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An Interview With Joseph Stalin in Hell

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J Scull writes biographies and historical articles. Occasionally, he writes about common social issues impacting people in various communit

They tyrant Josef Stalin

They tyrant Josef Stalin

At the Gates of Hell

What brings you here?” Asked the sentry standing guard at the iron gates. A bright red letter “H” adorned the entrance immediately behind him. As he stood in perfect military form with a large staff in hand, his red-flaming eyes seemed to be looking right through me.

“I am here to visit Joseph Stalin.”

“Do you have a valid PDV?” The sentinel asked.

“A what?” I replied.

“A Purgatory Dweller’s Visa.” He answered in a thunderous voice.

“Oh, yes. I have one of those. Here.” I said as I handed him my brand new intra-celestial passport which I had opened to the visa section. “See, right there. It is valid for a full millennia.”

“Permission granted.” Said the sentinel. “Be informed residents roam through the sphere at will. You must summon the individuals you seek through your thoughts. They will beckon your call if they desire.”

Upon putting my passport back in my pocked, the gates of this netherworld opened. As I entered through a cobblestone road, a warm humid fog hung in the air. Surprisingly, the stench of burning cinder was absent. The cries of tortured souls screaming from the bottomless pit of hell were not present. Only quietude and the humid vapors that permeated the atmosphere.

“Joseph. Joseph Stalin.” I screamed in my thoughts. “Stalin...Stalin! Here is your chance to come out from eternal solitude for a short while.” I said, hoping to motivate the infamous Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin to appear.

Faint images within the fog showed some of the residents either engaged in quiet conversation or aimlessly walking. As I entered deeper into Hades, I detected Fidel Castro having a seemingly serious dialog with Genghis Khan. As Castro pompously waved his arms in the air and puffed on a large Habano cigar, Genghis paced impatiently. It must have been one of those illogically circular arguments for which the Cuban leader was known obviously driving Genghis crazy.

After summoning Stalin for some time, a tunnel appeared. I was sucked into it and transported to a room with chairs and a comfortable sofa. The smell of pipe smoke told me the great Russian caudillo was near. Within the mist, I could detect the faint outline of a ushanka on top of the quasi-military grey tunic the Russian leader was known to wear. I immediately recognized the four pockets that typically adorned this garment, signaling the understated importance of the wearer.

Stalin in Hell

Stalin in Hell

“Underworld, hades, hell. Who would have known after all I did for Russia — the Motherland — I would end up here. The isolation; the silence; the solitude. These are conditions worse than dangling over a pit of brimstone and fire as your revivalist preacher Jonathan Edwards sermonized. One of my favorite orators in American history; which by the way I often read as a way of knowing the adversary of the great economic system the Bolshevik Revolution brought to Russia. It was I and my comrades in arms Lenin, Tomsky, Kalinin, Rykov and many others who were true to the Soul of Russia and brought equality to peasants and the working class.” As Stalin uttered these words he sat down on a sofa that materialized through the fog. He crossed his legs in front of him and bent his right elbow bringing his pipe to his lips.

The Feared Cheka

“If I remember my history, your Comrade in Arms Lenin believed absolute control should be exerted by the government. In fact, this control should be totally unrestricted by any rules whatsoever. The perfect expression of totalitarianism. The secret police force which he called the Cheka guarded the revolution through terror, torture and murder. Didn’t they call themselves the ‘sword and shield of the party’?”

“You are totally correct.” Replied Stalin. “The Cheka was one of the most effective tools we had. The ideals of the Revolution needed to be enforced in the volatile and chaotic environment that followed our heroic uprising against the evil monarchy of the Tsar. The only way to bring stability to the country was to firstly exit the war that was happening at the time, and to use extreme measures to bring the masses under control. If the corrupt and immoral West wants to call this totalitarianism; so be it. Russia is a great civilization and the Bolshevik revolution was righteous and pure. It needed time to take hold, as we knew that soon the people would side with our aims. As with little children sometimes a strong hand is needed to make them understand and appreciate what is best for them.”

Stalin continued to take small puffs from his lovat style pipe which notably had the Soviet state emblem carved onto the bowl. The smoke that emanated from the edge of his mouth and from the bowl was acrid and pungent. When the great tyrant was alive, it was often reported that he never cleaned any of the many pipes he had in his extensive collection. Making matters worse there weren’t any flavored pipe tobaccos in the Soviet Union and Stalin would take the weed from cigarettes. His favorite was Herzegovina Flor which was used in some Russian cigarette brands. Pipe smoking was an important part of the supreme leader’s persona. It was obvious Stalin had fashioned numerous mannerisms and gestures that conjured images of authoritativeness, intellect, deep thought and decision making. All these gesticulations seem to be connected to his pipe-smoking ritual.

“Was the Civil War reflective of this chaotic environment to which you refer.” I continued to press Stalin. My goal was not to get him to admit to his crimes but rather to peer into the mind of a sociopath and understand how he rationalized his actions. “The majority of the Russian people were not in favor of the Bolshevik form of socialism.” I said.

Evil Stalin

Evil Stalin

Stalin Assesses Russia

“The Russian people represent a great civilization that is not only ethnically diverse but also philosophically, culturally and spiritually. Since the establishment of the Rus’ estate in 862, it has been composed of Slavs, Finns and Scandinavian people. We merged Byzantium and Slavic cultures and were invaded by Mongols. Because of this mixture, it is natural for an empire as vast as Russia to have opposing and disparate ideas of how the government should have been run. However, we the Bolsheviks were of a single mind; a single soul and completely unified under our great leader Vladimir Lenin who led the Red Army to victory. What made the White Army ineffective was the many different political groups that composed it. They were made up of anarchists, monarchist, socialists, capitalist and those that wanted a democratic form of government. The only factor they had in common was their opposition to the Bolsheviks. Fortunately for Russia, we were of a single mind, with one leader, one ideal and one desire to bring order to the Motherland regardless of how many lives were lost.”

“Well, Comrade Stalin, while your assessment of what occurred in Russia between 1917 and 1922 has much historical value, it does not answer some crucial questions. If Russia is such a great civilization that should be leading the world politically, socially and culturally, why has it been so economically and technologically backward, as well as chaotic? Why should the West emulate Russia?”

The old potentate seemed to be stumped for a few seconds. He sucked on his pipe, let out some of the smoke from the side of his mouth and said, “Destiny calls upon Russia to set an example of stalwartness and strength in spite of all our foibles. For centuries we have defeated invaders, excelled in the arts, evolved our bodies and mind into the quintessential height of human development. We are an exceptional people who under my leadership triumphed over Nazi Germany. Look at what happened to the despicable tyrant Napoleon who thought he could successfully invade Russia in 1812. Instead, his army was destroyed. His foolhardiness led his army to receive a mortal wound that eventually brought his campaign down. This was a fabulous victory for Mother Russia. The world doesn’t realize that Russia’s role has been and will always be to save civilization from the villains who would do harm to it.”

“Comrade Stalin, now you are confusing me.” I said. “Is it noble or brave to kill millions of your own citizens? Did you not execute more than a million Russians? Not to mention the millions who died during their internment in forced labor camps. You also deported hundreds of thousands. Additionally, many died during interrogation by your henchmen. Why did you go to such extremes?” Weren’t you and the bolsheviks who worked under you villains?”

Stalin grabbed his pipe with his right hand and rested his arm on his lap. He looked at me intensely and said: “I don’t need to explain my actions to you. Suffice it to say the revolution had many enemies. Russians are exceedingly emotional and often go to extremes. This is the reason rulers must govern with an iron fist. Additionally, in 1929 we were beginning to formulate the First Five-Year Plan which would put Russia on its way to industrialization.

The most obvious issue is that Stalin killed so many of his own people because he felt threatened by them. The very existence of the NKVD was the supreme example of Stalin’s fears. Now those fears weren’t overly rational, but so far as Stalin was concerned, he was convinced the threats were real. That having been said, sometimes, his people simply got in his way or otherwise annoyed him. That unfortunately was usually more than enough to get someone shipped out to work at a slave labor camp. Or otherwise severely beaten or shot.

Victims of the Holodomor

Victims of the Holodomor

The Famine in Ukraine Engineered by Stalin

Then, there was also the issue of the Holodomor. The famine that ravaged Soviet Ukraine between 1932 and 1933. An incident so horrible that it caused the death of around 3 to 5 million people. The problem scholars and historians have grappled with in the last few decades is whether the man-made Soviet famine was a deliberate act of genocide, or whether it was designed to simply force Ukrainian peasants to submit to the will of Stalin. Eventually, driving them into the collectives so that a steady supply of grain could feed Soviet industrialization. In either case, scholars agree that the Soviet Union purposely designed policies to cause the famine. No matter what the initial purpose was, this was the type of brutality Stalin and the Bolsheviks were willing to employ in order to be successful at their aim of Soviet collectivization.

It is interesting to note that Ukraine has suffered through Russia’s deadly whims for centuries. It seems they always had an independent spirit and wished to break free from Russian domination. Unfortunately, Russia’s imperialistic desires and military power gave it the feeling of entitlement to brutally oppress all the nations under its control. In this case Ukraine became the recipient of the Soviet’s cruel and inhumane wrath.

Asking Stalin to weigh in on this subject and perhaps admit his crimes against humanity was obviously going to be a futile endeavor. He was never going to admit to any fault. Certainly, he would never show an ounce of remorse. Stalin was and still is in this lonely and cold confinement, a sociopathic murderer.

As I pondered my last thought, the same tunnel that brought me to Stalin reappeared signaling the end of my allotted time with the great Russian dictator. It was time to return to my purgatory and plan my next interview. As I entered the tunnel, I could see Stalin settle into his easy chair and take a couple of puffs from his pipe. More lonely days await him.