Talking to Joseph Stalin
Reconstruction of the human brain which obviously lacks many things needed for a perfect social order
By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh -- Bio and Archives
February 24, 2016
H.G. Wells, the prolific British sci-fi writer, who self-described to be a socialist left of Stalin, interviewed the infamous Soviet dictator for three hours on July 23, 1934. The interview was recorded by Constantine Oumansky, the chief of the Press Bureau of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.
The scope of the interview, after he spoke at length with President Roosevelt, was to find out what Stalin was “doing to change the world.” Wells told Stalin that he tried to look at the world through the eyes of the “common man” not the eyes of a politician or a bureaucrat.
Indicating to Stalin that “capitalists must learn from you, to grasp the spirit of socialism,” Wells stated that a profound reorganization was taking place in the United States, the creation of a “planned, that is, socialist, economy.” He witnessed Washington building offices, new state regulatory bodies, and “a much needed Civil Service.”
Stalin expressed his skepticism about U.S. being able to build a planned economy. It is not possible, he said, because “the Americans want to rid themselves of the [economic] crisis on the basis of private capitalist activity without changing the economic basis.” Stalin was touting the new economic basis that socialism had built. In his view, the existing capitalist system was rooted in anarchy. “A planned economy tries to abolish unemployment.” But a capitalist would never agree to completely abolish unemployment, Stalin said, because capitalists want to maintain a supply of cheap labor.
Stalin was wrong about unemployment under a socialist Soviet economy for three reasons:
Data in general was never accurately kept or reported.
The labor was highly manual with low levels of automation; under a free market economy automation often displaces labor, causing retraining of workers into other skills.
Women who sought employment worked for shorter periods of time and were thus not included in the statistics.
Stalin believed that Roosevelt’s “New Deal” was a very powerful socialist idea
Stalin explained to Wells that planned economies increase output in those “branches of the industry which produce goods that the masses of the people need particularly.”
Having survived for twenty years in such a system Stalin described, I remember precisely all the shortages of goods and services that the economically illiterate central planners created, the long lines, the rationing we had to endure, and the empty shelves everywhere.
Furthermore, to see how wrong Stalin was, just look today at Venezuela under Maduro’s centrally planned socialist policies, a continuation of his mentor’s, Hugo Chavez, and you will see the empty shelves and suffering. Look at Castro’s Cuba after 50 years of central planning and at its decaying infrastructure and decrepit buildings. Fidel “protected” Cuba’s hapless citizens from the “evils” of capitalism and instead gave them a nightmarish socialist economy and a political socialist dictatorship.
Stalin described to Wells that capital flows into those sectors of the economy where the rate of profit is highest. A capitalist would never agree “to incur loss to himself and agree to a lower rate of profit for the sake of satisfying the needs of the people.” A central planner like Stalin did not understand supply and demand, only saw collectivism, and viewed profit as evil. Who wants to open a business if they are going to lose money?
Stalin admitted that “without getting rid of the capitalists, without abolishing the principle of private property in the means of production, it is impossible to create a planned economy.” When the “financial oligarchy will be abolished, only then socialism will be brought about,” Stalin added.
He believed that Roosevelt’s “New Deal” was a very powerful socialist idea. But, in Stalin’s opinion, Roosevelt would not be able to achieve his socialist goals for many generations because “the banks, the industries, the large enterprises, the large farms are not in Roosevelt’s hands.”
All the railroads, the mercantile fleet, the army of skilled workers, engineers, and technical personnel are all working for private enterprise, he said. Even though the State offers military defense of the country, maintains law and order, and collects taxes, this private ownership of the means of production, renders the State unable to control everything, “the State is in the hands of capitalist economy.”
Stalin explained that, if the State controlled the banks, then transportation, then heavy industries, industries in general, commerce, an “all-embracing control will be equivalent to the State ownership of all branches of the national economy and this will be the process of socialization.”
I wonder if the Millennials understand that they would lose their smart gadgets, TVs, laptops, and other electronics they love to their socialist utopian dream of social justice. If they can’t get rich then everybody must be equally poor and miserable.
The important question is, are American citizens ready to lose everything they own privately, giving government carte blanche to own the means of the production and to tell them what they can and cannot have, consume, and do?
Stalin argued that Roosevelt made an honest attempt to “satisfy the interests of the proletariat class at the expense of the capitalist class.” Today, we, the taxpayers/capitalist class, are still satisfying the interests of the non-producers who receive welfare at our expense from the heavy taxes we pay. Are we willing supporters of such idle individuals? Roosevelt, with his programs, created a generational welfare class that feels entitled to what they receive, and destroyed the family in the process.
Stalin described the two classes in capitalism, as he saw it through the lenses of a socialist:
“The propertied class” (the owners of banks, factories, mines, farms, “plantations in colonies,” who chased after the “evil” profit)
“The exploited class” (the class of the poor who existed by selling their labor)
Wells told Stalin that, although he personally saw the need to “conduct propaganda in favor of socialism,” he met many educated people such as “engineers, airmen, military-technical people” who regarded “your simple class antagonism as nonsense.” Additionally, he asked, were there not people who were not poor but worked productively?
Stalin admitted that “small landowners, artisans, small traders” did not decide the fate of a country, but “the toiling masses, who produce all the things society requires.”
We sure have a lot of unemployed and disabled “toiling masses” today that are sitting idle at home and don’t seem to mind one bit, benefitting from the “evil” capitalist spoils.
Calling J.P. Morgan “old Morgan,” Wells described him as “a parasite on society,” who “merely accumulated wealth.” On the other hand, Wells admired Rockefeller whom he described as a “brilliant organizer” who “has set an example of how to organize the delivery of oil that is worthy of emulation,” while Ford was “selfish.”
Further excoriating the capitalist system based on profit that, in his opinion, is “breaking down,” Wells surprised Stalin by saying, “It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr. Stalin; I think the old system is nearer to its end than you think.”
Stalin corrects him that these capitalist men possess great organizational talent which the Soviet people could learn from. “And [J. P.] Morgan, whom you characterize so unfavorably, was undoubtedly a good, capable organizer.” But people like him who “serve the cause of profit” are not “prepared to reconstruct the world,” they are not “capable organizers of production.”
Reminding Wells, “don’t you know how many workers he throws in the streets,” Stalin added that capitalism will be abolished by the working class, not by the ‘technical intelligentsia’ or the ‘organizers’ of production. If this “technical intelligentsia breaks away spiritually from their employers, from the capitalist world, that will take a long time and only then can they begin to reconstruct the world.” The working class will become the “sovereign master of the capitalist class.”
In reality, this working class Stalin described as the savior of society, was a dumbed-down, poorly paid, miserable majority who could not care less if the factories under-produced, broke down, and were never repaired. They were paid regardless of how much they produced, how many mistakes they made, what shoddy products they sent to the market, how much theft was going on in order to barter with others to survive, and did not own much of anything. This working class pretended to work and the communist organizers and centralized planners pretended to pay them.
The Soviet economic system was a dismal model which failed miserably and eventually collapsed on its own utopian weight while the free market system thrived.
Unfortunately today, the Democrats and Social Democrats are gaining ground in their efforts to resurrect around the world a mummified model of economic failure, inventing new euphemisms, in order to stay in absolute power and control of the population.
Wells described the Royal Society whose president had delivered a speech on “social planning and scientific control.” The Royal Society, he told Stalin, held “revolutionary views and insists on the scientific reorganization of human society. Mentality changes. Your class-war propaganda has not kept pace with these facts.”
“Capitalist society is in a cul de sac,” Stalin responded, and “A devoted and energetic revolutionary minority requires the passive support of millions.”
“Revolution, the substitution of one social system for another, has always been a struggle, a painful and cruel struggle, a life and death struggle,” Stalin admitted. And the process will not be “spontaneous and peaceful, it will be complicated, long, and violent.” And the new world order “revolutionaries” should use the police to support them in the fight against “reactionaries.”
“That is why the Communists say to the working class: Answer violence with violence; do all you can to prevent the old dying order from crushing you, do not permit it to put manacles on your hands, on the hands with which you will overthrow the old system.”
Citing history, both Wells and Stalin described how Cromwell, on the basis of the Constitution, resorted to violence, beheaded the king, dispersed the Parliament, arrested many, and beheaded others; how much blood was shed to overthrow the tsars; how the October Revolution overthrew the old and decaying Russian capitalist system and how the “Bolsheviks were the only way out.”
Explaining the Third Estate (the common people) which existed before the French Revolution, Stalin pointed out that “not a single class has voluntarily made way for another class” and the “Communists would welcome the voluntary departure of the bourgeoisie.”
Wells argued that force must be used within existing laws and “there is no need to disorganize the old system because it is disorganizing itself enough as it is.” In his opinion, “insurrection against the old order, against the law, is obsolete, old-fashioned.” In addition to the educational system which must be radically changed, this is how Wells explained his point of view:
He supports order.
He attacks the present system “in so far as it cannot assure order.”
He thinks that “class war propaganda may detach from socialism just those educated people whom socialism needs.” (H.G. Wells, p. 20 of the interview transcript)
Stalin countered with his own points:
“The social bulwark of the revolution is the working class.”
An auxiliary force must exist; the Communists call it a Party.
Political power is the “lever of change” to create new laws in the interest of the working class.
From my experience, the only interests represented in the socialism/communism of my youth were the interests of the dictatorial ruling elite of the Communist Party. They became the millionaire rulers at that time, and, when disbanded and stripped of power, their heirs became the billionaires of today.
Ending the interview, Wells thanked Stalin for his explanations of the fundamentals of socialism and said that millions around the world hang on to every word Stalin and Roosevelt utter.
Stalin, engaging the infamous and demagogue idea of ‘self-criticism,’ which had sent many honest intellectuals to gulags, replied that much more could have been done by the Bolsheviks, had they been “cleverer.” Wells suggested making human beings “cleverer” by inventing a five-year plan for the “reconstruction of the human brain which obviously lacks many things needed for a perfect social order.”
The idea of mind control, which is not so far-fetched today, brought shivers down my spine. Bombastic and not-ground-in-reality Five-Year centralized plans issued by the Communist Party elites and their apparatchiks who had no idea how the economy should be run, many of whom did not have but an elementary education and could barely read, write, and do simple math, those plans brought the economies in all Soviet satellite countries to unmitigated disaster.
Listen to Dr. Paugh on Butler on Business, every Wednesday to Thursday at 10:49 AM EST
Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh (Romanian Conservative) is a freelance writer, author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her books, “Echoes of Communism”, “Liberty on Life Support” and “U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy,” “Communism 2.0: 25 Years Later” are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Her commentaries reflect American Exceptionalism, the economy, immigration, and education. Visit her website, ileanajohnson.com
Hitler vs. Stalin: Who Killed More?
March 10, 2011 Issue
Who was worse, Hitler or Stalin?
In the second half of the twentieth century, Americans were taught to see both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as the greatest of evils. Hitler was worse, because his regime propagated the unprecedented horror of the Holocaust, the attempt to eradicate an entire people on racial grounds. Yet Stalin was also worse, because his regime killed far, far more people, tens of millions it was often claimed, in the endless wastes of the Gulag. For decades, and even today, this confidence about the difference between the two regimes—quality versus quantity—has set the ground rules for the politics of memory. Even historians of the Holocaust generally take for granted that Stalin killed more people than Hitler, thus placing themselves under greater pressure to stress the special character of the Holocaust, since this is what made the Nazi regime worse than the Stalinist one.
Discussion of numbers can blunt our sense of the horrific personal character of each killing and the irreducible tragedy of each death. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, the difference between zero and one is an infinity. Though we have a harder time grasping this, the same is true for the difference between, say, 780,862 and 780,863—which happens to be the best estimate of the number of people murdered at Treblinka. Large numbers matter because they are an accumulation of small numbers: that is, precious individual lives. Today, after two decades of access to Eastern European archives, and thanks to the work of German, Russian, Israeli, and other scholars, we can resolve the question of numbers. The total number of noncombatants killed by the Germans—about 11 million—is roughly what we had thought. The total number of civilians killed by the Soviets, however, is considerably less than we had believed. We know now that the Germans killed more people than the Soviets did. That said, the issue of quality is more complex than was once thought. Mass murder in the Soviet Union sometimes involved motivations, especially national and ethnic ones, that can be disconcertingly close to Nazi motivations.
It turns out that, with the exception of the war years, a very large majority of people who entered the Gulag left alive. Judging from the Soviet records we now have, the number of people who died in the Gulag between 1933 and 1945, while both Stalin and Hitler were in power, was on the order of a million, perhaps a bit more. The total figure for the entire Stalinist period is likely between two million and three million. The Great Terror and other shooting actions killed no more than a million people, probably a bit fewer. The largest human catastrophe of Stalinism was the famine of 1930–1933, in which more than five million people died.
Of those who starved, the 3.3 million or so inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine who died in 1932 and 1933 were victims of a deliberate killing policy related to nationality. In early 1930, Stalin had announced his intention to “liquidate” prosperous peasants (“kulaks”) as a class so that the state could control agriculture and use capital extracted from the countryside to build industry. Tens of thousands of people were shot by Soviet state police and hundreds of thousands deported. Those who remained lost their land and often went hungry as the state requisitioned food for export. The first victims of starvation were the nomads of Soviet Kazakhstan, where about 1.3 million people died. The famine spread to Soviet Russia and peaked in Soviet Ukraine. Stalin requisitioned grain in Soviet Ukraine knowing that such a policy would kill millions. Blaming Ukrainians for the failure of his own policy, he ordered a series of measures—such as sealing the borders of that Soviet republic—that ensured mass death.
In 1937, as his vision of modernization faltered, Stalin ordered the Great Terror. Because we now have the killing orders and the death quotas, inaccessible so long as the Soviet Union existed, we now know that the number of victims was not in the millions. We also know that, as in the early 1930s, the main victims were the peasants, many of them survivors of hunger and of concentration camps. The highest Soviet authorities ordered 386,798 people shot in the “Kulak Operation” of 1937–1938. The other major “enemies” during these years were people belonging to national minorities who could be associated with states bordering the Soviet Union: some 247,157 Soviet citizens were killed by the NKVD in ethnic shooting actions.
In the largest of these, the “Polish Operation” that began in August 1937, 111,091 people accused of espionage for Poland were shot. In all, 682,691 people were killed during the Great Terror, to which might be added a few hundred thousand more Soviet citizens shot in smaller actions. The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources. At the same time, we see that the motives of these killing actions were sometimes far more often national, or even ethnic, than we had assumed. Indeed it was Stalin, not Hitler, who initiated the first ethnic killing campaigns in interwar Europe.
Until World War II, Stalin’s regime was by far the more murderous of the two. Nazi Germany began to kill on the Soviet scale only after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the summer of 1939 and the joint German-Soviet invasion of Poland that September. About 200,000 Polish civilians were killed between 1939 and 1941, with each regime responsible for about half of those deaths. This figure includes about 50,000 Polish citizens shot by German security police and soldiers in the fall of 1939, the 21,892 Polish citizens shot by the Soviet NKVD in the Katyn massacres of spring 1940, and the 9,817 Polish citizens shot in June 1941 in a hasty NKVD operation after Hitler betrayed Stalin and Germany attacked the USSR. Under cover of the war and the occupation of Poland, the Nazi regime also killed the handicapped and others deemed unfit in a large-scale “euthanasia” program that accounts for 200,000 deaths. It was this policy that brought asphyxiation by carbon monoxide to the fore as a killing technique.
Beyond the numbers killed remains the question of intent. Most of the Soviet killing took place in times of peace, and was related more or less distantly to an ideologically informed vision of modernization. Germany bears the chief responsibility for the war, and killed civilians almost exclusively in connection with the practice of racial imperialism. Germany invaded the Soviet Union with elaborate colonization plans. Thirty million Soviet citizens were to starve, and tens of millions more were to be shot, deported, enslaved, or assimilated.
Such plans, though unfulfilled, provided the rationale for the bloodiest occupation in the history of the world. The Germans placed Soviet prisoners of war in starvation camps, where 2.6 million perished from hunger and another half-million (disproportionately Soviet Jews) were shot. A million Soviet citizens also starved during the siege of Leningrad. In “reprisals” for partisan actions, the Germans killed about 700,000 civilians in grotesque mass executions, most of them Belarusians and Poles. At the war’s end the Soviets killed tens of thousands of people in their own “reprisals,” especially in the Baltic states, Belarus, and Ukraine. Some 363,000 German soldiers died in Soviet captivity.
Hitler came to power with the intention of eliminating the Jews from Europe; the war in the east showed that this could be achieved by mass killing. Within weeks of the attack by Germany (and its Finnish, Romanian, Hungarian, Italian, and other allies) on the USSR, Germans, with local help, were exterminating entire Jewish communities. By December 1941, when it appears that Hitler communicated his wish that all Jews be murdered, perhaps a million Jews were already dead in the occupied Soviet Union. Most had been shot over pits, but thousands were asphyxiated in gas vans. From 1942, carbon monoxide was used at the death factories Chełmno, Bełz˙ec, Sobibór, and Treblinka to kill Polish and some other European Jews. As the Holocaust spread to the rest of occupied Europe, other Jews were gassed by hydrogen cyanide at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Overall, the Germans, with much local assistance, deliberately murdered about 5.4 million Jews, roughly 2.6 million by shooting and 2.8 million by gassing (about a million at Auschwitz, 780,863 at Treblinka, 434,508 at Bełz˙ec, about 180,000 at Sobibór, 150,000 at Chełmno, 59,000 at Majdanek, and many of the rest in gas vans in occupied Serbia and the occupied Soviet Union). A few hundred thousand more Jews died during deportations to ghettos or of hunger or disease in ghettos. Another 300,000 Jews were murdered by Germany’s ally Romania. Most Holocaust victims had been Polish or Soviet citizens before the war (3.2 million and one million respectively). The Germans also killed more than a hundred thousand Roma.
All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million. These figures are of course subject to revision, but it is very unlikely that the consensus will change again as radically as it has since the opening of Eastern European archives in the 1990s. Since the Germans killed chiefly in lands that later fell behind the Iron Curtain, access to Eastern European sources has been almost as important to our new understanding of Nazi Germany as it has been to research on the Soviet Union itself. (The Nazi regime killed approximately 165,000 German Jews.)
Apart from the inaccessibility of archives, why were our earlier assumptions so wrong? One explanation is the cold war. Our wartime and postwar European alliances, after all, required a certain amount of moral and thus historical flexibility. In 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union were military allies. By the end of 1941, after the Germans had attacked the Soviet Union and Japan the United States, Moscow in effect had traded Berlin for Washington. By 1949, the alliances had switched again, with the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany together in NATO, facing off against the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies, including the smaller German Democratic Republic. During the cold war, it was sometimes hard for Americans to see clearly the particular evils of Nazis and Soviets. Hitler had brought about a Holocaust: but Germans were now our allies. Stalin too had killed millions of people: but some of the worst episodes, taking place as they had before the war, had already been downplayed in wartime US propaganda, when we were on the same side.
We formed an alliance with Stalin right at the end of the most murderous years of Stalinism, and then allied with a West German state a few years after the Holocaust. It was perhaps not surprising that in this intellectual environment a certain compromise position about the evils of Hitler and Stalin—that both, in effect, were worse—emerged and became the conventional wisdom.
New understandings of numbers, of course, are only a part of any comparison, and in themselves pose new questions of both quantity and quality. How to count the battlefield casualties of World War II in Europe, not considered here? It was a war that Hitler wanted, and so German responsibility must predominate; but in the event it began with a German-Soviet alliance and a cooperative invasion of Poland in 1939. Somewhere near the Stalinist ledger must belong the thirty million or more Chinese starved during the Great Leap Forward, as Mao followed Stalin’s model of collectivization.* The special quality of Nazi racism is not diluted by the historical observation that Stalin’s motivations were sometimes national or ethnic. The pool of evil simply grows deeper.
The most fundamental proximity of the two regimes, in my view, is not ideological but geographical. Given that the Nazis and the Stalinists tended to kill in the same places, in the lands between Berlin and Moscow, and given that they were, at different times, rivals, allies, and enemies, we must take seriously the possibility that some of the death and destruction wrought in the lands between was their mutual responsibility. What can we make of the fact, for example, that the lands that suffered most during the war were those occupied not once or twice but three times: by the Soviets in 1939, the Germans in 1941, and the Soviets again in 1944?
The Holocaust began when the Germans provoked pogroms in June and July 1941, in which some 24,000 Jews were killed, on territories in Poland annexed by the Soviets less than two years before. The Nazis planned to eliminate the Jews in any case, but the prior killings by the NKVD certainly made it easier for local gentiles to justify their own participation in such campaigns. As I have written in Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010), where all of the major Nazi and Soviet atrocities are discussed, we see, even during the German-Soviet war, episodes of belligerent complicity in which one side killed more because provoked or in some sense aided by the other. Germans took so many Soviet prisoners of war in part because Stalin ordered his generals not to retreat. The Germans shot so many civilians in part because Soviet partisans deliberately provoked reprisals. The Germans shot more than a hundred thousand civilians in Warsaw in 1944 after the Soviets urged the locals to rise up and then declined to help them. In Stalin’s Gulag some 516,543 people died between 1941 and 1943, sentenced by the Soviets to labor, but deprived of food by the German invasion.
Were these people victims of Stalin or of Hitler? Or both?*******
Stalin killed millions. A Stanford historian answers the question, was it genocide?
When it comes to use of the word "genocide," public opinion has been kinder to Stalin than Hitler. But one historian looks at Stalin's mass killings and urges that the definition of genocide be widened.
By Cynthia Haven
Stanford Report, September 23, 2010
Mass killing is still the way a lot of governments do business.
The past few decades have seen terrifying examples in Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia.
Murder on a national scale, yes – but is it genocide? "The word carries a
powerful punch," said Stanford history Professor Norman Naimark. "In international courts, it's considered the crime of crimes."
powerful punch," said Stanford history Professor Norman Naimark. "In international courts, it's considered the crime of crimes."
Nations have tugs of war over the official definition of the word "genocide" itself – which mentions only national, ethnic, racial and religious groups. The definition can determine, after all, international relations, foreign aid and national morale. Look at the annual international tussle over whether the 1915 Turkish massacre and deportation of the Armenians "counts" as genocide.
Naimark, author of the controversial new book Stalin's Genocides, argues that we need a much broader definition of genocide, one that includes nations killing social classes and political groups. His case in point: Stalin.
The book's title is plural for a reason: He argues that the Soviet elimination of a social class, the kulaks (who were higher-income farmers), and the subsequent killer famine among all Ukrainian peasants – as well as the notorious 1937 order No. 00447 that called for the mass execution and exile of "socially harmful elements" as "enemies of the people" – were, in fact, genocide.
"I make the argument that these matters shouldn't be seen as discrete episodes, but seen together," said Naimark, the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of Eastern European Studies and a respected authority on the Soviet regime. "It's a horrific case of genocide – the purposeful elimination of all or part of a social group, a political group."
Stalin had nearly a million of his own citizens executed, beginning in the 1930s. Millions more fell victim to forced labor, deportation, famine, massacres, and detention and interrogation by Stalin's henchmen.
"In some cases, a quota was established for the number to be executed, the number to be arrested," said Naimark. "Some officials overfulfilled as a way of showing their exuberance."
The term "genocide" was defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The convention's work was shaped by the Holocaust – "that was considered the genocide," said Naimark.
"A catastrophe had just happened, and everyone was still thinking about the war that had just ended. This always occurs with international law – they outlaw what happened in the immediate past, not what's going to happen in the future."
In his book, he concludes that there was more similarity between Hitler and Stalin than usually acknowledged: "Both chewed up the lives of human beings in the name of a transformative vision of Utopia. Both destroyed their countries and societies, as well as vast numbers of people inside and outside their own states. Both, in the end, were genocidaires."
All early drafts of the U.N. genocide convention included social and political groups in its definition. But one hand that wasn't in the room guided the pen. The Soviet delegation vetoed any definition of genocide that might include the actions of its leader, Joseph Stalin. The Allies, exhausted by war, were loyal to their Soviet allies – to the detriment of subsequent generations.
Naimark argues that that the narrow definition of genocide is the dictator's unacknowledged legacy to us today.
Accounts "gloss over the genocidal character of the Soviet regime in the 1930s, which killed systematically rather than episodically," said Naimark. In the process of collectivization, for example, 30,000 kulaks were killed directly, mostly shot on the spot. About 2 million were forcibly deported to the Far North and Siberia.
They were called "enemies of the people," as well as swine, dogs, cockroaches, scum, vermin, filth, garbage, half animals, apes. Activists promoted murderous slogans: "We will exile the kulak by the thousand when necessary – shoot the kulak breed." "We will make soap of kulaks." "Our class enemies must be wiped off the face of the earth."
One Soviet report noted that gangs "drove the dekulakized naked in the streets, beat them, organized drinking bouts in their houses, shot over their heads, forced them to dig their own graves, undressed women and searched them, stole valuables, money, etc."
The destruction of the kulak class triggered the Ukrainian famine, during which 3 million to 5 million peasants died of starvation.
"There is a great deal of evidence of government connivance in the circumstances that brought on the shortage of grain and bad harvests in the first place and made it impossible for Ukrainians to find food for their survival," Naimark writes.
We will never know how many millions Stalin killed. "And yet somehow Stalin gets a pass," Ian Frazier wrote in a recent New Yorker article about the gulags. "People know he was horrible, but he has not yet been declared horrible officially."
Time magazine put Stalin on its cover 11 times. Russian public opinion polls still rank him near the top of the greatest leaders of Russian history, as if he were just another one of the powerful but bloodthirsty czars.
There's a reason for Russian obliviousness. Every family had not only victims but perpetrators. "A vast network of state organizations had to be mobilized to seize and kill that many people," Naimark wrote, estimating that tens of thousands were accomplices.
"How much can you move on? Can you put it in your past? How is a national identity formed when a central part of it is a crime?" Naimark asked. "The Germans have gone about it the right way," he said, pointing out that the Germany has pioneered research about the Holocaust and the crimes of the Nazi regime. "Through denial and obfuscation, the Turks have gone about it the wrong way."
Without a full examination of the past, Naimark observed, it's too easy for it to happen again.
Toward the end of his life, Stalin may have had another genocide in his crosshairs. We'll never know whether the concocted conspiracy of Jewish Kremlin doctors in 1952 would have resulted in the internal exile of the entire Jewish population. Whatever plans existed ended abruptly with Stalin's death in March 1953, as rumors of Jewish deportations were swirling.
One of Stalin's colleagues recalled the dictator reviewing an arrest list (really, a death list) and muttering to himself: "Who's going to remember all this riff-raff in ten or twenty years' time? No one. … Who remembers the names now of the boyars Ivan the Terrible got rid of? No one. … The people had to know he was getting rid of all his enemies. In the end, they all got what they deserved."
Who remembers? If Naimark has his way, perhaps we all will: "Every family had people who died. I'm convinced that they need to learn about their own past. There'll never be closure, but there will be a reckoning with the past."*******
Daily Mail: In 1953, Stalin wanted to murder at least 20 millions of Jews in the Soviet Union!
Where did they all come from, after SIX MILLION were killed?
National Journal, for the sake of truth and knowledge
According to "World Religions and Cultures" (http://wrc.lingnet.org/russno.htm), on the eve of World War I, the Jewish population in the U.S.S.R was estimated at 5.2 million. The 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union was particularly horrific for Soviet Jewry. About 2.5 million Jews were, according to official holocaust teachings, annihilated. Between 1959 and 1989, the Jewish population in the Soviet Union declined by about 900,000. In 1989 a majority of the 1.4 million Jews in the Soviet Union lived in the three Slavic republics. So, where did the 20 millions of Jews (tens of millions) come from, Stalin wanted to murder? However, Stalin's Jewish commissars murdered about 50 million non-Jews in the Soviet Union.
WAS STALIN MURDERED?
He planned to slaughter TENS OF MILLIONS of Jews ... Now, a compelling new book suggests he was killed by his own henchmen ... to stop this genocidal plot
It was the summer of 1952 and the heart was that of Andrei Zhdanov, a senior Politburo member who had died four years earlier. Zhdanov had supposedly died of natural causes, but Stalin was determined to suggest that he had been killed by the deliberate negligence of his physicians. It was part of the dictator' sinister attempt to convince the Soviet people and world opinion that a vast network of Jewish doctors, secretly backed by America, was conspiring to topple the U.S.S.R. by systematically killing its leaders. ...
Stalin was planning his own version of the Holocaust to rid the U.S.S.R. of its Jewish citizens. ...
For some time, Stalin had been looking for ways to attack the Soviet Jewish community. He feared they had greater loyalty to America because of family ties or because of U.S. support for Israel. And America's political and military power concerned Stalin greatly following World War II. ...
A man who ruled by the cult of the personality, Stalin could not countenance what he perceived as disloyalty and he had a tried and trusted way of dealing with opposition - he simply eliminated it.
He had already overseen the deaths of at least 43 million people from mass starvation, purges, executions and deaths in the labour camps. Now, with characteristic ruthlessness, he planned to purge the Soviet Union of Jews.
In 1947, he launched a vicious anti-Semitic campaign. Thousands of Jewish intellectuals, scientists, political leaders and private individuals were interrogated, dismissed from their posts, publicly ridiculed, threatened and imprisoned.
Self-appointed citizen's committees would tour towns and villages to find out who were 'true' Russians and who were not.
All Jewish theatres were closed, and the statue of the Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn was removed from the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. On Stalin's direct orders, Solomon Mikhoels, an internationally respected Jewish actor and director, was deliberately crushed beneath the wheels of a lorry and his body abandoned in a side street in a clumsy attempt to make it look like a road accident.
US-Präsident Harry S. Truman praised Stalin in 1948:
"I like old Joe Stalin. He is a nice guy."
DER SPIEGEL (Germany), 30/1999,p.120
By 1950, many other leading Jewish figures had been executed. Stalin was turning public opinion against the Jewish intelligentsia, but if he was to act against the entire Jewish population he would need 'evidence' of a major Jewish conspiracy against the U.S.S.R.
It was then that he remembered the death of Zhdanov and the letter from Dr. Timashuk with her concerns about his treatment. ...
His opportunity came in November 1950 when an eminent Jewish physician, Dr. Yakov Etinger, was arrested for uttering anti-Soviet thoughts to his friends and family. ...
Three months later, Etinger's interrogator wrote to Stalin claiming that Etinger had - conveniently - confessed to 'the villainous murder' of Alesandr Shcherbakov, a relatively minor figure in Stalin's government who had died in 1945. ...
Etinger's dubious confession was never recorded but it was enough for Stalin to sow the seeds of a conspiracy. In the summer of 1951, his underlings set about knitting together the murders of Zhdanov and Shcherbakov to create a plausible picture of a sinister network of Jewish saboteur-doctors. ...
The Soviet public was scandalised by the doctors' alleged crimes. Fantastic rumours circulated that Jewish doctors were poisoning Russian children, injecting them with diphtheria and killing infants in maternity hospitals. ... Public opinion was moving exactly where Stalin wanted it to and he pressed ahead with his plans to purge the Jews. Newly discovered documents show that in February 1953, Stalin authorised the construction of four large prison camps in Kazakhstan, Siberia and the Arctic north. Officially they were for all classes of dangerous criminals, but it is far more likely that Stalin was preparing for a second Great Terror - aimed at the millions of Soviet citizens of Jewish descent.
On March 1, 1953, just two weeks before the accused doctors were due to go on trial, Stalin collapsed at Blizhnaya, a country house near the Kremlin. He had earlier finished a dinner with four members of the Politburo, including his eventual successor, Nikita Khrushchev, and Lavrenti Beria, head of his muchfeared secret police. The party went on until the early hours of the morning and some time after that Stalin fell ill. He died on March 5, 1953, after four days of agony. His death was put down to a brain haemorrhage but has always been surrounded by controversy.
His son Vasily was said to have gone running into the dying man's room shouting: 'They've killed my father, the b*****ds'. Beria supposedly boasted to another Politburo member that he was responsible for Stalin's death, saying: 'I did him in! I saved all of you!' ...
A secret report by the ten doctors who attended Stalin in his last days which has lain unread and unpublished for 50 years reveals that Stalin suffered severe haemorrhaging from his stomach - a fact expunged from the official record at the time, perhaps because it suggested that he had been poisoned by someone slipping rat poison into his drink at that final dinner. Or perhaps Beria simply meant that he and the other Politburo members deliberately delayed calling for a doctor.
Daily Mail, London, May 23, 2003, page 36
"The claim that 5,7 million Jews were murdered, is not true. The number of Jewish victims can only range between 1 and 1,5 million, because there were not more Jews within Hitler's reach." --Ferdinand Otto Miksche, The End of The Present, (Das Ende der Gegenwart) Herbig, Munich 1990, page 107*******