and international history. Whatever differences of interpretation may have divided Sovietologists in the West, their analyses were continuous, dynamic and broadly well informed. Such freedom of intellectual activity had long ago been wrested from Soviet scholars by a state which gave them in exchange a conditional and precarious right to work and survive. An unhindered approach to the study of

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