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Stalin and the Question of Soviet Genocide

  • Norman M. Naimark

Abstract

In the introduction to one of his classic works The Harvest of Sorrow, on collectivization and the Ukrainian Famine of 1932–1933, Robert Conquest wrote:

Fifty years ago, as I write these words, the Ukraine and the Ukrainian, Cossack, and other areas to the east—a great stretch of territory with some forty million inhabitants—was like one vast Belsen. A quarter of the rural population, men, women, and children, lay dead or dying, the rest in various stages of debilitation with no strength to bury their families or neighbours. At the same time, (as at Belsen), well-fed squads of police or party officials supervised the victims.1

Keywords

Political Group Mass Murder Soviet Regime Mass Killing Genocide Convention 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New York, 1986), p. 3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, et al., eds., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, trans. Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer (Cambridge, MA, 1999), p. 9.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (New York, 2000), p. xii.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Richard Evens, In Hitler’s Shadow: West German Historians’ Attempts to Escape from the Nazi Past (London, 1989), p. 88.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The ghettos “were considered temporary means of segregating the Jewish population before its expulsion.” Saul Friedländer, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews 1939–1945 (New York, 2007), p. 38.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See my discussion of comparison in Norman M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in 20th Century Europe (Cambridge, MA, 2001), pp. 81–84.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    For the “crime of crimes,” see William A. Schabas, Genocide in International Law: the Crimes of Crimes (Cambridge, 2000), p. 9.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See, for example, Michael Mann, The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing (Cambridge, 2005), p. 17, andGoogle Scholar
  9. Jacques Semelin, Purify and Destroy: The Political Uses of Massacre and Genocide (London, 2007), pp. 316–20.Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    See especially Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide: Utopias of Race and Nation (Princeton, 2003), p. 100–01.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    See, for example, Bernd Bonwetsch, “Der GULAG und die Frage des Völkermords,” in Jörg Baberowski, ed., Moderne Zeiten? Krieg, Revolution und Gewalt im 20. Jahrhundert (Göttingen, Germany, 2006), p. 9.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cited in Samantha Power, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (NewYork, 2002), p. 521, n. 6. Much of the material here on the history of genocide comes from Power and from my article,Google Scholar
  13. Norman M. Naimark, “Totalitarian States and the History of Genocide,” Telos, no. 136 (Fall 2006): 10–25.Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government Proposals for Redress (Washington, D.C., 1944), p. 79.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Robert Conquest, The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History (New York, 2005), pp. 59–61. General Nikitchenko was first a prosecutor and then “a hanging judge” at Nuremberg. See Giles MacDonogh, After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation (New York, 1007), pp. 432–33.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Nehemiah Robinson, The Genocide Convention: A Commentary (New York, 1960), pp. 17–18. See Resolution 96 (I) in Appendix I of ibid., pp. 121–122. My emphasis.Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    See A. N. Trainin, “Bor’ba s genotsidom kak mezhdunarodnym prestupleniem,” Sovetskoe Gosudarstvo i Pravo, no. 5 (May 1948): 1–16; andGoogle Scholar
  18. M. N. Andriukhin, Genotsidtiagchashee prestuplenie protiv chelovechestva (Moscow, 1961), pp. 72–93.Google Scholar
  19. 25.
    Jörg Baberowski, Der Rote Terror: Die Geschichte des Stalinismus (Munich, 2003), p. 126.Google Scholar
  20. 26.
    Mark Levene, Genocide in the Age of the Nation State, vol. I (The Meaning of Genocide) (London, 2005), p. 80.Google Scholar
  21. 27.
    Oleg V. Khlevniuk, The History of the Gulag: From Collectivization to the Great Terror, trans Vadim A. Staklo (New Haven, CT, 2004), pp. 140, 166.Google Scholar
  22. 28.
    See Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (New York, 1990), pp. 484–89.Google Scholar
  23. 30.
    Terry Martin, “The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing,” Journal of Modern History. 70, no. 4 (December 1998): 857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 34.
    Hiroaki Kuromiya, Stalin: Profiles in Power (Harlow, UK, 2005), p. 103. Davis and Wheatcroft, as well as Michael Ellman, cited in footnote 25, deal in lower numbers. For example, Ellman uses the figure of 3.2 million who died in Ukraine.Google Scholar
  25. Ellman, “Stalin and the Soviet famine of 1932–33 Revisited,” Europe-Asia Studies, 59:4 (2007): p. 682, n. 30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 36.
    Nicholas Werth, “Strategies of Violence in the Stalinist USSR,” Henry Russo, ed., Stalinism and Nazism: History and Memory Compared, trans. Lucy B. Golsan, et al., (Lincoln, NE, 2004), p. 80.Google Scholar
  27. 39.
    Cited in Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Ithaca, NY, 2001), p. 301.Google Scholar
  28. 43.
    See Norman M. Naimark, “Srebrenica in the History of Genocide,” to be published in the series Memory and Narrative, eds. Mary Chamberlain and Selma Leydesdorff (New Brunswick, NJ, 2008).Google Scholar
  29. 44.
    On Lenin, see the introduction to Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive (New Haven, CT, 1996), pp. 1, 8, 11. Pipes emphasizes that Lenin was a “heartless cynic,” “a thoroughgoing misanthrope,” and had an “utter disregard for human life.” He also cites Molotov’s assertion that Lenin was “more severe” than Stalin.Google Scholar
  30. 45.
    Baberowski, Der Rote Terror, pp. 8–10. See also Jörg Baberowski, ed. Moderne Zeiten? Krieg, Revolution und Gewalt im 20. Jahrhundert (Göttingen, Germany, 2006), p. 9, andGoogle Scholar
  31. Jörg Baberowski and Anselm Doering-Manteuffel, Ordnung durch Terror: Gewaltexzesse und Vernichtung im nationalsozialistischen und im stalinistischen Imperium (Bonn, Germany, 2006), pp. 15–19.Google Scholar
  32. 46.
    Paul Hollander, ed., From the Gulag to the Killing Fields: Personal Accounts of Political Violence and Repression in Communist States (Wilmington, DE, 2006), pp. 20–24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Hollander 2008

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  • Norman M. Naimark

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