Iosif Vissarionovič Stalin, born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, December 18, 1878 (O.S. December 6)1 - March 5, 1953, usually transliterated Josef Stalin, consolidated power to become the absolute ruler of the Soviet Union between 1928 and his death in 1953. Stalin held the title General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922-1953), a position that did not originally have significant influence, but through Stalin's ascendancy, became that of party leader and de facto leader of the Soviet Union.
Stalin was responsible transforming the Soviet Union from an agricultural nation into a global superpower and did not see the elimination of millions of lives as an impediment to the achievement of this goal. Many intellectuals, dissidents and even many allies were put to death under Stalin. Stalin's expansionism at the conclusion of World War II resulted in the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by the West. In turn, Stalin gathered the Eastern European nations that were absorbed into the Soviet sphere after the Second World War under the umbrella of the Warsaw Pact. This, in turn, led to the Cold War and to the periodic international crises and the endless exchanges of hostile rhetoric in United Nations leadership circles until the final years of the Soviet Union.
Born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, Stalin became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1922. Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, he successfully maneuvered to defeat Leon Trotsky in a leadership struggle. Throughout his long period in office, he deftly built useful alliances within the Party, identified potential threats to his rule and established a reputation for eliminating those who did not share his convictions. Even Leon Trotsky fell victim to Stalin's assassins in 1940 when he was brutally stabbed to death in Mexico in 1940.
Stalin's rule was even more repressive and brutal than Lenin's. Unlike Lenin, Stalin encouraged and fostered a cult of personality, which portrayed Lenin as the father of the nation and Stalin as the faithful one who brought Lenin's dreams closer to fruition. Stalin's tactics and methodology or Stalinism, as it has come to be known, had long range effects on the features that characterized the Soviet state. Although Mao Zedong had serious issues with Stalin and the way in which Stalin treated him, Maoists, anti-revisionists and some others maintained, following Nikita Khrushchev's rise to power, asserted that Stalin was actually the last legitimate Socialist leader in the Soviet Union's history. Stalin claimed his policies were based on Marxism-Leninism, but there can be no doubt that Stalin actively sought to establish his own special place in world history.
Soon after assuming power, Stalin replaced Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP) of the 1920s, which allowed for some privatization, with Communist Party guided Five-Year Plans in 1928 and he implemented collective farming at roughly the same time, which resulted in millions dying of hunger in the 1930s. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union made significant progress from its former status as a predominantly peasant society to the status of a major world power by the end of the 1930s.
Collectivization which led to the State's Confiscation of grain and other food sources by Soviet authorities resulted in a major famine between 1932 and 1934, especially in the key agricultural regions including Ukraine, Kazakhstan and North Caucasus. This led to millions of Soviet citizens, indeed entire families, dying of starvation. Many peasants resisted collectivization and grain confiscations, but were repressed. Stalin had a special commitment to tightening control over and indeed decimating the most prosperous peasant class known as "kulaks."
Stalin was duped by Adolf Hitler and saw the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 as a commitment in which Hitler and Stalin recognized that they shared common ideological views on a number of matters. The pact was seen by Stalin as a guarantee against a Nazi attack on the Soviet Union. However, when things did not go well for Hitler in his war against Britain, he caught Stalin by surprise when he attacked the Soviet Union in 1940. The Soviets bravely resisted; however, they bore the brunt of the Nazis' attacks (around 75 percent of the Wehrmacht's forces). Soviet forces under Stalin and with massive military aid from the West, made a decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II (known in the USSR as the "Great Patriotic War," 1941-1945). After the war, the USSR established itself under Stalin as one of the two major superpowers in the world, a position it maintained for the next four and a half decades.
Stalin's rule - reinforced by a cult of personality - fought real and alleged opponents mainly through the security apparatus, such as the NKVD. Nikita Khrushchev, one of Stalin's supporters in life and his eventual successor, chose to denounce Stalin's rule, his cult of personality and his brutal, genocidal rule at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR in 1956. Khrushchev initiated the "de-Stalinization" and Mao used Khrushchev's handling of Stalin as one of the rationales for the Sino-Soviet Split, which took place in 1960.
Childhood and early years
Reliable sources about Stalin's youth are few; however even those sources were subjected to censorship, a common practice during Stalin's reign. Some consider the writings of Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva to be the most reliable sources, since they were not censored.
Joseph Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in Gori, Georgia, Russian Empire to Vissarion Dzhugashvili and Ekaterina Geladze. In 1913, he adopted the name "Stalin," which is derived from the Russian (stal') for "steel." His mother was born a serf. Stalin's three siblings died young; "Soso" (the Georgian pet name for Joseph), was effectively an only child. According to the official version, his father Vissarion was a cobbler. He opened his own shop, but quickly went bankrupt, forcing him to work in a shoe factory in Tiflis. Rarely seeing his family and drinking heavily, Vissarion is said to have been physically abusive toward his wife and small son Josef. One of Stalin's friends from childhood later wrote, "Those undeserved and fearful beatings made the boy as hard and heartless as his father." The same friend also wrote that he never saw him cry.A young Stalin, 1894.
Another of his childhood friends, Ioseb Iremashvili, felt that the beatings by Stalin's father gave him a hatred of authority. He also said that anyone with power over others reminded Stalin of his father's cruelty. Stalin had broken his arm several times in the course of his life. There have been reports of Stalin having one arm shorter than the other. He also survived smallpox, that left pockmarks on his face.The information card on Joseph Stalin, from the files of the Tsarist secret police in Saint Petersburg
One of the people for whom Ekaterina did laundry and house-cleaning was a Gori Jew, David Papismedov. Papismedov is said to have given Josef, who would help his mother, money and books to read, and encouraged him. Decades later, Papismedov came to the Kremlin to learn what had become of little "Soso." Stalin surprised his colleagues by not only receiving the elderly man, but happily chatting with him in public places.
In 1888, Stalin's father left to live in Tiflis, leaving the family without support. Rumors said he died in a drunken bar fight; however, others said they had seen him in Georgia as late as 1931. At the age of eight, "Soso" began his education at the Gori Church School.
When attending school in Gori, "Soso" was among a very diverse group of students. Joseph and most of his classmates were Georgian and spoke mostly Georgian. However, at school they were forced to use Russian. Even when speaking in Russian, their Russian teachers mocked Joseph and his classmates because of their Georgian accents. His peers were mostly the sons of affluent priests, officials, and merchants.
During his childhood, Joseph was fascinated by stories he read telling of Georgian mountaineers who valiantly fought for Georgian independence. His favorite hero in these stories was a legendary mountain ranger named Koba, which became Stalin's first alias as a revolutionary. He graduated first in his class and at the age of 14 he was awarded a scholarship to the Seminary of Tiflis, a Jesuit institution (one of his classmates was Krikor Bedros Aghajanian, the future Grégoire-Pierre Cardinal Agagianian,2 which he attended from 1894 to 1899. Although his mother wanted him to be a priest (even after he had become leader of the Soviet Union), he attended seminary not because of any religious vocation, but because of the lack of locally available university education. Stalin received a small stipend from the seminary for singing in the choir.
Stalin's involvement with the socialist movement (or, to be more exact, the branch of it that later became the communist movement) began at the seminary at the age of 15. The discipline and regime of the institution no doubt contributed to his determination to become revolutionary. During these school years, Stalin joined a Georgian Social-Democratic organization, and began propagating Marxism. Stalin quit the seminary in 1899 just before his final examinations; official biographies preferred to state that he was expelled.3 He then worked for a decade with the political underground in the Caucasus, experiencing repeated arrests as well as exile to Siberia between 1902 and 1917.
Stalin supported Vladimir Lenin's doctrine of a strong centralist party of professional revolutionaries versus the less disciplined views of Karl Kautsky. His personal meetings with Lenin led him to embrace Bolshevism and Lenin's belief that the Soviet Union could precede smoothly under communist rule from a feudal to a socialist state without ceding power to accomodate a capitalist state prior to the emergence of socialism as the Mensheviks proposed. Stalin and Lenin attended the Fifth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in London in 19074
In the period after the failed Revolution against the Czar in 1905 Stalin is said to led "fighting squads" in bank robberies to raise funds for the Bolshevik Party. His practical experience made him useful to the party, and gained him a place on its Central Committee in January 1912.Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Mikhail Kalinin meeting in 1919. All three of them were "Old Bolsheviks"; members of the Bolshevik party before the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Stalin's major contribution to the development of the Marxist theory was a treatise, written while he was briefly in exile in Vienna, Marxism and the National Question. It presents an orthodox Marxist position (c.f. Lenin's On the Right of Nations to Self-Determination5). This treatise may have contributed to his appointment as People's Commissar for Nationalities Affairs after the revolution, as he was seen as a specialist in national problems.
In 1901, the Georgian clergyman M. Kelendzheridze wrote an educational book on language arts and included one of Stalin's poems, signed by 'Soselo'. In 1907 the same editor published “A Georgian Chrestomathy, or collection of the best examples of Georgian literature”; Volume 1 included a poem of Stalin's dedicated to Rafael Eristavi, on page 43. His poetry can still be seen in the Stalin Museum in Gori.
Marriages and familyEkaterina "Kato" Svanidze, Stalin's first wife
Stalin's first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze, died in 1907, only four years after their marriage. At her funeral, Stalin allegedly said that with her death died also his last warm feelings for humankind. Only she had succeeded in melting his 'stony heart'. To him, her life was the only thing that made him happy. They had a son together, Yakov Dzhugashvili, with whom Stalin did not get along in later years.
Stalin's son Yakov is said to have shot himself because of the mistreatment he endured from his father. Nevertheless he did survive. Yakov served in the Red Army during World War II and was captured by the Germans. They offered to exchange him for Fieldmarshal Paulus, but Stalin turned the offer down, allegedly saying "A lieutenant is not worth a general." Others credit him with saying "I have no son," to this offer, and Yakov is rumored to have been accidentally electrocuted in the German prison camp where he was being held.
According to an article December 13, 2001 in The New York Times, "Of the roughly 30,000 wartime victims at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Nazi Germany, most were Russian prisoners of war, among them Stalin's oldest son." Stalin may have hesitated to seek a special arrangement to spare his son because he feared that it would have undermined support for his war efforts.Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva (1901 - 1932).
His second wife was Nadezhda Alliluyeva-Stalina, who died in 1932; she may have committed suicide by shooting herself after a quarrel with Stalin, leaving a suicide note which according to their daughter was "partly personal, partly political".6
Officially, she was said to have died of an illness. Stalin had two children with his second wife: a son, Vassili, and a daughter, Svetlana.
Vassili rose through the ranks of the Soviet air force and died in 1962. He distinguished himself in World War II as a capable airman. Svetlana emigrated to the United States in 1967 and later returned to the Soviet Union.
In his book The Wolf of the Kremlin, Stuart Kahan claimed that Stalin was secretly married to a third wife named Rosa Kaganovich. Rosa was the sister of Lazar Kaganovich, a Soviet political leader. However, the claim is unproven and many have disputed this claim, including the Kaganovich family, who deny that Rosa and Stalin ever met.
Stalin's mother died in 1937; he did not attend the funeral but instead sent a wreath.
In March 2001, Russian Independent Television NTV discovered a previously unknown grandson living in Novokuznetsk. Yuri Davydov told NTV that his father had told him of his lineage, but, because the campaign against Stalin's cult of personality was in full swing at the time, he was told to keep quiet. The Soviet dissident writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, had mentioned a son being born to Stalin and his common-law wife, Lida, in 1918 during Stalin's exile in northern Siberia.
Rise to powerJoseph Stalin.
In 1912 Stalin was assigned to the Bolshevik Central Committee at the Prague Party Conference. In 1917 Stalin was editor of Pravda, the official Communist newspaper, while Lenin and much of the Bolshevik leadership were in exile.
Following the February Revolution, Stalin and the editorial board took a position in favor of supporting Alexander Kerensky's provisional government and, it is alleged, went to the extent of declining to publish Lenin's articles arguing for the provisional government to be overthrown.
In April 1917, Stalin was elected to the Central Committee with the third highest vote total in the party and was subsequently elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee (May 1917); he held this position for the remainder of his life.
According to certain accounts, Stalin only played a minor role in the Revolution of 1917. However, the distinguished Harvard professor Adam Ulam argues that each man in the Central Committee had a specific assignment. Upon his return to Russia in July 1917 Lenin argued that a great opportunity existed to seize power from the Kerensky government, merely by arresting its members. Party leadership did its best to organize and coordinate each key leader's role in such a way as to assure the success of the October Revolution. However, Stalin's role may have been less central to the effort than the role taken by others such as Trotsky.
The following summary of Trotsky's Role in 1917 was given by Stalin in Pravda, November 6, 1918:
"All practical work in connection with the organization of the uprising was done under the immediate direction of Comrade Trotsky, the President of the Petrograd Soviet. It can be stated with certainty that the Party is indebted primarily and principally to Comrade Trotsky for the rapid going over of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the efficient manner in which the work of the Military Revolutionary Committee was organized."7
Later, in 1924, Stalin himself created a myth around a so-called "Party Centre" which "directed" all practical work pertaining to the uprising, consisting of himself, Yakov Sverdlov, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, Moisei Uritsky, and Andrei Bubnov. However, no evidence was ever shown for the activity of this "centre," which would, in any case, have been subordinate to the Military Revolutionary Council, headed by Trotsky.
During the Russian Civil War and Polish-Soviet War, Stalin was a political commissar in the Red Army at various fronts. For some time he was in charge of defense of the town Tsaritsino, where he displayed a tendency toward strong measures and unjustified arrests. At some point Trotsky had to telegraph to Lenin requesting permission to remove Stalin from leadership because military efforts were going badly in spite of military superiority. At that time Stalin was recalled to Moscow. However, in spite of repeated requests from Trotsky to keep Stalin away from military affairs, Lenin did use him because of his ability to seek tasks to completion.
Stalin's first government position was as People's Commissar for Nationality Affairs (1917-1923). He was also People's Commissar of the Workers and Peasants Inspection (1919-1922), a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic (1920-1923) and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets (from 1917).
Campaign against the Left and Right Opposition
On April 3, 1922, Stalin was made general secretary of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), a post that he subsequently built up into the most powerful in the country by using it to cultivate supporters. It has been claimed that he initially attempted to decline the post, but was refused. This position was seen to be of a technical nature, a minor one within the party (Stalin was sometimes referred to as "Comrade Card-Index" by fellow party members) but actually had potential as a power base as it allowed Stalin to fill middle echelon positions of the party with his allies. As a result, in collective voting, Stalin's position on any issue became decisive.
As Stalin's popularity grew within the Bolshevik party he gained plenty of political power. This took the dying Lenin by surprise - their relationship had deteriorated over time and in his last Testament Lenin famously called for the removal of the "rude," "disloyal" and "capricious" Stalin. However, this document was voted on for adoption by the Party in a Congress resulting in a unanimous vote against endorsing Lenin's position because he was deemed by this time to be very ill.
After Lenin's death in January 1924, Stalin, Lev Borisovich Kamenev, and Grigory Yevseyevich Zinoviev together governed the party, placing themselves ideologically between Trotsky (on the left wing of the party) and Nikolay Ivanovich Bukharin (on the right). During this period, Stalin abandoned the traditional Bolshevik emphasis on international revolution in favor of a policy of building "Socialism in One Country," in contrast to Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution. Stalin argued that the Soviet Union lacked the military and economic power to pursue revolution elsewhere and argued that such a policy would only create enemies for the Soviets and lead to the destabilization of the U.S.S.R.
In the struggle for leadership it was evident that whoever assumed power had to be viewed as loyal to Lenin and to Lenin's principles. Stalin organized Lenin's funeral and made a speech professing undying loyalty to Lenin, in almost religious terms.8 He undermined Trotsky, who was sick at the time, possibly by misleading him about the date of the funeral. Thus although Trotsky was Lenin's associate throughout the early days of the Soviet regime, he lost ground to Stalin. Stalin made great play of the fact that Trotsky had joined the Bolsheviks just before the revolution, and publicized Trotsky's pre-revolutionary disagreements with Lenin. Another event that helped Stalin's rise was the fact that Trotsky came out against publication of Lenin's Testament in which he pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of Stalin and Trotsky and the other main players, and suggested that he be succeeded by a small group of people.
An important feature of Stalin's rise to power was his skill in manipulating his opponents and playing them off against each other. Stalin formed a "troika" of himself, Zinoviev, and Kamenev against Trotsky. When Trotsky had been eliminated Stalin then joined Bukharin and Rykov against Zinoviev and Kamenev, emphasizing their vote against the insurrection in 1917. Zinoviev and Kamenev then turned to Lenin's widow, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya; they formed the "United Opposition" in July 1926.
In 1927 during the 15th Party Congress Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party and Kamenev lost his seat on the Central Committee. Stalin soon turned against the "Right Opposition," represented by his erstwhile allies, Bukharin and Rykov.
Stalin gained popular appeal through portraying himself as a 'man of the people,' with his roots in the humblest social class. The Russian people had tired from the world war and the civil war, and Stalin's policy of concentrating on building "Socialism in One Country" was viewed as a practical antidote to war (compared to Trotsky's calls for Permanent Revolution)
Stalin took great advantage of a ban on factionalism. This ban prohibited any group from openly opposing the policies of the leader of the party because that would constitute a de facto opposition. By 1928 (the first year of the institution of the Five-Year Plans for economic development) Stalin was supreme among the leadership, and the following year Trotsky was exiled because of his opposition to Stalin. Having also outmaneuvered Bukharin's Right Opposition and now advocating collectivization and industrialization, Stalin succeeded in exerting control over the party and the country.
However, as the popularity of other leaders such as Sergei Kirov and the so-called Ryutin Affair were to demonstrate, Stalin did not achieve absolute power until the Great Purge of 1936-1938.
Stalin's secret police and espionage activities
No reference to Joseph Stalin can be made without reference to his unmatched ability to use his intelligence services and the secret police. Though the Soviet secret police, the Cheka (later, the State Political Directorate GPU and OGPU), had already evolved into an arm of state-sanctioned murder under Lenin, Stalin took the use of such forces to a new level in order to solidify his hold on power and eliminate all enemies, real or perceived.
Stalin also vastly increased the foreign espionage activities of Soviet secret police and foreign intelligence. Under his guiding hand, Soviet intelligence forces began to set up intelligence networks in most of the major nations of the world, including Germany (the famous Rote Kappelle spy ring), Great Britain, France, Japan, and the United States. Stalin saw no difference between espionage, communist political propaganda actions, and state-sanctioned violence, and he began to integrate all of these activities within the NKVD, which preceded the KGB. Stalin made considerable use of the Communist International movement in order to infiltrate agents and to ensure that foreign Communist parties remained pro-Soviet and pro-Stalin.
One of the best early examples of Stalin's ability to integrate secret police and foreign espionage came in 1940, when he gave approval to the secret police to have Leon Trotsky assassinated in Mexico.
Stalin and changes in Soviet society
The Russian Civil War and wartime communism had a devastating effect on the country's economy. Industrial output in 1922 was 13 percent of that in 1914. A recovery followed under Lenin's New Economic Policy, which allowed a degree of market flexibility within the context of socialism.
Under Stalin's direction, this was replaced by a system of centrally ordained "Five-Year Plans" in the late 1920s. These called for highly ambitious state-guided "crash" industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture.
With no seed capital, little international trade, and virtually no modern infrastructure, Stalin's government financed industrialization by both restraining consumption on the part of ordinary Soviet citizens, to ensure that capital went for re-investment into industry, and by ruthless extraction of wealth from the kulaks.
In 1933, worker's real earnings sank to about one-tenth of the 1926 level. There was also use of the unpaid labor of both common and political prisoners in labor camps and the frequent "mobilization" of communists and Komsomol members for various construction projects. The Soviet Union also made use of foreign experts, e.g. British engineer Stephen Adams, to instruct their workers and improve their manufacturing processes.
In spite of early breakdowns and failures, the first two Five-Year Plans achieved rapid industrialization from a very low economic base. While there is general agreement among historians that the Soviet Union achieved significant levels of economic growth under Stalin, the precise rate of this growth is disputed.
Official Soviet estimates placed it at 13.9 percent, Russian and Western estimates gave lower figures of 5.8 percent and even 2.9 percent. Indeed, one estimate is that Soviet growth temporarily was much higher after Stalin's death.9
Stalin's regime moved to force collectivization of agriculture. This was intended to increase agricultural output from large-scale mechanized farms created through integration of smaller private farms. It was also meant to bring the peasantry under more direct political control and to facilitate the collection of taxes. Collectivization meant drastic social changes, on a scale not seen since the abolition of serfdom in 1861, and alienation of peasants from control of the land and its produce. Essentially, collectivization represented a forced shift from private property in the realm of agriculture to collective, state control. Practical implementation of this idea was a violent breach of democratic norms. The object of the collectivization was not only land, but farming equipment, livestock, produce and even peasants' homes. Collectivization led to a drastic drop in living standards for many peasants, and caused violent reactions by the peasantry that was heavily suppressed by Red Army.
In the first years of collectivization, it was estimated that industrial and agricultural production would rise by 200 percent and 50 percent respectively,10 however, agricultural production actually dropped. Stalin blamed this unanticipated failure on kulaks (rich peasants), who resisted collectivization. (However, kulaks only made up 4 percent of the peasant population; the "kulaks" that Stalin targeted included the moderate middle peasants who took the brunt of violence from the State Political Directorate (OGPU) and the Komsomol. The middle peasants were about 60 percent of the population). Therefore those defined as "kulaks," "kulak helpers," and later "ex-kulaks" were ordered by Stalin to be shot, placed into Gulag labor camps, or deported to remote areas of the country, depending on the charge.
The two-stage progress of collectivization-interrupted for a year by Stalin's famous editorial, "Dizzy with success"11 and "Reply to Collective Farm Comrades" 12 -is a prime example of Stalin's capacity for tactical political withdrawal followed by intensification of initial strategies.
Many historians assert that the disruption caused by collectivization was largely responsible for major famines. (Chairman Mao Zedong of China would trigger a similar famine in 1959 to 1961 with his Great Leap Forward).
During the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine and the Kuban region, now often known in Ukraine as the Holodomor, not only "kulaks" were killed or imprisoned. Stephane Courtois' Black Book of Communism and other sources document that all grain was taken from areas that did not meet targets. This even included the next year's seed grain. Peasants were, nevertheless, forced to remain in these starving areas. Sales of train tickets were halted and the Political Directorate of the State created barriers and obstacles to prevent people from fleeing the starving areas.
However, famine also affected various other parts of the USSR. The death toll from famine in the Soviet Union at this time is estimated at between five and ten million people. Such figures are difficult to square with population figures for the period (which are accepted in the West) that show the population increasing from 147 million in 1926 to 164 million in 1937 although figures such as Robert Conquest of the Hoover Institution has written on the famine in great detail. During this same period the Soviet Union was exporting grain.
Soviet authorities and other historians have argued that tough measures and the rapid collectivization of agriculture were necessary in order to achieve an equally rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union and ultimately win World War II. This is disputed by other historians such as Alexander Nove, who claim that the Soviet Union industrialized in spite of, rather than thanks to, its collectivized agriculture.
Science in the Soviet Union was under strict ideological control, along with art and literature. In the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism was truly the "Queen of the Sciences," especially during Stalin's rule. On the positive side, there was significant progress in "ideologically safe" domains, owing to the free Soviet education system and state-financed research. However, in several cases the consequences of ideological pressure were dramatic-the most notable examples being attacks on the "bourgeois pseudosciences" of genetics and cybernetics.
In the late 1940s there were also attempts to suppress special and general relativity, as well as quantum mechanics, on grounds of them being allegedly rooted in idealism rather than materialism. But the chief Soviet physicists made it clear that without using these theories, they would be unable to create a nuclear bomb. Hundreds of scientists were purged, mainly through the efforts of Trofim Lysenko, Stalin's favorite "scientist," who developed proof that Lamarck's evolutionary views (which supported Marxism's understanding of natural development) rather than Darwin's were most accurate.
Linguistics was one area of Soviet academic thought to which Stalin personally and dire