Category Archives: Lavrentiy Beria

Beria Archive: Obituary of G.M. Dimitrov

From World News and Views
London
No.28, July 1949

Georgi Mikhailovitch Dimitrov was born on June 18, 1882, in the town of Radomir, of a proletarian revolutionary family. When he was only 15 years old, the young Dimitrov, working as a compositor in a printshop, joined the revolutionary movement and took an active part in the work of the oldest Bulgarian trade union of printers.

In 1902, Dimitrov joined the Bulgarian Workers’ Social Democratic Party. He actively combated revisionism on the side of the revolutionary Marxist wing of Tesnyaki led by Dimitri Blagoyev.

The self-sacrificing revolutionary struggle of Dimitrov earned him the warm love of the revolutionary workers of Bulgaria, who, in 1905, elected him secretary of the Alliance of Revolutionary Trade Associations of Bulgaria. In that post he remained right up to 1923, when that alliance was disbanded by the fascists.

While leading the struggle of the Bulgarian proletariat, Dimitrov displayed courage and staunchness in the revolutionary struggles, was repeatedly arrested and persecuted. In the September armed uprising of 1923 in Bulgaria he headed the Central Revolutionary Committee, set an example of revolutionary fearlessness, unflinching staunchness and devotion to the cause of the working class. For his leadership of the armed uprising in 1923 the fascist court sentenced Dimitrov in his absence to death. In 1926, after the provocative trial, engineered by the fascists, against the leadership of the Communist Party, Dimitrov was again sentenced to death in his absence.

Compelled, in 1923, to emigrate from Bulgaria, Dimitrov led the life of a professional revolutionary. He worked actively in the Executive Committee of the Communist International.

In 1933, he was arrested in Berlin for revolutionary activity. During the Leipzig Trial, Dimitrov became the standard-bearer of the struggle against fascism and imperialist war. His heroic conduct in the court, the words of wrath which he flung in the face of the fascists, exposing their infamous provocation in connection with the Reichstag fire, unmasked the fascist provocateurs and roused new millions of workers throughout the world to the struggle against fascism.

In 1935, Dimitrov was elected General Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. He waged a persistent struggle for the creation and consolidation of the united proletarian and popular front for the struggle against fascism, against the war which the fascist rulers of Germany, Japan and Italy were preparing. He called untiringly on the masses of the working people of all countries to rally around the Communist Parties in order to bar the way to the Fascist aggressors.

Dimitrov did great work in the ranks of the international Communist movement in forging the leading cadres of Communist Parties loyal to the great teachings of Marxism-Leninism, to the principles of proletarian internationalism, to the cause of the defense of the interests of the people’s masses in their respective countries.

During the Second World War, Georgi Dimitrov called on the Communists to head the national-liberation anti-fascist movement, and tirelessly worked at organizing all patriotic forces for the rout of the fascist invaders. He led the struggle of the Bulgarian Workers’ Party (Communists) and all Bulgarian patriots who rose in arms against the German-fascist invaders.

For his outstanding services in the struggle against fascism he was, in 1945, awarded the Order of Lenin by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R.

After the defeat of fascist Germany, Georgi Mikhailovitch Dimitrov led the building of the new People’s Democratic Republic of Bulgaria, and laid the foundation for the eternal friendship between the Bulgarian people and the peoples of the Soviet Union. Untiringly working for the consolidation of the united anti-imperialist camp and the rallying of all democratic forces, Georgi Mikhailovitch Dimitrov mercilessly exposed the betrayal of the cause of Socialism and the united anti-imperialist front by Tito’s nationalist clique.

In the person of Dimitrov, the working people of the whole world have lost an ardent fighter, who gave all his heroic life to the supreme service of the cause of the working class, the cause of Communism. The death of Dimitrov is a great loss to the whole international working class and Communist movement, to all fighters for lasting peace and a people’s democracy. By his self-sacrificing struggle in the ranks of the working-class movement, by his boundless devotion to the great teachings of Lenin and Stalin, Dimitrov earned the warm love of the working people of the whole world.

The life of Dimitrov, loyal comrade-in-arms of Lenin and Stalin, staunch revolutionary and anti-fascist champion, will serve as an inspiring example to all fighters for the cause of peace and democracy, for Communism.

Farewell, our dear friend and comrade-in-arms!

(Signed) Andreyev, Beria, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovitch, Kosygin, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Molotov, Ponomarenko, Popov, Pospelov, Stalin, Suslov, Khrushchev, Shvernik, Shkiryatov.

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Grover Furr: Rejoinder to Roger Keeran

Written by Grover Furr

Let me begin by acknowledging the positive. Keeran correctly identified one error in my book. On page 30 I wrote:

Stalin did refer to Trotskyites in very hostile terms. But he did not advocate persecuting them [i.e. Trotskyites].

As Keeran notes, this is wrong. I should have written:

Stalin did refer to Trotskyites in very hostile terms. But he did not advocate persecuting former Trotskyites.

I’m grateful to Keeran for noting this error. Unfortunately, it is the sole valid criticism in his long review.

Keeran has fundamentally misunderstood my book Khrushchev Lied. This is clear from the title of his review: “Khrushchev Lied But What Is the Truth?” Moreover, in many places he utterly distorts what I have written.

Keeran expects me not only to prove that Khrushchev lied – he concedes that I do this successfully – but, somehow, to reveal “what really happened.” He writes:

The point of studying history is to understand what happened. Disputing Khrushchev’s views does not provide an alternative account of what happened. Furr admits this and says his study cannot satisfy the curiosity about “what really happened.”

Keeran has misconceived the subject of my book, which is the 61 “revelations” about Stalin (and Beria) Khrushchev“revealed” in his infamous “Secret Speech” to the 20th Party Congress in 1956.

In Chapter 10 of my book in a section titled “Exposing a Lie is Not the Same as Establishing the Truth” (143-145) I state:

Analysis of Khrushchev’s prevarications suggests two related but distinct tasks. By far the easier and shorter job is to show that Khrushchev was not telling the truth. This is the subject of the present book.

I then anticipate Keeran’s objection:

The interested student will naturally want to know more than the mere fact that Khrushchev lied. Once convinced that Khrushchev’s version of reality is false, she or he will want to know the truth – what really happened.

But the present study cannot satisfy that curiosity. (143)

ALL of Keeran’s criticisms stem from his inability to understand this essential distinction.

Keeran writes:

In spite of this disclaimer, Furr does suggest an alternative to Khrushchev’s view, and his alternative view is not credible.

Keeran is wrong. Nowhere in my book do I “suggest an alternative to Khrushchev’s view.” Why? As I explain on the same page:

A separate investigation would be necessary in each case – virtually, sixty-one studies for as many falsehoods. (143)

Without reference to what I have actually written Keeran repeatedly imputes to me some “interpretation” or other. Then he finds these constructs “not credible” [2] and — blames me! But they are his constructs, not mine!

Again and again Keeran falsely asserts that I state things in my book that are simply not there.

Yet, by trying to absolve Stalin entirely for the cult around him, Furr strains credibility.

This is false. Nowhere in my book do I “absolve Stalin” either partially or entirely for the “cult.” Instead, I cite a great deal of evidence which shows that Stalin opposed the disgusting “cult” around himself. (8)

Keeran remarks:

Stalin may have opposed renaming Moscow, but he apparently did not object when scores of other cities, towns, streets, squares, parks, factories and so on were named after him and when his pictures and statues became ubiquitous. Unlike Fidel Castro, Stalin did not do as much as he might have to discourage the cult that developed.

Keeran wishes Stalin had fought the “cult” even harder. Don’t we all! But this would be a legitimate criticism of my book only if I had tried to “absolve Stalin” – which I never do.

I do, however, make the following remark:

Some have argued that Stalin’s opposition to the cult around himself must have been hypocrisy. After all, Stalin was so powerful that if he had really wanted to put a stop to the cult, he could have done so. But this argument assumes what it should prove. To assume that he was that powerful is also to assume that Stalin was in fact what the “cult” absurdly made him out to be: an autocrat with supreme power over everything and everyone in the USSR. (8) [3]

Keeran states:

The book’s problems start with its title and argument. To call every Khrushchev revelation a lie has dramatic appeal and a figurative truth, but no one in their right mind could buy this as literal truth, because no one in their right mind could imagine Khrushchev or anyone else speaking for hours before a congress of the Communist Party about revelations that contained nothing but falsehoods.

Keeran may not “buy” it – but that is exactly what Khrushchev did! In my book I prove that every one of the 61 “revelations” Khrushchev made is false (except for one minor one, which I could not either verify or disprove).

Keeran confuses the words “statement” and “revelation”

A reader, however, has to wait until page 142 to hear the author acknowledge that “it would, of course, be absurd to say that every one of Khrushchev’s statements is false.” Yet, by not admitting that Khrushchev’s “revelations” artfully mixed truths and lies, this absurdity is precisely what Furr is guilty of. (Emphasis added)

This is all wrong. Khrushchev made many “statements”, or assertions, in the Speech that were not “revelations”, i.e. accusations against Stalin (or Beria). It is these 61 “revelations” that are false – not every single statement that Khrushchev made. The “absurdity” is Keeran’s own failure to recognize this elementary distinction.

Keeran compounds his confusion by stating:

Furr makes no effort to sort out the truth and falsehood of Khrushchev’s speech, but proceeds to focus only on what in Khrushchev’s statements were dubious, even if it means lumping together the trivial, disputable and half lies with the significant, provable and total lies.

Once again, Keeran again substitutes the word “statements’ for “revelations”. Then he accuses me of mixing the two up!

Concerning my treatment of Khrushchev’s remarks on the murder of Sergei M. Kirov Keeran writes:

Furr argues that Khrushchev’s insinuation was baseless and that the opposition leaders convicted were in fact part of a murder conspiracy. Furr is right on the first count but fails to prove the second.

This is completely false! Nowhere in this book do I “argue… that the opposition leaders convicted were in fact part of a murder conspiracy.” I do not do so because a lengthy, separate study is required get to the bottom of the Kirov murder. [4]

Keeran outlines at some length what he understands of the scholarship on the Kirov assassination. His is not an informed discussion; Keeran really knows very little about this question. [5] But even if Keeran knew much more than he does – so what? It is all irrelevant to a review of my book. I do not discuss the Kirov murder in my book. I discuss what Khrushchev said about the Kirov murder, and I prove that Khrushchev lied about it.

Keeran:

In spite of Furr’s claim about “every” Khrushchev revelation being a lie, Furr actually does not dispute much that Khrushchev said about the repression.

Of course I do not study, examine, or “dispute” all the statements Khrushchev made in his Speech! Only the 61 so-called “revelations” are the subject of my study. These are the accusations that shook the world; that caused half the world’s communists (outside of the communist countries themselves) to quit their parties; that led directly to the Sino-Soviet split, and later to Gorbachev’s ideological smokescreen by which he justified the return to predatory capitalism and the breakup of the Soviet Union.

It is manifestly unfair of Keeran to call my book “deeply flawed” because I stick to proving what I set out to prove, rather than examining other questions that Keeran wishes I had studied instead.

That does not mean I accept all of Khrushchev’s other statements as true – far from it! We have more than enough evidence today to prove that Khrushchev lied about many other matters as well. But a study of all of them is far beyond the scope of this one book.

Keeran writes:

… Furr asserts that Khrushchev “seriously distorted” Stalin’s words when he said that Stalin tried to justify mass repression by saying “as we march forward toward socialism class war must allegedly sharpen.”[32] Furr asserts that Stalin actually said, “the further we advance…the greater will be the fury of the remnants of the broken exploiting classes, the sooner they resort to sharper forms of struggle.”[33]

Does Furr really believe that the slight variation in words makes any difference in the meaning? Stalin’s words differ from Khrushchev’s paraphrase, but the meaning does not.

Keeran has distorted both Khrushchev’s false allegations and what Stalin really said. Here are Khrushchev’s words:

Stalin’s report at the February-March Central Committee plenum in 1937, ‘Deficiencies of party work and methods for the liquidation of the Trotskyites and of other two-facers’, contained an attempt at theoretical justification of the mass terror policy under the pretext that as we march forward toward socialism class war must allegedly sharpen. Stalin asserted that both history and Lenin taught him this.

On pages 42-3 of my book I quote Stalin’s words and point out that Stalin did not “justify” any “mass terror policy.” On page 274 I quote very similar words by Lenin of May 27, 1919. In order to prove that Stalin was striving to follow Lenin’s example I cite a speech by Stalin in 1929 in which he cites Lenin’s quote.

Khrushchev omitted this fact – of course, for it would not help him dishonestly smear Stalin. But why does Keeran not point it out to his readers?

Keeran:

Still, Furr seems to hold a version of the repression something like this:…

Wrong again! I give no “version of the repressions” in this book (and note that Keeran has to use the words “seems to hold”.) He continues:

Though Furr is correct about Stalin’s statements and the First Secretaries’ actions, this hardly proves that Stalin opposed mass repression.

Of course I do not prove that – because “mass repression” and Stalin’s role in it, is not the subject of my book. Again Keeran is “criticizing” my book because it is not a different book – one that I never wrote.

Likewise,

Granted that authorizing mass executions of persons duly convicted by the courts was not the same as ordering them, still Stalin’s signature showed that he was fully aware and supportive of the most extreme punishment for those convicted of serious crimes against the state. Furr seems loath to acknowledge this.

As Keeran admits, I prove Khrushchev lied in saying Stalin “ordered” mass executions. That is all I set out to do. My book is not about “mass repression” or Stalin’s attitude towards it.

Concerning the famous “torture telegram” Keeran states:

… Furr may be right in questioning the provenance of this wire and whether it was ever sent. Moreover, Furr is certainly right that in quoting the telegram Khrushchev omitted sentences so as to put Stalin in the worst possible light, that is, omitting sentences where Stalin stressed that physical pressure was permissible only “as an exception” and those sentences where Stalin condemned those who had abused these methods.

So Keeran admits I am right! But then he raises another “straw man”:

Khrushchev’s skullduggery notwithstanding, the telegram clearly showed Stalin’s willingness to condone torture in exceptional cases such as where a convict refused to divulge the existence or whereabouts of co-conspirators still at large. Had Furr acknowledged this … his account would have been forthright and useful rather than a strained effort to argue that every Khrushchev allegation was simply a lie.

But I do indeed “acknowledge this”. I wrote (78):

The first thing we should note, for our purposes, is what Khrushchev omitted – the entire passage in boldface (see Quotations). This passage does several things:

• It qualifies, limits, and restricts the conditions under which “means of physical pressure” are to be used.

So Keeran is wrong again. But there is an even greater distortion in Keeran’s words here, for he claims that my study is “a strained effort to argue that every Khrushchev allegation was simply a lie.” This is more than just false. it is what every anticommunist accuses me of — that my research is somehow biased in favor of Stalin; that I am a “Stalinist”.

I reject that term. In all my research I strive for objectivity – to discover the truth “and let the chips fall where they may.” Early in my book I write:

The most influential speech of the 20th century – if not of all time – a complete fraud? The notion was too monstrous. Who would want to come to grips with the revision of Soviet, Comintern, and even world history that the logic of such a conclusion would demand? It would be infinitely easier for everyone to believe that I had “cooked the books,” shaded the truth – that I was falsifying things, just as I was accusing Khrushchev of doing. Then my work could be safely ignored, and the problem would “go away.” Especially since I am known to have sympathy towards the worldwide communist movement of which Stalin was the recognized leader. When a researcher comes to conclusions that suspiciously appear to support his own preconceived ideas, it is only prudent to suspect him of some lack of objectivity, if not worse.

So I would have been much happier if my research had concluded that 25% of Khrushchev’s “revelations” about Stalin and Beria were false. However, since virtually all of those “revelations” that can be checked are, in fact, falsehoods, the onus of evidence lies even more heavily on me as a scholar than would ordinarily be the case. (4)

Like it or not, every “revelation” Khrushchev made against Stalin and Beria in the Speech is false (with the one exception previously stated). Not only did I not “strain” to prove this – I was subjectively unhappy that it is so.

Evidently Keeran too is unable to accept this astounding fact. No wonder! Over 50 years ago the worldwide communist movement was rebuilt in accordance with Khrushchev’s Speech and the many subsequent lies about Stalin by Khrushchev and his henchmen. To accept the fact that Khrushchev did virtually nothing but lie in this world-altering speech shakes the foundations of the political commitments that a great many people have held for a lifetime.

No wonder, then, that many find the truth is unpalatable. But it is the duty of Marxists to look the truth, no matter how disillusioning, squarely in the eye.

Keeran states:

Though Furr expends many words parsing Khrushchev’s statements in detail and indeed spends a whole chapter categorizing the various kinds of deceptions engaged in by Khrushchev, he makes little effort to sort the truth from the lies. In the end, one is left with two competing versions of the repression. Since Furr is content to act as a defense attorney and merely attack Khrushchev’s credibility without venturing his own interpretations of events, one never knows exactly what he thinks happened.

Not one of these statements of Keeran’s is true. There is nothing “narrow” in proving that Khrushchev lied – not just occasionally, not just frequently, but consistently. This, and not anything else, is the subject of my book.

Moreover, Keeran cannot decide what he thinks I have done – or failed to do:

* First he states his disappointment that I do not “sort the truth from the lies”. That is, he chides me for failing to determine what really did happen.

* Then he contradicts himself, complaining that there are “two competing versions of the repression” – evidently, Khrushchev’s and mine.

* Whereupon Keeran complains that I do not “venture” my “own interpretations of events” so that “one never knows exactly” what [Furr] thinks happened.”

Keeran is determined to criticize me – that much is clear. But he is utterly confused about what to criticize me for! Do I give a “competing version” to Khrushchev’s that is inadequate in some way? Or do I fail to give my “own interpretation of events”?

Once again Keeran has it all wrong. I do not state my “version of the repression”. To repeat: my book is an examination of Khrushchev’s 61 “revelations” or accusations. To determine “what really happened” would require many separate and lengthy evidence-based studies.

Keeran proceeds to tell us (a) what he thinks I think; then, (b) then, what he, Keeran, thinks. (c) Finally, Keeran “channels” the long-deceased Kaganovich and Molotov to outline what he thinks they may have thought!

This is nonsense. Keeran does not know “what I think” about “the repression”. In fact, he does not tell us what he means by “the repression” — what events, during what years, he is referring to.

Moreover, what I, or Keeran, or Kaganovich, or Molotov, “think” is irrelevant and misleading. The truth is not constituted by our, or anyone’s, “views”, “thinking”, or opinions, no matter what they are. The only way to arrive at statements that approximate the truth is by the scientific process of research: mastering the secondary literature; identifying the primary source evidence; locating, obtaining, and studying that evidence; drawing correct conclusions, appropriately qualified, from that evidence. To pretend, or to suggest to others, that one can arrive at a truthful account of events by outlining what somebody – anybody — “thinks”, is to substitute idealism for materialism.

Keeran’s paragraph beginning

Still, Furr seems to hold a version of the repression something like this…

is absurdly wrong. Nowhere in my book do I give a “version of the repression”, for reasons that I have already made clear above.

Keeran’s summary of Kaganovich’s and Molotov’s “views”, starting with the passage

Kaganovich[48] and Molotov viewed Stalin and the repression, differently than Furr does. I would paraphrase their views like this…

is just as wrong-headed. To summarize Kaganovich’s and Molotov’s views one would have to (a) collect all the passages in their writings and interviews where they spoke about “the repression”; and (b) arrange them in some logical order. Only then would you be in a position to (c) “paraphrase” their “views.” Keeran does not even attempt to do that.

But assuming Keeran had done this, what then would he have? A “true” account of “the repression”? No! because we now have access to a great deal of evidence that Kaganovich and Molotov never had, including much that Khrushchev deliberately kept hidden from them (as Matthew Lenoe has recently proven).

“Opinions”, “views”, and “what X thinks” where X is some “expert” — whatever that means — are to be studiously avoided! Remember Sherlock Holmes’ famous dictum:

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (“A Scandal in Bohemia”)

If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man who believed in fairies, understood this principle materialists have no excuse for ignoring it! What we are greatly wanting is conclusions solidly founded upon an objective study of all the evidence.

Keeran clearly does not know what “the repression” refers to. But whatever he means, Kaganovich and Molotov were only peripherally involved in it. They were more than busy with other important jobs. Later, during Khrushchev’s tenure, they appeared to believe, and certainly went along with, much of Khrushchev’s account of the Stalin years. Both supported the “Secret Speech”. We know that Khrushchev kept hidden from them much of the evidence we now have. A careful, objective researcher today – granted, there are precious few such – can learn much more than Molotov or Kaganovich ever knew about these events.

In my book I examine Khrushchev’s claim that a “party commission” – it was in fact the Pospelov Commission – “determined” that many Party leaders executed after 1937 were “innocent.” This commission produced “rehabilitation reports” that were finally published in the late 1990s. In my book I study these reports and determine that they do not do what Khrushchev claimed – they do not prove the innocence of the Party leaders in question. Not even close! Therefore I have proven that Khrushchev lied. On the basis of my study of the primary sources I conclude that the evidence we have today tends to point towards their guilt, not their innocence. But I never claim that any of these persons were guilty.

Keeran gets this all wrong. He writes:

To support his view, Furr repeatedly makes sweeping references to evidence about the guilt of those punished: “the evidence we know exists,” “all the evidence we presently have,” “all the evidence at our disposal,” “a great deal of documentary evidence,” “a great deal of evidence,” “the vast preponderance of evidence,” etc., but he never actually explains what evidence he is referring to.

Apparently, he is simply referring to the well-known confessions and interrogations of the condemned, because he takes pains to argue that just because someone confessed does not mean he/she was innocent. Furr never acknowledges that confessions, particularly when given under duress, are pretty useless as historical evidence.

To review Keeran’s errors:

* I have no “view” that I am trying to “support.” As we have seen, Keeran sometimes chides me for not expressing my own views.

* All the evidence we have does indeed tends towards the defendants’ guilt, not their innocence. That’s a fact, like it or not. Khrushchev had claimed just the opposite and until the late ‘90s no one could actually see the reports Khrushchev was referring to. Now, we can. Conclusion? Khrushchev lied!

* I do indeed ‘explain what evidence I am referring to”, and in detail. I devote the whole of Chapter 11 to my study of the “rehabilitation reports.” In Chapter 4 I review the evidence we now have – which Khrushchev also had, of course – concerning the nine Party leaders Khrushchev names who were tried and executed in 1937-1938. The evidence supports their guilt, not their innocence. Yet again: Khrushchev lied!

Moreover, Keeran is completely wrong when he says that “confessions, particularly when given under duress, are pretty useless as historical evidence.” For starters, what does “pretty useless” mean? “Less useless” than just plain “useless”? So it is of some use? But what? And just what does “under duress” mean? This mealy-mouthed statement is worse than meaningless – it is an evasion of the serious question of how to approach this important category of evidence.

Then Keeran claims: “Furr never acknowledges” that his, Keeran’s, uninformed view on this subject is correct. Well, I certainly do not acknowledge the absurd formulations “under duress” and “pretty useless”! It is obvious that Keeran has never given serious attention to the question of how to use evidence from interrogations.

Here’s what I do: I devote a whole section of Chapter 10 to this question: “Torture and the Historical Problems Related To It” (147-150). I recommend it to the reader.

Keeran says:

A little later, Furr strengthens his claim by asserting that “the vast preponderance of evidence” points to their guilt. Strong words, however, are no substitute for proof. What is Furr’s evidence? Does he just mean the confessions and interrogation reports? He refers to nothing else.

And then:

One is left with warring assertions: Khrushchev’s baseless claims of innocence and Furr’s baseless claims of guilt.

But Keeran cannot quote or cite any place where I make this claim – because I do not make it. To repeat: I do not make any claim that any – much less all — of these Party leaders were “guilty.” Rather, I examine the evidence now available and show that it supports their guilt rather than their innocence. Khrushchev stated that this evidence proved they were innocent. Therefore, Khrushchev was lying.

Khrushchev’s men were looking for evidence that the men in question were innocent. Today we have the reports, kept secret until 1999. We have other evidence too, though nowhere near everything.

But Khrushchev’s men had access to everything – all the investigative reports and trial transcripts, most of which are still top-secret. We can assume that they included in their reports to Khrushchev any evidence they could find that these men were innocent. Therefore, the fact that they did not include any such evidence of innocence strongly implies that no such evidence exists.

Nevertheless, I do not conclude that they were guilty. But Keeran shows no awareness of these considerations and covers this up with empty phrases like “pretty useless” and “under duress.”

According to Keeran my book contains “an uncommon amount of speculation, insinuation and overstatement.” So why does he fail to cite even a single example of any of these? Evidently he could not identify any.

Keeran states:

If Khrushchev’s portrait of Stalin as an all-powerful, megalomaniacal, paranoid and bloodthirsty tyrant was wrong, still what is one to make of the Stalin in Furr’s dodgy portrait?

To repeat: no “portrait” of Stalin is to be found in my book. I prove that 60 of the 61 “revelations”, or accusations of wrongdoing alleged in Khrushchev’s Speech against Stalin and Beria, are false, with the majority of them outright, provable lies (See Chapter 10, “A Typology of Prevarication” and the Table on pp. 152-158). My book is not about Stalin; it is about Khrushchev’s Secret Speech.

Keeran then characterizes my “view” of Stalin:

One can hardly avoid concluding that Furr views Stalin as a leader who was removed from, or even opposed to, the mass repression occurring around him, a leader who sought individual and educational remedies to those who sought to undermine or overthrow him, and who was unfairly blamed for repression committed by others? This Stalin is no more believable than Khrushchev’s.

Yet again Keeran composes a fatuous “view” of Stalin; then imputes it to me; and then criticizes me for it! Just as Keeran’s “paraphrase” of Kaganovich’s and Molotov’s “views” is his words, his ideas, not theirs.

In discussing my final chapter Keeran admits that my speculation as to the possible reasons for Khrushchev’s massive falsifications are “plausible”. But then he posits an explanation of his own:

Nonetheless, I would suggest that Furr neglects yet another reason for Khrushchev’s behavior, namely, a desire to close the door decisively on the period and practice of harsh and widespread political repression. And he did.

No, he did not.

In September 1936 Nikolai Ezhov replaced Genrikh Iagoda as head (People’s Commissar) of the NKVD. In November 1938 Ezhov was replaced by Lavrentii Beria. According to the widely-publicized “Pavlov report” prepared for Khrushchev in 1953 and widely reprinted the number of persons sentenced to death in 1936-1940 were as follows: [6]

1936 – 1,118
1937 – 353,074
1938 – 328,618
1939 – 2,552
1940 – 1,649

In 1939 death sentences under Beria were less than 1% of those under Ezhov. In 1940 they were less than ½ of 1%. No mass political repression occurred during Stalin’s postwar years. The “Ezhovshchina” (= “bad time of Ezhov”) was never repeated.

The conclusion is inescapable: It was not Khrushchev, but Stalin and Beria who ended mass political repression, and they did it in late 1938. Moreover, I show in my book that Khrushchev himself had more blood on his hands than anyone else: the numbers of people executed in Moscow, then in the Ukraine, during the time Khrushchev was First Secretary in those places, exceeded all other areas. [7]

After Stalin’s death Lavrentii Beria was illegally arrested, tried and executed or, as many think, simply shot outright on June 26, 1953. That is, one of the leading members of the Soviet government — Beria was both Minister of State Security, the MGB, and of Internal Affairs, the MVD — and of the Party — Beria was a member of the Politburo, renamed the Presidium in October 1952 — was either judicially murdered, or just plain murdered. Stalin never, ever did anything like this!

Keeran concludes his review with a total distortion of what I wrote:

Furr concludes his account on an utterly false note, namely by proposing that Khrushchev’s ignominious lying can be traced to Lenin, Marx and Engels. … He … suggests a trail of blame worthy of the most hard-bitten Cold War ideologues.

I trace Khrushchev’s lies to Lenin, Marx, and Engels? Utter nonsense! Here are the exact words in my book, from Chapter 12, “Conclusion: The Enduring Legacy of Khrushchev’s Deception.”

There are historical and ideological roots to Khrushchev’s Speech, and these must also be sought in Soviet history. Stalin tried hard to apply Lenin’s analysis to the conditions he found in Russia and the world communist movement. Lenin, in turn, had tried to apply the insights of Marx and Engels. Lenin had tried to find answers to the critical problems of building socialism in Russia in the works of the founders of modern communism.

Stalin, never claiming any innovations for himself, had tried to follow Lenin’s guidelines as closely as he could. Meanwhile Trotsky and Bukharin, as well as other oppositionists, found support for their proposed policies in Lenin’s works too. And Khrushchev, like his epigones up to and including Gorbachev, cited Lenin’s words to justify, and give a Leninist or “left” cover to, every policy he chose.

Therefore, something in Lenin’s works, and in those of Lenin’s great teachers Marx and Engels, facilitated the errors that his honest successor Stalin honestly made, and that his dishonest successor Khrushchev was able to use to cover up his own betrayal.

But that is a subject for further research and a different book. (216-217)

Ever meet a “Cold War ideologue” who says things like this?

In a private email to Keeran in October 2011 I tried to put this vital matter another way:

I think Stalin et al., like Lenin et al., and like Marx and Engels, were “the best.” None were ever better.

In my view Stalin and those who were closely associated with him, plus tens or hundreds of thousands of Soviet communists, were faithful followers of Lenin. They did in fact implement, bring into being, what Lenin wanted — socialism. “Socialism in one country”, in fact.

They did not “fail to understand”, or “distort”, etc., Lenin’s ideas. They fulfilled them.

Lenin, of course, was striving to embody and fulfill what Marx and Engels had concluded. And I believe he did understand Marx and Engels better than anybody before or since, and did in fact follow their teachings with intelligence and innovation.

But you can’t “have it both ways.” If Stalin et al., faithfully followed Lenin, and Lenin et al. (for Lenin wasn’t alone either) did likewise with Marx and Engels, then it follows that there are some fundamental problems — flaws, if you will — in this whole line of thought. Because it ended up right back with capitalism!

To put it another way: If WE, or the communists of the future, strive to do what Stalin, Lenin, Marx and Engels advocated, then AT BEST we are going to end up right back with capitalism.

But we will not have their excuse. They were the first, the pioneers. Pioneers always make mistakes. In fact, it is inevitable — mistakes are a necessary part of any process.

But making the same mistake again is NOT a necessary part of the process. To make the same mistake again is to squander the lessons of both success and of failure that the predecessors in the communist movement have to teach us.

We have to learn from their mistakes, as well as their successes. Then we, at best, will make NEW mistakes, creative mistakes, mistakes “on a higher level” (in a Hegelian or dialectical sense). Along with new successes.

But, if we pretend that “Marx and Engels had all the answers”, or “Lenin had all the answers” (many Maoists literally believe that “Mao had all the answers”; many Trotskyists, of course, believe that “Trotsky had all the answers”) — if we believe that, then we are guaranteed, AT BEST, to fall far short of what they achieved.

Marx said something about “first as tragedy, then as farce.” The tragedy of the international communist movement of the 20th century was that, ultimately, it failed.

Unless we figure out where they went wrong — ALL of these figures — then we are doomed to be the “farce.” And that would be a crime — OUR crime.

So we have to look with a critical eye at ALL of our legacy.

Marx’s favorite saying was: “De omnibus dubitandum” — “Question everthing.” Marx would be the last person in the world to exclude himself from this questioning.

I hope these remarks are helpful. They are intended in a friendly spirit, Roger. Please take them as such!

I urge readers to study Keeran’s review, then to study this response of mine. Then obtain a copy of my book – from your local library, if they have it (and if they don’t, have them buy a copy) –and study it. Decide for yourselves.

Endnotes

[1] All boldface in quotations has been added.

[2] “Not credible” is not a legitimate category of analysis anyway. What one person finds “credible” another will not. Materialists deal with evidence and its examination, not with subjective issues like “credibility”.

[3] Stalin was not a “dictator” like, for example, Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco were. Stalin sought advice and consensus. Historian Stephen Wheatcroft has called his style of leadership during the 1930s “team Stalin.” Getty and Naumov show that in February 1937 Stalin suggested a far lesser degree of punishment for Bukharin and Rykov than any of the other members of the Plenum Commission that considered it – but was overruled. (411-416)

Dmitrii Shepilov, an author that for some reason Keeran likes to cite, noted this too:

— Shepilov has told me that it is hard to lead Pravda. Of course it’s hard. I thought, maybe we could appoint two editors?

Here everybody began to protest.

— No, there’ll be a conflict of powers (dvoevlastie). … It’ll create disorder. … There’ll be nobody to consult with…

— Well, I see that the people do not support me. OK, where the people go – there also go I.

(Shepilov, Neprimknuvshii. Moscow: Vagrius, 2001, p. 237)

[4] I have now completed just such an evidence-based study of the Kirov murder. It is under contract to be published in Russia, in Russian translation, during 2012. In that study I do indeed prove that Kirov’s assassin, Leonid Nikolaev, was indeed the gunman for a clandestine opposition conspiracy. My study took a year to research and write and will be well over 400 pages in length.

[5] Keeran is obviously unfamiliar with the “scholars” he claims I should have “refuted or at least disputed.” Neither Pavel Sudoplatov nor Alla Krilina are historians with “strong credentials”, as Keeran claims. Sudoplatov was a former NKVD / MGB agent imprisoned under Khrushchev for 15 years, evidently for failing to fabricate lies against Beria. Kirilina was the longtime head of the Kirov museum in Leningrad / St. Petersburg.

Keeran mentions at least four other Cold War, anticommunist historians in this review. Every one of them is an anticommunist falsifier! I sent Keeran some evidence about two of them. Yet he still included their names in the final version of his review. Go figure!

[6] For one of many citations of these numbers see Getty and Naumov, The Road to Terror (Yale 1998) 528.
An official source for the document, in Russian, may be consulted here:
http://www.alexanderyakovlev.org/fond/issues-doc/1009312

[7] Those who are curious about what the evidence now available shows about the mass executions of the Ezhovshchina of roughly August 1937 to September 1938 should see paragraphs of my essay “Stalin and the Struggle for Democratic Reform: Part One”, published April 2005 in Cultural Logic, from about par. 86 – end: http://clogic.eserver.org/2005/furr.html For a great deal of primary documentation on the Ezhovshchina, see my essay “The Moscow Trials and the “Great Terror” of 1937-1938: What the Evidence Shows” and the many primary sources linked at the bottom of this page:
http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/research/trials_ezhovshchina_update0710.html

December 7, 2011

Source

Writings on the Role of Lavrenty Beria

Stalin and supporters continued this struggle against opposition from other elements in the Bolshevik Party, resolutely but with diminishing chances for success, until Stalin died in March 1953. Lavrentii Beria’s determination to continue this same struggle seems to be the real reason Khrushchev and others murdered him, either judicially, by trial on trumped-up charges in December 1953, or — as much evidence suggests — through literal murder, the previous June.

[….] 

Beria’s “Hundred Days” — really, 112 days, from Stalin’s death on March 5 1953 to Beria’s removal on June 26 — witnessed the inception of a large number of dramatic reforms. Had the Soviet leadership permitted these reforms to fully develop, the history of the Soviet Union, the international communist movement, the Cold War — in short, of the last half of the 20th century – would have been dramatically different.

[….] 

The wide circulation and credence given to these stories among Russians of all political camps show that many Russians believe Stalin’s and Beria’s deaths were all too convenient for the nomenklatura. The evidence that Beria, like Stalin, wanted a communist perestroika — a “restructuring,” albeit of political, not economic, power, instead of the capitalist super-exploitation and fleecing of the country that has gone under that name since the late 1980s — is quite independent of any evidence that they may have been murdered.

Source: Grover Furr’s “Stalin and the Struggle for Democratic Reform”

Khrushchev records a discussion with fellow-revisionist Nikolay Bulganin by Stalin’s death-bed on the danger to their plans if the Marxist-Leninist Lavrenty Beria were to become again Minister in control of the. security services:

“‘Stalin’s not going to pull through. . . . You know what posts Beria will take for himself?’
‘Which one?’
‘He will try and make himself Minister of State Security. No matter what happens, we can’t let him do this. If he becomes Minister of State Security it will be the beginning of the end for us’.
Bulganin said he agreed with me”,
(N. S. Khrushchev (1971): p. 319).

[….]

But by the end of June 1953, it had become clear that the efforts to convince the Marxist-Leninists that the exculpation of the doctors had been justified had only been temporarily successful. Headed by Beria, the security forces, under Marxist-Leninist control since the readjustment of portfolios after Stalin’s death, were continuing to inestigate the ‘doctors’ case’.

Clearly, if the revisionist conspirators were to feel safe, Beria and his Marxist-Leninist colleagues in the security forces had to be eliminated as a matter of urgency.

On 10 July 1953, a few days after Beria had been arrested, a leading article in ‘Pravda’ revealed the real reason for that arrest — a reason not disclosed in the report of his ‘trial’ — namely, that he had ‘deliberately impeded’ and ‘tried to distort’ instructions of the Central Committee and the Soviet government designed to clear up ‘certain illegal and abritary actions’ — an obvious reference to the ‘doctors’ case’:

“Having been charged with carrying out ‘the Instructions of the Party Central Committee and the Soviet Government with a view . . . to clearing up certain illegal and arbitrary actions, Beria deliberately impeded the implementation of these instructions and, in a number of cases, tried to distort them”.
(‘Pravda’, 10 July 1953, in: B. Nicolaevsky: op. cit.; p. 147).

Source: Bill Bland’s “The ‘Doctors’ Case’ and the Death of Stalin”

“Stalin was trying hard to limit the damage being done by a revisionist (i.e., Yezhov — WBB). In this situation, Lavrenty Beria was put in this sensitive and critical job. Stalin himself put Beria into this job.

Beria ‘cleansed’ the NKVD (the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs — Ed.). He placed trusted Bolsheviks in the key positions. As he had personal knowledge from Georgia of who was reliable or not, many of the appointees were from Georgia.

It is accepted by even hostile and anti-Marxist writers that, following Beria’s changes, thousands of prisoners in the camps were released.

Marxist-Leninists are aware that Beria effectively cleared the NKVD of revisionist practices and revisionist personnel”.
(Alliance No. 30 (October 1998); p. 85. 86. 87).

[….]

“It was essential to have in charge of the Russian atomic bomb project someone who was an utterly reliable Bolshevik. Stalin ensured that Lavrenty Beria was given this mandate”
(Alliance, No. 30 (October 1998); p. 87).

[….]

The chronology of the coups and counter-coups in Georgia makes it clear, in my view, that Beria was a Marxist-Leninist.

Source: Bill Bland’s “On the Coups and Counter-Coup in Georgia”

This (ON BERIA) is related to Ludo Martens’ book “Another View of Stalin.” It is a critique of his assessment of Beria. The rest of the Martens’ book relies on facts. However oddly, in stark contrast to the rest of the book, the analysis of Lavrenty Beria does NOT show facts at all. Martins has only theories and/or rumor or gossip, which is what Kremlinologists used to create the totalitarian paradigm against all of Soviet society! Why would he believe this or believe Khrushchev?

[….]

It was enemies that considered Beria an enemy, enemies that were in fact capitalists, never communists, and who proved this of themselves later on by wrecking collectives that worked well!. There were only THEORIES or ACCUSATIONS against Beria to that effect, primarily based on his desire to return to a NEP-type system for awhile after WWII . Well, Lenin did it after the Civil War for the same reasons Beria wanted to do it after World War II. Accusations are insinuated due to Beria’s desire to keep friendly with the West – who, after all, were ALLIES in WWII. Why not be friendly with allies?

In going along with the idea of Beria that Martens presents, Martens is falling INTO the same totalitarian paradigm that his entire book seeks to dismantle.

Beria did a good job for Stalin, in fact, an EXCELLENT, SUPERB job. Far from wanting to kill Stalin, Beria did everything in his power AGAINST STALIN’S ORDERS to try to prevent Stalin from wandering into mined areas of land during the time Stalin insisted on staying in Moscow in the war. Stalin could have been easily killed: Beria was trying to prevent this. Beria also had MANY occasions to kill Stalin AND get away with it!

Source: On Lavrenty Beria

But a prominent charge regarded Beria’s advocacy of a “unified Germany”. Leading the charge against Ulbricht’s sectarian polices was Beria, who was “indignant when I (Ulbricht) opposed the policy concerning the German question in 1953”: Knight Ibid; p. 192). Several sources point to the significance of this charge:

“The Soviet leadership offers the following reasons for the charges against Beria. . . . ‘ that he advocated the creation of a unified Germany as a “bourgeois, peace-loving nation” (1:162) and the abandonment of East Germany’s status as a separate, socialist state;” [On the Crimes and Anti-Party, Anti-Government Activities of Beria.] Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 2-7 July 1953, from Izvestia CC – CPSU:1991, 1:140-214 & 2:141-208. New Evidence on Beria’s Downfall, by Rachel A. Connell.

“New accounts confirm that Beria did want to trade German reunification for neutralization.” ‘New Evidence on the East German Uprising of 1953; ”Paper #3: Reexamining Soviet Policy Towards Germany During the Beria Interregnum, “Cold War History Project” by James Richter.

Source: Fighting German ultra-leftist revisionism

Alliance (Marxist-Leninist): Where We Stand – Beria and the Berlin Rising of 1953

Laverenti Beria

Flag GDR -Bust Lenin

Walter Ulbricht

Fifty years after, the risings and riots, of the working class in June 1953, across the German Democratic republic (GDR) – notably in Berlin, remain controversial amongst Marxist-Leninists. Some argue this was a genuine revolt of the German working class. Others, supporters of post-Stalin USSR, argue they were imperialist provocations. Alliance Marxist-Leninist will argue that:

i) They were a genuine resistance by the German working class against a revisionist bureaucracy; that the revolt was precipitated by a criminally ultra-leftist policy of Walter Ulbricht;

ii) Lavrenti Beria representing the Marxist-Leninist wing of the Politburo, urged a sectarian Ulbricht back towards a path described by J.V.Stalin;

iii) Beria agreed with Stalin that the German state was in the special circumstances of post-war Europe, a buffer against imperialism.

The Charges Against Beria

When the revisionists led by Khrushchev, took control of the USSR state, they were hampered by waverers (Malenkov and Molotov), but actively resisted by staunch Marxist-Leninists (Beria). Unless Beria was eliminated, the state would return towards its Marxist-Leninism. Charges against Beria, were laid out in secret sessions of the full Central Committee of the CPSU(B) from 2-7 July 1953, some four months after the death of Stalin, but only two weeks after the June 16-17 anti-communist uprising in East Berlin.

The leading charge concerned the establishment of a secure intelligence base for Marxist-Leninist vigilance. Another series of charges alleged traitorous relations with Tito and attempts to normalize relations with Yugoslavia (Amy Knight: Beria Stalin’s First Lieutenant; Princeton 1993; p.206). But a prominent charge regarded Beria’s advocacy of a “unified Germany”. Leading the charge against Ulbricht’s sectarian polices was Beria, who was “indignant when I (Ulbricht) opposed the policy concerning the German question in 1953”: Knight Ibid; p. 192). Several sources point to the significance of this charge:

“The Soviet leadership offers the following reasons for the charges against Beria. . . . ‘ that he advocated the creation of a unified Germany as a “bourgeois, peace-loving nation” (1:162) and the abandonment of East Germany’s status as a separate, socialist state;” [On the Crimes and Anti-Party, Anti-Government Activities of Beria.] Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 2-7 July 1953, from Izvestia CC – CPSU:1991, 1:140-214 & 2:141-208. New Evidence on Beria’s Downfall, by Rachel A. Connell.

“New accounts confirm that Beria did want to trade German reunification for neutralization.” ‘New Evidence on the East German Uprising of 1953; ”Paper #3: Reexamining Soviet Policy Towards Germany During the Beria Interregnum, “Cold War History Project” by James Richter.

What were Stalin’s views on East Germany and West Germany? We trace this through the famous wartime Allied Heads meetings of Tehran (November 1943); Yalta (February 1944), to the post-war Potsdam meeting (July 1945). Here, Stalin was face to face with Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt, and at Potsdam, President Truman.

Churchill, Roosevelt & Stalin at Yalta Conference

The Potsdam Conference

Churchill, Truman, and Stalin at Potsdam

Stalin’s German Policy

It is alleged that Stalin held barbarous views on Germany. For example, it is said that during a dinner conversation at the Tehran Conference, the conversation turned to Germany. Stalin, concerned that the future Germany might once more attack Eastern Europe and Russia, joked that German officers be liquidated:

“To prevent this catastrophe…. from 50,000 to 100,000 German officers must be liquidated, and the Allies must retain control of strategic points around the world in order to stop German operations. Was Stalin joking about shooting 100,000 officers?… Churchill took Stalin seriously…..Roosevelt thinking that he could smooth things over with a joke of his own, proposed that instead of 50,000 officers being shot, they should shoot only 49,000. By now Eden, sensing that in his anger Churchill would make remarks he would later regret, tried to signal that it was just a joke.” Eubank K; Summit at Tehran – The Untold Story; New York, 1985; p. 314-5.

Charles Bohlen, the USA diplomat and interpreter, corroborates that Stalin’s remark was a joke. Nonetheless, this “joke” has been converted into the “fact” that Stalin demanded the heads of 100,000 soldiers. Furthermore, that he was responsible for the subsequent division of Germany into East and West. British and USA imperial inspired histories, take as a given that at the end of the Second World War, Stalin was intent upon destroying Germany:

“Stalin and Roosevelt were both strongly in favor of splitting up Germany in order to render here helplessly weak. Churchill did not think that this was an important issue”.Martin Kitchen: British Policy towards the Soviet Union During the Second World War; London 1986; p. 175.

But the reality is not quite so clear. Firstly, even shrewd enemies of the USSR, recognized the situation that Russia had found itself over the war years. As Averell Harriman, the USA Ambassador to Russia, warned:

”Our difficulties with the Russians if any, will be that their present intent towards Germany is tougher than we have in mind, particularly in regard to the magnitude of reparations. Their measure of Germany’s capacity to pay reparations in goods and services appears to be based on the concept that the Germans are not entitled to a post-war standard of living higher than that of the Russians”. W.A. Harriman, and E. Abel. Special Envoy to Churchill & Stalin 1941-1946: New York; 1975; p. 249.

Harriman had no difficulty in believing the sincerity of Stalin’s views, and from where they arose:

“Harriman felt that Stalin’s fear of a resurgent Germany was entirely genuine.. “I am satisfied that his concern was real..“
Harriman & Abel; Ibid; p. 273.

At Tehran, Stalin did not push the agenda of a division of Germany. Instead he “did not think much of either” of the leaders’ plans, preferring that of Roosevelt – over Churchill’s Danubian Confederation; if he had to choose between the two:

“Roosevelt talked of dividing Germany into five separate states . . . Churchill’s .. plan was less sweeping. He agreed that Prussia should be detached from Germany. . .. Stalin. . . did not think much of either idea, though he said that of the two he preferred Roosevelt’s. The trouble with fitting any part of Germany into a larger confederation, was that this would merely encourage…. And recreate a great national state”; Harriman & Abel Ibid; p. 280-281.

At Yalta, Roosevelt revealed that the British insisted upon a French role in Germany:

“The British were attempting to build France up into a strong power to hold the eastern frontier while the British assembled a large force.”….Stalin asked if Roosevelt thought that France should have a zone of occupation in Germany, The president dmitted that it was “not a bad idea, but he added that it was only out of kindness”; Stalin & Molotov agreed”; Eubank K; Summit at Tehran; NY 1985; p. 475.

Roosevelt’s dismemberment of Germany became accepted. Again, the “given version” that Stalin pushed for dismemberment of Germany, is false:

“The myth that Europe was divided up in the Crimea (Yalta). Is totally inaccurate… The Soviet side expressed its doubts that dismemberment was realistic. As a result it was decided in Yalta to refer that question to the European Consultative Commission.” Berezhkov, V.M., At Stalin’s Side. His Interpreters Memoirs; New York; 1994; p.275

The crux of the Yalta discussions was on reparations. Both the USA and the UK imperialists tried to deny significant reparations to the USSR. The USSR was devastated by the fascist invasion, contrary to either of the other two allies. The imperialists wanted the post-war poverty of the USSR. Therefore, Stalin explicitly linked the division of Germany to the question of war reparation.

The Famous Raising of the Hammer and Sickle over the Reichstag photographed by Yevgeny Khaldei ; May 2 1945

Race to the Elbe –Anglo-American Attempts at a Separate Peace

Between the Yalta and Potsdam meetings, with the end of the European war, only two major things had changed in the relationship of the Three Big Powers to each other.

The first was the territorial control of the European theater.

Russian insistence on a Second Front had long been resisted, but when the imperial Allies saw that the Russians were sweeping across Europe towards Germany, they agreed to set up a Second Front, which radically changed the situation. Initially:

“The European Advisory Commission (EAC) had negotiated the zonal agreements anticipating that the Red Army might control much of Germany”; Eisenberg, Carolyn; The American Decision to Divide Germany 1944-1949; Cambridge 1997; p.72.

However after the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 (In Ardennes against the USA and British) – the German High Command started to move forces away from confronting the USA:

“The Nazi leadership unexpectedly shifted strategy. In a dramatic attempt to check the Russian advance, they began moving their armies from the Western Front and reducing their resistance to SHAEF (the Allies). By the end of March less than 30 German divisions were facing the Americans, and British, while more than 150 divisions were battling the Soviets in the East”;
Eisenberg Ibid; p.72.

Moreover, the Germans began making overtures of a separate peace with the Americans & British. Although this was quite against the protocols of Yalta, the Americans and British responded positively:

“Ambassador Harriman has communicated to me a letter … from Mr. Molotov regarding an investigation being made by Field Marshall Alexander into a reported possibility of obtaining the surrender of part or all of the German army in Italy. In this letter Mr. Molotov demands that, because of the non-participation therein of Soviet officers that this investigation to be undertaken in Switzerland should be stopped”;
March 25 1945; President Roosevelt to Marshall Stalin; In Correspondence Between the Chairman of the Council of Ministries of the USSR, and the Presidents of the USA, and the Prime Ministers of Great Britain During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45; Moscow; 1957; Volume 2: p. 188.

Against American protestation, Stalin was explicit about violations to the Yalta Agreement, and danger to the Russian troops. He charged this “engendered distrust”:“

”I must tell you … that the Germans have already taken advantage of the talks with the Allied Commanders to move three divisions from Northern Italy to the Soviet front. The task of coordinated operations involving a blow at the Germans from the West, South and East, proclaimed at the Crimean Conference (Yalta –Ed) is to hold the enemy on the spot and prevent him from maneuvering, from moving his forces to the points where he needs them most. The Soviet Command is doing this. However, Field Marshall Alexander is not. This circumstance irritates the High Command and engenders distrust”; Premier J.V.Stalin to President Mr. F. Roosevelt; p. 190.

As President Roosevelt prevaricated, Stalin became ever more explicit:

“You are quite right … that “the matter now stands in an atmosphere of regrettable apprehension and mistrust”. I realize that there are certain advantages resulting to the Anglo-American troops from these separate negotiations in Berne .., seeing that the Anglo-Americans troops are enabled to advance into the heart of Germany almost without resistance, but why conceal this from the Russians, and why have the Russians, their allies not been forewarned? And so what we have at the moment is that the Germans on the Western Front have in fact ceased the war against Britain and America. At the same time they continue the war against Russia, the Ally of Britain and the USA”; Marshall Stalin to the President Mr. Roosevelt; April 3 1945.

Stalin understood that the game was about control of key industrial parts of Germany:

“It is hard to agree that the absence of German resistance on the Western Front is due solely to the fact that they have been beaten. The Germans have 147 divisions on the Eastern Front. … They are fighting desperately against the Russians for Zemlenice, an obscure station in Czechoslovakia, which they need just as much as a dead man needs a poultice, but they surrender without any resistance such important towns in the heart of Germany as Osnabruck, Mannheim and Kassel”; Premier Stalin to President Roosevelt April 7 1945; p. 198.

Churchill, Truman and Stalin at Potsdam 1945

The Atomic Bomb Changes the Geopolitical Reality

The second major change, between Yalta and Potsdam, was the atomic bomb.
Prior to this, the USA and the British relied upon the USSR to destroy fascism. Will Thorp, Deputy Assistant Sec. State Econmics had said:

“It is by now a commonplace, that Germany cannot commit another aggression so long as the Big Three remain united”;
The essence of the US pre-atomic security policy for Europe was just that – an agreement sealed at Yalta for joint control of Germany by the US, and the USSR (together of course with the lesser great powers retain, and with the still lesser power France).”
Alperowtiz, Gar; The Decision to Use the Atomic bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth; New York; 1995; p. 278.

By the time of Potsdam, the maneuvering of the imperialists changed. The USA and the British were aware of what had happened, and why the USSR needed help in re-building. As President H. Truman said:

“What you have to remember about Russia and its fear of another war is that the Germans slaughtered 25,000,000 people not connected in any way with the military. They ruthlessly wiped out everybody from the Polish border to Leningrad and Moscow”; President Truman April 1946; cited; Alperowtiz; G; Ibid; p.289.

Now, with the Russians forced to fight arduously into Berlin, the USSR was no longer indispensable for the ruthless Allies. Having made commitments at Yalta, for reparations to the USSR, the USA tried to renege on their promises:

“The fundamental question in dispute at Potsdam was … whether to fulfill Roosevelt’s Yalta understandings whereby the Soviet Union was to receive reparations of roughly ten billion dollars from Germany. . . . The position the US delegation now took was “No”. The basic Roosevelt position was simply abandoned… Indeed, although Red Army help to control Germany had once seemed essential, the US now became quite cavalier in its negotiations… Nor is there any doubt about what produced this revolution. At Potsdam, US leaders explicitly stated their private judgment that the atomic bomb had given them power to control all security problems – including the once central German threat”; Alperowtiz, G; Ibid; p. 281.

In fact, at Potsdam, despite the pressures put on by the imperialists, Marshall Zhukov notes that Stalin had resisted pressures to divide Germany:

“The question of the Germany into three states: Southern Germany, Northern Germany, Western Germany raised for the second time by the US and British delegations came in for serious debate. The first time they brought this up at the Yalta Conference it was rejected by the Soviet delegation.. . . At Potsdam, Stalin again rejected this: “We reject this proposal, it is contrary to nature: Germany should not be dismembered, it should be made into a democratic, peace loving state. . . I must say that Stalin was extremely scrupulous with regard to the slightest attempt by the US and British delegation to take decisions to the detriment of the Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the German people. He had particularly sharp controversy with Churchill…”
Zhukov G: Marshall of the Soviet Union; Reminiscences and Reflections” Moscow 1984; vol. II, pp. 447; 449-50.

By the end of the Potsdam Conference, it was clear that the Americans were determined to place an imperialist presence in West Germany. This meant that the German state was inevitably to be divided. One aim of the imperialist was to limit the amount of reparations to the USSR, so they insisted that all reparations were to be made from the Zones of occupation. Thus, the USSR was excluded from the Saar and the Ruhr industrial belts. Molotov pointed out that the bulk of the wealth of Germany was in the zones to be occupied by the imperialists, but to no avail. The implication of ‘separate’ reparations was the division of Germany:

“In view of the American aims, the gravest flaw in the reparations scheme was its threat to German unity. …. both Molotov and Ernest Bevin (British Foreign Secretary -Ed) had pointed out the incompatibility of Byrnes’ (James Byrnes, US Secretary State -Ed) proposal with the plans for economic integration”;
Eisenberg, C Ibid; p. 114.

Despite the devious tactics of the imperialists, the Russians led by Stalin and Molotov were determined to try to achieve a unified Germany. To this end, they “gave ground”. So much so that the Americans found themselves in a difficult diplomatic position:

“In a personal letter to General Eisenhower, Ambassador Walter Bedell-Smith described the US delegation’s discomfort. Observing that Molotov had begun to make concessions, Smith reflected that “the difficulty under which we labour is that in spite of our announced positions, we really do not want nor intend to accept German unification in any terms that the Russians might agree to, even though they seemed to meet most of our requirements”. The real problem was the Soviets would interfere with the German contribution to the Marshall Plan. However the US was in an exposed position, and it would “require careful maneuvering to avoid the appearance of inconsistency if not hypocrisy”;
Eisenberg ibid; p. 359.

Molotov pointed out that that the US and Britain were retarding the recovery of the Western controlled Germany. He openly stated that:

“The question of the creation of a Government for the Western zones has already been decided by the USA”;
Eisenberg Ibid; p. 357.

By 1948, the:

“Americans and British were resolved: There would be two Germanys. For the foreseeable future eastern zone would be left to the Russians, while the western zones would become a separate state. Together the two powers devised concrete plans for making West Germany a reality”; Eisenberg; Ibid; p. 363.

The imperialists began to further sabotage the plans made together with the Russians for a peaceful and united Germany. They attacked the joint quadripartite currency reform plans. In this tense climate, the Russian representatives in the city of Berlin and the Russian zone, created an opening for the Americans. Marshall Sokolovsky for the Russians on the Allied Control Commissions adjourned the Commission, in effect walking out. This gave the USA General Clay a reason not to submit to Russian approval for currency reforms.

The tension rose still further when USSR General Dratvin imposed on April 1 1948, a traffic blockade from the western zones to the eastern zones. Again, provoking this rupture played into Americans hands. Therefore, the Americans refused to call the Allied Control Commission to discuss matters. This bluff became the propaganda coup of the Berlin airlift. Meanwhile, Clay charged that the Russian were creating a separate East German Government, a false charge that Assistant Sec. State Lovett relished to:

“Clearly shift responsibility to Soviets for splitting Germany”; Eisenberg Ibid; p. 396.

Yet, even now, Stalin continued to work for unification, as witnessed by his famous letter to Senator Henry Wallace, who had argued for unification of Germany. Stalin:

“Despite the differences in economic systems and ideologies the coexistence of these systems and the peaceful settlement of differences between the USSR and the USA are not only possible but absolutely necessary”; Eisenberg Ibid; p. 405-6.

On July 14, 1948, a Russian governmental note asking for restoration of unity discussion while easing travel restrictions to and from Berlin was dismissed. Even then, Stalin met with the three Western ambassadors Walter Bedell Smith (USA) Frank Roberts (Britain); and M.Yves Chataigneau (France). He offered them an immediate removal of the blockade, with currency agreements, if immediate discussions re-started on German unity (Eisenberg Ibid; p. 429-30). All to no avail, because again rather conveniently, the Russian representative in Berlin, General Sokolovsky:

“Assumed the initial role of saboteur by reversing concessions that had been offered in Moscow…. The Russians performance disappointed General Robertson who though it so “fantastic” that he had so altered Stalin’s commitment”. Eisenberg Ibid; p. 437.

The division into two German states achieved the imperialist aim of forming a buffer zone for Cold War propaganda. This emphasized the “divisiveness of communist intent”. Stalin had sought to frustrate this goal. The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was formally established. However, we argue that until his death, Stalin was anxious to re-establish a unified German state. We move to the situation in 1952.

Stalin’s Meeting With the Politburo of the SED

German communists of the former KPD, returned to Germany as the Soviet troops battled in. Under Soviet advice, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the KPD merged to form one party – the German Socialist Unity Party (SED), in April 1946. Stalin had several meetings with its’ leaders. By 1951‑52, thousands of inhabitants of the GDR were leaving across the open inner‑German borderlines in Berlin. The East Berlin government turned the freely passable East‑West German border into a guarded border in May 1952. During 1952, more than 232,000 GDR residents went West.

Stalin clearly disapproved of the policies of the GDR leaders. He warned them that they were undergoing a rapid rate of collectivization, and alienating all the layers of society from peasants, to workers to intellectuals. He also advised them that it was incorrect not to continue to work for a unified German state. Finally, he specifically advised that the GDR was not to be considered a socialist state. He used the formulation “beginning of socialism”. [All these references are cited in full at the Alliance web site http://www.allianceml.com/STALIN-TXT/STALINTOULBRICHT.htm%5D

“Comrade Stalin says that you should say to your workers:

“We have just entered socialism. This is not full socialism yet, because you have many private capitalists. However, this is the beginning of socialism, a little piece of socialism, and a road to socialism. You should show that you are closer to the workers than Adenauer’s government“.

http://www.allianceml.com/STALIN-TXT/STALINTOULBRICHT.htm

Stalin fought for differentials to reflect that there was a ‘lot of private capitalism’:

“Comrade Stalin …Last time it was found that in the GDR, the ratio of workers’ salary to the salary of engineering and technical personnel was 1: 1.7. That is absolutely incorrect. It will doom your entire industry. . . The engineer is engaged in intellectual work. He must have an apartment, decent furniture; he should not be chasing a piece of bread. He should enjoy a standard of living appropriate for a person who is engaged in intellectual work. “Ibid.

Stalin insisted on voluntary collectivization:

“Comrade Stalin …The kulaks should be encircled, and you should create collective farms around them. In our country, organization of collective farms was going on simultaneously with expropriation of the kulaks. You will not need to do it this way. Let your kulaks sit tight, leave them alone. In addition to the kulaks, you have poor peasants in your villages that live right next to the kulaks. They should be pulled into production cooperatives. … You will see for yourself that peasants will visit those collective farms and watch how life will unfold in a new way. I noticed, said Comrade Stalin, that you do not value peasants in your policy…… Do not force anybody to join; if they want to, good. If they do not, do not force them.” Ibid.

Stalin staunchly advocated German unity:

“You should continue propaganda for German unity in the future. It has a great importance for the education of the people in Western Germany. Now it is a weapon in your hands, and you should always hold it in your hands. We should also continue to make proposals regarding German unity in order to expose the Americans.” Ibid.

These stipulations are pretty concrete and clear. Yet within 3 months of Stalin’s death, Ulbricht turned ultra-left-wards, as noted by US Diplomat N. Spencer Barnes to the State Department on 30 April 1953 (Uprising in East Germany 1953; Compiled by C.Ostermann; Budapest; 2001; p.75)

And criminally so.

Ulbricht launched what has been called the “socialization“ of East Germany. In the way this was carried out, it resulted in the total alienation of all sectors of the population- including the working class and peasantry. There was a clear reversal away from Stalin’s advice, in the polices being adopted in the GDR under the SED:

“In a 2 May 1953 memorandum, Semyonov, …within the Soviet establishment, advised Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov that because “The Socialist Unity Party of Germany and the democratic forces in the GDR have already strengthened and matured enough to manage independently the leadership of the country,” the maintenance of overt political control by the Soviets could be sharply reduced. . . . Thus, in Semyonov’s opinion, there was no need to do anything but “to create more favorable conditions for socialist construction in the GDR.”;
Working Paper #11: The United States, the East German Uprising of 1953, and the Limits of Rollback, by Christian Ostermann http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=library.document&id=441

Ulbricht ensured that a Central Committee resolution on higher quotas for workers was passed, instructing that:

“All necessary steps to remedy the abuse in the sphere of work quotas … and to raise those of importance… by an average of at least 10% by June 1, 1953”;
A. Baring Uprising in East Germany June 17 1953; Cornell 1972; p.21-22

This overall leftist strategy was resisted by Beria. The ground was laid for a revolt, which would play into the hands of the imperialists. Since the death of Stalin, Khrushchev was determined to move the state of the USSR into a position subordinate to USA imperialism. Ulbricht’s policies played into this overall strategy.

The “Beria Plan” to reverse Ulbricht’s Ultra-leftist Policies

Beria tried to reassert Marxist-Leninist control after the death of Stalin. He was aware of the dangerous situation in Germany. On May 27 1953, the Presidium of the Soviet Council of Ministers met to discuss the situation in East Germany. The Council of Ministers, warned of an imminent crisis, and blamed the incorrect polices of the SED. The document is known as the “Beria Document”. It was dated prior to the June 11 rising. [See Council of Ministers of the USSR Order; “On Measures to Improve the Health of the Political Situation in the GDR”; 2 June 1953. No. 7576-rs; Moscow, signed by Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR G. Malenkov. Hereafter: USSR Order 7576-rs. http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=library.document&id=26760

The “Beria Document”, as Ulbricht and the SED called it, was a retreat from ultra-leftist “socialization”, and was forced upon the SED. However, it did not go as far as Beria had wanted. Mainly this was in regards to Beria’s fight to unify Germany:

“Divisions in the Presidium prevented the leaders from making a decision … Molotov reports that Beria tried once more to get him to accept reunification, but when this failed withdrew the proposal…. “Malenkov favored reunification as a neutral country because he considered the division of Germany artificial and contrary to the historical development of that country. . .. Molotov, by contrast, focused on the traitorous character of Beria’s proposal ….” Richter, Ibid.

Albeit that USSR Order 7576-rs was not, in its final form, exactly as Beria had hoped, the document was scathing about the SED policies. It bluntly stated that the situation had been created by the serious alienation of the German workers, peasants and intelligentsia, by the “incorrect political line”. This had resulted in a “very unsatisfactory political and economic situation”:

“As a result of the incorrect political line. . . There is serious dissatisfaction with the political and economic measures carried out by the GDR among the broad mass of the population, including the workers, peasants, and the intelligentsia. This finds its clearest expression in the mass flight of the residents of the GDR to West Germany. ..over the course of four months in 1953 alone over 120,000. Many refugees are workers. .. It is remarkable that among those who have fled to West Germany in the course of [the first] four months of 1953, there are 2,718 members and candidates of the SED and 2,610 members of the Free German Youth League. “USSR Order 7576-rs.

It was emphasized that the SED was following ultra-leftist decisions following the Second Conference. The polices flagged as incorrect, included a forcing of the pace of industrialization, and the forced collectivization, as well as simple abuses of restriction of ration cards to “person in the free professions”:

“The social-economic measures which have been carried out … include: the forcible development of heavy industry, which also lacked raw materials; the sharp restriction of private initiative, which harmed the interests of a broad circle of small proprietors both in the city and in the country; and the revocation of food ration cards from all private entrepreneurs and persons in the free professions. In particular, the hasty creation of agricultural cooperatives in the absence of the foundations [necessary] for them in the countryside led to: serious difficulties in the area of supplying the population with manufactured goods and foodstuffs; a sharp fall in the mark’s exchange rate; the ruin of a large number of small entrepreneurs-artisans, workers in domestic industries, and others. It also set a significant stratum of the populace against the existing authorities. The matter has gone so far that at present more than 500,000 hectares of land have been abandoned and neglected, and the thrifty German peasants, usually strongly tied to their plots, have begun to abandon their land and move to West Germany en masse.”
USSR Order 7576-rs.

In addition, serious errors were made in ideological work, especially in regards to the clergy and to the intelligentsia:

“Serious errors have been committed with regard to the clergy, evident in the underestimation of the influence of the church amongst the broad masses of the population and in their crude administrative methods and repression. The underestimation of political work amongst the intelligentsia should also be admitted as a serious mistake…”
USSR Order 7576-rs.

The Order bluntly insists that the SED must acknowledge error, and prescribes remedies:

“All of this creates a serious threat to the political stability of the German Democratic Republic. In order to correct the situation that has been created, it is necessary:
To recognize the course of forced construction of socialism in the GDR, which was decided upon by the SED. as mistaken under current conditions.“
USSR Order 7576-rs.

Largely, the proposed remedies fell into two main categories – either they reversed the ultra-left attacks on the peasantry; or they condemned repressive measures aimed at either the clergy or intelligentsia:“

2. .. to halt the artificial establishment of agricultural production cooperatives, which have proven not to be justified on a practical basis and which have caused discontent among the peasantry; To check carefully all existing agricultural production cooperatives and to dissolve both those which were created on an involuntary basis as well as those which show themselves to be non-viable. . . c) to renounce the policy of limiting and squeezing middle and small private capitalas a premature measure. . . . . To restore food ration cards to private entrepreneurs and. . persons of the free professions.
d) to re-examine the five-year plan for the development of the national economy ofthe GDR with a view to curtailing the extraordinarily intense pace of development of heavy industry and sharply increasing the production of mass consumption goods, as well as fully guaranteeing food for the population in order to liquidate the ration card system of providing foodstuffs in the near future;
f) to take measures to strengthen legality and guarantee the rights of democratic citizens; to abstain from the use of severe punitive measures which are not strictly necessary. To re-examine the files of repressed citizens with the intent of freeing persons who were put on trial on insufficient grounds. To introduce, from this point of view, the appropriate changes in the existing criminal code;
g) . . . To assign special attention to political work among the intelligentsia in order to secure a turnabout by the core mass of the intelligentsia in the direction of active participation in the implementation of measures to strengthen the existing order. At the present and in the near future it is necessary to put the tasks of the political struggle to reestablish the national unity of Germany and to conclude a peace treaty at the center of attention of the broad mass of the German people both in the GDR and in West Germany. At the same time, it is crucial to correct and strengthen the political and economic situation in the GDR and to strengthen significantly the influence of the SED in the broad masses of workers and in other democratic strata of the city and the country. To consider the propaganda carried out lately about the necessity of the GDR’s transition to socialism, which is pushing the party organizations of the SED to unacceptably simplified and hasty steps both in the political and in the economic arenas, to be incorrect. …
h) To put a decisive end to [the use of] naked administrative methods in relation to the clergy…To end the oppression of rank-and-file participants in the religious youth organization “Junge Gemeinde,” moving the emphasis of gravity to political work among them..”
USSR Order 7576-rs.

Finally, there remained lip-service towards German unification:

6. Taking into account the fact that at present the main task is the struggle for the unification of Germany on a democratic and peace-loving basis, the SED and KPD, as the standard-bearers of the struggle for the aspirations and interests of the entire German nation, should ensure the use of flexible tactics directed at the maximum division of their opponents’ forces and the use of any opposition tendencies against Adenauer’s venal clique. For this reason, inasmuch as the Social Democratic Party [SPD] of West Germany, which a significant mass of workers continues to follow, speaks out, albeit with insufficient consistency, against the Bonn agreements, a wholly adversarial position in relation to this party should be rejected in the present period. Instead, it should be attempted, where possible, to organize joint statements against Adenauer’s policy of the division and imperialist enslavement of Germany. “
USSR Order 7576-rs.

The Rising

Although the Ulbricht leadership of the SED resisted, it had to make some retreat. However, it refused to make any retreat on the 10% work increase in norms for the working class. In fact, they were confirmed on June 13. Yet it did make massive improvements in the conditions of the intelligentsia and middle classes – that of itself icreated suspicions. It was called the “New Course”.

“To make matters worse, the only segment of the population which seemed to have been excluded from the concessions of the “New Course” were the workers: the arbitrarily-imposed higher work norms remained in force.“
[Study of the Instigation, Outbreak and Crushing of the Fascist Adventure of 16-22 June 1953], 20 July 1953, Ostermann, Paper 11; Ibid.

Signs were evident from even the 2 June of worker unrest (Report of Sokolovskii, Semyonov & Yudin: In “Uprising in East Germany 1953”; Ostermann ibid; p.258].

The confused sudden retreat, yet with no amelioration of the workers work norms soon triggered worse. On 16 June 1953, hundreds of East Berlin construction workers staged a demonstration, calling for a general strike the next day. Only now did the SED retreat question of work norms. Too late. On 17 June 1953, huge riots (up to 300,000 strong) and protests broke out. Soviet military force was required, to suppress them.

American aims at undermining German unity were enhanced. The Americans carefully refrained from military steps. The provocative Ulbricht strategy, both anti-working class and peasantry – ensured the failure of any attempts at a united German state for the foreseeable period.

“The Eisenhower Administration came to devise a psychological warfare strategy which effectively capitalized on the instability in the GDR. … while undermining any potential Soviet initiative for German unity as well as the new leadership’s “peace offensive,” …, the American response to the East German uprising could best be characterized as a superb exercise in “double-containment.” . . . It undermined Soviet exploitation of German nationalism by squarely keeping Moscow and East Berlin on the defensive while, at the same time, containing German nationalism by boosting the election success of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his policy of “Westintegration.””
http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=library.document&id=441

In the process some 40 were killed (Report of Sokolovskii, Semyonov & Yudin: In Uprising in East Germany 1953; Ed Ostermann ibid; p.284].

The Arrest of Beria

As Andrei Gromyko expressed it:

“Beria’s dismissive judgment of the GDR was enough to get him kicked out of the leadership.”
Gromyko, Memories; p. 317; Cited Amy Knight: Beria Stalin’s First Lieutenant; Princeton; 1993; p. 274.

Molotov later denied the most serious charges against Beria:

“As far as the accusations that Beria was an agent of a foreign country are concerned, they are untrue. He was loyal to the Soviet Union to a fault”. “
An Interview with Molotov “ Literaturuloi Sakartvelo, 27 October 1989; Cited in Knight, Ibid; p. 274.

From 2-7 July the full Central Committee endorsed the arrests of Beria and his supporters.

The fall of Beria, naturally had repercussions in East Germany:
“In East Germany, according to the communist official Heinz Brandt, the news of Beria’s arrest was hailed with satisfaction: ‘With Beria’s fall the scales had been tipped against Hernstadt and Jendretzky and the New Course, and for Walter Ulbricht. .. Beria along with Malenkov, had been the principal initiator of the new course as a policy… the German reformers were now doomed along”: A..Knight, Ibid; p. 216.

Zaisser and Hernstasdt were expelled from the Politburo and the Central Committee, leaving Ulbricht with essentially no rivals. The victory of the revisionist in the East German party was assured.

CONCLUSIONS

The German rising of 1953 was precipitated by the criminal ultra-left policies of the East German SED party. It played right into the hands of the USA imperialists. It achieved the ends of ensuring a divided Germany, and a militarized Western Germany under Adenauer – on behalf of the USA imperialists. Beria tried to stem the tide, but was unable to turn the policies back sufficiently towards the path outlined by Stalin, in his discussion with the SED party leadership. It is difficult not to see Ulbricht as a conscious enemy of the working class of Germany. We will pursue this analysis in further detail in the next issue of Alliance theoretical journal.

Source

Mike Ely tries to troll the Espresso Stalinist, attempts to smear Beria, fails

Recently, I posted a re-print of Grover Furr’s responses to Mike Ely’s charges against Beria. In response, Mike Ely attempted to troll me on this same re-print. A screenshot of his comment is here (click for full size):

The text says, “I have to say to our socialist Joe Paternos: that photo is one of the creepier things I’ve ever seen on a left site.”

In this comment he callously refers to a picture of Beria holding Stalin’s daughter, apparently attempting to joke about it rather than posting anything of political value. He also refers to people who view Beria as a Marxist-Leninist as “socialist Joe Paternos,” a reference to a football coach brought up on sexual abuse charges.

In other words, people who view Beria as a Marxist-Leninist and show evidence, aside from the lies of anti-communist scholars, that show him as one who was murdered by revisionists within the CPSU leadership on trumped-up charges of sexual violence, are no better than child molesters and sex criminals themselves! For all his talk of struggle he apparently doesn’t have any more scientific evidence that Beria was a rapist and child molester than a few trolls on this blog. I am not against him posting here, but as admin I marked this asinine comment as spam, because that’s what it was.

In response, I will now post another follow-up by Furr, which sums up the debate nicely. Soon I will be posting more information on Beria.

— Espresso Stalinist

Dear fellow listmembers,

Here are my responses to Mike Ely’s uncritical acceptance of anticommunist accusations of sexual predation by Lavrentii Beria:

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/10/joe-paterno-no-more/#comment-46825

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/10/joe-paterno-no-more/#comment-46957

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/10/joe-paterno-no-more/#comment-46986

If you scroll up and down, you’ll see Mike E’s responses, and those of others.

I think the whole discussion speaks for itself. Those who have eyes to read, and draw obvious conclusions, let them do so!

Sincerely,

Grover Furr

Grover Furr’s Response to Mike Ely’s Charges Against Beria

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.

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/10/joe-paterno-no-more/#comment-46772

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:

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/10/joe-paterno-no-more/#comment-46817

I just thought this stuff could not pass without a reply. Here’s mine:

________________

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/10/joe-paterno-no-more/#comment-46825

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.

__________________

Grover Furr

Communist League Book Review: “Molotov Remembers”


COMPASS For Communist League (UK) No 108: October 1993

Book Review: MOLOTOV’S MEMOIRS

Albert Resis (Ed.): ‘MOLOTOV REMEMBERS: INSIDE KREMLIN POLITICS’; Chicago; 1993

Vyacheslav Molotov was Stalin’s closest comrade-in-arms, and held for many years very important positions in the Soviet Union. One might have hoped, therefore, that his memoirs would have contained valuable information on the way in which revisionists managed to wreck socialism in the USSR and clear the way for the restoration of capitalism.

The Assassination of Kirov

The book does, indeed, contain one or two interesting snippets of information hitherto unknown, or little known, outside the highest circles in the former Soviet Union. For example, he tells us:

“Krushchev hinted that Stalin had Kirov killed. A commission was set up in 1956.

Tile commission concluded that Stalin was not implicated in Kirov’s assassination. Khrushchev refused to have the findings published since they didn’t serve his purpose”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ‘Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics’; Chicago; 1993; p. 353).

Revelations — About the Memoirist

Sadly, however, for the roost part Molotov’s memoirs — like most memoirs — tell us more about Molotov’s own deficiencies than about the events he recalls.

No one could question Molotov’s dedication to socialism and the working class. He followed Stalin loyally during the latter’s lifetime, but it is clear that once Stalin’s guiding hand had been removed, his political acumen was not sufficiently acute to prevent the revisionists who surrounded him from using him as their tool in the critical years from Stalin’s death in 1953 to his own expulsion from the CPSU by the revisionists in 1957.

Molotov’s Tacit Endorsement of the Attack upon Stalin

Although he defends Stalin in many respects, Molotov admits that he kept silent during Khrushchev’s savant attack on Stalin at the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956:

“Some people holding pretty much the same view blame me. ‘Why did you keep silent at the 20th Congress? To keep silent, they say, is tantamount to consent. That’s how it turned out. I kept silent and thus consented”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 351).

He gives as his reason for remaining silent that the Party was ‘not ready’ for a Marxist-Leninist analysis of events and that if he and other Marxist-Leninists had spoken out against Khrushchev’s slanders at the congress, they would have been ‘expelled from the Party’:

“The Party was not ready for such an analysis. We would simply have been kicked out. No one would have supported us. No one”. (Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 350).

He tells us that:

“I still hoped that if we remained in the Party we would be able to correct the situation gradually”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 350).

But in fact Molotov was not completely silent during the attacks on Stalin at the 20th Congress. On the contrary, at one of the open sessions of the congress he had no hesitation in

‘condemning ‘the cult of the individual”‘

(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 10; p. 14,748).

which was a clear prelude to the named attack on Stalin which followed at the secret session.

However, long after it had become patently obvious to anyone with even a smattering of Marxist-Leninist understanding that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was dominated by open revisionists who were restoring an essentially capitalist social order in the country, Molotov tells us his main preoccupation in the years following his expulsion was not so much with fighting revisionism as with trying to persuade the revisionist leaders to reinstate him in the Party:

“I send letters to the Central Committee after each congress asking them to consider my application for reinstatement in the Party.

Four times I applied to be reinstated in the Party. I wrote to Brezhnev. I am going to send another application to the 24th Congress”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): op. cit.; p. 284, 356).

Indeed, he goes so far as to agree that he deserved punishment for opposing the revisionists, and merely maintains that expulsion was excessively severe:

“I ought to have been punished, true, but expulsion from the Party . .?”
(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 356).

The Case of Israel

The general picture of the development of revisionism in the former Soviet Union is now known, but it would have been useful if Molotov had filled in, from his personal knowledge, details of some of the more controversial episodes in Soviet history — such as the support given by the Soviet regime to the partition of Palestine and the coup against Lavrenti Beria.

Unfortunately, he largely fails to do perform this task.

A paper read to the Stalin Society earlier this year presented the evidence for the view that it was revisionists in the leadership of the CPSU who, under the leadership of Andrey Gromyko, Soviet Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Deputy foreign Minister, succeeded in distorting Soviet foreign policy in favour of the partition of Palestine.

Molotov, who held the post of Soviet Foreign Minister at the time, gives a very garbled version of events. He appears to say that the American imperialists were ‘opposed’ to the formation of the state of Israel, while he and Stalin ‘supported’ it:

“Q: In the formation of the state of Israel, the Americans were opposed?

A: Everyone objected but us — me and Stalin”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 65).

But it is clearly nonsense to say that the US imperialists were opposed to the formation of the state of Israel:

“US support of the partition was critical in bringing about passage of the resolution (for the partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel — Ed.) by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly”. (‘Encyclopedia Americana’, Volume 15; Danbury (USA); 1992; p. 533).

However, Molotov goes on to explain that what he and Stalin supported was not, in fact, the formation of a racist Israeli state, but a state of Palestine in which Arabs and Jews shared power:

“We proposed, however, an Arab-Israeli (clearly he means ‘Arab-Jewish’ ` — Ed.) union, for both nations (clearly he means ‘nationalities’ — Ed.) to live together”.

(Albert Resis (}d.): cit.; p. 65).

In other words, Molotov appears to support the view expressed in the Stalin Society paper — that Stalin supported the formation of a Palestinian state in which Jews and Arabs shared power.

The Case of Beria

In a paper read to the Stalin Society entitled “The ‘Doctors’ Case’ and the Death of Stalin”, the evidence was presented for the view that, following the death of Stalin, leading revisionists, headed by Khrushchev, deceived honest members of the leadership into believing that Lavrenti Beria was an agent of imperialism and into participating in a military-style coup against him. The sole reason which Molotov gives for agreeing to participate in the coup was that Khrushchev told him that ‘apparently’ Beria was ‘up to something’!

Molotov’s story of these events is almost identical with that of Krushchev

“If you are interested in. . . . the final. Politburo session on Beria, you must bear in mind that some preliminary work had been done before that. In this Khrushchev showed he was an exceptionally energetic and efficient organiser. The initiative was in his hands as he was the Party secretary. He was definitely a good organiser.

He summoned me to the Central Committee building, and l came over.

‘I’d like to talk to you about Beria., He can’t be trusted”.

I said: ‘I fully support this idea. He must be removed and expelled from the ‘Politburo’.

Immediately before the session we agreed that expelling Beria from the Politburo would not be enough. He had to be placed under arrest. Two days later we all gathered in session.

Khruschev was the organiser of the entire affair. Why? . Apparently he had been informed that Beria was up to something. And Beria had troops under his command.

He was arrested at the Politburo session. We were all friends. . . .

I was one of the first to speak. I said that Beria was a degenerate, . . . and that he was no communist.

Then Beria took the floor to defend himself.

Beria had arrived at the session totally unaware of what lay in store for him. .

The room was securely guarded, but sitting in Poskrebyshev’s room, which adjoined the meeting room, was a group of military officers, headed by Zhukov. The group was waiting to be called in to arrest Beria.

Malenkov pressed the button. That was the signal. The group of officers led by Zhukov entered the room.

Malenkov says: ‘Arrest Beria’.

Q: Was that a complete surprise for Beria?

A: Exactly . . .

‘I fell into a trap”, he cried. He didn’t expect that from Khrushchev.

Moskalenko was also involved. Khrushchev had him promoted to marshal.

Moskalenko was put in charge of the jail where Beria was kept”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 343, 344, 345, 346).

While the official indictment against Beria was that he was a

“. . . hireling of foreign imperialist forces”,

(‘Keesing’s Contemporary Archives’, Volume 9; p.13,029).

Molotov insists that Beria was not an agent of imperialism in this sense:

“Q: To this day, people still argue whether Beria had been an agent of some foreign intelligence service.

A: I don’t think he was”. .

(Albert Resis (Ed.): op. cit.; p. 339).

He charges Beria only with being ‘an agent of imperialism’ in that in 1953 he supported within the leadership a policy which objectively assisted imperialism:

“He played the role of an agent of imperialism, that’s the point.

I regard Beria as an agent of imperialism. Agent does not mean spy”. (Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 340).

Many years later Molotov still declares that he has ‘no regrets’ about participating in the coup and praises Khrushchev for organising it!:

“I consented’ (to take part in the coup against Beria — Ed.). I have no regrets about it now. On the contrary, I believed, and I continue to believe, that this was to Khrushchev’s great credit. That’s my opinion”.
(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid,l; p. 345).

Molotov reveals that the charge of ‘serving imperialism’ levelled against Beria was concerned with the policy which the Soviet government should adopt towards the building of socialism in occupied East Germany. The Marxist-Leninist position on ‘the export of socialism’ was put by Stalin in his interview with American newspaper magnate Roy Howard in March 1936:

“Howard: May there not be an element of danger in the genuine fear existent in what you term capitalist countries of an intent on the part of the Soviet Union to force its political theories on other countries?

Stalin: There is no justification whatever for such fears. If you think that Soviet people want to change the face of surrounding states, and by forcible means at that, you are entirely mistaken. Of course, Soviet people would like to see the face of surrounding states changed, but that is the business of the surrounding states”.

(Josef V. Stalin: Interview between Josef Stalin and Roy Howard (March 1936), in: ”Works’ Volume 14; London; 1978; p.136-37).

Stalin therefore maintained that the Soviet government’s concern with post-war Germany was limited to the question of preventing future German aggression. In a speech in November 1943 he defined Soviet war aims in this connection as to

” establish such an order in Europe as will completely exclude the possibility of fresh aggression on the part of Germany”.

(Josef V. Stalin: Speech at Celebration fleeting of Moscow Soviet (6 November 1943), in: ‘War Speeches, Orders of the Day and Answers to Foreign Press Correspondents during the Great Patriotic War: July 3rd 1941 – June 22nd 1945’; London; 1945; p. 82).

As far as can be gathered from Molotov’s somewhat garbled account, Beria maintained the position that the Soviet government’s only concern with defeated Germany should be to ensure that it was anti-fascist and peaceful, and that the question of the building of socialism in any part of Germany was a matter for the German working people:

“After Stalin’s death,. . .. Beria took an active stand on the German question. . . . Beria, who was then becoming particularly active, advanced the following argument: let it (the GDR –Ed.) just be a peaceful country. That is sufficient for our purposes’. . . . . .

Beria kept insisting that . . . . . the most important concern was that Germany must be peaceful”

(Albert Resis (Ed.): op. cit.; p. 333, 334).

However, Molotov relates, other members of the Politburo — including Khrushchev and Molotov himself, demanded that the Soviet government should move to establish a socialist society in East Germany:

“The Politburo was nearly split on the issue. Khrushchev supported my position. . . Malenkov remained silent, and I knew he would follow Beria, I objected that there could not be a peaceful Germany unless it took the road to socialism”. (Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 335, 336)

This was then, according to Molotov, the main issue which provided the pretext for accusing Beria of being an “imperialist agent”. If so, it was an issue in which Beria was following Marxist-Leninist principles, while Molotov and Khrushchev were in breach of them!

Molotov’s Failure Correctly to Assess Revisionism

Even many years after international revisionism had thrown off its mask, Molotov signally failed to recognise its counter-revolutionary character.

Indeed, despite his general admiration for Stalin, we find him repeating some of the revisionist slanders about him:

“He (Stalin — Ed.) succumbed to sickly suspiciousness.. . . . In his last years he suffered from impaired judgment.

In his last years Stalin suffered from a persecution mania”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 317, 324).

We find him praising the revisionist Yuri Andropov as a ‘godsend’:

“Andropov. . . . has introduced a fresh stream of thought and a good direction. . . .

Andropov is a godsend. .

Andropov . . . is firm in politics, a man of broad horizons, a reliable person. . . . He has proved to be quite trustworthy”.

(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 395, 407).

We find him describing the French revisionist Maurice Thorez as

“. . . a very good man — a Stalinist”,
(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 82).

and the German revisionist Walter Ulbricht as

“. a dedicated communist, a politically conscious comrade”.
(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 334).

He depicts even Khrushchev as no worse than ‘a not especially dedicated communist’

“I don’t consider Khrushchev an especially dedicated communist”.
(Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 356).

IN 1984, AT THE AGE OF NINETY-FOUR, MOLOTOV ACHIEVED A LONG-HELD AMBITION. HAVING SATISFIED THE REVISIONIST LEADERS OF HIS HARMLESSNESS TO THEIR AIMS, HE WAS READMITTED TO THE COMMUNIST PARTY.

HE DIED TWO YEARS LATER — STILL CLINGING TO THE ILLUSION THAT SOCIALISM IN THE SOVIET UNION WAS BASICALLY INTACT AND SECURE, THAT A COMMONWEALTH OF SOCIALIST STATES EXISTED, AND THAT, DESPITE SOME MINOR RIGHTIST DEVIATIONS, THE SOVIET UNION WAS ADVANCING TOWARDS A COMMUNIST SOCIETY:

“Now we have a powerful country and a commonwealth of socialist states.

I think the dreams of counter-revolution will not come true. Our state, like the entire socialist camp, is still the strongest in the world. .

We are undeviatingly moving forward, but more slowly than is desirable.

The line we are pursuing is Leninist, it is socialist, but not enough. .

We are building socialism and moving towards communism because state power and the vanguard of the people rest solidly on the policy pursued by the Party, That’s the main thing.

In our country the vanguard is preserved, it is growing it is socialist, communist — this is the main thing”. (Albert Resis (Ed.): ibid.; p. 381, 409, 413).

COMpass is published by: The Communist league, Ilford, Essex, UK

The aim of the Communist League is to establish in Britain a Marxist-Leninist Party of the working class free of all revisionist trends.

PCR/Grover Furr Interview

“Khrushchev’s accusations against Stalin are false”

Interview with Grover Furr by the Revolutionary Communist Party in Brazil [translated from Spanish]


Published: August 12, 2010

“I found that the period of Soviet history with Stalin at the head has been completely distorted. Not just ‘a mistake here and there’, but basically a massive fraud, the biggest lie of the century.”

The Issue No. 118 (July 2010) A Verdade, newspaper promoted by our comrades of the Revolutionary Communist Party (Brazil) publishes an interview with Grover Furr, author of important political works include “The Shame Anti-Stalinist”, recently launched in Moscow. Furr, a Ph.D. in comparative literature or medieval Princeton University and from 1970 taught at the University of Montclair (New Jersey, USA). He was responsible for courses on the Vietnam War and social protest literature, among others. His research interests focus mainly on Marxism, the history of the USSR and the international communist movement. In the following interview, Professor Furr talks about his investigation into accusations against Stalin and Khrushchev, of which says that “60 of the 61 charges are demonstrably false.” Below is the interview

Truth – Recently, a large number of books have been published to attack the person and work of Joseph Stalin. What explains the intensification of the struggle against the regime “Stalinist” in the U.S. and the world?

Grover Furr – Since late 1920, Stalin has been the main target of shouting anti-communist and capitalist. Leon Trotsky attacked Stalin to justify its inability to win over the working masses of the Soviet Union. The real cause of the defeat of Trotsky is his interpretation of Marxism-a kind of extreme economic determinism, predicted that the revolution was doomed to failure if it was followed by revolutions in other advanced industrial countries. But the party leadership chose Stalin’s plan to build socialism in one country. Trotsky’s ideas were (and still have) a great influence on all those anti-capitalist and openly. Trotskyist historians are well received by historians capitalists. Pierre Broué and Vadim Rogovin, leading Trotskyist historians in recent decades, have been praised and still frequently cited by historians openly reactionary. Many in the party leadership in 1930 strongly opposed Stalin when he fought for democracy within the Party and, especially, democratic elections for the Soviets. The major conspiracies in the 1930’s revealed the existence in the elites of a broad trend in opposition to the policies associated with Stalin. These conspiracies actually existed: the opposition party trying to overthrow and assassinate Soviet leaders of government, or take power leading a revolt in the rear, in collaboration with the Germans and Japanese. Nikolai Ezhov, head of the NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs), had its own right-wing conspiracy, including collaboration with the Axis. To achieve its objectives executed hundreds of thousands of innocent Soviet citizens to undermine the trust and loyalty to the Soviet government. When Stalin died, Khrushchev, and many are party leaders who could blame these great Stalin repressions. They also invented many outright lies about Stalin, Beria Lavrentii and close associates of Stalin. When Gorbachev took power (1985) also realize that their capitalist “reforms”-the distance equal to capitalist market relations “could be justified if its anti-communist campaign was described as an attempt to” rectify the crimes of Stalin. “These lies and horror stories are still the main form of anti-communist propaganda in the world today. The trend is to intensify, as the capitalists are pulling down wages and social benefits of workers walk into an exacerbated nationalism, to racism and war.

Truth – What made you become interested in the history of the USSR?

Grover Furr – When I was in college, from 1965 to 1969, joined protests against U.S. war in Vietnam. One day, someone told me that the Vietnamese communists could not be “good guys” because they were all Stalinists and Stalin killed millions of innocent people. ” That stuck with me. It was probably that, in early 1970, so I read the first edition of The Great Terror by Robert Conquest. I was impressed when I read it. But I knew a certain field of Russian and could read this language, because I had studied Russian literature from the school. Then I examined the book by Robert Conquest carefully. Apparently, nobody had done it! I discovered the dishonest use of sources makes Conquest. His notes do not support any of his conclusions “anti-Stalin.” Basically, he used any source that was hostile to Stalin, regardless of whether it was reliable or not. So I decided to write something coherent. It took me a long time, but eventually published in 1988. During this time I studied the research being done by new historians of the USSR, Arch Getty, Robert Thurston and many others.

Truth – Antistalinskaia Podlost, his book (“The Shame Anti-Stalinist”) was recently published in Moscow. Tell us a little about it.

Grover Furr – A decade ago I heard about the large number of documents that were revealed in secret files of the former Soviet Union and began to study them. I read somewhere that one or two statements by Khrushchev in his famous “secret speech” of 1956, were identified as false from beginning to end. So I thought I could do some research and write an article pointing out some errors exposed by him during the “secret speech.” I never imagined to find that everything he said Khrushchev (60 of 61 charges against Stalin and Beria) was to be completely false. No 61 cargo could not find anything that would confirm or denied by. I realized that this would change everything, because virtually the entire history since 1956 is based on the words of Khrushchev or writers related to it. I found that the period of Soviet history with Stalin at the head has been completely distorted. Not just “a mistake here and there, but basically a massive fraud, the biggest lie of the century. And thanks to my colleague from Moscow, Vladimir L. Bobrov, who first showed me these documents, gave me valuable advice on several occasions and did an excellent job of translation. Without the dedication of Vladimir nothing would have happened.

Truth – In your research you had direct access to newly declassified Soviet archives. What these documents say about the millions who died under socialism, especially during the administration of Stalin?

Grover Furr – whereas people die all the time, I guess you talk about death “surplus.” Russia and Ukraine experienced famine every three or four years. The 1932-33 famine occurred during collectivization. No doubt that more people died than would have died naturally. However, many people die in famines successive-every three years, indefinitely into the future, if there was no collectivization. Collectivization meant that the famine of 1932-33 was the last, with the exception of the severe famine of 1946-1947, which was much worse, but that was due to the war. And as I mentioned before, Nikolai Ezhov deliberately killed thousands of innocent people. It is interesting to consider what might have happened if Russia had not collectivized agriculture and had not accelerated its industrialization program, and if the intrigues of the opposition in the 1930’s had not been crushed. If the USSR had not done the collectivization, the Nazis and the Japanese would have won. If Stalin had not contained the right-wing conspiracies, Trotskyists, nationalists and military, the Japanese and the Germans had conquered the country. In both cases, the victims among the Soviet people would have been much, much more numerous than the 28 million war dead. The Nazis would have killed many more Slavs and Jews that they killed. With these resources, and perhaps even with the armies of the USSR for its part, the Nazis would have been much, much stronger when fighting against England, France and the U.S. With the Soviets and the oil resources of Sakhalin, the Japanese would have killed many, many more Americans. The fact is that the USSR under Stalin saved the world from fascism, not only once, during the war, but three times: by collectivization, and the disruption of the opposition right-tortskista-military and in war. How many millions this give him?

Truth – Some authors have tried to find similarities between Stalin and Hitler, and some even say that the supposed “Stalinism” was “worse” than Nazism. Was there really any relationship between Stalin and Hitler?

Grover Furr – The anti-capitalist and not examine the class struggle and exploitation. In fact, it could be assumed that these things do not exist or are not important. But the class struggle, oppression is caused by the motor of history. Ignore this is falsifying history. Hitler was a capitalist, an authoritarian type is common in many capitalist countries. Stalin led the Bolshevik Party and the USSR, when the Communists around the world were fighting against all forms of capitalist exploitation. When we say “worst” we must always ask: “Worse for whom?” The USSR and the communist movement during the Stalin definitely was “worse than the Nazis” for capitalists. That’s why they hate capitalists to Stalin and communism. The communist movement during the period of Lenin and Stalin, and even later, was the greatest force for human liberation in history. And again we must ask, “Whose Liberation? “Liberation from what?” The answer is: the liberation of the working class in the world of capitalist exploitation, misery and war.

The Truth – One of the most frequent attacks Stalin is that he would be responsible for the famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933, also called the Great Famine. Does this version of the story corresponds to what actually happened?

Grover Furr – The “Holodomor” is a myth. Never happened. This myth was invented by pro-fascist Ukrainian nationalists, along with the Nazis. Douglas Tottle demonstrated in his book “Fraud, Famine and Fascism” (1988). Arch Getty, one of the best historians bourgeois (ie, no Marxist and non-communist), also has a good article on this. Robert Conquest is what gives the old version that the Soviets deliberately caused the famine in Ukraine. No shred of evidence that might confirm this vision, so such a test has never come to light. The myth of the “Holodomor” persists because it is the “founding myth” of rights of Ukrainian nationalism. Ukrainian nationalists invaded the USSR along with the Nazis killed millions of people, including many Ukrainians. His only “excuse” is the propaganda lie that “freedom fighters” against the Soviet communists, who were “worse than Nazis.”

The Truth “A message for Brazilian workers. Grover Furr – Fight for communism! All power to the working class around the world!