Stalin today remains an extremely popular historical figure- in a massive 50 million person poll, Stalin was voted the greatest Russian, and was only pushed back to third after the people running the poll artificially decreased his rating: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm
As for the psuedo-historical nonsense of "tens of millions" dead, one only has to look at actual Soviet archives to disprove this Cold War propoganda once and for all.
Perhaps the leading "historian" of Stalin and of Stalinism, Robert Conquest, who is responsible for many historical falsifications about Stalin and his "crimes", is a proven fraud, who lied and manipulated numbers to fit his agenda.
Veteran Sovietologist Roberta Manning of Boston College said of Conquest, "He's terrible at doing research," and, "He misuses sources, he twists everything."
Data from the recently opened Russian archives prove that Robert Conquest hugely inflated figures for deaths and deportations in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Too many writers on the subject, like Stephen Cohen, Alan Bullock and Martin Malia, relied on what Pofessor R. W. Davies called, `Conquest's very high figures for deaths from political causes under Stalin'.
They all claimed that the opened archives would prove their figures true, but when the archives were opened, they went very quiet.
As Professor Richard Overy, Professor of History at King's College London, writes, "For years the figures circulating in the West for Soviet repression were greatly inflated. ... The archive shows a very different picture." Victor Zemskov, who Conquest called `a thoroughly reliable researcher', said the figure of 7 million executed in 1935-41 was `overestimated by a factor of ten'. Archive figures are 799,257 between 1921 and 1952.
The number of those sentenced to prison in those years was 3.85 million. Prisoners in 1939, Conquest said 9 million, a figure again repeated by Cohen. The camp and prison population in January 1939 was two million, not the 15 million that Robert Conquest alleged, which would have been half the adult male population. Alec Nove wrote that Conquest's figures `are indeed incredible'. Conquest alleged that 12 million were political prisoners; the NKVD figure was under 500,000. D. J. Dallin claimed that there were 10-12 million in the camps, 30-40 per cent of whom, that is 3-4 million, died yearly (this from an adult male population of 50 million). Wheatcroft and Davies point out that recent Russian estimates for the numbers in the camps are `far lower than those by Robert Conquest'. Conquest claimed that there were 12 million people in the camps in 1950: the real figure was 578,912. 166,424 died in the labour camps in 1937-39, not 3 million. Conquest's figure of 13 million exiled or sent to the camps during collectivisation was `four times the true figure'. The highest number in the camps was 2,417,468 in 1941, 2.4 per cent of the adult population. Compare the USA in 1996, 5.5 million, a record high, 2.8 per cent of the adult population. Gabor Rittersporn agreed that Alexander Solzhenitsyn's figures for deportations during the 1930s in the Soviet Union were `grossly exaggerated'.
Conquest wrote in 1969 `Great Terror' that 5-6 million died in the famine; by 1986, 14-15 million.
There were 17 million excess deaths in 1930-38, according to Conquest.
As Davies pointed out about excess deaths and the numbers in camps, "Extreme (and untenable) figures often prevailed." Zemskov claims that "the statistical data adduced by Robert Conquest and Stephen Cohen are exaggerated by almost 500 per cent."
Conquest alleged that in 1937-38, 35,000 of the Red Army's 70,000 officers were arrested. The archive showed indeed that 35,000 officers were arrested or discharged, but also that 10,994 were reinstated. It also showed that there were 178,000 officers in 1938, not 70,000, so the arrest rate was about 15 per cent, not 50 per cent. After the war, returning POWs were not `either executed or sent to the Gulag' as Malia claimed. 6.5 per cent went to the NKVD's `special contingent', 58 per cent were sent home, and 33 per cent returned to the army.
Here are Soviet demographic statistics:
January 1926 : 148,656,000
January 1937: 162,500,000
January 1939: 168,524,000
June 1941: 196,716,000
If Stalin killed "tens of millions", or even 100 million as some cretins allege, why is this not shown in the demographic data for the period? Everyone I know back in the post-Soviet space has at least 1 family member who died in WW2, but only 1 has a family member who was repressed during Stalin- her relatives were wealthy peasants sent to Siberia, who still live there today.