Wow that would sure be comedic if they did want that name, raw LOLs would issue from that surprising racism

swampman posted:

Wow that would sure be comedic if they did want that name, raw LOLs would issue from that surprising racism

that's fair, i apologize

I apologize for not having more transcribed by now. I guess we're all pretty sorry when you get down to it. Booho wheres the booze abuh *sob
I'm reading a collection of essays about the anti-Imperialist, Stalinist Left's failure in supporting the Syrian revolution and look forward to posting the review I'll write on it here. Reading this book makes me feel a bit like Dr. Furr
hi its me your hero dr furr, just dropping in to say hello to my number 1 teen fan club, glad to see you all like my book. happy to answer any questions but lets not make this wierd, ok.
hi doc furr, agree or disagree?

Thanks for the question, of course first I would ask what evidence you have that Herr Brecht said such a thing. Then I would draw attention to the meaning of such a statement being ambiguous as there are at least two completly different ways to interpret such a sentence without any supplementary context information to provide clarity.
Post more from the book please!
Where the fuclk is my crew sig. Ive been waiting years

Petrol posted:

Where the fuclk is my crew sig. Ive been waiting years

it was either that or "the Fair Dinkum Aidsfailians"
Aidsfailian has such a nice ring to it.
Is it really just us left now tho? We're almost as rare as women here now

tears posted:

Thanks for the question, of course first I would ask what evidence you have that Herr Brecht said such a thing. Then I would draw attention to the meaning of such a statement being ambiguous as there are at least two completly different ways to interpret such a sentence without any supplementary context information to provide clarity.

Well it is some cold shit to say to a troll, as evidenced by most of the search engine results for the quote being liberals and conservatives Hopping Mad over it.

While waiting for more book, furr also talks about it

Edited by xipe ()

thats a good talk

Furr, 6:15 posted:

parenthetically I had to learn polish and ukranian, at least on a reading level, in order to do the research nessesary for this book. I already knew russuan, german and french

damn son

still on the wait list for clown fukka boyz over here

Petrol posted:

Is it really just us left now tho? We're almost as rare as women here now

I'm here too, digger

okay then
^^llol, cool

bought Kruschev Lies and The Murder of Sergei Kirov today, but damn if ima pay >£300 for Blood Lies, thanks again swampman
i doxxed swampman

[account deactivated]
Chapter 3. Snyder, Chapter 1 - Appendix

In order to make the main text of this book a more readable narrative we have added Appendices to several of the chapters of this analysis. In these Appendices are presented direct quotations from Bloodlands together with our dissection and critique of the assertions Snyder makes in them.

We have examined and critiqued every fact-claim of an anti-Stalin or anti-Soviet tendency in Bloodlands. Those that are not studied and critiqued in the main chapters are covered in the Appendices. In addition, the full texts of some of the longer documents that are referred to in the body of each chapter are contained in the Appendices. This too improves the readability of the main text while still making additional important documentation available to scholars or whoever wants it.

Each such section or "unit" in the Appendices is comprised of the following elements:

* A quotation from Bloodlands where the Soviet Union or a pro-Soviet force is accused of some "crime," misdeed, etc. These quotations contain some assertion or "fact-claim."
* The text of the footnotes, which constitute the evidence or "proof" of Snyder's fact-claims;
* Our study and analysis of the evidence in the footnotes;
* Our conclusion as to whether Snyder's fact-claims have been verified or - as almost always is the case - proven to be fraudulent.

Whenever possible we have provided each unit with a title in boldface. These titles are intended only for shorthand reference. They do not fully reflect the contents of the paragraph of Snyder's text that is analyzed in the unit below.

Unlike the main body of the book these Appendices do not constitute a flowing narrative. Some readers will content themselves to studying our critique of Snyder's principle allegations, which is contained in other chapters. Others will want to go further and study our critique of some or all of the anti-Soviet allegations Snyder makes in the book but that are not examined in the texts of the chapters themselves.

The Starving Children

Snyder (22-23) gives some anecdotal accounts of famine-stricken children. A number might be true but are not recorded in any of the sources Snyder cites.

Starving peasants begged along the breadlines, asking for crumbs. In one town, a fifteen-year-old girl begged her way to the front of the line, only to be beaten to death by the shopkeeper. The housewives making the queues had to watch as peasant women starved to death on the side-walks. A girl walking to and from school each day say the dying in the morning and the dead in the afternoon. One young communist called the peasant children he saw "living skeletons." A party member in industrial Stalino was distressed by the corpses of the starved he found at his back door. Couples strolling in parks could not miss the signs forbidding the digging of graves. Doctors and nurses were forbidden from treating (or feeding) the starving who reached their hospitals. The city police seized famished urchins from city streets to get them out of sight. In Soviet Ukrainian cities policemen apprehended several hundred children a day; one day in early 1933, the Kharkiv police had a quota of two thousand to fill. About twenty thousand children awaited death in the barracks of Kharkiv at any given time. The children pleaded with police to be allowed, at least, to starve in the open air: "Let me die in peace, I don't want to die in the death barracks." (22-23)


* "Quotations: Falk, Sowjetische Städte, 299, see also 297-301";
* Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 157, 160.
* "On the schoolgirl and the hospitals, see Davies, Years, 160, 220. See also Kuromiya, Freedom and Terror, 171, 184."

Snyder's claim in this paragraph that "about twenty thousand children awaited death in the barracks of Kharkiv at any given time" is not documented by any of the sources Snyder cites.

Falk, Sowjetische Städte, 299 contains a quotation, in German translation, from the report of a Komsomol activist to the Khar'kov city Soviet on July 4, 1933, describing peasant children coming into Khar'kov: "Wenn man auf die Kinder schaut, sieht man lebendige Skelette..." (When one looks at the children one sees living skeletons...").

Kuśnierz, 157: The quotation "Let me die in peace, I don't want to die in the death barracks" is here. Snyder states that it was the "about twenty thousand children" "in the barracks of Kharkiv" who made this "plea." This is false. According to Kuśnierz, Snyder's source, it was the homeless children in the streets who said this to policemen. What's more, the source of this is the Italian consul in Kharkov - in other words, a fascist, hardly a reliable source.

Kuśnierz, 156 (not 157), citing a Ukrainian nationalist source, says that 27,454 homeless children were "rounded up" in the whole Kharkov oblast' by May 28, 1933. It does not say that all, or indeed any, of these children were in "the barracks of Kharkiv" or "awaiting death," as Snyder claims. Evidence cited below shows that children were given special priority for emergency food supplies, and that the Soviet Politburo - "Stalin" - issued some of these orders.

Kuśnierz notes (p. 156, n. 277) that "according to other data" 6378 children had been taken from the streets of Khar'kov by the end of May, 1933. This figure is contained in Kuśnierz's source, Document 233 of Голод 1932-1933 рокiв. This document appears to reflect attempts by the Khar'kov city authorities to aid homeless children. Snyder has fabricated the claim that the purpose was "to get them {the homeless children} out of sight." It is not in his source.

Kuśnierz, 160: "The schoolgirl" story is here, not in Davies, Years. Kuśnierz quotes it in Polish translation from the collection published by the U.S. Congress in 1990, "Oral History Project of the Commission on the Ukraine Famine, p. 1588." (Page 1588 is in volume 3 of this work.) Kuśnierz errs in copying her name, calling her "Olga Lodyga." In reality she identified herself as Ol'ga Odlyga, née Antonova. In the Ukrainian-language interview Odlyga refuses to testify that she saw policemen arresting starving people, despite leading questions by the Ukrainian-speaking interviewer.

Davies, Years, 160, 220, despite Snyder's claim, has nothing at all about "the schoolgirl and the hospitals."

However, on pages 221 ff. Davies and Wheatcroft outline Soviet efforts to help Ukrainian children:

Considerable efforts were made to supply grain to hungry children, irrespective of their parents' roles in society. The Vinnitsa decision of April 29, insisting that most grain should be distributed to those who were active in agriculture, also allocated grain specifically to crèches and children's institutes in the badly-hit districts. On May 20, the USSR Politburo {In Moscow, led by Stalin - GF} issued a grain loan to the Crimea specifically for children in need and aged invalids...

Snyder fails to inform his readers about these and similar efforts documents in Davies and Wheatcroft. This work is one of the most important studies of the 1932-33 famine (along with those by Mark Tauger) and firmly concludes that it was not "deliberate" in any way.

A similar resolution of February 22, 1933, by the Kiev Oblast' buro of the Ukrainian Communist Party to provide food relief to all those struck by famine, is reproduced in translation in the 1997 Library of Congress volume Revelations from the Russian Archives, ed. Diane P. Koenker and Ronald D. Bachman, as document 187 on pp. 417-418.

These works refute Snyder's entire hypothesis of a "deliberate famine." For if the Stalin regime wanted to deliberately starve Ukrainians, why would it take special measures to feed hungry children and aged invalids?

Kuromiya, Freedom and Terror, 171, 184: Page 171 relates the "fifteen year-old girl beaten to death by the shopkeeper" story. Snyder distorts the story by omitting the detail that the "storekeeper" was "communist," although the original version and Kuromiya, Snyder's source, include it. Why? Could it be because this detail - making the shopkeeper a "communist" - makes the whole story seem phony, sound like anticommunists "going overboard"?

But there is a more serious problem with this story. It is taken from The Black Deeds of the Kremlin, Volume 1, page 284. Its source is an unidentified person using the name "Mariupilsky" - the story is set in the town of Mariupil'. This book was published in the mid-1950s by Ukrainian émigrés in Canada who had collaborated with the Nazis and written hair-raising antisemitic propaganda to recruit other Ukrainians to the pro-Nazi forces. At least one identifiable Ukrainian fascist recounts a story in it. See the note to the book by Douglas Tottle in the previous chapter.

There's no reason to accept any of them as true. Eyewitness stories are notoriously unreliable as history under any circumstances. A volume of self-serving, largely anonymous stories by Nazi collaborators such as this one is even more unreliable as history. Moreover, the volume claims that there was plenty of food in Russian areas outside the Ukraine, an absurd statement that even fervent anticommunists do not make today.

This collection became known beyond the circles of Nazi collaborators only because Robert Conquest cited it many times in his 1986 book Harvest of Sorrow. Conquest was paid by the Ukrainian Nationalists to write this book. The work is never cited except by extreme anticommunists, such as Kuromiya. Moreover, Conquest has repudiated his original accusation that the famine is deliberate, as we discuss below.

Kuromiya, Freedom and Terror, 184, does not document anything at all in Snyder's paragraph.

Conclusion: Many of Snyder's claims in this paragraph are not in the sources he cites:
* the "city housewives making the queues";
* the "party member in Stalino";
* the allegation that doctors and nurses were forbidden to treat the starving;
* the quota that the Khar'kiv police supposedly had;
* the story of the "about 20,000 children" in the "death barracks";

- none are documented. But even if they were true none of these stories would be evidence for Snyder's insistence that the famine was either caused by collectivization or constituted the "deliberate starvation of Ukrainians."

Snyder "Begs the Question" of the Famine (Assumes What He Needs To Prove)


The mass starvation of 1933 was the result of Stalin's first Five-Year Plan, implemented between 1928 and 1932. In those years, Stalin had taken control of the heights of the communist party, forced through a policy of industrialization and collectivization, and emerged as the frightful father of a beaten population. He had transformed the market into the plan, farmers into slaves, and the wastes of Siberia and Kazakhstan into a chain of concentration camps. His policies had killed tens of thousands by execution, hundreds of thousands by exhaustion, and put millions at risk of starvation.... (24-25. Emphasis added)

n. 8. For a sophisticated guide to the meanings of the Plan, see Harrison, Soviet Planning, 1-5.

Snyder cites no evidence whatsoever to support this paragraph of invective. We have dealt, or are dealing, with the falsehoods in boldface. In reality, like all previous famines in Russian and Ukrainian history this famine too had environmental, not human, causes.

Harrison, Soviet Planning, 1-5, is a very brief introduction to what Harrison sees as the tensions between balance and "voluntarism" within Soviet economic planning in the early 1930s, concluding that "there was a sense in which they {these two tendencies} needed each other." It contains nothing - no evidence, or even reference - to Snyder's claims of "frightful father," "beaten population," peasants as "slaves," or "concentration camps." It does not even support Snyder's claim that collectivization caused the famine.

The Lie of "Slave Labor"

One hallmark of anticommunist bias and falsification is to call Soviet collective farmers or labor camp prisoners "slaves." The penal systems of the United States today, and many other countries, employ the labor of prisoners. This is never called "slave labor." The proper term used for prisoners' labor in all capitalist countries is "penal labor." Peasants on collective farms (kolkhozes) and Soviet farms (sovkhozes) had nothing in common with the institution of "slavery," any more than they did with serfdom. Neither did prisoners in the Soviet GULAG.

A writer who uses that term is making no attempt to be accurate and so is likely to be untruthful about other matters too. But the basic point to note here is that Snyder "assumes that which is to be proven." Instead of citing evidence that the Five-Year Plan and collectivization resulted in the famine, Snyder simply states it as a fact.

We have already shown that Mark Tauger, and Davies and Wheatcroft have established that the famine was not caused by collectivization but by environmental factors, like virtually all the numerous famines that preceded it. Quotations from these authors are in the main body of Chapter One of this book.

Was the Threat of Mass Starvation "Clear" to Stalin by June 1932?


The threat of mass starvation was utterly clear to Soviet Ukrainian authorities, and it became so to Stalin. ...That same day, 18 June 1932, Stalin himself admitted, privately, that there was "famine" in Soviet Ukraine. The previous day the Ukrainian party leadership had requested food aid. He did not grant it. His response was that all grain in Soviet Ukraine must be collected as planned. He and Kaganovich agreed that "it is imperative to export without fail immediately. (34-5)

n. 34 - On the reports of death by starvation, see Kuśnierz, 104-105. On Stalin, see Davies, Kaganovich Correspondence, 138. On the request for food aid, see Lih, Letters to Molotov, 230. On Kaganovich (23 June 1932), see Hunczak, Famine, 121.

Nothing in any of the sources cited by Snyder here gives any evidence that "the threat of mass starvation" "became clear to Stalin." On the contrary: these sources show that in mid-1932 the Soviet leadership was far from recognizing that a devastating famine was to come.

Kuśnierz, 104-105 contains several reports about starvation. These reports contain nothing about and are therefore irrelevant to charges of "man-made famine" and "deliberate starvation."

Davies, Kaganovich Correspondence, 138: In this letter of Stalin's of June 18 1932 (p. 179 of the Russian edition) Stalin explains to Kaganovich his conclusion that the starvation that does exist in the Ukraine is the result of improper accounting by the grain-collection teams, who instead of accounting for differences have been taking the same from everyone: (cyrillic) Translated:

The mechanical equalizing approach to the matter has resulted in glaring absurdities, so that a number of fertile districts in the Ukraine, despite a fairly good harvest, have found themselves in a state of impoverishment and famine, while the regional party committee in the Urals has deprived itself of the capacity to use the districts with good crops in the region to assist regions with bad harvests.

Five days later, on June 23, 1932, Kaganovich wrote to Stalin that, in his opinion, the quantity of grain for the 3rd quarter of 1932 must be "somewhat" reduced. Snyder does not mention this. (cyrillic) Translated:

On July 10 1932 the PB {Politburo} decided to lower the indicated amount of grain for export in the 3rd quarter and to establish it firmly on July 16....At the PB session of July 16 the export of grain for the 3rd quarter was set at 31.5 million poods (excluding legumes), 20 million poods as a guarantee {i.e. in reserve} and 10 million poods carried over, in total: 61.5 million poods. On October 20 1932 the PB adopted a decision to reduce the export from the 1932 harvest from 165 to 150 million tons.

Lih, "Letters to Molotov," is a translation from the Russian original, which we reproduce and discuss below.

3. Forced collectivization resulted in widespread famine.

Before proceeding we should note that this sentence, "Forced collectivization resulted in widespread famine," is an addition by the editors, who assume this rather than trying to prove it. As we have shown, neither Davies and Wheatcroft nor Tauger think this is true.

Lih's text continues:

On 17 June 1932, the Ukrainian Politburo sent Kaganovich and Molotov the following telegram:

On the instructions of our Central Committee, Chubar' has initiated a request to grant food assistance to Ukraine for districts experiencing a state of emergency. We urgently request additional means for processing sugar beets, and also supplemental aid: in addition to the 220,000, and other 600,000 pounds of bread.

In Stalin's view, Ukrainian crop failures were caused by enemy resistance and by poor leadership of Ukrainian officials. On 21 June 1932, the Central Committee sent a telegram, signed by Stalin and Molotov, to the Ukrainian Central Committee and Council of Commissars, proposing to ensure the collection of grain "at all costs." The telegram stated:

No manner of deviation - regarding either amounts or deadlines set for grain deliveries - can be permitted from the plan established for your region for collecting grain from collective and private farms or for delivering grain to state farms.

On 23 June 1932, in response to S. V. Kosior's telegram requesting aid, the Politburo passed the following resolution: "To restrict ourselves to the decisions already adopted by the Central Committee and not to approve the shipment of additional grain into Ukrains." (All quotations are from The 1932-1933 Ukrainian Famine in the Eyes of Historians and in the Language of Documents {In Ukrainian. Kiev, 1990}, 183, 186, 187, 190.

The original document reads as follows: (cyrillic)

The primary documents cited here are all in various editions of the book Snyder cites.

The June 23, 1932 telegram refusing "to approve the shipment of additional grain to Ukraine" is genuine. But note the word "additional." It implies that grain was already promised to the Ukraine.

This is indeed the case. The Ukrainian Politburo telegram of June 17, 1932 quoted in the Stalin-Molotov volume was preceded the previous day by the following decree of the Politburo of the All-Union Party - that is, by Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovich, et al.: (cyrillic) Translated:

No. 144. Decree of Politburo of the CC VCP(b) {= Central Committee of the All-Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), the formal name for the Party until October 1952} concerning foodstuff aid to the Ukrainian SSR of June 16, 1932 {the title is in Ukrainian; the text in Russian}:

a) To release to the Ukraine 2000 tons of oats for food needs from the unused seed reserves;

b) to release to the Ukraine 100,000 poods of corn for food of that released for sowing for the Odessa oblast' but not used for that purpose;

c) to release 70,000 poods of grain for collective farms in the sugar-beet regions of the Ukrainian SSR for food needs;

d) to release 230,000 poods of grain for collective farms in the sugar-beet regions of the Ukrainian SSR for food needs;

e) to require com. Chubar' to personally verify the fulfillment of the released grain for the sugar-beet Soviet and collective farms, that it be used strictly for this purpose;

f) to release 25,000 poods of grain for the sugar-beet Soviet farms of the Central Black Earth Region for food needs in connection with the gathering of the harvest, first requiring com. Vareikis to personally verify that the grain released is used for the assigned purpose;

g) by the present decision to consider the question of food aid to sugar-beet producing Soviet and collective farms closed.

So it is true that Stalin rejected the June 17 request of the Ukrainian Party's Politburo for more food aid. But what Snyder, as well as the editors of the Stalin-Molotov correspondence, did not disclose to their readers is that one day earlier, on June 16, Stalin et al. had ordered a very large quantity of food grains to the Ukraine.

It is crucial to Snyder's thesis to claim or imply that the Soviet government did not send food aid to the Ukraine. "Deliberate starvation of Ukraine", the "Holodomor", is incompatible with serious attempts by the Soviet state to alleviate the famine. But that is what happened.

Here is a passage from a 1991 article by Mark Tauger:

The harvest decline also decreased the regime's reserves of grain for export. This drop in reserves began with the drought-reduced 1931 harvest and subsequent procurements, which brought famine to the Volga region, Siberia, and other areas. Soviet leaders were forced to return procured grain to those areas in 1932. The low 1931 harvest and reallocations of grain to famine areas forced the regime to curtail grain exports from 5.2 million tons in 1931 to 1.73 million in 1932; the declined to 1.68 million in 1933. Grain exported in 1932 and 1933 could have fed many people and reduced the famine: The 354,000 tons exported during the first half of 1933, for example, could have provided nearly 2 million people with daily rations of 1 kilogram for six months. Yet these exports were less than half of the 750,000 tons exported in the first half of 1932. How Soviet leaders calculated the relative costs of lower exports and lower domestic food supplies remains uncertain, but available evidence indicates that further reductions or cessation of Soviet exports could have had serious consequences. Grain prices fell in world markets and turned the terms of trade against the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, its indebtedness rose and its potential ability to pay declined, causing western bankers and officials to consider seizure of Soviet property abroad and denial of future credits in case of Soviet default. Failure to export thus would have threatened the fulfillment of its industrialization plans and, according to some observers, the stability of the regime.

While the leadership did not stop exports, they did try to alleviate the famine. A 25 February 1933 Central Committee decree allotted seed loans of 320,000 tons to Ukraine and 240,000 tons to the northern Caucasus. Seed loans were also made to the Lower Volga and may have been made to other regions as well. Kul'chyts'kyy cites Ukrainian party archives showing that total aid to Ukraine by April 1933 actually exceeded 560,000 tons, including more than 80,000 tons of food. Aid to Ukraine alone was 60 percent greater than the amount exported during the same period. Total aid to famine regions was more than double exports for the first half of 1933. It appears to have been another consequence of the low 1932 harvest that more aid was not provided: After the low 1931, 1934 and 1936 harvests procured grain was transferred back to peasants at the expense of exports.

The low 1932 harvest meant that the regime did not have sufficient grain for urban and rural food supplies, seed, and exports. The authorities curtailed all of these, but ultimately rural food supplies had last priority. The harsh 1932-1933 procurements only displaced the famine from urban areas, which would have suffered a similar scale of mortality without the grain the procurements provided (though, as noted above, urban mortality rates also rose in 1933). The severity and geographical extent of the famine, the sharp decline in exports in 1932-1933, seed requirements, and the chaos in the Soviet Union in these years, all lead to the conclusion that even a complete cessation of exports would not have been enough to prevent famine. This situation makes it difficult to accept the interpretation of the famine as the result of the 1932 grain procurements and a s conscious act of genocide. The harvest of 1932 essentially made a famine inevitable.

Mark Tauger, "The 1932 Harvest and the Famine of 1933." Slavic Review 50, 1 (Spring 1991), 88-89. Emphasis added

For our present purposes Tauger's heavily-documented account shows that:

1. The Soviet Politburo did provide a great deal of aid, both in seed grain and in food, to the Ukraine.

2. Stopping all exports would have seriously harmed, perhaps destroyed, Soviet foreign credit and either seriously delayed industrialization or caused it to fail altogether. In a footnote Tauger provides evidence from British archives that Soviet failure to meet its export obligations would have brought disaster: a refusal of future credits, seizure of Soviet assets abroad, and so, probably, the failure of the industrialization program.

But it was industrialization that, together with collectivization, broke the thousand-year cycle of famines in Russia. Industrialization was essential to prevent further famines, as well as to industrialization of other areas of the economy and the modernization of the military.

3. Tauger concludes that "even a complete cessation of exports would not have been enough to prevent famine." Davies and Wheatcroft outline the deepening crisis after the Spring of 1932, along with the extensive aid in both seed grain and food granted by the authorities to the affected areas, including to the Ukraine. They document how hunger weakened the farmers and led to late sowing and poor weeding, which further lessened the harvest. Armed with more accurate weather information they "conclude that the weather in 1932 was much more unfavourable than we had previously realized." (119) The state made advances to collective farmers in order to bring in the harvest (124-5). As we noted in the last chapter, the best research on the environmental causes of the famine is by Tauger.

The Soviet authorities greatly overestimated the crop that would be harvested in late 1932. But so did foreign experts, as Davies and Wheatcroft show (127). Hunger limited the strength of the harvest workers (128). Plant diseases were a serious problem. According to Davies and Wheatcroft:

During the harvest of 1932, the poor weather, the lack of autumn and spring ploughing, the shortage and poor quality of the seed, the poor cultivation of the crop and the delay in harvesting all combined to increase the incidence of fungal disease. Reports in the Narkomzem {=People's Commissariat for Agriculture} archives complain that traditional campaigns to disinfect the fields, the storehouses and the sacks for the harvested grain, were all carried out extremely badly in Ukraine. Cairns {the British expert whose overestimation of the 1932 harvest they cited earlier} found that in the North Caucasus 'the winter wheat was extremely weedy and looked as though it was badly rusted', and 'all the spring wheat I saw was simply rotten with rust'. (131)

Conclusion: In June 1932 the authorities were still looking forward to a good harvest. A few pages earlier, Davies and Wheatcroft quote the opinion of one of the foreign experts:

Andrew Cairns, the Scottish grain specialist, travelled extensively in the major grain regions in May and July {1932}, reporting very bad conditions, and dismissed the official estimate that the yield would be 7.8 tsentners as 'absurdly too high'. He nevertheless concluded in a cable: 'do not like to generalise about comparative size this and last years harvest tentatively of opinion this years appreciably larger stop.' (127)

Snyder conceals these facts from his readers. The result of his doing so is to suggest that the famine could have been averted through different policies but that Stalin and the Politburo refused to do so. This is false.

Snyder conceals the fact that Stalin et al. shipped large quantities of food grains to the Ukraine in June 1932. This fact alone is fatal to his "deliberate starvation" thesis: one does not ship food to those whom one wishes to starve.

"Stalin's First Commandment": Another Snyder Fabrication


Understanding this religiosity, party activists propagated what they called Stalin's First Commandment: the collective farm supplies first the state, and only then the people. As the peasants would have known, the First Commandment in its biblical form reads: "Thou shalt have no other God before me." (29)

Sources (n. 20, p. 464):

* "For the Stalinist "First Commandment," see Kulczycki, Hołodomor, 170.
* "See also Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 70."

Here Snyder seems to be trying to deliberately deceive his readers. For why was "the state" collecting produce from collective farms? Naturally, for the non-agricultural areas and for export. The workers in the cities and towns could not grow their own food. Contracts for export had been made a year earlier. In mid-1932 the fact that there was going to be a widespread famine was of course not known to anyone.

Kulczycki, Hołodomor, 170: (Ukrainian) Translated:

"The First Commandment"

The former seminarian Joseph Stalin sometimes uses phrases borrowed from the Bible. Thanks to the propaganda apparatus the expression "the First Commandment" gained great circulation. It was addressed to the peasants, and it meant that the collective farm should first settle with the state, and then divide the remaining crop on the basis of man-days among employees. The deficit of bread in the country was caused, as we have seen, by the supply required for the state.

Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 70: This is a phony citation. There is nothing in Kuśnierz's book about the "First Commandment" or the OGPU using religious language. On the contrary, Kuśnierz records the recollection that some kulaks dressed up as devils and informed superstitious peasants that entering the collective farm was a "pact with the devil" and that the OGPU arrested three of them and sentenced them to prison.

Conclusion: Snyder is untruthful here. Judging from the very sources he cites, the term "The First Commandment" was invented by Kul'chyts'kyy as a section heading. Kul'chyts'kyy does claim that somebody - either the Party propagandists or the peasants - called the grain collection plan by this name, but he cites no evidence that anybody used this term, much less that it was well known.

Snyder claims "that Stalin's own policy of collectivization could cause mass starvation was also clear." (35) His evidence (n. 35 p. 465):

* Cameron, "Hungry Steppe," chap. 2;
* Pianciola, "Collectivization Famine," 103-112;
* Mark, "Hungersnot," 119.

Chapter 2 of Cameron, "Hungry Steppe," a 2010 Yale Ph.D. dissertation, contains nothing that supports Snyder's claim that collectivization "could cause mass starvation," much less that this was "clear".

Pianciola, "The Collectivization Famine in Kazakhstan," was published in Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 25 (2001). It contains no evidence that collectivization "could cause mass starvation," much less of deliberate starvation.

Mark, "Hungersnot" does not appear in Snyder's bibliography. The following article is almost certainly the one meant: Rudolf A. Mark, Gerhard Simon, "Die Hungersnot in der Ukraine und anderen Regionen der UdSSR 1932 und 1933", Osteuropa 54 (2004), S. 5-12. This article is a long series of undocumented assertions reflecting the Ukrainian Nationalist viewpoint that Snyder also echoes. It contains no evidence to support its assertion, which is also Snyder's, that the famine was caused by collectivization, much less that this was predictable from the outset, as Snyder claims.

Davies & Wheatcroft discuss the Kazakhstan famine (322-326 and 408-9). This basic work is also cited by Cameron and Pianciola. They conclude that there was a "population deficit" by 1939 of "some 1.2 million." This is an estimate based on a projection of what the Kazakh population of Kazakhstan would have been if (1) its natural increase of 1926 had continued through to January 1939 - that is, if there had been no famines in 1928 and 1932-33; and (b) all Kazakhs had remained in Kazakhstan during this entire period. Davies and Wheatcroft cite evidence that large numbers of Kazakhs migrated to other regions in Kazakhstan, and to other regions and republics in search of a livelihood or simply seeking food, while others emigrated to China. (409) For these reasons we cannot know precisely how many Kazakhs died of famine - i.e. the surplus of deaths during the famine years.

None of these sources establish that collectivization was the "cause" of "mass starvation." Snyder is guilty of the logical fallacy of "begging the question" - asserting that which ought to be proven.

More False Citations; Stalins "Personal Politics"; "Starving Peasants on Tour"

Stalin, a master of personal politics, presented the Ukrainian famine in personal terms. His first impulse, and his lasting tendency, was the see the starvation of Ukrainian peasants as a betrayal by members of the Ukrainian communist party. He could not allow the possibility that his own policy of collectivization was to blame; the problem must be in the implementation, in the local leaders, anywhere but in the concept itself. As he pushed forward with his transformation in the first half of 1932 ... (35)

This paragraph is really Snyder's own imagination. Snyder declares that he has determined what Stalin "intended"; what Stalin's "first impulse" was; what Stalin "could not allow"; what "problems" he "saw." How can he possibly know these things? Therefore it is both nonsense, and a deception.

This passage concerns "the first half of 1932." As the discussion above has pointed out, the famine had not yet made itself clear in early 1932. At that time Stalin wrote that he believed the incipient hunger was the result of mismanagement.

Starving Ukrainian peasants, he complained, were leaving their home republic and demoralizing other Soviet citizens by their "whining." (35)

Sources (n. 36 p. 465):

* "Quotation: Davies, Kaganovich Correspondence, 138."
* ("On Stalin's predisposition to personalized politics"), Kulczycki, Hołodomor, 180; Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 152.

Travelling Peasants Were "Whining" - Just Not Starving

There are few factual statements that we can check, such as the statement about "whining." Davies, Kaganovich Correspondence, 138: The relevant part of Stalin's letter to Kaganovich of June 18, 1932 reads thus: (cyrillic) Translated:

The results of these mistakes can now be seen in the matter of sowing, especially in the Ukraine, in that several tens of thousands of Ukrainian collective farmers are still travelling all around the European part of the USSR and are degrading the collective farms for us by their complaints and whining.

So Snyder is correct that Stalin accused the kolkhozniks of "whining." But these peasants could not possibly have been starving, as Snyder claims, and he cites no evidence that they were. Train travel costs money, which starving people would spend on food, not travel. Likewise, moneyless starving people would not have the strength to travel "all over the European part of the USSR." They would need food to have the energy to travel anywhere.

If these farmers were not starving what were they doing? Most likely they were traveling to trade: either taking grain from the Ukraine to trade for other things - the harvest was bad in European Russia too - or taking money, or other goods, to trade for grain.

In normal times this activity was not immoral or illegal. But during a famine the price of food increases greatly. The Soviet government's efforts to distribute food according to need, rather than according to who had the money to buy it at inflated prices, stood in complete contradiction to permitting speculators to travel around buying and selling grain.

A capitalist approach to the famine would mean that, as usual, the well-off would eat and the poor would starve. The Bolsheviks needed to stop any trade in grain because that would destroy all attempts to ration grain, reserving grain only for those who could pay for it with money or goods.

Kulczycki, Hołodomor, 180 - This is a phony citation. There is nothing on this page about any "predisposition to personal politics," whatever that might mean, on Stalin's part. Stalin is not even mentioned on this page, or on the pages before and after it, 179 or 181.

Incidentally, this is a Polish translation of a Ukrainian-language book. What is the point of using it as a secondary source? It is very hard to find. Snyder cites Ukrainian-language works elsewhere, so why not here? Moreover, how could it contain any information about Stalin's "predispositions" that isn't available elsewhere? It is absurd to do what Snyder does - to write about Soviet history from Polish, Ukrainian, German, and English books and articles while failing to use Russian works.

From this and other indications in Bloodlands it appears that Snyder can read Polish well enough. Perhaps he reads Ukrainian too. Perhaps Snyder cannot read Russian, at least not well - or why wouldn't he use Russian primary and secondary sources for Soviet history, instead of Polish and even Ukrainian translations? Or perhaps Snyder has nationalist Polish and Ukrainian historians helping him, but not Russian scholars?

Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 152, is another phony citation. There is nothing about Stalin's supposed "predisposition to personalized politics" here. In fact Stalin's name does not occur on p. 152 of Kuśnierz's book. Stalin is briefly mentioned on page 148 (a report was sent to Stalin), and not again until page 174.

Did Molotov and Kaganovich Explain Starvation as "Laziness"?

Snyder claims that in July 1932 Molotov and Kaganovich

told Ukrainian comrades that talk of starvation was just an excuse for laziness on the part of peasants who did not wish to work and activists who did not wish to discipline them and requisition grain. (37)

His evidence (n. 40 p. 465): "... On talk of starvation as an excuse for laziness, see Šapoval, "Lügen" 136."

This is another phony citation. Šapoval, "Lügen" says nothing of the kind anywhere in this article, let alone on this specific page. The only statement even close is this:

Im Kreml war man davon überzeugt, daß der Getreidebeschaffungsplan realistisch sei und daß die Führer der Ukraine sich mit ihren Bitten lediglich das Leben erleichtern wollen.


In the Kremlin they were convinced that the plan for grain collection was realistic and the leaders of the Ukraine just wanted to make their lives easier by their requests.

Shapoval's note to this passage is not a reference to any evidence. Rather it is to yet another secondary source: an entire article by Shapoval himself: "III Konferentsia KP(b)U: Prolog tragedii goloda," in a hard-to-find collection of articles coedited by Shapoval and Vasil'ev in Kiev in 2001. I obtained the book (written party in Russian and partly in Ukrainian) and have studied the article. Evidently Snyder did not. Had he done so he would have - or, at any rate, should have - footnoted it instead of "Lügen..."

In any case, nothing in this article either corresponds to Snyder's claim of "talk of starvation as an excuse for laziness." As he has done many times in this book Snyder has falsely "documented" this fact-claim too with citations which do not, in fact, document it.

Were "Women Routinely Raped, Robbed of Food"?

Snyder asserts:

Women who lived alone were routinely raped at night under the pretext of grain confiscations - and their food was indeed taken from them after their bodies had been violated. This was the triumph of Stalin's law and Stalin's state. (39-40)

Source (n. 48 p. 465): "...On the party activists' abuses, see Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 144-145, 118-119; and Kuromiya, Freedom and Terror, 170-171."

Kuśnierz, 144-145: the relevant sentences are as follows: (Ukrainian) Translated:

There were also examples of rapes of women. Members of the Committee on grain collection in Wesianyki village (koziatyńsky rayon) after alcoholic libations in a peasant's house in turn raped his daughter, and later one of them for about half an hour held the naked girl in the cold.

Kuśnierz mentions this example at page 145. This was a crime, and Kuśnierz cites an archival document. It would be useful to know what kind of document this is. It might be a record of a Party report or even of a prosecution of the offender.

Rape - which is undoubtedly among the most deplorable forms of victimization - occurs in a variety of settings and conditions and is not unique to those discussed in the present narrative. No doubt that the alleged intoxication of male authorities might exacerbate these conditions as well. As such, the question of whether these crime was punished is an important one. Source criticism is fundamental part of the historical method, but Kuśnierz makes no attempt to describe, much less to analyze, this archival source.

On page 117-118 (not 118-119) Kuśnierz writes: (Ukrainian) Translated:

During grain collection in 1932 in the village of Surśko-Mychajliwka, Dnepropetrovsk district, the Komsomol secretary Kotenko raped women and took part in the beating of peasants.

Kuśnierz's source is an article in Ukrainian by V.I. Prilutskii, "Molod' u suspil'no-politychnomu zhitti USRR (1928-1933 rr)" - "Youth in the socio-political life of the USSR (1928-1933) - in the "Ukrainian Historical Journal" for 2002. The source cited by Prilutskii is a report by the Odessa district committee of the Komsomol to Andreev, head of the Ukrainian Komsomol.

The citation is as follows: (cyrillic) Translated:

Thus, in the village of Surskaya-Mikhailovskoye, Solonyans'kyy raion, Dniproretrovsk oblast', secretary of the Komsomol cell Kotenko participated in raping women, and beating peasants, for which he was sentenced to "up to" 3 years.

The Odessa district party committee was reporting a crime committed by a Komsomol member for which the guilty man was tried, convicted, and sentenced to "up to" three years. Neither Kuśnierz nor Snyder mentions this fact. (It would be important to have the document from which Prilutskii is quoting, evidently a trial transcript or sentence, but he does not provide it.)

Conclusion: There is no evidence that rape was "routine," as Snyder claims. Moreover, neither of these examples - the only two examples given in the works he cites - concern " women living along," the "pretext of grain confiscations," of "food taken from them after" the rape, etc.

"Stalin's New Malice"


The next day Stalin approached the problem of the famine with a new degree of malice. ...Two politburo telegrams sent out on 8 November 1932 reflected the mood: individual and collective farmers in Soviet Ukraine who failed to meet requisition targets were to be denied access to products from the rest of the economy. A special troika was created in Ukraine to hasten the sentencing and execution of party activists and peasants who, supposedly, were responsible for sabotage. Some 1,623 kolkhoz officials were arrested that month. Deportations within Ukraine were resumed: 30,400 more people were gone by the end of the year. The activists told the peasants: "Open up, or we'll knock down the door. We'll take what you have, and you'll die in a camp." (40)


* Quotation: Kovalenko, Holod, 44.
* The two politburo telegrams: Marochkko, Holodomor, 152; and Davies, Years, 174.
* The 1,623 arrested kolkhoz officials: Davies, Years, 174.
* For 30,400 resumed deportations, Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 59.

Kovalenko, Holod, 44: The quotation is actually on p. 45. It is the recollection of a child of a kulak family; a 1927 photo of the family is also on p. 45. The original: (cyrillic) Translated:

After a certain time the team appeared near our house. They tore down the door, and drummed on the windowpanes so that they were about to shatter. I still have not forgotten their threat: "Open up or we'll knock down the door. We will take away {what we want} - and you will die in jail.

Snyder claims that "the activists told the peasants" in a general sense. But this is false: the account in questions is a single incident.

Moreover, "the activists" had good reason to threaten this peasant. In another part of this same account not quoted by Snyder the author describes how his family did in fact hide wheat, potatoes, and other beets in two holes, in case one was found. The authorities had the obligation to collect any food over and above a minimal amount for the peasant family's own survival, in order to distribute it to others who were starving to death. In fact the peasants were obliged to do this, hence the threat of prison.

Petro Danilovich Gumeniuk, the person whose account this is, born in 1923, would have been 8 or 9 at this time (no year is given). He went on to become a doctor of economics and professor at the Ternopil' Institute of Finance and Economics. His membership in a prosperous peasant family did not prevent him from having a fine career in the USSR. And his family did not starve.

Davies, Years 174 states:

On November 8, Stalin and Molotov insisted in a telegram to Kosior that 'from today the dispatch of goods for the villages of all regions of Ukraine shall cease until kolkhozy and individual peasants begin honestly and conscientiously to fulfill their duty to the working class and the Red Army for the delivery of grain.'

Davies indeed does report on the special commission of three, or "troika," "to simplify further the procedure for confirming death sentences in Ukraine." This is another of the few accurate claims Snyder makes in this book (another is Stalin's remark about "whining" kolkhozniks, above).

The 1,623 kolkhoz officials, plus others arrested for "counterrevolutionary offenses," are also mentioned in a document of December 9. Davies, but not Snyder, informs us that "over 2,000 of those arrested were allegedly former supporters of Petlyura or Makhno" - that is, former anti-Soviet rebels.

It appears that none of these documents have been published in any of the great collections of documents concerning the famine. Snyder has certainly not seen them.

Marochko, Holodomor, 152: First telegram. Marochko says that this is from Stalin to Khataevich: (cyrillic) Translated:

Responding to his "coded message about the delivery of goods to Ukraine," Stalin said that the CPSU(b) was discussing the issue of "banning" delivery of goods to the Ukrainian village until the Ukraine frankly and accurately fulfills the reduced grain procurement plan."

It would be good to have the text of this telegram, but Marochko does not give it. Even his "quotations" from it are in Ukrainian, not Russian.

Second telegram. Marochko says this is from Molotov and Stalin to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine: (cyrillic) Translated:

It is reported that on November 8 "shipment is suspended of goods to villages in all regions of Ukraine" as long as kolkhozes and "individual farmers" do not start to "honestly and faithfully perform their duty towards the working class and the Red Army" in the case of grain procurement.

Marochko does not identify the actual text of this telegram either. Both these telegrams would certainly have been in Russian.

"On the 30,400 resumed deportations, see Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 59." Here is the relevant text in Kuśnierz's book: (Ukrainian) Translated:

Dekulakization and deportation also took place at a later date. On 29 March 1932 the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the KP(b)U by secret deportation order approved the deportation of 5,000 kulak families from Polesie to the left bank of the Dnieper, in order to use them to work in the quarries. For the exiles there have been established permanent kulak settlements there. In the period between 28 November and 25 December 1932 r. more than 30,400 persons were exiled to the north of the USSR.

Kuśnierz's footnotes are to archival documents which we cannot obtain and check. However, the authoritative 2005 volume Salinskie deportatsii 1928-1953. Dokumenty Moscow: MDF, lzd. "Materik," 2005. records no such deportations during any period of 1932, much less the last 6 months. (790)

Conclusion: Marochko does not quote the original text of Stalin's two telegrams as Snyder's reference suggests. Therefore Snyder has not seen the texts either.

According to what Marochko does cite, it appears that if collective farms and individual farmers were to "begin honestly and conscientiously to fulfill their duty," they would not be denied "products from the rest of the economy." The telegram quoted by Davies and by Marochko does not state that a farm or peasant had to completely fulfill their grain delivery quota, only that they had to make an "honest and conscientious" attempt.

It is difficult to find any fault with this regulation, much less to discern in it any "degree of malice" at all. If farms and peasants had money to buy, or agricultural produce to exchange for, manufactured products then they were obligated to do their best to "pay their taxes" - for that's what grain deliveries were.

Nothing in the paragraph supports Snyder's hypothesis of a "deliberate famine."

Did Stalin Call the Famine a "Fairy Tale"?

Snyder says that at the end of 1932 Stalin came to believe that the famine was "a fairy tale", "a slanderous rumor spread by enemies." (41)

His source (n. 52 p. 465): Šapoval, "Lügen," 159; and Davies, Years, 199. The quotation is from Pravda, May 26, 1964.

Davies, but not Shapoval or Snyder, states:

It is not clear whether this statement comes from the archives, from memoirs, or from hearsay.

Either Terekhov, the man who supposedly made this statement, claimed Stalin said this to him or Stalin really did say this to him. Or the whole matter is a fabrication. This is quite possible, as Khrushchev and his men were fabricating - deliberately falsifying and lying - a great deal about Stalin and the Stalin years. We already know, and Snyder has acknowledged, that Stalin knew there was a famine in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Therefore it seems unlikely that Stalin would have used the term "fairy-tale about hunger" ("takuiu skazku o golode").

According to the Pravda article R.Ia. Terekhov, the Khar'kov First Secretary, told this story orally, evidently in 1964. Russian famine scholar Viktor Kondrashin states that Stalin said or wrote these words to Terekhov on February 22, 1933. However, according to a newspaper source "Terekhov R.A." was removed from the post of First Secretary of the Khar'kov Oblast' and city committees on January 29, 1933. Viktor Danilov states that this exchange with Stalin took place "at the end of 1932" (в конце 1932 r.) and Terekhov was removed from office "by decree of the Central Committee of the VKP(b) of January 24, 1933" ("Postanovleniem TsK K VKP(b) ot 24 ianvaria 1933 g.")

None of this tells us whether Stalin actually said these words to Terekhov or why. But it seems clear that either the story is untrue, a rumor - which would account for the disagreement about when it happened - or it was a minor flare-up on Stalin's part. Terekhov was moved from Party to government and production work, where he remained until his retirement in 1956. this and the following footnote are impossible to transcribe Roman Ia. Terekhov attended the 22nd Party Congress in October 1961 during which Khrushchev made his most ferocious - and utterly mendacious - attack on Stalin but apparently did not speak at the Congress.

Perhaps Shapoval took this story from the 1974 Russian language edition (New York: Knopf) of Roi Medvedev's book Let History Judge (In Russian: K sudu istorii), where it occurs on page 213. Medvedev's book is the source of many rumors about Soviet history that have been passed on as "fact."

As to the rest of the quotation, Snyder again "begs the question" by "assuming that which should be proven": namely, that collectivization caused the famine. Amazingly enough, though Snyder's whole thesis of "Soviet mass murder" is largely predicated upon this statement, he never tries to prove it or provides any evidence at all that it is so. As we have already shown, it cannot be proven, because it is false. Famines had occurred every 2-4 years in Russia and Ukraine for at least a millennium.

Nor does Snyder give any evidence at all for his claim that:

Stalin had developed an interesting new theory: that resistance to socialism increases as its successes mount, because its foes resist with greater desperation as they contemplate their final defeat. Thus any problem in the Soviet Union could be defined as an example of enemy action, and enemy action could be defined as evidence of progress. (40-41)

But even in this Pravda version Stalin does not refer to "enemies," as Snyder claims. Therefore this is pure fabrication on Snyder's part, unless it is an oblique reference to one of the accusations Khrushchev made against Stalin in his famous "Secret Speech" to the 20th Party Congress in February 1956. The present author has fully exposed Khrushchev's falsehoods in this speech in an earlier book.

Did Stalin Believe that "Starvation Was Resistance"?

Snyder makes the following claim:

Resistance to his policies in Soviet Ukraine, Stalin argued, was of a special sort, perhaps not visible to the imperceptive observer. Opposition was no longer open, for the enemies of socialism were now "quiet" and even "holy." The "kulaks of today," he said, were gentle people, kind, almost saintly."

His sources (n. 53 p. 465):

* Quotations: Ukraina, 124.
* "See also" Vasiliev, "Tsina," 60; Kuromiya, Stalin, 110.

Here we have three citations - to Kuśnierz, Vasiliev, and Kuromiya. But in reality they all refer to the very same document! Moreover, it is a document that has been available in English for 60 years and can be easily found on the Internet today.

Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 124 quotes from the well-known speech of Stalin's of January 1, 1933. This speech was published in 1950 in volume 13 of Stalin's Collected Works and has been available in English, to say nothing of Russian, for more than 60 years. Is on the internet in Russian and English. The fact that Snyder quotes this document from a Polish-language book once again suggests either that Snyder does not read even the most basic texts in Russian, or that he is not interested in helping his readers find the sources.

In this speech Stalin was ironic in calling the "kulaks of today" "gentle, kind, almost saintly." The context shows this:

People look for the class enemy outside the collective farms; they look for persons with ferocious visages, with enormous teeth and thick necks, and with sawn-off shotguns in their hands. They look for kulaks like those depicted on our posters. But such kulaks have long ceased to exist on the surface. The present-day kulaks and kulak agents, the present-day anti-Soviet elements in the countryside are in the main "quiet," "smooth-spoken," almost "saintly" people. There is no need to look for them far from the collective farms; they are inside the collective farms, occupying posts as store-keepers, managers, accountants, secretaries, etc. They will never say, "Down with the collective farms!" They are "in favour" of collective farms. But inside the collective farms they carry on sabotage and wrecking work that certainly does the collective farms no good. They will never say, "Down with grain procurements!" They are "in favour" of grain procurements. They "only" resort to demagogy and demand that the collective farm should reserve a fund for the needs of livestock-raising three times as large as that actually required; that the collective farm should set aside an insurance fund three times as large as that actually required; that the collective farm should provide from six to ten pounds of bread per working member per day for public catering, etc. Of course, after such "funds" have been formed and such grants for public catering made, after such rascally demagogy, the economic strength of the collective farms is bound to be undermined, and there is little left for grain procurements.

Vasiliev, "Tsina," 60: Vasiliev summarizes this same speech on pp. 59-61 - but in Ukrainian! It adds nothing by way of commentary.

Kuromiya, Stalin, 110: This is simply two quotations from Stalin's January 1933 report to the joint Plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Committee. This speech is the fuller version of the talk "Work in the Countryside" quoted above. It is identical to the first citation in this note.

Snyder's citation of a document in a Polish and a Ukrainian source of a document readily available in English as well as in the original Russian can have no purpose except to "impress" his readers with this show of "scholarship." Readers of Bloodlands will have no idea that he is doing this. They will think that Kuśnierz and Vasiliev actually have something to add. Nor is there any need here for the Kuromiya citation, when the primary source is available on the Internet.

"Starvation Was Resistance": Another Snyder Fabrication

There is no evidence whatever for the following statements made by Snyder here, who merely relies on the same footnote 53 as discussed above:

People who appeared to be innocent were to be seen as guilty. A peasant slowly dying of hunger was, despite appearances, a saboteur working for the capitalist powers in their campaign to discredit the Soviet Union. Starvation was resistance, and resistance was a sign that the victory of socialism was just around the corner. These were not merely Stalin's musings in Moscow; this was the ideological line enforced by Molotov and Kaganovich as they traveled through regions of mass death in late 1932. (41)

Snyder has simply invented all this. Few readers of Bloodlands will realize that it is a pure fabrication of Snyder's own - and that, no doubt, is why Snyder inserted it.


Forced to interpret distended bellies as political opposition, they {Stalin's "comrades in the Soviet Ukraine"} produced the utterly tortured conclusion that the saboteurs hated socialism so much that they intentionally let their families die. Thus the wracked bodies of sons and daughters and fathers and mothers were nothing more than a façade behind which foes plotted the destruction of socialism. (41)

Sources (n. 54, p. 466): "On the family interpretation (Stanislaw Kosior), see Davies, Years, 206."

Snyder's statement is false - a fabrication. Kosior said nothing about "hatred of socialism" or any "tortured conclusions."

Davies, quoted below at the reference Snyder gives, accurately summarizes Kosior's statement. We would add that Kosior gave only two examples, and only the first was of a farmer who let his children go hungry while keeping grain. Kosior does not give the age of the farmer's children, whom he cast out. For all we know, they could have been adults.

Davies, Years, 206:

"And on February 9, Kosior circulated a report to the Ukrainian Politburo listing cases where, he claimed, 'malicious withholders of grain have brought their families to real hunger (the children swell up)', even though they possessed several tsentners of grain.

n. 281 - "TsDAGOU, 1/101/1282,2, published in Golod 1932-1933 (1990) 375-6.

In Davies, Years, Bibliography, p. 526, the full title of this book is given thus: "Golod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochima istorikiv, movoyu dokumentiv" (Kiev, 1990). The text in the original Ukrainian, from this source, is as follows: (cyrillic) Translated:

Some of the RPK reported that in the fight against grain procurements malicious withholders of grain bring their families to real hunger (the children swell up).

Brigadirovsky RPK (Khar'kov region) writes on February 1: in the Vasil'evskii village hall, the contractor of group III Yakovets Vlas, with 4.45 hectares of crops, contracting 27.8 tsentners, did not give a single pound of bread, but cast his children out, and they now live by begging.

The team for grain procurement found at his place, buried in pits: 5 ts{entners}, 2.35 ts{entners}, 5.23 ts{entners} and 6.42 ts{entners}.

The Iakimovski RPK gives a similar report. Collective farmer Klimenko of the Molotov artel' shouted: "I'm hungry and my children are swelling up." After verification 2.5 tsentners of grain were found at his place, although he had received only 90 kg. in workday pay.

(RPK = Regional Society of Consumer Cooperatives)

Conclusion: Snyder's fabrications here are as follows:
* There is no evidence that Stalin was "forced to interpret distended bellies as political opposition."
* There is nothing here about "intentionally let{ting} their families die."
* There is nothing about "the wracked bodies of sons and daughters and fathers and mothers were nothing more than a façade behind which foes plotted the destruction of socialism."

Yet these are the statements for which Snyder cites the Davies passage evidence. Davies cites Kosior, whose actual statement we have repoduced above. It could hardly be clearer that Snyder has invented all this.

Should Stalin Have Predicted The Future?


Yet Stalin might have saved millions of lives without drawing any outside attention to the Soviet Union. He could have suspended food exports for a few months, released grain reserves (three million tons), or just given peasants access to local grain storage areas. Such simple measures, pursued as late as November 1932, could have kept the death toll to the hundreds of thousands rather than the millions. Stalin pursued none of them. (41-2; emphasis added)

His sources (n. 55 p. 466): "For similar judgments, see, for example"

* Jahn, Holodomor, 25;
* Davies, Tauger, and Wheatcroft, "Grain Stocks," 657;
* Kulczycki, Hołodomor, 237;
* Graziosi, "New Interpretation," 12.

Jahn, Holodomor, 25 cites no evidence for any of the claims on this page. One might object that Snyder simply claims he makes "similar judgments." But "judgments" are of no validity without evidence. Like Snyder himself, Jahn has none. Jahn's article is in the ideologically anticommunist journal Osteuropa; it is a statement of is anticommunist beliefs, not a scholarly study of the famine or of anything else.

Jahn also claims that there was no natural famine caused by environmental reasons, or even from insufficient food production, but solely from deliberate "Nahrungsentzugs" - "withdrawal of foodstuffs." Jahn even doubts whether the government was aware of the starvation! None of the specialists on the famine like Davies and Wheatcroft or Tauger conclude anything like this.

Davies, Tauger, and Wheatcroft, "Grain Stocks," 657: In Snyder's list of references the only specialists on the famine with any claim to objectivity are Davies, Tauger, and Wheatcroft. Klu'chyts'kiy, also a famine specialist, is so politically biased that he tailers his results to "fit" the myth of the "Holodomor." This makes his research worthless. See, for example, his four-part essay in English "What Is The Crux of the Ukraine-Russia Dispute?" at http://www.day.kiev/ua/263850 (accessed 02.24.2014) Here is what they have to say:

We therefore conclude:

1. All planners' stocks - the two secret grain reserves, Nepfond and Mobfond or Gosfond, together with "transitional stocks" held by grain organizations - amounted on 1 July 1933 to less than 2 million tons (1.997 million tons, according to the highest official figure). Persistent efforts of Stalin and the Politburo to establish firm and inviolable grain reserves (in addition to "transitional stocks") amounting to 2 or 3 million tons or more were almost completely unsuccessful. In both January-June 1932 and January-June 1933 the Politburo had to allow "untouchable" grain stocks set aside at the beginning of each year to be used to meet food and fodder crises. On 1 July 1933 the total amount of grain set aside in reserve grain stocks (fondy) amounted not to 4.53 million tons as Conquest claimed but only 1.141 million. It is not surprising that after several years during which the Politburo had failed to establish inviolable grain stock, Kuibyshev in early 1933 recommended a "flexible approach" to Nepfond and Mobfond, denied that they were separate reserves and even claimed that the flexible use of the two fondy had enabled uninterrupted grain supply in spring and summer 1932. (Emphasis added)

In the quotation above Snyder claims, without any reference, that the USSR held three million tons of grain in reserve "as late as November 1932."

But here Davies and Wheatcroft claim that (a) the grain reserves were likely less than two million tons; (b) that in the first half of 1932 and again in the first half of 1933 "the Politburo had to allow 'untouchable' grain stocks set aside at the beginning of each year to be used to meet food and fodder crises." That is, the Politburo did, in fact, release grain reserves to alleviate the famine.

Davies and Wheatcroft continue:

2. We do not know the amount of grain which was held by grain-consuming organizations, notably the Red Army, but we suspect that these "consumers' stocks" would not change the picture substantially.

3. These findings do not, of course, free Stalin from responsibility for the famine. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to assess the extent to which it would have been possible for Stalin to use part of the grain stocks available in spring 1933 to feed starving peasants. The state was a monopoly supplier of grain to urban areas and the army; if the reserves of this monopoly supply system - which amounted to four-six weeks' supply - were to have been drained, mass starvation, epidemics and unrest in the towns could have resulted. Nevertheless, it seems certain that, if Stalin had risked lower levels of these reserves in spring and summer 1933, hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of lives could have been saved. In the slightly longer term, if he had been open about the famine, some international help would certainly have alleviated the disaster. And if he had been more far-sighted, the agricultural crisis of 1932-1933 could have been avoided altogether. But Stalin was not hoarding immense grain reserves in these years. On the contrary, he had failed to reach the levels which he had been imperatively demanding since 1929. (Emphasis added.)

Snyder claimed that Stalin "could have kept the death toll to the hundreds of thousands rather than the millions." Davies, Tauger, and Wheatcroft surmise that "hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of lives could have been saved" - but only by risking "mass starvation, epidemics and unrest in the towns."

Mark Tauger, as we have seen, goes further:

The severity and geographical extent of the famine, the sharp decline in exports in 1932-1933, seed requirements, and the chaos in the Soviet Union in these years, all lead to the conclusion that even a complete cessation of exports would not have been enough to prevent famine. (Emphasis added, GF)

However, both Snyder and Davies et al. tacitly assume that the Soviet leadership - "Stalin" - could have known in advance that the famine would end in 1933 with a good harvest. Of course neither the Soviet leadership nor anyone could possibly know this. For all they or anyone knew, the famine would continue unabated during 1933. Since they could not know when the famine would end the Soviet state retained grain stocks.

Moreover, no government in the world would have deprived its army of foodstuffs. That was especially the case with the USSR, which was surrounded by hostile states. Nor would any government have deprived the cities of food reserves and risked "mass starvation, epidemics and unrest." A central aspect of the plan to end the cycle of starvation, collectivization, depended upon production of labor-saving farm machinery such as tractors and harvesters. These were produced in the cities.

The USSR had received large-scale international aid during the Volga famine of 1921-22 that followed the incredibly destructiveness of the First World War and Civil War, the typhus epidemic, and very poor weather conditions. But there is no reason to think that significant international aid would have been forthcoming in the same way in 1933, the depths of the Great Depression. Davies, Tauger and Wheatcroft do not give any evidence for this assertion.

Kulczycki, Hołodomor, 237: (Ukrainian) Translated:

In 1932 there were sent to foreign markets 107.9 million poods of grain. According to the balance of food and feed grains, prepared by Ukrzernocentr {Ukraine Grain Center}, to feed one person in the village were required 16 poods per year. This means that the grain exported in 1932 could have saved from death all who died of starvation in the Soviet Union in 1933.

Here Kul'chyts'kyy too absurdly suggests that if only Stalin had known a year in advance that there would be a great famine in 1933, he ought not to have exported any grain in 1932!

Graziosi, "New Interpretation" has no "page 12." On p. 108, the twelfth page in the article, we do read "similar judgments," in that Graziosi asserts that the famine was deliberate. But, like Snyder, Graziosi fails to cite any evidence that this was the case. The simple assertion of Graziosi, or of anyone, is not evidence.

"Begging the Question" Again: Assertions Without Evidence


This final collection was murder, even if those who executed it very often believed that they were doing the right thing. As one activist remembered, that spring he "saw people dying from hunger. I saw women and children with distended bellies, turning blue, still breathing but with vacant, lifeless eyes." Yet he "saw all this and did not go out of my mind or commit suicide." He had faith: "As before, I believed because I wanted to believe." Other activists, no doubt, were less faithful and more fearful. Every level of the Ukrainian party had been purged in the previous year; in January 1933, Stalin sent in his own men to control its heights. Those communists who no longer expressed their faith formed a "wall of silence" that doomed those it surrounded. They had learned that to resist was to be purged, and to be purged was to share the fate of those whose deaths they were now bringing about. (46)

Sources (n. 67 page 466):

* "For the recollections of the activist," Conquest, Harvest, 233.
* "For quotation and details on the importance of purges," Šapoval, "Lügen," 133.
* "On purges of the heights," Davies, Years, 138.

Snyder cites no evidence at all that "this final collection was murder." Rather, this is yet another example of "begging the question": he is supposed to prove "murder," not merely assert it.

The "activist" quoted by Conquest is Lev Kopelev, from his memoir published in 1980. The quotation only documents that people starved, a fact that no one denies. Snyder quotes this passage later in the book as well. In his old age Kopelev came to believe that the famine was "man-made" but he had no such doubts at the time.

In Chapter One of the present books we have quoted Robert Conquest's repudiation of his former position, expressed in his book The Harvest of Sorrow (1986) that the famine was "man-made." Snyder is aware of this too because he cites, and therefore has read, Davies and Wheatcroft, where Conquest's repudiation is published. Therefore, Snyder is simply concealing this information from his readers.

Shapoval, "Lügen," has no such quotation on p. 133. He does mention arrests of heads of kolkhozes for sabotaging grain collections, but up to January 1, 1932 - well before the famine. He states that 80% of raion secretaries were removed in the first half of 1932, but says nothing about any relation to the famine.

But even these statements fo not refer to any primary source evidence. Instead Shapoval refers us to a book of his own that is hard to find in the US. Shapoval refers to "page 160" of this book. This is a page of an article of his own, Shapoval's, in Ukrainian. The very same text - the entire article - is also published in Russian, immediately following the Ukrainian text. Ukrainian p. 160 corresponds to Russian pp. 173-174.

And this page does contain interesting information. For instance, it reveals that the 1932 plan for grain collection from the Ukraine was officially reduced three times. Even then it had been less than half-fulfilled by November 1, 1932. (cyrillic) Translated:

Delegates to the conference passed a resolution which was confirmed by the Plenum of the CC of the CP(b)U on July 9 1932 and by which "for unconditional fulfillment" the established grain collection plan for the Ukraine was accepted - 356 million poods from the peasant sector. This plan was thereafter reduced in size three times, and by November 1 1932 only 136 million poods of grain had been obtained from the peasant sector of the Ukraine. (Emphasis added)

Shapoval's source for this statement is a 48-page pamphlet published in 1989 by Kul'chyts'kyy. But it isn't likely that Shapoval invented it, since it does not tend to support his anticommunist and "Holodomor" bias. Why would Stalin et al. reduce the plan for grain collection from the Ukraine if their aim was to starve Ukrainians?

In a later work Kul'chyts'kyy explains that in 1989 he did not understand that the famine was a "Holodomor"! "And I did not yet understand the special nature of the Ukrainian famine." Kul'chyts'kyy S. "Holodomor 1932-1933 rr. v Ukrainiiak henotsyd." 2005 - No 14 - c. 225-300. Quotation at p. 252. In 1990 the fabrication-myth of the "Holodomor" had not yet become obligatory, the "Ukrainian Nationalist party line."

"To Be Purged = Death"?

Shapoval has nothing about the "purged," i.e. demoted officials "sharing the fate of those whose deaths they were now bringing about" - i.e., suffering execution. Snyder apparently invented this, as he invented the "five million murdered." Even Shapoval does not claim that these sources have any bearing at all on Snyder's point: the question of whether the famine was "deliberate."

Davies, Years, 138 has nothing about any "purges of the heights" or of anything else in Snyder's paragraph. Davies discusses January 1933 in the pages beginning at p. 197 ff. There is nothing about "the heights" here either.

"Collective Farming Did Not Work"

Snyder makes the following claim which can only be called bizarre:

Ukrainians who chose not to resist the collective farms believed that they had at least escaped deportation. But now they could be deported because collective farming did not work. Some fifteen thousand peasants were deported from Soviet Ukraine between February and April 1933. Just east and south of Soviet Ukraine, in parts of the Russian republic of the Soviet Union inhabited by Ukrainians, some sixty thousand people were deported for failing to make grain quotas. In 1933 some 142,000 more Soviet citizens were sent to the Gulag, most of them either hungry or sick with typhus, many of them from Soviet Ukraine. (47-8; emphasis added GF)

Sources (n. 72 p. 466):

* "On the fifteen thousand people deported," Davies, Years, 210.
* "On the sixty thousand people deported from Kuban," Martin, "Ethnic Cleansing," 846.

Snyder's claim that "collective farming did not work" is ideologically-motivated nonsense. There had been famines for a thousand years in Russia and in the Ukraine, long before collective farming. Like it or not - and Snyder obviously doesn't - collective farming put an end to the age-old cycle of famines. The collective farms "worked" until the end of the USSR when they were forcibly dissolved.

Evidently Snyder is trying to please today' Ukrainian nationalists, who favor the kulaks and despise the poor peasants, many of whom helped the collectivization movement. For a great many poor peasants did help collectivization and also helped grain procurement. The late James E. Mace, a hero to Ukrainian Nationalists and a staunch anticommunist, reluctantly acknowledged the important role of the Committees of Poor Peasants, or "Komitety nezamozhnykh selian" in the collectivization movement in the Ukraine. James E. Mace. "The Komitety Nezamozhnykh Selian and the Structure of Soviet Rule in the Ukrainian Countryside, 1920-1933." Soviet Studies 35 (4) October 1983, 487-503.

Davies, Years, 211 relates that 15,000 households, not "peasants," were exiled "for refusing to collect in the seed, and to sow, and for much vaguer reasons." Davies refers briefly to archival materials. These persons were clearly not starving, since they had grain, including seed grain.

Deportations and Martin's Error

Martin, "Ethnic Cleansing," 846 states:

... ultimately, a total of 60,000 Kuban Cossacks were deported for failing to meet their grain requisitions.

The 2005 volume Stalinskie Deportatsii gives the number as 45,000 (790). However Martin's whole article is of questionable reliability since it contains at least one serious error. On this same page 846 Martin states:

The December 14 Politburo decree ordered the deportation of the entire Kuban Cossack town of Poltava for "the sabotage of grain delivery."

Martin is in error. Poltava is a city in the Ukraine. Its inhabitants were not deported. Martin has confused this town with stanitsa Poltavskaia, or just plain Poltavskaia, a Kuban Cossack village in the Krasnodar region of Russia. All of its 9,000 inhabitants wre deported in December, 1932 for sabotage of grain collection, and the town was resettled by demobilizied Red Army men and renamed "Krasnoarmeiskaia" (= "Red Army village").

The Bolsheviks published a booklet explaining why its inhabitants had been deported. Radin, Shaumian. Za chto zhiteli stanitsy Poltavskoi vysyliaiutsia s Kubani v severnye kraia. Rostav-na-Donu, 1932. This pamphlet is cited in Roi Medvedev's book Let History Judge. Today the whole text of that pamphlet is available to anyone on the internet. In the 1970s I requested this book from the Lenin Library in Moscow through the Inter-Library Loan office at my university (then a college). The Lenin Library refused my request though I was able to obtain other books from Soviet libraries. There's no excuse for this elementary error by Martin.

The deportations in question were from the Kuban. Moreover, Martin explicitly states these were Kuban Cossacks, not Ukrainians. Cossacks do not consider themselves either Ukrainians or Russians, though Kuban Cossacks usually speak Ukrainian.

Snyder evidently wants us to believe that this was somehow an anti-Ukrainian action, and so does not say "the Kuban," but instead uses the clumsy circumlocution "parts of the Russian Republic of the Soviet Union inhabited by Ukrainians." This is another passage suggesting that Snyder is trying to conform to the historical falsehoods of Ukrainian nationalists.

According to the authoritative book Stalinskie deportatsii 1928-1953 (2005) published by the strongly anticommunist and anti-Stalin "Memorial Society" during 1932 313,000 kulaks and others were deported "from various areas" to Western Siberia, Kazakhstan, the Urals, "and elsewhere."

Snyder gives no evidence for the following statement:

In 1933 some 142,000 more Soviet citizens were sent to the Gulag, most of them either hungry or sick with typhus, many of them from Soviet Ukraine.

Neither Davies nor Martin say anything about any 1933 sending of "Soviet citizens to the Gulag," as Snyder claims in the passage under discussion, much less that they were "hungry, or sick with typhus" or that "many" were "from Soviet Ukraine."


In the camps they tried to find enough to eat. Since the Gulag had a policy of feeding the strong and depriving the weak, and these deportees were already weak from hunger, this was desperately difficult. When hungry prisoners poisoned themselves by eating wild plants and garbage, camp officials punished them for shirking. At least 67,297 people died of hunger and related illnesses in the camps and 241,355 perished in the special settlements in 1933, many of them natives of Soviet Ukraine. Untold thousands more died on the long journey from Ukraine to Kazakhstan or the far north. There corpses were removed from the trains and buried on the spot, their names and their numbers unrecorded. (48)

Sources (n. 73 p. 467):

* "On the 67,297 people who died in the camps," Khlevniuk, Gulag, 62, 77.
* "On the 241,355 people who died in the special settlements," Viola, Unknown Gulag, 241.

Oleg V. Khlevniuk, The History of the GULAG from Collectivization to the Great Terror (Yale University Press, 2004), 77, does indeed cite this figure. Khlevniuk usefully gives the death rate for 1932 (4.8%) and for 1933 (15.2%). Assuming the difference is due to the famine, if 4.8% of the 440,008 prisoners in 1933 had died, that would be 21,121 people instead of 67,297, meaning that about 46,176 deaths in 1933 were above the rate of 1932 and thus largely or wholly attributable to the famine.

But this doesn't really tell us anything. Nobody denies that there was a terrible famine in 1932-33. The question is: Was the famine "man-made" by collectivization, and "deliberate," in that "Stalin" took grain away from starving people for the purposes of political punishment? These figures tell us nothing about this.

Lynne Viola, The Unknown GULAG. The Lost World of Stalin's Special Settlements (Oxford University Press, 2007) cites the figure of 241,355 deaths on page 141, not page 241. Viola herself cites V.N. Zemskov, Spetsposelentsy v SSSR 1930-1960 (Moscow: Nauka, 2003).

Zemskov's figures are 89,754 deaths in 1932 and 151,601 in 1933 for the total of 241,355. These figures tell us nothing about the famine. The special settlements, as their name implies, were villages, not prisons, and included families - old persons, parents, children. There is no indication how many of these people died above the number that would be expected to die in non-famine years.

Conclusion: Snyder gives no evidence for the following statements:
* that "the Gulag had a policy of feeding the strong and depriving the weak";
* that "hungry prisoners" were "punished for shirking" for "eating wild plants and garbage";
* that "untold thousands" died on the journey or that no records were kepts of such deaths.

Evidently he has invented these "facts."

Snyder relates more horror stories of starving people. Whether these specific stories are true or not is not important. Terrible things happen during famines, so these stories could be true and, if they are not, other similar to them undoubtedly were.

But they have nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of whether the famine was "man-made," "deliberate" or not. They do not even help us understand whether the Soviet authorities should have handled it differently than they did.

Snyder: "Half a Million Youngsters in Watchtowers"

In a broader sense, though, it was politics as well as starvation that destroyed families, turning a younger generation against an older. Members of the Young Communists served in the brigades that requisitioned food. Still, younger children, in the Pioneers, were supposed to be "the eyes and ears of the party inside the family." The healthier ones were assigned to watch over the fields to prevent theft. Half a million preadolescent and young teenage boys and girls stood in the watchtowers observing adults in Soviet Ukraine in summer 1933. All children were expected to report on their parents. (50)

Sources (n. 79 p. 467):

* "On the half a million boy and girls in the watchtowers," Maksudov, "Victory," 213.
* Quotation," Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 119.

Kuśnierz does have this quotation on page 119 ("the eye and the ear of the Party in the family") - it is the familiar story of Pavlik Morozov.

Maksudov's Falsification

Maksudov, "Victory," 213, states:

Surveillance towers appeared across the countryside; mounted patrols hid in ambush; adults and even small children were employed to spy on their friends and relatives. Kosior estimated that 500,000 Pioneers guarded the fields from their own parents during the summer of 1933. The law of August 7 that threatened execution or imprisonment for anyone caught stealing grain came to be called the "ears of wheat" law.

Maksudov's note 58 (p. 234) says: "Ivan Trifonov, Ocherki istorii klassovoi bor'by v SSSR, 1921-1937. (Moscow, 1960), 258."

The actual title of this book is Ocherki istorii klassovoi boy'by v SSSR v gody NEPa (1921-1937). Here is what Trifonov actually wrote: (cyrillic) Translated:

The best assistants of the political departments were the Komsomol members. In all the collective farms of the North Caucasus the Komsomol established "light cavalry" squads. Detachments vigilantly guarded public property and struggled against damage by animals, detained thieves and plunderers. In Ukraine in 1933 540 thousands children took part in the collection of ears and crop protection. In the collective farms of the republic worked 240 thousand Komsomol members and 160 Komsomol shock brigades in repairing tractors. (258)

Maksudov has seriously falsified this passage. Trifonov say nothing about "surveillance towers"; about any statement at all by Kosior; about Pioneers "guarding the fields from their own parents"; or about children "spying on their friends and relatives"; or - as Snyder adds - about "reporting on their parents." The "half million children" Trifonov mentions were not "standing in the watchtowers," as Snyder claims, but helping to glean the fields and protect the crops.

The "Law of Three Ears" - this is in fact the sobriquet of this law - punished theft of government property, included the property of collective farms and cooperatives. Michael Ellman, a very anti-communist researcher, claims that 11,000 persons were executed under this law but gives no evidence whatsoever for this statement. (Ellman, 2007, p. 686) The relevant document, available to Ellman in 2007 but evidently not used by him, states that 2,052 persons had been sentenced to death under the law. A number of cases of very large-scale theft are noted in this report to Stalin of March 20, 1933 (Lubianka 1922-1936 No. 349, p. 417). It does not note how many of these death sentences were commuted, though such commutations were generally frequent.

This law was supported by many peasants, as Tauger argues:

Without question, however, many other peasants had worked willingly during the whole period, earning many labour-days and siding with the system. As an example of this, we can consider peasants' views of the notorious 7 August 1932 law on socialist property, which authorized arrests of people for thefts and imposed capital punishment in some cases, and under which more than 100,000 people (mostly peasants) were arrested. An OGPU study of peasant attitudes towards this law in Ivanovo oblast found that most peasants supported it and even considered it overdue, because of the numerous outrages and scandals involving theft that they had witnessed and could not prevent. (Tauger 2004 85-6. Emphasis added.)

Snyder cites a document in the multivolume Tragediia sovetskoi derevni ("Tragedy of the Soviet Countryside"), edited by staunch opponents of collectivization but still a very useful collection of primary source materials. The document in question, a report on the reaction of peasants in a certain region to the August 7, 1932 law, contains a section on "negative reactions" but a longer one on "positive reactions", with examples given. V. Danilov et al., eds., Tragediia sovetskoi derevni t. 3 (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2001), Dok. No. 170, 479-481.

On February 1 1933 the Politburo decreed that the following persons should not be prosecuted under this law: (cyrillic) Translated:

those guilty of individual acts of petty theft of public property, or workers who have committed theft because of need (poverty), or from lack of consciousness and in the presence of other mitigating circumstances.

This was confirmed by an order of the Presidium (the executive body of the Soviet government) of March 27 1933. A joint instruction of the Central Committee and the Central Executive Committee - that is, the main bodies of the Party and the Government, of May 8 1933 greatly restricted the punishments under this law. Several other decrees limited punishment under this law and released persons convicted under it.

In any case it is evident that the 500,000 Pioneers and their parents were not starving.

Snyder relates more horrifying stories, none of which have any bearing on the issue at hand: whether the starvation was "deliberate."

Why Were Those In Charge of the 1937 Census Arrested?


The Soviet census of 1937 found eight million fewer people than projected: most of these were famine victims in Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Kazakhstan, and Soviet Russia, and the children that they did not then have. Stalin suppressed its findings and had the responsible demographers executed. In 1933, Soviet officials in private conversations most often provided the estimate of 5.5 million dead from hunger. This seems roughly correct, if perhaps somewhat low, for the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, including Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Kazakhstan, and Soviet Russia. (58)

n. 87, p. 467: "On the Soviet census, see Schlögel, Terror. For discussion of 5.5 million as a typical estimate, see Dalrymple, "Soviet Famine," 259."

Karl Schlögel, Terror und Traum: Moskau 1937 (Munich, 2007) isn't an easy book for most readers to find, so why pick it? Possibly because it is another work of the "USSR, land of terror" school, relentlessly anticommunist. It is devoid of any effort at historical objectivity, and is full of outright falsifications.

Dalrymple's article is from the 1960s, merely an attempt to establish that there had indeed been a famine. Far more recent estimates have been made by recent scholarly studies.

Mark Tauger estimates roughly five million deaths as a result of the famine. But others estimate a much lower figure. The careful Ukrainian-Canadian scholar John-Paul Himka writes:

These could not be specialists in demography, however, since all recent studies based on a careful analysis of census data come up with numbers in the range of 2.6 to 3.9 million.... Jacques Vallin, France Meslé, Serguei Adamets, and Serhii Pirozhkov, "A New Estimate of Ukrainian Population Losses during the Crises of the 1930s and 1940s," Population Studies 56, 3 (2002): 249-64; this study arrives at the figure of 2.6 million.

"Encumbered Memory. The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33." Kritika 14 (2) Spring 2013, p. 426 and note.

The 1937 census was not cancelled because the population count was "too low," as hinted by Snyder and stated by Schlögel. It was declared defective and rescheduled for 1939, when the questions about nationality were simplified, the questions about literacy were changed, and the question about religious belief was omitted altogether, so respondents did not have to say whether they were religious or not.

Several of those in charge of the census were indeed arrested, tried, and at least in one case, executed. But this had nothing to do with the census. Ivan Adamovich Kraval', the main official in charge of the census, was named by one of the defendants in the March 1938 Moscow Trial (the "Bukharin-Rykov" trial) as a member of the Right-Trotskyite conspiracy against the Soviet government and Party leadership. The census was cancelled in January 1937 but Kraval' was not even arrested until May.

In fact as early as January 11, 1937 Kraval' had been named as a clandestine Bukharinite from as far back as 1919-1921 and again in 1924 by Valentin Astrov, also a Bukharin supporter and member of his "school." This is significant because Astrov lived until 1993, long enough to write that the NKVD had not mistreated him in any way and that his testimony to them against Bukharin and his supporters was truthful, not the result of any compulsion.

Astrov, "Kak Eto Proizoshio.." Literaturnaia Gazeta March 29, 1989; Astrov, "...S menia sledovateli trebovali pokazaniia." Izvestiia February 27, 1993, p. 3. Vladimir Bobrov and I have discussed Astrov's confessions in detail in "Verdikt: Vinoven!" Chapter 1 of Pravosudie Stalina (Moscow: EKSMO, 2010), 13-63. I discuss it more briefly in English in Chapter 16 of The Murder of Sergei Kirov pp. 318-319.

Lazar' S. Bradgendler, another leading census official, was also arrested, tried, and convicted of involvement in a Right-Trotskyite conspiracy. He was not executed but sentenced to 10 years in a camp.

Fortunately there are a number of Russian studies of the Soviet census of 1937 where all these matters are explained. Snyder failed to consult any of them.

Edited by swampman ()

[account deactivated]
That concludes the chapters specifically on the famine. Along with skipping all Russian and Ukrainian text I've left out the footnotes in those languages, for example the May 8 1933 restriction of punishment for theft has this link to Russian wikipedia: http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Закон_о_трёх_колосках which, even considering that I've transcribed like 25000 words of foreign names in this thread, was a pain in the asses to type. And there are citations with like, ten times that gibberish... no thank
[account deactivated]
Thats my main takeaway from the projet so far yes
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Chapter 4. Bloodlands Chapter 2: Snyder's Claim of the Soviets' "Class Terror" Examined

In this chapter Snyder does not focus on any one central event. Instead, he touches on a number of different issues: collectivization, Hitler's coming to power, the Spanish Civil War, the Moscow Trials and the so-called "Military Purges" (also known as "the Tukhachevsky Affair") and the Ezhovshchina or "Great Terror," which Snyder has already dealt with in Chapter One, and to which he will return in Chapter Four. Every fact-claim that has an anti-Soviet tendency is examined here, and all of the evidence that Snyder or his sources cite, is checked.


His policy of collectivization had required the shooting of tens of thousands of citizens and the deportations of hundreds of thousands, and had brought millions more to the brink of death by starvation - as Jones would see and report. (59-60)

Snyder states that collectivization was accompanied by "tens of thousands of executions." The two most crucial years for collectivization were 1930 and 1931. In 1930 there were 20,201 executions for all crimes, and 9876 executions in 1931, for a total of 30,077. Executions in the adjacent non-collectivization years were much lower: 1383 for the year 1929; 3912 (or, alternatively, 3194) in 1932; 2154 in 1933.
Oleg Mozokhin is the expert on this question. His book, Pravo na repressii (Moscow, 2006), contains serious misprints: numbers are put in the wrong columns. Mozokhin's web pages give the corrected figures for executions, which are reported here. For 1931, see http://mozohin.ru/article/a-41.html ; for 1932, http://mozohin.ru/article/a-42.html

It is logical to assume that most of these additional executions above the level of the preceding year (1929) and the following year (1932) would have been related to collectivization. These would have been due to the struggle against organized armed groups rebelling against collectivization, and against other kinds of sabotage of the collectivization movement. This would make the approximate number of executions due to collectivization around 20,000 to 25,000. Snyder is correct in this instance.

It was inevitable that kulaks - rich peasants who lived by exploiting the labor of others - and other rural opponents of Soviet power would oppose collectivization, often violently. Tauger has shown that collectivization was also supported by many peasants, and by poor and landless peasants above all. Indeed, this has been admitted even by such staunch anticommunists and opponents of collectivization as James Mace.

Documents from former Soviet archives do indeed confirm hundreds of thousands of deportations of peasants who resisted collectivization, as Snyder states. But Snyder's main fact-claims here are false. Collectivization did not cause the famine. Snyder has no evidence that it did and, in fact, does not even bother to try to prove it but simply "asserts" it. We have discussed this question thoroughly in connection with our analysis of Chapter 1 of Bloodlands. The famine was a secular event caused by poor weather conditions. There had been famines every 2-3 years in Russian history for at least a millenium.

Snyder is also prevaricating when he tries to associate Jones' genuine account of the famine itself with his, Snyder's, falsehood that the famine had been caused by collectivization. Jones could not have "seen" the cause of the famine that he witnessed because causes cannot be "seen." Jones witnessed famine conditions. But Snyder says Jones "saw and reported" that "collectivization... had brought millions to the brink of death by starvation." This is false.

Nor did Stalin "order the shooting of hundreds of thousands more Soviet citizens" "later in the 1930s." (59) No one has ever found such an "order," so Snyder has not seen it either. Therefore, Snyder's claim is deliberately false. We will discuss this in our analysis of Chapter 3.

Did "Soviet Cruelty" Lead to Support for Nazism?

Snyder states:

For some of the Germans and other Europeans who favored Hitler and his enterprise, the cruelty of Soviet policy seemed to be an argument for National Socialism. (60)

Snyder's claim that some chose Nazism because it was "less cruel" than communism is bizarre. As though even Nazism's supporters thought that it was "not cruel!" Some kind of humanitarian alternative to communism, perhaps? But collectivization was certainly "cruel" to kulaks, as the Revolution of 1917 had been "cruel" to capitalists - and as capitalism had been "cruel" to working people the world over, for centuries. Many capitalists supported Nazism because it seemed to be the best bulwark against communism, which threatened to dispossess them of their wealth.

As we have shown, not to have collectivized would have been the "cruel" policy with respect to the vast majority of the Soviet population, whether peasants or workers. Collectivization stopped the centuries-old cycle of famines in Russia which mainly killed the poorest.

Did Communist Hostility to Social-Democrats Facilitate Hitler's Rise to Power?

Communists were to maintain their ideological purity, and avoid alliances with social democrats. Only communists had a legitimate role to play in human progress, and others who claimed to speak for the oppressed were frauds and "social fascists." They were to be grouped together with every party their right, including the Nazis. In Germany, communists were to regard the social democrats, not the Nazis, as the main enemy.

In the second half of 1932 and the first months of 1933, during the long moment of Stalin's provocation of catastrophe, it would have been difficult for him abandon the international line of "class against class." The class struggle against the kulak, after all, was the official explanation of the horrible suffering and mass death within the Soviet Union. (61-2)

Snyder cites no evidence at all for his contention that communist suspicion of, and failure to work with, the Social-Democrats (SPD) helped the rise of Nazism. We cannot go deeply into this historical contention here. But it is important to note that the Social Democrats were intensely hostile to communism as well. Each party saw the other as its main rival for the allegiance of the German working class. The well-known book by noted Indian-born communist R. Palme Dutt, Fascism and Social Revolution (1934) sets forth the Comintern's view of the social democratic parties at this time and details their numerous betrayals both of the communists and of their own working classes.

Once again Snyder tries to sneak in his unproven, and unprovable, assertion that it was collectivization that caused the famine. The "horrible suffering and mass death" was caused by the famine, not by "the struggle against the kulak," which was part of the struggle to collectivize agriculture. Nor did Stalin "provoke catastrophe." The truth is quite the opposite: collectivization ended the cycle of famines and enabled rapid industrialization, without which the USSR would certainly have been defeated by Hitler's armies - a true catastrophe.

Was Collectivization Like Hitler's Anti-Jewish Scapegoating?

In this respect Hitler's policies resembled Stalin's. The Soviet leader presented the disarray in the Soviet countryside, and then dekulakization, as the result of an authentic class war. The political conclusion was the same in Berlin and Moscow: the state would have to step in to make sure that the necessary redistribution was relatively peaceful. (62)

Snyder's main goal in Bloodlands is to argue that the USSR was similar to Nazi Germany, Stalin similar to Hitler. Here Snyder tries to smuggle past his readers the suggestion that collectivization was somehow similar to Nazi racism against Jews. But Snyder cannot find any real similarities. Therefore, he claims that collectivization was somehow "spontaneous," with the State just "stepping in." This is more than simply false - it is a statement made in flagrant disregard of the facts. There is no evidence to support it.

In essence Snyder is arguing that socializing private property (collectivization in the USSR) is somehow similar to violently dispossessing German Jews while strengthening the position of large-scale industrialists, and private business generally (Hitler's policy in Germany). This absurdity is a good example of the lengths to which Snyder will go in order to force some comparison between the USSR and Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was a form of capitalism. Collectivization was its polar opposite.

Snyder is wrong as well when he states as fact, with no evidence at all that "Stalin" - i.e. the USSR - had "policies" of "shooting," "deportation," or "starvation." As we showed in our discussion of Chapter One of Bloodlands Soviet policy was to collectivize agriculture. Collectivization was the only policy that could end the constant cycle of killer famines and allow the USSR to industrialize. No other policy that would accomplish either of these goals, much less both of them, has ever been dreamed up by anyone else, including anticommunist researchers.

Executions were for rebellions against the government or serious violations of laws controlling food supply. Deportations were for less violent opposition to collectivization. They were not "policies."

Had the USSR and Germany Planned to Dismantle Poland since 1922?

Snyder write:

Since 1922, the two states {Germany and the USSR} had engaged in military and economic cooperation, on the tacit understanding that both had an interest in the remaking of eastern Europe at the expense of Poland. (64)

This is false. The 1922 Rapallo Treaty between Weimar Germany and Soviet Russia did not concern the "remaking of Eastern Europe" and had nothing to do with Poland at all. Moreover, if the "understanding" was "tacit," how does Snyder know about it? He cites no evidence of any such "tacit understanding" because there is none.

In reality the opposite is true. In 1939 the USSR tried many times to get Poland to sign a mutual defense treaty aimed at Germany. In a later chapter we show that the Polish government wanted no treaties at all with the USSR even if it meant facing Hitler's Wehrmacht alone.

Snyder fails to examine the legitimacy of Poland's claim to Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia. Both lie east of the Curzon Line in an area in which Poles were a distinct minority of the population. Regardless of the ethnicity or the desires of the population Pilsudski and other Polish nationalists wanted these lands because they had been within the boundaries of the Polish-Lithuanian state of 1772. This state occupied almost all of Western Ukraine, all of Belorussia, much of Latvia and Lithuania, and had a large part of the Black Sea coast. Polish imperialist ambitions aimed to reestablish a greater Poland along these lines.

Therefore, when Poland "lost" Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia in September 1939 it lost nothing that it had any right to possess in the first place. Even today's Polish state, both capitalist and highly nationalistic, no longer claims Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia.

The Ezhovshchina

Aside from the famine of 1932-33 the Ezhovshchina or "bad time of Ezhov," called by anticommunists the "Great Terror," is the only source for mass murder that Snyder can find to blame "Stalin" (the Soviet government) for. A campaign of mass murder did indeed take place during the period of July or August 1937 through September 1938. Anticommunist historians sometimes claim that these mass murders took place because Stalin either ordered them - Snyder simply states this as a "fact" - or at least authorized them.

During the period of the Popular Front, from June 1934 through August 1939, about three quarters of a million Soviet citizens would be shot to death by order of Stalin... (67)

This is false. There is no evidence of any such "order of Stalin," so of course Snyder has never seen any and gives no reference to one. The reader of Bloodlands is left to assume that Snyder has such evidence when Snyder knows he does not. Snyder is deliberately misleading his readers. On the contrary, it is clear now that Stalin and the Politburo did not know that Ezhov was engaging in these massive executions of innocent people. We discuss this important matter in much more detail in Chapter Six of the present book.

The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 was a very important event, the only war on the European continent and a "prequel" to World War II. Six months after the end of the Spanish Civil War Hitler invaded Poland. Hitler and Mussolini sent thousands of troops, tanks, and aircraft to attack the bourgeois Spanish Republic. Without them the fascist army, led by General Francisco Franco, could not have won.

In a brief paragraph Snyder claims that Soviet NKVD men were "sent to Spain to shoot" Trotskyists for "treason." But none of the works in Snyder's footnote to this passage demonstrate that. The reason is that, aside from the case of Andres Nin which we discuss below, there is no firm evidence that even a single Trotskyist (or anyone else) was shot in Spain by the Soviet NKVD.
Trotsky activists Mark Rein, Kurt Landau, and Erwin Wolf vanished. Paul Preston, the foremost historian of this period, believe they were abducted and killed either by "Soviet agents" or by the "Grup d'Informació", the secret intelligence unit for the Catalonian government, the Generalitat. It is logical to think so, though not proven. See Paul Preston, The Spanish holocaust: inquisition and extermination in twentieth-century Spain. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2012) 407, 418-419.

Snyder is correct when he states that the communists presented Trotskyists - more accurately, Trotskyism - as "fascist." Based on the evidence we now have, it appears to be true that some Trotskyists were involved in sabotaging the Spanish Republic. We simply have far too much primary source evidence directly about this, including from Nazi sources, for all of it to be fabrication. Grover Furr, "Communist Anti-Trotskyism, and the Barcelona "May Days" of 1937," in press. In addition, Karl Radek testified at the January 1937 Moscow Trial that Trotskyists were active in Spain and appealed to them to stop.

A few pages later Snyder briefly picks up the Spanish Civil War again:

Orwell watched as the communists provoked clashes in Barcelona in May 1937, and then as the Spanish government, beholden to Moscow, banned the Trotskyite party {the POUM}. (75)

This is false. The Barcelona "May Days" revolt was precipitated by an Anarchist seizure of the Barcelona telephone station, which the Republican government of Barcelona took back. The phrase "beholden to Moscow," is likewise false. Neither the government of Largo Caballero (September 4 1936 to May 17 1937) nor that of his successor Juan Negrín were under communist control. Both Caballero and Negrín were suspicious of the communists.

The "Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxist" or POUM had participated in the Barcelona revolt. The Soviets had evidence then, and we have evidence today, that both Franco's and German agents were involved in the revolt. ibid. It was logical to think that the POUM leaders were conspiring with them. POUM was not an "official" Trotskyist party, but it was friendly to Trotsky and unfriendly to the USSR. The head of POUM, Andres Nin, had been one of Trotsky's leading aides. The Soviets knew that Trotsky and some of his supporters - Karl Radek and Iurii Piatakov at least - had publicly denounced each other in the harshest terms as a cover for their continued secret collaboration. It was logical to assume that Nin had done likewise - as, in fact, he may well have done. Nin strongly supported the armed revolt against the Republican government, which benefitted only Franco and his Axis allies.

Meanwhile the high-ranking Soviet commanders executed on June 12, 1937 in the "Tukhachevsky Affair" confessed at trial that they had been in collaboration with both Nazi Germany and Trotsky. One of them stated that Trotsky had given him the honor of opening the Leningrad front to the rebels in the event of a successful revolt against the Soviet leadership. Nin and the POUM leadership were arrested a few days later, on June 16, 1937, by Orlov, head of the Soviet NKVD in Spain. He was not tortured but refused to confess and was murdered a few days later.
Details about Nin's activities, arrest, and murder are in Preston, Spanish holocaust, 402, 411-412. The trial of the "Tukhachevsky Affair" generals is reported and a key document examined in Vladimir L. Bobrov and Grover Furr, "Marshal S.M. Budiennyi on the Tukhachevsky Trial. Impressions of an Eye-Witness",Klio (St Petersburg) 2012 (2), 8-24 (in Russian). At http://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/budennyi_klio12.pdf Reprinted in M.N. Tukhachevskii: Kak My Predali Stalina ("M.N. Tukachevsky. How We Betrayed Stalin") Moscow: Algorithm, September 2012, pages 174-230.

Snyder Claims The Soviets Made No Progress Towards Socialism

Snyder makes the bizarre claim that Soviet "progress toward socialism" was "largely a matter of propaganda." (71) The Soviet Union built an industrial, socialist society during the decade of the 1930s. A great many visitors to the USSR reported on the phenomenal changes that had taken place in Soviet society since the late 1920s. Any number of scholars have remarked upon the same thing. A good discussion by a noted economic historian is Robert C. Allen, From Farm to Factory. A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution. Princeton University Press, 2003. It has a good bibliography too. Snyder gives no evidence at all to support this statement, nor does he define what he means by "progress toward socialism." By social-democratic definitions of socialism - wide-ranging social welfare benefits for all workers in an industrialized or industrializing society - the Soviet Union had indeed achieved socialism by the mid-1930s.

No Foreign Subversion?

Snyder makes the following claim:

...the explanation of famine and misery at home depended upon the idea of foreign subversion... (72)

Snyder then claims that this idea "was essentially without merit" - that there was in fact no "foreign subversion."

Snyder does not deign to cite any evidence for either of these claims. It's no wonder that Snyder does not try to prove that there was no "foreign subversion," for Snyder himself documents considerable Polish espionage in his book Sketches from a Secret War. There is a great deal of evidence of espionage by other countries too, especially Germany and Japan. If Snyder believes it to be false or fabricated, he should say so and state the reason for his suspicions. We examine this issue in more detail later in the present book.

Did Stalin Have No Political Opposition?

Snyder claims:

By 1937 Stalin faced no meaningful political opposition within the Soviet communist party, but this only seemed to convince him that his enemies had learned political invisibility. Just as he had during the height of the famine, he argued again that year that the most dangerous enemies of the state appeared to be harmless and loyal. (72)

Today there are available to researchers a great many primary documents giving evidence of multiple conspiracies against the Soviet government that involved high-ranking Party members along with many others. Some of these conspiracies resulted in the various trials of 1934-1938, plus the military conspiracy (Tukhachevsky Affair), Ezhov's conspiracy, and much else. This includes important evidence from outside the USSR, from sources that could not have possibly have fabricated it. Much of this evidence is from 1937, the year Snyder names here. We have discussed some of this in a recent book (see the following footnote).

Since there is so much documentary evidence of these conspiracies - "political opposition" - it is incumbent on Snyder to give evidence that these documents have been forged, faked, or in some way are not what they appear to be. He does not do this because he cannot. No one has ever proven these documents fakes. Moreover, there are far too many of them, from too many different sources, for them to all have been forged or falsified.

The Murder of Sergei Kirov - Did Stalin Have No Evidence For His "Theory"?

Since 2000 a great deal of scholarly attention has been devoted to investigating the assassination of Leningrad Party First Secretary Sergei M. Kirov in the Party Headquarters in the Smolny Institute in Leningrad on December 1, 1934. Four major studies, one of them by the present writer, have been devoted to it.

Snyder writes:

Stalin's interpretation of the Leningrad murder was a direct challenge to the Soviet state police. His was not a theory that the NKVD was inclined to accept, not least because there was no evidence. (73)

Snyder does not know what he is talking about. Stalin had no "interpretation." He instructed the NKVD to seek for the assassins among Zinovievites in Leningrad only after evidence of the assassin's, Leonid Nikolaev's, ties to these underground Zinovievites had been uncovered during the course of the investigation, both in Nikolaev's own notebooks and from the assassin's own statements to the investigators.

A very large body of evidence in the Kirov murder case has now been available to researchers. Much of it has been public for over a decade. All of it supports the official position of the Soviet prosecution at the time that Kirov was murdered by a conspiracy of underground Zinovievites; that Zinoviev and Kamenev were in overall charge of the murder; and that Trotsky and his followers were at least aware of it. Few of Snyder's readers will know this.

The present writer's book on the Kirov murder has now been published in both English and Russian editions. The evidence now available - not only from former Soviet archives but from non-Soviet sources - clearly proves that the conspiracies that constituted the main accusations against the defendants at the Kirov murder trial of December 1934, the First, Second, and Third Moscow "Show" Trials of August 1936, January 1937, and March 1938, and the Military or "Tukhachevsky Affair" trial of June 1937, really did exist.
Gover Furr, The Murder of Sergei Kirov: History, Scholarship and the Anti-Stalin Paradigm. Kettering, OH: Erythros Press and Media LLC, 2013. For evidence from beyond the USSR see Chapter 17. Russian translation: Grover Ferr (Furr). Ubiystvo Kirova. Novoe issledovanie. Moscow: Russkaia panorama, 2013.

Snyder on the Moscow Trials

According to Snyder,

Beginning in August 1936, Yezhov charged Stalin's former political opponents with fantastic offenses in public show trials. (73)

Snyder is "bluffing" again. He uses the word "fantastic" in an attempt to confuse his readers, and so permit him to avoid the normal scholarly obligation to study the evidence that exists.

In reality there is a great deal of evidence that the charges against the defendants in the August 1936 Moscow Trial and the other two in January 1937 and March 1938 were true. Like other anticommunist writers Snyder prefers to pretend that it does not exist. Perhaps he is deliberately concealing it; perhaps he is unaware of it, and therefore incompetent to write about this subject. Again, few of his readers will know about it.

There was nothing "fantastic" in the charges brought in the Moscow trials. Lean Trotsky declared some of them to be "fantastic" - but Trotsky was secretly in league with at least some of the defendants, as we have known for more than 30 years now thanks to Trotsky's own admissions preserved in the Trotsky Archives in Harvard and the Hoover Institution.

Words like "fantastic" say nothing about the matter at hand - in this case, the charges against the Moscow Trial defendants. "The charges were fantastic" means, in fact, "I consider the charges to be fantastic," just as the statement "pistachio ice cream is delicious" simply means "I think that pistachio ice cream is delicious." In each case the statement tells us about the person who makes the statement. It says nothing about reality.

Snyder claims that "these old Bolsheviks had been intimidated and beaten, and were doing little more than uttering lines from a script." But once again, intentionally or not, Snyder is deceiving his reader. He cannot possibly have any evidence that the defendants were "beaten" since there never has been any. In 2003 Stephen F. Cohen, the world's greatest authority of Bukharin, wrote that Bukharin was definitely not tortured. Nor has there ever been any evidence that any of the other defendants were tortured. Likewise, there has never been any evidence of any "script."

Once again Snyder's falsehood is also a "bluff." Perhaps many of Snyder's readers will think: "A full professor of history like Snyder must have evidence that the defendants had been 'intimidated' and 'beaten' and so gave false testimony." But neither Snyder nor anybody else has any such evidence. On the contrary, we have a lot of evidence that the defendants in the Moscow Trials testified as they wanted to. That does not mean that they always told the truth, but that if and when they lied, they did so because they chose to lie to the prosecution.

Snyder writes:

The party newspaper, Pravda, made the connection clear in a headline of 22 August 1936: "Trotsky-Zinoviev-Kamanev-Gestapo." Could the three Bolsheviks in question, men who had built the Soviet Union, truly be paid agents of capitalist powers? Were these three communists of Jewish origin likely agents of the secret state police of Nazi Germany? They were not, but the charge was taken seriously, even outside the Soviet Union. (74)

This is a falsehood - specifically, a "straw man." None of the testimony in the August 1936 Moscow Trial portrays Zinoviev and Kamenev as either "paid agents of capitalist powers" or "agents of the secret state police of Nazi Germany," as Snyder alleged. Any reading of the trial transcript, which is widely available on the Internet, will show this.

The testimony at the August 1936 Moscow trial simply confirms that Zinoviev and Kamanev and their followers were in touch with Trotskyites, who were also in touch with Trotsky, and that some of the Trotskyites had conspired with agents of the German Secret Police. It is a shibboleth of respectability, de rigueur in certain corners of anticommunist scholarship, to assert that the Moscow Trials were all "faked." But there is no evidence at all that they were, and much evidence that corroborates the confessions of the most important defendants.

It is striking that Snyder seems to believe that he can tell whether the charges against and confessions of the defendants in the August 1936 Moscow Trial were true or not simply by ratiocination. This is the fallacy of disbelief, a version of the logical fallacy of "begging the question": "I cannot believe it, therefore it is not true." It is a statement about the speaker, not a statement about the matter at hand, as competent historians are aware.

Snyder falsely claims that:

He {Stalin} believed that the Spanish government was weak because it was unable to find and kill enough spies and traitors.... (74)

Sources (n. 35 p. 470):

* Werth, Terreur, 282.
* "See also" Kuromiya, Stalin, 121.

This is a false statement. Here follows an examination of these sources.

Werth, Terreur, 282: This reference contains no evidence to support Snyder's statement. Werth merely refers to a conference presentation by Oleg Khlevniuk, claiming that Khlevniuk has "show" (montré) that the defeats of the Spanish Republic were caused by their inability to uproot spies from their midst. These conference papers have proven impossible to obtain. At any rate Snyder never read this essay, or he would have referred directly to it. Therefore, Snyder does not know what Khlevniuk actually said, only what Werth claims he said.

Kuromiya, Stalin, 121, quotes from essays published by Khlevniuk in 1995 and 1998. It is likely that Khlevniuk said the same thing here as in the unpublished essay cited by Werth. Here is the relevant quotation from Kuromiya:

As Oleg Khlevniuk has convincingly shown, the Spanish Civil War (which Stalin closely followed) demonstrated to him that 'the situation in Spain itself, the acute contradictions between the different political forces, including those between the Communists and Trotsky's adherents, provided Stalin with the best possible confirmation of the need for a policy of repression as a means of strengthening the USSR's capacity for defense'.

The part in quotation marks above is evidently from Khlevniuk. However, even Kuromiya gives no evidence to support this statement of Khlevniuk's.

Kuromiya continues (121):

As Soviet military dispatches from Spain in 1936 and 1937 made clear, the war was characterised by 'anarchy, partisan and subversive and divisionist {sic, diversionist} movements, relative erosion of the frontiers between front and rear, betrayals.' The events in Spain were for Stalin direct proof that there existed, and very obviously, just such a threat from within.

This represents either Khlevniuk's views, with which Kuromiya agrees, or Kuromiya's views alone. In either case, they deliberately omit some crucial facts:

* At the January 1937 Moscow Trial former Trotskyist Karl Radek called upon Trotskyists in Spain to stop their subversive activities there.

* In May 1937 anarchist and Trotskyist forces rebelled against the Republican government of Barcelona in an event known as the "May Days" revolt. This rebellion during wartime was regarded as a stab in the back by the Republican government and by the Soviets as well.

* We have documentary evidence of Nazi German and Francoist involvement in the May Days revolt. Trotskyists like Andres Nin and the POUM, friendly to Trotsky, were also involved.

* The Tukhachevsky Affair defendants testified that Trotsky was in collaboration with them and the German general staff in planning a revolt within the USSR.

* On June 4, 1937, in the midst of the Tukhachevsky Affair, Stalin told an expanded meeting of the Military Soviet that the accused Soviet generals had wanted to make of the Soviet Union "another Spain."

Kuromiya (121-2) claims that from the disorder within the Spanish Republic Stalin drew the conclusion that subversion was rife and a "quiet rear" was essential.

None of Snyder's sources - or anybody else - claims that Stalin believed the Spanish Republic should "find and kill enough spies and traitors." Evidently Snyder has invented this.

The Tukhachevsky Affair


Eight high commanders of the armed forces were show-tried that same month; about half of the generals of the Red Army would be executed in the months to come.... (75)

This is an unusually incompetent falsehood even for Snyder. The definition of "show trial" in the Oxford English Dictionary conforms to common usage - a highly publicized, public trial. But the trial of the eight "Tukhachevksy Affair" defendants on June 11, 1937, was top-secret.

Although the transcript exists no one, even anticommunist Russian scholars trusted by the Russian government, has been allowed to see it since Col. Viktor Alksnis in 1991. After reading the transcript Alksnis, who until that time thought the generals had been framed, changed his mind and concluded that they were guilty. This information has been available since 2001 when Alksnis revealed these facts in an interview in Russia. (He has recently repeated this in print.)

In addition, Marshal Semion Budiennyi's letter to Marshal Voroshilov, and NKVD General Genrikh Liushkov's statements to his Japanese handlers, leave no room for doubt that Tukhachevsky and the military leaders convicted with him, plus many others, were guilty. Either Snyder does not know about all this evidence or he has withheld this information from his readers.

Snyder's "Fundamental" Source - A Hitler Supporter

Snyder's footnote to this statement about the Military Purges reads as follows:

n. 37 ... On the Red Army generals, see Wieczorkiewcz, Łańcuch, 296. This is a fundamental work on the military purges. (Emphasis added, GF)

The book by Pawel Wieczorkiewicz that Snyder recommends here, Łańcuch śmierci (= "Chain of Death"), it is not only not a "fundamental work" - it is worthless. Wieczorkiewicz's book reflects pre-1991 "scholarship" - essentially, Khrushchev- and Gorbachev-era falsehoods. It does not use any of the large quantity of evidence that has been published since the end of the USSR in 1991, especially during the past decade. It is never cited by any of the highly anticommunist Russian scholars who write on the Tukhachevsky Affair. The present author bought and studied a copy of Wieczorkiewicz's book 10 years ago while researching the Tukhachevskii Affair. This is another of the many references that suggest that Snyder does not study Russian-language materials and is not familiar with the scholarship, yet insists on writing about Soviet history.

But Snyder is concealing from his readers something that is widely known in Poland. The late Pawel Wieczorkiewicz (he died in 2009) was a far right-wing crackpot whose views were extreme even among far-right Polish nationalists.

Wieczorkiewicz's admiration for Hitler's Germany led him to wish that Poland had united with Hitler to invade the USSR. He had great trust in Hitler and wished Polish leaders could have stood beside Hitler in Red Square, taking a victorious salute after the defeat of the USSR.

We did not want to be in an alliance with the Third Reich and ended up in alliance with the also criminal Soviet Union. And what is worse, under its absolute domination. Hitler never treated its allies as Stalin did the conquered countries after World War II. He respected their sovereignty and subjectivity, requiring only some limitations in foreign policy. Our dependence on Germany would have been much less than the one in which we ended up with after the war against the Soviet Union. We could have found a place at the side of the Reich almost like Italy, and definitely better than Hungary or Romania. As a result, we would have been in Moscow and there Adolf Hitler together with Rydz-Smigly would have reviewed the parade of the victorious Polish-German armies. A grim association is, of course, the Holocaust. If, however, you consider it well, one can conclude that a rapid German victory would have meant it would not have come to that. The Holocaust was in fact largely a function of the German military defeats.

Wieczorkiewicz's favorite historian was British pro-Nazi, forger, and Holocaust denier David Irving, about whom Wieczorkiewicz said: (Ukrainian) Translated:

He is the best and most prominent expert on the history of World War II. A researcher for whom sources, not the viewpoints of historiography, the opinions of colleagues, or the media uproar, are what is meaningful. A man, who by virtue of his enormous merits - of collecting or declassifying and sharing key documents of the Third Reich - we should shine his boots with our hat. A historian of such caliber that he has the right to write and tell everything.
"Politica poprawność, a prawda historyczna, rozmowa z profesorem Pawłem Piotrem Wieczorkiewiczem z Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego." ("Political correctness and historical truth - conversation with Professor Pawel Piotr Wieczorkiewicz of Warsaw University"). Templum Novum, March 2006.

Wieczorkiewicz openly wished that Poland had sided with Nazi Germany in World War II! In an interview published in the Polish journal Wiadomosci on January 2, 2006, Wieczorkiewicz said the following: (Ukrainian) Translated:

Talaga: The outbreak of war was preceded by the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. What would have happened if Poland agreed to the requests of Germany? Initially, Hitler did not want to attack Poland, the strike was the result of circumstances rather than a deliberate plan that was years in creation. Did Poland provoke somewhat by its hard position the Soviet-German agreement?

Wieczorkiewicz: Beck committed, in my opinion, a cardinal error: he overlooked the Soviet factor. He played the political game perfectly, but without taking the Soviet Union into account. What would have happened if we had gone with Hitler against the Soviet Union? Poland would have been one of the main creators, along with Germany and Italy, of a united Europe with its capital in Berlin and with German as the official language.
At http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/kiosk/historia/zabraklo-wodza,3,3331024,wiadomosc.html

Snyder continues:

The Germans, however, were not counting on help from the Soviet population in that coming war. In this respect, Stalin's scenario of threat, the union of foreign enemies with domestic opponents, was quite wrong. Thus the still greater terror that Stalin would unleash upon his own population in 1937 and 1938 was entirely fruitless, and indeed counterproductive. (78)

This is all wrong. From non-Soviet sources interested scholars have known since the late 1980s that Hitler was indeed expecting a military coup in the USSR and the establishment of a pro-German military regime. We refer to the Mastny-Benes note of February 9, 1937, concerning Mastny's private talk with German emissary von Trouttmannsdorff. See, for example, Ivan Pfaff, Die Sowjetunion und die Verteidigung der Tschechoslowakei 1934-1938: Versuch der Revision einer Legende. Koeln - Wiemar - Wien: Bohlau Verlag, 1996, "Prag unde die Affaere Tuchacevski," 191-216. First published in Pfaff, "Prag und der Fall Tuchatschewski." Vierteljahresheft fuer Zeitgeschichte 35 (1987), 95-134. Pfaff's own interpretation of this important document is very faulty. We have obtained a copy of the document and plan to publish a study in the future. It has been clear since the late 1990s that the military conspiracies really did exist and were coordinated with the conspiracy of the "Rights and Trotskyites," and much more evidence has come to light since the late Alvin D. Coox's work. See, Coox, "The Lesser of Two Hells: NKVD General G.S. Lyushkov's Defection to Japan, 1938-1945." Journal of Slavic Military Studies 11, 3 (1998) 145-186 (Part One) (Coox 1); 11, 4 (1998) 72-110 (Part Two). And there is even more evidence of these conspiracies today.

All this evidence accords very well with the great deal of evidence that we have from former Soviet archival documents now declassified. These documents are published, mostly in excerpt, in Kantor, Iulia. Voina i mir Mikhaila Tukhachevskogo. Moscow: Izdatel'skii Dom Ogoniok "Vremia," 2005, and Kantor, Iulia. Zakliataia druzhba. Sekretnoe sotrudnichestvo SSSR I Germania v 1920-1930-e gody. M-Spb: "Piter," 2009. Kantor tries to contend that Tukhachevsky was innocent nonetheless. The documents alone are in a series of articles by Kantor in Istoriia Gosudarstva i Prava (2006). I have put them on line at http://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/kantor_4articles_igp06.pdf This is as good confirmation of Tukhachevsky's collaboration with the Germans as we are likely to ever have. Snyder is either ignorant of this fact (incompetent) or knows about it but fails to tell his readers (dishonest).

Collaboration with the Germans was the substance of many of the confessions of defendants in the Moscow Trials and in the Tukhachevsky Affair. In 1939 Nikolai Ezhov, head of the NKVD during the so-called "Great Terror", admitted that by means of mass murder the conspirators under his command were trying to make enough people dissatisfied with the Soviet government that they would either revolt in the case of invasion, or would not oppose it. There is no evidence that these confessions were coerced or fabricated. Certainly Snyder has never seen any such evidence. If he had, he would have cited it. Once again, Snyder's statement is a "bluff."
For the complete texts in Russian and in English translation of all of Ezhov's confessions that had been published by 2010 see Grover Furr, "The Moscow Trials and the "Great Terror" of 1937-1938: What the Evidence Shows." At http://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/research/trials_ezhovshchina_update0710.html See also Bobrov and Furr, "Marshal S.M. Budiennyi."

Snyder Says There Were No Such People as "Kulaks"

Snyder claims that there were in reality no such people as "kulaks" and that the Soviets had invented the term:

As a social class, the kulak (prosperous peasant) never really existed; the term was rather a Soviet classification that took on a political life of its own. (78-9)

This is either incompetence or deliberate deception. The term "kulak" had existed long before the Russian Revolution or Russian Marxism. Kulaks were defined as those peasants who employed other workers on their farms.

Here are quotations from three pre-revolutionary non-Russian writers who commented on the "koolaks" and their role in the peasant society. English author Emile Joseph Dillon wrote:

...this type of man was commonly termed a Koolak, or fist, to symbolize his utter callousness to pity or truth. And of all the human monsters I have ever met in my travels, I cannot recall any so malignant and odious as the Russian Koolak.
-Emile J. Dillon. The Eclipse of Russia. New York: George H. Doran, 1918, p. 67.

Other prerevolutionary references to the kulak are the following:

The great advantage the koulaks possess over their numerous competitors in the plundering of the peasants, lies in the fact that they are members, generally very influential members, of the village commune. This often enables them to use for their private ends the great political power which the self-governing mir exercises over each individual member. The distinctive characteristics of this class are very unpleasant. It is the hard, unflinching cruelty of a thoroughly uneducated man who has made his way from poverty to wealth, and has come to consider money-making, by whatever means, as the only pursuit to which a rational being should devote himself.
- "Stepniak" (a pseudonym), The Russian Peasantry. London: George Rutledge; New York: E.P. Putnam & Co., 1905, p. 55.

On the other side arise the kulak (literally, the "fist"), a name coined to designate those ex-serfs and simple peasants who, utilising the unpropitious condition of their fellow members of the commune, made one after another their debtors, next their hired labourers, and appropriated for their own individual use the land shares of thsoe economical weaklings.

The kulak is a very interesting figure in rural Russia ... There is no doubt that the methods used by this usurer and oppressor in the peasant's blouse have not been of the cleanest. ... The conspicuous position he now occupies came about during the last twenty or thirty years. In Russian literature he has been dubbed the "village eater," and has been clothed with all sorts of diabolical qualities. ... He is the natural product of a vicious system. ...
- Wolf von Schierband, Russia, her Strength and her Weakness. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's, 1904, p. 120.

Conclusion: The category of "kulak" is well documented from pre-Soviet times. Snyder's false claim that is was a "Soviet classification" is ignorant.

The Ezhovshchina, Again

In a telegram entitled "On Anti-Soviet Elements," Stalin and the politburo issued general instructions on 2 July 1937 for mass repressions in every region of the Soviet Union. The Soviet leadership held kulaks responsible for recent waves of sabotage and criminality, which meant in effect anything that had gone wrong within the Soviet Union. The politburo ordered the provincial offices of the NKVD to register all kulaks who resided in their regions, and to recommend quotas for execution and deportation. Most regional NKVD officers asked to be allowed to add various "anti-Soviet elements" to the lists... (80-1)

...The killing and imprisonment quotas were officially called "limits," though everyone involved knew they were meant to be exceeded. Local NKVD officers had to explain why they could not meet a "limit," and were encouraged to exceed them. No NKVD officer wished to be seen as lacking élan when confronting "counter-revolution," especially when Yezhov's line was "better too far than not far enough." (81)

This outline of the Ezhovshchina - called the "Great Terror" by anticommunists - is all wrong. The text of the Politburo Decree "On Anti-Soviet Elements" is online in Russian as is a facsimile of the original telegram. It is published in a well-known documentary collection.
This translation is from Getty and Naumov, 470-1. They capitalize the text. The Russian language edition above does not, so we have restored the text to normal sentence format.

Extract from Protocol #51 of the Politburo of the CC resolution of 2 July 1937

STRICTLY SECRET Central Committee All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)

No. P51/94 3 July 1937

To: Comrade Yezhov, secretaries of regional and territorial committees, CCs of the national Communist parties.

#94. On anti-Soviet elements.

The following telegram is to be sent to secretaries of regional and territorial committees and to the CCs of national Communist parties:

"It has been observed that a large number of former kulaks and criminals deported at a certain time from various regions to the north and to Siberian districts and then having returned to their regions at the expiration of their period of exile are the chief instigators of all sorts of anti-Soviet crimes, including sabotage, both in the kolkhozy and sovkhozy as well as in the field of transport and in certain branches of industry. The CC of the VKP(b) recommends to all secretaries of regional and territorial organizations and to all regional, territorial, and republic representatives of the NKVD that they register all kulaks and criminals who have returned home in order that the most hostile among them be forthwith administratively arrested and executed by means of a 3-man commission {troika} and that the remaining, less active but nevertheless hostile elements be listed and exiled to districts {raiony} as indicated by the NKVD. The CC of the VKP(b) recommends that the names of those comprising the 3-man commissions be presented to the C within five days, as well as the number of those subject to execution and the number of those subject to exile."

Secretary of the CC I. Stalin
Lubianka. Stalin I Glavnoe Upravlenia Gosbezopasnosti NKVD 1937-1938 Dokumenty. Moscow: MFD, 2004, No. 114, pp. 234-5. Hereafter Lubianka 1937-1938.

It is not a "general instruction" for "mass repressions" but instructions for opposing rebellions against the government. This volume and other documentary collections make it clear that the Soviet leadership was correct in believing that a serious crisis existed.

The disclosure of a widespread conspiracy by the top leaders of the Red Army, and the continuing uncovering of high- and medium-ranking Party leaders and officials in several secret conspiratorial organizations, proved that plans - probably several plans - for a coup against the government and Party leadership in favor of Germany and Japan had been far advanced.

In his recent study Practicing Stalinism Soviet historian J. Arch Getty has written:

Stalin and his associates seem to have believed that a large-scale conspiracy was about to overthrow them.
J. Arch Getty. Practicing Stalinism: Bolsheviks, Boyars, and the Persistence of Tradition. Yale University Press, 2013, 263.

Getty points out that Molotov and Kaganovich continued to believe this decades later. (263-4). We have excellent evidence today that such conspiracies did in fact exist. The Tukhachevsky Affair defendants gave details about some of them. Existence that these military conspiracies not only existed but were connected to the Rightist conspiracy involving Nikolai Bukharin and Aleksei Rykov, defendants at the third Moscow Trial of March 1938, come from NKVD escapee Genrikh Liushkov, who informed the Japanese of them after he fled the USSR in 1938.
For a summary and further bibliography see Furr, Murder of Sergei Kirov, Chapter 17.

What Stalin and the Party leadership did not know was that Nikolai Ezhov, head of the NKVD, was also a conspirator. Ezhov conspired with other Party leaders and with his own subordinates to kill as many Soviet citizens as he could, in order to spread discontent with the Soviet system and aid any invasion by Germany or Japan.

Snyder claims that there were "quotas" for executions - and then admits that there were none. In fact all the documents we have today show that the center - Stalin and the top leadership - insisted that the limits on executions and imprisonments be restricted. Snyder's claim that "everybody knew" that "limits" really meant "quotas" is false. Like other anticommunist writers Snyder would like to have evidence that Stalin set "quotas" for executions. But Snyder goes too far when he implies that he does have such evidence. And he does imply this, for otherwise how would he know that "everybody knew"?

Arch Getty makes this clear:

Order No. 447 established limits (limity) rather than quotas; maximums, not minimums. (Practicing 201)

He goes on to insist that Stalin could not possibly have intended these numbers to be exceeded (232). Getty also adds the following about the "limits-quotas" issue:

One of the mysteries of the field {of Soviet history - GF} is how limity is routinely translated as "quotas." (Practicing 340 n. 109)

Getty's specific example is Oleg Khlevniuk, another researcher whose anticommunist bias and lack of objectivity ruin his scholarship. But it applies to Snyder as well. Maximums are different from minimums. Ideological anticommunists like Khlevniuk and, as here, Snyder, would like their readers to believe that Stalin demanded "minimums," so that's what they write.

Snyder is fabricating again when he states the following:

Under time pressure to make quotas, officers often simply beat prisoners until they confessed. Stalin authorized this on 21 July 1937. (82)

It is certainly true that Ezhov and his men beat prisoners until they made false confessions. Some of Ezhov's men confessed to doing this and/or observing other NKVD men doing it. We know this because it is documented, and these documents exist because Ezhov and his men were prosecuted, tried, and punished for these crimes after Ezhov had been removed as Commissar of the NKVD and replaced by Lavrentii Beria.

But the claim that Stalin "authorized this" is false. Neither he nor anyone else has seen any such authorization by Stalin of July 21, 1937, or any other date, because none has been found. If it existed, it would have been well publicized - it is just the kind of evidence that anticommunist writers have been eagerly looking for. It is needless to add that Snyder provides no source for his claim. But few of his readers will know this.

Snyder fill page 82-84 with accounts of mass shootings. Not all are reliable - many of the secondary sources Snyder uses are by scholars just as lacking in objectivity and prone to making undocumentable statements as Snyder is. Ezhov and his men did shoot hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens. The point is that Ezhov's mass murders were part of his anti-government conspiracy.

Snyder makes a number of false statements in these pages too. For example:

Yet even Stalin presented his own policies as inevitable... (85)

This is false. Snyder cites no such statement by Stalin, nor - to our knowledge - has anyone else.

Phony NKVD "Shorthand"

Snyder claims that NKVD men justified "victimizing" Poles in the following manner:

In a kind of a operational shorthand, NKVD officers said: "Once a Pole, always a kulak. (86)

Snyder's note to this statement reads as follows: "n. 62 - Gurianov, "Obzor," 202." This is a reference to the following work:

A. Ie. Gurianov, "Obzor sovetskikh repressivnykh kampanii protiv poliakov i pols's'kikh grazhdan," in A.V. Lipatov and I.O. Shaitanov, eds., Poliaki i russkie: Vzaimoponimanie i vzaimoneponimanie, Moscow: Indrik, 2000, 199-207.

This is a phony reference. There is no such passage in the article by Gur'ianov (note correct spelling of his name). The expression "Raz poliak - znachit, kulak" was in use in the USSR at the time, perhaps mainly in Ukraine and Belorussia. Per Anders Rudling suggests that this term was used in Belorussia during 1937-1938. "Vialikaia Aichynnaia vaina u sviadomastsi belaruau (The Great Patriotic War in the minds of Belorussians)" Arkhe (Minsk) 5 (2008), p. 44. Crude as it was, such an expression made some sense. Poles in Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia were likely to be "osadnicy," imperialist "settlers," and therefore landlords.

Conclusion to Bloodlands, Chapter Two: Every fact-claim Snyder makes in this chapter that alleges some kind of criminal or immoral action by Stalin and/or the Soviet leadership is false.

that brecht video didn't load for me so, yeah, the quote is probably a double-entendre which is intended to mean that if people weren't trying to overthrow stalin then they are truly guilty, because they claimed stalin was an evil dictator so why wouldn't they be trying to overthrow him. which papa bear then sort of twists and says that this is part of why brecht is an arch-stalinist, because he implicitly accepts the logic of stalin's rule (darkness at noon makes the same cynical arguments to deflate them, that anyone who joins an opposition should be willing to die).
Bumping to request more Blood Lies.
Chapter 5 is really long, I'm working on it
stalin clearly understood what ezhov was doing and supported it. the execution numbers were derived from a request stalin put out in a july telegram (getty cites "Ob antisovetskikh elementakh", Poliburo resolution of 2 July 1937, Trud, 4 June 1992), and the execution limits were discussed at the october central committee plenum (getty cites Plenum TsK VKP(b) 11-12 oktiabria 1937, g., stenogramma, RGASPI, f. 17, op. 2, d. 625, 11. 1-10, 38, 49, 55, 63, 70)
"stalin we really need to shoot some dissidents if we want to win these elections, give us some quotas"

"quotas? hell no. i'm forbidding you from arresting more than 10,000 people in each administrative division. but you get to decide if they are shot or go to gulag."
stalinists often remind us khrushchev participated in the purges and had blood on his hands. but if stalin was such a wonderful humanitarian, why didn't he punish khrushchev for this anti-soviet crime?

Panopticon posted:

stalin clearly understood what ezhov was doing and supported it. the execution numbers were derived from a request stalin put out in a july telegram (getty cites "Ob antisovetskikh elementakh", Poliburo resolution of 2 July 1937, Trud, 4 June 1992), and the execution limits were discussed at the october central committee plenum (getty cites Plenum TsK VKP(b) 11-12 oktiabria 1937, g., stenogramma, RGASPI, f. 17, op. 2, d. 625, 11. 1-10, 38, 49, 55, 63, 70)

The text of that exact resolution is in the above chapter under the section called "The Ezhovshchina, Again." You can see that Furr even discusses Getty's citation of this resolution. Stalin expected execution and exile for a limited number of the "most hostile" of the kulaks and was responding to a number of known conspiracies against the Soviet government. So I'm not sure what your point is. Furr also writes "On the contrary, it is clear now that Stalin and the Politburo did not know that Ezhov was engaging in these massive executions of innocent people. We discuss this important matter in much more detail in Chapter Six of the present book." so I am excited to get through the next 100 pages, to get you more of the evidence to help you to molt your insect casing of anticommunist lies.

Edited by swampman ()

are there any soviet archives online?

anti communist material seems to just refer to documents in libraries in moscow, and as Furr shows they will distort interpretations or just make things up.

i have not found anythings so far
why do you believe stalin was concerned with guilt and innocence, and not the suppression of a class?

if he were concerned with punishing only people guilty of something, why did he give extraordinary judicial powers back to chekist troikas, and not rely on the courts system? why did he have an about-face on the issue of capital punishment and give the troikas power to execute individuals, and thus remove any possibility of exculpatory evidence saving innocent life?
if stalin were concerned with guilt and innocence, why was there any need for limits on numbers to be repressed? were the local officials just meant to let terrorists and murderers walk away without punishment? you are insane

Panopticon posted:

why do you believe stalin was concerned with guilt and innocence, and not the suppression of a class?

Well, Stalin was concerned with the suppression of a "class" I suppose, that class being the "most hostile elements" of the kulaks returning from exile or jail to immediately conspire to overthrow the Soviet government, in any of the real, proven-to-have-existed plots led by people like Ezhov. And knowing how hated the kulaks were, Stalin did not want them to be over-zealously killed off, so I suppose a hard limit on the number of executions was seen as a practical necessity.

This is a pretty clear, simple example of how ideology distorts perception. When the word limity was translated as "quota" these Politburo orders and other documents had a more damning flair to them. But now that the numbers are shown to be the opposite - strict maximums on the number of people to be tried - it's still (to you) evidence against the Communists. Now, my reading of the "limit" here is that Stalin saw a need for immediate action but had no desire for overreach. Note that Stalin does not even specify the actual limit but asks for the limits to be provided from each territory. Stalin was asking for an estimate of the number of kulaks who were involved in anti-Soviet crimes in each area, then demanding the local troika stick to those limits instead of zealously rooting out ever more criminals until innocents became swept up. Probably Stalin remembered events from world history like, the Inquisition or whatever, and wanted Soviet agents, acting at a distance in a time before cellphones, not to undermine the goal of executing the anti-Soviet kulaks.

You on the other hand seem to read the "quotas" as proof that Stalin wanted at X thousand murdered, and now you read the "limit" as proof that Stalin already had the first X thousand executions lined up.

When you posted your indirect Getty citation of the Politburo resolution, and I showed you the actual text of that citation within the body of Furr's previous chapter, didn't that give you some indication that you are not looking very closely at evidence that runs contrary to your view? Didn't that give you some indication that your views are not based on the actual, primary sources?

Edited by swampman ()


swampman posted:

Well, Stalin was concerned with the suppression of a "class" I suppose

indeed, and ezhov liquidated it according to stalin's plan