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  Vladimir Lenin

part I
Vladimir Ilich Lenin


part II
October Revolution
Cheka
Red Terror
White Terror
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Russian famine of 1921
  Joseph Stalin

part I
Joseph Stalin 1879-1938

part II
Joseph Stalin 1939-1953

part III

Great Purge
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Holodomor
Stalin and anti-Semitism
Stalin and Socialist Realism
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Joseph Stalin (Jughashvili)   Part I (1839-1953)
 
 
 
 
 

World War II, 1939–1945

Pact with Hitler

After a failed attempt to sign an anti-German military alliance with France and Britain and talks with Germany regarding a potential political deal, on 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, negotiated by Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Officially a non-aggression treaty only, an appended secret protocol, also reached on 23 August 1939, divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

The eastern part of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and part of Romania were recognized as parts of the Soviet sphere of influence, with Lithuania added in a second secret protocol in September 1939. Stalin and Ribbentrop traded toasts on the night of the signing discussing past hostilities between the countries. German-Soviet trade agreements completely undermined the British blockade of Germany. Cooperation between the Soviet and Nazis was considerable to the point that in 1939 Trotsky called Stalin as the "Hitler' quartermaster".

On 1 September 1939, the German invasion of its agreed upon portion of Poland started World War II. On 17 September the Red Army invaded eastern Poland and occupied the Polish territory assigned to it by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, followed by co-ordination with German forces in Poland. Eleven days later, the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was modified, allotting Germany a larger part of Poland, while ceding most of Lithuania to the Soviet Union.
After Stalin declared that he was going to "solve the Baltic problem", by June 1940, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were merged into the Soviet Union, after repressions and actions therein brought about the deaths of over 160,000 citizens of these states. After facing stiff resistance in an invasion of Finland, an interim peace was entered, granting the Soviet Union the eastern region of Karelia (10% of Finnish territory).

After this campaign, Stalin took actions to bolster the Soviet military, modify training and improve propaganda efforts in the Soviet military. In June 1940, Stalin directed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, proclaiming this formerly Romanian territory part of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic. But in annexing northern Bukovina, Stalin had gone beyond the agreed limits of the secret protocol.

After the Tripartite Pact was signed by Axis Powers Germany, Japan and Italy, in October 1940, Stalin traded letters with Ribbentrop, with Stalin writing about entering an agreement regarding a "permanent basis" for their "mutual interests." After a conference in Berlin between Hitler, Molotov and Ribbentrop, Germany presented Molotov with a proposed written agreement for Axis entry. On 25 November, Stalin responded with a proposed written agreement for Axis entry which was never answered by Germany. Shortly thereafter, Hitler issued a secret directive on the eventual attempts to invade the Soviet Union. In an effort to demonstrate peaceful intentions toward Germany, on 13 April 1941, Stalin oversaw the signing of a neutrality pact with Axis power Japan.

On 6 May, Stalin replaced Molotov as Premier of the Soviet Union. Although Stalin had been the de facto head of government for a decade and a half, he had concluded relations with Nazi Germany had deteriorated to such an extent that he needed to deal with the problem as de jure head of government as well.
 

   
   
  The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact
 


German Foreign Minister Joachim Von Ribbentrop (left), Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and his
Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov (right) sign the pact in the Kremlin on August 23, 1939.


German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact

 


Molotov signs the German–Soviet non-aggression pact.
Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin.
 

Germany-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [1939]
also called Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, German-Soviet Treaty of Nonaggression, Hitler-Stalin Pact, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

(August 23, 1939), nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union that was concluded only a few days before the beginning of World War II and which divided eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.


Molotov signs the German–Soviet non-aggression pact, 1939
Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin.

The Soviet Union had been unable to reach a collective-security agreement with Britain and France against Nazi Germany, most notably at the time of the Munich Conference in September 1938. By early 1939 the Soviets faced the prospect of resisting German military expansion in eastern Europe virtually alone, and so they began searching about for a change of policy. On May 3, 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin fired Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov, who was Jewish and an advocate of collective security, and replaced him with Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov, who soon began negotiations with the Nazi foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop. The Soviets also kept negotiating with Britain and France, but in the end Stalin chose to reach an agreement with Germany. By doing so he hoped to keep the Soviet Union at peace with Germany and to gain time to build up the Soviet military establishment, which had been badly weakened by the purge of the Red Army officer corps in 1937. The Western democracies’ hesitance in opposing Adolf Hitler, along with Stalin’s own inexplicable personal preference for the Nazis, also played a part in Stalin’s final choice. For his part, Hitler wanted a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union so that his armies could invade Poland virtually unopposed by a major power, after which Germany could deal with the forces of France and Britain in the west without having to simultaneously fight the Soviet Union on a second front in the east. The end result of the German-Soviet negotiations was the Nonaggression Pact, which was dated August 23 and was signed by Ribbentrop and Molotov in the presence of Stalin, in Moscow.

The terms of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact were briefly as follows: the two countries agreed not to attack each other, either independently or in conjunction with other powers; not to support any third power that might attack the other party to the pact; to remain in consultation with each other upon questions touching their common interests; not to join any group of powers directly or indirectly threatening one of the two parties; to solve all differences between the two by negotiation or arbitration. The pact was to last for 10 years, with automatic extension for another 5 years unless either party gave notice to terminate it 1 year before its expiration.

To this public pact of nonaggression was appended a secret protocol, also reached on August 23, 1939, which divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Poland east of the line formed by the Narew, Vistula, and San rivers would fall under the Soviet sphere of influence. The protocol also assigned Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland to the Soviet sphere of influence and, further, broached the subject of the separation of Bessarabia from Romania. A secret supplementary protocol (signed September 28, 1939) clarified the Lithuanian borders. The Polish-German border was also determined, and Bessarabia was assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence. In a third secret protocol (signed January 10, 1941, by Count Friedrich Werner von Schulenberg and Molotov), Germany renounced its claims to portions of Lithuania in return for Soviet payment of a sum agreed upon by the two countries.

The public German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact caused consternation in the capitals of Britain and France. After Germany invaded Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east on September 17, meeting the advancing Germans near Brest-Litovsk two days later. The partition of Poland was effected on September 29, at which time the dividing line between German and Soviet territory was changed in Germany’s favour, being moved eastward to the Bug River (i.e., the current Polish-Soviet frontier). The Soviets soon afterward sought to consolidate their sphere of influence as a defensive barrier to renewed German aggression in the east. Accordingly, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on November 30 and forced it in March 1940 to yield the Isthmus of Karelia and make other concessions. The Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were annexed by the Soviet Union and were organized as Soviet republics in August 1940. The Nonaggression Pact became a dead letter on June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany, after having invaded much of western and central Europe, attacked the Soviet Union without warning in Operation Barbarossa.

The Soviet Union’s borders with Poland and Romania that were established after World War II roughly follow those established by the Nonaggression Pact in 1939–41. Until 1989 the Soviet Union denied the existence of the secret protocols because they were considered evidence of its involuntary annexation of the Baltic states. Soviet leaders were initially unwilling to restore prewar boundaries, but the transformations occurring within the Soviet Union in the early 1990s made it virtually impossible for Soviet leaders to combat declarations of independence from the Baltic states in 1991.

Encyclopaedia Britannica


Ribbentrop and Stalin at the signing of the Pact


German and Soviet soldiers meeting
in Brest

 


Common parade of Wehrmacht and Red Army in Brest at the
end of the Invasion of Poland.
At the center Major General Heinz Guderian and Brigadier Semyon Krivoshein




Soviet and German soldiers in Lublin


German and Soviet soldiers at the so-called Border of Peace established by the pact




Ribbentrop welcoming Molotov in Berlin, November 1940


Last page of the Additional Secret Protocol of the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact



"Second Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact" of 28 September 1939.
Map of Poland signed by Stalin and Ribbentrop adjusting
the German–Soviet border in the aftermath of German and
Soviet invasion of Poland.

 


Foreign Minister Molotov and Hitler in Berlin, 1940


German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact

The Government of the German Reich and The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April, 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following Agreement:

Article I. Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other Powers.

Article II. Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power.

Article III. The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests.

Article IV. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.

Article V. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions.

Article VI. The present Treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, with the proviso that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties does not advance it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the validity of this Treaty shall automatically be extended for another five years.

Article VII. The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed.

[The next section was not published at the time the above was announced.]

Secret Additional Protocol.

Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.

Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San.

The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments.

In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.

Article III. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinteredness in these areas.

Article IV. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret.

Moscow, August 23, 1939.

For the Government of the German Reich v. Ribbentrop

Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R. V. Molotov

[From: Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941. Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office (Washington D.C., 1948) p. 78]








Secret Additional Protoco

 

Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact

The Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact (日ソ中立条約, Nisso Chūritsu Jōyaku?), more extensively known as Japanese-Soviet Nonaggression Pact (日ソ不可侵条約, Nisso Fukashin Jōyaku?) as well as German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, was a pact between the Empire of Japan and the Soviet Union signed in 1941, two years after the brief Soviet-Japanese Border War (1939).

In September 1939, with the outbreak of general war in Europe between Nazi Germany and Poland, the United Kingdom, and France, the Soviet Union needed to mend its diplomatic relations in the Far East in order to concentrate on the growing threat to European Russia in the west. On the other hand, Japan, bogged down in a seemingly interminable war with China and with diplomatic relations with the United States rapidly deteriorating, sought an accommodation with the Soviet Union that would improve its international standing and secure the northern frontier of Manchukuo against possible Soviet invasion.

The treaty was signed in Moscow on April 13, 1941, by Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka and Ambassador Yoshitsugu Tatekawa for Japan and Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov for the Soviet Union.

On the same day, the same people also signed a declaration regarding Mongolia and Manchuria. The Soviet Union pledged to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchukuo, while Japan did the same for the Mongolian People's Republic.

Later, in 1941, Japan, as a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, considered denouncing the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, especially after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), but made the crucial decision to keep it and to expand southwards invading the European colonies in Southeast Asia instead.

On April 5, 1945 the Soviet Union denounced the pact, informing the Japanese government that "in accordance with Article Three of the above mentioned pact, which envisaged the right of denunciation one year before the lapse of the five year period of operation of the pact, the Soviet Government hereby makes known to the Government of Japan its wish to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941." Formally, the pact itself remained in effect until April 13, 1946, but the Russian Foreign Commissar's tone indicated that Russia might go to war with Japan soon.

On August 8, 1945 the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria, keeping their promise to the Allies at the Yalta Conference to enter the war with Japan two to three months after the end of World War II in Europe.




Stalin and Molotov on the signing of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact with the Empire of Japan, 1941

PACT OF NEUTRALITY BETWEEN UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS AND JAPAN

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, guided by a desire to strengthen peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries, have decided to conclude a pact on neutrality, for which purpose they have appointed as their Representatives:

the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics -

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics;

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan -

Yosuke Matsuoka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jusanmin, Cavalier of the Order of the Sacred Treasure of the First Class, and

Yoshitsugu Tatekawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lieutenant General, Jusanmin, Cavalier of the Order of the Rising Sun of the First Class and the Order of the Golden Kite of the Fourth Class,

who, after an exchange of their credentials, which were found in due and proper form, have agreed on the following:

ARTICLE ONE
Both Contracting Parties undertake to maintain peaceful and friendly relations between them and mutually respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of the other Contracting Party.

ARTICLE TWO
Should one of the Contracting Parties become the object of hostilities on the part of one or several third powers, the other Contracting Party will observe neutrality throughout the duration of the conflict.

ARTICLE THREE
The present Pact comes into force from the day of its ratification by both Contracting Parties and remains valid for five years. In case neither of the Contracting Parties denounces the Pact one year before the expiration of the term, it will be considered automatically prolonged for the next five years.

ARTICLE FOUR
The present Pact is subject to ratification as soon as possible. The instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Tokyo, also as soon as possible.

In confirmation whereof the above-named Representatives have signed the present Pact in two copies, drawn up in the Russian and Japanese languages, and affixed thereto their seals.

Done in Moscow on April 13, 1941, which corresponds to the 13th day of the fourth month of the 16th year of Showa.

V. MOLOTOV
YOSUKE MATSUOKA
YOSHITSUGU TATEKAWA

 

 

Hitler breaks the pact
In the early morning of 22 June 1941, Adolf Hitler broke the pact by implementing Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union that began the war on the Eastern Front. Already in autumn 1940 Stalin received a warning from the Dutch Communist Party, via the network of the Red Orchestra, that Hitler was preparing for a winter war by allowing the construction of thousands of snow landing gears for the Junkers Ju 52 transport planes. Although Stalin had received warnings from spies and his generals, he felt that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union until Germany had defeated Britain. In the initial hours after the German attack commenced, Stalin hesitated, wanting to ensure that the German attack was sanctioned by Hitler, rather than the unauthorized action of a rogue general.

Accounts by Nikita Khrushchev and Anastas Mikoyan claim that, after the invasion, Stalin retreated to his dacha in despair for several days and did not participate in leadership decisions. However, documentary evidence of orders given by Stalin contradicts these accounts, leading some historians to speculate that Khrushchev's account is inaccurate. By the end of 1941, the Soviet military had suffered 4.3 million casualties and German forces had advanced 1,050 miles (1,690 kilometers).




With all the men at the Front, Moscow women dig anti-tank trenches around Moscow in 1941.
 

Soviets stop the Germans
While the Germans pressed forward, Stalin was confident of an eventual Allied victory over Germany. In September 1941, Stalin told British diplomats that he wanted two agreements: (1) a mutual assistance/aid pact and (2) a recognition that, after the war, the Soviet Union would gain the territories in countries that it had taken pursuant to its division of Eastern Europe with Hitler in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The British agreed to assistance but refused to agree upon the territorial gains, which Stalin accepted months later as the military situation deteriorated somewhat in mid-1942. By December 1941, Hitler's troops had advanced to within 20 miles of the Kremlin in Moscow. On 5 December, the Soviets launched a counteroffensive, pushing German troops back 40–50 miles from Moscow, the Wehrmacht's first significant defeat of the war.

In 1942, Hitler shifted his primary goal from an immediate victory in the East, to the more long-term goal of securing the southern Soviet Union to conquer oil fields vital to a long-term German war effort. In July 1942, Hitler praised the efficiency of the Soviet military industry and Stalin:

Stalin, too, must command our unconditional respect. In his own way he is one hell of a fellow! (German: ein genialer Kerl) He knows his models, Genghiz Khan and the others, very well, and the scope of his industrial planning is exceeded only by our own Four Year Plan.

While Red Army generals saw evidence that Hitler would shift efforts south, Stalin considered this to be a flanking campaign in efforts to take Moscow. During the war, Time magazine named Stalin Time Person of the Year twice and he was also one of the nominees for Time Person of the Century title.



The Big Three: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945.
 

Soviet push to Germany
The Soviets repulsed the important German strategic southern campaign and, although there were 2.5 million Soviet casualties in that effort, it permitted the Soviets to take the offensive for most of the rest of the war on the Eastern Front.

Germany attempted an encirclement attack at Kursk, which was successfully repulsed by the Soviets. Kursk marked the beginning of a period where Stalin became more willing to listen to the advice of his generals. By the end of 1943, the Soviets occupied half of the territory taken by the Germans from 1941 to 1942. Soviet military industrial output also had increased substantially from late 1941 to early 1943 after Stalin had moved factories well to the East of the front, safe from German invasion and air attack.

In November 1943, Stalin met with Churchill and Roosevelt in Tehran. The parties later agreed that Britain and America would launch a cross-channel invasion of France in May 1944, along with a separate invasion of southern France. Stalin insisted that, after the war, the Soviet Union should incorporate the portions of Poland it occupied pursuant to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Germany, which Churchill opposed.

In 1944, the Soviet Union made significant advances across Eastern Europe toward Germany, including Operation Bagration, a massive offensive in Belorussia against the German Army Group Centre.

 

Final victory
By April 1945, Nazi Germany faced its last days with 1.9 million German soldiers in the East fighting 6.4 million Red Army soldiers while 1 million German soldiers in the West battled 4 million Western Allied soldiers. While initial talk existed of a race to Berlin by the Allies, after Stalin successfully lobbied for Eastern Germany to fall within the Soviet "sphere of influence" at Yalta, no plans were made by the Western Allies to seize the city by a ground operation.

On 30 April, Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide, after which Soviet forces found their remains, which had been burned at Hitler's directive. German forces surrendered a few days later. Despite the Soviets' possession of Hitler's remains, Stalin refused to believe that his old nemesis was actually dead, a belief that remained with him for years after the war ended.

Fending off the German invasion and pressing to victory in the East required a tremendous sacrifice by the Soviet Union. Soviet military casualties totaled approximately 35 million (official figures 28.2 million) with approximately 14.7 million killed, missing or captured (official figures 11.285 million). Although figures vary, the Soviet civilian death toll probably reached 20 million. One in four Soviets was killed or wounded. Some 1,710 towns and 70,000 villages were destroyed. Thereafter, Stalin was at times referred to as one of the most influential men in human history.

Nobel Peace Prize nominations
Stalin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 and 1948.



Part of 5 March 1940 memo from Lavrentiy Beria to Stalin proposing execution of Polish officers
 

Human rights abuses

After taking around 300,000 Polish prisoners in 1939 and early 1940, 25,700 Polish POWs were executed on 5 March 1940, pursuant to a note to Stalin from Lavrenty Beria, in what became known as the Katyn massacre. While Stalin personally told a Polish general they'd "lost track" of the officers in Manchuria, Polish railroad workers found the mass grave after the 1941 Nazi invasion. The massacre became a source of political controversy, with the Soviets eventually claiming that Germany committed the executions when the Soviet Union retook Poland in 1944. The Soviets did not admit responsibility until 1990.

Stalin introduced controversial military orders, such as Order No. 270 in August 1941, requiring superiors to shoot deserters on the spot while their family members were subject to arrest. Thereafter, Stalin also conducted a purge of several military commanders that were shot for "cowardice" without a trial. Stalin issued Order No. 227 in July 1942, directing that commanders permitting retreat without permission to be subject to a military tribunal, and soldiers guilty of disciplinary procedures to be forced into "penal battalions", which were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front lines. From 1942 to 1945, 427,910 soldiers were assigned to penal battalions. The order also directed "blocking detachments" to shoot fleeing panicked troops at the rear.

In June 1941, weeks after the German invasion began, Stalin also directed employing a scorched earth policy of destroying the infrastructure and food supplies of areas before the Germans could seize them, and that partisans were to be set up in evacuated areas. He also ordered the NKVD to murder around one hundred thousand political prisoners in areas where the Wehrmacht approached, while others were deported east.


Beria's proposal from 29 January 1942 to execute 46 Soviet generals. Stalin's resolution: "Shoot all named in the list. – J. St."


After the capture of Berlin, Soviet troops reportedly raped from tens of thousands to two million women, and 50,000 during and after the occupation of Budapest. Many of these women died or committed suicide as a result of rape. In former Axis countries, such as Germany, Romania and Hungary, Red Army officers generally viewed cities, villages and farms as being open to pillaging and looting.

In the Soviet Occupation Zone of post-war Germany, the Soviets set up ten NKVD-run "special camps" subordinate to the gulag. These "special camps" were former Stalags, prisons, or Nazi concentration camps such as Sachsenhausen (special camp number 7) and Buchenwald (special camp number 2). According to German government estimates, "65,000 people died in those Soviet-run camps or in transportation to them."

According to recent figures, of an estimated four million POWs taken by the Soviets, including Germans, Japanese, Hungarians, Romanians and others, some 580,000 never returned, presumably victims of privation or the Gulags. German estimates put the actual death toll of German POWs in the USSR at about 1 million, they maintain that among those reported as missing were men who actually died as POWs. Soviet POWs and forced laborers who survived German captivity were sent to special "transit" or "filtration" camps to determine which were potential traitors.

Of the approximately 4 million to be repatriated 2,660,013 were civilians and 1,539,475 were former POWs. Of the total, 2,427,906 were sent home and 801,152 were reconscripted into the armed forces. 608,095 were enrolled in the work battalions of the defense ministry. 272,867 were transferred to the authority of the NKVD for punishment, which meant a transfer to the Gulag system. 89,468 remained in the transit camps as reception personnel until the repatriation process was finally wound up in the early 1950s.




The Big Three: Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, November 1943.

 

Allied conferences on post-war Europe
Stalin met in several conferences with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and later Clement Attlee) and/or U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (and later Harry Truman) to plan military strategy and, later, to discuss Europe's postwar reorganization. Very early conferences, such as that with British diplomats in Moscow in 1941 and with Churchill and American diplomats in Moscow in 1942, focused mostly upon war planning and supply, though some preliminary postwar reorganization discussion also occurred. In 1943, Stalin met with Churchill and Roosevelt in the Tehran Conference. In 1944, Stalin met with Churchill in the Moscow Conference. Beginning in late 1944, the Red Army occupied much of Eastern Europe during these conferences and the discussions shifted to a more intense focus on the reorganization of postwar Europe.

In February 1945, at the conference at Yalta, Stalin demanded a Soviet sphere of political influence in Eastern Europe. Stalin eventually was convinced by Churchill and Roosevelt not to dismember Germany. Stalin also stated that the Polish government-in-exile demands for self-rule were not negotiable, such that the Soviet Union would keep the territory of eastern Poland they had already taken by invasion with German consent in 1939, and wanted the pro-Soviet Polish government installed. After resistance by Churchill and Roosevelt, Stalin promised a re-organization of the current Communist puppet government on a broader democratic basis in Poland. He stated the new government's primary task would be to prepare elections.

The parties at Yalta further agreed that the countries of liberated Europe and former Axis satellites would be allowed to "create democratic institutions of their own choice", pursuant to "the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live." The parties also agreed to help those countries form interim governments "pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections" and "facilitate where necessary the holding of such elections." After the re-organization of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland, the parties agreed that the new party shall "be pledged to the holding of free and unfettered elections as soon as possible on the basis of universal suffrage and secret ballot."[246] One month after Yalta, the Soviet NKVD arrested 16 Polish leaders wishing to participate in provisional government negotiations, for alleged "crimes" and "diversions", which drew protest from the West.] The fraudulent Polish elections, held in January 1947 resulted in Poland's official transformation to undemocratic communist state by 1949.


British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, July 1945.



At the Potsdam Conference from July to August 1945, though Germany had surrendered months earlier, instead of withdrawing Soviet forces from Eastern European countries, Stalin had not moved those forces. At the beginning of the conference, Stalin repeated previous promises to Churchill that he would refrain from a "Sovietization" of Eastern Europe. Stalin pushed for reparations from Germany without regard to the base minimum supply for German citizens' survival, which worried Truman and Churchill who thought that Germany would become a financial burden for Western powers.

In addition to reparations, Stalin pushed for "war booty", which would permit the Soviet Union to directly seize property from conquered nations without quantitative or qualitative limitation, and a clause was added permitting this to occur with some limitations. By July 1945, Stalin's troops effectively controlled the Baltic States, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, and refugees were fleeing out of these countries fearing a Communist take-over. The western allies, and especially Churchill, were suspicious of the motives of Stalin, who had already installed communist governments in the central European countries under his influence.

In these conferences, his first appearances on the world stage, Stalin proved to be a formidable negotiator. Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary noted: "Marshal Stalin as a negotiator was the toughest proposition of all. Indeed, after something like thirty years' experience of international conferences of one kind and another, if I had to pick a team for going into a conference room, Stalin would be my first choice. Of course the man was ruthless and of course he knew his purpose. He never wasted a word. He never stormed, he was seldom even irritated."


The Eastern Bloc until 1989
 

Post-war era, 1945–1953
The Iron Curtain and the Eastern Bloc

After Soviet forces remained in Eastern and Central European countries, with the beginnings of communist puppet regimes in those countries, Churchill referred to the region as being behind an "Iron Curtain" of control from Moscow. The countries under Soviet control in Eastern and Central Europe were sometimes called the "Eastern bloc" or "Soviet Bloc".

In Soviet-controlled East Germany, the major task of the ruling communist party in Germany was to channel Soviet orders down to both the administrative apparatus and the other bloc parties pretending that these were initiatives of its own, with deviations potentially leading to reprimands, imprisonment, torture and even death. Property and industry were nationalized.

The German Democratic Republic was declared on 7 October 1949, with a new constitution which enshrined socialism and gave the Soviet-controlled Socialist Unity Party (SED) control. In Berlin, after citizens strongly rejected communist candidates in an election, in June 1948, the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin, the portion of Berlin not under Soviet control, cutting off all supply of food and other items. The blockade failed due to the unexpected massive aerial resupply campaign carried out by the Western powers known as the Berlin Airlift. In 1949, Stalin conceded defeat and ended the blockade.

While Stalin had promised at the Yalta Conference that free elections would be held in Poland, after an election failure in "3 times YES" elections, vote rigging was employed to win a majority in the carefully controlled poll. Following the forged referendum, the Polish economy started to become nationalized.

In Hungary, when the Soviets installed a communist government, Mátyás Rákosi, who described himself as "Stalin's best Hungarian disciple" and "Stalin's best pupil", took power. Rákosi employed "salami tactics", slicing up these enemies like pieces of salami, to battle the initial postwar political majority ready to establish a democracy. Rákosi, employed Stalinist political and economic programs, and was dubbed the "bald murderer" for establishing one of the harshest dictatorships in Europe. Approximately 350,000 Hungarian officials and intellectuals were purged from 1948 to 1956.

During World War II, in Bulgaria, the Red Army crossed the border and created the conditions for a communist coup d'état on the following night. The Soviet military commander in Sofia assumed supreme authority, and the communists whom he instructed, including Kimon Georgiev, took full control of domestic politics.

In 1949, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania founded the Comecon in accordance with Stalin's desire to enforce Soviet domination of the lesser states of Central Europe and to mollify some states that had expressed interest in the Marshall Plan, and which were now, increasingly, cut off from their traditional markets and suppliers in Western Europe. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland had remained interested in Marshall aid despite the requirements for a convertible currency and market economies. In July 1947, Stalin ordered these communist-dominated governments to pull out of the Paris Conference on the European Recovery Programme. This has been described as "the moment of truth" in the post–World War II division of Europe.

In Greece, Britain and the United States supported the anti-communists in the Greek Civil War and suspected the Soviets of supporting the Greek communists, although Stalin refrained from getting involved in Greece, dismissing the movement as premature. Albania remained an ally of the Soviet Union, but Yugoslavia broke with the USSR in 1948.

In Stalin's last year of life, one of his last major foreign policy initiatives was the 1952 Stalin Note for German reunification and Superpower disengagement from Central Europe, but Britain, France, and the United States viewed this with suspicion and rejected the offer.



Mao at Stalin's 70th birthday celebration in Moscow, December 1949

Sino-Soviet relations
In Asia, the Red Army had overrun Manchuria in the last month of the war and then also occupied Korea above the 38th parallel north. Mao Zedong's Communist Party of China, though receptive to minimal Soviet support, defeated the pro-Western and heavily American-assisted Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) in the Chinese Civil War.

There was friction between Stalin and Mao from the beginning. During World War II Stalin had supported the dictator of China, Chiang Kai-Shek, as a bulwark against Japan and had turned a blind eye to Chiang's mass killings of communists. He generally put his alliance with Chiang against Japan ahead of helping his ideological allies in China in his priorities. Even after the war Stalin concluded a non-aggression pact between the USSR and Chiang's KMT regime in China and instructed Mao and the Chinese communists to cooperate with Chiang and the KMT after the war. Mao did not follow Stalin's instructions though and started a communist revolution against Chiang. Stalin did not believe Mao would be successful so he was less than enthusiastic in helping Mao. The USSR continued to maintain diplomatic relations with Chiang's KMT regime until 1949 when it became clear Mao would win.

Stalin supported the Turkic Muslims known today as Uyghur in seeking their own state, Second East Turkestan Republic during the Ili Rebellion against the Republic of China. He backed the Uyghur Communist Muslim leader Ehmetjan Qasim against the anti Communist Chinese Kuomintang forces.

Stalin did conclude a new friendship and alliance treaty with Mao after he defeated Chiang. But there was still a lot of tension between the two leaders and resentment by Mao for Stalin's less than enthusiastic help during the civil war in China.

The Communists controlled mainland China while the Nationalists held a rump state on the island of Taiwan. The Soviet Union soon after recognized Mao's People's Republic of China, which it regarded as a new ally. The People's Republic claimed Taiwan, though it had never held authority there.

Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and China reached a high point with the signing of the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance. Both countries provided military support to a new friendly state in North Korea. After various Korean border conflicts, war broke out with U.S.-allied South Korea in 1950, starting the Korean War.

However, not surprisingly, the relations with the Kuomintang deteriorated. In 1951, in Taiwan, the Chinese Muslim Kuomintang General Bai Chongxi made a speech broadcast on radio to the entire Muslim world calling for a war against Russia, claiming that the "imperialist ogre" leader Stalin was engineering World War III, and Bai also called upon Muslims to avoid the Indian leader Jawaharlal Nehru, accusing him of being blind to Soviet imperialism.

North Korea and the Korean War
Contrary to America's policy which restrained armament (limited equipment was provided for infantry and police forces) to South Korea, Stalin extensively armed Kim Il Sung's North Korean army and air forces with military equipment and "advisors" far in excess of those required for defensive purposes in order to facilitate Kim's (a former Soviet Officer) aim of conquering the rest of the Korean peninsula.

The North Korean Army struck in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, 25 June 1950, crossing the 38th parallel behind a firestorm of artillery, beginning their invasion of South Korea. During the Korean War, Soviet pilots flew Soviet aircraft from Chinese bases against United Nations aircraft defending South Korea. Post-Cold War research in Soviet Archives has revealed that the Korean War was begun by Kim Il-sung with the express permission of Stalin.

Israel
Stalin originally supported the creation of Israel in 1948. The USSR was one of the first nations to recognize the new country. Golda Meir came to Moscow as the first Israeli Ambassador to the USSR that year. However, after providing war materiel for Israel through Czechoslovakia from 1947 to 1949, Stalin later changed his mind and came out against Israel.

Falsifiers of History
In 1948, Stalin personally edited and rewrote by hand sections of the cold war book Falsifiers of History. Falsifiers was published in response to the documents made public in Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939–1941: Documents from the Archives of The German Foreign Office, which included the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and other secret German-Soviet relations documents. Falsifiers originally appeared as a series of articles in Pravda in February 1948, and was subsequently published in numerous languages and distributed worldwide.

The book did not attempt to directly counter or deal with the documents published in Nazi-Soviet Relations and rather, focused upon Western culpability for the outbreak of war in 1939. It argues that "Western powers" aided Nazi rearmament and aggression, including that American bankers and industrialists provided capital for the growth of German war industries, while deliberately encouraging Hitler to expand eastward. It depicted the Soviet Union as striving to negotiate a collective security against Hitler, while being thwarted by double-dealing Anglo-French appeasers who, despite appearances, had no intention of a Soviet alliance and were secretly negotiating with Berlin. It casts the Munich agreement, not just as Anglo-French short-sightedness or cowardice, but as a "secret" agreement that was "a highly important phase in their policy aimed at goading the Hitlerite aggressors against the Soviet Union." The book also included the claim that, during the Pact's operation, Stalin rejected Hitler's offer to share in a division of the world, without mentioning the Soviet offers to join the Axis. Historical studies, official accounts, memoirs and textbooks published in the Soviet Union used that depiction of events until the Soviet Union's dissolution.

Domestic support
Domestically, Stalin was seen as a great wartime leader who had led the Soviets to victory against the Nazis.

An increasingly nationalistic emphasis on Russian history and achievements became a salient feature of Soviet culture in the 1940s. At the end of May 1945, Stalin proposed a victory toast to the Soviet people, and to the virtues of the Russian majority in particular:

I should like to propose a toast to the health of our Soviet people, and in the first place, the Russian people. (Loud and prolonged applause and shouts of 'Hurrah!')

I drink in the first place to the health of the Russian people because it is the most outstanding nation of all the nations forming the Soviet Union.

I propose a toast to the health of the Russian people because it has won in this war universal recognition as the leading force of the Soviet Union among all the peoples of our country.

I propose a toast to the health of the Russian people not only because it is the leading people, but also because it possesses a clear mind, a staunch character, and patience.
 

"Doctors' plot"
The "Doctors' plot" was a plot outlined by Stalin and Soviet officials in 1952 and 1953 whereby several doctors (over half of whom were Jewish) allegedly attempted to kill Soviet officials. The prevailing opinion of many scholars outside the Soviet Union is that Stalin intended to use the resulting doctors' trial to launch a massive party purge. The plot is also viewed by many historians as an antisemitic provocation. It followed on the heels of the 1952 show trials of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and the secret execution of thirteen members on Stalin's orders in the Night of the Murdered Poets.

Thereafter, in a December Politburo session, Stalin announced that "Every Jewish nationalist is the agent of the American intelligence service. Jewish nationalists think that their nation was saved by the United States (there you can become rich, bourgeois, etc.). They think they're indebted to the Americans. Among doctors, there are many Jewish nationalists." To mobilize the Soviet people for his campaign, Stalin ordered TASS and Pravda to issue stories along with Stalin's alleged uncovering of a "Doctors Plot" to assassinate top Soviet leaders, including Stalin, in order to set the stage for show trials.

The next month, Pravda published stories with text regarding the purported "Jewish bourgeois-nationalist" plotters. Nikita Khrushchev wrote that Stalin hinted him to incite anti-Semitism in the Ukraine, telling him that "the good workers at the factory should be given clubs so they can beat the hell out of those Jews." Stalin also ordered falsely accused physicians to be tortured "to death". Regarding the origins of the plot, people who knew Stalin, such as Khrushchev, suggest that Stalin had long harbored negative sentiments toward Jews, and anti-Semitic trends in the Kremlin's policies were further fueled by the exile of Leon Trotsky. In 1946, Stalin allegedly said privately that "every Jew is a potential spy." At the end of January 1953, Stalin's personal physician Miron Vovsi (cousin of Solomon Mikhoels, who was assassinated in 1948 at the orders of Stalin) was arrested within the frame of the plot. Vovsi was released by Beria after Stalin's death in 1953, as was his son-in-law, the composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg.

Some historians have argued that Stalin was also planning to send millions of Jews to four large newly built labor camps in Western Russia using a "Deportation Commission" that would purportedly act to save Soviet Jews from an enraged Soviet population after the Doctors Plot trials. Others argue that any charge of an alleged mass deportation lacks specific documentary evidence. Regardless of whether a plot to deport Jews was planned, in his "Secret Speech" in 1956, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev stated that the Doctors Plot was "fabricated ... set up by Stalin", that Stalin told the judge to beat confessions from the defendants and had told Politburo members "You are blind like young kittens. What will happen without me? The country will perish because you do not know how to recognize enemies."



Joseph Stalin, lying in state in Hall of Columns of the House of Unions in Moscow.
 

Death and legacy
Stalin's health deteriorated towards the end of World War II. He suffered from atherosclerosis from his heavy smoking, a mild stroke around the time of the Victory Parade, and a severe heart attack in October 1945.

In the early morning hours of 1 March 1953, after an all-night dinner and a movie, Stalin arrived at his Kuntsevo residence 15 km west of Moscow centre, with interior minister Lavrentiy Beria and future premiers Georgy Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin, and Nikita Khrushchev, where he retired to his bedroom to sleep. At dawn, Stalin did not emerge from his room.
































 


Stalin's grave in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis



Although his guards thought that it was strange not to see him awake at his usual time, they were strictly instructed not to bother him and left him alone the entire day. At around 10 p.m., he was discovered by Peter Lozgachev, the Deputy Commandant of Kuntsevo, who entered his bedroom to check on him and recalled the scene of Stalin lying on his back on the floor of his room beside his bed, wearing pyjama bottoms and an undershirt, with his clothes soaked in stale urine. A frightened Lozgachev asked Stalin what happened to him, but all he could get out of him was unintelligible responses that sounded like "Dzhhhhh." Lozgachev used the bedroom telephone to frantically call a few party officials; he told them that Stalin may have had a stroke and asked them to send good doctors to the Kuntsevo residence immediately. Lavrentiy Beria was informed and arrived a few hours afterwards. The doctors arrived in the early morning of 2 March when they changed Stalin's bedclothes and tended to him. They diagnosed him with a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke) caused by hypertension (high blood pressure), with stomach hemorrhage facilitating.[310] He was treated in his dacha with leeches, as was customary at the time. On March 3 his double Felix Dadaev was called back from vacation to Moscow "to be ready to stand in for Stalin if needed", but he never needed to. On March 4 Stalin's illness was broadcast in the media with surprising detail such as pulse, blood pressure and urinalysis; for convenience the time of his stroke was said to be March 2 and his location as Moscow. The bedridden Stalin died on 5 March 1953, at the age of 74.

Suggestions of assassination
The political memoirs of Vyacheslav Molotov, published in 1993, claimed that Beria had boasted to Molotov that he poisoned Stalin: "I took him out."

Stomach hemorrhage is usually not caused by high blood pressure, but is, along with stroke, consistent with overdose of warfarin, a colorless, tasteless, anticoagulant drug. In the treating physicians' final report submitted to the Central Committee in July 1953, any mention of the stomach hemorrhage was "deleted or vastly subordinated to other information." In 2004, American historian Jonathan Brent and Russia's Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Repressed Persons executive secretary Vladimir Naumov published a book proposing that Beria, with the complicity of Khrushchev, slipped warfarin into Stalin's wine on the night of his death.

Stalin's autopsy, conducted by the Soviet Ministry of Health in March 1953 but not released until 2011, confirmed the cause of death as stroke resulting from high blood pressure, and that hypertension had caused cardiac hemorrhage (not usually caused by high blood pressure) and gastrointestinal hemorrhage as well. In 2011, Miguel A. Faria, President of Mercer University School of Medicine, retired clinical professor of neurosurgery and adjunct professor of medical history, interpreted the autopsy's composition as the examiners' desire to demonstrate for posterity that they had fulfilled their professional duties as best they could by mentioning the non-cerebral hemorrhages. At the same time they would have provided themselves political cover by purposely attributing the hemorrhages to hypertension instead of poisoning by warfarin. Faria noted that when the autopsy was performed, "Stalin was worshipped as a demigod, and his assassination would have been unacceptable to the Russian populace." He also notes that Stalin experienced renal hemorrhages during his death, which is unlikely to be caused by high blood pressure.


Announcement

Yuri Levitan, the announcer who during the war brought the Soviet people news of victories—but never of defeats—announced Stalin's death. Slowly, solemnly, with a voice brimming over with emotion, he read:

The Central Committee of the Communist party, the Council of Ministers and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR announce with deep grief to the party and all workers that on 5 March, at 9.50 p.m., Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist party and Chairman of the Council of Ministers, has died after a serious illness. The heart of the collaborator and follower of the genius of Lenin's work, the wise leader and teacher of the Communist party and of the Soviet people, has stopped beating.

After a visitation of 1.5 million people, his embalmed body was laid to rest on March 9, 1953 in Lenin's Mausoleum. On 31 October 1961 his body was removed from the mausoleum and buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis next to the Kremlin walls as part of the process of de-Stalinization.

Aftermath
His demise arrived at a convenient time for Lavrentiy Beria and others, who feared being swept away in yet another purge. It is believed that Stalin felt Beria's power was too great and threatened his own.

After Stalin's death a power struggle for his vacant position took place between the following eight senior members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union listed according to the order of precedence presented formally on 5 March 1953: Georgy Malenkov, Lavrentiy Beria, Vyacheslav Molotov, Klim Voroshilov, Nikita Khrushchev, Nikolai Bulganin, Lazar Kaganovich, Anastas Mikoyan.

This struggle lasted until 1958 and eventually Khrushchev won, having defeated all his potential rivals in the Presidium.

Reaction by successors
The harshness with which Soviet affairs were conducted during Stalin's rule was subsequently repudiated by his successors in the Communist Party leadership, most notably by Nikita Khrushchev's repudiation of Stalinism in February 1956. In his "Secret Speech", On the Personality Cult and its Consequences, delivered to a closed session of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev denounced Stalin for his cult of personality, and his regime for "violation of Leninist norms of legality".

A 1974 Soviet work describes Stalin's leadership in the following manner:

J. V. Stalin had held, since 1922, the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee. He had made important contributions to the implementation of the Party's policy of socialist construction in the USSR, and he had won great popularity by his relentless fight against the anti-Leninist groups of the Trotskyites and Bukharinites. Since the early 1930s, however, all the successes achieved by the Soviet people in the building of socialism began to be arbitrarily attributed to Stalin. Already in a letter written back in 1922 Lenin warned the Party Central Committee: "Comrade Stalin," he wrote, "having become general secretary, has concentrated boundless authority in his hands, and I am not sure whether he will always be able to exercise that authority with sufficient discretion." During the first few years after Lenin's death Stalin reckoned with his critical remarks. As time passed, however, he abused his position of General Secretary of the Party Central Committee more and more frequently, violating the principle of collective leadership and making independent decisions on important Party and state issues. Those personal shortcomings of which Lenin had warned manifested themselves with greater and greater insistence: his rudeness, capriciousness, intolerance of criticism, arbitrariness, excessive suspiciousness, etc. This led to unjustified restrictions of democracy, gross violations of socialist legality and repressions against prominent Party, government and military leaders and other people.

Views on Stalin in the Russian Federation
Results of a controversial poll taken in 2006 stated that over 35% of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were still alive. Fewer than a third of all Russians regarded Stalin as a "murderous tyrant"; however, a Russian court in 2009, ruling on a suit by Stalin's grandson Yevgeny Dzhugashvili against the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, ruled that referring to Stalin as a "bloodthirsty cannibal" was not libel. In a July 2007 poll, 54% of the Russian youth agreed that Stalin did more good than bad while 46% (of them) disagreed that Stalin was a "cruel tyrant". Half of the respondents, aged from 16 to 19, agreed Stalin was a wise leader.

In December 2008, Stalin was voted third in the nationwide television project Name of Russia (narrowly behind 13th-century prince Alexander Nevsky and Pyotr Stolypin, one of Nicholas II's prime ministers). The Communist Party accused the Kremlin in rigging the poll in order to prevent him or Lenin being given first place.

On 3 July 2009, Russia's delegates walked out of an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe session to demonstrate their objections to a resolution for a remembrance day for the "victims of both Nazism and Stalinism". Only eight out of 385 assembly members voted against the resolution

In a Kremlin video blog posted on 29 October 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev denounced the efforts of people seeking to rehabilitate Stalin's image. He said the mass extermination during the Stalin era cannot be justified.

In a 2013 Q&A session, when asked whether Russia should restore statues of its Soviet-era leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin replied "What is the essential difference between (Oliver) Cromwell and (Joseph) Stalin? Can you tell me? No difference...(Cromwell's) monument is standing, (and) no one is going to remove it. The essence is not in these symbols, but in the need to treat with respect every period of our history."

Views on Stalin in other former Soviet states
Georgia
The BBC News reported that "Lasha Bakradze, a professor of Soviet history at Tbilisi University, recently presented a new survey commissioned by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which found that 45% of Georgians expressed a positive attitude to Stalin".

Ukraine
In a poll taken by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology in February 2013, 37% of all Ukrainians had "a negative attitude to the figure of Stalin" and 22% "a positive [one]". Positive attitudes prevailed in East Ukraine (36%) and South Ukraine (27%), and negative attitudes in West Ukraine (64%) and Central Ukraine (39%). In the age group 18–29, 16% had positive feelings towards Stalin.

Early 2010 a Ukrainian court convicted Stalin of genocide against the Ukrainian nation during the Soviet famine of 1932–1933.

In the spring of 2010 a new monument in honor of Stalin was erected in Zaporizhia. In late December 2010 the statue had his head cut off by unidentified vandals and the following New Year's Eve it was completely destroyed in an explosion. On 25 February 2011 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych stated "Ukraine will definitely not revise its negative view" on Stalin. Ukraine and Poland unveiled a memorial (outside Kiev) to the thousands of Ukrainians, Poles and others killed by Stalin's secret police ahead of World War II in September 2012.

Armenia
According to a 2012 study, 72% of Armenians do not want to live in a country led by someone like Stalin.





Stalin walking on a Moscow sidewalk in the late 1920s
 

Personal life

Origin of name, nicknames and pseudonyms

Stalin's original Georgian name is transliterated as "Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili" (Georgian: იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი). The Russian transliteration of his name Ио́сиф Виссарио́нович Джугашви́ли is in turn transliterated to English as "Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili". Like other Bolsheviks, he became commonly known by one of his revolutionary noms de guerre, of which "Stalin" was only the last. "Stalin" is based on the Russian word сталь stal, meaning "steel", and the name as a whole is supposed to mean "man of steel". Prior nicknames included "Koba", "Soselo", "Ivanov" and many others.

Stalin is believed to have started using the name "K. Stalin" sometime in 1912 as a pen name.

During Stalin's reign his nicknames included:

"Uncle Joe", by western media, during and after World War II.

"Kremlin Highlander" (Russian: кремлевский горец), in reference his Caucasus Mountains origin, notably by Osip Mandelstam in his Stalin Epigram.


"Vozhd"'​ (Russian: Вождь, "the Chieftain"), a term equivalent to the English word "Leader".


Appearance

While photographs and portraits portray Stalin as physically massive and majestic (he had several painters shot who did not depict him "right"), he was only 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) tall (President Harry S. Truman, who stood 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) himself, described Stalin as "a little squirt"). His mustached face was pock-marked from small-pox during childhood. After a carriage accident in his youth, his left arm was shortened and stiffened at the elbow, while his right hand was thinner than his left and frequently hidden. Bronze casts made in 1990 from plaster death mask and plaster cards of his hands clearly show a normal right hand and a withered left hand. He could be charming and polite, mainly towards visiting statesmen. In movies, Stalin was often played by Mikheil Gelovani and, less frequently, by Aleksei Dikiy.

 

Marriages and family

Stalin married his first wife Ekaterina Svanidze in 1906, with whom he had a son, Yakov. Yakov shot himself because of Stalin's harshness toward him, but survived. After this, Stalin said, "He can't even shoot straight." Yakov served in the Red Army during World War II and was captured by the Germans. They offered to exchange him for Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus, who had surrendered after Stalingrad, but Stalin turned the offer down, stating, "You have in your hands not only my son Yakov, but millions of my sons. Either you free them all or my son will share their fate." Afterwards, Yakov is said to have committed suicide, running into an electric fence in Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was being held. Yakov had a son Yevgeny, who has recently defended his grandfather's legacy in Russian courts. Yevgeny is married to a Georgian woman, has two sons, and seven grandchildren.

With his second wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva Stalin had a son, Vasiliy, and a daughter, Svetlana. Nadezhda died in 1932, officially of illness. She may have committed suicide by shooting herself after a quarrel with Stalin, leaving a suicide note which according to their daughter was "partly personal, partly political." According to A&E Biography, there is also a belief among some Russians that Stalin himself murdered his wife after the quarrel, which apparently took place at a dinner in which Stalin tauntingly flicked cigarettes across the table at her.

Vasiliy rose through the ranks of the Soviet Air Force, officially dying of alcoholism in 1962; however, this is still in question. He distinguished himself in World War II as a capable airman. Svetlana defected to the United States in 1967, where she later married William Wesley Peters, the apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. She died in Richland Center, Wisconsin on November 22, 2011, from complications of colon cancer. Olga, her daughter with Peters, now goes by the name Chrese Evans and lives in Portland, Oregon.

In March 2001, Russian Independent Television NTV interviewed a previously unknown grandson living in Novokuznetsk, Yuri Davydov, who stated that his father had told him of his lineage, but, was told to keep quiet because of the campaign against Stalin's cult of personality.

Beside his suite in the Kremlin, Stalin had numerous domiciles. In 1919, he started with a country house near Usovo, he added dachas at Zuvalova and Kuntsevo (Blizhny dacha built by Miron Merzhanov). Before World War II he added the Lipki estate and Semyonovskaya,[disambiguation needed] and had at least four dachas in the south by 1937, including one near Sochi. A luxury villa near Gagri was given to him by Beria. In Abkhazia he maintained a mountain retreat. After the war he added dachas at Novy Afon, near Sukhumi, in the Valdai Hills, and at Lake Mitsa. Another estate was near Zelyony Myss on the Black Sea. All these dachas, estates, and palaces were staffed, well-furnished and equipped, kept safe by security forces, and were mainly used privately, rarely for diplomatic purposes. Between places Stalin would travel by car or train, never by air; he flew only once when attending the 1943 Tehran conference.

   
 
Ekaterina Svanidze


Ekaterina "Kato" Svanidze,
Stalin's first wife

Kato Svanidze (April 2, 1880 – December 5, 1907) was the Georgian first wife of Joseph Stalin. They were married in 1906.

Ekaterina, nicknamed Kato, was a tailor who worked for the ladies of the Russian army.

She had two sisters: Alexandra (nicknamed "Sashiko") and Maria ("Mariko"). She had at least one brother, but some sources claim she had more than one. Because her only known brother Alexander Svanidze spoke German and French and studied in Germany, it's unlikely that her family was poor. Alexander Svanidze was married to Maria Korona, a singer at the Tiflis Opera.

She married Joseph Stalin in 1906 and gave him a son, Yakov Dzhugashvili. She died of typhus in 1907. Much of her family (including her sister Mariko and brother Alexander) would later be executed during her husband's Great Terror.

Stalin would later state that other than his mother she may have been the only person he truly loved. At her funeral he told a friend that "with her died any human feeling in him."


Yakov Dzhugashvili
 


Yakov Dzhugashvili

Yakov Iosifovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: იაკობ ჯუღაშვილი, Russian: Яков Иосифович Джугашвили) (March 18, 1907–April 14, 1943) was one of Joseph Stalin's four children (along with Svetlana Alliluyeva, Vasily Dzhugashvili and Constantine Kuzakov). Yakov was the son of Stalin's first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze.

Yakov was born in the village of Borji (near Kutaisi) in Georgia, then part of Imperial Russia. Until the age of fourteen, Yakov was raised by his aunt in Tbilisi. In 1921, Yakov’s uncle Alexander Svanidze urged him to leave for Moscow to acquire a higher education. Yakov only spoke Georgian and after his arrival in Moscow he commenced with learning the Russian language, aiming to apply for University studies.

Yakov and his father Stalin never got along. Allegedly once Stalin referred to Yakov as a "mere cobbler." Later according to Yakov's stepmother Nadezhda Alliluyeva she saw a young girl running away from their Moscow dacha in tears. When she entered she saw a despairing Yakov looking near faint in the room. He ran immediately to his bedroom. It turned out that the girl was Yakov's Jewish fiancée, and when they told Stalin of their engagement he became enraged.

While Stalin and his wife were arguing about this a shot was heard from Yakov's room. Yakov had shot himself. While she tended to his wounds and sent for a doctor all his father said was, "He can't even shoot straight."

Dzhugashvili did marry Yulia Meltzer, a well-known Jewish dancer from Odessa. After meeting Yulia at a reception, Yakov fought with her second husband, Nikolai Bessarab, and arranged her divorce. Bessarab was later arrested by the NKVD and executed. Yakov became her third husband and was survived by two children. His son, Yevgeni, gave many interviews about his grandfather. He also had a daughter, Galina, who died in 2007.

Dzhugashvili served as an artillery officer in the Red Army and was captured in the early stages of the German invasion of USSR at the Battle of Smolensk. The Germans later offered to exchange Yakov for Friedrich Paulus, the German Field Marshal captured by the Soviets after the Battle of Stalingrad, but Stalin turned the offer down, allegedly saying "I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant". There was another proposition as well, that Hitler wanted to exchange Yakow for his nephew Leo Raubal; this proposition was not accepted either

It is not clear when and how he died. According to German official account, Dzhugashvili died by running into an electric fence in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was being held. Some have contended that Yakov committed suicide at the camp while others have suggested that he was murdered.

The United States Defense Department was in possession of documents which indicated that Yakov Dzhugashvili was shot trying to escape, which were shown to his daughter Galina Dzhugashvili in 2003, but which she rejected, claiming that her father was never taken prisoner by the Germans, but rather was killed in battle in 1941.



Nadezhda Alliluyeva



Nadezhda Alliluyeva,
Stalin's second wife,
mother of Vasily and Svetlana.

Nadezhda Sergeevna Alliluyeva (Russian: Надежда Сергеевна Аллилуева) (22 September 1901 – November 9, 1932) was the second wife of Joseph Stalin.

Nadezhda was the youngest child of Russian revolutionary Sergei Alliluyev and his wife Olga, a woman of German and Georgian ancestry. She first met Stalin as a child when her father, Sergei Alliluyev, sheltered him after one of his escapes from Siberian exile in 1911. She may have always been in love with the mysterious swarthy Georgian with the yellowish colored eyes who saved her life from drowning when she was a child. After the revolution, Nadezhda worked as a confidential code clerk in Lenin's office. She eschewed fancy dress, make-up and other trappings that she felt un-befitting of a proper Bolshevik. The couple married in 1919, when Stalin was already a 41 year old widower and father of one son born to his first wife, who died of typhus years earlier. Nadezhda and Joseph had two children together: Vasily, born in 1921, became a figher pilot (C.O. of 32 GIAP) at Stalingrad and Svetlana, their daughter, was born in 1926. According to her close friend, Polina Molotov, the marriage was strained, and the two constantly fought. She also suffered from a mental illness which may have been bipolar disorder, Molotov recalled that she suffered from moodswings which made her seem like a "mad woman." While she was close to Vasily, she wasn't very close to Svetlana and was very stern with the children.

After a public spat with Stalin at a party dinner, Nadezhda was found dead in her bedroom, a revolver by her side. Regardless, the official announcement was that Nadezhda died from appendicitis. Two doctors, who refused to sign a certificate stating false conclusions about the cause of her death (Levin and Pletnev), were later convicted during the Trial of the Twenty-One and executed. Some claim the gun was found beside the hand she didn't use, apparently pointing to a framed suicide; many in Russia allege that Stalin killed her himself.

Accounts of contemporaries and Stalin's letters indicate that he was deeply disturbed by the event.

Today, she is much loved by some Russians; her grave at Novodevichy Cemetery is often covered in flowers, although it has also been vandalized on occasion.

Her daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva later emigrated from the Soviet Union in a high profile defection to the United States, where she eventually published her autobiography which included recollections of her parents and their relationship.


Josef Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva




Josef Stalin and his wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva, on a picnic





Nadezhda & Svetlana - Love and Fate




Stalin with his children:
Vasiliy and Svetlana

Vasily Iosifovich Dzhugashvili (Russian Василий Иосифович Джугашвили), known also as Vasily Stalin (Russian Василий Иосифович Сталин), (March 21, 1921 – March 19, 1962), was the son of Joseph Stalin and his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva.

Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva (sometimes Stalina, later Lana Peters) (born February 28, 1926, Moscow, Soviet Union) (Russian: Светлана Иосифовна Аллилуева) is the youngest child and only daughter of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva (Stalin's second wife). A writer and naturalized United States citizen, Alliluyeva caused an international furor by defecting to the United States in 1967.

 


Joseph Stalin with daughter Svetlana, 1935.




Beria with Stalin (in background), Stalin's daughter Svetlana, and Nestor Lakoba on Stalin's dacha at Lake Ritsa.


 

Stalin's mistress



Valentina Istomina-Stalin’s Housekeeper

 


1. Valeria Barsova
2. Olga Lepeshinskaya
3. Natalia Spiller




Vera Davydova

 


Valeria Barsova



Natalia Spiller




Olga Lepeshinskaya

 


Marina Semyonova

   



Habits

Stalin enjoyed drinking, and would often force those around him to join in. He preferred Georgian wine over Russian vodka, but usually ate traditional Russian food.

Khrushchev reports in his memoirs that Stalin was fond of American cowboy movies. He would often sleep until evening in his dacha, and after waking up summon high-ranking Soviet politicians to watch foreign movies with him in the Kremlin movie theater. The movies, being in foreign languages, were given a running translation by Ivan Bolshakov, people's commissar of cinema. The translations were hilarious for the audience as Bolshakov spoke very basic English. His favourite films were westerns and Charlie Chaplin episodes. He banned any hint of nudity. When Ivan showed a film with a naked woman Stalin shouted, "Are you making a brothel here, Bolshakov?" After a movie had ended, Stalin often invited the audience for dinner, even though the clock was usually past midnight. In the aftermath of the war, he took control over all of Joseph Goebbels' films.

Stalin was an accomplished billiards player, and could read 500 pages a day, having a library of over 20,000 books.

Stalin was also afraid of flying, which is one reason he chose the site of the Yalta conference so he could travel by train.



Stalin inspecting the first ZIS, model 101
 

Religion
Stalin was raised in the Georgian Orthodox faith,[citation needed] but later gave it up. Stalin had a complex relationship with religious institutions in the Soviet Union. Historians Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov have suggested that "[Stalin's] atheism remained rooted in some vague idea of a God of nature."

During the Second World War, Stalin reopened the churches. One reason could have been to motivate the majority of the population, who had Christian beliefs. The reasoning behind this is that by changing the official policy of the party and the state towards religion, the Church and its clergymen could be at his disposal in mobilizing the war effort. On 4 September 1943, Stalin invited Metropolitan Sergius, Metropolitan Alexius and Metropolitan Nicholas to the Kremlin and proposed to reestablish the Moscow Patriarchate, which had been suspended since 1925, and elect the Patriarch. On 8 September 1943, Metropolitan Sergius was elected patriarch.

The CPSU Central Committee continued to promote atheism and the elimination of religion during the remainder of Stalin's lifetime after the 1943 concordat.[360] Stalin's greater tolerance for religion after 1943 was limited by party machinations. Whether persecutions after World War II were more aimed at certain sections of society over and above detractors is disputed.
 


Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist) contingent at London May Day march in 2008, carrying a banner of Stalin.



Controversies about Stalin

There are conflicting accounts of Stalin's birth, who before coming to power in 1922 listed his birth year in various documents as 1878. The phrase "death of one man is a tragedy, death of a million is a statistic" is sometimes attributed to Stalin, although there is no proof of his saying that. In addition, hypotheses and popular rumors exist that Stalin's biological father was explorer Nicolay Przhevalsky. Some Bolsheviks and others have accused Stalin of being an agent for the Okhrana. It is also widely believed that the Red Terror was begun by Stalin.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
 
 

 
 
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