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25 April 2022


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Stan Hister

So Lloyd George is just being a pragmatist but when Lenin operates in a similar manner, he is cynical and devious? Yikes! I think when it comes to having blood on one's hands, I don't see Lloyd George (world war/empire) as being noticeably better than Lenin. Why the double standard? I'm a big fan of the podcast and have learned a lot from it, but I think on Russia, maybe the issues are still too close for objectivity, even a century later. The temptation is to fall into stereotypes. For example in this segment, on the national minorities, it was all just cynical ploys by the Bolsheviks? Vladimir Putin sure doesn't think so: his speech just before the invasion denounced Lenin precisely for giving the Ukrainians and other national minorities too much freedom. It's too easy to dismiss Lenin as a cynical operator or power-hungry totalitarian. The truth is more complicated but also more interesting. And it raises a big question: is there ever any justification for revolution, and if so, what price is one willing to pay?


Follow up requests: 1) Latvian Riflemen - what happened to them? 2) Kropotkin - how'd he differ from Bakunin? From Lenin?

The characterization of the Tatar ASSR appears to be rather exaggerated, if not downright inaccurate.

1) Were "75%" of Tatars purposefully excluded from it? Per the first all-Soviet 1926 census, 39% of ALL Tatars (1.3m/3.3m) resided within the Tatar ASSR - and that's including Crimean, Siberian, and Mishar Tatars, many of whom live nowhere near the Tatar ASSR and are sometimes considered separate ethnicities due to linguistic divergence.

An additional 18% (0.6m/3.3m) lived in the neighboring Bashkir ASSR, mixed within the closely related Bashkir majority. Neighboring majority-Russian administrative regions (e.g., Samara, Penza, Saratov) included a maximum 3% (100k+) each.

The incomplete 1920 census gives similar figures - i.e., there's no indication of a large migration of Tatars between regions.

2) Was the Tatar ASSR maliciously packed full of ethnic Russians? Google "ethnic map of Tatarstan" (or neighboring Bashkortostan) - the ethnicities were (and remain) highly intermixed. And it gets more complicated as the cities tended to be majority Russian. E.g., the capital Kazan was 74% Russian in 1920 (70% in 1926)! An "ethnically pure" Tatar republic would have to be a non-contiguous Gerrymander that excluded the largest population centers.

In sum, the specific claims appear false at first glance. I can imagine that possible minor border changes could have concentrated a few more Tatars in one republic, though you would then risk separating Bashkirs and Russians from their ethnic kin. But the proof would have to be specific evidence of such decisions being made, not statements that plainly disagree with available demographic data.


Another excellent episode that succinctly describes the aggressive acts of the Bolsheviks against their neighbors. Very timely, and well done. . Thank you.

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