Joseph Stalin

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Strikes, boycott, parliamentarism, meetings and demonstrations are all good forms of struggle as means for preparing and organizing the proletariat. But not one of these means is capable of abolishing existing inequality. All these means must be concentrated in one principal and decisive means; the proletariat must rise and launch a determined attack upon the bourgeoisie in order to destroy capitalism to its foundations.
Until the bourgeoisie is completely vanquished, until its wealth has been confiscated, the proletariat must without fail possess a military force, it must without fail have its "proletarian guard," with the aid of which it will repel the counter-revolutionary attacks of the dying bourgeoisie

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; 21 December {9 December Old Style} 18795 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and political leader who ruled the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He served as both General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Despite initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he ultimately consolidated power to become the Soviet Union's dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies are known as Stalinism. He was the father of Svetlana Alliluyeva.


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.

Stalin's speeches, writings and interviews

Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism.
A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron.
  • "Fascism is the bourgeoisie’s fighting organisation that relies on the active support of Social-Democracy. Social-Democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism."
    • [1], Concerning the International Situation, 1. The Period of Bourgeois-Democratic “Pacifism”, 6 January-November, 1924
  • 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.
  • It is difficult for me to imagine what "personal liberty" is enjoyed by an unemployed person, who goes about hungry, and cannot find employment. Real liberty can exist only where exploitation has been abolished, where there is no oppression of some by others, where there is no unemployment and poverty, where a man is not haunted by the fear of being tomorrow deprived of work, of home and of bread. Only in such a society is real, and not paper, personal and every other liberty possible.
    • [2]Interview Between J. Stalin and Roy Howard; March 1, 1936
  • In my opinion there are two seats of war danger. The first is in the Far East, in the zone of Japan. I have in mind the numerous statements made by Japanese military men containing threats against other powers. The second seat is in the zone of Germany. It is hard to say which is the most menacing, but both exist and are active. Compared with these two principal seats of war danger, the Italian-Abyssinian war is an episode. At present, the Far Eastern seat of danger reveals the greatest activity. However, the centre of this danger may shift to Europe. This is indicated, for example, by the interview which Herr Hitler recently gave to a French newspaper. In this interview Hitler seems to have tried to say peaceful things, but he sprinkled his "peacefulness" so plentifully with threats against both France and the Soviet Union that nothing remained of his "peacefulness." You see, even when Herr Hitler wants to speak of peace he cannot avoid uttering threats. This is symptomatic.
    • [3]Interview Between J. Stalin and Roy Howard; March 1, 1936
  • Social democracy is objectively the moderate wing of fascism.... These organisations (i.e. Fascism and social democracy) are not antipodes, they are twins.
    • “Concerning the International Situation,” Works, Vol. 6, January-November, 1924, pp. 293-314.
  • It is impossible to finish off capitalism without having finished off social democracy in the working-class movement.
    • Voprosi Leninizma, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo politicheskoy literaturi, (1939)
  • The State is a machine in the hands of the governing class for suppressing the resistance of its class antagonists. In this way the dictatorship of the proletariat differs in no way essentially from the dictatorship of any other class.
    • Voprosi Leninizma, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo politicheskoy literaturi, (1939)
  • To choose one's victims, to prepare one's plan minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then to go to bed... There is nothing sweeter in the world.
    • Joseph Stalin (c. 1940) Stalin's Kampf: Joseph Stalin's credo
  • 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 October 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
  • 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
  • True courage consists in being strong enough to master and overcome oneself and subordinate one’s will to the will of the collective, the will of the higher party body.
    • Quoted in The Vital Center: The Politics of Freedom, Arthur M. Schesinger, New Brunswick: NJ, Transaction Publishers (1998) p. 56. First printed in 1949. Second Speech Delivered at the Presidium of the ECCI on the American Question (May 14, 1929)
  • We are in favour of the withering away of the state, and at the same time we stand for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which represents the most powerful and mighty of all forms of the state which have existed up to the present day. The highest development of the power of the state, with the object of preparing the conditions of the withering away of the state: that is the Marxist formula. Is it "contradictory"? Yes, it is "contradictory." But this contradiction is a living thing and wholly reflects the Marxist dialectic.
  • National and racial chauvinism is a vestige of the misanthropic customs characteristic of the period of cannibalism. Anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous vestige of cannibalism. Anti-semitism is of advantage to the exploiters as a lightning conductor that deflects the blows aimed by the working people at capitalism. 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). See Stars and Sand by Joseph L. Baron, p. 316.
  • As is known, the Government of the State in Britain at the present time is in the hands of one party, the Labour Party, and the opposition parties are deprived of the right to participate in the Government of Britain. That Mr. Churchill calls true democracy. Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Hungary are administered by blocs of several parties—from four to six parties—and the opposition, if it is more or less loyal, is secured the right of participation in the Government. That Mr. Churchill describes as totalitarianism, tyranny and police rule. Why? On what grounds? Don't expect a reply from Mr. Churchill. Mr. Churchill does not understand in what a ridiculous position he puts himself by his outcry about “totalitarianism, tyranny and police rule."
    • [4]Interview to “Pravda” Correspondent Concerning Mr. Winston Churchill's Speech at Fulton; March, 1946
  • We must finally understand that of all the precious capital in the world, the most precious capital, the most decisive capital, is human beings [...]. Cadres decide everything![5] (A more accurate translation, with respect to the context, might read: "Cadres are the key to everything")
    • In Russian: [...] из всех ценных капиталов, имеющихся в мире, самым ценным и самым решающим капиталом являются люди [...]. Кадры решают все!
    • Address to the Graduates from the Red Army Academies. (4 May 1935); Variant translation: Human resources solve all!
  • Still others think that war should be organised by a "superior race," say, the German "race," against an "inferior race," primarily against the Slavs; that only such a war can provide a way out of the situation, for it is the mission of the "superior race" to render the "inferior race" fruitful and to rule over it. Let us assume that this queer theory, which is as far removed from science as the sky from the earth, let us assume that this queer theory is put into practice. What may be the result of that? It is well known that ancient Rome looked upon the ancestors of the present-day Germans and French in the same way as the representatives of the "superior race" now look upon the Slav races. It is well known that ancient Rome treated them as an "inferior race," as "barbarians," destined to live in eternal subordination to the "superior race," to "great Rome", and, between ourselves be it said, ancient Rome had some grounds for this, which cannot be said of the representatives of the "superior race" of today. (Thunderous applause.) But what was the upshot of this? The upshot was that the non-Romans, i.e., all the "barbarians," united against the common enemy and brought Rome down with a crash. The question arises: What guarantee is there that the claims of the representatives of the "superior race" of today will not lead to the same lamentable results? What guarantee is there that the fascist literary politicians in Berlin will be more fortunate than the old and experienced conquerors in Rome? Would it not be more correct to assume that the opposite will be the case?
  • There is not, nor should there be, an irreconcilable contrast between the individual and the collective,... There should be no such contrast, because collectivism, Socialism, does not deny, but combines individual interests with the interests of the collective. Socialism cannot abstract itself from individual interests. More than that, socialist society alone can firmly safeguard the interests of the individual. In this sense there is no irreconcilable contrast between Individualism and Socialism.
    • “Stalin-Wells Talk: The Verbatim Report and A Discussion”, G.B. Shaw, J.M. Keynes et al., London, The New Statesman and Nation, (1934) p. 7
  • The Communists base themselves on rich historical experience which teaches that obsolete classes do not voluntarily abandon the stage of history.
    • “Stalin-Wells Talk: The Verbatim Report and A Discussion”, G.B. Shaw, J.M. Keynes et al., London, The New Statesman and Nation, (1934) p. 13
  • 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.
"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.
    • Speech on the 24th Anniversary of the Revolution
  • National in form; socialist in context.
    • "Language Policy in the Soviet Union", Lenore A. Grenoble, New York: NY, Kluwer Academic Publishers (2003) p. 41.
  • We cannot forget what Lenin said about our great construction, which in large part depends on our succeeding in delaying the war with the capitalist countries. This war is inevitable, but it can be delayed until the proletarian revolution ripens in Europe, or until the colonial revolutions break out, or, finally, until the capitalists fight among themselves for the division of the colonies.
  • The kind of socialism under which everybody would get the same pay, an equal quantity of meat and an equal quantity of bread, would wear the same clothes and receive the same goods in the same quantities—such a socialism is unknown to Marxism. All that Marxism says is that until classes have been finally abolished and until labor has been transformed from a means of subsistence into the prime want of man, into voluntary labor for society, people will be paid for their labor according to the work performed.
  • This country is a ritual.
    • Stalin on Linguistics and Other Essays
  • I don't want to have to say this out loud, but I did what I did, I killed as many as I could lay hands on, and very few escaped.
    • The Stalin-Kaganovich Correspondence, 1931-36

Anarchism or Socialism (1906)

We believe that the Anarchists are real enemies of Marxism.
Full text online at
  • 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.
  • Strikes, boycott, parliamentarism, meetings and demonstrations are all good forms of struggle as means for preparing and organising the proletariat. But not one of these means is capable of abolishing existing inequality. All these means must be concentrated in one principal and decisive means; the proletariat must rise and launch a determined attack upon the bourgeoisie in order to destroy capitalism to its foundations. This principal and decisive means is the socialist revolution.
  • Until the bourgeoisie is completely vanquished, until its wealth has been confiscated, the proletariat must without fail possess a military force, it must without fail have its "proletarian guard," with the aid of which it will repel the counter-revolutionary attacks of the dying bourgeoisie, exactly as the Paris proletariat did during the Commune.

Contemporary witnesses

Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.
Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.
  • I have no son named Yakov.
    • as quoted in Joseph Stalin: Dictator of the Soviet Union (2006) by Brenda Haugen, p. 11
  • You know, they are fooling us, there is no God.
  • 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.
    • Said by Stalin during a meeting with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop, shortly after the Soviet Union invaded Poland (28 September 1939), as quoted in World War Two: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West (2008) by Laurence Rees, p.30-31. This statement was recorded in Gustav Hilger's detailed minutes of the meeting, which remained secret until the 1990s.
  • 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.
  • [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 Kardelj (1947), as quoted in Vladimir Dedijer (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 wench or takes some trifle?
    • In response to complaints about the rapes and looting committed 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 existed 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.
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.
  • 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
  • "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
  • 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
  • The State is a machine in the hands of the ruling class for suppressing the resistance of its class enemies. in this respect the dictatorship of the proletariat does not differ essentially from dictatorship of any other class, for the proletarian State is a machine for the suppression of the bourgeoisie.
  • Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular. Marx and Engels pursued their activities in the pre-revolutionary period (we have the proletarian revolution in mind), when developed imperialism did not yet exist, in the period of the proletarians' preparation for revolution, in the period when the proletarian revolution was not yet an immediate practical inevitability. But Lenin, the disciple of Marx and Engels, pursued his activities in the period of developed imperialism, in the period of the unfolding proletarian revolution, when the proletarian revolution had already triumphed in one country, had smashed bourgeois democracy and had ushered in the era of proletarian democracy, the era of the Soviets.
  • The mortal sin of the Second International was not that it pursued at that time the tactics of utilising parliamentary forms of struggle, but that it overestimated the importance of these forms, that it considered them virtually the only forms; and that when the period of open revolutionary battles set in and the question of extra-parliamentary forms of struggle came to the fore, the parties of the Second International turned their backs on these new tasks, refused to shoulder them.
    • Ch.7
  • The Party must be, first of all, the advanced detachment of the working class. The Party must absorb all the best elements of the working class, their experience, their revolutionary spirit, their selfless devotion to the cause of the proletariat. But in order that it may really be the armed detachment, the Party must be armed with revolutionary theory, with a knowledge of the laws of the movement, with a knowledge of the laws of revolution. Without this it will be incapable of directing the struggle of the proletariat, of leading the proletariat.
  • Ch.8
  • The principle of the minority submitting to the majority, the principle of directing Party work from a centre, not infrequently gives rise to attacks on the part of wavering elements, to accusations of "bureaucracy," "formalism," etc. It scarcely needs proof that systematic work by the Party as one whole, and the directing of the struggle of the working class, would be impossible without putting these principles into effect. Leninism in questions of organisation is the unswerving application of these applications of these principles.
    • Ch.8
  • The Party is the highest form of organisation of the proletariat. The Party is the principle guiding force within the class of the proletarians and among the organisations of that class. But it does not by any means follow from this that the Party can be regarded as an end in itself, as a self-sufficient force. The Party is not only the highest form of class association of the proletarians; it is at the same time an instrument in the hands of the proletariat for achieving the dictatorship, when that has not yet been achieved and for consolidating and expanding the dictatorship when it has already been achieved. The Party could not have risen so high in importance and could not have exerted its influence over all other forms of organisations of the proletariat, if the latter had not been confronted with the question of power, if the conditions of imperialism, the inevitability of wars, and the existence of a crisis had not yet demanded the concentration of all the forces of the proletariat at one point, the gathering of all the threads of the revolutionary movement in one spot in order to overthrow the bourgeoisie and to achieve the dictatorship of the proletariat. The proletariat needs the Party first of all as its General Staff, which it must have for the successful seizure of power. It scarcely needs proof that without a party capable of rallying around itself the mass organisations of the proletariat, and of centralising the leadership of the entire movement during the progress of the struggle , the proletariat in Russia could not have established its revolutionary dictatorship.
    • Ch.8
  • The achievement and maintenance of the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible without a party which is strong by reason of its solidarity and iron discipline. But iron discipline in the Party is inconceivable without unity of will, without complete and absolute unity of action on the part of all members of the Party. This does not mean, of course, that the possibility of conflicts of opinion within the Party is thereby precluded. On the contrary, iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes criticism and conflict of opinion within the Party. Least of all does it mean that discipline must be "blind." On the contrary, iron discipline does not preclude but presupposes conscious and voluntary submission, for only conscious discipline can be truly iron discipline. But after a conflict of opinion has been closed, after criticism has been exhausted and a decision has been arrived at, unity of will and unity of action of all Party members are the necessary conditions without which neither Party unity nor iron discipline in the Party is conceivable.
    • Ch.8
  • The theory of "defeating" opportunist elements by the ideological struggle within the Party, the theory of "overcoming" these elements within the confines of a single party, is a rotten and dangerous theory, which threatens to condemn the Party to paralysis and chronic infirmity, threatens to leave the Party a prey to opportunism, threatens to leave the proletariat without a revolutionary party, threatens to deprive the proletariat of its main weapon in the fight against imperialism. Our Party could not have emerged on to the broad highway, it could not have seized power and organised the dictatorship of the proletariat, it could not have emerged victorious from the civil war, if it had had within its ranks people like Martov and Dan, Potresov and Axelrod. Our Party succeeded in achieving internal unity and unexampled cohesion of its ranks primarily because it was able to in good time to purge itself of the opportunist pollution, because it was able to rid its ranks of the Liquidators and Mensheviks. Proletarian parties develop and become strong by purging themselves of opportunists and reformists, social-imperialists and social-chauvinists, social-patriots and social-pacifists.
    • Ch.8


  • 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.
    • 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.
    • In Портрет тирана (1981) (Portrait of a Tyrant), English translation The Time of Stalin: Portrait of Tyranny, Harper & Row, 1981, ISBN 0-06-010148-2; page 287 of the 1983 reprint Soviet historian Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko attributes the following version to Stalin: "When one man dies it's a tragedy. When thousands die it's statistics." This is the alleged response of Stalin during the 1943 Tehran conference when Churchill objected to an early opening of a second front in France.
    • In her review "Mustering Most Memorable Quips" of Konstantin Dushenko's 1997 Dictionary of Modern Quotations (Словарь современных цитат: 4300 ходячих цитат и выражений ХХ века, их источники, авторы, датировка), Julia Solovyova 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." Mustering Most Memorable Quips, The Moscow Times, 1997-10-28
    • This quotation may originate from "Französischer Witz" (1925) by Kurt Tucholsky: "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!»" ("To which a Quai d'Orsay diplomat replies: «The war? I can't find it so terrible! The death of one man: that is a catastrophe. One hundred thousand deaths: that is a statistic!»")
    • Another possible source or intermediary may be the concluding words of chapter 8 of the 1956 novel The Black Obelisk by Erich Maria Remarque: "Aber das ist wohl so, weil ein einzelner immer der Tod ist — und zwei Millionen immer nur eine Statistik." ("But probably the reason is that one dead man is death—and two million are only a statistic." 1958 Crest Book reprint)
    • Mary Soames (daughter of Churchill) claims to have overheard Stalin deliver a variant of the quote in immediate postwar Berlin (Remembrance Sunday Andrew Marr interview BBC 2011)
    • See also Jean Rostand, Thoughts of a Biologist, 1939: "Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god."
    • In an interview given for the 1983 three-part documentary Der Prozeß by Norddeutscher Rundfunk on the Third Majdanek trial, Simon Wiesenthal attributes the quote to the unpublished auto-biography of Adolf Eichmann. According to Wiesenthal, Eichmann had been asked by another member of the Reich Main Security Office during WWII what they should answer would they be questioned after the war about the millions of dead Jews they were responsible for, to which Eichmann according to his own testimony had replied with the quote.
  • You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
    • "omlets are not made without breaking eggs" first appeared in English in 1796. It is from the French, "on ne saurait faire d'omelette sans casser des œufs" (1742 and earlier), attributed to François de Charette.
    • In the context of the Soviet Union, Time magazine attributes it to Lazar Kaganovich.
    • Walter Duranty associated with Stalin in The New York Times.
      • "But – to put it brutally – you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the Bolshevist leaders are just as indifferent to the casualties that may be involved in their drive toward socialization as any General during the World War who ordered a costly attack in order to show his superiors that he and his division possessed the proper soldierly spirit. In fact, the Bolsheviki are more indifferent because they are animated by fanatical conviction."
      • Walter Duranty, Special Cable to The New York Times, The New York Times, New York, March 31, 1933, page 13.
  • 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 (1989), 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. However, it is established that Lenin did remark on the same underlying theme (even if not in reference to rope), namely, that capitalists in their addiction to high profits could not help themselves from selling things to a socialist state, even if it was against their own long-term interests by strengthening an enemy; Edvard Radzinsky covers it in his discussion of Lenin's comments on the "deaf-mutes" in Radzinsky's biography of Stalin.
  • Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?
    • Often attributed to Stalin, there is not a single source which show that Stalin said this at any given time. The earliest source outside the blogosphere which attributes the quote to Stalin is the book Quotations for Public Speakers : A Historical, Literary, and Political Anthology (2001), p. 121 by the former US senator Robert Torricelli; however, it does not give a source for the quote.
  • Quantity has a quality all its own.
    • Variant: Quantity is quality.
    • No evidence that this phrasing is due to Stalin, and it does not appear in English translations of his philosphical works. Re: "Quantity has a quality all its own" source?, Tim Davenport, h-russia, April 5, 2010 Earliest English is found in 1979 in US defense industry, presumably defense consultant Thomas A. Callaghan Jr. The connection of sufficient quantitative change leading to qualitative change is found in Marxist philosophy, by Marx and Engels, drawing from Hegelian philosophy and Ancient Greek philosophy. Marx and Engels are quoted by Stalin, but this formulation appears to be a modern American form; see quantity for details.
    • Stalin may have said that way before World War II, there is evidence in his Russian-language books, for example here.

Quotes about Joseph Stalin

Stalin's strategy at the end of World War II was to acquire a small "buffer zone between Russia and Germany, consisting of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, and most of Germany. In an effort to garner public support in these nations, Stalin mounted a public-relations campaign around the upbeat theme "Maybe We Won't Have Your Whole Family Shot," and in 1945 Eastern Europe decided to join the Communist bloc by a vote of 28,932,084,164,504,029-0. Heartened by this mandate, Stalin immediately ordered construction work to begin on the Iron Curtain, which was given its name by Sir Winston Churchill, who, in a historic anecdote at a dinner party, said, "Madam, I may be drunk, but an iron curtain has descended upon BLEAAARRRGGGHHH." ~ Dave Barry
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
He had found Russia working with wooden ploughs and leaving it equipped with atomic piles.Isaac Deutscher
  • Stalin was an example of creativity, humanism and an edifying example of peace and heroism! [...] Everything that he did, he did at the service of the people. Our father Stalin is dead, but when remembering his example, our affection towards him will make our arms grow strong for the building of a great tomorrow, to assure a future in memory of his magnificent example.
  • When my mother left us, [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
  • During that meeting, King told us, when they were talking about what was going to happen to the Germans after the war, Stalin had said out of a clear sky: "I know 60,000 German officers I am going to shoot!" Thereupon Churchill arose, cigar in hand, and paced back and forth across the room saying such a thing could not be; it was not Christian; we were civilized people; it was against the laws of civilized warfare to shoot 60,000 officers! Back and forth walked Churchill, while Stalin sat at the table, not saying a word. Finally, Churchill returned to his place, and after everything had quieted down, Stalin once more, through his interpreter, said, "I know 60,000 German officers I am going to shoot after the war is over!" Apparently Stalin understood some English, although he would not admit it. Whether he could speak English I did not know, nor was I ever able to find out.
  • The following afternoon we had a conference with the President, and from 4:00 until 7:00 met with all the "Big Three." Seated around the table, in order, were: The Prime Minister, next to him Anthony Eden, then Sir John Dill, Air Chief Marshal Portal, then the Russian Voroshilov, then Stalin, then Molotov, then myself, then Admiral King, General Marshall, the President, then an interpreter, Admiral Leahy, Admiral Cunningham, then Sir Alan Brooke, and another interpreter. Not having met Stalin the day before, I turned to Mr. Molotov and said, "I should like to meet Marshal Stalin." There was considerable discussion- several long minutes. I don't know whether, in my expression, I had used the wrong words, or whether in being interpreted it had acquired another meaning. Perhaps, translated, it meant I was challenging Stalin to a duel. Anyway, I saw I wasn't getting anywhere, so I turned to Molotov and said, "Listen! All I want to do is to say, 'How do you do' to Marshal Stalin, to meet him, that's all." Apparently, Molotov and the interpreter understood, because they then introduced me to Stalin, and everything was O.K.
    • Henry H. Arnold, Global Mission (1949), p. 466
  • His history is a series of victories over a series of tremendous difficulties. Since 1917, not a single year of his career has passed without his having done something which would have made any other man famous. He is a man of iron. The name by which he is known describes it: the word Stalin means "steel" in Russian. He is as strong and yet as flexible as steel. His power lies in his formidable intelligence, the breadth of his knowledge, the amazing orderliness of his mind, his passion for precision, his inexorable spirit of progress, the rapidity, sureness and intensity of his decisions, and his constant care to choose the right men.
  • The dead do not survive except upon earth. Wherever there are revolutionaries, there is Lenin. But one may also say that it is in Stalin more than anyone else that the thoughts and words of Lenin are to be found. He is the Lenin of today.
  • The present viewpoint is that Stalin proved to be the most resolute leader, that the Soviet Union exerted undue influence in reshaping the map of postwar Europe, and that a war purportedly begun to defend the independence of small European nations ended up by sacrificing them. The question — did Stalin outwit and outjostle Roosevelt and Churchill — will remain one of the enigmas of the 20th century.
  • 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
  • Stalin hailed as triumphs, and converted into a system, compromises, concessions and abuses which Lenin, if he had been driven to accept them, would have treated as harsh and temporary sacrifices.
  • I believe Stalin made big mistakes but also showed great wisdom. In my opinion, blaming Stalin for everything that occurred in the Soviet Union would be historical simplism, because no man by himself could have created certain conditions. It would be the same as giving Stalin all the credit for what the USSR once was. That is impossible! I believe that the efforts of millions and millions of heroic people contributed to the USSR's development and to its relevant role in the world in favor of hundreds of millions of people.
  • The details supplied by Khrushchev on Stalin's methods ... lead us to believe in the existence in these countries of a veritable state capitalism, exploiting the working class in a manner not very different from the way the working class is used in capitalist countries.
  • Churchill said as early as 1918 that Soviet power should be strangled in its infancy. But at our intimate dinners with Roosevelt in Teheran and Yalta, [Churchill] said, "I get up in the morning and pray that Stalin is alive and well. Only Stalin can save the peace!" He was confident that Stalin would play that exceptional role which he had assumed in the war. His cheeks were wet with tears. Either he was a great actor or he spoke sincerely.
    • June 16, 1977 interview with Vyacheslav Molotov, quoted in Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics (1993) by Felix Chuev. ISBN: 978-1-5663-715-2.
  • [Stalin's] purge caused me to examine the meaning of Communism.... I had always known of course that there were books critical of Communism.... I had never read them because I knew that the party did not want me to read them..... the first book I read... was called I Speak for the Silent [by] Professor Vladimir Tchernavin.... He was a little man in the Communist world, gentle, humane, good.... Suddenly for no reason at all he was arrested and carried away by the secret police.... Now for the first time, I believed that slave labor camps existed.... I said ‘this is evil, absolute evil. Of this evil I am a part.’ ... If Communism were evil, what was left but moral chaos? .... The rags that fell from me were not only Communism. What fell was the whole web of the materialist modern mind – the luminous shroud which it has spun about the spirit of man, paralyzing in the name of rationalism the instinct of his soul for God, denying in the name of knowledge the reality of the soul....
  • I salute Marshal Stalin, the great champion, and I firmly believe that our 20 years' treaty with Russia will prove to be one of the most lasting and durable factors in preserving the peace and the good order and the progress of Europe.
  • Stalin's strategy at the end of World War II was to acquire a small "buffer zone between Russia and Germany, consisting of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, and most of Germany. In an effort to garner public support in these nations, Stalin mounted a public-relations campaign around the upbeat theme "Maybe We Won't Have Your Whole Family Shot," and in 1945 Eastern Europe decided to join the Communist bloc by a vote of 28,932,084,164,504,029-0. Heartened by this mandate, Stalin immediately ordered construction work to begin on the Iron Curtain, which was given its name by Sir Winston Churchill, who, in a historic anecdote at a dinner party, said, "Madam, I may be drunk, but an iron curtain has descended upon BLEAAARRRGGGHHH."
    • Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort-Of History of the United States (1989), p. 126
  • 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.
  • Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding his rightful place with dignity. He was the son of a serf but stood calmly before the great without hesitation or nerves. But also - and this was the highest proof of his greatness - he knew the common man, felt his problems, followed his fate.
  • 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)
  • Stalinism is worse than fascism, more ruthless, barbarous, unjust, immoral, anti-democratic, unredeemed by any hope or scruple, . . . better described as superfascist.
    • Max Eastman, as quoted in The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek, New York: NY Routledge (2005) p. 28. First published in 1944.
  • Stalin showed in the course of this conversation a remarkable knowledge and understanding of international affairs. In the latter respect his sympathies seemed broader than those of Litvinov though his conclusions were no less firm.
    Stalin spoke throughout in measured tones so quiet that at times Litvinov himself could not catch what he said. His displayed no emotion whatever except for an occasional chuckle or flash of wit.
    Impression left upon us was a man of strong oriental traits of character with unshakeable assurance and control, whose courtesy in no way hid from us an implacable ruthlessness.
    • Anthony Eden, telegram to the British government (29 March 1935), quoted in The Eden Memoirs: Facing the Dictators (1962), pp. 156-157
  • Stalin impressed me from the first and my opinion of his abilities has not wavered. His personality made itself felt without effort or exaggeration. He had natural good manners, perhaps a Georgian inheritance. Though I knew the man to be without mercy, I respected the quality of his mind and even felt a sympathy which I have never been able entirely to analyse. Perhaps this was because of Stalin's pragmatic approach. It was easy to forget that I was talking to a Party man, certainly no one could have been less doctrinaire. I cannot believe that Stalin ever had any affinity with Marx, he never spoke of him as if he did. During our several meetings in the war, sometimes with Churchill but as often alone, I always found the encounter stimulating, grey and stern though the agenda often had to be. I have never known a man handle himself better in conference. Well-informed at all points that were of concern to him, Stalin was prudent but not slow. Seldom raising his voice, a good listener, prone to doodling, he was the quietest dictator I have ever known, with the exception of Dr. Salazar. Yet the strength was there, unmistakably.
    • Anthony Eden, The Eden Memoirs: Facing the Dictators (1962), p. 153
  • We were confident that Russia recognised that the continued integrity, tranquillity and prosperity of British territories were an advantage to peace. Mr. Molotov replied that I had accurately defined the attitude of the Soviet Government towards His Majesty's Government. The Soviet Government had no desire to interfere in any way in the internal affairs of the British Empire. Stalin confirmed this.
    • Anthony Eden, The Eden Memoirs: Facing the Dictators (1962), pp. 153-154
  • Stalin went on to speak at some length of Germany. The Germans were a great and capable people with exceptional powers of organisation and great industrial strength. Moreover they were smarting from a sense of injury inflicted upon them by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. We must expect that they would be actuated by motives of revenge. Stalin was perhaps more understanding of the German point of view than Litvinov, in the sense that he was less scrupulous and had no prejudice against the Nazis as such, which Litvinov no doubt felt for their treatment of the Jews... Stalin said that German diplomacy was generally clumsy, but maintained that the only way to meet the present situation was by some scheme of pacts. Germany must be made to realise that if she attacked any other nation she would have Europe against her. As an illustration he said: "We are six of us in this room; if Maisky chooses to go for any one of us, then we must fall on Maisky." He chuckled at the idea, Maisky grinned somewhat nervously. Stalin continued that only by this means would peace be preserved. The League as it was today was not strong enough for the purpose. It had suffered too many humiliations; even Paraguay had been able to flout it with impunity, he added with some exaggeration... It would be fatal to let events drift, since there was no time to lose if a check were to be placed on a potential aggressor. That should be in our power now, when actual war was probably some little time distant. At the last moment a check might fail.
    • Anthony Eden, The Eden Memoirs: Facing the Dictators (1962), pp. 154-155
  • 'Socialism in one country' was Stalin's solution to the problem that had repeatedly divided the leadership of the Bolshevik Party since Lenin's death in 1924. How could the revolutionary regime achieve the industrialization of Russia's backward rural economy without the resources of the more developed West? Trotsky had seen world revolution as the only answer. When that failed to materialize, other Bolshevik leaders, notably Nikolai Bukharin, were inclined to conclude that rapid industrialization was no longer an option. The pace would have to be slow. Stalin, ruthlessly positioning himself to be Lenin's successor - suppressing Lenin's deathbed warning against him - rode roughshod over these rarefied debates. Rapid industrialization, he insisted, was possible within the borders of the Soviet Union. All that was needed was a plan, and the iron willpower that had won the civil war. What Stalin meant by 'socialism in one country' was a new revolution - an economic revolution that he, the self-styled 'man of steel', would lead. Under the first Five-Year Plan, Soviet output was to be increased by a fifth. Managers were encouraged to 'over-fulfil their quotas'; workers were exhorted to work superhumanly long shifts in imitation of the heroic miner and shock worker (udarnik) Aleksei Stakhanov.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), p.  199
  • To the Western Left, of course, there always seemed a profound difference between communism and fascism. Until as late as the 1980s, Jürgen Habermas and others zealously upheld the dogma that the Third Reich could not legitimately be compared with Stalin's Soviet Union. But were not Stalin and his German counterpart in reality just two grim faces of totalitarianism? Was there any real difference between Stalin's 'socialism in one country' and Hitler's National Socialism, except that one was put into practice a few years before the other? We can now see just how many of the things that were done in German concentration camps during the Second World War were anticipated in the Gulag: the transportation in cattle trucks, the selection into different categories of prisoner, the shaving of heads, the dehumanizing living conditions, the humiliating clothing, the interminable roll-calling, the brutal and arbitrary punishments, the differentiation between the determined and the doomed. Yes, the regimes were very far from identical, as we shall see. But it is at least suggestive that when the teenage zek Yuri Chirkov arrived at Solovetsky, the slogan that greeted him was 'Through Labour - Freedom!' - a lie identical to the wrought-iron legend Arbeit Macht Frei that would later welcome prisoners to Auschwitz.
    • Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (2006), pp. 219-220
  • 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.
  • Josef Stalin was probably the most successful dictator in history. He brought a vast county under such direct personal control that he was able to kill millions of his citizens with impunity. He made the Soviet Union one of the world's greatest powers. He won wars, imposed his regime on Eastern Europe and saw the triumph of Communism in China. He died in his bed after a long time in power.
    • Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2,500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006), p. 132
  • 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.
  • Stalin's postwar goals were security for himself, his regime, his country, and his ideology, in precisely that order.
  • 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)
  • Since Stalin began his invasion of Spain, the march of his henchmen has been leaving death and ruin behind them. Destruction of numerous collectives, the introduction of the Tcheka with its “gentle” methods of treating political opponents, the arrest of thousands of revolutionaries, and the murder in broad daylight of others. All this and more, has Stalin’s dictatorship given Spain, when he sold arms to the Spanish people in return for good gold. Innocent of the jesuitical trick of “our beloved comrade” Stalin, the CNT-FAI could not imagine in their wildest dreams the unscrupulous designs hidden behind the seeming solidarity in the offer of arms from Russia. Their need to meet Franco’s military equipment was a matter of life and death. The Spanish people had not a moment to lose if they were not to be crushed. What wonder if they saw in Stalin the saviour of the anti-Fascist war? They have since learned that Stalin helped to make Spain safe against the Fascists so as to make it safer for his own ends.
  • 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.
  • One of the stories they told me during my visit concerned the fate of German Communists, many of them Jewish, who had been in exile in the Soviet Union in the late 1930s. As a sort of perverse good-will gesture, Stalin handed these German Communists over to the Gestapo after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. They were, of course, immediately sent to concentration camps.
  • The monstrous evils of the twentieth century have shown us that the greediest money grubbers are gentle doves compared with money-hating wolves like Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, who in less than three decades killed or maimed nearly a hundred million men, women, and children and brought untold suffering to a large portion of mankind.
  • 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
  • Every time they say that what's happening in the country is... Stalin's fault. It's the moral of every speech: Stalin's guilty, it was Stalin, Stalin, Stalin, everyone against him. But Stalin died 35 years ago! 35 years! What does that have to do with today's troubles?
  • 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.
  • The negative characteristics of Stalin, which, in Lenin's time, were only incipient, transformed themselves during the last years into a grave abuse of power by Stalin, which caused untold harm to our party. We have to consider seriously and analyse correctly this matter in order that we may preclude any possibility of a repetition in any form whatever of what took place during the life of Stalin, who absolutely did not tolerate collegiality in leadership and in work, and who practiced brutal violence, not only toward everything which opposed him, but also toward that which seemed, to his capricious and despotic character, contrary to his concepts. Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation and patient cooperation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed these concepts or tried to prove his viewpoint and the correctness of his position was doomed to removal from the leadership collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation. This was especially true during the period following the 17th party congress, when many prominent party leaders and rank-and-file party workers, honest and dedicated to the cause of communism, fell victim to Stalin's despotism.
  • Stalin knew just what it was he wanted when he came to Teheran, and he got it. Stalin is a stark realist, and there is no foolishness about him. He speaks briefly and directly to the point- not a wasted word.
    • Ernest King, in a remark to reporters on 28 November 1943 during the Tehran Conference, as quoted by Thomas B. Buell in Master of Sea Power: A Biography of Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (1980), p. 431
  • A democracy can be highly illiberal, while on the other hand an absolute ruler could be a thorough liberal—without being for this reason the least bit democratic. Even a dictator, theoretically, could be a liberal. [...] A purely military dictatorship based on the bayonets and sabres of a handful of professional soldiers has greater liberal potentialities (one has only to compare Franco, Oliveira Salazar and Pétain with Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin).
    • Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (1952). Liberty and Equality: The Challenge of Our Time, Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, pp. 87-88
  • 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
  • As regards nationalism I am fully in agreement with you that we ought to take this up more seriously. We have a marvellous Georgian who has sat down to write a big article for Prosveshcheniye, for which he has collected all the Austrian and other materials.
  • 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.
  • We were slaves in Egypt, my mother said, and today we're slaves of Stalin, exiled to hard labor in the Siberian taiga, without rights and without the slightest hope of rescue.
    • Yenta Mash "A Seder in the Taiga" short story translated from the Yiddish by Ellen Cassedy in On the Landing (2018)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • But the privation, especially of the upper and middle-class peasantry, was very great, and often it seemed that the whole ambitious scheme would collapse, and perhaps carry the Soviet Government with it. It required immense courage to hold on. Many prominent Bolsheviks thought that the strain and suffering caused by the agricultural programme were too great and there should be a relaxation. But not so Stalin. Grin-fly and silently he held on. He was no talker, he hardly spoke in public. He seemed to be the iron image of an inevitable fate going ahead to the predestined goal. And something of his courage and determination spread among the members of the Communist Party and other workers in Russia.
  • Sir...In the early hours of this morning Marshal Stalin passed away... When we think of Marshal Stalin, all kinds of thoughts come mind...looking back at these 35 years or so, many figures stand out, but perhaps no single figure has moulded and affected and influenced the history of these years more than Marshal Stalin. He became gradually almost a legendary figure, sometimes a man of mystery, at other times a person who had an intimate bond not with a few but with vast numbers of persons. He proved himself great in peace and in war. He showed an indomitable will and courage which few was a man of giant stature...who ultimately would be remembered by the way he built up his great country...but the fact remains of his building up that great country, which was a tremendous achievement, and in addition to that the remarkable that he was not only famous in his generation but...he was in a sense ‘intimate’...with vast numbers of human beings, not only the vast numbers in the Soviet Union with whom he moved in an intimate way, in a friendly way, in an almost family way...So here was this man who created in his life-time this bond of affection and admiration among vast numbers of human eings...But every one must necessarily agree about his giant stature and about his mighty achievements. So it is right that we should pay our tribute to him on this occasion because the occasion is not merely the passing away of a great figure the sense of the ending of a certain era in history...Some...describe him as...[a] gentle person... Marshal Stalin was something much more than the head of a State. He was great in his own right way, whether he occupied the office or not. I believe that his influence was exercised generally in favour of peace...
    • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the Parliament of India on 6 March 1953 on the occasion of Stalin's death. Parliamentary Debates, House of the People', Official Report – Volume 1, No. 18, 6 March 1953, Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi
  • 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 believe that in the future we shall come to feel that Stalin's foreign policy, instead of being so diabolically clever as it is claimed to be, has been merely opportunistic and stupid.
  • 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
  • Stalin carried with him all the disadvantages of dictatorship—the excessive centralization, the pall of fear enveloping subordinates—but he brought a powerful will to bear on the Soviet war effort that motivated those around him and directed their energies. In the process he expected, and got, heroic sacrifices from his besieged people. The 'personality cult' developed around him in the 1930s made this appeal possible in wartime. It is difficult to imagine that any other Soviet leader at the time could have wrung such efforts from the population. There is a sense in which the Stalin cult was necessary to the Soviet war effort. It provided a common focus of loyalty, and promoted a growing conviction about ultimate victory. That people suspended their disbelief, that they colluded with a myth later tarnished by revelations of the brutal nature of the wartime regime, should not blind us to the fact that Stalin's grip on the Soviet Union may have helped more than it hindered the pursuit of victory.
  • The chaotic conditions of 1932 and 1933, when collectivization was at its height, generated the worst famine of the century. In the grain-rich regions of the Ukraine, the northern Caucasus and Kazakhstan, peasant resistance brought on the full fury of the Party. The farmers' own food was seized, even the seed for the following year's planting. Stalin ordered the security police to seal off the whole of the Ukraine from the rest of the Soviet Union to prevent anyone from leaving or food from getting in. It was almost certainly Stalin's single most murderous act. The most recent Russian estimates indicate a death toll of 4.2 million in the Ukraine alone in 1933. Whole villages starved to death or were dispatched by epidemics to which there was scant bodily resistance. In Kazakhstan the mainly nomadic farmers were forced into crude camps and left to die. An estimated 1.7 million, almost half the population of the republic, perished in the most wretched conditions. Thousands fled across the Soviet border to escape the death camps. In total an estimated 7 million fell victim to the class war launched in the countryside. Stalin told a critic in 1933 that it was the fault of the peasantry, for waging "silent war" against the Soviet state.
  • During the years of Stalin's reign, the Soviet nation made dramatic gains in literacy, industrial wages, health care, and women's rights. These accomplishments usually go unmentioned when the Stalinist era is discussed. To say that "socialism didn't work" is to ignore that it did. In Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, and Cuba, revolutionary communism created a life for the mass of people that was far better than the wretched existence they had endured under feudal lords, military bosses, foreign colonizers, and Western capitalists. The end result was a dramatic improvement in the living conditions for hundreds of millions of people on a scale never before or since witnessed in history.
    • Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism & the Overthrow of Communism (1997), pp. 84-85
  • 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."
  • For Stalin, even more than for his partners, the wartime alliance constituted a marriage of convenience. He never shook off his fear that the British and Americans might sign a separate peace with Hitler—he even alluded to this concern obliquely during Churchill’s visit in October 1944—and their delays in opening a second front were seen as sinister confirmation. Having turned the Nazi tide by its own efforts, the Soviet Union, he believed, must also provide for its own postwar security; for Stalin, that meant preventing Germany from becoming a threat once again, probably by dismembering the country into small states on the pre-Bismarck model. It also required a quiescent, client state in Poland—historically the gateway for German aggression. More generally, Stalin wanted to regain Russian territories lost in World War I, including eastern Poland and the Baltic states, and to expand into traditional czarist areas of influence, particularly around the Black Sea (Russia’s gateway to the Mediterranean) and on the Pacific. The concept of territorial security was therefore fundamental to his regime.
    • David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Changed the 20th Century (2007), p. 115-116
  • So Stalin was very different from Hitler, a true megalomaniac who lusted for world domination. But, because of both his personal background and recent Soviet experience, Stalin’s craving for security was “insatiable”—he was always seeking more territory and more influence—and this lay at the root of growing friction with the West. Furthermore, as a Marxist-Leninist, Stalin never abandoned the hope of eventual international revolution. He recognized that in the modern world change could come by political means—“today socialism is possible even under the English monarchy”—but believed that the vast upheavals of the war were part of the structural “crisis of capitalism.” For the moment, he said in January 1945, the Soviet Union had joined the “democratic” faction of capitalists against the “fascist” faction, because Hitler posed the greater threat, but “in the future” the Soviets would confront their former allies.
    • David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Changed the 20th Century (2007), p. 116
  • In the winter of 1944–5, however, Stalin was still concentrating on victory in Europe and then on entering the war against Japan to secure his territorial aims. Moreover he knew that his shattered country was in no position for a new conflict in the immediate future. In fact he anticipated substantial economic aid, indirectly via agreed reparations from Germany and directly through a peacetime version of American lend-lease. This meant staying on good terms with his wartime allies. The Italian and French communist parties, both strongly placed because of their prominence in the wartime resistance, were warned against a revolutionary bid for power because Italy and France were both firmly in the British and American sphere. Stalin took the same line on Greece once Churchill had made clear Britain’s special interest. On the other hand, he treated the rest of the percentages deal as giving him the carte blanche he desired in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Guided by Marxist-Leninist ideology about the innate antagonisms of the capitalist powers, he was also ready to exploit policy differences between Britain and America. Roosevelt’s ostentatious digs at Churchill during the Teheran conference—intended to relieve Stalin’s suspicions of a combined Anglo-American front—seemed to confirm the aptness of this tactic. He felt he could work with the Allies while playing one off against the other.
    • David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Changed the 20th Century (2007), p. 116-117
  • The surprise of Barbarossa devastated Josef Stalin. By 28 June 1941, after a week of continuous meetings, the Soviet dictator had succumbed to deep depression. Leaving the defense commissariat the next day with several Politburo members, he had burst out loudly, "Lenin left us with a great inheritance and we, his heirs, have fucked it all up!" A Politburo delegation that tracked him down at his dacha at the beginning of July found him sitting in an armchair staring, with a strange look on his face. By the time he rallied, the Luftwaffe was bombing Moscow. Vyachaslev Molotov and Anastas Mikoyan wrote the first war speech Stalin delivered by radio to the Soviet people, on 3 July 1941. "Comrades, citizens, brothers and sisters, fighters of our Army and Navy!" he began. "I am speaking to you, my friends!" He had never spoken that way before.
    • Richard Rhodes, Masters of Death: SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust (2002), p. 104
  • Marxism and Freedom (1957) by Raya Dunayevskaya is a history of the process of Marx's thought, as it evolved out of eighteenth-century philosophy and Hegel's dialectic through the mass political movements of the nineteenth century, as it became adapted and modified by Engels, Trotsky, and Lenin and, finally, in Dunayevskaya's words, "totally perverted" by Stalin.
  • A historical and ideological fact that I consider almost a "proof" of loyalty in the bolshevism ideals: the matter of Stalin. Distrust those who disparage or even forget the figure of the continuer of Lenin's work, who was able to build socialism in the USSR and defeat the Nazi beast.
  • Nowadays he's depicted as a reciprocal of Hitler, his name serves the purpose of fighting communism. Yet just remembering him makes the bosses tremble. He built the first socialist state and without him nazism would have won. His Russian name is translated as "steel". Stalin, terror of the fascists and of the false communists. Honor and glory to you!
  • At the heart of the Second World War lies a giant and abiding paradox: although the western war was fought in defence of civilization and democracy, and although it needed to be fought and had to be won, the chief victor was a dictator who was as psychologically warped and capable of evil as Adolf Hitler himself.
  • The documentary and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming and indisputable; the Red Army, which had behaved so heroically on the battlefield, raped the women of Germany as part of their reward, with the active collusion of their officers up to and including Stalin. Indeed he explicitly excused their behaviour on more than one occasion, seeing it as part of the rights of the conqueror. "What is so awful in his having fun with a woman, after such horrors?" Stalin asked Marshal Tito about the ordinary Russian soldier in April 1945. "You have imagined the Red Army to be ideal. And it is not ideal, nor can it be ... The important thing is that it fights Germans." As well as for the sexual gratification of the soldiers, mass rape was intended as a humiliation and revenge on Germany.
  • 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.
  • I may say that I 'got along fine' with Marshal Stalin. He is a man who combines a tremendous, relentless determination with a stalwart good humor. I believe he is truly representative of the heart and soul of Russia; and I believe that we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people - very well indeed.
  • 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.
  • They [Lenin and Stalin] formed the world's first Marxist government, remained at the peak of the state for the rest of their days, sacrificed millions of lives at the pitiless altar of their utopian ideology, and ruled the imperium, between them, for the next thirty-six years.
  • We know that our struggle is not easy, that it will still be long and hard because the big capital is determined to betray the fatherland and to commit all kind of crimes just to save its privileges; yet we know that the path showed us by Stalin is the right one and that following this path we'll be able to conquer victory.
  • Stalin had the capacity to reformulate utopias. Stalinism itself was a retreat: from the impulse toward European revolution that had inspired the Bolsheviks in 1917, to the defense of the Soviet Union after that revolution did not take place. When the Red Army failed to spread communism to Europe in 1920, Stalin had a fallback plan: socialism would be made in one country, the Soviet Union. When his Five-Year Plan to build socialism brought disaster, he presided over the starvation of millions. But he explained the events as part of the policy, and reaped the benefits as the fearsome father of the nation and the dominant figure in the politburo. After turning the NKVD against the kulaks and the national minorities in 1937-1938, he explained that this was necessary for the security of the homeland of socialism. After the retreat of the Red Army in 1941, and indeed after its victory in 1945, he appealed to Russian nationalism. When the Cold War began, he blamed Jews (and others, of course) for the vulnerabilities of the Soviet Union.
  • Hitler preached "superior and inferior races." Stalin challenged him in one of the most sweeping statements ever made of human equality: "Neither language nor color of skin nor cultural back-wardeness nor the stage of political development can justify national and race inequality".
  • Those who urge an alliance with Assad cite the example of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet despot who became an ally of Western democracies against Nazi Germany. I never liked historical comparisons and like this one even less. To start with, the Western democracies did not choose Stalin as an ally; he was thrusted upon them by the turn of events. When the Second World War started Stalin was an ally of Hitler thanks to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Soviet Union actively participated in the opening phase of the war by invading Poland from the east as the Germans came in from the West. Before that, Stalin had rendered Hitler a big service by eliminating thousands of Polish army officers in the Katyn massacre. Between September 1939 and June 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin was an objective ally of Hitler. Stalin switched sides when he had no choice if he wanted to save his skin. The situation in Syria today is different. There is no alliance of democracies which, thanks to Obama’s enigmatic behavior, lack any strategy in the Middle East. Unlike Stalin, Assad has not switched sides if only because there is no side to switch to. Assad regards ISIS as a tactical ally against other armed opposition groups. This is why Russia is now focusing its air strikes against non-ISIS armed groups opposed to Assad. More importantly, Assad has none of the things that Stalin had to offer the Allies. To start with Stalin could offer the vast expanse of territory controlled by the Soviet Union and capable of swallowing countless German divisions without belching. Field Marshal von Paulus’ one-million man invasion force was but a drop in the ocean of the Soviet landmass. In contrast, Assad has no territorial depth to offer. According to the Iranian General Hossein Hamadani, who was killed in Aleppo, Assad is in nominal control of around 20 percent of the country. Stalin also had an endless supply of cannon fodder, able to ship in millions from the depths of the Urals, Central Asia and Siberia. In contrast, Assad has publicly declared he is running out of soldiers, relying on Hezbollah cannon fodder sent to him by Tehran. If Assad has managed to hang on to part of Syria, it is partly because he has an air force while his opponents do not. But even that advantage has been subject to the law of diminishing returns. Four years of bombing defenseless villages and towns has not changed the balance of power in Assad's favor. This may be why his Russian backers decided to come and do the bombing themselves. Before, the planes were Russian, the pilots Syrian. Now both planes and pilots are Russian, underlining Assad's increasing irrelevance. Stalin's other card, which Assad lacks, consisted of the USSR's immense natural resources, especially the Azerbaijan oilfields which made sure the Soviet tanks could continue to roll without running out of petrol. Assad in contrast has lost control of Syria's oilfields and is forced to buy supplies from ISIS or smugglers operating from Turkey. There are other differences between Stalin then and Assad now. Adulated as “the Father of the Nation” Stalin had the last word on all issues. Assad is not in that position. In fact, again according to the late Hamadani in his last interview published by Iranian media, what is left of the Syrian Ba'athist regime is run by a star chamber of shadowy characters who regard Assad as nothing but a figurehead.
  • 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
  • Stalin's communism was Marxism as a religion, fundamentalist religion. Every word of the bible Das Kapital, everything that Marx wrote was true.... Pretty soon, empirical research to find out what was really going on was stopped altogether in the Soviet Union under Stalin. When Stalin took over he discovered that some of the sociologists in Russia were studying the motivation of workers and finding that many of the workers were soldiering on the job. Since Marx said that once the workers were rightly related to the means of production there would be no problem with motivation because the workers would own the company, Stalin decided that the sociologists were lying when they reported that many workers in the Soviet Union were soldiering on the job. Hence, he sent the sociologists into exile in Siberia. Pretty soon, empirical research to find out what was really going on was stopped altogether in the Soviet Union under Stalin. The economy kept declining because they weren't finding out what was really happening. They were taking like the fundamentalists of the American's Bible taking Das Kapital as literally true rather than as it should, I think, be taken.
  • I believe that today, under the circumstances of capitalism crisis and the ever-increasing anti-communist reaction, the matter of the approach to the figure of Stalin is not historical or personal, but it's a matter of a burning current political debate. As in 1941, if you considered yourself an enemy of fascism and ready to fight against those fascist gangs, in any case you would have sided with Stalin. Those who thought differently and they considered themselves struggling again Stalinism and against Stalin, they would find themselves on the other side of the front, under the tricolour of general Vlasov.
  • 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 confess that I approached Stalin with a certain amount of suspicion and prejudice. A picture had been built up in my mind of a very reserved and self-centred fanatic, a despot without vices, a jealous monopolizer of power. [...] I still expected to meet a ruthless, hard—possibly doctrinaire—and self-sufficient man at Moscow; a Georgian highlander whose spirit had never completely emerged from its native mountain glen. Yet I had had to recognize that under him Russia was not being merely tyrannized over and held down; it was being governed and it was getting on. [...] All such shadowy undertow, all suspicion of hidden emotional tensions, ceased for ever, after I had talked to him for a few minutes. [...] I have never met a man more candid, fair and honest, and to these qualities it is, and to nothing occult and sinister, that he owes his tremendous undisputed ascendency in Russia.
  • 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
  • I consider him one of the greatest persons in the history of mankind. In the history of Russia he was, in my opinion, even greater than Lenin. Until Stalin's death I was anti-Stalinist, but I always regarded him as a brilliant personality.
  • 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.
  • Stalin will be rehabilitated, needless to say.
    • March 17, 1974 interview of Vyacheslav Molotov quoted in Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics (1993) by Felix Chuev, p. 139. ISBN: 978-1-5663-715-2.
  • Stalin is the best brain in polities today. Rut that does not mean that I have become a Bolshevik.


  • Stalin is one of the most extraordinary figures in world history. He began as a small clerk, and he has never stopped being a clerk. Stalin owes nothing to rhetoric. He governs from his office, thanks to a bureaucracy that obeys his every nod and gesture.
  • Stalin, too, must command our unconditional respect. In his own way he is a hell of a fellow! He knows his models, Genghiz Khan and the others, very well, and the scope of his industrial planning is exceeded only by our own Four Year Plan. And there is no doubt that he is quite determined that there shall be in Russia no unemployment such as one finds in such capitalist States as the United States of America.
  • If Stalin had been given another ten or fifteen years, Russia would have become the mightiest State in the world, and two or three centuries would have been required to bring about a change. It is a unique phenomenon! He has raised the standard of living—of that there is no doubt; no one in Russia goes hungry any more. They have built factories where a couple of years ago only unknown villages existed—and factories, mark you, as big as the Hermann Göring Works. They have built railways that are not yet even on our maps. In Germany we start quarrelling about fares before we start building the line! I have read a book on Stalin; I must admit, he is a tremendous personality, an ascetic who took the whole of that gigantic country firmly in his iron grasp.
  • Stop sending assassins to murder me... if this doesn't stop, I will send a man to Moscow and there'll be no need to send any more.
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