Владимир Мосс. Дух ленинизма

 

Дух ленинизма

Накануне выборов нового (но, скорее, старого) нео-советского лидера представляется полезным заново уяснить себе, что представлял из себя  первый советский лидер и, соответственно, лидер, основавший ту религиозную систему, от которой Россия не освободилась вплоть до настоящего времени.

 

 

 

Ленин, потомственный дворянин России, немецко-еврейского происхождения был профессиональным революционером, который существовал на средства партии и доходы от имения его матери. Выбрав себе жизнь в подполье, он почти ничего не знал о жизни обычных людей, более того не заботился о приобретении таких знаний. Как отмечал Горький, «всему виной было его равнодушие к ежедневному людскому труду, и человеческому страданию, который он влечет за собой, безжалостное презрение дворянина к простым людям. Жизнь во всей ее сложности была неизвестна Ленину. Он никогда не знал обычных людей, т.к. он никогда не жил в их среде.»

 

Ленин ненавидел свою собственную страну. «Я плюю на Россию», - сказал он однажды; и его дела показывали его презрение к русским людям  всех сословий.

Идея, что революция нужна была для спасения России или русских является абсолютной ложью:

он предпринял  это не из любви к кому либо или чему либо, но был движим иррациональной, демонической,  всеобщей ненавистью.

 

 

 

 

 

     On the eve of the election of a new (but probably old) neo-Soviet leader, it may be useful to remind ourselves of who the first Soviet leader was, and therefore of that religious system that Russia has still not freed herself from.

 

     Lenin, a hereditary nobleman of Russian, German and Jewish origins, was a professional revolutionary who lived on party funds and income from his mother’s estate. Choosing to live in the underground[1], he had very little direct knowledge of the way ordinary people lived, and cared even less. “According to Gorky, it was this ignorance of everyday work, and the human suffering which it entailed, which had bred in Lenin a ‘pitiless contempt, worthy of a nobleman, for the lives of the ordinary people… Life in all its complexity is unknown to Lenin. He does not know the ordinary people. He has never lived among them.’”[2]

 

     Lenin hated his own country. “I spit on Russia”, he said once; and his actions showed his contempt for Russians of all classes. Nothing is further from the truth than the idea that Lenin’s revolution was carried out for the sake of Russia or the Russians: it was carried out, not out of love for anybody or anything, but simply out of irrational, demonic, universal hatred…

 

     For a revolutionary, Lenin lived a relatively simple, even ascetic life, and had only affair - with Inessa Armand. But, as Oliver Figes writes, “asceticism was a common trait of the revolutionaries of Lenin’s generation. They were all inspired by the self-denying revolutionary Rakhmetev in Chernyshevsky’s novel What Is To Be Done? By suppressing his own sentiments, by denying himself the pleasures of life, Lenin tried to strengthen his resolve and to make himself, like Rakhmetev, insensitive to the sufferings of others. This, he believed, was the ‘hardness’ required by every successful revolutionary: the ability to spill blood for political ends. ‘The terrible thing in Lenin,’ Struve once remarked, ‘was that combination in o ne person of self-castigation, which is the essence of all real asceticism, with the castigation of other people as expressed in abstract social hatred and cold political cruelty…

 

     “The root of this philistine approach to life was a burning ambition for power. The Mensheviks joked that it was impossible to compete with a man, such as Lenin, who thought about revolution twenty-four hours every day. Lenin was driven by an absolute faith in his own historical destiny. He did not doubt for a moment, as he had once put it, that he was the man who was to wield the ‘conductor’s baton’ in the party. This was the message he brought back to Russia in April 1917. Those who had known him before the war noticed a dramatic change in his personality. ‘How he had aged,’ recalled Roman Gul’, who had met him briefly in 1905. ‘Lenin’s whole appearance had altered. And not only that. There was none of the old geniality, his fr iendliness or comradely humour, in his relations with other people. The new Lenin that arrived was cynical, secretive and rude, a conspirator “against everyone and everything”, trusting no one, suspecting everyone, and determined to launch his drive for power.’…

 

     “Lenin had never been tolerant of dissent within his party’s ranks. Bukharin complained that he ‘didn’t give a damn for the opinions of others’. Lunacharsky claimed that Lenin deliberately ‘surrounded himself with fools’ who would not dare question him. During Lenin’s struggle for the April Theses this domineering attitude was magnified to almost megalomaniac proportions. Krupskaya called it his ‘rage’ – the frenzied state of her husband when engaged in clashes with his political rivals – and it was an enraged Lenin whom she had to live with for the next five years. During these fits Lenin acted like a man possessed by hatred and anger. His entire body was seized with extreme nervous tension, and he could neither sleep nor eat. His outward manner became vulgar and coarse. It was hard to believe that this was a cultivated man. He mocked his opponents, both inside and outside the party, in crude and violent language. They were ‘blockheads’, ‘bastards’, ‘dirty scum’, ‘prostitutes’, ‘cunts’, ‘shits’, ‘cretins’, ‘Russian fools’, ‘windbags’, ‘stupid hens’ and ‘silly old maids’. When the rage subsided Lenin would collapse in a state of exhaustion, listlessness and depression, until the rage erupted again. This manic alteration of mood was characteristic of Lenin’s psychological make-up. It continued almost unrelentingly between 1917 and 1922, and must have contributed to the brain haemorrhage from which he eventually died.

 

     “Much of Lenin’s success in 1917 was no doubt explained by his towering domination over the party. No other political party had ever been so closely tied to the personality of a single man. Lenin was the first modern party leader to achieve the status of a god: Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Mao Zedong were all his successors in this sense. Being a Bolshevik had come to imply an oath of allegiance to Lenin as both the ‘leader’ and the ‘teacher’ of the party. It was this, above all, which distinguished the Bolsheviks from the Mensheviks (who had no close leader of their own)…”[3]

    

     Lenin’s ascent to power began during the First World War, when he enrolled as a German agent. Thus on December 29, 1915 the German agent Parvus (Gelfond) recorded receiving a million rubles in Russian banknotes to support the revolutionary movement in Russia from the German envoy in Copenhagen.[4] Still larger sums were given by Jewish bankers in the West.[5]

 

     However, until 1917 the German and Jewish investment in Lenin did not seem to have paid off. His message that the proletariat should turn the war between nations into a civil war between classes had not been listened to even by other socialist parties. But the February revolution – which took Lenin, who was living behind enemy lines in Switzerland, completely by surprise – changed everything.

 

     “The German special services guaranteed his passage through Germany in the sealed carriage. Among the passengers were: Zinoviev, Radek, Rozenblum, Abramovich, Usievich, and also the majors of the German General Staff, the professional spies Anders and Erich, who had been cast in prison for subversive and diversionary work in Russia in favour of Germany and the organization of a coup d’état. The next day there arrived in Berlin an urgent secret report from an agent of the German General Staff: ‘Lenin’s entrance into Russia achieved. He is working completely according to our desires.’…”[6]

 

     Although History had not revealed to her acolyte what had been abundantly obvious to many, that the Russian empire at the beginning of 1917 was on the verge of collapse, nevertheless Lenin made up for lost time by trying to jump ahead of History immediately he returned to Russia. Ignoring Marxist teaching that the proletarian revolution must be preceded by a period of bourgeois rule, he called for non-recognition of the Provisional Government, all power to the Soviets and the immediate cessation of the war. Even his own party found his position extreme, if not simply mad[7] – but it was what the maddened revolutionary masses wanted…

 

     It was precisely the madness of Lenin that made him the man of the moment, the politician best suited for those mad times. The word “madness” here is not used in a wholly metaphorical sense. Of course, in 1917 he was not mad in the sense that he had lost contact with ordinary, everyday reality – his clever tactical manoeuvring and his final success in October proves that he was more realistic about Russian politics than many. But the photographs of him in his last illness reveal a man who was truly mad – post-mortems showed that his brain had been terribly damaged by syphilis. Moreover, in a spiritual sense he was mad with the madness of the devil himself: he was demonized, with an irrational rage against God and man, an urge to destroy an d kill and maim that can have no rational basis.

 

     As the SR leader Victor Chernov wrote in 1924: “Nothing to him was worse than sentimentality, a name he was ready to apply to all moral and ethical considerations in politics. Such things were to him trifles, hypocrisy, ‘parson’s talk’. Politics to him meant strategy, pure and simple. Victory was the only commandment to observe; the will to rule and to carry through a political program without compromise that was the only virtue; hesitation, that was the only crime.

 

     “It has been said that war is a continuation of politics, though employing different means. Lenin would undoubtedly have reversed this dictum and said that politics is the continuation of war under another guise. The essential effect of war on a citizen’s conscience is nothing but a legalization and glorification of things that in times of peace constitute crime. In war the turning of a flourishing country into a desert is a mere tactical move; robbery is a ‘requisition’, deceit a stratagem, readiness to shed blood of one’s brother military zeal; heartlessness towards one’s victims is laudable self-command; pitilessness and inhumanity are one’s duty. In war all means are good, and the best ones are precisely the things most condemned in normal human intercourse. And as politics is disguised war, the rules of war constitute its principles…”[8]

 

     Archpriest Lev Lebedev writes that Lenin “understood the main thing in Marx and Marxism and created not simply a political revolutionary party on the basis of the economic and social ‘scientific’ theory of Marxism: he founded a religion, and one, moreover, in which ‘god’ turned out to be himself! In this lies the essence of all the disagreements between Lenin and the legal Marxists like Struve and Plekhanov, and the Mensheviks – that is, all those who through naivety and evident misunderstanding took Marxism to be precisely a ‘scientific’ theory able to serve the ‘radiant future’ of humanity, beginning with Russia… For Lenin, as for Marx, the only thing that was necessary and important was his personal power< /I> with the obligatory deification of his own person, regardless not only of objections or criticisms, but even simply of insufficient servility. Lenin (like Marx) considered himself to be nothing less than the ‘Messiah’ – the ‘teacher’ and ‘leader’ not only of Russian, but also of world significance. This was the psychology of the Antichrist, which was reflected both in Lenin’s teaching on ‘the new type of party’, and in the ‘world revolution’, and in the construction of socialism in Russia, and in his ‘philosophy’, and in his methods of ‘leadership’, when he and his ‘comrades’ came to power. In the sphere of politics Lenin was always, from the very beginning, an inveterate criminal. For him there existed no juridical, ethical or moral limitations of any kind. All means, any means, depending on the circumstances, were permissible for the attainment of his goal. Lies, deceit, slander, treachery, bribery, blackm ail, murder – this was the almost daily choice of means that he and his party used, while at the same time preserving for rank-and-file party members and the masses themask of ‘crystal honesty’, decency and humanity – which, of course, required exceptional art and skilfulness in lying. Lenin always took a special pleasure in news of murders, both individual and, still more mass murders – carried out with impunity. At such moments he was sincerely happy. This bloodthirstiness is the key to that special power that ‘the leader of the world proletariat’ received from the devil and the angels of the abyss. In the sphere of philosophy Lenin was amazinglytalentless. How to lie a little more successfully – that was essentially his only concern in the sphere of ideas. But when he really had to think, he admitted blunders that were unforgivable in a ‘genius’…

 

     “But the question is: how could a teaching that conquered millions of minds in Russia and throughout the world be created on the basis of such an intellectually impoverished, primitive basis?! An adequate answer can never be given if one does not take into account the main thing about Marxism-Leninism – that it is not simply a teaching, but a religion, a cult of the personality of its founders and each of the successive ‘leaders’, that was nourished, not by human, but by demonic forces from ‘the satanic depths’. Therefore its action on the minds took place simultaneously with a demonic delusion that blinded and darkened the reasoning powers. In order to receive such support from hell, it was necessary to des erve it in a special way, by immersing oneself (being ‘initiated’) into Satanism. And Lenin, beginning in 1905, together with his more ‘conscious comrades’ immersed himself in it (in particular, through the shedding of innocent blood), although there is not information to the effect that he personally killed anybody. The ‘leader’ had to remain ‘unsullied’… By contrast with certain other satanic religions, the religion of Bolshevism had the express character of the worship of the man-god (and of his works as sacred scripture). This was profoundly non-coincidental, since what was being formed here was nothing other than the religion of the coming Antichrist. Lenin was one of the most striking prefigurations of the Antichrist, one of his forerunners, right up to a resemblance to the beast whose name is 666 in certain concrete details of his life (his receiving of a deadly wound and healing from it). Lenin was not able to create for himself a general cult during his lifetime, since he was forced to share the worship of the party and the masses with such co-workers as, for example, Trotsky. But the ‘faithful Leninist’ Stalin was able truly to take ‘Lenin’s work’ to its conclusion, that is, to the point of absurdity… He fully attained his own cult during the life and posthumous cult of personality of his ‘teacher’. Lenin, who called religion ‘necrophilia’, was the founder of the religion of his owncorpse, the main ‘holy thing’ of Bolshevism to this day! All this conditioned, to an exceptional degree, the extraordinary power of Lenin and his party-sect…”[9]

 

     The Bolshevik party was indeed more like a religious sect than a normal political party. While members of other parties, even socialist ones, had a private life separate from their political life, this was not so for the Bolsheviks and the parties modelled on them. Thus Igor Shafarevich writes: “The German publicist V. Schlamm tells the story of how in 1919, at the age of 15, he was a fellow-traveller of the communists, but did not penetrate into the narrow circle of their functionaries. The reason was explained to him twenty years later by one of them, who by that time had broken with communism. It turns out that Schlamm, when invited to join the party, had said: ‘I am ready to give to the party everything except two evenings a week, when I l isten to Mozart.’ That reply turned out to be fatal: a man having interests that he did not want to submit to the party was not suitable for it.

 

     “Another aspect of these relations was expressed by Trotsky. Having been defeated by his opponents, in a speech that turned out to be his last at a party congress, he said: ‘I know that it is impossible to be right against the party. One can be right only with the party, for History has not created any other ways to realize rightness.’

 

     “Finally, here is how Piatakov, already in disgrace and expelled from the party, explained his relationship to the party to his party comrade N.V. Valentinov. Remembering Lenin’s thesis: ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat is a power realized by the party and relying on violence and not bound by any laws’ (from the article, ‘The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky’), Piatakov added that the central idea here was not ‘violence’ but precisely ‘not being bound by any laws’. He said: ‘Everything that bears the seal of human will must not, cannot be considered inviolable, as being bound by certain insuperable laws. Law is a restriction, a ban, a decree that one phenomenon is impermissible, another act is possible, and yet another impossible. When the mind holds to violence as a matter of principle, is psychologically free, and is not bound by any laws, limitations or obstacles, then the sphere of possible action is enlarged to a gigantic degree, while the sphere of the impossible is squeezed to an extreme degree, to the point of nothingness… Bolshevism is the party that bears the idea of turning into life that which is considered to be impossible, unrealizable and impermissible… For the honour and glory of being in her ranks we must truly sacrifice both pride and self-love and everything else. On returning to the party, we cast out of our heads all convictions that are condemned by it, even if we defended them when we were in opposition… I agree that those who are not Bolsheviks and in general the category of ordinary people cannot in a moment make changes, reversals or amputations of their convictions… We are the party consisting of people who make the impossible possible; penet rated by the idea of violence, we direct it against ourselves, while if the party demands it, if it is necessary and important for the party, we can by an act of will in 24 hours cast out of our heads ideas that we have lived with for years… In suppressing our convictions and casting them out, it is necessary to reconstruct ourselves in the shortest time in such a way as to be inwardly, with all our minds, with all our essence, in agreement with this or that decision decreed by the party. Is it easy violently to cast out of one’s head that which yesterday I considered to be right, but which today, in order to be in complete agreement with the party, I consider to be false? It goes without saying – no. Nevertheless, by violence on ourselves the necessary result is attained. The rejection of life, a shot in the temple from a revolver – these are sheer trivialities by comparison with that other manifestation of will that I am talking about. This violence on oneself is f elt sharply, acutely, but in the resort to this violence with the aim of breaking oneself and being in complete agreement with the party is expressed the essence of the real, convinced Bolshevik-Communist… I have heard the following form of reasoning… It (the party) can be cruelly mistaken, for example, in considering black that which is in reality clearly and unquestionably white… To all those who put this example to me, I say: yes, I will consider black that which I considered and which might appear to me to be white, since for me there is no life outside the party and outside agreement with it.’”[10]

 

     Having completely surrendered their minds and wills to the party, much as the Jesuits surrendered their minds and wills to the Pope (Chernov compared Lenin to Torquemada), the Bolsheviks were able to proceed to violence and bloodshed on a scale that far exceeded the Inquisition or any previous tyranny in the history of the world, casting aside the restraint of any and every morality. Lenin called for “mass terror against the kulaks, priests and White Guards”. And Trotsky said: “We must put an end, once and for all, to the papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life”.[11] Again, the first issue of the Kiev Cheka, Krasnij Mech (The Red Sword) for 1918 proclaimed: “We reject the old systems of morality and ‘humanity’ invented by the bourgeoisie to oppress and exploit the ‘lower classes’. Our morality has no precedent, and our humanity is absolute because it rests on a new ideal. Our aim is to destroy all forms o f oppression and violence. To us, everything is permitted, for we are the first to raise the sword not to oppress races and reduce them to slavery, but to liberate humanity from its shackles… Blood? Let blood flow like water! Let blood stain forever the black pirate’s flag flown by the bourgeoisie, and let our flag be blood-red forever! For only through the death of the old world can we liberate ourselves from the return of those jackals!”[12]

 

     In view of the fact that communism is by a wide margin the most bloodthirsty movement in human history, having already killed hundreds of millions of people worldwide (and we are still counting), it is necessary to say a few words about this aspect of its activity, which cannot be understood, according to Lebedev, without understanding the movement’s “devil-worshipping essence. For the blood it sheds is always ritualistic, it is a sacrifice to demons. St. John Chrysostom wrote: ‘It is a habit among the demons that when men give Divine worship to them with the stench and smoke of blood, they, like bloodthirsty and insatiable dogs, remain in those places for eating and enjoyment.’ It is from such bloody sacrifices that the Satanists receiv e those demonic energies which are so necessary to them in their struggle for power or for the sake of its preservation. It is precisely here that we decipher the enigma: the strange bloodthirstiness of all, without exception all, revolutions, and of the whole of the regime of the Bolsheviks from 1917 to 1953.”[13]

 

     That communism, a strictly “scientific” and atheist doctrine, should be compared to devil-worshipping may at first seem strange. And yet closer study of communist history confirms this verdict. The communists’ extraordinary hatred of God and Christians, and indeed of mankind in general, can only be explained by demon-possession – more precisely, by an unconscious compulsion to bring blood-sacrifices to the devil, who was, in Christ’s words, “a murderer from the beginning” (John8.44)…

 

*

 

     The spirit of Leninism was not confined to the Soviet Union, but can be found wherever communism triumphs. To illustrate this point, let us take the example of Mao-Tse-Tung – with Stalin, the foremost disciple of the Leninist faith, who came to maturity at precisely this time. Mao’s biographers, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, write: “In the winter of 1917-18, still a student as he turned twenty-four, he wrote extensive commentaries on a book called A System of Ethics, by a minor late nineteenth-century German philosopher, Friedrich Paulsen. In these notes, Mao expressed the central elements in his own character, which stayed consistent for the remaining six decades of his life and defined his rule.

 

     “Mao’s attitude to morality consisted of one core, the self, ‘I’, above everything else: ‘I do not agree with the view that to be moral, the motive of one’s action has to be benefiting others. Morality does not have to be defined in relation to others… People like me want to… satisfy our hearts to the full, and in so doing we automatically have the most valuable moral codes. Of course there are people and objects in the world, but they are all there only for me.’

 

     “Mao shunned all constraints of responsibility and duty. ‘People like me only have a duty to ourselves; we have no duty to other people.’ ‘I am responsible only for the reality that I know,’ he wrote, ‘and absolutely not responsible for anything else. I don’t know about the past, I don’t know about the future. They have nothing to do with the reality of my own self.’ He explicitly rejected any responsibility towards future generations. ‘Some say one has a responsibility for history. I don’t believe it. I am only concerned about developing myself… I have my desire and act on it. I am responsible to no one.’

 

     “Mao did not believe in anything unless he could benefit from it personally. A good name after death, he said, ‘cannot bring me any joy, because it belongs to the future and not to my own reality.’ ‘People like me are not building achievements to leave for future generations.’ Mao did not care what he left behind.

 

     “He argued that conscience could go to hell if it was in conflict with his impulses:

 

     “‘These two should be one and the same. All our actions… are driven by impulse, and the conscience that is wise goes along with this in every instance. Sometimes… conscience restrains impulses such as over-eating or over-indulgence in sex. But conscience is only there to restrain, not oppose. And the restraint is for better completion of the impulse.’

 

     “As conscience always implies some concern for other people, and is not a corollary of hedonism, Mao was rejecting the concept. His view was: ‘I do not think these [commands like “do not kill”, “do not steal”, and “do not slander] have anything to do with conscience. I think they are only out of self-interest for self-preservation.’ All considerations must ‘be purely calculation for oneself, and absolutely not for obeying external ethical codes, or for so-called feelings of responsibility…’

 

     “Absolute selfishness and irresponsibility lay at the heart of Mao’s outlook.

 

     “These attributes he held to be reserved for ‘Great Heroes’ – a group to which he appointed himself. For this elite, he said:

 

     “‘Everything outside their nature, such as restrictions and constraints, must be swept away by the great strength in their nature… When Great Heroes give full play to their impulses, they are magnificently powerful, stormy and invincible. Their power is like a hurricane arising from a deep gorge, and like a sex-maniac on heat and prowling for a lover… there is no way to stop them.’

 

     “The other central element in his character which Mao spelt out now was the joy he took in upheaval and destruction. ‘Giant wars,’ he wrote, ‘will last as long as heaven and earth and will never become extinct… The ideal of a world of Great Equality and Harmony [da tong, Confucian ideal society] is mistaken.’ This was not just the prediction that a pessimist might make; it was Mao’s desideratum, which he asserted was what the population at large wished. ‘Long-lasting peace,’ he claimed,‘is unendurable to human beings, and tidal waves of disturbance have to be created in this state of peace… When we look at history, we adore the times of [war] when dramas happened one after another… which make reading about them great fun. When we get to the periods of peace and prosperity, we are bored… Human nature loves sudden swift changes.’

 

     “Mao simply collapsed the distinction between reading about stirring events and actually living through cataclysm. He ignored the fact that, for the overwhelming majority, war meant misery.

 

     “He even articulated a cavalier attitude towards death:

 

     “‘Human beings are endowed with the sense of curiosity. Why should we treat death differently? Don’t we want to experience strange things? Death is the strangest thing, which you will never experience if you go on living… Some are afraid of it because the change comes too drastically. But I think this is the most wonderful thing: where else in this world can we find such a fantastic and drastic change?’

 

     “Using a very royal ‘we’, Mao went on: ‘We love sailing on a sea of upheavals. To go from life to death is to experience the greatest upheaval. Isn’t it magnificent!’ This might at first seem surreal, but when later tens of millions of Chinese were starved to death under his rule, Mao told his inner ruling circle it did not matter if people died – and even that death was to be celebrated. As so often, he applied his attitude only to other people, not to himself. Throughout his own life he was obsessed with finding ways to thwart death, doing everything he could to perfect his security and enhance his medical care.

 

     “When he came to the question ‘How do we change [China]?’, Mao laid the utmost emphasis on destruction: ‘the country must be… destroyed and then re-formed.’ He extended this line not just to China but to the whole world – and even the universe: ‘This applies to the country, to the nation, and to mankind… The destruction of the universe is the same… People like me long for its destruction, because when the old universe is destroyed, a new universe will be formed. Isn’t that better!’”[14]

 

*

 

     On January 19 / February 1, 1918 his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow anathematized the Bolsheviks and all those who cooperated with them. And on August 8, 1918, in an address “to all the faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church”, he said: “Sin has fanned everywhere the flame of the passions, enmity and wrath; brother has risen up against brother; the prisons are filled with captives; the earth is soaked in innocent blood, shed by a brother’s hand; it is defiled by violence, pillaging, fornication and every uncleanness. From this same poisonous source of sin has issued the great deception of material earthly goods, by which our people is enticed, forgetting the one thing necessary. We have not rejected this temptation, as the Sa viour Christ rejected it in the wilderness. We have wanted to create a paradise on earth, but without God and His holy commandments. God is not mocked. And so we hunger and thirst and are naked upon the earth, blessed with an abundance of nature’s gifts, and the seal of the curse has fallen on the very work of the people and on all the undertakings of our hands. Sin, heavy and unrepented of, has summoned Satan from the abyss, and he is now bellowing his slander against the Lord and against His Christ, and is raising an open persecution against the Church.”[15]

 

     In characterizing Socialism in similar terms to those used by Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, as the temptation to create bread out of stones which Christ rejected, the Patriarch certainly gave a valid critique of Socialism as it was and still is popularly understood – that is, as a striving for social justice on earth, or, as the former Marxist Fr. Sergius Bulgakov put it in 1917, “the thought that first of all and at any price hunger must be conquered and the chains of poverty broken… Socialism does not signify a radical reform of life, it is charity, one of its forms as indicated by contemporary life – and nothing more. The triumph of socialism would not introduce anything essentially new into life.”[16] From this point of view, Socialism is essentially a well-intentioned movement that has gone wrong because it fails to take into account God, the commandments of God and the fallenness of human nature.

 

     However, as Igor Shafarevich has demonstrated, Socialism in its more radical form – that is, Revolutionary Socialism (Bolshevism, Leninism, Maoism) as opposed to Welfare Socialism - is very little concerned with justice and not at all with charity. Its real motivation is simply satanic hatred, hatred of the whole of the old world and all those in it, and the desire to destroy it to its very foundations. Its supposed striving for social justice is only a cover, a fig-leaf, a propaganda tool for the attainment of this purely destructive aim, which can be analyzed into four objects: the destruction of: (i) hierarchy, (ii) private property, (iii) the family, and (iv) religion.[17]

 

     1. Hierarchy. Hierarchy had already largely been destroyed by the time the Bolsheviks came to power: from that time the only hierarchy was the Communist Party and all others were equally miserable in relation to it.

 

     2. Private Property. Lenin’s famous slogan: “Loot the loot” (grab’ nagrablennoe) expresses the Party’s relationship to property. And by the end of the Civil War all property and privilege of any significance had passed into the hands of the new aristocracy, the Communist Party. Lenin’s plans were aided by a characteristic of the peasants (not all of them, of course, but probably the majority) that has already been noted: their refusal to admit the right of any but peasants to the land. Richard Pipes writes: “The peasant was revolutionary in one respect only: he did not acknowledge private ownership of land. Although on the eve of the Revolution he owned nine-tenths of the country’s arable, he craved for the remaining 10 percent held by landlords, merchants, and noncommunal peasants. No economic or legal arguments could change his mind: he felt he had a God-given right to that land and that someday it would be his. And by his he meant the commune’s, which would allocate it justly to its members. The prevalence of communal landholding in European Russia was, along with the legacy of serfdom, a fundamental fact of Russian social history. It meant that along with a poorly developed sense for law, the peasnt also had little respect for private property. Both tendencies were exploited and exacerbated by radical intellectuals for their own ends to incite the peasants against the status quo.

 

     “Russia’s industrial workers were potentially destabilizing not because they assimilated revolutionary ideologies – very few of them did and even they were excluded from leadership positions in the revolutionary parties. Rather, since most of them were one or at most two generations removed fro m the village and only superficially urbanized, they carried with them to the factory rural attitudes only slightly adjusted to industrial conditions. They were not socialists but syndicalists, believing that as their village relatives were entitled to all the land, so they had a right to the factories…”[18]

 

     3. The Family. Oliver Figes writes: “The Bolsheviks envisaged the building of their Communist utopia as a constant battle against custom and habit. With the end of the Civil War they prepared for a new and longer struggle on the ‘internal front’, a revolutionary war for the liberation of the communistic personality through the eradication of individualistic (‘bourgeois’) behaviour and deviant habits (prostitution, alcoholism, hooliganism and religion) inherited from the old society. There was little dispute among the Bolsheviks that this battle to transform human nature would take decades. There was only disagreement about when the battle should begin. Marx had taught that the alteration of consciousness was dependent on ch anges to the material base, and Lenin, when he introduced the NEP, affirmed that until the material conditions of a Communist society had been created – a process that would take an entire historical epoch – there was no point trying to engineer a Communist system of morality in private life. But most Bolsheviks did not accept that the NEP required a retreat from the private sphere. On the contrary, as they were increasingly inclined to think, active engagement was essential at every moment and in every battlefield of everyday life – in the family, the home and the inner world of the individual, where the persistence of old mentalities was a major threat to the Party’s basic ideological goals. And as they watched the individualistic instincts of the ‘petty-bourgeois’ masses become stronger in the culture of the NEP, they redoubled their efforts. As Anatoly Lunacharsky wrote in 1927: ‘The so-called sphere of private life cannot slip away from us, because it is p recisely here that the final goal of the Revolution is to be reached.’

 

     “The family was the first arena in which the Bolsheviks engaged the struggle. In the 1920s, they took it as an article of faith that the ‘bourgeois family’ was socially harmful: it was inward-looking and conservative, a stronghold of religion, superstition, ignorance and prejudice; it fostered egotism and material acquisitiveness, and oppressed women and children. The Bolsheviks expected that the family would disappear as Soviet Russia developed into a fully socialist system, in which the state took responsibility for all the basic household functions, providing nurseries, laundries and canteens in public centres and apartment blocks. Liberated from labour in the home, women would be free to enter the workforce on an equal footing with men. The patriarchal marriage, with its attendant sexual morals, would die out – to be replaced, the radicals believed, by ‘free unions of love’.

 

     “As the Bolsheviks saw it, the family was the biggest obstacle to the socialization of children. ‘By loving a child, the family turns him into an egotistical being, encouraging him to see himself as the centre of the universe,’ wrote the Soviet educational thinker Zlata Lilina. Bolshevik theorists agreed on the need to replace this ‘egotistic love’ with the ‘rational love’ of a broader ‘social family’. The ABC of Communism (1919) envisaged a future society in which parents would no longer use the word ‘my’ to refer to their children, but would care for all the children in their community. Among the Bolsheviks there were different views about how long this change would take. Radicals argued that the Party should take di rect action to undermine the family immediately, but most accepted the arguments of Bukharin and NEP theorists that in a peasant country such as Soviet Russia the family would remain for some time the primary unity of production and consumption and that it would weaken gradually as the country made the transition to an urban socialist society.

 

     “Meanwhile the Bolsheviks adopted various strategies – such as the transformation of domestic space – intended to accelerate the disintegration of the family. To tackle the housing shortages in the overcrowded cities the Bolsheviks compelled wealthy families to share their apartments with the urban poor – a policy known as ‘condensation’ (uplotnenie). During the 1920s the most common type of communal apartment (kommunalka) was one in which the original owners occupied the main rooms on the ‘parade side’ while the back rooms were filled by other families. At that time it was still possible for the former owners to select their co-inhabitants, provided they fulfilled the ‘sanitary norm’ (a per capita allowance of li ving space which fell from 13.5 square metres in 1926 to just 9 square metres in 1931). Many families brought in servants or acquaintances to prevent strangers being moved in to fill up the surplus living space. The policy had a strong ideological appeal, not just as a war on privilege, which is how it was presented in the propaganda of the new regime (‘War against the Palaces!’), but also as part of a crusade to engineer a more collective way of life. By forcing people to share communal apartments, the Bolsheviks believed that they could make them communistic in their basic thinking and behaviour. Private space and property would disappear, the individual (‘bourgeois’) family would be replaced by communistic fraternity and organization, and the life of the individual would become immersed in the community. From the middle of the 1920s, new types of housing were designed with this transformation in mind. The most radical Soviet architects, like the Constructivists in the Union of Contemporary Architects, proposed the complete obliteration of the private sphere by building ‘commune houses’ (doma kommuny) where all the property, including even clothes and underwear, would be shared by the inhabitants, where domestic tasks like cooking and childcare would be assigned to teams on a rotating basis, and where everybody would sleep in one big dormitory, divided by gender, with private rooms for sexual liaisons. Few houses of this sort were ever built, although they loomed large in the utopian imagination and futuristic novels such as Yevgeny Zamiatin’s We (1920). Most of the projects which did materialize, like the Narkomfin (Ministry of Finance) house in Moscow (1930) designed by the Constructivist Moisei Ginzburg, tended to stop short of the full communal form and included both private living spaces and communalized blocks for laundries, baths, dining rooms and kitchens, nurseries and schools. Yet the goal remained to mar shal architecture in a way that would induce the individual to move away from private (‘bourgeois’) forms of domesticity to a more collective way of life.

 

     “The Bolsheviks also intervened more directly in domestic life. The new Code on Marriage and the Family (1918) established a legislative framework that clearly aimed to facilitate the breakdown of the traditional family. It removed the influence of the Church from marriage and divorce, making both a process of simple registration with the state. It granted the same legal rights to de facto marriages (couples living together) as it gave to legal marriages. The Code turned divorce from a luxury for the rich to something that was easy and affordable for all. The result was a huge increase in casual marriages and the highest rate of divorce in the world – three times higher than in France or Germany and twenty-six times higher than in England by 1 926 – as the collapse of the Christian-patriarchal order and the chaos of the revolutionary years loosened sexual morals along with family and communal ties.”[19]

 

     In November, 1920 the Bolsheviks also legalized abortions; they were made available free of charge at the mother’s request.[20] For “in Soviet Russia,” writes Pipes, “as in the rest of Europe, World War I led to a loosening of sexual mores, which here was justified on moral grounds. The apostle of free love in Soviet Russia was Alexandra Kollontai, the most prominent woman Bolshevik. Whether she practiced what she preached or preached what she practiced, is not for the historian to determine; but the evidence suggests that she had an uncontrollable sex drive coupled with an inability to form enduring relationships. Born the daughter of a wealthy general, terribly spoiled in childhood, she reacted to the love lavished on her with rebellion. In 1906 she joined the Mensheviks, then, in 1915, switched to Lenin, whose antiwar stand she admired. Subsequently, she performed for him valuable services as agent and courier.

 

     “In her writings, Kollontai argued that the modern family had lost its traditional economic function, which meant that women should be set free to choose their partners. In 1919 she published The New Morality and the Working Class, a work based on the writings of the German feminist Grete Meisel-Hess. In it she maintained that women had to be emancipated not only economically but also psychologically. The ideal of ‘grand amour’ was very difficult to realize, especially for men, because it clashed with their worldly ambitions. To be capable of it, individuals had to undergo an apprenticeship in the form of ‘love games’ or ‘erotic friendships’, which taught them to engage in sexual relations free of both emotional attachm ent and personal domination. Casual sex alone conditioned women to safeguard their individuality in a society dominated by men. Every form of sexual relationship was acceptable: Kollontai advocated what she called ‘successive polygamy’. In the capacity of Commissar of Guardianship (Prizrenia) she promoted communal kitchens as a way of ‘separating the kitchen from marriage’. She, too, wanted the care of children to be assumed by the community. She predicted that in time the family would disappear, and women should learn to treat all children as their own. She popularized her theories in a novel, Free Love: The Love of Worker Bees (Svobodnaia liubov’: liubov’ pchel trudovykh) (1924), one part of which was called, ‘The Love of Three Generations’. Its heroine preached divorcing sex from morality as well as from politics. Generous with her body, she said she loved everybody, from Lenin down, and gave herself to any man who happened to attract her.

 

     “Although often regarded as the authoritarian theoretician of Communist sex morals, Kollontai was very much the exception who scandalized her colleagues. Lenin regarded ‘free love’ as a ‘bourgeois’ idea – by which he meant not so much extramarital affairs (with which he himself had had experience) as casual sex…

 

     “Studies of the sexual mores of Soviet youth conducted in the 1920s revealed considerable discrepancy between what young people said they believed and what they actually practiced: unusually, in this instance behaviour was less promiscuous than theory. Russia’s young people stated they considered love and marriage ‘bourgeois’ relics and thought Communists should enjoy a sexual life unhampered by any inhibitions: the less affection and commitment entered into male-female relations, the more ‘communist’ they were. According to opinion surveys, students looked on marriage as confining and, for women, degrading: the largest number of respondents – 50.8 percent of the women and 67.3 of the women – expressed a preference for long-term relationships based on mutual affection but without the formality of marriage.

 

     “Deeper probing of their attitudes, however, revealed that behind the façade of defiance of tradition, old attitudes survived intact. Relations based on love were the ideal of 82.6 percent of the men and 90.5 percent of the women: ‘This is what they secretly long for and dream about,’ according to the author of the survey. Few approved of the kind of casual sex advocated by Kollontai and widely associated with early Communism: a mere 13.3 percent of the men and 10.6 of the women. Strong emotional and moral factors continued to inhibit casual sex: one Soviet survey revealed that over half of the female student respondents were virgins…”[21]

 

     4. Religion. Of the four destructive ends of Bolshevism, the most fundamental is the destruction of religion, especially Christianity. The incompatibility between Socialism and Christianity was never doubted by the apostles of Socialism. Religion was to Marx “opium for the people”, and to Lenin – “spiritual vodka”. Lenin wrote that “every religious idea, every idea of a god, even flirting with the idea of God is unutterable vileness of the most dangerous kind”.[22] And in 1918 he said to Krasin: “Electricity will take the place of God. Let the peasant pray to electricity; he’s going to feel the power of the central authorities more than that of heaven.”[23]As Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy. It is not a side-effect, but the central pivot…”[24]

 

     As regards the Bolshevik attitude to law, this was described by Latsis: “In the investigation don’t search for materials and proofs that the accused acted in word or deed against Soviet power. The first question which you must put to him is: what is his origin, education, upbringing or profession. These are the questions that must decide the fate of the accused… If it is possible to accuse the Cheka of anything it is not in excessive zeal in executions, but in not applying the supreme penalty enough… We were always too soft and magnanimous towards the defeated foe!”[25]

 

     As for morality, in his address to the Third All-Russian congress of the Union of Russian Youth in October, 1920, Lenin wrote: "In what sense do we reject morality and ethics? In the sense in which it is preached by the bourgeoisie, which has derived this morality from the commandments of God. Of course, as regards God, we say that we do not believe in Him, and we very well know that it was in the name of God that the clergy used to speak, that the landowners spoke, that the bourgeoisie spoke, so as to promote their exploitative interests. Or… they derived morality from idealistic or semi-idealistic phrases, which always came down to something very similar to the commandments of God. All such morality which is taken from extra-human, extra-class conceptions, we reject. We say that it is a deception, that it is a swindle, that it is oppression of the minds of the workers and peasants in the interests of the landowners and capitalists. We say that our morality is entirely subject to the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat. Our morality derives from the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat."[26]

 

     Of course, there is an inner contradiction here. If God does not exist, and all the older systems of morality are nonsense, why entertain any notions of good and evil? And why prefer the interests of the proletariat to anyone else’s? In fact, if God does not exist, then, as Dostoyevsky said, everything is permitted and nothing is sacred – not even the interests of the proletariat. And this is what we actually find in Bolshevism – a complete disregard of the interests of any class or person, excepting only of the Communist Party and its leader.

 

     In any case, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote: “The line dividing good and evil passes not between states, not between classes, and not between parties – it passes through each human heart – and through all human hearts…”[ 27]

 

*

 

     Communism cannot be defeated by political, but only by spiritual methods – not by war, not by political re-education, but only by exorcism on a collective scale. For, as Elder Aristocles of Moscow said in 1911, communism is not an ideology, but a spirit from hell… Such exorcism has hardly begun, as is witnessed by the fact that Russia is ruled today by a chekist who toasts Stalin and calls the supposed fall of Soviet communism in 1991 “a geo-political tragedy”, as also by the fact that Lenin’s body still rests in honour in Red Square.[28] So the results of tomorrow’s election will change nothing, whoever wins. Its only significance lies in the fact that it coincides with the Orthodox feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. And so, while the newest neo-Soviet leader is being elected, the True Orthodox Churches – but not those of the Sovietized Moscow Patriarchate, created by Stalin and still ruled by Putin – will be resounding to the sound of Patriarch Tikhon’s anathema against the Bolsheviks. For only Christ is the Church can defeat communism, and only the resurrection of True Orthodoxy in Russia will save the world…

 

Vladimir Moss.

February 20 / March 3, 2012.

First Saturday of the Great Fast.

 



[1] In What is to be Done? (1902), Lenin argued that in the conditions of Tsarist Russia it was impossible for the party to liv e openly among the people, but had to be an underground organization with strictly limited membership. “In an autocratic state the more we confine the membership of such a party to people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity and who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult it will be to wipe out such an organization” (in M.J. Cohen and John Major, History in Quotations, London: Cassell, 2004, p. 678).

[2] Figes, A People’s Tragedy, London: Pimlico, 1997, p. 386.

[3] Figes, op. cit., pp. 389, 390, 391.

[4] Istoki Zla (Tajna Kommunizma) (The Sources of Evil (The Secret of Communism)), Moscow, 2002, p. 35.

[5] See Anthony Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, Arlington, 1974; O.A. Platonov, Ternovij Venets Rossii (Russia’s Crown of Thorns), Moscow, 1998, pp. 359-361.

[6] Istoki Zla, pp. 35-36.

[7] I.P. Goldenberg saw Lenin as the successor of Bakunin, not Marx, and his tactics those of “the universal apostle of destruction (in Robert Service, Lenin, 2000, p. 267).

[8] Chernov, “Lenin”, in Foreign Affairs, January-February, 2012, pp. 10-12.

[9] Lebedev, Velikorossia (Great Russia), St. Petersburg, 1999, pp. 445-447.

[10] Shafarevich, Sotsializm kak iavlenie mirovoj istorii (Socialism as a phenomenon of world history), Paris: YMCA Press, 1 977, pp. 284-286.

[11] Niall Ferguson, The War of the World, London: Penguin, 2007, pp. 150, 148.

[12] Nicholas Werth, “A State against its People”, in Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Packowski, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Margolin, The Black Book of Communism, London: Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 102.

[13] Lebedev, op. cit., p. 429.

[14] Chang and Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story, London: Jonathan Cape, 2005, pp. 13-15.

[15] Regelson, Tragedia Russkoj Tserkvi, 1917-1945, Paris: YMCA Press, 1977, p. 52.

[16] Bulgakov, Sotsializm i Khristianstvo (Socialism and Christianity), Moscow, 1917; quoted in Shafarevich, op. cit. , pp. 288, 289.

[17] Shafarevich, op. cit., p. 265.

[18] Pipes, Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, 1919-1924London: Fontana, 1995, p. 494.

[19] Figes, The Whisperers, London: Pimlico, 1997, pp. 7-10. Figes continues: “In the early years of Soviet power, fa mily breakdown was so common among revolutionary activists that it almost constituted an occupational hazard. Casual relationships were practically the norm in Bolshevik circles during the Civil War, when any comrade could be sent at a moment’s notice to some distant sector of the front. Such relaxed attitudes remained common through the 1920s, as Party activists and their young emulators in the Komsomol [Communist Youth League] were taught to put their commitment to the proletariat before romantic love or family. Sexual promiscuity was more pronounced in the Party’s youthful ranks than among Soviet youth in general. Many Bolsheviks regarded sexual licence as a form of liberation from bourgeois moral conventions and as a sign of ‘Soviet modernity’. Some even advocated promiscuity as a way to counteract the formation of coupling relationships that separated lovers from the collective and detracted from their loyalty to the Party.

     “It was a commonplace that the Bolshevik made a bad husband a father because the demands of the Party took him away from the home. ‘We Communists don’t know our own families,’ remarked one Moscow Bolshevik. ‘You leave early and come home late. You seldom see your wife and almost never your children.’ At Party congresses, where the issue was discussed throughout the 1920s, it was recognized that Bolsheviks were far more likely than non-Party husbands to abandon wives and families, and that this had much to do with the primacy of Party loyalties over sexual fidelity. But in fact the problem of absent wives and mothers was almost as acute in Party circles, as indeed it was in the broader circle of the Soviet intelligentsia, where most women were involved in the public sphere.

     “Trotsky argued that the Bolsheviks were more affected than others by domestic breakdown because they were ‘most exposed to the influence of new conditions’. As pioneers of a modern way of life, Trotsky wrote in 1923, the ‘Communist vanguard merely passes sooner and more violently through what is inevitable’ for the population as a whole. In many Party households there was certainly a sense of pioneering a new type of family – one that liberated both parents for public activities – albeit at the cost of intimate involvement with their children.” (pp. 10-11)

[20] Pipes, op. cit., p. 330.

[21] Pipes, op. cit., pp. 331-332, 333.

[22] Lenin, Letter to Gorky (1913), Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenij (Collected Works) (second edition,1926-1932), vol. 17, pp. 8 1-86.

[23] Liberman, S.I. “Narodnij komisar Krasin” (The People’s Commissar Krasin), Novij zhurnal(The New Journal),  7, 1944, p. 309; quoted in Volkogonov, D. Lenin, London: Harper Collins, 1994, p. 372.

[24] Solzhenitsyn, Acceptance Speech, Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, 1983; Russkaia Mysl' (Russian Thought),  3465, 19 May, 1983, p. 6.

[25] Latsis, Ezhenedel’nik ChK (Cheka Weekly), № 1, November 1, 1918; in Priest Vladimir Dmitriev, Simbirskaia Golgofa (Simbirsk’s Golgotha), Moscow, 1997, p. 4.

[26] Lenin, op. cit., vol. 41, p. 309.< /SPAN>

[27] Solzhenitsyn, Arkhipelag GULag (The GULag Archipelago), Paris: YMCA Press, volume 2, p. 602.

[28] With regard to Lenin’s mausoleum, Fr. Michael Ardov recounts the following interesting anecdote: “While the holy hierarch [Tikhon]was still alive, the first mausoleum, at that time still wooden, was built on Red square. Evidently they built it hastily, and soon after the work was finished an annoying event took place in the new building – the water-closet broke down and a pipe began to gush water. Rumours about this event began to spread through Moscow. They told Patriarch Tikhon also, and he responded to the information shortly and expressively: ‘From relics myrrh flows.’” (Posev (Sowing), 167, 1992, p. 251).