The Macon Telegraph says,”…It is estimated that between 20 to 40 million people, mostly Russians, were killed by Stalin during his dictatorship (1924-1953)…”
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
By Timothy Snyder
“…unlike the Germans, the Soviets killed a greater number of civilians during peacetime than during war…”
“…So many millions perished within the Gulag Archipelago for so many reasons, or for no reason. With a minimum of 5,000,000 slave laborers from 1931 to 1950, and a minimum death toll of 10% per year – both improbably low figures – one can conclude that Stalin’s camps claimed a minimum of 10,000,000 victims, and easily two or three times as many….”
“…grain in 1932 in the Ukraine was for the first time taken from the peasants and stored in urban granaries: officials realized that once starvation set in the peasants would try to eat the seed grain. The Ukrainian-Russian border was carefully guarded to keep Russian grain out of the famine-stricken Ukraine and starving Ukrainians out of Russia. Government grain stockpiles were available, but unused.
This mixture of ruthless methods resulted in the starvation deaths of about 7 million people: 5 million in the Ukraine, 1 million in the North Caucasus region, and 1 million elsewhere. On top of this, a similar collectivization campaign carried out against the nomads of Kazakhstan led to 1 million further deaths…”
So 17 million not counting executions.
Estimates high and low. Scholars beginning to rest on 20 million at lowest.
Everything written above about the Holodomor is not true. Anyway the death toll was just as high in the staunchly pro-Soviet Rostov and Lower Don District. Did the USSR deliberately starve its own staunchest supporters. 1 million died in Siberia. Did the USSR deliberately starve 1 million people in Siberia. Many died in Soviet cities, including Moscow. Did the USSR starve its own urban citizens? What for?
Less grain actually taken in 1932 than in the previous year! So much for stealing all the grain. More grain was actually requisitioned back in 1932 than in the previous year! So much for the “they would not give them any food” argument. All over the USSR, people were moving around here and there, trying to escape famine conditions and get to a place where the food was more plentiful. They tried to stop all of this internal migration by putting checks at the borders, but it didn’t work very well. They especially wanted to stop people from migrating out of Ukraine, as then they would have no rural population in their grain belt to grow grain.
The next year, 1933, was a bumper harvest. If they were trying to starve people, why have a famine one year and a bumper harvest the next? Makes no sense. In the previous five years, the kulaks had killed half the livestock in the USSR. This was a big reason for the famine right there. And in Ukraine, people were setting their mature grain fields on fire. They would harvest all of their grain and pile it in a big pile in a field until it got rained on, and then it would mold.
The Ukrainians had an insurgency where they were attacking collective farms, killing the workers, raping the women, killing all the livestock and setting the crops on fire. In early 1932, there were 20-30 armed attacks occurring every day in the Ukraine. So as you can see, this was all happening in the background of a civil war.
Bloodlands is a terrible book, and Mr. Snyder is a hardline anti-Communist. His statement that Stalin killed more in peacetime than he did in wartime while Hitler killed more in wartime than he did in peacetime is irrelevant. Hitler didn’t kill many people before he went to war. So what? Is there something special about peacetime killings versus wartime killings? What’s the difference. Stalin killed more in peacetime than Hitler, so he’s worse? That’s an argument?
The Macon Telegraph is wrong. There were no 20-40 million killed. Megadeaths is wrong. There were no 20 million minimum killed. Caplan the libertarian is wrong. There were no 17 million+ deaths.
Here are the figures for peacetime deaths from 1926-1953:
Executions: 900,000 Deaths in the gulag: 1.2 million Anti-kulak campaign: 390,000
How do we know those figures are correct? Because they are from the Soviet Archives, that’s why. With the fall of the USSR in 1991, the Soviet Archives were opened for the first time and available to historians. For the next decade, historians argued about the figures in the archives, which are listed above. Yes, the Soviets kept track of every execution and every death in gulags. Or at least deaths per month or deaths per year. Like the Germans, they wrote it all down.
There have been many arguments against the figures above. Most of them boil down to, “Commies lie. The Soviets were Commies, so they lied. Therefore the figures are no good.”
There are some better arguments that the figures do not include the population transfers during World War 2. Another interesting argument is that the gulag figures are not good because the gulags tended to release people, if at all, when they were in very bad shape, and they often died soon after and were not counted.
I have not kept up on the debate.
The people throwing around the figures of 17+, 20+, and 20-40 million do not know what they are talking about. All of those figures were calculated by the West before we had access to the Soviet Archives. It turns out that the earlier Western figures were wild exaggerations, basically untruths, which were written up and used by the West as Cold War propaganda. The West had no idea how many people were killed by Stalin or the USSR, so they just came up with one wildassed guess after another. All of the figures above are discredited because those people are not the experts who are studying the matter.
The only place where rational people are discussing how many died during the USSR is among Sovietologists in the history journals. The debate began in the early 1990’s and may be ongoing for all I know, but I do not think the Archives figures have been successfully challenged yet.