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To: <H-HOAC@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2004 12:02 AM Re: "I believe Stalin and possibly Mao killed more Communists than did Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, the Indonesians of the mid-60s, Pinochet, the Argentine gorilas, etc. all together." I know as a fact that after all the secondary literature I've read on the subject -- and it's quite a lot -- that I couldn't start to come up with anything like a definitive number of "Communists" who were killed during the Ezhovshchina, just limiting things to that brief phase of the Stalin regime. I can say that the number of executions during the period has been pegged by current scholarship in the 900,000 ballpark and the camps in the period had an average population in ballpark of 2,000,000 -- a figure which includes both "urkas" and "KRs." Then we have camp attrition and camp influx to deal with, which were variables rather than constants. Then there was the fact that a massive number of deaths came through starvation during the first half of the war, as the camp inmates were low people on the rations totem pole. Was this actually "Stalin" killing the "Communists" who starved to death or "Stalin's system"? Then we have the fact that the camps were at their largest after the war, but the percentage of "Communists" was certainly a miniscule fraction of this total. A much lower mortality rate, etc. More math, every year is different. Not to mention the detail we are overlooking that the biggest, bloodiest episode of Soviet history wasn't either the Ezhovshchina or the post-war period, but collectivization and its aftermath. The number of peasants who died in this veritable civil war either through execution, premature death as a result of deportation, or starvation in the collectivization-aggravated famine of 1932-33 dwarfs the number of "Communists" killed in the Ezhovshchina and afterwards. Of course, the peasants so affected weren't intellectuals who survived and left memoirs, so these events rank lower than latter events in the consciousness of historians and polemical publicists. The math, just for the Soviet side of the equation, boggles. An enormous amount of archival work is involved. We are talking about multiple years, not weeks or months. That a single individual could master and tabulate these numbers for a variety of countries in a variety of times is a remarkable prospect. Incidentally, how are we defining "Communists"? Just party members or non-party true-believers as well? Do members of the Komsomol count? Are Communist Party members "expelled" before their arrest counted as "Communists"? Are those who were expelled from the CPSU for other reasons years or decades before counted as "Communists"? Certainly, as we all know, only a tiny fraction of those who were killed outright or died prematurely through vicious and unhealthful living conditions in the camps during the Stalin period were "Communists"... What is the moral rationale for separating and tabulating "Communist" deaths, other than the obvious polemic "touché"? Serious demographers of the USSR (and presumably for the other countries included in this big math question) have never made a point of separating and counting out "Communist" deaths. Have they been missing something? Tim Davenport Corvallis, OR P.S. I'll take a "faith-based" guess and say that something like 1,000,000 "Communists" were killed by the Soviet secret police apparatus during the entire duration of Stalin's watch, the enormous majority of these in the period 1937-1942 -- with "Communists" defined as those current party members, not Komsomol, who were expelled first, then immediately arrested, then interrogated, tried, and executed or sent to premature death in camps in the far east or north. (Actually, come to think of it, one could calculate the number of Communists so killed fairly accurately based on archival research of party membership rolls -- a couple dozen researchers in a year maybe, assuming they were being precise: computer data entry by name for the entire party membership and cross-checking the list over time). Mine is not a terrible guess, plus or minus 500,000.