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The higher estimates of mass killings account for crimes against civilians by governments, including executions, destruction of population through man-made hunger, and deaths during forced deportations and through the forced labor.Terms used to define these killings include "mass killing", "democide", "politicide", "classicide", and a broad definition of "genocide." The estimates by Stéphane Courtois in the Klas-Göran Karlsson writes that "Ideologies are systems of ideas, which cannot commit crimes independently.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.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.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.
After the Soviet Union dissolved, evidence from the Soviet archives became available, containing official records of the execution of approximately 800,000 prisoners under Stalin for either political or criminal offenses, around 1.7 million deaths in the Gulags and some 390,000 deaths during kulak forced resettlement – for a total of about 3 million officially recorded victims in these categories.First, the massive social dislocations produced by such changes have often led to economic collapse, epidemics, and, most important, widespread famines. The second reason that communist regimes bent on the radical transformation of society have been linked to mass killing is that the revolutionary changes they have pursued have clashed inexorably with the fundamental interests of large segments of their populations.Few people have proved willing to accept such far-reaching sacrifices without intense levels of coersion." According to Jacques Semelin, "communist systems emerging in the twentieth century ended up destroying their own populations, not because they planned to annihilate them as such, but because they aimed to restructure the 'social body' from top to bottom, even if that meant purging it and recarving it to suit their new Promethean political imaginaire." Eric D.Mass killings occurred under some twentieth century Communist regimes.Death estimates vary widely, depending on the definitions of deaths included.