Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Remembering Victims of The Great Purge

Seventy years after Stalin ordered the The Great Purge, Russia is commemorating the victims


Daniel said...

"...claimed more than 600,000 lives... Russia's Golgotha in reference to the hill where Jesus Christ was crucified."

I don't believe anything these eastern Orthodox Christians say. They live in their own mythologies. Remember myth about "700,000" Serbs of Jasenovac? It turned out around 40,000 died, which is almost 20 times less than what Serbs claimed. They built their history around their mythologies, and their mythologies were fueled by extremist nationalist Orthodox Church.

Does Russian have names of 600,000 people who allegedly perished? Also, their dates of birth, and other information? They don't, of course. It's because they base their history on lies, not on facts.

Daniel said...

Where is the proof that 600,000 died? Is the proof again in Russian mythology? Yeah, yet again.

They give themselves permission to deny Srebrenica genocide, which was confirmed by two international courts + DNA analysis + excavation of graves, etc, each victims has its name, DOB and other private info. The point is: WE HAVE FACTS FOR OUR VICTIMS.

Russians and their Christian Orthodox proxies have no hard facts to prove anything. They live in mythology and lies they created for themselves.

Shaina said...

The Great Purge of 1937, and the entire systematic persecution, forced labor and murder of Soviet citizens under Stalin (including btw, the forced deportation of the entire Chechen nation) is an historical fact. The Great Purge is not propaganda and it is certainly not a myth or a lie.

Read The Wikipedia Page on The Great Purge for an introduction.
Read Anne Applebaum’s readable and heavily documented/researched book “The Gulag” it is excellent and I was planning on doing a review on it in the near future. Much of the information, including the number of casualties as a result of Stalin’s Great Purge came from the Soviet Government’s (i.e. the people who carried out the oppression) own declassified archive.

About Jasenovac: I think most people are acutely aware of how some ultra-nationalists Serbs exaggerated and exploited what happened at Jasenovac for their own political purposes. That is despicable. That does not change the nature of what happened at Jasenovac. Surely the murder of 40,000 people in the death camp is horrible enough to warrant our unmitigated condemnation.

Srebrenica, Jasenovac, The Great Purge all happened and all deserve our unwavering condemnation. Period. Remembering and condemning should not be an exercise in tit-for-tat.
The first indignity visited upon the victims was that they were murdered because of their ethnic/religious/national/
political/whatever membership.
The second indignity will be to forget any of the victims.

Owen said...

Dan, Shaina, at the moment I'm not up to following things up as thoroughly as I should but I did a brief investigation. Robert Conquest's figure of 20 million victims of the Great Terror is pretty ubiquitous, but I wondered this was a figure generally accepted by historians just one that was repeated and rerepeated.

I cam across the following useful summary:

"The Magnitude of the Terror
How Many Victims: Tens of Millions or Hundreds of Thousands?

Estimates of the number of people killed in the Great Terror vary widely and remain a point of contention among the totalitarian historians (whose estimates tend to be markedly higher) and the revisionists (whose estimates are lowest and are accused of being apologists). Due to the wide fluctuations of estimates (anywhere from a few hundred thousand - 60,000,000), one of several hypothesis come to mind:

1. Historians as a collective group have absolutely no idea and throw around numbers to support their overall thesis.
2. Historians count differently (one may not count a victim who dies of "natural causes" - read: exposure and exhaustion - in the Gulag years whereas another does).
3. Historians count from different years during the Stalinist regime. Historians that see the Terror as Stalin's tool to implement collectivization are much more likely to include the millions of dead Ukrainians during the early 1930s than those who see the Great Terror as a phenomenon only indirectly related to Stalin that ran its course from 1936-1938.
4. Accurate data is difficult to come by. Census data to begin with is problematic, let alone trying to figure out how many died in a country not known for its bureaucratic prowess or technical skills outside of chess, the T-34 tank, and AK47s.

The only real meaning one can derive from these numbers is the incredible range of historical opinion and, if the higher numbers are anywhere near the truth, the Soviet hellhole was without question the greatest tragedy in recent human history. By way of comparison, the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews is generally accepted at some 5-6 million victims.

* Solzhenitsyn: 60,000,000
* Rummel: 51,755,000
* Medvedev: 40,000,000
* Brzezinski: 25,000,000
* Pipes: 23,000,000
* Conquest: 20,000,000+
* Cohen: 10,000,000 - 20,000,000
* Nove: 9,500,000
* Volkogonov: 3,500,000
* Thruston: Cites figures in the 2,000,000 - 3,000,000 range.
* Getty: 799,455
* Rogovin (taken from World Socialist Website): 700,000 - 800,000

Considering the population of the USSR in 1937 was around 164,000,000 - Stalin had his original census takers shot when they reported an unsatisfactory low number - caution should dissuade acceptance of the top three figures. As this would represent over 1/4 of the Soviet population, a genocide of Pol Potian proportions, that is difficult to believe would leave enough stamina, let alone Russians, to successfully fend off the Germans in 1941. The lower figures either reek of propaganda and apologia or only count those documented as shot (Getty) and should similarly be rejected. Stalin himself admitted to Churchill that he liquidated 20,000,000; I see no reason why this should be treated as dubious. Deliberately starved, shot, worked to death in frozen wastelands, beaten unmercifully by thuggish cronies, driven to the point of suicide, or killed by neglect/exposure - tally them all and the median value of 20,000,000 becomes fathomable."

Getty, Rittersporn and Zemskov conducted a review based on evidence obtained from liberalised access to Gulag records.

For the two years 1937-1938 they found a *documentable* figure of 681,692 executions.

At the other end of the scale R.J. Rummel criticises Conquest's figure of 20 million as neing far too low, after explaining how Conquest reached this conclusion. The figure "... comes from the book by Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties (Macmillan 1968). In his appendix on casualty figures, he reviews a number of estimates of those that were killed under Stalin, and calculates that the number of executions 1936 to 1938 was probably about 1,000,000; that from 1936 to 1950 about 12,000,000 died in the camps; and 3,500,000 died in the 1930-1936 collectivization. Overall, he concludes:

"Thus we get a figure of 20 million dead, which is almost certainly too low and might require an increase of 50 percent or so, as the debit balance of the Stalin regime for twenty-three years. "

Rummel argues that Conquest's estimates are in fact "spotty and incomplete".

"Considering that Stalin died in 1953, note what Conquest did not include – camp deaths after 1950, and before 1936; executions 1939-53; the vast deportation of the people of captive nations into the camps, and their deaths 1939-1953; the massive deportation within the Soviet Union of minorities 1941-1944; and their deaths; and those the Soviet Red Army and secret police executed throughout Eastern Europe after their conquest during 1944-1945 is omitted. Moreover, omitted is the deadly Ukrainian famine Stalin purposely imposed on the region and that killed 5 million in 1932-1934."

Whatever axes individuals may have to grind or the basis on which they do their calculations the scope of the figures is enormous even at the lower end of the scale.

Dan, there is certainly something dubious about the Russian Orthodox Church's attitude to history but I think your knee-jerk dismissal of these figures makes it sound like you're the one denying genocide / democide / mass homicide, whatever we call it in this instance, not on the basis of fact but on the grounds of your antipathy towards the Orthodox Churches and their adherents.

Shaina said...

Thanks Owen for taking the time to find the information. Very Much appreciated.

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