Russians Select Stalin As Greatest Leader Of All Time In New Poll

For those hoping that Russians will gradually reject the authoritarian rule by Vladimir Putin, a new poll will be a disappointment.  Russians have long favored the strongman leader and that taste for authoritarianism has not greatly diminished.  A new poll shows that Russians place Stalin at the top of the list of the greatest historical figures of all time.  Putin tied with poet Alexander Pushkin for second place.  The poll was conducted by the Levada Centre.

Stalin of course murdered millions in political purges and repression.  His grossly negligent conduct before and during World War II contributed to the deaths of tens of millions.  The Russians often brush over the fact that Russia was an ally of Adolph Hitler and carved up Eastern Europe with Hitler in a non-aggression pact.  Hitler would later break the infamous treaty with Russia, but Stalin was perfectly willing to assist Hitler in his global conquest while invading other nations in a spasm of bloodshed. Like the Nazis, Stalin ordered the rounding up of intellectuals and opponents.  For example, thousands of military officers and intellectuals were killed under Stalin in Poland in the Katyn Massacre.

Judging from the Soviet records we now have, the number of people who died in the Gulag between 1933 and 1945, while both Stalin and Hitler were in power, was on the order of a million, perhaps a bit more. The total figure for the entire Stalinist period is likely between two million and three million. The Great Terror and other shooting actions killed no more than a million people, probably a bit fewer. The largest human catastrophe of Stalinism was the famine of 1930–1933, in which more than five million people died. Of those who starved, the 3.3 million or so inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine who died in 1932 and 1933 were victims of a deliberate killing policy related to nationality. In early 1930, Stalin had announced his intention to “liquidate” prosperous peasants (“kulaks”) as a class so that the state could control agriculture and use capital extracted from the countryside to build industry. Tens of thousands of people were shot by Soviet state police and hundreds of thousands deported. Those who remained lost their land and often went hungry as the state requisitioned food for export. The first victims of starvation were the nomads of Soviet Kazakhstan, where about 1.3 million people died. The famine spread to Soviet Russia and peaked in Soviet Ukraine. Stalin requisitioned grain in Soviet Ukraine knowing that such a policy would kill millions. Blaming Ukrainians for the failure of his own policy, he ordered a series of measures—such as sealing the borders of that Soviet republic—that ensured mass death. In 1937, as his vision of modernization faltered, Stalin ordered the Great Terror. Because we now have the killing orders and the death quotas, inaccessible so long as the Soviet Union existed, we now know that the number of victims was not in the millions. We also know that, as in the early 1930s, the main victims were the peasants, many of them survivors of hunger and of concentration camps. The highest Soviet authorities ordered 386,798 people shot in the “Kulak Operation” of 1937–1938. The other major “enemies” during these years were people belonging to national minorities who could be associated with states bordering the Soviet Union: some 247,157 Soviet citizens were killed by the NKVD in ethnic shooting actions. In the largest of these, the “Polish Operation” that began in August 1937, 111,091 people accused of espionage for Poland were shot. In all, 682,691 people were killed during the Great Terror, to which might be added a few hundred thousand more Soviet citizens shot in smaller actions. The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources. At the same time, we see that the motives of these killing actions were sometimes far more often national, or even ethnic, than we had assumed. Indeed it was Stalin, not Hitler, who initiated the first ethnic killing campaigns in interwar Europe.

Roughly 2-3 million Russians would die in Stalin’s Gulag prisons.  His moronic communist policies led to the famine of 1930-33 in which five million died.  Millions starved as result of official policies targeting them due to nationality.  Tens of thousands were shot by Stalin’s secret police.  Stalin’s purging of the military before World War II destroyed the officer corp and contributed to the massive defeats against the Germans after their invasion.

Despite this history, Stalin received 38 percent of the votes while Putin tied with poet Pushkin with 34 percent.

80 thoughts on “Russians Select Stalin As Greatest Leader Of All Time In New Poll”

  1. It appears I have been incredibly naive about Russia. This glorification of one of history’s most evil men is shocking.
    I have always believed friendship between our two countries was possible. Now I can understand those who say this is impossible.

    1. Ron, ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ We have common interests with Russia and at the same time we have common threats. AT the present time this BS about Russia and Trump has caused tremendous problems world wide and threatened peace. If the Russian people don’t like Putin let them revolt.

      We didn’t create a new geopolitical policy after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We talked about a peace dividend which was foolish because the world could break apart and in part it did leading to new unknown costs. The Russian government was unstable and people prefer stability to most other things. At the same time we pushed Russia’s boundaries (NATO inclusions of former Soviet Republics) and threatened them with a boundary very close to Moscow, I believe less than 300 miles.

      The US is a good guy, but we cannot tell other people who their leaders should be. We should protect ourselves from existential threats. I believe had we managed our afairs differently after the fall of the Berlin Wall we could be partners (though perhaps not friends) with Russia today and perhaps the world would be more peaceful.

      1. We were well on our way to being (careful) partners with Russia, until Obama decided to use them for political shenanigans.

  2. WHO would the Americans vote for as our best President? I think George Washington. Not Abe Lincoln because he can not get the South vote. Not anyone recent.
    How about asking Americans their views on Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears. How many readers on the blog know what I am referring to?

    1. I do, and that disqualifies him right there. In fact, that disqualifies him as a human being, period.

      1. I’ve decided that all humanity must have its cherished illusions, many of them outright lies. They an make us feel better about ourselves if we can force ourselves to believe them.

  3. They better like Stalin. I wouldn’t want be the guy who puts- Catherine the Great as the greatest leader, not in Putination.

  4. I often wonder if Putin isn’t just an updated Stalin, with a short haircut. Putin does not kill by the millions, but his individual political enemies seem to get bumped off or poisoned every so often.

    Too bad Kerensky and his provisional government were not able to withstand the Bolsheviks.

    1. The Clintons’ political enemies seem to suffer a similar fate. Interesting, no?

      1. You mean, poisoned by Polonium or shot in broad daylight on the street? How many of these Clinton assassinations are you claiming?

  5. Sounds like ‘Alternative Facts’. Has Spicer been helping Russia, or Conway? Putin is saying, hey, if Trump can make up stuff as he goes along then what the he**.

    1. “Who’s on who’s on second.” Rain Man calming himself.

  6. For the purpose of this argument, let us assume that a poll coming out of Russia is accurate. I mean, our polls are not terribly accurate. How reliable is polling of people who could be imprisoned for giving a wrong answer?

    But for Adolph HItler, Stalin would be clearly recognized as the worst mass murderer of all time. As your stats demonstrate, Stalin murdered approximately as many as did HItler. His mass murder was ethnically focused (as if that matters). Plus, were it not for the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939, WWII would probably not have occurred. Only the American left’s infatuation with Socialism and consequent downplaying of the crimes of Stalin diminish Stalin’s place as a killer on par with Hitler.

    The Russians have never had a comfort level with democracy. It does not seem to take hold there. Give them a czar any time whether the czar be named Nicholas, Ivan, Josef or Vladimir.

    1. Getting rid of people, for whatever reason, is a part of human nature. Historically, when a people wanted land or slaves, they just went in and killed, enslaved, looted, raped, etc. The US did this, Great Britain did this, France, etc. The latest and greatest examples of this activity were the Nazis/Germans, Soviets/Stalin, and the greatest of all Mao. He got rid of 60 million-or so some say-people he thought would cause trouble. Pol Pot in Cambodia probably was the, per capita, greatest mass murderer; for whomever did or does it is a murderer. Regardless of the reasons and quantity, killing those who are in the way for the sake of expediency has been a part of the history of most nations.

      The world is entering a new phase where this activity is seen as wrong and efforts are being made to stop it or it is done surreptitiously and in much lesser numbers. What can fix a people’s activity as moral or whatnot, is to place it on the world’s chronological timeline of societal evolution. If one compares Islam with the rest of the world one can see that it is not as societally advanced as the Western Nations and their reliance on secular reasoning. If one compares ISIS, one goes back several thousand years. To put things in perspective it is helpful to compare and contrast one’s people: national, religious, ethnic, etc with the others by seeing where they fit in on the societal evolution timeline.

      Unfortunately each nation, people, etc sees themselves right up there at the front.

      1. “The US did this”

        To a small extent that is true, but overall the US has been one of the most honorable powerful nations to exist. Many claim the US killed tremendous numbers of Indians. There was a slaughter of Indians in the Western Hemisphere but the vast majority killed were south of the US and before the US became a nation. The official numbers killed after that time were quite small.

    1. This just in, a poll in Podunk, Kentucky shows that Trump is the savior of the nation, solved all its problems, all by himself, while tweeting.

  7. I read the article and then the comments thus far posted. I have to ask: Who was America’s great ally in WWII against Hitler. England was one great ally but they did not kill off the bulk of Hitlers army. Neither did we. It was Stalin and Russia. There is no doubt that Stalin was evil.

    In the war against ISIS we may have a better ally with Putin than anyone else.

    Truman had the best strategy and outcomes with Stalin. Not FDR by any means and maybe Ike did well with the Russians when Ike was President. Ike knew the Russians when Ike was the head of our armies in Europe during the War.

    All of this tripe on the media about evil Putin and “collaboration”. I suppose FDR was “in collaboration” with Stalin. The McCarthy Era was a dumb time in American politics. Yeah we had some dumb communists or left wingers working in our government. The McCarthy Era has generated some trends in the media, politics and American thinking now. Everything Russian is evil according to CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC and CIA. A person in politics, whether they are running for an elected office or they hold an executive position, cannot even communicate with a Russian.
    Recall the lyrics to the Warren Zevon song: “How as I to know? She was with the Russians too?”

    1. Ruby

      It is correct that the Soviets were the primary demise of Nazi Germany; along with Hitler’s stupidity which probably is the main reason. If Hitler had focused first on North Africa and waited a year for the USSR, he could have pinzered the Caucasus oil fields and pushed the Soviets back and out of contention. However, once Germany was over extended in the East, it was over. The main contributing element to the Soviet onslaught was the out put from their factories which they moved well out of range of the Nazis. The Soviets produced more arms than they needed. There are records of German officers ordering their troops to pick up the surplus Soviet arms to augment their dwindling stock. As with WW1, the Western Front shortened the war, saved the lives of countless Soviet soldiers, and probably kept much if not all of Europe out of the Soviet Block.

      Against Japan, two thirds of Japan’s army and air force was tied down in China. The US Navy was the hands down winner of that part of the war but one has to wonder how the US land forces would have fared if the opposition was tripled. The bomb would have been dropped a few more times and US casualties would have been several times what they were.

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend, until the enemy is vanquished, then my friend is my enemy. Funny how this choosing up sides works when you only have two of them.

  8. Here is some more info on the Polish Operations from Timothy Snyder’s book “Black Earth”
    I can’t recommend it too much.
    ““The Soviet decapitation of society was accompanied by a zombification of the social body. The Soviets took the possibility of Polish resistance much more seriously than the Germans did, since for them it represented one instance of the formidable power of international capitalism rather than the last gasps of a suffocating race. The NKVD applied far more sophisticated methods than the German Gestapo, usually observing resistance groups, arresting and recruiting their members one by one, and slowly trying to break the whole organization or, ideally, turn it to the Soviet side without its members realizing what was happening.”

    Excerpt From: Timothy Snyder. “Black Earth.” iBooks.

  9. If the Brits had allied themselves with Russia early on against Germany a whole lot of lives would have been saved. And the US might not have had to enter WII.

      1. No, I don’t ” fail to comprehend the history” why don’t you get beyond the greatest generation bs and educate yourself? Hint: follow the money

          1. doubtful. as usual Benson you don’t understand history at all. But then you are a Hilbot whining and crying because your biattch didn’t win. And now that the Russia narrative isn'[t working what now do you losers have to work with??? NADA or Neyt

              1. “You don’t understand history!”
                “Yes I do!”
                “No you don’t!”
                “Yes I do!”
                “No you don’t” …..

                “Your mother wears army boots!”
                “Does not!”
                “Does so!”
                “Does not!”
                “Does so!” …..

                How about some actual historical detail and argumentation instead?

    1. The Poles were hostile of the idea of an an alliance with the Soviets. They didn’t want Soviet troops on Polish territory. They thought the Brits and French would act in the West, divert German troops and that made them unduly optimistic about their chances against the Wehrmacht.

      1. Curri,….
        I think that the Molotov-Ribbentrop talks were pretty far along when the Soviets allegedly made the offer of an alliance with Britain and France.
        Molotov and Ribbentrop were foreign ministers, probably fully authorized to hammer out a deal.
        I think the alleged offer the the British and French representatives were from (and to) military representatives not authorized to negotiate or seal a deal.
        As you point out, the Poles were not likely to throw down to welcome mat and volutariliy allow a million Soviet troops on their soil.
        I’ve read some of these accounts of the Soviet alliance offer to the Brits and French.
        Truthfully, it’s not something I’ve studied in depth.
        One question I have is if Western (non-Russian) analysts and historians have access to the old Soviet documents that alledgedly show that such an offer was made.
        There doesn’t seem to be any corresponding British of French records confirming the offer….if they do exist, I’d like to see them.
        There should be some records….memos, diaries, etc. …in the files of the Anglo-French representatives if they were actually offered an alliance with the USSR.
        As well as some documentation in the records of British PM Chamberlain and the French PM ( Daladier?) at the time.
        If there is a good, objective, and comprehensive book on the subject, I’d like to track it down and read it.

  10. The Russian people have always been peasants, and always will be. They’re not capable of democracy.

    1. Correct. They can’t think for themselves and alway desire a father figure. From the Rominoff’s to the murderer Stalin. Disgusting and pathetic.

  11. I would put Demtri Mendeleev on the top of my list of great Russians, but there are many mathematicians and scientists who would crowd close behind.

    1. Good point squeek! How many Americans can name even one poet/writer?? Every Russian I’ve ever met goes on and on about Pushkin.

    1. Some history books would serve you better. This crew is steeped in ignorance.

  12. Worse, the Great Famine was intentional, at least in the Ukraine. As I understand it, the food taken from the peasants was used to buy the start of Russian industrialization.

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