neljapäev, detsember 31, 2009

kakstuhat üheksa

According to Barbi Pilvre, the chronically dysfunctional state of the Estonian Victory Monument -- which has been in various states of illumination and repair since its grand opening in June -- is the failure of the year 2009. I agree.

But there have been other failures. Having more than 100,000 unemployed people in a country of 1,340,000 people is a failure, for one. Then there was the horror of watching both Sweden and Finland succumb to the overtures of the German-Russian Nord Stream project, a geopolitical energy deal that sends shivers up the backs of all on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. And Obama didn't even visit Tallinn. Failures, failures, failures all. Line them up. Watch them fall into the sea.

Ouch, Nord Stream. That one really cut. It hurt to see two larger adjacent countries fold in the face Saxon-Slavic pressure, to admit that even with 9 million people and a coastline to rival India's, Sweden is still, in the context of northern European geopolitics, about as intimidating as a lobster. Their security environment and Estonia's are not so different. If Russia really is to buy that Mistral warship from the French -- capable of transporting and deploying up to 16 helicopters, 13 battle tanks and 450 troops -- then surely, they could anchor that sucker off of Gamla Stan or Suomenlinna and bring down hell and fury there, too. But the Swedes and the Finns do not object. Such scenarios are regarded as outlandish. Why?

It appears there is not so much a difference in actual threat, but a difference in threat perception. One central difference between the foreign policies of the Swedes and the Finns and the Estonians, is that the Russian state lacks overt political objectives in the prior two countries. The Russians do not provide the Swedish ambassador with a list of demands to improve relations, as they did in 2002 to the then Estonian ambassador to Moscow. Russia has demands for Estonia, any tango over the laying of pipe in its waters would lead to more avenues for the Slavic octopus to slide its tentacles up the trousers of Estonia's decision makers and play this country like a puppet show. "Hi, I am your prime minister," the Russian Octopus would throw its voice holding up the doll-like Estonian PM. "We've now decided to give the Russians a more privileged interest in our land, because if there's one thing the Russians love, it's having a privileged interest."

No, no, no. Nasty, slimy, grotesque, icky. No. Keep your clothes on. Keep the Russians out and the boys from NATO in, at all costs, even if it means a stronger commitment to the war no one can ever win, Afghanistan. Anglo-led divisions have been in and out of there since the 1830s and yet, the tribal rivalries, the cumbersome terrain, it still feels brand new. And now there are Estonians there, again. To borrow a line from the esteemed Scottish-born poet Byrne: "And you might find yourself living in a shotgun shack/ And you might find yourself in another part of the world/ And you might find yourself being a 20 year-old from a small northern European country patrolling the steppes of Helmand province." And he always finds himself marching in the same direction.

But enough about failures. Who needs failures? Why dwell on failures when everyone knows that failure is just another word for success? Barbi Pilvre may say the monument is a failure for being mired in a state of perpetual renovation. Others might say it's a success for even having been built at all. Even if it was lit up for only a few minutes, what wondrous, successful minutes those were. Sure the economy is still down, but we might get the euro next year, even though we were supposed to get it years ago. The country might have taken a few punches thanks to the financial crisis, but it hasn't burned up in the same decadent, spectacular burst of mismanagement that characterized the Icelandic or Latvian crises. That's success, not failure. The ship of state is in good hands. Estonia is a success story.

Who to salute? Prime Minister Andrus Ansip. According to Ansip, the Reform Party [his party -- Ed.] has welded today's sleek, slick 2009 model Estonia from the corroded junk metal of Soviet socialism. You don't have to wait in line for hours anymore to obtain matches to start the wood furnaces in your homes: there are boxes and boxes of matches at the local Selver or Säästumarket or Comarket or Rimi. That's progress. That's why the Reform Party was and continues to be the most popular party in Estonia according to all polls. Even when they went down in municipal elections, the polls still showed them on top. They've got the upper hand. Great success.

But what do I know, anyway? I could just be making all of this stuff up. But if I am capable of making up the past, and capable of distorting the present, then I might as well predict the future as well. Estonia, I think you are in for a long, boring year. Political life will ossify. The glögi at the local Selver will taste the same as it did in the first decade of the 21st century. Cultural life will ferment with a hint of artsy superficiality and a pinch of dastardly behind-the-scenes badmouthing. And as for getting by, existential politics, well, mu kallis Eesti, we have been getting by, little by little, by and by, for decades. Like the Estonian foot soldier in the central Asian mountains, we know we can march in but one direction.

Piparkoogi mees ja naine courtesy of Nami-Nami, a food blog.

73 kommentaari:

Brüno ütles ...

Head Uut Aastat.

Kalle Kniivilä ütles ...

You said: "Ouch, Nord Stream. That one really cut. It hurt to see two larger adjacent countries fold in the face Saxon-Slavic pressure..."

Excuse me, but have you ever heard about the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea? According to this convention, the only valid reason for stopping Nord Stream would have been serious environmental concerns. Geopolitics is NOT a valid argument, even though a lot of people would like it to be. So Saxon-Slavic pressure or not, there was no way to stop the pipeline as long as it is not fatal for the environment in the Baltic sea, which it apparently isn't.

viimneliivlane ütles ...

Happy New Year Giustino, and to all your readers too! A new beginning with an opportunity for a new optimism as we review the failures of the past year...why are we wondering why France wants to sell warships to Russia at the same time that France is taking its turn patrolling the skies over Estonia in its NATO obligation? I am reminded that the in the American Civil War gunmaker Samuel Colt sold arms to both the North and the South which is to say we are expected to separate business from politics though with globalization that is unrealistic and we seem not to have figured out where Nord Stream fits, carrying the failure into MMX.

Andres ütles ...

Geopolitics is not a valid argument to stop the building, yet it is a valid argument to start the building. Interesting.

Lingüista ütles ...

Well, it could be worse.

Of course, Baltic countries (plus a number of others in Eastern Europe -- ask the Czechs) continue to feel, as in the past, threatened by powerful neighbors and their possible conspiracies. And since indeed countries will tend to think of their own interests first, well, nobody would be surprised if the Baltic countries ended up being left out of the equation, given the massive geopolitical machines in Russia and Germany.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, with all due respect, the leading countries in the Baltic Sea area are Germany and Russia. How likely it ever was that Finland and Sweden would go against a consensus between Germany (backed, however lukewarmly, by the EU, and not opposed by the USA) and Russia? Well, I can tell you, it wasn't bloody likely. You have to pick your battles, and I do wonder what has Estonia gained by this particular battle? It might not be fair but that's geopolitics for you, not a game invented by Finland or Sweden, btw.

Lingüista ütles ...

What's the argument against Nord Stream? I mean, other than deviating Russian exports from Tallinn, and other than adding a possibly divisive element between Germany and the rest of the European Union, why should Estonia be against it?

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, it's not exactly good news that the Gulf of Finland will get even more important to Russia's geopolitical interests - and pretensions (it's often hard to tell which are more important to Kremlin). They have already made silly noises of "defending" the pipe (that absolutely no-one is threatening) and taking more aggressive line on the Baltic. In general it might not be the smartest imaginable move for the EU to get more dependent on the energy supply of a country that seems to be pretty permanently stuck to the 1930's mind set. (Though it is true that in s market economy also the supplier is bound, not only the buyer.) But once Germany and Russia negotiated a deal, there really was not much to do by anyone else (bar the USA which doesn't seem to care either way).

tartuense ütles ...

The point of opposing Nord Stream is valuable if even only on moral terms. The whole thing is mainly a political thing, based in Switzerland (so that the EU couldn't oppose it), and basically a dirty deal between Schroeder and Putin.
Why oppose it? Well, the Russians have already said they will increase their navy presence in the Baltic Sea to 'protect it', therefore cutting off the east coast of the Baltic Sea from the West. And if it blows up, it will have massive consequences. The Baltic Sea has a very small current due to its small mouth to the open sea through Denmark. This fixed pipeline that runs for kilometres on the seabed will only contribute to the dead areas which already exist.
Indeed, being finlandized and compromising ones own morals (and covering one's ears, eyes, mouth and brain) in order to do dubious business with Russia is a one-way road. In fact, I was reading with interest the other day how Estonia had a policy towards the Soviet Union in the 30's which was comparable to Finland's recent policy, and Finland had a much more aggressive policy back then. End result: Estonia was forcibly occupied for 50 years while Finland stayed free (with help from the Germans). So thank you, but no thank you very much. Whoever wants to go to bed with the bear to the east is welcome to do so, but Estonia won't be committing that mistake again.
Why use dirty, polluting gas if newer energy sources are needed? Why force Lithuania to close it's nuclear plant only to throw her into the bear's gas grip? Indeed, why can the EU (well-deservedly) fine Microsoft billions for monopoly tactics, and not even raise a squeak against Russia for it's gas policies?
For crying out loud, it leaves all of Eastern Europe without gas if they so desire, and have done so several times.

mamakai ütles ...

That picture looks familiar.. nami-nami?

Pille ütles ...

Happy New Year, Giustino!

PS The photo of gingerbread couple is indeed mine :)

Giustino ütles ...

You know, I just did a search for kakstuhat üheksa, and that was the best photo I found. I'll add a photo credit. Aitäh Pille, ja muidugi head uut aastat!

So? ütles ...

Last I heard, Estonia is not an island, so this glorified yacht changes little. The EU is the 4th Reich. Reichs are run by Germans by definition. So suck it up. BTW, what percentage of the Estonian army is tiblas?

Lingüista ütles ...

From what I've heard, the tiblas in the Estonian army would rather serve there than in Tibladistan... they do some strange things with new recruits there.

4th Reich, eh? Yeah, sounds like something from the 3rd Rome. It's a good thing WWII was mostly between Russians and Germans -- I sometimes think these two deserve each other.

Lingüista ütles ...

So the other problems with Nord Stream are (a) ecological risks and (b) more Russian presence in the Baltic Sea?

Well, (a) can be fought legally -- all it would take is for ecological organizations to monitor Nord Stream as it is built, and check whether or not the way it is built poses ecological threats. Considering (b), I suppose many if not all NATO governments would actually support such monitoring and deal seriously with possible violations.

As for (b) itself... well, in principle, the Russians can increase their presence in the Baltic sea any time they want -- say, as a response to NATO flights over the Baltics, or to protect themselves from 'potential enemy elements' from the Baltic countries, or from a Pokemon invasion, or whatever. If a piece of the Baltic sea is actually Russian territorial waters, who can in principle prevent their deploying more forces there? And they might conceivably have the effect of leading to more harmony between NATO members in their Russia policy...

As for Nord Stream being a dirty deal between Putin and Schröder: well, maybe. But if Germans weren't benefitting from it, it wouldn't go far. I think there simply are many Germans who are happy to find an easy solution for their gas problems. Oh, they should be looking for better energy sources, and I'm sure many of them are actually doing that, but getting gas delivered from Russia is an easier way of solving the problem, and who doesn't like that, even when it might conceivably not be in one's best interest in the long run?

In other words: it's all quite human.

mmailiis ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
So? ütles ...

From what I've heard, the tiblas in the Estonian army would rather serve there than in Tibladistan.

Israel without total conscription and Arabs over-represented in the IDF. Yeah, that'll work.

stockholm slender ütles ...

I'm bit tired of defending Paasikivi (absolutely) and Kekkonen (mostly) - it's getting harder even Finland as the historical memory recedes, and we become like any other small Western country, a midget Belgium, a giant Luxembourg which were run over any which way during WW2. Well, Finland wasn't - we were not lucky enough to be occupied by the Anglo-Americans and were hugely lucky (but not only lucky) not to be occupied by dear Uncle Joe (as he was then known by the said Anglo-Americans). So, we had to make our own way. And Paasikivi did, and Kekkonen continued, and we stayed unoccupied, paid lots of lip service and busily integrated with the West. What would you have done us do? Declare war and march towards Leningrad? There is a clear continuum of policy from Ryti and Mannerheim to Paasikivi, Kekkonen and Koivisto. All patriotic Finns, all practicers of real politics. They didn't really serve us that badly, considering. Nimimerkki "The fourth Baltic state in the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty"

Brüno ütles ...

Another expat sharing his thoughts. This time in Latvia. I recommend.

http://thoughtsfromlatvia.blogspot.com/2009/11/ten-years-after-almost-earlier-essay.html

Sharon ütles ...

I know a guy who finds lobsters very intimidating. He has a thing about exoskeletons and claws. He gets nervous in aquariums, which is kind of amusing...

bunsen_lamp ütles ...

I know a lot of guys who love to eat lobsters and crayfish, but fail to appreciate my remarks that those are just extra large cockroaches. I wonder if cockroaches taste as good when boiled?

Rafael ütles ...

Just finished reading your book My Estonia. It was great to read another American's experience meeting and marrying and Esonian girl. Especially because we are both from NY. I was there for Christmas this year visiting family both my wife's and mine. Great having all that snow. Nice to see this blog so I can get updates. Keep it up!

Pilland ütles ...

Greatest indeed!
Hello from an Estonian living in Italy

Lingüista ütles ...

Israel without total conscription and Arabs over-represented in the IDF. Yeah, that'll work.
It sure has, hasn't it? Except the Arabs, unlike the tiblas, don't really like the IDF.

Lingüista ütles ...

Stockholm slender, it's interesting how Putin's government makes everybody turns their eyes to the Winter War and its consequences. I don't think you have to explain Paasikivi and Kekkonen -- they did what they thought was best, and history has justified (vindicated?) them.

Aside from Schröder, what do the Germans think about the deal? Last I googled, they seemed to be pretty much in favor of it, claiming people are exaggerating the ecological and political impact of the deal with the Russians. I think more depends from German public opinion than from Schröder's deals, shady or otherwise.

So? ütles ...

The tiblas may be OK with shooting ragheads in Bumfukistan, but other tiblas? Not so sure.

Lingüista ütles ...

The tiblas have a long, long history of fighting and killing other tiblas. They even let a guy from Bumfukistan come to Tibladistan to become king and tell them to kill tiblas by the million. I'm sure they haven't forgotten how.

So? ütles ...

Never heard about this king. Do tell more, I'm all ears.

Lingüista ütles ...

Dzhugashvili I.

So? ütles ...

Dzhugashvili.
A great leader.

Martin ütles ...

Lingüista ütles...

Aside from Schröder, what do the Germans think about the deal?


Interesting question. I'm still scratching my head wondering why Germans are happy to spend a couple of billion Euros extra to put it under the sea rather than the shorter overland route via the Baltic countries and Poland. Unlike Ukraine, these countries are a part of the EU.

Perhaps this financial angle should have been highlighted, i.e. consumers will pay XX less in their gas bill if the pipe goes overland, rather than the security aspect which sounds a bit paranoid to West European ears.

So? ütles ...

A second Druzhba branch was offered to Poland in 2002. They refused this "encroachment on their sovereignty". Thus, Nord Stream, less one capricious Atlantist middleman.

Tymen Ferron ütles ...

Interesting question. I'm still scratching my head wondering why Germans are happy to spend a couple of billion Euros extra to put it under the sea rather than the shorter overland route via the Baltic countries and Poland. Unlike Ukraine, these countries are a part of the EU.

Relations between the Baltic states and Russia are not good and may deteriorate even more in the future. Maybe the German government wants to take all measures necessary to avoid problems (even if the risk is very small) with the delivery of gas due to the problems between Russia and its neighbours.

Giustino ütles ...

Estonia didn't give them the permit because they happened to request it after their post-BS delegation to Tallinn told the sitting government they should resign. It was a highly contextual decision. That the Russians couldn't convince the Estonian elite that it was in their interest is the Russians' own fault.

Brüno ütles ...

What permit? To let the toru go over Estonian land? I do not remember Russians even considering it, let alone asking if estonians were interested.

Did they really ask? If they did and Estonians said no, then it was a stupid decision in my view.

A.R.G ütles ...

Martin wrote:
"Interesting question. I'm still scratching my head wondering why Germans are happy to spend a couple of billion Euros extra to put it under the sea rather than the shorter overland route via the Baltic countries and Poland. Unlike Ukraine, these countries are a part of the EU.
Perhaps this financial angle should have been highlighted, i.e. consumers will pay XX less in their gas bill if the pipe goes overland, rather than the security aspect which sounds a bit paranoid to West European ears."

Actually building this pipeline is underwater will be cheaper in long term (than land based) Can you guess why? NO HUGE transfer fees (to Polond, Ukraine, etc)
Right now Poland get about 500 million dollars worth of free gas from Russia. Obviously Poles do not want to lose such sweetheart deal

Lingüista ütles ...

So?: "Dzhugashvili.
A great leader."

And a great tibla-killer. The greatest ever, actually.

Lingüista ütles ...

A.R.G., that would be cheaper in the long term? I'm not sure that the voters are thinking in such long terms. If someone said to them, you're going to pay XX Euros less for gas for the next ten years, this person would get support.

So indeed, someone should do the math and find out if gas would end up costing more (in the long vs. in the short run) for German voters with Nord Stream or without it. I had thought that obviously Nord Stream would make it cheaper (which is why the arguments against it were based on security), but now this is no longer clear.

A.R.G ütles ...

Bruno wrote;
"What permit? To let the toru go over Estonian land? I do not remember Russians even considering it, let alone asking if estonians were interested.
Did they really ask? If they did and Estonians said no, then it was a stupid decision in my view."

No, Russians didn't ask, didn't even considered! Always wanted to build it underwater.

A.R.G ütles ...

Ling�ista,
There have been studies about cost of building land based pipeline vs underwater one, I couldn't find them. I suppose it could be close money-wise. But if you are Russia, do you wanna give Poland so much free gas for such long time? I mean Poland openly despises Russia.
And who cares about German voters, seems like they don't care about such fine details anyway. Germania wants direct links with Rossiya, Pol'sha is odd one out :) And Polyaki hate that.

A.R.G ütles ...

Cost of building this underwater pipeline is about 12 billion USD,
Land-based 4-5 billion USD.
Savings is about close to a billion dollars in non-fees a year. However underwater pipeline cost more to maintain, but still..., savings over 30 years span are substantial.

So? ütles ...

So?: "Dzhugashvili.
A great leader."

And a great tibla-killer. The greatest ever, actually.


Only if you believe Solzhenitsyn's excreta. No Stalin, no Russia. Period.

Lingüista ütles ...

The KGB archives show the truth. Ah, the purges, the kulaki..., the holodomor... the population transferences... where are your Volga Germans, your Volga Finns?...

I think you got the wrong guy: no Alexander Nevski, no Russia, is closer to the mark. Dzhugashvili? Trotski would have done just as well, if not better. He might even have killed more tiblas.

Lingüista ütles ...

A.R.G., but my original question (to which Stockholm Slender was replying) was why the Germans should want Nord Stream rather than a pipeline through Poland and the Baltic States. Of course Russia doesn't want it, for the reasons you mention, but why doesn't Germany? Since the argument against Nord Stream is usually framed as security issues, I thought that Nord Stream was cheaper, but Stockholm Slender said maybe it isn't cheaper, maybe it would be cheaper to send the gas via Poland. Your numbers suggest that at first the land-based option would be cheaper, and that might attract the German voters -- paying less always attracts people. It's a good question how the savings over 30 years would affect the German voters.

It's not simply 'Germania loves Rosiya', A.R.G. Germany is very dependent on what the voters think -- they have a strong democracy there. If the politicians thought the voters were all against it, they wouldn't do it -- they'd lose the next elections.

As far as I can see the Russkie like the Polyaki just as much as vice-versa. I don't know who is doing the worse thing here. And the Polyaki do have a few important points to make -- Molotov-Ribbentrop, Katyn, the siege of Warsaw... The Russkie need to consider other people's viewpoints and stop seeing history only in terms of 'we're always good, and if you disagree on some specific historical fact, you're just bad!'

Lingüista ütles ...

So?,

by the way, didn't the current tsar suggest that Solzhenitsyn's excreta be made obligatory reading at school? Looks like he likes the smell...

So? ütles ...

The KGB archives show the truth. Ah, the purges, the

100 million, no doubt. BTW, all revolutions culminate in the purges of revolutionaries, since they're only good at making revolutions.

kulaki..., the holodomor... the population transferences... where are your Volga Germans, your Volga Finns?...

Before 1932, there was a famine in Russia every decade. There's not been one since. Illiterate peasants with wooden ploughs don't generate much surplus, you see.

I think you got the wrong guy: no Alexander Nevski, no Russia, is closer to the mark.

Before Stalin, Nevski was just another run-of-the-mill historical figure. Ironic, isn't it?

Dzhugashvili? Trotski would have done just as well, if not better. He might even have killed more tiblas.

Trotski was a megalomaniac. I'm mystified by his popularity amongst the Western "intellectuals". His permanent revolution would've buried Russia for certain. In that respect he may have been better for Estonia, if it managed to survive the fallout of Russia's defeat.

So? ütles ...

So?,

by the way, didn't the current tsar suggest that Solzhenitsyn's excreta be made obligatory reading at school? Looks like he likes the smell...


Pity the children.

So? ütles ...

The Russkie need to consider other people's viewpoints and stop seeing history only in terms of 'we're always good, and if you disagree on some specific historical fact, you're just bad!

Great advice. Applicable to everyone.

stockholm slender ütles ...

No Stalin, no Russia? Well, one wonders - who re-armed Weimar Germany, who ordered the German Communists to stab the Social Democrats ("social fascists") in the back, who let Adolf to attack Poland and the West in peace, who concentrated the Russian military to Western borders in 1941 (not to attack, but to be ready to exploit developments in the war) and then disbelieved all manner of warnings about Barbadossa causing the country nearly to collapse, who would not emerge from hiding and depression only after some weeks and asked from the Politbyro if they came to hang him? (And of course, who murdered millions of innocent, patriotic Russians?)

Of course after those first weeks of Barbarossa he proved that brutal slaughterers of millions of innocent people can be quite effective war time leaders. That's what Hitler proved too, up to 1942, so maybe it's not that much said.

So? ütles ...

No Stalin, no Russia? Well, one wonders - who re-armed Weimar Germany,

The Germans did.

who ordered the German Communists to stab the Social Democrats ("social fascists") in the back,

Agitating and shit-stirring was Trotsky's modus operandi, not Stalin's.

who let Adolf to attack Poland and the West in peace, who concentrated the Russian military to Western borders in 1941 (not to attack, but to be ready to exploit developments in the war) and then disbelieved all manner of warnings about Barbadossa causing the country nearly to collapse, who would not emerge from hiding and depression only after some weeks and asked from the Politbyro if they came to hang him?

No Stalin, no industrialization, no army. You have to apply Lingüista's most excellent advice. Put yourself in the shoes of Soviet leaders. You still have fresh memories of the ass whooping royale you got from Germany. (Austrians get themselves in trouble, the Germans send a single division over to the East and proceed to bitch slap 10 Russian divisions). You wake at night screaming, your pyjamas soiled. In fact, your rear end is still sore. The last thing you will do is give the Krauts lip. This is something that everyone was doing in the 30s - channeling German agression elsewhere. The French and English had fewer excuses, since they had actually defeated Germany and were modern industrial nations, not wrecked with famines and civil wars.

(And of course, who murdered millions of innocent, patriotic Russians?)

Why not a 10s of millions, 100s of millions. Heck, 1 billion...

Blame it all on Stalin, cry me a river. He was not omnipotent. He did throw the old revolutionaries down the meat grinder that they themselves created. For that we should all be thankful.


Of course after those first weeks of Barbarossa he proved that brutal slaughterers of millions of innocent people can be quite effective war time leaders. That's what Hitler proved too, up to 1942, so maybe it's not that much said.

Hitler proved nothing. He took over an advanced industrialized country. Post-revolutionary Russia was an even bigger bunghole than it was before the revolution.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Oh well, I somehow thought that facts would not exactly stop you. And what is it with bodily functions and Stalinism - you sound like the 1930's Pravda with your language. Of course, there were any number of ways Russia could have easily contained Germany, if it didn't have the most insane of the insane systems of government. It even could have done it in the summer of 1939 with the British guarantee to Poland that no British government could have walked back. Instead dear Uncle Joe gave a blank cheque to his dear friend, and did not believe that darling Adolf attacked even after the first troops crossed the border. Stalin was simply the price to pay, well, for Stalin. It is a great that such a great nation cannot purge this trauma from it's collective consciousness. But as long as it can't, Russia will remain small no matter the size of the army or gas production...

I think it would do you good to read the following post:

Stalin's willing executioners

So? ütles ...

Now put yourself in Germany's shoes. You were denied victory in 1918 in the East. A huge bounty attained with a fraction of the effort expended in the West. A rerun was inevitable. Germany was not containable. The West did all they could to channel the Germans East.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, that guarantee to Poland was certainly a huge green light for the march to East... Surely Chamberlain had hoped for that outcome, but his hands were tied by then, and no British government could have walked back from the promise. Nevertheless, Stalin wasn't the only one responsible for the collapse of the talks, but he does have the lion's share of the blame. One presumes that he thought that the West (England and France backed by American capital) was a far worse enemy than Germany, and hoped to get a conflict between Germany and the West, after which he could easily pick gains in eastern and middle Europe. (The Red Army was not concentrated close to the Western borders just for fun, though it would have never iniatiated hostilities that year.) So, Stalin did make actually huge mistakes of judgement and was one of the main outside influences helping the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, but he did learn from his mistakes - the only thing that separates him from that other mass murderer, Hitler.

So? ütles ...

Everyone was looking out for number one. WRT Stalin = Hitler, I disagree.

Lingüista ütles ...

So?,

100 million, no doubt. BTW, all revolutions culminate in the purges of revolutionaries, since they're only good at making revolutions.
Could be. And how is your comment on purges supposed to justify them? It's tiblas killing tiblas, ad nauseam.

Before 1932, there was a famine in Russia every decade. There's not been one since. Illiterate peasants with wooden ploughs don't generate much surplus, you see.
Which is supposed to justify the orders to starve Ukrainians (+ tiblas) to death by confiscating their grain?

Before Stalin, Nevski was just another run-of-the-mill historical figure. Ironic, isn't it?
No Nevski and the Teutonic Knights win, and instead of Russia we'd have a fourth Baltic state, or then an arrested kingdom, like Kievan Rus. Probably tiblas would just live in a province of Poland-Lithuania. You find this ironic? :-)

Trotski was a megalomaniac.
Which is why I say he would have been as good as Dzhugashvili, who also was one.

His permanent revolution would've buried Russia for certain.
The International didn't; it allowed fifth-collumn presence and faithful followers in many Western countries. Trostki would have done the same as soon as he saw what power really implied, and what he really had to do to keep it.

In that respect he may have been better for Estonia, if it managed to survive the fallout of Russia's defeat.
Sorry, but Dzhugashvili wasn't the only guy who could have led Tibladistan -- Trostki's response to Hitler would have been similar, and other people (evel the never-tsar Mikhail) would have been just as groznyi as Dzhugashvili himself. In fact, there's an argument to be made about the tiblas having saved themselves despite, not because of, uncle Dzhuga.

Pity the children.
Oh, don't -- excreta are organic, they're much better than plastic history made up for political purposes. Plastic isn't biodegradable, and it destroys your (mental) health much more quickly. Excreta at least, being organic, carry a contact with reality -- which is why archaeologists and palaeontologists are always happy to find excreta.

Great advice. [on considering other people's viewpoint on history] Applicable to everyone.
I fully agree. Now just tell the tiblas...

who re-armed Weimar Germany,

The Germans did.


No, you're thinking of post-Weimar Nazis.

Agitating and shit-stirring was Trotsky's modus operandi, not Stalin's.
Ah, but in that period they were still sweet comrades, weren't they?

No Stalin, no industrialization, no army.
I disagree. Lenin wanted it, Trotski would have gone for it too. The ideals of Communism demanded it ('to go beyond an agrarian society'). Any of these leaders would have given industrialization a priority. Same thing for the army, since all of them were damn paranoid (and with some good reasons) about invasions from the capitalist West. When pretty much everybody had the same priorities, here's no a priori reason to suppose Uncle Dzhuga was the only guy who could have done that -- and there's a lot of reasons to think that it could have been done a lot better with other methods.

Lingüista ütles ...

So?,

100 million, no doubt. BTW, all revolutions culminate in the purges of revolutionaries, since they're only good at making revolutions.
Could be. And how is your comment on purges supposed to justify them? It's tiblas killing tiblas, ad nauseam.

Before 1932, there was a famine in Russia every decade. There's not been one since. Illiterate peasants with wooden ploughs don't generate much surplus, you see.
Which is supposed to justify the orders to starve Ukrainians (+ tiblas) to death by confiscating their grain?

Before Stalin, Nevski was just another run-of-the-mill historical figure. Ironic, isn't it?
No Nevski and the Teutonic Knights win, and instead of Russia we'd have a fourth Baltic state, or then an arrested kingdom, like Kievan Rus. Probably tiblas would just live in a province of Poland-Lithuania. You find this ironic? :-)

Trotski was a megalomaniac.
Which is why I say he would have been as good as Dzhugashvili, who also was one.

His permanent revolution would've buried Russia for certain.
The International didn't; it allowed fifth-collumn presence and faithful followers in many Western countries. Trostki would have done the same as soon as he saw what power really implied, and what he really had to do to keep it.

In that respect he may have been better for Estonia, if it managed to survive the fallout of Russia's defeat.
Sorry, but Dzhugashvili wasn't the only guy who could have led Tibladistan -- Trostki's response to Hitler would have been similar, and other people (evel the never-tsar Mikhail) would have been just as groznyi as Dzhugashvili himself. In fact, there's an argument to be made about the tiblas having saved themselves despite, not because of, uncle Dzhuga.

Pity the children.
Oh, don't -- excreta are organic, they're much better than plastic history made up for political purposes. Plastic isn't biodegradable, and it destroys your (mental) health much more quickly. Excreta at least, being organic, carry a contact with reality -- which is why archaeologists and palaeontologists are always happy to find excreta.

Great advice. [on considering other people's viewpoint on history] Applicable to everyone.
I fully agree. Now just tell the tiblas...

who re-armed Weimar Germany,

The Germans did.


No, you're thinking of post-Weimar Nazis.

Agitating and shit-stirring was Trotsky's modus operandi, not Stalin's.
Ah, but in that period they were still sweet comrades, weren't they?

No Stalin, no industrialization, no army.
I disagree. Lenin wanted it, Trotski would have gone for it too. The ideals of Communism demanded it ('to go beyond an agrarian society'). Any of these leaders would have given industrialization a priority. Same thing for the army, since all of them were damn paranoid (and with some good reasons) about invasions from the capitalist West. When pretty much everybody had the same priorities, here's no a priori reason to suppose Uncle Dzhuga was the only guy who could have done that -- and there's a lot of reasons to think that it could have been done a lot better with other methods.

Lingüista ütles ...

So?,

This is something that everyone was doing in the 30s - channeling German agression elsewhere.
Except that when Uncle Dzhuga game to power, he actually started a love-hate relation with the boches -- just as Hitler admired Dzhuga's panache in having all those show trials conducted, Dzhuga quite admired Hitler's rhetorical style. He was honestly surprised by the invasion of Russia -- he thought he could wait for Hitler and the Western Powers to weaken each other and then take advantage of the situation (the problem of the level of inexperience of Red Army officers -- the good ones went down with the purges -- would have been slowly solved in the meantime). But, like everybody else in the '30s, he was surprised by Hitler actually doing what he kept saying he would do.

Why not a 10s of millions, 100s of millions. Heck, 1 billion...

Tens of millions is OK; the other two would be exaggerations. Who would want to do that?

Blame it all on Stalin, cry me a river. He was not omnipotent. He did throw the old revolutionaries down the meat grinder that they themselves created. For that we should all be thankful.
If it had only been the old revolutionaries!... But, as in the French revolution, the meat grinder started taking down more and more people that had nothing to do with the old revolutionaries -- the kulaki, the pseudo-"Finno-Ugric-conspiracy" that led to the killing of intellectuals in the minority, etc... Conspiracies everywhere! Enemies of the people everywhere! Troikas boldly going where no three-member Mafia had ever gone before! Whole nations relocated, don't mind the soaring death rates for the transportation or those who wanted to avoid the order! Where are the Volga Finns? The Veps? The Votes? Koreans and Tatars in Kazakhstan... both of course angry bad groups of 'old revolutionaries'... The Sovnarkom bent over as an instrument for subduing minorities rather than helping them...

Hitler proved nothing. He took over an advanced industrialized country. Post-revolutionary Russia was an even bigger bunghole than it was before the revolution.
Oh, Hitler proved a lot. True, Uncle Dzhuga introduced mass-murder-as-politics before, but still Hitler was the first one to use it to get out of the moral bunghole that a defeated, partially occupied country with the Treaty of Versailles on its back had become -- remember their inflation rates? Hitler showed how a big central state can 'bring order', 'put people to work', 'destroy the enemies' (in his case, Jews and Communists) and go back to being an important country. He was the Futurists' dream come true.

Dzhuga destroyed the most experienced elements in the Red Army, preparing a fiasco for the Winter War (who'd have thunk of using soldiers from southern Ukraine against the Finns in one of their worst winters -- just because he was afraid that local tiblas would somehow have bonded with the Finns?...).

Tibladistan beat Napoleon without Dzhuga. Hitler wouldn't have won this war even if Dzhuga had decided to stay in the seminar and work on a new translation of the Old Testament into his native Georgian. Hell, maybe Dzhuga is the reason why Hitler got so close to Moscow.

Lingüista ütles ...

Now put yourself in Germany's shoes. You were denied victory in 1918 in the East. A huge bounty attained with a fraction of the effort expended in the West. A rerun was inevitable. Germany was not containable. The West did all they could to channel the Germans East.
Sure -- but the point is uncle Dzhuga actually made things easier for his buddy Hitler. Ah, if only li'l Adolf hadn't been so stupid and had actually supported the anti-Commies in Ukraine, Belarus and Eastern Russia, instead of treating them like pigs! If li'l Hitler had listened to his generals, Vlasov would have been only a tiny drop in the middle of a big ocean of anti-Moscow, anti-Commie armies with pure-blood tiblas fighting for Germany. And that, regardless of whatever plans Li'l Adolf actually had for the Slavs.

Hitler was defeated as much by his own idiocy as by the tiblas.

Lingüista ütles ...

Everyone was looking out for number one. WRT Stalin = Hitler, I disagree.
Sure, and they've always been. The point is how low they would go while looking out for number one. Dzhuga and Li'l Adolf are the only ones at the time who went as far as using planned, detailed mass murders for political purposes (plus occupying neighboring countries). All the others refrained from that. Ergo, Dzhuga and Li'l Adolf are comparable.

So? ütles ...


100 million, no doubt. BTW, all revolutions culminate in the purges of revolutionaries, since they're only good at making revolutions.
Could be. And how is your comment on purges supposed to justify them? It's tiblas killing tiblas, ad nauseam.

OK, make it 1 billion. With Stalin personally devouring 10 million babies.


Before 1932, there was a famine in Russia every decade. There's not been one since. Illiterate peasants with wooden ploughs don't generate much surplus, you see.
Which is supposed to justify the orders to starve Ukrainians (+ tiblas) to death by confiscating their grain?

There was famine throughout the whole south. Zero surplus. To feed 10, you need 9 to labour in the field. Doesn't work in the long term.

No Nevski and the Teutonic Knights win, and instead of Russia we'd have a fourth Baltic state, or then an arrested kingdom, like Kievan Rus. Probably tiblas would just live in a province of Poland-Lithuania. You find this ironic? :-)

People are rewriting 100 year-old history, let alone ancient history. We have no idea what happened in that backwater 800 years ago. You are merely speculating. A stream of ifs multiplied by coulda woulda shouldas. For all we know there were 20 guys fighting another 20 guys. Before Stalin and Eisenstein, no-one cared.


Trotski was a megalomaniac.
Which is why I say he would have been as good as Dzhugashvili, who also was one.

Stalin was a realist. There's not one shred of evidence that he was bent on world domination. He was primarily concerned with the survival of the Soviet state, because he knew exactly how weak Russa was.


His permanent revolution would've buried Russia for certain.
The International didn't; it allowed fifth-collumn presence and faithful followers in many Western countries. Trostki would have done the same as soon as he saw what power really implied, and what he really had to do to keep it.

Stalin was cautious almost to a fault.


Sorry, but Dzhugashvili wasn't the only guy who could have led Tibladistan -- Trostki's response to Hitler would have been similar, and other people (evel the never-tsar Mikhail) would have been just as groznyi as Dzhugashvili himself. In fact, there's an argument to be made about the tiblas having saved themselves despite, not because of, uncle Dzhuga.

That's a myth. Trotski was a great demagogue, a charismatic revolutionary. But agitation and recruitment of ragtag cavalry is somewhat different task to what Stalin had to do - industrialization in a matter of a decade.


Pity the children.
Oh, don't -- excreta are organic, they're much better than plastic history made up for political purposes. Plastic isn't biodegradable, and it destroys your (mental) health much more quickly. Excreta at least, being organic, carry a contact with reality -- which is why archaeologists and palaeontologists are always happy to find excreta.

Now, now, you're stretching the analogy too far. Solzhenitsyn was a graphomaniac with delusions of grandeur. His prose is turgid. BTW, what high school history is not made up for political purposes?


Great advice. [on considering other people's viewpoint on history] Applicable to everyone.
I fully agree. Now just tell the tiblas...

Lead by example.


who re-armed Weimar Germany,

The Germans did.

No, you're thinking of post-Weimar Nazis.

They are the same ones.


Agitating and shit-stirring was Trotsky's modus operandi, not Stalin's.
Ah, but in that period they were still sweet comrades, weren't they?

Were they?

e's a lot of reasons to think that it could have been done a lot better with other methods.

(In that timeframe, with those resources?) That's what I used to think. But wishful thinking is wishful thinking. The old revolutionaries were idealists. Some were stark-raving mad. They had to go.

So? ütles ...


This is something that everyone was doing in the 30s - channeling German agression elsewhere.
Except that when Uncle Dzhuga game to power, he actually started a love-hate relation with the boches -- just as Hitler admired Dzhuga's panache in having all those show trials conducted, Dzhuga quite admired Hitler's rhetorical style.

Conjecture. People like to make connections and inferences where none are warranted. Helps pass the time, publish books, etc..

He was honestly surprised by the invasion of Russia -- he thought he could wait for Hitler and the Western Powers to weaken each other and then take advantage of the situation (the problem of the level of inexperience of Red Army officers -- the good ones went down with the purges -- would have been slowly solved in the meantime).
But, like everybody else in the '30s, he was surprised by Hitler actually doing what he kept saying he would do.

War with Germany was a historical inevitability, regardless of who was at the helm. Hitler's opportunism was the big surprise, yes.


Why not a 10s of millions, 100s of millions. Heck, 1 billion...

Tens of millions is OK; the other two would be exaggerations. Who would want to do that?

All equally absurd.


If it had only been the old revolutionaries!... But, as in the French revolution, the meat grinder started taking down more and more people that had nothing to do with the old revolutionaries -- the kulaki, the pseudo-"Finno-Ugric-conspiracy" that led to the killing of intellectuals in the minority, etc... Conspiracies everywhere! Enemies of the people everywhere! Troikas boldly going where no three-member Mafia had ever gone before! Whole nations relocated, don't mind the soaring death rates for the transportation or those who wanted to avoid the order! Where are the Volga Finns? The Veps? The Votes? Koreans and Tatars in Kazakhstan... both of course angry bad groups of 'old revolutionaries'... The Sovnarkom bent over as an instrument for subduing minorities rather than helping them...

The old guard started the grinder and were the last ones in. What happened later was chump change in comparison.


Oh, Hitler proved a lot. True, Uncle Dzhuga introduced mass-murder-as-politics before, but still Hitler was the first one to use it to get out of the moral bunghole that a defeated, partially occupied country with the Treaty of Versailles on its back had become -- remember their inflation rates? Hitler showed how a big central state can 'bring order', 'put people to work', 'destroy the enemies' (in his case, Jews and Communists) and go back to being an important country. He was the Futurists' dream come true.

Germany was already recovering before Hitler came to power. The hyperinflation wiped out the value of the reparations. Germany was already an industrialised country, an absolute world leader in science. Hitler screwed it all up. No similarity with Soviet Russia whatsoever.


Dzhuga destroyed the most experienced elements in the Red Army, preparing a fiasco for the Winter War (who'd have thunk of using soldiers from southern Ukraine against the Finns in one of their worst winters -- just because he was afraid that local tiblas would somehow have bonded with the Finns?...).

Tuchachevsky was a talentless self-promoter. He totally screwed up the army reform. BTW, did Stalin destroy the French and British officer corps too? Because they didn't do very well against the Germans either.


Tibladistan beat Napoleon without Dzhuga.

What if the Russians had no firearms. Would they still have won?


Hitler wouldn't have won this war even if Dzhuga had decided to stay in the seminar and work on a new translation of the Old Testament into his native Georgian. Hell, maybe Dzhuga is the reason why Hitler got so close to Moscow.

Napoleon did not have the internal combustion engine.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, in the shared empirical reality (which in no sense is Western but universal) it is an established fact that the victims do run into millions, more likely there were over than under 10 million, but that's really not the point. Stalin and Hitler were in exactly the same class of wholesale slaughterers of whole categories of people. Then German and Russian nationalists (those unsqueamish enough) can argue about their supposed (read imaginary) benefits to both nations. These are the documented facts and - sorry to rain on anyone's May Day parade - they are not disputed where serious, non-partisan scholarship is respected.

Brüno ütles ...

Is this the beginning? http://www.tartupostimees.ee/?id=212320

Lingüista ütles ...

So?,

OK, make it 1 billion. With Stalin personally devouring 10 million babies.
But, So?, that would be wrong -- I'd have to succumb to propaganda efforts. Why should I do that? :-)

There was famine throughout the whole south. Zero surplus. To feed 10, you need 9 to labour in the field. Doesn't work in the long term.
Sure, but that doesn't explain orders to remove all the grains and take them elsewhere without ever sending anything back to the regions in question. Again, let's open the KGB archives!... (The best defense the tiblas came up with, as I recall, was that the orders weren't specifically anti-Ukrainian; all the country was similarly chastised with orders destined to make the natural catastrophe of a famine even worse than it already was. Good shot indeed...)

We have no idea what happened in that backwater 800 years ago. You are merely speculating. A stream of ifs multiplied by coulda woulda shouldas. For all we know there were 20 guys fighting another 20 guys.
Check the archives of the Teutonic knights -- because they won in the Baltics (except Lithuania), these actually survived. Doesn't runivers.ru also have some good old sources for that period?

Speculation, history, speculation... you claim Dzhuga was the only superguy available to the Russians, I claim there were others. Isn't that speculation too? How different is that from wondering how the tiblas would have escaped the fate of the Estonians and Latvians if the Teutonic Knights had had their day?

Stalin was a realist. There's not one shred of evidence that he was bent on world domination. He was primarily concerned with the survival of the Soviet state, because he knew exactly how weak Russa was.
A realist who destroyed Russian officialdom right before engaging in a war against the Finns with troups from the South? Sounds closer to paranoia to me. Oh, he didn't want world domination -- and neither did Hitler, in practical terms (conquering the world would be too difficult for him, too; he knew he'd die with only Eurasia in his pocket even in the best-case scenario). Stalin did continue with the idea that communism was for the whole world -- the tiblas just had to wait a little longer, and the rotten Capitalist apples would all fall into their baskets. Anyway, who can doubt Stalin's megalomania when looking at all the self-aggrandizing stuff -- the cult that Khrushchev was angry about? No tsar could have done better.

Lingüista ütles ...

Stalin was cautious almost to a fault.
So?

Trotski was a great demagogue, a charismatic revolutionary. But agitation and recruitment of ragtag cavalry is somewhat different task to what Stalin had to do - industrialization in a matter of a decade.
Well, there's no way to know that now other than speculating, is there? I maintain Lenin, Trotski, Mikhail, etc. would have been able to do the same. You think Trotski was a demagogue, but you never saw him as the Big Leader. If he had been there instead, you might now be here telling me that Dzhuga was just a silent and rather dull guy without any rhetoric skills who never really made any difference anyway -- a little footnote to the history of Russian communism.

BTW, what high school history is not made up for political purposes?
None, but there are degrees. The differences between British and American highschool books on the topic of e.g. the American Revolution are not as the differences one sees between Russian and Polish books with respect to the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and the ensuing periode. (What I recall from the books I saw in my daughter's Russian school was how impressed I was to see a big color photo of the current tsar as the first page of a national history book for the equivalent of sixth-graders -- how... patriotic...)

Lead by example.
The tiblas aren't following.

(In that timeframe, with those resources?) That's what I used to think. But wishful thinking is wishful thinking. The old revolutionaries were idealists. Some were stark-raving mad. They had to go.
Yep. And I'm not necessarily talking 'methods': if what Dzhuga did were the only possibility, others would see it too.

Conjecture. People like to make connections and inferences where none are warranted. Helps pass the time, publish books, etc..
Nope, there are actually documents about this, declarations by the Führer, etc. (Remember Speer saying how Hitler was delighted with the way Dzhuga conducted those big show trials?)

Lingüista ütles ...

War with Germany was a historical inevitability, regardless of who was at the helm. Hitler's opportunism was the big surprise, yes.
A 'surprise' that he had been announcing to the whole world would be part of his short-term policy as soon as he could get to it? Well, Dzhuga just didn't listen or didn't believe him. Just like everybody else. (I'm amazed at how people in those times quickly jumped to the conclusion that Hitler wasn't serious. I guess they assumed he looked too much like a delusional paranoid megalomaniac to actually be a delusional paranoid megalomaniac, he must be putting up some sort of game...)

All equally absurd.
Nope. There's research behind the numbers.

The old guard started the grinder and were the last ones in. What happened later was chump change in comparison.
And does that justify it? This is like saying that, if the Holocaust wasn't just Hitler's responsibility but also, say, Himmler's, or Heydrich's, then it wasn't "as bad"?... And remember Dzhuga was also part of the team; it's not as if he just stood by and watched, peacefully reading the Bible in his seminar robe, while the Old Guard went hysteric on all kinds of groups.

Germany was already recovering before Hitler came to power. The hyperinflation wiped out the value of the reparations. Germany was already an industrialised country, an absolute world leader in science. Hitler screwed it all up. No similarity with Soviet Russia whatsoever.
Hitler got all those votes because sufficiently many people didn't think that way. He's credited with getting everybody back to work--economy was one of his success stories. But hey, I'm not claiming that what Hitler did with German infrastructure was as radical was what happened in Russia; I'm saying they both used similar tactics (mass murders as political instruments, etc.) and proved that very similar totalitarian tyrannies actually could 'work'.

BTW, did Stalin destroy the French and British officer corps too? Because they didn't do very well against the Germans either.
Nobody is claiming that Dzhuga was single-handedly responsible for every single failure of every country against the Germs, So?. He was only responsible for the Russian ones. The other allies made their own stupid mistakes, too.

If the Germans had invaded at the time of the Winter War, there's no doubt they'd have come to Moscow; despite all Dzhuga's concern for and understanding of "how weak Russia was", he destroyed the capacity of the Red Army for independent thought and quick tactic/strategic response. Hell, he was lucky he tried to chastise the Finns first -- that must have come as a reality shock to him. (Didn't Hitler also think fighting the Russians would be a piece of cake just because of the Winter War fiasco? It indeed would have, if Hitler had invaded Russia right after Poland instead of turning against France and the Lower Lands. As it was, he almost got to Moscow...)

What if the Russians had no firearms. Would they still have won?
Probably not. But you seem to believe only Dzhuga could have been able to give them firearms -- which is precisely the point I dispute. Now, just imagine -- firearms ready, and no Red Army purge. Now that would have been a step forward, wouldn't it?

Napoleon did not have the internal combustion engine.
See above.
Besides, as I said, Hitler's failure to use the support that Dzhuga's policies had prepared for the Germans in Ukraine, Belarus and Eastern Russia was just a big a factor in his defeat as Russia's industrialization, the T-32, or the self-sacrifice of Russians (i.e. those who Dzhuga didn't scare into the Germans' arms). Gee, a little bit more equilibrium and less paranoia in the nationalities policy, and less bloodthirst against the kulaki, would have been such a great bonus for the Russian war effort!

Giustino ütles ...

Trotski was a megalomaniac. I'm mystified by his popularity amongst the Western "intellectuals".

Trotsy spoke English and lived in the West. Stalin didn't. Trotsky also died a very public Western death (there were photos of his cremation in LIFE magazine. It is easy to understand his celebrity (he was intelligent, charismatic).

Stalin? I think what happened to Lavrenti Beria following Stalin's death pretty much is indicative of that regime. Beria was convicted and executed for basically following Stalin's orders which, with Stalin dead, were now seen to be treasonous. This is an example of the lunacy of the Soviet system at its peak. And the American media covered that, too. Beria was on the cover of Time. The subhed? "Enemy of the People." I wonder how Americans reacted to that back then. The Soviet Union had been such a garbage dump of fuckedupness for more than three decades by that point. Such events continue to boggle the mind.

Jim Hass ütles ...

Communists seem to have endless abilities to fabulate. ere a greek communist explains away the Prague Spring and other rebellions of the era of occupation, because you know Stalinhad a heart of gold and didn't kill enough.


http://www.youtube.com/user/panosfidis#p/u/3/uz7wQhoZHJk

So? ütles ...

know Stalinhad a heart of gold and didn't kill enough.

Sounds about right. The Soviet Union was so humane that anti-Soviet veterans of every breed and color have popped up like mushrooms after 1991. Weren't they supposed to have perished in the Gulags, personally executed by Beria? After the carnage inflicted by Germany, they should have met the fate of Carthage, yet Berlin is still there.

Giustino ütles ...

The Soviet Union was so humane that anti-Soviet veterans of every breed and color have popped up like mushrooms after 1991.

You mean like Boris Yeltsin?

Sérgio Meira ütles ...

Interesting. You're saying that, since some survived, nothing bad happened?

There have been thousands of survivors of the Jewish Holocaust. Many are even still alive today. Does it follow the Holocaust didn't happen... or wasn't bad enough?

So?, what's the problem? I really don't understand.

Sérgio Meira ütles ...

So?, I see your basic thesis is Russia needed Stalin, and nobody but Stalin, with Stalin's methods, or else nothing would have happened.

I agree with Linguista above. There were others who could have done enough to save the Soviet Union, and without making Stalin's mistakes (purges of the Red Army, alienating the minorities because of e.g. Finno-Ugric paranoia, killing the kulaki, the Gulag, etc. etc. etc.)

Let's make a thought experiment. If Hitler had won the war, perhaps there would be a guy like you writing here that "Hitler had been necessary". The argument would go along these lines (if you don't agree with the details, don't let this blind the vision of the whole...):

"No Hitler, no Germany. It's that simple."

"Germany had been totally destroyed by WWI, and the Treaty of Versailles was keeping it down like a ton of garbage on a poor guy's back, destroying any advantage that having industry could give Germany. If we had just let the SDP go on... we'd still be paying those debts, while not having enough money to guarantee a decent life to German workers."

"Besides, Russia was looking at us. There's no two ways about it: the war with Russia was a historical inevitability. They would have never left us alone! Their very political philosophy (communism) would force them to help destabilize other countries, and from there to war, it's a small step. They had "communist agitators" in all countries -- hell, a Communist revolution almost succeeded in seizing the power in Bavaria! They had fifth columns working in every Western country! Do you think we could afford to just let the Russians increase their military potential? Do you think we didn't know what the Russians wanted to do with their Red Army?"

"So, my friend, maybe Hitler did kill a few people, but it was all necessary. He had to get the country up and running again! It had to be ready to meet the challenges of the time: the Western nations that had defeated it, and Russia, looming large and growing more and more aggressive! He had to do it! There simply was no other way! Besides, the stats about how many people he killed are exaggerated anyway. What? 6-12 million Jews? Well, why not 60, or 600? Yes, make it 1 billion. And also make him eat babies alive. Ah! It's so much fun to exaggerate, isn't it?"

"Believe me, my friend. We had no choice. A war was going to come, and we had to win it, because if we lost, there simply would be NO Germany. And Hitler was the only guy who had the guts and the instinct to do what needed to be done."

"Indeed. No Hitler, no Germany. No other option. Maybe he wasn't gentle, but we really didn't have a choice."

Bäckman ütles ...

All of this was discussed back in 1939 in the secret annexes to the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The annexes to the protocols concerned spin and future interpretation of history, including trademarks. We talk a lot about "evil" today, but it's a little known fact that both parties considered themselves neutral stewards of a troubled world. As we know, the secret protocols concerned how to divide up the spoils of Europe. But the secret protocols must be seen in the context of the secret annexes to the protocols, in which Hitler and Stalin foresaw that a perfectly balanced bipolar world would probably not last indefinitely. (In fact the word "spoils" in fact is derived from Hitler and Stalin's fervent belief but the world was a lost, fallen place, like a rotten apple that had to be redeemed.) The Balts, those perpetual meddlers extraordinaire, stood on the fault line, eager to upset the balance by disavowing both benevolent stewards Hitler and Stalin, and bringing about a cataclysmic series of events that would divide Europe into a northern Arctic-Finno-Nordic kingdom and a southern Lithuanian-Polish empire stretching to the Black Sea and which would never see eye to eye. Eager to spare Europe from such latitudinal division, Stalin and Hitler developed a contingency plan so that they would appear not to be just two sides of the same coin. Both men originally agreed that they would outperform each other at good-works and that Hitler would work on a cure for cancer and telepathy while Stalin would merely develop fusion power and various more minor accomplishments of a technical bent. Unfortunately lawyers got into the mix, followed by the odious foreign ministers Molotov and Ribbentrop, who played on Hitler and Stalin's vestigial insecurities by pointing out neither had much of a reputation for toughness outside their native country. Credit the lawyers for being bold: Hitler, Stalin they suggested, should have a public scrap to put the rest of the world on notice. It was decided that Hitler would stage a mock invasion of Russia and Stalin would get to claim a larger amount of casualties. In return, Hitler would go down in history as absolute evil. "Wait a second," said Hitler, "that doesn't sound like a very good deal." Hitler's lawyers however convinced him that everything was in order and that cancer and telepathy research would continue. Hitler's lawyers were eventually able to insert the provision that the entire system behind Stalin would be credited with a greater number of deaths worldwide. (Stalin's lawyers had already hammered out better distribution and marketing agreements for communist icons in third-party states, so they were actually unperturbed and could have conceded far more.) In any case, except for the machinations of their lawyers, neither Hitler or Stalin had anything up their sleeve, until it was already out of their hands. Then they were bound by contract.