[Ed. – Oh, I think we can all figure out what the reason is. Whittle the number down enough, and by referring to a less mind-boggling number as “disputed,” BBC can make it safe for us to call him Uncle Joe again.]
In an article published on Monday 22nd February – about a group of activists who have begun commemorating some of Stalin’s victims by affixing memorial plaques to buildings across Russia – the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford writes “the nameplates are gradually restoring the memory of some of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Joseph Stalin’s political repressions.”
The BBC claim that Stalin’s victims numbered mere thousands is made again in the article’s sub-headline which reads: “The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in Moscow reports on a new scheme to remember the thousands of people executed in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.”
But Stalin’s victims didn’t number in the thousands, or even in the hundreds of thousands. Exact figures are unsurprisingly difficult to ascertain, given both the scope and scale of the massacres enacted by Stalin, but the true number is thought to be anywhere between 20 million (not including the 20 million Soviets who died fighting during World War II) to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s estimate of 60 million, a full ten times more than the number of Jews killed by Hitler during the Holocaust.