Published in Georgian language Thursday September 16 2010 (issue of September 16-23 2010)
(NOTE: in this transcript GT= Georgian Times; GF= Grover Furr)
GT: Dr. Furr, good morning. I would like to begin by asking you to describe your approach in researching the history of the USSR?
GF: Thank you.
I would like to begin by saying that I strive above all to be objective in all my research. I try hard to discover the truth, according to the best evidence and the best interpretation of that evidence.
As a medievalist I was trained by good teachers to be objective. Like students in the physical sciences we learned to collect all the relevant evidence on a subject and then base our deductions and conclusions on that evidence. I learned how essential it is to question my own biases and to decide truth or falsehood on the basis of the evidence rather than try to confirm my preconceived ideas, or to repeat what is academically or politically "fashionable."
When I was in graduate school the Vietnam War was raging. Gradually I discovered that what I had been taught about the communist movement was not objective, not true. Rather, it was anticommunist propaganda disguised as research. Evidence was falsified or ignored.
During the Cold War all research on the communism, the Soviet Union, and Stalin, was terribly biased, utterly lacking in objectivity. This is still the case, even though the Cold War is long over. The evidence proves that what almost all "mainstream" and "respectable" scholars write about these subjects is still only anticommunist propaganda disguised as scholarship.
In my first book, Antistalinskaia podlost (Moscow: Algoritm, 2007), I was able to prove that virtually every so-called "revelation" about Stalin and Lavrentii Beria, another Georgian, is false. I reproduced all the evidence either in my book or on the Internet, with the web page URLs given in the book.
Today I am continuing this same effort: to discover the truth, according to the best evidence and regardless of what is "acceptable" or "politically correct". It is enjoyable, even fun. And it yields amazing results.
GT: Many academic and political persons, including many in Georgia, claim that by signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1939 the USSR agreed along with Hitlers Germany to invade Poland and therefore consider the USSR an aggressor. Is this so?
GF: No. In 1939 no country in the world regarded the USSR as an aggressor. All the Allies, and the League of Nations, accepted the Soviet claim that it was defending its borders and remained neutral in the German-Polish war. Poland and its people had been abandoned by its political and military leadership.
The Soviet Governments position was that the Polish state had collapsed. But even if one rejects this specific claim the Soviet case is a still good one. In 1958, at the height of the Cold War, American expert in International Law George Ginsburgs [sic], a person unsympathetic to the USSR but an objective scholar rare in those days as today determined that the Soviets were within international law in their actions (American Journal of International Law, January 1958).
Those who claim that the USSR had no right to send troops into Poland are in effect saying the Soviets should have permitted the German army to come right up to its pre-1939 borders. No state in the world would have acted in such a way. Nor did international law demand it.
To repeat: there was no Soviet aggression against Poland. I refer interested readers to my 2009 article "Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939?" available at http://www.tinyurl.com/furr-mlg09
GT: What about the Moscow Trials? Almost all scholars and political authorities believe that Stalin fabricated the charges against innocent defendants in the Moscow Trials and the "Tukhachevsky Affair".
GF: All the available evidence supports the opposite position: that the defendants were guilty of, at least, what they confessed to. Not "most of the evidence" ALL of it points to their guilt.
"Mainstream" scholars, including Trotskyite researchers, take it for granted that the defendants were innocent. But this is because they impose their political bias upon their research. They do not reach their conclusions on the basis of the evidence.
The Russian authorities still keep all the investigative reports on the Moscow Trials defendants "top secret." But over time much has leaked out. We have more than enough evidence about Nikolai Bukharin, chief defendant at the March 1938 Moscow Trial, and about the so-called "Tukhachevsky Affair" of high-ranking military commanders, to be certain that they were guilty.
During the next year my Moscow-based colleague Vladimir L. Bobrov and I will publish a book in which we show that the "rehabilitation" report of February 1988 declaring Bukharin "innocent" was deliberately falsified by the Gorbachev-era Soviet authorities. The very evidence this report cites, secret then but available now, shows that Bukharin was guilty and that the Soviet authorities knew it but covered it up.
Meanwhile, I refer your readers to our 2007 article in the Russian scholarly journal Klio (St. Petersburg) at http://tinyurl.com/bukharin [NOTE: This link is to the Russian-language version. For the English version go to http://clogic.eserver.org/2007/Furr_Bobrov.pdf ]
Leon Trotsky was an absent defendant at all three Moscow Trials. He was charged with "terror" -- conspiring to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders -- and with collaborating with Nazi Germany and militarist Japan to seize power in the USSR.
In April 2010 I published "Evidence of Leon Trotsky's Collaboration with Germany and Japan." (http://clogic.eserver.org/2009/Furr.pdf )
On the evidence only one conclusion is possible: Trotsky was guilty.
GT: But what about the murder of Leningrad Party leader Sergei Kirov in December 1934? Surely Stalin either planned this himself, or cynically used the act of a crazed lone gunman to get rid of his political enemies?
GF: Khrushchev wanted to "prove" Stalin had Kirov murdered. When even his own dishonest researchers were unable to do this they dreamed up the "lone gunman" theory and claimed that Stalin cynically "used" Kirovs murder to "frame" falsely accuse and execute his enemies.
This is all wrong. The evidence we have is consistent only with the hypothesis that Kirov was indeed murdered by the underground Oppositionists, as they confessed at trial and in pretrial interrogations, a few of which are now available.
GT: Almost 700,000 persons were executed in the "Great Terror" of 1937-1938. Were they all "guilty" of something? And if not, how can such a massacre be explained?
GF: In 2005 I published a two-part essay "Stalin and the Struggle for Democratic Reform" (at http://clogic.eserver.org/2005/furr.html and http://eserver.org/clogic/2005/furr2.html ).
Since then we have much more evidence concerning the "Ezhovshchina" (sometimes called "the Great Terror," after the title of a dishonest book but influential book by Robert Conquest).
I can now refer your readers to a summary of these conclusions with links to evidence (in English translation) at http://tinyurl.com/ezhovshchina
The newly-available evidence confirms that Nikolai Ezhov, head of the NKVD from 1936 to late 1938, was also conspiring with the Germans. Like the Rights and Trotskyites Ezhov and his top NKVD men were counting on an invasion by Germany, Japan, or other major capitalist country. They tortured a great many innocent people into confessing to capital crimes so they would be shot. They executed a great many more on falsified grounds or no grounds at all.
Ezhov hoped that this mass murder of innocent people would turn large parts of the Soviet population against the government. That would create the basis for internal rebellions against the Soviet government when Germany or Japan attacked.
Ezhov lied to Stalin, the Party and government leaders about all this. The truly horrific mass executions of 1937-1938 of almost 680,000 people were in large part unjustifiable executions of innocent people carried out deliberately by Ezhov and his top men in order to sow discontent among the Soviet population.
GT: Last question: Like it or not, Joseph Stalin is the most famous Georgian in history. Briefly, what is your view of Stalin?
I suggest that we judge Stalin by a standard he himself accepted. Stalin strove to be a student of Lenins. He wanted to build socialism, and then a communist society run by and for working people, free from exploitation. How did he succeed?
In my view Stalin was a faithful follower of Lenin. He was a principled person, very intelligent, a hard worker. Stalin had the qualities that the best of the Bolsheviks had. But Stalin and all those who fought and worked alongside him failed to build that communist society for which they strove so hard.
I think the outcome would have been little different if Lenin had lived, or if Trotsky, Zinoviev, or someone else had led the USSR. The failure was not that Stalin, the Bolsheviks, and the Soviet working people did not try hard enough. What was faulty was their concept of how to build socialism and then continue to communism.
Its up to the present generation, or a future one, to learn from the successes and failures of the Bolsheviks, including Stalin, and go further towards the goals towards which they strove so heroically.
GT: Thank you, Dr. Grover Furr.
GF: I thank you and the editors of Georgian Times.