March 5, 2013
Sympathy for Stalin, 60 Years After His Death

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Today is the the 60th anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin. There can be no doubt about the monstrosity of some of his actions, and no doubt that his cult of personality was antithetical to the socialism he espoused, but to simply label him a monster or a megalomaniac is useless.

To anyone wanting to understand what happened, and what went wrong - how he went from ¬†poet and gangster to leader of the Soviet empire to paranoid narcissist - I recommend Simon Sebag Montefiore’s biographies Young Stalin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. As I learned about the man, I found him a sympathetic figure.

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