Was Stalin a Great Leader, or a Mass Murderer?

Nov 2018
7
los angeles
Hello all!

So I've always understood Josef Stalin to be a dictator. Until the other day, I had never met anyone who challenged this. The person who did is a self described communist (and a very good person. Smart. But possibly bias. I don't know.). His notion is that Stalin was a good leader and wasn't responsible for any mass murders, and that, in fact, there were no mass murders. He said the numbers and statistics just don't add up.

Any opinions on this? What is the legitimate evidence on both sides? Not just unbacked notions. Not just a sentence declaring something. What do the Russian archives say? Are any sources that can be conjured even truly reliable? Could documents be forged?

I want the truth, and it's hard to find. Both sides are vehement and their sides are total opposites. Stephen Kotkin has gone through the archives and said, indeed he is a dictator. Grover Furr, too, has said to have gone through the Russian archives and claims the opposite.

Was the great purge a calculated scything of any possible opposition by a paranoid man who wanted to secure power for himself or was it a legitimate trial of a few possible traitors who may have wanted to undermine the good of everyone else (most of whom were let go in the end)? Was Holodomor the result of the dictates of Stalin and his greed and demand for rapid industrialization mixed with a disdain for the Ukranian people? Or was it merely the unfortunate result of drought and the need for the collection of any locally grown food for the distribution to others in need? Did stalin give the orders to kill the Polish in the Katyn Massacre, or did the Nazis do it and fabricate a story about the Soviets being responsible for it a few years prior? Were the kulaks innocent 'barely-better-off's, killed by the ruling, authoritarian State of the USSR, or were they the selfish rich who were trying to undermine the greater good of all by hoarding food and livestock and, thus, had to be stopped?

Thank you.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
Hello all!

So I've always understood Josef Stalin to be a dictator. Until the other day, I had never met anyone who challenged this. The person who did is a self described communist (and a very good person. Smart. But possibly bias. I don't know.). His notion is that Stalin was a good leader and wasn't responsible for any mass murders, and that, in fact, there were no mass murders. He said the numbers and statistics just don't add up.

Any opinions on this? What is the legitimate evidence on both sides? Not just unbacked notions. Not just a sentence declaring something. What do the Russian archives say? Are any sources that can be conjured even truly reliable? Could documents be forged?

I want the truth, and it's hard to find. Both sides are vehement and their sides are total opposites. Stephen Kotkin has gone through the archives and said, indeed he is a dictator. Grover Furr, too, has said to have gone through the Russian archives and claims the opposite.

Was the great purge a calculated scything of any possible opposition by a paranoid man who wanted to secure power for himself or was it a legitimate trial of a few possible traitors who may have wanted to undermine the good of everyone else (most of whom were let go in the end)? Was Holodomor the result of the dictates of Stalin and his greed and demand for rapid industrialization mixed with a disdain for the Ukranian people? Or was it merely the unfortunate result of drought and the need for the collection of any locally grown food for the distribution to others in need? Did stalin give the orders to kill the Polish in the Katyn Massacre, or did the Nazis do it and fabricate a story about the Soviets being responsible for it a few years prior? Were the kulaks innocent 'barely-better-off's, killed by the ruling, authoritarian State of the USSR, or were they the selfish rich who were trying to undermine the greater good of all by hoarding food and livestock and, thus, had to be stopped?

Thank you.
There was the instance the population of the Soviet Union decreasing ( undoubtedly as a result of the Ukraine famine as well as because of the manslaughter initiated by Stalin )in one of the periodic counts IIRC 1937/1938 and the responsible Census officials losing their lives as a result of this ' mistake '.
There is also the case of the deaf and dumb students in Leningrad losing their lives for plotting treason against the Society Union.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
Hello all!

So I've always understood Josef Stalin to be a dictator. Until the other day, I had never met anyone who challenged this. The person who did is a self described communist (and a very good person. Smart. But possibly bias. I don't know.). His notion is that Stalin was a good leader and wasn't responsible for any mass murders, and that, in fact, there were no mass murders. He said the numbers and statistics just don't add up.

Any opinions on this? What is the legitimate evidence on both sides? Not just unbacked notions. Not just a sentence declaring something. What do the Russian archives say? Are any sources that can be conjured even truly reliable? Could documents be forged?

I want the truth, and it's hard to find. Both sides are vehement and their sides are total opposites. Stephen Kotkin has gone through the archives and said, indeed he is a dictator. Grover Furr, too, has said to have gone through the Russian archives and claims the opposite.

Was the great purge a calculated scything of any possible opposition by a paranoid man who wanted to secure power for himself or was it a legitimate trial of a few possible traitors who may have wanted to undermine the good of everyone else (most of whom were let go in the end)? Was Holodomor the result of the dictates of Stalin and his greed and demand for rapid industrialization mixed with a disdain for the Ukranian people? Or was it merely the unfortunate result of drought and the need for the collection of any locally grown food for the distribution to others in need? Did stalin give the orders to kill the Polish in the Katyn Massacre, or did the Nazis do it and fabricate a story about the Soviets being responsible for it a few years prior? Were the kulaks innocent 'barely-better-off's, killed by the ruling, authoritarian State of the USSR, or were they the selfish rich who were trying to undermine the greater good of all by hoarding food and livestock and, thus, had to be stopped?

Thank you.
There was the instance the population of the Soviet Union decreasing ( undoubtedly as a result of the Ukraine famine as well as because of the manslaughter initiated by Stalin )in one of the periodic counts IIRC 1937/1938 and the responsible Census officials losing their lives as a result of this ' mistake '.
There is also the case of the deaf and dumb students in Leningrad losing their lives for plotting treason against the Soviet Union.
 
Mar 2018
896
UK
Is it that hard to google "Stalin mass murder" or "stalin purges"?

This is as well established as the Holocaust, and denying it just as distasteful.
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
He proved to be the ' most outwitted bungler '---in Churchill's language-- in WW II when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, and n the early morning of 23rd June 1941, Stalin did not believe that Hitler had betrayed him, he thought Hitler must not be knowing about this and some Army Generals had brought about this attack.
It was only when Schulenberg the German Ambassador delivered the declaration of war to Molotov, that the stark reality dawned on him.
Yet he rallied fairly quickly. He made blunders initially in the conduct of the defence but learned to respect the professional judgement of Zhukov as well as other senior officers in the ' STAVKA '. He allowed quite a bit of leeway to the field officers subject to their strict compliance of the orders of the STAVKA, once issued. He led the Soviet Union to a well-deserved victory over the Nazi forces. And there lies his greatness.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rovi

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
4,058
Bulgaria
We went through this several times in different threads i believe. There is big, moderate and little numbers of school books/authors regarding the issue. The point is all numbers available are estimations, simply because many documents are secret, others have been destroyed and also many deaths went undocumented. The number of around 700 k executed during great purge due to 'counter-revolutionary activities is known. The numbers of arrested, died in camps, all 'unnatural' deaths during this period are again estimations.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dukeofjive

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
Is there even doubt about him not being a mass murderer? And "mass murderer" is putting it lightly, they should come up with a new word for the terrible things he has done.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dukeofjive
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
Is it that hard to google "Stalin mass murder" or "stalin purges"?

This is as well established as the Holocaust, and denying it just as distasteful.
Katyn.

The Katyn massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, "Katyń crime"; Russian: Катынская резня Katynskaya reznya, "Katyn massacre", or Russian: Катынский расстрел, "Katyn execution by shooting") was a series of mass executions of Polish officers and intelligentsia carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD("People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs", aka the Soviet secret police) in April and May 1940. Though the killings took place at several places, the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest, where some of the mass graves were first discovered.

Katyn massacre - Wikipedia
 
  • Like
Reactions: dukeofjive
Jun 2017
2,996
Connecticut
Mass murderer. Marxism's main flaw and the reason both opponents say it likely can't work and that advocates say it hasn't been tested(both of which are probably true) is because Marxist rebellions have only succeeded in agrarian society's, when Marxism believes that society must go through a capitalist phase before a revolution. Stalin the first Marxist in power to address this problem(Lenin was sort of distracted by civil war and what not before he died) decided the way to work around this was central planning and collectivization, a decision that caused most of the mass deaths he is infamous for, and created a model for the one's he wasn't in other country's(who do you think convinced Mao collectivization was a good idea?) Besides the mass scale oppression, Stalin made another departure from Marx and Lenin with "Socialism in one country" taking what had been a mission to empower workers around the world and turning himself into a new sort of Tsar advocating for traditional Russian foreign policy aims. Even amongst the elite no one was safe and it is telling that the moment the man was dead, the Soviet government basically started running in a 180 as fast as they possibly could. While the Hitler death conspiracy theories have been recently laid to rest, I am convinced someone whether it be Tito(who did promise to send an assassin that wouldn't miss) or people within his government had him killed.

The man deserves far less credit than he receives. The Soviet military prior to WWII had about as poor a reputation as they had under Tsar Nicholas in WWI, and this was because of Stalin's paranoid purge. If the Nazi's had given the Soviet people an alternative preferable to war, like the Germans in WWI had given to the Russians in WWI, Stalin would probably have been overthrown. Instead the Nazi's mass homicidal ideology made the Soviet alternative to war being killed and forced the Soviet people to endure casualty's and suffering that no people would have been willing to in a situation where total annihilation wasn't the alternative. We talk a lot about how the Germans messed up but if we take this aspect out of it that made moral and public support almost irrelevant, I'm convinced Stalin's regime should not have been able to survive Barbarossa, he was caught incompetently off guard. He luckily stumbled his way into conquering half of Europe and we should all be grateful Stalin didn't survive too long into the MAD era.