Skip to comments.Three Numbers [human cost of Communism in Russia]
Posted on 04/08/2013 6:31:24 PM PDT by annalex
In the Soviet Union preparations begin for the fiftieth anniversary of the communist revolution; in particular, a large collective "book epic" is conceived. The idea has been talked about in the Secretariat of the Union of Soviet Writers with Fedin, Twardowski, Tikhonov, Surkov Gribachev, etc., and, of course, the idea will be implemented. Not even one "book epic", probably, will be created.
We decided to offer the authors of this undertaking three numbers that will be useful for any "book epic."
Ninety-plus years ago, Dostoevsky, trying to get his mind's eye to the future and imagine the new society, in the name of which in the last century, the struggle by extreme elements of Russia was starting, stated in his novel "The Possessed" a number of considerations concerning, in particular, the possible loss of human life. Let us recall one passage from the novel. In a small meeting Shigalev, who wrote a book about the social structure of the future society, makes a report. From one remark associated with the report, it appears that in his book Shigalev
"... Suggests that as the final solution of the problem, the division of mankind into two unequal breeds. One tenth shall receive the reedom of the individual and unlimited rights over the other nine-tenths. Those have to lose personhood and be turned into something akin to a flock... The measures proposed by the author in order to take away the will of the nine tenths of humanity and rework them into a herd through reeducation of entire generations are quite remarkable... "
Hence, the border or the fence separating the contemporary society of the future shigalevian society is supposed to be jumped through reeducation of all the people and generally measures "quite remarkable." Of course, these measures may cause some casualties, but the other remark following the Shigalev report says that, in the end,
"...No matter how you treat the mankind, it still cannot be cured, but radically cutting down a hundred million heads and thus lighten yourself, you can hop ober the fence rather more surely ..." (Dostoevsky. Coll. Cit., State Institute of Fine Literature, Moscow, 1957. Volume 7. novel "The Possessed", pp. 421-424).
Thus, Dostoevsky in 1871 already suggested that the social transformation of society can cost the people a hundred million heads. This figure seemed in the past to be extremely absurd. But is it really that absurd?
The Russian Revolution began with an uprising in 1917, then opened wide as a civil war, industrialization, collectivization, and the full reconstruction of society, continuing to this day. The people in this time really suffered heavy losses, especially in the initial period of the revolution and the period of the dictatorship of Stalin. Here are some numbers:
a) The population of Russia in 1917 in the borders prior to September 17, 1939 was 143.5 million.
b) The natural population growth in the years 1919 -1939 normally should be 64.4 million.
c) Mechanical population growth in 1940 due to the addition of new territories of the USSR: 20.1 million
d) Natural increase for 1940 - 59 years. within the present boundaries normally be 91.5 million.
d) Therefore, the total population within the present boundaries normally in 1959 should be 319.5 million.
e) In fact, according to the census in 1959 it was 208.8 million.
g) The total loss of population: 110.7 million
Thus, the population of the USSR lost in the events of 1917-1959 years. one hundred ten million lives.
This is our first number. The reader can verify it, we point out the sources and order of evaluation of its individual components.
a) The population of Russia in 1917 - 143.5 million. is the official figure. See "The Results of the All-Soviet Census of 1959", Moscow, 1962, page 13.
b) The natural increase of the population - 64.4 million people, -- is calculated by the ratio of 1.7. The statistics of the past population growth rate in Russia, for example, for 1900-1910 years, states 1.7. In the official compilations "The Economy of the USSR" the factor for 1913 is indicated 1.68, that is, after rounding the same 1.7. The factor of 1.7, is also adopted as the basis of demographic calculations of the GosPlan, the State Planning Agency. For example, in the book "The Second Five-Year Economic Development Plan of the USSR", the population on 1/1/1933 is indicated 165.7 million., and on 01/01/1938, the planned population is 180.3 million., That is, the annual growth is planned to be 1.7 percent.
For a number of years of Soviet power the actual rate is indicated higher than that. In the book "The Economy of the USSR in 1956" (page 289), the factor for 1928 indicates 2.37. However, in the latest collection this factor is dropped, obviously, because that refers to the period of the NEP, characterizes prosperity of that time, and compromises the subsequent periods. In the book "The Economy of the USSR in 1961" (p. 28), the coefficient indicated for 1954 - 1.77 for 1958 - 1.81 and for 1960 - 1.78.
In the future (as already planned) a slight decrease in this ratio is possible. But the calculations presented here do not concern the future but the past. For the past the same as in pre-revolutionary Russia, and in a more or less quiet time in the fifties, the Soviet Union, the factor of 1.7 was normal and (we underscore) minimal. It would certainly be that for most calm periods of the first half of this century.
c) Mechanical growth of population in 1940 - 20.1 million. is the official figure and has been repeatedly qualified.It now includes the population of the annexed territories in 1940, and the subsequent acquisitions (900 thousand inhabitants of the Carpathian Rus, 100 thousand population of Tuva, and revised in 1945 borders with Poland).
d) Natural growth for 1940-1959 years. - 91.5 million, - is calculated by the ratio of 1.7.
Figures 319.5 million, 208.8 million and 110.7 million, require no explanation.
In reality, the losses during the Second World War were even larger. Here are some numbers:
a) The population of the USSR to the beginning of the war - 197.1 million
b) The natural population growth in 1941-45. - 15.4 million
a) The population expected in the beginning of 1946 - 212.5 million.
d) By early 1946, there were approximately 168.5 million.
d) Hence, the loss of the Soviet Union relating to the war was 44.0 million.
The population of the Soviet Union lost in the Second World War forty-four million people. This is our second number.
This figure includes: combat losses at the front killed or died of wounds, loss of civilian life in the rear from the bombing, starvation, disease and acts of terror by the occupiers; special losses in enemy territory related to the loss of life in the prison camps and labor camps; emigration losses associated with refugees and non-returning captured population, and natural losses due to falling birth rates during the war. The total amount of these losses is the 44 million figure. So that the reader could verify and clarify it, let us specify the source and the order of evaluation of its individual elements.
a) The population of the outbreak of war 197.1 million is calculated as follows. The population according to the 1939 census was 170.6 million people. Population growth at a rate of 1.7 in the period from January 17 to December 31, 1939 - 2.9 million. Plus population of the annexed territories 20.1 million. Plus population growth in 1940 to a rate of 1.3 in the period from January 1 September 1 - 1.5 million and for the period from September 1 to December 31, 0.8 million. Plus population growth for the first half of 1941 - 1.2 million.
Prof. Timasheff suggested (see "New Journal", Vol. 19, page 202) a higher number of the Soviet population for the beginning of the war - 202.2 million, because natural growth for 1939-1941. Is calculated by the ratio of 2.0. But, obviously, in war with Finland in 1940, the birth rate has declined, and in the acquired territory it, as the professor Timasheff himself notes, did not exceed one percent per year. We calculated the population growth in 1940-1941 according to the official ratio - 1.32 (see "The Economy of the USSR in 1961," page 28).This ratio was not published at the time when prof. Timashev wrote his work.
Soviet statistics indicate (see "The USSR in Figures 1962", page 11), the population for the war 190.7 million. This figure clearly is obtained by simple addition of 170.6 plus 20.1; it does not take into account the increase population during 1939-1941 and is therefore incorrect.
b) The natural population growth in the period from 07/01/1941 to 01/01/1946 is calculated with the ratio of 1.7.This figure corresponds to the question on how much the population of the USSR could increase during this time, if it were not for the war and the difficult situation.
d) The number of the population by the end of the war - or rather, the beginning of 1946, is not available from official sources. It is usually calculated on the basis of indirect indicators. Lorimer, in his book "The people of the Soviet Union" proposed for this moment number 188 million. Soviet professor Aleksadrov proposed (in 1946) 193 million. In the West the same figure is proposed by Leontief and very close to it is found in Zaitsev, E. Kuisher et al. This figure is given in the Statistical Yearbook of the UN. An even higher number - 197 million. is proposed by A. Markov in his book "Russia today." But the 197 million figure is totally ridiculous, because it then turns out that the Soviet Union has not lost a single man during the war.
Professor Prokopovich in his article "The Economy of the USSR" cited the figure of 180.5 million. Professor Timasheff, with characteristic for this scientist rigor has analyzed this figure (see "New Journal", Vol. 19, pp. 201-210) and on the basis of his calculations came to the conclusion that the population of the USSR to the beginning of 1946 was 180.0 million people. The 180 million figure is what the author of this work arrived at with some help of other calculations in his book, "The nations of the USSR and the Russian question." Since then, however, new official materials gave the opportunity to make a new calculation, namely the population of the USSR in 1956, according to new official figures was 197.9 million. (Previously the Soviet statistics for this year gave the figure of 200.2 million). On the XX Party Congress, Khrushchev said that "our country's population growth over the years has made the fifth five-year 16 million 300 thousand people" (see his report, page 84).
Given this figure, and the population in 1954, 1955, 1956, first mentioned in the book "The USSR in numbers in 1962," you can compute through the retrospective calculation the population growth in 1946-1950. It will be 13.1 million people. Usually, after the war, the population growth increased temporarily, but we do not consider this increase, as in the USSR, it was offset by the lasting devastation and terrible famine of 1946-1947.According to our calculations, the population of the Soviet Union by 1946 was: 197.9 - 16.3 - 13.1 equals 168.5. Previous calculations give higher figures, because of the assumed lowered growth.
This is our calculation of military losses of the USSR, which may, in some of its parts, require more clarification. But the possible refinements hardly do much to change the overall amount of the losses.
Forty-four million people is, of course, a large value, but the magnitude of it is largely due to the special Stalinist tactics of war, that had no regard to the loss of "human material." According to U.S. statistics, the Allied military losses can be outlined, for example, in the following figures:
a) The thirteen countries: USA, England, France, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Holland, Norway, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South-African Union - during the Second World War lost 940,707 people.
b) Two States: Poland and Yugoslavia - have lost 730,000 people.
c) One state - the Soviet Union - has lost 7,500,000 people.
According to Soviet statistics (see, in particular, the "All-Union Census 1959", page 14) in the First World War the natural increase outweighed military losses, and the population of Russia in the First World War did not decrease, but rather increased slightly . During the Second World War according to the above estimates, the population of the Soviet Union did not increas, but rather decreased by 28.6 million people. (197.1 - 188.5). As a percentage, it looks like this:
First World War: The population for the war - 100%
Population by the end of the war - 102%
Second World War: The population for the war - 100%
Population by the end of the war - 85%
As you can see, the population of the USSR during the Second World War lost all their natural increase (15.4 million) and, in addition, 28.6 million or 14.5% of its pre-war number. This is a stunning outcome. This is our second number.
The total number of casualties in the USSR during the dictatorship of the Communist Party from 1917 to 1959 is 110.7 million - 100%
Losses in the war 44.0 million - 40%.
Losses in revolutionary times outside the war time 66.7 million - 60%.
Thus, outside the wartime, during the revolution and the revolutionary transformation of Russia people lost sixty-six million seven hundred thousand people. This is our third number.
These figures are, of course, worthy of mention in any "book epic" if the "book epic" is drawn up fairly.
"Posev (Sowing)", 1977, № 12
This article by I. Kurganov was first published in 1964 in the newspaper "Novoe Russkoe Slove (New Russian Word)" (New York).
In 1916-1917 served in the Army after graduating from Chistopol officers' schools, participated in the First World War in the Caucasus and Western fronts. After demobilization he returned to Kurgan, where he worked as an accountant in the city administration. For a time he served as an officer in the White Army of Admiral A.V. Kolchak, then worked in cooperation and Tomsk Food Committee "Uprodukt (Ural Product)", for a short time studied the historical-philological faculty of Tomsk University. In May 1920, he was arrested as a former Kolchak officer, and by October of that year was held in a concentration camp in Omsk.
In October 1920, together with other officers was sent to Petrograd, where he was kept in Kresty ("Crosses") prison, but a month later was released. Went to work as an accountant at the central quarantine station, then as Deputy Commissioner of the Siberian Regional Union of Consumer Societies, chief accountant, deputy governor of the Leningrad regional office Maslotsentr (Butter Center). In 1921, he was again arrested, but released as one served in the White Army under mobilization (draft), as one who came from a peasant family, and not a threat to the Soviet regime.
Since 1924 - Associate Professor at the Leningrad Engels Institute of National Economy. Since 1927 - Associate Professor, Faculty of Soviet law at Leningrad State University. Also taught at the All-Union Academy of Consumer Cooperatives. Till 1930 combined teaching career with the accounting work.
Since 1930 - lecturer, in 1934-1935 - Professor at the Leningrad Engels Institute of Soviet Trade. Since 1936 - Professor of the Leningrad Finance and Economics Institute (LFEI), and from 1937 at the same time Professor of the Moscow Institute of Soviet Cooperative Trade. Also directed the Planning Section at the Leningrad Research Institute of Consumer Cooperatives. Since 1940 - Dean of the Faculty of Finance in LFEI, from December 1941 - Deputy Director of the LFEI for research.
Since 1940 - Doctor of Economic Sciences. Only in the Soviet period published over 60 papers on accounting and about 10 books. According to the estimates of contemporaries, his works were notable for simple and clear presentation, linking theory to practice, the analysis of almost all the problems that existed at that time in accounting.
In the spring of 1942, together with the Institute was evacuated from Leningrad to Essentuki and was appointed acting director of the LFEI.
In August 1942, right before Essentuki was taken by the German forces, due to his anti-communist orientation, decided to remain in the city and collaborate with the German administration. In December 1942 he left Essentuki together with the retreating German forces. Reached Berlin, where he worked as a welder in a factory. Participated in the activities of the Vlasov movement as a member of the national council of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia (known by its Russian acronym KONR).
In 1945 fled from the Soviet forces to the West, but was sent to the soviet repatriation camp by the Americans; escaped from there, was again arrested by the Americans but that time he was not extradicted.
Lived in Germany, and since 1949 in the United States, where he initially worked as a packer at a match factory. Under his new surname, Kurganov (chosen in 1950s in memory of his life in the city of Kurgan), actively participated in the work of National Labor Union, and in 1957 delivered the main report at the Hague Congress For the Rights and Freedom in Russia; was published in periodicals Posev, Grani, Novy Jurnal, Mosty and other emigrant publications.
He published a series of sovietological works, in which a considerable attention was devoted to demographical problems. Among them in Posev publishing house were printed Nation in the USSR and the National Question (1961), Family in the USSR (1967), Women and Communism (1968). He was the first to compute the population losses in the USSR during the period of soviet power, while using official sources.
Died in New York.
The data in Kurganovs (Koshkins) research were known in the emigrant circles, and were referred to by A. I. Solzhenitsyn.
I am not sure whom else to ping on this.
Why am I not surprised.
Bumping the participants on that thread.
I have an old Guiness Book of World Records which lists that Stalin murdered 35 million.
They list Chairman Mao as the most prolific murderer in history. His number was 60 million.
These figures do not include war casualties.
I have no idea how they arrived at those figures.
Part of the strategy of the Left is to separate communism from its implementation in the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, etc. The Soviet ideologues set the tone themselves, carefully distinguishing between communist theory and socialist, yet to be "perfected", reality. The fact remains that there has been no humane implementation of a society whose aim would be communism.
Thank you for the illustration of the horrid demographics of communism.
I don’t really have a ping list. Maybe I should start one.
Neither do I. They are all roundabout estimates. Kurganov's seems the only reliable approach, but it cannot distinguish direct murder from artificial famine or unnecessary wars, or casualties contrary to any military sense even in a defensive war.
The Lives Of Others is really a good film.
Interesting, and important to note. We have had our differences in the past, Annalex, which differences won’t magically go away, however, on the subject of communism I doubt we have any differences.
Just an aside: I happened to have attended the first convention of RUKH (the umbrella group that encompassed all non-communist political/opposition parties in Ukraine at the time) in Kiev in the fall of 1990. The most striking thing at that event was the showing of an English film documentary based on Robert Conquest’s book, Harvest of Sorrow, (about the Holodomor, the famine artificially induced by the Bolsheviks in Ukraine of the 1930’s). As the film began it was watched by several hundred Ukrainians in the outer lobby area of the downtown convention center while the political discussions proceeded inside. More and more joined the crowd watching the movie. I must say that I have never seen a film have such an effect on an audience. People were aghast, many weeping. This was not fantasy to those who viewed in that day. It was, at last, the public and documented explanation of what happened to their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
Coming to a country near you with 100% certainty.
Thank you for posting this.
This is why they are so dangerous, because once the commies are done 20 Million People always lay dead.
Stupid college kids never think about that.
Wish I could say the same for the Bastard Walter "Pulitzer Prize winning for Genocide denial" Durante!
A good summary of these casualties due to communism can be found in three Senate-commissioned studies: Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS), Sen. Judiciary Committee:
“The Human Cost of Communism in the Soviet Union”, apprx. 1970, Robert Conquest, author of “The Great Terror
“The Human Cost of Communism in China”, Prof. Richard Walker (Un. of S.Carolina), 1971
“The Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam”, 1972, Max Friedman and David Martin (SISS)
Challenging testimony hearing, “Testimony of D. Gareth Porter”, 1972 and subsequent rebuttal hearing
“The Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam: Testimony of Daniel Teodoru”, late 1972/early 1973
In the 1990’s, French scholars produced an updating book “The Black Box of Communism” which is the master study of all of the above.
Some of these hearings are online.
A book, on the topic, that may be of interest is:
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression by Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek and Jean-Louis Margolin
wait til it comes here! The Starving time is coming and the Minorities will suffer the most as the state tries the colective experiments ending all farms. You wanted equality—we shall all be equally poor and oppressed. Only good Party members will have access to markets. A wall will be build between Mexico and the New USSA—to keep people IN so they can not escape into Mexico.
The reality is noone knows exactly how many people died to communist terror and mismanagement.
All the estimates has one flaw or another.
One is for sure a really lot died.
And then there’s Rachel Carson - 50 million and counting.
There is, sadly, a striking difference between Ukraine dealing with their horrible past with sorrow and honesty, and the shameless Soviet revivalism that is taking place in Russia.
The thing is, the same ideas inflict different nations differently. With certainty, socialist ideas have taken root in America and over time will produce the same violence and the same loss, but just like few Russians at the time could see the devastating historical trend behind everyday misery, few Americans will realize that the same error is now applied to a different nation, -- ours.
The Black Box of Communism
You mean The Black Book of Communism. Few people will read that, but yes, that was an outstanding publication.
By the way, it would be a mistake to attribute the famines that would strike the USSR entirely to the ineptness of socialism. In addition to the structural damage done to the economy by socialist reform, there was an effort to intimidate and kill. As Solonevich writes in his "Russia in Concentration Camp": "Lack of food one could perhaps explain by economic difficulties. But why would they feed us with salted herring and not give us water?"
The facts pointed out are that compared to Russian losses in WWII, the loss of jews was insignificant. Compared to losses in the named 13 nations, the Jewish loss was great.
The current events in Europe are the direct result of the destruction and loss of life in the 40’s. The fear of Europe, that is, the justified fear and hatred of Europeans by Russians, resulted in the establishment of European buffer zone that would succumb before aggression could strike into Russia again.
Very soon, if not already, those with direct memory of the death and destruction in Europe proper will be dead. There will be no real memory, only hearsay descriptions of what was. Once all the old folks and their kids are gone and no longer holding the governmental reins, the loathing of war will dissipate.
It is then that a weak Russia will be in trouble. The hardened buffer of Eastern European states will be gone. The weakened population, nearly destroyed by alcohol will be unable to resist the influx.
I’m not holding out any hope for the future.
If anyone has any softness or sentimentality, I would suggest purging that stuff from yourselves. There won’t be any room for that when the big war starts.
You are quite right. Putin is unabashedly proud of the “glories” of the Soviet Union no matter what it cost other peoples, and he has plenty of support in that sentiment. It does not bode well for, especially, Russia’s near neighbors. The Russian incursion into Georgia in 2008 is proof enough of that, especially since Putin called a halt to the advance only after his forces had taken Gori. I am sure all the former Social Republics took note of that fact.
Stalin saw independent farmers as a threat to Soviet power. And at that time, the vast majority of the population of the Soviet Union was engaged in agriculture, Stalin wanted to crush it and bring it under his control.
I think Putin is more partial to Imperialist Czarist Russia than to the Soviet Union.
Most Americans did not have the patience to read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, and so really did not grasp the true nature of the ideology behind the Soviet Union. One of the better ways for an American to wrap his mind around the concentration camps that made up the Gulag Archipelago is to read Alexander Dolgun’s Story: An American in the Gulag. Because it is written by an American chiefly for Americans it is more comprehensible that Solzhenitsyn, although no less horrifying. Instead of Solzhenitsyn’s thousands upon thousands, Dolgun’s story is that of one man. But it brings across the calculated cruelty and inhumanity of the camp system. Dolgun is also footnoted by Solzhenitsyn (in Gulag, volume 1, as I recall) as the only known survivor of Sukhanovka who retained his sanity.
I don’t know about that. Look into his family history and connections a bit more.
Thanks again for remembering me with this posting.
Thank you very much for taking the time to translate and post this paper by Mr. Koshkin/Kurganov. I cannot believe he survived the Stalin purges in the 30s. What a very lucky man.
I’m reading “Bloodlands” right now and this paper fits very nicely with that book. I highly recommend Bloodlands if you haven’t read it.
The Jewish losses are between several nationalities and at times, I think, were not counted by either side due to population transfers.
Do not confuse that with the spirit though. People of faith, even if killed, rescued their souls.
That would be wonderful, but unfortunately, cannot be true. On every step it is the Soviet Union that he seeks to restore: its bloody symbolism and its brutality. What he may have learned is that command economy does not work. Possibly, he thinks that his mafia entrepreneurialism has something to do with free market, but that is the best I can think of him.
Thanks for the referral to “Alexander Dolguns Story” — I just bought it on Amazon. I tried reading Gulag Archipelago about 20 years ago and couldn’t get very far. I have more interest today (thanks to Obama) and 20 years additional maturity and patience, so I may give it a go one more time.
It requires crushing the human spirit to be free, independent, own the wealth you create, and own your own body. The communists found they had to constantly "educate" instinctive human yearnings out of people to create "the new man." It didn't work and will never work. I'm astonished that this is not self-evident to mankind and even more astonished where we find our country today.
One great read is Solonevitch, unfortunately almost unknown in English. What is often missed, and Solonevitch captures it, is that the system was comprehensive, while the labor camps, the starvation, the fire squads, the endless wars, and the rule of terror were parts of a complete whole, design to remake a once European nation into a mob of slaves. For example, he recalls how peasants begged the Gulag prisoners for food. The conditions in some crack industrialization site were probably worse than in prisons, — and these were people who volunteered for that work.
And here we are in America 21st century, obsessed with two phenomena which ceased existing 67 years ago: Holocaust and (Dr. Mengele’s) racism (because ethnic animosity is not “racism”, but of course the term is and has always been intended to imply closeness of the accused to Mengele’s ideas), and I figure it has been planned and being executed to draw attention from the crimes of Communism which are still occurring daily, while some of the retired Communist criminals are living comfortably in places like Sweden.
Nazism was another criminal enterprise with its own victims, but I agree, the Left uses this fact to cover for their own pet projects.
Interesting in regard to the local populaces. That would correspond with some of the things Dolgun notes in the latter parts of his book.
I will look for Solonevitch.
I saw a facsimile of the translated pages somewhere, but now I cannot find them.
The translation has other flaws. For one thing, the title should be "Russia in Concentration Camp" or something similar; back in 1938 there was no set term for this kind of thing in English, but that is what the book's title in Russian is, "Россия в концлагере".
I am thinking of funding it through Kickstarter; maybe one day I will. It is a large book, I would not be able to translate it myself, but I could edit the raw translations.
Thanks annalex. From 1977.