Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stalin: just another misunderstood humanitarian

Tomasz Sommer and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz cast a skeptical eye on recent attempts to exonerate Stalin for his involvement in the Great Purge. And as you might expect, an American historian plays an important role.
A more sophisticated example of Stalinist apologetics came in 2009 when Yuza and Eksmo published Leonid Naumov’s ‘The Bloody Dwarf’ against the Leader of Nations: Yezhov’s Plot. Naumov considers the pro-Stalin historian J. Arch Getty, a UCLA history professor who has soft-pedaled the Great Terror for American audiences, to be his master. One of Getty’s more significant contributions to revisionism was the shifting of blame for the bloody purges from Stalin to Nikolai Yezhov, head of the NKVD in the mid-1930s. But this apparently didn’t go far enough, and Getty later exculpated Yezhov as well in a 2008 monograph published by Yale University Press (and coauthored with Oleg V. Naumov—apparently a distant relative of Leonid’s) called Stalin’s ‘Iron Fist’: The Times and Life of N. I. Yezhov, in which Getty and Naumov write, “Although it seems so from our liberal perspective, Yezhov’s cruelty was not in contradiction with the specific ideas of humanity and community he shared with his fellows.”
So, if Stalin wasn’t the real culprit in, er, Stalinism, who’s to blame?
No one. All the bloodletting was the function of impersonal forces of history.
Just one of those things, then, just one of those crazy things.

"Hey, you kids get off my lawn! And put Uncle Joe right-side up!"


Yojimbo said...

Apologies to The Seekers.

There's a bizarre world somewhere
They call the narrative land
And I'll be there everyday
If you'll just buy my bland
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I'll never find
Another fool as big as you

Paco said...

Well done, old fellow!

Yojimbo said...

Best I could do, it's a hard one.
"I'd like to teach the world to sing" didn't work. Ditto "Smoke gets in your eyes". Besides, messing with a Platters' song is blasphemy!

Yojimbo said...

Do ya think concepts like "humanity" and "community" might not apply here at all?

Michael Lonie said...

“Although it seems so from our liberal perspective, Yezhov’s cruelty was not in contradiction with the specific ideas of humanity and community he shared with his fellows.”

Well yes, if you consider that "his fellows" were savage, murderous, greedy Commies. That's not what the idiot means, of course.

Just some force, eh? That's an apology you can use for any tyrannical, genocidal murderer in power. You could say the same thng about Hitler. What tools.

"I'd like to teach the world to sing" is actually a plea for totalitarianism, in my opinion. How else, other than by massive, totalitarian coercion, would the whole world sing "in perfect harmony?" It's the goal of both Commies and Nazis. It's almost enough to put you off Coca-Cola forever. Feh.

Col. Milquetoast said...

In the mid-nineties I was dumbstruck by a hot French girl would lament that if only Stalin had been in charge instead of Gorby then Stalin would have made sure the Soviet Union wouldn't collapse. For her, mass murder was a reason to like Stalin.

RebeccaH said...

It's hard to give up a religion one has devoted one's life to. That particular horror that was the USSR will be defended until death by old commies and new idiots.

That's also why greenies will still be singing Al Gore's praises long after the earth is an iceberg in space.

Anonymous said...

Stalinist organizations, most prominently International ANSWER, recuit members from high school, college, and university campuses with the aid of these indoctrination specialists aka professors. The acronym ANSWER stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. It easily disguises the nefarious nature of this beast. They are arguably the most dangerous group world-wide. ANSWER was responsible for every, and I do mean, every anti-war protest during the early days of the Iraq campaign. They will hold their annual protest in a few weeks.

Deborah Leigh

Michael Lonie said...

Not just during the Iraq Campaign, but also during the Afghanistan Campaign. ANSWER was deploying its tools even before any US troops got their boots on the ground in the 'stan. All the lefty organizations were perfectly willing to ally themselves with a bunch they knew were Commie Stalinists, because the Stalinists were doing all the organizing work for them. Lazy bastards.

Another thing I noticed about the pictures of those demos was the frequency of anti-Israel signs. The demos seemed almost as much "anti-Zionist" as they were anti-Afghanistan Campaign.

This stuff was all just days after the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon. When you come right down to it, what the Commies were saying then was "Go al-Qaida" and "Kill the Jews."

Anonymous said...

Well done, old fellow!