Stalin's Personality cult

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 “The Personality Cult” of Stalin

Shortly after the death of Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin a “Tribute to Stalin” was published in Labour Monthly by William Gallacher. The opening read:

 The people of the Soviet Union, the progressive forces and the Peace Movement throughout the world have suffered an irreparable loss through the death of our great and well-beloved Comrade Joseph Stalin.

This was a man who was responsible for killing millions of his own people. How does one who committed such heinous acts receive such a heartfelt tribute? The answer is Stalin’s effective creation of a “cult of personality”. Stalin manipulated all aspects of Russian life and society. The Russian people were blinded by an unblemished atmosphere Stalin had created around himself. Through propaganda and terror Stalin controlled all of Russia like a cult.

        After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin was not the first choice to take over the leadership of the Soviet Union. However Stalin’s sly manoeuvring and exaggerated lies allowed him step above Lenin’s chosen successor Trotsky. “Lenin wrote a political “testament”...calling for Stalin’s removal from the secretary general ship.” (Hingley). This “testament, which Stalin knew about, could have been the end of his dictatorship before it even began, “but his luck and skill enabled him to have it discounted during his lifetime” (Hingley). At Lenin’s funeral Stalin spoke about losing a great leader. And after the funeral instead of Lenin being buried as per his widow had wished, Stalin overruled and had him embalmed and placed on public display. “Stalin decided that Lenin’s corpse must be immortalized by keeping the deceased leader on permanent the focal point of a new “religion” Leninism” (Rappaport 168). This aided in his popularity making the public believe he was the one who must replace Lenin. In reality, “under the banner of “Leninism” he was establishing a new creed of Stalinism, the polar opposite of the ideas of the Bolshevik Party” (Woods). A few years later the permanent Lenin Mausoleum was built in the Red Square. Not only was this a focal point of Lenin, but “from the balcony above Stalin and other Communist leaders could view the meticulously staged parades on May Day, the anniversary of the revolution and other official ceremonies” (Rappaport 168).

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 For years after Lenin’s death it was common for Stalin to praise Lenin and align himself with Lenin in  speeches. “It was quite safe to flatter Lenin once he was dead – sometimes dead men are more useful than living ones,” Woods quotes. Stalin was very calculating in his choice of how he connected himself to Lenin’s life and work. “Some parts of Lenin’s life had to be de-emphasized and others rearranged, modified, or touched up to put Stalin in the idealized picture” (Tucker 364). The people of the Soviet Union believed that Stalin was Lenin’s chosen successor and would ...

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