Repost from the old blog. This post aroused a lot of controversy, mostly from the deliberately outrageous title.
Here at Robert Lindsay, we are getting sick and tired of endlessly refuting this the “murderous Jewish Communism” line, not to mention the “murderous Communism” line. The real killing system is called capitalism. Under the Soviet Communists, life expectancy, as McNally implies below, increased from 32 in 1913 to 63 in 1956.
That set a world record for the quickest doubling of life expectancy by any nation in history. Most of that increase in life expectancy occurred under Stalin. By that standard, incredible as it sounds, Stalin was one of the greatest humanitarians of all time.
He was also a mass murderer.
And this is the paradox.
Progress continued even with the incredible loss of 27 million Soviet citizens by the Nazi aggression of the Great War Against Fascism. Interestingly, all progress in life expectancy in the Soviet Union ended by about 1960-1965, about 10 years after Stalin’s death. This gives the lie to the notion that life expectancy increases were inevitable at this time no matter what the system.
Arguments are made that even without the October Revolution, Russia would have seen an equivalent increase in life expectancy as that accomplished by the USSR. This notion is questioned by data showing life expectancy at 35 in Albania and 32 in China in 1949. Given the savagery and callousness of Russian elites, there is no reason to think that Russia would have been any different.
The end of progress soon after Stalin’s death suggests frighteningly that hardline Communists who protest post-Stalin “revisionism” may have been onto something.
Russians lived far longer under Gorbachev (when Soviet repression was hardly killing anyone anymore) than they do now. The collapse of life expectancy from the mid-sixties in the early 1960’s to 56 under Russian capitalism has led to 15 million excess deaths since 1989.
Stalin killed 2.5 million people during peacetime. That figure does not include various wartime deaths, especially the deaths during the population transfers in WW2. I believe it also does not include executions during WW2
But evidence, based on my calculations after reading the data here and here (warning – the latter link is actually a 275 page book), indicates that Stalin saved 39 million lives (the evidence shows 36.5 million, but to arrive at that, we must subtract the 2.5 million he killed), or around 1.5 million per year during his tenure.
This is why Russian opinion polls show 35% of Russian would support Stalin returning to power. This is why you see aging Russians carrying Stalin’s picture at rallies. It’s not some sick “Stalin cult”. He really did save lives, and these people remember that well.
There were 900,000 executions (mostly in the Great Terror) and 1.6 million premature deaths in the camps and in forced relocations. The figures are somewhat controversial and the true figures may be higher, but that is the best I can come up with, and I studied the issue in depth. That adds up to 2.5 million.
Regarding the Holodomor, the truth is, the Ukrainian resisters tried to starve an entire nation. They destroyed much or most of their grain crops by setting them on fire or leaving them to rot and refused to sow many other acres.
They also decimated the supply of horses, cows ,pigs, sheep and goats in the USSR. In 1928, there were 34 million horses, 70 million cows, 150 million sheep and goats, and 26 million pigs in the USSR. By 1932, the resisters had killed 56% of the horses, 43% of the cows, 66% of the sheep and goats and 55% of the pigs in the nation.
As a result, the resisters were out of food.
I guess they expected the state to feed them or something after that stunt.
I guess they were wrong.
There was also armed struggle going at this time, with continuous armed attacks by resisters against collective farms in the area; in early 1930, resisters were staging an average of 23 attacks a day. They destroyed farms, crops, and livestock, and killed lots of people, including thousands of party activists. The USSR took up arms to fight them, and counterinsurgencies are not pretty.
There was an all-out war going on between Stalin’s regime and 6 million Kulaks. In Ukraine, due to generations of brainwashing by the Catholic Church and the landlords, many middle and poor peasants took the side of the Kulaks, even though they had been exploited viciously by these Kulaks for generations.
Many of the other 114 million Soviet peasants overwhelmingly backed the fight against the Kulaks. Those peasants had been savagely abused by the feudal system, including the Kulaks, for centuries.
The famine of 1932 had several causes:
First, the resister destruction of livestock mentioned above, combined with several years of destruction of grain crops and refusal to seed new fields.
Second, there were three years of drought from 1930-32. In 1932, drought also affected other regions of the USSR. There were also a variety of other poor weather conditions .
Third, there was an epidemic of typhoid and other water-borne diseases in the still-primitive region.
Fourth and probably most importantly, an epidemic of wheat rust spread through the region.
Fifth, the Kholkoz, or new collective farms, had been organized chaotically, and were not yet producing well.
As a result of all of the above, the harvest of 1932 simply failed. People died of hunger and especially related diseases all over the USSR. 1 million died of these causes in Siberia. The ethnic Russian area of the Lower Volga was hit by mass deaths just as hard as the Ukrainians were. So much for “the Ukrainians were targeted.” It’s true that the deaths were worse in the Ukraine. That’s because the harvest failure was worst of all there.
There was no Holodomor or man-made deliberate famine. It simply never happened. The state was forced into the horrible choice of feeding the cities or the villages. Cities were prioritized. In particular, the army had to be fed. At this time, people started fleeing the famine-struck regions, hoping to find areas with more food.
At one point, the state tried to stop people from moving around the country because they needed them in the harvest zones the harvest the crops the next year, else there would be yet another famine.
All of the above combined to create the perfect storm of a famine in which possibly 5.5 million died in 1932. There was also famine in the Volga and Caucasus in that year, which showed that it was a regional problem. The next year, 1933, there was an excellent harvest. The USSR had a desperate manpower shortage at this time. That they would deliberately exterminate millions of healthy workers is absurd.
It is interesting that soon after the Western powers intervened on the side of the Whites in the Russian Civil War, there was a huge famine in the USSR in which 9 million people died in 1921-22.
Why is it that these deaths, (mostly attributed to an outpouring of weaponry to the Whites from the West), not to mention the 27 million Soviets killed by the Nazis invasion in World War 2, are never discussed, while “Stalin’s Ukrainian famine” is discussed to the point of tedium?
Soon as the famine started, the USSR started sending food to the Ukraine, but famines are funny. Once they start, they reach a point where they are already in motion and it is hard to stop them. Most victims of the Holodomor died not of starvation but of disease. At the time, there were massive shortages of medicines in the USSR, and in much of the rest of the world for that matter, to deal with these epidemics.
The Kulaks had savagely exploited the peasants in that region for centuries, as that 32 year life expectancy attests. It is interesting that these deaths from Kulak exploitation never enter into anyone’s figures.
Yes, 5.5 million Soviets died. But the resisters were trying to starve an entire nation.
McNally also goes into some great details about the “Jewish Communism” business, a canard that led to WW2, the Holocaust of 75% of the Jews in Europe, and carnage, destruction and death all across Europe and North Africa.
In truth, in 1917, 71% of Russian Jews voted for the Jewish nationalist (later to become Zionist) party. The real “Jewish party” was the Menshevik (Social Democratic) Party, not the Bolshevik Party. Only 3% of rank and file Bolsheviks were Jews as early as 1918.
I think it is interesting that at some point, most hardcore anti-Semites decide that:
1. Jews killed Jesus (Deicide)
2. Jews are responsible for Communism (Judeo-Bolshevism)
3. The Holocaust didn’t really happen the way the Jews say it did (Holocaust Denial)
To me, this indicates that hardcore anti-Semitism looks like some kind of mental illness, with specific, DSM-like features all its own.
McNally’s comments posted below come from the comments at the end of a a post on Ziopedia:
Commenter: Under Communist rule, the Soviet people suffered for decades, eventually leading to the deaths of anywhere from 20 to 100 million people, depending on which sources you believe.
Patrick McNally: That’s a Cold War invention from beginning to end. Nothing in any of the demographic studies which have been assembled from the archives since 1991 or any of the records of the GULAG supports such absurd myths. They clearly show that the expected life-span of the average Russian gradually grew as the Soviet economy was developed.
Even when one takes into account the hundreds of thousands of executions which occurred in 1937-8 and the one million or so who died in the GULAG during the 1930s, there is nothing which can rationally allow one to conclude that anything resembling 20 million died who would somehow have lived under either the old Czarist government or a White government.
The mortality rate in 1937 actually was already significantly reduced from 1913 and it would go down much further by the 1950s.
Given the total rejection of the Whites by the ordinary Russian, the most one can really say is that the revolution might have been healthier if more Gentile intellectuals had committed themselves to revolutionary aims in advance of 1914.
Among the educated people who were seeking to investigate some type of revolutionary solution prior to World War I there was certainly a disproportionate share of Jews, as educated Gentiles tended to buy into the established social order more easily. But that’s the most any knowledgeable person can say.
The revolution which spread chaotically all across Russia in 1917 was definitely not something brought about by a small cabal of any ethnic type. The question from that time onward was what organized party of intellectuals would be able to place themselves at the head of it and give direction.
The Constitutional Democrats proved to be almost totally out of touch, and the more conservative parties were completely removed from any connection with the main Russian populace.
The only real political rivals which the Bolsheviks ever had were the Mensheviks (which had a high percentage of Jews in its leadership, and was potentially able to attract support among the Russian labor force) and the Social Revolutionaries (who had a base of support among the peasantry).
These parties were unable to take charge of anything because they had not developed an organizational apparatus for the seizure of power as the Bolsheviks had.
That automatically meant that political authority among those forces opposed to the Bolsheviks in the civil war went to the commanders of the ‘Volunteer Army’ and these people lacked any bridge of contact to the ordinary Russian (which the Bolsheviks were often able to make).
That’s why the Reds won. It’s amazing how people who clearly have never studied the Russian Civil War draw up extravagant theories without being acquainted with the facts.
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