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Stalin's Genocides (Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity) Paperback – December 25, 2011
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"Naimark's short book is a polemical contribution to this debate. Though he acknowledges the dubious political history of the UN convention, he goes on to argue that even under the current definition, Stalin's attack on the kulaks and on the Ukrainian peasants should count as genocide. . . . Perhaps we need a new word, one that is broader than the current definition of genocide and means, simply, 'mass murder carried out for political reasons.'"--Anne Applebaum, New York Review of Books
"Stalin's Genocides is compellingly written, nuanced and powerfully argued."--Times Literary Supplement
"This is a small book that places a large exclamation point on the most incriminatingly tragic dimension of Soviet history."--Robert Levgold, Foreign Affairs
"Norman Naimark's extended essay Stalin's Genocides is both controversial and provocative. . . . Naimark's daring effort to redefine several of the crimes committed by Stalin's regime in the 1930s and 1940s as acts of genocide is admirable. His study is also particularly timely."--Zbysek Brezina, History Today
"Norman Naimark gives us here in a very condensed form a fine piece of scholarship. . . . After closing the cover of this well-written and powerfully-argued monograph, more than one reader will be left wondering how Stalin was able to achieve such ghastly results."--J. Guy Lalande, Canadian Journal of History
"Written elegantly and researched impeccably, this volume will be of interest to academic and non-academic audiences alike. It will hopefully prompt other authors to re-evaluate Stalin's mass terror and name it for what it was."--Lavinia Stan, European Legacy
"Naimark deserves great credit not only for having written a crisp, concise book but also for sparking a discussion that historians far too often are reluctant to have."--Mark Kramer, Journal of Cold War Studies
From the Inside Flap
"Stalin's Genocides is a magisterial and admirably lucid analysis of the Stalinist terrors that is both totally accessible and finely nuanced in its scholarship--Naimark's superb work assigns the criminality to Stalin's own bizarre personality as well as the repressive Soviet system."--Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
"This book is simply outstanding. Naimark takes the most significant aspect of Stalins rule--mass terror--and shows how it was applied under Stalins direct inspiration and, often, his close supervision. It is proof of Naimarks mastery of the subject and superb writing skills that he can provide sharp, gripping sketches of such monumental issues in Soviet history."--Jan T. Gross, author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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First, let's make it clear, Senator, that I am not, or ever have been, a Stalinist. Said Great Leader's crimes could never be justified by socialist humanism or whatever rubric his apologists chose to coat them. But genocide is just that: the attempted genetic extermination, by intent and/or result, of a target population. The term "cultural genocide" is thus an oxymoron, unless one believes that specific cultures are biologically transmitted - in which case it's doubly contradictory, and US "melting pots" were also extermination plots. Nor do I hold with the unique nature of the Jewish Holocaust. Such things happened before, and have since: merely read the Old Testament.
The target nations of Stalin's wrath - Chechens, Crimean Tartars, Soviet Poles and Germans - survived in their cruel exiles and were permitted by the Soviet state to later return home: unlike the fate of Armenians. The Baltic nations continued as political, cultural, and biological entities, despite the mass deportations of the 40s. Ascribed groups, such as kulaks, followed the same pattern. Political groupings like Trotskyists, Zionists, "fascists," etc. may come closest to a proper definition, but again these are not genetic. The Holodomor was the result of failed agriculture experimentation and Malthusian realpolitik, but no intent or result to exterminate Ukrainians as such can be derived from this - merely look at the present Ukrainian population.
One cannot categorize Stalinist/Soviet crimes as genocide, unless one extends the definition to war and mass hunger themselves. By this token, the Irish famine of 1846-7 was genocide; US war in Indochina was genocidal; also the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs; the forced deportation of Volksdeutsche from postwar Czechoslovakia and Poland; the US-sponsored death squad regimes of Latin America; forced sterilization programs in certain US state prisons; or the leasing of black convicts in the post-bellum American South ("if one dies, get another.") Thus if deporting uncooperative and troublesome Balts or Chechens was genocidal, so was the forced exile of native Americans along the Trail of Tears. Extending the term genocide to massacres and less sensational crimes against humanity only muddies the waters of understanding. Genocide should be seen as one crime against humanity among many, instead of using genocide as an umbrella term for all of them.
Only genocide is genocide - not racism, not mass murder (NRA take heart!), not famine, nor bombing. Ascribing the worst motives to official enemies, and slighting the crimes against humanity of one's own beloved country, is not furthering justice nor historical accounting.