Follow TV Tropes
I'd like to suggest a few improvements to this page:
Notes: Why the paragraph-length notes? If you have something that long to say, simply put it in the article.
Historians: If there are historians you believe are more reliable, simply cite them and leave it at that. That is if you feel the need to include that information at all. Right now the article looks like it was written by and for amateur historians. As a tvtropes page, few people will know or care about such details. The list of historians you like and don't like and why (including some baffling potshots at the reader) personalizes the article too much and is out-of-place in what should be a fairly short and uncontroversial article about Stalin.
1) Well putting it in the notes is there for readers who want to know a bit more but who have the option of ignoring it if it suits them.
2) The Historian stuff is information that makes this page Useful after all. But I think I can concise it, and make the tone more reader-friendly.
I made an edit on the page, and concised the information stuff...Is it better now?
1) It's supposed to be a short summary article on Stalin. I don't think it's useful to click on a "note' only for seven lines of text to appear. If the information is interesting enough to include in the article, then by all means include it. On the other hand, if it's not interesting enough, why use notes to hide massive chunks of tangential information? It just clutters the article.
If you want to include a lot more information but want to give people the option of ignoring it, I suggest using folders instead. Put a summary at the top, with more details in folders at the bottom.
2) Fair enough, but that isn't done on any other Useful Notes page, because it's not interesting. Placing historians in context is fine, and how Stalin is viewed across the political spectrum is interesting information, but not as a personal list of, "This guy's biased. This guy's okay, but not as good as this guy. This guy's an idiot, and you're an idiot for reading him." etc. So yeah I like your edits.
Historians are cited on Nazi Germany page, and in The American Civil War.
I think it's more to do with the nature of the subject. Someone like Stalin because of what he did and what he represents is going to attract diverse commentators and contributors and I think a Useful Notes that represents all those sentiments people have towards him ... Revolutionary / Dictator/ Mass Murderer / War Leader / National Defender / Modernizer...needs to be placed there.
And an article on Stalin being a short summary one will be hard because of 1) How Long he lived, 2) How different the various parts of his life were.
Mentioning historians is fine. I agree, how different people view or write about something is interesting information. My main problem was ranking historians in-article. If you want to say, "Russian historians tend to paint Stalin in a more sympathetic light," that's fine rather than, "Ignore Russian historians, they're all biased." I don't think that kind of ordering the reader should be in the article because it personalizes it too much.
I still think having large walls of text behind notes isn't what notes were intended for, but if you disagree I'll let it be.
There are only a few notes here now...I actually deleted a few of the big ones, while keeping smaller ones left. And I think the notes are there to give pointers for the interested. You can ignore it if you wish.
Why was so much information cut from this page?
It was stated to be too long...and the idea was to keep it succint.
That does not sound like a valid reason. The page for Adolf Hitler is much longer, and he is even described using the term "genocidal fuckhead" on that page; Stalin's had similar plans for the Jews as well among other atrocities. Stalin was also a dictator who was efficient in carrying out his evil will, had the blood of millions on his hands and was self-absorbed in his vision. Hitler and Stalin at one point even had a peace treaty. Why refrain from a long commentary on Stalin but go to town on Hitler? Both Stalin and Hitler were mass-murdering tyrants
It's succinct for the moment because I don't have the references to back up any of it right now (I'm on holiday), and people don't always take our word for it when they read a fact about Stalin that contradicts what they learned in highschool.
This isn't like the Hitler article. Hitler is less admired, and possibly less hated.
On a semantic note, do please bear in mind that "genocide" describes a type of killing, not an amount. A genocide could be of one person, and a 'mere' massacre could be of a hundred billion.
I understand where you're coming form MAI 742 though I disagree with some of what you're saying. First, other people (including myself) can have references for facts and we are just as capable of posting as you, so I shall do some research and add to the page about Stalin. Second, I don't know what's being taught about Stalin in high school; what are they teaching about him? However, it could also be said that people get touchy when they read a fact about Hitler that contradicts what was said in High School; Hitler's page even required an edit-lock. If I recall, Stalin also attempted a genocide of the Jews for two reasons; first in his eyes Jews had a tendency to rebel against authority (his paranoia misconstruing the fact that many people and powers have oppressed the Jews throughout and ended up paying for it) and second possibly his anti-religious sentiment (he was an anti-theistic atheist who enforced a regime that at one point tried to violently stamp out religion; see "League of Militant Atheists" and his newspaper "The Godless").
Out of curiosity MAI 742, what's your opinion of Stalin, his policies and his actions?
Stalin was not an an antitheist. He more than any Communist leader revived the Orthodox faith, for largely pragmatic and cynical-nationalist reasons admittedly but he allowed the Church to revive in such a big way that Khruschev had to mount a new anti-religious campaign to get them back down to acceptable numbers. Stalin was an atheist of course but it's imprecise to call him an anti-theist without full attention to context or his overall centrist attitude towards reviving continuity with the Old Regime to create new legtimacy, Stalin in his time persecuted and limited minority religions in the soviet union far more than he did the Orthodox faith (in this he was opposite to Lenin). And yes, he was an anti-semite but I wouldn't call the Doctor's Plot a genocide, nor do scholars recognize it as such.
Equating/Comparing Hitler and Stalin is not just a parlour game. It has deadly real-world consequences. As Dovid Katz points out here, it allows everyone who got repressed under Stalin to be pardoned and paints the soldiers who fought alongside the Red Army, including holocaust survivors and persecuted Jews who became partisans, to suddenly be labelled "war criminals" by nationalists in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, many of whom in turn glorify the people who collaborated with Nazis and honour Waffen-SS soldiers. So I am actually okay with an "Edit Lock" in future for this if it comes to that.
^^ I'm an economic-military specialist, not a Stalin biographer. I don't know enough to give you an expert opinion.
No, Stalin neither planned or intended genocide of the Jews or any other ethnic group. He would have implemented one if he thought it necessary, but he didn't.
Stalin will continue to be demonised until the Soviet Union and WWII lose their importance to national memory in eastern Europe. So in fifty years' time, we may never need to contemplate an edit lock again.
Julian Lapostat I disagree, Stalin was antitheist. His revival of the Orthodox faith can be summed up with one trope; Pragmatic Villainy. It also does not cancel out the fact that Stalin allowed and encouraged the violent suppression of religion and the promotion of atheism. It was Stalin who allowed and enabled the likes of Lenin and Khruschev to actually enact the persecution (where else did they get their political power and resources from? If Stalin didn't want them to do so he could've easily stopped them). To take an example of another antitheist, note how Christopher Hitchens was anti-theist but all he did was disparage religion using the media with rallies, the Internet, TV, essays and a book. Stalin did (or allowed) that and more, destroying buildings for worship and killing religious people for their faiths; far worse than what Christopher did (though on a side note Christopher admired Lenin and was a former Marxist, as he was a Trotskyist and that is a subset of Marxism).
I have researched Stalin's anti-semitism and the Doctor's Plot and agree it was not an attempt at genocide.
Also, I would like to point out that you used a potentially bad choice of words; "Khruschev had to mount a new anti-religious campaign to get them back down to acceptable numbers..." That could sound like you imply either that too many Russian Orthodox Christians is a bad thing or that to reduce the numbers through KILLING AND/OR PROPAGANDA CONTAINING MOSTLY SLANDEROUS LIES was something to be endorsed; I am not accusing you of this, for all I know you may or may not have those sentiments, I am just seeking to point out your word choice and the possible implications to avoid any problems.
Comparing Stalin to Hitler was not intended to be a parlour game on my part, it is a summation of the facts and my opinions on both men. Though they both made accomplishments, they were both tyrants responsible for the deaths of millions. All of those political and legal "real-world consequences" from comparing the two sound like a lot of political and legal maneuvering possibly devoid of justice or morality, an international Blame Game. On all sides of World War 2 there were those who did good and those who did evil. Due to these possible consequences I shall let that matter rest for now.
MAI 742 I realize and acknowledge that Stalin did not attempt a genocide of the Jews. You have evaded my question when I asked your opinion of Stalin. The fact that you accuse Stalin of being demonized is telling, indicating you hold a level of support towards him and/or his ideals. Were this true I would strongly disagree with you. To keep this discussion civil I will close with the following; Stalin and Hilter had several things in common and despite whatever positive accomplishments they may have made both were tyrants with the blood of millions on their hands and neither should be defended or have excuses made for them.
As human beings, we have an astounding ability to make connections. However, when our knowledge is limited we have an equally astounding ability to draw erroneous connections. As historians we must bear in mind what we do and do not know, and be careful of overstepping the bounds of the evidence - as you did when you concluded that Stalin had planned to commit genocide on the Jews.
Likewise, do bear in mind that among amateur and professional historians, no-one bothers to say that murder is bad and that murderers are evil. This is particularly the case in genocide studies, wherein the more than four dozen books I've at least skimmed on the subject have never once bothered with moral condemnations. This is because it wastes time and ink, and clutters the page with redundant words.
So when Julian Lapostat wrote "back down to acceptable numbers", I suspect they assumed you would know that they were saying so from the viewpoint of the NKVD and/or Stalin... rather than exhorting people to kill Orthodox Christians, or expressing a personal view that killing Orthodox Christians is good.
For my part I certainly assumed that if I told you I didn't have sufficiently detailed knowledge of Stalin's personality to give you insights that you couldn't take Julian Lapostat's word for, or research for yourself, you would take that statement at face value rather than accuse me of being a Stalinist.
Comparing Stalin to Hitler was not intended to be a parlour game on my part,
Without real comparisons and understanding the political context of Eastern Europe in that time and place, and the political implications of making utterances on the same themenote In Lithuania, Rachel Margolis, a 90 year old woman who survived the Holocaust there and bear in mind that the Baltics, proportionately was the most deadly area of the Holocaust with 99% murdered, and there the killing began before the Nazis arrived, and even after that, the majority of Jewish people were murdered by local collaborators and served as a partisan and fought alongside the Red Army is branded a "war criminal" by Lithuanian nationalists and she cannot return to Lithuania, all as a direct result of saying, on the part of some frankly irresponsible, indifferent and short-sighted organizations, that Hitler and Stalin are one and the same. She's not the only one to suffer so, and the people in the Baltics who never truly dealt with their responsibility in the Holocaust are now content to be even less accomodating. So I find it curious you describe it as "political and legal manoeuvering". This isn't an academic or sober debate about totalitaranism, it's simply an excuse that allows individuals across Eastern Europe to whitewash their past, and this has been increasingly clear, for instance in Ukraine where they are naming streets after the infamously brutal Stepan Bandera., it's basically a parlour game. This Useful Notes is meant for a general readership about a highly controversial and dangerous individual, so you should tell them why said person is controversial and disturbing, and divisive.
Also, I would like to point out that you used a potentially bad choice of words
My apologies. I meant "acceptable numbers" to the Soviets. I don't mean acceptable in any human rights sense of the term. The Orthodox Church was revived in a major way during the end of Stalin's era with 22,000 New churches which Khruschev and others brought down to 6800 around the time of the end of the Cold War. So that's why Stalin cannot be considered anti-theistical in connexion with the context. Not to mention that there are Churches in Russia which venerate Stalin as an Orthodox saint, and that a number of scholars argue that the Soviet Union inverted Orthodox rituals consciously and unconsciously, as this gentlemen describes with Lenin's tomb.
Stalin was a highly mercurial person...at one time he'll be philanthropic and another time he'll persecute, often the same groups. Like in the 30s he continued Lenin's anti-racist policy, and at the end of 40s offered support for Israel and played a key role in the UN in securing it recognition. Then after that, a sharp about-face to anti-semitism. And of course in the 30s, he and Comintern consistently mounted an international anti-fascist front and kept making overtures to the liberal nations that got rebuffed. And then that ended with the Pact in 1939.
As for Christopher Hitchens, well he maybe anti-theistical but he sure did get comfy with the Christian Right and their support of the Iraq War (which the Catholic Church, his old enemy, opposed).
Julian Lapostat Apology accepted Julain; I understood the context of your words. My query and warning were to clarify your meaning and inform you of a potential problem. Thank you for your manners.
We still disagree on Stalin. Stalin was raised Orthodox Christian (though his parents didn't always hold true to God's tenets on parenthood) but rejected the faith when he discovered Marxism in his teenage years. Upon reaching adulthood Stalin was an atheist Marxist and remained so throughout his regime. The Orthodox churches seeking to venerate Stalin as a saint are a minority and the majority condemn this idea. Theories as to how this arose include those few Orthodox churches being grateful to Stalin for the revival that took place, it's not happening and the claim that it is is false or perhaps those churches were "persuaded" to canonize Stalin. Again, the major revival of the Orthodox Church during the end of Stalin's era can be summed up with that same trope in regards to Stalin; Pragmatic Villainy. This is the same mindset that led to Mussolini, another anti-theistic atheist, cozening up to the Catholic church to exploit its power and influence during his regime and why, as you said, Christopher Hitchens got comfy with those among the Christian Right Wing who supported the Iraq War. All three of these men were anti-theists regardless of their respective co-operation with the church/Christianity.
MAI 742 I discussed the matter with Julain and understand his word choice. I did not accuse you of being a Stalinist. I said that I think you have a level of support for him (agreeing with at least some of his ideals) since you did not denounce him; for example, for all I know you may support communism or his views of religion (I'm not saying you do, I'm saying you may. The reason for this is because you seem eager to protest or restrain any criticisms of Stalin and raised no protest over support of him). My words inferred a higher level of support than previously stated in this paragraph because you did not denounce Stalin. Furthermore, given Stalin's actions, Stalin is demonized worse than he really was in some areas, but he was still awful, dangerous and evil. Stalin is also honored far more than he should be.
When earlier I said that scholars tend not to bother with moral condemnations, I should have added that I do not bother either.
I really don't understand what you mean by "raised no protest over support of him". What lies has Julian told about Stalin to make him look like he was a good guy? And why on earth are you so hung up on me being a "communist" or "anti-theist"? My insistence on facts would be no different if you were, say, a Georgian nationalist who could brook no disparagement of good ol' St. Joe.
Getting back on-track, it looks like the drastic shortening of the article to its first and last paragraphs alone purged the section dedicated to dissent-repression-killing. I shall renew one shortly.
MAI 742 I never said or even accused you or Julain of being communist or anti-theist. I stated those two examples of ideas Stalin supported as a probe about your views when assessing your opinion of him. Also I didn't say anything about Julain lying. The only time I mentioned lies was the Soviet Union's anti-religious propaganda and I said that the propaganda was "...CONTAINING MOSTLY SLANDEROUS LIES" At no point was the accusation directed at Julain.
Some scholars do give moral condemnations, some do not, scholars are people too with their own views, personalities and/or agendas.
The page says "Perhaps the greatest irony is that communism was generally more popular in Western Europe than in Eastern Europe around 1945. Both sides used very dirty tactics (chiefly publicising each other's atrocities, though the USSR came off very much the worse for this) to try and gain votes in western Europe. The Ur Example of this would be a request from the Italian socialist parties to delay the repatriation of Italian PO Ws captured on the Eastern Front - because they were almost guaranteed, to a man, to vote against them."
Is that really the first example, or do we mean "Most Triumphant Example" here?(If we do, we don't pothole that anyway.)
Indeed it would be the most triumphant example. I'd go ahead and change it.
Why do we have to whitewash Joseph Stalin's page of so many villanious tropes? We don't do that to Hitler. Maybe some weirdo out there thinks one or the other is some kind of hero, but people with any common sense know both of these people were evil mass murderers.
^Because official policy disagrees with you. We don't apply "evil" tropes to Real Life people.
Churchill. De Gaulle. Wells. Just some weirdos.
He clearly wasn't an angel, he caused loot of bloodshed, that's true. But he wasn't monster people love to pain him also. Monster won't earn so much respect.
And, also... just be cool. There is nothing certain about Stalin. Too many polar opinions overlap. Also, times were different.
The ends justify the means, eh? How appropriate.
I agree that there is whitewashing here. And Hitler earned *plenty* of respect, even today. (Pity he stole all the sugar.)
I was wondering the same thing too. Why is there villain tropes in the Adolf Hitler page, but not for this person too?
Some months ago (November 2012?), Adolf Hitler had no evil tropes. My logic is thus: if we can't say that Hitler is evil, then we can't say that Stalin is evil. Now that Adolf Hitler has evil tropes again, my logic is no longer valid.
If we add evil tropes to Josef Stalin, would we fall down a slippery slope and declare other national leaders to be evil, until both George W Bush and Barack Obama are evil?
I'd say there more to the Lenin-Stalin split than just Stalin insulting Lenin's wife. For example, The Other Wiki states that:
"Lenin was no longer able to overlook the bitterness of the conflict in Georgia [...] However, Lenin's doubts about the conduct of Stalin and his allies around the Georgian question mounted. He was also afraid of negative outcry that might ensue abroad and in other Soviet republics. In late December 1922, Lenin accepted that both Ordzhonikidze and Stalin were guilty of the imposition of Great Russian nationalism upon non-Russian nationalities. He now considered Stalin and his forceful centralizing policy increasingly dangerous and decided to dissociate himself at once from his protégé."
The issue in question relates to Lenin's last testimony condemning Stalin on numerous grounds, recommending Trostky for the position of Party Leader, and which Stalin had suppressed. It turned out that Lenin seems to have wrote that after Stalin had an argument with Lenin's wife, which was bad enough that she complained to her then-bedridden husband about it.
This makes it more like the straw that broke the camels back; the more important issue is that the testimonial has often been presented as evidence that Lenin had come to his senses, realised that Stalin was becoming a despotitic monster, and wanted him totally removed from power. In context, Lenin and Stalin had been having several arguments prior to this, Lenin had been previously pushing for Trotsky and Stalin to work together, and most important of all though he recommended Stalin be removed from the position of General-Secretary the man would still hav remained on the Politburo and had other offices so he would retain a lot of power.
Based on Lenin's own nature and past behaviour, it is actually more likely that he was having a bit of a huff- he was too poorly to run the Soviet Union and though he was kept appraised of events (the fact that Stalin visited him regularly, at the mans home, at all- as did several others- is proof of the influence he weilded) he was frustrated and annoyed that he wasn't running the show, and feared that both Stalin and Trotsky were upstaging him. Stalin got it worse because he by now possessed greater power, which in turn made Lenin more combatant and petty, and neither had ever shrunk from arguing with one another before.
Which is not to say that Lenin did not genuinelly disagree with many of Stalin's policies at the time (though, broadly, Stalin was a commited Marxist-Leninist in both theory and practice, and they even worked out several together, so he was hardly deviating to any great degree) but its likely he was more annoyed by the fact that Stalin didn't actually have to listen to his criticisms anymore than whether or not he did. So the argument between Stalin and Lenin's wife was sort of an excuse. Lenin's critique of Stalin "imposing Great Russian nationalism upon non-Russian nationalities" is a bit rich from the man who tried to annex Poland and Finland, and it should be noted that one of Stalin's great contributions to Bolshevik policy, one praised by Lenin, was precisely his idea of giving other Soviet republics a degree of autonomy.
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?