JV Stalin – Biographies, Reminiscences and Appraisals

Generalissimo Stalin

Generalissimo Stalin

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JV Stalin – Biographies, Reminiscences and Appraisals

Joseph Vissirionovich Stalin (Djugashvili – his family name) is a controversial figure to say the least. From the time he became the leader of both the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) in 1924, after the untimely death of the great Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (prematurely as a consequence of an assassination attempt in 1918) he has been vilified and denigrated by all those who seek to maintain the status quo of exploitation and oppression and the control of everything by a small minority.

In 1939 Chairman Mao wrote a short pamphlet entitled To be attacked by the enemy is not a bad thing but a good thing. The Chairman has also been subject to vicious slanders and calumnies, in the same way as ‘Uncle Joe’ before him. But we have only to look at those throwing the insults to consider that we should take a step back and not just follow the mindless herd.   

(For information about Stalin’s life, especially as it was represented in the art created in the Soviet Union before the Revisionists and reactionaries were able to gain control of the country, can be seen in the Stalin Museum in Gori.)

What follows is a selection of biographies (mostly) from a ‘pro-Stalin’ stance. I make no excuse about only including those which stress the positive aspects of Comrade Stalin’s time as not only leader of the Soviet Union (and its Communist Party) but also – until the end of World War II and the success of the Marxist-Leninist led Liberation movements in Albania and China – the leader of the International Communist Movement. 

If you want ‘the opposing view’ just open a newspaper (analogue or digital); turn on a radio or TV; open a book by the sycophantic and toadying authors whose mission is to create confusion and discord based upon shallow and doubtful ‘scholarship’; or (perhaps frighteningly so) listen to any of the politicians in what used to be socialist countries as they push anyone else away as they seek to get as deep as possible up the fundament of capitalism.

As such opposition to Stalin is so ubiquitous – and as (in the capitalist west, especially the UK with its lauded BBC with its remarkably prejudiced ‘impartiality’) you are supposed to look at both sides of the argument you will better spend your time downloading and reading some of the biographies made available here.

Biographies, Reminiscences and Appraisals

Joseph Stalin – a short biography, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1940, 96 pages. The first ‘official’ (so far as I’ve encountered – at least in English) biography of Stalin, produced by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute in Moscow and published in translation in London in 1940 – before the Soviet union was considered an ally of the UK in the war against Hitlerite Fascism.

Shaw on Stalin, Russia Today Society, London, June 1941, 11 pages. Correspondence between the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw and the Social-democratic magazine The New Statesman where there was a disagreement of the position that Stalin would take in the war against Hitlerite Fascism. Published by The Russia Today Society in June 1941, just a matter of days before the Hitlerite invasion of the Soviet Union

Stalin and the Red Army, KE Voroshilov, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1941, 62 pages. Reminiscences of the role that JV Stalin played in the Russian Civil War (and the War in Intervention by the capitalist powers) between 1918-1922. Written by one of those who fought at his side. Again published just before the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Hitlerite forces of Fascism.

Joseph Stalin – a short biography, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1942, 77 pages. A revised version of the 1941 biography published by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute and printed in London. This time a version printed in Moscow in 1942 – after the invasion by the Hitlerite Fascists.

Joseph Stalin – man of steel, DM Cole, Rich and Gowan, London, 1942, 136 pages, A biography written after the Hitlerite Fascist invasion of the Soviet Union just after the tide was beginning to turn against the invaders. A general look at the life of the Soviet leader. I can find no information about the author.

Landmarks in the life of Stalin, E Yaraslavsky, Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1942, 191 pages. A biography first published by the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow in 1940 but which was reprinted in London as the interest in the background of the principle ally in the fight against Hitlerite Fascism grew after the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Nazi forces in June 1941. Yemelyan Yaroslavsky was a historian as well as a member of the Central Committee of the RCP from 1919. He was involved in the publication of a number of historical works of the Soviet Union – including the Civil War.

Stalin – 1879-1944, JT Murphy, John lane The Bodley Head, London, 1945, 251 pages. A biography written by a member of the Communist Party of Great (sic) Britain in 1945  after the Liberation of the country from Nazi Fascism in the Great Patriotic War. Murphy seemed to have quite personal access to Stalin at the time of his visits to the Soviet Union.

Joseph Stalin – a short biography, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1949, 207 pages. THE official biography of Stalin. Published in 1949, well after the defeat of Fascism, it was the last biography to be produced before the revisionist denunciation of Stalin (and consequently Lenin and all that the Revolution of 1917 meant for the workers and peasants of the world).

Stalin and the Armed Forces of the USSR, KE Voroshilov, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1951, 152 pages. A series of three articles written by Kliment Voroshilov on the 59th, 60th and 70th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Joseph Stalin.

My Uncle Joseph Stalin, Bude Svanidze, GP Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1953, 235 pages. Different from the other biographies that concentrate on the political situation in which Stalin lived. This is the reminiscences of a nephew who talks about Stalin and his relationships with his family – including Stalin’s three wives. (There’s an element of controversy about the provenance of this work. See the comments section on this blog.)

The Stalin Era, Anna Louise Strong, Mainstream Publishers, New York, 1956, 128 pages. ‘I think that, looking back, men will call it ‘the Stalin Era’. Tens of millions of people built the world’s first socialist state, but he was the engineer. he first gave voice to the thought that the peasant land of Russia could do it. from that time on, his mark was on all of it, on all the gains and all the evils.’ (From the Author’s Foreword)

Centenary of the birth of JV Stalin, 8 Nentori Publishing House, Tirana, 1979, 119 pages. A photographic history of JV Stalin, including some rarely seen photos. Published in Tirana, Albania and with an emphasis on the importance Stalin played in the Liberation of the country and in the building of Socialism.

The Stalin Question, (Calcutta, Kathashilpa, 1979), 400 pages. An Anthology on the question of Stalin. Edited by Banbehari Chakrabarty. ‘Brings together most of the relevant materials – adequately prefaced and annotated – highlighting the basic aspects of the question as reflected in the writings of Lenin, Mao, Khrushchev, Voroshilov, Zhukov, Togliatti, Tito, Garaudy, Hoxha, Trotsky and Stalin.’

Next to Stalin – notes of a bodyguard, AT Rybin, North Star Compass Journal, Toronto, 1996, 111 pages. Memoirs of a soldier who became one of Stalin’s bodyguards in 1931 until his death in 1953.

Another view of Stalin, Ludo Martens, EPO, Belgium, 1996, 179 pages. An analysis, and refutation, of the lies that have been perpetuated over the decades to vilify JV Stalin, not only to demonise the man himself but to place doubts in the minds of workers and peasants throughout the world that the solution to their problems is the building of Communism through the means of a revolutionary change of society. (An OCR scan from the original.)

Stalin – man of contradiction, Kenneth Neil Cameron, The Strong Oak Press, Stevenage, 1989, 203 pages. An evaluation of the life of JV Stalin which seeks to counter the simplistic, anti-Communist approach of many in the capitalist countries and, although not without faults, stresses the successes the Soviet Union achieved under his leadership.

With Stalin – memoirs, Enver Hoxha, 8 Nentori Publishing House, Tirana, 1979, 224 pages. Enver Hoxha’s reflections on his meetings with Comrade Stalin, published on the occasion of the Centenary of the Birth of the Great Marxist-Leninist Joseph Stalin.

The death of Stalin, Allan Wingate, London, 1958, 144 pages. An investigation by the ‘Monitor’ which comes to the conclusion that Stalin was murdered.

More on the USSR

The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians

JV Stalin – Collected Works

JV Stalin

JV Stalin

More on the USSR

The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians

JV Stalin – Collected Works

Some readers might be surprised to learn that it wasn’t until after the victory of the Soviet Union over the Hitlerite invaders in the Great Patriotic War that a decision was made, by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (CPSU(B), to work on publishing the complete writings of the Secretary General of the Party.   

(For information about Stalin’s life, especially as it was represented in the art created in the Soviet Union before the Revisionists and reactionaries were able to gain control of the country, can be seen in the Stalin Museum in Gori.)

Many speeches and articles had appeared soon after they were written as part of the process in which the CPSU(B) sought to make its policies and plans as widely known as possible amongst the population of the Soviet Union. Many of these documents (as were other pamphlets and books produced about developments within first Socialist state) were published in other languages under the task taken upon itself by the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow. At no other time in the past, or since, has a nation attempted to tell the world about what it was hoping to achieve in such a systematic manner. 

The writings of JV Stalin were part of this process but even after the decision in 1946 to collate all of his works in a chronological manner the task wasn’t rushed through. The plan to publish a total of 16 volumes was completed in the various languages of the Soviet Union but the publication of the English version was stopped after Volume 13 saw the light of day in 1955. This move by the Khruschevite Revisionists, in preparation for their denial of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism – which came out in the open at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 – was an attempt to deny a wider dissemination of the thoughts and ideas of the great, though flawed, Marxist-Leninist leader, the most preeminent in the International Communist Movement at the time.

At least when it came to the works of JV Stalin there was a Russian version which could be translated into other languages for the benefit of Communists throughout the world. The task of Marxist-Leninist-Maoists to compile an accurate and comprehensive collection of the later writings of Chairman Mao Tse-tung was made more difficult, after his death in 1976, by the rapid pace with which the ‘Chinese Revisionists and Capitalist-roaders’ were able to seize the reigns of political and economic power in the country.

This page will (ultimately) contain all the available works of Joseph Stalin whether they be in compilations or published as individual pamphlets, and by a wide variety of groups and publishing houses throughout the world.

The 13 volumes that were published in Moscow by the Foreign Languages Publishing House between 1952 and 1955 have been scanned by the comrades at Marx2Mao – we thank then for their work and effort. These have been scanned in the pdf processed format which results in much smaller sized files but has the potential of introducing typographical errors – it is hoped that any such errors do not crucially effect the contents. Once all the scans have been added to the page there will be the opportunity to compare these volumes with some versions scanned in pdf image format. 

Volume 1 contains an interesting Preface, written by the author, where Comrade Stalin puts his writings in the early period into a personal, development, context as well as explaining the struggles that were going on in the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (later to become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks)). This Preface was written in January 1946 whilst the English edition didn’t appear until some time in 1952. Whether the original, Russian edition contained an Author’s Preface in subsequent volumes I don’t know. What is clear, however, is that what would have been a useful introduction to each volume doesn’t exist in the English edition. 

Also on this site you can find the Works of;

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

VI Lenin

Mao Tse-tung

Enver Hoxha.

For more on JV Stalin;

Biographies, Reminiscences and Appraisals

JV Stalin pamphlets, compilations, articles, correspondence and commentaries

The Collected Works

Volume 1 – 1901-107

Contents of Volume 1

Volume 2 – 1907-1913

Contents of Volume 2

Volume 3 – 1917 March-October     

Contents of Volume 3

Volume 4 – November 1917-1920

Contents of Volume 4

Volume 5 – 1921-1923

Contents of Volume 5

Volume 6 – 1924

Contents of Volume 6

Volume 7 – 1925

Contents of Volume 7

Volume 8 – January-November 1926

Contents of Volume 8

Volume 9 – December 1926-July 1927

Contents of Volume 9

Volume 10 – August-December 1927

Contents of Volume 10

Volume 11 – 1928-March 1929

Contents of Volume 11

Volume 12 – April 1929-June 1930

Contents of Volume 12

Volume 13 – July 1930-January 1934

Contents of Volume 13

There’s a compilation of the Table of Contents of these 13 ‘official’ volumes of Stalin’s Works, as well as Volume 14 that follows.

The ‘official’ collection stopped at 13 but that left three volumes not available in English – or other non-Soviet languages. One of those three, Vol.15, was to be the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks). It’s publication would have been a repeat as it had been published first in 1939 (in English) and in a number of other editions before the death of Stalin in 1953. That will be found below.

Volume 16 was to be a series of documents related to the Great Patriotic War – speeches, Orders of the Day, addresses to the people, etc. 

Volume 14 was due to cover the period 1934-1940 and, according to the Preface in Vol 1, would contain works ‘dealing with the struggle to complete the building of socialism in the USSR, with the creation of the new Constitution of the Soviet Union, and with the struggle for peace in the situation prevailing at the opening of the Second World War’.

However, this was the most economically and politically problematic period in the history of the USSR. Issues of collectivisation and industrialisation would determine the very nature of the Soviet Revolution. Also during this period the Party and its leadership had to resolve the manner in which Marxist-Leninists are to act when faced with an internal counter-revolution, as well as external military aggression and a generally hostile capitalist encirclement (even though those same imperialist states might find common ground with the Socialist state at a particular period of time).  

For reasons I have yet to understand even whilst Stalin was at the head of the Party there was an idea that material related to this period should not be made public. There must have been a vast amount of material, reports, documents which were discussed at innumerable meetings, etc., before the attack by the Hitlerites. All this must be somewhere but little has surfaced after the so-called ‘opening’ of the secret files.

Stalin was meticulous in the way he analysed a situation (like Lenin) and six years of his work in a few hundred pages is just not possible.

Volumes 1-13 were reproduced by a publishing house based in London in the early 1970s, Red Star Press. This was funded by Greek Marxist-Leninists at the time. They also produced a small number of other interesting documents about the ‘what-came-to-nothing’ resurgence of a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party in the Soviet Union. (Those documents will eventually appear on this blog.) What happened to Red Star Press and when I do not know. However, I thank them – 40 years in the future – for the work they did at the time. 

However, when it came to the ‘missing’ volumes they didn’t follow the original, Soviet plan. Volumes 14-16 contain a collection of writings, speeches, messages, orders and reports from 1934-1952 – but many of these documents were short and an invaluable resource for historians but lack depth for a greater understanding of the decisions made and the policy direction in the Soviet Union at the time. They appear below. One volume (17) contained the correspondence between Stalin and the US Presidents and UK Prime Ministers he had to deal with during the Great Patriotic War. That correspondence can be found on JV Stalin pamphlets, compilations, articles, correspondence and commentaries. Volume 18 was a reprint of the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks). This is reproduced below in an original 1939 FLPH edition.

Volume 14 – 1934-1940

Contents of Volume 14

Volume 15 – July 1941-November 1944

Contents of Volume 15

Volume 16 – November 1944-1952

Contents of Volume 16

History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks)

The History of the Party from its earliest days at the end of the 19th century until the just after the liquidation of the remnants of the Bukharin-Trotsky Gang of Spies at the time of the time of the adoption of the new Constitution in 1937.

Index of the History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks)

There was no Index included in the original book but a separate index was published by Lawrence and Wishart for the English edition.

On the Organization of Party Propaganda in Connection with the Publication of the History of the CPSU(B) Short Course – this was produced as a study guide to the History.

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The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians

A new look, and a new resident, to the National Art Gallery ‘Sculpture Park’, Tirana

The new group

More on Albania ……

A new look, and a new resident, to the National Art Gallery ‘Sculpture Park’, Tirana

The ‘Sculpture Park’ behind the National Art Gallery in Tirana, has a new resident. Well, not so much a new resident but one who has been there for a few years but it is only recently that the authorities at the Art Gallery have decided to, literally, take off the wraps and reveal his presence to the world. The new resident is none other than Enver Hoxha, up to his death in 1985, First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania, Chairman of the Democratic Front of Albania and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

A vandalised Enver Hoxha

A vandalised Enver Hoxha

However, the years since the neo-Fascist Counter-Revolution of 1990 have not been kind to the large sandstone bust of Comrade Enver. The fascist thugs who attacked this particular statue were not particularly efficient and all they succeeded in achieving is a somewhat radical nose job, with some scarring around the eyes and mouth. Unfortunately (to date) I have no idea of the provenance of this statue – not from where it originally was placed nor who the sculptor might have been.

Enver Hoxha - the nose always get attacked

Enver Hoxha – the nose always get attacked

The last time I was able to visit the ‘Sculpture Park’ was in the autumn of 2016 and at that time the bust was covered in a heavy, white tarpaulin. Local people I knew said that it was rumoured to be that of Enver Hoxha but as an outsider there was no way I was able to confirm or deny this.

Why the statue was even brought to this location in the first place is a bit of a mystery. If the thugs who attacked it (presumably in the early days of the counter-revolution, now almost 30 years ago) were not able to destroy it then such vandalism is well within the bounds of a modern state – which marches further and further, at each passing day, away from anything which Comrade Enver and the Party he led hoped for the people of their country. I think it’s quite amazing that it even exists at all. This is especially so in the present cultural environment where lapidars are being destroyed if they stand in the way of ‘modernisation’.

Independence comes at a price and eventually enough of the population of the country didn’t want to pay that price. Because the road was long, tortuous and hard they handed their country, their collective wealth and their fate into the hands of those who were quite happy to sell all of that to the highest bidder.

Having long been a thorn in the side of capitalism, especially the likes of Britain in Europe (who in the immediate post-WWII years considered Albania as tantamount to a British colony) those who were prepared to tear the country apart, regardless of the consequences for the people of the county, were not slow in coming forward.

Albanian Symbol and Leader

Albanian Symbol and Leader

Reactionary forces, both within the country and those who had been in effective exile since 1944, were promoted and through a series of social, political and economic manoeuvres, shenanigans and disasters virtually all those gains of Socialism were swept away. Industry and agriculture were effectively wiped out and even the savings of ordinary Albanians were stolen by mafia criminals through the likes of pyramid and ponzi schemes.

Enver would have be furious at the way the people were robbed of all they had achieved in 40 long, hard years of the construction of Socialism so perhaps it was best he had died before it all fell apart. As such the destruction of the country would not have happened if Enver had still been alive. What happened in Albania after the death of such a clear thinking leader is that which unites him to the two other great Marxist-Leninist thinkers and leaders with whom he now shares the not really salubrious location of the back entrance of the National Art Gallery.

The people of the nascent Soviet Union were fortunate that with the premature death of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in 1924 ( precipitated by an attempted assassin’s bullet in 1918) there was another strong willed, determined and fearless champion of the working class (and peasantry) waiting to take the country into an uncertain and dangerous future. That leader was Joseph Vassarionovich Stalin.

The 'Albanian' Uncle Joe and Comrade Enver

The ‘Albanian’ Uncle Joe and Comrade Enver

Now those three leaders are united in art in a way they never were in real life. And it is sad to say that although Enver has gone through the wars it is Vladimir Ilyich who has suffered the most since being removed from his plinth just a few metres from where he is now. With Lenin the reason for his shortage of limbs is more due to greed than political antagonism, which is the reason for Enver’s lack of nose. Many of the monuments throughout Albania have had those parts that are easy to saw off removed for the simple reason of being weighed in as scrap metal. On the other side of the coin it is Uncle Joe who has survived the best.

The 'Russian' Stalin

The ‘Russian’ Stalin

Both the black, distinctively Russian, Stalin, presented to the people of Albania by the Soviet Union just after the death of the great leader in 1953, and the equally distinctive Albanian Stalin (that almost certainly used to stand on a plinth outside the textile factory that bore his name in the town of Kombinat, to the west of Tirana along the ‘old’ road to Durres) are in an almost perfect condition. (This is also the town in which Comrade Enver is now buried after his removal from the National Martyrs’ Cemetery.)

Of the group Enver is also the only statue that is made of stone. This is a slight move away from the traditional lapidars throughout Albania and perhaps was a move that took place after Enver’s death in 1985. The overwhelming number of Albanian public statues are of bronze.

It is true that many of the early manifestations of the early lapidars were originally made of plaster but that was more to do with cost than anything else and many, like the Five Heroes of Vig, were replaced with bronze versions when the resources became available. A number of the really large lapidars, such as the Arch at Drashovich and the Berzhite monument were made of concrete. Carved stone is a rarity when it comes to such public sculpture.

As well as the addition of a new visitor the whole area now looks a lot less neglected than it did a few years ago. Considering it is the National Gallery, and therefore a supposed show case for the country, the back of the building looked more like what you would expect from a building due for demolition.

Firing from the mountains

Firing from the mountains

But the cleaning up of this area might also have something to do with the growing ‘regeneration’ of the central Tirana area. The central market is nothing like you would normally see in a Balkan country and has the sterile feeling of some of the markets in London – as well as higher prices and consequently fewer people.

The tragically neglected Dajt Hotel – which, by all accounts, was a masterpiece of Socialist Realist decoration which was just left to rot – is now under renovation. This means the general area is being cleaned up and that has spread over to the ‘Sculpture Park’.

Another change is that there’s no security guard always around to prevent the casual visitor from getting up close to these statues. It was one of my games in the past to get behind the guard without him realising – and then feigning ignorance when he eventually caught sight of me.

There’s also advantage of these statues being in their new location. You can actually get up really close and touch them, fell the texture of the metal, and now the stone, of the art works. You can see them from all sides and also appreciate how big these statues are. They were all originally designed to be standing atop a tall plinth. If the actual statues in that location were not much bigger than life size they would have seemed out of proportion. (Refer to debates about the proportions of the ‘David’ of Michaelangelo in Florence.) In the ‘Sculpture Park’ you truly look up to these giants of Communism.

Also, on this visit, I was able to see that the ‘Russian’ Stalin actually has been ‘signed’. This ‘discovery’ was not too pleasant. On many of the posts I have made in the recent past about Albanian lapidars I have made a point of stating that I like the idea the works of Socialist Realist sculpture weren’t signed. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that this started to change, as in the Martyrs’ Cemetery in Lushnje and the bas relief in Bajram Curri. I will have to look in to the way public statues were presented in the Soviet Union to see how this different approach developed – when I get the time.

The signature on the 'Russian' Stalin

The signature on the ‘Russian’ Stalin

But before leaving the ‘Sculpture Park’ I should not omit to make mention of the wonderful Liri Gero – the courageous Communist Partisan murdered by the German Fascists whilst she was still in her teens.

Liri Gero on her own

Liri Gero on her own

The Communist Heroine Liri Gero

The Communist Heroine Liri Gero

She still stands in the location she has held for a number of years – facing the group on the other side of the courtyard, alone, yet with a dignity and steadfastness that truly represents the young People’s Heroine. A young woman prepared to take up arms for her own liberation and for that of her country. Instead of being a ‘role model’ (the current ‘in’ term that’s used for shallow so-called ‘celebrities’) to young Albanian women I would doubt if many of them in their teens now would even know who she was. As a consequence their lives are likely to be as shallow as those of the celebrities they so admire.

If there were enough reasons to visit this ‘Sculpture Park’ in the past, the presence of Enver (the only public statue of him I’ve seen in the country) is yet another.

More on Albania ……