Reckoning with things like this is never easy, yet it has to be done.
In the writings about Totalitarianism which I feature on the sidebar the Nazi era is dealt with in great detail but the Soviets aren't, except for some cryptic references. Well, I intend to rectify that.
The biggest difference is that the Soviet totalitarianism was couched in the language of development, so it could maintain a veneer of being 'progressive' even when the whole point of Soviet society was oriented towards something other than some sort of progressive vision.
The Soviets created an artificial break with pre-capitalist forms of economic life in order to create their own version of the new society, which became the total society. It wasn't about creating progress, but about creating a new Socialist civilization, which would be totally different from every other civilization which existed before, with changes which would register on all levels of life. Russian society didn't really have a say in it. That Russia had it's own culture before the Bolshevik Revolution which maybe needed to be recognized and respected was not taken into consideration. A new culture steam rolled all that history. And gloated in it.
The total culture in Russian society was created in the 1920s, I believe, well before Stalin took over. It was created, in fact, during the time that Trotsky and company had the biggest power and influence. Their latter day explanations of what they did and what Stalin was ring false when you look at their actions.
The leftists essentially took over, or rather maintained power and steered Russia back to a plan against NEP, after Lenin's death, and methodically collectivized and consolidated control of Russia, instituting revolutionary plans for transformation of society at every level. Destroying the Church, destroying more and more vestiges of Russian life, authoritarianly collectivizing the country, seizing control of towns by means of the Party, you name it.
It happened in the 20s, it was happening before too no doubt, under Trotsky's watch.
One of the biggest lies that is told is that Stalin represented some sort of Rightist challenge to Trotsky, that the Trotskyists were the good Bolsheviks and that Stalin was some sort of 'Bonapartist', to use Trotsky's tortured terminology, usurper, with the implication that, like Napoleon, Stalin was some sort of mean between the ultra-revolutionaries and the monarchists, or the conservatives.
Only problem with this wonderful story is that the Stalin regime billed itself, and Stalinist propaganda, including of course Party propaganda generated for the masses of other countries and not for internal consumption, billed what Stalin was doing as being more leftist than the leftists. The Stalinists billed themselves as the real revolutionaries; and quite far from denouncing Trotsky as bad for being Leftist they said that they were what Trotsky only said he was, but instead failed at being.
They applied the ideas from Lenin's "Left wing Communism, an Infantile disorder" against Trotsky, which meant that Trotsky and company weren't denounced for being too revolutionary but for being ineffectively revolutionary, for being revolutionary in an immature way which was counter-productive. Stalin and his gang presented themselves as the effective ones, the ones which weren't obsessed with abstract theories which had nothing to do with reality but instead wanted pure, hard, revoultionary change.
And the Stalinist parties echoed it. There's an undercurrent in their propaganda which said that real revolutionaries looked at the show trials and executions of party members for supposed disloyalty and cheered, because that sort of inhumanity was necessary to get the job done, and if they were technically innocent, so what? Their real crime was being against the regime, and that sort of disloyalty was not to be tolerated in building the socialist society.
The Stalinist parties of that time justified mass arrests, mass imprisonment, executions, persecutions, starvations of the peasantry, all in the name of being hardcore, of being 'real' socialists.
This was not a conservative reaction, like the Trotskyists claim.
What was conservative, possibly, was the authoritarianism which it was accomplished with, but this was established by Trotsky and company themselves; Stalin just took it to a new level, to it's logical conclusion.
What were Trotsky and company thinking when they proposed changing the entirety of Russian society in order to 'build socialism' or build the culture of the future?
Did they really think that they could create a new society out of whole cloth?
Their attempt destroyed everything which existed before and, with the remains swept away, constructed something which left no room for human liberty or for natural human life, which was total and at the same time totally denying the human experience.
Only after Khruschev did things normalize.
What about those gigantic statues of Marx and Lenin?
Is that not a totalitarian ideology?
The index of what they did, what Stalin, Trotsky, and company, did, may be seen in an interesting internet site called 'Satanic Reds', which is a strange mixture of Eurasianism, Stalinism, and Satanism.
On it, the writer, whose name is Tani Djantsang, resurrects the writings of someone so evil that it would be better to cross ones self before picturing his name, or saying it to yourself: Lavrenti Beria, Stalin's chief of secret police.
Beria justly deserves to be classified along with Himmler and Goering as being one of the monsters of the 20th century.
Anyways, on this site, Beria speaks, and what he says is leftist to the point where the devil worshippers clap in applause, which wouldn't happen if the writings weren't anything but extremism taken as far as possible.