Ivan Kurilla is a Professor of History and International Relations at the European University at St. Petersburg. He specializes in the history of the US–Russian relations, especially during American antebellum and Civil War period. He’s the author of Zaokeanskie partnery: Amerika i Rossiya v 1830-1850-e gody (Partners across the Ocean: The United States and Russia, 1830s–1850s). His scholarship in English includes “Abolition of Serfdom in Russia and American Newspaper and Journal Opinion” in New Perspectives on Russian-American Relations, edited by Norman Saul and Russian/Soviet Studies in the United States, Amerikanistika in Russia: Mutual Representations in Academic Projects, edited with Victoria Zhuraleva and published by Lexington Books.
Funkadelic, “One Nation Under a Groove,” The Best, 1999.
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By Sean — 2 years ago
Balazs Jarabik is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his research focuses on Ukraine and Eastern Europe. His most recent article is “Reform and Resistance: Ukraine’s Selective State.”
Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean,” Thriller, 1982.Post Views: 391
By Sean — 11 years ago
Seventy years ago today the infamous Operational Order No. 00447 was approved by the Politburo of the Soviet Union. The Order launched, according to the document, “a campaign of punitive measures against former kulaks, active anti-soviet elements, and criminals.” In the appending memo to Stalin’s personal secretary, A. N. Poskrebyshev, M. P. Frinovsky, then deputy commissar of the NKVD, wrote, “I ask that you send the decree to members of the Politburo for their vote, and please send an extract of relevant items to Comrade Ezhov.”
Dated 30 July 1937, the document outlines which groups would be subjected to “punitive measures,” how they would be carried out, and provided execution and arrest quotas for every oblast and autonomous republic.
The document split those subject to “punitive measures” into two categories. The document reads:
- “To the first category belong all the most active of the above mentioned elements [kulaks, former Whites, criminals, Mensheviks and other anti-soviet parties, fascists, religious sectarians, etc]. They are subject to immediate arrest and, after consideration of their case by the troikas, to be shot.
- To the second category belong all the remaining less active but nonetheless hostile elements. They are subject to arrest and to confinement in concentration camps for a term ranging from 8 to 10 years, while the most vicious and socially dangerous among them are subject to confinement for similar terms in prisons as determined by the troikas.”
Quotas for the first category range from 100 (in Komi ASSR and Kalmuk ASSR, for example) to 5000 (in Western Siberia, Moscow oblast, and Azov-Black Sea). Estimates for the second category ranged from 300 (again in Komi and Kalmuk) to 30,000 (Moscow).
The quotas were merely guidelines for execution and arrest. Considering that they all end in zeros says that the Party had no idea how many “anti-Soviet elements” roamed the country. The quotas were merely estimates presumably made from local NKVD reports. The quotas give a total estimate of 50,950 in the first category and 167,200 in the second category. A grand total of 218,150 persons. The order essentially transfered almost all criminal proceedings to NKVD troikas in 1937-38. According to figures released by the Russian Government in 1995, troikas handed down 688,000 sentences or 87% of all criminal sentences in the USSR in 1937 and 75% in 1938. A total of 681,692 people were sentenced to be shot in 1937-38, with 92.6% of those sentences handed down by troikas.
What is interesting about the Order is where it placed the power to deem an individual (and/or their family members) subject to “punitive measures.” Troikas (three man commissions) were to comprise of commissars of the republic’s NKVD or by regional departments. The minutes of the troikas investigation were the sole legal basis for a person’s execution or arrest. The day to day implementation of the mass operations was essentially outside the purview of central organs. Stalin basically handed local NKVD agents the power to wipe out their local rivals. And a bloodbath ensued. Most of the victims of this blind terror were regular people, most without any political connections at all.
An English translation of Operational Order 00447 can be found in J. Arch Getty, The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939, p. 473-480.Post Views: 737
By Sean — 11 years ago
NASA has been hit with another scandal. Intrigued, I watched the CNN coverage today only to repeatedly roll my eyes at all the references to the “Right Stuff”. God who writes this copy? Kind of makes me sorry for Wolf Blizer who has to read that swill. Well maybe not that sorry.
It appears there is a Russian connection in all this. According the NASA report’s findings, one American astronaut flew on a Russian spacecraft after some heavy pre-flight drinking. You guessed it. The Russians have a little toasting ceremony several hours before being shot into space like monkeys. Here is how Dr. Ellen Ochoa described the ritual during Friday’s press conference:
There is a ceremony in Kazakhstan that happens about 7-1/2 hours before launch. I don’t know if crew members have actually ever drank alcohol. I have even been in the ceremony, and I still don’t know the answer to that. It is really a situation in which there is a chance to say a few parting words, and the Russians who, of course, manage and sort of control the practices of that, for them it is a great tradition. In their society, it was done with Yuri Gagarin went and flew, and they had a few parting words.
Really, the intent of the ceremony is to share a few special moments with a crew that is about to go off on a mission. I actually don’t know if any crews have ever had a sip of the champagne that is handed around or not. That is a potential situation, though, in which alcohol is present in that 12 hours. I don’t believe there is any –well, I know I don’t have any concern about there being a crew member under the influence or effects of alcohol.
The policy that I have put out explicitly states the 12 hours. I am going to be having discussions with members of the Russian Space Agency to talk over this and to talk with our Expedition crew members, to talk about how we can respect the culture and traditions of the Russian Space Agency and making sure that we are doing everything that complies with our practice and our desire to make sure that everything is safe and that we have no issues with safety or mission success.
Well if Gagarin could do it then why not? Plus what’s a few shots 7 1/2 hours before a space flight? Especially since it’s now clear American astronauts aren’t the poster children for sobriety. Also could there be a better way for NASA to put that $19 million Russian toilet that turns piss into drinking water to use? Much ado about nothing. I gotta say,be sure I’d down a few beforehand
if was going to be shot into space. And be sure it wouldn’t 7 1/2 hours before the flight. It would be about 7 1/2 minutes.
Post Views: 183