Editor’s Prefatory Note—
We have long maintained that the truth about the USSR, in general, and particularly the Stalin period, has long been the object of the most cynical, mean-spirited, and comprehensive propaganda effort ever seen in the annals of history.
For reasons of sheer class interest among the plutocrats of the West, the business elites that still rule most of the so-called “capitalist democracies,” the demonization of Stalin was a necessity, a campaign only briefly interrupted by World War Two and quickly resumed literally a few hours after its ending.
The Western elites —with the American ruling circles in the lead—correctly saw an enemy in Stalin. They could not bribe him and they could not intimidate him. Nor could they easily topple him, as they had done (and still do) countless times with weaker, “inconvenient leaders.” What’s more, Stalin was at the helm of a powerful nation and titular leader of an ideology directly opposed to their indispensable economic system. Occasional diplomacy aside, they hated him. He and his nation stood in the way of their plans for global hegemony. So the venom had to flow and did—abundantly. And in that sordid enterprise the capitalist elites found countless allies, not to mention the usual battalions of ignorant, useful idiots.
As any propaganda student will attest, when vilifying a nation’s policies and social values, it’s far easier (and effective) if the propagandist aims the Big Lie machine at its leader. As we have seen in recent times with Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, Fidel Castro, Iran and North Korea’s leaders, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and finally Putin—among many others (the empire is never lacking in “dangerous enemies”)—the character assassination of a leader is an old tactic to prepare the perennially benighted home population for an attack on the targeted nation.
From this perspective it’s not difficult to see that if the Ministry of Truth could swiftly complete the total demonization of Vladimir Putin—a figure in good standing merely 3 years ago—and not even an avowed socialist, one can only imagine what outrageous fabrications they could have concocted (and did) to cordon off the image of Stalin, an outspoken communist, over several decades. This made eminent sense to the West’s doctrinal gatekeepers. Given the identification of Stalin’s long rule with the Soviet Union at its most embattled, the blackening of Stalin’s name served an important purpose: it provided the Western propagandists an invaluable shorthand—an “irrefutable symbol” of communism’s putative evil—to block the very idea of genuine socialism as an option for humanity.
The preceding is obviously not to argue that Stalin was a flawless leader, or a saint who just happened to have a powerful army, or that he didn’t make some serious mistakes. He did. However, the most elementary fairness demands that we ask, which world historical figure confronted with enormously difficult choices emerges today (barring self-serving ideological propaganda) unscathed from close and impartial examination? Judging Stalin by the context in which he had to act, and even more important, the purposes he served, he was arguably no worse, morally, than most Western leaders, and by any rational measure, probably a damn sight better. For who are these distinguished gentlemen who have led the West for over a century now? Churchill, the most revered member in the club, was an unapologetic racist and imperialist who in the 1920s endorsed the policy of RAF bombing and gassing Iraqi villages (Mesopotamia) into submission, for for failure to pay their assigned tribute. JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and Nixon pursued an illegitimate, barbaric, genocidal war in Vietnam that remains one of the horrors of modern imperialism. Truman dropped the bomb on the Japanese as a way to keep the Soviets “in line,” making America so far the only nation to have used nuclear weapons on a civilian population. And during the postwar, the US tentacles, chiefly acting through the CIA and its clients, have managed to murder and repress tens of millions of people around the globe—in all latitudes and scores of nations, from the Philippines, to Indonesia to Chile, to Nicaragua, to Iran, the Congo, Korea, the entire Middle East, literally bathed in blood—always in pursuit of geostrategic advantage, and the suppression of popular democracy in order to better permit the continuation and maximization of corporate profit. So much for the inherent perfidy of communism and angelic innocence of capitalism. The record is by now so huge and consistent, the hypocrisy so staggering, that we can state categorically there is not a single case in which America has used its immense diplomatic and military power to back a genuine democratic leader (such people are immediately branded “communists” and dealt accordingly) or assisted people struggling for freedom from class oppression. It’s a vile and hypocritical record that continues to this day, thanks to the complete brainwash to which the American population has been subjected as a measure of pre-emptive pacification. The whole thing is amply documented so there’s no point in even trying to refute it.
In any case, recovering the truth about Stalin and the USSR from the cesspool of hostile propaganda in which the enemies of socialism situated it, assisted by the perennially misguided and often fanatical anti-communist and especially anti-Stalinist leftists, is no task for the weakhearted. That’s why we salute our colleagues at Russia Insider, and its editor, Charlie Bausman, in particular, for their decision to publish Grover Furr. Letting this scholar speak to a larger audience is a badly needed blow for truth —especially in the current context of reckless warmongering on Russia’s and China’s doorstep. The Big Lie must be defeated if a lasting peace is ever to be attained by humanity. —P. Greanville
The subject of this article, American Professor Grover Furr, is a controversial figure in the world of Russia watching, because his basic position is that Stalin was not the monster that accepted wisdom thinks he was, and that he was unfairly maligned by the Soviet leaders who succeeded him for their own political reasons, with the rest of the world gladly jumping on the bandwagon.
We don’t know if this is valid or not, but we publish this here because this revisionist view is increasingly popular in Russia. Want to understand Russia? Here is what a lot of people think.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski continues to point the accusing finger at Russia, blaming it for the Katyn massacre of 1940, facts on the ground prove the opposite, an American professor revealed.
During a speech devoted to the execution of Polish officers at Katyn in 1940, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski once again slammed the Soviet Union for the massacre and even went so far as to say that “the 20th century knows no comparable crime.” But what if the crime had never taken place?
“In April 1943 Nazi German authorities claimed that they had discovered thousands of bodies of Polish officers shot by Soviet officials in 1940. These bodies were said to have been discovered near the Katyn forest near Smolensk (in Western Russia), which is why the whole affair including executions and alleged executions of Polish POWs elsewhere in the USSR came to be called the Katyn Massacre,” narrated Dr. Grover Carr Furr, an American professor, author and prominent expert in Soviet history, in his book “The “Official” Version of the Katyn Massacre Disproven?”Professor Grover Furr has called into question the “official” narrative that puts the blame for the Katyn massacre on the Soviet Union, in accordance with the version propagated by Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany, in 1943.
While the consensus picture today is of Poland as an innocent, victimized nation by both Nazis and Soviets, the truth, as always is more complex. While Furr denies it is a proven fact the Soviets committed the Katyn massacre, he admits they killed some Poles. But these may have been regarded as criminals by the Soviet army and NKVD. “Somewhere between 18,000 and 60,000 Red Army POWs had died in Polish captivity. There is good documentation that they were treated brutally, starved, frozen, and many of them murdered outright,”—Eds.
The author has debunked the most common misconceptions surrounding the Katyn tragedy and highlighted that the evidentiary basis for the “official” viewpoint is astonishingly “thin.” It should be noted that many researchers usually refer to the “Closed Packet No. 1,” handed by the Yeltsin administration to Polish authorities in 1992. It contained documents which, if genuine, could prove the guilt of the USSR in the Katyn mass murder.
However, the document’s authenticity raises questions.
“In October 2010 a credible case was made that the “smoking gun documents” [“Closed Packet No. 1] are forgeries. The materials adduced by [Russia’s] Duma member Victor Iliukhin in October 2010 constitute the strongest evidence so far that these documents may well be forgeries,” Professor Furr pointed out.
Indeed, Victor Iliukhin revealed that the core document of the “Closed Packet No. 1” — Lavrentiy Beria’s note, demanding the capital punishment for 14,000 of Polish POWs and civilians, signed by Joseph Stalin in 1940 — was fabricated in late 1980s. The Duma member suggested that the prominent “Perestroika” figures such as Alexander Yakovlev, Dmitri Volkogonov, Rudolf Pikhoya and others could have been behind the falsification.
But let’s put aside the “smoking gun documents,” the professor noted, pointing to the latest discoveries made by a joint Polish-Ukrainian archaeological group in 2011-2012 in the Ukrainian town of Volodymyr-Volynskiy, directly related to the Katyn massacre incident.
The group discovered a mass grave site identified by the specialists as a typical mass grave of “German manufacture.” Citing Dr. Dominika Siemińska, the head of the Polish archeological team, Professor Furr underscored that the victims buried in the mass grave were murdered no earlier than late 1941 or 1942.
Furthermore, 98.67 percent of shells found on the site were of 1941 German manufacture, according to the Polish report. Remains of women and children had also been found in the mass grave.
But the most astonishing fact was that the Polish researchers had also unearthed the remains, metal badges, epaulettes and buttons which belonged to the Polish policemen believed to be killed in a so-called “Katyn massacre” in 1940.
It should be noted that German ammunition was found at other sites related to the Katyn case.
Remarkably, Joseph Goebbels wrote in his Diaries on May 8, 1943: “Unfortunately, German ammunition has been found in the graves at Katyn… It is essential that this incident remains top secret. If it were to come to the knowledge of the enemy the whole Katyn affair would have to be dropped.”
Professor Furr has analyzed a number of other important documents and facts, which are presented as “ample evidence” of the Soviets’ guilt by the proponents of the “official version.” He showed that many assumptions based on these documents fall apart under careful scrutiny.
However, Professor Grover Furr stressed that it is probable that the Soviets could have executed a number of Poles for military crimes conducted by the Polish armed forces during the Russo-Polish war of 1920-21 and the Polish occupation of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine. “Somewhere between 18,000 and 60,000 Red Army POWs had died in Polish captivity. There is good documentation that they were treated brutally, starved, frozen, and many of them murdered outright,” the professor pointed out.
Still, “there is no evidence that the 14,000+ Polish POWs who were transferred out of Soviet POW camps in April and May 1940 were in reality being sent to be shot,” the author concluded, “The discoveries in the mass graves at Volodymyr-Volynskiy constitute a lethal blow to the “official version” of the Katyn Massacre.”
“I have gone back and reviewed the evidence many times since I published that article. I am still surprised that such an important story rests on such a thin basis of evidence. The only “real” evidence is the documents from “Closed Packet No.1,” Professor Grover Furr told Russia Insider.
“In any case the finding of those Polish policemen in the mass grave at Volodymyr-Volynskiy demolishes the “official” version. And there is no other version! Therefore, the only way to “rescue” the official version is to suppress the results of the V-V [Volodymyr-Volynskiy] excavations. And the Polish and Ukrainian officials have done that. Plus, to keep pointing at the documents from “Closed Packet No. 1,” which means suppressing Viktor Iliukhin’s exposure of them,” he added.
Professor Furr bemoaned the fact that senior Russian officials and mainstream media continue to support the “official version” of the Katyn Massacre.
“Katyn is the best documented “crime of Stalinism.” If they admit that the “official version” of Katyn is a lie, what else might turn out to be false? And then, what is the ideological justification for the dissolution of the USSR?” Professor Grover Furr asked.
The Katyn Massacre story, currently being used as a propaganda tool by both Warsaw and Washington, sparks a lot of controversy in Russia and the West. Lots of questions remain unanswered and only a new comprehensive investigation into the Katyn case could finally expose the truth and restore justice.
Remember: All captions and pullquotes are furnished by the editors, NOT the author(s).