August 21, 2007

"I thought Lenin looked small."

Roger Von Oench is in Moscow, posing with Lenin and the Czar. Dummies. Then on to the tomb.
[I]t takes about two minutes to walk around the body. I thought Lenin looked small....

Once outside the tomb, we walked slowly past the graves of former Soviet leaders, including Stalin, who was the greatest mass murderer in history (estimated 40-60 million victims). For me, it was a weird experience. On the other hand, the Ukrainians we were with were deeply moved by it all. As were most of the other visitors.

26 comments:

Jeff said...

"...the Ukrainians we were with were deeply moved by it all. As were most of the other visitors."

i.e. western academics!

Parker Smith said...

"The funeral was widely attended by those who wanted to make sure."

Simon said...

I went there when I was about 15 or 16 - it is, to say the least, eery. Interesting building, though - the challenge is to emotionally separate the horror it was built to honor from the aesthetics.

El Presidente said...

"Stalin, who was the greatest mass murderer in history (estimated 40-60 million victims)"

-Chairman Mao wins the prize if you count the 30 Million who dies as a result of the "Great Leap Forward."

Hoosier Daddy said...

I never could quite understand the apologists for the Soviet regime. The only difference between Lenin, Stalin and Hitler was Hitler was a racist and Stalin was an equal opportunity murderer.

Palladian said...

There's a strong nationalistic component to some people's continuing love for Lenin and Stalin that has little to do with ideology or even reality.

Hoosier Daddy said...

There's a strong nationalistic component to some people's continuing love for Lenin and Stalin that has little to do with ideology or even reality.

True, however, I was thinking more of our western intellectuals and academians who seem to think it was a romantic bygone era in the mold of Dr, Zhivago or Reds.

Cedarford said...

Sometimes we personalize too much, and so frequently use a person to symbolize an ideology that we take the ideology off the hook and focus all our blame on one individual. That one person did all the murders. Each and every one! Not Communism, which has good final intents. Not National Socialism, which for it's many flaws (what an understatement!), also had progressive features now adapted by most socialist countries.

Stalin, perhaps like Hitler, certainly Hirohito - never personally killed anyone. He headed a death machine.

Stalin inherited all the implements of Communist State terror devised by Lenin, the Bolsheviks - which started with class liquidations of counter-revolutionaries and those involved in anti-Semetic activities - tens of thousands of Russian Orthodox priests, almost a million Cossacks, Ukranians, and the Gentile intelligensia of Russia were targeted very early on. Before Stalin really had much of a say in major liquidations, nearly 10 million had been killed. mostly in the engineered Ukranian famines of 1922-23.

Stalin and the Politburo that aligned with him established Russians as the major players in Party leadership. They escalated the killing in the Great Teror, but like the Nazis, generally selected through "Death by Committee". Histories show that Stalin made broad suggestions, then fearful apparachniks decided on their own who Stalin was hinting at should be on the death lists they drafted..Stalin was the worst, but the names of those Party leaders who drafted their own 10,000 person death lists and went out with NKVD or Cheka or Army Commisars to fill the earth with them are unknown in the West.

Only Stalin was the bad guy, schoolkids are taught.

During that period in the late 30s, Mao Zedong wasn't there, but many Chinese Communists in exile in the Soviet Union, the leaders, watched and learned how mass liquidations were best done. More than any past butchers, when the ChiComs began serious butchery, they did it by Team Harmony and Consensus...Mao was just 1st among equals until the early 60s when he built his cult of personality.

It is worth mentioning because today, many have taken this lazy intellectual approach and decided that all of the world's Islamist problems are easiest to depict if they emenate only from one James Bond-type villain, the CEO of Terror, bin Laden. Individualizing Shia and Sunni radical Islam and the 1400 years of mass murder Islam is known to have gone hot and cold on - into one person means that all the other participants and the Islamist ideology and the 300 million people of the 1.3 billion in Islam that back it can push all that excess stuff out of their minds.

And demand that "He" be brought to justice so everything will be fine again, and even half-believe it in their minds.

It took Kruschev and the powerful, but once targeted for death, Generals of the Red Army pulled from the Gulags and slave labor or awaiting execution orders that saved the Soviet's asses from the Germans 3 years to get their ducks in a row after Stalin died. And then denounce the mass murders of Stalin and the Bolsheviks....and even then...they had to finesse it by blaming select individuals, not the Communist ideology that drove the hundreds of thousands that did the actual bullets to the brain, ran the Slave labor death camps Yagoda devised, implemented the slow death of the Gulags.

Because Kruschev and Co had to save the Communist system as they largely ended the 45-year Red terror 1918-53, where 95% of the Soviet victims had died.

The life "arc" of modern radical Islam is still on the rise. It appears to take decades to defeat some murderous ideologies. Rarely is the death of the head of an ideological group cause to end the ideology. Hezbollah is now on it's 4th leader, Iran, it's 3rd Supreme Islamic Head. And some dangerous religious ideologies, like aggressive spread of Islam by the sword, have gone off and on for 1400 years and have not been defeated...But on the bright side, it took under a year for the bloody Aztecs to get knocked off.

hdhouse said...

cedarford: and this rant means what? how in the world does this remotely link to Lenin's tomb?

Ben said...

Bah. We all know that Lenin is alive and well and running Homeland Security.

PatCA said...

hd,
I don't see Cedarford's post as a rant. I think he's explaining why perhaps the Ukrainians were moved by the sight of the dead tyrant more than the western academic.

Cedarford said...

Henhouse - I based my comments on this passage:

we walked slowly past the graves of former Soviet leaders, including Stalin, who was the greatest mass murderer in history (estimated 40-60 million victims). For me, it was a weird experience. On the other hand, the Ukrainians we were with were deeply moved by it all.

Because the writer was there, and yet he didn't understand - Lenin was just ONE of the architects of the Red Terror and democide long before Stalin, and Stalin just headed the group of Russians that took control from the Bolsheviks and elected to use all the great instruments of State Terror the Bolsheviks had set up even more intensely.

The writer was likely clueless on the 5.5 million Ukranians murdered by designed famine and Red commissar squads - the Holmodor. Most Americans are.
Nor are they aware of the liquidation campaign against Christian officials, the 30,000 churches dynamited or converted to secular uses.

But the Europeans were not ignorant about this. They watched in horror and majorities in several countries facilitated the rise of conservative or fascist governments as a defense against a communist bloodbath spreading.

An ideology gave rise to a counter-ideology. Then the remaining Democracies saw Fascism could be as malignant as Communism.

There was no "CEO of Communism or Fascism".

That is the historical message for those trying to pretend that radical Islam's menace is all the fault of that "One Evil Man". It's stupid, bogus...Much like trying to pretend there was nothing to blame the ideologies of Communism or Fascism on - that only "One Evil Men" like Stalin, Mao, Hitler bear responsibility and if ONLY they had been killed or brought to justice everyone would be at peace and living in brotherhood with peaceful Communists and Nazis..

Blaming ONLY Stalin is ill-educated fantasy, much like blaming only "The CEO of all Terror", bin Laden. It was never true.

The mass killings were ideological. If Stalin had been killed by a streetcar in 1922, the logical Politburo/Party Central Committee alternate, someone like Molotov, would have been a nearly equally murderous Head of the Soviet Death Machine.

If Hitler had been assassinated in 1942, the committed participants of the Wanachee Conference would have still implemented the Final Solution.

We repeat the dumb "individualizing" and personalizing American ideology and movements down to one person constantly in America, too. And people honestly are propagandized that MLK was the Civil Rights Movement - everyone else was his "Amen, Brother Martin !!" chorus and cheerleaders. Or widely believed myth that Reagan individually won the Cold War. Or PCs would not have been invented and in nearly every home but for "the genius of one man, Bill Gates". Or Bob Geldorf saved the Ethiopeans from starving with just his Caring..

It's a complete abandonment of critical thinking, and a catastrophic failure in the way public school students are tuaght to analyze historical events, social movements, and figures.

It was never about individuals. It never is with major movements and historical changes...

hdhouse said...

ahhh cedarford...

i lived and worked in the USSR and Ukraine for 9 years. don't lecture about what you surmise from history.

Hoosier Daddy said...

don't lecture about what you surmise from history.

So were you there during the Stalinist era or anytime thereafter? Seems to me you can't refute anything he said but instead seem to think your 9 year tenure somehow makes you an authority.

Or are you a Duranty fan?

Palladian said...

"i lived and worked in the USSR and Ukraine for 9 years."

Ahh, that explains everything.

Trooper York said...

Walter or Jimmy?

Roger said...

Living and working in the USSR and Ukraine certainly makes one a reputable historian--you do set the bar low, HD: historian are based on your recent experience.

Of course Cedarford is talking about historical events, and you are talking about relatively current events. and were you in the USSR or the Russian Republic. I am guessing the latter but perhaps you were a man ahead of his time.

Smilin' Jack said...

On the other hand, the Ukrainians we were with were deeply moved by it all.

Pretty amazing, considering that the Bolsheviks deliberately used famine as a weapon to subdue Ukrainian nationalism, directly causing 1.5-2 million deaths in Ukraine in 1921-23 (under Lenin) and 7-10 million in 1932-33 (under Stalin.)

Lenin invented the technique, though Stalin's famine is now better known (although not, apparently, to Ukrainians.)

hdhouse said...

Oh Booozo's.....

Lenin was not Stalin....did you confuse the 'in'? Do you know anything about the difference? Any conception as to why Ukranians might look at Lenin differently than Stalin?

Cedarford deserves ridicule because of his sophomoric overview of Soviet history...the dynamics of which are difficult to grasp in a time line perspective. Perhaps if you knew a few people...talked with them...got to know the differences between a Russian and Ukranian or a Georgian.....perhaps you would have a clue...but no. You choose to remain clueless.

hdhouse said...

Oh Booozo's.....

Lenin was not Stalin....did you confuse the 'in'? Do you know anything about the difference? Any conception as to why Ukranians might look at Lenin differently than Stalin?

Cedarford deserves ridicule because of his sophomoric overview of Soviet history...the dynamics of which are difficult to grasp in a time line perspective. Perhaps if you knew a few people...talked with them...got to know the differences between a Russian and Ukranian or a Georgian.....perhaps you would have a clue...but no. You choose to remain clueless.

hdhouse said...

and Roger...the USSR, not the Russian Republic. it was the 80s. The entire decade.....and your USSR experience is what? Just curious...tell us. Spend a lot of time there? Buy things to live? Buy food there? Fly and train there?

let's here your expertise Roger...I'm sure you've got oddles of stories....speak up Roger....

Putz.

Roger said...

Nope HD--never been to USSR or Russia; have never made any claims about Russian or Soviet expertise. sorry to disappoint you. But from an someone who doesnt know the difference between ebonics and eugenics, moot and mute, it was a reasonable inference that you were wrong.

Pogo said...

Re: "got to know the differences between a Russian and Ukranian or a Georgian"

Does it have something to do with driving ability? Receding hairlines? Masculine girlfriends? Fondness for cattle and obscure sports? Limited dentition? Most gold medals? Capacity for alcohol?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Cedarford deserves ridicule because of his sophomoric overview of Soviet history...

You know for someone who lived there for 9 years, you certainly haven't said one word that factually disputes what Cedar said. But then I suppose you can't since I have yet to see you make any kind of counter argument that doesn't devolve into invective.

Dave said...

hdhouse

I think cedarford is telling the history about your country and he also knows every detail. You on the other hand are telling everybody that you lived in the USSR for 9 years but you don't even tell everything about the history of your own country. I think your just a loser who wants to win the conversation just by telling everyone that you lived there for 9 years right?

Dave said...

Cedarford

I congratulate you for winning the contest. You now win 5 million dollars.