Today is the anniversary of the death of the universal wolf Joseph Stalin who died fifty years ago. I was a boy in Hungary when the tyrant died. Here is what I remember: In public there were parades and events marking his greatness and men pretended to weep; in private, men laughed and whispered truth to their children and drank more than usual, and thanked God for mortality. Fear declined slightly, and hope was visible. Stalin (to use a line from King John) was "The foot/That leaves the print of blood where’er it walks."
Here is what Robert Conquest said of Stalin in Stalin: Breaker of Nations "Overall he gives the impression of a large and crude claylike figure, a golem, into which a demonic spark has been instilled." Also see Solzhenytsin and Alan Bullock’s Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives.