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12

Beria I think it would be extremely instructive to consider the anti-Beria coup. The conspirators discussed the plans in secret and Beria was arrested by Marshal Georgy Zhukov himself. This plan required an absolute devotion of participants since any leak to a Beria agent was deadly. This is why only high-level people were involved - a Marshal(!!) making an ...


9

What do you mean, 'legal mechanisms'? Putting "how tyrants hold power" and "legal or moral mechanism" in the same sentence is completely missing the point. Stalin didn't have power because being chairman of Politburo, but he was chairman of Politburo because he had power. I'm not completely sure, but I believe that legally the Politburo decisions actually ...


9

Stalin took ideology seriously... He started the Soviet meme "на идеологии мы не экономим" ("we don't skimp on ideology"). He also believed that "Учение Маркса всесильно, потому что оно верно" ("The teachings of Marx is omnipotent because it is true"). He also understood the critical importance of science and technology. He also continued the age-old ...


8

It is difficult to characterize the reactions of whole organizations, and to separate out the reaction to the speech from the reaction to the 20th Party Congress as a whole, and to the other events of 1956. Many groups were internally split between those who saw it as a call for renewal and others as a betrayal. Because the Russian Revolution had progressed ...


7

It is clear that Stalin supported the creation of Israel. From the Wiki: For Soviet foreign policy decision-makers, pragmatism took precedence over ideology. Without changing its official anti-Zionist stance, from late 1944, until 1948 and even later, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be ...


7

Most people who are or want to be political leaders try to look like they love children, and children love them. The reason is very simple: Most adult people are parents. For almost all parents there is nothing more important in the world than their children. Hence, the best way to rise in the eyes of parents, and hence the best way to rise in the eyes of ...


6

The main historiography, which you should really have searched prior to asking the question. Most obviously Sheila Fitzpatrick's work on everyday Stalinism at the work unit level, particularly Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (1999). Rossman (2005) Worker resistance under Stalin. Andrle (1988) Workers in Stalin's Russia.


6

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945 the following declaration was included in the conference proceedings in regards to Poland's Eastern border: "The three heads of Government consider that the eastern frontier of Poland should follow the Curzon Line with digressions from it in some regions of five to eight kilometers in favor of Poland. They ...


6

The problem is the definition. Great Purge as itself wasn't a single event under Stalin's rule but waves of executions and convictions. In fact after Lenin's death in 1922 Stalin came to power. With increasing intensity he started to deal with rivals, first politically, then he had enough power to order uncontrolled massacre. The most famous period is the ...


5

The Western allies were not clueless about the Soviet espionage. However, they could not prevent it and were probably underestimating its extent. The reason they were unable to prevent it is manifold. The nature of science (and the Manhattan project was much more an open-ended research enterprise than a typical modern-style DARPA project) as understood ...


5

For me at least, this question may be re-phrased thus: To what extent were the contours of the Communist regime in Russia determined by Russian national peculiarities? Scholars like Richard Pipes hold that the Soviet regime was a development of some sort of immanent Russian matrix. Here is a wiki summary: Pipes is known for arguing that the origins of ...


5

He was exiled to Turkey by way of Khazakstan and not Siberia - and it wasn't until the Show Trials until Stalin felt he had consolidated enough power to order Trotsky's death.


5

First of all, Lysenko did not oppose genetics in general, he was against so-called "formal genetics". He was the director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1940. In 1939 he said in a speech: Unfairly comrades Mendelists alledge that we profess closing of Genetics (...) Genetics is necessary and we struggle for ...


4

According to the official internal Soviet statistics, the number of excessive mortality in Ukraine in 1932-1933 was 1,532,700 people, of which 1 million 385 thousand in 1933. A paradoxical fact of this is that in 1933 the total harvest for the USSR was 69 million tonnes (some think this number is overestimation due to the counting method used in the USSR ...


4

No, it is not needed. I think you better should read the history of Marxism and about the Great French Revolution. If you want to deepen in history, you can start from the Commune of Rome (1144).


4

The modern period was characterized by a belief that the world could be reinvented in light of the superior understanding provided by modern thinking. The communists were major proponents of this movement. The result of this ego-driven idea was that it attracted people who believed their understanding of the world was superior to a traditional view hewn from ...


4

In the opinion of Milovan Ðilas, the society level policy apparatus of soviet-style societies--the party elites, the elite state bureaucracy, the elite firm and industry managers--form a "new class" which has a greater interest in maintaining its class rule than it does for the lives of its individual members. Ðilas claims that this new class goes through ...


3

Some considerations you may consider. Stalin was extremely popular with the people, and after the war he was seen as the leader of the victorious side in WWII. There was a huge personality cult. Any move against him would be very much suspicious of treachery even if formally legal. Mafia-style rule. As you know many of the mafia leaders in Russia are of ...


3

With regards to Finland, it was the second country that the USSR invaded after signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, where Finland was one of the countries that had been assigned to the Soviet "Sphere of influence" together with Estonia, Latvia, Bessarabia and half of Poland. (The first country invaded was of course Poland). However, there is a dispute ...


3

I hesitate to call fear of death, beatings or imprisonment a moral mechanism. These are what kept Stalin's grip on power. The basic calculus of an omnipresent secret police force watching for transgressions and the fact that anyone you discussed overthrowing Stalin could turn you in meant that possible dissident elements were completely isolated from each ...


3

The state and Communist party TRIED to control ALL aspects of people's life. Another question is how successful they were.


3

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor#Death_toll A 2002 study by Vallin et al. utilizing some similar primary sources to Kulchytsky, and performing an analysis with more sophisticated demographic tools with forward projection of expected growth from the 1926 census and backward projection from the 1939 census estimate the amount of ...


3

Well, the accounts claim one could get all necessary papers for an artel in just one day. The management of the artel should be elected by the employees. By the 1941 enactment the new artel was for two years exempt from most taxes and state price control, except that the prices should not exceed the state prices more than 10-13%. Artels were allowed to buy ...


3

I wish to supplement choster's answer. Communist Party of Australia (CPA) CPA leadership discovered the Secret Speech as the CPNZ leadership transhipped through Australia early in the year. According to the then informal organisation of International fraternal parties, the CPA was dependent on the CPGB for material at this level. They didn't find out ...


3

Stalin's first important position was being elected to the Politburo (the main policy-making and executive board) of the Central Committee (the highest body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, directing all Party and government activities), in May 1917. He remained a member of the Politburo for the rest of his life. During the Russian Civil War ...


2

I'm not sure there's going to be a definitive source for an answer to this. From a (sociopathic autocrat's) political standpoint, I do think it was good timing. If he'd done it earlier when the guy was still in the news and had lots of followers, he would have created more of a martyr. Better to let things cool down for a while, perhaps spend a few years ...


2

It was a requirement for science to match ideology rather than just deriving objective conclusions. Ideologists assumed that accepting gene theory makes easier to justify large inequality between social classes and nations, something that Marxists are formally against. Or Honorary Aryan. Or act of creation as origin of life. While existence of genes does ...


2

Basically, this is a lot of tosh. This, ahem, quaint theory is a nice specimen of the modern neo-Stalinist cottage industry. Reality was much simpler: the purges were ordered and organized by Stalin; no alternative elections were ever held in the Soviet Union (till the late 1980s when the system was in its death throes). This was of course by design - the ...


2

Turkey remained neutral through the Second World War, and so was not part of the Balkans discussion between Churchill and Stalin at the Fourth Moscow Conference (as discussed in my answer here). As I note in that answer: Although minority percentages were actually set in the all cases other than Yugoslavia, it is clear that Stalin regarded these ...



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