The Leader Cult in Communist Dictatorship: Stalin and the Eastern Bloc
Balázs Apor, Jan C. Behrends, Polly Jones, E. A. Rees
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This is the first book to analyze the distinct leader cults that flourished in the era of "High Stalinism" as an integral part of the system of dictatorial rule in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Fifteen studies explore the way in which these cults were established, their function and operation, their dissemination and reception, the place of the cults in art and literature, the exportation of the Stalin cult and its implantment in the communist states of Eastern Europe, and the impact which de-Stalinisation had on these cults.
location and fate of Illés’ personal documents are both obscure, primary sources from party and state archives are only occasionally used. The narrative construction of the cult of Rákosi: passages from a novel ‘A Soviet airplane!’ shouted some hundred Hungarians. ‘One of us, ours!’ shouted five or six honvéds [soldiers].1 A package fell out of the plane. As it fell, it broke up into thousands and thousands of pieces. Thousands and thousands of white pigeons were gliding over the heads of the
and Rákosi’s early nationalist ‘vocations’. Already in their early childhood they were portrayed as enthusiasts of national liberation cults, such as the one around Ferenc Rákóczi, the eighteenth-century freedom fighter, and around the heroes of the 1848 revolution.14 Both Illés and Rákosi were active participants in the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919. Their contributions, however, were exaggerated retrospectively, according to the general pattern of official party functionaries’ biographies.
October 1930. RGASPI, 558/11/765. 68a. 38. Ordzhonikidze to Stalin, 9 October 1930. RGASPI, 558/11/778. 43. 39. A. I. Mikoyan, Tak bylo: Razmyshleniya o minuvshem (Moscow, 1999), p. 292; Stalin to Molotov, 24 August 1930, Kvashonkin et al., Stalinskoe Politbyuro, p. 119; Sheila Fitzpatrick, ‘Ordzhonikidze’s Takeover of Vesenkha: a Study of Soviet Bureaucratic Politics’, Soviet Studies, 37: 2 (April 1985), pp. 153–72. 40. Stalin to Molotov, 6 August 1930, Stalin’s Letters, pp. 200–1; Stalin to
(unpublished DPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 2002) esp. chapters 3 and 4, for more information on de-Stalinising school textbooks. 53. ‘Chto kasaetsya Khrushcheva/On dovolen ot dushi’: S. Mikhalkov, ‘Bud’ gotov!’, Sobranie sochinenii, 1, (Moscow, 1963) pp. 320–9. 54. Tumarkin, Lenin Lives!, p. 260. 55. A. I. Ulyanova, Detstvo i otrochestvo V. I. Lenina (1955). In the post-Stalin era, too, it was customary to hold admissions to the Pioneers in Lenin museums and other such Lenin-commemorative
self-confidence of the German communists. Being a technically advanced apparatus, the planetarium stood for supreme German craftsmanship that was – possibly – even superior to Soviet technology. Therefore, the gift implicitly questioned the Stalinist dogma of absolute Soviet superiority.47 The celebration of Stalin’s birthday in the GDR’s provincial cities was organised according to instructions from Berlin, using material the Soviets had provided through VOKS.48 A newly composed Stalin cantata