What Extent Do You Agree with This Statement?

“As a leader of Russia, Stalin achieved great success between 1924~1939. ” To what extent do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. I agree to the statement to a large extent. A leader is a person who stands out different from other ordinary people with main ideal characteristics of having aggressiveness in speech and action and love for people and of being able to cope with problems and find a solution to it.

Stalin had two of the qualities of being aggressive in speech and action, and being able to present a solution in difficult situation, but his passion for his people was minimal. These traits of his as a leader influenced how he achieved successes, such as consolidating his rule over Soviet Union and achieving significant economical development, or resulted in failure, such as huge human cost involved, between 1924~1939. Stalin was politically an aggressive orator and a ruthless dictator.

These characteristics of him enabled him to secure his position as the leader of Russia and establish totalitarian rule over Russia. Stalin formed a new constitution for the Soviet Union which seemed democratic outwardly but in fact was his own backyard where everything was under Stalin’s or the Central Committee of the Communist Party’s rule. Furthermore, he embarked on a policy of purges in which many oppositions and rivals were executed mercilessly.

Kamenev and Zinoviev were just few of his potential rivals that were executed after a pretend “show trial” and some were even believed to be assassinated. Through all these ruthless measures taken with his aggressive personality, Stalin had achieved his ultimate goal of steering he and his Communist Party to total control of Russia. Stalin also had a vision of his own and was able to produce solutions according to his vision in difficult situations and this helped him to achieve great economical development in short period of time.

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In 1931, Stalin prophesied – correctly as it turned out – that Russia had 10 years to modernise before it was attacked. Stalin wanted Soviet Union to be strong industrially as it would be more prepared to resist invasions and be more powerful than other Western countries. Thus, Stalin announced collectivisation, where larger farm is formed by gathering tiny farms in each village and more advanced agricultural machineries were used, to create an efficient and modernised farming environment.

In order to further aid in progress in economics by expanding industries and industrial production, Stalin also introduced a series of Five-Year Plans. It enabled rapid expansion of heavy industries, such as coal, iron, steel and power, modernisation of existing industries and formation of new industries with foreign experts employed. It also exercised tight control over labour force by setting production targets for each factory and harsh punishments for poor absence and workmanship.

Through Stalin’s economic policies, in long term, both grain and industrial production increased by manifold and almost full employment was achieved. Therefore, Stalin’s Stalin could prevent Russia’s economical collapse economy and instead developed Russia as a country with one of the strongest economy. However, one characteristic Stalin lacked as a leader was love for his people which reflected negatively on his ruling of Russia. His people’s, especially the peasants’, deaths were none of his concern and thus his little care for his people led to poor quality of life for people.

As a result of his economic plans, there was large influx of people from the countryside and the towns and cities were unable to cope, resulting in break out of slums and poor living and working conditions. Production of consumer goods was also forgone to accommodate the concentration on heavy industry. The forced and harsh nature of his ruling and plans also incurred extremely high human cost. For example, due to resist against collectivisation, peasants burned their crops and killed their livestock.

This resulted in widespread famine, especially in Ukraine where more than 7 million died of starvation. Furthermore, to eliminate resistance, estimated 10 million Kulaks were executed. This shows how merciless Stalin was towards his people, particularly to those who oppose him. As such, Stalin’s uncompassionate feeling towards his people made him blind to all those human cost involved in his policies and caused much hate directed towards Stalin.

To sum up, Stalin was in fact a great leader who achieved great success between 1924~1939 with his strong visions, totalitarian rule and economic policies. However, there are other side of the coin where by his lack of love for his people caused great human cost. From here, one can realise that though much developmental and economical successes have been achieved through his totalitarian ruling and economic plans as evident from the fact that under Stalin’s rule, Russia became the second largest economically powerful country then.

However, due to his lack of compassion and forced nature of the way he carried out his plan, he achieved little on improvement of social conditions and his people’s quality of life and had failed to win over the heart of his people. Still it is undeniable that Stalin was one of the most memorable leaders, not only in Russia, but also in the world for his achievements mentioned above that lasted till the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991.

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