The history of Russian has survived a long journey with differentiated leadership and control. At the conclusion of the civil war fight between the Bolsheviks, or Reds, and anti-Bolsheviks, or Whites of 1918, was a Soviet Union constitution based on dictatorship. After Vladimir Lenin dies of a stroke in 1924, historic Russian leader Joseph Stalin replaces him. Joseph Stalin has an enormous impact on the Soviet Union and implemented many stipulation policies for economic rise. Stalin’s had high ambitions to expand Russian economy to compete with western civilization. Stalin’s attitude corresponds with that of Russian hockey legend, Anatoli Tarasov. Both leaders in their respective division, envisioned high achievements for the Soviet Union. While Stalin sought to drastically industrialize Russia, Anatoli Tarasov changed the way Soviet Union hockey was played. The two leaders shared many of the same qualities that attributed to their respect.
Joseph Stalin spent years following the revolution sifting through the lower ranks of the Bolshevik party. In 1922, the year the United Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) was formed, Stalin was granted the general secretary position for the Communist party, a job that had little significance. This position allowed him to build a base to gain support, which eventual helped his rise to power. Things started to turn around for Stalin after Vladimir Lenin’s death in 1924. Stalin and his unique style outmaneuvered all of his rivals by promoting himself as Lenin’s successor. Joseph Stalin finally gained complete control over the Soviet Union by 1928, a historical day that changed the world.
Anatoli Tarasov’s rise to power was similar to that of Stalin. After a successful playing career in the Russian sport Bandy (similar to field hockey but on ice), Tarasov took up coaching. The first Soviet hockey league was formed in 1946 and Anatoli Tarasov was asked to build a national hockey program. From a couple of old ice hockey rulebooks he generated a unique style of play that would serve the Soviet Union hockey world for years to come. In 1953 the USSR joined the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). After many successful seasons coaching the Red Army, in 1958 Tarasov was named the Soviet national team head coach, a position held until 1972.
Once at the throne of power, both Tarasov and Stalin radically developed plans to become super powers in their professions. They were both considered dictators, everything was to be done the way that they thought would suit the Soviets best. Stalin was the man who took a backward country and turned it into a world superpower, although his power was one of the murderous in history. By 1928, when Stalin gained complete control of the Soviet Union, he replaced the 1920’s New Economic Policy with a centralized command economy where he incorporated five year plans. He planned to rapidly increase industrialization by forcing collectivized agriculture; however, this method came at the cost of millions of people’s lives. The Five-Year Plans was to coordinate investments and production in the country. Driven by his own sense of inferiority, Stalin built a mobilized and industrialized economy that competed with the Capitalist powers of the west. His success came by his own visions, which were constantly questioned. Stalin’s ambitions were to boost the Soviets economic status, and he stopped at nothing to achieve that goal.
Anatoli Tarasov’s goal was to take Soviet’s to a level that would compete with the superpowers of the hockey world. At a time where Canada dominated world competition, Soviet hockey was on the rise. Like Stalin, his success was not measured by who personally liked or disliked him. Tarasov’s goals were win gold medals at the Olympics, the World Championships, and the National Championships. From a standpoint, people were shocked by his coaching methods. Tarasov was a dictator; everything was to be done the way he envisioned. He demanded complete dedication to the “his” hockey. He did not except any excuses from his players. His ruthless road to success shadows Joseph Stalin’s path. His methods broke players down to the point where they would give up, but some managed to persevere and become champions under Tarasov’s lead.
Stalin and Tarasov took drastic measures to achieve greatness. Stalin’s was considered a negative leader during his Reign. He wanted things to be done “his” way. He developed his power base with Great Purges of political opponents including the Bolshevik party, which lead to the imprisonment and assassination of thousands. With the reason of implementing socialism, Stalin terrorized large numbers of the Soviet population. The Kulaks were a main target for Stalin; they were farmers whose land was confiscated through agriculture collectivization. “Through the purges, forced famines, terrorism, labor camps, and forced migrations, Stalin was responsible for the death of as many as 40 million people within the borders of the Soviet Union.” The measures taken to better the economic state of the country were horrifying, Stalin’s ambitions were extremely high.
Tarasov and the measures he took paralleled Stalin in a sense. The “Father of Soviet Hockey” not only innovated the game of hockey, he changed the way teams approach it. He demanded the utmost dedication from his players. Hockey was not a game that was played and prepared for during the season, he made it a year round job. While most teams around the world prepared for the upcoming seasons in the two months prior, Tarasov concept was to train year-round. He was one the first coaches to really focus on the physical condition of his players. The vigorous year round training his players went through pushed their limits to the breaking point. He demanded100% of all his player’s energy and work ethic, especially during his rigorous dry-land training. Famed hockey announcer Carl Watts commented after seeing one of his training sessions, “And I remember when he had the work-outs with the players, after a work-out they could barely make it to the dressing room, because he took everything he could out of his players, he was hard-tempered a commander on the ice.” When the season approached, the Soviet team was always ahead of the competition. Tarasov’s revolutionary on ice practices developed systems based on skating skills and passing. He focused on created scoring opportunities by opening up the ice and skating skills, opposed to other national team who focused on shooting from anywhere in the offensive zone. This proved to be great success for the Soviets, the systems he polished pursued brilliant victories against super star teams across the globe. During his reign as coach, he guided his teams to three Olympic gold medals and ten world championships. Following a 1972 Olympic gold medal, Tarasov was asked to resign from his position as head coach, right before one of the most historic showdowns in the history of national ice hockey, the 1972 Summit Series.
When Tarasov was playing hockey himself, he was constantly overshadowed by flashy player Vsevolod Bobrov. Tarasov was not as good as Bobrov, but he made up the difference in his unbelievable understanding of the game and his hard work ethic. The two would find themselves crossing paths at the end of their playing careers as coaches. Both successfully became coaches in the Soviet Union. Tarasov excelled in coaching, and become the undisputed king of Soviet hockey, but he was replaced by Bobrov before the ’72 Summit Series. Tarasov was known to be insubordinate, especially is he felt something would benefit his team. Before the Olympics in ’72, the Japanese offered each Soviet player $200 to play two exhibition games. After accepting the offer, The Soviet Sports Committee’s Mr. Paplov clashed with Tarasov. Paplov was furious because this was unacceptable in a communist world. After this incident, Tarasov was fired from the head coach position.
The attribute that mostly compares Joseph Stalin and Anatoli Tarasov is the drive they shared to build successful empires. Joseph Stalin built an economic base for the Soviets that competed with the powers of the world. Questions were often raised on the methods that Stalin used. Tarasov’s is widely known as a builder in the game of hockey. He took the sport and simplified it, focusing on minor aspects of the game. He took a team of Soviets and trained the m enough that they competed with the world power in hockey at the time, Canada. Tarasov is regarded as the architect of the Soviet Union’s hockey power. Tarasov and Stalin liked things to be done the way they intended. Being Stubborn landed both Tarasov and Stalin in some hot water during the reins at the throne. They shared a generous amount of pride in what they did. Stalin was considered one of the worst leaders in the history of the world and Tarasov was known as one of the greatest. Stalin showed great success in bringing Russia to a national superpower which is comparable to Tarasov. The two men had a great impact on both Russia and Soviet hockey for years to come.
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