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Purging history of Stalin's terror
International Herald Tribune ^ | November 26, 2008 | Clifford J. Levy

Posted on 11/27/2008 1:54:44 AM PST by BlackVeil

TOMSK, Russia: For years, the earth in this Siberian city had been giving up clues: a scrap of clothing, a fragment of bone, a skull with a bullet hole.

And so a historian named Boris Trenin made a plea to officials. Would they let him examine secret archives to confirm that there was a mass grave here from Stalin's purges? Would they help him tell the story of the thousands of innocent people who were said to have been carted from a prison to a ravine, shot in the head and tossed over?

The answer was no, and Trenin understood what many historians in Russia have come to realize: Under Vladimir Putin, the attitude toward the past has changed. The archives that Trenin was seeking, stored on the fourth floor of a building in Tomsk, in boxes stamped "KGB of the U.S.S.R.," would remain sealed.

The Kremlin in the Putin era has often sought to maintain as much sway over the portrayal of history as over the governance of the country.

...It also has aggravated tensions between Russia and its neighbors. The Kremlin, for example, has recently rebuffed requests from Poland to release documents related to the World War II massacre of 22,000 Polish officers and others at the Katyn Forest and elsewhere in Russia. For decades, the Soviets blamed the Nazis for the killings; Mikhail Gorbachev was the first leader to admit that Soviet security services had carried them out.

The restrictions have also frustrated Russians who are seeking the truth about their families and want future generations to be aware of what once happened here.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Books/Literature; History
KEYWORDS: censorship; coldwar2; erasure; godsgravesglyphs; purge; putin; redarmy; revisionism; russia; sovietunion; stalin; terror; ussr

1 posted on 11/27/2008 1:54:45 AM PST by BlackVeil
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To: BlackVeil
Putin's oblique remarks about America using an atomic bomb against Japan and defoliants against the communists in South Vietnam deserved passing comment. The cowardice of the remarks in not explicitly naming the United States are obvious:

“But other countries have also known their bleak and terrible moments,” he said. “In any event, we have never used nuclear weapons against civilians, and we have never dumped chemicals on thousands of kilometers of land or dropped more bombs on a tiny country than were dropped during the entire Second World War, as was the case in Vietnam.”

The temptation is to respond to these three charges on a factual level, to point out that it took not one but two atomic bombs to bring Japan to the decks of the battleship Missouri to surrender-the need for the second demonstrating the need for the first; to point out that chemicals were used to defoliate a jungle hiding guerrillas who murdered south Vietnamese who would not succumb to communism, a tactic gruesomely pioneered in the Soviet Union the evidence of which the article describes at Kashtak, and a tactic which the United States sought to put an end to in South Vietnam both by the use of defoliants and by heavy bombing. But to respond to these charges on extensive factual level is a mistake because it concedes to the left the high ground.

The left invariably argues by resort to relativism. Once conservative, democratic, capitalist America agrees to engage in the argument at all, we lose because we have given away the idea of American exceptionalism. We've given away the idea that a democratic, capitalist, conservative America is by definition a virtuous land which should be emulated by all other countries on earth.

The resort to argument by relativism, of course, is not limited to matters of international virtue but go to the very heart of political epistemology. If all values and realities are relative and nothing is absolute then the relativist gets to shade and shape the values. If virtue is absolute, he cannot redefine it. But if it is relative, leftist gets to play God. Since that is his ultimate goal, (whether he is possessed of self-awareness enough to know that or not is irrelevant because his impulse is what matters) he has won the game, the game of politics, in which he gets to rule.

2 posted on 11/27/2008 2:09:33 AM PST by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: BlackVeil

It wasn’t just Stalin’s terror. The worst Soviet domestic atrocity, the collectivization war on the “kulaks”, had very broad support among Soviet reds.

3 posted on 11/27/2008 5:51:26 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: BlackVeil

RE: Putin

Meet the new Boss...

4 posted on 11/27/2008 6:03:35 AM PST by VOA
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To: BlackVeil
I highly recommend this book:

The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs & Art in the Soviet Union The Commissar Vanishes:
The Falsification of Photographs & Art
in the Soviet Union

by David King

5 posted on 11/27/2008 6:46:45 PM PST by SunkenCiv ( finally updated Saturday, October 11, 2008 !!!)
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· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach

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6 posted on 11/27/2008 6:48:38 PM PST by SunkenCiv ( finally updated Saturday, October 11, 2008 !!!)
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