BEWARE OF FORGERIES IN SOVIET ARCHIVES


    Recently a comrade asked the members of an e-List (International Struggle Marxist-Leninist -see web-page at:  http://www.ism-l.org.uk), whether they thought an article on the web-site - purporting to be the speech of Stalin - could possibly have been a forgery. This comrade found it inconsistent with what was known of the situation (See Item 1 below).
    Item 2 below shows that text purporting to be from Stalin.
    Item 3 is a reply from a Turkish comrade, who agreed that it was likely to be a forgery.
    Item 4 consists of extracts from previous issues of Alliance, pointing out the problems involved in assessing the evidence from the Archives and from the web. The argument is made that such assessments should not be made in blind faith.
 
    These items are of interest to comrades who are coming to grips with the explosion of materials being released under the license - offered by the Government of the now openly capitalist state of what was once the USSR - to "bona fide" academics of their choice. Many of these academics work in the USA.
    We cannot prove that the item is a forgery. But as items 1 & 3 explain, the materials contained are at such variance with the known facts that this must be considered as highly probable.
    A general point is to be made: That is that irrespective of what texts are used to buttress an arguemtn - and from whomever they emanate - it is mandatory that Marxist-Leninists scrutinise the total evidence and come to an independent conclusion on the question being considered. That is to say, it is not adequate to say "Cmde X said so!"
    We agree with Marx, who quoted Dante's Inferno, as a witness of his qualified trust of historians & economists, or better a critical distrust - of all self-annointed 'authoritative" sources. Marx:: (1) TEXT OF QUERY RAISED REGARDING "STALIN'S SPEECH":
Message 3317 From: "JT" Date: Wed Jul 3, 2002; Subject: [ISML] "Stalin's speech", 1939 or 1989? "As experience of the last 20 years shows, in peaceful times it is not possible to have Communist action, strong to such an extent that the Bolshevik party can seize power. The success of this party becomes possible only as a result of a large war". This looks like being copied from some of those bourgeois "What is Communism all about?" schoolbooks! (There is more of this to be found in the text, for example "sovietization of Germany").
Here's the address:
http://www.battlefield.ru/library/archives/speeches/speech1.html
I ask comrades to read this text and say their opinions. I think the text is a cruel falsification and is created for disinformation purposes.
JT
_______________________________________________________________________
(2) TEXT PURPORTED TO BE: "STALIN'S SPEECH AT A MEETING OF THE POLITBURO CENTRAL COMMITTEE, ON THE 19TH OF AUGUST, 1939"
    Taken from  a page of the web-site "Russian Battleground" at:   http://www.battlefield.ru/ ______________________________________________________________________
(3) A REPLY FROM A TURKISH COMRADE, CONCERNING THIS ABOVE TEXT
(4) PREVIOUS ALLIANCE COMMENTS ON THE ARCHIVAL DATA:
 i) REPRINT FROM ALLIANCE 7 FIRST PUBLISHED TORONTO June 1994.
A BRIEF BOOK REVIEW : "Stalinist Terror, New Perspectives."
Edited by J.Arch Getty and Roberta T. Manning. Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-521-44125-0 Hardback or 0-521-44670-8 Paperback. Cost : $24.15 paperback in Canada.

    This book has considerable interest; it presents rare data of interest, and also shows a changing wind in academia. The usual wind is: Stalin was nasty & cruel; alternatively stupid, or bright and devious; who was not responsible for good things like the Soviet conduct of the War; who...etc.
    Ultimately the truth will out.
    The mythology built up around Stalin is rarely challenged. Even Marxist-Leninists often accept premises of Trotsky. That is to say, Marxist-Leninists with courage to defend Stalin; often set out from positions stated by Trotsky.
    Thus the standard defence of the Purges. Trotsky says : Stalin master-minded them and controlled them. Our reply has usually been: These problems either were exaggerated; or Stalin had correctly initiated them to cleanse the Party.
    Both views are true - as far as they go. But they conceal a larger reality, that they were consciously used by the Opposition to discredit the Party and Stalin.
    Stalin was NOT: "The Omnipotent All Powerful Being That Controlled The Soviet Ship". This book vindicates those who argued, that Stalin was not in a total control of the Politburo and that other forces were at work. This view was promulgated by the Communist League (UK), and remains contentious in the Marxist-Leninist movement. This book, contains powerful evidence as actual case reports of individuals and issues, that substantiate this minority view.
    Of course, this book cannot address "What other forces were ranged against Stalin?" And so, bourgeois academics overlook the class Struggle yet again! That much has not changed! But despite that, the significance of this book should not be under-rated. The editors were, before "Glasnost", unable to swallow the myths of Cold War Warriors led by Robert Conquest.
    Arch Getty and co-workers nailed some inconsistencies with previous mythologies using a unique archive, that had been removed from Smolensk in the Second World War by the Hitlerites, and then studied. This resulted in: "The Origin Of The Great Purges - The Soviet Party Reconsidered 1933-38", New York, 1985. This data and others, allowed Getty and others to develop a critical school, who: "investigated Stalin-period history as history." p.3, and not as bias. Of course Conquest and Trotskyites have been the most resistant to this school of historians - labelling them as "revisionist"!
    This review only gives a flavour. The first two chapters counter-pose a relatively traditional view of Nikolai Ivanovich Ezhov, the head of the Secret Police the NKVD (By Boris Starkov) with a "revisionist" interpretation by Arch Getty. Even the relatively traditional view is of great interest, containing much material, that is new to this reviewer. But Starkov asserts that Stalin "enjoyed the complete trust of J.V.Stalin" p.24.
    To the contrary however, Arch Getty shows how Stalin obstructs Ezhov:

"Ezhov: Comrades as a result of the verification of party documents we expelled more than 200,000 members of the party.
Stalin : [Interrupts] Very many.
Ezhov : Yes very many. I will speak about this..
Stalin :[Interrupts] If we explained 30,000..(inaudible remark) and 600 former Trotskyites and Zinovievists it would be a bigger victory.
Ezhov : More than 200,000 members were expelled. Part of this number.. were arrested."
Cited from Stenographic Records. (p.51).
    Further brakes were attempted upon Ezhov by Zhdanov (an unchallenged comrade-in-arms of Stalin) when:
  "In a highly publicized attack Zhadanov accused the Saratov kraikom (party leadership-Ed) of "dictatorship" and "repression.".. At the Feb 1937 Central Committee Plenum, Zhadanov gave the keynote speech on democratizing party organisations, ending bureaucratic repression "little people," and replacing the cooption of party leaders with grass roots elections. Indeed under pressure of this line, contested secret ballot party elections were held in 1937."
Ibid. p.51.
    More needed? Take the case of Avel' Enukidze, Secretary of the Central Executive Committee of Soviets. He got Ezhov's ire; who tried to expel him. Stalin and Molotov defended him. After further pressure, he was expelled. Molotov and Stalin moved for him to be readmitted. Though the plenum agreed, this never happened - arrested he was shot in 1837. The record shows a clear pattern here of Stalin versus (See p.54).

    Even Bukharin's execution was controversial. Stalin wanted him expelled, not even put on trial. The opposition view to Stalin's was put by:

"Ezhov, Budennyi, Manuilskii, Shvernik, Kosarev and Iakir (Shoot Bukharin now);
and Litvinov, Postyshev, Shiriatov, and Petrovskii (Send Bukharin to trial).
The Plenum voted for Stalin's line by majority. But documents of agreement were altered (in Mikoian's handwriting) and Stalin's advice was ignored (p.58).
 
    Why was this? Sabotage ?
 
    Other details: Arch Getty shows that blaming Stalin for the Kirov murder (as do traditional bourgeois and Trotskyites) is nonsense; & rests on the discredited Alexander Orlov. Arch Getty shows, even the specially struck Politburo Commission of 1989, exculpated Stalin, though secretly. As well, the book is loaded with new studies showing that the Purges and Terrors were directed at the highest echelons of party and administration. The obvious benefits to the hidden opposition are: disruption of socialist path, discrediting of party, and smearing Stalin. This book bears careful consideration.
    These bourgeois "revisionist" academics have done a sterling service to truth. But they can only go so far. These academics do not want to (can they even?) understand class struggle. That is our task! 
(ii) Extracts from "Preface" to Alliance 30, First published Toronto October 1998.
A Methodological Foreword Upon Recent Sources For Marxist-Leninists:
    Alliance has always tried to punctiliously show its source material with as precise references as is possible. This is not an academic peccadillo, to be disdained as Aarmchair Marxism@. Rather it is essential to root a Marxist-Leninist view of the world in an objective and clear manner. Only this permits any possible rebuttals that are based on facts rather than those of opinion. It has not been necessary to comment on this matter till now. However three new issues have arisen, regarding source materials that directly affect the Marxist-Leninist movement.

    Firstly: Certain documents have been released in the Gorbachev era and more recently, from the Soviet archives. This is generally of benefit to Marxist-Leninists, who try to explain the real events inside the former USSR in its Marxist-Leninist days of Stalin=s life time. ........But a caveat must be introduced.
    It is very unlikely that ALL relevant documents will surface in our lifetime. Moreover, we do not know what documents of Stalin=s and other relevant leading personalities may have been destroyed. All the written archival materials are unlikely to be made available to us anyway, since some of these will be deemed Atoo sensitive@.
    Why should the Russian state behave any differently to the British Kew Gardens Archives for instance? We therefore simply raise a caution regarding the appropriate interpretation of documents that may become available. These are likely to be only Aspotty@ and unlikely to give us all the facts.

    Secondly: As a corollary, this leaves some to a continuing abundance of the hear-say, AHe said-They said,@ type of scurrilous evidence. This leads to a dilemma for the Marxist-Leninists, as to whether to even use this type of evidence at all. But to ignore it is to ignore the charges that the authors lay at Stalin. This does not help Marxists-Leninists currently since one of our current tasks - is to counter the bourgeois historiography and lies. On the other hand, in using these sources it is necessary to be highly selective. Instances are provided in Alliance 30 of two especially problematic sources.
    Very little written is available on Stalin=s attitude to the Jewish Question. A new low in scurrilous writing on Stalin is provided by the virulent Arkady Vaksberg in AStalin Against The Jews@, New York; 1994. Much of the tone and a large measure of the content of this book is scurrilous. For instance - Vaksberg alleges that Stalin did not really research and write the famous article on AThe National Question@. Nonetheless we will use the Vaksberg source - albeit with caution - since little else is available on the subject.
    Another such problem source is the memoirs of Pavel Sudoplatov, published in 1994. After 1939, he was the officer in charge of the NKVD (later MGB) special operations. Several attacks upon Sudoplatov=s honesty and reliability have been made. Sudoplatov claimed that he organized the assassination of Trotsky under direct orders from Stalin, and that the Soviet atomic bomb was only made possible by secrets divulged by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr.
    Both claims are untrue. David Holloway has exposed the latter lie in an article in AScience@, (Holloway D; Science May 27th, 1994), and the former lie is contrary to key facts as discussed by the CL. (CL article reprinted Alliance Issue Number 7). It is interesting that these memoirs were recorded from Sudoplatov by Jerrold L. & Leona P. Schecter. This same couple first fully published Khrushchev=s memoirs in 1970, in an association between Life magazine & Little Brown Publishers. (See Pavel &A Sudoplatov; with JL &LP Schecter:@Special Tasks@; Boston; 1995 p.xxiii) . It is also not a coincidence that one of the most anti-Communist writers, Robert Conquest, exonerates Sudoplatov of falsification in a glowing foreword.
    Of course, Conquest is careful to cover himself by saying that:

ASudoplatov is by no means immune from error@.
(Ibid; p.xv).
    Nonetheless Conquest ends by lauding the memoirs: ABut it will be seen that (criticisms-ed) are of little consequence compared with the solid substance we Sudoplatov offers is.. A unique document.. The most valuable of all possible sources for important matters over the whole period of High Stalinism".
Ibid; p.xiv.
    We reply that the most solid evidence about the period is in Stalin=s own writings. The fragmentary additional evidence must be sensibly pieced together using in addition, Marxist-Leninist theory.

    Thirdly: We have increasingly over the last few months/years used sources derived from the world wide web. We caution however that it is sometimes difficult to know who is posting these various documents on the web. We thus attempt to use these documents sparingly. Above all, if web sources are used, we attempt to fully reference the web site.



 

 

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