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domingo, 14 de julho de 2013

Stalin, o maior criminoso da historia - Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko

Resenhas, no site da Amazon, sobre o livro mais importante desse escritor-historiador, ele mesmo, e seus pais, entre as incontáveis vítimas do mais nefando sistema de escravidão criminosa jamais existente na história da humanidade. Possivelmente, Hitler foi um assassino ainda mais abjeto, mas ele teve pouco tempo para eliminar suas vítimas, não desprezando o inacreditável crime de tentar eliminar todo um povo apenas em função de seu odioso racismo antisemita. Finalmente, quem matou mais gente, foi Mao Tsé-tung, mas seu inspirador era justamente Stalin, que fez primeiro, e de forma mais ampla.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

The Time of Stalin: Portrait of a Tyranny 

Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko 
  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; 1st edition (1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060101482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060101480

This book was written by a man who suffered unspeakable crimes under Stalin's reign of Communist terror. His insights and often ironic humor are insightful and very interesting. A must-read for those interested in Russian history and the history of Communism and how it affected (and still affects) those in its grip.
Incredibly passionate and insightful from a man who was personally touched by the action of Stalin. Oftentimes, almost sarcastic, the stories are very disturbing and told as if Antonov-Ovseyenko was a fly on the wall. A very different perspective from other Stalin texts.
"Who is Rehabilitated?" April 28, 2011

To a person who is, like myself, young enough to have forgotten the Soviet Union, `Stalin' is too often a mere curse word, some bad but otherwise shapeless thing used mostly for ominous-sounding references. But to such a person, what could be the value of understanding the reality of the Stalinshchina?

For Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko, the need is clear. The epilogue, which is in my opinion the most valuable part of the book, pulses with disgust at the treatment of Stalin's victims, officially `rehabilitated' or otherwise, and the continued grip of Stalinism on the Soviet government. Antonov-Ovseyenko writes for the Union that still existed at the time of publication, the need for full acknowledgment of what happened under Stalin. But even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this need is still relevant. The massacre at Katyn is a canonical example: though the Russian government recently admitted Soviet responsibility, there is still a significant Stalinist contingent in political and popular Russia - one which continues to claim that the Germans did it. To many, despite the crushing reality of mishandling and sabotage of the war effort, Stalin remains the Great Hero of the Great Patriotic War. To many, even now, Stalin can do no wrong.

But to Antonov-Ovseyenko, the Gensek - this and `Politburo' are perfect examples of pre-Orwellian Newspeak - did everything wrong. In a recent speech on the Axis of Evil, Christopher Hitchens claimed that Saddam added the element of the crime boss and mafioso to the totalitarianisms of Stalin and Hitler. But actually the element of thug and criminal is almost the definition of Stalinism. From his earliest revolutionary activity, the Gensek reeked of the underworld, e.g. the illegal `expropriations', and might well have been an agent provocateur serving the Tsarist Okhrana, though this latter suspicion is still contentious. The remaining contentions, the personal orchestrations of the purges of the Old Bolsheviks, the forced famine in the Ukraine, the various deportations, ethnic cleansings, the creation of a Gulag-based economy, and the countless betrayals, are not.

The references to Antonov-Ovseyenko's time in the Gulag are limited; the account focuses overwhelmingly on Stalin's misdeeds and accomplices, and how those accomplices and misdeeds are relevant to the time of writing. The account also contains some novel revelations. As Professor Stephen F. Cohen notes in his introduction, Antonov-Ovseyenko's status as the son of an old Bolshevik - his father is Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko, leader of the Bolshevik charge on the Winter Palace in 1917 - gained him access to sources unavailable to other dissident writers, such as Solzhenitsyn. And like Solzhenitsyn, Antonov-Ovseyenko does not write a dispassionate, detached account. He is a bitter survivor, angry with the continued defamation of his father and other victims. And though the book consequently drips with sarcasm at times, it never devolves into ranting. It chronicles hundreds of tragedies, some famous like the assassination of Kirov, others not.

But was Stalin just excessively zealous in his dedication? One of Stalin's many titles, the "Great Master of Daring Revolutionary Decisions and Abrupt Turns", was well-earned. The Russo-German Pact and the subsequent destruction of anti-facists movements is a perfect example. No, he was not ruthlessly dedicated to principles: he discarded them as needed. Rather, he was wholly unprincipled. Such `abrupt turns' would lead Orwell to comment on the instability required of Stalinist mind.

The Time of Stalin is an excellent read for those who really want to understand what Stalin and his subordinates actually did. It is for those who are concerned with understanding totalitarianism.
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