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The black book of communism: crimes, terror, repression

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Already famous throughout Europe, this international bestseller plumbs recently opened archives in the former Soviet bloc to reveal the actual, practical accomplishments of Communism around the world: terror, torture, famine, mass deportations, and massacres. Astonishing in the sheer detail it amasses, the book is the first comprehensive attempt to catalogue and analyze the crimes of Communism over seventy years. "Revolutions, like trees, must be judged by their fruit," Ignazio Silone wrote, and this is the standard the authors apply to the Communist experience-in the China of "the Great Helmsman," Kim Il Sung's Korea, Vietnam under "Uncle Ho" and Cuba under Castro, Ethiopia under Mengistu, Angola under Neto, and Afghanistan under Najibullah. The authors, all distinguished scholars based in Europe, document Communist crimes against humanity, but also crimes against national and universal culture, from Stalin's destruction of hundreds of churches in Moscow to Ceausescu's leveling of the historic heart of Bucharest to the widescale devastation visited on Chinese culture by Mao's Red Guards. As the death toll mounts-as many as 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on-the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression. An extraordinary accounting, this book amply documents the unparalleled position and significance of Communism in the hierarchy of violence that is the history of the twentieth century.

Amazon.com Review When it was first published in France in 1997, Le livre noir du Communisme touched off a storm of controversy that continues to rage today. Even some of his contributors shied away from chief editor Stéphane Courtois's conclusion that Communism, in all its many forms, was morally no better than Nazism; the two totalitarian systems, Courtois argued, were far better at killing than at governing, as the world learned to its sorrow.

Communism did kill, Courtois and his fellow historians demonstrate, with ruthless efficiency: 25 million in Russia during the Bolshevik and Stalinist eras, perhaps 65 million in China under the eyes of Mao Zedong, 2 million in Cambodia, millions more Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America--an astonishingly high toll of victims. This freely expressed penchant for homicide, Courtois maintains, was no accident, but an integral trait of a philosophy, and a practical politics, that promised to erase class distinctions by erasing classes and the living humans that populated them. Courtois and his contributors document Communism's crimes in numbing detail, moving from country to country, revolution to revolution. The figures they offer will likely provoke argument, if not among cliometricians then among the ideologically inclined. So, too, will Courtois's suggestion that those who hold Lenin, Trotsky, and Ho Chi Minh in anything other than contempt are dupes, witting or not, of a murderous school of thought--one that, while in retreat around the world, still has many adherents. A thought-provoking work of history and social criticism, The Black Book of Communism fully merits the broadest possible readership and discussion. --Gregory McNamee

Year: 1999
Edition: 1st American Edition
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Language: english
Pages: 910
ISBN 10: 0674076087
ISBN 13: 9780674076082
File: DJVU, 8.46 MB
Download (djvu, 8.46 MB)

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The Black Book of COMMUNISM CRIMES, TERROR, REPRESSION Stephane Courtois Nicolas Werth Jean-Louis Panne Andrzej Paczkowski Karel Bartosek Jean-Louis Margolin Translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer Consulting Editor Mark Kramer Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England 1999

(Copyright © 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America First published in France as Le litre nuir du Communisme: Crimes, terreur, repression ■<•■ Editions Robert Laffont, S.A., Paris, 1997 Library oj Congress Calaloging-in-Publicntion Data Livre noir du communisme, English The black book of communism : crimes, terror, repression / Stephane Courtois ... [ei aJ.] ; translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer; consulting editor, Mark Kramer. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-674-O76O8-7 (alk. paper) I. Communism—History—20th century. 2. Political persecution. 3. Terrorism. I. Courtois, Stephane, 1947- II. Kramer, Mark. III. Title. HX44.L59 1999 320.5.V2—dc2l 99-29759

Contents F'oreword: The Uses of Atrocity ix Marim Malm Introduction: The Crimes of Communism 1 Slephane Courtois Part I A State against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in the Soviet Union 33 Nicolas Werth 1 Paradoxes and Misunderstandings Surrounding the October Revolution 39 2 The Iron Fist of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat 53 3 The Red Terror VI 4 The Dirty War 81 5 From Tambov to the Great Famine 108

Contents 6 From the Truce to the Great Turning Point 132 7 Forced Collectivization and Dekulaki/.ation 146 8 The Great Famine 159 9 Socially Foreign Elements and the Cycles of Repression 169 10 The Great Terror (1936-1938) 1X4 11 The Empire of the Camps 20.? 12 The Other Side of Victory 21 <> 13 Apogee and Crisis in the Gulag System 232 14 The Last Conspiracy 242 15 The Exit from Stalinism 250 Conclusion 261 Part II Word Revolution, Civil War, and Terror 269 Stephane Courtots, Jean-Louis Panne, and Remi Kauffer 16 The Comintern in Action 271 Stephane Courtots and Jean-Louts Panne 17 The Shadow of the NKYD in Spain 111 Stephane Courtots and Jean- Louis Panne 18 Communism and Terrorism 353 Remi Kauffer Part III The Other Europe: Victim of Communism u,] Andrzej Paczkowski and Karel Bartosek 19 Poland, the "Enemy Nation" 363 Andrzej Paczkowski 20 Central and Southeastern Europe 394 Karel Bartosek

Contents Part IV Communism in Asia: Between Reeducation and Massacre Jean-Louis Margolin and Pierre Rigoulot 457 Introduction 459 21 China: A Long March into Night 463 Jean-Louis, Margolin 22 Crimes, Terror, and Secrecy in North Korea 547 Pierre Rigoulot 23 Vietnam and Laos: The Impasse of War Communism 565 Jean-Louis Margolin 24 Cambodia: The Country of Disconcerting Crimes 577 Jean-Louis Margolin Conclusion 636 Select Bibliography for Asia 642 PartV The Third World 645 Pascal Fontaine, Yves Santamaria, and Sylvain Boulouque 25 Communism in Latin America 647 Pascal Fontaine 26 Afrocommunism: Ethiopia, Angola, and Mozambique 683 Yves Santamaria 27 Communism in Afghanistan 705 Sylvain Boulouque Conclusion: Why? 727 Slephane Courtots Notes 759 Index 823 About the Authors 857

Foreword: The Uses of Atrocity Martin Malia Oommunism has been the great story of the twentieth century. Bursting into history from the most unlikely corner of Europe amid the trauma of World War I, in the wake of the cataclysm of 1939-1945 it made a great leap westward to the middle of Germany and an even greater one eastward to the China Seas. With this feat, the apogee of its fortunes, it had come to rule a third of mankind and seemed poised to advance indefinitely. For seven decades it haunted world politics, polarizing opinion between those who saw it as the socialist end of history and those who considered it history's most total tyranny. One might therefore expect that a priority of modern historians would be to explain why Communism's power grew for so long only to collapse like a house of cards. Yet surprisingly, more than eighty years after 1917, probing examination of the Big Questions raised by the Marxist-Leninist phenomenon has hardly begun. Can The Black Book of Communism, recently a sensation in France and much of Europe, provide the salutary shock that will make a difference? Because a serious historiography was precluded in Soviet Russia by the regime's mandatory ideology, scholarly investigation of Communism has until recently fallen disproportionately to Westerners. And though these outside observers could not entirely escape the ideological magnetic field emanating

Foreword from their subject, in the half-century after World War II they indeed accomplished an impressive amount.1 Even so, a basic problem remains: the conceptual poverty of the Western empirical effort. This poverty flows from the premise that Communism can be understood, in an aseptic and value-free mode, as the pure product of social process. Accordingly, researchers have endlessly insisted that the October Revolution was a workers' revolt and not a Party coup d'etat, when it was obviously the latter riding piggyback on the former. Besides, the central issue in Communist history is not the Party's ephemeral worker "base"; it is what the intelligentsia victors of October later did with their permanent coup d'etat, and so far this has scarcely been explored. More exactly, the matter has been obscured by two fantasies holding out the promise of a better Soviet socialism than the one the Bolsheviks actually built. The first is the "Bukharin alternative" to Stalin, a thesis that purports to offer a nonviolent, market road to socialism—that is, Marx's integral socialism, which necessitates the full suppression of private property, profit, and the market.2 The second fantasy purports to find the impetus behind Stalin's "revolution from above" of 1929-1933 in a "cultural revolution" from below by Party activists and workers against the "bourgeois" specialists dear to Bukharin, a revolution ultimately leading to massive upward mobility from the factory bench.' With such fables now consigned to what Trotsky called "the ash heap of history," perhaps a moral, rather than a social, approach to the Communist phenomenon can yield a truer understanding—for the much-investigated Soviet social process claimed victims on a scale that has never aroused a scholarly curiosity at all proportionate to the magnitude of the disaster. The Black Book offers us the first attempt to determine, overall, the actual magnitude of what occurred, by systematically detailing Leninism's "crimes, terror, and repression" from Russia in 1917 to Afghanistan in 1989. This factual approach puts Communism in what is, after all, its basic human perspective. For it was in truth a "tragedy of planetary dimensions" (in the French publisher's characterization), with a grand total of v ictims variously estimated by contributors to the volume at between 85 million and 1(H) million. Either way, the Communist record offers the most colossal case of political carnage in history. And when this fact began to sink in with the French public, an apparently dry academic work became a publishing sensation, the focus of impassioned political and intellectual debate. The shocking dimensions of the Communist tragedy, however, are hardly news to any serious student of twentieth-century history, at least when the different Leninist regimes are taken individually. The real news is that at this late date the truth should come as such a shock to the public at large. To be sure, each major episode of the tragedy—Stalin's Gulag, Mao Zedong's Great

Foreword I xi Leap Forward and his Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge—had its moment of notoriety. But these horrors soon faded away into "history"; nor did anyone trouble to add up the total and set it before the public. The surprising size of this total, then, partly explains the shock the volume provoked. The full power of the shock, however, was delivered by the unavoidable comparison of this sum with that for Nazism, which at an estimated 25 million turns out to be distinctly less murderous than Communism. And the volume's editor, Stephane Courtois, rather than let the figures speak for themselves, spelled out the comparison, thereby making the volume a firebrand. Arguing from the fact that some Nuremberg jurisprudence has been incorporated into French law (to accommodate such cases as that of Maurice Papon, a former minister of Giscard d'Estaing tried in 1997-98 for complicity in deporting Jews while a local official of Vichy), Courtois explicitly equated the "class genocide" of Communism with the "race genocide" of Nazism, and categorized both as "crimes against humanity." What is more, he raised the question of the "complicity" with Communist crime of the legions of Western apologists for Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and indeed Pol Pot who, even when they "abandoned their idols of yesteryear, did so discreetly and in silence." These issues have a special resonance in France. Since the 1930s, the left has been able to come to power only as a popular front of Socialists and Communists (whether under Leon Blum or Francois Mitterrand), a tandem in which the democratic partner was always compromised by its ally's allegiance to totalitarian Moscow. Conversely, since 1940 the right has been tainted by Vichy's links with Nazism (the subtext of the Papon affair). In such a historical context, "knowing the truth about the U.S.S.R." has never been an academic matter. Furthermore, it happens that at the time the volume appeared the Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin stood in need of Communist votes to assemble a parliamentary majority. Orators of the right, therefore, citing The Black Book, rose in the National Assembly to attack his government for harboring allies with an unrepented "criminal past." Jospin countered by recalling the Liberation coalition between Gaullists and Communists (which was fair game), only the better to conclude that he was "proud" to govern with them too (which was a gaffe, for at the Liberation the Gulag was not yet known). Nor was this just a hasty choice of words; in the eyes of the left that he leads, the Communists, despite their past errors, belong to the camp of democratic progress, whereas the right is open to suspicion of softness toward the National Front of the "fascist" Jean-Marie Le Pen (after all, the conservatives had once rallied to Vichv). The incident ended with the non-Gaullist right walking out of the chamber, while the Gaullists remained awkwardly in place. Thereupon the debate spread to television and the press. Indeed, the debate divides the book's own authors. All are research schol-

Foreword ars associated with the Centre d'Etude d'Histoire et de Sociologie du Commu- nisme and its review, Communisme. Founded by the pioneer of academic Communist studies, the late Annie Kriegel, its mission is to exploit our new access to Soviet archives in conjunction with younger Russian historians. Equally to the point, these researchers are former Communists or close fellow-travelers; and it is over the assessment of their common past that they divide. Thus, once The Black Blook raised the foreseeable political storm, Courtois's two key collaborators—Nicolas Werth for Russia, and Jean-Louis Margolin for China—publicly dissociated themselves from his bolder conclusions. So let us begin with the debate, which is hardly specific to France. It breaks out wherever the question of the moral equivalence of our century's two totalitarianisms is raised, indeed whenever the very concept of "totalitarianism" is invoked. For Nazism's unique status as "absolute evil" is now so entrenched that any comparison with it easily appears suspect. Of the several reasons for this assessment of Nazism, the most obvious is that the Western democracies fought World War II in a kind of global "popular front" against "fascism." Moreover, whereas the Nazis occupied most of Europe, the Communists during the Cold War menaced only from afar. Thus, although the stakes for democracy in the new conflict were as high as in its hot predecessor, the stress of waging it was significantly lower; and it ended with the last general secretary of the "evil empire," Mikhail Gorbachev, in the comradely embrace of the ultimate cold warrior, President Ronald Reagan. Communism's fall, therefore, brought with it no Nuremberg trial, and hence no de-Communization to solemnly put Leninism beyond the pale of civilization; and of course there still exist Communist regimes in international good standing. Another reason for our dual perception is that defeat cut down Nazism in the prime of its iniquity, thereby eternally fixing its full horror in the world's memory. By contrast, Communism, at the peak of its iniquity, was rewarded with an epic victory—and thereby gained a half-century in which to lose its dynamism, to half-repent of Stalin, and even, in the case of some unsuccessful leaders (such as Czechoslovakia's Alexander Dubcek in 1968), to attempt giving the system a "human face." As a result of these contrasting endings of the two totalitarianisms all Nazism's secrets were bared fifty years ago, whereas we are only beginning to explore Soviet archives, and those of East Asia and Cuba remain sealed. The effect of this unequal access to information was magnified by more subjective considerations. Nazism seemed all the more monstrous to Westerners for having arisen in the heart of civilized Europe, in the homeland of Luther, Kant, Goethe, Beethoven, and indeed Marx. Communism, by contrast,

Foreword appeared as less of a historical aberration in the Russian borderland of Europe—almost "Asia" after all—where, despite Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, civilization had never taken deep root. The ultimate distinguishing characteristic of Nazism, of course, is the Holocaust, considered as the historically unique crime of seeking the extermination of an entire people, a crime for which the term "genocide" was coined around the time of Nuremberg, And therewith the Jewish people acquired the solemn obligation to keep the memory of its martyrs alive in the conscience of the world. Even so, general awareness of the Final Solution was slow to emerge, in fact coming only in the 1970s and 1980s—the very years when Communism was gradually mellowing. So between these contrasting circumstances, by the time of Communism's fall the liberal world had had fifty years to settle into a double standard regarding its two late adversaries. Accordingly, Hitler and Nazism are now a constant presence in Western print and on Western television, whereas Stalin and Communism materialize only sporadically. The status of ex-Communist carries with it no stigma, even when unaccompanied by any expression of regret; past contact with Nazism, however, no matter how marginal or remote, confers an indelible stain. Thus Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man have been enduringly compromised and the substance of their thought tainted. By contrast, Louis Aragon, for years under Stalin the editor of the French Communist Party's literary magazine, in 1996 was published among the classics of the Pleiade; the press was lyrical in praise of his art, while virtually mute about his politics. (The Black Book reproduces a 1931 poem to the KGB's predecessor, the GPU.) Likewise, the Stalinist poet and Nobel laureate, Pablo Neruda, in the same year was sentimentalized, together with his cause, by an acclaimed film, // postino—even though in 1939 as a Chilean diplomat in Spain he acted as a de facto agent of the Comintern, and in 1953 mourned Stalin with a fulsome ode. And this list of unparallel lives could be extended indefinitely. Even more skewed is the situation in the East, No Gulag camps have been turned into museums to commemorate their inmates; all were bulldozed into the ground during Khrushchev's de-Stalinization. The only memorial to Stalin's victims is a modest stone brought to Moscow from the Arctic camp of Solovki and placed in Lubyanka Square (though well off to the side), where the KGB's former headquarters still stands. Nor are there any regular visitors to this lonely slab (one must cross a stream of traffic to reach it) and no more than an occasional wilted bouquet. By contrast, Lenin's statue still dominates most city centers, and his mummy reposes honorably in its Mausoleum. Throughout the former Communist world, moreover, virtually none of its responsible officials has been put on trial or punished. Indeed, everywhere Communist parties, though usually under new names, compete in politics.

xiv Foreword Thus, in Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, onetime member of General Jaruzelski's government, in 1996 won the presidency against the symbol of resistance to Communism, Lech Wale_sa (admittedly an inept campaigner). Gulya Horn, the prime minister of Hungary from 1994 to 1998, was a member of the country's last Communist government, and a member of the militia that helped suppress the 1956 revolt alongside the Soviet army In neighboring Austria, by contrast, former president Kurt Waldheim was ostracized worldwide once his Nazi past was uncovered. Granted, card-carrying Western literati and latter-day Eastern apparatchiki never served as executioners for Stalin. Even so, does the present silence about their past mean that Communism was all that less bad than Nazism? The debate around The Black Book can help frame an answer. On the one side, commentators in the liberal Le Monde argue that it is illegitimate to speak of a single Communist movement from Phnom Penh to Paris. Rather, the rampage of the Khmer Rouge is like the ethnic massacres of third-world Rwanda; or the "rural" Communism of Asia is radically different from the "urban" Communism of Europe; or Asian Communism is really only anticolonial nationalism. The subtext of such Eurocentric condescension is that conflating sociologically diverse movements is merely a stratagem to obtain a higher body count against Communism, and thus against all the left. In answer, commentators in the conservative Le Figaro, spurning reductionist sociology as a device to exculpate Communism, reply that Marxist-Leninist regimes are cast in the same ideological and organizational mold throughout the world. And this pertinent point also has its admonitory subtext: that socialists of whatever stripe cannot be trusted to resist their ever-present demons on the far left (those popular fronts were no accident after all). Yet if we let the divided contributors to The Black Book arbitrate the dispute, we find no disagreement in this matter: the Leninist matrix indeed served for all the once "fraternal" parties. To be sure, the model was applied differently in different cultural settings. As Margolin points out, the chief agent of represssion in Russia was a specially created political police, the Cheka- GPU-NKVD-KGB, while in China it was the People's Liberation Army, and in Cambodia it was gun-toting adolescents from the countryside: thus popular ideological mobilization went deeper in Asia than in Russia. Still, everywhere the aim was to repress "enemies of the people"—"like noxious insects," as Lenin said early on, thus inaugurating Commmunism's "animalization" of its adversaries. Moreover, the line of inheritance from Stalin, to Mao, to Ho, to K_im II Sung, to Pol Pot was quite clear, with each new leader receiving both material aid and ideological inspiration from his predecessor. And, to come full circle, Pol Pot first learned his Marxism in Paris in 1952 (when such philoso-

Foreword xv phers as Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty were explaining how terror could be the midwife of "humanism").4 So if the debate remains on the level of the quantitative atrocity, the double standard collapses, and Communism appears as the more criminal totalitarianism. But if the debate is shifted to qualitative crime, this outcome is easily reversed. And here the decisive factor is, again, the Holocaust as the confirmation of Nazism's uniquely evil nature. Indeed, this standard has become so universal that other persecuted groups, from Armenians to the native peoples of both Americas, have appropriated (with varying degrees of plausibility) the term "genocide" to characterize their own experience. Not surprisingly, many of these implicit comparisons to the Holocaust have been rejected as illegitimate, even slanderous. And in fact one overexcited op-ed piece in Le Monde, from a respected researcher, denounced Courtois's introduction as antisemitic. Yet there are other, less emotionally charged arguments for assigning a significant distinctiveness to Nazi terror. The criminal law everywhere distinguishes degrees of murder, according to the motivation, the cruelty of the means employed, and so on. Thus, Raymond Aron long ago, and Francois Furet recently, though both unequivocal about the evil of Communism, distinguished between extermination practiced to achieve a political objective, no matter how perverse, and extermination as an end in itself5 And in this perspective, Communism once again comes off as less evil than Nazism. This plausible distinction, however, can easily be turned on its head. In particular, Eastern European dissidents have argued that mass murder in the name of a noble ideal is more perverse than it is in the name of a base one.6 The Nazis, after all, never pretended to be virtuous. The Communists, by contrast, trumpeting their humanism, hoodwinked millions around the globe for decades, and so got away with murder on the ultimate scale. The Nazis, moreover, killed off their victims without ideological ceremony; the Communists, by contrast, usually compelled their prey to confess their "guilt" in signed depositions thereby acknowledging the Party line's political "correctness." Nazism, finally, was a unique case (Mussolini's Facism was not really competitive), and it developed no worldwide clientle. By contrast, Communism's universalism permitted it to metastasize worldwide. A final position, forcefully expressed by Alain Besancon, is that murder is murder whatever the ideological motivation; and this is undeniably true for the equally dead victims of both Nazism and Communism.7 Such absolute equivalence is also expressed in Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism: both systems massacred their victims not for what they did (such as resisting the regime) but for who they were, whether Jews or kulaks. In this perspective, the distinction made by some, that the term petit-bourgeois "kulak" is more elastic

xvi I Foreword and hence less lethal than biological "Jew," is invalidated: the social and the racial categories are equally psuedoscientific. Yet none of these qualitative arguments can be "clinched"—unlike an empirically established victim count. And since there can be no consensus regarding degrees of political "evil," some researchers would claim that all value judgments merely express the ideological preferences of their authors. Such "Positivist" social scientists, therefore, have averred that moral questions are irrelevant to understanding the past. An example is a recent volume devoted to political denunciation in modern Europe.8 The introduction presents some fascinating facts: in 1939 the Gestapo employed 7,500 people in contrast to the NKVD's 366,000 (including Gulag personnel); and the Communist Party made denunciation an obligation, whereas the Nazi Party did not. But no conclusions are drawn from these contrasts. Instead we are told that under both regimes the population was given to denunciation as "an everyday practice," and for reasons of self-advancement more than for reasons of ideology. We arc told further that denunciation was endemic in prerevolutionary rural Russia, and that it flourished under the French Jacobins and the English Puritans, the Spanish Inquisition and American McCarthyism. And in fact all the "witch crazes" enumerated in the introduction did have some traits in common. The rub is, however, that this perspective reduces politics and ideology everywhere to anthropology. And with this accomplished, the editors blandly assure us that, contrary to Hannah Arendt, the "Nazi/Soviet similarities" arc insufficient to make denunciation "a specifically 'totalitarian' phenomenon." What is more, the difference between Nazi/Communist systems and Western ones is "not qualitative but quantitative." By implication, therefore, singling out Communist and Nazi terror in order to equate them becomes Cold War slander—the ideological subtext, as it happens, of twenty-five years of "revisionist," social-reductionist Sovietology. By the same token, this fact-for-fact's-sake approach suggests that there is nothing specifically Communist about Communist terror—and, it would seem, nothing particularly Nazi about Nazi terror cither. So the bloody Soviet experiment is banalized in one great gray anthropological blur; and the Soviet Union is transmogrified into just another country in just another age, neither more nor less evil than any other regime going. But this is obviously nonsense. Hence we are back with the problem of moral judgment, which is inseparable from any real understanding of the past—indeed, inseparable from being human. In the twentieth century, however, morality is not primarily a matter of eternal verities or transcendental imperatives. It is above all a matter of political allegiances. That is, it is a matter of left versus right, roughly defined as the

Foreword I xvii priority of compassionate egalitarianism for the one, and as the primacy of prudential order for the other. Yet since neither principle can be applied absolutely without destroying society, the modern world lives in perpetual tension between the irresistible pressure for equality and the functional necessity of hierarchy. It is this syndrome that gives the permanent qualitative advantage to Communism over Nazism in any evaluation of their quantitative atrocities. For the Communist project, in origin, claimed commitment to universalistic and egalitarian goals, whereas the Nazi project offered only unabashed national egoism. Small matter, then, that their practices were comparable; their moral auras were antithetical, and it is the latter feature that counts in Western, domestic politics. And so we arrive at the fulcrum of the debate: A moral man can have "no enemies to the left," a perspective in which undue insistence on Communist crime only "plays into the hands of the right"—if, indeed, any anticommunism is not simply a mask for antiliberalism. In this spirit, Le Monde's, editorialist deemed The Black Book inopportune because equating Communism with Nazism removed the "last barriers to legitimating the extreme right," that is, Le Pen. It is true that Le Pen's party and similar hate-mongering, xenophobic movements elsewhere in Europe represent an alarming new phenomenon that properly concerns all liberal democrats. But it in no way follows that Communism's criminal past should be ignored or minimized. Such an argument is only a variant, in new historical circumstances, of Sartre's celebrated sophism that one should keep silent about Soviet camps "pour ne pas descsperer Billancout" (in order not to throw the auto workers of Billancout into despair). To which his onetime colleague, Albert Camus, long ago replied that the truth is the truth, and denying it mocks the causes both of humanity and of morality.9 In fact, the persistence of such sophistry is precisely why The Black Book is so opportune. What, therefore, do its provocative pages contain? Without pretension to originality, it presents a balance sheet of our current knowledge of Communism's human costs, archivally based where possible and elsewhere drawing on the best available secondary evidence, and with due allowance for the difficulties of quantification. Yet the very sobriety of this inventory is what gives the book its power; and indeed, as we are led from country to country and from horror to horror, the cumulative impact is overwhelming. At the same time, the book quietly advances a number of important analytical points. The first is that Communist regimes did not just commit criminal acts (all states do so on occasion); they were criminal enterprises in their very essence: on principle, so to speak, they all ruled lawlessly, by violence, and without regard for human life. Werth's section on the Soviet Union is thus

Foreword titled "A State against Its People" and takes us methodically through the successive cycles of terror, from Great October in 1917 to Stalin's death in 1953. By way of comparison, he notes that between 1825 and 1917 tsarism carried out 6,321 political executions (most of them during the revolution of 1905-1907), whereas in two months of official "Red Terror" in the fall of 1918 Bolshevism achieved some 15,000. And so on for a third of a century; for example, 6 million deaths during the collectivization famine of 1932-33, 720,000 executions during the Great Purge, 7 million people entering the Gulag (where huge numbers died) in the years 1934-1941, and 2,750,000 still there at Stalin's death. True, these aggregates represent different modes of state violence, not all of them immediately lethal; but all betoken terror as a routine means of government. And the less familiar figures in Margolin's chapter on China's "Long March into Night" are even more staggering: at a minimum, 10 million "direct victims"; probably 20 million deaths out of the multitudes that passed through China's "hidden Gulag," the laogai; more than 20 million deaths from the "political famine" of the Great Leap Forward of 1959-1961, the largest famine in history. Finally, in Pol Pot's aping of Mao's Great Leap, around one Cambodian in seven perished, the highest proportion of the population in any Communist country. The book's second point is that there never was a benign, initial phase of Communism before some mythical "wrong turn" threw it off track. From the start Lenin expected, indeed wanted, civil war to crush all "class enemies"; and this war, principally against the peasants, continued with only short pauses until 1953. So much for the fable of "good Lenin/bad Stalin." (And if anyone doubts that it is still necessary to make this case, the answer may be found, for example, in the maudlin article "Lenin" in the current edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.) Still another point is of a "technical" nature: the use of famine to break peasant resistance to regime economic "plans." And ever since Solzhenit- syn, such "pharaonic" methods have been contrasted with the technologically advanced Nazi gas chamber. A more basic point is that Red terror cannot be explained as the prolongation of prerevolutionary political cultures. Communist repression did not originate from above, in traditional autocracies; nor was it simply an intensification of violent folk practices from below—whether the peasant anarchism of Russia, or the cyclical millenarian revolts of China, or the exacerbated nationalism of Cambodia, although all these traditions were exploited by the new regime. Nor does the source of Communist practices reside in the violence of the two world wars, important though this brutal conditioning was. Rather, in each case, mass violence against the population was a deliberate policy of the new revolutionary order; and its scope and inhumanity far exceeded anything in the national past.

Foreword A final point, insisted on by Courtois yet clear also in his colleagues' accounts, is that Communism's recourse to "permanent civil war" rested on the "scientific'' Marxist belief in class struggle as the "violent midwife of history," in Marx's famous metaphor. Similarly, Courtois adds, Nazi violence was founded on a scicntistic social Darwinism promising national regeneration through racial struggle. This valid emphasis on ideology as the wellspring of Communist mass murder reaches its apogee in Margolin's depiction of escalating radicalism as the revolution moved East. Stalin, of course, had already begun the escalation by presenting himself as the "Lenin of today" and his first Five-Year Plan as a second October. Then, in 1953, four years after Mao came to power, his heirs ended mass terror: it had simply become too costly to their now superpuissant regime. To the Chinese comrades, however, Moscow's moderation amounted to "betrayal" of the world revolution just as it was taking off,in Asia. Consequently, in 1959-1961 Mao was goaded to surpass his Soviet mentors by a "Great Leap Forward" beyond mere socialism, Moscow style, to full Communism as Marx had imagined it in the Communist Manifesto and the Critique of the Gothu Program. And in 1966-1976, by directing the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution against his own Party, he proceeded to outdo Stalin's Great Purge of his Party in 1937-1939. But the most demented spinoff of this whole tradition was Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge of 1975-1979; for this rampage against urban, "bourgeois" civilization expressed nothing less than an ambition to propel tiny Cambodia beyond Mao's "achievements" into the front rank of world revolution. Yet the long-term inefficiency of such "progress" eventually led Mao's heirs, in their turn, to "betray" the Marxist-Leninist impetus by halting mass terror and turning halfway to the market. Thereby, after 1979, Deng Xiaoping ended worldwide the perverse Prometheanism launched in October 1917. Thus the Communist trajectory, as The Black Book traces it from Petrograd to the China Seas, inevitably suggests that ideology, not social process, fueled the movement's meteoric rise, and that ideology's practical failure produced its precipitate fall. This transnational perspective goes far toward answering the great question posed by Communist history: namely, why did a doctrine premised on proletarian revolution in industrial societies come to power only in predominantly agrarian ones, by Marxist definition those least prepared for "socialism"? But socialist revolution for Marx was not just a matter of economic development; it was at bottom an esehatological "leap from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom." Since such quasi-miraculous transformation has the strongest allure for those who have the greatest lag to overcome, it is hardly surprising that Marxism's line of march turned out to lead ever farther into the politically and economically backward East. Only by taking account of this

XX Foreword paradoxical eastward escalation through increasingly extravagant "leaps" can we build a real historiography of the great twentieth-century story that was Communism. And this brings us back to the vexed—and vexing—question raised by Stephane Courtois in The Black Book: What of the moral equivalence of Communism with Nazism? After fifty years of debate, it is clear that no matter what the hard facts are, degrees of totalitarian evil will be measured as much in terms of present politics as in terms of past realities. So we will always encounter a double standard as long as there exist a left and a right—which will be a very long time indeed. No matter how thoroughly the Communist failure may come to be documented (and new research makes it look worse every day), we will always have reactions such as that of a Moscow correspondent for a major Western paper, who, after the fall, could still privately salute the Russian people with: "Thanks for having tried!"; and there will always be kindred spirits to dismiss The Black Book, a priori, as "right-wing anti-Communist rhetoric." For more mundane observers, however, it is at last becoming clear that our current qualitative judgments are scandalously out of line with the century's real balance sheet of political crime. And this very absurdity perhaps brings us to a turning point. Ten years ago, the authors of The Black Book would have refused to believe what they now write. And exploration of the Soviet archives—and eventually those of East Asia—will continue to redress the balance. This comes at a time, moreover, when historical writing is turning increasingly to retrospective affirmative action, to fulfilling our "duty of remembrance" to all the oppressed of the past—indeed, when governments and churches formally apologize for their historic sins. Surely, then, the Party of humanity can spare a little compassion for the victims of the inhumanity so long meted out by so many of its own partisans. Even so, such an effort at retrospective justice will always encounter one intractable obstacle. Any realistic accounting of Communist crime would effectively shut the door on Utopia; and too many good souls in this unjust world cannot abandon hope for an absolute end to inequality (and some less good souls will always offer them "rational" curative nostrums). And so, all com- rade-questers after historical truth should gird their loins for a very Long March indeed before Communism is accorded its fair share of absolute evil.

The Black Book of Communism

Introduction: The Crimes of Communism Stephane Courtois Life cannot withstand death, but memory is gaining in its struggle against nothingness. Tzvetan Todorov, Les abus de la memoirs It has been written that "history is the science of human misfortune."1 Our bloodstained century of violence amply confirms this statement. In previous centuries few people and countries were spared from mass violence. The major European powers were involved in the African slave trade. The French Republic practiced colonization, which despite some good was tarnished by repugnant episodes that persisted until recently. The United States remains heavily influenced by a culture of violence deeply rooted in two major historical tragedies—the enslavement of black Africans and the extermination of Native Americans. The fact remains that our century has outdone its predecessors in its bloodthirstiness. A quick glance at the past leads to one damning conclusion: ours is the century of human catastrophes—two world wars and Nazism, to say nothing of more localized tragedies, such as those in Armenia, Biafra, and Rwanda. The Ottoman Empire was undoubtedly involved in the genocide of the Armenians, and Germany in the genocide of the Jews and Gypsies. Italy under Mussolini slaughtered Ethiopians. The Czechs are reluctant to admit that their behavior toward the Sudeten Germans in 1945 and 1946 was by no means exemplary. Even Switzerland has recently been embroiled in a scandal over its role in administering gold stolen by the Nazis from exterminated Jews, although the country's behavior is not on the same level as genocide. 1

Introduction Communism has its place in this historical setting overflowing with tragedies. Indeed, it occupies one of the most violent and most significant places of all. Communism, the defining characteristic of the "short twentieth century" that began in Sarajevo in 1914 and ended in Moscow in 1991, finds itself at center stage in the story. Communism predated fascism and Nazism, outlived both, and left its mark on four continents. What exactly do we mean by the term "Communism"? We must make a distinction between the doctrine of communism and its practice. As a political philosophy, communism has existed for centuries, even millennia. Was it not Plato who in his Republic introduced the concept of an ideal city, in which people would not be corrupted by money and power and in which wisdom, reason, and justice would prevail? And consider the scholar and statesman Sir Thomas More, chancellor of England in 1530, author of Utopia, and victim of the executioner's ax by order of Henry VIII, who also described an ideal society. Utopian philosophy may have its place as a technique for evaluating society. It draws its sustenance from ideas, the lifeblood of the world's democracies. But the Communism that concerns us does not exist in the transcendent sphere of ideas. This Communism is altogether real; it has existed at key moments of history and in particular countries, brought to life by its famous leaders— Vladimir Ilich Lenin, Josif Stalin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and, in France, by Maurice Thorez, Jacques Duclos, and Georges Marchais. Regardless of the role that theoretical communist doctrines may have played in the practice of real Communism before 1917—and we shall return to this later—it was flesh-and-blood Communism that imposed wholesale repression, culminating in a state-sponsored reign of terror. Is the ideology itself blameless? There will always be some nitpickers who maintain that actual Communism has nothing in common with theoretical communism. And of course it would be absurd to claim that doctrines expounded prior to Jesus Christ, during the Renaissance, or even in the nineteenth century were responsible for the events that took place in the twentieth century. Nonetheless, as Ignazio Si lone has written, "Revolutions, like trees, are recognized by the fruit they bear." It was not without reason that the Russian Social Democrats, better known to history as the Bolsheviks, decided in November 1917 to call themselves "Communists." They had a reason for erecting at the Kremlin a monument to those whom they considered to be their predecessors, namely Sir Thomas More and Tommaso Campanella. Having gone beyond individual crimes and small-scale ad-hoc massacres, the Communist regimes, in order to consolidate their grip on power, turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government. After varying periods, ranging from a few years in Eastern Europe to several decades in the U.S.S.R. and China, the terror faded, and the regimes settled into a routine of admin-

The Crimes of Communism I 3 istering repressive measures on a daily basis, as well as censoring all means of communication, controlling borders, and expelling dissidents. However, the memory of the terror has continued to preserve the credibility, and thus the effectiveness, of the threat of repression. None of the Communist regimes currently in vogue in the West is an exception to this rule—not the China of the "Great Helmsman," nor the North Korea of Kim II Sung, nor even the Vietnam of "good old Uncle Ho" or the Cuba of the flamboyant Fidel Castro, flanked by the hard-liner Che Guevara. Nor can we forget Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam, Angola under Agostinho Neto, or Afghanistan under Mohammed Najibullah. Incredibly, the crimes of Communism have yet to receive a fair and just assessment from both historical and moral viewpoints. This book is one of the first attempts to study Communism with a focus on its criminal dimensions, in both the central regions of Communist rule and the farthest reaches of the globe. Some will say that most of these crimes were actions conducted in accordance with a system of law that was enforced by the regimes' official institutions, which were recognized internationally and whose heads of state continued to be welcomed with open arms. But was this not the case with Nazism as well? The crimes we shall expose are to be judged not by the standards of Communist regimes, but by the unwritten code of the natural laws of humanity. The history of Communist regimes and parties, their policies, and their relations with their own national societies and with the international community arc of course not purely synonymous with criminal behavior, let alone with terror and repression. In the U.S.S.R. and in the "people's democracies" after Stalin's death, as well as in China after Mao, terror became less pronounced, society began to recover something of its old normalcy, and "peaceful coexistence"—if only as "the pursuit of the class struggle by other means"—had become an international fact of life. Nevertheless, many archives and witnesses prove conclusively that terror has always been one of the basic ingredients of modern Communism. Let us abandon once and for all the idea that the execution of hostages by firing squads, the slaughter of rebellious workers, and the forced starvation of the peasantry were only short-term "accidents" peculiar to a specific country or era. Our approach will encompass all geographic areas and focus on crime as a defining characteristic of the Communist system throughout its existence. Kxactly w hat crimes are we going to examine? Communism has committed a multitude of crimes not only against individual human beings but also against world civilization and national cultures. Stalin demolished dozens of churches in Moscow; Nicolae Ceausescu destroyed the historical heart of Bucharest to give free rein to his megalomania, Pol Pot dismantled the Phnom Penh cathe-

4 I Introduction dral stone by stone and allowed the jungle to take over the temples of Angkor Wat; and during Mao's Cultural Revolution, priceless treasures were smashed or burned by the Red Guards. Yet however terrible this destruction may ultimately prove for the nations in question and for humanity as a whole, how does it compare with the mass murder of human beings—of men, women, and children? Thus we have delimited crimes against civilians as the essence of the phenomenon of terror These crimes tend to fit a recognizable pattern even if the practices vary to some extent by regime. The pattern includes execution by various means, such as firing squads, hanging, drowning, battering, and, in certain cases, gassing, poisoning, or "car accidents"; destruction of the population by starvation, through man-made famine, the withholding of food, or both; deportation, through which death can occur in transit (either through physical exhaustion or through confinement in an enclosed space), at one's place of residence, or through forced labor (exhaustion, illness, hunger, cold). Periods described as times of "civil war" are more complex—it is not always easy to distinguish between events caused by righting between rulers and rebels and events that can properly be described only as a massacre of the civilian population. Nonetheless, we have to start somewhere. The following rough approximation, based on unofficial estimates, gives some sense of the scale and gravity of these Crimes: U.S.S.R.: 20 million deaths China; 65 million deaths Vietnam: 1 million deaths North Korea: 2 million deaths Cambodia: 2 million deaths Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths Latin America: 150,000 deaths Africa: 1.7 million deaths Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths The international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power: about 10,000 deaths The total approaches 100 million people killed. The immense number of deaths conceals some wide disparities according to context. Unquestionably, if we approach these figures in terms of relative weight, first place goes to Cambodia, where Pol Pot, in three and a half years, engaged in the most atrocious slaughter, through torture and widespread famine, of about one-fourth of the country's total population. However, China's

The Crimes of Communism 5 experience under Mao is unprecedented in terms of the sheer number of people who lost their lives. As for the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin, the blood turns cold at its venture into planned, logical, and "politically correct" mass slaughter. This bare-bones approach inevitably fails to do justice to the numerous issues involved. A thorough investigation requires a "qualitative" study based on a meaningful definition of the term "crime." Objective and legal criteria are also important. The legal ramifications of crimes committed by a specific country were first confronted in 1945 at the Nuremberg Tribunal, which was organized by the Allies to consider the atrocities committed by the Nazis. The nature of these crimes was defined by Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, which identified three major offenses; crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. An examination of all the crimes committed by the Leninist/Stalinist regime, and in the Communist world as a whole, reveals crimes that fit into each of these three categories. Crimes against peace, defined by Article 6a, are concerned with the "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing." Unquestionably, Stalin committed such a crime by secretly negotiating two treaties with Hitler—those of 23 August and 28 September 1939 on the partition of Poland and on the annexation of the Baltic states, northern Buk- ovina, and Bessarabia to the U.S.S.R., respectively. By freeing Germany from the risk of waging war on two fronts, the treaty of 23 August 1939 led directly to the outbreak of World War II. Stalin perpetrated yet another crime against peace by attacking Finland on 30 November 1939. The unexpected incursion into South Korea by North Korea on 25 June 1950 and the massive intervention in that war by the Chinese army are of comparable magnitude. The methods of subversion long used by the Moscow-backed Communist parties likewise deserve categorization as crimes against peace, since they began wars; thus a Communist coup in Afghanistan led to a massive Soviet military intervention on 27 December 1979, unleashing a conflict that continues to this day. War crimes are defined in Article 6b as "violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps or for any other purpose, the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, the killing of hostages, the plunder of public or private property, the wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, and any devastation not justified by military necessity." The laws and customs of war are written down in various conventions, particularly the Hague Convention of

6 I Introduction 1907, which states that in times of war "the inhabitants and the belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience." Stalin gave the go-ahead for large numbers of war crimes. The liquidation of almost all the Polish officers taken prisoner in 1939, with 4,500 men butchered at Katyri, is only one such episode, albeit the most spectacular. However, other crimes on a much larger scale are habitually overlooked, including the murder or death in the gulag of tens of thousands of German soldiers taken prisoner from 1943 to 1945. Nor should we forget the rape of countless German women by Red Army soldiers in occupied Germany, as well as the systematic plundering of all industrial equipment in the countries occupied by the Red Army. Also covered by Article 6b would be the organized resistance fighters who openly waged war against Communist rulers and who were executed by firing squads or deported after being taken prisoner—for example, the soldiers of the anti-Nazi Polish resistance organizations, members of various Ukrainian and Baltic armed partisan organizations, and Afghan resistance fighters. The expression "crime against humanity" first appeared on 19 May 1915 in a joint French, British, and Russian declaration condemning Turkey's massacre of the Armenians as a "new crime by Turkey against humanity and civilization." The atrocities committed by the Nazis obliged the Nuremberg Tribunal to redefine the concept, as stated in Article 6c: "Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated." In his arguments at Nuremberg the French prosecutor general, Francois de Menthon, emphasized the ideological dimension of these crimes-. I propose today to prove to you that all this organized and vast criminality springs from what I may be allowed to call a crime against the spirit, I mean a doctrine that, by denying all spiritual, rational, or moral values by which nations have tried for thousands of years to improve human conditions, aims to plunge humanity back into barbarism, no longer the natural and spontaneous barbarism of primitive nations, but into a diabolical barbarism, conscious of itself and using for its ends all material means put at the disposal of humanity by contemporary science. This sin against the spirit is the original sin of National Socialism from which all crimes spring. This monstrous doctrine is that of racism . . . Whether we consider a crime against peace or war crimes, we are

The Crimes of Communism I 7 therefore not faced by an accidental or an occasional criminality that events could explain without justifying it. We are in fact faced by systematic criminality, which derives directly and of necessity from a monstrous doctrine put into practice with deliberate intent by the masters of Nazi Germany. Francois de Menthon also noted that deportations were meant to provide additional labor for the German war machine, and the fact that the Nazis sought to exterminate their opponents was merely "a natural consequence of the National Socialist doctrine for which man has no intrinsic value unless he serves the German race." All statements made to the Nuremberg Tribunal stressed one of the chief characteristics of crimes against humanity—the fact that the power of the state is placed in the service of criminal policies and practice. However, the jurisdiction of the Nuremberg Tribunal was limited to crimes committed during World War II. Therefore, we must broaden the legal definition of war crimes to include situations that extend beyond that war. The new French criminal code, adopted on 23 July 1992, defines war crimes in the following way: "The deportation, enslavement, or mass-scale and systematic practice of summary executions, abduction of persons following their disappearance, torture, or inhuman acts inspired by political, philosophical, racial, or religious motives, and organized for the purpose of implementing a concerted effort against a civilian population group" (emphasis added). All these definitions, especially the recent French definition, are relevant to any number of crimes committed by Lenin and above all by Stalin and subsequently by the leaders of all Communist countries, with the exception (we hope) of Cuba and the Nicaragua of the Sandinistas. Nevertheless, the main conclusions are inescapable—Communist regimes have acted "in the name of a state practicing a policy of ideological hegemony." Thus in the name of an ideological belief system were tens of millions of innocent victims systematically butchered, unless of course it is a crime to be middle-class, of noble birth, a kulak, a Ukrainian, or even a worker or a member of the Communist Party. Active intolerance was high on the Communists' agenda. It was Mikhail Tom- sky, the leader of the Soviet trade unions, who in the 13 November 1927 issue of Trud (Labor) stated: "We allow other parties to exist. However, the fundamental principle that distinguishes us from the West is as follows: one party rules, and all the others are in jail!"2 The concept of a crime against humanity is a complex one and is directly relevant to the crimes under consideration here. One of the most specific is genocide. Following the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis, and in order to clarify Article 6c of the Nuremberg Tribunal, crimes against humanity were defined by the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment

Introduction of Genocide of 9 December 1948 in the following way. "Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." The new French criminal code defines genocide still more broadly. "The deed of executing a concerted effort that strives to destroy totally or partially a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, or a group that has been determined on the basis of any other arbitrary criterion" (emphasis added). This legal definition is not inconsistent with the philosophical approach of Andre Frossard, who believes that "it is a crime against humanity when someone is put to death purely by virtue of his or her birth.'" And in his short but magnificent novel Forever Flowing, Vasily Grossman says of his hero, Ivan Grigorevich, who has returned from the camps, "he had remained exactly what he had been from his birth: a human being."4 That, of course, was precisely why he was singled out in the first place. The French definition helps remind us that genocide comes in many shapes and sizes—it can be racial (as in the case of the Jews), but it can also target social groups. In The Red Terror in Russia, published in Berlin in 1924, the Russian historian and socialist Sergei Melgunov cited Martin Latsis, one of the first leaders of the Cheka (the Soviet political police), as giving the following order on 1 November 1918 to his henchmen: "We don't make war against any people in particular. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. In your investigations don't look for documents and pieces of evidence about what the defendant has done, whether in deed or in speaking or acting against Soviet authority. The first question you should ask him is what class he comes from, what are his roots, his education, his training, and his occupation."' Lenin and his comrades initially found themselves embroiled in a merciless "class war," in which political and ideological adversaries, as well as the more recalcitrant members of the general public, were branded as enemies and marked for destruction. The Bolsheviks had decided to eliminate, by legal and physical means, any challenge or resistance, even if passive, to their absolute power. This strategy applied not only to groups with opposing political views, but also to such social groups as the nobility, the middle class, the intelligentsia, and the clergy, as well as professional groups such as military officers and the police. Sometimes the Bolsheviks subjected these people to genocide. The policy of "de-Cossackization" begun in 1920 corresponds largely to our definition of genocide: a population group firmly established in a particular territory,

The Crimes of Communism 9 the Cossacks as such were exterminated, the men shot, the women, children, and the elderly deported, and the villages razed or handed over to new, non- Cossack occupants. Lenin compared the Cossacks to the Vendee during the French Revolution and gladly subjected them to a program of what Gracchus Babeuf, the "inventor" of modern Communism, characterized in 1795 as "populicide."6 The "dekulakization" of 1930-1932 repeated the policy of "de-Cossacki- zation" but on a much grander scale. Its primary objective, in accordance with the official order issued for this operation (and the regime's propaganda), was "to exterminate the kulaks as a class." The kulaks who resisted collectivization were shot, and the others were deported with their wives, children, and elderly family members. Although not all kulaks were exterminated directly, sentences of forced labor in wilderness areas of Siberia or the far north left them with scant chance of survival. Several teas of thousands perished there; the exact number of victims remains unknown. As for the great famine in Ukraine in 1932-33, which resulted from the rural population's resistance to forced collectivization, 6 million died in a period of several months. Here, the genocide of a "class" may well be tantamount to the genocide of a "race"—the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin's regime "is equal to" the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime. Such arguments in no way detract from the unique nature of Auschwitz—the mobilization of leading-edge technological resources and their use in an "industrial process" involving the construction of an "extermination factory," the use of gas, and cremation. However, this argument highlights one particular feature of many Communist regimes—their systematic use of famine as a weapon. The regime aimed to control the total available food supply and, with immense ingenuity, to distribute food purely on the basis of "merits" and "demerits" earned by individuals. This policy was a recipe for creating famine on a massive scale. Remember that in the period after 1918, only Communist countries experienced such famines, which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of people. And again in the 1980s, two African countries that claimed to be Marxist-Leninist, Ethiopia and Mozambique, were the only such countries to suffer these deadly famines. A preliminary global accounting of the crimes committed by Communist regimes shows the following: The execution of tens of thousands of hostages and prisoners without trial, and the murder of hundreds of thousands or rebellious workers and peasants from 1918 to 1922 The famine of 1922, which caused the deaths of 5 million people

Introduction • The extermination and deportation of the Don Cossacks in 1920 • The murder of tens of thousands in concentration camps from 1918 to 1930 • The liquidation of almost 690,000 people in the Great Purge of 1937-38 ■ The deportation of 2 million kulaks (and so-called kulaks) in 1930-1932 ■ The destruction of 4 million Ukrainians and 2 million others by means of an artificial and systematically perpetuated famine in 1932-33 • The deportation of hundreds of thousands of Poles, Ukrainians, Baits, Moldovans, and Bessarabians from 1939 to 1941, and again in 1944-45 ■ The deportation of the Volga Germans in 1941 ■ The wholesale deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1943 • The wholesale deportation of the Chechens in 1944 ■ The wholesale deportation of the Ingush in 1944 ■ The deportation and extermination of the urban population in Cambodia from 1975 to 1978 ■ The slow destruction of the Tibetans by the Chinese since 1950 No list of the crimes committed in the name of Leninism and Stalinism would be complete without mentioning the virtually identical crimes committed by the regimes of Mao Zedong, Kim II Sung, and Pol Pot. A difficult epistemological question remains: Should the historian employ the primarily legal categories of "crime against humanity" and "genocide"? Are these concepts not unduly time specific—focusing on the condemnation of Nazism at Nuremberg—for use in historical research aimed at deriving relevant medium-term conclusions? On the other hand, are these concepts not somewhat tainted with questionable "values" that distort the objectivity of historical research? First and foremost, the history of the twentieth century has shown us that the Nazis had no monopoly over the use of mass murder by states and party- states. The recent experiences in Bosnia and Rwanda indicate that this practice continues as one of the hallmarks of this century. Second, although it might not be appropriate to revive historical methods of the nineteenth century, whereby historians performed research more for the purpose of passing judgment than for understanding the issue in question, the immense human tragedies directly caused by certain ideologies and political concepts make it impossible to ignore the humanist ideas implicit in our Judeo- Christian civilization and democratic traditions—for example, the idea of respect for human life. A number of renowned historians readily use the expression "crime against humanity" to describe Nazi crimes, including Jean- Perre Azema in his article "Auschwitz"7 and Pierre Vidal-Naquet on the trial of Paul Touvier.8 Therefore, it does not seem inappropriate to use such terms and concepts to characterize the crimes committed by Communist regimes.

The Crimes of Communism In addition to the question of whether the Communists in power were directly responsible for these crimes, there is al.so the issue of complicity. Article 7(3.77) of the Canadian criminal code, amended in 1987, states that crimes against humanity include infractions of attempting, conspiring, counseling, aiding, and providing encouragement fur de facto complicity.'1 This accords with the definition of crimes against humanity in Article 7(3.76) of the same code: "attempting or conspiring to commit, counseling any person to commit, aiding or abetting any person in the commission of, or being an accessory after the fact in relation to the act" (emphasis added). Incredibly, from the 1920s to the 1950s, when hundreds of thousands of people served in the ranks of the Communist International and local sections of the "world party of the revolution," Communists and fellow-travelers around the world warmly approved Lenin's and subsequently Stalin's policies. From the 1950s to the 1970s, hundreds of thousands of people sang the praises of the "Great Helmsman" of the Chinese Re\ olution and extolled the virtues of the Great I .cap Forward and the Cultural Resolution. Much closer to our time, there was widespread rejoicing when Pol Pot came to power."1 Many will say that they "didn't know." Undoubtedly, of course, it was not always easy to learn the facts or to discover the truth, for Communist regimes had mastered the art of censorship as their favorite technique for concealing their true activities. But quite often this ignorance was merely the result of ideologically motivated self-deception. Starting in the 1940s anil 1950s, many facts about these atrocities had become public knowledge and undeniable. Anil although many of these apologists have cast aside their gods of yesterday, they have done so quietly and discreetly. What are we to make of a profound!) amoral doctrine that seeks to stamp out every last trace of ci\ ic-mindedness in men's souls, and damn the consequences? In 1968 one of the pioneers in the study of Communist terror, Robert Conquest, wrote: "The fact that so many people 'swallowed' [the Great Terror] hook, line, and sinker was probably one of the reasons that the Terror succeeded so well. In particular, the trials would not be so significant had they not received the blessing of some 'independent' foreign commentators. These pundits should be held accountable as accomplices in the bloody politics of the purges or at least blamed for the fact thai the political assassinations resumed when the first show trial, regarding Zinoviev in 1936, was given an ill-deserved stamp of approval."" If the moral and intellectual complicity of a number of non-Communists is judged by this criterion, what can be said of the complicity of the Communists' Louis Aragon, for one, has publicly expressed regret for having appealed in a 1931 poem for the creation of a Communist political police in France.12 Joseph Berger, a former Comintern official who was "purged" and then exiled to the camps, quotes a letter received from a former gulag deportee who remained a Parts member even after her return:

12 I Introduction My generation of Communists everywhere accepted the Stalinist form of leadership. We acquiesced in the crimes. That is true not only of Soviet Communists, but of Communists all over the world. We, especially the active and leading members of the Party, carry a stain on our consciences individually and collectively. The only way we can erase it is to make sure that nothing of the sort ever happens again. How was all this possible? Did we all go crazy, or have we now become traitors to Communism? The truth is that all of us, including the leaders directly under Stalin, saw these crimes as the opposite of what they were. We believed that they were important contributions to the victory of socialism. We thought everything that promoted the power politics of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and in the world was good for socialism. We never suspected that conflict between Communist politics and Communist ethics was possible." Berger, however, tries to have it both ways. "On the other hand, I personally feel that there is a difference between criticizing people for having accepted Stalin's policy, which many Communists did not do, and blaming them for not having prevented his crimes. To suppose that this could have been done by any individual, no matter how important he might have been, is to misunderstand Stalin's byzantine tyranny."14 Thus Berger has found an excuse for having been in the U.S.S.R. and for having been caught up in its infernal machine without any means of escape. But what self-deception kept Western European Communists, who had not been directly arrested by the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD, the secret police), blindly babbling away about the system and its leader? Why could they not hear the wake-up call at the very start? In his remarkable work on the Russian Revolution, The Soviet Tragedy, Martin Malia lifts a corner of the curtain when he speaks of "this paradox . . . that . . . [it] takes a great ideal to produce a great crime."15 Annie Kriegel, another major student of Communism, insists that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two faces of Communism, as surely as day follows night. Tzvetan Todorov offered the first response to this paradox: A citizen of a Western democracy fondly imagines that totalitarianism lies utterly beyond the pale of normal human aspirations. And yet, totalitarianism could never have survived so long had it not been able to draw so many people into its fold. There is something else—it is a formidably efficient machine. Communist ideology offers an idealized model for society and exhorts us toward it. The desire to change the world in the name of an ideal is, after all, an essential characteristic of human identity . . . Furthermore, Communist society strips the individual of his responsibilities. It is always "somebody else" who makes the

The Crimes of Communism 13 decisions. Remember, individual responsibility can feel like a crushing burden . . . The attraction of a totalitarian system, which has had a powerful allure for many, has its roots in a fear of freedom and responsibility. This explains the popularity of authoritarian regimes (which is I'.rich I'Vomni's thesis in Escape from Freedom). None of this is new; Boethius had the right idea long ago when he spoke of "voluntary servitude.""' The complicity of those who rushed into voluntary servitude has not always been as abstract and theoretical as it may seem. Simple acceptance and/or dissemination of propaganda designed to conceal the truth is invariably a symptom of active complicity. Although it may not always succeed, as is demonstrated by the tragedy in Rwanda, the glare of the spotlight is the only effective response to mass crimes that are committed in secret and kept hidden from prying eves. An analysis of terror and dictatorship—the defining characteristics of Communists in power—is no easy task. Jean Kllenstein has defined Stalinism as a combination of Greek tragedy and Oriental despotism. This definition is appealing, but it fails to account for the sheer modernity of the Communist experience, its totalitarian impact distinct from previously existing forms of dictatorship, A comparative svnopsis may help to put it in context. first, we should consider the possibility that responsibility for the crimes of Communism can be traced to a Russian penchant for oppression. However, the tsarist regime of terror against which the Bolsheviks fought pales in comparison with the horrors committed bv the Bolsheviks when they took power. The tsar allowed political prisoners to face a meaningful justice system. The counsel for the defendant could represent his client up to the time of indictment and even beyond, and he could also appeal to national and international public opinion, an option unavailable under Communist regimes. Prisoners and convicts benefited from a set of rules governing the prisons, and the system of imprisonment and deportation was relatively lenient. Those who were deported could take their families, read and write as they pleased, go hunting and fishing, and talk about their "misfortune" with their companions. Lenin and Stalin had firsthand experience of this. Kven the events described by Fyodor Dostoevsky in Memoirs from the House of the Dead, which had such a great impact when it was published, seem tame by comparison with the horrors of Communism. True, riots and insurrections were brutally crushed by the ancien regime. However, from 1825 to 1917 the total number of people sentenced to death in Russia for their political beliefs or activities was 6,360, of whom only 3,932 were executed. This number can be subdivided chronologically into 191 for the years 1825-1905 and 3,741 for 1906-1910. These figures were surpassed by the

Introduction Bolsheviks in March 1918, after they had been in power for only four months. It follows that tsarist repression was not in the same league as Communist dictatorship. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Communism set a standard for terror to which fascist regimes could aspire. A glance at the figures for these regimes shows that a comparison may not be as straightforward as it would first appear. Italian Fascism, the first regime of its kind and the first that openly claimed to be "totalitarian," undoubtedly imprisoned and regularly mistreated its political opponents. Although incarceration seldom led to death, during the 1930s Italy had a few hundred political prisoners and several hundred conjuuiti, placed under house arrest on the country's coastal islands. In addition, of course, there were tens of thousands of political exiles. Before World War II, Nazi terror targeted several groups. Opponents of the Nazi regime, consisting mostly of Communists, Socialists, anarchists, and trade union activists, were incarcerated in prisons and invariably interned in concentration camps, where they were subjected to extreme brutality. All told, from 1933 to 1939 about 20,000 left-wing militants were killed after trial or without trial in the camps and prisons. These figures do not include the slaughter of other Nazis to settle old scores, as in "The Night of the Long Knives" in June 1934. Another category of \ictims doomed to die were Germans who did not meet the proper racial criteria of "tall blond Aryans," such as those who were old or mentally or physically defective. As a result of the war, Hitler forged ahead with a euthanasia program—70,000 Germans were gassed between the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1941, when churches began to demand that this program be stopped. The gassing methods devised for this euthanasia program were applied to the third group of victims, the Jews. Before World War II, crackdowns against the Jews were widespread; persecution reached its peak during Kristalhtacht, with several hundred deaths and 35,000 rounded up for internment in concentration camps. These figures apply only to the period before the invasion of the Soviet Union. Thereafter the full terror of the Nazis was unleashed, producing the following body count—15 million civilians killed in occupied countries, 6 million Jews, 3.3 million Soviet prisoners of war, 1.1 million deportees who died in the camps, and several hundred thousand Gypsies. We should add another 8 million who succumbed to the ravages of forced labor and 1.6 million surviving inmates of the concentration camps. The Nazi terror captures the imagination for three reasons. First, it touched the lives of Europeans so closely. Second, because the Nazis were vanquished and their leaders prosecuted at Nuremberg, their crimes have been officially exposed and categorized as crimes. And finallv, the revelation of the

The Crimes of Communism genocide carried out against the Jews outraged the conscience of humanity by its irrationality, racism, and unprecedented bloodihirstiness. Our purpose here is not to devise some kind of macabre comparative system for crunching numbers, some kind of grand total that doubles the horror, some kind of hierarchy of cruelly. But the intransigent facts demonstrate that Communist regimes have victimized approximately 100 million people in contrast to the approximately 25 million victims of the Nazis. This clear record should provide at least some basis for assessing the similarity between the Nazi regime, which since 1945 has been considered the most viciously criminal regime of this century, and the Communist system, which as late as 1991 had preserved its international legitimacy unimpaired and which, even today, is still in power in certain countries and continues to protect its supporters the world over. Anil even though many Communist parties have belatedly acknowledged Stalinism's crimes, most have not abandoned Lenin's principles and scarcely question their own involvement in acts of terrorism. The methods implemented by I.cnin and perfected b\ Stalin and their henchmen bring to mind the methods used bv the Nazis, but most often this is because the latter adopted the techniques developed by the former. Rudolf Hess, charged with organizing the camp at Auschwitz and later appointed its commandant, is a perfect example: "The Reich Security 1 lead Office issued to the commandants a full collection of reports concerning the Russian concentration camps. These described in great detail the conditions in, and organization of, the Russian camps, as supplied by former prisoners who had managed to escape. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that the Russians, by their massive emplo\ merit of forced labor, hail destroyed whole peoples."1. However, the fact that the techniques of mass violence anil the intensity of their use originated with the Communists and that the Nazis were inspired by them does not imply, in our view, that one can postulate a cause-and-effect relationship between the Bolshevik revolution and the rise of Nazism. From the end of the 1920s, the State Political Directorate (GPU, the new name for the Cheka) introduced a quota method—each region and district had to arrest, deport, or shoot a certain percentage ot people who were members of several "enemy" social classes. These quotas were centrally defined under the supervision of the Party. The mania for planning and maintaining statistics was not confined to the economy: it was also an important weapon in the arsenal of terror. 1'rom 1920 on, with the victory of the Red Army over the White Army in the Crimea, statistical and sociological methods made an appearance, with victims selected according to precise criteria on the basis of a compulsory questionnaire. The same "sociological" methods were used by the Soviet Union to organize mass deportations and liquidations in the Baltic states and occupied Poland in 1939-1941. As with the Nazis, the transportation of deportees in

Introduction cattle cars ushered in "aberrations." In 1943 and 1944, in the middle of the war, Stalin diverted thousands of trucks and hundreds of thousands of soldiers- serving in the special NKVU troops from the front on a short-term basis in order to deport the various peoples living in the Caucasus. This genocidal impulse, which aims at "the total or partial destruction of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, or a group that has been determined on the basis of any other arbitrary criterion," was applied by Communist rulers against groups branded as enemies and to entire segments of society, and was pursued to its maximum by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge. Efforts to draw parallels between Nazism and Communism on the basis of their respective extermination tactics may give offense to some people. However, we should recall how in Forever Flowing Vasily Grossman, whose mother was killed by the Nazis in the Berdychiv ghetto, who authored the first work on Treblinka, and who was one of the editors of the Black Book on the extermination of Soviet Jews, has one of his characters describe the famine in Ukraine: "writers kept writing . . . Stalin himself, too: the kulaks are parasites; they are burning grain; they are killing children. And it was openly proclaimed 'that the rage and wrath of the masses must be inflamed against them, they must be destroyed as a class, because they arc accursed.'" He adds: "To massacre them, it was necessary to proclaim that kulaks are not human beings, just as the Germans proclaimed that Jews are not human beings. Thus did Lenin and Stalin say: kulaks are not human beings." In conclusion, Grossman says of the children of the kulaks; "That is exactly how the Nazis put the Jewish children into the Nazi gas chambers: 'You are not allowed to live, you are all Jews!'"1" Time and again the focus of the terror was less on targeted individuals than on groups of people. The purpose of the terror was to exterminate a group that had been designated as the enemy, l-'.ven though it might be only a small fraction of society, it had to be stamped out to satisfy this genocidal impulse. Thus, the techniques of segregation and exclusion employed in a "class-based totalitarianism" closely resemble the techniques of "race-based totalitarianism." The future Nazi society w as to be built upon a "pure race," and the future Communist society was to be built upon a proletarian people purified of the dregs of the bourgeoisie. The restructuring of these two societies was envisioned in the same way, even if the crackdowns were different. Therefore, it would be foolish to pretend that Communism is a form of univcrsalism. Communism may have a worldwide purpose, but like Nazism it deems a part of humanity unworthy of existence. The difference is that the Communist model is based on the class system, the Nazi model on race and territory. Thus the transgressions of Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, and the Khmer Rouge pose a fresh challenge for humanity, and particularly for legal scholars and historians:

The Crimes of Communism I 17 specifically, how do we describe a crime designed to exterminate not merely individuals or opposing groups but entire segments of society on a massive scale for their political and ideological beliefs? A whole new language is needed for this. Some authors in the English-speaking countries use the term "politi- eide." Or is the term "Communist crimes," suggested by Czech legal scholars, preferable? How arc we to assess Communism's crimes? What lessons are we to learn from them? Why has it been necessary to wait until the end of the twentieth century for this subject to show up on the academic radar screen? It is undoubtedly the case that the study of Stalinist and Communist terror, when compared to the stud}' of Nazi crimes, has a great deal of catching-up to do (although such research is gaining popularity in Eastern Europe). One cannot help noticing the strong contrast between the study of Nazi and Communist crimes. The victors of 1945 legitimately made Nazi crimes— and especially the genocide of the Jews—the central focus of their condemnation of Nazism. A number of researchers around the world have been working on these issues for decades. Thousands of books and dozens of films—most notably Nig/it and Fog, Shoah, Sophie's Choice, and Schindler's List—have been devoted to the subject. Raul Hilberg, to name but one example, has centered his major work upon a detailed description of the methods used to put Jews to death in the Third Reich.''' Yet scholars have neglected the crimes committed by the Communists. While names such as Himmler and Eichmann arc recognized around the world as bywords for twentieth-century barbarism, the names of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, Genrikh Yagoda, and Nikolai Ezhov languish in obscurity. As for Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and even Stalin, they have always enjoyed a surprising reverence. A l'Vench government agency, the National Lottery, was crazy enough to use Stalin and Mao in one of its advertising campaigns. Would anyone even dare to come up with the idea of featuring Hitler or Goebbels in commercials? The extraordinary attention paid to Hitler's crimes is entirely justified. It respects the wishes of the surviving witnesses, it satisfies the needs of researchers trying to understand these events, and it reflects the desire of moral and political authorities to strengthen democratic values. But the revelations concerning Communist crimes cause barely a stir. Why is there such an awkward silence from politicians? Why such a deafening silence from the academic world regarding the Communist catastrophe, which touched the lives of about one-third of humanity on four continents during a period spanning eighty years? Why is there such widespread reluctance to make such a crucial factor as crime—mass crime, systematic crime, and crime against humanity—a central factor in the analysis of Communism? Is this really something that is

Introduction beyond human understanding? Or are we talking about a refusal to scrutinize the subject too closely for fear of learning the truth about it? The reasons for this reticence arc many and various. First, there is the dictators' understandable urge to erase their crimes and to justify the actions they cannot hide. Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" of 1956 was the first admission of Communist atrocities by a Communist leader. It was also the statement of a tyrant seeking to gloss over the crimes he himself committed when he headed the Ukrainian Communist Part\ at the height of the terror, crimes that he cleverlv attributed to Stalin by claiming that he and his henchmen were merely obeying orders. To cover up the vast majority of Communist offenses, Khrushchev spoke only of victims who were Communists, although they were far fewer in number than the other kind. He defined these crimes with a euphemism, describing them in his conclusion as "abuses committed under Stalin" in order to justify the continuity of the system that retained the same principles, the same structure, and the same people. In his inimitable fashion Khrushchev described the opposition he faced while preparing his "Secret Speech," especially from one of Stalin's confidants: "[Lazar] Kaganovich was such a yes-man that he would have cut his own father's throat if Stalin had winked and said it was in the interests of the cause—the Stalinist cause, that is . . . He was arguing against me out of a selfish fear for his- own hide. He was motivated entirely by his eagerness to escape any responsibilitv for what had happened. If crimes had been committed, Kaganovich wanted to make sure his own tracks were covered."'11 The absolute denial of access to archives in Communist countries, the total control of the print and other media as well as of border crossings, the propaganda trumpeting the regime's "successes," and the entire apparatus for keeping information under lock and key were designed primarily to ensure that the awful truth would never see the light of day. Not satisfied with the concealment of their misdeeds, the tyrants systematically attacked all who dared to expose their crimes. After World War 11 this became starkly clear on two occasions in France. From January to April 1949, the "trial" of Viktor Kmvchenko—a former senior official who wrote / Cluisu Freedom, in which he described Stalin's dictatorship—was conducted in Paris in the pages of the Communist magazine Les lettres francain's. which was managetl by Louis Aragon and which heaped abuse on Kravchenko. From November 1950 to Januarv 1951, again in Paris, Let /aires fhincaises held another "trial"—of David Roussct, an intellectual and former Trotskvite who was deported to Germany by the Nazis and who in 1946 received the Renautlot Prize for his book The World of Concentration Camps. On 12 November 1949 Roussct urged all former Nazi camp deportees to form a commission of inquin into the Soviet camp.system and was savagely attacked by the Communist press,

The Crimes of Communism which denied the existence of such camps. Following Rousset's call, Margaret Buber-Neumann recounted her experience of being twice deported to concentration camps—once to a Nazi camp and once to a Soviet camp—in an article published on 25 February 1950 in I'igaro HtU'raire, "An Inquiry on Soviet Camps: Who Is Worse, Satan or Beelzebub?" Despite these efforts to enlighten humankind, the tyrants continued to wheel out hcav\ artillery to silence all those who stood in their way anywhere in the world. The Communist assassins set out to incapacitate, discredit, and intimidate their adversaries. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Bukovsky, Al- cksandr Zinoviev, and 1 .eonid Plyushch were expelled from their own country; Andrei Sakharo\ was exiled to Gorky; General Petro Hryhorenko was thrown into a psychiatric hospital; and Georgi Markov was assassinated with an umbrella that fired pellets lilletl with poison. In the face of such incessant intimidation and cover-ups, the victims grew reluctant to speak out and were effectively prevented from reentering mainstream societj, where their accusers and executioners were ever-present. Vasily Grossman eloquently describes their despair.21 In contrast to the Jewish Holocaust, which the international Jewish comnumitv has actively commemorated, it has been impossible for victims of Communism and their legal advocates to keep the memory of the tragedy alive, and any requests for commemoration or demands for reparation are brushed aside. When the t\ rants could no longer hide the truth—the firing squads, the concentration camps, the man-made famine—they did their best to justify these atrocities b\ glossing them over. After admitting the use of terror, they justified it as a ncecssan aspect of revolution through the use of such catchphrases as "When \ou cut down a forest, the shavings get blown away" or "You can't make an omelet w ithout breaking eggs." Vladimir Bukovsky retorted that he had seen the broken eggs, but no one he knew had e\cr tasted the omelet! Perhaps the single greatest evil was the perversion of language. As if by magic, the concentration-camp system was turned into a "reeducation system," and the tyrants became "educators" who transformed the people of the old society into "new people." The zci-s, a term used for Soviet concentration camp prisoners, were forcibly "invited" to place their trust in a s\stem that enslaved them. In China the concentration-camp prisoner is called a "student," and he is required to study the correct thoughts of the Party and to reform his own faulty thinking. As is usually the case, a lie is not, strictly speaking, the opposite of the truth, and a lie w ill gencralb contain an element of truth. Perverted words are situated in a twisted \ision that distorts the landscape; one is confronted with a myopic social and political philosophy. Attitudes twisted b\ Communist propaganda are easv to correct, but it is monumentally tlifficult to instruct false prophets in the v\a\s of intellectual tolerance. The first impression is always

I Introduction the one that lingers. Like martial artists, the Communists, thanks to their incomparable propaganda strength grounded in the subversion of language, successfully turned the tables on the criticisms leveled against their terrorist tactics, continually uniting the ranks of their militants and sympathizers by renewing the Communist act of faith. Thus they held fast to their fundamental principle of ideological belief, as formulated by Tertullian for his own era: "I believe, because it is absurd." Like common prostitutes, intellectuals found themselves inveigled into counterpropaganda operations. In 1928 Maksim Gorky accepted an invitation to go on an "excursion" to the Solovetski Islands, an experimental concentration camp that would "metastasize" (to use Solzhenitsyn's word) into the Gulag system. On his return Gorky wrote a book extolling the glories of the Solovetski camps and the Soviet government. A French writer, Henri Barbusse, recipient of the 1916 Prix Goncourt, did not hesitate to praise Stalin's regime for a fee. His 1928 book on "marvelous Georgia" made no mention of the massacre carried out there in 1921 by Stalin and his henchman Sergo Ordzhonikid/e. It also ignored Lavrenti Beria, head of the NKVD, who was noteworthy for his Machiavellian sensibility and his sadism. In 1935 Barbusse brought out the first official biography of Stalin. More recently Maria Antonietta Macciochi spoke gushingly about Mao Zedong, and Alain Peyrefitte echoed the same sentiments to a lesser degree, while Danielle Mitterrand chimed in to praise the deeds of Fidel Castro. Cupidity, spinelessness, vanity, fascination with power, violence, and revolutionary fervor—whatever the motivation, totalitarian dictatorships have always found plenty of diehard supporters when they had need of them, and the same is true of Communist as of other dictatorships. Confronted with this onslaught of Communist propaganda, the West has long labored under an extraordinary self-deception, simultaneously fueled by naivete in the face of a particularly devious system, by the fear of Soviet power, and by the cynicism of politicians. There was self-deception at the meeting in Yalta, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ceded Eastern Europe to Stalin in return for a solemn undertaking that the latter would hold free elections at the earliest opportunity. Realism and resignation had a rendezvous with destiny in Moscow in December 1944, when General Charles de Gaulle abandoned hapless Poland to the devil in return for guarantees of social and political peace, duly assured by Maurice Thorez on his return to Paris. This self-deception was a source of comfort and was given quasi-lcgiti- macy by the widespread belief among Communists (and many leftists) in the West that while these countries were "building socialism," the Communist "Utopia," a breeding ground for social and political conflicts, would remain safely distant. Simone Weil epitomized this pro-Communist trendiness when she said, "revolutionary workers are only too thankful to have a state backing

The Crimes of Communism 21 them—a state that gives an official character, legitimacy, and reality to their actions as only a state can, and that at the same time is sufficiently far away from them geographically to avoid seeming oppressive."22 G)mmunism was supposedly showing its true colors—it claimed to be an emissary of the Enlightenment, of a tradition of social and human emancipation, of a dream of "true equality," and of "happiness for all" as envisioned by Gracchus Babeuf. And paradoxically, it was this image of "enlightenment" that helped keep the true nature of its evil almost entirely concealed. Whether intentional or not, when dealing with this ignorance of the criminal dimension of Communism, our contemporaries' indifference to their fellow humans can never be forgotten. It is not that these individuals are coklhearted. On the contrary, in certain situations they can draw on vast untapped reserves of brotherhood, friendship, affection, even love. However, as Tzvetan Todorov has pointed out, "remembrance of our own woes prevents us from pereeiving the suffering of others."21 And at the end of both world wars, no European or Asian nation was spared the endless grief and sorrow of licking its own wounds. France's own hesitancy to confront the history of the dark years of the Occupation is a compelling illustration in and of itself. The history, or rather nonhistory, of the Occupation continues to overshadow the French conscience. We encounter the same pattern, albeit to a lesser degree, with the historv of the "Nazi" period in Germany, the "Fascist" period in Italy, the "Franco" era in Spain, the civil war in Greece, and so on. In this century of blood and iron, everyone has been too preoccupied with his own misfortunes to worry much about the misfortunes of others. However, there are three more specific reasons for the cover-up of the criminal aspects of Communism. The first is the fascination with the whole notion of revolution itself. In today's world, breast-beating over the idea of "revolution," as dreamed about in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is far from over. The icons of revolution—the red flag, the International, and the raised fist—recmerge with each social movement and on a grand scale. Che Guevara is back in fashion. Openly revolutionary groups are active and enjoy every legal right to state their views, hurling abuse on even the mildest criticisms of crimes committed by their predecessors' and only too eager to spout the eternal verities regarding the "achievements" of Lenin, Trotsky, or Mao. This revolutionary fervor is not embraced solely by revolutionaries. Many contributors' to this book themselves used to believe in Communist propaganda. The second reason is the participation of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazism, which allowed the Communists to use fervent patriotism as a mask to conceal their latest plans to take power into their own hands. From June 1941, Communists in all occupied countries commenced an active and frequently armed resistance against Nazi or Italian occupation forces. Like

I 22 i Introduction resistance fighters everywhere, they paid the priee for their efforts, with thousands being executed by firing squad, slaughtered, or deported. And they "plaved the martyr" in order to sanctify the Communist cause and to silence all criticism of it. In addition to this, during the Resistance man}' non- Communists became comrades-in-arms, forged bonds of solidarity, and shed their blood alongside their Communist fellows. As a result of this past these non-Communists mav have been willing to turn a blind eye to certain things. In France, the Gaullist attitude was often influenced by this shared memory and was a factor behind the politics of General dc Gaulle, who tried to play off the Soviet Union against the Americans.24 The Communists' participation in the war and in the victory over Nazism institutionalized the whole notion of antifascism as an article of faith for the left. The Communists, of course, portrayed themselves as the best representatives and defenders of this antifascism. For Communism, antifascism became a brilliantly effective label that could be used to silence one's opponents quickly. Francois Furet wrote some superb articles on the subject. The defeated Nazism was labeled the ''Supreme Evil" by the Allies, and Communism thus automatically wound up on the side of Good. This was made crystal clear during the Nuremberg trials, where Soviet jurists were among the prosecutors. Thus a veil was drawn over embarrassing antidemocratic episodes, such as the German-Soviet pact of 1(W and the massacre at Katyh. Victory over the Nazis was supposed to demonstrate the superiority of the Communist system. In the Europe liberated by the British and the Americans (which was spared the sufferings of occupation) this was done for propaganda purposes to arouse a keen sense of gratitude to the Red Arms and a sense of guilt for the sacrifices made by the peoples of the U.S.S.R. The Communists did not hesitate to play upon the sentiments of Europeans in spreading the Communist message. By the same token, the ways in which Eastern Europe was "liberated" by the Red Army remain largely unknown in the West, where historians assimilate two very different kinds of "liberation," one leading to the restoration of democracies, the other paving the way for the advent of dictatorships. In Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet system succeeded the Thousand Year Reich, and Witold Gombrowicz neatly captured the tragedy facing these peoples: "The end of the war did not bring liberation to the Poles. In the battlegrounds of Central Europe, it simply meant swapping one form of evil for another, Hitler's henchmen for Stalin's. While sycophants cheered and rejoiced at the 'emancipation of the Polish people from the feudal yoke,' the same lit cigarette was simply passed from hand to hand in Poland and continued to burn the skin of people."2-1 Therein lay the fault line between two European folk memories. However, a number of publications have lifted the curtain to show

The Crimes of Communism 23 how the U.S.S.R. "liberated" the Poles, Germans, Czechs, and Slovaks from Nazism.26 The final reason for the gentle treatment of Communism is subtler and a little trickier to explain. After 1945 the Jewish genocide became a byword for modern barbarism, the epitome of twentieth-century mass terror. After initially disputing the unique nature of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis, the Communists soon grasped the benefits involved in immortalizing the Holocaust as a way of rekindling antifascism on a more systematic basis. The specter of "the filthy beast whose stomach is fertile again"—to use Bertolt Brecht's famous phrase—was invoked incessantly and constantly. More recently, a single- minded focus on the Jewish genocide in an attempt to characterize the Holocaust as a unique atrocity has also prevented an assessment of other episodes of comparable magnitude in the Communist world. After all, it seems scarcely plausible that the victors who had helped bring about the destruction of a genocidal apparatus might themselves have put the very same methods into practice. When faced with this paradox, people generally preferred to bury their heads in the sand. The first turning point in the official recognition of Communist crimes came on the evening of 24 February 1956, when First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev took the podium at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the CPSU. The