Internal Assessments and Extended Essays Relating to Stalin

Was Stalin’s Death a Result of Beria’s Poisoning?

Plan of the Investigation
∙Subject of the investigation
This investigation aims to figure out if Stalin’s death on 5 March 1953 was due to Beria’s poisoning.
It will explore the sequence of events that occurred during the last days of Stalin and after his death by combining accounts from several eye-witnesses and will also elaborate on his health condition up to his death. Then in section C, two sources, one from Molotov, a Politburo member, and another from contemporary medical bulletin in Pravda stating opposite argument would be evaluated. In section D, a conclusion will be drawn upon whether Stalin died because of Beria’s poisoning.

Summary of Evidence
∙Stalin’s Condition Before 1953
Stalin was going through deterioration in his health since his minor strokes before 1953. From 1951 to 1952, however, he refused to take any medication and yet his high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and rheumatism were all developing.[1]
∙The Final Stroke that Led Stalin to His Death
On the night of February 28th, Stalin watched a film at the Kremlin, and returned to his dacha where he was joined by Beria, Khrushchev, Malenkov and Bulganin, who stayed until and left at 4:00 A.M, Khruschev and Bulganin separately, while Beria and Malenkov together in a car.[2] Then the guards received an order from Stalin through Khrustalev, which was to go off duty.[3] Up to the evening on the next day, there was a complete silence, which led to a suspicion within the guards, who were yet afraid to counter Stalin’s order and go into his suite.[4] Eventually, Pyotr Lozgachev, one of Stalin’s bodyguards, went into his suite at 22:00[5] and found the crippled Stalin lying on the floor. Next to him was his broken pocket watch showing 6:30 and there was an open bottle of mineral water on the table.[6] The guards were called in by Lozgachev and they helped him move the Boss to the sofa. The guards called Ignatiev, the Minister of State Security, who referred to Malenkov and Beria.
∙The Response of the Politburo Members
Malenkov called Beria, Bulganin and Khrushchev to inform about the guards’ report of Stalin’s physical state.[7] It was thirty minutes after Starostin called when a call came from Malenkov, saying that he could not find Beria. Another thirty minutes later, Beria rang the guards to tell them not to inform anybody about Stalin’s illness.[8]  At 3:00 A.M., Beria came into Stalin’s dacha with Malenkov[9], glanced at Stalin and swore at the guards, telling them that Stalin was asleep and therefore they should not panic or disturb him.[10] He prohibited any use of the telephone and left the place.[11] Around 8 in the morning Khrushchev came into the dacha, telling the guards that he summoned doctors, who arrived between 8:30 and 9:00 A.M.[12] with artificial ventilation which, unknown for what reason, was not used.[13]
∙The Doctors’ Examination
 Stalin’s symptoms were due to brain hemorrhage caused by his hypertension and atherosclerosis[14] but the doctors also concluded that Stalin was poisoned and they tried to treat him for poisoning while at the same time did not expose this fact to other people, including the four Politburo members.[15] Stalin’s condition got worse as the time went by.[16] On March 4th, besides the symptoms involving the skin on his face, legs and arms turning blue and his liver being enlarged, his blood and urine examination results proved that he was poisoned.[17] In the morning of March 5th, Stalin vomited blood which led to a decrease in his blood pressure and several times of collapse on the same day.[18]
∙Stalin’s Death
Stalin eventually died at 9:50 P.M., after going through a severe hardship with breathing.[19] 
∙After Stalin’s Death
        Beria ran out to the corridor, calling Khrustalev to get his car to go to the Kremlin.[20] After a while, the other Politburo members went to the Kremlin as well, to acquire power.[21] Then the car with stretcher arrived to carry Stalin to the hospital for embalming and Khrustalev went to the hospital as well.[22]  The guards who served Stalin were to be eliminated from their jobs, so Starostin, Orlov and Tukov went to see Beria and resist but Beria’s threat of killing them made them to depart immediately.[23] Other jobs were given to the guards except Khrustalev who fell ill and died soon.[24]
Evaluation of Sources
Source 1
CHUEV: Beria himself was said to have killed him.  MOLOTOV: …‘Sometimes he seemed about to come to. At those moments Beria would stay close to Stalin. Oh! He was always ready...  One cannot exclude the possibility that he had a hand in Stalin's death... he did drop hints…"I did him in!...I saved all of you!" ’[25]  This source could be valuable in supporting the conviction of Beria as Stalin’s assassinate, referring to its origin, which is the interview of Molotov, to whom whom the suspect, Beria, talked to in person. The exact quotation from Beria, together with Molotov’s witnesses of his mysterious behavior which made Molotov believe that “he was always ready” to harm the Boss, elevates the convincing aspect of the argument. The main value of this source could be that the statement was from Molotov, the contemporary Politburo member, not a historian.  However, it should be in consideration that the book was published in 1993, which is far after Stalin’s death, and the source’s origin, to be more precise, is Chuev, who interviewed Molotov. His interview question seems to be a guiding one, as Molotov says “Oh!” indicating his realization right at that time. It arises the possibility of Chuev trying to use Molotov’s words to support his opinion and the publish date which makes this source too modern also undermines the reliability of the source because it was after when the theory of Beria’s planned murder of Stalin had been introduced. Molotov says that Beria dropped “hints” through his words but one cannot absolutely ensure if Beria really meant that he poisoned Stalin tactfully or simply contributed to Stalin’s death with some delay in summoning doctors.[26] He seems to be creating a distorted characterization of Beria with some words that would have been not as intricate or Machiavellian to support his argument. 

Source 2
“Arteriosclerosis, which developed during the night of March 1-2 on the basis of hypertonia and cerebral hemorrhage in his left brain hemisphere, has resulted, apart from the right-side paralysis of limbs and loss of consciousness, in impaired stem section of the brain, accompanied by disturbances of the vital functions of breathing and blood circulation.”[27]  Unlike Source 1, this source originates in the contemporary newspaper articles from Pravda and contains medical reports with specific diagnoses of Stalin’s health conditions, not human judgment from a particular political member. The source could be appreciated for containing factual descriptions of Stalin’s health and as it involves nothing about Stalin being poisoned or symptoms related to it, it strongly denies the idea that Stalin was poisoned by Beria before his death.  On the other hand, this is not an official medical report from the doctors but an announcement from the Soviet government. Pravda, as a national paper published by the Soviet government, was famous to the public for being biased and inaccurate.[28] The possibility of the manipulation made in the Politburo members’ favor cannot be excluded. Therefore the source, in spite of medical facts, lacks accuracy and the strong negative impression that Pravda gave to the contemporary society prevents one from judging Stalin’s condition totally based on such report.

To figure out if Stalin died because Beria poisoned him, it is important to start considering the possibility firstly by exploring the events around Stalin’s death. After the four Politburo members left Stalin’s dacha at 4, it was Khrustalev, not Stalin himself who talked to the guards about going off duty.[29] Beria, among the four guests, being the closest with Khrustalev[30] suggests that he ordered Khrustalev to let the guards vacate. In addition, the fact that other guards got substitute jobs but Khrustalev, the only guard who was allowed to see Stalin being embalmed, fell ill and died raises a question if this was one of Beria’s efforts to expunge evidence that could prove him guilty.  When Lozgachev went in, he saw a bottle of water next to Stalin. Why was this bottle not sent to the Stalin Museum from the Kremlin sanitary department when it had to send medicaments and empty mineral bottles in November 1953?[31] Was it because it contained the poison that killed Stalin? The very possible scenario in Stalin’s suite on March 1st during the hours between 4 A.M. and 10 P.M. is that Khrustalev put poison in Stalin’s water bottle while all the guards were back at home by Beria’s command.  Beria had been delaying in his response to the guards and when he came to Stalin’s dacha with Malenkov at 3 o’ clock, he swore at the guards and left the place immediately but forbade their use of communication line.[32] According to Khrushchev, Malenkov called him right after the guards called and he thought the visit from all four Politburo members around 8 o’clock was the first visit from all of them but it was the second one made by Beria, which Khrushchev did not know.[33] He was trying to hide Stalin’s condition and his awareness of it from others.  After Stalin’s death, Beria went out immediately to Kremlin, where he assumed authority and this, together with all his suspicious behavior before Stalin’s death, conveys the idea that Beria, with his strong motive of gaining power, took advantage of Stalin’s health to kill him with poison and achieve what he wanted.
On the other hand, there are counter-arguments that defend Beria. As Medvedev argues, for years, Stalin denied taking medication so his death could have been nothing more than a corollary of his long-term diseases.[34] But this argument now seems to be nominal as all the symptoms due to poison written in the official medical records were exposed. The doctors knew Stalin was poisoned and that was why they did not use the artificial ventilation, which was not useful. The absence of such facts in articles from Pravda, controlled by the Soviet government, does not argue against conviction of Beria but supports it by explaining why the reports in Pravda were falsified: Beria killed Stalin and he had enough power to manipulate the facts about Stalin’s symptoms.  Yet blaming Beria with asperity for power, seen after Stalin’s death, is quite unreasonable because he did not try to appoint himself as the President but Vice-President.[35] If Beria is to be blamed for such motive, then why not other people like Vasili Stalin, who despised his father and suffered humiliation after Stalin forfeiting his authority or Khrushchev, who was the successor of Stalin after all?
Shortly, the argument stating Stalin died because Beria poisoned him gets supports from Beria’s suspicious behaviour, his relation with Khrustalev, and the recently-discovered official medical reports. The opposite argument arises from that Stalin’s death was the result of neglected delayed treatment and that there are other possible suspects.

Certainly, there are a variety of supporters of the argument that convicts Beria as the assassin using poison to kill Stalin.[36] On the other hand, their argument is depreciated by the facts that Stalin’s health was already on a rapid wane and that there are other possible suspects including his family members and the Politburo members. However, with recently discovered official medical reports corroborating Stalin being poisoned and Beria’s possession of the closest contact with the guards including Khrustalev, this argument seems to have a sizeable amount of evidentiary support. To conclude, Stalin died because he was poisoned by Beria.

Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Twenty Letters to a Friend. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
Brent, Jonathan. Naumov, Vlamidir. Stalin’s Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953. New York: HarperCollins, 2004.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993.
Committee on Slavic Studies. The Current Digest of the Soviet Press. Cambridge: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 1953.
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. London:Penguin, 1992.
Deriabin, Peter. Inside Stalin's Kremlin: An Eyewitness Account of Brutality, Duplicity, and Intrigue. Washington [D.C.]: Brassey's, 1998.
Deriabin, Peter. Watchdogs of Terror: Russian Bodyguards from the Tsars to the Commissars. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1984.
Eaton, Katherine. Daily Life in the Soviet Union. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.
Radzinsky, Edvard. STALIN: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996.
Richardson, Rosamond. Stalin’s Shadow. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.
Medvedev, Zhores. Dahrendorf, Ellen. The Unknown Stalin. London: I.B. Tauris, 2006.
Taubman, William. Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. New York: Norton, 2004.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.
Who Killed Stalin, DVD. Directed by Tim Robinson. UK: BBC Timewatch, 2005.
Pravda.Ru, “Secret documents reveal Stalin was poisoned.” Pravda.Ru (December 29, 2005),
[1] Zhores Medvedev and Ellen Dahrendorf. The Unknown Stalin (London: I.B. Tauris, 2006), 1.  [2] William Taubman. Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: Norton, 2004), 236.  [3] 'Well, guys, here's an order we've never been given before,' and he repeated the Boss's words. It was true, in all the time I worked there that was the only occasion when Stalin said 'go to bed.' Khrustalev quoted by Lozgachev, another guard who was on duty. Edvard Radzinsky. STALIN: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), 550.  [4] ‘At 19:00 the silence in Stalin's suite began to alarm us. We (Starostin and Tukov) were both afraid to go in without being called.' –quoted from testimony of Starotsin. Ibid, 550  [5] Dmitri Volkogonov, who was the first to include witnesses of Stalin’s death in a book, based on Rybin’s account, stated in Stalin:Triumph and Tragedy(Grove Weidenfeld,1991) that Starostin found Stalin lying on the floor after a stroke. However, Radzinsky, who read the unpublished memoirs of Rybin— Stalin’s bodyguard who resigned in 1935 but was informed about Stalin’s last days by the guards who worked at that time –in the Museum of the Revolution, proved Volkogonov’s statement about Starostin wrong; it was not Starotsin but Lozgachev.  [6] By Lozgachev’s account "I hurried up to him and said 'Comrade Stalin, what's wrong?' He'd, you know, wet himself while he was lying there. He made some incoherent noise, like "Dz dz". His pocketwatch and copy of  Pravda were lying on the floor. The watch showed 6.30. That's when it must have happened to him." Who Killed Stalin, DVD. Directed by Tim Robinson. UK: BBC Timewatch, 2005.  [7] Khrushchev quoted in Radzinsky, 554  [8] Ibid, 554  [9] Ibid, 555  [10] Dmitri Volkogonov. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), 572.  [11] Rosamond Richardson. Stalin’s Shadow (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), 248.  [12] Lozgachev quoted in Radzinsky, page.556. But according to Richardson, it was not Khrushchev but Beria who called the doctors, from the Academy of Medical Sciences.  [13] “The unwieldy thing was just standing there idle…” Svetlana Allilueva. Twenty Letters to a Friend (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), 7.  [14] “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers announce a great misfortune which has befallen our party and our people-the grave illness of Comrade J. V. Stalin.” U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, “GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT — On the Illness of Comrade Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers and Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” Pravda(1953): 1. English translation in Joint Committee on Slavic Studies. The Current Digest of the Soviet Press (Cambridge: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 1953), 4. There were five articles published by Pravda and Izvestia from March 4th to 6th all of which repeat brain hemorrhage but none of which mentions about Stalin being poisoned.  [15] “Secret documents reveal Stalin was poisoned.” Pravda.Ru, (2005),  [16] “It was on March 3 when Stalin's doctors registered that condition of the patient grew even worse and heart activity got weaker. Next day, March 4, the condition of the patient grew extremely grave because of frequent respiratory standstills.” Ibid.  [17] Poisoning results in hemoglobin’s transformation into methemoglobin displaying dark color. Ibid.  [18] Ibid.  [19] “The death agony was terrible. He literally choked to death as we watched.” Robert Conquest, Stalin: Breaker of Nations (London: Penguin, 1992), 312.  [20] Allilueva, 7.  [21] “Beria proposed that Malenkov be President of the Council of Ministers and Malenkov proposed that Beria be named Vice-President and Minister of Internal Affairs and State Security.” Peter Deriabin. Watchdogs of Terror: Russian Bodyguards from the Tsars to the Commissars (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1984) , 27.  [22] Lozgavchev’s account quoted in Radzinsky, 559  [23] ‘“If you don't want to be out there, you'll be down there.” And he pointed down to the ground.’—Beria quoted by Lozgachev. Ibid, 560.  [24] Ibid, 560.  [25] Feliks Chuev. Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics (Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993), 237.  [26] “Stalin had lain untreated for over 24 hours; it was 10 hours since he had been found. Beria now ordered doctors to be summoned from the Academy of Medical Sciences” Richardson, 248.  [27] American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, 4.  [28] Katherine Eaton. Daily Life in the Soviet Union. (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), 270-271.  [29] Radzinsky, page. 552  [30] Beria hired the guards (Chekists) and he particularly called Khrustalev, not just any guard, when leaving to the Kremlin immediately after Stalin’s death. Allilueva, 7.  [31] Pravda.Ru.  [32] Richardson, 248.  [33] Radzinsky, 554.  [34] Medvedev, 1.  [35] Deriabin, 27.  [36] Historians Radzinsky, (STALIN: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives), Brent (Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953‎), Deriabin (Inside Stalin’s Kremlin: An Eyewitness Account of Brutality, Duplicity, and Intrigue  ), a contemporary Politburo member Molotov (Molotov Remembers), all interviewed witnesses involving progenies of the Politburo members and Stalin’s family members (The Last Mystery of Stalin) argue that Beria killed Stalin.

Thesis Statement: To What Extent Was Stalin Responsible For The Murder of Sergei Kirov?

A. Plan of investigation 


In investigating Stalin’s complicity in Kirov’s murder, Stalin's possible motives and the relationship between the two will be investigated. Pertinent evidence surrounding the act of assassination will be examined through the use of historiographical analysis from prominent historians from different perspectives and countries. This investigation will not be limited to particular historians or books, but will be focused, on Amy Knight and Grover Furr, with whom I have had personal correspondence. The choice of these historians, stems from their different approaches to the topic, their different conclusions on the topic and their different contextual grounding in writing their respective books. This investigation will not entertain any other theories behind Kirov’s assassination, and instead will focus entirely on Stalin’s culpability. 

B. Summary of evidence 

Stalin’s daughter wrote, “[my father] liked him [Kirov] and was attached to him”. A.T. Rybin, the head of Stalin’s bodyguard wrote, “Stalin and Kirov were very close; Kirov was the only person with whom Stalin would take a steam bath naked.” Historian, Dmitri Volkogonov stated, “there was probably no other party figure for whom Stalin showed such care and affection.” 
Unlike Stalin, Kirov was an ethnic Russian who was considered more eloquent, charismatic and likeable. 
At the 17th party congress in January 1934, Stalin received 300 more negative votes than Kirov. Party leaders proposed Kirov taking over Stalin’s position, which Kirov refused to consider, and reported to Stalin. At the congress, Kirov publicly pushed for Stalin’s agenda of realignment of dissident party members to Stalinist policy. 
During the Ryutin affair, Kirov opposed Stalin's position with “particular force against the recourse to the death penalty,” as well as Stalin’s economic policy.
Days before Kirov’s assassination, Stalin ‘reportedly’ ordered NKVD Commisar, Genrikh Yagoda to replace Aleksandr Mdved with Grigory Yevdokmov, who wasn’t loyal to Kirov, at the helm of the Leningrad office of the NKVD involved in looking after Kirov’s security. Kirov overturned the order, at which point Stalin ‘reportedly’ ordered Kirov’s murder.
The assassin, Leonid Nikolayev suffered a poor and deprived childhood, suffering rickets, resulting in a weak and small stature, condemning him to poor health for the rest of his life. At the time of Nikolayev was 30 years old, unemployed, and married with two young children. He had been a member of the communist party since the age sixteen but unable to keep a steady job. He resented the communist party he felt he had dedicated his life to, and in Mathew Leone’s words was an “isolated loner full of rage against party bureaucracy.” He had written letters to both Kirov and Stalin venting his anger. 
In the winter of 1934 Nikolayev wrote in his diary, “The money has run out, we will borrow. Today my supper consists of two glasses of sour clotted milk.” In October 1934 he wrote, “I am now ready for anything and no one can stop me. I am making preparations like Zhenlinbov” [Alexander II's assassin]. 
At 4:30pm Kirov arrived at the Smolnyi and his personal bodyguard, Borisov, met him. He made his way to the third floor with Borisov trailing, where none of the guards assigned to that floor were on guard.. After turning the corner to his office, Nikolyev shot Kirov in the back of the neck with a Nagan revolver. 
After the assassination, Stalin immediately made his way to Leningrad to conduct the investigation. Stalin interrogated Nikolayev personally. Nikolayev’s diary was found containing the murder plot. Nikolayev was found guilty of the murder and executed days after the interrogation.  
Borisov, traveling in a truck full of NKVD agents, died in an incident on the way to his interrogation in which no one else was harmed. 
On December 1st Stalin issued a law stating that suspected lawbreakers could be detained and tried without an attorney and executed immediately if convicted, with no chance to appeal.  By December 4th thirty-nine people in Leningrad and twenty-two in Moscow were arrested as class enemies. ‘The Great Purge’ would follow in which thousands of party members implicated in a conspiracy to kill Kirov were executed.
During Khrushchev’s investigation in 1960-1961, the Soviet government concluded Stalin was not responsible. 

C. Evaluation of Sources

‘The Murder of Sergei Kirov: History, Scholarship and the Anti-Stalin Paradigm’ by Grover Furr, Kettering Ohio, Erythrós and Media, 2013

Grover Furr is an American professor with an impressive command of the Russian language, a scholar of Russian literature and Soviet history he has published more than ten books on the period, in English and Russian. His understanding of Russian culture and language allows Furr greater insight into Russian archives and historiography on the Kirov murder. He is a supporter of Stalin and a Communist, allowing for a unique, provocative insight but opens him up to charges of bias with a hidden agenda to forward his own ideology. In response to this charge, he argues that it is taboo to not assume the worst of Stalin because of the legacy of the Cold War not only through Western hostility towards the USSR but Khrushchev’s own special commission which placed the blame for the murder at Stalin’s feet, compounding what he calls, "the anti-Stalin paradigm." This has resulted in him being ostracised from the historiographical community, as his views do not adhere to the “major officials” as he puts it.

‘Who Killed Kirov’ by Amy Knight, New York, Hill and Wang, 1999

Amy Knight has been described as “the West’s foremost expert on the NKVD/KGB.” Her book focuses on evidence specifically surrounding Kirov’s murder much like a lawyer making a case. This narrow scope is similar to my assessment and therefore makes it very valuable. Knight is an American historian, and therefore may be limited by the fact she is a western historian looking at Russian history. Grover Furr states in his email to me that Amy Knight is subject to the anti-Stalin paradigm; that is to say she has an inherent bias that had been indoctrinated into her by the anti-Soviet and anti-Stalin US media that would render her incapable of objectively studying Soviet history Despite this, she has dedicated her life to the study of Russian history culture and politics. In her books she has taken a generally negative view towards Stalin, which may have influenced her approach in her book, Who Killed Kirov, as well as her other scholarly works on the issue. 

D. Analysis 

The Kirov murder, “marked the approach of a sinister era” in which Stalin’s purges and repression killed thousands, even millions of people. It is hugely important to determine whether Stalin had played some part in the assassination of Kirov, especially in light of the somewhat suspect circumstances of his death.

The testimony of Stalin’s daughter and bodyguard show Stalin to be very close with Kirov. Volkogonov’s conclusion, drawn from his experiences interviewing people and studying documents about their relationship, reinforces the notion that Stalin and Kirov were close, making it less likely that Stalin would be willing to kill his friend, Kirov. These lack of motives on a personal level are contrasted Nikolayev’s personal resentment that would have had to act as a lone wolf. A squalid life of perceived mistreatment at the hands of the party and personal correspondence venting anger at Kirov, in addition to the dire straights he was in the months leading up to Kirov’s murder. Nikolayev had ample reason to murder Kirov of his own accord.

The case for Stalin’s involvement in Kirov’s murder starts with the real or perceived threat that Kirov posed to Stalin’s domination of the party. Kirov was an eloquent and charismatic ethnic Russian, as well as very likeable. Stalin did not posses these qualitiesand this became clear to Stalin and the whole party at the17th Party Congress in which Stalin received far more negative votes than Kirov. It is true, however, that this may have stemmed more from the swell of discontent over Stalin’s tightening grip on power than on Kirov’s strengths, but nevertheless framed Kirov as a potential competitor for power. This notion of competition from Kirov was reinforced by Kirov telling Stalin that members of the party had approached Kirov to usurp Stalin’s position as General Secretary, and although Kirov refused and reported it gave Stalin reason to be concerned.  Again during the Ryutin affair, Kirov was seen to be challenging Stalin’s position, however, the extent to which Kirov deviated from Stalin’s policies during Ryutin affair is contestable with historians such as Arch Getty claiming he openly criticized Stalin’s policy, whereas Grover Furr claims his reaction was far more docile. 

In the days leading up the murder of Kirov a series of suspect changes in the NKVD in Leningrad led Orlov to question whether Stalin had had some hand in these changes. The significance of these changes is that no guards where on third floor when Kirov arrived, a fact out of the ordinary and against procedure. If guards were on the floor they could have stopped Nikolayev. The problem with Orlov’s analysis is the orders to change the head of the NKVD in Leningrad came from Yagoda and it is Orlov’s assumption that Stalin had ordered Yagoda to do as he did. There is no factual evidence, only heresy, to support this, or that Yagoda or anyone inside the NKVD had any involvement in employing Nikolayev to kill Kirov. One action that can be put at the feet of Stalin is the 1st of December law. The repressive powers by December 4th allowed Stalin to arrest thirty-nine people in Leningrad and twenty-two in Moscow as class enemies in direct response to the Kirov Murder. The fact that this law was drafted in less than a day points to Stalin preparing this beforehand in anticipation of the murder. On the other hand Stalin could have been preparing a law like this and used Kirov’s murder as a opportunity to enact it, but did not have any part in the murder. The problem the claims shown, in this paragraph is that much of information to base this judgement on is “tenuous” as Furr claims and is based on testimony from unreliable sources with inconsistent stories and at some points downright fabrications.

In the immediate aftermath of Kirov’s murder Stalin, rapidly made his way to Leningrad to conduct the investigation himself. Volkagonov points to this as evidence of Stalin trying to cover-up his own complicity by controlling the investigation, but could also be seen as Stalin ensuring the validity of the investigation of his friends murder case. Because Nikolayev was executed only days after his interrogation it suggest that Stalin wanted to keep him quiet. In Stalin’s purges after the Kirov assassination most suspects where required to confess their guilt in front of show trials which often took place over long periods of time, but this did not happen to Nikolayev. Could Stalin have been trying to keep Nikolayev quiet, or is this yet another circumstantial piece of evidence? Moreover Borisov, Kirov’s personal bodyguard, was killed on the way to his interrogation in a truck full of NKVD agents; he was the only person injured in any way, further reinforcing the narrative that someone was trying to keep quiet the closest thing to possible to witnesses. 

It appears that much of evidence implicating Stalin is circumstantial and based less on hard facts than hearsay and at times unreliable testimony. On the other hand, there is a great weight of circumstantial evidence to the extent that it is not hard to see why some believe this is more than a coincidence. 

E. Conclusion

Stalin’s complicity in Kirov’s murder relies on circumstantial evidence and hearsay and if based in fact would appear to suggest a conspiracy that could involve Stalin. It is however not and I must therefore conclude that Khrushchev investigation stating no condemning evidence exists implicating Stalin in Kirov’s murder, is true. Nikolayev resented the party that he felt had failed him and in all likelihood acted alone. Nikolayev acting alone to kill Kirov is not my conclusion, as I cannot for certain say that this was not party conspiracy as Grover Furr argues in his book, or some other reason, but what I can say is that Stalin was not involved to any extent, given the current information. 

F. Bibliography 

"Kirov Murder." Message to Grover Furr. 12 Feb. 2014. E-mail.

Conquest, Robert. Stalin and the Kirov Murder. New York: Oxford Press, 1989. 

Furr, Grover. The Murder of Sergei Kirov: History, Scholarship and the Anti-Stalin 

Paradigm. Kettering, OH: Erythrós and Media, 2013.

Getty, J. Arch. Origins of the Great Purges. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. p. 23.

Knight, Amy. Who Killed Kirov?. New York: Hill and Wang, 1999.

Lenoe, Mathew E. "Did Stalin Kill Kirov and Does It Matter?" Journal of Modern 
History. Chicago: University of Chicago., n.d. 74. Print.

Lenoe, Matthew E. The Kirov Murder and Soviet History. New Haven: Yale UP, 2010. 

Martin, Lloyd. ‘The Logic of Vladimir Putin’. The New York Times. June 22, 2011.

Nicolaevsky Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite: The Letter of an Old Bolshevik and Other Essays. London: Pall Mall Press, 1966.

Orlov, Alexander. The Secret History Of Stalin’s Crimes. New York: Random House, 1953.

Volkogonov, Dmitriĭ Antonovich. "Stalin and Kirov." Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

 Was Lenin’s Testament Really Directed at Removing Stalin?

A: Plan of Investigation
Was Lenin’s Testament Really Directed at Removing Stalin? In order to answer this question the circumstances of the testament, Lenin’s statements on Stalin within the testament and his views on the other leaders will be analysed. Lenin’s testament will be the main source, whilst works by Trotsky and Stalin will offer insight into the rival’s opinions on the testament. The final primary source will be Lenin’s secretary’s memoires as she offers her opinion on Lenin’s intentions, valuable as many of Lenin’s actions will have gone through her. As well as these primary sources an abundance of secondary sources will be used, largely from historians specialising in Russia writing about the relative importance of the testament on Stalin’s rise to power.

B: Summary of Evidence
Following a second stroke in November 1922 Vladimir Lenin dictated government papers to his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya, including his testament, completed in December 1922, adding an addendum in January 1923.[1] Lenin intended the testament to be read at the 12th Party Congress in April 1923, however following a third stroke he was left paralyzed and unable to speak so it was not made available to the party until the Party Congress in May 1924 following his death.
Within the testament Lenin highlighted his worries in regard to the six leading members of the committee, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Pyatakov and Stalin, drawing pen-portraits4 of each followed by appraisal. Trotsky was described as “the outstanding member of the Central Committee” but he displayed “excessive self-assurance” and showed “excessive preoccupation with the purely administrative side of the work.”3 When commenting on Zinoviev and Kamenev Lenin was criticised their unwillingness to support the October revolution saying it was no “accident”3 but said they should not be personally blamed. This criticism was reinforced by Trotsky saying “Having achieved the revolution, we seem to have concluded that we should never have to repeat it.”[5] Pyatakov and Bukharin were both praised by Lenin as the most promising members of the party at the time however, Pyatakov was criticised for undeviating allegiance to Trotsky[6] along with his commitment to the administrative side of politics. Meanwhile, Bukharin’s views were questioned as Lenin stated; “his theoretical views can be classified as fully Marxist only with the great reserve.”3
At the time Stalin was General Secretary of the party, having been chosen by Lenin[7], and he had the power remove and appoint members of the party. Lenin noted that he was not sure Stalin would be able to use his authority with enough caution, with Trotsky stating in his autobiography that Stalin “always seemed a man destined to play second and third fiddle.”[8] Following Stalin’s verbal abuse of Lenin’s wife Lenin added a postscript that called Stalin “too rude” and recommended removal as General Secretary.[9]
This heavy criticism meant that the leaders of the C.C. faced a dilemma, they did not want the testament read to Congress as it would hinder their chances of attaining leadership, however it was dangerous to go against Lenin’s will so soon after his death. Eventually a 30 to 10 vote decided the testament would be communicated confidentially to delegates.[10] Resultantly Stalin was not removed as General Secretary and continued expelling opposition supporters whilst promoting his supporters, culminating in him becoming leader of the Communist Party.

C: Evaluation of Sources
Lenin’s Testament:
This testament is a primary source and the final document written before Lenin’s death. According to Trotsky’s article in The New International the testament’s purpose was “Lenin’s last advice on how to organize the party leadership.”[11] As it was written close to Lenin’s death he had nothing left to lose, with the necessity of diplomacy no longer hanging over his head, hence revealing critical opinions on the Communist Party and its leading members, with no other document showing his true views regarding shortcomings of the other members of the Party. Perhaps its greatest value though was its presence as a cornerstone of Khrushchev’s Secret Speech in the critique of Stalin. On the other hand, being written after a stroke, it can be argued that Lenin was no longer the man that led revolutions, was instead impaired and in no position to make such warnings about the Party and its important members.[12] The postscript’s timing, in which he called for Stalin’s removal as General Secretary, must also be taken into account as it was added following a heated debate between Stalin and Krupskaya, implying the decision was not thought through and in fact a spontaneous reaction. Nevertheless, this could be seen as a strength, as Lenin finally showed the emotion often lacking due to his diplomatic tendencies. The testament though was extremely vague, offering little other than one-sided criticism; this caused the consequential power struggle and means the testaments weakness is in fact what makes it so important.

Trotsky’s My Life:
Praised by Dmitri Volkogonov as “a work of remarkable self-analysis”,[13] Trotsky’s autobiography My Life was written during his first year in Turkey in 1930 having been exiled by Stalin. The purpose of his autobiography was to tell the story of his life from youth to expulsion, and validate his own beliefs and actions. My Life offers insight into Trotsky’s beliefs and relationships, especially his longing for revolution and need to excuse his non-Bolshevik past through constant reference made to his relationship with Lenin as well as his opinion of the contents of the testament. It also allows us to see why Lenin said what he did of Trotsky, showing his ability through a wonderfully written book, but also his pride and pedantic habits. To understand the limitations of the source Trotsky must be understood, arrogant and self-obsessed, always looking to justify himself. Following Trotsky’s own fight against Stalinism and his exile his autobiography takes every opportunity to criticise his opponent, whilst constantly looking to vindicate his need for revolution. The book offers not a reliable historical writing but a justification of a man totally committed to himself, disguised as a story of revolution and adventure.

D: Analysis
Lenin’s testament was his chance to recommend a successor, be that Stalin, Trotsky or any other member of the party and emphasise the direction in which the C.C. should progress and gives us an insight into his views of the Communist Party upon his death. When the basics of Lenin’s testament is taught at iGCSE level, the message is that Lenin was looking to prevent Stalin’s rise as leader and that had it been published Stalin would inevitably have lost the leadership race.[14] However, Stalin was the first leader mentioned in Lenin’s testament, and Russia historian Ian Grey said “Stalin emerged in the best light”,[15] highlighting that Stalin had not tarnished his party record and the only question of him in the document was whether he had the acumen necessary for a post entailing such power. This was a man who had become closer and closer to Lenin, being elected to the Central Committee, Politburo and role of General Secretary through Lenin and even assisting Lenin in avoiding capture from the Provisional Government,[16] meaning Lenin had little if any reason to remove Stalin and if he did, it was not portrayed in his testament.
On the other hand, Lenin is brutally critical of other leaders; Trotsky’s “excessive self-assurance”[17], seen in Trotsky’s My Life when he says of his work with the peasantry “I shall confine myself to two or three sufficiently outstanding examples”[18], was a far worse quality than the “vulgarity”[19], which was, according to Lenin’s secretary, “supportable in relations among us Communists”.[20] Meanwhile, the reference to Kamenev and Zinoviev lack of support during the revolution was damning, as the revolution represented everything the Bolshevik cause. Pyatkov’s persistent allegiance to Trotsky meant any criticism of Trotsky was bestowed upon him, regardless of promise he had shown. It was similar for Bukharin, despite his potential, had the testament been published having his theoretical view questioned by Lenin would almost certainly have ruled him out of the leadership race. The critique of Stalin’s opposition, especially compared to his own, showed Lenin’s disapproval, and if anything conveyed Stalin was the best candidate for leadership.
Martin McCauley argues that the postscript’s intention was to remove Stalin from the party[21], and Lenin did ask for Stalin to be removed as General Secretary. However, the circumstances suggest that was not Lenin’s true motive. With the postscript being dated just days after a phone confrontation between Stalin and Lenin’s wife it was clear that it was written out of anger, not in the thought through manner that typified Lenin before his stroke. The emotional cause of this not only indicates that the removal of Stalin as General Secretary was not Lenin’s true will, especially as it was not mentioned in the original testament, but also that Lenin’s stroke affected his credibility, and hence that of the document.
Another problem with the recommendation for Stalin to leave his post was that no one was endorsed to succeed him; the lack of replacement implies that Lenin had not held the idea before Krupskaya’s confrontation as over time he would most likely have chosen a back-up. Lenin’s secretary believed Lenin was looking for someone with all Stalin’s qualities just “more tolerant, polite and attentive”.[22] This description matches none of the other leaders discussed in the document, especially not Trotsky, whose intolerance and willingness to criticise other members of the party are seen throughout My Life, especially when discussing his leadership opposition.[23] Meanwhile, had Lenin seen him as a viable replacement he would have told him, especially given how close Trotsky asserts they were.[24] Therefore it supports the notion that Lenin did not want Stalin removed but was angered by his actions and did not see any member as a more credible leader than Stalin.
Stalin said, at the Thirteenth Party Congress, in regards to the testament, that it was “unanimously decided not to publish it.”[25] This questions whether the leaders in competition really believed that the intent of the testament was Stalin’s dismissal and that Stalin would be discredited by it. Despite the criticisms of their abilities, had they truly believed that the testament would have significantly hindered Stalin’s leadership chances then the decision would not have been unanimous. Nevertheless historian Martin McCauley believes that “Trotsky missed a great opportunity to downgrade Stalin”[26] in order to show unity in a time of tension. However, Trotsky had no problem undermining the party’s unity two years later forming an opposition block with Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1926 creating factions within the party.[27] The decision for the testament not to be published is therefore indicative of the leaders’ views on the contents, they did not see the testament as judgement on Stalin but instead a scathing appraisal of the Communist Party’s state.

E: Conclusion
Having assessed the evidence available it is clear Stalin had developed a fairly close relationship with Lenin, certainly one that showed Lenin felt Stalin belonged in the party, and in the original testament Stalin’s reputation was in no way besmirched and Lenin’s statements about him were far more positive than those about the other leading members of the party. The criticism of the other leaders is also firmly in Stalin’s favour as Lenin voiced his disapproval of Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Pyatkov and Bukharin. This judgement, especially in comparison to that of Stalin, is indicative of the high regard in which Stalin was held by Lenin. The postscript, despite its request for the removal of Stalin as General Secretary, can be somewhat disregarded due to the circumstances in which it was written, with Lenin having suffered a stroke and reacting to the argument between Stalin and his wife, with the lack of a suggested replacement portraying the spontaneity of his reaction. Finally, the decision to withhold the testament revealing that the leading members did not feel it would significantly impact on Stalin’s leadership opportunities. This evidence dismisses the simplistic idea taught to so many that Lenin was intent on removing Stalin from his post or his party.

F: Bibliography
Carr, Edward Hallett, The Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin (1917-1929), Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004, p. 61-73.
Eastman, Max, ‘The Testament of Lenin’, Since Lenin Died, Boni and Liveright Publishers, New York, 1925, p. 30.
Fotieva, Souvenirs sur Lénine, Éditions Moscou, Moscow, n.d, p. 173-4.
Gay, Kathlyn, ‘A Country in Chaos’, The Aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, 2009, p. 65-6.
Grey, Ian, Stalin: Man of History, Doubleday and Company, New York, 1979, p. 159-76.
Lenin, Vladimir, Collected Works. Vol. 36, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1966, p. 594-6.
Lynch, Michael, ‘Stalin's Rise to Power 1924-9’, Bolshevik and Stalinist Russia 1918-56, Hodder Murray, London, 2005, p. 60.
McCauley, Martin, ‘Politics’, Russia Since 1914, Addison Wesley Longman, London, 1998, p. 155-9.
Montefiore, Simon Sebag, Young Stalin, Phoenix, London, 2007, p. 5-11.
Service, Robert, ‘Leninism and its Discontents’, A History of Modern Russia, Penguin Group, London, 2003, p. 152.
Stalin, Joseph, ‘The Trotskyist Opposition Before and Now’, On the Opposition, State Publishing House, Moscow, 1928, p. 865.
Trotsky, Leon, Lessons of October, Imprecorr, Moscow, 1925, p. 1.
Trotsky, Leon, My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography, Penguin, London, 1988, p. 398.
Trotsky, Leon, ‘The Testament of Lenin’, The New International, July 1934, p. 6.
Volkogonov, Dmitri Antonovich, Trotsky: the Eternal Revolutionary, Free, New York, 1996, p. 419.
Walsh, Ben, ‘Stalin or Trotsky?’, GCSE Modern World History, 2nd ed, Hodder Murray, London, 2001, p. 126.

Footnotes:  [1] Carr, p. 61-3. [2] Gay, p. 65-6. [3] Lenin, p. 594-6. [4] Service, p. 152. [5] Trotsky, Lessons of October, p. 1. [6] Eastman, p. 30. [7] Grey, p. 159. [8] Trotsky, My Life, p. 398. [9] Lenin, p. 594-6 [10] Carr, p. 71-3.  [11] Trotsky, The New International, p. 6. [12] Eastman, p. 30. [13] Volkogonov, p. 419. [14] Walsh, p. 126. [15] Grey, p. 176. [16] Montefiore, p. 5-11. [17] Lenin, p. 594-6. [18] Trotsky, My Life, p. 343. [19] Trotsky, My Life, p. 397. [20] Fotieva, p. 173-4. [21] McCauley, p. 155. [22] Lenin, p. 594-6. [23] Trotsky, My Life, p. 395-408 [24] Trotsky, My Life, p. 363-9. [25] Stalin, p. 865. [26] McCauley, p. 159. [27] Lynch, p. 60.

Was the Holmodor an intentional genocidal policy by the Soviet Union Leadership?

A: Plan of Investigation
1. Subject- Was the Holdomor an intentional genocidal policy of the Soviet Union leadership?
2. Methods- Will use two basic sets of sources, newspapers written at the time from prominent journalists such as Walter Duranty, Malcolm Muggeridge, and Gareth Jones as well as later books written by prominent historians such as Robert Conquest. The summary of evidence will consist of three basic sections the policies taken by the Soviet Union leading to the famine, their policies during the famine and a section focusing on the famine itself. For section C the one source will be two of Walter Duranty's articles in the New York Times and the other Robert Conquest's book Harvest of Sorrows: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine.

B: Summary of Evidence
Stalin had introduced forced collectivization in 1928. The policy was meant to combine the smaller farms into larger ‘more efficient’ collective farms called kolkhozes. The 25 million peasant farmsteads were turned into 200,000 collective farms. This forced collectivization however, was highly unpopular among the peasants who resisted in a variety of ways including the slaughtering of their live stock as well as the burning of their crops culminating in large scale revolts braking out in mostly non-Russian areas including Ukraine. Such peasants were then bunched under the term “Kulaks” on which he declared “war”. It is estimated 5 million Soviet citizens were eventually classified as kulaks and either stripped of their land to be given the poorest land in the area, were deported to other nearby regions of the country or, in extreme cases to distant inhospitable regions without shelter or resources, or sent to gulags. The overall result was the inverse of what had been desired- rather then increasing the food output, the grain output dropped and livestock numbers fell; “famine was the natural outcome”.
The Holmodor refers specifically to such famine within Ukraine between 1932-33 which was part of a larger famine within the Soviet Union. The meaning of the word itself is debated, but is often translated as “death by hunger”. The actual number of casualties is recognized to be somewhere between 2.5 and 5 million though estimates vary. Cannibalism became widespread as the starving became more and more desperate resulting in the publishing of slogan by the Soviet authorities “Eating dead children is barbarism”. Disease, particularly typhoid, was widespread.
The Soviets pursued a number of policies during the famine 1932, introducing the law “On Safeguarding Socialist Property” which made stealing food punishable by death . The borders of the Ukraine were sealed by Red Army Units, and when aid arrived it was sent to all areas except the Ukraine. People trying to flee were rounded up and returned to famine stricken areas. The government went house to house in Ukraine removing all grain; in March 1933 220,000 starving people who left trying to find grain were returned as soon as they were caught. The quota was cut three times before the famine ended in 1934 when Stalin called a stop to the forced seizure of grain.
543 words

C: Evaluation of Sources

Harvest of Sorrows: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine
Written by well respected Robert Conquest, viewed by many as one of the foremost Soviet historians, the book has been described as “(t)he first major scholarly book on the horrors of collectivization” and hailed as “the most comprehensive history of the soviet agricultural crisis,” especially as Conquest himself states his focus on the Holmodor. However, having been published before the opening of the Soviet Archives, the book omits numerous sources that have come to light which indicate that many of the numbers and facts used in the book exceed the actual numbers. Furthermore, Conquest has since rescinded his claim in the book that the Holomodor was an intentional policy, instead saying that had Soviet policy of collectivization and dekulakization been dropped when the famine became eminent many lives could have been saved. Many of the book’s detractors claim that that the book is merely propaganda with “more than half of the references are come from extreme-right-wing Ukrainian émigrés”; As one of the advisors of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Conquest's true motives for the book have become suspect.
The second source consists of two articles by Walter Duranty- the now infamous “Russians Hungry But Not Starving” published on March 31st 1933 and the second less known piece “Soviet Industry Shows Big Gains” published the following week on April 6. At the time they were written the two pieces were valuable both as a “first hand account” and the fact Walter Duranty was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for his work on the Soviet Union. Also the pieces were published in the New York Times one of the most respected newspapers. However it has since been proven that famine occurred, which Duranty had flatly denied in both pieces. In fact efforts have been made to rescind Duranty's Pulitzer Prize and he was referred to by fellow journalist Malcolm Muggeridge as “the greatest liar I have met in journalism”.
Words: 470

D: Analysis
The famine is considered one of the greatest national calamities of modern Ukrainian history, an unprecedented peacetime catastrophe. The famine is such a flash point that the Ukrainian Communist Party refused to even acknowledge that it occurred until 1990, over 55 years after it happened. The current Ukrainian president has announced his attention to make denial of the Holodomor illegal. To date over 19 countries other then Ukraine have recognized it as an act of genocide and the European Parliament adopted a resolution on October 23, 2008 recognizing the famine calling it “an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity” and calling “on the countries which emerged following the break-up of the Soviet Union to open up their archives on the Holodomor”. The document also “strongly condemns these acts, directed against the Ukrainian peasantry, and marked by mass annihilation and violations of human rights and freedoms”.
But was the famine actually the result of a genocidal policy by Stalin? Duranty, possibly the most prominent journalist in the Soviet Union, completely denied the famine, claiming that “conditions are bad, but there is no famine”. His sources were “Soviet commissariats and in foreign embassies with their network of consuls, [...] Britons working as specialists and from my personal connections, Russian and foreign”, sources he fails to ascribe a name to, are “more trustworthy information than I could get by a brief trip through any one area”. He instead inserts any deaths are the result of “diseases due to malnutrition.” A number of prominent Westerners in 1934 agreed with him. However there can be question now of the falsity of their reports especially with the Soviet admitting its occurrence in the 80s and the Ukrainian Communist Party adopting a resolution in 1990 also acknowledging the disaster took place. In fact Duranty's work has become so discredited an attempt to revoke his Pulitzer Prize was put forward and even encouraged by the New York Times.
Robert Conquest on the other hand refers to the catastrophe as a “terror famine” and “inflicted for its own sake” is supported to differing extents by large number of historians. His assertion that the famine was the result of “the setting of grain quotas far above the possible, removing of handful of foods and preventing of help from outside” is collaborated by historian Jasper Becker, “Stalin allowed relief to all other areas”, “Party deliberately and consciously took all grain it could from the peasants” and Robert Service, “starving majority […] had to fulfill state's requirements”. Peter Wiles says “Conquest's research has established beyond a doubt that the famine was deliberately inflicted there for the ethnic reasons to undermine the Ukrainian nation”. However not all historians agree with Conquest and Becker, both Martens and Tottle are critical of Conquest's arguments asserting that the famine was actually caused not by Stalin but by four factors, a civil war perpetrated by the Kulaks and Czarist elements, the drought, the typhoid epidemic and some by the disorder resulting from the economic and social changes and pointing to the drought rather then Soviet policy. Both Marten's and Tottle's arguments are vastly weakened by the Russian's Federation co-sponsorship of a 2003 resolution holding the Soviet Union responsible for the famine which appears to be an admission of guilt. The official documents in the archives likewise “convincingly demonstrates that the blame for the suffering and deaths of millions of people lies squarely with the Stalinist leadership”. However Robert Service notes using the definition of genocide as killing an entire ethnic group or nationality then the Holdomor doesn't really apply. Other nationalities in the Ukraine were in conditions just as poor as the Ukrainians and the grain quotas were cut multiple times 3 times at the report of famines.
Words: 797
E: Conclusion

While clearly Duranty and Conquest don't agree on whether or not the Soviets are to blame for the Holomodor its clear they agree on the answer to whether or not it was genocide. Both believe that the famine was not the result of a genocidal policy when genocide is defined as “the killing of an entire national or ethnic group”. This is a position also supported by historians Service, Tottle, and Martens among others. But Service and Conquest do accuse Stalin of failing to act adequately to prevent or stop the continuation of the famine which means while he was not guilty of genocide the Soviet leader were guilty of a kind of extreme case of criminal malfeasance.
Words 126

F: List of Sources

Becker, Jasper. Hungry Ghosts Henry Holt and Company: New York, 1996
Conquest, Robert. Harvest of Sorrows: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror Famine Oxford University Press US, 1987
Duranty, Walter. “Russians Hungry, But Not Starving”. New York Times New York, March 31st, 1933
Martens, Ludo. “The Resolution on Dekulakization”. Another View of Stalin 1995
Meurs, Mielke. Many Shades of Red Rowman and Littlefield, 1999
“Resolution on the Commemoration of the Holodomor, the Ukrainian artificial famine(1932-1933)”. European Parliament Oct. 23, 2008. June 9, 2009
Service, Robert. A History of modern Russia from Nicholas II to Vladamir Putin Harvard University Press: New Haven, 2005
Sysyn, Frank. “The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-3: The Role of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Research and Public Discussion”. Studies in Comparative Genocide Ed: Levon Chorbajian and George Shirinian, Palgrave Macmillan 1999. pg. 182
Tottle, Douglas. Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard Progress Books: Toronto Canada, 1987
Tucker, Robert C. “Stalinism as Revolution from Above”. Stalinism Ed: Robert C. Tucker Transaction Publishers, 1999

To what extent did different constituents of the Soviet media develop Stalin’s cult of personality in the period of 1929-1953?
Part A: Plan of Investigation
The following investigation will focus on the remarkable contribution of the mass media in USSR to creating the personality cult of Joseph Stalin from 1922 until 1953, which developed a false perception of Stalin not only as a political leader but also as a man in society[1]. The investigation will discuss the central concept of Stalin’s image,[2] and various media sources will be analysed using information from additional literature acquired at the library as well as Internet archives. It will comment on the reasons for prominence of print as the dominant media channel[3] in the development of Stalin’s personality cult, the significance of visual media due to primarily cultural reasons[4], along with the moderate influence of radio and film.[5]

Part B: Evidence
·      Official rhetoric portrays Stalin as an omnipotent, a father and comrade to all people of all nationalities,[6] as Lenin’s friend and successor.[7] 
·      Main propaganda medium is print,[8] especially the worker’s daily Pravda,[9] all images of Stalin inspected before publication.[10] 
·      Stalin emphasized as active leader through Lenin’s visual denunciation in photographs and drawings published in Pravda.[11] 
·      In 1935 an interview with Stalin’s mother about the leader’s visit published in Pravda.[12]  ·      On published photographs Stalin greets ‘heroes’ of labour, science or exploration;[13] often shown with children of different ethnic backgrounds.[14] 
·      On posters Stalin presented as a down-to-earth, ordinary man,[15] always dressed in a military uniform,[16] with a worker or peasant[17] or managing a beneficial task.[18]   
·      Stalin is a chief censor of all films produced in the country.[19] 
·      Photomontage used,[20] Stalin presented as more attractive,[21] without pockmarks on his face.[22] 
·      Stalin’s voice replaced by one of actors to make it more captivating, Georgian accent hidden,[23] rarely speaks on the radio.[24] 
·      Radio messages propagandist,[25] strictly official.[26]

Part C: Evaluation of Sources

Source A: An extract from the ‘secret’ speech by Nikita Khruschev during a closed session at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The speech made by Nikita Khruschev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of USSR[27] in February 1956[28] revealed the presence of Stalin’s personality cult for the first time after his death, valuable due to official recognition of the media propaganda involvement in it.[29] Agency of Stalin is blamed rather than the societal predisposition due to his apparent encouragement of the cult’s development - example provided being his self-praise in the ‘Short Biography’. The perspective on Stalin as a leader is however subjective, partially since Khruschev was his successor and held an alternative stance on Soviet agricultural development,[30] moreover hypocritical, as Khruschev was himself guilty[31] of several purges in the Ukraine two decades earlier.[32] Thus the speech was potentially made as a preparation for reform and justification of Khruschev’s own crimes. On the other hand Khrushchev’s moral values and public concern could be catalysts for the speech if he wished to introduce a Soviet rule without oppression and authoritative idealization.

Source B: A Stalinist Poster propagating the Great Transformation of Nature Project

The poster by an unknown author portrays the Soviet dictator with the map of USSR under the slogan “and we will be able to defeat the drought!” Made in the period of late 1940s[33], it aimed to promote the Transformation of Nature project[34] and reaffirm Stalin as an authority figure. The significance of the poster is enhanced due to accuracy of representation of classic visual Stalinist propaganda techniques.[35] In this case it is an abrupt motivational slogan, which through the use of first person makes the audience involved, along with physical portrayal of the leader. Naturally presented as the main planner and dressed in his uniform while smoking a pipe, Stalin acts as an authorized protector overlooking the country maintaining a both decisive and calm face expression. Nevertheless the effect of the poster on masses is indeterminable due to the nature of the source.

Part D: Analysis

Robert Tucker compellingly argues that Stalin’s personality cult was able to emerge due to its close tie with that of Lenin[36] relying on the connection of the Soviets with the leader of the October revolution.[37] One could therefore argue that it became a framework for the Stalinist cult, inspiring the techniques[38] of its media representation. Soviet media demonstrated Stalin as the leader, who was continuing Lenin’s work,[39] yet was more involved in the lives of the masses than his predecessor.[40] A liberal point of view proposes that Stalin must have believed in self- deprecation when speaking of Lenin,[41] as made his image more appealing to the masses.[42] Nevertheless Robert Service offers a theory that construction of Lenin’s media persona during Stalin’s rule[43] created a mixed impression of the former leader,[44] which discretely enhanced Stalin’s supremacy.[45]

The significance of Khuschev’s speech as a source is based on its support of historical claims concerning Stalin’s immense control over the print media,[46] stating that the leader was personally able to edit[47] published material with reference to the ‘Short Biography’ as a media source. Nevertheless the idea of Stalin shaping an image of a modest man[48] is disproved, as Khrushchev declares that in the biography Stalin’s immense self-glorification was present. The propagandist poster justifies the presence of Stalin’s conservative media image[49] developed over the years, as it portrays him as a man able to successfully combine unquestionable power together with devotion to society, therefore appealing to the fear and emotional factors of the masses. Since USSR was very agriculture-based, nature played an important part in lives of its inhabitants. Thus the interest of the leader in the project with the aim improve standards of living could be interpreted empathetically by many, thus showing that such representation strengthened Stalin’s portrayal as a ‘father to all’.[50] 

 The combination of various media enabled the government to reach out to a wider scope of the Soviet masses, hence crediting modernity[51] and developments of the industrial age for evolvement of the cult. Specific technological advances of the time affected the choice of media, which Stalin had most force over. The illiterate[52] were able to refer to posters or photographs[53] as well as potentially the radio as a simple source of information. Roberts McNeal suggests that made information accessible not only for those who were less educated but also for children.[54] The Pravda newspaper was available as a written media source[55] for more wealthy and well-read Soviets. Meanwhile those able to attend the cinema were also under the influence of propaganda as films gave Stalin an opportunity to create an alternative reality.[56] He was portrayed in films as a hero[57] ready to sacrifice himself for the people. [58]
Evidently the Stalinist cult was propagated through print to the largest extent, as it allowed more facile censorship and editing of information,[59] as Jan Plamper states, supported by evidence of Stalin’s personal or aided by his secretariat[60] revision of pre-published texts. To an extent that was the case with visual representation, as pictures could be photo montaged[61] or replaced by drawings, which allowed a more flexible representation of the leader.[62] Stalin’s media image focused heavily on his physical appearance.[63]  As argued by Helen Rappaport, the leader was constantly portrayed in a plain,[64] shabby[65] military uniform[66] with the intention to emphasize his crucial role as an official in combination with his apparent simplicity[67] and modesty.[68] Contrarily Philip Mansel affirms that Stalin’s way of dress was inspired by monarchical psychology[69], as it was not only traditional, but showed that he had enough power to dress simply and found it unnecessary to prove himself to others.[70] This suggests that it was not out of modesty but out of discrete desire to express superiority.

According to Victoria Bonnell, political posters as well as images in the main newspapers,[71] aimed to depict Stalin as ‘the man of his people’.[72] Post-revisionist historians argue that he certainly wished to be identified with the younger generation as he was shown publically meeting the ‘heroes’ in various fields of work[73] and was presented with children, who came from different parts of USSR.[74] This made him appear as a leader open to all social classes.[75] Robert McNeal highlights the mention of the interview with Stalin’s mother as it proves the Pravda publishers’ ambition to present him as more humane and family-orientated man.[76] As put forth by Peter Kenez, Stalin’s influence was not as powerful over radio and film,[77] although he was in control of the censorship.[78]  Lilya Kaganovskaya and Masha Salazkina allow the possibly that this was due to lack of full authority over live media and its actuality, as it was challenging to alter the way he appeared in film[79] or hide his strong accent,[80]which the leader himself disliked[81] and therefore as suggested by Neil Pollack assumed that the Soviet audience would not sympathise with it either.[82]

 Overall Soviet mass media did not encourage the freedom of thought;[83] Rudolph Balandin’s thesis argues that preservation of narrow-mindedness amongst the masses was a major objective.[84] Steve Phillips supports this by claiming that the information conveyed was limited[85] in order to decrease the possibility of public debate.[86]

Part E: Conclusion
Mass media was a key tool of Stalinist propaganda in order to help the Soviet people create a connection with their leader by relating to his ordinary background[87], while admiring his honesty and loyalty to the country.[88] Various media channels were available for the implementation of propaganda[89], which facilitated the task of creating the personality cult by targeting different type of audience to unify public opinion.[90] Print, being the most developed type of media[91], has played the an important role in creating the leader’s personal image, while the visual representation allowed a quick access to knowledge[92] about his doings and accomplishments.[93] Representation of Stalin in the cinema and less expressively on the radio[94] proved that he targeted every media source[95] in order to maintain his public appearance. This meant that Stalin received a very specific, powerful and indisputable media representation.

Part F: Bibliography

1.     And We Will Defeat The Drought! Digital image. Cartographia. N.p., 1 May 2008. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.
2.     Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. Print.
3.     Cavendish, Richard. "Stalin Denounced by Nikita Khrushchev." History Today. History Today Ltd, 2006. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.
4.     Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Print.
5.     Harrison, Hope Millard. Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2003. Print.
6.     Jacobson, Julius. Soviet Communism and the Socialist Vision. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction , Distributed by Dutton, 1972. Print.
7.     "Joseph Stalin A Short Biography : Joseph Stalin : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive." Internet Archive. Universallibrary, 19 Mar. 2005. Web. 25 Aug. 2014.
8.     Kaganovsky, Lilya, and Masha Salazkina. Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema. Indiana: Indiana UP, 2014. Print.
9.     Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print.
10.  Kun, Miklós. Stalin: An Unknown Portrait. Budapest: Central European UP, 2003. Print.
11.  Lieven, Dominic C. B. The Cambridge History of Russia: Volume II: Imperial Russia, 1689-1917. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge U P., 2006. Print.
12.  Malešević, Siniša, and Mark Haugaard. Ernest Gellner and Contemporary Social Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. Print.
13.  McCauley, Martin. Stalin and Stalinism. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1983. Print.
14.  McNeal, Robert Hatch. Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York UP, 1988. Print.
15.  Mansel, Philip. Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II. New Haven: Yale UP, 2005. Print.
16.  Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000. Print.
17.  Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. Print.
18.  Pollack, Neil. Almost Armageddon. Bloomington, IN: IUniverse, 2012. Print.
19.  Rappaport, Helen. Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. Print.
20.  Roberts, Graham. Forward Soviet!: History and Non-fiction Film in the USSR. London: I.B. Tauris, 1999. Print.
21.  Ryan, Karen L. Stalin in Russian Satire, 1917-1991. Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin, 2009. 44. Print.
22.  Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. Print.
23.  "Speech to 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U." Speech to 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014.
24.  Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.Print.
25.  "The Stalin Plan for the Great Transformation of Nature." A Little Corner of Freedom. University of California Press, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.
26.  "Trofim Lysenko." Trofim Lysenko. Soylent Communications, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.
27.  Tucker, Robert C. "The Rise of Stalin's Personality Cult." The American Historical Review 84.2 (1979): 347-66. JSTOR. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.

Source A:
“…Comrades, the cult of the individual acquired such monstrous size chiefly because Stalin himself, using all conceivable methods, supported the glorification of his own person. This is supported by numerous facts. One of the most characteristic examples of Stalin's self -glorification and of his lack of even elementary modesty is the edition of his Short Biography, which was published in 1948.

This book is an expression of the most dissolute flattery, an example of making a man into a godhead, of transforming him into an infallible sage, "the greatest leader," "sublime strategist of all times and nations." Finally no other words could be found with which to lift Stalin up to the heavens.

We need not give here examples of the loathsome adulation filling this book. All we need to add is that they all were approved and edited by Stalin personally and some of them were added in his own handwriting to the draft text of the book.

Comrades, if we sharply criticize today the cult of the individual which was so widespread during Stalin's life and if we speak about the many negative phenomena generated by this cult which is so alien to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism, various persons may ask: How could it be? Stalin headed the party and the country for 30 years and many victories were gained during his lifetime. Can we deny this? In my opinion, the question can be asked in this manner only by those who are blinded and hopelessly hypnotized by the cult of the individual, only by those who do not understand the essence of the revolution and of the Soviet State, only by those who do not understand, in a Leninist manner, the role of the party and of the nation in the development of the Soviet society.

Our historical victories were attained thanks to the organizational work of the party, to the many provincial organizations, and to the self-sacrificing work of our great nation. These victories are the result of the great drive and activity of the nation and of the party as a whole; they are not at all the fruit of the leadership of Stalin, as the situation was pictured during the period of the cult of the individual. . .”

Source B:
Stalin: Man and Ruler
By Robert H. McNeal “in which Stalin contemplates a map showing his scheme to transform nature by planting huge shelter-belts”

[1] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.p. 123. Print.  [2] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 346. Print.  [3] Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. p. 33. Print.  [4] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. P. 87. Print.  [5] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.p. 90. Print.  [6] Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 66. Print.  [7] Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. p. 24. Print.  [8] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. p. 86. Print.  [9] Lieven, Dominic C. B. The Cambridge History of Russia: Volume II: Imperial Russia, 1689-1917. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge U P., 2006. 652. Print.  [10] Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. p. 33. Print.  [11] McNeal, Robert Hatch. Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York UP, 1988. p. 226. Print  [12] Ibid p. 179  [13] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. p. 358. Print.  [14] Ibid. p. 358.  [15] Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 66. Print.  [16] Rappaport, Helen. Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. 173. Print.  [17] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.p. 123. Print  [18] Ibid p. 63  [19] Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 145. Print.  [20] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. P. 90. Print.  [21] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 544. Print.  [22] McCauley, Martin. Stalin and Stalinism. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1983. 63. Print.  [23] Kaganovsky, Lilya, and Masha Salazkina. Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema. Indiana: Indiana UP, 2014. P. 155.Print.  [24] Ibid, p. 155.  [25] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.p. 90. Print.  [26] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.p. 125. Print.  [27] "Twentieth Congress of the CPSU." Glossary of Events. Encyclopedia of Marxism, n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2014.  [28] Ibid.  [29] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 362. Print.  [30] Zhukov, Yuri. "Zhupel Stalina," Komsomolskaia Pravda Nov. 5 2002  [31] Ibid.  [32] Harrison, Hope Millard. Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2003. 61. Print.  [33] "The Stalin Plan for the Great Transformation of Nature." A Little Corner of Freedom. University of California Press, n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2014.  [34] Ibid.  [35] Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 66. Print.  [36] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 361. Print.  [37] Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012.p. 19. Print.  [38] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 361. Print.  [39] Jacobson, Julius. Soviet Communism and the Socialist Vision. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction , Distributed by Dutton, 1972. 126. Print.  [40] McNeal, Robert Hatch. Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York UP, 1988.p. 234. Print  [41] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 34. Print.  [42] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 358. Print.  [43] McNeal, Robert Hatch. Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York UP, 1988. p. 226. Print  [44] Tucker, Robert C. "The Rise of Stalin's Personality Cult." The American Historical Review 84.2 (1979): 347-66. JSTOR. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.  [45] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 361. Print.  [46] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. p. 86. Print.  [47] Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. p. 33. Print.  [48] Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 66. Print.  [49] Rappaport, Helen. Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. 173. Print.  [50] Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 66. Print.  [51] Malešević, Siniša, and Mark Haugaard. Ernest Gellner and Contemporary Social Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 189. Print.  [52] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.p. 87. Print.  [53] McNeal, Robert Hatch. Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York UP, 1988.p. 315-316. Print.  [54] Ibid, p.234.  [55] Plamper, Jan. The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. p. 39 . Print.  [56] Roberts, Graham. Forward Soviet!: History and Non-fiction Film in the USSR. London: I.B. Tauris, 1999. 133. Print.  [57] Ibid, p.133  [58] Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society: 1917-1953. Cambridge: Cambridge U, 1992. 229. Print.  [59] Plamper, Jan. "Appendix: Plate 9." The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution, Stanford U, 2012. N. pag. Print.  [60] Ibid, p.33  [61] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. P. 90. Print.  [62] Ibid, p.90  [63] McCauley, Martin. Stalin and Stalinism. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1983. 63. Print.  [64] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 34. Print.  [65] Mansel, Philip. Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II. New Haven: Yale UP, 2005. 146. Print.  [66] Rappaport, Helen. Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. 173. Print.  [67] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 34. Print.  [68] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 361. Print.  [69] Mansel, Philip. Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II. New Haven: Yale UP, 2005. 146. Print.  [70] Ibid, p.146  [71] Bonnell, Victoria E. Iconography of Power: Soviet Political Posters under Lenin and Stalin. Berkeley: U of California, 1997. 111. Print.  [72] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.p.123. Print  [73] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 358. Print.  [74] Ibid, p. 358  [75] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.p.123. Print  [76] McNeal, Robert Hatch. Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York UP, 1988.p. 179. Print.  [77] Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society, 1917-1953. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.p. 145. Print.  [78] Ibid, p. 145  [79] Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. P. 544. Print.  [80] Kaganovsky, Lilya, and Masha Salazkina. Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema. Indiana: Indiana UP, 2014. P. 155.Print.  [81] Ryan, Karen L. Stalin in Russian Satire, 1917-1991. Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin, 2009. 44. Print.  [82] Pollack, Neil. Almost Armageddon. Bloomington, IN: IUniverse, 2012. 126. Print.  [83] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 40. Print.  [84] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 40. Print.  [85] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.123. Print  [86] Ibid, p. 123  [87] Stites, Richard. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992. 66. Print.  [88] Rappaport, Helen. Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999. 173. Print.  [89] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 90. Print.  [90] Phillips, Steve. Stalinist Russia. Oxford: Heinemann, 2000.p. 123. Print  [91] Gorman, Lyn, and David McLean. Media and Society into the 21st Century: A Historical Introduction. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. p. 86. Print.  [92] Ibid, p.87  [93] Balandin, R. K. "Vstatʹ! Stalin Idet!": Tajnaja Magija Voždja. Moskva: ĖKSMO, 2009. p. 31. Print.  [94] Kaganovsky, Lilya, and Masha Salazkina. Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema. Indiana: Indiana UP, 2014. P. 155.Print.  [95] Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society: 1917-1953. Cambridge: Cambridge U, 1992. 144. Print. 

 Was the treatment of Dmitri Shostakovich under the Stalinist regime in line with the Communist Party’s attitude towards the arts?

            “This depression's enough to make you hang yourself.” Katerina’s line in the opening verse of Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk adequately summarizes the established,  popular perspective on the composer’s life. Well-known for suffering under Stalin’s oppressive rule, the Soviet composer’s name would without doubt be one of the first on a list of artists who have ever been subjected to an authoritative regime’s abuse, alongside Federico Garcia Lorca and Ai Weiwei. One must only listen to his 8th string quartet in C minor to fathom his haunted frame of mind during the composition process. Yet Shostakovich’s rich oeuvre also includes several masterpieces that brought him unparalleled fame and respect, both within the Soviet Union as well as Europe and the United States; throughout his lifetime, he won one Lenin Prize and nine Stalin Prizes and in the year 2000, a Russian postage stamp honored his memory. It is evident that his treatment was inconsistent and this raises the question of what, or rather who, determined it. Those with a Romantic tendency could easily fabricate an situation in which Stalin and Shostakovich nurtured a distant love-hate relationship, the dictator holding the composer’s fate in his hands, personally directing his treatment according to his personal liking of the music, while the latter cultivated silent dissidence. Yet the extent of the truthfulness of this notion is questionable. How much of Shostakovich’s treatment was personally controlled by Stalin and how consistent was it with the Communist Party’s policies at the time?
            Dmitri Shostakovich, born 25th of September 1906, is considered one of the most noteworthy of twentieth century composers (Frei 12). Following his studies at the Leningrad Conservatory, he steadily gained acknowledgement and fame, until the day Joseph Stalin himself watched his opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk (Volkov 32). From then on, the Russian composer underwent periods of threatening condemnation, as well as phases of great celebration, and by the time of his demise in 1975, he had lived a lifetime which was alternately labelled that of a public enemy and national hero (Frei 12). Between chastising articles in Pravda and collections of Lenin and Stalin Prizes, this artist’s relationship with an oppressive regime is unprecedented and by its scrutiny, one can discern numerous features that reveal much of the authorities’ often inconsistent attitude towards the arts.

            At this time, art in the USSR was generally dictated by socialist realism, a genre popular with communist regimes that aimed to portray the common worker in an idealised, heroic light (Frei 51). The concept of socialist realism was first officially announced and sanctioned by writer Maxim Gorky in 1934 and began as a guideline for literature, which later spread to encompass all arts under a common definition (Lauer 684):

“Socialist realism, being the primary method of Soviet literature, requests that the artist portray reality corresponding to its historical revolutionary development. Historical correctness in the arts must be united with the task of the ideological reconstruction and education of the working class in the spirit of Socialism.”

(Lauer 684)

This official definition underlines that the genre has an ideological rather than a technical or stylistic basis and thus condenses art’s purpose to political dissemination, focussing on thematics, plot and characters in preference to form, technique and virtuosity. Artists were expected to explore revolutionary subjects and spotlight Marxist ideology, while putting aside the pursuit of new methods; avant-garde techniques were labelled bourgeois and undesirable (Frei 52). This hostility to formalism - the  concern with form rather than content and thematic significance - greatly restricted artists, as critics were quick to berate work they felt held, in the words of a Pravda article of 1936,  “external brilliance, spurious content” (Radzinsky 415). Being an ideological concept, the execution of socialist realism greatly depended on personal inclination; its enforcement was often paradoxical. For instance, while Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth was classified as too naturalistic and on the verge of vulgarity, his ballet The Limpid Stream was identified as too mechanical, impersonal and stiff (Frei 186). 

            Journalist and musicologist Solomon Volkov argues that Stalin turned his personal tastes into Party policy. As evidence, the biographer uses the Pravda campaign and the strong indications therein that it originated from Stalin himself. After Stalin’s presence at the performance of Lady Macbeth on the 26th of January 1936 followed a two-year period of condemnation from Pravda, criticising much of Shostakovich’s work, as well as a vast range of other composers and associates of disparate artistic fields, including filmmaking, architecture and literature (Frei 56). The first installment of this campaign appeared on the 28th of January 1936, just two days after the dictator’s attendance of the opera, in the form of an article titled Chaos Instead of Music, heavily reviling the piece (Frei 73). It is important to note that the majority of these articles were not editorial and therefore lacked any indication that they were subject to personal bias. For instance, the contents section of the first page referred to Chaos Instead of Music as an article instead of artistic commentary or critique (Frei 127), demonstrating that the reviews were to be understood as the official truth rather than the expression of an individual’s taste, the Pravda being the principle manifestation of the Party’s conceptions viewed by the public. Inexpert descriptive terms such as “primitive”, “fidgety”, “vulgar” and “cacophony” indicate that the article does not attempt an informed musical evaluation, but is, as German musicologist Lutz-Werner Hesse stated in his scrutiny of the article, “a merciless condemnation with the explicit purpose of destroying the composer” (Hesse 27). Moreover, several historians and linguists have conjectured that Chaos Instead of Music was, if not completely written, at least personally dictated by Joseph Stalin himself. The linguist Mihail Vajskopf, who has studied Stalin’s writing style, has stated that the article displays several features typical of the dictator’s manner, such as rhetorical repetitions (Vajskopf 35). It is interesting to note that, according to eyewitness Sergei Radamsky, Stalin left the theatre after the performance with the statement that the piece was “chaos, not music” (Radamsky 214). Whether Stalin really penned the article is open to question, yet what is certain is that throughout the entire Pravda campaign, the word ‘chaos’ became a leitmotif (Frei 134). Were Stalin really to have written the article, it would evince the extent of the Cult of Personality, which was in its rapidly swelling stages at the time it was published. It would testify that his personal taste and bias, in the form of his criticism of the opera, became Party policy and thus truth.

            However, despite such strong evidence seemingly confirming the idea that the campaign had its foundation in Stalin’s personal bias, the language used in the articles is classic of general Soviet propaganda. In addition to this, the article’s vocabulary is not typical of musical analysis, but rather of agitprop: the use of suffixes and prefixes to construct volatile, ambiguous terminology such as “leftist” and “formalist”, is a characteristic of the propaganda of both communist and national socialist regimes (Frei 130). The similarities between them is especially clear in the later episodes of the campaign. On the 29th of January 1936 Stalin was quoted stating that the “youth must be tended to like a gardener tends to his trees” and in February 1936, Pravda compared formalist art to “weeds” (Frei 134). These metaphors are remarkably similar to those of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. In a speech at the Reichsmusiktage in May 1939, he referred to the “overgrown elements of art” that need to be “removed like weeds” (Goebbels). Hence, the vocabulary used in the articles may not be specifically related to Stalin’s idiosyncrasies, but rather a result of the Communist Party’s blanket propaganda techniques, which share characteristics with that of the National Socialists. Therefore, despite the indications that the Pravda campaign was personally ordained by Stalin, they were still in line with the Party’s general attitude towards the arts.

            Volkov further argues that Party policies changed according to Stalin’s whimsy. He makes the mistake of solely attributing the changes in political atmosphere to Stalin as a man: his statement that “Stalin was not born a Stalinist” (Volkov 87) implies that Party policies changed as he matured as a professional revolutionary and politician, thus personally shaping the Party in his hands. However, it is important to note that most of the patterns of Shostakovich’s fame mirror the entire Party’s priorities. For example, he enjoyed popularity during the Second World War, manifesting the Party’s need for propaganda and public rousing rather than Stalin’s personal taste of music. Yet that is not to say that the dictator did not have an empirical influence on the arts during his reign, just like almost every other aspect of life in the Soviet Union. The fact that Shostakovich was greatly oppressed during Stalin’s cult of personality and Great Terror, not only indicates the increased censorship and Party monitoring of art, but also the despot’s direct weight on artists themselves.

            Volkov describes the Party’s rapidly shifting policies, bringing sudden fame to artists, which could then vanish just as startlingly. He solely attributes this to Stalin’s personal impulse (Volkov 311). However, as Dr Pauline Fairclough, expert on Dmitri Shostakovich at the University of Bristol, confirms, “there was no fixed attitude from the leadership”, indicating that this was not only due to Stalin’s intimate fancy, but due to the volatile policies of the Party as a whole. Despite the general advocation of socialist realism, the Party had no concrete policy towards the arts, but shifted their temper between stances such as internationalism, nationalism and xenophobia depending on their priorities (Fairclough). This had a dramatic effect on the artistic sphere and turned it into an unequalled scene of swift stardom and abrupt obscurity: fame came to artists who fit the current Party needs, but vanished briskly after the demand was satisfied (Volkov 160). Testimony, Shostakovich’s memoirs ostensibly dictated to Solomon Volkov, tells stories of ghost writers, groups of anonymous authors and poets who published their works on a common theme under a single, bogus name, which was celebrated and commended by the Party (Volkov 161). Such tales exemplify how the regime disregarded intellectual property and artists’ rights to personal recognition in the face of the greater notion of using art as a political tool.

            It is important to use Testimony as a document with great delicacy: Volkov was proven to be, in Dr Pauline Fairclough’s words, “completely dishonest”. Dmitri Shostakovich did not dictate his memoirs to Volkov and therefore the biography is a fraud; this has been confirmed by the composer’s close family. Shostakovich’s son Maxim voiced that “the book is a collection of rumours and conversations held with third parties, which are all attributed to my father” (Koball 13). However, this is no reason to completely discount the work; Dr Fairclough verifies that “many of the anecdotes in it are well known Soviet stories” that Shostakovich was familiar with and “those who knew him well know that he held the disaffected views expressed in the book”. Therefore, although the publication may not be ideal as evidence of Shostakovich’s personal musings, it is a valid and fascinating source of tales from an artist’s life in the Soviet Union. The anecdotes in Testimony reveal that Shostakovich was a somewhat atypical example of an artist in the USSR, as, disregarding the long periods of fear for himself, his family and friends, he enjoyed lifelong fame. The composer belonged to the small, exclusive group of intelligentsia that survived the perpetual Bolshevik persecution and the inherent changes of political inclination.

            Volkov’s writing predominantly portrays Shostakovich as a dissenter, silently suffering under the hardships of the Stalinist regime, muffling his wishes for democracy and liberty. By focussing on stories of threats and disappearances, all with a cynical undertone, his two books on the composer create the impression that he strongly disliked the regime. Volkov goes so far as stating that “barring Orpheus, Shostakovich is the composer who probably most suffered for his music” (Volkov 1). However, the extent of Shostakovich’s antipathy to the leadership is questionable. Born in 1906, just after the quenched 1905 uprisings, he had grown up with revolution and thus belonged to the class of intelligentsia bred in the midst of propaganda and the consolidation of Communist power. Music historian Detlef Gojowy believes that Shostakovich was not a recusant, “but rather a thoroughly patriotic Russian and loyal Soviet citizen who perhaps even pursued the utopian ambition of acting and thinking correspondingly” (Gojowy 7). In fact, he joined the Communist Party in 1960 (Taruskin 331), exactly when dissidence would not have been come down upon as harshly had Stalin still been alive, accentuating that he did not nurture a fundamental hostility to the government. During the siege of Leningrad in 1942, throughout which he wrote his Seventh Symphony dedicated to the city, Shostakovich made a public announcement on radio:

“I speak to you from Leningrad in a time when a horrific battle is being fought against the enemy outside the city gates. Two hours ago I finished writing the first two movements of a symphonic piece. (...) Why am I saying this? So the listeners know that life within the city is going on as normal.”

(Streller 22)

This declaration not only manifests his allegiance to the USSR during the war, but also indicates that he was not entirely opposed to employing his music as a tool of stimulating the masses; the Leningrad Symphony was a success in the starving blockaded city (Streller 22). However, it is easy to see why one would brand Shostakovich a dissenter by examining much of his music as well as personal documents. His Eleventh Symphony contains a theme from a common Russian song whose lyrics contained the phrase “disgrace to the tyrant” (Volkov 70), a fact that could quickly be interpreted as a hint of protest. In a letter addressed to his close friend, Shostakovich stated “my love belongs to all who have loved me. To all who have done me evil, I send my curse” (Glikman 140). Nevertheless, despite these indications, it is wrong to call him a complete objector, a subtle musical rebel. The extent of the composer’s antipathy to the regime is questionable. At the end of his essay Thoughts on a Traveled Path, he wrote “I am happy to have served the people with my art, my communal work” (Streller 5). In fact, as the Leningrad music critic and musicologist Arnold Sochor wrote in 1967, his music recorded history and formed a chronicle of time; “the great output of soviet composers will tell coming generations of things that cannot be found in other documents. They will convey the emotional structure and world of the heroes that built socialism” (Streller 5). His music, the gateway to public atmosphere, formed part of the Soviet heritage. The man was not only torn between the positions of public enemy and national hero, but also forced into both roles at the same time, as a result of being the “figurehead of Soviet cultural policy” (Wolter 14), rather than choosing his own stance.

            Solomon Volkov, in his obsequious veneration for Shostakovich, claims that the sole reason for the composer’s survival lies in his intuition for behaving correctly under Stalin’s threatening propositions. Stalin was a Sphinx, primed to kill any traveller failing to give the correct answer to its riddles and Shostakovich, like Oedipus, managed to respond satisfyingly, yet still avoided complete acquiescence and degradation under the commands (Volkov 202). For example, in 1936, following the Pravda campaign condemning his opera Lady Macbeth and his ballet The Limpid Stream, Platon Kerzhentsev, old Bolshevik, chairman of the Committee on Arts Affairs and hence acting as Stalin’s messenger, contacted Shostakovich. His communications with the composer were reported back to Stalin and Molotov in a memorandum:

“To Com. Stalin

To Com. Molotov

Today the composer Shostakovich came to see me at his own initiative.

To my question about what conclusions he had drawn for himself from the article in Pravda, he replied that he wants to show by his creative work that he has accepted Pravda’s instructions for himself.

(...) I said that for us the most important thing was that he reform himself, reject Formalist errors, and in his art attain something that could be understood by the broad masses.

(...) I suggested to him that before writing any opera or ballet, he should send us the libretto and during the process of working try out separate finished parts in front of an audience of workers and peasants. (...)


(Clark 230)

Shostakovich complied to these requests by simply not writing any more operas or ballets, despite his objective of making Lady Macbeth part of a tetralogy (Volkov 134) and therefore managed to evade the demands without disobeying. Painful as they were, Volkov believes that it was sacrifices such as these that guaranteed his survival under Stalin’s close watch and censorship.

            However, Volkov’s conviction is quite weak. His assumption that Shostakovich survived only by conforming does not take into account the reasons for his popularity and even Stalin’s explicit orders to protect him during the Second World War. The document shows that the musical criticism was purely ideological and, as émigré writer Mark Aldanov wrote “what is it that Stalin lacks? Culture. But, then, what do these people need culture for?” (Volkogonov 93). Volkov fails to address the fact that Shostakovich could be used as a valuable tool by Stalin; his talent could be channeled as the dictator wished. As the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Serge Kussewitzki stated in 1942, “since the time of Beethoven, there has been no composer that with the ability to appeal and speak to the masses with such force as Shostakovich” (Streller 6). Stalin recognised that the composer’s talent was a fountain he could allow to flow in times when propaganda and the rousing of the masses was needed, but also quench in times when such public appeal could become threatening to his position as leader. This would explain why Shostakovich found most of his work condemned and ostracized during the Great Terror, but celebrated during the Second World War. The composer had attempted to enlist in the Red Army and go to the Eastern Front, but was prevented on specific orders from Stalin (Volkov 262). Instead, he joined the Leningrad fire department, resulting in the famed Time magazine cover depicting him in a fireman’s hat (Volkov 263).


            Frequently, Stalin did personally determine Shostakovich’s treatment, but this was greatly based not on personal taste, but rather on the respective Party priority. Even if the Pravda campaign was partly written or dictated by the Soviet leader - a fact that will probably never be known for certain - the terminology, despite its tack of musical expertise, still corresponded to the Party’s sweeping propaganda techniques. This acute concentration on internal enemies mirrors Stalin’s paranoia, a feature ascribed to him by numerous historians and biographers, including Simon S. Montefiore and Dmitri Volkogonov. The treatment of artists in the Soviet Union manifests the typical Stalinist fear of the population, a fear that could only be countered with terror. It is interesting to note that the focus on domestic rebels outweighed any action against the “true enemy of Communism”, the capitalist outside world, showing that even by the time Stalin had congealed his position in power, the Communist Party was still insecure and not yet primed to put its ambitions of worldwide revolution into concrete action. Instead, far more effort was exhausted on internal propaganda and the prosecution of vaguely suspected saboteurs, dissidents and insurgents. The labelling of public enemies, such as Shostakovich or fellow composer Sergei Prokofiev, rather than rallying and protecting the people, only spotlit the Party’s neuroticism. 

 To what extent were the first Five Year Plans of Stalin and Mao successfully implemented?

A Plan of the investigation (2 marks)
To what extent were the first Five Year Plans of Stalin and Mao successfully implemented?
This investigation seeks to evaluate the comparative success of the first Five Year Plans of Stalin and Mao. The main body of this investigation outlines Stalin and Mao’s particular aims, describes how these originated, and discusses the economic focuses of the plans. The successes and failures of each plan are then analysed, paying particular attention to their economic and political effects on the people of the USSR and China. Two of the sources used in this essay, Stalin: Breaker of Nations and The Rise of Modern China, are then evaluated in detail in terms of their origins, purpose, value and limitations.

B Summary of evidence (5 marks)
At the 1926 Party Congress Stalin emphasized that, in order to advance and modernize the state of the agrarian Soviet economy, and to bring it into line with the western economies a dramatic change, (what the Chinese would later call “a Great Leap”) needed to occur. He realized that to achieve this the USSR would need to phase out Lenin’s New Economic Policy. The first Five Year Plan (October 1928–December 1932) would be the beginning of the means to this end. It was formulated by the state planning authority, Gosplan. The main emphasis was placed on heavy industry. Sacrifices would need to be made because industrialization was to occur without foreign help. In reality the plan did not specify exactly how the economy was going to achieve all of these highly optimistic goals. During the first two or three years it appeared as if industrial output had increased and was achieving its targets. In reality it was not. Stalin decided that some means was needed to ensure that workers could not strike or slow down output. Between January 1931 and December 1932 legislation concerning labour discipline was implemented and imprisonment was enforced for violation of the labour codes. Pressure began mounting on production managers to meet the unattainable quota requirements. Stalin then re-evaluated the Five Year Plan and raised the quota objectives to a new optimal level. He received encouraging statistical feedback although the accuracy of these figures was questionable. After 1929 the agricultural sector was experiencing problems due to the process of collectivization. Some peasants were resisting the collectives and feared deportation. However many peasants enthusiastically adopted the collectivization programme. In 1933 a famine interrupted the plan and killed millions of people. The results of the plan were few: there were some short-term advantages, but many long-term disadvantages.
The first Five Year Plan implemented under Mao bore similar characteristics to that of Stalin. China had historically been xenophobic and it intended to move away from agrarianism towards industrialization. The main emphasis would be placed on heavy industry at the expense of light industry and this would be supported financially by the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector was not developed enough to sustain the industrial drive alone. Chinese hopes turned towards its fellow communist state, the USSR, for financial support. The announcement of the first Five Year Plan in 1952 was made at a time when the economy was heavily skewed towards agrarianism. The CCP had already accrued a $300 million debt from the USSR, which put the economy under great strain in the run up to the first Five Year Plan. The process of collectivization was begun by the implementation of the Agrarian Reform Law in 1950 which redistributed the land among the peasants. The results were probably not as forthcoming or as dramatic as those of the USSR had been although Chinese heavy industry did show some significant improvement. GNP also increased but again this was at the expense of agricultural output, social benefits and consumer industries. A UN survey of Asia and the Far East in 1960 was positive in regard to the Chinese economy. It concluded that gross industrial production was on the increase and agriculture was, reportedly, exceeding targets.

C Evaluation of sources (4 marks)
Stalin, Breaker of Nations was published in 1991 and was written by Robert Conquest, a, veteran of World War Two. Conquest is the author of eighteen other books and works as Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His stated purpose for this book was “to give a portrait of Stalin and his nature” (Conquest xi), and “to use a good deal of fresh material not available to previous biographers” (Conquest xiii). China born Immanuel Hsu initially wrote The Rise of Modem China in 1970. The latest edition was published in 1995 while Hsu was a professor at Santa Barbara University. Hsu was American educated and believes that the history of modern China must be written with a Chinese scholar’s insight and a foreign scholar’s objectivity (Hsu 15).

The value of these books would seem to be their recent dates of publication. Both were published after the break-up of the Soviet Union, which should make more information available to the writers. Their viewpoints have the advantage of time and hindsight and should be more balanced. The limitations however are that both sources have serious flaws which blur this objectivity.
Robert Conquest’s approach to Communism is epitomized by the titles of some of his books: The Harvest of Sorrow; Common Sense about Russia; Civic and Despotic Cultures. The title of this source, Stalin: Breaker of Nations, follows the same trend. Is it likely that this author will sympathetically, or objectively, deal with the issues? Even in the introduction Conquest sets the tone: “no other system has ever been so completely based on falsehood and delusion” (Conquest xv). In the same vein is, “We see a vast, dark figure looming over the century” (Conquest xv). When it comes to the first Five Year Plan, Conquest makes some generalizations such as: “Certainly not fewer than five million, and more probably at least seven million died of starvation” (Conquest 163). These figures are not substantiated by any other source and the origin of this information is not specified. Where did these figures come from? As regards the success or failure of the plan, in terms of economic changes, no information is forthcoming. Conquest spends much of the chapter recounting anecdotal details from individuals which, in themselves, are interesting, but add little to a serious historical study of the topic. The value of this information is questionable as it is so limited in scope. There is no mention of any positive outcomes of the first Five Year Plan. Conquest implies that every outcome was negative.
Immanuel Hsu, on the other hand, clearly substantiates his claims with statistical evidence on the effects of Mao’s Plan (Hsu 652– 654). However on closer examination the statistics which are cited come from one book by Hughes and Luard which was published in 1962! How reliable are these figures? Who are Hughes and Luard? Why does Hsu use only one source? In all fairness Hsu does appear to be relatively objective in his evaluations of Mao and includes three or four Chinese government spokesmen in his section assessing Mao’s effects on China (Hsu 778–785). One must however conclude that Hsu’s analysis has limitations.

D Analysis (5 marks)
One of the major difficulties in making any objective analysis or assessment of Stalin and Mao’s first Five Year Plans is the reliability of the sources which are being used to make judgments of the plans’ respective successes or failures. Sources originating in either the USSR or the PRC may be subject to censorship or falsification for propaganda purposes (Mao’s claims for the Great Leap Forward). On the other hand sources originating in the West may also be skewed by pro or anti- communist sentiments and propaganda. It therefore becomes very difficult for anyone researching these topics to make valid and reliable judgments other than in very general terms.
There is no doubt that under Stalin’s first Five Year Plan, which replaced Lenin’s War Communism and NEP, the USSR transformed itself into a more modern industrial state. The methods by which this was achieved and the ruthless elimination of any kulak opposition mean that these industrial benefits must be counterbalanced against the devastating effects of the process of collectivization.
Following the victory in the Chinese Civil War, and the passing of the 1950 Agrarian Reform Law, the introduction of the first Five Year Plan transformed China from a semi-feudal agrarian state into a more industrially based modern nation. In both nations the changes were dramatic because the USSR and the PRC were starting from positions where, in relation to more industrialized nations, they were markedly inferior in terms of the economic structure of each country.
What is interesting to note is that, although Stalin and Mao were successful in general terms, their success was initially based on the elimination of any internal opposition that was perceived to stand in the way of creating a socialist state. The question that therefore must be asked after examining the examples of Stalin and Mao is: is the only way by which a nation state can transform its economic base quickly enough to achieve rapid economic growth, by acting to the detriment of a large segment of its population?
The answer would seem to be yes! In order to achieve dramatic change the traditional structure of the economic base needs to shift and it is unlikely that this will occur voluntarily. Those people who hold a comparative economic advantage in real terms in any society will have to give up their privileged position to ensure more equal benefits for all. If this is not done willingly, then the state will have to use force. To Mao this force was necessary for the creation of a socialist state along Marxist lines. For Stalin it was necessary for the establishment of an authoritarian and, soon to be, totalitarian state.

E Conclusion (2 marks)
The USSR’s first Five Year Plan was more successful in terms of industrial development. There was certainly improvement, but statistics do not tell us anything of the immense sacrifices that were made by the Soviet people during the implementation of the plan. It must also be remembered that the Soviet Union had been in existence for a decade before Stalin introduced his plan whereas the PRC had only been founded in October 1949. The PRC had inherited a diseased economy, did not possess the necessary means of production, and was exploited by the Soviet Union, but still made industrial progress. Historians tend to be more optimistic and positive as regards Mao’s Five Year Plan. In contrast to that of Stalin there is no mention of the death, famine, and intrigue that occurred as a result of the implementation of the plan. Of course there were the agrarian purges with the introduction of the Agrarian Reform Law in 1950 but Communism cannot develop until the elements of bourgeois capitalism have been removed. Thus, the question of the relative success of the first Five Year Plans implemented under Stalin and Mao becomes not one of economics, but one of ethics. Stalin, whilst observing the Marxist doctrine that the state is everything, had discarded the notion of the state actually being the people, and had thus strayed from the path of socialism. The state, under Stalin, became an enemy of the people. Mao’s regime on the other hand, did not have focus in its early years on the establishment of power by a single, lone, totalitarian ruler. China initially had not lost sight of the principle aim of socialism–the betterment of mankind–although this was to change later in the 1960s with the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

F List of sources (2 marks)
Chubb, Edmund. 1978. 20th Century China. New York. Columbia University Press.
Conquest, Robert. 1998. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. London. Phoenix
Hsu, Immanuel. 1995. The Rise of Modern China. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
Laver, John. 1998. Joseph Stalin: from Revolutionary to Despot. London. Hodder and Stoughton.
Lee, Stephen J. 1996. The European Dictatorships: 1918– 1945. London. Routledge.
Lynch, Michael. 1998. Stalin and Khrushchev: the USSR, 1924–64. London. Hodder and Stoughton.
McCauley, Martin. 1995. Stalin and Stalinism. London. Longman.
Nove, Alec. 1992. Stalinism and After. London. Routledge. Spence, Jonathan. 1991. The Search for Modern China.
London. Norton & Company.

 To what extent was German involvement responsible for the persecution of Marshal Tukhachevsky?
A: Plan of Investigation
In 1938, the world was shocked when it was announced that Marshall Tukhachevsky was a German spy. Described by a contemporary New York Times article as “an extremely able and loyal military leader”[1], removal of such a key man in the Soviet army during a time of such international tension is perplexing. The circumstances surrounding Tukhachevsky’s persecution are such that they create much room to question Stalin’s motive. An extra dimension of intrigue is introduced by the involvement of the Germans, who have long been rumoured to have forged documents leading to Tukhachevsky’s arrest. This investigation therefore aims to discover precisely why Tukhachevsky was purged at such a critical moment, and to what extent German involvement can be attributed to his persecution. To do this, Stalin’s relationship with Tukhachevsky as well as the internal and international climates will be examined, using contemporary accounts and modern historical analysis.
1918: Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky joined the Red Army after having returned from German captivity in Ingolstadt. He was a bright star in the Red Army, and seemed destined to
1920: Tukhachevsky commanded the Soviet invasion forces in the Polish-Soviet war. During his advance on Warsaw, Tukhachevsky’s forces were defeated by Józef Piłsudski, because Stalin refused to use his forces to defend the left flank. [2] This caused long lasting enmity between the two.
1930: Stalin attempted to have Tukhachevsky excised from the Party. He ordered the OGPU to investigate allegations of a military coup. The results came back with nothing to incriminate Tukhachevsky.
1934: Tukhachevsky was appointed the youngest field Marshal of the Red Army in at the age of 42, and became Deputy Defence Commissar.
December 1st, 1934: Sergei Kirov is assassinated. Stalin creates the Terror Decree, which is the beginning of the Great Purges, while simultaneously solidifying his rule.
December, 1935: Russian émigré newspaper in Czechoslovakia, Znamia Rossii names a subversive group, KRASKOMOV, and states the core of the organization comprised high ranking Red Army officers.
Throughout 1936: Further edition of the newspaper describe KRASKOMOV, including its philosophy, plans for power and addresses criticism of the newspaper opening up the organization for persecution. [3]
January, 24th 1937: Karl Radek names Tukhachevsky in his interrogation about subversive action. Although never naming him as a conspirator, his name is mentioned 11 times in the deposition, and Vshinsky pushes Radek to go into more depth regarding the Marshall. Ominously, Radek is described as grinning during his deposition.[4]
May 11th, 1937: Tukhachevsky is sacked as Deputy Commissar, and is sent to the Volga district.[5]
11th February, 1937: President Edvard Beneš becomes aware of a possible coup d’état in Russia, although peace negotiations with Hitler end as early as the 11th of January.[6]
1937: Soviet press announce that 8 High ranking Red Army officers were found working for the Germans. One of those named was Marshal Tukhachevsky.[7]
22nd May 1937: Tukhachevsky was arrested in Moscow; his captors were under the instruction from Stalin that he was “to be forced to tell everything…it is impossible he worked alone.”[8]
11th June 1937: Tortured into submission, Tukhachevsky signed a complete confession, that he had been recruited in 1928 by Yenukidze to work against Stalin, and in cahoots with Bukharin .[9]
12th June 1937: Tukhachevsky was executed in the early hours of the morning.[10]
28th August, 1939: Molotov and Ribbentrop sign the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, ensuring neutrality if either side were involved in a war.
Walter Germanovich Krivitsky was one of the first members of the Soviet Military Intelligence to defect and publicly denounce Stalin. Most widely known because of his very heavily publicised and suspicious death in the Washington Bellevue in 1941, when he was found dead by an apparently self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Given the fact that he was on the top of the NKVD’S most wanted list, this is inherently unlikely, although no formal investigation has ever been conducted. This shows they clearly knew he had valuable information he could divulge.
He had an in depth knowledge and first-hand account of Soviet movements in Europe. The NKVD surely saw him as a threat, as they put him at the top of their hit list, after he informed to the US and British governments about the Soviet Union. Therefore, he was conveniently and qualified to comment on the happening of the Tukhachevsky affair in 1937.
However, he refers to the Marshall as “my old friend”, and His book largely blames a growing fear of Hitler’s Germany for Moscow’s policies, clearly showing his prior leanings to the case. Similarly, he states explicitly that he feels it was his duty to inform on the Soviets. He also wanted to warn the Americans about the Soviets, and even testified in front of HUAC.
Written by eminent British Historian Alan Bullock in 1998, this dual biography was written to shed light on the two most infamous people of the twentieth century. This book values rom a detached, Western perspective, when passions inflamed could have cooled, as it was written after the archives became available, and much of the other information of Tukhachevsky came to light.
The book has a broad focus, although Bullock has a detailed account of the affair, enough attention to Tukhachevsky is paid. He focuses much more closely on the general purges of the Army and other Rightists during that time. Bullock’s purpose in writing this book was to compare Hitler and Stalin, and his ability to compare the Great Purges with the Night of Long Knives changes his perception of the facts, which differ. Secondly, Bullock is predominantly a specialist in German History, with his book Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. However, does not speak Russian and had to rely on other Translations and others Historians works, and so the veracity of his interpretation of the sources is somewhat weakened by degree.
The incredible ring of espionage and intrigue involving both the German and Soviet secret services makes the persecution of Tukachevsky all the more interesting. The only evidence used against Tukhachevsky in his actual trial in 1937 was his blood-spattered confession. Therefore, Stalin’s motivation and reasoning behind persecuting his most accomplished general remains under debate. Robert Conquest, in his 1968 book The Great Terror, points to Nazi forgeries, intended to weaken the Soviet Military platform.
These documents, supposedly planted through President Beneš of Czechoslovakia, were intended by Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich to cause Stalin to purge his best General’s, thus weakening the USSRs defense capability. Having stopped in Berlin en route to Moscow (returning from George V’s funeral in London)[11], Tukhachevsky supposedly came into contact with German intelligence officials, who decided to use him. By copying his signature from the 1926 Soviet-Weimar military agreement, Heydrich was able to produce convincing documentation, incriminating Tukhachevsky.[12] However, recent evidence since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has actually pointed to the creation of this double false-hood to the NKVD. This interpretation is corroborated by the evidence W.G Krivitsky presents in his book, which sheds light on the vast intricacies of the Soviet intelligence agency. The hoax was so convincing that it even persuaded New York Times analysts, who were well away of the previous show trials; they actually believed a Red Army coup was planned.
The fact that so many high ranking Red Army officials were purged for being German spies, the year before Stalin signed the Nazi-Soviet pact, is also telling. By Stalin agreeing to the Nazi-Soviet Pact, it is clear that he predicted a German invasion. As early as 1931, Stalin was saying that the USSR only had 10 years to prepare for an attack. Why then, he needed to get rid of his most able military commander on the eve of such a conflict, points to the immediacy and expediency he saw necessary in the case. Stalin missed his own mother’s funeral to be present for the Tukhachevsky trial, which is especially enlightening about his reaction to these purges.
However, the reason for Tukhachevsky’s persecution cannot be only drawn from that evidence. His position within the party may have been doomed from time of the Polish-Soviet war. Stalin did not agree with High Command that he had to accept orders from Tukhachevsky, and from his failure to defend Tukhachevsky’s left flank, the Soviet Union missed the opportunity to take Poland. The deep enmity the two men felt towards each other cannot be understated, and so when seen in the context of Stalin’s perpetual paranoia, it is evident that the seeds of Tukhachevsky’s destruction were sown in the 1920’s. Stalin’s attempt to purge Tukhachevsky in 1930, 8 years before the beginning of the Great Purges, shows his impatience to be rid of him. Perhaps his impotence to do anything then solidified for him the real danger posed by the Red Army. Stalin knew they posed a real threat, and his inability to do anything in 1930 almost certainly heightened his need to be rid of Tukhachevsky as soon as an opportunity arose.
The intelligence ring and creation of the double forgery are sufficiently complex for us to assume that they played a vital role in Tukhachevsky’s downfall. So much effort and intrigue was involved that the forged documents must have had an effect on his subsequent arrest. However, as it was not used in his trial, and only his tortured confession, which makes only vague allusion to the document, we cannot see for certain it being a cause. However, as it has already been shown that Stalin was searching for a reason to eject the Marshall from the Party, we see this new information from a different light. The intelligence ‘gained’ from Germany, can be therefore seen as having a catalysing effect on the Tukhachevsky trial. While Stalin was clearly paranoid, and carried a personal vendetta against Tukhachevsky, he was unable to touch him prior to receiving the condemnation, no matter how fake, of espionage.
Bullock, Alan. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives. London: FontanaPress, 1998.
Getty, J. Arch and Oleg V. Naumov. The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self´-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.
Krivitsky, W.G. In Stalin's Secret Service. New York: ENigma Books, 2000.
Lukes, Igor. Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Montefiore, Simon Seabad. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Random House, 2003.
New York Times Corportation. "Two High Officials Suspect in Soviet Trial." The New York Times. New York, 12 February 1937.
Rayfield, Donald. Stalin and His Hangmen. London: Penguin Publishing, 2004.
Waller, John H. The unseen war in Europe: espionage and conspiracy in the Second World War. n.d.

[1] (New York Times Corporation)
[2] (Bullock)pp.109
[3] (Lukes)pp. 94
[4] Ibid.
[5] (Montefiore) pp.222
[6] (Lukes) pp. 99
[7] (Getty und Naumov)pp. 444
[8] (Montefiore)pp. 222
[9] Ibid. pp223
[10] Ibid. pp225
[11] (Waller)
[12] (Waller)