Stalin: Hero or Villain.
By Mehmedefe Sabuncuogglu
He is one of the most controversial historical characters. He is hated for cruelty and aggression in Western Civilization (UK, USA) but he is loved in some countries (Russia, China, Georgia, Armenia and Bulgaria) as organizer and developer of these countries. He could create a powerful ad high developed state, but with killing millions of people. He was a member of WW2 and defeated Nazis. But let’s tell in order.
Joseph Vissarionovich Jughashvili (It’s his real surname) was born in 18 December 1878. In late 1888, Stalin enrolled at the Gori Church School, a place secured by Charkviani. Although he got into many fights, Stalin excelled academically, displaying talent in painting and drama classes, writing his own poetry, and singing as a choirboy. Stalin faced several severe health problems; an 1884 smallpox infection left him with facial pock scars, and aged 12, he was seriously injured after being hit by a phaeton, which was the likely cause of a lifelong disability to his left arm.
Then he moved to spiritual seminary in Tiflis, enabled by a scholarship that allowed him to study at a reduced rate.
But as he grew older, he lost interest in study. Then he became atheist and left spiritual seminary and then he read Marx’ s capital. He was influenced by this book and he joined Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party at 1899. Stalin left Georgia in October, arriving at the small Siberian town of Novaya Uda in late November. There, he co-edited a Georgian Marxist newspaper, Proletariatis Brdzola ("Proletarian Struggle"). Then during the party’s split to Bolsheviks (Lenin) and Mensheviks (Martov) Stalin joined Bolsheviks.
In January 1905, government troops massacred protesters in Saint Petersburg. Unrest soon spread across the Russian Empire in what came to be known as the Revolution of 1905. Stalin at this time criticized Nicolas’s actions against Jews and Armenians and many civilians. Then in 1907 Lenin and Stalin rubbered bank to expropriate all money from Tiflis bank.
Stalin started to dominate in local section of the RSDLP and started to become both dominant and popular. But in 1908 he was arrested and then prisoned. The he escaped from prison and then he was arrested again, and it was repeating until 1917 when he returned to saint Petersburg.
In 25 October he participated in October revolution where Lenin and his team overthrew The provisional government and established proletarian dictatorship. Stalin became part of an informal foursome leading the government, alongside Lenin, Trotsky, and Sverdlov. Stalin’s importance among the Bolsheviks grew.
But Lenin had difference of opinion about communism with Stalin. Lenin didn’t want totalitarian regime as enemy of people, while Stalin wanted to concentrate all power to himself. Lenin tried to avoid Stalin as chairman of the USSR and tried to warn every party’s member. But they didn’t listen him and didn’t know the what terror will be in the future.
Many psychologists analyzed Stalin ‘s mental health and gave diagnoses: narcissism, inferiority complex, paranoia and aggression.
In 1924 after the civil war Lenin died and Stalin became the chairman of USSR. And then many members of party such as Trotsky started to struggle him. Next years Stalin will exile him to Mexico and then he kills him. Then he started collectivization and industrialization. May farmers who had good property and their property was expropriated to government.
After Trotsky’s exile Stalin started to kill the members of party who were declared as enemies. These actions were called “Great Purge”. Many political members such as Bukharin, Ezhov, Yagoda, Zinoviev and Tukhachevksy were victims Then he started a terror against the citizens. Political freedoms were seized. Every party or man which their ideology is different from party ideology was prisoned or executed. Stalin also established GULAG – the community of political prisons.
We don’t know how many people died during his terror because information that 60 million people dead is fake. There is no current statistics about how many people dead because of Stalin. But many historians agree that relative amount of dead people during his reign is 10-20 million people.
Beware the repressions there was a ‘’Holodomor”: a famine that led 7 million people die. Repressions are one of the reasons of the famine.
Stalin also repressed people of science and art. Many artists were suffered from censorship and scientist couldn’t complete research objectively mostly humanities scientists and genetics.
But there were also many great things in his reign. Economy was improved very well, and many technological advancements were made. May great culture works were also made by artists, musicians, writers and movie directors. They were genius, creating the great works of all time and geniuses, inventing great machines.
But then ww2 comes. A Hitler trying to avoiding war on two fronts made non-aggression pact (Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact). Stalin in exchange for non- aggression got claims on eastern Poland, Finland, Baltic states and Moldavia. Then he joined with Hitler dividing the Poland.
Before WW2 Joseph improved relationships with western countries, joining League of nations. But then many diplomatic relations were broken. Then USSR attacked Finland and League of the Nations excluded him.
Then Hitler suggested Stalin to join Axis alliance. But Stalin refused, so Hitler attacked Soviet Union at June 1941. But the Hitler defeated, and pushed back at early borders before attack in 1944.
In 1945 Yalta conference is happened, where made many decisions: demanded reparations from Germany and claimed Kuril and Sakhalin lands. But he did one of his biggest lies. He promised to give a countries free election and freed from communism which USSR occupied. But then Stalin in 1946 declared that Poland, Hungary, Czechia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania were declared as puppet states of Soviet Union and then Stalin claimed Constantinople and sent aid to communist party. Then USA started to sponsor western Europe countries, Greece and Turkey. And then Cold war era started. A country was in hard situation. Both USSR and USA started arms race. So main focus was on better and effective weapon.
Also, USSR started to improve the atom bomb, first one was tested at northern island. It created may bombs and improved a high skilled Red Army.
Stalin also started to sponsor North Korea in Korean war and China PR in Chinese Civil war. But internal affairs in country were very bad. Stalin started to do deportation against many nations (Kurds, Germans, Turks, Armenians, Crimean Tatars and more nations). Stalin also was doing a repression campaign against academic disciplines such as genetics, linguistics, philosophy, cybernetics and history. Sociology and education studies (pedagogy) were forbidden as capitalist sciences.
1953. Soviet Union was one of the most powerful countries at this time. The country was developing still. But one day at March Joseph ‘s colleagues found Stalin dead. It was one of the most emotional and saddest moments for citizens. For them he was a legend, he was a chief. He was buried with Lenin in one mausoleum. But later one of his colleagues, Khrushchev who became a general secretor , hated Stalin and wanted to demolish many Stalin statues and remove Stalin from Lenin’s mausoleum.
For today Joseph Stalin is very controversial figure. For some people Stalin is bloody tyrant, for another- chief and most successful leader. We can’t say that he is an evil or good guy.