The Gulag

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by the Russian writer Israel Shamir.

 

“I was given a full access to all archives, I learned everything there is about Stalin’s victims, and I prepared a complete report. However, I decided to save it for some future time. If I were to publish it, [I’d probably lose my job, there will be no more grants], my friends would drop me like a hot potato, I’d remain alone, and nobody will believe me anyway”.

This frank admission had been made in 2012 by the high authority on Communist era repressions, the founder and the chairman of the Memorial, a Russian anti-Communist NGO, Dr Arseny Roginsky. (He recently had died and had been lamentedby his American supporters.) The Memorial is a designated foreign agent, in receipt of generous aid from the State Department and George Soros Foundation, and the chairman Dr Roginsky was a life-long enemy of the Soviets, a person not likely to err in the Reds’ favour.

What was this terrible truth that Dr Roginsky decided to hide? “According to my calculations, – he wrote, – in the entire Soviet period from 1918 to 1987, according to the surviving documents, it turned out that 7 million 100 thousand people were arrested by the state security agencies (the Russian equivalent of the FBI) across the country. And that includes those arrested for banditry, smuggling, counterfeiting. And for many other criminal offences.”

Before you say that seven million is also quite a lot, bear in mind that just last (2017) year, in the peacetime USA, over ten million persons had been arrested, admittedly not only by the FBI, as I couldn’t find their statistics. The Russian numbers relate to seventy years of rebellions, civil wars, the world war, cold war and over vast territory embracing the Ukraine, Central Asia, Transcaucasia, Baltic states and Russia proper.

Among those arrested by state security there were tens of thousands of Bandera fighters, far-right Ukrainian nationalists, who had fought on Nazi Germany’s side in the world war and had continued their fight well into nineteen-fifties. Over one hundred thousand of them were arrested and over 150 thousand were killed in action, here are details in Russian. The state security fought against and arrested numerous Islamic insurgents in Central Asia and in Caucasus mountains, the predecessors of al Qaeda and ISIS. The US Secret services supplied and armed the Baltic and Ukrainian rebels, while the Brits supplied the Islamic ones.

Despite these enormous difficulties, the Russian FBI (State Security) had arrested only seven million persons for seventy years; the majority of the arrested were common criminals or rebels, said Dr Roginsky and continued:

“Here is the final figure of 7 million for the whole Soviet period. What should I do with this research? The public opinion says there were 12 million arrested only for 1937-1939. I belong to this society, I live among these people, I am a part of them. I knew for sure that, first, they would not believe me. And, secondly, it would mean that everything that we were told about the figures until now is untrue. And I put all my calculations aside. For a long time. And there was no right time yet”.

The Russian (as well as the Western) public had been taught very different numbers. 40 million were killed by Stalin, said Roy Medvedev, a noted dissident; 80 million, said Antonov-Ovseenko; 100 million, said the grey cardinal of Perestroika, a close associate of Gorbachev, A. Yakovlev, and his opinion was especially important, for it was introduced as the ‘full truth and nothing but truth’ in the critical years 1987-1991. This number included “children that weren’t born, but could be born”, he added in sotto voce, learning probably from pro-life calculations of millions killed in abortion clinics. He was anyway overtaken by the assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who counted (in 2003) 150 million of Stalin’s victims, quite a lot for a country of 200 million!

After that, 7 million sounds quite a pedestrian number. Real numbers are even lower. Two best and most reliable documents regarding numbers of imprisoned and killed in Stalin’s days are (1) The Attorney General et al report to Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, saying 2.5 million were imprisoned for all Soviet period, and 600 thousand sentenced to death, and (2) Dr Victor Zemskov painstaking research, well known for its thoroughness. Zemskov had studied activities of the state security bodies from 1921 to 1954, and he discovered that in this period 650 thousand persons have been sentenced to death (not all of them were actually executed) and 2.3 million were sentenced to prison terms. That’s for 33 difficult years of Stalin’s rule. That’s all, folks.

Zemskov also provided numbers for each year. In the terrible 1937, there were 1,2 million prisoners in GULAG. Compare it with the US: in 2013, – 2,2 million adults were incarcerated in US federal and state prisons, and county jails. About 1% of adults in the U.S. resident population, 0.8% for the USSR. Additionally, in the US 4,75 million were on probation or on parole, says Wikipedia. There were fewer prisoners in Gulag than in American penitentiary system. For more careful comparison see here.

So much for the claims about terrible bloodiness of Russian history and of the Bolshevik rule! In the Soviet days, Russian population had grown at steady average 0.60% per annum, double of that in the UK and France, and much more than in post-Soviet Russia. Russian Empire entered the WWI with 160 million population; the USSR had 210 million in 1959, impossible figures if you accept the multimillion figures of Stalin’s repression.

If it is so, why does “the standard narrative history taught within the West” uses those huge numbers? The main reason is fear of communism, a very reasonable and justifiable (for rich guys) fear of losing their millions and billions. It makes sense for them to spend some of their capital persuading you that Communism is bad for you, while it is only bad for them. They lied so much and so efficiently that they convinced everybody. Even a poor American or Englishman is afraid of Communism, for the Communists will take all he has including his wife and children and send them to the Gulag.

Requested By John Lowrie 

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