Six characteristics define today’s Stalinists and explain their large influence, Pavlova says

The Russian occupation authorities in Crimea opening a new Stalin monument to commemorate the Yalta Conference (February 4-11, 1945) between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin that legitimized the post-World War II occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union (Image: Wikimedia)

The Russian occupation authorities in Crimea opening a new Stalin monument to commemorate the Yalta Conference (February 4-11, 1945) between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin that legitimized the post-World War II occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union (Image: Wikimedia) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

“Stalinist,” like many epithets, is not so much an explanation as something that needs to be explained, US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova says; and in a new post, she argues that Stalinists are best understood as people who share five particular and interrelated beliefs.

Irina Pavlova, Russian historian

Irina Pavlova

First of all, she says, a Stalinist is someone who supports traditional Russian statehood and great power. Indeed, “the basis of Stalinism lies in Russian state traditions …as embodied in the rule of Ivan the Terrible.” During more liberal periods in Russian history, these ideas have receded into the background somewhat, but they have never disappeared.

“With Stalin, [these views] reached their logical end point,” with the state viewing itself as surrounded by enemies and having as its domestic task the establishment of tight control over the population so that the country will not fall apart and as its foreign ones increasing its influence and power and showing Russia to be a great power.

That means, Pavlova says, that “the state in Russia is not the civil service [as is the case in other countries] but [an independent] demiurge-power. Power itself is the highest value, it is always primary and the people are always secondary, even though formally the Stalinist declares the Russian multi-national people as the source of all power.”

Second, Pavlova continues, “a Stalinist is a supporter of ethnic Russian state nationalism. The ideal of the Stalinist is only a centralized and unitary state … [and] in this Russian picture of the world, federation as a system of government organization is alien both to the supreme power and to public consciousness,” whatever the country is called.

That view is widely shared in the population and even among “various representatives of the so-called elite and anti-Putin opposition,” the historian points out. Indeed, among both systemic liberals and nationalists, “the majority are supporters of the great power position and imperialists.”

Third, she says, “a Stalinist is a supporter of government ownership and control not only of natural resources but of industry and also of the active interference of the state in the development of science, culture, the social sphere and health care.” Often Stalinists criticize Putin for failing to carry out “a new industrialization of the country.”

Fourth, “a Stalinist is a supporter of the development of military industry which in his language is always called not military but defense. In reality, the purpose of this industry is entirely different: not defense against an external enemy but the affirmation of the status of Russia as a great power in the world by force of arms and the militarization of his own country.”

Fifth, a Stalinist is someone whose consciousness is opposed to law. “He may call for ‘the dictatorship of law,’ but the orders of the supreme power, as a rule, secret are for him always ‘higher than formal legality,’” and he is quite prepared to use “illegal methods” against corruption or other ills.

And sixth, “a Stalinist is a supporter of social projects introduced ‘from above,’ be it socialism, democracy or a legal state.” Thus, “calls to ‘build socialism in one country’” are for a Stalinist equivalent to “calls to ‘build a democratic legal state.’ In any case, this means actions ‘from above,’” and that inevitably involves “force and repressions.”


Edited by: A. N.

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    And seventh, a Stalinist is a member of a mentally challenged sub species of the human race whose thought patterns closely resemble animals such as sheep and therefore must be herded by another much more aggressive animal such as a goat. It should also be added that Stalinists are very closely related to similar like minded creatures such as Fascists and Terrorists of various stripes.

    • Микола Данчук

      No matter how you slice and dice stupidity, it will always be in bad taste!
      Those that uphold Stalinism just what to see who is more stupid then them?

  • Микола Данчук

    How is it that one can choose to ignore the depravity in hopes of a redeeming factor?
    If you build on the corpses of millions, does the odor become normal?

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      Actually, in the case of Stalinists and other brain washed extremists, they, over time, become desensitized to their own putrid stench as they are devoid of any sense of morality and as such cannot or will not feel any empathy for the victims of terror. To illustrate this further, these reprobates could be compared to some “street people” who never bathe, are constantly inebriated, disheveled and spend their sleeping hours in whatever pigpen that may become available.They also have a morbid tendency to refuse any critiques of their situation and as such remain lost sheep covered in mange.

  • veth

    The installation of the new radio and TV broadcaster is finished in Bachmutivka village in Luhansk region. The member of the National Council of Ukraine on TV and Radio broadcasting Sergy Kostynsky reported at Facebook.

    The installation of the tower lasted for the month. It is the third tower of those that were build during last two years after Kramatorsk and Chongarsk towers. The new towers are situated in Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

    The development of the telecommunication infrastructure will continue.

    ‘The next step in Bachmutivka is the installation of the broadcasting equipment that will provide the broadcasting of the Ukrainian TV Channels and radio station at the line of demarcation including the city Shastya. The operator of the telecommunications is the Innovation and Information center in Severodonetsk’, Kostynsky noted.

    According to him, the digital and analog TV broadcasting and FM-Radio broadcasting from this tower will begin this month. The provider of the digital TV broadcasting Zeonbud received the allowance to organize the temporary broadcasting from the National Council.

    At the moment, it is planned to start the programs of the broadcasting, the range of the national TV channels, FM Army and others.

    Earlier it was reported that Ukraine is going to block the signals of the Russian TV and radio channels at the line of demarcation.

  • zorbatheturk

    The RuSSian empire must bite the dust and be relegated to the history books. No more Stalins. No more Putins.