Part 3. Stalin — Who was that man?

Part 3. Stalin — Who was that man?

He brought about “rapid industrial progress” in revolutionary Soviet Russia and completely changed its agricultural system. He led the Red Army to victory over German imperialism and established the so-called “Eastern bloc.” At the same time he treated the peasants badly, harassed the intelligentsia and raged murderously among his Party’s cadres, disregarding all principles of “socialist lawfulness” and “collective leadership.” These are the facts; there is no reason to doubt them and no need to “reveal” anything else.

However, these observations are not correct judgments about the man and his achievements. “Industrialization” characterizes Stalin’s socialist construction in Russia just as poorly as “economic miracle” characterizes postwar economic policy in West Germany. The fact that Stalin’s troops conquered Berlin says nothing at all about which cause won over there — or whether any cause won at all. And the accusation that Stalin’s style of governing was a crime is anything but an explanation of it, regardless of whether this accusation is made by democrats as a prelude to historical-philosophical or racist reflections about the deeper necessity of those “atrocities,” or whether it is used by Stalin’s successors to “come to terms with the past” as if they were emulating the West Germans.