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Short article on the true figures of Stalin's repressions


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#1 stakhanov's cat

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:01 PM

Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-war Years:A First Approach on the Basis of Archival Evidence
J. ARCH GETTY, GABOR T. RITTERSPORN, andVIKTOR N. ZEMSKOV
The Great purges of the 1930s were a maelstrom of political violence that engulfed all levels of society and all walks of life. Often thought to have begun in 1934 with the assassination of Politburo member Sergei Kirov, the repression first struck former political dissidents in 1935-1936. It then widened and reached its apogee in 1937-1938 with the arrest and imprisonment or execution of a large proportion of the Communist Party Central Committee, the military high command, and the state bureaucracy. Eventually, millions of ordinary Soviet citizens were drawn into the expanding terror.
Debate in the West about the precise numbers of victims has appeared in the scholarly press for several years and has been characterized by wide disparity, often of several millions, between high and low estimates. Using census and other data, scholars have put forward conflicting computations of birth, mortality, and arrests in order to calculate levels of famine deaths due to agricultural collectivization (1932-1933), victims of the Great Terror (1936-1939), and total
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#2 stakhanov's cat

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:04 PM

A 1953 statistical report on cases initiated or investigated by the NKVD provides data on arrests and on the purported reasons for them. According to these figures, 1,575,259 people were arrested by the security police in the course of 1937-1938, 87.1 percent of them on political grounds. Some 1,344,923, or 85.4 percent, of the people the secret police arrested in 1937-1938 were convicted. To be sure, the 1,575,259 people in the 1953 report do not comprise the total of 1937-1938 arrests. Court statistics put the number of prosecutions for infractions unrelated to
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#3 stakhanov's cat

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:05 PM

Appendix B USSR Custodial Populations, 1943-1953
1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953
GULAG CAMPS
Jan. 1 population to the 663,594 715,506 600,897 808,839 1,108,057 1,216,361 1,416,300 1,533,767 1,711,202 1,727,970
GULAG from:
NKVD camps 48,428 59,707 172,844 121,633 213,102 564,800 561,660 657,557 603,093 393,504
Other places of detention 326,928 361,121 461,562 624,345 482,498 88,235 71,229 55,291 14,849 16,853
Recaptures 1,839 953 1,203 1,599 2,494 1,733 1,723 1,341 905 415
Other 2,394 2,136 579 1,043 870 1,054 1,329 833 5 -
From the GULAG to:
NKVD camps 64,110 96,438 182,647 153,899 203,938 239,762 258,269 250,269 221,619 278,240
Other places of detention 39,303 70,187 99,332 58,782 100,901 16,344 16,882 21,845 15,836 8,934
Freed 152,131 336,750 115,700 194,886 261,148 178,449 216,210 254,269 329,446 937,352
Died 60,948 43,848 18,154 35,668 27,605 15,739 14,703 15,587 10,604 5,825
Escaped 3,586 2,196 2,642 3,779 4,261 2,583 2,577 2,318 1,253 785
Other 7,590 6,105 9,771 2,388 2,162 3,006 333 295 578 1,949
Dec. 31 population: 715,506 600,897 808,839 1,108,057 1,216,361 1,416,300 1,533,767 1,711,202 1,727,970 897,051
Annual change 51,912 -114,609 207,942 299,218 108,304 199,939 117,467 117,435 16,768 -830,919
Death rate/1000 92 61 30 44 25 13 10 10 6 3

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#4 GORDILL

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:23 PM

I remember a saying in the West during the cold war.

It was said that Stalin was the best friend the West had since he had killed more Russians than anyone in the world outside of the Nazis.

I once asked my Russian friends, by e mail, how Stalin was remembered by young Russians in light of the fact that his body was buried in a place of honor in Red Square.

They answered that he was remembered as a despot.
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#5 stakhanov's cat

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:40 PM

Gordill,

With all due respect, try reading the article. You might be surprised to find out the truth. The article is based on a comprehensive study of the NKVD(Secret Police) archives which were not opened to historians until 1990.

Stalin killed a lot fewer Russians than people in the West generally believe.

I have met a lot of young(and old) Russians who consider him the greatest leader they ever had. And in Georgia, he is as popular as Jesus Christ!
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#6 zxb

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:46 PM

I always thought the figures were somewhat overblown.

40 million deaths in Stalins Gulags + 30 million dead in WW2 + nearl 2 million in WW1 + many millions in the famine during the civil war + those who died during the civil war would roughly halve the population of the USSR. This is absurd.

I'm quite happy to believe your figures Cat, they seem much more plausible to me. Esecially as the use Soviet NKVD records. Thanks.
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#7 stakhanov's cat

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 12:03 AM

The figure of between 2-3 million dead, in the prisons and camps and through judicial execution in the entire period of 1929-1953, admittedly does not include those who died in transit during the mass deportations and the victims of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine. But even adding those it would be difficult to get much above 5 million. Still a large number of victims, but small in comparison to the proven ten million who died in the 1917-1922 period or the 27-30 million killed in 1941-45.

The entire industrialised workforce of the Soviet Union was only 9 million in 1936, so figures of 20-40 million dead are clearly ridiculous.
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#8 CrazyIvan

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Posted 01 March 2003 - 07:32 PM

I do not know what happened to my great grandfather after 1948, it is possible he did not die because of Stalin at all. You know Stalin built entire towns with hostile populations like chechens, tartars, western ukrainians(former austro-hungarians), and baltic fascists away from the majority populated cities...one must say that traitors like Gen. Vlasov deserved to die...Mar. Pavlov on June 22nd 1941 did not relay messages of Nazi troops crossing the border sent to the Genstab(general HQ) by Soviet border guards in Poland,western Ukraine, and Belarus to the commanding officers of the VVS(air force), and Field Armies..he ignored all the warnings..and did nothing for about 12 hours...the Politburo was not notified until the Wehrmacht had surrounded Brest and was moving against L'vov and Riga..the Brest garrison held out for 2 weeks with limited supplies...the Luftwaffe had cut up roadways and airfields..20,000 Soviet citizens were dead...soviet military of up to 30,000 were dead...the Messershmitt's and Stuka's had severely cut up the I-16 and Tupolev Air Regiments in Ukraine and Belarus...Pavlov did nothing..this is why Stalin had him executed.
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#9 GORDILL

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Posted 02 March 2003 - 03:44 AM

I lived through the Patriotic War as well as the Cold War.

Most Americans thought of Russians as galliant friends of America, and most of us were shocked when Stalin closed the borders and isolated itself from the Western world..

We became more shocked when he attempted to isolate Berlin, and America supplied the people of Berlin with the airlift. Then came the Berlin Wall with the armed guards shooting people that attempted to come to the West Germany.

Slowly, after that, Americans began to think of the Soviet, and Communism, as an enemy. We saw it as a place where people were not free to travel where they chose. A "Slave State"! We did not understand why, but most believed it. So America attempted to contain it, and, aside from that, learned to ignore it, but sure did not want to ever live under such a system.

While Communism, and the Soviet Union, had little affect on America and Americans, most, including me, were happy when it ended. We hoped for peace between our former friends and allies in the fight against Nazism.

Most Americans, I believe, still hope for that.

Since then, and thanks to my two Russian friends, Yuri and Sveta in Cherpovets, I have read much about Russian history from the year 1,000. It has been interesting. But written from the Western viewpoint which may be inaccurate.

It is my personal hope that "Mother Russia", and her people, will find the good life for themselves. Knowing my two friends for 6 years, I believe Russian people are good people and not vastly different from Americans.
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#10 Guest__*

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Posted 03 March 2003 - 03:51 PM

BTW some historians notice that these figures (799,455) are ones of the persons sentenced to death. It's not figures of executions. They were sentenced to death but it does not mean that all sentences were carried out. Many of them were send to GULAG because it was wide-spread practice to commute the death penalty to imprisonment. To find out how many people were executed it's necessary to calculate execution protocols. They consider that there were 300,000-400,000 executions indeed.

Another interesting question is Why did all these purges take place? I believe the answer will hardly be a single-valued. For example, esteemed Russian historian Yury Zukov (in his interesting interview to "KP" - in Russian) very convincingly asserted that Stalin was not an initiator of the purges (sounds sensationally). Although his conclusions founded on facts...
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#11 stakhanov's cat

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Posted 03 March 2003 - 06:54 PM

Thank you, dmp. Excellent article, though I had some problems following it as my Russian is nowhere near as good as your English!

As regards the reasons for the Purges, an American historian called J. Arch Getty wrote:

`The evidence suggests that the Ezhovshchina --- which is what most people really mean by the ``Great Purges'' --- should be redefined. It was not the result of a petrified bureaucracy's stamping out dissent and annihilating old radical revolutionaries. In fact, it may have been just the opposite. It is not inconsistent with the evidence to argue that the Ezhovshchina was rather a radical, even hysterical, reaction to bureaucracy. The entrenched officeholders were destroyed from above and below in a chaotic wave of voluntarism and revolutionary puritanism.'

Would have to agree with this analysis. Stalin merely exploited the burgeoning radicalism of a large section of the Bolshevik party in order to further consolidate his own power and guarantee and strengthen the economic, political and military direction that the regime had taken under his leadership.

The spark for this was definitely the Kirov murder, which was definitely the result of some anti-Stalinist conspiracy. But who and how many were behind it is impossible to tell. Perhaps, the truth may never be known.
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#12 Malachi151

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 01:43 AM

So, from what I know the main people that Stalin had killed for politcal reasons were actually the Bolsheviks and Marxists. Is this correct?

How do you see Stalin in terms of Communism?

I view Stalin as anti-Communist.

I thought that he took control from Lenin and Trotsky and the democratic Soviets, and created a depotism. Is this correct?

I can certainly agree that Stalin had many accomplishments, I would just not consider them to be Marxist style achievements.

As for GORDILL, I would say that Americans views of Russia were obviously shaped by the strong anti-Communist movement by American fascists. I mean we know that Henry Wallace ran for President against Truman on a platform of cooperation with Russia and the promotaion of Communism in America. He did receive a lot of votes.

I would ask GORDILL to read the paper in my sig and tell me if you agree with what it says. You say that you lived through this time. Can you please tell me your view of the accuracy of my statements on WWII which I have in my paper?
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#13 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 08:07 AM

Malachi151,

Stalin was no heavyweight theoretician it is true. (only compared with Khrushchev and Brezhnev could he be said to be so!) But he was definitely a "Marxist-Leninist" and a better politician and statesman than intellectuals like Bukharin or Trotsky, who were prone to weakness and indecisiveness.("Elegant uselessness" as Stalin termed it) The real question is probably to what extent Lenin was a "marxist". I don't think that he was, insofar as he clearly violated the fundamental principles of historical materialism. But that is neither here nor there. Both Lenin and Stalin stepped into a power vacuum and did what needed to be done. ie modernise Russia and the Soviet Union.

They were politicians and revolutionaries, first and foremost. Most intellectuals lack the practical abilities to build a country. That is why they fared pretty badly, by and large, under Stalin. He preferred good party workers and administrators.
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#14 Malachi151

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 01:43 PM

<Henry Wallace didn't "promote Communism in America." He was the last New Dealer in the FDR cabinet, still promoting the original recovery platform of the NRA which borrowed heavily from Social Democracy and American populism.>

He promoted cooperation with communist countries and had wide support from the American communist party. Perhaps I phrased that wrong, no he did not promote America becoming communist, he promoted cooperation with communist countries.
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#15 Malachi151

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 01:51 PM

<Stalin was no heavyweight theoretician it is true. (only compared with Khrushchev and Brezhnev could he be said to be so!) But he was definitely a "Marxist-Leninist" and a better politician and statesman than intellectuals like Bukharin or Trotsky, who were prone to weakness and indecisiveness.("Elegant uselessness" as Stalin termed it) The real question is probably to what extent Lenin was a "marxist". I don't think that he was, insofar as he clearly violated the fundamental principles of historical materialism. But that is neither here nor there. Both Lenin and Stalin stepped into a power vacuum and did what needed to be done. ie modernise Russia and the Soviet Union.

They were politicians and revolutionaries, first and foremost. Most intellectuals lack the practical abilities to build a country. That is why they fared pretty badly, by and large, under Stalin. He preferred good party workers and administrators.>

What about the fact that Trotsky opposed Stalinism, and that many Bolsheviks opposed Stalinism? Also, Trotsky created and led the Red Army to victory in the civil war, that's not exatly being weak. :D And also, Stlain had Trotsky murdered, even while he was out of Russia. Seems to me that Stalin killed off many Marxists. And isn't National Socialism non-Marxist? I mean Marx never promoted the idea of socialism in one country, nor of dictatorship by anyone other that the proletariate, not a single person.

It has always looked to me that Russia was not ready for Socialism in the first place, and that Lenin and the Bolsheviks should not have tried their revolutionary tactics in Russia, but should have instead focused on Germany and France. So in that sense you can say that even if Stalin was not Marxist, really Socialism was not right for Russia at that time in the first place anyway.
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#16 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 02:59 PM

It has always looked to me that Russia was not ready for Socialism in the first place, and that Lenin and the Bolsheviks should not have tried their revolutionary tactics in Russia, but should have instead focused on Germany and France. So in that sense you can say that even if Stalin was not Marxist, really Socialism was not right for Russia at that time in the first place anyway.

****

I agree. That is what I said when I said that Lenin violated the fundamental principles of Historical Materialism. But so what? There was a power vacuum in Russia and Lenin seized the initiative. (Kto ktogo?)And all credit to him. At least he showed that there was an alternative to capitalism and war.

Trotsky was never a Bolshevik(not until 1917), so he had no support in the party. "Permanent Revolution" was never a possibility after 1921 anyway, the German Revolution failed miserably. What choice had the Soviet Union but to embark upon "Socialism in one Country"?

Besides, it was ex-Trotskyites like Pyatakov and Preobrazhensky who were the most enthusiatic supporters of Stalin's Collectivisation and Super-Industrialisation programmes. It was the Rightists who initially opposed this. Even they recanted later on.

You are also wrong about opposition to "Stalinism". The 1921 ban on "factionalism" (implemented by Lenin in order to crush the "Worker's Opposition") meant that opposition to the majority was not allowed anyway. It amounted to "objective" counter-revolution. Stalin represented the majority(most of the time) there was no dictatorship at such . It is largely a myth fostered by Cold War historians and disgruntled Trotskyites. Read some of J Arch Getty's works and you will discover that Stalin was a "moderate". He was just as much subject to "pressure from below" as any political leader. Read the Russian article posted by dmp as well. You will be surprised by the degree to which Stalin was a symbol of and not an instigator of policies. Paradoxically, he was not as instrumental in the creation of "Stalinism" as some people think. You give him too much credit. He was a man like any other. Don't turn him into a leviathan.
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#17 Malachi151

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Posted 14 June 2003 - 02:05 AM

Ah, thanks, interesting. I'll look into that.
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#18 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 25 June 2003 - 10:02 PM

Please do.....

I've been downloading Brigitte Lahaie and Tiny Tove movies on Kazaa. Think my intellect has evaporated as a result; if I ever had one to begin with that is......

:D :P
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#19 Varangian

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 02:32 PM

Stalin killed Trotsky to take control of the international socialist movement and make it an adjunct to soviet foreign policy. In the process, he destroyed its credibility. Socialism in one country, from a Marxist perspective, is an oxymoron. Capital doesn't recognize national borders. Workers in one country can be played off against workers in another, by multi-national corporations that can manipulate individual nation-states to their own end. Stalin twisted Marxist theory to rationalise his totalitarian nationalist agenda. What the world came to understand as 'communism' was this cheap revisionism, full of contradictions, that eventually fell under the weight of its own hypocracy - and rightly so. Stalin's ghost has been haunting the left long enough. To become relevant again, it must repudiate Stalinism, and think international and democratic.
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#20 Stakhanov's Car

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 03:03 PM

Stalin killed Trotsky to take control of the international socialist movement and make it an adjunct to soviet foreign policy.

***

Nonsense, Comintern never had any effective independence even under Lenin. Trotsky was murdered much later in 1940. Comintern was dissolved only three years later. And Trotsky was never a threat to anybody. What power did he have? He wasn't even a Bolshevik until 1917. "Trotskyism" was never a coherent political force before the War. Not even in Spain, let alone the rest of the world. It only became popular in the late 1960s.

Bolshevism had little to do with theoretical marxism anyway. It was just a convenient Western burzhui theology grafted onto indigenous peasant/worker aspirations and utopian fantasies about the "mir".
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