Estimated number of victims
The introduction, by editor Stéphane Courtois, asserts that "...Communist regimes...turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government". He cites a death toll which totals 94 million, not counting the "excess deaths" (decrease of the population due to lower than the expected birth rate). The breakdown of the number of deaths given by Courtois is as follows:
65 million in the People's Republic of China
20 million in the Soviet Union
2 million in Cambodia
2 million in North Korea
1.7 million in Africa
1.5 million in Afghanistan
1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe
1 million in Vietnam
150,000 in Latin America
10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international communist movement and communist parties not in power."(p. 4)
Courtois claims that Communist regimes are responsible for a greater number of deaths than any other political ideal or movement, including Nazism.
The statistics of victims includes executions, intentional destruction of population by starvation, and deaths resulting from deportations, physical confinement, or through forced labor.