Pictured above: Dr. Grover Furr contemplating his incredible body of work on Russia and the USSR.
Downloadable SoundCloud podcast (also at the bottom of this page), YouTube video, as well as being syndicated on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, RUvid and Ivoox (links below),
[dropcap] I [/dropcap]ntroduction
As the China editor for The Greanville Post (www.greanvillepost.com), I get copied on a lot of emails concerning ongoing conversations with other members of the editorial team, about articles in the pipeline to be published. About a year ago, one of those exchanges was with Dr. Grover Furr, about the book he was publishing at the time, Yezhov vs. Stalin. I was intrigued, ordered and read the book and came away fascinated and feeling that for the first time in my life, a bright light shined on the history of the USSR and Russia, with Joseph Stalin front and center.
Over the course of the last year, Grover and I exchanged a few emails ourselves and I decided it was time to interview this scholar, who is undoubtedly the preeminent authority on Joseph Stalin in particular, and post 1917 Russia-USSR in general.
I gave Grover the choice of an audio or written interview and he chose the latter. So, enjoy a very informative and enlightening lesson about the real Stalin and the real Russia-USSR.
Afterwards, like me, I recommend reading his books. They are available here (http://www.erythrospress.com/) and on Amazon.
He also has a number of videos on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=grover+furr).
Questions and answers. My questions are in plain font. Grover’s answers are in bold. He wrote that he intentionally kept his answers brief and to the point, so the interview would not drag out.
- Grover, you and I have a lot in common, except your story is set in Russia and mine in China. You stand up loud and clear to shout at the world that much, if not most of the accepted Western stories about post-revolution USSR/Russia are blatant Big Lie anti-communist-socialist propaganda. On my side of the planet, I offer a similar message about post-liberation China, with Mao Zedong, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. At times I wonder if I am having any significant impact, beyond a slowly growing number of fans and followers on my blog. It can get very discouraging. We and other truth seekers want to make the world a better place, remembering George Orwell’s elliptical passage from 1984, Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
- Do you feel that your work has made a difference?
- Do you think you have changed any minds?
- Have you had any impact in mainstream thought?
- Academic circles?
My books and articles are based on primary-source research and an objective analysis of evidence. It’s the only way to discover the truth.
Many people around the world have assured me that my work is valuable to them. Especially people who are supportive of the goals of socialism and communism.
Mainstream and academic history of the Soviet Union is dominated by what I call “the Anti-Stalin Paradigm.” Stalin is virtually demonized, accused of being a dictator, a mass murderer, and so on. No deviation from this framework is permitted. There is no sign so far that this is changing. Certainly, some mainstream academic historians know about my work. But they ignore it, in service to perpetuating the “anti-Stalin paradigm.”
- When I go back to the US this fall to visit my family, I will be ordering more of your books, especially Khrushchev Lied and The Mystery of the Katyn Massacre: The Evidence, The Solution. I could probably ask 10,000 Americans and maybe one might know something about Katyn, possibly one in a 1,000 in Europe. Being a fellow author, I know how much work goes into writing and publishing a book.
- Please tell us about the Katyn Massacre, the controversy surrounding it and why you think it was important enough to write a book about it.
The Katyn Massacre is simply the best documented “crime of Stalin.” The only viewpoint about it that is tolerated is that the Soviets were guilty of shooting the 14,800 – 22,000 Polish POWs. Anyone who suggests otherwise is condemned as immoral. And yet, this is all wrong! An objective study of the evidence now available permits only one conclusion: that the Soviets were not guilty, and therefore that the Germans were guilty. This is an important instance of just how false “the anti-Stalin paradigm” is.
Grover’s latest book is available here (http://www.erythrospress.com/store/grover-furr-katyn.html).
- Please describe to us about the now celebrated Soviet archives. They have had a huge impact on research, academia, media and even global geopolitics. Most people know little about them, so please fill us in,
- What is their official name in English?
- What is their origin?
- The KGB?
- The Kremlin?
- How far back do they go?
- What is their time range?
- Are the archives centralized, or are there repositories in other cities?
- Are they freely available online, or do you have to go to Russia to access them?
- Are there various levels of security clearance?
- If so, do you have one?
- Are there still archives that have not been released?
- Is there a statute of limitation, like FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), 20, 30, 50 years?
- Are they like FOIA CIA and FBI documents, often heavily redacted and marked up?
- Given how much Nikita Khrushchev was such a pernicious anti-Stalinist, how much do you think they were tampered with during his administration?
- After that, do you think succeeding Soviet administrations kept their hands-off?
- What happened after the fall of the USSR and the archives were released?
- Did neocon revisionists go on the attack to add, delete and modify them?
- Depending on your above answers, how do you separate the grain from the chaff, the truth from propaganda?
An archive is simply a place where documents originating in or ending up at some official office are stored. The fact that a document is in an archive says nothing about the truth or untruth of statements made in that document.
The Soviet government had lots of archives. I don’t go there and use them myself. Rather, I study the collections of documents from Soviet archives that have been published, mainly in book form and almost exclusively in Russia.
Archives have certainly been tampered with. There’s good testimony that Khrushchev did so. My Moscow colleague Vladimir L. Bobrov and I have discovered a few other examples of such tampering, for political purposes.
All documents – all evidence – from any source, require “source criticism,” careful examination in order to determine how reliable they are (or are not).
- I read your book, Yezhov vs. Stalin and I was blown away about what I learned. It was a revelation to read how vast the conspiracy was to destroy the Russian revolution, Lenin and Stalin himself. It started right after the end of World War I, where, to quote Luciana Bohne,
…In 1919, when over 17 “democracies” (US, UK, et al) militarily invaded Revolutionary Russia, linked up with Russian counter-revolutionaries (nobility, bourgeoisie), destroyed industries, infrastructure, millions of lives, and practically annihilated the proletariat as few industries survived to employ it (https://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/07/28/luciana-bohne-talk-to-me-about-russiagate-ha/).
I was shocked to learn how much Leon Trotsky and his gang of counter-revolutionaries were cooperating with fascist Germany and Japan. After reading about what an horrific traitor Leon Trotsky was, collaborating hand-in-hand with these same enemies that millions of his countrymen were dying on the battlefields to defeat,
- How do you explain Trotsky’s continued popularity among communists, socialists and Marxists?
- The World Socialist Website (wsws.org) can’t seem to write an article without singing the praises of the man. Do they not know what a criminal he really was?
- Or, are they and all the other Trotskyists living in denial, cherry picking what they want?
Trotskyism was dying when Khrushchev made his infamous “Secret Speech” in 1956. Khrushchev’s accusations made Trotsky’s accusations appear prophetic. To many people Trotskyism seemed to be “pure” communist idealism. This process was repeated when Gorbachev & Co. carried out a redoubled attack on Stalin in 1987-1991.
The opening to researchers of the Harvard Trotsky Archive in 1980, and then the publication of a great many documents from former Soviet archives after the end of the USSR in 1991, makes it possible to see that, like Khrushchev, Trotsky was lying.
I think that most Trotskyists do not know about Trotsky’s lies and conspiracies. They believe that these are “Stalinist lies”. They are told this by leaders of Trotskyist groups, and in most works by mainstream anticommunist academics.
Recently I have come to suspect another reason. There are a lot of Trotskyists in academia. Trotskyists are clannish. They will try hard to help the careers of other Trotskyists, while doing what they can do prevent the truth about Trotsky and Stalin from coming out. So, if you are a Marxist or socialist, being a Trotskyist or close to Trotskyism can help your academic career. Being perceived as a “Stalinist” certain will harm your career!
Grover Furr’s book that exposes Leon Trotsky of having been a total turncoat against his people, supporting fascist Germany and Japan.
- Based on the smoking gun, ironclad proof in your book, Khrushchev Lied, he was not only an enemy of the revolution, but he betrayed his party, nation and people. Maybe we can say that the beginning of the end of the USSR started when Stalin died and Mr. K became premier.
- How was this allowed to happen?
- Were there so many turncoats in the government that they were able to get him elected, which would refute Western propaganda that Stalin purged and massacred millions?
- Or, was he a consummate actor who fooled everyone and was badly misjudged?
- Or, did Mr. K become corrupted by the drunkenness of great power and fell into the abyss of megalomania?
- Where were Stalin’s backers to get a man or woman with the right stuff to keep the revolution and the USSR moving in the right direction?
- Or was it just bad luck and a simple twist of fate, to quote a Bob Dylan song?
Khrushchev certainly knew that he was lying! Many others in the Soviet leadership had to have known too that Khrushchev was lying, at least about many things. Or they must have suspected it.
At Stalin’s deathbed, evidently on March 5, 1953, the leading members of the old Politburo gathered and decided to do away with the decisions of the 19th Party Congress which had just taken place in October, 1952. This was really a coup d’etat.
Then there was the murder, judicial or otherwise, of Lavrentii Beria, and the judicial murder of any number of NKVD men who had worked under him. This was, in effect, yet another coup d’etat.
It’s clear that Stalin was isolated when he died, and no doubt for some years before that. Comparisons with Mao suggest themselves.
Note from Jeff: Deng Xiaoping famously said that the Chinese will never do to Mao Zedong what the Russians did to Stalin!
- On a scale of 1-10, with one meaning Stalin absolutely died from natural causes, to 10, that he was certainly murdered,
- What do you think?
- Have you written about this, or has anyone else who has done good research?
- Has evidence surfaced from the archives, do you think it is buried somewhere in its bowels, or has it been destroyed?
There have been lively discussions of just this question in Russia. I read a bit of it, and then gave up.
Stalin had not been well for a long time. Whether Stalin was murdered; fell ill and was denied swift and appropriate medical treatment; or simply died, seems impossible to say with certainty, given the evidence now available.
What is important is that Stalin was “killed politically” – his policies were abandoned, then attacked, and his legacy was slandered. That’s true regardless of how he died.
7. You talk about the West’s pervading anti-Stalin paradigm. I can say the same thing about Mao. Nothing good can be written and said about them, even in “serious” discussions and publications. They can only be portrayed as depraved, genocidal maniacs hellbent on slaughtering as many of their citizens as possible. I understand the hatred and hysteria of the anti-communist-socialist angle.
- But, how much do you think anti-Slav racism has to do with it, something I have researched and written about, which goes back to the Great Schism in 1054 AD (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/01/06/slavs-and-the-yellow-peril-are-niggers-brutes-and-beasts-in-the-eyes-of-western-empire-china-rising-radio-sinoland/).
I don’t think anti-Slav racism is an important factor here except in the case of a few writers, not specialists in Soviet history, who do write about the “passivity” of the Soviet masses. But this is normally described as a product of “totalitarianism” rather than of racial inferiority. At least, from what I have seen.
- Michael Parenti wrote a scathing book about the Big Lie propaganda of Eurangloland’s vaunted “academic freedom”, Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex (https://www.akpress.org/academic-repression-reflections-from-the-academic-industrial-complex.html). Professors with anti-establishment, anti-empire, anti-capitalism ideas start out at Harvard or Yale, get fired; then they get a job at a well-known state university, get fired, and keep on moving down the ladder until they are accepted at a small, private college and mostly left in peace.
- Did this happen to you?
- Not wanting to get you trouble at Montclair, your employer, but do they leave you alone, or do you get called in once and while for a cup of Russian tea and some frank discussion?
My academic field is medieval European literature. I have been teaching in an English department since 1970. “Bumps” in my academic career because of my Stalin-era Soviet research have been minimal.
But if I were in the field of history, I simply could not write what I write and remain employed. My research would not be published, and I’d soon be out of a job.
This is not true of Trotskyist scholars, who are pretty common in academia. Their form of anticommunism – anti-Stalinism – is convenient to mainstream anticommunism, and so is acceptable in academia. There are a number of self-described Trotskyist journals. Publication of articles in them is acceptable academically. Mine would not be.
- Three years ago, in order to show my total renunciation of Western capitalism and empire, I joined the Communist Party of France (PCF), since I’m a dual national, and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, the Wobblies) and have been a dues-paying member ever since.
- Again, not wanting to get you in hot water, but are you a member of a communist or socialist party?
- If not and if you did, would Montclair be forced to fire you for joining, with the mantra of, Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?, playing in the background?
No, I’m not a member of any communist party. I have thought about it many times.
In New Jersey, at this point, mere membership in a communist organization can’t legally be used as grounds for dismissal.
- This question is more of an encouragement to our fans out there to learn a second language. Anglophones and Francophones have a terrible reputation for being linguistic chauvinists. You are a professor of Medieval European Literature, but you previously learning Russian has had an obviously huge impact on your professional life, and seems to have provided you with enormous satisfaction and accomplishment.
I got a minor in Portuguese at grad school. Plans to move to Brazil and become a corn and soybean farmer fell through and moving back to Oklahoma, my skills started to atrophy and since then, I’ve completely lost it. But then, I joined the Peace Corps in Tunisia for two years and fell in love with the Arabic language, really applying myself to total fluency and literacy. As a result, it launched my international professional career and I’ve never looked back.
- What do you tell your students about the importance of learning a second language?
- How receptive are they to spending the time and effort to learn one?
- What are the most popular foreign languages they want to learn these days?
You are right about the importance of learning foreign languages! That is especially important in studying the history of the communist movement.
In today’s world English is de facto the world language. People all over the world are eager to study English. This may serve as a disincentive to Americans to study foreign languages.
Also, the USA is geographically isolated from the rest of the world, except for the Spanish-speaking world (Latin America) and, to a lesser extent, the francophone world (Quebec, Canada). It’s natural that Spanish and French are the foreign languages most studied.
A common misconception about studying languages is that it is “harder” than other subjects; that you need to be “talented” or “good at it” from birth. None of that is true. It just takes time and energy, like any skill. And, of course, you have to be motivated.
I hope my answers are helpful. Thank you for asking them!
Postscript: Mr. Eric Arnow, a regular visitor to China Rising Radio Sinoland commented below that Dr. Furr’s overwhelming evidence is corroborated by a number of other researched sources. Here are two for starters:
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