What was National Stalinism?

Vladimir Tismaneanu

in The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560981
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

What was National Stalinism?

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  • History
  • European History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)



As a political variety within Leninism, different from what is usually called national communism, national Stalinism systematically opposed any form of liberalisation, let alone democratisation. Reactionary and self-centered, it valued autarky and exclusiveness. The fundamental values of such a regime are political voluntarism, sectarianism, radicalism, cult of hierarchy and authority, scorn for parliamentary democracy, and constitutionalism. This article first analyses the origins and the model for national Stalinism, and then looks at four cases amongst Eastern European countries in the post-Stalin era: Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, and Poland. In contrast to Nikolai Lenin, for Joseph Stalin, the complete, irreversible victory of socialism in Russia was not contingent upon the success of proletarian revolutions in the West.

Keywords: Leninism; national Stalinism; Russia; Nikolai Lenin; Joseph Stalin; Romania; Albania; Bulgaria; Poland; socialism

Article.  8530 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945)

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