Stalinism is a political theory of how to construct socialism and eventually construct a communist society. The theory gets its name from Josef Stalin and the policies he implemented in the USSR during his reign. The central tenets of Stalinism are state terror, authoritarian rule, rapid industrialization, agricultural collectivization, socialism in one country, and subordination of the goals of communist parties outside of the USSR.

State Terror

In the 1930s, Stalin began increasingly paranoid about up and coming Marxist Sergei Kirov. Kirov was assassinated, and there is still historical debate on Stalin's involvement. Regardless of who was at fault, Stalin used the Kirov assassination to launch a series of show trials that painted prominent members of the October Revolution such as Leon Trotsky, Gregori Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev as counter-revolutionaries. Zinoviev and Kamenev were executed, Trotsky was exiled. Article 58 was used primarily by the various USSR Secret Police agencies to suppress those labeled as "counter-revolutionaries." Not only could perpetrators of anti-Soviet activities be persecuted, but under Section 12, onlookers who failed to report anti-Soviet activities could also be persecuted. The punishments handed out were 5 years imprisonment being the lightest, with 25 years or execution being the most severe. Most offenses were also grounds for confiscation of personal property.

Article 58 was primarily used for carte blanche by the NKVD to arrest and execute political opposition inside the USSR. The bloodiest part of this history was known as the Great Purge. The Great Purge included a large scale purge of the Red Army. Stalin personally signed 357 execution lists that condemned over 40,000 individuals. 90% were confirmed shot[1]

Authoritarian Rule

At the time of Lenin's death, Stalin was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the USSR communist party, which made him the defacto leader.

Rapid Industrialization

In the 1930s, Stalin implemented a series of radical economic reforms, turning away from the New Economic Policy implemented by Lenin. The NEP returned the USSR to Russia's 1913 production levels, but was regarded as a betrayal of Marxist teachings by members of the party and Stalin felt it was not industrializing the USSR fast enough. The production levels and industry still lagged behind the West. The rapid industrialization also occurred with rapid urbanization. A key part of this rapid industrialization was farm collectivization, which caused widespread famine and Holodomor

Agricultural Collectivization

In 1928, there was a 2 million ton shortfall in grain production inside the USSR. Stalin blamed this on Kulaks hoarding grain. The NEP had allowed farmers to sell their excess grain on the open market. This policy was ended in 1928. Many Kulaks were forcefully transported to the collectivized farms. The implementation of these policies were called Five Year Plans.

Lysenkoism is a form of Larmackian inheritance that contributed to the famines in Ukraine and other areas of the USSR. The grain shortages prompted the leaders in government to seek better options. Lysenko offered marginally increased grain yields and was quickly accepted as a hero inside the USSR. No controlled experiments were conducted by Lysenko. Instead, he conducted questionnaires which reported a 15% increase in grain yields.

Socialism in One Country

The theory of Socialism in One Country was first proposed by Stalin in 1924 and was elaborated upon by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925. It would eventually be adopted as the official policy of the USSR. Essentially, because of the other socialist revolutions that had occurred around Europe had been defeated, the USSR should focus on strengthening itself internally. The theory states that a socialist country could survive in an international global capitalist market.

Trotskyists and Orthodox Marxists critique the theory of Socialism in One Country because they view their struggle for socialism as an international struggle.