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> Stalinism, Revolution from above or from the past
     
paulus
 

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post 13/06/2006, 20:55 Quote Post

Stalin’s ‘revolution from above’ was probably the most notorious example of a social transformation ever undertaken by any leadership in modern history. This said, however, it should be stressed that Stalinism as a 'revolution' seems problematic both as a term and historical phenomenon. In my opinion Stalinism had clear historical antecedents in tsarist history: the tsars also had their revolution from above. They legalised the imposition of serfdom upon the Russian peasantry in the XVI and XVII centuries and the peasant’s attachment by law to the soil along with the system of ‘barshchina' (the corvee) under which the peasant was forced to contribute a number of days of work on the landowner’s (or the state’s) land during the agricultural year. The Russian village commune was transformed into a coercive unit for ensuring each member’s fulfilment of state-imposed obligation under the principle of mutual responsibility. Large-scale deportations also occurred prior to the arrival of the Bolsheviks. As for Stalin, he himself clearly betrayed the revolution in a number of areas. In contrast to the lofty slogans of Lenin’s time, under comrade Stalin authority was to be obeyed rather than challenged. The proletarian egalitarianism was also rejected: specialists’ salaries were reintroduced and the Stakhanovite movement became a byword for ever-increasing norms and productivity. The elites in the Kremlin, albeit under a careful eye of Stalin, also broke away from the mantra of the Leninist past instead turning more and more to conspicuous consumption characterised by desire for luxury and consumer goods. True the Soviet Union suffered from chronic shortage of goods yet the system of nomenclatura seems to have deeply entrenched habits which Lenin himself would have been ashamed of.

Since I began with the issue of Stalinism and revolution I would like to finish with a couple of questions related to the two terms, and which, I hope, will stimulate a discussion in weeks to come. Firstly, would it be fair to refer to Stalinism as a specific and distinct counter-revolutionary phenomenon or was it rather a continuation of the Leninist legacy? Secondly, how much truth is there in talking of Stalinism not as a revolutionary process but neo-tsarism that differed from the previous attempts to modernise Russia only in scale and numbers that it invloved?

All comments are welcome!
 
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Rothar
 

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post 15/06/2006, 0:15 Quote Post

Very interesting topic.

QUOTE(paulus @ 13/06/2006, 21:55)
In my opinion Stalinism had clear historical antecedents in tsarist history; the tsars also had their revolution from above.


Yes, I think that you might be right. Russia was the weakest link in capitalistic world, so communists decided to attack there. It wasn't a matter of the weak economy, but society which could be easily manipulated. And it's nothing surprising, that Stalin saw his chance in social techniques like propaganda of Stakhanovite movement, in the same time introducing serfdom in the same way as Tsars did.

QUOTE(paulus @ 13/06/2006, 21:55)
How much truth is there in talking of Stalinism not as a revolutionary process but neo-tsarism that differed from the previous centuries only in scale and numbers that it invloved?


It's really difficult to answer that, mainly because there is a big difference between XX and XVI century. Political crimes which could be acceptable few houndreds years ago by the society, in early XX century were treaten as a normal act of a mass homicide. The numbers were bigger, because Stalin's organisation structures were stronger, more experienced and it was the price for building communist system in USSR - there's no more explanation about that. But I think that there is a visible correlation between these two periods of the Russian history. Stalin started a real domestic struggle to make his regime powerful, the ideologies were different but mechanismus as always - the same.

QUOTE(paulus @ 13/06/2006, 21:55)
Firstly, would it be fair to refer to Stalinism as a specific and distinct counter-revolutionary phenomenon or was it rather a continuation of the Leninist legacy?


Stalinism was a system of degeneration, which used marxism and leninism as a tool for gaining power. It wasn't counter-revolutionary movement, but Stalin was trying to build (quite successful) strong and centralized state and he realized that he can do it easier, using old ideological basis. Lenin tried to introduce proletariat dictatorship, Stalin was a normal totalitarian leader. He built in Russia something like army-organized society, really totalitarian regime.
 
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lbugajski
 

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post 25/02/2008, 21:02 Quote Post

That's right it's very interesting topic about Stalin's crime activity. He has killed many innocent peoples. He hasn't do it himself, he used to presume for example NKVD. I think he was simply, dastard who doesn' take care of lifes the simply russians. In my opinion he was a "stupid" datard.

lbugajski
 
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oskar(zet)
 

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post 13/04/2008, 11:12 Quote Post

Stalin it murderer, which solved any problems murder of objector. It is possible to define him it quietly soviet Hitler!

 
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mata2010
 

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post 14/04/2008, 3:56 Quote Post

Stalin was a very good politician - as Hitler was. It is politically incorrect (to say that), but we are here not to be correct. We must be reliable at first place.
Stalin performed a long-term policy that made the Lenin's political project as real as it was possible. Lenin's project was revolutionary, so Stalin was revolutionary. Problem of both: Lenin and Stalin was incompletness of Lenin project. And its incoherency i.e. existence the internal contradictions within "leninism".
Yes, it was a revolution from the above. As such it could be easily and it was very cruel. The principal historical problem is if the october revolution was a necessary consequence of the preceding events (or not). For now this problem has different approaches, which depend on knowledge background and political views of researchers.
 
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oskar(zet)
 

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post 14/04/2008, 14:45 Quote Post

QUOTE(Mata2010)
Stalin was a very good politician - as Hitler was. It is politically incorrect (to say that), but we are here not to be correct. We must be reliable at first place.
Stalin performed a long-term policy that made the Lenin's political project as real as it was possible. Lenin's project was revolutionary, so Stalin was revolutionary. Problem of both: Lenin and Stalin was incompletness of Lenin project. And its incoherency i.e. existence the internal contradictions within "leninism".
Yes, it was a revolution from the above. As such it could be easily and it was very cruel. The principal historical problem is if the october revolution was a necessary consequence of the preceding events (or not). For now this problem has different approaches, which depend on knowledge background and political views of researchers.


Do you defend you stalin ? As I carried such impression. wink.gif
 
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Mareknufc
 

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post 2/08/2008, 15:04 Quote Post

Stalin committed many sins and surely now he is suffering in flames at the bottom of abyss, if one exists. But what puzzles me greatly is love he is still endowed with by some people in Western World. Not long time ago, actually on the first May this very year, I saw people roaming the streets of Europe, carrying portaits with a timeless countenance of Stalin and chanting praises to him. Now if any has a courage, shall he do exactly the same but instead of Stalin's portaits shall he wave with Hitler portaits or any other controversial individual who is deemed by left-wing parties as "fascist".

Stalin was a very cunning beast and had no qualms about harming his closest relatives (let me remind you he had a great deal of work in his wife's suicide). But no one can deny he was exceedingly effective and once gained power, never did he waive. As far as his political movements are concerned he made one serious mistake that had a significant bearing on the whole country. I mean - he did not anticipated that Hitler was about to betray him and he just disregarded all warnings that Robert Sorge, super spy, provided about possible attack. In consequence, he was not far from losing a power and later, in order to justify massive losses at the outset of the war, he devised a theory about unexpected attack of traitors. In fact anyone but a Stalin knew it in advance. Apart from that "slight" error, Stalin proved to be impassive, cynical and skillful ruler. He managed to convince poor citizens who were continuously starving that peasant in capitalist countries each day were struggling even more and did not have a freedom Russian may have rejoiced of. A genius of propaganda and bold founder of truly awesome empire, surrounded with submissive countries governed by people who graduated in Moscow.

Privately - malignant villain, responsible for more victims than Hitler.
 
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