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Stalin pp 161-180 | Cite as

Murder

  • Robert H. McNeal
Chapter
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Part of the St Antony’s book series

Abstract

In a letter to Gorky in 1930 Stalin made it clear that he scorned ‘bourgeois pacifism’. Like most non-pacifists he obviously thought that killing people might be justified in war, and as a militant Marxist he saw class struggle as the highest form of war.1 As a combatant Stalin was by the opening of 1934 more or less responsible for the killing of a large number of the enemy, mainly members of the White forces of the civil war and peasants who had the misfortune of being classified as kulaks. Still, it is difficult to demonstrate that he had, by the start of his fifty-fifth year, committed what non-pacifists would normally call murder. Not only were his killings wartime acts in a Marxist-Leninist perspective, the lacked the individualized character that common usage attributes to murder.2

Keywords

Central Committee Party Congress Politburo Member Reception Room State Decree 
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Notes

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    P, 11 February 1934; Zagoria (1965) 35; R. Conquest, The Great Terror (New York, 1973) 42. Nicolaevsky [Zagoria (1965) 92] suggested that Stalin had been removed as General Secretary, noting that the announcement of the new Secretariat omitted the formula of previous announcements that Stalin had been ‘confirmed’ in this office. In 1934 his name merely appeared first in the list of secretaries. But in 1939 when the Secretariat was reconstituted after the next party congress, when Stalin was surely in the fullness of his power, having slaughtered all suspected opposition, the reference to confirmation again was omitted, and this time Stalin’s name appeared in its alphabetical place in the list (P,23 March 1939). Nor was the office of General Secretary specifically mentioned after the Nineteenth Party Congress in 1952 (P,17 October 1952). On the other hand, the announcement of the new Politburo in 1934 enhanced Stalin’s status by placing his name first in the list (whereas it had been alphabetical in the corresponding announcement in P,14 July 1930) and by accompanying it with a photograph of Stalin that dominated the smaller ones of his colleagues on that body. Quite possibly Stalin thought that the explicit reference to the confirmation of the General Secretary, alone among all elected posts, called attention too emphatically to the power of the Central Committee to withhold this prize.Google Scholar
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    P, 3–10 December 1934; I. Rabinovich ‘Obraz Vozhdia v proizvedenniiakh zhivopisi i skulptury’, Arkhitektura SSSR, no. 12 (1939) 16.Google Scholar
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    L. Sumbadze, ‘Proekt planirovki i rekonstruktsii g. Gori’, Arkhitektura SSSR, no. 12 (1939) 42–8; Allilueva (1967) 203–4; P, 7 October 1935.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Robert H. McNeal 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert H. McNeal
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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