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Re: > Was there something morally wrong in trying to bring down the Soviet > Union? I think the only honest answer possible is: Yes, it was wrong. The former Soviet states have witnessed a catastrophic lowering of the standard of living of most inhabitants since the end of the USSR. Even anti-communist stalwarts in the West like Stephen Cohen have remarked on this fact -- see his "American Journalism and Russia's Tragedy", _The Nation_ October 2000. Rightly so: they bear much responsibility for it! (For the extent of the catastrophe -- no lesser word fits -- both demographically and in living standards, see S.G. Kara-Murza, ed., _Belaia kniga: Ekonomicheskie refory v Rossii 1991-2001_. Moscow, 2002) In addition, national - ethnic conflicts have gotten much, much worse, and worse than they ever were in the Soviet Union. Tens of thousands have been killed in Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya, Moldova, and elsewhere. Is this "worse" than during Soviet times? Far worse! Here's a quotation from the New York Times of November 19, 2002: > The older Chechen fighters like Mr. Basayev occasionally refer to a common > Soviet past when communicating with Russians. Maksim Shevchenko, a Russian > journalist who interviewed him frequently during the first war, > recalled one such appeal by Mr. Basayev, who wears the long beard of Islamic radicals. > "He switched off the tape recorder and he said, `You think I was always > this bearded fighter with a machinegun?' " recalled Mr. Shevchenko, who at the time was writing for the > daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta. " `I also sang the song, "My address is not a home or street; my address is the > Soviet Union." Those were very good times.' "That Soviet glue, it seems, has dissolved. Nazi collaborators -- fascists, anti-communists and anti-semites, perpetrators of the Holocaust -- are made into heroes in some states of the former USSR, including Ukraine and Latvia. Despite the trappings of capitalist democracy, all of the former Soviet states have elitist, authoritarian governments in which members of the former CPSU _nomenklatura_ hold great power and wealth. In many cases even the people in charge have not changed! To sum up: If one believes that the establishment of market capitalism is the ultimate "good" -- so important that the welfare of the majority of the population counts for little or nothing beside it -- then _by definition_ it is "good" that the Soviet Union was "brought down." Otherwise, however, it's one of the greatest crimes of our era. > Was there something morally wrong in the > publication of Robert Conquest's "The Great Terror"? Yes, if you believe that to spread lies and rumors, rather than to write real history -- understood as trying to discover the truth -- is wrong, then the publication of that volume was morally wrong. However, other authors have outdone in dishonesty even Mr. Conquest. Simon Sebag Montefiore's 'biography' - a misnomer - of Stalin, _The Court of the Red Tsar_, is even worse -- a huge work utterly devoid of historical research, simply a farrago of rumor and slander, without the slightest attempt at evaluation of sources, and often incompetent even in repeating the rumors and lies it does contain. Sincerely, Grover Furr Montclair SU