Murders?

ROSSERJB at jmu.edu ROSSERJB at jmu.edu
Sat Apr 27 14:14:04 MDT 1996


To Joe Koenigsman, the jokoe from minot.com:
     Apologies for having forgotten your name before.  I had
not saved the message and had done a slowburn reaction, responding
several days later without it in front of me.  Of course it is
appalling that I misspelled "appalling," and I am sure that you
will duly apologize for "Trotskey" and "tzarist" as well, :-).
     Your latest message is full of non-facts, but I shall keep my
response to a minimum to deal with some of the more egregious.
     1)  Trotsky was killed with an ice pick, not an axe.  Read
Sudoplatov's book for the latest confirmation of Stalin's orders
to kill Trotsky.  The safe house in New Mexico used to meet with
Soviet agents at Los Alamos had originally been rented by the NKVD
at the end of th 1930s in order to establish the network to get at
Trotsky in Mexico.  For a war veteran you are awfully naive.
     2)  Bukharin and Trotsky were on opposite sides during the
power struggles in Moscow in the 1920s.  It was Stalin who opportunistically
kept switching sides.  You seem to have collapsed everything together
in your mind.  Of course Stalin accused his enemies of Trotskyism in
the 1930s, no matter how ridiculous this was, and in Bukharin's case
the charge was ridiculous, although not as ridiculous as all that nonsense
about plotting to build tunnels to India.
     3)  I do not know how many people we should "assign" to Stalin as
having been killed "by" him.  Quite some time ago, Robert Conquest came
up with the number of 80 million, a bit more than the 30 million that has
you frothing at the mouth.  Of course Conquest's numbers absurdly included
the 25 million (he may have had them at 35 million, but I appallingly do
not remember precisely, too old, I'm afraid) Soviet citizens who were killed
in WW II.  Now I have sharply criticized Stalin's dealings with Hitler in
1939 and thereafter and have further argued that his much-vaunted wartime
leadership was wildly overrated by his propagandists.  But those 25 to however
many million are certainly on Hitler's "moral responsibility card," not
Stalin's, if we dare to allow ourselves to be so "morally" petit bourgeois.
More recently Chris Burford has been citing this study by Getty and Manning
(?) which I have not read which says that Stalin only personally signed off
on the death warrants of thousands (how many, Chris?).  I have not read this
study and I do not know what the number is, but I think that if he initiated
the campaign, which he certainly did, then he is responsible for a lot more
than just those he personally signed the death warrants of.  I never claimed
that Stalin was worse than Hitler.
     4)  You're another johnny-come-lately to this list, so you may not have
been around when I poked at Shawgi Tell's Stalinist encomia.  So, I shall
repeat something:  I personally know people who were avid Stalinists who
were arrested on trumped-up charges and tortured at length.  Your knowledge
may come from books, mine is more personal.  My links to Bukharin's widow
are personal as well.  I did not bring up her testimony or suffering by
accident.  If you wish to slander Bukharin with your dimwitted and ignorant
remarks, go right ahead.  But you do not know what you are talking about.
That the US military and propaganda machines have lied for years does not
therefore make Stalin's propagandists truth tellers!
Barkley Rosser


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