Archive for Monday, August 20, 2007


Josef Stalin earned a spot at the top of the list of history’s most notorious killers.

August 20, 2007


When history's most monstrous murderers are cited, such names as Hitler, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun and the Mongols are quick to surface. Too often left off the list is Josef Stalin, the former Soviet Union despot who may have caused more deaths than any of the others.

Stalin in his bloody reign is considered responsible for at least 20 million deaths of fellow Russians. Millions of gypsies, gays and alleged "misfits" were special targets of his brutal tactics.

While the current Russian government and president Vladimir Putin tends to sidestep the Stalin issue, there are those who recognize what happened and feel it should be chronicled. From Moscow comes an Associated Press report telling how Russian Orthodox priests recently consecrated a wooded cross at a site south of the city where firing squads executed thousands of people 70 years ago at the height of Stalin's horrible purges.

The ceremony focused on The Great Purge of 1937 when millions were labeled "enemies of the state" and either executed without trial or sent to labor camps.

There were no representatives of the Putin government. Putin, a former KGB officer, says he is attempting to restore Russians' pride in their Soviet-era history by softening the public perception of Stalin's rule.

Said one of the officials at the dedication, "I know no other example in history when 700,000 people were killed in less than two years only for political reasons." Putin has said that while the 1937 purge was one of the most notorious episodes of the Stalin era, no one should try to make Russia feel guilty about it because "in other countries even worse things happened."

How faint is that praise for Stalin's reign of terror? Naturally, Putin in a June talk to history teachers suggested the United States' use of atomic weapons against Japan to end World War II in 1945 was among those "things."

Political arrests and murders on dubious charges were common during Stalin's rule. Millions went to slave labor camps and died. Large-scale arrests of Communist Party members began in 1934 and reached a peak in 1936-37.

Human life was the cheapest of commodities of the Stalin era. When his forces were sent out to battle German invaders, he trained convicts in a military mode to follow behind his troops and kill anyone who even hinted at retreat. After the war, many of those who had been held prisoner by the Germans returned to Russia only to be imprisoned or killed as traitors because they had not sacrificed their lives against the Nazis.

Josef Stalin's grim and grisly record of human indignity should be at the top of the list when rosters of mass murderers of any era are compiled.


Richard Heckler 10 years, 8 months ago

George W. Bush on his march across the mideast may join Stalin and others in that certain hall of fame as talk of invading Iran heats up.

geniusmannumber1 10 years, 8 months ago

Finally! I've been waiting for years for the Journal World to take a bold stand against Soviet Communism! Kudos, LJW! You tell them pinkos what's what!

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 8 months ago

Put Saddam Hussein on the list of (former) despots.

Fairness952 10 years, 8 months ago

An editorial about Stalin? Why not. The 10 most recent LJW editorial subjects included the Kennedy assassination, a Jimmy Stewart postage stamp, a penitent wide receiver for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the importance of bicycle safety, appreciation for the armed forces and, of course, the "simmering situation" at the KU Medical Center -- the subject of 30+ editorials and Saturday Columns over the past year. If there is any rhyme or reason to the content of the LJW editorial page, I fail to discern it.

thubbard76 10 years, 8 months ago

Obviously, the bombing, poisoning, and incineration of thousands of civilian non-combatants was just one of those "things".

bearded_gnome 10 years, 8 months ago

and the lunatic fringies of the left act like Stalin and adore Stalin! I see Merrill "crazed spammer of the left" again cites as a source!!! far from an unbiased site and not a good source. the difference is intent but I know that's beyond the grasp of you people suffering under Bush Derangement Syndrome! no proof exists that Bush, Rummy, et al ever targeted civilians. of course bullets and bombs go astray. and the dirty little secret when they talk about civilian deaths in iraq they use incredibly inflated numbers which include those killed by Al-Qaeda, Saddam's army, and insurgents we are fighting. this makes about as much sense to blame the allies in WWII for the deaths of civilians killed by the german 'blitz krieg.' yeah, we did things that made Mr. Hilter mad, so we're to blame!!!!!

the lunatic fringe acts like stalin in trying to shut down freedom of speech when it is speech they don't like, for example.

yes, add Saddam, Cambutia, to that list. Cambutia's killing fields of 2million souls was triggered by our withdrawl caused by the lunatic left senators (democrat of course) cutting support for the war (at the bidding of a liberal press, and cutting the funds South vietnam needed to survive against chinese and russian support enemies.
now, the lunatic fringe wants to withdraw ASAP from Iraq so that Iraq can go through the same killing fields, only on a scale of ten. yeah, that stalin guy, let's minimize what he did and keep up the hate-bush lunatic fringe message. same people are completely unable to grasp that there positive sings from the surge and this might not be lost after...they just laugh it off betraying their nervousness; number three in the congress admitted in an interview that good news from iraq "then we'd have a problem."

bearded_gnome 10 years, 8 months ago

and of course "sings" should be "signs." the sky is up and the ground is down, with its gravity.

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