Grover Carr Furr III (born April 3, 1944) is an American professor of Medieval English literature at Montclair State University. He has also published books and papers about Soviet history, especially the Stalin era, based on his research on primary sources from the Soviet archives. Mainstream historians have criticized his conclusions and described him as an historical revisionist. Controversial conclusions drawn from his research include that the Holodomor was a genocide is a hoax invented by Ukrainian Nazi collaborationists, that the Katyn massacre was committed by the Nazi Schutzstaffel and not the Soviet NKVD, that all defendants in the Moscow Trials were guilty as charged, that Nikita Khrushchev's speech "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" about Stalinist repression was full of lies, that the purpose of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was to preserve the Second Polish Republic and not to attack it, and that the Soviet Union did not invade Poland. Those claims are fringe theories and are outside the mainstream in their respective academic field.
Born in Washington, D.C., Furr graduated in 1965 from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with a BA in English. From 1965 to 1969, he was at Princeton University in the Department of Comparative Literature, with education in Medieval British Literature, German, Russian, and French. Furr received his Ph.D degree from Princeton University in 1979. Since February 1970, he has been on the faculty at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he specializes in Medieval English literature.
Beliefs and reception
Historians John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr stated that Furr "lauded the creation of Communist regimes" in Europe and Asia because "billions of workers all over the world are exploited, murdered, tortured, oppressed by capitalism." In response to Furr's critical review, historian Gerald Meyer of Hostos Community College wrote that "Furr defends the Soviet state's expulsion of the Volga Germans, Tartars, Chechens, and other ethnic minorities from their homelands", "objects to my contention that collectivization of agriculture resulted in widespread resistance and famine", and "spends most of his energy attempting to refute the truism that Stalin was aware of and approved of huge numbers of political executions."
Furr's books, especially those on the Katyn massacre, have been cited in Russia as confirmation that the revisionist views are also supported by foreign historians. Historian Jarosław Szarek, president of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, condemned Furr's work as denying Soviet war crimes, comparing it to "the scandalous manifestations of Holocaust denial." The comparison to Holocaust denial was itself criticized as unwise because Poland's education minister Anna Zelewska indirectly denied Polish complicity in the Jedwabne pogrom, a massacre of Polish Jews in July 1941.
During a public debate at a university campus in 2012, Furr was quoted as saying: "I have yet to find one crime — yet to find one crime — that Stalin committed. ... I know they all say he killed 20, 30, 40 million people — it is bullshit. ... Goebbels said that the Big Lie is successful and this is the Big Lie: that the Communists — that Stalin killed millions of people and that socialism is no good." Both The American Conservative and the Washington Examiner wrote that Furr referred to Nazi propaganda because a mediator of the discussion suggested that Furr was using tactics invented by Joseph Goebbels.
In a CounterPunch article published in March 2017, Furr wrote about the Soviet famine of 1932–1933 and the Holodomor genocide question, stating that "[t]here was a very serious famine in the USSR, including (but not limited to) the Ukrainian SSR, in 1932–33. But there has never been any evidence of a 'Holodomor' or 'deliberate famine,' and there is none today. The 'Holodomor' fiction was invented by Ukrainian Nazi collaborators who found havens in Western Europe, Canada, and the USA after the war." In response, journalist Cathy Young described him in an article for The Daily Beast as "a 'revisionist' on a career-long quest to exonerate Stalin."
Contrary to the historical consensus and as acknowledged by both the Soviet Union (in 1991) and the Russian Federation (in 2004), Furr denies Soviet complicity in the Katyn massacre, arguing in a 2013 article in the Socialism and Democracy academic journal that the Katyn massacre was committed by the Nazi Schutzstaffel rather than by the Soviet NKVD. In 2010, Furr stated to have believed the widely accepted view until the discoveries in the mass graves at Volodymyr-Volynskyi, which he claims prove his thesis. According to Furr, some Poles were likely killed by the Soviets in retaliation for their treatment of Russian prisoners of war and other civilians, which is part of controversies of the Polish–Soviet War, while Nazis shot the others later.
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Soviet invasion of Poland
In 2012, Furr stated that the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was signed by the Soviet Union to preserve an independent Poland rather than planning a partition of Poland, as was in fact stipulated in the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Regarding the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, Furr stated in 2009 that the Soviet Union did not actually invade the Second Polish Republic because Poland no longer had a government and was not a state according to international law, further stating that "at the time it was widely acknowledged that no such invasion occurred." Furr believes that Poland no longer existed because the Polish government was interned in Romania, although it continued to be recognized by all Allied powers. According to Furr, the Polish government did not declare war on the Soviet Union and only declared war on Nazi Germany, as did Britain and France.
Contrary to the widely accepted view that the Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Furr believes that all defendants in the Moscow Trials were at least guilty of what they were charged, as argued in a 2017 article for Journal of Labor and Society, a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Brill.
Furr's book Khrushchev Lied, subtitled "The Evidence that Every Revelation of Stalin's (and Beria's) Crimes in Nikita Khrushchev's Infamous Secret Speech to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, Is Provably False", attacked the speech given by Nikita Khrushchev called "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", more commonly referred to in the West as the "Secret Speech" because it was delivered at an unpublicized closed session of party delegates, with guests and members of the press excluded. According to Sven-Eric Holmstrom, "Furr identifies 61 allegations in Khrushchev's speech. He concludes that, with only one minor exception, every one of them is demonstrably false. In essence Furr claims to have proven that this 'speech of the century' is a fraud from beginning to end."
According to a review by Gregory Elich in the Marxist academic journal Science & Society, "it would be too much to expect from Furr to live up to his claim that not one specific statement by Khrushschev turned out to be true", that his dislike of Khrushschev in the book was palpable, and that the arguments by Furr about all defendants of Moscow Trials being guilty do not survive fact checking. According to a review by Sven-Eric Holmstrom in the academic journal Socialism and Democracy, some of the assertions by Furr can be supported by writings by historians of the "revisionist school" of Communist and Soviet studies, such as J. Arch Getty, Mark Tauger, Stephen Wheatcroft, and Yuri Zhukov. Among them are assertions by Furr that, contrary to the speech by Khrushchev, Stalin did not encourage a cult of personality, that the Holodomor as a genocide was disproven, that Stalin was not a dictator and fought to make elections in the Soviet Union truly democratic, and that Leon Trotsky was guilty of plans to assassinate Stalin.
- Furr, Grover (2011). Khrushchev Lied. The Evidence that Every Revelation of Stalin's (and Beria's) Crimes in Nikita Khrushchev's Infamous Secret Speech to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, Is Provably False. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780615441054.
- Furr, Grover (2013). The Murder of Sergei Kirov: History, Scholarship and the Anti-Stalin Paradigm. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780615802015.
- Furr, Grover (2014). Blood Lies: The Evidence that Every Accusation against Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union in Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands Is False. New York City, New York: Red Star Publishers. ISBN 9780692200995.
- Furr, Grover (2015). Trotsky's Amalgams. Trotsky's Lies, The Moscow Trials as Evidence, The Dewey Commission. Trotsky's Conspiracies of the 1930s, Volume One. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780692582244.
- Furr, Grover (2016). Yezhov vs. Stalin: The Truth About Mass Repressions and the So-Called Great Terror in the USSR. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780692810507.
- Furr, Grover (2017). Leon Trotsky's Collaboration with Germany and Japan. Trotsky's Conspiracies of the 1930s, Volume Two. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780692945735.
- Furr, Grover (2018). The Fraud of the Dewey Commission. New York City, New York: Red Star Publishers. ISBN 9781722702243.
- Furr, Grover (2018). The Moscow Trials as Evidence. New York City, New York: Red Star Publishers. ISBN 9781722842123.
- Furr, Grover (2018). The Mystery of the Katyn Massacre: The Evidence, The Solution. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780692134252.
- Furr, Grover (2019). Stalin: Waiting for ... the Truth! Exposing the Falsehoods in Stephen Kotkin's Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941. New York City, New York: Red Star Publishers. ISBN 9780578445533.
- Furr, Grover (2019). Trotsky's Lies. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780578521046.
- Furr, Grover (2020). New Evidence of Trotsky's Conspiracy. Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press and Media. ISBN 9780578649764.
- "Grover Furr". Montclair State University. Archived from the original on July 2, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (2003). In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage. San Francisco: Encounter Books. pp. 26–27. ISBN 9781893554726.
- Meyer, Gerald (September 11, 2018). "Grover Furr on 'Joseph Stalin: Revisionist Biography': A Response". Science & Society. 82 (4): 576–581. doi:10.1521/siso.2018.82.4.576.
- Ivanov, Valery (April 2, 2017). "Катынский расстрел: продолжатели дела Геббельса" Katynskiy rasstrel: prodolzhateli dela Gebbel'sa [Katyn Execution: The Successors of the Goebbels Case]. NewsBalt (in Russian). Archived from the original on April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
- Babović, Darja (2018). Anamnesis of Poland's Mnemonic Determinism: Are Historic Narratives Misused to Support Conservative Political Agenda (PDF) (Masters). Central European University. pp. 31–32. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
- Szarek, Jarosław (May 11, 2018). "Open letter of the President of the Institute of National Remembrance to prof. Grover Furr and Montclair State University Autohorities". Institute of National Remembrance. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- Gehrke, Joel (November 13, 2012). "Your tax dollars at work: Prof says Stalin did not kill millions of people — that's 'the Big Lie'". Washington Examiner. Archived from the original on June 11, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Dreher, Rod (November 26, 2012). "'They Lied, Nobody Died'". The American Conservative. Archived from the original on June 11, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Furr, Grover (March 3, 2017). "The 'Holodomor' and the Film 'Bitter Harvest' are Fascist Lies". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Young, Cathy (October 31, 2015). "Russia Denies Stalin's Killer Famine". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 3, 2021. Updated April 13, 2017CS1 maint: postscript (link)
- Furr, Grover (2013). "The 'Official' Version of the Katyn Massacre Disproven?" (PDF). Socialism and Democracy. 27 (2): 96–129. doi:10.1080/08854300.2013.795268. S2CID 141695301. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 18, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- Furr, Grover (August 6, 2013). "The Katyn Forest Whodunnit". Montclair State University. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
- Furr, Grover (2012). "The Secret Protocols to the M-R Pact Did Not Plan Any Partition of Poland". Montclair State University. Archived from the original on January 17, 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
- Furr, Grover (2009). "Did the Soviet Union Invade Poland in September 1939?". Montclair State University. Archived from the original on August 23, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Elich, Gregory (2014). "Review of Khrushchev Lied: The Evidence that Every 'Revelation' of Stalin's (and Beria's) 'Crimes' in Nikita Khrushchev's Infamous 'Secret Speech' to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on February 25, 1956, Is Probably False". Science & Society. 78 (3): 398–401. ISSN 0036-8237. JSTOR 24583594.
- Furr, Grover (July 31, 2010). "The Moscow Trials and the 'Great Terror' of 1937–1938: What the Evidence Shows". Montclair State University. Archived from the original on July 1, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Furr, Grover (September 2017). "Yezhov vs. Stalin: The Causes of the Mass Repressions of 1937-1938 in the USSR" (PDF). Labor and Society. 20 (3): 325–347. doi:10.1111/wusa.12297. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 9, 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
- Holmstrom, Sven-Eric (August 2, 2013). "Grover Furr, Khrushchev Lied (Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press & Media LLC, 2011". Journal of the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
- Holmstrom, Sven-Eric (August 2, 2013). "Grover Furr, Khrushchev Lied (Kettering, Ohio: Erythros Press & Media LLC, 2011". Journal of the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2020. While stating that "the book has some formal weaknesses", Holmstrom declared it to be a valuable contribution to the so-called "historical revisionist" school of Soviet and Communist studies and that "Furr is formally proclaiming a 'paradigm shift' for which evidence has been accumulating over many years. Furr's (and Bobrov's) work may be seen as building on that of the 'revisionists' (called 'Young Turks' when they first appeared in the mid-80s)."CS1 maint: postscript (link)