I wrapped that into outline. Last paragraph was missing though:
"Wherever I go," she said, "here, or Switzerland, or India, or wherever. Australia. Some island. I always will be a political prisoner of my father's name."
Though it wasn't very interesting tbh
I think the most unusual characteristics of his story was that everyone tried to control him. First, the priests at the seminary by disciplining him, then his father, who wanted him to be a shoe cobbler, then the czars by putting him in prison and exiling him, then his fellow party members by trying to out politic him, and absolutely nothing worked on him. The guy did not budge an inch from his mission or ever got discouraged no matter what happened. The guy, like a serial killer, was completely emotionally unmoved and undeterred by any obstacle or opinion of anyone.
They put him in prison, he started taking control of the prison. They sent him to Siberia he came back and dove right back into revolution after always seeming to father an illegitimate child while in exile. He remembered everyone who he ever met and punished them or rewarded them later accordingly. He seemingly did everything for the sole purpose of global Marxist revolution and he got rid of anyone, or group of people or thing that got in his way. He wasn't even vulnerable to flattery. He was just dead set and committed to his goal of global marxist revolution and brutal vengeance against all his enemies who tried to keep him from achieving that.
He had pathological need for control and was violent. But, analysis that ignores other violent influences in his life and put all on strength of his will is kind of missing something.
Stalin had intense rages, yelling and swearing. He was insecure about host of things, sensitive to criticism or slights and seeked to punish them with vengeance. That is not exactly unemotional nor really uncaring about opinions of others. He did cared - so much that he tortured for it. You make it sound like he was logically rationally focused on primary goal of communism, but large part of it was him emotional need to be in absolute control and insecurity.
Priests tried to control him ? He entered the school voluntarily. They did not lock him up. He left of his own accord and priests encouraged him to return. I don't think that was 'trying to control him'
> He seemingly did everything for the sole purpose of global Marxist revolution
Stalin's policy was 'Socialism in one country'. Apart from some modest actions like supporting the Spanish communists in the Spanish Civil War etc, he did not work that hard to advance the Marxist revolution abroad.
> Socialism in one country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin and Nikolai Bukharin in 1924 which was eventually adopted by the Soviet Union as state policy. The theory held that given the defeat of all the communist revolutions in Europe in 1917–1923 except Russia, the Soviet Union should begin to strengthen itself internally.
> This turn toward national communism was a shift from the previously held position by classical Marxism that socialism must be established globally. However, proponents of the theory argue that it contradicts neither world revolution nor world communism. The theory was in opposition to Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution.
He started a war with Finland, signed a treaty with Germany to split Poland, helped communists in China and North Korea and set communist regimes in all countries that soviet Army freed from Germany.
Also some historians think that Stalin had plans to start a war with Germany, but Germany started the war several days sooner (For instance Mark Solonin talks about this).
Yet I recall that in ‘Homage to Catalonia’, George Orwell says that Stalin undermined the Marxist cause...
Although it could be my bad memory, or Orwell's lack of understanding...
Not that I know anything about Marxism!!!
Independent enthusiasm was welcomed when it was minor and useful (like in western communist parties, or the recruiting of western volunteers for Spain) but crushed completely if it had any chance of getting in the way of naked power (like the pre-war Polish communists, almost all murdered).
True believers are vulnerable because they are too stupid or too delusional to realize the weakness of their cookie cutter ideology. Invariably, true believers are converted to useful idiots if there is anyone who wants them (or sometimes upgraded to cynical tyrants).
This isn't "you gotta crack some eggs to make an omelet", this is "everybody is cracking eggs and you're next".
If anything, you're expressing a heavily idealized version of a very complex, difficult, and dangerous time.
This is not commonly accepted history. Speculation at best.
Although he did annex quite a few of neighbours into that one country.
How did you arrive at that conclusion from either of these books? (I'm actually asking, not trying to take you to task for it).
Go big or go home. No doubt not-Stalins were kind and caring and preached Marxism (as they understood it) but they didn't make it that far. Stalins survived. (Survivor bias)
Radical changes can be done only via brutal force. You're talking about property confiscations, massive killings, jailing etc etc.
Now that's a shock: "I have a person here who states she's Stalin's daughter, and we believe she's genuine; unless you instruct me to the contrary, I’m putting her on the one a.m. plane for Rome where we can stop and think the thing through. I’m not giving her any commitment that she can come to the States. I’m only enabling her to leave India, and we will see her to some part of the world—the U.S. or somewhere else—where she can settle in peace. If you disagree with this, let me know before midnight."
Stalin comes across as a total sociopath - as you’d probably expect - but what struck me was how cruel he was to his close ones, whether family or political lieutenants. He had the occasional moment of softness but he was otherwise a bully who minced no words in making others feel minuscule.
Another idea that struck me is how all the Soviet top brass were absolute workhorses who squeezed every living hour out of the day, to the point of mental and physical exhaustion. Stalin himself seemed to sleep from 4am to the late morning, which I found curious. Overall there are clear insights on how they won the war and lifted the Soviet empire, other than through despicable actions.
I think the book still makes me think nowadays about the “noble communist” that claims that their version of communism would not be like that, and how they would be the first to be purged.
Overall its an excellent read. It’s exquisitely documented and Sebag Montefiore deserves mad props for developing a fine, subtle sense of humor in the narration of stories that span from the kafkaesque to the satanic - the book would’ve been very hard to digest otherwise.
The same is true of extreme laissez faire views. Everybody again sees themselves as those now freed to finally earn and achieve greatness. Nobody sees themselves as those being left trapped under oppressive and aggressively (and completely legally) entrenched forces using every single dirty trick in the book to undermine competition and coercively squeeze every penny they can out of everybody.
It's funny that your stated problem with a laissez faire view is merely the idea of competition squeezing money out of people rather than the much more fundamental one of people being unable to achieve the greatness you speak of because they are too busy working for someone else. It's not a trick to undermine competition, it's the nature of the capitalist system to be trapped so aggressively under these forces.
(Is it just me or is it curious that this post has a downvote and flag within less than one minute of me posting it, which is not enough time to read and assimilate its contents? Boring reading or not, it speaks volumes that someone with 500+ karma, someone given the power by the site to downvote, would rather click the button than make even a name-call response even after spending so much time on HN that the have themselves racked up "insight points".)
I was very surprised to see something else in your comment history: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19348848. That's good. But the proportions are not.
Most of his contemporaries record night after night of hours-long boozing sessions.
Overall there are clear insights on how they won the war
They had, and wantonly threw 10x the people the Germans had into the meatgrinder. It's not like it happened through some particular efficiency.
When I was 7 or 6 or something, I remember my granddad, who was in the Wehrmacht back then, very often explained to me how they fought during the war.
One of the things which stuck with me was how many more people the Russians had in comparison with the Germans. He once drew on paper to explain how they did something like cross fire where they would just fire with the machine guns so the lines of fire would cross and from down the hill Russians would run up the hill, die on the way up and new Russians would come up the hill without weapons and would take the weapons of the dead Russians and keep on running until they died, then another ones would take their weapons and so on.
I remember him saying it was 2000 Russian soldiers on one German soldier, but I guess that number got mangled through war propaganda, war reality, fear, and rumors on the front.
More broadly, the idea that they partied a lot - which is also one of the great story arcs in the book - does not detract from this. Think Wall Street, the Valley, etc.
Excuse me, but what you say goes 180 degrees contrary to account of every survivor, and popular public sentiment among the more erudite part of Russian society.
Just every member of political establishment at the time was portrayed as an idle hedonist of no intellectual acumen, but at the same very violent, and easy to snap. And this is the very reason why they gnawed each other to death in the thirties - no lard left, the society expired.
War confiscations, and ones in thirties were well known to end in coffers in mid-level officials, who themselves were a month away from starvation. That goes by account of every well respected person of that generation I knew in my childhood.
The myth of industrialisation is also just a myth. Russia had engineering school of its own, not much behind the German one, and a no joke industry by late ninetieth century. Just it was rather disperse, outdated, and suffering from disintegrated supply chain. Very low profile, and not earning headlines, unlike German one.
Year Axis troops Allies troops
1941 3,767,000 2,680,000
1943 3,933,000 6,724,000
1945 1,960,000 6,410,000
Casualties and losses
5.1 million dead 8.7–10 million dead
That is, to the German caught unawares, it looks as if there is an endless "Asiatic horde" (which was the fascist propaganda to explain losses), but what is actually happening is that the Soviets are successfully concentrating their forces by thinning them down where they aren't needed, and achieving greater numbers where they are needed. Good operational warfare that is, and the Soviets excelled at this. Also, a lot of the time the Germans were unaware of Soviet reserves, so that fresh forces would appear when they weren't expecting them.
The self-serving memories of Wehrmacht Generals mostly conveniently "forgot" about this, and so the myth of the endless Asiatic hordes was born.
There's a fascinating YouTube video  where House (Jonathan, not Hugh Laurie!) dismantles the three usual German alibis of why they were defeated:
1- Hitler interfered too much and was the cause of every blunder.
2- "General Winter".
3- "The Asiatic Horde".
The egregious waste of human life was ok because of advanced machinery?
the idea that they partied a lot - which is also one of the great story arcs in the book - does not detract from this. Think Wall Street, the Valley
I dunno, I did a fair bit of partying in Silicon Valley and I think the the fact that, however ill-advised and harmful, this didn't exterminate millions of people tends to detract from whatever 'this' is supposed to be quite a bit.
Again, the parent only explained that partying and hard work aren't mutually exclusive, not that this somehow makes Stalin's actions okay.
The explicit idea here is that Soviet success was a function of the exceptionally hard work of leadership.
They can, but one of these things endlessly colours the way we morally judge them. No amount of hard work makes up for a disregard for human life.
Maybe I'm misinterpreting it but this reads to me like 'the soviet leadership worked really hard and that won the war'.
You're just spouting bullshit written by the Germans after the war to justify their defeat.
If anything, I'd be spouting Soviet propaganda!
Just because they're capable of physically staying awake without much sleep, doesn't make them so superhuman as to remain unaffected by doing so.
The book is written by a Cambridge-trained historian who did a painstaking work of documentation, including reviewing previously inaccessible Russian archives and interviewing just about every possible Stalin relative and survivor at the time of writing.
Cambridge historian will he be, but he just reverberates the commodity propaganda. Stalin was closing on the godhood in just every written source.
I'll give you an analogy: if some super secret North Korean state archives claim that Kim had no anus, would the Cambridge trained historian claim the same just because of that? Common sense would be lacking there, as it is in popular Western depictions of Stalin. I would not be surprised that people were flattering the guy even in their private notes, for the fear of them being found not doing that enough.
Any well schooled Russian person has a more or less complete idea of who he was as a person. Now, would somebody be a Cambridge-trained historian or not, would he know more of how such type of people live without "feeling and breathing" their will and presence? I'll trust the popular hearsay more than work of acclaimed historian then.
Almost every Western account of Soviet despots made me laugh, trying to find some fine, intriguing, sophisticated persona, where there were none. Why are they trying so hard at that?
To me, it feels that Western historians often pull more effort to rehabilitate the soviets than the contemporary revisionist propaganda.
Then tried "Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva" by Rosemary Sullivan but could't finish it. Compared with the 'bad guys' her biography is just dull.
edit: nevermind, seems to be an excerpt only. Recorded by BBC in 2017 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01dd3t9
By any measure, she lives an ordinary life; why dig this up if they don't hold some secret admiration for the first contractor to the architect of the most devastating and heinous genocide in human history? I mean, maybe it's just a morbid fascination, but I find it kinda suspect.
But my college roommate got the symbol of Stalin's state tattooed on him because he said it was cool and ironic. This disgusted our friend who's parent's escaped communist Poland, but nobody really cared. Of course, if he had got a swastika tattoo he would have essentially written himself out of society, however you are permitted to express admiration of communism without really getting in trouble.
“Good guy, bad guy”... Let’s grow up already, shall we?
My guess is a local news outlet that’s big enough to know about the legal requirements but doesn’t actually see any value in doing the compliance work.
We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-362-8333.
"Unavailable due to failure to understand the rules" or "Unavailable because abusing our visitors information is forbidden"
If you don’t know what data you collect becausae of all that reliance on third part extensions or if you heavily collect data and don’t want to break the law, this gets a harder topic.
Beeing an European it was quite interesting to see how little many web developers know about their dependencies and extensions. Most I know thought they can solve GDPR problems by install yet another wordpress addon they didn’t program.
However if you are professionally building and selling websites in the EU you probably should be aware of the consequences and side effects your decisions have.
Many (small business) webpages have no real need for cookies, cross site tracking, etc — they are probably better off with a fast static website than some sort of dynamic complexity monster. If you apply the principles of form follows function and data economy here you should get blazingly fast sites without third party trackers and any need for cookies and therefore automatically comply with the GDPR and have no need to display a notice which is another plus.
The reason why it is not that way, is because that professional who used wordpress with a ton of addons for the past decade, doesn’t understand how his decisions tie into it. They don’t understand that it is possible to build websites that won’t collect personal user data, because they don’t need to. They tell their clients they have to display these notices and they don’t tell them about the trade offs involved.
I understand that, if you used a mostly free tool and you never really cared about the privacy of your clients visitor, the GDPR is yet another annoying issue on your list of annoying issues — but if you mislead your clients like that, you are either not informing yourself propperly or you are misleading them willingly.
The educational environment surely is to blame for that too. Sure here is how easy you can include that facebook like button — but we won’t tell you about the consequences for the privacy of your users. Just use google analytics or google fonts or that captcha no worries, it is just a cool thing to include, everybody does it so it can’t be wrong.
> Making a website absolutely should not require computer science and law degrees.
Making a website absolutely should not require that you track your users and are careless with your users personal information.
Thank you GDPR for trying to be the common sense the internet needs.
Blatant abuse is not a nice thing to do and ethically and morally wrong. Society shouldn't be nice toward people that try to exploit others for personal gain.
We wouldn't need GDPR if people had a shred of decency.
Here's your GDPR compliance for sites that don't take your name or other data directly: don't store the full ip address and don't track the user.
"We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact email@example.com or call 800-362-8333."
It really should be a 500 error, not a 400.
Edit: Listen, USA, it's not so difficult, and we all really need to stop siphoning off everyone's data like it's no big deal, laws or not. I wrote some stuff for the GDPR, just had to remove some emails from our database, and honestly, we shouldn't have been collecting them in the first place and neither should you. This surveillance capitalism we're all building is not a good thing and you should not be complicit in it.
> The EU made an attempt at formally codifying a very basic boundary that most everybody intuitively understands - everybody except for the advertising-surveillance industry which remains willfully ignorant
What is disingenuous is that you have tried reduced this argument down to "Everyone agrees with GDPR except for advertisers". Please recognize that plenty of HN users do not agree with GDPR.
That means they're not targetting EU citizens, and can ignore GDPR.
It's not exactly complicated. Either get rid of their tracking cookies (why does a news website need tracking cookies to view an article?), or get consent before they use them.
People don't want to stop tracking their users and so they feign like it's some insanely complex law. It's not complex at all, it's just one that made the thing you used to do illegal, and you need to stop doing it, or get consent before you do it.
If maintaining a persistent session is somehow in the user's interest (say, maintaining an account at a store or online forum or something) then that's a legitimate-business-use exception. If it's for tracking/advertising/etc, then ask for consent, or presumptively don't do it. It's really not complex at all, unless you're being aggressively ignorant about it.
> In order to determine whether such a controller or processor is offering goods or services to data subjects who are in the Union, it should be ascertained whether it is apparent that the controller or processor envisages offering services to data subjects in one or more Member States in the Union. 3Whereas the mere accessibility of the controller’s, processor’s or an intermediary’s website in the Union, of an email address or of other contact details, or the use of a language generally used in the third country where the controller is established, is insufficient to ascertain such intention, factors such as the use of a language or a currency generally used in one or more Member States with the possibility of ordering goods and services in that other language, or the mentioning of customers or users who are in the Union, may make it apparent that the controller envisages offering goods or services to data subjects in the Union.
If this local newspaper isn't offering translations in French or German, and isn't offering subscriptions in Euro or GBP, then they're not ofering services to Europe.
With ad networks and IP logging does this requirement of erasing and copies become more onerous?
The only effect the gdpr have is creating endless popups on all sites to accept cookies.
This does not make any sense, because browsers already have setting to block cookies, and users that had even a slightest in cookies had opportunity to use one of many browser extensions to further control the way cookies were stored.
I see gdpr as an effect of beurocrats not understanding the field they are trying to regulate, and trying to implement the wish of a vocal minority.
To address comments of the type "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." I have never worked for a company that uses adds or tracking cookies in any way.
(you can, of course, serve generic ads instead, if they opt out, or serve generic ads by default and not show a popup at all)
This is incredibly patronizing. If I build a website in Canada, host it in Canada and primarily target it toward Canadians, don't complain when I have zero interest in learning about EU laws. I don't want to put a cookie popup on my website. I don't want to research GDPR. I don't want to worry about EU copyright law.
I just want to build a website for my users.
You don't need to learn about EU laws, your product isn't covered by GDPR and all that will happen if your product somehow does fall under GDPR AND if it's non-compliant is that a bureaucrat will write a letter to you to either asking for more information or explaining how it's not compliant with suggestions about how to bring it back into compliance.
The hypothetical Canadian webmaster probably hasn't seen this comment. If they have, they don't know you, and have no reason to trust your judgment about EU law. They could research it themselves, but that takes time.
Most likely they have literally no idea what GDPR says, and don't care. So they just block the tiny proportion of EU visitors. Which is a completely rational -- it solves their problem at no cost to them.
I do sometimes view sites that make a big deal out of it as whining, but I admit that I’m not familiar with what compliance requires.
Europeans especially seem to be quite alright with this law since it supposedly only protects them. But a regulation is always, by priciple, a resitriction on some freedom. The GDPR may in fact be quite benign, but to me it's an obvious slippery slope where it is not hard to see this thing indeed evolve into something like the firewall of China. The EU is transparently considering protectionism with things like railways and telecom where foreign nations want to invest in the EU infrastructure. It's naive to think anything else of the internet. The GDPR was the innocent first baby step towards the European Wide Web.
Because they don't want to get bogged down in EU law? I've had clients with real cross/inter/multi-jurisdictional issues. This would not be one of them.
In your view of the internet, how does a site like this exist?
It does work! And frankly, it‘s very well suited if all you want to do is display an article.
Maybe i was woooshed here, not sure.
I didn't want to argue we should revert to the internet of the 90's, but saying "how could you ever put anything on the web without cookies, tracking, data gathering?!" seems disingenuous when the internet was literally built without that.
EDIT: Oh, I get it now. We just had different interpretations of what "exist" meant :)
For me it was just "a site on the internet that can be reached by other people", for you it was more about the economic viablity. Fair point.