Ideological Sociopath: Stalin Reads Machiavelli

joseph-stalinAuthor’s note: This essay is written in memory of Yelena Bonner (1923-2011) who, together with Andrei Sakharov and other heroic dissidents, held truth, dignity, and liberty as non-negotiable values.

At the end of the documentary film “Stalin Thought of You,” Stalin’s favorite cartoonist, Boris Efimov, over one hundred years old, brother of Bolshevik journalist Mihail Koltsov (killed during the Great Terror), who had been a friend of Hemingway and of Malraux, expresses his gratitude for not being executed like his sibling. But he adamantly refuses to unequivocally condemn Stalin: “He was not a man, he was a phenomenon.” Ilya Ehrenburg, another famous survivor of the Great Terror, most probably had similar thoughts on the subject. Explaining such situations, such human cataclysms, remains a moral and intellectual duty if we wish to avoid their repetition. The fact that so many Russians continue to worship Stalin’s memory is equally disconcerting, revolting, and revealing. But Stalin was not only a Russian phenomenon. Similarly to Hitler, he embodied, in an extreme and criminal fashion, modernity’s pathologies.  This is what I have in mind when, following Leszek Kolakowski’s line of thought, I talk about the presence of the Devil in History.

I know that it might sound shocking, but one cannot deny the fact that Stalin had a Weltanschauung and that he was, in his own way, an intellectual. A self-taught, homicidal, liberticidal, and fanatical one, but an intellectual nevertheless. Wasn’t Engels a self-taught philosopher as well? Similarly, one cannot ignore the affinities between Bolshevism and the tradition of political and philosophical radicalism, Russian and European. Marxism was the apotheosis of ethical relativism; it suspended traditional distinctions between good and evil, it defined the good in utilitarian fashion, instrumentally and pragmatically, as all that served the cause of a Messianic proletariat, the alleged redemptive class. In fact, this was a recipe for what Alain Besancon (echoing Vladimir Soloviev) coined as the falsification of the good. In several annotations, long kept secret, Stalin defined his own table of values, he signaled out what he considered vice (or, sin, if you want) and virtue.

In Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, the main character, an Old Bolshevik, Nikolai Rubashov, declares that “Number one” (Stalin) kept Machiavelli’s The Prince as his favorite night-table book. Here we are witnesses of a sui generis Machiavellianism, not the recognition and cultivation of the humanist dimension of the Florentine’s work.  Historian Robert Service was allowed access to Stalin personal library and he could check Lenin’s volume Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, the 1939 edition, with the annotations of the his “most faithful collaborator and disciple.” At that hour of history (il faisait minuit dans le siècle, wrote once Victor Serge), the general secretary had no significant rival. The Great Terror had reached its genocidal aims; a year later, Trotsky, his unforgivable nemesis, was assassinated in Coyoacan, Mexico, by the NKVD agent Ramon Mercader. In 1939, the Short Course of the History of CPSU (b) was published – the ultimate codification of the Stalinist cosmology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and demonology.

On the blank page at the end of Lenin’s volume (which in itself was a manifesto for a rudimentary philosophical materialism, equally naïve and aggressive), with no connection to the polemic between Bolshevism and epistemologists Mach or Avenarius, Stalin scribbled: “NB! If a person is: 1. Strong (spiritually), 2) active, 3) intelligent (or capable), then he is a good person regardless of other vices.” After this, the “coryphaeus of science” enumerates what he held to be vices: “1) weakness, 2) laziness, 3) stupidity.” This is all that Stalin writes; nothing about pride, egocentrism, cruelty, avarice, deceit, greed, hypocrisy, envy, infamy, rabid jealousy, or carnal sins. In this context, one is not amazed anymore of how Stalin ignored Nikolai Yezhov’s (homo)sexual orgies or the notorious transgressions perpetrated by Beria, a serial rapist. It is striking that in these lines, never meant for the public eye, Stalin adopts a traditional ethical vocabulary that he talks of virtues and vices. But it is in no way a rehabilitation, even as a mere intimate personal confession, of the Christian tradition, which he once studied at the Theological Seminary in Tbilisi. On the contrary!

Robert Service is right: “The content of the commentary is deeply unChristian; it is reminscent more of Niccolo Machiavelli and Friedrich Nietzsche than of the Bible. For Stalin the criterion of goodness was not morality but effectiveness. … Furthermore, the fact that the characteristics despised by Stalin were weakness, idleness and stupidity is revealing. Stalin the killer slept easily at night.” (Robert Service, Stalin: A Biography, Harvard University Press, 2004, p. 342) Rubashov, a former People’s Commissar, hero of the Revolution, “unmasked” as a traitor, imagined Stalin in similar fashion. Koestler himself, after his experiences during the Spanish Civil War, disenchanted with the show-trials in Moscow, resigned from the German’s Writers Union in exile, which was under complete communist control. The text of his letter of resignation is in fact the embryo of his great political novel that would later influence entire generations, truly becoming a anticommunist manifesto (to use the title of John V. Fleming’s excellent book).

It is only symptomatic that these reflections on what one could call Joseph Dzhugashvili’s personal anti-ethics were written down on the last page of a Lenin volume. Without Lenin, Dzhugashvili would have never morphed into Stalin. We don’t know if Stalin read Nietzsche, but we know that Lenin kept in his book-shelves Thus Spoke Zahathustra with his own notes. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal has written a superb book on the intellectual relationship between Bolshevism and Nietzsche, which I reviewed in Times Literary Supplement.

Gorki, Bodganov, Lunacharsky tried to reconcile Marx and Nietzsche, to establish a new political religion of the New Man as Übermensch. For Lenin, this was heresy not in terms of the overall goal of the project, but because of its mystical undertones. A no nonsense, uncompromising, single-minded revolutionary, with little patience for what he regarded as idle metaphysical squabbles, Lenin lambasted the Bolshevik God-seekers in the name of Marxist rationalism. Service remarked, and he is not the first to do so, that Stalin had his own copy of The Prince, with personal annotations on the sides, but the copy disappeared from the archives. Where might it be now? Maybe in the book-shelves of one of Russia’s oligarchs. There are authors who claim that Hitler owned a copy of this book as well, and that he was particularly fond of it. The Marxist Gnostic, Antonio Gramsci, referring to Lenin’s vanguard party, called it admiringly “the modern Prince”. Marxism thus turned into a sociology of revolutionary will and virtue embodied in the redemptive image of a Party, the predestined repository of absolute truth.

According to Stalin, courage was the cardinal value that ennobled and justified human action regardless of the latter’s finality. Service writes:

“His insistence on the importance of courage could have derived from Machiavelli’s supreme demand on the ruler: namely that he should have vertù. This is a word barely translatable into either Russian or English; but it is identified with manliness, endeavor, courage, and excellence. Stalin, if this is correct, saw himself as the embodiment of Machiavelian vertù.” (p. 343).

He was a paranoid and sociopathic despot, who projected himself in those heroes who changed the fate of the world, who believed himself on the same level with builders of empires and religions. Projecting himself obsessively into these empire-builders, he became one.

Turning ends into absolutes and the exaltation of violence did not begin though with Stalin. Revolutionary Machiavellianism, to use E. A. Rees’s concept, comes close to both visions equally cynical and fanatical about “metapolitics” (see Peter Viereck’s classical study), about the Romanticization, re-enchantment of the world by way of myth, community, self-abandonment and sacrifice. Metapolitics emphasizes the centrality of myth in all human experience. I don’t believe that in Stalin’s case we encounter a vertu, in the real sense of the concept, as it was used by Machiavelli. I don’t agree with Bertrand Russell, who once called The Prince a “handbook for gangsters.” But it is true that ideological gangsters know how to twist and disfigure a philosophical text so that what was previously envisioned as a glorification of civic virtue converts into the justification of cynical non-virtue.

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  • Chezwick

    "I know that it might sound shocking, but one cannot deny the fact that Stalin had a Weltanschauung and that he was, in his own way, an intellectual."

    I believe it was Carr who compared Stalin, Trotsky, and their respective intellects. He called Trotsky 'polished Zircon", while Stalin was "a diamond in the rough." On the other hand, he quoted a party official from the revolutionary period who referred to Stalin as a "gray blur".

    My take is that Stalin was an intellectual mediocrity, at least insofar as original thinking goes. He mostly borrowed from the theories of his rivals. Where his genius was all too apparent was as a study of human nature….Stalin knew what buttons to push, when to attack, when to retreat, etc. And perhaps as much as any figure in history since Muhammad, he understood the utility of political murder.

  • Chezwick

    As far as ideology goes, it was the pursuit of power that directed Stalin's ideological compass, He sided with Bukarine's policy of conciliation with the peasantry and Nepmen in order to defeat Trotsky, and then adopted Trotsky's collectivization schemes in order to defeat Bukarine.

    That Stalin remained a collectivist from then on, to the end, is easy to understand. Total collectivization was the mechanism which allowed him to extend his megalomaniacal reach into every nook and cranny of society.

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      But as a military leader, Uncle Joe wasn't very effective. He sat on his hands for several months, after Hitler's June 22, 1941 invasion, allowing the Wehrmacht to overrun most of the Ukraine, lay siege to St. Petersburg,(the "900 days")and penetrate into the Urals. What accounts for that?

      • reader

        "He sat on his hands for several months, after Hitler's June 22, 1941 invasion"

        This is a myth, a complete fabrication. Stalin was very busy for a long time before and after June 22, 1941, by which time he had already occupied most of East Europe. In fact, his visitor's log published in early 90s attest to the fact that he worked around the clock on the eve and in the wake of Wehrmacht invasion. In the Fall of 1941, Stalin himself explained the RKKA collapse to Harriman by acknowledging that his troops won't fight for the world revolution, but he hoped that they would for Mother Russia.

        • AnOrdinaryMan

          The book you cite below, by V. Suvorov, is very interesting–that Uncle Joe was attempting to use Nazi aggression against France & England, as a way to weaken his opponents; so that the Soviets could then step in, defeat Germany, and conquer Europe. And eventually, the USSR did come to dominate much of Europe. Nevertheless, the Red Army wasn't ready for Hitler's invasion; else how could they have allowed the Wehrmacht to penetrate so far into Russia, and conquer so much of it? Was that part of the plan, too?

          • reader

            Good questions. Suvorov argues that The RKKA doctrine simply excluded any defensive posture altogether. On both strategic and operational levels, RKKA deployment was purely offensive in nature, and thus vulnerable in case of a preemptive counterstrike. There're other perspectives on the reasons for the RKKA collapse. E.g., Mark Solonin provided exhaustive research of the root causes of the collapse. He points out at inadequate command and control and poor morale resulting in mass desertion and outright rout – which is what Stalin confided to Harriman about. But he too points out at the unquestionably offensive preparations and deployment patterns of the RKKA.

          • tagalog

            AND kill more than 3 million Red Army troops in six months and God knows how many civilians, penetrate to Stalingrad, and threaten Stalin to the point where he ordered Moscow depopulated.

      • Chezwick

        Stalin had decimated his military leadership during the Great Purge (1937-38). He had thought his pact with Hitler had eliminated his external dangers. It was a gigantic miscalculation….one predicated – I believe – on the fact that Stalin understood Russia, the Soviet Communist Party, and the thinking and inclinations of his close comrades….much better than he understood the outside world. He certainly understood the methodologies of inter-party bureaucratic maneuvering better than he did military strategy and tactics.

        Interestingly, there is a belief that in the days after Hitler's invasion of Russia, Stalin went into a funk and retreated to his dacha, certain that his comrades were about to arrest him. When they finally showed up begging for his leadership, the story goes, he regained his nerve.

        I've never believed it. It's well known Stalin had the telephones of his subordinates tapped. I believe he spent those days monitoring the conversations of his comrades,..trying to ascertain who might be plotting against him in the extraordinary conditions facing the country. Fortunately for him, the atmospherics and bloodletting of the Great Purge had so thoroughly cowed and conditioned those under him that any independent initiative on their part was unthinkable.

        • reader

          "He had thought his pact with Hitler had eliminated his external dangers."

          Two comments: we don't really know what he had thought. We can only read what he had said and try to connect the dots. Also, the Pact eliminated a sizable buffer – Poland – between him and his supposed external danger personified by Hitler. I don't believe Stalin to be so dumb that he thought that by eliminating the buffer between him and Hitler he also elimintated the danger posed by Hitler. I recommend this for you to get a different perspective on what had been going on:
          http://www.amazon.com/The-Chief-Culprit-Stalins-D

          • Chezwick

            Certainly Stalin knew Hitler had his sights on Poland….and that Russia was soon going to border Germany one way or the other. He opted for the Pact and got half of Poland in the process (as well as the Baltic countries). I don't think Stalin had any illusions about Hitler's word, but – just as your link says – he figured Hitler, France and Britain would be slugging it out in bloody conflict and that Russia would be in a position to pick up the European pieces in the aftermath.

            What Stalin didn't count on was France's rapid defeat. Once that had occurred, he desperately tried to stave off German aggression by adhering scrupulously to the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, all the while watching Hitler repeatedly violate it. In its initial stages, the Pact was a monument to Stalin's diplomatic acuity and vision, but events quickly rendered it irrelevant…and was German invasion was imminent, it was obvious Uncle Joe had no plan B.

          • reader

            "Russia was soon going to border Germany one way or the other"

            It's at best debatable, and at worst unlikely that Hitler would invade Poland without securing the Pact with Stalin, especially after Hitler repeatedly had emphasized avoidance of multi-front war as the absolute necessity for Germany.

            "Once that had occurred, he desperately tried to stave off German aggression by adhering scrupulously to the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, all the while watching Hitler repeatedly violate it"

            Stalin's occupatiuon of Bukovina and Bessarabia in the summer of 1940 was a direct violation of the Pact. But – more importantly – it put Hitler's largest oil supply route from Romania within a hundred kilometers from RKKA tank columns.

          • Chezwick

            "Stalin's occupatiuon of Bukovina and Bessarabia in the summer of 1940 was a direct violation of the Pact. But – more importantly – it put Hitler's largest oil supply route from Romania within a hundred kilometers from RKKA tank columns."

            Good point. I should have quantified my timeline. Once it was apparent that Hitler had abandoned operation Sea Lion and was focusing his efforts on the Balkans (early '41), this is when Stalin began his scrupulous adherence to the pact….and protested only feebly with each new violation by Germany.

            The cream of Stalin's officer corps had been decimated by the purges (particularly his Marshals and Generals)….and he new his military would need time to be rebuilt. It's probable that this reality is one of the primary reasons that compelled Hitler to redirect his attention away from the difficult air war over Britain….and to the easy pickings of the western plains of Russia.

          • Chezwick

            PS – There is an interesting narrative about the Russian people in WW2….that they welcomed it as a "great, purifying storm". They were exhausted from the depredations of collectivization and the Yezhovschina….and thought that in war, they could prove their loyalty to the regime and be spared any further oppression. Of course, such sentiments didn't necessarily translate to the Ukraine…where Great Russian chauvinism hadn't been tamed by the Revolution….and where the horrors of collectivization were particularly acute.

            Robert Conquest's 'Harvest of Sorrow' brilliantly documents that infamous chapter in Soviet history.

          • reader

            "Once it was apparent that Hitler had abandoned operation Sea Lion and was focusing his efforts on the Balkans (early '41), this is when Stalin began his scrupulous adherence to the pact….and protested only feebly with each new violation by Germany."

            Not quite. First of all, the last squable over the interpretations of what exacly the Pact meant for whom ended with Molotov's visit to Berlin in November of 1940, when he brought even more unreasonable demands from Hitler's stand point, particularly with respect to Finland, Turkey and Bulgaria. Consequently, Hitler issued Directive 21 (The Barbarossa Directive) in the matter of days. But not before Stalin had begun reviewing Vasilevsky's "Considerations for Strategic Deployment," which he had been doing at least since August of 1940.

          • Chezwick

            My congratulations on your in-depth knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Historical expertise is becoming increasingly rare these days as technology seems to have long superseded the humanities in interest and import. It's nice to encounter an obviously informed soul in such a routine manner.

            My interests in the era were less on war and diplomacy than on Kremlinology itself. I suppose the attraction began in my teens and was based on the "know thy enemy" maxim as it applied to the Cold War. Why squander one's intellectual energies on subject matter that is of only marginal relevance…when an existential threat was staring us in the face at the time?…(the same impetus has compelled me to learn as much as I can about Islam since the early 90s).

            But it's not just that Communism and Islam were/are perceived enemies, it is the particulars of these ideologies, the monstrous polities and policies they created, and the bizarre indulgence of them in our academic world. Reading about the horrors of collectivization, where cannibalism reared its ugly head among the peasantry at the very time that Stalin was exporting grain….or the Great Purge, where the NKVD was given arrest-quotas region-by-region and 99% of those swept up in the conveyor-belt of arrest-torture-execution were never anything but loyal to the regime,.. is more hair-raising than any Steven King novel could ever be.

            And today, a modern incarnation of Stalinism in all its infamy exists in North Korea, where people starve to death while the regime constructs nuclear weapons and long-range delivery vehicles.

            It's extremely hard to be sanguine about the future prospects for the human race. Is it possible that someone such as yourself can offer a credible philosophical/historical perspective that might be grounds for optimism?

          • reader

            The biggest problem I see even with those who fundamentally agree that Marxism is evil is that they still compartmentalize its history. Even they acquiesce to Orwellian language genuinely using terms like Collectivization and Industrialization without understanding what those terms actually meant. But my optimism stems from my memories of the early eighties, when I vividly remember thinking that the world was going to hell. And then, one day, the Evil Empire pretty much succumbed and surrendered to the natural law.

          • Chezwick

            "The biggest problem I see even with those who fundamentally agree that Marxism is evil is that they still compartmentalize its history. Even they acquiesce to Orwellian language genuinely using terms like Collectivization and Industrialization without understanding what those terms actually meant."

            I was wondering if you could elaborate on that.

          • reader

            Well, it's kind of simple, when one genuinely tries to see the forest from the trees. By the end of 1930s, the only tangible result of the titanic inhuman efforts widely known as Collectivization and Industrialization was the vast quantities of the most sophisticated for the time weaponry and munitions. On June 1, 1941, RKKA had 20 thousand tanks; 3.6 thousand of light amphibious tanks and 3 thousand of armored vehicles with 45 mm cannons – an equivalent of what Wehrmacht counted as tanks for two thirds of its rolling fleet at the time; 8.3 thousand fighter air craft in just western military districts; 20 thousand 81 mm mortars; 15 thousand 75 mm cannons; 8 thousand 105 mm howitzers and 6 thousand 150 mm howitzers. Most people – and I'm talking about those who were not imprisoned in the GULAG – lived in subpar conditions and lacked basic necessities of life. Do your math.

          • Chezwick

            You seem to be saying that terms "collectivization" and 'industrialization" were window-dressing for the militarization of the economy. No one could credibly argue otherwise.

            But collectivization was not just the "war-time" (using the term loosely, since it predated the war by a decade) confiscation of the wealth of the peasantry, as had happened innumerable times in every corner of the globe throughout history as despots and potentates had to feed armies and finance their wars. Collectivization was an enduring transformation in the administration of agricultural production, one that out-lived not only the war, but Stalin himself.

            The real legacy of collectivism, aside from the brutalities of its advent, was systemic agricultural under-performance. It cost Khrushchev his job as he failed in his clumsy and often counter-productive reform attempts. It was also a major impetus for the Soviet policy of detente in the 70s, when Brezhnev needed imported grain from the West to feed his people.

            Lastly, the term also has relevance that PRE-dated Stalin's implementation….specifically, in the internal debates that raged inside the upper-echelons of the Party in the mid 1920s, debates in which the need for heavy-industry and the fear of capitalist encirclement were certainly relevant to the discussion, but no more so than the ideological allure of the common ownership of land and production.

            Anyways, that's one way of looking at it.

          • reader

            Suvorov made a strikingly good point – not in this book – but somewhere else. The point was that Stalin's version of Marxism was a milder one. He had Communism with its labor armies and other pleasantries confined to GULAG, which directly affected only a portion of the population. Marx envisioned it everywhere. So, what your modern marxist professor next door would tell you is that Stalin was not a "true Marxist", and that he settled for the "Socialism in One Country" doctrine, and that his international Communism ideology regressed into the nationalist one. When, in fact, the former had been a ruse, a time buying scheme in never ending pursuit of the world revolution. Even late Volkogonov, one of the Soviet "official historians," admitted that the Soviet leadership never shed Comintern mentality. And the latter was the result of the catastrophe of 1941. Stalin was forced to temporary replace Comintern aspirations with the Russian nationalist ones to save his regime. And Hitler would help him do so by conducting a brutal genocide of his own.

          • reader

            I've tried a longer answer, and it's being approved :) But, to your point about the capitalist encirclement: it was Lenin who as early as in 1920 pledged to destroy the Versailles Treaty and defeat European democracies, when Hitler had not even emerged on political scene.

  • vladtepes2

    This article is interesting, important and something I don't often see. A look at history from the point of view of philosophy. Thank you Mr Tismaneanu.

  • Rostislav

    Yes, Stalin WAS an intellectual, I have no doubts about it. So what? It was an intellect without a grain of conscience, an inhuman one. That is, the monster knew perfectly well what conscience is, and how it influences the normal humans, and he used this knowledge quite fruitfully, but, again: what's for me in his intellectualism? It's the same as to say "Cancer has an intellect of its own" – maybe, but for me the main thing is to stop the cancer, to kill him as quickly as it's only possible, be it extremely intellectual or 100% dumb. Alas, no way: both cancers and intellectual leaders without conscience are as abundant around us as in the accursed thirties… Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

  • Kevin Stroup

    I have noticed a tendency to admire ruthless people who "succeed" in achieving their goals in all cultures. People venerate Stalin and Mao, the two most profligate butchers in history. Why? Because they did whatever they wanted to do, and got away with it. I suspect, we all wish we could do that. But we would end up like those two men. Butchers. We are not angels. We are humans. Terribly flawed humans at that. We do not have a "governor" on our thirst for power and control like an engine does for its thirst to always run faster. Combined with total power the result is horrible. That is why giving any person or group of persons too much power always results in catastrophe.

  • Questions

    Nobody disputes the rottenness of Stalin's character. But to condemn him because he enthusiastically read Machiavelli is taking things too far. Everyone with political instincts has read Machiavelli at some time or another. He is the father of modern political philosophy, for God's sake. Is Henry Kissinger, as pure a Machiavellian as the late 20th-century has produced, somehow a "Stalinist?" Michael Ledeen not too long ago wrote a book in praise of Machiavelli. Is he a totalitarian as well?

    • tismaneanu

      "Ideological gangsters know how to twist and disfigure a philosophical text so that what was previously envisioned as a glorification of civic virtue converts into the justification of cynical non-virtue." This is the meaning of the article. Nobody condemns Stalin for reading Machiavelli. Nobody denies that Machiavelli was a great political philosopher. If you have time and interest, please read the text. I discuss here Stalin's understanding of notions such as vice and virtue. No more and no less.

  • Jim

    During a time when the top Communists fought for power by any means possible Stalin's ruthlessness was actually prudence on his part.

    Trotsky wanted power and was also ruthless. Stalin beat him to the punch.
    Stalin claimed Trotsky was a left wing deviationist. (of all things)

    Stalin was a careful observer of Kremlin politics. He only took preemptive action .
    Nothing he did was for the fun of it.
    The same was not true for Beria. ; He did enjoy himself

    Stalin Used Jews to control the Ukraine.Poland and other countries including as advisors to Chang Ki -Shek
    He did so not because he liked Jews. He was again just being prudent. He realized that the a person who was" "of the country "might not be willing to carry out ruthless orders. He figured the Jews had been so badly treated in those countries they might be much more willing. Besides it deflected the anger away from the Russians.( at least that is what Stalin thought)
    He had a fear of losing and did psychopathic stuff to survive. Oddly he trusted Hitler.

    • reader

      "Stalin Used Jews to control the Ukraine."

      Really? I've just looked up rosters for the Ukraine Party and Government officials. Of about two dozen Communist Party Central Committee General, First and Acting Party Secretaries, two – Kaganovitch and Kon – had Jewish roots. Of about another two dozen Second Secretaries just one – Khatayevitch – had Jewish roots. Of about three dozen Sovnarkom and other executive officials, none had Jewish roots. All in all, I'd say that the percent of Jewish officials in Ukraine under Stalin does not look disproportionate, given the fact that Ukraine had long been the biggest part of the mandatory Pale of Settlement for the Jewish subjects of Romanovs.

  • PAthena

    Machiavelli's Prince was a satire, an attack on the Borgias.

  • Maxie

    Stalin was a paranoid narcissist – the product of a physically abusive father and a mother of questionable virtue. What drove Stalin was nothing more than pathologically-driven revenge against a world that allow what happened to him. To get revenge one needs power and that's what drives people such as Stalin and Obama.

  • Ghostwriter

    I've never been a big fan of Stalin. In fact,he was just as bad as Hitler was. I remember hearing in a documentary about the struggle between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany,that some years after the war was over,he had one of his favorite actresses thrown in jail for falling in love with an American. For all the atrocities this guy did,this was strictly minor league,but still in keeping with this creep's character.