Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Voyage of Argo - Apolonius of Rhodes

The Voyage of Argo – Apollonius of Rhodes

I first saw the movie “Jason and the Argonauts” when I was a little boy. Over the years I have told the story to my Greek and Roman classes for decades – but it took till now [2014] for me to actually read the book myself.

Apollonius of Rhodes was borne in 270 BC.  He would eventually become the chief Liberian at Alexandria.  I enjoyed reading the “history”, the thinking of the ancients, the stories of heroes I love (especially Castor, Polydeuces, and Peleus), and much about the gods – the powers they represent.  It is interesting that the two main characters, Jason and Medea, are so loathsome.  There physical beauty does not redeem their perfidy. 

1. “And now, from Sparta, Aetolian Lede sent the mighty Polydeuces and Castor, that famous that famous master of the racing horse.  She had borne these two in Tyndareus’ place at a single birth.  She loved them dearly, but she did not try to keep them back: hers was a spirit worthy of the love of Zeus.”  p. 39 

2. “First of all, at a word from Argus, they strengthened the ship by girding her with stout rope, which they drew taut on either side, so that her planks should not spring from their bolts but stand any pounding that the seas might give them.  Next they quickly hollowed out a runway wide enough to take her beam, extending it into the sea as far as the prow would reach when they launched her, and as the trench advanced, digging deeper and deeper below the level of her stem.  Then they laid smooth rollers of the bottom.  This done, they tipped her down onto the first rollers, on top of which she was to glide along.  Next, high up on both sides of the ship, they swung the oars inboard and fastened each handle to its tholepin so that a foot and a half projected.  They themselves took their stance on either side, one behind the other, breasting the oars and pressing with their hands.  And now Tiphys leapt on board to tell the young men when to push.  He gave the order with a mighty shout and they put their backs into it at once.  At the first heave they shifted her from where she lay; then strained forward with their feet to keep her on the move.  And move she did.  Between the two files of hustling shouting men. Pelian Argo ran swiftly down.  The rollers, chafed by the sturdy keel, groaned and reacted to the weight by putting up a pall of smoke.  Thus she slid into the sea, and would have run still farther, had they not stood by and checked her with hawsers.”  pp. 45-46

3. “His [Philyra] wife came too.   She was carrying Peleus’ little boy Achilles on her arm, and she held him up for his dear father to see.”  p. 51

4.  “Here, in the previous year, the women had run riot and slaughtered every male inhabitant.  The married men, seized with loathing for their lawful wives, had cast them off, conceiving an unruly passion for the captured girls they brought across the sea from raids in Thrace . . . Unhappy women!  Their soul-destroying and insensate jealousy drove them to kill not only their husbands and the girls who had usurped their beds, but every male as well in order that they might not have to pay the price one day for this atrocious massacre.”  p. 52

5. “But even if Heaven spares us that calamity [an attack wandering ships], there are many troubles worse than war that you will have to meet as time goes on.  When the older ones among us have died off, how are you younger women, without children, going to face the miseries of age?  Will the oxen yoke themselves?  Will they go out into the fields and drag the ploughshare through the stubborn fallow?”  p. 54

6. Message through the halcyon  “Bout towards the end of the next night, while Acastus and Mopsus watched over their comrades,  who had long been fast asleep, a halcyon hovered over the golden head of Aeson’s  son and in its piping voice announced the end of the gales.  Mopsus heard it and understood the happy omen.  So when the sea-bird, still directed by a god, flew off and perched on the mascot of the ship, he went to Jason, who lay comfortably wrapped in fleeces, woke him quickly with a touch . . . p. 65

7. On the Goddess Rhea  “’My lord, you must climb this holy peak to propitiate Rhea, Mother of all the happy gods, whose lovely throne is Dindymum itself – and then the gales will cease.  I learnt this from a halcyon just now: the sea-bird flew above you as you slept and told me all.  Rhea’s dominion covers the winds, the sea, the whole earth, and the gods’ home on snow-capped Olympus.  Zeus himself, the Son of Cronos, gives place to her when she leaves her mountain haunts and rises into the broad sky.  So too do the other blessed ones;  all pay the same deference to the dread goddess.’”  P. 65   

 8. The loss of Hylas “Hylas soon found a spring, which the people of the neighborhood call Pegae. He reached it when the nymphs were about to hold their dances – it was the custom of all those who haunt that beautiful headland to sing the praise of Artemis by night.  The nymphs of the mountain peaks and caverns were all posted some way off to patrol the woods; but one, the naiad of the spring, was just emerging from the limpid water as Hylas drew near.  And there, with the full moon shining on him from a clear sky, she saw him in all his full radiant beauty and alluring grace. Her heart was flooded by desire; she had a struggle to regain her scattered wits.  But Hylas now leant over to one side to dip his ewer in; and as soon as the water was gurgling loudly round the ringing bronze she threw her left arm round his neck in her eagerness to kiss his gentle lips.  Then with her right hand she drew his elbow down and plunged him in midstream.”  p. 69

9. Oath on the River Styx “And she [Iris] went on to swear by the waters of Styx, the most portentous and inviolable oath that any god can take, that the Harpies would never visit Phineus’ house again, such being Fate’s decree.”  p. 81

10. Zeus’ Attitude on Prophesy “I [the Prophet Phineus] now realize that he himself intends a prophet’s revelations to be incomplete, so that humanity may miss some part of Heaven’s design.”  p. 82

11. On Apollo “Here they had a vison of Apollo on his way from Lycia to visit the remote and teeming peoples of the North.  Then golden locks streamed down his cheeks in clusters as he moved; he had a silver bow in his left hand and a quiver slung on his back . . . They were awe-struck at the sight and no one dared to face the god and meet his lovely eyes . . . The lord Orpheus joined them in their worship.  Striking his Bistonian lyre, he told them in song how Apollo long ago, when he was still a beardless youth rejoicing in his locks, slew the monster Delphyne with his bow beneath the rocky prow of Parnassus.”  pp. 91-92

12. The Debate between Jason and Peleus  “He [Ancaeus] ran up to Peleus and said:  ‘My lord, what sense is there in giving up the quest and wasting time in this outlandish spot?  Jason brought me all the way from Parthenia to help him find the fleece not because I am a fighter, but because I do know something about ships.  So believe me, you need have no fears at all for Argo.  And I am not the only one; there are others here who know the sea.  Not one of them would lead us into trouble if we put him at the helm.  I beg you to pass all this on at once and to remind them boldly of their duty.’    Peleus’ heart leapt up for joy and he quickly summoned the others.  ‘My friends,’ he said ‘why indulge in this unprofitable grief?  When our two comrades died, there must have been their destiny.  But we have other steersmen with us, plenty of them.  On the, without adventure; there is no excuse for loitering.  Wake up, I say, and work, casting your sorrows to the wind.’  But Jason took him up; he could see no light ahead.  ‘My lords Peleus,’ he said, ‘where are these pilots of yours?  The seamen whom we used to count on are even more despondent and unmanned than I am.  Indeed, I see nothing for us but a fate as sad as that of our lost friends.  For it looks as though we should neither reach the terrible Aeetes’ city nor find our way back to Hellas past the Clashing Rocks.  No, we are doomed to grow old here, inglorious and obscure, with nothing done.’  In spite of this, Ancaeus , inspired by Heaven, promptly undertook the steer and gallant ship.  Erginus too, and Nauplius and Euphemus all stood u, eager to have the task,  But there comrades held them back as the greater number voted for  Ancaeus.”  p. 97

13. On Amazons “Had the Argonauts stayed here as they intended and come to grips with the Amazons, the fight would have been a bloody one.  For the Amazons of the Doeantian plain were by no means gentle, well-conducted folk; they were brutal and aggressive, and their main concern in life was war.  War, indeed, was in their blood, daughters of Ares as they were and of the Nymph Harmonia, who lay with the god in the depth of the Acmonian Wood and bore him girls who fell in love with fighting . . . the Amozons of Themiscyra wer arming for battle.  I must explain that the Amazons did not all live in one city; there were three separate tribes settled in different parts of the country.  The party on the beach, whose queen at the time was Hippolyte, were Themiscyreans.  The Lycastians lived apart and so did the Chadesians, who were javelin-throwers.”   p. 100 

14. Men Suffer the Birth Pangs “the country of the Tibareni . . . Here, when a woman is in childbirth, it is the husband who takes to his bed.  He lies there groaning with his head wrapped up and his wife feeds him with loving care.  She even prepares the bath for the event.” p.101

15. “Backwards” People “Next they passed the Sacred Mountain and the highlands were the Mossynoeci live in the mossynes or wooden houses from which they take their name.  These people have their own ideas of what is right and proper.  What we as a rule do openly in town or market-place they do at home; and what we do in the privacy of our houses they do out of doors in the open street, and nobody thinks the worse of hem.  Even the sexual act puts no one to the blush in this community.  On the contrary, like swine in the fields, they lie down on the ground in promiscuous intercourse and are not al all disconcerted by the presence of others.  Then again, their king sits in the loftiest hut of all to dispense justice to his numerous subjects.  But if the poor man happen s to make a mistake in his findings, they lock him up and give him nothing to eat for the rest of the day.” p.101

16. Birth of Cheiron “ . . . Cronos and Philyra were surprised in the vey at by the goddess Rhea. Whereupon Cronos leapt out of bed and galloped off in the form of a long-maned stallion while Philyra in her shame left the place, deserting her old haunts, and came to the long Pelasgian ridges.  There she gave birth to the monstrous Cheiron, half horse and half divine, the offspring of a lover in a questionable shape.”  p. 107 

17. The Suffering of Prometheus “And now the last recess of the Black Sea opened up and they caught sight of the high crags of Caucasus, where Prometheus stood chained by every limb to the hard rock with fetters of bronze, and fed an eagle on his liver.  The bird kept eagerly returning to its feed.  They saw it in the afternoon flying high above the ship with a strident whirr.  It was near the clouds, yet it made all their canvas quiver to its wings as it beat by.  For its form was not that of an ordinary bird; the long quill-feathers of each wing rose and fell like a bank of polished oars.  Soon after the eagle had passed, they heard Prometheus shriek in agony as it pecked at his liver.  The air rang with his screams till at length they saw the flesh-devouring bird fly back from the mountain by the same way as it came.”  pp. 107-108

18. Here’s Test of Jason  “ . . . I have been very fond of Jason ever since the time when I was putting human charity on trial and as he came home from the chase he met me at the mouth of the Anaurus.  The river was in spate, for all the mountains and their high spurs were under snow and cataracts were roaring down their sides.  I was disguised as an old woman and he took pity on me, lifted me up, and carried me across he flood on his shoulders.  For that, I will never cease to honor him.”  p. 111

19. Here Calls on Aphrodite for Help “Here, choose her words with care, replied: ‘We are not asking you to use your hands: force is not needed.  All we require of you is quietly to tell your boy to use his wizardry and make Aeetes’ daughter fall in love with Jason.  With Medea on his side he should find it easy to carry off the golden fleece and make his way back to Iolcus.  She is something of a witch herself.” p. 111

20. Cupid Is Rebellious  “But ladies,” said Cyprus, speaking now to both of them, [Here and Athena] ‘he is far more likely to obey you than me.  There is no reverence in him, but faced by you he might display some spark of decent feeling.  He certainly pays no attention to me he defies me and always does the opposite of what I say.  In fact I am so worn out by his naughtiness that I have half a mind to break his bow and wicked arrows in his very sight, remembering how he threatened me with them in one of his moods.”  pp. 111-112

21. Free Speech and Democracy “’My friends,’ he said, ‘I am going to tell you what action I myself should like to take, though its success depends on you.  Sharing the danger as we do, we share the right of speech; and I warn the man who keeps his mouth shut when he ought to speak his mind that he will be the one to wreck our enterprise.’”  p. 114

22. The Power of Words  “We ought not to use force to rob him of his own without so much as seeing what a few words may do; it would be much better to talk to him first and try to win him over.  Speech, by smoothing the way, often succeeds where forceful measures might have failed.”  p. 114

23. Zeus, God of Hospitality  “Every man on earth, even the greatest rogue, fears Zeus the god of hospitality ad keeps his laws.”

24. Cupid Shoots Medea “Meanwhile Eros, passing through the clear air, had arrived unseen and bent on mischief, like a gadfly setting out to plague the grazing heifers, the fly that cowherds call the breese.  In the porch, under the lintel of the door, he quickly strung his bow and from his quiver took a new arrow, fraught with pain.  Still unobserved, he ran across the threshold glancing around him sharply.  Then he crouched low at Jason’s feet, fitted the notch to the middle of the string, and drawing the bow as far as his hands would stretch, shot at Medea.  And her heart stood still.  With a happy laugh Eros sped out of the high-roofed hall on his way back, leaving his shaft deep in the girl’s beast, hot as fire.  Time and again she darted a bright glance at Jason.  All else was forgotten.  Her heart, brimful of this new agony, throbbed within her and overflowed with the sweetness of the pain.  A working woman, rising before dawn to spin and needing light in her cottage room, piles brushwood on a smoldering log, and the whole heap kindled by the little brand goes up in a mighty blaze.  Such was the fire of Love, stealthy but all consuming, that swept through Medea’s heart.  In the turmoil of her soul her soft cheeks turned from rose to white and white to rose.”  pp. 116-117  

25. More on Medea’s Passion  “As the party wen tout of the hall, Jason’s comeliness and char singled him out fro all the rest; and Medea, plucking her bright veil aside, turned wondering eyes upon him.  Her heart smoldered with pain and as he passed from sight her soul crept out of her, as in a dream, and fluttered in his steps . . . Medea too retired, a prey to all the inquietude that Love awakens. The whole scene was still before her eyes – how Jason looked, the clothes he wore, the things he said, the way he sat, and how he walked to the door.  It seemed to her, as she reviewed these images, that there was nobody like Jason.  His voice and the honey-sweet words that he had used still rang in her ears.  But she feared for him.  She was afraid that the bulls or Aeetes with his own hands might kill him; and she mourned him as one already dead.  The pity of it overwhelmed her; a round tear ran down her cheek . . . “ p. 121

26.  “But oh, how bleak the prospect is, with our one hope of seeing home again in women’s hands!” p. 122

27. Heroes Ready to Act [Peleus, Castor, and Polydeuces]  “ The task, as Jason had described it, seemed so impossible to all of them that for awhile they stood there without a sound or word, looking at one another in impotent despair.  But at last Peleus took heart and spoke out to his fellow chieftains: ‘The time has come.  We must confer and settle what to do.  Not that debate will help us much: I would rather trust to strength of arm.  Jason, my lord, if you fancy the adventure and mean to yoke Aeetes’ bulls you will naturally keep your promise and prepare.  But if you have the slightest fear that your nerve may fail you, do not force yourself.  And you need not sit there looking round for someone else  I, for one, am willing.  The worst that I shall suffer will be death.’  So said the son of Aeacus.  Teamon too was stirred and eagerly leapt up; next Idas, full of lofty thoughts, then Castor and Polydeuces; and with them one who was already numbered with the men of might though the down scarcely showing on his cheeks,  Meleager son of Oeneus, his heart uplifted by the courage that dares all.  But the others made no move, leaving it to these . . .” pp. 122-123

28. Blossom from the Blood of Prometheus  “It first appeared in a plant that sprang from the blood-like ichor of Prometheus in his torment, which the flesh-eating eagle had dropped on the spur of Caucasus.  The flowers, which grew on twin stalks a cubit high, were of the color of Corycian saffron, while the root looked like flesh that has just been cut, and the juice like the dark sap of a mountain oak.”  p. 132

29. Medea’s Instructions to Jason  “In the morning, melt this charm, strip, and using it like oil, anoint you body.  It will endow you with tremendous strength and boundless confidence.  You will feel yourself a match, not for mere men, but for the gods themselves.  Sprinkle you spear and shield and sword with it as well; and neither the spear-points of the earthborn men nor the consuming flames the savage bulls spew out will find you vulnerable.  But you will not be immune for long – only for the day.  Nevertheless, do not at any moment flinch from the encounter.  And here is something else that will stand you in good stead.  You have yoked the mighty bulls; you have ploughed the stubborn fallow (with those great hands and all that strength it will not take you long); you have sown the serpent’s teeth in the dark earth; and now the giants are springing up along the furrows.  Watch till you see a number of them rise from the soil, then, before they see you, throw a great boulder in among them; and they will fall on it like famished dogs and kill one another.  That is your moment; plunge into the fray yourself.”  p. 137

30.  Jason’s Oath to Medea “As she spoke, tears of misery ran down her cheeks.  But Jason said: ‘Dear lady, you may spare the wandering Winds that task, and your tell-tale bird as well, for you are talking nonsense.  If you come to us in Hellas you will be honored and revered by both the women and the men.  Indeed they will treat you as a goddess, because it was through you that their sons come home alive, or their brothers, kinsmen, or beloved husbands were saved from hurt.  And there shall be a bridal bed for you, which you and I will share.  Nothing will part us in our love till Death at his appointed hour removes us fro the light of day.’”  p. 139

31. The Serpent’s Teeth  “The teeth were those of the Aonian serpent, the guardian of Are’s spring.  Which Cadmus killed in Ogygian Thebes.  He had come there in his search for Europa, and there he settled, under the guidance of a heifer picked out for him by Apollo in an oracle.  Athene, Lady of Trito, tore the teeth out of the serpent’ jaws and divided them between Aeetes and Cadmus, the slayer of the beast.  Cadmus sowed them in the Anoian plain and founded an earthborn clan with all that had escaped the spear of Ares when he did his harvesting.  Such were the teeth that Aeetes let them take back to the ship. He gave them willingly as he was satisfied the Jason, even if he yoked the bulls, would prove unable to finish off the task.” p. 140

32. The Yoking of the Bulls  “Jason, as soon as his men had made the hawsers fast, leapt from the ship and entered the lists with spear and shield.  He also took with him a shining bronze helmet full of sharp teeth, and his sword was slung from his shoulder.  But his body was bare, so that he looked like Apollo of the golden sword as much as Ares god of war.  Glancing round the field, he saw the bronze yoke for the bulls and beside it the plough of indurated steel,  all in one piece.  He went up to them, planted his heavy spear in the ground by its butt an laid the helmet down, leaning it against the spear.  Then he went for war with his shield alone to examine the countless tracks that the bulls had made.  And now, from somewhere in the bowels of the earth, from the smoky stronghold where they slept, the pair of bulls appeared, breathing flames of fire.  The Argonaut were terrified at the sight.  But Jason planting his feet apart stood to receive them, as a reef in the sea confronts the tossing billows in a gale.  He held his shield in front o him, and the two bulls, bellowing loudly, charged and gutted it with their strong horns.  But he was not shifted from his stance, not by so much as an inch.  The bulls snorted and spurted from their mouths devouring flames, like a perforated crucible when the leather bellows of the smith, sometimes ceasing, sometimes blowing hard, have made a blaze and the fire leaps up from below with a terrific roar.  The deadly heat assailed him on all sides with the force of lightning.  But he was protected by Medea’s magic.  Seizing the right-hand bull by the tip of its horn, he dragged it with all his might towards the yoke, and then brought it down on its knees with a sudden kick on its bronze foot.  The other charged, and was felled in the same way at a single blow; and a Jason, who had cast his shield aside, stood with his feet apart, and though the flames at once enveloped him, held them both down on their fore-knees where they fell.  Aeetes marveled at the man’s strength.  Castor and Polydeuces picked up the yoke and gave it to Jason –they had been detailed for the task and were close hand.  Jason bound it tight on the bulls’ necks, lifted the bronze pole between them and fastened it to the yoke by its pointed end, while the Twins backed out of the heat and returned to the ship.” pp. 143-144

33. Slaughter of the Earthborn Men  “ By now the earthborn men were shooting up like corn in all parts of the field.  The deadly War-god’s sacred plot bristled with stout shields, double-pointed spears, and glittering helmets.  The splendor of it flashed through the air above and struck Olympus.  Indeed this army springing from the earth shone out like the full congregation of the stars piercing the darkness of a murky night, when snow lies deep and the winds have chased the wintry clouds away.  But Jason did not forget the counsel he had had from Medea of the many wiles.  He picked up from the field a huge round boulder, a formidable quoit that Ares might have thrown, but four strong men together could not have budged from its place.  Rushing forward with this in his hands he hurled it far away among the earthborn men,  then crouched behind his shield, unseen and full of confidence.  The Colchians gave a mighty shout like the roar of the sea beating on jagged rocks; and the king himself was astounded as he saw the great quoit hurtle through the air.  But the earthborn men, like nimble hounds, leapt on one another and with loud yells began to slay,   Beneath each other’s spears they fell on their mother earth, as pines or oaks are blown down by a gale.  An now, like a bright meteor that leaps from the heaven and leaves a fiery trail behind it, portentous to all those who see it flash across the night, the son of Aeson hurled himself on them with his sword unsheathed and in promiscuous slaughter mowed them down, striking as he could, for many of them had but half emerged and showed their flanks and bellies only, some had their shoulders clear, some had just stood up, and others were afoot already and rushing into battle.  So might some farmer threatened by a frontier war snatch up a newly sharpened sickle and , lest the enemy should rep hi fields before him, hasten to cut down the unripe corn, not waiting for the season and the sun to ripen it.  Thus Jason cut his crop of earthborn men.  Blood filled the furrows as water fills the conduits of a spring.  And still the fell, some on their faces biting the rough clods, come on their backs, and others on their hands and sides, looing lice monsters from the sea.  Many were struck before they could lift up their feet, and rested there with the death-dew on their brows, each trailing on the earth so much of him as had come up into the light of day.  They lay like saplings in an orchard bowed to the ground when Zeus has sent torrential rain and snapped them at the root, wasting the gardeners’ toil and bringing heat break to the owner of the plot, the man who planted them.”  pp. 145-146

34. Fate of a Slave-girl “. . .  shedding many tears she went, much as a newly captured girl, torn from her own land by the fortune of war, makes off from some rich house before she is inured to work and schooled in the miseries of servitude under the cruel eye of  a mistress.” p. 148

35. Prophesy of the Moon “Rising from the distant east, the Lady Moon, Titanian goddess, was the girl wandering distraught, and  in wicked glee said to herself: ‘ So I am not the only one to go astray for love, I that burn for beautiful Engymion and seek I in the Latmian cave,  How many times, when I was bent on love, have you disgorged me with your incantations, making the night moonless so that you might practice your beloved witchcraft undisturbed!  And now you are as lovesick as me.  The little god of mischief has given you Jason, and many a heartache with him. Well, go your way; but clever as you are, steel yourself now to face a life of sighs and misery.’”  p.147

36. Jason’s Oath  “Then, to comfort her, he [Jason] said: “Dear Lady, I swear,  and may Olympian Zeus and his Consort Here, goddess of wedlock, be my witness, that when we are back in Hellas I will take you into my home as my own wedded wife.’  And with that he took her right hand in his own.”  p. 149

37. Medea’s Spell on the Snake “But the giant snake, enchanted by her song, was soon relaxing the whole length of his serrated spine and smoothing out his multitudinous undulations, like a dark and silent swell rolling across a sluggish sea.  Yet his grim head still hovered over them and the cruel jaws threatened to snap them up.  But Medea, chanting a spell, dipped a fresh sprig of juniper in her brew and sprinkled his eyes wither most potent drug; and as the all-pervading magic scent spread round his head, sleep felon him.”  p. 151

38. The Fleece Described “The young men marveled when the saw the mighty fleece, dazzling as the lightning of Zeus, and they all leapt up in their eagerness to touch it and hold it in their hands.” pp. 151-152 

39. Jason Cuts the Hawsers “. . . and Jason drawing his sword cut through the hawsers at the stern.”  p. 152

40. Temple Secrets “Medea had told them to land there and propitiate Hecate with a sacrifice.  But with what ritual she prepared the offering, no one must hear.  Nor must I let myself be tempted to describe it; my lips are sealed by awe.”  p. 153

41. A Look Back on History “Think of a time when the wheeling constellations did not yet exist; when on would have looked in vain for the sacred Danaan race, finding only the Apidanean Arcadians, who are said to have lived before the moon itself was there, feeding on acorns in the hills.  These were the days before the noble scions of Dencalion ruled the Pelasgian land, when Egypt, mother of an earlier race, was known as the corn-rich country of the Dawn, and the Nile that waters all its length was called the Triton, a generous river flowing through a rainless land, yet by its floods producing crops in plenty.  Now we are told that from this country a certain king set out, supported by a loyal force, and made his way through the whole of Europe and Asia, founding many cities as he went.” p. 154

42. Medea Reminds Jason of His Oath “Where are the honied promises that I believed in when I defied convention and my own conscience, abandoning my country, the glories of my home, even my parents, everything I valued most?  And now I am carried off, far away across the sea, with only the wistful halcyons for company.  All this because I saw you through your troubles, saw that you won your battle with the bulls and giants and came out alive.  And then the fleece, for which you crossed the sea.  You got it through my own folly.  I have disgraced my sex . . . I hope that Here, Queen of Heaven, whose favorite you claim to be, will never let you have it.  I hope that you will think of me some day when you yourself are suffering.  I hope the fleece will vanish like an idle dream, down into Erebus.  And my avenging Furies chase you from your home and so repay me for all I have endured through you inhumanity.  You have broken a most solemn oath.  It is not in reason that my curses should miscarry.  ‘You are inflexible.  But wait a while.  You and your friends think that this covenant has solved your problems, and I am nothing in your eyes.  You will learn better soon.’  She boiled with rage,  She longed to set the ship on fire, to break it up and hurl herself into the flames.  But Jason calmed her.  She had frightened him.”  p. 157

43.  Lying, Love, and Killing One’s Brother  “Such was the lure; and she reinforced her words with magic, scattering to the four winds spells of such potency as would have drawn wild creatures far away to come down from their mountain fastnesses.  Unconscionable Love, bane and tormentor of mankind, parent of strife, fountain of tears, source of a thousand ills, rise, mighty Power, and fall on the sons of our enemies with all the force you used upon Medea when you filled her with insensate fury. For Apsyrtus did obey her call and she destroyed him foully.” p. 159

44. Sacrifice of the Prince “Jason marked him down and struck him, as a butcher fells a mighty strong-horned bull.  The deed was done at the temple of Artemis, which Brygi from the mainland coast had built.  Apsyrtus sank to his knees in the porch and in his death throes cupped his hands over the wound to stanch the dark blood.  Even so, as Medea shrank aside, he painted red her silvery veil and dress.  With eyes askance the unforgiving and indomitable Fury took quick note of the heinous deed.  But Jason, after lopping off the dead man’s extremities, licked up some blood three times and three times spat the pollution out, as killers do in the attempt to expiate a treacherous murder.  The he hid the cold corpse in the earth.  And the bones still lie, among a people who have kept Aqsyrtus’s name alive.” p. 160

45. On Castor and Polydeuces  “ . . . owing their safety on this occasion to Castor and Polydeuces.  Which is why these sons of Zeus have eve since been honored with altars and sacred rites, though this was not the only voyage where they played the part of saviors.  Zeus put the ships of generations then unborn in the keeping of the Twins.”

46. Evolution “A number of creatures whose ill-assorted limbs declared them to be neither man nor beast had gathered round her like a great flock of sheep following their shepherd fro the fold.  Nondescript monsters such as these, fitted with miscellaneous limbs, were once produced spontaneously by Earth out of the primeval mud, when she had not yet solidified under a rainless sky and was deriving no moisture from the blazing sun.   But Time, combining this with that, brought the animal creation into order.”  p. 165

47. Thetis  “Now you will not have forgotten that I[Here] brought you up myself and loved you ore than any other Lady of the Sea because you rejected the amorous advances of my consort Zeus.  He, of course, has made a habit of such practices and sleeps with goddess and girls alike.  But you were frightened and out of your regard for me you would to let hi have his will.  In return for which he took a solemn oath that you should never be the bride of an immortal god. Yet in spite of your refusal he did not cease to keep his eye on you, till the day when the venerable Themis made him understand that you were destined to bear a son who would be greater than his father.  Then he heard this, Zeus gave you up though he still desired you.  He wished to keep his power for eve and was terrified at the thought that he might meet his match and be supplanted as the King of Heaven. Then, in the hope of making you a happy bride and mother, I chose Peleus, the noblest man alive to be your husband; I invited all the gods and goddesses to the wedding-feast; and I carried the bridal torch myself, in return for the good will and deference you had shown me.  And there is something else that I must tell you, a prophecy concerning your son Achilles, who is now with Cheiron the Centaur and is fed by water-nymphs though he should be at your breast.  When he comes to the Elysian Fields, it has been arranged that he shall marry Medea the daughter of Aeetes; so you, as her future mother-n-law, should be ready to help her now.  Help Peleus too.  Why are you still so angry with him?  He was very foolish; but even the gods are sometimes visited by Ate.”   pp. 168-169

48. Cronos and Uranus  “In the Ceraunian Sea, fronting the Ionian Straits, there is a rich and spacious island under the soil of which is said to lie (bear with me Muses; it gives me little pleasure to recall the old tale) the sickle used by Cronos to castrate his father Uranus.  Others al lit the reaping-hook of Demeter of the underworld, who lived there once and taught the Titans to reap corn for food, in her affection for Macris.  From this reaping-hook the island takes its name the Drepane, the sacred Nurse of the Phaeacians, who by the same token trace their origin to Uranus.”

49. On the Kings Justice “My lord, do not let the Colchians take her back to her father.  She was out of her mind when she gave that man the magic charm for the bulls.  Then, as w sinners often do, she tried to cover one fault with another by running away from her domineering father and his wrath.  But I hear that Jason has given her his solemn oath that he will take her into his home as his wedded wife. [King Alcinous wife Arete speaking] . . . Fathers are much too jealous where their daughters are concerned . . . Why, only recently and not so far from us, , the brutal Echetus drove brazen spikes into his daughter’s eyes, and now the miserable girl is wasting away in a gloomy cell, grinding grains of bronze.’  Alcinous was touched by his wife’s prayers.  ‘Arete,’ he said; I could certainly repel the Colchians by force of arms, siding with the young lords for Medea’s sake.  But I should think twice before defying a just sentence from Zeus.  Nor would it be wise to make little of Aeetes, as you would have me do.  There is no greater king; and far away as he is, he could bring war to Hellas if he wished.  No; it is my duty to give a decision that the whole world will acknowledge as the best.  I will tell you what I mean to do.  If Medea is still a virgin, I shall direct them to take her back to her father.  If she is a married woman, I will not separate her from her husband.  Nor will give a child of hers to the enemy if she has conceived.’  . .  .  When he [Orpheus] sang of the wedding, all the nymphs joined in the lovely marriage song; and then again, as they circled in the dance they sang alone, tendering their thanks to Here, who had put it in Arete’s mind to reveal the wise decision of the king . . . From the moment when he delivered judgment and it was know that the air were now man and wife, Alcinous remained inflexible.  He was shaken by no deadly fears, no dread of Aeetes’ enmity.  He had taken oaths that were not to be broken and he would not beak them.  So when the Colchians perceived that their protestations were in vain and were told that if they did not accept his ruling he would close his harbors to their ships, they recalled their own king’s threats and besought Alcinous to receive the as friends.”  pp.176-180 

50. Blown to Africa  “ . . . they had just sighted the land of Pelops when they were caught by a northerly gale which swept them south for nine days and nights over the Libyan Sea and drove them deep into Syrtis.”  p. 180

51. “Many heads are wiser than one.”  p. 183



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Black Book of Communism

The Black Book of Communism by Stephane Courtois with: Werth, Panne, Paczkowski, Bartosek, and Margolin

I bought The Black Book of Communism in 1999 and read from it, on and off, for over a decade.  I often find myself confronting Communist apologists –even supporters, and have long felt the need to have more information with which to combat their claims.  Last Spring, I dragged the book of the shelf – determined to read it cover to cover.  By the end of November, 2014, I have pulled it off.  As in with so many other important works – reading should be required – but I know it will not happen.  I will therefore attempt a condensation of key points.  The following quotes are among the most powerful and I hope that reading them will give anyone, who takes the time, a glimpse at the truth about this great evil.  I have long maintained that the Nazis would have killed more people than the Communists but they were stopped.  The Communists got nearly a century in which to kill, and have murdered more than any other malignant force in history.  By the way – they are still up to it in the three miserable little slave states that they still control. 

The book contains a forward, introduction, and conclusion, and is divided into five major sections containing 27 chapters.  I will present them section by section – chapter by chapter.

Foreword: The Uses of Atrocity

1. Communism has been the great story of the twentieth century. . . For seven decades it haunted world politics, polarizing opinion between those who saw it as the socialist end of history [Marx claimed that human social evolution would produce a world directed by Communism.] and those who considered it history’s most total tyranny.  p. ix

2. The Black Book offers us the first attempt to determine, overall, the actual magnitude of what occurred, by systematically detailing Leninism’s “crimes, terror, and repression from Russia in 1917 to Afghanistan in 1989. . . a grand total of victims variously estimated by contributors to the volume at between 85 million and 100 million. . . the Communist record offers the most colossal case of political carnage in history.” p.  x

3. “. . . the unavoidable comparison of this sum with that for Nazism, which at an estimated 25 million turns out to be distinctly less murderous than Communism.  p. xi 

4. “. . . everywhere the aim was to repress “enemies of the people” – “like noxious insects,” as Lenin said early on, thus inauguration Communisms “animalization” of its adversaries.  Moreover, the line of inheritance from Stalin, to Mao, to Ho, to Kim Il Sung, to Pol Pot was quite clear, with each new leader receiving both material aid and ideological inspiration from his predecessor.  And, to come full circle, Pol Pot first learned his Marxism in Paris in 1952 (when such philosophers as Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty were explaining how terror could be the midwife of “humanism”).   p. xv

5. “. . . extermination practiced to achieve a political objective, no matter how perverse, and extermination as an end in itself . . . both systems  [Nazis and Communism] massacred their victims not for what they did (such as resisting the regime) but for who they were, whether Jews or kulaks.  In this perspective, the distinction made by some, that the term petit-bourgeois “kulak” is more elastic and hence less lethal than biological “Jew,” is invalidated: the social and the racial categories are equally pseudoscientific.”  pp. xv-xvi

6.  “. . . the book quietly advances a number of important analytical points.  The first is that Communist regimes did not just commit criminal acts (all states do so on occasion); they were criminal enterprises in their very essence: on principle, so to speak, they all ruled lawlessly, by violence, and without regard for human life.“  p. xvii

7. By way of comparison, he [author Nicolas Werth] notes that between 1825 and 1917 tsarism carried out 6,321 political executions (most of them during the revolution of 1905-1907), whereas in two month of official “Red Terror” in the fall of 1918Bolshevism achieved some 15,000.  And so on for a third of a century; for example, 6 million deaths during the collectivization famine of 1932-33, 720,000 executions during the Great Purge, 7 million people entering the Gulag  where hug numbers died) in the years 1934 – 1941, and 2,750,000 still there at Stalin’s death.“  p. xviii

8. “. . . in Margolin’s chapter on China’s “Long March into Night” are even more staggering: at a minimum, 10 million “direct victims”; probably 20 million deaths out of the multitudes that passed through China’s “hidden Gulag,” and laogai; more than 20 million deaths from the “political famine” of the Great Leap Forward of 1959-1961, the largest famine in history.”  p. xviii

9. “Finally, in Pol Pot’s aping of Mao’s Great Leap, around one Cambodian in seven perished, the highest proportion of the population in any Communist country.” p. xviii

10. “. . . whether . . . Russia . . . China . . . Cambodia . . . mass violence against the population was a deliberate policy of the new revolutionary order; and its scope and inhumanity far exceeded anything in the national past.”  p. xviii

11. “A final point, insisted on by Courois yet clear also in his colleagues’ [the authors of The Black Book] accounts, is that Communism’s recourse to “permanent civil war” rested on the “scientific” Marxist belief in class struggle as the “violent midwife of history,” in Marx’s famous metaphor.  Similarly, Courtois adds, Nazi violence was founded on a scientistic social Darwinism promising national regeneration through racial struggle.”  p xix

Introduction: The Crimes of Communism

12. “Communism has its place in the historical setting overflowing with tragedies.  Indeed, it occupies one of the most violent and most significant places of all.  Communism, the defining characteristic of the “short twentieth century” that began in Sarajevo in 1914 and ended in Moscow in 1991, finds itself at center stage in the story.  Communism predated fascism and Nazism, outlived both and left its mark on four continents.” p. 2

13. “Nonetheless, as Ignazio Silone has written “Revolutions, like trees, are recognized by the fruit they bear.”  p. 2

14. Against Natural Law “The crimes we shall expose are to be judged not by the standards of Communist regimes, but by the unwritten code of the natural laws of humanity.” p. 3

15. “Never the less, many archives and witnesses prove conclusively that terror has always been one of the basic ingredients of modern Communism.  Let us abandon once and for all the idea that the execution of hostages by firing squads, the slaughter of rebellious workers, and the forced starvation of the peasantry were only short-term “accidents” peculiar to a specific country or era.  Our approach will encompass all geographic areas and focus on crime as a defining characteristic of the Communist system throughout its existence.”  p. 3

16. “Communism has committed a multitude of crimes not only against individual human being but also against world civilization and national cultures.  Stalin demolished dozens of churches in Moscow; Nicolae Ceausescu destroyed the historical heart of Bucharest to give free rein to his megalomania; Pol Pot dismantled the Phnom Penh cathedral stone by stone and allowed the jungle to take over the temples of Angkor Wat; and during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, priceless treasures were smashed or burned by the Red Guards.  Yet however terrible this destruction may ultimately prove for the nations in question and from humanity as a whole, how does it compare with the mass murder of human being – of men, women, and children?”  pp. 3-4

17. “The pattern includes execution by various means, such as firing squads, hanging, drowning, battering, and in certain cases, gassing, poisoning, or “car accidents”; destruction of the population by starvation, through man-made famine, the withholding of food, or both; deportation, through which death can occur in transit (either through physical exhaustion or through confinement in an enclosed space), at one’s place of residence, or through forced labor (exhaustion, illness, hunger, cold).  Periods described as times of “civil war” are more complex—it is not always easy to distinguish between events caused by fighting between rulers and rebels and event that can properly be described only as a massacre of the civilian population.”  p. 4

18. “The following rough approximation, based on unofficial estimates, gives some sense of the scale and gravity of these crimes: U.S.S.R.: m20 million deaths, China: 65 million deaths, Vietnam: 1 million deaths, North Korea: 2 million deaths, Cambodia: 2 million deaths, Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths, Latin America: 150,000 deaths, Africa: 1.7 million deaths, The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power; about 10,000 deaths.  The total approaches 100 million people killed.  p. 4

19. “. . . “crime against humanity”. . .  as stated in Article 6c: [Nuremberg Tribunal] “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population before or during the war; or persecutions of political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.”  p. 6

20. “Thus in the name of an ideological belief system were tens of millions of innocent victims systematically butchered, unless of course it is a crime to be middle-class, of noble birth, a kulak, a Ukrainian, or even a worker or member of the Communist Party.”  p. 7

21. “It was Mikhail Tomsky the leader of the Soviet trade unions, who in the 13 November 1927 issue of Trud (Labor) stated: “We allow other parties to exist.  However, the fundamental principle that distinguishes us from the West is as follows: one party rules, and all others are in jail!”  p. 7

22. “. . . one particular feature of many Communist regimes—their systematic use of famine as a weapon.   The regime aimed to control the total available food supply and, with immense ingenuity, to distribute food purely on the basis of “merits” and “demerits” earned by individuals.  This policy was a recipe for creating famine on a massive scale.  Remember that in the period after 1918, only Communist countries experienced such famines, which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of people.  And againinthe1980’s, two African countries that claimed to be Marxist-Leninist, Ethiopia and Mozambique, were the only such countries to suffer these deadly famines.  p. 9

23. A preliminary global accounting of the crimes committed by Communist regimes shows the following:

* The execution of tens of thousands of hostages and prisoners without trial, and the murder of hundreds of thousands of rebellious workers and peasants from 1918 to 1922 [USSR]

* The famine of 1922, which caused the deaths of 5 million people [USSR]

* The extermination of the Don Cossacks in 1920 [USSR]

* The murder of tens of thousands in concentration camps from 1918 to 1930 [USSR]

* The liquidation of almost 690,000 people in the Great Purge of 1937-1938 [USSR]

* The deportation of 2 million kulaks (and so-called kulaks) in 1930-1932 [USSR]

* The destruction of 4 million Ukrainians and 2 million others by means of an artificial and systematically perpetuated famine in 1932-33 [USSR]

* The deportation of hundreds of thousands of Poles, Ukrainians, Balts, Moldovans, and Bessarabians from 1939 to 1941, and again in 1944-45 [USSR]

* The deportation of the Volga Germans in1941 [USSR]

* The wholesale deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1943 [USSR]

* The wholesale deportation of the Chechens in1944 [USSR]

* The wholesale deportation of the Ingush in1944 [USSR]

* The deportation and extermination the urban population in Cambodia from 1975 to 1978

* The slow destruction of the Tibetans by the Chinese since 1950

No list of the crimes committed in the name of Leninism and Stalinism would be complete without mentioning the virtually identical crimes committed by the regimes of Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung, and Pol Pot.  pp. 9-10

24. “. . . Communist society strips the individual of his responsibilities.  It is always “somebody else” who makes the decisions.  Remember, individual responsibility can fell like a crushing burden . . . The attraction of a totalitarian system, which has had a powerful allure for many has its roots in a fear of freedom and responsibility.  This explains the popularity of authoritarian regime (which is Erick Fromm’s thesis in Escape from Freedom).  None of this is new; Boethius had the right idea long ago when he spoke of “voluntary servitude.”  Tzvetan Todorov pp. 12-13

25. “However, the tsarist regime of terror against which the Bolsheviks fought pales in comparison with the horrors committed by the Bolsheviks when they took power.  p. 13

26. “. . . the intransigent facts demonstrate that Communist regimes have victimized approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis.”  p. 15

27. This genocidal impulse, which aims at “the total or partial destruction of the national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, or a group that has been determined on the basis of any other arbitrary criterion,” was applied by Communist rulers against groups branded as enemies and to entire segments of society, and was pursued to its maximum by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge.”  p. 16

28. “writers kept writing . . . Stalin himself, too: the kulaks are parasites; they are burning grain; they are killing children.  And it was openly proclaimed ‘that the rage and wrath of the masses must be inflamed against them, they must be destroyed as a class, because they are accursed.’” He [Grossman – one of the authors of The Black Book] adds: “To massacre them, it was necessary to proclaim that kulaks are not human beings, just as the Germans proclaimed that Hews are not human being.  Thus did Lenin and Stalin say: kulaks are not human beings.”  In conclusion, Grossman says of the children of the kulaks: “That is exactly how the Nazis put the Jewish children into the Nazi gas chambers: ‘You are not allowed to liv, you are all Jews!’”  p. 16

29. Questions on the awkward silence on  Communist crimes:  “. . . the revelations concerning Communist crimes cause barely a stir.  Why is there such an awkward silence from politicians?  Why such a deafening silence form the academic world regarding the Communist catastrophe, which touched the lives of about one-third of humanity on four continents during a period spanning eighty years?  Why is there such widespread reluctance to make such a crucial factor as crime—mass crime, systematic crime, and crime against humanity—a central factor in the analysis of Communism?  Is this really something that is beyond human understanding?  Or are we talking about a refusal to scrutinize the subject too closely for fear of learning the truth about it?”  pp. 17-18

30. Answers to the questions on the awkward silence on Communism: “1) First, there is the dictators’ understandable urge to erase their crimes and to justify the actions they cannot hide.  2) . . . the tyrants systematically attacked all who dared to expose their crimes.  3) . . . they did their best to justify these atrocities by glossing them over.  4). . . Like common prostitutes, intellectuals found themselves inveigled into counterpropaganda operations.  5) Confronted with this onslaught of Communist propaganda, the West has long labored under an extraordinary self-deception, simultaneously fueled by naiveté in the face of a particularly devious system, by the fear of Soviet power, and by the cynicism of politicians.  6) . . . the fascination with the whole notion of revolution itself.  7) . . . the participation of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazism. . . 8) . . . Communists soon grasped the benefits involved in immortalizing the Holocaust as a way of rekindling antifascism on a more systematic basis.”  p. 18-23p.

31. “AS early as 1931, Pius XI had proclaimed n the encyclical Quadragesimo anno: “Communism teaches and seeks to objective: unrelenting class warfare and the complete eradication of private ownership.”  p. 29

A State against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in the Soviet Union, Nicolas Werth

Ch. 1  Paradoxes and Misunderstandings Surrounding the October Revolution

32. On the October Revolution: “For these historians. October was the result of a clever conspiracy dreamed up by a handful of resourceful and cynical fanatics who had no real support anywhere else in the country . . . or . . . an accident that changed the course of history, diverting a prosperous, hardworking prerevolutionary Russia, well on its way to democracy, form its natural course. . . or. . . Alternatively, Soviet historiography has attempted to demonstrate that the events of October 1917 were the logical, foreseeable, and inevitable culmination of a process of liberation undertaken by the masses, who consciously rallied to Bolshevism. . . . but . . .  With the passage of time, and as a result of recent stimulation and lively debate among historians, the October Revolution of 1917 now appears as the momentary convergence of two movements: on the one hand the carefully organized seizure of power by a party that differed radically in its practices, its ideology, and its organization form all other participants in the revolutionary process; and on the other a vast social revolution, which took many forms.”  pp. 39 – 41

33. In his famous April Thesis he [Lenin] reiterated his implacable hostility to both a parliamentary republic and the democratic process. . . Believing only in direct action and in force, they [Lenin’s new recruits] supported a strand of Bolshevism in which theoretical debates increasingly gave way to the far more pressing issue of the seizure of power.  p. 49

34. “ ‘By making immediate offers of peace and giving land to the peasants, the Bolsheviks will establish a power base that no one will overturn,’ je [Lenin] wrote.  ‘There is no point in waiting for a formal majority for the Bolsheviks; revolutions do not wait for such things.  History will never forgive us if we do not seize power immediately.’”  p. 50

35. “On 16 October, despite opposition for the moderate socialists, Trotsky therefore set up the Petrograd Revolutionary Military Committee (PRMC), a military organization theoretically under the control of the Petrograd Soviet but in fact run by the Bolsheviks.  Its task was to organize the seizure of power through an armed insurrection—and thus to prevent a popular anarchist uprising that might have eclipsed the Bolshevik Party.” p. 51

36. “Overwhelmed, the Bolsheviks soon put their own economic needs before the rights of these nations [states controlled by the old Tsarist Empire], since Ukrainian wheat, the petroleum and minerals of eh Caucasus, and all the other vital economic interests of the new state were perceived to be irreplaceable.  In terms of the control it exercised over its territories, the new regime proved itself to be a more worth inheritor of the empire than even the provisional government had been.”  p. 52

Ch. 2 – The Iron Fist of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat 

37. “In the space of a few days the PRMC (Petrograd Revolutionary Military Committee) had introduced two new notions that were to have lasting consequences: the idea of the “enemy of the people” and the idea of the “suspect.”  p. 55

38. “Do not imagine, comrades, that I [Dzerzhinsky Head of the PRMC ] am simply looking for are revolutionary for of Justice.  We have no concern about justice at this hour!  We are at war, on the front where the enemy is advancing, and the fight is to the death.”  p. 58

39. “In Taganrog units from Sivers’ [Red army General Rudolf Sivers] had thrown fifty Junkers and “White” officers, their hands and feet bound, into a blast furnace.  In Evpatria several hundred officers and “bourgeois” were tied up tortured, and thrown into the sea . . .  The extremely precise files of the Denikin commission record “corpses with the hands cut off, broken bones, heads ripped off, broken jaws, and genitals removed . . . These massacres, which targeted not only enemy combatants but also civilian “enemies of the people” (for instance, among the 240 people killed in Yalta at the beginning of March 1918, there were some 70 politicians, lawyers, journalists, and teachers, as well as 165 officers), were often carried out by “armed detachments.’ . . . ‘Red Guards, ‘and other, unspecified ‘Bolshevik elements.’”  pp. 60-61

40. “What is the point of a ‘People’s Commissariat for Justice’?” Steinberg [Isaac Steinberg – the people’s commissar of justice] asked Lenin.  “It would be more honest to have a People’s Commissariat for Social Extermination.  People would understand more clearly.”

“Excellent idea,” Lenin countered.  “That’s exactly how I see it.  Unfortunately, it wouldn’t do to call it that!”  p. 62

41. “. . . the Constituent Assembly, which had been elected in November-December 1917 and in which the Bolsheviks were a minority (they had only 175 deputies out of 707 seats), was broken up by force, having met for a single day.  This arbitrary act seemed to provoke no particular reaction anywhere in the country.  A small demonstration against the dissolution of the assembly was broken up by troops, causing some twenty deaths, a high price to pay for a democratic parliamentary experiment that lasted only a few hours.” pp. 62 -63

64. “All enemy agents, speculators, hooligans, counterrevolutionary agitators, and German spies will be hot on sight.” p. 64

65. “Trotsky himself added: ‘Our only choice now is civil war.  Civil war is the struggle for bread . . . Long live civil war!’” p. 65

66. The political effects of the hardening of the dictatorship in the spring of 1918 included the complete shutdown of all non-Bolshevik newspapers, the forcible dissolution of all non-Bolshevik soviets, and the arrest of opposition leaders, and the brutal repression of many strikes.”  p. 67

67. “Put big posters up all over the town saying that the Cheka will execute on the spot any bandit, thief, speculator, or counterrevolutionary found to be conspiring against the soviet. . . nothing is more effective than a bullet in the head to shut people up.”  p. 68

Ch. 3  The Red Terror

68. “. . . the Bolshevik leaders experimented in August 1918 with a tool of oppression that had made its first appearance in Russian during the war: the concentration camp.  On 9 August Lenin sent a telegram to the Executive Committee of the province of Penza instructing them to intern “kulaks, priests, White Guards, and other doubtful elements in a concentration camp.” p. 73

69. “One must not oly destroy the active forces of the enemy, but also demonstrate that anyone who raises a hand in protest against class war will die by the sword . . . In a civil war, there should be no courts for the enemy.  It is a fight to the death.  If you don’t kill, you will die.  So kill, if you don’t want to be killed!” (Martin Latsis, Izvestiya 23 Aug 1918) p. 74

70. “The truth was that the Red Terror was the natural outlet for the almost abstract hatred that most of eh Bolshevik leaders felt toward their “oppressors,” whom the wished to liquidate not on an individual basis, but as a class.” p.75

71. “In the space of a few weeks the Cheka alone had executed two to three times the total number of people condemned to death by the tsarist regime over ninety two years.” p. 79

Ch 4  The Dirty War

72. “In theory citizens were divided into five categories of “stomach,” from the workers in heavy industry and Red Army soldiers to the “sedentary” –a particularly harsh classification that included any intellectual—and were given rations accordingly.  Because the “sedentary” –the intellectuals and aristocrats—were served last, they often received nothing at all, since often there was nothing left.” p. 89

73. “Trotsky on 1 February 1920.  ‘If it must be so, then let thousands die as a result, but the country must be saved.” P.89

74. “By the end of 1920 the ruble had lost 96 percent of its previous vlalue relative to the prewar gold-standard ruble.” p. 92

74. “Not only were thousands of deserters shot, but the families of deserters were often treated as hostages.  After the summer of 1918 the hostage principle was applied in more and more ordinary situations.  For example, a government decree of 15 February 1919 signed by Lenin encouraged local Chekas ‘to take hostages fro among the peasants in regions were the railway lines had not yet been cleared of snow to a satisfactory standard.”  And if the lines aren’t swept properly, the hostages are to be shot.’”.  p. 92

75. Peasant Revolt – the Greens: “Yaroslavl Province, 23 June 1919.  The uprising of the deserters in the Petropavloskay volostv has been put down.  The families of the deserters have been taken as hostages.  When we stated to shoot one person fro each fail, the Greens began to come out of the woods and surrender.  Thirty-four deserters were shot as an example . . . Moreover, it was made clear in the tracts of both the civil and the military authorities that “if the inhabitants of a village help the bandits in the forests in any way whatever, the whole village will be burned down . . .  Some of the more general Checka reports give a clearer idea of the scale of this war in the countryside.  In the period 15 October – 30 November 1918, in twelve provinces of Russia alone, there were 44 bunt riots, in which 2,320 people were arrested, 620 were killed in the fighting, and 982 subsequently executed.  During these disorders 480 Soviet functionaries were killed, as were112 men from the food detachments, the Red Army, and the Checka.  In September 1919, for the ten Russian provinces fro which reports are available, 48,735 deserters and 7,325 “bandits” were arrested, 1,826 were killed, 2,230 were executed. And there were 430 victims among the functionaries and the Soviet military.” p.94

76. “It was in the rich provinces of Samara ad Simbirsk, which in 1919 were required to provide more than one-fifth of the grain requisitions for the whole of Russia, that spontaneous peasant riots were transformed for the first time in March 199 into a genuine insurrection.  Dozens of town were taken by  the insurrectionist peasant army, which by then numbered more than 30,000 armed soldiers.  The Bolshevik central powers lost all control of Samara for more than a month . . . the Bolsheviks were forced to send tens of thousands of men to deal with this extremely well-organized peasant army with a clear political program calling for fee trade, free elections to the soviets, and an end to requisitioning and the “Bolshevik commissarocracy (sp.).” Summing up the situation in April 1919, after the end of the uprising, the head of the Cheka in Samara noted that 4,240 of the rebels had been killed in the fighting, 625 had been subsequently shot, and 6, 210 deserters and “bandits” had been arrested.”  p. 95

77. Isaac Babel’s The Red Cavalry “The retreat and the subsequent re-conquest of Ukraine at the end of 1919 and the beginning of 1920 were the setting for scenes of extraordinary violence against the civilian population, as recounted in Isaac Babel’s masterpiece The Red Cavalry.”

78. “The peasant army known as “The Black Eagle” counted more than 50,000 soldiers at its height.  Armed with cannons and heavy machine guns, the Troops for the Internal Defense of the Republic overwhelmed the rebels, who were armed with only pitchforks and axes.  In a few days thousand of rebels were massacred and hundreds of villages burned.”  p. 97

79.  “On average, they [peasants]  were left 1 pud (55 pounds) of potatoes per person each year—approximately on-tenth of the minimum requirements for life . . .  It was to continue for two years, until the reels were finally defeated by hunger.” p. 97

80. “For the first time, on the principle of collective responsibility, a new regime took a series of measures specially designed to eliminate, exterminate, and deport the population of a whole territory . .  .  All these measures were part of the pre-established de-Cossackization plan approved in a secret resolution of the Bolshevik Party’s enteral committee on 24 January 1919:  ‘In view of the experiences of the civil war against the Cossacks, we must recognize as the only politically correct measure massive terror and a merciless fight against the rich Cossacks, who must be exterminated and physically disposed of, down to the last man.’ (Bolshevik Party’s Central Committee on 24 January 1919) . . . ‘what was carried out instead  [of imposing Bolshevik rule]

81. Kill, kill, kill “A the retaking of Crimea by the Bolsheviks, the last confrontation between the Red and White force, was the occasion of one of the largest massacres I the civil war.  At least 50,000 civilians were killed by the Bolsheviks in November and December 1920 . . . In October of alone these troika [special commissions in charge of de-Cossacization] more than 6,0000 people to death, all of whom were executed immediately . . . death camps: ‘Gathered together in a camp near Maikop, the hostages, women and children, and old men survived in the most appalling conditions, in the cold and the mud of October . . . They are dying like lies.  The women will do anything to escape death.  The Soldiers guarding the camp take advantage of this and treat them as prostitutes.”  p. 100

82. Kill, kill, kill  “The Cossack regions of the Don and the Kuban paid a heavy price for their opposition to the Bolsheviks.  According to the most reliable estimates, between 300,000 and 500,000 people were killed or deported in 1919 and 1920 out of a population of no more than 3 million . . . Blood? Let blood flow like water! [from the Kyiv Cheka newspaper 1918] Let blood stain forever the black pirate’s flag flown by the bourgeoisie, and let our flag be blood-red forever!  For only through the death of the old world can ewe liberate ourselves forever from the return of those jackals!  p. 102

83. “ . . . the local Cheka leader to explain himself, he answered, “We don’t have time to write the reports at the time,  What does it matter anyway, when we are trying to wipe out the bourgeoisie and the kulaks as a class?” p. 103

84. Kill, kill, kill  “The logical culmination of the “extermination of the bourgeoisie as a class,”  [hear Marx] the execution of prisoners, suspects, and hostages imprisoned simply on the basis of their belonging to the possessing classes,” In Kharkiv there were between 2,000 and 3,000 executions in February-June 1919, and another 1,000 – 2,000 when the town was taken again in December . . .  in Rostov-on-Don, approximately 1,000 in January 1920; in Odessa, 2,200 in May –August 1919, then 1,500 – 3,000 between February 1920 and February 1921 . . .  in Kuban, between 2,000 and 3,000 in August – October 1920 . . . In Kharkiv, in the days leading up to the arrival of the Whites, on 8 and 9 June 1919, hundreds of hostages were executed.  In Kyiv more than 1,800 people were executed . . . at Ekanterinodar . . . Atarbekov, head of the local Cheka, disposed of 1,600 bourgeois on 17-19 August . . . in the Crimea . . . From mid-November to the end of December 1920, more than 50,000 people we shot or hanged . . . the Revolutionary Committee of Sevastopol published two lists of victims; the first contained 1,634 names, the second 1,202 . . . Sevastopol, one of the towns that suffered most heavily under the repressions as “the city of the hanged.”  “From Nahimovsky, all one could see was the hanging bodies of officers soldiers and civilians arrested in the streets. The town was dead, . . . All the walls, shop fronts, and telegraph poles were covered with posters calling for ‘Death to the traitors.”  They were hanging people for fun.” pp. 106-107

Ch. 5  From Tambov to the Great Famine

85.  NEP “ . . . the Bolshevik leaders were forced to retreat and take the only step that could momentarily calm the massive, dangerous, and widespread discontent: they promised an end to requisitioning which was to be replaced by taxes in kind .  In Mach 1921, against this backdrop of conflict between Society and the regime, the New Economic Policy (NEP) came into being.” pp. 108-109

86. Kill, kill, kill  “Ten days later Krostadt fell after thousands of people had lost their lives.  Several hundred rebels who had been taken prisoner were shot over the net few days.  The records of the event, recently published for the first time, show that from April to June 1921, 2,103 were sentenced to death and 6,459 were sent to prison or to the camps . . . Just before the falloff Krostadt nearly 8,000 people managed to escape across the ice to Finland, where they were interned in transit camps . . . Deceived by the promise of an amnesty, a number of them returned to Russia in 1922, where they were immediately arrested and sent to camps on the Solovetski Islands and to Kholmgory . . . According to one anarchist source, of the 5,0000 Kronstat prisoners who wer sent to Kholmogory, fewer than 1,500 were still alive in the spring of 1922 . . .  The Kholmogory camp on the great river Dvina, was sadly famous for the swift manner in which it dispatched a great number of its prisoners.  They were often loaded onto barges stones were tied around their necks, they arms and legs were tied, and they were thrown overboard into the rive.” p. 114

87. Decline in Industrial Production “One of the main priorities of the regime in the spring of 1921 was to revive industrial production, which had fallen to 10 percent of what it had been in 1913 . . . the Bolsheviks maintained and even increased the militarization begun over the preceding years . . . in 1921 after the adoption of the NEP in the great industrial and mining region of the Donbass, . . . Georgy Pyatako, one of the main leaders who was close to Trotsky, had been appointed head of the Central Directory of the Coal Industry.  Within a year he increased coal production fivefold by means of a policy of unremitting exploitation and intimidation.  Pyatokov imposed excruciating discipline on is 120,000 workers: any absenteeism was equated with an act of sabotage and punished with expulsion to a camp or even a death sentence.  In 1921 18 miners were executed for “persistent parasitism.”  Work hours were increased, particularly on Sundays, and Pyatokov effectively blackmailed the workers into increasing productivity by threatening the confiscation of ration cards.  These measures were taken at a time when the workers received between one-third and one-half of the bread ration they needed to survive; often at the end of the day they had to lead (sp.) [leave] boots to comrades who were taking over the next shift.  The directory acknowledged that absenteeism among the workforce was due in pat to epidemics “permanent hunger,” and “a total absence of clothes, trousers, and shoes.”  To reduce the number of mouths to feed when the threat of famine was at its height, Pyatokov on 24 June 1921 ordered the expulsion form the mining villages of everyone who did not work in the mines.  Ration cards were confiscated from family members of miners.  Rationing was also calculated strictly in accordance with the production of individual miners, thus introducing a rudimentary form of productivity-related pay.” p. 115

88.  Treatment of Workers “The working masses were nothing more than the rabsila—the work force—which had to be exploited in the most effective manner possible. p.116

89. Pacification of the Peasants “Antonov-Ovseenko, president of the Plemipotentiary Commission of the Central Executive Committee established to constitute an occupying force in the region, he took hostages on an enormous scale, carried out executions, set up death camps where prisoners were gassed, and deported entire villages suspected of assisting or collaborating with the so-called bandits . . .

[Order No. 171, 11 June 1921] 1. Shoot on sight any citizens who refuse to give their names. 2. District and Regional Political Commissions are hereby authorized to pronounce sentence on any village were arms are being hidden, and to arrest hostages and shoot them if the whereabouts of the arms are not revealed.  3. Wherever arms are found, execute immediately the eldest son in the family.  4. Any family that has harbored a bandit is to be arrested and deported form other province, their possessions are to be seized and the eldest son is to be executed immediately.  5. Anny families sheltering other families who have harbored bandits are to be punished in the same manner and their eldest son is to be shot.  6. In the event that bandit families have fled, their possessions are to be redistributed among peasant who are loyal to the Soviet regime, and their houses are to be burned or demolished.  7. These orders are to be carried out rigorously and without mercy.

The day after the Order No. 171 was sent out Tukhachevsky ordered all revels to be gassed . . . The forests where to be cleared by the use of poison gas.  This must be carefully calculated, so that the layer of gas penetrates the forests and kills everyone hiding there.” pp. 116-117

90. Concentration Camps  “By July 1921 the military authorities and the Cheka had set up seven concentration camps.  According to information that even now is incomplete, at least 50,000 people were interned in the camps for the most part women, children, and the elderly, as well as hostages and members of the families of deserters and members of the families of deserters.  The condition in these camps were intolerable: typhus and cholera were endemic, and the half-naked prisoners lacked even basic requirements.  A famine began in the summer of 1921, and by the autumn the mortality rate had climbed to 15-20 percent a month.”  p. 118

91. Starvation as a Weapon “ . . . Kyiv, where the suicide rate has never been so high.  Peasants are killing themselves en masse because they can neither pay their taxes nor rebel, since all their arms have been confiscated.  Famine has been hanging over the regions for more than a year now, and the peasants are extremely pessimistic about the future.” p. 119

92. Starvation as a Weapon “ . . . ‘Today,’ Vavilin [Commissariat of Food] explained, ‘there are no more revolts.  We see new phenomena instead: crowds of thousands of starving people gather around the Executive Committee or the Party headquarters od eh soviet to wait, for days and days, for the miraculous appearance of the food they need.  It is impossible to chase this crowd away, and every day more of them die.  They are dropping like flies . . . I think there must be at least 900,000 starving people in this province [Samara] . . . the People’s Commissariat of Food, fully aware of the gravity of the situation, drew up lists of districts and provinces judged to be starving or threatened by imminent famine.  In January 1921 one report claimed that among the cause of the famine in Tambov was the “orgy” of requisitioning of 1920.  It was quite obvious to the common people, as conversations reported by the political police made clear, that the ‘soviet regime is trying to starve out all the peasants who dare resist it.‘“ pp. 120

93.  Linen’s attitude about famine  “”Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov [Lenin] had the courage to come out and say openly that famine [famine of 1891]would have numerous positive results, particularly in the appearance of a new industrial proletariat, which would take over from the bourgeoisie . . . Famine, he explained, in destroying the outdated peasant economy, would bring about the next stage more rapidly, and usher in socialism, the stage that necessarily followed capitalism.  Famine would also destroy faith not only in the tsar, but in God too.’ . . .  [Lenin’s letter to the Politburo on 19 March 1922] ‘With the help of all those starving people who are starting to eat each other, who are dying by the millions, and whose bodies litter the roadside all over the country, it is now and only now that we can—and therefore we must—confiscate all church property with all the ruthless energy we can still muster. This is precisely the moment when the masses will support us most fervently, and rise up against the reactionary machinations of the petit-bourgeois and Black Hundred religious conspirators . . . “ pp. 123-125

94. Murder of the Clergy “As the weekly report for the secret police indicate, the campaign to confiscate church goods was at its height in March, April, and May 1922, when it led to 1,414 incidents and the arrest of thousands of priests, nuns, and monks.  According to church records, 2,691 priests, 1,962 monks, and 3,447 nuns we killed that year.  p.126

Ch. 6 From the Truce to the Great Turning Point

95. The Two Penal Systems “In 1922 the government proposed that the GPU [Replaced the Cheka on February 6, 1922.] set up a huge camp on five islands in the Solovetski archipelago, in the White Sea near Arkhangelsk,  . . . By the end of the year there were more than 4,000 prisoners, by 1927 there were 15,000 by the end of 1928 there were nearly 38,000” pp. 136-137

96. Categories of Prisoners “Under the NEP the GUP administration recognized three categories of prisoners.  The first included all those involved in politics that is, people who were members of old Menshevik, Socialist Revolutionary, or anarchist parties . . . The second group, numerically by far the largest, contained all the counterrevolutionaries: members of non-socialist or new anarchist political parties, member of the clergy, veteran officers fro the tsarist armies, civil servants from the old regime, Cossacks, participants in . . . revolt, and anyone else who had been sentenced under Article 58 of the penal code . . .  The third category grouped together all common criminals . . . “ p. 137

97. Soviet Wars of Colonial Conquest  “In the apparently calm years of the NEP, for 1923 to 1927, the peripheral republics of Russia—Transcaucasia and Central ?Asia—saw the bloodiest and most massive repressions . . . It is still impossible even to guess at the number of victims in this war . . . The second major sector of the GPU’s Oriental Department was Transcaucasis.  In the first half of the 1920’s Dagestan, Georgia, and Chechnya were severely affected by the repressions . . .  It lasted for more than a year, and some regions were “pacified” only by heavy bombing and huge massacres of civilians, which persisted into 1924.”  pp. 138-139

98. Stalin’s War on the Kulaks and Others “The requisitioning and repressive measures merely worsened the agricultural situation.  In the short term, the use of force had allowed the authorities to brain a harvest approximately the same size as that from the preceding year.  In the long term, however, the consequences were similar to those during War Communism: peasants reacted by sowing considerably less the following year . . . “Saboteurs” were blamed for all economic failures, and they became the excuse for using thousands of whit-collar workers to build the new special offices of the GPU, known as the sharashki.  Thousands of engineers and technicians who had been convicted of sabotage were punished by being sent to construction sites and high-profile civil engineering projects . . . Not only white-collar industrial workers were targeted in the vast anti-specialist operations beginning 1928.  Numerous university professors and students of “socially unacceptable” background were excluded from higher education . . .” pp. 142-143

99. The First Five Year Plan “The drawing-up of the first Five Year Plan highlighted question about the division of the labor force and the exploitation of the inhospitable regions that were so rich in natural resources.  In that respect the penal workforce, heretofore an untapped source of manpower, was considered a potentially extremely valuable asset—a major source of revenue, influence, and power . . . Nonetheless, it took an entire year for Stalin and his followers to persuade other Party leaders to accept the policies of enforced collectivization, dekulakization, and accelerated industrialization—the three key aspects of the coherent program for the brutal transformation of the economy and society.” p. 144

100. Collectivization and the end of the NEP “The stakes were set: the choice was to be made between rural capitalism and the kolkhozy [collectivization] . . . On 31 October 1929 Pravda called fo r”total collectivization.”  A week later, on the twelfth anniversary of the Revolution, Stalin published his famous article “The Great Turning Point,” which was based on the fundamentally erroneous idea that “the average peasant has welcomed the arrival of the kolkhoz.  The NEP was definitively over.”  p. 145 

Ch. 7  Forced Collectivization and Dekulakization

101. “Recent research in the newly accessible archives has confirmed that the forced collectivization of the countryside was in effect a war declared by the Soviet state on the nation of smallholders.  More than 2 million peasants were deported (1.8 million in 1930-31 alone, 6 million died of hunger, and hundreds of thousands died as a direct result of deportation . . . the violence used against the peasants allowed the authorities to experiment with methods that would later be used against other social groups.  In that respect it marked a decisive step in the development of Stalinist terror . . . ON 27 December 1929 Stalin demanded ‘the eradication of all kulak tendencies and the elimination of the kulaks as a class’  . . . The commission defined three categories of kulaks: those engaged in “counterrevolutionary activates” were to be arrested and transferred to GPU wok camps or executed if they put up any sign of resistance.  Their families were to be deported and all their property confiscated. Those in the third category, classified as loyal to the regime, were to be officially transferred to the peripheral regions of the districts I which they lived, “outside the collectivized zones, on land requiring improvement.”  pp. 146-147

102. “The repressions were horrifying.  By the end of March 1930, “mopping-up operations against counterrevolutionary elements” on the borders of western Ukraine led to the arrest of more than 15,000 people.  In about forty days from 1 February to 15 March, the Ukrainian GPU arrested 26,000 people, of whom 650 were immediately executed.  According to the GPU’s own records, 20,200 people received death sentences that year through the courts alone.”  p. 150

103. Deportation Operations “ In fact the number of people deported as kulaks was so great—more than 700,000 people by the end of 1930, more than 1.8 million by the end of  1931—the framework designed to cope with the process could not possibly keep up. Few detailed records were kept of the mortality rates for the convoys of 1939 and 1931, but the appalling conditions, the cold, the lack of food, and the rapid spread of disease must have cost a large number of lives . . . In all, 1,803,392 people were officially deported as part of the dekulakization program in 1930 and 1931. One might well wonder how many died of cold and hunger in the first few months of their “new life . . . in a report sent to Stalin in May 1933 . . . more than 6,000 people deported from Moscow and Leningrad.  Although it concerns a later period and deals with a different category of deportee—not peasants but “outdated elements” thrown out of a new socialist town at the end of 1932—the document describes the fairly common phenomenon of “abandonment in deportation . . . The transport conditions were appalling: the little food that was available was inedible, and the deportees wee cramped into nearly airtight spaces . . . The result was a daily mortality rate of 34—40 people.”  pp.  151-154

104. Starvation Destination  The day after the arrival [on Nazino Island] of the first convoy, on 19 May, snow began to fall again, and the wind picked up.  Starving, emaciated fro months of insufficient food, without shelter, and without tools . . . they were trapped.  These tiny amounts of flour were the only food that the deportees received during the entire period of the stay on the island.  The more resourceful among them tried to make some rudimentary sort of pancakes, but they had nothing to mix or cook them in . . . It was not long before the first cases of cannibalism occurred . . . At the end of June the deportees began to be transported to the so-called village colonies . . . The mortality rate was still appalling; for example, of the seventy-eight  people who embarked for the island to the fifth colonial village, twelve were still alive when the boat arrived . . .  It is impossible to gage how many similar cases of the abandonment of deportees there were, but some of the official figures give an indication of the losses . . . One can thus estimate that approximately 3000,000 deportees died during the process of deportation.” pp. 154-155

105. Slavery and Abuse “It was the goal of the GPU to provide . . . its own workforce  . . . exploiting the various natural resources in the northern and eastern regions.  In reality the managers usually treated these workers, whose status was comparable to that of prisoners, as a free source of labor.  Workers in the colonies often received no salary . . . among the most flagrant abuses cited in the reports were totally unrealistic work targets, nonpayment of  wages, beatings, and confinement in unheated prison cells in the dead of winter.  Women prisoners were traded with GPU officers in exchange for food or were sent as maid “for all service” to the local chiefs . . . the following remark . . . was quoted in GUP reports of the summer of 1933, and summed up very well the attitude of many such directors toward their highly expendable human resources: ‘If we wanted to, we could liquidate all of you.  If we were to do so, the GPU would promptly send us another hundred thousand just like you.’”  p. 157

Ch. 8  The Great Famine

106. The Great Famine “The great famine of 1932-33 has always been recognized as one of the darkest periods in Soviet history.  According to the irrefutable evidence that is now available, more than 6 million people died as a result of it.” p. 159

107. Propaganda “The few voices abroad that attempted to draw attention to the tragedy were silenced by Soviet propaganda . . . The Soviet authorities were assisted by statements such as that made by Edouard Herriot, the French senator and leader of the Radical Party, who traveled through Ukraine in 1933.  Upon his return he told the world that Ukraine was full of “admirable irrigated and cultivated fields and collective farms” resulting in “magnificent harvests.”’  . . . Such blindness was the result of a marvelous show put on for foreign guests by the GPU . . .” pp. 159-160

108. Punishments for Not Meeting Targets “In Ukraine . . . The commission blacklisted all districts in which the collection targets had not been met . . . the purge of local Party administrations, the massive arrest no simply of workers on the collective farms, but also of managers suspected of “minimizing production.”  Soon the same measures were being applied in other grain-producing regions as well . . . To defeat the enemy only one solution was possible: he would have to be starved out.” p. 163

109. In the countryside the death rate was at its highest in the summer of 1933.  AS though hunger were not enough, typhus was soon common, and in towns with population of several thousand there wee sometimes fewer than two dozen survivors.  Case of cannibalism are recorded both in GPU reports and in Italian diplomatic bulletins from Kharkiv:  “Every night the bodies of more than 250 people who have died from hunger or typhus are collected.  Many of these bodies have had thee live r removed, through a large slit in the abdomen.  The police finally picked up some of the mysterious ‘amputators’ who confessed that they were using the meat as a filling for meat pies that they were selling in the market.” p. 165

110. Excerpts from a letter to Stalin from Mikhail Sholokhov – Methods of Torture “The “cold” method: the worker is stripped bare and left out in the cold, stark naked in a hanger.  Sometimes whole brigades of collective workers are treated in this fashion. The hot method: the feet and the bottom of the skirt of female workers are doused with gasoline and then set alight.  The flames are put out, and the process is repeated.  In the Napolovski kolkhoz a certain Polotkin, plenipotentiary [presiding authority] for the district committee, forced the collective workers to stretch out on stoves hated till they were white hot; then he cooled them off by leaving them naked in a hanger. . . In the Lebyazhenski kolkhoz the workers were all lined up against a wall and an execution was simulated.  I could give a multitude of similar examples.   These are not: “abuses” of the system; this is the present system for collection grain.”  p. 166

111. “In 1933, while these millions were dying of hunger, the Soviet government continued to export grain, shipping 18 million hundredweight of grain abroad “in the interests of industrialization.”  p. 167 

112. Using the demographic archives and the censuses of 1937 and 1939, which were kept secret until very recently, it is possible to evaluate the scale of the famine in 1933 . . . Nearly 49 million people were affected by famine or scarcity.  In the regions worst affected, such as the rural zones surrounding Kharkiv, the mortality rate from January to June 1933 was ten times higher than normal: 100,000 deaths in June 1933 as opposed to 9,000 deaths in June 1932 . . . Outside the immediate hunger zone, demographic losses attributable to the scarcity of food were far from negligible.  In the rural zones around Moscow, mortality rates climbed by 50 percent from January to June 1933; in the town of Ivanovo, for instance, which had been a center for hunger riots in 1932, mortality rose by 35 percent in the first half of the year.  In total, for the year 1933 and for the whole of the country, there were 6 million more deaths that usual.  As the immense majority of those deaths can be attributed directly to hunger, the death toll for the whole tragedy must therefore be nearly 6 million.  The peasants of Ukraine suffered worst of all, with 4 million lives lost.”  p. 167

113. The Impact of the Great Famine “. . . the Great Famine of 1932-33 appeared as the decisive episode in the creation of a system of repression that was to consume class after class and social group after social group.  Through the violence, torture, and killing of entire populations, the great famine was a huge step backward both politically and socially.  Tyrants and local despots proliferated, ready to take any step necessary  to force peasants to abandon their goods and their last provisions, and barbarism took over.  Extortion became an everyday practice, children were abandoned. Cannibalism reappeared, epidemics and banditry were rampant, new death camps were set up, and peasants were forced to face a new form of slavery, the iron rule of the Party-state.”  pp 167-168

Ch. 9  Socially Foreign Elements and Cycles of Repression

114. “Bourgeois specialists,” “aristocrats,” members of the clergy and of the liberal professions, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, and craftsmen were all victims of the anticapitalist revolution that was launched in the early 1930s.” p. 169

115. “. . . civil servants  . . . were purged because of their “right-wing deviations,” sabotage,” or “membership in a socially alien class.”  It was notable that 80 percent of the more senior civil servants at the People’s Commissariat of Finance had served under the old regime.  . . . in a letter addressed to Molotov, Stalin had given strict instruction: “It is imperative to: (1) carry out a radical purge of the whole of the People’s Commissariat of Finance and the State Bank, regardless of any objections from doubtful Communists . . . (2) shoot at least twenty or thirty of the saboteurs who have managed to infiltrate these organizations . . . (3) step up GPU operations all over the country to try to recover all the silver coins that are still in circulation.”  On 25 September 1930 all forty-eight civil servants were executed.”  pp. 170-171

116.  The Second Attack on the Church  “The years 1929 and 1930 were marked by a second great offensive by the Soviet state against the church . . . The antireligious offensive of 1929 -30 occurred in two stages the first began in the spring and summer of 1929 and was marked by a reintroduction and reinforcement of the antireligious legislation of 1918-1922 . . . On 26 August the government instituted the new five-day work week—five days of work, and one day of rest—which made it impossible to observe Sunday as a day of rest.  This measure was deliberately introduced “to facilitate the struggle to eliminate religion.” . . .  In October 1929 the seizure of all church bells was ordered because “the sound of bells disturbs the right to peace of the vast majority of atheists in the towns and the countryside.”  p. 172

117. The List of Enemies  “The kulaks, spetsy, and members of the clergy were not the only victims of the terror of the early 1930s.  In January 1930 the authorities launched a vast campaign to “evict all entrepreneurs.”  The operation was aimed in particular at shopkeepers, craftsmen, and members of the liberal professions—all of the nearly 1.5 million people who had worked in the minuscule private sector under the NEP.  These small entrepreneurs, whose average working capital did not exceed 1,000 rubles, and 98 percent of whom did not have a single employee, were rapidly evicted by a tenfold increase in their taxes and the confiscation of their goods . . . A decree of 12 December 1930 noted more than 30 different categories of lishentsy, citizens who had been deprived of their civil rights, including “ex-landowners,” “ex-shopkeepers,” “ex-nobles,” “ex-policemen,” “ex-tsarist civil servants,” “ex-shopkeepers,” ex-employees or owners of private companies,” ex-White officers,” ex-priests, ex-monks, ex-nuns, and “ex-members of political parties.”  The discrimination carried out against the lishentsy, who in 1932 together with their families totaled some 7 million people, entailed the elimination of their voting rights and their rights to housing, health care, and ration cards.  N 1933 and 1934 the measures became even stricter with the inception of “passportization” to clear the towns of “socially undesirable elements.”  p. 174

118. “The most spectacular operations took place in 1933.  From 28 June to 3 July, 5,470 Gypsies from Moscow were arrested and deported to Siberian “work villages”, from 8 to 12 July, 4,750 “socially undesirable elements” were arrested and deported from Kyiv, in April, June, and July, three waves of police activity in Moscow and Leningrad resulted in the deportation of 18,000 people . . . More than two-thirds of the deportees died within a month.”  p 176

119. The End of Legal Rights “A few hours after the assassination [of Stalin’s chief political rival] was announced, Stalin drafted the decree that came to be know as the “Law of 1 December.”  This extraordinary measure, authorized by the Politburo two days later, ordered that the period of questioning fro suspected terrorists be reduced to ten day, allowed suspects to be tried without legal representation, and permitted executions to be carried out immediately.  The law marked a radical break with the relaxation of terror only a few months earlier, and it became the ideal instrument for the launching of het Great Terror.”  p. 180

Ch. 10 The Great Terror (1936-19390

120. Numbers of Lives Lost During the Great Terror  “For Conquest [Khrushchev’s historian who drew up the general outlines of the Great Terror]  and his followers, the Great Terror led to at least 6 million arrests, 3 million executions, and 2 million deaths in the camps.  Revisionist historians regard these figures as somewhat inflated.  p. 186

121.  “On 2 July 1937 the Politburo sent local authorities a telegram ordering the “all kulaks and criminals must be immediately arrested . . . and after trial . . . the most hostile are to be shot, and the less active but still hostile elements deported . . . In the following weeks the central authorities received “indicative figures” set in by the local authorities . . .  [that] During this particular operation 256,450 people were arrested and 72,950 shot . . . From 28 August to 15 December 1937 . . .  22.500 individuals were executed and another 16,800 were condemned to camps,  On 31 January 1938, at the instigation of the NKVD [new name for the GPU which replaced the Cheka], a further increase of 57,200 was accepted, 48,000 of who were to be executed.”  p. 187

122.  “This commission [special board of the NKVD] . . . submitted at least 383 lists to be signed by Stalin and the Politburo.  These lists contained some 44,000 names of Party leaders or members, as well as the names of prominent figures from industry and the army.  At leas 39,000 of them were condemned to death” p.189

123.  De-Stalinization Vindicated  “Researchers can thus compare these figures with other sources of statistics about the Gulag Administration the People’s commissariat of Justice, and legal records that are now also available.  It appears that during 1937 and 1938,1,575,000 people were arrested by the NKVD, of these, 1,345,000 (85.4 percent) received some sort of sentence and 681,692 (51 percent of those who were sentenced) were executed.

124. On Socialist Realism Writers  “Accused of defending hostile and foreign points of view and of straying beyond the boundaries of Socialist Realism, writers, publishers, theater directors, and journalists all paid a heavy price during the Ezhovshchina. Approximately 2,000 members of the writers’ union were arrested, deported to camps or executed.  Among the most famous victims were Isaac Bable, author of The Red Cavalry and Odessa Tales, who was shot on 27 January 1940 . . .” p. 200

125. “The huge categories of victims . . . –Cadres and specialists, socially dangerous and alien elements, and spies—all demonstrate the logic of the massive killings of the Great Terror, which was responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths in two years.”  p.  202

Ch. 11 The Empire of the Camps

126. “The 1930s, marked by repression against society on a hitherto unknown scale, also saw a huge expansion on the concentration-camp system . . . By mid-1930 approximately 140,000 prisoners were already working in the camps run by the GPU . . . The number of people receiving some sort of custodial sentence continued to rise: more than 56,000 wee sentenced by the GPU in 1929, and 1930 (this compared with 1,238,000 in 1931) . . . In the second half of the 1930s the Gulag population doubled, form 965,000 prisoners in early 1935 to 1,930,000 in early 1941.”  pp.  203-205

127. “He [Lavrenti Beria, people’s commissar of internal affairs] recommended the extension of the working day to eleven hours, with three rest days allowed per month, “to exploit, as much as possible, all the physical capacities of all the prisoners.”  p. 206

128. “A provisional balance sheet of statistics on the terror might run as follows: 6 million dead as a result of he famine of 1932-33 . . . 720,000 executions . . . 300,000 known deaths in the camps form 194 to 1940 – By extrapolating these figures back to 1930-1933 (years for which very few records are available), we can estimated that some 400,000 died during the decade . . . 600,000 registered deaths among the deportees, refugees, and “specially displaced.” . . . Approximately 2,200,000 deported, forcibly moved, or exiled as “specially displaced people.” . . . A cumulative figure of 7 million people who entered the camps and Gulag colonies from 1934 to 1941.”  p. 207

129. “On 1 January 1940 some 1,670,000 prisoners were being held in the 53 groups of corrective work camps and the 425 corrective work colonies. One year later the figure had risen to 1,930,00 . . .” p.207

130.  Soviet Annexation of Easter Europe “Eight days after the signing of the pact [German Soviet non-aggression pact], Nazi troops marched into Poland.  One week later, after all Polish resistance ha been crushed, and at the insistence of the Germans, the Soviet government proclaimed its intention to occupy the territories to which it was entitled under the secret protocol of 23 August . . . On 17 September the Red Army entered Poland . . . The Soviet Union took 230,000 prisoners of war, including 15,000 officers . . . Germany agreed to include Lithuania in the sphere of Soviet control.  The partitioning of Poland allowed the U.S.S.R. to annex vast territories of 180,000 square kilometers, with a population of 12 million Belarusians, Ukrainians, and Poles.  After farcical referendum, these territories were attached to the Soviet republics of Ukraine and Belorussia . . . According to records kept in the Special Colonies Department of the Gulag, 381,000 Polish civilians from the territories taken over by the U.S.S.R. in September 1939 were deported between February 1940 and June 1941 as “specially displaced people” to Siberia, the Arkhangelsk region, Kazakhstan, and other far-flung corners of the U.S.S.R.  The figures given by Polish historians are much higher, arguing for approximately 1 million deportees . . . As for the Polish prisoners of war, only 82,000 were still alive in the summer of 1941 . . . In total more than 388,000 Polish prisoners of war, interned refugees, and deported civilians benefited from this amnesty[].  Several hundred thousand had died in the previous two years.  A great number had been executed on the pretext that they were “unrepentant and determined enemies of Soviet power” . . . As soon as the Polish territories were annexed, the Soviet government summoned the heads of the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian governments to Moscow and imposed “mutual assistance treaties on them according to which they “invited” the U.S.S.R. to set up military bases on their territory . . . The entry of Soviet troops in October 1939 marked the real end of the independence of the Baltic states.  On 11 October Beria [head of the NKVD] gave the order to “stamp out anti-Soviet and antisocialist elements” in these countries . . . Their [Stalin’s representatives] mission was to carry out the Sovietization of the three republics.  Parliaments and all local institutions were dissolved and most of the members arrested.  Only the communist Party was authorized to present candidates for the elections on 14 and 15 July 1940.  In the weeks following the farcical elections, the NKVD, under the leadership of General Ivan Serov, arrested between 15,000 and 20,000 “hostile elements.”  In Latvia alone, 1,480 people were summarily executed at the beginning of July . . . during the night of 13—14 May, when “socially hostile” elements from the Baltic region, Moldavia, Belorussia, and western Ukraine were rounded up . . . In total, 85,716 people were deported in June 1941, including 25,711 from the Baltic states . . . During the night of 13--14 June, 11,038 members of “bourgeois nationalist” families, 3,240 members of the families of former policemen, 7,907 members of families of land-owners, industrialists, and civil servants, 1,649 members of families of former officers, and 2,907 “others” were deported.  The document [another letter from Beria to Stalin] makes clear that the heads of these families had been arrested, and in all probability had already been executed . . . No information is available on the number of deportees who died in transit, but one can imagine that the numbers were high.  The journey took form six to twelve weeks, and the deportees were fifty to a wagon in the cattle trucks used to transport them, kept together with all their food and baggage in the same place . . . A few days after the occupation of the Baltic states, the Soviet government sent an ultimatum to Romania demanding they immediate return of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the U.S.S.R. . . . on 2 August 1949 Kobulov, Beria’s assistant, signed a deportation order . . .  for 31,699 “ant-Soviet elements” who lived in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia and for another 12, 191 in the Romanian regions that had been incorporated into Ukraine.  Within a few months all these “elements” had been classified and filed in what was by then the tried and tested manner.  The previous evening, on 1 August 1940, Molotov had given a triumphant speech to the Supreme Soviet regarding the German-Soviet pact, which had given the U.S.S. R. 23 million new inhabitants . . . On 1 January 1941 the gulags contained more than 1,930,000 people, 270,000 more than the previous year.  More than 500,000 people in the new “Sovietized” territories had been deported, in addition to the 1.2 million “specially displaced people” who had been counted at the end of 1939.  Soviet prisons, which had a theoretical limit of 234,000 inmates, held 462,000 people and the total number of sentences passed that year saw a huge rise, climbing in one year from 700,000 to 2,300,000.” pp.  208-214

Ch. 12 The Other Side of Victory

131. For a long time, one of the best-kept secrets of Soviet history was the deportation of whole ethnic groups during the Great Patriotic War—nations that wee collectively accused of “subversive tactics, espionage, and collaboration with the occupying Nazi forces.”  . . . The Germans were the first ethinic group to be collectively deported, a few weeks after the German invasion of the U.S.S.R. According to the 1939 census, thus were then 1,427,000 Germans living in the Soviet Union, most of them descendants of the German colonists invited by Catherine II . . .  From 3 to 5 September 1941, 446,480 Germans were deported in 230 convoys, which on average contained 50 trucks.  This meant that there were nearly 2,000 people per convoy, or 40 per truck . . . [From the decree of 28 August 1941] If acts of sabotage are indeed carried out on Germany’s orders by German Saboteurs and spies  . . . then blood will flow, and the Soviet government, as is only appropriate in times of war, will be obliged to take punitive measures against the German population of the Volga . . . As of 25 December 1941, 894,600 Germans had been deported, most of them to Kazakhstan and Siberia.  If the Germans deported in 1942 are taken into account, in all roughly 1,209,430 were deported in less than a year—very close to the 1,427,000 Germans reported in the 1939 census . . . More than 82 percent of the German population in Soviet territory were thus deported, at a moment when all police and military forces should have been concentrating on the armed struggle against the invading enemy rather than the deportation of hundreds of thousands of innocent Soviet citizens . . . Because information about the convoys is so piecemeal, it is impossible today to calculate how many of these Germans died in the transfer to the new settlements.  It is also unclear how many convoys actually reached their destination in the chaos engulfing Russia in the autumn of 1941.  At the end of November, according to the plan, 29,600 German deportees were to arrive in the region of Karaganda.  But on 1 January 1942 only 8,304 had actually arrived.  The intention was for 130,998 individuals to settle in the area, but in fact nom more than 116,612 made it.  What happened to the others?  The Altai region was slated to receive 11,000 deportees, but actually received 94,799.  Worse still are the NKVD reports on the arrival of the deportees, which leave no doubt that the regions were totally unprepared for them.”  pp.  216-219 

132. Other Groups “The deportation of the Germans was followed by a second great wave of deportations, from November 1943 to the June 1944, when six peoples—the Chechens, the Ingush, the Crimean Tatars, the Karachai, the Balkars, and the Kalmyks—were deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan Uzbekistan, and Kirgizstan on the pretext that they had “collaborated massively with the Nazi occupier.” p. 219

133. Accounts of Death “We worked hard, and we were always hungry.  Many of us could barely stand.  They had deported thirty families from our village.  There were one or two survivors from five families.  Everyone else died of hunger or disease.” . . . in the tightly shut wagons, people died like flies because of hunger and lack of oxygen.  And no one gave us anything to eat or drink . . .  When they did open the doors in the middle of the steppes in Kazakhstan, we were given military rations to eat but nothing to drink, and we were told to throw all the dead out beside the railway line without burying them . . . A few figures give an idea of eh scale of death among the deportees.  In January 1946 the Administration for Special Resettlements calculated that there were 70,360 Kalmyks remaining of the 92,000 who had been deported two years previously.  On 1 July 1944, 35,750 Tartar families representing 151,424 people had arrived in Uzbekistan; six months later there were 818 more families but 16,000 fewer people.  Of the 608,749 people deported from the Caucasus, 146,892, or nearly 1 in 4, had died by 1 October 1948, and a mere 28,120 had been born in the meantime.  Of the 228,392 people deported from Crimea, 44,887 had died after four years, and there had been only 6,564 births.  The extremely high mortality rate becomes even more apparent when one also takes into account the fact that between 40 percent and 50 percent if the deportees were under sixteen years of age.  “Death form natural causes” was thus only a tiny part of these statistics.”  pp. 222-223

134. Executions “When there was not enough time for a camp to be evacuated, as was often the case in the opening weeks of the war, the prisoners were simply executed.  This was particularly the case in western Ukraine, where at the end of June 1941 the NKVD massacred 10,000 prisoners in Lviv, 1,200 in the prison at Lutsk, 1.500 in Stanislwow, and 500 in Dubno.”  p. 225

135. All administration reports from the gulags for the years 1941-1944 emphasize the horrendous deterioration of living conditions in the camps during the war.  In the overcrowded camps the living space of each prisoner fell 1.5 square meters to 0.7; prisoners must have taken turns sleeping on boards, since beds were then a luxury reserved for workers with special status.  Average daily caloric intake fell by 65 percent from prewar levels.  Famine became widespread and in 1942 typhus and cholera began to appear in the camps.  According to official figures, nearly 19,000 prisoners died of these diseases each year.  In 1941 there were nearly 101,000 deaths in the labor camps alone, not including the forced-labor colonies.  Thus that annual death rate was approaching 8 percent.  In 1942 the Gulag Administration registered 249,000 deaths (a death rate o 18 percent), and in 1943, 167,000 deaths (a death rate of 17 percent).  If one also includes the executions of prisoners and deaths in the prisons and in the forced-labor colonies, one can roughly calculate the there were some 600,000 deaths in the gulags in 1941-43 alone.”  p. 226

136. More Executions and Deaths  “From July 1941 to July 1944 special courts in the camps sentenced 148,000prisoners to new punishment and executed 10.858 of these . . . The weakest prisoners and those least adapted to the harsh conditions that prevailed in the camps were amount the approximately 600,000 who died in the gulags in 1941-1943.  p.  228

137. To root out all opposition to Sovietization, NKVD agents targeted the schools . . . they drew up lists of people to be arrested as a preventive measure at the top of these lists were the names of the most able pupils, whom they judged to be “potentially hostile to the Soviet system.”  p. 229

138. As in Solzhenitsyn  There intended to contain Soviet prisoners of war who had been set free or had managed to escape from enemy prisoner-of-war camps; all were suspected of being potential spies or at least of having been contaminated by their stay outside the soviet system.”  p. 230

Ch. 13  Apogee [climax] and Crisis in the Gulag System

139. “It was on the agricultural front that the situation was most perilous . . . Refusing to look into the reasons for this agricultural disaster, and blaming the failure on the greed of a few private farmers, the government decided to “eliminate all violations of the status of the kolkhozy” and to go after “hostile and foreign elements sabotaging the collection process, thieves, and anyone caught pilfering the harvest . . . In November and December 1946 sentences were handed down against more than 53.300 people, most of them collective farm workers, who were sent to the camps for the theft of grain or bread . . .  The famine of the autumn and winter of 1946-47 struck the regions most severely affected by the drought of the summer of 1946 . . . They were at least 500,000 victims.  As in 1932, the famine of 1946-47 was passed over in a total silence. The refusal to lower the obligator collection targets when the harvest in some areas reached scarcely 250 kilos per hectare meant that shortage evolved into famine.  The starving works often had no choice but to steal a few reserves simply to survive.  In one year, recorded thefts rose by 44 percent . . . In the second half of that year [1947] more than 380,000 people, including 21,000 under age sixteen, were sentenced as a result of this new, draconian law.  For the theft of no more than a few kilos of rye, one could be scented to eight to ten years in the camps . . . Among people sentenced for theft were numerous women, war windows, and mothers with young children who had been reduced to begging and stealing to survive.  At the end of 1948 the gulags contained more then 500,000 prisoners (twice as many as in 1945).  Some 22,815 children under age four were kept in the “infant houses” located in the women’s camps.  By early 1953 this figure rose to more than 35,000.” pp. 234-235

140. Deportations, Pacifications, and Collectivization in the Baltic States  “In 1948 alone nearly 50,000 Lithuanians were deported as “specially displaced,” and 30,000 were sent to gulags.  In addition, according to figures from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 21,259 Lithuanians were killed in “pacification operations” in the republic.”  At the end of 1948, 4 percent of the land had undergone collectivization in the Baltic states.  From March to May 1949 nearly 95,000 people were deported from the Baltic republics to Siberia . . . including 27,084 under the age of sixteen, 1,785 young children who had no family left, 146 disabled people, and 2,850 infirm elderly.  In September 1951 a new series of sweeps resulted in the deportation of another 17,000 so-called Baltic kulaks.  From the years 1940-1953 the number of deportees from the Baltic is estimated at 200,000 . . . To these figures one should add the number of people from the Baltic imprisoned in gulags—a total of 75,000 in 1953 . . .  In total, 10 percent of the entire adult Baltic population was either deported or in a camp.”  p. 236

141. “In the first months of 1953 the gulags contained 2,750,000 prisoners . . .” p. 238

Ch. 14 The Last Conspiracy

142. “One final troubling aspect of . . . public revelation of the horrors of the Nazi death camps, it allowed the deep-seated tsarist anti-Semitism, which the Bolsheviks had previously eschewed, to resurface, thus demonstration the confusion of the last years of Stalinism.” p.243

143. “A group of “engineer saboteurs” in the metallurgy complex in Stalino, almost all of whom were Jewish, were sentenced to death and executed on 12 August 1952.  Paulina Zhemchuzhina, Molotov’s Jewish wife, who was a top manager in the textile industry, was arrested on 21 January 1949 for “losing documents containing state secrets” and was sent to a camp for five years.  The wife of Stalin’s personal secretary Alexzander Poskrebyshev, who was also Jewish was accused of espionage and shot in July 1952.  Both Molotov and Poskrebyshev continued to serve Stalin as though nothing had happened.”  p. 245

144. “Of all these purported activities, the Leningrad Affair, which led to the secret executions of the main leaders of the Soviet Communist Party’s second-most important branch organization, is still by far the most mysterious . . . The accused . . . –Kuznetsov, Rodionov, Popokov, Voznesensky, Ya. F. Kapustin, and P. G. Lazutin—were judged in camera on 30 September 1950 and executed the following day, one hour after the verdict was announced . . . In October 1950 other travesties of justice condemned to death dozens of Party leaders who had belonged to the Lenigrad organization . . .”  p. 246

145. “The secret trial of the members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee lasted from 11 to 15 July 1952.  Thirteen of the accused were sentenced to death and executed on 12 August 1952 along with ten other “engineer saboteurs,” all Jewish . . . In all, the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee affair led to 125 sentences, including 25 death sentences, which were carried out immediately, and 100 camp sentences of between ten and twenty-five years.”  p. 248

146. “One thing alone is certain: Stalin’s death finally put an end to the list of the millions of victims who suffered under his dictatorship.”  p. 249

Ch.  15 The Exit from Stalinism

147. “Less than two weeks after Stalin’s death, the gulag system was completely reorganized and brought under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.”  p. 252

148.  Lidia Chukovskaya    “The great return, which took place in almost total silence as far as official pronouncements were concerned, together with the realization that for millions no return would ever be possible, threw many people into deep confusion and began a vast social and moral trauma, a tragic confrontation in a divided society.  As Lidia Chukovskaya wrote, “Two Russians looked each other in the eye: the one who had imprisoned, and the one who had been imprisoned.”  p. 257


149.  “The first cycle, from the end of 1917 to the end of 1992, began with Lenin’s seizure of power, which he saw as a necessary part of civil war.  After a brief phase in the spontaneous social violence was channeled into more official structures, which then acted as catalysis in breaking up the old order, a deliberate offensive against the peasantry took shape in the spring of 1918.”  pp. 262-263   

150.  “Violence had become such an everyday occurrence, so much a way of life, that the new terror went on for another quarter of a century.  The second war against the peasantry was decisive in institutionalizing terror as a means of government.  This was manifested in several different ways.  Collectivization . . . Mass deportations . . . the military and feudal exploitation of eh peasantry” –a new form of slavery was invented.”  p. 264

151. “The time of the Great Terror, from late 1936 to 1938, brought more than 85 percent of all the death sentences handed down during the entire Stalinist period . . . After 1940, in the contest of the Sovietization of the new territories that had been annexed and the “Great Patriotic War,” a series of repressions resumed . . . The annexation of eastern Poland and then of the Baltic states in 1939—1941 led to the elimination of the “nationalist bourgeoisie” and the deportation of specific minority groups . . .”  p. 264