Joseph Stalin

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Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?

Joseph Stalin (21 December {9 December Old Style} 18795 March 1953) was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from late 1922 until his death on 5 March 1953. Following Lenin's death in 1924 he rose to become the leader of the Soviet Union. He was the father of Svetlana Alliluyeva.

Quotes[edit]

If the opposition disarms, all is well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.
Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division; and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.
Education is a weapon whose effect depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.
  • Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?
    • As quoted in Quotations for Public Speakers : A Historical, Literary, and Political Anthology (2001) by Robert G. Torricelli, p. 121

Stalin's speeches, writings and authorised interviews[edit]

  • From the point of view of the onlooker, the question of the existence of a Georgian newspaper in general, and the question of its content and trend in particular, may seem to settle themselves naturally and simply: the Georgian Social-Democratic movement is not a separate, exclusively Georgian, working-class movement with its own separate programme; it goes hand in hand with the entire Russian movement and, consequently, accepts the authority of the Russian Social-Democratic Party—hence it is clear that a Georgian Social-Democratic newspaper should be only a local organ that deals mainly with local questions and reflects the local movement. But behind this reply lurks a difficulty which we cannot ignore and which we shall inevitably encounter. We refer to the language difficulty. While the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Party is able to explain all general questions with the aid of the all-Party newspaper and leave it to the regional committees to deal only with local questions, the Georgian newspaper finds itself in a difficulty as regards content. The Georgian newspaper must simultaneously play the part of an all-Party and of a regional, or local organ. As the majority of Georgian working-class readers cannot freely read the Russian newspaper, the editors of the Georgian newspaper have no right to pass over those questions which the all-Party Russian newspaper is discussing, and should discuss. Thus, the Georgian newspaper must inform its readers about all questions of principle concerning theory and tactics. At the same time it must lead the local movement and throw proper light on every event, without leaving a single fact unexplained, and providing answers to all questions that excite the local workers. The Georgian newspaper must link up and unite the Georgian and Russian militant workers The newspaper must inform its readers about everything that interests them at home, in Russia and abroad.
  • As we know, the goal of every struggle is victory. But if the proletariat is to achieve victory, all the workers, irrespective of nationality, must be united. Clearly, the demolition of national barriers and close unity between the Russian, Georgian, Armenian, Polish, Jewish and other proletarians is a necessary condition for the victory of the proletariat of all Russia.
  • We are not the kind of people who, when the word "anarchism" is mentioned, turn away contemptuously and say with a supercilious wave of the hand: "Why waste time on that, it's not worth talking about!" We think that such cheap "criticism" is undignified and useless.
    Nor are we the kind of people who console themselves with the thought that the Anarchists "have no masses behind them and, therefore, are not so dangerous." It is not who has a larger or smaller "mass" following today, but the essence of the doctrine that matters. If the "doctrine" of the Anarchists expresses the truth, then it goes without saying that it will certainly hew a path for itself and will rally the masses around itself. If, however, it is unsound and built up on a false foundation, it will not last long and will remain suspended in mid-air. But the unsoundness of anarchism must be proved.
    Some people believe that Marxism and anarchism are based on the same principles and that the disagreements between them concern only tactics, so that, in the opinion of these people, no distinction whatsoever can be drawn between these two trends.
    This is a great mistake.
    We believe that the Anarchists are real enemies of Marxism.
    Accordingly, we also hold that a real struggle must be waged against real enemies.
  • Marxism is not only the theory of socialism, it is an integral world outlook, a philosophical system, from which Marx’s proletarian socialism logically follows. This philosophical system is called dialectical materialism.
  • We think that a powerful and vigorous movement is impossible without differences — "true conformity" is possible only in the cemetery.
    • Stalin's article "Our purposes" Pravda #1, (22 January 1912)
  • The existing pseudo-government which was not elected by the people and which is not accountable to the people must be replaced by a government recognised by the people, elected by representatives of the workers, soldiers and peasants and held accountable to their representatives.
    • "What We Need", editorial published (24 Ocober 1917), as quoted in Stalin : A Biography (2004) by Robert Service; also in Sochineniya, Vol. 3, p. 389
    • Variant translation:
    • The present imposter government, which was not elected by the people and which is not accountable to the people, must be replaced by a government recognized by the people, elected by representatives of the workers, soldiers and peasants, and held accountable to their representatives
      • As quoted in The Bolsheviks Come to Power : The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd (2004) by Alexander Rabinowitch, p. 252
  • Having consolidated its power, and taking the lead of the peasantry, the proletariat of the victorious country can and must build a socialist society.
    • Problems of Leninism, August 1924 edition
  • We disagreed with Zinoviev and Kamenev because we knew that the policy of amputation was fraught with great dangers for the Party, that the method of amputation, the method of blood-letting — and they demanded blood — was dangerous, infectious: today you amputate one limb, tomorrow another, the day after tomorrow a third — what will we have left in the Party?
  • Bukharin's a swine and surely worse than a swine because he thinks it below his dignity to write a couple of lines.
    • Bol'shevistskoe rukovodstvo. Perepiska 1912-1927, [Bolshevik Leadership, Correspondence 1912-1927], p. 90
  • What would happen if capital succeeded in smashing the Republic of Soviets? There would set in an era of the blackest reaction in all the capitalist and colonial countries, the working class and the oppressed peoples would be seized by the throat, the positions of international communism would be lost.
  • Anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism.
    • "Anti-Semitism: Reply to an inquiry of the Jewish News Agency in the United States" (12 January 1931)
  • Anti-Semitism is dangerous for the toilers, for it is a false track which diverts them from the proper road and leads them into the jungle. Hence, Communists, as consistent internationalists, cannot but be irreconcilable and bitter enemies of anti-Semitism. In the U.S.S.R., anti-Semitism is strictly prosecuted as a phenomenon hostile to the Soviet system. According to the laws of the U.S.S.R. active anti-Semites are punished with death.
    • "Anti-Semitism: Reply to an inquiry of the Jewish News Agency in the United States" (12 January 1931)
  • We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us.
  • Cadres decide everything! (more accurate translation, with respect to the context, would be "Cadres are a key to everything")
  • Life has improved, comrades. Life has become more joyous.
  • Mankind is divided into rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division, and from the antagonism between poor and rich, means abstracting oneself from fundamental facts.
  • Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.
"Our Red Army now needs IL-2 aircraft like the air it breathes, like the bread it eats. - This is my final warning."
  • You have let down our country and our Red Army. You have the nerve not to manufacture IL-2s until now. Our Red Army now needs IL-2 aircraft like the air it breathes, like the bread it eats. Shenkman produces one IL-2 a day and Tretyakov builds one or two MiG-3s daily. It is a mockery of our country and the Red Army. I ask you not to try the government's patience, and demand that you manufacture more ILs. This is my final warning.
    • Telegram to government aviation production plant superintendents by Stalin in the autumn of 1941, warning them to produce more Il-2 Sturmovik ground attack aircraft for national defense.
    • Hardesty, Von (1982). Red Phoenix: The Rise of Soviet Air Power, 1941–1945. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books. p. 170. ISBN 1-56098-071-0. 
  • Is it possible, then, to doubt that we can and must gain victory over the German invaders? The enemy is not as strong as some terror-stricken pseudo-intellectuals picture him. The devil is not as terrible as he is painted.
  • Comrades, Red Army and Red Navy men, commanders and political instructors, men and women guerrillas! The whole world is looking to you as a force capable of destroying the brigand hordes of German invaders. The enslaved peoples of Europe under the yoke of the German invaders are looking to you as their liberators. A great mission of liberation has fallen to your lot. Be worthy of this mission! The war you are waging is a war of liberation, a just war.

Contemporary witnesses[edit]

The writer is the engineer of the human soul.
Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.
Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.
  • You know, they are fooling us, there is no God.
    • A teenaged Stalin to a fellow student while studying to become a priest in the Russian Orthodox Church, as quoted in Landmarks in the Life of Stalin (1942) by Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, p. 9
  • God's not unjust, he doesn't actually exist. We've been deceived. If God existed, he'd have made the world more just... I'll lend you a book and you'll see.
  • Before your eyes rises the hero of Gogol's story who, in a fit of aberration, imagined that he was the King of Spain. Such is the fate of all megalomaniacs.
  • This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for humanity.
  • One of Ivan the Terrible's mistakes was to overlook the five great feudal families. If he had annihilated those five families, there would definitely have been no Time of Troubles. But Ivan the Terrible would execute someone and then spend a long time repenting and praying. God got in his way in this matter. He ought to have been still more decisive!
    • Moskovskie novosti, no. 32, 7 August 1988
  • The writer is the engineer of the human soul.
    • Said by Stalin at a meeting of fifty top Soviet writers at Maxim Gorky's house in Moscow (26 October 1932), as quoted in Simon Sebag Montefiore's Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar, p. 85, and Edvard Radzinsky's Stalin, pp. 259-63. Primary source: K. Zelinsky's contemporary record of the event. It was published in English in Stalin and the Literary Intelligentsia,. (1991) by А. Kemp-Welch, Basingstoke and London, pp. 12-31.
  • If, against all expectation, Germany finds itself in a difficult situation then she can be sure that the Soviet people will come to Germany's aid and will not allow Germany to be strangled. The Soviet Union wants to see a strong Germany and we will not allow Germany to be thrown to the ground.[disputed—see talk page]
  • This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise. If now there is not a communist government in Paris, this is only because Russia has no an army which can reach Paris in 1945.
    • Said in April, 1945, as quoted in Conversations with Stalin (1963) by Milovan Djilas
  • I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how.
    • In Russian: Я считаю, что совершенно неважно, кто и как будет в партии голосовать; но вот что чрезвычайно важно, это - кто и как будет считать голоса.
    • Said in 1923, as quoted in The Memoirs of Stalin's Former Secretary (1992) by Boris Bazhanov [Saint Petersburg] (Борис Бажанов. Воспоминания бывшего секретаря Сталина). (Text online in Russian).
    • Variant (loose) translation: The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
  • Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.
    • As quoted in The Memoirs of former Stalin's secretary (1992) by Boris Bazhanov [Saint Petersburg] (in Russian)
  • [The Albanians] seem to be rather backward and primitive people... they can be as faithful as a dog; that is one of the traits of the primitive. Our Chuvash were the same. The Russian tsars always used them for their bodyguards.
    • Said to Edvard Kardvelj (1947), as quoted in Vladimit Dedjer (1954), Tito Speaks, page 312
  • The Pope! How many divisions has he got?
    • Said sarcastically to Pierre Laval in 1935, in response to being asked whether he could do anything with Russian Catholics to help Laval win favour with the Pope, to counter the increasing threat of Nazism; as quoted in The Second World War (1948) by Winston Churchill vol. 1, ch. 8, p. 105.
  • Does Djilas, who is himself a writer, not know what human suffering and the human heart are? Can't he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?
    • In response to complaints about the rapes and looting commited by the Red Army during the Second World War, as quoted in Conversations with Stalin (1963) by Milovan Djilas, p. 95
  • You [Albanians] are a separate people, just like the Persians and the Arabs, who have the same religion as the Turks. Your ancestors exhisted before the Romans and the Turks. Religion has nothing to do with nationality and statehood... the question of religious beliefs must be kept well in mind, must be handled with great care, because the religious feelings of the people must not be offended. These feelings have been cultivated in the people for many centuries, and great patience is called for on this question, because the stand towards it is important for the compactness and unity of the people.
    • Said to Enver Hoxha, on their second meeting together in March-April 1949, as quoted in Hoxha's (1986) The Artful Albanian, (Chatto & Windus, London), ISBN 0701129700
  • The idea of a concentration camp is excellent.
    • On ideas of eradicating 'counter-revolutionaries and traitors' in Estonia, as quoted in Stalin : A Biography (2004) by Robert Service, p. 158; also in Bol'shevistskoe rukovodstvo. Perepiska, 1912-1927, p. 36.
  • Tsar Alexander reached Paris.
    • Said to an American diplomat who remarked how grateful it must be to see Russian troops in Berlin. Quoted in Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger
  • I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of History will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy.
    • Said to Molotov in 1943, as quoted in Felix Chuev's 140 Conversations with Molotov Moscow, 1991.
  • God is on your side? Is He a Conservative? The Devil's on my side, he's a good Communist.
    • Said to Winston Churchill in Tehran, November 1943, as quoted in Fallen Eagle: The Last Days of the Third Reich (1995) by Robin Cross, p. 21
  • The Jews are not a nation!
    • As quoted in Stalin : A Biography (2004) by Robert Service, p. 156
  • There are no fortresses that Bolsheviks cannot storm.
    • Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption, London: Quercus Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1905204965 , p. 131
  • Do you remember the tsar? Well, I‘m like a tsar.
    • To his mother in the 1930’s as quoted in Young Stalin (2007) by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • "Why did you beat me so hard?"
    • to his mother in her later years. her response was "That's why you turned out so well". source: Edvard Radzinsky, p. 32
  • He can't even shoot straight.
    • On his son Yakov’s suicide attempt, as quoted in Encyclopedia of Useless Information (2007) by William Harston


Misattributed[edit]

  • For some people, four walls are three too many.
    • This seems to have originated with the Spanish military leader Juan Domingo de Monteverde, who, in Francisco de Miranda, a Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution (2003) by Karen Racine, p. 239, is quoted as having said: "four walls are three too many for a prison — you only need one for an execution."
  • The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.
    • "Mustering Most Memorable Quips" by Julia Solovyova, in The Moscow Times (28 October 1997) states: Russian historians have no record of the lines, "Death of one man is a tragedy. Death of a million is a statistic," commonly attributed by English-language dictionaries to Josef Stalin. Discussing the book by Konstantin Dushenko (Константин Душенко) Dictionary of Modern Quotations (Словарь современных цитат: 4300 ходячих цитат и выражений ХХ века, их источники, авторы, датировка).
    • Variants: One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just a statistic.
      A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic
      When one dies, it is a tragedy. When a million die, it is a statistic.
    • This quotation probably was originated from «Französischer Witz» by Kurt Tucholsky (1932): «Darauf sagt ein Diplomat vom Quai d’Orsay: «Der Krieg? Ich kann das nicht so schrecklich finden! Der Tod eines Menschen: das ist eine Katastrophe. Hunderttausend Tote: das ist eine Statistik!»» («At which a diplomat from France replies: «The war? I can't find it too terrible! The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic!»»)
    • But Note: "When one man dies it is a tragedy, when thousands die it's statistics." This is the exact quote from the McCullough biography of Truman, books.google.de According to the citation in that book, McCullough got it from page 278 of the book "The Time of Stalin: Portrait of Tyranny", by Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko. McCullough quotes Stalin as having said this to Churchill at Teheran. "Churchill had been arguing that a premature opening of a second front in France would result in an unjustified loss of tens of thousands of Allied soldiers. Stalin responded that 'when one man dies it is a tragedy, when thousands die it's statistics'".
  • Death solves all problems — no man, no problem.
  • We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.
    • Often attributed to Stalin and Marx, according to the book, "They Never Said It", p. 64, the phrase derives from a rumour that Lenin said this to one of his close associates, Grigori Zinoviev, not long after a meeting of the Politburo in the early 1920s, but there is no evidence that he ever did. It has also been believed that Lenin may have expressed that the profit motive cannot be undone in that "If we were to hang the last capitalist, another would suddenly appear to sell us the rope". Experts on the Soviet Union reject the rope quote as spurious.

Quotations about Stalin[edit]

Lenin and Stalin have evidenced their outstanding brilliance as mass leaders in every revolutionary requirement… ~ William Z. Foster
Alphabetized by author
The names of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will forever be linked to the tragic course of European history in the first half of the twentieth century. ~ Robert Gellately
Did Stalin make mistakes? Of course he did. In so long a period filled with heroism, trials, struggle, triumphs, it is inevitable not only for Joseph Stalin personally but also for the leadership as a collective body to make mistakes. ~ Enver Hoxha
I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. ~ George Orwell
What the Russian autocrats and their supporters fear most is that the success of libertarian Socialism in Spain might prove to their blind followers that the much vaunted "necessity of dictatorship" is nothing but one vast fraud which in Russia has led to the despotism of Stalin… ~ Rudolf Rocker
  • When my mother left us, he [Stalin] was left completely alone. And I think what came next, in the late 30s and after the war in the 40s - I think that was a result of his complete loneliness on top of the world. Nobody would argue with him any more.
  • Comrade Stalin showed us how to build socialism in a backward country: it's painful to begin with, but afterwards everything turns out just fine.
    • Hafizullah Amin, as quoted in Rodric Braithwaite (2010) Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89, page 76
  • Stalin...[has] compelled us to pass the judgement we had hitherto refused to register.
    His Russia is a totalitarian state, like another, as brutal towards the rights of others, as careless of its plighted word. If this man ever understood the international creed of socialism, he long ago forgot it. In this land the absolute power has wrought its customary effects of corruption.
    • H. N. Brailsford, Reynold's News (3 December 1939) , as quoted in The Russia Complex : The British Labour Party and the Soviet Union (1977) by Bill Jones, (p.41), and The Last Dissenter: H.N. Brailsford and His World,by F. M. Leventhal (p. 269).
  • 'Stalin is a Genghis Khan, an unscrupulous intriguer, who sacrifices everything else to the preservation of power ... He changes his theories according to whom he needs to get rid of next.'
    • Nikolai Bukharin, At a Secret Meeting (July 1928) , as quoted in Communist Russia Under Lenin and Stalin (2002) by Corin & Fiehn, p.146
  • There was an old bastard named Lenin / Who did two or three million men in. / That's a lot to have done in / But where he did one in / That old bastard Stalin did ten in.
  • Every crime was possible to Stalin, for there was not one he had not committed. Whatever standards we use to take his measure, in any event — let us hope for all time to come — to him will fall the glory of being the greatest criminal in history. For in him were joined the senselessness of a Caligula with the refinement of a Borgia and the brutality of a Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
    • Yugoslavian Communist Milovan Đilas, Conversations with Stalin (1962), p. 187
  • Apparently, father was a Georgian when he was younger.
    • Vasily Dzhugashvili , Stalin's second son to his sister Svetlana, as quoted in Volkogonov's Stalin: Triumph and tragedy, Grove Weidenfeld (1991)
  • Stalin was a guy like we are, not only that he considered himself a revolutionary and lived like one, but he was a character in the truest sense of the word.
  • Lenin and Stalin have evidenced their outstanding brilliance as mass leaders in every revolutionary requirement: in Marxian theory, political strategy, the building of mass organizations, and in the development of the mass struggle. The characteristic feature of their work is its many-sidedness. Both men of action as well as of thought, they have exemplified in their activities that coordination of theory and practice which is so indispensable to the success of the every-day struggles of the masses and the final establishment of socialism. Both have worked in the clearest realization of the twin truths that there can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory, and that revolutionary theory unsupported by organized mass struggle must remain sterile.
  • The names of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler will forever be linked to the tragic course of European history in the first half of the twentieth century. Only weeks after the Russian Revolution the Bolsheviks created secret police forces far more brutal than any that had existed under the tsar. The Nazis followed suit and were no sooner in power than they instituted the dreaded Gestapo. Under both regimes millions of people were incarcerated in concentration camps where they were tortured and frequently worked to death.
    • Robert Gellately, in Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler : The Age of Social Catastrophe (2007)
  • Stalin was, Mr. Montefiore, writes, “that rare combination: both ‘intellectual’ and killer.” The roots of violence ran deep in his family life and in Gori, his hometown, where street brawling was the principal sport. Soso, as Stalin, born Josef Djugashvili, was called, suffered savage beatings from both his alcoholic father and his doting mother, who alternated smothering affection with harsh corporal punishment. When Stalin, later in life, asked his mother why she had beaten him so much, she replied, “It didn’t do you any harm.” A brilliant but rebellious student at the religious schools he attended, and a published poet of great promise, Soso took up radical politics while still in his teens, his approach already shaped by the tactics of the seminary’s administration — “surveillance, spying, invasion of inner life, violation of feelings,” as he later described them.
  • Stalin was better informed than Roosevelt, more realistic than Churchill, in some ways the most effective of the war leaders.
  • The Soviet leaders accused Comrade Stalin of allegedly interfering in other parties, of imposing the views of the Bolshevik Party upon others. We can bear witness to the fact that at no time did comrade Stalin do such a thing towards us, towards the Albanian people and the Party of Labor of Albania, he always behaved as a great Marxist, as an outstanding internationalist, as a comrade, brother and sincere friend of the Albanian people. In 1945, when our people were threatened with starvation, comrade Stalin ordered the ships loaded with grain destined for the Soviet people, who also were in dire need of food at that time, and sent the grain at once to the Albanian people. Whereas, the present Soviet leaders permit themselves these ugly deeds.
  • Did Stalin make mistakes? Of course he did. In so long a period filled with heroism, trials, struggle, triumphs, it is inevitable not only for Joseph Stalin personally but also for the leadership as a collective body to make mistakes. Which is the party and who is the leader that can claim to have made no mistakes in their work? When the existing leadership of the Soviet Union is criticized, the comrades of the Soviet leadership advise us to look ahead and let bygones be bygones, they tell us to avoid polemics, but when it comes to Stalin, they not only did not look ahead but they turned right round, completely backward, in order to track down only the weak spots in Stalin's work.
    • Enver Hoxha, "Reject the Revisionist Theses of the XX Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Anti-Marxist Stand of Krushchev's Group! Uphold Marxism-Leninism!, a speech in Moscow (16 November 1960)
  • The cult of the individual of Stalin should, of course be overcome. But can it be said, as it has been claimed, that Stalin himself was the sponsor of this cult of the individual? The cult of the individual should be overthrown without fail, but was it necessary and was it right to go to such lengths as to point the finger at any one who mentioned Stalin's name, to look askance at any one who used a quotation from Stalin with great speed and zeal? Certain persons smashed statues raised to Stalin and changed the names of cities that had been named after him. But why go any further?
    • Enver Hoxha, "Reject the Revisionist Theses of the XX Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Anti-Marxist Stand of Krushchev's Group! Uphold Marxism-Leninism!, a speech in Moscow (16 November 1960)
  • We are asked by the supporters of Stalin's government to believe that the best and shortest road to liberty is through military servitude; that the most suitable preparation for responsible self-government is a tyranny employing police espionage, delation, legalized terrorism and press censorship; that the proper education for future freemen and peace-lovers is that which was and is still being used by Prussian militarists.
    • Aldous Huxley, Chapter VII, Ends and Means. Chatto & Windus, 1937.
  • He wants to turn the whole world upside down. If you hadn't taken him to school he'd be a craftsmen, now he's in prison. I'll kill such a son with my own hands, he's disgraced me.
    • Stalin’s father Besarion Jughashvili to Stalin’s mother as she went to visit their son in prison in 1902, as quoted in Young Stalin (2007) by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • The German-Soviet pact was...a shameless exhibition, on Stalin's part, of complete indifference to the fate of the working-class outside the Soviet Union: and the attack on Finland, like the absorption of the Baltic Republics, was an example of strategic imperialism.
    • Harold Laski, Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time, 1943.
  • Stalin is too rude and this defect, although quite tolerable in our midst and in dealing among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a Secretary-General. That is why I suggest the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from Comrade Stalin in having only one advantage, namely, that of being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite, and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious, etc.
  • Humans beings do respond to love; they do have a feeling for truth and justice, they do dislike authority and repression;

they do have prejudices against murder... The Stalin Regime has done its best to bring out in the Russians the reverse of the feelings listed above.

  • You protest, and with justice, each time Hitler jails an opponent; but you forget that Stalin and company have jailed and murdered a thousand times as many. It seems to me, and indeed the evidence is plain, that compared to the Moscow brigands and assassins, Hitler is hardly more than a common Ku Kluxer and Mussolini almost a philanthropist.
  • Comrade Koba told you that we were against you and demanded your sacking from the Committee, but I promise nothing of the sort happened and everything Koba told you was a malicious lie! Yes: a calumny to discredit us! I just wonder at the man's impudence. I know how worthless he is, but I didn't expect such "courage." But it turns out that he'll use any means if he thinks the ends justify them. The end in this case — the ambition — is to present himself as a great man before the nation. But … God didn't grant him the right gifts, so he has to resort to intrigues, lies and other "bagatelles." Such a filthy person wanted to pollute our sacred mission with sewage!
    • Georgian Menshevik Noe Khomeriki in a 1904 letter to a member of the Social Democratic Central Committee for the Caucausus region, as quoted in Young Stalin (2007) by Simon Sebag Montefiore, p. 125.
  • Both anti-fascism and anti-communism have utterly lost their meaning since Hitler and Stalin have ceased to conceal their alliance from the world. […] I predicted the cooperation between the Nazis and Bolsheviks as early as 1925 in my article "Anti-Marxism."
    • Ludwig von Mises ([1940], 1998). Interventionism: An Economic Analysis, trans. Thomas Francis McManus and Heinrich Bund, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves. Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, Inc. ISBN 1-57246-071-7 p. xiv
  • The fact that the capitalists and entrepreneurs [in Germany], faced with the alternative of Communism or Nazism, chose the latter, does not require any further explanation. They preferred to live as shop managers under Hitler than to be "liquidated" as "bourgeois" by Stalin.
    • Ludwig von Mises ([1940], 1998). Interventionism: An Economic Analysis, trans. Thomas Francis McManus and Heinrich Bund, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves. Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, Inc. ISBN 1-57246-071-7 p. 89
  • I was frankly horrified at the architectural exhibition that the U.S.S.R. has been showing in Detroit. Nothing that Trotsky could say against Stalin's regime is half as eloquent as the self-confession of this architecture: the same bastard classicism that the financiers and imperialists of Nineteen Hundred in America conjured up as emblem of their power. Only one thing was more sickening than these dead forms: the dishonest apologetics that accompanied them.
  • Lewis Mumford, Letter to Waldo Frank, 1938. Quoted in Mumford,

“My Works and Days: A Personal Chronicle”. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979.

  • Of course, fanatical Communists and Russophiles generally can be respected, even if they are mistaken. But for people like ourselves, who suspect that something has gone very wrong with the Soviet Union, I consider that willingness to criticize Russia and Stalin is the test of intellectual honesty.
    • George Orwell, in a letter to John Middleton Murry (5 August 1944), published in The Collected Essays, Journalism, & Letters, George Orwell : As I Please, 1943-1945 (2000), edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus
  • I would not condemn Stalin and his associates merely for their barbaric and undemocratic methods. It is quite possible that, even with the best intentions, they could not have acted otherwise under the conditions prevailing there.
    But on the other hand it was of the utmost importance to me that people in western Europe should see the Soviet regime for what it really was. Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. Moreover, the workers and intelligentsia in a country like England cannot understand that the USSR of today is altogether different from what it was in 1917. It is partly that they do not want to understand (i.e. they want to believe that, somewhere, a really Socialist country does actually exist), and partly that, being accustomed to comparative freedom and moderation in public life, totalitarianism is completely incomprehensible to them.
    • George Orwell, in the original preface to Animal Farm; as published in George Orwell : Some Materials for a Bibliography (1953) by Ian R. Willison
  • If, in a bad dream, we had seen all of the horrors in store for us after the war, we should have been sorry not to see Stalin go down together with Hitler: an end to the war in favour of our allies, civilized countries with democratic traditions, would have meant a hundred times less suffering for our people than that which Stalin again inflicted on it after his victory.
    • Boris Pasternak, quoted in Olga Ivinskaya, A Captive of Time; My Years with Pasternak, Doubleday, 1978. (p. 80).
  • The Soviet Union was, at its slender best of times, a tyranny, and during the long reign of Joseph Stalin a mechanism for killing people distinguised from the "Hitlerzeit" only by motive.
    • Edward Pearce, "Uncle Joe's Heirs and Disgraces". The Guardian, 11 September 1991
  • Orwell in 1948 understood that despite the Axis defeat, the will to fascism had not gone away, that far from having seen its day it had perhaps not yet even come into its own — the corruption of spirit, the irresistible human addiction to power were already long in place, all well-known aspects of the Third Reich and Stalin's USSR, even the British Labour party — like first drafts of a terrible future.
  • Russia's youths admire Soviet dictator Josef Stalin -- who presided over the deaths of millions of people -- and want to kick immigrants out of Russia, according to a poll released on Wednesday. The poll, carried out by the Yuri Levada Centre, was presented by two U.S. academics who called it "The Putin Generation: the political views of Russia's youth".When asked if Stalin was a wise leader, half of the 1,802 respondents, aged from 16 to 19, agreed he was."Fifty-four percent agreed that Stalin did more good than bad," said Theodore Gerber, a sociologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Forty-six percent disagreed with the statement that Stalin was a cruel tyrant."
  • In Russia, the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat has not led to Socialism, but to the domination of a new bureaucracy over the proletariat and the whole people. ...
    What the Russian autocrats and their supporters fear most is that the success of libertarian Socialism in Spain might prove to their blind followers that the much vaunted "necessity of dictatorship" is nothing but one vast fraud which in Russia has led to the despotism of Stalin and is to serve today in Spain to help the counter-revolution to a victory over the revolution of the workers and the peasants.
  • Stalin’s language is full of reminiscences of the theological seminary in which he received his training. What the world needs is not dogma, but an attitude of scientific inquiry, combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer.
  • I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.
  • The late Leonid Krasin ... was the first, if I am not mistaken, to call Stalin an "Asiatic". In saying that, he had in mind no problematical racial attributes, but rather that blending of grit, shrewdness, craftiness and cruelty which has been considered characteristic of the statesmen of Asia. Bukharin subsequently simplified the appellation, calling Stalin "Genghis Khan", manifestly in order to draw attention to his cruelty, which has developed into brutality. Stalin himself, in conversation with a Japanese journalist, once called himself an "Asiatic", not in the old, but rather in the new sense of the word: with that personal allusion he wished to hint at the existence of common interests between the USSR and Japan as against the imperialistic West.
    • Leon Trotsky, in Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence (1947), edited and translated from the Russian by Charles Malamuth, London: Hollis and Carter, LTD.
  • The dialectics of history have already hooked him and will raise him up. He is needed by all of them; by the tired radicals, by the bureaucrats, by the NEP-men, the upstarts, by all the worms that are crawling out of the upturned soil of the manured revolution. He knows how to meet them on their own ground, he speaks their language and he knows how to lead them. He has the deserved reputation of an old revolutionist, which makes him invaluable to them as a blinder on the eyes of the country. He has will and daring. He will not hesitate to utilize them and to move them against the Party. Right now he is organising himself around the sneaks of the party, the artful dodgers.
    • Leon Trotsky, in a statement of 1924 on Stalin's growing powerbase, in Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence (1966 edition); also in Stalin's Russia 1924-53 by Michael Lynch, p. 18
  • The prospects of revolution seem therefore quite restriced. For can a revolution avoid war? It is, however, on this feeble chance that we must stake everything or abandon all hope. An advanced country will not encounter, in the case of revolution, the difficulties which in backward Russia served as a base for the barbarous regime of Stalin. But a war of any scope will give rise to others as formidable.
  • I was already a confirmed anti-Stalinist at the age of seventeen .... The idea of killing Stalin filled my thougths and feelings .... We studied the 'technical' possibillities of an attack .... We even practiced. If they had condemned me to death in 1939, their decision would have been just. I had made up a plan to kill Stalin; wasn't that a crime? When Stalin was still alive, I saw things differently, but as I look back over this century, I can state that Stalin was the greatest individual of this century, the greatest political genius. To adopt a scientific attitude about someone is quite different from one's personal attitude.
    • Alexander Zinoviev, in an interview, Les confessions d'un homme en trop (Paris: Olivier Orban, 1990), pp. 104, 188, 120. Humo interview, 25 February 1993, pp. 48--49.
  • Generalissimo Stalin directed every move... made every decision... He is the greatest and wisest military genius who ever lived...
    • Georgy Zhukov, Quoted in "TOP GENERAL: ZHUKOV" - from "Time" Magazine, Monday, February 21, 1955

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