High Treason: Essays on the History of the Red Army, 1918-1938
Vitaly Rapoport, Yuri Alexeev, "High Treason: Essays on the History of the Red Army, 1918-1938 (2 volume)"
Publisher: Duke Univ Press | 1985 | ISBN 0822306476 | File type: PDF | 308/296 pages | 10.4 mb
In discussing the victims of Stalinism, we can only discuss the victims of whom we know. The range of estimations made so far would significantly increase the scope of the terror which characterized Stalin's regime, if the larger estimates prove reliable. But as with caves we cannot surmise what we do not know. Ironically, Stalin ordered the arrest and execution of many of USSR's ablest statisticians because they were either too precise or misunderstood the degree to which the regime wanted to distort first grain production and then population as collectivization and terror took their toll.
Difficulties persist in extracting the truth from Stalinist exaggeration, and restricted access to the Russian archives kept serious scholarly research away from much authoritative data for over thirty years after Stalin's death.
Politically and ideologically motivated propaganda further obfuscate the issue. Traditionally, Western scholars and Soviet dissidents offered damning estimates of the numbers of victims in the ongoing purges. In contrast, approved Soviet and Western Marxist historians along with Liberals sympathetic to the regime provided much lower figures. In this struggle both sides must protect their flanks. The imperative for the traditional "cold-warrior" Sovietologists remains locating ever more convincing proof of Stalinist crimes, because they fight against the decay of evidence and the deaths of witnesses and participants. Conversely, the revisionists feel a growing compulsion to hedge their bets, as archaeologists uncover mass graves like Kuropaty.
In discussing Stalinism's victims we must consider a variety of interconnected facets in the regime's ongoing campaign of terror over the course of its existence. One may divide these into five broad and somewhat overlapping time periods: 1) the consolidation of power, 2) collectivization until the terror, 3) "the great terror," 4) the great patriotic war, and 5) the post-war era. We will explore each of these separately, with a discussion of how they relate to one another, and attempt to put various estimates into perspective.
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