On Defending The Soviet Union

scylla-charybdis-and-meContrary to what some might try to take from my post on the longterm failure of the Soviet economy, I am not an anti-Soviet ideologue. I loathe lies about its achievements and the blanket condemnations directed its way by moralistic poseurs every bit as much or more than I detest reality-challenged attempts to paint it off as some kind of utopia or at least superior to alternative paths of development.

After communists, most of all I hate anti-communists. - Sergei Dovlatov, Soviet dissident.

On the latter point, I especially notice a tendency to ignore wider historical and comparative context. In the crudest cases, Russian literacy rates and GDP are compared with those of the Tsarist era: Yes, of course the average Soviet citizen c.1980 lived far better than the average Russian citizen in 1913, but then again, so did the average citizen of EVERY OTHER European country. The more important question to ask: Would the average Russian have been better off had the Russian Empire continued on its natural development trajectory without the distortions of Stalinist central planning? Yes, he almost certainly would have, as per comparison with, say, Finland (the sole part of the Empire that didn’t go Communist), or even the Mediterranean periphery nations.

Alternatively, they say that the USSR nonetheless managed to be richer than the “Third World”, as if that was some kind of achievement. Of course it was not, as (1) they were much less advanced than the Russian Empire even in 1913, and (2) their low national IQ’s would have precluded, and continue to do so, convergence with the rich world anyway; a weakness that Russia *doesn’t* suffer from. But the evidence is simply too overwhelming to be deniable: China; North Korea; Cuba; to a lesser extent, the ex-Soviet countries and Eastern Europe – all these nations, which have little in common except insofar as they suffered from the scourge of Communist economics, are ALL glaring and consistent downwards exceptions to the otherwise remarkably tight correlation between levels of national IQ/human capital and GDP per capita. (Of course a further problem here is that hardcore Soviet apologists tend to be cultural Marxists and deny Human Biodiversity and intelligence theory).

They plead special circumstances, e.g. that the USSR was encircled, and it suffered from wars, crises, etc. But the USSR was far from alone from being wracked by catastrophe during the 20th century – in fact, quite a few of them were self-inflicted, like the Stalinist famines – and (to its credit), it remained stable and recovered quickly from shocks, unlike many developing capitalist countries. (E.g., lost WW2 industrial output was restored by the late 1940′s). As for the sums it spent on the military, this was a reason but not the main reason why the Soviet economy became sluggish and living standards stagnated from the 1970′s, at a level that was far beneath that of the advanced world (regardless of whatever absurd anecdotes commentators like Kirill or Leon wish to recount).

That said, I equally despise ideologized LIES about the USSR, which tend to come most prominently from Russophobe Westerners and their liberal compradors in Russia: That it shares responsibility for WW2 with Nazi Germany; that it “drowned” the fascist invaders with bodies (there is a whole host of myths on that front, most of which were initially advanced by retired Nazi generals); that the Holodomor was a genocide against Ukrainians (it was a manmade famine enabled by ideological zeal, and remarkably comparable to the Irish Famine); that the Soviet space program was run by German scientists; that the Soviet system was doomed to collapse; that the Communists killed 70 million people (in reality about 2mn executed or died in camps, and a further 5mn in manmade famines – which is STILL horrible, lest critics accuse me of apologetics, especially when one considers that the most severe late Tsarist era famine happened in 1891, in which half a million people died).

I also consider Andropov to have been the best of the Soviet leaders, and am of the opinion that on balance it would have been better had the USSR not collapsed and instead reformed itself while maintaining political unity (though in practice, again contrary to pro-Soviet propaganda, this was a very hard if not impossible task in the conditions that had developed by the late 1980′s). Despite not having really lived there I very much REGRET the Soviet collapse; for a start, I would not have become a rootless cosmopolitan slouching about foreign countries, and more generally the new democratic and “independent” Russia would not have been pushed about and bullied by the West, which contrary to its democracy propaganda only truly respects the fist. If I were really the anti-Soviet ideologue some people insist on painting me as, would I have made SEVEN out of the 50 (14%) of my article on Russophobe myths directly tied to clearing up misconceptions about Soviet history? Would I have translated the controversial textbook by Filippov, which was smeared as Stalinist by various liberal ideologues and Russophobes?

Of course, there are also polarly opposite ideologues who consider me a Stalinist or Soviet apologist, such as La Russophobe and Economist “journalist” Edward Lucas and his various Balto-fascist minions. They hardly deserve mention. After all if I was this sovok diehard would I bother doing stuff like translating this article which is largely anti-Soviet by Estonian writer Jaan Kaplinski?

My only real sin is being objective, radically ambiguous, not taking sides, etc., and for this I come under assault from everybody – the liberals, the PC brigade and cultural Marxists, the traitors and compradors, the Russophobes Western and Russian, Western chauvinists, the hardcore Stalinists, the Communists, the monarchists and white nationalists, and what’s worst in my view, the Russian “patriots” who think Stalin and/or the USSR in general were the best thing since vodka. That is because many of the above are actually viciously intolerant fascists if not in name then in spirit. Those thugs will never shut me up!

Nonetheless, for all the lively discussion the recent post on the Soviet economy generated, I have taken the strategic decision to henceforth place all my commentary on Russia that is not more or less directly involved with this blog’s sub-header – “Exposing Western myths about Russia” – at my other blog AKarlin. That blog will be for controversial, original, etc. comment on Russia that will at times not jive well with DR’s theme. This blog will be exclusively about specific Russia myths, exposes of lying journalists, Russia-related translations, telling statistical charts, etc.

EDIT Jan 29, 2013: I have moved taken the above paragraph to heart and transferred the post from DR to AKarlin, where you are now reading it.

Comments

  1. Very good post, thanks Anatoly.
    The system did rise people out of poverty but couldn’t deliver the middle calss standard of living (becaus of obvious problems with command econony). However the beginnings of USSR were a cruel experiment that Russia didn’t deserve – that’s why I only have contempt for people like Lenin and co. who inflicted this on the country.

    • “The system did rise people out of poverty”

      As the comparison with Finland and the Mediteraenian shows the people would have risen out of poverty anyways (and were doing so in the final decades before the War), so the System should not get credit for getting them out of poverty.

      Interwar Poland was a relatively backward part of Europe, a bit like Latin America with its own junta (the colonels who ruled after Pilsudski’s death). Despite that, Grandfather recalls moving to Lviv from Kharkov in 1939 as if moving into some civilized prosperous wonderland – a strong impression shared by his classmates. That shouldn’t have happened.

      • Scowspi says:

        We also have the example of the one advanced, industrialized and democratic country to come under Communist control: Czechoslovakia. Its fate was fundamentally no different than that of all the other Central/Eastern European countries. It suffered the same kind of stagnation and restrictions as all of them, and emerged from “actually existing socialism” in much worse shape relative to its prosperous Western neighbors than it had been before.

      • @AP. @Scowspi
        You are, of course, right. Maybe USSR could get credit for improving lifes in some of the poorest regions like Central Asian republics in some of which level of human development has actually decreased since they gained independence.

  2. A very balanced assessment of the U.S.S.R. Probably the best thing that can be said for it (and worst?) is that the Soviet system was great for war and military industries. The Soviet Union was, ultimately, able to defeat Nazi Germany for that reason, despite the fact that Hitler had the overwhelmingly greater human capital and industrial resources of the rest of Europe to draw upon. The Cold War U.S.S.R. also had military power – in both conventional and nuclear weapons – all out of proportion to its economic and demographic weight in the world.

    Of course, I am peacenik and more generally have come to believe that as human history progresses hard power and empires grow increasingly pointless and self-destructive (because nukes, asymmetric warfare, trade..). And I think that as much as anything describes the bankruptcy of the Soviet Empire. But I also think it is an important example, against Liberast lies, of what central planning can achieve: in this case, the greatest military power of its day.

    • “The Soviet Union was, ultimately, able to defeat Nazi Germany for that reason, despite the fact that Hitler had the overwhelmingly greater human capital and industrial resources of the rest of Europe to draw upon.”

      And the consequence of Soviet failure in that war would have been Generalplan Ost.

      That is to say, the extermination of European Slavs, Poles and Ukrainians very much included.

      Yes, the fact that there are now Poles in Poland and Ukrainians in Ukraine is is due to Stalin’s prewar industrialization, and certainly not because of anything a Pole, Ukrainian, or someone from the Anglosphere did.

    • Thanks, AM and Craig.

      @Craig,

      You are correct on that. In the context of a Civilization game, the USSR would have very little war weariness and a huge production/GDP ratio; but in the long-term its GDP, culture, and tech development would fall far behind.

      PS. I would also note that the primary reason it was successful at military-industrial development wasn’t so much due to a feature of the system as to the vast concentration of resources on the sector. If the USSR spent about 25% of its GDP on the military/MIC – which also got preferential access to resources, got 75% (!) of its R&D personnel to work in the sector, and actually allowed a limited form of competition between defense firms – then becoming a great military power is the least that could be expected…

      • On this Civ2 is a reasonably accurate rendering ;-) (Until that fanaticism malarkey anyway.)

        • Now that I think of it, I think the Civilization franchise has contributed more to my views of geopolitics and proper government than any one particular book. Which is kinda scary come to think of it… :)

          • Why not? I think the next generation, at last, will be accustomed to their parents being or having been gamers or at least having been familiar with such people. The scorn associated with video games will be a thing of the past (or not?)

    • You are right, the Soviet Union was able to defeat Germany in the Second World War. However, we can not extrapolate from this that the Soviet regime was the best regime the East Slav power could have for fighting war and for national defense, or even that the Soviet regime was a capable one when it comes to fighting war and national defense.

      There are a few things I would like to point out. First, if the USSR beat Germany, was it really necessary for it to do it only after it lost half its industry and farmland to the German advance and after 60-70 million of its citizens had been already made subject to the German occupation with all the horrors this entailed? If the Soviet Union was the more powerful of the two, as we in the end saw it was indeed the case, then why it could not win in a less dramatic manner? It is rather unusual for a people of a state that wins a war to first have to suffer so grievously and bear such losses as the Soviet people did in the Second World War. The answer at least in part has to be the gross, near-criminal incompetence and lack of realism on the part of the Soviet state leadership, without which the early German victories would have been unthinkable.

      It is true as you say that if we take a specific moment in the 1940s, eg the summer of 1942 that the Soviets look as if they have far less industrial resources and human capital avaliable than the Nazi Empire, but if so then whose responsibility is this? Who has been in charge now for 20 years? If the USSR is in the position it is in, isn’t that then at least partly responsibility of Stalin & co? Of their diplomatic blunders (sending supplies to the Germans), of their assault on the Red Army (the officer purge), their repression of Soviet citizens (which destroyed what could have been soldiers, workers and engineers), etc, etc, etc.

      To me the story is not so much the Soviet Union saving the Russians/Ukrainians/Belarusians from the Nazis, as it is one of the Soviet leadership coming dangerously near to causing their defeat. IMO it was only the USSR that ever made the fall of Eastern Slavs to Germans and their possible destruction at the hands of the Nazis even a possibility. They should have been able to repel, or better yet deter such an invasion in an easier manner, under a less extremist regime, less beholden to ideological fantasies, eg of the Social-Revolutionaries, or of the right-wing military nationalist in the mold of Kornilov. (Which to me are the realistic alternatives in this time — Bolsheviks or no Bolsheviks, the Tsars were done for except perhaps as figureheads.)

      • yalensis says:

        I agree with this. The Stalin regime was criminally negligent in preparing for the Nazi threat. They should have been ramping up for years, but unfortunately Stalin went into denial mode and buried his head in the sand, like an ostrich. It also didn’t help that Stalin purged some of his best army officers.

        • Agree with the comment above. There is a passage in the more fair and balanced British history of the USSR’s war effort called Absolute War that struck me about the difference between the Tsar’s war effort and Stalin’s early war effort. Whereas the USSR had the more advanced fighting machines and doctrine (the T-34 and KV tanks completely outclassing the German models until the Tiger and Panther were rolled out in late 42′). As Gen. Konstantin Rokosovskiy was retreating near Smolensk, a crippled Tsarist army veteran asked him why the mighty Red Army could not hold back the Germans with all their tanks and guns whereas the Tsar’s army had held back the Germans for four years, until 1918 when it simply dissolved [with Lenin as the German-paid virus introduced into the fractured Russian body politic]. A fair question, don’t you think, if the Tsarist regime was so utterly backward? Casulties on the Western Front were also horrific.

          • Moreover, at the time of the Russian army’s disintegration Russian forces were actuallty moving forward (look up the Kerensky offensive (this wasn’t Tsarist of course, but pre-Bolshevik).

            • yalensis says:

              Yeah, but don’t forget WWI was an optional war, which very few Russians even wanted to fight. WWII was NOT optional. Russia didn’t need to get involved in WWI, especially on the side of England-France. Well, this is just my bias, but I always felt Russia should have taken Germany’s side against her true archy-enemy (=England). That was Lenin’s view too, which is why he didn’t see anything wrong in taking German side (Bolsheviks actually neutral, but with pro-German slant) in WWI. Fast forward a few years, and once Stalin saw that things in Germany had gone terribly wrong (Hitler), then he should have gone into super-mega-preparedness mode. Instead he denied the obvious fact that war was inevitable and stuck his head in the sand, like a Kartvelian Ostrich.

              • Stalin stuck his head in the sand in the respect to his refusing to believe until the last moment that Hitler would strike in 1941. Appropriately when the Germans invade they are faced by what is a peace-time army.

                Stalin did, however, massively prepare for the possibility of war with Germany as such. That was precisely the problem – there was no sense of scale to the program of increasing the size and modernizing the military. The sheer numbers involved and the enormously ambitious way of fighting the Soviets were aiming for meant their war machine could not possibly be ready for the outbreak of the war. With a more conservative, less* megalomaniac, estimate of what could be accomplished with the resources and the time available a war-readiness plan could have been drawn that would actually be feasible. As it was the massive amount of energies invested into preparing for war ended up representing something very similar to wasted effort, as the USSR after the winter of 41/42 has to start from zero again — it has nothing of its pre-war military left.

                *Of course asking of Communists not to be megalomiacal is like telling a wolf to graze grass.

          • To add: Tsarist Russia did manage to defeat two of the three central poweers: it completely crushed Austria-Hungary at Przemysl (it took the massive fortress, something the Germans couldn’t do to the French at Verdun) and the Ottoman Empire. The amount of territory it lost to the Germans wasn’t much more thabn what the West lost in Belgium and nortthern France, and was able to hold the Germans.

            I think Tsarist Russia gets an unfair bad reputation because of the joint efforts to discredit it by both Communists/leftists and Russophobes.

            And HOCT’s comment was very good; I was going to write something similar but he beat me to it, and did a better job than I would have done.

          • Of course on the ground the Red Army in 1941 did not actually attempt to hold back the Germans — that would a be far too sensible a course of action for the Communists to attempt. Though caught unaware and outnumbered in the theater the Red army in 1941, under orders by Stalin and in accordance with its doctrine, attempts to drive back the Germans and throws itself into one massive, ill-timed and ill-planned counter-offensive and counter-attack after another. Straight into the teeth of the stronger and far more cohesive enemy, so that it has itself ground to dust in a piecemal fashion. Smolensk is about the only place where this suicidal offensiveness produces some results, but even here only at a huge cost.

  3. And I love the ‘shop!

  4. Anatoly,
    Very interesting post, however, what you did not mention (unless I missed it) that one of the main reasons for the wide spread anti-Soviet zeal was the Kremlin’s build up of the international communist movement and spread of communist ideology at the expense of the impoverished Russian people. My impression is that had the USSR concentrated on its domestic development and abandoned the utopian idea of “liberating” (I’d say enslaving) other nations, it could survive and create an alternative society model, more or less like China.

    • I agree with that. The USSR loved the Third World far more than it did its own people.

      • The Soviet spread of Communism cost very little. Stalin did little-to-nothing in the early years and later on any expenses funding the Vietnamese/Nicaraguans/Angolans were utterly negligible compared to those of the MIC and the Afghan War. As far the Moscow was concerned, it was a very cheap way of undermining Western governments, getting influence in the resource-rich Third World, and getting propaganda points among world opinion.

      • Scowspi says:

        There is an interesting analogy here with messianic neocon ideology in the US. It’s considered an urgent priority to remake the Middle East on the American template, while America itself sinks deeper into debt and poverty and infrastructural degradation because resources are being poured into these black holes abroad.

        • Yes. In fact I have even coined a term for this that extends beyond formally ‘neocon’ circles in D.C. I call it the Craig Pirrong Syndrome. Whereas the more corrupt or obviously lawless one’s own industry in the United States becomes (in this case, commodities fraud, first with MF Global and then with another firm within eight months). the more one must rage against Putinism with all of its corruption. It’s far easier than dealing with the mess here at home or putting Eric Holder in jail. See @LibertyLynx’s exchanges with the occupy kids where she boasts about all the supposed regulation the CFTC provides that protects the American people from Wall Street banksters. So how well have the Madoff, MF Global and the Peregrine Financial investors been protected, after the fact that their money is now gone?

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Insofar as I agree in general to what AK has written as regards the defence of the Soviet Union, I should like to know how he comes to the conclusion that “Holdomor”, a “manmade famine enabled by ideological zeal”, and the Irish Famine are “remarkably comparable”?

    The Irish Famine was caused by a single crop economy being destroyed in successive years by an infection known as “potato blight”. “Blighted” potatoes become inedible. Potato blight is not “man-made”.

    As regards any idealogical zeal shown by the British government during the Irish Famine years, it was possibly the firm belief that market forces and “self-help” would win the day; famine relief charitable organizations were set up both in mainland Britain and Ireland but whose efforts were too inadequate to combat the magnitude of the task that faced them.

    The Britiish government in the 1840s showed a similar degree of incompetence in managing famine relief in Ireland as did the Imperial Russian government in its management of the Russian famine of 1891, a famine in which many bourgeois liberals, most noticeably Prince Lvov, who later became the the first post-imperial prime minister of Russia, took a leading role in its relief.

    Another point, throughout the whole of the Irish Famine years, Irish grain and livestock exports continued. Irish farmers in Co. Meath, for example, continued to export their cattle unabated in the 1840s. But “beyond the pale”, in the West of Ireland in particular and in those areas were a subsistance single crop economy operated, namely those areas that were populated by an already impoverished population, Gaelic speaking peasants suffered terribly because of the destruction of their potato crop.

    The agent of that destruction, the fungus that became known as “potato blight”, was not brought into existence in some feindish 1840s Oxford University biolab; it was not the product of some crazed English laissez-faire zealots who despised the Irish nation and yearned for its destruction; the Irish Famine was not an attempt by the perfidious English (leave the Welsh and Scots out of this!) to inflict genocide on the Irish nation, which is what some Irish nationalist continue to maintain.

    Likewise, many Ukrainian nationalist make the claim that “Holdomor” was a planned and concerted attempt by “the Russians” to wipe out the “Ukrainian nation”.

    • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

      There is a lot of documents on the internet, try to search, which prove that it is not a truth.
      It could not be so, because Russian and Ukrainian people are interwoven like Welsh and English.
      It is very hard to find an Ukrainian in Ukraine who has not got some blood links with Russians and the vice versa.
      Ukrainian nationalists are used by UKUSA like they have been used in ex-Yugoslavia.
      In ex-Yugoslavia people say that Milosevic has done excellent job for the American Imperial Nationalists.

    • The causes of the famine were different. The response to it however was characterized by the same features as you correctly point out: Stalin did not see the lives of peasants as important and neither did the English see the lives of Irish peasants (living in their Empire) as important; their agents be they Communist or bourgeois continued sending out food while the famine was in progress; the famine was blamed on the peasants themselves but that didn’t matter because to the ideologue his ideology was either not responsible (USSR) or would solve the problems by itself (“market forces”); both events have been hijacked by Irish and Ukrainian nationalists to push their own ideological agendas.The similarities are legion.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I agree that there are great similarities in which Ukrainian and Irish nationalist zealots use the famines that occured in their respective countries as a weapon to beat their perceived erstwhile oppressors with. I am also quite sure that many of the British ruling class and bourgeoisie in the 1840s considered the starving Irish peasantry as feckless, low-lifes who were the victims of their own stupidity, in that they had chosen to live a hand-to-mouth existence by means of a potato patch. (They also made “poitin” – pronounced “pocheen” from their spuds – so they were inveterate drunkards as well!)

        Much of this British callousness as regards the Irish peasantry’s plight in the 1840s was, as Scowpi rightly points out below, founded on an intense dislike of both Roman Catholicism and of “the lower orders”.

        On the other hand, the same British ruling class and bourgoisie also shed few tears over the plight of starving, unemployed members of the new proletarian class in industrialized 19th century Britain during times of economic recession.

        A best seller in Victorian Britain was Samuel Smiles “Self Help”, in which the working classes were lectured on “sound economy” and “saving for a rainy day” and Aesopian ant-and-grasshopper stories. And if you suddenly found yourself out of work and on the street with a wife and five kids (or more!) and no means of support, then it was your own damned fault!

      • I’m unsure of your quote. I’ve never heard of the people who were responsible for the Irish Potato Famine to have had free markets on their lips. In fact they spoke openly against free trade and it was their fiercests opponents gathered in the Anti-Corn-Law League who were free-market liberals .

        Do you have something to back up the citation mark, or did you speak too quickly?

    • One obvious similarity would be the Corn Laws, which prevented import of cheap foreign grain and thus the lowering of prices of food even as people starved. You had the state not just “mismanaging” things and failing to help, but literally standing in the way of the salvation for many. But really this would have been merely the tip of the iceberg, it was the system that was tailor-made to benefit the English landlords that made the Irish vulnerable to potato blight in the first place. If you wish to read more: link

      Another British Empire famine the Requsition Famine of 1932/33 could be compared to is the Bengal Famine of 1942/43: link

    • Jennifer Hor says:

      Moscow Exile,

      Part of the tragedy of the Irish Potato Famine is that the potatoes grown in Ireland at the time were all clones of the one plant and so were particularly susceptible to potato blight. Another problem that added to the tragedy was that Irish farm tenants paid part of their rent in potatoes to British landlords. With that part of the rent gone, many tenants ended up being evicted. I believe some people tried to eat some of the rotten crop and ended up sick and dying.

      The Irish Potato Famine is a significant event not just for Ireland but for the US and Australia due to the huge numbers of Irish people who emigrated to those countries. Irish anger and antipathy to the English repeated themselves in Australia well into the 20th century. (The famous bushranger Ned Kelly and most of his gang were Aussie-born Irish.) The dislike affected Australian politics: the Democratic Labor Party, led by Irish Catholic politicians, split from the Australian Labor Party in 1955 and left that party weak until the 1970s.

      I’ve heard also that many people in the French Canadian community in Quebec who are very outspoken about Quebecois independence have Irish ancestry and Irish surnames.

  6. True, unlike Holodomor Irish Potato Famine was not caused by deliberate genocidal actions. Still, in 1997 the British gov’t apologised for it. And that is the difference that matters most in our time.

    • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

      Who said it that the Irish Potato Famine was not caused by deliberate genocidal actions?
      So the British Government of the day has not caused the Potato Famine and they apologized for it.
      Since when the British Government apologize for the crimes she has not committed?
      I know from the experience and suffering of my Nation ( Croatian ) that the British don’t apologize for the committed crimes and let alone for the crimes not committed by them.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The Irish famine was not planned by the British government. The “apology” given by the British government was for gross governmental mismanagement that resulted in an enormous amount of deaths through famine that with the benefit of hindsight many now consider might have been lessened,

        The British government did not set out in the 1840s to destroy the Irish nation through famine: that is utter nonesense, when one takes into consideration the numbers of Irish unskilled labour working in the burgeoning industrialization of the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and that throughout the 19th century the majority of rank and file soldiers serving worldwide in the British army were Irish.

        • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

          The Irish famine was not planned by the British government.
          Yes it was. I spoke to Irish people and i believe them.
          I would rather believe them than English.
          Do you know how much crime have done the British upon the Croats.
          Did you here about the Bleiburg and the book Minister and massacre?

        • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

          19th century the majority of rank and file soldiers serving worldwide in the British army were Irish.
          ———-
          You are clever to mention that British and Irish fought together.
          [ It did British and Indian and Russian and British ]
          but you have forget to mention that Ukrainian and Russian have fought together.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            In the North West of England, in towns such as Wigan, St.Helens, Preston, Widnes, Leigh, Bolton etc, not to mention the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, a very large percentage of the population are of Irish descent. In my youth there was still to be heard the popular myth bandied about by descendents of Irish labourers who had come to work in the mines and mills, foundries, glassworks and chemical works of my home town, that there were so many of Irish descent there because it was the furthest one could walk from Liverpool before dropping dead of hunger.

            I remember old people of Irish stock and whose great-grandparents either escaped from or survived “The great Hunger” telling me this tale. One of them was my paternal grandmother, born Kanturk, Co. Cork, 1868.

            The fact is, however, that the rural poor of Ireland came to the English, Scottish and Welsh industrial heartlands in droves so as to escape the subsistence peasant economy of much of Ireland. Many came before the famine; many came after; many came because of the famine. Now if “the English” were so hell bent on eradicating the Irish from the face of the earth (that’s “genocide”), why then did “English” capitalists employ the Irish in droves so as to labour in the mines and mills of Britain?

            They, the Irish peasantry, came to be paid a living wage in the mills and mines, and they often undercut the English workers in doing so. They were recruited by “English” capitalists for that very reason. (In fact, the founders of the chemical industries in Lancashire were Irish capitalists.) Read Engels’ “The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844″. Old Friedrich certainly knew what he was talking about, because he was a mill owner’s son. (I still remember the firm operating in Salford under the name of “Engels and Erman”). And the young Fritz’s mistress in England was one of his father’s millhands – she was Irish and she acted as his guide in the slums of Manchester and Salford, the Irish making up to 25% of the population of these cities in 1844.

            Note the date: 1844 was the year before the outbreak of the “Great Hunger” in Ireland.

            Of course, such renowned Irish intellectuals as the erstwhile popular singer Sinead O’Connor will be more than willing to tell all and sundry that the Irish Famine of the 1840s was a despicable English plot to wipe the Irish nation off the face of the earth.

            Engels never talks of this infamy though.

            I, for my part, am more inclined to put my trust in what the likes of Engels says (or does not say) about the Irish Famine rather than in the demagogic rants of the likes of O’Connor.

            I should also like to add that the decade in which the Great Irish Famine took place was also known as “The Hungry Forties” in Lancashire and much of industrial Britain. It was a period of economic recession – “bad trade” as they said in those days – and such recessions were believed to be natural, cyclic and that there was nothing that man could do about it. That was before John Maynard Keynes appeared on the scene almost a century later. Keynes, by the way, was an Englishman.

            It was a period when the Poor Law relief system was proven to be totally inadequate for dealing with mass unemployment. It certainly was inadequate to provide relief for those in Ireland affected by the curse of the potato blight.

            People also starved in Lancashire in the 1840s: nothing like the famine that affected Ireland from 1845-1849, but they still starved. They were so hungry in Lancashire that they ate what they called “grass pudding”. That was a tale I heard passed down to me by my great-grandfathers, who had been coal miners, as had their fathers.

            Strange thing is though, I’ve never heard word mentioned of an attempt made by the British government to wipe out Lancashire millhands and miners through starvation.

        • Scowspi says:

          Since the topic has slid onto the Irish v. Ukrainian famines, it seems that one thing they have in common is the way these national tragedies have become ideologized in ways that reflect present agendas. In both cases, the role of a nationalist diaspora based mostly in North America has played a key role.

          My understanding of Irish events (correct me if I’m wrong – I’m not an expert on this) is that the whole narrative of “the English oppressed the Irish” is a distortion of what actually happened, given that: 1) oppression in Ireland was largely based on religion and social class rather than ethnicity; 2) the Anglo-Irish elites who owned the land in Ireland considered themselves Irish, not English; 3) those same Anglo-Irish elites provided Ireland with many of its patriotic and iconic figures; 4) Ireland was a constituent part of the UK with its own parliament; 5) the Protestant church has as much claim to be considered an Irish church as the Catholic one. Yet, since Irish immigration to the US/Canada was overwhelmingly made up of poor Catholics (the most oppressed stratum of Irish society), the notion of evil English people oppressing Ireland as a whole is what we mostly hear on this side of the ocean.

          In this regard, the Ukrainian situation is similar. Ukrainian immigration to the Americas was overwhelmingly West Ukrainian, so that particular nationalist narrative has become the dominant one over here. If we’d gotten more people from Kiev or Kharkov, things might be different.

          • My family (half of them, at least) were from villages not far from Kiev and suffered from the Famine. The narrative form my family isn’t much different from what the Galicians talk about. People from the city (Russian-speaking, though in my family’s village the guy had a Ukrainian surname) came into their Ukrainian-speaking village and took grain. I know people with roots in rural Poltava oblast who have similar stories (on of whom was the grandaughter of the only survivor of 6 children). As my relatives from Kiev and others say, it is the people of Donetsk who have a different view of the famine – as industrial workers (or their grandchildren) their families didn’t experience it. My Poltavka friend said – I don’t know if this is true but that’s the impression that people have- that the grandparents of the Donetsk workers were probably eating the food taken from the starving hands of her family or families like hers.

    • Putin certainly, and probably Yeltsin and perhaps Gorbachev, called collectivization a crime against the Soviet people along with many others. Ukrainians do not get a separate apology because quite simply contrary to revisionist propaganda the famine wasn’t directed exclusively towards them as (ethnic Russian) peasants in the Volga and northern Kazakhstan suffered nearly as severely, whereas the “Green Ukrainians” in the Far East did not have a famine at all. Unlike in Turkey as regards the persecutions of Armenians (I simply do not know enough about it to judge whether it was a genocide or not) where adherents that it was genocide are prosecuted, that is not the case in Russia where anybody can claim anything they like about the Holodomor; that however does not oblige the Russian government on anything.

      • the Armenian genocide is the the very archetype of genocides(!), and have such extensive documentation. No credible historian would call it anything else than a genocide.

      • There is no evidence that Ukrainians were singled out as an ethnic group. Within Ukraine itself death rates for all rural dwellers were about equal. A rural Russian or rural Jew was as likely do die as was a rural Ukrainian (although proportionately more ethnic Ukrainians were rural dwellers than were other ethnic groups). However the Ukrainian SSR had special policies that were not applied to other republics that made the Famine more lethal there.

        I’ll paste from wikipedia a referenced section. Thre source, Snyder, is hardly a Ukrainian nationalist apologist (one of his books extensively documents gruesome crimes by UPA):

        Snyder lists seven crucial policies that applied only, or mainly, to Soviet Ukraine. He states: “Each of them may seem like an anodyne administrative measure, and each of them was certainly presented as such at the time, and yet each had to kill”:[58]
        1.From 18 November 1932 peasants from Ukraine were required to return extra grain they had previously earned for meeting their targets. State police and party brigades were sent into these regions to root out any food they could find.
        2.Two days later, a law was passed forcing peasants who could not meet their grain quotas to surrender any livestock they had.
        3.Eight days later, collective farms that failed to meet their quotas were placed on “blacklists” in which they were forced to surrender 15 times their quota. These farms were picked apart for any possible food by party activists. Blacklisted communes had no right to trade or to receive deliveries of any kind, and became death zones.
        4.On 5 December 1932, Stalin’s security chief presented the justification for terrorizing Ukrainian party officials to collect the grain. It was considered treason if anyone refused to do their part in grain requisitions for the state.
        5.In November 1932 Ukraine was required to provide 1/3 of the grain collection of the entire Soviet Union. As Lazar Kaganovich put it, the Soviet state would fight “ferociously” to fulfill the plan.
        6.In January 1933 Ukraine’s borders were sealed in order to prevent Ukrainian peasants from fleeing to other republics. By the end of February 1933 approximately 190,000 Ukrainian peasants had been caught trying to flee Ukraine and were forced to return to their villages to starve.
        7.The collection of grain continued even after the annual requisition target for 1932 was met in late January 1933.[58]

      • Not giving Ukrainians “a separate apology” is just one of the many examples of denialism of Soviet crimes, especially their well documented ethnic dimensions. Russians should finally begin to question the official Soviet narrative of history which very few other people around the world take seriously any longer. Denying the obvious wins no hearts nor minds (ref. Turkey and the Great Crime) unlike honest and continuing acknowledgement of responsibility (ref. the eternal German guilt trip). Russia’s cry for respect goes unanswered before Russians do like Germans do. I’m not holding my breath though.

        • Dear AP,

          Since I am supposed to have minimised the famine I have debated with myself whether to respond to your point. All I will say is that I am familiar with Snyder’s works and I have read Snyder’s book Badlands and it struck me as another example of grossly overpoliticised history (if it is history at all)which has attracted a huge amount of positive attention purely on the strength of its very obvious political agenda. That by the way is not only my view. It is also the view of many (probably most) academic historians including people like the Cambridge historian Richard Evans who is most emphatically not a Soviet apologist and who has written a blistering review of the book and who is someone with whom I have in the past corresponded though not on this subject.

          • Alex,

            Any criticism of the specific points addressed in my post (did Snyder lie?) or just an attack on Snyder?

            Evans was himself criticized by other historiians:

            http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n21/richard-j-evans/who-remembers-the-poles

            In that link, Evans to his credit admits that his problem with Snyder seems to be personal: “Finally, Charles Coutinho does indeed put his finger on one of the many reasons Snyder’s book made me so cross, which is that Snyder devoted almost all of what was meant to be a review of The Third Reich at War in the New York Review of Books to making erroneous and unsubstantiated claims about my supposed ignorance of Russian and East European history.”

            This comment was interesting:

            Charles Coutinho coyly suggests that ‘Richard J. Evans’s less than entirely positive review of Timothy Snyder’s book may or may not have been influenced by Snyder’s own less than positive review of Evans’s latest book in the New York Review of Books’ (Letters, 2 December). Evans gallantly concedes the point. But surely the real issue is quite distinct: a matter of generations. Politically there is not much distance between Evans (left or new left as the case may be) and Snyder (transatlantic centre-left). There is, though, an enormous generational difference: Evans belongs to the British New Left generation, he grew up under the shadow of E.H. Carr’s What Is History?, E.P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class and later of the German Sonderweg debate. Snyder grew up instead under the shadow of the Historikerstreit, the end of Communism and the fallout of post-Communism. This explains much of the animosity of the discussion.

            Guido Franzinetti
            Università del Piemonte Orientale, Alessandria, Italy

            • Dear AP,

              As I have said I have corresponded with Richard Evans. Your interpretation of him is wrong. To suggest that his integrity as a historian is affected by left wing sympathies is to completely misjudge him. He was also fully entitled to draw attention to Snyder’s misrepresentation of his own work. To accuse Evans of being biased against Snyder for that reason is absurd and again shows a lack of knowledge of the man.

              As for the specific points you list, none of them bear the weight of interpretation that Snyder gives them either by themselves or taken together. They should be seen instead for what they were, entirely typical examples of the routine harshness and insensitivity to human suffering of Stalin’s government of which there is an abundance of other examples affecting every part of the territory of the USSR and all of its people throughout his years of power including those periods during which there was famine in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Indeed as Snyder himself admits they were not represented at the time as being anything else.

              • So,again, was Snyder correct or incorrect when he stated that the Ukrainian SSR was subject to particular rules that made the famine there deadlier than it was in other regions? Do you believe that Snyder made up those specific regulations that I posted? Or do you admit that the Ukrainian SSR had certain rules that made the famine harsher there than it was in other regions?

                As for Evans, it looks like most historians are against him in this conflict, judging by what admittedly is a brief google search on my part.

                While most objective historians, including Snyder, state that Hitler killed far more people than did Stalin your statement about the mass murderer of millions’ “routine harshness and insensitivity to human suffering there is an abundance of other examples affecting every part of the territory of the USSR and all of its people throughout his years of power ” seems bit light, don’t you think?

        • The worst Soviet crimes were committed by a regime that also perscuted the Russian people and which the Russian people did not, themselves, vote for. Thus the comparisons to Nazi German and German apologies for crimes is not really valid. This does not mean it might not be a bad idea, for diplomatic reasons, for Russia to apologize if doing so is in the best interests of Russia; but recognize that the situations are not nearly the same.

          • Dear AP,

            I am sorry that you think that my views of Stalin are “light”. They are not intended to be. Let me say again I do not deny that Stalin carried out the Terror, sent millions to the Gulag or was responsible for the famine, which killed millions of people in the Ukraine and elsewhere. I do not see how callling certain steps taken by his government harsh and insensitive to human suffering can be considered light.

            As for your specific question of whether I think that the Ukraine was subjected to special rules that made the famine harsher there than in other regions the answer is no. Please note however that I neither deny the famine nor deny that there was a famine in the Ukraine.

            As for the balance of historical debate, though I am no more capable of doing a headcount than you my overwhelming impression is that the balance is against Snyder.

            • Dear AP,

              I am not sure whether your second comment is addressed to me. However I will briefly touch on it:

              1. I do not consider that there is any equivalence between the Soviet regime and the Nazi regime.

              2. I am somewhat confused by your second point. If the Russian people did not choose the Soviet government or vote for it and were amongst its victims then what do the Russian people or Russia have to apologise for?

              3. As a matter of fact, the process of historical admission has been underway in Russia with ebbs and flows ever since Khrushchev denounced Stalin at the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU in 1956. Since then there have been apologies and rehabilitations aplenty. This process unlike the one that happened in Germany after 1945 was undertaken by Russia voluntarily and was begun at a time when the USSR was at the height of its power. Since perestroika the Stalin years have been discussed exhaustively within Russia itself. I cannot think of a single question of Stalinist or Soviet history which is not today the subject of intense and prolonged discussion within Russia itself. Indeed I cannot think of any other country that has of its own volition exposed and discussed so much of its own past in this way. Forgive me for saying so but I sometimes feel that the agenda behind some (not all) of the demands made of Russia for apologies is not to achieve closure or restitution but to force upon Russia a certain view of its past in a way that is intended to close this discussion down.

              • Alex,

                I was replying to K.F. who demanded that Russia apologize for crimes committed by the Stalin regime and who compared that regime to that of Nazi Germany. My point was that the two situations were quite different: Nazis won elections in Germany, Bolsheviks took Russia by force. Nazis didn’t persecute Germans that heavily; Bolsheviks murdered millions of Russians. Why should the modern democratic Russian government be obligated to apologize on behalf of the Russian people, for the crimes of an unelected gang, when the Russian people were also victims of that gang?

                My other point was that, if it were diplomatically useful to do so, and in the best interest of Russia, why not? This point is largely hypothetical, of course.

            • Alex,

              So, in your opinion, was Snyder mistaken or dishonest when he listed seven policies limited to the Ukrainian SSR that did not exist elsewhere, and which made the Famine worse there than in other regions?

          • I have to agree with Alex here.

            Why apologize for an event that is (1) fictitious in the sense that it was not a genocide, (2) affected ethnic Russians and was carried out by representatives of multiple nationalities, and (3) most importantly has absolutely zilch to do with the modern Russian Federation?

            Demands to do so constitute chutzpah of barely imaginable proportions. I can’t refrain from thinking here of my own status as a Russian citizen, and the implication that any apology by Russia will also come on my behalf: What on earth do I have to do with Holodomor let alone genocide? Doing so would not only reward impudence and the almost undeniable politicized Russophobia behind it and it would also at the same time legitimize the aforementioned politicized version of history. A version that is not even formally accepted in most of the West as well as half of the Ukrainian political class. (The PoR view is identical to mainstream Russia’s).

            • There are two issues involved here IMO:

              (1) Was the Famine in Ukraine genocide?

              (2) If so, can the Russian people/governent be culpable for this genocide?

              With respect to (1), legitimate arguments can be made both ways. Labelling it a genocide is not necessarily a weird nationalist fantasy, as you imply. It is a fact that the Ukrainian SSR suffered a disporportionate number of deaths within the Soviet Union (half of all deaths despite being 1/3 of the population) and that within the Ukrainian SSR rural areas were by far the hardest hit. and Ukrainians were disporportionately rural people. In addtion, a disproportionate number of Ukrainians outside the Ukrainian SSR died – one of the hardest hit Russian areas was the Kuban, which according to census was 50% ethnic Ukrainian. The time of the Famine also coincided with a purging of Ukrainophile elements within the Communist Party in the USSR, reversal of Ukrainization, mass executions of cultural figures, etc. A legitimate case can certainly be made that the Famine was part of an extensive pattern of anti-Ukrainian policies in the Soviet Union in the 1930′s.

              Conversely, arguments can be made that it wasn’t genocide. Mllions of non-Ukrainians also died. Within the Soviet Union,non-Ukrainians with the same social profile as Ukrainians (living in rural areas of the Ukrainian SSR) were no less likely to die than were ethnuic Ukrainians. And, importantly, despite the fact that mountains of documents have been examined there has not been any “smoking gun” demonstrating any intent by the Soviets to single out ethnic Ukrainians for death. It could very well have been class-based mass murder without ethnic intent, the disporportionate number of Ukrainian dead being a coincidence.

              (2) Blaming Russia for the Ukrainian Famine is a much harder claim to make, than the case that it was a genocide committed by the Soviet regime. As I noted, the Russians did not vote the Bolsheviks into power. They, too, lost millions of people during Soviet rule. None of the principal people involved in the Famine in Ukraine were even ethnic Russians.. Stalin, of course, was a Georgian. Much of the NKVD were Latvians or Jews. Kaganovich, the architect of the Famine, was of Jewish descent from Kiev. Other figures involved were Postyshev (Stalin’s envoy), of Jewish descent from Russia, Stanyslav Kosior, of Jewish descent from Poland, and Stanislav Redens, an ethnic Pole.

        • In that case, why don’t you want Israel to issue an apology to Ukraine too? After all, there were proportionally far more Jews in the Soviet government at the time than Russians. Oh wait, that’s anti-Semitic. Or why on the same principles not ask the Latvians? Or the Georgians? Oh I know, because in K.F. world it is Russians who are subhumans and should be forced to kowtow for events they’ve had nothing to do with for multiple generations to come.

          • @AK @AP

            For the record: I do not think that Russians are subhumans. If they were, then my three children would be at least 3/16 subhumans.

            The Soviet Union was in essence a Russian project. Denying that is again denying something that is obvious for the rest of the world. Russia and Russians themselves have acknowledged that by declearing herself beeing the successor state of the USSR, adopting the Soviet anthem, celebrating Soviet holidays like the Defender of the Motherland Day, and so on. Therefore it is a duty for modern Russia to finally begin with the memorialization of the victims of Soviet regime there and abroad.

            It is a myth that democracy elected Hitler. On the otherhand democratic reforms after 1905 paved the way for the Bolshevik coup in 1917. However, whether a murderous regime was elected or not has very little to do with the responsibility of perpetrators. It is a mark of civilized society that people demand that their government admits what has happened, issues apologies, and brings those perpetrators into justice.

            Good that you brought up Latvia. Latvia is one the fine examples for Russia on how to deal with war crimes and genocide commited by Latvians and others on Latvian territory whether it be a Nazi crime or Soviet crime. I’m talking about legal framework, trials of perpetrators and work with future generations.

            Now does Holodomor fit the legal definition of a genocide? Wrong question which leads to technicalities and whataboutisms, something that will do no good to Russia and Russians because everybody knows what Holodomor was and what were the consequences felt still today.

            • Doesn’t Latvia have something of a problem with people honouring Nazi criminals…

            • yalensis says:

              I was just trying to do the math, for a child (let’s call it X) to be 3/16 Russian, then: On one side of the family X’s great-great-grandparent was full-blooded Russian, but no other Russians in that branch of family, so Russian blood gets watered down to 1/16 when it arrives in X. Meanwhile, on the other side of the family, X’s other parent was 1/4 Russian, contributing half of this DNA (or 1/8) to X. Making X 3/16 Russian. I suppose there are other combinations too that could produce this result.

              • There is an infinite number of combinations that could produce that result. Even if you don’t take into account the possibility of inbreeding :)

        • Well you always have Japan who aplologised many times over but because each apology is accompanied with some Japanese lawmakers visisting some temple witch honours war criminals the people they apologise too deem id insincere. Japan also contests many crimes that Japanese army did during the war – oh and Japan sees herself as a victim b/c of nukes. Imo Japan can get away with all this because they were never invaded so there’s no qiestion of Greman-like quilt trips.

          • yalensis says:

            German QUILTtrips – LOL!
            My sister would be interested in going on one of those, she is really into quilting. even has her own sewing machine. Sorry, I am just kidding around with your typo.

  7. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    The Russian and Ukrainian people must never fight against each other.
    I have found out that Anglo-Saxon dislike both of them. They wish them ill.
    They have interest in Ukrainian people only if they want to make trouble for Russian.
    The same interest is UKUSA in the Croats, Polish etc.
    Thereafter UKUSA wold pull the rug under Ukrainian feet.

  8. Actually, comparing Soviet “khruschevkis” with the projects in the US is not fair. People took pride of their small apartments, planted bushes and flowering trees around, Every spring and autumn we had so-called “subbotniki” to clean the territory.. Our kids were safe playing outside. Apartments were ours for life, and practically rent-free.
    In 1977 my family spent a month in Italy, and my husband and I were invited to visit several of the Italian physicists at their apartments in Rome. It was my first trip to the West, and I was astonished! Apartments were small, dark, and dingy, and the stairways were unkempt (( I finally understood why my husband complimented my ordinary three room apartment in Tbilisi with its German furniture, parquet floors and big windows overlooking the mountains surrounding the city. Later I had a chance to visit with my husband his French colleague in Paris – the same thing — narrow dark stairway, small cramped rooms..!
    In 1982 we spent six months in Hungary, and the scientists in Budapest whom we visited lived much, much better than their Western counterparts. My husband helped two of his fellow professors to visit and lecture at the American universities. They told us that what they were paid in the US in one semester were more than what they were earning in a year in England and Germany. Everything is relative… Life in the US is better than life in the most European countries, and life in the USSR was better than life in the most of the rest of the world, excluding the two above mentioned categories (
    I still believe the Communists intentionally kept peasants in much worse condition, subscribing to the theory of their backwardness and anti-Communist ideology. I can’t explain it to myself! They were feeding us, and they were kept worse than in the Tsarist times in servitude and poverty. The entire Soviet Union was feeding the city dwellers, and even after it was dismantled the villages got zilch while the city dwellers were able to privatize their apartment, paying nothing in the State coffers. That is my big point of discontent.

  9. Scowspi says:

    “the USSR nonetheless managed to be richer than the ‘Third World’”

    This comment reminds me how far the standard of comparison has fallen. Until the 1980s, the official Soviet line was that the USSR was the blueprint for all future societies. What the USSR was today would be what the US, Germany, Japan, etc. would be tomorrow. Consequently, it couldn’t be in the middle of the pack, or successful in some areas and not in others; it had to be at the forefront of everything. This set an impossible standard.

    • Chris the Mighty says:

      I think this assumption relies on the belief that the Russian Empire was itself what would be today called “Third World.” That may be right or wrong, but a lot of people in the “Third World” believed it, which is why they tried to adopt the Soviet model. Also, since the Russian/Soviet economy was wrecked twice in the 20th century (Civil War and WWII), the zero point is 1920 or 1945, not 1910.

      • The German economy was wrecked at least just as much by 1945. And West Germany grew much faster than the USSR even in the 50′s and 60′s as soon as the immediate postwar restrictions on re-industrialization were lifted.

        Ergo for France. For Korea. For Japan. For a whole host of countries.

        This is yet another example of the special pleading that so dominates Soviet apologetics.

  10. Dear Anatoly,

    I am somewhat staggered that you think that I think that the collectivisation famine was in some way not horrible or that I have in some way sought to minimise it. Where did I do that?

  11. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Moscow Exile
    You have not convinced me yet
    why should the British apologize for the crimes thy have not committed.?
    British have done a lot of crimes upon Irish and other people.
    A Croatian admiral has written a book Masters of Chaos
    you can find that book on internet in English.
    Master of Chaos are UKUSA countries.
    Look at today’s British and American press.
    I am not friend of ex Yugoslavia.
    I know for sure, communist press in ex Yugoslavia did not lie and spread propaganda 5% what is doing today press from Anglo-Saxon countries.
    But how can they lie today when we have internet?
    Yes still they lie and they do it more blatant then what was in ex Yugoslavia.
    I am witness of it.
    About ex Soviet Union I don’t know
    I would like to hear from native Russian comparison between lying in ex Soviet Union at that time and Anglo-Saxon media today.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Then I presume you would disagree with the opinion of Professor Cormac Ó Gráda of University College, Dublin, who maintains that the famine was not genocide by firstly stating that “genocide includes murderous intent and it must be said that not even the most bigoted and racist commentators of the day sought the extermination of the Irish”; secondly, that most people in Whitehall “hoped for better times in Ireland” and thirdly, that the claim of genocide overlooks “the enormous challenges facing relief efforts, both central, local, public and private”.

      Ó Gráda thinks that an accusation of neglect on the part of the British government is easier to sustain than that of genocide. He does not maintain, however, that this neglect was wilful.

      Other professors, however, disagree with Irish professor Ó Gráda. These include law professor Francis A. Boyle, who concludes that the British government deliberately pursued a race and ethnicity-based policy aimed at destroying the group commonly known as the Irish people and that the policy of mass starvation amounted to genocide per the Hague convention of 1948, and history professor James Donnelly, who wrote: “I would draw the following broad conclusion: at a fairly early stage of the Great Famine the government’s abject failure to stop or even slow down the clearances (evictions) contributed in a major way to enshrining the idea of English state-sponsored genocide in Irish popular mind. Or perhaps one should say in the Irish mind, for this was a notion that appealed to many educated and discriminating men and women, and not only to the revolutionary minority…And it is also my contention that while genocide was not in fact committed, what happened during and as a result of the clearances had the look of genocide to a great many Irish…”

      Both professors Boyle and Donelly have Irish surnames. Both Boyle and
      Donelly, however, are United States citizens and professors at the University of
      Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Wisconsin–Madison respectively.

      Two American academics of Irish descent: one believes that Perfidious Albion orchestrated genocide against the Irish nation, the other that what the British did in Ireland in the 1840s “had the look of genocide to a great many Irish”. (Not that the term “genocide” existed in the 1840s: it was first coined post WWII.)

      And there is the Irish academic resident in Ireland where he is Professor of Economics at University College, Dublin, who does not believe this to be the case.

  12. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Dear Anatoly
    Let’s expose [ western ] lying journalists
    As first my question is why Anglo-Saxon media calls itself the West?
    What is the “west” and who has the right to be the “west” and what is the purpose of it that ?Britain is using the mask called the “west” for what?
    Is it not the purpose to create illusion that she is bigger, richer, smarter, better and stronger?
    How would Britain perform if we compare 100 countries against her?

  13. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    AP
    on July 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm said:

    Now you tell me
    Every time when you say Ukrainian how many Russians were together with them?
    You must know, Stalin was not Russian and in communist system the nationality did not have much or any meaning.
    What counted is ideology.
    Do you that during communism in Soviet Union it was prohibited to cal Russian Geographical Society, it was called Soviet Geographical Society.
    I read book written by Marshall Zhukov and not once he mentioned name Russia but always Soviet Union and he called himself a Soviet.

    • Did you know people listed nationality on their passports? I know ethnic Poles from Russia who listed their nationality as Ukrainian for political reasons.

      • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

        Why in the books written by Marshall Zhukov not once he mentioned Russia as name but Soviet Union and never called himself Russian but a Soviet?
        You can claim that you knew some Polish etc, you can claim whatever and who ever that you know. Berlussconi said that Chinese communist boiled its children and made fertilizer and in the school I was told that the Germans made soap out of Jews…..
        The Crux is America wants to create unipolar world or American third Reich.
        America is Master of Chaos
        Russia is not threat to America bur vice versa.
        The world does’t want it.
        Russia still exists not because she is strong than because Germany, Italy, France, Brazil, China ….are not comfortable with such scenario.

        • yalensis says:

          Re. Germans making soap out of Jews — I think that bit was actually true, believe it or not. I have read some books written by Nazi death camp survivors. There were some camps where Nazis did actually attempt to harvest skin and cartilage from the piles of dead bodies, a kind of ghastly attempt to seem more efficient and produce something for the war effort. I don’t remember which books exactly, but I will try to find a link.

          • Jennifer Hor says:

            Yalensis,

            The Yad Vashem memorial people reckon that the Nazis didn’t make soap out of Jews’ body fat. I did read somewhere that someone actually filed a patent for extracting body fat from Jewish people during WW2 but if Jewish people and others were starving in the camps, their corpses would have very little body fat that would be, uh, “economically” useful for anything.

            The curious and gruesome postscript is that after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, a lampshade made of human skin turned up in a flea market. It supposedly was made in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany during the war but the lampshade is in such a bad condition that although DNA tests can confirm it is made of human skin, the ethnicity of the skin’s original owner can’t be determined.
            http://www.npr.org/2010/12/28/132416206/New-Book-Tells-Story-Of-The-Lampshade

            • Leon Lentz says:

              The Japanese experimented on Chinese and Koreans in the same fashion as the Nazis. They turned millions of Korean and Chinese women and children into prostitutes and kept them in brothels or their soldiers entertainment.

            • Leon Lentz says:

              you are a pretty sick woman… Deleted.

              AK: Leon, my patience with you is really wearing short. For the umpteenth time, stop trolling with posts that contain nothing in the way of value apart from pretty lame ad homs.

              • Leon Lentz says:

                To AK: Somebody posting made up but very sick nonsense and that it goes over your head completely is making me sick too. It doesn’t dawn on you at all what she is doing. Lampshades?

              • Jennifer Hor says:

                @ Leon: The business about that lampshade in New Orleans was all over the news in 2010 and 2011. It was one lampshade, not batches of them, and I mentioned it because I saw mention of the story about Nazis making soap out of people’s body fat. That story is a myth but another story of the Nazis’ derangement turns out to be fact. I know it’s horrible stuff but it helps to demonstrate the pathology of Nazi thinking at the time, seeing people as nothing more than economic units to be pushed around, exploited and used for profit. Ironic in a way because Jews were (and unfortunately still are) seen as using people for profit. If you don’t like what I post, just ask me why I do it and I’ll be happy to explain.

                I know also what the Japanese did to Chinese civilians and POWs in Unit 731 in Manchuria and a similar place in Nanjing.

                @ Anatoly: I’m much obliged to you for deleting Leon’s comments about me. Thanks very much!

            • Leon Lentz says:

              Deleted.

            • yalensis says:

              @jennifer: I feel so bad that you got fragged by Leon, in response to a thread that I myself started, about soap and lampshades and so on. That guy (Leon) is clearly a schizophrenic who somehow got off his meds and uses the internet as a way of hurling around anonymous insults. His only goal is to cause pain and hurt people. I am pretty sure everybody else reading your comment understands that you were making a serious attempt, as an honest history buff, to discuss Nazi war crimes.
              P.S. Which of the 4 Karamazov brothers are you? I am guessing 60% Ivan and 40% Alyosha. With maybe just a touch of Dmitry? Am I right?

              • AK has had his interactions with other mentally unbalanced people, who use liberasty and Russophobia as masks for their inner rage at what is happening to the once vaunted freedoms of the West. Take for instance the groupies to Streetwise Professor aka Craig Pirrong. Dr. Pirrong once compared supporters of the Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul to the genocidal Khmer Rouge. If that isn’t unhinged I don’t know what is.

                One of his ‘groupies’ in berating an Occupy person on Twitter also referred to the CFTC and FTA (since Pirrong is an academic who specializes in commodities and has testified at trials involving those bodies) as one of the regulators that financiers and speculators have to answer to. Of course those same agencies just found themselves unable to prevent a massive half billion dollar fraud by a Cedar Rapids, IA based commodities firm that had 9 figures of revenue and offices in Shanghai, China. And whose books were being ‘audited’ by a one-woman accountant officing out of her home in suburban Chicago. You cannot make this stuff up.

                http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-12/business/sns-rt-us-broker-pfgbest-auditorbre86b02n-20120711_1_attempt-on-monday-morning-auditor-futures-broker

                Anatoly may say I’m being off topic here but my point is there is a massive amount of cognitive dissonance, psychological rage and Russophiles are a natural target for it. People have to believe that they or their parents who fled Russia made the right choice and psychologically compensate for that sense somewhere deep inside of a lost Motherland (think @LibertyLynx). They have to not only be American patriots who can criticize their government now and then, but super patriots who insist the U.S. government despite the current administration is fundamentally benign and not predatory or corrupt and all evils, including jihadism, spring from the eternal Cold War with Russia that never ended.

                So the more corrupt and fundamentally broken things appear to be here in the Land of the Free, the more they will literally gnash their teeth at the ‘Putinists’, Russia Today (aka shooting the messenger) and even ‘professional conspiracy theorists’ no one took seriously ten years ago like Alex Jones until the government made all sorts of spectacularly creepy pronouncements that made him look like a prophet, which are too numerous to list in a comments thread.

              • Jennifer Hor says:

                @ Yalensis: No need to apologise or feel bad, I expected I might get fragged.

                I actually did the Brothers Karamazov test at HelloQuizzy.com and scored highest on Ivan, next highest on Alyosha, not so high on Dmitri and lowest on Pavel. So you are right!

                Also did the Jane Austen personality test and scored Elinor Dashwood with a bit of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and did the Enid Blyton personality test and scored Quentin Kirrin which I guess is far better than scoring Noddy.

          • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

            Could you describe the chemical process how to make soap from animal and how much would it be economically feasible and how many kg of soap it is possible to get from a person of 70 kg and how many kg did the Germans produce.
            And what did they with the soap have done
            Danke im Voraus

      • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

        If they did not have nationality, today they would not have own state.
        When you need – you criticize because people had nationality on passport
        on other hand when you need you will say ” why was not nationality recognized “

  14. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    I don’t believe in history, history books and historian,I have found a lot of white lies in Wikipedia when is in question Russia [ might be and other people ]
    I was lied to [ by VoA ]
    Why is it impossible to believe in history?
    In this extract Anatoly has nicely summarized;
    pay attention to “emphasize”
    Despite being a murderous maniac, Stalin did industrialize the country and played an important role in securing Victory in the Great Patriotic War (and thereby saved Europe’s Slavs from extermination and slavery). Contrary to anti-Stalin ideologues, even on purely objective grounds choosing which of these to emphasize is an immensely difficult undertaking in moral terms. Yes, it would be nice if history were to be left to the historians everywhere, but it’s not. The Western-liberasts have staked out their position – unambiguous condemnation of Stalinism, while relaying its achievements to the margins, and arrogantly insisting that Russians toe their line, while consigning to oblivion the (more positive) memories and attitudes of their grandparents to Soviet power. In a sense, Russia’s choice was thus forced – narrowed down to participation in the info-war, or spiritual suicide. For better or worse, it has embarked on the former with the mass support of its population.

    • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

      “Yes, it would be nice if history were to be left to the historians everywhere, but it’s not”.

    • yalensis says:

      Dear @croats: Very well put. Official “Western” view (perhaps not expressed so bluntly) is that USSR possessed no legitimacy as a state, and neither does the successor state. Majority of Russians, however, sense that it is important to take ownership of 70 (important) years of their history, tally up both good and bad, but not just throw away and declare completely invalid. To do that is to acquiesce to Anglo-American strategy to de-legitimize all the forms and institutions that resulted from Soviet/Allied victory in WWII.

      • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

        I was brought up listening to the Voice of America in Croatia.
        As a child I swallowed lies and rubbish from Ms.Clinton of that time.
        I was lied.
        The Croats before the war, during the war and after the war were lied to.

  15. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    AP
    on July 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm said:
    Did you know people listed nationality on their passports? I know ethnic Poles from Russia who listed their nationality as Ukrainian for political reasons.
    ……………..
    Why in the USA is nationality=citizen ?
    Why in America exist none nationality but american?

  16. Dear Anatoly,

    Reading this article brought home to me the fundamental difference between us. Frankly, I think you have far too rosy a picture of the state of Russia in the late tsarist period. Far from seeing a country moving confidently forward on a “course of natural development ” I see a society suffering from all the symptoms of extreme crisis and stress, with an increasingly dysfunctional goverhment ultimately unable to cope with the mounting problems it had to face. That is why in 1917 the system collapsed in political chaos and revolution.

    I see the Soviet period as a response to this crisis and in a sense a solution to it, which fell away when it no longer had a purpose. I therefore see no reason to “defend the USSR” or to regret its passing, which I think of simply as an event in Russia’s evolution, but I do recognise that as a non Russian my perspective is different from what a Russian’s would be. I ought to say in passing that I mistrust the very notion of “distortions” in economics, which comes from a classical model of economics with which I have severe problems and ultimately reject and that in my opinion large continental societies like China, India and Brazil make far better comparators for Russia (and not only for the Soviet period) than do small countries like Italy, Portugal, Greece and Finland. I would also add that countries like China, India, Portugal and Greece have been far richer than Russia in comparatively recent historical time and that measured against them Russia has actually done (and is doing) well. Speaking moreover as one rootless cosmopolitan to another I have some insight to your feelings on this issue but I would say that I think you have a great deal more to be proud of and to draw you to the country of your birth than looking at its recent history and its present condition I do to mine. Apologies if I have provoked you in anything I have said.

    • No, you didn’t provoke. And apologies if I was a bit too upfront as regards you in my post but it was just my impression that you have a consistent tendency to let off the USSR with too easy a pass.

      In response to this post in particular. By most metrics in 1913, Russia was well, well ahead of China and India, and substantially ahead of Brazil. I will refer you to the article initially cited by AP in the last post on Soviet economics, as well as this extremely informative one on comparative education levels in the BRIC’s. Especially check the tables at the back. By 1913 Russia’s GDP per capita was already twice that of the other BRIC’s, and the primary enrollment rate of European Russia in 1910 was 3x that of Brazil and India, and 5x that of China.

      Historically I would argue that Russia was since the end of the middle ages consistently ahead of both India and Brazil in both per capita and technological terms. This was not so much the case for Qing China whose development level, at least until the catastrophic 19th century, has been consistently underestimated as (in my view) convincingly argued by Kenneth Pomeranz. However China is not a very useful comparator vs. Russia, as it too was blighted by economic distortions in the form of Maoism, which if you look at it closely was so lunatic that it makes Soviet central planning look sane and efficient.

      • Maoism was not the problem. In 1949, the Chinese economy and social development was worse than the Congo, thanks to the regime of Chiang Kai Shek’s ROC. Did you know that PRC’s average lifespan was higher than South Korea under Mao and fell behind only after Deng took office? And yet, even so, the lifespan was double that of Chiang’s regime?

        Mao was dealt the worst hand ever, much worse than the one dealt to Sun and Chiang in 1912. A static population ravaged by war that was static not because of low birthrates but because of insane mortality rates that make Afghanistan look like Norway, no infrastructure, 90% illiteracy, life expectancy of 35 years which is lower than almost all African nations today, and a government surrounded by hostile forces, with almost no aid except that from Russia. Other countries have got the same hand dealt to them, and they just collapsed.

        In fact, compared to other large Asian countries in the 60′s and 70′s excluding Japan (Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, etc) the PRC did not do too badly. Even today, excluding tiny city-states, the PRC is doing better than most of its peers (>10 million population) in East, South and Southeast Asia (excluding Japan, which is customary) except South Korea which has a population 50 times lower and who had 70% of investment coming from the US in its first 20 years, and was STILL poorer than even North Korea during the 60′s and 70′s.

    • “I see a society suffering from all the symptoms of extreme crisis and stress, with an increasingly dysfunctional goverhment ultimately unable to cope with the mounting problems it had to face.”

      Absolutely.

      “I see the Soviet period as a response to this crisis and in a sense a solution to it,”

      Very true, and in more ways than one.

      After WWI/Russian Civil War, it took until ~1928 to recover to the production/income levels of 1913. A couple of years later, the clouds of war could be seen gathering.

      And the production/income levels of 1913 were clearly not enough, since they had already proven totally inadequate 1914-1917.

      Would the Tsarist system, or, frankly, any Western-style democratic/capitalist system for that matter, have been able to do what it would take to endow Russia with the military-industrial capacity to save European Slavs from a war of racial extermination waged with the resources of the rest of Continental Europe?

      I just don’t see it.

      • The Tsarist system would have had a decade more to build up industrial capacity. Whether a greater total output would have exceeded the benefits of the strategic decision to transfer a greater share of that output to remote areas is a subject for debate.

        Furthermore, it goes without saying that without the USSR, the Nazis would have been very unlikely to come to power. Maybe even had the USSR remained NEPist and non-totalitarian. Of course that DOESN’T mean it was responsible for Nazis coming to power; just that historical circumstances would have been totally different.

        • “Furthermore, it goes without saying that without the USSR, the Nazis would have been very unlikely to come to power.”

          Prewar Vienna under Karl Leuger and the Versailles Treaty gave Hitler everything he needed to take power.

          • The Nazis barely won the elections and barely got into power. Any number of small factors that only existed thanks to the existence of Stalin’s USSR (support for Nazis by the business elite, fear of communism by voters, etc.) would have been enough to tip the scales away from Nazi electoral victory.

            To add to AK’s excellent observation: a Tsarist Russia would have been at the table during Versailles, which means it probably would have retained all the territories obtained by Molotov-Ribbentrop, plus retained Finland, plus probably would have gotten a chunk of Turkey (the Armenian parts, perhaps Constantinople. Russian troops were securely sitting on about 10% of Anatolia when the Empire collapsed). Without the mass famines Tsarist Russia by 1940 would have had at least 10 mllion more people, taking into account the death tolls from the famines and the children never born to people who died during the famines.

            • “The Nazis barely won the elections”

              Very true.

              “and barely got into power.”

              That’s much less true. Various conservative parties wished to use the Nazi’s obvious energy to crush the SPD. The thought they could control Hitler.

              “Any number of small factors that only existed thanks to the existence of Stalin’s USSR (support for Nazis by the business elite, fear of communism by voters, etc.) would have been enough to tip the scales away from Nazi electoral victory.”

              The Nazis never achieved electoral victory to begin with. It was intra-elite politics that made Hitler Chancellor, and then gave him the power to rule by decree. And the SPD, especially if combined with voters from the now much smaller KPD, would be threat enough to send German businessmen and the Catholics into Hitler’s arms.

              “To add to AK’s excellent observation: a Tsarist Russia would have been at the table during Versailles,”

              Um, Tsarism collapsed in February 1917, for reasons that had little to do with the Bolshies.

              Kerensky should have made peace.

              • Nazis won the last free German elections. They did not get over 50% (which in a multiparty parliamentary system is quite rare) but did better than, say Merkel in modern Germany.

                The Nazis consistently lost in Catholic parts of Germany.

              • “The Nazis consistently lost in Catholic parts of Germany.”

                That’s okay, because the party of the Catholic Church in Germany voted to give Hitler the power to rule by decree, on 23 March 1933.

              • And even better, a senior politician of that Catholic party is the one who proposed to President Hindenburg that Hitler be made Chancellor in the first place.

                Seems that Hitler and the Catholics got on just fine.

              • rkkka:

                The Catholic Centre Party had working with the Socialists until the combination of the two could no longer keep the Nazis out of power. It cooperated with the Nazis only when the Catholics plus Socialists became a minority (in other words, only after it was no longer able to keep the Nazis out of power) and thus cooperation with the Socialists would have been useless.

                The fact is that the Nazis never won in Catholic parts of Germany. In the parliamentary elections they voted for their own party and in the presidential elections they voted for Hindenburg (a Protestant) against Hitler (a Catholic).

              • “The Catholic Centre Party had working with the Socialists until the combination of the two could no longer keep the Nazis out of power. It cooperated with the Nazis only when the Catholics plus Socialists became a minority (in other words, only after it was no longer able to keep the Nazis out of power) and thus cooperation with the Socialists would have been useless.”

                The Enabling Act would not have passed without those of the Catholic Center Party.

                The Catholic Center Party gets part of the credit for giving Chancellor Adolph Hitler the power to rule by decree.

                The Catholic Center Party also gets much of the credit for Chancellor Bruning’s “austerity” response to the Great Depression that paved Hitler’s path to power.

              • “The Catholic Centre Party had working with the Socialists until the combination of the two could no longer keep the Nazis out of power.”

                Actually, it was the SDP working with, and conceding the Chancellorship, to the Center Party. The SDP had more votes every time, but conceded power to the Center, even as Chancellor Bruning of the Center Party was paving Hitler’s path to power with his “austerity” response to the Great Depression.

                Then came the Enabling Act, giving Hitler the power to rule by decree.

                The Center voted for it.

                The Socialists voted against.

                So all this “Catholic opposition to the Nazis” dissolved when really put to the test.

                AK: Hi rkka. Sorry this wasn’t published for 9 days. It was put into the spam folder and I didn’t check in on it during that time…

        • Leon Lentz says:

          The financial support or Hitler came from US and UK, primarily. Those two are the primary foreign powers to blame for Hitler’s ascent together with a host of smaller East European powers.

        • I think the missing component in this counterfactual comparison is THE FACT that Stalin’s industrialization drive was massively aided by American industry once full diplomatic relations were restored in the early 1930s (whether this was the influence of FDR trying to build a counterweight to the Nazis who appeared poised or just had seized power, I do not know, but the Rockefellers and Harrimans had their own dealings with the Third Reich). Bulgakov even referred to a near-mythical party at Spaso House cerca 1938 in Master and Margarita.

          While some commenters here may dismiss this as bits and pieces from 1971′s “None Dare Call it a Conspiracy”, I refer them to Hoover Institution scholar Anthony Sutton who’s documented how much of the Soviet war machine even pre-Lend Lease owed to U.S. production lines imported lock stock and barrel. I don’t mean to shortchange Russian genius — in some sense they adopted this technology even faster than the Germans did as the Soviets were less likely to be burdened by racial or ideological predjudices (read: they were willing to use what Jewish scientists came up with). The off-road/broad tracked chassis of the T-34 was originally an American design, even if the sloping armor and gun were purely Soviet.

          So….would a post-Tsarist but non-Bolshevik Russia, with the ability to command but not nearly to the extent that the Soviets could regiment workforces, have struck the fancy of the Fordians of Wall Street? I doubt it.

          • I say this not to suggest that I believe the USSR was a pure creation of the Illumanti/New World Order etc to have ‘the best enemy money could buy’ but rather a more nuanced historical view that some of America’s top capitalists did admire Soviet regimentation (Brave New World referred to this as ‘Fordism’ or the ‘Year of Our Ford’, the ‘Left-Right’ paradigm at least prior to the Soviet victory in WWII was partly fraudulent with plenty of ‘democrats’ admiring Mussolini, Hitler and the Soviets before their worst excesses were exposed, and with even Stalin killing off some of his own Comintern true believers during the 1930s if they got too comfortable just like his generals. (Was Stalin himself a former Cheka agent who switched sides? I think so…I’m ok with Anatoly trying to establish the historic truth about the Soviet Union under attack from all sides but I have no patience for trying to rehabilitate Stalin).

          • “I refer them to Hoover Institution scholar Anthony Sutton who’s documented how much of the Soviet war machine even pre-Lend Lease owed to U.S. production lines imported lock stock and barrel.”

            Sure. The Soviets had a bit more than a decade to to prepare for a war of racial extermination. Trying to build these factories by themselves would have utterly failed.

            Thus, they bought those factories with grain exports in a time of starvation.

            They weren’t gifts.

    • yalensis says:

      Dear Alexander: I think you make a lot of good points. Using words like “normal countries” and “economic distortion”, as Anatoly does, are very loaded terms to use when having discussions of historical developments. These terms are actually quite Stalinist in tone, as in: “History was supposed to march forward in such and such a manner, but evil men got in the way of this inexorable progress …. blah blah blah.”
      There is an underlying assumption that there is a perfect template of how development is supposed to happen, and what an economy is supposed to look like, so anything different from that is a “distortion”. Again, this is rather Stalinist in tone, ironically.
      Some people claim that, if only the Tsar had not been overthrown, then everything would have been great, Russia today would today be a prosperous parliamentary democracy and respected world power. Maybe it would, who knows?. Or maybe it would be a hellhole, or even somebody’s colony. There is no way to prove either way, so is pointless speculation.

      • The USSR was not a “normal country” by anyone’s standards and, in fact, didn’t ITSELF claim to be one; to the contrary, it regarded itself as exceptional (as already noted above by Scowspi). As for “distortion” – what other word can reasonably describe the systematic dismantlement of the market mechanism?

        And, yes, there is a normal template of development that seems to have uniformly worked for ALL European and East Asian non-Communist economies in the 20th century. At the minimal level, it involved doing without central planning. Pointing out the obvious is not Stalinist I’m afraid.

        • yalensis says:

          Well, these countries don’t use central planning in the Stalinist sense, and I would agree with you that trying to plan out every last consumer product is simply crazy. Even Marx himself would have thought that was cuckou.
          However, all viable modern nations do have broad government regulations and even some central planning, like a central bank, federal reserve, etc. I agree that industrialization-modernization in the European way is a very good template for a nation to follow. It’s not the only template, but it’s the BEST template, that’s my ideological bias too. But remember also that “normal” development requires not being somebody’s colony. Being a colony really sucks, and a nation’s leadership should do everything possible to avoid that fate.

        • Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the PRC have extensive state planning. In fact, the extent of state control in Japan during the 80′s was likely greater than that of the USSR. In Japan, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, MITI, was responsible for capital allocation, investment decisions, production quotas, research direction, trade agreement negotiation… everything Gosplan was responsible for. It simply did not micromanage to the level of individual factory.

          The state in Singapore and the PRC also outright own half the economy.

      • I think another way was possible, but lost due to the Tsar’s blundering into WWI. While I can say he was a ‘passion bearer’ I have some disagreements with the Russian Orthodox who consider Nicholas II a saint and think Holy Russia must eternally have a Tsar. Even Solzhenitysn criticized Russia’s earthly messiah complex, saying the Third Rome became the Third International rather seamlessly as one was merely a more wordly facisimile of the other.

        This is linked to the sin the Orthodox have identified as ethnocentrism (they have a Greek derived fancier word for it) and was the particular excess of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, along with some clinging to a harsh judgement of their brothers who had to work with the Soviet system under severe duress and could not piously stand outside of it.

  17. Jennifer Hor says:

    Don’t discount the impact of the Marshall Plan aka European Recovery Program on western Europe and all other countries that accepted it or some version of it after World War II. I find it very curious that in the discussion so far, no-one has mentioned US humanitarian and economic aid to western Europe under the Marshall Plan as an influence on European economies after 1945. One reason the Plan was established was to counter potential Soviet influence in those western European countries devastated by the war, particularly small countries like Greece which was badly treated by Nazi Germany and which then suffered a civil war between republicans and monarchists immediately after WWII.
    http://www.johndclare.net/EC9.htm
    http://europeanhistory.about.com/od/coldwar/p/prmarshallplan.htm

    Japan also benefited from US aid spending after the Korean War in 1950 – 1951. The US saw Japan as the front-line of defence against the USSR in east Asia. To that end, the Americans supplied nuclear power technology to Japan even though Japan was supposedly banned from having it. Japan’s government and media willingly co-operated (colluded?) with the US in convincing the Japanese public that nuclear power was necessary if the country was to recover from WWII to the extent that alternative energy sources such as geothermal energy (which Japan could have developed in places like Kyushu) were ignored. The politician Yasunari Nakasone who was Japan’s PM in the 1980s was particularly influential in pushing the pro-nuclear line.
    http://fukushimanewsresearch.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/japan-ex-pm-nakasone-influential-shoriki-played-key-role-in-promoting-nuclear-power/

    Also South Korea’s industrialisation from 1961 onwards under President Park Chunghee and his military government successors is an example of centralised economic planning based on export-led development and collaboration between govt and corporations (and, erm, suppressing trade unions and pushing through land “reforms” that threw country people into the cities and factories) that led to success.
    http://www.geocities.ws/mortuzakhaled/park.pdf

  18. Let me pitch a word about Snyder. Here’s a quote from his book
    3. Eight days later, on 28 November 1932, Soviet authorities introduced the “black list.” According to this new regulation, collective farms that failed to meet grain targets were required, immediately, to surrender fifteen times the amount of grain that was normally due in a whole month. In practice this meant, again, the arrival of hordes of party activists and police, with the mission and the legal right to take everything. No village could meet the multiplied quota, and so whole communities lost all of the food that they had. Communities on the black list also had no right to trade, or to receive deliveries of any kind from the rest of the country. They were cut off from food or indeed any other sort of supply from anywhere else. The black-listed communities in Soviet Ukraine, sometimes selected from as far away as Moscow, became zones of death.

    And here’s what “black list” really meant:

    <a href="http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Чёрные_доски"Чёрные доски

    «В отношении станиц, занесенных на чёрную доску, применить следующее:
    а) немедленное прекращение подвоза товаров и полное прекращение кооперативной и государственной торговли на месте и вывоз из кооперативных лавок всех наличных товаров;
    б) полное запрещение колхозной торговли, как для колхозов, колхозников, так и единоличников;
    в) прекращение всякого рода кредитования и досрочное взыскание кредитов и других финансовых обязательств;
    г) изъятие органами ОГПУ контрреволюционных элементов, организаторов саботажа хлебозаготовок и сева.

    Предупредить жителей станиц, занесенных на чёрную доску, что в случае продолжения саботажа сева и хлебозаготовок краевыми организациями будет поставлен перед правительством вопрос об их выселении из пределов края в северные области и заселении этих станиц добросовестными колхозниками, работающими в условиях малоземелья и на неудобных землях в других краях».

    As it can be seen, Snyder grossly distorts the true meaning of this measure. He states that villages that got blacklisted were required to surrender fifteen times the amount of grain that was normally due in a whole month. When in reality they were simply banned from state trade. Why such a glaring mistake? One glance at the sources, and the answer is obvious. Snyder heavily relies on the work of West-Ukrainian authors, thus legitimsing their radical views.

    • What was the specific source for Snyder’s statement and what was the specific source for the statement from the Russian wikipedia page?

    • Snyder’s statement is directly from his book, as I understand. The source for the Wikipedia article “постановление ЦК КП (б) У и Совнаркома УССР от 6 декабря 1932.”

    • Why such a glaring mistake?

      Because somebody somewhere messed up the translation.

      5. В колхозах, допустивших разворовывание колхозного хлеба и злостно срывающих хлебозаготовки, применять натуральные штрафы в виде установления дополнительного задания по мясозаготовкам в размере 15-месячной нормы сдачи для данного колхоза мяса, как по обобществленному, так и индивидуальному скоту колхозника.

    • Thanks, peter, I missed that part.
      Sorry, but I have my doubts about if it was a honest mistake. West-Ukrainian authors have a really appalling record of distorting facts and outright lying when describing the events of the famine, Ukraininan-Nazi collaboration and the status of the Ukrainian language.

  19. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    on July 13, 2012 at 5:50 am said:
    Could you describe the chemical process how to make soap from animal and how much would it be economically feasible and how many kg of soap it is possible to get from a person of 70 kg and how many kg did the Germans produce.
    And what did they with the soap have done?
    Danke im Voraus

    • yalensis says:

      I think Jennifer (above) established that the soap part was a myth, but that the Nazis really DID make lampshades out of human skin. Gross!

    • Jennifer Hor says:

      Croats-Friends of Russia,

      I have a copy of “The Holocaust for Beginners” by Haim Bresheeth, Stuart Hood and Litza Jansz and on page 113 it says that in 1953 a firm called Tropf and Sons applied for a patent in which body fat can be extracted from corpses during cremation with special trays for use as fuel to heat the cremation ovens (and save on external sources of fuel) and this extraction technique was used in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex. Of course if you starve people and later try to extract body fat from them, you’ll hardly get anything. That is all.

      I tried Googling for more information on the company and the extraction method but nothing came up.

      The story about Nazis making soap from human body fat might have arisen from several sources. The Nazis themselves might have egged prisoners to believe such a story to frighten them. Also when you use soap while washing, you’re going to leave some DNA behind so even “first hand evidence” is going to be suspect.

      Wikipedia has a detailed article on soap manufacture:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap#15th.E2.80.9320th_centuries

  20. My only real sin is being objective, radically ambiguous, not taking sides, etc., and for this I come under assault from everybody – the liberals, the PC brigade and cultural Marxists, the traitors and compradors, the Russophobes Western and Russian, Western chauvinists, the hardcore Stalinists, the Communists, the monarchists and white nationalists…

    Well I for one think you are easy enough to read. You are a Russian state nationalist. Your highest political value is a Russian state that is powerful in the international arena. Everything else is a means to an end, so you will judge policy, eg economic policy, civil rights legislature, state legislated morality, budget priorities and so on, according to what you think it does for the power of the state vis-a-vis other states. Like it is the case with most state nationalists, your natural instincts are toward a level of state paternalism, but you’re non-ideological in the question of the intensity and the exact form of this state paternalism so you’re able to point out both the perceived positive and the perceived negative aspects of the Tsars, Communists, Democrats etc and are capable of being highly critical of any of them in instances where you feel they committed blunders that hurt the power and the health of the Russian state.

    I’d say you can add to your list of who you find yourself under attack from anarchists for your statism and cultural populists for your paternalism.

    …or a start, I would not have become a rootless cosmopolitan slouching about foreign countries..

    You’re only as rootless as you feel yourself to be.

    • yalensis says:

      To add to the list of people who attack Anatoly: also Statists who dislike his anarchistic/libertarian/conservative views.

      Oi!

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. Here is a mental game for everybody: It is said that every person (especially every Russian) is one, or a combination, of the 4 Karamazov brothers. (Yes, there were 4 brothers, if you include Smerdiakov.) So, which Karamazov brother are you?

        I will start the game: I am a combination of Ivan and Dmitry.

    • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

      Russia must live, exist and prosper, I believe.she will succeed. .
      UKUSA countries want to break up Russia in 10 or 20 parts and thereafter in every country to install a satrap of own kind.
      The world doesn’t want to have unipolar world in which will be only one boss and master or hegemon.
      Unipolar world is negation of democracy and synonym for tyranny.
      Multypolar world means democracy and having choice.

      • Leon Lentz says:

        You are absolutely correct. Fortunately, US hegemony is coming to an end. China has already bypassed US economically and Russia is getting stronger suffusing US with dread and fear.

        • Leon, any thoughts on Israel’s recent reapproachment, if not growing trade partnership with Russia? Is it insurance against an Obama 2nd term? A confluence of interests over Iran and high oil prices that a strike on Iran would cause (I’ve actually seen the hardcore Russophobes already prep their talking points online on Iran being a victim of Putin’s plotting in case it does get hit, I kid you not)? Avigdor Lieberman being a Russian plant? Or just Israel wanting good relations with all of the BRICs?

  21. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    yalensis
    on July 13, 2012 at 11:33 am said:

    Yes, but who will pay for the lies I was told and millions other people?
    Who will pay for today’s lies that in 50 years hence will be proven as truth?
    What is the point of telling the Russian people the truth once you break up Russia in many parts?

    • I cannot comment on the whole Prometheanism thing, Anatoly has already covered it in “Paul Goble: Promethean Propagandist”…except to say that there does seem to be some projection going on whereby the hardcore Russophobes (see @ReginaldQuill) are convinced that Igor Panarin, Stash Mishin, and RT are all somehow promoting the breakup of the USA into a New Confederacy that will be allied with Russia. Of course this is b-t-h-t crazy but it’s interesting how it mirror images your more evidence-based concerns that there are some in the West (Ed Lucas of the Economist is on record as foretelling that Russia would collapse into four rival states) who would at least LIKE to see the RF fall apart.

  22. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    hoct on July 13, 2012 at 10:21 am said:
    “You are a Russian state nationalist”.

    Only people who are truly state nationalists in Russia are patriots.
    All other people [ on left or right ] are useful idiots who work for America.

    Did you notice how you manipulate with the name “nationalist”? – nationalist is reserved for Russia and patriot for America.

    Every American president is an American Imperial Nationalist.
    In America [ White House ] in political spectrum there is no left, right, liberal, socialist..there are just different ways how to create an American third Reich.

    • Really? Hyperbole much?

    • Leon Lentz says:

      Theoretically, you would be right, however, the term “nationalist” in Russia is applied to the group of people opposed to Putin who demonstrate with scum like Navalny, Nemtsov, etc. and work to destroy Russia. They are actually supported by US. I would except Zhirinovsky from this group because he is nothing but talk and is almost always siding with the President, no matter who he is.

  23. Leon Lentz says:

    Russian Czar, whom Orthodox Church declared a Saint was called “Nicolas the Bloody one” for his Jan 9, 1905 machine gunning peaceful demonstration of peasants carrying icons (!!). He is also known to instigate anti Jewish pogroms with his speeches to the “Union of Russian Nation” (Союз Русского Народа) organization which resulted in deaths of more than a million of Jews. It is an extreme folly to ignore this and declare that Russians would be better off if the USSR and the 1917 Communist revolution hasn’t happened. No, they wouldn’t be better off, the madman had to be stopped and executred which Lenin did, thanks God. Also, the centuries of foreign (Romanovs were German, even the very first Romanov Czar Mikhail, was of German origin and Ruriks were Swedish) oppression, Peter the Ist established the worst form of serfdom, the abuse lasted 1.5 centuries. The Russian priests, the landlords, the capitalists were executed and justly so. The Communist regime was going the right way until Lenin’s death and possibly another 4 years until Stalin has gotten grip on power and removed his opponents. Czarist Russia would still be very backward by the start of WWII because the majority of prominent scientists in 1930-1950 were Jewish and they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the universities under the Czar as well as illiterate masses would continue to exist as the Czar did not make attempts to educate the population as Communists did. Russia would have lost WWII to Hitler and stopped to exist as an independent country. It would be totally destroyed in WWI as well, because Kerensky and the Czar before him were proponents of “the war to the victorious end” and Russia wasn’t capable of winning with overwhelming majority of people opposing the war.

    • “The Russian priests, the landlords, the capitalists were executed and justly so. The Communist regime was going the right way until Lenin’s death and possibly another 4 years until Stalin has gotten grip on power and removed his opponents.” Wow, I had heard that such people (Lenin’s heart was in the right place but Stalin screwed it up) existed but had never seen one ‘in the wild’.

  24. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    He was called “bloody one”
    By Whom?
    How come that Nixon, Johnnson, Bush, Obama have no nickname?
    How come that we cannot say for none American president he was called so and so?
    Has got a nickname Tony Blaier?
    Yes he Tony has many, but it will never establish root in the mind of British people because
    they know how to respect own values and how to disrespect someone else”s.

    Has got nickname Mussolini? No, why not.
    Does he deserves?

    If you look for dark spots in history of any people, you will find it.
    French have Algiers, Indochina, Napoleon..
    Germans have own dark spots
    American, Italian, South Africa etc…

    I could not read further than the first sentence.

  25. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    In addition to building a loyal infrastructure, it aimed at “winning hearts and minds” – and along the way oil, gas, and military capacity. It has all been about “opening” – “open society”, “open economy”, “open Russia”, “open government” – open for brainwashing, economic plunder, for hijacking Russia’s domestic and foreign policies.

    Conquest by war is always an option for the US, as we have seen in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and now in Syria. But “victory without war” is cheaper and more effective, as the collapse of Soviet Union has tragically shown.

  26. Samantha says:

    Great reading list for human biodiversity:

    http://humanbiologicaldiversity.com/

    AK: Thanks, but this is off topic. Please keep HBD discussions to the other blog.

  27. I think that pre-war Soviet Communism was very nasty. The chasing of the aristocracy and much of the intelligentsia out of the country, the war on religion, the Civil War, collectivization – that was all awful. I think that Communist ideology is wrong about most things. People are born with different amounts of different talents and qualities. When the worst players on a team hurt the best out of envy, the whole team loses. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is unworkable because the incentives are all screwed up. And on and on.

    But like most people who’ve experienced post-war Soviet Communism, I have a lot of nostalgia for it.

    There was practically no ethnic conflict in the post-war Soviet Union. The amount of ethnic resentment was many, many times smaller than what is currently seen in the post-Soviet space or in the modern multicultural West. In the field of successfully managing ethnic diversity the post-war USSR was a giant, its Western rivals midgets.

    There was no crime in the old USSR. Everyone I knew owned bikes, no one I knew suspected of the existence of bike locks in other countries. There were no lockers in school, overcoats were just left hanging in the huge dressing rooms. They never disappeared. I remember regularly walking unaccompanied from a friend’s neighborhood through the streets of Moscow after dark during my kindergarten years. In the winter it gets dark early in those latitudes. No one was concerned, no one needed to be. There were no bad neighborhoods in the capital, nor in any other city or town.

    George Bush Sr. once wished for a “kinder, gentler America”. The USSR that I remember was far kinder and gentler than anything most of its critics have ever experienced or imagined. There was no homelessness in Moscow, a city of 8 million people at that time. That should matter even to those who’ve never been homeless: the frequent sight of acute human misery deadens one’s soul. There was no porn anywhere, no gratuitous violence or any profanity on TV. All entertainment was gentle and moralistic, devoid of cynicism. There were no ads for anything anywhere ever. Why is advertising such an irritant? Because feeling that others are trying to fool you is unpleasant. Divorce was rare. Well over 90% of the kids in my school and in every school had two bio-parents at home. There were no drugs anywhere. OK, perhaps we can think of vodka as a drug, but it’s not like it’s disappeared from modern Russia. The comparison still favors the USSR.

    The USSR was a major patron of science. Its abolishment retarded humanity’s scientific and technological progress by an unknowable number of years. It promoted high art among the masses – classical music, 19th century literature. This stuff, most of it clearly superior to modern cultural product, is only enjoyed by the upper classes in the West.

    No one will ever convince me that the USSR crumbled because of inherent defects. It was destroyed by a vain, pretentious fool at the top. He wanted to seem cooler, more hip than Brezhnev and co. He was going to be an innovator. He’s not physically a fool – smarter than I am for all I know – but he did foolish things that did irreparable harm, screwing up tens of millions of lives. I wish there was a hell just to provide a place for him to rot forever.

    • Scowspi says:

      Glossy: Given what you state here, which would you prefer overall: to live in the USSR as you experienced it, or to live in the modern Western world that you inhabit now? Or would you prefer a third option (say, W. Europe or N. America of the 1950s)?

      • That’s a hypothetical question. Most of what I described is gone. If it could be magically resurrected by some sci-fi apparatus, then yeah, I think I’d go back.

        • The difference is, under capitalism everything centres around the individual. This is called “freedom”. Under socialism everything centres around the community. This is known as “socialism”.
          When all that matters is you you live a very solstice and lonely life. When the society cares for every individual you all care for each other and life becomes that much more interesting.

          Gorbachev wanted to create a more democratic and free socialism, not the dictatorship that had governed Russia and Soviet for so long. I have a lot of respect for him and I believe he had the best of intentions. He really wished for the best for his people. Not something for himself.

          Yeltsin however… Yeltsin made the Russian people fall in love with democracy and think it would all be easy and everybody would be better off than even the Americans. The Russian people went through a lot of pain for “democracy”. But just as a young girl who has fallen in love with a wife-beater who beats her time and time again, she says to her self, “no, I can’t leave him, he does after all really love me”. The same way the Russian people said again and again, “no, democracy is golden and will make everything so much better, we have to continue to work for democracy”.

          Now Soviet is just a memory of the past. Had Soviet still been around then socialism would be gaining a lot of ground in Europe today, as capitalism is really proving it self to be a bastard of a system.
          The rich get richer. And when they don’t, then the whole nation has to pay the bill.

          By the way, I’ve become a bit of a russio-phobe through the years. The Russians I met as young were kind, friendly people. The Russians I meet today are very self-centred, selfish people. What ever has happened to Russia in the last 20 years I do not know, but something has happened, not just to the system but to the whole nation, to the whole culture.

          I’m rambling… Anyways…

          Considering what the Tsar was and did to his own people, I can very well understand how the dream and hope of a system that would help even the smallest son of a peasant become what ever he dreamed of, seemed like a good and viable futuristic solution. Too much centralisation and too little power in the districts where a big part of the problem, I think. Those who gained power did not want to let go of it. Even though that is the goal of the whole communist system… Hmh.

          Meh. Thanks for a few thoughts that gave me something to think of. :)

        • Scowspi says:

          “There was no crime in the old USSR”

          I do take issue with this. Anecdotally, I heard a lot about crime in the USSR. When I was studying in Kiev (1987), students were warned to avoid certain areas of town where crime (sometimes violent) took place. I’d also heard from others about crime in some of the crappy monogorod industrial cities. Bear in mind that when crime really took off in the 90s, one reason it grew so quickly was because a lot of criminal gangs and structures were already in place from Soviet times.

          • I remember 1987 very well. There was no crime in Moscow at that time. Well, at least I don’t know anyone who’s ever known anyone who was a victim of any sort of crime in that general period there. It would surprise me greatly if the situation was different in Kiev. Why would it be?

            I mentioned the lack of bike locks and of lockers in schools. We did lock our Moscow apartment, but when we spent time in the countryside, renting a room in the summer from friends of our relatives, I don’t remember the house ever being locked. We never had a key, yet we spent a month there every summer for 4 years. This was in a village in the Moscow Oblast’. I talked about this with my mom recently. She said “well, maybe they locked up for the night.” But that’s conjecture. We don’t know if they ever did.

            Scowspi, do you happen to be American? This is an important question. Americans are touchy, defensive about crime levels for obvious reasons. “I heard a lot about crime in the USSR”, “students were warned to avoid certain areas” – this differs from the reality that I remember to such an extent, that I suspect a defensive reaction. Or maybe you’re confusing 1987 with 1992.

            • Scowspi says:

              I do happen to be American, but I doubt that’s relevant. Let me clarify a few things. I was in Kiev for several months in 1987 (that was definitely the year) with a group of students, mostly British or other European. One thing I clearly remember was a certain area in the center of town. It was situated not far from the famous Rastrelli-designed St. Andrew’s Church, and was a run-down, surprisingly rural-looking area, right smack in the middle of the big city. A local representative of the Sputnik Soviet tour agency (i.e. someone official) told us that a student had been raped there the previous year, and that in general the area should be avoided.

              Kiev was a strange place in this regard. In the area where I was staying, Goloseyevo, there were a couple of places which looked like impoverished rural villages that had been somehow picked up and moved into the big city. I never saw anything like that in Moscow, either at that time or more recently.

          • Some more recollections:

            One could enter the Kremlin without showing any sort of identification, without stopping at a checkpoint. You just walked in through one of the towers. No one stopped you to ask who you were. We never tried to enter any of the government buildings there, but the complex itself was open to all comers.

            There was little police presence anywhere. Public buildings tended to be unguarded. The idea that someone should stand at the door checking people’s papers was not well developed. I certainly don’t remember that at either of my parents’ jobs or at any libraries or stores. I would imagine that someone guarded the door at KGB Headquarters on Lubyanka, but’s that’s conjecture.

            • Interesting observation.

              Maybe not even there. As I recall Putin saying, he just walked into the Leningrad KGB HQ and got told to get an education; and that one doesn’t apply to the KGB, one gets selected for it.

              Though still I suspect security at Lubyanka would have been higher than in Leningrad.

            • yalensis says:

              There was of course some crime in Khrushchev and Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, but I would say negligible rates by Western standards, or even modern Russian standards. I have heard some anecdotes from that period about rapes among college students, this was usually connected with drinking parties. There were also some criminal thieving gangs in the countryside, this formed part of the plot of Shukshin’s story (and movie) “Kalina Krasnaya”, which is about a zek who finds redemption in the love of a woman (played by Lidia Fedoseeva in the film), but also gets pulled back into life of his local gang once he gets out of jail.
              It wouldn’t surprise me if this small Soviet underworld saw an opportunity in the 90′s to become more prominent.

              • Scowspi says:

                Yes, as I said above, the roots of post-Soviet gangsterism go back to the Soviet criminal underground. These groups really came out into the open and expanded their power and activities in the 1990s (see Vadim Volkov’s book “Violent Entrepreneurs” for details).

          • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

            Look, when you talk about the crime you must have some yardstick.
            Let’s compare the crime of that time with the crime of today.
            In that case I myself could learn something.

            • He had heard a woman had been raped in an area some time in the past. Hence crime was high in that area and he was warned to stay away from there. Doesn’t that say it all?
              How often do you hear someone say these days, “oh, you better stay away from that part of town, over a year ago a woman was raped in that area, that’s how rough that neighbourhood is”?

              I think there is a simple reason to why crime is on the rise, not only in Russia, but all over “the free world”. Under socialism people were taught to think more of each other, as everyone was valuable. Today people are taught to only think of them selves. “Individualism”, aka “freedom”.

  28. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Once an American diplomat was asked
    ” Is there possibility that Gorbachov was a CIA agent? ”
    The diplomat answered
    ” If he was, he would not do better job”.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    If one considers Russia to be not yet part of the “free” Western World, then there is a fourth option open to Glossy: residence in present-day Russia.

  30. yalensis says:

    @Jennifer, continuing thread from above:
    I had no idea there really was an official “Karamazov” test, I thought I made up that idea myself!
    I must go online and take it. I am also curious to see how I score on the Jane Austen test. I know for sure that I am more Elizabeth than Jane Bennet. Jane is too sweet and goody-two-shoes. She is a weakling: she catches a deadly cold from walking in the rain.
    No, I think I am more like Mr. Darcy, because I am very proud…
    On the Enid Blyton test, that’s a no-brainer: For sure I am a combination of Dick and Georgina from “The Famous Five”. Those damned brats are always getting kidnapped by gypsies!

    • Jennifer Hor says:

      There are two Brothers Karamazov tests at angelfire.com and HelloQuizzy.com. The angelfire.com one is really funny esp the first question with the stuck vending machine. Plenty of Jane Austen and Enid Blyton personality and compatibility tests out there too.

  31. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    United Russia deputies are throwing their weight behind a plan to make mass media outlets that receive foreign financing subject to special checks, a news report said Monday.

    If the plan comes to fruition, by fall a string of Russia-based publications and broadcasting companies could be classified as “mass media outlets acting in the interests of foreign governments,” Izvestia reported.

    Lawmakers from the Kremlin-linked ruling party stressed that amending the law on mass media is essential as many publications influence politics by spreading foreign propaganda.

    “I think that the story with foreign agents isn’t over. Many media receive financing from abroad and act as a mouthpiece for a foreign government,” United Russia Deputy Ilya Kostunov told Izvestia.

    That is it.

  32. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Why America wants to enslave Russia?
    America already controls Saudi Arabia and many other countries, about over 100.
    Saudi Arabia ranks third globally among the 10 countries with the most plentiful and valuable natural resources, according to a report recently filed by 24/7 Wall St.

    Saudi Arabia’s total resource was valued at $ 34.4 trillion to become the third country after Russia and the US to have the most plentiful and valuable natural resources, the report read.

    Russia is the world’s richest country in terms of natural resources at a value estimated at $ 75.7 trillion, followed by the US at $ 45 trillion.

  33. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Does anybody have information
    What was the total number of foreign troops who participated in fighting against Soviet Union
    on territory of ex Soviet Union during world war two,

    Kind regards

    • You mean what was the total number of all Axis troops who ever served in the Soviet Union? I don’t think there has been a historian who ever tried to isolate this particular number you’re asking for. My own guess would be, say 14 million. That just from the fact that 18 million men ever served in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War and most of these would have at one point been on Soviet soil during the war — then add in the Axis allies and you probably get something between 12 and 18 million. Somebody who is more read on Rűdiger Overmans, etc could probably give a better guess, but my own interest isn’t in the Germans & Co, so this is the best I can do.

      • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

        That is what I wanted to know, it is a pity nobody has done the research on that matter.

  34. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Anatoly, please do you know the answer?

  35. “I also consider Andropov to have been the best of the Soviet leaders, and am of the opinion that on balance it would have been better had the USSR not collapsed and instead reformed itself while maintaining political unity (though in practice, again contrary to pro-Soviet propaganda, this was a very hard if not impossible task in the conditions that had developed by the late 1980′s). Despite not having really lived there I very much REGRET the Soviet collapse;”

    I think that’s something many who are practical will agree with. Andropov was one of the best of the Soviet leaders, if not the best of the lot. And the collapse of the USSR as a unified polity instead of merely it’s transformation into a democratic entity was a worse outcome than the situation that did happen.

    From what I have read (and I may be wrong on this) I take it that if perhaps Kosygin and/or to a lesser extent Podgorny had become head honcho instead of Brezhnev then they may have laid better groundwork for Andropov to work with in the short time he could have had as leader (even if had been able to get the best possible treatment for his kidney problems up to and including a kidney transplant….I think at the time ciclosporin had been recently approved for use in preventing the rejection of kidney and liver transplants). Then the USSR might (note I said “might”) have experienced the kind of reforms through the 1970s and 1980s which would have put it on a path to becoming like China today or perhaps economically better off and better able to transition to democracy.

    Certainly if given a choice I think the Baltic republics would have seceded in a heartbeat, but even into the late 1980s I don’t think it was impossible for the majority of Soviet republics to maintain political unity. A Union of Sovereign Soviet Republics as had been envisioned in the waning days of the old USSR in the 199s0 would have been more of a confederation than a federation but in time just as the many of the former Soviet republics are now attempting economic re-integration, this new USSR would have probably experienced economic re-centralization followed by deepening political re-integration until it was essentially a federation again.

    • Scowspi says:

      Hunter: “put it on a path to becoming like China today”

      I mentioned this somewhere earlier, but it’s worth repeating: Do the many people who think the USSR should have followed the “China model” actually know what the China model is? Basically, it’s 19th century capitalism in its most raw and unrefined form, managed by a dictatorial government under essentially Third World conditions. “Comrades, you will now make sneakers for the American market. You will be paid $2 a day and will work 14-hour shifts while being locked inside the factory. If a fire breaks out, that’s not our problem.” I can’t imagine factory workers in Belarus or Ukraine putting up with such a scenario.

      “into the late 1980s I don’t think it was impossible for the majority of Soviet republics to maintain political unity”

      Maybe, and indeed the carve-up of the union in 1991 came as a great shock and surprise to most people. However, I don’t know of a convincing, workable model for preserving unity.

      • I think we are looking at different aspects of the China model. I’m looking at it from the point of view that China’s large population and increasingly well educated workforce and tightly controlled political system allows it to mass produce goods at prices that other manufacturers simply cannot compete with. Yes, in China it does involve sweatshop work (the aspect you are approaching it from), but I don’t think it has to be like that (I’m sure that if China didn’t have those 14 hour shifts at $2 a day the goods produced there would still be cheaper than most anything else produced anywhere else in the world…the goods might be more expensive than they are NOW, but could still be cheaper than most goods produced in the West or elsewhere) and I don’t see why the basic concept (large, well educated population with lower standards of living and thus lower wage demands) could not have been what might have occurred in a USSR that had reformed throughout the 1970s and 1980s. With 290 million people, a good education system and large energy resources the USSR should have had the potential to be a “China” (so to speak) to Western Europe.

      • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

        To follow the China model means not only to have low wages.
        To follow the China model means many things
        For example, it might mean for some people stability.

      • You cry about American media distortion and then I see this?

        There’s equal or worse going on in Russia, you just don’t hear about it since its outside of Moscow and St. Pete’s. Moscow and St. Pete’s are first world islands in what is otherwise a 3rd world nation rotting away from alcohol and depression dependent on selling irreplacable natural resources. What distinguishes the rest of Russia from Africa other than nukes? Don’t blame me for saying this, that’s as real as “14 hour 2 dollars per day 19th century capitalism”.

        Those conditions you said are absolutely illegal and are not even competitive. The going wage for uneducated laborers is 2000 RMB per month, equal to 300 USD.

        The biggest cities don’t determine how good a country is, the rest of the country determines how good a country is. Just compare Russia outside of Moscow and St. Pete’s vs. China outside of Beijing and Shanghai. Just search up tier 2 cities of China like Nanjing or Qingdao and compare the infrastructure to your tier 1 cities, even compare to New York or San Francisco.

        AK: Hi below_freezing, nice to see you around. I have a feeling this was directed at me (i.e. the blog owner). Just FTR I agree that Scowspi’s model of China is simplified and today, inaccurate. That said Scowspi is a good commentator and it’s just not possible to follow all the Western media’s tropes on various countries.

        • Scowspi says:

          AK: “Scowspi’s model of China is simplified and today, inaccurate”

          Sure. To clarify, I was referring more to how that model got started, rather than how it is today. My argument is that such a start would have been impossible in the conditions of the late Soviet Union, with its higher standard of living in the 70s-80s as compared to China.

  36. I’m surprised you haven’t done a post on how the western media have been distorting Russia’s new law on foreign agent registration which if I’m not mistaken is merely replicating WESTERN laws on requiring local companies and individuals to register themselves as foreign agents if they receive any foreign funding. Even without knowing about the law I’m almost certain it is modeled on the US Foreign Agents Registration Act of the 1930s. Yet both the BBC and Economist have unsurprisingly characterized it as a new tool of Kremlin authoritarian oppression.

    • I made the exact same point on Al Jazeera when they spoke to Lyudmila Alexeyeva pointing out that her Moscow Helsinki Group is supported by:
      -European Commission
      -Ford Foundation (USA)
      -MacArthur’s Foundation (USA)
      -MATRA (Netherlands)
      -National Endowment for Democracy (USA) (CIA)
      -Open Society Institute/Budapest (George Soros)
      -USAID (CIA)

      I was also pointing out the fact that most of these NGO’s are financed by the US and EU governments and private businesses and individuals linked to western intelligence and foreign policy that have been involved in colour revolutions in neighbouring countries and finance political opposition in Russia that would be illegal under the US FARA act.

      But the comment was never published as it did not get passed the moderator.

    • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

      I am just surprised how all so called “western” journalists sing the same song?
      How to explain it?
      Is there a center who tells them what and how to write – like it was in the Soviet Union?

  37. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Al Jazeera works for CIA

  38. pravochka says:

    “hardcore Soviet apologists tend to be cultural Marxists and deny Human Biodiversity” -> But is it not what you do when comparing Finland and Russia to explain that Russia could have develop like Finland without Stalinism, that is, better ? First, litteracy rate was higher in Finland (in 1913, the litteracy rate was maximal in baltic states and Finland (south-west) and decreased eastwards). Second, you forget something essential: Russian have egalitarian & authoritarian familial traditions (this is very well established and documented), while in Finland, people (which are mostly not Fins but Swedish descendant) are inegalitarian & autoritarian, like in Germany, Sweden, Japan etc.. There are the most powerfull familial traditions to educate the childrens. For example, the spectacular rise of country like youth corea (same traditions) or south-east China was not a surprise for any people who know that. So, all this to say that you cannot simply compare Finland and Russia to assert that Stalinism was inefficient. After all, maybe stalinism was the most adapted way of development in a country of “pofigist” like Russia ? Maybe I should have read further before writing this. I do it now !

    • yalensis says:

      “pofigist” ?

    • Croats-Friends of Russia says:

      You have forgotten to mention that Britain works to destroy Russia in whatever form since the Crimean War and America since 1918.
      Also you have forgotten to mention that UKUSA will not make the life difficult for its vassal but it will make for a country that is UKUSA’s opponent or sovereign country.

  39. pravochka says:

    ok, done, lot of justifications after that (with which I already for a long time agreed). Another comment : you do not mention one fact which also explain why Soviet Union was economically bad : SSSR spend many human & financial capital for the army & so on. Especially true under Stalin, for whom the industry was heavy or was not. But it is very hard to appreciate the benefits of such a policy. On the one hand, lot of people starved or survived. On the other hand, this was maybe the price to paid to not finish enslaved by NAZI. Or, later, it offer a political alternative to capitalism to many country. And, as a french, I would say more : liberal and capitalist would probably never have been so “social democrat” without their fear of communism contagion. I’m pretty sure that all that we built in Europe (and is US too) would not have been here withou uncle Joe : healthcare, free school, etc. In some sense, soviet people suffered for occidental people…Actually, we can now feel what is the world without this communist alternative : healthcare or education becomes less and less free, and the ultraliberal capitalism does not anymore fear something…

  40. Croats-Friends of Russia says:

    Some posters here use the phrase “the Russian filth.” Why than your cunning politicians pretended “allies” with this “Russian filth” – just to use them do the dirty job fighting the German armies and hoping both the exhaust each other finally the Anglo/Americans to rule the world? And isn´t it what exactly the Anglo/Americans are doing right now; provoking war conflicts by Muslims against Orthodox, Catholics against Orthodox, Muslims against Muslims?

  41. European Ninja says:

    “That said, I equally despise ideologized LIES about the USSR, which tend to come most prominently from Russophobe Westerners and their liberal compradors in Russia: That it shares responsibility for WW2 with Nazi Germany; that it “drowned” the fascist invaders with bodies (there is a whole host of myths on that front, most of which were initially advanced by retired Nazi generals); that the Holodomor was a genocide against Ukrainians (it was a manmade famine enabled by ideological zeal, and remarkably comparable to the Irish Famine); that the Soviet space program was run by German scientists; that the Soviet system was doomed to collapse; that the Communists killed 70 million people (in reality about 2mn executed or died in camps, and a further 5mn in manmade famines – which is STILL horrible, Mercouris et al., especially when one considers that the most severe late Tsarist era famine happened in 1891, in which half a million people died).”

    1.That it shares responsibility for WWII.

    Well, of course it does. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany together started the war by invading Poland. Then the Soviet Union also invaded Finland and the Baltic states and Bessarabia. This was a major destabilizing factor for which the Soviet Union shares responsibility. How can you possibly argue against this? This is a no-brainer. It seems you are the one perpetuing myths in this case.

    2.Holodomor was DEFINITELY genocide. The famine affected not just Ukrainins, but it was engineered with special vengeance against them. The treatment they received was something not received by others. Yes, it was done due to ideological zeal, an ideological zeal that saw it necessary to destroy Ukrainian national identity as it was seen as an obstacle to ideological goals. These goals were not the same as the Nazis had for the Jews, but that does not mean it wasn’t genocide.

    Nicholas Werth says it best:

    http://faminegenocide.com/resources/case_study.htm

    “. . . Two fundamental issues need to be considered in defining the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 as a genocide, along lines set by the December 1948 United Nations Convention: intention and the ethnic-national targeting of a group (Article II of the Convention recognizes only national, ethnic, racial, and religious groups, not social or political). In the case of Ukraine, sufficient evidence exists to demonstrate intention. A crucial document on this point is the resolution of January 22, 1933 signed by Stalin, ordering the blockade of Ukraine and the Kuban, a region of the Caucasus with a majority-Ukrainian population. The blockade intentionally worsened the famine in Ukrainian-populated areas and in these areas alone. On the question of target group, i.e. whether Stalin viewed the peasants of Ukraine and the Kuban as peasants or as Ukrainians, which is key to justifying use of the term genocide, scholars disagree. For some historians (Martin, Penner), the famine’s primary objective was to break peasant rather than national resistance. Others (Serbyn, Shapoval, Kulchytsky, Vasilev) argue that the peasants of Ukraine and the Kuban were targeted first as Ukrainians: For Stalin, the Ukrainian peasant question was “in essence, a national question, the peasants constituting the principal force of the national movement” (Stalin, 1954: 71). By crushing the peasantry, one was breaking the most powerful national movement capable of opposing the process of the construction of the USSR. As the famine decimated the Ukrainian peasantry, the regime condemned the entire policy of Ukrainization underway since the early 1920s: The Ukrainian elites were rounded up and arrested.

    This specifically anti-Ukrainian assault makes it possible to define the totality of intentional political actions taken from late summer 1932 by the Stalinist regime against the Ukrainian peasantry as genocide. With hunger as its deadly arm, the regime sought to punish and terrorize the peasants, resulting in fatalities exceeding four million people in Ukraine and the northern Caucasus. That being said, the Holodomor was very different from the Holocaust. It did not seek to exterminate the Ukrainian nation in its entirety, and it did not involve the direct murder of its victims. The Holodomor was conceived and fashioned on the basis of political reasoning and not of ethnic or racial ideology. However, by the sheer number of its victims, the Holodomor, seen again in its historical context, is the only European event of the 20th century that can be compared to the two other genocides, the Armenian and the Holocaust.”

    It was different from the Holocaust, but it meets the criteria of genocide, which is the intentional destruction, in part or fully, of a national, ethnic, religious or racial group (the legal definition). In this case, it’s national.

    • 1) It was the Treaty of Versailles that was the main catalyst for WW2 and Britain and France declaring war on Germany using the pretext for German invasion of Poland that was a regional war over German territory ceded to Poland after WW1.

      Poland was a buffer state between Germany and the USSR with the Polish government collapsing there was nothing stopping Germany moving further eastward as outlined in the spheres of influence secret amendment in the M-R pact that was not a secret agreement to partition Poland.

      2) The Holomodor was not a deliberate genocide as it was not directed exclusively at Ukrainians that affected areas of large agricultural cultivation in Ukraine, Caucasus and Kazakhstan that had near annual famine outbreaks and diseases since the civil war that the internal passport system was introduced in the 20’s to stop internal migration from workers migrating to regions unaffected and maintain industrial base for production.

      Even the much cited Chicago Tribune reporting at the time was proven to be a fake by a phoney journalist using the 1921 pictures from the Volga famine in 32 reporting.

      It makes zero sense to deliberately target the Russian learning east of Ukraine rather than the nationalist west when there is a rising threat of Nazi Germany emerging.

  42. European Ninja says:
  43. I recommend this book on Soviet economy:

    http://www.amazon.ca/Farm-Factory-Reinterpretation-Industrial-Revolution/dp/0691144311/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350270199&sr=1-3

    It is very rigorous in analysis and data gathering.

    The contention that the people of the SU territories would have been much richer in 1990 without Stalinist planning of the heavy industrial type (and instead some reformed tsarist system) is shown to be false; (compare compound per capita in the late tsarist era of 1.8 vs. 2.1 from 1917 to 1990 or so. And that is with a 25-27 million people casualty war with associated economic devastation). Further it was a primarily agriarian (wheat and barley) based economy and hence would have suffered economic contraction when grains prices collapsed in the late 20s early 30s.

    The reasons for economic slowdown in the book are uncoventional but nonetheless do include the systemic (and this is where he is unconventional) both the circumstantial (wwII cold war),

    Something to consider anyways.

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