Why didn't Mao suffer Stalin's fate?

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,393
Republika Srpska
#1
Both Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin were absolute rulers of their respective countries, dictators whose every word had to be obeyed and dictators who died while still in power. Now, both Stalin and Mao were buried with full honours with the new leadership promising to continue in their steps. Yet, the new leaders, Nikita Khruschev and Deng Xiaoping discarded much of their predecessors' ideologies and started with a policy that demistified Stalin and Mao respectively and turned them from basically walking deities to flawed humans. Still, when I think about it, I came to the conclusion that Khruschev went further. De-Stalinization was much more comprehensive than de-Maoization. Stalin was removed from his mausoleum and unceremoniouly buried somewhere else, his statues were removed, names of places were changed (Stalingrad to Volgograd being the most famous example) etc. However, this never really happened with Mao. Sure, the CCP accepted that he was not infallible and that he made big mistakes, but then you see that Mao is still very much celebrated. His portrait hangs at Tiananmen, there are still many statues of him etc. I made this thread after reading writings of a Yugoslav journalist who was in China in the years after Mao's death and he pretty much expected Mao to suffer the same fate as Stalin.

So, why didn't he?
 
Feb 2019
57
Planet Earth
#2
Perhaps he simply had better social competence and was better choosing people that stayed loyal to him (especially not someone like Beria!). The brain behind de-Stalinization was in fact Beria, not Khruschev.

But I think the main reason was that Stalin repeatedly purged his elite. (He was probably planning another one before his death.) So understandably Beria, Khruschev, Molotov, Mikoyan and others were very scared of Stalin and most started to despise him.
 
Likes: arkteia

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,286
#3
Beria outlived Stalin by less than a year, so I don't see how he could be behind deStalinization. The other leaders were probably afraid of Beria and afraid Beria would continue Stalinist purges. I agree that the leaders were not happy about the purges of the Communist leadership. After Stalin, you generally had to actually do something political or otherwise to wind up in the Gulag.
 
Jul 2009
9,944
#5
Beria outlived Stalin by less than a year, so I don't see how he could be behind deStalinization. The other leaders were probably afraid of Beria and afraid Beria would continue Stalinist purges. I agree that the leaders were not happy about the purges of the Communist leadership. After Stalin, you generally had to actually do something political or otherwise to wind up in the Gulag.
Beria was a psychopath who, without Stalin's protection, was lucky he lasted as long as he did. The rest of the Soviet mafia knew they had to get rid of him before he could get them. Stalin IIRC had intentions of ridding himself of Beria, but I might be mistaken there.
 
Likes: macon
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#6
Beria was a psychopath who, without Stalin's protection, was lucky he lasted as long as he did. The rest of the Soviet mafia knew they had to get rid of him before he could get them.
Keep in mind that a lot of what we know about Beria's last few years and his supposed psychopathic tendencies come from the extremely biased and self-interested parties that overthrew him and had him executed, so you can't take everything they say as undisputed fact. It'd be like taking everything the Senatorial writers said about Roman Emperors they deposed and assassinated at face value.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,029
SoCal
#7
My guess would be that Mao had much more of a heroic aura than Stalin had. Specifically, Mao actually actively struggled in his effort to achieve a Communist victory in China--for instance, with the hardships that were endured on the Long March in 1934-1935. Meanwhile, Stalin simply piggybacked off of Lenin's efforts and thus didn't have the same type of heroic aura. Plus, he wasn't a warrior like Mao was.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,286
#9
Beria was initially thought to have the best chance to replace Stalin due to his control of the secret police. The other leaders wanted to move away from Stalin's terror policies, so they took out Beria. They presented evidence about his behavior with teenage girls, but had him executed for being a British agent. The latter was obviously fabricated, so maybe the former was exagerated.

Stalin was also an effective war leader, and made the Soviet Union a superpower. He is respected by many Russians now.

In China, they moved away from the Cultural Revolution and then really from Communism, but it wasn't necessary to attack Mao. The government there is still chosen through the Communist structure, so attacking Mao would attack the legitimacy of their government.
 
Sep 2017
737
United States
#10
Not sure if this is true, but I read somewhere that Mao was generally a more pleasant person and IIRC even owned up to some of his mistakes towards the end.

While I’ve heard Stalin could be charming, he also appeared to be a very paranoid, generally not fun person to be around; considering how many high-ranking people he executed, I’m not surprised they knocked down his record when he wasn’t there to menace them anymore.

Even Stalin’s guards were scared to check on him when he died since they were ordered to not disturb him or something along those lines. I just can’t imagine anyone who worked with him liked or admired him very much.