Demographic Analysis and Population Catastrophes in the USSR: A Rejoinder to Barbara Anderson and Brian Silver

Steven Rosefielde
Barbara Anderson and Brian Silver have recently attempted to settle the controversy over the economic and demographic consequences of Stalinism by "demonstrating . . . how sensitive estimates of excess mortality are to the assumptions that are made about de- mographic data and the 'natural' course of demographic change" because they think that "the demographic evidence has been misunderstood and misused, and that the sensitivity of demographic estimates to assumptions made about the levels of
more » ... rtality and fertility, as well as about the accuracy and completeness of Soviet census data and vital statistics, has not been given adequate attention.", This formulation suggests that readers of the Slavic Review do not realize how difficult it is to estimate the Gulag forced labor popu- lation and to quantify the casualties caused by collectivization, Gulag, and the Terror; that they are unaware that estimates of these sorts are controversial; and that they do not fully appreciate how specific errors mar the credibility of some analysts' calculations.
doi:10.17615/8f97-rs50 fatcat:236up74ehjg2rlqgee3rigqyea