Nikita Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’ given at the Twentieth Party Congress in February 1956 denounced Josef Stalin for “[perverting] Party principles” by creating a “cult of the person of Stalin”. Though the term ‘cult of personality’ was coined in the 19th century, it was popularised in its use as a referral to Josef Stalin’s regime. For me, ‘cult of personality’ means the veneration of one omnipotent, infallible leader – a belief ingrained in society, visually and culturally. Autocratic totalitarianism, enshrined in propaganda. This article will take us through an analysis of how Stalin established and maintained a cult of personality, touching on how successful it was.
Establishing a ‘Cult of Personality’ – the legacy of autocracy
Looking backwards from the rule of Stalin, to Lenin and the Tsarist regime, it is clear that modern Russia had a history of autocratic rule, making it easier for Stalin to establish himself as…
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