How does Khrushchev account for the phenomenon of Stalinism?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Khrushchev's "Secret Speech," he accounts for the phenomenon of Stalinism in his suggestion that Stalin's greatest flaw was his embrace of a leadership predicated upon a cult of personality.  Khrushchev details how this model of leadership is antihetical to the Leninist views that gave rise to the Soviet style of Communism.  Khrushchev accounts for this in his suggestion that Stalin's leadership was centered on himself and not the needs of "the collective."  This enabled him to link himself to the broader struggle, something that Khrushchev argues is both a reason for the phenomenon of Stalinism and a fundamental reason why it is flawed.  Khrushchev believes that the identification of one person to represent a collective movement can feed a phenomena, but also hampers efforts to truly speak for "the people."  Khrushchev's speech suggests that this becomes one of the lasting lessons learned from Stalin's approach and something that must be different for the future if political leadership wishes to be more responsive to the needs of the people.  In accounting for the phenomenon of Stalinism in suggesting the flaws with the cult of individual personality model, Khrushchev is able to suggest the need to change this philosophy and thus usher in his own brand of Communism, one that he believes is more closely aligned with Soviet Communism that Lenin envisioned.

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