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Academics and ‘barbarians’: why one article aroused Russian ire

It’s not easy for Australians to become famous in Russia. It would seem harder still to become a figure of loathing in Russian print and online media. But Associate Professor Timothy Lynch, who teaches…

The hanging of Masha. Bruskina on October 26 1941 was the first of the Nazis' many public executions in occupied Russia. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/masha.html

It’s not easy for Australians to become famous in Russia. It would seem harder still to become a figure of loathing in Russian print and online media. But Associate Professor Timothy Lynch, who teaches politics at Melbourne University, has achieved just that with one newspaper article that made some carelessly worded claims about Russia’s role in World War Two.

Most of the article was a reflection on Russia’s weakness as a great power, but what struck a nerve was this sentence:

From the terror of the Stalinist purges and the barbarity of the Russian invasion of Germany in 1944-45 [my bolding], through the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and the laying waste of Chechnya in the 2000s, to the propping up of the Syrian regime today, Russia has been far more effective at suppressing civil society than facilitating it.

Within days, the article was at the epicentre of a furore spreading outwards from Australia’s Russian community. More than 10,000 people signed a petition on change.org that accused Lynch of suggesting that the people of the Soviet Union were barbarians and of denigrating the memory of those who had liberated Europe from fascism. It claimed the article was:

…false, discriminatory and inflammatory to a great many members of the Russian-speaking population in Australia and around the world and potentially psychologically traumatic to some.

From Russia with loathing

Perhaps more serious are the reverberations in Russia itself. The controversy was featured by Russia Today (RT), the flagship of the Russian state’s external broadcasting network. An article on RT’s website misquoted Lynch in its very title:

Australian professor called Soviet forces ‘barbarians who invaded Germany in 1944’.

Repeating RT’s misquotation, the conservative business newspaper, Vzglyad (Viewpoint), published a long article:

Internet users demand apology from Australian Russophobic professor.

The “Russophobic professor” attracted much attention in the nationalist blogosphere. Unregistered party Velikaya Rossiya (Great Russia) posted an article with an image of a man with a pained expression over the words:

Can someone give this guy a history textbook?

How did an opinion piece in a Melbourne newspaper provoke this?

Well, not by calling the Russian barbarians. Lynch did not make any generalisations about Russians as an ethnic group. But he demonstrated little awareness of how sensitive a topic World War Two remains for most Russians today.

Why such sensitivity?

Russians are sensitive for good reason. Never before in human history had the victors lost so much more in victory than the vanquished in defeat. The Soviet Union lost roughly 30 million dead, including 20 million civilians, most of whom perished under German occupation or as a result of it.

It is difficult for inhabitants of English-speaking democracies to fathom the scale of this “war of annihilation”. We were spared the trauma of wartime occupation and the slavery, rape, murder and starvation that it inflicted on nearly every family in what is today Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia.

Millions of soldiers had fought to protect their loved ones and their homes, only to find after the war that these very things were the price of victory. Can we understand how this continues to haunt generation after generation?

Lynch doesn’t seem to. Including the “barbarous invasion of Germany” in a litany of Soviet crimes against civil society is provocative for several reasons. First, he omits the crucial context that the invasion of Nazi Germany was the culmination of a defensive war and helped to deliver the world from Nazi tyranny and genocide.

This deliverance was costly for all concerned. The Red Army wrought horrible violence on civilians during its invasion and subsequent occupation of Germany, but countless millions owe their lives to the sacrifices of Russians and other Soviet soldiers in defeating Hitler. Some would subsequently suffer terribly under Soviet occupation and the regimes foisted upon their countries by Stalin.

Second, Lynch conflates Russia and the Soviet Union. While Stalin made some concessions to Russian national sentiment during the war, it is highly misleading to treat the Soviet Union as some kind of Russian national state.

Third, it is bizarre to portray the invasion of Germany as an example of the suppression of civil society, the sphere of social organisation between the state and the private life of individuals. Nazi Germany was a highly regimented and terroristic totalitarian state, which shared the Soviet regime’s hostility to independent activity. There was no civil society to destroy.

President Vladimir Putin offers a twisted historical narrative but many Russians are fighting for an honest remembrance of Soviet-era victims. EPA/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Lynch does acknowledge eventually that the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany was one of history’s greatest and costliest feats of resistance. By this stage, I assume many readers were so incensed that they hardly noticed.

They certainly would have noticed this statement:

Most states that lose wars are obliged to atone for them. German society was remade - not least by Germans themselves - in the wake of World War II. But Russia? There has been no redemption for the millions killed in the pursuit of communism.

This is a gross oversimplification. It is true that Russian governments have confronted the Soviet past for different purposes and with different degrees of sincerity. Yet it is inaccurate to claim there has been no redemption for the victims.

Ever since Gorbachev’s reforms in the mid-1980s, organisations such as Memorial, the Russian Orthodox Church and victims' families have also sought to commemorate the millions killed in the pursuit of communism. The concern is not the lack of commemoration, but its nature. The Putin regime seems to be monopolising the space of public remembrances, pushing its dual narrative of criticism of Stalin’s “excesses” and admiration of his achievements.

These crooked paths to redemption run parallel and across one another, but they continue. Lynch should be aware of them if he claims that ignorance of Soviet crimes has led to a misplaced nostalgia and contemporary nationalism, which explains Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Academic malaise is showing

The controversy about the article testifies to a deeper malaise in our academic system. As the rise of non-Western states is transforming the world, as bitter struggles and unexpected conflicts erupt in new crisis zones, our government, media and public desperately need area-specific expertise. But our universities are cutting the area studies that could provide that knowledge.

We have fewer scholars with foreign language skills and deep knowledge of non-English-speaking societies. We have fewer courses at undergraduate level that provide students with a deep understanding of specific foreign societies.

One result is media commentary by non-specialists who inflame rather than illuminate societies they do not understand.

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158 Comments sorted by

  1. Jay Wulf

    Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

    Lynch's argument if there is one, beyond making an incendiary statement is disingenuous.

    As the article points out correctly, Russian offensive on Germany and its awful treatment of German Civilians was payback for German attrocities in Russia. Notably one of the reasons for which was the eugenic, sub-human ideology of the day where Germans were pure uber-humans and Russians only one step removed from the apes. Mix in ideological chasm (Fascism - Communism) and you have a good idea why the German…

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  2. Stephen Ralph

    carer at n/a

    Hard to imagine that they have overlooked Stalin as the instrument of mass murder and a definitely barbarous regime.

    Hard to imagine the sending of many thousands of Russians to Gulags in the 50s and beyond. Where conditions were harsh and extreme in both treatment and weather.

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  3. John Zuill

    logged in via email @me.com

    What countries have seen more horrors in the nightmare of history than Russia? Haiti i guess. And Russians created many horrors not least in WWII. But if those undertrained underfed mostly badly lead Russians with hearts of iron had broken before that German army ( which may have been the finest in world at that time ) this post would be in Japanese.

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    1. John Zuill

      logged in via email @me.com

      In reply to John Zuill

      Bad russian history? Good russian novels!
      This one is great and appropriate
      Life and Fate by vassily grossman. An addictive brick of a book

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    2. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Zuill

      Re: Bad russian history? Good russian novels!

      Have you read Heart of a Dog by Michail Bulgakov? Highly recommend! I purchased it from Amazon I think and enjoyed.

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    1. alan w. shorter

      research assistant

      In reply to Craig Read

      The Russians did not sacrifice themselves for Europe, or anybody, apart from themselves. They had no choice. They were invaded. While not defending or opposing Lynch, The Age article seems to emphasise Lynch's point that, unlike Germany and Japan, Russia has never been punished for its appalling behaviour outside WWII.

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    2. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to alan w. shorter

      I don't recall England being punished for bombing Dresden, the US being punished for dropping two atomic bombs on Japan, Japan being punished for occupying China and most of South-east Asia, NATO being punished for bombing Libya: Howard or Bush for taking us to Iraq: the list is endless.

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    3. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      "I don't recall ..... Japan being punished for occupying China". Actually, as you said yourself, Japan did get punished. Not just by the 2 atom bombs which you mentioned, but by the bombing and destruction of all its major cities. The firebombing of Tokyo and other major centres resulted in more casualties than the atomic bombs. After WWII, Japanese civilians were expelled from China, Manchuria and Korea with heavy loss of life.

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    4. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to alan w. shorter

      Re: The Russians did not sacrifice themselves for Europe,

      Except they lost several hundred thousands lives liberating Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria and lots of other countries from fascism. I love how people in Europe still remember this sacrifice and monuments in Vienna, Berlin and many other places still stay and would stay. I saw in Germany how Germans care about the Soviet cemeteries and in fact this is really good. This is a tribute to those who lost 10 million soldiers and officers in…

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    5. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      David, Japan wasn't punished with two atomic bombs, two atomic bombs were dropped to stop the war; at least that is what the propaganda said at the time. But I did assume that alan was talking more in the vein of reparations. Japanese civilians were part of the Japanese occupying power, and to expel the invaders and occupiers is just. The occupying force slaughtered millions. Perhaps you personally could have forgiven that. Even today the South Korean people are reliably reported to hold the North Korean leader in much higher esteem than the Japanese Prime Minister.

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    6. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, if you think having an atom bomb dropped on you the destruction of all your cities and industry, merchant marine and the killing of civilian refugees is not punishment, then I can't help you. I am talking about the ordinary common sense definition of punishment, not wartime propaganda. Whether the atom bombs caused Japan's surrender is still a matter for debate amongst historians. I wasn't trying to justify, defend or forgive the Japanese atrocities in Asia, as you quite wrongly assume. In fact, I've had a debate with the Japanese Embassy about wartime 'comfort women'. They lost.
      You were talking about punishment, not reparations. Japan did in fact make reparations, albeit reluctantly and slowly and not on the same scale as West Germany.

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    7. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      You've missed the point. Historians can and do argue retrospectively and with the advantage of hindsight or the confusion of the whitewashing and demonizing processes. The reason given at the time for the bombs was to save the lives of many army personnel. The potential casualty rate of US personnel in the Pacific War was estimated to be horrendous. If what occurred for Japan was punishment and meant as such then it came from the US. Victors tend to want to eradicate the enemy, salt their earth well into the next generations. Anyone playing at war can expect the grief.

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    8. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to alan w. shorter

      Apart from the trials of war criminals and concentration camp officials how were "Germany and Japan" punished for appalling behaviour?

      Many German war criminals escaped to Argetina;their rocket and atomic scientists were recruited by the US and both Japan and West Germany received huge investment for rebuilding and cementing an anti Soviet alliance.

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    9. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      But the bomb also had the important effect of cementing US dominance post-war; and in the coming US-Soviet rivalry.

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    10. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, historians always argue retrospectively with the advantage of hindsight by definition. That's what we do. But with access to the historical records on either side, professional objectivity, and judgement, historians can and should try to separate themselves from propaganda and the "whitewashing and demonizing processes". It seems to me that you are trying to make a general slur on the professional integrity of historians in general about the atom bomb decision, when it appears that you have…

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    11. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to wilma western

      Of course you are right Wilma,but I could only go so far when the protestors are so blind sighted. The US since the war has ensured that all countries on each of their four borders toe their line as well as ensuring other countries where their financial interests lie also are malleable.

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    12. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      Well David, I would have to say Ancient Historians and archeologists have made a botch of things e.g. Ancient Egypt's wrong dating which leads to absurdities such as the Greek and other "dark ages".
      Hindsight often means imposing a preconception onto the evidence.
      The victor mentality frequently leads to whitewashing and demonizing.
      I am not suggesting any slur on historians in general about the atom bomb decision. I was purely reporting what was said and believed at the time. If you want to say that the authorities at the time were all liars and cheats or even misinformed or just propagandizing then that is up to you.
      I made no suggestion that you were an apologist for Japanese wartime atrocities. I said that you may be able to forgive that; some people can, lesser mortals like myself find it very difficult, even when allowing for the fact that terrible things happen in wartime: such is its nature.

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    13. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, changing the subject to the ancient Egyptians is a red herring. What the Pharoahs have got to do with Hiroshima is beyond me. The point which you are trying to wriggle out of is whether the Japanese were punished or not. It is a total invention on your part that I said the authorities were liars or cheats. I simply said that historians have much more knowledge of the background now. It was you who mentioned the propaganda of the time, not me. Your words: "at least that is what the propaganda said at the time."
      If you did not intend to suggest that I was an apologist for Japanese atrocities, then you should have said that in the first place.
      When someone corrects me and their evidence is sound, I accept it politely, take it on the chin, move on and resolve to do more study. You should try the same rather than talking about Egyptians.

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    14. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      No, not a red herring David, the comment about the historians in regards to Ancient Egypt is somewhat well known. But then you do not say what history you are a post grad of so I assumed all history was your interest, but that it seems is not the case.
      No, I don't think you do take it on the chin and politely David as I have seen on this thread.
      You have a lot of advice about what I and others should be doing. I will take it in.

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    15. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, there are many historical topics and it's impossible for any historian to be across all of them. Just like doctors, we have to specialise, but you seem to have little understanding of how professional historians (or grad students) operate. As it happens I am interested in ancient Egyptian history, but it is not one of my chosen topics. But Egyptian history it is not relevant to the point I was making, which was about Japan. Which you are trying to evade.
      As I have said already, I concede when the evidence is sound. Your evidence is not. If you can point out where I was incorrect about Japan, or about East Prussia, please provide the evidence, preferably not Wikipedia.
      The only other advice I have given here is to study the references on the topic i.e. textbooks.

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    16. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      Sorry David I think you have confused me with someone else. There was no argument between you and me about whether bombs were dropped on Japan. There was discussion about imputing motivation on the American Authorities for dropping the bombs whether it was to end the Pacific war and save the lives of thousands of US army personnel as claimed at the time, or to punish the Japanese, as you maintain was in fact the case, or at any rate the end result.
      As to the details of East Prussia, we had no discussion there. I think that was between you and Elena or Olga.

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    17. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      No Chris, no confusion, your argument was (in your words)
      "I don't recall ......... Japan being punished for occupying China and most of South-east Asia"
      Whether the US wanted to punish the Japanese or end the war quickly is irrelevant, the Japanese ended up punished and their cities destroyed. The simple point I was making, which you keep evading, is that the Japanese were punished.

      As for East Prussia, you said that "No, I don't think you do take it on the chin and politely David as I have seen on this thread." And I said I do that "When someone corrects me and their evidence is sound".

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    18. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      In your manner of argument David, you could equally say that China and south-east asia were punished when Japan invaded them.

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    19. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      At last you are arguing to the point. No, Chris, China and SE Asian countries hadn't invaded other countries. China wasn't responsible, AFAIK, for atrocities at the time of invasion (maybe against its own people). Japan was the aggressor, China was the victim.
      That the Allies, Chinese and individual servicemen didn't want to inflict punishment on Japan I find wholly unbelievable. I was on friendly terms with some Australian ex-servicemen (parents or uncles of schoolmates) who had fought the Japanese when I was growing up so I know that directly. But whatever the intentions of the Allies, Japan ended up in ruins with millions of deaths as a direct consequence of its actions as an aggressor.
      Let me ask you. If you do something wrong, let's say for argument's sake dangerous driving, and you suffer for it and become a paraplegic and kill your family, are you not punished irrespective of the actions of any court?

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    20. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to David Roth

      And I forgot to add that the Soviet Army and the Chinese confiscated all of Japan's possessions and property on the mainland and some of its islands.

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    21. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      The part you can't get is that the bombing was an act of war: a continuation of other acts of war.
      And surely punishment is about the intention and also the authority of the punisher?
      The example you gave of the driver killing his family and rendering him/herself a paraplegic by reckless disregard is a consequence of the driver's behaviour. I think the public prosecutor may decide to actually prosecute and seek to punish the driver regardless.

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    22. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      And Japan being bombed into the Stone Age wasn't a direct consequence of reckless and criminal behaviour?
      "And surely punishment is about the intention and also the authority of the punisher?"
      The intention to punish Japan was certainly present in all Allied forces, as I have already established, whatever the actual or published motivation for dropping the bombs. The state of war was the authority.
      Let me change my driving example slightly. If I intentionally ram my car into another car and end up being crippled myself, am I not punished? It doesn't matter what the public prosecutor does.

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    23. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      All acts of war could be deemed reckless and criminal.
      You have not established that 'the intention to punish Japan was certainly present in all Allied forces' any more than to say that the soldier is there to fight, kill and maim the enemy while engaging in battle and win the war.
      It's too glib to say the state of war was the authority.
      When it comes to wars, reparations are usually demanded by the victors and reparations are considered payment for damage done.
      Your driver being crippled is the consequence of his intention and action to ram his car. The public prosecutor would be looking at what law has been broken and whether justice for the other driver need be sought, amongst other things.

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    24. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, a state of war is the legal authority to take hostile action against another country. Otherwise that action is illegal under international law, as the US stressed at great length after Pearl Harbour.
      Any number of books on WW2 will tell you that the Allies and their soldiers and civilians wished to punish Japan and its people. For example 'War Without Mercy' by John Dower. And I believe the ex-servicemen who told me that personally. It's pretty glib to say that it was just war.
      "Your driver being crippled is the consequence of his intention and action to ram his car." And he believes he is not punished?

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    25. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Roth

      “And he believes he is not punished?”
      That would depend upon the nature of the driver. One driver might purely think, crikey didn’t calculate on that happening, and not see it as punishment at all, but a bad gamble that did not pay off. Another might think that they had failed to be clever enough to get away with it, and so would consider they had been personally stupid, and maybe they might try it again, but be cleverer about it next time. I think modern courts of law have been pointing out that some convicted felons have been sorry for themselves and the uncomfortable position they now find themselves, however not expressing any remorse at all for their victims or exhibiting any sense of responsibility for their actions or any acknowledgement that they may have done the wrong thing by the victim and society as a whole.

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    26. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      There you are going off on a tangent again. I have better things to do with my time.

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    27. alan w. shorter

      research assistant

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris I am not talking about Russia's war activities. I am talking about the whole diabolical holocaust of Soviet Communism, whose victims number many times those killed in WWII. As far as WWII goes, I am a great supporter of the Red Army. One of the most persuasive op-ed pieces I have ever read was Stalin's piece published in the NYT, arguing the point that the Soviet Union "deserved" to take eastern Europe, as a "buffer zone" from the French/Germans, who seemed to spend their whole lives invading Russia, or plotting to. We have yet to put Communism on trial, but its victims makes the Facsists look like kindergarten teachers.

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    28. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to alan w. shorter

      Alan I see your point, but I would never underestimate the Fascists as kindergarten teachers. Then there are lots and lots of military actions outside of or since WWll where city bombing and civilian deaths have been perpetrated in the name of helping bring democracy to a number of countries who perhaps did not necessarily want it.

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    29. alan w. shorter

      research assistant

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Perhaps, but those who made the decisions to bomb Dresden/Japan had more banal objectives than "spreading democracy". They wanted an end to a war started by Japan/Germany. And they wanted it stopped now! It was an added bonus, that dropping a few bombs, not only ended a war, but secured huge new markets for American companies in the post-war reconstruction of those bombed losers. As opposed to those who were fortunate to receive the soothing protective blanket of post-war Soviet communist protection.

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    30. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to alan w. shorter

      I'm not about to go through all the Japanese stuff again. I myself argued that was about stopping the Pacific war, and saving the life of US army personnel, if you read the posts. I was catching up with you about post World War ll and the saga of the USSR and the cold war, and the wars in South America, Asia and the middle east and more recently the Arab Spring and all of that.
      Today's AFR reports that Chinese individuals are seeking wartime compensation from Japanese companies as straight forward…

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  4. George Michaelson

    Person

    contrast with Anthony Beevor's treatment of the same topic, or the writing of Anne Applebaum, (hardly a soviet apologist), or even Ilya Ehrenburg.

    That terrible destruction was wrought on Germany as the soviet army advanced has not been substantively denied. Its the basis of how, and why.

    Applebaum also is much more nuanced on the comparisons (inevitable) of Stalins Camp policies, and the Nazi Camps. It is trite to attempt an equivalence.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to George Michaelson

      Wait on - what do you mean"Nazi camps"? Treatment of UK and commonwealth prisoners of war by the Germans was one thing - their treatment of Russian prisoners was quite different. Max Hastings in "All Hell Let Loose" states that Russian and French POWs were put in cages; the French were fed, the Russians were not. A friend whose dad was captured after the Crete expedition says that the Oz POWs used to give the Russians their Red Cross parcels .The Russians were so starved they ate the soap as well and died.

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    2. George Michaelson

      Person

      In reply to wilma western

      Because (by some estimates) over half the captured Germans from the invasion of the USSR never returned post war, some people draw comparisons between their treatment, and the treatment meted out to captured Soviet troops by the Germans. As I tried to say, its wrong to draw an equivalence between these situations. Anne Applebaum does a very good job of drawing out the distinctions.

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  5. James Jenkin

    EFL Teacher Trainer

    Filip suggests it's a 'gross oversimplification' that 'there has been no redemption for the millions killed in the pursuit of communism'.

    In response, Filip points to examples within Russia to confront the Soviet past. Fair enough.

    But since Lynch was referring to invasions of other countries, has there been atonement for these? Would Hungarians, Poles and Latvians agree Russia has faced up to its past?

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    1. Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Lecturer in International Studies at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Russia got out of facing up to its past in the so-called Soviet bloc countries, by declaring that it was the Soviet Union that committed the crimes and inflicted oppression, not Russia. As soon as the Soviet Union ceased to exist, Russia declared that they are a new country that has nothing to do with the Soviet Union, thus it cannot be held accountable for anything from the Soviet era.

      This is in stark contrast with the growing nostalgia in Russia for the Soviet past. It is pretty symbolic that…

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    2. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Weren't there Hungarians, Germans, Czechs etc in control of the satellite states of the Soviet Union?

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    3. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to wilma western

      And didn't the western allies agree to "spheres of influence" after WW2 ?

      Anyone who has read more than the sanitised and partisan accounts of WW2 brought out in western countries before more of the official records were released cannot be anything but alarmed by the turn of events in Ukraine and the gung-ho reporting from anti- Russian media. Luckily the US has had a lot of hard lessons lately. There has to be a serious attempt to calm things down and tackle the real economic and political problems in Ukraine.

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  6. Michael Gardiner

    Lecturer at USQ

    While this article comes about as a result of "commentary by non-specialists", the crux remains that of a country's willingness, or otherwise, to confront its past. I would suggest that many countries are in the unwilling category, including Australia in relation to, for example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Michael Gardiner

      Good comment Michael. And what about our present ---treatment of asylum seekers for example?

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  7. alan w. shorter

    research assistant

    While there is no doubt that the world is woefully unaware of the sheer horror and scale of Russian sacrifice during WWII, it is just wrong to assert "it is highly misleading to treat the Soviet Union as some kind of Russian national state."

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  8. Robert Tony Brklje
    Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    I don't see why we have to take ownership of him "
    He was educated at the University of East Anglia (BA) and the University of London (MA). A Fulbright scholar, he holds a PhD in political science from Boston College, Massachusetts. He is native to Leicestershire, England, and moved to Australia in 2011."(http://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person382141) clearly a drip under pressure, that pressure being from his clear US affiliations. All that needs to happen now is the clarification of his fiscal interests in writing that article and alluding to it being of Australian rather than more accurately US and UK origin.
    I think he owes an apology to Australians as well as to Russians, for his thoughtless article a clearly failing to associating it's educational and research basis being with the US and the UK and not with Australia.

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  9. robert roeder
    robert roeder is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    I agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion but associate professor Lynch as a teacher in one of our universities has gone off the rails. I wonder what mental gymnastic he performed to arrive at a position to state " the barbarity of the Russian invasion of Germany in 1944-45 "
    Here in Australia we as lackeys to the USA have participated in four unwarranted invasions in Korea Vietnam Afghanistan and Iraq I would leave it to others to opine if we were barbarous.
    Nearing the end of WW2 the Americans dropped incendiary bombs on Tokyo which created a fire storm which burned half of the city and killed 100,000 people. War make monsters of us all, stupidity causes us to keep doing it.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to robert roeder

      Churchill's ordering the bombing of Dresden was a bastard act, and a war crime for me.

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Not only for you Stephen but for many others. There are lots of examples similar to what you mentioned and, unfortunately, German civilians were killed as it was not possible to avoid that. Some of such acts were really conducted as a revenge and the one you mentioned about Dresden in particular.

      At the same time we have never seen in the war history or anywhere else in the media that someone, particularly an academic, named such actions as a barbarian invasion. Despite the fact that all allies from the West and East killed German civilians, the general goal of that advance from both sides was ending the war but not invasion of Germany in common sense. Of course, there was no other way to stop the WW2 except finishing it in Berlin.

      While many nations in Europe celebrate a Day of Liberation on the 8th of May Mr.Lynch named this as invasion. Unbelievable.

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  10. Elena Berwick

    Accountant

    This is a very good and well balanced article. Thank you for sharing your opinion with us Mr Slaveski.

    Well, I even don’t know where to begin…

    First, we have to always appreciate that WW2 veterans who liberated the whole world from fascism deserve our respect. Every year we see them less and less and thanks to them we live on this planet. Therefore, to me, when someone says that Russia invaded Germany in 1944, this statement sounds ridiculous.

    Secondly, I went through Lynch’s article and…

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    1. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Actually, the Soviet Army entered Germany (pre World War 2 borders) in 1944, as Professor Ian Kershaw writes in 'The End. Germany 1944-1945'. This is one of the few facts that Lynch did get right.

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      No David. Actually the Soviet Army entered East Prussia in Oct 1944 but strictly speaking East Prussia was not a part of Germany, please read about East Prussia's history.
      The Red Army entered German Imperial territory in Jan 1945.

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    3. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      No Elena,
      East Prussia was a part of Germany until 1945 and Imperial Germany before 1918. Please look at maps of the period 1918-1945. There was no 'German Imperial' territory in 1944 or 1945 because the Kaiser abdicated in 1918 and Germany became a Republic and then the Third Reich in 1933. The name East Prussia (Ostpreussen) was given to this area in 1815, although it had been under continuous Prussian rule since the 17th century (and before that, with a Polish interregnum, under the Teutonic Knights since the 13th century). There was a substantial German-speaking population there until 1945, when most of the Germans were expelled. Actually, I have studied German history for quite some years now, so I suggest that you take your own advice.

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    4. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      Quote; "East Prussia was connected to Germany after the first partitioning of Poland in 1772, and cut off again after WWI, and reunited briefly during WWII"
      http://www.ggsmn.org/Regional%20Pages/East%20Prussia.htm

      So, that brief unification, i.e. when Germans captured it, is not a justification to say that it was Imperial german territory. Also, despite lots of Germans lived in there, it was still legally not Germany. In Eastern Ukraine 100% of people are Russians but this does not mean that Eastern Ukraine is Russia.

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    5. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena,
      ""East Prussia was connected to Germany after the first partitioning of Poland in 1772, and cut off again after WWI, and reunited briefly during WWII"
      Whether East Prussia was connected or not to Germany has nothing to do with its being legally part of Germany. Northern Ireland is not connected to the United Kingdom by land.

      1657 to 1945 is not a 'brief unification'. And, as I said before, the area known as East Prussia, was taken over by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, when…

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    6. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      I think David you are trying to go to a topic #25 instead of concentrating on a real one. I am very well familiar with this approach and would not continue further.

      And the real one is that from the sentence "barbarity of the Russian invasion to Germany" we see two possible outcomes.
      1. Prof. Lynch does not know that Soviet troops consisted of many nations or does not see a difference between "the Soviet" and "Russian". Many Aussies do not see a difference, which is fair enough, but not a PhD…

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    7. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena,
      I was not challenging any of the main points about Lynch which your originally made, except for your confident but incorrect claim that the Soviet Army entered Germany in 1945. It first entered Germany in 1944. That is in the text books, for example in Professor Richard Evan's 'The Third Reich at War'. Why not try admitting you were incorrect on this point, or even better, check the matter in a text book?
      "P.S. No need to go to 200 years old east Prussia history, it is enough to see where it was in 1941."
      Very well, East Prussia was legally part of Germany in 1941 and was recognised as such by the Soviet Union until the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941.

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    8. alan w. shorter

      research assistant

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      "This clearly means that academics deliberately offending and insulting a particular nation teach students at our universities"
      Elena it is actually a textbook case for s.18C of the Race Discrimination Act.

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    9. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      My claim was not incorrect.
      Just please read please Encyclopedia Britannica that East Prussia before WW2 legally was not a part of Germany
      http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/176767/East-Prussia
      or a brief history of Prussia
      http://www.kolpack.com/packnet/prussia.html
      or many other sources. No need to go to 1700s mate.
      So far except words you have not presented any evidence that in 1941 East Prussia was a part of Germany except saying that you saw a book.

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    10. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena , you should read your own references more carefully. The evidence you have just presented supports my argument. The Brittanica reference says "East Prussia, German Ostpreussen, ***** ***** former German province **** bounded, between World Wars I and II,"
      That means, in plain English, that East Prussia ** was *** legally a part of Germany before the end of WW11.
      The second reference says "This caused the province of East Prussia to be separated from the rest of Germany.". Separation does not mean that East Prussia was not legally part of Germany. You have confused physical separation with legal separation. For example, Northern Ireland is part of the UK, although physically separated from it.
      Elena, you are free to read the books which I have recommended to you. They do exist and you don't need fancy equipment to read them, just your local library and an open mind. I am an (grad student) historian, that's what I do.

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    11. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      Very good. You as a historian should read the whole article rather than the first sentence
      The whole paragraph says
      Quote: “As a result of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the Memel (Klaipėda) territory was taken from Germany (in 1924 it was incorporated into Lithuania); the district of Soldau (Dzialdowo) was given to Poland, while the regency of Marienwerder (Kwidzyn), which was formerly part of the province of West Prussia, joined East Prussia, now territorially separated from the rest of Germany…

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    12. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      It is true that parts of the old East Prussia were ceded to Poland and Lithuania after WW1. But not all of it. As I said before, there was a plebiscite in 1920 in the parts of East Prussia not ceded to other countries. There was a majority vote for staying with Germany which was recognised by the League of Nations and the Soviet Union. There was no 'capture', illegal or otherwise, by Germany of East Prussia in 1939. It remained German territory until 1944/45.
      As you insist on using Wikipedia…

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  11. Olga Fogel

    logged in via Facebook

    Thank you for a very balanced article, Filip. "Invasion" aside, professor seems to get a lot of other facts about Russia wrong - life expectancy, exports etc, pretty much everything else in the article is factually incorrect.
    Being an alleged specialist on Cold War period professor must have missed a memo that it was over some 20 years ago and keeps engaging in questionable propaganda techniques obviously directed at demonizing modern Russia.
    And here are his views an America invading Iraq and Afganistan "America doesn't export democracy with 'thuggish violence' – the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were about security" http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/apr/12/democracy-pomotion-us#start-of-comments

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  12. Olga Fogel

    logged in via Facebook

    Factual misstatements in Lynch's article ( Melbourne Uni, please provide your staff with basic necessities such as access to current literature from this century and also, internet access to avoid such embarrassment in the future)

    1. Abortions

    FALSE: Dr. Lynch states that more Russian pregnancies end in abortion than live birth.
    ACTUAL: 2013-2014 data suggests 210-220 per 1000 live births

    2. Population

    FALSE: Dr Lynch states: "There are 140 million Russians today; in 2050, there will…

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      Thanks Olga and Elena for all your information. Unfortunately this is how propagandists work. They come out with all these so called facts and figures, and knowing them to be incorrect is not enough, it means you have to go and do research in order to refute them. That is not how it should be, but unfortunately that is how it is.
      The older generation who lived through the second world war had much sympathy and gratitude to the people of the USSR, but the cold war has been fought so long and hard that the younger generations can more easily be led into misconceptions. The leaders of the US need an arch (evil) enemy to keep themselves in power as great saviours of peace, freedom (you name it) and to distract away from their own sometimes dubious actions; that also unfortunately is how it is.

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  13. Reg Olives

    logged in via Twitter

    It would be interesting if Lynch 'joined the conversation' rather than leave it to the rest of us to comment.

    For my 5 cents, a professional academic should at least use verifiable data (facts, even) to 'back-up' whatever argument they wish to make. Academics shouldn't let their bias or any 'inherited hate' be an excuse to override critical reflection.

    I am not sure Lynch has this kind of poor excuse for not developing a more robust argument for whatever points he was trying to reveal as I guess he hasn't lived under a Russian or Soviet regime (vis the bio Robert Tony Brklje reports in this conversation thread). I certainly haven't, but someone close to me has and I get their negative view on Russian behaviour but as an academic they reflect on facts as much as direct experience which tempers bias. Put to good use, this should help to increase understanding and eliminate bigotry.

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  14. Pat Moore

    gardener

    If you peruse Prof Lynch's contributions to this site alone, you'll understand that he is coming from an ideological position, one formed and matured in US Noecon Republican mode in the Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheyney/Wolfowitz etc years so understandably in the light of traditional US/USSR antipathy, he'll be writing with heavy ideological barrows in mind?

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    1. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Pat Moore

      I agree Pat that Lynch is coming from an ideological position, one formed and matured in US Noecon Republican mode in the Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheyney/Wolfowitz. At the same time insulting WW2 veterans of a particular nationality and people of that nationality was not seen even from Bush or Rumsfeld or whoever else. Also, an insult is targeting at a nation which contributed to a victory in the WW2 the most.

      Despite ideological differences people and academics in particular should be responsible for what…

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  15. john davies
    john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired engineer

    I read the article by Associate Professor Lynch at the time, and thought it very sloppy for a supposed expert, particularly in regard to the quote included here.

    Keep it up Filip. Another good contribution. While I strongly disagree with much that Putin is doing it must be put in its historical context. A major concern is the little knowledge people less than, say fifty years old, have of history in so many areas of critical importance.

    What was that about those who don't know their history being doomed to repeat it?

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  16. Brian Sutherland

    project manager

    Interesting read. I think that the lack of experts in certain areas of WWII history is a serious problem, especially when it comes to educating people about current events around the globe. If the argument is being built around the events of the past, cliches like "barbarity of Russian invasion" can cause unrest in the society for little to gain apart from cheap publicity for the author. As academicians, our job is to facilitate the thinking process of a reader and not lead them on like sheep! When…

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    1. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Brian Sutherland

      I agree Brian. National issues are very delicate and in our multicultural society should be dealt appropriately. We definitely do not want here in Australia a situation similar to what's happening in Ukraine at the moment when the Russian nationals from the East felt too much pressure from the West of Ukraine and organised mass protests. One word sometimes may ignite a huge problem in a similar manner how some words about Koran ignited tensions in some EU countries.

      We have to respect the past and in particular WW2 veterans. By the way, Prof Lynch lives on this planet thanks to the Russian, British, American, Polish, Ukrainian etc etc veterans who paid with their lives so that people like us would live without fascism.

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  17. john davies
    john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired engineer

    Having a bit more time I've gone back and reread the Lynch article.

    While the reference to barbarism in the "invasion" of Germany in the latter stage of WW2 is sloppy and what happened then must be placed in context, there is much in the article with which I agree.

    I'm still interested in a reply from Associate Professor Lynch.

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    1. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to john davies

      I would not say John this reference to barbarism in invasion is sloppy because this reference insulted a large number of people and, in my view, may meet the requirements of the Racial Discrimination Act to be examined closer. "Sloppy" is a very soft word for this situation.

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  18. Andrew Gilmour

    logged in via Facebook

    Thank you Filip for this article, it is very informative, objective and well balanced.

    I would like to highlight three things.

    #1. When I read Professor Lynch’s article (I actually used a petition link to find a soft copy of it), the first thing which came to my mind was who were the authors of this publication. The article to me looked like yellow journalism, or the yellow press, which is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching…

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    1. Alex Peace

      translator

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      I share all the sentiments about Prof. Lynch's article. Sure, it is a piece of brainwashing written in best Cold-war traditions. But on the point of "barbaric actions" during the invasion of Germany- this simply was not true. To harm civilians- it never was an endorsed policy of Soviet Russia. Once there occurred some limited incidents of cruelty towards German civilians at the very start of the invasion, this was soon stopped. Stalin announced that ordinary Germans were victims of Hitlers regime and that armed personnel would be punished for any acts of cruelty towards civilians
      Generally, on the part of the Soviets, there were no acts of collective punishment. Once the bombing of Dresden may be considered Churchill's revenge for Coventry (or another word- retaliation), in the Red Army arsenal there was no such thing as "revenge". It is quite remarkable, that the Soviets, (who were mostly atheists) behaved in much more "christianly' manner then other allies...

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    2. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Peace

      Alex, actually, my granddad was German, he was only 10 when the war ended. He never mentioned " barbarity" although I am sure there was violence, particularly coming from penal battalions (shtrafbats) or soldiers who had their entire families wiped out by Nazis.

      Another thing granddad told me that it was Red Army soldiers ( not Americans, French or Brits) who had orders to share their rations with Germans immediately after the war.

      I was very surprised…

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    3. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      And by the way at least until recently Russia was a good customer for some of Oz meat and wool exports. One of the multinationals who almost control world trade in grain has significant wheat suppliers in Russia. Cheap journalism does not sit well with an academic teaching career.

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  19. David Heslin

    Melburnian

    Lynch does seem to have written his article from a very fixed ideological position, but I don't understand the blatant denial of Russia's war crimes in Germany.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_during_the_occupation_of_Germany

    Hundreds of thousands is the lower estimate, mind you.

    Yes, we know it was 'retaliation' (although, as always, vented on the most vulnerable and least culpable). But it was an 'invasion' under any definition of the word, and it was most certainly barbaric. Unless you think a few hundred thousand/two million rapes is just a bit of "letting off steam", as Stalin is reported to have said.

    The people behind this petition have been blinded by nationalistic military propaganda. They are the ones who need a history book.

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    1. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to David Heslin

      Sorry, Stalin's exact quote is here:

      'Stalin responded to a Yugoslav partisan leader's complaints about the Red Army's conduct by saying, "Can't he understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometers through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle?"'

      Charming.

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    2. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Heslin

      Not really logical statement David.

      How is it possible through an invasion to bring freedom from fascism? What is the difference between an invasion and liberation then? Without this so called “invasion” from Western allies and Soviets fascism would stay there. Are you saying that Soviets invaded and Western allies not? If Western allies liberated and Soviets invaded this sounds even more cynical looking at the contribution made by both parties.

      Second, I am unaware that people all over Europe…

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    3. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Heslin

      If people like you David imply a term “barbaric” based on rapes I’d like to let you know, if you are still not aware, then women after rapes can still live. So, the Soviet (not the Russian, btw as this is historically completely incorrect) troops participated in rapes and for now leaving behind the reasons I’d like to highlight for you again that raped women in their vast majority remained alive.

      On the other hand, Western allies committed far worse atrocities, just two examples of them are
      a…

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    4. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      If you go to Kirkenes, near the very top of Norway, where I've been twice, you will find a monument celebrating their liberation from the Germans, by the "Russians." There is much gratitude for this event, particularly from the older generation. The first time we went we were advised that it is unwise to speak German (not that I can) in front of older people.

      This is not an opinion on anything above, just a statement of fact.

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    5. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      As usual, wrong again. The casualties at Dresden were ca. 35,000. The figures were inflated by Goebbels, who added a zero. These figures were confirmed by a commission of eminent German historians in 2007. I have the reference, but it's in German.

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    6. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      David, historians still argue over the number of deaths. However, there were so many refugees in the city at the time that the real figure will almost certainly never be known. Figures are between 35 thousand and 350 thousand and your own one only reference may not be credible at all. I can find twenty references stating that my numbers are right.

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    7. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Perhaps, we should explore academic sources (not wikipedia), be more objective and also discuss "barbarity" of the US soldiers? They have also raped and murdered civilians, if you care to do some reading on the subject.

      Work that looked at sexual assaults by American soldiers, even on a small scale, remained controversial. J. Robert Lilly’s “Taken by Force,” a groundbreaking study of rapes of French, German and British civilian women by G.I.’s, based on courts-martial records Mr. Lilly uncovered…

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    8. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena, the Dresden Historiker Commission was a group of 12 recognised historians who have studied the subject in detail and examined the historical records and physical evidence. If you have the 20 references, please present them minus the internet kludges - just peer reviewed professional papers or books by recognised historians will do. The figure of 35,000 is accepted by eminent British historians such as Richard Evans. If you can read German, I am happy to post the reference to the Historiker Commission so that you can read it for yourself and understand that they did a very thorough job of examining the evidence.
      You, on the other hand, are not a historian. You are not a physicist either.

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    9. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      You are a historian providing so far no references to any of your claims. Just womdering which uni you graduated from. Is this our lovely Melbourne uni?
      P.S. In physics I understand more than you in history. It appears you mixed two topics together. We are discusisng events of 1944-1945 in here but not physics.

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    10. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to john davies

      Thank you John.

      I’ve never been to Kirkenes and appreciate your comments that people in Europe and old people in particular do remember who liberated them and who invaded.

      This is why when I read about rapes conducted by the Soviet AND btw Western troops in Germany and in Europe , as Olga put in her message, I always remember that yes, that was bad but in fact a little number of people were killed because of that. This is too far from being barbarian in the context of that war, as opposed…

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    11. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Roth

      David, I apologise for quoting Spiegel and not the academic sources, but it clearly states that The Nazis were the first to exaggerate the number of victims for propaganda purposes, and the communists were liable to push the numbers up during the post-war period, in order to discredit the Anglo-Americans... Finally, neo-Nazis in modern Germany conjure up dizzyingly high figures running into the hundreds of thousands, while at the same time playing down or denying the World War II mass murder of the Jews and the Roma and Sinti, hoping thereby to convince their fellow-citizens that the Allied bombing of Germany was an even worse “holocaust” than the actual one.

      The above indicates very clearly that the number of casualties has always been manipulated, and who knows, maybe by 2070 Dresden Commission of Historians will further revise the current estimate of 18,000 - 25,000 or even, report that there were no bombing at all?

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    12. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      This is what historians say, read the whole article
      http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p247_Lutton.html

      Quote: “The exact number of casualties will never be known. McKee believed that the official figures were understated, and that 35,000 to 45,000 died, though "the figure of 35,000 for one night's massacre alone might easily be doubled to 70,000 without much fear of exaggeration, I feel."

      This means even historians who saw everything with their own eyes are not sure.

      The London Edition of…

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    13. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena, the pictures of Babiy Yar in the link you have provided are extremely disturbing, I really wish I could un-see them. I guess what bothers me most in the history of ww2 war crimes is the Nazi practicality and efficient, calculated approach used to exterminate as many people in a very short time using as little resources as possible.

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    14. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      Yes, I agree that Goebbels and others (e.g. David Irving) exaggerated the numbers. But it does not follow that if others have manipulated the numbers for political reasons, that a group of respectable German historians would try to minimise the numbers. Why would they do so? I have had the advantage of thoroughly reading the report and I (and recognised professional historians) believe that it is soundly based on the evidence. In my reply to Elena, I have given the url.

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    15. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      A group of respectable German historians in 2050 will issue a statement that nobody was killed in Dresden. Just watch this space. After that in 2100 a Group of American historians will print a joint memorandum that Russia invaded Germany in 1941 and raped all German population, including men, women and even all monkeys in Berlin's zoo.

      I trust that in 1945 people could estimate much better their losses than in 2008 for the period of 1945. I am also an adult and aware that to know the exact losses happened in chaos with millions of displaced unregistered refugees is just not possible. Therefore I am aware that some cynical historians may say in 2008 that they counted 23654 people killed in Dresden and this would clearly prove to me who these historians are and why they reached this conclusion.

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    16. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Invasion is the correct designation for one country entering another country's borders and taking control of (at least part of) it. All else is just euphemism and political whitewashing—propaganda, essentially.

      If you invade my house and then I chase you out and invade your house, then yes, of course I have invaded it.

      This semantic discussion reminds me somewhat of the debate over whether the US had 'invaded' or 'liberated' Iraq. Invasion is invasion.

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    17. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      So, you think mass rape is not 'barbaric' because it is possible for people to do worse (and yes, I agree that the atrocities committed by the allies in Dresden and Hiroshima were worse)? I'm sorry, that's just pure apologism.

      Amazing the things that people turn a blind eye to because it happened in the context of a warfare. Imagine one person committing one brutal rape—would you not think that was a barbaric act? Now imagine many soldiers inflicting hundreds of thousands of these rapes upon a terrified populace. Sickening that anyone would want to explain away these atrocities.

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    18. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      The problem here is that I was never apologising for war crimes committed by American soldiers. As a matter of fact, I am already aware of those reports and think that the Western powers need to be upfront about their tolerance of these acts. I would not criticise any academic who referred to these actions as 'barbaric'. So, no, I have not been blinded by nationalistic military propaganda.

      On the other hand, using analogous events to deflect attention from atrocities is a common apologist tactic and, funnily enough, something that the current Russian government is quite fond of doing.

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    19. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Heslin

      Could you give us examples of that David; of the current Russian government using analogous events to deflect attention from atrocities?

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    20. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Easy—though not an atrocity per se, criticism of Russia's invasion of Crimea has been constantly met with the response of "well look at what the US did in Iraq". Classic deflection technique.

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    21. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to David Heslin

      Russia has invaded the Crimea? That's what the US and the EU claim and Russia denies. There's no proof of an invasion. And who has responded with "well look at what the US did in Iraq"? Anyone who was against the US actions in Iraq would hardly be likely to excuse what are claimed to be similar actions by Russia in the Crimea.

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    22. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Heslin

      A lot of speculation David but no any answer to my very simple questions.

      I will repeat.
      1. Based on your definition of invasion, are you happy to say here that Western allies, i.e. the Brits and Americans mainly, INVADED Germany in 1945?
      2. Please demonstrate historical references where historians say that liberation of Europe by Western allies was an invasion. Just show this word used by our historians.
      3. Based on your logic of war crimes and bombing of Dresden and Japan where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and lost of European women were raped by Western troops also are you happy to say that our advance to Germany was barbaric?
      4. Where our historians name us as barbarians based on our war crimes committed in WW2? Please show me a single book.

      Please no speculation, just yes or no responses to questions 1 and 3 and links to sources for questions 2 and 4.

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    23. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Heslin

      I thought we are talking about WW2 David but not about the modern Crimea :). Anyway…btw, even lots of Western military people do not name it an invasion in Crimea but you do. Murdoch press I am sure published lots of articles about this “invasion” with no single shot fired :)

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    24. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena,
      As I said at the outset, I was only talking about the date of Soviet Army entering German territory. It was late 1944 and I have already given you (twice) a number of references for that.
      I haven't been talking about 'invasion' and you will not find that word in my comments here.
      If you read the material I have already suggested, you will find answers to your questions.
      As for East Prussian history, you might read 'The Death of East Prussia. War and Revenge in Germany's Easternmost…

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    25. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      Thanks David. So, as we all see, after the Treaty of Versailles some German territories, as I said above, became Polish and some, as you mentioned, used a plebiscite to still remain German.

      Areas remaining German after a plebiscite, as you pointed out, are here
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Prussian_plebiscite

      Now, these areas are specifically described in terms of their town centers. Now it is easy to chase when they were liberated during WW2.
      Lyck – Jan 1945
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E%C5%82k

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    26. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to David Roth

      David Roth, my four questions were put to David Heslin, so need to reply about 1944 and 1945.

      However, I also put dates of liberation of some towns from east Prussia from your plebiscite list and if you go through them all, you would find they were liberated in 1945. Just split east Prussia into two bits: one Polish and one German from the plebiscite. The Polish part was liberated in 1944 and 1945 and the German towns from your list from Wiki all in 1945. Please go city by city with dates...

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    27. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      David, you have missed my point. It is evident that during the last months of ww2 all Allies ( liberators) behaved similarly on occupied territories. And to this day, neither of them are willing to face it.

      It is, however, very strange that war crimes of one nation are very quietly swept under the carpet but the crimes of the other are exaggerated, talked about, broadcasted, books are written, Hollywood movies are made, "not available before" archive information conveniently emerges just at the…

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    28. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Also, sorry to be annoying but isn't there supposed to be an "o" in the spelling of " Melbournian"?

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    29. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      1. Yes.

      2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Allied_invasion_of_Germany

      Wasn't that hard to find.

      3. Of course. Probably more so.

      4. Of course our historians don't, because like everywhere we are committed to a sanitised version of history that makes our troops look great and the enemy look evil. Witness the backlash if anyone dared criticise the actions of diggers in World War 2—the Herald Sun would have a field day. That's exactly what's happening here in the Russian community's response to Lynch's article.

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    30. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      Are you doubting the veracity of the claims of mass rape? There has been much literature on this, which I can certainly find for you if you don't wish to look for yourself. It happened.

      I certainly agree with you that our version of history is hypocritical and that we are much happier to condemn the atrocities of others than acknowledge our own. But that wasn't what Lynch was writing about; he was talking about the history of Russian conquest over the last century (from which, whether the Russian community likes it or not, the occupation of Berlin can hardly be omitted).

      Now, he may well have an agenda, and I don't necessarily agree with the conclusions he draws. But I am very perturbed by the outrage caused by his choice of wording in referring to the barbarity of the Russian Army during the invasion of Germany. It just seems like wilful denial of history to me.

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    31. Alex Peace

      translator

      In reply to David Heslin

      David, I doubt the veracity of rape claims. In many cases that could be a handy excuse for having and abortion, which were forbidden in Germany before 1944. I doubt the numbers, but I am not saying that there were none rapes at all. But definitely not more than rapes committed by the allies.
      In any case, Stalin never gave orders to rape German women, so whatever happened, was a "local undertaking' and here it is different from say, bombings of German cities by the allies. Those were deliberate…

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    32. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Alex Peace

      Wow. Well, I'm sure you have your reasons for denying uncomfortable facts, but you might like to start by reading this (hardly anti-Russian) study:

      http://http-server.carleton.ca/~jevans/2509/grossmann.pdf

      Your final paragraph leaves me incredulous. Perhaps this quote may help to explain the mentality of the time:

      "Avenge! You are a soldier-avenger! … Kill the German, and then jump the German woman! This is how a soldier celebrates victory!"

      This wasn't just women looking for an excuse to have an abortion, by the way. From the Wikipedia article:

      "Female deaths in connection with the rapes in Germany, overall, are estimated at 240,000"

      Perhaps our lives here in the west are a little too safe and sanitised to understand the barbarity that can be visited upon civilians in times of war.

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    33. Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Lecturer in International Studies at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Alex Peace

      My feelings toward the paragraph of you comment are the same as David Heslin's: it also leaves me incredulous.

      I will not dispute the numbers of the alleged rapes because I never researched this area. However, I want to remind you that rape is very common in any war, it always has been and will continue as long as fight wars with ground troops.

      Secondly, we do have the unreserved admission from Stalin that it was an acceptable if not even an encouraged behaviour, and certainly conceived as…

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    34. Alex Peace

      translator

      In reply to David Heslin

      So David,
      As I read from your reference:
      a. the numbers of rapes were derived on "the basis of Hochrechnungen (projections and estimations)"
      b. There were already "expectations of rape" fuelled by Nazi propaganda (by sub-human, Mongol- looking Soviets)
      c. At the time, "Rape came as just one more in a series of horrible deprivations and humiliations of war and defeat"
      So I will not add anything from myself here.

      Yes, there were calls for revenge as Red Army invaded Germany, but Stalin…

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    35. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Thanks Aleksandra, I appreciate your comments and agree that rapes happened in all wars and they are happening in Iraq now as we speak, it is enough to go to youtube and put some key words. Then we would see the US soldiers doing just that on Iraqi soil. I am just wondering if historians would name them as barbarians. Definitely not.

      Looking at the WW2 events and rapes in particular we can notice that
      - In Italy about 60,000 women from ages 11 to 85 suffered this in May 1944 from French troops…

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    36. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Aleksandra, you also made some interesting comments about Stalin and some Polish experience of your relatives where I would like to share my views.

      I do not think Stalin actively encouraged rapes in Germany, because that is not what becomes apparent from his statements. What is borne out by the evidence is that he TOLERATED it until he realized that it affected the fighting performance of the troops on the ground and saw it as disadvantageous for his plans to create a Communist state on German…

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    37. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      David, I do not think that your link in Q.2 represents a view of any reputable historian. Wiki is not the sourse for this info.

      I think Elena wanted to see a statement of any reputable historian naming our troops as invaders in WW2 when they came to Germany.

      I also apprecaite your other comments you've made in answering 1, 3 and 4..

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    38. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Ian Kershaw in 'The End. Germany 1944-45' describes the entry of the Soviet Army into East Prussia as an invasion. I regard him as a reputable historian. Invasion in this context does not mean that the Red Army were the aggressors - clearly the Nazis were and had to be defeated. 'Invade' means to enter with armed force. The Allied landings in Normandy in 1944 were also described as an invasion.

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    39. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Roth

      Thanks David. Is Ian Kershaw saying also in his book that our British and the US troops were invaders? Is there any chance to see a link to that?

      I am just asking because to me this word should be used in the context of any war, otherwise this does not make sence. Seeing barbarian invaders in combination would be also interesting :)

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    40. Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Lecturer in International Studies at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      I totally agree that the term 'barbarian' is used very selectively and in relation to specific ethnicities/groups/regions that are conceived as 'the Other', a potential enemy to be feared. I agree that the use of this term in this particular context was inflammatory, and representative of deep-rooted divisions of Europe into the West (civilised) and the East (uncivilised, thus barbarian). Because of these deep-rooted divisions, the Western allies have not been, and probably will never be classified as 'barbarian'.

      Lynch's application of this term, coupled with another contentious term 'invasion', making it even more explosive, reeks of the old-fashioned Cold War era - style discourse. I fear that this discourse will reappear now that Russia is making moves comparable to Soviet-era politics.

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    41. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Yes, Kershaw says that D-Day was an Allied invasion. p. 534 (the index). Sorry, I don't have a link, but I'm sure you can find the book in the library or bookshop (I did) or reviews on the internet or on Kindle. Like you, I don't regard Wikipedia as a reliable source. And yes, invasion is used in the sense of entry with armed force in numerous books about WW1 and WW2. It does not necessarily mean that the invader is the aggressor. As for 'barbarian invaders', I'm not aware of any such references by reputable historians of WW2. But I have seen references to acts of barbarism, which you have agreed always happens in wartime. Martin Gilbert's book on the History of the 20th Century 1933-1951 was called 'Descent into Barbarism'.

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    42. Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Lecturer in International Studies at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      I used the example of my aunt to exemplify the fear of rape that was present on the territories not yet occupied by the Russians. This fear made my grandparents make a decision to hide my aunt - in hindsight, a very bad decision because, as you say and I totally agree, the soldiers were searching all the houses to secure the area. For what they knew, my family could have been hiding a German soldier, and not their young daugther. The fear of rape was stronger than common sense. Luckily, they escaped any retribution for their actions, thanks to the officer in charge, who acted very reasonably, but it could have been a different story.

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    43. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Let's keep in mind here that, contrary to the outraged presumptions in the change.org petition, the word "barbarian" was never used in Lynch's article. He described the "barbarity" of the invasion itself. I'm quite comfortable with that description (and would happily apply it to all other mass crimes committed against civilians during or after war, whichever side perpetrated them).

      I find it very disconcerting that the people responsible for the petition (and those who agree with them here) are more outraged by potentially "disrespecting soldiers" than the whitewashing of crimes against civilians, which goes on today in this very thread.

      Even if it was inappropriate in the context of the article (which I don't necessarily believe), I applaud Lynch for dropping this reference—education is clearly sorely needed in this area.

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    44. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      There was not a complete absence of rapes in the "Allied" occupation either.

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    45. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      War is a denial of civilisation and always has been. Soldiers are often cannon fodder ,desperate and no better than they should be. No value in denial or "they were worse than our boys" -let us just concentrate on avoiding wars or quickly getting effective peace keepers in .

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    46. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Playing with words will not help you David.

      Just demonstrate the following
      1. If any historian said “’the barbarity of the US (or British) invasion” to Germany based on your invasion definition and war crimes committed by the British and American soldiers, including rapes, bombing of civilians, etc highlighted here. Anybody said that?
      2. You missed a very important point mentioned by many in here and I’ll highlight it again. The Red army consisted of lots of nations and not only the Russians…

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    47. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Hello Aleksandra, is it possible that your Polish relatives' anticipation of the possibility of rape by an invading army was due to what they had already witnessed in the German invasion?
      Also Wiki's source for the the purported assumption of Stalin's acquiescence in the rape of the German women folk was Tito's heir apparent. I don't think they would have liked each other much. I am not for the life of me trying to excuse Stalin of all people, but one source! You are an academic, if we cannot rely on your partiality, what hope have we got?

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    48. Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Lecturer in International Studies at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Hi Chris, from what my family tells me, rape was not an issue under the German occupation or during the initial invasion by the German army. However, it is only one family's story, I only mentioned it to exemplify the fear of rape. My family suffered tremendously under the German occupation but curiously the story of hiding my aunt from the Russians has remained witrh me all this time. As I said, only an example from a real-life experience.

      Re: Stalin acquiescence, I do remember reading about it in multiple sources but it was some time ago and I have no recollection of the details. You are absolutely right that relying on one source is unacceptable for an academic, and this is why I said from the beginning that I cannot comment on numbers of the alleged rapes - I simply don't know enough about it.

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    49. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Aleksandra has already said it but I will try again. What impression in your opinion this article will have on the common Age reader ( typically a person with hazy or non-existent knowledge of ww2). What conclusions will readers draw? Russians are barbaric invaders and suppressors of civil societies, known for nothing else but vodka and caviar.

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    50. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Peace

      Alex, I think when discussing crimes of former USSR it's also important to consider them in the contest of Russian Orthodox Christianity. My understanding is ( and 2012 stats I have posted earlier seem to confirm this) that rape is not a very common crime in Russia. At least nowhere as common as it is in Belgium, Egypt, US or Africa.

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    51. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Andrew, entirely agree.

      The main point why people were offended is the whole sentence combined and many times mentioned in comments and because it was directed to the Russians only, while the Soviet army was multinational.
      Therefore, I agree with your earlier post and this one saying that the whole sentence combined with a number of misleading statements might be considered as a breach of the current Racial Discrimination Act.

      This Act in its clause 18c says that it is unlawful to offend…

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    52. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      1. This is lazy, because of course any historian with an ounce of ethics and compassion would refer to the bombings in Dresden, Tokyo and Hiroshima as 'barbaric'. Whether or not it's commonplace is another matter; Western war propaganda is just as bad as the Russian equivalent. We all try to make our own side look good and the other look bad. Objectively, the Allies committed many barbaric acts and to refer to "the barbarity of the Western allied invasion of Germany" should not make anyone bat an…

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    53. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      It's a big stretch to suggest that this article could have a negative effect on the average reader's view of Russian people per se. It's a piece about geopolitics, not ethnic prejudice. Most people here in the West are gradually waking up to how vile the Putin government is and this article will do little more than confirm that. As for people who don't know anything about World War 2, I doubt they read Fairfax papers—The Herald Sun or "My Pet Goat" is probably more their news source of choice.

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    54. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      I would hesitate to make too many presumptions about these statistics one way or the other, but I'd guess that this may come down to issues of reportage. Russia is still in some ways a more patriarchal society than Australia and elsewhere. I can't think of any reason why they would have a significantly higher or lower rate of occurrence than here.

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    55. Alex Peace

      translator

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      Olga, I am afraid you could have misunderstood what I tried to say. I believe that rapes is not a crime of the country, it is a crime of individuals who commit them. And this is also relevant to alleged rapes of German women during WW2.
      I also was surprised by the alleged numbers and very suspicious, that the numbers based on "projections and estimations" may be not true. Crimes of former USSR? GULAGs, execution of Polish officers, sure there are more...
      As for Christianity, I believe that during WW2 substantial part of the troops were atheists, definitely all the communists were.

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    56. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Thanks David. This article from NY Times gives again just one word but not a combination I believe. Often a combination of words sounds really harsh, whereas one sounds still ok. Also, the NY times article is written in a totally different manner to what we discuss here. Remember, 18C “fair and accurate report” vs yellow press. That’s what it is.

      Also, the Russian military reps have the Russian ethnicity I believe. In fact, if you read the whole sentence again it is all about the barbarity of…

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    57. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Well, every article has an effect and the tone of The Age one is similar to what might be written by a secondary school individual rather than an academic.

      In relation to “Most people here in the West are gradually waking up to how vile the Putin government is…”all I can say is LOL. You know why? Just because Russia is a bear and please remember that. Nothing would happen to you if you do not touch a bear. As soon as you touch, you are in trouble.

      Just refresh three recent events happening…

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    58. Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Lecturer in International Studies at University of Technology, Sydney

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Sorry Andrew, what was 'polite' about grabbing Crimea? I can only think of something akin to 'politeness' on the part of the Ukrainian military that didn't repsond to the many provocations to avoid a confrontation. I don't know if it's just me but I can't see anything 'polite' on the part of Putin. Brilliant strategy on his part, yes. Outwitting the west, yes. But politeness, definitely not.

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    59. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Aleksandra Hadzelek

      Aleksandra, I was referring to the term “polite people” which you obviously know was used to name the Russian army in Crimea. The term is widely used not only by the Russians but also by the US military to specifically describe a unique event when no single shot was fired but Crimea was captured.

      It was not about the politeness of the Ukrainian military. There were several reasons why they did not use weapons.
      The first was having no proper orders from Kiev.
      The second was they did not want…

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    60. Olga Fogel

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      David, if you don't mind me asking - who exactly said it and where exactly did you get this quote: "Avenge! You are a soldier-avenger! … Kill the German, and then jump the German woman! This is how a soldier celebrates victory!"

      When copied into browser it points to two wikipedia articles :)

      I have another good quote for you:
      “The problem with quotes on the internet is you never know if they are genuine.”
      ― Joseph Stalin

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    61. David Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Olga Fogel

      The quote is claimed to be from a memoir in Russian, 'Zapiski Gadkogo Utenka', by a soviet soldier, Grigorii Pomerants, and is quoted in the book 'The Soviet Counter-Insurgency in the Western Borderlands' by Alexandr Statiev.

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    62. David Heslin

      Melburnian

      In reply to Andrew Gilmour

      Putin is a harmless bear in the woods eating berries until he gets prodded. Hilarious. I suppose you think he has no imperialist/expansionist agenda at all. And what a philanthropist, with his support of the Assad regime and all (and not that Syria is of any geopolitical interest to Russia, obviously)! A real humanitarian is our Vladimir.

      What I find disturbing about the whole 18C thing is that you seriously see it as applicable in the case of a slightly jaundiced but mostly clear-eyed analysis that happens to (justifiably) break a certain taboo, whereas you think your wholesale regurgitation of Russian state propaganda makes for a decent rebuttal. The fact is that the arguments provided by you and several others are far more offensive than anything put by Lynch, but I would still defend your right to make them. Outrage (manufactured or otherwise) should never dictate the freedom to political expression.

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    63. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      Yeah, David, some people are moaning from their privileged perch about how their precious freedom of speech is under threat.

      Cry me a river. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from any responsibility for what comes out of their mouth. If they say racist, sexist, homophobic things, don’t be surprised if public would call them out as racists, sexists or homophobes. It might even mean such freely talking people may face protests, boycotts and other displays of social disapproval. Or it might…

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    64. Andrew Gilmour

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Heslin

      David, to answer a part of your comment about Putin (freedom of speech is already addressed) and who he is I can only recommend you reading the latest US military analytics reports. This is what I do.

      Since he came to power, he was capable to
      - Stop a bloody war in Chechnya. This was an enormous effort but he had no choice.
      The capital of Chechnya Grozny-city now
      http://www.lidovky.cz/groznyj-vstal-z-trosek-a-stavi-mrakodrapy-plati-to-allah-peg-/zpravy-svet.aspx?c=A111006_120435_ln_zahranici_mtr

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  20. Tatiana Pech

    logged in via email @mail.ru

    Hello everyone from Ukraine

    My name is Tatiana and sorry for my possible errors in English because two times I wanted to pass IELTS and can not get 7 which is a passmark :-).

    I was one of those signing a petition about prof Lynch and today I was googling to see how it goes and found this good article.

    I signed a petition because prof Lynch in my mind made racial comments about Russian people and disrespected war veterans. I am not Russian but my grand grandfather was a Ukrainian officer…

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  21. Liudmyla Rogozhyna

    logged in via Facebook

    I like this article. People who have never been in Ukraine, Belorussia and Russia, didn't see the Khatin, Babii Yar or even Osventcim, didn't understand what was the Second World War for us, people from these countries. I understand, from the modern point of view about Russia, some historics like to write about Russia aggression, imperial ambition and come-back-to USSR and explaine the historical facts like they want. But 20 mln people from USSR were died in the Second World War, not from Germany. Writing about Stalin, Hitler, let don't forget EACH family in ex-USSA countries has people who have never come back from the Was. My own family has lost two men, one come back and one little girl, the sister of my grandfather was died of starvation during the German occupation. Tell me something more about ideology!
    My strond recommendation to historians - let's come to us, welcome to Ukraine, learning the history of Second World War. ;) I hope somebody will be brave.

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    1. Elena Berwick

      Accountant

      In reply to Liudmyla Rogozhyna

      Liudmyla, thanks for your post. I apprecaite that even people from overseas comment here.

      People in Australia in their vast majority are unaware of the USSR's contribution to WW2 and many of them think that it was the US only winning that war. Some others think that the USSR attacked Germany first. I noticed a variety of "interesting" opinions.

      Luckily Australian people did not lose a lot in that war and therefore many, in particular our younger generation, have no appreciation what price was paid by your country, Russia or Belarus. I've heard that every 4th person from Belarus died in WW2, although not sure about this number. It is a lot. Massive. Huge.

      Therefore, I really understand why so many people feel offended and insulted.

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    2. Alex Peace

      translator

      In reply to Elena Berwick

      Elena, I believe that the reason for Australian people not knowing much about the war with Hitler, is the one-sided, biased mass media. The vast majority (just about everything) of which belongs to Murdoch and can be used very efficiently for brain-washing.
      But it all starting to change now that there is Internet and there are forums like this.

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  22. Serguei Krouglov

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Lynch's argument there are no argument just absent basic of knowledge abou subject most of citis in north ,central germany were distroied by Americans and English and most of Civilians casualties done by them. Soud like it is popular anty Russian hysterya affect Australia too.

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