The Secret Speech

Since I'm into all things Russian today, I have been reading up on Nikita Khrushchev's "secret speech" that he gave in 1956. This speech was instrumental in changing the Soviet Union after Stalin's death, mainly because it was a fair and honest assessment of the massive damage that Stalin did not just to Russians, but to Communist Ideology.

It was a very brave move on Khrushchev's part, and it amazes me even today to think that the guy ended up being the Soviet Union's no. 1 man.

What I find interesting is this quote from the speech:
Stalin originated the concept 'enemy of the people.' This term automatically made it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven. It made possible the use of the cruelest repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent… On the whole, the only proof of guilt actually used, against all norms of current legal science, was the 'confession' of the accused himself. As subsequent probing has proven, 'confessions' were acquired through physical pressures against the accused. This led to glaring violations of revolutionary legality and to the fact that many entirely innocent individuals… became victims."
Given the current debate about "waterboarding" in the US, it seems striking to consider that 50 years ago, the Soviet Union realised that torture simply did not work.


Gordon Cheng said...

Hey OSO, I moderated your comment into oblivion, I fear. I do the occasional arbitrary deletion of comments I don't want appearing on the blog. If you want to abuse someone, you have your own blog to do it on!



BLBeamer said...

If the Soviet Union realised torture didn't work, why did they continue to do it until the USSR collapsed? Oh, and the Soviet use of repression by torture, terror and murder can be traced all the way back to Lenin.

I oppose torture, by the way. I'm not endorsing it, I just don't understand the conclusion of your post.

Keith Crosby said...

You have an incredibly naive view of Nikita K. In studing Russian history you overlooked his nickname, "The Butcher of Budapesht." He was just as much a thug as Stalin. Elevating one of these two above the other is like distinguishing between being shot by a 9MM or a .380. You are still shot. The communists (soviet, cuban, chinese, or otherwise) have killed more people and made more people disappear in the last 100 years than WWII did! Think of that. What a legacy! Lenin, Mao, Nikita, Leonid, Uri, even--oh!! Gorby. Pol Pot, Castro, the North Korean Dynasty has disappeared millions. There are no "hero's" among these thugs. The secret speech is secret because he was like Stalin, a gutless murdering thug.