William Blum on Stalin’s Death Tolls


“We’ve all heard the figures many times…10 million…20 million…40 million…60 million…died under Stalin. But what does the number mean, whichever number you choose? Of course many people died under Stalin, many people died under Roosevelt….Dying appears to be a natural phenomenon in every country. The question is how did those people die under Stalin? Did they die from the famines that plagued the USSR in the 1920s and 30s? Did the Bolsheviks deliberately create those famines? How? Why? More people certainly died in India in the 20th century from famines than in the Soviet Union, but no one accuses India of the mass murder of its own citizens. Did the millions die from disease in an age before antibiotics? In prison? From what causes? People die in prison in the United States on a regular basis. Were millions actually murdered in cold blood? If so, how? How many were criminals executed for non-political crimes? The logistics of murdering tens of millions of people is daunting.”

 – William Blum. Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. Common Courage Press. 2005. p. 194.

Published by Victor Vaughn

Anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist, National Secretary of the American Party of Labor (APL).

2 thoughts on “William Blum on Stalin’s Death Tolls

  1. Thankfully I was finally able to borrow a computer to reply to the disservice this site does to humanity. I own William Blum’s Killing Hope, but Blum is either ignorant here or intentionally misleading. The reason those countries aren’t accused of mass murder as often are because there was no evidence to support such a charge, unlike in the case of 1932-33, where excessive seizures were performed for any extra food with houses tossed apart, internal passports were required with those in the Ukraine and other heavily Ukrainian populated areas were physically prevented from going to areas in Russia where there was food and searched when entering the areas in addition to extraordinary levels of violence for simply taken ears of corn Stalin and his thugs didn’t think the peasants should be permitted to eat as well as making it illegal to even say the WORD famine! This is beyond dispute with the discovery of Stalin and Molotov’s secret instructions on January 21, 1933 to prevent the flight of peasants from the Ukraine and Kuban in search of food as well as the fact that the natural harvest was better than in some non-famine years and that the millions of tons of grain in reserves was more than enough to feed those starving. Considering this came on the heels of Stalin’s brutal Dekulakization campaign as well as the assaults on Ukrainian culture to name just some of the evidence, no reasonable person can deny this. Even just their firm denial of a famine while state requisition of grain soared despite being less would make them criminally negligent, but that would be understating this. Not to mention the refusal of outside aid, which even the also murderous sociopath Lenin allowed, though more for his own self-preservation. That would be a better description of then 1946-47 famine when the state requisitioned a majority of grain, rationed and didn’t allow ration cards, but in that case, unlike the early 30’s, there’s no evidence I’m aware of that shows the 40’s famine to be a deliberate policy. Same with Mao’s Great Leap Forward, which showed gross negligence and indifference to individual human life, but it can’t fairly be said that his intention was to kill 30 million. Stalin’s method of mass murder was unique in this case, much like his unprecedented Great Purge as well as his homicidal treatment of his own soldiers in WW2, though the fact that Stalin slaughtered so many of his own citizens and loyal followers during a time of peace makes it inexplicable for anyone to defend him, much less follow him. It would be one thing to be ignorant enough of economics and human nature as well as have enough of a disregard for freedom to advocate Communism, at least a debate could be had then. But I hesitated to even bother responding because there’s intentional deception here and what can only be called faking reality. At least the former could be solved by reading Mises, Hazlitt, Hayek, Rothbard, Sennholz and other great economists, but when Stalin’s crimes are thoroughly documented in every way imaginable whether it be the enormous population deficits even before WW2 with nowhere near enough emigration to account for more than a tiny fraction, Soviet government itself with reports like the Shvernik report, the Gulag archives, which even admit to a death toll in the millions of political prisoners alone in the labor camps and colonies, as well as the enormous mass graves found all around the former Soviet Union, some of whom, like the 1938 Vinnitsa massacre victims, weren’t even included in those reports. I’m the first to oppose the incarceration of drug users, like all other victimless crimes(including not paying the extortion statists call taxes or coming to your own voluntary contracts whether the government approves or not), but there’s a huge difference between US prisoners and the brutal Gulag camps. Our prisons are unacceptable, but anyone who can’t see the distinction lacks the ability to think critically. There have been 1,439 executions in the last 40 years combined, virtually all convicted of murder. To put that in perspective, that was near the DAILY average during the Great Purge for POLITICAL executions. I oppose the death penalty as I don’t think the state should have the power to decide who lives any more than they should be able to decide what wage someone works for, but this isn’t even close. I’m the first to call Dresden a war crime or FDR a fascist-socialist, but anyone who tries to find a moral equivalent with the US is clueless to be kind. It really is despicable that there are those out there who still defend this demented, bloodthirsty tyrant. Leftists sound hysterical when they play dumb or deny reality with the most vicious mass murderers like Stalin and then scream, whine and cry “COLONIALISM!!!” on have the audacity to be outraged at massacres like the ones condemned on this site. Frankly, you can’t even condemn Hitler with the pass you give Stalin. It gets downright comical when you have posts on Apartheid South Africa while admiring Stalin. Before I read the site a bit more, I thought this was a parody when I saw the title. And to close, has Blum ever tried looking at population growth in India compared to the Soviet Union?

  2. Oh and I almost forgot(assuming I’m not censored for dissent, which, of course, is much better than the bullet to the back of the head Stalin would have given me!) a HUGE difference between Stalin and virtually everyone is the murder by quota sent out by the thousands to decent-sized areas. This is a documented fact and really unprecedented to do to one’s own citizens, especially in a time of peace. To give 2 examples, the order for 15,000 exterminated in Sverdlovsk or 10,000 “enemies of the people” in Frunze. You and Blum don’t see a moral distinction and don’t find this sick?

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