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Social-Nationalist
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 12:22 AM
TITLE: RADIO INTERVIEW WITH ROI MEDVEDEV, HISTORIAN AND WRITER, ON JOSEPH STALIN
[EKHO MOSKVY RADIO, 14:00, MARCH 5, 2003]
SOURCE: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE (http://www.fednews.ru/)

Anchor: Hello and welcome to Ekho Moskvy. It's 14:08 Moscow time. I am Alexander Klimov. And our guest is historian and publicist Roi Medvedev. Good day, Roi Alexandrovich.

Medvedev: Good day.

Anchor: We are going to talk about -- guess what? It's the 50th anniversary since the death of Stalin. And I would begin by asking you to comment on this topic. But first let me give you the number of our studio pager to which you can page your questions: 961-2222. I will read out the most interesting ones and we will all try to answer them together. Just yesterday we heard the results of a poll among Russian citizens. More than half of Russians -- 53 percent -- think that Stalin played a positive role in the country's life. A third of respondents -- 33 percent -- disagree. And 14 percent were undecided. These are the data published by VTsIOM. What can you say about it?

Medvedev: You see, there are many things related to
Stalin that you don't know.

Anchor: Is that so?

Medvedev: Even for a historian who has studied the epoch of Stalin for 40 years, even I from time to time make a huge number of discoveries. Even during this last year I made a host of new and interesting observations. For instance, during the 1930s Stalin received six times in his study in the Kremlin the most outstanding Western writers H. G. Wells * , Bernard Shaw, Romain Rolland, Lion Feuchtwanger, Henri Barbusse, Alberti, the Spanish writer. He had conversations with them lasting many hours and they would leave him, captive to his personality. They would say that he was the most educated, the most intelligent and the most knowledgeable person. In those conversations, for which he prepared very well and seriously, he would outplay his opponents. The fact is that they did not live in Russia and in the Soviet Union. The NKVD sword was not suspended over them. They had a much broader picture of preparation and in what way could Stalin pursue that conversation?

Anchor: Yes, in what way? You couldn't make a transcript and that means. . .

Medvedev: Recently they were published and everything is recorded there And now these conversations have been published. And we can see how confident Stalin felt and how helpless was the conduct of Romain Rolland or Lion Feuchtwanger in those conversations and even Herbert Wells. And then, getting back to Britain or France, they would write their diaries which were also published. The first impressions were admiration by Stalin and admiration felt for the Soviet Union in most cases. This has many explanations. This means that Stalin cannot be imagined as a primitive and uneducated person. He was highly educated and well-read.

Anchor: Most likely he was self-taught.

Medvedev: Also he was incredibly informed.

* You can read H. G. Wells' interview with Stalin here:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/special/cc835_44.htm

StrÝbog
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 01:24 AM
Stalin was a two-bit bank robber, inveterate drunk, and gangster thug. He was in no way "incredibly informed."

It's sad that Russians feel the need to ignore Stalin's crimes against their forefathers, or to blame all of those crimes, without exception, on "the Germans."

Dr. Solar Wolff
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 06:58 AM
Stalin was a two-bit bank robber, inveterate drunk, and gangster thug. He was in no way "incredibly informed."

It's sad that Russians feel the need to ignore Stalin's crimes against their forefathers, or to blame all of those crimes, without exception, on "the Germans."

This may be true, but Stalin did not rise to leadership in the Soviet Union because he was a moron. Whatever his education it must be granted that this man had some ability to rise to the level he did and maintain it during the most trying times for the Soviets.

Another thing, nobody ever said of the Soviet leaders that they lacked guts. This was true for Stalin and it is true of Boris Yelsen.

Social-Nationalist
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 07:16 AM
Stalin was a two-bit bank robber,
I don't see how this supports your conclusion, but, in fact, he never actually robbed a bank. The bolsheviks once made a plan to rob a bank in the 1910s, and Stalin was to participate, but they never ended up robbing it.

inveterate drunk,
No, he rarely ever got drunk, but usually drank a weak mix of wine and water.

and gangster thug.
Now you are just making things up.

He was in no way "incredibly informed."
only according to Trotsky. none of the reasons you adduced to support this conclusion actually have any bearing on his intellect.


but soviet historians and writers such as H. G. Wells would contradict you on this.


Let us be recall that H. G. Wells was no moron, and Stalin intellectually dominated this (http://www.rationalrevolution.net/special/cc835_44.htm) conversation by a long shot; Wells appeared as a fool. Stalin had to call Wells back to recognition of class based on property ownership, propertied class versus unpropertied class, as opposed to simply "rich" and "poor" divisions as Wells said. Stalin was able correctly to exaplin the American situation in a way which I believe few Americans could even be able to explain, as Wells himself proved. And as regards Stalin's explanation of social conditions and the changes which occur in a society, Stalin was way over Wells' head. Stalin was exactly right in what he said; and Wells, on the other hand, was just like a child confronted with these concepts.


And lastly, these just made me laugh:


"But I have some experience in fighting for socialism..."


"That is true; but what is first required for a long voyage is a big ship. What is a navigator without a ship? An idle man."



It's sad that Russians feel the need to ignore Stalin's crimes against their forefathers,
No such crimes exist.

or to blame all of those crimes, without exception, on "the Germans."
Like who?

Oskorei
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 12:55 PM
I don't see how this supports your conclusion, but, in fact, he never actually robbed a bank. The bolsheviks once made a plan to rob a bank in the 1910s, and Stalin was to participate, but they never ended up robbing it.
To quote from Hobsbawms "Bandits":

"...more particularly the famous Tiflis hold-up of 1907, which netted the party over 200,000 roubles.... it was a good stick with which to beat Lenin... for his alleged blanquist tendencies, just as later it was a good stick with which to beat Stalin, who, as a leading bolshevik in transcaucasia, was deeply involved with it."

(p. 111-112)

Later Hobsbawm explains how especially the Latvian Bolsheviks were involved in "expropriations". It was Party policy. I cant really see how this should influence our view on Bolshevism though, the participants lived very spartan and gave it all to the party, and I dont see how the banks should have any legitimacy neither then nor now. The banks are the real thieves.

bocian
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 01:47 PM
Stalin was a two-bit bank robber


I have read that he was a train robber. Probably both.

Social-Nationalist
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 07:13 PM
To quote from Hobsbawms "Bandits":

"...more particularly the famous Tiflis hold-up of 1907, which netted the party over 200,000 roubles.... it was a good stick with which to beat Lenin... for his alleged blanquist tendencies, just as later it was a good stick with which to beat Stalin, who, as a leading bolshevik in transcaucasia, was deeply involved with it."

(p. 111-112)

Later Hobsbawm explains how especially the Latvian Bolsheviks were involved in "expropriations". It was Party policy. I cant really see how this should influence our view on Bolshevism though, the participants lived very spartan and gave it all to the party, and I dont see how the banks should have any legitimacy neither then nor now. The banks are the real thieves.
Yes, I do not see how it reflects negatively on his character either way. But I was told by a qualified authority that it turned out to be untrue.

Northern Paladin
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 08:12 PM
Of course he was well informed and intelligent. How else could he have been dictator of the USSR for 30 years.

Oskorei
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004, 09:16 PM
Yes, I do not see how it reflects negatively on his character either way. But I was told by a qualified authority that it turned out to be untrue.
A more qualified authority than Hobsbawm? ;)

Social-Nationalist
Thursday, October 14th, 2004, 08:05 PM
Of course he was well informed and intelligent. How else could he have been dictator of the USSR for 30 years.
I think Sidney and Beatrice Webb in Soviet Communism: A New Civilization quite refuted the myth that Stalin was a dictator.