False equivalencies

The 80th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact a few days ago had the Canadian press energized into one of its regular frenzies of Russia-bashing. These tend to be rather repetitive and unoriginal, and as such best ignored. But this time round it took a particular form which I think is worth some examination.

First out was former Conservative minister Chris Alexander in an article in the Globe and Mail. In this he told readers that Vladimir Putin’s goal was to ‘discredit democracy … [and] bolster dictatorship as an alternative’, adding that ‘no country has embraced this kind of trespass – warfare, really – with greater abandon than Vladimir Putin’s Russia’. What inspires Putin, claims Alexander, is ‘Stalinist nostalgia’. The Russian president and his acolytes look to a ‘world in which Stalin is a model … today’s Kremlin refuses to accept any criticism of either Stalin or Mr Putin. That’s because their actions have been so similar’.

Alexander continues that ‘Free historical inquiry into the Second World War has been all but shut down in Russia’. He then links this to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, claiming that this provides the model for Russia’s ‘invasions’ of Georgia and Ukraine. Thus,

Far from absorbing the lessons of Stalin’s deadly embrace of Hitler, today’s Kremlin is reprising it by illegally annexing territory, aggressively undermining democracy and vaingloriously touting a toxic cult of personality as a model for the world. The ‘end of history’ … has given way to the ‘end of logic’, with Stalin’s dark role now inspiring a widening tragedy under Mr. Putin.

Following in Chris Alexander’s wake, Canadian-Estonian activist Marcus Kolga had much the same to say in the Toronto Sun. Kolga has a real chip on his shoulder about the way that Russians misrepresent the Second World War, in particular their weird belief that the Soviet Union ‘liberated’ eastern Europe from the Nazis. Kolga wishes to disabuse us of this fiction, and to this end tell us, like Alexander, that ‘Putin has overseen an aggressive rehabilitation of Stalin’s bloody legacy, and the rewriting of history to officially erase dangerously inconvenient historical facts, such as the Nazi-Soviet Pact.’ To Kolga, fascism and communism were really one and the same thing. As he writes:

In a September 1939 editorial, The New York Times reacted to the signing of what’s become known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, suggesting that ideologically, the Nazis and Soviets were not that far apart stating that ‘Hitlerism is brown communism, Stalinism is red fascism.’ Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini shared that view, believing that Stalin had shifted the Soviet Union away from Bolshevism to a form of fascism in October 1939.

It’s not often that one reads someone quoting Mussolini approvingly, but there you have it. The Soviets didn’t liberate eastern Europe. They merely replaced one form of fascism with another. By claiming otherwise, ‘Vladimir Putin’ and others ‘distort history and truth’.

Canadian-Ukrainian professor Lubomyr Luciuk agrees. Writing in the Vancouver Sun, he informs us that not just Putin but also,

Moscow shills and their fellow travellers are more than duplicitous. They are dangerous. For they are trying to rewrite the history of the Second World War, to obfuscate not just the dates on which the war began, and ended, but to confound us about who the villains were. They are spreading fake news here, today, across Canada.

Most of those who died in the Soviet Union during World War Two ‘were not Russian’, says Luciuk. The greatest losses were in Ukraine and Belarus. More importantly, though,

We must not forget that the Soviet Union was not our ally when the Second World War began. On that date, Stalin stood with Hitler … we must never forget that Moscow’s men not only fuelled the Second World War but joined our side only after the holocaust they had stoked began to burn their empire down. Let us not forget that, at least not today.

As I see it, there are two things going on in these articles. The first is an effort to equate contemporary Russia with the Soviet Union, in particular the Soviet Union under Stalin, by means of claims that Putin is ‘rehabilitating’ Stalin. The second is an attempt to equate communism and Nazism. Put together, the net effect is to equate contemporary Russia with Nazi Germany, and Putin with Hitler.

The problem with this approach is that it’s based on falsehood. As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, the idea that Putin is rehabilitating Stalin is entirely untrue. (There is more than enough evidence to prove this point, but rather than repeat it all here, I refer you instead to my recent post on the issue). More broadly, equating contemporary Russia with the Soviet Union, let alone the Soviet Union under Stalin, is absurd. Attempts to claim otherwise can be the result only of either willful ignorance or deliberate deceit.

What then of the effort to equate communism and Nazism? Superficially, one can see the attraction. After all, both the Soviets and the Nazis engaged in acts of conquest in Eastern Europe, and their conquests were accompanied by widespread repression. But once you start looking at the matter more closely, you see that the comparison is devoid of merit. The Nazis came intending genocide; the Soviets did not. The Nazis sought to eliminate all the signs and institutions of statehood of the conquered peoples; the Soviets did not – while they absorbed the Baltic states and parts of Belarus and Ukraine, they preserved those states as autonomous entities within their Union, and likewise when they overran countries like Poland, Romania, and Hungary they maintained them as independent states. This was far removed from Nazi practice.

Furthermore, the Nazis came as colonizers. Not only did they aim to displace the existing population, but they were interested in their captured territories only in terms of extracting resources. By contrast, the Soviets invested heavily in developing the lands they occupied, creating industry, educating the population, and supporting cultural endeavours. It could well be argued that they didn’t do a very good job of it, but the difference in intent was enormous – the one overtly destructive; the other, at least in theory, constructive.

Alexander, Kolga and Luciuk all make reference to historical truth, which they contrast with Russian ‘disinformation’. In reality, though, they peddle a simplistic, propagandistic, and untrue story designed to inflame international tensions. Those who rewrite the past are ‘dangerous’, Luciuk tells us. On that at least, I have to agree with him.

53 thoughts on “False equivalencies”

  1. No matter how you feel about Stalin, the 1939 nonaggression pact was an absolutely brilliant move, in my opinion. Splitting your overwhelmingly more powerful adversaries, and turning them against each other. Then turning half of them into your allies. Sun Tzu style. Classic.

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    1. I can’t agree, as what it did was eliminate the buffer zone between Germany and the Soviet Union, thus making the latter vulnerable to invasion. The basic assumption seems to have been that Germany and the Western powers would be stuck in a WW1-style conflict for years, and mutually exhaust themselves. As we know, that assumption proved to be catastrophically wrong.

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      1. Paul is right: why eliminate a whole buffer of countries that would have had to be crossed before reaching the Soviet borders?
        Stalin was a true strategic oaf, until he let Zhukov and company make the decisions during the war. Interestingly, Hitler (leave Leningrad in 1941, e.g.) and Napoleon made similar colossal errors: I still do not understand why Napoleon went into the direction of Moscow in 1812. St. Petersburg was the capital, the Baltic ports served as transit points for the smuggling N was livid about, and the tsar resided in St. Petersburg…

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      2. How did it eliminate the buffer zone? I don’t think it produced a major advantage, but it actually created a buffer zone. Otherwise the Reich would’ve swallowed the whole of Poland, the Baltics, Bessarabia/Bukovina, and the invasion would’ve started from the perimeter much closer to the industrial and governing centers. Not to mention: much sooner, and with supplies from France, the UK and US.

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      3. If the Soviets didn’t accept M-R, what was to keep the Nazis from taking everything which the Soviets took in that agreement?

        That question leads to the opinion that the USSR at the time didn’t have a good bargaining position. Regarding the notion of Stalin as a Russian nationalist, what kind of Russian nationalist would okay Germany taking Warsaw? That city wasn’t part of Prussia or the German Empire. It was part of the Russian Empire.

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      4. Well, in the end, if Japan invaded in 1941 it would’ve probably been all over anyway. So, weirdly enough, the main factor was probably the situation in the Pacific, the embargo, the Hull ultimatum and all that. Which could, indirectly, still be a consequence of the Pact… Who the hell knows…

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      5. “I can’t agree, as what it did was eliminate the buffer zone between Germany and the Soviet Union, thus making the latter vulnerable to invasion. “

        🙂

        Of course you can’t, Professor! Because you deny the SU right for existence, right?

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      6. I have to agree with Paul R. and Kees on this one. I think Stalin’s intentions were to be clever, but he made a bit of a blunder. Still, he was playing with a very weak deck, so I reckon he played the only card he had, given everything else that was going on.

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      7. At the August ‘39 Anglo-French-Soviet military staff talks in Moscow, Admiral Sir Reginald Drax estimated that without immediate Soviet support, the Polish Armed Forces would be able to sustain effective resistance to German attack for about 2 weeks. A very good estimate, as these things go.

        Writing on 16 August ‘39, the Deputy Chiefs of Staff (Tom Phillips, Henry Pownall (for DCIGS) and John Slessor (for DCAS)), confirmed that Polish resistance would be brief without immediate Soviet assistance, arranged & coordinated prior to open hostilities.

        So get over the idea that Poland was any sort of buffer for the USSR in August ‘39.

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  2. “Stalin was a true strategic oaf, until he let Zhukov and company make the decisions during the war. Interestingly, Hitler (leave Leningrad in 1941, e.g.) and Napoleon made similar colossal errors: I still do not understand why Napoleon went into the direction of Moscow in 1812. St. Petersburg was the capital, the Baltic ports served as transit points for the smuggling N was livid about, and the tsar resided in St. Petersburg…”

    Concerning the above, the USSR did attempt an anti-Nazi alliance with the West, which the latter refused. Hence, Stalin took a reasoned and different approach.

    Stalin made an error in not readily accepting the Intel about an impending Nazi attack on the USSR. At the same time, it wasn’t wrong for him to be suspect about misinformation on that matter.

    It has been noted that Stalin might’ve also been reasonably keen on the consequences of fighting Germany when unprepared. The reference point being Russia’s attempted offensive into Germany in the early part of WW I, which proved detrimental for Russia.

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  3. This is BS:

    https://russialist.org/molotov-ribbentrop-what-do-russians-know-of-key-world-war-ii-pact/

    See:

    https://www.fondsk.ru/news/2019/08/23/sovetsko-germanskij-dogovor-o-nenapadenii-80-let-spustja-48838.html

    That venue has other pieces touching on the topic.

    The RFE/RL piece doesn’t take into consideration that many the world over are airheads when it comes to history. Those who grossly distort the past are in another category.

    While on the subject of M-R, this lengthy piece has some agreeable and disagreeable points:

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/26/the-hitler-stalin-pact-of-august-23-1939-myth-and-reality/

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  4. My own view on the M-R pact.

    Soviet position would have been worse without it. Essentially, it boiled down between letting the Germans get all of Poland/Baltics or 2/3rds of it. It actually left the Soviets with wiggle room btw. They could wait and see if the western allies actually a) declare war on Germany and b) actually fight germany before committing.

    Putting the red army (as well as the red air force, although the latter could reach Ploesti from Crimea or Odessa as well) within striking distance of Romanias oilfields was also a potentially huge thing.

    The actual mistakes were:
    1: Moving such a large proportion of the Red armies standing forces into these territories.
    2: Not actually using these new territories as buffers. Setting up a Polish rump state without dissappearing the Polish intelligentsia would have been feasible, although a somewhat hard sell given the quite recent Polish Soviet war.
    3: The failure of the winter war with Finland, which greatly increased perceptions of Soviet weakness among the Wehrmacht. While German intel was was also aware of Soviet successes at Kalkin Gol against Japan, the Germans (privately) regarded the Japanese as quite drastically overhyped in terms of their military potential.

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    1. Furthermore, given that Poland participated in the carving up of Czecheslovakia, and that Britain particpated in the carving up of Iran/Persia, and that most of the axis allies expected to participate in the carving up of the USSR, the west does protest a bit much.

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      1. Very true today. Hoopla over Crimea and Donbass, with limited comparative mention of Western actions concerning Kosovo and not too distant US led military activity in Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia.

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    2. Based on what has been accounted, I sense that the Soviets took the Japanese more seriously than the Finns. The sports analogy being what can happen when a strong team or individual athlete takes a weaker opponent lightly.

      Keep in mind that the Soviets at the time were known to have quality military personnel in the east, perhaps keeping in mind the Russo-Japanese War, in conjunction with knowing about Japan’s rising prowess in the 1930s.

      The red Army’s success against the Nazis became,e greatly enhanced with the arrival of Soviet forces from the far-east, after sensing that the Japanese weren’t planning to attack the USSR.

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      1. It is actually somewhat contested how many division were transfered from Siberia. I have heard numbers as low as 3.

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  5. Once again, another reminder, that all Anti-Sovietists are just Russophobes. What else did you expect from Canada, a Promised land for the Nazi collobarateurs? This “Nazis = Commies, but Nazi Collaborateurs in the E-Europe were Good Bois” trope is one of the many reasons, why both the so-called liberalism, and the West’s soft power are now irreparable crippled in Russia.

    Also NYT, which now suddenly became a go-to place for a top quality historical analysis:

    And speaking about “illegal annexations” in the Eastern Europe in the first half of XX c.:

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  6. Gorodetsky (Grand Illusion)? A.J.P. Taylor is also always thought-provoking.

    Poland did fight for six weeks and gave up at that point mainly because the Soviets had moved in from the east. What if it had faced Germany with the Soviets remaining neutral? The Poles would have likely thought on for several more weeks.
    And maybe, in the absence of a Nazi-Soviet agreement–and the subsequent September 17 invasion–, Beck c.s. would have asked for Soviet help in their embattled situation (rather than alienating the Soviets as they had done before August 1939). Then Hitler would have faced a reborn WW I coalition, and a serious two-front war in 1939.

    Without the Pact, Hitler would likely have waited before invading Poland, at a minimum. And a Soviet pact with France and the UK, even if difficult to accomplish, might have made Hitler wait further. Finland might have stayed neutral in 1941, not unimportant given its proximity to Leningrad as it turned out.

    Neither would it have been that simple to occupy Bessarabia for the Germans, as Mao suggests.

    And Stalin would not have shown how feeble his army was in the Soviet-Finnish war (Hitler was really astonished at how much trouble the Finns gave the Soviets, and decided that the Soviet army was even weaker than he had thought it to be already, given his ideological blinkers).

    Hitler likely would have gone to war eventually, but the USSR was gaining in force once the Great Terror ended. Gorodetsky implies that Stalin did believe that the USSR would be ready for a war in 1942.
    The biggest challenge would have been identifying competent and experienced officers, especially at the highest rank, after butchering Tukhachevsky, Blyukher, Shtern, Yakir, Gamarnik, etc.

    After the fourth Polish partition in September 1939, Stalin proceeded to dismantle his fairly decent fortification defensive line westward, for which time was lacking: the Soviets were clumsily trying to build another one further west which was not anywhere near completion in June 1941. That earlier line would have been a good starting point from which to defend (shorter lines would have helped defensive coherence, too).

    And maybe he would not have left his planes glistening in the sun on the airfields in June 1941, for he might not have trusted Hitler as much without the pact (although he appears to have thought the Germans would not invade that late in the year anymore, after the Yugoslav-Greek campaign by the Nazis).

    Finally, further re the buffer zone: Most famously in October 1941, the Germans halted their advance toward Moscow, to shore up the supply lines. This pause proved crucial, perhaps. Earlier they had to wait at several moments as well; an infantry army cannot catch up with tank units that quickly; marching first through a hostile eastern Poland would have slowed down the German advance (and depleted the troops’ energy) even before reaching the Soviet borders (pre-September 1939). And it is unclear (Klaipeda!) what the Baltic countries would have done if they had been confronted with a German attack rather than Soviet aggression.

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    1. “…Then Hitler would have faced a reborn WW I coalition, and a serious two-front war in 1939…”

      All this is based on a completely unfounded assumption that the western powers wanted to fight Germany. They didn’t. In fact, Churchill directly stated that he preferred Nazis to Communists (you can google the quote yourself).

      All their actions, from the remilitarization of the Rhineland, to allowing the Anschluss, to the Munich agreement, to the “phony war” – it’s all pointing to one direction: their plan was to arm and strengthen the Reich, and to keep pushing it eastwards, to fight the Soviets.

      Therefore, if Stalin attacked Hitler in Poland in 1939, there would be no coalition. In fact, like I said, most likely the west would’ve helped Hitler with arms and supplies.

      And that’s the whole point. Turning the Reich westward and consequently turning the West pro-Soviet in the future German-Soviet war is exactly why I think the pact was a brilliant strategic move.

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      1. Google it?! That is the best you have?
        Do you read Russian and German? I do and I read the sources and the relevant literature in French and English as well (see, too, Dimitrov’s astonishment).
        This appears the disease of our day: Any person can spout his /her opinion, without any credentials or peer review.
        For example, I have nothing to say about the sport of polo, as I have not studied or played it…

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      2. “I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between communism and nazism, I would choose communism. ” 1937
        https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2002/nov/28/features11.g21

        But there’s no need to base far-reaching conclusions on something a politician says. I don’t think there’s any controversy about the British establishment being sympathetic, in the mid-1930s, to German Nazism, while having a violent temper tantrum every time the word “Bolshevism” is uttered.

        That’s just common knowledge. Again, use google. As they say, “he that seeketh findeth”.

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      3. Gotta agree with Mao on this one, Western Europe and Great Britain ruling classes saw Hitler as their natural ally against Bolshevism. It was only Hitler’s blunders which broke this natural alliance.

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    2. “Poland did fight for six weeks and gave up at that point mainly because the Soviets had moved in from the east. What if it had faced Germany with the Soviets remaining neutral? The Poles would have likely thought on for several more weeks.”

      By 15 September, Panzer Group Guderian had gotten to Brest, and Panzer Group Kleist we’re investing Lviv. Both were over the Demarcation Line. Polish armed forces had takes ~50% casualties, the Germans 2%. Polish ground forces had been cut into 3 pieces, incapable of acting in mutual support, and subject to defeat in detail.

      It was Game Over, 2 days before the Red Army lifted a finger.

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  7. Two things. One, it is unfortunate that the ideological, and non-historical remake of history by Timothy Snyder has somehow become commonplace in current day western thinking. Prof Robinson has adequately pointed out the fallacies of such thinking in previous articles. As with the Russiagate story, however, repetition appears more convincing than fact-searching.
    Two, one cannot place the M-R non-aggression pact (and that is what it was) outside of the context of British, French and other desires for Germany to focus on communist USSR. They were placating Hitler, allowing him to re-arm, hoping he would go and take care of the labor rebellion problem in the East. The reigning elites in western Europe were more afraid of communism’s allure than of Hitler’s aspersions.

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  8. Indirectly related, this concerns the idiotic anti-Russian advocacy, greatly premised on arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy:

    https://www.businessinsider.com/9-things-putin-needs-to-do-to-rejoin-g7-heritage-2019-8#russia-has-a-long-way-to-go-10

    In terms of good objective, thought provoking analysis, the co-authors of the above referenced piece have no business getting propped over the likes of yours truly.

    The high profile wonky tonk, phony, crony, baloney establishment is quite an intellectually corrupt racket.

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  9. A very useful piece of analysis, but it will (sadly) go unnoticed by the “chattering class”.

    To drive home one of the arguments made in your blog entry, I would add that the Soviet occupation of Central Europe during the early part of the Cold War was very harsh, that has to be acknowledged. Many tens of thousands of people suffered and died as a result. It really was a case of the barbarian in the garden. But what would have been left of the region’s cultures and societies, let alone the people themselves, had the Nazis prevailed in the Nazi-Soviet war? One can sincerely hate what the USSR represented, and still acknowledge that Nazi occupation policies would in the long run have eliminated any possibility of a revival of the peoples who lived in Central Europe. It is hard to imagine how Slavs in prewar Poland or the Czech lands or even in Eastern Galicia could have avoided the doom that had been visited upon the Jews if Hitler, and not Stalin, had triumphed. That was, after all, what Hitler and other leading Nazis discussed.

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    1. “Soviet occupation of Central Europe during the early part of the Cold War was very harsh, that has to be acknowledged. “

      There were no occupation. There was libeartion from the Nazis. Also – “Cental Europe”? Only Eastern Europeans from the Butthurt Belt of Europe use this term.

      “Many tens of thousands of people suffered and died as a result. “

      Life is full of suffering. Even arresting people for the crimes they’ve commited brings suffering and occasional death. Stop demagoguery.

      “It really was a case of the barbarian in the garden. “

      Casual Russophobic racism – check.

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      1. The key to making sense of what you write is your earlier comment that “all anti-Sovietists are Russophobes”. That sort of nonsense is rather like labelling someone who you don’t agree with a fascist.

        The USSR defeated the Nazis but inflicted enormous harm on the peoples of Central Europe, installed puppet regimes, eliminated political opponents and often their families, set ethnic groups against one another. and in the first years practised a reign of terror in many places (e.g., Poland, Hungary, Western Ukraine.). I would add, the Bolsheviks also inflicted great suffering on the peoples of the Soviet Union, not the least of their victims were the Russians — although that activity started with the Revolution and Civil War and never really ceased. It merely waxed and waned, taking different forms over time, with the worst period being the Stalin era. Saying this is not anti-Russian but it is obviously very critical of Soviet Union (the aptly named “Evil Empire”). Recalling that history takes nothing away from what the Red Army achieved in defeating Hitler, but it helps put it in perspective.

        The Nazi-Soviet war, how it started and what followed its conclusion, is truly an example of the tragedy of Great Power politics. The implication, I would argue, of Prof. Robinson’s blog entry is that in light of recent media commentary he is calling for a deeper understanding of that historical record so that we might derive relevant and informed insights from that history.

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      2. “The key to making sense of what you write is your earlier comment that “all anti-Sovietists are Russophobes”. That sort of nonsense is rather like labelling someone who you don’t agree with a fascist.”

        “5 minutes of Hate” diatribes quoted in the blogpost that we are commenting here prove that I’m 100% right. You, Westies, had been using “Russia” and “the Russians” in state of the “USSR” and “the Soviet people” through all the Cold War and beyond. You, Westies, never bothered to make a distinction. You, Westies, embraced the “Prison of the People” bullshit, because it promised the disintegration of the USSR and undying loyalty of the small, butthurt nationalist states, irregardles of how crappy, nasty and shitty they were. By attacking the USSR you, Westies, are attacking the Eternal Russia ™, which you will always hate, despise and wish its total elimination, for who needs a competitor? Western so-called “Free and Independent Media” and throngs of think tanks are spewing bullshit right now about modern Russia and how it Evil incarnate. This is no different from the bullshit spewed about any other period of Russian history by, you, the Westies.

        Soviet period is unaliable part of Russian history. Soviet Union was the pinnacle of the development for the Russian (among other member-nations) civilization. That’s a reality, claiming otherwise and dreaming about “alternatives” – fucking fantasy. “Illegitimate Bolshevism” created the second most powerful economy in the world. It was a gift to all humanity, for it made the capitalist world transform itself (for a time being) into the “Capitalism with the Human Face”. Soviet Union was largely responsible for elimination of the thing, that had become the closes incarnation of the Absolute Evil.

        Russophobia is a logical continuation of the Anti-Sovietism. It might surprise you, userperson Ben, but the absolute majority of Russian citizens do not hate the Soviet Union. We have no desire to heap crap upon our past, to “Pay and Repent”, as liberal shutzmannshaft calls us to do. So, sooner or later, seeing as your (in general and particular yours, Ben) attempts to make us “Pay and Repent” gonna fail, you will start to hate the Russian people. You have to. We are deplorably unrepentant. We really do thing that the USSR not only did nothing wrong in the Eastern Europe in 1940s, but that it was, actually, too soft at times – otherwise there won’t be “veterans of the anti-Soviet resistance” marching along modern neo-Nazis in the Baltic state or the Ukraine. So, naturally, you’d have to learn how to hate “the dark masses”, userperson Ben.

        For you, userperson Ben, there is no question that the USSR was illegitimate. Not for us. Therefore fake outrage about “Soviet killing Russians” is just that – fake. The government does not “kill” – it has a legitimate monopoly on the violence and enforcement of justice. There is no nominal difference between, say, a capitalist country using police and troops against their people in order to defend their capitalists “private property”, and the Soviet state eradicating elements of the capitalism in its economy and persecuting those, who does not comply. In either case, its called “law enforcement”.

        “The USSR defeated the Nazis but inflicted enormous harm on the peoples of Central Europe, installed puppet regimes, eliminated political opponents and often their families, set ethnic groups against one another. and in the first years practised a reign of terror in many places (e.g., Poland, Hungary, Western Ukraine.).”

        Wow, two-faced hypocrisy, what a surprise. To see a vanilla liberoid Anti-Sovietist spewing trademark “accusations” – that’s priceless!

        – “Enormous harm” is an abstract, used to the general wailing and gnashing of teeth. So it could be dismissed out of hand. Btw, no matter how often you’d resort to the abstract of “enormous harm”, the numbers and statistics are too inconvenient for you – for (any kinds of) repressions targeted only 2-3% of the overall population tops. And of those targeted most truly deserved that.
        – “Puppet Regimes” is rich, coming the from the Westies. What, you gonna deny that there were communists in other countries? Btw, in that case one ought to condemn the so-called “Democratic West” for installing its own puppets. Add to that “elimination of political opponents”.
        – Setting ethnic strife is, again, more capitalist undertaken. USSR had nothing to do with India/Pakistan or Palestinian mandate territory.
        – What you call “terror” was just law enforcement. How can one twist the reality so hard as to try to portray Banderovites in the Western Ukraine as innocent victims of the “terror”, is beyond me. Are you a khohol perchance, userperson Ben? For calling for sympathy for the terrorists (and, yes, they were terrorists) mislabled as “victims of the Soviet Regime” is a case study of Russophobia.

        “Saying this is not anti-Russian but it is obviously very critical of Soviet Union (the aptly named “Evil Empire”).”

        Not, the name was a misnomer, for the Soviet Union was not an empire. Only a dumbass can use fucking Reagan’s bullshit as a foundation for an argument. Besides, if one has to resort to analysis of the history, instead of blanket propaganda statements, one has to admit these claims are just that – propaganda and snip, amplified for the sake of political expediency.

        “Recalling that history takes nothing away from what the Red Army achieved in defeating Hitler, but it helps put it in perspective.”

        RKKA and then the Soviet Army (to give a proper name) was part and parcel from the Soviet people AND what you call a “Soviet Regime”. They are inseparable. If you are insisting, that the Soviet Union was illegitimate Mordor on Earth, then the Soviet people who were part of the Soviet army were just its Orc henchmen (and women), who, from your shiny Western Valinor view, were a blight on the face of Earth and could do nothing right. This is fucking Russophobia – but it flows logically from the anti-Soviet position.

        Logical steps for those, who maintain that the USSR was illegitimate “Evil” formation is to call everything made by it “Evil” and nullify all of its “Evil” gains – territorial, economical, scientific and political in the international sphere. That means that you, userperson Ben, ought to demand the reduction of Russian Federation’s (as USSR heir) territory, its expulsion from the UN SC, its nuclear disarmament and, yes, obligatory “Pay and Repent” routine for the benefit of eternally butthurt Eastern European theme-park Ruritanias, which have oh so much diasporas at the Shining Beacon on the Hill. Ultimately, userpeson Ben, you’d have to deny the legitimacy to any Russian government (“Regime”) that fails to entertain your demands of Payment and Repentance. And that’s exactly what the articles linked in that blogpost did.

        You calling “barbarians” my ancestors, userperson Ben. How the fuck you are not a racist Russophobe then?

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      3. There were no occupation. There was libeartion from the Nazis. Also – “Cental Europe”?

        In Germany (GDR) that argument doesn’t quite work. … To some extend yes, maybe, to some extend maybe not.

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      4. “In Germany (GDR) that argument doesn’t quite work. … To some extend yes, maybe, to some extend maybe not.”

        Oh, FFS, just don your snappy HugoBoss designed uniforms and start singing “Wenn die Soldaten”, instead of blaating “we were victims too”!

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      5. Oh, FFS, just don your snappy HugoBoss designed uniforms and start singing “Wenn die Soldaten”, instead of blaating “we were victims too”!

        This brought a smile on my face. At one point in life I designed my own uniform. Thus: No label, sorry. Not even concerning jeans. …

        Isn’t Boss for males? I wore admittedly sometimes my brothers jackets or coats but not as standard.

        As concerns me not a victim. I am not quite sure though to what extend my parents were. considering the system.

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  10. Politically, the European countries included in the “eastern bloc” were identified as Eastern Europe. Including East Germany.

    But geographically… There are several places that claim to be “the center of Europe”. I visited one near Rakhov, in Zakarpattia, and I imagine they all must be around that longitude. Calling a place west of center ‘east’ indicates, I think, something like a eurocentric civilizational attitude, where, say, Strasbourg is in the center of everything.

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    1. ” I visited one near Rakhov, in Zakarpattia, and I imagine they all must be around that longitude.”

      Center of Europe is in the Ukraine [nod-nod]

      SUGS!

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  11. Still yet, another idiotic article from a coddled source:

    Stephens doesn’t address why the UK and France didn’t declare war on the USSR unlike Nazi Germany. Moreover, the Soviet attack on Poland was probably not as brutal as Nazi Germany’s. I’m not offhand aware of the fact based comparison on this matter.

    Keeping in mind that the USSR went into Polish territory that had large numbers of non-Poles, who weren’t so keen in fighting for Poland.

    Like

    1. Michael, comparing the Nazis Volkempfänger to twitter is ridiculous. The heavily limited as far as wavelength goes cheap radio for the masses was only one part of the larger Gleichschaltung of German media under Goebbel’s control.

      Besides, the the number of the Times suggested were in use in1936 sounds far fetched. It wasn’t called Gemeinschaftempfänger for nothing. And the ones that could afford used another radio, one without limited band width, did so. I do have anecdotal evidence of that.

      There’s the rise of dictatorial regimes intent on avenging past geopolitical humiliations and redrawing borders: Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia then; China, Iran and Russia now./b>

      symptomatic<. … A Zeit journalist (was it?) yesterday, quite in line with this latest Atlantic angle outlook, claimed that Russia's military budget was part of Russia's hybrid warfare. After all, as someone commented wasn't it really outrageous that the Russian state controlled the military sector and thus bought and produced weapons quite cheap vs the way it should be, or as it is in "the West", letting its elites profit via shares? 😉

      Besides the cynical commenter argues America buries quite a bit of basically military expenses in the energy budget (nuclear?) Challenging the authors suggestion that beyond buying cheap the Russian state probably uses creative bookkeeping too.

      I know why I ignored the Times political pages most of my life … Or most of it, anyway.

      *******
      But yes, Bernard (Moon of Alabama) picks matters up, although highly indirectly. Yes, bascially i am not too fond of Trump's language too, Stephen offered language usage too as parallel evidence, didn't he?

      https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-08-28/bedbug-bret-stephens-twitter-speech-civility-new-york-times

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2019/08/31/bret-stephens-is-still-talking-about-bedbugs-now-language-holocaust/

      And Bret Stephen's and this NYT colleagues,

      https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/08/the-new-york-times-has-bed-bugs.html

      Like

      1. this quote I meant:
        “It is the miracle of radio that it welds 60,000,000 Germans into a single crowd, to be played upon by a single voice,” The Times reported in 1936.

        Besides correction. I didn’t ignore the NYT’s political pages most of my life but the first section and thus politics of our weekly DIE ZEIT. Zeit=time.

        Like

  12. Concerning can one be anti soviet and not anti Russian:

    Yes. Plenty of Russian nationalists are this. Ingredients to this type:
    1: Strong belief that the Soviet state was quite frequently inept ( f.e. “WW2 Germans had no business reaching the Volgar, better decisions by could have reasonably stopped the Germans at the Dvina /Dniepr line”).
    2: Strong belief that Russification of Ukraine was the right policy (Soviets did the exact opposite, irrespective of what somewhat butthurt banderites will tell you, especially during Korenisatsija period). Given the OTL results from a Russian pov. of the Soviet approach, one can reasonably claim that they were on to something here.
    3: Belief that not being communists would have changed nothing about American elite aggressiveness vis a vis Russia, but could have created many additional diplomatic opportunities when it came to making Americas French and Japanese tributaries far more unruly then they were in the Cold War. As a German, the reason that “nation building” in Germany “worked” was because the west German elites were scared shitless of Stalin/the USSR and were thus willing to essentially do whatever the USA told them, I belive it is similiar for Japan.

    What they gloss over is how to get a Red army in the size of 1941s (and with actually pretty good equipment) red army without having a centrally planned economy with a pretty harsh leadership.

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    1. Before addressing the points made here, let’s dissect the semi-mythical beast of the so-called “Russian” so-called “nationalists”. Be and large, they sprang from the same compost heap as the so-called “Russian” so-called “liberals” (or, to give them their proper name, “liberasts”). They are all part of the same tusovochka of, as they are called now, “urbanites” (or “burghers”), this elitka, that sees itself as several cuts above the commoner bydlo (whom they don’t really regard as proper human beings), but who’ll never join the ranks of the proper elita. Thus, to a person, they are butthurt and wistful. This all is important to understand, what makes them tick.

      Being part and parcel of the Russian urbanite tusovochka, inevitably, makes them resort to the same old tried clichés and tropes as their liberal counterparts/twins, much of the glossary for which came, naturally, not from Russia, but from across the Ocean. Put simply, either side is “Westerner”, but with the different objects of cargo-cult worship. Lucky for both the “Russian nationalists” and liberasts, anti-Sovietism is a bipartisan issue in the West, so they have no conflict when dedicating so much time and effort in actively hating it.

      Either member of these compost heap will gladly, without thinking report, that “the socialism does not working”, and, therefore, the Soviet Union was crap, especially from the point of view of the middle-class consumers. But when you draw their attention to, mildly speaking, “uneven” performance in the capitalism, its own fuck ups and excesses, both Russian nationalists and liberasts can only mewl something incoherent, like “That’s aberrations of the otherwise perfect self-regulating system of the people for the people!” (liberasts) or “That’s all those Reptiloids international capital lacking proper national conscience and corrupting otherwise perfect system!” (nationalists). Because, by and large, members of this tusovockha are rarely if ever gainfully employed in something, requiring real regular work (and also because most of them never in their life held in hands something heavier than a vine bottle), they have only abstract view of how things are in the labour relations. Inherently, these Russian liberasts and nationalists, don’t like the capitalism either, but have to praise it anyway, for otherwise their Western interlocutors (for whom the cult and infallibility of the capitalism is a give) would stop regarding them as handshakable. But they have economic preferences after all.

      If you cut all the crap and external posturing, both Russian liberasts and nationalists want the return of the feudalism, with them as new nobility (possessing a shoplist of privileges and no obligations whatsoever) ruling over the dark masses of bydlo. One side argues that they’d arrive to this blessed social order by the will of the Liberal Gods of the West, who’d have to compose from the shy and conscientious loyal locals an occupational government, which would ensure that Russia will Pay and Repent ™. Their counterparts are less sure about the precise way, arguing for the “natural” imposition of such an order when those of the pure and proper blood would finally exercise their “natural” right of ruling over the lesser beings (but they are open to the liberasts option of the occupational government – collaborating with the enemies of the “Regime” is not above them). What consumes their daily activity are the “productive” discussions of who’d be among those deserving to enter this Heaven on Earth in oh no so distant future, and who should be either reclassified as the new serfs or lustrated via national-democratic bio-fuel plants. Well, obviously, they count themselves among the “chosen ones”… and, being egotistically individualists to a person, then promptly began tearing their tusovochka apart in petty conflicts, bickering and desires to satisfy their already enormous egos, heralding things to come if, Heaven forbid, they actually bring to life their power fantasy.

      But if you have such proper “localism” (in the form of the feudalism), why do you need a state? Russian political compost heap in united in their opinion that the state is Evil, harmful, does not satisfy their whims and, therefore, must be destroyed. That’s it. It all boils down to the following – both the liberasts and “Russian nationalists” are proud enemies of the Russian state. They are perfectly okay allying with or endorsing any power, either external or internal, which could promise harm or destruction of the Russian state. Because none of them is qualified enough to address a state-wide (or interstate) issues, either because of ideological purity or due to lack of mental capacities, they are totally okay for the “Beautiful Russia of the Future” ™ from Biryulovo to Bibiryovo.

      [Oh, and they are no opposed to the occasional genocide or two as a way to keep their gains. The infamous article “Is it permissible to pray for the King Herod?” published in the anti-Soviet bannerman “Ogonyok” magazine in late 1993 by late and unlamented Valeriya Novodvorskaya, says out loud with the proselyte honesty, that, yes, given an opportunity, these shy and conscientious members of the highly cultured and educated urbanite tusovockha would gladly machine-gun all those they deem undesirable… and some more.]

      All these makes “Russian nationalists” natural anti-Sovietists (because they hate the State), and, if they are consistent in their beliefs, makes them inevitably Russophobes (because they don’t really count most of the people as “proper Russian”). Now, for the points that you made.

      Criticizing anything does not require much in the mental department. Saying – “that was badly done” is easy. Understanding, really understanding, why its been done in such a way, why these particular mistakes had been made, what was driving the thinking of the people who committed them, what were other factors that influenced such and outcome and how to avoid it in the future – answering all that and some more requires real effort and understanding. That’s exactly an approach needed in analyzing and (still) researching the events of 1941. People dedicate their entire lives and careers trying to uncover the truth.

      Not the Anti-Sovietists, though! Study stuff? Pffft! They have all (clip, short and easily digestible) answers they need, which are also ideologically consistent with the myths and lies propagated about “Eternal Russia” over the years. They don’t bother to proof anything – after all, they are voicing “obvious and widely accepted truths” (even when they are lies), and anyone who dares to question the theological validity of the dogma is a despicable Heretic and Sovok! The fact, that both the liberasts and so-called Russian nationalists use the same “methodichka” (designed not by them far away from Russia) when enumerating all the Soviet “sins” in 1941 – is hardly a coincidence. They, oftentimes, honestly come out and confess, whose side’s victory they desired in that period (hint – not the Soviets).

      D’accord! Let’s accept for a sec anti-Sovietist logic of the so-called “Russian nationalists”, who place all the blame for the military defeats of 1941 at the feet of the “Regime”, basing their claims on it being “bad” and “illegitimate”. Honesty and consistency requires the universality of such approach, right? Riddle me this: what are the excuses then for the anal-carnival that happened in 1940 in France and the Low Countries? Rrrracially superior, economically developed, colony possessing, technically advanced, CAPITALIST Western Democracies which, by and large, redesigned post 1918 international world order to suit their needs, fucked up. Royally. They didn’t have much touted and overhyped “purges in the military”, therefore we must accept as a given (and propaganda makes us to believe), that in such fine meritocratic societies oonly best of the best made it to the august positions within the top echelons of military and political leadership.

      Therefore (following nationalist logic consistently) – in 1940 likewise there was a defeat and delegitimization of all those Western countries. Either due to betrayal (of the people in the service of “You-Know-Whom”) or due to the glaring incompetency, their socio-political systems proved to be broken. Which means only one thing – UK ought to totally change its Regime, under the wise and benevolent custodianship of Sir Roderick Spode (7th Earl of Sidcup) and his widely popular “Saviours of Britain” (aka “The Black Shorts”) political movement! Heil, Spode (or some similarly fine chap)!

      Hey, just look at post 1940 France! It did just that – totally parted ways with its degenerate and profligate past, while embracing bright nationalist future as Herr Hitler’s (junior) partner:

      [Yes, Vichy propaganda is hilarious in a hindsight, and taps into the wellspring of anti-British sentiments with abandon]

      But, hark – we won’t see any of that. There are already wagondloads of literature explaining why it happened in the way it happened, how its, really, no one’s (in the West) fault, that it is no one responsibility and, anyway, the French tanks were going from peremoga to peremoga in Belgium when SUDDENLY wily Huns SOMEHOW managed to overcome the Maginot line. Oh, well, no way to prevent it, right? Western front in 1939-40 and Eastern front in 1941 are incomparable, they gonna say, because… because! After all, so-called “Russian nationalists” are not the enemies of the Western states – just their own “Regime” (which deprived them of the birthright to “drink the Bavarian [beer]” (c)), no matter which one. If the White Western Sahib decided to interpret less than glorious historical events in less than critical way, who are modern Smerdyakovs to raise their voice against it? Besides, being along the liberasts attention-“persons-with-low-sense-of-social-responsibility” with pretentions of grandeurs (“Westerners are talking with us!”), they are very averse to losing handshakablity and “international recognition” or grants. Or both.

      Tl;dr. Argumentative critique of certain events and actions undertaken by the Soviet leadership, based on precise research together with elucidation of possible better alternative Anti-Sovietism does not make. Truly consistent Anti-Sovietists are incapable of argumentative critique of certain events and actions undertaken by the Soviet leadership, based on precise research together with elucidation of possible better alternative, either due to their ideological constraints or due to them being ordinary dumbasses. At the same time, when some so-called “Russian nationalist” begins to pick and choose objects of zir anti-Soviet ire, zhe does this only due to short-term political expediency (aka “cowardice”), which, inevitably makes their overall position inconsistent.

      In the end, professing “love for the Russian people” nationalists can’t offer a workable alternative of making better condition for the Russian people to live in as a collective, because they, by design and ideologically constaints, are incapable of state-level decision making.

      Like

  13. No discussion of Chamberlain’s plans to push Germany eastwards and instigate German-Soviet war?

    “…And by this date, certain members of the Milner Group and of the British Conservative government had reached the fantastic idea that they could kill two birds with one stone by setting Germany and Russia against one another in Eastern Europe.

    In this way they felt that the two enemies would stalemate one another, or that Germany would become satisfied with the oil of Rumania and the wheat of the Ukraine.

    It never occurred to anyone in a responsible position that Germany and Russia might make common cause, even temporarily, against the West. Even less did it occur to them that Russia might beat Germany and thus open all Central Europe to Bolshevism….”

    http://www.yamaguchy.com/library/quigley/anglo_12b.html
    http://www.carrollquigley.net/books.htm
    https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_17.htm

    Like

    1. British pre-War propaganda highly objective reporting on Polish military maneuvers in the Spring of 1939:


      ^Two-turret tanks for the win, kurwa!

      Poland Stronk! Poland can into Cieszyn (never Těšín)! Poland can into Międzymorze!

      Also, that short and not-propagandistic-at-all clip doesn’t mention that maneuvers took place in the Poland-occupied territories east of Curzon Line in Galicja, aka “The Best Ukrajina” aka “Bandera Country”. Likewise, this short clip does not mention other Polish maneuvers that took place in November 1938 (beginning on a very… auspicious… date of 11 November), which numbered among their guests a lot of “friends of Poland” from the West. Like these guys:


      ^Oh, look – Guderian!

      Like

    2. This is correct but there is a longer story to that. The then Polish political elites treated both big neighbours as enemies and the cornerstone of the foreign policy was to keep both of them at “arms length”. However, with time Poland was drifting more and more towards the Third Reich fueling Soviet suspicion as to the existence of a secret agreement aimed at the Soviet Union. There is an interesting detail here. In the mid thirties polish generals were asked to study the following: which of the neighbours is more dangerous, which will be at war with Poland first and when? Their response was: Germany, Germany, around 1940. The generals were told they were wrong an instructed to concentrate on the plans for war against the Soviet Union. The rest is history as they say.

      Regards,

      Like

  14. “Furthermore, the Nazis came as colonizers. Not only did they aim to displace the existing population, but they were interested in their captured territories only in terms of extracting resources. By contrast, the Soviets invested heavily in developing the lands they occupied, creating industry, educating the population, and supporting cultural endeavours. It could well be argued that they didn’t do a very good job of it, but the difference in intent was enormous – the one overtly destructive; the other, at least in theory, constructive.”

    This is a good pararaph. The Balto-Banderite diaspora make wild charges against the Soviet Union, but cannot prove criminal intent.

    As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.”

    The Nazis being the ones kicking the dog, and the Communists stumbling over the dog, in case anyone didn’t get my drift.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Professor, I don’t know if you saw this piece from RIA from a couple of days ago. This might be of use to you as a History Professor, since it involves opening up more historical archives.

    Anyhow, Kornilov reports that Russia finally decided to fight back againt the slanderers. By opening an exhibition called “1939” and displaying the originals of historical documents from the archives.
    The Westies were horrified: How dare you attack us with FACTS!
    The Guardian, for example, blared a headline: “Moscow is trying to justify the Nazi Pact!” O horrors!

    Meanwhile, Lavrov took the bull by the horns, trolling the Westies by declaring that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a “triumph of Soviet diplomacy”. Smelling salts had to be brought.

    The published documents show internal Soviet memos, for example Stalin and Voroshilov admitting they would have preferred to form a pact with the “democracies”, but were ultimately shut out and had no recourse except to sign the deal with Hitler.

    I’m not a historian, but I personally believe the Molotov-Ribbentrop deal was not only necessary, but also brilliant. As to whether or not it was implemented effectively, well, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Still, I am happy to see that the Russian government is not appeasing the slanderers any more, as they did under Yeltsin. I can’t believe the Yeltsin government actually apologized to Poland! They never should have done that.

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