In reply to my question about “going toward Hitler,” Plamper writes “Stalin, like the tsars, ensured himself a freedom one might say capriciousness of decision, which must have infused all of the institutions and officials seeking to please him. But that applied to most decision-making at the pinnacle of power in Stalin’s time—in a way, it is the universal definition of despotism.” I am not sure that that is a definition of despotism, though it certainly is a principal characteristic. And perhaps it does not relate directly to the question of the Stalin cult. But I was wondering about the modus operandi of Stalin particularly in regard to his image of modesty, and in comparison with other cults particularly Hitler’s ideologically proclaimed leader principle. (pp. 18-19) In regard to the strategies of the artists or journalists to determine the images and shifts in imagery that Plamper shows so well, was this the result of a message communicated by figures close to Stalin, and/or a process of approximation awaiting higher approval like “going toward Stalin?” I raise this question by way of clarification not of disagreement. It may be that the manner of modesty was not only a way to avoid the ideological difficulties of personal rule in a Marxist framework, but also a means of generalizing uncertainty, the signs of approval even being less obvious than in Hitler’s open dictatorial rule.