According to historian Robert Conquest “Joseph Stalin was a man who perhaps more than any other determined the course of the twentieth century.” Joseph Stalin, one of the most infamous dictators in world history, was responsible for a series of political repression and persecution of his own Soviet people which resulted in tens of millions of individuals executed or imprisoned. This “great purge” was involved the persecution and repression of peasants, and was highlighted by a full scale purge of Communist party leaders and government officials. However, Stalin acted ‘entirely rationally’ in executing and imprisoning millions of people in the Gulags, a controversial new Russian teaching manual claims. Still today many believe that despite his heinous crimes against his own people, that Stalin made Russia stronger.
In one New York Times article from March 12, 1939 by Harold Denny, “The Soviet Union is stronger because of the purging in recent years and the communist party has now reached a state of stabilization” (New York Times, March 12, 1939, pg.1).
Stalin says that the purge did not hurt the Soviet Union. Instead he stresses the benefit in the removal of ‘murderers’, ‘wreckers’ and ‘other monsters.’ Stalin stated all of this in an address before party congress on March 11, 1939. Stalin goes on to state “how could the cleansing of Soviet organizations of harmful disintegrating elements shake or disintegrate the soviet structure?” (New York Times, March 12, 1939, pg. 39) More surprisingly is that he was interrupted at times with “stormy applause” and received a “tumultuous ovation” at the end. This then shows evidence that many believed and supported Stalin despite his actions and still revered him for his strives towards bringing the Soviet Union back to a world superpower.
Joseph Stalin's official reign of terror ended with his death in 1953, but the effects of his autocratic rule continued for many years to follow. His lasting hold on the people of the former Soviet Union still lingers in a few brainwashed minds. In the article 'Stalin's Afterlife' and the movie 'Russia's War - Blood Upon the Snow', Stalin is portrayed as the monster really was and should be ...
In another New York Times article by Harold Denny from March 14, 1939, Stalin is praised as a Red Historian, and he is even called a “scientist.” In the article, Stalin is characterized by Emil Yaroslavsky as not only a great statesman, but also as a model historian and scientist even. “He called Mr. Stalin a model scientist on the ground that he had blazed new trails, torn down outmoded norms, opened all doors to the young forces of the Soviet Union and given them a chance to conquer the heights of science.” (New York Times, March 14, 1939, pg. 3) They even go as far to say in the article that the party is indebted to Stalin.
Despite all the praise for Stalin as a Soviet hero and historian, the lasting effects of his purges and the suffering in millions of families are still echoed even more than 50 years later. In a June 6, 2002 New York Times article, Michiko Kakutani recounts the suffering of Russia under Stalin. In the article Stalin is the one who is referred to as a “monster,” a monster whose millions of victims “perished in his purges, in his gulag, in famines and in his campaign of forced collectivization” (New York Times, June 6, 2002, pg. E9).
In the article he analyzes the latest book by Martin Amis titled “Koba the Dread.” Amis lost his sister, and is persistent that many narcissistic supporters and sympathizers with Stalin’s actions never knew the kind of real suffering that Stalin’s victims did. “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”
In the historical journal article Purges and Production: Soviet Economic growth, 1928-1940, Barbara G. Katz states that there was a major economic disruption in industrial production “namely the impact of Stalin’s terror in the form of chaos producing political terror” (Katz, pg. 570) . In economic terms, the purges slowed down economic development due to the internal conflict and fear in the country. Many industrial workers and high-end employees were killed, thus affecting worker morale and productivity.
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Denny, Harold. “Stalin Says Purge Didn’t Hurt Soviet.” New York Times,
March 12, 1939, page 1
Denny, Harold. “Stalin is Praised as Red Historian.” New York Times,
March 14, 1939, page 3
Kakutani, Michiko. “Recounting the Suffering Of Russia Under Stalin.” New York Times,
June 26, 2002, pg. E9
Katz, G. Barbara. “Purges and Production: Soviet Economic Growth, 1928-1940. “The Journal of Economic History,” pg 567-590.