The Georgian Times continues publishing its exclusive interviews with Dr.Grover Furr, a professor of the Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA.
To discuss “antistalinism” we need to start with “Stalinism.” This word was inevitable once the term “Leninism” came into use. Stalin used the term “Trotskyism” as early as November 19, 1924. No doubt the term “Stalinism” could be traced to about this time too. The word “Stalinism” seems to have been invented by Trotsky. He used it in his joint declaration with G. Evdokimov of June 28, 1927.
At first “Stalinism” simply meant the policies associated with Stalin’s leadership. Lapsed German communist Arthur Rosenberg used in July 1927 to mean the acceptance that world revolution was not imminent. Trotsky used “Stalinism” to contrast Stalin’s policies with “Leninism”, and Stalin used “Trotskyism” the same way.
But “Stalinism” came to have another meaning, far removed from reality. Here are some definitions: “Stalinism” – Events, which occured in USSR in 1930-50s and are connected with the activities of J.V. Stalin – the regime of private power, meaning the control of all aspects of social life, mass repressions, etc.” – Kuznetrsov’s Explanatory Dictionary of Russian Language.
Dmitry Pospielovsky in his book “Restalinization or Destalinization?” says: “A formal definition of Stalinism would run something like this: a one-man dictatorship in which a single dictator ruling arbitrarily, uncontrolled by any party organs, is the sole interpreter of the Marxist-Leninist dogma, and is surrounded by the cult of his personality.” (Russian Review 27 No. 3 (July 1968), 307-320, at p. 309).
Most definitions of “Stalinism” are similar to these two.
The most important thing about these definitions is that they are false in every detail. Stalin was never a “dictator” by any definition. Party leaders could and did overrule him. There was never “strict control of all aspects of life” in the USSR.
A number of theorists, and much of the Soviet leadership in his day disagreed with his interpretation of Marxism-Leninism.
Stalin personally opposed the “cult” and called it “harmful”. He acquiesced to it because other leaders urged him do so. Malenkov even admitted this shortly after Stalin’s death.
“Antistalinism” is a falsification of the history of the USSR during Stalin’s time. It is based on historical falsehoods, untruths such as those above and many others. These historical falsehoods can only flourish because they serve the interests of anticommunism. “Antistalinism” is a form of anticommunism. In my view there are three major sources, or “streams”, of “anti-Stalinist” falsehoods: Leon Trotsky, Nikita Khrushchev, and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Among early sources of “antistalinist” falsehoods Leon Trotsky was the most important. His vicious lies about his own activities, about Stalin, and about the USSR during his time, made him very popular among all stripes of anticommunists. He also attracted some honest people into his organizations because he framed his falsehoods in a “left” disguise. The capitalists helped him spread his falsehoods.
Honest criticism is very helpful to any undertaking. There was plenty of honest criticism and disagreement during Lenin’s lifetime. Trotsky’s viewpoint – that socialism could not prevail in only one underdeveloped country, the USSR – was shared in part by many others, including Lenin. That, and other criticisms Trotsky (and others) raised, were worthy of discussion.
Trotsky’s role in the communist movement was negative and destructive not because he disagreed with Stalin about how to build socialism, but because Trotsky was a falsifier on a grand scale. Trotsky’s role was harmful and reactionary because of Trotsky’s dishonesty.
Trotsky was out for himself, for political power. He was a supreme individualist, unable to work collectively. When his proposals were defeated in the debates of the 1920s he could never submit to the majority and follow the Party’s line. Instead he conspired secretly and dishonestly. When he was exiled for doing this Trotsky’s falsehoods and lies became more and more outrageous. All anticommunist propagandists and “scholars” since then have drawn heavily upon Trotsky’s falsehoods about Stalin and the USSR.
The second great source of “antistalinism” was Nikita Khrushchev. Khrushchev set about fabricating falsehoods about Stalin and Soviet history on a truly grand scale. I’ve written about some of this in “Antistalinist Villany” ( Antistalinskaia podlost) . Several more of my essays about Khrushchev’s lies and those he sponsored will be published before long.
Trotsky and Khrushchev are two of the three major “rivers” of anti-Stalin lies. Others like Alexander Orlov invented their own falsehoods but also copied from these two.
The third great source of “antistalinism” is the falsehoods created and spread during Gorbachev’s time and by his regime. Gorbachev-era “historians” drew from Trotsky and, especially, Khrushchev, and added further falsifications of their own. The Gorbachev-era falsifications continued under Eltsin and continue today. My colleague, Vladimir L. Bobrov of Moscow, and I analyze more of these Gorbachev-era falsehoods in our forthcoming book “1937 god. Pravosudie Stalina”, to be published very soon by Yauza.
Khrushchev’s speech to the 20th Party Congress in February 1956 had a powerful impact on the minds of three generations of Soviet people. It changed the USSR and sabotaged the communist movement worldwide. You have revealed 61 lies in Khrushchev’s speech. Please briefly review a few of the most outrageous of Khrushchev’s lies.
In fact, every single “revelation” or accusation Khrushchev made against Stalin and Lavrentii Beria is false. A few examples: The “cult of personality.” Stalin had opposed it – but Khrushchev
promoted this disgusting “cult” vigorously. Khrushchev claimed Stalin “morally and physically annihilated leaders who opposed him.” In reality, this never happened, not even once. Khrushchev deliberately falsified all the documents he quoted during the speech: Pavel Postyshev’s remarks at the February 1937 Central Committee plenum; the so-called “torture telegram” of January 1939; the text of Robert Eikhe’s letter.
What lie was most outrageous? Probably that the “rehabilitation reports” Khrushchev referred to are all fake! Many were published in 2000. All are dishonest. None of them prove that the people “rehabilitated” were innocent. I discuss some of them in detail in my book.
After the Speech Khrushchev and those under his direction continued to lie – for example, about the Moscow Trial and Tukhachevsky Affair defendants. They continued to lie at the 22nd Party Congress in 1961. Virtually all the “revelations” made in Khrushchev-era books are also lies, because based on false information provided by Khrushchev’s people. The implications are enormous.
Modern falsifiers of Soviet history, from Gorbachev’s time to today, still rely on Khrushchev-era falsehoods about the Stalin period. In addition they continue to invent new falsifications.