My Genocide Is Much Bigger Than Yours

There are some massacres that are clearly genocides, such as the Holocaust, and there are some massacres that are clearly not, such as Katyn, but in between there is a vast, gristly spectrum that in the absence of any strict and universally accepted definition of the term is dominated by quacks and cranks driven more by politics, competing ideologies, and petty ethnic grievances than by anything that approaches an altruistic commitment to humanism and historical memory.

This becomes very evident when you look at a map of global recognition of what are perhaps the two single most contentious “genocide debates” today: The Medz Yeghern (“Great Crime”) against the Armenians and other minorities in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, which is seeing its centenary this April, and the Holodomor (“Death by Hunger”) against Ukrainians – and quite a few Russians, too – in the early 1930s USSR.

World Holodomor vs Armenian Genocide Recognition

Now I don’t want to wade into a debate about whether or not the Armenian Massacres and the Holomodor were specifically genocides or not. It’s been overdone, and frankly the whole thing is rather banal. Instead, through this map I compiled, I want to demonstrate just how politicized these things really are, just how closely recognitions and non-recognitions of genocide hew to geopolitical faultlines.

One could, more or less validly, argue that both the Armenian Massacres and the Holodomor were genocides. One could also – with some difficulty – argue that neither were genocides. And one could also very legitimately argue that the Armenian Massacres were genocide, but the Holodomor was not. But the one thing that you cannot do with any degree of intellectual consistency is argue that the Holodomor was a genocide while the Armenian Massacres were not. By the end of the Armenian Massacres, there were practically no Armenians left in what had once been been Western Armenia. 75% of the Armenian population in Turkey was destroyed under conditions that arguably pretty clearly fell under Article 2 (c) of the UN’s Genocide Convention. The factual argument that the Holomor was a genocide against Ukrainians is mainly underpinned by harsher regulations on internal migration in the region, but set against that, excess famine mortality in several ethnically Russian regions was also very high and weren’t far from Ukrainian levels*. And after Stalin’s death, Ukraine was larger and more coherent as a nation than it had ever been as the region of Malorossiya in the Russian Empire.

Nonetheless, it should be accepted that under a sufficiently loose definition of genocide – one that would presumably qualify the Irish Famine as such – that the Holomor could indeed be described as a genocide. The assumption I am making in this post doesn’t hinge on whether the Holodomor was a genocide or not, but on a much more minimal argument: That the Armenian Massacres were pretty unambiguously more genocidal in nature than the Holodomor. Recognizing the latter but not the former is illogical and inconsistent at best.

In reality, though, plenty of countries have recognized the Holodomor as a genocide while refraining from the doing the same with the Armenian genocide – and most of them aren’t exactly surprising: East European nations with historically hostile relations with Russia (Estonia, Latvia, Hungary); the GUAM group (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova – though it should be stressed that Ukraine only pushes the Holodomor as a genocide against Ukrainians line when it is under anti-Russian Orange regimes); and Western countries with large Ukrainian diasporas, such as Australia, Spain, and the United States. But diasporas by themselves can’t account for everything. The Armenian Lobby is a lot more influential in the US than the Ukrainian Lobby, but Obama nonetheless weaseled out of using the G-word so as not to upset Turkey too much. Turkey is of course for all the ups and downs in the relationship still a major US ally, while American relations with Russia are… quite another matter. Really, the only two puzzling features here are the tendency of Latin American countries to only recognize the Holodomor as a genocide – in particular that of Brazil and Ecuador, both socialist-lite countries who can’t be described as close friends of the US – and Romania’s failure to do so.

Still, even though the positions of the above countries are by far the more hypocritical, I don’t wish to give off the impression that most of those countries which do recognize the Armenian Massacres do it out of the goodness of their hearts. Russia’s own position on this is 90% dictated by geopolitics, 10% by its own domestic Armenian Lobby, and 0% by any humanist concerns. Likewise, geopolitics underlies Armenia’s friendliness with Russia in the first place; it has two hostile powers to the west and east, Turkey and Azerbaijan, both of which are quite friendly with the US and Israel (and the Jewish Lobby) to boot**. And it would probably surprise no-one that the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Greece, Cyprus (which recognized the Armenian genocide a year after its northern part was occupied by Turkey), Bulgaria, Lebanon, and Syria is more of a “fuck you” towards Turkey than a result of any commitment to humanism and historical memory. Likewise it is too much to hope for that Venezuela’s and Bolivia’s recognition of the Armenian genocide is about something other than asserting their ideological independence from the United States.

This is why I have some understanding towards Turkey’s essentially tu quoque response to Russia’s recognition of the Armenian genocide, and its wider strategy of whataboutism in response to accusations of genocide. After all, if the Armenian Massacres were a genocide (in which ~75% of the targeted Armenians died), then it’s not entirely obvious why the ethnic cleansing of the Circassians under the Russian Empire is not (in which ~50% of the Circassians died); and by the same chain, it is then not obvious why the Trail of Tears is not a genocide (in which ~25% of the Cherokee died). Russia strenuously denies the Circassian ethnic cleansing was a genocide, after all, and the US immortalized Andrew Jackson on its $20 bill. What’s the magic number at which ethnic cleansing becomes hardcore genocide? Did Poland commit genocide against its Germans after the end of World War Two (in which ~10% of them died)? Do the Serbs count – of whom ~0.5% died – who were cleansed from Krajina after Operation Storm with the enthusiastic connivance of the West?

So this, ultimately, is why all this international rhetoric about whether this massacre or that massacre is a genocide or not are so utterly banal, pointless, and ultimately nauseating. It has very little to do with any detailed and dispassionate statistical and comparative analysis of the historical facts. Instead, it’s all about my genocide being so much bigger than yours, it can walk right through the door.

It’s enough to make one a misanthrope.

* If you really wanted to find the closest candidate for a proper genocide – as opposed to democide – in Russian history, it would probably be the ethnic cleansing of the Circassians in the late 19th century, which were ironically not that dissimilar from the Armenian Massacres.

** It should be noted that during Soviet days, Armenia was actually a relatively restive province, with nationalist terrorists going so far as bombing the Moscow Metro in the 1970s.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Immigrant from former USSR says

    I will not go into classification “H” / “notH”.
    I would like to point to the notion of “pasportization”,
    refusal to issue an internal passport to peasants in former USSR,
    which continued from 1920s to 1955-s.
    Without such passport a person was a serf, rigidly tied to the place where he/she was born,
    to the “kolkhoz”, i.e. to the collective farm.
    This policy was most harmful to ethnically Russian part of USSR’s population.
    Within this statement I do not make difference
    between Russian, Ukrainian, or Belorussian ethnics.

    Good article, Anatoly!

  2. Belgium and Congo. 10 million dead and nobody even talks about it (let alone recognizing it as genocide). There are statues of Leopold II in Belgium. It’s comical.

  3. Erik Sieven says

    Cplusx: I can´t speak for other countries but in my country – Germany – you can read approximately as much about the Congo story as about the armenian genocide in the media

  4. Very interesting analysis. You’re right, a country’s decision to officially recognize historical crimes is largely a function of contemporary geopolitical considerations rather than objective historical assessment, which itself is a tricky task. And of course, any serious student of history will want to gather their own facts and come to their own conclusions rather than waiting for national leaders to tell them what to think anyway.

    Certainly it was a horrible event, but I don’t personally understand how anyone can seriously think that modern-day Russia is somehow responsible for the Holodomor. Wasn’t Ukraine an integral part of the Soviet Union and didn’t some of the most important communists come from there? For example, Leon Trotsky who founded the Red Army and was instrumental in overthrowing the Russian government? And Lazar Kaganovich, the man who after Stalin himself, might have been more responsible for the Holodomor than anyone else?

    The ethnic cleansing of the Circassians is a much more credible charge against Russia, especially since it predates communism and Russia is still heavily involved in that part of the world. But given the historical relationship between Islam and Russia, I’m not sure that that claim has a lot of relevance to modern day victim status either. Is there any statute of limitations on victimhood? Can later crimes cancel out past grievances? Or is it all about a group’s relationship to power in the contemporary world?

  5. Interesting post. A few random observations/comments:

    Massacre vs genocide: Frankly, I’ve never really understood why “genocide” is regarded as being more worthy of opprobrium* than “massacre”.Why is exterminating an ethnic group numbering, say, 1,000 people more heinous than killing 100,000 people from a bunch of ethnic groups? Sure, if you are a Blut und Boden type, the nation outweighs mere random individuals….

    Ukraine Terror Famine: Stalin clearly wanted to punish Ukraine (cf the difficulties with the collectivization program), but he also never intended to wipe out the Ukrainians either.So, if I must traffic in the massacre vs genocide debate, the Ukraine Terror Famine falls on the massacre/democide end of the equation.Indeed, it might be worth mentioning that a disproportionate number of the people who were executed in the Great Terror were Ukrainian “Kulaks” who had managed to survive both the Famine and the de-Kulakization program.Of the 682,691 people who were officially executed during the Great Terror, 386,798 were “Kulaks.”

    What might count as Genocide during the Stalin era: Tough to say.To use a shopworn analogy, Hitler was a serial killer; Stalin was a gangster. For Stalin, mass murder was the means to an end (collectivization, purging possible enemies, building a canal in the White Sea, etc).For Hitler, mass murder was the objective.His goals in the East were racial, not political: the Holocaust, the Hunger Plan, Generalplan Ost, etc.Still, I suppose that things like deporting various Caucasian nationalities en masse to Siberia might fit a loose definition of genocide.Some of the “national actions” during The Great Terror (1937-’38) might also fit.Cf for example, the Polish Action, which resulted in 111,091 executions.In some cases, NKVD operatives filled their “kill quota” by picking Polish names out of the phone book….

    Nonetheless, it should be accepted that under a sufficiently loose definition of genocide – one that would presumably qualify the Irish Famine as such – that the Holomor could indeed be described as a genocide.

    Not sure that the Irish Famine offers a good comparison.As you note, a lot of the genocide claims regarding Ukraine are based on Stalin’s travel restrictions, how he basically sealed Ukraine off. Britain never did that with Ireland.Indeed, one of the great demographic consequences of the Famine was the mass exodus of the Irish to England (Liverpool in particular), Canada, the USA, etc

    Turkey: As you say, it’s hard to understand how (barring politics) the Armenian Massacres can ever be defined as something other than genocide.Frankly, Turkey/the Ottoman Empire is drenched in blood during the period running from 1894-1922:

    1894: Turks massacre around 200,000 Armenians

    1915+: Turks massacre around a million Armenians.Matthew White notes in his Atrocities that an official Turkish report from the period estimates 972,000 Armenian dead (p 353).

    1919-22: Greek-Turkish War and population exhanges.Lots of deaths by massacre/ethnic cleansing in this one.By some estimates, 200,000 Greeks and Armenians died in the burning of Smyrna.The Turks claim that the fire was accidental and that the fact that the Turkish quarter was relatively unscathed was co-incidental

    *Of course I know why: Nazis, Jews, Holocaust, etc

  6. Tortzky and Kaganovich were from what is today Ukraine, neither of them was Ukrainian.

  7. anonymous1 says

    Genocide can also take a form different from the obvious one of physically destroying all members of an ethnic group. It can also consist of degrading them to the point where they are no longer the same group and who can then be exploited or dealt with in any way. The Katyn killing deprived their nation of people who were in the upper category of education and leadership qualities and who would have had leading roles within their country. Stalinization tended to kill the educated and those who were cultural leaders. Same thing was happening on the German side with their ‘Intelligenzaktion’ program where the Polish intelligentsia was to be murdered. Nobles, intellectuals, teachers, judges, religious leaders, business men etc were targeted. Decapitating a population, depriving it of it’s thinking classes can destroy a group’s awareness of itself. Perhaps a new term should be coined for this form of selective genocide.

  8. Certainly it was a horrible event, but I don’t personally understand how anyone can seriously think that modern-day Russia is somehow responsible for the Holodomor.

    Modern day Russia? Probably not. Unlike Hitler, Stalin was never elected ruler by the Russian people. And unlike latter-day USSR when one can plausibly argue that the rulers had the consent of the people to rule over them, Stalin maintained his rule through terror (at least before the Great Patriotic War). So I don’t see how Russia can be responsible for the Holodomor – no more than the passengers of a hijacked plane are responsible for the devastation that plane can cause.

    But the USSR/the Communist Party were certainly responsible.

    Wasn’t Ukraine an integral part of the Soviet Union and didn’t some of the most important communists come from there? For example, Leon Trotsky who founded the Red Army and was instrumental in overthrowing the Russian government?

    Ukraine was an integral part of the Soviet Union but Soviet rule was brought to Ukraine by an invasion from Russia; it wasn’t a homegrown movement in most of the country (there were Soviet governments in Kharkiv and Donetsk; an attempted Commie rebellion in Kiev was put down quickly by Ukrainian nationalist troops). Neither Trotsky nor Kaganovich were ethnic Ukrainians; they were Russian-speaking Jews whose relationship to Ukrainians was probably not unlike that of French Algerians to Arab Algerians.

    Ethnic Ukrainians during the Revolution were mostly either nationalists such as Petliura, or anarchists such as Nestor Makhno.

  9. Of all the nations in the world, Russia has a special duty to recognize the genocide against Armenians, given that the slaughter was triggered by accusations of loyalty to Russia. It’s nice to see the Russian government doing the right thing even when it may hurt its interests.

  10. Sam Haysom says

    How is it against their interests? Russia has been geopolitical rivals for centuries. Recognizing the Armenian Genocide was just propoganda or “psy ops” like the paleos say to undermine the legitimacy of a rival.

    Your post inadvertantly hits at the ludicrousness of this article. Somehow Russia’s moral position is better than the US’s because it is less “hypocritical” despite the fact that Russia perpetrated one of the genocides and played an ancillary role in the 2nd by routinely promoting the Armenians as a fifth column inside Turkey. In what crazy moral universe does Russia come out looking like the good guy in this. If anything Russia should just shut up about genocides having engaged in one not eighty years ago. When is hypocrisy judged by how you appraise two situations (US position) rather than refusing to recognize one’s own evil while judging another’s.

  11. cliff arroyo says

    Modern day Russia is not responsible for the Holodomor anymore than it can claim the credit for winning WWII. They’re a package deal, can’t have (or lose) one without the other.

  12. Jefferson says

    Armenians are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to Left Wing identity politics. No Left Winger gives a damn about the Armenian genocide, especially since it was Muslim Turks who committed this genocide and not those evil Anglo Saxon Protestants from The United Kingdom or those evil Italian Catholics. If you criticize Muslim Turks for murdering Armenian Christians in mass than you are an Islamophobe.

  13. @Jefferson

    Get back on your pills. I’ve seen plenty of left wing people (including left-wing American armenians) tweeting in support of the recognition of the genocide right after tweeting in support of the baltimore protesters #blacklivesmatter.

    So really, you need to get out more. In Istanbul on sunday there was a large-ish protest for recognition with many armenians and left-wing turks attending.

    And give me a fucking break. Criticism of turks for the genocide comes from the whole spectrum of political opinions. Your American worldview of racial/religious/political correct pecking order has no relation to the rest of the world.

    Also may I mention something? Am I the only person who is getting tired of these neologisms?
    You know the ones I mean: “Islamophobia”, “Islamofascism”, “Judeo-christianity”….
    Makes you want to hurl. I mean fascism was a real movement that existed in the 1930s and 1940s. Just because you think something is bad doesn’t make it magically turn into fascism.

  14. Russia depends on Turkey’s cooperation in the gas matters.

  15. And by criticizing Turks, you risk giving up such easy access to the middle east airspace from the Incirlik Air Base. The US used that for generations in various overt and covert ways.

  16. I agree with most of this.

    “one can plausibly argue that the rulers had the consent of the people to rule over them”

    Chomsky is wrong about many things, but he’s right when he says that consent is easy to manufacture. The electronic media is a powerful tool. The mere presence of consent doesn’t make me respect regimes. What’s more important is if the people at the top identify with the bulk of the population, if they wish it well, if they have a sense of stewardship about their country. Khruschev and Brezhnev had more of a sense of stewardship than contemporary-to-them Western leaders and Putin has more of it than current Western leaders. Stalin changed over time. It’s a you-know-it-when-you-see-it thing. Approval ratings and the competitiveness of elections are easier to quantify but less important.

  17. Some ways of seeing if the people at the top care about those whom they govern:

    The attitude to poisons and to anything addictive: drugs, porn, gambling. It should be like that of a good parent, not like that of an empty void or of a drug peddler. Politicians the world over are smarter and more responsible than the average man, so a good, caring sort of paternalism makes sense.

    The attitude to scamming in general. Left to themselves people will scam each other in large ways and small. “You may already be a winner”, “your system has been infected with malware”, etc. A government that cares about the common good will try to eradicate that. And it can be eradicated.

    The attitude to sexual morals. Again, it should be like that of a good parent. “Do whatever you want, I don’t care”, even when expressed towards adult kids, is the attitude of an extremely dysfunctional parent, one that is only common among the dregs of society.

    Economic growth. A regime that cares about its people will tend to increase prosperity. Of course there’s HBD too. A well-run African state will still be poorer than a mismanaged European one.

    Stuff like that.

  18. @cliff arroyo
    Actually… you could make an argument that they can be separated. A heck of a lot more Russians were directly involved in fighting in WW2 than were involved in the Holodomor. Almost everyone wanted to defeat Hitler. Not very many wanted to starve Ukrainians, and it was never portrayed as such – this is why the government at the time tried to hide what was going on, such as by having trains pass through the famine-stricken regions without stopping.

    In addition, this isn’t a very popular view because it makes everyone look bad, but the Holodomor may have been part of a tit-for-tat series of ethnic conflicts between Ukrainians and other ethnicities there (including Jews and Poles), which goes back hundreds of years. The Saker has an article about this:

  19. RE: the politics of genocide,

    It’s quite fascinating how certain massacres are “celebrated” (so to speak) while others are ignored. For example, when was the last time anyone made a big deal over the Bengali genocide? over about 267 days in 1971, the Pakistanis carried out a series of mass killings in Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan (until 1971, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan).It’s estimated that 1.5 million people died (cf Matthew White, Atrocities, 481).

    And here’s another genocide that is even less 1755-57, the Chinese wiped out the Dzungars.Roughly 600,000 people were exterminated, and no one cares…

  20. Anatoly Karlin says

    The problem here is that again it is indefinitely extensible and it isn’t clear as to when to stop. For instance, was the pacification of the Vendée during the French Revolution – in which a third of its population died – a case of genocide?

    Probably not, because those atrocities were politically, not ethnically targeted, and any intensive civil war in a Malthusian economy will automatically kill a lot of people anyway. (This is not just my opinion but that of mainstream historians). For comparison, “only” about 1% of the Bangladeshi population was killed in 1971, and the whole thing fits a rebellion/civil war template far closer than it does the ethnic genocide one.

  21. For comparison, “only” about 1% of the Bangladeshi population was killed in 1971,

    Which is, again, quite fascinating in terms of moral parsing.Killing 1.5 million people is less important than killing, say, 100,000, if the 1.5 million represent a smaller fraction of a given ethnic group than does the 100,000.It’s not how many people you kill, but what percentage of an ethnic group that you kill that counts.Which is interesting, as it seems to privilege nations/races/ethnic groups over individuals

    and the whole thing fits a rebellion/civil war template far closer than it does the ethnic genocide one.

    Just as a side point, there was an ethnic/racial dimension to the Bengali massacres.

  22. Just to offer a further a few further thoughts on the topic of genocide.

    A couple of weeks back, a colleague and I were discussing the topic of history’s great monsters.Naturally, the 20th century triumvirate of Hitler, Stalin, Mao came up.My friend offered up the standard line that Hitler was worse, because he murdered 6* million Jews in the Holocaust.I pointed out that, if you limited Hitler to just 6 million dead Jews, then that would put him behind both Stalin (using Snyder’s 9 million estimate) and Mao (using White’s 40 million estimate).If you wanted to put Hitler ahead of Stalin, I said, you would have to count the 6 million or so other, non-Jewish, victims of the Nazis.

    He replied that, barring the Gypsies/Roma, the other deaths seemed less clearly genocidal** in character.They were, he said, “ordinary” massacres.Hence, they were less reprehensible than the Holocaust.

    I’m troubled by that kind of moral calculus.

    *The popular number.

    ** I did contest that point, pointing out that Hitler’s plans for the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe were genocidal in character, as demonstrated by things like the Hunger Plan and Generalplan Ost, plans which, if carried out, would have resulted in the deaths of around 80 million people.

  23. cliff arroyo says

    “you could make an argument that they can be separated”

    Not a very good argument, but I guess you can make one.

    The question turns on whether modern Russia is or wants to be the successor state of the USSR in which case it can claim credit for the USSR’s achievements and gets the blame for the moral disasters and let the scales tip whether they may.

  24. Yeah and we can cut off trade with the Turks and make them squeal like pigs. We should do that anyway for what they did to Cyprus and being a major enabler of ISIS.

    They are no friends of the West.

  25. Priss Factor says

    Nakba was geocide.

  26. Reg Cæsar says

    Since when is it the function of governments to “officially recognize” events in other realms? Pave the roads, teach the kids, and jail the crooks. Leave recognition to the historians.

  27. “Holdomor” death by hunger is the precursor to the ideas of starving the Iraninas (a few US lawmakers who owe their success to AIPAC and claim that they came to the politics to serve Israel) and putting the Gazan on diet ( Sharon’s cabinet member or spokesman ) so that the superfluous or excessive number of Palestinian aren’t born( Marty Peretz ) . In between the two , world witnessed 500,000 children dying in Iraq which was fine with the queen of the Holocaust generation .

  28. I find it amusing and more than slightly annoying when some Irish people describe the Famine as genocide when the end result was an Irish diaspora spreading to England, Scotland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and even Mexico. The Famine while it had a devastating impact on Irish society and caused at least a million deaths, actually brought about the worldwide births of a larger number of ethnically Irish people than had ever lived on the island of Ireland at any given time in its history. There were numerous factors which caused the 1847 potato famine including the ruinous Corn Laws but genocide was not one of them. For what it’s worth I’m more than half Irish. It seems to be the fashion among an assortment of ethnic groups to play the My Genocide was Worse than Your Genocide card.

  29. The late George Harrison is to be commended posthumously for giving a free concert in 1971 to raise money for the relief of Bangladeshis. This went a long way to highlight the tragedy.

  30. cliff arroyo says

    “the Holodomor (“Death by Hunger”) against Ukrainians – and quite a few Russians, too – in the early 1930s USSR”

    Rather than highlight how unreasonable the Ukrainians are, the question I’m wondering about is why are Russians so apathetic about the Soviet government killing “quite a few” of them?

    After most dictatorships come to an end thre are calls for enquiries to find and shame (if not imprison or kill) the guilty. Russians and the USSR? Where’s the outrage?

  31. Priss Factor says
  32. 1)all this international rhetoric about whether this massacre or that massacre is a genocide or not are so utterly banal, pointless, and ultimately nauseating. 2)It has very little to do with any detailed and dispassionate statistical and comparative analysis of the historical facts.

    Isn’t #2 frequently driven by the desire to validate or invalidate #1? In which case the political rhetoric would not be without value.

  33. Immigrant from former USSR says

    Sorrow, mourning, and outrage are there,
    see my comment at the beginning of this comment thread.

  34. nor were they Russian. the big unspoken truth about the Holodomor is?

  35. The late George Harrison is to be commended posthumously for giving a free concert in 1971 to raise money for the relief of Bangladeshis. This went a long way to highlight the tragedy.

    Absolutely.But my point regarding the Bangladesh massacre has more to do with how it is a forgotten tragedy.Some mass killings attract a kind of cult-like devotion, whereas others seem to vanish from public memory.

  36. In the main, a very good article.This passage, however, struck me as troubling:

    But democracies aren’t innocent. For example, the United States military killed an estimated 300,000 during the subjugation of the Philippines, 1898-1902.

    This is where things get problematic.First off, how many people died in combat? Here are some figures on combat/military deaths:

    Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace (also FAS 2000)
    US: 4,234
    Filipino: 16,000

    US: 4,234 d, incl. 1,073 in combat
    Filipino battle: 16,000

    Leon Wolff Little Brown Brother (1961) p.360
    US, battle: 4,234
    Filipino, battle: 16,000 (“actually counted”) to >20,000 (“true total”)

    So, military related deaths for Filipinos are pretty low, running from 16,000 to 20,000.

    What about civilian deaths:

    Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace (also FAS 2000)

    Filipino civilians: 200,000 of disease/famine


    Filipino civilians: 200,000

    Leon Wolff Little Brown Brother (1961) p.360

    Filipino civilians: 200,000 of disease

    Now, here’s the tricky part.These people died from disease(largely cholera; a 1902 outbreak claimed 137,505 lives ) and famine.How responsible is the USA? On the one hand, the deaths due to disease and famine were triggered by America’s subjugation campaign.On the other hand, the USA did not intentionally cause* those deaths.It’s a knotty business.

    *For an example of actual bacteriological warfare:

    Unit 731, Manchukuo (bio-warfare center: 1937-45)
    Discovery Channel: “as many as 200,000 people — Chinese soldiers, private citizens and prisoners of war — had died” []
    Global Security: Up to 3,000 died in this facility. Perhaps as many 200,000 Chinese died from germ war campaign in Yunnan Province, Ningbo, and Changde. []

  37. Jus' Sayin'... says

    “… there are some massacres that are clearly not, such as Katyn…” I assume that you are referring to the Katyn Forest massacre of Polish POWs by the Soviet Union’s NKVD. If so you are either misinformed, dissimulating, or a liar. You may be dissimulating in the same way that one might say Auschwitz was not a genocide (only part of a genocide). Similarly the Katyn Forest massacre of ten of thousands of Polish POWS over the course of a week or so was not, in itself, a genocide. But it was a part of an actual attempted genocide; the attempt of the USSR to entirely eliminate the culture-bearing part of the Polish people; the political leaders, the intellectuals, the teachers, the artists, the writers, etc. The Soviets ruthlessly sought to eliminate this group, men, women, and children. The Katyn Forest massacre was only part of a much larger genocidal plan that saw hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children shipped to Soviet death camps to die of starvation, overwork, and disease or just to be killed outright in various out-of-the-way spots. You may naturally, as a Russian, feel some discomfort in dealing with this unsavory past history but please don’t try and peddle this nonsense here. It’s also worth remembering that WW II started just shortly before a joint triumphal march of conquering Soviet and German troops through Warsaw, partial payback for humiliating earlier defeats the Poles imposed on the Soviet Union towards the close of WW I. And by the way, I am not a Pole nor a Polish sympathizer, and I have a deep and abiding fondness for the Russian people. I just hate to see history distorted as you seem to be doing here.

  38. You’re right. It’s likely considered non-PC to cite this massacre that also involved mass rapes

  39. cliff arroyo says

    “Similarly the Katyn Forest massacre … was a part of an actual attempted genocide”

    Well it didn’t work, so I guess…. no hard feelings?!

  40. Dutch Boy says

    UN definition of genocide: Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (Article 2 CPPCG).
    By these criteria, Katyn would qualify and could also be considered a type of cultural genocide, since the intent was to decapitate the Polish leadership class.

  41. Zelený drak says

    Romania’s stance (of not recognizing either of the two) is not strange. Despite the historical issues, the current relations with Turkey are very good. Turks have almost completely disappeared from the list of rivals in the mental map of Romanians.
    While Russia is viewed as one of great enemies this does not mean that Ukraine is viewed with any sympathy. For many, they are just a smaller Russia. They have after all historically Romanian territories, taken during the Second World War. There also border conflicts (marine border around an island/rock) . Ukraine was not well liked even by the leftist (due to ecological damage done in the Danube Delta.)

  42. Seamus Padraig says

    It’s not how many people you kill, but what percentage of an ethnic group that you kill that counts.Which is interesting, as it seems to privilege nations/races/ethnic groups over individuals.

    Naturally. This is genocide we’re talking about here, not multiple homicide. Ethnicity is precisely the point at issue.

    genocide: The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. (American Heritage Dictionary)

  43. Naturally. This is genocide we’re talking about here, not multiple homicide. Ethnicity is precisely the point at issue.

    genocide: The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. (American Heritage Dictionary)

    Which is precisely my point.Let’s say that I wipe out (down to the last man, woman, and child) an ethnic group that numbers 1,000 people.Meanwhile, a friend of mine kills 1 million people (say, schoolteachers) as part of a campaign to re-make society. According to the great and the good, I am worse than my friend because I committed genocide, while he just killed lots and lots of people.

    The moral logic at work here seems dubious….

  44. Anatoly Karlin says

    I suppose you could argue Katyn was a genocide if your definition is loose enough (i.e. extremely so).

    Of course it would be very much a minority opinion that is limited to half the Polish political elites (i.e. Kaczyński and Co) are… pretty much no-one else.

    It was a massacre quite clearly aimed at the Polish intelligentsia, of the same sort that the Bolsheviks subjected Russians amongst others to (i.e. it was ideological and class-based, not ethnic). Numerically, it was virtually the same as the number of Soviet POWs who died in Polish camps during the Soviet-Polish War.

    That said, this post isn’t about Katyn, or even any specific genocide/democide/massacre. It’s about how genocide is a spectrum, with some events clearly higher up than others, and the fact that most recognitions or not of genocide are blatantly political.

  45. Anatoly Karlin says

    That’s kind of an extreme example though.

    My intuitive feeling is that utterly destroying, say, a 1 million-strong ethnic group is worse than an equivalent “political” or “ideological” democide. But a 100-million high democide is probably worse. A 5 or 10 million high democide? Hard to say.

    For instance, almost everyone acknowledges that the 6 million death (Jewish) Holocaust was “worse” than the general Nazi repressions and starvation that killed around 20 million Slavic civilians, let alone the Maoist famine that resulted in a similar number of excess deaths from 1959-62.

    I would agree with this even though I’m a Slav and not Jewish. Circumstances and intent do matter. Of course if Generalplan Ost had been fully carried through, things would have been cardinally different, which raises the additional question of how unfulfilled “imputed intent” should be weighed.

  46. Reg Cæsar says

    You can commit a pretty through genocide of a people without harming a single individual. Though he didn’t use the word (as far as I remember), Steve Sailer wrote about how the Afro-Mexicans were married and miscegenated out of existence.

    If Virginians were more on the ball, they could have defended their miscegenation ban as an anti-genocide measure, to protect minorities.

  47. Reg Cæsar says

    Nakba was geocide.

    Killing the whole planet would indeed be a nakba.

    But if you meant “genocide”, then the ghosts of the many ethnicities from the Tigris to the Ras Nouadhibou will tell you this is the pot calling the kettle black.

    Jizya belongs high on the list of effective genocidal methods.

  48. Genocide is a propaganda term invented to super-villainize the Nazis. Yeah, they killed a lot of people. So did most successful military commanders.

  49. Genocide is a legal term coined by Dr. Lemkin to describe a unique crime against humanity.
    If the purpose was to “super-villainize” the genocidal Nazis, God bless Dr. Lemkin: the filthy, savage, genocidal, baby-killer Nazis are the #2 poster child for super- villain definition: #1 being the genocidal Turks.

    And someone who has no clue about the difference between killing during military campaigns and organizing and carrying out a deliberate mass murder of unarmed, defenseless civilians – women, children, babies – is beyond reason.

  50. Genocide is the product of the idea of the ” total war” of post enlightenment era that slowly replaced the previous wars of the ancient and and medieval times . One can’t eliminate the possibility of the genocide in figure war also anymore .
    War can’t escape the possibility of genocide. Particularly in those wars where ideologies play roles . This is why American wars whether against Vietnam or Iraq created unnecessary monumental death bordering on genocide . The idea of evil or satan have guided American wars along with the idea of expansion of economic opportunities in the past against Mexican,Hawain,Phillipine and remnant of Spanish colonies in around US. But now the ideology have trumped the economy mainly due to the multi pronged efforts by the abusive vested interest group . Iraq ,Libya,Iran,and Syria are the example of the ideological wars .
    On another note, we may want to look into the ultimate real effects of the ” genocidal wars” and those wars not still labeled as such . War against local Armenian occurred at a time when Turkey itself under the real threat of dismemberment and disappearance and when Armenia as a country was agitating for greater role and pivoting away to Russia ,the enemy of Turkey . This is different from a fully sovereign ,able strong country like Europe waging wars of cultural and physical genocide in weak Africa or SE Asia or America doing same to Iraq or Vietnam or towards the native Indians or Germany doing to Gypsies,Homosexuals,Jews and to antiwar activists within its borders and outside it borders .

  51. {“ War against local Armenian occurred at a time when Turkey itself under the real threat of dismemberment and disappearance and when Armenia as a country was agitating for greater role and pivoting away to Russia ,the enemy of Turkey”}

    Nice attempt at Denial of the AG and historical revision: sorry, no cigar pal.

    “war against local Armenian” ?
    Do you consider the mass murder of defenseless Armenian women, children, and babies, quote, “war” ?
    And there was no independent country Armenia in 1915: Armenians living in Western Armenia were subjects of Ottoman Turk Empire.
    Armenians living in Eastern Armenia were subjects of the Russian Empire.
    Armenians of OT served in the OT military.
    Armenians of RE served in the RE military.

    There was no war in 1894-1896 when Turks massacred up to 300,000 Armenian civilians.
    There was no war in 1909 when Turks massacred up to 30,000 Armenian civilians.

    Armenians have existed in Armenian Highlands for at least 5,000 years.
    Nobody invited Turks to Asia Minor. Turks are foreigners.
    Turk ancestors are nomadic invaders from Uyguristan (…that’s next to China for geographically challenged).

    And about that war: Turks entered the war voluntarily on behalf of their WW1 ally Germany.
    Turks launched an unprovoked sneak attack on Russian Black Sea installations in 1914.
    Russia and her allies attacked Ottoman Turkey in response.
    Ottoman Turkey was crushed by the Allies: England, France, and Russia.
    Ottoman Turkey crumbled.

    Turks organized the Genocide of Armenians to steal their lands and property.
    Also to make room for their Turk kin who were fleeing the Balkans and other European counties as OT was crumbling.
    Nothing more complicated than that.

  52. unpc downunder says

    And it will probably get more traction now the Kardashian’s have weighed in on the Armenian side:

  53. Thank you sir for sharing the information

  54. You are very welcome, Sir.

  55. hammersmith says

    I don’t care.

  56. I have no idea what genocide means. If it means what I’ve been led to think it means–the deliberate, systematic murder of an entire discrete, identifiable minority(/majority?) racial/ethnic(economic?) group(/class?)–then it almost certainly hasn’t happened. (Yes, including the Nazis, who had a funny way of exporting, leaving behind, and using for other purposes [slave labor, for instance] the people [or one of the people] they were planning to exterminate.) Except I don’t know what constitutes a genocidable group. If it can be as small as a dozen people, then yes. But then you’d have to come up with a new word for how much worse the holocaust was, and we’d shift the competition over to what qualifies as the new bad thing.

    It doesn’t seem as though anyone’s interested in “genocide” having a consistent meaning. Which might be true of a lot of ideologically useful words. But unlike a lot of other buzzwords, “genocide”isn’t spoken outside of politcs. It’s purely a power word. Not even “racism” has such high stakes. We should write it off as useless for just such a reason. Let no new Armenians and Ukrainians fight for scraps from the historical pity party/international ethnic welfare sweepstakes, or whatever pot of gold it is they’re chasing.

    Is “mass murder” isufficient? I think it does the job.

  57. {“ We should write it off as useless for just such a reason. “}

    You can write it off as useless: don’t include “We” in your personal biases.

    {“Let no new Armenians and Ukrainians fight for scraps from the historical pity party/international ethnic welfare sweepstakes, or whatever pot of gold it is they’re chasing.”}

    Don’t know about Ukrainians or what they are allegedly, quote, “chasing”.
    But I can tell from that vile sentence your wrote – “scraps from the historical pity party/international ethnic welfare sweepstakes, or whatever pot of gold” – that you have no clue about Armenians or the Armenian Genocide.

    And I am sure if some people invaded your home, murdered 75%-80% of your family, raped your daughters, kidnapped your children,…and there was no law to capture and punish the criminals, you’d just move on and not “chase” justice: Right ?
    Sure you would.

  58. Also beyond reason: someone who cannot distinguish between communal violence (two populations killing each other) and genocide (one population killing another). The Turkish-Armenian case is best described as communal violence. A good book to read on this is Guenter Lewy’s “The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide.” University of Utah Press. 2005. ISBN 0-87480-849-9.

  59. There is no so-called “Turkish-Armenian” so-called “case”.
    There is no co-called “communal violence”.

    Guenter Lewy is a vile denialist on the payroll of the denialist Turk machine.
    Multitudes of independent, unbiased scholars have examined the AG and confirmed: Turks committed a Genocide.
    Multitudes of states, regions, municipalities have examined the so-called “communal violence” and have decided Turks committed a Genocide against Armenians (…and Assyrians, and Pontic Greeks).

    Most recently The Pope of 1.2 Billion Catholics affirmed the AG.
    Most recently Austria and Luxemburg affirmed the AG.

    Germany, Ottoman Turkey’s ally during WW2, is now considering officially recognizing the AG. German President Joachim Gauck has already affirmed that it was Genocide and has cited Germany’s role in it.

    Too bad for Denialist Turks and their paid agents. (hint, hint denialist agent Guenter Lewy)

    “Communal violence” you say ? Communal denialist nonsense I say.
    Keep believing the Earth is flat.
    Have a nice day, Turkoglu

  60. Actually, I should ignore a troll like you, but as a public service (keep communicating, you know, even in the face of incivility), I’ll offer a few additional words.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, when describing Guenter Lewy, used a few adjectives similar to your own “vile.” Professor Lewy took them to court, and walked away a few millions richer–the court concluded that he was indeed a seeker of truth.

    As for what academics think: there is indeed a clique within academia calling itself “Genocide Studies” that claims expertise in the ability to distinguish genocide from mere killing. Kind of a sister discipline to Gender Studies, African-American Studies, Queer Studies–I think you get the picture. These activists have proclaimed that the AG is indeed a genocide. Unfortunately, they are not backed up by scholars with specific expertise in the languages or history of the late Ottoman Empire. The true experts can be found populating the Wikipedia list .

    You are correct that “multitudes of states, regions, municipalities” have investigated and discovered that the AG is indeed a genocide. You can imagine, I hope, the quality of persons assigned to the task of investigation (“you Francois!, we got a job for you!”). If you can’t quite imagine, I can spell it out: these investigators would make even Genocide Scholars look like… well… scholars.

    I realize that you probably wrote in haste, and just made a stupid mistake that you now regret, but it is really extremely careless to call Germany “Ottoman Turkey’s ally during WW2”. Ottoman Turkey did not exist during WW2. But it seems that a cavalier disregard for the facts characterizes too much of what Armenian deniers of their own guilt have to say about the terrible events of 1915.

  61. the one who is a troll is you.
    “public service” ? is that what you call for trolling for denialist Turks ?

    and congrats noticing a typo: you get at least two brownie points, Turkoglu.
    Yes, there was no Ottoman Turkey in WW2.
    Regrets ? surely you jest.

    “Armenian deniers of their own guilt” ? Do tell, Turkoglu.
    In case you still have a denialist’s cavalier disregard for facts: your Uyguroglu ancestors, from Uyguristan, invaded the lands of my Armenian ancestors.
    The nomads murdered the indigenous peoples and took their land.
    Along with a whole lot of other things.

    Nomad Turks, your ancestors, are as guilty as sin of the capital crime of Genocide.
    Over to you, Turkoglu.

  62. Enrique Cardova says

    Well these things are relative. Belgium is supposed to have its hands clean in comparison to those awful Germans. But Leopold according to credible historians did rack up an impressive body count and that’s according to the statistics kept by his own bureaucrats. As the best known popular study says:

    “An official Belgian government commission in 1919 estimated that from the time Stanley began laying the foundation of Leopold’s state, the population of the territory had “been reduced by half.” Major Charles C. Libbrechts, a top executive of the Congo state administration for most of its existence, arrived at the same estimate in 1920. The most authoritative judgment comes from Jan Vansina, professor emeritus of history and anthropology at the University of Wisconsin and perhaps the greatest living ethnographer at the University of Wisconsin and perhaps the greatest living ethnographer of the Congo basin peoples. He bases his calculation on ‘innumerable local sources from different areas: priests noticing their flocks shrinking, oral traditions, genealogies, and much more.; Hi estimate is the same: between 1880 and 1920, the population of the Congo was cit “by at least a half.”..

    In 1924 the population was reckoned at ten million, a figure confirmed by later counts. This would mean, according to the estimates, that during the Leopold period and its immediate aftermath, the population of the territory dropped by approximately ten million people.

    Burned villages, starved hostages, terrified refuges, dying in swamps, orders for ‘extermination’ – even in crass, purely monetary terms, aren’t these inefficient means of doing business? massacring huge numbers of people my frighten the survivors into gathering rubber, but doesn’t it destroy the labor force? Indeed it does. Belgian administrators ordered the census in 1924 because they were deeply concerned about a shortage of available workers. ‘We run the risk of someday seeing our native population collapse and disappear,’ fretfully declared the permanent committee of the National Colonial Congress of Belgium that year. ‘So that we will find ourselves confronted with a kind of desert.’

    –Adam Hochschild (1999) King Leopold’s Ghost pg. 233

  63. Philip Owen says

    I’ve just had this argument about fascism on Twitter (well all but one of my opponents were brain dead – it is Twitter – so it was insult swapping really). Actually studying what Mussolini said about Fascism is not considered reasonable. Especially if it illuminates the face staring at you in the mirror. Franco, more Catholic and more Monarchist also counts as a source of study. Professors of other forms of Socialism spilling oceans of ink on out of context quotations do not count.

    This is very topical today. Russia Insider threw Soarintothesky out for reasonably labeling them Orthodox Fascists. They are very happy with “House Nigger” or Anglozionist. Time for a Barabara Streisand effect.

    The British Government says that genocides occurring before the UN Charter was written don’t count as applying such a legalised label is retrospective law. If Anatoly discussed Rwanda and Burundi, I didn’t notice. But, if genocide is illegal, at what point should there be a requirement for humanitarian intervention? By whom? Is the killing of 3o,ooo Sunni villagers by the Syrian Government or 40,000 disarmed Matabele soldiers by the Zimbabwe government’s Mashona soldiers reaching a trigger point? What about the mass panic of Kosovans? Did they have a case against the Serbs or was Srebinica to be ignored? The rape and enslavement of Yazidi girls? Only about 800,000 of the 1.8 m people previously registered in rebel occupied Donbass were ethnic Russian? Which group there gets moved out? By whom? The attacks of the Burmese on moslem groups? Does it matter which are governmental and which are community driven?

  64. Philip Owen says

    No. The government needs to be liberal, if only to allow change to occur without explosions. Conservatism is the duty of the individual.

  65. Philip Owen says

    Katyn was also an echo of Russian Imperial policy under Nicholas I when Polish intellectuals, particularly priests, were murdered in large numbers in an attempt at religious change.

  66. Philip Owen says

    “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Australian Aborigines sometimes use this argument as many children were moved to mission schools. What is no longer mentioned is that this was a reaction to Aborigine marriage practices. Young children of 5 or 6 would be married to a much older 30+ spouse. Culturally it was a way of providing support to the elderly and a way of using the whole gene pool to avoid excessive incest. What the white missionaries saw was an enormous breaking of sexual taboos. Did preventing sex between 40 year old men and 7 year old girls justify the genocide?

  67. Anonymous says

    Quite fascinating how when everybody likes attacking China they claim Manchus aren’t Chinese, but when Manchus are humiliated or do something bad (like massacre 600,000 Dzungars) Manchus automatically become Chinese.

    This reminds me of that battles during the Opium Wars where British troops owned and defeated all ethnic Manchu soldiers, suddenly their Manchu ethnicity wasn’t relevant and it got changed to “Chinese soldiers get humiliated by British” in most western history textbooks. Because logic. Oh, wait.

  68. Anonymous says

    I went to Belgium a few years back and was shocked to see a statue of Leopold II in Brussels. When I asked some Belgians why they would venerate a man who is seen as the moral equivalent of Hitler in Africa (for once, this would be a rightful comparison). Most of them didn’t even seem to know what I was talking about.

    So much for Europeans being a well-learned people.

  69. I deplore the European taste for historical inquiry that keeps dredging up our past, if only because it provides the club for peoples who are less cognizant or caring of their own history to beat us over the head with. The outright extermination or death through forced labor of other peoples is a recurring act in the history of all of humanity. I was well aware of Leopold’s attitude towards his colonial property, as should most educated people be. It was the Europeans who provided the impetus for the mass abolition of slavery throughout the world and the changing of this cultural norm. I am also increasingly well aware of the slavery that was performed and is being performed by people who, unlike the Europeans, did not keep the receipts or leave a paper trail. Or of the genocides performed by the same. Does anyone wonder why it took the Dutch settlers in South Africa over 100 years to find a notable African tribe and that the San bushmen and Khoikhoi peoples they found in the beginning were very few in numbers? Ask the Bantu.

    Even though I would like to rigidly adhere to the idea of being as close to the historical truth as possible, no matter how painful, I would support the suppression of certain parts of history or of European acknowledgement of its history if it meant stoking up some good old fashioned nationalism to prevent immigration and to ensure that future generations of Westernized Europeans will be born to continue their good works in all fields.