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Joseph Stalin - Research Paper Example

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Course 2 December 2011 Stalin the Cruelest leader Stalin is distinguished by history as one of the people who made a lasting imprint upon the development of Russia, but this imprint may be characterized as one of the biggest catastrophes in human history…
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Download file to see previous pages For instance, according to statistical estimates provided by Haynes and Husan in their book A Century of State Murder? Death and Policy in Twentieth-Century Russia, if the 1920s mortality rates are to be extrapolated to the 1930s, one has to reach a conclusion that there were about 8.5 million excessive deaths for 1928-1936, and additional 1.5 million for the second part of the decade of the 1930s, making total number of casualties of Stalinism in the 1930s close to 10 million people (Haynes and Husan 65). If one compares the population predictions for the year of 1937 compiled by Soviet Gosplan in the late 1920s (about 181 million people) with the 1937 census’s actual results (i.e. 168.5 million people, further reduced to 167 million by the new 1939 census), it is clear that Soviet population fell by considerable number in the 1930s, as even Stalin’s government was forced to concede (Haynes and Husan 64). This tremendous number of excessive unnatural deaths should be further extended by taking into account the number of deaths of Soviet soldiers and citizens in the course of WW II, which, while not entirely caused by Stalin’s military ineptness, were significantly increased by it. In addition, the death rate in Soviet forced labor camps rose to its highest level in the 1940s, with 1.01 million of dead prisoners in 1941-1945 (Haynes and Husan 83). Finally, the 1940s deportations of national groups deemed not loyal to the Soviet regime cost their own share of deaths: almost 300-400.000 are likely to have perished, as the data provided by Pohl testify (2). This means that in all certainty, Stalinism led to deaths of about 20 million people, if the part of wartime deaths is included in overall estimate. Nonetheless, despite the natural aversion that may arise towards Stalin and his system of government when exposed to such information, it is known that memories of Stalinist era are often fondly invoked in modern Russia and, to a lesser extent, in other post-Soviet states. In particular, Putin’s government often uses memories of Stalin’s rule to support its own actions, especially un the field of foreign policy, and the new history textbooks used in Russian schools often include statements of the like that “Stalin acted ‘entirely rationally’ in executing and imprisoning millions of people in the Gulags” (Stewart). The nature of such fondness for Stalin on the part of Russian authorities is understandable, as the Russian government, while pursuing harsh neo-liberal economic policies, widely employs appeals to ‘Soviet nostalgia’ in its symbolism and external policies. At the same time, a characteristically different kind of ‘popular Stalinism’ exists among the wide strata of Russian society. Exemplified by the policies of ‘red-brown’ Communist Party of Russian Federation, which for all purposes dropped its former Marxist tenets in favor of more open Russian imperial patriotism and of other, smaller but ideologically similar parties and groupings, this type of ‘Stalinist’ feelings mix nostalgia for the ‘orderly’ society unaffected by market turbulence with strong cultural conservatism and xenophobia. Therefore, despite strong condemnation levied upon Stalinism by Russia’s liberal intelligentsia, Stalinist sentiment, or, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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