The legacy of Stalin

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2004

download word file, 10 pages 4.6

Downloaded 124 times

"What do you understand by 'Stalinism' and how do you assess the view that it was the legacy of Stalinism which eventually brought about the collapse of the Ussr."

Stranovedenie Rachel McGauran

"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

The Guinness book of World Records has under the title 'mass murder' a familiar picture, with a not so familiar name printed underneath- Josif Vissarinovich Dzuhugashvili. This man is better known to most as Joseph Stalin-the infamous dictator who ruled the Union of Soviets Socialist Republics for just under (or over, depending on which esteemed historian one consults) a quarter of a century. His name strikes fear into the hearts of millions of Russians and his extraordinary legacy lives on fifty-one years after his death. He holds the coveted title of the number one mass murderer of the twentieth century and is generally thought responsible for the brutal deaths or mysterious 'disappearances' of millions of 'comrades'.

At one stage he had more than eleven towns named after him-including Stalinsk, Stalinabad, Stalino, Stalinogorsk and perhaps the most famous-Stalingrad. Revered, feared but rarely challenged, Stalin wielded absolute control over a beleaguered, bewildered nation.

'Stalinism', a phrase coined after his death in 1953 is difficult, almost impossible to define-it encompasses twenty-five years of indomitable by a cruel, unyielding demagogue. When researching such a broad topic as this, one must make an attempt to consult the broadest range of books, documents and historians possible, and also to take into account both sides of the coin, as it were, and there are a limited number of historians, or revisionist historians as they are termed, who consider Stalin's achievements to be the result of a campaign necessary to control as large a nation as Russia. J.Arch Getty says on the topic

" Omelettes can't be made without breaking...