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The Legacy Of Stalin Essay

2494 words - 10 pages

"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 eggs".Undoubtedly, under Stalin's rule Russia faced a complete revamp. The greatest reformers in Russian history - Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and Alexander the second, and the great reformers of other nations too, seem dwarfed by the giant form of the General Secretary. How did Josif Vissarinovich Dzuhugashvili become one of the world's most infamous dictators? How did the son of a Georgian shoemaker succeed with his 'communist manifesto', or rather his personal manifesto? To understand 'Stalinism' fully, one needs to understand a bit about Stalin's background and the events, which dominated his rule.Born on the 21st December 1879, Stalin- or man of steel- became Joseph's adopted name in 1913, taking precedence over his other alias, 'Koba'. He was educated in Georgia, his native land in a seminary attended by those intending to enter the priesthood. Stalin, however, harboured little intention of becoming a priest and soon drifted into revolutionary politics. 1912 was an important year in Stalin's life, having been a follower of Marxism for over eleven years, he was...

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