Meaning of Stalinism
What is Stalinism:
Stalinism is a political trend derived from the model of government applied by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. It responds to Stalin's interpretation of Marxism, who imposed a totalitarian, repressive and coercive model inside and outside the party, elements through which the leader guaranteed control of the state and society.
As a political current, Stalinism is based on Marxism, which was imposed in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution or October Revolution of 1917.
Origin of Stalinism
Iósif Vissariónovich Dzhugashvili, better known as Stalin, was president of the council of ministers from 1941 to 1953, period in which this model developed. Therefore, he is the creator of this current, more than as a theory, he did it as a practice of power.
Stalin's influence had begun years before presiding over the council of ministers. It started, in fact, since he was appointed general secretary of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party between 1922 and 1952. In addition, he was the people's commissioner for the defense of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1946.
Characteristics of Stalinism
Although Stalinism is of Marxist inspiration, it acquired specific characteristics, which distinguishes it from other currents with the same inspiration, such as Leninism and Trotskyism. Let's see some of them.
Totalitarian political system
Stalin's goal was to turn the Soviet Union into a world power. To do this, he understood that he had to concentrate all areas of exercise of power. In this sense, Stalin concentrated the executive, legislative and judicial power under his control, against the established norms.
As of the constitutional reform introduced in 1936, membership in the Communist Party became mandatory in order to participate in any of the government institutions, which involved a process of bureaucratic centralism. By characteristic, these militants had to adhere to the discipline imposed by the leader, Stalin, in a submissive way. Thus, organic leadership was undermined and active militants became just civil servants.
According to Stalin's plans, it was necessary to have control of the entire economic system in the hands of the state in order to fulfill its objective.
Thus, Stailn took control of the heavy industries and the agricultural sector, prohibiting any form of private exploitation and controlling all the natural and human resources of the Soviet Union.
Thus, some authors speak of this as a "state capitalism" in which the government is the sole owner of the goods.
To have full control of the economic sector, Stalinism also nationalized the banking system under nationalist arguments. In this way, the entire economic order passed through state control.
Socialism for one's own country
Stalinism was strongly nationalist and conceived of socialism as a model for the Russian nation itself. In that sense, it faced other trends such as Trotskyism, which proposed the export of the model to other nations.
A model like this could only be built from the cult of personality. Stalin made sure that his personality was obeyed and revered as if it were a god. Indeed, the entire policy of Stalinism stifled any new leadership and made the figure of Stalin an object of worship.
State terrorism and strong repression
Stalin's ambition for total control was only possible through strong repression, which turned into Stadium terrorism. The media was censored and dissidents went to prison or were killed.
The wave of state assassinations, both individual and massive, were carried out to spread terror and keep citizens disciplined.
Stalin systematically set about stifling, not only any attempt at opposition, but any internal current of the Russian Communist Party that was not favorable to his plans. Thus, he developed a policy of extreme persecution and managed, in fact, to repress any divergence.
Control of the media and art
In this same sense, Stalinism devoted itself to controlling all the media, not only through censorship but also through their administration.
As if that were not enough, the Stalinist model also interfered in artistic trends, censoring all the avant-garde tendencies that had been born in the first two decades of the 20th century, such as lyrical abstraction, suprematism and constructivism. The latter had played a very important role in the birth of Russian socialism, with which he identified, but for Stalin it was uncomfortable and dangerous.
Faced with this, the Stalinist government forced all artists to adhere to the aesthetic model of socialist realism, in which only scenes of socialist ideological content could be represented, but through the aesthetic forms typical of 19th century realism.