Sorry it's taken so long to reply to this, Genghis - I've been fully occupied meeting a deadline for a job.
We don't approve a post until we reply to it - we never simply delete and forget them ... but sometimes it can take a while, especially if it is a difficult issue that we really don't know the answer to.
1. I think my rather over-glib comment at the beginning was because I myself don't fully know how much Stalin was a 'monster'. If he did all those purges etc. simply because he was a paranoid psychopath, then perhaps he deserves the name 'monster', ion the sense that he lacked normal human attributes. What lay behind my throw-away phrase, however, was a suspicion that Stalin was correct - that the west WAS 'out to get the USSR', that Chamberlain and the USA DID see Hitler as a convenient 'bolshevik-basher' and give him his opportunity, and that the USSR really DID have only ten years to prepare for the murder-attempt ... in which case Stalin;s actions, though ruthless and merciless, seem much less 'monster-ish'.
2. the question about the USSR is a really good one because - of course - the USSR as we think of it really did not exist in at all before 1923, and that first 'USSR', of course, was a VERY different thing to the USSR we think of ... and that, of course, is because the fully-fledged,superpower, unified, party-dominated USSR we remember from the 1950s-1970s was the CREATION OF STALIN (think 1936 Constitution, but also purged and controlled by Stalin). It would be very possible to argue that Stalin was NEITHER the monster nor the Saviour ... but that he was the Creator and that sine ipso nihil factum est.
Thanks very much your reply, one can not help draw comparison between Lenin/Stalin and Sun/Chiang (the chinses warlord)
I would also like to hear your opinion on the idealistic side of the USSR/Stalin: was stalin really a marxist-leninist? and how far and was the ussr created to repel the west eg. (quote from essay)
""ussr proletarian" governments took orders from Moscow, not the people. To Stalin these countries were just there to soak up some nuclear bomb hits in case of a war, provide him with more troops and political capital, and nothing else. Otherwise he would've given democratic control to the people and allowed them to decide for themselves what to do."
Also the fact that many people criticise stalins idealogical purity for abandoning the greek socialist revolution after ww2 and made peace with the west at the greatest opportunity to establish a international revolution.
Additionally the allegation of stalins building of the usssr that "any leader could of done it" is interesting. Looking around like a historian would for other examples in history one comes to Mao. Mao was in charge of the PRC for roughly the same amount of time and while his policies did succeed in improving standards of living and build a basic infrastructure for the country, he didn't have nearly as much success in turning an agrarian country into a major industrial world power. ...
Do you think this is a feasible comparison?/ relevant (I really want to avoid a psychoanalysis of Stalin
or did stalin deviate from marx's communist manifesto because he could see that it was not practical to establish socialism-i.o.c.