Does Stalin deserve the Title 'The Great'
Stalin is reviled in the west as a killer, but the facts are startling and his balance sheet is plus
Stalin Has a special place in Russian History
In the west it is fashionable to criticize Stalin. Most of the stress is on his executions and vast prison camps that he set up in Russia. But as always there are two sides to a coin and most of the good that Stalin did gets washed away, but in Russia he is a nostalgic figure and Russians from all walks of life, communists to the anti-communists consider Stalin a great Russian leader. The word ‘great’ has a different connotation. Akbar the Moslem ruler who ruled India is also considered great, yet he caused the deaths of innumerable Hindus in wars and battles and when one of his commanders approached him and said he wanted to dye his beard with the blood of Hindus, Akbar was delighted and handed him innumerable gold coins.
Stalin seized power after the demise of Lenin in 1924. He had a one point agenda then to remain in power, but he also wished to take Russia forward. From Medieval times Russia was known as the laggard in Europe as far as development was concerned. Peter the great made the first attempt to modernize Russia when he got foreigners to help build ships in Russia. Stalin also wanted tochange the image of Russia. This he did with centralized planning and application of Marxist theory as understood by him. Obviously in such a situation dissent had no place and Stalin was ruthless in suppressing dissent
Stalin must be given credit for the upward lift of Russian economy and the laying the infrastructure of an Industrial environment. During 1928-1940, the Russian economy grew 5 times its original size. He was the man who turned an agrarian country where the farmers just toiled on the land to a global superpower. Stalin must be given credit for formulating the famous 5 year plans for economic development that propelled Russia as a rival to the USA on the global scene.
His contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany is glossed over. The fact is the USA and Great Britain would never have won the war, but for Stalin. to deny this is a perversity of history. He was the man who organized the fight against Hitler and the Russians paid a heavy toll in blood with over 20 million deaths. Without Stalin facing the might of the Nazis, the war was already lost by England and USA. The tide turned after the battle of Stalingrad, which is a testimony to the iron will and resolve of Stalin. His clash with Hitler will long long in the annals of history.
The USA and the West cannot preach about Stalin and freedom. George Bush and Lyndon Johnson unleashed wars to further a megalomaniacal dream in Vietnam and Iraq. In contrast the crimes of Stalin pale into insignificance. Yes! he was a brutal dictator, but the end result is a historical balance sheet as to the outcome. I will disappoint western thinkers led by the USA that the balance sheet as far as Stalin is concerned has more plusses than minus.