Stalinism is the means of governing and Marxist–Leninist policies implemented in the Soviet Union from 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin. It included the creation of a one-party totalitarian police state, rapid industrialization, the theory of socialism in one country, collectivization of agriculture, intensification of class conflict, a cult of personality,[1][2] and subordination of the interests of foreign communist parties to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, deemed by Stalinism to be the leading vanguard party of communist revolution at the time.[3] After Stalin's death and the Khrushchev Thaw, de-Stalinization began in the 1950s and 1960s, which caused the influence of Stalin’s ideology begin to wane in the USSR. The second wave of de-Stalinization started during Mikhail Gorbachev’s Soviet Glasnost.

Joseph Stalin, after whom Stalinism is named.

Stalin's regime forcibly purged society of what it saw as threats to itself and its brand of communism (so-called "enemies of the people"), which included political dissidents, non-Soviet nationalists, the bourgeoisie, better-off peasants ("kulaks"),[4] and those of the working class who demonstrated "counter-revolutionary" sympathies.[5] This resulted in mass repression of such people and their families, including mass arrests, show trials, executions, and imprisonment in forced labour and concentration camps known as gulags.[6] The most notorious examples were the Great Purge and the Dekulakization campaign. Stalinism was also marked by militant atheism, mass anti-religious persecution,[7][8] and ethnic cleansing through forced deportations.[9] However, there was a short era of reconciliation between the Orthodox Church and the state authorities in WW2.[10] Some historians, such as Robert Service, have blamed Stalinist policies, particularly the collectivization policies, for causing famines such as the Holodomor.[7] Other historians and scholars disagree on the role of Stalinism.[11]

Officially designed to accelerate development towards communism, the need for industrialization in the Soviet Union was emphasized because the Soviet Union had previously fallen behind economically compared to Western countries and that socialist society needed industry to face the challenges posed by internal and external enemies of communism.[12] Rapid industrialization was accompanied by mass collectivization of agriculture and rapid urbanization, which converted many small villages into industrial cities.[13] To accelerate the development of industrialization, Stalin imported materials, ideas, expertise, and workers from western Europe and the United States,[14] pragmatically setting up joint-venture contracts with major American private enterprises such as the Ford Motor Company, which, under state supervision, assisted in developing the basis of the industry of the Soviet economy from the late 1920s to the 1930s. After the American private enterprises had completed their tasks, Soviet state enterprises took over.

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