Person cult

Lenin-Statue in Sankt Petersburg (ehem. Leningrad)
Lenin statue in sank Petersburg (ehem. Leningrad)

person cult (as term coined/shaped by Khrushchev in the year 1956 in its speech on that 20. Party Congress of the CPSU) is into religious dimensions a rising up and/or. the religion replacing admiration of living leader figures within the range of the society and Politics.

Haven-guesses/advises Mao Zedongs at the entrance to the forbidden city

well-being often comes it into dictatorships to a certain form of the person cult around the dictator. “Person cult” there was pronounced one for instance in the Roman realm around Caesar (see also 46 v. Chr.), in the German national socialism around Adolf Hitler, in nationalistic dictatorships as around Saddam Hussein in the Iraq.

Josef Stalin as a father of the Soviet people, Portrait of A. M. Gerasimov (1939)

person cult in socialist dictatorships meant the rule Stalins in the Soviet Union derived in the GDR diction and from itin the other states of the socialist system (examples see under Stalinstadt), over Mao Zedong in the People's Republic of China, over Bolesław Bierut in Poland, over Nicolae Ceauşescu in Romania, over Enver Hoxha in Albania and today still both in North Korea around father and son Kim and in Turkmenistan around “Turkmenbashi” Sparmurad Niasow.

Characteristics of person cult can be:

  • exaggerated devote attitude of all publicly arising persons to the leader
  • uncritical Rezeption of all expressions of the gehuldigten person in the public
  • pursuit of critical attitudes opposite the gehuldigten person, partly with dangerfor lives and health of the critic, arrest or “disappearing letting” of dissidents
  • exaggerated operational readiness level of portraits and passwords (Huldigungen to this person or utterances the same), for example in private houses, schools or enterprises, as well as in all media
  • designation of enterprises, public buildings, schools, roads, places, sports facilities, citiesafter the leader (for example Stalinstadt)
  • production of connections between the person of the leader and all areas of life, often absurd (with critical view).

After end of the rule of the dictator a reversal usually begins: Renaming are cancelled (see the Stalinstädte), publicPortraits removes, with which person cult removes connected writings and works of art from the public area (libraries, galleries). See under Entstalinisierung.

Kim-il-Sung, Nordkorea
Kim IL Sung, North Korea

examples of to today continuous person cult are North Korea (Kim IL Sung, Kim Jong IL). An almost pathological person cult operates alsothe president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Nijasow, which had a golden monumental statue set up from itself and obligation reading represents its philosophical book for all educational facilities, and in mosques beside the Koran is laid out. A special form of the person cult steps also today still into Cuba over Ernesto Che Guevara up, which although he with Fidel Castro überworfen himself had, enjoys an almost sakrale admiration. Thus etc. becomes in schools, public offices, universities. always Guevara beside Castro attached.

Che-Guevara-Bildnis am Bahnhof von Santa Clara
Che Guevara portrait at the station of Santa Clara

in democratic states are the self-manifestation of the partyand state States of borders set. Some characteristic elements of the person cult can mint themselves - particularly in times of distress -, which are however not inevitable (for example synchronising the media). In many national states however, frequently nevertheless unnoticed, a cult develops around the ancestors of the nation (Hermannsdenkmal), their founder (Bismarck cult, Lenin cult) or so-called national heroes like e.g. the Vorkriegskult around Nogi Maresuke in Japan. This admiration already the deceased persons differs however in some important fundamentals from the actual person cult, which refers to a living leader.

In Arab dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya (Muammar aluminium-Ghaddafi) the designation person cult is at least problematic.

Person cult is to differentiate both of the star cult and of the holy admiration.


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