Continuing to review this piece, which is a transcript of an interview with Professor Jared McBride, Lecturer in Russian and East European History at UCLA. I have not read McBride’s thesis, but, based on the things he says in this interview, I very much like his approach. Which appears to be one of calm rationality, de-emotionalizing such big-ticket concepts as the “Holocaust” or “Totalitarianism”, and just focusing, instead, on the ordinary sociological aspects of why ordinary people do what they do. Like, why did people enlist in the Hitlerite police units and set off to kill their neighbors?
For example, the children’s way of looking at the Holocaust might be to read Anne Frank’s diary and wonder: “Had I been there, would I have had the moral grit to hide this lovely young child in my attic?” Seeing everything as a personal, moral choice: Do I kill my neighbors, or do I hide them in my attic?
LIfe is good on the UCLA campus!
The grown-up, sociological approach, while not ignoring personal choices, puts such horrendous events in a broader context; as McBride has said, he looks at groups of people and studies factors such as past inter-ethnic conflicts, peer pressure, economic incentives, and the like, which might induce ordinary people, not necessarily evil at first, to enlist in the Schutzmannschaften units.
McBride’s more “controversial” approach (well, controversial only from the POV of the Academic Cold Warrior caste) is to root through Soviet police archives in search of research material. Encouraged by his thesis advisor; perhaps somebody forgot to tell them that they are only supposed to consider “facts” produced by the other side, namely the collaborationists themselves! Somebody forgot to tell them that everything ever said or written down by Soviets/Russians is just a pack of lies. Even down to the count of missing chickens.
One recalls the sad fate of our previous interlocutor, Alexander Reshideovich Dyukov, a Russian historian who is banned in all the Schengen countries. What was his crime? Having the wrong opinions, based on the “wrong” facts. American wiki explains his incorrect approach:
While Dyukov employs open archives such as from the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) and the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History (RGANI), he also cites the archives of the FSB, to which access by researchers is limited. It is these FSB archives which Dyukov uses, for example, to claim in his recent book, The Genocide Myth, that Estonia’s recollection of Soviet repressions including deportations is exaggerated. In regard to the June 1941 deportations, that took place before German invasion of June 22, 1941, Dyukov contends that deported Estonians were mostly German collaborators or were linked to them.
Allow me to explain: One of the Estonian Articles of Faith is that (a) they never collaborated with the Nazis; or (b) if they did, it was only as payback for the Soviet crimes against them, such as the deportations.
The Estonian view of the deportations
Dyukov clipped the Estonian wings and relieved them of one of their key dogmas, when he dissed their talking point about the “cattle cars”, “each car stuffed to 40-50 people, including women, children and the elderly.” And the massive number of deaths that ensued inside these reeking cars. According to Dyukov, based on his research in the NKVD archives, (a) the deportees were herded into regular passenger cars, not cattle cars; (b) each railroad car contained about 30 people, not 50; (c) an ambulance railroad car was on hand, containing a doctor, a paramedic, and two nurses; in case anybody got sick; and (d) most likely, not one single person died en route.
See, Dyukov is not denying that the deportations took place; he is only arguing that the Estonians exaggerate how horrific they were. And also questions the lamb-like innocence of the deportees. Well, one can stipulate that the Estonian children were innocent lambs. But this was the type of unpleasant affair where the children have to go with their parents.
Estonian Legion recruits democratically-minded people to fight against Soviet totalitarianism.
The Estonian “cattle-car” myth is typical of the collaborationist mind-set. When their side lost the war; and upset by all the attention and sympathy the Jews were getting for their Holocaust, they feel the need to punch their own chests: “I was a victim too!” We see this in the Ukrainian Banderite myth of the famine or “Holodomor” Again, a famine did take place, nobody denies that, but (a) it wasn’t directed against Ukrainians specifically; and (b) there was no famine in Galicia, the font of the Ukrainian Nationalist movement. The brunt of the famine was actually way out there in Kazakhstan. We see the same illogic in play with the Estonian myth of the cattle cars, ’cause, see, Jews were transported in cattle cars, and they got a lot of sympathy for that, so Estonians had to claim they were deported in cattle cars as well. Another major difference: Jews in cattle cars were taken away to be exterminated. Estonians in railroad cars were taken away to serve a term of exile. Sort of different things. Different degrees of unpleasantness.
Anyhow, my major point, which is sort of a warning to McBride: the Estonians, horrified by Dyukov’s puncturing of their bubble, retaliated by banning him from Estonia; and got their NATO allies and the Schengen countries also to jump all over him. I am hoping that McBride will not face a similar fate, when the descendants of the Collaborationist Nations learn of his research in the Soviet police archives. Hopefully not; after all, there is a major difference between Dyukov and McBride as well: the former is a Russian, whom Westies are trained since the cradle to despise and loathe as subhumans; whereas McBride is a fully human American citizen. Civis Romanus sum, and a’ of that.
High Stalinism vs Late Stalinism
Another thing that attracts me in McBride is his sensible-shoes approach to Stalinism. I think he would have lost me rather quickly, had he turned out to be one of those dreadful “Furries” who cannot see just what a hideous person Stalin was, and what a fucking liar and slanderer. He certainly had no mercy for anybody, nor moral scruples. Nevertheless, he was the figurehead of an entire system that was not nearly as horrific as Westies claim. Had Stalin shown any weakness or indecisiveness when the Teutonic Horde invaded; had he actually been the coward as Khrushchev portrayed him, hiding under his desk and screaming “We have lost everything that Lenin built!” then I am pretty sure the Soviet “Deep State” (which consisted of tens of thousands of functionaries, serving an even vaster base), in facing this existential threat to the nation, would have found a way to replace him in very short order.
Professor Grover Furr
Fortunately for Stalin, he was not that coward, he remained in Moscow, he stepped up to the plate, provided decent leadership, and won the war for the Soviet people. Which is why I am willing to concede that Stalin “redeemed” himself, although I fiercely debate the pro-Stalinists who do not understand the distinction between “redemption” and “vindication”.
Which brings us to the concept of “High Stalinism“. I don’t know if McBride invented that term, but I really like it. It is a way to distinguish the Office-Politics Stalin of the 1930’s who used state repressive organs to settle his personal scores against the Old Bolsheviks; from the later Stalin, the Company Man and Statesman who won the war. Obviously lower-IQ people will not be able to grasp that the same person can be different entities, at different periods in their biography. I am not at all a deep thinker myself, but I get that. Others don’t. They have to go on believing that Stalin was either (a) evil all the time, or (b) wonderful all the time.
In this respect, McBride once again takes the bull by the horns:
I wanted to ask about the issues with using Soviet police files. We know for example, that files, say during 1937-1938, the accuracy of the information is quite suspect. How do you deal with the information that’s in these documents?
McBride: This often colors a lot of our approach to the police archives, like everything else when it comes to Soviet history, in that it’s seen through the lens of high Stalinism. We need to obviously move away from that.
Stalin in 1945: Achieved a kind of Redemption
McBride goes on to say that, according to his research, the overwhelming majority of people who were accused of committing these crimes (as collaborators) were, in fact, guilty. “Now the degree to which they were culpable is debatable. So, whether you were the head of the police, whether you were pulling the trigger at a mass grave or you were just basically surrounding people at the mass grave. We can obviously discuss the levels of culpability. But this idea that these were fabrications of crimes is completely absurd.”
And this is different from those political trials during the “High Stalinism” period where, Grover Furr to the contrary, Stalin and his henchpersons were basically just making up fictional crimes against his political opponents. As in, Trotsky Zinoviev Bukharin worked for the Nazis, etc. But these people during the war, these local collaborators, they really did work for the Nazis! “Ironies upon ironies,” as McBride notes.
Next: The Prosecutions
[to be continued]