Stalin was also responsible for the infamous man-made famine in Ukraine in the early 1930s called Holodomor, in which 7-10 million Ukrainians died. This was not the first famine in the Soviet Union; in the 1920s, soon after its formation, the Soviet Union failed to feed its people and thousands died of starvation. To save their people, the Soviet regime asked for and received aid from the international community. This time, during Holodomor, this was all kept secret, because a second famine in ten years made the Soviet Union look weak. Stalin used his power of terror to contain the spread of information, and was also suspected to have intentionally caused the famine, refusing to send aid to Ukraine.

Stalin is also a much-discussed historical figure in Poland, not only because of his pact with Nazi Germany to invade and divide up Poland, but also because of an event called the Katyn Massacre. The Soviet secret police (NKVD) executed 22,000 Polish military officers and later blamed the massacre on the Germans. For decades the Soviet Union denied any involvement in the executions. It was only in 2010 that the Russian government admitted that the Katyn massacre was ordered by Stalin.

Credit: U.S. Signal Corps photo., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons