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Slavonic Society

Dr Chris Ward (Cambridge University) on the Rise of Stalin

The Slavonic Society was fortunate to host Dr Chris Ward, Senior Lecturer and head of Modern and Medieval languages at Cambridge University. Dr Ward’s talk was entitled ‘The Rise of Stalin’ and was unique based on his unconventional perception of the leader. Dr Ward began by suggesting that judging Stalin based on his personality and character is a completely arbitrary process as views on him stem from other people’s perception of him. There is very little material that Stalin actually wrote about himself, making it difficult to establish an accurate portrayal.

Dr Ward continued, conveying an image of Stalin as essentially a victim of circumstance. As he suggested, Stalin was the “right man for the job” rising up through the communist party as a result of his habit to get things done via any means. His ultimate position as head of the USSR seemed a natural sequel to his gradual ascension through the communist party. Although not entirely negating his personal endeavour, Dr Ward certainly emphasised Stalin’s rise as a result of a combination of factors. The talk proved incredibly insightful and alternative and the Slavonic Society would like to thank Dr Ward most sincerely.

Tom Bolitho CJD


DATE POSTED: 11 February 2009

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