of this year, according to a national survey carried out by Real Estate Alliance. … The survey concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland’s typical stock …
Who was the better leader: Alexander II, Lenin or Stalin?
Lenin led the revolution, yes, but his actions after that had mediocre success due to him dying soon after the reolution was won and the chaos left after the war.
Alexander the II did few actual good things and nothing that was written in stone, his actions were more gestures to appease the unrest in the common population rather than actually trying to fix inherent problems. His successor Alexander the III easily reversed any of his actions. Nikolai the II the lastCzar was the same deal, while those in support of the monarchy claim he cared like Alexander the II, their own actions say otherwise, (Bloody Sunday is a good example). In general the Czars did as they fancied with little regard to their people and only concern for how something might benefit them, (not to say that all Czars were completely terrible, as some did at least put effort into these ideas).
A quote on Stalin that really explains what I mean is one that I use often,
“Communism under Stalin has produced the most valiant fighting army in Europe. Communism under Stalin has provided us with examples of patriotism equal to the finest annals of history. Communism under Stalin has won the applause and admiration of all the Western nations. Communism under Stalin has produced the best generals in this war. I was always impressed by Lincoln’s answer when Grant was charged with taking too much drink.Persecution of Christianity? Not so. There is no religious persecution. The church doors are open. And there is complete freedom to practice religion, just as there is complete freedom to reject it. Racial persecution? Not at all. Jews live like other men. There are many races in the Soviet Union and not even a color bar. Political purges? Of course. But it is now clear that the men who were shot down would have betrayed Russia to her German enemy.”
citation; Opportunity to Win War in 1942; A SECOND FRONT IN EUROPE TO AID RUSSIA By LORD BEAVERBROOK, Britain’s Lease-Lend Coordinator in Washington Delivered before the Bureau of Advertising of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, April 23, 1942
Some things accomplished under the SU (mostly with the basis established by Stalin)
– In a decade the country went from an industrial production of 12% of the US, to a country with 80% of the production of the USA, and 85% of the agricultural production. And then after a devastating war where 1/5 of the country had been demolished by the Nazid, they restored and exceeded that.
– Monetarily the USSR was inherently stable and had a currency more valuable than the dollar, (1.15 dollars over the Cold War)
– Employment was guaranteed, trade unions had the power to veto firings and recall managers and injured workers had job guarantees and sick pay as well as maternity leave
– Free education for all, including higher education (university). And the 10 grade system was in many ways more efficient than the US 12 grade system. The soviet’s concerted effort to bring literacy to the more backwards areas of Russia brought literacy to nearly 100%. In 1983, the United States Commission on Excellence in Education published A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform, in which it said that in regards to education, Americans were falling behind Russia. It is self evident that education significantly dropped in the USSR after capitalist reform (starting in 1986).
“Before the Revolution, 76% of the people were illiterate, including 88%of the women. Virtually complete illiteracy prevailed among the indigenous populations of Siberia and Soviet Central Asia. Indeed, more than 40 languages had not been reduced to writing at all. Prior to the revolution, only 290,000 Russians possessed any kind of higher education, whereas the 1959 census reported that more than 13 Million citizens had some higher or specialized secondary education, and more than 45 million people had 7-10 years of education….Raising the literacy rate from 24% to 98.5% within the span of a single generation for more than 200 million people would be an achievement in itself if only one language were involved, to say nothing of the severe problems posed by a multilingual society….
To detail the massive character of the Soviet educational effort in Central Asia, the Uzbek Republic, which is the most advanced of the Central Asian areas today, as it was in pre-Revolutionary Russia, provides an apt illustration. Before the Revolution, only 2% of the population was literate. There were no native engineers, doctors, or teachers with a higher education. In short, Central Asia was no different in this respect from most of the colonial dependencies of the European powers, and worse off than many.
Today, in the Uzbek Republic alone, there are 32 institutions of higher learning, more than 100 technicums, 50 special technical schools, 12 teachers’ colleges, and 1400 kindergartens. Nearly 2,500,000 children attend school, and more than 50% of its teachers have had some higher education…The rate of literacy is over 95%. The Republic before the Revolution possessed no public libraries: today there are nearly 5,000. The number of books printed in the Uzbek language in 1913 was 118,000;today it approaches 19 million. When this record is compared with that of Iran, Afghanistan, the Arab countries, the states of Southeast Asia, or even Turkey, all of which were at a comparable or more advanced level of educational attainment in 1914, the achievement is impressive…”
Vernon V. Aspaturian
Modern Political Systems: Europe
– Free healthcare for all and about twice as many doctors as the USA (and that isn’t even counting the countless medical innovations of the USSR:
“Citizens of the USSR have the right to health protection.
This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by state health institutions; by extension of the network of therapeutic and health-building institutions; by the development and improvement of safety and hygiene in industry; by carrying out broad prophylactic measures; by measures to improve the environment; by special care for the health of the rising generation, including prohibition of child labour, excluding the work done by children as part of the school curriculum; and by developing research to prevent and reduce the incidence of disease and ensure citizens a long and active life.” (Soviet Constitution, 1936)
Heart-lung transplant, lung transplant, kidney transplant, MRI, Radiological Keratomy, Cadaveric blood-transfusion, blood bank, artificial heart, Gramacidin S, Anthropometric cosmetology, Ilizarov Apparatus, Oxygen cocktail, Excimer laser (can be used as an eye surgery tool), EHF-therapy, experiments in head transplantation, etc.
– State regulated and subsidized food prices; State subsidies kept the price of books, magazines, periodicals, food etc. down
– No segregated housing by income existed (Though sometimes Party members lived in nicer areas). Housing was given for free, if you waited in a line, and in the meantime, apartments were given, (their limited amounts creating communals, the reason being the lack during Czarist Russia and WW 2 destroying almost all that had been built during the 20s and 30) OR if you wanted to get it sooner, you paid a 100 rubles annual fee for a few years (equivalent to a mortgage).
– Excellent public transport: In the USA we can have 1 inch of snow and the trains already have problems arriving and often are an HOUR late, I know from PERSONAL experience. I have never heard a complaint about late trains in the soviet bloc and I have read much and met many. Also the soviet train system was and is still considered one of the worlds best.
Stalin turned a backwards nation into one of the worlds superpowers, and to say that all deaths that occurred under his rule can or should be attributed to just him and the Communist Party policies of the time is unfair and does not embrace the true depth of information that is available to us.
IN addition to all that, without Stalin WW 2 would have likely have been lost.
He was the first to propose an anti-Hitler alliance with Britain and France, and was turned down, twice in fact.
So he bought the USSR time to prepare for the upcoming war with the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression pact a pact that was little different than the pacts Britain, France, Estonia and Poland made with Germany and was only to the USSR’s benefit.
As for the Purges,
A wave of repressions swept through the Red Army in the late 1930s and early 1940s. According to documents which have since been declassified, between 1934 and 1939, the Red Army’s command lost over than 56,000 people, 10,000 of them arrested. Another 14,000 were dismissed for drunkenness and ‘moral degradation’; the rest were dismissed for other reasons – illness, disability, etc. In the same period, 6,600 of the officers previously dismissed were reinstated after further proceedings. These repressions were not without reason Part of the reason the USSR lost initial fights was because several commanders did not destroy key large sections of the soviet infrastructure before retareating, giving the Nazis an easier path and available resources, these were not light mistake especially in war time.
To understand the scale of the purge, it’s worth recalling that in 1937, Marshal Kliment Voroshilov said that, “the army had a total of 206,000 persons in the command structure”. The total size of the Red Army in 1937 was 1.5 million men at the time.
Admittedly, poor training of the commanders of the Red Army was a problem in the 30s, but not one caused by repression * but rather the rapid increase of men in the armed force. Already in 1939 the army had grown to 3.2 million men, and by January 1941 – to 4.2 million. By the beginning of the war the command staff amounted to nearly 440,000 officers and staff but training of officers is longer than of ordinary soldiers and thus it was out of proportion. The country was preparing for war, the army was growing, undergoing rearmament, and the training of officers really did come too little, too late
29% of Soviet military personnel had a higher education before the repressions. After them, the number became 38%. By 1941, the number had risen to 52%. Note that for the decade before the repressions, the number had remained stagnant at around 20-30%.
The Soviet Contribution to to the defeat of ‘Little Fritz’ can not be understated. Their massive successful contribution to the demise of the invading Krauts was made possible by Joe Stalin’s Industrial, Scientific and Engineering drive. By the time Little Fritz decided to invade the Soviet Union Stalin had made it an industrial and technological giant second only in capacity to the United States. There were certainly some holes in the Russian technological base and in their level of education but the Russians were clever enough to get around those with the application of common sense, solid engineering aimed at ease of manufacture & operation, ruggedness and simplicity combined with a set of military doctrines based on the realities of enemy capability and their own capability. In that respect the Soviets and Stalin were brilliant.
Early in the war the Soviets understood that a precision built bolt action rifle with sights graduated to 1200 yards was an expensive option and one that required considerable time and resources to train huge numbers of troops on. The Mosin–Nagant of which they made 37,000,000 was a good weapon but one that only a small percentage of their infantrymen could use to its maximum potential and as with all bolt guns was cursed with a slow rate of fire and a limited magazine capacity.
The soviets realized sooner than anyone else that 90% of infantry combat takes place at close range (<=200 meters) where full power cartridges like their 7.62mm X 54R were over powered and the bolt action rifles that fired such heavy hitters had a low rate of fire. Soviet doctrine demanded that in meeting engagements their troops should be able to establish direct fire superiority quickly and then maneuver under the cover of that high volume of fire. Of course the Germans wanted the same capability but were too slow to implement the changes required in time.
The German Solution:
Was to place light belt fed machine guns with high rates of fire such as the MG-34 with its ~900 round/min rate of fire with infantry platoons. Thus the German squad armed predominantly with bolt action rifles was centered around its base of fire the MG34.
The Soviet Solution (s):
•On one level the Soviets adopted the same solution with the 7.62mm X 54R DP-28 drum fed light machine gun acting as the base of fire and the rest of the unit armed with bolt action rifles.
•Another Soviet solution was the creation of SMG battalions where the predominant weapon was the easy to manufacture PPSh-41 sub machine gun (1000 rounds/min) that was supported by DP-28 LMG and designated marksmen armed with either Mosin–Nagant bolt guns or SVT-40 semi automatic rifles. These units could send clouds of lead at German troops while in the attack at a dead run.
Imagine 20 Germans with 1 MG-34, 4 MP-40s and 15 bolt action rifles facing 20 Soviets with 2 DP-28s, 6 SVT-40s and 12 PPSh-41s. The German unit is over matched with respect to the volume of fire it can deliver. And it take less time and effort to train a sub machine gunner than an effective rifleman.
Soviet Losses were moslty made up of Nazi Death Squads, the Comissar directive, the Jew directive and General Plan Ost which resulted in almost 3 million soviet POWs being killed or dying in concentration camps, something the Stalin had no power over.
One of the greatest crimes in Western Europe was the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane, in which 642 civilians were murdered by a Waffen-SS battalion. But just one region in the East, Belarus, with 20% of France’s population, experienced the equivalent of more than 3,000 Oradours – some 2,230,000 people were killed in Belarus alone during the three years of German occupation, or a quarter of its population. At least 5,295 Belorussian settlements were destroyed by the Nazis and more than 600 villages like Khatyn were annihilated with their entire population under the cover of anti-partisan operations.
Even veterans who knew the war and have reserved opinion, state that they would have lost without Stalin;
Soviet military losses were on par with Germanies with a 1.3:1 ratio, with the Germans being lower only because, unlike the USSR, they purposely killed or drove to death soviet POWs.
According to meticulous post-Soviet archival work (G. I. Krivosheev in Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses), the total number of men (and in the Soviet case, about 1mn women) who passed through the armed forces of the USSR was 34,476,700 and through Germany’s was 21,107,000. Of these, the “irrevocable losses” (the number of soldiers who were killed in military action, went MIA, became POWs and died of non-combat causes) was 11,285,057 for the USSR, 6,231,700 for Germany, 6,923,700 for Germany and its occupied territories, and 8,649,500 for all the Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Thus, the total ratio of Soviet to Nazi military losses was 1.3:1. Hardly the stuff of “Asiatic hordes” of Nazi and Russophobic imagination (that said, also contrary to popular opinion, Mongol armies were almost always a lot smaller than those of their enemies and they achieved victory through superior mobility and coordination, not numbers).
The problem is that during the Cold War, the historiography in the West was dominated by the memoirs of Tippelskirch, who wrote in the 1950’s citing constant Soviet/German forces ratios of 7:1 and losses ratio of 10:1. This has been carried over into the 1990’s (as with popular “historians” like Anthony Beevor), although it should be noted that more professional folks like Richard Overy are aware of the new research. Note also that cumulatively 28% and 57% of all Soviet losses were incurred in 1941 and 1942 (Krivosheev) respectively – the period when the Soviet army was still relatively disorganized and immobile, whereas for the Germans the balance was roughly the opposite with losses concentrated in 1944-45.
The idea that there were two soldiers for every rifle in the Red Army, as portrayed in the ahistorical propaganda film Enemy at the Gates, is a complete figment of the Russophobic Western imagination. From 1939 to 1945, the USSR outproduced Germany in aircraft (by a factor of 1.3), tanks (1.7), machine guns (2.2), artillery (3.2) and mortars (5.5), so in fact if anything the Red Army was better equipped than the Wehrmacht (sources – Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won; Chris Chant, Small Arms).
Here is an interview with a soviet soldier who had gone through the whole war, and he states the same things I have.
Even the final hours of Japan had Stalin’s involvement to thank.
Lastly here is a nice description of life in the pre USSR Russia
95% of the people from Eastern Europe (mostly within the Russian EMPIRE) were poor peasant farmers who owned no land but paid high rents to the country’s landlords who made up the middle class, they were rich, privelidged and had no problems witholding grainstocks. Russian peasants lived in villages cut off from the rest of the world. The villages were not much more than a collection of mud huts lining the main road where illiterate peasants farmed the land to keep some food on the table and pay the rent to wealthy landlords.
Russian peasants had one other alternative to a miserable life of tenant farming. They could move to the city to find work in one of the many miserable factories that were springing up all over Russia. By Russia law workers couldn’t be forced to work more than 11 ½ hours in a day (already a huge amount), but most factory bosses ignored this and the police were easily bribed to look the other way. Wages were very low, a few roubles for a months work. The factories were dirty, dark, and dangerous. Workers were given free housing but the conditions of these barracks were so terrible that they made a New York City tenement from 1890 look like a room at the Ritz. Each room was nothing more than a long, empty warehouse where each family stayed in a room divided by a piece of cloth. Each “room” was only large enough to fit a bunk bed that often touched the one next to it. (compare that to communals that had proper rooms and were in themselves created ONLY because Tsarist Russia did not provide any real houses for the people within the cities (and only in the cities). AND WW2 resulted in such destruction that it took 10 years to rebuild those buildings that were destroyed.
So you tell me, what is more significant, making a superpower out of a country and creating the first decent living conditions it has ever seen, or doing the equivalent of hiding how shitty a common peasants life is with tinsel and false-promises?
A small bit of information on “GULAG prison labor”
The Gulag was a prison institution with the purpose of giving criminals a chance to contribute something to society while being reformed and punished for their crimes; this mainly took the form of mining and railroad building in Siberia, which was in desperate need of industrialization (and without which, the USSR could not have defeated the fascist invasion of 1941). The vast majority of inmates were ordinary criminals:
The biggest specialist in this subject, Viktor Zemskov, who worked in the Soviet archives in the period of ‘Perestroika’ gives the following facts1 “In 1937 there were 1,196,369 prisoners and 87% of them were ordinary non-political criminals like thieves, cons, etc. in GULAG. In 1938 in GULAG were 1,881,570 prisoners and 81% of them were ordinary criminals.
From 1939 to WWII, the number of prisoners was decreasing mainly because of setting them free after the completion of their sentence. The smallest percentage of ordinary criminals was in 1947 – 40% but at that time, the prisons were full of war criminals like parricides, deserters, collaborators, marauders, and other ‘innocent victims’ of this kind.
The largest number of GULAG prisoners was 1 January 1950 – 2,567,351 and 77% of them were ordinary criminals, mostly post-war bandits.
By comparison, the United States (one of the main defacers of Stalin) has a similar number of its citizens within its prisons:
What do these numbers mean? Is it a lot or not? 1.9 million prisoners in the pike of ‘mass repressions’ or is it nothing unusual? Let’s compare these numbers with “the base of democracy”- the USA, where there are more than 2.3 million people imprisoned today.
The US population is about 300 million, and the population of USSR of the 1930s was about 200 million. If we recount the proportion and imagine that the USA now has the population of the USSR in the 1930s then the US would have 1.53 million prisoners, a bit less than in the pike of the “repressions” (1.88 million), but more than in the “terrible 1937” and almost equal to number of all GULAG prisoners in 1939.
Yet no one questions whether the United States is rife with mass political repressions and purges.
During the entirety of Stalin’s “reign” (1929-1953) 1.6 million died in the Gulag . Secondly, that is a very small number given how many were there over that period; in fact, it is only just over 10%. You would likely find a similar figure in the prisons of the United States.
The number of dead in the Gulag is consistent with natural causes (e.g. disease). Most of the inmates died because Siberia is a terrible place to go camping for several months at a time. This is precisely the reason that Stalin used criminals (who already owed society a debt) rather than ordinary workers for the industrialization of Siberia.
2: Steven Rosefielde. Red Holocaust. Routledge, 2009. ISBN 0-415-77757-7 pg. 67 “…more complete archival data increases camp deaths by 19.4 percent to 1,258,537”; pg 77: “The best archivally based estimate of Gulag excess deaths at present is 1.6 million from 1929 to 1953.”
American Historic Review data on GULAGs