Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Soviet Union / Stalinism

What Is Genocide And Why Does Stalin Get A Free Pass?, September 26, 2010
"Hitler gets a bad rap universally for his genocide but a startling subset of progressives in America view Joseph Stalin favorably despite his killing more people. Time magazine put Stalin on its cover 11 times. Then Rwanda, Cambodia and Darfur were essentially ignored while Bosnia was labeled genocide and became a war crime issue despite only a few thousand actual deaths known. Nations have tugs of war over the official definition of the word 'genocide' itself -- which mentions only national, ethnic, racial and religious groups. The definition can determine international relations, foreign aid and national morale. Look at the annual international tussle over whether the 1915 Turkish massacre and deportation of the Armenians counts as 'genocide.' Stanford history Professor Norman Naimark, author of the book Stalin's Genocides, argues that we need a much broader definition of genocide, one that includes nations killing social classes and political groups. His case in point: Stalin.
The book's title is plural for a reason: He argues that the Soviet elimination of a social class, the kulaks (who were higher-income farmers), and the subsequent killer famine among all Ukrainian peasants - as well as the notorious 1937 order No. 00447 that called for the mass execution and exile of 'socially harmful elements' as 'enemies of the people' -- were, in fact, genocide. Historically, exemptions for both Mao and Stalin seemed to be the distinction that it wasn't genocide if you did it to your own people -- both of those leaders killed far more than Hitler -- or it was simple politics and no one wanted to try and arrest the powerful communist leaders of the USSR and China. Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic killed Bosnians, but they were Muslims, and Hitler killed, well, everyone, so they got lumped together as genocide despite a huge disparity in the deaths involved. Stalin had nearly a million of his own citizens executed, beginning in the 1930s, and millions more fell victim to forced labor, deportation, famine, massacres, and detention and interrogation by Stalin's henchmen. 'In some cases, a quota was established for the number to be executed, the number to be arrested,' said Naimark. 'Some officials overfulfilled as a way of showing their exuberance.' [...]"

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