USSR and Russia (fwd)
glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Fri Jun 30 09:59:51 MDT 1995
I'll grant Scott two points at the outset:
1) every historical movement has both its positive and negative
(progressive and reactionary) sides.
2) evaluating Stalin and the CPSU's "accomplishments" during the Stalin
period are somewhat different questions.
I asked Scott:> >
> >What are the "positive" legacies of Stalin?
> >(P.S. Please don't give me any of that defeating fascism crap)
> I would start precisely with the role of the SU *and* the CPSU in the Stalin
> years in the defeat of fascism - unless you think the US did that.
All of the credible historical evidence that I have seen suggests that
the USSR survived WW2 and fascism was defeated not because of Stalin or
the CPSU but IN SPITE OF those forces. For instance, the Stalin-Hitler
pact, the purging of the Red Army leadership prior to the War, and the
fact that Soviet intelligence (GPU) warned Stalin of the German attack
*years* before that attack are all factors that weakened the military
ability of the Soviets to fight fascism and led to *many* (perhaps
millions of) unnecessary deaths of Soviet citizens and fighting forces.
It is, of course, true that US imperialism and the "Allies" were not
responsible *alone* for defeating German fascism. Had Hitler not
opened-up the "second front" to the East when he did, the world might be
very different today. Indeed, just as Stalin botched the Soviet war
effort so did Hitler botch the German military effort. No doubt CPSU
cadre fought valiantly against the German assault. Had the CPSU, however,
not been under the totalitarian (I know Scott isn't going to like that
word) control of Stalin *many thousands* of CPSU members would not have
die on the battlefield. Ultimately, the CPSU's and Stalin's ability to
mobilize the Soviet masses in the war against fascism was led more by a
appeal to Russian nationalism (save Mother Russia) than an appeal to
defend the "gains of October."
> I think likewize the Communists and the CPSU accomplished a heroic feat in
> building up the industrial might of the SU in those Stalin years.
Certainly, the Soviet economy was able to grow significantly and
industrialize during the 30's thru 50's. That was an accomplishment.
Was it "heroic"? To answer that question, one has to look at the
*manner* in which that growth and industrialization was effected and the
*cost* (in human and economic terms) of that change. Heroism had very
little to do with Stalin's collectivization drive or the nature of the
> Tremendous gains in wiping out illiteracy, particularly in the East and Siberia.
> Some important assistance to the freedom struggle in China and elsewhere
I don't know about that. "Freedom struggles" in China and elsewhere
received *some* support from the Soviets in *some* cases. In many
cases, Soviet policy effectively sabotaged revolutionary movements.
Stalin's policy in China led in 1926-27 to one of the greatest debacles
of the 20th Century. In Spain, Stalin and the CPSU effectively sabotaged
the Republican movement by knocking-off CNT and POUM military forces and
leadership. In Germany, prior to 1933, the unwillingness of the CP to
enter into a united front with the Social Democrats helped Hitler come to
power. I could go on and on, but I'll leave it at that for now.
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