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Sunday, January 03, 2021

What a Stalin Quote About Rigging Elections Reveals About the 2020 Election

As Republicans began pushing back against the rigged election, a quote about voting from Joseph Stalin began circulating on social media. "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything," is how variations of it went.

As soon as the quote went viral, the media’s fact checkers tried to suppress it.

USA Today's fact checker rated it as false, claiming that Stalin had never said it based on speaking with two history professors at Vanderbilt University who vowed that they never heard of it. One of the professors, who serves as the Director of Undergraduate Russian and East European Studies, ranted that it was, "an example of American right-wing paranoia, active manipulation of public opinion, or outright and fascism". 

Truly a quote worthy of Stalin.

But had the ‘fact checker’ and the professors just checked Oxford's Essential Quotations, they would have found it. You don’t need a PhD or a fact checker title: just a modicum of integrity.

Politifact was more ambitious about humiliating itself by contacting the Stalin Digital Archive with the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History. The quote wouldn't be there because it comes from Stalin's former secretary, Boris Bazhanov, who fled the USSR and wrote a memoir exposing the crimes and corruption of the Soviet regime. Asking the Russian State Archive for that quote is like asking the cosa nostra to fact check a mafia informant’s recollections.

The men who were party to that conversation were the ‘Troika’ of Central Committee leaders, Kamenev, Zinoviev, and Stalin, who temporarily governed the USSR after Lenin. Since Stalin had Kamenev and Zinoviev killed, his secretary was one of the few to hear him say it.

There is of course a very good reason for suppressing the Stalin quote because it does apply all too well to the election. And there’s a profound sense of history repeating itself in the media trying to suppress a Stalin quote about using the media to suppress an election.

Because that is exactly what Stalin did.

Boris Bazhanov had worked as Stalin's private secretary and, unlike most of the murderous Communist dictator's associates, survived by escaping before he could be killed. Still a young man in his twenties, Bazhanov had seen too much and enough to know what was coming. On New Year’s Day, he fled across the border from Turkmenistan to Persia, then through India, surviving several assassination attempts along the way, before finding refuge in France.

Bazhanov's memoir about his time with Stalin had several titles, it's named Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin in English, but all of the versions lay out the damning story of how Stalin took over the Soviet Union by manipulating the system and ruthlessly purging his rivals.

What’s more remarkable than the quote related in Bazhanov’s memoir is its context.

The Soviet Union had arrived at a crucial moment. Communist economics had managed to fail in a matter of years. The Troika were overseeing a collapsing economy that had married socialism to the Czarist bureaucracy and its police state with terrible results leading to a surge of discontent from local labor and political organizations against Moscow’s centralized control.

If the Troika didn’t get the peasants and workers under control, the regime of the peasants and workers would be in trouble. The three members of the Troika met to discuss the crisis and the possibility that they could be ousted by their own membership if the uprising gained momentum.

"And you, Comrade Stalin, what do you think of this question?" Kamenev asked Stalin.

"What," Stalin replied, "of what question?"

"Of the question of capturing the majority of the Party," Kamanev said.

"Do you know what I think about this?" Stalin replied, "I believe that who and how people in the Party vote, is unimportant. What is extremely important is who counts the votes, and how they are recorded."

The quote, despite the attempts to suppress it with Stalinists fact checking Stalinism, is indeed real. But what’s more important is what Bazhanov relates happened after this conversation.

Before this, Bazhanov recalled that, “in most of the Party organizations the majority was not for the Central Committee. I know that in the huge cell of the Central Committee itself, the majority voted against the Central Committee… the Central Committee had lost the majority in the Party organization of the capital city, the most important in the country. The provincial organizations were falling into line with the Moscow one."

Stalin's response was to take control of Pravda and fake the results of the votes.

"If a certain cell had 300 votes for the Central Committee and 600 against," then Pravda flipped the voting totals so that they read, "For the Central Committee 600, against 300."

I’ll let Bazhanov tell the rest of the story without any more interruptions.

“Naturally, a cell whose election results were erroneously reported protested, phoning Pravda and asking for the section ‘Party Life.’ Nazaretian would politely respond and promise to verify immediately. The verification would show that ‘you are perfectly right, there was a regrettable error, the printers made the mistake. They're overworked, you know. The Pravda editors apologize. We will print a retraction.’ Each cell thought that its error was unique, for that cell alone, and was unaware that it had happened to most of them. Meanwhile, little by little the impression went around that the Central Committee was winning all along the line. The provinces became more prudent and began to follow Moscow, i.e., the Central Committee.”

Much like all the clerical errors and bad polls that began piling up during the 2020 election.

What Stalin meant was that the actual vote didn’t matter, when controlling the news also gave him control of how the election was reported. The actual votes could be tallied somewhere out there, but Pravda would report that there was a consensus in favor of the Central Committee.

Pravda would even pretend to be transparent by printing occasional corrections to create the impression that it was trustworthy, while the big lie of the election rolled on. That’s where the Soviet Pravda was ahead of the American Pravda which rarely even bothers with corrections.

When Stalin said, “who and how people in the Party vote, is unimportant,” but “what is extremely important is who counts the votes, and how they are recorded”, he was referring to the media.

Some might call it a historical irony or tragedy for a leftist media to try and suppress a quote whose import was that a leftist media can manufacture an election consensus by printing lies.

But it’s just destiny.

Stalin understood that elections without safeguards were merely procedural. The results of the election didn’t matter. All that mattered was what people believed because they had read it.

The New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, and the rest of the tottering infrastructure of the media exist to manufacture partisan narratives to secure political power. Like their Stalinist counterparts, they invert the meaning of terms so that ‘fact checking’ becomes suppressing facts, and the more they lie, the more they claim to stand for the truth.

But, Pravda was there first.

The 2020 election was rigged in multiple ways, but the most obvious one was messaging.

Big Tech monopolies and the media collaborated to spread Democrat narratives and suppress Republican ones. In the crucial pre-election period, the media’s lies, smears, and hit pieces against President Trump and Republicans became the only thing most people saw anymore. Scandals involving Hunter Biden were suppressed, ironically, as Russian disinformation, while the media shamelessly propagandized for Biden the way that Pravda had for Stalin.

The media was instrumental in claiming victory for Biden and in helping Democrat governors and secretaries of state orchestrate the illegal election rigging that changed election rules.

The trouble with the Pravda approach is that it only works for a limited amount of time. Stalin only needed it to work for a brief period until he had consolidated his power over the system. Pravda’s credibility only needed to last long enough for Stalin to be able to freely kill his rivals.

America’s Pravda has shot its credibility. Every time public trust in the media hits a new low, the media doubles down on the propaganda, the smears and the lies. In under a generation, the media has destroyed its business model and the credibility that it took centuries to build.

Now it whines about “right-wing echo chambers” and demands harsher social media censorship when it’s nothing more than a left-wing echo chamber trying to wipe out the opposition.

If the media knew anything about history, it would not only have been able to verify the Stalin quote, but it would also know that what it’s doing is a bad idea that can only end badly. .

Nazaretian, who had been assigned the task of doing Stalin's dirty work, rigging the election at Pravda, was killed along with the two members of the Troika, and much of the old Bolshevik establishment in The Great Purge, for being a propagandist who knew too much.

The media might want to learn a lesson from Nazaretian’s example as they lie for their radicals.





Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism

7 comments:

  1. Please use larger typeset ? Not everyone is on laptop or desktop ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aisla Portland S3/1/21

    Magnificent thread from the mid 30s and right up to today.
    " The Song Remains The Same".
    Same shit, different sewage pipe.
    And, you Mr Greenfield continue to keep us from eating those shiny tomatoes that seem to continually grow by the outlet.
    G-d Bless and Keep you and your admirers for this year.
    The good guys win.
    Remember that.
    PS 139. v13-16.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if the legacy media is capable of heeding that lesson.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dwight3/1/21

    The court of public opinion. And "pravda". Where truth goes to die.

    But not before a righteous man is called to testify.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3/1/21

    "Pravda was there first.” No Leftist is ignorant
    of effective lethal winning tactics. Remember
    Vince Foster, Antonin Scalia, Seth Rich, Jeffrey
    Epstein and the silence of family and press.
    They were inconvenient to the narrative. Compare
    to the uproar for Trayvon, George Floyd, etc.

    Many Conservatives would be embarrassed to admit to
    having read Machiavelli or Alinsky. Better play
    Boy Scout than understand the enemy.

    The shadows behind the Paper Mache President Elect
    have their kill lists. No cost now to knocking
    off voices of freedom, just like Uncle Joe did.

    Charlie

    ReplyDelete
  6. Pravda nye pravda.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11/1/21

    What Greenfield omits is that it took about 70 years and the extermination of 20 to 50 MILLION Russians, to finally rid Russia of the govt. that Lenin and Stalin (and their useful idiot supporters) installed.
    (Recall that Hitler exterminated about 12 million souls in his concentration camps, He, Hitler, was a rank amateur when it came to exterminating people).
    True, most of Lenin's inside circle were murdered by Stalin,but so what.The REAL victims were the citizens of Russia and all those he had exterminated.

    Greenfield also admits that the media colluded with the demokrats to aid Biden and it was this
    persistent, 24/7 pro-Biden, hate-Trump propaganda that "MOST PEOPLE" saw. This is certainly the case.
    But if this is so, it follows that these "MOST people" DO NOT BELIEVE the media was lying to them!!!
    It makes no difference at all if the media descends into an abyss they themselves have created if their propaganda has allowed those seeking to install a tyranny have, by then, installed themselves in power.
    Once in power, it is all over, finished, done with, for a very, very long time (e.g. Cuba, USSR, the nations of the former Eastern Bloc, China, N.Korea, Venezuela, etc.).
    And as long as the media bigwigs act as the "Ministry of Propaganda," for the demokrat party, they have nothing to fear.
    True, there will be minor discord amongst those in power (just as Stalin finished off Lenin's ENTIRE inner circle), but so what. The result will just be an ever tighter stranglehold on power and a more oppressive tyranny imposed upon the citizenry.

    Today in the USA, the party of Biden, the media, big tech, academia, Hollywood, the schools - EVERY AGENCY that transmits information - not only abhors the US Constitution (esp. the Bill of Rights), but is voluntarily, willingly acting in UNISON to eviscerate the foundation of our Constitutional Republic.
    Greenfield is being way way to optimistic.

    ReplyDelete

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