Mass killings under communist regimes
Main article: Political repression in the Soviet Union
Sign for the Memorial about Repression in USSR at Lubyanka Square which was erected in 1990 by the human rights group Memorial in the Soviet Union in remembrance of the more than 40,000 innocent people shot in Moscow during the “years of terror”
Adam Jones claims that “there is very little in the record of human experience to match the violence unleashed between 1917, when the Bolsheviks took power, and 1953, when Joseph Stalin died and the Soviet Union moved to adopt a more restrained and largely non-murderous domestic policy.” Jones notes the exceptions being the Khmer Rouge (in relative terms) and Mao’s rule in China (in absolute terms). Stephen G. Wheatcroft asserts that prior to the opening of the Soviet archives for historical research, “our understanding of the scale and the nature of Soviet repression has been extremely poor” and that some scholars who wish to maintain pre-1991 high estimates are “finding it difficult to adapt to the new circumstances when the archives are open and when there are plenty of irrefutable data” and instead “hang on to their old Sovietological methods with round-about calculations based on odd statements from emigres and other informants who are supposed to have superior knowledge”, although he acknowledged that even the figures estimated from the additional documents are not “final or definitive”. In the 2007 revision of his book The Great Terror, Robert Conquest estimates that while exact numbers will never be certain, the communist leaders of the Soviet Union were responsible for no fewer than 15 million deaths.[at] Some historians attempt to make separate estimates for different periods of Soviet history, with casualty estimates varying widely from 6 million (for the Stalinist period) to 8.1 million (for a period ending in 1937) to 20 million[au] to 61 million (for the period 1917–1987).
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