From Russia with love: Stalin was "the most successful leader of the U.S.S.R."

You have to start somewhere. The deaths of his critics do not look good. The examples above, the fact that new laws have been passed under Putin’s administration criminalizing “extremism”—defined as “defaming the state”, his courting of the states in direct opposition to US interests which are mostly arms deals, and the crack down on independent Russia media all add up to no good.

Has there ever been any serious speculation about his rise to power? One might wonder if Yeltsin’s abrupt firing of Primakov, appointment of Putin and subsequent resignation didn’t happen under duress of some kind. If I were a country trying to come from a totalitarian state to one more democratic the last place I would look for leadership would be the secret police.

None of that in any way adds up to ‘Putin is as vile as Stalin’.

Does this really matter? Why is everyone focusing on whether or not Putin matches up to Stalin? He clearly doesn’t. But he’s obviously trying to take lessons from the man. With his being the Russian president, that in itself is frightening enough for me.

What do you guys think about where he’s headed? Where will his (and those of his cohorts) ambitions take him?

Given the number of posters on this board who rush in at any swoop to defend barbaric Colonial practices, I’m not surprised. People will always try to whitewash their history.

I read an account once of Stalin’s deportation of the Chechnyans to Serbia, and I can’t even fathom how somebody could practice such cruelty.

Ultimately, people get the government they want and deserve. If the people of Russia want a return to the old Soviet model and the days of Papa Joe, then they’ll have it, and they’ll likely never be that unhappy again.

Frankly, I don’t care one way or the other. After this debacle in the Middle East, hopefully the next guy in the White House will realize that solving our own problems is more important than interfering in other peoples’ problems. Let them devolve into totalitarianism if they want and publicly maintain a policy of indifference about it.

Sheesh, just because Catherina II was born a couple hundred years too late!

Well, yes, I know it did … but if you want to pick a great Russian leader …

… sticking with the leaders of the USSR ain’t the best way to find great leader role models.

Unless you admire totalitarian, murderous bastards, of course, which it seems someone does.

Can’t disagree with this, myself. Too many policy markers are far, far too paranoid that different governing systems from ours are going to lead to the creation of bitter enemies of the U.S. It ain’t necessarily so.

Is that really a bad sign? Maybe we in the U.S. will give up our insane “sole superpower” hubris if a strong coalition of second-tier states emerges to check us.

Wouldn’t it be better to shed our hubris through gentle remonstrances from our friends? Is the Iraq War really worse than a new Cold War? Should Russia try to undermine the actions of future US Presidents, no matter how enlightened they might be?

That would be fine if Russia just closed up the borders and practiced totalitarianism at home and left everyone else alone. But that’s not the way it works. Putin is already threatening the Czech Republic, saying they will be making a ‘grave error’ if they install any part of the U.S. missile defense system. Training the children of Russia to hate foreigners does not suggest a ‘stay-at-home’ foreign policy.

The developments in Russia could be extremely dangerous. If Putin thinks his nuclear arsenal can buy him a lot of elbow room for muscling some of the breakaway Republics, we’re going to have a big problem on our hands.

It would seem that Putin is getting bolder.

Should it be a concern that he has been pal’ing around with the Shanghai Five http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation

I read this artical today http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07234/811092-374.stm
and it discusses Russia’s ties with China and other Asia contries.

Could they put together an alliance similar and as powerful as NATO? Or is this the wrong way to think of it?

Also, what would energy cooperation between these countries mean to the global economy?

It seems that if you could flex military muscle, economic muscle, or energy muscle you too, could be a force to reckon with.

Of course it would, but none of our leaders in either party appear inclined to listen to such remonstrances, even though America’s superpower status is visibly slipping and was probably inflated in the first place. They need a smack on the nose.

Or Ivan IV?

:wink:
Burton, your statements about Putin vs. Stalin cheapens the horror that Stalin caused. It’s absolutely disgusting. You should be ashamed.

Airman, there’s plenty of truth in what you said. Ivan the Terrible is known as Ivan Grozny in Russian-“the Dread”. He’s still thought of less of a monster than a fearful leader, who ruled with an iron fist. It seems that Russia’s greatest leaders seem to have been hardasses.

Of course it could be that Russian has a long tradition of tyrants. Have they ever really HAD freedom? The closest were Gorbachev and Alexander II. May Kerensky, if he hadn’t been overthrown by the Bolsheviks.

Maybe I should have said he has the potential be another Stalin. Whatever, this is just the internet, my opinions have no bearing on Stalin’s legacy.

I don’t think so. :dubious:

Well your last statement pretty much describes the US.

An alliance would pretty much be for the moment , something along the lines of the Japanese/German axis. Stay out of our sphere of influence and we stay out of yours. Neither trusts the other and given enough time , contesting siberia between russia and china probably would be a good long term goal for the white house.

Energy co-operation may simply be a matter of shifting natural gas east instead of west, if China wants to contest and develop the spratlys, then they could be an oil bloc to leverage the middle east.

Declan

Come to think of it . . . did the U.S.S.R. ever have a leader more successful than Stalin?

In terms of personal Godhood, well-being of the populace, or number of people murdered?

I guess Stalin does win, by the first and third measure.

The “Russian psyche” is forged by being invaded by pretty much every major nation in pre-20th Century history, including France, Germany, Poland, Mongolia, China, and The Great Game conflicts between the Russian and British Empires, leading to a kind of siege mentality which was the real aim of the Soviet buildup and ensconcement within the protective clothing of the Warsaw Pact. This, combined with the fact that Russia has (despite notable advances in science, mathematics, literature, theatre, warfare, et cetera) been considered a backward nation that missed global colonialism of the other European empires and was very late to the game with Industrialization, makes for a culture that values strong leadership and protectionist policy over personal freedoms. The recent post-Soviet liberization–in which the people were promised the benefits of a free market economy and personal liberty but received corruption, organized crime, and robber baronism of crucial industries and resources–has probably not done much to sell them on the benefits of democracy over capitalism.

The Soviet era, and particularly the economic slump during Brehznev’s turn at the wheel, was suckatude, but even with long lines and shortages of luxury items, jobs and staple commodities were never lacking, and the Soviet Union was a real (if somewhat hollow) superpower. Now it’s become scarcely better than a Third World nation–no thanks to the Western nations who decided to sit back and see how the Yeltsin thing panned out rather than to offer economic stimulus–and people are probably thinking that the moderate prosperity under Khruschev wasn’t all that bad. There are very relatively few alive and active today who remember what Stalin’s reign was like firsthand, so selling Uncle Joe as a strong-but-benevolent, it-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you, this-is-for-our-own-good leader is a pretty easy marketing ploy. Hell, the United States did the same thing during and right after WWII, when we were still hoping that Stalin wasn’t flipping through the deck to sneak the best hand.

A lack of communications and clear intentions also increased hostility between the two nations; it was, frankly, good policy of the Soviets to subordinate the nations of Eastern Europe into protective client states, just as the nations of Western Europe were following the lead of the United States into the proto-NATO defense alignments and economic control via the Marshall Plan. Today, the Russians don’t have that natural barrier, and with NATO extending membership to former Warsaw Pact nations, then talking about hosting ABM systems and radar uncomfortably close to the Motherland, it’s no wonder that the Russians, with their history of being the focus of invasion, are feeling the need to shed some liberties in favor of security.

Stranger

Honestly? Considering that Stalin did manage to keep the U.S.S.R. intact even though the Wehrmacht besieged Moscow, I’d find it hard to consider that any leader of the U.S.S.R. overcame more internal and external challenges than Stalin did.

That does nothing to change my view that Stalin was a first-class monster, but if you’re limiting oneself to leaders of the U.S.S.R. I don’t think you can deny he was the most successful.