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[19.12.2006] About facts and fiction, truth and lies in history.

“The time of great terror”, “38.000 Greeks in the Siberian goulags,” “the pogrom of the Greeks.” This is just a choice out of the slogans, which recently appear regularly in the Greek press around the historical events, which reactionary propaganda describes as the “genocide of the Pontian Greeks under Stalin.

This propaganda has been renewed during the last years. Not by accident, taking into consideration the intensified efforts recently in Europe to rewrite history presenting the victims as offenders and the other way round (for instance the anti-communist memorandum of the Council of Europe, pursuits of communist ideology mainly in the new member-states of the European Union).

The goal of this renewed attack on historical truth is to make the past look completely different than it was for the young generation (knowledge is dangerous!), to equate fascism and communism and finally to have the Soviet Union with its 20 million killed people in the fight against fascism , entering history as the biggest rogue of all.

The Cold War period has left us with an enormous amount of books and studies, in which it is asserted that the time of concessions in the soviet policy of the twenties as regards ethnic minorities was immediately followed by a policy of ethnic cleansing, ethnic terror and assimilation (russification in this case).

More recent studies however, show on the contrary an “impressive continuation of the soviet policy for the development of ethnic minorities during the whole Stalin period and after that” (G.Surry, The revenge of the past, 1993 and Y. Slezkine, The USSR as Communal Apartment, in the Slavic Review 53, 1994). T. Martin in “The Affirmative Action Empire, p.13-18, 2001” even puts that no country ever in history managed to apply such fully-fledged projects for the development of ethnic minorities as the Soviet Union did “for the first time in history.” In the beginning of the thirties it was noticed, that the ethnic administrative and cultural self-destination, that had been encouraged so much by the soviet state, did not serve anymore the interests of the relevant population, but permitted opponents of the soviet power to have a legal foot on the ground in order to become active as a reactionary force (T.Martin, p. 202-203). With the rise of fascism in Europe, as well, the contacts of a part of the ethnic diaspora with the fascist governments abroad increased. This happened in combination with the role bourgeois nationalism had played (as a fifth column) during the imperialist intervention in the young soviet republic in 1919-1920.

The role of the Greeks.

But to which extent the Greeks of the Black Sea region (the Pontian Greeks) were involved in this? According to a version being mentioned in an article in the Greek magazin “Tachidromos” (18/6/2005, p. 140) an autonomistic movement of Greeks from that region would even have aspired to an independent state in the South of the Soviet Union.

The driving force behind this movement would be Greeks with narrow contacts with the fascist regime of I. Metaxas (the Metaxas dictatorship in Greece started in 1936). This version has not only been proved by the anti-communist book of F. Beck and W. Godin, which was published in the USA in 1951(!) (“Russian Purge and the Extraction of Confession”, p. 140), but as well by the official data of the Greek state, which can be found in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dossier 45.5.

It becomes evident as well from the historical data, that the measures in question were class orientated. Only 3% belonged to the working class. It were not the soviet authorities selecting suspect persons, but the local ethnic councils of the Greeks living in the Soviet Union themselves. Furthermore, the data of the Greek Embassy in Moscow demonstrate, that a large number of the people arrested in the period 1937-38 had been set free very soon.

Of importance as well is the recent research of American historians, published in the American Science Review, in which all theories about “ethnic cleansing” are refuted one by one and the conclusion is drawn, that the so-called “time of terror” (1936-40) mainly aimed at the elite and not the ethnic groups as such.

Usually reactionary propaganda doesn’t mention the fact, that the same category of people in homeland Greece were executed at the spot as collaborators of the occupation forces and that under the circumstances of that time one could say, that they received a mild treatment in the Soviet Union.

One should not be surprised about this selective and tendentious dragging up of events from the past concerning the largest confrontation of social systems in history in this time of changed power relations in favor of reactionary forces. Historical revanchism usually misuses and distorts selectively the facts. Otherwise the coming generations would come to completely different conclusions and denounce the real guilty. Of course the guilty want to avoid this at any cost…


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