Can Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany be Compared?

While the famines may have been unintentional, the reaction and actions taken were not. (From what I do know of it.)
Time Ghost has a video that covers the Holomodor. Nor does that team who previously did WW1 week by week, and is currently doing WW2 week by week avoid the horrible events that happened- especially in the War Against Humanity series.

For me, comparing Hitler’s Germany to Stalin’s Russia is like comparing two huge piles of manure. But for a Finn, in that time period I could see how Germany looks better than Russia. (Even more if there is only a small amount of Jews in Finland and it’s not like a more general anti-Semitism wasn’t common at the time too.)

How you attribute deaths is always a sticking point in these kinds of claims it seems. Does one only count those killed by direct action against them, like execution or imprisonment in a gulag, or does one include deaths from inaction, apathy and policies.

And the other consideration I have, is that not every death is recorded and documented. And it’s not beyond imagination that not all KGB/GRU/etc documents were released. The very nature of how that country was run and operated seems to invite skepticism.

I can believe that 20 million is an inflated number. But if it is only 3.3 million, it doesn’t make Stalin a good person. (See above analogy of manure piles)

Here is a cite that ranges between 3 and 60 Million, leaning towards the higher number, and dicussing what counts as killing by Stalin vs. died during Stalin’s reign. Starting with the Kulaks in the 30s, following the cannon fodder in WWII, the purges, the Gulags… yes, even 60 Million is imaginable. I would settle with 40, but that is arbitrary.
Here another cite for Hitler’s murders, ranging from

5,003,000 to 31,595,000 people, most likely 20,946,000 men, women, handicapped, aged, sick, prisoners of war, forced laborers, camp inmates, critics, homosexuals, Jews, Slavs, Serbs, Germans, Czechs, Italians, Poles, French, Ukrainians, and many others. Among them 1,000,000 were children under eighteen years of age. And none of these monstrous figures even include civilian and military combat or war-deaths.

I think the big difference is in the attitude, not in the result. Hitler’s ideology had the explicit aim of anihilating the Jews, the Slaves, the Gipsies, the Homosexuals, the mentally “feeble” (no, I will not define them) and many other groups, it was an openly stated policy from Mein Kampf onwards. Stalin accepted many deaths as collateral damage, he did not care, as long as he stayed in power. He was his own ideology, disguised as Communism. The German National-Socialist variant of Fascism was murderous in itself, thus morally worse.
And as an aside: seen this way, Trump is mentally closeer to Stalin than to Hitler, and still he read Hitler’s speeches and not Stalin’s works.

Would that be a productive point of comparison? Not that I would wish to do the job, but my general impression is that, while both lied in public speeches when it suited them, Hitler was more overtly aggressive (and his lies were more obvious), while Stalin in public sailed over whatever turmoil he was creating with either euphemisms and distractions, and his more vicious expressions were in private.

Not that that gets one much further in assigning degrees of guilt, merely in establishing a possible difference.

There were only around 1500 jews total in Finland at the onset of WW II. Several hundred Finnish jews (ie. most eligible men) fought alongside Finns (and on occasion Germans) against the Russians. Germany tried to get the Finnish government to extradite Finnish jews to Germany, but the Finns declined.

A 1944 memo by Finnish jews concluded that the rights and freedoms of Finnish jews were not compromised in any way during the war. Jews even had battlefield synagogues, something unthinkable to the German troops within seeing distance.

To be frank the cite for “up to 60 million” that you posted seems extremely poor. It is not remotely the work of professional historians, is from a website called “Ways to Die”, and even in the text of the website itself it makes clear that they’re broadly including World War II civilian and military deaths, which tens of millions of those were Germans either killing Soviet soldiers / citizens directly, or creating conditions in the German-occupied territory that led to mass starvation. Even the most critical analysis of Stalin’s regime, in my opinion, would have a hard time assessing to him blame for his people getting killed by an invading Nazi army.

Understanding that this is not a universal let alone, necessarily, common position. (And not one being endorsed here!)

I can’t help but wait in horror for the folks that say ‘Clearly, Stalin was worse!’ letting the other shoe drop,
‘I mean, Hitler wanted the kill all the Jews so he couldn’t have been that bad.’

Sorry that my first cite was not up to the level expected, perhaps the second one is more acceptable, maybe the part at the end:

Moreover, even though the Nazis hardly matched the democide of the Soviets and Communist Chinese as shown in table 1.3 , they proportionally killed more.

The one killed more in total, the other more in proportion, and the third one (Mao) seems to have killed the most. And now what?

I have read arguments that went in this sense, as Stalin sent people as cannon fodder to a certain death. They lacked equipment, weapons and were sent to be killed. And Hitler gave orders in Stalingrad not to retreat an inch, wishing that “the losers” of the 6th Army be annihilated. If you can blame Hitler for those deaths (and I think this is legitimate) Stalin also must take some of the blame for at least part his fallen soldiers.
I am getting the feeling I should not have entered this debatte, I am no longer sure whether we are comparing who was worse or who was better and I am not sure what “Stalin’s Russia” and “Hitler’s Germany” really mean.

Your claim about Finnish Jews fighting “alongside” Germans against the Soviet Union could use a cite. As part of Finland’s army, much more believable.

Finnish Jews fought against Nazi Germany in the Lapland War in 1944, according to Wikipedia.

Just what I said, FFS. “Finnish jews fought alongside German troops” - straight off the pertinent country’s Wikipedia page.

Slight hijack, but I wonder why it always comes down to Hitler and Stalin in the contest of “biggest 20th century villain”
Mao Zedong out-killed them both with 55 million during the Great Leap Forward.

He is not part of “western” culture.
We’re even racist in our choice of villains.

About Finland (and for example Latvia): They had an established enemy in the Russians. I think the adage of “The enemy of my enemy is my ally” comes into play here. I’ve been to the War Museum in Riga some years ago, and that was very informative in that sense. Especially when you realized that Hitler had a lot of plans when it came to displacing and replacing populations in certain areas, however Stalin was already in that process. 500,000 Latvians had been sent to Siberia as kulaks and been replaced by ethnic Russians by the time things were culminating into WWII. The Finns had already been at war with Russia. People in that region have basically been fucked over twice (see The devil in history by Vladimir Tismaneanu and Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder).

You’re probably right

Besides just being racist, it’s also in part because Mao’s killing was more isolated to China in a way that Hitler and Stalin weren’t. History taught in schools tends to be the history of the country it’s taught in and broad(er) strokes for other countries and areas when it’s not directly affecting. (I.E. How much Canadian and Mexican history is taught in the US.) Classes and books are limited in scope and depth, even when they aren’t intentionally biased and racist.

I would like to think that if more people knew about what happened in China under Mao, he would be included more in discussions about mass murdering heads of state. Would Attila or Julius Caesar be older comparison points? They had smaller numbers to work with but still managed to kill lots of people in their time.

I ran across the following in Inferno, Max Hasting’s history of WWII:

“Whatever the merits of the Russian people’s struggle to expel the invaders from their country, Stalin’s war aims were as selfish and inimical to human liberty as those of Hitler. Soviet conduct could be deemed less barbaric than that of the Nazis only because it embraced no single enormity to match the Holocaust…Even if no exalted assertion of principle - instead, only a grapple between rival monsters - caused Russia to become the principal battleground of the war, it was there that the Third Reich encountered the forces that would contrive its nemesis.”

I think the name you’re really looking for here is Genghis Khan - the prototypical mass murderer/head-of-state. He’s in the same ballpark of humans murdered with the 20th century’s worst, but did so with a much smaller world population.

I think there’s also the fact that China is still run by the Communists, whereas the Russians and Germans aren’t.

One aspect of the Soviet Union under Stalin was that no one could ever consider themselves “safe” from the next purge. Running a successful factory/farm for the state? One production run below the norm and you were a “wrecker”. Military Leader? Target for the prewar purge. Up on the latest Marxist theory? Oops, that leader was driven out and you were now a deviationist.

The amazing thing was how many people were treated so poorly and then came back to support the system: Example: Sergei Korolev of the Soviet space program.

This is actually a recurring thing throughout Russian history.

Before the revolution and the creation of the USSR, Russian dissidents would often be sentenced to labor in Siberia, or exile, and would make their way back to Russia once their sentences were completed.

While conditions were bad in Russia, it was still Russia, the motherland, and nationalism had been baked into Russian identity for a very, very long time, and still is to this day I would posit.

From YouTube: Dictators death toll in perspective, by MetaBallStudios.

I will say that I’d be more leery of Stalin’s hospitality than Hitlers. Hitler would bore you into a stupor, but Simon Sebag Montefiore lists all sorts of weirdness by Stalin: inviting a stage actor to sit silently with Stalin, making Khrushchev dance like a trained bear, showing up at your apartment the day of your return from the Gulag to give you a big hug. Shostakovich’s Testimony tells of the minor functionary who received a random death stare while delivering a document and became involuntary in his pants.

Then there was Pol Pot. You could be his biggest cheerleader and still get it in the neck on a whim. Stalin killed his toadys to, but always to de-consolidate their power or make a warning.