RIP Robert Conquest: “The first historian to document the extent of the barbarity of Stalin’s regime.”

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There was a time in this country when many people in the FDR wing of American politics defended the Soviet Union, and even Stalin. There were many who were convinced that socialism was the way forward. That the Soviets had the right road map. That the world would someday embrace all pervasive statism in the name of “progress.”

This was largely before the Soviet Union was exposed as the vast prison camp it was. Mr. Conquest did much of the exposing.

The Great Terror cc

(From The American Interest)

“His historical intuition was astonishing,” said Norman M. Naimark, a professor of Eastern European history at Stanford University. “He saw things clearly without having access to archives or internal information from the Soviet government. We had a whole industry of Soviet historians who were exposed to a lot of the same material but did not come up with the same conclusions. This was groundbreaking, pioneering work.”

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