So how did Stalin deal with dissenters, critics and opponents? Expel them, exile them to Siberia, even kill them? Apparently not. Actually he was constantly warning others not to do so, both at home and in the international communist movement. As he wrote concerning the German Party’s propensity for dealing harshly with critics:

I am emphatically opposed to the policy of kicking out all dissenting comrades. I am opposed to such a policy not because I am sorry for the dissenters, but because such a policy gives rise in the Party to a regime of intimidation, a regime of bullying, which kills the spirit of self-criticism and initiative. It is not good when leaders of the Party are feared but not respected. Party leaders can be real leaders only if they are not merely feared but respected in the Party, when their authority is recognised. It is difficult to produce such leaders, it is a long and arduous process, but it is absolutely essential, otherwise the Party cannot be called a real Bolshevik Party, and the discipline of the Party cannot be conscious discipline. (Works, col. 7, p. 45)

Advertisements