Soft-Pedaling Stalinist Genocide

figure03Max Fisher, foreign affairs blogger for the Washington Post, recently posed “nine questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask.” Fisher’s answers are informative but someone with a master’s degree in security studies from John Hopkins University, should be embarrassed, or even ashamed, about his account of a crucial part of Ukraine’s story.

Fisher says what’s happening in Ukraine is “really important,” and he is also right that it can be “confusing and difficult to follow for outsiders who don’t know the history” that led to the current crisis. That crisis began last November, when president Viktor Yanukovych dumped a deal with the European Union and drew the nation toward Russia. 

Fisher explains that Ukraine has “a long history of being subjugated by foreign powers.” The nation has “only been independent since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and it broke away.” The last time it was independent was for a few years after World War I, and “briefly in the 1600s.”

The primary foreign power subjugating Ukraine is Russia. As Fisher notes, that began 250 years ago with Catherine the Great. Like other Russian rulers she wanted the eastern part of the country “some of the most productive farmland in the world.” So many Russians swept in to Ukraine’s southeast it became known as “Novorossiya,” or “New Russia.” Russian leaders, hoping to make the territory permanently Russian, banned the Ukrainian language.

“Then came Joseph Stalin,” Fisher explains. “In the 1930s, the Soviet leader ‘collectivized’ peasants into state-run farms, which caused several million Ukrainians to die of starvation. The governments of Ukraine and the United States consider it a deliberate act of genocide, though historians are more divided.”

Note the description of Stalin as the Soviet “leader,” not a “dictator,” as even FDR called him, much less a totalitarian dictator, Communist dictator, or mass murderer, which is what Stalin was. As for the millions of deaths, the American and Ukrainian governments consider this deliberate genocide but Fisher isn’t sure. “Historians are more divided,” on the question, he says, but he mentions no names. Some of the details he left out may be found in this Library of Congress account.

Stalin wanted to “crush all vestiges of Ukrainian nationalism.” In 1932 Stalin raised Ukraine’s grain procurement quotas by forty-four percent, which meant “there would not be enough grain to feed the peasants.” Stalin deployed regular troops and secret police units, in “a merciless war of attrition” against the peasants, and this “condemned millions to death by starvation.”

The death toll of the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine “has been estimated between six million and seven million.” For one of Stalin’s lieutenants it was a great success. It showed the Ukrainians “who is the master here. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.”

According to Walter Duranty of the New York Times the Ukraine at the time was a veritable cornucopia, flowing with milk and honey. In Duranty’s narrative famine was impossible under the scientific, planned economy of the USSR and wise leadership of Stalin. Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize and later admitted he knew the full horror of the famine all along.

Max Fisher fails to mention any of that. The Washington Post blogger purports to write “so that anyone can understand” but on the crucial question of genocide he’s not up to the task. 

Communist dictator Josef Stalin deliberately starved to death more than six million Ukrainians. Modern Ukrainians know this all too well, a major reason why they are protesting the tilt toward Russia, whose president Vladimir Putin says Stalin was no worse than Oliver Cromwell.

Meanwhile, if modern Americans want to become more informed on Stalinist genocide in Ukraine and other places they should read Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.

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  • AlexanderGofen

    Thank you Mr. Billingsley for honestly presenting the terrible truth about Ukrainian “Golodomor” (artificial famine) of 1932-1933 – as a retaliation of Stalin against Ukrainian peasants not wishing to “embrace” and “celebrate” the “collectivization”. Alas, this tragedy of Ukrainians was on par with the Holocaust in its atrocities and scale.

    What should be added however is that it was exactly then in 1933 that the long and despicable process of appeasement by the US of the cannibalistic regime of Stalin had culminated with recognition and establishment of the diplomatic relations with that cannibal: No matter what, despite the leaking reports about all the atrocities of the Soviet regime since its inception.

    As Diana West properly noted in her “American Betrayal”, the 1933 recognition of the USSR was the moment when America lost its soul – and opened itself to unprecedented inroads and espionage of the Sovetskih: Just like we have opened ourselves now for inroads of islam and for the new world order clique up to instilling their impostor with uncertain names Obama-Soetoro-Soebarkach-Bounel. Shame to America, a null and void nation!

    • No RNC

      FDR received 90-90-85% of the Jewish vote during his 3 elections….

      • Erudite Mavin

        Just like the All or nothing pures, many who post on these sites
        sat at home or voted third party knowling enabling Obama’s presidency

      • WhiteHunter

        Not sure exactly what you’re implying; but despite that (if it’s true–it might be; I don’t know) FDR proceeded to betray them by, for example, denying entry to the 2,000 desperate European Jews who arrived here on the S.S. St. Louis, and instead turned them back to Hitler’s concentration camps and gas chambers. Just as those clean, honorable, orderly Swiss did to every Jew who tried to seek asylum in Switzerland during the war: It might have interfered with the Swiss bankers’ business smelting dental gold, no questions asked, you see.

        Jews like David Horowitz and Dennis Praeger can no more account for Obama’s sweeping of the Jewish vote despite his palpable hatred for Israel than I can, except to explain, based on the facts, that to a committed Leftist (or Communist, as David’s parents were), his loyalty to his ideology comes before his loyalty to anything else–including to his country, his own family, even to his God. These people aren’t Jews; they’re just hard-core Leftists. First, last, and always. Go figure.

      • The Mad Jewess

        My family didnt vote for FDR.

      • The Mad Jewess

        I bet $50 bux your family voted FDR, though.

  • Avril111

    My Uncle Zachary recently got a 9
    month old Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL63 AMG only from working off a home pc… go
    now B­u­z­z­3­4­.­ℂ­o­m

    • cjkcjk

      So you’re saying uncle Zac is a male prostitute?
      Do you pimp for him?

    • John T

      Did he live in the Ukraine?
      Did Stalin have A CL?
      I bet he wished he was as smart as your Uncle!
      Could I borrow the CL ( I’ve a hot date) for friday Night?

  • The Facts

    So, when are we going to shut down the Democrats’ command economy of cartel health care and banking? And when are we going to shut down the Republicans’ command economy of cartel fuel prices? When are we going to shut down the command economy of paramilitarized policing and domestic surveillance?

    • RMthoughts

      We are not…you are too demanding, all we have to know is that we are the good guys in the white hats no matter what, and Russia is the bad guy. It doesn’t matter that we spread cultural decay, homosexuality, favor socialism and radical Islam where it raises its ugly head. we are the good guys.

      • Drakken

        Sorry to burst your old cold war mentality but, Russia is not the old Soviet Union by any means, Putin is a hard man as there ever was and came at the right time for Russia and it is going Capitalistic by the day, while we in the west are imploding with self hate, self loathing and love of the 3rd world, whereas Putin puts up with none of that bloody nonsense and makes no apologizes for it. As much as it pains me to say this but, we are going to need the Russians before all is said and done.

  • cjkcjk

    Stalin is a strong Soviet leader who valiantly defeated the Nazi war machine whereas George Washington is a militant slaveholder who led an evil raacist society’s uprising against legitimate authority in today’s Lefty version of history as taught to the yoot (youth).

  • RMthoughts

    Maybe you should look into the atrocities of Oliver Cromwell and see that Putins description was no compliment. The logic would be if we have no problem with Oliver Cromwell’s treatment of the Irish and Catholics, why would we object to Stalin’s treatment of the Ukrainians. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • Rob Hobart

      No comparison whatsoever.

      • RMthoughts

        The Physician-General of the Army of Cromwell, Dr. William Petty, estimated that about 504,000 of the Irish perished and were wasted by sword, plague, famine, hardship and banishment between 23rd October 1641 and the same day in 1652. Put
        another way, the population of Ireland in 1641 was 1,448,000 and by 1652, 616,000 perished of which 504,000 were natives and 112,000 colonists and 40,000 soldiers left Ireland to join armies on the continent. Oliver Cromwell left Ireland on May 26, 1650. Only nine months in Ireland , Cromwell gave birth to death, exile, persecution, indentured slavery, and a form of 17th century ethnic cleansing. Put in another way, he cleansed 50% of the population. No comparision whatsoever? You need to consult Putin to get your facts straight.

      • cjkcjk

        There is a comparison, maybe not an exact comparison, but a valid comparison.

    • LibertarianToo

      My thoughts exactly. Saying Stalin was no worse than Oliver Cromwell is as much as admitting Stalin was a genocidal mass murderer. And, did you ever wonder why there is a tiny Irish population in Barbados? It’s tough even to find it mentioned in many histories, but that is the result of Cromwell giving many Irish a choice between “He ll or Barbados” where they were slaves on English plantations. I always picture Cromwell at a bridge table in he ll with Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot.

      • RMthoughts

        Unfortunately, most people don’t want to admit that “constitution loving” “liberty loving” anglo Saxons would ever do such a thing and Cromwell tends to be considered a hero among many.

      • Omar

        You mean British plantations. The British acquired Ireland in 1800, 93 years after the kingdoms of England and Scotland merged to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

  • RMthoughts

    Stalin was a butcher.

    • cjkcjk

      Only an ignoramus or a university professor would argue the truth of that.

      • RMthoughts

        Or a Ukrainian or a White Russian, or innumerable Communist Cadres that were purged

        • cjkcjk

          No, they would argue the truth of it.

          • cjkcjk

            The truth of it being that Stalin was a butcher just to be clear

      • RMthoughts

        I forget, dead people don’t argue. the consensus is that he is one of the greatest mass murders of history, right up there with his socialist former ally Hitler. Socialist of a feather flock together when it comes to mass killing. I understand you think he was a warm kuddly fuzz ball but you have to see from the point of view of the millions of people he killed and exiled.

        • cjkcjk

          You need to seriously check your reading comprehension. Follow the comments closely and you’ll find we are in total agreement. No insult meant.
          My initial comment is clearly sarcasm, or at least I thought it was.
          I am attacking Liberal, lying, academia.

          • RMthoughts

            Went back and read it…your right. A university professor would certainly argue the glories of Stalin, then again, in modern amerika, university professor and fool are about the same thing.

          • kevinstroup

            I caught what you were doing. No problem.

  • Erudite Mavin

    A needed article. Not enough know the history of Soviet Russia,
    Roosevelt and the Soviet cells in his administration who had American’s
    calling Joseph Stalin, Uncle Joe.
    I too have the book, “Bloodlands” Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
    Another book worth reading, “Stalin’s Genocides” by Naimark pub 2010

    • physicsnut

      Richard Pipes has a bunch of books on Russia – written since the Soviet Archives were opened.

      • Erudite Mavin

        Yes, there are number of good books.
        Have many books that are now out of print from the 40s & 50s to dozens of current books on Russia.
        Saw and felt the system first hand when I was in East Germany in 1983. Stood next to many Russian Soldiers in Leipzig and other cities.

  • Race_Dissident

    Another omission: although Russia may be the “primary power subjugating Ukraine,” the original and possibly most ferocious subjugators were the Mongols who conquered Kievan Rus (1237-1241) and lorded it over this country (later to be called Ukraine) for close to two and a half centuries. The loss of life and property were incalculable. But I’m sure Fisher doesn’t want to complicate the reductive Leftist narrative whereby Whitey is always the imperialist and “the Other” is always saintly.

  • kevinstroup

    Well I am sure Uncle Joe had good reasons for doing what he did. Progressives usually do.

  • Keith Patton

    I read the recommended book and it reveals a horrifying story of unbelievable proportions. Too many Americans are ignorant of European history of the last 100 years and thereby cannot understand the animosities and hatreds that fuel the national politics that in large part influence the actions of their own government. Sometimes I wonder if American politicians are not just as ignorant. Obama probably got D’s and F’s in history and geography and it shows in his foreign policy decisions.

  • Omar

    The radical left has such a sick and twisted worldview that they would support colonialism if Americans were the victims. Hence, the left supports King George III’s Britain because they viewed it as a “defender of socialism” and because it tried to prevent the creation of the United States of America. The left wants people to ignore the fact that George Washington opposed slavery and actually freed his slaves when he died. For more on the real George Washington and what he would think of America today, I encourage people to read The New Founders, written by Joseph Connor and Michael Duncan. Regarding Stalin, te left also wants people to ignore that the Soviet dictator had actually helped Hitler and the Nazis instigate the Holocaust. Watch the Soviet Story documentary to learn more about the truth.

  • georgejochnowitz

    Marxism means famine. Marxism has always meant famine. It necessarily means famine. The famines caused by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the Kim Dynasty were not a coincidence.

    Marx looked forward to the day when all people would agree about everything, so that the state could wither away. Since he rejected human beings the way they are–creatures with a variety of opinions–his followers did not and do not care about human lives.

  • posthuman

    Everyone seems to forget or @ least is ignorant about is how Stalin was compelled to collectivize agriculture, since the Soviet Union as it was, as so was Imperial Germany before it, surrounded by enemies intent on bringing them down, with former having the handicap of being a poor,undeveloped nation. Under Lenin’s so-called NEP(New Economic Policy), the previous estates & holdings of the old Russian guard were handed over to his top leadership, whom were predominately Jewish, so same old game, different bosses, that’s all. But Stalin realized the country had to be built up from the bottom up, & the Jewish land owners weren’t so willing to give up what they stole. So he had to break a bunch of omelets in order to move the USSR forward.