Sunday, February 05, 2006

Stalinist irony

The History Channel has recently run a program about Joseph Stalin and his incredible Hitler-dwarfing crimes. Among other things, it noted that even in the one area where Hitler was most notorious - for the killing of Jews - Stalin still had him beat.

And it appears that shortly after Stalin got his H-bomb, he was itching for a war with the West. Toward that end he engineered a huge provocation, involving a giant transfer of Soviet Jews to the gulags. Allegedly he told henchmen that if the "imperialists" wanted to fight, there was no more favorable time.

But this purge did not come off fully as planned. The so-called "Doctor's Plot" with its show trials was interrupted by the death of Stalin.

As it happened, Stalin had ordered his staff not to bother him, and they complied fully. So that by the time Stalin had missed a dinner appointment and a senior official dared to enter his chambers, Stalin was found lying on the ground in a puddle of his own urine, unable to speak.

Sounds like a good time to call a doctor, eh? No, his inner circle was in no hurry, and the doctors they did summon eventually appear to have been incompetent.