Did Stalin believe all the hype about him? Apparently not. He was smart enough to see the economic and cultural value of the ‘Stalin cult’ (given that it was a crucial piece of extra-economic compulsion), but he was always careful to demarcate ‘Stalin’ from Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili. As he once told his son, Vasilii, who was trying to take advantage of the family name:
You’re not Stalin and I’m not Stalin. Stalin is Soviet power. Stalin is what he is the newspapers and the portraits, not you, not even me!