Ashoka University hosts Stephen Kotkin for a lecture on “Stalin: Waiting for Hitler.”
The lecture focused on excerpts from his 2nd biographical volume on Stalin - “Stalin: Waiting for Hitler.”
On 18th December 2017, Ashoka University hosted Prof. Stephen Kotkin for a lecture on Stalin at IIC Annexe Building in New Delhi. Prof Kotkin is the Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs; Co-Director, Program in History and the Practice of Diplomacy; Director, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. Attendees included academics from Delhi, students and faculty of Ashoka University.
“Stalin was a human being:” Prof. Kotkin began by providing an interesting account of Stalin’s personality from his study of the archives; starting from his preference of certain colored-pencils to his proficient academic life that led to his entry into the underground revolution. These insights set the perfect base for his argument as he set out to examine the rationale and actions taken by Stalin during his regime with respect to three episodes covered in Volume 2 of the biography:
1) Collectivisation of Agriculture/Great Terror
2) The United Front and Stalin’s response.
3) The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
The lecture was followed by a round of Questions and Answers, moderated by Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University. After the Q & A session, Prof. Kotkin concluded his lecture by walking the audience through the recently declassified photographs of Stalin and the Soviet Regime.
(Member of Parliament, Jairam Ramesh, interacts with Prof. Kotkin during the Q&A session which was moderated by Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta)
Prof. Kotkin’s lecture placed focus on the importance of disseminating historical information in the form of original documents and archives to gain understanding instead of relying on popular historical accounts. The lecture effectively helped the audience see past the larger-than-life personality of the dictator and glimpse into the life of Stalin, the individual.