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Publication Details

Notes on the Problem of the Personality Cult

(Original title: Poznámky k problému kultu osobnosti)
Filozofia, 21 (1966), 1, 59-71.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
The essence and principal signifiance oí the problem of Stalin’s cult of personality requires a complex, many-sided approach from the viewpoint of several sciences; it also requires a thorough analysis of the conditions, reasons, motives, mechanisms and consequences of this phenomenon. The treatises carried out up to the present — in spite of their endeavour to reveal its essence — have dedicated only little attention to unveiling the concealed background of the formation of the individual psysiognomy of the period of the personality cult — Stalinism. Social psychology also could be useful in illuminating these problems, particularly by means of analyzing questions such as the problem of great social groups and the place of the individuum in them, the task of the leaders, formation of public opinion, the task and effectiveness of mass communication means, the problem of the masses and the place of the individuum in them, and the like. Tradition, the influence of pre-revolutionary backwardness in Russia, lack of culture, etc. cannot be considered to be the rasons of the origin of Stalin’s personality cult. In studying its origin it is necessary to depart from the actual situation as it was in the twenties and thirties. The essence of the personality cult is to be sought for in the merely minimally controlled concentration of power in the hands of one political leader which, of course, in certain concrete historical moments may prove to be an objective necessity. The veneration of a leader (the cult) is the external concomitant phenomenon of the extraordinary powerful position of the leader, it creates „guaranty“ of the unshakeability of his power. It depends first of all on subjective factors — by which not only the personality of the leader is to be understood but also factors such as the masses, classes, the party, social organizations, their consciousness, the maturity and degree of their organization, forms and methods of propaganda and education, the formation of public opinion, and others — whether an absolutization of the power position of the leader, the cult of the leading personality will come into being.
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