Quit Stalin and Tell Us What You Really Think

What other man can make crowds move after death thank Stalin? What man can cast fear over his people after h is laid to rest? Stalin can. This man, a man who rose to rule Russia with an iron fist, as well as hide it behind an iron curtain, played his country like a puppeteer. People feared Stalin. No one had the nerve to contest his ruling and beliefs. But once Stalin died, it was only a matter of time before someone made a stand.

From left to right: A. Mikoyan, Nikita Khrushchev, and Stalin
From left to right: A. Mikoyan, Nikita Khrushchev, and Stalin

The picture above shows Stalin with some of his colleagues in 1946. One of these men is Nikita Khrushchev. On February 25, 1954, Khrushchev brought together some members of the 20th Party Congress in secret to express his feelings of Stalin’s reign. He acknowledged all the great deeds Stalin did for Russia. But He mainly focused on the “cult” that was created from Stalin’s reign. Stalin got things done in a different way than other leaders tended to do. Most fuel their needs by motivating the people with great speeches. But Stalin wasn’t the type to give rousing speeches, he was the quiet type. Stalin put the people into submission.  The people did Stalin’s work out of fear, not because they were inspired to, but because they were afraid of what would happen if they dared to appose him. No one was safe under Stalin. Khrushchev had enough of this while Stalin was in charge and still was after almost a year after Stalin’s passing. He wanted the people to move on. It was time for something new. It was time to begin to care for the people, not for their self interests.

This new idea of moving on from Stalin’s ideas and goals is what defined this era. The “Thaw” was the beginning of a new movement in the USSR. Stalin would forever be remembered as the man who made the USSR great and helped bring Russia out of the terrible Czar system. But Stalin had some very bad morals to his campaign. Life needed to get better for everyone. People needed to be let out of the Gulags. Stalin’s old standards of the soviet life began to “thaw” into a new life.

Sources:

Russian Reader: p. 540-544

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1956-2/khrushchevs-secret-speech/khrushchevs-secret-speech-images/#

http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1956-2/khrushchevs-secret-speech/

5 thoughts on “Quit Stalin and Tell Us What You Really Think”

  1. I was reading the Secret Speech when I was flipping through the Russian Reader and its amazing how quickly Khrushchev turned around the attitude of the Soviet Union with this speech. The end of the Soviet Union began with this speech and the thaw that arrived with his reforms set into motion the break up of the Eastern Bloc and eventually the USSR in the early 90s.

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  2. Stalin’s power definitely came out of fear of his people, even though I believe there was a level of respect at the same time. It is weird that he was able to instill this fear in his people while he was actually quite paranoid himself. It will be interesting to learn about where the “thaw” takes this country in the future. Good job!

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  3. Like the first comment on this post mentions, it truly is incredible how fast things changed after Stalin’s death. The reform and blast forward to a modern society was unbelievable. The country went from shambles after the Great Patriotic War to being the first in space under Khrushchev. It’s truly amazing what Russia did during “The Thaw”.

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  4. This is a very well written piece on the necessity of Khrushchev’s policy and tactics. While Stalin was successful for building up the Soviet Union, there were not where they needed to be to be competitive with the Western Powers, mainly the United States.

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  5. The way that Stalin made Russia into a world power and industrialized it in the manner he did was very distinct. Khrushchev was the perfect transition into making Russia a competitive world power against the United States by exposing them to other worldly aspects such as music and art. How rapid a change it was right after Stalin passed away. The fear from the people died with him.

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