Soviet Russia:"Leninism, Stalinism, Khrushchevism, Communism, Socialism, Marxism, and the difference is?"
Never was there a peaceful rule of nearly a century
like there was in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. After the economic fallout of World War I, the Bolsheviks, who came into power as a part of the people's revolution
, decided to reinforce the economy by creating a New Economic Policy (NEP)
. The NEP emphasized the need for cooperation between all the people of the state
, and encouraged increased production from the workers
. Communism produced over 62 million satisfied citizens
, although their testimonies are often unheard in the annals of history.
Socialist-Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Khrushchevsky-Communism took off as early as 1917 when Vladmir Lenin's group of Bolsheviks revolted
and overthrew the Tsar of Russia. Joseph Stalin took power after Lenin
(Lenin's favored successor Trotsky took a trip to Mexico
), creating decades of livelihood for the Soviet people
. Under these leaders, the citizens saw their land returned to them
, greedy businessmen were brought to justice
, and other sovereign governments were annexed into Soviet liberation
. The Soviets both helped the Allied forces take care of Germany
, showing it's sincerity in helping the international community, especially though it's honesty in upholding international treaties
Khrushchev helped fix some of Stalin's problems
when he revealed the bright light of truth
on some administration failures
. Everything was content for Russia during these later years of the USSR, besides a few problems in Korea and Cuba
, with missiles and the spread of Communism and whatnot. Come the late 1980's, the Russian economy was in such a healthy state that even Ludwig Von Mises would've been surprised
. Unfortunately nothing came of the pending reforms except for dreaded return of Capitalism.
Soviet Russia, a shining example of how Socialism really
But did it really work?
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- peaceful rule of nearly a century:
- During the years 1917-1991, Russians were responsible for the deaths of over 62 million people, not including their casualties from war. This century of violence was lead by the Soviet's attempt to consume neighboring nations, the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerjbaijan, indeed all of eastern Europe. For years Soviet leaders foretold of another great World War that was inevitable because of the ideological conflict between "Western capitalist imperialism" and "progressive Soviet Socialism". A "Cold War" of tense politics was the only thing between peace and a total global thermonuclear war.
- as a part of the people's revolution:
- Lenin's small group of Bolshevik revolutionaries did not usually even outnumber the Menshiviks, despite the two terms mean "Majority/Minority" respectively. The first free elections in Russia's history, called the Constituent Assembly, only had Bolsheviks in a quarter of the seats. Lenin's power grab was due to superb organization and timing, not due to any real representation from the masses, and knowing this Bolsheviks closed the Constituent Assembly in 1918, ending free elections in Russia until 1991. In fact, after Lenin came into power, a massive resistance group ignited the last Russian Civil War, as the pro-Lenin camp (the "Reds") and the anti-Lenin camp (the "Whites") fought one another between 1918 and 1921. It was only through Leon Trotsky's reorganization of the lost Russian forces and the bad geography/alignments of the Whites that the Bolsheviks took leadership.
- New Economic Policy (NEP):
- The NEP was a compromise between the revolutionists and the peasants, which allowed them limited private ownership (as opposed to a full-out Socialist takeover). This was supposed to help the transgression from War Communism to a totally Socialist economy, by freeing parts of the agricultural market to boost food supplies. All this "liberation" did was give peasants barely enough food to sustain themselves while taxing them enormously for the "benefit" of being able to more freely sell agricultural goods. Eventually, when the free agricultural economy created dissent among peasants, and failed to successful in replanting after massive government requisitioning, Lenin threw the plan out for fiercer reforms.
- emphasized the need for cooperation between all the people of the state:
- What it actually did was emphasize the need for obedience by the landowning peasant farmers under Lenin's dictation. While allowed to more freely produce, the NEP was a "compromise", and like many compromises, there were repercussions. Lower level peasant workers were forced into collectives called Kolkhozes, and had to revoke their land rights to the community for group labor. As dissent to policies like these grew, Soviet response was very violent. In the 1930's Soviets carried out wholesale slaughters of Kulak peasants, carrying death totals of roughly 6.5 million.
- encouraged increased production from the workers:
- Increased production did not come fast enough, and when that happened the resistant Kulaks began being deported into labor concentration camps. During the 80 year history of Russia, nearly 40 million such people died in these prison slaughterhouses. But, with this compulsory labor system, at least unemployment was near zero.
- 62 million satisfied citizens:
- Over 62 million people died in the Soviet Union, largely citizenry being terrorized, hauled away by secret police, or deported to death camps. That's three times the number of people killed in Nazi Germany (21 million), and more than 20th century Nazi Germany and Communist China both combined. These figures are from Rudolph Rummel's estimates in his book of "Death By Government", calculated from over 8,193 estimates of government killings.
- Vladmir Lenin's group of Bolsheviks revolted:
- The revolt was a general revolt against the monarchy of Russia, the Tsar and his family. The Tsar was held responsible for many grievances the Russian people had, but with the exile and slaughter of the monarchy came Lenin's order, which resulted in more murders and great economic decline than the sum of the entire history of Russia.
- Joseph Stalin took power after Lenin:
- Lenin ruled only until his death in 1924. Stalin carefully outmaneuvered Trotsky for the post of power. In the ensuing administration, Stalin's paranoia lead to the "Great Purge" - a period of time where Stalin's brigade killed dissident Communists and Russian civilians by the millions to prevent a power overthrow, the ones he didn't outright kill he sent to the death-zone Siberian labor concentration camps. Not as moderate as Lenin, Stalin decided to totally collectivize the agricultural farmlands of Russia, the landowning peasant Kulaks being the first to suffer for not immediately handing over their life's labor to the government, but the lower peasant workers opposed this as well since it meant the incentive to produce food would be depleted to nearly nothing. Millions starved. But this was only the beginning of Stalin's reinterpretation of Lenin's philosophies.
Stalin upped production of iron and steel with a unique reward system - for Stakhanovites, it was patriotic to cut 102 tons of coal in a single shift and got them praise as heroes (some other co-workers, who were typically beat and forced into labor, resented this and began murdering Stakhanovites, so this practice was short-lived). For others, however, when production quotas weren't met, labor concentration camp sentences were handed out. Stalin went into World War 2 unprepared, and Germans captured much Russian territory. Stalin responded as he could only know how, by waging the "Great Patriotic War", where Russians relocated to the east and used a "scorched-earth" policy to destroyed all vital resources near the German advancements, pacing a large distance between the two, a distance the Germans were not prepared to travel. Then steel and iron foundries went into production to create a great death machine even Hitler couldn't contend with, eventually leading to Russia's capturing of Berlin in 1945. This strategy was extremely successful, but it cost Russia over 20 million lives - typical of Stalin's other "success" stories.
By 1939 the military was rewarded for it's successes in World War 2 - Stalin killed every admiral, three of the five top commanders, and half of all military officers, out of fear that they were dissident to his order. Russia was gripped in terror as children were told to denounce their parents and report to the authorities all suspicious activities. Stalin demanded total obedience, and enforced it through the Soviet secret police, the Cheka (known by many other names - GPU, OGPU, NKVD - but who in post-Stalin days were known most popularly as the KGB). This secret police force exerted total control over industry and civilian life and communications. Those held in suspicion were deported to death camps or outright killed, usually with no formal charges brought against them. Family members who didn't know what happened to their children and loved ones would go to the police only to be executed to fill death quotas prescribed by the sadist administrations of people like Felix Dzerzhinsky and Genrikh Yagoda (who Stalin eventually shot in paranoia and replaced with the brutal "Bloody Dwarf" Nicolai Yezhov, but he was shot too, and murder/rapist Lavrenti Beria ended up making the cut just before Stalin died). Millions inside and outside the secret police were killed in internal changeovers and irrational policy making of blatant public terror.
- trip to Mexico:
- Trotsky fled Russia terrorized by Stalinist spies and agents, and for many years moved from nation to nation to advoid death threats. Eventually he fled to live in Mexico, where he wrote letters and reports denouncing Stalin. This caught up with him in 1940 by a Stalin secret police agent, who posed as a friend to Trotsky for two years - one day, when this "friend" was pouring over papers Trotsky had just written, Trotsky turned to see his "friend" hack his skull open with a ice pick. Trotsky didn't die until about a day later.
- decades of livelihood for the Soviet people:
- These years were perhaps the most depraved and desperate in Russian history. Famine, genocide, enslaved labor camps, death squads, civil war, bloody internal changeovers, paranoid dictators... the conditions of a healthy nation, or the conditions of a socialist one?
- citizens saw their land returned to them:
- Land was taken from peasant Kulaks by forceful slaughter, but what happened to this land? It was worked by forcefully conscribed labor collectives. Those who didn't meet the standards or chose to pursue other lines of work were deported to prison death camps to work out the remainder of their short lives enslaved.
- greedy businessmen were brought to justice:
- Lower middle-class peasants, like the land-owning farmer Kulaks, were typically outright killed. Others of industry were extorted or imprisoned so the government might assume their industries into one collective form, worked by essentially enslaved civilians. Whoever didn't agree with this could work in the Siberian labor concentration camps - if production wasn't met there, food problems were solved the hard way.
- other sovereign governments were annexed into Soviet liberation:
- Soviet foreign policy was the 10-steps forward 1-step back policy of "grab as much as they'll let you take". The Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, Bukovina, Bessarabia, East Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria, East Austria - all nations "annexed" into the U.S.S.R. Most were parts of literal land grabs, and where Russia couldn't indoctrinate a nation into the Kremlin's framework, it simply set up a puppet government to be extorted openly.
- Although both nations had similar domestic platforms, the imperialistic nature of the Germans disturbed the Soviets, so they signed a mutual non-aggression pact to prevent hostilities from boiling over. Soviets moved into Poland to stop Germany from taking the whole country, taking the time of course to slaughter a few thousand Poles at Katyn Forest. Nazis invaded Russia, taking much of it's land, but Russians beat back German resistance after forcing them to spend an unusually cold Russian winter there with few supplies due to the Russian's scorched earth policy. The Russian death machine was perhaps the only force Nazi's couldn't compete with.
- Russia abstained from attacking Japan with a non-aggression pact during most of World War 2. It wasn't until after the dropping of the first atom bomb that Russia finally made the decision to help Allied efforts by invading Manchuria and approaching with the Allied forces on a flattened Japan. This was in spite of a promise to the Allied forces that they would declare war on Japan as soon as Germany had fallen.
- honesty in upholding international treaties:
- Stalin trampled all over the agreements made at the Tehran summit and Yalta conferences as to post-war demands. Russia agreed to assist the war on Japan after the fall of Germany, but it did not attack Japan until after the first atomic bomb dropped, effectively at Japan's surrendering point. The Tehran demands almost guaranteed Soviets the "Iron Curtain" in East Europe while hollow promises of free elections in Poland during the Yalta conferences were a joke. Free trade in Berlin was halted, eventually the hostilities in foreign relations lead to the Berlin Wall's construction. Other complications in the Geneva conventions and the Soviet liberal use of vetos in the U.N. showed that the Soviet Union was not going to cooperate with the Western world in upholding treaties or maintaining the peace.
- Stalin's problems:
- Stalin had many bloody internal changeovers, and a reign of secret police, mass murders, and baseless deportations. Thankfully, his second-in command, Khrushchev, was there to support him in making each one of these moves, especially in exterminating the Ukraine political opposition to Stalin.
- bright light of truth:
- After Stalin's death, Khrushchev had a change of heart, and openly denounced Stalin in a "secret" - but mass distributed - address to a Communist party congress. He did not offer an opinion on his own actions in the denunciation.
- administration failures:
- The slaughtering of millions of innocents for not complying to the Communist order was Stalin's administration, and in the end, it failed the Russian people. This realization slowly set in as Khrushchev took power, and eventually this sentiment led to the fall of the openly Communist order of the Soviet Union, and it's collapse.
- Korea and Cuba:
- Russian-backed North Korean Communists attempted to attack the American-backed South Koreans in an effort to unify the Korean nation. Despite all the fighting, the original 38th parallel where the division between the two nations was originally drawn became the virtually static battleground. America and Russia did not collide directly, but the invasion was clearly a Russian move to spread Communism south, while the response was America's effort to keep Democracy north. Later in Cuba, Russians decided it was going to arm Cuba with nuclear other aggressive ballistic missiles, being that Cuba is the only Communist nation within arm's reach of the U.S., this conflict became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, where Khrushchev eventually decided to back down after a tense week-long standoff. Both were tools to escalate the Cold War tensions, almost igniting nuclear war.
- that even Ludwig Von Mises would've been surprised:
- Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises theorized that the Soviet Socialist model of economic decay would fail due to the inequitable operation of all forms of collectivist Socialism. He particularly addressed the Soviets and showed how a Soviet nation would eventually falter economically because of an inability to calculate economic value, and made predictions in 1920 that finally came true in the late 1980's. The Soviet Union's economy only really boomed when the labor camps were in full gear for war, or the state machine was racing for missile or space developments. Eventually, the Soviet Union experienced a great economic collapse which harkened in the fall of Soviet Socialism in the late 1980's, along with the Soviet Berlin Wall. Even Mises' would've been surprised as to how many deaths it finally took before the faltering U.S.S.R. would finally fall.
- Unfortunately nothing came of the pending reforms except for dreaded return of Capitalism.:
- Now adopting a more free-market form of government and relinquishing it's militant Collectivism, Russia is again in the world stage as a reformed superpower. The Soviet Union is an excellent example of why force and Socialist policy making do NOT work, as the intense nationalistic militancy required can sometimes revert civil cultures into the world's worst butchers. As always, we'll leave the final judgment to the reader.
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