The quote appears in a 2001 paper in English... and only there in that exact formulation.

[Stalin's] policies during and after World War II amounted to “National Bolshevism”—the use of the Soviet state as an agent of revolutionary change. Stalin himself said as much in 1940: “The action of the Red Army is also a matter of world revolution.”

It's footnoted to "Dimitrov, Dnevnik, 188", which I think refers to the memoirs of Georgi Dimitrov, who at that point (1940) was the General Secretary of the Communist International. The author of this paper cites a good number of sources in Russian, so I think he reads the language, and thus may have included his own translations. Therefore, the fact that the (bold) quote doesn't appear as such anywhere else on the internet doesn't necessarily imply it's inauthentic; possibly there are other variations/translations of the original, but on a quick search I was unable to find any.

The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov was (interestingly) published in English only after that paper (namely in 2003). However, the page numbers do not remotely correspond: p. 188 is in the middle of 1941 in the English translation.

So, does the memoir have that quote (in some variation)? Did Stalin ultimately say/write that?

1 Answer 1


In the English translation published in 2003 by Yale University Press, the following quote can be found, dated January 21st, 1940 (page 124, formatting from source):

Stalin: World revolution as a single act is nonsense. It transpires at different times in different countries. The Red Army activities are also a matter of world revolution.

This diary was published in Bulgarian in 1997, by St. Kliment Ohridski University Press in Sofia. I have no access to this version, but have seen a speech being referenced from that version: it is dated 7 September 1939, and located on pages 181-182 in Bulgarian version - this speech is found on pages 115-116 in English version. It seems reasonable that 21 January 1940 quote could be found on page 188 in that version, and that the linked paper's author is referencing the original Bulgarian publication.

As the quote seems to come from a non-public conversation, it is unlikely to be found in other sources.

P.S. Note that Dimitrov sometimes makes very meticulous, yet unmarked, quotes (or attaches full documents) in his diary, especially of official speeches and such; but in other cases he just writes down outtakes and summaries. Short quotes, though, are usually denoted by quotation marks; for example, the line by Molotov, directly prior to the discussed one, is in quotation marks. This one isn't. It is possible that is is Dimitrov's summary of a longer speech, which he didn't feel necessary to render in full detail.


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