« 10.38- The Days of Freedom | Main

05 April 2020

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jcloiseau

The more I listen to your podcast about this revolution. The more I feel nicholas just had it all coming and really deserved that bullet.
Good god what a blithering idiot.
It boggles the mind... But then there's trump so I guess nothing new under the sun

Ian

@Jcloiseau

Indeed. At least Louis XVI understood that there were massive problems that needed to have something done about them. And by the time WWI rolls around, even the arch-reactionaries are going to want Nicky gone, because spoiler alert: he's not going to learn how to be a "real autocrat" in the coming decade any more than in the previous one. The government entropy is just going to accelerate until the autocracy collapses.

However, for all his myriad, gross flaws, Nicholas II still wasn't a sociopathic, homicidal monster who actually *wanted* to see millions of people dead... but don't worry, that's coming. If you want warm, positive history with happy endings: Russian history is not what you should study.

Ian

One more thing: if you think the Ohkrana was "creative" before 1905, you haven't seen anything yet!

Ponedelnik

@Ian And *who* further down the line *wanted* millions of people dead? Please produce documents if you're gonna talk that talk.

Ponedelnik

It reminds me of that far away evening of 1945 in Crimea. I was a young anti-occultist scientiss invited to one of the allies' afterparty. Standing with cognac, surrounded by various diplomats deeming themselves spies and spies deeming themselves diplomats, I carefully observed after the jolly trinity of victors. Near me someone sighed and uttered: "I don't understand how can they chat with this executioner of nations".

I turned around. The talking man was brown and had glasses on him -- later I have not once seen him to the Mumbai university for experience exchange.

-- Do you understand, my dear, that I am not going to support talking about my leader in such a tone. -- I replied.

-- Your leader? -- the Hindu was visibly surprised. -- I'm talking about Churchill.

I was surprised: Only things I knew about Churchill are that he was a grumpy old man who smoked sigars, drank cognac and had a bulldog, and also -- that with him they defeated Hitler and invented Winnie-the-Pooh.

But the doctor told me that the real Churchill is a bit vaster than his own image. He told me about the recent famine in Bengal (1943), during which about 1,5 to 2,5 m. people have died -- and the british powers have prevented people from migrating to the more prosperous regions. "When Churchill at the dawn of age became the colonial secretary, the Empire stopped publishing the data about the famine victims. And only during him India had several Holodomors -- millions perished, up to 8o m. people have starved, -- so kept telling doctor Kumar. -- but he began his path on the blood of the innocents, he's used to it".

He talked and the real, uncut version of Churchill stood before me in its full height. The young aristocrat began his career from the suppression of Jose Marti's cuban uprising and punitive operations in Sudan -- against latinos and negros, who made no offense against him. Then he participated in the genocide of Boers. Then, as best as he could, choked the irish, somalians, rhodesians and hindu. Diving in and out of power, he has driven the hungry kenians from the earth, deported english stray children to australian labor colonies by the thousands, bombed refugees in Dresden, ran around with the sterilisation project of 100 t. of his own "defective" countrymen and their imprisonment in the special concentration camps and so on, and so on. "And do you know what he said about us, Hindu? "A dimwit race, saved only by its' reproduction from its' well deserved destiny." -- the doctor read from memory. And then explained what destiny Churchill had in mind, quoting the politician's adress from year 1937: "I do not admit that a wrong has been to australians aborigens by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race or at any rate a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place".

-- Churchill and his empire rob half a billion people, mutilate the conquered countries, kill by millions, slaughter the brightest men of the local nations -- and yet you still think that it's just a sly old man in a cilinder. -- bitterly concluded doctor Kumar. -- you'll see, in a year he'll again declare you the devils and attempt to isolate you from the world. And in 50 years in honour of your victoru over Hitler in london he'll be put on a pedestral -- to him and Roosevelt, maybe -- and your uncle Joe everyone will already forget. And nobody will condemn the crimes of Churchillism. Everyone will think that he has beat the germans -- how can we remind him of all the rest?

We parted that evening in silence.

...In essence, that's all that I want to say about generalissimus Stalin.

John Poole

You didn't say anything about Stalin.

Also I see you demand other people provide documents when all you provide is hearsay and fantasy stories that have nothing to do with reality. People talk about the bad things that Churchill said and did and the British Empire all the time. And certainly nobody ever has forgotten Stalin.

Ponedelnik

The difference is intent.
There is no evidence of genocidal, misanthropic intent of the soviet government, while as is the case with Churchill and the "Nikolashka", it shines through in all colours every time they open their mouth. You're gonna bring up repressions and famines, but what government and revolution do not have repressions and food shortages? Name at least one. Every government that exists represses its political enemies, otherwise it's no government and it's toppled.

I don't want to stand by and watch as 70 years of my history are slandered. If my comments are to be removed, I want Ian's "fantastical, hearsay" remark about "homicidal, socipopathic monsters" who apparently wanted nothing but to kill their own people, which is a ludicrous claim, removed also.

Ponedelnik

Just asking, every time before you bring up "and then it got worse russia" meme, why won't you take a minute of self-reflection?

I can say that I'm grateful for the people's sacrifices after the revolution, to build up the backwater empire from dirt to an industrial powerhouse, else we wouldn't stand up to the Nazi's extermination war which, were these sacrifices not made, would've slaughtered most of my countrymen, and left the rest as slaves.

Bernhard Muenzer

Thank you a lot for correcting so many of my misconceptions, filling in so many blind spots and being incredibly entertaining all along!
I'm looking forward to hearing more after your hiatus.
Having been born in Munich, I'm only a little disappointed that my favorite microcosm of a revolution, leading to the People's State of Bavaria and the Munich Soviet Republic, won't get any coverage.
All the best for Citizen Lafayette and the Revolutions family!

Konstantinos XI Monomachos

I'd also chide Ian for thinking that the Soviet leadership "wanted" millions of people dead. (And I say that as someone whose family lost many of its members to Stalinist crimes.) The single deadliest effect of Stalinist policy was the famine of 1932-33, which caused somewhere between 4-8 million dead across the USSR. After appreciating the scope of the crisis, the government reversed many of the policies that led to it. If they had "wanted" millions dead, they could easily have continued the same policies. Afterwards, they certainly continued being ruthless and callous with people's lives, but not because they enjoyed killing people - rather because they were pursuing other goals, chief among them survival of the Soviet state while surrounded by hostile great powers. The idea that Soviet leaders enjoyed causing human misery is a xenophobic caricature.

Additionally, which country's history is "positive with happy endings"? Many modern developed nations made a lot of progress worthy of celebration in the 20th century, but they also probably experienced wars, colonialism, discrimination, inequality, corruption, etc. etc. during the same time. Soviet history and popular spirit was one of constant celebration of itself - progress in industry, society, science, literature, art, cultural diversity, peace. It was *too* positive and didn't acknowledge the crimes and injustices of its past and present (which is what too many subsequent histories focus exclusively on), but it did have a lot of genuinely positive things to celebrate.

Likewise, I'd like to defend Nicholas II to a certain extent, or to put his mindset in context, because his portrayal in Russian history is appreciably different from the portrayal Mike is giving him. I take no issue with what Mike says - he is factually accurate. But I don't think it's fair to say that 'at least Louis XVI tried to reform, but the fool Nicholas II just hated compromise and blindly loved absolutism.' The French kings had a long history of needing to appease their nobility in order to rule - Louis XVI followed that tradition, negotiating with the nobles and notables and bankers, who were pushing for reform. The Russian emperors and tsars had a different history - Russia was weak and overrun by foreign invaders whenever the nobles had their way, strong and advancing whenever a strong monarch took full control. Alexander II went against the grain in some ways - but he had seemingly paid for it with his life. Times had changed and Nicholas II should have changed with them, but all his role models, all his education pointed him the other way. His weak personality and lack of talent may be rightly blamed (which is why monarchy is a terrible system, giving you no choice but the next royal whelp), but his inclination towards tradition and absolutism should be given more understanding: his entire world told him that that was good; he never consciously chose that set of beliefs. The waters that Nicholas II found himself in would take an exceptional leader to navigate them successfully, and an even more rare Russian ruler, who'd have to break with every tradition and precedent, embrace uncertain innovation and reject proven history.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Support Revolutions

  • If you are enjoying Revolutions, please support the show so I can keep doing it full time. Click the link, head over to Paypal and pay any amount you like. Thanks!

Subscribe