Gulag Archipelago, Vol II: Quote #1

And even while sitting peacefully among the fragrant hay mowings of Razliv* and listening to the buzzing bumblebees, Lenin could not help but ponder the future penal system. Even then he had worked things out and reassured us: “The suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the hired slaves of yesterday is a matter so comparatively easy, simple and natural, that it is going to cost much less in blood … will be much cheaper for humanity” than the preceding suppression of the majority by the minority.^

According to the estimates of emigre Professor of Statistics Kurganov, this “comparatively easy” internal repression cost us, from the beginning of the October Revolution up to 1959, a total of… sixty-six million—66,000,000—lives. We, of course, cannot vouch for his figure, but we have none other that is official. And just as soon as the official figure is issued the specialists can make the necessary critical comparisons.

~Gulag Archipelago, Vol II, page 4

66 MILLION. For comparison, that is more than the combined populations of the States of California AND Texas. For those of a world-wide persuasion, choose between wiping out the UK or France.

Another way to look at it is like this:
WWI caused between 20-40 million deaths.
WWII caused 85 million deaths.
The Black Plague killed approximately 25 million.

But no matter how you compare it, look at it or intellectually think about it, one fact remains: Communism caused that massive number. In fact, there is a term for 1 million deaths, it is called Mega-Death.

16 thoughts on “Gulag Archipelago, Vol II: Quote #1

  1. Heh, I said earlier why I believe it’s oversimplification to say ‘communism caused…” without taking the factor of Russian culture and politics into account. So, I’m not going to go at it again. With this caveat, a few words about numbers. There are staggering, and Soviet communism was one of the biggest perpetrators of terrible crimes in history, that I fully believe in and I would never personally support an overtly communistic party.

    The numbers Solzhenitsyn quotes are exaggerated. I have a “Black Book of Communism”, written by several staunchly anti-communistic historians from France (and one Pole). They arrive at 20 million victims total for the Soviet Union, and up to a hundred million for the communism all around the world during the entire XX century – with over half of that in China – Wikipedia page for “The Black Book of Communism” summarizes the discussion about its accuracy nicely.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I‘ve read that some 35 years ago. Living with the German heritage, I was angry about all those massive concentration camps around the world. Russia, China, Japan, even the USA (to a far lesser extent but nonetheless).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 66 millions sounds indeed like a LOT, even for such a huge, populous country, but the fact remains that a large number of people met an untimely death, and that if we counted all the deaths that occurred because of oppressive regimes all over the world, we would reach – and here I’m borrowing Piotrek’s term – staggering amounts….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was looking up the term mega-death, I ran across a guy who was doing his thesis on the numbers of deaths that have happened because of oppressive governments. I wish I had bookmarked it. It was quite fascinating.

      And 66million is staggering enough for me, thankyou very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t imagine this happening again today. Factor in social media and the world would probably give a loud-enough uproar to put an end to it all before things get worse… Then again… There are internment/concentration camps in China to kill Muslims that remains relatively hidden from the public’s eye to this day… I guess anything is possible. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. People think social media is so open, because of the Arab Spring, but China gives lie to that. Google openly acknowledges that the internet in china is shackled with their blessing. So something like this happening again? I can totally see it happening again. Especially if it is against a group that a lot of the world hates already. or has been led to hate.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s a staggering number- and even if it’s not as high as that in the Soviet Union (let’s just give them the “benefit of the doubt” and put the figure closer to 20 million as was suggested above) it would still be an insane amount of death and destruction. And let’s not forget that this experiment has been tried with disastrous affects in Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Eastern Block, Venezuela etc… all resulting in millions of deaths too (and in similar fashion- despite having a very different starting point in terms of culture). When will people finally realise this experiment isn’t worth trying again? How many more millions have to die before people get it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once I’m done with the Gulag (and I suspect that it will take me the rest of this year and most of next to work through this and vol 3) I’m going to go looking at communism in china. See what I can find on that subject.


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