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What mechanisms would you guys think made Stalinism triumphant?

Firstly, what do you guys think, was Stalinism totalitarian? Was Stalin the absolute ruler over the totality of society and politics? Or perhaps a revised theory best suits the regime? Secondly, what would be your reason for Stalinism being successful? I'd say simply, because the Stalinist regime was never overthrown (coup nor revolution).

  • Coercion must be discusses and the terror within and without the party. This is because it prevented social resistance and political opposition threatening the regime.
  • Ideology? Do you guys believe that ideology legitimised the regime and its actions?
  • Other forms of legitimation in the form of the Cult of Personality perhaps.
  • Where there political factors which accounted for the triumph? What allowed Stalin to keep grip of power other than fear? Clientelism? The structure of the Stalinist Political system promoting centralised power?
  • Soviet Economics should be discussed also. Yes it was triumphant but (and this may sound stupid) but why did the Stalinist regime want a prosperous economy? Was it to show the Capitalist states that Communism can advance and overtake them? Was it also to prepare for what Stalin foresaw as an inevitable war?
  • Finally, probably the hardest to define is 'social'. How did society make Stalinism triumphant? The totalitarian model would state that society's labour would be the reason for economic triumph, but would a revised theory perhaps discuss a soviet society which supported and maintained the regime in power? Where there classes which benefited from the terror for example? Did people prosper from Stalinist rule (oligarchs). I believe this to be the most interesting and hardest point of Stalinism. Your opinions on this will potentially re-define Stalinism from Totalitarian to something else.

Looking forward to hearing your views on this and others?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Semaphore, Mark C. Wallace, Tyler Durden, LateralFractal, sds Oct 29 '14 at 21:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    A quibble: Soviet economy was not prosperous in the sense that people's quality of life was increasing. It was geared towards producing heavy machinery. So producing 50,000 tractors per year sounds great, but at the same time there was famine and rationing. – Felix Goldberg Oct 28 '14 at 20:34
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    Being legitimate and being in control for a long period without a coup is completely different question. You can be in control by simply executing all your potential enemies, but it doesn't make you legitimate. – Greg Oct 29 '14 at 2:06
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    @FelixGoldberg It is true that quality of life was low, however it wasn't high during the feudal/Tsar era neither. Small social improvements like free access to education/ social mobility can improve the observed quality of life by the masses (same true for Hitler's Germany). – Greg Oct 29 '14 at 2:10
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    @PG93 Sorry I don't understand your question, or what do you precisely mean by triumphant in a historical context, neither how your question is related to my comment. – Greg Oct 29 '14 at 3:04
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    Too many questions, needs to be split. – Samuel Russell Oct 29 '14 at 22:35