Stalin created what may be the world's best example of an utterly represive and totalitarian police state: emulated today only by North Korea. Stalin created a cult of personality around himself and influenced life in the Soviet Union to a remarkable degree. Eventually, his policies, which included collectivization of land and five year plans designed to boost industry and which led to untold suffering, were condemned by Nikita Khrushchev at the 20th Congress of Soviet Communists in 1956 - probably the high point of his career. The legacy of Stalin's brutality was addressed in one way or another in Januar 2003 when the Russian Parliament passed a bill granting Stalin's victims and their children compensation. The bill granted each victim 92 roubles (About US$2.90) a month, one free train ride per year, half price medicine, and free false teeth - hardly ample recompense for having been sent to a gulag, but better than nothing, I suppose.

Source: May 26, 2003