Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Entäpä Stalin, toverit?

Yksi netin näkyvimmistä propagandisteista on antanut tyylinäytteen siitä, miten Stalin nykyään selitetään.

Ensin pakollinen kääntymiskertomus, joka kuuluu jokaiseen todistuspuheenvuoroon. En uskoisi sanaakaan, kirjoittaja tuskin on todellinen henkilö:

I was born in a family of Russian refugees who left Russia at the end of the civil war.  In Soviet parlance we were what was called ‘недобитые белобандиты” a term I would roughly translated as “escaped White-bandits” or “not executed White-bandits”.  Whatever the preferred translation, this was hardy a term of endearment, to say the least.  And the feeling was very mutual.  Not only was my family full of “White Guards”, my own grandfather joined the Russian Schutzkorps in Serbia.  After the war, my family emigrated to Argentina where, I would argue, probably the most virulently anti-Communist part of the Russian emigration typically re-settled.  While I myself was born in Switzerland where my parents had moved (Swissair was hiring pilots in the early 19060s), I was raised a a rabid anti-Communist and I was involved in so many anti-Soviet activities that one day a KGB officer in Spain even made a death threat against me (he did not have the authority to do so and was, in fact, severely punished by his own people for that – but that I only learned later).  To make a long story short, for most of my life my feelings about Stalin were very much similar to what many Jews today feel about Hitler: absolute total hatred, disgust and rejection.
Followers of this blog know that, to put it mildly, I have had to reconsider most of what I have been believing for years and, to some degree, this also affects my current views (however tentative and unformed) about Stalin.  I am basically torn between two mutually exclusive “thought currents”

Esimerkiksi tämmösiä lieventäviä asianhaaroja löytyy:

 There is a general consensus amongst pro and anti Soviet historians that some of the most vicious and horrible political repressions in the Soviet Union took place between 1934 and 1937 when the secret (political) police was headed by two truly demonic figures, Genrikh Yagoda and Nikolai Ezhov.  And yet, the so-called “Great Purges” (1936-1938) also cover the time when the famous Lavrentii Beria became the head of secret (political) police.  But ask yourself, if these are “purges” then was exactly was “purged”?  The peasants?  The clergy?  The petty bourgeois or maybe the nobility?  Not at all, it was the Party and, first and foremost, the secret (political) police, i.e. exactly the people who were guilty of the atrocities committed between 1934 and 1937.  In fact – a lot of them were specifically executed for treason, abuse of power, illegal executions, etc.  So how can the figures of those who were executed by the Soviet state be during the 1934-1937 years be lumped together with the figures of those who were, in turn, executed precisely for having committed these atrocities?!  This would be as illogical as counting the hangings of the Nuremberg trials as “Nazi atrocities”!

 Juutalaisia voi onneksi aina syyttää:

Furthermore, we need to at least mention one crucial factor here: Trotskyists.  I have already written about this in the past (see here) and I shall not repeat it all here again, but let’s just summarize it all by saying that there were at least two main factions struggling against each other inside the Bolshevik regime: the Trotskyists, which were mostly Jewish, which had a rabid and even racist hatred for the Russian people and Orthodox Christianity, who had the full support of the West, especially western financial circles (Jewish bankers) and who basically ran Soviet Russian from 1917 to 1938 when Stalin and Beria directed a terror campaign aimed at finally ridding the Party from the many Trotskyists it still contained (even if Trotsky himself had lost power in 1927 and left the USSR in 1929).  In order to purge the Party, Stalin brought his own, trusted, Georgians (like Beria himself) and together they unleashed a brutal campaign to crack down on those who had themselves been in charge of terror just a few months before.

Ja viisaastihan Stalin toimi:

 So what Stalin did is this: he unleashed the Bolshevik “old guard” (i.e. Trotskyists) against the military and once the military was purged, he then unleashed his own “new guard” (“Stalinists”) against the Trotskyists and purged the Party from most of them.  Very very ruthless indeed but, in all honesty, also very smart.  Think of it this way: Stalin had inherited a Party which was full of rabid, treasonous and simply crazy elements and a party which was still full of Trotskyists (which makes sense, as more than anybody else Leon Trotsky should be “credited” with creating the Soviet military, winning the Civil War and crushing all internal opposition in a huge campaign of russophobic terror).  Stalin turned this Party into a Party run by one man, himself, one which had purged itself from Trotskyists foreign agents and one which had the ideological flexibility to actually appeal to the Russian people to fight off and, eventually, defeat the Nazi invaders during WWII.  I think that you don’t have to “like” Stalin to see that while his methods were, no doubt, ruthless, his results were rather impressive: not only did he win WWII, but in spite of the terrible cost in human lives and destruction he turned a bloodied and severely battered Soviet Union into a world power with a powerful economy, absolutely world-class scientific community and a remarkable high standard of living during the years of recovery.

Venäjän uljaassa fasisimin vastaisessa taistelussa holokaustin kieltäminenkin on sallittua:

 At this point in time I don’t think it makes sense for us to dwell on these figures too much.  Personally, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want to fall into the same trap as so many Jews have with their ridiculous insistence that “6 million Jews” were killed by the Nazis or that gas chambers were used to kill them.  There is a real risk for those Russians like myself who were raised in families who hated Stalin with all their heart and souls to sacralize the “66 million” figure and that is a trap I want to avoid.  However, there is another danger here, the one of minimizing the number of people murdered by Stalin (or Hitler, for that matter).  It would be wrong or, at least, premature, to conclude that because there is very strong evidence that 66 million figure (or the 6 million one) are incorrect that Stalin (or Hitler) did not murder an immense number of people.  Since I have personally known people who have endured the atrocities of Stalin’s (and Hitler’s) camps there is no doubt in my mind at all that a huge number of people have suffered terribly under the rule of these two dictators.

 Ja kyllähän ne muutkin:

So we are left if unpalatable questions like “how much is too much?”, “was the result worth the costs?”, “should the man be blamed or the system he inherited?” and, most importantly – “what about all the others?“.  And I don’t mean Hitler here, but genocidal war criminals like Winston Churchill or Harry Truman or, more accurately, the United States and Great Britain whose genocidal record of atrocities makes the Bolsheviks look almost reasonable.  Just as Ivan IV “The Terrible” ought to be compared with such “gentle” folks as Henry VIII of England (not called “The Terrible” for some reason) or Catherine de’ Medici (who instigated the Saint Bartholomew Massacre).  The horrible truth is that at the Nuremberg Trials the accused had much less blood on their hands than the accusers (in all fairness, they also had much less time to commit their own genocidal atrocities).  None of that is meant as a way to excuse or exculpate Stalin, of course, but only to remind us all of the abominable context in which Stalin’s life and rule took place.


 So while I remain extremely critical of Stalin and of the whole Soviet period, I think that the current de-demonization of Stalin is a very good thing and I very much hope that it will give historians the intellectual and ideological freedom they need to do their work. For the time being, I rather step aside and wait to read more of their books.

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