Naughty, naughty, says Jonathan Steele.
But the issue matters as it marks an unpleasant effort by many Baltic and central European politicians to equate Stalinism and Nazism or claim Stalinism was worse.
No, no, mustn’t do that.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact certainly showed Stalin to be as cynical as Hitler. But to jump from that to equate the two men’s record or ideology does not accord with reality.
No, really, mustn’t do that.
Snyder lists the number of European Jews murdered under German auspices at 5.7 million, German starvation of Soviet citizens at about 4 million and mass reprisal killings against civilians, mainly for actual or suspected partisan activity, as at least 750,000. Stalin killed about 5.5 million Soviet citizens by starvation and had about 700,000 people shot in the prewar Great Terror.
No equality of evil there at all.
In part concerned by the continuing strength of former Communist parties in the region, they use the Nazi-Soviet “equation” as a device to smear any party of the left.
You see, to claim that both were murderous thugs, happy to kill people for their vision of a perfect State, would cast doubt upon the left, those who would create the perfect State.
Steele, just bugger off now, there’s a good lad.
To kill someone for their class origins is just as bad as killing someone for their religious or ethnic origins. You’re killing someone, d’ye see? That Uncle Joe did it in the name of the proletariat while Hitler did it for some other reason he’d made up does not make Joe less evil, sorry, it just doesn’t.