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Kitaplar
Rupert Colley

Stalin: History in an Hour

Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Lenin had similarly caused a famine in the Volga region in 1920–21 but at least he finally acquiesced and allowed in foreign aid. Stalin refused to allow the world to see the result of his errors
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
this creature softened my heart of stone. She’s died and with her have died my last warm feelings for humanity
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Together, the victims of the famines, Terror and the gulags – but excluding the casualties of war – add up to over 20 million individuals
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
The writer and Soviet dissident,
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, relates a tale from 1937 when, after eleven exhausting minutes of enthusiastic clapping, a factory director was the first to stop; he got ten years in a gulag
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
When Yakov, his son from his first marriage, tried half-heartedly to shoot himself, Stalin scoffed, ‘he can’t even shoot straight’. Yakov joined the Red Army during the war and was taken prisoner. When the Germans tried to trade him for a field marshal incarcerated in the Soviet Union, Stalin refused
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
I don’t even trust myself.’
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Although his new purges never reached the horrific heights of 1937, people grew accustomed again to their neighbours disappearing overnight. Artists, writers and the intelligentsia were particularly hit as Stalin imposed his limited vision of the arts
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
With the end of the Second World War, Stalin’s paranoia only grew more intense as he became convinced that the West wished to undermine the East. With Hitler gone, he now considered his former allies the enemy. The US deployment of the atomic bomb against Japan in August 1945 fuelled his insecurities (the Soviet Union developed their own bomb by 1949). It was this insecurity rather than a desire to spread the word of Socialism that galvanized Stalin into maintaining a Soviet influence in a corridor of eastern countries from Estonia in the north, to Bulgaria and Albania in the south, thereby subjugating 100 million new Soviet citizens
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Many of the 70 per cent that survived were immediately dispatched to the gulags on their eventual return home, along with their wives and families. ‘There are no prisoners of war,’ Stalin once said, ‘only traitors to their homeland
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
By December 1941, Hitler’s forces were within sight of Moscow, and Leningrad was under a siege that would last almost 900 days. Within eighteen months of war, 65 per cent of the Red Army had been taken prisoner. Stalin deemed them traitors to the motherland because they had ‘surrendered voluntarily to the enemy’. During the war up to six million Soviets were captured
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
From mid-1937, Stalin drew up ‘arrest quotas’ for each area of the Soviet Union, and the percentage of those arrested to be shot. But, as with the Five-Year Plans, over-fulfilment was encouraged. Terror was heaped upon terror, as people petrified of being denounced got in first with their denunciations. No crime was needed, no proof required. Guilt was of little consideration and innocence of no consequence.
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
The following day, Stalin introduced a new decree which considerably accelerated the process of dealing with arrestees and further empowered those arresting them by depriving defendants of either a defence or the right to appeal.
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
The finger of accusation for Kirov’s death has always pointed to Stalin himself, the story being that he felt threatened by the Party’s new darling, and ordered the secret police (the NKVD) to eliminate his rival
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
The hunt for conspirators had only just begun.
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Nikolaev was executed, soon followed by his wife
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
On 1 December 1934, Sergei Kirov was assassinated. His assassin, Leonid Nikolaev, shot him dead outside the Party offices in Leningrad.
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
The Congress proved to be the highpoint in the career of rising Bolshevik star, Sergei Kirov. Kirov, the dashing forty-seven-year-old boss of Leningrad and Stalin favourite, spoke gushingly of the Party’s achievements and life in Stalin’s Soviet Union: ‘Our successes are truly tremendous. The devil knows – to put it humanly, one wants just to live and live.’

Sergei Kirov, c.1919

Many within the Party viewed Kirov as a potentially more humane and moderate party leader and several of them approached him during the congress urging him to replace Stalin. Kirov refused to be drawn in and even made the fatal error of reporting the conversation to his boss
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Ryutin, after five years’ imprisonment, was shot in 1937 and Kirov would soon be dead. Kamenev and Zinoviev who failed to report Ryutin were again expelled from the party and exiled east
Rebeca Rodriguesalıntı yaptı8 ay önce
Stalin was not yet in the position where his every word was acted upon without question and Ryutin was spared. Eventually as ever, his will was done
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