1. Regarding Conquest’s pre-perestroika estimates of excess deaths in the 1930s, in The Great Terror Conquest estimated that 3,500,000 people died during
2. Eleven million excess deaths in 1926–36 cannot be ‘readily deduced’ from the 1926 and 1937 population census data because we do not know the true birth rate, especially during the famine.
3. On executions a variety of figures have been produced by Russian government officials, without any explanation of their provenance. I cited the highest figure—seven million. Conquest used to look kindly on this figurefootnote3 but now appears, correctly, to reject it. The top-secret figures for executions supplied by the kgb to the Politburo in various documents from 1953 onwards (including the figure of 681,692 in 1937–38) certainly omit some executions—for instance, of Polish officers in 1940. We shall have to await greater openness of the kgb archives before we can decide between my suspicion of the figure of 1,750,000 and Conquest’s support for it.
Naturally the total number of arrests in Zemskov’s figures is higher than the number of arrests given in the kgb documents, which do not include the large number of arrests of criminals by the civil authorities dealt with by the ordinary courts.
4. Conquest’s figure of nine million in camps and prisons in late 1938, excluding criminals, which he described at the time as ‘highly conservative’, was obviously a gross over-estimate, and it would prevent the perpetuation of error if he admitted this.