Who Controls the Past Controls the Future: Why Does West Hate Stalin?

© WikipediaPotsdamer Konferenz,Stalin,Truman,Churchill
Potsdamer Konferenz,Stalin,Truman,Churchill - Sputnik International
On August 23 Europe marked a so-called "European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism" coinciding with the date of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; one of the purposes of this "day of remembrance" is to equate Stalin with Hitler, the USSR with Nazi Germany, Professor Grover Carr Furr told Sputnik.

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By attacking and stigmatizing the Soviet past the US and its NATO allies are targeting today's Russia and its leadership that is unwilling to bow before the West; anyway, the USSR never did anything remotely comparable to what major Western countries did in the last century — the US and NATO have been by far the most aggressive and murderous power in the world since WW2, US expert in Soviet history Professor Grover Carr Furr of Montclair State University told Sputnik.

Illogical as it may seem, despite the fact that the USSR collapsed decades ago the Western propaganda machine continues to vilify Soviet Russia; first British-American historian Robert Conquest and later American scholar Timothy Snyder have contributed a lot to the anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda campaign. 

"Why [there is] so much anti-Stalin and anti-communism? Anti-communism because communism is the antithesis to capitalism. And anti-Stalin because the Stalin period in the USSR was the period when the world Communist movement did so much that was good. Also, anti-Stalinism and anticommunism because of the huge atrocities of capitalism and imperialism in the 20th century, which continue today," Professor Furr emphasized.

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The professor pointed out that historian Robert Conquest (the author of "The Great Terror: Stalin's Purges of the 1930s" who passed away on August 3, 2015) had been working for the British Information Research Department (IRD) since its establishment and up to 1956. The IRD, originally called the Communist Information Bureau, was founded in 1947, when the Cold War era began.

"[The IRD's'] main task was to combat Communist influence throughout the world by planting stories among politicians, journalists and others in a position to influence public opinion," Professor Furr explained.

Conquest's work was to contribute to the so-called "black history" of the Soviet Union, the professor noted, "in other words, fake stories put out as fact and distributed among journalists and others able to influence public opinion."

"His book The Great Terror, a basic anti-communist text on the subject of the power struggle that took place in the Soviet Union in 1937, was in fact a recompilation of text he had written when working for the secret services. The book was finished and published with the help of the IRD. A third of the publication run was bought by the Praeger Press, normally associated with the publication of literature originating from CIA sources," Professor Furr pointed out.

The professor remarked that to our days Conquest remains one of the most important sources of material on the Soviet Union for anti-communist and Russophobic historians.

The propagandist activity, masquerading as scholarship, was aimed against the USSR and coordinated by US/British intelligence.

Furr noted that Conquest periodically met with heavy criticism from prominent Western scholars, which blasted him for "consciously falsifying information" about the Soviet Union. In fact Conquest just used any source that was hostile to Stalin and the USSR, turning a blind eye to the fact whether it was reliable or not.

© AP PhotoThe Training Center One, a secret CIA guerrilla warfare training base at Fort Benning, Ga. (File)
The Training Center One, a secret CIA guerrilla warfare training base at Fort Benning, Ga. (File) - Sputnik International
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Anti-USSR Discourse Has Caught Second Wind in West

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Needless to say that British-American historian Robert Conquest has lots of "followers," especially today, when Western-Russian relations have deteriorated tremendously. The blatant falsification of history used as a traditional Cold War tool has caught a second wind. 

"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past," as George Orwell wrote in his famous book "1984."

Unsurprisingly though, the Western historical discourse is currently flooded with politicized myths about the USSR and Joseph Stalin.

One of those who contribute a lot to the blackening of Soviet Russia is Timothy Snyder, the Housum Professor of History at Yale and author of Bloodlands. Like Conquest, he is a celebrated Western author praised by both American right-wing and liberal sources.

While attacking Stalin, Snyder is trying to convince his readers that Hitler was no worse but in some sense "less evil" than the Soviet leader. Snyder goes even so far as to suggest that "in order to carry out the murder of the Jews [the Holocaust],… Adolf Hitler depended on Joseph Stalin [and his methods]," as Professor David A. Bell remarked in his recent review of Snyder's "Black Earth" for the National Interest.

Remarkably, Snyder is largely following in the footsteps of Conquest — his narrative is based on controversial sources, rumors, semi-truths always hostile to the USSR, as Professor Furr exposed in his book "Blood Lies: The Evidence that Every Accusation Against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union in Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands Is False."

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Truth and Lies

Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, far right, General Secretary of the Communist Party Josef Stalin, second from right, and German Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, third from right, pose together after signing the German-Soviet non-aggression pact in Moscow, August 23, 1939 - Sputnik International
Untold Story of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The story of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact narrated by Snyder and other anti-communist historians is also full of incorrect assumptions.

"They say that in the treaty 'the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany agreed to divide astern Europe between themselves.' This is false. The treaty, in a secret clause, marked all of Eastern Poland as the 'Soviet sphere of influence.' This meant that when the German army defeated the Polish army, (a) the German army would have to withdraw from Eastern Poland, remaining hundreds of miles away from the pre-1939 Soviet border; (b) Poland would remain in existence, and hopefully be willing to ally with the USSR against Hitler," Professor Furr stressed.

Furr pointed out that the USSR had been trying hard to get Poland, the UK and France to agree to "collective security," that would oblige each country to declare war on Germany if Hitler attacked Poland. Alas, Warsaw and London refused to conclude any such treaty.

"The 'Munich Accords' of October 1938, where the UK and France had given Hitler a large part of Czechoslovakia (later they also gave Hitler all the Czech gold reserves too) had proven that the capitalists wanted Hitler to attack the USSR. The anti-communist and anti-Semitic Polish government also snatched a piece of Czechoslovakia at this time," Grover Furr emphasized.

In September 1939 the German army occupied Poland and the Polish government fled the country to Romania. When there is no government, there is no state.

"Hitler's men told the Soviets they were ready to permit a pro-Nazi, anti-communist Ukrainian state in the former Eastern Poland. So the Soviets had no choice but to occupy Eastern Poland. 'Eastern Poland' was not really Polish anyway. It had been seized by force from Soviet Russia by imperialists in 1921. Most of the population was Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Jewish," the professor underscored.

Professor Furr stressed that the significance of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is enormous: it helped to save the USSR, and therefore all Europe, from Hitler's domination:

"If the German army had been able to start their attack 300 miles closer [to the Soviet border] the Nazi hordes would have taken Moscow. If Hitler had conquered the USSR he would have had the immense material and human resources of this gigantic country to turn against England. Hitler had already conquered almost all of Europe," he emphasized.

So why do Snyder and his associates refuse to admit it?

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Professor Furr elaborates that mainstream western "experts" are not interested in finding out the truth.

"Conquest was, and Snyder is, a propagandist. I call their work "propaganda with footnotes." The footnotes and scholarly apparatus are necessary to fool the media and those intellectuals who will help to propagate their anti-Stalin and anti-communist lies," he told Sputnik.

"Snyder's aim — and it is not only he, by a long shot, there are many others — is to equate Stalin with Hitler, the USSR with Nazi Germany, and communism with Nazism. That is also the purpose of this "day of remembrance" of August 23, and the position taken by the Polish, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and other far-right governments," Furr underscored.

 "I try to point out at the end of "Blood Lies: The Evidence that Every Accusation Against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union in Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands Is False," with some help from Prof. Domenico Losurdo, that it is accurate to compare Churchill with Hitler, or Daladier, or Chamberlain, but not Stalin. The USSR was as different from Nazism as could be, while Hitler and the Nazis were quite popular with Western politicians," he added.

© AP Photo / Charles TasnadiPresident Ronald Reagan meets in the White House Oval Office with conservative leaders of Washington's national defense establishment. (File)
President Ronald Reagan meets in the White House Oval Office with conservative leaders of Washington's national defense establishment. (File) - Sputnik International
President Ronald Reagan meets in the White House Oval Office with conservative leaders of Washington's national defense establishment. (File)

But why is Washington so anti-Russian?

The professor explained that unlike Gorbachev or Yeltsin, President Putin does not bow before Washington and NATO, adding that the US' capitalist competition will inevitably lead to imperialist competition and war.

"In my experience — limited, I admit — there is a lot of naivete about US foreign police. The USA has been by far the most aggressive and murderous power in the world since WW2, and it continues to be. Military bases in well over 100 countries, the largest military machine in the world by far. We should not be naive. No country builds such a military without intent to use it. So they are preparing for the next war," Professor Furr told Sputnik.

"My point is this: the USSR and world communist movement never did anything remotely comparable to what the capitalists and imperialists did in the last century. And this is unacceptable [for capitalists]. They must show communism and Stalin to be worse than, not better than, what the capitalists and imperialists were doing. Lying is the only way," Professor Grover Furr concluded.

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