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Stalin apologetics

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Marxism says, "Eliminate class distinctions" and Stalinism does so by the simple and effective process of destructions, as Tamerlane destroyed his enemies or the Hebrew prophet [Samuel] slew for the glory of Jehovah.
—Walter Duranty,[1] infamous Holodomor denier and Stalin apologist

Stalin apologetics is actually a thing. Some Western communists deny that Joseph Stalin was the murderous dictator he is extensively documented[2] as having been.

Their motivation stems from standard "my enemy's enemy" logic, combined with the idea that The Revolution required and requires a strong leader, and Stalin fits that bill. Therefore, his flaws must be papered over, for the good of all.

Stalinists, and similarly authoritarian communists, are often referred to with the derogatory epithet tankies.[3]

Stalin apologists call people who disagree with them "revisionist" — particularly their mortal enemies, the Trots — while calling themselves "anti-revisionist", much like how TERFs call themselves (and insist on being called) "gender critical", or how white supremacists call themselves "race realists". If talking about non-communists, Stalin apologists will often use the curious phrase "right-wing liberal".[note 1]

In Russia, a worryingly large percentage of the modern-day population think highly of Stalin (although a rather lesser proportion would want to live in a country actually ruled by Stalin).[5] He is also quite popular in his native Georgia. This is best understood as a form of nationalism distinct from Western communist apologism, or perhaps a legacy of his unfathomably massive personality cult.

Argument tropes[edit]

Russian Communist Party members visit Stalin's grave near the Kremlin.

The most common arguments are:

  • It's all propaganda!
  • Loss of central control — it was Stalin's subordinates, not him! (rehashing the "Good Tsar with evil advisors" — and "If only the Tsar knew about this" — tropes of Romanov Russia)
    • NKVD acted alone — basically, this comes down to blaming the entire Great Purge on Nikolai Yezhov, though this causes problems in trying to explain the atrocities carried out by Lavrentiy Beria,[note 3] Genrikh Yagoda, and to an extent, Felix Dzerzhinsky (though he was active under Lenin).
  • Farm collectivization totally works, but Lysenkoism is rubbish, so it failed.

It is important to keep in mind that before World War II and the Cold War, believing pretty much everything Stalin said about himself and the Soviet Union was completely standard among many Western progressives and even in some government circles, although anti-Stalin leftistsWikipedia and Trotskyists such as Tony Cliff and Isaac DeutscherWikipedia were vocal in their opposition to Stalin's repressions. It became less so as the Cold War progressed and more details of what Stalin was actually doing came out, with Nikita Khrushchev'sWikipedia de-StalinizationWikipedia campaign in the 1950s causing a further schism among the Western left, and became completely untenable with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the release of extensive source documents.

Particular atrocities[edit]

Starving children during the Holodomor
See the main articles on this topic: Whataboutism and Cognitive dissonance

None of these happened or will be discussed. But his victims deserved it anyway, even though it all just happened naturally, and WHAT ABOUT AMERICA, HEY? LOOK AT AMERICA'S PRISON POPULATION! IRAQ WAR! JAPANESE INTERNMENT CAMPS! TRAIL OF TEARS! YOU LYNCHED NEGROES!Wikipedia

Holodomor[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Holodomor

Stalin apologists play down or outright deny the Holodomor, the starvation of large chunks of Ukraine.

The Holodomor may or may not technically qualify as an attempted genocide (though the UN, EU, Canada, and Ukraine all regard it as one). So Stalin apologists will ride that lack of unanimity for all it's worth. Note, however, that the equation goes:

A mother dying with her child in Kazakhstan.

The debating tactics closely resemble those of Holocaust deniers, because it's very closely analogous: denial of an extensively documented attempted genocide. You'll see attempts to minimise the numbers, with the implication that the number might be zero, or to assert that it was unintentional or entirely natural (e.g. plant rust diseases that those mere peasants were too stupid to spot, being, er, farmers). Or, "best" of all, that the Kulaks deserved it. Tankies usually will point to how the Kulaks in an act of disobedience and rebellion against the Soviet government engaged in a mass killing of their livestock that the Soviet government was going to steal from them at gunpoint anyway. This is also refuted by the fact that the famine in Kazakhstan, where the Soviet government successfully collectivized the nomad's livestock[11] and nomads actually fled with their cattle with them,[11] had an even worse death toll in proportion to the population than Ukraine-[11] (although the Ukrainian population in Kazakhstan coincidentally fell from 859,396 to 549,859 (almost 36% of their population) which was significantly higher than other minorities in Kazakhstan who lost between 12% and 30% of their populations.[11] This still was even less of a depopulation then the heavily Ukrainian-populated Kuban region, which was the most heavily effected area by the famine, coinciding forced relocation, and Russification policies during the period resulting in the self-identified Ukrainian population in the area being reduced from 915,000 in 1926 to 150,000 in 1939.[12]).

Robert Conquest, author of The Great Terror which sets out in detail the case for Stalin as murderous tyrant[13] (for the second edition, which benefited from Perestroika-era document releases, his friend Kingsley Amis suggested the title I Told You So, You Fucking Fools[14]) — doesn't refer to the Holodomor by the term "genocide". So this will be literally the one topic on which a tankie will decide, well, maybe Robert Conquest wasn't so bad after all.

Holodomor denial takes many forms. The most offensive is arguably outright denial of its existence by those like Maoist Rebel News. This is quickly debunked by some maths.[15]

Mark B. Tauger (an apologist, though an actual historian) is a popular source among apologists. He claims that the famine was an accident and unavoidable, but his data is of dubious origin and selection criteria,[16] and Tauger does not offer an argument as to why his "data" is representative of all collective farms in Ukraine, not just the farms from which he got his data.

In contrast, supporters of the view that the Holodomor was an act of genocide consider that the famine is related to the Soviet policy of Russification,Wikipedia including the suppression of the Ukrainian language and Ukraine's cultural elites after the famine. Stalin personally signed an order blockading citizens of only Ukraine and the Kuban, a heavily Ukrainian populated territory in Russia, from fleeing starving villages.[17] This is argued to clearly prove a genocidal intent to the famine in regards to the Ukrainians in particular.[18] Tankies will defend this by saying that sealing the borders was actually meant to control the spread of famine from rural villages into cities, much like how quarantining a virus… Because that's totally how famines work.[19] However, 600,000 starving Kazakh refugees were able to flee their famine successfully.[11] That's almost three times the number of Ukrainians stopped at the border and deported back to their villages to die,[20] and it didn't seem to make the famine into a national rather than regional catastrophe as the tankies moan on about. Also, most of the refugees survived, proving migration would have saved those locked in their villages. Though there were some vagrants among the refugees,[11] that hardly justifies letting them just die. Also, you gotta love how communists, people who are supposed to fight for the poor and marginalized, will defend letting millions of peasants starve so a bunch of city slickers don't have to get their apples nabbed by starving homeless people.

The anti-Ukrainian nationalist sentiment in the Soviet leadership is evidenced by the General of the Joint State Political Directorate (later succeeded by the NKVD), Vsevolod Balyts'kyi, who believed that armed uprising would take place in the spring of 1933 to overthrow the Soviet government in order to create a new capitalist nation of Ukraine.[21] Affirming this view, the secretary of the Kharkiv Oblast in Ukraine referred to the "bourgeois nationalists" as "class enemies" that must continue to be fought near the end of the famine, implying that the "battle" had already started.[22] Coincidentally, the Kharkiv Oblast was the one most affected by the famine in Ukraine, losing around a fifth of its population.[23] Since then, more than 800 documents[24] have been discovered in the Oblast documenting administrators condemning state farms for encouraging "the behaviour of class aliens" (which, again, Ukrainian Nationalists were considered to be),[25] ordering administrators to confiscate grain[26] and to deny food aid to villages who failed to meet grain procurement quotas.[27] There was also wholesale blockading of villages on the "Blackboard",[28][29] prosecution of those who tried to take state property such as spikelets to use for farming,[30] and migration of starving villagers was restricted through the internal passports system.[31]

In this vein, the first wave of political purges in Ukraine, which took place between 1929 and 1934, was aimed at the revolutionary generation of the Party, which in Ukraine included many supporters of Ukrainianization. On February 23, 1933, Andrii Khvylia was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Education in Ukraine. He advocated destroying nationalist sentiments in Ukraine on the battlefield of language.[32] The Soviet authorities specifically targeted the Commissioner of Education in Ukraine, Mykola Skrýpnyk, for promoting Ukrainian language reforms that were seen as dangerous and counterrevolutionary; due to this Skrýpnyk committed suicide in 1933. The next wave of political purges, which took place between 1936 and 1938, eliminated a large part of the new generation of politicians who had replaced those who perished in the first wave. The purges halved the number of members of the Ukrainian Communist Party, and the purged Ukrainian political commissars were largely replaced by cadres sent from Russia, who also suffered many "rotations" due to Stalin's purges.[33]:496-497 The Russification policy was more intense in Ukraine than in other parts of the Soviet Union, so much so that the country now contains the largest group of Russian speakers who are not ethnic Russians: in 2009 there were around 5.5 million Ukrainians whose mother tongue was Russian. Russian speakers are more numerous in the southeastern half of the country, while both Russian and Ukrainian are used equally in the center, and Ukrainian is the dominant language in the west. In addition, hundreds of Ukrainian writers were killed in the "Executed Renaissance"Wikipedia[34]:7-8 and musicians were killed in the same way, becoming known as the Persecuted bandurists.Wikipedia

Also, the Soviet Union unambiguously did persecute entire national and ethnic minorities regardless of the Holodomor — more than a dozen, actually. They did it frequently. Sure, maybe one or two ethnic cleansings once in a while to spice things up, but ten? Come on, you're just an addict at that point; see Population transfer in the Soviet Union,Wikipedia Mass operations of the NKVD.Wikipedia Why, then, does the idea that Ukrainians would be one of the targeted groups seem so absurd? Especially coming from a regime that literally went door-to-door and deported every single person of the Chechen nationality to work for food coupons in inhospitable mines[35]:412 where Chechen children were beaten to death for not complying.[36]:18 Who would suspect such an innocuous regime of committing genocide (as if what we just said wasn't already genocide)? So unthinkable! Come on guys; come on.

Kulaks[edit]

Requisition of grains from kulaks during the forced collectivization of 1933

The kulaks were originally the richest independent farmers, risen from the peasantry. Lenin had condemned them as class enemies, "bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten on famine."[37]

Stalin, wishing to collectivise, expanded the official definition of "kulak" to any peasant owning land or livestock; any peasant even selling surplus goods on the market could be labeled a kulak. In practice, any peasant who did not provide grain to quota, particularly the artificially high quotas of 1929-1933, was labeled a kulak. Not appearing to be starving was taken as evidence of hoarding.

On January 30, 1930, the Politburo approved the extermination of kulaks as a class. Soviet archives published in 1990 show 1,803,392 people being sent to labour colonies and camps in 1930 and 1931, with 1,317,022 actually reaching the destinations. 389,521 "kulaks" and their relatives died in labour colonies from 1932 to 1940.[38]

A serious Stalin apologist will, at some point, come out with "the kulaks deserved it". When humans with any sense of proportion react with outrage and disgust, they will often then try to justify Stalin's actions, deny them, or both simultaneously.

The gulags[edit]

Prisoners at a gulag on Sakhalin Island

The Stalin Society maintained that the gulags were only for offenders who had committed serious crimes ("homicide, robbery, rape, economic crimes, etc.")[39] — perfectly ordinary prisons for deserving criminals, not forced labor camps that dissenters were shipped off to arbitrarily. In reality, people could be sent to the gulags for even minor offenses.[40]

The current estimate of the gulags' death toll is 1,258,537 from 1934 to 1953, and roughly 1.6 million from 1929 to 1953.[41] Some modern estimates have pushed figures as high as 6 million.[42]

The Great Purge[edit]

The Stalin Society claims only (only!) 100,000 people were executed during the Great Purge.[39] The actual number is 681,692,[43]:67 but that's just Western bourgeois propaganda.

Stalin personally signed 357 execution warrants that authorized the execution of 40,000 individuals, 90% having been confirmed executed.[44] Historian Oleg V. Khlevniuk said in his book Master of the House: Stalin and His Inner Circle regarding the Great Purge, "… theories about the elemental, spontaneous nature of the terror, about a loss of central control over the course of mass repression, and about the role of regional leaders in initiating the terror are simply not supported by the historical record."[45]:xix

Stalin hand-picked Nikolai Yezhov to accomplish what Yagoda could not. Yezhov carried out his new position with ruthless efficacy.[46][47]

Stalin apologists blame the NKVD being out of control.

Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact[edit]

Stalin and Ribbentrop greet each other in the Kremlin. A toast to our Nazi comrades!

The more sophisticated Stalin apologists will argue that while he may have done some nasty things, it's alright because he was an anti-fascist and the Soviet Union was vital in taking down Hitler. This will often be contrasted with the policy of appeasement pursued by Western bourgeois powers,Wikipedia and whataboutist comparisons with other non-aggression pacts signed with Nazi Germany, such as the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact.Wikipedia

But while Stalin clashed with Hitler during the Spanish Civil War, he didn't let this get in the way of making a deal with the Nazis when it suited him. Having first ordered his subordinates to "purge the ministry of Jews,"[48]:97-98 Stalin got down to business. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939. Less than three weeks later, Germany invaded Poland and the much-maligned Chamberlain promptly declared war on Hitler. Stalin waited a few more weeks before also invading Poland. In celebration of their victory, the Wehrmacht and Red Army held a joint parade in Brest-Litovsk in Belarus. As a further show of solidarity, Stalin handed over some German communist exiles to Hitler, who promptly sent them to the concentration camps.[49]

Soviet and German expansion between 1939 and 1940, as planned by both parties.

The pact contained secret protocols[50] which divided Europe into spheres of influence between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In practice, it allowed Stalin to pursue imperialistic policies without any objections from the Nazis, including the aforementioned invasion of eastern Poland,[51] occupation of the Baltic states,[52] a disastrous invasion of Finland,[53] and the takeover of Bessarabia.[54] Stalin apologists tend to justify his imperialism by saying that he wanted to spread the communist revolution to neighboring countries.

Stalin stuck to his agreement with Hitler, to the extent that he refused to mobilize the Red Army even when it was apparent to everyone else that Operation Barbarossa was in the making. French communists, who after Barbarossa became the backbone of the Resistance, were ordered at the time not to resist the Germans in the portion of France they occupied or the Vichy government elsewhere (temporarily) in France.[55]:10[56]:115 Similarly, other communist parties in Nazi-occupied Europe had been ordered to work with the Nazis, but then had to go underground at the beginning of Barbarossa when all communist parties were outlawed and their members risked being sent to concentration camps if caught by the Nazis.

The Stalin apologist line is typically either that Stalin knew that Hitler would eventually attack and that it bought the USSR some time (this is the 20/20 hindsight version; it glosses over the fact that Stalin refused to acknowledge that Hitler had actually broken the pact during the first hours after the invasion had begun and was furious at army officers who reported the massive onslaught). Another excuse stems from the Soviet propaganda of the time, which claimed that the pact had preempted a sinister capitalist/imperialist plot that had tried to get the USSR and the Third Reich into a war with each other to weaken both to the benefit of especially Britain and France. While it's undoubtedly true that the leaders of Britain and France would have been more than happy to watch the two totalitarian regimes slug it out, how this wishful thinking would actually have led to a Russo-German war in the absence of the pact is unclear. Another apologist line was that Poland had occupied Belarusian territory as a result of the Peace of RigaWikipedia and therefore deserved the invasion. Even ignoring the callousness of this argument,[note 5] Stalin was committing massacres against Belarusians in the years leading up to the war, showing that Stalin's intentions weren't actually helping Belarusians.[57]

The best spin to put on the sordid affair that was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is to view it as Stalin's recognition that collective security and trying to build a common anti-Nazi front was unrealistic in the wake of appeasement. However, at best the pact was a temporary measure, resting on several rather optimistic assumptions, e.g. that the Wehrmacht would not be able to defeat the Western Allies (a prospect made less likely by the removal of the risk of a two-front war involving the USSR), or that if the Third Reich did manage to pull this off, it wouldn't turn on the Soviets next. While the pact did buy Stalin time and a buffer zone in Poland, he squandered both in the disastrous war with Finland,[note 6] and lack of preparations for a Nazi invasion. Even worse, as a consequence of the pact, the USSR would end up on its own, facing the vast majority of the Nazi war machine after it had been honed in the Polish, Scandinavian, Benelux and French campaigns, by which time it was also backed by the resources of the Nazi-occupied countries.

Katyn massacre[edit]

The 1943 exhumation at the site of the Katyn Massacre

In 1940, the Soviets murdered an estimated 22,000 Polish military officers they had captured after invading the eastern part of Poland at the start of the Second World War. The Katyn massacre — so called because it took place in the forest of the same name — was authorized by Stalin and five other members of the Politburo in an order to execute 27,500 Polish "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries" created at the request of Beria.[58]:140[59] The executions were carried out by the NKVD; Vasili Blohkin, the NKVD chief executioner, shot 7,000 of the prisoners himself. Documents coming to light since the dissolution of the USSR undeniably confirm Stalin's involvement with the Katyn Massacre.[60]:5-

When the mass graves in Katyn were discovered by Nazi occupation forces, they were used by the Nazis to attempt to smear the USSR. The Soviets, in turn, appointed a commission that blamed the incident on the Nazis.[61]

Stalin apologists ignore questions on the topic, blame the NKVD for being out of control or blame the Nazis. Both these objections are absurd: Stalin knowingly signed the orders,[62] which undermines the argument that the NKVD acted alone or that the Nazis were responsible for the Katyn massacre.

The Stalin Society attempted to cast doubt upon the authenticity of documents implicating Stalin in the massacre.[63] They offer unsourced "eyewitness" testimony of locals seeing German soldiers at the scene or being pressured by German soldiers to blame the shootings on the Soviets.[63] They then claim:[63]

Moreover, pathologists who examined the bodies in 1943 concluded that they could not have been dead longer than two years. Furthermore, documents were found on some of the bodies which had obviously been missed by the Germans when they doctored the evidence. These included a letter dated September 1940, a postcard dated 12 November 1940, a pawn ticket receipted 14 March 1941 and another receipted 25 March 1941. Receipts dated 6 April 1941, 5 May 1941, 15 May 1941 and an unmailed postcard in Polish dated 20 June 1941. Although all these dates pre-date Soviet withdrawal, they all postdate the time of the alleged murder of the prisoners by the Soviet authorities in the spring of 1940, the time given as the date of the supposed massacre by all those whom the Germans were able to bully into giving false testimony.

No citation is given to these supposed items or their discovery.

Murder and deportation of ethnic groups[edit]

Some 1 to 1.5 million were killed, often deliberately, as a result of mass deportations of ethnic minorities under Stalin — of those deaths, the deportation of Crimean Tatars and the deportation of Chechens were recognized as genocides by Ukraine and the European Parliament respectively.[64][65]:131[41]:84[66] For example, in the deportations of Chechens, everyone was rounded up, and anyone resisting, or anyone physically unfit to withstand the deportation - the sick, the elderly, pregnant women - were unceremoniously shot on the spot. Their villages were burned to the ground, and in some cases there were atrocious mass murders, such as the burning of 700 people alive in Haibah in Chechnya on the orders of NKVD generals. As many as 60% of the "deported" Chechens perished, in part due to deliberate poisoning of food rations.[67] This represents a per capita death toll almost as high as that inflicted on Europe's Jews during the Holocaust.

Stalin's apologists sometimes go as far as to say that the ethnic groups in question deserved the deportations for their collaboration with Nazis and opposition to the Soviet state and of course downplay the number killed.[68]

NKVD National Operations[edit]

Yezhov and Stalin sharing insights, USSR, 1937

Stalin was fond of shifting around, or just killing, entire ethnic groups in the Soviet Union that he considered "reactionary" rather than "progressive". Operations included the Greek Operation (an organised mass persecution that Greeks considered a "pogrom"), the Korean Operation (in which ethnic Koreans were moved from the far east to Kazakhstan), the German operation (1937-38), and the Polish Operation.

The Polish Operation, implemented by NKVD Order No. 00485,[69] was probably the worst. It led to the execution of 111,901 Poles resident in the Soviet Union. The original text of the order appears to target Polish spies but was interpreted by the NKVD as "absolutely all Poles" — a straight-up ethnic cleansing. Timothy Snyder estimates (conservatively) that 85,000 of the executed individuals were ethnically Polish,[70]:103-104 and the rest were suspected Poles.

Stalin himself even said, “Very good! Keep on digging up and cleaning out this Polish filth. Eliminate it in the interests of the Soviet Union."[70]:96

Apologists don't mention the Polish, Greek or Korean Operations and tend to claim not to have heard of it, with the default excuse being how totally out-of-control the NKVD was, and a second one of claiming that the idea that Stalin was targeting Poles, Greeks and Koreans is ludicrous. In most cases Stalin's apologists just shift the entire blame on either Lavrentiy Beria[71] or Nikolay Yezhov.[72]

Estimating total deaths[edit]

It will probably never be possible to calculate the human cost of Russia's iron decades adequately, since even such official statistics of execution and Gulag populations as exist or might become available cannot cover all the losses, and estimates vary enormously depending on the assumption made by the estimators. 'By a sinister paradox' it has been said, 'we are better informed as to losses to Soviet livestock in this period than about the number of the regime's opponents who were exterminated' (Kerblay, 1983, p. 26). The suppression of the 1937 census alone introduces almost insuperable obstacles. Still, whatever assumptions are made, the number of direct and indirect victims must be measured in eight rather than seven digits. In these circumstances it does not much matter whether we opt for a 'conservative' estimate nearer to ten than to twenty millions or a larger figure: none can be anything but shameful and beyond palliation, let alone justification.
—British historian Eric Hobsbawm finally giving in to the real world after decades of recalcitrant support for the Soviet Union.[73]:392-393

Some apologists argue that the total number of Stalin's victims is unknown (which is true as the documentation is lacking for some areas) or that the total estimated number is shrinking (which it has been). They use this in their attempts to discredit the academic consensus, which places the death toll at around 20 million,[74] not including deaths from World War II, and try to imply that a decreasing or foggy estimate might reasonably end at a trivial number. (100,000 is apparently a trivial number, as noted above.)

  • Famine / Holodomor 4.3 to 9.1 million
    • 1.8[75] to 4.8 million[76] Ukraine
      (Kiev Appeal court for genocide put the dead at 3.9 million)[77]
    • 1.5 to 2.3 million[78] Kazakhstan (This would have been over 1/3 of Kazkhstan's population)
Exhumation of victims of the Katyn massacre.
    • 1[70]:42- to 2 million[79]:306 The north Caucasus and elsewhere has been understudied[80]
  • Soviet famine of 1946–47Wikipedia 1/2 to 1.5 million[81]
  • Forced Labor 1,634,896 to 7.2 million
    • Gulag 1,053,829[82]:131 to 6 million[42]
    • German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union 381,067[note 7] to 1 million[84]:246
    • Forced labor of Hungarians in the Soviet Union 200,000[85]
  • Great Purge 681,692[43]:67 to 1 million[86]
  • Population Transfers (Genocide by deportation) 790,000<[note 8] to 1.5 million[65]:131[41]:84
  • Occupation of Poland 150,000[87] to 500,000[88]
  • Women raped to death during the occupation of Germany 240,000 (Yes, literally fucking raped to death)[89][90]
  • Civilians killed in Siege of Budapest 23,000[91]
  • Civilians killed in Battle of Berlin 125,000[92]
  • NKVD prisoner massacres 100,000[93]:391

Total: 9,544,588 to 21,288,000

The total may be greater then this due to missed events and lack or recording or lower due to overlapping systems of repression and some of the higher estimates being from understudied events. This estimate roughly falls within Snyder's range of 6 to 9 million deaths[70]:384[note 9] for the minimum and Conquest's claim that the deaths can 15 million, "Exact numbers may never be known with complete certainty, but the total of deaths caused by the whole range of Soviet regime's terrors can hardly be lower than some fifteen million."[13]:xvi

Some of the less reality-based anti-communists, usually those who are bringing up a list of Stalin's crimes in some attempt to absolve Adolf Hitler of his, will include deaths in World War II in their estimate of people who were killed by Stalin. This distortion ranges from including Nazi troops killed by Stalin's forces, all the way up to attributing every death of any side to Stalin, as well as the "Hitler didn't kill his own people" argument, with some more explicit neo-Nazis even going so far as to include all the victims of the Holocaust in that count. Criticism of this pseudohistorical practice is reasonable and, in and of itself, is not the same as Stalin apologetics. However, this isn't to say that Stalin apologists don't have a habit of trashing distorted death counts from niche fascists with no platform as a form of bad faith questioning of the validity of the accurate death counts.

Other apologetics[edit]

Industrialization[edit]

Some apologists will defend the atrocities by arguing that the gulags, purges, and so forth were all necessary for industrialization: that mass collectivization and escalation of the class conflict with the Kulaks (which ironically was supported by Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition) was necessary to defeat Hitler and industrialize the USSR.

Robert Service argued that continuation of the New Economic Policy (NEP), with the exception of Grain Procurement Crisis of 1928, would have brought about the same level of production in its mines and factories as was brought about by collectivization and rapid industrialization.[note 10] Other historians have concurred that, had the NEP been maintained, higher living standards and the ability to withstand invasion would have been possible.[96] If only they had listened to Bukharin.

Apologists[edit]

Kerry Bolton[edit]

Kerry BoltonWikipedia (1956–), a New Zealand neo-Nazi, wrote a book claiming that Stalin was good since he "fought" Marxism.[97]

E. H. Carr[edit]

Edward Hallett Carr (1892–1982) was an English journalist and historian with the interesting distinction of being an apologist for Stalin, Mao and Hitler. Although he later regretted defending Hitler in the 1930s, he remained a staunch supporter of Stalin until his death in 1982. Among other things, he declared that the Kulaks deserved it, that Stalin's success in making the Soviet Union outweighed any misdeeds, attacked the Polish Government-in-Exile for asking that the Red Cross investigate the Katyn Massacre, and claimed that Stalin did not want a puppet government in Poland.[98]:2

It was Marshal Stalin who, consciously or unconsciously usurping Woodrow Wilson's role in the previous war, once more placed democracy in the forefront of Allied war aims.

Despite being an unabashed groupie for murderous autocrats, Carr enjoyed considerable acclaim during his lifetime.

Joseph E. Davies[edit]

Joseph E. Davies (1876–1958) was the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936-1938. His 1941 book Mission to Moscow[99] was made into the 1943 film of the same name[100] at the behest of Franklin D. Roosevelt (!) because World War II. Stalin is a kindly grandfatherly sort who only wants world peace, Finland was invaded because Stalin really cared about the Finns and wanted only to protect them from the imminent Nazi invasion, and the Great Purge victims were all guilty as charged of plotting to break up the Soviet Union in a plot instigated by Germany and Japan and led by Trotsky. The only thing that can be said in defense of Davies' apologism is that it stemmed from the apparent fact he was really just that naive — which is an extremely poor excuse for a diplomat. To add insult to injury the House Un-American Activities Committee blacklisted the scriptwriter and others involved in that film during the darkest years of the 1950s, even though they had made the film as a patriotic act of World War II propaganda — exactly the sort of thing Stalin would have done.

Walter Duranty[edit]

Walter Duranty (1884–1957) was a New York Times correspondent in Stalin's day. He was very into being feted in Moscow. He called anyone reporting on the Holodomor a fascist.

Grover Furr[edit]

Grover Carr Furr III (1944–) is a Stalin apologist par excellence. He is a professor of medieval English (read: not History) at Montclair State University,[101] he has written many books about Russian history, some of which bear a resemblance to actual events, and are published by small left-wing presses rather than any sort of academic publisher. Furr has no credentials as a historian.

Furr also accepts admissions of guilt (and fascist conspiracy) made during the Purge show trials as actual evidence, then asserts some massive fascist conspiracy to undermine the USSR without providing any historical documentation from Nazi Germany that would support his assertion.

Furr believes that the Stalinist deportations of ethnic minorities was justified due to his belief in the Stalinist myth that most members of these ethnicities collaborated with the Nazis.[68] His claims regarding Soviet deportations have been thoroughly debunked.[102]

Grover cherry picks evidence which supports his agenda and ignores/denounces as propaganda anything that makes Stalin look bad, even if it comes directly from the Soviet archives or Stalin's close associates like Vyacheslav Molotov.[103] He also likes citing documents that do not even exist.[104] His Katyn denial has been debunked and his deep incompetence on the issue demonstrated.[105][106] His notion that Stalin's Moscow trials were not staged was also thoroughly rebutted.[107]

Stalinists will cite Furr as academic credibility — look, a professor! — for their views, and try to get you to debate the quality of Furr's scholarship (as if that determines the truth of the historical consensus on Stalin), ignoring that he is a minor fringe academic whose historical work is outside any peer review and, when he does manage to publish it in scholarly venues, does so in some of the lowest ranked and least impactful ones.

There was some controversy in 2012[108] when some Trotskyist revisionists libertarians recorded him telling a class that Stalin murdered nobody whomsoever and committed no crimes.[note 11][97] (For that last, it helps if you're the dictator and get to define "crime".) The libertarians were baiting him, but he said it. The libertarians were attempting to use this as evidence of liberal bias in the political beliefs of academics, and never mind that liberalism and libertarianism are near-twins compared to Stalinism.

In any discussion involving communism or the USSR, citing Grover Furr as a credible source loses you the argument immediately and gets you laughed out of the room.

Annie Lacroix-Riz[edit]

Annie Lacroix-RizWikipedia (1947–) is a French historian. She is a believer in the SynarchismWikipedia conspiracy theory.[110] She also belives that the Holodomor is in fact Nazi propaganda.[111] She believes that schools are too harsh on Stalin.[112]

Domenico Losurdo[edit]

Domenico LosurdoWikipedia (1941–2018) was an Italian philosopher known for his defense of Stalin. His book about Stalin[113] has more mistakes than pages, quite literally.[114] He claims, for instance, that the Great Purges were "Stalin’s reaction during an acute political struggle" and that the reason for Stalin's unpopularity is merely the Khrushchev Report. The book also shows that Losurdo's ignorance goes beyond history as he massacrates logic iself, despite being a philosopher: When he's not denying Stalin's crimes, he's trying to justify them by arguing that other countries did also commit crimes. For instance, the Katyn Massacre is downplayed in his book because the Americans are responsible for the No Gun Ri massacreWikipedia.

Losurdo does admit that many of the victims of collectivization were the same oppressed people on whose behalf the ideology supposedly spoke.[115]:59

In a tragic irony, the millions of victims of the ruthless 'revolution from above' that was collectivization mainly came from the USSR's Asiatic populations, discrimination against whom on naturalistic and tendentially racist criteria had aroused such eloquent moral indignation.

Ludo Martens[edit]

Ludo MartensWikipedia (1946–2011) was a Belgian activist and president of the Workers' Party of Belgium.Wikipedia He wrote a Stalin hagiography that argued that "Defending Stalin's work, essentially defending Marxism-Leninism, is an important, urgent task in preparing ourselves for class struggle under the New World Order". He argued that the Holodomor was in fact a result of "class struggle".[116]

Austin Murphy[edit]

Not to be confused with Paul Austin Murphy.

Austin Murphy is an American writer, who wrote the book The Triumph of Evil.[117] On this book, he claims that Stalin "saved the lives of millions of people" during the Holodomor.:85 He also believes that the Purges killed far less than every historian actually believe (and those that die actually deserve it).:73-82 Has similar opinions on Mao Tse-Tung, who he believes, saved 10 million lives per year.:57

Michael Parenti[edit]

Michael ParentiWikipedia (1933–) is an American political scientist, historian, speaker, and Bosnian genocide denier.[118] He has written a book titled "Blackshirts and Reds",[119] where he attempts to debunk comparisons of Nazism to Stalinism. However, in doing so he makes dubious claims in his book that deny Stalinist crimes against humanity to make him seem not as bad compared to Hitler, especially in chapter 5 of his book titled "Stalin's Fingers" about the gulags. His book has almost no citations, only the occasional reference to another document in a footnote, and has been called "ahistorical" and a "political essay".[120] Michael Parenti and this book along with other works are frequently cited by Stalinists in arguments and discussions.[121] In recent years he has also attended lectures by another pseudohistorian, Grover Furr.[122]

Paul Robeson[edit]

In April 1953, shortly after Stalin's death, Paul RobesonWikipedia (1898–1976) wrote a eulogy entitled To You Beloved Comrade,[123] which included these sentiments:

Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands. In all spheres of modern life, the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. … his contributions to the science of our world society remains invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin — the shapers of humanity's richest present and future. … Yes, through his [Stalin's] deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. … How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom.[123]

Film critic Richard CorlissWikipedia in 1998 called Robeson "a stubborn apologist for communism, Stalin-style… He could sell sand to Saharans, but he couldn't peddle Stalin to America… If Robeson rejected a homegrown system of oppression to embrace another, more toxic one, that was his right."[124]

Robert Thurston[edit]

Robert W. ThurstonWikipedia (1949–) is an American historian. Despite spending most of his career studying coffee at a mediocre college, he wrote a book arguing that life under Stalinism was actually not that bad. Thurston said that Stalin never terrorized people of the Soviet Union, and was in fact a very popular figure. According to Thurston, those who died were actually Trotskysts and, since the population (allegedly) supported the persecutions, they were fair.[125] A review in Publisher's Weekly stated:[126]

Stalin was also a paranoid monster who stage-managed the twists and turns of Soviet policy that made him supreme leader. In this strongly revisionist work, Thurston, associate professor of history at Miami University, tries to refute that conception, arguing that Stalin was largely reacting to events around him. The author goes so far as to claim that, though terror existed as part of the Soviet system, Stalin never meant it to be a primary instrument for ruling.

Douglas Tottle[edit]

Douglas TottleWikipedia was Canadian trade union activist. Wrote an entire book arguing that the Holodomor is, in fact, Nazi propaganda.[127]:167

Types of apologists[edit]

Tankies[edit]

Serious devotees of authoritarian regimes apologetics are often referred to by the derogatory epithet tankies, after the tanks that rolled into Hungary when they dared to leaveWikipedia the Soviet Union's loving hugs. This term was coined by other communists who didn't agree with such actions and it was as a term for the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) when they followed the Kremlin line.

The term first appeared in print in a May 1985 article in The Guardian in reference to the Communist Party of Great Britain's official organ Morning Star:[128][129]

The minority who are grouped around the Morning Star (and are variously referred to as traditionalists, hardliners, fundamentalists, Stalinists, or ‘tankies’ — this last a reference to the uncritical support that some of them gave to the Soviet ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan).

The term is routinely used concerning Stalin apologists. Because he was dead by the time the tanks rolled, tankies will often claim that the word properly refers to someone other than them — though approximately nobody goes along with this. You'll also see it being used for Berlin Wall apologists, North Korea apologists, Enver Hoxha apologists, Nicolae Ceaușescu apologists, Pol Pot/Khmer Rouge apologists, Mao Zedong apologists, and those who cheered on the June Fourth Incident Tiananmen Square Massacre. Other groups get called "tankies" if they take an authoritarian line. There are actually tiny Trotskyist groups that supported military "intervention" in Hungary, such as the Marcyites who argued that Stalinist repression is a lesser evil compared to Western imperialism.

Ironically enough, most actual tankies despise Nikita Khrushchev,Wikipedia who sent the tanks into Hungary in 1956, as being "revisionist" as he denounced Stalin and his policies (despite having participated in them heavily).

Modern Russian Stalin apologists[edit]

Quite a lot of modern-day non-communist Russians — and not just Russian nationalists — are disconcertingly apologetic toward Stalin: he was a strong leader, he won World War II, shit happens along the way, nostalgia, crazification factor. Stalin is most popular among older Russians, who have personal connections to memories of World War II, when 27 million war deaths dwarfed the human toll of Stalin's repression.[130] Older Russians also experienced privations resulting from the end of Soviet communism and its replacement with Yeltsin-era neoliberal looting, tending to view the Soviet era as a time of relative stability and security. Some older Chinese who experienced the short-end of the Chinese economic reform stick also regard Mao Zedong the same way, as do Romanians who support Nicolae Ceaușescu due to the relative lack of economic prosperity following the end of communism.[131]

If you can read Russian, the Encyclopedia of Russian Civilisation[132] is an amazing window into the thought processes involved in modern-day Russian quasi-fascism — pro-Eastern-Orthodox, antisemitism, anti-Masonic, anti-communist and anti-democratic. There are no articles about any Soviet leader other than Stalin;[133] even Vladimir Lenin is mentioned only in passing as a Jewish, anti-Russian (!) and anti-Christian criminal, and Stalin's purges of the old Bolsheviks are celebrated. Such nationalists generally prefer to associate Stalin with the other Vladimir, Putin, in their pantheon of "great" Russian leaders.

Stalin, Iosif Vissarionovich, a Georgian Bolshevik. From late 1930s — a Russian statesman, and the military leader of the Russian people during the Great Patriotic War … The mighty Russian civilization spiritually subjugated itself to the Bolshevik leader and sanctified his activity with positive content … By eliminating the Bolshevik old guard, Stalin did not only struggle for power but also redeemed his guilt in front of the Russian people…[133]

Curiously, given his status among Russian nationalists, Stalin (unlike Lenin) was not Russian, but Georgian.

For non-Russian readers, Timothy Snyder gives a good overview of Putin-era thought processes that are consistent with the encyclopedia.[134]

Vladimir Putin[edit]

Vladimir Putin "has described Stalin as an 'effective manager', and "told teachers to avoid history that 'makes your hair stand up' — meaning no mention of executions, starvation from forced agrarian collectivization, purges, mass deportations and gulags."[135] This is not a surprise given Stalin's popularity among Putin's own nationalistic support base.

In a rare stopped clock moment, during a 2010 visit to Poland, Putin provided documentation related to the NKVD's role in the Katyn massacre and paid tribute to its victims, stating that "this crime cannot be justified in any way." Putin also condemned Stalin's claims that the missing officers had "fled to Manchuria" as "cynical lies."[136] This managed to repair Polish-Russian relations for a short while.

Nazbols[edit]

See the main article on this topic: National Bolshevism

"Alt-right Tankie."

That's all we need to say about that... (P.S., Richard Spencer denies the Holodomor was a genocide, so you know for those calling the Holodomor a "Nazi lie," uh… yeah…)[137]

Stalin apologist organizations[edit]

CPGB (ML) on a May Day march in 2011. A great big banner of Uncle Joe will convince the proletariat, no worries!
  • Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (not the other three CPGBs). Also North Korea apologists. Reporter Johann Hari attended a meeting and noted about 30 people attending who were primarily "elderly to the point of decrepitude."[138]
  • New Communist Party of Britain, who left the original Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1970s for not being quite tankie enough, have a whole series of tributes to Stalin on their website.[139]
  • Maoist Rebel News (Jason Unruhe), who (besides whitewashing Stalin) pushes the envelope all the way to overt North Korea and Pol Pot apologism.[140] Amusingly enough, Unruhe despises the current leadership of the the Chinese Communist Party for its exploitation of Africans, in a rare stopped clock moment.
  • Stalin Society (UK) "The Stalin Society was formed in 1991 to defend Stalin and his work on the basis of fact and to refute capitalist, revisionist, opportunist, and Trotskyist propaganda directed against him."[141]
  • Stalin Society Pakistan — "Refuting anti-Stalin propaganda & lies through Research & Advocacy"[142]
  • Stalin Society of North America — The Society "serves as an educational and research organization devoted to studying and popularizing the life, work, and legacy of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin."[143][note 12]
  • The U.S. Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist party led by "Chairman Bob" Avakian, says that their vision of a future society is based on all the good things about the Soviet Union, with the side note that they want to forgo whatever bad things arose from the Soviet system. In effect, this is a rhetorical strategy to get your mind to think that there were enough really great things about the Soviet system and that the bad things were very few (and possibly just amoral mistakes, even unrelated to mass murder and mass torture). Chairman Bob is currently living in self-imposed exile in France, after fleeing the U.S. following a violent protest against the revisionist Deng Xiaoping.Wikipedia
  • The U.S. Party for Socialism and Liberation, heavily Sam MarcyWikipedia-influenced, insists that the bad stuff associated with the Soviet Union is actually just Western propaganda.[145] Which, to be fair, a share of it is.
  • Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany,[146] the first party to have erected a Lenin statue in what was West Germany.[147] Undoubtedly Stalinist and uncompromising, a creepy uncle of other leftist parties. Th party believes that the USSR practiced true socialism, and that a dictatorship of the proletariat coupled with fresh and improved democratic centralism is mandatory to solve current societal problems, which capitalist system is too inadequate to solve. Join the fun! or not.
  • The Stalin Society of Australia, currently with a defunct website and reduced to a Facebook page with a few hundred likes.[148] How the mighty has fallen!
  • Delga éditions: A French publisher. They have books praising virtually any vaguely "left-wing" modern dictatorship (Belarus, Libya, and even North Korea, of all things!), many books have been written by aforementioned Stalin apologists, as well as some anti-Trotskyist material.[149]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. However, left-wing pejorative use of the word "liberal" is not a practice unique to Tankies: it's common for American progressives to despise "liberals" in what they see as a Democratic Party that's moved too far right.[4] Compare this to the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
  2. Though he did this entirely for anti-British reasons (it was the Palestinian Mandate under the British Empire), and he quickly did a 180° trun once Israel pressed for Russian Jewish immigration to their country and allied itself with the U.S.[6][7]
  3. Given the horror stories about his personal life that came to light in 2003, he probably didn't need Stalin to encourage him.[8]
  4. This is not to deny that the British invoked laissez-faire capitalism to justify perpetuating the famine and doing nothing to prevent a million Irish deaths by starvation. "Some have classified the famine as an act of genocide (the term was not in use at the time). [John] Kelly calls this charge 'discredited,' but his portraits of some of the more insufferable English statesmen are withering… Charles Edward Trevelyan was a civil servant at the Treasury who oversaw much of the British response. God had 'sent the calamity to teach the Irish a lesson,' he declared, and it 'must not be too much mitigated.' Some time later he wrote that the famine was a 'direct stroke of an all-wise Providence.' Malthusianism was much in the air in those days, and men like Trevelyan saw the famine as, among other things, a means of transforming Ireland by reducing its population and the number of small farms."[9][10]:91
  5. Many tankies claim that Stalin had to have known that Hitler was planning on committing a mass genocide against Slavs. If that is true, then it would mean Stalin was fully aware of what would happen when Hitler took control of Poland, and yet he enabled Hitler's invasion anyway.
  6. The poor performance of the Red Army was largely due to Stalin having had large numbers of its officers executed or sent to the gulags.
  7. In his revised Russian language edition of Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses, Krivosheev put the number of German military POWs at 2,733,739 and dead at 381,067 (356,700 German nationals and 24,367 from other nations).[83]
  8. Pohl cites Russian archival sources for the death toll in the special settlements from 1941-1949.[82]:58,148
  9. The total number of noncombatants killed by the Germans—about 11 million—is roughly what we had thought. The total number of civilians killed by the Soviets, however, is considerably less than we had believed. We know now that the Germans killed more people than the Soviets did … All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million. These figures are of course subject to revision, but it is very unlikely that the consensus will change again as radically as it has since the opening of Eastern European archives in the 1990s.[94]

  10. "Nor can it be wholly discounted that the USSR would have been able to achieve about the same volume of output from its factories and mines if the New Economic Policy had been maintained."[95]:275
  11. I'm gonna answer you, I'm gonna answer you, I'm gonna answer you, I'm gonna answer you. What you said is bullshit! It's wrong, it's a lie! The history of the Soviet Union is the most falsified! American history is falsified. Alright, I lived in Canada for a number of years, the Canadian school system falsifies Canadian history. But of all the falsifications that go on in the school systems of this world, Soviet history is falsified the most. I have spent many years researching this, and similar questions and I have yet to find one crime! Yet to find one crime! That Stalin committed. I know they all say he killed 20 to 30 to 40 million people, Its bullshit!"[109]

  12. Ironically, their icon was a pipe[143] — not Stalin's famous pipe, but the famous pipe of surrealist painter René Magritte's "The Treachery of Images" (Ceci n'est pas une pipe) painting.[144] Was SSNA a Poe or just self-trolling?

References[edit]

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  2. Repression and Terror: Stalin in Control (01/04/96)Library of Congress (archived from April 2, 2005).
  3. What exactly are “Trots” and “Tankies”? Unpicking the latest resurgence in political name-calling on the British left. (9 August 2016) The New Statesman.
  4. Why the left hates this man: Rahm Emanuel's sins against the progressive movement: With big election coming up, liberal groups have declared public enemy #1 — but it's not a Republican. Here's why by Heather Digby Parton (March 23, 2015 3:13PM EDT) Salon.
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  7. Russia's forgotten role in the creation of Israel by Jonathan Adelman (12.12.15) ynetnews.com.
  8. Beria’s terror files are opened by Robin Shepherd (January 18, 2003) The Times.
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  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 The Kazakh Famine: The Beginnings of Sedentarization by Ohayon Isabelle (28 September, 2013) SciencesPo (archived from May 29, 2019).
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  37. Comrade Workers, Forward To The Last, Decisive Fight! by Vladimir Lenin (17 January 1925) Rabochaya Moahva 14. Reprinted by Marxists Internet Archives.
  38. See the Wikipedia article on Nazino tragedy.
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  88. Polska 1939–1945. Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami by Wojciech Materski (2009) Institute of National Remembrance, ISBN 8376290673.
  89. BeFreier und Befreite : Krieg, Vergewaltigungen, Kinder by Helke Sander & Barbara Johr (2005) Fischer Taschenbuch. ISBN 3596163056.
  90. Kriegsverbrechen in Europa und im Nahen Osten im 20. Jahrhundert by Franz W. Seidler (2002) Mittler. ISBN 3813207021.
  91. Battle for Budapest: One Hundred Days in World War II by Kristián Ungváry (2003) I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1860647278.
  92. Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000 by Michael Clodfelter (2002) McFarland & Company, 2nd edition. ISBN 9780786412044.
  93. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately (2007) Knopf. ISBN 1400040051.
  94. "Hitler vs. Stalin: Who Was Worse?" by Timothy Snyder (January 27, 2011) The New York Review of Books
  95. The Penguin History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century by Robert Service (2009) Penguin. ISBN 0141037970.
  96. Faulty Foundations: Soviet Economic Policies, 1928-1940. by Holland Hunter & Janusz M. Szyrme (2015) Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691600802.
  97. 97.0 97.1 Stalin: The Enduring Legacy by Kerry Bolton (2017) Black House Publishing. ISBN 1910881848.
  98. The Soviet Impact on the Western World by Edward Hallett Carr (1946) Macmillan & Co.
  99. Mission to Moscow by Joseph E. Davies (1942) Victor Gollancz.
  100. Mission to Moscow 1943 Internet Archive.
  101. Grover Furr Montclair State University.
  102. Rebuttal to Grover Furr on Soviet deportations by Josiah Selednik (October 10, 2021) Stand Up For History.
  103. Video of a college professor saying that he has not found "evidence of ONE crime committed by Stalin" is gaining steam on /r/videos. There is a ton of really bad history being spread in the comments there so can you all provide some of the sources that give evidence for Stalin's atrocities? (c. 2016) Reddit.
  104. To what extent is Grover Furr's account of the Moscow Trials supported by third party research? (c. 2018) Reddit.
  105. Looking for the Katyn lighthouses (January 26, 2020) Holocaust Controversies.
  106. And now for something not completely different… (March 15, 2007) Holocaust Controversies.
  107. Again about the Stalinist deniers: yes, the Moscow trials were staged, duh. (August 25, 2019) Holocaust Controversies.
  108. The Defamation of Grover Furr by Jack Smith IV (12-13-2012) The Montclarion (archived from December 16, 2012).
  109. Mad college professor claims nobody murdered by Stalin (Oct 26, 2012) YouTube.
  110. Interview: «Un problème de sources». Robert Paxton ne partage pas la thèse d'Annie Lacroix-Riz by Annette Levy-Willard (18 March 1997) Libération.
  111. "HistoQuiz/l’Holodomor, nouvel avatar de l’anticommunisme « européen »". 
  112. Staline, le tyran rouge »: Un nouveau croquemitaine pour effrayer les jeunes by Annie Lacroix-Riz (13 March 2007) Northstar Compass.
  113. Staline, Histoire et Critique d’une Légende Noire by Domenico Losurdo (2011) Aden. ISBN 2805900634.
  114. Le socialisme du goulag! by Jean-Jacques Marie (16 March 2011) Quinzaines 1034.
  115. War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century by Domenico Losurdo (20200 Verso Books. ISBN 1788736664.
  116. Another View of Stalin by Ludo Martens, translated by John Plaice (1996) Département dʹInformatique, Université Laval. ISBN 2872620818.
  117. Murphy, Austin (2000). The triumph of evil : the reality of the USA's cold war victory. Fucecchio (Firenze), Italy: European Press Academic Pub. ISBN 88-8398-002-6. OCLC 45434980. 
  118. https://bosniak.org/2012/05/01/protest-letter-regarding-genocide-denier-michael-parenti/
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  120. Is Michael Parenti a reputable source? by Kochevnik81 (2020) Reddit.
  121. Search: r/DebateCommunism parenti Reddit (archived from January 9, 2022).
  122. Grover Furr: Blood Lies, a response to Timothy Snyder's book titled 'Bloodlands'; Part 3 of 3 by ICSS Marxist (Jul 25, 2014) YouTube.
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  124. Ol' Man Charisma, Paul Robeson: 1898-1976 by Richard Corliss (April 20, 1998) Time 151(16).
  125. Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941 by Robert W. Thurston. (1996) Yale University Press. ISBN 0300064012.
  126. Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941 (03/04/1996) reviewed in Publisher's Weekly.
  127. Fraud, famine, and fascism: The Ukrainian genocide myth from Hitler to Harvard by Douglas Tottle (1987) Toronto: Progress Books. ISBN 0919396518.
  128. tanky, n.2, Oxford English Dictionary.
  129. What exactly are “Trots” and “Tankies”? Unpicking the latest resurgence in political name-calling on the British left. (9 August 2016) The New Statesman.
  130. Why so many Russians still love Stalin by Keith Wagstaff (January 8, 2015) The Week.
  131. Ceaușescu still most beloved President of Romania by Dénes Albert (December 27, 2018) Transylvania Now.
  132. Энциклопедический словарь русской цивилизации
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  134. The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder (2018) Tim Duggan Books. ISBN 0525574468.
  135. In one country, a Josef Stalin revival is under way by Jack Epstein (May 7, 2015 Updated: May 8, 2015 11:07am) San Francisco Chronicle
  136. Putin Gesture Heralds New Era in Russian-Polish Relations by Benjamin Bidder (April 08, 2010 10:25 AM) Der Spiegel.
  137. Not "Ukrainian genocide" but a famine caused by collectivization *and* natural factors also affecting other areas (Russia, Caucasus, etc). by Richard Spencer (10:09 PM - 5 May 2017) Twitter (archived from November 6, 2018).
  138. The horrors of the British Stalin Society by Johann Hari (6/9/2002) (archived from April 20, 2011).
  139. J V Stalin New Communist Party of Britain.
  140. North Korea Maoist Rebel News.
  141. The Stalin Society (archived from July 16, 2011).
  142. Stalin Society of Pakistan
  143. 143.0 143.1 About SSNA Stalin Society of North America (archived from October 17, 2016).
  144. The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) (La trahison des images [Ceci n'est pas une pipe)] by René Magritte (1929) Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
  145. How does PSL view Trotskyism and Maoism? Revleft (archived from 17 Jun 2016 14:10:01 UTC).
  146. Marxistische-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands
  147. Lenin Statue in Gelsenkirchen! - Ceremony for the unveiling on 20 June 2020 by mpld.de (Jun 21, 2020) YouTube.
  148. Stalin Society Of Australia
  149. Les éditions Delga