JV Stalin – Biographies, Reminiscences and Appraisals

Generalissimo Stalin

Generalissimo Stalin

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The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians

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

Stalin, sixty years, M Kalinin, FLPH, Moscow, 1939, 98 pages. Published to celebrate Stalin’s sixtieth birthday.

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.’

Stalin – man and ruler, Robert H McNeal, Macmillan, London, 1988, 389 pages.

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.)

A pictorial history of Joseph Stalin, Nigel Blundell, Sunburst Books, London, 1996, 96 pages. [The text and captions are banal but the pictures are good.]

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.

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The Great ‘Marxist-Leninist’ Theoreticians