Anticommunist fairy-tales about Stalin

RUMOR, GOSSIP, AND HEARSAY DOMINATE ANTI-STALIN PROPAGANDA WRITINGS

History cannot be written unless the historian can achieve some kind of contact with the mind of those about whom he is writing. [TOO BAD MANY IGNORED THIS ADVICE]

Viola, Lynne. The Best Sons of the Fatherland. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987, p. 5

Estimates of those who perished under Stalin’s rule–based principally on speculations by writers who never reveal how they arrive at such figures–vary widely.

Parenti, Michael. Blackshirts and Reds, San Francisco: City Light Books, 1997, p. 77

My collaboration with the people I have mentioned was based exclusively on personal initiative and trust. I did not make use of or have access to any closed archives, “special collections,” or any other limited-access depositories and I am not familiar with any.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. xviii

In the nature of things there could not be a published source for much of the information in this book; it was passed on by the victims of repression or their friends or relatives.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. xx

In some western newspapers after Stalin’s death as well as in the Russian emigre press of the ’20s there were various speculations on the subject of Stalin and women. One author, hiding under the pseudonym Essad-Bey, claimed that Stalin, like an Oriental sheik, kept his beautiful wife locked up at his Kremlin apartment or at his dacha and forbade her to show herself to other men, so that even his Kremlin colleagues never saw her face. Others asserted that Stalin married secretly after Alliluyeva’s death or that he held orgies at his dachas or in his Kremlin apartment. All this is the product of unfounded rumor or deliberate fabrication.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 55

To this very day allegations occasionally appear in the foreign press that Lenin did not die a natural death but was killed by Stalin. For example, in 1976 the journal Veremya i my ran such an article by Lydia Shatunovskaya entitled “The Secret of One Arrest,” in which she repeats a story supposedly told to her by Ivan Gronsky, a former editor of Izvestia and Novy mir, to the effect that Stalin murdered Lenin. As the story goes, Stalin was visiting at Gronsky’s apartment, drank so much that he lost all self-control, and had to stay overnight; during this drinking bout Stalin told his host about the murder. This is all pure fantasy, though probably Gronsky’s rather than Shatunovskaya’s. It is true that Gronsky was a well-known figure in the literary world in the early 30s. He was the editor in chief of Novy mir and took part in preparations for the First Congress of Soviet Writers, but he was not elected even as a delegate. Stalin knew Gronsky, but to say that he was “Stalin’s most trusted man on literary questions” or that he “can go and see Stalin any time without a report to give”–these assertions were made up by Gronsky. In 1937 Gronsky was arrested and 16 years later returned from prison with a highly tarnished reputation. In order to win people’s confidence again, or at least to attract their attention, he was capable of making up the most unlikely stories about his life before and after his arrest.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 77

To this day, in works published outside the Soviet Union, one can still occasionally encounter the allegation that Lenin did not die a natural death but was actually killed by Stalin. For example, in 1976 Time and We published an article by Lydia Shatunovskaya, entitled “The Secret of One Arrest.” Claiming that Stalin murdered Lenin, she repeats a story said to have been told by Ivan Gronsky, the former editor of Izvestia and Novy Mir. According to this story, Stalin once visited Gronsky in his apartment in the mid-1930s, got drunk beyond all self-control, and talked about the murder to his host. All this is pure fantasy, invented either by Shatunovskaya or by Gronsky himself.

Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 32

Trotsky, too, spread similar stories in the last years of his life. His version was so unbelievable that Life magazine, which had contracted with Trotsky for an article on Lenin, refused to print it. Several other American magazines rejected the article, and it did not appear until August 10, 1940, in the Hearst publication Liberty. Trotsky’s arguments in support of his version were highly unconvincing. He recalled that at the end of February 1923 Lenin asked for some strong poison he could take if he felt another stroke coming on. Trotsky remembers that the Politburo refused to give Lenin any poison, but in Trotsky’s opinion Stalin might have done so.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 78

On Dec. 22, he [Lenin] requested Fotieva to provide him with cyanide in the event he lost the capacity to speak. He had made a similar request of Stalin as early as May, a fact in which Maria Ulianova saw proof of Lenin’s special confidence in Stalin.

[Footnote]: In 1939, shortly before he was murdered, Trotsky recalled an incident at the Politburo meeting in February 1923, at which Stalin, with a sinister leer, reported that Lenin had asked him for poison to end his hopeless condition. Trotsky to the end of his life believed it likely that Lenin died from toxin supplied by the General Secretary: There was something disingenuous about Trotsky’s claim, because he was in possession of a cable from Dzerzhinsky, dated February 1, 1924, that advise him that the autopsy had revealed no traces of poison in Lenin’s blood: according to Fotieva, Stalin never supplied Lenin with poison.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 469

Volkogonov promised to support my rehabilitation in exchange for my cooperation. When we met on November 4th, 1989, I suggested that Volkogonov correct his account of the Stamenov episode, which had just appeared in a literary journal. He claimed in the article that Stalin had personally met Stamenov, which I knew was untrue. I myself had handled the probe to plant disinformation among Nazi diplomats, feeling out the Germans’ desire for a peace settlement in 1941. When Volkogonov’s book appeared, the episode was not corrected. He sticks to the version that Stalin and Molotov planned a separate Brest-Litovsk type peace treaty with Hitler,…

Sudoplatov, Pavel. Special Tasks. Boston: Little, Brown, c1993, p. 429

For no other period [the Great Purges of the 1930s] or topic have historians been so eager to write and accept history-by-anecdote. Grand analytical generalizations have come from secondhand bits of overheard corridor gossip. Prison camp stories (“My friend met Bukharin’s wife in a camp and she said…”) have become primary sources on central political decision making. The need to generalize from isolated and unverified particulars has transformed rumors into sources and has equated repetition of stories with confirmation. Indeed, the leading expert on the Great Purges [Conquest] has written that “truth can thus only percolate in the form of hearsay” and that “basically the best, though not infallible, source is rumor.” [The Great Terror, 754]

[Footnote: Such statements would be astonishing in any other field of history. Of course, historians do not accept hearsay and rumor as evidence. Conquest goes on to say that the best way to check rumors is to compare them with one another. This procedure would be sound only if rumors were not repeated and if memoirists did not read each other’s works.]

As long as the unexplored classes of sources include archival and press material, it is neither safe nor necessary to rely on rumor and anecdote.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 5

1[Footnote on page 265: The basic works on the Great Purges are uniformly based on memoir sources. Conquest, Terror, Medvedev, History: and Solzhenitsyn, the Gulag Archipelago, all rely almost exclusively on personal accounts.]

Soviet history has no tradition of responsible source criticism. Scholars have taken few pains to evaluate bias, authenticity, or authorship. Specialists have accepted “sources” that, for understandable reasons, are anonymously attributed (“Unpublished memoir of”), and treat them as primary.2

2[Footnote on Page 265: Much of the documentation in Medvedev’s and Solzhenitsyn’s works is of this form, as is much of the samizdat material. Such documentation is methodically unacceptable in other fields of history. One would be dubious about a footnote to the “unpublished memoir of the Duc de” in a work on the French revolutionary terror.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 211

Each of the emigre and defector sources represents a variant on the vast pool of such rumors and stories [regarding the Kirov assassination], but clearly none of them was in a position to know anything about their veracity. The authors seemed to pick the stories that fit together into particular schemes, and subsequent historians followed suit.

Indeed, in the rush to support a particular scenario, scholars have been strangely selective in their use of emigre memoirs. They have accepted and used those that supported their preconceptions and ignored those that did not. Students have embraced the rumors and flawed stories of Orlov, Barmine, and Nicolaevsky while ignoring accounts that call Kirov a “conservative,” describe underground oppositionist plots in the ’30s, and argue for the existence of a planned military coup against Stalin. The point is not that these unused memoirs are any more credible than the familiar ones, but that all memoir accounts should be subjected to intense critical attention that takes contradictions into account. All claims or hypotheses based solely on secondhand gossip or rumor should be rejected according to the elementary rules of evidence.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 216

One such work, however, was never published in the Soviet Union–Medvedev’s Let History Judge…. It is a completely and uniformly bitter condemnation of Stalin by a former communist.

Nearly all Medvedev’s work is based on the post-1956 recollections of surviving party members. Many such reminiscences appeared in the press in 1956-64, usually in connection with obituaries or anniversaries, and Medvedev apparently collected such statements and interviews as the basis of his work. He made virtually no use of central or local press sources, published material, or contemporary documentation. However, his introduction shows that he was familiar with the vast corpus of Western scholarship about Stalin, and in some places where Old Bolshevik circumstantial testimony is lacking (Stalin’s hand in Kirov’s death, for example), he seems to rely on Western versions.

Medvedev’s is probably the most useful account of the fates of various people…. Like the previously cited works, however, its problem is the distance between his sources and central events. Like all the above sources, none of Medvedev’s often anonymous informants was close enough to the center of power to tell why things were happening or indeed exactly what was happening. Medvedev is able to catalog events better than other writers, but he is not able to chronicle or analyze Moscow’s decisions or attitudes with first-hand evidence. All his informants were on the “outside,” and their first-hand experience extended only to themselves and their associates. Their speculations about why this happened or about Stalin’s position are little better than ours.

A work that deserves passing mention because of its current popularity is the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn…. The work is of limited value to the serious student of the 1930s for it provides no important new information or original analytical framework.

Many of the linchpins of the Western interpretation are based almost solely on an uncritical acceptance of rumors from persons not in a position to know. This is not to say that these works are worthless lies bearing no relation to the truth. They are quite valuable descriptions of personal experiments and should be taken as such. But they are not primary sources that cast light on central decision making, or even on events of a national scale. Because many of these writers were victims or opponents, they may have known less about high policy than we do.

One need only scan the footnotes of any standard account of the Great Purges to see how much of the basic material of this view comes from the speculations of these contradictory and self-serving sources, who were in no position to report anything but gossip. Most Western accounts were written during the post-World War II period, and their authors relied on emigre and defector accounts for the vital underpinnings of their view. The inaccessibility of Soviet archives on these events compounded this tendency. Yet if one applies strict rules of evidence and of source criticism to these works, accepting only that which the informant can report firsthand, several aspects of the Western interpretation collapse.

[Footnote: In Conquest’s, Terror, half the notes in the chapters “Stalin Prepares” and “The Kirov Murder” are to emigre and defector raconteurs who were not close to the events they describe. Two-thirds of the references in the chapter “Architect of Terror” are to such secondhand accounts, which can in no way be tested for an account of the “architect.”]

Although the main weakness of the sources is their removal from the events they so freely judge, the question of political bias is also worth considering, as it is in other areas of historical inquiry. Orlov, Trotsky, the Mensheviks, and Khrushchev were all self-interested political actors and had little incentive to produce an objective view….

…a generation of Cold War attitudes have contributed to what would be considered sloppy and methodically bankrupt scholarship in any other area of inquiry. Historians of modern Europe would not try to study the politics of World War I by relying on the memoirs of soldiers from the trenches without exhausting the available press, documentary, and archival materials.

Getty, A. Origins of the Great Purges. Cambridge, N. Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985, p. 218-219

Joel Carmichael writes:

“One of the principal oddities throughout this strange interval of hesitation [the period from the end of August through the end of October 1917] was that since Lenin was in hiding his place as the most authoritative Bolshevik was occupied by Trotsky, at least as far as the public was concerned. In effect this turned a man who had been an implacable opponent of the Bolsheviks for 15 years into their most authoritative spokesman….”

Such assertions are mistaken; they fly in the face of generally known facts. Trotsky’s name certainly did appear side-by-side with Lenin’s during the October days, but side-by-side does not mean equal. Even the broad public understood the different political weight of the two men. This was no secret to the enemies of the Bolshevik Party either. As for the “consciousness of the party,” there the names of Lenin and Trotsky were not at all equal. The party had only one leader, Lenin, and he alone was the inspirer and organizer of the October Revolution. It was not accidental that, while praising Trotsky, Lenin noted that the Mezhraiontsy had “hardly been tested in proletarian work in the spirit of our party.”

Carmichael ‘s assertions are absolutely wrong.

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 101

The question of Frunze’s death was not discussed at the party congress after all, but in 1926 the fifth issue of the literary monthly Novy Mir appeared with a story–Pilnyak’s “Tale of the Unextinguished Moon”–that clearly implicated Stalin in Frunze’s death, although the preface gave the following disclaimer:

“The plot of this story may suggest to the reader that Frunze’s death inspired it an provided the material for it. Personally I hardly knew Frunze, I was barely acquainted with him, maybe met him twice…. I find it necessary to inform the reader of this, so that the reader will not look in this sotry for real persons or events.”

Pilnyak displayed detailed knowledge of many circumstances surrounding the operation [for Frunze’s stomach ulcer] and Frunze’s death and stated bluntly that the “order” for the operation came from “Number One, the unbending man,” who “headed the triumvirate”…. It is not surprising that the entire printing of the magazine was quickly confiscated…. In the next issue of Novy Mir the editors admitted that publication of Pilnyak’s story had been an “obvious and flagrant mistake.”

Antonov-Ovseyenko has no doubt that Frunze’s death was a political act of elimination organized by Stalin. Adam Ulam, the American historian and Sovietologist, in his book on Stalin emphatically rejects this version. He feels that the whole problem had to do with the poor organization of medical service in the Soviet Union in 1925. As early as Lenin’s time the practice of party intervention in medical affairs had been introduced; obligatory rest or treatment was prescribed for many party leaders. Thus the Politburo’s decision about Frunze’s operation was not a rare exception. Ulam considers Pilnyak’s story unquestionable slander and comments:

“It is probably that Pilnyak was put up to it by somebody who wanted to strike at Stalin. The remarkable thing is that nothing happened at the time to Pilnyak or to the editor…. Whether out of contempt for the slander or a calculated restraint, or both, Stalin chose not to react to a libel which even in a [bourgeois] democratic society would have provided ample grounds for criminal proceedings against its author and publisher.”

Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 158

Frunze died in October 1925 at the height of the Stalin versus Zinoviev-Kamenev contest. He himself had taken no position in the struggle. His successor as War Commissar was Voroshilov. And so rumors began to circulate that his death had been more than simply another case of medical malpractice. The story exploded in the May 1926 issue of Novy Mir (New World), then as now the leading Soviet literary journal, in an all too transparent fiction about an “army commander” whom “Number One, the unbending man,” forces to submit to an unnecessary operation, during which he is medically murdered. The story, “The Tale of the Unextinguished Moon,” was by the noted Soviet writer Boris Pilnyak. The issue was, of course, immediately confiscated, and the substitute number of Novy Mir carried the editorial board’s frightened apology for printing anti-party slander….

This was slander, and it is probable that Pilnyak was put up to it by somebody who wanted to strike at Stalin. The remarkable thing is that nothing happened at the time to Pilnyak or to the editor. In 1937 [11 years later] they were both arrested, but on other charges,…

Whether out of contempt for the slander or a calculated restraint, or both, Stalin chose not to react to a libel which even in a democratic society would have provided ample grounds for criminal proceedings against its author and publisher.

Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York: Viking Press, 1973, p. 260-261

The opposition leaders were able to speak out as late as the autumn of 1927 through ‘discussion sheets’ which Pravda carried in preparation for the 15th Party Congress in December, and Trotsky was able to publish a statement in Pravda as late as August 1927. The boldest attempt of the opposition to use the open press was the publication in the literary journal The New World of ‘The Tale of the Unextinguished Moon’ by Boris Pilniak in May 1926. This was a barely disguised version of the death on 31 October 1926 of Trotsky’s successor in the post of narkom of defense, Frunze. He had been operated on for a gastric ailment, began to recover, then died. Frunze and Stalin were supposed to have been on good terms and the General Secretary made much of his attempt to visit the patient in the hospital shortly after the operation. The deceased, an old Bolshevik turned military man, received the fullest possible honors, including an eulogy from Stalin and burial near the Lenin mausoleum. But there was a rumor that it was a case of medical murder. Frunze supposedly had been Zinoviev’s candidate for narkom, while Stalin backed Voroshilov, who in fact succeeded Frunze in the post. Allegedly, the General Secretary had arranged a Politburo order to the unwilling Frunze to have the operation, during which he received an overdose of an anesthetic known to be bad for his heart, although he apparently survived the actual operation for several days.

McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 102

It is impossible in the nature of the case to exculpate Stalin. One might even speculate that he did not feel able to oust Zinoviev from Leningrad, while Frunze headed the armed forces. On the other hand, the evidence against Stalin is not strong, and it seems unlikely that he would have risked murder of such an important personage at this stage in his career. But the rumors that Stalin had murdered Frunze obviously served the opposition…. It was in any case, a demonstration that the absence of a reign of terror in the Soviet Union in 1926 that a writer, even a brash eccentric like Pilniak, would dream of publishing a novel that virtually accused of murder, the man whom the writer called ‘Number One’ and ‘the unbending man’. Or that a literary journal would accept it. In fact, one journal rejected it, and Pilniak cheekily dedicated the story to the rejecting editor when it was published, adding a preposterous denial that the plot was based on Frunze’s death. This was going too far. The offending issue of the journal was withdrawn, and apologies for such ‘error’ and ‘slander’, which could ‘play into the hands of the small-minded counter-revolutionary’, were forthcoming from both editors who were involved and the author. But the whole scandal served as much to advertise Pilniak’s tale as to suppress it, and the matter was common knowledge.

McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 102

(J. Arch Getty)

Frustrating to historians and journalists, this strange situation has inevitably spawned a heterogeneous collection of purportedly serious writings on Stalin. In the absence of reliable first-hand testimony or revealing written evidence, and in their desperation to understand the man, writers on Stalin and his period have offered the specialized and general public a diverse but sometimes troubling bill of fare.

Although there have been some outright forgeries, the more common tradition has been to infer the details of his personal life and actions. Novelists (and novelists pretending to be historians) have presented fictitious dialogs and purported soliloquies by the dictator. Others have made dubious claims of having known him closely and many memorists have reported scenes with Stalin that they did not witness. We also now have published collections of myths about Stalin.

Consider for example the famous “Letter of an Old Bolshevik.” First published in a Menshevik journal in 1936, the text reports to be the record of a conversation between Bukharin and Nicolaevsky in Paris and is the original source for several key points about Stalin. Internal inconsistencies and other problems cast grave doubt on its accuracy and even its authenticity. Nevertheless, scholars continue to cite it as evidence. Similarly, Orlov’s Secret History of Stalin’s Crimes has provided the bedrock evidence for another set of historical assertions. We learn here the “insiders” account of Stalin’s relations with the NKVD chief Yezhov and other nefarious personalities. Yet, it turns out that Orlov was abroad during the 1930s and picked up his tantalizing tidbits as second and third hand corridor gossip.

It may well be that some of what Nicolaevsky & Orlov report is true. But the dubious origins of the works must cast doubt on their claims. How does one know what is true and what is not? Does one accept what one likes and believes and reject the rest? In most other fields of historical research, such flimsy tales would be rejected as sources out of hand. Were we to do this here, we would discover that we no longer have evidence of Kirov’s moderation or Stalin’s conspiracy to kill him….

In addition to suspicious memoirs and pretended letters, there is a large corpus of historical fiction and fictional history. The problems with such literary sources have been analyzed in print. They tend toward fictionalization, are tailored to produce emotional responses, and try to make moral points. Despite apparent similarities between historical and literary works as texts, they are different genres. Historians conduct research and handle data differently than do creative writers. Hypotheses are tested, discrete interpretations are discussed and documented, and evidence is carefully weighed. For example, Rybakov’s Children of the Arbat, which has played a key role in anti-Stalin shock work and is even hailed as a historical source, contains numerous factual errors and flights of literary fancy. Even Volkogonov’s more scholarly Triumph and Tragedy contains invented dialogue between Stalin and his clique.

Unlike historians, literateurs are generally unconcerned about verifying their sources. Consider two recent examples. First, Shatrov in his play Dal’she, Dal’she, Dal’she tells the story of Zinoviev and Kamenev being brought from prison to the Kremlin in order to be persuaded to confess. His account of this alleged event in fact closely paraphrases the first account of this tale in the spurious Secret History of Stalin’s Crimes, published in the West decades after the event. It is also noteworthy that no evidence to support this tale was found in the Party Central Committee’s recent exhaustive archival examination and documentary publication on the interrogation and trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev.

Second, there is the currently popular story that Lenin’s Testament was never discussed at a party congress and that, if it had been, Stalinism could have been prevented. In fact, the document was considered by the Party Central Committee shortly after Lenin’s death and again in a closed session at the congress in 1927. At that time, Pravda published a Stalin speech which included excerpts from it, including the part in which Lenin criticized Stalin’s rudeness and called for his removal from the post of General Secretary. It was (like Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” to the 20th party congress in 1956) not published until recently. But the congress delegates who heard the Testament consisted of virtually all key party leaders and even a scattering of common folk from across the country….

The results of historical investigations into the Stalin period have in many cases been colored by two factors inherent in the subject itself. First, as we have seen, the paucity of reliable and creditable sources on the man (and even on the basic functioning of the system) has given rise to a most diverse and free-wheeling literature that often bears weak allegiance to basic rules of historical investigation. Secondly, nearly all studies have reflected the moral and political agendas of the authors. We have sometimes seen the eclipse of detailed scholarship by didactic preaching and political advocacy.

Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 101-103

The tale wags the dog: the critical use of sources, validity of scientific deduction, and strength of argument–the traditional measures of scholarly worth–take second place to the perceived values of the author. Reviewers worry more about the intentions of the author than about the sources or methodology involved and scholarship is transformed into a rite of exorcism. As we shall see below, this attitude is as prevalent in the former Soviet Union as it is in the West.

Politically, writing about Stalinism has meant taking a stance. Alec Nove has clearly shown how attitudes toward Stalin flow from the political agendas of the authors. The overarching importance of the Soviet Union and socialism to twentieth century political history, the strong communist, anti-Communist, and patriotic passions they have inspired, and the tendency of revolutions to create camps of winners and losers have guaranteed a partisan field of study from the beginning.

Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 105

But without the participation of professional historians, the process of glasnost will remain dangerously inchoate. Unevaluated and undocumented rumors, contradictory claims, and false information will continue to cloud the historical and literary air in the former USSR as they have in the West for decades.

Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 110

Although the “shock work” of publicist is important, it does not generally represent serious historical research. Professional historians in the former Soviet Union privately express dismay at the ability of journalists and publicists to monopolize the discourse, and many of them are appalled at statements emphasizing the primacy of political utility over objective research. Such unfortunately utilitarian approaches to scholarship sometimes even come from leading scholars.

Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 111

Finally, I wish I could be as “crystal clear” about what happened in the 1930s as Sergo Mikoyan is, but we still have few sources and a lot of work to do.

Nove, Alec, Ed. The Stalin Phenomenon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993, p. 140

Stories about Stalin have circulated at least since the 1920s and include aspects of his genealogy (he was said to be descended from Georgian or Ossetian princes), personal life (secret wives, amorous ballerinas, and illegitimate children in the Kremlin), and the circumstances of his youth and death. Even at this writing, characterizations of Bolshevism as a Jewish conspiracy are routinely heard even in educated circles in Moscow.

Given Russian cultural traditions, there is nothing particularly unusual about such folklore. What should be surprising is that so much of the oral tradition has found its way into the corpus of scholarly literature. Secondhand personal memoirs, gossip, novels, and lurid accounts by defecting spies eager to earn a living in the West are soberly reviewed in scholarly journals, cited in footnotes, and recommended to graduate students. Fictionalized “letters of old Bolsheviks,” political histories with invented Stalin soliloquies, and even dramatic plays are routinely incorporated into academic treatments in ways that would be laughable in other national historical studies.

Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 40

In other words, Rittersporn is saying: “Look, I can prove that most of the current ideas about Stalin are absolutely false.’ But to say this requires a giant hurdle. If you state, even timidly, certain undeniable truths about the Soviet Union in the thirties, you are immediately labeled `Stalinist’. Bourgeois propaganda has spread a false but very powerful image of Stalin, an image that is almost impossible to correct, since emotions run so high as soon as the subject is broached. The books about the purges written by great Western specialists, such as Conquest, Deutscher, Schapiro and Fainsod, are worthless, superficial, and written with the utmost contempt for the most elementary rules learnt by a first-year history student. In fact, these works are written to give an academic and scientific cover for the anti-Communist policies of the Western leaders. They present under a scientific cover the defence of capitalist interests and values and the ideological preconceptions of the big bourgeoisie.

Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 127 [p. 110 on the NET]

Most of the new material seems presented to make two points long accepted in the West: the terror was widespread and that Stalin had a personal role in it. Virtually all of the latest historical revelations are aimed at illustrating these points and the documents presented seem chosen for this in mind.

Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 42

(Arch Getty)

It is easier to reject contradictory evidence with the deus ex machina [any unconvincing character or event brought artificially into the plot of a story to settle an involved situation] of Stalin’s supposed cleverness: All twists and turns, hesitations and contradictions are thus the result of his incredible deviousness, sadism, or calculating shrewdness. There is really no counter to such ahistorical assertions, except that they are based on faith: the a priori presumption of a plan and the belief that anomalies were intentionally part of it. Such elaborate constructs are unnecessary to explain events; the simplest explanation with the fewest assumptions and consistent with the evidence is usually the best.

Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 62

(Stephen Wheatcroft)

Although there is a role for literary and propagandist works to force a process of rethinking upon closed minds, there is also a need for serious historical work to produce an unemotional and accurate portrayal of reality. So far we have seen relatively few serious historical works on this subject. Such work will require more than literary creativity; you’ll need a professional, objective evaluation of evidence which until recently has not been available for examination.

Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 275

I heard, when I was still in the USSR, all kinds of stories about how my father had “killed people in moments of temporary insanity.” Repeatedly people tried to make me confirm one highly improbable story about Stalin walking at his dacha–this was in winter–and seeing footprints in the snow. Calling a guard, he asked whose footprints they were. The guard did not know–he was seeing them for the first time. Stalin then drew out his revolver and shot the guard on the spot, remarking that the man “wasn’t guarding him properly.” No matter how many times I tried to prove that the story was out of keeping with my father’s character, people did not believe me and tried to convince me that the story was true.

Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Only One Year. New York: Harper & Row, 1969, p. 364

We have been considering Stalin’s psychological attitudes.

Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 319

[Footnote:] Trotsky suggests that Stalin may have poisoned Lenin. But this is no more than a vague surmise, as Trotsky himself states; and it sounds unreal in view of the fact that Trotsky never leveled that charge, or even hinted at it, during the many years of his struggle against Stalin up to 1939-40, when he raised it for the first time. Apparently, Trotsky projected the experience of the great purges of the late 30s back to 1924. Yet such a projection contradicts Trotsky’s own characterization of Stalin. “If Stalin could have foreseen”, says Trotsky, “at the very beginning where his fight against Trotskyism would lead, he undoubtedly would have stopped short, in spite of the prospect of victory over all his opponents. But he did not foresee anything”. Thus even after he had charged Stalin with poisoning Lenin, Trotsky still treated the Stalin of 1924 as an essentially honest but short-sighted man, a characterization that can hardly be squared with the accusation. There is also the fact that Stalin did not dispose of Trotsky himself in a similar manner, while the latter was in Russia, an act of which he would certainly have been capable if he had been capable of assassinating Lenin.

Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 253

Trotsky, relating the foregoing [accusing Stalin of giving him the wrong date for Lenin’s funeral], added, “Stalin… might have feared that I would connect Lenin’s death with last year’s conversation about poison…and demand a special autopsy. It was, therefore, safer to keep me away until after the body had been embalmed, the viscera cremated and a post mortem inspired by such suspicions no longer feasible.” But if Trotsky thought that at the time, he could have called for a post mortem from Sukhumi. Once more he mysteriously failed to act on his suspicions. Perhaps he only firmed up his suspicions in retrospect, when later he wanted to revenge himself on Stalin, for no other competent source thought Stalin might have poisoned Lenin.

Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 255

In the intrigues following Lenin’s death, he [Trotsky] was by no means straightforward, but at once “devious and faint-hearted,” and his own account is “pathetic in its half-truths and attempts to gloss over the facts.” [from The Bolsheviks by Adam Ulam, NY, 1965, pp. 573-575]… But Trotsky had never failed in his duty to suppress or misrepresent facts in the interests of politics. And his general reliability on the period in question could have been considered in the light of his accusation that Stalin poisoned Lenin. There is no evidence whatever that this is true, and Trotsky himself only brought it up many years later–in 1939….

Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 413

…a few Western Sovietologists began to assert that the Terror had claimed far fewer victims, and that ordinary life was not affected. The writer of a Western Sovietological textbook concerned to reduce the estimates to, as he put it, a few hundred thousand or even a few tens of thousands, wrote, “Surely we don’t want to hypothesize 3 million executions or prison deaths in 1937-1938 or anything like this figure, or we are assuming most improbable percentages of men dying.” The key word here is “improbable.” The Stalin epoch is replete with what appear as improbabilities to minds unfitted to deal with the phenomena. Similarly the argument that Stalin could not have killed millions of peasants, since that would have been “economically counterproductive.” Following such leads, a new group of Westerners came forward, with singularly bad timing, in the mid-1980s and told us (in the words of one of them) that the terror had only killed “thousands” and imprisoned “many thousands.” Such views could only be formed by ignoring or actively rejecting, the earlier evidence [WHAT EARLIER EVIDENCE]. This was accomplished by saying that those who produced it were opposed to Stalin and Stalinism, and therefore prejudiced, and that some of the material was secondhand. Thus it was not merely a matter of mistaken assessment of the evidence. It was, contrary to the duties of a historian, a refusal to face it.

Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 486

With any of these authors [Western Sovietologists and Russian dissidents], it is not difficult to find many factual errors, in exact formulations, juggling of facts, and outright distortions. This can be explained on the whole by two reasons. The first is the limited nature of the historical sources which these authors had at their disposal. Thus, the basic research for Conquest’s The Great Terror consists of an analysis of Soviet newspapers and other official publications, to which are added references to the memoir accounts of several people who managed to escape from the USSR. The second reason is that the majority of Sovietologists and dissidents served a definite social and political purpose–they used this enormous historical tragedy to show that its fatal premise was the “utopian” communist idea and revolutionary practice of Bolshevism. This prompted the researchers concerned to ignore those historical sources which contradict their conceptual schemes and paradigms.

… Solzhenitsyn’s book, Gulag Archipelago, contains no references whatsoever to Trotsky’s works. Solzhenitsyn’s work, much like the more objective works of Medvedev, belongs to the genre which the West calls “oral history,” i.e., research which is based almost exclusively on eyewitness [actually secondhand–me] accounts of participants in the events being described. Moreover, using the circumstance that the memoirs from prisoners in Stalin’s camps which had been given to him to read had never been published, Solzhenitsyn took plenty of license in outlining their contents and interpreting them.

Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. xx

However, very soon it became clear that the themes of the Great Terror and Stalinism were being used by many authors and organs of the press in order to compromise or discredit the idea of socialism. This anti-communist and anti-Bolshevik approach had largely been prepared by the activity of Western Sovietologists and Soviet dissidents from the 1960s through the 1980s, who had put into circulation a whole number of historical myths.

Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. xxv

Bourgeois historiography, despite its superficial objectivity and respectability, is politicized and tendentious…. This becomes abundantly clear upon reading the most substantive work devoted to the history of the great purge, Robert Conquest’s book The Great Terror. Without touching on the numerous other mistakes and juggling of facts which we have found in this work, let us stop to examine the contents of the three pages (and no more) which the author felt were sufficient to illustrate Trotsky’s views and activities. On these pages, Conquest managed to present no less than ten theses which remain unsupported by citations or by any other evidence, and which do not withstand criticism if they are juxtaposed with actual historical facts. Let us name several of these theses, after arranging them, so to speak, according to the chronological framework of the falsifications.

FROM HERE ON I AGREE WITH CONQUEST AND DISAGREE WITH THE TROT ROGIVIN

1. Trotsky “firmly crushed the democratic opposition within the party.”

2. Trotsky was a “leading figure among the ‘Leftist’ Old Bolsheviks, that is, those doctrinaires who could not agree with Lenin’s concessions to the peasantry. These people, and Trotsky in particular, preferred a more rigorous regime even before Stalin began to carry out such a line.”

3. Trotsky “never expressed a word of sympathy for the deaths of millions during collectivization.”

4. “Even in exile during the 1930s, Trotsky was not by any means a forthright revolutionary out to destroy a tyranny.”

5. Trotsky did not oppose Stalin ideologically, nor did he expose him as the gravedigger of the revolution, but “simply quarreled with Stalin about which ‘phase’ of evolution toward socialism had been attained” in the Soviet Union.

6. Trotsky “stood, in fact, not for the destruction of the Stalinist system, but for its takeover and patching up by an alternative group of leaders.”

7. Trotsky’s political judgment was “unbelievably inept.”

8. Trotsky’s influence in the USSR during the ’30s “was practically nil.”

9. All these points are logically crowned with “an alternative prognosis” or “a prognosis aided by hindsight”: if Trotsky had come to power, then he would have ruled only “less ruthlessly or, to be more precise, less crudely, than Stalin.”…

In turn, Conquest did not think up the argument cited above, which bear the stamp of lightweight journalistic escapades. Rather he copied them from the works of anti-communist ideologues of the 1930s.

Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 310

But in 1950 a book appeared by the French journalist Delbar, The Real Stalin. I didn’t know Delbar, but I recalled that he’d collaborated with Bessedovsky. I was interested and read the book. It was full of lies and inventions. I realized at once that it was Bessedovsky’s work. Things I’d told him earlier about Stalin and other Party leaders figured in the book, but completely distorted, full of lies, and in effect an insult to the reader. In addition there was frequent mention that such and such a detail (usually false or invented) had been given to the author by a former member of Stalin’s secretariat. This cast a shadow on me, since there were no other former members of Stalin’s secretariat in exile. Reading the book, a specialist in Soviet affairs could be led to believe I was the source of Bessedovsky’s documents.

I requested an explanation. He didn’t deny having written it all and having mocked his readers. When I threatened to denounce his fabrications in the press, he replied that the book was signed by Delbar, and Bessedovsky was not officially involved: if I attacked him, I could be charged with defamation.

Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 207

[At the 28th Party Congress in the summer of 1990] I was a candidate for the program commission of that Congress, but I was voted out by the orthodox Bolsheviks.

Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Autopsy for an Empire. New York: Free Press, c1998, p. 474

I first met Yeltsin in 1989, and had many private conversations with him. After I was sacked from the Main Political Administration and, in June 1991, from the Institute of Military History, I became one of his advisers….

Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Autopsy for an Empire. New York: Free Press, c1998, p. 503

Not everything written in the Soviet Union about Stalin and Stalinism under glasnost exuded great wisdom. Some was plainly wrong, and some writers repeated ideas and arguments that had been voiced decades earlier in the West; even the Nazi literature on the Soviet Union found some latter-day emulators.

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 4

According to the new mythology that made its appearance under glasnost, much of the blame for the terror, the show trials, and the purges has to go to Trotsky because he called for the physical elimination of Stalin. Thus, Volkogonov: Trotsky’s book The Revolution Betrayed, which was handed to Stalin in early 1937, was one of the last straws that broke the camel’s back. An earlier version of this farfetched theory can be found in Roy Medvedev’s Let History Judge, published in the Soviet Union in 1988….

What should one make of assertions of this kind? To begin with, the chronology does not fit. The first copies of The Revolution Betrayed appeared in May 1937, and even if the NKVD had worked day and night translating the book, they could not possibly have handed it to Stalin in 1936 at the time of the first trials. Indeed, in an earlier publication, Volkogonov had written that Stalin had received the translated manuscript only in late 1937.

We do not know what made him change the chronology; but whatever the reason, Trotsky’s book could not possibly had driven Stalin to his “desperate decision.”

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 50

Biographers of Stalin, Trotsky, and other political leaders are frequently tempted to engage in descriptions and explanations beyond what the evidence will bear out. Doing so is sometimes inevitable in view of the lack of evidence, and a good case can be made for informed guesses, as long as they are not presented as fact and certitude.

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 52

Stalin might have said in a small circle that it had been a mistake to let Trotsky go in 1929 in the first place, even though there is no evidence to this effect.

But even now, after all the revelations, we cannot possibly know what Stalin thought when he read Trotsky’s books or articles or when he received reports about Trotsky’s activities in exile, for there is no evidence.

… If Stalin really believed that Trotsky was a deadly threat, there would have been a change in his behavior once Trotsky had been killed. But that did not transpire; Stalin’s behavior in 1950 was essentially the same as it had been in the 1930s.

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 53

We owe the revelations under glasnost about the arrests, interrogations, and the executions to a small number of indefatigable investigators…. Like Solzhenitsyn, they [Medvedev and Antonov-Ovseenko] relied almost entirely on oral history, that is, the recollections of prominent and not so prominent survivors.

The greatest single quantitative contribution to our knowledge was made, however, by a student in his 20s, Dmitri Yurasov…. At the age of 16 (in 1981), he installed himself in the state archives as a “palaeographer, second rank.”

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 127

A retired Kharkov prosecutor named Ivan Shekhovtsov tried 17 times to bring court actions to restore the honor and good name of Joseph Stalin. The 18th time, he almost succeeded inasmuch the Sverdlovsk regional court in the city of Moscow agreed to deal with Shekhovtsov’s action against the well-known White Russian writer Adamovich, who (he claimed in an article in Sovetskaia Kultura) had been guilty of criminal libel. The line taken by Shekhovtsov during the trial was that because there were no documents proving that Stalin had ever committed a crime, he must not be vilified. On the other hand, the victims of the Stalinist period from Bukharin to the academician Vavilov, had all admitted their guilt. According to Shekhovtsov, anti-Stalin hysteria was engulfing the country, and with the help of foreign radio stations, the anti-Stalinists were systematically undermining the prestige of the Soviet system….

Shekhovtsov was a member of the legal profession, and as far as he was concerned, only documents counted; all the rest was hearsay.

Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 270

Is it possible that this Volkogonov did not know or hear about this speech [complementing Stalin] by Churchill? It would really be strange. But his main task was to heap abuse and calumny on Stalin and thus on the USSR, on socialism and on communism. That was his main task and the task of his backers who paid for his book to be published. I can say that Volkogonov spent his time without any truth in his diatribe. His main argument was the “Cult of Personality” and even Stalin’s enemies gave him his due. We would have expected a little more objectivity from our historian.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 42

Those who now accuse Stalin of this and that, absolutely did not know him, did not see him personally–only saw him in photographs or in films, or they read about him from writers who also never saw him or met him, and wrote as they liked, made of him a person who was nowhere recognizable by people like me.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 53

But today, numerous books are written about this–all historical facts are turned topsy turvy, inside out and upside down. They describe him [Bukharin] as the theoretician of the party. Khrushchev, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin all rehabilitated these enemies.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 75

In the last 30 years in the press, there were hundreds of articles and many versions of attempts on Stalin’s life. These so-called “truths” are nothing but fairy tales. I and my comrades who were the bodyguards of Stalin know what happened and this will be history.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 93

After the liquidation of the assassins ‘corps,’ Trotsky then did not constitute any danger to Stalin or the Soviet Government. But today’s press is full of all versions as to the assassination plots against Stalin. For example, “Pravda” (whose current owner is a Greek millionaire), writes that Kavtaradze tried to place a bomb in the Bolshoi Theatre where Stalin was sitting in the theater box. I was then the commandant of Bolshoi Theatre security and there was absolutely no such attempt. Not Rakov, or Tukov, or Krutashev [Stalin’s bodyguards] ever heard of such an attempt.

The newspaper “Niedelia-Sunday,” in an article about Beria, wrote that in the Ritsa Lake, there was an attempt on the life of Stalin, that Stalin remained alive only because Beria covered him with his own body. Tukov, who was there, said: “Beria would place anyone else in front of a bullet, but never himself. There was no attempt on the life of Stalin there. This is just yellow journalism by the newspapers. What really happened there was that Beria pushed me into the water when I caught a fish. Stalin was very upset with Beria and scolded him as he would a child for this act of stupidity.”

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 96

The novel by Rybakov, “Children of the Arbat,” stated that Stalin was afraid of people. That is why Rybakov states when Stalin was walking on the Arbat, the security closed all the entrances to the street. This is stupid and impossible to accomplish! It is physically impossible to close all the entrances since these are thoroughfares. Stalin’s car never exceeded 30 kilometers an hour and often, went as slow as 10 kilometers an hour. Stalin was never afraid of people or of the dark, as I have already written.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 97

The following point is more serious. The modern “democratic journalists” have a field day with the personal life of Stalin, thinking up all sorts of stories, innuendos, and absolute falsifications.

The “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper… basing itself on the dossier of J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the FBI in the USA, printed the item that on Oct. 17, 1938, in Lvov, there took place a meeting of Stalin and Hitler. At that time, I was head of the group that traveled with Stalin in Moscow and other cities or districts in the country. At that time, my assistants were always assigned to guard Stalin–Kykov, Starostin, Orlov, Krutshev, and Kirilin. We all state that this is a vile lie that Hitler and Stalin met in Lvov! In a detailed research of archival documents by the newspaper “Glasnost,” it was learned that Stalin was in Moscow all that time and was welcoming workers of the country at an official reception.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 98

The magazine “Ogonyok” printed fragments from the book of Alexander Orlov “Secret History of Stalin’s Crimes.” Who is this Alexander Orlov? This is Lev Feldbin, twice in Lubyanka jail. He came from the Caucasus, where he commanded some border guards. During the 1930s, this Feldbin ran away across the border of the USSR and there, he wrote this fable.

He was never close to Stalin. He only met some of the heads of the OGPU such as Commissar Pauker. He is simply a complete liar. Is it at all possible for him to see Stalin meeting Hitler, while we, his personal bodyguards, were sleeping? Stalin never carried any pistols. He always wore his army clothes, plain and simple with no braids or medals or other decorations.

Feldbin states that a bodyguard of Stalin, Evdokimov, was a Trotskyite. This is an outright fabrication! From 1930, the personal guards of Stalin were Vlasik, Rumyantsev, and Bogdanov. Regarding Evdokimov, he was only a secretary in the North Caucasus Party demanding of Stalin that he give him permission to arrest Sholokhov. Stalin put him in his place.

This same Feldman writes that Stalin asked Pauker to gather for him pornographic photographs. We, his personal guards, living with him 24 hours a day, never ever saw any such trash. In his study, the only photographs that were seen were of Bedny, Sholokov, Gorky, and Mayakovsky. The other walls were practically bare. He lived very modestly.

This Feldbin states that on the road to his Dacha, Stalin had commanded that all house-cottages on the route be demolished. Anyone who knows the reconstruction of Moscow and the outskirts will laugh at such stupidity since these districts had large apartment houses, industries built along this highway!

“Stalin was guarded at his Dacha by over 1200 guards”! This is so ridiculous that anyone with a single brain cell would know that it’s a lie.

I cannot continue to list the lies by this enemy, Feldbin.

Now, to touch upon the “new sensation” that Stalin always had a “double.” The newspapers “Evening Donetsk” and “Crimean Pravda” went wild with the sensation that Stalin had a double–Evsei Liubitsky. After that, “Pravda” continued to spread this lie. Why was it necessary for these newspapers to spread such terrible lies? I do not understand. The Chief Editor of these newspapers, before printing such trash, should have looked into the archives of the Central Committee ACP[B], interview former members of the Central Committee CPSU.. But that was not in the interest of the newspaper “Pravda” as we mentioned before, now owned by a foreign millionaire.

My colleagues and I, being with Stalin practically 24 hours a day, years on end, surely, we would have noticed something if there really was a “double Stalin”!

For a “Stalin’s double” to be in existence, you would need to have another auto, the exact kind Stalin rode in, the same chauffeur, the same bodyguards, the same timetable, the same conference materials, the same answers, and the same mannerisms! This is absolute rubbish!

Or how could you fool the top actors of the Bolshoi Theatre, like Reizen, Lisitsian, Golovanov, Samosud, or Barsov who would have immediately noticed a double, since they were in constant contacts and meetings with Stalin?

Here are the statements of bodyguards such as Starostin who stated: “Stalin never had a double. Never did I, through 1937-1953, ever see any ‘double’ or anyone that I did not recognize. I was with Stalin every day going to and from the Kremlin, his Dacha, Government’s Dacha in the Crimea… and in all these years, if there was a double, surely we would have seen him at least once or twice”!

The same was stated by another bodyguard, Orlov.

Stalin looked after himself, never asked anyone to shave him and dressed himself and did all the other necessary things that a person does when performing his day to day work. After the death of Kirov, he was himself always in the steam bath. Maybe the newspaper “Pravda” thought that Mrs. Butuzova, the housekeeper who washed and pressed the clothes and did the cooking, maybe that was the “double of Stalin”? He was very courteous to her and even gave an autographed portrait of himself. No one else ever received such an honor.

During the Great Patriotic War, Marshal Zhukov was his constant adviser, whom he respected very highly for his bravery, honesty, and forthright nature. He had members of the Politburo to consult with, he did not have to have any “special consultants” since Stalin was a genius in tactics and had a phenomenal memory…. He was always rational, did not use words that had no meaning or reason to be said. He could be very funny, but never liked “yes men” and people with no thoughts of their own.

When discussing things with me, Stalin would think a moment and say: “Maybe you are correct. I’ll think about it.”

The nurse living in the nearest dacha, Valentina Istomina, former Commandant of the guards, Semenov, Captain of the first echelon of bodyguards, Krutashev–they all state that there was absolutely no truth to these lies that enemies of the Soviet Union and Stalin are peddling now about any “double” for Stalin!

If the late Goebbels would now hear all these tales and lies, he would turn over in his grave from envy! He, throughout the war, was not able to come up with such a fantastic tale. But history will surely sweep all the dirt off the grave of Stalin.

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 99-102

As is known, Khrushchev, at the 20th Congress, from the tribunal, stated that Stalin was always sitting, scared, in his iron cage. Since that time, the doors of lies have been blown open along with all sorts of fantasies that have been heaped up and said about Stalin. There is even a version that the Dacha where he worked, had iron bars on the windows, bullet-proof glass–a virtual castle.

There is also a version now that Stalin secluded himself in his fortress, that members of the Politburo decided by themselves that they would have to use flame throwers in order to get Stalin out of there! That they finally got inside this fortress and found Stalin dead!

I again repeat, there were no iron doors, double doors, all doors were made of wood, his doors were never closed, since he wanted fresh air and needed this circulation of air to help him breathe better. When they had to be locked, the keys were always in the hands of the Commandant of security of the Dacha. There were no other keys, no secret doors, no iron doors or other hiding places, as the present falsifiers try to invent today.

I again and again strongly state this, since Khrushchev tells the world things that he absolutely has no idea about, no way of proving these accusations and outright falsehoods. Khrushchev said: “I was an eyewitness when Stalin went into the toilet where there were no doors and after that, he came out in order to berate his bodyguard about how he was guarding him, his place was to be near him all the time, etc., etc.!

This is absolutely absurd that we, his bodyguards, would be requested by Stalin to go right into the toilet to be with him while he was sitting on the toilet! That Stalin would be afraid to go into the toilet himself–these are thoughts of the very sick mind!

This is absolutely the thought of a sick mind–yes, of Khrushchev’s very sick mind!

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 102, 104

Let us be truthful, at last!

This was the task that I placed before myself when I started to write this book. I did not embellish anything, did not try to color anything–I tried to tell the absolute truth about Stalin, with whom I was for more than 25 years.

You can judge for yourself the humility of Stalin and the opportunism, lies, sensationalism, and traitorous acts of the present “democrats” and former “Bolsheviks” who now write and write and still cannot dislodge the genius of Stalin, even after 43 years of trying.

This is why we, people who spent the best years of our lives working together with Stalin, write and struggle against the so-called “learned” who are trying to settle old scores or, if that is not possible, of trying to rewrite history irrespective of the time that was, or write according to the present weather that is blowing an ill wind. That is why we, together, are demonstrating and fighting against those who believe the thought-up sensationalism.

Dear readers, please, be vigilant!

Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 108-109

In further discussion of the way that the plans for 1942 came to be formulated, Blumentritt [Chief of the German General Staff on the Western Front and Rundstedt’s assistant] made some general observations that are worth inclusion as a sidelight. “My experience on the higher staffs showed me that the vital issues of war tended to be decided by political rather than by a strategical factors, and by mental tussles in the rear rather than by the fighting on the battlefield. Moreover, those tussles are not reflected in the operation orders. Documents are no safe guide for history–the men who sign orders often think quite differently from what they put on paper. It would be foolish to take documents that historians find in the archives as a reliable indication of what particular officers really thought.

Hart, Liddell. The German Generals Talk. New York: W. Morrow, 1948, p. 197

While the average person might understandably despair at this confusing tangle of documenting evidence, one justifiably expects historians to verify and authenticate source material.

Tottle, Douglas. Fraud, Famine, and Fascism. Toronto: Progress Books,1987, p. 30

American historian Arch Getty has observed that for no other period or subject, except the study of the Soviet Union in the 1930s, have “historians been so eager to write and accept history-by-anecdote.” He states:

“Grand analytical generalizations have come from second-hand bits of overheard corridor gossip. Prison camp stories (“My friend met Bukharin’s wife in a camp and she said…”) have become primary sources on (Soviet) central political decision-making…the need to generalize from isolated and unverified particulars has transformed rumors into sources and has equated repetition of stories with confirmation.”

Tottle, Douglas. Fraud, Famine, and Fascism. Toronto: Progress Books,1987, p. 89

It is a revealing characteristic of Conquest’s methodology pertaining to the Soviet Union, writes Getty, that he elevates rumor and hearsay to the level of historical fact. In fact, Conquest himself has stated: “Truth can thus only percolate in the form of hearsay” and, “on political matters basically the best, though not infallible source is rumor.” Getty comments: “Such statements would be astonishing in any other field of history. Of course historians do not accept hearsay and rumor as evidence.”

Having baptized hearsay and rumor into the realm of historical evidence in The Great Terror (the subject of Getty’s criticism), Conquest proceeds to bestow upon them the rights of confirmation in Harvest of Sorrow.

Tottle, Douglas. Fraud, Famine, and Fascism. Toronto: Progress Books,1987, p. 89

A vast lot of nonsense has been written about the GPU.

Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 548

Written stories, biographies of people who were close to Stalin in his last days, do not agree with each other.

Lucas and Ukas. Trans. and Ed. Secret Documents. Toronto, Canada: Northstar Compass, 1996, p. 18

Ligachev, a conservative figure in the Politburo until his forced retirement in 1990, told me ruefully that when history was taken out of the hands of the Communist Party, when scholars, journalists, and witnesses began publishing and broadcasting their own version of the past, “it created a gloomy atmosphere in the country. It affected the emotions of the people, their mood, their work efficiency. From morning to night, everything negative from the past is being dumped on them. Patriotic topics have been squeezed out, shunted aside. People are longing for something positive, something shining, and yet our own cultural figures have published more lies and anti-Soviet things than our Western enemies ever did in the last 70 years combined.”

Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 7

Afanasyev was determined to use his new post to help open up the study of the Soviet past. Exploiting his new access to at least some Party archives, he reviewed the letters of Olga Shatunovskaya, a woman who had been a member of the Communist Party Control Committee under Khrushchev. In those letters Shatunovskaya wrote that she had collected 64 folders of documents saying that according to KGB and Party data, between January 1935 and 1941 19,800,000 people have been arrested; and of these, 7 million were executed in prisons. Her statement was supported by specific data describing how many were shot and where and when. But the files Shatunovskaya described were declared “missing.”

Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 115

He [ Frunze] suffered from a chronic stomach complaint that doctors insisted required surgery, despite his protests. Stalin visited him in the hospital, where he pressured the surgeon to operate. Frunze died shortly afterward. Foul play has never been proved.

Overy, R. J. Russia’s War: Blood Upon the Snow. New York: TV Books, c1997, p. 27

Extravagant invention of all kinds can be found in the essay “Flight Out Of the Night” by the 76-year-old Boris Bazhanov…. At present Bazhanov is working on a new book, and from the extracts that have already been published fact seems to be combined with fiction in and extremely whimsical manner.

Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 33

Towards the end of his [Volkogonov] life, seriously ill but possessing full access to the archives, Volkogonov was hastening to complete biographies of all seven Soviet leaders from Lenin to Gorbachev. However, his outlook had shifted considerably, and he was now mainly concentrating on the exposure of negative material, without aspiring to objectivity or analysis.

Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 74

A more detailed, although one-sided, negative biography of Stalin has been attempted by the well-known Soviet playwright Edward Radzinsky…. In short, the book does not contain any fundamentally new material.

Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 74

But some former prisoners began to write memoirs or works of fiction about the camps and the repressions. The first were Solzhenitsyn in Ryazan, Shalamov in Moscow and Yevgeny Ginsburg in Lvov.

Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 118

According to the historian Antonov-Ovseenko, author of, Stalin and his Time, Stalin was coarse and cynical about his mother and gave orders for her to be constantly watched, assigning that task to two trusted female communists. Although he refers to the testimony of several Georgian Bolsheviks and their relatives, this is nevertheless a perfect example of pure invention.

Medvedev, Roy & Zhores Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin. NY, NY: Overlook Press, 2004, p. 310

The vast majority of books on Russia written during the last years of Stalin are “Cold War” books, in which angry anti-Russian and anti-Soviet propaganda holds an infinitely larger place than any search for historical facts. Thus, the “historical” value of a classic of the Cold War literature of the time, Victor Kravchenko’s I Chose Freedom, though for several years a tremendously potent weapon of propaganda against Russia, with its clear implication that dropping an atom bomb on Moscow was the only possible solution to “the Russian problem,” is precisely nil. Dozens of other books of the same kind were published in the West between 1945 and 1953, and practically all of them are worthless to the present-day historian as sources of solid information, though they are, of course, significant as manifestations of the war hysteria that existed among many (fortunately not all) people in the West in the immediate post-war years.

Werth, Alexander. Russia; The Post-War Years. New York: Taplinger Pub. Co.,1971, p. x

… he [Stalin] continually revised the basic elements of the “plot” until he found the right combination of elements to suit his political needs. [Look who’s talking]

Naumov and Brent. Stalin’s Last Crime. New York: HarperCollins, c2003, p. 133

Vaksberg has written that the trial of the doctors was planned for March 1953….. Like Sheinis, Vaksberg has produced no evidence to support the date of the trial, the reported barracks in Birobizhan, or the alleged reallocation of railroad facilities around Moscow. Any sort of change or movement gave rise instantly to such ideas. Rumor substantiated rumor and beliefs were taken as facts…. Vaksberg’s description of the “reserve tracks around Moscow…filled with freight cars [prepared to deport Jews],” however, is undoubtedly another unnecessary embellishment.

Naumov and Brent. Stalin’s Last Crime. New York: HarperCollins, c2003, p. 297

No one knows exactly how Stalin died….

In this vacuum of information and consistency rumors and myths have abounded for the last 50 years.

Naumov and Brent. Stalin’s Last Crime. New York: HarperCollins, c2003, p. 313

Americans have been subjected to widespread propaganda, both red and white. On no subject in the world has this been so prolific as about communism and the Soviet Union.

Davis, Jerome. The New Russia. New York: The John Day company, c1933, p. 3

It is difficult to escape the impression that close reading and in some cases the taking account of easily available sources do not necessarily characterize the researches of authors who present the “traditional” version….

This is the “secret report” presented by Khrushchev at the 20th Congress of the CPSU, which has been widely drawn on in the literature. And yet the possibility has never been taken seriously into account that its contents might have more to do with the political issues at the time it was compiled and the tactical objectives of its authors, rather than the realities of Soviet history….

All the indications are that it was based on rumors which were current in the USSR, or even on the memoirs of emigres published abroad, and that it was produced for the very purpose of confirming and “canonizing” the best-known version of events and phenomena that had been highly compromising for the regime….

It would certainly be na•ve to imagine that even the most attentive reading of original source material could bring to light everything that happened during that troubled period of Soviet history, when the most important events took place far from the public eye. But it would be equally alien to the professional ethic of historians to refrain from examining the available documents and to rely only on those witnesses that are the most accessible, and the most likely to confirm one preconception or another. For instance we shall see how much precious information can be gleaned from the documentation of the February-March 1937 Plenary Session of the Central Committee and from analyzing how and when it was published. That being the case, nothing can justify the author of the lengthiest work on the “Great Purge”, which is based mainly on sources like the “secret report” and emigres’ memoirs, for only quoting the testimony of a Soviet refugee. All the more so when the refugee was not present at the crucial session and the tale he relates is one he heard in a concentration camp in 1940 from another detainee who was not there either but had been told about it at the time….

True, it would be unfair to claim that earlier writers have completely failed to analyze original sources. But it must be noted that when they have done so they have become engrossed in the intentions of the leaders of the Party-State and their supposed prime mover, uncertain and at times downright unfathomable though these may be. So much so that their tendency to seek irrefutable proof for these intentions has brought them close to arbitrariness and tendentiousness in their choice and interpretation of the documents. Thus for example one of the favorite sources for historians: a decree in March 1935 forbidding the possession of knives and other edged weapons, which is frequently presented as a harbinger of the intensification of the terror. The authors seem unaware that other measures were being taken at about the same period to combat brigandage, armed attacks, brawls and “hooliganism,” phenomena which were all apparently on the increase at the time. Nor do they ever point out that the decree in question gave exemption from the ban to ethnic groups whose traditional livelihood or national costume entailed the carrying of knives. Furthermore one should add that another decree, only a few months afterwards, made it easier for private citizens to acquire small caliber weapons which could be bought without special license until February 1938….

The need to take into account the historical and documentary context of the sources quotes does not seem to be a strong point with some writers….

Although very keen to track down documents with which to demonstrate the escalation of terror and Stalin’s murderous schemes, the authors of the “traditional” version are far less ready to take account of sources which do not tend to support their theses. However, when they do do so, the conclusions they draw reveal very clearly the preconceptions that govern their approach….

In fact it is this burying of heads in the sand which is largely responsible for the tendentious quotation of source material and the ease with which authors have brought practically everything back to one single cause: Stalin. After all there’s nothing easier than to attribute to him the design of virtually everything that happened over 20 years in a country covering a sixth of the earth’s land-mass and home to 100 different ethnic groups. All one has to do is to set aside any possibility of a thorough examination of the social, political, and institutional context within which the regime operated and concentrate solely on the putative prime mover, refusing to touch the quite abundant material which would enable one to see the inner workings of the system.

This style of approach, instead of casting light on the origins, nature, and consequences of historical phenomena in all their complex variety, tends rather to put forward one-dimensional interpretations and over-simplified explanations which even at best have no more than a superficial documentary basis. At the same time it raises hypotheses which are really unverified, and at times frankly unverifiable, to the status of articles of faith. Thus, for example, the victims in high office who were dismissed and cruelly punished during this period: authors never tire of listing them at length and concluding from the mere fact of their fall that Stalin’s murderous machinations were at work, without showing the slightest interest in what the people in question were doing, how the organizations they controlled were being run, or what disagreements they might have had with their superiors, colleagues, or subordinates….

This same very simplistic logic is in many ways what perpetuates the idea that almost all the old guard of Bolsheviks were exterminated during the “Great Purge,” an allegation which is hardly borne out by the statistical facts. Certainly, since a large number of the victims of these turbulent years were officials of the Party and the state, they inevitably included a good many of the old elite who formed the backbone of the apparatus. But we should be aware that of the 24,000 party members in 1917 and the 430,000 or so militants at the beginning of 1920, there only remained 8000 and 135,000 respectively by 1927; this is but a small minority of the total membership which was estimated at over 1,200,000 by 1927 and at over 2,700,000 in 1934…. Out of more than 700,000 Party activists at the end of the Civil War there remained about 180,000 by 1934 and 125,000 at the beginning of 1939.

It therefore becomes somewhat difficult to state that the old guard of the Party had been reduced to naught, or that they were even the principal victims of the tumultuous events of 1934-1938,… As for the number of expulsions from the Party, it has been known for more than 20 years that this stood at nearly 279,000 in 1937-38 at the height of the “Great Purge.” In 1933, however, more than 854,000 activists had been expelled, over 342,000 in 1934 and nearly 282,000 in 1935; these figures are all higher than in the years of the “Great Terror.”

…Essentially he [Conquest] bases this on the memoirs of ex-prisoners who assert that between 4 and 5.5% of the Soviet population were incarcerated or deported during those years.

It seems improbable that men who are inside penal institutions would be able to form any exact idea either of the proportion of the population which is still at liberty or the numbers recently arrived in all the other camps and prisons, which they are not personally familiar with even though they had come to know a few by being moved around.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 7-12

In fact there is scarcely one of the writers of memoirs who can report from first-hand knowledge of affairs in the higher ranks of the Party-State, and yet it is these accounts that historians of the USSR quote most readily. It does not seem therefore entirely inappropriate to ask whether we are not dealing here with a series of rumors that were widespread as early as the 1930s, which then developed into an oral tradition and put down deep roots into the collective consciousness. These authors are cadres of the middle and lower levels of the hierarchy, persecuted intellectuals, Party activists with at best minimal responsibility, junior government officials or secret agents who defected after having passed the best part of their time abroad. They scarcely had access to the political bodies where the important decisions were made and where some of the crucial confrontations took place.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 16

In fact even the most cursory reading of the “classic” [anti-Stalin] works makes it hard to avoid the impression that in many respects these are often inspired more by the state of mind prevailing in some circles in the West, than by the reality of Soviet life under Stalin.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 23

(Solzhenitsyn’s lies)

We may gain some idea of Solzhenitsyn’s approach by checking how he uses some of the documents he refers to. He quotes for instance a decree from the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars on 7 April 1935 which, he says, “made children criminally responsible for any crime from the age of 12.” It is interesting to note that he is not alone in giving an erroneous interpretation of this law, and that others too have been led to believe that it allowed children to be found guilty of political crimes; this was the general view of writers on the subject even before The Gulag Archipelago was published. A mere glance at the text in question, however, reveals that the power ofinvoking “all penal sanctions” related only to children guilty of “theft, violence, bodily harm, mutilation, murder, and attempted murder.”

Solzhenitsyn is scarcely any more rigorous when he writes that the amnesty on 7 July 1945 freed “all those who had burgled apartments, stolen the clothes of passers-by, raped girls, corrupted minors, given consumers short weight, played the hoodlum, disfigured the defenseless, plundered forests and waters, committed bigamy, practiced extortion and blackmail, taken bribes, swindled, slandered, filed false enunciations…pimped or forced women into prostitution, whose carelessness or ignorance resulted in the loss of human life.”… Apart from the fact that the amnesty decree expressly ruled out anyone who had been “convicted on more than one occasion of embezzlement, theft, robbery and

hooliganism” and all those guilty of “counter-revolutionary” crimes, appropriation of public property, organized crime, premeditated murder and armed robbery, in most of the cases listed by the author the clauses cited laid down penalties of more than three years imprisonment,… Similarly the terms of the amnesty of 27 March 1953, which according to Solzhenitsyn “submerged the whole country in a wave of murderers, bandits and thieves,” actually did not permit the immediate release of the majority of thieves, and forbade that of almost all gangsters and murderers….

Solzhenitsyn is notorious for not liking thieves. It is no doubt this dislike which leads to his indignation at the pardon granted to those who plundered forests–mostly peasants who in certain circumstances could be sentenced to 10 years or more. This attitude also leads him to say that the penalty for stealing private property was not severe enough, when the minimum sentence from 1947 onwards was five years hard labor. He habitually contrasts political prisoners with common criminals to the point where he is prepared to state that, whereas the aggravating circumstance of having formed a “counter-revolutionary organization” was often used against “politicals,” there were no special penalties for offenses committed by groups of common criminals. This view does not bear comparison with the penal code.

One might dwell at length on the inaccuracies discernible in Solzhenitsyn’s work, many of which concern the fate of the leading actors in his Gulag. Thus for instance, the writer is unjust in accusing generals Egorov and Turovskii of being among the judges of the leaders of the Red Army at the famous secret trial in June 1937; their names do not appear on the list of tribunal members published at the time. But he is even more unjust when he makes people disappear in captivity and we find that, arrested though they may have been and sent to a prison camp, they sometimes did not stay there long. Thus he cites the arrest of Kuskova, Prokopovich and Kishkin, members of a famine relief committee in 1921. However, he omits to say that Kuskova and Prokopovich were expelled from the country in 1922 and Kishkin, who had already been tried on charges of conspiracy in 1919 and subsequently pardoned, benefited from a further amnesty and worked from 1923 until his death in the Commissariat of Health of the Russian Federation….

Our author [Solzhenitsyn] is equally mistaken in asserting that the biologist Lorkh was “dispatched” to Kazakhstan in the “stream” of agronomists in 1931 whose crime was to oppose the “directives” of Lysenko. We know that Lorkh was not a devoted follower of Lysenko’s theories. But we also know that, before receiving the Stalin prize, he had worked from 1931 to 1941 in a research institute near Moscow. And in any case, in 1931 Lysenko was in no position to issue directives that could result in a “stream” of agronomists being sent to the camps. He was already a rising star, but his career did not really take off until 1933.

Elsewhere Solzhenitsyn talks of five historians arrested in 1929. Now the biographies of four of them are known, and we find that three of them had been exiled to work in far-away provincial institutions and the two others were free during most of the 1930s. One of the latter, Gote, was elected to the Academy of Sciences in 1939. Another, Tarle, was awarded the Stalin Prize three times in the 1940s. In the same way, we can retrace the lives of eight people whom Solzhenitsyn lists among prisoners “preserved in the memory of the survivors,” to find that although they had been imprisoned, with the exception of one who was forced into exile they were all pursuing scientific careers in the 1930s and 1940s.

…But we should not forget that all the while attaching little importance to faithfulness to source documents where Solzhenitsyn asserts he has consulted them–or else where he could have done so–the heart of his narrative is based on the evidence, often oral, of 227 people. Now it is by no means certain that he was more meticulous in checking them than he was in reading easily available material….

Obviously it is difficult to check the accuracy of the eye-witness accounts from which Solzhenitsyn draws so many details and conclusions.

It would be clearly unfair to jump to the conclusion that the whole Gulag Archipelago is merely a collection of legends arising from the bitter reality of a national tragedy, and from the collective struggle to resist ruthless efforts to suppress its memory by the very instigators of this catastrophe. But it would be difficult to avoid the impression that Solzhenitsyn’s work is by no means an historical source unarguably exact in its every detail, but rather a mixture–and often an inextricable one–of indisputable facts and of their trace, sometimes very imprecise or distorted, preserved by a collective memory that has been more concerned about elevating a memorial to the martyrdom of its guardians than with the authenticity of its traditions. It is striking how many of Solzhenitsyn’s errors support this hypothesis. Indeed every inaccuracy that we have traced shows how far he is inclined to give priority to vague reminiscences and hearsay, even when he might have checked his sources, and how far his narrative obeys the rules inherent in all oral tradition, the impulse that collective memory inevitably has towards selective bias.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 231-235

Thus even though one might say that the number of detainees committed for political reasons was considerable, Solzhenitsyn’s assertion that half of the population of the camps and prisons was made up of people convicted under laws against “counter-revolutionary” crimes does not seem consistent with what we can discover from the development of penal policy and popular reactions.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 288

…the Gulag, while overestimating the number of those arrested as “counter-revolutionaries,” retains very little trace of the actual reasons for their arrests or convictions but concentrates on the circumstances of their detention, on police brutality, or on the hardships of life inside the camps.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 293

Nicolas Werth, a well-regarded French specialist on the Soviet Union whose sections in the Black Book on the Soviet communists are sober and damning, told Le Monde, “Death camps did not exist in the Soviet Union.”

The Future Did Not Work by J. Arch Getty, Book Review of The Passing of an Illusion by Franois Furet [March 2000 Atlantic Monthly]

…it is understandable that those who safeguarded the memory of repression concentrated their efforts on compiling a full inventory of affronts and cruelties, down to the finest detail. But we should not lose sight of the fact that they collected evidence that is often extremely hard to verify….

It is worth noting that as the witnesses of the camps in the 1930s gradually became fewer, stories began to circulate which are uncorroborated by the known accounts of their experiences, let alone what can be gleaned from consulting other sources.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 294

The equation “concentration camps = Gulag = Soviet regime” cannot be accepted therefore as an explanatory model for the highly complex realities of the Soviet Union’s past. The collective memory and the literary work which form its basis cannot be taken as entirely reliable sources for our knowledge of the world of the camps or penal policy, nor apparently can that policy alone provide a sufficient explanation for the historical processes at work within the Soviet Union.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 300

What our experiences show is above all the extremely precarious state of almost all our knowledge of the social-political history of these years, as soon as we set it against a systematic and critical study of the original sources which until recent years have been greatly neglected by research.

Rittersporn, Gabor. Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications, 1933-1953. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, c1991, p. 319

(Robert Service’s many unproven accusations)

He [Stalin] ordered the systematic killing of people on a massive scale

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 3

In applying physical and mental torment to his victims, he degraded them in the most humiliating fashion. He derived a deep satisfaction from this.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 5

Stalin had a gross personality disorder.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 10

In fact he was very far from being ‘normal.’ He had a vast desire to dominate, punish, and butcher.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 12

He had killed innumerable innocents in the Civil War.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 12

But his sense of traditional honor was non-existent.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 27

The Party General Secretary ordered the arrested individuals [engineers and industrial specialists] to be beaten into confessing to imaginary crimes.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 259

A succession of such trials occurred in 1929-30 Outside the RSFSR. there were trials of nationalists Torture, outlandish charges and learned-by-rote confessions became the norm. Hundreds of defendants were either shot or sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment.

[This is one of those statements which has a source but how do you know the source has any validity]

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 268

He demanded complete obedience and often interfered in their private lives.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 277

His [Vyshinsky] basic proposition that confession (which could be obtained by torture) was the queen of the modalities of judicial proof was music to Stalin’s ears.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 281

His memory was extraordinary, and he had his future victims marked down in a very long list.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 285

Yet his maladjusted personality was not the only factor at work.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 285

Quite possibly Stalin continued to have the odd fling with young communists; and, even if he was faithful to Nadya, she did not always believe him and was driven mad with jealousy.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 289

Stalin’s cultural program was an unstable mixture. He could kill artists at will and yet his policies were incapable of producing great art

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 305

At a time when peasants in several regions were so desperate that some turn to cannibalism,

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 311

They eat berries, fungi, rats and mice; and, when these had been consumed, peasants ate grass and bark.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 312

The verdict was execution by shooting. Zinoviev and Kamenev had been told that, if they confessed to involvement in the Kirov “conspiracy’ in 1934, their sentences would be commuted. But Stalin had tricked them.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 320

He never got over them: the beatings in his childhood,

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 344

Solitary again, Stalin had no peace of mind. He was a human explosion waiting to happen.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 345

His was a mind that found terror on a grand scale deeply congenial.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 345

Meanwhile Ordjonikidze’s brother had been shot on Stalin’s instructions.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 349

Tukhachevsky was shot on 11 June; he had signed a confession with a bloodstained hand after a horrific beating.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 349

Nearly all the accused [at the Bukharin trial] had been savagely beaten.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 355

Two days later [after the Bukharin trial] Stalin approved a further operation to purge “anti-Soviet elements.’ This time he wanted 57,200 people to be arrested across the USSR. Of these, he and Yezhov had agreed, fully 48,000 were to be rapidly tried by troiki and executed.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 355

He [Stalin] had killed Kaganovich’s brother Moisei

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 374

Stalin the Leader was multifaceted. He was a mass killer with psychological obsessions.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 379

Stalin had Maria Svanidze arrested in 1939 and sent to a labor camp. Her husband Alexander Svanidze also fell victim to the NKVD: he had been arrested in 1937 and was shot in 1941. Alexander behaved with extraordinary courage under torture and refused to confess or beg for mercy.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 434

Tortures previously reserved for non-communists were applied to Rajk, Pauker, and Slansky. The beatings were horrific.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 520

An administrative behemoth ran the USSR whose master was the pockmarked little psychopath.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 538

Mikhoels was killed in a car crash on Stalin’s orders in 1948.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 577

As is not unusual in such a situation, proof is lacking; but circumstantial evidence filled the gap for the gossip-mongers.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 17

There is hardly any possibility of verifying that story, which comes, we must not forget, from Stalin’s bitterest opponents.

Trotsky , Leon , Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 29

[Footnote]: In general, the testimony of this police defector [Orlov] should be treated with reserve. He was out of the Soviet Union during most of the period he wrote about and must have relied mainly on gossip that was making the rounds in the police. Some of this probably was based on fact, but Orlov does not appear to have been able, or perhaps willing, to make a serious effort to discriminate between the more reliable stories and the less probable. Although he claimed that he took with him from Russia ‘secret data’ on Stalin, none of this has ever appeared. Rarely can his assertions be verified from other sources, but it is reasonably safe to describe as imaginary his assertion that Stalin once explained to foreign ‘writers’ why there was no documentary evidence in the purge trials. In fact, Stalin’s few press interviews are well established, and none deal with any such thing.

McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 360

DURANTY IS A FAIR SOVIET CRITIC

I had long talks with Duranty, an Englishman, but the representative in Moscow of the New York Times, and easily the ablest journalist in Eastern Europe. Duranty, while openly critical of many aspects of Soviet life and of Communist practice, is a fair-minded and, on the whole, sympathetic critic. Russians, while they do not like many things he says about them, believe in his honesty.
Cummings, Arthur. The Moscow Trial (Metro-Vickers). London: Victor Gollancz, 1933, p. 175

DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE SHOULD BE A MAIN SOURCE FOR FACTS

In all these matters, we must constantly question our sources. The evidence presented is based on sensitive documents long suppressed. It might be objected that documents and archives should not be our main sources for the repression. Indeed, we must consider the possibility that they have been altered or falsified. Fearful, culpable, and powerful officials over the years since 1937 certainly would have reason to take an interest in the paper trail of these crimes, and such people were capable of far more than adjusting the documentary record. Certainly, the record is incomplete and we must maintain a healthy suspicion of all official sources from the 1930s. But simply on the basis of suspicion and without any evidence, it would be rash to decide a priori that the archival record is false. Until and unless independent historians and documentary experts are able to examine all the sensitive documents in their physical form and contexts, the scholarly community is not in a position finally to establish their veracity–or lack of credibility for that matter.
Getty and Manning. Stalinist Terror. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 61

CONQUEST ADMITS HIS FIGURES LACK PRECISION

In fact all our chains of evidence (treated, in general, somewhat conservatively) lead, though without any real precision, to some such figure.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : The Macmillan Co., 1973, p. 702

We are not able to give exact figures in this field [numbers in the camps] any more than in the others.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : The Macmillan Co., 1973, p. 706

Nevertheless, there is an invaluable accumulation of useful information on a wide variety of themes. The accounts are indeed scrappy and incomplete, and in some cases uncritically assembled on a basis more journalistic than scholarly.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : The Macmillan Co., 1973, p. 750

It is clear that documents are in many cases inaccessible, and reliance must often be placed on the memories of surviving relatives and others.
The unsatisfactory nature of the documentation is strikingly shown in the divergence of Soviet sources over the dates of death, even of such prominent figures as Chubar, full member of the Politburo, or Marshal Yegorov, Chief of Staff. There are so many instances of two (and very occasionally instances of more than two) different dates for such deaths competing in the literature, that I am inclined to interpret it as follows: the earlier date may represent the imposition of the death sentence, which would be the last date to appear on the legal file on the accused, and would normally be carried out within days. If the sentence was thereupon commuted by administrative decision, the fact might not emerge on the documents available to a given researcher, but come out only in a different set of documents, or from the personal reports of surviving N.K.V.D. officers. BUT THIS IS NO MORE THAN LOGICAL SPECULATION. AND IN SOME CASES SHEER MUDDLE SEEMS JUST AS LIKELY.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : The Macmillan Co., 1973, p. 750-751

THE TRUTH CAN THUS ONLY PERCOLATE IN THE FORM OF HEARSAY.

…But of course not all hearsay and not all rumour is true [which implies most is]. On political matters basically the best, though not infallible, source is rumour at a high political or police level.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : The Macmillan Co., 1973, p. 754

MEMORIAL SHOULD BE BUILT FOR THOSE FIGHTING FOR SOCIALISM NOT AGAINST IT

His life was very complex and very hard. These modern “democrats” are trying to build a Memorial to the victims of Stalinism. I would suggest that they build a Memorial to the victims of these enemies of the people. Remember that just in Lithuania and Latvia during the last war, the nationalists killed more than one million people–teachers, party people, and young Komsomols. Two hundred thousand of our patriots were killed in the Crimea by the Tartar nationalists.
Rybin, Aleksei. Next to Stalin: Notes of a Bodyguard. Toronto: Northstar Compass Journal, 1996, p. 108

ANTI-STALIN WRITERS ADMIT THEIR BIAS AND PREJUDICE

[Volkogonov said to Remnick] “I was a Stalinist. I contributed to the strengthening of the system that I am now trying to dismantle.
Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York : Random House, c1993, p. 408

SUMMARY OF CONQUESTS DECEPTIONS IN THE GREAT TERROR

1. Making comments with no proof.

2. When he does cite, it’s a rogue’s gallery of anti-Stalinist fanatics. Relies very heavily on the most rabid Rightists

3. He ticks off shootings, jailings, and exilings as if the persons were automatically innocent.

4. Almost never goes into the details or facts of any cases.

5. Never allows the prosecution’s evidence to be presented.

6. Particularly absurd accounts come from Orlov and Kravchenko.

7. Overwhelming use of secondary sources.

8. Uses all the rumors and scuttlebutt he can find.

9. Never shows one example of where Stalin caused a killing of an innocent person whom he knew was innocent.

10. Many times he gives a very superficial, biased presentation of an incident and quickly moves on.

11. Gives a trivial incident and then says the person involved was later arrested, implying he was arrested for the trivial incident.
For example: At a meeting of the Kiev Academy of Sciences, for example, someone denounced professor Kopershinsky. Another Communist scientist, Kaminsky remarked, “Where class instinct speaks, proof is unnecessary.” He, too, was later arrested.
Moreover, readers simply must accept the assertion that someone was arrested.

12. Uses the word “purged” incorrectly and doesn’t know what a purge is.

13. A lot of reports from anti-Stalin (glasnost) papers but not quoted from the original source.

14. Almost never do two sources report the same act.

15. Statements are not from opening archives but opening up archives to Rightists to spread their poison.

16. The trials really bother Conquest.

17. Always an assumption that anyone in jail is there for political reasons.

18. He often ignores testimony in the major Moscow trials as if it didn’t exist.

19. Jumps from topic to topic topic with quick insinuations and no proof’s

20. Uses material in novels as if it were actual history

21. Conquest’s writings reek with words like: seems, probable, probability, appears, presumption, perhaps, probably, no doubt (when there is doubt), presume, might have, implausible, we can envisage, possible, reported, reportedly, stories, unofficial reports, believed to have been, is said to have been, rumors have emerged, seem to have been, presumed, if, it has recently been speculated, and are said to have.

CONQUEST MAKES ANTI-STALINIST ACCUSATIONS FOR WHICH NO PROOF IS PROVIDED

When he [Kaganovich] himself was removed in 1957 [from the Politburo] he telephoned the victor [Khrushchev] and begged not to be shot.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 13

If Bukharin in the Politburo had spoken up against the Shakhty trial, if Trotsky in exile had denounced the Menshevik trial–if they had even objected not to the injustice as such,…
A.) What injustice? Where is the proof that there was an injustice?

It is true that those who did not confess and were shot secretly, demonstrated not merely a higher courage but a better sense of values.
a) To whom is he referring? What evidence does he have for these alleged secret shootings?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 28

This killing [of Kirov ] has every right to be called the crime of the century. Over the next four years, hundreds of Soviet citizens, including the most prominent political leaders of the Revolution, were shot for direct responsibility for the assassination….
a) What hundreds of citizens?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 37

Stalin’s plan succeeded, and his colleague [Kirov] lay dead in the Smolny corridors.
a. What plan and where is the evidence for same.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 41

Nine other men who had been present, including… Rumyantezev, were arrested. They were under arrest, or some of them were by Dec. 6 [following Kirov ‘s murder]. “Severe” interrogation methods were employed.
A] What is his evidence for this?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 46

There were rumors, to put it no higher, that fellow prisoners had seen Kotolynov at the time of his interrogation, badly scarred and beaten.
a) Rumors are evidence?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 48

No doubt, in a general way, Stalin favored silencing those who knew his secrets.
a. Proof?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 50

His [Stalin] opponents, on the whole, only realized his implacability too late. But it is unnecessary today to labor the point of Stalin’s unscrupulousness or yet the extreme vindictiveness of his nature.
a) No evidence is provided for his alleged implacability, unscrupulousness, or vindictiveness. The statement is just made and the author moves on.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 56

She [Stalin’s wife] seems to have obtained most of her information from students at a course she had not been allowed to take, and they were arrested as soon as Stalin found out.
a. Is any information or proof provided
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 58

With the exception of Zinoviev, Stalin was the only non-“intellectual” in Lenin’s leadership.
a) Would Conquest like to match his knowledge of history and literature with Stalin?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 61

He [Stalin] won his position by devious maneuver.
a) He provides no evidence for this whatever.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 62

There can be no doubt that Stalin pursued his grudges implacability, even after many years.
a) Conquest doesn’t provide evidence that grudges existed to start with let alone implacability.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 66

It is true that anyone Stalin had a personal grudge against was almost automatically included on the death list,…
a) Conquest provides no evidence that there was a personal grudge against anyone nor does a provide any evidence of a death list. He just utters these slanders and moves on.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 67

We do not need to posit a conscious long-term plan to say that in a general way the drive for power was Stalin’s strongest and most obvious motivation.
a) What is his evidence for this slander? Certainly none is provided.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 69

It is said that she [Lenin’s wife, Krupskaya] was in fear for her life in her last few years.
a) Said by whom? And what is the evidence that there is any validity?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 73

…the Kirov murder conspired various groups to talk of, and even to plan, in an amateurish passion which was no match for the police of the new regime, the killing of Stalin. Either way, such circles were now invariably arrested and shot.
a) To whom is he referring? Who was shot?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 78

He [Stalin] had developed direct control of the Secret Police and had set up other mechanisms of power responsible to himself alone and capable, given careful tactics, of overcoming the official hierarchy of Party and State.
a) Does he provide any evidence for this? Of course not.

His [Stalin] operatives were accustomed to the use of torture, blackmail, and falsification–if as yet mainly on non-Party figures.
a) Is any evidence provided for this? Again, of course not.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 79

He [Reingold] was interrogated for three weeks, often for periods of 48 hours at a time without sleep or food, by Chertok.
a) Is any evidence provided for this? No.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 83

Stalin went on to write that the Revolution was quite prepared to throwaway “great names,” including Gorky ‘s, if necessary.
a) Does Conquest provide any evidence of this threat to Gorky ‘s life made by Stalin? No. Because there is none.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 86

Stalin was not adverse to having people murdered and his respect for literature was not such as to prevent his disposing of many other Russian writers of repute. We shall consider this suspicion later.
a) He not only accuses Stalin of murder but even admits it’s a conjecture based on mere suspicion.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 87

Again, the selective assassination of NKVD of defectors and of other political enemies in the West was soon to become routine. And Stalin himself–had organized the killing of Kirov .
A] What evidence is provided for these slanders? None of course. What evidence is there that Stalin organized the killing of Kirov ? None.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 106

There is no doubt that threats to the family–the use, that is, of hostages for good behavior–was one of the most powerful of all Stalin safeguards.
a) There most certainly is doubt and Conquest most assuredly provides no proof of this accusation.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 127

The absolutely certain way for a defendant to get himself shot was to refuse to plead guilty.
a) Not a shred the proof is presented to justify this slander.

The only chance of avoiding death was to admit to everything, and to put the worst possible construction on all one’s activities.
a) Another unsubstantiated slander.

At the August 1936 Trial moreover, the defendants that actually been promised their lives and had reasonable expectation that the promise would be fulfilled.
a) Where is the evidence for this?

The same promise was evidently made to Pyatakov and others in the second trial.
a) “Evidently” is pure guesswork.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 128

The principle had become established that a confession was the best result obtainable. Those who could obtain it were to be considered successful operatives, and a poor NKVD operative had a short life expectancy.
a) Where he is his proof for this comment?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 131

The new trial did not have the immediate and obvious aims of the first. The motives remaining are plain enough. First, revenge….
a) And what is his proof for this?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 147

Although the Zinoviev trial was full of evident falsehoods,….
a) Such as what? Conquest is hard-pressed to provide one.

Sabotage, by Pyatakov and his subordinates, was most implausible.
a) Why?

As we have said, a plot designed to break the Government by terrorist acts could scarcely divert its energies, and risk exposure, by a vast network of people blowing up mines and causing railway accidents, simply to weaken the economy and sow distrust of the Government
a) Why not?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 149

He [Ordjonikidze] had been double-crossed. Personally involved in the negotiations before the Pyatakov Case, he had had Stalin’s assurance that Pyatakov would not be executed…. When Pyatakov was arrested, Stalin told Ordjonikidze, “Pyatakov will not be executed.”
a) No evidence is provided for this.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 167

It is now no longer disputed that Stalin did in fact procure Ordjonikidze’s death.
a) Not a shred of evidence is produced to prove this.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 170

All the accused eventually confessed under torture.
a) Not a shred of proof is provided for that slander.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 202

Confessions in the longer-drawn-out affairs were in part obtained by promises not to kill the surviving dependents.
a) Again not a shred of evidence is provided. Just slanderous accusations.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 274

[A commander of Stalin’s bodyguard mumbled that she [his wife] had said she would get rid of a picture of Stalin that hung in their new flat. For this, she got eight years.
a) Where is the evidence for this nonsense?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 274

Recaptured prisoners were always brutally manhandled, and almost invariably shot.
a) Again no evidence is provided.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 323

On the night of March 2, “special measures” were taken. The interrogators dislocated his [Krestinsky] left shoulder, so that outwardly there was nothing to be seen.
a) No evidence provided whatever.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 352

We can presume that they [Kamkov and Karelin] were in fact executed for their alleged part in the plan to assassinate Lenin, and similarly with Ossinsky,…
a) No proof whatever. “Presume” dominates his propaganda.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 374

…Stalin procured the death of both the others (Kirov and Ordjonikidze) by devious, though differing, means….
a) Again no evidence whatever.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 388

Bessonov’s liquidation is reported to have occurred in Orel prison,…
a) “Is reported” is not proof.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 395

Bela Kun was taken to the Lefortovo, where he was tortured.
a) No evidence
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 403

But Stalin had for some time been shooting prominent Central Committee members without such formality,…
a) What members and where is the proof?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 422

During the winner, various arrests were carried out, Corps Commander Rokossovsky had been beaten senseless and dragged off to prison,…
a) No proof
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 429

Of four of the fallen leaders, it has now been specifically said that they were tortured (Rudzutak, Eikhe, Kossior, and Chubar).
a) Said by whom and what is the evidence.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 439

In fact, if we are to believe Conquest at key junctures, he must offer more, or in some cases, any, evidence. Among his unsupported assertions in his response is that life in a totalitarian country is roughly comparable to being at a warfront. To support this notion in The Great Terror, he quoted only the memoirs of Robert Graves on English soldiers in World War I. We need more than that, but the memoirs I cited show something very different. (I find the totalitarian model in general, increasingly rickety, but I will spare us that issue here.) Another assertion: “the Soviet Union in a goodish year like 1935 is comparable to one of the most repressive dictatorships of today.” This must be shown, but I have found indications to the contrary. Another: peasants were “major victims” in 1936-1938. Perhaps, but we need more proof….
Thurston, Robert W. “On Desk-Bound Parochialism, Commonsense Perspectives, and Lousy Evidence: A Reply to Robert Conquest.” Slavic Review 45 (1986), 241.

CONQUEST MAKES ALLEGATIONS RESTING ON GUESSES, ASSUMPTIONS, & SPECULATIONS.

On Sept. 23, 1932, Ryutin was again expelled from the Party and arrested. Stalin seems to have hoped that the OGPU might shoot Ryutin without involving the political authorities.
a) “seems” is reliable historical terminology?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 24

[Regarding Kirov ‘s murder] Yagoda could only have acted on secret orders from Stalin.
a) Plenty of people acted without Stalin’s orders.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 43

Sokolnikov seems to have had an interview with Stalin and to have been promised his life. It is not clear why Sokolnikov believed this promise. It was, in all probability, made before the execution of Zinoviev and his followers.
a) Where is the proof? “seems to have had” and “in all probability” are not the words of an established case.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 140

But no one had any doubt that he [Ordjonikidze] died by violence, and that his end was not “natural.”
a) No proof, just slanderous implication.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 170

No clear account of the atrocities practiced in the Lefortovo is available.
a) He assumes there were atrocities and then admits he has no evidence to support his allegation.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 269

Instead, Conquest…finds the memoir evidence sound where it supports his views and worthless when it does not.
This statement leads me to his use of evidence in general. First, I am puzzled by his understanding of the word [estimate] in one case. Weissberg made an estimate, as he plainly said, of the total arrested. This estimate is no more “solid empirical evidence” than anyone else’s calculation is.
Thurston, Robert W. “On Desk-Bound Parochialism, Commonsense Perspectives, and Lousy Evidence: A Reply to Robert Conquest.” Slavic Review 45 (1986), 240.

I will examine one last assumption in the response: I cited seven, not one, cases of people who spent much more than three to four months in prison; yet Conquest clings to his original statement on prison turnover, another key part of his estimate of total arrests. My evidence is substantial, given the nature of the sources. It is much more than Conquest has offered, and now he must counter with some detailed material. He has attacked my use of memoirs–again, ironic criticism coming from him–all the more reason he should move beyond the general, often unreliable, statements in survivors’ accounts to an examination of the specific evidence they present. His massive generalizations require support: the “outside public” felt such and such by 1937, the whole country was “broken” in 1939. I prefer to call my own language on such points cautious rather than slippery; but I would call his wording unjustifiable. How can anyone say that 170 million people felt any one thing or another?
Thurston, Robert W. “On Desk-Bound Parochialism, Commonsense Perspectives, and Lousy Evidence: A Reply to Robert Conquest.” Slavic Review 45 (1986), 242.

MANY COMMENTS BY CONQUEST ARE PURE SLANDERS

As Kamenev was made to remark at his trial in 1936, “Our banking on the insuperability of the difficulties which the country was experiencing,…
a) No evidence is provided to show Kamenev was made to say anything.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 30

His [Stalin] aim remained, as is now clear, unchallenged power. So far, he had brutalized the Party, but he had not enslaved it.
a) How does Conquest know what his aim is, assuming he had one? Is he a personal psychologist? Had he ever met Stalin in his entire life? And where is his evidence that the party had been brutalized by Stalin?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 31

This was the first testing ground of the more recent technique of founding a case on false confessions extracted by terror.
a) Where is the evidence of terror in the Moscow trials and what is his evidence that the confessions were false?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 35

It must have been about this time that Stalin took the most extraordinary decision of his career. It was that the best way of insuring his political supremacy in dealing with his old Comrade [Kirov] was murder.
a) No proof whatever is provided that Stalin engineered the murder of Kirov his best friend. Apparently Conquest thinks that repetition of a lie will make it true..
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 36

Like many ambition-driven men he [Stalin] was very short, only about 5 ft. 3 in.
a) How does he know he was ambition driven? Stalin certainly had no assurance he was going to get ahead while in those labor camps and prisons as opposed to working his way up through the normal political channels. Could it be he was doing it for humanity?
b) And his stereotyping of short men is disgusting.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 54

Everywhere and in everything he [Stalin] saw “enemies,” “double-dealers,” and “spies.”
a) He did not see them but he was understandably on the lookout considering the fact that Bukharin, Zinoviev, Rykov, Kamenev, and other former allies sought to eliminate him. He would’ve been foolish not to have been very watchful and cautious.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 56

And he [Stalin] was stubborn, refusing to consider facts which did not correspond to his wishes.”
a) Again no evidence is provided but the slander is simply asserted. Conquest is more appropriately describing himself.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 57

A story circulating in NKVD circles has it that Stalin was asked for Radek’s life to be spared by Leon Feuchtwanger, as the price for his agreeing to write his book ( Moscow 1937) justifying the trials, which Stalin was anxious to have written….
a) No evidence is presented to support this and Conquest even admits it’s a “story”.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 165

A close friend of Ordjonikidze’s widow relates that she thought he had been killed by others, and had seen men running across the lawn away from the house at the time of his death.
a) This is history? A close friend of Ordjonikidze’s widow is supposedly quoting her.
(1) This is pure hearsay. The widow is not speaking; the friend is
(2) The widow allegedly said she “thought” he had been killed, which is guesswork;
(3) Men could have been running across the lawn for several reasons, assuming anyone was doing so.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 171

In this sense, even accepting a forced suicide, we can in any case certainly speak of the murder of Ordjonikidze.
a) No we can’t.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 172

Not that we can so simply exhaust Stalin’s motives. Former grudges and present nuisance value certainly played a part.
a) What is his evidence that Stalin was operating on grudges and nuisance valuse?
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 186

Now, for the first time, Stalin was to begin a massive offensive against his own supporters everywhere.
a) How ridiculous! An offensive against his own supporters!
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 192

Fear by night, and a feverish effort by day to pretend enthusiasm for a system of lies, was the permanent condition of the Soviet citizen.
a) That is pure nonsense. He is applying to all that which is only applicable to a small minority. In truth the exact opposite applies to the vast bulk of the population.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 252

Since Stalinist historiography is so extravagantly unreliable,…
a) Imagine a comment like that coming from an “historian” like Conquest who said “THE TRUTH CAN THUS ONLY PERCOLATE IN THE FORM OF HEARSAY. …But of course not all hearsay and not all rumour is true [which implies most is]. On political matters basically the best, though not infallible, source is rumour at a high political or police level.”
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 413

MANY STATEMENTS BY CONQUEST ARE PATENTLY FALSE

But it is now hardly necessary here to say more. It is nowhere believed any longer that the Germans were responsible [for the Katyn Massacre].
a) This is ridiculous.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 449

The Great Trials were, and it should have been plain at the time, nothing but large-scale frame-ups.
a) Utterly ridiculous comment totally ignoring an avalanche of testimony to the contrary.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 479

Everyone agrees that the Stalinist command economy was, and remains, a disaster. a) Totally divorced from reality. It was the exact opposite and propelled the SU into becoming a world powerhouse.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York : Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 488

MEDVEDEV MAKES UNQUALIFIED PSYCH JUDGMENTS OF STALIN WHOM HE HAS NEVER MET

Quite early in life he [Stalin] became a crude, unsentimental, and distrustful person, tormented by an inferiority complex and very ambitious.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 25

It is true that Stalin was not a tribune of the revolution and did not have a quick mind,…
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 31

Their [Stalin and his wife, Svanidze] son, Yakov, was left to the care of relatives. Stalin was not much concerned with the boy and gave little thought to his welfare.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 32

It can therefore be said with assurance that Stalin had no regrets at Kirov ‘s death.
a) More psychological concoctions by one eminently unqualified.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 345

Of course Stalin did not miss the chance to settle scores with his personal enemy, Mdivani, who in the ’30s served as deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Georgian Republic .
a) More psychoanalyzing with no evidence.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 386

Some Komsomol leaders of the new generation were also arrested, but not as many as Stalin wished.
a) More psychoanalyzing. Some critics act as if Stalin had been on their couch every day when, in truth, the overwhelming majority were mere children or yet to be born when Stalin was active.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 418

Stalin was an extremely secretive person; he never told anyone his true intentions.
a) Yet Medvedev doesn’t hesitate to tell readers what he knew Stalin was thinking at any particular time and even admits he is wandering through the realm of guesswork by saying “this opens the door to all sorts of speculation about his motives.” And what government leader isn’t secretive?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 537

According to Dmitri Shostakovich, for example, a friend of his family, the well-known surgeon Grekov, told them that a detailed diagnosis of Stalin’s mental condition was somehow done as early as 1927 by Bekhterev, one of the most prominent of Russian psychiatrists, who concluded that Stalin was mentally ill.
a.) Bekhterev had “somehow done” an analysis of Stalin that was reported to Grekov who told Shostakovich who told Medvedev. Talk about unreliable history! Maybe historical documentation and proof should be scrapped in favor of hearsay 2nd hand. No doubt critics of Stalin would relish such a proposal.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 542

Morbid suspiciousness, noticeable throughout his life and especially intense in his last years, intolerance of criticism, grudge-bearing, an overestimation of himself bordering on megalomania, cruelty approaching sadism [also unsociability, obstinacy, striving for dominance–on page 542]–all these traits, it would seem, demonstrate that Stalin was a typical paranoiac.
a.) How someone can make slanderous judgments of this nature with respect to an individual they never met once in their life, especially when thousands of decisions and events demonstrate precisely the contrary is anyone’s guess.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 543

Stalin was also not indifferent to the question of expanding Soviet territory. He was already beginning to think in terms of the former Russian empire, hoping to “regain” a large part of the territory that once had been part of it.
a) More psychological evaluating and judging by the unqualified. How on earth does he know what Stalin was thinking?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 733

Stalin, although chairman, did not like to attend government meetings and let Voznesensky fill-in for him. This offended the vanity of men like Voroshilov, Molotov, Beria, and Kaganovich.
a) Now he not only knows Stalin’s psychological state but that of men around him. How does he know how these men were affected psychologically if it all.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 784

In reality Stalin was envious of Lenin’s place in history and tried to appropriate it for himself.
a) There is no reality to this nor is there any evidence for it. More unqualified psychoanalysis.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 815

Yet Stalin never felt bound by any laws or restricted by any rules whatever.
a) That remark is far more applicable to current [turn-of-the-century] American foreign policy than Josef Stalin. How often did the Soviet Union vote in the League Nations against virtually the entire world as the United States currently does in the United Nations.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 824

Stalin distrusted and despised the people. He belonged to a workers’ party but did not respect workers.
a) Another slanderous, unsubstantiated psychological judgment.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 840

Stalin was not in the least concerned with changing his opponents minds and drawing them into the common work. He sought to break their resistance and subject them to his will….
a) The inaccuracy of this is easily shown in the fact that Stalin debated and attempted to persuade his opponents endlessly.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 95

MEDVEDEV LIED FAR TOO OFTEN TO BE CONSIDERED A CREDIBLE SOURCE

Of course, we all welcome the rehabilitation of Bukharin, Rykov, and the others–even if it comes many years late.
a) Medvedev’s poll taking is as flawed as his history since “we all” is far from accurate.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 17

In the ’30s the Soviet press described all opposition leaders as traitors and spies for foreign governments who had been recruited to work for imperialist intelligence agencies in the first years of Soviet power.
a) Never were all oppositionists deemed traitors and spies.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 93

At the same time he was extremely vengeful, nursing his grudges.
a) The entire career of Stalin demonstrates his unceasing desire to let bygones be bygones. How many times were people expelled from the party and later readmitted, for example.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 95

In fact, neither Bukharin’s nor Rykov’s views and statements contradicted the basic postulates of scientific socialism or the views of Lenin.
a) Since Gorbachev’s views mirrored those of Bukharin and Gorbachev’s views led to the demise of socialism, it is safe to say this statement has no validity.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 148

Of course Stalin’s perfidy and his capacity for secret murder to supplement his own reign of terror cannot be doubted.
a) Where is his evidence for this unmitigated slander?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 301

The French Communist Party, however, rejected the Comintern request. That was one reason why fascism was unable to gain a victory in France .
a) What! Tell that to the French living under the Vichyites.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 313

But how did Stalin react to the growing cult of his personality? The facts show not only that he accepted it calmly and as his due, which was improper enough for a Marxist-Leninist, but also that he directed and encouraged this praise himself.
a) Not only is this patently false but Medvedev follows this by quoting comments Stalin made to Lion Feuchtwanger in which Stalin denounces such adulation.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 318

Footnote: A few years later Smirnov was shot on Stalin’s orders,…
a) Quite false. He admitted his guilt in court and was sentenced by Judge Ulrich.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 329

Moreover, they [the defendants at the August 1936 Zinoviev trial] were deprived of the right to defense counsel.
a) That, of course, is a patent lie since all were offered counsel and most declined.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 356

… the illegal repression of former oppositionists in 1935-1936.
a) What was illegal about it? They were convicted in court.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 425

I have examined critically the various accounts of why Stalin unleashed the terror of 1936-1939. There is no need to overly complicate the explanation. His main motive was lust for power, boundless ambition.
a) That is absurd and even flies in the face of evidence presented by his opponents themselves.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 585

Footnote: In 1937 he [Beloborodov] was shot as a “Trotskyite,”…
a) No one was ever shot by a Politburo led by Stalin for being a Trotskyite. People were executed for what they did, not for what they believed.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 672

Stalin himself remained to the end of his life an uneducated man,…
a) That comment has virtually nothing to do with reality as Stalin was very well-informed especially with respect to the social sciences, literature, and the arts.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 719

Thus the threat to the Soviet Union’s northern border was not great enough to justify, even in part, a preventive war against Finland .
a) Medvedev’s military acumen is no better than his historical analyses. Finland was next-door to the Soviet Union ‘s second-largest city and strategically located to provide a fascist pathway for invading the SU.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 733

MEDVEDEV MAKES ONE STATEMENT AFTER ANOTHER WITHOUT A SHRED OF EVIDENCE

But Stalin brushed aside these well-founded objections.
a) Rarely did Stalin ever brush aside well founded objections regarding anything. What is his evidence for this?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 253

The trial [of the Toiling Peasant Party] was almost completely rehearsed,…
a) No evidence is presented for this slander.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 262

After the death of Alliluyeva, Stalin remained a widower to the end of his life. He had a few brief affairs with women. Some children resulted from these liaisons, but they all bear their mothers’ names.
a) Where is the evidence for this slander and his nephew says he married Rosa, the sister of Kaganovich?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 303

Only a very few people, for example, were privy to the secret rigging of the 1930-1931 trials.
a) And where it is his proof for this? The answer is nowhere.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 328

After this conflict with Stalin, Tovstukha was reassigned to the Marx-Engels Institute. An early death saved him from a more painful end.
a) Now what is his evidence for this slander? Gratuitous slanders of this nature abound in the writings of people like Conquest and Medvedev.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 329

This indictment [of Nikolayev for the Kirov assassination], riddled with contradictions, was the only document published in the case.
a) No evidence of any contradictions is presented.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 343

They [the Moscow trials] were monstrous theatrical productions that had to be rehearsed many times before they could be shown to spectators.
a) He doesn’t show evidence of even one rehearsal let alone many.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 376-377

Most of the testimony consisted of outright lies, deliberately fabricated in the torture chambers of the NKVD and put into the mouths of the accused by sadistic investigators.
a) That is an unmitigated slander for which no proof whatever is provided.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 377

Molotov made up the whole story [regarding the 1934 attempt on his life] for the sake of provocation.
a) And where is the evidence for this slander?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 378

Some defendants were promised their lives and assignment to party or Soviet work in Siberia or the Far East .
a) No evidence is given for this.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 383

Then Stalin sent Ordjonikidze the false depositions extracted from the prisoners by torture.
a) No proof is usual.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 399

Indeed, many of the Komsomol leaders who perished were personal friends of Ostrovsky,…. Most of them died in the camps or were shot on Stalin’s orders.
a) Same question. Where is the proof?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 419

Stalin also authorized the execution of Pauker, the head of the NKVD’s operations section, the commandant of the Kremlin and head of the Kremlin Guard….
a) No evidence.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 425

Willi Munzenberg, one of the best Comintern officials, was expelled from the party for refusing to leave Paris for Moscow and certain death. He was killed in France in 1940 under suspicious circumstances.
a) How does he know he faced death and how does he know the alleged facing of death was due to him refusing to leave? This is a typical case of attributing guilt by innuendo.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 435

In January 1938 his [Meyerhold] theater was closed, and soon after that this remarkable man was arrested and killed after especially severe and refined torture.
a) No source is cited for this, assuming it even occurred, nor is Stalin in any way implicated.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 448

But when, during the next big trial, he [Feuchtwanger] sat in the Moscow courtroom and heard the confessions of Radek and Pyatakov with his own ears, his doubts banished and he accepted the whole fantastic story.
a) Medvedev wasn’t even there and was only a child at the time but he claims to know more about what happened at the Pyatakov trial than someone who was actually present in the courtroom.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 475

Physical torture was used by the NKVD not on its own initiative but with the approval and even at the insistence of Stalin’s Politburo.
A No evidence is provided for this.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 486

Thus, when Stalin permitted and even forced the use of torture, he was committing an outrage to the memory of the Russian revolutionaries.
a) Again, as usual, no evidence is provided as is typical of so much in Medvedev’s book.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 489

That is why torture was introduced in the NKVD on Stalin’s insistence.
A.) And where is the evidence for this?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 540

Only the same motives can explain the terrible conditions that were created on Stalin’s orders in the camps.
a) More slander without evidence.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 543

Investigators tortured President Kalinin’s wife until she signed statements compromising her husband.
a) And where is the evidence for this?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 550

Footnote: Shalamov informed me of this.
a) Time after time Medvedev simply accepts what anyone says that is anti-Stalin without any corroboration or checking being required.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 550

Most of Stalin’s wrong decisions were so extravagantly and senselessly costly that they cannot be condoned.
a) What wrong decisions? Medvedev talks as if their existence is a given when no evidence is provided.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 749

Guests were often invited to play chess with Stalin, but warned never to win.
a) This is not only an unsubstantiated allegation but a childish one to boot.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 863

All the signs pointed to another 1937. Only Stalin’s death at the beginning of March 1953 prevented a renewal of mass repression.
a) Not content with accusing Stalin of injustices for which he is not responsible his critics go even further by speculating that had he lived another would have occurred. Of course no evidence that would withstand scrutiny is provided.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 865

[One of the overwhelmingly favorite deceptions employed by critics slandering Stalin is to provide lists of the names of military and civilian personnel preceded by such words as shot, executed, arrested, jailed, victims, perished, and didn’t survive. Proof is rarely provided that these people actually met the fates attributed to them and there is always the underlying implicit assumption that they were innocent. Readers are simply asked to take the author’s word for it.
But even more important is the manner in which the information is submitted. More often than not it’s just a simple listing of names as is done between pages 396 and 449 in Let History Judge. What the person was accused of having done is not mentioned. The prosecution’s evidence against him or her is not revealed. The number of times the person has been previously convicted is never mentioned. Proof showing those arrested or jailed were often released within hours is conveniently omitted. The number of times an individual’s acts had already been excused is never discussed.
But above and beyond all this skullduggery are some truly revelatory considerations. Although almost never asserted, because there is no substantive proof that would endure in court, but always implied, is the contention that Stalin is responsible for any and all these deeds when, in fact, he was at the mercy of the judgments of others. For one man to cover nine time zones and 180 million people is a bit much to say the least.
With respect to those who were innocent during the 1930s specifically, this presents an unfortunate situation for Stalin and an expedient opening for his critics. In order to convict Stalin of criminal behavior his critics have to prove: a) the repressed person was innocent or no evidence was provided to prove his guilt; b) Stalin knew the repressed person was innocent; and c) Stalin personally ordered the person to be repressed while knowing he or she was innocent. With respect to all three, Stalin’s critics have failed ignominiously. However, that has by no means caused them to cease their listings because they are fully aware of the fact that few readers will check the specifics involved or ask for documentation and corroboration. It is just always taken for granted that if Stalin is involved it must be bad, wrong, and negative when facts prove the opposite. Stalin was as concerned with rooting out anti-socialist people within the government who were repressing genuine Marxists as anyone. The problem was that there were many anti-socialist elements in serious and critical positions throughout such agencies as the NKVD and the military. It was not by accident that two heads of the NKVD, Yagoda and Yezhov, were punished severely.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 396-449

MEDVEDEV QUOTES NOVEL AND POETRY AS IF THEY WERE REAL HISTORY

Quotes memoirs replete with hearsay
Even more than Conquest he cites the contents of novels as history.
Actually recites poetry as if its contents were history.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 32

Rogovin uses material in novels as if it were history also.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park , Michigan : Labor Publications, 1998

MEDVEDEV’S SOURCES ARE UNRELIABLE

The list he gives of those who assisted him in writing his book and most of their comments give the impression of a group sitting around the kitchen table conversing while enveloped within a general philosophy of I-can-top-that.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. xvii

ADMITS HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS ARE HIGHLY DUBIOUS BUT QUOTES THEM ANYWAY

Footnote: I find highly implausible the story told by Bazhanov about a Czech engineer who installed a telephone for Stalin, so that he could eavesdrop on all phone conversations in the Kremlin. Bazhanov alleges that after the engineer had done his job he was shot on Stalin’s orders.
a) Medvedev finds it highly implausible but, nevertheless, can’t resist inserting it, demonstrating his conception of an “objective” historian.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 90

MEDVEDEV LEVELS OUTRIGHT LYING SLANDERS AGAINST STALIN

As early as the internal party disputes of 1918-1923 he [Stalin] distinguished himself by his harshness, rudeness, and disloyalty, as Lenin noted in his Testament.
a) Where does the Testament refer to Stalin’s disloyalty?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 95

Nasty, suspicious, cruel, and power-hungry, Stalin could not abide brilliant and independent people around him.
a) More unsubstantiated slanders.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 344

Until then [the murder of Trotsky] it had been Stalin’s rule to eliminate anyone who knew too much.
a) Where is the evidence for this?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 394

In all probability Stalin shot many more Soviet participants in the Spanish Civil War than the number killed by fascist bullets in Spain .
a) What a slander! Not a shred of evidence and he even admits he’s saying it “in all probability” which is guessing.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 473

He undoubtedly knew that the thousands of party leaders arrested on his orders were neither spies nor traitors.
a) And what is his evidence for this slander. Certainly none is presented.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 538

Stalin often gave his agents and subordinates criminal orders–verbally, of course–and then had them arrested for carrying out those orders.
a) Another blatant slander without a shred of proof being offered.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 584

In the late ’40s he [Stalin] not only endorsed the proposal for a biography of himself but closely followed the writing of it, inserting many handwritten remarks in the manuscript, especially where he found insufficient praise for himself.
a) And where is the evidence for this slander?
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 818

MEDVEDEV’S WRITINGS REEK WITH HEARSAY, INNUENDO, AND RUMOR

Orlov insists that Ordjonikidze was murdered, but admits that he bases his belief on rumors and stories he heard from NKVD agents arriving in Spain .
a) Rumors and stories abound in anti-Stalin works.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 401

Footnote: Recounted by G. L. Mekhanik, who heard it from T. Firsova, who heard it from the Zinaida Ordjonikidze.
a) Talk about hearsay run amuck! And this is being passed off as history.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 579

At a dinner with literary people Stalin also called Tolstoy, Ehrenburg, and Pavlenko international spies.
Footnote: Alexander Fadeev, who was at the dinner, reported the comment to his friend N. K. Ilyukhov, who is Medvedev’s source.
a) So we are supposed to believe Stalin said it; Fadeev heard it; he told Ilyukhov who told Medvedev. Talk about hearsay! One can’t help but think of that game known as Gossip which is played by children. No doubt the accuracy is as valid in one as the other.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 863

Footnote: Orlov often uses rumors or chance conversations as sources.
a) No comment is needed; yet, Medvedev quotes Orlov.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 360

[Footnote]: There was really no attempt to conceal the fact [that Stalin’s wife committed suicide]. The press announcement spoke of her “sudden death” on the night of November 9, 1932 which in the case of a young woman has to be construed as a suicide. It is therefore not correct to say, as does Roy Medvedev (page 368), that the death was reported as due to appendicitis. That was the story her small children were told.
Ulam, Adam. Stalin; The Man and his Era. New York : Viking Press, 1973, p. 354

MEDVEDEV PRESENTS SPECULATIVE HISTORY AS REAL HISTORY

Soon after that, anonymous pamphlets against Trotsky began to circulate unofficially, primarily reminding readers of his “non-Bolshevik” past. Robert Tucker suggests that these pamphlets were inspired by Stalin.
a) “suggests” is not reliable history. Does he present any evidence? No! Even if Stalin were the source, so what. They are true.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 111

To this day no one knows how many peasants died of starvation in 1932-1933.
a) But that doesn’t stop anti-Stalinists from tossing around incredible figures, engaging in speculations, and even claiming there was starvation.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 244

It should be said that a careful reading of the proceedings of the trials, indictments, and statements of the prosecutors and defendants leads me to the firm conviction that most of the charges were intentionally falsified.
a) That’s not history but his opinion on history. These considerations lead others to the opposite conclusion.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 266

MEDEVEDEV TRIES TO CRITICIZE SU BUT ENDS UP COMPLIMENTING ITS PRODUCTION FIGURES

The Supreme Council of the National Economy had planned that gross industrial output would increase 2.8 times from 1927-1928 to 1932-1933, with heavy industry increasing 3.3 times. In fact, over the five-year period gross industrial output approximately doubled and heavy industry increased by 2.7 times, considerably short of the planned targets.
a) This is a backhanded complement disguised as a criticism. What capitalist nations doubled their gross industrial output and increased their heavy industry by nearly three times during this period? They would have been ecstatic to have done so.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 250

MEDVEDEV CITES FROM ALLEGED SOURCES WHICH HE REFUSES TO REVEAL

The scale of the Stalinist terror was immeasurably greater. I know, from sources deserving the fullest confidence,…
a) Yet he never cites any of these alleged sources. We’re supposed to take his word for it.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 454

IN THE ENTIRE BOOK THE ONLY TORTURE PERSONALLY TESTFIED TO IS ANEMIC

The Old Bolshevik Sergei Pisarev relates the following:
In just two prisons, in the Inner Prison of Lubyanka and in Lefortovo, I was subjected to 43 sessions of monstrous insult, with spitting in the face and foul language….
a) In the entire book this is the worst torture that is personally testified to as opposed to mere hearsay and terrible slanders. Many an American prisoner would be more than happy if the worst treatment he received was having his face spit on and hearing foul language.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 492

MEDVEDEV’S BOOK DOES NOT EVEN HAVE A BIBLIOGRAPHY BUT HE SAYS IT DOES

My bibliography contains nearly 200 books under the heading “Prison Camp Literature.”
a) Let History Judge by Columbia University Press (1989) has no bibliography.
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge. New York : Columbia University Press, 1989, p. 500

LAQUEUR OFTEN LIED AND/OR MADE ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT PROOF OR EVIDENCE SUCH AS:

He [Stalin] was no intellectual; Trotsky, Bukharin, and many others were superior to him in this respect.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 12

Tolerance vis-a-vis dissenting opinions had never been a characteristic feature of the Bolshevik party.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 41

He lived first in Turkey , later in France and Norway , and ultimately in Mexico , where he was assassinated on Aug. 20, 1940, at Stalin’s behest.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 46

Stalin gave instructions to kill Trotsky,…
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 53

There were no conspiracies against the regime other than imaginary ones; there was not even a potential opposition against Stalin.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 61

Although limited in scope, these trials are of relevance because the charges against the accused were largely false and the techniques employed to extract confessions were also novel.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 62

At about the same time [prior to the Zinoviev trial], Stalin gave free rein to the application of physical and mental torture: When it produced no immediate results, he threatened the NKVD for their inefficiency. On July 29, 1936, Stalin gave another order to apply whatever methods deemed necessary to extract confessions from those accused of espionage, Trotskyism, or other charges.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 78

Stalin read a great deal, but he seldom, if ever, went to a concert or an exhibition.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 104

They were threatened with the murder of their relations; furthermore, they were told that if they did not confess, they would be shot without the benefit of a trial.

The key figures were mercilessly bullied, isolated, and subjected to all kinds of blackmail; many were tortured.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 140

It is one of the mysteries of the Stalin era that no serious attempt was ever made to kill the dictator… there is no known case of a conspiracy against Stalin.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 144

During the last year of Stalin’s life, Poskrebyshev fell from grace; but for the death of the dictator, he might have been a victim of the next purge.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 176

[Pasternak and Akhmatova]… had been persuaded that if they referred to Stalin in some form or another, they might not be arrested or one of their close relations might be released from prison or a camp.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York : Scribner’s, c1990, p. 184

During the whole war, only once had he [Stalin] been anywhere near the frontline, and only for a few hours, whereupon he quickly informed Churchill and Roosevelt and apologized for not being able to answer their messages earlier because his presence with his troops was so urgently needed.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 198

The notion that the murder of Kirov was carried out by members of theZinovievist opposition was put forward by Stalin in order to take reprisals against the former opposition figures, primarily the Zinovievists.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 304

Although in 1936 no information had been obtained concerning illegal terrorist or organizational activity by Bukharin and Rykov, the investigations began consistently to obtain just such evidence from all those who had been arrested. During such inquiries, all legality was flouted, and such prohibited methods as blackmail, intimidation, persuasion, and promises, as well as direct physical coercion, were widely used.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 322

LAQUEUR RELIES ON SPECULATION AND ADMITS HE IS RELYING ON A RUMOR

It is likely that some of the defendants in the early trials (1936) were promised a prison term rather than the death sentence if they confessed.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 136

…According to a rumor frequently heard, there were several dress rehearsals for each show trial, so that the defendants did not know in the end when the true “public” performance was taking place.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 136

LAQUEUR CITES PERVERSIONS OF JUSTICE BUT AVOIDS MENTIONING WHO CAUSED THEM

As a result of the perversions of legality that were permitted, thousands of innocent people were arrested and convicted on groundless charges.
Laqueur, Walter. Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations. New York: Scribner’s, c1990, p. 325

ROGOVIN REPEATEDLY MAKES ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT A SHRED OF PROOF

A month later, however, Olberg “confessed” that he had come from abroad on assignment from Trotsky, and that he had recruited into a terrorist organization many teachers and students at the Gorky Ped-Institute. All the people he named were brought to Moscow and shot on Oct. 3, 1936.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 3

Nevertheless, not only Kamenev’s oldest son, but his middle son as well, the 16 year old Yuri, was shot in 1938-39.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 8

Stalin made a few additions to the defendants’ testimony which they were supposed to give at the trial. He demanded that Reingold formulate the alleged terrorist instructions he received from Zinoviev in the following way….
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 12

Whereas Yezhov reduced the “main and principal task of the ‘center'” to the assassination of Stalin, Stalin formulated it as the “assassination of comrades Stalin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Kirov, Ordjonikidze, Zhdanov, Kossior, and Postyshev.”
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 13

“Stalin’s promises to spare the lives of the defendants….”
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 36

The Kemerovo Trial was the first “Trotskyist” frame-up at which the defendants were charged with sabotage.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 95
a) Where is the evidence it was a frameup

Of course, in order to convince the defendants to “voluntarily” confess, they were promised their lives in return.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 177

… the veracity of the self-slander generated in the torture chambers of the NKVD.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 250
a) Where is the proof that the NKVD had torture chambers?

In the spring of 1937, on orders from Moscow, the hunger strikers were told that their demands would be met. They were all sent to the “Brick Factory,” a former site for special punishment, where in the fall of 1937, mass shootings of the prisoners began.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 392

However it ignores the indisputable fact that many victims of Stalin’s terror signed the confessions beaten out of them at the pre-trial investigation,
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 448

For instance, Medvedev, whom we have mentioned earlier, which tortured by the same investigators who tortured the generals appearing before a military trial.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 449

ROGOVIN OFTEN USES CONJECTURAL WORDS SUCH AS ASSUME, EVIDENTLY & APPARENTLY

Uses words based on conjecture such as: assume (p. 26), undoubtedly (p. 27), may have been (p. 36), evidently (p. 64), apparently (p. 126).
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 26

We can assume that when Zinoviev and Kamenev met with Stalin and agreed to confess to the charge of terrorist activity, they asked in return to remove the charge of preparing to restore capitalist relations in the country after they had come to power.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 26
a) “Assume’ is evidence of nothing

The four defendants [in the Pyatakov trial] who were spared did not outlive their codefendants for long. Radek and Sokolnikov were murdered in 1939 by criminals who were prison cellmates, apparently on orders from the “organs.”
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 126
a) “Apparently’ is not proof

We must assume that Stalin saved the “Letter of an Old Bolshevik” in order to put psychological pressure on Bukharin during the prison investigation.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 237
a) “Assume’ is not evidence or proof

ROGOVIN GIVES ADVICE REGARDING GOOD SCHOLARSHIP WHICH HE HIMSELF IGNORES

The historian is duty-bound to leave unpainted spots in the picture he presents until he finds objective and irreproachable evidence and testimony.
A) If only anti-Stalin historians would follow this advice.
Rogovin, Vadim. 1937: Year of Terror. Oak Park, Michigan: Labor Publications, 1998, p. 463
a) This advice is exactly what he repeatedly pays no attention to.

REMNICK REPEATEDLY MAKES ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT PROVIDING A SHRED OF PROOF

Stalin had slaughtered millions during the collectivization of Ukraine.
Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 54

In 1926, Stalin’s wife, Nadezhda, left him. He begged her to return, and at the same time had her followed by the secret police.
Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 127

Stalin had his other portrait painter’s shot and their paintings burned.
Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 128

NEKRICH AND HELLER CONSTANTLY MAKE UNPROVEN, SLANDEROUS ALLEGATIONS

At the time of the Red Army’s retreat in 1941, mass arrests were carried out among the western Ukrainian population. In the majority of prisons, NKVD troops shot all inmates who had been sentenced to more than three years. In some towns the NKVD burned prisons with all their inmates.
a. By the author’s own admission this comes notoriously unreliable Ukrainian sources.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 453

According to information that is far from complete, rebellions took place in the following camps in the years after the war: 1946, Kolyma; 1947, Ust-Vym, Dzhezkazgan; 1950, Salekhard, Taishet; 1951, Dzhezkazgan; 1952, Vozhel (Komi), Molotov, Krasnoyarsk Region; 1953, Vorkuta, Norilsk, Karaganda, Kolyma; 1954, Revda (Sverdlovsk), Karabash (in the Urals), Taishet, Reshoty, Dzhezkazgan, Kengir, Sherbai Nura, Balkhash, Sakhalin; 1955, Vorkuta, Solikamsk, Potma. [Source: U.S. Senate Hearings, USSR labor camps, February 2, 1973)
a. The authors admit their information is far from complete.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 495

In 1949 he [Stalin] summoned Khrushchev from Kiev and named him Secretary of the Moscow Party Committee and a Secretary of the Central Committee, probably hoping in this way to balance the forces in the Politburo and to use Khrushchev to conduct the upcoming purge. [No source]
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 499
a) No source is provided for this slander.
b. Where is the evidence for an upcoming purge?

The struggle against imaginary plotters became Stalin’s main preoccupation.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 501
a. No source is provided and the authors are engaging in speculative psychological guesswork.

In 1948 the committee’s members were arrested on Stalin’s instructions. They were tortured and in 1952 were shot, including Lozovsky. Before their arrest, Mikhoels had been murdered–on January 13, 1948, on a street in Minsk by state security agents.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 502
a. Khrushchov is the source for this slander but provides no evidence.

Under atrocious tortures, the accused doctors confessed to having taken part in a plot to murder army, party, and government leaders through the conscious use of incorrect medical treatment….
The case was reported to Stalin, who ordered that it be prosecuted and that the arrested men be beaten until full confessions were extracted.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 503 a. No sources or evidence is submitted for these slanders.

Stalin was personally in charge of the “doctors’ plot.” His scenario consisted of several acts: Act One, sentencing after full confessions; Act Two, execution by hanging (it is said that this execution would have taken place in Red Square, in Moscow, as in days of yore); Act Three, pogroms throughout the country; Act Four, Jewish personalities from the world of culture would turn to Stalin, asking that he protect the Jews from pogroms and give them permission to leave the big cities and go back to the land; Act Five, mass deportation of Jews, “at their own request,” to the country’s eastern territories.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 503
a. Where on earth is any evidence for this libelous litany of anti-Stalin schlock? Not one source is provided for anything.

The country lived in anticipation of a new wave of terror such as it had never seen.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 504
a. Again no evidence or sources are provided. Just slanders.

… and on the other by creating an artificial collective memory using the Short Course on the History of the Soviet Communist Party, and numerous other falsifications produced by historians, writers, artists, actors, and poets. [No source]
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 511
a. Where is any proof that the Short Course was a falsification?
b. What falsifications?

On May 17 and 18, 1944, 194,000 Crimean Tartars were deported from the Crimea. According to rough figures, close to 18 percent of these died within the first year and a half of deportation.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 535
a. Whose rough figures and what documentation is there

For the first time in the history of the Soviet Union [1957] the removal of leaders from top party posts was not followed by their arrest.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 555
a. That is a blatant lie. Trotsky, Zinoviev and Bukharin were removed from high posts and even the party, as were others, without being arrested.

A new, large-scale purge that Stalin had planned right before he died was intended to “pull up the last roots,” that is, to get rid of members of the generations of the 1920s and 1930s who had accidentally survived and still carried fragments of the banned historical memory and who were therefore potentially dangerous to the regime.
Nekrich, Aleksander & Mikhail Heller. Utopia in Power. New York: Summit Books, 1986, p. 578
a. Where on earth is evidence for this gratuitous slander which not only lacks corroboration but is nothing more than speculative guesswork as to Stalin’s psyche, mental state, and intentions.

THE IMAGE PEOPLE ARE GIVEN OF STALIN HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REALITY

I have made these remarks at the opening of the present chapter because when I was in Moscow one of the first things that struck me forcibly was the attempt made by writers and even photographers to give a false impression of the Russian dictator, Stalin. The picture which one sees of him at every turn of the street and those that are sent for publication abroad are as unreal and untrue as the numerous stories that are published about him in books and newspapers and periodicals. In the new Russia there seems to be an overpowering craze for public hero-worship. Under this influence writers and artists strive to transfigure outstanding individuals of the Soviet regime into idealized types or symbols of some subjective emotion of the crowd. Hence we have a widespread falsification that in the first instance is detrimental to the individual who is the subject of this legend-monitoring. Stalin is a particular victim of this public craze….
From the portraits I had seen of him and from the stories I had heard and read, and from the sound of his name, which does not suit him at all, I had expected to meet a Grand Duke of the old regime, stern and abrupt and unfriendly. But instead of this type of person I found myself for the first time face-to-face with the dictator to whose care I would readily confide the education of my children. I had read that he does not show himself in public because his face has been much disfigured by smallpox. But as a matter of fact scarcely any traces of the scars are to be seen. I had also read that he always had an escort of five motor cars when he makes his daily journey to and fro between the city and his country home at Gorky, the palatial residence where Lenin lived during his illness and where he died. It is said to be guarded day and night by heavily armed Cossacks. One is told everywhere in Moscow that Stalin enters the Kremlin each day by a different gate and that when he takes his meals the table is furnished with the gold plate that belonged to the Czar. Popular rumor even goes to the extent of declaring that he keeps his young wife locked up at home, as if he were a Turkish Sultan.
The truth is otherwise. He has never entered the palace at Gorky since Lenin’s death. When I visited him in Moscow he was living with his wife and children in a modest little house outside the city. He goes to his office alone in his own car and enters by the same gate every day, without receiving any special salute from the sentry on guard. He lives and eats as the average small tradesman does. He is very orderly and very particular about the distribution of the working time at his disposal. His tastes are quite simple, and practically the only form of entertainment he indulges in is that of the ordinary workman who sits down once in a while to a glass of wine in the company of a few friends.
He has often been pictured as an aristocratic freebooter from the Caucasus. But I could see no traces of that character in him. Nor could I imagine him as the Georgian adventurer who is said to have taken Ivan the Terrible as his model. Even the historical insinuations are incorrect here,… When I visited Stalin I found just a lonely man who is not influenced by money or pleasure or even ambition. Though he holds enormous power he takes no pride in its possession, although it must give him a certain amount of satisfaction to feel that he has triumphed over his opponents. I should say that there are two traits that dominate Stalin’s character. The first is the habit of patience, which he has cultivated to a supreme degree, and the second is his ability to depend entirely on himself and entrust nothing to his fellow men. These qualities are found generally in men who move slowly and carefully towards their ends. I need not mention here his extraordinary energy, because that is a quality in all constructive men.
Everything about this man is heavy– his gait, his look, even the movements of his will. He has a habit of laughing often as he talks…. He can carry through a policy or plan with plotting perseverance to its completion without suffering the slightest discouragement at the hitches and set-backs that occur during the effort.
…If my intuition be correct Stalin is naturally good-hearted. But his position has made him hard and unyielding. He is not without imagination, but he denies himself the luxury of indulging in its flights. He is not ambitious,…
Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 350-352

MEDVEDEV SAYS SOLZHENITSYN’S GULAG BOOK IS VERY CONTRADICTORY

[Footnote]: Among works by Russian emigre authors, the first that comes to mind is of course Solzhenitsyn’s three-volume The Gulag Archipelago, an immensely important yet extremely contradictory book.
Medvedev, Roy. On Stalin and Stalinism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, p. ix

STUPID COMMENTS BY ROBERT SERVICE

Dzhughashvili was by no means an outstanding thinker.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 92

Stalin differed from Lenin inasmuch as he never,not even once–commented on the need to avoid anti-semitic impulses.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 156

Stalin remained uneasy about factional regrouping. His operational code was: once an oppositionist, always an oppositionist.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 279

This was his way. Once an enemy always an enemy!
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 285

Stalin aspired to his own personal cult.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 357

Expelled Bolsheviks were invariably sent to the gulag or shot.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 367

Few dared to contradict him even in private conversation. Only Molotov had sufficient confidence to disagree with him about policies,and even he had to exercise caution in his phrasing and demeanor.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 374

The Home Army, while planning to defeat the Germans in Warsaw by Polish efforts, pleaded desperately for Soviet support and received almost nothing.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 470

He [Stalin] had ordered the murder of thousands of captured Polish officers in April 1940 in Katyn forest in Russia.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 471

and he [Stalin] was long practiced in the art of solving public problems by means of the physical liquidation of those who embodied them.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 471

What was militarily inexcusable in Stalin’s behavior, however, was his rejection of all Polish pleas for assistance once the Warsaw Uprising had begun on 1 Aug. 1944.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 471

He [Stalin] needed only a scintilla of doubt about individuals to flash in his mind before consigning them to the security police.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 491

“probably” only a minority in society keenly admired him.
[“probably” is guessing]
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 601

Stalin treated debate from below as a danger to desirable unanimity, and he arrested and killed to secure dominion. Potential as well as overt enemies perished.
Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 602

LOTS OF LIES BEING WRITTEN ABOUT STALIN BY PEOPLE WHO NEVER MET OR KNEW HIM

Volodya says, “Transferring all the guilt on to one person is stupid, just as it would be stupid to ascribe all credit to him. Stalin came to power as the bearer of a concrete idea. He maintained this position although he offered to stand down five times and was five times reappointed. A lot of fiction is written about Stalin nowadays, by people who did not know him personally. The people who knew him closely have disappeared. I have not met people who knew Stalin closely who would express such negative opinions about him as are expressed today. The Stalin that really existed is in my grandfather’s book and my mother’s memoirs, not the Stalin that is being drawn today. That is a terrifying half-truth which cannot explain anything. They are inventions which are unnecessary and harmful, and do not do any good to the history of our country.
… this person occupied his post for a period of 29 years, because the policy he advocated was very close to the Party line and to the wishes of the people.
Richardson, Rosamond. Stalin’s Shadow. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994, p. 278

A week later Stalin gave a major radio address to the country, delivering it in person at the Central Broadcasting Studio. (Stalin’s biographer Robert Payne says that Stalin recorded this address in the Caucasus, more than 500 miles from Moscow, but chief radio announcer Yuri Levitan says that he watched Stalin delivering this address at Moscow’s Central Broadcasting Studio.’)
Axell, Albert. Stalin’s War: Through the Eyes of His Commanders. London, Arms and Armour Press. 1997, p. 168

THE SKILLFUL TRICKS AND DECEPTIONS OF CAPITALIST PROPAGANDA

During the Cold War, the anti-communist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime’s atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn’t go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them.
Parenti, Michael. Blackshirts and Reds, San Francisco: City Light Books, 1997, p. 41

IT IS BETTER TO BE CURSED THAN PRAISED BY CAPITALISTS

CHUEV: Western broadcasters talk a lot about you, curse you and Stalin.
MOLOTOV: It would have been worse if they had praised us.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 12

HITLER WAS AN EXTREME ANTI-COMMUNIST NATIONALIST

MOLOTOV: Hitler was an extreme nationalist. A blinded and stupid anti-communist.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 14

MOLOTOV FEELS THERE ARE STILL HITLERS TODAY

CHUEV: Did Stalin meet him?
MOLOTOV: No, I was the only one to have such a pleasure. There are people of that kind now, too. That’s why we must pursue a vigilant and firm policy.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 14

HITLER WAS SMART AND NARROW BUT NOT A MANIAC

MOLOTOV: Hitler… there was nothing remarkable in his appearance. But he was a very smug, and, if I may say so, vain person. He wasn’t at all the same as he is portrayed in movies and books. They focus attention on his appearance, depict him as a madman, a maniac, but that’s not true. He was very smart, though narrow-minded and obtuse at the same time because of his egotism….
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 15

HITLER ADMIRED STALIN’S PERSONALITY

MOLOTOV: I sensed he [Hitler] was not only afraid of our power but that he also stood in awe of Stalin’s personality.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 16

MOLOTOV SAYS HITLER WANTED TO DIVIDE THE WORLD

MOLOTOV: I said. What do you want? What are your proposals? “Let’s divide the whole world,” he [Hitler] said. “You need the South, to get to the warm waters.”
…We had agreed to observe the treaty–they were not doing so. We saw they didn’t want to observe it.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 18

LIES DOMINATE NOWADAYS

…Nowadays you don’t get the real facts handed to you on a silver platter. They are mixed up and corrupted in every way, so to speak, and obscured by all kinds of other facts.
Chuev, Feliks. Molotov Remembers. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 1993, p. 253

Since 1945 they [bourgeois historians] have been in possession of material proving that the conditions in the Soviet Union were just the opposite to the myths they had been creating.
Sousa, Mario. The Class Struggle During the Thirties in the Soviet Union, 2001.

With few exceptions, the Smolensk archives have remained practically untouched thereafter.
The archive material never got a first page position in Western mass media. The reason is that the political life in the Western region of Soviet Union as reported in the Smolensk archives had nothing in common with the concoction of monstrous lies and myths which were displayed (and still are) in mass media in the West. The archive material, which is a collection of documents with contributions from hundreds of thousands people with a wide range of opinions about all aspects of life could not be used in the propaganda war against the Soviet Union.
Sousa, Mario. The Class Struggle During the Thirties in the Soviet Union, 2001.

The research of Getty has destroyed some myths and lies about the Soviet Union, but the most important is above all that it gives the individual a possibility of judging for him/herself. And this, to draw one’s own conclusions is in fact important.
Sousa, Mario. The Class Struggle During the Thirties in the Soviet Union, 2001.

KHRUSHCHOV IGNORES STALIN’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS & GIVES THE BOURGEOIS DESCRIPTION

“I will probably not sin against the truth,” Khrushchev declared in his 1956 speech, “when I say that 99 percent of the persons present here heard and knew very little about Stalin before the year 1924, while Lenin was known to all.” This is probably true as a statement of an isolated fact but its import distorts the truth. For it omits Stalin’s early Party history, his courageous struggles under tsarist terrorism and his long support of Lenin, his leadership of the Party within Russia as head of the Russian Bureau, his founding of Pravda, his recognized leadership in the Central Committee where he gave the political report in Lenin’s absence in July 1917, his military service during the civil war, his leadership against the Trotskyist opposition. Khrushchev’s comment supports by implication the bourgeois caricature of Stalin as a maneuvering upstart.
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 123

It is in the light of this growing anti-socialist influence that we have to view Khrushchev’s “secret speech.” The speech has nothing to do with Marxism. It does not examine the class or even the political forces behind events but is a superficial, essentially bourgeois narrative centered around a personal vilification of Stalin. Moreover it was a reactionary document, applauded by the world bourgeoisie and serving to split the world Communist community.
This bourgeois-type outlook is clear in the policies associated with Khrushchev and his group both before and after their seizure of executive political power (which they were perhaps able to do because of the decimation of the working class in the war). They extended private plots and privately owned farm animals, dismantled much of the central economic planning system, gave factory directors more power, elevated profit as a major incentive to production, favored consumer goods over capital goods, and allowed a cultural “thaw,” the essentially bourgeois nature of which is made clear in Ehrenburg’s autobiographical writings and other works….
Cameron, Kenneth Neill. Stalin, Man of Contradiction. Toronto: NC Press, c1987, p. 134

CONQUEST IS A PAID PROPAGANDA AGENT AND LIED ABOUT STALIN

In January 1978, David Leigh published an article in the London Guardian, in which he revealed that Robert Conquest had worked for the disinformation services, officially called the Information Research Department (IRD), of the British secret service. In British embassies, the IRD head is responsible for providing `doctored’ information to journalists and public figures. The two most important targets were the Third World and the Soviet Union. Leigh claimed:
`Robert Conquest … frequently critical of the Soviet Union was one of those who worked for IRD. He was in the FO [Foreign Office] until 1956.
Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 108 [p. 92 on the NET]

The defeat of Trotsky, though not yet final, had been due to a virtually unanimous campaign by all the other leaders, his only support being the dying Lenin. Factional fighting in the Politburo was now, however, thrown open for all. Of the seven men elected as full members in June 1924, six would be killed by the lone survivor.
This membership now consisted of Zinoviev and Kamenev; Stalin; Trotsky; and Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky.
[WRONG: NO EVIDENCE STALIN KILLED TROTSKY; TOMSKY COMMITTED SUICIDE; THE OTHER 4 WERE FOUND GUILTY BY A TRIAL
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 133

…Feuchtwanger, whose book on Stalin and the USSR really deserves to be read, indeed reprinted, for the pathos of its idiocy. [Describes Conquest]
Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations. New York, New York: Viking, 1991, p. 184

He [Pyatakov] had been, it was true, an oppositionist, and an important one. But he had abandoned opposition in 1928 and had worked with complete loyalty ever since….
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 140

After the pleas, the court recessed for 20 minutes. It has been suggested that this was to give time to put a little pressure on Krestinsky. Probably; but the recess was only five minutes longer than that at the previous trials.
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 344
SOLZHENITSYN WORKED WITH REACTIONARIES AND SUPPORTED TRAITOROUS GENERALS

We would like to open a brief parenthesis for Solzhenitsyn. This man became the official voice for the five per cent of Tsarists, bourgeois, speculators, kulaks, pimps, maffiosi and Vlasovites, all justifiably repressed by the socialist state.

Solzhenitsyn the literary hack lived through a cruel dilemna during the Nazi occupation. Chauvinist, he hated the German invaders. But he hated socialism even more passionately. So he had a soft spot for General Vlasov, the most famous of the Nazi collaborators. Although Solzhenitsyn did not approve of Vlasov’s flirt with Hitler, he was laudatory about his hatred of Bolshevism.

Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 178-179 [p. 156 on the NET]

Solzhenitsyn’s politics are those of the extreme right in the West. He is opposed to detente, to wars of national liberation, to multiparty parliamentary forms. He advocates an active and aggressive Western offensive against the Soviet Union and the abandonment of detente.

Szymanski, Albert. Human Rights in the Soviet Union. London: Zed Books, 1984, p. 288

BEFORE HITLER BRITAIN LED THE ANTI-SOVIET CRUSADE

Until Hitler’s coming to power, Great Britain had led the crusade against the Soviet Union. In 1918, Churchill was the main instigator of the military invervention that mobilized fourteen countries. In 1927, Great Britain broke diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and imposed an embargo on its exports.

Martens, Ludo. Another View of Stalin. Antwerp, Belgium: EPO, Lange Pastoorstraat 25-27 2600, p. 196 [p. 184 on the NET]

MEDVEDEV IS A BOGUS SCHOLAR WHO RELIES ON GOSSIP RATHER THAN DOCUMENTATION

On the question of socialism, as indeed on other questions, the attacks on Stalin and ‘Stalinism’ are almost always attacks on Lenin and Leninism. In order to show the correctness of this statement it would be useful to look at a book called Let History Judge written by a Soviet bourgeois intellectual by the name of Roy Medvedev. Medvedev attacks Stalin but ‘praises’ Lenin. Medvedev’s attack on Stalin is not based on any facts or documentation, but on mere gossip and the fertile imagination of a bourgeois brain whose input in terms of fabrication is unlimited. Even the reactionary anti-communist columnist Edward Crankshaw, one of the reviewer’s of this book in the Observer of March 26, 1972 had to admit that Medvedev was “denied access to all official archives”. This however, does not prevent Crankshaw from agreeing with, and admiring, Medvedev’s attack on Stalin, the reason for this being that “this book is high drama of a gifted intellectual wrestling for the truth, guided only by his inner light.” This is how ‘truth’ is established by the bourgeois mind, i.e., by completely ignoring the facts and relying on one’s “inner light.”

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 163

VOLKOGONOV SAYS HE IS NOT WRITING TO AVENGE HIS FAMILY

It may be said that this book is my way of avenging the wrongs done to my family. But I deny this.
Volkogonov, Dmitri. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991, p. 564

FOR GOOD REASON STALIN WAS AMONG THE MOST HATED OF BOURGEOIS ENEMIES

From an anti-Communist point of view, Stalin was certainly one of the great villains of history. While he lived, the Red forces consolidated their power in one country and then led what seemed to be an irresistible worldwide revolutionary upsurge. By the time he died, near hysteria reigned in the citadels of capitalism. In Washington, frenzied witch hunts tried to ferret out the Red menace that was supposedly about to seize control of the last great bastion of capitalism. All this changed, for the time being, after Stalin’s death, when the counter-revolutionary forces were able to seize control even within the Soviet Union.
…the bourgeois world view, based on competition, ambition, and the quest for personal profit and power and and portraying “human nature” as corrupt, vicious, and selfish, that is, as the mirror image of bourgeois man.
Franklin, Bruce, Ed. The Essential Stalin; Major Theoretical Writings. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, p. 37

PARES COMPLIMENTS THE SYSTEM BUT IT NOT AN ADMIRER OF IT

I [Pares] went, definitely not as an admirer of the existing regime,…
…It was always the peasantry that had formed the backbone of the Army;…
Pares, Bernard. Russia. Washington, New York: Infantry Journal, Penguin books, 1944, p. 195

ANTI-STALIN WRITERS HAD AN AX TO GRIND AND WERE BIASED

“Comrade Roy Medvedev, tell me, please,” the KGB officer had said, “would you have written your books about Stalin if your father hadn’t been sent away to the camps?”
…The KGB officer at Lefortovo had surely asked Roy the right question. “Why?” No one had ever posed it to him quite so directly or with such perverse intent. “I realized then just how closely my destiny was intertwined with my father’s,” Roy told me one day in his tiny study. I was sitting there in that prison room, and it all came back.”
 Remnick, David. Lenin’s Tomb. New York: Random House, c1993, p. 110

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