Aww for crying out loud...
Russell McMahon email (remove spam text)
**** OPEN APOLOGY ****
Dmitry wrote me a very polite and heart rending offlist comment on my post
re Hitler and the Russian people.
I'll not post what he said as it was sent to me but I would have been very
pleased to see it on list.
I hope that he is allowed to post it under the new rules as its fairly brief
and makes sad comment on the difference between "the leaders:" and "the
I'm genuinely very sorry, not for what I was trying to say,
which I hoped Dmitry would agree with but for the impression that Dmitry
obviously got from my message.
I'd like to clear up any misunderstandings:
My comments were well intended and related to what constitutes "good"
history. Some of the other implications that can be drawn from what I said
were not what I intended.
- When I said that the Russian people saw Hitler as their friend I was
speaking loosely. While I imagine that some (possibly many?) were mislead at
first, I accept that Stalin in his very misguided zeal had the overwhelming
responsibility for this. I accept that the Russian people suffered greatly
under Stalin and that he did them very very great harm.
- My compliments re "General Winter" were meant as a great compliment to
the Russian people - certainly not as detracting in ANY way from their
achievements in protecting their country against Hitler. I am aware that
over 20 million people died in assisting "The General" in repelling the
invader. And from another age, I am aware of Borodino and Kutuzov - even if
only mainly because of Tolstoy's great novel (not the best place to learn
history from I'll admit.) I am well aware that winter by itself did not do
the deed and that it was the bravery and persistence of the people in
extreme circumstances which won through. I will be VERY pleased not to
experiencing anything remotely approaching the siege of Leningrad in my
- I have great respect for all the 'Ivans" not only of those days but of
modern Russia who have been thrown into the democracy and capitalism of the
Robber baron era which the US knew long ago and who have to survive
conditions often worse than those under communism as the frail flower of
democracy is encouraged to grow.
- My comments on the communist "official line" sound similar to your own
understandings. As I said - the book that I have is full of "jingoist"
comment. It was written somewhat after the event and, while I imagine that
the events it deals with in great detail are very largely factual it also
contains much self congratulation of the state machine to the point of being
unreadable by me as a whole but interesting when taken in pieces.
I have a genuine regard for the Russian people (used in the broadest sense
as this includes far more than Russians. ).
It is my desire to have a genuine love and regard for people of all races
and nations. Despite my desires, with some I find it harder than others. I
have no stereotype that I am aware of that reflect on the general Russian
people. I am unimpressed with many of the thieves and exploiters who have
risen to exploit the Russian people as they make the transition to democracy
and capitalism. I do not have good regard for what I have heard of the KGB
and much of the party apparatus of the past (although I do regard with
favour SOME of the INTENTIONS of those who steered communism).
In many cases our feelings about other people are conditioned by
misunderstanding and fear. I am aware that this is true for me as well as
Again - I'm sorry that I upset you with what I said.
It's over time I left this subject on-list. I'll happily field comments or
abuse offlist by any who wish to talk to me.
very best regards
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