Anyone else admire this man? He was horrible, yet his utter disregard for humanity can't be discounted. He was so brutally effective that you can't help but admire his power.
>He wasn't a genius or a visionary whatsoever.
He was close. He had an instinctive understanding of power and was a masterful psychologist and manipulator, which is impressive for a foreign peasant with little formal education.
Reading about some of the power plays he pulled on the Politburo just leaves you shaking your head in disbelief
He was kind of a moron but at the end of the day his system got the job done. If the Soviet Union was a capitalist liberal democracy there's no way it would've survived the war with Germany. Central economic planning, state terror, and a willingness to take extreme casualties were key factors in his success.
If you include WWII he suffered something moderately in excess of 30,000,000 non-natural deaths during his reign. It's hard to tell how many were really necessary, but probably around several million can be directly attributed to his mistakes. Rapid industrialization and collectivization just had to be done or the USSR wouldn't have survived, famines were to be expected but there's no doubt Stalin's methods increased the death count by some hundreds of thousands.
3-5 million preventable and caused famine deaths in 1932-1933
~1 million terror (largely preventable and caused, should have been labour colonies with/without correspondence)
15-30 million WWII related deaths, largely preventable (but not caused) due to the gross failure of the Red Army in 1941
3-5 million unpreventable post war famine deaths
The WWII deaths are normally attributed to the German NSDAP regime.
Is Conquest reliable?
He wrote in the US when the Soviet Union was still intact and I'm not sure if I want to trust the author of "What to Do When the Russians Come: a Survivor's Handbook (1984)"
He does have a cool last name though
I'm only familiar with Great Terror which was effectively written as a result of him being a labourite think tanker with special responsibilities.
Comparing Great Terror to other books on the 30s that I've read I'd say that it is a useful summary from "official" rather than archival sources. Conquest establishes many of the problematics that will be raised in later scholarship on Stalin, Terror, Purge and Gulag.
I disagree. Stalin was "powerful" in the sense that he was feared. This is the man that ordered the execution of a guard for coming into his room while pretending to have a stroke, who ordered the forced collectivization of peasant land that starved millions to death. I daresay that he could have been deposed and executed without any uproar from the Soviet people. Unlike, say, Hitler or Hirohito, Stalin was not admired or loved, limiting his influence to terror, gulags, and deportations to Siberia.
He did some truely stupid things like the officer purges that crippled the army and his fuckups in the early war.
What was commendable and rare for someone with his Power and probably lack of open critics is understanding that his Generals are way better than he is at the whole war thing and letting them do it the way they want.
i would really like the translations to these, I like Japan's warped perspective of the world
1: they're not white
2: they're not liberal
3: they were once fascist then received a pasting by the same country that shook them out of their isolationism
4: the US turned out not to be beasts and only demanded a return to democracy and pacifism (which I hope they stay) and they became wealthy capitalists, so everything turned out ok in the end and they had an opportunity to opine about what had happened
They kind of inhabit a twilight, proud yet humbled. prone to fanaticism then brought back down to earth, believing they are the center of the world then having to accept the world and all its craziness and diversity and their place in it, they have been forced to confront a lot of questions and their response to this sometimes appears in anime. It is very interesting.