Joseph Stalin is one of the most admired and at the same time despised or misunderstood personalities of the 20th century. Stalin transformed a backward Russia into a superpower and an industrial colossus. He was the titan of World War II and the West owes him big time for coming out of the war victorious and defeating the Nazis. Still, Western propaganda goes on to compare Stalin with Hitler, which is preposterous. Stalin was loved by his people which is the reason, the Russians yearn for the erstwhile Soviet Union as written in the article below:
So why does the West represents Stalin as a cruel dictator? The answer lies in the United States and the Western European countries hatred for communism. Ever since the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, the western powers conspired to defeat the Bolsheviks. Why is that so? Because communism called for the emancipation of the working class, which was lethal to capitalism and its political and economic hegemony. For the first time in history, the ruling classes had been defeated and the working class had come to power. This rattled the Western democracies which swore by capitalism.
Hence during the Russian civil war just after the revolution, Western powers including US, UK, France etc, sent troops and supplies to help the Whites( army officers of former Tsar, capitalists, landlords) against the Reds (communist and peasant armies). They wanted to crush Bolshevism’s “foul baboonery” in Winston Churchill’s own words in the cradle. But they were unsuccessful because of the wide support of the communists in the masses and sheer determination of the Bolsheviks to win and build the world’s first socialist state.
Then we had Stalin taking on from Lenin and going on to build a strong Industrial Soviet Union. This further frustrated the capitalist west, as socialism not only was surviving but was thriving and giving a new ray of hope to many communists around the world. It was only during World War II when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, that Britain and the US welcomed latter as an ally, and this friendship lasted between Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt till the end of the war.
The Time Magazine also had Stalin in many of its ‘Man of the Year‘ features which showed Stalin’s growing presence in the world stage. After the war, Britain and other European powers were left exhausted and had to let go of most of their colonies. US and USSR emerged as the two superpowers and almost immediately a new ‘ Cold War’ started between them in all spheres especially defense, space exploration, and nuclear technology.
The US started demonising Stalin and the Soviet Union immediately both in domestic and international platforms. They were petrified that communism could gain traction in the US, the way it did in some of the European countries. So they started portraying a negative image of Stalin and made him look like the personification of evil. This was supported by the Universities, academicians, movies etc. in the US and other capitalist western countries. It’s Only recently that the word ‘Socialism’ remerged in American political scenario, with the emergence of Bernie Sanders and a while after the collapse of the Soviet Union
Stalin’s “Socialism in one country” theory helped the Soviet Union rebuild after the Russian civil war and it grew from a primarily poor agrarian country to an Industrial superpower from making huge steelworks at one place to the huge armed forces capabilities and space research facilities at the other end. This model of the planned economy with its five-year plans served as a roadmap for newly independent nations like India, China, Vietnam etc.
Stalin and the Soviets made the Communist International or Comintern which was an international network of communist parties around the world. This served as breeding ground for future revolutionaries including Ho Chi Minh and MN Roy. The Communist International helped provide solidarity and guidance to newly formed Communist parties around the world on how to build party organizations and revolutions in other countries. This paid heavy dividend when China had a communist revolution and then followed by Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea etc. Hence Stalin helped establish communism as the alternative to capitalism and a workable political and economic model.
Stalin’s most important contribution probably would be defeating forces of fascism at a time when there was a real chance of fascism emerging in Europe and also in parts of Asia like Singapore, Burma, and maybe India too , if Japan had been victorious. Stalin’s cool mind and his analytical and tactical judgments in the war helped defeat the might and aggressiveness of Hitler. Stalin ensured that western civilization was saved at a time when even France had fallen to Hitler and only Britain survived. The mighty Soviet Army marched on to Berlin under the slogan” For the motherland, For Stalin” which shows how much he was loved and admired by the Soviet people.
Finally concluding the article, by quoting Vladimir Putin, ” The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century”. Stalin was the Father of the Soviet people who put the Soviet Union on the map as the balancing power in the world to check the excesses of the US. The Soviet Union made great strides in space research and defence . It was a tragedy that Soviet leaders who followed Stalin committed mistakes which finally led to the demise of the Union and the Communist model. Nevertheless, Stalin remains as one of the most inspiring leaders for young radical leftists around the world and is remembered for being the one who stood up and defeated the evil forces of fascism.