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Posts tagged "Stalin"


Another Week Ends: Stalin, The Confession App, Forgotten Rights, Exercise Widows, Elton and Billy, Dummies and Clowns

1. A thoughtful if gruesome review on Slate of Timothy Synder’s new book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin which delves into the perennial question of the relative evil of the two dictators’ crimes. The measurement of evil is a tough question – the Sermon on the Mount notwithstanding (…) – even when cannibalism isn’t […]

Perfect Power Casts Out All Love: Joseph Stalin, Behavior Modification and Christmas

Two excerpts from the biography Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore chronicling the early religious education of Joseph Stalin: The Empire’s seminaries were “notorious for the savagery of their customs, medieval pedagoguery, and law of the fist,” comments [Leon] Trotsky. “All the vices banned by the Holy Scriptures flourished in this hotbed of piety.” The […]

Stalin, the Will and the Inability to Change

From Robert Conquest’s “Stalin, Breaker of Nations” (mentioned in Mockingbird’s interview with Whit Stillman). One of [Stalin’s] outstanding characteristics was, in many respects, a profound mediocrity melded with a superhuman will-power. It is as though he had a very ordinary brain, but with some lobes extravagantly over-developed, like the horrible skulls in Dali’s early paintings. […]