Author Topic: Soviet Atrocities and the Killing of Disabled and Innocent Children  (Read 71061 times)

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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #225 on: June 02, 2008, 04:43:46 PM »
cont'd...

And think again of the other colonial empires. The English? Nice people? I don't think so. Very civilized within their own borders, utterly barbaric without. Still are. Africa being a case in point. Africa is always the case in point. Any idea how many people have died over sugar and tea? And English history during the medieval period wasn't exactly about treating your own people kindly. There just were only so many people you could kill back then.

The Japanese? My God...the stories about what they did in China and Korea etc will make your skin crawl.

So it it just numbers we're talking about? Was the Soviet regime just quantifiably more evil, or was it qualitatively more evil? Is it fundamentally different if you murder your own people or if you pay someone else to murder theirs when they happen to be in the way of your economic policy? What if *they* (the Soviets) kill 10 million, and you are only responsible (and indirectly, bec you only provided the money and the guns, and oh yeah a few advisors and maybe some mercenaries) for a million or so? Is it just a matter of containing collateral damage?

I'm not sure there's really anything new under the sun. The numbers were higher in Russia, but the mentality? The amorality? I think there are non-communist, even non-totalitarian systems that have been as bad. They just took it outside and did it in the dark.

Does this justify Stalin? Does this justify a system that enables a sociopath to that degree? No. I think even Stalin was horrified at the extremes to which he was able to go, by the end. No one stopped him. Unbelievable. It wasn't just Stalin. The Russian people rolled over and gave him their throat. There was a guy who sat in a basement executing Polish officers with a pistol. Thousands. 8-10 hours per day, a shot to each neck. Just a day's, week's, month's year's, several years' work. What is UP with a person like that? Wouldn't you rather take a shot to your own neck than go back to work at that task, day after day after day? Even the life of my family isn't worth that. Like I said, I think even Stalin was horrified at the extent to which people were willing to go. His subjects were like algae, like lichens, just fighting for a foothold, really. Willing to do whatever it took for a few moments of sunshine. Stalin was like a kid testing limits, and no one set any.

I think utter disgust is a reasonable response.

Anything with the word reasonable attached does not compute when it comes to Stalin. He was not horrified at what he could do, he positively reveled in it. And, yes, he was a man, a human being - but a horrible example of one at that. People endured so much under him and his buddy Lenin - they believed they were building a just society. Instead, they were just building a gulag for the few who survived the murder and torture of their regime.

Dmitrieff

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #226 on: June 06, 2008, 03:36:46 PM »
I also disagree about Stalin's horror at his own abuse of power. On the contrary, everything I've read indicates he reveled in the slaughter of innocent people.

Yes, that is also the officially accepted point of view. So it's only natural that you hold such an opinion. You need to set a higher standard for yourself.

Offline Nikl

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #227 on: June 06, 2008, 06:01:06 PM »
Quote
Stalin and his cronies (we cannot exempt the cronies from complicity in his crimes) destroyed such a viable agricultural region to the extent that after his Reign of Terror, the Soviet Union needed 10% of the world's total grain to import to feed a starving populace.
Actually, as late as the early 1970s, the Soviet Union was a grain exporter. Russia endured agricultural problems during and after the 1970s due to a large extent to frequent drought. While Russia endured three famines between 1921-1991, Russia had endured dozens of such famines in the 19th century. The Finnish famine of 1866-68 killed a staggering 20 percent of the population.

If it's Stalin's era you want to talk about, the fact that his policies helped to greatly modernize Russian agriculture. Above all, the introduction of the tractor to Russia helped to greatly increase agricultural productivity.
Here is something for you to read:

Around 20 million (citing The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stephane Courtois et al) to 35 million (citing A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia by Alexander Yakovlev) killed in all, from 1917 to 1991

250,000 executed by the Cheka during the "Red Terror" and Russian civil war. (citing The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police by George Leggett) But it could be much higher (see my sig)

Between 300,000 and 500,000 Cossacks killed or deported in 1919 and 1920 (known as "de-Cossackization"; not sure how many of these deaths overlap with the aforementioned Cheka executions - if at all). (citing The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Stephane Courtois et al)

Between 7.2 to 10.8 million deaths during dekulakization and collectivization - which caused a famine the regime used as a weapon against supposed "class enemies" (citing Stalin and His Hangmen: the Tyrant and Those Who Killed For Him by Donald Rayfield)

Around 700,000 executed during the Great Terror of 1937-38 (citing Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore); this does not include those who were beaten/tortured to death during "interrogation" or deaths in the gulag during this time, which would put it over a million.

Over 1 million Polish citizens deported by November 1940; 30% of whom were dead by 1941 (citing Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore) and 21,857 executed outright (i.e. Katyn) by the NKVD during the Nazi-Soviet pact (citing Autopsy for an Empire by Dimitri Volkogonov)

A total of 34,250 Latvians and around 60,000 Estonians and 75,000 Lithuanians murdered or deported during Nazi-Soviet pact (citing Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore)

An estimated 4.5 million (citing Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum) to 12 million (citing How to Prevent Genocide: A Guide for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Concerned Citizen by John G. Heidenrich) deaths in the Gulag from 1918 to 1956. 

(I'm leaving out Stalin's ethnic cleansing of minorities in the USSR during WWII - Chechens, Crimean Taters, Kalmyks, Volga Germans, etc. - accused of "collaboration" with the Germans. I can't think of a source for that one off the top of my head. I'm sure hundreds of thousands perished though)

Haven't read as much on Mao Tse-tung, but the new biography of him by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (Mao: The Unknown Story) estimates "well over 70 million" perished as a result of Mao's policies which, if true, makes him the biggest mass killer in history.

Broken down looks like this:
3 million deaths during land reform and the "campaign to suppress counter-revolutionaries"
38 million deaths during "Great Leap Forward"
3 million deaths during the Cultural Revolution

What do you think about that?

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #228 on: June 07, 2008, 04:08:41 PM »
I also disagree about Stalin's horror at his own abuse of power. On the contrary, everything I've read indicates he reveled in the slaughter of innocent people.

Yes, that is also the officially accepted point of view. So it's only natural that you hold such an opinion. You need to set a higher standard for yourself.

You need to get a grip. There is no "officially accepted point of view", at least not in the circle of historians in which I trave. And, I am not someone for you or anyone else to talk down to?

Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #229 on: June 07, 2008, 08:12:01 PM »
I also disagree about Stalin's horror at his own abuse of power. On the contrary, everything I've read indicates he reveled in the slaughter of innocent people.
Yes, that is also the officially accepted point of view. So it's only natural that you hold such an opinion. You need to set a higher standard for yourself.

It isn’t a “point of view” or matter of opinion. There is nothing to suggest that he ever felt the least bit of remorse regarding his actions. As for the actions themselves, it is a proven fact that Stalin sentenced millions of his own people to death and exile in gulags. The records kept by his own government – not some body hostile to him – but HIS OWN government (I feel that point should be emphasized) confirm that as fact. Why would the Cheka and their successors at the NKVD and the KGB have lied in their own records about murdering people? These were private records that they never expected anyone to read apart from perhaps Stalin himself. There would be no reason for them to fabricate tales of brutality implicating Stalin. If anything, to do so would have been to risk their own lives if they displeased Stalin.

Now you could argue that these people – Stalin’s victims - deserved to be exiled, imprisoned and/or murdered, but I would love to know what in your opinion would justify their persecution.

I would suggest you try to broaden your own horizons and read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago”.

Offline Tania+

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #230 on: June 07, 2008, 09:17:07 PM »
Thank you Nadia; it is extremely important that people and youth read and retain what they have read so that when they enter into any discussion here on the Alexander Palace or even off line, they will be able to coherently and astutely slide in without personal affronts to any person or and of those discussion matters.

So many have entered these portals with an 'i will conquer and show them they are all wrong' when history itself is and has already been addressed by countless 'known' historians who can testify to time, place, persons, and incidents where needed. No they are not all correct, and at times from those who have been kind enough to delve in and research till they really pegged it down, and posted their findings, then we gain that much more to the historical narratives, and understandings.

But to come to any discussion place with arrogance, and a know it all persona, 'even if one knows it all' does not set well with most readers, and with the public at large
Manners are and is an essential part of communication. Here on this site there arewonderful moderators who bend over backwards to help the process of communication. Lisa is another exceptional person.

But BTT - thanks again Nadia and Lisa for your input. : )
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Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #231 on: June 07, 2008, 09:34:24 PM »
You are welcome, Tania. I don't question the assertion of other posters that other societies have committed atrocities, or that Tsarism was far from ideal and that crimes were committed during that period, but it is absurd to suggest that Communism was an improvement. As the age old saying goes - two wrongs don't make a right. I imagine my own comments will seem arrogant to some. They aren't meant to be and I apologize in advance to anyone they may insult. I'm rather blunt and I just can't help but respond to something I believe is untrue or incorrect. You are right that no one knows it all, though. We all have our opinions based on what we have read (or failed to read) and they must be taken for what they are worth. ;-)

No. I think even Stalin was horrified at the extremes to which he was able to go, by the end. No one stopped him. Unbelievable. It wasn't just Stalin. The Russian people rolled over and gave him their throat. There was a guy who sat in a basement executing Polish officers with a pistol. Thousands. 8-10 hours per day, a shot to each neck. Just a day's, week's, month's year's, several years' work. What is UP with a person like that? …Like I said, I think even Stalin was horrified at the extent to which people were willing to go. His subjects were like algae, like lichens, just fighting for a foothold, really. Willing to do whatever it took for a few moments of sunshine. Stalin was like a kid testing limits, and no one set any.

There is nothing, no evidence whatsoever, to suggest that Stalin was “horrified” by the brutality he instigated. If you know of any source that suggests otherwise I would be sincerely interested in reading it. Everything that I have ever read indicates that he had no regrets about what he had done to his people and continued to commit atrocities right up until the very end of his life. His daughter Svetlana stated that he felt no remorse. She described her father as “"a moral and spiritual monster.” Even the works of those Western European historians who were openly in favor of Communism didn't suggest that Stalin regretted his actions. There were those who claimed Stalin was unaware of atrocities occurring in Russia, but that claim can be easily disproved. His wife Nadezhda committed suicide, because she could no longer stand his misdeeds. His only response was to privately declare her a traitor. He then had her relatives put in gulags. Not precisely the act of a remorseful man, you must admit. He allowed his son from his first marriage to perish in a concentration camp rather than save him. Why did he leave him there? Because he believed that ALL Russians who had the misfortune to be captured by the Nazis during the war were “traitors.” Yakov Dzhugashvili was shot in 1943 while trying to escape from the Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen. As for the other unfortunate Russian POWs – many of them were freed from Germans concentration camps only to be shipped by Stalin to Russian gulags for the “crime” of being captured by the Germans. Real patriots, you see, wouldn’t have allowed themselves to become POWs in Stalin’s opinion. There is no evidence that Stalin ever felt compassion for, or showed mercy to, any living soul. Stalin wasn’t a “child testing limits”. He was a paranoid sociopath who attacked any and all persons he considered to be “enemies”.

As for the Russian people rolling over and giving Stalin their throats, nonsense. What were they supposed to do? They had no way of reaching Stalin. You can argue that dying in a noble act of resistance is preferable, but very few people are that brave in reality. History proves that fact time and again. The Russian people are not to blame for Stalin’s behavior. He alone chose to commit murder and it seems unfair to blame Stalin’s victims for his crimes.

You are correct that it wasn’t “just” Stalin. Every dictator needs flunkies - like that executioner in the basement - to carry out their orders. The fact remains that Stalin, not that officer executing Poles, was the leader of the USSR. As the leader the majority of the blame for all that occurred during Stalin’s time at the helm lies at his door, not on the shoulders of his underlings, regardless of how despicable they were.

The most damning aspect of the Soviet regime was its refusal to let people emigrate.

Again, I would beg to differ.  The refusal to allow emigration, while unfortunate and unjust, wasn’t the “most damning” aspect of Soviet rule IMHO. The most damning aspect of the Soviet system was that it punished and murdered millions for no reason. Once again, just to make myself clear, that isn’t to suggest that other societies have not done the same, but their actions don’t justify Stalin and Lenin’s crimes.

And, finally, were not those who rose up in protest against the brutality of the Soviet regime the true heroes?

Yes, of course they were. I don’t question that many Russians disapproved of their government’s tactics. Frankly, I don’t think the Russian people as a whole can or should be blamed for most of what occurred after the Revolution. The atrocities that took place during the Stalinist era, certainly, were the result of the actions, political beliefs and decisions, of a relative few. The average Russian had absolutely no control over their government and the Russians/Soviets were themselves the primary victims of Stalin (who was actually Georgian not Russian). To condemn Stalin and Lenin is not to condemn the average Russian. You can question the decency of a nation’s government without questioning the decency of her people. The Russians are deserving of great praise for their rich culture, pride and perseverance. I don’t think anyone who posts on this board would disagree with that.


Offline Nadya_Arapov

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Re: Soviet Atrocities
« Reply #232 on: June 07, 2008, 09:53:14 PM »
I agree, the regime that followed the Russian revolution was despicable and possibly unprecedented…I would still argue, though, that the American Revolution was out of proportion to its cause...that the response was excessive in regard to the impetus, that if we'd stayed an English colony and turned out like Canada things wouldn't be THAT bad, and the loss of life and general upheaval would have been less. I would also argue that we wear blinders about the cost of our system. To the Native Americans, to the slaves, to the laborers, the unionizers, the coal miners mowed down in corporate massacres, the interned Japanese, and the possibily soon-to- be-rounded-up "illegal" Mexicans... was our approach as bad as Stalinism? Of course not. But there was a cost, a cost disproportionate to the gain, and mostly unsung. And I would repeat my earlier point that capitalism outsources its atrocities. So, we don't turn our guns on our own people as much. But what is the difference? People are people. Is it better that we pay death squads to wipe out entire Latin American villages/regions? That we undo democratic elections in other countries?

On one hand you state that you do not believe the atrocities of others justify Stalin’s own crimes. Then you state that “people are people.” Is your point that we shouldn’t mention Stalin’s crimes because our government and other governments have also committed crimes? You ask “what is the difference.” Perhaps there is no difference, but that doesn’t mean his crimes should go unmentioned or unexamined because others were equally criminal and despicable.

There is no question that other nations/cultures have committed atrocities. Virtually every nation that has ever possessed power of any kind has abused that power. I’m well aware of the rape of Nanking by the Japanese. I am also fully aware of the abuses of the Communist Government in China against its own people, Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, the US government’s hideous abuses of power at home and abroad, the Nazis’ crimes, the atrocities committed by the British, Belgians, Spanish and the French over the centuries in their colonies. I’m not “blind” to any of that. Still, I don’t see what that has to do with Stalin.

No one to my knowledge has suggested that the Honduran death squads led by the CIA and John Negroponte in the 80s were the actions of just leaders. Of course they weren’t. However, the actions of the American government in Latin America and the Latin American dictators we supported, isn’t the subject of this thread. Neither is the subject of this thread whether or not the American Revolution was justified. Personally, I feel that is was justified and have no regrets about splitting from the British Empire. IMHO our one great fault wasn’t ridding ourselves of British rule, but that we have thus far failed to live up to the ideals set out in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. However, that is also not the subject of this thread. Neither is capitalism and its faults. I'm not suggesting that you don't have the right to discuss or broach other subjects here. I'm not a moderator and I have no right to make such assertions. I'm only making the point that Stalin and Soviet atrocities are the subject of this thread and that is the reason why they – and not the atrocities of other nations – are the main focus of this thread. It isn’t because all of the posters are “blind” to these other events or considered them some how less horrendous or justifiable.

As you yourself state, horrific acts committed by others do not excuse Stalin. They merely serve to condemn the leaders who carried them out. They do not change the fact that Stalin was a monster. Comparing the suffering of others is pointless. One cannot quantify or measure suffering. The victims of Stalin deserve to be remembered and the crimes of Stalin recognized, just as the victims of other atrocities deserve recognition. If people are to overcome their history rather than repeat it they must first learn to honestly assess history. That rule IMO pertains not only Russia but to all nations. I would agree that we in the West are equally guilty of failure in that respect.

As for outsourcing atrocities, the Soviets did that too. In their case primarily to Eastern Europe and Afghanistan.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 09:55:48 PM by Nadya_Arapov »

Offline Ausmanov

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #233 on: March 10, 2009, 04:07:35 PM »
Emyrna, while it would be great if justice could brought for these crimes. I take comfort in the fact that those who committed these crimes will face their consequences before God.
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RomanovsFan4Ever

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #234 on: March 11, 2009, 03:07:13 PM »
I take comfort in the fact that those who committed these crimes will face their consequences before God.


Well said!, I have to agree with you, fortunately, the Tsar Nicholas II and his family have been rehabilitated recently, I think.
As well as having been sanctified by the Orthodox Church in 2000.

Offline Ausmanov

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #235 on: March 11, 2009, 04:10:21 PM »
RomanovsFan4Ever, I read that too. I thought it was quite an interesting article. I believe both of those are very positive steps, but i also believe that its a shame that it has taken so long for it to happen.
Ive included the website with the rehabilitation story on it for anyone that hasn't read it.
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,24432076-1702,00.html
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RomanovsFan4Ever

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #236 on: March 11, 2009, 04:43:31 PM »
I believe both of those are very positive steps, but i also believe that its a shame that it has taken so long for it to happen.


Yes, you are right!, it has taken 90 years to happen, too long.  :(

Offline Tina Laroche

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #237 on: March 21, 2009, 01:24:40 PM »
I believe both of those are very positive steps, but i also believe that its a shame that it has taken so long for it to happen.


Yes, you are right!, it has taken 90 years to happen, too long.  :(

Well, I think that's because of the communism...

Offline Ausmanov

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #238 on: March 23, 2009, 03:02:04 AM »
Hello *Tina*. I agree with you.As I understand it {i could be wrong} Imperial Russian history was for a long time not allowed to be openly discussed or researched in Russia and i doubt wether the prior government would have approved of allot of the positive steps taken in recent history. I thank God that that sittuation has improved and the Russian people are now free to peice together their glorious history.
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Offline Tina Laroche

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Re: The Killing Of Disabled & Innocent Children,etc.
« Reply #239 on: March 23, 2009, 12:44:06 PM »
Hello *Tina*. I agree with you.As I understand it {i could be wrong} Imperial Russian history was for a long time not allowed to be openly discussed or researched in Russia and i doubt wether the prior government would have approved of allot of the positive steps taken in recent history. I thank God that that sittuation has improved and the Russian people are now free to peice together their glorious history.

Thanks for your reply, Ausmanov. Well, I think that the Imperial history wasn't very popular then. In the whole Soviet Union. Kids didn't study it a lot (or at all?) in school, there weren't any open discussions, etc...