In the 1930s, Stalin smashed the mould of Russian society
in a fashion the world had never seen before,
and would not see again until the rise of Mao Tse-Tung in China.
Hitler, in Germany, did nothing remotely as radical to his own people,
whatever his enormities against the Jews and other subject races.
ORWELL 2 + 2 = 1984 EXPOSURE
It is a frightening reflection that today, many Russians are nostalgic for Stalin.
They say: "He made our country great."
They either do not know, or - worse - do not care,
what the tyrant did to the Russian people.
The most prominent modern Russian who thinks this way is President Putin.
To Orwell Today,
Stumbled across your wonderfully interesting Orwell site by accident looking for something else. I have previously looked at Orwell sites as I am a great Orwell fan and follower (have not read ALL the books but trying to get there) -- but none as informative as your own. The formal academic sites tend to stay away from the controversial stuff (Emmanuel Goldstein).
What also amazes me is that so many schools etc have had this (1984) as a set work, and yet so FEW really really understand it -- that it is fact dressed up as fiction.
Do you have a place on the site where you talk about yourself? I assume that you do not live in the UK?
One question that I have always had was in connection with Orwell's incredible "inside" information. Where -- How -- did he come by this? Not merely by reading or experience. I would like to say that he must have had someone -- an informer from the "inner-party" -- the "vanguard of the proletariat". All the jewish stuff as well. Winston Churchill was around at the time and had written stuff about the jews and Palestine. There was Arthur Koestler who was his friend. The Protocols would have been around at that time as would have been "Mein-Kampf". BUT all of this does not present enough ACCURATE background information for what Orwell eventually came up with. (The Real Reality) -- something waiting for us in the future. I know that he moved in some very interesting circles. I am not sure that this has been expanded upon or written about enough. Any ideas?
PS: As you say there is a shrine to Karl Marx in Highgate cemetary LONDON -- but nothing for Orwell -- the British should be ashamed of themselves -- but then Britain is not what it was -- the "Oligarchs" now hold sway.
Yes, "1984" is fact dressed up as fiction, ie political satire comparable in greatness to GULLIVER'S TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift, Orwell's role model and from whom he got many of his ideas. Orwell HAD to write ANIMAL FARM and 1984 in parable and code or they wouldn't have been published in the capitalist-communist press. See ORWELL'S PUBLISHING PROBLEMS.
At some point in his life - maybe when Henry Ford put them in all the Model Ts - Orwell read the PROTOCOLS OF ZION and other books you mention, ie MEIN KAMPF, and used that information in "1984" to describe the conspiracy for world domination they so describe, which he called EMMANUEL GOLDSTEIN'S THEORY & PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM.
Also, Orwell got many of his ideas for what life was like in "1984" (where the oligarchs hold sway) from his knowledge of life in Russia under Lenin and Stalin, which he learned in the 1930s from reading books like ASSIGNMENT IN UTOPIA and WINTER IN MOSCOW and EXPERIENCES IN RUSSIA etc, etc. See the links beneath the articles STALIN'S LIAR IN NEW YORK and RUSSIA IS HELL'S INFERNO.
So Orwell didn't need contact with an insider or informer from the "Inner Party" to come up with what life would be like in Britain (and everywhere else in the world) under such peole and such a system. All he needed was great writing ability (which he was gifted with and worked hard to perfect) and the ability to add 2 plus 2 and get 4, or should I say, add 2 + 2 and get 1984!
All the best,
PS - Coincidently, in this week's news there's a new book out* that describes life in Stalinist Russia based on hundreds of interviews of thought-crime survivors of the torture chambers and gulag etc. Their stories sound like they're reading straight from the pages of "1984", instead of vice versa.
Neighbours. Friends. Even your closest loved ones. In Stalin's Russia, everyone was an informer. And as a chilling new book reveals, one word from a resentful child was enough to send you to the firing squad. When two teenage boys were found stabbed to death in a forest in western Siberia, investigators decided that they had been killed by their own relations, because one of the youngsters had denounced his father to Stalin's Soviet authorities. The case in September 1932 became a cause celebre in Russia and the dead boy was hailed as a martyr to the people's cause. He had chosen loyalty to the State in preference to the pernicious bourgeois notion of duty to a parent. It had been alleged that his father, Trofim Morozov, was a kulak, a rich peasant from the class which Stalin had set out to exterminate as he collectivised every farm in the Soviet Union. More than a million so-called kulaks were dispossessed of their lands, evicted from their homes and shipped eastwards in long columns of human misery, to labour in the camps of the Gulag - and later, likely enough, to be shot, as was Trofim Morozov. Heaven knows what boyish grievance persuaded his 15-year-old son Pavlik to denounce him.
The teenager was a "Pioneer", a member of the Soviet youth movement, a perversion of the Scouts, which trained its members to believe that to inform against the people's enemies represented a high ideal, that to betray one's own family was the highest good of all. At Trofim's trial, he cried out despairingly to his son in the witness box: "It's me, your father!" Pavlik said coldly to the judge: "Yes; he used to be my father, but I no longer consider him my father. I am not acting as a son, but as a Pioneer." This victory against his father, however, provoked Pavlik to a rash boldness - denouncing others in the village. In their rage, they killed him. The murder was probably the work of local teenagers, but the Soviet authorities held a show trial of the family, following which Pavlik's grandfather, grandmother, cousin and godfather were all sent to the firing squad. The story of the Morozovs received extensive publicity, because Russia's terrible dictator perceived it as a morality tale - of a quite different kind to any which we understand.
In the 1930s, Stalin smashed the mould of Russian society in a fashion the world had never seen before, and would not see again until the rise of Mao Tse-Tung in China. Hitler, in Germany, did nothing remotely as radical to his own people, whatever his enormities against the Jews and other subject races. Stalin set about building a new universe, in which every old loyalty to kin, friends, colleagues was extinguished and replaced by one fealty alone - to "The People", of whose interests he was sole arbiter.
To justify oppression and savagery, the State needed enemies. If they did not exist, they had to be invented, through a system of informers which eventually embraced at least one in ten of Russia's citizens. "The mildest and at the same time the most widespread form of betrayal was not to do anything directly," in the words of the great writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "but just not to notice the doomed person next to one." "They had arrested a neighbour, your comrade at work, or even your close friend. You kept silence. You acted as if you had not noticed."
Every apartment block, every village, every collective, every factory had its corps of official informers who, to justify their existence and often to survive themselves, needed a steady flow of denunciations. The victims often had no clue what "crime" they had committed. They were merely shipped to the Gulag, where they slaved until hunger, disease or execution ended their sufferings. In 1942, the death rate in Russia's camps reached 25 per cent - in that one year, a quarter of the vast prison population died. So mad did Stalin's world become that some people signed confessions which amounted to their own death warrants even without torture. They were conditioned to believe that the Party must know best. If the Party said they were "enemies of the people", so they must be.
This is the society which historian Orlando Figes chronicles in terrifying detail in his new book, The Whisperers. Figes has become Britain's foremost expert on Revolutionary Russia, interviewing hundreds of elderly survivors of one of the most terrible experiences of the 20th century. How anyone with a mind lived through those years and kept their sanity remains a mystery. That phrase, "the whisperers", embraces two realities. First, every citizen learned never to utter their thoughts aloud, even in the bosom of their family, and never to express the mildest criticism of the regime. It was safe to speak only in murmurs. The second kind of whisperers were, of course, the great legion of informers, who told their mad tales to the NKVD (Moscow's enforcers) and then watched their victims swept away to their fate.
To be a child offered no security. Between 1935 and 1940, Soviet courts convicted 102,000 children of petty crimes. Millions of sons and daughters of those sent to the Gulag or executed in the Purges, at their climax in 1938-39, were sent to orphanages or joined children's gangs to live as scavengers. Mikhail Nikolaev, who was one of them, describes how he joined a steel plant at the age of 12: "We worked in shifts - one week, 12 hours every night, the next 12 hours every day. The working week was seven days." Yet these little slaves were told they were "the most fortunate children in the world", because everything was provided for them by the State: "If we had lived in any other country, we would have died from hunger - and of course we believed every word. "We learned not to think or feel but to accept everything that we were told in the orphanage. All our ideas we received from Soviet power."
The most terrifying aspect of the story is that Stalin's methods worked. By killing everyone who might conceivably dare to oppose him, he sustained his own supremacy from Lenin's death in 1924 until his own passing in 1953. When the will of his enforcers flagged, they, too, were purged. In July 1937, the NKVD boss in Omsk province, Edouard Salyn, protested against setting quotas for the scale of executions. In his area, he said, there were "insufficient numbers of enemies of the people and Trotskyists to warrant a campaign of repression and, in general, I consider it wrong to decide how many people to arrest and shoot". Those remarks caused Salyn himself to be shot. A Russian diarist, Arkadii Mankov, noted in 1937: "It is pointless to talk about the public mood. "People talk only in secret, behind the scenes and privately. The only people who express their views in public are drunks." Many of them were shot, too.
Some "enemies of the people" agreed to sign confessions, in return for safety for their families. But few such promises were kept - Stalin eliminated every relative of most of his prominent foes. One old Bolshevik named Stanislav Kosior withstood torture himself, but cracked when his 16-year-old daughter was brought into his room and raped before his eyes. The wives of "guilty" men were often shot automatically. Mere failure to betray their husbands was proof of complicity. The film writer named Valerii Frid, who was arrested in 1943 but survived into old age, said later: "I can think of no analogy in human history. "I'll have to make do with an example from zoology: the rabbit paralysed by the boa constrictor - we were all like rabbits who recognised the right of the boa constrictor to swallow us; whoever fell under the power of its gaze would walk quite calmly and with a sense of doom into its mouth."
According to one estimate, 116,885 Communist Party members were arrested or shot in 1937-38. As for the hapless small fry, at least 681,692 were shot for "crimes against the State" in the same period, while around two million were sent to the Gulag, where many died anyway. Among the Red Army, 412 out of 767 members of its high command were executed, 29 died in prison and three committed suicide. Liubov Shaporina, who founded a puppet theatre in Leningrad, wrote in her diary for November 22, 1937: "The joys of everyday life. "I wake up in the morning and automatically think: thank God I was not arrested last night, they don't arrest people during the day, but what will happen tonight, no one knows."I'm lucky. I simply don't care. But the majority of people are living in terror."
It is a reflection of the horrors of Stalin's Russia that when Hitler invaded in June 1941, many Russians felt themselves liberated by the experience which followed. Despite the deaths of 27-million of their people, after 1945, veterans looked back on the war with nostalgia. A Russian scientist said in the 1970s: "At that time, we felt closer to our government than at any other time in our lives. "It was not their country then, but our country. "It was not they who wanted this or that to be done, but we who wanted to do it. It was not their war, but our war." Yet the war brought scant relief to the inmates of the Gulag. While some ordinary criminals, mere thieves and cutthroats, were released to fight, political prisoners remained enslaved. When the war ended, the Gulag population actually expanded. A million new prisoners were admitted between 1945 and 1950. The 2.4 million inmates of 1949 had become a vital element of the Soviet workforce and were especially useful for mining in the terrible cold of the Arctic, where voluntary labour would not go.
In the 1950s, after Stalin's death, while Soviet citizens continued to be denied anything we would call freedom, far fewer suffered extreme penalties. The survivors of the Purges were released, though the spirit of most was broken. Liuba Babitskaia, a beautiful young woman when she was arrested in 1938, was released in 1947 as a shadow of her old self. When her grandchildren fell over and cried, she would tell them brutally to pull themselves together, because "much worse" could happen to them. She was selfish and greedy about food, emotionally closed even to her family. Her granddaughter said: "She kept a suitcase packed with winter clothes and dried food beneath her bed in case they came for her again. "She was terrified of the telephone and doorbell when they rang at night, and took fright when she saw policemen in the street." There were millions like Liuba, wrecks of human beings destroyed by a regime different from that of Hitler, but in some ways even more diabolical.
It is a frightening reflection that today, many Russians are nostalgic for Stalin. They say: "He made our country great." They either do not know, or - worse - do not care, what the tyrant did to the Russian people. The most prominent modern Russian who thinks this way is, of course, President Putin. In the unlikely event that he reads Orlando Figes's spine-chilling tale, it seems most likely that he would applaud his predecessor's achievement.
Putin's vanguard of youth ready to defend Russia, the motherland and the Kremlin
by Jane Armstrong, Globe & Mail, Oct 13, 2007
MOSCOW — Maria Kislitsina can't mask her pride while she plays tour guide at the Moscow headquarters of Russia's largest youth movement....The Kremlin-backed Nashi is just another element of Mr. Putin's carefully orchestrated efforts to control nearly every aspect of Russia's political landscape....Nashi is among a raft of pro-Kremlin youth groups that sprouted in the aftermath of pro-democracy uprisings in the former Soviet satellites of Ukraine and Georgia. Groups like Youth Guard and Locals, similar to Nashi in origin and intent, say their agenda is to fight fascism and racism. Critics say they feed xenophobia, vigilantism and intolerance. Members of Locals last year staged raids on Moscow's open markets to catch illegal migrants. Nashi's real agenda, critics say, is the same as Mr. Putin's: to quash opposition dissent, with violence if necessary. Along the way, it hopes to instill pro-government sentiments among a generation of young people, many of whom have drifted to political apathy and consumerism in the post-Soviet years. Nashi's annual summer camp north of Moscow is run with military precision, organized around highly structured days that involved exercise, patriotic songs and hours of lectures. Young men are provided military training, ostensibly to prepare them for the army, but one photographer who attended said the chief theme this year was: “How to prevent an Orange Revolution in Russia.”
Its upbeat themes and top-down management structure seem a throwback to the former Communist era's Komsomol youth group, a required stepping stone for any young, ambitious Soviet. Similarly, Nashi offers scholarships to postsecondary institutions and promises members fast-tracked political careers. “To me, it looks sickening, because it reminds me of the Soviet state,” said Masha Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “To be told you have to pledge allegiance to the president in order to get ahead is very demoralizing.” Worse, Ms. Lipman said, are Nashi's efforts to undermine the genuine activists opposed to the current government. She said Nashi's so-called shock units are specifically trained to engage in street fights with opposition groups. And authorities seem to turn a blind eye, even when the rallies turn rough, Ms. Lipman said....
Ms. Kislitsina is equally vague about Nashi's funding, adding the group has many corporate sponsors but couldn't provide any names. Asked if Gazprom, Russia's state-owned gas company monopoly, provided financial support, she replied: “Maybe. I'm sure it's big, industrial enterprises.”...
For the moment, Ms. Kislitsina said Nashi's chief concern is to ensure that Nashi's rallies continue to draw large crowds. Last weekend, 10,000 flag-waving supporters converged on Red Square in a chilly rainstorm to celebrate Mr. Putin's 55th birthday. Saturday, another 1,500 activists from the city of Yaroslavl north of Moscow will gather in downtown Moscow, and more rallies are planned for every weekend until the December parliamentary election. For her part Ms. Kislitsina was thrilled when Mr. Putin announced he may make a run for prime minister in the December's vote. “It's his historical mission. He's young, many people trust him. His mission is to keep the statehood strong. We think it's very courageous that he's decided to continue.”
*I subsequently bought the book and scanned, above, to accompany the book review ~ jj
The Whisperers: Private Life In Stalin's Russia, Daily Mail, Sep 22, 2007
Putin's vanguard of youth ready to defend Russia, the motherland and the Kremlin, Globe & Mail, Oct 13, 2007
ORWELL SVENGALIAN ANTI-SEMITISM
ORWELL VIEWS ON JEWS?
ORWELL ON TROTSKY ON STALIN
4.Old World Destruction and 20.Thought Police & Snitches and 30.Love Instinct & Family and 27.Goodthink and 38.Cellars and 39.Interrogation & Torture and 41.Party Tells 'How' and 42.Party Tells 'Why' and 6.SuperStates and 7.Systems of Thought
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