Russian Soldiers' Calls Home Echo Moral Injury Testimony of Vietnam Vets

Dennis Brasky

Translations of intercepted calls from Russian soldiers in Ukraine reveal guilt, shame, anger, and loss of faith in national institutions and leadership that echo the testimony of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Will these veterans help launch resistance to Russian militarism.

Michael Pugliese <michael.098762001@...>

Contra, Vladamiro @ , I
would say that Applebaum , is indeed a fierce anticommunist but, also
a historian. The comment by him reminded me of what was said about
C.Wright Mills , by some department chair of a major Sociology Dept.,
when Mills was alive,"He's not a sociologist , he's a marxist!" I've
never understood , the habit of too many activists , whether of the
left or the right, to refuse to read the scholarly or journalistic
work of those that oppose their little dogmas. If it is written to a
high standard , work that challenges one's pov, s/b read ,
inconvenient and uncomfortable as it may to one's psychological state

I see it is Mark Tauger , as the author of the piece sent. For
critiques of his work, ,"Davies and Wheatcroft criticized Tauger's
methodology in the 2004 edition of The Years of Hunger.[31][41] ,"
Davies, Robert; Wheatcroft, Stephen (2004). The Years of Hunger:
Soviet Agriculture, 1931–1933. The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia.
Vol. 5. , d/i a copy via LibGen ,
, ,"Tauger criticized Davies and Wheatcroft's methodology in a 2006
article.[42] In the 2009 edition of their book, Davies and Wheatcroft
apologized for "an error in our calculations of the 1932 [grain]
yield" and stated grain yield was "between 55 and 60 million tons, a
low harvest, but substantially higher than Tauger's 50 million."[43]
While they disagree on the exact tonnage of the harvest, they reach a
similar conclusion as Tauger in their book's most recent edition and
state that "there were two bad harvests in 1931 and 1932, largely but
not wholly a result of natural conditions",[44] and "in our own work
we, like V.P. Kozlov, have found no evidence that the Soviet
authorities undertook a programme of genocide against Ukraine. ... We
do not think it appropriate to describe the unintended consequences of
a policy as 'organised' by the policy-makers."[45]

In a 2002 article for The Ukrainian Weekly, David R. Marples
criticized Tauger's choice of rejecting state figures in favour of
those from collective farms, where there was an incentive to
underestimate yields, and he argued that Tauger's conclusion is
incorrect because in his view "there is no such thing as a 'natural'
famine, no matter the size of the harvest. A famine requires some form
of state or human input." Marples criticized Tauger and other scholars
for failing "to distinguish between shortages, droughts and outright
famine", commenting that people died in the millions in Ukraine but
not in Russia because "the 'massive program of rationing and relief'
was selective."[46] "

Davies, co-wrote a number of volumes with E.H. Carr , of Carr's
magisterial series of historical works on the Russian Revolution and
its trajectory. For a set of exchanges he had with Robert Conquest ,
, "1. Regarding Conquest’s pre-perestroika estimates of excess deaths
in the 1930s, in The Great Terror Conquest estimated that 3,500,000
people died during collectivization, 3,500,000 in the camps up to
1936, two million in the camps in 1937–38, and that in addition there
were one million executions. footnote1 These add up to ten million,
and obviously exclude the famine. In Harvest of Terror he claimed that
at a minimum fourteen million peasants alone died prematurely in the
1930s, including seven million in the famine, and that 70–80 per cent
of those in the camps were peasants.footnote2 These figures certainly
imply at least seventeen million excess deaths in total.

2. Eleven million excess deaths in 1926–36 cannot be ‘readily deduced’
from the 1926 and 1937 population census data because we do not know
the true birth rate, especially during the famine..." Follow ups,
. Note Conquest backed down on his earlier estimates of the toll of
Stalinist repression , found in ,"The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of
the Thirties," originally published in 1968, and ,'The Harvest of
Sorrow," originally published in 1986,
which were some years before the Soviet era archives opened up.

"Wheatcroft and Davies noted that Conquest (the author of The Harvest
of Sorrow) would later go on to walk back much of the claims made in
his earlier book. In a 2003 letter, Conquest clarified to them that
"Stalin purposely inflicted the 1933 famine? No. What I argue is that
with resulting famine imminent, he could have prevented it, but put
"Soviet interest" other than feeding the starving first thus
consciously abetting it."[32][23] In a 2008 interview with Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, Conquest further stated of the famine that "I
don't think the word genocide as such is a very useful one ... the
trouble is it implies that somebody, some other nation, or a large
part of it were doing it ... But I don't think this is true – it
wasn't a Russian exercise, the attack on the Ukrainian people."[34]"

Professors R. W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft state the famine was
man-made but unintentional. They believe that a combination of rapid
industrialization and two successive bad harvests (1931 and 1932) were
the primary reason of the famine.[31][32] Davies and Wheatcroft agree
that Stalin's policies towards the peasants were brutal and ruthless
and do not absolve Stalin from responsibility for the massive famine
deaths; Wheatcroft says that the Soviet government's policies during
the famine were criminal acts of fraud and manslaughter, though not
outright murder or genocide.[14][a] Wheatcroft comments that nomadic
and peasant culture was destroyed by Soviet collectivization, which
complies with Raphael Lemkin's older concept of genocide, which
included cultural destruction as an aspect of the crime, such as that
of North American Indians and Australian Aborigines.[14][b]

In his 2018 article "The Turn Away from Economic Explanations for
Soviet Famines", Wheatcroft wrote:[33]

We all agreed that Stalin's policy was brutal and ruthless and that
its cover up was criminal, but we do not believe that it was done on
purpose to kill people and cannot therefore be described as murder or
genocide. ... Davies and I have (2004) produced the most detailed
account of the grain crisis in these years, showing the uncertainties
in the data and the mistakes carried out by a generally ill-informed,
and excessively ambitious, government. The state showed no signs of a
conscious attempt to kill lots of Ukrainians and belated attempts that
sought to provide relief when it eventually saw the tragedy unfolding
were evident. ... But in the following ten years there has been a
revival of the 'man-made on purpose' side. This reflects both a
reduced interest in understanding the economic history, and increased
attempts by the Ukrainian government to classify the 'famine as a
genocide'. It is time to return to paying more attention to economic

Michael Ellman critiqued Davies and Wheatcroft's view of intent as too
narrow, stating:[13]

According to them [Davies and Wheatcroft], only taking an action whose
sole objective is to cause deaths among the peasantry counts as
intent. Taking an action with some other goal (e.g. exporting grain to
import machinery) but which the actor certainly knows will also cause
peasants to starve does not count as intentionally starving the
peasants. However, this is an interpretation of 'intent' which flies
in the face of the general legal interpretation."

For a sample of Wheatcroft's scholarship , see
/ ," "The Scale and
Nature of German and Soviet Repression and Mass Killings, 1930–45."
and ,"
Wheatcroft, Stephen (2004). "Towards explaining Soviet famine of
1931–3: Political and natural factors in perspective". Food and
Foodways. 12 (2): 107–136 .

A rather tendentious attack on Conquest's work, which is not w/o its
biases , shall we say, but, I would assert s/b read just like
Applebaum's for a well rounded perspective on the collectivization and
the Holodomor, see,
, which relies on the work of a Canadian Stalinist, ,"Fraud, Famine,
and Fas­cism ,"
which Applebaum rips apart in an appendix to her book , (d/l a copy
via LibGen ,
) .

Coplon's article in the Village Voice , formed the basis for one of
Alexander Cockburn's ,"Beat The Devil," column in The Nation , after
which there was an avalanche of Letters to the Editor, with some
readers canceling their subscriptions. Cockburn as was his way, bent
the stick way too far in his anti-anti-Stalinist mode. The style of
the deniers of the Holodomor, is still in vogue among some , see,
, .