I attack the left a lot on this blog for being evil and thick, but sometimes the right are just as thick, even if not evil. Take this guy I argued with on Twitter today. I tweeted this:
Indeed, Stalin and Mao never personally killed anyone. https://t.co/9FWhUx7zJW
— Hector Drummond is off the table (@hector_drummond) January 30, 2019
and a guy retweeted it with this comment:
It was "rumored" that he murdered his wife.
"After a public spat with Stalin at a party dinner, Nadezhda was found dead in her bedroom, a revolver by her side. Regardless, the official announcement was that Nadezhda died from appendicitis. "https://t.co/hsNW7Epcah https://t.co/nYilTrsPfE
— DJSmith (@davidjacksmith) January 30, 2019
After I pointed out that she almost certainly committed suicide, he replied:
Well, the only 2 people with the definitive answer are dead. And we are talking Stalin so any other “evidence” is worthless. I mean, the guy had people erased from photographs after he’d erased them from life:)
The idea that any other evidence is worthless is ridiculous, but that’s not what I wanted to write about. Dumbos on Twitter are a dime a dozen, and they’re not generally worth a blog post. But what was exceptionally amusing in this case was the reference the guy gave. I checked it out, and I think it’s probably the worst supporting reference anyone has ever given.
First of all, it’s a page of comments, not a scholarly article, and not even an opinion piece. And right at the top we have the very first comment:
I read “Stalin: Triumph and tragedy” by Dmitri Volkogonov and (I believe) it said that Stalin didn’t kill anyone with his own hands.
The second comment also goes completely against the idea that Stalin personally killed people:
Simon Sebag Montefiore recently wrote a biography on Stalin’s earlier years (Young Stalin, 2007, Vintage Books), and he states a few times that Stalin himself never pulled a trigger during his whole life (that resulted in someone getting killed), he always had someone else do it.
The third commentator is the one who has impressed our DJSmith (as this is the comment he quoted from). This commentator writes:
He could have killed his wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva.
After a public spat with Stalin at a party dinner, Nadezhda was found dead in her bedroom, a revolver by her side. Regardless, the official announcement was that Nadezhda died from appendicitis. Two doctors, who refused to sign a certificate stating false conclusions about the cause of her death (Levin and Pletnev), were later convicted during the Trial of the Twenty-One and executed. Some claim the gun was found beside the hand she didn’t use, apparently indicating a framed suicide; many in Russia allege that Stalin killed her himself.
This commentator – who, I should point out, is merely raising the possibility that Stalin killed his second wife, rather than claiming that he definitely did – then mentions what we might grandly call his ‘supporting materials’:
I remember I read a book about Stalin written by some Soviet dissident and he claimed it was true that he killed her.
Not convinced yet? Well, see if you can argue against this impressive display of careful and rigorous scholarship:
Unfortunately, I read this book 20 years ago and I don’t remember both the author and the title
By this stage I was laughing out loud. Let’s just say that I’m not entirely sure that DJ read this properly. By the time I got to the fifth (and second-last commentator) I was gasping for air and banging my fist on the table:
I’ve read a couple of shelves full of books on Stalin and I’ve never come across any incident in which he personally murdered someone with his own hands (or weapons in his own hands).
DJ: mate, you’ve had a shocker. But thanks for the yuks.