No more Mr Nice Guy

Who wrote this telegram?

“1. Hang (hang without fail so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers. 2. Publish their names. 3. Take from them all the grain. 4. Designate hostages — as per yesterday’s telegram. Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts [one verst is about one kilometre] around, people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks. . . . P.S. Find . . . truly hard people.”

It wasn’t Stalin. It was Lenin. As various enemies of Stalin like Trotsky and, after Stalin’s death hopped into Stalin, it was convenient for them to argue that the revolution was in good hands with Lenin and only went off the rails with Lenin, who, when near death had warned the party against Stalin. But, according to this review, “Their alliance really started in the years 1905-07 when Stalin, a ruthless bankrobber and gangster kingpin, became Lenin’s chief fundraiser: “Exactly the sort of man I need,” said Lenin.

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Sacha
Sacha
14 years ago

This is a standard argument by many socialists. I read a review in the Economist of a recent book by Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe, (the review is here: http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9616751) which sounds interesting.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

I was going to say Lenin before I’d read the rest of the post. I don’t know if you’ve read Robert Service’s biog of him, but it’s a very good read – digs quite deep to explain just why he was such a ruthless character – and not just into the politics.

I’m not sure all that only because of Stalin’s appointment in 1905. It was more that Lenin wasn’t in a position to orchestrate much violence before the revolution in 1905.

Nabakov
Nabakov
14 years ago

It was more that Lenin wasnt in a position to orchestrate much violence before the revolution in 1905.

Or before acquiring a flimsy blanket of Parliamentary cover in 1917 so he could direct the “compentant state organs” with a straight face.

Patrick
Patrick
14 years ago

I didn’t think it was Stalin – seemed too verbose.

Geoff Robinson
14 years ago

Bhagwate in his In Defence of Globalization mentions the search of the anti-globalization left for ‘money quotes’ in which the innate evil of the globalizers is exposed. This is a money quote. Money quotes are great in debates but do they tell the whole story? I have read Service, Pipes, Solzhenitsyn and the Black Book so I know the story but sometimes politics is necessarily about war and terror, an Austrlian left carrying its self-inflicted burden of resentiment and victimhood is loath to realise this, and it is why a section of the left is reluctant to take terrorism seriously on its own terms as a form of war agaisnt ourselves.

Guise
Guise
14 years ago

How nice to read this page, think “Machiavelli would have approved,” and then notice a quote from Niccolo in the banner: “So in all human affairs one notices, if one examines them closely, that it is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging.”

Down and Out of S
14 years ago

Remember Fanya Kaplan.

derrida derider
derrida derider
14 years ago

Yawn – so what? So the scum rose to the top in the fermenting brew of the fall of the house of Romanov? And as Geoff implies the logic of terror (“make sure the people see …”) is a filthy one but it is logic just the same.

You’d find very few apologists even amongst the hard left for Lenin these days.

Bannerman
14 years ago

LOL…………the server thinks this story and “A drink in Brisbane anyone?” are related.

amphibious
14 years ago

It was obviously Lenin – Stalin didn’t have the imagination though unlimited ruthlessness.
I think you’ve transposed names and some verbiage in the 3 rd sentence of the final para. But, since nobody else has mentioned it, I may be drunk

As various enemies of Stalin like Trotsky and, after Stalins death hopped into Stalin, it was convenient for them to argue that the revolution was in good hands with Lenin and only went off the rails with Lenin,

Did you mean,

after Stalins (Trotsky’s?) death hopped into Stalin, it was convenient for them to argue that the revolution was in good hands with Lenin and only went off the rails with Lenin,(STALIN?)

skepticlawyer
14 years ago

Lovely people, natch.

Don Quixote
14 years ago

“… it is why a section of the left is reluctant to take terrorism seriously on its own terms as a form of war agaisnt ourselves.”

Which section of the left? I guess first you’ll have to figure out what you mean by ‘not taking terrorism seriously.’ After establishing the definition, please provide an example of a section of the left not taking terrorism seriously.

Robert Gellately
Robert Gellately
14 years ago

I find it interesting to read these exchanges. At the risk of sounding self-serving, I would recommend reading the book (mine) that is reviewed.

The full title of the book is “Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe.” It’s not just about Lenin and Stalin, but Hitler. Although I am thankful to kindly reviewers, they have made no mention of what I say about Hitler and how he fits into the picture. I compare AND contrast these dictatorships. It is important to preserve the differences.

Reviewers have also not brought out the larger theme of the book, namely, “the age of social catastrophe” that marked Europe (and affected much of the world) between 1914 and 1945 — and even later. Measured in terms of violent deaths, this era was the deadlist in all of human history. Why was that so? How did that come to pass? I offer fresh perspectives and bring new details based on original German and Russian sources. I have been studying the period for more than 20 years, but for all that the story that emerges from the book surprised me at every turn.

Robert Gellately
Robert Gellately
14 years ago

This just in: one readers sees a Hugo Chavez angle in the “Lenin, Stalin, Hitler” book.

http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=56527567

Robert Gellately
Robert Gellately
14 years ago

Nicholas, you have no need to defend yourself. I did not mean to sound pompous, if that came across, but I am delighted you are interested in this topic. I do not expect you to have read all the books you might comment on, especially “Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler,” which has been out exactly one week.