Interview for the project
Fascism-XXI at your door
August 9, 2012.
Video part 1
It is absolutely obscure to me why such enormous publicity is given to the famine – namely the one of 1930s. After all, the famine of early 1920s took much more lives in the USSR. Also, nobody cares about the postwar famine. Even the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe discussed the famine of 1930s blaming Stalin administration for all the consequences. I find such approach quite questionable.
The thing is that when Soviet people were starving, the crops were delivered to Europe. It turns out that Europe consumed the bread, vital for survival of Soviet people. However, European politicians somehow are totally oblivious to the fact.
Another issue is that, the extent of the famine is exaggerated significantly. Today, Ukraine estimates death toll of «Holodomor» at over 10 million people, totally unrealistic number, indeed. The truth is that many different researches conducted by both Soviet and foreign demographic analysts came to a number ranging between 4.7 and 4.8 million people country-wide.
Viktor Kondrashin, an acclaimed historian, whose work centers around “Holodomor”, conducted a comparative analysis of both Russia and the USSR losses. The losses in agricultural regions of Russia and Ukraine are proportionally equal. Therefore, no genocide of Ukrainian people was ever committed. This was publicly stated by Ukrainian President Yanukovych.
We should also mention that big money was invested into promotion of such an agenda, about 50 million dollars in Ukraine. Counter measures on Russia’s part are definitely meager in comparison: grants, about 400 thousand per book, are the only source of money. So far two books have been published on “Holodomor”. The third one is coming out at the end of the year. This book for sure is going to dot the i's and cross the t's on the issue.
I was surprised to learn that some time back a team of so-called “historians” arrived in Kazakhstan with intention to dwell on the same issue. I am certain that this effort will be largely sponsored by various public or other nonprofit organizations, the same way it was done in Ukraine.
In the Latvian film "The Soviet Story" we are told that in the USSR between 1937 and 1941 11 million people were repressed. Where do these numbers come from?
Video part 2
These numbers do not make much sense…
Today, there is a trend to exaggerate real numbers and not simply to double or triple, but to increase them exponentially.
When it comes to the extent of repressions in the USSR, it is known that the number of accused in criminal cases investigated by the State Security services under Stalin, I believe, is approximately 4 000 000 (four million) people.
We need to point out that the State Security services investigated up to 70% of all economic crimes prior to 1927-28, before the campaign to curb subversive activities was launched.
Then, with subversive activity cases in courts, this type of offences was classified as a different category - a political crime.
Therefore, if we analyze how the State Security services were operating during this period of time, we will see that an estimate of 30% of cases - even slightly more than that were economy-related and had no political background.
Given the fact that up to 10-15 percent of offenders in other cases were never rehabilitated, the unbiased number of the repressed should be close to 2 000 000 (two million). This figure is staggering in itself, I believe, there is no need to multiply it by 5 or 10, as some people, pretending to be historians, do.
The only aspect we need to take into account is how we evaluate the repressions: is it only the State Security services investigating criminal cases or might there be other factors at play here, such as deportation of peasantry in early 30s or that of entire ethnic groups, taking place mostly in 40s?
Indeed, the fact is that an enforced deportation is also, to my view, is a repressive action of the state.
In this context, I am inclined to agree with an estimate given by the Research and Educational society “Memorial” for the number of people repressed. The society believes approximately 5.5 million people were repressed during the Stalin era.
Were those who had been demoted or fired and later rehabilitated and reinstated considered as “repressed”?
Video part 3
The point is that such category of people is not included in the repression statistics.
Generally, in early 20s and, perhaps, up to early 30s, there were two quite targeted campaigns, aimed at some kind of a purge in the organizations, plants and factories of the Soviet Union, the purge of personnel.
First of all, it was against corruption. That was the first planned campaign of that kind. The idea was to establish certain interdepartmental committees to certify the personnel in the center and locally and purge of everyone suspected in corruption.
Certainly, some were reinstated later if the information obtained by the committee was not confirmed. Apparently, such decisive actions proved to be quite effective against corruption. The corruption became not as widespread as before, there were just isolated cases.
Another large-scale action was aimed to comb saboteurs out of the industrial enterprises. This is related to the campaign started in 1928.
Such processes took place in nearly all industries. It should be mentioned that in these processes, the people’s rights were definitively violated. Especially the rights of engineers and the so-called intelligentsia who were often fired from their positions without strong grounds, just by orders from top management and could not find a new job, thus being forced to take semi-skilled jobs to earn a living for their families.
In the early 30s this situation began to change slightly, and the attitude to the professionals became different, but such problems still continued to arise.
How do you feel about the filmmakers of "The Soviet Story" accusing the USSR of complicity in the Holocaust, in particular, in cooperation of NKVD and Gestapo against the “Jewish threat” and the allegation that these issues were discussed at the alleged meeting that NKVD and Gestapo held in 1940?
It is not easy to answer this question. The point is that no contacts are noted between the Soviet security services and the secret police of Nazi Germany. Thus, no Jewish threat to the USSR was observed those days. It's out of question that such danger could have been addressed by two antagonistic states that ended up in a war with each other.
Back then in the USSR, there was no so-called Jewish aspect in the activities of the security services.
It happened much later, in the early 50s, when such an aspect became apparent. It was mainly related to the Case of Doctors4.
Latvian film the “The Soviet Story” states that Stalin refused to join the Anti-Hitler Coalition. Could you tell us what really happened? What did the USSR propose to the Allies in 1939 (an Anti-Hitler Alliance and the relocation of the Soviet troops closer to the German border)?
Believe it or not, an initiative to establish the Anti-Hitler Coalition came from the USSR. The Soviet Union and Stalin put some effort trying to establish such a coalition. The USSR was negotiating with Germany about peace agreements which later produced the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. At the same time, however, they were probing grounds to arrange the Anti-Hitler Coalition. First of all, it was discussed with France and Great Britain.
Led by the Soviet Union, in August 1939, specifically on August 12, the talks between the military representatives of the USSR, France and Great Britain started. In principle, the countries managed to come to an agreement regarding their participation in the Coalition. Three scenarios were considered.
The first scenario assumed that the Nazi Germany would first attack France. Its next enemy would be Great Britain. In such an event, the Soviet Union would need to move its troops through Poland and Romania to the German border in order to open the second front and help Great Britain and France.
The second scenario assumed that the Nazi Germany would attack Poland. And this was what really happened. In this case, Poland would request help from the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union would bring its troops to Poland, and France and Germany would open the second front.
And the third scenario implied that the Nazi Germany would attack through the Baltic countries and Finland. Thus, in principle, all Germany’s options were anticipated. Therefore, the headcount of the troops to be allocated by the Anti-Hitler Coalition member states was also defined.
But the position of Poland became a roadblock to the final agreement. It was necessary to persuade the high Polish and Romanian officials to allow the Soviet troops through their territory in order to open the second front.
Poland reacted hysterically to this request. All the politicians opposed to the idea. They claimed they would never allow the Soviet army to enter the Polish territory and would never ask for help. Attempts to convince the Polish through Great Britain and France failed. The talks came to a deadlock.
That was the time when Ribbentrop visited the USSR, essentially with a draft of the non-aggression pact between the USSR and Germany prepared. As the Anti-Hitler Coalition failed to be established, the USSR had to conclude the non-aggression pact with Germany and thus buy more time before the war breaks out.
The problem was that the situation was not favorable for the USSR to get involved into the warfare against Germany because our army was not prepared. The industry and the agriculture were not strong enough.
Keep in mind, that the victory over Japan in the Far East in 1939 did not reflect the state of the entire army. In those years the USSR anticipated an attack from Japan and was strengthening the Far East region. At the same time the group of armies in the European part was far from full readiness.
What can you say about revival of the Nazi trends in the Baltic States and in Ukraine? Can we draw a parallel between rise of Nazi organizations in these countries after the Great Patriotic War and the events that have been developing since the Perestroika time?
From my point of view, the Nazi movements in all countries have similar background. I wouldn’t suggest making a big deal out of such trends in the states that separated from Russia - mainly it takes place in the Baltic States and Ukraine, today. This is typical of some European countries and Russia as well.
Another thing is the attitude of the governments of those states towards such movements. In countries where government tries to protect the democratic principles, nationalism is suppressed. If government seeks to get some nationalism-based support at upcoming elections, this trend is on the rise.
In my opinion, there are no other options.
In the West the USSR is equally blamed for the beginning of the war as the Third Reich and the Soviet communism is depicted as even more criminal rather than National Socialism. Why is that so?
The point is that every country writes its own history. All of us who lived in the former Soviet Union are well aware of great losses and the price the Soviet Union paid for the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The Soviet Union was victorious over Nazi Germany first and foremost. The Anti-Hitler Coalition joined in much later, when the outcome of the war became absolutely clear.
Obviously, they pursued their own national interests trying to minimize their human casualties in the war and taking advantage of the situation to gain new territories and political influence on the countries they liberated.
The Nazi army played along and did not put up a strong resistance, as its best formations were concentrated on the Eastern front.
Currently, it becomes increasingly popular, to say the least, to compare what was done by Hitler and the Nazi regime to the deeds of Stalin and the Soviet government. In particular, in order to justify such a comparison, they often blame Stalin for the “Holodomor” (famine extermination) as a deliberate genocide of the Ukrainian people. Thus, the famine of 1932-33 is being deliberately politicized. What can you say about it as an expert?
Video part 8
The point is that the issue of "Holodomor" itself is extremely overblown. Interestingly, this problem was mentioned by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. They addressed this issue, if I am not mistaken, in April 2010 at the Assembly meeting. PACE criticized Stalin’s regime and found it responsible for the “Holodomor” in the USSR.
In other words, neither the weather conditions nor the fact that the USSR supplied grain to European countries to pay the debts taken to industrialize the country make any difference to the European parliamentarians being full of “righteous” indignation, they blamed Stalin for this disaster.
Interestingly, the parliamentarians somehow avoided discussing the famine of the early 20s which was incomparably worse than that of the early 30s. The famine of the post-war period was not interesting for them either.
The vast sums of money, spent for the “Holodomor”-related campaign in Ukraine, tell their own tale: for the scientific research alone about 50 million dollars was allocated.
Ukrainian historians were forced to accept the idea of an evil neighbor, Stalin’s Russia, who starved all Ukrainians to build factories in a depopulated country without people to work there ― this is complete nonsense!
The statistics published back in the Soviet times - besides, published by both the Soviet and foreign historians―showed that the “Holodomor” in the USSR as a whole took 4.7 to 4.8 million lives.
Today, for Ukraine alone they count up to 10 million dead. This figure is greatly exaggerated.
A renowned historian professor Kondrashin, the leading expert on this problem, statistically evaluated the loss of population in the grain-producing regions of Russia and Ukraine and came to the numbers comparable to the Soviet stats.
Thus, any kind of genocide is out of the question.
Interestingly, a while ago so-called historians form the USA arrived to Kazakhstan by a special flight in order to strike up a similar campaign in this country ― a campaign to promote the idea of "genocide of Kazakh population"― organized by no one else, but Joseph Stalin and his circle.
1 The Shakhty case. 1928, Donbas region, Shakhty district. The case against a subversive group of upper managers and mining engineers, accused in sabotage and economic crimes.
2 The Industrial party (Rus: «Промпартия»). A subversive organization included former owners of industrial enterprises and leading engineers. Was active in the USSR in 1925-1930. The open trial of Industrial party was held in Moscow from Nov 25 to Dec 7, 1930.
3 The Labor Peasant Party (Rus:«Трудовая крестьянская партия»). A subversive group included many former members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and involved in sabotage in the agricultural sector. The major leaders were arrested in the middle of 1930 and condemned to imprisonment in 1931.
4 The case against doctors accused in corruption and medical malpractice, involved many doctors of Jewish origin, 1948-1952.