Josef Stalin ran the Soviet Union as an 8 million square mile prison camp from 1927 till his death in early March, 1953. He claimed to have been sanctified by the primary orchestrator of this nightmare, Nikolai Lenin. Extermination of peoples was a policy of no complexity whatsoever. Friendships, marriages, relatives, generals, doctors, ditch diggers, pedestrians, poets, composers, premiers, state advisors, wives, sons, nearly an entire middle class, millions of peasants disappeared. Nothing mattered, nothing had any meaningful value except Communist Party loyalty. Interpretations of that very Communist Party loyalty changed often, and often dramatically,depending on who was murdered, who had disappeared, who had reappeared, who had been demoted or promoted. Tides rose and fell monthly and annually. Histories were erased. People who once existed were “unexisted”. Comrade Stalin pulled the strings. Last month’s killers were this month’s dead. Fear spread fear.
Public confessions at public trials were well staged, after private tortures. State Socialism was the gospel and the supreme god. Up was down, cold was hot, freedom was slavery, happiness was grief. State Socialism’s Grand Linguist had been Lenin. Language always determined the State! Own the Language, Own the Universities. Own the Press. Own all Ownership…everything owned by the State.
Every American citizen should be profoundly worried about his own country’s ownership over the last five years. Its Democratic Party owned the Schools and Universities, owned the Press and the Entertainment Industry, owned the Nation’s blacks, gays, single females, atheists, unions, Latinos and Speculators of Big Business, especially the ones who love Big Government. The groundwork is already established for State Socialism. Its leaders have advanced controls of free speech. University students learn there was no difference between the US and the USSR during the Cold War. State Socialism is advanced unopposed. Party line science is awarded with huge taxpayer handouts. Opponents to Democratic Party science are silenced. Histories are rewritten. Democratic Party propaganda is passed as daily news.
If the leaders of the Democratic Party were honorable Americans, they should be equally concerned with the collapse of fairness, honesty and responsibility in our American institutions, especially the schools. It is the same Democratic Party that never shouted loud and clear that its gangs stirring the bombings, riots, staged Communist style strikes, threats, attacks, raids, invasions of offices, and murders during the disorders of the late 1960s by the druggies, lefties, black extremists, peaceniks, groupies, and anarchists, was not acceptable, now and never in a democratic society. Lefties of the university faculties then advanced the State Socialist rules of Political Correctness. This Correctness cost Americans jobs, promotions, forced some into confessions,some had to attend Communist like sensitivity training classes, and since have been brainwashed to believe there is no difference between male and female except for socialization, no difference between East and West, between Jihad Islam and Christianity, or good and bad, for all is relative. None of this is good for America, but the country is not yet the Soviet Union. We still live in peace.
Republicans are silent because they don’t want to offend anyone. And, they too do not know history. What is good for the country isn’t often mentioned in Republican dialogue either. What is good image for the Party counts.
If there was any private enterprise during Stalin’s days, it was rooted out and most of its adherents were murdered. After his death, and associated political readjustments, a thaw did occur. In 1956 certain Communist Party leaders, led by Nikita Khrushchev gambled. In the Surpreme Soviet, he denounced Stalin and his “personality cult”. Intrigue continued. Fear continued, but the stakes were no longer so lethal.
By the 1960s people were allowed to grow vegetables in small private plots. Selling such produce was permitted at certain restricted markets. Profits began to be allowed. I remember reading statistics of tomato production. The private plots outproduced tomatoes grown in the collectives by about 100 to one. When I returned to the Soviet Union in October, 1990 there was a serious food crisis. Apparently the crops grew well, but the government fouled up the delivery system. I remember reading 90% of the cabbage crop rotted in the railroad cars because there were no locomotives to move the produce.
By 1990 the black market in the USSR was probably the greatest exchange of money in the country. Its entrepreneurs were interested in capital and an open market. Bribery was always part of the State’s economic system. Favors occured when paid for, or in Stalin’s time died for, or spent time in Siberia for. My dollars in 1990 were universally preferred to the ruble, the country’s currency. The State still owned nearly everything and still pretended the ruble had value. The shelves were nearly empty of goods. The pride of the Soviet propaganda’s supermarket, Moscow’s GUM had fewer than 50% of its shelves filled with merchandise the day I visited it in 1990.
That same year MacDonald’s opened its first restaurant in the USSR. It was a spectacularly beautiful MacDonald’s with all the stuff MacDonald’s usually sells. The quality was reliable. The menu was reliable. The long lines were reliable. The day I stopped by, 400 people or so were in each of two lines. By agreement MacDonald’s had to contract local growers for their vegetables, and the State for the beef and chicken. They paid well. Service was efficient especially when one considers the numbers served. Workers worked without mood swings. No abacus was in sight. One expansive wall was a huge map of the world beautifully lit as if it were projected in three dimension. Everything was clean including the restrooms. Rarities in USSR State run “businesses”.
In 1966 I stopped by a “breakfast” place. I think it was in Moscow. It was a cold, echo reverberating cement block building about a 4,000 square foot square with a smell of toilets in the air. No matter, I was still hungry.
At one line a person could order bread or a kind of currant roll. About 100 persons were waiting in a line, patiently. However, if one wanted coffee or tea, one would have to stand in a new line all over again at the opposite side of the building. About another 100 were waiting in that line. After purchasing my currant roll I moved over to the other line to purchase a cup of coffee to go with my roll. After thirty minutes only three customers were ahead of me. Suddenly there was an argument between the abacus “cashier”, and a fellow awaiting his coffee. Harsh words were said. Whereupon the abacus gal left her post disappearing into a small kitchen area. There she stayed for twenty minutes. I asked the fellow in front of me to explain what had happened. He said that this gal had worked at “this shop” a long time. She was quite tempermental. She often picked arguments with people and would get mad and go to the back room for a smoke. “She’ll be out in five or ten minutes” he assured me with total calm. And he added, “She’ll be allright”.
He had heard the spat. The man in the battle had ordered coffee. He had been heard to have ordered coffee. The girl at the abacus apparently thought tea, and handed out a cup of tea. She was offended when he said politely, according to witnesses, that he had ordered coffee. While she disappeared in a snit, the man waited patiently until the woman reappeared. She had recovered. The man finally got his coffee. Not a single person of about 80 in the line left the line or noticeably complained.
In 1966 almost no one talked in public. There were no discussions on trains, buses, along walkways or in restaurants. People walked but just did not talk except in very small groups in large expansive parks. There were no private autos crowding the streets. By 1990 all that had changed. Traffic and conversations were everywhere. Police no longer appeared or behaved threateningly. Fewer of them carried weapons. Yet there was rebellion in the air. In the morning of my third day in Kiev it began with screaming whistles around 10:30 in October, 1990.
The beginning of the end of the USSR had begun.