The first is that, had Furr written a similar book in any area of historical specialization other than Soviet-era studies, Khrushchev Lied would be immediately hailed as a work of major significance. Despite the advance praise for Khrushchev Lied offered by Soviet-era specialists such as Robert Thurston and Lars Lih, one searches in vain for any scholarly journal reviewing the book. Indeed, aside from comments posted on online political blogs, of both Left and Right, it would appear that the historical profession has chosen to ignore Khrushchev Lied. This is the second assumption one could have safely made. Khrushchev Lied directly challenges the anti-communist, Cold War paradigm still dominant in academia. Not only that, Furr manages to demonstrate that one of the essential documents on which that paradigm rests is a tissue of lies.
|Published (Last):||20 March 2004|
|PDF File Size:||12.45 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||18.25 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media, They detailed lies that riddled the book from beginning to end. No modern history is more lacking in reliable official sources or more shrouded in ideology, propaganda and disinformation than the history of the Soviet Union.
Even though the Soviet archives were briefly and partially opened to researchers in the s, the lack of official archival material remains a problem, and the end of the Cold War only slightly diminished the anti-Soviet vitriol of most writing. Starting in the s, Soviet scholarship experienced a change. Researchers for a time gained access to the Soviet archives, and studies emerged that historians J. Arch Getty and Roberta T.
Arch Getty and Oleg V. Other studies, from those of telephone directories in Leningrad to census data confirmed that previous estimates vastly overstated the size of the repression. Still other studies discovered that the repression did not simply emanate from the top but developed a life of its own in factories, local party and government organizations and the army, where the accused were most often officials and where the repression, as ironic as it sounds, was accompanied by growing democracy at the grassroots level.
This turned out to be not quite the case. The book begins with nine chapters in which Furr, a Montclair State University professor who is fluent in Russian, tries to rebut the sixty-one revelations that Khrushchev made in his speech. Nearly half the book is taken up by an appendix, in which Furr supplies quotations from primary and secondary source material to support his argument.
Furr shows how misleading this accusation was. First, the existence of a cult of personality was no revelation since Party leaders had discussed it for years. Secondly, Stalin not only did not foster the cult but expressed distaste with it, or at least with some of its excesses. Third, all Party leaders bore responsibility for the glorification of Stalin.
Indeed, no one surpassed Khrushchev when it came to sycophancy. Yet, by trying to absolve Stalin entirely for the cult around him, Furr strains credibility. Stalin may have opposed renaming Moscow, but he apparently did not object when scores of other cities, towns, streets, squares, parks, factories and so on were named after him and when his pictures and statues became ubiquitous.
Another Khrushchev lie that Furr exposes concerns the so-called Lenin testament. Furr might also have pointed out that, however critical Lenin was of Stalin, he was even more critical of Trotsky and other top leaders. Some of the falsehoods are trivial.
Many are not. Furr points out that this view is completely at variance with those who worked most closely with Stalin, including Marshall Georgii K.
Zhukov, who even after Stalin had demoted him praised his wartime leadership. Here, Furr makes his most important contribution, though, it is a contribution beset with problems of its own.
Throughout the secret speech, Khrushchev attempted to place the entire blame for the repression on Stalin and Beria. For example, far from repressing dissent, Stalin showed great tolerance for disagreement. More importantly, no one had greater or more direct responsibility for the repression than the heads of the NKVD, first Genrikh Yagoda and subsequently Nicolai Ezhov sometimes spelled Yezhov , and Party first secretaries like Khrushchev.
The memoirs of Party leader Dmitrii Shepilov completely supported Furr on this point. In these lamentations there was the added twist that the men held responsible for the deaths of our glorious communists were, of course, Stalin, and his colleagues, but never Khrushchev himself.
Historian Boris A. Starkov recounted that in A. Zhdanov, A. Andreev, K. Voroshilov, L. Kaganovich, A. Mikoyan and V. First, there is a conceptual problem. The point of studying history is to understand what happened. Instead, he often resorts to a tendentious and one-sided reading of the evidence, to innuendos and speculation, to overblown and hyperbolic language, and to unsupported allegations of his own. To call every Khrushchev revelation a lie has dramatic appeal and a figurative truth, but no one in their right mind could buy this as literal truth, because no one in their right mind could imagine Khrushchev or anyone else speaking for hours before a congress of the Communist Party about revelations that contained nothing but falsehoods.
Even Furr himself does not believe this. Moreover, when the evidence to make his case is unavailable, Furr slips into the role of a dubious defense attorney who nitpicks the evidence, badgers witnesses and kicks up sand. The day after the assassination, Stalin went to Leningrad and took personal charge of the investigation, which ended up implicating the opposition leaders, G.
Zinoviev and L. Kamenev, and set off the Moscow Trials and associated repression. Furr is right on the first count but fails to prove the second. Moreover, his refutation is superficial and tendentious. Furr does not do this. He does not even identify two of the historians he quotes, Pavel Sudaplatov and Alla Kirilina. Furr neither provides their credentials though strong , nor gives any reason that they are more credible though they are than Amy Knight or Robert Conquest.
In other words, sometimes Furr has a stronger case than he bothers to make. Moreover, Furr is highly selective about what he chooses to use from his sources. Granted that many people besides Stalin carried out the repression and granted that Stalin played a role in ending the repression, the question remains how involved, aware and responsible was Stalin for the repression?
If Khrushchev tried to shift total responsibility to Stalin, Furr seems bent on trying to deny Stalin any responsibility. Furr says that what Stalin really meant was the NKVD was four years behind in unmasking the opposition bloc not four years behind in applying repression. Furr seems loathe to acknowledge this. As for the so-called torture telegram, Furr may be right in questioning the provenance of this wire and whether it was ever sent.
Had Furr acknowledged this and thus sifted and winnowed the truth from the falsehoods in this matter, his account would have been forthright and useful rather than a strained effort to argue that every Khrushchev allegation was simply a lie. Furr says that Stalin opposed persecuting Trotskyists altogether. But he did not advocate persecuting them [i. While stressing the need for renewed vigilance Stalin also proposed the establishment of special ideological courses for all leading party workers.
That is, Stalin saw the problem of Trotskyism as a result of a low level of political understanding among Bolsheviks. In the end, one is left with two competing versions of the repression. Still, Furr seems to hold a version of the repression something like this: A massive repression occurred in the Soviet Union in the years This repression took the lives and liberties of large numbers of Communist leaders, including members of the Central Committee elected at the 17th Party Congress.
This repression involved torture and forced confession and the framing and punishment of many innocent people. The blame for this repression rested primarily with the regional party secretaries, like Khrushchev, and the leaders of the NKVD, notably Ezhov. Furthermore, many of those who suffered from the repression were guilty.
Others were knowingly framed by Ezhov and his cohorts who were in league with the opposition and who used excessive repression to discredit the leadership. The problem with these competing narratives is that neither has much evidence to support them.
To support his view that the vast majority of victims were innocent, Khrushchev relied on a review of cases prepared before the 20th Congress known as the Pospelov Report, which was cursory at best. Furr never acknowledges that confessions, particularly when given under duress, are pretty useless as historical evidence.
Does he just mean the confessions and interrogation reports? He refers to nothing else. No doubt serious anti-Soviet activity and plots existed. No doubt the repression took the lives of countless innocents. But how great was the anti-Soviet activity and who was guilty and who was innocent remain unresolved questions. Still, these are extremely serious questions.
The construction of the first socialist society, the lifting of an illiterate, impoverished, oppressed and backward people into an era of literacy, culture, material well-being and atomic energy; the Soviet defeat of fascism, the Soviet role in the Chinese, Cuban, and Vietnamese revolutions and in the liberation struggles of the third world arguably make the Russian Revolution the most important event of the twentieth century.
Understanding that history, its failures and its accomplishments, consequently has the utmost interest not only to professional historians but to socialists and revolutionaries worldwide. While the second edition has corrected the most egregious errors of the first, the book still contains some inconsistent spelling of Russian names, a lack of identification of persons, and an uncommon amount of speculation, insinuation and overstatement.
The seriousness of the problems under discussion deserve more care in the writing. One can hardly avoid concluding that Furr views Stalin as a leader who was removed from, or even opposed to, the mass repression occurring around him, a leader who sought individual and educational remedies to those who sought to undermine or overthrow him, and who was unfairly blamed for repression committed by others? The great American sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote about the difficulty that most Americans have in accepting revolutionary violence.
During the Batista regime, thousands of our people were murdered…. So what would you expect? Maybe in easy moral terms, no killing is excusable…. But however immoral the purposes and the results of killing are quite different in different places and at different times.
Because you see it does matter who is getting killed and why. But whether you think so or not, you certainly have no grounds for talking about injustice: Who gave any trial to the people of Hiroshima?
Well, this, too, was a war. Remember, too, Yankee, that morals are easy to come by sitting in your quiet suburbs away from it all protected from it all. If anything, it requires an even greater stretch for Americans today to imagine the strain on Soviet revolutionaries, who were surrounded by hostile imperialist powers that actively plotted their overthrow, faced with ambitious and unscrupulous internal foes that were masters of political intrigue and convinced that they knew better than Stalin how to lead the country.
The Soviet leaders were confronted with the daunting tasks of constructing a socialist society, collectivizing a recalcitrant peasantry, industrializing at breakneck speed, all while bracing for an inevitable conflict with Nazi Germany. To empathize with these revolutionaries and to understand the repression of the s, one must do what Mills did, seek the voice of the Russian revolutionaries of the s.
Review of Grover Furr’s “Khrushchev Lied”
Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media, They detailed lies that riddled the book from beginning to end. No modern history is more lacking in reliable official sources or more shrouded in ideology, propaganda and disinformation than the history of the Soviet Union. Even though the Soviet archives were briefly and partially opened to researchers in the s, the lack of official archival material remains a problem, and the end of the Cold War only slightly diminished the anti-Soviet vitriol of most writing. Starting in the s, Soviet scholarship experienced a change. Researchers for a time gained access to the Soviet archives, and studies emerged that historians J. Arch Getty and Roberta T.
Biography[ edit ] Born in Washington, D. He received a Ph. D in Comparative literature from Princeton University in Khrushchev Lied. Grover Furr. New York: Red Star Publishers, Yezhov Vs.