In an infamous secret speech to the congress of the Soviet communist party in 1956, Nikita Kruschev trashed Stalin’s reputation – in order to boost his own. A new book from an American academic exposes the lies...
Khrushchev lied: the evidence that every ‘revelation’ of Stalin’s (and Beria’s) ‘crimes’ in Nikita Khrushchev’s infamous ‘secret speech’ to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, is provably false. Grover Furr, paperback, 426 pages, ISBN 978-0-615-44105-4, Erythrós Press & Media, 2011, $25.
Krushchev’s secret speech in 1956 attacking Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria, the head of security and secret police, aimed to justify his arrest and execution of Beria three years earlier and to consolidate his own power recently seized from Stalin loyalists, Vyacheslav Molotov and Georgy Malenkov. It marked a radical change of direction for the Soviet Union leading ultimately to its collapse.
Grover Furr, Professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, has produced an extraordinary book that re-draws Soviet history. He examines every one of Khrushchev’s 61 allegations against Stalin made in his 1956 speech in the light of the documentary evidence, mostly primary sources from the former Soviet Union’s archives.
About the purges, Furr writes: “According to the report, arrests dropped hugely, by over 90% in 1939 and 1940 in comparison to 1937 and 1938. Executions in 1939 and 1940 dropped to far less than 1% of the levels of mass executions in 1937 and 1938. Beria took over as head of the NKVD in December, 1938, so this [the drop] corresponds precisely with Beria’s period in command. Khrushchev, therefore, knew of this, but omitted it from the ‘Secret Speech’ and so concealed it from his audience.”
Stalin (left) with Roosevelt and Churchill when they met in WW2 in Yalta.
Furr presents the evidence that Khrushchev’s allegation that Stalin had a breakdown when the Nazis invaded was ‘a complete fabrication’. He also presents the evidence that refutes Khrushchev’s allegation that Stalin was a bad commander. Marshals Zhukov, Vasilevsky and Golovanov all testified that Stalin was a very competent military leader.
Zhukov wrote of Stalin, “He knew how to find the main link in a strategic situation and, by seizing it, to find the road for opposing the enemy, of successfully carrying out that or another offensive operation. Undoubtedly he was a worthy Supreme Commander … Beside that, in guaranteeing operations, the creation of strategic reserves, in the organizing of the production of military technology and in general in the creation of everything essential for waging war the Supreme Commander, I tell you directly, showed himself to be a superb organizer.”
The dissident Zhores Medvedev wrote, “Stalin’s anti-Semitism, about which one may read in almost all his biographies, was not religious, nor ethnic, nor cultural. It was political, and expressed itself in anti-Zionism, not hatred of Jews.” Furr commented, “in plain language, Medvedev confirmed that Stalin was not anti-Semitic at all, since opposition to Zionism is common among both religious and non-religious Jews, including in Israel itself.”
Khrushchev claimed of the wartime deportations of Crimean Tartars, Chechens and Ingush, “this deportation action was not dictated by any military considerations” and that there were only “hostile acts of individual persons or groups of persons”. Furr comments, “The military necessity for the deportations was to secure the Red Army’s rear. In each of the cases of the deported nationalities, very large parts of the population were either actively or passively aiding the Germans in rebelling against the Soviet government, and constituted a serious danger to Soviet forces.”
Furr observes, “In 1939 there were 218,000 Crimean Tartars. That should mean about 22,000 men of military age – about 10% of the population. In 1941, according to contemporary Soviet figures, 20,000 Crimean Tartar soldiers deserted the Red Army. By 1944 20,000 Crimean Tartar soldiers had joined the Nazi forces and were fighting against the Red Army.”
And, “In 1943 there were about 450,000 Chechens and Ingush in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (CHASSR). This should have meant about 40,000-50,000 men of age for military service. In 1942, at the height of the Nazis’ military successes, 14,576 men were called to military service, of whom 13,560, or 93%, deserted and either hid or joined rebel or bandit groups in the mountains. There was massive collaboration with German forces on the part of the Chechen and Ingush population.”
Trashing the truth
Furr concludes, “Khrushchev was not trying to ‘right the ship of communism’. A total trashing of the truth like the ‘Secret Speech’ is incompatible with Marxism, or with idealistic motives of any kind. Nothing positive, democratic, or liberating can be built on a foundation of falsehood. Instead of reviving a communist movement, and Bolshevik Party, that had strayed from its true course through grievous errors, Khrushchev was killing it off…Taking into account his murder of Beria and the men executed as ‘Beria’s gang’ in 1953, he seems worse still – a political thug. Khrushchev was guilty in reality of the kinds of crimes he deliberately and falsely accused Stalin of in the ‘Secret Speech’.”
Furr writes, “Once convinced that Khrushchev’s speech is little more than a long, carefully-planned and elaborate lie, no student can ever view Soviet history of the Stalin period in the same way again.” ■