Close this search box.

Stalin, Mao, Communism, and their 21st-Century Aftermath (Part III)—A Commentary by Adam R. Bogart, PhD

Part III of Dr. Faria’s book is dedicated to Stalin’s influence in the post-war world (1945–1953).

         After World War II, the Soviet citizen did not have to worry about being tortured and killed by the Nazis. However, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin’s position of a need to maintain a constant level of terror did not change. The goal for the average citizen was still daily survival.

         Dr. Faria wrote:

So, even though the times had changed, the repressive Soviet system had not, and neither had Joseph Stalin. Stalin had realized long ago that he could utilize a purge not only to destroy enemies but also, and more importantly to create them. A purge did not produce stability but rather helped to destabilize the country. Only under crisis conditions could supreme power be maintained.

         That is interesting, because this is exactly how communists take power in the first place. They will patiently work 60 or more years to destabilize a Democratic government and the citizens under it, by promoting the same nonsensical but hurtful ideas until much of the country believes in them. Once the de-stability reaches a critical point, and chaos reigns, then they can step in and promise to restore order. That they will do, but what comes next might be order, but it won’t be law. Amidst the chaos brewing in the Kerensky government of February 1917, Lenin rode back into St. Petersburg in an armored train from Zurich (arriving April 1917) and replaced Kerensky and his Mensheviks with himself and his Bolsheviks by October 1917. Of course, Lenin spent the spring and summer of 1917 agitating against Kerensky, lending his own supply of chaos to the situation.

         Stalin had generated many classes of enemies in his previous purges. Now, he decided to turn against the Jews, despite positive relations with them from 1945-1947, during the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust. It was true enough that Red Army forces liberated many Jews who survived Hitler’s camps, so the affection of Jews for Stalin was real, and he saw the political value in that. Stalin was also an initial early supporter of Israel, until he noticed the warm reception Golda Meir received in the Soviet Union from Russian Jews. It was just a bit too warm and enthusiastic for him, but then he gave Meir the same warm reception when she first arrived in the USSR. The problem for him was now he couldn’t trust the Soviet Jews. Perhaps they had dual loyalties, both to the USSR and Israel? Stalin would never tolerate that from anyone. Now, a new wave of antisemitism was sweeping Russia, a wave that he had created. Many Soviets gentiles didn’t like Jews but they, like Stalin, tolerated them. It took a bit of Stalin’s encouragement to turn bare tolerance into hatred.

         After a few assassinations and small purges, plus the demonization of all Soviet Jews as potential enemies of the state and possible spies for Britain and the US, the stage was set for the Doctor’s Plot.

         Seemingly without connection to Stalin’s planned persecution of Jewish doctors, Andrei Zhdanov (a disgraced former Minister of Art and Culture) died of heart disease on August 31, 1948. His physicians were betrayed to Stalin by cardiologist Lidia Timashuk. She alleged that the medical care was so poor that she considered it criminal. Contrary to what it seems Timashuk thought, the physicians weren’t even Jewish. That didn’t matter to Stalin, because under torture they could reveal the crimes of their Jewish medical colleagues, which is what Stalin was really after. The first two he selected turned out to be no good for Stalin. Dr. Yakov Etinger died from torture, and Dr. Sophia Karpai would not confess and give more names, despite very heavy doses of physical abuse applied to her. This wasn’t such a big problem for Stalin, because he had already acquired the names of many more prominent Jewish doctors. He also extended his persecution to both Jews and non-Jews in the MGB State Security Apparatus. This resulted in a great deal of torture and death. Typical of Stalin, he never felt whatever new system of sadism he had built was enough. So, he extended the Doctor’s Plot campaign to include Jews who had treated Soviet officials or notable figures that were long dead. Even the case of writer Maxim Gorky (who had died of pneumonia in 1936 after a long illness) was reopened to investigate what charges could be lodged against any Jewish doctors who had treated him. That’s very ironic, as there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest Stalin himself ordered the NKVD to poison Gorky.

         All of the crucial elements had been prepared by 1953, and it was time for Beria to initiate arrangements for a number of show trials, mostly of Jews but not entirely. Stalin needed this (in his mind) because the Soviet people were growing lazy and apathetic, and new purges would galvanize them to begin reporting new “suspects” to the security organs. Of course, he also needed the fear and chaos to maintain his absolute grip on the country. It really wasn’t about the Jews, although they happened to make great scapegoats.

         The show trials and executions never proceeded because Stalin died on March 5, 1953. The precise circumstances of his death and what might have killed him have been covered extensively elsewhere. Ironically, it was Beria who released and exonerated any prisoners being held for trial.

Stalin, Mao, Communism, and their 21st-Century Aftermath in Russia and China (January 2024) by Dr. Miguel A. Faria was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. You can order the book from Cambridge Scholars Publishing. It is a beautiful hardback book, fully illustrated with over a hundred illustrations, including an insert with glossy color prints. For a 25% discount, enter code PROMO25 to redeem during your online purchase. Or email Cambridge Scholars Publishing at

Read Part IV of this Commentary

Reviewed by Adam Bogart, PhD

Adam Bogart, PhD, is a Behavioral Neuroscientist at the Sanders Brown Center for Aging University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. Behavioral Neuroscience Kent State University Kent, OH. Post-doctoral fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center Bronx, NY. MS Immunology conjointly Adelphi University/Mount Sinai Medical Center New York City, NY.

This article may be cited as: Bogart, A.R. Stalin, Mao, Communism, and their 21st-Century Aftermath (Part III)—A Commentary by Adam R. Bogart, PhD., June 24, 2024. Available from:

Copyright ©2024

Share This Story:

Scroll to Top