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Credibility of soviet sources

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Karjala, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. green slime

    green slime Member

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    It is not necessarily always a deliberate Evil.

    Case in point: A book, originally written in the early 60's refers to the existence of bats, on an island. Encyclopedia Brittanica referred to said book, stating that bats existed. Fast forward 40 years. The bats are now no longer present on the island; their habitats destroyed, and unable to cope with introduced species (rats and cats). But no amount of convincing by a layperson could get EB to remove the reference to their existence, because that is confirmed in a published book, and there of course was never any funding to provide for repeated searches for an animal over several years time, which would be necessary in order to get the animal declared officially extinct. Without a published volume declaring the animal extinct, academia refused to acknowledge the reality, even though no one living on the island could remember having seen a bat for 40 near on years.

    Academia is very, very concerned with what can be proven, and referred to by other literature / sources. Hearsay doesn't cut it. Memory both fades and is embellished.

    Another case: Not so today, but previously in the not to distant past, children borne out of wedlock were a huge scandal. Such things could turn an entire family into social pariahs. Therefore, many families could go to quite extreme lengths to hide facts from not only society in general, but even their own family members. In many countries, as things were only written on paper, often by the clergy or doctor. If you had a doctor or minister sympathetic to your plight, or the wealth to bribe, and the ability to travel elsewhere for the delivery, then with a pen stroke, the blemish could be made to disappear.

    When an estimated 7% of all people in Britain today do not have the biological father they believe they have, it certainly puts a wrinkle in ancestry research....

    There are many reasons why someone would "allow" the "official" history to change.

    Kind of frustrating for those that follow afterwards, attempting to reconstruct events.
     
  2. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Sirs and Madam,

    Our news service, the ABC, the 28th most trusworthy news service in the world, has just reported a story from Russia, of a schoolteacher speaking out against the Putin Regime declaring that hhistory taught in high school will be conducted along "official' lines. Ergo, there is an 'official' version of Russian history, and a list of 'officially sanctioned' sources.

    No room in this government for free thought, much less a vanishing free speech.

    How can you people seriously trust ww2 history coming from a country that straijacket's it's own people and their understanding of the past? I think we have had enough political correctness. The Russians are NEVER going to let us, the west, know exactly what went on in their country between 1939 and 1945. They cannot even give us a reliable extimate of their total losses.

    Why should we trust anything that these neo-totalitarians are telling us? Are we doing it just to promote 'open-ness'? Are we doing it in the hope that sometime they might become regular human beings and let their people live in a free and open society, where government secrets are not a life or death thing for the people themselves, where they can freely criticize the government, where they can expect a change of leader or four within their own lifetime.

    Nearly every schoolchild has lived under nothing but the Putin government. The same government trawls the internet for dissention. Our Slonik has a modicum of protection on this site, and he still tows the Putin line!

    Time for us to wake up. If we aren't careful, the new-stalinism in Russia will sit up and bite us on the backside.

    The cold war may be over.....but a new and deadly enemy is forming. If my eldest daught is not involved, then my youngest may well be.


    "If we can stand up to Putin, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted history. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the American Empire and it's allies were to last a thousand years, men will say, "This was the action of the hour!"
     
  3. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    So I'M the one with the "dogmatic view" - "mate"...?! Obviously I see the dogmatic view somewhere else.

    Although I'm well aware of the existance of various shades of grey, the black still is sometimes very close to - just black. One of the problems in the modern western world is the inability to make firm stance when necessary. We circle around with the "different shades of grey" overunderstanding various aggressors - and thus co-helping with their crimes. That happened in the 30's and the same is unfortunately happening even today.

    The net is now full of paid propangandists - especially from Russia, as the very believable news have recently told us - perhaps even in this forum? Wouldn't surprise me...

    "Russian propaganda machine 'worse than Soviet Union'"
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27713847

    "Russia's Online-Comment Propaganda Army"
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/10/russias-online-comment-propaganda-army/280432/
     
  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Of topic scaremongering from some one with homesickness to the cold war
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    Yep, you do have a very dogmatic view, but the main point being avoided was my finding it amusing that you accuse others who don't 100% agree with you of having one. All the time.
    Nothing there about how dogmatic a given alternative view may be, merely a sense of irony & hypocrisy about the accusation.

    I'd agree on the circling for many things; groovy relativism is a widespread problem, but when you choose to be black and white all the time you come across as just another dreary political ideologue banging a drum.

    Loving the picking up of 'mate'.
    Just the kind of semantic squeak a certain type of authoritarian copper would use.
    Figure of speech, mate. No more.

    Funny the quoting of two BBC articles too; quite a lot in this country regard them as a propaganda wing for a pre-set viewpoint. ;)
    And if Slon is a sleeper, then he's a very long-standing one who used to just be interested in tanks & guns in a slightly geeky way. Damned clever these neue KGB.
    In fact... the very suggestion of sleepers here perhaps implies that the dogmatic view is slipping over into the next more paranoiac stage.
     
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    But back onto sources, since this is posted in WW2 General.

    If, for example, we were looking at deployment and loss figures for a given Eastern armoured encounter.
    Say we got lucky & have written Divisional records, and transcripts from men on both sides.

    The stance taken here, that all Soviet records are no good, would be ridiculous, and historiographically has absolutely nothing to do with that 'taking a stand' mentioned above. That would be another modern political viewpoint welded onto contemporary sources. You have to assess each source for what it is, some relativism in that asessment is essential - and nothing at all to do with modern political stances if the eventual history is to be worthwhile.

    You've stated that Soviet sources have a certain notoriety - sure do, but so do Nazi sources (and just about every other source to a greater or lesser degree, but that's a massive digression). I wouldn't take a statement of deployed vehicles, or some comment by a combatant published in an official organ without a huge pinch of salt, for either side.

    You need both viewpoints, and if you're really lucky a few scraps from a more neutral view.
    The historian's job is then to work through all the viewpointed, biased & neutral sources looking for correlations, small points of light that can be built on. Connections. Interpretation.
    Naturally if he/she has any sense they'll do that very cautiously, weighting and balancing the views generated under contemporary totalitarian regimes by their merits, and the immediate circumstances the source was created within.
    Hopefully they will have other scraps from the same precise sources. Things that help create the picture.
    And, yes, anyone using a single source, whether Nazi, Soviet or Allied had better be bleedin' careful how strongly they rely on it, but if that's all there is, and it's presented in context with the appropriate caveats (whether unspoken, assuming the audience will know that, or carefully laid out, depending on the level the final result is aimed at), then it is what it is. Very little history is 110% certain, or comes with a guarantee, nor should it.

    So on WW2 history, rather than a bit of frothy biting & baiting over Putin's current adventures in the East as above; a dogmatic application of an ideological 'stance', particularly one coloured by a modern situation, will indeed often cheapen the results.
    You can of course take that approach ad absurdam and begin making all sorts of critiques of view in the details ("you think Hitler was bad, that's a view" & other such tiresome balls), but thankfully it's easily dealt with in that a decent historian may have a particular viewpoint, but he keeps it to his conclusions, makes it apparent when he's taking an interpretive line in that direction, and isn't stupid enough to completely dismiss any source without careful consideration.

    History: Very often many shades of grey, by it's very nature.
     
  7. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    Come on Mr Poop.

    I think that, as a Finn, Karjarla has direct contact and experience with the Russian/Soviet brand of doing things. I think his opinion should be listened to, for that reason alone. It certainly beats your personal experience of it by a country mile. He has lived it, you and I have simply read about it.

    Kai Petri had no love lost for their Russian neighbours either. There is a reason for all this, a reason you seem to have glossed over in you anxiousness to be a great human being. Mr. Poop, you should be comended for your attitude of wanting to keep doors open and communications flowing, but these Finns know something that you don't, and I think it's time you recognised that.

    I think you just don't want to recognise the fact that in our modern pperiod, with all the history that has gone under the bridge sice the thirties, that the russian Federation is really no different to the country that our grandfathers knew under Stalin. The Finns can see it clearly, whereas you are blinded by large amounts of humanity that you obviously have as a person. and thats not your fault.

    The Russian Federation is just taking your naturally civilized nature and using it against you.

    Those Finns don't want the cold War back anymore than I do. But we can see something you cannot....and we are not fooled by it.
     
  8. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    And thankyou, Adam, for taking the time over the topic of Soviet sources and figures. I will take all of it onboard, for it is an educated view, a considered view, and a view that we should all consider.

    I for one have not, in all the posting I have seen you type over the past years, i have never considered Von Poop to be an idiot, nor somebody not worth listening to.
     
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    That weird good cop/bad cop thing with yourself again, Chris...

    For the record; I think Stalin was a twat.
    I also think Hitler was a twat.
    Soviet Communism sucked balls, and Nazism too (though both at least had a good solid sense of design :cutie: ).
    I also think Finland was pressed hard between a rock & a hard place, and had some of the grimmest political choices to make of any nation during the entire war. This is perhaps why nobody with any understanding tends to condemn her in the same way as other 'axis' (ish) nations.
    Try and second guess my personal politics all you like - they ain't written in this thread.

    But all of that has cock all to do with sources and their application to historiography.

    I don't care if Karjala served alongside Simo Hayha or crewed for Hanno Mikkola - it means nothing.
    This is about WW2 Historiography.
    History coloured too strongly by an ideological bias, particularly an irrelevant one, is as bad as any bad source could be. It makes almost any source stated worthless in a mess of personal viewpoint & vindictiveness. It taints as badly as the hand of a Commissar or an edit by silly-bugger-Goebbels.
    I dunno how many times that can be re-stated and considered controversial by some. It just isn't.

    The current activities of the Russians has cock all to do with historical analysis of the Second War unless you choose to start research directly correlating the two, which would be far more of a PPE essay than a historical one.
     
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  10. Christopher47

    Christopher47 Same Song, Fourth Verse

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    I'll tell you what it has to do with the study of WW2.

    If these people are restricting what their children learn, and they have been, on and off since the end of the war, it is because they have something to hide.

    That simple.

    I state again, how can you take their historians seriously with that sort of blinkered background.

    That has a lot to do with the study of WW2, and their own role in it.

    I am not accusing you of being a sympathizer. Not for a moment. I do, despite what you believe, actually have more than a little respect for your opinions. And for the other members of this forum.
     
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    And how many times do we hear tales of outrage at what is taught or not taught about WW2 in all of our respective countries?
    All the time... Outrage is many people's hobby, apparently.

    Again, nothing to do with sources though.
    Assess. Contextualise. Place within hierarchy of usefulness and/or accuracy. Adjust for known bias. Use as you see fit.
    Simple.
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    No! Propaganda is simpler and easier to reiterate like a parrot.
     
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  13. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    You are of course correct.
    I shall only read shouty biased websites that look like they were transcribed from something scrawled in green crayon from now on.
    Which will actually make life a great deal easier. ;)
     
  14. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    But of course I know you want to have more fun than that. ;)
     
  15. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

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    Seems like my views often are not MY views only - which kind of doesn't support your statement...

    Me being "dogmatic all the time" is only your personal opinion. Making clear stance is another thing.

    I'm glad to have been able make you entertained. That was however not my intention.

    I did get that figure of speech -part. Words - figures of speech included - have meanings, whether you mean to expose your thoughts or not.

    Seems I touched some nerve, since you got personal - "mate"...

    Would you happen to have some support to your statement of BBC being generally seen as a "propaganda" wing? AFAIK it is quite the opposite.

    I was also not awere, that the Atlantic is part of the BBC...

    Here's another one. I could go on and on, since there are so many different sources...:

    "Defence Ministry warns of Russian ”information war” Recent events in Ukraine have led to an increase in false reporting, Defence Minister Carl Haglund said on Friday. His comments came as a researcher for Finland's defence forces accused Russia of operating so-called “troll farms” – armies of internet users spreading pro-Russia messages on news stories and social media."

    http://yle.fi/uutiset/defence_ministry_warns_of_russian_information_war/7469944
    Your words, not mine. Since I naturally have no proof I could not make such a statement. But since you brought it up it wouldn't be the first time...

    Russia having a troll army in all major forums is hardly paranoic but a fact supported by everybody who should know.

    I was talking about the Soviet/Russian archive sources in general, not only losses.

    A strawman, since that is not what I wrote. I stated, that the credibility is poor, since we can't tell which of the sources are good, which are inaccurate/twisted and which ones outright falsified. I did not say, that EVERYTHING is rubbish - just that a lot of it is to various degrees.

    Germans did try in general to make accurate documents, as they do in everything else. They even documented accurately the Holocaust killings! Of course at the end of/after the war the situation changed.

    In the USSR all kinds of lying and falsification was the second nature in everything, if seen useful/necessary by somebody.
     
  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I'm a bit confused now. I have always thought hat English word "twat" means something incredibly good, especially if it comes in good package. Now, I have realized that that word may have different meaning when used as an attribute of bad guys. But, I think I slowly concieve the difference: depending on context it obviously has different meaning. Female twats are good and male twats are bad. Is this semantically correct?
     
  17. green slime

    green slime Member

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    LOL!

    Very good Tamino!

    Like many words in English, "Twat" has two meanings.

    One is slang for vulva / female genitals, the other is a foolish, or despicable person.

    The word is assumed to originate from Old English: *thwat, akin to Old Norse thveitcut, slit, forest clearing (> E dial. (N England) thwaite forest clearing)
     
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  18. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Thanks GS, you helped me to understand English language better. But I will try to simplify this as a rule for the future use: twats with mustache of any shape are bad. The good old twats are much better, especially in adequate package, of course. ;)
     
  19. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Ah, nothing. I replied to the wrong tread.
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    LOL! I thought there was something new to be said!
     

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