Robert Conquest, an Anglo-American historian whose works on the terror and privation under Josef Stalin made him the preeminent Western chronicler of the horrors of Soviet rule, died on August 3 in Palo Alto, California.
He was 98 years old.
Conquest’s master work, “The Great Terror,” published in 1968, was the first detailed account of the Stalinist purges from 1937 to 1939.
He estimated that under Stalin, 20 million people perished from famine and millions more were executed by the regime.
An ardent Bolshevik as a young man, Conquest became a bitter foe of Soviet “socialism” and came to personify the saying that no anticommunist is so dedicated as an ex-communist.
He had first visited Russia in 1937 as a youthful devotee of the great experiment and did not return until 1989.
"His books did as much as any other man’s to alter our view of the communist experience," said the London Telegraph.
Besides being one of the outstanding scholars of his time, Conquest was a published poet.
He is survied by his fourth wife, Elizabeth, and two sons.