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26 June 2022


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congress of victors and when the purges started after they took the secretary general title away from stalin.. and of course, starving the kulacks.... kirov's "assassination"....


Great podcast. But in my opinion this episode lacks having “neutral tone”. Author’s hatred of Stalin is being strongly felt. That emotional attitude brings the podcast closer to political arguments rather than scientific work.

Gabriel Zamora

"And so, I'll be darned, look at that; we've come full circle."
Very well done, all of it.

Also appreciated your recent moment of silence for the Chinese Revolution, which I still share.


@Igor: He stopped himself way short more than a handful of times during this episode. I wish he didn't. There is no room for any defense of Stalin whatsoever. And if you're calling those "political arguments" then all I can call you is a Russian troll.


@rogl. I’m a big fan listening since HoR, not a Russian troll, also not a fan of Stalin at all. You completely misunderstood my point. I think that while talking about such crimes in a historical (scientific) work, you need to prevent being emotional, stay true to the facts which would do the work themselves. Emotional appeal is what we have in todays politics, if you want to get involved in it, there are segments of internet with more of it for you.


@Igor If you can't call Stalin an evil prick, what's next? Hitler was an "individual with ideas outside of the mainstream"? Jack the Ripper had "unconventional methods of treating women"? Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.

In fact, this idea of "all sides have to be equally heard" or "you can't show your aversion even to the most pathetic ideas" is what led to morons like anti-vaxxers getting attention in mainstream media and legitimacy. Some ideas and some people don't deserve respect, and it's a mistake to be treating them like they deserve.


@Flavio you misunderstood me.

I'm ok if someone has an angry rant at Stalin, I would just prefer it happening elsewhere. Internet is full of low-value videos with people discussing things like "who was the most bloodthirsty tyrant ever" - Why don't I consume that content and stay loyally here? Because here I can learn real scientific history - which is historical facts plus careful analysis. Calling Stalin names, calling him "stupid" or "prick" would in my opinion downgrade the genre.

And what is the point in name-calling when you can tell more about actual evils instead? Tell how they still retrieve bones of those who died while building Belomorcanal for example, intelligent people would make right conclusions.


Great episode! Sad to see the series coming to an end but I think you've earned a well deserved break. Can't wait to finish up the Russian rev next week!

Samuel Conner

FYI-this episode is showing up on my Apple phone as episode 112, which I suspect is an error in the coding.


This is one of the most engaging episodes in a totally engrossing series. My Estonian grandfather was relocated to a gulag in ~1942 when my father was one year old. That's somewhat after the period discussed, but it has been fascinating to learn more of the backstory to this family history.

Interestingly, I've come across some of the Stalin-like characteristics described in this episode in managers I've had the misfortune to work for. The overnight 180-degree policy shift accompanied by condemnation of those who were carrying out the old commands is a particular 'favourite'.

Thank you so much for the immense effort, attention to detail, and the desert-dry humour you have put into this and your other series. They have opened my eyes to history, human nature, and politics, and have provided context and colour with which to better judge present day events.


I’ve thought a lot about this and these podcasts will stand the test of time. It’s unfortunate that Stalin did the things he did. But he did them and it’s a fact. I find it so humorous when I saw Putin claiming he doesn’t attack civilian infrastructure, the Bolshevik s were a bunch of connivers and so are their spiritual ancestors. As I said before I wish our leaders would listen to these podcasts. Thank you for delivering excellence!


Oops meant descendants!

Konstantin Pogorelov

"(Lenin suffered) from a disease that was wrecking his brain cells ... *pause*" just say it! SYPHILIS. Irritability, mood swings memory lapses paralysis just say it out loud. Why do you keep writing lines for the audience to read between. If you were writing the history of the Nazi Party in Germany, would you also try to assume they all meant well and had noble goals as things just kept not working out for some reason. Sorry, I grew up in the USSR and it irritates me when even now with full hindsight history is still being written with the benefit of doubt for the Bolsheviks. That is the very thing Putin's regime is using now as a means of hybrid warfare - that Western thought assumes good faith for the sake of argument. My apologies for this rude rant.

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