Stalinism

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Stalinism

the theory and form of government associated with the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (original name Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; 1879--1953): a variant of Marxism-Leninism characterized by totalitarianism, rigid bureaucracy, and loyalty to the state

Stalinism

the economic and political policies and style of government and social and economic organization in the USSR (and in Eastern European socialist societies under the hegemony of the USSR) under the leadership of Joseph STALIN from the late 1920s until his death in 1953, and after. The term is a mainly pejorative one referring to many ‘unattractive’ features of these regimes such as:
  1. central control of most spheres of life, including the economy and intellectual life;
  2. bureaucratic controls using a ‘mass party’, itself centrally controlled;
  3. an official ideology;
  4. a CULT OF PERSONALITY around the leader of the party;
  5. the use of state-directed ‘terror’ and political purges.

While initially set up as People's Democracies with multiparty representation, from 1948 most Eastern European socialist states quickly became dominated by Communist Parties whose leadership owed their position to Stalin. In most countries, that leadership continued in power until the late 1980s, adopting the forms of dictatorial party organization and highly centralized state direction of the economy and society which Stalin had equated with communism. These regimes continued after the death of Stalin, despite the denunciation of the crimes of Stalin by Khrushchev in 1956. The extent to which de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union occurred before Gorbachev assumed the leadership in 1985 is debated. On the one hand, state central planning and control of the economy (see COMMAND ECONOMY) continued with only minor modifications. On the other hand, the arbitrary brutality of political control was considerably modified, although political prison camps remained, psychiatric wards rather than camps were used to control dissidents, and civil liberties and freedoms were few. Only with the emergence of GLASNOST and PERESTROIKA was the legacy of Stalin finally challenged fully.

The term Stalinism is also used to describe those political parties and organizations in the West which adopt highly centralized organization with rigid controls over members and who have often adopted an uncritical defence of the Soviet Union. See also TOTALITARIANISM, STATE SOCIALIST SOCIETIES.

References in periodicals archive ?
The very persistence of private trading and its attendant "proprietary psychology" also linked NEP and the Stalinist era.
Marty Jezer, writing for the online Common Dreams News Center, notes that "One has to go back to the Stalinist Era of the Soviet Union to find such a display of political arrogance and ignorance of science.
He was charged with treason after the publication of The Gulag Archipelago, an account of the Stalinist era.
Political analyst Napoleon Campos said that, to purify their parties, the FMLN used a purge reminiscent of the Stalinist era in the former Soviet Union, while ARENA did it more "elegantly," excluding party sectors from leadership roles.
The result in the Stalinist Era was the arrest of the Society's president, Dmitrii Feodorovich Egorov, and the reorganization of the Society around Stalinist principles.
shores, he expanded his repertoire to include more straightforward fiction and created historical novels of the Stalinist era (Generations of Winter, The Winter's Hero).
John Harris, IT chairman of the FSB, commented "we don't live in a Stalinist era, I hope, and this is a bit like that.
Bond points out that in the former Soviet Union, Pilate served in literary works during the Stalinist era as a metaphor for avoiding responsibility.
Russians writing during the Stalinist era used "`Aesopian language,' a hermeneutic device perfected by Russia's radical intelligentsia .
Following the release of these two films there was a great rush to explore the Stalinist era.
Soviet poet who was one of the most prominent of the generation of writers that emerged after the Stalinist era.
Little wonder, then, that Zamiatin's anticommunist voice should be officially silenced along with most other kinds of dialogue in the Stalinist era.