DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS. This post is for lovers of history who enjoy the rich lessons it can provide. It is a look at 6 different responses to Stalin: a Christian leader of the underground catacomb church, one of the generals he tortured & released, one of his young generals, his best general, his wife, and his mother.
STALIN (born. Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jugashvili, assumed the name “Stalin” which “means man of steel”; lived 1878-1953; In full control of the USSR 1924-53.) The most lethal psychopathic monster of history responsible for more than 17 million civilian deaths while he ran the Soviet Union, many of whom got tortured & starved to death. While there is no proof he said it, the words attributed to Stalin reflect his thinking, “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of a million is a statistic.” Distrustful & paranoid of everyone, no one was safe around him. Prior to WW 2, in a paranoid psychopathic fit, Stalin executed 35,000 of his best military commanders, incl. 5 fleet commanders, 8 directors of military academies, his top military scientists, 109 corp & division commanders & most of his top marshalls. The ones who survived were terrified of him, an exception is Rychagov (see below). His military decisions were often the worst possible choices, & resulted in the Russian army being repeatedly defeated by Hitler until Stalin relaxed his control enough to let Zhukov do some of the thinking & decision making. A mmbr. of French Freemasonry, which is atheistic, there are clues that Stalin secretly delved into Satanism. He promoted a cult to worship him, & he is still revered in places like eastern Ukraine where the civil war is taking place. In Zaparizhia, SE Ukraine in 2010, they erected a new monument of Stalin, whose head someone secretly chopped off. On the other hand, a Ukrainian Court in 2010 found Stalin guilty of genocide in ’32-33. While he lived he was called such names as “Gardener of Human Happiness” & “Brilliant Genius of Humanity”. One of William Van Duyn’s satirical pieces of art today is of Stalin.
METRO. JOSEPH (martyred Christian leader) (188?-1938). Under Stalin, there were campaigns to wipe out Christianity, for instance in ’37-’38 100,000 nuns, priests, & monks were shot. In 1927, when Ivan N. Stragorodsky (the soon to be hd. of Russian Ortho. Church), known as Metropolitan Sergius, declared that the Church would be totally loyal to the atheistic USSR state, Joseph led the uncompromised believers literally underground into what is called the Catacomb Church. He did services in underground tunnels. For a while in hiding, he lived w/ pigs in a shed. Joseph was arrested & put into prison several times by the Soviets, & was finally executed in 1938. In a 1908 speech prior to the Communist Revolution, Joseph prophetically described the coming spiritual trials: “Intense sorrows, like gold in the furnace, purify the soul, give it life, fortify & temper it. A man becomes less sensitive to his everyday sorrows & sufferings on earth, becomes calmer, more balanced, looks at the world more seriously and soberly, becomes less attached to the earthly, thirsts more for the heavenly….“
The subject of caves & tunnels is important. Caves were used in Bible times as places of refuge: for instance, Zedekiah’s Cave, David fleeing Saul, Elijah etc. (They were also burial sites like the Cave of Machpelah aka Cave of the Patriarchs at Hebron, which I visited in ’74.) The Vietnamese took tunnel building to a fine art, & their massive tunnel system totally negated the technological superiority of the Amer. military in the Vietnam War. The military ascendency this gave them over Amer. forces is still not appreciated by Americans, but other nations caught on, & Vietnam sold & exported their expertise worldwide, incl. to the Taliban in Afghanistan, whose caves & tunnels, thanks to the Vietnamese gave our military big challenges after 9-11. Caves interest most people. Limestone caves are the biggest & most numerous here in the states; & they have natural rooms larger than any man-made underground rooms, for instance, Carlsbad Cavern, NM with a 38,000 sq. meter chamber. The Mammouth, KT cave has 563 kilometers of length surveyed, & is known to descend 116 meters in depth. A ’62 U.S. govt. feasibility study to use caves to survive a nuclear war decided that due to radiation it would be hard to have uncontaminated water & air supplies…yet they went ahead & built underground protection for the govt., while claiming it would not work for civilians. Many caves & cave entrances remain undiscovered. For instance, it was theorized that West VA still has 2,405 entranceless caves to be discovered. Many cave floors are nearly horizontal. Temporary bedrock or trees can block small entrances. Cave temps are approx. equal to the aver. annual surface temps of their location.
KOSTANTIN ROKOSSOVSKY (one of Stalin’s generals tortured & released). He’s a good example of the “If-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them” club. He worked hard as a Polish boy in Warsaw growing up. He served in both the Czar’s & Soviet armies. He was arrested when Stalin purged his military from 1937-‘39. The handsome intelligent general lost 9 teeth during 30 months of hellish torture, as well as suffering 3 broken ribs & smashed toes. He was one of the few to survive & he was inexplicably released 15 months prior to the German invasion in Mar. 1940. As a wise general, he had to keep quiet while his superiors made big blatant blunders one after another. Having been in the Gulag torture chambers, one might have thought Rokossovsky would have some empathy for those who protested the gulag, and for his fellow Polish countrymen. No. Three yrs. after Stalin died, in 1956, when the Poles protested the brutal Soviet occupation of their nation, it was Rokossovsky who called in the tanks to brutally suppress any dissent. (I’ve noticed a similar pattern, many who hate those w/ power, if they get power, will act just as ruthless & unfair.)
PAVEL RYCHAGOV (one of Stalin’s young generals). There seems to be a brashness (more testosterone than wisdom?) that has plagued many young men. Many native Amer. tribes suffered because young bucks would ignore their wise elders & flippantly/carelessly attack the whites. In the category of “more mouth than brains” falls Lt. Gen. Pavel Rychagov, who was, at the mere age of 30, head of the entire Soviet air force. Bear in mind, the Soviet Air Force, when Hitler attacked, had more warplanes than the rest of world combined. They also had been having up to 900 fatal crashes/yr. As these airforce crashes were not investigated properly no one knew if they came from poor aircraft, poor maintenance, poor flying skills, or poor operating conditions. When Stalin mentioned in a military meeting that too many warplanes were having fatal accidents, young Lt. Gen. Rychagov jumped up in rage, & in a loud voice told Stalin, “Of course we will continue to have many accidents as long as you keep making flying coffins.” Stalin stopped pacing, stared at him, & quietly said, “That was the wrong thing to say.” The next week, brash Rychagov got his free ticket to the Gulag’s torture chambers & death.
GEORGY ZHUKOV (his best general). Frankly, & to the point, Zhukov is responsible for Hitler’s defeat by virtue of 2 critical things. First, he defeated the Japanese in 1939 at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol (aka Nomonhon) so terribly w/ armor & aircraft that he scared them into never attacking Russia again, thereby saving Russia later on. This battle had followed seven years of Japanese aggression on the border, where the 2 sides had fought lots of skirmishes & 3 battles. His final mighty offensive punch in Aug. ‘39 to Imperial Japan had been intentionally hard to teach a lesson. Had the Japanese attacked eastern Russia when Hitler had the USSR pinned to the wall in 1941, the Russians estimated they would have lost the war. Second, when Hitler first attacked Russia in ’41, they essentially wiped out the bulk of the Russian military in a few days. Everything looked lost. It was Zhukov who built two defensive arcs to slow the Germans down from taking Moscow. His efforts worked. Hitler’s defeat in front of Moscow was his first. More importantly Zhukov had switched the war from one of movement (and “Blitzkrieg”) to one of attrition. After that, it was only a matter of time to defeat Germany. Zhukov was the only competent general who could have planned this, as Stalin did not trust anyone & delusionally thought he himself brilliant. Zhukov was capable, but he was not brilliant. What sets him off in my mind as a great man, was his skill in surviving the insanity of Stalin’s personality. Zhukov managed to maintain who he was as a person, and to show Stalin that he was competent, while simultaneously not provoking Stalin’s fears. This was a rare accomplishment, one that is deserving of high accolades. Had he not been able to do so, and only incompetent “yes men” been left to carry out Generalissimo Stalin’s orders, then Hitler may have indeed won the war. Day after day, meeting after meeting, Zhukov walked a tightrope with Stalin…speaking as much truth as possible to Stalin w/out upsetting the “applecart”, and providing the right amount of respect & servility that Stalin’s mind demanded. We may well owe our freedom to Zhukov’s personality. Oh, by the way, Stalingrad, the turning pt. of WW 2 was based on Zhukov’s 1939 success at Nomonhon…fix the enemy’s ctr. & hit both flanks.
NADEZHDA ALLILUYEVA (second wife). She was the mother of Svetlana who defected to the U.S. in 1967, & who later joined the Russian Ortho. Church & ended up Roman Cath. At a public dinner on Nov. 9, 1932, Nadezhda quarreled with Stalin. Their marriage was often stormy. Years earlier, while hiding during the Revolution, Stalin had lived at her parents’ apartment. She was 18 & Stalin 41 when they married. That Nov. evening, his 2nd wife was suicided after their public quarrel, & left w/ a gun in her hand & a suicide note.
KETEVAN (YEKATERINA) GELADZE (his mother) (1858-1937). Stalin’s mother was a poor washer woman who often worked for rich Jewish foreign merchants. (A theory on his ancestry was in an earlier post.) Even though she was a devout Russian Orthodox believer, her third son Joseph was commonly believed to be a “bastard”. At any rate, her abusive often violently drunk husband “Beso” (Besarion Jughashivilli) thought her son was a “bastard” from someone else. He would violently attack her & her son Joseph, and they would try to protect each other…Joseph as a small boy threw a knife at his dad to protect his mom. The abusive dad left (some say she kicked him out) when Joseph was 9 only to come back 2 yrs. later & kidnap him to put him to work in a shoe factory. Later, his mother worked hard to get him into church schools, & helped/pushed Joseph into a seminary, which he dropped out of after discovering Marxism & atheism. Visiting his mother late in life, Joseph Stalin asked her why she beat him so hard. Unimpressed that her son had become the world’s most powerful dictator, some of her last words to her paranoid ruthless son were, “You would have done better to have become a priest!”