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Once signed, the Pact was roundly denounced by Trotsky. He failed to find in it any of the virtues detected by some of his more recent epigones. The Kremlin "preferred the status quo, with Hitler as its ally" to any advances for the workers' movement. As for the rudely discarded 'People's Front', it had proved to be nothing but a "low comedy". Although unaware of the Pact's secret protocols, he correctly predicted that "in exchange for Poland, Hitler will give Moscow freedom of action in regard to the Baltic states". And in view of his earlier and repeated declarations on the subject, he was surely entitled to point out "since 1933 I have been showing and proving to the world press that Stalin is seeking an understanding with Hitler". Brushing aside apologists for Stalin's 'treason' (and they are amazingly still in business today), Trotsky damned the Pact as "a capitulation of Stalin before Fascist imperialism with the end of preserving the Soviet oligarchy". (Source)
… The march of freedom of the past one hundred and fifty years has been a long-drawn-out people’s revolution. In this Great Revolution of the people, there were the American Revolution of 1775, The French Revolution of 1792, The Latin-American revolutions of the Bolivarian era, The German Revolution of 1848, and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Each spoke for the common man in terms of blood on the battlefield. Some went to excess. But the significant thing is that the people groped their way to the light. More of them learned to think and work together…
In 1937 and 1938 alone at least 1.3 million were arrested and 681,692 were shot for 'crimes against the state'. The Gulag population swelled by 685,201 under Yezhov, nearly tripling in size in just two years, with at least 140,000 of these prisoners (and likely many more) dying of malnutrition, exhaustion and the elements in the camps (or during transport to them). (Orlando Figes The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia, pg 234)
Widespread starvation in Ukraine, the Kuban and the Caucasus. Dec. 14, 1932 Secret decree blames Ukrainization, national tendencies, for grain problems. The Ukrainian language is forbidden in the Russian republic. In Ukraine, the Ukrainian leadership is purged, gradually replaced by non-Ukrainians and Russification is brought in. January 22, 1933, Secret directive sent to Kharkiv to close the borders of Ukraine and Kuban from the rest of the USSR, to prevent starving farmers from searching for food. In 6 weeks, 220,000 arrested, many shot, sent to the gulag, 85% were sent home to starve. Red Cross, Cardinal Innitzer demand permission to send famine relief; Moscow denies famine and rejects relief. (Source)
Food is a weapon.
Maxim Litvinov, Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs
I can't give an exact figure because no one was keeping count. All we knew was that people were dying in enormous numbers.
Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers
A famine that came about without drought and without war.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago