The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorship: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc

The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorship: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc

Balázs Apor, Jan C. Behrends, Polly Jones, E. A. Rees

Language: English

Pages: 309

ISBN: 2:00077733

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This is the first book to analyze the distinct leader cults that flourished in the era of "High Stalinism" as an integral part of the system of dictatorial rule in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Fifteen studies explore the way in which these cults were established, their function and operation, their dissemination and reception, the place of the cults in art and literature, the exportation of the Stalin cult and its implantment in the communist states of Eastern Europe, and the impact which de-Stalinisation had on these cults.

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Furthermore, Bierut was promoted as an inspirer and creator of the new constitution, which was approved on 22 July 1952 – he was ‘the author of the project of the Constitution, the Magna Carta of the achievements and accomplishments of the Polish people’. On other occasions, official discourse elaborated on Bierut’s personal character. He was a simple man and – like many of his fellow countrymen – ‘the son of a small-holder’.28 Whilst a man of great deeds, he was yet a modest and down-to-earth

Komsomol’skaya pravda. The picture showed a group of happy, well-dressed, young Soviet people celebrating International Youth Day in 1937, while the caption read ‘On 6 September, 23rd International Youth Day, millions of Soviet young men and women demonstrated their love for the motherland, devotion to the party and vozhd’ of the people comrade Stalin’. These phrases were underlined by Stalin, who also wrote above it ‘meshchane’ (philistines).18 Although it is impossible to be sure what Stalin

had been promoted following the purges. From 1937 onwards he became increasingly preoccupied with these, and especially their inadequate education and training. The Kratkii kurs, the most important educational work of the decade, was intended for them. As he declared in his speech of September 1938, this work was not designed for ordinary 36 Stalin and the Making of the Leader Cult in the 1930s workers at factories, or for ordinary officials (sluzhashchie) at enterprises, but for those cadres

potentially detrimental to the education of the new intelligentsia. It continued to exist primarily because of its appeal to the culturally backward masses. What impact, if any, did such an approach have upon the making of the cult? Stalin as regulator of his image When Feuchtwanger raised the question of tasteless busts of the leader, Stalin commented rather disingenuously ‘There’s no time to get involved in that kind of thing, we have other matters and concerns’.43 Although he obviously did

1 June 1936 the renaming of towns, small towns, district centres and railway stations.64 As well as continuing to regulate the use of the Stalin image, throughout the 1930s Stalin continued to distinguish between an unhealthy focus on Stalin the individual, and the more acceptable Stalin as personification of the cause, the delo Lenina-Stalina. While the delo Lenina-Stalina could be promoted within certain limits, Stalin discouraged preoccupation with private aspects of his life, such as his

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