English-language Historiography of “Stalin’s Terror” (Disputes of the Second Half of the ХХ Century)
Authors: Vyacheslav I. Menkovsky
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The article analyses the process and the results of scholary disputes, concerning “Stalin’s terror” of 1930s in English-language historiography of the second half of the ХХ century, determines methodological aspects of different approaches to the estimation of political repressions dimension in the Soviet Union. As the Soviet statistics was secured, English and American authors used a number of sources: estimations by former Soviet officers and prisoners, settled in Europe; evidences by foreigners, who visited the Soviet Union and Polish prisoners of Soviet camps; data, concerning the number of newspapers, received by the camps; the released figures, regarding some labour camps. Number of people, who had no part in the election for the Soviets was considered, as well.
In 1980s the debates, regarding the dimension of forced labour employment in Stalin-era Soviet Union, the number of victims came to English and American historiography attention again. It was related to the emergence of new estimation procedures, publication of some new demographic data in Soviet press, wider application of the models, used by other social sciences in Sovietology.
Brand new, open-ended evaluation possibilities appeared only after the Soviet and Russian secret files were partially opened up at the turn of 1980-1990s. Soviet «glasnost» enabled to introduce archive historical data, regarding Stalin-era repressive policy for scientific use. English and American historians made extensive use of Soviet and Russian publications, reassessed some stereotypes, deeply rooted in Europe. But data, related to the excessive decline of Soviet population in 1926-1939 varies in occidental scientific literature from 5 to 20 million people. Thus, it may be concluded that the scientific assessment of Soviet repressive policy is incomplete.