Stalin made a name for himself when he joined the Social Democratic Labor Party in 1901. After the overthrow of Nicholas II, Stalin did not think that the Russian people were ready for a Socialist revolution, apposing what Vladimir Lenin thought. Lenin was the leader of the Socialists at the time. When Lenin heard about this, he made Stalin choose. He could either challenge Lenin for the leadership of the Socialists, or he could change his mind about the revolution and remain loyal to Lenin. Stalin chose to stay loyal to Lenin in an article he wrote. Lenin was pleased with Stalin, and appointed him Commissar of Nationalities. Stalin told people that the new Soviet government promised “complete freedom for the Finnish people, and for other peoples of Russia, to arrange their own life”. This meant that he supported the idea of self-determination and making a life for yourself. After a while, Stalin found it hard to control the non-Russian people under his power. They were creating many independent states without his agreement. These states were often hostile to Stalin and his government. This made Stalin change his policies so that self-determination was not allowed. In 1939, Stalin made a pact with Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany, which divided the two powers.
Taking all of this into consideration, my opinion on Joseph Stalin is that he was a harsh, hypocritical ruler who wasn’t fair. His ideas and actions shaped Soviet Russian history to what we know it to be today. Stalin was hypocritical because he told the people that he supported self-determination, but the once the people put it into action, he punished them for it. He was harsh because when he punished people who went against him, he killed them with no questions asked. Also, he was responsible for at least 20 million deaths from forced famines, labor camps, forced migrations, state terrorism and labor camps. He did these things to try to unite his power base into a smaller area; eliminating lesser powers. Next, after World War II, he continued mass murdering entire areas. He did all of this while practicing callous control over the Soviet Union and it’s surrounding states. This makes me believe even more that Stalin was a horrible person and leader in Soviet Russia’s history.
Overall, my judgment of Joseph Stalin in Soviet Russian history is that he was a horrible leader who caused the death of many innocent people. He was hypocritical, ruthless and harsh to the people he ruled. I think that many people probably have different opinions about how much of an impact Stalin actually had on Russian history, but I believe that without him, things would have been completely different. Even though Adolf Hitler still would have caused the Holocaust, Stalin would not have been there to increase the number of deaths. This is how I would judge Joseph Stalin’s place in Soviet Russia’s history.
Jewish Virtual Library. “Joseph Stalin.” http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/stalin.html.
Accessed May 8th 2010
Spartacus Educational. “Joseph Stalin: Biography.” http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSstalin.htm. Accessed May 8th 2010.