Author Topic: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?  (Read 108244 times)

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Offline BorbonFan

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #165 on: October 10, 2006, 04:15:29 PM »
USSR was a satanic mistake (not "conspiracy" as others twisted it to render it less believable, for whatever reason they have). This is my position supported by the article from Ludwig von Mises Institute. I do not claim satanic masses were celebrated by the USSR elites, I never did, as it is not supported by this paper.
 
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Offline RichC

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #166 on: October 10, 2006, 09:08:13 PM »
Just as an aside, it's interesting to me that as a culture we have no problem identifying Hitler and Nazi Germany with the Satanic, but when it's a question of Lenin and Stalin's Soviet Union, well, then it's all a big joke, haha. I think there are many different reasons for this - the primary one being that Marxism-Leninism to this day hides beneath a cloak of egalitarianism and social justice. But it's also a matter of art. Hitler himself was no mean artist, contrary to popular belief; he was at the very least attuned to the artistic talents of contemporaries like the filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and the architect Albert Speer. Riefenstahl's film  Triumph of the Will continues to exert its uncanny, dreadful glamour to this day, an entire half-century after it was made. By contrast the Soviets under Lenin and Stalin seem unconscionably drab and dreary. Those bulky figures and unflattering grey uniforms - so unlike the muscular style and stylish black of the SS in uniform. Watch a film of the Nazi army goosestepping its way to victory - almost inevitably, a shiver of fear will go up your spine, even now, all these decades later; watch a similar film of the Soviets and their annual martial parade in Red Square and it's hard not to laugh!   

I understand and agree with you, Elisabeth, that most people would more readily equate Hitler and Nazi Germany with the "Satanic" than they would Lenin & Stalin's Soviet Russia.  But I'm not sure the reason lies (at least not primarily) in the "siren song" of Marxist ideology.  I don't think most Westerners are educated enough to know much about Marxism anyway.  In addition, Soviet Russia was seen as the arch-enemy of the West for decades.  In the 1980's President Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil" empire.  That comment resonated with a lot of ordinary people and made headlines.  So, there have been some important attempts to equate the Soviet Union with "evil".  This idea is not unknown.

I think that most Westerners think that their country has much more in common with Germany than Russia.  I don't think Russia is really thought of as a Western nation by most people.  Even before 1917 I think most Westerners thought of Russia as a semi-developed, semi-barbaric country where the Tsar's troops thought nothing of shooting innocent people if they even thought of getting out of line.  Who can imagine anything like the Khodynka Meadow disaster happening anywhere in Western Europe at the coronation of some King or Queen?  Or at some presidential inauguration?  And look at all those troops who went to the front (sent by the Tsar) completely unprepared for battle.  No other country was as poorly prepared to fight in 1914, but Nicholas went ahead anyway.

The rise of someone like Hitler in Germany, of all places, is hard for Westerners to accept, I think.  He didn't come from the Mid-East or Africa or somewhere in Asia; he came from our backyard.  So, it's easy to say he came from hell to explain why he was allowed to rise to power in the first place.

But for Russia, I think there's a perception (a quite widespread one) that a life is not worth much to them, even today.  In otherwords for Germany, Hitler's barbarism was an abberation, but for Russia it's typical.  I'm not saying it's true, but that's the perception. 




Offline Tania+

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #167 on: October 10, 2006, 10:31:32 PM »
As usual RichC, you are always on target. You know the history of the Russian peoples very well, and understand considerably, Thanks always for your positive thoughts.

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Offline BorbonFan

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #168 on: October 10, 2006, 10:37:57 PM »
I agree 100% with all RichC's well argued reasons as to why this difference in public perception between Hitler and Nazism as satanic and Communism/Stalinism as just laughable. I would also add to them the fact that in terms of economic, scientific, and organizational advances, the Nazis were much more evolved and, therefore, much more fearsome than the bumbling Communists were.

Besides these logical arguments, I think the image difference owes a lot to the mass-media, which shapes public opinion. While there have been tons of movies, press articles, documentaries, monuments even dedicated in the West to the condemnation of the horrors and victims of Nazism, there have been infinitely far fewer ones condemning Communism and its many, many more victims. And not surprisingly so, since the vast majority of the Western media and movie making companies are owned by leftists.
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Offline Louis_Charles

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #169 on: October 10, 2006, 11:43:46 PM »
I would normally avoid discussions as to which regime was more "evil", but there are certain statements in the above post that are questionable.

1. The Nazis were more evolved? More fearsome? This flies in the face of work by authors such as Ian Kershaw, who have taken the Nazi administration apart and exposed the deeply flawed nature of its court structure. In fact, it resembled nothing so much as a dysfunctional autocracy, with redundant subordinates preventing effective development of national plans as they engaged in infighting around Hitler. Stalin's court may have functioned in the same manner, but it was surely no less effective. Moreover, how about a little credit? The Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany; Nazi Germany lasted twelve years, and for the last five years of its existence did nothing for its people other than kill them, either in war or through extermination camps. The Soviet Union lasted for 70 years, and was fearsome for much of that time to the world at large, and for all of that time to its own hapless citizens. If they (the Soviets)  were "bumbling", what does that say about the Nazis, who couldn't hold it together for much more than a decade?

2. The media are controlled by "leftists"? I am challenging this statement not simply to be contrary but because I would like to see a little proof offered for these kinds of statements. I certainly don't accept them as self-evident, and it is unfair to those reading these threads for information to let them stand as though they are. What do you mean by "leftist"? That isn't a word that allows for uniformity of interpretation. In Hitler's Germany, a sensible and decent person would have been classified by the regime as a leftist; many were, and carted off to camps. To someone that supports the ancien regime, Ann Coulter is probably a leftist. Can we have a definition of the word "leftist" as it was used in the post?

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #170 on: October 11, 2006, 06:24:07 AM »

2. Leftist values are contrary to conservative (i.e. religious) values, which include a restraint of sexuality and other urges, rights of religious expression in public, condemnation of abnormal sexuality (sodomy, adultery, etc.) and of murder (anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia), non-interventionalism in the economy, etc. As to the little proof about media ownership that you wanted: look around at the values promoted by most of the mass-media. What do you see most? A flood of abnormal sexuality, of violence and murder on tv, an active encouragement of lack of any restraint of any urges (not just sexual, but also of eating, of spending, of speaking/yaking, etc. etc.)



Moderator:

I thought this thread was to be restricted to discussions about the Soviet Union, not to be used as a podium for ultra-right, gay-bashing sermonizing . . . or as a veiled advertisement for that fascist "think tank" hyped earlier on this thread.

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #171 on: October 11, 2006, 09:52:00 AM »
Borbon Fan has been suspended for 30 days for failure to stay on topic despite requests from a moderator, and for continuing personal attacks on other users.


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Offline Bev

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #172 on: October 11, 2006, 11:10:24 AM »
The problem with labeling any government "satanic" is that then the opposite must be true - governments are godlike.  Some think they are, but I've never found that to be true.

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #173 on: October 11, 2006, 12:04:01 PM »

2. Leftist values are contrary to conservative (i.e. religious) values, which include a restraint of sexuality and other urges, rights of religious expression in public, condemnation of abnormal sexuality (sodomy, adultery, etc.) and of murder (anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia), non-interventionalism in the economy, etc. As to the little proof about media ownership that you wanted: look around at the values promoted by most of the mass-media. What do you see most? A flood of abnormal sexuality, of violence and murder on tv, an active encouragement of lack of any restraint of any urges (not just sexual, but also of eating, of spending, of speaking/yaking, etc. etc.)


Moderator:

I thought this thread was to be restricted to discussions about the Soviet Union, not to be used as a podium for ultra-right, gay-bashing sermonizing . . . or as a veiled advertisement for that fascist "think tank" hyped earlier on this thread.

I see that the FA has stepped in and suspended the Member for failure to follow my direction amongst other things, and I thank him for it. You are entirely correct that BF again went OT so I will follow through on my earlier committment to you and the other posters.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #174 on: October 15, 2006, 01:52:40 PM »
Thank you FA and Lisa, am so pleased. How dare he judge other sexualitys as abnormal.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #175 on: October 15, 2006, 02:21:24 PM »
The problem with labeling any government "satanic" is that then the opposite must be true - governments are godlike.  Some think they are, but I've never found that to be true.

Good point, Bev. Not to mention the fact that when, discussing political matters, you label a government "satanic" or its leader the "Anti-Christ" then you sound absolutely medieval (especially when simultaneously bashing someone's sexual preference - please, everyone, forfend from doing this, it's immoral and moreover, in such bad taste). True, in the West it was customary as late as the Renaissance to label one's political opponents as instruments of Satan. Even in late seventeenth-century and early eighteenth-century Russia there was a sizeable segment of the population who considered Peter the Great to be the Anti-Christ. Perhaps it was natural in those bygone days, when kings and tsars were believed to be God's representatives on earth, that they would also come to be identified with the flip-side of God's glory, that is, Satan's glory. At least this was true when one disagreed with their policies and/or personal habits.

In terms of twentieth-century Russian literature, though, it's interesting that Mikhail Bulgakov in his brilliant, classic novel The Master and Margarita tried to work out some sort of theodicy to explain the enigmatic, all-powerful hold that Stalin exerted not only over the Soviet government but also over Russian history and the Russian people as a whole. It's common in the West to identify Hitler with Satan but I don't know that many of us in the West are aware that a similar comparison has been made in Russia regarding Stalin and his cohorts. And this cannot simply be dismissed out of hand as "medieval" and anachronistic, since it comes from the pen of one of Russia's greatest writers. How do we explain absolute evil? By recourse to old Christian models, interpreted through the legend of Faust, as in the case of Bulgakov, or by recourse to the new psychiatric ones? I would argue that both approaches have their own validity, their own time and place.

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Offline Tsarfan

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #176 on: October 15, 2006, 04:28:24 PM »

It's common in the West to identify Hitler with Satan but I don't know that many of us in the West are aware that a similar comparison has been made in Russia regarding Stalin and his cohorts.


As I'm sure you remember, Elisabeth, we had a very long and rousing discussion on another old thread about why people in the west both know more about Hitler's regime and attribute more foul consequences to it than to Stalin's regime.  There were many reasons proposed:  more information came out of Nazi Germany than out of Stalinist Russia; the west was flooded with film footage of liberated concentration camps, but there was no equivalent footage coming out Russia; there was funding for Holocaust studies in the west that was lacking for studies of Stalin's purges; Russia was an ally in WWII, while Germany was an enemy, so there was less interest in demonizing Russia, at least before the Cold War; etc.

However, though I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in German history, I have no specific recollections of ever encountering any mainstream views that identified Hitler with Satan.  Sure, he was viewed as a madman, a mass murdered, a man who unleashed horror on the world.  But identity with Satan specifically?  The closest I ever came to hearing such views were in some rather arcane tracts drawing a thread forward from Faustian literature to Naziism . . . hardly something that got discussed around many dinner tables.

As several of us who grew up in the U.S. during the height of the Cold War maintained on that old thread, it was the dirty commies whom we were taught to fear and loathe.  They were the ones who were intent on snuffing out freedom and light in the world, who sent us scurrying under our school desks during bomb drills, who caused our fathers to haul us around to bomb shelter demonstrations at local malls.  In the 1950's and 1960's, we all heard far more -- at least in the U.S. -- about the evil Soviet Union than we heard about Hitler and Naziism.

Offline Tania+

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #177 on: October 15, 2006, 09:51:38 PM »
As I remember from reading history in my school days, and from inter-related family members whose families and dear friends had fled first from Russia prior 1917, and after 1917, many Jews had gone to Germany, fleeing, and fearing the Communists take-over of Russia. Then came the pogroms in Germany, then the concentration camps, then the freeing of the concentration camps. In each of these exoduses, countless thousands of Jewish peoples, and the families who could, were applying to come to many parts of the world, and news was fast behind their heels of the atrocities that had befallen them. Of those who sought asylum, countless thousands sought refuge here in the United States. In the news releases, many of course were vehemently against both the communists, and later the Nazis, and not enough could be said about how dastardly they had been treated. A large undertaking was underway that took to the airwaves to tell not only the American public about these political issues, but that their human rights had been robbed. One heard more about the Jewish atrocities, than even that of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 up till 1923, in the western press than any other atrocity that transpired in any given geographical area globally. You must also remember that the countless thousands of Jews, still had relatives, friends who still lived in either Russia, Germany, Europe, etc., and could not escape these monstors of evil. I remember that after the war, the newspapers were filled about the concentration camps, their victims, and that mostly those who were Jewish, were the ones who had suffered the greatest of loss, etc. We even discussed it in our schools, but never were we given understanding to the greater loss of life suffered in the Soviet Union, or that of the Armenian Genocide, who were not Jewish. You have to remember, also when Armenians came to the United States, they were received and called the worst names, and equated at times with the American Black Communities and peoples, of which, of course, neither deserved to be labeled, or dashed and equated as garbage, and worse. But this is going away somewhat from the subject at hand, but I need to express at least what I learned and from others at the time. We here in America, and especially in my recollection in the old south, were told & virtually brainwashed into believeing that Stalin, and communism was work of the devil. So it does matter from what part of the globe, country, state, city, one is taught, and whom is teaching.

Even today on PBS, you still hear more about Germany and the Nazis, then you hear about any other global leader who had done an equivalent of almost the samness of genocide. You don't hear about other world leaders who were madmen, who decimated their own peoples as you hear, read, and have a global resonnance of remembering what Nazism did to the Jews, as you do here especially and remembered yearly across all news networks, etc.. So I think it has a lot to do with who and how much emphasis is raised in awareness by a peoples, before something becomes equated to the point it has to date in how we here in the West, who still remember and bring up what is the most horrendous issue of loss of human life in that equate.

The bottom line in all of this is that we all are responsible in addressing these issues even to date, and making sure that it does not transpire again. Unfortunately, because there was not 'enough information that came out of Stalinist Russia', there was still enough in due time for a global understanding to comprehend of the loss of life in both Armenia, and in Russia, but to date, what most in the west are taught 'to remember' in the press, and in history books, is to that of Nazism, and a bit of Soviet history, but not the atrocities to the extent of what was done in the millions upon millions of lives lost from 1917 to the fall of Soviet rule.

Again, if you take notice, in one of the main threads on 'genocide' on the AP thread, even there, more is offered in picture form, than that of 'real historians' being involved in that of what human tragedy transpired for the Armenians, but little if any even now about how many learned anything of that genocide. But then again, it may be because in terms of history, and teachers in the western world, they are offered what it is that the schools think is of importance, and those wishing, but insist as to what our history books should contain for their wants and needs. I don't know why it is this way, but it remains as it is presently.

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #178 on: October 16, 2006, 09:47:13 AM »

It's common in the West to identify Hitler with Satan but I don't know that many of us in the West are aware that a similar comparison has been made in Russia regarding Stalin and his cohorts.


As I'm sure you remember, Elisabeth, we had a very long and rousing discussion on another old thread about why people in the west both know more about Hitler's regime and attribute more foul consequences to it than to Stalin's regime.  There were many reasons proposed:  more information came out of Nazi Germany than out of Stalinist Russia; the west was flooded with film footage of liberated concentration camps, but there was no equivalent footage coming out Russia; there was funding for Holocaust studies in the west that was lacking for studies of Stalin's purges; Russia was an ally in WWII, while Germany was an enemy, so there was less interest in demonizing Russia, at least before the Cold War; etc.

However, though I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in German history, I have no specific recollections of ever encountering any mainstream views that identified Hitler with Satan.  Sure, he was viewed as a madman, a mass murdered, a man who unleashed horror on the world.  But identity with Satan specifically?  The closest I ever came to hearing such views were in some rather arcane tracts drawing a thread forward from Faustian literature to Naziism . . . hardly something that got discussed around many dinner tables.

I was being rather imprecise, Tsarfan - I was remembering how Claus von Stauffenberg, before he became involved in the German Resistance, decided from what he had witnessed on the eastern front that Hitler was Anti-Christ and therefore it would be no sin to kill him. Satan and Anti-Christ are not technically interchangeable, but close enough for the purposes of this discussion.

As several of us who grew up in the U.S. during the height of the Cold War maintained on that old thread, it was the dirty commies whom we were taught to fear and loathe.  They were the ones who were intent on snuffing out freedom and light in the world, who sent us scurrying under our school desks during bomb drills, who caused our fathers to haul us around to bomb shelter demonstrations at local malls.  In the 1950's and 1960's, we all heard far more -- at least in the U.S. -- about the evil Soviet Union than we heard about Hitler and Naziism.

Well, that's the same era when we were sheltering wanted Nazi war criminals because our intelligence services thought they would be useful in our fight against Soviet communism. There wasn't a lot of awareness of either Nazi or Soviet genocides in the U.S. at the time. Most of those teachers lecturing you about the evils of Communism probably had very little idea if any of the Gulag or its murderous nature. But I have to tell you, Tsarfan, that IMHO they were right to teach you and your schoolmates that the Soviet Union was intent on "snuffing out freedom" in the world. After all, the Berlin Wall was still standing!
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Offline Bev

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Re: The Soviet Union: What Kind of Mistake Was It?
« Reply #179 on: October 16, 2006, 09:59:19 AM »
I agree that religious imagery is always lurking in the shadows of political rhetoric.  Look at the resurgence in fundamentalism that has gripped the world in the last few decades and the direction politics has taken in the U.S.  Candidates for pollitical office must now declare that they are persons of faith, a really frightening swing of the pendulum for American politics.

Tsarfan makes a very good point - the U.S. spent decades labeling the USSR as godless commies intent upon taking over the world and making us slaves to the government.  There was a concerted effort made by our government to convince of that communism was evil and the work of the devil.    "We will bury you" was seen as a very real threat by many Americans.

One reason why nazis became the personification of evil in popular culture, is because they're so easy to caricature - no subtlety, no nuance, no thinking  - just in your face evil.