The Thin Line Between Evil and Good.
Last week I was learning something interesting about one man in the Russian history called Joseph Stalin. His is a story of blood, revolution, hate and betrayal. Beside all that, he was born to be a priest but ended up being a revolutionist. And the Soviet Union bears him in thick memory.
Born in the 19th century, he was sent to a seminary by his mum to learn and become a priest. Interestingly enough, he started doubting the whole concept of Christianity while in the very place it could be said to be taboo if anyone ever hatched atheistic thoughts.
Nevertheless, for Stalin, he abhorred these thoughts while studying to be priest in the seminary. Probably, he joined the seminary not out of choice or desire but because his parents as is the case often held the baton of authority. Not so lucky for them when the young Stalin was away in the seminary on his own.
It was while in the seminary that Joseph Stalin came head on with the philosophy of Carl Max and his Marxism philosophy co-founded with Friedrrich Engels. It seems the philosophy awakened a deep desire in Stalin’s mind to be a part of it that he left the foundations of Christianity he was being anchored into for a political carving of his own.
The key components of Marxism were in capturing state power, then introduce a dictatorship of the proletariat and then continue to introduce communism. Communism and socialism were theories developed by Karl Marx and one in which the Soviet Union would be build upon.
Once he got out and started his political participation in the Russian territory, Joseph Stalin became a rough man. It is in history that if there is one thing that never surprised Stalin, it was death. It is so weird to note that Joseph Stalin at one point developed a secretive approach in trying to cover up for a dire hunger in the villages of Russia after he became their leader. His wife, on realizing of this unfortunate development during a dinner ceremony, shot herself.
Instead of us expecting Joseph Stalin to be deeply disturbed of the death, he only moans of betrayal by the wife. He expected her to take his side. Committing suicide meant rebellion. And it is at this point that the real terror of Stalin started to be experienced.
I don’t know what power did to him but I suppose his distrust for people meant him scavenging for every opportunity to amaze power and be in control. After getting himself to Moscow at some earlier point in his life and lodging in a close confidant’s house but who would later betray him, it is said that he never trusted anybody thereafter. Let alone now that he again felt betrayed by his dear wife.
That is why once he took over the helm of power, he almost killed the entire party leadership and anybody he instinctively felt would mean a threat to him. It is estimated that he murdered and ordered the execution of about 700,000 people while at the same time sending over a million to forced labor within a very short period of time.
Almost at the time when Stalin was getting settled that he had all in control, at least within his territory, another guy was on the rise across the other side. This man called Adolf Hitler from Germany almost marched the dictatorship of Stalin. Funny enough, Joseph Stalin is said to have trusted only Hitler at this appointed time and they even signed up a treaty to respect their respective boundaries.
It didn’t work out well that way because shortly after, the Nazis came after Russia with an intent of taking it over but they were defeated. After this war, Stalin envisioned to bring under control all countries his soldiers had won over which would later be called the USSR.
This man had become the most feared ruler of the time. He had become so feared that even when he died, he lied in the cold in his room alone the whole day without anybody daring to go in and touch him because they didn’t trust him even in death.
When Joseph Stalin died, about 30 million people had been killed through wars and orders instigated by him. As it is the order of doing things, his body was laid in the open in Moscow for people to see and masses of people came out to mourn him. They believed they had lost one of the very best of their leaders and the father of their nation, one who brought industrial development.
And it is at this point that we are left to wonder, where does the line between good and evil lie. Some people celebrated Joseph Stalin as their great leader, others disliked and dislike him to this day as a bad dictator. To those who like him, they believe that revolutions come with a cost. And that part of that cost is in the millions of people who were murdered and lost their lives.
A man born and destined to be a priest ended becoming a political dictator and a ‘terror.’ One to whom the word death and loss of life tasted so foreign in his mouth. We can say he was destined for ‘goodness’ but ended up in ‘evil.’
So again, where does that line lie. I can only say that it is so thin. You could be desiring for that goodness but end up in that great evil. You could be good today and be bad tomorrow but as a matter of fact, all these things are made of choices. Choices, I repeat. And so, always make your choices wisely.
Was Joseph Stalin evil or good? Like most people, perhaps, he chose the thin line.