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In spite of this grotesque misery, a prodigious impulse was given to public education. Such a thirst for knowledge sprang up all over the country that new schools, adult courses, universities and workers’ faculties were formed everywhere. Innumerable fresh initiatives laid open the teaching of unheard-of, totally unexplored domains of learning. Victor Serge
In the years of the greatest peril the soviets and the central executive committee of the soviets included left social revolutionaries (who were part of the government in the first nine months), Maximalists, anarchists, Menshevik social democrats, and even right social revolutionaries – the latter unalterable enemies of the new power. Far from fearing discussion, Lenin seeks after it, having Martov and Dan, who had been expelled from the All-Russian executive, invited to come to take the floor. He feels that he has something to learn from their merciless criticism. Victor Serge
It is necessary to be able to withstand all this, to agree to any and every sacrifice, and even – if need be – to resort to all sorts of stratagems, manoeuvres and illegal methods – to evasion and subterfuges - in order to penetrate the trade unions, to remain in them, and to carry on Communist work in them at all costs. Vladimir Lenin
Communism is Soviet Power plus the electrification of the whole country. Vladimir Lenin
The Russian revolution was isolated. The working class which had made the revolution was almost entirely wiped out by war and famine. Of the three million adult workers in Russia, only 1.2 million remained in 1921, and many of those were driven out of the cities in search of food. Effectively the only revolutionary workers who were left were those who had taken over the reins of political power. The Bolsheviks still ruled, but there were no Bolshevik workers to maintain ‘control from below’ – the essence of the revolution. The inevitable happened quite quickly. The revolution perished. Paul Foot, The Case For Socialism ch2
Russia was not a socialist society at all. It was a state-capitalist society presided over by a tyranny every bit as savage as any stock exchange-based capitalist tyranny anywhere else in the world. ibid.
And thus to my final and most melancholy point: a great number of Stalin’s enforcers and henchmen in Eastern Europe were Jews. And not just a great number, but a great proportion. The proportion was especially high in the secret police and ‘security’ departments, where no doubt revenge played its own part, as did the ideological attachment to Communism that was so strong among internationally minded Jews at that period: Jews like David Szmulevski. There were reasonably strong indigenous Communist forces in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, but in Hungary and Poland the Communists were a small minority and knew it, were dependent on the Red Army and aware of the fact, and were disproportionately Jewish and widely detested for that reason. Many of the penal labour camps constructed by the Nazis were later used as holding pens for German deportees by the Communists, and some of those who ran these grim places were Jewish. Nobody from Israel or the diaspora who goes to the East of Europe on a family-history fishing-trip should be unaware of the chance that they will find out both much less and much more than the package-tour had promised them. It’s easy to say, with Albert Camus, ‘neither victims nor executioners.’ But real history is more pitiless even than you had been told it was. Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir
The Soviet Union has indeed been our greatest menace, not so much because of what it has done, but because of the excuses it has provided us for our failures. J William Fulbright, cited Observer 21st December 1958
On my return from Spain I thought of exposing the Soviet Myth in a story that could be easily understood by almost anyone. George Orwell, author Animal Farm
The Soviet Union have no idea and no wish to interfere with the internal affairs of any other country. I know that from the lips of Stalin himself. Sir Stafford Cripps MP, Ambassador to Russia 1940-1942, wartime address
All power to the soviets. Petrograd 1917 workers’ slogan
By psycho-politics our chief goals are effectively carried forward. To produce a maximum of chaos in the culture of the enemy is the first most important step. Our fruits are grown in chaos, distrust, economic depression and scientific turmoil. At least a weary populace can seek peace only in our offered Communist State, at last only Communism can resolve the problems of the masses. Lavrent Pavlovich Beria, in charge of Stalin’s secret police
Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin
The easiest way to gain control over the population is to carry out acts of terror. The public will clamour for such laws if the personal security is threatened. Joseph Stalin
It was the supreme expression of the mediocrity of the apparatus that Stalin himself rose to his position. Leon Trotsky, My Life, 1930
I came out of the Soviet Union no longer a communist, because I believe in personal freedom. Rose Wilder Lane
I found that our Soviet espionage efforts had virtually never, or had very seldom, produced any worthwhile political or economic intelligence on the Soviet Union. Aldrich Ames
Bolshevism is a menace that must be destroyed. Warren Harding
Back in the USSR. John Lennon & Paul McCartney, title of song 1968
The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in knightly fashions. The struggle is one of ideology and race difference ... And will be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful and unrelenting harshness. All officers will have to rid themselves of obsolete ideologies. I know that the necessity for such means of making war is beyond the comprehension of generals, but I insist that my orders be executed without contradiction. The commissars are bearers of ideology directly opposed to National Socialism. Therefore the commissars will be liquidated ... German soldiers guilty of breaking international law will be executed. Russia has not participated in the Hague Convention and therefore has no rights under it. Adolf Hitler
Firstly to rule. Secondly to administer. Thirdly to exploit. Adolf Hitler
The Soviet Red Army invades Poland from the east. Visions of War: The World in Flames, 2012
After Finland the Red Army will go on the defensive. ibid.
Like in the West, the German leaders rely on the concept of the Blitzkrieg in the East too. Tank units roll over Soviet lines, surround entire divisions and push forward immediately. The Red Army taken by surprise loses a large part of its armed forces in a few weeks. Dying for Hitler
In 1941 alone more than 3,000,000 Soviet soldiers are taken into German captivity as prisoners of war ... More than half of the prisoners die in German camps. ibid.
What is not destroyed in the fighting is commandeered by the German occupiers. ibid.
They are beginning to realise just how vast Russia is. ibid.
Millions were to die and disappear. Of course in the despotic terror of Stalinism lay a fearful dilemma for the democracies, which explains much of what has been called appeasement. In the 1930s who was worse: Hitler or Stalin? World War II: The Complete History: The Stumble Into War, Discovery 2000
In the steps to war in these last months of peace the Soviet Union, so distant and removed from much of European affairs throughout the decade, became increasingly involved. If Hitler was the prime mover of war, the originator of the events that propelled the continent to conflict – it was Stalin that opened the door for Hitler to walk to war. World War II: The Complete History: The End of Illusion
Stalin was obsessed with territory, and saw the extension of his border westward as a resolution of old scores, and in his paranoia an insurance against invasion. ibid.