Assess the impact of Stalin's social and cultural policies on Russia up to 1941.


Joseph Stalin

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On the one hand, Stalin's policies led to the modernization of the Russian state at an almost unimaginable speed. On the other, they did so at an absolutely frightful cost. Socially, Stalin essentially destroyed landholding peasants as a class, forcing millions of other rural people onto collective farms. He also rapidly industrialized the USSR, pushing enormous, often exorbitant quotas on various factories. The demographics of the countryside changed dramatically as millions moved to cities which strained to provide them with services. Stalin's forced collectivization caused millions to starve, and his purges cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Party members. 

Culturally, Stalin cultivated a cult of state and of personality, subjecting the people of the Soviet Union to an endless barrage of propaganda that called upon them to make even greater sacrifices. He established (or expanded) a police state that rounded up dissidents and sent them to forced labor camps. Overall, the social and cultural effects were profound, and they came at an enormous cost.

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