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The De-Stalinization of the Soviet Union

The De-Stalinization of the Soviet Union

Join us as we explore the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.

There were worse Soviet leaders than Nikita Krushchev.  At least, there was one who unquestionably was worse, and that was Joseph Stalin.

On February 25, 1956, Krushchev delivered a speech called, “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences.”  He was criticizing Stalin, his predecessor as premier of the Soviet Union.  This speech was the opening salvo in the campaign to de-Stalinize the Soviet Union.

Joseph Stalin was the second worst criminal in the history of the human race.  If you accept the premise that the worst crime is murder, Stalin comes in second in that category, and he’s a mile ahead of third-place Adolf Hitler.  Historians estimate that Stalin’s regime killed 20 million human beings—TWENTY MILLION!

By comparison, here are the numbers for some other dictators:

  • Mao Zedong (former premier of China):  A resounding first place with 70 million human beings murdered.
  • Adolf Hitler/Nazi German:  16 million (a truly massive death toll, but nowhere close to Stalin)
  • Pol Pot (former dictator of Cambodia):  2 million
  • Idi Amin (former dictator of Uganda):  300,000
  • Benito Mussolini (former dictator of Italy):  430,000

Meanwhile, Stalin’s policies impoverished his countrymen, while he himself lived in luxury.  Stalin lived in the Kremlin, which literally is a palace.  Additionally, he had 20 dachas, or country estates.  Under Soviet law, no one “owned” any real estate but Stalin had the exclusive right to occupy and enjoy these premises and use them however he wanted for as long as he lived.  What else does one need to “own” property?  This reminds me of $2,000.00 dinner bills paid on the backs of guys sweating on the paint line at GameTime.

In the speech, “On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences,” Krushchev tried to acknowledge that living a lavish life while stealing from the poor was a bad combination of policies.

If you know that Krushchev was a member of Stalin’s regime and was able to succeed to power only because he had been a member of that regime, please try to disregard that knowledge for a moment.  I’m not claiming that Kruschchev was a choirboy.  He supported some of Stalin’s worst abuses.

Nonetheless, upon ascending to power, Krushchev stunned the world by denouncing Stalin’s crimes.  Krushchev actually supported reforms that supported the individual liberties for Soviet citizens, at least by comparison to Stalin.

In the famous speech, Krushchev introduced the idea of a “cult of personality,” an idea that has become part of humanity’s understanding of the world.

The Cult of Personality is worship of a Supreme Leader as if this human were a god.  This idea surely started with monarchs who lied and claimed to be gods, like the Roman emperors who oppressed Christians who refused to repeat the lie.

The Cult of Personality developed through techniques of the media, propaganda, the big liefake news and government-organized rallies. Nikita Krushchev—Nikita Krushchev, of all persons–had the courage to denounce the crimes of his immediate predecessor, who ruled by means of corruption and the cult of personality, even though he had been a part of that predecessor’s regime. 


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