February 2, 2024

As we rightly remember the Auschwitz death camp and the rest of the Jewish Holocaust, let’s take a moment to recall the greatest mass killer of prisoners during World War II, the by now forgotten Soviet Major General Vasily Blokhin.

Blokhin claimed to have personally executed tens of thousands of prisoners in the Soviet Gulag. He was the chief executioner for NKVD (Soviet secret police).

Commissar Blokhin used his personal Walther PPK pistol to kill thousands of his victims by a shot to the back of the head. He wore a butcher’s apron, long gloves, a leather hat and goggles.

His primary target was Polish prisoners. Blokhin and his murderous assistants killed over 7,000 Polish officers captured when the Soviet Union joined Germany in crushing Polish independence to restore the pre–World War I status quo. This was also Hitler’s goal. Not world conquest, as the Allies falsely claimed. Russia’s strategic goals were similar.

Stalin ordered the sinister-looking Blokhin to wipe out the flower of Polish aristocracy and erase that nation’s national identity. Blokhin also executed numerous Ukrainian nationalists as did Stalin’s secret police who, earlier, had executed or starved over 6 million Ukrainian farmers, a crime at least equal in magnitude to the Holocaust of Jews, the mentally unfit, and gypsies.

Why do we hear endless repetition of the Holocaust and next to nothing about the even more murderous Soviet crimes of mass murder? The artful British were the war’s premier propagandists. They not only helped draw the US into WWII, but they also largely masked the alliance between the US and Britain with the murderous Soviet regime.
In fact, the strategic goal of the British was to divert attention away from Soviet crimes by emphasizing Nazi crimes. This process continues today. The Jewish holocaust has almost become a state religion while the larger, earlier Ukrainian holocaust (or Holodomor) is slipping away down the memory hole.

We all know of the German-run Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen, and Buchenwald, but what of the Soviet gulag death camps like Solovetski, Kolyma, Magadan, Vorkuta, the Baltic-Volga Canal and the deportation centers in Central Asia. Without the splendid works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the memory of the Gulag – which stayed operational into the 1970’s – would be gone.

No one had a monopoly on suffering. We must not forget that our ally in WWII, the Soviet Union, caused 75% of all German casualties. British-American propaganda likes to make us believe that it was the western allies – Britain, the US and Canada – that defeated Germany. Not true. It was the Soviet Union that suffered losses of 8.7 million military and 19 million civilians. 80% of the Luftwaffe was destroyed on the Eastern Front.

Without Soviet participation the Allies would not likely have won the war or defeated Germany and Japan. London and Washington were determined to downplay the key Soviet role in World War II. Accordingly, British and American propaganda were ordered to focus on the evils of Hitler while ignoring the even more murderous Soviet system. The bloody destruction of entire peoples like the Chechen or Baltics and millions of others by Stalin was never mentioned by the democratic allies. Interestingly, films of Hitler playing with animals and his promulgation of laws to protect animals from human cruelty were censored.

Russia has gone far to erase the memory of the Gulag. The Russian organization ‘Memorial’ that revealed the crimes of the Gulag was shut down by the Kremlin. The organizer of the murder by starvation or shooting of 6 million Ukrainian farmers, the Jewish commissar Lazar Kaganovich, was never even charged with major crimes. He died peacefully at 91 on a sunlit park bench in Moscow in 1997. Stalin even called Kaganovich ‘my Himmler’ while talking to British warlord Winston Churchill.

Stalin was a worse tyrant and mass murderer than Adolf Hitler, but he was our tyrant and essential ally, and we chose to ignore the facts.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2024

This post is in: Russia


  1. oakvilledad says:

    Interesting how the shadow of WWII still hangs over us. My father and his family came from the small Baltic country of Estonia which has suffered greatly from Russian aggression. After WWII a significant portion of the population was sent to the Gulags and replaced by ethnic Russians.

  2. McRocket 8 says:

    The older I get. The less fond I become of humanity.

  3. The Work Farce says:

    Speaking of WW II and who were the good guys and who were the bad guys, after voluminous research I conclude there were no good guys. The 1920’s and 30’s were a time of growing fascism all around the world, especially in Europe and North America. Millions in America, Britain and Canada admired Mussolini and his Fascist Party, millions admired and encouraged the Nazi Party in Germany, all the Western governments supported Franco’s Fascist Party in Spain as the progressives tried to create a Republic. Despite large numbers of volunteers from the US and Canada, Franco’s Fascists won that war over the Republicans, largely because they were allied with Hitler’s Germany.

    In the UK, Churchill, the Royals and aristocrats were war mongerers who had invaded and plundered various African nations in the 1890’s. The British Empire was the most rapacious rogue imperialists on the planet. Kaiser Wilhelm and the Germans were envious and strived to build an empire of their own. WWI was caused by a race for empire and and an arms race.

    After WW I, America, Britain and France imposed very harsh peace conditions on Germany, including enormous reparations at the Treaty of Versailles. The Germans therefore suffered much more than any other nation through the 1920’s and through the Depression years.

    But the Western munitions tycoons made huge profits re-arming Germany. They admired Hitler and the Nazis and thought they would keep the Russian Bolsheviks in check. One of their biggest admirers was Winston Churchill. An imperialist, royalist, fascist, classist and sexist, Churchill admired strength and nothing but strength. He and his wealthy British aristocrats were very afraid the Bolsheviks would influence a rise of socialism in Britain, where the common folks lived in squalor. This is why Churchill and friends admired, armed, encouraged, and supported Hitler and the Nazis, Mussolini’s Fascists, and Franco’s Fascists. They did not like democracy.

    Had the West armed and supported the Republicans in Spain Fascism might have been stopped and WW II prevented. Churchill encouraged the Nazis right through the 1930’s. Only when it dawned on him that Hitler planned to conquer Britian as well as Europe did he suddenly realize, Hitler had to be stopped. The Royalists and aristocrats, led by fascist Churchill laid the blame for the outbreak of war on Chamberlain, saying he “appeased” Hitler. But the truth is Churchill and friends armed Hitler, admire him, encouraged him from the start of the 1920’s.

    Hatred of the Russian Revolution and the common people of Russia and every other nation, including Britain, was the major cause of WW II. Churchill, as the most important political mover and shaker of the 1920-1945 period was even more to blame than Hitler for the rise of Fascism, the rise of Hitler’s Nazis, and the catastrophe of WW II.

  4. Yet another excellent column Eric. It is hard to believe sometimes that the world at large knows little to nothing of Stalin’s crimes against humanity. Yet they seem to know all about Hitler’s and the Nazis.
    I remember reading about the Bolshevik Revolution and that some 20 million Russians were killed while purging the old guard, 20 million of their own people.
    Though Hitler was no saint by any stretch of the imagination, he was a rank amateur at mass murder compared to Stalin or Mao. But the victors write the history.
    P.S. I also read that Hitler was a staunch environmentalist.

  5. tyrionlannister says:

    Mr. Margolis,
    You are quite right to point out how Soviet atrocities are downplayed. It’s a scandal. And it’s very disturbing to hear how Putin is whitewashing the crimes of the Stalinist period in some twisted sense of restoring Russian pride. Russians should have absolutely no reason to feel any affinity with the Communist era. Communism was an alien disease (a creation of crackpot Western intellectuals, please note) that infected Russia at its vulnerable moment and did it great harm.
    An aside- there’s a video of an interview of Bertrand Russell during which Russell describes an interview he had with Lenin himself. He was most unimpressed with Bad Vlad, regarding him as a nasty militant fanatic. Interestingly, the one historical figure that Lenin reminded him of was Oliver Cromwell.

  6. “Stalin was a worse tyrant and mass murderer than Adolf Hitler, but he was our tyrant and essential ally, and we chose to ignore the facts.”

    …but he was on ‘Our’ side. That makes it different. Current politics aren’t a lot different.

  7. It has always puzzled me why no one ever mentions that Britain and France declared war on Germany when the Nazis invaded but at the very same time when Stalin invaded Poland from the east and – no mention, nada, zip, nothing. Seems to have been quietly buried in history.

  8. Franklin Roosevelt referred to Stalin as Uncle Joe and American movies made during the war protrayed him as a kindly grandfather like person.

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