Dear fellow listmembers:
On his blog today Mike Ely repeated as true the rumors spread during Khrushchev’s time that Lavrentiy Beria was a rapist and molester.
Ely’s remarks were accepted as true by at least one followup poster, who
also threw in the rumors about mass rapes by the Red Army:
I just thought this stuff could not pass without a reply. Here’s mine:
Grover Furr said
November 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm
We should not accept accusations against communists from anticommunist sources without checking the evidence. Why? Because very, very often they turn out to be false!
Mao Zedong was accused of being a sexual predator by his physician Li Zhisui in his book The Private Life of Chairman Mao.
These charges are routinely rejected. Rightly, I think since there is no corroboration of them. The historiographical principle here is “testis unus, testis nullus” — one single witness cannot establish an historical fact.
Moreover, one must be skeptical when such charges come from a person’s political enemies and are written to serve political ends.
The same thing is true concerning the charges against Beria. They were all made after Khrushchev and others in the Presidium of the Party (formerly the Politburo) murdered Beria — either judicially, in a trial that was hushed up, or outright, on June 26, 1953, after which Beria was never seen again.
Under Khrushchev, and then under Gorbachev, Beria was slandered more than anyone else in the Soviet history, more even than Stalin. But after the end of the USSR there began a virtual “Beria boom” of many books and articles re-examining Beria and his life. This includes a number of biographies. With one exception that I know of all of them reject the charges that Beria was a sexual predator, while the exception, Aleksei Sukhomlin, _Kto ty, Lavrentiy Beria?_ [= _Who Are You, Lavrenti Beria?_) does not pretend to resolve the contradictions in these charges.
The Wikipedia article cited by Mike Ely is no good at all. All the citations but one come from Simon Montefiore’s book _Stalin. The Court of the Red Tsar_, which is nothing but a collection of anticommunist and anti-Stalin rumors. Moreover, Montefiore did not bother to put in the sources for the statements he made, so it is almost impossible, and sometimees plainly impossible, to check his sources. When one does check them, they are further books of rumors, rather than evidence.
But nothing sells like anticommunism, anti-Stalin, anti-Mao, anti-Lenin, etc.
The one other source cited in the Wikipedia article, Amy Knight’s book on Beria, is also viciously anticommunist. But Knight does record the fact that Beria’s wife and son reject the charges. She fails to mention that many Russian historians reject them as well. But Knight’s book was published in 1993, when the only materials available were those selectively published by Gorbachev’s men, to “justify” his anticommunism. We have a lot more today.
In an article in _Kommersant-Vlast’_, a capitalist-business publication, journalist Evgeny Zhirnov stated the following:
“One of the specialists who has been able to study Beria’s case file and that of General Vlasik, commander of Stalin’s guard [dismissed in 1951 – GF], both still top-secret, discovered an extremely interesting fact. The list of women, to the rapes of which Beria supposedly confessed according to his case file, is almost identical to the lists of women with whom Vlasic was accused of having affairs with — and Vlasic was arrested long before Beria.”
(_Kommersant-Vlast’_ June 6 2000, pp. 44-45)
* * * * *
The same is the case with the alleged mass rapes by Red Army soldiers in Eastern Europe, especially Germany, at the end of World War II. There has never been any independent study — study done by someone who is not a fanatical anticommunist — on this question.
Rapes there were — but were there a higher proportion of rapes among Red Army soldiers than among Allied soldiers? How are these rapes documented? And so on. This subject is normally cited _only_ in a context of anticommunist vituperation, and as there has never been a careful study of the whole question of rape by the various armies after WW2.
I hope these remarks are helpful.