Before reading the novel, “Great dictators” I thought that nothing would serve as an excuse for putting millions of innocent people to death but some feelings concentrated in the human gut force us to push limits, both in a positive and negative sense. It is only on our death bed that we realize whether whatever we did in life was right or wrong. So here is the summary, Stalin’s real name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (clearly such a name would never fit in an asset OMR sheet, hence the name Stalin maybe).
While he was a child he saw Lenin grow to power and saw the birth of Bolsheviks. He was absolutely against the Tsar’s policies. He gave up religion and became an atheist like me, with a sole goal of making USSR a communist state where all men live equally, unlike me. A few months after he met Lenin, he was exiled for life. But he was lucky because the government which put him there was overthrown. Of course he had escaped a few prisons and camps here and there before but this time even he had lost all hope of ever getting out of the camp. Stalin had an outstanding memory and with the help of Lenin he made it to the top level of government. But he got luckier Lenin got shot. He took advantage of this situation and did something which changed his and millions of other peoples lives forever. He told his only competitor in the government a false date of Lenin’s funeral. As his competitor didn’t appear on the funeral he became very unpopular in the party. Lenin was the one who gave Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili the name Stalin but Stalin was the one who benefited from Lenin’s death the most. I heard somewhere, “What do men with power want? More power!” this line is definitely true for Stalin after Lenin’s death. He led the country with two more people but decided to dump them for two smarter people. But then he got bored of those two and thought of dumping them and running the government alone. Stalin became the worlds most powerful man and apparently a man with a bright future in real estate with over 22.4 million square km of land under his rule. He punished all those who didn’t accept to give their land and property to the state and he sent the defaulters entire families to the worst concentration camps of USSR. He reduced food supply to an extent that death was certain if sent to any concentration camp. The population was starving and in such a condition he passed a law to punish those who stole food. He neither spared children nor women. If someone stole a handful of something like wheat, he or she was exiled to camps with no food and no warmth.
He went on war with Germany which was under Hitler at that time. He killed the army generals, his partners in old government and was shocked when millions in his red army died. He ultimately won the war because German soldiers couldn’t bear the -90 degree Fahrenheit temperature of northern USSR but all said then or were forced to say then, “We are alive due to Stalin.” His marriage life was not any different than his public life ‘dull’. His second wife committed suicide after an argument with him in a party, after this incident he lost interest in family. When his son shot himself and didn’t die he said, “you couldn’t even do this properly.” His son was captured by Hitler’s army but Stalin never bothered to try to negotiate for his son. Stalin became a heavy smoker but was not much of a drinker. He was living in Kremlin when he died. When he didn’t come out of his room for 2 days and gave no order for food a worried servant entered his room. He found him in a pool of urine. The doctors helped him on the third day, they claimed he was extremely drunk and saving him is not possible. According to his daughter,” watching him die was painful!” After I read the novel I couldn’t help but conclude that he tried to push the communist idea so hard that he killed millions trying and killed himself trying because only a fool would believe he was not poisoned. It is weird that almost all cruel dictators have some things in common. Many were married more than once because their wives killed themselves. Many did crazy things like pretending they were talking to someone else and in case of many dictators, those who told others the vulgar things that the dictators did, disappeared. I personally think that cruel dictators were influential, crazy people who could go to any extent to get what they want. In modern day according to me we call such people terrorists.
There is no specific conclusion to this blog but it truly disturbs me when I think of the agony people have suffered for thousands of years due to bad rulers. We are truly fortunate to live in a country like India where you can say anything, eat anything, believe in anything, learn anything (well almost anything) and no one cares, at least the government doesn’t.