By Galima Galiullina, Ph.D.
Lust that fed invaders of all stripes to young Russia always turned into disappointment as attempts to conquer this most rebellious country always failed. From time immemorial, heaven sent Russia a savior – a strong and intelligent leader who gathered people and together they defeated armies breaking grandiose plans of her enemies. So, in the twentieth century, Russia was saved by the unity of its people and Joseph Stalin; in the twenty-first century Russian people embraced Vladimir Putin as such a savior.
In the twentieth century, the Soviet people managed to become one of two centers of power and launch a new civilization. The Soviet Union brought a new experiment inspired by Marxist ideals to establish social control of the means of production wresting from capitalist hands all aspects of life.
In the west, capitalism marched on its divine mission to conquer the planet and perhaps beyond. The struggle between advocates of international communist revolution, and their patriotic Russian socialist rivals was the fundamental crisis in post-revolutionary Russia, and it continues today. Since the end of World War II, Capitalism rose to dominate most societies but now fades due to its own inherent contradictions, and the demise of socialism as an alternative balancing force.
After a decade long struggle, Stalin emerged as champion and embarked on ambitious efforts to industrialize post-revolutionary Russia. His goals were to assure its defense, modernize agriculture, and produce consumer goods. Between the time Stalin consolidated power directed to socialism in one country, and the advent of the Second World War, the USSR became the symbol of success of Soviets and the envy of the old industrialized society.
At the end of the 20th century Russia again found itself nearly defeated by the international financial assault force that had nearly seized control in the 1920’s. In the twenty-first century she managed to rise after an almost deadly knockout engineered by western white-collar invaders and quickly re-entered the battle. Not only reasserting her own sovereign rights, Russia also fights to protect weak nations threatened with enslavement through 21st century financial warfare and frighteningly lethal weapons.
For a short period of 25 years, the West destroyed Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya, countries left defenseless after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and turned Afghanistan into a poppy plantation for the production of heroin, and a sinkhole left from mining rare earths and strategic minerals. Putin’s Russia is returning hope for justice to these countries through its own survival and the victory it brought to Syria.
What motivates this mysterious country? What is the secret of its victories and what lies behind the Russian leadership? Is it a strong and cruel tyrant lording over humble and unhappy people (as numerous researchers on Russia now claim), or an inspired union of the nation trusting the electorate with its own destiny? Or maybe something else?
Overcoming the Subjective View of History
The great Russian philosopher and ethnographer Lev Gumilev, one of the first intellectuals who approached the secrets of Eurasia, considered it possible to understand the history of peoples using a multi-scopic perspective. You can see the object from a bird’s eye view, from the top of a mountain, and from the mouse hole.
This method gives tremendous effect. When you look at Stalin, as I did in the past from a mouse hole, the tribal fear and memory of losses obscured my understanding of his figure in history. Myths viewed at this angle are frighteningly bloody.
But it’s worth to climb to the top of the mound, see the cities built by Soviet people, the boundless wheat fields, millions of people involved in the process of inspired work, the Victory banner at the Reichstag, and images of Joseph Stalin begin to change.
From the bird’s-eye view the image acquires the grandeur of a great dreamer and inspirer, leader and ascetic, the image of a visionary and the harbinger of a new era. The features of the civilization that he was able to build with the Soviet people are emerging today in hopes of peoples around the world, the rapid changes in Russia and its spiritual and material development.
In modern Russia, Stalin and his role in history became the core item for understanding events as Putin addresses his domestic and geopolitical challenges. The extraction of truth about Stalin and his work from official history is fundamental to understanding processes which led to the dissolution of the USSR.
These events culminated in Gorbachev’s initiation of collective penance for Soviet crimes, and sins of Stalin against freedom and democracy. National guilt was alieved through confession and repentance called forth from the pulpit of mass media pushing persistent messages that Stalin’s guilt must be shared by each Soviet soul. Psychological entrainment forced all Soviets to mingle Stalin’s crimes and guilt with their own experience resulting in the removal of Stalin’s legacy from their memory. The outcome of innocent people rejecting Stalin, was how Soviets destroyed the USSR.
My Transformative Journey
I was born in the USSR at the time Stalin died (or was killed by conspirators) and for a long time I was absolutely sure that the country got rid of a tyrant and dictator. My parents survived the years of Stalin’s rule, having been in exile to the Murmansk region, in the Arctic.
My mother was sent as a 15-year-old girl in an animal carriage enduring a two long months train trip with hundreds of fellow exiles to Murmansk. My grandfather, her father, a successful and respected landowner and owner of a herd of a thousand mares, was sent to Siberia by court verdict for his resistance to collectivization, during which he lost all his wealth and family. In the 1990’s we received an official document stating that he was shot in 1938.
My parents created a family in Kirovsk and in 1937 they had a first-born, my elder brother. The exiles lived in barracks and my parents remembered that people in uniform came every night and took away one of their neighbors. No one ever saw them again.
A children’s doctor (an exile from Leningrad) taught my young parents to raise their son to be cheerful. The only picture of the young family that we have preserved since that time testifies that some Gulags were not a hell, the exiles could form families, give birth to children and raise them as cheerfully as possible. In the memories of my parents, their part of the Gulag was a multinational camp, where all nations and nationalities tried to preserve their traditions – Ukrainians loved to kindle bonfires and sing and dance their beautiful dances, Crimean Tatars treated their neighbors to dishes of their national cuisine.
My father and his friends were invited as actors to play Japanese soldiers in the film “Volochaevskie Days,” when the brothers Vasiliev filmed scenes in Kirovsk portraying the 1905 war with Japan. Many years later I saw my father then young and fit in this film. At the beginning of the war with fascist Germany, my mother with her son and mother-in-law were evacuated to the Urals, and my father went to war.
He reached Koenigsberg in the 3rd Belorussian Front where he was seriously wounded. For heroism in battle, he was awarded the Order of the Red Star. Many years later I asked my father: How could you fight for the country that did this to its citizens? “I fought not for Stalin, but for the Motherland,” answered my father. And many years later I realized the depth of his answer.
But only in 2017, did I understand how events affecting my family were the result of a struggle among revolutionaries from the first days of the 1917 October Revolution. Two factors formed my view that there was a capitalist inspired coup against Joseph Stalin, and these same issues remain in play today inside Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, many researchers have discovered evidence previously hidden in archives, both in the former Soviet Union and in western countries.
These records confirm several facts, chiefly, that Stalin as proponent of “socialism in one country” was in a winner-take-all battle with Right-Block Trotskyists intent on international revolution as quickly and widely as possible. Putting aside the inevitable stain these archives may suffer from periodic filleting and salting to cover or redirect blame, or claim glory for some achievement, objective conclusions can be drawn that coincide with historical fact.
Add to this the unmistakable similarity between events Stalin faced in the period 1922 through 1940, with events Soviet, and then Russian, leaders faced between 1989 and 2002, caused me to reassess my attitude toward Stalin and my Father’s belief he fought for Russia – not Stalin himself.
Stalin was the first head of state in the twentieth century holding a strategic Eurasian view for development of the USSR focused on its relations with other countries, and relations between peoples and ethnic groups among themselves. It was he who laid the strategy for creating a unique state in which the “blooming complexity” of numerous nations and nationalities turned into a new great civilization, and he succeeded.
Vladimir Putin inherited from the Soviet Union not only the ruins of a great civilization, but also something impossible to destroy quickly – the mentality of the Russians. The cultural code of Soviet people retains memory of the great empires of Eurasia, and pulses in the rhythm of the heart and the recalcitrant spirit of the inhabitants of the Great Steppe. Perhaps, the greatness of this goal – to continue the Eurasian idea in the new century, inspired Putin at the beginning of the road leading soon from Paris to Beijing through Russia’s Eurasian heartland.
What did these two leaders face when forming teams? Here the situations are very similar. Stalin had to choose from a snake’s club of those who could agree to turn steeply from Trotsky’s plans. Trotsky enjoyed certain advantages brought through his allegiance to Wall Street, including finance, a global network of spies, and a somewhat coherent theoretical base. Stalin, had virtually none of these assets but gathered the support of nationalists with practical ideas for planting socialism in Russia itself.
Stalin had to constantly maneuver between the Trotskyites, former Socialist-Revolutionaries, hiding Mensheviks, convinced Marxists and inflexible Leninists. Putin has to navigate between liberals, who still occupy many key positions in governing the country, communists, Slavophiles and Westerners, nationalists and globalists.
The social base of the opponents of both Stalin and Putin is quite extensive with constant support from abroad. But Putin’s position today is more stable than that of Stalin, partly due to Stalin’s achievements, and because Russians passed through the hard school of the 1990s experiencing enormous disappointments that now turn opposition arguments into annoying and largely useless noise.
The goals of Stalin and Putin are similar in two key points:
- The construction of a strong and independent sovereign state where social justice and freedom of citizens are the top priority.
- Russia is the core of the Eurasian continental belt that unites the peoples of Eurasia in their quest for development free from neo-colonial ties impeding each nation to realize its own potential.
Stalin and Putin are united by a dream – to free themselves forever from the trap of international finance, in which Russian people invariably played the role of barbarians and slaves, while the land and its riches were given away to foreigners. Both leaders see and understand the essence of Russia as a powerful center, pulling together and unifying the numerous yet diverse peoples of Eurasia.
As under Stalin, the peoples of Russia under Putin again reject mirages of the European community, instead comforting themselves as heirs and successors of a great world power. Stalin’s victories today again inspire my contemporaries and give them strength in the battle against the suffocating embrace of globalists.
Enemies and opponents of the plans and goals of Stalin and Putin have hardly changed over the past century. It is international finance, striving for world domination, blurring borders and destroying sovereignty of states established as the civilized world order at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
Weapons of the globalist enemies – debt enslavement of the world’s population, the worldwide spread of counter-culture, the disintegration of morals, the destruction of Christianity and Islam, corruption of power structures, powerful propaganda built on lies, educating populations to be consumers and killing creativity.
The accusations and criticism of Stalin and Putin by the global network of liberal politicians, compradors in Russia and the USSR, oligarchs and their servants are surprisingly similar. Both are called dictators, their control system is the “regime” and “prison of peoples,” or even worse – “Empire of Evil” or “Axis of Evil.” Both leaders are accused of killing their political opponents and aggression towards the world around them.
1937: The History of Drama
Consider, for example, specific historical events, the validity of accusations of Stalin’s mass terror and the murder of political opponents. The most popular “horror story” is the myth of 1937. The processes of the arrests and trials between 1934 and 1938 were not the result of Stalin’s paranoid fears and murderous inclinations. These were trials of a large group of conspirators who continued the work of Trotsky after his exile in 1929.
The purpose of the plot was to destroy the Soviet Union with the help of foreign forces and means. The most revealing is the third trial on March 2, 1937, involving a group of conspirators known as “The Right-Trotskyite Bloc.” The bloc united underground anti-Soviet groups of Trotskyists, Rightists, Zinovievites, Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, with bourgeois nationalists of Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Central Asian republics. United in their desire to derail Stalin’s socialism in one country by any means possible, and propelled by a desire to reach their own goals, Trotsky directed them to establish contacts with German Intelligence (1921), the British Intelligence Service (1926), and Japanese Intelligence beginning in 1934.
The Right-Trotskyite Block planned to organize a wide network of sabotage groups, which would rely on dissatisfied Bolsheviks, remnants of the kulaks, basmachists fighting on in Central Asia after the civil war, and church leaders. At the behest of the fascist intelligence services, a bandit-insurgency movement was to be launched all over the country simultaneously with the onset of the German armed offensive.
France and Britain were promised much of what Trotsky achieved initially after the October Revolution – specifically that western capitalists could resume business concessions that Stalin had interrupted. Japan was promised the surrender of the Soviet Maritime Region for their contribution. The greatest hopes of the conspirators were to prepare the USSR for defeat in the war with Germany.
A tactic successfully played against the Tsar in 1917 as Lenin and Trotsky were sent to Russia as “defeatists” intent on ending Russian participation in World War I at the behest of Germany. The strategy was carefully laid to restore International Communism from Stalin’s heretical National Socialism.
During the investigation, a shocking picture of the Trotskyists’ preparation for the defeat of the USSR in the war with Germany was revealed, and Trotsky was absolutely sure of the support of his plans by the German fascist leadership.
The testimony of one defendant, S. A. Bessonov, described how Trotsky told his supporters “working in the diplomatic arena to sabotage formal agreements in order to stimulate the Germans’ interest in unofficial agreements with opposition groups. We should not, he said, stop before making broad territorial concessions.”
Bessonov added: “We will go to the concession of Ukraine, Trotsky said, consider this in your work and in your conversations with the Germans. He went on to discuss issues related to the work of the Trotskyite organizations in the Soviet Union, and at the same time emphasized with special force that, in the situation of an imminent inevitable war, the only possible form of the Trotskyites’ coming to power is the defeat of the Soviet Union in this war.
Then he dwelt on the question of the methods of work of the Trotskyite organizations in the Soviet Union, with particular emphasis on the need to exacerbate the most extreme terrorist methods of struggle, according to which the physical elimination of Stalin and his most loyal comrades-in-arms was planned.
Bessonov went further, revealing details of a later conversation with Trotsky in 1934 calling for assassination of writer Maxim Gorky because he is widely popular as Stalin’s closest friend and conductor of the party’s general line. Trotsky lamented that supporters from the intelligentsia, largely influenced by Gorky, are moving away from us. Plans of the conspirators were successful, Maxim Gorky and his son, also Menzhinsky and Kirov were killed by different methods.
One of the criminals, shot by the decision of the court in 1937, was Marshal Tukhachevsky. The contemporary liberal public calls Tukhachevsky’s removal from the political arena the greatest crime of Stalin, since the shooting of the marshal and the co-conspirators weakened the Red Army before the war. Conveniently, Wikipedia does not mention the crimes of Tukhachevsky, committed by him together with Trotsky. Tukhachevsky commanded the cruel suppression of the uprising of the sailors of the Baltic Fleet in Kronstadt, and during the suppression of the peasant uprising in Tambov province where Tukhachevsky used poison gas.
Instead Stalin is painted a bloody executioner who, during the period of the country’s preparation for defense against German attack, engaged in the destruction of the army.
The Real Scale of Repression
Stalin had no option to save the country, which he created together with the Soviet people, than to subject the criminals to a severe trial. Note that all processes were open. The 18 defendants in the 3rd trial fully admitted their guilt and were sentenced to be shot.
If we weigh on the scales of history the value of their lives and the value of preserving the USSR from their planned destruction, Stalin deserves rehabilitation on this point alone in the memory of those who continue the work of their grandfathers, fathers and mothers.
In the Western press, the number of the victims of Stalinist repressions grew exponentially, especially during the Perestroika years. The largest figure – 60 million – is claimed in Solzhenitsyn’s work “The Gulag Archipelago.” Solzhenitsyn himself is an interesting case when considering shifting opinion about the Stalin era. Once a popular dissonant in the USSR, he came west in glory and returned to Russia a celebrity whose star was in its decendency.
Amazing is the popularity of this man in the Western intellectual environment. Interred in a camp from 1945, he served part of an 8-year sentence in Moscow in a government scientific laboratory plying his mathematical skills, then in a Kazakhstan camp until his release in 1953. He published his eponymous “The Gulag Archipelago” based on personal experience while serving as camp Liberian. His access to archival records was unlikely as were his estimates of victims, which remain uncertain by most accounts but tend to much lower figures.
Seen as fabricating murderous myths about the Soviet Union and Stalin, the writer provokes resentment in most modern Russians. Solzhenitsyn realized that his writings could bring him fame provided that he would create an incredibly cruel portrait of Stalin and his associates. Ironically, his salad days in America ended in frustration as he gagged on western hypocrisy, returning to Russia a sad fugitive seeking redemption. Whether or not he eventually regretted the black paint he spilled over Stalin, he became supportive of Putin and the efforts to restore Russian national dignity.
As for figures of the extent of suffering between 1921 and 1954, Nikita Khrushchev obtained from the Prosecutor of the USSR Rudenko, Interior Minister Kruglov and Minister of Justice Gorshenin, the following figures:
Between 1921 and 1954 some 3,777,380 people were convicted of counter-revolutionary crimes. Of these, 642,980 (17%) were sentenced to the maximum punishment (execution). Another 2,369,220 (63%) people were banished to the various camps serving terms of up to 25 years. Finally, deportation of 765,180 (20%) people occurred throughout the 33-year period.
Demonization of Stalin accelerated widely in the West after World War II, chiefly through efforts of Trotsky’s sponsors in New York and London. Having failed to kill Stalin before, during, or after the War, western media amplified exaggerated claims of crimes against Russians and those in the Soviet controlled area of Eastern Europe. Trotskyite Bolshevicks are nothing if not persistent.
In an astonishing move at the end of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Khrushchev launched into an unscheduled six-hour review of his predecessor’s grand reign. It was, however, a long and completely unexpected diatribe of Stalin and everything he stood for. In his speech, titled “On the Cult of the Personality of Stalin and its Consequences” Khrushchev laid the foundation for the collapse of the USSR, debunking and overthrowing Joseph Stalin.
One participant of this Congress, the First Secretary of the Chelyabinsk Regional Committee of the CPSU, M.S. Solomentsev, characterized the perception of this report by delegates as lies, and the collective betrayal of Stalin by Khrushchev and other members of the Central Committee as a brash attempt to absolve themselves of any guilt they ascribed solely to Stalin himself.
To my generation, all the conspirators and traitors were portrayed as innocent victims of Stalin’s cruelty and paranoia. In history textbooks, there was practically nothing about Trotsky’s true role in the history of Russia and the USSR, about his crimes against the Russian people, or about his active network of spies and saboteurs. But even in the Khrushchev era, when Khrushchev got rid of compromising evidence of his own deeds, he failed to completely whitewash traitors and criminals.
In 1956, The Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU adopted a decision, “On the study of open trials in the case of Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, Tukhachevsky and others,” refusing the rehabilitation of these traitors because of “their long anti-Soviet struggle.” Despite the CPSU refusal in 1956 to restore these traitor’s reputation, Gorbachev, in 1988, continued what Khrushchev began. This time no CPSU intervened to stop the fake historical narrative of the Trotskyites from becoming official Soviet policy, and confirming to the world that Stalin was the sole monster.
Henry Yagoda was not rehabilitated even in the time of Gorbachev, from which it can be concluded that, with all the desire to rewrite history, it was impossible to whitewash this “figure” even with the “superintendents of Perestroika.” Consequently, the crimes in which he was accused and for which he was punished were absolutely “real and grave.”
In the years of perestroika, when liberal pro-Western structures in Russia had wide access to the archives, they salted the testimony of criminals, adding meaningless praises to Stalin to create the impression that the accused became invalids after torture repeating anything they were told to say. And they removed what specifically described their own guilt. The devil is always in the details!
In an interview about the events back in 1956 and first published in 2006, Solomentsev recalled the following:
“Such assessments about the role of Stalin, which we heard from the mouth of Khrushchev, no one ever even in the West did not give. We knew a lot, but did not know much, and we were surprised at how, why, these facts did not reach us? There were questions that aroused questions, sorry for the tautology. “But was it at all true,” then what did Nikita Sergeyevich (Khrushchev) tell us about? He is impulsive, I would call him a nugget, big and strong. He kept moving away from the text of the report.
And these digressions concerned some specific examples, the facts that took place, they concerned the personality of Stalin. Even if it was done by other people, everything was attributed to Stalin. Including all repression. Nikita Sergeyevich did not say a word in self-criticism that he participated in the decision-making process. That he participated in the repression and when he worked in Ukraine and when he worked in Moscow. This is for certain known. I saw these documents. He did it, too. But not a word about it.
Another Soviet intellectual, famous in the West for his anti-Soviet works (Alexander Zinoviev, “The Yawning Heights” is the most famous of them), being in forced emigration in Europe, was able to understand Stalin’s role in the history of the USSR and in an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro he said: “Churchill was a genius. But he’s a puppy compared to Stalin.”
“I have been a convinced anti-Stalinist since the age of 17. We even began to prepare an attempt on Stalin. If in 1939 I was condemned to the death penalty, this would be fair. Now, reflecting on this whole century, I confirm:
Stalin was the greatest personality of the 20th century, the greatest political genius … To my shame, I must admit that I paid tribute to the bad attitude about Stalin as the leader of the country in the years of preparation for war and in the war years, when I was an anti-Stalinist and eyewitness of the events of those years.
Many years of study, research and reflection took place before the question “How would you behave if you were in Stalin’s place?” I answered myself: I could not do better than Stalin. “
Stalin – A Great Commander and Savior of the Nation
In the opinion of many Russians today the courage and self-control of Stalin at critical moments of the Great Patriotic War became key moments in raising the spirit of the masses. For the leadership of the USSR in the city of Kuibyshev, a bunker was prepared for shelter from the advancing fascist troops. Stalin refused to leave the Kremlin even when Hitler’s troops occupied the suburbs of Moscow.
The parade on Red Square on October 25, 1941 was a demonstration of the Soviet people’s determination to win. Stalin’s words from the rostrum of the Mausoleum “We will win!” We will win “- they listened throughout the country. Throughout the war, and especially the most difficult first year, the courage, determination and competence of Stalin inspired the entire Soviet people.
In the hours of despair Stalin embodied the belief in the ultimate victory. The counter-offensive near Moscow was the beginning of a great victory. Fascists lost half a million fighters in battles near Moscow.
When the fascists invited Stalin to exchange his captured son Yakov for Field Marshal Paulus, Stalin listened to the proposal from his generals who came with the report, went to the window and for a long time remained silent.
Then he returned to the table and asked the generals: “What will the other fathers say about this?” We note that both Stalin’s sons fought against the Nazis. Vasily Dzhugashvili flew on his combat aircraft without a parachute, since he had no right to be captured.
Rethinking their history today, Russians are realizing Stalin’s role in the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The growth of patriotism is not accidental and is not the result of propaganda efforts. Constant accusations of Russian aggression and attempts to strangle Russia via sanctions, combined with stubborn western refusal to recognize Russia as a country with its own national interests, are the sources now of the growth of Russian patriotism.
It is not by chance that the spontaneous “Immortal Regiment” movement, uniting Russians around the world under banners of the Great Patriotic War together with portraits of those who fought for the USSR, attracts new participants each year.
In the spring of 2017 in the US, the ranks of the “Immortal Regiment” were 4,000 people, and among them were not only Russians, but also Americans with portraits of their veterans of the Second World War. In 2017 the Levada Center reported 52% of Russians believe that Stalin had a positive impact on the history of the country. And, 38% of Russians consider Stalin to be the greatest leader of the twentieth century. So, history confirmed the correctness of Stalin’s foresight. More than half of Russians became Stalinists!
Industrialization and Collectivization: Two Colossi of a New Civilization
Before the Second World War, Stalin did a tremendous job of turning the USSR into a formidable power fortified for any battle. A clear understanding of the need for accelerated industrialization was reflected in the first five-year plan (1929-1933). The era of the “Great Break” was called upon to turn a peasant country into a powerful industrial nation. Mass mobilization of the population involved young people in the turbulent processes of building cities and plants.
The task of building socialism in one country included the renunciation of bonded concessions, as previously advocated by Trotsky, but the country was critically short of specialists in the field of building large engineered structures. Stalin invited the world’s most talented industrial architect and designer Albert Kahn to help the Soviets create their industrial base. Kahn brought the Soviets just what they needed as his success in the US was based on his talent in design, as well as his method of bringing design, engineering, and construction under his control as an integrated project.
This one-stop-shop approach garnered Kahn some 20% of industrial orders in the United States, including the famous automobile factories in Detroit. Kahn’s methods appealed to Soviet planners especially because they resulted in quickly designing factories, foundries, forges, and other buildings needed to achieve rapid industrialization.
Albert Kahn helped to construct and build 632 plants and factories in the USSR between 1929 and 1932, among them the tractor plants in Stalingrad, Kharkov and Chelyabinsk, Uralvagonzavod, GAZ, ZIS. Already in 1932, the USSR stopped importing tractors from abroad. In the 10 years before the war, 700,000 tractors were produced.
These tractors transformed labor in agriculture. The factories worked on conveyor technology and allowed facilities to transfer to the production of tanks. During the war, the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant produced 18,000 tanks. The machinists operating heavy equipment at the converted tractor plants were children as young as 10 years old, replacing fathers and brothers who left to the front. During the construction of the Chelyabinsk plant, 1 million cubic meters of soil was taken by hands and shovels, the plant was designed in 3 months and built in 2 years.
In 1932, Gibbson Jarvi, Chairman of the United Dominion Bank (Great Britain), wrote “I want to clarify that I’m not a Communist or a Bolshevik, I’m a capitalist and an individualist … The Soviet Union is moving forward, while many of our plants are idle and about 3 million our people are looking for work in despair. The five-year- plan was ridiculed and predicted for failure … But you can consider it unquestionable that in the conditions of the five-year plan more was done than planned …
In all the industrial cities that I visited, new areas are being built, built according to a certain plan, with wide streets decorated with trees and squares, with houses of the modern type, schools, hospitals, work clubs, and the inevitable nurseries and children’s homes that take care of the children of working mothers … Do not try to underestimate the Russian plans and do not make mistakes, hoping that the Soviet government can fail … Today’s Soviet Union is a country with a soul and ideals. The Soviet Union is a country of amazing activity. I believe that the aspirations of the Soviet Union are healthy … Perhaps the most important is that young people and workers in the Soviet Union have one thing that unfortunately is lacking today in the capitalist countries, namely, hope.”
In the United States, the Nation Journal, in 1932 wrote: “The four years of the five-year plan brought with them truly remarkable achievements. The Soviet Union worked with the intensity of wartime on the creative task of building a basic life. The face of the country is changing literally beyond recognition … This is true of Moscow with its hundreds of newly paved streets and squares, new buildings, new suburbs and cordon of new factories on its outskirts. This is true of relatively smaller cities.
New cities arose in the steppes and deserts, at least 50 cities with a population of 50,000 to 250,000 people. All of them have arisen in the last four years, each of them is the center of a new enterprise or a number of enterprises built to develop domestic resources. Hundreds of new district power plants and a number of giants, like Dneprostroy, are constantly implementing Lenin’s formula: “Socialism is Soviet power plus electrification” … The Soviet Union organized a mass production of an infinite number of items that Russia had never produced before: tractors, combines, high-quality steels, synthetic rubber, ball bearings, powerful diesel engines, turbines of 50,000 kilowatts, telephone equipment, electrical machines for mining, airplanes, cars, bicycles and several hundred types of new machines … For the first time in history, the Soviet Union extracts aluminum, magnesite, apatite, iodine, potash and many other valuable products.
Guiding points of the Soviet plains are now not the crosses and domes of churches, but grain elevators and silo towers. Electricity penetrates the village, radio and newspapers have won it. Workers learn to work on the newest machines. Peasant boys produce and service agricultural machines, which are bigger and more complex than what America has ever seen. The Soviet Union begins to “think machines.” The Soviet Union is rapidly moving from the century of the tree to the age of iron, steel, concrete and motors.”
Stalin as Personified Power of the USSR
In his efforts to isolate blame on Stalin alone, Nikita Khrushchev wrote about Stalin’s reluctance to reckon with the collective mind, and his tendency to dismiss group consensus. However, the story about Stalin’s collaboration with Kahn shows that he willingly attracted the best specialists for consultations, used their unique experience and knowledge to solve unprecedentedly complex tasks, and execute avant-garde projects.
Even then, Stalin understood the true role of consultation was not do the job for client’s, but to help clients achieve goals by teaching them to do the work themselves. In this way Stalin brought western expertise to Russia but gave away only consulting fees, not decades-long concessions. Stalin’s tremendous erudition was fueled by an extensive personal library, he read up to 500 pages per day, and many thousands of books preserved Stalin’s notes on their pages. His library numbered 20 thousand volumes.
Assessing today the scale of the Stalin reforms, we can realize the level of intellectual culture of Stalin and the power of the individual. There is an interesting comment on this from Joseph Schumpeter, a friend of Hayek, an Austrian political scientist and economist. He wrote in his work “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” in 1945, that he did not meet anyone other than Stalin on such a high intellectual level in the modern world.
American diplomat William Averell Harriman noted in Stalin: “A great mind, an incredible ability to penetrate into details, foresight and amazing human sensitivity. He was better informed than Roosevelt, more realistic than Churchill, in many respects the most effective leader of the war. “
Marshal Georgy Zhukov, in January-July 1941 – the chief of the General Staff, testified: “Joseph Stalin was not a man with whom it was impossible to mention difficult problems with whom one could not argue and even vigorously defend one’s opinion. If some people say differently, I maintain that their statements are a lie. Stalin had a great erudition, an amazing memory, an exceptional natural mind, and also an amazingly wide knowledge. He listened attentively, sometimes asked questions, and answered. After the end of the debate, he clearly formulated the results.”
A clear vision of the future, careful planning, the ability to ignite the people’s enthusiasm, unite people, find talented creators, asceticism and personal courage – all this allowed Stalin to turn the USSR into a “Great Civilization,” as British authors Sidney and Beatrice Webb titled their book about the USSR, after visiting the Soviet Union in 1932. Spouses Webb were convinced supporters of Stalin and the USSR until the end of their life.
Collectivization, conducted in the 1930s, is one of the objects of the most severe criticism of Stalin’s policy. Thousands of families of the “dekulakized” were sent to the regions of the Far North, Siberia and other places far from civilization. The most actively resisted owners of private farms were shot. But was it possible to industrialize without uniting small farms that did not have equipment and specialists for its maintenance, without agronomists and veterinarians, without engineers and technical specialists? The only answer is no.
The unification of farms into collective and state farms was a necessary condition for the rise of agriculture on the basis of its technical armament, the electrification of farms and rural houses, the training of rural youth in literacy and professions. It was a whole revolution in the life of the younger generation of Stalin’s times. And the opportunity to turn the richest lands of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the vineyards of Georgia and Armenia, the steppes of Kazakhstan into a single powerful economy, integrated into a rapidly growing Union.
Today, the bitter criticism of Stalin, which continues in the circle of liberal publications in Russia and abroad, plays a positive role, because it forces inquisitive minds to turn to facts and histories from the life of the country and reevaluate them in the context of what is happening today in the world and in Russia.
The trend is this: the harder the critic, the greater the recognition of Stalin, especially among young people. Young people today need ideals, heroes who inspire personal history. In search of spiritual support, Russians are increasingly turning to the experience of the generation of grandparents, seeing in those harsh tests that the generations had living under Stalin, genuine reason for pride and admiration.
In 2002, I wrote the book “Leadership in the 21st Century: An Outlook from Russia.” A prediction about Putin was there: “Putin’s historical mission is not really to exaggerate the role of the new Leader, not even to restore the economy. Putin’s mission is his chance to revive the spirit of the nation.
And this mission cannot be either abstracted from the everyday tasks of governing the country, or bent with the pathos of the role of the Messiah. Vladimir Putin is really lucky – history itself entrusted the Mission of the Revival of the Spirit of the Nation to his shoulders. This is the only way to raise and lead Russia from the bed of death, where the funeral team of the collective West is crowding around with sad faces.”
Realizing the depth of the national catastrophe, Putin began to cautiously move toward healing the country. The Russians responded instantly, the hardships of humiliation and disintegration aroused in them what had been nurtured by Stalin’s efforts – pride about their country and faith in a brighter future.
Stalin created the USSR not only with the creativity of designers and engineers, the labor of workers and collective farmers, he directed the whole strength of literature, cinema, the gift of artists, musicians and sculptors, to nurture the nation in the spirit of the best human qualities.
He taught his people to live for bright ideals and great goals. No Soviet film came out without viewing and approval by Stalin. And those films, most of which were created during the war years and immediately after the war, are still loved. The good seeds sown by Stalin have grown up today – through the recognition of Putin as the new savior of not only of Russia but also the world.
The memory of the Russian people, from which liberals tried to wrestle the image of heroic victory by the methods of mass lobotomy, gradually reemerged. Stalin’s image, as the mastermind of victory, the history of the people’s feat, which twice rose in the twentieth century against the forces of Evil, – was alive and healthy. It is the revival of the memory of the true history of Russia and its heroes and leaders that makes the people of Russia a great power again.
Radio Liberty asked people on the streets of Russian cities in 2017 whether Stalin was a real tyrant or just a demonized figure. Seventy-five percent answered confidently: Stalin is demonized. We were told that if the leader of the USSR was a criminal, then the state is also criminal. So, propaganda used the image of the empire of Evil to destroy the USSR. And if earlier Stalin and USSR were in the scope, today the target is Russia and Putin.
Lev Gudkov, the Director of the Levada Center, shocked by the results of his polls, bewildered that the Russians became again Stalinists, tried to find an explanation: “The society is not able to assess its past and prefers to limit itself to myths, which indicates its moral stupidity and the power of propaganda.”
On the contrary, it is the moral firmness of Russians today that allows Russia to unite in the global arena those who believe in the inevitability of victory over Satanists and Zionists. Having chosen the side of truth, after experiencing the tragedy of deceit and betrayal by the elites, in the last quarter of a century convinced of the incorrigibility of the vices of capitalism, Russians continued a path to a better society. The French philosopher Edgar Moreno prophetically uttered in the nineties, “The USSR did not die, it dissolved in the future.” Today, Russia is the nucleus of the crystal bringing this future.
American society is experiencing in these days a critical period of disintegration of the moral foundations that allow us to call ourselves a human society. The only way to heal is to find a Leader who is able to feel the pain of his people as his own tragedy, and will unite the healthy part of society around the idea of resurrecting America on the roots of morality, freedom and true democracy.
It’s a long and difficult journey, but it must be started and passed. Therefore, in the future, Russia, the country whose experience, tragedies and victories, people with great ability to create and achieve great goals, can and should become a true friend and partner of the American people.
Galima Galiullina, Ph.D.