The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

Joseph Stalin

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/15/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 13,094 times Debate No: 21182
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)




I would like an opponent to debate if Joseph Stalin was a good or bad man.


I accept, please you argue first :) I argue he is a bad man.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge.

My first point of my argument is that he was a very influential force in the defeat of the Nazis. Which I assume we both deem evil. It is a know fact that Stalin's five year plans bolstered the Soviet economy to challenge and destroy Nazi Germany almost without help, he also industrialized the Soviet Union and made hospitals and academics much more important than they were in Tsarist Russia. Disease like Typhoid fever fell to next to zero, he reorganized a corrupt decaying system. Last but not least the criticisms for his purges is illogical, he purged the populous because the a minority of the peasant class burned crops and resisted collectivization and caused famines. Then his military was not loyal to him because of western influence.

I apologize for the short argument, I am just arguing that it is impossible to say anything about Stalin's era because it is unknown and there is much western propaganda.


I will refute next round, as I am lazy. I will first present my case:

C1: Stalin killed millions of people, and sent many to labor camps

Sub point: labor camps

Millions of Russians where sent to labor camps under Stalin. [1] Also many people where exiled to empty (remote)areas of Russia. [1] The Gulag was the agency in charge of the soviet labor camps. [2] He was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. [3]

Now, the amount of prisoners in Gulag:


Note by the end of his rule the prisoners where on the highest seen, and increased throughout his whole rule except from about 1942-45. Note it goes on a mega increase for the rest of his life, barbaric is it not?

Sub point: Millions murdered:

He was actually assigned to get rid of "exepel" the peopel who didn't agree with him.[3] [4] [5] Hpassed laws saying that being a anti-communit was now a crime. [3] [6] Most leaders of the Red army where executed as Stalin was paranod. [3] [7] 90% of all generals and 80% of all colonels were killed. [7] Also targeted ethnic minorities, he killef 110,000 poles. [3] [8] Many americans that where living in the USSR where also killed. [3] [9] In 1937 he signed a law that killed 40,000 people. [3] [10] Soviet arghives say stalin kileld 400,000 people, [11] western people belive the data is inacurate and th enumber is likely higher. [12] [13] SOme estimates say he killed up to 20,000,000 people! [14] This estimate says he killes 43,000,000 people! [15] (I trust 15) 39,000,000 of those 43,000,000 were from lethal force, the rest are probably from labor camps. [15]

C2: Famines

Stalin created a famine in 1932/3. [16]

"The dreadful famine that engulfed Ukraine, the northern Caucasus, and the lower Volga River area in 1932-1933 was the result of Joseph Stalin's policy of forced collectivization." [17]

"The death toll from the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine has been estimated between six million and seven million. According to a Soviet author, "Before they died, people often lost their senses and ceased to be human beings." Yet one of Stalin's lieutenants in Ukraine stated in 1933 that the famine was a great success. It showed the peasants "who is the master here. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.".. " [17]

Sounds evil...

SO yep, famine cuased 7 million deaths. [17] [18] These people where deprive the food they made! [18] That is cruel and sick. How was stalin good?

C3: 3rd world country

The people under stalin lost freedom. [19]

"Stalin forced the people to set up collective farms that were owned by the government." [20]

That is loss of the reedom of private ownership. He also called formany indistrial and energy increases, and if the people didn't follow him, then they where exiled. [20] That is loss of what you want to do. Russia, never had freedom in those times, it was from czarist oppression to a mighty authoritarian socialist state that owned you. [21]

"Education was strictly controlled by the state. In 1932, a rigid programme of discipline and education was introduced. " [19]

Basically you had no choice n what you learned or how, and all you learned was disipline loyalty poems. Guess what? poor edication ----> only the rich and elte have power.=, poor education = poor economy.

ussia had astruggling economy and when entering the cold war, which stalin started, they abandoned their economic troubles. [22] [23] Their GP per capia was only about 9000$. [24] [25] They where a third world country. The russian GDP was about 75 billion $ in 1938. [26] Ours was 86 billion. [27] Their population was 170.5. [28]

They where a 3rd world country with struggling economics, millions of people starving, people being killed, and people in work camps. Stalin good guy? Not. Vote Con.

I need less sources:.

Getty, Rittersporn, Zemskov. Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-War Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence. The American Historical Review, Vol. 98, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 1017–1049. [1] [2] [3]
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia, 2007 [4]
Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. By Robert Gellately. 2007. Knopf. [5]
Tucker, Robert C. (1992). Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928–1941. W. W. Norton & Company. [6]+
(p.195, Carell, P. (1964) Hitler's War on Russia: The Story of the German Defeat in the East. translated from German by Ewald Osers, B.I. Publications New Delhi, 1974 (first Indian edition) [7]
Simon Sebag Montefiore. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, Knopf, 2004 [8] [9]
Europe-Asia Studies, Routledge. Vol. 59, No. 4, June 2007, 663–693. PDF file [10]
Barry McLoughlin; Kevin McDermott(eds) (4 February 2003). [11]
Rosefielde, Stephen, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 48, No. 6, 1996 [12]
"comment on wheatcroft" Robert Conquest [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28]
Debate Round No. 2


First things first I would like to thank my opponent for a excellent and well organized response.

Considering your entire argument is his mass killings I will be breaking down my argument to refute his claims on 4 major points Labor Camps, Millions Murdered, Famines, and Third World Country. I still stand by my opening argument on my reasons why he was not a bad man.


1. Labor Camps

Your argument opens with listings on "his" apparent murdering of millions of gulag prisoners, there were 14 million there. Now moving on to my refutes, now my key point on this refute is simple. How could one man write millions upon millions of files to send these people to death camps? The NKVD had entire towns hunted down and was the main reason for mass murders, they ordered mass trials and were the main tool of the purges. Yes Stalin set them up but I really don't think he knew much about the NKVD activities. Also I would like you to know that everyone in gulags were CONVICTS they had participated in illegal activity. I will say that policies under Stalin were defiantly flawed but it is impossible that he kept track of everything under his rule.

2. Murders

Again Stalin most likely only signed 200,000 or so death papers, for actual convicts. His purges of his army weren't wrong either, not only did the remnants of the white army still have power within the Red Army. Countries like Germany, USA,Britain,France, and Japan still have massive influence within the USSR.

3. Famines

Famines begun when Stalin attempted to industrial the country but a minority of the peasant class called Kulaks burned their crops and fought his rule. This for sure damaged the economy and of course would case a famine.

4. Third world country

Well this one is very easy to argue. He made safe places for woman to give birth, many diseases disappeared etc. etc. They created nuclear weapons and sent a man into space. That doesn't sound like a third world country to me.

One last thing I would like to add is that he prevented Hitler from killing 95% of the Slavic population and made Russia into a Superpower.



I will refute my opponents round 2 contentions first.

R1: Ended the Nazis

One good deed cannot be put over a plethora of bad ones. Also, on could argue he was worse than the Nazis. Let's first argue one good deed doesn't justify a plethora of bad ones:

If I killed 100 people, but killed one man in defense of another, am I viewed as a good person? Sure, I am a temporary good Samaritan, but one good deed vs 100 ----> 99 bad deeds. So really 1 deed in ending the Nazis doesn't justify him.

One reason that hinders Stalin worse than Hitler was private life.

"What was special about Stalin's paranoid reign was that he sought to destroy private life and private feelings – family life – in ways that Hitler never did." [1]

Also, Hitler, believe is or not, won his power through an election, with 37% of the vote. [2] The Communist took power under Lenin with a coup, and they didn't really have popular support, so it was not a fair election. [2] When it comes to ruthless violence Stalin was worse. [2] Stalin killed 23 million people, Hitler killed 12, Stalin is worse. [3]

Stalin was worse anyway so...

R2: Industrialization and Medicine

Let's start with the argument medicine. What is the source? In the USSR their healthcare institutions where 100 years behind their US competitors. [4] 78% of the AIDS virus spread in Russia was from dirty needles! [4] Medical care in the USSR, as it was terrible, was basically turned into a black market. [5]

When Stalin industrialized their economy the standard living of the workers dropped. [6] [7] It became illegal to leave work, even for 20 minutes, as that was grounds for being fired, and the work week was increased to 7 days. [6] Also, the industrialization caused massive famines called the holodomor [8] [9] [10]

So sure he made industrialization at the cost of the worker and food...

Defense of my arguments:

RC1: Labor Camps

"Approximately 14 million people passed through the Gulag "labour camps" from 1929 to 1953. A further 6-7 million were deported and exiled to remote areas of the USSR, and 4-5 million passed through "labour colonies"." [11]

That was under Stalin. Further more your argument is the army did it, well in those society's you have 1 man in control. Stalin, if he was a good person, would have ordered a stop. But he actually would have began these orders as he was the one that made the gulags. The people sent to the gulags where peasants that where viewed individualistic. [12] Now, as I stated last round, being individualistic was illegal, and Stalin was the one that made these laws. So technically it was HIS law that forced people into these camps.

RC3: Murders.

You might as well have conceded. 200,000 is still a lot of people. Also, this can be refuted. Also, Stalin in just one instance signed one paper which killed 21,000 people. [13] As you admit, he industrialized, as I have proven the industrialization caused many famines, and 14 million people under his rule starved to death, [14], therefore he actually killed at lest 14 million through harsh economic plans. His total kill count is 20 million. [14] He deported 28 million, and sent 18 to the gulag. [14]

RC4: Famines

1. source?
2. I refer to defense of my arguments as I really do not want to repeat
3. Also even if your right, then doesn't that mean he infringed on public protest and freedom of speech?
4. Also it could be linked to the industrialization as they hated the working hours, so basically I still win the point.

RC4: 3rd world country

It is possible to have a populous live in 3rd world and have a good military and space program. The standing of living in the east European countries under communism was much lower then in the west. [15]

MY point is you provided 2 industries that worked well, poor living standards + famines + low incomes ---> 3rd world country. Having a good military doesn't mean your standard of living makes you better.

See my hitler vs Stalin arguments.

Also foot note your info, as I cannot see hat is sourced and what isn't.


Stalin was a ruthless killer that ran the country into major famines, and poor healthcare. I have debunked cons arguments while defending mine, and as the resolution is vague my case has cored more areas of Stalin's regime so I have fulfilled this. I suggest opponent has the BOP as most people agree with me, and well my arguments are common knowledge. I urge a con vote.

sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Stanislav Kulchytsky, "Holodomor of 1932–1933 as genocide: the gaps in the proof", Den, 17 February 2007 [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15
Debate Round No. 3


First I would like to thank my opponent for a very interesting argument, I hope to debate with him again. Now onto my final argument...


.I Your argument here is very weak, Hitler killed on the grounds of genocide. Hitler caused WW2 and formed the Axis Powers, he promised great power for Germany and brought Europe to ruin. Yet Stalin and the Red Army took over Eastern Europe and liberated millions upon millions of people. How was that bad? I think doing all that counted for 300 wrongs.

.II Hitler equally destroyed private life with the Gestapo and SS. He used them both to hunt down Jews and other minority's, and forcing children to join the Hitler Youth. He also fired endless amounts of teachers, lawyers, etc. etc. Giving those jobs to inferior minds who shared his political and racial views. He promoted Nazi Eugenics and disposed of other education. He rewrote the curriculum and gave mediocre education. I wouldn't call that good when Stalin at least allowed decent education for the children of scientist, doctor,teachers, etc. etc.

.III Hitler did in fact attempt a bloody coup, the Beer Hall Putsch. He was just inferior at military planning, leading to a failure and a long decade of attempting to take power. Stalin and Lenin took over with support of the masses and it was relatively bloodless with only a few thousand deaths. Which might add 80-90% of those caused by the current provisional government. Now the very bloody civil war after was due to USA,France,Germany,UK,Japan, and other countries which pressured the Bolshevik party and supplied hundreds of white warlords and helped provide armies an naval support to attempt to beat the Bolsheviks. Who they could not defeat because the masses agreed with the Bolsheviks.


.I Tsarist Russia was full of decay and corruption and had slavery and commonly massacred the population. So yes I think Stalin forced economic plans were neccsary yes I admit they were very cruel but to advance a country almost 150 years ahead in only 20 years you need harsh economic plans. once the Soviet Union began to recover from WW2 and his plans in the early 50's life was good and Stalin had made a good place to live. Yes it unfortunately required 10s of millions of life's between economic plans and ww2.

.II Yes under Stalin medicine did advance, old diseases disappeared. I think that is all I have to say there.

.III Stalin had harsh job policies because Russia was preparing to take on the superpower Nazi Germany. So yes harsh industrialization tactics were neccssarcy. I would think living under Stalin during his economic plans was much better than being constantly massacred by the Nazi's and having the Slavic Population annihilated and the surviving million or so enslaved.


.I The Holodmor is impossible to prove either way, yes Stalin contributed to the famines but much of it was due to the temporary fall of the economy. Due to Reorganization for the better good.

.II If you notice the majority of Gulags are in European Russia, the very populated area. Only a few are in Asian Russia, European Russia was filled with "camps" which are prisons. Proving my point about gulag prisoners being convicts. A convict is someone who has done something wrong, yes the NKVD went to far extremes but Stalin still couldn't have managed the problems.


.I Freedom of speech is a new concept in the spectrum of history, the majority of the world has not had freedom of speech for very long. There were little protests since people were relatively satisfied with his rule, people complain now since the west has introduced lots of individual concepts over the greater good. But that is for a different debate, that is all that needs to be said on that subject.

.II Reaching Space and creating Nuclear energies is beneficial for the population so yes I deem that first world country quality's. I think your argument here is null and void.


.I Stalin provided more hospitals and care. That's bad?
.II Stalin's policies and some smart military descions stopped the Nazi's and saved Europe. Again I don't think that is bad but very good in fact.


Stalin saved Russia and Eastern Europe during the Great Patriotic War and vastly improved Russia life, though it did take a toll on human life. I think your facts are gross over estimates as well, I must admit you did make some excellent points but I think I easily refuted them. Therefore I think my facts and common sense have proved Stalin did many good things. I urge a vote for PRO, please read the facts before you decide your beliefs are correct. I have done extensive research on Stalin and spent a few hours writing this argument. This ends my argument and I await my opponents response and I would like to thank him for good sportsmanship and excellent arguments I have had an excellent debate. Again I urge a vote for PRO since my argument has proved multiple times its superior reasoning and has refuted endless claims.



R1: Stalin V. Hitler

I. Hitler killed based off of religion. He killed people as he thought they where not as good as Germans. [1] It wasn't for genocide, rather him being a racial supremacist. Stalin, a I have proven, killed more people, killing is killing, no matter the motive. Your argument is he liberated people, well a switch from one evil snot to another evil snot is not liberation. I would like to add that Churchill thought Stalin threatened freedom and the west more then Hitler. [2] So really a switch fro h-ll to h-ll isn't good. Even if you are correct, he still killed 20 million people, lets subtract 300 guys, oh wait he is still a mass murderer... He truly killed 20 million people, even his grandfather! [3] As Stalin killed more people he is worse.

II. You concede as you admitted Stalin took away private life. The both countries (as Nazis killed Jews) had little freedom of religion. [4] In the USSR however, there was little right to travel as they had the Berlin wall and 7 day workweeks (see last round), whereas in Nazi Germany you could travel. [4]

III. "On January 30, 1933, President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany." [5]
Hindenburg (not the blimp) was rightfully elected leader of Germany. When he decided to step down, he appointed Hitler as the leader, which is a fair appointment you may say. The coup you named happened when he was leader, hence my point about a fair rise to power stands.

R2: Industry and medicine

I. "In 1928, the Communist Party approved the first of Stalin's proposed Five-Year Plans. The two major policies stipulated in his First Five-Year Plans were extremely demanding and in the long run proved to be unattainable." [6]

His economic plans where not realistic in other words. The central government planing and the subsidies are arguably bad for the economy. Also you seem to be against the Nazis, yet they had similar 4 year plans, similar to these. [7] Many of the plans where failed and abandoned. [7] Only 5/13 where actually beneficial. The plans killed 5 million in famine, deported 10 million workers, and where highly unpopular, [8] His plans failed.

II. You need to provide a source when saying non-common knowledge things. Also you never specified which, so basically this argument is vague and un-sourced, whereas mine was clear and sourced. Also to lower the statistics of the people dying in the soviet hospitals they where pushed out of the door before they died. [9] The doctors where poorly trained as well. [9]

III. So killing people and ruining the lives of workers is ok? If that is your justification then that is terrible. Also, this is proof you haven't researched outside of Wikipedia, it was because they where 100 years behind. [4] I also find it funny I have proven Stalin killed more, hence you would be annihilated more in the USSR.

R3: famines

I. Still, what source?
"The second Soviet famine happened during the collectivization in the USSR. In 1932-1933 confiscations of grain and other food by the Soviet authorities" [10]
This is a direct link to SOVIET OFFICIALS UNDER STALIN, not an economic downturn. As I stated last round, Stalin made the laws saying take the food. I do not see how you are justifying murder.

II. The NKVD killed ethnic minorities in the gulags. [11] So whole groups of ethnic minorities are criminals? Sure a few are but not all. Also a refutation to he couldn't have stopped it:

"Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953." [11]

He was the supreme ruler of the USSR and the communist party, yeah he could have ended the orders, or even not signed the laws in the first place! So he could have 1) ended it, or 2) prevented it. Dude, you cannot justify mass murders of 20 million people.

R4: 3rd world

So if I launched a plane into space would it directly affect you? No it would not help you at all.

"There was no improvement in the average standard of living; in fact the average non-farm wage purchased only about half as much in 1932 as in 1938. " [12]

You and I agree that before Stalin life in russia was terrible, well here it says income was actually not much better, and maybe even worse than before! So life wise it was bad. You claim launching people into space was good, yet how does it effect the standard of living? It doesn't. I could throw 100 US citizens into space, and no ones life would improve. Good Military and government technology =/= good citizen life.

"the government built few apartments, such that by 1940, there were roughly four people per room in every urban dwelling." [12]

As they where poor and cramped, russia under Stalin was a 3rd world country.


I have refuted his arguments, and proven Stalin's plans failed, Russia was a third world country, had poor healthcare, and he was a ruthless killer. Justifying genocide makes no sense, as he was a murdering person, and didn't help at all, I urge a pro ballot.

Arguments: me as I proved Stalin was a murderer and decreased the quality of life in the USSR
Sources: Me I had more and used more then Wikipedia and a few Marxist sites.
S/G: You decide
Conduct: you decided
agree disagree: Your choice, as it is probably me though :)


sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by chainmachine 6 years ago
mrbusy has a excellent point the whites were the source of the problem. Also I don't see whats wrong with wikipedia.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
Lol your saying starving people because they pissed you off is unintentional?
Posted by mrbusy 6 years ago
Stalin didn't intentionally kill innocent people. he had ordered to 'clean' threats of kulaks and foreign spies as enermy of states for their strong tendancy of anti-revolutionary revolt, which had been very real threat in Soviet Union after the revolution. Spies related with old 'white generals' was real threat, not 'paranoia' of Stalin. and people really supported Stalin shouting 'doloy shipionam'(death to spies!) in street rally, there're many film and documents supporting this in russia. what people need to understand is the revolutionary atmosphere in early 19th century. People thought the world can really be changed and Soviet Union was the greatest hope along with the US.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
dang you like wikipedia
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
so killing people, being sent to gulags, getting aids in hospitals = better?
Posted by chainmachine 6 years ago
Posted by chainmachine 6 years ago
No i did, you were saying the quality of life was not very good. I am sayig the greater good of the society was advanced and later Stalin era and the rest of the time period of the USSR was a very good place to live.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
You didn't understand my 3rd world country argument
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
killing people not that bad?
Posted by chainmachine 6 years ago
I understand that he did horrible things but i am arguing he was not all bad.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro makes a good effort in pointing to the positive aspects of Stalin in an attempt to carry his BOP. The difficulty in this is only partly in creating a justification for the amount of death Stalin is responsible for. Con argues that Stalin was unable to do so, and refutes most of Pro's main points. Therefore arguments go to Con.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: A good man tries to do good; Pro argued that Stalin's consolation of authoritarian rule went against Hitler, but that was not an attempt do good, it was self-preservation. Pro didn't link claims to references, and Pro's key points were not supported. Pro's argument that only death orders signed personally by Stalin count is flatly ridiculous; dictators delegate. Con's poor S