One theory of despotism suggests that despotism is unique in that whilst most systems of government produce an actual government, with despotism it is the other way around. Think of it as a chicken and egg situation - Stalin came first, the functions of the Stalinist state followed. Stalin created the state around him, and it existed only as an extension of him as a person. For within a truly despotic state, it is the personality of the leader which defines the functions of the state. This is true of Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Stroessner, Ceaucescu, Tito and Xoxha, amongst others. Without their leadership, the state could no longer exist, or at least not on its existing form. From the time these leaders died, their states began to wither and corrode, because they lacked the force that had called them into existence. Despotism requires paranoia and fear in order to build a sense of belonging and community. Within a despotic society - it is us against the world, and you are either for us or against us. There is no neutrality, no third option. For my money, Stalin created a more perfect despotic state than Hitler, who was driven by rage and personal doubt where Stalin was more calculating, more controlled and more brutally psychotic.