I'm not trying to exonerate Stalin & Co. of any wrongdoing. All I am saying that they should be judged by some rational criteria, not by those created by the US anti-communist propaganda machine.
Specifically, we need to define what is the essence of the communist system (central planning? state ownership of the means of production? ideology?) and analytically seprate the effects of that essence from the effects of other factors (such as economic backwardness, political instability, social structure, etc.) that affected the countries in question regardless of what political regime was in place. We also need to separate that efect form the effect of particular leadership style, which is the effect of the person rather than that of the system.
Only after we analytically separate those different effects, a formidable task indeed, we can blame or exonerate communism.
Needless to add that we need to to make a distinction between different communisms.
Besides, Soviet Unions cum satellites and China are definitely NOT the examples to be emulated by the developed nations. The reason for that is quite simple: it is them who emulated the developed nations to catcg up with them economically and militarily.