As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I’ve added a new page for research papers – entitled, appropriately enough, “Research Papers”. The first contribution to it (well, I may add some older material to it later, like Jen’s research on the Caucasus and Ukraine’s economy) is hoct’s “Breaking Down Soviet WWII Losses”.
What a piece of work. Although educated opinion does play a part in anything for which we cannot find exact statistics, this is not an opinion piece – it’s a magnificent chunk of a person’s time and persistence and patience and intelligence. Meticulously researched and diligently substantiated, it stands, for me, as the best collected and assembled work on the subject that I have ever seen. It is truly an honour to be allowed to publish it here.
Hoct (Hero Of Crappy Town) now stands revealed to the readership as Marko Marjanović, from Ljubljana, Slovenia. He describes himself thus; ” Blogger and history enthusiast writing from Ljubljana. Works as a machinist in a manufacturing plant. Rothbardian anarchist in terms of politics and ideology”. His blog can be found at http://www.crappytown.com/ , and is highly recommended for serious and well-researched content on the region and Europe. Academics researching this particular subject could do far worse than to give this article a long look. I’m still copying over the bibliography, and it’s slow going, but the meat of the research is there and I encourage all interested to check it out. Meanwhile, here’s hoct to introduce it himself:
“The 26.6 million people the Soviet Union is usually believed to have lost in the Second World War is the biggest population loss of any country in any war. This being the case one might assume that the topic of Soviet war death has received a great deal of scholarly attention and that scholars so far have had a great deal to say to the public regarding this topic. In fact the opposite is true. Scholars have made only tardy and at times uncertain progress in shedding light on the question of how many Soviet citizens lost their lives in the Second World War and in what circumstances.
To begin with, at times the problem may have been the objective lack of useful primary sources relating to a desperate and chaotic conflict that is now 70 years old. More than that the archives in the Soviet Union were closed and the research by both foreign and Soviet historians greatly impeded. Morever the latter had to contend with censorship. Historians abroad did not, but in the climate of the Cold War, there reigned a certain level of disinterested in the question of how many Soviet citizens perished in the Second World War. The question that excited the Russia-specialists in the West was instead how many people had perished due to repression of the communist Soviet Union against its own citizens. Continue reading