The Stalin Myth
Vitilitagation
Someone asked me on my curiouscat my thoughts in Stalin, a propos of some tweets I wrote today. The answer grew too long for CC, and I decided to turn it into a thread, also because it's a good theme to discuss.  

First of all: I can perfectly understand the allure of Stalin as a man, as I can understand the appeal of an intelligent gangster overcoming its many rivals by being more intelligent and more ruthless than them until they reach, against the expectations of everyone but themselves, the Top of the World. As it's well known, I am a fan of the movie Scarface. I recommend Suny's Stalin: Passage to Revolution, on Stalin's earliest career, specially the first chapters: suffice to say, he had a very sorelian (as in Julien Sorel) upbringing.

As a person in actual power, he was the opposite of the pragmatist caricature that it seems to be, for some goddamn reason, prominent. Of course, the main two arguments in favor for Stalin are the idea that "he brough Russia into the modern era", and "he won WW2", but both of them are extremely flawed. The second is the most obvious to me: Stalin destroyed the organisation of the Red Army from a very promising position when beginning the 30s, a surprisingly modern army (in both equipment and doctrine) with far more resources behind than any european country could afford to mobilize, to be completely wiped out, destroyed, and given to stupid retards because of mostly a whim by Stalin. Half the government was also purged, Stalin was unable to get the many factions that are common in any new form of politics under his helm and instead resorted to go to complete war of annihilation with them for, again, little reason: Hitler managed to coordinate the (many) factions inside the NSDAP with relatively little bloodshed (other than the Long Knives). Stalin main reasons to purge people seem to be personal, and ultimately lead to a hollow government that would create an elite incapable of perpetuate itself and whose order vanished once they did.

The industrialization is more complicated. It's true that, although the situation ("le semifeudalism") of Imperial Russia is clearly misrepresented, the Soviet Union had higher rates of growth than it had during the Empire. Yet, to which point can we really put that on Stalin, and not as a natural thing to happen on a country of such dimensions and power as the Soviet Union? Back to the purges, it's important to remember that a whole lot of purged personal were administrators of factories and engineers. I think it's fair to say that the Soviet Union industrialized in spite of, not because, many of Stalin's policies.

Stalin was, and I think it's the worst indictment about him, a man with absolutely no vision for the future. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union went from the first step of a new world to a bloated bureaucracy incapable of any power projection besides certain countries they were allowed to conquer. Trotsky was, as I said on twitter, a man of his time: like Hitler, he knew that ultimately their ideology shouldn't be about merely strengthening their nation, but become expansionist so they could become a behemoth that could compete and overcome America. This was a rational, dare I say pragmatic, far more pragmatic, than Stalin's fantasies of "socialism in one country". And while Hitler had, at no point, a very firm advantage against his rivals, this was not the case of the Soviets. I can see the communist army, at a time when there was no really strong european country, marching through Berlin, Paris to Gibraltar unopposed. As it's important to remember: the Red Army, that Trotsky of course created, was advanced, strong, and modern. It didn't have the many supply issues that the German Army could never overcome. It also had a great geographic advantage, and so on, and so on. A Soviet conquest of Europe and the expansion of communism through the world, China to India, was possible and feared accross the world, it had a big chance of succeding, and it would have made bolshevism a relevant ideology coming into this century. Instead, under Stalin, it became nothing. The Soviet Union was a rump state that only had to be contained for a few decades until it bloated and died. Stalin is the main responsible for it.
Svevlad
Stalin is one of those people who excels being second in command, but needs someone above him otherwise stuff gets fucked
Gabriel Matzneff Groyper
Kliment Voroshilov giving the priority to calvary againt tanks, after the purge of Tukhachevsky, looks like the most dumb and criminal move of Stalin entourage.

But I learned from Kamil Galeev that killing competent generals is a Russian tradition still alive under Putin.

Paranoid nepotism is not a dysfunction but a feature of Moskali statecraft, just like Saddam Hussein recruited Irak top militaries from his ownn Sunni village, often pure mediocrities.



https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1...6796046337
One precaution is to do a cleansing after each military conflict. In peacetime, power of military generals is low. They're bounded by instructions, protocols, guidelines, are overwatched by state security and military prosecutors. But during the war this control nearly disappears
State security fears potential rivalry from the army. So they introduced several mechanisms of control. One is to do a cleaning up after each war killing generals who got too influential among the troops. And leaving the less infuential ones. That's a negative selection mechanism
Kremlin actively promotes state security to the army positions. A typical monologue of a Russian professional military:
1. [Long patriotic speech]
2. Complaints on how he'll never get promoted, cuz all the positions are given to young state security with no military experience
Third layer is extreme, unbelievable antiillectualism among the military officers promoted by the state. If Prussian army was the most intellectual army in Europe, modern Russian is the least. Again, it's not an accident. It's a deliberate policy to minimise this internal threat

https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1...5717561346
Consider general Rohlin. Fought in Afghanistan, in Georgia, in Chechnya. During the Chechen war he refused to grant medals and awards to troops, considering it a civil war on which no awards should be earned. When awarded as a Hero of Russia for his role, he refused that, too
In 1997 he established a movement 'To support the Army, the military industry and the military science'. After that he was touring the country meeting with the military, governors, regular civilians and openly telling that the government should be 'removed'
That was the eve of default with pretty much nobody (including the army), getting paid, strikes blocking the infrastructure - including so necessary railways and the Yeltsin's rate of approval being 6%
Reportedly Rohlin was preparing a military coup scheduled on July 20, 1998. On 3rd July, 1998 he was found shot in his country dacha. His wife was accused of murder and spent four years in prison. Some argue however, that the Kremlin eliminated him preventively
Was he really preparing a coup? According to official narrative - no. According to others, including his own family and aides - yes. It seems that of all the military he went further than all, but generally speaking in the times of chaos the idea of military rule was in the air
What does the Rohlin's story teach us? First - that the military can pose a potential threat. Second -  such a threat increases after the war. Even if the war is lost (like Russia lost the First Chechen War), individual generals can increase their status, power, get national fame
Power is the only resource that increases when you use it. During a war officers and men have to obey a general's commands quickly, unquestioningly, and without control from the center. That dramatically increases his personal power over his troops. Especially if they are winning

https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1...5560379398
Let's look at this infographic with 'strange' deaths of  Russian generals. When did they die mysteriously? In Yeltsin's era (blue timeline) - after the First Chechen War. In Putin's (orange timeline) - after the Second Chechen War, and then after the Georgian-Ukrainian-Syrian one
The Chechen war happened in 1999-2000, and then we have a cluster of strange generals' deaths. One could assume it was a necessary cleansing operation after the war - the military got too proud and self-assured
Since 2008 we have a constant supply of strange deaths' of generals. The war in Georgia, then in Syria. And then another strange spike in 2014. And what happened in 2014? Well, the war in Ukraine
Svevlad
>Kamil Galeev

At this point believing anything that Al-Quaeda Bosneed fetishizing tataroid says should be grounds for the death penalty
JustinGeoffrey
(03-29-2022, 06:02 PM)Vitilitagation Wrote: [...]

Excellent synopsis. Could not have said it any better. Have you read Sean McMeekin's "Stalin's War." It makes it abundantly clear that Stalin was the big mover of World War II and had as his goal the use of Berlin as the eradicator of Western imperial powers. From there the plan was to invade all of Europe and plant the Bolshevik flag. He was a true believer in many ways. 

Also, Soviet economic improvements were driven largely by American British financing and the importation of Anglo-American engineers. Stalin's Russia had entire American settlement-towns populated by manufacturing specialists.
obscurefish
What happened to the USSR under Stalin sealed Russia's fate as a second-rate power for the following 100 years.
Fresh Prince
The appeal of Stalin is identical to Peaky Blinders sigma grindset memes.

Vitilitagation
I haven't read McMeekin yet but I am sure I will at some point.

I agree with Fresh Prince actually, I think one of the appeals of Stalin's is as a hard-hitting serious movie character and a badass because of that. I think it's a very shallow reading of him, which deprives him of any interest he could have as an historical figure in favor of a cartoon.
Fresh Prince
Any mainstream understanding of important historical figures can be boiled down to one cartoonish character description. It's akin to famous quotes out of books 1% of the population has actually read.
anthony
(04-03-2022, 04:14 AM)Fresh Prince Wrote: Any mainstream understanding of important historical figures can be boiled down to one cartoonish character description. It's akin to famous quotes out of books 1% of the population has actually read.

Which is pretty much to say that the mainstream doesn't understand things. It just reacts to received memes.
Toledo_Keyed
Good thread, he was simply an opportunist that was good at being one, if the winds went in another direction in early 20th Century Russia he would had probably been a Monarchist or a Fascist
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