Kim presided over the world’s most repressive regime, the closest ever to a real-life version of Orwell’s 1984. Even Soviet communism was relatively mild by comparison. He was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, many of them as a result of the politically-created famine of the 1990s, which he facilitated in order to reinforce the regime’s power. He was also known for various strange obsessions, such as his plan to solve North Korea’s government-created food shortages by breeding giant rabbits. This literally hare-brained scheme was cut short when the “Dear Leader” ate the first few giant rabbits imported from Germany at his birthday party.
The interesting question for the immediate future is whether the North Korean government will survive Kim’s death relatively unchanged. Kim tried to install his son as his successor, just as his father Kim Il Sung did with him. Hopefully, things will not go as the Dear Leader planned.