The Soviet authorities manipulated the citizens with the help of numbers. What has changed since then?
“Five-year plan in four years” — this slogan is known, perhaps, to everyone who happened to live in Soviet times. But how managed to complete the first five-year plan ahead of schedule, when all the evidence suggests just the opposite? In his book “the Soviet statistical Jogayle and the epic” the political geographer Dmitry Oreshkin shows how the Soviet government with the help of the statistics manipulated the minds of the masses. During her presentation, held at the Sakharov center invited experts discussed this phenomenon. “Ribbon.ru” quotes from their speeches.
Dmitry Oreshkin, a political scientist and a political geographer:
I was a Soviet man. Like all Soviet people, I was looking at the Soviet power with a squint, but in General it seemed to me that, Yes, defeated Hitler, Yes, industrialization had, Yes, had done God knows what… But for some reason I’ve been writing this book? Because I was in excruciating disappointment. Whenever faced with facts, it turns out that it was not so and have no idea to what extent! My hair was moving, I was physically painful.
For example, I’m a geographer, I know that the country is systematically suffers from lack of transport infrastructure. And I absolutely without any ideological burden trying to understand how to build the railway. I read the book of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, “the Development of capitalism in Russia” (everyone read it, even outlined, but I read it as an adult). According to her, the Russian Empire was introduced in the 60-70-ies of the XIX century and a half thousand kilometers of the main road in a year. The end of the century was introduced 2.5 thousand. Figure and figure.
But I’m a scientist. Now, if the end of the century was added 2,5 thousand, and this pace would remain until 1985… If you multiply 2.5 thousand on 85, you’ll get 210 thousand kilometers. Plus it was built before the end of the century — about 70 thousand kilometers. A total of 280 thousand kilometers. In Soviet times, was built 147 thousand — less than half if I had the pace of railway construction of the late nineteenth century. Hell, where is the technological breakthrough? Where “effective Manager”? Where the five-year plan? In the United States by the end of XIX century and in the first years of the XX century there was introduced 400 thousand linear kilometers, although the area of the country in two times less than ours.
Well, I guess we’ll see what would happen if you have kept the growth of the railway network of at least 70-ies of the XIX century, when Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was written in diapers, Turgenev’s girl went through the pages of famous novels, and in the pond swam dog Mumu. Multiply fifteen hundred and get 85 127 thousand. Again it does not work.
Then begin to get into the statistics, thinking that you were wrong. And it turns out even the devil knows what — I compared with the late nineteenth century, and the railway is still under construction and until 1917, and how! When you start to study the statistics, it turns out that, for example, in 1899 year, Russia has put into operation more than five thousand kilometers. And in 1916, the military has put into operation six thousand kilometers. And this is the case, about which Lenin wrote: “a Capitalist Russia was developing rapidly true American”. Indeed, the average Americans have built 7-8 thousand miles a year, and here in a few years was 5-6 thousand.
“Five years, two and a half years”. Illustration from the book “the USSR is building socialism”
Photo: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images
Now take Soviet statistics. It is not! Take Stalin’s Great Soviet encyclopedia — a hefty Chapter on transport, and not a single kilometer of the way, at all. They say about “great initiative”, many times quoted comrade Stalin, comrade Lenin. A single year paired with numbers. The branches named, the length is not specified. It is unclear how many were built.
Then find in the official public reference 1987 that for the first two five-year plan was introduced, a total of 13.4 thousand kilometers. 7.5 for five years, even a little less. That is, in year one with something a thousand kilometers. Again, smaller than the king-priest, and not Nicholas Alexandrovich, and the Tsar-liberator [of Alexander II]. What is it?
Go further and see the already quite horrible things. The first five — year plan is scheduled to enter the 16 thousand-plus kilometers. In the book called “History of Railways”, published in 90-ies, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, writing that the system was introduced more than six thousand kilometers. That is the first five-year plan was completed by 40 percent.
Now the second five-year plan. In 1932 party conference is held, which defines the directives for the second five-year plan. And there in black and white: to build in five years 25-30 thousand kilometers, that is 5-6 thousand kilometres per year. That is focused on the best options pre-revolutionary era. Then, when, apparently, in 1933 understood the results of the first five-party Directive was reduced to 11 thousand — almost two and a half times. Quiet, no noise.
And then passed five years and second five-year plan ended, that it was built less than four thousand kilometers. If you compare with party directives, it or 11 (from 30 thousand) or 13 (25 thousand) percent. Behind these figures, Vyacheslav Molotov at the XVIII party Congress reports that the task of the party for the increased growth of transport development completed ahead of schedule.
And here is another story: well, no one in the audience does not know how many kilometers it was introduced and how much is planned? Probably there are, sit down and shut up. And that no one on your toes can’t count and say: guys, sorry, here’s the plan, but the reality? No, no. Moreover, in modern literature they write that the most significant achievements was the development of transport has made in the years of the Stalinist five-year plans. A second question arises: okay, in the hall you sit there and fear, but who are these people who sit at the top, hold the population, me in particular — after all, I was a Soviet man? And then you realize they just got you for a fool, they hang you noodles on the ears, you are eating it and applaud.
And then there is a third, the worst question: what happened with the environment, the world in which we exist, if no one can appreciate because no one? And then inevitably there is a problem that has happened with the brains of my beloved Fatherland, my loved multi-ethnic nation. He was deprived of the opportunity to realistically assess achievements, and he rapidly and continuously applauded, because I was reading something from the pages of the newspaper “Pravda” he told Vyacheslav Molotov.
Historical reconstruction of the events of the great Patriotic war. 2009
Photo: Alexander Demyanchuk / Reuters
Here the hair is moving in the other direction. After the war, in 1949, came the book of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin on the great Patriotic war. In life it was a distilled version. There are collected all the speeches of the leader, from November 7, 1941, and then the military orders that made and many deeds done, as the Nazis destroyed. I would like to summarize all the numbers and get almost 16 million people, while in the whole Nazi army in North Africa, and in Britain, and on the Eastern front was about five million.
Again, no snaps, no one will wonder. It was a shock for me personally in terms of understanding the country in which we live. And now when we are told that Stalin was an effective Manager, when it was order, I understand that this is a purely religious, irrational factor.
Well, how could it happen, that Ukrainian black soil in ten years, ceased to afford to grow potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, wheat? Ukraine is now only for export produces 40 million tons of grain. That is, the natural tendency was to grow carrots in the 20-30-ies of the destroyed?
The same thing happened with the population. In tsarist Russia the population has increased by 2-2. 7 million people a year. During the NEP, it grew even faster — about 3.5 million per year. That is six million are born, die 2,5, 3,5 remains. Count on fingers: 70 years of Soviet rule, three million increase per year stands at some $ 200 million. Where? The conclusion is very simple: my country is the only one in the world had such a destructive twentieth century. Destructive in every sense: the infrastructure, the population, the brains. What we are now getting, just the merit of the “effective Manager”.
I as a geographer perceive reality: traveling by night train from St. Petersburg to Moscow — the desert. Somewhere in the distance the light is on. And I know that before the revolution only in the Tver region was 12 thousand settlements, and now two thousand. When you go from Boston to new York in the United States and travel from the area of continuous settlement within a hundred kilometers you drive through the city, which is called Boves, “Boston — Washington”. And we have between the two major cities hole, and I have it in my head does not fit exactly like historiography who thinks physical quantities.
What happened to the eyes? They gouged. We see what is drawn on the clouds of the incense, and don’t see reality — broken-down roads, that the whole country shrinks to Moscow, and the province is deteriorating. What happened to brains? They were kicked out. Yes, and eggs torn, because the population is not growing. And now this wretched stump rising from its knees. And people are cheering, clapping, because they are painfully difficult to admit that in fact they were deceived.
When I hear these delights — “Stalin will come — the order will bring” is a typical religious approach. People are sitting and waiting for the second coming. Although in fact no order was not, were not built by these Railways and factories that smoked in the photos, probably, made something not because the country lived from hand to mouth. And the weapons at the right time in the right place is not enough, therefore we lost 25 million.
A tractor with a portrait of Stalin in the field. 1940
Photo: Max Penson / Getty Images
By the way, in 1947, Stalin wrote that the military losses amounted to seven million. This is how you could deteriorate national statistics, if then Khrushchev spoke of twenty millions, and Brezhnev on 28! We begin to manipulate the tens of millions. This means that degraded people, that we live in some imaginary space. People find it easier to believe than to check something, ask for clarification, and so on.
Nikita Sokolov, historian and publicist, Chairman of the Board of the Free historical society, Deputy Director of Fund of Boris Yeltsin:
The motives of people are determined by their vision of reality, but not objective, and that which they imagine. And it is therefore extremely important as this imaginary reality is formulated, how it is manipulated, as it is build.
Perhaps the most terrible story of modern pobedobesie is that the victory itself off from the horrors of war. She appears as if by itself. How to position the greatest losses as a matter of pride? It’s so touted. Such pseudo-logical move is possible only in the Stalinist optics. And so it is important to analyze the current Stalinists, to show how this equipment grows in modernity.
For positions in the “Yeltsin-Center” I now have a lot to do ninety years, I see that this age has already acquired a set of myths. So to me a detailed analysis in [translation.] having been arranged in the elections of 1996 and on the basis of statistics to refute the contemporary mythology about the allegedly dashing the nineties, according to which the elections were rigged. They were not rigged — at least the falsification was not such as to change something in their results.
If in Russia there was a Museum of gifts to Stalin, the Soviet, and then Russian people, the worst would be the optics in which to build relationships with the state, where the person becomes the material for any public adventure, and he has no right to demand any response from the state as from a special separate entity. Meanwhile, this is totally about optics from a historical point of view. There is no separate entity of the state and individual state interests in nature can not exist. But we are a significant part of our fellow citizens and contemporaries, continue this logic to live.
The Shestakov textbook for the elementary school years 1936-1937, which Stalin personally edited and written important ideologies, in fact there is a complete set of these ideologies. Alexander Nevsky fought against the German Catholic domination in the XIII century, and so on — all of this can be a long list. The worst and dollarstoday is the idea that, as I said, the government is firm and strong only when it acts arbitrarily, not bind ourselves by any legal framework. If it does, he exposes himself to corrosion, ceases to be a strong government.
We all see it in the contemporary public mind, when in 2008 launched the project “Name of Russia”, and all the characters of this Pantheon was chosen according to the criteria of comrade Stalin. In this grid, the characters are Ivan the terrible, Peter the Great and he, comrade Stalin. That is, those who are ready to act arbitrarily.
The Newspaper “Pravda”
Photo: Vladimir Savostianov,Redkin, mark / TASS
Popular movements, including the most savage, bloody and pointless rebellion, had in the textbook at least some of the progressive component. With one extremely important exception: the Streltsy rebellion against Peter the Great. This reactionary movement. Although he had in all of the elements that now we have perceived ambivalent in this sense. Why? Because this is an attack on the power of the great Emperor.
Leonid Gozman, a psychologist, President of the Russian public movement “Union of right forces”:
It seems that people can’t live as they lived here, so it shouldn’t be. In this book the author takes, in my opinion, in hard conflict with authority, showing a lie as a national idea — it was long searched and here it is. From what he writes, it follows that, for example, Medina is not a horror — horror, which is not clear from what suddenly arose. It is a perfectly logical development of the situation. It would be strange just, if it was not, if Rogozin was not. This is “bonds”.
The famous Austrian therapist Viktor Frankl once said that even in a concentration camp “is the last freedom — the relationship to what is happening”. We were acquainted with him, and I told him: no, it’s not, and this freedom can be taken away. Many believe that it is impossible. Mandelstam said, “I will not bear it, will not dampen the pain, but will draw that draw free.”
But it is possible to take away the last freedom. Because it is necessary to know the truth. When we, like Frankl, concentration camp prisoners, and that’s where the SS, it is clear your attitude toward them. If you know what a KGB comrades, is one thing. But if for you the KGB is such a noble people, who were engaged in the problems of the homeless, this is a little different.
In psychotherapy there is the concept of resistance in psychotherapy. During psychotherapy, when you begin to understand the reality, your being is opposed to this, closed. It says: the therapist is crap, all wrong, all wrong. It protects their illusions, neurosis, disease. I think that this book conflicts with people because they want to believe it at all.
It’s like drug addiction — drug dealer needs to make very little effort to accustom to drugs, and then there is voluntary cooperation, because buy voluntarily. <…>
You know that the productivity of labor in the camps was very low? Moreover, the commanders of the camps was a problem, how to take prisoners work — work is not enough. The camps exist not because (as stated in one of the versions) without them it was impossible to carry out all of these great constructions, and so forth, it was evil for evil. Another thing related to this, is the glorification of evil. Lately all those murderers became heroes. They are the heroes. They were hard, they do a lot to overcome… a Feat made!
Glorification of evil is, identification with a Superman. The same Kurginyan said that he forgives Stalin for his murdered father. Grandfather Kurginyan was arrested, and he Kurginyan, Stalin is forgiven, because it was for “great things” — thus he becomes close with the leader and other demiurges.
Therapists can’t change reality — apartment, family status, salary… They help to understand everything that was going on with you and this free to be. And then you can move on.
The prisoners work in Ozerlag
Leonid Katzva, historian, teacher of history, author of textbooks on Russian history:
Long ceased to be a myth collectivization. Sane people understand that she was so cruel, destructive… But, paradoxically, preserved the parallel myth of industrialization.
Probably, many remember, about 12 years ago, in 2007, was released the tutorial that was presented at the highest level — the so-called Filippov textbook (so called because there were multiple authors). It was built very unique. In contrast to the frontal Stalinism, the authors did not deny repression. They were talking about something else: Yes, repression was, Yes, the regime was cruel, but in another way it was impossible, and ultimately all the pathos of this tutorial can be summarized in a famous line from a poem by Yuz Aleshkovsky. Only it was written sarcastically, but the tutorial was constructed so completely seriously: “And let in the forest will have to die to me, only it was used more iron and steel per capita in the country.”
Dmitry Borisovich in his book was able to show that industrialization is a myth too, and that Stalin is an inefficient Manager. Meme “effective Manager”, incidentally, originated in the tutorial. It broke the language, arguing that those words weren’t there (and they really were).
I was present at the birth of this meme, this happened to me. I was in the jury of the contest of children’s works of the club of the society “memorial”, and the students were given a piece of this benefit Filippova, asking what impressed them the text and looks like Stalin in this tutorial. And one of the girls said, “He is an effective Manager”. From here it all started.
So, this was the conclusion from all of this tutorial. I think that the book that we all discussed today, is the argument to the public that moral arguments do not produce absolutely no impression. “Yes, killed, Yes, repression was, but…” — and so, there was no “but”, it is an absolute myth. The degree of inefficiency of one economic regime that was installed after the revolution, compared with the tsarist regime, which was also not the most effective, of course, shocking and just kills.
Tamara Adelman, historian, teacher of history, author of “How propaganda works”:
In the city of Krasnoyarsk is the last in our country, the Lenin Museum, which was opened in very good 1985. A huge building of glass and concrete. And now he’s turned into an absolutely fantastic Museum of contemporary history. When I was there, there was an exhibition dedicated to the St. Euphrosyne Kersnovskaya, the Gulag Empire, all at the same time, once in a great Museum, standing in the center of the city. Stunning exhibition as if about communal life. Like. But really- about our history.
It starts with shields, as if depicting the pre-revolutionary lifestyle, this bed with the pillows on the pillow — a poem Nabokov, in the air hang portraits of the classics, and in the background frames the first of which is unclear. And then I realize that this is footage from the movie “Elusive Avengers”. Ride the four horsemen, and then starts to play the distorted soundtrack, and they are under her jump — four of the Nazgul from Tolkien’s works. “If suddenly above Ground burst of thunder, the sky will erupt with fire!..” It is very scary and at the same time funny.
Soviet monument in Minsk
Photo: caro images / Bastian / Diomedia
On the other hand, they have maintained a Museum of Lenin. I was there December 23, and at the entrance stood Lenin, Krupskaya, some comrades who are going to Shushenskoye, Lenin and touching the tree. Then somewhere else he’s in the corner… And in the center of the installation is a hologram, and in it Lenin lies in a coffin and turned over.
What is the retreat? When I read a book which says terrible, terrible things, but there is the dignity of a free man, I’m starting to think that’s not so bad, do not feel disheartened, but only the pleasure of reading wonderful works.
As for propaganda, all the modes act the same way. All push to the same triggers, getting people hooked on the same hooks — like “they are our women raped, children abused, bad smell.” It doesn’t matter who — the Jews, the Americans… hate speech is, unfortunately, always works better than propaganda of love. Love requires more effort to hate easier. Stalin, of course, all this was in the most grandiose scale. The contempt for human life, pushed to the limit.
Simon Kordonsky, Chairman of the expert Council of the support Fund for social research “Khamovniki”, Professor of the faculty of social Sciences at the HSE:
Our country is practically not described. All the time in the field we discover something new. Of the latest is a garage production that we have described. I was interested in the Soviet statistical epics because at work we are faced with the fact that no one knows what the country has and what is happening in the country.
Here I was in such an atmosphere, though younger by 30 years, it’s like 1989. The same topics, as though nothing has changed. Moreover, the contents of the book reiterates that, as stated in those years, from 1989 to 1992, when the scent of publicity hung over the country.
The Soviet statistical epos is more interesting. It is served as if it was a lie. And it turns out that it’s not a lie, it’s really special. One member of staff, Aleksandr Pavlov from Ulyanovsk, has entered the official data of Rosstat in some of his program and looked at the relationship between statistics and policy decisions presidential Executive orders, directives of the government… it Turned out that our statistics did not reflect the material base, and the impact of control actions on our reality. That is, statistics is not a tool for gaining knowledge about reality but a tool to gain knowledge about how much effective power in the management of its constructed reality.
Therefore, to raise the question of the authenticity of this information is pointless. Our Russian statistics reliable because she is a fan. How so? We’re trying to figure it out, and we have interesting images: our state after all, created by means of imitation. Peter took something from the West and turned into “beards to shave but the gun shed”. Then Marx took and turned into what we called socialism. Then the market from abroad was turned into what we have called the “market”, but in no way the market is.
Builders read the latest issue of the newspaper “socialist industry”. 1963
Photo: boots / TASS
This artificial reality. What is a Russian Bank? This office, in which three accounts: one by world standards, one for Bank and one for yourself. Accounting, which for myself, is the main. It is destroyed at the moment when you come with check. That is, the Bank is not a tool of the financial market. This is a special reality that has no relationship to the economy, we’re talking about. This is one way of establishing the systems and departments that are imported from abroad.
The second way is the creation of the phenomena of life itself. There’s a youth movement, and the state suddenly begins to take care of young people and creates the Agency for youth Affairs. It creates a lot of organizations “Nashi”, “Molodaya Gvardiya” and the other, gets them to budget. When budgeting ends, it all disappears, and the youth movement live.
Our state is a set of standards imported from abroad and taken from life. To manage this complex phenomenon that is difficult to describe, and need statistics. She aimed at how you want to manage an artificially created reality. <…> Our statistics is an objective fact in the public view. The state lives with her, works with her as objective reality. Another thing, the state is little that is obtained by relying on this reality.
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