Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => The Russian Revolution => Topic started by: Tania+ on November 22, 2005, 11:50:46 AM

Title: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on November 22, 2005, 11:50:46 AM
Many people were affected by Comrade Lenin, personally or indirectly by his regeime. How were you, or your family affected ?

Thanks in advance for your sharing.

Tatiana
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Russian_Duchess_#5 on November 22, 2005, 12:32:38 PM
I was affected in many a ways.  :'(
The rise of communism, I have Lenin to thank  ::) for that, upheld the rise of communism in my grandparent's homeland, Cuba. I am more Spanish than Cuban, but back to the topic. I believe that if it wasnt for Lenin ( >:()
there would have been no communism, or at least, not AS much!!

Sofi
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Mie on December 26, 2005, 06:03:31 AM
Well.. if I understood the question right, I want thank him. Yeas.. I wanna thank Lenin.. isn't it funny? I do not like the man and not those things he did but if he wouldn't not come the ruler of Russia my homecountry Finland would never get free and get independent. and who knows what situation we could be now without Lenin... :/ really ucly i believe
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: AGRBear on January 04, 2006, 01:20:33 PM
95 % [maybe more] of the  members of  both my mother's and father's who didn't escape Russia were killed by the Bolsheviks by execution, died in cattle cars headed to Sibera and if survived then perished in the camps, or died the horrible death from starvation in the home villages because the Bolshevik refused them food.

Those who did survive, wrote letter after letter begging for clothes and money.

It was later discovered tha some of the letters were forged by the local communists who profited from the items sent.

When the letters stopped, there was silence thereafter.


AGRBear

Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: antti on February 28, 2006, 01:41:50 AM
Mie, I totally disagree with you. After the declaration of independence in 1917 Finland went through the 4month civil war. This war won by the whites gave us a indipendence. At that time Lenin with his soviets was too busy with their own civil war and left us in peace. And that is the only reason why we are independent now. The story of Lenin giving us a independence is nothing else than propagandist story from the cold war times.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Nathalie on March 19, 2006, 05:50:06 AM
Being a Hungarian, Lenin and his ideas affected my country and my family as well....As for the first one, I think it is will known by history-fans (firstly the temporary communist revolution in 1919, by Bela Kun, secondly the "liberation" from 1945:S ), as for the second, it is a long story and I suppose, might be boring for most of you...:) But to sum it up, I think in this post-communist region almost every family has tragedies, stories which would be as interesting and amazing as the royal family has.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: hikaru on March 19, 2006, 09:08:42 AM
I think that for us , the name of Lenin is equal to the word " revolution". So it completely destroyed the country anf all lives of the people of this country.
So, saying in one word , he was  dictator - destroyer.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: frimousse on April 20, 2006, 06:50:40 PM
Had Lenin not existed, I would not have been on earth...because my grand parents would not have been in exile when they knew each other...
So evil gives birth to good...That is an interesting philosophical question: problem of evil, problem of time, theological question also. I let this theme to specialists  ;)  They are better than me to answer this !
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Belochka on April 22, 2006, 06:37:00 AM
Lenin's rise to power affected every individual inside the country. Everyone's destiny changed. It would be doubtful that any one family could claim otherwise.  

My grandparents lost their identities and everything they owned and strived for.

My parents were affected in their own ways by the laws that became entrenched after Lenin death.
 

Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: historywriter on April 29, 2006, 11:58:27 PM
Hello everyone,

I can't say that Lenin has affected my life very much personally because my ancestry is British.  However, my brother was very attracted to Communism during the Vietnam War and my parents were extremely upset about that.

Also when I went to Griffith Uni we had to do about seven assignments on Marxism.  The class actually groaned in the end!  

Best Regards,

Lisa ::)
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: IvanM on May 04, 2006, 12:35:55 PM
well, I remember his portrait on the wall when I was in kindergarten, and teachers telling that we should study well as "grandpa Lenin" was watching :) (that was back in 1987-ish, so things were already starting to get shaky). That's pretty much it, as far as "personal" experience is concerned.

Apart from that, I have (almost) always seen him as someone who screwed up my homeland pretty badly by throwing it off its steady economic growth path and exterminating almost everyone except the proletariat. And, oh, as recent evidence suggests, also as someone likely responsible for assassination of the royal family. (sorry for the sarcasm).

reason for edit: typoz
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Belochka on May 04, 2006, 09:27:03 PM
The trouble is that there are still too many lenin statues standing. I was told by a local historian that "he was part our history" and that is why he continues to stay. I disageed with her, because destroyers such as he should not be elevated on a pedestal. More befitting he should join his comrades gathering moss and bird detritis in the Moscow Sculpture Park.   ;D
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: IvanM on May 05, 2006, 08:31:52 AM
Belochka,

agreed, the statues are indeed excessive. Guess it simply costs too much to remove them all at once (after all there was quiet a bit of them made ;)).  I don't mind leaving some of them though, as after all, Lenin is a part of out history, and many (esp. the elders) still do see him as someone who deserves to be on pedestal. Nevertheless, his figure is still way to central in many cities, which doesn't fit that well in the context of modern Russia.

 - Ivan
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Tania+ on May 05, 2006, 11:42:20 AM
Dear Hikaru, and Members and Viewers,

Although I live in a free country, there is not one moment in time,I don't forget the cost of lives that were lost in Russia, to Lenin, and leaders who followed his address of brutality and wholesale mass murder. Both my family, and my husband's family suffered losses of family. It's one thing to read about history, it is another indeed to know a loved one, or loved ones have lost lives because of dictator. Because we live, we must continue to speak out on their behalf !

I want to state to Nathalie, please don't think or continue to say, it would be boring for people to continue to hear about the personal stories of those who went through such issues of tyranny, and extensive tragedies. Not so ! The world has not heard enough apparently, because in our history books, not enough has been written, or shared about the deceit, lies, and out of control police state, Russia was subjected to, as well as many other Eastern block counties, and how so many lives lost all but their soul.

It is all the more important forums as this, exist, whereby you, and other countless human hearts can and do step forward to cite repeatedly such vast information and stories of despair, and loss of lives during these years of Lenin, and after. Without their witnessing, yours and my'n, our freedoms would mean very little.

Do you ever notice how many viewers come to watch each thread, and how many really step forward to voice their thoughts on anything ? Many still may be people, and children still unwilling to say anything, because they were brought up in fear, control, etc.

I'm glad the many of you who have responded, even here, have stated your feelings. I can't see a better way of expressing our unity, so that others will know, it is the right thing to do. No person or government can fill the place of what freedom allows. May freedom always stay well and alive !

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, your energy. It does make a difference, really !

Tatiana+

Quote
I think that for us , the name of Lenin is equal to the word " revolution". So it completely destroyed the country and all lives of the people of this country.
So, saying in one word , he was  dictator - destroyer.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: Belochka on May 06, 2006, 12:24:25 AM
Quote
Belochka,

agreed, the statues are indeed excessive. Guess it simply costs too much to remove them all at once (after all there was quiet a bit of them made ;)).  I don't mind leaving some of them though, as after all, Lenin is a part of out history, and many (esp. the elders) still do see him as someone who deserves to be on piedestal. Nevertheless, his figure is still way to central in many cities, which doesn't fit that well in the context of modern Russia.

 - Ivan

[ch1047][ch1076][ch1088][ch1072][ch1089][ch1090][ch1074][ch1091][ch1081][ch1090][ch1077] [ch1048][ch1074][ch1072][ch1085]! (Hello Ivan!)

When I was young and learning to read and write Russian, my parents had ripped out the picture of lenin just inside the first pages of my <<[ch1056][ch1091][ch1089][ch1089][ch1082][ch1072][ch1103] [ch1075][ch1088][ch1072][ch1084][ch1084][ch1072][ch1090][ch1080][ch1082][ch1072]>> (Russian grammar) so that I would not see his image everytime I opened my Russian textbooks.

I agree that lenin is very much out of place in trying to modernize Russia and his "presence" does not assist a few Russian people in thinking beyond the "glorious" soviet era.

Unfortunately that ugly mausoleum with lenin's rotting fungus ridden corpse in Red Sqaure does not help in Russia's recovery.
.  ;)
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: aobolenskiy on August 13, 2006, 08:57:23 PM
>>>>Well I work in an Auto shop here in California while attending Graduate school. My parents could not pay for my college so I have been at it now for almost 10 years while having to work full time. I have not been on Vacation in 3 years, and I drive a used car.
   My great grandfather almost lost his life in the first world war to come home to Lenin's retoric. He fought one german front to come home to yet another one led by a traitor who was hiding in germany!!
   My relatives were taken away in the middle of the night all he way up to the 1930's and no one knows what happened to them.  Now I have no relatives here in the states, or abroad that I know.
    Our land and money were taken.  There is only my wife, and I to carry on. I only hope to convince my son or daughter in the future the importance of marrying within the White Russian Arostacracy.

   I am now a simple middle class citizen. I am sure Lenin, and his cronies are laughing in hell. It is amazing what a hundred years can do.
    One a prince, now a commoner. I am just glad I did not have to fall from the title like my Great Grandfather did.

     :-\     
   
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 18, 2006, 03:20:35 PM
Tania, your thread touches me so deeply.  Hi Frimousse, I hope all is well with you.  You know as I see it your country of birth has always had deep cultural ties to Russia so to me if there had never been a revolution, you could have been born with that same wonderful international heritage that you possess, for sure!!!!  The only difference would have been that you would have had an additional beautiful home in St. Petersburg to spend time in and enjoy part of the year.  As I see it Lenin had nothing to do with your birth; it was the bravery and valor of your family that brought you forth and gave you your wonderful ties to two great cultures.  If Lenin had had his way, you would have never seen the light of day, period. 

Dear Aobolenskiy you are not middle class; you are a Russian Noble temporarily out of funds.  Such things used to happen at Court all the time but a lack of funds never barred a Russian Noble family from Court and I am grateful that you children will marry their peers, but even if they don’t they will carry their family heritage with them.  It is inviolate.  I think, if I am not mistaken, that it was during the 13 hundredth celebration of the Thurin Taxis family that the late Prince was interviewed.  When asked about the impact of the socialist revolutions and wars from 1918-1947 on his family’s holdings, he remarked in a quiet manner that they had indeed lost a great many of their palaces and their land.  However he reminded the reporter that his family had sustained greater losses during the Thirty Years war in 1618-1647 which they eventually regained, and the Prince observed that if the family had survived those losses 300 years ago, he was sure that his current losses would also prove, eventually, to be temporary.  As arrogant of as those remarks may appear to be, the point is, Aobolenskiy, that you have longevity on your side.         

I watched many a family member struggle to maintain their values whilst being stranded in a middle class setting during the early years of my life.  I don't suppose for a person of breeding there is anything quite as humiliating as being caught in such a setting with its galling judgments, total lack of sympathy, and scathing jibes.  However it was during those formative years in my life that my mother made it very clear to me that nothing could erase the dignity and nobility of an individual or a family, not war, not revolution, not poverty, not even mediocrity and my mother eventually proved her point beyond all cavil.   

I think that Lenin tore Russia's heart out when he attached her Church and temporarily robbed Russia of her Christian momentum.  His crimes, to me, are far worse that those of the brutal and ignorant Stalin who was probably a certifiable psychopath.  Lenin tore from Holy Russia her history of Christianity and for that crime I cannot imagine what the punishment would be.  Lenin also robbed the world of the impact of Russian’s genius on the twentieth century.  Remembering how Russia took Paris by storm in 1909, creating a totally new direction in art, fashion and culture, imagine what treasures Russia would have shared all through the twentieth century.  That is not to denigrate the genius that survived in Communist Russia and that was felt in its music, ballet and poetry.  And there was its richly cultural underground world of genius.  But imagine what Russia genius freed from the constraints of political propaganda would have contributed to world culture by 2000?   

The second greatest crime of Lenin was the destruction of the Russian people’s heritage, their national identity.  Let me explain what I mean.  As I grew up my only exposure to Russia existed in the Russian exiles that I knew.  They were sophisticated, intelligent, and deeply committed to living life to the full.  They were interested in everything and had a sense of humor that played into all aspects of their lives.  They had deep values and high standards and were very careful as to their appearance.  They were well informed and stayed current and up-to-date but always with a certain indefinable elegance.  They also expressed a kind of tenderness and sensitivity that was almost religious.  They were moved by the beauty of nature which they felt was a direct expression of God.  They were pious without wearing their religion on their sleeves.  They possessed a natural sense of dignity without being snobbish.  They knew that they were different and that they were homeless but it never caused them to wallow in self pity even if they could not always hide their broken hearts.  I learned early on to venerate and respect their dignity and their rich sense of culture and to relish their sense of humor. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 18, 2006, 03:21:44 PM
I remember once when Stalin’s daughter was married to an American gentleman by the name of Powers, I believe.  They had a little daughter who attended the Sunday School of one of the local churches.  One Sunday the Sunday school teacher was talking about how important it was to love everyone even if they appeared to be unkind.  The little Power’s girl spoke up and said, “What if the person you are supposed to love is very evil?”  The Sunday School teacher said that no one was really evil, but that sometimes people were used by evil thoughts and that it was important to always separate the person from their evil actions.”  The little Power’s girl replied, “But my grandfather was a truly evil man.”  No matter what the Sunday School teacher said, the little Power’s girl held her ground.  Later that week the Sunday School teacher happened to be talking to a church official and asked why on earth the little Power’s girl felt that her grandfather was so evil?  The church official replied, “You would think the same thing if your grandfather was Stalin!” 

The ability to laugh in the face of adversity was one of the greatest things I learned from the Russian exiles.  But most of all I could see, through their natures, the distinguished intellectual and spiritual culture that had comprised Russia’s national character.  I could feel, through them, the beauty of Mother Russia.

You can't imagine the shock it was when I started meeting Russians in the late 1980's who were exchange students from St. Petersburg.  As brilliant and talented and attractive as some of those students were, something was missing.  They were Russians; they were poetic, they were gifted and intelligent, but they had no spiritual grace, no elegance.  The boys seemed somehow more authentic because they were spoiled and willful in that particular Russian way, almost like undisciplined Romanoff adolescents.  Their presence in a room was always electric because they were constantly walking the line between petulance and politeness.  But the girls lacked radiance.  Instead of warmth, there was something cold and hard.  I can only describe the feeling in terms of a contradiction; a vacant stone, a hard emptiness.   It wasn’t just these exchange students; I felt the same thing when I met the various brilliant Russian professors and their families that were temporarily attached to the local university and the research centers. 
I remember meeting this very distinguished Russian professor and being invited to his home to meet his wife and family.  His wife’s mother was visiting from St. Petersburg and spoke of how she was involved in trying to restore a museum that had been closed since the revolution.  Someone in her family had been left the contents of the museum and it had been in hiding for 80 years.  I thought I that I would feel a connection with this woman but as we started talking I sensed the same cold emptiness.  I could go back with the woman all the way to the revolution, but then suddenly there was nothing and we lost our connection. 

The woman loved needle work so I thought that this was perhaps a way of reconnecting with the elegance and refinement of her Russian heritage.  So just before she returned to St. Petersburg I brought her the most valuable piece of rose point lace from my great grandmother’s collection.  The lace was over an hundred years old and very fine.  The woman almost became childlike when I presented it to her and was overwhelmed by its delicate beauty and said that she had never seen anything like it.  This formidable woman sort of melted. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 18, 2006, 03:22:53 PM
I couldn’t understand why she had never seen a piece of lace like that before.  Then she said, “Oh this is what the “Aristocratic Women” must have worn.”  The way she said “aristocratic women” sounded so strange to me.  It was as if she had said, “Oh this is what the ‘People made out of wax’ must have worn.”  Before I knew what I was saying, I had blurted out that that those “aristocratic women” were just human beings like her and that they were a vital part of her heritage as a Russian.  Well my remarks were followed by a rather awkward silence that seemed to me to last long enough for all of North America to slide under the Ocean.  I sensed that my involuntary remarks had deeply offended the whole family and I was terribly embarrassed.  When I realized that I had offended the political sensibilities of the family and I apologized profusely.  I am grateful to say that the grandmother kept that the lace and that the daughter later told a friend of mine that it did accompany her mother back to St. Petersburg.  I hope it is in some lovely glass case somewhere where it can share the lesson of its beauty in less unobtrusive way than I did.  But even if it is hidden in some drawer or even if it ended up being a used as a bandage I am grateful it made it back to Russia.       

In spite of that rather harsh encounter with the Russian professor and his family I still entertained some of the Russian exchange students informally.  I remember this very lovely girl who was very talented and beautiful.  I thought that perhaps in talking with this exchange student, once her shyness disappeared, that I would find that wonderful Russian sophistication and elegance that I had grown up with.  But it was not there.  Outside of this beautiful young woman's love of poetry, there was nothing. 

It was not until I heard about the girl’s reaction to my little apartment that I caught on to what Lenin had done to a century of Russians.  My apartment was filled with some Russian things and some French antiques, but nothing to really write home about.  It was attractive but certainly not palatial.  The girl’s response to my apartment was that it was like being in a museum and at first I thought that the girl meant that I was living in a stuffy, mausoleum which rather hurt my feelings.  But the mother of the family that the girl was staying with said, “No that was not what the girl meant at all.”  The Russian student said that she really loved my apartment and that she had only seen my kind of furnishings in museums in St. Petersburg.  I can assure you that my furniture cannot be compared with the magnificent collections in Russian museums in St. Petersburg. 

But her comments made it all come together for me.  I realized that the cold, empty, hardness that I had felt with all these visiting Russians in the late 1980’s came from the fact that their heritage had been torn from them and locked away in museums.  I am not trying to be judgmental; I am just struggling to find the words to describe my experience.  I think that I experienced what Edith Wharton had said about mid-nineteenth century Americans; “Their paintings have no foreground (no details), and their minds have no backgrounds (no cultural identity).”

Perhaps my impressions are narrow and wrongly based and even if my impressions were partially correct, I am sure that a great deal of Russia’s national identity has been restored to it and that much has changed since the late 1980’s.  I do feel that Russia is being reborn and I am so grateful for that fact.  It is outgrowing Lenin’s cruel influence and I know that Russia’s great promise and sacred purpose will be fulfilled and I can’t wait for the world to be blessed once again with Her treasures of inspiration and light.  But you know it seems to me that the exiled Russian’s I knew grew up with, lived more fully in Mother Russia, even in exile, than all those millions of Russians who actually grew up in Russia during the twentieth century. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on August 19, 2006, 12:50:37 PM
What a marvelous insight.

Thank you very much for sharing.

AGRBear
Title: Lenin wasn't responsible for all the evils
Post by: Bev on August 21, 2006, 12:45:14 PM
of Russia.  For many people, life under the tzars was just as difficult and terrible as it was under the Soviets.  I doubt that life changed much at all for many people - all Russia did was exchange one class of oppressors for another.  What difference did it make to the person or the person's family when either the Tzar's or the Soviet's secret police took them away, the Jews suffered under both regimes because of religious and ethnic bigotry.  The peasants worked like yoked oxen and starved for centuries, no matter who was in power. 

The Soviets weren't any more  or less ruthless or kinder than the aristocrats - it doesn't matter who orders the purge, it's the people who still suffer.  People seem to think that if life was good for them under a different power structure, then it must have been good for everyone, which is never the case.  Who knows what might have happened if Lenin had lived - the first thing he did upon arriving in Russia in 1918 was repudiate socialism.  He eventually came to see that it wasn't working and it probably would not work.  After being in power for a few years, he began to realize that by eliminating private enterprise he was destroying the economy - Lenin may have been as ruthless as any Tzar, but he wasn't a stupid man and he understood that adaptability was key to anyone's political survival.  He soon began to allow for entreneurship and private investment, who knows where he would have gone in the future.

I'm not defending Lenin or the Soviets, I'm pointing out that nothing is black and white.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 22, 2006, 11:53:33 AM
Bev, with all due respect, there are some things on this earth which are black and white, plain and simple. It's rare nowadays to meet anyone who defends the old Soviet Union, especially the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin. And there's a reason for this: because professional historians all over the world recognize that Lenin and Stalin presided over, and to a large extent embodied, a totalitarian regime every bit as destructive to humanity as Hitler's Nazi Germany.  No one knows exactly how many died unnatural deaths under Lenin and Stalin. The Soviets weren't as preoccupied with record-keeping as the Nazis. But the most common number given is 20 million under Stalin's rule alone. Nowhere in the history of the Romanov dynasty do you ever even remotely approach such monstrous figures. Indeed, not even Ivan the Terrible - an aberration of history if there ever was one, a true psychopath - claimed that many victims.

Of course it's true that some Russians today feel great nostalgia for the Soviet Union that defeated Adolf Hitler. But this is a form of self-delusion. I'll give you an example of how this operates and how easily that particular balloon is punctured... One Russian of my husband's acquaintance related at a party how his peasant grandfather had benefited from Soviet rule - attending university, attaining a degree in engineering. To which another Russian present replied, "I don't quite understand why twenty million people had to die just so your grandfather could get an education."   
Title: No one is "nostalgic" for the USSR
Post by: Bev on August 22, 2006, 04:21:18 PM
the point of the post is that for many people it didn't matter what totalitarian government was in power, tzarist or soviet, they still suffered.  Throughout Russian history people starved, were persecuted, deprived of life and liberty - why pretend that this is somehow particular to the soviet era?  With all the vaunted "freedoms" of modern Russia, it doesn't seem that the lives of most people have improved, materially or politically.  As Galbraith said, "all revolutions are nothing more than the kicking in of a rotten door."  The soviets simply substituted one rotten door for another. 

I love Russia and Russian history, but I'm not going to wax nostalgic for something that never was.  Life wasn't better under an absolute monarchy - it was just different.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tsarfan on August 22, 2006, 04:35:26 PM
When asked about the impact of the socialist revolutions and wars from 1918-1947 on his family’s holdings, he remarked in a quiet manner that they had indeed lost a great many of their palaces and their land.  However he reminded the reporter that his family had sustained greater losses during the Thirty Years war in 1618-1647 which they eventually regained, and the Prince observed that if the family had survived those losses 300 years ago, he was sure that his current losses would also prove, eventually, to be temporary.  As arrogant of as those remarks may appear to be, the point is, Aobolenskiy, that you have longevity on your side.

Well, I wish the von Thurn und Taxis family luck.  Recovering one's aristocratic footing after a seventeenth-century political upheaval is quite a different matter from recovering that footing after the social revolutions of the twentieth century which overturned the entire structure of aristocratic social systems.


I watched many a family member struggle to maintain their values whilst being stranded in a middle class setting during the early years of my life.  I don't suppose for a person of breeding there is anything quite as humiliating as being caught in such a setting . . . .

And, just in case anyone has forgotten why there were social revolutions that unseated a cadre of preening, strutting pomposities who mistook grand houses, fine clothes, and elegant manners for true individual worth . . . .
Title: Re: No one is "nostalgic" for the USSR
Post by: Elisabeth on August 24, 2006, 12:29:34 PM
the point of the post is that for many people it didn't matter what totalitarian government was in power, tzarist or soviet, they still suffered.  Throughout Russian history people starved, were persecuted, deprived of life and liberty - why pretend that this is somehow particular to the soviet era?  With all the vaunted "freedoms" of modern Russia, it doesn't seem that the lives of most people have improved, materially or politically.  As Galbraith said, "all revolutions are nothing more than the kicking in of a rotten door."  The soviets simply substituted one rotten door for another. 

I love Russia and Russian history, but I'm not going to wax nostalgic for something that never was.  Life wasn't better under an absolute monarchy - it was just different.

I love Russian history, too, and I certainly didn't realize I was "waxing nostalgic" for imperial Russia simply because I argued that Soviet Russia was a hundred times worse than its tsarist predecessor... (Let me take this opportunity to note, not for the first time, that the tendency in this forum for people to label any critic of the Soviets as a retrograde monarchist is somewhat appalling. ) Let me assure you, I've studied Russian history in both college and graduate school and yes, life was indeed "better" for the average person under the tsars than it was under the Bolsheviks. For one thing, under the tsars you couldn't be arrested and sent to the Gulag to be worked to death in freezing Arctic temperatures just because you stole an ear of corn from the local collective farm in a futile attempt to keep your starving family alive. The autocratic state was not a totalitarian state and did not seek to control and regulate every waking moment of its subject peoples' lives from birth until death.

I do believe that on every level you are underestimating the degree of state-enforced terror experienced by the average Soviet citizen under Stalin. This terror enveloped every stratum of society, from the highest to the lowest. There simply isn't any parallel to be found in tsarist times. The only parallels are to other Soviet-inspired totalitarian states: in eastern Europe, China, Cambodia and elsewhere in southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Cuba. Indeed, I don't know any professional historian from any political persuasion who argues otherwise... even my Marxist professor of Soviet history in college made a point of telling us students that we had to learn to distinguish between state regulation under the tsars and the all-embracing totalitarian rule of the Bolsheviks, beginning with Lenin.   
Title: Well, first of all, I
Post by: Bev on August 24, 2006, 03:39:13 PM
didn't label you as anything.   I believe my exact words were that I was not going to wax nostalgic.  Secondly, Tsarist Russia's history is longer and more bloody than the Soviets rule.  Centuries of punitive, cruel serfdom is enough to prove my point.  The mass reprisals by Ivan and Peter are just as bloody and horrible as any soviet cruelty, as were the Jewish pogroms and the katorgas of the Tsars.  Russia had great periods all through her history of famine and suffering caused by the stupidity and greed of its rulers. 

I also find it hard to believe that victims of the Oprichna whether they were turned over to the Russian courts would claim any discernable difference between themselves and victims of the Cheka.  What difference does it make to someone in a gulag if they were sent there because they stole an ear of corn (which, by the way, happened often enough under Tsarist rule) or if they were sent there for writing or disseminating revolutionary material?  I also can't find any qualitative difference between being forced into a collective or being forced into an estate.  The results are the same - a loss of self-determination and freedom.  Do you suppose people weren't just as terrorized living under the burden of Ivan as they were under the burden of Stalin?  They were both despots and tyrants. 

Is there a difference between "state regulation" and "totalitarian rule"?  There would be if the ruling class under either respected their own laws, but I've never found that to be the case.  Persecuting one's political enemies seems to be a common practice among all ideologues.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on August 24, 2006, 08:02:17 PM
Elizabeth, as always, you know your Russian history very well, and I have to agree with all you say, and agreed that there was no parallel of this in tsarist times. Thank you always for your completeness of understanding, and delivery. There are many students of Russian history who are reading your input and in agreement here on the AP Threads, as are their professors. Thank you again and again !!!

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 25, 2006, 12:36:49 PM
Thank you, Tania, as always you are too kind!

Bev and I will have to agree to disagree. My own opinion is that Ivan the Terrible was an aberration of history and that if it had not been for the accident of his birth, Russia would have continued its gradual development along European lines. Thus any comparison of Ivan the Terrible with the Bolshevik regime is highly problematic, if only because the Bolshevik Terror was systemic and systematic (it lasted from the Civil War through the Stalin era, with, granted, more muted manifestations throughout the rest of the Soviet period) whereas Ivan Grozniy’s Terror was personally directed and personally arbitrary, not to mention a one-shot deal, quickly ended with that psychopathic tyrant’s death (as indeed were Peter the Great's depradations).

For that matter, even a cursory glance at Russian history demonstrates that the autocratic Rurikovichi and Romanov dynasties did not have an all-embracing, foundational (or even tangential) state ideology of terror, as the Bolsheviks did. Anyone who has read anything about Lenin knows that terror was the very cornerstone of his revolutionary worldview. His admiration of the Russian agrarian-terrorists like Nechaev and the People’s Will more than once got him into trouble with other Russian Marxists of his generation, who did not espouse terror as a means to an end, whether than end was achieving revolution and/or maintaining a revolutionary state (in fact both were true of Lenin as well as of Marxism-Leninism).

Furthermore, the Romanovs did not set out to destroy Russian culture itself. While there were some noteworthy exceptions to the general rule (Lunacharsky for example, and his attempt to preserve certain Russian palaces as heritage sites), the Bolsheviks as a whole were bent on the destruction of all traces of old imperial Russia, which they hated, in particular Orthodox churches (thus fulfilling Dostoevsky's bleak prophecies in his classic novel The Devils ). Not surprisingly, this campaign of cultural desecration has led to a cultural and even historical disconnect amongst many modern-day Russians, who, if not unaware of their incredibly rich and varied cultural heritage, nevertheless feel estranged and even alienated from it. When I was in the Soviet Union back in 1991 I spoke to many Russians who felt that all that was best and brightest in their country had been killed by the Bolsheviks during their seventy odd years of nihilistic, amoral rule.  Some of these people even believed that Russia would never and could never recover from such intense trauma over a protracted period of time. But that's a subject for another thread...
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 25, 2006, 01:39:27 PM
How has Lenin affected my life? Interesting question... Certainly, anyone who loves books and considers himself or herself an intellectual has to take pause before Lenin's example. After all, Lenin, one of the cruelest tyrants in all of human history, loved books and was an intellectually brilliant man, so brilliant that he managed to complete his law degree by correspondence (!) in one year(!) and still come out first in his class (!!).

So, when it comes to political leadership at least (or being a good person in general?), intellect is clearly not enough. Other qualities are needed: moral integrity and compassion, for example.

But I should also note that here I am not slamming intellectuals per se, unlike so many Americans, who seem to distrust all intellectuals as a matter of principle. True, I don’t think the overall cultural adulation of intellectuals one typically finds in Russia and France is any better as a way of selecting political leaders. On the contrary, there needs to be a balance between the two approaches.

Still, in the context of the ongoing discussion, it’s interesting to note how Lenin, that stalwart revolutionary activist and brother of an executed would-be assassin of the tsar, fared under those very same tsars, specifically Nicholas II... Was he persecuted? Sent to hard labor (katorga) in Siberia, as Bev would have us believe? Even... ahem, shot ?? - as he no doubt would have been if he'd been in the shoes of a rebel against his very own Bolshevik regime?

Noooooo… to all of the above. On the contrary, he flourished! Under the aegis of those very same Romanovs.

But read for yourself. Solzhenitsyn’s analysis of Lenin’s career in Romanov Russia is featured on pp. 81-83 of The Gulag Archipelago , volume III:

"Let us examine… some generally known autobiographical facts about Lenin. In spring, 1887, his brother was executed for an attempt on the life of Alexander III. .. Lenin was the brother of a would-be regicide. And what happened to him? In the autumn of that very year Vladimir Ulyanov [Lenin] was admitted to the Imperial University at Kazan, and what is more, to the Law Faculty! Surprising, isn’t it?

"True, Vladimir Ulyanov was expelled from the university in the same academic year. But this was for organizing a student demonstration against the government. The younger brother of a would-be regicide inciting students to insubordination? What would he have got for that in our day? He would certainly have been shot! (And for the rest, some would have got twenty-five and others ten years [in labor camps]). Whereas he was merely expelled! Such cruelty! Yes, but he was also banished… to Sakhalin? No, to the family estate of Kokushkino, where he intended to spend the summer anyway. He wanted to work – so they gave him an opportunity…to fell trees in the frozen north? No, to practice law in Samara, where he was simultaneously involved in illegal political circles. After this he was allowed to take his examinations at St. Petersburg University as an external student. (With his curriculum vitae? What was the Special Section thinking of?)"


Etc., etc. I would also note: even in exile in Switzerland, Lenin still regularly received the income from his family's estate in Russia. Poor guy. Living a life of ease... on the backs of the poor benighted and oppressed peasants... even whilst he worked for their so-called liberation in exile! Now there's a dialectic for you!
Title: It's difficult to claim
Post by: Bev on August 25, 2006, 01:55:19 PM
that Ivan was an "aberration" when he  employed the same tactics as Stalin and I might point out that Peter the Great was a one man destroyer of "Russian" culture, down to decreeing shaving and dress.  Also, to claim that Stalin's murderous reign was "systemic" and not personal, is to misunderstand Stalin's character - indeed, it was all personal to Stalin, as it was personally directed by Stalin.

As to the comment that Lenin was a revolutionary, of course he was.  I don't believe anyone has ever said he wasn't.  The problem with this kind of characterization is that it fails to take into account Lenin's evolving views of socialism, marxism and the revolutionary movement.  His political philosophy was never static, and he was a practical man - the moment he returned to Russia in 1918, he repudiated Marxist socialism  and the longer he was in power the more he moved away from it.  He saw very early that economically it was not going to answer all of Russia's social and financial ills, which is why he began to slowly introduce private enterprise and entrepreneurship back into the economy.  Marxism itself is not a revolutionary movement - it is the opposite, the theory of Marxism is that a natural progression of private ownership to workers' ownership to state ownership would evolve over time with the paradigm shift from an agrarian state to an industrial state. (He was wrong)  

The belief that all that was the best and brightest in Russia was killed by the bolsheviks is of itself a nihilistic view of Russia, and in my opinion, quite in character for Russians.  Russia may have been set back, but then Russia has always lurched forward and fallen back and lurched forward again.  Seventy years is but a brief moment in all of Russian history and certainly does not define Russian history.  As I quoted Galbraith, if the door hadn't been rottern, they would not have been able to kick it in.  
Title: Eliz.
Post by: Bev on August 25, 2006, 02:08:31 PM
Don't add words to my post that are not intended.  I did not say Lenin was in a gulag and it is disengenuous for you to state that.  I did not imply that Lenin was better than the autocrats, but I don't believe he was worse.  I do think that he had deeply held beliefs and one of those was that no one is entitled to rule over others by accident of birth and divine appointment.  In that, Washington, Jefferson and Adams would concur.  They also thought that change could come about only through revolution, although they certainly had different means and objectives. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 25, 2006, 02:15:46 PM
Bev, as you well know, Lenin's New Economic Program was never meant to be permanent, but was only a temporary stop-gap measure to help Russia recover from the destruction of the Civil War as well as the horrendous economic dislocations brought about by the Bolsheviks' own pre-war and civil war economy. Trotsky was merely one of the many outspoken critics of NEP within the Bolshevik party who believed that Russia had to move towards a radically socialist economy as soon as possible (mass collectivization and industrialization). In this he was merely following the logic of the Marxist-Leninist program itself (and indeed, "his" program was soon co-opted by his arch-enemy and nemesis, Stalin).

Stalin was not an aberration, as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great were, but a natural culmination of the traits already inherent in Marxism-Leninism. As Theodore Von Laue summarizes:

Two traits stood out in the history of Russian communism as shaped by Lenin. The first was the boundless will to advance the country (not as an accidental base of world revolution, but as Russia – holy Russia) to a position of global pre-eminence, particularly in terms of industrial strength, the basis of modern civilization. The other trait was a fanatical reliance on organization, "our fighting method," as Lenin called it in 1918… He, then, who could give vigor to these Leninist traits and advance them with the same monstrous impatience which Lenin had shown almost to the end of his career would be his true heir. In these essentials, Stalin was indeed the perfect Leninist by more than his own, all too brazenly proclaimed judgment. His rise to power did not mark, therefore, a Thermidorean reaction, but rather Fructidor, the high summer of fruition for the most dynamic and emotion-charged element of Bolshevism.

(Von Laue, Why Lenin? Why Stalin?, p. 186)
Title: Re: Lenin
Post by: Elisabeth on August 25, 2006, 02:46:10 PM
Don't add words to my post that are not intended.  I did not say Lenin was in a gulag and it is disengenuous for you to state that.  I did not imply that Lenin was better than the autocrats, but I don't believe he was worse.  I do think that he had deeply held beliefs and one of those was that no one is entitled to rule over others by accident of birth and divine appointment.  In that, Washington, Jefferson and Adams would concur.  They also thought that change could come about only through revolution, although they certainly had different means and objectives. 

Bev, I apologize, I did not mean to put words in your mouth that you did not intend (our last two messages crossed). I sincerely thought you were implying that all revolutionaries and indeed all the politically disaffected suffered horrendous fates under the tsars (katorga, if not outright death by shooting, as under the Bolsheviks).

Needless to say, however, I believe that Lenin was no democrat. And that belief is borne out by all his actions whilst in power and even long before. Lenin always held that the Bolshevik party (i.e., himself and carefully selected followers) was the revolutionary vanguard and that this vanguard had the right to tell the little people (i.e., the proletariat and the peasantry) what to do and when to do it. Before he suffered his debilitating stroke he even ensured that Stalin would be able to conduct the sweeping party purges of the future (should any unfortunate Bolshevik be found to disagree with the leader in upcoming congresses). This happened as follows:

After the Revolution and the Civil War, two measures to increase party unity were passed that were to having lasting repercussions. In 1921 the party congress decided that henceforth the Central Committee could expel any "factious" member of the party with a two-thirds vote. The following year, the party leadership directed the secret police to begin spying on "troublemakers" in the party.

"It was paradoxical that Lenin, whose vision of a monolithic party was becoming real at last, fell sick in the early summer of 1922 and was forced to withdraw from active leadership. The benefits of these changes accrued only to his successor." (Theodore Von Laue, p. 173)

For "successor" read, Stalin!

Title: Eliz.
Post by: Bev on August 25, 2006, 06:58:50 PM
You are making claims that I never suggested, implied or stated.  No, I agree, Lenin was no democrat.  But then, he wasn't a Marxist either.  Nor was he much of a socialist.  I agree that he was a revolutionary, but revolution is neither inherently good or bad - the outcomes are, but revolution is not. 

Neither of us can predict what Lenin would or would not have done had he lived - in my opinion, I believe him to have been highly adaptable to circumstances with the ability to abruptly change in midcourse, if he thought that the practical solution.  I also don't believe that Lenin himself thought that pure socialism or marxism would work in practice.  I believe he recognized Russian uniqueness and privately sought the "Russian solution" to practical problems of government.  Yes, he was ruthless and immoral, but on the other hand, there is no doubt that he thought that what he was doing was right for Russia. 

As to Lenin's successor, it was always clear that he preferred Trotsky and understood Stalin for what he was - a thug.  To say that Stalin was the culmination of Marxist Leninism is false.  Stalin, like Hitler, was a sociopathic thug, whose first and last priority was Stalin.  Like Hitler, Stalin used socialism to promote himself, and never intended anything else.  Did Lenin think he "had the right to tell the little people what to do?"  Yes, but then so did the autocratic Tsar and the aristocracy of Russia.

Laue's criticism of Leninism, is something I always found somewhat peculiar - it's hardly particular to Leninism or Bolshevism to ruthlessly advance and promote pre-eminence in economic strength.  In fact, that's the very reason for empire, whether it is British, Roman or American or any other for that matter - to dominate economically.   His other claim, that fanatical organization was a Leninist trait is to simply ignore the fact that all empires have had or have a high degree of organization - it's when that organizaiton is compromised by economic or other means that  empires fall apart. 

Eliz., I hope you don't misunderstand me - I neither hate Lenin nor love him.  I generally try to maintain objectivity and neutrality about historical figures and keep them in context to the times.  Objectively, I find him, as I said, no better or worse than most other historical figures and Russia certainly has had a great share of historical and controversial figures.  I agree with Ghandi, that it doesn't matter very much what system people suffer and die for, they're just as dead and they suffer just as much.

Best wishes,
Bev
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 26, 2006, 01:36:15 PM

Well, I wish the von Thurn und Taxis family luck.  Recovering one's aristocratic footing after a seventeenth-century political upheaval is quite a different matter from recovering that footing after the social revolutions of the twentieth century which overturned the entire structure of aristocratic social systems.


And, just in case anyone has forgotten why there were social revolutions that unseated a cadre of preening, strutting pomposities who mistook grand houses, fine clothes, and elegant manners for true individual worth . . . .

Tzarfan the Thurin Taxis family has been in existence for thirteen hundred years.  They have survived centuries of political upheavals that were specifically directed at the destruction of their class and their values with as great ferocity and hatred as those in the last century.  Perhaps you are not familiar with the some of the more formidable horrors that have convulsed older families of Europe for the past thirteen hundred years. But the point is that the Thurin Taxis family has survived with their ideals intact, whilst they have watch a plethora of vicious enemies over thirteen hundred years, including those of the last century, rise to great power and then dissolve into oblivion.  Their wisdom comes from their longevity and it was my purpose to praise and give a hopeful perspective to an exiled Russian noble family.  It may be the first time around the block for many of us and we may therefore think the worst, but for the older families of Europe, one day you are the king and the next day you are the dog catcher, but then there is always tomorrow.  Case in point, "Who did the Communist dictator, Franco, choose as his successor?  King Don Carlos."  

I know that there is all of this moralizing about the end of time that tend to make the destruction and loss sustained in the last century as appearing to feel final.  However I prefer the view that a series of young scientists expressed when they were interviewed recently.  They said that there had never been a more thrilling time and that by mid-century we would be experiencing such amazing changes as to make the early years of the twenty-first century seem archaic.  When asked why there was such a strong belief among the average man that the end of the world was nearing, the young scientists said that they felt it was fatigue.  They felt that the average man was already perplexed by the changes that have already upset his world and that he would rather blow up the earth than have to deal with more change.    

to be continued...
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 26, 2006, 01:37:10 PM
Tzarfan as to your other point, I certainly did not mean to vilify the middle classes with their emphasis on Christian idealism and propriety, and certainly the late ninetieth century ruling families were found great solace in those sturdy virtues.  I think that my point about the middle classes is captured in Oscar Wilde’s quip, “The only way to gain immortality in the minds of the middle class is to die without paying one’s bills.” 

As for your characterization nobles as a group of preening snobs, well I suppose that is the very point I am making about conformist middle class mediocrity when it is confronted with a set of ideals it cannot comprehend as being valuable.   

Perhaps an example of what I am talking about would be helpful.  A mother and daughter from a noble family had managed to escape from Europe immediately after WWI.  They were impoverished and they were the only ones in their family that managed to survive.  The daughter was pregnant.  The mother and daughter ended up in a cold-water flat in Pittsburg Penn.  The mother was beside herself because one of the ideals of that family had been the importance of a birth and the right atmosphere to surround a birth has always included classical music, beautiful pieces of art, delicate frocks and linens, flowers, religious instruction, and all manner of gentle amenities that would relax and at the same time inspire a noble woman and help to bring forth a child of promise. 

The anguish that the mother felt for her daughter because of the squalor they were surrounded by and the mocking attitudes and ridicule they inspired in their neighbors was becoming increasingly unbearable for both women.  Even though they could not afford to go to museums or concerts, or purchase any of the amenities that they felt were indispensable to a proper birth, they refused to give up their hope that somehow that atmosphere of beauty that had for centuries accompanied every birth in their family would appear in some special way.  One dreary day towards dusk, the young daughter, left her mother’s flat in sort of a daze and walked and walked until she came to a field and there she fell on the ground crying.  But just then something told her to look up and she witnessed the most beautiful sunset she had ever seen and she felt that inspiration and elevation that her mother had so longed for her daughter to experience.  Each day there after until the birth of her son, the daughter and her mother walked out to that field and sat in silent awe watching the sun set.  Each sunset was totally unique and the daughter later said it was like looking at one masterpiece after the other.  Both the mother and the daughter overcame their anguish and the little boy who was born turned out to be a child of promise. 

You can only imagine the derision that came from thosse thrifty and practical minded neighbors who were perplexed by the mother and daughter’s daily excursions.  “What good would watching a sunset do a pregnant women?  Those neighbors had already been deeply offended by the mother and daughter's "airs," as they called it; the care with which that mother and daughter had lavished on the lace collars and cuffs that adorned their simple cotton frocks, or the time they took grooming themeslves; or how they scrimped and saved to buy just one perfect peach; or why they went on and on about the magnificent beauty and inspiration a sunset could hold.  And yes Tzarfan your it is quite accurate that those upright middleclass neighbors considered the mother and her daughter as pathetic examples of “preening, strutting pomposities who had mistaken grand houses, fine clothes, elegant manners (and beautiful sunsets) for true individual worth . . .”   
Title: Re: Bev
Post by: Elisabeth on August 26, 2006, 07:55:52 PM
You are making claims that I never suggested, implied or stated.  No, I agree, Lenin was no democrat.  But then, he wasn't a Marxist either.  Nor was he much of a socialist.  I agree that he was a revolutionary, but revolution is neither inherently good or bad - the outcomes are, but revolution is not. 

Neither of us can predict what Lenin would or would not have done had he lived - in my opinion, I believe him to have been highly adaptable to circumstances with the ability to abruptly change in midcourse, if he thought that the practical solution.  I also don't believe that Lenin himself thought that pure socialism or marxism would work in practice.  I believe he recognized Russian uniqueness and privately sought the "Russian solution" to practical problems of government.  Yes, he was ruthless and immoral, but on the other hand, there is no doubt that he thought that what he was doing was right for Russia. 

No doubt Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great also thought that what they were doing to Russia was "best" for Russia.

As to Lenin's successor, it was always clear that he preferred Trotsky and understood Stalin for what he was - a thug.  To say that Stalin was the culmination of Marxist Leninism is false.  Stalin, like Hitler, was a sociopathic thug, whose first and last priority was Stalin.  Like Hitler, Stalin used socialism to promote himself, and never intended anything else.  Did Lenin think he "had the right to tell the little people what to do?"  Yes, but then so did the autocratic Tsar and the aristocracy of Russia.

Yes, but the autocratic tsar sof Russia were to a certain extent (unless we are speaking of an outright psychopath like Ivan IV, and even he underwent agonies of Christian remorse) hemmed in by very strict moral codes as dictated by the Russian Orthodox Church and on a larger scale by Christianity itself. That was the ruling ideology of the tsars. Whereas Lenin and his cohorts lived by the post-Christian notion that "everything is permitted," in the name of "class warfare," including the annihilation of class enemies like the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie (see below for extended quotes from the writings of Lenin and his cohorts on this subject).

Laue's criticism of Leninism, is something I always found somewhat peculiar - it's hardly particular to Leninism or Bolshevism to ruthlessly advance and promote pre-eminence in economic strength.  In fact, that's the very reason for empire, whether it is British, Roman or American or any other for that matter - to dominate economically.   His other claim, that fanatical organization was a Leninist trait is to simply ignore the fact that all empires have had or have a high degree of organization - it's when that organizaiton is compromised by economic or other means that  empires fall apart. 

Not all empires have an overruling and all-embracing utopian ideology, however, which envisions the outright liquidation of entire "classes" of the civilian population in the interests of furthering the worldwide socialist revolution which will bring about the envisioned workers' paradise (even if the workers, as in Lenin's Russia, only constituted one per cent of the total population!). Again, you are confusing ordinary empire-building (which most great civilizations are guilty of, going all the way back to the dawn of recorded history) with modern-day utopian constructions of heaven-on-earth, at any cost (usually a very great cost, counted in the millions) to living populations (the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, Al Qaeda).

Eliz., I hope you don't misunderstand me - I neither hate Lenin nor love him.  I generally try to maintain objectivity and neutrality about historical figures and keep them in context to the times.  Objectively, I find him, as I said, no better or worse than most other historical figures and Russia certainly has had a great share of historical and controversial figures.  I agree with Ghandi, that it doesn't matter very much what system people suffer and die for, they're just as dead and they suffer just as much.

Best wishes,
Bev

Well, I would agree with you, except that (pardon me for the blasphemy) I've always thought that Gandhi was a bit of a political simpleton. His program of passive resistance to evil would never have worked under the Nazis or Soviets, for example. Those particular criminals against humanity would have been only too happy to see their enemies go on hunger strikes to the death.

For that very reason I don't think it pays to be terribly "objective" (whatever that means in this context) with people who represent the ultimate destruction of everything our Western civilization holds dear. Even professional historians have to take a side in such a battle, whether they like it or not (I don't know many historians who try to remain "objective" about Hitler, except for David Irving!).
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 26, 2006, 07:58:55 PM
But here are those passages from Lenin and other witnesses to the great Soviet "experiment"  I promised you:

Richard Pipes on Lenin’s pamphlet, "Lessons of the Commune," 1908:

Having listed the achievements and failures of this first "proletarian revolution" [the French Revolution], he [Lenin] indicated its cardinal weakness: the proletariat’s "excessive generosity – it should have exterminated its enemies," instead of "trying to exert moral influence on them." This remark must be one of the earliest instances in political literature in which the term "extermination," normally used for vermin, is applied to human beings. As we have seen, Lenin habitually described those whom he chose to designate as his regime’s "class enemies" in terms borrowed from the vocabulary of pest control, calling kulaks "bloodsuckers," "spiders," and "leeches."

From a speech by Lenin, January 1918:

The communes, small cells in the village and city, must themselves work out and test thousands of forms and methods of practical accounting and control over the rich, swindlers, and parasites. Variety here is a guarantee of vitality, of success and the attainment of a single objective: the cleansing of Russia’s soil of all harmful insects, of scoundrel fleas, bedbugs – the rich, and so on.


Trotsky, December 2, 1917:

There is nothing immoral in the proletariat finishing off the dying class. This is right. You are indignant… at the petty terror which we direct against our class opponents. But be put on notice that in one month at most this terror will assume more frightful forms, on the model of the great revolutionaries of France. Our enemies will face not prison but the guillotine.

Isaac Steinberg, Lenin’s Commissar of Justice:

Terror is not an individual act, not an isolated fortuitous – even if recurrent – expression of the government’s fury. Terror is a system… a legalized plan of the regime for the purpose of mass intimidation, mass compulsion, mass extermination. Terror is a calculated register of punishments, reprisals and threats by means of which the government intimidates, entices, and compels the fulfillment of its imperative will. Terror is a heavy, suffocating cloak thrown from above over the entire population of the country, a cloak woven of mistrust, lurking vigilance, and lust for revenge. [….] Terror exists precisely because the minority, ruling on its own, regards an ever-growing number of persons, groups and strata as its enemy… This "enemy of the Revolution" …expands until he dominates the entire expanse of the Revolution… The concept keeps on enlarging until, by degrees, it comes to embrace the entire land, the entire population, and in the end, "all with the exception of the government" and its collaborators.

…..

I objected, that this cruel threat [to kill without trial "enemy agents, speculators, burglars, hooligans, counterrevolutionary agitators, and German spies"] killed the whole pathos of the manifesto. Lenin replied with derision, "On the contrary, therein lies true revolutionary pathos. Do you really believe that we can be victorious without the very cruelest revolutionary terror?" It was difficult to argue with Lenin on this score and we soon reached an impasse. We were discussing a harsh police measure with far-reaching terroristic potentialities. Lenin resented my opposition to it in the name of revolutionary justice. So I called out in desperation, "Then why do we bother with a Commissariat of Justice? Let’s call it frankly the Commissariat for Social Extermination and be done with it!" Lenin’s face suddenly brightened and he replied, "Well put… that’s exactly what it should be… but we can’t say that."

Latsis, leading Chekist, on the Menshevik trial in 1922:

People of this sort are more than a mere hindrance to us. That is why we remove them from our path, so they won’t get under our feet…We put them away in a cozy, secluded place, in the Butyrki [a Soviet prison], and we are going to keep them there until the struggle between capital and labor comes to an end.  
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 27, 2006, 12:24:38 AM
Elizabeth, the way you arranged those quotes expose the predatory nature of Lenin's mind in a manner that I have never seen before.  I am just fascinated by the way you and Bev are sharing ideas.  You know there are several books that are addressing these very issues that might be interesting to read.  One is, "The Idols of Perversity," and I can't find my copy so I don't know the name of the author but I think that Bram is part of the name.  This book explores the impact of Darwin and Vogt on nineteenth century ideology and the formation of social transcendence determined by predatory superiority.  In this new social order transcendence is measured only by might, and the concept of grace becomes obsolete.     

It is almost as if Lenin is scripting himself from Darwin's social ideology, or perhaps in greater fairness to Darwin it is better to say, from the misconceptions of Darwin’s theory that grew into a predatory social ideology.  I do not have the book to quote from, but I think that the connection between Darwin and Lenin could be felt if I did have those quotes.  That is also an interesting point about whether or not Stalin was the natural fruit of Lenin's womb, or a criminally insane usurper.  In retrospect maybe Stalin was both. 

The other books that would be interesting to explore in relation to this discussion are Gertrude Himmelfarb's, "The De-Moralization of Society," "On Looking Into the Abyss," and "Victorian Minds, A Study of Intellectuals in Crisis And Ideologies in Transition." 

Just as an aside I think those books by Himmelfarb hold the key a fuller view and a more compassionate understanding of the late Empress Alexandra.  But I won't go there.  But they do bring up some very interesting points that are germane to this discussion.         

Well I have been sitting at my computer for twelve hours so I had best be off to bed. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 27, 2006, 02:20:44 PM
Dear griffh, thank you so much for the reading tips. I feel really inspired to go to the library now and look up all the books you mention, especially after reading your comments on Himmelfarb... I admit to near-total ignorance in this area of specialization, although I think I might have actually read Idols of Perversity, which as I recall had to do with the impact of Social Darwinism on the visual arts and specifically the role of Woman as Muse in painting of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (lots of very scary femme fatales with snakes draped around their naked bodies, that sort of thing!). At any rate it was a fantastic book, with loads of beautiful illustrations, but unfortunately I also can't remember the name of the author (you're right, though, it had "Bram" in it). But once again, thanks for the tip about Himmelfarb in particular.
 
Title: No, Eliz., I'm not confused...
Post by: Bev on August 27, 2006, 11:26:26 PM
I think that what you would like is confirmation of your claim that the Soviets were the worst, most evil of all human beings to ever exist in the world.  That somehow, wiping out a class is worse than wiping out a village or a country or a race of people.  It isn't "worse" it is just for the  consolidation of power, and it doesn't matter to the victims, what ideology they've died for.  People tend to view the world from the point of view of their ox being gored, and not the other guy's.  It hardly matters if the Romans are wiping out the Sabines for want of helpmates and childbearers or if the Soviets are wiping out the aristocracy to install a perverse political system.  How is the nazis' "final solution" any worse than the Soviets' "final solution" to the aristocracy or the United States' systematic destruction of the American natives to expand the most utopian driven system in the world, to realize the American dream?  Was there another revolutionary hellbent on the destruction of the aristocracy as a class?  Talleyrand might come close - those tumbrils rolled every day for quite some time...

As to your comments about Ivan and Peter doing what they thought was right for Russia, again, you're making strawman arguments, ascribing them to me, and then knocking them down.  I did not imply that these men were not doing what they thought was right for Russia, you inferred it - and you inferred incorrectly.  I'm quite sure, that like Lenin, they thought that evreything they did was for Russia and for the good of Russia.   I'm also sure that Nero thought that by persecuting Christians he was doing what was right for Rome, just as President Jackson thought that by wiping out the American natives he was doing the right thing.  That's not excusing their actions, that's explaining their actions.  Which brings me to what, in my opinion, is a somewhat specious comment - that historians muxt "choose sides" and the citing of Hitler as an example.  All historians strive to be objective, but objectivity doesn't imply approval or sympathy for any particular person or subject - it means nothing more than to examine all issues pertaining to the subject and drawing conclusions and hypotheses based on the evidence only.  David Irving is a case in point - his inability to examine and consider all the evidence has made his conclusions unreliable.  Ron Rosenbaum's EXPLAINING HITLER is probably the best and most objective look at how historians approach the subject of Hitler. 

Ghandi a political simpleton?  Without a doubt, Ghandi was probably one of the most politically savvy, sophisticated and uncorruptable politicans of the 20th Century.  His unrelenting, non-violent, civil disobedience brought about the freedom of India, and hs revolutionary ideas and ideals brought about the freedom of Poland -both of which were the only successful revolutions in the 20th Century.  Of course it wouldn't have worked in Germany - Germany wasn't undergoing a revolution.  And neither was the USSR at the time Ghandi's poitical methodology was in practice and at it's peak.  An insurgency against an occupying power such as Great Britain is very different from an internal struggle for power.  The dynamics are completely different.  (Of which Iraq is an abysmal example)

As I said, it all depends on whose ox is being gored as to who thinks his suffering is the worst. 


Title: Griffh
Post by: Bev on August 27, 2006, 11:39:19 PM
Social Darwinism is a capitalist conceit.  It is also a complete (and perservely ignorant) misunderstanding of evolution and promotes the very non-evolution idea that humans developed by "survival of the fittest" which is also diametrically opposed to Marxism.  Lenin would have never ascribed to a social theory of survival of the fittest - in fact, his was exactly the opposite.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 28, 2006, 12:02:17 AM
Bev unfortunately you come accross as quite a preditory yourself, and your sad little quip about "captialist conciet" sounds like something that one of Lenin's press agent would have written in 1922.  The Wall fell Bev.  The great Socialist Dream is all gone for good....buy buy.   
Title: Re: You misunderstand me, Bev
Post by: Elisabeth on August 28, 2006, 09:55:55 AM
I think that what you would like is confirmation of your claim that the Soviets were the worst, most evil of all human beings to ever exist in the world.  That somehow, wiping out a class is worse than wiping out a village or a country or a race of people.  It isn't "worse" it is just for the  consolidation of power, and it doesn't matter to the victims, what ideology they've died for.

Bev, who’s twisting words now? I compared the Bolsheviks to the Nazis (who wanted to exterminate people on the basis of religion and race) and Al Qaeda (who want to exterminate people on the basis of religion). I also mentioned totalitarian regimes in southeast Asia and China. Nowhere did I say that the Bolsheviks were the "worst, most evil human beings" ever to exist. On the contrary, I think I made it pretty clear that I see them as only one of many modern manifestations of a new type of evil, the totalitarian model, which does indeed seek to wipe out entire categories of people – whether these categories are based on race, social class, culture, and/or religion.

Furthermore, sometimes these categories overlap. For example Stalin attempted to wipe out not only entire classes (the kulaks), but also entire cultures (the Ukrainians, the Volga Germans, the Chechens, the Crimean Tartars, just to name a handful). Are you forgetting the Great Famine in the Ukraine and parts of the Caucasus? The mass deportations of entire nations of people to Siberia?

I’m not saying that one or the other human tragedy is worse from the victims’ point of view, or that evil isn’t perpetrated by states in open societies. But at least in the case of open societies, there is freedom of speech and the press. After all, the British rounded up Boer women and children and put them in concentration camps during the Boer War, but the British and international press raised a public outcry. The problem with totalitarian systems is that the entire society is atomized by terror inflicted by the state and so the evil perpetrated by the state continues unchecked until such time as the state itself decides to stop it (or some outside force is brought in to stop it). The scope for evil is therefore almost always immeasurably greater in a totalitarian society than in an open or relatively open society. Thus the tens of millions of victims in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China, just to give the more obvious examples.
 
As to your comments about Ivan and Peter doing what they thought was right for Russia, again, you're making strawman arguments, ascribing them to me, and then knocking them down.  I did not imply that these men were not doing what they thought was right for Russia, you inferred it - and you inferred incorrectly.  I'm quite sure, that like Lenin, they thought that evreything they did was for Russia and for the good of Russia.   I'm also sure that Nero thought that by persecuting Christians he was doing what was right for Rome, just as President Jackson thought that by wiping out the American natives he was doing the right thing.  That's not excusing their actions, that's explaining their actions.

All I was trying to say was that I don’t think intentions necessarily explain everything. Because the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes. And actions speak louder than words. I think you’re simply reluctant to admit that the far-left (the Soviets) can give rise to as much evil as the far-right (the Nazis). But perhaps here I am misunderstanding you (I admit I am having trouble following your argument).  


 
Title: Re: Bev, you misunderstand me
Post by: Elisabeth on August 28, 2006, 10:06:02 AM
Which brings me to what, in my opinion, is a somewhat specious comment - that historians muxt "choose sides" and the citing of Hitler as an example.  All historians strive to be objective, but objectivity doesn't imply approval or sympathy for any particular person or subject - it means nothing more than to examine all issues pertaining to the subject and drawing conclusions and hypotheses based on the evidence only.  David Irving is a case in point - his inability to examine and consider all the evidence has made his conclusions unreliable.  Ron Rosenbaum's EXPLAINING HITLER is probably the best and most objective look at how historians approach the subject of Hitler. 

I’ve read Rosenbaum’s book. In my opinion, we can certainly strive to be objective about Hitler, up to a certain point, past which it no longer suffices. To my mind, being objective means trying to see both sides of a question, and to be blunt I don’t think there are two sides to the Holocaust.

But maybe I should put it this way: I think it's humanly impossible to be totally objective about someone as evil as Hitler.

Ghandi a political simpleton?  Without a doubt, Ghandi was probably one of the most politically savvy, sophisticated and uncorruptable politicans of the 20th Century.  His unrelenting, non-violent, civil disobedience brought about the freedom of India, and hs revolutionary ideas and ideals brought about the freedom of Poland -both of which were the only successful revolutions in the 20th Century.  Of course it wouldn't have worked in Germany - Germany wasn't undergoing a revolution.  And neither was the USSR at the time Ghandi's poitical methodology was in practice and at it's peak. 


I should have said that Gandhi’s methods of passive resistance would never have met with any success under the Bolsheviks, as opposed to the Soviets in general. It’s true that by the late 1980s the Soviet leadership had clearly lost the will to maintain power within its borders by spilling vast amounts of blood (unlike the Chinese leadership in Tienamen Square). IMO this had much to do with an overall loss of faith in Marxism-Leninism not only among average Soviet citizens but also even within the party leadership itself (men like Alexander Yakovlev had come to the conclusion that Communist rule had been a monumental mistake from day one). Moreover, by this time it was completely obvious to everyone that the USSR had fallen behind the West and was an economic basketcase, to boot. In short the entire system was in a state of collapse – ideologically and economically it didn’t have a leg left to stand on. In such a situation, yes, methods of popular resistance to the state inspired by Gandhi could work (it also didn’t hurt that under glasnost’ the Soviets had lifted many of its restrictions on the press). But such methods could never have worked under Lenin or Stalin or even, perhaps, under a cold-blooded leader like Andropov. Remember that even under Khrushchev ordinary workers were still killed en masse for daring to go on strike…

Furthermore, it’s simply not true that the revolutions in India and Poland were the only successful revolutions of the 20th century. As griffh pointed out, you’re forgetting a whole series of successful revolutions in other eastern European countries against Soviet power in the late 1980s and early 1990s! Including various revolutions within the borders of the old Soviet Union itself (remember the Baltic states?).

Indeed, the Berlin Wall did come tumbling down, quite resoundingly so!
Title: Gffh, what in the world
Post by: Bev on August 28, 2006, 10:18:03 AM
are you talking about?  I wasn't making a "quip".  "Survival of the fittest" is a capitalist cnceit - it is a rationalization of ill-humane treatment of others - that only the fittest or the most ruthless survive in societies or culture.  It's the same as the Soviet conceit "to each according to his contribution" - humans could not have evolved under such a cruel system of resource distribution.  As to your other snotty remarks, implying that I support socialism, because I criticize capitalism, wouldn't it be better to ask first?  In what way am I "preditory"?  No system of government devised by Humans will ever be "perfect".  Some aspects of socialism have found their way into capitalist socieites, just as some aspects of capitalism have found their way into socialist socieites, even Imperial Rome provided a corn allotment to its citizens and ensured them a source of potable water and Russia might have rationed bread, but they never distributed it without expecting payment from its citizens.  All political systems offer conceits and maxims which have no foundation in reality and are little more than propagandist sloganeering.

I would think that adults can have reasonable discussions about subjects without having to characterize and qualify every statement or comment.  I don't have to hate Lenin and love the Tsars or vice versa, in order to discuss their political philosophies.  I don't have to be "for" something or "against" something in order to rationally discuss it.  I can understand and discuss how and why Bolsheviki attained political power without an inferred belief that by discussing it reasonably, I am promoting or advocating them.  I don't assume that because you discuss and argue about Tsarist Russia that you're promoting their political agenda or think that democracy is "bad" and monarchy is "bad".  I would appreciate it if you would do the same for me - if you want to know something, ask.
Title: Here are a few points...
Post by: Bev on August 28, 2006, 11:44:21 AM
I don't think that you understood my argument - yes, it is possible to objectively examine all of the evidence and come to the conclusion that someone's actions or beliefs are bad.  Rosenbaum wasn't examining the evidence, he was examining the historians who study Hitler and nazism - how they looked at the evidence, how they drew conclusions about the evidence and how their hypotheses were supported or not supported by the evidence.  Every historian speaks for him/herself in the book, including David Irving.  One historian (whose name escapes me at the moment) offers the conclusion that Hitler should never be discussed and his name and nazism should never be mentioned again - this is just as reactionary and wrongheaded as Irving's contention that the Holocaust "never really happened", and both are dangerous - we can't learn and understand from history if we refuse to acknowledge it.  Both are a failure to objectively look at all of the evidence and draw fair conclusions.

Yes, the eastern bloc had the boot of the soviets lifted off their collective necks, but that was not the result of revolution inside those countries, unlike the Poles who pro-actively brought about internal change, the  freedom of most of the Eastern European bloc countries was the result of the rotting foundation of the Soviet Union finally giving way.  Why the Sovet Union failed is another interesting discussion, but not pertinent to this particular discussion.  Some Eastern European and Baltic states have successfully replaced a rotting system with a workable system, and some haven't.  This isn't to say that they won't, merely that they haven't yet.

I've already stated my arguments as to why Ghandi's method of passive resistance would not have worked in Germany or Soviet Russia.
Neither were occupied by a foreign power.  The metrics and dynamics were different.

I completely agree that Stalin was as tyrannical and despotic and sociopathic as Hitler.  I would hesitate to characterize either of them as "evil" because to do so would be to give them credit for knowing the difference between right and wrong, and having a moral foundation.  As psychopaths, both were completely amoral and incapable of normal human emotions such as empathy and compassion.  Neither could choose to do what was best for their respective countires, because they did not have the intellectual or emotional ability to differentiate themselves from their countries.  What was good for Stalin and Hitler was good for Russia and Germany because they were Russia and Germany.  Sadly, all of human history is littered with the bitter fruits of sociopaths who found themselves at the pinnacle of power. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 28, 2006, 11:45:29 AM
Please allow me to note in passing that  I really don't like this new editing system whereby one can only edit posts within 15 or 30 minutes of posting. So many times, even when I've prepared a post in advance, I suddenly think of what I've left out.... a half hour later. In this case, I wish I'd mentioned in my previous post that the Soviet leadership under Gorbachev was averse to shedding blood not only because of ideological and economic decrepitude but also because of... Gorbachev. Himself, personally. In fact Russia was incredibly fortunate to have had such a leader at such a time, no matter how much Russians themselves may hate and despise Gorbachev for various other reasons...

Let's give credit where credit is due: even his arch-enemies (and he has many in modern-day Russia) admit that Gorbachev always genuinely loved humanity and could never abide the spectre of mass murder, even if it was in the name of a cause he believed in. And there's no question but that Gorbachev sincerely believed in Marxism-Leninism back in the late 1980s (as indeed, there's every indication he still believes in it to this day). Nevertheless, when push came to shove, he drew the line at summoning Soviet troops into eastern Europe and for that matter into Yeltsin's Russia itself, when the whole of the former Soviet empire was in open rebellion against his party and his state. Of course, the leaders of the coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 felt no such scruples, and called in the army to quash Yeltsin, only to discover to their great regret that the Soviet army was no longer willing to shed innocent blood in the name of a dead ideology. All of which goes to prove my point, that the former Soviet Union and its satellites were a hotbed of revolutionary activity and consciousness at this period in history!

Bev, I'm sorry but IMHO you can't see the wood for the trees. As I recall, according to many historians, the British Empire itself was on its last legs when it gave Gandhi's India its independence in 1947. As much by default as by anything else... the British Empire was overextended by this point, wasn't it, and in major debt after having fought World War II?

I don't understand what you mean by asserting that revolutions can only "truly" happen under strong and flourishing empires. It seems to me that revolutions usually happen when the state in power is entering upon or is already well into a period of decline, economically, politically, and socially... look at revolutionary France in 1789 (a country in massive debt, a royal family and political system thoroughly discredited) or Russia of March 1917 (massive defeats in war, a royal family and a political system thoroughly discredited).

I don't know why you want to downplay the achievement of the peoples of eastern Europe in throwing off the Soviet yoke. It was in fact the most astonishingly positive historical accomplishment of the 20th century, as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: Here are a few points...
Post by: Elisabeth on August 28, 2006, 12:08:27 PM
I completely agree that Stalin was as tyrannical and despotic and sociopathic as Hitler.  I would hesitate to characterize either of them as "evil" because to do so would be to give them credit for knowing the difference between right and wrong, and having a moral foundation.  As psychopaths, both were completely amoral and incapable of normal human emotions such as empathy and compassion.  Neither could choose to do what was best for their respective countires, because they did not have the intellectual or emotional ability to differentiate themselves from their countries.  What was good for Stalin and Hitler was good for Russia and Germany because they were Russia and Germany.  Sadly, all of human history is littered with the bitter fruits of sociopaths who found themselves at the pinnacle of power. 

Oh. Okay. I get it. According to you, in order to judge a historical figure as "evil," whether we are talking about Hitler, Stalin, Lenin or Ivan the Terrible, we have to judge them by their own standards! They weren't evil because they themselves didn't think they were evil, and didn't possess an adequate moral compass by which to judge themselves... Since they didn't recognize themselves as evil, we shouldn't either??? As I said before, Bev, I think you can't see the wood for the trees. One can OBJECTIVELY state (by human standards, which is after all, all we have and presumably will ever have) that Hitler, Himmler, Lenin, Stalin, etc. were EVIL PEOPLE. They were responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent civilians. If they're not evil, then who is? I ask you? Or perhaps you want to do away entirely with the moral category of evil, since it's not "objective" enough? (Yeah, I had my own dose of moral relativism in grad school, and believe me, it was enough. There's a point when hair-splitting intellectual "objectivity" becomes gratuitous and beside the point.)
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 28, 2006, 01:26:35 PM
This has become a rather interesting discussion but it is important to note that it is society that determines what is or is not evil behaviour and society that labels someone as evil. All three of the persons discussed grew up in societies in which mass murder, theft, torture, etc. were seen as aberrant acts. Hitler and Lenin took steps to keep their names from appearing on incriminating documents (not to say that such documents do not exist). With high profile opponents Stalin created the show trials in order to give his murderous actions the appearance of legality. Let us remember the efforts made to kill absolutely everyone around the 'assassin' of Kirov in order to squelch any doubt about the killer. Let us remember the great lengths that were taken to hide the bodies and kill the NKVD executioners of the Polish officers at Katyn Forest. Everything that I have written above shows that the three tyrants were aware of their 'guilt' and tried to obscure it. From these actions it is obvious that Hitler, Lenin and Stalin knew that their actions were highly unacceptable to the societal norms of the time.

The three might have been sociopaths (with Hitler I think that it was tertiary stage syphilis) but at least under US legal standards, they were all competent to stand trial.

David
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on August 28, 2006, 02:18:32 PM
Most of the major world courts, and societies are based on people possessing 'a moral compass'. Evil people have none. Those who rule without morality, care even less of what the time value of what their evil actions have done, and i believe want history to remember them for all the evil they have done. The fact that they feel compelled such large scale abnormal crimes is indicative of their inability to place themselves in any other position than doing the state a great favor in cleansing the earth of whom they feel is unworthy of living. Control means that much to them that they must choose who lives and who dies. It is a God like quality that they wish to show to all that they alone posess, and nobody can thwart them. There is no way of being objective on this matter. These were and remain unacceptable to the societal norms of all times.

Welcome back David, I have missed your valuable input, as i am sure many others have. Everything you, Elizabeth and Griffh have offered are quite relevant and entirely on target. I agree, no matter how foxie the foxes wanted to seem, in terms of craziness, they were all competent to stand trial.

Thank goodness we still have human hearts stepping forward to make sure that as individuals and as societies, we never forget the evil lessons and actions these sociopaths forced innocent human beings to go through. It must happen, Never happen again; never is too soon. Thank you again and Elizabeth for your valuable contributions and reminders !

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 28, 2006, 02:24:33 PM
Excellent points, David. A propos of your argument, I do think that many leading Nazis (Hitler, Goebbels and Goering) and Bolsheviks (Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin) were fully aware that what they were doing was "evil" by the old, bourgeois standards of the day, under which they themselves had been raised. But at the same time they believed – or tried to believe – that with the dawn of the new century they had entered upon a new age, in which "everything was permitted" in the name of their own particular ideological cause. Such (rationalized and intellectualized) moral hair-splitting is typical of the "doublethink" George Orwell characterized in his ground-breaking novel 1984 as a hallmark of the totalitarian worldview. According to Orwell, doublethink operates as follows: the person thinks, "this is wrong by all the old standards I know to be true" but simultaneously also thinks, "it is not wrong by our new standards of behavior but is in fact worthy of admiration and even emulation." Thus even mass murder can be excused by the false consciousness because it "furthers" the ideological cause by ridding the world of "class" or "racial" enemies… Doublethink is to be found not only among sane or insane members of the totalitarian leadership but also among average, ordinary, and perfectly healthy-minded subject people in the gutter…According to Orwell this is in fact how the totalitarian state maintains and justifies itself, by perpetrating the "Big Lie" amongst all its subjects, and, by dint of relentless propaganda and "reeducation," making this Big Lie plausible. But when the Big Lie starts to crumble (as, thankfully, it  invariably has been seen to do, at least so far, under the onslaught of relentless reality), so does the totalitarian state.

The concept of doublethink also explains why one sees the harkening back to pre-Christian pagan times on the part of the Nazis, side by side with the invocation of modern (post-Christian) "scientific" method on the part of the Bolsheviks – because both approaches supplied an excuse for these rulers’ violations of pre-existing Judeo-Christian societal norms (e.g., the notions that murder, theft, and mayhem are wrong). This is why I do not believe that griffh’s mention of Social Darwinism is out of place. Both the Nazis and the Bolsheviks believed that the time had come for the physical extinction of certain "out-moded" and/or morally "depraved" categories of humanity (the Jews, the aristocracy, the middle class, the kulaks, etc., etc.).
Title: I agree David
Post by: Bev on August 28, 2006, 03:00:15 PM
a  sociopathological disorder isn't a legal insanity defense.   I hesitate to call people "evil" or "monsters" because I see it as a way to lessen human responsibility - it's easier to say these people were "monsters" that way humans don't have to acknowledge that they're capable of atrocity.  Human beings are capable of anything, of which we have ample example.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 28, 2006, 04:18:30 PM
Dear Bev,

I did not write that a sociopathic disorder was a legal defence but rather that the persons in question might have a sociopathic disorder combined with various personality disorders and other psychological aberrations. I did however want to make it very clear that the perpetrators knew that what they were doing was wrong, why else would they (the three named men) have spent so much effort indoctrinating their minions to behave otherwise?

The term evil might have subjective undertones in the minds of some people but when used to describe the mass murderers of the 20th century it would seem to be the most appropriate word to convey society's collective disapproval.

David
Title: Well, frankly, I don't think
Post by: Bev on August 28, 2006, 06:30:46 PM
any of them had to spend much time at all "indoctrinating their minions".  It seems to me their minions were more than helpful and willing to promote their political agenda. 

Yes, I beleve that Stalin and Hitler were true sociopaths in the clinical definition of the term.  As I said, they were completely incapable of separating themselves from the state.  Every single action they took was designed to further their own aims, desires and goals.  Never did either one of them ever display any consciousness of guilt. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 28, 2006, 08:36:26 PM
Dear Bev,

Is it me or does the discussion seem to shift a little every few posts to prove your premise or at least so you appear not to be wrong?

Firstly it was a discussion of the use of the word evil, then a question of the subjects of this debate understanding that their behaviour was morally unacceptable to society in general and now the related aspect of the subjects feeling guilt or remorse for their actions. My own opinion is that they knew what they were doing was wrong but that they felt no guilt. The only remorse these three were likely to feel was that their plans did not succeed as well as they would have preferred. Is this not one of the main aspects of a sociopathic personality?

David

Title: In what way am I wrong?
Post by: Bev on August 28, 2006, 10:04:21 PM
And maybe you're just hostile to anything I might post.  Did I say that Hitler and Stalin were not sociopaths?  Did I say that they displayed any remorse for their actions?  No, I don't believe they thought that what they were doing was morally unacceptable.  I believe they were amoral - they had no morals at all, good or bad.   I said that I would hesitate to call them evil BECAUSE IN MY OPINION, that's indicative of having an ability to make moral judgements which in turn would mean that they had morals.  Personally, I think calling them "evil" gives them too much credit and is too banal to describe them.  Now if you think they were evil bastards, that doesn't make you right and me wrong, it just means you think they were evil bastards.  I don't judge you, or make snotty comments to you or accuse you of any kind of insidious ulterior motives in posting. 

My "premise" hasn't changed one bit - I don't believe that the Soviets were any better or any worse than any other absolutist, autocratic, totalitarian, imperialist, fascist, oligarchic system of government human beings have devised to take advantage of the powerless.  If you think that suffering can be qualified or quantified, that one genocide is worse than another, you're perfectly entitled to think so. 

Now it seems to me that what we might disagree on is your contention that these men thought that what they were doing was morally unacceptable - I don't agree.  In my opinion, they were true, clinical sociopaths - they might have known their actions were socially unacceptable, but being utterly amoral, I really doubt that it even occurred to them that their actions might be immoral.  Sociopaths have no conception of immorality.  Sociopaths have no conception of any kind of morality. 

No, I do not believe that Lenin was a sociopath - I believe that Lenin was fully aware of the morality of his actions and consciously chose his path of action.  I also think that Lenin thought that his path was the correct path, and that the end justifies the means.  Lenin also had the ability to separate himself from the state - Lenin didn't cultivate the cult of personality, the Soviets did that after Lenin was dead.  I sincerely think that Lenin would have not only thought that was unecessary, but dangerous to the Soviet state.  In my opinion, Lenin's goal wasn't the promotion and elevation of Lenin, Lenin's goal was the promotion and elevation of the Soviet state.  In this he very much differs in personality with Hitler and Stalin.  I don't believe that makes him any better or worse than Stalin or Hitler, it just makes him different. 

I don't like Lenin, I don't approve of Lenin, I don't promote Lenin, nor do I like, approve or promote bolshevism.  But that doesn't mean I can't try to understand it and it certainly doesn't mean I have to hate either.  In fact, I daresay I pity him just as I pity Stalin and Hitler - imagine living your entire life without compassion or empathy for others, unable or incapable of loving other human beings.  Isn't that pitiful, is that not awful?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 28, 2006, 10:46:08 PM
Hey just as an aside before I begin.  Bev I apologize for misunderstanding your point.  Oh and David P. I have so enjoyed your postings plus the incredibly hard and long work that it has taken for you to share those Russian first sources with all of us.  Hey Elizabeth I use “The Idols of Perversity” to track the ante feminine and racist doctrines that grew out of Darwin and Voigts theories and that were gaining ground all through the mid nineteenth century and how those theories ultimately undercut the gains already being made by the Victorian women and men reformers in the advancement of civil rights, women suffrage, the destruction of ante-feminist religious doctrine, medical and nursing reforms, and the advances in protection against child and wife abuse.  It is not well known that the Victorian Temperance reform was directed not so much at limiting the consumption of alcohol as it was trying to end wife and child abuse.  

"Idols" explains how it had taken nearly 2000 years for the Christian male intellect to start growing a conscience and by 1850 a very few leading male intellects were almost beginning to warm to the idea that there were no qualitative differences between male and female or between races.  Civil rights had gained momentum by the Anti-Slavery Conference in London in 1840.  Though the great women reformers in Britain and America were not allowed to participate or attend the Conference, it created a momentum towards reform.  The notion of separate spheres was being challenged and equal education for women and minorities was continuing to gain momentum.  Anti-feminist church doctrine was being challenged by the spontaneous rise of women evangelists within the First and Second Great Revival movements and the male dominated clergy’s were beginning to yield to the idea that women had authentic claims to a spiritual ministry.  Women were reforming medical practice and nursing by mid-century and the practice of employing female felons and prostitutes as nurses and housing them in wooden cages to be used as sexual favors for the Doctors and healthier patients in the 1840’s had been overturned after the Crimean War by the single efforts in Britain of Florence Nightingale.  It was a much harder and much longer struggle for Elizabeth Blackwell in America who had become the first female doctor in America in 1849.  It was through the efforts of the first woman editor, Miss Sarah Hale, whose editorials in Godey’s Ladies Magazine, campaigned for Elizabeth eventually evoked the support of a famous Philadelphia physician, after nine years of rejection, Elizabeth was finally accepted by a medical school.  Of course being a female she had to wash and iron the clothes of the male students and clean their rooms and of course at her graduation she had to sit with the women and could not receive her diploma in the copy of the male students.  

Then came the publication of Darwin’s book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,” in 1859.  Once the publication Darwin’s theories on how the favored white race had won it’s struggle for dominance was combined with Voigt’s measurements of brains, showing how natural selection had favored the male gender of the white race by giving it the biggest brain, many advanced male thinkers who had written of the equality of women and minorities prior in the 1859, now repudiate such notions just as unscientific.

According to Vogit’s measurements, the white male had evolved the biggest brain which “scientifically” proved his dominance and the power over all other races and gender.  Vogit found the brain of the white female to smaller than the white male and therefore he established the “scientific” basis for the white female’s mental debility.  Soon it was agreed that the white female was actually an atrophied white male whose mental and physical development had been somehow clogged.  Therefore the white woman’s only social purpose was to function as a container for the male seed.  Even the great playwright Strindberg declared in 1895, that white women’s debilitated mental state resulted from the loss of blood due to her monthly cycle, compounded by blood lost in childbirth.  Brilliant women who fought back but who did not have political, financial, or family protection were dealt with as hysterics and drugged with morphine.  

to be continued:
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 28, 2006, 10:47:17 PM
Voigt also said that black male brain was smaller than the white female so it was concluded that the black male’s mental abilities and spirit were just above that of an animal.  He also concluded that the black female brain was smallest of all so that by the 1890’s the medical practice of using a black woman for medical experiments if animals were not available was accepted as a perfectly correct scientific procedure.  This was the same logic which was used to justify the medical experiments on minorities in the German death camps forty years later.

Victorians rejected such theories as transparently stupid since they had already witnessed the way a brilliant black male mind operated in the person of Frederick Douglass, one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement, which fought to end slavery within the United States in the decades prior to the Civil War and who had won world fame when his autobiography was publicized in 1845.   They had also witnessed the equally brilliant operation of a white female mind in the person of Queen Victoria, ruler of the greatest nation in the world, not to mention the outstanding intellectual and inspirational contributions of the luminous black and white female minds of countless British, American and German women reformers and evangelists like Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Florence Nightingale had elevated and reformed medical care on a permanent basis in Britain before Darwin’s book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,” was published.”  Victorian reformers continued to repudiate the assumptions of racial and gender superiority devolving in the public thought from Darwin and Voigt’s theories while they watched such notions gain ground in medicine, anthropology, social and political science. 

Where as the Fascists made use of bio-sexists assumptions for their own political ends, Lenin adapted a similar conceptual construct based on superiority of the perfect proletariat mind.  While Lenin repudiated the Capitalist bio-sexist assumptions about gender and race by freely employing women and minorities in his government, he adopted the same logic as the Capitalist bio-sexists in terms of superiority and the non-existence of grace.  Let me explain what I mean.  In the bio-sexist world the female and non-white races could not transcend their own inferiority by the intervention of grace in order to become the equal of white male.  Just so, Lenin used the same logic insisting that the non-proletariat mind could not transcend its own inferiority by the intervention of grace in order to become the equal of the perfect proletariat mind therefore they had to be eliminated; which, Elizabeth, is exactly what your brilliantly ordered quotes from Lenin’s own lips.   

Where the bio-sexists terror was limited by their need for females for procreation and inferior races for experimentation and forced labor, Lenin’s terror had no boundaries because, outside of slave labor, there was no use for the non-proletariat mind and extermination was the only alternative.  The thing that made Lenin’s task so much harder than the Fascist bio-sexists was that while it is relatively easy to identify and glorify it’s ideal, the white male, the identification of the ideal proletariat mind proved far more difficult.  In fact the process of identifying the perfect proletariat mind was often only achievable through a process of elimination, i.e., if you were left standing after a purge, you had a perfect proletariat mind.  Of course a new set of standards could always change the rules.  In the perfect bio-sexist world, once you had enslaved all non white males, utopia was achieved; in the Communist world your work was never done.           
 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 28, 2006, 10:58:57 PM
Of course such a political agenda would end in the terrible reign of terror for Russia that penetrated well into mid period of the last century and unlike the public exposure of bio-sexists assumptions with the fall of Fascist dictators at the end of WWII.  The Communist reign of terror remained hidden behind proletariat idealism until the death of Stalin. 

Just as an aside, I don’t know which was worse for the mid-century American Communist party, the fascist persecution of that party by McCarthy, or their total disillusionment when Stalin was exposed as a certifiable psychopath after his death.  I don't know if anyone has ever seen that documentary of the son of one of the leading American Communists and his attempts to understand his father.  I think it was called, "In seach of my Father."  It really explains how deluded American Communists were and how hard they fell once Stalin was exposed.  All of this was happening at the same time and must have been tremendously confusing to sincere Americans socialists who thought of Stalin as having upheld the ideals of equality and freedom they so deeply believed in.  It was odd that McCarthy felt motivated to persecute a group of people who were drowning in bitterness of their own disbelief.  I think it was in the mid-century that the Wall really started to come down.  To me that long procession of Russian rulers that that followed Stalin and looked like Jimmy Hoffa clones (that is until Gorbachev and Raisa appeared) represented the decline of proletariat ideals that had lost all credibility once the repression it took to maintain them was exposed.   

Ok in a couple of days time I will try to explain how I feel Himmelfarb's books on understanding the Victorian mind, help to unlock the Young Empress' character in a positive light and as a direct expression of the Victorian virtues that were instilled in her.  I well know beforehand that I have lost this battle before it is begun, but that makes it all the more fun, but hopefully some of the dynamic of the Victorian reform movement will have already paved some of my way.     
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on August 29, 2006, 12:08:49 AM
In thinking about this, I am not sure I should share the information about Himmelfarb and the Young Emress as it will take us off the topic at hand, "How has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life?   
Title: Griffh, I would like to engage in another discussioun with you
Post by: Bev on August 29, 2006, 12:14:39 AM
but it's getting very late, and I still have papers to read, and little encouraging notes to write on sticky notes and attach to the folders for wihich my name will be sung across the campus accompanied by harps and violins - followed by phone calls at7am such as, "if I don't get that A my life is ruined"  Or my personal favorite - "why do you hate me?" and the one always guaranteed to bring me to the right way of thinking "If I don't get an A my dad said he was comin up here and wantin to know the reason why'

So later, amigo
Title: Re: In what way am I wrong?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 29, 2006, 02:01:46 AM
I don't judge you, or make snotty comments to you or accuse you of any kind of insidious ulterior motives in posting. 

Following the inspiration of our lovely side topic of the prevalence of sociopathic behaviour among twentieth century European totalitarian mass murderersº, I decided to pull on your chain for a bit of fun and sport, less the guilt and remorse of the average non-sociopathic man. I found the response to be under whelming but not unexpected from a student. Taking too much offence demonstrates ones own insecurity in the validity of the statements that have been tendered. Try not to overreact next time we have a bit of back and forth.

Caio,

David

ºCould this be a thesis topic or has it already been done?
Title: David
Post by: Bev on August 29, 2006, 09:41:20 AM
I was going to post something really cruel and insulting to you, but I just don't enjoy hurting other peoples' feelings.  I post here because there are many interesting discussions going on, with interesting opinions and thoughts by other people and it's fun.  I don't enjoy yanking on people's chains for fun and sport hoping for an angry outburst or reaction -  it ceases to be fun and becomes nothing more than an outlet for passive/aggressive behavior, which should always be a car, not a forum.  (Just kidding)  In plainer words, don't make snotty comments to me or about me.  It hurts my feelings.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 29, 2006, 11:45:54 AM
Dear Bev,

I am pleased to see you have a sense of humour, you might allow it to show more often. You missed my point however in that I knew pulling your chain was socially frowned upon but it was done anyway without guilt because it achieved the desired point. My opinion about Lenin is that he knew what he was doing was against the standards of the society in which he lived and in the manner in which he was reared but he chose to do what he planned for so long without any sense of guilt, because he wanted to achieve a certain end. You are of the opinion that Stalin and Hitler had no guilty feelings or lacked a sense of right and wrong, only the desire to achieve their ends. I would propose that no Catholic child, even Hitler, could have grown up without some sense of right and wrong being instilled within him. The same could be said for Stalin, the son of a deeply religious Orthodox woman who sent her son to be educated in a seminary. If they had no guilty feelings or a sense of societal standards why were almost all of the mass murders committed in isolated regions, in forests, in basements, in prison courtyards, in concentration camps?

David
Title: Eliz, I wonder how you would like
Post by: Bev on August 29, 2006, 12:15:16 PM
it if I addressed you in the same manner as you address me?  I didn't say that those men should be judged by their own standards, I didn't say revolution is only "truly" a revolution if the empire is flourishing, I didn't denigrate the Eastern bloc people, I didn't say that what any of those men did wasn't bad - what I did say, and maybe a more careful reading of my post would make more obvious, is that to say they're evil gives them too much credit - it implies that they actually had a moral foundation.  In my opinion, Stalin and Hitler were sociopaths.  They were broken human beings, they had mental disorders.  That's not moral relativism, that's just a fact.  Perhaps instead of dismissing these men as "evil" it might be a good idea to examine their behavior and their actions, find out how and why they became what they were, so that we don't continue to repeat it over and over, which it seems we do on a regular basis in this world.  

As to what Lenin and the Soviets did to Russia, it would seem that since they were Russian, that Russians did this to each other.  Rusiians set up the gulags, Russians destroyed the aristocracy, Russians killed the Imperial family, Russians oppressed each other, and made life miserable for each other.  But in no way does that lead me to the conclusion that the Russians are evil people, anymore than the fact that Nazis were German and the German people must be evil.  The Soviets didn't come to power in a vacuum and they certainly didn't just appear in Russia as some alien species that landed in Russia and proceeded to conquer Russia.  Maybe an acknowledgement of this era as a Russian responsibility might help in understanding it so that it doesn't happen again.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 29, 2006, 01:13:08 PM
Bev, since you rarely if ever address my main points, it’s somewhat difficult to have a discussion with you. I think we just have very different worldviews and as a result continually misunderstand each other. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see eye to eye.

Personally I am very uncomfortable with explaining Hitler and Stalin by recourse to mental illness alone. IMO labelling Hitler or Stalin as "mentally ill" explains virtually nothing about how they came to power, remained in power for as long as they did, and even after death continue to exert a kind of dread fascination over the very same world they despoiled... Think about it. Most mentally ill people can’t organize their own day-to-day lives, much less run empires. Hitler and Stalin might very well have been sociopaths in modern psychiatric terms, but more importantly to my mind, they were also geniuses. And while our definitions of mental illness come and go (new disorders being named practically every year, not to mention the constant changes in terminology from one decade to the next), our overall societal definition of what constitutes a "genius" does not. Stalin, for example, was a brilliant administrator and a master-manipulator of other human beings. He was not by any stretch of the imagination a "broken man" – such a man could not have outmaneuvered and eventually destroyed all his political rivals, such a man could not have built the Soviet empire, such a man could not have outsmarted other world leaders like FDR, etc., etc.

To label Stalin a "sociopath" and leave it at that does not address what made Stalin different, what raised him above the ranks of all the other so-called sociopaths in the Soviet government of the time. The same is true of Hitler, although I will grant you that Hitler is a far more attractive subject for psychiatric speculations than Stalin, given his oratorical tirades, his racial obsessions and his talent for self-destruction among other things. (But even professional historians disagree on whether Hitler's seeming obsession with race was sincere or just another cynical political ploy to gain and maintain power.)

Nevertheless, because I think these men were evil geniuses, not "broken," not terribly unhappy either as far as I can make out (both of them exulted in total power and indulged their every whim), unlike you I don’t feel any pity for them whatsoever. They were far smarter than you or I – far more capable and therefore far more free to make choices in this life. In other words, they had free will, and because they were so brilliant and gifted, IMO they had a greater moral obligation to do good than ordinary people do. Instead they chose to turn their backs on established societal norms of behavior (which at any rate they felt to be beneath them, since they were in effect "supermen" of the new era) and do evil. By their actions they claimed tens of millions of innocent victims. I am incapable of feeling pity for men like this. And you know what, Bev? They themselves would laugh at your pity. Don’t waste it on such undeserving creatures.
Title: Re: The Soviet Legacy
Post by: Elisabeth on August 29, 2006, 02:16:18 PM
As to what Lenin and the Soviets did to Russia, it would seem that since they were Russian, that Russians did this to each other.  Rusiians set up the gulags, Russians destroyed the aristocracy, Russians killed the Imperial family, Russians oppressed each other, and made life miserable for each other.  But in no way does that lead me to the conclusion that the Russians are evil people, anymore than the fact that Nazis were German and the German people must be evil.  The Soviets didn't come to power in a vacuum and they certainly didn't just appear in Russia as some alien species that landed in Russia and proceeded to conquer Russia.  Maybe an acknowledgement of this era as a Russian responsibility might help in understanding it so that it doesn't happen again.

Well, my husband, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Orlando Figes would all agree with you, and I myself have raised the issue of Russian responsibility in many of my previous posts. I do believe that Russians have to take responsibility for their own history, as the German people have done, as other nations guilty of crimes against humanity have done. On the other hand, I see a lot of grey areas here... I honestly don’t think the issue is so clear, so cut and dried. It might have been back in the 1970s, when Solzhenitsyn wrote his seminal works and when so many former Stalinist butchers and their collaborators were still alive, but by 2006? It’s hard to envision any kind of mass public atonement taking place in Russia when most of the criminals and their collaborators have long since died, and there is no longer a realistic possibility of a Nuremberg-style tribunal.

Moreover, I do see some grey areas in this tragic chapter of Russian history, especially as compared to German history. First of all, Hitler’s party was elected to the Reichstag by a free election in Germany, and he himself was appointed chancellor by Hindenburg, whereas Lenin took power by force, and forcibly dissolved the Constituent Assembly, which had been freely elected by the Russian people to decide Russia’s future. Thus the Bolsheviks executed not a true revolution but a coup d’état. This action in turn resulted in a civil war, as predictably not all Russians were happy with such an outcome. Moreover, even if the Bolshevik programme (land, peace, bread) eventually proved more appealing to the bulk of the Russian peasantry than the incoherent White programme (to the extent that there even was a White programme, which is debatable), there was still a significant number of Russian peasants (the so-called Greens) who resisted Soviet power well into the 1920s. Indeed, even at the height of coercive (read: murderous) Soviet power, during collectivization, there were innumerable peasant revolts throughout the Russian land that had to be mercilessly crushed by Stalin. So in fact the dissident movement in the Soviet Union was present from the very beginning of the Soviet state…and as much amongst the common people as amongst the educated elite, that is, the aristocracy and bourgeoisie (who by and large either emigrated, or perished in concentration camps in the Far North). So… Russian history in the Soviet period is a very mixed bag of criminality, collaboration and revolt. And when you also take into account the fact that most of Stalin’s tens of millions of victims were ordinary peasants (because a "rich" peasant by Stalinist standards was one who owned, for example, a single cow!) … then you begin to see how incredibly complex the total picture is. For that reason I have a hard time condemning the Russian people of that era as a whole.

Perhaps if trials could have been held in the 1980s or early 1990s, when the true culprits were still alive, or only just barely, Russians would feel more of a sense of closure with their past. But I would argue that it is this very same lack of closure – no one, or at least hardly anyone held accountable (although Molotov at the age of 90 used to get beat up in the street by former GULAG prisoners!) – that makes Russian culture today appear to the western observer as so jittery and hectic. There’s no sense of foundation, no sense of roots, although everybody’s frantically searching for them... Indeed most of the Russian people were thoroughly uprooted during the Soviet period, and not surprisingly, no longer know where they come from or where they now stand (perhaps they even resemble many Americans in this regard?). Everyone is trying to make the best of a difficult situation, but it’s hard…and added to this, are all the temptations present in an oil-rich economy. Quick riches and immediate satisfaction. IMO this is why Russian culture today appears on the brink of yet another crisis.  But I could be totally wrong... and probably am. Maybe it's just another phase of coming to terms with modernity?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on August 29, 2006, 02:55:11 PM
I think you are dead on Elizabeth, Excellent ! You know Russian history, and the Russian people well. And you are more than right, final closure has not yet evolved, and Russians ARE trying to make the best of what they have presently. It is no picnic for our relatives who live in Russia, but again, they have endured so much, and with faith, and determination the Russian peoples will regain their entirety of balance. Again, you are correct, had trials been held as was held in Germany at the close of the war, much could have been achieved. You are brilliantly correct on every point you have raised, and I thank you for your steadfast understanding and responses. Sapcibo !

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 29, 2006, 03:26:15 PM

They themselves would laugh at your pity.


How true you are Elisabeth.

David
Title: You know, Eliz...
Post by: Bev on August 29, 2006, 04:45:53 PM
I've answered every one of your main points.  What you don't like are my answers.  What you want to hear is that the Russian people suffered more than any other people in this history of the world, and that Lenin was some monster that appeared out of nowhere laying waste and destruction to all the land and its people.  You even dismiss the nazis as some sort of "freely elected" party, when nothing could be further from the truth.  They used the same tactics as Lenin - strongarming, bogus elections, killing their enemies and siezing power under false pretexts.  So it seems  that already you're rationalizing the Russian people and their response to Lenin - the Germans brought it on themselves, but it happened to the Russians. Do you not see this?  Lenin and the Soviets did terrible things, but they did them with the collaboration and the acquiescence of the Russian people. 

If you think Hitler and Stalin were evil geniuses and perfectly normal men, you're certainly entitled to think that.  I've addressed this particular issue three times now.  No, I don't think they were "smart".  I don't think they were evil geniuses.  I don't think they were brilliant administrators.  I think they were sociopaths.  I also think they were uneducated, untraveled, small-minded thugs, who knew nothing about the world and didn't care to know anything about it.  If you had read my post, you would have noted that I said that
perhaps if we knew more about sociopathology and human behavior, we might understand it and maybe even prevent men like that rising to power.  A sociopath's brain is not working correctly - it is not functioning as normal brains do, it is anti-evolutionary behavior.  Sociopaths lack the brain chemical that makes us human - the pheremone that allows us to be empathetic and compassionate towards one another - the very thing that helped us evolve as a species.  I would like to know why this happens, how it happens and how it can be corrected.  Now why is that a bad thing, and why should it be a good thing to hate these people?  Yes, I do pity these men, I pity anyone who is incapable of being fully human and all the experiences that make life worth living.  I pity them as much as I pity their victims, who were deprived of those experiences.  Why shouldn't we have pity and compassion for the worst among us as well as the best?  Isn't that why we're here?  To become better human beings?   Anger and hatefulness don't make us better, it makes us like them - and I don't want to be like them.

(And no, pity and compassion do not exclude justice and reparations, which all societies have the right and duty to enact. And no, I don't think Russians need  show trials at this point, but I wouldn't presume to tell the Russians what they need or should do - I believe absolutely and conpletely in self-determination and all nations should have the will and ability to arrange their own domestic affairs.)

Oh, and by the way, I wonder at you seeing lots of gray areas when it comes to this era in Russian history, because I remember in a previous post when I mentioned that the era was very complicated you claimed that it was black and white - the Soviets were evil.  Might we be arriving at some agreement here?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 29, 2006, 04:53:46 PM
Bev,

What is your agenda on this forum? What point are you trying to prove or further? Who is it that you want to influence with your many words?

David
Title: David
Post by: Bev on August 29, 2006, 04:58:51 PM
What is your agenda on this forum?  What point are you trying to prove or further?  Who is it you want to influence with your few words?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 29, 2006, 05:10:44 PM
Dear Bev,

Congratulations! You can parrot back my question with great accuracy. Stand tall and proud dear Bev as this is an important milestone in your life.

David
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Bev on August 29, 2006, 05:17:14 PM
So, what is your agenda?  Why do I have to have an agenda?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: David_Pritchard on August 29, 2006, 07:57:16 PM
Bev,

My agenda, as much as there is one, is to counter your agenda which seems to be to give the mass murders of the 20th century some undeserved understanding and some wiggle room so to speak when it comes to personal responsibility. I object to the semantics of the debate, the seeming inability of you to use the word evil to describe the actions of these leaders of infamous totalitarian regimes. By only using terms to describe their actions which connote a lessening of the actions of the three dictators, you minimise the heinous nature of their crimes and therefore minimise the humanity of their victims. Maybe you have never met people who have had family members disappear never to be seen again or sent to Siberia. As I have written many times before on this forum, I lived in Russia for five years, I have seen the old prisons and even spent some hours talking to a survivor of Kolyma and other men who survived the Soviet labour camp system. This is not just a theoretical discussion to me nor many of the other people on this forum.

Are you such a product of the US university system that you cannot operate outside of the tired and discredited doctrine of moral relativism?
Title: More Misunderstandings...
Post by: Elisabeth on August 30, 2006, 08:50:46 AM
What you want to hear is that the Russian people suffered more than any other people in this history of the world, and that Lenin was some monster that appeared out of nowhere laying waste and destruction to all the land and its people.

I’m sorry if my focus on the Soviet tragedy seems unfair, but this is after all a forum dedicated to Russian history, and a thread specifically devoted to Lenin. Nevertheless I thought I had made it perfectly clear in my previous posts that in my opinion the tragedy that the Russian people and other east European peoples suffered under the Soviets was no worse than other tragedies perpetrated on other nations by other totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century.

Nor do I see Lenin as a "monster that appeared out of nowhere," but rather as a logical culmination of a certain fanatical extremist tendency in Russian revolutionary thought.

You even dismiss the nazis as some sort of "freely elected" party, when nothing could be further from the truth.  They used the same tactics as Lenin - strongarming, bogus elections, killing their enemies and siezing power under false pretexts.  So it seems  that already you're rationalizing the Russian people and their response to Lenin - the Germans brought it on themselves, but it happened to the Russians. Do you not see this?  Lenin and the Soviets did terrible things, but they did them with the collaboration and the acquiescence of the Russian people. 

Again, I didn’t dismiss the Nazis as a "freely elected" party (? in one post I even compared them to Al Qaeda, as I recall). What I said was that the Nazis won elections to the Reichstag and Hitler was appointed chancellor by Hindenberg. So there was at least a semblance of legality to their initial rise to political power in Germany, whatever the baseness of their tactics in the streets and the illegality of Hitler’s actions later. There was no such semblance of legality to Lenin’s coup d’état of October 1917 and his forcible dissolving of the Constituent Assembly in January 1918. So, yes, there was a difference in the way the Nazis and the Bolsheviks came to power in their respective countries, and it’s a distortion of the historical record to argue otherwise. 

You're also distorting by over-simplification everything I said about the Russian people's response to the Bolsheviks. I did say, repeatedly, that some Russians turned into Bolshevik butchers themselves, and others collaborated with the Bolsheviks. But as was also true with some Germans under Hitler, there was a record of resistance to the Bolsheviks by the Russian people going back all the way to the October Revolution. 

If you think Hitler and Stalin were evil geniuses and perfectly normal men, you're certainly entitled to think that. 

I didn’t know that evil geniuses were perfectly normal men. That’s a new one on me! 
Title: Re: More Misunderstandings II
Post by: Elisabeth on August 30, 2006, 08:58:49 AM
If you think Hitler and Stalin were evil geniuses and perfectly normal men, you're certainly entitled to think that.  I've addressed this particular issue three times now.  No, I don't think they were "smart".  I don't think they were evil geniuses.  I don't think they were brilliant administrators.  I think they were sociopaths.  I also think they were uneducated, untraveled, small-minded thugs, who knew nothing about the world and didn't care to know anything about it. 

Bev, if you sincerely believe all this, then you simply haven’t read very much about someone like Stalin. He might have been an autodidact, but he was a committed one – a voracious reader who was interested in virtually every subject under the sun.  It used to be popular with Western historians to dismiss Stalin as an intellectual mediocrity, but since the state archives of the former Soviet Union have been opened, historians have had to revise their views.

I think you are the one who prefers to dismiss the tyrants of history with one easy catch-all diagnosis. You don’t seem at all interested in pursuing lines of inquiry that don’t agree with this diagnosis. As I said before, I am perfectly willing to grant that Hitler and Stalin might have been sociopaths by modern clinical standards (do you actually read my posts or do you just skim through them?). But, again, as I also said, I don’t believe a diagnosis of "sociopathology" alone is sufficient to explain their rise to power or their hold over millions of people.

And I also don’t think it does the world any great service to underestimate the brain power of some murderous tyrants. No doubt it’s a huge comfort to believe that a brutal thug can’t be brainier than yourself, and that high intelligence always goes hand in hand with civility and essential decency, but the whole course of human history proves you wrong.

If you had read my post, you would have noted that I said that perhaps if we knew more about sociopathology and human behavior, we might understand it and maybe even prevent men like that rising to power.  A sociopath's brain is not working correctly - it is not functioning as normal brains do, it is anti-evolutionary behavior.  Sociopaths lack the brain chemical that makes us human - the pheremone that allows us to be empathetic and compassionate towards one another - the very thing that helped us evolve as a species.

According to recent psychiatric theories of human behavor, which may very well prove to be wrong or overly simplistic. Studies of the human brain are still in their infancy. Moreover, even if these theories are correct, that might actually mean that neither Hitler nor Stalin were sociopaths. Anyone who is at all familiar with recent writings about Hitler, for example, knows that he could be charming and kind in his private life, especially to his employees, according to his secretary Traudl Junge. Nor is there anything to indicate that Stalin was incapable of feeling love and empathy, at least for those nearest and dearest to him. His letters to his wife Nadezhda are affectionate and joking, full of constant reminders for her to look after her health (she was chronically ill). He adored his daughter Svetlana and was adored in return, at least while she was a child. Not only that, but he was extremely popular with the Bolsheviks throughout the 1920s because he appeared to be so outgoing, friendly, and sympathetic. Yes, he was considered rough and uncouth, but a much nicer and more approachable fellow than the intellectually arrogant Trotsky.

By concentrating solely on the negative traits of these men, you make them sound more like monsters than I have ever done…

I would also like to know how these so-called "broken" sociopaths, "incapable of being fully human" and of having "all the experiences that make life worth living" nevertheless attained such full, detailed and alarming insights into the psychology of their fellow human beings… as both Hitler and Stalin clearly did, or they would not have exerted such a powerful hold on the imaginations of millions of their subjects.

Oh, and by the way, I wonder at you seeing lots of gray areas when it comes to this era in Russian history, because I remember in a previous post when I mentioned that the era was very complicated you claimed that it was black and white - the Soviets were evil.  Might we be arriving at some agreement here?

I said I see grey areas in Russian attitudes to the Soviet regime, both in the past and present, but I clearly did not say that I thought there were any grey areas in the Bolsheviks’ treatment of their subject peoples.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 30, 2006, 10:52:01 AM
I wanted to add to my previous post, but was prevented from doing so by time constraints, that there’s strong evidence that Hitler was capable of feeling both empathy and compassion and therefore could not have been, at least by Bev's definition, a true sociopath. According to Rosenbaum in his book Explaining Hitler, young "Adolf’s suffering was intense" during his mother’s long, painful and drawn-out death from cancer in 1907 (p. 244). "I have never seen a boy so ineffably saddened," remembered the attending physician, Dr. Bloch. By all accounts, Hitler deeply loved his mother.

But if Hitler had been a sociopath, he could neither have loved his mother nor experienced such pain and sadness at her death.

Also interesting is the fact that decades later Hitler personally ensured that Dr. Bloch, who was Jewish, could escape abroad after the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938. Indeed he repeatedly expressed a debt of gratitude to the Jewish doctor who had attended his mother during her final, fatal illness (Rosenbaum, p. 245).
Title: Eliz.
Post by: Bev on August 30, 2006, 12:32:10 PM
Lenin, Stalin and Hitler were evil geniuses.  The Bolsheviks were evil.  Because I think that two of the men were sociopaths, I have dismissed all of history, because sociopathology is a catch all diagnosis, and since these men managed to be charismatic, charming and kind, then it must be "evil" that explains their behavior.  Stalin liked to read about anything under the sun, which means he was well educated, a bright intellectual light shining in the constellation of world leaders who were evil geniuses  Rather like Ted Bundy, charming and well read, but politically motivated.  Since I failed to preface every comment about any of these men with the phrase "though intelligent and at times charming and kind" I can understand how you would think I take comfort in thinking that high intelliigence "always goes hand in hand with civility and essential decency" because there must be only one kind of human intelligence and sociopaths are all one dimensional knuckle draggers, incapable of mimicry, observation and sublimation, and since I didn't actually say that small minded thugs can be intelligent, cunning, manipulative charismatics because I assumed that everyone knew that, I can see why you would assume that I didn't know that.  I concede that Lenin was the culmination of revolutionary thought, Stalin was the culmination of bolshevik thought and that the explanation for their rise to power is evil, that when it comes to bolshevism there can be no other discerning, nuanced arguments that historians can or should make to explain their actions, behavior or thought other than sheer, unadulterated evil.  I can't imagine what I had been thinking, in commenting that I thought bolshevism was complicated and  a many shaded movement.  

I fault myself for not being empathetic and understanding that to Russians this is a black and white issue and comments or statements made about bolshevism that are not absolutely contemptuous of them are always construed as support and promotion of their political agenda.  In my defense, I must say that I really did not know that since the actions and behaviors of tsars were based on their belief in christain orthodoxy then their motivations were inherently good, while the godless bolsheviks' motivations were inherently evil.  I read Russian history labouring under the impression that the Soviets were like people everywhere, motivated by self-interest, self-preservation, greed, love, patriotism, hate, generosity, jealousy, kindness and cruelty.  (Any ommission from this listing should not construed as absence of evidence or evidence of absence.)  

I'm sorry that I offended you, Eliz., I should have been more sensitive and agreeable that the bolsheviks were all evil bastards.  Honestly, I thought that my comment that by calling them evil we were actually giving them too much credit as humans who had morals, would not be construed as morally relativistic since the claim was based on the argument that there are such things as morals and amorality is a different concept than immorality (one being a complete absence of morals, while the other is evidence of possession of morals but the will not to exercise them and sociopaths are amoral, not immoral) and amorality is anti-evolutionary, anti-social behavior and this kind of behavior would tend towards an organic cause rather than social environmental or a lack of interest in pursuing lines of inquiry as to how and why these tragedies occur.  In fact, I believe I stated that by learning how and why these tragedies of human behavior occur, we are exploring more than one line of inquiry, since we would be examining, organic, environmental, social, nurture, nature and political lines of inquiry.  I'm well aware that history is a convergence of events but I am more interested in event horizons, than the events themselves, although no one should infer from that statement that I am not interested in events - it's a quantifed statement of levels of interest.  
Best wishes,
Bev
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 30, 2006, 12:47:52 PM
Er, whaaaaat? Could we chill out here, please? Perhaps we should just agree to disagree and have done with it... This has been an interesting discussion and I have enjoyed arguing with you, Bev, very much - you are a worthy intellectual opponent. But I certainly didn't mean to upset you to this extent.... I know that sometimes I can have a sharp-edged tongue but you always seemed to give as good as you got... If we really want to continue talking about this intriguing subject, isn't it possible to limit our posts to reasoned rebuttals of the other side's main points? Is all the acidulous sarcasm really necessary?
Title: How can you be sure that it was
Post by: Bev on August 30, 2006, 12:57:38 PM
empathy and compassion?  According to Binion, Hitler himself urged the drastic, painful cancer treatments on his mother, even after he knew it was hopeless.  In my opinion, that would indicate a high degree of selfishness, not compassion.  So do you agree with Binion's psychoanalysis that this was the seminal event in Hitler's life that caused the genocide of the Jews?
Title: Eliz.
Post by: Bev on August 30, 2006, 01:02:06 PM
I'm not upset by this discussion in the least.  I thank you for your concern, though.  No, the discussion is very enjoyable.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 30, 2006, 01:10:39 PM
Well, I'm glad we can see eye to eye on the pleasure of intellectual debate, at least!

In answer to your last question, I agree with Rosenbaum that Binion's theory was highly far-fetched. There doesn't seem to be any indication whatsoever that Hitler held a grudge against the Jewish doctor who treated his mother - on the contrary, he later protected him from anti-Semitic Nazi measures.

All I am trying to say, Bev, is that I think we need to give people like Stalin and Hitler as much credit for being incredibly complicated human beings as we give ourselves. Was it selfish for Hitler to insist on painful cancer treatments for his dying mother? Perhaps, but that's an all too common failing in families of cancer patients. Indeed underage cancer patients have even gone to court to stop their families from insisting on such futile treatments...

I don't think Hitler's inability to give up on his mother even when she was terminally ill indicates lack of love or empathy. I think it indicates a deep and abiding emotional attachment which could not bear the finality of death. But according to psychiatrists, sociopaths are incapable of such deep and abiding emotional attachments... indeed, it's the failure of the infant to establish a primary emotional connection with his primary caregiver (usually in the 19th century the mother) that ensures he will neither develop a conscience or empathy... and become a sociopath. To be frank, I just don't see any of this in Hitler's personal history. Whatever happened to change him, probably happened later, perhaps during his experiences as a soldier in World War I (during which, as you no doubt already know, he demonstrated outstanding courage under fire, according to all his superior officers). Although his earlier failure to get into the Vienna Academy of Arts also had an unquestionably profound impact on him.

(N.B. Have you ever seen the movie Max, starring John Cusack? In it Cusack plays a post- WWI art dealer who takes an interest in the young Hitler and tries to set up an exhibition of his work... The director of this film said in an interview that he often thought that if only the young Hitler had been given an art gallery he would never have become a world tyrant... interesting argument, even if not entirely convincing!)

Title: Well, I've said several times now that it
Post by: Bev on August 30, 2006, 02:25:17 PM
was complicated.  Sociopaths are complicated.  Secondly, Bloch might have thought that Hitler was suffering and I'm sure Hitler was suffering, but sociopaths can and do suffer - they simply cannot recognize the suffering of others.  He certainly suffered when Geli Raubel committed suicide, but that's not indicative of love and empathy, that's merely indicative of suffering.  All of the anecdotal evidence is that Hitler never had a reciprical, adult relationship with anyone.  His only professed love affair was with the disembodied state. 

(Let me state that sociopaths are devoid of human emotion, only in the way normal humans have emotions.  They are more than capable of mimicking human social behavior in order to fit in, but they are incapable of understanding emotion outside their own personal application - they lack empathy.)
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on August 31, 2006, 11:59:49 AM
Bev, I still have no reason to doubt that young Adolf Hitler suffered greatly during his mother's lingering last illness and her death. To me this is more than enough evidence that he had formed a primary attachment to his mother and was not in modern clinical terms a sociopath. I think it's somewhat illogical to argue that his grief over his mother was due to selfishness. Of course, he could have chosen not to continue Dr. Bloch's painful and futile treatments because they caused his mother more suffering, but how did he know these treatments were futile?  It's very common among relatives of cancer patients to clutch at any last straw they can find in the hope of keeping their sick loved one alive. If they don't pursue every avenue of treatment, and their loved one dies, then they are left with a horrible case of survivor's guilt for the rest of their lives, asking themselves, what if I had tried this course of treatment? What if I had pursued this medicine? Maybe my loved one would have pulled through, despite everything...

Therefore I think it's impossible to conclude definitively that Hitler was selfish in prolonging his mother's death from cancer. No doubt he did what he thought was best for her - but of course we have no way of knowing for certain. What Dr. Bloch's account does demonstrate, however, is that the young Hitler loved his mother and felt despair at the prospect of her approaching death. So no, I don't think he was a sociopath in modern clinical terms, at least as you have defined them.

But this is precisely why I have trouble with these modern-day psychiatric "disorders:" they are too broad and sweeping, too generalized when it comes to dealing with real-life human subjects, with all their internal complexity. A great artist of the human soul like Dostoevsky could have written convincingly about Hitler's psychology, but your average modern-day psychiatrist? So far I have yet to come across a convincing psychiatric study of Hitler.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Bev on August 31, 2006, 05:52:26 PM
The remark I made concerning Hitler's treatment of his mother, was an example - it is not the only nor the primary symptom of his mental disorder.  Sociopaths can form attachments, they have strategic social intelligence (usually developed to a high degree) they have a theory of mind mechanism which enables them to interpret other peoples behavior by inferring disposition, motivations and intentions.  They have emotions which are cognitive representations of biological body states - the somatic marker mechanism - a sympathetic neurological response of the body which is biologically evolutionary, not socially evolutionary.  What is lacking in sociopaths is an empathetic neurological response which is developed socially and biologically and hardwires neurological pathways to the brain.

Here's an example of both - a sympathetic neurological response is when (and this is just one example) someone cuts himself and you think of how you would feel if it happened to you.  An empathetic neurological response makes that connection between the biological response and the social neurological response which allows you to feel other peoples' pain as IF it happened to you and respond as if it had happened to you. Physiologically this pathway either doesn't exist or has been destroyed in sociopaths and whether it is the result of a particular method of socialization or organically caused, the preponderence of the scientific evidence suggests it is organic in nature with the secondary cause being a particular method of socialization. 

In sociopaths, the theory of mind mechanism seems to be highly disposed to delusions or false beliefs.  These delusions are not bizarre (although that is possible in sociopaths) such as space alien persecution, but like those delusions they are resistent to logical, rational explanation  For example, if you rationally and logically explained to Hitler or Stalin that they were not being persecuted by Jews or Political enemies, they would not believe you, even if empirical, eyewitness and circumstantial evidence proved them wrong.  Their process of reasoning is intact but the conclusions they draw are based on theory of mind false beliefs.  Since they have a theory of mind mechanism, they are adept at sociopathic mirroring - they know from observation of their own sympathetic neurological response how to act in social interaction, they're perfectly capable of understanding human nature, what they don't understand is human nurture.  Which is why of course, their relationships are impermanent and unreciprical, as when the other person in the relationship exerts his/her own wishes and desires they end the relationship.  Yes, they can form attachments but they cannot love, because love is a reciprical emotion.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on September 01, 2006, 02:45:44 AM
Every time I read Lenin I am always stunned and at the same time amazed by his detachment from human emotions and the absence of sentiment.  Lenin follows his minimalist formulas to their heartless conclusions with such cold passion.   

It always makes me wonder how much of Lenin’s excitement to gain control over Russia came from the unhealed shock and grief over his brother’s execution.  I suppose it is impossible to ever know the truth.  I must admit that after reading Lenin, in spite of his detachment I always get the impression that hidden beneath the ice cold surface of his highly polished political reasoning, there is this grinning Cheshire cat, like the one in Alice Through The Looking Glass, who gradually disappears, all except it’s grin.  With out fail, after reading Lenin, I always sense, hidden beneath the ice, the lingering grin of Lenin’s malice taking pleasure in revenge.         
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 01, 2006, 10:49:44 AM
  Yes, they can form attachments but they cannot love, because love is a reciprical emotion.

But once again there’s every indication that Hitler did love his mother, and that his mother loved him in return. If his later emotional attachments were shallow and unreciprocated, this could be due to any number of other factors, not necessarily sociopathy – for example, the fact that Hitler was utterly consumed by politics and the drive for political power. And I can think of plenty of other politicians for whom emotional attachments assume a backseat role in their lives simply because they don’t have the time or the energy for such things–  they don't constitute a priority. Of course you can say that such people are living narrow and emotionally constricted lives, but this is the life they have chosen, for whatever reason. The sociopathy argument is reductionist and by its very definition leads out innumerable other psychological causes for why people in power behave the way they do. It assumes that for the psychologically "normal" person emotional attachments are of greater importance than political power. But that is a value judgment, and IMO a particularly naïve one. Love and sex do make the world go round for some, it’s true, but for many others money is the driving force, and for the remainder the ruling principle of life seems to be simply the power to rule over everybody else.

Just as importantly, as I and David have pointed out repeatedly, the psychiatric "explanation" for a Hitler or a Stalin leaves out the question of personal responsibility and free will. If these men were indeed suffering from a psychiatric disorder that impaired or completely destroyed their moral compasses, then they cannot be held responsible for the crimes they committed, because by definition they had no internalized moral sense of what constituted the difference between right and wrong… Whereas both leaders were obviously totally aware that they were doing something deeply wrong or they would not have gone to such enormous lengths to hide their crimes against humanity. The most famous example of this, as you know, is that there is no Fuhrer Order commanding the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe. All we have is an elusively-worded directive (abounding in carefully chosen euphemisms) from Goering to Heydrich ordering the latter to begin preparing for the "final solution" (ultimate euphemism) of the Jewish "problem" in Europe. Why all the elaborate circumlocution, even in internal memos, if these men were all sociopaths? Why was all this secrecy and doublethink necessary, even amongst themselves?

I also have trouble with the notion that Hitler had an entire mental illness in common with someone like Charles Manson, who does, I admit, seem to me mentally ill and is furthermore a far more obvious "sociopath" by the definition you have given. True, Hitler and Manson got other people to perform their murders for them, but that’s about it by way of comparison. Manson has been a loser his entire life and has always existed on the very margins of society. To the extent he gained any power at all it was only over a small group of other losers, young drop-outs and drug abusers. By contrast the Hitler of the 1930s ruled over a modern, civilized, and highly cultivated nation of western Europe. He was accepted as a man of great leadership and even vision by most of the western world, even if a handful of more insightful people didn’t agree with his tactics or his larger political program and realized early on that he was  a threat to international peace. Still, you can’t argue that Hitler was not accepted as a political leader by the leading lights of Germany and most of western Europe. Whether they admired or despised him, they were all forced to deal with him one way or the other. Such power is not the mark of a typical loser in life, at least not by worldly standards of success.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 01, 2006, 11:46:22 AM
Every time I read Lenin I am always stunned and at the same time amazed by his detachment from human emotions and the absence of sentiment.  Lenin follows his minimalist formulas to their heartless conclusions with such cold passion.   

It always makes me wonder how much of Lenin’s excitement to gain control over Russia came from the unhealed shock and grief over his brother’s execution.  I suppose it is impossible to ever know the truth.  I must admit that after reading Lenin, in spite of his detachment I always get the impression that hidden beneath the ice cold surface of his highly polished political reasoning, there is this grinning Cheshire cat, like the one in Alice Through The Looking Glass, who gradually disappears, all except it’s grin.  With out fail, after reading Lenin, I always sense, hidden beneath the ice, the lingering grin of Lenin’s malice taking pleasure in revenge.

I don’t think Lenin was a sociopath, either, because although he appeared cold and passionless this was an act of will, a mask, rather than a true reflection of the very real human emotions seething underneath. Gorky recorded Lenin’s words after listening to Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata: "I know the Appassionata inside out and yet I am willing to listen to it every day. It is wonderful, ethereal music. On hearing it I proudly, maybe somewhat naively, think: See! people are able to produce such marvels!" According to Gorky, Lenin "then winked, laughed and added sadly: ‘I’m often unable to listen to music, it gets on my nerves, I would like to stroke my fellow beings and whisper sweet nothings in their ears for being able to produce such beautiful things in spite of the abominable hell they are living in. However, today one shouldn’t caress anybody - for people will only bite off your hand; strike, without pity, although theoretically we are against any kind of violence. Umph, it is, in fact, an infernally difficult task!’" This passage is interesting because it shows that Lenin was capable of feeling empathy and compassion, yet wilfully suppressed these emotions for the sake of what he discerned to be the pitiless revolutionary struggle. (He was not a sociopath, in other words.) Elsewhere he was more honest about the need for revolutionaries to resort to violence. Thus he wrote decisively: "The substitution of the proletarian for the bourgeois state is impossible without a violent revolution" (State and Revolution, 1917, ch. 1.4).

Griffh, you will be interested to know that Lenin’s most recent Western biographer, Robert Service, also came to the conclusion that the death of Lenin’s beloved elder brother, Alexander, at the hands of the tsarist state, fomented within the young Vladimir Ilych a lifelong hatred of and rage against the Romanov dynasty. Robert Service depicts Lenin as a man of deep emotion, albeit these emotions were almost always kept tightly leashed. They only gained utterance in the occasional violence of his intellectual arguments against his opponents and even sometimes his own followers, as well as in the extremism and fanaticism of his theoretical position. Once he was in power himself, of course, the actions he took against all his perceived enemies, real or imagined (including the Romanovs), demonstrated his all-consuming murderous hostility against the old regime.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on September 01, 2006, 01:17:59 PM
Wow Elizabeth that is amazing!  Thanks for telling me about Robert Service. 

You know the other thing that I was thinking about this morning while I was waking up was how the growing prosperity of Russian just before the Great War (based on Witte and Stolypin's reforms) had so dwarfed Lenin's hopes that he said he would never live to see the revolution. 

Dwarfs hate towers, hate anything that has towered over them.  One historian has said that one of the most under-rated political motivations that is hardly ever talked about is humiliation. The Victorian reformers woud have called it envy.     

I think the white-hot passion that Lenin kept under such strict control within himself was his humiliation and the poverty of dignity.

It is also interesting that Lenin and Stalin could mass produce true believers, but they could not make good citizens or equip them to meet the challenges of getting through life.  As a result Russian's lives became a morbid burden.  I don't believe that the problem facing Russia was political.  I believe it was religious and that is why Lenin's bread turned to stone in the mouths of the Russian people. 

Title: Eliz.
Post by: Bev on September 01, 2006, 01:48:54 PM
I think that what you're missing here is that sociopaths are functional human beings.  Some are highly functional, highly intelligent people who are able to sublimate their sociopathic behavior.  (They become surgeons and flight attendents - just kidding)  Whether they can sublimate their behavior or not is generally linked to their class, income level and social environment.  All humans are a combination of nurture and nature, you cannot separate the two - yes, most sociopaths are "born that way" but others develop the pathology because of physical or emotional trauma suffered when they were children.  

There seems to be a misperception by you and David that because I hesitate to dismiss this kind of behavior as "evil" that I'm excusing their behavior or implying that sociopaths are incapable of making behavioral choices.  I'm not implying that, you and David are inferring that.  Sociopaths are capable of choosing to be good and they're capable of choosing to be bad, that's why they're so many of them in prison - they choose to do bad things.  Mental illness isn't an excuse for behavior, it's a condition.  Humans can be mentally ill and highly functional in society.  All humans have some kind of mental illness, whether it's pathological shyness, narcissism, phobic behavior, passive/aggressive behavior or any other personality disorder, it's mental illness.  That does not in any way, shape or form provide a rationalization or excuse for human behavior, it merely explains it.  All human beings are responsbile for their own behavior, and if they cannot or choose not to be, then society must do it for them.  Unfortunately, society has limited resources, so the choice must be made as to how we warehouse the mentally ill - prisons or hospitals.  Sometimes the mentally ill must be put in prison, for the safety of the public - they are a danger and a disruption in the social evolution of human beings.  They cannot be trusted to act interdependently  with other human beings which is essential for our evolution as a species.  Some mentally ill people must be warehoused in a hospital setting, because society judges them incapable of choosing to act interdependently in society.  Those people we choose to treat more compassionately, because they lack the ability to act with social awareness.  

Not all sociopaths are Charlie Mansons, or even criminals, just as all criminals are not sociopaths.  Sociopathy is only a catch all diagnosis in the public perception, because they are unaware of the complexity of the diagnosis - they don't understand that there are such humans as sublimated sociopaths as well as criminal sociopaths and some humans are a combination of the two.  Yes, as a society we can call their behavior "evil" but in my opinion, it is too banal a description of their behavior and allows us as a society to disregard our duty to examine the causes of this kind of behavior.  It's anti-human - we should know why.
Title: Re: Not Scientific!
Post by: Elisabeth on September 01, 2006, 02:27:34 PM
All humans have some kind of mental illness, whether it's pathological shyness, narcissism, phobic behavior, passive/aggressive behavior or any other personality disorder, it's mental illness.

Okay, Bev, this is where you and I part ways. I think it’s only too convenient for psychiatrists and psychologists (not to mention the pharmaceutical industry) that "all humans have some kind of mental illness." My God, what a scam, what a racket! We’re all mentally ill; therefore we all need therapy and medication. Either paid for out of our own pockets or else federally funded. You have got to be kidding…!

Karl Popper once wrote that Freudian psychoanalysis, like Marxism, was not a true scientific theory because it was not irrefutable by empirical means. In other words, Freudianism and Marxism supply glib and ready explanations for any and every possible refutation, no matter how logical, of their theoretical bases. They cannot be disproven and hence are not scientific…

Bev, I truly believe the explanation you have given us here is probably the most glib rationale for psychoanalysis that I have ever come across: "all humans have some kind of mental illness…" Ahem. Excuse me for saying so, but by this definition aren’t even psychiatrists and psychologists mentally ill? Unless psychiatrists and psychologists are somehow themselves inhuman (don’t tempt me with that line of argument!). So just who is calling the kettle black here?

Put it another way: if all human beings are to one extent or another mentally ill, then there’s no such thing as mental health. Except possibly amongst chimpanzees. I guess we should make them our behavioral guides and standard of comparison!
Title: So in other words
Post by: Bev on September 01, 2006, 08:06:09 PM
there's no reason why people behave the way they do, it's just some evilness, and anyone who even tries to understand the link between nature and nurture is being glib.  Who said psychoanalysis or Marxism is a "scientific theory? I diidn't.  I didn't even mention Freudian analysis or Marxism, not one word about either.  Who said psychiatrists and psychologists are all mentally healthy?  I didn't. I said that every single human being has some kind of mental illness or personality disorder - another word might be "fault".  All human beings have faults - no one is perfect.    Now who said we all need pharmaceuticals and treatment, that we need to be drugged and in therapy? I didn't even suggest it.  You did.  Who said there is no such thing as mental health?  You.  I have never seen people infer so much or suspect so many ulterior motives.  I've gotten poison pen notes from Pritchard and insults from you, because I think that human behavior is more complicated than "good" and "evil".  Hitler, Stalin, Lenin - these were all well-rounded individuals who did evil things for no reason and to examine and look at motivation, mental health, environment, biology, physiology and evolution as the sum of who we are is a scam and racket, because historians should make judgements based on their opinion of what is good and evil.  Is that what you want me to assume that you're insinuating? 

I'm not a deconstructionist.  If you say that Hitler formed an attachment to his mother, I don't assume that you think therefore he was a great humanitarian.  I don't assume that because you said Stalin wrote endearments to his wife or was good to his daughter when she was small, that you're insinuating that he was a loving, well-rounded individual.  I don't believe that because you suggest that champanzees should be our behavioral guides, that you believe that chimpanzees should be our behavioral guides.  I'm not a Straussian who believes that every text has an esoteric meaning as well as an exoteric meaning and that we must tease it out of
everything we read.  I don't take quotes out of context or sentences out of texts, and ignore the whole for one part.  Human evolutionary behavior  IS history, you can't have one without the other.

I don't know why you have trouble with the notion that Hitler and Charlie Manson can "share" a mental deformity.  Perhaps, it is because you want to believe that Hitler was unique to history, that Stalin was one of kind, that Pol Pot was a new phenomenon.  But all of history is littered with these kinds of men who have left the earth scorched and strewn with corpses.  They only seem strange and new because it happened to us, and it is still within the reach of living memory.  These kind of men don't have to deceive the entire world, they just have to deceive enough people to sieze power.  There's no mystique, no hypnotic effect (because people can't be hypnotized without their consent) no supernatural powers of persuasion, there are just every day, ordinary as dirt, common, manipulative, ruthless sociopaths who found their way by trickery, murder, thuggery and other cruelties to power.  Never once in anything I have posted, have I intimated or insinuated that these people are not responsible for their behavior. Ever.

p.s. Just because historians haven't found an explicit, written order for the extermination of the Jews, doesn't mean there wasn't
one.  I might also add that sociopaths are quite capable of consciousness of guilt.   Being conscious of one's behavior means that one is aware of the consequences of that behavior.  There is nothing lacking in their observation skills and they understand society's acceptance and rejection of certain behavior - they just don't care.  If they benefited from public exposure of their deeds, they would happily shout it from the rooftops.  If it benefits them to hide them, they're perfectly happy to do that.  As to Hitler hiding the fact that he was killing Jews, he certainly talked about often enough, and shouted that he was going to do  it often enough - the reason I believe they "hid" it, is because  it made it easier for them to accomplish. 

And "calling the kettle black here"?  Where did that come from?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Robert_Hall on September 01, 2006, 08:46:46 PM
Bev, I believe these men did indeed have reasons. Whether or not we consider them legitimate reasons is not important- to them.  Some wanted to eradicate old regimes in order to build new ones, eliminate personal & politcal enemies & opposition. revenge, "justice", treason, retention of power-ultimately.and scapegoats, of course.
 Also greed and gain come to mind.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on September 01, 2006, 08:55:45 PM
Ok, now I've heard enough, but would like to get back to the original question, if you will kindly do so...and then continue as you wish.

  "How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life" ?
May I ask you Bev and then Elizabeth and others who might be so kind as to respond ? Thank you for any direct feedback as this is what I had asked for first and then for everyone to add what historical footnotes they could on the life of Lenin. But as a matter of fact for most of the postings to do with Lenin, Stalin and other esteemed sociopaths, and what ever label you wish, to me they were all "nuts", and mass murderers. I also agree with most of what Elizabeth, David, Griff, and Alexz has posted. This has been a very, very involved discussion, and I have gained much from the discussions. Bev, I have and do agree with a few of your points, but for the mainstay, they are above me, and I have trouble at times with the tone of your statements, but to each their own i guess. Please don't take offense, it's just how I have taken in what I have read. I either feel comfortable with the writer, or don't in how historical facts are presented. I guess that is how people more or less gather information, from the tone of the writers, and why or how books sell. Thanks again for everyone's input, and then some.  :D

Tatiana+

Tatiana+
Title: Robert
Post by: Bev on September 01, 2006, 09:17:44 PM
I completely agree - they had many reasons for what they did.
Title: Tania
Post by: Bev on September 01, 2006, 09:25:02 PM
You're very sweet.  I have to say I feel the same way about your posts - sometimes I agree with them, sometimes I don't, sometimes I don't like the tone of them and sometimes I do and everyone has good days and bad days.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on September 01, 2006, 09:27:10 PM
But I still have not any understanding Bev, of how Lenin affected you or your family ?
Were you or your family affected by Lenin ?
Thanks for your response.

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on September 02, 2006, 10:35:52 AM
It is also interesting that Lenin and Stalin could mass produce true believers, but they could not make good citizens or equip them to meet the challenges of getting through life.  As a result Russian's lives became a morbid burden.  I don't believe that the problem facing Russia was political.  I believe it was religious and that is why Lenin's bread turned to stone in the mouths of the Russian people. 

I wanted to comment on your interesting remarks, Griff. I think it’s true that Lenin and Stalin could not produce good citizens, at least as we in open societies define good citizenry. They produced tens of thousands of collaborators and informers, people who denounced their own neighbors and even relatives to the secret police in order to get a better apartment or a promotion at work. But in the topsy-turvy moral world of the Soviet Union, this is precisely how the concept of good citizenry was defined for many decades. The story of Pavlik Morozov, who according to Soviet mythology, denounced his own father for so-called crimes against the state (if memory serves, in this case it was the "crime" of hoarding grain), was drummed into Soviet schoolchildren for many generations as the ultimate "moral" example they themselves should all follow. I believe that this and other permutations of the Big Lie in Soviet society, as preached by the all-powerful state, caused tremendous, long-lasting damage to the moral compass of the average Soviet citizen.

When I was in the Soviet Union in the summer of 1991 what most struck me was the lack of moral bearings among the people. For example, a Moscow newspaper took a poll of city schoolchildren, and over half the little girls stated that they wanted to become "prostitutes for foreign currency" when they grew up. I don’t know of any other nation on the face of this earth where the highest "career" a female child can aspire to is that of a call girl…and please note, Gorbachev and the Communist party were still in power that summer. But this is what more than seven decades of Communist power had brought the Soviet people to… such a degree of spiritual emptiness and desperation that the lowliest and most degrading "capitalist" job imaginable was now the dream of thousands of Moscow schoolgirls.

I also remember visiting the Petrine summer palace of Kholominskoye just outside Moscow one hot summer day and wandering off from my companions. I climbed a lonely hillside and found there an ancient abandoned church and graveyard. Both had been utterly despoiled. The church was boarded up but through the cracks in the boards you could see the interior was full of discarded lumber, rubbish, dirt, and spiderwebs. Meanwhile the tombs, once magnificent stone sarcophagi, had been upended from their resting places in the graveyard and many of them smashed. They were now overgrown with grass and moss, their inscriptions illegible. I tried to imagine an equally old church and graveyard, both of them essentially historical monuments, being subjected to this level of abuse and neglect in the West. Needless to say, I couldn’t do it… This experience confirmed to me – as did a visit to the famous Novodevichi cemetery a few weeks later, where prerevolutionary graves had been removed in order to make room for the final resting places of various Soviet "heroes," many of them Stalinist-era government officials – that the communist regime had despoiled Russian history for its own purposes and robbed the people of the glory of their own native culture.

As a matter of fact in Novodevichi cemetery I felt as if I were standing in a modern German cemetery if Hitler had won World War II. I am not a religious person but I felt a shiver of genuine spiritual unease go up my spine. I did have the sudden distinct sense that the spirit of evil was all around me, that evil was a real and palpable presence not only in that cemetery but on a larger scale, in the Soviet Union itself. Later, when I talked to acquaintances among the Russian intelligentsia about this, they said they had had similar experiences. Much to my surprise.

But that was the flip side of the seeming moral destitution of the Soviet people. Their leading intellectuals and artists, and indeed, many so-called "average" citizens like you and me, seemed to have much more spiritual depth than their Western counterparts. Vaclav Havel and Alexander Solzhenitsyn have both written about this curious phenomenon. Maybe it was due to the fact that a tremendous amount of courage was necessary to make some kind of stand against the totalitarian state – not necessarily in public, but even in the privacy of one’s own home – where one had after all to be careful about what one said in the presence of the children, for fear they would repeat things at school…
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on September 02, 2006, 01:43:49 PM
Here finally is what I had hoped would be offered the continuum of readers of this forum. Many have written throughout these threads about how the revolution, and after affected their persons, families, the country. But here Elizabeth has gone one step more in really addressing how she as a person from outside the country, visited especially these various sites, and spoke with people first person about how the effects of Leninism, Stalinism addressed the outcome of Russia's citizens and children’s lives. What more, how it affected her personally, which was the most important start of my question. To be sure, communism wasand is a plague, and just as bad, on the people of Russia, and further to countless millions outside its borders. It cannot be forgotten, nor swept aside ever.

What is even more, Elizabeth speaks about those who were collaborators, informers, people who denounced neighbors, relatives to the secret police. This is the worst of the worst surely in that of how one human being looks out for the good of another.

The outcome of a society is always of what is importance not only to that country, but also to the global community. Accountability and responsibility is everything. Morality as well plays a very important and vital part of how each successive generation will cohesively address the most important needs of its citizens. As to what transpired in Russia, one sees the moral outcome of how its children see themselves and their future. It is horrifying to see what has happened to the children of Russia. On our visit to Russia, we saw first person the many children who were drunk and that of many who had no parents. I am sure it is one of the main reasons to date, why Russia can never rest. There is so much to be done to mend the hearts of its citizens and the whole of its society!

Indeed courage and every bit more was needed to stand up against the daily destruction of the human soul in Russia. The major part of this ongoing courage, it to continue to write and speak about what happened to the citizens and children of Russia as we do today in our daily commentary on these important threads.

I thank you very much Elizabeth for your first person understanding and of what your person has taken away in learning about the old Soviet regime, and the effects on the entirety of its citizens. Again, thank you for pointing out how much it has affected the children of Russia. Obviously, the results have been somewhat disastrous.

I also am always concerned about how the lives of children are affected, and how they see themselves evolving in their society.In the past, from my father and from many other Russian émigrés, I was told how much the church was involved daily in the raising of families and the children of Russia. From what I have heard from relatives and from others visiting in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church once again is taking a very vital part in the address of families, and in raising the children of Russia. No more is the state to be ruinous to its citizens or children. Nevertheless, it is not enough, because the citizens of Russia must take heart and be totally involved once again to deter the total destruct of its people’s lives. Russia has endured enough backstabbing, and immorality from the past generations of those who sought selfishness only for their own gain. I pray again for Russia's deliverance and that once more the grace and beauty of Russia will return as it once was, and a moral compass leads without question. I pray that never the likes of Lenin and Stalin will ever live again anywhere. Russia must work to prevent for all times, no more robbery of its peoples. Russia's people must never live in fear again, and not be betrayed, as those, whose evil works was to leave despair and worthlessness of the self... My prayer remains each day that God Bless and watch over Russia, always.

Thank you again Elizabeth!

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on September 02, 2006, 10:39:22 PM
I am so glad that you came to the heart of the matter.  I should not have used the word religious as it has the wrong conotation.  I was not referring to organized religion.  Your analysis below is perfect.

But that was the flip side of the seeming moral destitution of the Soviet people. Their leading intellectuals and artists, and indeed, many so-called "average" citizens like you and me, seemed to have much more spiritual depth than their Western counterparts. Vaclav Havel and Alexander Solzhenitsyn have both written about this curious phenomenon. Maybe it was due to the fact that a tremendous amount of courage was necessary to make some kind of stand against the totalitarian state – not necessarily in public, but even in the privacy of one’s own home – where one had after all to be careful about what one said in the presence of the children, for fear they would repeat things at school…

What a beautiful point!!!  It made me think of the siege of Leningrad too.  During the seige, even the General in charge of the city was brought to his knees by the fortitude of the civilian population.  During those hundred days a million people starved to death and in order for them not to die alone, a famous opera star sang constantly over the radio until her voice gave out.  After that they broadcast the sound of a  metronome so that no one would have to die alone.  The other thing is that they tried as long as they could to keep flowers available so that the beauty could comfort their souls. 

The General made the decision to feed the city from supplies that, once they were gone, would create total starvation.  He hoped that by the time the food stuffs were gone the siege would be over.  Then he took the terrible risk of creating a cavalcade of trucks driving at night over the frozen lake in back of the city.  I don't think that the drivers even used their headlights.  Many brave men's lives were lost when their trucks broke through the ice or strayed off the path.  The first thing the citizens of Leningrad did once they got some food in their bellies was to stage a Soccer Ball game and broadcast it to the German's who were stunned beyond belief, thinking that their seige had killed or starved off everyone.  It is spiritual fortitude isn't it. 

Just again to say, Elizabeth what a beautiful point.  I have a little aluminium red star with the face of a little Soviet girl in the middle of it which is was made as a button in memory of the civilian population that lost their lives during the Seige of Petrograd.       
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on September 03, 2006, 12:47:55 PM
Bev,

By the by, you still have not responded to my initial question on this thread, before you went on with the discussion at hand....on and on and on  ;D

  How has Lenin affected you or your families life ?

....Your turn....

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Li
Post by: ferngully on September 04, 2006, 07:14:36 AM
I think that for us , the name of Lenin is equal to the word " revolution". So it completely destroyed the country anf all lives of the people of this country.
So, saying in one word , he was  dictator - destroyer.

thats what i have always thought becuase i am not russian to know otherwise. if i were russian or british or anything else european, then i might have heard something different about him. however, i was given the impression that lenin and stalin were dark times in the history of russia. only until i studied it for a term did i realise there was a bit more to it than that. but i agree with bev as well, either way, the same thing happened under the communist rule compared to the tzarist rule. the darkest hour comes before the dawn, so perhaps it needed to happen. both regimes were not good for russia either way so maybe its taught the new generation a bit about how to learn from history
selina                      xxxxxxxxxx
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on September 04, 2006, 12:14:22 PM

thats what i have always thought becuase i am not russian to know otherwise. if i were russian or british or anything else european, then i might have heard something different about him. however, i was given the impression that lenin and stalin were dark times in the history of russia. only until i studied it for a term did i realise there was a bit more to it than that. but i agree with bev as well, either way, the same thing happened under the communist rule compared to the tzarist rule. the darkest hour comes before the dawn, so perhaps it needed to happen. both regimes were not good for russia either way so maybe its taught the new generation a bit about how to learn from history
selina                      xxxxxxxxxx

Ferngully, I think it is only fair to point out that there are major differences between Nicholas II’s reign and Lenin’s.  So much progress was made towards the civil rights of Russians during Nicholas II’s reign that today Russian politicians are currently studying two of the Emperor Nicholas' statesmen, Count Witte and Pyort Stolypin because of their reforms. 

There is no way on earth that the totalitarian nightmare Lenin and Stalin imposed on the Russian people with its mass exterminations, concentration camps and slave labor was anything like Nicholas II's reign.  Besides the civil liberties that Nicholas II created in 1905 for his people, Stolypin's land reforms in 1907-1909 created the first really prosperous group of farmers.  To promote and support this reform, Nicholas II, against the protest of his family, gave vast sections of his Siberian land holdings for this new farming group to have as their own.  They were the beginning of a real middle class and they were so prosperous that they survived both Revolutions and helped to feed Russia during the Civil War, and finally had to be mass exterminated by Stalin in the 1930’s.

If you read Nicholas’s own words about his intentions and what was motivating him, something no one seems to do when discussing his reign, you become aware of a man who, heart and soul, was dedicated to the wellbeing of his people.  Nicholas didn’t work from a social formula that dictated his every move, like Lenin did.  It is true that Nicholas fought to overcome his hesitance and moved slowly and uncertainly towards initiating these reforms, but he never knowingly harmed his people.  Even the pogroms, that the Right wing of his government encouraged, sickened the Emperor.  When Stolypin was assassinated in Kiev in 1911, Nicholas made certain that there would be no pogroms.     

When you read Lenin, the only passion you feel is his all absorbing self love for his own ideals.  He is in love with the sound of his own voice.  He takes great pride in being the world’s most modern man whose “advanced ideas,” have created his great social “Experiment,” the Soviet Union.  This man Lenin was always looking for the right words without any regard for their consequences.  This man Lenin could control men but could not build men.  It takes un-selfed love to do that.  This man Lenin's cosmic flaw was his selfishness, a selfishness that drove him to use the desperate measures that turned his socialist ideals into a nightmare; a nightmare that finally shook even his own blind self assurance.  While Lenin could use his political rehtoric to explain away the mass exterminations, the slave labor, death camps, he had no words to explain away the death through starvation of 8 million children who roamed the country in herds like wild animals from 1918-1924.  It was those childrens lives that eventually uprooted Lenin's political arrogance.  Lenin's genius wasn't seen is his power to organize, it was seen in his power to disorganize.  Lenin couldn't build, he could only tear down. 

Nicholas was slow and halting but his reforms built men, men so strong that Stalin had to mass murder them, and what Nicholas built, through Witte and Stolypin, has remained and is being re-evaluated and used today to help promote Russia’s well being.           

Ferngully please don’t let over-simplification of the complex tensions and political motivation of the Nicholas II ever be confused with callous indifference of Lenin or the moral idioticy of Stalin. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on September 04, 2006, 12:23:54 PM
Absolutely ! Thank you Griffh, thank you !!!

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on September 04, 2006, 02:57:31 PM
Since this thread is about our families who were affected by Lenin and Stalin who seems to have creeped into the discussion,  I hope to bring you various articles, stories, letters which give you real stories about real people [my family, friends, people I know, people who have contacted me and others].

Here is a story written by Leo Okes, who was a German-Russian, who had been deported to a Laber Camp and how he spent Christmas:

http://www.lib.ndsu.nodak.edu/grhc/history_culture/history/christmas.html

If you are not familiar with the NDSU  [North Dakota State University] Collection,  it is a treasure box filled with historical information about the German-Russians,  people who's ancestors emigrated into Russsia.

AGRBear
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: griffh on September 04, 2006, 04:02:12 PM
Oh AGRBear thank you, thank you, thank you. 
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on September 04, 2006, 04:02:47 PM
Correction:  Name should have been Leo Oks.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on December 06, 2006, 03:14:10 PM
Quote
For example Stalin attempted to wipe out not only entire classes (the kulaks)

This is a distortion. The kulaks were eliminated as a class but former kulaks were not physically exterminated. They were merely relocated to underdeveloped parts of the country like the Urals where they would be concentrated in other parts of the economy.

Quote
but also entire cultures (the Ukrainians, the Volga Germans, the Chechens, the Crimean Tartars, just to name a handful)

That is rubbish. Concerning the Ukraine, this is just simply not true. During Stalin, even Russian children were instructed in the "Ukrainian" language in the schools of the Ukrainian SSR. Indeed, the "Ukrainian" identity was essentially created by the Bolsheviks. There had previously never been a political entity called "Ukraine" before. Other countries created by the Bolsheviks include Belorussia, Kazakhstan,Uzbekistan,Turkmenistan,and Kyrgyzstan.

Concerning the deported groups, substantial evidence shows that 20,000 Crimean Tatars collaborated with the German invaders which is a conspicuous manifestation of treason. Subtracting women,children, and elderly ineligible for combat, perhaps one-third of all Crimean males betrayed the USSR. Concerning the Chechens, while I don't think they directly collaborated with the Germans, their disproportionate draft-doding, desertion, and anti-Soviet insurgency was a serious obstruction for the defense of the country and directly assisted the Germans. Concerning the Volga Germans, it was found that their social status in Central Asia was far superior to those of the Turkic natives. Your claim that there was an attempt to wipe out thei culture is unfounded as they had German-language publications and German-language schools.

Quote
Are you forgetting the Great Famine in the Ukraine and parts of the Caucasus?

This famine resulted due to drought, excessive rain, rust, smut, and a short supply of horses. This is extensively documented by scholars Mark Tauger, Stephen Wheatcroft, and Robert Davies. Archival documents show that the Soviet government fed more than 60 million people during the famine through the rationing system. More than 20 or so Politbureau and Sovnarkom decrees allocated foods to famine-stricken parts of the country. The diastrous harvests alone resulted in the famine. Grain collections played no role contrary to propaganda dessiminated by the US Congress in the late 1980s.

Quote
The mass deportations of entire nations of people to Siberia?

More like Central Asia. Tatars, Meshkhetian Turks, Kalmyks, Karachais, Balkars belong in Central Asia where they originated from. Whereas only 180,000 Krym Tatars had been transferred to Central Asia, there are more than 400,000 of them today meaning that there was a population explosion.

Regarding Lenin, he has to have been the best leading figure Russia has ever had. The Russian people owe so much of their achivements to Lenin's aims of liberation and progress.

Some 66.7 percent of those questioned by the ROMIR-Gallup research center said they believed Lenin had played a positive role in Russian history, with only 22.1 percent demurring.

http://english.people.com.cn/english/200104/23/eng20010423_68355.html
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tsarfan on December 06, 2006, 03:42:08 PM

This is a distortion. The kulaks were eliminated as a class but former kulaks were not physically exterminated. They were merely relocated to underdeveloped parts of the country like the Urals where they would be concentrated in other parts of the economy.


Did you work for Tass  at some point?

The Kulaks were "merely" relocated to be concentrated in other parts of the economy?  Merely?!?

Only in a society as cynically malevolent as soviet society, where the plain meaning of language was freely distorted for the Party's propagandastic purposes, could such an absurd statement be uttered by someone who expected to be taken seriously.

When being forcibly transported away from your home to be "concentrated" by state order in other parts of the economy is viewed as a really good deal -- which I guess it is when the proffered alternative is extermination -- we're talking about a brutal police state here.  Nothing more and nothing less.

Whoever you are, Zvezda, drop the pretense that you are some kind of scholar trying to set the record straight on a noble political order.  You are, in fact, a shill for one of the most vicious regimes ever imposed upon a nation.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 06, 2006, 04:10:07 PM
That is rubbish. Concerning the Ukraine, this is just simply not true. During Stalin, even Russian children were instructed in the "Ukrainian" language in the schools of the Ukrainian SSR. Indeed, the "Ukrainian" identity was essentially created by the Bolsheviks. There had previously never been a political entity called "Ukraine" before. Other countries created by the Bolsheviks include Belorussia, Kazakhstan,Uzbekistan,Turkmenistan,and Kyrgyzstan.

Your observations about the Ukrainian language are very revealing, as is your boast that the Bolsheviks "created" Ukrainian, Belorussian, Kazakh, Uzbek, Turkmen and Kyrgyz nationalism. (In other words you are asking us to give the great Russian people credit for bringing enlightenment to the poor benighted peoples they conquered! How touching!) But just to take the Ukrainian language as an example, I recently read a review of the book "Ukrains'ka mova u XX storichchi: istoriia lingvotsydu. Dokumenty i materialy" (Kiev: Vidavnychyi dim "Kyevo-Mogylians'ka akademiia," 2005). It tells a very different story from the one you relate. As the reviewer, Assya Humesky of the University of Michigan, notes, in 1931 Stalin announced to the Sixteenth Congress of the Communist Party that henceforth "the building of national cultures can be abandoned" and replaced by "the merging together of all nations into one international culture based on one national culture, particularly that of the Russian people [my emphasis]."  Again according to this reviewer, the second half of the book "contains documents and materials of the 1930s - a series of the resolutions of the People's Commissar of Education and a number of articles by Ukrainian linguists, physicists, and mathematicians who toed the party line and came out against 'nationalist' tendencies on the 'linguistic front.' Such militaristic terminology frequently appears in those writings and clearly indicates that a veritable war was being waged against the Ukrainian language, a true 'linguocide.' Here, for example, are some of the titles of those articles: 'To uproot, destroy the nationalist roots on the linguistic front,' 'Nationalist danger on the linguistic front,' 'To finish off the enemy,' 'Liquidate the nationalist sabotage in Soviet physics terminology,'" etc., etc. (Humesky, "Slavic and East European Journal," vol. 50, no. 2, p. 382).

Interesting, no?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on December 06, 2006, 06:09:01 PM
'To uproot, destroy the nationalist roots on the linguistic front,' 'Nationalist danger on the linguistic front,' 'To finish off the enemy,' 'Liquidate the nationalist sabotage in Soviet physics terminology'"

This is exactly what the Soviets did to all nations, and in confronting the very citizens of these nations, they entered. Their aim was to make sure that their roots were destroyed, their language denied, their culture as well, and everyone became a controlled soviet citizen !.

Thank goodness you Elizabeth and Tsarfan are fighting back and making sure that the history of what the Soviets did is not glossed over and left as this person wants all to believe. Thank you !

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on December 06, 2006, 07:05:46 PM
The soviets extensively promoted the language and culture of minority groups. In some areas like the Caucasus the people do not speak a lick of Russian. In the early decades, every nationality had its own territorial unit including even the Germans, Poles, Jews,Finns, Koreans. Although they to a certain extent were toned down, the same did not apply to the other 100 or so Soviet nationalities. Thousands of periodicals and newspapers were published in the USSR in over 100 languages. The USSR government was by the most tolerant and accomodating of national minorities. In America, by contrast, policies of genocidal assimilation have resulted in people of German, Italian,Polish, etc descent in being oblivious to their roots.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 06, 2006, 07:12:03 PM
The soviets extensively promoted the language and culture of minority groups.

So we'll just ignore all those Soviet documents attesting to the contrary, shall we?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on December 06, 2006, 09:22:10 PM
Well, it is apparent that those purported suggestions were not applied. As has been seen, minorities in the USSR were accomodated by periodicals and communication broadcasts in their native tongue. For example if you take a look at the Sovet currency, the languages of all 15 SSRs are included.

1939 entry of Collier's Yearbook on Ukraine:

The Little Russian language, much restricted by the Tsars, is the medium of a thriving culture. There are 117 colleges and universities, 1,830 newspapers and 53 state theatres using the Little Russian language. Culturally Ukraina seems the most advanced of all the Soviet Republics.

Belorussia:
Formerly forbidden to print their own language, White Russians now have about a million children in school, 200 newspapers, 14 theaters, 25 institutions of higher learning and use their own language.

Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 07, 2006, 12:01:07 PM
Well, it is apparent that those purported suggestions were not applied. As has been seen, minorities in the USSR were accomodated by periodicals and communication broadcasts in their native tongue. For example if you take a look at the Sovet currency, the languages of all 15 SSRs are included.

1939 entry of Collier's Yearbook on Ukraine:

The Little Russian language, much restricted by the Tsars, is the medium of a thriving culture. There are 117 colleges and universities, 1,830 newspapers and 53 state theatres using the Little Russian language. Culturally Ukraina seems the most advanced of all the Soviet Republics.

Belorussia:
Formerly forbidden to print their own language, White Russians now have about a million children in school, 200 newspapers, 14 theaters, 25 institutions of higher learning and use their own language.

You are using Soviet statistics, allegedly compiled in 1939 - in other words, statistics supplied by Stalin's own government - to prove your point. You've just proved mine instead.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on December 07, 2006, 12:24:30 PM
That is an absurd argument connoting that there soviet statistics regarding the languages spoken in its country were just completely fabricated. Unless you can put forth evidence to the contrary, your ridiculuous claims can be dismissed. Are you then saying that all non-Russian minorities in the USSR were completely forbidden to speak their native language and practice their culture? If that's what you're insinuating, it simply was not the case as the facts show.

Quote
"the building of national cultures can be abandoned" and replaced by "the merging together of all nations into one international culture based on one national culture, particularly that of the Russian people [my emphasis]."


1.These are selective quotations. They are worthless.
2. They lack context. It does not set forth abolition of territorial units. It does not call for prohibiting non-Russian languages.
3.It is obvious that what is described above was not implemented. Ask yourself why the majority of Ukrainians today speak their own dialect.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 09, 2006, 08:24:45 AM
That is an absurd argument connoting that there soviet statistics regarding the languages spoken in its country were just completely fabricated. Unless you can put forth evidence to the contrary, your ridiculuous claims can be dismissed. Are you then saying that all non-Russian minorities in the USSR were completely forbidden to speak their native language and practice their culture? If that's what you're insinuating, it simply was not the case as the facts show.

Quote
"the building of national cultures can be abandoned" and replaced by "the merging together of all nations into one international culture based on one national culture, particularly that of the Russian people [my emphasis]."


1.These are selective quotations. They are worthless.
2. They lack context. It does not set forth abolition of territorial units. It does not call for prohibiting non-Russian languages.
3.It is obvious that what is described above was not implemented. Ask yourself why the majority of Ukrainians today speak their own dialect.

Zvezda, you are twisting my words. I did not say that "all non-Russian minorities in the USSR were completely forbidden to speak their native language and practice their culture." As far as I know, non-Russian Soviet citizens were permitted to speak their native languages in their own home. But at various periods of Soviet history, they were discouraged from doing so in school, where Russian language courses were a requirement, not an elective.

Furthermore, what I gave were examples of how Ukrainian intellectuals were ordered not to speak or write in pure Ukrainian, but to adopt Russianisms to mitigate the uniquely national characteristics of their own native tongue. Certainly from the documents I cited - written by Ukrainian scholars themselves, who were toeing the Communist party line - it's perfectly clear that at the very least Stalin's policy of discouraging "nationalism" in language had a severe impact on scholarly research and publications in the Ukraine.  And of course, if you are trying to undermine the culture of an entire people, one of the best ways to go about this is to muzzle their intellectual elite.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on December 09, 2006, 11:09:07 AM
Elizabeth,

You and others by now must be able to see how transparant this person is, really ! In your first sentence below, you have already captured what it is that this person does repeatedly, as did the old 'fossils of the soviet government. They twisted words, made them worthless to the population (wherever they were in any country) so that they always seemed to be in leadership. But you, and every free person in the world knows now as most of Russia does today, that the old soviet goverment never worked then, and is thank goodness, totally defunct, kaput, finished today !   :D

Zvezda, can slip and slid all she wants, but the major facts speak for themselves. And for the record my dear friends, she is for the most part a minority in thought, certainly in bringing false facts to light.

For the most part, it is pure hilarity to read what she is quoting and using to justify her arguments. No real scholar, or historian will ever, and could ever swallow such garbage. Thank goodness the party line is over, and all these peoples, countries are once again free to govern themselves and follow the wishes of their citizens. Russians are getting the hang of things as well, and soon most of those who think as Zvezda will become ghosts of the past.

Keep up the good fight my friends, the good fight !

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: James1941 on December 10, 2006, 01:49:50 PM
The Soviet Union was not the only nation to use "relocation" to solve a complex political and economic problem. We in the United States used 'relocation' also as a means to adjust messy situtations. We called our relocation centers "Indian Reservations." And, the results of such relocations were just as deadly and tragic for the people involved. If you doubt it read about the Cherokee's Trail of Tears.
The British also used 'relocation' as a military and political means. Under that great imperial policeman Kitchner of Khartoum thousands of Boer women and children were 'relocated' to detention camps, called concentration camps, as a means of depriving the Boer guerillas the means of getting food and supplies. And in these camps the death toll was horrendous. Hitler remarked that his camps were in immitation of the British camps in South Africa. But of course the British won that war and this atrocity was soon forgotten.
And, have we forgotten the Russian monarchy's forceable attempts at "Russification", particularly in Finland. The Finns had an dependent system with their own language, and they were loyal Russians. That is until Alexander III came along. Just read what he did in Finland. Maybe the Soviets just read the history of their own country when it came to forcing nationalities to give up their native tongues.
There are plenty of other examples of governments using relocation of recalcitrant populations and the results were just a horrible for the victims. This doesn't justify the Soviet actions but it doesn't make them unique in history.
And, we musn't forget the Belgian atrocities in the Congo. And Belgium is one of the nicest countries in the world. Every society has skeletons hidden in its closet.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: lexi4 on December 10, 2006, 03:54:21 PM
The Soviet Union was not the only nation to use "relocation" to solve a complex political and economic problem. We in the United States used 'relocation' also as a means to adjust messy situtations. We called our relocation centers "Indian Reservations." And, the results of such relocations were just as deadly and tragic for the people involved. If you doubt it read about the Cherokee's Trail of Tears.
The British also used 'relocation' as a military and political means. Under that great imperial policeman Kitchner of Khartoum thousands of Boer women and children were 'relocated' to detention camps, called concentration camps, as a means of depriving the Boer guerillas the means of getting food and supplies. And in these camps the death toll was horrendous. Hitler remarked that his camps were in immitation of the British camps in South Africa. But of course the British won that war and this atrocity was soon forgotten.
And, have we forgotten the Russian monarchy's forceable attempts at "Russification", particularly in Finland. The Finns had an dependent system with their own language, and they were loyal Russians. That is until Alexander III came along. Just read what he did in Finland. Maybe the Soviets just read the history of their own country when it came to forcing nationalities to give up their native tongues.
There are plenty of other examples of governments using relocation of recalcitrant populations and the results were just a horrible for the victims. This doesn't justify the Soviet actions but it doesn't make them unique in history.
And, we musn't forget the Belgian atrocities in the Congo. And Belgium is one of the nicest countries in the world. Every society has skeletons hidden in its closet.

James,
Don't forget the centers set up in the U.S. for the Japanese during WW II. I appreciate your mention of the Trail of Tears, my great grandmother was part of that relocation.
Lexi
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on December 10, 2006, 11:32:04 PM
 Zvezda,

When I first joined this forum there was a group of pro-communists spouting their  age old facts which Stalin and his  comrads wanted the Russians and the rest of the world to believe.   It little mattered what I wrote and used as sources,   they just refused to believe them,  and, now, I can make a sure bet that you will, also.  But here goes another attempt to disclosed the truth.

One of the topics we went into was that of the  two famines ( the first   in the early 1920 and  the second starvation early 1930s.  I gave the estimated  number of people  who died between 1920 and 1935.  Your fellow conrades gave their numbers,  which were very low,  and what Stalin wanted us to believe.  However, slowly but surly the facts have been collected.  For example,  just in one area Tirraspol and one Catholic diocese which had 352,000 souls some 100,000 starved to death.  And with each area and each group, be it religious or ethnic,  the numbers grew  and grew and grew....   5 million then to 10 million then to 25 million....  ?? million....

Stalin and his comrades blamed the "drought".   A  drought  did occured in 1921.  But was this drought different than other droughts?  If just speaking of the weather, then the answer is: "  No."  It was not different.  Then what was different and what created the famine? 

In the fall of 1918 the Bolsheviks'  oganization called the Soviet Food Commissarian who granted the "worker columns"  the right to  collect food from the peasants whenever they wished,  and there was no limit as to how much they could take....  To the peasants this "was the largest wholesale looting operations in history"   wrote Joseph S. Height in his book Paradisse on the Steppe p. 322.  Exactly how much did they loot?  Half a million tons in 1918.  Two million tons in 1919.  1920 almost six million tons.  And,  when this occured they not only took a huge amount they didn't leave the farmer anything in his  storage which would have been used for  farther bad harvests or what we called "those rainy days".   Added to this,  it wasn't just the grain,  the looters took the seeds.... the horese,  the cows,  the sheep, even the chickens....

When there was nothing left to loot,  the Bolsheviks took the village men, lined them up and with machine guns killed them in hopes to scare other farmers into revealing their hiding places because they couldn't seem to understand there was nothing left.....

If you do not believe me,  then you do not believe the truth of what occured.

If you claim there was terrible injustices by everyone,  the starving people really can't put up much of a fight  ....

This is how it worked before the insanity and greed of the Bolsheviks:

p. 329:

Quote
In the days of the Czar there used to exst in all the German colonies a wonderful institution-- the communal wheat storage granary.  In periodical years of poor harvest there occured a scarity of food,  epsecially bread, fr the poor people.  But no one ever died of starvation, because in the years of plenty every farmer had to deliver a certain part of his wheat crop into the communal granary.  When there was a poor year, these reserves were divided among the needy.  But no such reserves were avaiable under the Bolshevikst regime of reckless exportation.

I haven't even mentioned  Stalin's "Five Year Plan" or his deportation of the peasantry into forced labor camps.  Stalin took the farmer who knew how to be productive and sent them off to Siberian labor camps....   Left were the peasants who had little knowledge of the land and how to grow crops and if they did they weren't given seeds because there wasn't any.... and,  they needed horses or oxen to till the soil and there were few of them around....

In order to protect the loot from the starving peasants,  Stalin hired "agents of justice".  I believe the number is estimated to have been about 700,000  men.    This resulted in Stalin being able to export seven hundred and ninteen thousand tones of wheat in 1931, which is called a "famine year",  while Russians  were hungry and dying... And in 1933 which is called a "famine year",  Stalin sent an addtional one million, eight hundred thousdand tons abroad to pay for te import of industrial equipment.

We have no idea how many Russians starved to death in 1931 to 1933.

As you can see,  the drought s  of 1921  and 1931 were  not the real reason that about 50 million people died in Russia of starvation from 1920 to the 1930s.

AGRBear


Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Belochka on December 11, 2006, 03:27:08 AM
Zvezda,

When I first joined this forum there was a group of pro-communists spouting their  age old facts which Stalin and his  comrads wanted the Russians and the rest of the world to believe.   It little mattered what I wrote and used as sources,   they just refused to believe them,  and, now, I can make a sure bet that you will, also.  But here goes another attempt to disclosed the truth.

One of the topics we went into was that of the  two famines ( the first   in the early 1920 and  the second starvation early 1930s. 
When there was nothing left to loot,  the Bolsheviks took the village men, lined them up and with machine guns killed them in hopes to scare other farmers into revealing their hiding places because they couldn't seem to understand there was nothing left.....

If you do not believe me,  then you do not believe the truth of what occured.

If you claim there was terrible injustices by everyone,  the starving people really can't put up much of a fight  ....

AGRBear

Bear I must thank you for presenting this tragic image as to how the soviet masters acted against its own citizens.

This one example of social engineering was a controlled political exercise that lead to deprivation to sustain human life with death as its final outcome.

It was a calculated act of genocide.

Margarita
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Elisabeth on December 11, 2006, 07:05:38 AM
  As you can see,  the drought s  of 1921  and 1931 were  not the real reason that about 50 million people died in Russia of starvation from 1920 to the 1930s.

AGRBear

I agree entirely with all your reasoning, Bear, but the numbers you give are far too high. I don't think there's any need to exaggerate what were by any definition catastrophic human tragedies.

Orlando Figes gives the number of people who starved to death during the 1921-22 famine as approximately 5 million.

We will probably never have a completely accurate number of the deaths from starvation during the Terror Famine of 1931-32. But back in the 1960s, in a report submitted to the Politburo by the KGB on Khrushchev's orders, the number of victims of the Terror Famine was given as 7 million. This appears to have been the (un)official number.

A further million Soviet citizens starved to death in the great famine that followed World War II. This famine could have been alleviated and possibly even prevented if Stalin had only accepted the Marshall Plan - instead he refused it not only on behalf of the Soviet Union but also on behalf of all the other countries of the Soviet bloc.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on December 11, 2006, 01:31:56 PM
Quote
In the fall of 1918 the Bolsheviks'  oganization called the Soviet Food Commissarian who granted the "worker columns"  the right to  collect food from the peasants whenever they wished,  and there was no limit as to how much they could take.... 


It should be taken into consideration that in 1918 and 1919, the Bolsheviks were not even able to collect necessary grains for the hungry northwest because the grain-producing regions of Ukraine, North Caucasus, Sibir, and much of the Volga were under the control of the Germans, Denikin, Kolchak, and the Cossacks. During the civil war, the Reds, Whites, and even Greens collected grain from the peasantry. The Bolshevik policy of grain collections was no different than the one of the Tsars during the 1914-16 period.

1914: 67.8 milllion tons produced; 5 million tons collected
1915: 74.3 million tons produced; 8.2 million tons collected
1916: 62.5 to 65.5 million tons produced; 8.9 million collected

There is incomplete production data for 1918 and 1919 because the Bolsheviks did not have control of the main grain producing regions. Nevertheless, collections by the Bolsheviks were a mere fraction of collections by the Tsarist regime. This refutes the claim that the Bolsheviks' procurements of grain contributed to famine. It was declining agricultural production alone caused by drought and breakdown of infrastructure that brought to famine.

1918: 1.8 million tons collected
1919: 3.5 million tons collected
1920: 44.5 million tons produced; 5.9 million tons collected
1921: 38 million tons produced; 3.8 million tons collected

Source: The Economic Transformation of the Soviet Union, ed. R.W Davies, Mark Harrison, and S.G Wheatcroft

Quote
We have no idea how many Russians starved to death in 1931 to 1933.

Of course we do. The declassified archival figures are available here:

Ukraine: 1.54 million
North Caucasus: 305 thousand
Volga: 275 thousand
Central Black Earth Region: 140 thousand
Total: 2.2 million excess deaths in 1932-33

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/faculty/harrison/archive/hunger/deaths.xls
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Tania+ on December 11, 2006, 07:57:44 PM
Again it seems for you Zvezda, you love to quote numbers, but place no real sincere empathy, nor consideration to the vast horrifying numbers of human beings killed outright by the Soviets. Yes, you are a true communist, and probably an ex member of the politburo, able to gain access to records, and statistics as no other on this board. You may have had a captive nation for a while, but to date, you do not have nor hold here a captive audience, nor in membership to your views, etc. !

I see that you excel, and in all probability are overjoyed to show that you are able to share such shamefilled understandings.
By your successive postings, you are a reminder to all of the terrible representation that the Soviet Government posed to all countries, but more so to the people themselves of Russia.

But again, i must sincerly convey my sincere thanks to A.G. R. Bear, Elizabeth, Lexi and others for continuing to stand firm by continuing to offering proof of the realities, and truth which concerns the truth on these issues to date.

Tatiana+
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on December 11, 2006, 10:34:26 PM
  As you can see,  the drought s  of 1921  and 1931 were  not the real reason that about 50 million people died in Russia of starvation from 1920 to the 1930s.

AGRBear

I agree entirely with all your reasoning, Bear, but the numbers you give are far too high. I don't think there's any need to exaggerate what were by any definition catastrophic human tragedies.

Orlando Figes gives the number of people who starved to death during the 1921-22 famine as approximately 5 million.

We will probably never have a completely accurate number of the deaths from starvation during the Terror Famine of 1931-32. But back in the 1960s, in a report submitted to the Politburo by the KGB on Khrushchev's orders, the number of victims of the Terror Famine was given as 7 million. This appears to have been the (un)official number.

A further million Soviet citizens starved to death in the great famine that followed World War II. This famine could have been alleviated and possibly even prevented if Stalin had only accepted the Marshall Plan - instead he refused it not only on behalf of the Soviet Union but also on behalf of all the other countries of the Soviet bloc.


Dashkova

The number of 25 million was not my own.
On p. 385 of The White General by Richard Luckert

Also go to the following URL for more information in the encyclopedia than what follows the URL:
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Russian%20Civil%20War
" At the end of the Civil War, Soviet Russia was exhasted and ruined. The droughts of 1920 and 1921 and the frightful famine during that last year added the final, gruesome chapter to the disaster. In the years following the originally "bloodless" October Revolution, epidemics, starvation, fighting, executions, and the general breakdown of the economy and society  had taken something like twenty million lives. Another million had left Russia -- with General Wrangel, through the Far East, or in numerous other ways - rather than accept Communist rule, the emigres included a high proportion of educated and skilled people. War Communism might have saved the Soviet government in the course of the Civil War, but it also helped greatly to wreck the nation's economy. With private industry and trade proscribed and the state unable to perform these functions on a sufficient scale, much of the Russian economy ground to a standstill. It has been estimated that the total output of mines and factories fell in 1921 to 20 per cent if the pre-World War level, with many crucial items experiencing an even more drastic decline. Production of cotton, for example, fell to 5 per cent, iron to 2 per cent, of the prewar level. The peasants responded to requisitioning by refusing to till their land. By 1921 cultivated land had shrunk to some 62 per cent of the prewar area, and the harvest yield was only about 37 percent of normal. The number of horses declined from 35 million in 1916 to 24 million in 1920, and cattle from 58 to 37 million during the same span of time. The exchange rate of the US dollar, which had been two rubles in 1914, rose to 1,200 in 1920."

AGRBear

Had taken about 20 million lives up to the end of the Civil War which was what 1921 the year of the first drought.

AGRBear
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on December 11, 2006, 10:36:43 PM
On p. 385 of The White General by Richard Luckert is written:  "There are no casually lists for the time period known in most history books as the Russian Civil War 1918-1922.  More men and women died through the famine, disease, and reprisals than as a direct consequence of military action.  The toal number of deaths can only be approximately estimated:   twenty-five million is a possible figure.  Half a million died in the Siberian retreat, half a milion were killed by the Cheka...."  The number killed by the Whites is constantly debated because of Soviet propaganda.  The number killed by the White may have reached as high as 500 thousand....  There were, also, the "Greens" who killed a large number....  The Allies [USA, Great Britian, others] may have kept records but that number is, also, unknown.
AGRBear
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on December 11, 2006, 10:43:56 PM
Here are some of the numbers the pro-communist  poster had  given:

Ok, I still don't understand how you arrived at the 25 million figure (of course, it goes without saying that a single death is too many).  The quote from the other thread states there are no definite figures for the time period.

However, here are several scholars views based on their own research for the period (roughly) between 1917-1922:

Russian Civil War (1917-22): 9 000 000
Eckhardt: 500,000 civ. + 300,000 mil. = 800,000
Readers Companion to Military History, Cowley and Parker, eds. (1996) [http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/mil/html/mh_045400_russiancivil.htm]:
Combat deaths: 825,000
Ancillary deaths: 2,000,000
TOTAL: 2,825,000
Davies, Norman (Europe A History, 1998)
Civil War and Volga Famine (1918-22): 3,000,000 to 5,000,000
Brzezinski, Z:
6 to 8 million people died under Lenin from war, famine etc.
Mastering Twentieth Century Russian History by Norman Lowe (2002)
TOTAL: 7,000,000 to 10,000,000
Red Army
Battle: 632,000
Disease: 581,000
Whites: 1,290,000 battle + disease
White Terror: "tens of thousands"
Red Terror
Executed: 50-200,000
Died in prison or killed in revolts: 400,000
Typhoid + typhus
1919: 890,000
1920: >1M
Urlanis:
Military deaths: 800,000
Battle deaths, all sides: 300,000
Dead of wounds: 50,000
Disease: 450,000
Civilians: 8,000,000
TOTAL: 8,800,000
Dyadkin, I.G. (cited in Adler, N., Victims of Soviet Terror, 1993)
9 million unnatural deaths from terror, famine and disease, 1918-23
Richard Pipes, A concise history of the Russian Revolution (1995): 9 million deaths, 1917-1922
Famine: 5M
Combat: 2M
Reds: 1M
Whites: 127,000
Epidemics: 2M
not incl.
Emigration: 2M
Birth deficit: 14M
Rummel:
Civil War (1917-22)
War: 1,410,000 (includes 500,000 civilian)
Famine: 5,000,000 (50% democidal)
Other democide: 784,000
Epidemics: 2,300,000
Total: 9,494,000
Lenin's Regime (1917-24)
Rummel blames Lenin for a lifetime total of 4,017,000 democides.
Figes, Orlando (A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution, 1997)
10 million deaths from war, terror, famine and disease.
Including...
Famine (1921-22): 5 million
Killed in fighting, both military and civilian: 1M
Jews killed in pogroms: 150,000
Not including...
Demographic effects of a hugely reduced birth-rate: 10M
Emmigration: 2M
McEvedy, Colin (Atlas of World Population History, 1978)
War deaths: 2M
Other excess deaths: 14M
Reduced births: 10M
Emmigration: 2M
MEDIAN: Of these ten estimates that claim to be complete, the median is 8.8M-9.0M.
PARTIALS:
Small & Singer (battle deaths, 1917-21)
Russian Civil War (Dec.1917-Oct.1920)
Russians: 500,000
Allied Intervention:
Japan: 1,500
UK: 350
USA: 275
France: 50
Finland: 50
Russian Nationalities War (Dec.1917-Mar.1921)
USSR: 50,000
Bruce Lincoln, Red Victory: a History of the Russian Civil War 1918-1921
Death sentences by the Cheka: ca. 100,000
Pogroms: as many as one in 13 Jews k. out of 1.5M in Ukraine [i.e. ca. 115,000] (citing Heifetz)
Nevins, citing Heifetz and the Red Cross: 120,000 Jews killed in 1919 pogroms [http://www.west.net/~jazz/felshtin/redcross.html]
Richard Overy, Russia's War (1997): Cheka responsible for maybe 250,000+ violent deaths.
Paul Johnson
50,000 death sentences imposed by the Cheka by 12/20
100,000 Jews killed in 1919
Green, Barbara (in Rosenbaum, Is the Holocaust Unique?)
4 to 5 million deaths in the famine of 1921-23

Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Justine on December 13, 2006, 02:28:27 PM
Thanks for this AGRBear. But I learnt at school that in civil war died about 25 million people-as you wrote. I can't belive in those numbers given by comunists. When was comunist's governement(sp?) they often lie to people. And I don't like comunism-my Granny and Grandpa's family were killed by bolsheviks, and they never could give their reall names they were always afraid that someone could know who they were. Even today I don't know many things about my family, I don't even know my Granny's reall name. They still don't want to talk about the past. And that's all because of Lenin.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Trevor on February 23, 2007, 06:07:15 PM
They all affected my families life and history. My grandmother lived in Estonia and had to leave her home during the war as the most powerful man in Estonia at the time took it over and she moved into the prime ministers summer home in sweden and waited for my grandfather to meet her their. Well long story short he tried to make it for my aunt's birthday but she had to leave and he got there to late and was captured. Hitler affected my oma in many many ways and i remember the story's she used to tell, they were very sad. Also the russian revolution affected my great grandparents.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on February 14, 2008, 05:23:35 PM
V.I. Lenin was a great proletarian revolutionary and thinker, continuer of the cause of Marx and Engels, and the leader and teacher of the working people of the entire world. Not since Marx had the proletarian struggle for emancipation given the world a thinker and leader of the working class of Lenin’s stature. He combined scientific genius, political wisdom, and perspicacity with great organizational ability, an iron will, courage, and daring. He had a boundless faith in the creative powers of the popular masses, was close to them, and enjoyed their total confidence, love, and support. All of Lenin’s activity embodied the organic unity between revolutionary theory and practice. As leader and man Lenin possessed a selfless devotion to communist ideals and to the cause of the party and of the working class and a supreme conviction of the righteousness and justice of that cause. He subordinated every fact of his life to the struggle for the emancipation of the toilers from social and national oppression. He loved both his homeland and was a consistent internationalist. Intransigent toward the class enemy, he had a touching concern for comrades. He was highly exacting toward himself and others and was morally pure, simple, and modest.

Concerning my personal life, my family moved from Beirut to the Armenian SSR in circa 1947. My father's side of the family was quite prosperous because my grandfather was a prominent black marketer. My mother's was not nearly as wealthy, but still lived rather comfortably. My father's family fled in trying to flee the authorities went back to Beirut in the early 1970s and then moved to the United States after the war broke out. My mother's side of the family went to the United States in 1980. Although my family sought and lived decent lives, they were dissatisfied at the degree of discrimination that the native-born population held towards the immigrants.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: AGRBear on February 25, 2008, 09:56:47 AM
Lenin was a socialist turned communist and a "thud" who became a ruthless dictator,  NOT a hero,  as the communist tried so hard to create in their history books.



AGRBear
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: ferngully on February 29, 2008, 01:40:38 PM
thud?
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: NAOTMAA Fan on February 29, 2008, 03:33:16 PM
A thug, also known to be someone of vile, ruthless, and irreligious personality. Mostly someone rebellious and does not condone to rules....

I personally detest the man despite his commendable passion and integrity....I cannot help but loath him utterly.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: LisaDavidson on March 10, 2008, 11:37:18 PM
V.I. Lenin was a great proletarian revolutionary and thinker, continuer of the cause of Marx and Engels, and the leader and teacher of the working people of the entire world. Not since Marx had the proletarian struggle for emancipation given the world a thinker and leader of the working class of Lenin’s stature. He combined scientific genius, political wisdom, and perspicacity with great organizational ability, an iron will, courage, and daring. He had a boundless faith in the creative powers of the popular masses, was close to them, and enjoyed their total confidence, love, and support. All of Lenin’s activity embodied the organic unity between revolutionary theory and practice. As leader and man Lenin possessed a selfless devotion to communist ideals and to the cause of the party and of the working class and a supreme conviction of the righteousness and justice of that cause. He subordinated every fact of his life to the struggle for the emancipation of the toilers from social and national oppression. He loved both his homeland and was a consistent internationalist. Intransigent toward the class enemy, he had a touching concern for comrades. He was highly exacting toward himself and others and was morally pure, simple, and modest.

Concerning my personal life, my family moved from Beirut to the Armenian SSR in circa 1947. My father's side of the family was quite prosperous because my grandfather was a prominent black marketer. My mother's was not nearly as wealthy, but still lived rather comfortably. My father's family fled in trying to flee the authorities went back to Beirut in the early 1970s and then moved to the United States after the war broke out. My mother's side of the family went to the United States in 1980. Although my family sought and lived decent lives, they were dissatisfied at the degree of discrimination that the native-born population held towards the immigrants.

I am so sorry that your family encountered prejudice in the United States. I know of no country on earth that provides immigrants with more economic opportunity than does the United States of America. That doesn't mean that those who avail themselves of these opportunities have it easy, as you have noted. I think over time that most immigrants are able to overcome discrimination and build quality lives.

I cannot say the same for Lenin's USSR. There was significant discrimination against the native populations by the central government. And economic opportunities simply did not exist. However, I can understand how the pain of how one's family is treated might make this system, which seemed so great on paper, attractive to you. At least in the US, you have the freedom to discuss it.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on March 11, 2008, 05:05:26 PM
Quote
I am so sorry that your family encountered prejudice in the United States.
I was talking about Soviet Armenia. Many of those that went there in 1946-48 complained of prejudice among the native born population.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: LisaDavidson on March 11, 2008, 06:45:51 PM
Quote
I am so sorry that your family encountered prejudice in the United States.
I was talking about Soviet Armenia. Many of those that went there in 1946-48 complained of prejudice among the native born population.

Thank you for the clarrification. It really shows your views in a much different light. I had the impression that you were very much pro Soviet Union, to the point where you would not even consider any other country to be worthwhile.

However, surely you realize the discrimination against immigrants was very much a part of Bolshevik Russia, much more so than it was ever a part of Tsarist Russia. I know because my own family members who were from Germany and the Baltic States, had a relatively easy time under the Tsars but were forced to run for their lives under the Communists.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Zvezda on March 13, 2008, 04:53:02 PM
Quote
discrimination against immigrants was very much a part of Bolshevik Russia, much more so than it was ever a part of Tsarist Russia.
I do not agree. The 1946-48 wave of immigrants in Soviet Armenia from Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere were resented by the native-born population because of vast cultural differences. The poor relations between these groups cannot be attributed to the ideology of Communist Party which promoted brotherhood among all nations. While immigrants in Soviet Armenia were resented by the native-born population, many of them still built a successful life in their new country; the president of Armenia from 1991-98 was born in Syria.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: LisaDavidson on March 13, 2008, 05:22:13 PM
Quote
discrimination against immigrants was very much a part of Bolshevik Russia, much more so than it was ever a part of Tsarist Russia.
I do not agree. The 1946-48 wave of immigrants in Soviet Armenia from Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere were resented by the native-born population because of vast cultural differences. The poor relations between these groups cannot be attributed to the ideology of Communist Party which promoted brotherhood among all nations. While immigrants in Soviet Armenia were resented by the native-born population, many of them still built a successful life in their new country; the president of Armenia from 1991-98 was born in Syria.

Thank you for sharing this information.

I realize that Communist ideology promoted brotherhood, but this did not always translate into actual practice in the Soviet Union. It is good to know that, as with immigrants to the United States, there was eventual success in their new lives.
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: svetlana on March 27, 2009, 08:53:18 PM
New Book Recounts Children’s Forgotten Civil War Odyssey

For 800 children sent on summer vacation to the Urals in 1918, it was meant to be a three-month escape from war-torn St. Petersburg. Known as Petrograd at the time, the city was suffering chronic food shortages.

But as the Russian Civil War raged, it became impossible for the children to return. They began an incredible three-year-long Odyssey around the globe — eventually returning to St. Petersburg the long way around the world via the Russian Far East, Asia, the U.S. and Europe.

The existence of the journey was kept hidden to the Soviet public for a simple reason: the children were rescued by officers from the American Red Cross.

With the arrival of “The Unbelievable Story or The Children’s Ark,” Vladimir Lipovetsky’s novel about these adventures, the story is for the first time reaching a mass audience in Russia. St. Petersburg sailor and journalist Lipovetsky came across the subject by sheer accident on a trip to the U.S. in 1978.

“I researched this mind-blowing story for 25 years, working in archives in New York, San Francisco, Japan, Belgium, Vladivostok and St. Petersburg,” Lipovetsky said. “The characters I describe in the book have become close people to me.”

Lipovetsky wasn’t planning to write the book himself, and appealed to already established cultural figures, from writer Daniil Granin to filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov, but in vain.

“Everybody turned this fascinating story down for the same reason: it would look like pro-American propaganda and will be sure to cause a sour reaction from the Russian government,” the author said.

From Vladivostok the boat, a Japanese cargo boat rented by the Red Cross for the rescue, docked at San Francisco, the Panama Canal, New York, Brest andHelsinki.

The children who made the journey kept their travels a secret. That famous St. Petersburg choreographer Leonid Yakobson was one of them, only came to light after he died, during Lipovetsky’s research.

“They were afraid to mention it and many of these children eventually suffered in some way or another,” said Lyubov Krokhalyova, daughter of Leonid Danilov, who made the journey. “Some of them just weren’t trusted because of this exposure to Western life, some were denied the right to get higher education.”

Lipovetsky said the Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, a friend of Yakobson, was astonished to hear that he had been one of the wandering children.

“She just didn’t believe it at first,” he said. “She said Yakobson would have told her. But we received a written confirmation from Yakobson’s widow that he was there. And it was then already that he demonstrated an ability for dancing: one of my heroes recalls an episode when many girls were dancing on board the Japanese ship, and Lyonya was the only boy to dance.”

The episode was based on Yakobson’s reminisence.

The story began in the spring of 1918, when Petrograd authorities decided to send children from the starving city to safer and warmer places. Eight hundred children, aged between 7 and 15 years old, left for the Urals.

However, by the time they were to return home, White general Alexander Kolchak’s troops blocked the railway in Siberia, making the trip impossible. The children faced a hungry and cold winter.

American Red Cross volunteers working in Siberia found out about the plight of the children, and started plotting a rescue plan. After they discovered that taking the train to St. Petersburg was not an option, they took the bold decision of arranging a detour by sea.

Lipovetsky compares the story to the Arabian Nights.

“You can tell a new episode every night, and there will be no end to the story,” he said.

Lipovetsky wrote his book as a semi-fictional account.

“The writer chose the most difficult genre for his novel,” said Alexei Gordin, head of Azbuka publishing house, which has published the book. “In a documentary you simply list the facts. Writing fiction is more entertaining but fiction is a rather ‘irresponsible’ genre. But in semi-fiction you not only have to stick to historical truth, you need to reconstruct people’s feelings without insulting anybody’s memory.”

Several children died during the journey.

“The first two children, a little brother and sister, died while on the train in Siberia,” Lipovetsky said. “It is difficult to watch over 800 kids, and during a train stop they ran away, ate some poisonous berries and died.”

A girl died after she was bitten by a tropical fly when the boat was crossing the Panama canal. A boy was killed during an accident with a U.S. soldier’s gun.

“There were several deaths but children were dying by hundreds in starvation-stricken Petrograd,” Lipovetsky said.

Upon arrival in Petrograd in 1921, the children and their parents had trouble recognizing each other. One mother looked for a specific birthmark to recognize her son. One girl refused to accept that an emaciated woman was her mother, Lipovetsky said.

Vladimir Pozner, head of the Russian Television Academy, called the book a literary and historical epic of heroism.


My grandmother was among those children. She told me this amazing story. how she made it around the globe. She was 9 then. She described San Francisco streets full of people greeting them.. children from soviet Russia... Grandma told me ...some children were adopted by Americans, it was up to the children, but she said she wanted to go home back to Petrograd. When the ship arrived in Sankt-Peterburg, nobody met her, her parents left to Paris and she was taken to an orphanage but on the way there recognized a blue mail box at the house her aunt lived, so she announced she knows where she lived before, and was dropped there, fortunately it was the house of her relative and they accepted her. My grandma never published or gave any information to anybody except of her family what happened to her in her life. She lived and died in 1986 at Sankt-Petersburg, Russia.
And yes, both of her parents left to Paris without their children in 1917 and never came back. What were they thinking is a mistery, maybe they planned to take the kids later... But yes, because of Mr.Lenin my ancestors lost their family, kids, everything. My grandma saved by the Americans,  gave birth to 3 children, 4 grandchildren, 7 grandgrandchildren. Four of the grandgrandchildren live in USA now.
-Svetlana,
Atlanta USA
Title: Re: How Has Lenin Affected You Or Your Families Life ?
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on May 15, 2009, 08:21:51 PM
My God!!! He was a devil