Another Original LR Translation: Stalin vs. Novaya Gazeta

Yuck!!! Joseph Stalin's grand-son Eugeny Dzhugashvili kisses the death-mask of his grand-father. The picture was taken in the native house of Joseph Stalin.

Yuck!!! Joseph Stalin's grand-son Eugeny Dzhugashvili kisses the death-mask of his grand-father. The picture was taken in the native house of Joseph Stalin.

Pots and kettles

Alexander Skobov

Grani.ru

6 August 2009

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

The news that Stalin’s grandson is suing Novaya Gazeta for defamation of his grandfather is not something that can or should be just laughed off as a joke. The thick mud of moral deafness and the sadomasochistic inclinations that infect both the state élite and the population as a whole have created an absurdly Kafkaesque situation in which it is quite possible that the court will find for the plaintiff. The episode, furthermore, fits in fine with a whole chain of steps that government and public bodies have been taking recently to achieve a creeping rehabilitation of the Stalinism though the application of administrative and legal levers to deny dissenters of a voice.

First and foremost, we should recall the notorious Shoigu Law. If one strips it of the verbal dross about prevention of justifications of Nazism and of belittlement of the role of the USSR in the victory over it, it is evident that the main purpose of the law is to make it possible to prosecute anyone for any condemnation of anything about how the Stalin régime ran the war or for saying anything remotely justificatory about the the actions of the régime’s enemies.

Next we have the establishment of the commission to counter the falsification of history and protect the perceived interests of the Kremlin. Its aim is of course not actually to verify any sort of facts or truth (for example, the genuineness or not of the Politburo resolution ordering the murder of imprisoned Polish officers) but solely to inveigh against evaluations of historical events that the ruling cliques consider inimical.

Following on this, we have the hysterical reaction to the resolution of the parliamentary assembly of the OSCE by our parliament which is stubbornly determined not to know that the Stalin régime brought the same evils to people as Hitler’s and that in 1939 it allied itself with Hitler’s to start the world war.

A funny thing here is that in some ways our parliamentary representatives are quite right. The Stalin and Hitler régimes are not strictly comparable: differing historiographical and moral approaches are needed.

Both régimes were identical in that they installed total control over peoples’ personal lives. The view held by some right-wing liberals that the Hitler régime held people on a slightly longer lead because private property rights, albeit restrained by the state, were retained, was contradicted by Hitler himself, who said: “We do not need to socialise the factories because we are socialising the people”. In fact, the differences between the two régimes were massive.

Firstly, they murdered very different numbers of people. The officially recognised number of victims of the Stalinist political repressions (about 4 million arrested and 800 thousand shot) has been seriously minimised – but not by an order of magnitude. The Nazi camps murdered more Jews than that alone. And, as we all know, the camps were not used just for Jews.

Secondly, the two totalitarian régimes had completely different ideological starting points. The Stalinist ideology was a weird mix of ideas, some of which were abhorrent (e.g. establishing the state right to hold unlimited violent power over the people), while others could in modern terms be called expressions of standard human values (and yes, let today’s national-patriotic supporters of Stalin choke with fury). Nazi ideology contained none of these weaknesses. It asserted nothing but an apology for the bestial in man, a cult of violence and cruelty, and the superiority of some over others. In other words, it was an ideology of hatred in a pure and undisguised form.

Of course, the whole totalitarian and pervertedly cruel practice of Stalinism was in constant and total contradiction of the ideals of freedom, justice and humanism it simultaneously promulgated. Much that is true has been written and said about how Stalinism destroyed public morality, the human soul, and how it deeply flawed the Homo Sovieticus that was brought into being, a new man taught to think one thing, say another, and do something else again. Yet many people were able, all through the totalitarian nightmare, to retain their belief in kindness, having obtained their knowledge of these values from the Soviet education system. Stalinism did colossal damage to the human soul and spirit but did a little cultivation too. Hitlerism only destroyed.

Thus one can say that from a world-historical point of view, Stalinism was a lesser evil than Hitlerism, that the Hitler régime was the worse of the two. But it must be put just as I have done. It will not do to say the Stalinism was better: the concept of “better” is inapplicable to these régimes. Earthly justice, imperfect as it is, can only say that both régimes, the victims of which number in the millions, were cannibalistic and criminal. They may rightly be stood together.

That an aggressor and killer preaches humanist values makes him no less criminal in the eyes of human justice. As people, we are not required to think about the world-historical roles of particular régimes, in particular if they both drive totalitarian steam-rollers. For the citizens of the Baltic states, caught between the two, it was far from clear which represented the lesser evil. Their choice frequently came as a result of which régime had caused them or their loved ones suffering first. Far from all of those who made a choice in favour of Germany were defending their class privileges or hoping to use the arrival of the Germans as an opportunity to “sort out their Yids”. Similarly, far from all those who opted for the USSR were burning with a desire to put “class aliens” up against the wall. It is therefore unfair to either automatically condemn or automatically condemn either choice.

It goes without saying though that parliamentary representatives are only human and not obliged constantly to think in world-historical terms. And they don’t. But if anyone thinks that their outrage at the European resolution is because of their higher thinking, then he is profoundly wrong. Their task is far plainer and more prosaic: to establish a principle of state immunity.

One is prompted to ask why should the ruling kleptocracy so want to rehabilitate Stalinism? It cannot really love true Stalinism (as opposed to the fancy, and some would say glamourous, Stalinism portrayed on TV). True Stalinism’s hard, ascetic and Spartan spirit (not the ersatz Stalinism recreated by the current régime) is deeply alien to them. No, it is just that the new-Russian élite dislikes anti-Stalinists even more. It dislikes them for the political model they support, in which government is to be constrained in its interactions with citizens and most importantly responsible to them since, in this model, human rights take precedence over state rights. For today’s time-servers, Stalinism is of value as an example of a system based on a philosophy that rejects outright such a conception of human rights, an ideal example of the most sovereign democracy in the world.

That is why the Kremlin’s ideologists and propagandists strive to demonstrate, if not the superiority of Stalinism over all other systems, then at least its admissibility as a model for society and its historical justifiability. The cruelty was regrettable but harsh necessity so dictated. Mistakes were made but no crimes committed. Overall, yes, there were some bad things but there was more good.

We are to all intents and purposes going back to a reserved judgement on Stalin as formulated back in 1956 in the CC CPSU’s resolution on “overcoming the cult of personality”. No, he was not the Pope of Rome but he was not a criminal either. An outstanding leader who overall played a positive role. Incidental breaches of socialist legality did not negate the supremely human and democratic nature of the Soviet state. This resolution was considered the official position of the party leadership right up to the era of perestroika. The post-Soviet élite has not advanced beyond the level of the Soviet party nomenklatura.

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27 responses to “Another Original LR Translation: Stalin vs. Novaya Gazeta

  1. This just shows you Georgian inclination for sodomy and obsession with greatness.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    In the movie “Trainspotting” a Scottish lad states: “Some people hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We’re colonized by wankers.”

    If you’re right about Georgians, what does it say about Russians that they were ruled by them?

    And whether you’re right or wrong, if your attitude is characteristic of all Russians then Georgians are quite right to fight, aren’t they now?

    Just curious: Do you think AT ALL before you write?

    • Quote:This just shows you Georgian inclination for sodomy and obsession with greatness.

      Then you admit to Russian acceptance of being sodomized and domination? Kinky devils to say the least.

  2. I guess that if I went to moscow and said that more Ukrainians, or more Jews died during WWII than rooshans died, they would lock me up and throw away the key?

    Did Hitler or stalin Kill More Ukrainians in World War II?

    Both Hitler and Stalin saw the Ukrainian nation as an obstacle to their plans and goals. Hitler wanted Ukraine as German Lebensraum and Stalin feared that Ukrainian nationalism and an independent Ukraine would wreck the Soviet Russian Empire.

    Both were guilty of war crimes and genocide in Ukraine on such a massive scale that they are virtually unequaled in history. We are not speaking here of thousands, or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of tousands of victims of mass murder. We are talking of millions of Ukrainians killed by both Hitler and Stalin.

    The great puzzle is: Did Hitler or Stalin during WW II kill the most Ukrainians? Hitler’s crimes in Ukraine have been better documented and are better known. Stalin once said that history is written by the winners. As a victor, Stalin’s USSR was able to hide its genocide of Ukrainians. After the war Stalin said that 7 million Soviet citizens died but we know he was concealing the true higher figures. Nikita Krushchev in 1961 set the death toll in the USSR at 20 million and this seems to be a credible and accurate statistic. Recently Moscow has quoted figures of 25 and 27 million. These new figures are either sheer propaganda or are based on new information about Stalin’s genocide of Ukrainians and other Soviet citizens during the War.

    No documentary evidence exists of Hitler’s order to eliminate all Jews in Europe but we know this is true. Likewise, we have no Hitler order to annihilate the Ukrainians. But we do have the evidence: 1) Millions of civilian victims perished which could not be “accidental”. 2) Documentary evidence of the wholesale executions of Ukrainians. 3) The order to execute up to 100 innocent Ukrainians for one German soldier shot by the partisans. 4) The Ostarbeiter Ukrainian slaves were to be “worked to death” in Germany. 5) Millions of prisoners of war were intentionally starved to death in concentration camps. 6) Ukrainian cities were starved to death according to plan. 7) Nazi leaders said that Ukraine as the Lebensraum of Nazi Germany would be colonized by German population and some Ukrainians would be used as slave labor. What about the other Ukrainians? 8) As late as 1943 Hitler refused status to Ukraine and when Ukrainians offered to form an army against the USSR it had to be named Galicia Division until the very last few minutes of the war in 1945 when it was renamed the Ukrainian National Army. 9) Ukraine’s disproportionate civilian losses compared to military also indicates a special Nazi German campaign.

    It would be naive to think that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi German government was not bent on destroying as many Ukrainian Untermensch as possible in view of the statements which prove it.

    For example, Reichmarshal Goering, who was next to Hitler in power said: “This year between twenty and thirty million persons will die [in Ukraine and] and Russia of hunger. Perhaps it is well that it should be so, for certain nations must be decimated.” — Hermann Goering, Nov. 24-27, 1941 (Dallin p. 123).

    Today all over independent Ukraine there are discoveries of mass murder graves in the suburbs of cities (such as Bykivna in Kiev), and near all the KGB (NKVD) secret police stations throughout Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian victims of Stalin’s Soviet Russia number in the millions. Many Ukrainians are also buried in the mass graves of Siberia. It is unknown how many of these Ukrainian victims of the Soviet system perished during the war years.

  3. I don’t know LES. But if you went to Europe and said that less Jews died in WWII compared to Russians, they would definitely lock you up and throw away the key.

    • I know that you do not know many things, based on your comments. I never said what you implied.

      • In addition to not knowing many things AKM has a very creative imagination (doctors call it delusion). Even if you said what he imagines you said (you went to Europe and said that less Jews died in WWII compared to Russians) the conclusion (they would definitely lock you up and throw away the key) clearly exists only in the alternate reality where he obviously spends most of his time.

        • “in the alternate reality where he obviously spends most of his time.” – isn’t that what your beloved Barney Frank said to his constituents? Please don’t stoop that low.

  4. @Secondly, the two totalitarian régimes had completely different ideological starting points. The Stalinist ideology was a weird mix of ideas, some of which were abhorrent (e.g. establishing the state right to hold unlimited violent power over the people), while others could in modern terms be called expressions of standard human values (and yes, let today’s national-patriotic supporters of Stalin choke with fury). Nazi ideology contained none of these weaknesses. It asserted nothing but an apology for the bestial in man, a cult of violence and cruelty, and the superiority of some over others. In other words, it was an ideology of hatred in a pure and undisguised form.

    http://www.editinternational.com/images/gallery/04—himmlerkids_low..jpg

  5. The author can’t stand it – he pretends not to be apologizing for stalin, while engaging in an justification for stalin (“Stalinism was a lesser evil than Hitlerism”…)

    Which way do you want to die?

    The Nazis viewed Ukrainians as Untermenschen.

    The tsarists, Stalinists and sovoks viewed Ukrainians as “malorossy” (little Russians).

    What’s the difference?

    There are many people alive today in Ukraine, and outside of Ukraine, who lived through the Germany army coming into villages and towns during the day, and the sovok commies stalinists coming at night – to rob, pillage, steal and worse.

    The fact that there are still those in Russia, including the ruling kleptocracy, and including Kirill (he of the Russian “church”), who seek to justify or even glorify stalinism demonstrates, yet again, just how sick and perverted Russia is.

    • Ukraine is not even mentioned in the article.

      But yeah, it’s stange that he’s saying about the human face of Stalinism, while engaging in total demonisation of Hitlerism at the same time.

    • viewed Ukrainians as “malorossy” (little Russians)

      Bravo, unf*nbelievable BS! Elmer, are you an idiot yourself or do you simply want to cheat your readers? Aren’t you familiar with the geographic concept of Lesser/Greater? For example, according to your ‘logic’, dwellers of Greater Poland must humilate inhabitants of Lesser Poland ;-)

      What a zoo, what a lunatic asylum! Can’t stand it anymore.

  6. Ukrainian losses were deliberately hidden for over half a century. To discuss them in soviet times could mean anything from gulag to a bullet in the head with perhaps a savage beating in-between. Right now you only have to look at the reactions of Putin and his band of thugs to discussion of these crimes to see just how little has changed since then.

    Still lying, still threatening, still stealing and of course, still killing.

    The Germans have at least apologised and paid restitution to their victims.

    The more Russia continues to deny it’s past the further it will sink it to the abyss of pestilence …and I say good bloody riddance!

  7. Robert & Wal – I agree with you entirely. There were a number of things I did not like in this article: the very things you pinpoint, of course.

    I thought it would be of interest because it shows how a Russian begins to form a proper understanding of the country and world around him.

    I also wondered if the author was deliberately toning things down in order to get a least a little bit of unpalatable medicine down Russian readers’ throats. Shame we can’t ask him really!

    Sadly, I don’t suppose he knows how to follow the fate of his writings in English. It would be rather nice if one of the authors I translate had the international savoir-faire to visit LR and make rejoinders, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

    The bottom line is of course what Wal says: “The more Russia continues to deny its past the further it will sink it to the abyss of pestilence …and I say good bloody riddance!”

  8. Robert / Wal / dave
    With all due respect – with all due respect, I feel quite comfortable with the author’s points. I think the author’s opinion is clearly reflected in a single sentence:

    That an aggressor and killer preaches humanist values makes him no less criminal in the eyes of human justice.

    The rest is commentary on current rulers’ attitude towards Stalin and Stalinism. Which is especially relevant in light of PACE resolution denouncing in the same sentence Stalinism and Nazism (which was taken by current rulers as an insult towards Russia), and infamous Comission against historical falsification that damage Russia.

    I don’t see that the author denies the past or apologizing for Stalin. Quite the opposite. He criticizes (and mocks) current kleptocrats for not going beyond Khruschev and beyond 1956.

  9. Felix, the majority of the article is as you say.

    But … there is that one sentence, which, as Robert and Dave Essel, and Wal point out, is nevertheless reflective of the attempts to justify stalin and make him a hero (“Stalinism was a lesser evil than Hitlerism”………)

    It doesn’t make sense.

    As for dittohead, we see yet another kremlinoid go apoplectic when kremlinoids get caught at their “shifting meanings” games.

    Sometimes the Ukrainians are “orthodox brothers” who should submit to Rasha, as in Medvedev’s latest fart and shart across the border at Ukraine.

    Sometimes Ukrainians are “little russians” who should simply submit to Rasha, because they are “inferior”, with an “inferior language,” no, wait, an “inferior dialect.”

    Oops, except when dittohead sees that rashans and rasha are equivalent to hitlerism.

    Then “little russia” becomes a “geographic” appellation, and not a derisive term used by rashs and rashans for centuries, and even today, with negative connotations, including the one that says that Ukraine should not, and does not, exist.

    Equivalency to hitlerism drives kremlinoids like dittohead into apoplectic frenzies.

    Rasha is a sad place, really, when the only good kremlinoids can find in it is that one evil dictator, stalin, “beat” another evil dictator, and then wound up doing even worse evil than hitler.

    • Your stupid reply only proves my point. It’s a Greek term, my mental friend.

      Go take your hourly pill, you irresponsible.

    • And, bwahaha, he calls me a Kremlinoid!

    • “Much that is true has been written and said about how Stalinism destroyed public morality, the human soul, and how it deeply flawed the Homo Sovieticus that was brought into being, a new man taught to think one thing, say another, and do something else again. Yet many people were able, all through the totalitarian nightmare, to retain their belief in kindness, having obtained their knowledge of these values from the Soviet education system. Stalinism did colossal damage to the human soul and spirit but did a little cultivation too. Hitlerism only destroyed.”

      Well, you know what? I think I know what the author meant. He was just looking at this from the Russian perspective only, because the German invasion really brought only destruction to Russia (it was the only change, they even kept the kolkhoz system and so on).

      Or maybe from the perspective German too, considering how all the not-evil things Hitler build (like say, the Autobahns) were probably ruined in the end just like the rest of Germany. (And not only by the Allies, it was the Hitler’s order to destroy Germany while withdrawing – this order was actually partially sabotaged by Speer and the rest of his non-insane henchmen.)

      However,

      “Secondly, the two totalitarian régimes had completely different ideological starting points. The Stalinist ideology was a weird mix of ideas, some of which were abhorrent (e.g. establishing the state right to hold unlimited violent power over the people), while others could in modern terms be called expressions of standard human values (and yes, let today’s national-patriotic supporters of Stalin choke with fury). Nazi ideology contained none of these weaknesses. It asserted nothing but an apology for the bestial in man, a cult of violence and cruelty, and the superiority of some over others. In other words, it was an ideology of hatred in a pure and undisguised form.”

      is pure BS.

      I gave it a sample illustration if smiling Himmler giving or receiving flowers from a little girl. If this was really “nothing but an apology for the bestial in man, a cult of violence and cruelty, and the superiority of some over others” it would be rather something like Himmler beating the girl for playing with flowers (and not torturing fellow children or whatever). And yeah, you had the hordes of brainwashed children (little children) killing and torturing under the Khmer Rouge super-communist regime in Cambodia (I mean really doing this, not in the Pavka Morozov way but in the beat-people-to-death way), just not there and then in Germany under Hitler.

  10. You’re right dittohead, I’d say you’re more of a heamorroid.

  11. Little Stalin vs. Memorial

    14 August 2009

    Kadyrov Sues Memorial

    Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov sued Memorial’s chief for 10 million rubles ($314,800) in a Moscow court Thursday for allegations that he was involved in the murder of one of the human rights organization’s activists last month.

    The Tverskoi District Court will hear the defamation lawsuit against Memorial chief Oleg Orlov on Aug. 31, Interfax reported.

    Orlov accused Kadyrov of involvement in the abduction of Memorial activist Natalya Estemirova in Grozny on July 15. She was found shot dead in Ingushetia later that day.

    Kadyrov’s lawyer Andrei Krasnenkov said his client also wanted Memorial to publish a retraction on its web site.

  12. Robert, I’m sure you know the pictures of stalin with the little girl on his lap – and other pictures with children.

    • Yes, but I’m not trying to totally demonize the Stalinism (like “nothing but an apology for the bestial in man, a cult of violence and cruelty, and the superiority of some over others”, nothing else whatsoever).

      Himmler again (never killed anyone personally) and the “the little girl on his lap” thing:
      http://timesonline.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/31/gudrun_himmler.jpg

      A true story of a Jewish kid in the Komsomol and in Hitlerjugend (btw, he was the one who helped to recognise the POW son of Stalin) – in HJ you didn’t exactly had the “Democratic Kampuchea”-style training of torturing animals and then moving on to humans (including the Cambodian kids’ former teachers, as the teachers had to be exterminated and it was the kids who mostly did the killing):

  13. Robert,

    I always said that I enjoy your analysis much more than simple reprints :) Your analysis of Hitler Germany vis-a-vis Stalin Russia is indeed very thought-provoking. Russians didn’t see the autobahns and smiling Himmler. In fact, one can say that the cult of higher race (Arian), just like the cult of higher class (the workers) worked both ways. One way – destruction of all others (non-Arians and non-workers), but also the glorification of the chosen ones (Arian and proletariat). So, the similarities between the two are more than the author is willing to accept.

    That said, I am ready to oversee these points (and I am not a big fan of this author, but that’s a topic for a different post). Imagine a German woman in Konigsberg in 1945 for whom Russians are an army of pillaging rapists, and on that basis she justifies Nazism. So, somebody says that Communists might be even worse, but Nazis are scum nevertheless. Wouldn’t you let this slide?

  14. Moscow court hears Stalin’s grandson’s libel case

    Today, 11:24 | Associated Press

    Ten elderly Stalin supporters gathered outside the courtroom holding photographs of the dictator.

    “I’ve come here to defend Stalin, to defend him against these terrible accusations,” said Vera Atomanova, 77. “He was a great man.

    She and the others were reading the hardline communist newspaper Molniya, whose main headline said: “The myth of Stalinist repressions.”

    http://www.kyivpost.com/world/50575

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