I awaited Kotkin’s biography on Stalin – the first of three volumes – with much anticipation, since the blurb promises a balanced and humanised Stalin, which goes against standard accounts. It claims the book is nothing less than the definitive work of Stalin, even redefining the art of history itself.

To say I was profoundly disappointed is an understatement. Kotkin’s endless pages are nothing less than an ideological rant of the first order. He fails to understand Marxism at all and champions a clear liberal agenda that condemns Stalin as a dictator hungry for power and control. If only Stalin had seen the benefits of capitalism, much evil would have been avoided! The book is yet another work in the dreary list of efforts to demonise Stalin, rather than analysing the dynamic of veneration and demonisation itself. It may well be the first ideological salvo in a new Cold War.