Stalin: A History Gap Divides Russia From Its Neighbors

Posted April 5th, 2012 at 6:05 pm (UTC+0)
45 comments

In Moscow, adults are snapping up school notebooks for children.

Why? The cover has a heroic image of Stalin.

The Stalin notebook is part of a “Great Names of Russia” series.

On one level, it is depressing that many Russians do not seem to know that “Stalin,” was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a Georgian. (Please see responses below from publishing house Art Director Artyom Belan — jb)

But far more importantly, Russia’s amnesia towards its Stalinist past is dangerous.

Winston Churchill, no friend of his wartime ally, once noted that Stalin dragged Russia from the wooden plow to the H-bomb. Similarly, many Russians prefer to focus on this “positive” of Stalin’s three decades of rule.

As to the sinister side, Stalin’s close collaborators called him: “Genghis Khan with a telephone.”

On May Day, Russian Communist Party supporters will bring out into the daylight their Stalin portraits. This scene from last year’s parade in St. Petersburg. AP Photo:Pavel Golovkin

Those telephone calls led to the deaths of millions of people through executions, famines, and mass jailings. Add to that his criminally poor preparation for the Nazi attack in World War II, a war that cost the lives of almost 15 percent of the Soviet population.

“When children see this magnificent cover with handsome mustachioed Stalin, they perceive him as a hero,” Nikolai Svanidze, a television historian, wrote this week about the Soviet leader in his marshal’s uniform, with military medals covering his chest.

Russia’s denial of its 20th century history is crippling it in its 21st century dealings with its neighbors.

The other evening, I had dinner in Moscow with David Satter, an American historian and author of a new book: “It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past.”

Acknowledging that many Russians feel nostalgia for the communist social welfare system of the 1970s and 1980s, he told me: “The failure to see the crimes that were committed, and the need for these crimes to be recognized, makes it harder to resist present and future crimes.”

He noted that there is no national museum in Moscow dedicated to educating future generations about the appalling human death toll of the communist era. The one museum in Moscow that does deal with the subject is hidden away, poorly laid out, and, from my impression, largely visited by foreigners. Similarly, of the 8,000 Gulag labor camps that once dotted the Soviet Union, only one, Perm-36, has been retained as a museum.

I visited Perm-36 recently on a cold and bleak day. It is clear that Soviet guards did not need sophisticated torture instruments to control political prisoners. They just used the cold.

Of the 8,000 Stalin era labor camps once scattered across the Soviet Union Perm-36 on the Western edge of Siberia is the only one preserved as a museum. Tourists are rare, which is why I took my own photo. VOA Photo: James Brooke

In the United States, strong domestic groups force larger society to confront unsavory aspects of our history. African Americans forced schools to stop white-washing slavery, a treatment that was common when I was in elementary school in the 1960s. Similarly, Native Americans (Indians) forced their point of view into historical accounts of the United States’ 19th century westward expansion. Japanese Americans won officials apologies – and museums – for the World War II era internment camps.

In contrast, Japan’s World War II wartime atrocities in the Philippines against American citizens (including relatives of mine) are little known in the United States. The American population of the Philippines dispersed decades ago, after full independence was achieved.
On nearby Guam, I have seen how “Chamorro” residents teach new generations of islanders about Japanese wartime occupation abuses. But that tropical Western Pacific island is out of sight and out of mind for mainland Americans.

By contrast, the communist death toll in the Soviet Union was, in Satter’s words “a self-inflicted wound.” Inside the borders of modern day Russia, Stalinist atrocities largely involved ethnic Russians killing ethnic Russians.

As a result, Stalinist history is often best chronicled in places where it contributes to nation state building: the Baltic nations, Poland, Western Ukraine, Georgia, Mongolia, and Central Asia.

After 20 years, this history gap leads to Satter’s second point: “It makes it difficult for Russians to understand why their neighbors don’t like them. But maybe, on a more fundamental level, it makes it easier for Russians to behave in the same bullying and imperialistic way they did in the past to the countries which were once part of the Soviet Union.”

It is a short mental step from Russian amnesia about internal Soviet atrocities to Russian denial of external Soviet imperialism. Minds shut even faster when Westerners focus on these twin evils. Russian nationalists are quick to say that Western obsession with Communist era excesses is a Trojan horse for Western wishes to weaken and divide Russia.

In that light, Russia looks like modern Japan, where I worked as a reporter 2001-2006.

A woman holds a portrait of Stalin outside the house where he was born in Gori, Georgia, 80 km west of Tbilisi. Dozens of Georgian communists gathered on March 5 to mark the 59th anniversary of his death. Reuters Photo: David Mdzinarishvili

In Japanese schools, the study of 20th century history oddly stops around 1930 — the buildup to Japan’s military invasion of China and its expansion through Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Japan’s 1910 annexation of Korea is dealt with lightly.

As a result, more than two generations after the end of World War II, young Japanese are often surprised by anti-Japanese hostility they encounter on trips to China and South Korea.
In Germany, discussing and denouncing the Nazi era has been a national obsession for the generations born after the end of World War II. As a result, Germany’s relations with its neighbors carry little WWII baggage.

Although German soldiers slaughtered millions of Russians during World War II, Germany today enjoys better relations with Russia, than do Britain and the United States, two countries that gave massive material support to Soviet Union during the war. Full German acknowledgement of the Nazi era has been a building block for today’s good German-Russian relations.

Today, it is inconceivable that bookstores in Berlin would peddle a “Famous Germans” school notebook series with one cover featuring Adolf Hitler. (Actually, he was Austrian).

But this week in downtown Moscow, Artyom Bilan, art director of the Alt publishing company, responded to a reporter’s question about the Stalin notebook with his own question: “Why would we withdraw such a successful product?

Welcome to Perm-36 Memorial Center of Political Repression VOA Photo: Yuli Weeks


Bunks made from timber prisoners cut from the Siberian taiga forest. Radiators were added to barracks in 1950s when Perm-36 housed officials convicted of committing excesses under Stalin. VOA Photo: Yuli Weeks

Rose left by visitor to unheated punishment cell. VOA Photo: Yuli Weeks

James Brooke
James Brooke is the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. A lifelong journalist, he covered West Africa, Brazil, the American Rocky Mountain States, Canada, and Japan/Korea for The New York Times. A resident of Moscow since 2006, he was first Bloomberg bureau chief for the region. In 2010, he joined VOA. In addition to writing Russia Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR.

45 responses to “Stalin: A History Gap Divides Russia From Its Neighbors”

  1. Hector says:

    Is the author stupid? Where are British apologies for what happened to the Boers, Irish and the Mau Mau? To this day, Britain refuses to acknowledge the atrocities to the Mau Mau.Oliver Cromwell who slaughtered the Irish is still regarded as a hero and the MAu Mau as terrorists. What about the fact that the Balts participated in the mass extermination of the Jewish population and that Latvia is the only country in the world that you can wear a Nazi SS uniform with pride?What about the
    Japanese and World War II? The French and Algeria?Come on man , dont take all of us for fools!

    • Carver says:

      The author wasn’t attempting to address every atrocity and genocide known to man so calm down.

      Apparently you did not read the whole article since he does mention “the
      Japanese and World War II”, and he draws parallels with modern Japan and modern Russia.

      • Hector says:

        You are missing the point . Out of every country that committed crimes only Germany and South Africa have really addressed these past painful issues and Argentina to a lesser extent. The whole point of the argument that I made is why try to demonize one country whilst ignoring the sins of others? Are you forgetting that the whole western hemisphere was Amerindian and they were wiped out ? Stop being brainwashed man! This is an obvious propaganda ploy!

        • John says:

          America does the same thing. Even high school U.S. history books fail to mention interment camps or dedicate one sentence to the subject. Southern states still glorify slavery.

  2. […] Russia Watch: Stalin: A History Gap Divides Russia From Its Neighbors […]

  3. Pyotr says:

    Yeah, “successful product”, I would buy one if I saw it in a shop just to spit on it everyday, and everybody in my family would do so with great pleasure.

    • Artyom Belan says:

      We live in a free world. You can do it – and do not get surprised if someone spits on Lincoln’s portrait, too.

      • Pyotr says:

        Lincoln didn’t rob my ancestors of their property gained by hard work of generations and did not evict them from their house and didn’t kill their children putting them in the middle of north Siberian forest during winter with no shelter but a self-made mud-house, so I know which portrait I am willing to spit on very well, and I will tell the true Russian history to my childern, be sure. I won’t let this new Putin’s brainwashing propaganda machine defile the memory of my ancestors like my father didn’t let the communist propaganda make me to forget the victims of those carnivorous apes – communists and their chief – Stalin.

        • Artyom Belan says:

          Lincoln. btw, DID rob some other people’s ancestors of their property – if you know what I mean. History of your family is history of your family – and I, as I told you, respect your right to spit on any portrait you wish and hold any political views be these communistic, anti-communistic, green, whatever. I do not know wich Putin’s propaganda you are talking about, actually – but I’ld like to stress that ANY prominent historical figure is controversial to some degree.

          • Pyotr says:

            Following your logic further, Artyom Belan. – Why dodn’t you print Hitler’s portrait in a “great Germans” series of stationery goods? A daresay that Hitler was equallly or even less harmful to human kind than Stalin, yet Germans don’t consider Hitler as ” the great name of Germany”.

          • Artyom Belan says:

            Can’t answer Pyotr – don’t see “reply” under his message.
            If you, Pyotr, daresay that ” Hitler was equallly or even less harmful to human kind than Stalin”, you spit not in Stalin’s portrait, but on graves of those – and hundreds of thousands of American and British soldiers among them – who fought Hitler in WWII. You know nothing about Russian history – and Stalin – except those your family stories, which might or might not be true and complete. And, btw, Hitler killed himself leaving his country conquered and with unclear future – when Stalin died when USSR was one of only two superpowers in the world, with growing economy, atomic bomb, sharply rising level of life etc. If ever Hitler would do that to Germany he would be called “great German” – in spite of all the atrocities he did, and in spite that all the idea of national socialism (unlike communism) is misanthropic and criminal.

      • Jim Brooke says:

        Artyom
        Everyone is free to spit where they please.
        Minor problemo:
        Lincoln freed the slaves.
        Stalin enslaved the peoples.
        Take your pick.
        But if you pick Stalin, don’t come wailing to me that the Balts, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Ukrainians, etc etc are not nice to you. I was back in Gori in July (second visit in 20 years), there is still some pride in the hometown boy. But the Museum is to be redone this year to focus on Stalin’s atrocities. Hopefully they will retain the current exhibits as a historical testimony to the Cult of Personality.
        Jim

        • Artyom Belan says:

          Dear Jim,
          I won’t argue with you over Lincoln and the Civil War. You are American and I’m sure that you know American history much better then that of Russia so you ought to know that the reason of abolitionism was far from any human matters; I won’t focus your attention on many issues of latter racial problems in the US etc etc – you know all of’em, I presume, you just do not want to focus on’em. Actually , I won’t spit on Lincoln’s portrait – he was not the worst president neither for you nation nor for humankind. But dear Jim, don’t attribute to Stalin the things he did not do – especially in NATIONALISTIC point of view. Stalin didn’t give a shit over person’s nationality – unless this nationality issue becomes a ideology for that given person. LAtvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Poles etc – they all were equal before NKVD and Soviet juridical system which was.. yes, pretty severe – more severe then normal for that time. But the reason was all ideology and had nothing to do with nationality – and Communist ideology is – and you can’t refuse it – an idea of building a heaven-like society for all; it’s impossible due to some reasons – and human nature one of the most important among them. I believe that American higher education gives decent level of knowledge – so you personally should know all this thing I wright here. Also, I thing that you did see that notebook we produced – so the only conclusion from these two fact I can do is that you are a liar. You, while you have enough information over topic, give to public only either portion of it or the total mess of guesses, estimations and total disinformation – just like when you stated in you article – and THAT was the reason foe me to take part in all this long and not to interesting discussion – that I do not seem “seem to know that “Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a Georgian. ”
          Oh, and yes – you are right. For me, national roots of a person are nothing. Stalin, Bagration and many others with Georgian blood are great names of Russian history. As well Scottish Barclay de Tolly, Jew Lavockin, Armenian Bagramyan etc. Their national background is a question of curiosity, and not of importance. Do not be a Nazy, please.

  4. Eileen says:

    As you say, there are people who still idolize Stalin, amazing but true. My elderly shoe repair fellow here in Rostov-on-Don had a big Stalin poster up on his wall. You like him? I asked. Oh yes, he’s our hero. Now a grandson runs the shoe repair shop and he says Yes, Stalin’s the man. Interesting article, thank for the insight.

  5. Gennady says:

    1.In FSB controlled country the launch of heroic image of Stalin in “Great Russians” series couldn’t have happened by itself. It’s a provocation as Mr. Putin with his personal interest in the launch imposes his family-related sympathy & opinions for the murderer on all Russians against loads & loads damning facts. For Mr. Putin the great executioner was an amicable man at home. As a FSB man Mr. Putin has his professional duty to worship the most blood-thirsty of all known tyrants, to justify the atrocities perpetrated by VChK-OGPU-KGB-FSB. Through FSB the umbilical cord with the tyrant’s corpse holds fast into XXI century.
    2. Mr. Putin became President for life with suspended Constitution. He’s got carte blanche to brainwash Russians, to impose his version of Russia’s XX century history upon them. Just kids and naïve adults don’t know that since 1917 Russia has had at least three versions of its history being rewritten to embellish crimes of rulers. Some poorly educated Russians don’t know the real history of WWII, the human cost of Stalin’s “genius”. They easily fell prey to unscrupulous dealers, tramping over millions murdered as Artyom Bilan, art director of the Alt publishing company, with his: “Why would we withdraw such a successful product [portrait of the monster]?”
    3. But Mr Putin and his PR team have ignored two issues.
    a). Russian people will scrutinise Mr.Putin’s achievements against stalinist era held as a benchmark. With all his blood thirst J. Stalin gave an example of intolerance towards theft, corruption, professional negligence & ineptitude. Widely known are facts about sweeper women being jailed for life just for a stolen broom. Corruption as a social phenomenon was unheard-of in Stalin’s era. It was usual for any functionary to disappear behind bars due to professional negligence or ineptitude. The ruling party was an example of behaviour, high morale and principles.
    Putin’s regime with the party of crooks & thieves gave great amount of examples to the contrary. We witnessed dozens high-profile air-crashes, sunk boats, hydroelectric & other industrial enterprises’ accidents, thousands people perished due criminal negligence. Corruption and thefts of state budget funds reaches billions $. Under Stalin if a bureaucrat had lost budget money he would have been imprisoned or shot dead. To the contrary.with Mr. Putin: when under his personal responsibility hundreds of millions $ of budget funds for starving St. Petersburg vanished into thin air (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/russiagov/putin.htm).
    Under Putin’s regime police rapes & tortures arrested men. Once great country dies-out, public education, healthcare & science are beyond repair. Putin’s regime looks unsustainable, impotent and deeply criminal when it is contrasted against Stalin’s era.
    b). One more point missed organisers of Stalin’s glorification as contemporary Russia holds dear all liabilities of the demised USSR. The Twentieth Party’s Congress in 1956 unanimously denounced Stalin’s purges, demolished the tyrant’s reputation being found guilty in deaths of millions in executions, organised famines and jailings.
    His criminally poor preparation for the Nazi attack in World War II had cost the lives of “cream” of the nation, far exceeding 15 percent of the fittest and best of the Soviet population. The Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted appropriate laws denouncing the murder. So every glorification of the great executioner breaks the laws & is criminal in it.

    • Artyom Belan says:

      Dear Gennady!
      Starting from first point, you are wrong. Unfortunately, Russian government – and mr. Putin personally – are paying too little attention to Russian school stationary market; all other assumptions of yours are also pretty far from reality. Have a nice day.

  6. James says:

    It is important to note that Stalin did not just fail to prepare for World War II — he collaborated with Hitler in the secret pact that lead to the invasion of Poland, which Hitler and Stalin divided between themselves. Therefore Stalin and Hitler started World War II together — then Hitler betrayed him, which lead to more suffering for the Russians and the other nations in his path. Stalin is very fortunate that everyone seems to ignore this fact of history because it was not known at the beginning of the war and was concealed until the myth of the Communists being victims in the war was well established in the public’s memory.

    • Artyom Belan says:

      Hitler would invade Poland anyway – with or without agreement with Stalin. Poland’s blood is actually on Britain and France who promised to protect it and did not. And yes, Stalin DID NOT start WWII together with Hitler – Red Army entered Poland on Sept. 17th, when Polish government had already successfully fled to Romania. Neither Stalin nor Hitler wanted misunderstanding between them – that was the reason of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; USSR was refused by Poland as a protector – officially, and had neither reason nor possibility to protect a country which only 2 years before had negotiations (unsuccessful) with Germany over joint attack on the USSR. Stalin of course knew that one day Hitler will break the treaty – he simply hoped Germany would do it a bit later.

  7. Gennady says:

    1. J.Stalin didn’t just fail to prepare but he stubbornly ignored numerous facts of Nazi Germany being amassing on borders. He even disregarded the spy information by Richard Sorge, a German communist who worked in Japan for the Soviet Union. The latter exactly informed the bloody dictator on the hour of the attack. The spy information led to R.Sorge’s capture and subsequent execution. J.Stalin ignored that the Red Army was in shambles after the shameful war with tiny Finland. Right at the outbreak of the War he executed the brightest generals from the General Staff; he made the country bleed with his paranoid purges. J.Stalin was enchanted by A.Hitler as he saw his Stalinism the twin version of Nazism, both were totalitarian ideologies. J.Stalin wasn’t wise enough to let A.Hitler to outwit him.

    2. J.Stalin felt his guilt at the state of affairs as his inner circle in their memoires noted that he couldn’t believe the fact the war had broken out, and he waited to be executed as it was with anybody guilty against his Satanist ideology of Stalinism.

  8. Aleksander says:

    The fact that today’s ” democratic ” Russia even allows an evil , degenerate monster Stalin, to
    surface , is ample proof that ; it is NOT democratic and it is NOT ” Russia ” ! It still is
    unfortunately ; backward , autocratic Moscovy , pinning for the ” glorious empire ” led by
    the ” bright sun ” , the ” father ” , the ” brilliant ” strategist ,military leader and genius on ALL other levels ; “generalissimus ” ( never mind that he did not spend one day in ANY miliary service ), Stalin ! Aside from the fact , that his long and bloody rule , took the lives of tens of millions of lives , this evil beast , has no equal in human history . Despite certain interest groups trying to portray Hitler as the most evil person who ever lived , by the extend of his damage to humanity , Stalin , makes Hitler look like a choir boy in comparison ! Ironically , we constantly get bombarded about Hitler’s atrocities , yet there is a strange lack of condemnation from the world when it comes to Stalin ! This strange lack of outrage , no
    doubt emboldened the present moscovite regime to attempt to ” reconstitute ” the ” glorious
    empire ” , with the ” shining sun ” as a model ! Moscovites ( russians ) , are not free . They
    cannot protest these ridiculous , ludicrus actions , but we , the people of the free world
    should not allow this to go any further !

  9. […] Stalin: A History Gap Divides Russia From Its Neighbors The Stalin notebook is part of a “Great Russians” series. On one level, it is depressing that the art director of the Alt publishing house does not seem to know that “Stalin,” was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a Georgian. Read more on Voice of America (blog) […]

  10. Inocencio SANTILLAN c. says:

    These history, is a black times betwen 1917 to 1960, many leaders in in Russiancomunist society, wass to be a promise for the boys and people, and stalin promise a new genrathion of nations more oportunitys in the worldhe ofer a full lebel of the populations, both it wass not be god, these leader kill many people that not tobe comunists, and inbade many european states, , by example Mariscal Tito, he kill many enemigs, of hes revolution, one of thes black history is th famouse Milovan Diglas, he was tobe go to the prission, for 26 or more years, they imported hes bab politics toshouth America and the world hes is yhe first terrorists, cuba, venezuela and many other states, both now the occident new generation sed no to yhe comunism, we prefer the occident with a democratic system., they destruyed aur economy and divide our population.

  11. Artyom Belan says:

    It’s funny to read about “cheated Russians” from the most cheated people in the World – I mean all you, the “Golden Billion” guys and gals). Starting from the first sentence – ” it is depressing that the art director of the Alt publishing house does not seem to know that “Stalin,” was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a Georgian” – all the article is crap, incorrect in all – figures, conclusions and inferences.
    I am that art director. My name is Artyom Belan – and I DO know where, when and in which family was Iosif Stalin born. Also, this information IS given in that notebook – as well as short bio of each of the 20 heroes of these notebook series are in corresponding notebooks.

    • Cage says:

      Well Artyom Belan, if you do indeed know the particulars regarding Stalin, then you know that the figures, conclusions and inferences are not crap – as you state. There is certainly enough irrefutable documentation from both Russian and western sources to verify the truth of the article – including that from historical Soviet official archives. From my own extensive travels and living throughout Europe, Russia, and the Far East, I can verify the Russians and the Japanese do indeed have a very slanted view of the world that is at odds with the perceptions of the citizens of other countries regarding such topics as Stalin, military actions/political agreements that took place during the 1930s in Europe and the Far East, and why their countries’ leaders followed the course of action that they did.

      • Artyom Belan says:

        Dear Sir!

        the author of the article uses most common yet absolutely false anecdotes like “Churchill’s” saying of Stalin “dragging Russia from the wooden plow to the H-bomb” – Churchill never ever said anything like this, plus H-bomb was tested two years after Stalin’s death. Stalin indeed WAS once called “Genghis Khan with a telephone” – by Trotsky, who was pretty far from being Stalin’s collaborator starting as early as beginning of the 20’s))). Then, “telephone calls led to the deaths of millions of people through executions, famines, and mass jailings. ” Rubbish again – in 30 years of Stalin’s rule (actually, he got REAL power only after defeating Trotsky and then Zinoviev-Kamenev and Bukharin opposition, in 1935-1938) total number of death penalties was extremely high – 642 000 – but not millions anyway, and death from famine of millions of people in RSFSR (including Kazakh ASSR) and Ukrainian SSR was a)not initiated by any fantastic “Stalin’s telephone calls” and b)is a responsibility of mostly local powers (yes, most of them were later executed). Then, “poor preparation” for the War – this is a bloody spit in face of all those millions of people who built 20 000 tanks by the beginning of the War – who could call IT a “poor preparations”? Red Army was facing a bitter defeat in the first month of the War, indeed, but French army, which was considered as the strongest on the continent in 1939, was defeated almost in two weeks, and all the French campaign took only 40 days.If I remember it correct, Red Army finally won the War – in Berlin, Prague, Wien and Budapest.
        GULag (yes, that would be correct spelling – Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerey, Chief Bureau of Camps). There was such a fact in Russian history – and we mention it in our notebook, of course. But there were NOT 8000 labor camps in USSR – there were 53 Camp Bureaus and 425 camps. Author could be calling “Camp points” as “Camps” – but there were up to 30 000 camps points, actually, so where Author’s figure comes from is absolutely unclear. If you are curious, total death toll in all the GULag camps in 25 years (1930-1956) is 1 606 742 – half of them during war time, when people were during because of hard work and hunger all over USSR.
        We in Russia know, who and what Stalin was. He was not an angel – not at all. He was a tyrant indeed, responsible for many flaws and mistakes. But it’s annoying when people who do not know Russian history are trying to each us one. We – by making this notebook – want new generation of Russian to know history better. Stalin is a part of it – a huge part, and he deserves that his name is free of lies. He did enough wrong things – but don’t assign to him what he did not.

  12. Pyotr says:

    To Artyom Belan. For you to know – my both grandfathers fought aginst fascists and one was killed near Budapest two weeks before the end of WWII, so I perfectly know who Hitler was. And yet Stalin was far more harmful to peoples of SU because he killed more humans and those who survived he perverted in such a way that generations after him still say that black is white and two by two is five. You are among them imho. I pity Russia, because this denial of truth is the way to nowhere. It seems Russia is in evil circle of reproducing dictators and Russians can only break it by acknowleging and condemning the crimes of Stalin and his regime, that simple and yet that hard. Germans did that with Hitler and now they are our friends. Is this moustached idol of “shoemakers and barbers” worth our friendship with our neighbours and the rest of the world? For me short answer is NO.

    • Artyom Belan says:

      Dear Pyotr – as far as you say that your grandfather fought “fascists” near Budapest |I presume that you live or at least used to live in ex-USSR, right? Otherwise you’ld call your ancestor enemies “nazis” or “nazists”, and THIS kind of mixing two pretty distant ideologies is very common fro those who went to Soviet schools and did not feel to much an interest to history. I’m sorry for you grandfather – he was really a man of honor. But it’s a pity that you personally do not pay much attention to studying history – or you would never ever compare the number of Stalin’s victims in Soviet Union (which were many, actually – up to 642 000 death penalties through years 1924-1953; not all of them unlawful, but many for sure were) and and those of Hitler (27 000 000 war casualties, of which up to 20 000 000 noncombatants). Please read something more close to reality than propaganda pamphlets, and you might find out some information that could change much in you mind. Stalin for sure WAS a controversial leader – and that is a postulate we start with in notebook (one of series of 20) we produce, and to know all what he did – wrong or right – is obligatory for a Russian. Thank you for your attention.

  13. Cage says:

    Artyom Belan – you are cherry-picking your figures to try and justify your case and this is among the worst type of scholarship imaginable. To attribute only 642,000 deaths to Stalin and claim that not all of them were unlawful and in the meantime ignore the millions that died as a result of the forced collectivization of the farms, being sent to the forced labor camps, the deaths of Russian soldiers by NKVD blocking units, the deaths of German POWs, the German civilians in East Prussia, the Katyn massacre, the accompanying massacres of other ethnic groups in the Baltic states taken over by the USSR immediately prior to 1941 – in short, you have been very selective in attributing responsibility for combatant and civilian deaths to Stalin while maximizing the deaths attributed to Hitler (who was in turn guilty of mass murder of his own people and those of other lands). In short, you are an apologist for Stalin and are not interested in determining the truth regarding Stalin’s contribution to the misery of the world and in particular, the misery of his own people that he was responsible for leading. When you honestly start seeking the truth, you will be making the first steps in not being a fraudulent apologist for Stalin. .

    • Aleksander says:

      Good call on bringing the writer short on his ridiculous caasualty figure . However ,
      you seem to have glossed over the ethnic group that suffered the most casualties at the hands of Stalin and his henchmen , and that is the Ukrainians . No one actually knows the extent of human toll on that nation , that lasted for several decades , but it is estimated that it could be as many as 22 to 25 MILLION people , the artificial famine genocide of 1933 , is alone responsible for 7 to 10 million people ! In fact Stalin once
      complained to his cronies that he would like to ” get rid ” of ALL the ” khokhols ”
      ( a derisive , moscovitre name for Ukrainians ) but regretably , there are just too many of them . I must wonder why you mentioned ; Russians , Balts , Poles , even Germans ,
      you failed to even mentioined the nation that because it was striving for independence and defied colectivization , the Ukrainians , suffered the most ? An oversight , or willfull omission ? In either case it’s wrong ! These crimes simply will not go away , Over a hundreed nations have condemned the Holodomor ( the Famine ) as an act of genocidse against the Ukrainian people .

      • Artyom Belan says:

        ” No one actually knows the extent of human toll on that nation ”
        Indeed, no one. Including you, too.

        “, that lasted for several decades ,”
        Eh? If there WERE nations, that got HUGE benefits from Stalin’s rule, these were Lithuanians and Ukrainians the former got Vilnius and Klaipeda, the latter – Galicia and Bukovina.
        “Stalin once complained to his cronies that he would like to ” get rid ” of ALL the ” khokhols ”
        Read less fairytales – and less propaganda. And, btw, if there were people PERSONALLY responsible for 1931-32 famine in Ukraine, these were Ukrainian leaders of the time – as well as famine in Kazah, West Siberian, Middle and Lower Volga regions of Russia was mostly because of corresponding local leaders. Stalin is guilty for letting those local authorities to rule their regions.

        “Over a hundreed nations have condemned the Holodomor ( the Famine ) as an act of genocidse against the Ukrainian people .”
        15 nations, actually – and EU condemned it as a crime against humanity, not a genocide.
        What Stalin did fought in Ukraine was nationalism; as far as we can see, he was too liberal – there are many nationalists yet.

        • Aleksander says:

          Atyom Belan ,
          Your answer , paraphrasing my remark : no one knows the extent of the toll on that nation , to which you so cleverly add; ” indeed , no one , you too ” , shows me what kind of an intellect I’m dealing with . When I said ” no one ” , I obviously included myself , but you clearly know this , this is just your silly ,infantile way to play semantics ,
          an old , outdated KGB method to try and trivialize an argument you have no valid answer for . Nice try , but no cigar . You then proceed to question the lenght of the
          murderous regime by pointing out with infinite idiocy that Ukraine ” benefitted HUGELY ” from Stalin’s bloody rule by ” getting ” Galizia and Bukovina . Are you serious ? Stalin GAVE Ukraine GALIZIA ? Aside from using the germanized name
          for ” Halychyna ” , derived from it’s capital Halych , you must be talking about the
          western component of the Kyievan – Rus’ . The territory , where the Ukrainian king Danylo Halytskyj , in 1242 , build a city , and named it Lviv after his son Lev ! Oddly enough , he did this about 700 years before ” generalissimus ” was even born and at the time when Moscow was occupied by the Mongolo – Tatar Horde , which they were ” hosting ” for the next 250 or so years . It is well known that you moscovites are very generous with things that don’t belong to you , but next time please select something more plausible , because this kind of an example makes you look really foolish .
          Oh , and this might be a nice after tought for you ; As you might know Lviv , is one of the four Ukrainian cities that will be hosting the Euro Football championship in June , so for this reason the Lviv airport got a major facelift and a new name . Want to hazard a guess as to what the new name is ? Why , it’s the King Danylo Airport , of course !
          There never even was a hint to name it after the ” Great Benefactor ” ; Father Stalin !

          • Artyom Belan says:

            Dear Aleksander,
            you do not know any figures of famine victim in Ukraine – but speculate with some “estimations” of “as many as 22 to 25 MILLION”. I drag you attention that there is NO reliable account for this event – so do not use ANY figures. That’s the point. Any way, the total population of Ukraine in 1930 was 30 million something – so figures of 10-15-20-25 and so on victims are not fantastic – they are ridiculous and, actually, they are mockery and flout over those who perished in that hard times.

            About Galicia. THAT is the English name of the territory you call “Halychyna”. BTW, Lviv was first ever mentioned in 1256 under that name. Also, Daniil NEVER had been Ukrainian king – he was (but the title was, actually, in doubt by some European powers of the time) the King of Rus. You might know that this kingdom included only a small portion of russian lands and lost independence in the beginning of XIV century. Again, Moscow was NOT “occupied” by the Horde – actually, Moscow that time was a town of low importance, it’s rise happened some 150 years later. –back to Galicia: it was Austo-Hungarian (before WWI) and then Polish (before WWII) territory. Stalin gave it back to Ukraine. Actually, it was his idée fixe – to gather all the Ukrainian lands together; that was the reason of occupying and accession to Ukraine of Northern Bukovina (Romanian before 1940) – the fact that deeply upset Hitler.

            I leave alone all you personal insults of mine; you do not look like a person from whom insult might be offensive – you know too little.

    • Artyom Belan says:

      I like figures. I hate false or unverified statements. “millions that died as a result of the forced collectivization” is false – total of 1 803 392 were sent to distant areas of the USSR, and only a small portion of them actually died because of it. Was it brutal measure? It was. Was it the only way possible? Hard to say. Was collectivisation needed? For sure. And yes – Stalin personally was AGAINST too fast and tu cruel collectivisation – and even wrote an article over the issue, but in 1930-1931 he was not as strong as a decade later – he had a strong opposition.
      Then, “deaths of Russian soldiers by NKVD blocking units”. First, blocking units were not Stalin’s – and even Russian – invention. They were used even in Roman legions. Then, both number of barrier troops and number of those killed by them are pretty much exaggerated.
      “the deaths of German POWs”
      They were not invited, first.
      The country was starving – and German inmates were, too. But they as a matter of thumb were getting even better upkeep than many Soviet citizens – and, btw, those who wanted to work were paid – with a reasonable deduction from salary for extra food.
      And, finally, only 15% of all POWs – german, hungarian, romanian etc – died in captivity. For Germans, the figure is 2 388 443 total number of POWs, 2 031 743 returned home, 356 700 died in captivity – with up to 80 000 of latter figure are those from Stalingrad, which were in REALLY bad condition when captured;

      “German civilians in East Prussia”
      Evacuated by German government in Jan-Feb.’45; many of them perished during that evacuation. BTW, one of my grandfathers was fighting in Königsberg – and I heard much about it from the person who saw it personally (he was sapper/pioneer Major).

      “massacres of other ethnic groups in the Baltic states taken over by the USSR immediately prior to 1941”
      No “massacres” – and absolutely no ethnic basement for exiles, which did take place, indeed. 10 000 people from Estonia, 17 500 from Lithuania, 16 500 from Latvia. BTW, after the War the number of those exiled was twice as high.

      “Stalin’s contribution to the misery of the world”
      Please make it clear – what do you mean as “misery”? Poverty? That is not true. Actually, until mid’50th life level in most Socialist countries was rising faster then in the West.

      ” fraudulent apologist for Stalin”
      I am not. I just want people to know history, not fantastic horror stories which have nothing in common with reality. Stalin was brutal, unfaltering leader – like Napoleon, Washington or Cromwell.

      • Cage says:

        Washington – a brutal, unfaltering leader? You are one of the very few people on this planet that would attribute those characteristics to Washington. He had his faults but brutality certainly was not one of them and he had many doubts and also shortcomings regarding how he conducted warfare against the British – compare his military actions of the 1st year of conflict versus that which took place in the following years and how he dealt with the large number of American colonists that did not actively participate in the war.

        You’re wrong about the quality of life issue in respect to the USA. Canada and Mexico versus socialist countries of eastern Europe, Asia, and the USSR. The only Socialist countries for which that would be a true statement would be the Scandinavian countries. As a result of the Marshall Plan following WW2, most of Europe recovered at a faster rate and by the 1960s, were surpassing the USSR and her satellite states in terms of industrial output and income per individual.

        You missed the point entirely regarding the blocking units of the NKVD and in addition, you’re splitting hairs again. It doesn’t matter who may have used such units in the past, they were used against Russian troops and often in situations where the Russian troops had been poorly led to begin with and were faced with impossible life-threatening situations due to the poor strategic planning by the upper echelon of officers (and I include Stalin in this group as he eventually took direct control of the military leadership following his ineffectual political control/leadership during the lead up to and following the German invasion of Russia).

        The 15% figure for deaths among POWs is still too high and here you are still equivocating by saying everyone in Russia had it bad with shortages but extra food was available for money. Either there was enough to properly feed the POWs or there wasn’t and there would have eventually been enough foodstuffs provided by the USA to Russia during the war in the form of Spam so that the basic dietary needs of the POWs could have been taken care of in that manner. And the same criticism goes for the Germans and the substandard/inhumane level of care provided their Russian POWs that resulted in death rates much, much higher than there should have been.

        Stalin was a brutal leader as you have stated but to foist off the blame on others regarding the excesses of collectivization is too much. Material in the historical archives in Moscow show that Stalin played a major part, the major part in the collectivization effort. In addition, there were sufficient food reserves that would have initially alleviated much of the starvation but due to gross mismanagement, such relief did not occur. Are you going to try and argue that Stalin was completely in the dark about this state of affairs and he could not do anything about the situation? I believe that there is sufficient grounds for declaring Stalin to have been a paranoid sociopath and this explains his actions regarding his behavior towards potential rivals (Trotsky and Kirov as two examples) and the citizens of the USSR and in particular, his actions towards the end of his life in respect to the so-called “Doctor’s Plot” and the plans in store for Russian Jews (when, according to you, he certainly had a lot of real power).

        I’ll say it again, you come across as an apologist for Stalin and your cherry-picking of figures to support your arguments do not enhance your credibility.

        • Artyom Belan says:

          “Washington – a brutal, unfaltering leader?”
          Read about Pennsylvania riot, 1794. Hamilton was acting according to Washington orders.
          “You’re wrong about the quality of life issue in respect to the USA. Canada and Mexico versus socialist countries of eastern Europe, Asia, and the USSR.”
          USA had the highest standart of life comparing to other countries. Canada was OK, too. Mexico was on rise (Milagro mexicano) – and this period of comparative economic success ended only in 80s – after Lasaro Cardenas socialist reforms – but still Mexico was a country with really low level of life. And we are talking about territories, untouched by War – in Europe, the situation was much more severe. Actually, ration stamps in the UK were in circulation as late as 1954 (in Soviet Union ration stamps system was cancelled in 1947). In Soviet Union years 1945-1954 were marked with the highest economy growth in history, and starting lower than competition life standarts in USSR surpassed those of most part of Europe by 1954. Unfortunately later this progress stopped. Marshall plan WAS effective, but planned economy in such a complicated conditions as restoring economy after war was much, much more fruitful.

          “You missed the point entirely regarding the blocking units of the NKVD”
          That is you who misses the point. Wermaht WAS the strongest army of the time and, in face of really strong enemy, soldiers of Red Army were trying to save their lives. That’s normal for human nature – but that was lethal for Army and Country. THAT was the reason of order ##35523 and 227. Those about 200 of barrier troops (200 of men in each) served their purpose well – and, if you did not know, very often barrier troops were taking part in attacks on german positions, too, shoulder to shoulder with penal battalions and companies. And stop talking about “poor strategic planning” – most flaws in Red Army were not strategic, but individual training of soldiers and, especially, low-level commanders, when sergeants and lieutenants of German army were it’s strongest points.

          “The 15% figure for deaths among POWs is still too high and here you are still equivocating by saying everyone in Russia had it bad with shortages but extra food was available for money. ”
          Khm. If you have enough food for 10 people and you are a company of 15, what do you do? Either make all of you starve or stimulate those who do more for you common target, do not you? In USSR the situation was just like this. And yes, for sure US food aid was of REAL importance – death rate would be much higher without it.

          “he same criticism goes for the Germans and the substandard/inhumane level of care provided their Russian POWs”
          Compare figures. Of 4 600 000 Soviet POWs in German captivity only 1 800 000 returned home.

          ” Stalin played a major part, the major part in the collectivization effort”
          He did. But read his article “Dizzy with success” – March’1930.

          ” paranoid sociopath and this explains his actions regarding his behavior towards potential rivals (Trotsky and Kirov as two examples”
          Trotsky was main Stalin’s rival – and pretty popular among some part of the party. He was exiled from country and lived in MExico, but still was too dangerous (do not forget Fourth International etc). Kirov’s death was used as a trigger for repressions – but Kirov a)had no conflict with Stalin ever b)had too low position (Leningrad party organisation head) to be of any danger to Stalin c)was Stalin’s friend, not as close as Molotov but friend. All the idea of Stalin’s conspiracy against Kirov looks like stupid joke for any serious researcher.

          ” “Doctor’s Plot” and the plans in store for Russian Jews”. It’s unclear until now did “Doctor’s plot” have any real ground, but death of Stalin only 2 month after the beginning of the case. About Russian Jews, Kaganovich – if you know the name – was a Jew. But what Stalin did hate was nationalism – and Jewish nationalism as well; Zionism was on rise that time – you know, State of Israel was established (with huge Soviet effort, too) and that caused huge nationalistic mood among Soviet Jews – which was an unpleasant surprise for Stalin; he responsed it in his way – brutal and prompt.

          Please, see difference between apologisation and strong historical facts. Stalin was far from being saint – but he was far from being Satan, too. He was a leader of great country through some of the hardest times of it’s history. He maid many mistakes and was wrong in many aspects – but erratum humanum est.

  14. Cage says:

    Aleksander – The Ukrainians – though not specifically mentioned by name are not forgotten. I include the Ukrainians in the forced collectivization that occurred under Stalin in which millions lost their lives due to gross mismanagement of food production and failed distribution of known food reserves that could have prevented much starvation. In addition, there were other ethnic groups within Russia/U.S.S.R. that were forced to relocate by Stalin during his rule. These folks were usually forced hundreds of kilometers from their traditional homes. These forced re-locations caused many more thousands of needless deaths.

  15. Pyotr says:

    I invite everybody to virtually spit on Stalin’s face here. And Hitler’s and Putin’s as well if you have a wish. http://plun.org.ua/

  16. Aleksander says:

    Artyom Belan ,
    From your reply ; “you do not know any figures of Famine victim in Ukraine – but speculate
    ” estimation ” of ” as many as 22 to 25 million ” , it’s hard to tell whether it is your poor command of English , or whether you are just simply a little slow on the uptake mentaly !
    I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt , so I will assume that it is your ignorance of English that is responsible . You must NOT have been one of the top students at the KGB
    language school. Oh , well . In any case , I invite you to read my post AGAIN , this time slowly and carefuly , and you will discover , that the figure I cited ; 22 to 25 million casualties ,
    pertained to the TOTAL number of Ukrainian losses , during the several decade long bloody reign , of the most vile , degenerate beast , the world has ever known ; your idol , Stalin ! This figure which also INCLUDES the victoms of the Holodomor ( the Famine ) , is probably
    very conservative , since the regime was very careful NOT to keep any records . As to the mockery of the victoms , of , as you put it ” hard times ” , that you accuse me of , ” comrade “,
    I cannot immagine worse mockery of them , than the cynical , denial of the Holodomor as a
    act of genocide by the moscovite state . Trying to lay of the blame on the ” local , regional leaders “, is just laughable ; Which of the following , responsible for the Holodomor ; Stalin , Kaganovich , Postyshev , Molotov or Kosior was a ” local ” Ukrainian leader ? Perhaps you should pay more attention to your compatriot , Pyotr , who feels that unless Moscovia , will face the truth about the extent of the damage it has inflicted on it’s neighbors trough out the ages , and admit to the harm it has done ; it ( Moscovia ) will remain shuffling in place not able to move forward . Trying to revive
    and glorify an era of mankind’s darkest hour , an era when a demonic , schizophrenic , bloodthirsy monster destroyed so many INNOCENT human lives , will definitely NOT bring
    Moscovia out of the Dark Ages and turn it into a modern , democratic , civilized ” Russia ” , you want so desperately the rest of the world to buy into .
    Lastly , I really have no intention to insult you , personaly . That would mean lowering myself to your level . I prefer to use truth and facts as my arguments and leave you to try and trivialize them , rather than counter with substantiated evidence . You , like many moscovites , suffer from an acute inferiority complex , and so tend to take any form of criticism , as a personal insult . Be assured , that if I wanted to insult you , I would leave no
    doubt as to my intent .

    • Artyom Belan says:

      So, is my English really that bad?)) Sorry, I really was not careful enough – you give estimation of 7 to 10 million of famine victims, not 22 to 25; excuse me. But anyway, this figure is also a)taken from nowhere b)looks pretty fantastic.
      “the regime was very careful NOT to keep any records”
      That’s HUGE mistake – or lie. The regime in USSR was VERY pedantic in keeping the record of everything – especially number of people. Planned economy, you know. If you say you have 10 000 workforce you get plans for 10 000 – how can you fulfill’em if you have only 5000?

      “denial of the Holodomor as a
      act of genocide by the moscovite state”
      Go damn read at least Wikipedia to find out what Genocide means, buddy. Nobody cared about your nationality – you have plan, you must fulfill. You do not – the fine you or imprison you. When it became clear that situation is FAR more horrible then in local authorities reports, assistance was sent – 600 000 tons of food to Ukraine of 1 000 000 tons total to suffering regions (famine was drastic not in Ukraine only; 4 huge regions of RSFSR were affected, too, including Kazakhstan, autonomous republic of RSFSR in that time); it was too late, unfortunately.
      Postyshev and Kosior are two of many local leaders responsible for famine in Ukraine, and I’m actually surprised that you know the names. Read some Wiki, right?))).Both were executed later, in 1937-1938. Add Petrovsky, which lost all his positions in 1939 but was nor imprisoned nor executed. Stalin and Molotov, actually, asked for lowering of plans for Ukraine – but it was adopted only as late as Oct’1932.

      And now I see – you are not even an anticommuniste; you’re plain russophobe.

      “I prefer to use truth and facts”
      So please DO – now you use only propaganda stamps.

      Have a nice day.

      • Aleksander says:

        Atyom Belan ,
        First let me respond to your ridiculous claim that the moscovite /soviet regime kept
        accurate records . That is just a blatant lie . There were decade long periods of time , when NO ONE knew , just how many people were ; arrested , convicted , liquidated ,
        deported , exiled or otherwise disposed of thoughout the whole of the Soviet Paradise .
        That is an undeniable fact . And small wonder , it would have been physicaly impossible , in those days , with limited logistic capacity , to keep track of the monstrous , murdering machine that was communist Moscovy under Stalin ! Oh, there were attemps to , provide ” records ” , such as blaming the German Nazis for the
        annihilation of the 20 plus thousand of the Polish officers in Katyn , but that only proved to be another embarrassment to moscovite ” record keeping ” as the whole world found out , that the guilty party , was indeed , Soviet Moscovy and it’s illustrious leader ; the little ” generalissimus ”
        I also feel I must adress your remark about how regretable it is that Stalin , ” being too liberal ” did not manage to eliminate all the nationalists ( by the way it , by no means
        by accident reflects a similiar sentiment of your boss , Putin , when he said , that he collapse of the Soviet Union , is the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20 th century ) . This , I am happy to inform you , is absolutely correct , Stalin DID NOT ! But not because he was too liberal , or for the lack of trying . It is because Ukraine is fundamentaly different from Moscovy . From time immemorial , Ukraine – Rus’ , has always been a democratic , free , society , that
        valued individual rights and liberty above all else . Even our Kniazi and Kings were elected . That is why , even after the horrible nightmare , that was the Dark Ages of communist Moscovy , when even thinking as an individual , was a criminal act ,
        Ukraine , is slowly waking up , and gradualy RE -turning into a democratic European State . In order to understand this you must first realize , that throughout it’s history ,
        Ukraine has been defeated many times , occupied countless times , and numerous times conquered , but Ukraine NEVER surrendered ! Ukrainians never stopped resisting , never gave up their faith , never gave up their language , their customs ,their
        heritage , their history , their right to EXIST ! This stubborn persistance came at an
        exhorbitant price ; defending their land , from invaders became a way of life for Ukrainians ; Khozary , Avary , Pechenihy , Polovtsi , Huny , Goths , Mongols ,Tatars ,
        Magyars , Turks , Poles , Moscovites , Germans etc . , they each took their toll . It
        is absolutely incontroversible to say , that there is no other country on the face of this world , that has paid a higher price for it’s Freedom and Right to Exist , than Ukraine !
        So , I leave you with this tought : Genghis Khan could not destroy Ukraine , Suleiman
        the Magnificent could not , and neither could Stalin !
        In conclusion I sincerely hope , that eventualy your people will eventualy get infected
        by the bacteria of freedom , learn to respect and cooperate with their neighbors ,
        make ammends for all the wrongs that Moscovy perpetrated for so long , find IT’S
        OWN history , rather than try to usurp someone else’s , and finaly find peace within them selves .

        • Artyom Belan says:

          Dear Aleksander! Now I see that you are too heavily “infected by the bacteria of freedom” you are talking about. Hope for your recovery from that dangerous illness. It makes no point to talk to a person who never read anything but childish propaganda pamphlets. You know nothing and do not want to study. I really hope that something happens to you for your better understand the world around you and that this “something” won’t too much hurt you.
          And please – if you don not know something, do not talk about it. When you say that “ukrainians” resisted “Pechenegs” it’s not even funny at all)))) It’s sad). It’s almost as sad as it was reading in in Ukrainian history school textbooks about “400 000 years long history of Ukres”; or you are secret agent of Russian neo-nationalists and with your posts want to discredit all what Ukraine really did in it’s history?

          Buy-buy, dear Alexander.

  17. Aleksander says:

    Artyom ,
    I will make this short and sweet , since I do not consider you on an intelectual level ,
    worthy of my time . I must admit though , that while your English is sophomoric , ( as in
    ” buy – buy , Alexander ” ) , it does have a certain comedic entertainment value . Like for instance , when you accuse me of getting my information from ; ” propaganda pamphlets ” ,
    while you are desperately trying to reconstitute ; a vile , short , squalid , paranoid little
    ( barely 5′ 4″ ) monster , into an air brushed , bemedaled , glamorized Hollywood hero ,
    like the one that’s on the cover of YOUR propaganda pamphlet . That’s not propaganda , that’s magic . Likewise , even if your infantile claim about Ukrainian
    textbooks claiming a 400,000 year long ” Ukres ” history was true , it would not nearly be as ridiculous as moscovites claiming that they are descendants of Kyievan Rus’ and it’s
    heritage . You must look for your roots and heritage somewhere else , if you want the rest of the world to take you seriously . No need for you to worry about what I know or don’t know ,
    I am not here to impress you , I simply state facts that are easily verifiable and available to anybody . I have no intention to waste my time with you any further .

    • Artyom Belan says:

      Dear Aleksander,

      ” little ( barely 5′ 4″ ) monster”
      – 1 m 60 cm was actually normal hight for a male in Russia that time – but that’s not an issue to discuss whet talking about historical figures, right?)). Read again – you have no data about neither Stalin nor whole Russian history otherwise you wouldn’t call moscovites claiming that they are descendants of Kyievan Rus’ “ridiculous”. Do you remember who founded Moscow?
      But again –
      “vile , short , squalid , paranoid”-
      are not terms for serious discussion – even if you talk about Hitler; these are good only for propaganda (you seem to hate the word “pamphlets”, I presume))).

      “simply state facts that are easily verifiable and available to anybody”
      You don’t. Saying “vile , short , squalid , paranoid” is just useless incantation.

      You look like a fanatic, actually, not interested in getting any new information that could somehow rock his faith. Also, your childish attempts to personally insult me make me even more confident in this opinion.

      And finally – ever heard about homophones? ))) But thank you for a word a actually didn’t know, “sophomoric”.

      Sorry not answering for such a long time – I was on vacations, hope you did not miss me too much.

      Sincerely yours,

      Artem.

      P.S. Got to the library if you bookstore in your neighborhood stock comic books only.

  18. […] Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR. http://blogs.voanews.com/russia-watch/2012/04/05/stalin-a-history-gap-separates-russia-from-its-neig… Speak to the people in countries that were occupied by Stalin’s Russia and one will find he […]

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James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. With The New York Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, Canada and Japan/Koreas. He studied Russian in college during the Brezhnev years, first visited Moscow as a reporter during the final months of Gorbachev, and then came back for reporting forays during the Yeltsin and early Putin years. In 2006, he moved to Moscow to report for Bloomberg. He joined VOA in Moscow in 2010. Follow Jim on Twitter @VOA_Moscow.

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