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In response to Razib’s post.

Economically, Communist regimes are far from monolithic. You had:

  1. State capitalist/”market socialist” countries like today’s China and Belarus, the NEPist USSR, tradionally Communist-ruled Kerala for that matter. Note that even Western countries, e.g. dirigiste France, have flirted with this.
  2. Central planning as practiced from the late 1920s in the USSR, in which markets are near totally repressed but workers and enterprises still have some incentives to improve productivity.
  3. The complete lunacy that is Maoist economics, with no markets or incentives. You had a statistically bigger chance of dying on your job than getting a transfer.

Likewise these systems differ quite cardinally in the sorts of economic outcomes/per capita output levels they can achieve relative to a free market theoretical maximum.

  1. Probably 80%+. Any differences/problems will only emerge once you start moving into the highest tiers.
  2. Likely no more than 50%, at least beyond the heavy industrialization stage of development. With some help from high oil prices, the USSR reached ~40% of US GDP per capita in the 1970s (or 50% of that of the advanced West European economies), then remained at basically that same relative level until it collapsed. North Korea maintained GDP per capita (PPP) parity with South Korea until the 1970s, then flatlined, and is today no more prosperous than it was 40 years ago. East Germany was at 50% of Western Germany. Hungary did untypically well, but then again, its “goulash communism” was closer to (1); this I suspect is the main reason its post-Communist performance has been fairly unimpressive compared to Poland or Czechia, it having less of a “gap” to close relative to what it “should have been” in the first place.
  3. Maybe 20%.

In regards to India’s underdevelopment:

The Licence Raj didn’t help – according to the above schema, India would have been somewhere between (1) and (2) – but that couldn’t have been the main source of India’s development problems. Note that the USSR, North Korea, to some extent even Maoist China, they all managed to achieve basic heavy industrialization under systems far more market suppressive than the License Raj. Surely the main thing holding India back would have been its low level of social, especially human capital (low literacy rates, ~low 80s average IQ), development. Human capital >> institutions so far as economic growth is concerned in almost all cases.

Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

 
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  1. E. Harding says: • Website

    It seems North Korea grew faster than the South in the 1950s and started falling behind by the early 1960s. The South likely surpassed it by the early 1970s.

    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/nk-uploads/dprk-economic-performance.pdf

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  2. […] link and this and the above paragraph have been added. It is only being published today due to A. Karlin’s response to R. Khan‘s brief post on […]

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  3. Glossy says: • Website

    Ceteris paribus, the more market-oriented an economy is, the more economic activity it will produce. But will this additional economic activity improve the standard of living of the population? There are whole industries in capitalist countries which decrease the standard of living of most people – advertising annoys them, the financial sector fleeces them, the gambling industry tries to get them addicted. These industries were absent in the post-WWII USSR. If you wish the citizenry well, you will want to do without certain kinds of economic activity. Not everything that adds to the GDP is good.

    Even if we compare the US to Europe, we will see the same effect. The US healthcare, pension, higher education and transportation systems are more market-oriented than European ones. And they produce more economic activity. But do they produce more customer satisfaction? I don’t think so. There’s more money swirling around US healthcare than Euro healthcare, but the number of healthy years per person isn’t higher, even if we control for race.

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  4. Glossy says: • Website

    If the US economy gets even more market-oriented, even more laissez-faire, it will throw up even more recorded economic activity. If hard drugs are legalized, the recorded GDP will jump by a very large amount overnight. The economy will record the best year of growth ever. If the prohibition on buying and selling human chattel is removed, a whole new segment of the economy will open up. If the privatization of the prison system is accelerated, if municipal police forces are privatized, there will be more economic activity. Would private police forces be better than current ones? Depends on who’s running and staffing them. HBD. But if we control for that? No.

    Read More
    • Agree: Ron Unz
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You're ignoring trade-offs. Drug legalization and slavery could lead to lower GDP if as a result lots of people become incapacitated and less capital is used with slave labor.
    , @whahae
    European Union gdp date actually contains underground economy activity since about last year.
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  5. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Glossy
    If the US economy gets even more market-oriented, even more laissez-faire, it will throw up even more recorded economic activity. If hard drugs are legalized, the recorded GDP will jump by a very large amount overnight. The economy will record the best year of growth ever. If the prohibition on buying and selling human chattel is removed, a whole new segment of the economy will open up. If the privatization of the prison system is accelerated, if municipal police forces are privatized, there will be more economic activity. Would private police forces be better than current ones? Depends on who's running and staffing them. HBD. But if we control for that? No.

    You’re ignoring trade-offs. Drug legalization and slavery could lead to lower GDP if as a result lots of people become incapacitated and less capital is used with slave labor.

    Read More
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  6. Glossy says: • Website

    I haven’t read the Black Book of Communism, but I can easily imagine what’s in it. The Old Bolsheviks were scum. They were up there with Ghinghis Khan, Hitler and the neocons. Millions of corpses. The pre-WWII USSR was very bad.

    The post-WWII USSR was the opposite of that. Only a liar or an ignoramus can hate both or love both. An honest, informed person would have to like one and hate the other. Because, as I’ve already said, they were opposites.

    I’m not nearly as informed about China. On the one hand the Mao period wasn’t economically successful. On the other hand China retained its independence during it. That’s very important. As Peter Frost has been documenting, South Koreans are now being replaced with foreigners. Why? Because they did not retain their independence. A KMT-run China would have been vulnerable to that.

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  7. whahae says:
    @Glossy
    If the US economy gets even more market-oriented, even more laissez-faire, it will throw up even more recorded economic activity. If hard drugs are legalized, the recorded GDP will jump by a very large amount overnight. The economy will record the best year of growth ever. If the prohibition on buying and selling human chattel is removed, a whole new segment of the economy will open up. If the privatization of the prison system is accelerated, if municipal police forces are privatized, there will be more economic activity. Would private police forces be better than current ones? Depends on who's running and staffing them. HBD. But if we control for that? No.

    European Union gdp date actually contains underground economy activity since about last year.

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  8. Ron Unz says:

    I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    That’s fascinating to hear. It’s sitting right on one of my shelves, all 800 pages. I’ve never actually looked at it, but based on all the glowing reviews and references, I’d always assumed it was excellent and totally accurate. Could you be more specific about its flaws?

    Read More
    • Replies: @ion
    Before Anatoly replies, you can look up the 1-star reviews of that work on Amazon. A few of them are very detailed.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Full disclaimer: I haven't read this 800 page book. Nor do I plan to. Because in short, everything I've read and heard about it indicates it is primarily a work of ideology, not of history - and you might as well read Solzhenitsyn for that, since he at least is recognized as a great writer.

    But Solzhenitsyn's figures were at least excused on his lack of access to archival data, not to mention his own perfectly understandable personal antipathy to Communist regimes. Ergo for Cold War historians like Robert Conquest.

    But the Black Book was written in 1997, by which time the Soviet archives were fully open, and one could see that a figure of 20 million Soviet deaths due to "communism" are utterly out of sync with reality. (I will focus on the USSR since I am most familiar with it, but I am given to understand that the work on China is even shoddier, while the work on Latin America is even more purely ideological).

    You had 1.1mn deaths in the Gulag since its founding in 1930. But first, it was a prison system for conventional criminals, people like murderers and thieves who would be in prison under any functioning regime; not just dissidents! "Politicals" over all years averaged around 30% of the Gulag population. Second, of those deaths, more than half occured during WW2, when the country was under great stress (millions of Soviet citizens died of malnutrition in the rear). Take out the war, and annual Gulag mortality was at 3.2% - and that includes the years of the 1933-1934 famines. Very bad, but not sure all that strange in what was still essentially a Third World country with a vast prison population in inhospitable areas. Mortality fell below 1% by the 1950s. All these factors considered, is it really legitimate to take even the 1.1mn figure at face value? But okay, let's do so.

    Executed? A million give or take. 650,000 during the Great Purge (of which the Anti-Kulak Operation accounted for the majority); around 800,000 during the Stalinist period as a whole. Round up to a million to account for unrecorded executions (though the Soviets were nothing if not meticulous in this regard).

    That's not a lot more than 2 million.

    Then you of course have the famines to consider. From just a simple demographic extrapolation of Russian and Ukrainian excess mortality in 1932-34, you have around 5mn excess deaths during the Great Famine (split about equally). Add perhaps one million from the rest of the USSR. 6mn. Some historians argue that the Ukrainian part (Holomor) was genocidal, others disagree. It's very politicized. Even if we accept the Holodomor as genocide claim, that's still ~5 million in total.

    And pretty much tallies with Timothy Snyder, a highly anti-Soviet historian who has also taken a prominent and highly hostile stance against Putin, but who dismisses these figures.

    The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources.
     
    Now you can keep on counting other famine deaths - including the 1921 one - and with some generous inflating, I can just about see how you could end up with 20 million.

    But by then we'd be simply moving into the realm of rhetoric and leaving ample scope for "whataboutist" rejoinders.

    Conservative anti-Communist types - including McCarthy sympathizers and even outright fascist sumpathizers - will claim on the basis of this 20 million figure or Rummel's 62 million that Communism was far worse than Nazism. If deaths due to political systems are the criterion, why then not indict "capitalism" for the Irish Famine, and hundreds of millions of other deaths? Some have. The pro-Stalinist types and even mere skeptics will create the "Billion shot personally by Stalin" meme to make fun of this and in some cases to signal their pro-Stalinism to each other. This was particularly popular in 2000s Russia because certain segments of society, having gained access to the Internet, started to react against the "blackwashing" of Stalin under the 1990s Yeltsin regime.

    None of the above can be considered healthy intellectual pursuits.

    Though, and as a final word, I doubt the Black Book was ever about that in the first place. Its lead author Stephane Courtois is a French neocon of the BHL/Glucksmann, invite/invade the world variety... who, to put the cherry on the pie, was a Maoist and Far Left activist in his youth. So predictable.

    Incidentally, while writing this I also came across the fact that Nicholas Werth, the author of the USSR section, is the son of Alexander Werth, whose book Moscow War Diary I reviewed positively a few years back. I also learned that he and another coauthor went as far as to publicly disassociate themselves from Courtois' "editorial conclusions" in the introduction to the Black Book.
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  9. ion says:
    @Ron Unz

    I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.
     
    That's fascinating to hear. It's sitting right on one of my shelves, all 800 pages. I've never actually looked at it, but based on all the glowing reviews and references, I'd always assumed it was excellent and totally accurate. Could you be more specific about its flaws?

    Before Anatoly replies, you can look up the 1-star reviews of that work on Amazon. A few of them are very detailed.

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  10. keypusher says:

    Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    Is there any comparable book you feel more positively about (honestly, I have no idea if such a book exists)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    To be quite honest, this sort of history doesn't interest me much. I am more into economic and military history.

    These two papers would be a good start:

    http://www.cercec.fr/materiaux/doc_membres/Gabor%20RITTERSPORN/Victims%20of%20the%20Gulag.pdf

    http://sovietinfo.tripod.com/ELM-Repression_Statistics.pdf
    , @Ananias Dare

    Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    Is there any comparable book you feel more positively about (honestly, I have no idea if such a book exists)?
     
    I don't know about a book for the communist world as a whole (a very big subject), but Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands is a good source for conservative numbers on people killed under Stalin:

    http://www.amazon.com/Bloodlands-Europe-Between-Hitler-Stalin/dp/0465031471

    Here's his take on the Stalin period as a whole:

    All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million
     
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

    Breaking down Stalin's death-toll of 6-9 million deaths, we get things like:

    1932-33 Famine: 6-7 million deaths in the USSR as a whole, with approx 3 million of those deaths taking place in Ukraine.Stalin's Collectivization/de-Kulakization program was a key factor in causing the famine, and, once it broke out, Stalin made sure that Ukraine took the brunt of it:

    Stalin requisitioned grain in Soviet Ukraine knowing that such a policy would kill millions. Blaming Ukrainians for the failure of his own policy, he ordered a series of measures—such as sealing the borders of that Soviet republic—that ensured mass death.
     
    Great Terror (1937-38): 682,691 (the official figure). 386,798 of these were killed as part of the "Kulak Operation." The remaining 247,157 were mostly ethnic minorities. Cf, for example, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were shot as part of the "Polish Action."

    Gulag deaths: The official figure for 1934-53 (we don't have records for 1929-33) is 1,053,829 deaths. Most experts agree that the 1,053,829 figure for 1934-53 is an undercount. For example, it doesn't count people who died within days of being released, etc. Adding those types of deaths to the unrecorded years 1929-33, gives us higher estimates.The most popular conservative estimate for GULAG deaths, 1929-53, is 1.6 million.

    Ethnic Cleansing operations during WW2 (Chechens, etc): 231,000 deaths

    Operations in Poland: Katyn Massacre (21,892 shot), plus a smaller massacre of Poles shot in June of 1941 ( 9,817 )

    There are also other things that could be added to Stalin's ledger, depending on one's POV. For example, Richard Overy, in Russia's War, notes that Stalin had 158,000 soldiers executed for things like "cowardice" and "desertion."By way of contrast, the USA executed only one man for desertion in WW2:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Slovik
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  11. @Ron Unz

    I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.
     
    That's fascinating to hear. It's sitting right on one of my shelves, all 800 pages. I've never actually looked at it, but based on all the glowing reviews and references, I'd always assumed it was excellent and totally accurate. Could you be more specific about its flaws?

    Full disclaimer: I haven’t read this 800 page book. Nor do I plan to. Because in short, everything I’ve read and heard about it indicates it is primarily a work of ideology, not of history – and you might as well read Solzhenitsyn for that, since he at least is recognized as a great writer.

    But Solzhenitsyn’s figures were at least excused on his lack of access to archival data, not to mention his own perfectly understandable personal antipathy to Communist regimes. Ergo for Cold War historians like Robert Conquest.

    But the Black Book was written in 1997, by which time the Soviet archives were fully open, and one could see that a figure of 20 million Soviet deaths due to “communism” are utterly out of sync with reality. (I will focus on the USSR since I am most familiar with it, but I am given to understand that the work on China is even shoddier, while the work on Latin America is even more purely ideological).

    You had 1.1mn deaths in the Gulag since its founding in 1930. But first, it was a prison system for conventional criminals, people like murderers and thieves who would be in prison under any functioning regime; not just dissidents! “Politicals” over all years averaged around 30% of the Gulag population. Second, of those deaths, more than half occured during WW2, when the country was under great stress (millions of Soviet citizens died of malnutrition in the rear). Take out the war, and annual Gulag mortality was at 3.2% – and that includes the years of the 1933-1934 famines. Very bad, but not sure all that strange in what was still essentially a Third World country with a vast prison population in inhospitable areas. Mortality fell below 1% by the 1950s. All these factors considered, is it really legitimate to take even the 1.1mn figure at face value? But okay, let’s do so.

    Executed? A million give or take. 650,000 during the Great Purge (of which the Anti-Kulak Operation accounted for the majority); around 800,000 during the Stalinist period as a whole. Round up to a million to account for unrecorded executions (though the Soviets were nothing if not meticulous in this regard).

    That’s not a lot more than 2 million.

    Then you of course have the famines to consider. From just a simple demographic extrapolation of Russian and Ukrainian excess mortality in 1932-34, you have around 5mn excess deaths during the Great Famine (split about equally). Add perhaps one million from the rest of the USSR. 6mn. Some historians argue that the Ukrainian part (Holomor) was genocidal, others disagree. It’s very politicized. Even if we accept the Holodomor as genocide claim, that’s still ~5 million in total.

    And pretty much tallies with Timothy Snyder, a highly anti-Soviet historian who has also taken a prominent and highly hostile stance against Putin, but who dismisses these figures.

    The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources.

    Now you can keep on counting other famine deaths – including the 1921 one – and with some generous inflating, I can just about see how you could end up with 20 million.

    But by then we’d be simply moving into the realm of rhetoric and leaving ample scope for “whataboutist” rejoinders.

    Conservative anti-Communist types – including McCarthy sympathizers and even outright fascist sumpathizers – will claim on the basis of this 20 million figure or Rummel’s 62 million that Communism was far worse than Nazism. If deaths due to political systems are the criterion, why then not indict “capitalism” for the Irish Famine, and hundreds of millions of other deaths? Some have. The pro-Stalinist types and even mere skeptics will create the “Billion shot personally by Stalin” meme to make fun of this and in some cases to signal their pro-Stalinism to each other. This was particularly popular in 2000s Russia because certain segments of society, having gained access to the Internet, started to react against the “blackwashing” of Stalin under the 1990s Yeltsin regime.

    None of the above can be considered healthy intellectual pursuits.

    Though, and as a final word, I doubt the Black Book was ever about that in the first place. Its lead author Stephane Courtois is a French neocon of the BHL/Glucksmann, invite/invade the world variety… who, to put the cherry on the pie, was a Maoist and Far Left activist in his youth. So predictable.

    Incidentally, while writing this I also came across the fact that Nicholas Werth, the author of the USSR section, is the son of Alexander Werth, whose book Moscow War Diary I reviewed positively a few years back. I also learned that he and another coauthor went as far as to publicly disassociate themselves from Courtois’ “editorial conclusions” in the introduction to the Black Book.

    Read More
    • Agree: Glossy
    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    That's very interesting. As I said, I've never actually looked at the book, and the last time I really did any reading on Soviet history was probably the mid- to late 1980s, so I've certainly missed all these recent developments in the historical analysis.

    One thing I did notice was in quite a few of the recent MSM articles connected with Robert Conquest's death, there was somewhat vague mention or hints that the figures in his famous books were eventually found to be considerable overestimates, which certainly accords with your statements. Also, I think I've seen a few anonymous comments here and there saying the same thing, or perhaps arguing that if you add in all the killings of the pre-Stalin Bolsheviks, from the Revolution onward, you might get an overall total closer to the 20M figure that everyone always used to cite.

    This might once again demonstrate that anonymous comments are sometimes a much better source of information than major headlined articles in the NYT/WSJ..
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Alexander Werth, whose book Moscow War Diary
     
    His Russia At War 1941-45 still remains one of my favorite books on WW II despite some debatable points. This book could be a good primer for anyone in the West trying to get into the human aspect of that war on the Soviet/Russian side.
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  12. @keypusher
    Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    Is there any comparable book you feel more positively about (honestly, I have no idea if such a book exists)?

    To be quite honest, this sort of history doesn’t interest me much. I am more into economic and military history.

    These two papers would be a good start:

    http://www.cercec.fr/materiaux/doc_membres/Gabor%20RITTERSPORN/Victims%20of%20the%20Gulag.pdf

    http://sovietinfo.tripod.com/ELM-Repression_Statistics.pdf

    Read More
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  13. Ron Unz says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Full disclaimer: I haven't read this 800 page book. Nor do I plan to. Because in short, everything I've read and heard about it indicates it is primarily a work of ideology, not of history - and you might as well read Solzhenitsyn for that, since he at least is recognized as a great writer.

    But Solzhenitsyn's figures were at least excused on his lack of access to archival data, not to mention his own perfectly understandable personal antipathy to Communist regimes. Ergo for Cold War historians like Robert Conquest.

    But the Black Book was written in 1997, by which time the Soviet archives were fully open, and one could see that a figure of 20 million Soviet deaths due to "communism" are utterly out of sync with reality. (I will focus on the USSR since I am most familiar with it, but I am given to understand that the work on China is even shoddier, while the work on Latin America is even more purely ideological).

    You had 1.1mn deaths in the Gulag since its founding in 1930. But first, it was a prison system for conventional criminals, people like murderers and thieves who would be in prison under any functioning regime; not just dissidents! "Politicals" over all years averaged around 30% of the Gulag population. Second, of those deaths, more than half occured during WW2, when the country was under great stress (millions of Soviet citizens died of malnutrition in the rear). Take out the war, and annual Gulag mortality was at 3.2% - and that includes the years of the 1933-1934 famines. Very bad, but not sure all that strange in what was still essentially a Third World country with a vast prison population in inhospitable areas. Mortality fell below 1% by the 1950s. All these factors considered, is it really legitimate to take even the 1.1mn figure at face value? But okay, let's do so.

    Executed? A million give or take. 650,000 during the Great Purge (of which the Anti-Kulak Operation accounted for the majority); around 800,000 during the Stalinist period as a whole. Round up to a million to account for unrecorded executions (though the Soviets were nothing if not meticulous in this regard).

    That's not a lot more than 2 million.

    Then you of course have the famines to consider. From just a simple demographic extrapolation of Russian and Ukrainian excess mortality in 1932-34, you have around 5mn excess deaths during the Great Famine (split about equally). Add perhaps one million from the rest of the USSR. 6mn. Some historians argue that the Ukrainian part (Holomor) was genocidal, others disagree. It's very politicized. Even if we accept the Holodomor as genocide claim, that's still ~5 million in total.

    And pretty much tallies with Timothy Snyder, a highly anti-Soviet historian who has also taken a prominent and highly hostile stance against Putin, but who dismisses these figures.

    The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources.
     
    Now you can keep on counting other famine deaths - including the 1921 one - and with some generous inflating, I can just about see how you could end up with 20 million.

    But by then we'd be simply moving into the realm of rhetoric and leaving ample scope for "whataboutist" rejoinders.

    Conservative anti-Communist types - including McCarthy sympathizers and even outright fascist sumpathizers - will claim on the basis of this 20 million figure or Rummel's 62 million that Communism was far worse than Nazism. If deaths due to political systems are the criterion, why then not indict "capitalism" for the Irish Famine, and hundreds of millions of other deaths? Some have. The pro-Stalinist types and even mere skeptics will create the "Billion shot personally by Stalin" meme to make fun of this and in some cases to signal their pro-Stalinism to each other. This was particularly popular in 2000s Russia because certain segments of society, having gained access to the Internet, started to react against the "blackwashing" of Stalin under the 1990s Yeltsin regime.

    None of the above can be considered healthy intellectual pursuits.

    Though, and as a final word, I doubt the Black Book was ever about that in the first place. Its lead author Stephane Courtois is a French neocon of the BHL/Glucksmann, invite/invade the world variety... who, to put the cherry on the pie, was a Maoist and Far Left activist in his youth. So predictable.

    Incidentally, while writing this I also came across the fact that Nicholas Werth, the author of the USSR section, is the son of Alexander Werth, whose book Moscow War Diary I reviewed positively a few years back. I also learned that he and another coauthor went as far as to publicly disassociate themselves from Courtois' "editorial conclusions" in the introduction to the Black Book.

    That’s very interesting. As I said, I’ve never actually looked at the book, and the last time I really did any reading on Soviet history was probably the mid- to late 1980s, so I’ve certainly missed all these recent developments in the historical analysis.

    One thing I did notice was in quite a few of the recent MSM articles connected with Robert Conquest’s death, there was somewhat vague mention or hints that the figures in his famous books were eventually found to be considerable overestimates, which certainly accords with your statements. Also, I think I’ve seen a few anonymous comments here and there saying the same thing, or perhaps arguing that if you add in all the killings of the pre-Stalin Bolsheviks, from the Revolution onward, you might get an overall total closer to the 20M figure that everyone always used to cite.

    This might once again demonstrate that anonymous comments are sometimes a much better source of information than major headlined articles in the NYT/WSJ..

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I can personally see no reason why pre-Stalin deaths should be excluded. Stalin was more or less a Leninist, his only innovation over Leninism was the Great Terror which was only a minor (but very visible and also important because it killed elites) part of his mass murder. There is no indication Stalin ever disagreed with or found excessive the Cheka terror, for example.

    The 1921 famine was political in two ways. First, it was caused by the idiotic continuation of War Communism even after the regime won the civil war. (It wasn't intended to cause a famine, but it did.) Second, it was also deliberate in some parts of the country, when the Politburo noticed that famine-stricken regions stopped revolting (much of the countryside was in a state of revolt by 1921, the so-called "greens", or badly organized peasant rebels, as opposed to reds or whites), so they ordered all wheat to be taken from villages in areas which were more or less controlled by the rebels. (The central government could always create local superiority in any given village, and while the rebels went hiding, the wheat was kept in the village, so could be taken away.) The 5 million or so deaths should be compared to deaths in the previous large famine, in the 1890s: a few hundred thousands (certainly less than a million) died. Same thing for the 1933-34 famine, which also killed roughly 5 million people. Even if it was not deliberate mass murder, it was caused by collectivization, especially because far as I know there was no large drought at the time. (In Czarist Russia famines were caused by prolonged, multi-year droughts only, because the soil was so good that it produced enough excess in a good year for a few bad years. Of course, there were a lot of bad years, but one bad year shouldn't have caused a famine, because the peasants stored the surplus.) If Czarist Russia in the late 19th century didn't have such a large famine, then of course the huge Soviet famines should be considered a result of communism, even if not deliberate. (At least in 1921 in some regions it was at least partly deliberate. And then there's the ethnic angle, in 1921 Tatars and in 1933-34 Ukrainians were disproportionately affected, but that of course doesn't necessarily prove intent.)

    Separating Stalin's mass murder from earlier (Leninist) mass murder is as if Hitler had died in 1942 and Germany under Göring would have continued exactly as Hitler did, than somehow we'd split the number of people killed by the Nazis. That just wouldn't make much sense.

    As far as I know (and I did read the whole book), the Black Book's most chapters are quite reliable, and contain very little ideology, they are more descriptive. Perhaps the African parts are stupid (in Africa people mass murdered each other regardless of ideology), even if factually correct.
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  14. Numinous says:

    Surely the main thing holding India back would have been its low level of social, especially human capital (low literacy rates, ~low 80s average IQ), development. Human capital >> institutions so far as economic growth is concerned in almost all cases.

    Undoubtedly, human capital is a big factor in development, or the lack of it. But we can quibble over the reasons for low human capital in a country. It doesn’t have to be all genetics; in India’s case, official and elite apathy towards broad-based human development (which gets reflected in governmental policy) must be considered to be a key factor. In other words, “human capital” and “institutions” are not independent as you seem to imply (apologies if you didn’t mean to imply that). Good institutions can significantly enhance human capital; haven’t we seen that narrative being played out in every developed country over the past few centuries?

    Another notable attribute of the Indian political system from independence to the present time is its intricate system of checks and balances, comparable only to the United States in my opinion. Much of the time the US government accomplishes virtually nothing, just like the Indian government. At certain key moments in history, the US bureaucracy was transformed by strong executive will, overriding the checks and balances, which explains the pockets of efficiency. In India, such moments of transformation have been even fewer (but then we are comparing a 68-year old system to a 230-year old system). But even if we disregard the comparison between the workings of the two governments, why is the US so much more developed than India? I would say it’s because the free market ethos has always been strong in the former country. Industrialization and commerce was largely left to the more efficient private sector from day one; in India, industrialization was deemed too important to leave to the private sector alone (there were private industrialists like Tata and Birla). Is it any surprise that heavy industrial development in India has lagged behind? The American system had the advantage of the private sector predomination, whereas the communist countries had the advantage of not being hamstring by checks and balances. It seems to me that Razib’s on the money here.

    Read More
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  15. @keypusher
    Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    Is there any comparable book you feel more positively about (honestly, I have no idea if such a book exists)?

    Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    Is there any comparable book you feel more positively about (honestly, I have no idea if such a book exists)?

    I don’t know about a book for the communist world as a whole (a very big subject), but Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands is a good source for conservative numbers on people killed under Stalin:

    http://www.amazon.com/Bloodlands-Europe-Between-Hitler-Stalin/dp/0465031471

    Here’s his take on the Stalin period as a whole:

    All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

    Breaking down Stalin’s death-toll of 6-9 million deaths, we get things like:

    1932-33 Famine: 6-7 million deaths in the USSR as a whole, with approx 3 million of those deaths taking place in Ukraine.Stalin’s Collectivization/de-Kulakization program was a key factor in causing the famine, and, once it broke out, Stalin made sure that Ukraine took the brunt of it:

    Stalin requisitioned grain in Soviet Ukraine knowing that such a policy would kill millions. Blaming Ukrainians for the failure of his own policy, he ordered a series of measures—such as sealing the borders of that Soviet republic—that ensured mass death.

    Great Terror (1937-38): 682,691 (the official figure). 386,798 of these were killed as part of the “Kulak Operation.” The remaining 247,157 were mostly ethnic minorities. Cf, for example, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were shot as part of the “Polish Action.”

    Gulag deaths: The official figure for 1934-53 (we don’t have records for 1929-33) is 1,053,829 deaths. Most experts agree that the 1,053,829 figure for 1934-53 is an undercount. For example, it doesn’t count people who died within days of being released, etc. Adding those types of deaths to the unrecorded years 1929-33, gives us higher estimates.The most popular conservative estimate for GULAG deaths, 1929-53, is 1.6 million.

    Ethnic Cleansing operations during WW2 (Chechens, etc): 231,000 deaths

    Operations in Poland: Katyn Massacre (21,892 shot), plus a smaller massacre of Poles shot in June of 1941 ( 9,817 )

    There are also other things that could be added to Stalin’s ledger, depending on one’s POV. For example, Richard Overy, in Russia’s War, notes that Stalin had 158,000 soldiers executed for things like “cowardice” and “desertion.”By way of contrast, the USA executed only one man for desertion in WW2:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Slovik

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    A lot of modern denunciations of the USSR come from the neocons. Anatoly just mentioned some neocon connections of the authors of the Black Book of Communism. That's typical.

    The neocons intellectually (and in some cases physically) descend from Trotskyists.

    The bulk of the Communist death toll in Russia was amassed during the Civil War and the Great Famine. Trotsky founded the Red Army and commanded it during the Civil War. The Great Famine was caused by the collectivisation campaign. Trotsky denounced Stalin for not collectivizing enough, for being too lenient to kulaks during the collectivisation campaign (calling him their ally) and for not bringing the army into the operation.

    So there is a great deal of hypocrisy in neocon denunciations of the Soviet Union.
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  16. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    Finally: I am not a fan of Communism in general but The Black Book of Communism is complete ahistorical propaganda dreck.

    Is there any comparable book you feel more positively about (honestly, I have no idea if such a book exists)?
     
    I don't know about a book for the communist world as a whole (a very big subject), but Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands is a good source for conservative numbers on people killed under Stalin:

    http://www.amazon.com/Bloodlands-Europe-Between-Hitler-Stalin/dp/0465031471

    Here's his take on the Stalin period as a whole:

    All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million
     
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/mar/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/

    Breaking down Stalin's death-toll of 6-9 million deaths, we get things like:

    1932-33 Famine: 6-7 million deaths in the USSR as a whole, with approx 3 million of those deaths taking place in Ukraine.Stalin's Collectivization/de-Kulakization program was a key factor in causing the famine, and, once it broke out, Stalin made sure that Ukraine took the brunt of it:

    Stalin requisitioned grain in Soviet Ukraine knowing that such a policy would kill millions. Blaming Ukrainians for the failure of his own policy, he ordered a series of measures—such as sealing the borders of that Soviet republic—that ensured mass death.
     
    Great Terror (1937-38): 682,691 (the official figure). 386,798 of these were killed as part of the "Kulak Operation." The remaining 247,157 were mostly ethnic minorities. Cf, for example, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were shot as part of the "Polish Action."

    Gulag deaths: The official figure for 1934-53 (we don't have records for 1929-33) is 1,053,829 deaths. Most experts agree that the 1,053,829 figure for 1934-53 is an undercount. For example, it doesn't count people who died within days of being released, etc. Adding those types of deaths to the unrecorded years 1929-33, gives us higher estimates.The most popular conservative estimate for GULAG deaths, 1929-53, is 1.6 million.

    Ethnic Cleansing operations during WW2 (Chechens, etc): 231,000 deaths

    Operations in Poland: Katyn Massacre (21,892 shot), plus a smaller massacre of Poles shot in June of 1941 ( 9,817 )

    There are also other things that could be added to Stalin's ledger, depending on one's POV. For example, Richard Overy, in Russia's War, notes that Stalin had 158,000 soldiers executed for things like "cowardice" and "desertion."By way of contrast, the USA executed only one man for desertion in WW2:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Slovik

    A lot of modern denunciations of the USSR come from the neocons. Anatoly just mentioned some neocon connections of the authors of the Black Book of Communism. That’s typical.

    The neocons intellectually (and in some cases physically) descend from Trotskyists.

    The bulk of the Communist death toll in Russia was amassed during the Civil War and the Great Famine. Trotsky founded the Red Army and commanded it during the Civil War. The Great Famine was caused by the collectivisation campaign. Trotsky denounced Stalin for not collectivizing enough, for being too lenient to kulaks during the collectivisation campaign (calling him their ally) and for not bringing the army into the operation.

    So there is a great deal of hypocrisy in neocon denunciations of the Soviet Union.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    A lot of modern denunciations of the USSR come from the neocons.
     
    Sure, but I'm not discussing neocons.I'm discussing Stalin's death-toll, 1929-53.Snyder is hostile towards the USSR, but he doesn't use inflated numbers, and his estimates are quite conservative.
    , @Glossy
    Just to expand a little on neocon hypocrisy:

    Trotsky's criticism of Stalin was that he wasn't Communist enough. That he was too lenient during the collectivisation campaign, that he abandoned the idea of worldwide revolution, etc. Trotsky's main charge was that Stalin was a rightist who hi-jacked the revolution. I think this is objectively true. In exile Trotsky called his movement the left opposition. To what? To Stalinism.

    This is where the hypocrisy comes in. A movement founded to oppose the USSR for not being Communist enough denounces Communist crimes and calls itself conservative. Without having changed its fundamental worldview. They still want worldwide revolution, for example. Color revs are worldwide revolution. And they're still leftist.
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  17. @Glossy
    A lot of modern denunciations of the USSR come from the neocons. Anatoly just mentioned some neocon connections of the authors of the Black Book of Communism. That's typical.

    The neocons intellectually (and in some cases physically) descend from Trotskyists.

    The bulk of the Communist death toll in Russia was amassed during the Civil War and the Great Famine. Trotsky founded the Red Army and commanded it during the Civil War. The Great Famine was caused by the collectivisation campaign. Trotsky denounced Stalin for not collectivizing enough, for being too lenient to kulaks during the collectivisation campaign (calling him their ally) and for not bringing the army into the operation.

    So there is a great deal of hypocrisy in neocon denunciations of the Soviet Union.

    A lot of modern denunciations of the USSR come from the neocons.

    Sure, but I’m not discussing neocons.I’m discussing Stalin’s death-toll, 1929-53.Snyder is hostile towards the USSR, but he doesn’t use inflated numbers, and his estimates are quite conservative.

    Read More
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  18. Glossy says: • Website
    @Glossy
    A lot of modern denunciations of the USSR come from the neocons. Anatoly just mentioned some neocon connections of the authors of the Black Book of Communism. That's typical.

    The neocons intellectually (and in some cases physically) descend from Trotskyists.

    The bulk of the Communist death toll in Russia was amassed during the Civil War and the Great Famine. Trotsky founded the Red Army and commanded it during the Civil War. The Great Famine was caused by the collectivisation campaign. Trotsky denounced Stalin for not collectivizing enough, for being too lenient to kulaks during the collectivisation campaign (calling him their ally) and for not bringing the army into the operation.

    So there is a great deal of hypocrisy in neocon denunciations of the Soviet Union.

    Just to expand a little on neocon hypocrisy:

    Trotsky’s criticism of Stalin was that he wasn’t Communist enough. That he was too lenient during the collectivisation campaign, that he abandoned the idea of worldwide revolution, etc. Trotsky’s main charge was that Stalin was a rightist who hi-jacked the revolution. I think this is objectively true. In exile Trotsky called his movement the left opposition. To what? To Stalinism.

    This is where the hypocrisy comes in. A movement founded to oppose the USSR for not being Communist enough denounces Communist crimes and calls itself conservative. Without having changed its fundamental worldview. They still want worldwide revolution, for example. Color revs are worldwide revolution. And they’re still leftist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    To illustrate the "they're still leftist" point:

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.

    When the second, conservative USSR was abolished in 1991, homosexuality was legalized again. The 1990s in Russia were like the early Communist period in many, many ways. As Putin turned right in the new millenium, the official attitude changed again, though slightly.

    The current neocon criticism of Putin on that score is leftist. They would like Russia to become more gay-friendly.

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it's a convenient marker.
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  19. Glossy says: • Website
    @Glossy
    Just to expand a little on neocon hypocrisy:

    Trotsky's criticism of Stalin was that he wasn't Communist enough. That he was too lenient during the collectivisation campaign, that he abandoned the idea of worldwide revolution, etc. Trotsky's main charge was that Stalin was a rightist who hi-jacked the revolution. I think this is objectively true. In exile Trotsky called his movement the left opposition. To what? To Stalinism.

    This is where the hypocrisy comes in. A movement founded to oppose the USSR for not being Communist enough denounces Communist crimes and calls itself conservative. Without having changed its fundamental worldview. They still want worldwide revolution, for example. Color revs are worldwide revolution. And they're still leftist.

    To illustrate the “they’re still leftist” point:

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.

    When the second, conservative USSR was abolished in 1991, homosexuality was legalized again. The 1990s in Russia were like the early Communist period in many, many ways. As Putin turned right in the new millenium, the official attitude changed again, though slightly.

    The current neocon criticism of Putin on that score is leftist. They would like Russia to become more gay-friendly.

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it’s a convenient marker.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it’s a convenient marker.
     
    Given that "marker," where does Iran fit? They are very tolerant of transgenderism:

    Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the issue of transsexuality in Iran had never been officially addressed by the government. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, transsexual individuals were officially recognized by the government and allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery. As of 2008, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand. The government provides up to half the cost for those needing financial assistance, and a sex change is recognised on the birth certificate
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexuality_in_Iran

    Are they Left or Right?
    , @Ananias Dare

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.
     
    Does this mean that the Great Terror of 1937-38 ( 682,691 official deaths) should count as a Right Wing/Fascist massacre? I mean, that's what Marxist true-believers like to say....
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  20. @Glossy
    To illustrate the "they're still leftist" point:

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.

    When the second, conservative USSR was abolished in 1991, homosexuality was legalized again. The 1990s in Russia were like the early Communist period in many, many ways. As Putin turned right in the new millenium, the official attitude changed again, though slightly.

    The current neocon criticism of Putin on that score is leftist. They would like Russia to become more gay-friendly.

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it's a convenient marker.

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it’s a convenient marker.

    Given that “marker,” where does Iran fit? They are very tolerant of transgenderism:

    Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the issue of transsexuality in Iran had never been officially addressed by the government. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, transsexual individuals were officially recognized by the government and allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery. As of 2008, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand. The government provides up to half the cost for those needing financial assistance, and a sex change is recognised on the birth certificate

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexuality_in_Iran

    Are they Left or Right?

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    They are ''tolerant'' of trannies only in the sense that they demand homos become them. If you knew that, your comment was consciously misleading.
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  21. @Glossy
    To illustrate the "they're still leftist" point:

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.

    When the second, conservative USSR was abolished in 1991, homosexuality was legalized again. The 1990s in Russia were like the early Communist period in many, many ways. As Putin turned right in the new millenium, the official attitude changed again, though slightly.

    The current neocon criticism of Putin on that score is leftist. They would like Russia to become more gay-friendly.

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it's a convenient marker.

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.

    Does this mean that the Great Terror of 1937-38 ( 682,691 official deaths) should count as a Right Wing/Fascist massacre? I mean, that’s what Marxist true-believers like to say….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The Old Bolsheviks whom Stalin killed in 1937-1938 were very violent people. I don't know if you're using the word massacre neutrally or to indicate that you sympathize with their plight.

    I'm not a pacifist. They killed a lot of people and they were then killed. And the country became less violent as a direct result. I'm not going to shed any tears for them.

    And yes, I think that the left-right dichotomy applies to that conflict.
    , @Glossy
    You can think of it this way: the revolution did not end until the revolutionaries were killed.
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  22. 5371 says:
    @Ananias Dare

    This left-right see-saw can be illustrated with many other issues besides homosexuality by the way. But it’s a convenient marker.
     
    Given that "marker," where does Iran fit? They are very tolerant of transgenderism:

    Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the issue of transsexuality in Iran had never been officially addressed by the government. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, transsexual individuals were officially recognized by the government and allowed to undergo sex reassignment surgery. As of 2008, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand. The government provides up to half the cost for those needing financial assistance, and a sex change is recognised on the birth certificate
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexuality_in_Iran

    Are they Left or Right?

    They are ”tolerant” of trannies only in the sense that they demand homos become them. If you knew that, your comment was consciously misleading.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    They are ”tolerant” of trannies only in the sense that they demand homos become them. If you knew that, your comment was consciously misleading.
     
    No, I'm well aware that homosexuality is proscribed in Iran. But, in terms of Glossy's Left vs Right divide on sexuality, where does that put the Iranians? Homosexuality is illegal but transgenderism is religiously sanctioned .

    Is the Islamic Republic of Iran Left or Right?

    It's a knotty issue....
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  23. @5371
    They are ''tolerant'' of trannies only in the sense that they demand homos become them. If you knew that, your comment was consciously misleading.

    They are ”tolerant” of trannies only in the sense that they demand homos become them. If you knew that, your comment was consciously misleading.

    No, I’m well aware that homosexuality is proscribed in Iran. But, in terms of Glossy’s Left vs Right divide on sexuality, where does that put the Iranians? Homosexuality is illegal but transgenderism is religiously sanctioned .

    Is the Islamic Republic of Iran Left or Right?

    It’s a knotty issue….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It's nutty to label this issue knotty.
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  24. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.
     
    Does this mean that the Great Terror of 1937-38 ( 682,691 official deaths) should count as a Right Wing/Fascist massacre? I mean, that's what Marxist true-believers like to say....

    The Old Bolsheviks whom Stalin killed in 1937-1938 were very violent people. I don’t know if you’re using the word massacre neutrally or to indicate that you sympathize with their plight.

    I’m not a pacifist. They killed a lot of people and they were then killed. And the country became less violent as a direct result. I’m not going to shed any tears for them.

    And yes, I think that the left-right dichotomy applies to that conflict.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    The Old Bolsheviks whom Stalin killed in 1937-1938 were very violent people. I don’t know if you’re using the word massacre neutrally or to indicate that you sympathize with their plight.
     
    The vast majority of the people that Stalin killed in 1937-38 were not Old Bolsheviks. 682,691 were officially executed. 386,798 of those deaths were part of the "Kulak operation," mostly relatively prosperous farmers who had managed to survive both the brutal de-Kulakization campaign of the early '30s and the Ukraine Terror Famine.

    The remaining 247,157 deaths mostly consisted of ethnic minorities. Cf, for example, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were shot as part of the “Polish Action.”

    And yes, I think that the left-right dichotomy applies to that conflict.
     
    So, you are stating that the Marxist hardliners are right, and that the Kulaks and ethnic minorities who were killed in 1937-38 are not the fault of the Left?
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  25. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    They are ”tolerant” of trannies only in the sense that they demand homos become them. If you knew that, your comment was consciously misleading.
     
    No, I'm well aware that homosexuality is proscribed in Iran. But, in terms of Glossy's Left vs Right divide on sexuality, where does that put the Iranians? Homosexuality is illegal but transgenderism is religiously sanctioned .

    Is the Islamic Republic of Iran Left or Right?

    It's a knotty issue....

    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It’s nutty to label this issue knotty.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It’s nutty to label this issue knotty.
     
    So, supporting transgender rights is right-wing?
    , @Ananias Dare

    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It’s nutty to label this issue knotty.
     
    So, then, by your definition, supporting transgender rights is right-wing?
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  26. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 they legalized homosexuality. As Stalin turned right in 1933 he banned it.
     
    Does this mean that the Great Terror of 1937-38 ( 682,691 official deaths) should count as a Right Wing/Fascist massacre? I mean, that's what Marxist true-believers like to say....

    You can think of it this way: the revolution did not end until the revolutionaries were killed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    You can think of it this way: the revolution did not end until the revolutionaries were killed.
     
    Then the Kulaks and ethnic minorities were collateral damage?
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  27. @Glossy
    The Old Bolsheviks whom Stalin killed in 1937-1938 were very violent people. I don't know if you're using the word massacre neutrally or to indicate that you sympathize with their plight.

    I'm not a pacifist. They killed a lot of people and they were then killed. And the country became less violent as a direct result. I'm not going to shed any tears for them.

    And yes, I think that the left-right dichotomy applies to that conflict.

    The Old Bolsheviks whom Stalin killed in 1937-1938 were very violent people. I don’t know if you’re using the word massacre neutrally or to indicate that you sympathize with their plight.

    The vast majority of the people that Stalin killed in 1937-38 were not Old Bolsheviks. 682,691 were officially executed. 386,798 of those deaths were part of the “Kulak operation,” mostly relatively prosperous farmers who had managed to survive both the brutal de-Kulakization campaign of the early ’30s and the Ukraine Terror Famine.

    The remaining 247,157 deaths mostly consisted of ethnic minorities. Cf, for example, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were shot as part of the “Polish Action.”

    And yes, I think that the left-right dichotomy applies to that conflict.

    So, you are stating that the Marxist hardliners are right, and that the Kulaks and ethnic minorities who were killed in 1937-38 are not the fault of the Left?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    You're as confused about Russia as you are about Iran. And you made me wonder if there is a medical term for the difficulty that some people experience in telling right from left.

    You're mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization. The kulaks were prosperous farmers who suffered during the collevtivization campaign. That campaign started in 1928, I believe. It was done by Old Bolsheviks, who were leftist by any definition that I'm aware of. Did you read my comment about Trotsky criticising Stalin for sabotaging the collevtivization campaign?

    From the Trotskyist point of view Stalin went along with the revolution cynically, until he got enough power and then betrayed it, killed all the revolutionaries and reversed course. I think in reality Stalin joined the revolution because he was a Georgian nationalist in his youth. Georgian nationalists hated Russia, and so did the communists. But he was probably never a leftist emotionally. He rose up the ranks in the system they created and then, when he got supreme power, he turned against them. So the Trotskyist analysis wasn't entirely off. I disagree with it about who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. But it got the sequence of events mostly right. Unlike the people who wrote the dreck that you're repeating here.

    To summarize: collectivization - leftist, killing the collectivizers - rightist. Stalin was involved in both, yes. He changed through time. It seems that as he got more and more power, his real views came out more and more.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin's terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.
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  28. @Glossy
    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It's nutty to label this issue knotty.

    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It’s nutty to label this issue knotty.

    So, supporting transgender rights is right-wing?

    Read More
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  29. @Glossy
    You can think of it this way: the revolution did not end until the revolutionaries were killed.

    You can think of it this way: the revolution did not end until the revolutionaries were killed.

    Then the Kulaks and ethnic minorities were collateral damage?

    Read More
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  30. @Glossy
    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It's nutty to label this issue knotty.

    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It’s nutty to label this issue knotty.

    So, then, by your definition, supporting transgender rights is right-wing?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing. The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it's a convenient marker of right-left differences.

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.

    What you implied on the other hand is that if a society is deemed right-wing, it should be right-wing on every single issue. What a silly, illogical thing to think. You brought a smile to my face with this stuff - no lie.
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  31. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    The Old Bolsheviks whom Stalin killed in 1937-1938 were very violent people. I don’t know if you’re using the word massacre neutrally or to indicate that you sympathize with their plight.
     
    The vast majority of the people that Stalin killed in 1937-38 were not Old Bolsheviks. 682,691 were officially executed. 386,798 of those deaths were part of the "Kulak operation," mostly relatively prosperous farmers who had managed to survive both the brutal de-Kulakization campaign of the early '30s and the Ukraine Terror Famine.

    The remaining 247,157 deaths mostly consisted of ethnic minorities. Cf, for example, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were shot as part of the “Polish Action.”

    And yes, I think that the left-right dichotomy applies to that conflict.
     
    So, you are stating that the Marxist hardliners are right, and that the Kulaks and ethnic minorities who were killed in 1937-38 are not the fault of the Left?

    You’re as confused about Russia as you are about Iran. And you made me wonder if there is a medical term for the difficulty that some people experience in telling right from left.

    You’re mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization. The kulaks were prosperous farmers who suffered during the collevtivization campaign. That campaign started in 1928, I believe. It was done by Old Bolsheviks, who were leftist by any definition that I’m aware of. Did you read my comment about Trotsky criticising Stalin for sabotaging the collevtivization campaign?

    From the Trotskyist point of view Stalin went along with the revolution cynically, until he got enough power and then betrayed it, killed all the revolutionaries and reversed course. I think in reality Stalin joined the revolution because he was a Georgian nationalist in his youth. Georgian nationalists hated Russia, and so did the communists. But he was probably never a leftist emotionally. He rose up the ranks in the system they created and then, when he got supreme power, he turned against them. So the Trotskyist analysis wasn’t entirely off. I disagree with it about who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. But it got the sequence of events mostly right. Unlike the people who wrote the dreck that you’re repeating here.

    To summarize: collectivization – leftist, killing the collectivizers – rightist. Stalin was involved in both, yes. He changed through time. It seems that as he got more and more power, his real views came out more and more.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin’s terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    You’re mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization.
     
    No, I'm not. I think that you are a bit confused as to what happened in 1937-38. Yes, Party officials and high-ranking military officers were killed, but the overwhelming majority of the 682,691 people who were killed were ordinary people, relatively prosperous peasants
    ("Kulaks") and ethnic minorities.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin’s terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.
     
    No.

    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?
    , @Ananias Dare

    You’re as confused about Russia as you are about Iran.
     
    Just to be clear, you think that allowing men to undergo gender re-assignment surgery* is Right Wing?


    *amputation of the penis and testicles, carving out an artificial vagina, taking female hormones....
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  32. @Glossy
    You're as confused about Russia as you are about Iran. And you made me wonder if there is a medical term for the difficulty that some people experience in telling right from left.

    You're mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization. The kulaks were prosperous farmers who suffered during the collevtivization campaign. That campaign started in 1928, I believe. It was done by Old Bolsheviks, who were leftist by any definition that I'm aware of. Did you read my comment about Trotsky criticising Stalin for sabotaging the collevtivization campaign?

    From the Trotskyist point of view Stalin went along with the revolution cynically, until he got enough power and then betrayed it, killed all the revolutionaries and reversed course. I think in reality Stalin joined the revolution because he was a Georgian nationalist in his youth. Georgian nationalists hated Russia, and so did the communists. But he was probably never a leftist emotionally. He rose up the ranks in the system they created and then, when he got supreme power, he turned against them. So the Trotskyist analysis wasn't entirely off. I disagree with it about who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. But it got the sequence of events mostly right. Unlike the people who wrote the dreck that you're repeating here.

    To summarize: collectivization - leftist, killing the collectivizers - rightist. Stalin was involved in both, yes. He changed through time. It seems that as he got more and more power, his real views came out more and more.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin's terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.

    You’re mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization.

    No, I’m not. I think that you are a bit confused as to what happened in 1937-38. Yes, Party officials and high-ranking military officers were killed, but the overwhelming majority of the 682,691 people who were killed were ordinary people, relatively prosperous peasants
    (“Kulaks”) and ethnic minorities.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin’s terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.

    No.

    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?

    I'm not familiar with that event. If it happened (and it might have, I'm not saying it's impossible), then no, they didn't deserve it.
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  33. @Glossy
    You're as confused about Russia as you are about Iran. And you made me wonder if there is a medical term for the difficulty that some people experience in telling right from left.

    You're mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization. The kulaks were prosperous farmers who suffered during the collevtivization campaign. That campaign started in 1928, I believe. It was done by Old Bolsheviks, who were leftist by any definition that I'm aware of. Did you read my comment about Trotsky criticising Stalin for sabotaging the collevtivization campaign?

    From the Trotskyist point of view Stalin went along with the revolution cynically, until he got enough power and then betrayed it, killed all the revolutionaries and reversed course. I think in reality Stalin joined the revolution because he was a Georgian nationalist in his youth. Georgian nationalists hated Russia, and so did the communists. But he was probably never a leftist emotionally. He rose up the ranks in the system they created and then, when he got supreme power, he turned against them. So the Trotskyist analysis wasn't entirely off. I disagree with it about who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. But it got the sequence of events mostly right. Unlike the people who wrote the dreck that you're repeating here.

    To summarize: collectivization - leftist, killing the collectivizers - rightist. Stalin was involved in both, yes. He changed through time. It seems that as he got more and more power, his real views came out more and more.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin's terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.

    You’re as confused about Russia as you are about Iran.

    Just to be clear, you think that allowing men to undergo gender re-assignment surgery* is Right Wing?

    *amputation of the penis and testicles, carving out an artificial vagina, taking female hormones….

    Read More
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  34. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    The Islamic Republic is right-wing. It’s nutty to label this issue knotty.
     
    So, then, by your definition, supporting transgender rights is right-wing?

    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing. The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it’s a convenient marker of right-left differences.

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.

    What you implied on the other hand is that if a society is deemed right-wing, it should be right-wing on every single issue. What a silly, illogical thing to think. You brought a smile to my face with this stuff – no lie.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing.
     
    But the Iranians support transgenderism, and they are Right Wing....

    The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it’s a convenient marker of right-left differences.
     
    So, support for homosexual rights counts for more than support for transgender rights....

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.
     
    So, following this line of thought, can homosexuality by sanctioned by a Right Wing society?By your own admission, a society can sanction transgenderism and still be Right Wing....
    , @AP
    Okay, I'll wade into this discussion. Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries. In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative; in a traditionally "paternalistic" society such as Russia's, individualistic libertarianism is liberal.

    Russia is furthermore an interesting case because, in contrast to much of Eastern Europe, Communism really took root there; its culture and values came to be taken for granted, its cultural expressions (example: replacing Christmas with New Year's and New Year's trees) adopted sincerely. In Russia, Communism ceased being an alien leftist experiment and became the status quo.

    Thus the types of people in Russia who support the Communist party (non-minority working class, provincials) are the same types in America who would support Republicans, or the Tea Party, and in Islamic countries would support Islamists. Of course, this means that a conservative in one country is not a natural ally with conservatives from other cultures.

    With respect to Stalin - in the context of his time he was certainly no conservative, even though modern Russian conservatives - that is, traditional commies from provincial areas, older folks, those who resent recent post- Soviet changes etc. - might like him. Stalin was the man who succeeded in conquering and destroying traditional Russia. The unprecedented brutality of his rule utterly transformed Russian society, wiping out entire traditional classes, fundamentally changing society's framework. Under Stalin, traditional villages became collective farms, and peasants turned into agricultural workers. Under Stalin, Russians became atheists. Under Stalin, traditional elites (nobles, churchmen) were wiped out at worst and mocked and vilified at best.

    In this one way, Stalin can be compared to the early Christian saints. These people were radicals and society-changers in the context of their pagan milieu but of course are venerated by modern Western conservatives, because their transformations "stuck" and became the basis of society and its traditions. *

    *In anticipation of your likely argument that Stalin preserved classical Russian literature and theater, I would compare the Soviet retention of certain classical high art to the Christian preservation of pagan arts and writings. In neither case was the veneration of these works a sign of real traditional continuity; indeed, they were often reinterpreted to support the new worldview.

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  35. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    You’re mixing two separate events, the killing of the Old Bolsheviks and collectivization.
     
    No, I'm not. I think that you are a bit confused as to what happened in 1937-38. Yes, Party officials and high-ranking military officers were killed, but the overwhelming majority of the 682,691 people who were killed were ordinary people, relatively prosperous peasants
    ("Kulaks") and ethnic minorities.

    By the way, do you consider Trotsky, Bukharin, Zinovyev, Kamenev and the numerous nameless footsoldiers of their cause blameless victims of Stalin’s terror? I would appreciate a yes or no answer.
     
    No.

    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?

    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?

    I’m not familiar with that event. If it happened (and it might have, I’m not saying it’s impossible), then no, they didn’t deserve it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    I’m not familiar with that event.
     
    Seriously? It's one of the best known episodes of the Great Terror:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Operation_of_the_NKVD_(1937%E2%80%9338)
    , @Ananias Dare
    And here's the section of the WIKIPEDIA article on the Great Terror that deals with the "ex-Kulaks and other anti-Soviet elements":

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge#Ex-kulaks_and_other_.22anti-Soviet_elements.22
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  36. @Glossy
    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing. The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it's a convenient marker of right-left differences.

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.

    What you implied on the other hand is that if a society is deemed right-wing, it should be right-wing on every single issue. What a silly, illogical thing to think. You brought a smile to my face with this stuff - no lie.

    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing.

    But the Iranians support transgenderism, and they are Right Wing….

    The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it’s a convenient marker of right-left differences.

    So, support for homosexual rights counts for more than support for transgender rights….

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.

    So, following this line of thought, can homosexuality by sanctioned by a Right Wing society?By your own admission, a society can sanction transgenderism and still be Right Wing….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    So, following this line of thought, can homosexuality by sanctioned by a Right Wing society?By your own admission, a society can sanction transgenderism and still be Right Wing….

    The presence of the stigma associated with the passive role in homosexual relationships is a very good marker. Meaning that when that stigma exists in a society, that society is very likely to be conservative on a large number of other issues. I wouldn't give this issue a large importance score in itself. But it's like a litmus test or a canary in a coal mine.

    If this litmus test ever fails (and I'm not aware of any times it did), it must be a very rare event.
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  37. @Glossy
    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?

    I'm not familiar with that event. If it happened (and it might have, I'm not saying it's impossible), then no, they didn't deserve it.

    I’m not familiar with that event.

    Seriously? It’s one of the best known episodes of the Great Terror:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Operation_of_the_NKVD_(1937%E2%80%9338)

    Read More
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  38. @Glossy
    And allow me to put the same question to you: Do you think that, say, the 111,091 ethnic Poles who were killed in 1937-38 deserved to be killed?

    I'm not familiar with that event. If it happened (and it might have, I'm not saying it's impossible), then no, they didn't deserve it.

    And here’s the section of the WIKIPEDIA article on the Great Terror that deals with the “ex-Kulaks and other anti-Soviet elements”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge#Ex-kulaks_and_other_.22anti-Soviet_elements.22

    Read More
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  39. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing.
     
    But the Iranians support transgenderism, and they are Right Wing....

    The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it’s a convenient marker of right-left differences.
     
    So, support for homosexual rights counts for more than support for transgender rights....

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.
     
    So, following this line of thought, can homosexuality by sanctioned by a Right Wing society?By your own admission, a society can sanction transgenderism and still be Right Wing....

    So, following this line of thought, can homosexuality by sanctioned by a Right Wing society?By your own admission, a society can sanction transgenderism and still be Right Wing….

    The presence of the stigma associated with the passive role in homosexual relationships is a very good marker. Meaning that when that stigma exists in a society, that society is very likely to be conservative on a large number of other issues. I wouldn’t give this issue a large importance score in itself. But it’s like a litmus test or a canary in a coal mine.

    If this litmus test ever fails (and I’m not aware of any times it did), it must be a very rare event.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    The presence of the stigma associated with the passive role in homosexual relationships is a very good marker.
     
    So, Lesbianism is OK?
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  40. @Glossy
    So, following this line of thought, can homosexuality by sanctioned by a Right Wing society?By your own admission, a society can sanction transgenderism and still be Right Wing….

    The presence of the stigma associated with the passive role in homosexual relationships is a very good marker. Meaning that when that stigma exists in a society, that society is very likely to be conservative on a large number of other issues. I wouldn't give this issue a large importance score in itself. But it's like a litmus test or a canary in a coal mine.

    If this litmus test ever fails (and I'm not aware of any times it did), it must be a very rare event.

    The presence of the stigma associated with the passive role in homosexual relationships is a very good marker.

    So, Lesbianism is OK?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The acceptance of lesbianism is left-wing. Did you read what I wrote about compiling a long list of issues, giving each one an importance score, determining whether a society is left or right on each one (there could be a 10-point scale for that if you want to be precise), then tabulating the scores?

    The importance score for lesbianism would be lower than for male homosexuality.
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  41. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    The presence of the stigma associated with the passive role in homosexual relationships is a very good marker.
     
    So, Lesbianism is OK?

    The acceptance of lesbianism is left-wing. Did you read what I wrote about compiling a long list of issues, giving each one an importance score, determining whether a society is left or right on each one (there could be a 10-point scale for that if you want to be precise), then tabulating the scores?

    The importance score for lesbianism would be lower than for male homosexuality.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    The importance score for lesbianism would be lower than for male homosexuality.
     
    Just to make sure, that means that male homosexuality outscores both transgenderism and lesbianism in terms of defining a society as Leftist?
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  42. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Full disclaimer: I haven't read this 800 page book. Nor do I plan to. Because in short, everything I've read and heard about it indicates it is primarily a work of ideology, not of history - and you might as well read Solzhenitsyn for that, since he at least is recognized as a great writer.

    But Solzhenitsyn's figures were at least excused on his lack of access to archival data, not to mention his own perfectly understandable personal antipathy to Communist regimes. Ergo for Cold War historians like Robert Conquest.

    But the Black Book was written in 1997, by which time the Soviet archives were fully open, and one could see that a figure of 20 million Soviet deaths due to "communism" are utterly out of sync with reality. (I will focus on the USSR since I am most familiar with it, but I am given to understand that the work on China is even shoddier, while the work on Latin America is even more purely ideological).

    You had 1.1mn deaths in the Gulag since its founding in 1930. But first, it was a prison system for conventional criminals, people like murderers and thieves who would be in prison under any functioning regime; not just dissidents! "Politicals" over all years averaged around 30% of the Gulag population. Second, of those deaths, more than half occured during WW2, when the country was under great stress (millions of Soviet citizens died of malnutrition in the rear). Take out the war, and annual Gulag mortality was at 3.2% - and that includes the years of the 1933-1934 famines. Very bad, but not sure all that strange in what was still essentially a Third World country with a vast prison population in inhospitable areas. Mortality fell below 1% by the 1950s. All these factors considered, is it really legitimate to take even the 1.1mn figure at face value? But okay, let's do so.

    Executed? A million give or take. 650,000 during the Great Purge (of which the Anti-Kulak Operation accounted for the majority); around 800,000 during the Stalinist period as a whole. Round up to a million to account for unrecorded executions (though the Soviets were nothing if not meticulous in this regard).

    That's not a lot more than 2 million.

    Then you of course have the famines to consider. From just a simple demographic extrapolation of Russian and Ukrainian excess mortality in 1932-34, you have around 5mn excess deaths during the Great Famine (split about equally). Add perhaps one million from the rest of the USSR. 6mn. Some historians argue that the Ukrainian part (Holomor) was genocidal, others disagree. It's very politicized. Even if we accept the Holodomor as genocide claim, that's still ~5 million in total.

    And pretty much tallies with Timothy Snyder, a highly anti-Soviet historian who has also taken a prominent and highly hostile stance against Putin, but who dismisses these figures.

    The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources.
     
    Now you can keep on counting other famine deaths - including the 1921 one - and with some generous inflating, I can just about see how you could end up with 20 million.

    But by then we'd be simply moving into the realm of rhetoric and leaving ample scope for "whataboutist" rejoinders.

    Conservative anti-Communist types - including McCarthy sympathizers and even outright fascist sumpathizers - will claim on the basis of this 20 million figure or Rummel's 62 million that Communism was far worse than Nazism. If deaths due to political systems are the criterion, why then not indict "capitalism" for the Irish Famine, and hundreds of millions of other deaths? Some have. The pro-Stalinist types and even mere skeptics will create the "Billion shot personally by Stalin" meme to make fun of this and in some cases to signal their pro-Stalinism to each other. This was particularly popular in 2000s Russia because certain segments of society, having gained access to the Internet, started to react against the "blackwashing" of Stalin under the 1990s Yeltsin regime.

    None of the above can be considered healthy intellectual pursuits.

    Though, and as a final word, I doubt the Black Book was ever about that in the first place. Its lead author Stephane Courtois is a French neocon of the BHL/Glucksmann, invite/invade the world variety... who, to put the cherry on the pie, was a Maoist and Far Left activist in his youth. So predictable.

    Incidentally, while writing this I also came across the fact that Nicholas Werth, the author of the USSR section, is the son of Alexander Werth, whose book Moscow War Diary I reviewed positively a few years back. I also learned that he and another coauthor went as far as to publicly disassociate themselves from Courtois' "editorial conclusions" in the introduction to the Black Book.

    Alexander Werth, whose book Moscow War Diary

    His Russia At War 1941-45 still remains one of my favorite books on WW II despite some debatable points. This book could be a good primer for anyone in the West trying to get into the human aspect of that war on the Soviet/Russian side.

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  43. Sean says:

    80,ooo dead in one pit at Chelyabinsk. “people were taken out of their apartments and shot with their children at this place”

    “Killing fields at Kuropaty Forest near Minsk in Byelorussia were estimated to contain 150,000 bodies, at Byknovna near Kiev 200,000, at Chelyabinsk 300,000. In one site uncovered by workers laying a gas pipeline near Minsk the bodies were found holding possessions that the victims had with them when they were taken – purses, reading glasses, children’s toys.”

    Fact is, no one knows how many 30′s era pits like that are in Russia.

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  44. Sean says:

    Conquest concentrated on Stalin, but the communist regime had been in power under other leadership. The Russian civil war (during which Poland ATTACKED Russia) is not being mentioned very much, but was that not several millions of civilian deaths (at least) due to communism? If you compare the deaths in Soviet occupied Poland and Nazi occupied Poland before 1941, Stalin comes out worse. Hitler’s mass killing of Russians in WW2 seems to be the alibi for communism, but nothing about the communist regime makes it difficult to believe Conquest’s figures are accurate. Hitler’s intent if he won the war is not in doubt, but he is the communist excuse.

    I have noticed something about Korea and China (and Japan). If an inefficient economic system manages to work surprisingly well in these countries it probably has something to do with the qualities possessed by the population.

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  45. @Glossy
    The acceptance of lesbianism is left-wing. Did you read what I wrote about compiling a long list of issues, giving each one an importance score, determining whether a society is left or right on each one (there could be a 10-point scale for that if you want to be precise), then tabulating the scores?

    The importance score for lesbianism would be lower than for male homosexuality.

    The importance score for lesbianism would be lower than for male homosexuality.

    Just to make sure, that means that male homosexuality outscores both transgenderism and lesbianism in terms of defining a society as Leftist?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The attitude to male homosexuality is more important than the attitude to lesbianism. The attitude to transgenderism is about as important as the attitude to male homosexuality.

    You seem to be a very confused person with extremely poor reading comprehension skills. I never said anywhere that I considered the attitude to transgenderism to be less important than the attitude to male homosexuality in determining if a society is right-wing, yet you've said twice now that I said that. You've probably misunderstood something in this comment as well, even though there's nothing complicated in it.

    I've talked about hypothetical importance scores and a convenient marker. I never said that transgenderism would get a lower importance score than male homosexuality. I said that male homosexuality is a convenient marker, which is a very different thing. And I explained the difference. The marker gives us a quick-and-dirty way to check what the sum total of the scores might be. The importance scores are the actual things that determine the outcome. The fact that some issue is a convenient marker says nothing about its importance score, i.e. about its actual importance.

    You keep asking questions, but it's obvious that you haven't understood the answers that you've already been given. And if it's so hard for you to understand such simple concepts, why are you continuing with this? People normally get bored when they're out of their depth. What are you trying to prove? To whom?

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  46. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    The importance score for lesbianism would be lower than for male homosexuality.
     
    Just to make sure, that means that male homosexuality outscores both transgenderism and lesbianism in terms of defining a society as Leftist?

    The attitude to male homosexuality is more important than the attitude to lesbianism. The attitude to transgenderism is about as important as the attitude to male homosexuality.

    You seem to be a very confused person with extremely poor reading comprehension skills. I never said anywhere that I considered the attitude to transgenderism to be less important than the attitude to male homosexuality in determining if a society is right-wing, yet you’ve said twice now that I said that. You’ve probably misunderstood something in this comment as well, even though there’s nothing complicated in it.

    I’ve talked about hypothetical importance scores and a convenient marker. I never said that transgenderism would get a lower importance score than male homosexuality. I said that male homosexuality is a convenient marker, which is a very different thing. And I explained the difference. The marker gives us a quick-and-dirty way to check what the sum total of the scores might be. The importance scores are the actual things that determine the outcome. The fact that some issue is a convenient marker says nothing about its importance score, i.e. about its actual importance.

    You keep asking questions, but it’s obvious that you haven’t understood the answers that you’ve already been given. And if it’s so hard for you to understand such simple concepts, why are you continuing with this? People normally get bored when they’re out of their depth. What are you trying to prove? To whom?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ananias Dare

    I’ve talked about hypothetical importance scores and a convenient marker. I never said that transgenderism would get a lower importance score than male homosexuality. I said that male homosexuality is a convenient marker, which is a very different thing
     
    So,then, transgenderism and male homosexuality have equal scores in your scheme?

    But male homosexuality makes a better marker?

    Which means that Iran's approval of transgenderism is OK?

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  47. @Glossy
    The attitude to male homosexuality is more important than the attitude to lesbianism. The attitude to transgenderism is about as important as the attitude to male homosexuality.

    You seem to be a very confused person with extremely poor reading comprehension skills. I never said anywhere that I considered the attitude to transgenderism to be less important than the attitude to male homosexuality in determining if a society is right-wing, yet you've said twice now that I said that. You've probably misunderstood something in this comment as well, even though there's nothing complicated in it.

    I've talked about hypothetical importance scores and a convenient marker. I never said that transgenderism would get a lower importance score than male homosexuality. I said that male homosexuality is a convenient marker, which is a very different thing. And I explained the difference. The marker gives us a quick-and-dirty way to check what the sum total of the scores might be. The importance scores are the actual things that determine the outcome. The fact that some issue is a convenient marker says nothing about its importance score, i.e. about its actual importance.

    You keep asking questions, but it's obvious that you haven't understood the answers that you've already been given. And if it's so hard for you to understand such simple concepts, why are you continuing with this? People normally get bored when they're out of their depth. What are you trying to prove? To whom?

    I’ve talked about hypothetical importance scores and a convenient marker. I never said that transgenderism would get a lower importance score than male homosexuality. I said that male homosexuality is a convenient marker, which is a very different thing

    So,then, transgenderism and male homosexuality have equal scores in your scheme?

    But male homosexuality makes a better marker?

    Which means that Iran’s approval of transgenderism is OK?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Where did I say that it's OK? It's not OK to me. Why do you assume so much stuff? There are thousands of political issues. The vast majority of them have nothing to do with sexuality. Iran is conservative on most political issues. On balance it's a deeply conservative country. It's not conservative on the issue of transgender surgery. But there are more important things in politics. Most of which have nothing to do with sexuality. I think that the people who want to do something like that to themseves should be counseled, told to snap out of it, etc.
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  48. jtgw says:

    It’s not like neocons invented anti-Communism. Being anti-Communist is what makes ANYBODY conservative! You don’t exactly hear Pat Buchanan going around singing Stalin’s praises (though given how much he loves Putin that may change for all I know). Indeed, opposition to communism and the Soviet Union (and other forms of leftist lunacy like the War on Poverty) is what turned the former Trotskyists into “neoconservatives” in the first place.

    And while it’s interesting to learn that Soviet archives probably revealed Conquest’s numbers to be too high, one should remember that the most significant outcome the opening of the archives was that Conquest and other anti-Soviet historians were vindicated! Up until the end of the USSR you still had mainstream historians arguing that Stalin’s victims numbered in the few thousands, tops (much like Grover Furr continues to argue to this day), and that apart from Stalin the Soviets were basically innocent.

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  49. AP says:
    @Glossy
    No, supporting transgender rights is left-wing. The convenient marker I named was attitude to homosexuality, not attitude to transgenderism. You have failed to challenge my assertion that it's a convenient marker of right-left differences.

    You argue in an extremely illogical manner. A sum of many, many issues determines whether a society is left-wing or right-wing. One could make a list of issues, assign an importance score to each one, determine if a society is right or left on each issue, and then tabulate the scores. If you get, say, a score of 1,000 on the right and a score of 12 on the left, then the society is very right-wing. By the way, this is what people tend to do subconsciously when thinking about stuff like that. Without numbers, of coruse.

    What you implied on the other hand is that if a society is deemed right-wing, it should be right-wing on every single issue. What a silly, illogical thing to think. You brought a smile to my face with this stuff - no lie.

    Okay, I’ll wade into this discussion. Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries. In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative; in a traditionally “paternalistic” society such as Russia’s, individualistic libertarianism is liberal.

    Russia is furthermore an interesting case because, in contrast to much of Eastern Europe, Communism really took root there; its culture and values came to be taken for granted, its cultural expressions (example: replacing Christmas with New Year’s and New Year’s trees) adopted sincerely. In Russia, Communism ceased being an alien leftist experiment and became the status quo.

    Thus the types of people in Russia who support the Communist party (non-minority working class, provincials) are the same types in America who would support Republicans, or the Tea Party, and in Islamic countries would support Islamists. Of course, this means that a conservative in one country is not a natural ally with conservatives from other cultures.

    With respect to Stalin – in the context of his time he was certainly no conservative, even though modern Russian conservatives – that is, traditional commies from provincial areas, older folks, those who resent recent post- Soviet changes etc. – might like him. Stalin was the man who succeeded in conquering and destroying traditional Russia. The unprecedented brutality of his rule utterly transformed Russian society, wiping out entire traditional classes, fundamentally changing society’s framework. Under Stalin, traditional villages became collective farms, and peasants turned into agricultural workers. Under Stalin, Russians became atheists. Under Stalin, traditional elites (nobles, churchmen) were wiped out at worst and mocked and vilified at best.

    In this one way, Stalin can be compared to the early Christian saints. These people were radicals and society-changers in the context of their pagan milieu but of course are venerated by modern Western conservatives, because their transformations “stuck” and became the basis of society and its traditions. *

    *In anticipation of your likely argument that Stalin preserved classical Russian literature and theater, I would compare the Soviet retention of certain classical high art to the Christian preservation of pagan arts and writings. In neither case was the veneration of these works a sign of real traditional continuity; indeed, they were often reinterpreted to support the new worldview.

    Read More
    • Agree: jtgw
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries.

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn't sound right to me.

    I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there's a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.

    In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative...

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it's a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics. The US government has been redistributing wealth from Whites to Blacks for many decades now. So racially-conscious US Whites are anti-government. Hard to blame them. Until massive third-world immigration hit Europe, the average European had no reason to see his government in that way though.

    I'm sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller. In modern Russia you sometimes hear the "stop feeding the Caucasus" slogan, but again the scale of any wealth redistribution must be much smaller than in the White-Black case in the US. So Russians don't see the government as an enemy the way that US Whites do.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour. The politicians who represent it are statists by UK standards. That tells me that the anti-government feeling among southern US Whites and perhaps among US Whites in general might not represent anything deeper than a response to Great Society, etc. Southern US states voted for Roosevelt in the 1930s.
    , @Glossy
    I disagree with you about Stalin. As I said earlier in this thread, I think that he joined the Communists in his youth for Georgian nationalistic reasons. Koba, his early nickname, was a character in a Georgian nationalistic, anti-Russian novel. Georgian nationalists saw Russians as occupiers. The Communists hated Russia, so lots of ethnic-minority nationalists from all over the empire were attracted to them.

    US Blacks vote Democratic, but they aren't really leftists. Algerians vote for the Socialists in France, but they aren't leftists either. They vote that way for ethno-nationalist reasons instead.

    I think that Stalin joined the Communists without being emotionally or culturally leftist. And that as he got more and more power his personal view of things became more and more important.

    The stuff you mentioned - the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life - was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed. As I'm sure you know, Stalin's rise to absolute power was a very long, very gradual process. In 1927 the worst he could do to Trotsky was exile him. If I'm not mistaken, the first executions of Old Bolsheviks occurred at the end of 1936. Before that when Stalin defeated an enemy of his within the party, he was typically just demoted or excluded.

    The absolute dictatorship probably started with the 1937-1938 period. And most of the leftist destruction that you mentioned (and which was horrible and real) occured before that. There was a long period of collective leadership and then there were all of those factional struggles where Stalin allied with some Old Bolsheviks to oppose others.

    In what ways was the period of Stalin's absolute dictatorship conservative? The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943. Modernist "art" was replaced by traditionalist art before that. Homosexuality was banned in 1933. In the arena of inter-ethnic relations the early Bolsheviks promoted centrifugal fources (bigger role for minority languages, etc.) As Stalin got more and more power, he began promoting centripetal forces instead.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal. So in Spain, for example, Franco viewed the Catalan and Basque languages negatively, as a source of division. The leftist governments that came to power after his death promoted them instead.

    I remember you saying that the USSR mellowed through the decades by some natural process and that if Hitler won WWII, his regime would have evetually mellowed too. I don't think the mellowing was preordained. I don't think that's a law of nature. There was a life-and-death struggle. Most of the people who made the Revolution and who lived till 1937-1938 were executed in those two years. I think THAT's what made the later, mellower USSR possible.
    , @Glossy
    In the economic sphere leftists tend to loot and rightists tend to build. It's a big generalization, but you know what I mean. The early Bolsheviks looted. Stalin's industrialization campaign was, on the other hand, an instance of building.
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  50. jtgw says:

    Also, it’s a little annoying the way people keep comparing Nazi and Communist death tolls as if this could conclusively prove whether “left-wing” or “right-wing” regimes are more murderous (something that paleocons tend to do more than neocons, by the way, seeing as most neocons seem to agree that the Nazis were probably worse because Holocaust and all that). There are several good arguments one can make that the Nazis aren’t really that right-wing. I’d much rather see communist death tolls compared with their reactionary predecessors, e.g. Tsarism.

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  51. Glossy says: • Website
    @Ananias Dare

    I’ve talked about hypothetical importance scores and a convenient marker. I never said that transgenderism would get a lower importance score than male homosexuality. I said that male homosexuality is a convenient marker, which is a very different thing
     
    So,then, transgenderism and male homosexuality have equal scores in your scheme?

    But male homosexuality makes a better marker?

    Which means that Iran's approval of transgenderism is OK?

    Where did I say that it’s OK? It’s not OK to me. Why do you assume so much stuff? There are thousands of political issues. The vast majority of them have nothing to do with sexuality. Iran is conservative on most political issues. On balance it’s a deeply conservative country. It’s not conservative on the issue of transgender surgery. But there are more important things in politics. Most of which have nothing to do with sexuality. I think that the people who want to do something like that to themseves should be counseled, told to snap out of it, etc.

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  52. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP
    Okay, I'll wade into this discussion. Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries. In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative; in a traditionally "paternalistic" society such as Russia's, individualistic libertarianism is liberal.

    Russia is furthermore an interesting case because, in contrast to much of Eastern Europe, Communism really took root there; its culture and values came to be taken for granted, its cultural expressions (example: replacing Christmas with New Year's and New Year's trees) adopted sincerely. In Russia, Communism ceased being an alien leftist experiment and became the status quo.

    Thus the types of people in Russia who support the Communist party (non-minority working class, provincials) are the same types in America who would support Republicans, or the Tea Party, and in Islamic countries would support Islamists. Of course, this means that a conservative in one country is not a natural ally with conservatives from other cultures.

    With respect to Stalin - in the context of his time he was certainly no conservative, even though modern Russian conservatives - that is, traditional commies from provincial areas, older folks, those who resent recent post- Soviet changes etc. - might like him. Stalin was the man who succeeded in conquering and destroying traditional Russia. The unprecedented brutality of his rule utterly transformed Russian society, wiping out entire traditional classes, fundamentally changing society's framework. Under Stalin, traditional villages became collective farms, and peasants turned into agricultural workers. Under Stalin, Russians became atheists. Under Stalin, traditional elites (nobles, churchmen) were wiped out at worst and mocked and vilified at best.

    In this one way, Stalin can be compared to the early Christian saints. These people were radicals and society-changers in the context of their pagan milieu but of course are venerated by modern Western conservatives, because their transformations "stuck" and became the basis of society and its traditions. *

    *In anticipation of your likely argument that Stalin preserved classical Russian literature and theater, I would compare the Soviet retention of certain classical high art to the Christian preservation of pagan arts and writings. In neither case was the veneration of these works a sign of real traditional continuity; indeed, they were often reinterpreted to support the new worldview.

    Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries.

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn’t sound right to me.

    I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there’s a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.

    In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative…

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it’s a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics. The US government has been redistributing wealth from Whites to Blacks for many decades now. So racially-conscious US Whites are anti-government. Hard to blame them. Until massive third-world immigration hit Europe, the average European had no reason to see his government in that way though.

    I’m sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller. In modern Russia you sometimes hear the “stop feeding the Caucasus” slogan, but again the scale of any wealth redistribution must be much smaller than in the White-Black case in the US. So Russians don’t see the government as an enemy the way that US Whites do.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour. The politicians who represent it are statists by UK standards. That tells me that the anti-government feeling among southern US Whites and perhaps among US Whites in general might not represent anything deeper than a response to Great Society, etc. Southern US states voted for Roosevelt in the 1930s.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    I’m sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller.
     
    This brings to mind a recent article in KP.

    (1) It is by Egor Kholmogorov, close Prosvirnin associate, so highly ethnat. So adjust for that as you will.

    (2) The table is from the newspaper "Soviet Russia" (1992). Have no idea how reliable it is.

    Still if the following table in even a minimally accurate way reflects reality the scale of wealth transfer in the USSR from Russia and Belarus to the rest its scale would have been quite vast.

    http://s5.stc.all.kpcdn.net/f/4/image/10/99/989910.jpg
    , @AP

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn’t sound right to me....I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there’s a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.
     
    Hmm...There is some truth is what you write. It may be true more of the Lutheran areas than the British ones, however. A good test of whether or not a movement or events are conservative is whether someone from a time prior to those events would recognize the post-event society or not. If society has changed dramatically than those who changed it are not conservative.

    " In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative…"

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it’s a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics.
     
    No. Anti-government mentality predates race issues. The Puritans came to America to escape the government; the Scotch-Irish likewise were suspicious of elites and governments. They wee Catholic-killers in Ireland, and Injun-fighters in North America. Limited government is ingrained into American traditions.

    Would someone from Shakespeare's time feel at home in dour Puritan England or not? I think not. So therefore the movement was revolutionary rather than conservative.

    Even more so, someone transported from Russia in 1910 would find himself in a frightening, nightmarish and alien world in 1939.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour.
     
    As the name implies, Scots-Irish are mostly descendants of Scots from northern Ireland ("Irish protestants"). This part of the UK most resembles Appalachia in its traditions. It votes not for Labor but for the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by a Presbyterian evangelical minister.
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  53. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP
    Okay, I'll wade into this discussion. Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries. In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative; in a traditionally "paternalistic" society such as Russia's, individualistic libertarianism is liberal.

    Russia is furthermore an interesting case because, in contrast to much of Eastern Europe, Communism really took root there; its culture and values came to be taken for granted, its cultural expressions (example: replacing Christmas with New Year's and New Year's trees) adopted sincerely. In Russia, Communism ceased being an alien leftist experiment and became the status quo.

    Thus the types of people in Russia who support the Communist party (non-minority working class, provincials) are the same types in America who would support Republicans, or the Tea Party, and in Islamic countries would support Islamists. Of course, this means that a conservative in one country is not a natural ally with conservatives from other cultures.

    With respect to Stalin - in the context of his time he was certainly no conservative, even though modern Russian conservatives - that is, traditional commies from provincial areas, older folks, those who resent recent post- Soviet changes etc. - might like him. Stalin was the man who succeeded in conquering and destroying traditional Russia. The unprecedented brutality of his rule utterly transformed Russian society, wiping out entire traditional classes, fundamentally changing society's framework. Under Stalin, traditional villages became collective farms, and peasants turned into agricultural workers. Under Stalin, Russians became atheists. Under Stalin, traditional elites (nobles, churchmen) were wiped out at worst and mocked and vilified at best.

    In this one way, Stalin can be compared to the early Christian saints. These people were radicals and society-changers in the context of their pagan milieu but of course are venerated by modern Western conservatives, because their transformations "stuck" and became the basis of society and its traditions. *

    *In anticipation of your likely argument that Stalin preserved classical Russian literature and theater, I would compare the Soviet retention of certain classical high art to the Christian preservation of pagan arts and writings. In neither case was the veneration of these works a sign of real traditional continuity; indeed, they were often reinterpreted to support the new worldview.

    I disagree with you about Stalin. As I said earlier in this thread, I think that he joined the Communists in his youth for Georgian nationalistic reasons. Koba, his early nickname, was a character in a Georgian nationalistic, anti-Russian novel. Georgian nationalists saw Russians as occupiers. The Communists hated Russia, so lots of ethnic-minority nationalists from all over the empire were attracted to them.

    US Blacks vote Democratic, but they aren’t really leftists. Algerians vote for the Socialists in France, but they aren’t leftists either. They vote that way for ethno-nationalist reasons instead.

    I think that Stalin joined the Communists without being emotionally or culturally leftist. And that as he got more and more power his personal view of things became more and more important.

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed. As I’m sure you know, Stalin’s rise to absolute power was a very long, very gradual process. In 1927 the worst he could do to Trotsky was exile him. If I’m not mistaken, the first executions of Old Bolsheviks occurred at the end of 1936. Before that when Stalin defeated an enemy of his within the party, he was typically just demoted or excluded.

    The absolute dictatorship probably started with the 1937-1938 period. And most of the leftist destruction that you mentioned (and which was horrible and real) occured before that. There was a long period of collective leadership and then there were all of those factional struggles where Stalin allied with some Old Bolsheviks to oppose others.

    In what ways was the period of Stalin’s absolute dictatorship conservative? The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943. Modernist “art” was replaced by traditionalist art before that. Homosexuality was banned in 1933. In the arena of inter-ethnic relations the early Bolsheviks promoted centrifugal fources (bigger role for minority languages, etc.) As Stalin got more and more power, he began promoting centripetal forces instead.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal. So in Spain, for example, Franco viewed the Catalan and Basque languages negatively, as a source of division. The leftist governments that came to power after his death promoted them instead.

    I remember you saying that the USSR mellowed through the decades by some natural process and that if Hitler won WWII, his regime would have evetually mellowed too. I don’t think the mellowing was preordained. I don’t think that’s a law of nature. There was a life-and-death struggle. Most of the people who made the Revolution and who lived till 1937-1938 were executed in those two years. I think THAT’s what made the later, mellower USSR possible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed.
     
    I agree, and this is precisely what most of Stalin's critics either don't understand (US conservatives) or deliberately obscure (Trotskyites).

    In the early years after 1917, CP-USSR was dominated by a heavily internationalist Jewish clique (Jew-Bolsheviks, as Hitler would say) that prioritized demolishing churches over building factories. They were culture-warriors first and foremost, who attempted to inculcate into the Russian people a hatred of their own culture and heritage. They were more interested in remaking mankind in their own image ('World revolution!') than in modernizing and industrializing the Soviet Union ('Socialism in one country!').

    Stalin reversed much of that, which is one reason why, decades after Krushchev initiated the first anti-Stalin campaign, so many Russians still admire him and regard him as a great ruler.
    , @AP

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed
     
    Not really. Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia. Collectivization was opposed by two ethnic Russians in the Soviet government, Rykov and Bukharin, whom Stalin expelled from the party. He was clearly in charge. The peasantry and the village were essential features of Russian society. Stalin utterly destroyed and changed them.

    As someone else mentioned, Stalin in 1936-1937 liquidated 100,000s of Kulaks, peasants who had prospered under the Old Regime and NEP, and who stood in the way of the new society. He also, in the late 30's, finished of most of the surviving Russian nobles (book recommendation: Former People, buy Douglas Smith, about the Russian nobility's plight in the 1930s and 1940s). There were more such victims than there were Old Bolshevik victims. Incidentally, given that the Old Bolsheviks were largely renegades from the former ruling classes, liquidating them also served to sever the links to Old Russia.


    The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943.
     
    A desperate wartime measure. And after it had been perverted utterly. The real Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR, refused to recognize Stalin's creation.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal.
     
    Not necessarily. Centralization was an Enlightenment thing. Ukraine's Hetmanate was abolished by Voltaire-reading Catherine, who viewed it as a medieval anachronism. The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton. Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers and it was not centralized. Lenin, incidentally, seems to have largely borrowed his approach towards ethnicity from the Austrians - he lived in Austria-Hungary for years. So in this respect Stalin was more radical and leftist than the Bolsheviks.
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  54. @Glossy
    Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries.

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn't sound right to me.

    I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there's a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.

    In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative...

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it's a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics. The US government has been redistributing wealth from Whites to Blacks for many decades now. So racially-conscious US Whites are anti-government. Hard to blame them. Until massive third-world immigration hit Europe, the average European had no reason to see his government in that way though.

    I'm sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller. In modern Russia you sometimes hear the "stop feeding the Caucasus" slogan, but again the scale of any wealth redistribution must be much smaller than in the White-Black case in the US. So Russians don't see the government as an enemy the way that US Whites do.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour. The politicians who represent it are statists by UK standards. That tells me that the anti-government feeling among southern US Whites and perhaps among US Whites in general might not represent anything deeper than a response to Great Society, etc. Southern US states voted for Roosevelt in the 1930s.

    I’m sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller.

    This brings to mind a recent article in KP.

    (1) It is by Egor Kholmogorov, close Prosvirnin associate, so highly ethnat. So adjust for that as you will.

    (2) The table is from the newspaper “Soviet Russia” (1992). Have no idea how reliable it is.

    Still if the following table in even a minimally accurate way reflects reality the scale of wealth transfer in the USSR from Russia and Belarus to the rest its scale would have been quite vast.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The table doesn't align much with what one would expect from HBD. The Baltic peoples are pretty smart and hardworking for example, yet here they're shown as beneficiaries of wealth redistribution.

    I don't know how non-consumer products were priced in the late USSR. How was the cotton that Uzbekistan produced priced, for example? Presumably not through a market mechanism. Stuff like that would affect such numbers.
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  55. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP
    Okay, I'll wade into this discussion. Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries. In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative; in a traditionally "paternalistic" society such as Russia's, individualistic libertarianism is liberal.

    Russia is furthermore an interesting case because, in contrast to much of Eastern Europe, Communism really took root there; its culture and values came to be taken for granted, its cultural expressions (example: replacing Christmas with New Year's and New Year's trees) adopted sincerely. In Russia, Communism ceased being an alien leftist experiment and became the status quo.

    Thus the types of people in Russia who support the Communist party (non-minority working class, provincials) are the same types in America who would support Republicans, or the Tea Party, and in Islamic countries would support Islamists. Of course, this means that a conservative in one country is not a natural ally with conservatives from other cultures.

    With respect to Stalin - in the context of his time he was certainly no conservative, even though modern Russian conservatives - that is, traditional commies from provincial areas, older folks, those who resent recent post- Soviet changes etc. - might like him. Stalin was the man who succeeded in conquering and destroying traditional Russia. The unprecedented brutality of his rule utterly transformed Russian society, wiping out entire traditional classes, fundamentally changing society's framework. Under Stalin, traditional villages became collective farms, and peasants turned into agricultural workers. Under Stalin, Russians became atheists. Under Stalin, traditional elites (nobles, churchmen) were wiped out at worst and mocked and vilified at best.

    In this one way, Stalin can be compared to the early Christian saints. These people were radicals and society-changers in the context of their pagan milieu but of course are venerated by modern Western conservatives, because their transformations "stuck" and became the basis of society and its traditions. *

    *In anticipation of your likely argument that Stalin preserved classical Russian literature and theater, I would compare the Soviet retention of certain classical high art to the Christian preservation of pagan arts and writings. In neither case was the veneration of these works a sign of real traditional continuity; indeed, they were often reinterpreted to support the new worldview.

    In the economic sphere leftists tend to loot and rightists tend to build. It’s a big generalization, but you know what I mean. The early Bolsheviks looted. Stalin’s industrialization campaign was, on the other hand, an instance of building.

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  56. Glossy says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I’m sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller.
     
    This brings to mind a recent article in KP.

    (1) It is by Egor Kholmogorov, close Prosvirnin associate, so highly ethnat. So adjust for that as you will.

    (2) The table is from the newspaper "Soviet Russia" (1992). Have no idea how reliable it is.

    Still if the following table in even a minimally accurate way reflects reality the scale of wealth transfer in the USSR from Russia and Belarus to the rest its scale would have been quite vast.

    http://s5.stc.all.kpcdn.net/f/4/image/10/99/989910.jpg

    The table doesn’t align much with what one would expect from HBD. The Baltic peoples are pretty smart and hardworking for example, yet here they’re shown as beneficiaries of wealth redistribution.

    I don’t know how non-consumer products were priced in the late USSR. How was the cotton that Uzbekistan produced priced, for example? Presumably not through a market mechanism. Stuff like that would affect such numbers.

    Read More
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  57. @Glossy
    I disagree with you about Stalin. As I said earlier in this thread, I think that he joined the Communists in his youth for Georgian nationalistic reasons. Koba, his early nickname, was a character in a Georgian nationalistic, anti-Russian novel. Georgian nationalists saw Russians as occupiers. The Communists hated Russia, so lots of ethnic-minority nationalists from all over the empire were attracted to them.

    US Blacks vote Democratic, but they aren't really leftists. Algerians vote for the Socialists in France, but they aren't leftists either. They vote that way for ethno-nationalist reasons instead.

    I think that Stalin joined the Communists without being emotionally or culturally leftist. And that as he got more and more power his personal view of things became more and more important.

    The stuff you mentioned - the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life - was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed. As I'm sure you know, Stalin's rise to absolute power was a very long, very gradual process. In 1927 the worst he could do to Trotsky was exile him. If I'm not mistaken, the first executions of Old Bolsheviks occurred at the end of 1936. Before that when Stalin defeated an enemy of his within the party, he was typically just demoted or excluded.

    The absolute dictatorship probably started with the 1937-1938 period. And most of the leftist destruction that you mentioned (and which was horrible and real) occured before that. There was a long period of collective leadership and then there were all of those factional struggles where Stalin allied with some Old Bolsheviks to oppose others.

    In what ways was the period of Stalin's absolute dictatorship conservative? The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943. Modernist "art" was replaced by traditionalist art before that. Homosexuality was banned in 1933. In the arena of inter-ethnic relations the early Bolsheviks promoted centrifugal fources (bigger role for minority languages, etc.) As Stalin got more and more power, he began promoting centripetal forces instead.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal. So in Spain, for example, Franco viewed the Catalan and Basque languages negatively, as a source of division. The leftist governments that came to power after his death promoted them instead.

    I remember you saying that the USSR mellowed through the decades by some natural process and that if Hitler won WWII, his regime would have evetually mellowed too. I don't think the mellowing was preordained. I don't think that's a law of nature. There was a life-and-death struggle. Most of the people who made the Revolution and who lived till 1937-1938 were executed in those two years. I think THAT's what made the later, mellower USSR possible.

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed.

    I agree, and this is precisely what most of Stalin’s critics either don’t understand (US conservatives) or deliberately obscure (Trotskyites).

    In the early years after 1917, CP-USSR was dominated by a heavily internationalist Jewish clique (Jew-Bolsheviks, as Hitler would say) that prioritized demolishing churches over building factories. They were culture-warriors first and foremost, who attempted to inculcate into the Russian people a hatred of their own culture and heritage. They were more interested in remaking mankind in their own image (‘World revolution!’) than in modernizing and industrializing the Soviet Union (‘Socialism in one country!’).

    Stalin reversed much of that, which is one reason why, decades after Krushchev initiated the first anti-Stalin campaign, so many Russians still admire him and regard him as a great ruler.

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    It shocks me any time that I see a person who did not grow up in the former USSR or in one of its successor states understand that. It's very difficult to understand a foreign world at such a level that one can see through all the levels of BS that its denizens spin about it. And I guess you've done that. You understood what very few non-Sovoks have.
    , @Glossy
    I should say that I'm Jewish by ancestry. There's what I'd like to believe and then there's what actually happened, and I'm very curious about the latter. You only live once and we're spectators anyway. Wouldn't you rather know?

    If you don't understand what Stalin actually did and who loved and who hated him for it, you won't understand the Cold War. If Stalin didn't turn right, the US wouldn't have fought a Cold War against him and his successors. All of those Western conservatives who think that the Cold War was fought for them and for conservatism were duped. In the West it was run by leftists as part of a push for worldwide revolution. If one understands that, the 1990s in the former USSR start making sense as a rerun of the early Bolshevik period. Privatisation as a second collectivisation, oligarchs as commissars. And the second Cold War starts making sense as a rerun of the first one. Politics suddenly starts being a little less mysterious.

    I wish I had an intuitive understanding if this sort of recent Chinese history. I have a feeling that my current understanding of it is like most Westerners' view of the USSR and modern Russia - pure propaganda BS. One has to know a culture well to be able to get through that.

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  58. Glossy says: • Website
    @Seamus Padraig

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed.
     
    I agree, and this is precisely what most of Stalin's critics either don't understand (US conservatives) or deliberately obscure (Trotskyites).

    In the early years after 1917, CP-USSR was dominated by a heavily internationalist Jewish clique (Jew-Bolsheviks, as Hitler would say) that prioritized demolishing churches over building factories. They were culture-warriors first and foremost, who attempted to inculcate into the Russian people a hatred of their own culture and heritage. They were more interested in remaking mankind in their own image ('World revolution!') than in modernizing and industrializing the Soviet Union ('Socialism in one country!').

    Stalin reversed much of that, which is one reason why, decades after Krushchev initiated the first anti-Stalin campaign, so many Russians still admire him and regard him as a great ruler.

    It shocks me any time that I see a person who did not grow up in the former USSR or in one of its successor states understand that. It’s very difficult to understand a foreign world at such a level that one can see through all the levels of BS that its denizens spin about it. And I guess you’ve done that. You understood what very few non-Sovoks have.

    Read More
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  59. Glossy says: • Website
    @Seamus Padraig

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed.
     
    I agree, and this is precisely what most of Stalin's critics either don't understand (US conservatives) or deliberately obscure (Trotskyites).

    In the early years after 1917, CP-USSR was dominated by a heavily internationalist Jewish clique (Jew-Bolsheviks, as Hitler would say) that prioritized demolishing churches over building factories. They were culture-warriors first and foremost, who attempted to inculcate into the Russian people a hatred of their own culture and heritage. They were more interested in remaking mankind in their own image ('World revolution!') than in modernizing and industrializing the Soviet Union ('Socialism in one country!').

    Stalin reversed much of that, which is one reason why, decades after Krushchev initiated the first anti-Stalin campaign, so many Russians still admire him and regard him as a great ruler.

    I should say that I’m Jewish by ancestry. There’s what I’d like to believe and then there’s what actually happened, and I’m very curious about the latter. You only live once and we’re spectators anyway. Wouldn’t you rather know?

    If you don’t understand what Stalin actually did and who loved and who hated him for it, you won’t understand the Cold War. If Stalin didn’t turn right, the US wouldn’t have fought a Cold War against him and his successors. All of those Western conservatives who think that the Cold War was fought for them and for conservatism were duped. In the West it was run by leftists as part of a push for worldwide revolution. If one understands that, the 1990s in the former USSR start making sense as a rerun of the early Bolshevik period. Privatisation as a second collectivisation, oligarchs as commissars. And the second Cold War starts making sense as a rerun of the first one. Politics suddenly starts being a little less mysterious.

    I wish I had an intuitive understanding if this sort of recent Chinese history. I have a feeling that my current understanding of it is like most Westerners’ view of the USSR and modern Russia – pure propaganda BS. One has to know a culture well to be able to get through that.

    Read More
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  60. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Conservatism defined as conserving tradition differs markedly from country to country because traditions vary between countries.

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn't sound right to me.

    I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there's a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.

    In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative...

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it's a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics. The US government has been redistributing wealth from Whites to Blacks for many decades now. So racially-conscious US Whites are anti-government. Hard to blame them. Until massive third-world immigration hit Europe, the average European had no reason to see his government in that way though.

    I'm sure that Central Asia benefited from some wealth redistribution in the Soviet Union, but the scale must have been much smaller. In modern Russia you sometimes hear the "stop feeding the Caucasus" slogan, but again the scale of any wealth redistribution must be much smaller than in the White-Black case in the US. So Russians don't see the government as an enemy the way that US Whites do.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour. The politicians who represent it are statists by UK standards. That tells me that the anti-government feeling among southern US Whites and perhaps among US Whites in general might not represent anything deeper than a response to Great Society, etc. Southern US states voted for Roosevelt in the 1930s.

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn’t sound right to me….I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there’s a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.

    Hmm…There is some truth is what you write. It may be true more of the Lutheran areas than the British ones, however. A good test of whether or not a movement or events are conservative is whether someone from a time prior to those events would recognize the post-event society or not. If society has changed dramatically than those who changed it are not conservative.

    ” In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative…”

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it’s a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics.

    No. Anti-government mentality predates race issues. The Puritans came to America to escape the government; the Scotch-Irish likewise were suspicious of elites and governments. They wee Catholic-killers in Ireland, and Injun-fighters in North America. Limited government is ingrained into American traditions.

    Would someone from Shakespeare’s time feel at home in dour Puritan England or not? I think not. So therefore the movement was revolutionary rather than conservative.

    Even more so, someone transported from Russia in 1910 would find himself in a frightening, nightmarish and alien world in 1939.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour.

    As the name implies, Scots-Irish are mostly descendants of Scots from northern Ireland (“Irish protestants”). This part of the UK most resembles Appalachia in its traditions. It votes not for Labor but for the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by a Presbyterian evangelical minister.

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    Scots-Irish are mostly descendants of Scots from northern Ireland (“Irish protestants”)

    They originated in lowland Scotland. Some migrated to northern Ireland and from there some migrated to the southeastern US. I think it's relevant who their ultimate place of origin votes for.

    In the 1930s southern Whites voted for Roosevelt. It was the Yankees who voted against him. Roosevelt's statist policies were seen as benefiting the poor regardless of race. LBJ's statist policies were seen as disproportionately benefiting Blacks instead. I think that's what turned southern US Whites off statism.
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  61. AP says:
    @Glossy
    I disagree with you about Stalin. As I said earlier in this thread, I think that he joined the Communists in his youth for Georgian nationalistic reasons. Koba, his early nickname, was a character in a Georgian nationalistic, anti-Russian novel. Georgian nationalists saw Russians as occupiers. The Communists hated Russia, so lots of ethnic-minority nationalists from all over the empire were attracted to them.

    US Blacks vote Democratic, but they aren't really leftists. Algerians vote for the Socialists in France, but they aren't leftists either. They vote that way for ethno-nationalist reasons instead.

    I think that Stalin joined the Communists without being emotionally or culturally leftist. And that as he got more and more power his personal view of things became more and more important.

    The stuff you mentioned - the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life - was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed. As I'm sure you know, Stalin's rise to absolute power was a very long, very gradual process. In 1927 the worst he could do to Trotsky was exile him. If I'm not mistaken, the first executions of Old Bolsheviks occurred at the end of 1936. Before that when Stalin defeated an enemy of his within the party, he was typically just demoted or excluded.

    The absolute dictatorship probably started with the 1937-1938 period. And most of the leftist destruction that you mentioned (and which was horrible and real) occured before that. There was a long period of collective leadership and then there were all of those factional struggles where Stalin allied with some Old Bolsheviks to oppose others.

    In what ways was the period of Stalin's absolute dictatorship conservative? The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943. Modernist "art" was replaced by traditionalist art before that. Homosexuality was banned in 1933. In the arena of inter-ethnic relations the early Bolsheviks promoted centrifugal fources (bigger role for minority languages, etc.) As Stalin got more and more power, he began promoting centripetal forces instead.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal. So in Spain, for example, Franco viewed the Catalan and Basque languages negatively, as a source of division. The leftist governments that came to power after his death promoted them instead.

    I remember you saying that the USSR mellowed through the decades by some natural process and that if Hitler won WWII, his regime would have evetually mellowed too. I don't think the mellowing was preordained. I don't think that's a law of nature. There was a life-and-death struggle. Most of the people who made the Revolution and who lived till 1937-1938 were executed in those two years. I think THAT's what made the later, mellower USSR possible.

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed

    Not really. Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia. Collectivization was opposed by two ethnic Russians in the Soviet government, Rykov and Bukharin, whom Stalin expelled from the party. He was clearly in charge. The peasantry and the village were essential features of Russian society. Stalin utterly destroyed and changed them.

    As someone else mentioned, Stalin in 1936-1937 liquidated 100,000s of Kulaks, peasants who had prospered under the Old Regime and NEP, and who stood in the way of the new society. He also, in the late 30′s, finished of most of the surviving Russian nobles (book recommendation: Former People, buy Douglas Smith, about the Russian nobility’s plight in the 1930s and 1940s). There were more such victims than there were Old Bolshevik victims. Incidentally, given that the Old Bolsheviks were largely renegades from the former ruling classes, liquidating them also served to sever the links to Old Russia.

    The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943.

    A desperate wartime measure. And after it had been perverted utterly. The real Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR, refused to recognize Stalin’s creation.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal.

    Not necessarily. Centralization was an Enlightenment thing. Ukraine’s Hetmanate was abolished by Voltaire-reading Catherine, who viewed it as a medieval anachronism. The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton. Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers and it was not centralized. Lenin, incidentally, seems to have largely borrowed his approach towards ethnicity from the Austrians – he lived in Austria-Hungary for years. So in this respect Stalin was more radical and leftist than the Bolsheviks.

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization

    Not according to Trotsky. Trotsky wrote from exile that Stalin sabotaged collectivisation, that he was a patron and protector of the kulaks during it. I can try to find the book where I first saw those quotes if you want. The author's attitude seemed to be that Trotsky was generally a positive figure but was wrong on collectivisation.

    A desperate wartime measure.

    I'm curious about the date when the last church was blown up. Without looking it up, just going by impressions, 1935 seems plausible to me. I don't think that the events of 1943 came out of the blue. I think there was a gradual change of attitude.

    , @Glossy
    The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton.

    I know that all legal and official documents throughout France were required to be written in French (the language of Paris and surroundings, which was a small portion of the country) since 1539:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinance_of_Villers-Cotterêts

    So the ancien régime was already culturally centralizing. Did the revolutionaries make France even more centralizing? I don't know. Do you know of any examples of them doing that?

    , @Glossy
    Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers

    I don't know about that. In 1914 Britan and France were relatively liberal while Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were relatively conservative. Which of the latter three was the most conservative? Hard to say. Why not Russia?
    , @Seamus Padraig

    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia.
     
    1.) I think Glossy was simply trying to make the case the some of Stalin's cultural policies could be described as more conservative than those of the early Bolsheviks; economics is a separate issue.

    2.) With respect to agricultural collectivization specifically, a good case could be made that, relative to the historical norms of Russian culture and civilization, it was actually in some sense more reactionary than radical. For most of its history, rural Russia had been dominated by a very strict feudal-agrarian system, wherein the peasants (muzhiki) were bound to their estates, and were in no sense owners of the land. They had to fork over a percentage of their yields to the land-owners, and could divvy up the rest among themselves. Notions like individualism and private property played little roll in their daily lives. The abolition of serfdom did not occur until very late in Russian history, in 1861. Most other European states had scrapped it by then--and some had never had it to begin with. Obviously, Soviet collectivized agriculture--in its origin and effect--was not exactly like serfdom. But a person could definitely argue that it was far more similar to it than Kulakism (yeomen land-owning ) and the NEP. At any rate, it's something to consider.

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  62. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    Yes. Which reminds me of something. When I mentioned English Puritans a while ago you said that in 17th century England Catholics were the most conservative, Puritans were the least conservative and Protestants who fought for the king in the Civil War were in the middle. That doesn’t sound right to me....I think that Protestantism was essentially a Germanic revolt against Mediterranean-style church governance. Protestants fought against corruption, nepotism in the church hierarchy, the selling of indulgences, etc. And they were egalitarian. They were really typical Germanic do-gooders appalled by typically Italian political culture. And there’s a lot of egalitarian do-goodery in the English national character. So to the English the Puritans probably seemed more conservative, more in line with their natural instincts.
     
    Hmm...There is some truth is what you write. It may be true more of the Lutheran areas than the British ones, however. A good test of whether or not a movement or events are conservative is whether someone from a time prior to those events would recognize the post-event society or not. If society has changed dramatically than those who changed it are not conservative.

    " In America, with its frontier heritage, libertarianism is conservative…"

    Gun ownership feels conservative to real Americans because it’s a part of their folk tradition. THAT is due to frontier heritage. The anti-government feeling probably has more to do with US racial dynamics.
     
    No. Anti-government mentality predates race issues. The Puritans came to America to escape the government; the Scotch-Irish likewise were suspicious of elites and governments. They wee Catholic-killers in Ireland, and Injun-fighters in North America. Limited government is ingrained into American traditions.

    Would someone from Shakespeare's time feel at home in dour Puritan England or not? I think not. So therefore the movement was revolutionary rather than conservative.

    Even more so, someone transported from Russia in 1910 would find himself in a frightening, nightmarish and alien world in 1939.

    The most stereotypically American Americans are southern Scots-Irish. Lowland Scotland votes Labour.
     
    As the name implies, Scots-Irish are mostly descendants of Scots from northern Ireland ("Irish protestants"). This part of the UK most resembles Appalachia in its traditions. It votes not for Labor but for the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by a Presbyterian evangelical minister.

    Scots-Irish are mostly descendants of Scots from northern Ireland (“Irish protestants”)

    They originated in lowland Scotland. Some migrated to northern Ireland and from there some migrated to the southeastern US. I think it’s relevant who their ultimate place of origin votes for.

    In the 1930s southern Whites voted for Roosevelt. It was the Yankees who voted against him. Roosevelt’s statist policies were seen as benefiting the poor regardless of race. LBJ’s statist policies were seen as disproportionately benefiting Blacks instead. I think that’s what turned southern US Whites off statism.

    Read More
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  63. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed
     
    Not really. Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia. Collectivization was opposed by two ethnic Russians in the Soviet government, Rykov and Bukharin, whom Stalin expelled from the party. He was clearly in charge. The peasantry and the village were essential features of Russian society. Stalin utterly destroyed and changed them.

    As someone else mentioned, Stalin in 1936-1937 liquidated 100,000s of Kulaks, peasants who had prospered under the Old Regime and NEP, and who stood in the way of the new society. He also, in the late 30's, finished of most of the surviving Russian nobles (book recommendation: Former People, buy Douglas Smith, about the Russian nobility's plight in the 1930s and 1940s). There were more such victims than there were Old Bolshevik victims. Incidentally, given that the Old Bolsheviks were largely renegades from the former ruling classes, liquidating them also served to sever the links to Old Russia.


    The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943.
     
    A desperate wartime measure. And after it had been perverted utterly. The real Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR, refused to recognize Stalin's creation.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal.
     
    Not necessarily. Centralization was an Enlightenment thing. Ukraine's Hetmanate was abolished by Voltaire-reading Catherine, who viewed it as a medieval anachronism. The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton. Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers and it was not centralized. Lenin, incidentally, seems to have largely borrowed his approach towards ethnicity from the Austrians - he lived in Austria-Hungary for years. So in this respect Stalin was more radical and leftist than the Bolsheviks.

    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization

    Not according to Trotsky. Trotsky wrote from exile that Stalin sabotaged collectivisation, that he was a patron and protector of the kulaks during it. I can try to find the book where I first saw those quotes if you want. The author’s attitude seemed to be that Trotsky was generally a positive figure but was wrong on collectivisation.

    A desperate wartime measure.

    I’m curious about the date when the last church was blown up. Without looking it up, just going by impressions, 1935 seems plausible to me. I don’t think that the events of 1943 came out of the blue. I think there was a gradual change of attitude.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Here's the chapter on Trotsky's attitude to collectivisation:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=365Sg54_D5QC&lpg=PA93&ots=-NaafHvLTI&pg=PA93&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Trotsky to the New York Times:

    "the successes in the sphere of industrialization and collectivisation became possible only because the Stalinist bureaucracy came up against the resistance of its protege, the kulak, who refused to surrender grain to the state, and thus the bureaucracy was compelled to take over and carry out the policy of the left opposition."

    So what he's saying there is that the left opposition (Trotsky and co.) always said that agriculture had to be collectivized. But Stalin and his bureacracy were resisting that because they liked the kulaks too much. He calls the kulaks proteges of Stalin's bureaucracy. Trotsky says that Stalin's government tried to requisition some grain. The kulaks resisted. And so Stalin was reluctantly forced to carry out the policy long urged by Trotsky and co. (the left opposition), namely collectivization.

    , @AP

    I’m curious about the date when the last church was blown up. Without looking it up, just going by impressions, 1935 seems plausible to me.
     
    I don't know. I do know that 10,000s of Russian Orthodox clergy were murdered in 1937 though:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USSR_anti-religious_campaign_(1928%E2%80%9341)#Activities

    During the purges of 1937 and 1938, church documents record that 168,300 Russian Orthodox clergy were arrested. Of these, over 100,000 were shot.[57] Lower estimates claim that at least 25,000–30,000 clergy were killed in the 1930s and 1940s.[58] When including both religious (i.e., monks and nuns) and clergy, historian Nathaniel Davis estimates that 80,000 were killed by the end of the 1930s.[59] Alexander Yakovlev, the head of the Commission for Rehabilitating Victims of Political Repression (in the modern Russian government) has stated that the number of monks, nuns and priests killed in the purges is over 200,000.[51]

    I don’t think that the events of 1943 came out of the blue. I think there was a gradual change of attitude.
     
    A combination of a weak and powerless rump Church made up largely of collaborators/survivors, and desperation to use any motivator possible during the war effort.
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  64. Glossy says: • Website
    @Glossy
    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization

    Not according to Trotsky. Trotsky wrote from exile that Stalin sabotaged collectivisation, that he was a patron and protector of the kulaks during it. I can try to find the book where I first saw those quotes if you want. The author's attitude seemed to be that Trotsky was generally a positive figure but was wrong on collectivisation.

    A desperate wartime measure.

    I'm curious about the date when the last church was blown up. Without looking it up, just going by impressions, 1935 seems plausible to me. I don't think that the events of 1943 came out of the blue. I think there was a gradual change of attitude.

    Here’s the chapter on Trotsky’s attitude to collectivisation:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=365Sg54_D5QC&lpg=PA93&ots=-NaafHvLTI&pg=PA93&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Trotsky to the New York Times:

    “the successes in the sphere of industrialization and collectivisation became possible only because the Stalinist bureaucracy came up against the resistance of its protege, the kulak, who refused to surrender grain to the state, and thus the bureaucracy was compelled to take over and carry out the policy of the left opposition.”

    So what he’s saying there is that the left opposition (Trotsky and co.) always said that agriculture had to be collectivized. But Stalin and his bureacracy were resisting that because they liked the kulaks too much. He calls the kulaks proteges of Stalin’s bureaucracy. Trotsky says that Stalin’s government tried to requisition some grain. The kulaks resisted. And so Stalin was reluctantly forced to carry out the policy long urged by Trotsky and co. (the left opposition), namely collectivization.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    "Trotsky had viewed the grain procurement crisis of 1927-8 as a manifestation of kulak power, and regarded the belated and small price rise of mid-1928 as an intolerable concession to the kulaks."

    According to Trotsky "the Stalinist bureaucracy" was making intolerable concessions to the kulaks.
    , @jtgw
    And you take Trotsky at his word why? Sounds like Trotsky was just jealous of Stalin's success and wanted to portray him as reactionary, rather than revolutionary, which is an insult in Communist circles. Why don't you answer AP's points with actual evidence that Stalin really did favor the kulaks, rather than quote mining from Stalin's political rival?
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  65. Glossy says: • Website
    @Glossy
    Here's the chapter on Trotsky's attitude to collectivisation:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=365Sg54_D5QC&lpg=PA93&ots=-NaafHvLTI&pg=PA93&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Trotsky to the New York Times:

    "the successes in the sphere of industrialization and collectivisation became possible only because the Stalinist bureaucracy came up against the resistance of its protege, the kulak, who refused to surrender grain to the state, and thus the bureaucracy was compelled to take over and carry out the policy of the left opposition."

    So what he's saying there is that the left opposition (Trotsky and co.) always said that agriculture had to be collectivized. But Stalin and his bureacracy were resisting that because they liked the kulaks too much. He calls the kulaks proteges of Stalin's bureaucracy. Trotsky says that Stalin's government tried to requisition some grain. The kulaks resisted. And so Stalin was reluctantly forced to carry out the policy long urged by Trotsky and co. (the left opposition), namely collectivization.

    “Trotsky had viewed the grain procurement crisis of 1927-8 as a manifestation of kulak power, and regarded the belated and small price rise of mid-1928 as an intolerable concession to the kulaks.”

    According to Trotsky “the Stalinist bureaucracy” was making intolerable concessions to the kulaks.

    Read More
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  66. jtgw says:
    @Glossy
    Here's the chapter on Trotsky's attitude to collectivisation:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=365Sg54_D5QC&lpg=PA93&ots=-NaafHvLTI&pg=PA93&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Trotsky to the New York Times:

    "the successes in the sphere of industrialization and collectivisation became possible only because the Stalinist bureaucracy came up against the resistance of its protege, the kulak, who refused to surrender grain to the state, and thus the bureaucracy was compelled to take over and carry out the policy of the left opposition."

    So what he's saying there is that the left opposition (Trotsky and co.) always said that agriculture had to be collectivized. But Stalin and his bureacracy were resisting that because they liked the kulaks too much. He calls the kulaks proteges of Stalin's bureaucracy. Trotsky says that Stalin's government tried to requisition some grain. The kulaks resisted. And so Stalin was reluctantly forced to carry out the policy long urged by Trotsky and co. (the left opposition), namely collectivization.

    And you take Trotsky at his word why? Sounds like Trotsky was just jealous of Stalin’s success and wanted to portray him as reactionary, rather than revolutionary, which is an insult in Communist circles. Why don’t you answer AP’s points with actual evidence that Stalin really did favor the kulaks, rather than quote mining from Stalin’s political rival?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Trotsky and Stalin hated each other. So of course Trotsky was going to criticize Stalin for something. On the topic of collectivisation he could have chosen to criticize him either for collectivising too much or for collectivising too little. I think it's informative that Trotsky chose to criticize Stalin for collectivising too little and too late, for making intolerable concessions to kulaks and for making them his proteges. I think that's a useful bit of information.

    I think I've presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.

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  67. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed
     
    Not really. Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia. Collectivization was opposed by two ethnic Russians in the Soviet government, Rykov and Bukharin, whom Stalin expelled from the party. He was clearly in charge. The peasantry and the village were essential features of Russian society. Stalin utterly destroyed and changed them.

    As someone else mentioned, Stalin in 1936-1937 liquidated 100,000s of Kulaks, peasants who had prospered under the Old Regime and NEP, and who stood in the way of the new society. He also, in the late 30's, finished of most of the surviving Russian nobles (book recommendation: Former People, buy Douglas Smith, about the Russian nobility's plight in the 1930s and 1940s). There were more such victims than there were Old Bolshevik victims. Incidentally, given that the Old Bolsheviks were largely renegades from the former ruling classes, liquidating them also served to sever the links to Old Russia.


    The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943.
     
    A desperate wartime measure. And after it had been perverted utterly. The real Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR, refused to recognize Stalin's creation.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal.
     
    Not necessarily. Centralization was an Enlightenment thing. Ukraine's Hetmanate was abolished by Voltaire-reading Catherine, who viewed it as a medieval anachronism. The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton. Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers and it was not centralized. Lenin, incidentally, seems to have largely borrowed his approach towards ethnicity from the Austrians - he lived in Austria-Hungary for years. So in this respect Stalin was more radical and leftist than the Bolsheviks.

    The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton.

    I know that all legal and official documents throughout France were required to be written in French (the language of Paris and surroundings, which was a small portion of the country) since 1539:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinance_of_Villers-Cotterêts

    So the ancien régime was already culturally centralizing. Did the revolutionaries make France even more centralizing? I don’t know. Do you know of any examples of them doing that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    This was streamlining the bureaucracy; the government didn't mind minority languages being used otherwise, the the Revolution brought about a much more severe centralization.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_policy_in_France#French_Revolution

    Prior to the French Revolution of 1789, French kings did not take a strong position on the language spoken by their subjects. However, in sweeping away the old provinces, parlements and laws, the Revolution strengthened the unified system of administration across the state. At first, the revolutionaries declared liberty of language for all citizens of the Republic; this policy was subsequently abandoned in favour of the imposition of a common language which was to do away with the other languages of France. Other languages were seen as keeping the peasant masses in obscurantism.

    The new idea was expounded in the Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalise the use of the French language. Its author, Henri Grégoire, deplored that France, the most advanced country in the world with regard to politics, had not progressed beyond the Tower of Babel as far as languages were concerned, and that only three million of the 25 million inhabitants of France spoke a pure Parisian French as their native tongue. The lack of ability of the population to understand the language in which were the political debates and the administrative documents was then seen as antidemocratic.

    The report resulted the same year in two laws which stated that the only language tolerated in France in public life and in schools would be French. Within two years, the French language had become the symbol of the national unity of the French State. However, the Revolutionaries lacked both time and money to implement a language policy.
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  68. Glossy says: • Website
    @jtgw
    And you take Trotsky at his word why? Sounds like Trotsky was just jealous of Stalin's success and wanted to portray him as reactionary, rather than revolutionary, which is an insult in Communist circles. Why don't you answer AP's points with actual evidence that Stalin really did favor the kulaks, rather than quote mining from Stalin's political rival?

    Trotsky and Stalin hated each other. So of course Trotsky was going to criticize Stalin for something. On the topic of collectivisation he could have chosen to criticize him either for collectivising too much or for collectivising too little. I think it’s informative that Trotsky chose to criticize Stalin for collectivising too little and too late, for making intolerable concessions to kulaks and for making them his proteges. I think that’s a useful bit of information.

    I think I’ve presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Are you disputing the numbers of kulaks Stalin had killed? The Trotsky quotes don't prove that Stalin was some conservative defender of traditional Russia, but at best that he was marginally less rabidly and genocidally anti-traditional than Trotsky would have been.
    , @AP

    I think I’ve presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.
     
    There is a claim by Trotsky. On the other hand, there is the fact that Stalin executed over 300,000 kulaks n the late 1930s. Also, the worst the famine excesses leading to the end of the traditional Russian and Ukrainian village occurred in 1932-1933 when Stalin's power was well-entrenched.
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  69. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed
     
    Not really. Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia. Collectivization was opposed by two ethnic Russians in the Soviet government, Rykov and Bukharin, whom Stalin expelled from the party. He was clearly in charge. The peasantry and the village were essential features of Russian society. Stalin utterly destroyed and changed them.

    As someone else mentioned, Stalin in 1936-1937 liquidated 100,000s of Kulaks, peasants who had prospered under the Old Regime and NEP, and who stood in the way of the new society. He also, in the late 30's, finished of most of the surviving Russian nobles (book recommendation: Former People, buy Douglas Smith, about the Russian nobility's plight in the 1930s and 1940s). There were more such victims than there were Old Bolshevik victims. Incidentally, given that the Old Bolsheviks were largely renegades from the former ruling classes, liquidating them also served to sever the links to Old Russia.


    The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943.
     
    A desperate wartime measure. And after it had been perverted utterly. The real Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR, refused to recognize Stalin's creation.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal.
     
    Not necessarily. Centralization was an Enlightenment thing. Ukraine's Hetmanate was abolished by Voltaire-reading Catherine, who viewed it as a medieval anachronism. The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton. Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers and it was not centralized. Lenin, incidentally, seems to have largely borrowed his approach towards ethnicity from the Austrians - he lived in Austria-Hungary for years. So in this respect Stalin was more radical and leftist than the Bolsheviks.

    Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers

    I don’t know about that. In 1914 Britan and France were relatively liberal while Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were relatively conservative. Which of the latter three was the most conservative? Hard to say. Why not Russia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    In 1914 Britan and France were relatively liberal while Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were relatively conservative. Which of the latter three was the most conservative? Hard to say. Why not Russia?
     
    I was thinking about unambiguously European states and forgot to consider Russia (or the Ottoman Empire) - my mistake. Yes, it's hard to judge whether Russia or A-H was more conservative. But A-H was clearly multiethnic and diverse.
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  70. jtgw says:
    @Glossy
    Trotsky and Stalin hated each other. So of course Trotsky was going to criticize Stalin for something. On the topic of collectivisation he could have chosen to criticize him either for collectivising too much or for collectivising too little. I think it's informative that Trotsky chose to criticize Stalin for collectivising too little and too late, for making intolerable concessions to kulaks and for making them his proteges. I think that's a useful bit of information.

    I think I've presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.

    Are you disputing the numbers of kulaks Stalin had killed? The Trotsky quotes don’t prove that Stalin was some conservative defender of traditional Russia, but at best that he was marginally less rabidly and genocidally anti-traditional than Trotsky would have been.

    Read More
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  71. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Trotsky and Stalin hated each other. So of course Trotsky was going to criticize Stalin for something. On the topic of collectivisation he could have chosen to criticize him either for collectivising too much or for collectivising too little. I think it's informative that Trotsky chose to criticize Stalin for collectivising too little and too late, for making intolerable concessions to kulaks and for making them his proteges. I think that's a useful bit of information.

    I think I've presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.

    I think I’ve presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.

    There is a claim by Trotsky. On the other hand, there is the fact that Stalin executed over 300,000 kulaks n the late 1930s. Also, the worst the famine excesses leading to the end of the traditional Russian and Ukrainian village occurred in 1932-1933 when Stalin’s power was well-entrenched.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    As Stalin became more powerful, there was a right-ward move on many fronts. Not on all fronts. And there were inconsistencies. But on a net basis there was a right-ward move.

    And we can say something similar about Putin. There's a right-ward move compared to the Yeltsin period. But not on all fronts and there are inconsistencies. There are still oligarchs around, there's still too much crime, etc. But a net improvement cannot be denied.

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  72. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers

    I don't know about that. In 1914 Britan and France were relatively liberal while Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were relatively conservative. Which of the latter three was the most conservative? Hard to say. Why not Russia?

    In 1914 Britan and France were relatively liberal while Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were relatively conservative. Which of the latter three was the most conservative? Hard to say. Why not Russia?

    I was thinking about unambiguously European states and forgot to consider Russia (or the Ottoman Empire) – my mistake. Yes, it’s hard to judge whether Russia or A-H was more conservative. But A-H was clearly multiethnic and diverse.

    Read More
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  73. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    I think I’ve presented more evidence to back up my assertions on this (look at those quotes) than AP did to back up his assertions.
     
    There is a claim by Trotsky. On the other hand, there is the fact that Stalin executed over 300,000 kulaks n the late 1930s. Also, the worst the famine excesses leading to the end of the traditional Russian and Ukrainian village occurred in 1932-1933 when Stalin's power was well-entrenched.

    As Stalin became more powerful, there was a right-ward move on many fronts. Not on all fronts. And there were inconsistencies. But on a net basis there was a right-ward move.

    And we can say something similar about Putin. There’s a right-ward move compared to the Yeltsin period. But not on all fronts and there are inconsistencies. There are still oligarchs around, there’s still too much crime, etc. But a net improvement cannot be denied.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    As Stalin became more powerful, there was a right-ward move on many fronts.
     
    Which ones? As we have seen, collectivization became worse; indeed the traditional Russian countryside ceased to exist. Slaughter of kulaks and priests was worse. Surviving remnants of the old aristocracy was for the most part eliminated. A lot of pre-Revolutionary parts of Moscow and other cities were destroyed and remade.

    http://themoscownews.com/photogalleries/20110530/188704405.html

    These are much more substantial changes than something like outlawing homosexuality, a rare thing anyways.

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  74. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization

    Not according to Trotsky. Trotsky wrote from exile that Stalin sabotaged collectivisation, that he was a patron and protector of the kulaks during it. I can try to find the book where I first saw those quotes if you want. The author's attitude seemed to be that Trotsky was generally a positive figure but was wrong on collectivisation.

    A desperate wartime measure.

    I'm curious about the date when the last church was blown up. Without looking it up, just going by impressions, 1935 seems plausible to me. I don't think that the events of 1943 came out of the blue. I think there was a gradual change of attitude.

    I’m curious about the date when the last church was blown up. Without looking it up, just going by impressions, 1935 seems plausible to me.

    I don’t know. I do know that 10,000s of Russian Orthodox clergy were murdered in 1937 though:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USSR_anti-religious_campaign_(1928%E2%80%9341)#Activities

    During the purges of 1937 and 1938, church documents record that 168,300 Russian Orthodox clergy were arrested. Of these, over 100,000 were shot.[57] Lower estimates claim that at least 25,000–30,000 clergy were killed in the 1930s and 1940s.[58] When including both religious (i.e., monks and nuns) and clergy, historian Nathaniel Davis estimates that 80,000 were killed by the end of the 1930s.[59] Alexander Yakovlev, the head of the Commission for Rehabilitating Victims of Political Repression (in the modern Russian government) has stated that the number of monks, nuns and priests killed in the purges is over 200,000.[51]

    I don’t think that the events of 1943 came out of the blue. I think there was a gradual change of attitude.

    A combination of a weak and powerless rump Church made up largely of collaborators/survivors, and desperation to use any motivator possible during the war effort.

    Read More
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  75. AP says:
    @Glossy
    As Stalin became more powerful, there was a right-ward move on many fronts. Not on all fronts. And there were inconsistencies. But on a net basis there was a right-ward move.

    And we can say something similar about Putin. There's a right-ward move compared to the Yeltsin period. But not on all fronts and there are inconsistencies. There are still oligarchs around, there's still too much crime, etc. But a net improvement cannot be denied.

    As Stalin became more powerful, there was a right-ward move on many fronts.

    Which ones? As we have seen, collectivization became worse; indeed the traditional Russian countryside ceased to exist. Slaughter of kulaks and priests was worse. Surviving remnants of the old aristocracy was for the most part eliminated. A lot of pre-Revolutionary parts of Moscow and other cities were destroyed and remade.

    http://themoscownews.com/photogalleries/20110530/188704405.html

    These are much more substantial changes than something like outlawing homosexuality, a rare thing anyways.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    No, not worse. The worst famines were in 1921 and 1932-1933. The most violent years were the civil war years, not 1937-1938. Most of the blowing up of the churches must have happened in the 1920s. By the late 1930s the worst domestic troubles were over. As time went on, the country began to industrialize. There was a positive change in the arts policy. Remember that the early Bolsheviks promoted modernism.
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  76. AP says:
    @Glossy
    The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton.

    I know that all legal and official documents throughout France were required to be written in French (the language of Paris and surroundings, which was a small portion of the country) since 1539:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinance_of_Villers-Cotterêts

    So the ancien régime was already culturally centralizing. Did the revolutionaries make France even more centralizing? I don't know. Do you know of any examples of them doing that?

    This was streamlining the bureaucracy; the government didn’t mind minority languages being used otherwise, the the Revolution brought about a much more severe centralization.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_policy_in_France#French_Revolution

    Prior to the French Revolution of 1789, French kings did not take a strong position on the language spoken by their subjects. However, in sweeping away the old provinces, parlements and laws, the Revolution strengthened the unified system of administration across the state. At first, the revolutionaries declared liberty of language for all citizens of the Republic; this policy was subsequently abandoned in favour of the imposition of a common language which was to do away with the other languages of France. Other languages were seen as keeping the peasant masses in obscurantism.

    The new idea was expounded in the Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalise the use of the French language. Its author, Henri Grégoire, deplored that France, the most advanced country in the world with regard to politics, had not progressed beyond the Tower of Babel as far as languages were concerned, and that only three million of the 25 million inhabitants of France spoke a pure Parisian French as their native tongue. The lack of ability of the population to understand the language in which were the political debates and the administrative documents was then seen as antidemocratic.

    The report resulted the same year in two laws which stated that the only language tolerated in France in public life and in schools would be French. Within two years, the French language had become the symbol of the national unity of the French State. However, the Revolutionaries lacked both time and money to implement a language policy.

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  77. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    As Stalin became more powerful, there was a right-ward move on many fronts.
     
    Which ones? As we have seen, collectivization became worse; indeed the traditional Russian countryside ceased to exist. Slaughter of kulaks and priests was worse. Surviving remnants of the old aristocracy was for the most part eliminated. A lot of pre-Revolutionary parts of Moscow and other cities were destroyed and remade.

    http://themoscownews.com/photogalleries/20110530/188704405.html

    These are much more substantial changes than something like outlawing homosexuality, a rare thing anyways.

    No, not worse. The worst famines were in 1921 and 1932-1933. The most violent years were the civil war years, not 1937-1938. Most of the blowing up of the churches must have happened in the 1920s. By the late 1930s the worst domestic troubles were over. As time went on, the country began to industrialize. There was a positive change in the arts policy. Remember that the early Bolsheviks promoted modernism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    The worst famines were in 1921 and 1932-1933.
     
    1921 was war-related and Stalin was firmly in charge in 1932-33. The latter was also worse. I'm not sure why you date Stalin's rule to the late 1930's.

    The most violent years were the civil war years, not 1937-1938.
     
    Executions were most common in the late 1930's purges. Death toll from a war isn't comparable to death toll from arrests/executions.

    Most of the blowing up of the churches must have happened in the 1920s
     
    There weren't nearly as many churches left to blow up. But Stalin took care of the priests.

    By the late 1930s the worst domestic troubles were over.
     
    Executing about a million people and starving to death a few million more who represented traditional Russia and totally cowing the rest into submission through terror would do that.

    As time went on, the country began to industrialize.
     
    Revolutionary industrialization made at the expense of traditional society isn't conservative.

    There was a positive change in the arts policy. Remember that the early Bolsheviks promoted modernism.
     
    Arts were rather free during Tsarist times. Enforcing socialist realism wasn't a conservative thing to do. Replacing Chagall with glorified portraits of factory workers isn't traditionalism.

    To come back to my original statement on this, in eliminating once and for all old Russia and through mass murder and terror birthing a stable new Soviet society, Stalin can be considered a conservative icon within the context the later Soviet society with its internalized Soviet traditions and values. But as for traditional, real Russia - not at all.
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  78. AP says:
    @Glossy
    No, not worse. The worst famines were in 1921 and 1932-1933. The most violent years were the civil war years, not 1937-1938. Most of the blowing up of the churches must have happened in the 1920s. By the late 1930s the worst domestic troubles were over. As time went on, the country began to industrialize. There was a positive change in the arts policy. Remember that the early Bolsheviks promoted modernism.

    The worst famines were in 1921 and 1932-1933.

    1921 was war-related and Stalin was firmly in charge in 1932-33. The latter was also worse. I’m not sure why you date Stalin’s rule to the late 1930′s.

    The most violent years were the civil war years, not 1937-1938.

    Executions were most common in the late 1930′s purges. Death toll from a war isn’t comparable to death toll from arrests/executions.

    Most of the blowing up of the churches must have happened in the 1920s

    There weren’t nearly as many churches left to blow up. But Stalin took care of the priests.

    By the late 1930s the worst domestic troubles were over.

    Executing about a million people and starving to death a few million more who represented traditional Russia and totally cowing the rest into submission through terror would do that.

    As time went on, the country began to industrialize.

    Revolutionary industrialization made at the expense of traditional society isn’t conservative.

    There was a positive change in the arts policy. Remember that the early Bolsheviks promoted modernism.

    Arts were rather free during Tsarist times. Enforcing socialist realism wasn’t a conservative thing to do. Replacing Chagall with glorified portraits of factory workers isn’t traditionalism.

    To come back to my original statement on this, in eliminating once and for all old Russia and through mass murder and terror birthing a stable new Soviet society, Stalin can be considered a conservative icon within the context the later Soviet society with its internalized Soviet traditions and values. But as for traditional, real Russia – not at all.

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    Stalin was firmly in charge in 1932-33

    That's just not true. Those were years of factional strife and intrigue, of coalition building. One-man rule arrived in the late 30s.
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  79. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    The worst famines were in 1921 and 1932-1933.
     
    1921 was war-related and Stalin was firmly in charge in 1932-33. The latter was also worse. I'm not sure why you date Stalin's rule to the late 1930's.

    The most violent years were the civil war years, not 1937-1938.
     
    Executions were most common in the late 1930's purges. Death toll from a war isn't comparable to death toll from arrests/executions.

    Most of the blowing up of the churches must have happened in the 1920s
     
    There weren't nearly as many churches left to blow up. But Stalin took care of the priests.

    By the late 1930s the worst domestic troubles were over.
     
    Executing about a million people and starving to death a few million more who represented traditional Russia and totally cowing the rest into submission through terror would do that.

    As time went on, the country began to industrialize.
     
    Revolutionary industrialization made at the expense of traditional society isn't conservative.

    There was a positive change in the arts policy. Remember that the early Bolsheviks promoted modernism.
     
    Arts were rather free during Tsarist times. Enforcing socialist realism wasn't a conservative thing to do. Replacing Chagall with glorified portraits of factory workers isn't traditionalism.

    To come back to my original statement on this, in eliminating once and for all old Russia and through mass murder and terror birthing a stable new Soviet society, Stalin can be considered a conservative icon within the context the later Soviet society with its internalized Soviet traditions and values. But as for traditional, real Russia - not at all.

    Stalin was firmly in charge in 1932-33

    That’s just not true. Those were years of factional strife and intrigue, of coalition building. One-man rule arrived in the late 30s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    That’s just not true. Those were years of factional strife and intrigue, of coalition building. One-man rule arrived in the late 30s.
     
    You really don't think that Stalin was in charge by the late 1920's?

    By the late 1920s nobody was able to defy Stalin. Stalin faced two rivals in his climb to power. The first were the United Opposition, led by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. these were defeated and expelled from the party in 1927. The next conflict was with the Right Opposition (moderate, ethnic Russian Bolsheviks Bukharin and Rykov) who opposed collectivization. These were defeated in late 1929. So by 1930 Stalin's control was uncontested.


    Here is an example of someone trying to build a coalition within the party to remove Stalin by force in 1932:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryutin_Affair

    The effort failed. Stalin’s suggestion that the leader be executed was voted down. Members of the group were expelled from the party for one year!
     

    Stalin may not have immediately been able to just kill people at will by 1930, but he could have them expelled from the party and from government at will. An unsuccessful attempt to dislodge him doesn't mean he wasn't in charge.

    BTW the link itself states: " With Stalin now firmly in control of the Communist Party and all dissent punishable by immediate expulsion and exile , Ryutin decided to act in secret."

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  80. Glossy says: • Website

    Here is an example of someone trying to build a coalition within the party to remove Stalin by force in 1932:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryutin_Affair

    The effort failed. Stalin’s suggestion that the leader be executed was voted down. Members of the group were expelled from the party for one year!

    On October 11, 1932, Pravda published a list of names of those expelled for participation in the Ryutin group.[15] The expulsions meted were for a period of one year.[15]

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  81. AP says:
    @Glossy
    Stalin was firmly in charge in 1932-33

    That's just not true. Those were years of factional strife and intrigue, of coalition building. One-man rule arrived in the late 30s.

    That’s just not true. Those were years of factional strife and intrigue, of coalition building. One-man rule arrived in the late 30s.

    You really don’t think that Stalin was in charge by the late 1920′s?

    By the late 1920s nobody was able to defy Stalin. Stalin faced two rivals in his climb to power. The first were the United Opposition, led by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. these were defeated and expelled from the party in 1927. The next conflict was with the Right Opposition (moderate, ethnic Russian Bolsheviks Bukharin and Rykov) who opposed collectivization. These were defeated in late 1929. So by 1930 Stalin’s control was uncontested.

    Here is an example of someone trying to build a coalition within the party to remove Stalin by force in 1932:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryutin_Affair

    The effort failed. Stalin’s suggestion that the leader be executed was voted down. Members of the group were expelled from the party for one year!

    Stalin may not have immediately been able to just kill people at will by 1930, but he could have them expelled from the party and from government at will. An unsuccessful attempt to dislodge him doesn’t mean he wasn’t in charge.

    BTW the link itself states: “ With Stalin now firmly in control of the Communist Party and all dissent punishable by immediate expulsion and exile , Ryutin decided to act in secret.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    While discussing Stalin, who, certainly, was not a humanitarian, try to keep in mind well-documented consequences of 1990s Yeltsin's (and his "mladoreformers") so called "liberal" reforms which did cost Russia millions of lives as a result of economic dislocation, atrocious societal ills and, yes, hidden famine. The only thing, or, rather, the only one, who stands between Russian "liberals" and pitchforks, and ropes with the lampposts is Putin. It may yet cost him, if he continues to maintain his position. How much the cost? I don't know, certainly not overthrow, but he will have to face the consequences of standing on guard of the largest violent robbery, and what it entailed, in the history of Russia.
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  82. Glossy says: • Website

    Executing about a million people and starving to death a few million more who represented traditional Russia and totally cowing the rest into submission through terror would do that.

    No, it will not. That wouldn’t end the violence by itself. The violence within the USSR could have continued on and on. As the Germans proved just a few years later. There were lots of people left to kill. The internal violence ended in the late 1930s because the powers that be (and by time it was just person) wanted it to end. The revolution didn’t turn out to be permanent. It ended once most of the revolutionaries were killed.

    It COULD have turned out to be permanent or very long-term if Stalin lost the intra-party power struggles. We’ve again come up against your idea that the USSR eventually mellowed by some natural, impersonal process. I don’t think that’s true.

    And your dismissal of industrialization, an enormous thing, is too easy. There’s looting and then there’s building. Putin is only talking about import substitution now. Reindustrialization is still a pipe dream at this point. Of course it’s conservative to build up the economy, to care about the standard of living of the people.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The vast majority of the time you can't force an opponent in an argument to admit he was wrong. Most of the time the best you can do is force your opponent to resort to magical explanations. Why did revolutionary-type violence end in 1938? I have a non-magical explanation - because most of the original revolutionaries had been killed by that (exact) point and because the remaining power structure (which happened to be just one person) was not interested in continuing it.

    Why do you think that type of violence ended? Because all the opponents of the regime had been killed? But most of the kulaks were apolitical. They were just people who had done well. Some on collective farms must have been doing better than others. They could have been labeled the new kulaks. The very left-wing process of culling the best could have continued indefinitely. Why didn't it? Why did the regime stop picking fights with defenseless, apolitical people who had done well? As I said before, the revolution could have turned out to be permanent, or much more long-term than it did. They certainly didn't run out of people to shoot in 1938.

    Instead the last pre-war years and all of Stalin's post-war years turned out to be extremely non-revolutionary. Why? The idea of some force of nature that mellows violent regimes sounds magical to me.

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  83. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @AP

    That’s just not true. Those were years of factional strife and intrigue, of coalition building. One-man rule arrived in the late 30s.
     
    You really don't think that Stalin was in charge by the late 1920's?

    By the late 1920s nobody was able to defy Stalin. Stalin faced two rivals in his climb to power. The first were the United Opposition, led by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. these were defeated and expelled from the party in 1927. The next conflict was with the Right Opposition (moderate, ethnic Russian Bolsheviks Bukharin and Rykov) who opposed collectivization. These were defeated in late 1929. So by 1930 Stalin's control was uncontested.


    Here is an example of someone trying to build a coalition within the party to remove Stalin by force in 1932:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryutin_Affair

    The effort failed. Stalin’s suggestion that the leader be executed was voted down. Members of the group were expelled from the party for one year!
     

    Stalin may not have immediately been able to just kill people at will by 1930, but he could have them expelled from the party and from government at will. An unsuccessful attempt to dislodge him doesn't mean he wasn't in charge.

    BTW the link itself states: " With Stalin now firmly in control of the Communist Party and all dissent punishable by immediate expulsion and exile , Ryutin decided to act in secret."

    While discussing Stalin, who, certainly, was not a humanitarian, try to keep in mind well-documented consequences of 1990s Yeltsin’s (and his “mladoreformers”) so called “liberal” reforms which did cost Russia millions of lives as a result of economic dislocation, atrocious societal ills and, yes, hidden famine. The only thing, or, rather, the only one, who stands between Russian “liberals” and pitchforks, and ropes with the lampposts is Putin. It may yet cost him, if he continues to maintain his position. How much the cost? I don’t know, certainly not overthrow, but he will have to face the consequences of standing on guard of the largest violent robbery, and what it entailed, in the history of Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Yes, privatisation was the second collectivisation. To the people who didn't see the 1990s in the former USSR that phrase must sound like such nonsense. Yet it's full of sense. That's exactly what that was.

    Maria Gaidar, the proud daughter of one of the architects of the second collectivization in Russia, is employed by the people AP whole-heartedly supports. Her father had the blood of millions on his hands. If you study mortality data for that period, of you calculate the number of early deaths, the number of deaths above the 1980s and 2000s trends, you could, well, no, you're not going to become the second Robert Conquest. Not in the West. You'll have to self-publish that (samizdat, oh the irony) and no one will read it here.

    But yeah, the hypocrisy is overflowing.
    , @AP
    Nineties were indeed awful. But would you rather be a rural Russian in 1932 or 1992? An urban educated guy, or military officer, etc. in 1937 or 1997?
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  84. Glossy says: • Website
    @Glossy
    Executing about a million people and starving to death a few million more who represented traditional Russia and totally cowing the rest into submission through terror would do that.

    No, it will not. That wouldn't end the violence by itself. The violence within the USSR could have continued on and on. As the Germans proved just a few years later. There were lots of people left to kill. The internal violence ended in the late 1930s because the powers that be (and by time it was just person) wanted it to end. The revolution didn't turn out to be permanent. It ended once most of the revolutionaries were killed.

    It COULD have turned out to be permanent or very long-term if Stalin lost the intra-party power struggles. We've again come up against your idea that the USSR eventually mellowed by some natural, impersonal process. I don't think that's true.

    And your dismissal of industrialization, an enormous thing, is too easy. There's looting and then there's building. Putin is only talking about import substitution now. Reindustrialization is still a pipe dream at this point. Of course it's conservative to build up the economy, to care about the standard of living of the people.

    The vast majority of the time you can’t force an opponent in an argument to admit he was wrong. Most of the time the best you can do is force your opponent to resort to magical explanations. Why did revolutionary-type violence end in 1938? I have a non-magical explanation – because most of the original revolutionaries had been killed by that (exact) point and because the remaining power structure (which happened to be just one person) was not interested in continuing it.

    Why do you think that type of violence ended? Because all the opponents of the regime had been killed? But most of the kulaks were apolitical. They were just people who had done well. Some on collective farms must have been doing better than others. They could have been labeled the new kulaks. The very left-wing process of culling the best could have continued indefinitely. Why didn’t it? Why did the regime stop picking fights with defenseless, apolitical people who had done well? As I said before, the revolution could have turned out to be permanent, or much more long-term than it did. They certainly didn’t run out of people to shoot in 1938.

    Instead the last pre-war years and all of Stalin’s post-war years turned out to be extremely non-revolutionary. Why? The idea of some force of nature that mellows violent regimes sounds magical to me.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The vast majority of the time you can’t force an opponent in an argument to admit he was wrong. Most of the time the best you can do is force your opponent to resort to magical explanations.
     
    Actually, I resorted to using facts to disprove your mistaken claims that Stalin was not in control by 1930, and that therefore Stalin wasn't responsible for the worst of the Bolshevik excesses.

    Let's review:

    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn't in control by 1930.

    You didn't know about the 100,000s of murdered priests and Kulaks (and others) in 1937-1938. You only believed that Stalin killed Old Bolsheviks at those times.

    With all due respect, your theories are thus based on a mistaken understanding of the situation (Stalin not in control until late 1930s) and lack of knowledge of certain facts that tell us about Stalin.

    Why did revolutionary-type violence end in 1938? I have a non-magical explanation – because most of the original revolutionaries had been killed by that (exact) point and because the remaining power structure (which happened to be just one person) was not interested in continuing it.
     
    This is part of it, but not in the way you imagine it to be. You once again ignore that Stalin's victims were not only Revolutionaries; those guys were outnumbered by kulaks and priests. But yes, once all enemies or potential enemies were eliminated Stalin no longer needed to keep killing at an extreme rate.

    Why do you think that type of violence ended? Because all the opponents of the regime had been killed? But most of the kulaks were apolitical. They were just people who had done well.
     
    Kulaks represented a pre-Stalin local elite independent of the Soviet power structure. Many of them served as community leaders and mentors to their neighbors. Their liquidation was necessary for the Sovietization of society.

    Some on collective farms must have been doing better than others. They could have been labeled the new kulaks.
     
    As total products of the Soviet system such people would not have been labeled as "new kulaks." They were actually Stalin's children.

    Why did the regime stop picking fights with defenseless, apolitical people who had done well?
     
    The logical, non-magical explanation is that the new defenseless people were the regime's products. The old, removed ones were not, and had to make way for the new. The Revolution succeeded in its task of removing all potential rivals and reordering society, under Stalin who fulfilled it, using Stalin's methods of genocide and mass execution in the early to late 1930's. This explains the stability at the end of that decade.

    Instead the last pre-war years and all of Stalin’s post-war years turned out to be extremely non-revolutionary. Why? The idea of some force of nature that mellows violent regimes sounds magical to me.
     
    The idea that a Revolution must in all cases be permanent seems magical to me.
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  85. @AP

    The stuff you mentioned – the destruction of the Russian Orthodox Church, of the nobility, of traditional village life – was very real and very leftist. But as Stalin became more powerful the leftism diminished, and then some of it was reversed
     
    Not really. Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia. Collectivization was opposed by two ethnic Russians in the Soviet government, Rykov and Bukharin, whom Stalin expelled from the party. He was clearly in charge. The peasantry and the village were essential features of Russian society. Stalin utterly destroyed and changed them.

    As someone else mentioned, Stalin in 1936-1937 liquidated 100,000s of Kulaks, peasants who had prospered under the Old Regime and NEP, and who stood in the way of the new society. He also, in the late 30's, finished of most of the surviving Russian nobles (book recommendation: Former People, buy Douglas Smith, about the Russian nobility's plight in the 1930s and 1940s). There were more such victims than there were Old Bolshevik victims. Incidentally, given that the Old Bolsheviks were largely renegades from the former ruling classes, liquidating them also served to sever the links to Old Russia.


    The persecution of the Orthodox Church ended in 1943.
     
    A desperate wartime measure. And after it had been perverted utterly. The real Russian Orthodox Church, ROCOR, refused to recognize Stalin's creation.

    In multi-ethnic countries leftist regimes always promote centrifugal forces and rightist regimes centripetal.
     
    Not necessarily. Centralization was an Enlightenment thing. Ukraine's Hetmanate was abolished by Voltaire-reading Catherine, who viewed it as a medieval anachronism. The French Revolution fully centralized France and encouraged the elimination of minority language such as Breton. Austria-Hungary was probably the most conservative of the great powers and it was not centralized. Lenin, incidentally, seems to have largely borrowed his approach towards ethnicity from the Austrians - he lived in Austria-Hungary for years. So in this respect Stalin was more radical and leftist than the Bolsheviks.

    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia.

    1.) I think Glossy was simply trying to make the case the some of Stalin’s cultural policies could be described as more conservative than those of the early Bolsheviks; economics is a separate issue.

    2.) With respect to agricultural collectivization specifically, a good case could be made that, relative to the historical norms of Russian culture and civilization, it was actually in some sense more reactionary than radical. For most of its history, rural Russia had been dominated by a very strict feudal-agrarian system, wherein the peasants (muzhiki) were bound to their estates, and were in no sense owners of the land. They had to fork over a percentage of their yields to the land-owners, and could divvy up the rest among themselves. Notions like individualism and private property played little roll in their daily lives. The abolition of serfdom did not occur until very late in Russian history, in 1861. Most other European states had scrapped it by then–and some had never had it to begin with. Obviously, Soviet collectivized agriculture–in its origin and effect–was not exactly like serfdom. But a person could definitely argue that it was far more similar to it than Kulakism (yeomen land-owning ) and the NEP. At any rate, it’s something to consider.

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    • Replies: @AP
    1. In some limited ways, yes. OTOH the Old Bolsheviks hadn't slaughtered most of the priests, had permitted traditional village life (which is culture also, not merely economics), had permitted some pre-Revolutionary activities int he cities, etc. Their societal transformation was not as total as was Stalin's. 1925 Russia was not as alien compared to 1910, as was 1935 Russia.

    2. There is some truth to this. However by c. 1930 serfdom had been gone for about 70 years. Non-serfdom was as internalized and entrenched by then, as Communist ideals and way of life was in Russia by the late 80s. Moreover serfdom was not as total as collectivization. Combine collectivization with the removal of the Church and you have a radical transformation rather than a return to an older world.
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  86. Glossy says: • Website
    @Andrei Martyanov
    While discussing Stalin, who, certainly, was not a humanitarian, try to keep in mind well-documented consequences of 1990s Yeltsin's (and his "mladoreformers") so called "liberal" reforms which did cost Russia millions of lives as a result of economic dislocation, atrocious societal ills and, yes, hidden famine. The only thing, or, rather, the only one, who stands between Russian "liberals" and pitchforks, and ropes with the lampposts is Putin. It may yet cost him, if he continues to maintain his position. How much the cost? I don't know, certainly not overthrow, but he will have to face the consequences of standing on guard of the largest violent robbery, and what it entailed, in the history of Russia.

    Yes, privatisation was the second collectivisation. To the people who didn’t see the 1990s in the former USSR that phrase must sound like such nonsense. Yet it’s full of sense. That’s exactly what that was.

    Maria Gaidar, the proud daughter of one of the architects of the second collectivization in Russia, is employed by the people AP whole-heartedly supports. Her father had the blood of millions on his hands. If you study mortality data for that period, of you calculate the number of early deaths, the number of deaths above the 1980s and 2000s trends, you could, well, no, you’re not going to become the second Robert Conquest. Not in the West. You’ll have to self-publish that (samizdat, oh the irony) and no one will read it here.

    But yeah, the hypocrisy is overflowing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    i

    s employed by the people AP whole-heartedly supports.
     
    I had this discussion (sort of) with Steve Sailer--Western "academe" and pundits are not capable of understanding Soviet/Russian history of the 20th Century (with the exception of late George F. Kennan and, thankfully, living Jack Matlock) since the power of narrative and all those "Russian scholars" are plain simple fraud. Again, Russian history was Solzhenitsified to the point of being unrecognizable. Why they are not capable (or, simply, don't want) to get it is a separate issue. Fact is, my latest discussion (about two weeks ago) was with some Ph.D from Princeton, he has a Ph.D. in Russian-American Relations--oh, goody.

    “The real gap between two camps is one of knowledge….Irresponsible criticism is generally self-confident: but no one cares to be told:”I am holier than thou”, especially by anyone who does not know their facts….And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia.”

    Bernard Pares quote from “A History Of Russia”, pages 571-573, New York, Alfred Knopf (AMS Press), 1966.

    It is ALL about American "exceptionalism". Russian history of the 20th Century blows it out of the water.
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  87. AP says:
    @Glossy
    The vast majority of the time you can't force an opponent in an argument to admit he was wrong. Most of the time the best you can do is force your opponent to resort to magical explanations. Why did revolutionary-type violence end in 1938? I have a non-magical explanation - because most of the original revolutionaries had been killed by that (exact) point and because the remaining power structure (which happened to be just one person) was not interested in continuing it.

    Why do you think that type of violence ended? Because all the opponents of the regime had been killed? But most of the kulaks were apolitical. They were just people who had done well. Some on collective farms must have been doing better than others. They could have been labeled the new kulaks. The very left-wing process of culling the best could have continued indefinitely. Why didn't it? Why did the regime stop picking fights with defenseless, apolitical people who had done well? As I said before, the revolution could have turned out to be permanent, or much more long-term than it did. They certainly didn't run out of people to shoot in 1938.

    Instead the last pre-war years and all of Stalin's post-war years turned out to be extremely non-revolutionary. Why? The idea of some force of nature that mellows violent regimes sounds magical to me.

    The vast majority of the time you can’t force an opponent in an argument to admit he was wrong. Most of the time the best you can do is force your opponent to resort to magical explanations.

    Actually, I resorted to using facts to disprove your mistaken claims that Stalin was not in control by 1930, and that therefore Stalin wasn’t responsible for the worst of the Bolshevik excesses.

    Let’s review:

    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn’t in control by 1930.

    You didn’t know about the 100,000s of murdered priests and Kulaks (and others) in 1937-1938. You only believed that Stalin killed Old Bolsheviks at those times.

    With all due respect, your theories are thus based on a mistaken understanding of the situation (Stalin not in control until late 1930s) and lack of knowledge of certain facts that tell us about Stalin.

    Why did revolutionary-type violence end in 1938? I have a non-magical explanation – because most of the original revolutionaries had been killed by that (exact) point and because the remaining power structure (which happened to be just one person) was not interested in continuing it.

    This is part of it, but not in the way you imagine it to be. You once again ignore that Stalin’s victims were not only Revolutionaries; those guys were outnumbered by kulaks and priests. But yes, once all enemies or potential enemies were eliminated Stalin no longer needed to keep killing at an extreme rate.

    Why do you think that type of violence ended? Because all the opponents of the regime had been killed? But most of the kulaks were apolitical. They were just people who had done well.

    Kulaks represented a pre-Stalin local elite independent of the Soviet power structure. Many of them served as community leaders and mentors to their neighbors. Their liquidation was necessary for the Sovietization of society.

    Some on collective farms must have been doing better than others. They could have been labeled the new kulaks.

    As total products of the Soviet system such people would not have been labeled as “new kulaks.” They were actually Stalin’s children.

    Why did the regime stop picking fights with defenseless, apolitical people who had done well?

    The logical, non-magical explanation is that the new defenseless people were the regime’s products. The old, removed ones were not, and had to make way for the new. The Revolution succeeded in its task of removing all potential rivals and reordering society, under Stalin who fulfilled it, using Stalin’s methods of genocide and mass execution in the early to late 1930′s. This explains the stability at the end of that decade.

    Instead the last pre-war years and all of Stalin’s post-war years turned out to be extremely non-revolutionary. Why? The idea of some force of nature that mellows violent regimes sounds magical to me.

    The idea that a Revolution must in all cases be permanent seems magical to me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn’t in control by 1930.

    The amount of control he had kept increasing until reaching a plateau in the 1937-1938 period. He demoted and expelled a lot of his enemies by 1930, but Bolshevism was a large movement with a large number of true-believer foot soldiers. Until most of them were killed he might have feared revolts by the party rank-and-file. The idea that he betrayed the movement must have been wide-spread among them. "The Revolution Betrayed" is actually the title of a 1937 book by Trotsky:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revolution_Betrayed

    You didn’t know about the 100,000s of murdered priests and Kulaks (and others) in 1937-1938. You only believed that Stalin killed Old Bolsheviks at those times.

    Western propagandists use pictures of Putin shaking hands with oligarchs and descritpitons of their place in his system to imply that his regime is oligarchic. To some extent it is, but you've got to look at the trend. He has decreased their power. His regime is less oligarchic than his predecessor's.

    As Stalin got more and more power (and again, the plateau was reached in 1937-1938), there was a rightist trend on many issues.
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  88. AP says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    Stalin was the one who pushed for collectivization. The Old Bolsheviks had NEP, which retained many features of pre-Bolshevik Russia.
     
    1.) I think Glossy was simply trying to make the case the some of Stalin's cultural policies could be described as more conservative than those of the early Bolsheviks; economics is a separate issue.

    2.) With respect to agricultural collectivization specifically, a good case could be made that, relative to the historical norms of Russian culture and civilization, it was actually in some sense more reactionary than radical. For most of its history, rural Russia had been dominated by a very strict feudal-agrarian system, wherein the peasants (muzhiki) were bound to their estates, and were in no sense owners of the land. They had to fork over a percentage of their yields to the land-owners, and could divvy up the rest among themselves. Notions like individualism and private property played little roll in their daily lives. The abolition of serfdom did not occur until very late in Russian history, in 1861. Most other European states had scrapped it by then--and some had never had it to begin with. Obviously, Soviet collectivized agriculture--in its origin and effect--was not exactly like serfdom. But a person could definitely argue that it was far more similar to it than Kulakism (yeomen land-owning ) and the NEP. At any rate, it's something to consider.

    1. In some limited ways, yes. OTOH the Old Bolsheviks hadn’t slaughtered most of the priests, had permitted traditional village life (which is culture also, not merely economics), had permitted some pre-Revolutionary activities int he cities, etc. Their societal transformation was not as total as was Stalin’s. 1925 Russia was not as alien compared to 1910, as was 1935 Russia.

    2. There is some truth to this. However by c. 1930 serfdom had been gone for about 70 years. Non-serfdom was as internalized and entrenched by then, as Communist ideals and way of life was in Russia by the late 80s. Moreover serfdom was not as total as collectivization. Combine collectivization with the removal of the Church and you have a radical transformation rather than a return to an older world.

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  89. Glossy says: • Website
    @AP

    The vast majority of the time you can’t force an opponent in an argument to admit he was wrong. Most of the time the best you can do is force your opponent to resort to magical explanations.
     
    Actually, I resorted to using facts to disprove your mistaken claims that Stalin was not in control by 1930, and that therefore Stalin wasn't responsible for the worst of the Bolshevik excesses.

    Let's review:

    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn't in control by 1930.

    You didn't know about the 100,000s of murdered priests and Kulaks (and others) in 1937-1938. You only believed that Stalin killed Old Bolsheviks at those times.

    With all due respect, your theories are thus based on a mistaken understanding of the situation (Stalin not in control until late 1930s) and lack of knowledge of certain facts that tell us about Stalin.

    Why did revolutionary-type violence end in 1938? I have a non-magical explanation – because most of the original revolutionaries had been killed by that (exact) point and because the remaining power structure (which happened to be just one person) was not interested in continuing it.
     
    This is part of it, but not in the way you imagine it to be. You once again ignore that Stalin's victims were not only Revolutionaries; those guys were outnumbered by kulaks and priests. But yes, once all enemies or potential enemies were eliminated Stalin no longer needed to keep killing at an extreme rate.

    Why do you think that type of violence ended? Because all the opponents of the regime had been killed? But most of the kulaks were apolitical. They were just people who had done well.
     
    Kulaks represented a pre-Stalin local elite independent of the Soviet power structure. Many of them served as community leaders and mentors to their neighbors. Their liquidation was necessary for the Sovietization of society.

    Some on collective farms must have been doing better than others. They could have been labeled the new kulaks.
     
    As total products of the Soviet system such people would not have been labeled as "new kulaks." They were actually Stalin's children.

    Why did the regime stop picking fights with defenseless, apolitical people who had done well?
     
    The logical, non-magical explanation is that the new defenseless people were the regime's products. The old, removed ones were not, and had to make way for the new. The Revolution succeeded in its task of removing all potential rivals and reordering society, under Stalin who fulfilled it, using Stalin's methods of genocide and mass execution in the early to late 1930's. This explains the stability at the end of that decade.

    Instead the last pre-war years and all of Stalin’s post-war years turned out to be extremely non-revolutionary. Why? The idea of some force of nature that mellows violent regimes sounds magical to me.
     
    The idea that a Revolution must in all cases be permanent seems magical to me.

    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn’t in control by 1930.

    The amount of control he had kept increasing until reaching a plateau in the 1937-1938 period. He demoted and expelled a lot of his enemies by 1930, but Bolshevism was a large movement with a large number of true-believer foot soldiers. Until most of them were killed he might have feared revolts by the party rank-and-file. The idea that he betrayed the movement must have been wide-spread among them. “The Revolution Betrayed” is actually the title of a 1937 book by Trotsky:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revolution_Betrayed

    You didn’t know about the 100,000s of murdered priests and Kulaks (and others) in 1937-1938. You only believed that Stalin killed Old Bolsheviks at those times.

    Western propagandists use pictures of Putin shaking hands with oligarchs and descritpitons of their place in his system to imply that his regime is oligarchic. To some extent it is, but you’ve got to look at the trend. He has decreased their power. His regime is less oligarchic than his predecessor’s.

    As Stalin got more and more power (and again, the plateau was reached in 1937-1938), there was a rightist trend on many issues.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn’t in control by 1930.

    The amount of control he had kept increasing until reaching a plateau in the 1937-1938 period.
     
    Which doesn't contradict the fact that he was control by 1930. In 1930 he could remove people from the government at will. He just couldn't have them tortured and executed whenever he felt like it. But he was still clearly in charge. Therefore collectivization and the crimes of the early 1930s were owned by him and you were mistaken when they said they weren't (indeed, as we have seen, Stalin got rid of the opponents of collectivization - Bukharin and Rykov - as his last step to getting total control). And since Stalin was responsible for the early 1930s excesses, your claim that he was some sort of late 30s conservative not to blame for the massive changes of the early 30s is false.

    The idea that he betrayed the movement must have been wide-spread among them.
     
    It may have been. But by 1930 they were powerless to do anything about it, as demonstrated by Ryutin affair. The man was in control. The government's policies were his own. Collectivization, mass famine, the utter destruction of the traditional Russian countryside and complete reordering of rural society was Stalin's. The NEP-supporting Old Bolsheviks such as Bukharin weren't nearly as radical as Stalin.
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  90. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Glossy
    Yes, privatisation was the second collectivisation. To the people who didn't see the 1990s in the former USSR that phrase must sound like such nonsense. Yet it's full of sense. That's exactly what that was.

    Maria Gaidar, the proud daughter of one of the architects of the second collectivization in Russia, is employed by the people AP whole-heartedly supports. Her father had the blood of millions on his hands. If you study mortality data for that period, of you calculate the number of early deaths, the number of deaths above the 1980s and 2000s trends, you could, well, no, you're not going to become the second Robert Conquest. Not in the West. You'll have to self-publish that (samizdat, oh the irony) and no one will read it here.

    But yeah, the hypocrisy is overflowing.

    i

    s employed by the people AP whole-heartedly supports.

    I had this discussion (sort of) with Steve Sailer–Western “academe” and pundits are not capable of understanding Soviet/Russian history of the 20th Century (with the exception of late George F. Kennan and, thankfully, living Jack Matlock) since the power of narrative and all those “Russian scholars” are plain simple fraud. Again, Russian history was Solzhenitsified to the point of being unrecognizable. Why they are not capable (or, simply, don’t want) to get it is a separate issue. Fact is, my latest discussion (about two weeks ago) was with some Ph.D from Princeton, he has a Ph.D. in Russian-American Relations–oh, goody.

    “The real gap between two camps is one of knowledge….Irresponsible criticism is generally self-confident: but no one cares to be told:”I am holier than thou”, especially by anyone who does not know their facts….And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia.”

    Bernard Pares quote from “A History Of Russia”, pages 571-573, New York, Alfred Knopf (AMS Press), 1966.

    It is ALL about American “exceptionalism”. Russian history of the 20th Century blows it out of the water.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    I've tried to explain to Steve Sailer my view of the nature of post-WWII USSR and of the causes of Cold War I. I did that mostly as anonymous, not as Glossy. I didn't get anywhere with that. He sees through the neocon warmongering on the Middle East and on modern Russia but he does not see through their Cold War-era distortions and war-mongering. In fact, he sees Cold War-era neocons as American patriots and the late USSR as leftist. Brezhnev as a leftist is an absurd image to you and me, but that's what Steve sees.

    The neocons affected American patriotism both in Cold I and Cold War II. In other words, they tried to attract American patriots to their cause in both. So what's the difference? Why does Steve see through them on Cold War II but not on Cold War I? Perhaps because he was younger and less cynical when he absorbed their Cold War I propaganda. I think he's also a little less critical of 1960s leftism than of modern leftism. Only a little, but I've noticed it. 1960s leftism was all around when he was growing up, so I guess it seems kind of normal to him. Unlike the newfangled stuff.

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  91. Glossy says: • Website
    @Andrei Martyanov
    i

    s employed by the people AP whole-heartedly supports.
     
    I had this discussion (sort of) with Steve Sailer--Western "academe" and pundits are not capable of understanding Soviet/Russian history of the 20th Century (with the exception of late George F. Kennan and, thankfully, living Jack Matlock) since the power of narrative and all those "Russian scholars" are plain simple fraud. Again, Russian history was Solzhenitsified to the point of being unrecognizable. Why they are not capable (or, simply, don't want) to get it is a separate issue. Fact is, my latest discussion (about two weeks ago) was with some Ph.D from Princeton, he has a Ph.D. in Russian-American Relations--oh, goody.

    “The real gap between two camps is one of knowledge….Irresponsible criticism is generally self-confident: but no one cares to be told:”I am holier than thou”, especially by anyone who does not know their facts….And knowledge alone is not enough without understanding, which is much more hardly won. To no country does this apply more than to Russia.”

    Bernard Pares quote from “A History Of Russia”, pages 571-573, New York, Alfred Knopf (AMS Press), 1966.

    It is ALL about American "exceptionalism". Russian history of the 20th Century blows it out of the water.

    I’ve tried to explain to Steve Sailer my view of the nature of post-WWII USSR and of the causes of Cold War I. I did that mostly as anonymous, not as Glossy. I didn’t get anywhere with that. He sees through the neocon warmongering on the Middle East and on modern Russia but he does not see through their Cold War-era distortions and war-mongering. In fact, he sees Cold War-era neocons as American patriots and the late USSR as leftist. Brezhnev as a leftist is an absurd image to you and me, but that’s what Steve sees.

    The neocons affected American patriotism both in Cold I and Cold War II. In other words, they tried to attract American patriots to their cause in both. So what’s the difference? Why does Steve see through them on Cold War II but not on Cold War I? Perhaps because he was younger and less cynical when he absorbed their Cold War I propaganda. I think he’s also a little less critical of 1960s leftism than of modern leftism. Only a little, but I’ve noticed it. 1960s leftism was all around when he was growing up, so I guess it seems kind of normal to him. Unlike the newfangled stuff.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    I'll repeat it again, American elites are NOT conditioned by war, neither is American public, in general--yet, US took the path of "warriors". I had many discussions with American Jews, very many of them emigrants from USSR, and why Holocaust wasn't mentioned once? Well, simple, my both biological granddads were killed, one in the battle Of Moscow, another in the Northern Caucasus (still have his Pohoronka from 1941), my biological grandmother on father's side died from famine induced by Germans, my wife's granddads all killed on the fronts. So, yeah, let's measure penises--I am always up for that. Every family in USSR/Russia lost somebody to war 70 years ago, so, my answer is always--Impress me. I have pop-corn. I have some of my father's childhood school notes written on the old Soviet newspapers, while he was studying in the bombed out church as a child in 1944. It is ALL about penis-measuring contest, it always was and will always remain. So, can some of the East Coast "intellectuals" with some shitty humanitarian degree impress me? US is a perfect place to "sell" Holocaust, it is also a perfect place to develop some idealistic view of the world (some of which is good--and I love it) and pretend that US is exceptional. It is, actually, exceptional, not least because of geography and because Chicago or Boston never had to experience SS Panzer Divisions entering them. Should it have happened, we would have been having a very different discussion.
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  92. Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Glossy
    I've tried to explain to Steve Sailer my view of the nature of post-WWII USSR and of the causes of Cold War I. I did that mostly as anonymous, not as Glossy. I didn't get anywhere with that. He sees through the neocon warmongering on the Middle East and on modern Russia but he does not see through their Cold War-era distortions and war-mongering. In fact, he sees Cold War-era neocons as American patriots and the late USSR as leftist. Brezhnev as a leftist is an absurd image to you and me, but that's what Steve sees.

    The neocons affected American patriotism both in Cold I and Cold War II. In other words, they tried to attract American patriots to their cause in both. So what's the difference? Why does Steve see through them on Cold War II but not on Cold War I? Perhaps because he was younger and less cynical when he absorbed their Cold War I propaganda. I think he's also a little less critical of 1960s leftism than of modern leftism. Only a little, but I've noticed it. 1960s leftism was all around when he was growing up, so I guess it seems kind of normal to him. Unlike the newfangled stuff.

    I’ll repeat it again, American elites are NOT conditioned by war, neither is American public, in general–yet, US took the path of “warriors”. I had many discussions with American Jews, very many of them emigrants from USSR, and why Holocaust wasn’t mentioned once? Well, simple, my both biological granddads were killed, one in the battle Of Moscow, another in the Northern Caucasus (still have his Pohoronka from 1941), my biological grandmother on father’s side died from famine induced by Germans, my wife’s granddads all killed on the fronts. So, yeah, let’s measure penises–I am always up for that. Every family in USSR/Russia lost somebody to war 70 years ago, so, my answer is always–Impress me. I have pop-corn. I have some of my father’s childhood school notes written on the old Soviet newspapers, while he was studying in the bombed out church as a child in 1944. It is ALL about penis-measuring contest, it always was and will always remain. So, can some of the East Coast “intellectuals” with some shitty humanitarian degree impress me? US is a perfect place to “sell” Holocaust, it is also a perfect place to develop some idealistic view of the world (some of which is good–and I love it) and pretend that US is exceptional. It is, actually, exceptional, not least because of geography and because Chicago or Boston never had to experience SS Panzer Divisions entering them. Should it have happened, we would have been having a very different discussion.

    Read More
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  93. AP says:
    @Glossy
    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn’t in control by 1930.

    The amount of control he had kept increasing until reaching a plateau in the 1937-1938 period. He demoted and expelled a lot of his enemies by 1930, but Bolshevism was a large movement with a large number of true-believer foot soldiers. Until most of them were killed he might have feared revolts by the party rank-and-file. The idea that he betrayed the movement must have been wide-spread among them. "The Revolution Betrayed" is actually the title of a 1937 book by Trotsky:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Revolution_Betrayed

    You didn’t know about the 100,000s of murdered priests and Kulaks (and others) in 1937-1938. You only believed that Stalin killed Old Bolsheviks at those times.

    Western propagandists use pictures of Putin shaking hands with oligarchs and descritpitons of their place in his system to imply that his regime is oligarchic. To some extent it is, but you've got to look at the trend. He has decreased their power. His regime is less oligarchic than his predecessor's.

    As Stalin got more and more power (and again, the plateau was reached in 1937-1938), there was a rightist trend on many issues.

    You mistakenly believed Stalin wasn’t in control by 1930.

    The amount of control he had kept increasing until reaching a plateau in the 1937-1938 period.

    Which doesn’t contradict the fact that he was control by 1930. In 1930 he could remove people from the government at will. He just couldn’t have them tortured and executed whenever he felt like it. But he was still clearly in charge. Therefore collectivization and the crimes of the early 1930s were owned by him and you were mistaken when they said they weren’t (indeed, as we have seen, Stalin got rid of the opponents of collectivization – Bukharin and Rykov – as his last step to getting total control). And since Stalin was responsible for the early 1930s excesses, your claim that he was some sort of late 30s conservative not to blame for the massive changes of the early 30s is false.

    The idea that he betrayed the movement must have been wide-spread among them.

    It may have been. But by 1930 they were powerless to do anything about it, as demonstrated by Ryutin affair. The man was in control. The government’s policies were his own. Collectivization, mass famine, the utter destruction of the traditional Russian countryside and complete reordering of rural society was Stalin’s. The NEP-supporting Old Bolsheviks such as Bukharin weren’t nearly as radical as Stalin.

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  94. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov
    While discussing Stalin, who, certainly, was not a humanitarian, try to keep in mind well-documented consequences of 1990s Yeltsin's (and his "mladoreformers") so called "liberal" reforms which did cost Russia millions of lives as a result of economic dislocation, atrocious societal ills and, yes, hidden famine. The only thing, or, rather, the only one, who stands between Russian "liberals" and pitchforks, and ropes with the lampposts is Putin. It may yet cost him, if he continues to maintain his position. How much the cost? I don't know, certainly not overthrow, but he will have to face the consequences of standing on guard of the largest violent robbery, and what it entailed, in the history of Russia.

    Nineties were indeed awful. But would you rather be a rural Russian in 1932 or 1992? An urban educated guy, or military officer, etc. in 1937 or 1997?

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  95. @Ron Unz
    That's very interesting. As I said, I've never actually looked at the book, and the last time I really did any reading on Soviet history was probably the mid- to late 1980s, so I've certainly missed all these recent developments in the historical analysis.

    One thing I did notice was in quite a few of the recent MSM articles connected with Robert Conquest's death, there was somewhat vague mention or hints that the figures in his famous books were eventually found to be considerable overestimates, which certainly accords with your statements. Also, I think I've seen a few anonymous comments here and there saying the same thing, or perhaps arguing that if you add in all the killings of the pre-Stalin Bolsheviks, from the Revolution onward, you might get an overall total closer to the 20M figure that everyone always used to cite.

    This might once again demonstrate that anonymous comments are sometimes a much better source of information than major headlined articles in the NYT/WSJ..

    I can personally see no reason why pre-Stalin deaths should be excluded. Stalin was more or less a Leninist, his only innovation over Leninism was the Great Terror which was only a minor (but very visible and also important because it killed elites) part of his mass murder. There is no indication Stalin ever disagreed with or found excessive the Cheka terror, for example.

    The 1921 famine was political in two ways. First, it was caused by the idiotic continuation of War Communism even after the regime won the civil war. (It wasn’t intended to cause a famine, but it did.) Second, it was also deliberate in some parts of the country, when the Politburo noticed that famine-stricken regions stopped revolting (much of the countryside was in a state of revolt by 1921, the so-called “greens”, or badly organized peasant rebels, as opposed to reds or whites), so they ordered all wheat to be taken from villages in areas which were more or less controlled by the rebels. (The central government could always create local superiority in any given village, and while the rebels went hiding, the wheat was kept in the village, so could be taken away.) The 5 million or so deaths should be compared to deaths in the previous large famine, in the 1890s: a few hundred thousands (certainly less than a million) died. Same thing for the 1933-34 famine, which also killed roughly 5 million people. Even if it was not deliberate mass murder, it was caused by collectivization, especially because far as I know there was no large drought at the time. (In Czarist Russia famines were caused by prolonged, multi-year droughts only, because the soil was so good that it produced enough excess in a good year for a few bad years. Of course, there were a lot of bad years, but one bad year shouldn’t have caused a famine, because the peasants stored the surplus.) If Czarist Russia in the late 19th century didn’t have such a large famine, then of course the huge Soviet famines should be considered a result of communism, even if not deliberate. (At least in 1921 in some regions it was at least partly deliberate. And then there’s the ethnic angle, in 1921 Tatars and in 1933-34 Ukrainians were disproportionately affected, but that of course doesn’t necessarily prove intent.)

    Separating Stalin’s mass murder from earlier (Leninist) mass murder is as if Hitler had died in 1942 and Germany under Göring would have continued exactly as Hitler did, than somehow we’d split the number of people killed by the Nazis. That just wouldn’t make much sense.

    As far as I know (and I did read the whole book), the Black Book’s most chapters are quite reliable, and contain very little ideology, they are more descriptive. Perhaps the African parts are stupid (in Africa people mass murdered each other regardless of ideology), even if factually correct.

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  96. Prince says:

    Let me throw something out there, since this thread isn’t controversial enough. Polish Martyrdom Complex annoys me, and where histories “Start” is another. Guys like Snyder love to start their narratives in 1933-34. Why not 1919 or 1920?

    Because doing so allows them to gloss over the Polish – Russian War (aka the “War on Bolshevism”, justified by a single offhand comment by Lenin about Poland being the next area for Communism to spread, which also isn’t true since the Poles fought Whites, Greens, and Blacks as well as Reds), where the new aggressive revanchist Polish state tried to restore all the land in the old “Grand Duchy”. It allows them to gloss over the deeds of most anti-Semitic country in Europe prior to Kristalnacht, with anti-Jewish embargoes, college attendance restrictions, even pograms, as well as the Polish repression of Galician Nationalists in the Ukraine and their border conflicts with the Czechs. Add to that policies of “Polonization” to push Belarussians and Ukrainians of their newly conquered territories to become Catholic Poles in mindset and language.

    The Anti-Semitism that emerged in Poland in the 20s and 30s is largely unknown to those outside of Scholars who study Eastern European Jews, because it’s a narrative that doesn’t help the WW2-Cold War “Democracy vs. Fascist/Communist Tyranny” mold. Poland was certainly a Republic.

    It helps Russophobes/Cold Warriors portray the Poles as wholly innocent victims (even though the 1939 takeover of “Polish” Territory was largely confined to areas where Poles were not in the majority, and had been recently taken from Russian control just a couple of decades prior) and provides no contrast to the “Aggressive” Soviet Union.

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