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Alexander Yakovlev, architect of perestroika and glasnost and later head of the Presidential Commission for the Victims of Political Repression, elaborates on this point, stating that "The truth is that in punitive operations Stalin did not think up anything that was not there under Lenin: executions, hostage taking, concentration camps, and all the rest." Anne Applebaum asserts that, "without exception, the Leninist belief in the one-party state was and is characteristic of every communist regime," and "the Bolshevik use of violence was repeated in every Communist revolution." Phrases said by Lenin and Cheka founder Felix Dzerzhinsky were deployed all over the world.

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Mass killings occurred under some twentieth century Communist regimes.

Death estimates vary widely, depending on the definitions of deaths included.

Several scholars, among them Stalin biographer Simon Sebag Montefiore, former Politburo member Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev and the director of Yale's "Annals of Communism" series Jonathan Brent, put the death toll at about 20 million.

Robert Conquest, in the latest revision (2007) of his book The Great Terror, estimates that while exact numbers will never be certain, the communist leaders of the USSR were responsible for no fewer than 15 million deaths. Wheatcroft, Stalin's regime can be charged with causing the "purposive deaths" of about a million people, although the number of deaths caused by the regime's "criminal neglect" and "ruthlessness" was considerably higher, and perhaps exceed Hitler's.

However, individuals, collectives and states that have defined themselves as communist have committed crimes in the name of communist ideology, or without naming communism as the direct source of motivation for their crimes." "Of all religions, secular and otherwise," Rummel positions Marxism as "by far the bloodiest – bloodier than the Catholic Inquisition, the various Catholic crusades, and the Thirty Years War between Catholics and Protestants.

In practice, Marxism has meant bloody terrorism, deadly purges, lethal prison camps and murderous forced labor, fatal deportations, man-made famines, extrajudicial executions and fraudulent show trials, outright mass murder and genocide." He writes that in practice the Marxists saw the construction of their utopia as "a war on poverty, exploitation, imperialism and inequality – and, as in a real war, noncombatants would unfortunately get caught in the battle.

They were racial trash, as Engels called them, and fit only for the dung-heap of history." Watson's claims have been criticised by Robert Grant for "dubious evidence", arguing that "what Marx and Engels are calling for is ...

at the very least a kind of cultural genocide; but it is not obvious, at least from Watson's citations, that actual mass killing, rather than (to use their phraseology) mere 'absorption' or 'assimilation', is in question." "Social transformations of this speed and magnitude have been associated with mass killing for two primary reasons.

According to him, "much of what occurred only makes sense if it stemmed in part from the disturbed mentality, pathological cruelty, and extreme paranoia of Stalin himself.

Insecure, despite having established a dictatorship over the party and country, hostile and defensive when confronted with criticism of the excesses of collectivization and the sacrifices required by high-tempo industrialization, and deeply suspicious that past, present, and even yet unknown future opponents were plotting against him, Stalin began to act as a person beleaguered.

In The Lost Literature of Socialism, literary historian George G.

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