Russia under Joseph Stalin

From the late 1920’s, Russian society entered almost a decade of darkness, in which the government and the people were commanded by paranoia, fear and terror. Under the newly introduced leader Joseph Stalin, soviet life was subject to greater control and manipulation as Stalin focused upon gaining control over the economic, social and political workings of the nation. Since coming to power, Stalin had always ruled with a heavy and often cruel hand. His introduction and enforcement of the five year plans led to the deaths of millions and cruel measures such as the transformation of prisons into labour camps and prisoners into slaves astounded many. However, cruel and heavy handed rule can not be classified as totalitarianism. Stalin was supremely influential but he was not yet law. Russia’s gradual slide into totalitarianism began when Russian culture began to change from emphasizing the proletariat and the peasants in the 1920’s to “the cult of personality’ of the 30’s. Under this change, Stalin became the keystone of the entire social, political and economic revolution in Russia. Whilst already having almost complete control of economic activities under the 5 yr plans, Stalin began to take a firm grasp upon Russian culture. Such examples of this included Newspapers carrying less “real’ information, instead becoming a tool of propaganda for the government, few scientists were to present theories until granted Stalin’s approval and art was harnessed by Stalin to solely project images of an ideal life under Stalin. Thus the arts became servants of the state. By the end of the 1930’s all forms of art and popular culture were being manipulated to highlight the personal qualities of Stalin and praise his every action. As all independent sources of media had been removed, the peoples of Russia had little choice but to accept what the government told them as true. A major characteristic of totalitarianism rule is that …

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