The high price in human life the world has paid for Communism

Via the Victims of Communism organization’s Dissident blog:

What Has Communism Cost The World?


How many deaths is too many? VOC’s #CommunismKills campaign begins with the premise that each individual life taken by communism is one too many. Communism has killed over 100,000,000 people over the last 100 years and continues to do so in the countries of China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and Laos. This staggering number represents more than just an aggregate; it represents one hundred million individuals, each with his or her own history, dignity, and humanity.

In the last 100 years, since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, over 100 million people have been killed by communism. Many were executed directly by communist revolutionaries and functionaries who justified this murder as one more step toward an imagined communist utopia. Others were caught in the crossfire of civil wars, revolutions, and invasions as communist forces tried to expand their dominion by military force. Most, however, died as a result of massive famines caused by communist economic policies. In the Soviet Union and China, where most of communism’s victims lie, the famines were not incidental or accidental. Stalin directly targeted ethnic Ukrainians by seizing their property and food in the name of common ownership. Mao Zedong, upon hearing that his people were starving due to his communist economic policies, famously said, “Educate peasants to eat less.”

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States Congress worried that the “heroic sacrifices of the victims of communism may be forgotten as international communism and its imperial bases continue to collapse and crumble.” In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 103-199, establishing the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and reminding the world that Congress finds that, since 1917, the rulers of empires and international communism led by Vladimir I. Lenin and Mao Tse-tung have been responsible for the deaths of over 100,000,000 victims.”

The 100,000,000 number is made all the more upsetting by the fact that it’s inexact and growing. Unlike the Nazis, communists did not keep accurate records of the amount of people they killed. In places like China and Ukraine, government archives have only opened in the last decade, revealing that there are tragically more and more victims to be discovered, counted, and memorialized. Over the course of the past decades, many scholars have attempted to establish solid numbers for communism’s victims, some of which can be found here. The numbers that we use for the #CommunismKills campaign all come from The Black Book of Communism,[i] except for the figure that we use for the Soviet Union, which comes from Alexander Yakovlev’s A Century of Violence in the Soviet Union.[ii] Yakovlev was a Politburo member in the 1980s who was tasked with investigating Soviet crimes; his numbers still reflect a conservative estimate of victims of Soviet communism. All told, we have taken the scholarly estimates in The Black Book of Communism, which was published in 1999, and updated it in light of newer scholarship that comes from recently opened archives in China and former Soviet states like Ukraine.

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4 thoughts on “The high price in human life the world has paid for Communism”

  1. It’s good to document the communist horror as fully and precisely as feasible, but if the world persists in blowing it off, which is clearly a choice and no accident, I’m not sure better documentation will make much difference. All one has to do is look at the case of Russia, which not only inflicted the communist evil on its own people but went all out to inflict it on as many other countries as possible. Did the world even try to hold it accountable? No, not even for the sake of appearances, not even as a formality. Nothing was done. NOTHING. As if nothing much had actually happened, or as if it didn’t especially matter, or as if “making an issue” of it was just too inconvenient or in bad taste. What is wrong with this picture? Everything.

  2. Anyone who downplays, whitewashes, denies, condones, justifies, “understands” or simply doesn’t care about the horrors wrought by communism (which also destroyed countless lives without ending them) is automatically unworthy of respect or credibility on anything. And if, on top of that, such a person rabidly denounces and condemns nazism, fascism, “imperialism” or even capitalism, he or she is even more full of shit–just like those who even now defend the Castro “revolution” and maintain that the Batista era was much worse. It really could not be any clearer.

  3. As I have said before, the fact that anyone would actually dare to criticize Cubans for celebrating what they thought was the end on the horrible dictator who had driven their families into exile and ruined their country was extremely telling and a very good illustration of the problem. On the one hand, it’s irrational and absurd, but on the other hand, it’s grotesquely perverse. And just wait till the old monster finally does croak.

  4. “Educate peasants to eat less.” Or “If the peasants have no bread, let them eat dogma.” Lord, the horror.

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