Stalinism is the means of governing and related policies implemented from around 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin. Stalinist policies and ideas as developed in the Soviet Union included rapid industrialization, the theory of socialism in one country, a totalitarian state, collectivization of agriculture, a cult of personality and subordination of the interests of foreign communist parties to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, deemed by Stalinism to be the leading vanguard party of communist revolution at the time. Stalinism promoted the escalation of class conflict, utilizing state violence to forcibly purge society of the bourgeoisie, whom Stalinist doctrine regarded as threats to the pursuit of the communist revolution; this policy resulted in persecution of such people. "Enemies" included not only bourgeois people, but working-class people with counter-revolutionary sympathies. Stalinist industrialization was designed to accelerate the development towards communism, stressing the need for such rapid industrialization on the grounds that the Soviet Union was economically backward in comparison with other countries and asserting that socialist society needed industry in order to face the challenges posed by internal and external enemies of communism.
Rapid industrialization was accompanied by mass collectivization of agriculture and by rapid urbanization. Rapid urbanization converted many small villages into industrial cities. To accelerate the development of industrialization, Stalin imported materials, ideas and workers from Western Europe and from the United States and pragmatically set up joint-venture contracts with major American private enterprises, such as the Ford Motor Company, which under state supervision assisted in developing the basis of the industry of the Soviet economy from the late 1920s to the 1930s. After the American private enterprises had completed their tasks, Soviet state enterprises took over; the term came into prominence during the mid-1930s when Lazar Kaganovich, a Soviet politician and associate of Stalin declared: "Let's replace Long Live Leninism with Long Live Stalinism!". Stalin met this usage with hesitancy, dismissing it as excessively praiseful and contributing to a cult of personality. Stalinism is used to describe the period during which Stalin was acting leader of the Soviet Union while serving as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party from 1922 to his death on 5th of March 1953.
While some historians view Stalinism as a reflection of the ideologies of Leninism and Marxism, some argue that it stands separate from the socialist ideals it stemmed from. After a political struggle that culminated in the defeat of the Bukharinists, Stalinism was free to shape policy without opposition, ushering forth an era of harsh authoritarianism that soldiered toward rapid industrialization regardless of the cost. From 1917 to 1924, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Stalin appeared united, but they had discernible ideological differences. In his dispute with Trotsky, Stalin de-emphasized the role of workers in advanced capitalist countries. Stalin polemicized against Trotsky on the role of peasants as in China whereas Trotsky's position was in favor of urban insurrection over peasant-based guerrilla warfare. Whilst all other October Revolution 1917 Bolshevik leaders regarded their revolution more or less just as the beginning, they saw Russia as the leapboard on the road towards the World Wide Revolution, Stalin introduced the idea of Socialism in One Country by the autumn of 1924.
This did not just stand in sharp contrast to Trotsky's "Permanent Revolution", but in contrast to all earlier Socialistic theses. But by time and through circumstances, the revolution did not spread outside Russia, as Lenin had assumed it soon would. Not within the other former territories of the Russian Empire such as Poland, Lithuania and Estonia had the revolution been a success. On the contrary, all these countries had returned to capitalist bourgeois rule, but still, by the autumn of 1924, Stalin's idea of socialism in Soviet Russia alone was next to blasphemy in the ears of the other Politburo members- Zinoviev and Kamenev to the intellectual left, Rykov and Tomsky to the pragmatic right and the powerful Trotsky, who belonged to no side but his own. None of them had thought of Stalin's concept as a potential addition to Communist ideology. Hence, Stalin's "Socialism in One Country" doctrine couldn't be imposed until he had become close to being the autocratic ruler of the U. S. S. R.. While traditional communist thought holds that the state will "wither away" as the implementation of socialism reduces class distinction, Stalin argued that the proletarian state must become stronger before it can wither away.
In Stalin's view, counter-revolutionary elements will try to derail the transition to full communism, the state must be powerful enough to defeat them. For this reason, Communist regimes influenced by Stalin have been described as totalitarian. Sheng Shicai collaborated with the Soviets, allowing Stalinist rule to be extended to the Xinjiang province in the 1930s. In 1937, Sheng conducted a purge similar to the Great Purge. Stalin blamed the kulaks as the inciters of reactionary violence against the people during the implementation of agricultural collectivisation. In response, the state under Stalin's leadership initiated a violent
Far-left politics are political views located further on the left of the left-right spectrum than the standard political left. The term has been used to describe ideologies such as: communism, anarcho-communism, left-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, Marxism–Leninism and Maoism. Since 2016, the term Alt-left has been used as a pejorative to refer to political views at the extreme end of this spectrum, to those who adhere to such views. Luke March of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh defines the far-left in Europe as those who position themselves to the left of social democracy, which they see as insufficiently left-wing; the two main sub-types are called the radical left, who desire fundamental changes to the capitalist system yet remain accepting of liberal democracy, the extreme left, who are more hostile to liberal democracy and denounce any compromise with capitalism. March specifies four major subgroups within contemporary European far-left politics: communists, democratic socialists, populist socialists and social populists.
Vít Hloušek and Lubomír Kopeček add secondary characteristics to those identified by March and Mudde, such as anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, opposition to NATO and rejection of European integration. In France, the term extrême-gauche is a accepted term for political groups that position themselves to the left of the Socialist Party, such as Trotskyists, anarcho-communists and New Leftists. Some, such as political scientist Serge Cosseron, limit the scope to the left of the French Communist Party, but there is no real consensus. There were many far-left militant organizations formed from existing political parties in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Red Brigades and the Red Army Faction; these groups aimed to overthrow capitalism and the wealthy ruling classes. Anarchism Hard left List of anti-capitalist and communist parties with national parliamentary representation Moonbat Alt-right Media related to Far-left politics at Wikimedia Commons
People's Republic of Bulgaria
The People's Republic of Bulgaria was the official name of Bulgaria, when it was a socialist republic. The People's Republic of Bulgaria existed from 1946 to 1990 and it was ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party, which in turn ruled together with its coalition partner, the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union. Bulgaria was part of Comecon and a member of the Warsaw Pact and was allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War; the Bulgarian resistance movement during World War II deposed the Kingdom of Bulgaria administration in the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 which ended the country's alliance with the Axis powers and led to the People's Republic in 1946. The BCP modelled its policies after those of the Soviet Union, transforming the country over the course of a decade from an agrarian peasant society into an industrialized socialist society. In the mid 1950s and after the death of Stalin, conservative hardliners lost influence and a period of social liberalization and stability followed under Todor Zhivkov.
Varying degrees of conservative or liberal influence followed. After a new energy and transportation infrastructure was constructed, by 1960 manufacturing became the dominant sector of the economy and Bulgaria became a major exporter of household goods and on computer technologies, earning it the nickname of "Silicon Valley of the Eastern Bloc"; the country's high productivity levels and high scores on social development rankings made it a model for other socialist countries' administrative policies. In 1989, after a few years of liberal influence, political reforms were initiated and Todor Zhivkov, who had served as head of the party since 1954, was removed from office in a BCP congress. In 1990, under the leadership of Georgi Parvanov the BCP changed its name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party and adopted a centre-left political ideology in place of Marxism–Leninism. Following the BSP victory in the 1990 election, the first contested multi-party election since 1931, the name of the state was changed to the Republic of Bulgaria.
Geographically, the People's Republic of Bulgaria had the same borders as present-day Bulgaria and it bordered the Black Sea to the east. On 1 March 1941, the Kingdom of Bulgaria signed the Tripartite Pact, became a member of the Axis Powers; as a result of the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in April, Bulgaria came to occupy large parts of these countries. In 1942, the Fatherland Front was formed from a mixture of Communists and Liberals. In 1944, with the entry of the Red Army in Romania, the Kingdom of Bulgaria changed its alliance and declared neutrality. On 5 September, the Soviet Union declared war on the kingdom and three days the Red Army entered north-eastern Bulgaria, prompting the government to declare support in order to minimise military conflict. On 9 September, communist partisans launched a coup d'état which de facto ended the rule of the Bulgarian monarchy and its administration, after which a new government assumed power led by the Fatherland Front, which itself was led by the Bulgarian Communist Party.
After taking power, the FF formed a coalition under the former ruler Kimon Georgiev, including the Social Democrats and the Agrarians. Under the terms of the peace settlement, Bulgaria was allowed to keep Southern Dobruja, but formally renounced all claims to Greek and Yugoslav territory. 150,000 Bulgarians settled during the occupation were expelled from Western Thrace. The Communists deliberately took a minor role in the new government at first, while the Soviet representatives held the real power. A Communist-controlled People's Militia was set up, which harassed and intimidated non-Communist parties. On 1 February 1945, Regent Prince Kiril, former Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, hundreds of other officials of the kingdom were arrested on charges of war crimes. By June and the other Regents, twenty-two former ministers, many others had been executed; the new government began to arrest Nazi collaborators. As the war came to a halt, the government expanded its campaign of political revolution to attack economic elites in banking and private business.
This strengthened when it became apparent that the United States and United Kingdom had little interest in Bulgaria. In November 1945, Communist Party leader Georgi Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria after 22 years in exile, he made a truculent speech. Elections held a few weeks resulted in a large majority for the Fatherland Front. In September 1946, the monarchy was abolished by plebiscite, which resulted in 95.6 percent voting in favour of a republic, young Tsar Simeon II was sent into exile. The Communists took power, Bulgaria was declared a People's Republic. Vasil Kolarov, the number-three man in the party, became President. Over the next year, the Communists consolidated their hold on power. Elections for a constituent assembly in October 1946 gave the Communists a majority. A month Dimitrov became prime minister; the Agrarians refused to co-operate with the authorities, in June 1947 their leader Nikola Petkov was arrested. Despite strong international protests he was executed in September; this marked the establishment of a Communist establishment in Bulgaria.
In December 1947, the constituent assembly ratified a new constitution for the republic, referred to as the "Dimitrov Constitution". The constitution was drafted with the help of Soviet jurists using the 1936 Soviet Constitution as a model. By 1948, the remaining opposition parties were either dissolved.
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
A political spectrum is a system of classifying different political positions upon one or more geometric axes that represent independent political dimensions. Most long-standing spectra include a left wing, which referred to seating arrangements in the French parliament after the Revolution. On a left–right spectrum and socialism are regarded internationally as being on the left, Liberalism can mean different things in different contexts: sometimes on the left; those with an intermediate outlook are sometimes classified as centrists. That said and neoliberals are called centrists too. Politics that rejects the conventional left–right spectrum is known as syncretic politics, though the label tends to mischaracterize positions that have a logical location on a two-axis spectrum because they seem randomly brought together on a one-axis left-right spectrum. Political scientists have noted that a single left–right axis is insufficient for describing the existing variation in political beliefs and include other axes.
Though the descriptive words at polar opposites may vary in popular biaxial spectra the axes are split between socio-cultural issues and economic issues, each scaling from some form of individualism to some form of communitarianism. The terms right and left refer to political affiliations originating early in the French Revolutionary era of 1789–1799 and referred to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France; as seen from the Speaker's seat at the front of the Assembly, the aristocracy sat on the right and the commoners sat on the left, hence the terms right-wing politics and left-wing politics. The defining point on the ideological spectrum was the Ancien Régime. "The Right" thus implied support for aristocratic or royal interests and the church, while "The Left" implied support for republicanism and civil liberties. Because the political franchise at the start of the revolution was narrow, the original "Left" represented the interests of the bourgeoisie, the rising capitalist class.
Support for laissez-faire commerce and free markets were expressed by politicians sitting on the left because these represented policies favorable to capitalists rather than to the aristocracy, but outside parliamentary politics these views are characterized as being on the Right. The reason for this apparent contradiction lies in the fact that those "to the left" of the parliamentary left, outside official parliamentary structures represent much of the working class, poor peasantry and the unemployed, their political interests in the French Revolution lay with opposition to the aristocracy and so they found themselves allied with the early capitalists. However, this did not mean that their economic interests lay with the laissez-faire policies of those representing them politically; as capitalist economies developed, the aristocracy became less relevant and were replaced by capitalist representatives. The size of the working class increased as capitalism expanded and began to find expression through trade unionist, socialist and communist politics rather than being confined to the capitalist policies expressed by the original "left".
This evolution has pulled parliamentary politicians away from laissez-faire economic policies, although this has happened to different degrees in different countries those with a history of issues with more authoritarian-left countries, such as the Soviet Union or China under Mao Zedong. Thus the word "Left" in American political parlance may refer to "liberalism" and be identified with the Democratic Party, whereas in a country such as France these positions would be regarded as more right-wing, or centrist overall, "left" is more to refer to "socialist" or "social-democratic" positions rather than "liberal" ones. For a century, social scientists have considered the problem of how best to describe political variation. In 1950, Leonard W. Ferguson analyzed political values using ten scales measuring attitudes toward: birth control, capital punishment, communism, law, theism, treatment of criminals and war. Submitting the results to factor analysis, he was able to identify three factors, which he named religionism and nationalism.
He defined religionism as belief in God and negative attitudes toward birth control. This system was derived empirically, as rather than devising a political model on purely theoretical grounds and testing it, Ferguson's research was exploratory; as a result of this method, care must be taken in the interpretation of Ferguson's three factors, as factor analysis will output an abstract factor whether an objectively real factor exists or not. Although replication of the nationalism factor was inconsistent, the finding of religionism and humanitarianism had a number of replications by Ferguson and others. Shortly afterward, Hans Eysenck began researching political attitudes in Great Britain, he believed that there was something similar about the National Socialists on the one hand and the communists on the other, despite their opposite positions on the left–right axis. As Hans Eysenck described in his 1956 book Sense and
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by the alias Lenin, was a Russian communist revolutionary and political theorist. He served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1922 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration and the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. Ideologically a communist, he developed a variant of Marxism known as Leninism. Born to a moderately prosperous middle-class family in Simbirsk, Lenin embraced revolutionary socialist politics following his brother's 1887 execution. Expelled from Kazan Imperial University for participating in protests against the Russian Empire's Tsarist government, he devoted the following years to a law degree, he became a senior Marxist activist. In 1897, he was arrested for sedition and exiled to Shushenskoye for three years, where he married Nadezhda Krupskaya. After his exile, he moved to Western Europe, where he became a prominent theorist in the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party.
In 1903, he took a key role in a RSDLP ideological split, leading the Bolshevik faction against Julius Martov's Mensheviks. Encouraging insurrection during Russia's failed Revolution of 1905, he campaigned for the First World War to be transformed into a Europe-wide proletarian revolution, which as a Marxist he believed would cause the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement with socialism. After the 1917 February Revolution ousted the Tsar and established a Provisional Government, he returned to Russia to play a leading role in the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks overthrew the new regime. Lenin's Bolshevik government shared power with the Left Socialist Revolutionaries, elected soviets, a multi-party Constituent Assembly, although by 1918 it had centralised power in the new Communist Party. Lenin's administration redistributed land among the peasantry and nationalised banks and large-scale industry, it withdrew from the First World War by signing a treaty with the Central Powers and promoted world revolution through the Communist International.
Opponents were suppressed in the Red Terror, a violent campaign administered by the state security services. His administration defeated right and left-wing anti-Bolshevik armies in the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1922 and oversaw the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921. Responding to wartime devastation and popular uprisings, in 1921 Lenin encouraged economic growth through the market-oriented New Economic Policy. Several non-Russian nations secured independence after 1917, but three re-united with Russia through the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922. In poor health, Lenin died at his dacha in Gorki, with Joseph Stalin succeeding him as the pre-eminent figure in the Soviet government. Considered one of the most significant and influential figures of the 20th century, Lenin was the posthumous subject of a pervasive personality cult within the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, he became an ideological figurehead behind Marxism–Leninism and thus a prominent influence over the international communist movement.
A controversial and divisive individual, Lenin is viewed by supporters as a champion of socialism and the working class, while critics on both the left and right emphasize his role as founder and leader of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings. Lenin's father, Ilya Nikolayevich Ulyanov, was from a family of serfs. Despite this lower-class background he had risen to middle-class status, studying physics and mathematics at Kazan Imperial University before teaching at the Penza Institute for the Nobility. Ilya married Maria Alexandrovna Blank in mid-1863. Well educated and from a prosperous background, she was the daughter of a wealthy German–Swedish Lutheran mother, a Russian Jewish father who had converted to Christianity and worked as a physician, it is that Lenin was unaware of his mother's half-Jewish ancestry, only discovered by his sister Anna after his death. Soon after their wedding, Ilya obtained a job in Nizhny Novgorod, rising to become Director of Primary Schools in the Simbirsk district six years later.
Five years after that, he was promoted to Director of Public Schools for the province, overseeing the foundation of over 450 schools as a part of the government's plans for modernisation. His dedication to education earned him the Order of St. Vladimir, which bestowed on him the status of hereditary nobleman. Lenin was baptised six days later, he was one of eight children, having two older siblings and Alexander. They were followed by three more children, Olga and Maria. Two siblings died in infancy. Ilya was a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church and baptised his children into it, although Maria—a Lutheran by upbringing—was indifferent to Christianity, a view that influenced her children. Both parents were monarchists and liberal conservatives, being committed to the emancipation reform of 1861 introduced by the reformist Tsar Alexander II; every summer they holidayed at a rural manor in Kokushkino. Among his siblings, Lenin was closest to his sister Olga, whom he bossed around.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian and Soviet politician. The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of its governing Communist Party from 1985 until 1991, he was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, he adhered to Marxism-Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy. Of mixed Russian and Ukrainian heritage, Gorbachev was born in Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai to a poor peasant family. Growing up under the rule of Joseph Stalin, in his youth he operated combine harvesters on a collective farm before joining the Communist Party, which governed the Soviet Union as a one-party state according to Marxist-Leninist doctrine. While studying at Moscow State University, he married fellow student Raisa Titarenko in 1953 prior to receiving his law degree in 1955.
Moving to Stavropol, he worked for the Komsomol youth organisation and, after Stalin's death, became a keen proponent of the de-Stalinization reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He was appointed the First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Regional Committee in 1970, in which position he oversaw construction of the Great Stavropol Canal. In 1974 he moved to Moscow to become First Secretary to the Supreme Soviet and in 1979 became a candidate member of the party's governing Politburo. Within three years of the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, following the brief regimes of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, the Politburo elected Gorbachev as General Secretary, the de facto head of government, in 1985. Although committed to preserving the Soviet state and to its socialist ideals, Gorbachev believed significant reform was necessary after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, he withdrew from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States President Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War.
Domestically, his policy of glasnost allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika sought to decentralise economic decision making to improve efficiency. His democratisation measures and formation of the elected Congress of People's Deputies undermined the one-party state. Gorbachev declined to intervene militarily when various Eastern Bloc countries abandoned Marxist-Leninist governance in 1989-90. Internally, growing nationalist sentiment threatened to break-up the Soviet Union, leading Marxist-Leninist hardliners to launch an unsuccessful August 1991 coup against Gorbachev. Out of office, he launched his Gorbachev Foundation, became a vocal critic of Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, campaigned for Russia's social-democratic movement. Considered one of the most significant figures of the second half of the 20th century, Gorbachev remains the subject of controversy; the recipient of a wide range of awards—including the Nobel Peace Prize—he was praised for his pivotal role in ending the Cold War, curtailing human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, tolerating both the fall of Marxist–Leninist administrations in eastern and central Europe and the reunification of Germany.
Conversely, in Russia he is derided for not stopping the Soviet collapse, an event which brought a decline in Russia's global influence and precipitated economic crisis. Gorbachev was born on 2 March 1931 in the village of Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. At the time, Privolnoye was divided evenly between ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. Gorbachev's paternal family were ethnic Russians and had moved to the region from Voronezh several generations before, his parents named him Victor, but at the insistence of his mother—a devout Orthodox Christian—he had a secret baptism, where his grandfather christened him Mikhail. His relationship with his father, Sergey Andreyevich Gorbachev, was close, his parents were poor. The Soviet Union was a one-party state governed by the Communist Party, during Gorbachev's childhood was under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. Stalin had initiated a project of mass rural collectivisation which, in keeping with his Marxist-Leninist ideas, he believed would help convert the country into a socialist society.
Gorbachev's maternal grandfather joined the Communist Party and helped form the village's first kolkhoz in 1929, becoming its chair. This farm was twelve miles outside Privolnoye village and when he was three years old, Gorbachev left his parental home and moved into the kolkhoz with his maternal grandparents; the country was experiencing the famine of 1932–33, in which two of Gorbachev's paternal uncles and an aunt died. This was followed by the Great Purge, in which individuals accused of being "enemies of the people"—including those sympathetic to rival interpretations of Marxism like Trotskyism—were arrested and interned in labour camps, if not executed. Both of Gorbachev's grandfathers were arrested—his maternal in 1934 and his paternal in 1937—and both spent time in Gulag labour camps prior to being released. After his December 1938 release, Gorbachev's maternal grandfather discussed having been tortured by the secret pol