Last modified on October 20, 2021, at 05:57

Death toll of communism

The death toll within totalitarian Communist states such as the Soviet Union, People's Republic of China and Cambodia, resulting from the implementation of Communist land reforms, political violence and repression, has been quite high.

Soviet Union

Stalin (1924-1953): The number of Soviet citizens killed by the Stalin regime will never be known with accuracy. Believable counts indicate that between 8.5 million and 50 million people died of starvation, politically-motivated murder and in forced labor camps. The most reliable estimate today is somewhere around 20 million. See also Communist Party of the Soviet Union


Mao (1949-1975): About 50 million people died in Communist China as a result of ill-planned land reforms, implementation of Communist agriculture policies, repression of minorities and political violence under Mao Zedong. See also Communist Party of China

Early Political Purges and Land Reform: 2 million
"Great Leap Forward": 31-33 million
"Cultural Revolution": 1 million (some estimates go up to 20 million)
Ethnic Minorities, including the occupation of Tibet: 750,000-900,000
Forced Labor Camps: 20 million


Fair estimates say that about 1.6 million people were killed during the short but incredibly brutal reign of Cambodian Communist Pol Pot, between 1975 and 1979. Out of a beginning population of 8 million, this means that about 20% of all Cambodians died from political violence, mass executions (genocide) and state-endorsed starvation during Pol Pot's rule. See The Killing Fields

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See also