Stalin: Yes, he was a tyrant, but people like him

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[This is an excerpt from a new study guide for Russian teachers prepared by Aleksandr Filippov, a deputy director of a Kremlin-backed think tank.]

As a result of the “Big Purge” of late 1930s, practically all members and candidates to become Politburo members elected after the 17th Party Congress suffered from reprisals to a certain degree....Postwar reprisals were quite similarly addressed... The number of victims of the Leningrad case reached about two thousand people. Many of them faced firing squads. Studies by Soviet and foreign historians confirmed that the ruling class was the priority victim of the repressions in 1930-1950.

...Stalin followed Peter the Great’s logic: demand the impossible from the people in order to get the maximum possible. ...The result of Stalin’s purges was a new class of managers capable of solving the task of modernization in conditions of shortages of resources, loyal to the supreme power and immaculate from the point of view of executive discipline....

Thus, just like Chancellor Bismarck who united German lands into a single state by “iron and blood,” Stalin was reinforcing his state by cruelty and mercilessness. Strengthening the state, including its industrial and defensive might, he considered one of the main principles of his policy.

Indirect evidence of this can be found in the memoirs of his daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva. Every time he looked at her dress he always asked the same question, making a wry mouth: “Is this foreign-made?” and always cracked a smile when I answered, ‘No, it was made here, locally.”

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