Alexander Dyukov, «THE SOVIET STORY» — The tissue of lies
The film "The Soviet Story", actively supported by the official authorities of Latvia, is an excellent example of a propaganda lie. The audience is promised to see the truth about "the crimes of communist regime", but actually people see the lies seasoned with large number of forged documents and get manipulated through video images and hypocrisy of the Cold War era.
по-русски: А. Дюков, «THE SOVIET STORY» — Механизм лжи
With special thanks to Grigory Ivanov and Ekaterina Klimova for this new English translation.
The author expresses his thanks to Daria Gorchakova, Alexey Pamiatnykh, Kirill Prokhorov and Alexander Filippov for the materials used in the preparation of this report.
- 1. Creation and promotion of the film.
- 2. False documents.
- 2.1. «General Agreement between the NKVD and Gestapo».
- 2.2. The photographs of «the victims of Bolshevism» from the book «The Year of Horror».
- 2.3. Images of «Holodomor victims».
- 2.4. «GULAG drawings» by Danzig Baldaev.
- 2.5. The photographs of medical experiments in GULAG.
- 3. False allegations.
- 3.1. Karl Marx called for «the revolutionary Holocaust».
- 3.2. In mid-September 1932 Stalin had decided on the deployment of the Holodomor.
- 3.3 Over 10 million tons of grain exported from Ukraine in 1932-1933.
- 3.4. About 7 million died in 1933 famine in Ukraine.
- 3.5. 1932–1933 famine was an act of genocide against Ukrainian people.
- 3.6. 11 million were repressed in USSR in 1937-1941.
- 3.7. Stalin refused to join the anti-Hitler coalition.
- 3.8. In 1939–1941 USSR was the main supplier of Nazi Germany.
- 3.9. NKVD trained Gestapo officers.
- 3.10. USSR extradited to Gestapo the Jews who fled from Poland.
- 3.11. A meeting of NKVD and Gestapo representatives was held in Krakow in 1940. The agenda was «The Jewish problem».
- 3.12. The resignation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Litvinov was enforced by NKVD troops and tanks.
- 3.13. The deportees were transported up to 60-70 persons in a single railcar.
- 3.14. The Soviet Union murdered more than 20 million men, women and children.
- 3.15. In Russia the victims of Stalin era repressions are forgotten.
- 4. Visual images manipulation.
- 5. The experts.
- 1. Promotional poster of “The Soviet Story”.
- 2. “Brothers in misfortune”. Nansen’s Committee, 1922.
- 2a. Scene from “The Soviet Story”. These children are presented as victims of “Holodomor”.
- 3. Victim of famine. Nansen’s Committee, 1922.
- 4. Questionable photo from “Völkischer Beobachter” presented as image of the Holodomor victims.
- 5. A girl from Yuzhnoye Alekseevo swollen from hunger, Nansen’s Committee, 1921.
- 6. A photo from the “Exhibition of archive documents on Holodomor”, released by Security Service of Ukraine. Kiev, Nov. 24, 2006.
- 6a. Cemetery in Povolzhye. The photo was published by Nansen’s Committee, October 1921.
- 7. The document demonstrated in the film as evidence of NKVD cooperation with Gestapo for the solution of “The Jewish problem”.
- 8. The letter from the authors of the film to the historian Natalia Lebedeva.
- Propaganda posters of USSR, USA, Great Britain and Nazi Germany.
Our world is not perfect. Every family has its own skeleton in the closet; the history of every country has controversial pages requiring thorough and careful study by professional historians. However, the politicians are in the habit of interfering with the history. They are not interested in historical truth, as it is, but looking for a scandal and “historical” grounds for their own dirty actions. The politicians do not need the historians; they need the propagandists – the specialists capable to create beautifully packaged lies disguised as truth.
The film "The Soviet Story", actively supported by the official authorities of Latvia, is an excellent example of a propaganda lie. The audience is promised to see the truth about "the crimes of communist regime”, but actually people see the lies seasoned with large number of forged documents and get manipulated through video images and hypocrisy of the Cold War era.
The bet of Latvian politicians is simple: the typical European with very little knowledge about the history of distant Russia could never notice any lies in the film and the professional historians would prefer to stay away from the notorious propaganda. Should they get any professional criticism, they could always claim it to be “the order of the Kremlin”.
This report will definitely be named “the Kremlin propaganda” in Latvia.
However, it was prepared and published without any government support, we only used volunteer work and the donations raised by common citizens of Russia.
We do not deny the fact of soviet political repressions, the tragic part of the history of our country. However, we cannot agree with blatant lies contained in the film “The Soviet Story”. By using these lies Latvian politicians deliberately stir up the hatred against our country. When Latvian authorities shamelessly falsify the history, they play a very dangerous game.
They think it’s a good idea to shock Latvian schoolchildren by showing them the documentary footage with the mountains of corpses and persuade to put the blame on the Soviet Union.
When these kids grow up they will hate our country, but the hatred can only cause more hatred in response.
The interpretation of the history sets the course of the future, that’s why it’s important to fight against propaganda lies.
“The Soviet Story” was created by the Latvian director Edvins Snore,
produced by Kristaps Valdnieks and sponsored by “Union for Europe of the Nations”, the political group of European Parliament . Latvian members of the European Parliament Girts Valdis Kristovskis and Inese Vaidere proposed to allocate funds for the film. Initially UEN was concerned that the film may come out targeted against Russia, the successor of the USSR. In response the film creators assured, they have a purpose to deliver historical truth to Western Europeans.
According to film creators, the history of Soviet Union has the following cornerstones:
1932-1933 famine, deliberately created in Ukraine (Holodomor);
1940 execution of Polish officers in Katyn;
Collaboration of SS and NKVD;
Mass deportations and medical experiments carried out on GULAG prisoners.
Besides that, the official website of “The Soviet Story” claims that on the grounds of “recently uncovered documents”, the film reveals the fact of Soviet Union help to Nazi Germany in “incitement of the Holocaust”.
The premiere was held in the European Parliament on April 9, 2008. It was preceded by an aggressive promotional campaign authored by Latvian members of European Parliament.
“I believe, “The Soviet Story” is going to be a turning point in understanding of the European history”, - said the deputy Inese Vaidere before the premiere. – “Edvins Snore found completely new upscale viewpoint on the events of the past”.
Valdis Kristovskis, in his turn, said that the film was only an initial attempt “to wake up the public thought”. “The work has to be continued. An honest discussion about totalitarian regimes in Europe has to be held for the sake of future security and consent in Europe”, said the MP.
Despite the pompous claims, the premiere hall in European Parliament was not crowded. Nine Latvian, two Lithuanian, two Polish and one British member came to see the film; just to fill the hall more guests from Latvia were invited.
Few days later the creators promised to give the film copy for each member of the European Parliament.
The film caused the criticism immediately. European Parliament member Tatiana Zhdanok defined the film as “piece of propaganda” presented as “a new word in history”.
Russian historians pointed out at numerous falsifications employed in the film. The Jewish Communities Alliance in Russia expressed surprise regarding the claim that the USSR contributed to “incitement of the Holocaust”. Borukh Gorin, Head of The JCA Public Relations Department, assumed it to be another attempt to shift the blame from the actual criminals – members of the SS Legions (including The Baltic ones) to other people.
The official premiere in Latvia was held in early May and accompanied by active promotion in mass media and presentations for politicians and the press. Notably, the Latvian premiere was timed to the anniversary of Victory over the Nazi Germany. The slogan of the film’s official poster said: “The Great Victory of a Mass Murder!”
“The Soviet Story” was supported by Latvian officials. President Valdis Zalters attended the premiere, Minister of Justice Gajdis Berzinsh proposed to show the film in schools, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated: “Latvia has to seek “The Soviet Story” to be seen by the audience all over the world”. Edvins Snore, in his turn, sent a letter to the Minister of Education and Science Tatiana Koke requesting support in showing the film to all Latvian school students.
The proposal of Berzinsh and Snore was implemented quickly.
On May 29, “The Soviet Story” was shown for free to the students of Riga secondary school № 45. The Latvian “Neatkarīga rīta avīze” noticed that the children were shocked by what they have seen, some of them leaving the theater in tears.
The idea to demonstrate the propaganda film to school students was supported in Estonia. Estonian Minister of Education Tynis Lukas called the film too shocking for children, but “correct”. According to Lukas, Estonia also has to create its own historical documentary on the subject, to be studied in schools, including the Russian ones.
On June 10th, a week series of free demonstrations of the film was launched in the “Museum of the occupation of Latvia”, Riga ; on June 17th, “The Soviet Story” was shown on LTV, the Latvian state channel. According to the Latvian media, the demonstration of the film sparked considerable interest of the audience: “The Soviet Story” was watched by 11% of viewers, i.e. 250 thousand people aged four or older.
Interestingly, the film premiere was preceded by a discussion of historians, when the adviser of Latvian president professor Antonijs Zunda gave a positive review of the film. Later on a Seym deputy and former SS Legionnaire Visvaldis Latsis proposed to award the Order of the Three Stars, the highest state award, to the director Edvins Snore. The initiative of a music teacher Janis Birzko was even more ridiculous: to nominate the director of “The Soviet Story” for the Nobel Prize.
Overall, Latvia makes no secret that “The Soviet Story” is a propaganda film and has hardly anything to do with a documentary. Well-known political scientist Ivars Ijabs acknowledged this most accurately and cynically:
“Following the demonstration of the film in Latvia much has been said about its ‘historical truth’. I would not apply this kind of language to evaluate it...Propaganda motion pictures cannot be treated like science. It is completely different culture system, using striking symbols, mobilizing images, deliberately oversimplified interpretations clear to everyone. That’s why the films of this kind are no less important for the society than the science with all its neutrality and attention to details...
It doesn’t take to be a historian to realize that from historical point of view the film contains quite a lot of nonsense...
Ideological work was done with honor. It is absolutely pointless to evaluate the film in terms of ‘historical truth’. I hope the film will have a big audience in Western countries.
Falsification of documents has always been an important weapon in political and ideological standoff. “The testament of Peter the Great” concocted in Napoleonic era was used against Russia by Western European propaganda and political journalists up to the twentieth century. The 1924 crisis of Soviet-British diplomatic relations was caused by the fraudulent “Zinoviev’s letter”. As for the exact number of falsifications made by Nazi propaganda during the Second World War, it still has to be ascertained.
“The Soviet Story” purposely employs a number of false documents and improperly attributed illustrative materials. All falsifications have a longstanding history, their unauthenticity was proven long ago and no professional historians have any doubts about it.
The forgery with a lengthy title of “General agreement on collaboration, mutual aid and cooperation between State Security Administration of the NKVD USSR and Security Administration of the National Socialist Labor Party of Germany (Gestapo)” plays a significant role in “The Soviet Story”. As we mentioned before, the official website of the film promises to reveal, using “recently uncovered documents”, the help of Soviet Union to Nazi Germany in incitement of the Holocaust. However, the viewer is presented with fakes rather than archive documents.
The first appearance of “General agreement” was in 1999 in anti-Semitic newspaper “Pamyat” (“Memory”) published in Moscow. This “document” on joint fight of NKVD and Gestapo against the ‘Jewish threat’ was widely disseminated in Russian ultra nationalistic circles and partially reproduced in “Generalissimus”, a book by Vladimir Karpov. The “General agreement” is also widely spread out over Russian Internet resources.
The design of the “General agreement” is the incontestable evidence of the fraud. The notes on the folder, where the “General agreement” was supposedly found, say this folder was stored in the fund №13 of the Soviet Union Communist Party Central Committee archive. However, the Archive fund №13 of (currently Russian State Archive of Contemporary History) contains documents of Soviet Union Communist Party Central Committee Bureau related to RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) in 1956-1966, these documents have nothing to do with NKVD. No “General agreement” has ever been stored in this fund.
The content of “General agreement” is another evidence of fraud. “The document” was signed on November 11th, 1938 by “SS Brigadenführer
G. Müller, Head of the Fourth Department (Gestapo) of Security Administration of the National Socialist Labor Party of Germany”. Yet Gestapo had become Fourth Department only on September 27th, 1939, when RSHA (Reich Security Head Office) was established. This means the “General agreement” was signed in the name of the non-existing at that time authority.
This “document” has even more oddities. By November
1938 Müller had the rank of SS Standartenführer, and not SS Brigadenführer, as indicated in the “General agreement”. Also, he was not a head of Gestapo, but a head of Amt II-1A (head of the Amt II sub-department called Referat 1A) for the Central Security Police Department and SD. Moreover, on November 11th, 1938 Muller was not in Moscow, as implied in the “Agreement”, but in Berlin summarizing the results of the notorious “Crystal Night”. It turns out the “General agreement” was signed in the name of the non-existing authority by a representative of different organization who at that moment was hundreds of kilometers away. To add to this, he forgot his own rank and title.
This is not over yet. As declared in the “General agreement”, Müller signed it “on the basis of the Power of Attorney I 448/12-1 dated November 3rd, 1938 issued by Reinhard Heidrich, SS-Reichsführer, Chief of Reich Security Head Office. The Russian translation of the “agreement” was certified by “Chief of USSR NKVD secretariat Mamulov” and published in the same issue of “Pamyat” newspaper as the “General agreement”. Mamulov, however, was appointed Chief of USSR NKVD secretariat only on January 3rd, 1939.
As you can see, the fraud was very cheap. Not surprisingly, it was widely criticized in the Russian media immediately following the partial reprint in V. Karpov’s book “Generalissimus”. The criticism was conscientiously taken into account by falsifiers when fabricating the second, revised version of the “General agreement”.
The revised “General agreement” was introduced by Sergey Kanev, NTV journalist specializing in criminal news. Kanev claims: “the person who brought the folder said it was an authentic document from the personal archive of L. Beria”. The new version is significantly differed from the one published in “Pamyat”. Müller’s title was changed to “the Representative of the Chief of the Reich Security Head Office”. The fallacious rank of “SS-Brigadenführer” was updated to the correct one - “SS-Schtandartenführer”. The text of the “General agreement” was modified; the sealing wax stamps and “Beria’s personal notes” appeared. However, the evidence of falsification was still there; for instance, in the new version of the “General agreement” Mamulov’s title was the same – “Chief of USSR NKVD secretariat”. The question still remains unanswered: how Müller being on November 11th, 1938 in Berlin could have signed the “General agreement” in Moscow on the same day.
Sergey Kanev believed the “General agreement” was an authentic document and created the documentary “NKVD and Gestapo: a marriage of convenience” shown on NTV channel in 2004. Four years later the fragments of Kanev’s footage made with a hidden camera were used by the authors of “The Soviet Story” as evidence of USSR participation in “incitement of the Holocaust”.
“The Soviet story” places high emphasis on numerous images of mutilated corpses of “victims of Bolshevism” published by the Nazi propaganda in 1941, including images from the propaganda film “The Red Mist”, released the same year.
The images of mutilated corpses are shown close-up. The scenes from “The Red Mist” are alternated with the chronicles of the 60-th anniversary of Great Victory parade on the Red Square. The former is extremely popular in today’s Latvia and used as “documentary evidence”. Openly anti-Semitic book “The Year of Horror” was republished in 1997 , the images from this book are posted on the Internet. However, not many people know, these images actually represent the evidence of crimes committed by Latvian nationalists collaborating with Gestapo.
This became publicly known only in 2006, when “Latvia under the yoke of Nazism”, a collection of archival documents, was published in Moscow. These documents included USSR NKGB memo from FSB Central Archives, never published before, it states Gestapo forged the “Bolsheviks atrocities” evidence in Latvia.
In 1941, shortly after the occupation of Latvia so-called “Organizational Centre” was established by German military authorities in Riga, in the end of July 1941 it was renamed to “The Directory”.
Instructed by Gestapo, the Chairman of the Centre, KREPSHMANIS (he fled with the Germans) established the “Commission for investigation of Bolshevik Atrocities in Latvia”...
The Commission was working under the leadership of DRESLER, head of
Latvian Reichskommissariat propaganda department and LANGE, the head of Gestapo in Riga. Very soon they made public announcement over the radio and in the newspapers about the discovery in Riga and suburbs of the mass burials of Latvians, “tortured to death by CheKa” (Soviet political police).
As confirmed by witnesses and arrested Commission members, PUKITIS and GRUZIS, ZUTIS had a group of 40 people under his command. The group was responsible for a “special treatment” of the dead bodies maiming and disfiguring them, Commission members were invited to look at the result of this work and sign fictitious reports on “Bolshevik atrocities”.
Disfigured bodies were demonstrated to the general public and for identification by relatives.
To conceal the fact of deliberate disfiguring of dead bodies, used for public demonstration as a proof of “Bolshevik atrocities”, 10 Jewish women working in ZUTIS’ special group were shot and buried in the town of Boltozer (Baltezers) near Riga.
The German propaganda widely used the ‘materials’ of aforementioned commission for slanderous anti-Soviet campaign conducted all over the Baltic region.
Solemn funerals of the “victims of Bolsheviks” were organized, anti-Soviet meetings held, articles on the subject published in newspapers and magazines.
Two books - “The Year of Horror” and “The Evidence for Prosecution” were published, and the documentary called “The Red Mist” was produced, later this film was specially adapted for Estonia and Lithuania.
Investigation conducted by NKGB of USSR confirmed the facts of falsification of “Bolshevik atrocities” by German propaganda.
For instance, as it was proven by the material evidence and testimonials, the major parts of “The Red Mist” documentary were created in the laboratory where the photos of dead bodies were specially processed to get the scenes of ‘mass burials of Bolsheviks victims’. The so-called death row of NKVD prison with the graffiti of prisoners was setup in Riga film studio.
In the book “The Evidence for Prosecution” there was a chapter about the arrest and execution of Latvian musician A.E. REITGARS.
As a matter of fact, in 1941 A.E. REITGARS was convicted by People’s Court of Riga to one year of imprisonment for disorderly conduct, transferred to Pechora camp of NKVD, and when released, served in the reserve regiment of the army. At present he lives in Riga and works as a concertmaster in Latvian Broadcasting Committee.
The quoted memo was not intended for propagandistic broadcasting.
Classified as “top secret”, it was prepared for top Soviet leaders only. There is no doubt this information is true since someone providing the false information to the Kremlin could pay the price of his life back then.
Mutilated corpses demonstrated in “The Soviet Story” are the work of Latvian nationalists collaborating with Gestapo. The pictures were forged to stir up the hatred of Latvians towards Russians and Jews. Nowadays they are used to evoke hatred towards Russia.
Substantial part of “The Soviet Story” is dedicated to so-called “Holodomor”, the famine of 1932-1933 interpreted as an act of deliberate genocide. This approach has hardly anything to do with the historical science. In addition to that, “Holodomor” part of the film was made out of photos taken in 1921-1922 during the famine in Povolzhye (the Volga region).
According to the authors of “The Soviet Story” these photographs show the victims of the 1932-1933 famine.
The famine in Povolzhye was caused by a number of factors, including a draught and associated crop failures, and naturalization of agriculture during the WW-I and the bloody Civil War.
On behalf of International Red Cross, Fridtjof Nansen, the League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, established the committee “Aid of Nansen” to provide relief for those suffering from famine. The committee was publishing informational materials to be distributed in different countries to draw the attention of governments and the public to the awful situation in Povolzhye and other regions of Russia and raise funds for help. Nansen’s Committee was not alone in helping the starving people. The Vatican Committee and the American Relief Administration (ARA) were distributing informational materials to make the public aware of the famine disaster in Russia.
The authors of “The Soviet Story” use above mentioned materials to illustrate “Holodomor” episodes attributed to 1932-1933. The photos made by “Aid of Nansen” are also widely used by current Ukrainian authorities and media to support the story of “Holodomor”.
The description of the “Holodomor” in “The Soviet Story” starts with a photograph of a girl swollen from hunger. Actually, this picture came from Nansen’s archives and has no connection with the events of 1932-1933. It was taken in the village of Yuzhnoye Asekeyevo in Russia in the autumn of 1921 and was made widely known in Europe by Nansen’s Committee. In modern times the same picture was presented at the “Exhibition on America’s Humanitarian Aid to Soviet Russia during the Famine of 1921-1923” prepared by American historians.
The images of a starving boy, shown in the film twice, also have nothing to do with the famine of 1932-1933. The photographs were taken in Russia in May 1922, one of them was published in “Dr. Fridjof Nansens International Committee for Russian Relief ”, Information No.22, Geneva, April 30, 1922,
(p. 114, images 2, 2a). The original images are stored in the cantonal archive of Geneva, in the funds of International Save the Children Union (Union international de secours aux enfants). One of the photographs was displayed in the “Exhibition on America’s Humanitarian Aid to Soviet Russia during the Famine of 1921-1923”, mentioned above.
One of the most famous images published by the Nansen committee is called “Brothers in misfortune”. The picture shows a starving boy with a spoon in his hand, feeding a younger boy, this picture was widely published in the early 20s in Europe. However, in “The Soviet Story” those boys are presented as “Holodomor” victims.
The image of snow covered corpses finalizes the “Holodomor” part of the film. Another image of the same corpses was used in the trailer and in the opening part of the film. As expected, these images were also created in the early 20s. They were printed on the postcards by the Nansen Committee and published in the Swiss newspaper “Le Temps”.
Another unauthentic image in the film: two men lifting a dead body of a hunger victim by legs and arms. The authors of the film had focused on that photo a lot, alternating it with images of people carrying the corpses of Nazi concentration camps prisoners. Actually, this photograph was first published in the Nazi paper “Völkischer Beobachter” on August 18th, 1933. Just like others, it is likely to show the victims of the 1921-1922 famine.
Many questionable photos used in the “Holodomor” part of “The Soviet Story” have not been identified yet. However, even the fraudulent images described in our report, show the high scale of visual evidence falsification in “The Soviet Story”.
“GULAG drawings” made by the retired Internal Ministry officer Danzig Baldaev are widely used in “The Soviet Story”.
Traditionally they are positioned as sketches by a witness and the testimonials of the crimes, committed in GULAG.
An album of these drawings was published in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1993. The documentary “Baldajew – Zeichner des Gulag”produced in 1992 was based on Baldaev’s drawings. As for Baldaev, he called himself “a camera man”.
The drawings, however, were created in the late 80s. This is clearly stated in the catalogue of the exhibition “The art of GULAG. On both sides of the prison doors”, held by the Russian “Memorial” center and Museum of Political History of Russia in 1995.
Thus, we are not dealing with “sketches from life”, but with more recent work based on the author’s memories and such cannot be considered as reliable historical evidence.
The drawings of Danzig Baldaev do not show the actuality of Stalin era GULAG, but simply reflect the myth of “soviet crimes” so popular in the late 80s. By now this kind of myths has been disproved by both Russian and foreign researchers of Soviet repressions.
Another episode of “The Soviet Story” is dedicated to brutal medical experiments allegedly carried out on GULAG prisoners. This part is based entirely on the fake evidence provided by Sergey Melnikoff.
Sergey Melnikoff became renowned for launching of his website
“GULAG: walking in the camps with a camera”. The site displays numerous fraudulent materials. Melnikoff presents a photo of the prisoners killed in the Nazi concentration camp in Klooga (Estonia) as a photo of dead peasants killed by the Soviets. The photo of the victim of 1915 Turkish genocide of Armenians is passed as an image of a Chechen child deported in 1944 etc. The number of forgeries made by Melnikoff is huge. Additionally, Melnikoff openly behaves like a Nazi calling for extermination of Russia, and declaring the people of our country subhumans.
Here are some quotations of Melnikoff:
“Russian people have committed a dreadful crime and a mortal sin.
THE DEATH OF RUSSIA is the punishment for the blood of millions of people – old women and children.
THE DEATH OF RUSSIA is the atonement for everybody and the scourge of CONSCIENCE.
RUSSIA MUST BE STAMPED OUT OF EXISTENCE.
This is going to be the only right choice of the Authority, people may call differently: God, Mother-Nature or Fate.
The time has come for Russia to put its head on a guillotine!
And the axe of an executioner (the History) is already raised above Russia’s bloody muzzle.
DEATH is the due penalty. And nobody can stop the executioner. Russia is a great criminal!
The time has come to kill the cannibal bear ...”
“I’m starting to think that they are genetically defective. And we can explain that. The Revolution, the First World War, the Red terror, swarms of refugees, famine, GULAG, the Second World War, and then camps, camps, camps... What remains in the sediments of the former nation, the former Great Empire?
Genetic garbage... This is what represents today the “great” nation, “chosen” by the oil god .”
Melnikoff ’s materials shown in “The Soviet Story” are a complete fake. For example, a corpse with an open skull is shown to viewers, the commentary says this is a prisoner of GULAG, a victim of medical experiments.
The image, however, is taken from a regular autopsy session. “Experiments” like this are carried out on a daily basis in the mortuaries of Riga.
One of the fundamental scientific standards is the strict ban on lies and fraud. The scientist may make mistakes or may be misled, but has no right to manipulate the sources and results of research. Otherwise, the scientific value of work is out of the question.
In “The Soviet Story” we come across a large number of false statements and allegations knowingly made by the authors of the film and participating “experts”. It is hardly possible to make a complete list of all false statements; therefore we are just going to examine the most outstanding ones.
According to the authors of the film, Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism, called for destruction of small nations. The following text is shown with the background of Marx portrait: “Classes and races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way... They must “disappear in the revolutionary Holocaust”. Karl Marx”.
Two references are provided: Marx’s article in
“The Peoples Paper” dated April 16, 1853 and, for some reason, “Journal of the History of Ideas”, Issue 1 of 1981.
All this seems solid and should convince the audience of veracity of the claims made by the authors. However, striking facts show up if we check these sources closely.
To begin with, the article of Marx was indeed published on April 16, 1853 in “The Peoples Paper”. But it did not contain words about “classes and races”, which should give way to somebody. As a matter of fact, the article was generally focused on economic issues:
“Feeling their empty pockets, our readers have a bitter experience of their own, and see that on the shoulders of the nation a debt burden of 800000000 pounds was put as a result of past financial machinations – Marx wrote. –
The debt was made primarily to prevent the liberation of American colonies and counter the French Revolution of the previous century...”
Verification of the second quotation regarding the “revolutionary Holocaust” brings us to the article “The Magyar Struggle”, published January 13, 1849 in the newspaper “Neue Rheinische Zeitung”. However, the author is Engels, not Marx, and there are no words about the “revolutionary holocaust”.
Engels wrote about “revolutionary” and “counterrevolutionary” nations, the first kind is viable by nature, the latter is not:
The year 1848 first of all brought with it the most terrible chaos for Austria by setting free for a short time all these different nationalities which, owing to Metternich, had hitherto been enslaving one another. The Germans, Magyars, Czechs, Poles, Moravians, Slovaks, Croats, Ruthenians, Rumanians, Illyrians and Serbs came into conflict with one another, while within each of these nationalities a struggle went on also between the different classes. But soon order came out of this chaos. The combatants divided into two large camps: the Germans, Poles and Magyars took the side of revolution; the remainder, all the Slavs, except for the Poles, the Rumanians and Transylvanian Saxons, took the side of counter-revolution.
How did this division of the nations come about, what was its basis?
The division is in accordance with all the previous history of the nationalities in question. It is the beginning of the decision on the life or death of all these nations, large and small.
All the earlier history of Austria up to the present day is proof of this and 1848 confirmed it. Among all the large and small nations of Austria, only three standard-bearers of progress took an active part in history, and still retain their vitality — the Germans, the Poles and the Magyars. Hence they are now revolutionary.
All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm. For that reason they are now counter-revolutionary...
There is no country in Europe which does not have in some corner or other one or several ruined fragments of peoples, the remnant of a former population that was suppressed and held in bondage by the nation which later became the main vehicle of historical development. These relics of a nation mercilessly trampled under foot in the course of history, as Hegel says, these residual fragments of peoples always become fanatical standard-bearers of counter-revolution and remain so until their complete extirpation or loss of their national character, just as their whole existence in general is itself a protest against a great historical revolution.
Such, in Scotland, are the Gaels, the supporters of the Stuarts from 1640 to 1745. Such, in France, are the Bretons, the supporters of the Bourbons from 1792 to 1800. Such, in Spain, are the Basques, the supporters of Don Carlos.
Such, in Austria, are the pan-Slavist Southern Slavs, who are nothing but the residual fragment of peoples, resulting from an extremely confused thousand years of development. That this residual fragment, which is likewise extremely confused, sees its salvation only in a reversal of the whole European movement...
The Magyar cause is not in such a bad way as mercenary black-and-yellow colours of the Austrian flag enthusiasm would have us believe. The Magyars are not yet defeated. But if they fall, they will fall gloriously, as the last heroes of the 1848 revolution, and only for a short time. Then for a time the Slav counter-revolution will sweep down on the Austrian monarchy with all its barbarity, and the camarilla will see what sort of allies it has. But at the first victorious uprising of the French proletariat, which Louis Napoleon is striving with all his might to conjure up, the Austrian Germans and Magyars will be set free and wreak a bloody revenge on the Slav barbarians. The general war which will then break out will smash this Slav Sonderbund and wipe out all these petty hidebound nations, down to their very names.
The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.
Today the viewpoint of Engels may seem outrageous and politically incorrect, but in the middle of the XIX century the idea of “historical” and “non-historical” nations was common. It was first voiced by Hegel, who based his philosophy of history on the principle of the world progress to be accomplished by Germans and Anglo-Saxons. This, however, does not imply that Hegel called for destruction of any nations. Engels does not call for destruction of “counterrevolutionary” nations either; he merely predicts that such nations will be destroyed by the oppressed “progressive” nations during a world war.
As we can see, the film creators mixed and distorted the thoughts of Marx and Engels beyond recognition. This was done to convince the audience about the positive evaluation of the Holocaust (mass murder) idea in Soviet Union. However, no proof of that exists. Moreover, very practical approach of Soviet leaders to interpreting the works of Marx and Engels is a common knowledge. For instance, in July 1934, Stalin found it inappropriate to publish Engels’s article “The foreign policy of Russian tsarism” in the “Bolshevik” magazine and subjected it to serious criticism.
In August of the same year he wrote:
“The fact that Engels was and still remains our teacher can be questioned only by idiots. But this does not mean that we have to cover up Engels’s mistakes, hide them and – even more so – present them as indisputable truth. Such policy would have been a policy of lies and deception. Nothing contradicts the spirit of Marxism and the legacy of Marx and Engels as much as this kind of policy, unworthy of Marxists. Marx and Engels said: “Marxism is not a dogma, but a guide to action”. This is why Marx and Engels themselves repeatedly revised and complemented some statements in their works “.
The beginning of so-called “Holodomor” – the alleged genocide of the Ukrainians by the Soviets – is linked by the authors of the film to the letter from Stalin to Kaganovich, dated 11 September 1932, containing the words “We may lose Ukraine”. Thereafter, the film says, the decision was made to commence the “famine genocide”.
However, the verification of sources refutes this idea.
First and foremost, the letter from Stalin to Kaganovich with the words
“We may lose Ukraine” is dated August 11, 1932, not September 11. This document was repeatedly published by Russian and Ukrainian historians, it does not contain a single word about the need to commit the genocide of Ukrainians. Moreover, the letter has directly opposite idea: the need to strengthen Ukraine economically and politically and turn it into an exemplary Soviet republic.
“ We may lose Ukraine if we do not set about to improving the situation there...
It is necessary to:
a) replace Kosior in Ukraine with yourself with reservation of your powers as Secretary of the All-Union Communist (Bolshevik) Party Central
b) appoint Balitsky Chairman of the Ukrainian SPD (State Political
Department) (or Government Chair of Ukraine, as there seems to be no position of a SPD Chairman), leaving him United State Political Department
(USPD) Deputy Chairman in Ukraine, as I think the post of a GPU chair does not exist), whereas Redens should be appointed Balitsky’s deputy in Ukraine;
c) several months after this replace Chubar with another comrade, say,
Grinko or any other, while Chubar should be appointed Molotov’s deputy in Moscow (Kosior can be appointed a secretary of the AUCP(b) Central
d) set the goal to make Ukraine a real fortress of the USSR, a truly exemplary republic as soon as possible. Do not save money on this.
Without these and similar activities (economic and political strengthening of Ukraine, first of all its border areas, etc.), I repeat – we may lose
In accordance with the thesis on strengthening Ukraine, the decision was made in Kremlin to reduce grain procurements plan in this republic. On August 19, 1932 Stalin wrote to Kaganovich:
“According to materials, a reduction of grain procurements plan will be requested not only by Ukrainians, but also by North-Caucasians, the Middle Volga, Western Siberia, Kazakhstan and Bashkortostan regions. For now I advise to approve the reduction only for Ukraine, by 30 or in the worst case by 35-40 million tons. As for the others, all discussions should be postponed to the very end of August”.
The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of AUCP(b) resolution issued the day before said:
“Approve comrade Stalin’s proposal to reduce the grain procurement plan for Ukraine by 40 million poods as an exception for severely affected areas of
Ukraine, for such areas cut one half of the plan for the collective farms and one third of the plan for individuals.”.
Two months later, on October 29, 1932 the grain procurement plan for Ukraine was reduced again. The resolution of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of AUCP(b) said:
“1. Approve the proposal of comrade Molotov and Central Committee of CP(b)U on supporting plan to reduce grain procurement for Ukraine by 70 million poods, including:
state farms – by 12 100 thousand poods.
collective farms – by 39 000 thousand poods.
individual farmers – by 18 900 thousand poods.
2. Grant the right to comrade Molotov to reduce the October grain procurement plan in Ukraine due to the above-mentioned”.
Altogether the grain procurement plan for Ukraine was revised three times in 1932 and reduced by a total of 138 million poods, that was nearly one third of the original plan.
As we can see, the result of the quoted letter from Stalin to Kaganovich was not the preparation of the “Holodomor”, but something opposite – the reduction of state grain procurements required for Ukraine.
The graph of food exports from Ukraine is demonstrated in one of the episodes of “The Soviet Story”. According to the graph, 2.6 million quintals of Ukrainian grain were exported abroad in 1929, 48.4 million in 1930, 50 million in 1931, 51.8 million in 1932, 17.6 million in 1933, and finally, 8.4 million in 1934.
This information is completely false, as the data on Soviet grain exports is publicly available. In 1929, the Soviet Union exported 2.6 million quintals, in 1930 – 48.4 million, in 1931 – 51.8 million, in 1932 – 18 million, in 1933 –17.6 million, in 1934 – 8.4 million.
The comparison of these numbers with the numbers used in “The Soviet Story” helps to understand the falsification technique used by the authors of the film.
First of all, the numbers of annual grain exports from entire USSR are presented as exports from Ukraine alone.
Secondly, the amount of grain exports in 1932 is overstated by 2.5 times.
This is how the film “proves” that even during the 1932-1933 famine the Kremlin did not reduce the grain exports. But in reality the Soviet leadership reduced the grain exports significantly when faced the famine. It is another thing that the decision to cut exports was made too late: in April 1933.
The number of victims of the 1932-1933 famine was traditionally overestimated. Some politicians and journalists talk about 12 millions died of starvation in Ukraine alone. Comparing to that, the estimations given in “The Soviet Story” seem rather decent. But still they are far from reality.
According to registry offices data, in 1931, before the famine, the annual number of deaths in Ukraine was 514.7 thousand. In 1932, when the famine has just begun, the mortality rate rose to 668.2 thousand. In 1933, the officially registered deaths amounted to 1850.3 thousand. Thus, if we take the mortality rate in 1931 as a “background”, the number of victims of the 1932 – 1933 famine in Ukraine should be 1489.1 thousand. Assuming that a certain percentage of deaths may have not been officially registered, the total number of deaths from famine in Ukraine can be approximately 1.5-2 million.
The majority of Russian and foreign historians, however, agree that the official data from registry offices is incomplete. There are three methods mainly used in research projects to calculate the number of 1932 – 1933 victims.
The first method was introduced by Stanislav V. Kulchitsky, Deputy Director of Ukrainian History Institute of Ukrainian National Academy of Science. Kulchitsky believes the statistic of Ukrainian population during the famine of 1932 – 1933 was inaccurate – the substantial part of births and deaths of infants was not recorded. Therefore, Kulchitsky thinks, the registry offices data has to be adjusted. He alleges that in June 1933 (famine peak) no more than half of deaths were recorded. He determines the birth rate in Ukraine in 1933 as 621, not 471 thousand, as recorded by registry offices.
Having at his disposal the information on two censuses and annual data on the natural growth, he calculates the difference between the estimated population and the actual data of 1937 census. From that number he subtracts the data on population migration (there was a negative balance for Ukraine), provided by the Central Administration of Economic Accounting (TsUNHU), and receives the number of famine victims in Ukraine equal to 3.238 million. The researcher admits the deceptive nature of this accuracy and states that the real number of victims in 1933 could be estimated in the range from 3 to 3.5 million, taking into account the death rate of 1932, it could be 3.14 to 4 million.
Another method of calculation was implemented by the former TsSU of the USSR (The Central Statistical Administration) staff members E. M. Andreev, L.E. Darskiy and T.L. Har’kova, they published two fundamental works: “History of the USSR population in 1920-1959” and “Demographic history of Russia in 1927-1959”. The researchers conducted a four-stage adjustment of all available data. The data of 1926 and 1937 censuses was corrected according to the of currents statistic of births and deaths. The population estimates for these years were increased by about 1.5 million and 0.7 million respectively. Then they adjusted the total birth and deaths rates for 1927-1936 according to the monthly data. Next, they corrected available annual birth and death rates. And, finally, they brought the numbers in line with 1937 census population size data by age (having the accuracy of up to one year). Therefore, they estimated the excessive mortality in USSR in 1932-1933 as 7 million people. 2.2 million refer to RSFSR (excluding Kazakhstan and Crimea, within the borders of 1959) and 4.3 million people – to Ukraine (without Crimea, within the borders before 1939 – this note is important, because the Crimea suffered famine in 1933 too). The researchers believe, the major part of excessive mortality falls on the year 1933 and 56% of deaths of that year were not officially registered.
The third method of calculations can be found in the work of Australian researcher Stephen Wheatcroft, published in the appendix to the third volume of the documents collection “The Tragedy of the Soviet Countryside”. Wheatcroft notes that the study of local and regional archives of registry offices disproves allegations of the collapse of civil registration system at the time of famine. In the surveyed areas of the Volga region and Ukraine the registry offices in 1932-1933 were operating no worse and no better than before or after the famine. Registry offices records reflected the dreadful situation of increase in the death rate and decline in the birth rate during 1931-1934. Back then, for concealing the actual state of affairs from the government the statisticians could find themselves behind bars far more easily than for providing unpleasant but true information. Wheatcroft stresses that the system of civil registration in Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the best in USSR: first, Ukraine, compared to RSFSR of that time (including current Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with Kara Kalpak autonomous republic of the modern Uzbekistan) was relatively compact; second, Ukraine had the highest literacy rate. Considering calculations by Andreev, Darskiy and Har’kova as the most reasonable, Wheatcroft (based on his analysis of current population statistics) corrects them and determines the excessive mortality in the Soviet Union for three years (1931-1933), not for two years(1932-1933), as was done by Kulchitsky, Andreev, Darskii and Har’kova’s. He gets the total number of 6-7 million for entire USSR including 3-3.5 million for Ukraine.
Thus, the researchers roughly estimate the number of 1932 – 1933 famine victims as 3.5 million people. No doubt, the famine was a terrible tragedy, but exaggerating it is no less a crime than concealing it.
Apparently, the authors of “The Soviet Story” are familiar with the registry offices data. In the deaths diagram for Ukraine demonstrated to the audience the 1931 and 1932 rates match to those of the registry offices. However, the 1933 rates are false: instead of 1850.3 thousand deaths recorded the graph shows 7 million. There is no name for such other than deliberate fraud.
Ukrainian politicians actively promote in the international arena the allegation of Ukrainian people genocide related to 1932-1933 famine. We see the same allegation in “The Soviet Story”. Yet it does not reflect the reality.
By now Russian historians have studied in detail the 1932-1933 famine tragedy which stroke Ukraine, Southern regions of Russia and Northern regions of Kazakhstan. The documental evidence disproves the concept of “Holodomor as genocide”. Professor Viktor Kondrashin, the major Russian researcher of 1932-1933 famine writes:
“The documents related to the history of collectivization studied by specialists and widely introduced into scholarly practice in the 90s and the early 2000s do not confirm the concept of “Holodomor genocide”. There is a sufficient number of documents to understand the cause, the scope and the consequences of the 1932-1933 famine in various regions including Ukraine. There is no documental proof for the allegation that the policy of Stalin and his circle in 1932-1933 was aimed to destroy the people of Ukraine in a whole or in a part.
The fact that numerous documentary and other sources on this subject do not have a single direct confirmation of this point, makes the allegation of “genocide” complete nonsense.
Meanwhile, the connection of industrialization and famine is obvious as the former may use the starvation export. This feature of the Soviet industrialization was not invented by Stalinists. For instance, about
10 mil tons of grain was exported from Russia over the period of 1887-1891 to get funds for industrialization, this resulted in the “Tsar-Famine” of 1891- 1892. Nearly 13 mil tons of grain was exported from Russia in 1930-1933, this caused the severe tragedy in grain producing regions. The actions of Stalin regime immediately before and during the Holodomor do not support the theory of “Holodomor genocide”.
If it was a real genocide, the regime would have acted like Nazis in “Jewish ghettos” during World War II, i.e shutting off the supply of food and other material resources to Ukraine completely. However, this did not happen.
Our calculations based on the analysis of sources published in the third volume of documents collection “The tragedy of the Soviet Village: collectivization and dispossession of kulaks”, in 1933 Ukraine received 501 thousand tons of grain as a loan, this was 7.5 times more than in 1932 (65, 6 thousand tons). Russian regions (excluding Kazakhstan) received 990 thousand tons, this was only 1.5 times more than in a previous year.
The question is why this enormous amount of grain was directed from the Centre to Ukraine in 1933? The main reason is the critical situation in the grain regions of Ukrainian SSR and the risk for sowing campaign. Stalin’s government could not afford this to happen as the republic had a special role in grain production industry of the country. As we see, the redistribution of the named resources in favor of Ukraine in 1933 and other measures aimed to strengthen its economy by no means can be called a “genocide policy”.
Even though Ukrainian historians claim there were specific reasons for the famine in every region, the documents show fairly common mechanism of famine everywhere: collectivization, peasant resistance, “famine punishment” due to the enforcement of the collective farms system. No other cause can be traced from the documents. It was the problem not only for grain supplying regions but also for others like Kazakhstan, where the collectivization and meat procurement seriously affected the food supplies for the population...
I shall not deny the fact that the famine of 1932-1933 and overall economic crisis in Ukraine gave the cause to Stalin’s regime to take preventive measures against Ukrainian national movement and, in anticipation of upcoming military clash with the enemies, against the potential social base of collaborationists: intellectuals, state officials, peasantry. Nevertheless, the main cause of the tragedy in Ukraine, as well as in other USSR regions was not in the national issues, but in the need to strengthen the system of collective farms and political regime in general. The solutions implemented by the stalinists were typical for the established regime and the personality of Stalin.
We believe that the famine of 1932-1933 caused the death of 4 to 5 million or even more people outside Ukraine. This issue is currently under thorough investigation by Russian specialists. Can we call them the victims of the “Holodomor genocide”? According to S.V. Kultchitsky, the answer is negative. He believes “Holodomor-genocide” was effective only in Ukraine and in other regions it was just a regular famine.
Arguing his position, he mentions the complete confiscation of peasants’ food stock in the course of state grain procurements, whereas in Russia only the grain was taken and all other food stocks left. However, he does not refer to any official directive from the Center and relies only on the testimonies of witnesses. He alleges that due to the criminal nature of the Stalin regime either all documents of this kind were destroyed or Stalin and his assistants were giving verbal orders. This position has no support from the experts specializing in Stalin era.
In conclusion, for the respected Ukrainian readers, I would like to summarize the approach to the study of the USSR famine of 1932-1933 adopted by Russian and foreign researchers who do not adhere to the concept of “Holodomor genocide” in Ukraine.
1. The famine was caused by the anti-peasant policy of the Stalin regime during the first five-year plan, by miscalculations in the plan and harsh measures with respect to peasantry. This resulted in crisis of agriculture and led to famine.
2. The famine was not planned in advance. However, it was used by Stalin regime to force peasants to work in collective farms and confirm the chosen political course.
3. The magnitude and consequences of the famine were different across regions. It was most severe in areas of total collectivization, where the authorities faced an active resistance by the peasantry and a threat of the ultimate agriculture collapse.
4. The famine did not choose any specific nations or ethnic groups. There was no such a thing as genocide of Ukrainian people, but a common tragedy of Ukrainians, Russians and other people of our country, caused by fault of USSR leaders of the time.
The famine of 1932-1933 is a tragedy of the Soviet Village, including Russian and Ukrainian”.
The allegation about 11 million people repressed in the Soviet Union in the period of 1937-1941 was voiced by Natalia Lebedeva, researcher at World History Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences. We insist, her words are far from true, despite her scientific status.
By now the statistics of Soviet repressions are thoroughly investigated. Russian historian Oleg Mozokhin published the detailed statistics of NKVD repressions based on the information from Central Archives of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation. According to this data, 796613 sentences were imposed in 1937 (including 5948 acquittals) , 558583 sentences in 1938 (4325 acquittals) , 92202 sentences in 1939 (25575 acquittals) and 87218 sentences in 1940(12092 acquittals) . Thus, 1486676 people were convicted over a period of 1937-1940, including those sentenced to death and exile. There is no data about the number of people convicted in 1941, however, it is known that 209 015 people faced the charges for state and criminal offences . Naturally, the number of convictions was less.
The information, published by Mozokhin very well correlates with the
“Memo of the 1st department of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) on the number of arrested and convicted in 1921-1953”, issued on December 11th, 1953 . Also it is supported by earlier published information on prisoners of GULAG camps and labor settlements. This is the evidence of its accuracy.
Another form of pre-war repression was the exile to the remote regions of the country.
The following information is available regarding the exiles in 1937-1941: in September 1937 172 thousand Koreans were evicted from the Far East,
4280 Kurds deported from the near-border regions the same year, 8 thousand Iranians deported in 1938-1939 and 8617 people of “foreign nationalities” deported from Murmansk and the Murmansk region in 1940. Over 380 thousand Poles were deported from Western Ukraine and Western Belarus in 1940-1941, 85 thousand of the “anti-Soviet characters” deported from the near-border regions in May- June 1941. Thus, eviction operations in 1937-1940 affected about 660 thousand people altogether.
To wrap it up, the total number of people repressed in 1939-1941 can be estimated as 2.3-2.4 million, but not 11 million, as alleged in the film.
The statement about Stalin refusing to join anti-Hitler coalition is one of the most absurd allegations in the film showing the total ignorance of authors in the field of history.
Actually, since Hitler came to power, the main objective of Stalin’s foreign policy was to establish anti-Nazi coalition and ensure the peace in Europe.
In 1935 USSR, France and Czechoslovakia signed a mutual aid treaty. This document could have been a significant contribution to the prevention of Hitler aggression unless it had a special provision endorsed by France. The provision allowed USSR to render military aid to Czechoslovakia only if the same is done by France.
However, in 1938 Britain and France acted in collusion with Hitler who demanded Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia:
“Germany and England are the two cornerstones of the European world and mainstays against communism, therefore it is essential to reconcile our current difficulties peacefully, – stated the Prime Minister of Britain Chamberlain on September 12th, 1938. – Probably we will be able to find a solution to satisfy everyone except Russia”.
Few weeks later, on September 30th, the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy met at the summit in Munich and ratified the annexation of certain regions of Czechoslovakia. “The Munich agreement” was signed behind the back of the Soviet Union. In Kremlin this was interpreted as an evidence of rapprochement between Hitler, England and France.
The following occupation of Czechoslovakia by Germany has confirmed such assumptions. March 18th, 1939 the Foreign Minister M.M. Litvinov proposed to call an international conference of USSR, Britain, France, Poland, Romania and Turkey. The agenda would be to find the ways to protect peace and security in Europe. London refused the idea, calling it “premature”.
USSR clearly realized the perspective to be alone in upcoming confrontation with Germany, dominating over the entire Central Europe by then. For the Soviet Union the situation was even more complicated due to military standoff with Japanese Empire at Far East borders, in summer 1938 it resulted in the bloody battle at Lake Khasan.
Nevertheless, Soviet diplomats didn’t give up attempts to establish the anti-Hitler “collective security” system. On April 17th, 1939 the Soviet Union proposed to Britain and France to sign the mutual aid treaty, including the support of Eastern European countries in case of aggression against them. The Soviet proposal read as follows:
“1. Great Britain, France, USSR shall enter into an agreement for a period of 5-10 year of mutual commitment to each other to provide all sorts of assistance including military aid in case of aggression in Europe against any of the contracting states.
2. Great Britain, France and USSR shall agree to provide all types of support, including military, to Eastern European States located between the Baltic and the Black seas and bordering USSR, in the event of aggression against these states.
3. Great Britain, France and USSR shall agree as soon as possible to discuss and determine the scope and forms of the military aid to be provided by every state, pursuant to the paragraphs 1 and 2.
4. The British government shall explain that the aid to Poland can be provided only in the event of German aggression.
5. The existing agreement between Poland and Romania shall be effective in the event of any aggression against Poland and Romania or has to be canceled as targeted against USSR.
6. In the event of military actions, Great Britain, France and USSR shall agree not engage into any negotiations and not to conclude peace with aggressors separately and without the general consent of all the three powers...”
However, London had no intentions to form an alliance with USSR. At the cabinet meeting on April 26th, 1939 the Foreign Minister Halifax strictly opposed the idea of the agreement with USSR. According to Halifax, the agreement of England and France with USSR would have a negative effect on British-German relations and make British-German agreement impossible. L. Colier , the Head of the North department of the British Foreign Office stated that the government does not wish to be tied up with USSR, but prefers to “give Germany an opportunity to develop aggression Eastward, at Russia’s expense”.
Only on July 25th the British government, followed by the French on
July 26th, accepted the proposal of USSR to start negotiations regarding a military convention and expressed readiness to send their representatives to Moscow. The talks started on August 12. Immediately it came out that the French delegation headed by General J. Dumenque was authorized to negotiate only but not to sign any agreements. As for the British delegation headed by Admiral Reginald Drax, it did not have any signing authority at all. At that, the British delegation was instructed to “negotiate very slowly” in order to avoid specific commitments.
“The British government does not wish to be engaged in any obligations which could tie its hands at certain conditions. Therefore regarding the military agreement we should stick to most general wordings”.
As for the Soviet Union, it sought to establish the alliance. On August
17 head of the French military delegation General Dumenque reported to Paris from Moscow:
“There is no doubt the Soviet Union is willing to enter into a military treaty and does not want to accept any document that does not have a concrete meaning”.
As we see, the Soviet Union did not refuse to join the anti-Hitler coalition with France and Britain. On the opposite, the Kremlin was actively pursuing this, while Great Britain and France were concerned to be bound by the agreement.
Only after all attempts to sign the agreement with Britain and France have failed, the Kremlin decided to ensure the security of USSR by signing nonaggression treaty with Germany.
The assertion that the Soviet Union in 1939–1941 was the main supplier of Germany shows the total historical incompetence of the authors of “The Soviet Story” once again. The information on foreign trade of Germany is well known. In 1940 the import from the USSR was only 7.6% of the total German import, and the export to USSR was 4.5% of German export, the next year it was 6.3% and 6.6% respectively. As a result, USSR was only number five in the list of importers to Germany (after Italy, Denmark, Romania and Holland).
The stories about the officers of Gestapo and SS, trained by NKVD, circulated since long ago. However, no proof of this fact has been found to date. Moreover, nobody provided any specific examples of such training. The only exception is the school, operated in 1940 in the Polish town of Zakopane, allegedly under joint control of NKVD and Gestapo. The reference to this school can be found in the works of some historians. However, this assertion does not stand a simple verification. There was, indeed, a Gestapo school in Zakopane in 1939-1940. However, nobody would have thought to allow Soviet representatives there: the school conducted the training of Ukrainian nationalists to be used against USSR. The article by Kyiv historians D. Vedeneev and V. Egorov titled “Sword and Trident. Notes on the history of Security Service of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” is devoted to this issue. Zakopane is a small town; therefore the functioning of two Gestapo schools there at a time – the anti-Soviet and the pro-Soviet – seems very unlikely.
One of the key allegations in “The Soviet Story” is the one about refugees from Nazi occupied Poland extradited by the Soviet party back to Gestapo. No doubt, it is false.
When Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany, there really was a big influx of refugees heading towards West Ukraine and West Belarus, annexed by the Soviet Union. The majority of refugees were Jewish. Nazi authorities supported this process in every way, as an opportunity to resolve the “Jewish problem” (back then there was no talk about “the ultimate resolution of Jewish problem”).
Therefore German frontier guards did not interfere with Jewish refugees crossing Soviet borders. As for the Soviet frontier guards, they were trying to prevent the border violations, just like a Border Guard of any country would have done.
“Expulsion of Jews to the Russian territory was not going as smoothly as we would like, – said Field Marshal V. Keitel. – In reality it was going like this: a thousand of Jews cross the Russian border in a quiet forest, after a while they return escorted by Russian officer, who tries to convince the German officer to take them back”.
The reasons why Soviet authorities did not wish to accept refugees were straightforward: the resources would be needed to provide food, medical care, shelter and work for refugees. Naturally, Kremlin didn’t want to impose extra burden on the Soviet economy. At that time Great Britain and United States refused to accept Jewish refugees as well. The tragedy of Jews, trying to immigrate to USA on the ship “Saint-Louis” in May 1939 is very well known. They were not admitted in the USA and the ship with 933 refugees was forced to sail back to Western Europe, occupied by Nazi troops.
After the beginning of World War II the immigration of Jewish refugees to the Great Britain and the USA was blocked completely.
American Holocaust Encyclopedia says:
“The beginning of war and rapid military victories of Germany in 1939 and 1940 led to a turning point in the American policy regarding Jewish refugees. Not only did the USA government deny all measures aimed to alleviate suffering of Jews under the rule of Nazis... The measures taken before to ease entrance to the USA of German Jews and other refugees from Germany according to American immigration quota were urgently substituted for new entrance limitations, which were introduced under the pretext of preventing foreign espionage in America.
The fear of fascism, communism and sabotage stroke American governmental authorities and general public. The wide-spread opinion that
Jewish refugees who were afraid for their relatives left in Germany could be engaged into espionage under the pressure of Nazis, was touched upon by Roosevelt himself at a press-conference in 1940. As soon as November 1939 the American Department of State ordered the consuls to reduce the issue of entrance visas. In June 1940 they were instructed not to issue visas in case of any minor doubt regarding the applicant”.
“In 1939 the British shut the doors for Jewish refugees, having stopped to issue of visas to those persecuted by Nazis. This was done under the pretext that any refugees from European countries occupied by Nazis have entry permits and therefore should get under suspicion automatically...
In the summer of 1940 after the collapse of France when the German intrusion became more probable, a surge of panic, caused by the fear of espionage spread, hit Great Britain; this led to the fact that 1/3 of refugees, who escaped from Nazism, were interned into special camps”.
As we see, the Soviet authorities were no different from the authorities of democratic Great Britain and USA in their reluctance to accept Jewish refugees. The fundamental difference was that eventually USSR admitted a large number of Jewish refugees from Poland.
The historian from Belarus Dmitry Tolochko has researched the question about the number of Jewish refugees in Western Belarus in 1939-1940. According to the most conservative estimate, there were at least 120-125 thousand people. If we account for numerous Jewish refugees coming to Western Ukraine, it turns out that the Soviet party admitted about 250 thousand refugees from Poland.
By this time Great Britain admitted about 56 thousand, the USA – about 53 thousand and Palestine – over 46 thousand of Jews.
Overall, USSR accepted more Jewish refugees than any other country, despite of its own economical and social problems.
3.11. A meeting of NKVD and Gestapo representatives was held in Krakow in 1940. The agenda was «The Jewish problem».
Authors of “The Soviet Story” are eager to accuse the USSR for complicity in the Holocaust. As there are no grounds for this, they have no other choice but to employ the fraud. The film alleges that a meeting of NKVD and Gestapo representatives was held in Krakow in 1940. The meeting agenda was “the Jewish problem”. As a proof of this statement, the film shows the document from German archive containing the words “the Jewish problem”. It may look convincing to the audience, however, there was no such meeting of NKVD and Gestapo in Krakow and this document does not refer to Holocaust.
Indeed, in late March 1940 there were meetings of Soviet and German officials in Krakow. These officials, however, did not represent NKVD and Gestapo, but were the members of Soviet and German Commissions for the evacuation of refugees.
The Soviet delegation included V.S. Egnarov, I.I. Nevsky (the Chairman and a member of the Soviet Central commission for evacuation of refugees respectively) and V.N. Lisin (the member of local commission). Their mission was to discuss several issues related to refugee exchange and sign the protocol with members of the German commission. The German party was represented by the governor of Krakow O.G. Vechter who was also Chairman of German Central commission, his deputy in this commission Major of Gendarmes G. Flade and two employees of German Foreign Ministry.
Historian Oleg Vishlev notes in his work:
“SS officers in the German commission (including the chairman) did not necessarily have to be associated with Gestapo or SD. In Nazi Germany many government officials, including Foreign Ministry staff, were enlisted in SS and had to wear a uniform. SS-Hauptsturmführer (equivalent of a Captain in the German Army) K. Lishka was the only representative of SD in German Commission. The documents do not provide any evidence that any Gestapo representative was present. Major of Gendarmes, SS-Hauptsturmführer and Captain of NKVD Border Guard Egnarov (the Chairman of the Soviet commission) can hardly be regarded as “high-ranking officials of NKVD and Gestapo”, as it stated in some literature.
The documents from German archives, investigated by O. Vishlev indicate that the issues discussed during the meeting were related to the problem of refugees. The protocol records of German Check-point Commission meeting held before the meeting with Soviet delegation shows that except the refugee repatriation the German delegation intended to pursue the other unresolved issues on the meeting with Soviet representatives. Such issues included: release and repatriate ethnic Germans from Western Belarus and Western Ukraine; repatriate Wehrmacht soldiers lagging from their units during the Polish campaign.
However, no agreement on these issues exists in the Soviet-German protocol of 29th of March, 1940. The subsequent documents have no evidence, direct or indirect, that any additional agreements were made in Krakow besides the one on the problem of refugees.
The Soviet-German protocol signed on March 29th, 1940 in Krakow was in fact an amendment to the Agreement of resettlement of November 16, 1939. It clarified several paragraphs of the previous agreement based on the experience gained in the course of resettlement, modified the first paragraph in relation to the refugee problem and defined the list of qualified population categories to allow to cross the border.
As for “the Jewish problem” discussed during the meeting, it was again related to the refugee problem. This can be seen from the document demonstrated in the film:
“To the Representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Commission for control of refugee repatriation
Regarding: exchange of German-Soviet refugees
1) On 28th of April the meeting of envoy-counselor Schwinner and secretary of religion affairs Meissner from Moscow was held, on 29th the governor of Krakow Vechter arrived. Together with the representative of Ukrainian government Proskuryakov and two government representatives negotiations have started. The agreement was reached on the following.
2) The Soviet representatives started with the discussion of the Jewish problem. The Germans expressed their position that they do not view the Jews as a nationality. The Soviet party expressed disagreement that it was a question of race or religion, however acknowledged that the German government has the right to choose refugees.
Next the German party indicated that the treaty obligation to accept
60000 refugees was fulfilled...”
As we can see, this document has nothing to do with the Holocaust. Neither does the meeting of joint commission on refugee evacuation.
3.12. The resignation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Litvinov was enforced by NKVD troops and tanks.
In an attempt to use the “Jewish problem” to press charges against USSR the authors of the film reach the point of absurdity. It turns out that the resignation of Foreign Minister Litvinov was enforced by tanks.
The British historian Norman Davis says in the film: “The building of Foreign Ministry was surrounded by tanks and NKVD troops, next Stalin ordered “to clear the synagogue”.
We can only suggest Davis to rely less on rumors and work more with generally accessible sources. The dismissal of Litvinov took place in the evening of May 2, 1939 and was officially announced next day.
E.A. Gnedin , the head of the Press Department of USSR Foreign Ministry, recalled in his memoirs the events that day:
“I arrived to NKID (Foreign Ministry), probably, after 10 pm. In “the Big House on Lubianka” (currently Dzerzhinskii Street), located opposite the
NKID building, all windows were lighted, as usual. NKVD was at full swing work. But in the NKID building, where at this hour usually only the duty secretaries keep the lights on, like in my Press Department – the entire floor where Minister’s offices and reception areas are located, was alight.
Lights were shining in the offices of senior officials amidst the dark windows of other floors. But the hallways inside the building were dark and deserted, since the majority of our employees were not there.
In the secretariat of the Ministry I found some department leaders, Chief of Administration Korzhenko and officials from the Special Department
(I think that’s what it was called back then). I learnt that a commission from the Central Committee is having a meeting right here in the NKID building and all of us will be questioned.
Of course, I was not at all inclined to jokes when, entering the large office of the Minister, I found myself in front of a long table with high officials sitting: Molotov - in the middle, the head of NKVD Foreign Department Dekanozov, appointed Deputy Foreign Minister - to the right; Beria and Malenkov - to the left. M.M. Litvinov was sitting to the right of Molotov, by the far edge of the table. When I found myself face to face with the government commission composed of such members, I clearly realized that the commission arrived to the to implement the leadership change in NKID. Of course, I was unable to evaluate immediately neither the significance of the events nor their possible consequences. Knowing about the dismissal of Litvinov, I still wasn’t going to change my line of conduct and act in front of the Central Committee commission differently than I originally planned...
When I returned to the Press Department after talking to the commission, I found out that the censor on duty is under siege by foreign reporters with sensational telegrams about the dismissal of the USSR Foreign Minister.
Some of the reporters sought the audience with me. I decided to refrain from it, even though I was usually talking to the most influential journalists and helping censors in the days of significant events. Nevertheless, I also believed that I shouldn’t hide from reporters that evening. That could have inspired undesirable speculations. Without directives the censor would not release any telegram with comments on Litvinov’s dismissal, and that, I believed, could have harmful consequences as the press would immediately make a fuss of it, talking about “perplexity”, or even a crisis in Moscow. My duty was to prevent such developments.
I decided to do it in informal and non binding way. With my coat and hat on I went into the censorship office located on the first floor and having a separate entrance from the street. The agitated reporters surrounding the table of the nervous censor started bombarding me with questions right away. I advised them that I’m not authorized to comment on Litvinov’s dismissal and came by only to help the censor to prepare the official information for release. They still went on asking me questions, and I was answering, every time reminding that it is my personal opinion.”
As we can see, there were no tanks or NKVD troops around the NKID building as well as no Stalin’s order to “clear the synagogue”.
The stories about the deported people of 30-s and 40-s transported in the railcars for cattle, 60-70 persons in each, became undisputable truism in the public mind. Such stories have been once again repeated by the authors of “The Soviet Story”. However, this “truism” does not correspond to reality.
First of all, the deportees were transported in the standard passenger railcars, not in the cattle cars. The testimony of eyewitness says: “The car had an iron stove and three-tier bunks, the luggage was piled at the back wall”. Obviously, it was not a first-class car, but it cannot be called a “cattle car” either. Besides, every train had a medical car to transport sick people and medical staff.
As for the number of deportees in a car, it varied depending on resources of the state, but never reached 60-70 people. For example, during the 1941 deportation from Estonia, 30-33 prisoners or 18-22 deportees were transported in one car. During the Chechen and Ingush deportation in March 1944, on average 42 people were transported in each car. This was indicated, for example, in the report of USSR NKVD Convoy commander V.M. Bochkov from March 21, 1944:
“I report that the embarkation of deported Chechens and Ingush people started at 5 on 23.2.44. A total of 180 trains with 65 cars each, with the total of 493,269 deportees, have been taken under guard and dispatched.
There were 2740 people per train on average.”
And, finally, “The Instruction to train and guard chiefs on convoying the deportees” issued on June 2, 1949 says: “Deportees are to be embarked as follows: 22-24 persons per two axle car and 44-48 persons per four axle car.”
As we can see, the allegation about 60-70 deportees transported in a single railcar is false.
“The Soviet Story” ends with the following caption: “The Soviet Union murdered more than 20,000,000 men, women and children.” We have no idea how the authors came up with this number, but it does not reflect the reality anyhow.
Who can be considered “murdered by the Soviet Union”?
Apparently, the authors of the film consider as “murdered” those who were sentenced to be executed, who died in camps and in exile, as well as during the famine of 1932-1933. However, except the first group, those people can be considered “murdered” only if it is proven that the Kremlin deliberately created conditions leading to their deaths. To date such evidence does not exist.
Over the past twenty years Soviet repressive policies have been thoroughly studied by both Russian and foreign researchers. It is well known that
862,983 people were sentenced to death in 1918 -1953. The total number of convicted (including sentenced to minimal prison terms or deportation) reached approximately 5.66 million , the vast majority of those people were released after serving their sentences. The total number of deported or exiled during the same period was approximately 6 million. After Stalin’s death the extent of repressions is known to have declined significantly to an “average world level”.
The period of Stalin’s repressions, no doubt, is a tragic part of Russian history. However, this number of repressed is very far from reaching 20 million. The allegations like “the Soviet Union murdered 20 million” are the examples of the shameless blatant lies.
One of the most bizarre claims of “The Soviet Story” authors is that the victims of Stalin era repressions have fallen into oblivion in contemporary Russia. In reality, there is no country where this topic is investigated as thoroughly and comprehensively as in Russia. Hundreds of document collections and studies, thousands (if not tens of thousands) of scientific articles have been published over the last two decades. The multivolume
“Memory Books of Victims of Political Repressions” are compiled, memorials installed, the laws “On Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repressions” and “On Rehabilitation of Repressed Nationalities” have been enacted; the President of Russia regularly participates in commemorative ceremonies dedicated to the victims of repressions.
If that is oblivion, then what is remembrance?
Video images manipulation is an important and indispensable element of propaganda films. “I saw it with my own eyes!” – say the viewers, not knowing that they saw something completely different.
Manipulation of this kind is used in “The Soviet Story” extensively.
As we mentioned before, the victims of 1921-1922 famine in Volga region are presented as Holodomor victims and photographs of corpses mutilated by local collaborators are demonstrated as evidence of Soviet crimes in the Baltic region. However, the case does not end here.
Let’s look closely at the episode about the “joint parade of Soviet and German troops in Brest”. Actually, there was no such parade, what really happened was the ceremonial withdrawal of German troops from the city; this event was watched by Soviet representatives. No wonder that the documentary of the “joint parade” does not exists. However, the authors of the film need to convince the viewer that the parade did really happen. Pursuing this idea, they show the scenes of Soviet parade on the Red Square right after the scenes of German withdrawal from Brest.
It lasts only few seconds, but it’s sufficient to make the viewers believe they have really seen the joint parade of German and Soviet troops in Brest.
Deliberately offensive to all who cherish the memory of the victory over Nazism is the combination of the shots of corpses mutilated by Baltic collaborationists with episodes of parade dedicated to 60-th anniversary of the Victory.
This type of “creativity” as well as the demonstration of corpses with the Russian anthem as the background music is directly aimed at inciting ethnic hatred.
There is another form of manipulation, very popular in the film. The images of the Soviet leaders simply pointing at something interesting or waving their hands to greet someone are shown right after the leaders of the Third Reich raising their hands in Nazi salute “Heil”. This is presented as if Stalin or Molotov were saluting like Nazis.
Obviously, the shots of this type can be found for any political leader including Churchill, Roosevelt and the current president of Latvia. Unfortunately, the audience has no time to realize this.
The authors of the film take the Soviet and the Nazi propaganda posters and demonstrate their resemblance. Once again, this is nothing else, but manipulation.
Propaganda posters have similar qualities in all kinds of societies, no matter totalitarian or democratic (to compare posters of USA, Great Britain and Nazi Germany and USSR see Appendix).
As you can see, American and British posters have much in common with Soviet and Nazi ones. Does it mean that USA and Britain had the same ideology as USSR or Nazi Germany?
Manipulations of this kind can be classified as deliberate misleading of the audience.
The feather in the cap for the authors of the film is the participation of many so-called “experts”. According to the Latvian media, the team of experts deserves a great respect – a notable Cambridge University professor, historian Norman Davis, the last leader of USSR Mikhail Gorbachev, the former colonel of USSR GRU Vladimir Karpov, professor of Sorbonne University Francoise Thomas, Russian historians Natalia Lebedeva, Boris Sokolov, Sergey Sluch, one of the first exposers of Stalin’s foreign policy, Viktor Suvorov and many others including members of the European Parliament”.
However, if we take a closer look, we could find some problems with the experts. First of all, as Edvins Snore admitted in his interview to the Latvian newspaper “Chas” (“Hour”), the authors of the film did not communicate personally with many of their experts, including
M. Gorbachev, they simply made excerpts from their earlier speeches. Also, some participants were not informed about the focus of the film, its propagandistic nature was deliberately concealed.
For instance, Natalia Lebedeva, the researcher at the Institute of the World History of Russian Academy of Sciences, has received an invitation to take part in the film devoted to “European-Russian dialogue on historical events of the 20th century” and produced as “part of European Parliament good neighbor policy”. We cannot call this kind of wordings other than deliberate manipulative deception.
The choice of experts looks rather odd. The expert team includes well-known history falsifiers like Viktor Suvorov (Rezun) and Vladimir Karpov. The first is notorious for his fraud based book on Hitler’s invasion in the Soviet Union as “preventive” measure. The ideas from his books are not taken seriously in the community of professional historians.
The second one, the writer Vladimir Karpov, is known for introducing numerous low quality false documents on the Soviet history.
The first version of the “General Agreement between NKVD and Gestapo” is one of the fakes Karpov actively promotes.
Apart from professional falsifiers of history, many historians with academic credentials knowingly conveyed the false information, thus showing their own professional incompetence.
For example, professor of Cambridge University Norman Davis told an absurd story that the resignation of Foreign Minister Litvinov was enforced with NKVD troops and tanks. Earlier mentioned researcher Natalia Lebedeva falsely alleged that 11 million people were repressed during the period of 1937-1941.
The entire team of experts seems to be deliberately made of falsifiers or professionally incompetent researchers. The rare exceptions only confirm the rule, for instance, the statement of historian Alexander Gurianov was very adequate. Besides, many interviews of experts have been edited in a way distorting the original meaning.
The film “The Soviet Story” by Latvian director Edvins Snore, actively promoted by Latvian politicians, has openly propagandistic nature.
The main objective of the film is to persuade European audience to believe in enormous scale of Soviet repressions, think about Soviet Union as twin brother of Nazi Germany and look at contemporary Russia as neo-Nazi state.
“The Soviet Story” has nothing to do with historical documentary as it employs fake documents, false information and manipulation of visual images to prove the allegation that the Soviet Union was a “criminal” state.
This gross attempt to distort facts interferes with objective assessment of events in world history in 20th century and World War II in particular.
Evidently, the authors of the film try to divert the attention of the world community from the crimes committed by Latvian collaborationists during World War II and from the processes developing in contemporary Latvia: rehabilitation of Nazi criminals and violations of human rights of so-called “non-citizens”, mostly ethnic Russians. Many episodes of the film promote ethnic hatred. All of the above and especially the demonstration of the film to Latvian schoolchildren raise serious concerns.
The numerous falsifications, doubtless for any professional historian, are presented in “The Soviet Story” as authentic documents. The authors employ many false allegations, deliberately distorted quotes and statistics. Biased montage and regular manipulations of visual images directly aim to mislead the audience.
The active promotion of this film by Latvian authorities clearly demonstrates their readiness to use the most blatant lies and forgeries in anti-Russian foreign and domestic policy.
We hope that the Foreign Ministry and State Duma of Russian Federation could respond to the situation appropriately.
1. Promotional poster of “The Soviet Story”.
2. “Brothers in misfortune”. Nansen’s Committee, 1922
2a. Scene from “The Soviet Story”. These children are presented as victims of “Holodomor”.
3. Victim of famine. Nansen’s Committee, 1922.
4. Questionable photo from “Völkischer Beobachter” presented as image of the Holodomor victims.
5. A girl from Yuzhnoye Alekseevo swollen from hunger, Nansen’s Committee, 1921
6. A photo from the “Exhibition of archive documents on Holodomor”, released by Security Service of Ukraine. Kiev, Nov. 24, 2006.
6a. Cemetery in Povolzhye. The photo was published by Nansen’s Committee, October 1921.
7. The document demonstrated in the film as evidence of NKVD cooperation with Gestapo for the solution of “The Jewish problem”.
8. The letter from the authors of the film to the historian Natalia Lebedeva.
Обновлено (17.01.2013 11:15)
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