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In case you didn't know this, Montefiore's books have been pretty much discredited by historians.
For one thing, he lists sources but not directly, just generally.
And he reports on private conversations without specific sources.
And thirdly, he doesn't read or speak Russian, so he actually didn't do the research anyway.
I think you are just accepting a prejudiced view and it looks like to me that you are using semantics to make your point.
The Anabaptist Jacques
TAJ, debating with you is so frustrating because you throw out unsupported premises as if they were facts and then treat well-backed assertions from others as if they are completely unsupported.
You included Montefiore's previous book on your list, then claim he's not a good source. Consistent much?
I can and will argue about memoirs from the nomenclatura, especially pre Glasnost', as they are very self-serving and fearful of future reprisals. But they do add to the body of knowledge insofar as they can be compared to other sources. p
It's pretty baseless to say that he did none of the research. All historians have research assistants. He credits his in the books.
I have seen some historians bitching about him, mostly, as far as I can tell, because they stuck with the archives they are familiar with, and he went out and added to them with personal interviews, as any good journalist does. He brings the strength of that profession to the subject. I can see their points when they would like to see the transcript of an interview entered into the record. But the point remains that they didn't get off their asses planted firmly in their academic offices and do the field research. Which was essential because the people who could fill in the gaps are fast dying off.
Much of the early lit and all of the interviews on the young Stalin would be in Georgian, so speaking Russian would not do much good, but that's another professional jealousy showing. Talk about accepting a prejudiced view.I'd rather he use a translator and a research assistant to get the meanings right than half-learn Russian and garble it.
So let's go about picking at him the right way.
What are his sources for the excerpt for the short Chapter I quoted from?
1. Keke. Routine: Domentii Gogokhia, Molodya Gvardiya no. 12, 1939, p. 65. RGASPI 558.4.665, G. Parkadze. Jones, pp. 51–52. Kun, pp. 21–31. Philip Makharadze, Ocherki revoliutsionnogo dvizheniya v Zakavkazi, pp. 57–58. Tucker, pp. 82–83. Service, Stalin, pp. 33–37. Marks: RGASPI 558.4.17, 558.4.48, 558.4.665, 558.1.4326, 558.3.25. Trotsky, Stalin, p. 10. Stalin changed, pensive: V. Ketskhoveli in Literaturnii Kritik no. 12, 1939, pp. 103–5. Calm: GF IML 184.108.40.206, Said Devdariani. 2. Father: Charkviani, “Memoirs.” Choir: RGASPI 71.10.404. Father sees rector and Stalin’s attitude: GDMS 3(1).1955–146.1–20, “My Memories of Comrade Stalin,” by G. Elisabedashvili. Keke at seminary: GF IML 8.6.306. 3. Humiliating, ransacking of boxes: Stalin to Ludwig in Stalin, Sochineniya, 3:113–14. Good marks: RGASPI 558.4.30 and 37. Atheist in first year, Simon Natroshvili story, five roubles for singing in choir: Charkviani, “Memoirs.” Poet, burning eyes: Lev Kotyukov, “The Forgotten Poet Josef Djugashvili,” Zavtra no. 41 (46), 1994.
Is that only quoting in the general sense?
Is that up to professional standards?
Does this jibe with other accounts by other historians and analysts?
I notice you didn't jump on the Rayfield quote - which backs up my main assertion on Stalin's psychology formed partially by religion and was from a third party source which is also quoted by Montefiore in the piece I snipped.
It also jibes with my memories of the debates in the Soviet press in the late 80s and early 90s, which often harped upon Stalinism as a secular religion that was formed by the religious experiences of the nomenclatura. Fer Crissakes we all call it the Cult of Personality. Where did you think that came from? I've got the English language dox to back my assertions and have not even gotten to the Russian. Though I may get pissed off enough to go up in the attic and dig out my journals from 1989 and 1990 and the piece I translated from Ogonyok by Stalin's secretary. Because it agrees with Montefiore. I want dox on how historians have show that his conclusions are at odds with accepted sources. I mean, I could have included Medvedev in my list of required reading about the man - he has written quite a bit, and I have read most of it, but I don't because Medvedev has lots of problems I don't see with Montefiore.
You have accepted the prejudiced view that religion is required for ethical behavior. You cherry pick your assertions - e.g. you claim to love the Ancient philosophers, but choose to ignore the quote by Marcus Aurelius someone has on their signature line. When you can't argue with the assertions, you turn to ad homs on the author.