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How successful was Stalin's desire to transform the Soviet society?

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Introduction

How successful was Stalin's desire to transform the Soviet society? Stalin was the Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922 and came to power as the result of the death of Lenin in 1924. Stalin followed the principles of Marxism which may defined as the 'theory and practice of the proletarian revolution'. They maintained that liberal capitalism could not achieve human emancipation but only through a 'utopian' community that worked together, without classes, could this be achieved. Stalin placed huge emphasis on these theories being put into practice and he did this through fear and force. The political and cultural aims of Stalin's regime were to identify the totalitarian rule of the Communist party with stability and legitimacy. Stalin lay great stress on religion. According to the Socialists, they viewed religion as the 'opium of the people' and were desperate to remove it from society. A number of different religions could be found scattered across Russia. In the countryside, there was widespread support for the Russian Orthodox Church, in the south and central Asia was the belief in Islam and there were also many Jews about. The Socialists brought about the destruction of religion through means of severe persecution and destruction of religious buildings. In many ways, religion was removed, but Stalin failed to remove it from the people's lives altogether. The persecution did impel people to drift away from religion. ...read more.

Middle

This resulted in 'gangs' of orphans and beggars roaming the street, increasing the crime rate. At this point Stalin realised that he had to restrict the freedom of abortion and divorce ('The State is not at all interested in the continuation of divorce proceedings'). This was in order to pull the family back together as he expressed his view that 'the state cannot exist without the family'. He also declared that religious marriage was not forbidden, but it had legal significance. He did this in the hopes that the power of religion would further be reduced. And so, although Stalin placed huge emphasis on the traditional view of the family and working women, this fell in the 1930's from being poplar in the 1920's. In the 1920's there was a huge boom in the field of experimental creativity in the areas of music, art, writing and design but in the 1930's, Stalin attempted to control the creative arts. Artists and writers were no longer allowed to experiment with abstract work but were to produce products of propaganda, which showed a happy and healthy Stalin who was one with the people as well as showing collective farms and a strong industry. This made people totally subservient to the needs of the regime and allowed Stalin to influence more power over the people. ...read more.

Conclusion

But in the long run, Stalin was very successful in removing and objectors and he accomplished this through the use of his ruthless secret police. Stalin also used effective propaganda (as I previously mentioned) in order to gain popularity and support. His methods proved to be very prosperous as people began to recognise him as a great, powerful man but who was one with the peasants and didn't consider himself higher than them. This allowed him put forth his principles easily upon the people as they now trusted him and felt that what he said must surely be right. But, evidently, not all people believed all he said - religious activists and other members of parties. Stalin also made use of the Terror to control the USSR. By this he used 'Purges' to remove any enemies and anyone whom he thought might turn against the party. One problem with this method was that by doing so, he removed nearly 35,000 of his best officers, and this caused great loss during World War 2. And so, in conclusion, I would say that Stalin was successful in changing the outside and the look of Russia as a Socialist country (for example, the effective use of putting down rival parties and removing religion on the outside). But he was unable to change the people and their way of life. People were not prepared to entirely leave religion behind and he could not monopolise the families or the role of women. ...read more.

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