When Joseph Stalin took office in 1934, he developed a certain political, economic system that bore the name Stalinism. His leadership approach comprised extensive propaganda to build a personality cult, which supported dictatorship by using secret law enforcers to eliminate those who disagreed with his administration. Stalin’s close associates referred to his way of authority as Stalinism, but he claimed that he governed through the Marxist-Leninist method as the former president did. In essence, Stalin’s political regime continues to be described as a tyrannical or a totalitarian government. Indeed, the system has been characterized by a history of enormous political violence, killings, imprisonment, and terror. However, Stalin paved the way for a progressive Russia, a situation that has seen the country’ growth through his administration’s policies. Therefore, the discussion will determine the extent to which Stalinism developed the Soviet Union’s history and how Stalin’s regime paved the way for this country’s progression.
Russia’s History Under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin’s administration makes up most of the Soviet Union’s history. It was through Stalinism that President Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) was eliminated, and Stalin upheld that surplus product should be exported to generate investment capital in Russia. Stalinism period is also attributed to its ability to mobilize the Russian inhabitants into embracing collectivization despite its being a socialist government. Nonetheless, Stalin’s political approach was not met kindly. Instead, people revolted while constant conflicts expired between the people and the government. As a result, using the Stalinism approach, the president resorted to applying extreme measures like perpetrating a human-made famine that starved to death many USSR inhabitants, especially in the Ukraine and Kuban regions.
In addition, the period saw many Russian peasants deported to Siberia, where there were labor camps, while those who resisted collectivization faced dire consequences. For that reason, the USSR population left the rural areas and became urbanized as they refused to live by the collectivization rules and harsh taxations imposed on the peasants. Besides, Stalinism has been associated with terrorizing the Russian inhabitants since the years that Stalin administered every family would either be arrested and killed for resisting the harsh rules imposed. However, literacy levels advanced as schools were increased. As such, Stalinism made it mandatory for children above eight years to start schooling. On the other hand, religious affiliations were politicized, and people would be persecuted if they dissented from either the Orthodox or Catholic religious practices. The Stalinism regime is also remembered for actively continuing the one party state system where it influenced other countries like China, Vietnam, Yemen, and Korea into affiliating with such governance.
Stalin’s Political Policies
President Lenin originally coined Russia’s history of a monopoly communist party, and when Stalin took over, he continued to use the same approach. With Stalin’s strong ability to administer through this method, the USSR to date continues to be a communist society where supreme power remains with the president while the dissenters face dire consequences. Stalin is known to establish a personal cult which regarded him as the supreme Russian leader. Through Cheka, a secret intelligence organization Stalinism did an excellent job of aggravating the class struggle in Russia, eventually leading to the development of socialism in this country. Therefore, Stalinism is attributed to a totalitarian administration’s approach that fostered mobilization within the Russian population and improved economic wellbeing.
Stalin’s Economic Policies
President Joseph Stalin is considered one of the chief rulers who launched intensive radical policies in the 1920s leading to an overhauled agricultural and industrial growth within this state. The change is popularly known as the “Great Turn of Russia,” as the USSR stopped using Lenin’s NEP and instead embraced Lenin-Marxism as Stalin proposed. During this period, Stalinism officially designed a way of industrializing the USSR to offer adequate security and defense of the Russian inhabitants. Therefore, the agrarian economy was eliminated, while industrialization was welcomed. During this time, an armament industry was opened up to manufacture sufficient Russian weapons both in quantity and quality for the purpose of fighting a modern war.
In a bid to live by the Marxist theory of socialism, Stalin highly industrialized the Soviet Union through alleviating most of the nation’s population into becoming productive workers both in the skilled and unskilled labor sectors. As a result, a quarter of the Russian population started working in the industrial sector. Moreover, Stalin’s era saw Russia design and implement the five-year plans in a series of three centrally mandated regimes that saw the Russian economy expand to large extents. Mainly, the pig iron, steel production, and coal industry sectors increased their production rates massively. Within the 30 years that Stalin ruled, the USSR made significant industrial strides that aligned it with other western states. In essence, Stalinism is historically recognized for growing the Russian economy within a short span of time.
In fact, to sustain the industries emerging in Russia, there was a need to import machinery, and country’s potential source of foreign currency was through agricultural surplus. The need for investment capital led Stalin’s administration to champion for collectivization, an approach that was first proposed in April 1928. Initially, the method met a lot of opposition, but in May the same year the Supreme Economic Council recommended that Russia’s industrial sector should rise at least by 130% after five years for this state to expand economically as expected. Indeed, to have enough raw materials and a fully active industrial plant, the Soviet Union necessitated its peasant population to become actively involved in grain production.
For Stalinism, a bad harvest slowed down the pace of industrialization as it sourced food of the country’s urban population and the peasant farmers in the rural areas, while the surplus would be exported to generate investment capital. Hence, Stalin directly championed for agricultural collectivization with a sole purpose of driving the USSR towards industrialization. While this process was not peaceful, it is greatly attributed for raising enough capital for the Russian industries.  However, many terror and deaths befell the inhabitants for their resistance against this policy.
Today, Russia prides itself in the industrialization process and strides it has made through the systems designed by President Stalin. On the other hand, the state has most of its population working in the industrial sector in Russia. Moreover, the agriculture sector now functions through mechanization, where the industrial plants are produced within the country since it has rich national mines, engineering plants, well-developed infrastructure, and steel mines. The Russian industry also serves the security aspect of the Soviet Union inhabitants, where modernized weapons are used to protect it from being invaded by other powerful nations.
The above discussion has evidently illustrated that Stalinism extensively constructed Russia’s history. It is through Stalin’s administration that the USSR inhabitants faced harsh realities through massive deaths and arrests of loved ones. In essence, political dissent was considered a great atrocity that affected people in all aspects of life, including the social-political perspective. However, Stalinism paved the way for industrialization in Russia through massive advocacy for agricultural collectivization. Through mechanization, USSR associated itself with other superpowers through expanding its key industries. Under those premises, the Stalinism era is attributed for enriching the history of the Soviet Union both in equal portions of splendid and adverse impacts. Moreover, the policies designed by Joseph Stalin have significantly influenced the progress of this country such that, up to date, Russia is still regarded as a strong world economy.
Cienciala, Anna. “Russia under Lenin and Stalin: 1921-1928.” Communist Nations since 1917, 2010, http://acienciala.faculty.ku.edu/communistnationssince1917/ch3.html.
Viola, Lynne. Peasants rebel under Stalin: Collectivization and The Culture of Peasant Resistance. 1999.
Cheremukhin, Anton, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, and Aleh Tsyvinski. “The Industrialization and Economic Development of Russia through the Lens of a Neoclassical Growth Model.” Working Paper, 2014, pp. 1-49.
Lu, Xin, and Elena Soboleva. “Personality cults in modern politics: cases from Russia and China.” The Center for Global Politics, 2014, pp. 1-34.
Grec, Emanuel. “Ideological Utopia in totalitarianism: the Stalinist Political Religion.” Research Gate. 2016, pp. 1-12.
 Anna, Cienciala, “Russia Under Lenin and Stalin: 1921-1928,” Communist Nations since 1917, 2010, 1
 Lynne Viola, Peasants rebel under Stalin: Collectivization and The Culture of Peasant Resistance. 1999, pp. 80-83
 Emanuel Grec, “Ideological Utopia in totalitarianism: the Stalinist Political Religion,” Research Gate. 2016, pp. 4.
 Anton Cheremukhin, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, and Aleh Tsyvinski. “The Industrialization and Economic Development of Russia through the Lens of a Neoclassical Growth Model.” Working Paper, 2014, pp. 7.
 Ibid., 8.
 Cheremukhin, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, and Aleh Tsyvinski. “The Industrialization and Economic Development of Russia through the Lens of a Neoclassical Growth Model, 1.
 Lu, Xin, and Elena Soboleva. “Personality Cults in Modern Politics: Cases From Russia and China.” The Center for Global Politics, 2014, pp. 12.
 Ibid, 1.