"Blood Lies" by Grover Furr

Share your thoughts on the written word.
User avatar
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1582
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:01 pm

"Blood Lies" by Grover Furr

Postby Denying-History » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:23 am

For a short introduction to the author a few facts must be made clear.

(Romanov ,2007)

Anyway here is a quick Review of my experience reading Blood Lies:

Evidence I own both Bloodlands and Blood lies.

Collectivization and the Famine of 1932-33

Furrs focus on first chapter of Bloodlands is mostly centered around the idea of "no sources" or "contradictions". And attacking Snyder and his sources as being part of some sort of international anti-communist sentiment, which upholds Nazi propaganda. His first counter against Snyder focuses on Snyder saying that the 1932-1933 famine (in Ukraine specifically) was deliberate. And in the end demands so called "evidence". (p.43-45) Now mind there is nothing radical about demanding evidence, but one must remember what type of book Snyder has been writing. His evidence won't be continually sited over and over and over again as Furr seems to demand.

Snyder himself outlined his reasoning behind why the famine was deliberate in a 7 point thesis that one can find a summary on Wikipedia page for the Causes of the Holodomor:

    1. From 18 November 1932 peasants from Ukraine were required to return extra grain they had previously earned for meeting their targets. State police and party brigades were sent into these regions to root out any food they could find.

    2. Two days later, a law was passed forcing peasants who could not meet their grain quotas to surrender any livestock they had.

    3. Eight days later, collective farms that failed to meet their quotas were placed on "blacklists" in which they were forced to surrender 15 times their quota. These farms were picked apart for any possible food by party activists. Blacklisted communes had no right to trade or to receive deliveries of any kind, and became death zones.

    4. On 5 December 1932, Stalin's security chief presented the justification for terrorizing Ukrainian party officials to collect the grain. It was considered treason if anyone refused to do their part in grain requisitions for the state.

    5. In November 1932 Ukraine was required to provide 1/3 of the grain collection of the entire Soviet Union. As Lazar Kaganovich put it, the Soviet state would fight "ferociously" to fulfill the plan.

    6. In January 1933 Ukraine's borders were sealed in order to prevent Ukrainian peasants from fleeing to other republics. By the end of February 1933 approximately 190,000 Ukrainian peasants had been caught trying to flee Ukraine and were forced to return to their villages to starve.

    7. The collection of grain continued even after the annual requisition target for 1932 was met in late January 1933.

One can easily find a contradiction in Furrs own work in which he demands evidence for Snyder claims and yet he provides it above. This however doesn't account for the 3,000,000 tons of grain that the soviets had in reserve in 1933. [1] This is enough grain to feed around 10 million people for an entire year![2] If it was properly distributed this would have dropped the death toll from millions of people in Ukraine to that of thousands. Half a ration would have been better then nothing. Aid was provided to Ukraine by summer of 1933 according to a few sources but it was only distributed on mass around harvest time of 1933. Only after the collectives had been established as permanent. A point of which Furr as well seems to have missed. But the thing which Furr did not miss were Snyders 7 points which he descusses in chapter two after typing up a short rant about "Ukrainian Nationalists" (a term of slander that has made people loose employment for no good reason[3]). His points around Ukrainian Nationalism quickly then breach into a piece from Mark Tauger on Robert Conquest, whom has voiced his own opinion about Tauger.[4] Tauger made a response in the same print of the review stating that Conquest didn't respond to the important body of his thesis, but stated that "Ukrainian memoir sources claim erroneously that the 1932 harvest was a good one..." from which he estimates the harvest to have been as low as 45 million tons.[5] Though the official soviet estimate is 69.8 million tons.[6]

There is one fundamental flaw with Taugers estimate though which Marples spells out brilliantly: [7]

There are some serious questions to be raised against the Tauger thesis. He acknowledges that he bases his statistics on data from 40 percent of collective farms in Ukraine. He does not say where these 40 percent were located, or show that they were representative. It seems likely also that collective farms, facing prohibitive grain quotas from the state, would be prone to underestimate the actual size of their harvests, hoping for a reduction of procurements. So why should one trust these figures more than the official ones issued by the state?

This isn't the only serious problem in Taugers thesis, as mentioned in a footnote in Wheatcrofts a year of hunger: [8]

[footnote 137]Mark Tauger has drawn attention to the rust epidemic and its spread from Eastern Europe (see Tauger (2001), 13, 17). In our opinion, however, he exaggerates its importance. He cites Soviet estimates of losses from rust and smut (another significant disease) amounting to 8.9 million tons, but relates these not to the harvest on the root, from which they should be deducted, but to the barn harvest.

So we easily learn that one of Furrs sources methods is seriously flawed! Another message that should be important is to state that "There is no such thing as a "natural" famine, no matter the size of the harvest".[9] Famines are not natural disasters. They appear that way to us because they show up after an environmental stimulus makes water and crops unavailable to some group or region. The actual cause of the famine is the failure to adjust to solve it via mean of distribution. To put it bluntly "famine implies that some people do not have adequate access to food, it does not imply that food itself is in short supply". [10]

I don't plan to expound much onto Furrs 'criticism' of Snyders 7 points but I would like to point out an issue on his complaint about the meat tax. It doesn't take one more then a moment of research into the "Holodomor thesis" to find evidence for the meat tax. I think Furr should look more into the works of James Mace and he may learn a bit more about the sanctions. [11]

"There are no kurkuls now and presumably no Petlyura partisans, and we can build up our collective farm in peace," said Boyko. "But you should keep in mind that there are many sub-kurkuls whom we have to watch and, if they are going to harm our Soviet government, we will send them after the others." He again held meetings urging people to join the collective farm. The government took away grain and meat for taxes. There were no cows or sheep in the village.

This is really only a sample of the issues I have found though out Furrs book and I hope it will drive people away from reading it.


[1] Conquest, Europe-Asia Studies , Vol. 49, No. 7 (Nov., 1997), pp. 1319
"...the amount of grain in state reserves at the beginning of 1933: but, as even they conceded, there were approximately 3 million tons there-far more than enough to have prevented the mass deaths that followed. (And it is accepted that Stalin knew of the famine at this date)"

[2] Ellman, 2007, EUROPE-ASIA STUDIES Vol. 59, No. 4, June 2007, 684
"In 1932 – 33 grain exports were 1.8 million tonnes. That was enough to feed more than five million people for one year."

[3] Kuzio, Radio Free Europe, Vol. 4, No. 23, 12 June 2002
"After the U.S. commission closed, Mace was unable to obtain academic employment in the United States; his cards had "been marked" as a "biased Ukrainian nationalist emigre.""

[4] Conquest & Tauger, Slavic Review , Vol. 51, No. 1 (Spring, 1992), pp. 192-194

"Robert Conquest:
(a) Tauger's argument about the extent to which wastage of requisitioned grain lowered the Soviet food intake tells rather against than for his thesis: for grain left with the peasants would not have thus been wasted and so would have contributed to that intake.
(b) His point that grain was eventually released to the Ukrainian and neighboring peasantry proves that reserves existed which could have been released at the height of the famine and further strengthens the case that the famine was avoidable.
(c) On a minor particular in that context: the initial order to release grain dated 25 February 1933 was specifically of "seed grain," none of which (even when actually distributed) was to go to the peasantry. In fact, grain requisitioning was in part, as Postyshev put it, to recover "seed grain stolen or illegally distributed."
(d) Tauger says that the points that he doubts are urged by Ukrainian sources. Well, of course, some sources are Ukrainian, though I don't know why this should rule them out..."

[5] Marples, "Debating the undebatable? Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933", The Ukrainian Weekly, July 14, 2002, No. 28, Vol. LXX

[6] Tauger, “The 1932 Harvest and the Famine of 1933.” Slavic Review, vol. 50, no. 1, 1991, pp. 72

[7] Marples, "Debating the undebatable? Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933", The Ukrainian Weekly, July 14, 2002, No. 28, Vol. LXX

[8] Wheatcroft et al, "The Years of Hunger", 2004, p. 131-132

[9] Marples, "Debating the undebatable? Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933", The Ukrainian Weekly, July 14, 2002, No. 28, Vol. LXX

[10] http://worldinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/library/wer/english/2008_Winter_Vol_XX_no_4.pdf

[11] Totten et al. "Centuries of Genocide" 2012, p. 172
« Oral history is a complex field. After all, memory can be a distorting mirror, as anyone who has ever worked with memoir literature knows very well...They may be imperfect, and, at times, inaccurate as the narrator tries to cast himself in the most favorable light, but all sources are imperfect. Even an archival document reflects how the person who drafted it understood something and remains something less than the unvarnished truth. »
- James Mace

Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:15 am

Re: "Blood Lies" by Grover Furr

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:31 am

Furr is an ignorant nutjob. I exposed him in a link DH posted above. He couldn't get the simplest fact straight about the Katyn documents. A total and shameless loon.

Return to “Book Reviews/Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest