[Ed. – He will be missed. Rest in peace.]
Sad news this hour of the passing of the great historian Robert Conquest, at the age of 98. Conquest surely deserves to be counted among the top five most important historians of Communism and the Soviet Union in our time. His book The Great Terror, about the Soviet purges and deliberate famine policy of the 1930s, made it impossible for anyone to deny the essential character of Stalin’s regime. But leftists tried anyway. As the Wall Street Journal explains in its new story:
Mr. Conquest’s master work, “The Great Terror,” was the first detailed account of the Stalinist purges from 1937 to 1939. He estimated that under Stalin, 20 million people perished from famines, Soviet labor camps and executions—a toll that eclipsed that of the Holocaust. Writing at the height of the Cold War in 1968, when sources about the Soviet Union were scarce, Mr. Conquest was vilified by leftists who said he exaggerated the number of victims. When the Cold War ended and archives in Moscow were thrown open, his estimates proved high but more accurate than those of his critics.
The Daily Telegraph offers more essential details on this remarkable man:
“He was Solzhenitsyn before Solzhenitsyn,” said Timothy Garton Ash.