Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 29, 2015

NYT Propagandizes False Ukrainian History

The New York Times claims that the Ukraine Separatists Rewrite History of 1930s Famine. A headline nearer to the historic truth would be "NYT Propagandizes False Ukrainian History" or "Ukraine Separatists Correct Rewritten History of 1930s Famine".

An excerpt from the piece says:

Traditionally, Ukrainian historians have characterized the famine as a genocide, the direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivization and the Soviet government’s requisitioning of grain for export abroad, leaving Ukraine short — and its borders sealed shut. Since Ukraine gained independence, that is what its students have been taught.

But that is not what students in southeastern Ukraine are learning this year. Instead, under orders from the newly installed separatist governments, they are getting the sanitized Russian version, in which the famine was an unavoidable tragedy that befell the entire Soviet Union.

West-Ukrainians have claimed that the famine caused by the Soviet government under Stalin was a unique genocide targeted against ethnic Ukrainians. They often use this claim to demonize Russians. But that claim is ahistoric and false.

The famine happened in all agricultural areas of the Soviet Union. The Volga region of Russia was just as much effected as the Ukraine region But the most hurt area was Kazakhstan:

Kazakhs were most severely affected by the Soviet famine in terms of percentage of people who died (approximately 38%). Around 1.5 million people died in Kazakhstan of whom 1.3 million where ethnic Kazakhs.

Even the Ukrainians who claim that the famine was a special anti-Ukrainian genocide concede that point. In a 2009 piece on the issue the NYT quoted a Ukrainian professor who propagandizes the genocide myth:

“If in other regions, people were hungry and died from famine, then here people were killed by hunger,” Professor Kulchytsky said. “That is the absolute difference.”

So being "killed by hunger" in Ukraine and "died from famine" in the Volga region and Kazakhstan is an "absolute difference"? The cause as well as the outcome seem to be the same to me. What else but some national genocide myth making could create an "absolute difference" in that.

The reasons for the famine are also multiple and not caused by a Stalin order or intent to "kill the Ukrainians":

[In 1927 Stalin warned] party congress delegates of an impending capitalist encirclement, he stressed that survival and development could only occur by pursuing the rapid development of heavy industry.
Shifting from Lenin's New Economic Policy or NEP, the first Five-Year Plan established central planning as the basis of economic decision-making, stressing rapid, heavy industrialization. It began the rapid process of transforming a largely agrarian nation consisting of peasants into an industrial superpower. In effect, the initial goals were laying the foundations for future exponential economic growth.
In November 1928 the Central Committee decided to implement forced collectivization of the peasant farmers. This marked the end of the NEP, which had allowed peasants to sell their surpluses on the open market. Grain requisitioning intensified and peasants were forced to give up their private plots of land and property, to work for collective farms, and to sell their produce to the state for a low price set by the state.

Given the goals of the first Five Year Plan, the state sought increased political control of agriculture, hoping to feed the rapidly growing urban areas and to export grain, a source of foreign currency needed to import technologies necessary for heavy industrialization.

The plan of rapid industrialization was largely successful. Iron and coal production exploded. New industries grew with newly imported modern machines. The agricultural development was more difficult. The forced collectivization of peasant farmers and the exceeding central demands to deliver their products to the cities and for export led to a sharp drop in agricultural productivity and output. The small land landowners boycotted the collectivization which was then brutally enforced. Only in the early 1940s did the agricultural production again reach the level of the early 1930s.

The separatist governments in east-Ukraine have this right. The famine was the heavy price paid for the fast industrialization of the Soviet Union in the 1930s. The main agricultural regions were hit hardest while areas with coal and iron ore and the cities developed the most.

But only the successful industrialization in the 1930s enabled the Soviet Union to withstand the German onslaught in the following decade. Without Stalin's foresight and brutal industrialization the Soviet Union would not have been able to later out-produce the well industrialized Germany in weapons and ammunition. It would have lost the war against the Nazis. Even as it won the war it cost the Soviet Union about five times the casualties of the 1930s famine.

But the fact that the Soviet Union did not lose that war against Nazi-Germany may be the real reason why today's Ukrainian "nationalists" are sad about the issue.

Posted by b on April 29, 2015 at 02:25 PM | Permalink

next page »

...students in southeastern Ukraine... under orders from the newly installed separatist governments ...?

How exactly did they determine that? But be that as it may, the NYT has disgraced itself repeatedly over the past couple of decades so its editors and writers can be easily dismissed as pathetic crypto fascist hacks. I'm interested in the facts and opinions--mostly facts--of the loyal readership out there. And please post your references. Thanks a bunch.

Posted by: Some Guy | Apr 29, 2015 3:32:09 PM | 1

This is a good book from 1987 about the myth.

The repropagation of Stalin Genocide Stalin = Hitler stufff started just before the color revolutions in the mid 2000s. The propaganda machine is incredibly effective.

Posted by: Crest | Apr 29, 2015 3:56:15 PM | 2

They have to rewrite history in order to justify the kind of gov't. they have and the moves they make to consolidate power - disappeared or suicided journalists critical of the Junta and either members or former members of the Party of Regions turning up dead - WaPo, NYT, NPR, CNN all these liars march lock-step with the USSA administration on this issue. What no coverage? Not even to somehow blame Putin? What skum.

Ratboy Yatsenfuk the Scientologist got the word for the Junta to create their own reality, like the AmeriKans now do - create history/reality while the rest of us just sit and watch and study what they do. And in this case, it's start more trouble where there was none, screw public opinion you can't manufacture to support your crusade, and take care of the corporate-military concerns first and foremost.

Posted by: farflungstar | Apr 29, 2015 4:02:57 PM | 3

thanks b.. the winners get to write the history books? i agree with @3 f-f-s..

Posted by: james | Apr 29, 2015 4:48:59 PM | 4

QUESTION: Is it true that during 1932-33 several million people were allowed to starve to death in the Ukraine and North Caucasus because they were politically hostile to the Soviets?
ANSWER: Not true. I visited several places in those regions during that period. There was a serious grain shortage in the 1932 harvest due chiefly to inefficiencies of the organizational period of the new large-scale mechanized farming among peasants unaccustomed to machines. To this was added sabotage by dispossessed kulaks, the leaving of the farms by 11 million workers who went to new industries, the cumulative effect of the world crisis in depressing the value of Soviet farm exports, and a drought in five basic grain regions in 1931. The harvest of 1932 was better than that of 1931 but was not all gathered; on account of overoptimistic promises from rural districts, Moscow discovered the actual situation only in December when a considerable amount of grain was under snow.
Strong, Anna Louise. “Searching Out the Soviets.” New Republic: August 7, 1935, p. 356


Posted by: ruralito | Apr 29, 2015 5:33:03 PM | 5

In November 1928 the Central Committee decided to implement forced collectivization of the peasant farmers.

That was the biggest mistake the Soviets made. Maybe in their history. It was certainly huge. On a farm tour in 1957, my Uncle Darold, noticed that the farm to market roads were covered deep in grain. The collectivized farmers were on salary, no need to fix the wagons hauling the grain, or the wasteful combines doing the harvesting, or fix the fertilizer spreaders that were wasting fertilizer. For some reason farmers don't do well under collectivization. Same result in China.

I do remember a quote by Lenin, "Farmers are all petit capitalists." He may be right.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 29, 2015 5:59:03 PM | 6

again, perfect b

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 29, 2015 6:10:32 PM | 7

"But the fact that the Soviet Union did not lose that war against Nazi-Germany may be the real reason why today's Ukrainian "nationalists" are sad about the issue."

Yes, and that´s the reason for the "western" boycott of the coming 70th anniversery of WW2. Those "nationalists" hold that the wrong side won, and NATO probably agrees, or at least doesn't want to contradict them.

Posted by: jearls | Apr 29, 2015 6:39:35 PM | 8

@okie, that quote comes from a tissue of cliches posted by I encourage others to take a peek. Naturally Russians were oppressed by a tyrannical cabal of pyscopaths, whereas the West is portrayed as practicing a type of tough love. No different than today. BTW, the change of leadership after Stalin's death was not trivial or even meaningless as in your liberal "democracies".

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 29, 2015 7:07:08 PM | 9

ruralito at 9 -- Your link at 5 cites some good stuff. The Davies, Wheatcroft et al. article from 1995 looks quite good, I know their earlier work. I checked one or two of the other topics "espressostalinist" dauphinizes, similar mix of period apologetics and current scholarship. A curious site and apparently at the leading edge of the Enver Hoxha revival. You heard it here first, Barflies!

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 29, 2015 7:47:37 PM | 10

Okie Farmer --

If you have a hankering to delve seriously into the whole business of collectivization, RW Davies is a good spot to start, I took this from ruralito's link. "Stalin, Grain Stocks and the Famine of 1932-1933" by R. W. Davies, M. B. Tauger, S.G. Wheatcroft. Slavic Review, Volume 54, Issue 3 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 642-657. You might be able to get a download via your local public library. Short, you can mine the footnotes for further reading.

I'd be interested what an agrarian like yourself would make of the experience. My maternal grandfather was a corn, soy and watermelon farmer in Delmarva, but I lean to the paternal side's machinists and functionaries. I do grow a few tomatoes, though.

Lynn Viola did a nice study of the recruitment of mechanics and agricultural extension agents sent to aid the new collective and state farms. The agronomists were city slickers with a crash course. Mechanics were needed for the agricultural equipment being sent to the countryside (Fordson tractors, e.g.). Popular campaign on the shop floors, but mgmt. didn't like to loose their own skilled workers. Eventually, I might remember or stumble across the title.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 29, 2015 8:17:37 PM | 11

Highly informative post and comments.

I'm surprised the NY Times piece doesn't mention the Ukrainians' name for their mythical genocide – golodomor (killing by starvation). Does the Times have a policy of suppressing mention of foreign language words, even of countries whose Nazi governments are propped up by USG?

Surprise, surprise, Wikipedia has an article "Denial of the Holodomor".

@Crest #2:

The repropagation of Stalin Genocide Stalin = Hitler stufff started just before the color revolutions in the mid 2000s.

Interesting timing. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 29, 2015 9:01:11 PM | 12

If there's a grand conspiracy theory, this is it. But while the US ignores its own historical crimes, it tries to make a natural disaster halfway across the globe out to be a "genocide"... all so it can do more of it's own killing.

Just look at the Google nGram (which tracks the use of word or phrase in books and media over the last century) for "Holodomor" and "Ukraine Famine". It's quite clear that the idea of this as a "genocide" and not a horrible natural disaster has only arisen in the late 1980s - the Reagan/Thatcher years where Nazi propaganda made a major comeback.

The fact is that this distortion of history is a giant fib, designed to to rend the former Soviet states, and to further the myth that the Soviet Union is somehow the moral equal to Nazi Germany (a complete lie, which not only distorts the Soviet record, but is mean to polish that of the Nazis). It's the world's most immoral marketing trick, pure and simple. Even anointing it with the same "Holo" of the Holocaust - only one is a real man-made horror, and the other is an attempt to cover for the first! There's even event's to "promote" it - an event you really wouldn't think needed "promoting" seeing how, if it is to be beleived as described it was one of the most horrific events of the 20th Century (after all, no one throws pot lucks to remind people of World War Two) but apparently this "genocide" does require it.

It is the reduction of History to a tactic in covert war, and it is a sure sign that the moral compass of those who guide us is not just off, but completely lost. No good can come of such lies - especially when they have as their goal only more death and murder.

This is one of the grossest distortions of the historical record ever attempted. If 1984 has any resonance today, it is in efforts such as these - an effort by the far-right to bestow the perpetrators of vast crimes against humanity during the Second World War the mantle of victims.

The people who are the most tied to this story, who promote it the most and who strive to put it into the history books are, in fact, the people of the Western Ukraine - people who were not even a part of the Soviet Union at the time, who were not affected by the famine at all. And it is one of the main "selling points" for the nazis at work in Ukraine today - those who are intent to shell apartment blocks in their own country. Pretending to be the historical victim.

There was, of course, a huge famine in the Soviet Union during those years. It was huge news in the west. Communists. This was not a first in Russia - in fact, it was a common occurrence in that poor, giant nation under the Czar. The years of 1891 1897, 1901, 1906, and 1911 were years of food shortage or famine before the revolution. In fact, because of the terrible losses of 20 million during the war, the Soviet Union experienced another - its last - massive food shortage in 1946.

As for the shoddy nature of the article, it is immediately apparent. They contradict themselves entirely in the space of one sentence:

Traditionally, Ukrainian historians have characterized the famine as a genocide, the direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivization and the Soviet government’s requisitioning of grain for export abroad, leaving Ukraine short — and its borders sealed shut.

A genocide is the direct result, it should be clear, of genocide. Genocides do not occur as the secondary result of poor government policy - though using that metric, might we be right to accuse the Bush Administration of mass murder during the Katrina episode? The fact is there is no evidence that the famine was intentional. There is not a single official document that indicates this was anything more than a massive tragedy. And yet it is paraded around and used to divide and conquer the states of the former USSR.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 29, 2015 9:40:31 PM | 13

I've added to another Philip Agee talk, this time quite relevant as it covers the post-war history of US actions to promote fascism inside "it's ally" the Soviet Union immediately following the Second World War.

It's worth a listen if you have some time.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 29, 2015 9:45:54 PM | 14

@rufus, yes, Expressostalinist is the corrective to the pre-digested pap of sites like Newworldencyclopedia which prides itself in its close association with Wikipedia.

Posted by: ruralito | Apr 29, 2015 10:05:40 PM | 15

All this garbage we are seeing is nothing less that the reversal of the entire history of the Second World War - and it is being reversed because it is so useful to those who have their boots on our necks (and our paychecks in their pockets) to try and reduce the history of the Soviet Union to the most awful thing ever - even at the risk of rehabilitating Hitler.

From Chomsky:

"That conception [that fascism is the natural and healthy middle class reaction to a rising left] is now being revived by ultra-right and neoNazi German historians, and will doubtless be the accepted doctrine of the future, given its utility to power interests."

This is in fact exactly what we see today all over, with a mayor in the heart of the former Soviet Union praising Hitler on Victory Day (to the boos of those working class citizens who know better). With certain unmentionables here touting the same ideology. With the transformation of Communism from an ally in the fight to save the world from Naziism into an entity "worse than Hitler". And, of course, with the United States now actively supporting outright fascists in the heart of the dismantled Communist Bloc.

And it is no accident that this rehabilitation of Hitler comes as part of the same package that includes death squads, the IMF, the burning of Union Halls (and trade unionists). It is all part of the same anti-social movement happening in the Ukraine.

(this is a rehash of something I've posted before, the rest is here)

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 29, 2015 10:09:56 PM | 16

ruralito at 9 --

I would go so far as to say that if you compare the evolution of the two states' political systems, the US and the Russian Federation, the overall trends post-WWII strongly favor the Russians as the most flexible and capable of reform.

Khrushchev's "Thaw" and Gorbachev's "glasnost" produced fundamental reforms. I may not like those of glasnost, as they destroyed the collective property that was the signal achievement of the Soviet experiment. But you can't deny they were big. And had the West not intervened, BTW, Scandanavian-style social democracy was the far more likely outcome. But Harvard and IMF recommended rapid cash privatization, so hello apparatchiki and criminals as the Chicago school brought cowboy capitalism east.

The restabilization under Putin after the disruptions of DC's lackey Yeltsin also speaks well of the resilience of Russian society.

Does Anglo-American finance capital have even the capacity to imagine such sweeping reforms anymore? Let alone the ability to implement such a scheme. Our sovereigns, the Bonds and their Holders (profit be unto them!) see no threat, so hence, business as usual.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 29, 2015 10:10:14 PM | 17

g77 at 13, 16. Hey Man, Nice Shot. If I recall my geo., the rains fail about 1 year in 7 in the steppe.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 29, 2015 10:24:54 PM | 18

I think the reason the Times piece doesn't mention the word "golodomor" (the proper transliteration) is that googling produces a lot of Web pages debunking this hoax.

@guest77 #13:

It's quite clear that the idea of this as a "genocide" and not a horrible natural disaster has only arisen in the late 1980s

No, as Crest mentioned, it resurfaced. It goes back to Nazi propaganda which William Herst picked up.

Only in the dispatches of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy did [a French historian] find references to something as severe as a famine specifically centered in the Ukraine. The concept of a Ukrainian famine deliberately inflicted by Stalin then became, starting in the summer of 1933, a staple of German and Polish propaganda (with Lvov leading the Polish effort), and of certain reactionary groups in the Vatican. This theme was then taken over by the pro-fascist US press empire of the reactionary William Randolph Hearst, and spread throughout the world. The holodomor myth was revived under the Reagan administration. (See Annie LaCroix Riz, “L’Holodomor, nouvel avatar de l’anticommunisme européen,’” online.)
Even anointing it with the same "Holo" of the Holocaust

Hehe, I couldn't figure out why "holod" is used instead of "golod", since the correct transliteration is with a "g", from both Russian and its dialect known as Ukrainian. ("Golod" means hunger whereas "holod" means cold, so I could never figure out why this is called "holodomor" in English until you cleared it up for me just now.)

BTW, at that link I gave, there's a photo of a US newspaper article with the headline "Six million perish in Soviet famine".

Posted by: Demian | Apr 29, 2015 10:25:37 PM | 19

@rufus magister #17:

had the West not intervened, BTW, Scandanavian-style social democracy was the far more likely outcome. But Harvard and IMF…

I wouldn't blame it all on Harvard. Pretty much all Russian intellectuals who didn't stick with Marxism saw the US as the model, and that meant following neoclassical economics and neoliberalism. It was a really crazy time. A much more appropriate economics for Russia to have adopted was German historical economics (which was destroyed by the post-war US occupation of Germany, BTW).

(Speaking of US-occupied Germany, we haven't heard from somebody in quite some time.)

Posted by: Demian | Apr 29, 2015 10:49:38 PM | 20

This is also remarkable:

"As evidence, they cite the Ukrainian nationalists’ reverence for Stepan Bandera, an independence leader whom Russia has labeled — unfairly, in the eyes of many historians and certainly to western Ukrainians — a Nazi collaborator who shares blame for the murder of Russians, Poles and Jews during World War II."

So only RUSSIA has labeled Bandera a Nazi collaborator? And MANY HISTORIANS according to the times think this is unfair? What self-respecting historian doesn't know Bandera was a Nazi collaborator? It's a fact. What self-respecting historian doesn't know he incited his cretinish followers to kill Poles, Jews and communists? (The Times blatantly leaves out one of the Banderists' primary groups of victims, communists.) That is also a fact. We have first-hand evidence, actual stuff the a**hole wrote and published.

Posted by: fairleft | Apr 29, 2015 10:53:29 PM | 21

@fairleft #21:

I wouldn't be too shocked. The almost unanimous view in the Russian press and blogosphere is that the US is in a full-blown war with Russia. So this kind of nonsense is to be expected from the Times. The same thing happened with the British and French press in the lead up to WW I and during that war. (PCR has pointed this out.)

As others in this thread have pointed out, the information war against Russia has become so intense that now Nazism is being rehabilitated.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 29, 2015 11:10:47 PM | 22

04/30/2015 05:04

Russian Spring

In night of April 30, suburbs of Donetsk blazed in battles.

In areas of Peski, Donetsk airport, Spartak, the Ukrainian forces shot from heavy artillery and tanks.

Also, small arms battles ignited in Peski and Spartak.

04/30/2015 02:04

Russian Spring

In the past night (April 28), the Ukrainian forces massively shelled Gorlovka two times. Great destruction in residential sector was reported. The 152 mm artillery and 82 mm mortars were fired.

According to Ukrainian sources, in the aftermath, a combatants’ armored column crossed the city toward north-west, where the combatants fired salvos in the direction of Ukrainian artillery positions near Dzerzhinsk.

Beginning 23:00 on April 28, the ceasefire agreement was dismantled in Gorlovka.

Posted by: Fete | Apr 29, 2015 11:54:36 PM | 23

All parties in a position to do so, use real or alleged civilian
mass killings/deaths for propaganda reasons.
The best example of that is the jews and their so called holocaust. Though not only the jews, but all major allied powers took/take advantage of the holo narrative for their own gain.
Ukraine now, meaning the neo installed junta, is in just such a position, backed as it is, by zusa. Russia, no strange to propaganda either, counters with some of its own.

The world war II narrative is a joke, it really is the victors narrative. It's the zamerican, brit, soviet and french narrative. All these countries had a big hand in causing the war.

The article by b is biased and selective. The subject is hotly debated - unlike the holocau$t, which cannot be discussed - as the wiki article which reads, in part:

The causes of the Holodomor are a subject of scholarly and political debate. Some historians theorize that the famine was an unintended consequence of the economic problems associated with radical economic changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialization. Others claim that the Soviet policies that caused the famine were an engineered attack on Ukrainian nationalism, or more broadly, on all peasants, in order to prevent uprisings. Some suggest that the famine may fall under the legal definition of genocide.

My position after studying this for a while? I don't really know.
There is certainly room for doubt about the genocide claim. There certainly were many causes for the famines, in the Ukraine and elsewhere.
But there is more than enough hard evidence for the culpability of the stalinist regime in the famines and the mass deaths. Certainly the evidence is much more compelling than the non existent evidence for nazi homicidal gas chambers and 6 million jews.
The soviet regime undertook brutal policies, they knew what was happening and kept on going.
The justification by b that through such policies, industrialization was achieved and saved the SU from nazis is quite bizarre. The famines took place before or just as Hitler rose to power.
To compare the victims of the famines with the people who perished in world war Ii is basically to accept wwII propaganda that the allies had nothing to do with it and it was all germanys and the axis fault.
Except that is a load of BS.
The stalinist regime had a lot of responsability for wwii and in the brief period of time between the SOVIeT UNIONs collapse and Putins rise, many russian historians pioneered work which since then has demonstrated that there is now ample evidence to substantiate the claim that the German led Axis invasion of the Soviet Union was a preventive attack to forestall Stalin's attempted invasion of Europe which was codenamed Operation Thunderstorm. It was Russian historians who led the way with the release of this information and books on this subject.

Since the rise of Putin, the russian government has been recasting history to serve the country's national interests, and the myth of 'the great patriotic war' is one that creates incentives for patriotism. Patriotism is very important to counter american infiltration in the country. Both Putin and Medvedev have stated such goals and have been against any revising of history.
Except that history without revision is dogma and propaganda and not science. Obviously that ZUSA, the Uk, etc all do the same thing. The western allied countries also had much responsability for the war.

I support the Russian position in the Ukraine.
But that does not mean one has to swallow soviet/russian propaganda uncritically.

For those who understand German, have a look at 'Überfall auf Europa: Plante die Sowjetunion 1941 einen Angriffskrieg?', written by 9 russian historians, published in 2009, it shows that the common feel good notion of a peace loving and neutral SU is nonsense.

For american responsability, take a look at 'the new dealers war' by Thomas Feming. There are many others;

For ZUKs: 'Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War' by Buchanan. In German, the excellent 'Die Kriegstreiber' by historian Max Klüver.

Posted by: Luca K | Apr 30, 2015 12:17:25 AM | 24

Where i wrote 'neo installed junta', read neoCON installed junta.

Posted by: Luca K | Apr 30, 2015 12:21:19 AM | 25

@Luca K #24:

The stalinist regime had a lot of responsability for wwii and in the brief period of time between the SOVIeT UNIONs collapse and Putins rise, many russian historians pioneered work which since then has demonstrated that there is now ample evidence to substantiate the claim that the German led Axis invasion of the Soviet Union was a preventive attack to forestall Stalin's attempted invasion of Europe which was codenamed Operation Thunderstorm. It was Russian historians who led the way with the release of this information and books on this subject.

This is the first time I hear about this. I must say that I am skeptical, since I imagine that a lot of Russian historians in the 1990s were liberals in the pejorative Russian sense of the word, and hence self-loathing Russians. I should also say that my impression is that Britain, France, the US, and Poland were at least as responsible for WW II as Germany, but this idea that the USSR had significant culpability is new to me. And I come from a White Russian background. Whether Stalin was a brutal dictator is another matter, but Stalin was a Russian leader, and the consistent Russian pattern is that Russia does not make offensive invasions of Western Europe. (I do not include Poland in that category.) (No, the Kremlin is not paying me. I wish it were.)

Can you provide a link or two describing this historical research? Web pages in Russian or German are fine.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 30, 2015 12:59:48 AM | 26

okie farmer | Apr 29, 2015 5:59:03 PM | 6

I agree with all of your points. Russia has experienced numerous droughts that led to famine over the last few centuries. What happened in 1931/32 was much worse than it had to be. Collectivization of the farms was responsible for that. The drought coincided with collectivization. The communists aggravated this problem by declaring war against the Kulaks who were their most productive farmers. Farmer life is hard as it is and what the soviets managed to do was to remove incentives and encouraged widespread slackardness. Industrialization of the Soviet Union in the 30s would have been much more effective if their farmers were able to produce food at their full potential. The communists were not faced with an either/or situation -- industrialization and independent farm organizations were not incompatible.

This 1931/32 famine was well known in the west at the time even among the communists. The western capitalist right cited this as proof of the inefficiency of socialism and the left excused it as just "growing pains". In this debate I think the right was correct. Of course, the fascists called it deliberate genocide but their lies were not taken that seriously.

The communist left has always had difficulty with farmers. Marx himself had some pretty choice words about French peasants and their unwillingness to join urban workers in class struggle. Soviet supported communists battled with Mao over his insistence on building the revolution around the peasants with the slogan of land reform (Chiang Kai-shek solved this debate by killing over 500,000 communist organizers and their urban laborer followers between 1927 and 1932). However, even Mao didn't really understand the basic peasant mentality and proceeded to collapse Chinese agriculture by collectivizing the farms once he consolidated power.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 30, 2015 1:18:49 AM | 27

@ToivoS #27:

The communists were not faced with an either/or situation -- industrialization and independent farm organizations were not incompatible.

Very interesting discussion by you and okie farmer. So MoA is not just an echo chamber for b. Is anyone going to come out with a rejoinder and defense of collectivization? guest77?

The communist left has always had difficulty with farmers.

I have a feeling you hit the nail on the head there. This "genocide" was not about Russians trying to suppress Ukrainians: it was about communists being ideologically driven to impose their vision of modernity on peasants. (Ukrainians are nothing but a specific variety of Russian peasants.) Speaking from a completely naive point of view, since I have not looked into this matter, I think it is strange when people on the Left defend Soviet collectivization, since it involved significant direction of violence by the state upon its citizens.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 30, 2015 1:59:25 AM | 28

D @ 26

A quick internet search suggests that Igor Bunich is the author of the fever-dream notion of "Operation Thunderclap." See his Wikipedia entry

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 2:05:11 AM | 29

@okie farmer@6

That was the biggest mistake the Soviets made. Maybe in their history...

“A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”


All revolutions make mistakes, small and large. Easy to shoot back on 20/20, difficult to judge with objectivity, given the historical distance, the purposeful distortion of facts by the usual suspects, and the pile of dead dogs from under which truth has to be dug out.

...Same result in China.

…And in Viet Nam. Hồ Chí Minh not only acknowledged but apologized to the peasants for the mistakes committed during the land reform period in the mid-1950s, which he followed with a rectification campaign. The peasantry and their visceral attachment to their land have always been at the backward end of any revolution, and the kulaks were no exception. The NEP was a correction to the war economy, applied by Lenin under pressure and against his own principles, a coping mechanism to save the revolution from the encirclement of the White Armies. The kulaks were not only the main economic beneficiaries of the NEP, they were also the main supporters of the White Armies, and Stalin never forgot that. Thus, forced collectivization was not only an economic policy, a continuation of an interrupted “accumulation of capital;” it was also an exertion of political and military control on large areas of the country that were sympathetic to the enemies of the revolution. As b correctly notes, there were many variables into the equation that gave way to the famine, one of them was hoarding and destruction of crops by the kulaks, unforgivable in any country, a capital crime for a nascent country under attack and in recovery.

The NYT, loyal to its motto “All the lies that’s fit to print,” is adding itself to the massive campaign of revisionism against solidly established historical facts, assembling packs of lies under the pretense of journalism. Anything that serves the purpose of tarnishing Russia and Russia’s history is welcome, regardless of its factual value. The MSM is full speed ahead under a pirate flag looting and burning facts and slashing truths with no regards to the sacrifices of millions, stumping on their graves with blatant impunity. They might as well join Yarosh and his goons at the siege of the junta’s den, and start chanting “Glory to Ukraine."

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 30, 2015 2:21:48 AM | 30

I would strongly but cordially suggest any curious parties arm themselves with the facts. Same goes for any discussion of Soviet foreign policy aims between the wars.

I recalled the title of Viola's fine study on the 25,000ers. It would make an excellent spot to start. It addresses why the policy appealed to broad sections of the party and its main constituency, industrial workers. The Best Sons of the Fatherland: Workers in the Vanguard of Soviet Collectivization (Oxford University Press US, 1989)

Back in my grad school days, Haslam's work on interwar diplomacy was quite well received.
I readThe Soviet Union and the Struggle for Collective Security in Europe, 1933-39. His more recent Russia's Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Fall of the Wall would prove suitable, I should expect. An improvement over the various works of fiction cited at 24.

"We had to forestall them damn Jew-Bolsheviks" was the Nazi's justification for pretty much everything they did, wasn't it? Nice to see it tidied up and speaking Russian now.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 2:36:24 AM | 31

Lone Wolf at 30 -- I see you've done your homework. Go to the head of the class.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 2:45:08 AM | 32

@rufus magister #17
I'd object to the notion that the United States hasn't changed at times just as radically as the Soviet Union has.
For example, the New Deal vs. the Roaring 20s is an excellent example of how there was a fundamental philosophical shift in the US government. Another fine example is the Reagan Revolution of the early 1980s.
The main differences are that all of the above are "democratic" even though basic philosophies and behavior changed for multi-decade spans whereas changes in the USSR are attributed to individuals at the top.
I do believe that this top down view did exist under specific individuals like Stalin, but I am not convinced that this is true for all of the other leaders of the Soviet Union. Much as with any long standing government, strong leaders will make their own unique mark whether Stalin or FDR, but equally there will be compromise leaders placeholding between strong factions or weak leaders fronting for a particular strong faction. Or in other words, for every Julius Caesar, we have several Neros and Caligulas.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Apr 30, 2015 3:28:37 AM | 33

@⇂ɔ #33:

I'd object to the notion that the United States hasn't changed at times just as radically as the Soviet Union has.

Hello! The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore. The USSR was just another period of Russian history.

Here is what rm wrote:

the overall trends post-WWII strongly favor the Russians as the most flexible and capable of reform.
See? Russians, not Soviets. It doesn't make any sense to single out as a historical entity the Soviet Union as opposed to Russia. Soviet history is just a chapter of Russian history.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 30, 2015 3:50:09 AM | 34

@rufus magister:

Sorry my Catholic apologist, the Whore of Babylon is as evil as ever.

Prior to becoming the leader of the Catholic Church, Francis spoke about his views on the Golodomor in his 2010 book, “On Heaven and Earth”, in which he wrote that “People who suffered massacres and persecution – as they did during the three biggest genocides of the last century, the Armenians, Jews and Ukrainians – struggled for their freedom.” From this bombshell of a quote, the future Pope is telling the world that the deaths of Ukrainians during the Golodomor is on par with the events that befell the Armenians and Jews during their associated tragedies. When compared with his recent news-making quote about how “the remaining two (genocides) were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism”, it’s clear that he’s equating Nazism with the genocide of Jews and Stalinism with the genocide of Ukrainians.
Your new pope is more of a Nazi than Benedict (but not John Paul II) was.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 30, 2015 4:09:18 AM | 35

And talking about Hồ Chí Minh, today, April 30th, marks the 40th anniversary of a giant leap in history, the defeat of the imperial hubris by a proud yet humble people, the people of VN, under the leadership of Uncle Hồ. Forty years after the defeat of the "elephant" by "grasshoppers," (Wilfred Burchett), the same arrogance is leading the empire of terror to another defeat at the hands of a people who, like the Vietnamese, were not in the business of aggression, were going about their lives, but fell victims to the geopolitical designs of the empire for global domination.

Those are the people of Donetsk and Luhansk, the people of Donbass.

It’s not difficult to see the parallels between the two wars of aggression. As it happened in the early 60’s in Nam, it all started with “military advisers,” which we can see now training the neo-Nazi goons not far from Donbass. The US escalation in VN was justified as “containing communism” and the danger of other countries falling under communism as explained by the “domino theory;” therefore, neighboring countries (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, et al) had to be armed and ready to stop the pesky communists. Presently, Russia’s alleged ambitions for a recreation of the USSR have to be “contained,” and neighboring countries have to armed and ready to repel that expansion. There you have the lapdogs, the Baltic countries, with shameless and historically backward Poland in the lead, playing the same role neighbors played in the war against VN.

Forty years later we have come full circle, with the only difference we can see the game of the empire of terror, and we can predict its criminal intentions. As with the Vietnamese, the people of Donbass were underestimated by the neo-Nazi junta, and look at the results. “Humility makes them haughty,” says old and wise Sun Tzu (Art of War).

In the 40th anniversary of the US defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese people, we certainly hope that Ukraine doesn’t have to walk the same inferno the Vietnamese suffered, which will be a thousand times worse, given the high lethal qualities of much modern and advanced weaponry. That is our most fervent wish.

Nothing is More Precious than Independence and Freedom

Hồ Chí Minh

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 30, 2015 4:15:17 AM | 36

@rufus magister@32

Lone Wolf at 30 -- I see you've done your homework. Go to the head of the class.

Magister dixit! :-)

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 30, 2015 4:22:00 AM | 37

@Lone Wolf #36:

the people of Donbass were underestimated by the neo-Nazi junta

At this point, I think it's safe to call the people of Donbass simply Russians. The farcical Western imperialist project to turn Ukraine into a nation has run aground. The "people of Donbass" want their lands to rejoin Russia, as the Crimea did. As has been gone over repeatedly here, the reason Russia is not accepting their overtures is that it doesn't want to alienate Germany.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 30, 2015 4:34:24 AM | 38

"But only the successful industrialization in the 1930s enabled the Soviet Union to withstand the German onslaught in the following decade. Without Stalin's foresight and brutal industrialization the Soviet Union would not have been able to later out-produce the well industrialized Germany in weapons and ammunition. It would have lost the war against the Nazis. Even as it won the war it cost the Soviet Union about five times the casualties of the 1930s famine.

But the fact that the Soviet Union did not lose that war against Nazi-Germany may be the real reason why today's Ukrainian "nationalists" are sad about the issue."

Exactly. By some coincidence, on 22 June 1941 the USSR had the capacity to build ~30,000 tanks, 40,000 combat aircraft, 100,000 artillery pieces, and 150,000 trucks a year. And that capacity came in very handy, enabling the Slavs (Poles and Ukrainians very much included) survive the war of racial extermination Hitler brought to them.

"All this garbage we are seeing is nothing less that the reversal of the entire history of the Second World War - and it is being reversed because it is so useful to those who have their boots on our necks (and our paychecks in their pockets) to try and reduce the history of the Soviet Union to the most awful thing ever - even at the risk of rehabilitating Hitler."

That's just the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite and Punditocracy returning to form. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was not the limp-wristed caricature of what now passes for history. He was an extraordinarily strong-willed man determined on (and I quote) "Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against Communism." He was a Russophobic Cold-Warrior, just like those who have warned against 'appeasing' the Russians from that day to this, repeatedly going against the advice of his military advisors that only a British-French-Soviet alliance, offered by the USSR on 17 April 1939, could deter Hitler from war.

Posted by: rkka | Apr 30, 2015 5:56:40 AM | 39

LW at 37 -- Said of Aristotle, a medieval discussion stopper, says Wikipedia. I usually try to craft my remarks to promote discussion, not end it though.

It'll go to my head anyway, tx!

D at 35 -- I'd say that's rather thin evidence. His relations with the junta back home might be better evidence. FWIW, I like Novorossiyan for the Donbas myself.

rkka at 39 -- "The posting in my hand means facts in our time." New poster? Nice debut, welcome aboard.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 7:58:15 AM | 40


At this point, I think it's safe to call the people of Donbass simply Russians...

Well, it was always safe to call them Russians...until about a year ago. I use "people of Donbass" only to identify on who falls the aggression of the empire of terror at this point.

...As has been gone over repeatedly here, the reason Russia is not accepting their overtures is that it doesn't want to alienate Germany.

Soon enough, Putin is going to have to do La bitch Nuland act in reverse, say "Fuck the EU," and get the people of Donbass home. For all purposes, they have been cut off from the Kiev MoFo's.

BTW, thanks again for "White Tiger," got it a while ago, haven't had time to watch it in full, but the little I watched is promising, a true Russian WWII classic. I just got "Bitva za Sevastopol" (Battle for Sevastopol, 2015), which came out so recently there are no English subtitles yet. Have you seen it?

BATTLE FOR SEVASTOPOL International Trailer (2015)

Bitva za Sevastopol (2015)

There is a ton of movies coming out with the 70th anniversary of the Nazi defeat, so many I can put my hands in all of them.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 30, 2015 8:18:25 AM | 41

CORRECTION many I can put my hands in all of them. many I CANNOT put my hands in all of them.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 30, 2015 8:22:27 AM | 42


First, the early 1930s famine took place in...the early 1930s. The key is that up to that point, for a century or more, famines have been a fairly regular feature of Russian agriculture. Or, put differently, the various agricultural reform programmes under the czars failed to make the sector perform anything like efficiently (somewhat by design - the programmes were generally written to benefit the landowning class at the expense of the peasants).

In other words, it's not that - Russian agriculture was fine, then collectivization, then famine. It's - the agricultural question, and famines, have been very prominent in the Russian economy for a long time. Many different approaches were tried. Did the Bolshevik government drop the ball on execution? Absolutely. But "something" had to be done, and the previous round of (failed) reforms was liberalization - so they swung the pendulum back. [In point of fact, the centralization of state economic power in the 1930s would arguably not have happened had the market-based approach of the 1920s - the NEP - worked. Instead, the economy stagnated, at least relative to pre-WW1 levels. The rest is history.]

Second, Ukraine specifically has been pushing a whole mess of revisionist history since pretty much the early 1990s. In other words, for about twenty five years. This includes "genocide by starvation", "heroic Nazi collaborators", "proto-Ukrainians" (apparently the ancestors of all Europeans or some such), and so on. The elite, back in the 1990s, decided that to justify their existence (and looting), they needed a new nationalist ideology - so they basically made one up.

The point is, none of this is new. What is new is that, finally, the resistance to it is not implicit - grumbling at "what they teach kids at schools these days" - but explicit - throwing out the old textbooks entirely. Obviously, the Times fulfills a propaganda role here. Bit it's important to understand that even this debate, "genocide or simply famine", is more than two decades old, and has been one of the critical flashpoints in that society through all that time. [In point of fact, had the Kiev government decided to deal with Donetsk rather than try and suppress it militarily a year ago, not only would there not be a civil war, most likely, but Donetsk parents would still be grumbling about "new-age" history books at schools - but not doing very much besides grumbling.]

Also, too, reading the Times today is much like reading the Hearst papers (and there were many) in the 1950s. Often entertaining, never enlightening.

Posted by: Safety_First | Apr 30, 2015 9:28:43 AM | 43

@Demian #34
Your complaint about terminology is somewhat weak since both leaders named by rufus magister were, in fact, leaders of the Soviet Union.
Yes, one was the individual in charge who precipitated/allowed the Soviet Union to disintegrate, but Gorbachev was nonetheless still the leader of the Soviet Union as well as being Russian. However, my reading of what he wrote was in reference to the differences between Stalin and Krushchev (both Soviet Union) as well as Chernenko vs. Gorbachev (also both Soviet Union).

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Apr 30, 2015 10:58:17 AM | 44

LW @ 36: Excellent analogy, very apt.

Nice read, all.

rgiap, nice to see you post.

Posted by: ben | Apr 30, 2015 10:59:30 AM | 45

lone wolf and others.. thanks for your posts.. some very good commentary especially @36..

Posted by: james | Apr 30, 2015 11:09:35 AM | 46

Hitler is rehabbed by our actions,which mimic him.
The NYlying Times is losing money as usual,maybe if we are lucky,they'll go bankrupt.And its not entertaining,unless you are LGBT,into fashion or Zionist.
Russian spacecraft spinning out of control!sheesh.We aint even got spacecraft.
And the Graun tells us the worst painter in history(no,not Adolf!)Pollack,was a good cook.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 30, 2015 11:16:03 AM | 47

lonewolf #30 hoarding and destruction of crops by the kulaks, unforgivable in any country

Hoarding was the term the Soviets used to attack the Kulaks for a practice that is in widespread use throughout the world. It is nothing more than storing, for example, grain after a harvest and selling it later when prices are more favorable. US midwestern farmers organized themselves into grain co-ops which built silos to store grain for that purpose. In the Soviet anti-hoarding campaigns local storage facilities were banned. The Soviets built the largest grain silos in the world near urban centers. At harvest time this forced the entire year's crop to be transported, often hundreds of miles, in a short time. The silos were so large temperature control was impossible. That is why about 1/3 of each years crop was lost to spillage or spoilage. Terribly inefficient but loved by the central planning control freaks.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 30, 2015 12:03:08 PM | 48

Just want to say: Excellent post and comments. What makes MoA such a worthwhile site. (And what makes it so depressing to think about all the crap out in the MSM, which isn't going to change.)

Posted by: The Polemicist | Apr 30, 2015 12:13:22 PM | 49

@DEMIAN wrote:
'Can you provide a link or two describing this historical research? Web pages in Russian or German are fine.'

I can but not now bc too busy. Check back later, probably tomorrow and i'll provide links.

If i were you i'd make a clear distinction between present day Russia and the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Very different animals.

Take care.

Posted by: Luca K | Apr 30, 2015 12:34:32 PM | 50

TovioS @27

Marx himself had some pretty choice words about French peasants and their unwillingness to join urban workers in class struggle.

My mother gave me Das Capital to read when I was in high school (I don't know why, our house had books shelves on every wall and some stacked on the floor) My mother was an English teacher and a voracious reader. Anyway, I thought Das Capital was a great book and still do. But it didn't change my life. In college I read the Communist Manifesto, and cringed when I saw how little regard Marx had for farmers/peasants. He might have been the source for that quote from Lenin @6.

The book she gave me in high school that did change my life was The Adventures of David Grayson (1925), written in first person with a socialist perspective. My parents, and grandparents were part of various agrarian populist movements. When I was young I attended some of their meetings. My grandfather on my mother's side was a member of The Grange and helped set up the first Union Co-op in Garvin CO, OK. I spent my years farming belonging a Co-op in Wayne, OK.

Someone commented on the grain co-ops above, they were very important for us, as noted, they stored out grain for better prices in the winter and for our own planting needs.

And I have to second-the-motion that this is one of the best threads we've had on MoA recently.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 30, 2015 1:29:57 PM | 51

#51 Ah ha, I might have guessed that your roots were in the Oklahoma socialists movement. I understand that Eugene Debs in 1912 did his best showing in his run for president there. My mother and her sibs and parents were active in the farmer-labor party in North Dakota in the 30s (too bad they became absorbed into the Democratic Party). Ancient history today but they are an important part of America's left wing history.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 30, 2015 3:08:18 PM | 52

#51 Marx's attitudes towards the peasants was most famously given in his "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte". Here is where he compared peasant communities to a "sack of potatoes" and hence could not be considered as having a class conscience. This essay most certainly influenced western communist attitudes towards farmers well into 20th century. As I mentioned above this attitude was not seriously challenged until Mao proved it wrong.

Posted by: ToivoS | Apr 30, 2015 3:43:37 PM | 53

Wow. How sickening. So Stalin was justified in killing millions because of industrialisation? And that was justified because he knew there would be a war with Germany even before Hitler came to power? Maybe Stalin had some plans of his own? What abot that for a reason? And finally: any student of the war knows that hundreds of thousands of conscripts had better things to do then defend the murderers of their families. That was a big factor in the German advances.
Does that not count? As much as I enjoy your usual posts this post was over the top. Even though I agree with the basic citique of the way the NYT frames history.

Posted by: Tom | Apr 30, 2015 5:06:38 PM | 54


"So Stalin was justified in killing millions because of industrialisation?"
"And that was justified because he knew there would be a war with Germany even before Hitler came to power?"

What the Soviet gvt knew is that Imperial Russia had been totally outmatched by Imperial Germany's secondary effort, and that there was this politician in Germany advocating a German drive for 'Living Space' to be taken at the expense of '...Russia and her vassal border states..."

"Maybe Stalin had some plans of his own?"

He did. He made an alliance with France and Czechoslovakia in 1935, that had Hitler stymied. Until Munich.

"And finally: any student of the war knows that hundreds of thousands of conscripts had better things to do then defend the murderers of their families. That was a big factor in the German advances."

Nope. In Baltics and Western Ukraine, which had nationalist uprisings in the Soviet rear areas soon after Op. Barbarossa started, the German advance was the slowest. It was fastest in Byelorussia, which had no nationalist uprising in the Soviet rear whatsoever. The rate of the German advance depended on how many Panzer Groups the Germans employed in each region. But no matter where they attacked, the Germans met resistance of a ferocity that was utterly unprecedented in their experience of the war up to that point, and suffered a casualty rate that had the German general staff deeply concerned from quite early on. So those conscripts fought the Germans harder than anyone else had to that point of the war.

Try again, but this time, go to the Clue Store and buy one. And ask 'em to 'SuperSize' it.

Posted by: rkka | Apr 30, 2015 6:22:48 PM | 55

Thank god we now know that Stalin was not a mass murderer. That is a load off my mind. Please now let's clear Mao of any taint of being a mass murderer. Pol Pot anyone?

Posted by: Bob Kavanagh | Apr 30, 2015 6:37:39 PM | 56

Yes a very good thread. Lots for me to learn about Stalin and the 1930s, seeming new voices, and a great and inspiring comparison @36. Happy Labor Day to all. You've all made mine.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 30, 2015 7:04:43 PM | 57


~700,000 executions certainly qualifies as mass murder on a historical scale.

He also exported grain in a time of dearth, to buy German and American factories. By some coincidence, 22 June 1941 found the USSR endowed with the industrial sinews of war such as no Tsar had ever dreamed.

Just the thing to prevent the success of Adolf's plan to exterminate the Slavic subhumans, Poles and Western Ukrainians very much included.

Posted by: rkka | Apr 30, 2015 7:08:49 PM | 58

Tom at 54 -- "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." All of the great intellectual and political traditions have blood on their hands. We need to rationally assess their achievements.

I take no pleasure in reporting this sad news. Widespread and often needless suffering and death are unfortunately are the currency that buys progress. This is typically the result of the resistance and obstruction of the old order.

Capitalist development came at the price of the impoverishment of peasants and workers, child and animal abuse, global war, and the industrialization of death. And yet Marx sang its praises, realizing the possibility of the end of scarcity could mark the "End of History." (I would amend that to "pre-history" myself, FWIW).

When faced with a revolutionary situation following 1918, Western capitalism created fascism to combat socialism. Where's the morality there?

What's America's body count? The original sin of the attempted genocide of the Native Americans, our assumption of the mantle of Cain by slavery, the mortal sins of bloody colonial wars in the Phillipines and elsewhere, premature death from unsafe work, housing and food, our coup-imposed dictatorships and death squads, drone strikes, and other minor atrocities too numerous to mention all add up.

Say what you will, Stalin was denounced shortly after his death and his methods criticized and renounced, never to return. We're hardly anywhere near coming to terms with our sordid past (wearing the "white hat" is a prophylaxis, you know). And we continue to add to our tally.

Back then, with the Reds to call us out on it, we hid it. Now we flaunt it as a token of our "resolve." This is another reason why I suggest above at 17 the Soviet and post-Soviet system was and is more healthy than our own. Is Baltimore, Feguson, and the militarization of the police indicative of a healthy society?

The modern left has the notion of a peaceful, communitarian world emerging as if from "Immaculate Conception." Consensus will be reached, few if any voices raised (and then only for a little po-mo buzzword "discourse"). The powerful losers now handed their first serious defeat accept it nobly and gracefully. I'm sure Rubio, Cruz and the rest of the Tea Baggers will be totally cool with that.

I continue to try to do what I can so that those millions -- Stalin's, Cromwell's, Napoleon's, Johnson's (Andrew & LB) -- will not have died in vain. If we blow the planet up, we've wasted it all. And if we do not lessen the grip of the dead hand of capital upon the planet and its very life, we'll cook it before we blow it up. Or more likely, roast it and then blow it up.

After a real buzzkill like that, one needs something both suitably serious and uplifting.

I've walked these streets in a carnival
Of sights to see....

Have I been blind? Have I been lost
Inside my self and my own mind
Hypnotized, mesmerized
By what my eyes have seen?

Hope that helps.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 8:02:46 PM | 59

rufus magister @59,

Well said. Thanks.

Posted by: JerseyJeffersonian | Apr 30, 2015 8:16:37 PM | 60

@ rkka

Nor should it be forgot that the U.S./U.K. funded the equivalent of the FSA to fight with the Whites during the Civil War. It would certainly have been fresh in Soviet minds. During the interwar period, no trust existed between the principle nations. Not so different from today...

Posted by: chuckvw | Apr 30, 2015 8:40:54 PM | 61

@⇂ɔ #44:

Your comment makes no sense, because the issue that rufus raised was the capability of societies to reform. Clearly, the USSR was not capable of reform, because it just collapsed. Yet Russia lives on.

Многая лета (Mnogaya leta (Many years))

Curiously, YouTube took me into female trance after that. I think that shows how contemporary Russia is. The United States in contrast is basically stuck in its period of extermination of native Americans.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 30, 2015 10:08:06 PM | 62

JerseyJeff at 60 -- As we say in the Garden State, fuhgeddaboutit; it's what I do. Always nice to hear from you.

Demian at 34 -- I'll spare you lecture on the importance of periodization in historiography. But see en1c at 44.

en1c at 44 -- Thanks for the solid, man.

And back at you at 33 -- Would the New Deal have happened, without the pressure of the CIO and the Communists? They were a mass party in the 30's.

I had positive, progressive change in mind. The Reagan Revolution might be best viewed as analgous to the Brezhnev's "era of stagnation" for the insidious long-term damage. Khrushchev was removed by what was a comparatively democratic process -- he was voted out by the Central Committee majority. Is it more or less elite than the Congress? Good question.

And there are of course limits to democratic processes. After the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazis were careful to formally acquire and extend their power via constitutional means. Again, not a positive change.

Gorbachev was part of a generation -- movement would be too strong a word -- that had been inspired by Khrushchev.

And of course, million-dollar-moneyball politics is only the most recent thing to cast doubt on the legitimacy of our own democratic credentials. One dollar, one vote.

bob k at 56 -- I can't speak to Mao, but Pol Pot was a lunatic. His anti-modern rural peasant utopia bore no relation to socialism, and his rise is often attributed the to immense social and physical damage wrought upon neutral Cambodia by our bombing.

And do you know who objected when the Vietnamese drove him from power? The United States.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 10:33:10 PM | 63

D at 62, 44

"The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore." No, really!? How did I miss that?! Cuz I'm confused, since Putin speaks highly of the Union, and he's supposed to be Stalin, you know? And from this, it looks like we're Back in the USSR. You don't know how lucky you are, comrades.

But seriously, can you imagine our leadership even broaching reforms that could lead to their loss of power? Bruce Lincoln, I believe it was, in essay appended to one of his Imperial biographies identified the problem of reform (again, I'll likely stumble across it). When it becomes painfully obvious, at last, that major reforms are needed, once you start the process, it can lead in unwelcome directions (see the reaction to the Tsar Liberator, Alexander II). How do you manage it so you stay in power? Various Tsars and other leaders faced this, with varying degrees of success.

Gorbachev's willingness to try should not be conflated with his inability to succeed. And I don't think the Union fell -- like Humpty Dumpty, it was pushed.

Every day America's tab continues to run up, the interest on the payback will be accrued. What's the rate on that note? Who will be our Khrushchev or Gorbachev and try and pay it off? Clinton is no Catherine the Great, but she could turn out to be Anna; all the Rethuglicans look like Stolypin to me.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 11:17:22 PM | 64

Thanks Demian, that's quite true which is why I mentioned Nazi propaganda making a comeback.

The myth of American Exceptionalism relies entirely on making the Soviet Union the equal of Nazi Germany and it is an utter historical fabrication. The far-right tries to extend the Stalin-era to be the entirety of Soviet history, which it most certainly wasn't. It would be akin to trying to make Japanese Internment (a policy on par with Stalin's relocations) out to being the entirety of US history. Yet you could hear, in the 1980s, people screaming not just that the Soviet Union was somehow like Nazi Germany, but even allowed the same foolish hyperbole for such vaguely-Soviet influenced countries like Nicaragua

The Soviet Union, like the American Revolution, was a work in progress. And it showed quite an astonishing ability to re-invent itself, from de-Stalinization to Perestroika, indeed to (one could argue) its peaceful dissolution. This is arguably a more credible display of change than the 100 years it took the United States to undo slavery (and the other hundred to undo Jim Crow) or America's still unsolved issues regarding its native population. But just as the core ideals of the American Revolution have lead it to reform itself in many remarkable ways, so I think we must know that the core ideals of the Russian Revolution would have put it on the path to righting its basic injustices and achieving great things. As indeed is happening in many countries that still, to some degree or another follow its example in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. But unfortunately the US-led Cold War counter-revolution has succeeded in ways rarely seen in this world history.

Those who say, as "Luka K" (who, I'd suggest reading his past, far-right screeds here on MoA) does, that "The USSR is a different animal that todays' Russia" needs to understand that Russia today, despite the Malthusian horrors of the 1990s reforms, is what it is because of the Soviet experience. Russia still maintains many aspects of Soviet life, from relatively generous pensions, to high-levels of home security, to universal healthcare, to a strong Communist Party.

It's interesting to note as well that in many of the countries of Eastern Europe - aside from those outlawing - nazi-style - the Communist Parties (Ukraine being the latest) - these parties receive substantial support, often remaining in power after the transition to western-style campaigning or being among the top parties. Hardly a "repudiation" of "totalitarian evil empires". Even in East Germany, where we are regaled with the "horrors" of the Stasi, the party that emerged from the East German ruling party receives upwards of 30% of the vote!

The fact is that much of the turn by these governments to security-heavy social regimes are because of the pressure by the United States and the Western countries. The fact that the United States immediately turned to former Nazis to staff the highest level of German intelligence - people responsible for the deaths of millions of Soviet citizens - should leave no doubt as to how the Soviets perceived the threats to their security. They were not about to let what happened twice in the 20th century happen again. And the vast majority of Soviet Citizens - certainly more understandable, if no less tragic, that US citizens who accept the scrapping of civil liberties because of "terra-ism" - we're okay with that type of social contract.

Sadly, they did let what had happened twice in the 20th Century happen a third time by letting their guard down, such was the drastic "reforms" that lead to the deaths of millions which, if we go with the NYTimes construction of the Ukraine famine, we might as well call a genocide of the Russian people. Though I'm quite sure that, unlike the Ukraine Famine, there WERE people among top US policy maker who knew the deaths of millions through these Malthusian "reforms" was in the cards.

A twist on that is Belarus, a country that never allowed itself to descend into neo-liberal hell and has still managed economic performance on the level of both Russia and western-sponsored states such as those in the Baltics. So what happened in Russia didn't have to happen. Sadly, it happened because of Yeltsin's taking over, in 1993, as a virtual dictator and destroying western-style democracy in Russia in its infancy.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 30, 2015 11:17:22 PM | 65

I'm certainly mystified how the USA, a country that maintains to this day a barabric prison system far larger than the GULAG work camps, can possibly make a peep about any prison policy in the USSR.

Then I realize that the hypocrisy of American racism makes that imprisoning of Blacks in large numbers "okay". Just as the sickness of American racism makes us wail and moan and cry foul about tanks rolling into rebellious Prauge in 1968, while our own genocide of 300,000 peasants in Guatemala (one of our many crimes in one of the countries we attacked in Central America) doesn't get even a second thought for most US citizens.

The United States establishment is a mighty juggernaut of militarism and hypocrisy and little else.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 30, 2015 11:24:45 PM | 66

g77 at 65 -- Like the lady says, "Very Nice." I'm going to run out red stars at this pace. Seen those stats on Germany before, very interesting.

Posted by: rufus magister | Apr 30, 2015 11:29:39 PM | 67


Fortunately, the artillery strikes, flashed through yesterday in Gorlovka and Donetsk suburbs, had subsided and achieved nothing. Today passed in status quo.

The representative of Donetsk Ministry of defense, Eduard Basurin, brought to light
one incident in area of Peski.

“About 5 a.m., in direction of Peski, our reconnaissance registered a short fight on positions of Ukrainian forces. As our reconnaissance reported, a special military unit of unknown origin took by storm a platoon base controlled by a nationalist battalion”, commented Basurin.

(the mechanics of relation between the Ukrainian military and the nationalists is far from settled indeed).

Posted by: Fete | Apr 30, 2015 11:29:59 PM | 68

To those (Tom) who want to get self-righteous and act as though we're excusing the darker parts of Soviet history, that's plain b.s. I don't excuse it any more than the Soviet's themselves did. The effort of de-Stalinization was an excellent thing, on par with the successes of any progressive political advance the United States has made.

But the fact is that it is ridiculous for Americans to try and poke around the closets of others for skeletons, when we can't barely close the doors of our own, so piled in are the corpses. That is a complete national pathology. The USA has a long, dark history all its own and that should certainly be first on the minds of Americans. It does no good to try and focus on the crimes of others when your own trial is on the docket.

My fear these days, as I watch the rest of the world pick itself up and dust itself off from a century of imperialism or (as in those states who had to defend themselves from imperialism) tight security state rule as in the USSR and China - we in the United States are surely being left behind as we cling to our phony past and mangled history with nothing more than our military prowess.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 30, 2015 11:39:21 PM | 69

Thank you Rufus. Here's a nice 2009 German election map showing the votes earned by the leftist Die Linke party.

And thank you Fete, for posting the details from the frontlines, lest anyone in the West forgets what all of our government's coddling of nazism and its offshoots means for real people today.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 30, 2015 11:48:32 PM | 70


' But the fact is that it is ridiculous for Americans to try and poke around the closets of others for skeletons ... The USA has a long, dark history all its own ... '

Right this minute the odds are good the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is dishing out his Hellfire somewhere ... god only knows to whom, certainly not the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate himself. The only possible reason being to spread terror, and to keep the merchants of death rolling in the dough, looking at the the facts and history for his drone assassination program.

Every death in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen, and Iraq redux has his fingerprints all over it. This is not history, this is right now! As pointed out @70.

The history ... start after WW II, just in my lifetime, although the killing started in Jamestown ... has got to be well over ten million since the end of the war ... 5 million in Korea, 3 million in Vietnam, 1 million in Cambodia, 1 million - at least - in Iraq ... and how many others?

I think Stalin was a monster, but the USSR survived in spite of him. I liked Burnt by the Sun (1994) very much, which shows at least three different views of the 1930s in the Soviet Union. It's pretty clear that he is not viewed as a hero by the Russian people, although they certainly are proud of themselves for what they did accomplish against all odds throughout the entire lifetime of the Soviet regime.

I suppose there are people in the USA who still regard the Dulles brothers as heroes. We haven't yet renamed the airport. Teddy Roosevelt is still on Mount Rushmore. Americans still look back with nostalgia at the 'gentile country life' in the Old South and watch Gone with the Wind. And in fact there is nothing to be proud of 'in spite of' those characters during the time they held sway.

“My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that: namely, I can do something about it. So even if the US was responsible for 2% of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2% I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.”

— Noam Chomsky, cited by Glenn Greenwald

Not only do Americans fail even to denounce atrocities that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries ... we still celebrate them.

And the (attempted) rewriting of the history of the American War in Vietnam is being rewritten by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate even as we speak.

Posted by: jfl | May 1, 2015 1:35:17 AM | 71

g77 at 70 -- Thanks, I love maps. I went back to the electoral bureau's site, fun interactive maps, though all in German.

jfl at 71 -- Morality and history are like the law -- they only constrain the little people. As the Bush/Cheney reminded us, America is an empire and we make our own rules and reality. Us peons are expected not just to cope, but to be grateful for the condescension of our elite, the "best and brightest," as they like to think of themselves.

Best damn democracy money can buy, right? The Kochs are test driving the '16 models now.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 1, 2015 7:54:52 AM | 72

@Demian #62
I believe you are conflating the Soviet Union - which was Russia including its post World War II satellites - vs. the Soviet Union's structures and behavior as a government.
From my view, there were significant differences in the latter which indicate reform whereas the former was a structure. In simpler terms, reforms are rearranging the furniture and maybe throwing out/bringing in new stuff, while structure is the core framework.
The behavior of the US is no different: while we are theoretically governed by the same Constitution, we have gone from a balance between individual, States' and federal rights into a largely imperial/federal system.
The Soviet Union collapsed because the cost (ongoing even just for Russia, I might add) of maintaining the structure in the satellite nations was simply too great and the need to do so was no longer felt to be worthwhile. I say this because the cost was always very high, but it can safely be said that the cost is much lower than it used to be, if for no other reason than the subsidies to a few of the satellites have ended, and the sheer volume of subsidies to others has been significantly reduced.
Even before the collapse, however, there was all manner of change that occurred, with specific periods which I believe can accurately be described as reform.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 1, 2015 9:54:32 AM | 73

Recommended reading: Robert C. Allen, Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution (2003). See review here. Certainly germane to the above discussion.

Any recommended reading regarding the 1930's era "Stalin" famines in the USSR?

Posted by: Martin Finnucane | May 1, 2015 10:58:36 AM | 74

@rufus magister #63
With regards to FDR and the New Deal, and the CIO/Communists:
I am in complete agreement with your statement. The genius of FDR isn't in the hagiographical adulation of the President who was in charge of the US recovery from the Great Depression nor who was at the helm for the Allied victory in World War II (the 2 events of which are intimately related), it was that he as a member of the 0.1% (Harvard and ex-Assistant Secretary of the Navy, for crying out loud).
It was that FDR recognized the middle and lower class crushing by the elite in the class war was creating a situation where a revolution could occur (not would). The New Deal was literally the least that could be done in order to defuse the situation, whatever the loons say.
As for Reagan, I would disagree that it was similar to Brezhnev's "era of stagnation", because the Reagan Revolution was a very active movement to deregulate the financial industry (as well as others like the airlines) at the specific behest of industry lobbyists. It was an explicit tying of economic benefits-to-be with proposed legislation - and it was this movement on the Republican side which forced the emergence of Clinton who led the Democrats into their version of the same.
The result is what we have today: one nation, under God(or actually, the President), with liberty and justice for the ultra wealthy.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | May 1, 2015 11:05:31 AM | 75

@rkka the famine was man made. To justify the death of millions of people is sickening no matter the line of argument. As to the clue store: I happen to know German as well as Russian and there is about a million Russians who served in the Wehrmacht. The socalled "Hilfswillige". And that quite apart from Vlasov formations. After a weeks Stalin realized that hundreds of thousand of soldiers were not willing to fight. From that he date he deployed NKVD formations to shoot retreating troops and also to force them to attack. The German occupation was so murderous though that it rekindled Russian patriotism.Also from 43 the churches were opened again and the orthodox church supported Stalin. That was a great facttor as well why moral improved. Apart from that: пошел ты на х#й. Apologists of Stalin sicken me no less than those of Hitler

Posted by: Tom | May 1, 2015 2:20:00 PM | 76

I note Marx mentioned several times in this thread, there is a great article about him at Postflaviana.

Karl Marx, Prussian government agent

by Wolfgang Waldner on January 22, 2015 in Conspiracy, History
The famous Socialist theorist was the brother-in-law of the Prussian Minister of the Interior, Ferdinand von Westphalen

It was and is no secret to those skilled in the study of political agents: even without the Prussian Minister of the Interior as his brother, Marx’s curriculum vitae would lead to this conclusion at first glance. For a private citizen, Marx had a remarkable number of contacts with important contemporary political figures. Towards his fellow dissidents, Marx displayed a sustained commitment to personal hatred and self-righteousness. From the ruling circles, Marx was praised for his deeply thought-out critique of capitalism. Starting out his spying career as the closest friend of theologian Bruno Bauer, Marx suddenly became the editorial director of the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne, funded by the prime minister Ludolf Camphausen, who later promoted him to work in his ministry. Marx’s theories were directed against well-known targets among the early socialists. Marx and his cronies began by infiltrating Weitling’s Confederation of Craftsmen, and later undermined the First International. Spokesmen of the labor movement found his theories useless, and only Bismarck’s adoption of the Socialist Law allowed Marx to win influence over the social democracy. Upon his arrival in England, Karl Marx joined a partnership with David Urquhart, an agent of the British crown, and they became involved in agitation against Russia, which was threatening the global interests of the British...........

Posted by: mad1 | May 1, 2015 3:41:39 PM | 77


and there is about a million Russians who served in the Wehrmacht

According to Wikipedia there were 5,082 Hilfswillige (volunteers) who were mostly recruited from German prison of war camps housing Soviet soldiers. AND, they recruited them by starving them.

Posted by: okie farmer | May 1, 2015 4:24:01 PM | 78

@78 and the Germans considered them totally unreliable.

Posted by: dh | May 1, 2015 4:35:33 PM | 79

mad1 #77. Quotes an article from postflaviana. It is almost pure fabrication. The best liars usually include about 90% verifiable facts in their tales to establish some credibility. This Wolfgang character seems to invent everything out of nothing. Postflaviana seems to be a site dedicated to free mason conspiracy theories -- did you know that Holden Caulfield was one of their secret agents!? Maybe that explains one of our resident trolls?

Posted by: ToivoS | May 1, 2015 5:22:45 PM | 80

It pays to read wikipedia articles to the end. Here the quote: The Hiwis constituted one quarter of 6th Army's front-line strength, amounting to over 50,000 Russian auxiliaries serving with the Germans.[10]
Thta is 50 000 Russians fighting on the German side only at the battle of Stalingrad. Read it up in Anthny Beevors "Stalingrad". For more information read the memoirs of Vladimir Tendryakov. Great Soviet writer. Fought on Soviet side. Russian only. Maybe some Russian reads this. Highly recommended

Posted by: Tom | May 1, 2015 5:39:51 PM | 81

@81 Fighting? Carrying ammunition maybe.

Posted by: dh | May 1, 2015 5:55:17 PM | 82


Only 90%? You should read more.

Posted by: mad1 | May 1, 2015 5:55:27 PM | 83

Interesting poll results of East Germans re life under communism:

Today, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 57 percent, or an absolute majority, of eastern Germans defend the former East Germany. "The GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there," say 49 percent of those polled. Eight percent of eastern Germans flatly oppose all criticism of their former home and agree with the statement: "The GDR had, for the most part, good sides. Life there was happier and better than in reunified Germany today

Posted by: Nana2007 | May 1, 2015 7:10:22 PM | 84

Speaking of Stalin ... alive and wll and last sighted in Florida ...

The Parable of the Premature Osprey

Down in Florida, a state in eminent peril from rising sea levels, the state’s billionaire governor Rick Scott issued an executive diktat gagging state employees from mentioning the word’s climate change or global warming. The man who blew the whistle on Scott’s gag order was a long-time ecologist at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection named Bart Bibler. After Bibler breached Scott’s ludicrous injunction at a public meeting on coastal management issues, he was slapped with reprimand, suspended from his job and ordered to submit to a mental health evaluation. Apparently, Rick Scott has read his Stalin. But even Comrade Joe couldn’t stop the seas from rising.

Country Joe couldn't stop the wars from raging anymore than could Comrade Joe. But that didn't stop him from trying.

Now, somehow, we're all cheering for cheap oil and massive new gas fields to feed the Chinese industrial machine.

Here in Thailand, where the shines nearly everyday even in the monsoon season, the EGAT has just proposed 9 new coal burning generating plants.

Speaking not just for the human species ... Whoopee! We're all gonna die!

Posted by: jfl | May 1, 2015 7:38:24 PM | 85


"@rkka the famine was man made."

Is there something unclear about 'Stalin exported grain in a time of dearth to buy American and German factories'?

" To justify the death of millions of people is sickening no matter the line of argument. "

Great.  So under your benevolent rule, Poles & Ukrainians get the full Generalplan Ost treatment.  There wouldn't be any of 'em by now if you'd gotten your way.

"As to the clue store: I happen to know German as well as Russian and there is about a million Russians who served in the Wehrmacht. The socalled "Hilfswillige". "

Yup.  Recruited from the open-air barbed wire encampments the Germans left the Soviet troops they'd taken prisoner to die of starvation & exposure in.

"And that quite apart from Vlasov formations. "

Which numbered about 170,000.

"After a weeks Stalin realized that hundreds of thousand of soldiers were not willing to fight. From that he date he deployed NKVD formations to shoot retreating troops and also to force them to attack. The German occupation was so murderous though that it rekindled Russian patriotism.Also from 43 the churches were opened again and the orthodox church supported Stalin. That was a great facttor as well why moral improved. "

The German general staff disagree, and they were the ones adding up the butcher's bill for the merry 16-week jaunt to Archangelsk-Volodga-Astrakhan they expected and were deeply superised and distressed that they didn't get, mostly due to the ferocious resistance they got from those you falsely claim didn't fight.

Posted by: rkka | May 1, 2015 8:06:07 PM | 86

First, I overlooked something this morning. Fraternal greetings, comrades and fellow travellers, on this May Day. "The Internationale" might be a little cliche, but perhaps folks will find Viva la Quinta Brigada suitable, especially given our ongoing retrospective. Special shout-out to all you premature anti-fascists out there says Mrs. M. "Let us all remember them tonight."

An aside to Demian -- you might like this cut, Moore takes a poke at the old girl from Rome. Crowd likes it as much a I do.

TovioS at 80 -- I had a look myself at work. To sort out precise ratios would require far closer attention than the feverish screed deserved. But I'd say it was mostly innuendo and projection. Some facts.

Tom at 81 -- We all might recognize your volunteers more readily if you use the more typical term for them: collaborators. These auxiliaries were typically used behind the front to guard lines of communication and supply. Similar formations served the local police-SS commanders.

They were notorious for their brutality, which was such that it offended the Nazis. Sadly understandable, as the fascists used them for the dirtiest work of mass-murder. They were explicitly used to save (some) good Germans from the effects of such slaughter. Bad for morale and discipline.

I read Lower's Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine after things got hot in the Donbas and can recommend it to those who might be curious about what collaboration might entail. Hohne's Order of the Death's Head discusses in detail all of the various activities of the SS, including their relations with their local auxiliaries.

Wikipedia on foreign volunteers provides handy table of units and nationalities. So apparently the Third Republic and the Dutch monarchy would be about as evil as the Soviets, to judge from the no. of their citizens they drove into the arms of the fascists. The number of English might be higher, had they been occupied.

And incidentally, one can find Tendrya︡kov's Three, Seven, Ace & Other Stories used in good condition for as little as USD 7.00 on Amazon. "Three, Seven, Ace" " about an ordinary citizen's fear to speak up and save an innocent man from a murder conviction," says Wikipedia. Not an uncommon fear, really, so he might have a universal theme. It his best known novella.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 1, 2015 8:16:41 PM | 87

dh #82 The story of the Hiwis is one very sad tale. Most of them were Ukrainian peasant soldiers. When captured by the Nazi armies they chose to work as slaves rather than starve to death in Nazi POW camps reserved for red army prisoners. It is a a fact that over 2 million Soviet POWs died of starvation in those camps. One of Stalin's many crimes against his own people was to treat those hiwis as enemies of the Soviet state. They were victims and should have been treated as such. Solzhenitzyn has described this atrocity.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 1, 2015 8:19:23 PM | 88


My point was that not only the 'elite' but the average Jo(e) eats up the fake, sanitized history of the USA, and presently averts her eyes from the ongoing crimes du jour of the USA. Waiting for, even trying to force, the 'elite' to effect change is a fool's errand. It's us zombified cogs in the wheel who must effect change, first of all in our own inert status.

An exquisite exegesis of history on the part of enlightened academics - who understand that history and morality are for the little people and not the 'elite' - may suffice for the well-connected, but starting with the folks with the actual boots on the flesh and bone of their necks - not very far across the bay from the Delmarva peninsula at this point in time, from what I read - we must want more than an appreciation of the mechanisms of oppression.

As just another bozo on the bus it seems obvious to me that there's a way for us bozos to take power in our country - in our countries - and a way to keep our good humor with respect to one another and ourselves while doing so. When you're smilin' not only all of Thailand but the whole world smiles with you.

We need to accept that change is possible - not catastrophic in human terms, not even for the 'elite', although they will lose their Jones - and that we can effect it. One foot in front of the other ... forever on. In fact that's what we're doing now as zombified cogs on the wheel. The only difference we need to accept is our own power, responsibility, and agency.

Posted by: jfl | May 1, 2015 8:20:05 PM | 89

ps to 87 -- Note the list refers to the Waffen-SS; units under police or army command, which worked closely with the SS, would not be included. It's a convenient sample, not a comprehensive list.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 1, 2015 8:22:54 PM | 90

@87, 88. Allow me to recommend 'Europe Central' by William T. Vollmann. It has the best look into the mind of Andrey Vlasov and his so-called Russian Liberation Army that I've found anywhere. It is semi-fictional but contains impeccable references.

Posted by: dh | May 1, 2015 8:24:42 PM | 91

jfl at 89 -- I run Receiving in a large commercial printer nowadays, so I think I count as a working stiff. Plenty of the over-educated around toiling humbly, many as adjuncts (myself included; I still teach a one or two courses, as I enjoy it and the money never hurts).

I blame the sort of rah-rah blah-blah America history taught at most high schools. I typically fluctuate between petty-bourgeois anarchism and workerism as deviations from party orthodoxy. Zinn's work has been well publicized, perhaps with some good effect.

And so once we seize the bus, how do we keep it running and overhaul it at the same time, while getting seating a little more equitable?

Posted by: rufus magister | May 1, 2015 8:32:37 PM | 92


During last 24 hours the Ukrainian side fired 54 times at territory of Donetsk republic.

One combatant died; another one seriously wounded, Donetsk Republic’s Defense ministry informed.

Occurred under the fire were Gorlovka, settlements Shirokino, Spartak, Lozovoye, Lukovo, Zhobun’ki and Donetsk airport.

Posted by: Fete | May 2, 2015 12:47:33 AM | 93

okie farmer @51

Yeah, great thread. What you point out from experience is that farmers ('peasants') are naturally cooperative. They also understand the need for farmers/peoples banks. Understanding and compromise (socializing what you can but leaving families with inheritable private property) would've been a great but pretty innovative/complicated (hindsight is 20/20) approach for Stalin to take. Most socialists even today don't understand how complex and 'mixed' socialism needs to be when it confronts real life.

Posted by: fairleft | May 2, 2015 1:04:11 AM | 94

Fort Russ has this commentary, by NAF staff officer Alexander Matyushina a.k.a. "Varyag", from Novorosinform. Speaking of Poroshenko's recent attempt to bring the various militias under central control:

The UAF military tried to disarm the main base of the "Right Sector", in response the "Right Sector" has been put on alert. Yarosh said to a crowd of supporters that his men are ready to fight to the last bullet and attempt to be brought under the UAF. As a result, the UAF surrendered power. And now the "Right Sector" will be part of the UAF on terms favorable "Right Sector."

The oligarchic government in Kiev has once again lost to the Ukrainian nationalist movement, which is now epitomized no doubt by the "Right Sector". The coming to power of the National Socialist movement in Ukraine is becoming more distinct.

Unfortunately, this form will be even more hostile to the Russian state of Novorossiya and Greater Russia.

Posted by: rufus magister | May 2, 2015 1:18:25 AM | 95

oops, ref. for 95 National Socialist Rise to Power is Becoming More Distinct

Posted by: rufus magister | May 2, 2015 1:20:56 AM | 96

speaking of the usa and false ukraine history, how about a false viewpoint on the minsk agreements? dig matt lee's questions at the end of the video and harf's, halfhearted response, when while ignoring the history earlier in the video - is this an american specialty?
Harf: Pres Carter, Crimea & Minsk agreement. 30 April 2015

and carter's comment : Return of the Crimea to Russia was Inevitable

Posted by: james | May 2, 2015 1:29:17 AM | 97 is matt lee in another daily briefing with the press asking the sharp questions he is known for..
Rathke. Odessa Ban:“I hadn’t seen those reports.” 01 May 2015 ... righto...

Posted by: james | May 2, 2015 1:48:24 AM | 98

the state dept. propagandizes a false ukraine history in the present...

last one - the upcoming year anniversary of the odessa political murders another question and answer with matt lee coming in at the end to point out the obvious
Harf: Odessa & “the bigger picture in Ukraine”. 30 April 2015
note the comment section as well..

Posted by: james | May 2, 2015 2:01:39 AM | 99

james at 97-99. Lee is great, RT often has clips of his work. I especially like it when he takes on the blond assistant press officer, name escapees me. amd she quite gamely tries to keep up.

Let me add if I may on Odessa A test for humanity: the anniversary of Odessa tragedy. Resistance of course is the appropriate response (again, "from each according to their ability"), and this interview with a law student and activist provides an interesting look at the events.

jfl at 89

In retrospect, I might have been needlessly snarky at 92. In partial defense, I was pressed for time and had not seen your link to Country Joe's classic from Woodstock at 85 (nice post overall, BTW)

I get a little touchy about "elite" and "academic" at times. It's that damn workerism.

I went back to finish undergrad already pretty well read in the social historians and early Soviet history. My plan was to get a suitable credential to maybe make money from yakking about it. But my view of the degree of isolation of academia from capital was a little naive. It proved oddly more alienating in many ways than my wage-labor in counting rooms (so to speak).

Posted by: rufus magister | May 2, 2015 11:50:46 AM | 100

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