Old thread: http://oxwugzccvk3dk6tj.onion/marx/res/4702.html
If you have a question about Soviet history or about specific policies enacted in the USSR, feel free to ask them here.
Just asked this in the Anarchist thread but I'll ask again
So the Bolsheviks / CPSU stance on Anarchists was to essentially allot ASSR's / Autonomous Iblasts for them to have Communes / Cooperatives in?
In reply to this from the last thread: >>10621
>So if Lenin foresaw possible problems, why did he expect party to work democratically? Was he naive?
No, there's no reason why a split between personalities in the Central Committee should have automatically meant that inner-party democracy would cease to function.
>Why was Stalin so cruel to party members?
What do you mean?
>Why was Stalin so radical in his beliefs?
As he said in 1931, "We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us."
That was indeed something that was considered, according to Trotsky: "In the heroic epoch of the revolution the Bolsheviks went hand in hand with genuinely revolutionary anarchists. Many of them were drawn into the ranks of the party. The author of these lines discussed with Lenin more then once the possibility of allotting the anarchists certain territories where, with the consent of the local population, they would carry out their stateless experiment. But civil war, blockade and hunger left no room for such plans."
I don't think there was ever any discussion on how these "certain territories" would fit in within the rest of the political system, since the development of events quickly made the idea impractical.
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>What do you mean?
Mass purges, killings of officers. Arrests of wife's of Kalinin and Molotov. Beating Rokossovsky etc.
As I wrote in the old thread, Stalin really believed there had been a gigantic conspiracy involving veteran party officials and Red Army officers at all levels of society.
To quote one author (The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin by Erik Van Ree, p. 123):
>In the summer of 1937, the Terror was spilling over to the Stalinist cadres themselves. Tens of thousands of Stalin loyalists in the apparatus were accused of being personally “linked” to the former oppositionists and subsequently condemned to death. And all the time Stalin continued to write to his confidantes in exactly the same terms as were used in the columns of Pravda. Take for example his important correspondence with Ezhov. In August, he ordered him to detain all wives of “traitors to the motherland and members of the Right–Trotskyite espionage and wrecking organisation.” And in December he notified Ezhov and other comrades that the editorial board of Izvestiia was “the object of Trotskyite–Bukharinist wrecking.”
>The brother of another Politburo member, Kaganovich, was also arrested. Again Stalin seemed convinced of his guilt. Kaganovich later remembered that Stalin told him at a Politburo meeting: “we received testimony that your brother Mikhail is part of a conspiracy.” When Kaganovich said that this was a lie, Stalin reacted: “What do you mean, a lie? I received testimony.” The Soviet dictator could even believe in the guilt of members of his own family. Witness the case of his brother-in-law and NKVD official Redens. According to the leader’s son, Vasilii, when Lavrentii Beriia proposed to arrest him his father commented: “look into it very carefully…I don’t believe Redens is an enemy.” But later he told his son: “I was mistaken in Redens.”The latter was shot.
From what you wrote it appears that he was correct in purging Bukharin and Trotsky, but he latter became overly-paranoid?
Is it true the USSR wanted to form an anti-fascist alliance with the UK and France? is it true that they also offered to guarantee the Czechs against Hitler?
what was the purpose of the molotov-ribbentrop pact? is it true the Soviets were friendly to Hitler for a period? why?
Trotsky and Bukharin were dealt with by the party in the late 20s. It was during the Great Purges that all sorts of claims were made that they had since become involved in espionage, sabotage, assassinations, collaboration with foreign states, etc., of which there's no evidence. That was the hysteria around which the Great Purges revolved.
At most, Trotsky tried to organize his followers in the USSR during the early 1930s (as he publicly said he would do) to agitate among workers to carry out a new revolution to overthrow what he called the "bureaucracy." That certainly made him a threat of sorts, and his antipathy toward Stalin made him take stupid positions by the end of his life (e.g. that in the coming second world war Soviet workers would overthrow Stalin in order to defeat Hitler), so it isn't surprising he ended up assassinated.
Yes. See: http://b-ok.cc/book/2673433/9aaa42
>what was the purpose of the molotov-ribbentrop pact?
The UK and France were not interested in forming collective security with the USSR to contain the fascist threat. They wanted to goad Hitler into marching east. As the Comintern pointed out in November 1939: "the bourgeois governments rejected all [Soviet] proposals. They continued their crazed policy of isolating the USSR. . . even when it became clear to everybody that war was already inevitable, the Soviet Union. . . undertook negotiations with the Governments of England and France. But the provokers of war were aiming at something else. . . they were trying surreptitiously to hound Germany against the USSR. By concluding a non-aggression pact with Germany, the Soviet Union foiled the insidious plans of the provokers of anti-Soviet war." (Quoted in Jane Degras, The Communist International Vol. III, pp. 444-445.)
The pact gave the USSR time to build up its war industry in anticipation of a Nazi invasion.
>is it true the Soviets were friendly to Hitler for a period?
Friendly? No. But they did seek to maintain the non-aggression pact for as long as possible, since as I said they anticipated Hitler would break it sooner or later.
Let's talk about Soviet role in Decolonization of Asia.
Soviets famously supported and aided interdependence of people of Indochina. Soviets also supported Yemen during Aden Emergency. That's pretty clear.
According to wiki Soviets also supported independence Indonesia, aided Indonesia against Netherlands during Operation Trikora. Latter Soviets supported East Timor against Indonesia.
I have question how close and important was Soviet for Indonesia? According to this page
it was minimal, but according to this page
it seems it was quite important/
I am also wondering about support for Malaysia. From wiki page, it seems that Soviet Supported anti colonialist Malayan communists who fought against the British, and Brits did give Malaysia freedom, but communists were expelled? How important was Soviet Support for independence of Malaysia?
Situation in Oman seems similar to Malaysia, Soviets supported communists who fought for freedom, communists lost, but freedom was still granted,
Lastly, did Soviets supported any other independence movements in Asia?
To my knowledge the USSR didn't play much of a direct role in the independence of Indonesia or Malaya; local communist parties did. In the case of the latter region, "the Malayan Communist Party (like that of Thailand) was. . . almost wholly Chinese [in membership], its methods and inspiration Maoist, and its weapons in origin entirely British (supplied to the Communist resistance movement during the Second World War) or Japanese (acquired when the Japanese surrendered in 1945)." (Geoffrey Jukes, The Soviet Union in Asia, 1973, pp. 145-146)
What about diplomatic support for Indonesia or Malaya?
Also was there any support to any other nations?
The USSR of course supported their independence and admission to the UN.
I can't really think of any where the USSR provided material assistance to obtain independence and/or triumph of the Communists besides the obvious (China, Korea, Indochina.)
Is it fair to say the majority of those interned in the gulags were criminals and organized counter-revolutionaries of various stripes?
As Michael Parenti notes (Blackshirts and Reds, p. 80) "those arrested for political crimes ('counterrevolutionary offenses') numbered from 12 to 33 percent of the prison population, varying from year to year. The vast majority of inmates were charged with nonpolitical offenses: murder, assault, theft, banditry, smuggling, swindling, and other violations punishable in any society."
What could get you arrested for 'counterrevolutionary offenses'? Is it true it was used quite liberally?
I remember reading long ago that there was some sort of ranking system that decided where you were allowed to live in the USSR, based on family history and general political background, restricting moving to big cities like Leningrad and Moscow. Do you know anything about this?
In the 1930s-40s it was used liberally, not so much afterward. Basically, if you were accused of trying to overthrow the government, or inciting people to overthrow the government, those were examples of such offenses.
I don't know about a ranking system, but there was a practice widespread in socialist countries where the son or daughter of a reactionary or a capitalist would often be prevented from obtaining a higher education in favor of someone from a working-class or peasant background.
>The Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with Indonesia in 1950 and is one of the very few countries to recognize Indonesia's independence from the Netherlands after the end of World War II.
Early in the Cold War, both countries had very strong relations, with Indonesian president Sukarno visiting Moscow and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visiting Jakarta.
>Although the Soviet Union became the main support to the Malayan Communists, it also became the main purchaser of Malayan rubber and displaced the United States as the largest purchaser of natural rubber with 134,000 tons purchased between January–July 1963 compared to the United States with only 96,000 tons. However, all the purchases were made through the London market to avoid the friction with Indonesia and the purchasing activity
Why and how did Soviet Union maintained good relations with Indonesia(before the coup)? Why did Soviet Union supported Indonesia during Operation Trikora and Indonesian–Malaysian confrontation?
>Why and how did Soviet Union maintained good relations with Indonesia(before the coup)?
Sukarno was seen as carrying out left-wing policies and opposing imperialism.
>Why did Soviet Union supported Indonesia during Operation Trikora and Indonesian–Malaysian confrontation?
They saw these as cases where Indonesia was opposing colonialism by trying to regain territory that belonged to it. The USSR also initially distrusted the existence of Malaysia, viewing it as a neocolonial project by Britain.
Is it true that the UN definition of genocide /pol/ cites so much was put in place so that exiled Ukrainian and Baltic nationalists could accuse the USSR of genocide because of Russians moving to the western republics?
What happened in Georgia during the revolution and in the civil war?
I'm not aware if that's the case or not, although ironically the US and USSR feuded over Soviet requests to admit the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Lithuanian SSRs as founding members of the United Nations. Eventually it was agreed to let the Ukraine and Byelorussia in. One of the Soviet arguments was that the peoples of these republics had suffered so much in the battle against Nazism that they ought to be represented.
Georgia was a stronghold of the Mensheviks before 1917, and after the October Revolution they made sure to prevent soviet power from extending to the Georgian workers and peasants. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia sums up subsequent events:
>During the years of Menshevik rule, the economy collapsed. The agrarian question was not resolved, and the peasantry remained without land. As a result of the antipopular policies of the bourgeois government, Georgia’s economic ties with Russia were disrupted. There were armed uprisings of the toiling masses against Menshevik rule in the first half of 1918. In the interests of the struggle against the revolutionary movement, the Mensheviks entered into agreements with the interventionists. German forces entered Georgia in late May and early June 1918. On June 4, 1918, the Georgian Menshevik government concluded a treaty with Turkey by which part of Georgia would be ceded. In December 1918. German and Turkish forces were replaced by the English occupation force, which remained in Georgia until July 1920. In 1919 the Bolsheviks of Georgia, carrying out the directive of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) on the participation of the toiling masses of the Caucasus in the struggle against the White Guard forces of Denikin, began preparations under the leadership of G. K. Ordzhonikidze for an armed uprising. The toiling masses of most of the districts of Georgia rose up during October and November 1919. Complex domestic and external political circumstances forced the Menshevik government to conclude a treaty with the RSFSR on May 7, 1920. According to this treaty, the Mensheviks were to break off all ties with the Russian counterrevolution, withdraw foreign military units from Georgia, and legalize Bolshevik organizations. S. M. Kirov was appointed plenipotentiary representative of the RSFSR in Georgia, and he played an important role in consolidating the forces of the Communists and achieving the victory of Soviet power in Georgia. The Communist Party of Georgia was organized in May 1920. Communists emerged from the underground and expanded activity among the masses of the people.
>The Mensheviks grossly violated the conditions of the agreement with the RSFSR. Communists were subjected to harsh persecution. The Bolsheviks stepped up preparations for the overthrow of the Menshevik regime, the last stronghold of counterrevolution in Transcaucasia. An armed uprising that came to cover all of Georgia began in Lori, Gori, Borchali. Dusheti. Racha, Lechkhumi and other districts on the night of Feb. 11–12. 1921. On February 16. the Revolutionary Committee of Georgia (A. A. Gegechkori, V. E. Kvirkveliia, F. I. Makharadze, and others) was established in Shulaveri. Proclaiming Georgia a soviet socialist republic, on February 18 the Revolutionary Committee called on all the toiling masses of Georgia to seize power in the provinces and to form local revolutionary committees. The uprising developed successfully, but it was necessary to wage an unequal struggle against the troops of the Mensheviks and interventionists. The Revolutionary Committee turned to V. I. Lenin for aid. The Soviet government responded to the Revolutionary Committee’s appeal. On Feb. 25, 1921, units of the Eleventh Red Army, along with detachments of Georgian insurgents, entered Tbilisi and overthrew the Menshevik government.
The two main sources in English giving the Bolshevik account of Menshevik Georgia:
* https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1922/red-white/index.htm (by Trotsky, whose aim was to refute writings by Karl Kautsky and other social-democrats lauding the Menshevik regime)
* https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=inu.30000005076058;view=1up;seq=7 ("Secrets of Menshevik Georgia," another short Soviet work taking advantage of documents uncovered after the regime's overthrow)
What can you tell me about the annexation of the baltic states into the USSR? Why was it done? Were there any bolsheviks in those countries, or did they all hate the USSR?
Do you know if there's any books that describe tsarist era labour camps and prisons?
I can't think of any with the exception of the two-volume "Siberia and the Exile System" by George Kennan, which played a major role in the Western mind of associating Tsarism with despotism:
* https://archive.org/details/siberiaexilesyst01kennuoft (Vol 1)
* https://archive.org/details/siberiaexilesyst02kenniala (Vol 2)
>Were there any bolsheviks in those countries
Yes, in fact Latvians played an important part both in the October Revolution and the Cheka. There's a pamphlet that details the significant Bolshevik presence in the Baltics in the 1905-1919 period: https://archive.org/details/SovietRussiaAndTheBalticRepublics
>What can you tell me about the annexation of the baltic states into the USSR?
After the October Revolution, there were efforts to establish soviet power in the Baltics, which was only prevented by the intervention of British and German troops (as detailed in the aforementioned pamphlet.)
The Baltic states during the 1920s-30s experienced economic and political instability, since their natural markets were in the USSR (which they treated with hostility.) Semi-fascist regimes were established which were to varying degrees pro-Nazi.
The Soviets expected the Nazis to invade the USSR, and wanted to make sure Baltic territory wouldn't be used for that purpose. Initially the Soviets had little interest in replacing the existing governments, and simply wanted them to agree to treaties safeguarding the security of the USSR. Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov privately warned against talk of "sovietizing" the Baltic states.
However, as the months went by, reports from Soviet embassies of anti-Soviet intrigues by the Baltic governments accumulated, as well as incidents against the Red Army. The USSR accused the Baltic governments of reneging on the treaties and demanded their resignation in favor of cabinets that would honor said treaties. (See "Soviet Policy and the Baltic States, 1939-1940: A Reappraisal" by Geoffrey Roberts)
Taking advantage of the existence of Red Army troops in the Baltic states, Communists and other progressive forces rose up in protests calling for the downfall of the semi-fascist regimes. The latter were in no position to resist. Elections were held in which coalitions of Communists and non-Communists emerged victorious. These democratic governments ended up voting to join the USSR.
Three useful works on the subject:
* https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89017381948;view=1up;seq=5 (pamphlet about events in 1940 in Lithuania)
Very interesting, I didn't know that about Lithuania, and reading the wikipedia article does not give context to what was happening at all. The USSR is simply implied to be some sort of imperialist power that wants to swallow more clay. Thanks for the books, I'll check them out.
While it seems to be at least somewhat mutual when it came to Lithuania, do you know anything about Estonia and Latvia? Was it simply realpolitik and security maneuvering for the war to come?
How much say did the different SSR's have in the political life of the USSR, in comparison to the RSFSR? Some of the more far away ones, like say the Tajik SSR, or the Kirghiz SSR, etc.
How were ASSR's different than SSR's? Were there any political differences? Is it true there was a Jewish ASSR?
What can you tell me about the repression of various minorities, the banishment of the Volga-Germans for example, etc.?
What can you tell me about the Winter War and the Soviet invasion of Finland? What were the real reasons? What can you tell me about the Finnish Democratic Republic and the Terijoki government of O.W. Kuusinen? Is it accurate to claim it was a puppet regime?
>do you know anything about Estonia and Latvia?
There wasn't much of a difference between how the USSR handled the three Baltic states, or the strategy of local communist parties after the USSR demanded the resignation of the reactionary governments.
To get an idea of just how much the Soviet leaders were willing to go to reassure the semi-fascist states that there was no intention of "sovietizing" them (before it became apparent the three states were acting in bad faith), "In October 1939, [Stalin] told the Lithuanian Foreign Minister that it was no concern of the Soviet Union how the Lithuanian government dealt with its Communists; and, even more bluntly, he informed the Latvian Foreign Minister: 'There are no Communists outside Russia. What you have in Latvia are Trotsk[y]ists: if they cause you trouble, shoot them.'" (Martin McCauley, Communist Power in Europe, 1977, p. 29.)
As for subsequent events, to quote from the same source:
>Lacking instructions from Moscow, the local Communist Parties seemed to have played safe and followed the prevalent popular front line. The Lithuanian Communist Party programme of 1939 urged the mobilisation of all democratic forces to overthrow the Černius government, and the Party sought alliance with the Social Democrats. In common with the Parties of Latvia and Estonia, its programme issued in 1940 was democratic in tone rather than Communist. The governments which were established in June 1940 seemed to offer a genuine opportunity for a reintroduction of democratic liberties, and as such they gained the passive and even active support of many democrats and Socialists who had suffered under the old regimes. The authoritarian regimes which had been set up in the early 1930s in Latvia and Estonia and in 1926 in Lithuania had all shown signs of collapse before the outbreak of war in 1939. They had suppressed political liberties and had failed to replace them with anything other than poor imitations of Austrian Fascism. The percipient comment of the British Minister to Riga on the state of affairs in Latvia is equally applicable to Estonia and Lithuania. The Collapse of the Ulmanis regime, 'literally overnight':
>>'left a political vacuum which, as the result of M. Ulmanis' totalitarianism, could be filled by no alternative middle-class organisation, and the swing to the left was therefore unduly abrupt, partly no doubt owing to the influence exercised by the USSR but also owing to the absence of any mobilisable political forces to challenge or correct those of the town workers.'
>The evidence available would suggest that considerable sections of the urban proletariat, including the Jewish and Russian minorities, supported the new order, whilst many democratic and left-wing intellectuals were prepared to give the new regimes a chance to fulfil their promises. The new governments, composed of left-wing democrats rather than Communists, did indeed appear to represent a fresh wind of change in an atmosphere which had become stagnant during the last years of the dictatorships. All-round wage increases were decreed in June, laws against hoarding and speculation were passed, whilst assurances were given to peasant landholders that their land would not be touched. The bastions of the old order were speedily demolished and replaced by new organisations. In Latvia, for example, the law of 26 June provided for the creation of workers' committees in factories employing more than twenty persons, whilst on 8 July a law establishing the politruk [i.e. political commissar] system in the army was passed. The Estonian trade unions, which had managed to preserve much of their independence during the Päts' regime, were taken over by the Communists on 20 June. The Kaitseliit guards were dissolved on 27 June, and replaced by a workers' militia under the direct control of the Communist-dominated Ministry of the Interior. Widespread purges of local government and the bureaucracy occurred in the last days of June and early July, with Communists installed in vital positions. Nevertheless, the lack of Party members in all three countries—and, quite possibly, Soviet mistrust of local Communists—meant that 'progressive elements' willing to serve the regime were used. In rural areas, there appears to have been less change, and appointees of the old regimes remained in office... The left-wing intellectuals who formed the governments of Latvia and Estonia remained in favour and high office until the purges of 1950, when they were accused of bourgeois nationalism and replaced by more reliable Soviet-trained Communists.
So yeah, as usual bourgeois accounts distort things into "big bad soviets wanted to invade other countries for no reason."
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>How much say did the different SSR's have in the political life of the USSR, in comparison to the RSFSR?
They occasionally had laws that differed from other parts of the country. For example, in regards to the Ukrainian SSR, "In 1962 it adopted a divorce law far more liberal than that of the U.S.S.R. as a whole. . . It also passed a distinctive law governing the provision of arms and munitions to civilian enterprises, their storage, and conditions of use. The purpose of this is to have arms available to the population for guerrilla warfare, which the Ukrainians had to wage in 1918-1920 and 1941-1944, when 175 city and county committees of the Communist Party led underground resistance behind the German lines." (William Mandel, Russia Re-Examined, 1967, p. 165.)
On paper, the SSRs were practically independent countries with their own governments, flags, national anthems (except the RSFSR), and even foreign ministries. As noted earlier the Ukrainian and Byleorussian SSRs were full members of the United Nations alongside the USSR (although obviously they echoed the USSR's diplomatic positions.)
>How were ASSR's different than SSR's?
They were pretty similar, except the ASSRs were (as their name suggests) autonomous parts of existing republics, so they didn't have the right to declare independence from the USSR, didn't have foreign ministries, didn't have national anthems, etc.
>Is it true there was a Jewish ASSR?
There was the Jewish Autonomous Oblast within the RSFSR. There was initially hope that its Jewish population would grow and it would develop enough to warrant being "upgraded" into an ASSR, but that never came to pass.
>What can you tell me about the repression of various minorities, the banishment of the Volga-Germans for example, etc.?
In the case of the Chechens and some other Asian nationalities, there were reports of widespread revolts. Stalin decided that the best option was to forcibly relocate the entire populations to areas where they wouldn't constitute a military threat. After his death it was determined that the reports of said revolts were false and that the deportations were unjustified. At the same time, it's important to remember that the deportations did not stop many members of the affected nationalities from serving in Red Army in defending the USSR against the fascist invaders.
As for the Volga Germans, I haven't read up on them, but that decision seems to have been purely based on fear that many would side with Nazi Germany simply be virtue of being Germans.
>What can you tell me about the Winter War and the Soviet invasion of Finland?
The situation was somewhat similar to the Baltics: the USSR, anticipating a Nazi invasion, was afraid for the security of Leningrad. It asked the anti-communist government of Finland to lease territory near Leningrad to put an end to that fear. The Finnish negotiators felt that the Soviets were making a reasonable offer, but the government's hatred of the USSR made them refuse. So the Soviets tried again, this time giving a more advantageous offer to the Finnish government. The government again said no.
So the Soviets attacked, hoping to secure the leases by force. As Molotov said after the war ended, "the Soviet Union, having smashed the Finnish army, and having every opportunity of occupying the whole of Finland, did not do so and did not demand any indemnities for her war-expenditure as any other power would have done, but confined her demands to a minimum and displayed magnanimity towards Finland. What is the basic idea of the peace treaty? It is that it properly ensures the safety of Leningrad and of Murmansk and the Murmansk railway."
For info on the Winter War and the two decades of bitter Soviet-Finnish relations leading up to it, see chapters V and VI of the following work: https://archive.org/details/MustTheWarSpread
(You can also consult chapter VIII of "The Baltic Riddle," one of the books I linked to in my earlier message.)
As for the Finnish Democratic Republic, since Finland's government was now effectively in the hands of Mannerheim (who distinguished himself in 1918 as the German-backed baron who massacred the Finnish Reds during that country's civil war), the Soviets were led to believe that if a democratic government were proclaimed in exile, it would enjoy widespread support in Finland itself.
Instead that didn't happen. Otto Kuusinen, its leader, hadn't been in Finland in twenty years (he was among those who escaped the massacres) and the government never really had enough territory to establish its authority.
On the other hand, after the war ended Communists and numerous Social-Democrats set up a Soviet-Finnish Friendship Society which had tens of thousands of members. And in the 1945 elections the Finnish People's Democratic League (formed by communists and left-wing elements) was only two percentage points away from winning the highest number of votes.
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On the topic of post WW2 elections, where else did the communists do exceptionally well? Is there any truth to the idea that CIA and other Western intelligence services essentially forged election results in Italy and France to make the communists come second?
What was the Soviet position on how well the PCI and PCF were doing for example?
>Is there any truth to the idea that CIA and other Western intelligence services essentially forged election results in Italy and France to make the communists come second?
Yes, at least in Italy that's pretty well documented: https://williamblum.org/chapters/killing-hope/italy
In France the CIA helped strengthen anti-communist trade unions and worked with criminal elements which attacked communist-backed unions and sabotaged strikes.
The communist parties in the Netherlands and Belgium won 10% and 12% respectively in the 1946 elections.
In San Marino the Socialists and Communists won the 1945 elections and remained in power until their conservative opponents launched a coup of sorts in 1957.
>What was the Soviet position on how well the PCI and PCF were doing for example?
To quote Erik Van Ree's "The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin," pp. 249-251:
>The main speech at the founding conference [of the Cominform in 1947], with the well-known thesis of the “two camps,” was made by Andrei Zhdanov. It expressed Stalin’s thinking. . . The main criterion of whether a state, class or politician belonged to either camp was whether they co-operated with the American oppressors or patriotically resisted the enslavement of their country. The communists should “head the resistance to the American plan for the enslavement of Europe,” courageously exposing all accomplices of American imperialism.
>>the Communists [said Zhdanov] must support all truly patriotic elements who do not want their country dishonoured, and who want to fight against the enslavement of their motherland by foreign capital…. They must take up the banner of defence of the national independence and sovereignty of their countries…[and] stand on guard for a lasting peace and for people’s democracy.
>The defence of national honour became the main task of the communist parties of the world. Zhdanov treated the defence of democracy as a patriotic duty. In his speech he never attacked the bourgeoisie wholesale, as a class, but only “imperialist circles” or “ruling circles” among them. That section of the bourgeoisie willing to support national independence and democracy, on terms as Stalin understood them, remained a welcome partner for the communists. Characteristically, the party secretary analysed the ousting of the PCF from the government as an onslaught on French sovereignty. The Americans had demanded it. He reproached the French comrades that by complying they, the “only patriotic force in France,” had harmed not only the “forces of democracy” but also the “fundamental national rights and interests of their countries”:
>>How did the French CP [asked Zhdanov] react to this shameful act of France’s ruling circles in selling off the country’s national sovereignty? Instead of holding up to shame, as a betrayal of the defence of the motherland’s honour and independence, the conduct of the other parties, including the Socialists, the Communist Party of France reduced the matter to complaints about a violation of democratic practice.
>Zhdanov did not reproach the French and Italians for having participated in a coalition government with bourgeois parties but, on the contrary, for having been so foolish as to let themselves be kicked out. When Luigi Longo defended himself, an angry Zhdanov shouted from the hall that the Italian communists retreated in the face of reaction instead of going over to the offensive. “They threw you out of the government. You offered no resistance.” The PCF and the PCI should do their best to return to the government. “Is it not clear,” Zhdanov asked, “that France can become an independent, strong and sovereign power only under the leadership of the working class and its vanguard, the communist party?”
>The Cominform conference did not demand a return to pre-war Leninist tactics. Almost the opposite was the case. The conference did not criticise the French and Italian comrades for having engaged in class co-operation but for letting themselves be removed from the bourgeois government. This is confirmed by the discussions that Stalin had with French and Italian party leaders at the end of the year. In November 1947, he told Thorez that if the PCF had attempted an uprising at the end of the war, the “Anglo-American troops” would have crushed them. Stalin predicted further polarisation between the forces of “peace and war”– the communists and de Gaulle. The social democratic leaders “sell their motherland.” But he agreed with Thorez on the need for co-operation with French entrepreneurs in the automobile and aviation industries. An effort should be made “to unite all elements who will struggle for the independence of the national industry.” Thorez’ proposal to defend the French film industry against American cultural encroachments was also correct. The French bourgeoisie should not be frightened unduly by strikes. France needed a war industry and army to protect its independence. Stalin was aware that this was a far cry from Comintern days:
>>it is interesting to see how things turned around. Two decades ago the communists were called enemies of the fatherland, but now only the communists defend the fatherland. The slogan of an independent country lies in the hands of the communists, and only in theirs…. The communists can declare that only they defend the honour of the nation and the power of the nation. …there rolls a great patriotic wave through France. The ruling circles of France killed the state, left it without an army, a fleet and a war industry.
>Stalin’s “French patriotism” was no fake. Of course, he hoped to seduce France into allying itself with Russia and opposing America. But to demand that the French communists support their army, industry and films meant to fill the patriotic slogans with real content. Then again, despite all this, the Soviet leader insisted that the French communists should prepare for the final class battles in the long run: “you must have arms and organisation, so as not to be left disarmed in the face of the enemy. They can attack the communists, and then it will be necessary to beat them back.” He offered Soviet weapons to Thorez. Similarly, he told PCI Deputy General Secretary Pietro Secchia in December 1947:
>>We are of the opinion that you should not set course on an uprising right now, but you have to be prepared for it, if the opponent attacks. It would be good to strengthen the organisation of the Italian partisans, to store more arms…. You have to bring some of your own people into the staffs and leading organs of the opponent. …you have to have your own guard, a small guard of experienced people…. If necessary you can later turn the guard into an army. Moreover, you must have your own people among the government troops and police.
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Do you know anything of the annexation of Bessarabia and Bucovina from Romania by the Soviets? Why was it done?
The immediate reason was, like in the case of the Baltics, to help bolster the USSR's security against a probable Axis ally.
The historical origins were clear-cut though: after the October Revolution soviet power was proclaimed in Bessarabia and existed for a brief period until Romania invaded the region. Lenin denounced this invasion as illegal and the Soviet government refused to officially acknowledge Romanian control over the region. They argued Bessarabia's Moldavian population was being repressed and denied the right to self-determination.
As far back as 1924 the Moldavian ASSR was established within the Ukrainian SSR. To quote the Webbs, writing in 1936, "This exclusively agricultural community. . . may perhaps be regarded as a lasting embodiment of the protest of the USSR against the Roumanian seizure of Bessarabia, which, it is hoped, may one day be enabled, as South Moldavia, to unite with the northern half of what is claimed to be a single community."
As for Bukovina, the same immediate reason of enhancing Soviet security applies, but also the northern part was simply considered Ukrainian land seized by the Romanians, hence why that part was absorbed into the USSR.
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How did the personality cult come about? Was the CPSU's and Stalin's position on it?
"On December 21, 1929, the nation celebrated Stalin's fiftieth birthday with unprecedented extravagance. . . It was the beginning of the Stalin cult, which developed on a phenomenal scale.
The frenetic adulation was in part the enthusiastic work of the party machine in Moscow and of the party officials throughout the country. They were praising and ensuring that the people joined by praising their chief, the General Secretary of the party. They owed their positions to him and they knew how his authority could reach into the most distant corners of the party organization. But servility and self-interest were accompanied by genuine veneration. . .
While accepting the need for the cult, however, Stalin probably took little active part in promoting it. The Yugoslav communist Milovan Djilas, meeting him in 1945, formed the opinion that 'the deification of Stalin . . . was at least as much the work of Stalin's circle and the bureaucracy, who required such a leader, as it was his own doing.'
Stalin was, in fact, not a vain, self-obsessed man who had to be surrounded by fawning and flattery. He detested this mass adulation of his position, and throughout his life he went to great lengths to avoid demonstrations in his honor. Indeed, he was to be seen in public only at party congresses and at ceremonial occasions on Red Square, when he was a remote figure standing on Lenin's mausoleum. He had the same lack of personal vanity as Peter the Great or Lenin. . . .
Stalin had not changed greatly. He had power and position, but showed no interest in possessions and luxuries. His tastes were simple and he lived austerely. In summer he wore a plain military tunic of linen and in winter a similar tunic of wool, and an overcoat that was some fifteen years old. He also had a short fur coat with squirrel on the inside and reindeer skin on the outside, which he started wearing soon after the Revolution and continued to wear with an old fur hat until his death. The presents, many of them valuable and even priceless works of craftsmanship, sent to him from all parts of the country and, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, from all over the world, embarrassed him. He felt that it would be wrong to make any personal use of such gifts. His daughter noted: 'He could not imagine why people would want to send him all these things.'"
(Grey, Ian. Stalin: Man of History. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1979. pp. 233-35.)
For more on Stalin's view, see: >>10544
Edward Snow, in his 1946 book "The Pattern of Soviet Power," notes the following exchange:
>“What is the real need for all this?” I asked a Russian Party man one day, honestly seeking enlightenment.
>“Everything in this country,” he answered, “is dedicated to the idea of making a success of building socialism in one country. Stalin, more than anyone else, proclaimed and enforced that policy. Experience has shown that we Russians like to have a national hero who symbolizes perfection and greatness. In the Communist view the revolution itself is the hero, but that idea is too impersonal for the masses. In a country building up socialism against great obstacles we had to have someone to personify the revolution, just as in former times the Tsar was the hero- god of Holy Russia. But the revolution, unlike the Tsar, permeates every aspect of a man’s life. Therefore, as its personification, Stalin must also appear before the worker in every aspect of his life.”
As for the CPSU's position, see: https://archive.org/details/OnOvercomingCultIndividual
Is the west still under the influence of Communist Ideological Subversion?
Is the U.N. a part of the International Communist Conspiracy?
>Is the west still under the influence of Communist Ideological Subversion?
As Marx noted, "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force."
As an ideology reflecting the interests of the working-class, Marxism will continue to gain adherents so long as capitalism exists, since class struggle obliges workers to try finding a way out of their predicament. But the West has never been "under the influence" of Marxism; the print media, radio and TV have always been primarily in the hands of the capitalists.
>Is the U.N. a part of the International Communist Conspiracy?
No, and in fact the imperialist countries have at times manipulated the UN for their own purposes, such as during the Korean War where US aggression was carried out under the UN flag.
Could Stalin accurately be described as a "dictator", or would that necessarily be some kind of dishonest liberalism?
If by dictator one means someone who could do basically whatever he wanted without opposition, he certainly lacked any explicit position giving him such powers (not that that's necessarily required), and there were instances where he was overruled (e.g. one user recently reminded me that when the question of replacing Yezhov as NKVD head came up, Stalin wanted to appoint Malenkov but the Politburo ended up deciding on Beria.)
However, Stalin did accumulate personal power after 1928, which was made easier by increasingly infrequent meetings of the Central Committee and Politburo and a long delay from the 18th Congress in 1939 to the 19th in 1952. And certainly any opposition to Stalin himself was unthinkable after the defeat of the Right Opposition at the end of the 20s.
So if you want to call Stalin a dictator, it isn't a totally baseless accusation, but I don't use the word.
Here's an example of how Stalin differed from, say, fascist dictators:
"Though his standing is far higher than that of any other man in the Soviet Union, though he is cheered and quoted at all congresses, whether of governmental delegates, trade unions or farms, yet no one inquires what is Stalin’s purpose or Stalin’s will. They inquire what is Stalin’s analysis of the situation, his summing up of problems and most important steps. I was struck at once by the contrast when I left the Soviet Union and visited Berlin and Washington. In Berlin I saw motion picture films bearing inscriptions: 'Approved by Herr Von —, leader of our youth,' and was startled. No individual 'approves' a film or book or drama in the U.S.S.R. In Washington I heard men say: 'We do not yet know what the President will decide. No one is yet quite certain of his intentions.' Men do not speak thus in the U.S.S.R. of Stalin.
Let me give a brief example of how Stalin functions. I saw him preside at a small committee meeting, deciding a matter on which I had brought a complaint. He summoned to his office all the persons concerned in the matter, but when we arrived we found ourselves meeting not only with Stalin, but also with Voroshilov and Kaganovich. Stalin sat down, not at the head of the table, but informally placed where he could see the faces of all. He opened the talk with a plain, direct question, repeating the complaint in one sentence and asking the man complained against: 'Why was it necessary to do this?'
After this he said less than anyone. An occasional phrase, a word without pressure; even his questions were less demands for answers than interjections guiding the speakers’ thought. But how swiftly everything was revealed, all our hopes, egotisms, conflicts, all the things we had been doing to each other. The essential nature of men I had known for years and of others I met for the first time came out sharply, more clearly than I had ever seen them, yet without prejudice. Each of them had to cooperate, to be taken account of in a problem; the job we must do and its direction became clear.
I was hardly conscious of the part played by Stalin in helping us reach a decision; I thought of him rather as someone superlatively easy to explain things to, who got one’s meaning half through a sentence and brought it all out very quickly. When everything became clear and not a moment sooner or later, Stalin turned to the others: 'Well?' A word from one, a phrase from another, together accomplished a sentence. Nods—it was unanimous. It seemed we had all decided, simultaneously, unanimously.
That is Stalin’s method and greatness. . . 'I can analyze and plan with the workers of one plant for a period of several months,' said a responsible Communist to me. 'Others, much wiser than I, like men on our Central Committee, can plan with wider masses for years. Stalin is in this our ablest. He sees the interrelation of our path with world events, and the order of each step, as a man sees the earth from the stratosphere. But the men of our Central Committee take his analysis not because it is Stalin’s but because it is dear and convincing and documented with facts.'
When Stalin reports to a congress of the party, or of the farm champions, or the heads of industry, none of his statements can be ranked as new. They are statements heard already on the lips of millions throughout the land. But he puts them together more completely than anyone else. . . .
Men never speak in the Soviet Union of 'Stalin’s policy' but always of the 'party line,' which Stalin 'reports' in its present aspects, but does not 'make.' The party line is accessible to all to study, to know and to help formulate within the limits set by the Revolution’s goal. There have indeed been statements by Stalin which have ushered in new epochs, as when he told a conference of Agrarian Marxists that the time had come to 'liquidate the kulaks as a class.' Yet he announced merely the time for a process which every Communist knew was eventually on the program."
(Strong, Anna Louise. Dictatorship and Democracy in the Soviet Union. New York: International Pamphlets. 1934. pp. 16-18.)
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To what extent was the USSR a "proletarian" democracy, throughout it's existence but also specifically during Stalin's time? I know there were soviets and other democratic institutions on paper but was it democratic in practice? To what extent is the characterization of the USSR being ruled by a rather small group of party elites from the top down (with the population at large having little to no say) true?
Also, does Kim Jong Un have more personal power in the DPRK than Stalin had in the USSR (making him more of a typical dictator)?
There was definitely a degree of democracy in the USSR in Stalin's lifetime, which was further expanded after 1956.
For example, I made a thread about mass discussions of the drafts of the 1936 and 1977 constitutions: https://www.reddit.com/r/communism/comments/5skve6/how_soviet_citizens_shaped_the_their_constitutions/
Here's a 1938 article on the first elections in the USSR under the 1936 Constitution: https://unz.org/Pub/AmQSovietUnion-1938oct-00059
>Also, does Kim Jong Un have more personal power in the DPRK than Stalin had in the USSR (making him more of a typical dictator)?
I don't know if he necessarily has more personal power, although I'm sure the "any opposition to Stalin himself was unthinkable" also applies to him, and there's certainly much more of a sentiment built around Kim himself making decisions in line with the "great leader" view of history the Workers' Party of Korea explicitly promotes.
Thanks again Ismail. All of this work you put in to writing long and informative posts is incredible. I think me or someone else has asked this before but you haven't considered starting a youtube channel or podcast or something dedicated to socialist history and theory? I would easily contribute a few bucks per month for something like that. There's a real lack of quality ML content right now, as far as youtube/podcasts go, imo.
I think you'd be better off using those few bucks to send me books I can scan and put publicly online (I have a whole bunch on my desk as we speak, including a 600-page history of the USSR published in Moscow in 1977.)
I think one day I could create a large PDF filled with answers to questions. There's also articles I've been meaning to write (Marxism in the United States during Marx's lifetime, the domestic and foreign policies of Khrushchev, George Orwell's anti-communism, Peoples Temple and Jonestown.)
If I make videos on YouTube, they'll be basically apolitical reviews of bad movies and me doing stuff in video games.
Why was there a ban on factions in the party? What effects did it have on proletarian democracy?
I know democratic centralism is a big part of ML ideology. I always thought of democratic centralism as a way to organize a political party in opposition. Enforcing democratic centralism and a ban on factionalism/opposition in the party, when the party is basically synonymous with the government and all other parties illegal, doesn't sound very good for a democracy.
There is no contradiction between an absence of factions and democracy, just as there's no contradiction between a single party and democracy.
Factionalism entails replacing service to the party with service to the particular faction one belongs to. Lenin wrote that "factionalism in practice inevitably leads to the weakening of team-work and to intensified and repeated attempts by the enemies of the governing Party, who have wormed their way into it, to widen the cleavage and to use it for counter-revolutionary purposes."
When the party comes to a decision on something, factions can easily disrupt the carrying out of that decision by functioning as miniature, rival parties with their own memberships, periodicals, platforms, etc.
Through regular meetings of the party at all levels of society (from the nationwide level to the local environments like towns and apartment blocks) members can disagree on what course to pursue or suggest changes in existing policies. The important thing is that once a decision has been arrived at, it is to be carried out by all members until the next meeting of the membership where disagreements or criticisms can be voiced.
Do you know anything about the Soviet policy toward Sweden? I'm not sure they held any official position, but I'm curious about general Soviet attitudes and approaches.
I know for example that when social-democratic leader Olof Palme visited Cuba he got the "socialist welcome" so to speak, red flags, portraits of Marx, Lenin, Cuban revolutionaries next to portraits of Olof Palme, singing school children and the Internationale.
Is it true the USSR supported Gaullists and Neo-Nazi's in France and Germany respectively who were against NATO and EEC intergration?
>Do you know anything about the Soviet policy toward Sweden?
I do not.
In the 1960s the USSR did seek to build up relations with De Gaulle's government due to its rocky relationship with other NATO members, although it opposed De Gaulle coming to power in the late 50s.
In the case of West Germany, there was the Socialist Reich Party which adopted a "pro-Soviet" position. The USSR apparently subsidized it in the early 50s solely to promote anti-NATO sentiments. It never openly supported the party.
According to this page Soviets educated 400000 African students. Do you know how many students they had from Latin America,Asia,East Europe and perhaps US and Western Europe. Any sources welcomed!
I don't have numbers for those regions.
Also as far as I know there was never any significant number of foreign students from the US or Western Europe who studied in the USSR. There were a bunch of foreign communists sent to study communism in the 1920s and 30s, but that's obviously a bit different.
Was it possible to leave the west and go live in the USSR if you were a western communist? Any mechanics for gaining residence?
There were many communists who lived in the USSR to flee persecution in their own countries, e.g. Germans who fled after Hitler came to power.
I don't know about the mechanics.
Did the Soviets write anything about the American Civil War? What was their analysis? How did they view racial problems in America?
The Soviet analysis of the Civil War was essentially the same as that of Marx: the slave system required territorial expansion into new states to offset problems like soil exhaustion. The industrial bourgeoisie opposed this and instead joined with other anti-slavery forces to form the Republican Party, which American Marxists supported in the 1856, 1860 and 1864 elections.
Marx further argued that despite Lincoln running on a relatively moderate platform of restricting slavery to states where it already existed, slaveowners knew that even this approach would eventually spell the political and economic doom of slavery, so they responded to the peaceful election of Lincoln with armed revolt. Lincoln distinguished himself as a bourgeois revolutionary who oversaw the destruction of slavery.
Besides Marx, Soviet authors often cited American Marxist texts like Hermann Schlüter's "Lincoln, Labor, and Slavery" and the works of Herbert Aptheker.
There's an English-language Soviet history book I scanned: https://archive.org/details/BlacksInUnitedStatesHistory
>How did they view racial problems in America?
They saw racism as an indictment of capitalism and publicized the plight of Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Chicanos and American Indians.
There's another English-language Soviet book I scanned, a journalistic account of MLK Jr.'s life and times: https://archive.org/details/TheLifeAndDeathOfMartinLutherKing
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What is the truth about Lenin’s so-called testament? Is it true he did not want Stalin in leadership?
Lenin wrote: "Comrade Stalin, having become General Secretary, has concentrated an enormous power in his hands; and I am not sure that he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution. On the other hand, comrade Trotsky, as was proved by his struggle against the Central Committee in connection with the question of the People’s Commissariat of Ways and Communications, is distinguished not only by his exceptional ability – personally, he is, to be sure, the most able man in the present Central Committee – but also by his too far-reaching self-confidence and a disposition to be far too much attracted by the purely administrative side of affairs. These two qualities of the two most able leaders of the present Central Committee might, quite innocently, lead to a split, and if our party does not take measures to prevent it, a split might arise unexpectedly."
He later added, "Stalin is too rude, and this fault, entirely supportable in relations among us communists, becomes unsupportable in the office of General Secretary. Therefore, I propose to the comrades to find a way to remove Stalin from that position and appoint to it another man who in all respects differs from Stalin only in superiority – namely, more patient, more loyal, more polite and more attentive to comrades, less capricious, etc. This circumstance may seem an insignificant trifle, but I think that from the point of view of preventing a split and from the point of view of the relation between Stalin and Trotsky which I discussed above, it is not a trifle, or it is such a trifle as may acquire a decisive significance."
At this time General Secretary didn't mean leader of the party, but as Lenin noted it was still a position with "enormous power." If Stalin had been removed as GenSec, he still would have belonged to the Politburo and thus still would have been part of the leadership.
In other words, Lenin did not want to remove Stalin from the leadership, he wanted to remove him from an important post in order to avoid a split within the ranks of the leadership.
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why did the Soviets choose to not implement cybernetics? why did they just keep everything the same from the 50s-70s, instead of trying to advance socialist development?
What was the purpose of the NEP?
As a result of World War I and the Civil War, Soviet Russia inherited a wrecked economy. In addition, because of the extraordinary measures the Bolsheviks implemented during wartime to prevent famine in the cities (e.g. forcing peasants at gunpoint to give up their grain), relations with the peasantry were severely strained, as indicated by the Tambov rebellion and the Kronstadt mutiny.
So the NEP's purpose was to rehabilitate the economy by restoring industrial production to its pre-WWI level (which was accomplished by 1927) and mend relations with the peasantry. Lenin regarded it as a temporary retreat from socialist construction.
These extraordinary measures were called War Communism, is that right?
Yes. Before the October Revolution, and the first few months after it, Lenin envisioned state-capitalism being implemented to help lay the foundations for the construction of socialism. However, war intervened and forced what was known as "War Communism" on the Bolsheviks.
You can find some of Lenin's writings on the subject here: https://archive.org/details/OnStateCapitalismDuringTheTransitionToSocialism
Chapters five and six of the following book should also be helpful: https://archive.org/details/DobbSovEconDev
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Was the collectivization of farms and agriculture the right way to go? How did the collective farms end up performing?
Soviet economic policy in the late 20s and 30s was based on the belief that the imperialist countries would try to invade the USSR in the near future. So while rapid industrialization and collectivization were praised for putting an end to the continued existence of exploiters (Nepmen in the cities, kulaks in the countryside), the war danger was also kept in mind.
I think that rapid collectivization can be justified based, as I said, on the war danger. The mechanization of agriculture and consolidation of land which arose out of collectivization also ensured that the threat of famine would not return to the USSR (despite the Ukrainian famine that occurred during collectivization itself due to resistance, and the famine that occurred right after the Great Patriotic War caused by Nazi destruction.)
>How did the collective farms end up performing?
Throughout the 1930s-80s agriculture was regarded as the weakest part of the economy. Many peasants preferred to tend to the small private plots allotted to them within the collectives, and poor transportation infrastructure meant that even when collective farms grew food, it would often rot in the fields or on the road before reaching its destination.
How could the agricultural sector been fixed? Were the inefficiencies rooted in the collectivization?
A lot of the problems seemed to be based on poor investment decisions, which continually slighted agriculture in favor of heavy industry (even in the 1970s-80s) and military expenditures (which, of course, made sense given the Cold War.)
I'm sure collective farms had their own problems with motivation and such, but in general, from what I recall, a lot of it really was more due to government blundering (e.g. not paying peasants enough for their produce.)
Is it fair to say that in comparison to capitalist countries which started in similar conditions as the USSR (economic backwardness, agriculture-based economy economy, etc.), the Soviets were much more successful?
Furthering on this question, how was Soviet Asia in comparison to capitalist Asia?
What was consumer goods production like in the USSR? It sounds like it was pretty lacking/spotty from what I've read, but why did the Soviets not emphasize more on consumer goods, or did they?
>but why did the Soviets not emphasize more on consumer goods, or did they?
There was some increase on consumer goods after Stalin died, although not as much as Malenkov wanted.
Check out the replies in this thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/31u6ij/why_was_there_a_chronic_lack_of_goods_in_the/
In addition to what's written there, I'd also add that it was harder to plan for consumer goods. Unlike planning how many tons of steel a factory is going to produce, planning for consumer taste had to take into account fashion trends and consumers simply opting not to buy low-quality items.
Bumping these in case they were missed.
A user in that Reddit thread claims:
>Under Stalin, low level managers and workers were incentivized to work by a system of harsh punishments (labor camps for example).
Is this true? Did the labor camps actually serve to punish people who didn't want to work? And if so is there evidence for this?
Mostly the case. A citizen of the USSR circa 1970 generally lived better than his counterparts in India, Turkey, etc.
Superior. To quote one author, "the standard of living is higher, on the Russian than on the Middle Eastern side of the border; this is true for the Azerbaijanis and Turcomans, for example, who span the borders between the U.S.S.R., Iran and Afghanistan. The death rate in Soviet Turkmenia in the mid 1970s was 7.2 per thousand, the number of doctors 2.7 per thousand, and the number of hospital beds 10.2 per thousand. In Afghanistan the average figures were 23.8 per thousand, 0.07 per thousand, and 0.18 per thousand respectively. Literacy in Soviet Tadjikistan, where the population speaks a dialect of Persian, has risen from 2 per cent to 99 per cent under Soviet rule. Literacy in Iran is 30 per cent, and in Afghanistan it is 10 per cent." (Fred Halliday, Threat from the East? 1982, p. 51.)
From a Spart pamphlet (obviously inclined to bash the Soviets, but still), "Why the U.S.S.R. is Not Capitalist," 1977, pp. 41-42:
"The Leninist Labor Code of 1922 stated that employees with six unexcused absences in a month could be dismissed. In 1927 this was reduced to three unexcused absences, and in 1932 managers had to dismiss any worker who had one day's unexcused absence. Workers could also be dismissed for consistently failing to fulfill the output norm. Dismissal meant immediate confiscation of the worker's food ration card and eviction from his or her dwelling if, as was usual, it was furnished by the enterprise."
As the result of a 1940 decree, "Changing jobs without permission of management was punishable by two to four months' imprisonment. A worker guilty of a single instance of 'truancy' (one day's unexpected absence or 20 minutes' lateness) had to be punished by up to six months' corrective labor at the workplace, at up to 25 percent reduction in pay." The decree remained in force till 1956.
>From a Spart pamphlet (obviously inclined to bash the Soviets, but still), "Why the U.S.S.R. is Not Capitalist,"...
Sounds harsh, but I assume this had to do with the realities of the need to industrialize for the coming war? Can you give any context?
Yes, the tightening of discipline in 1940 was obviously related to the impending war threat (and this is in fact how Soviet sources in the 1960s-80s speak of the decree.) If I had to guess why it was continued for a decade after the Great Patriotic War, it was due to the need to rebuild the country amid the coldest period of the Cold War.
It's also worth noting that, "Even before its official repeal in April 1956, its enforcement had become haphazard, no doubt because it was essentially unworkable. Criminal penalties for job-changing and truancy had been partially relaxed in 1951 and 1952, although, like the main body of labour legislation, the decrees announcing these changes were never published. From 1951, handbooks on Soviet labour law began publishing the 1940 edict without listing its criminal sanctions, but prosecutions still took place after that date. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that prosecutions were rare. In 1951, approximately 2 per cent of workers in heavy engineering - and 6 per cent of those under the age of 18 - left their jobs without permission. Moreover, a further 10 per cent left 'with the permission of the administration', which in many cases was almost certainly granted in order to protect workers from possible punishment. By 1954, some 12 per cent of all industrial workers and 25 per cent of those in construction quit their jobs of their own accord, so that sanctions could not have been a very strong deterrent." (Donald Filtzer, Soviet Workers and De-Stalinization, 1992, p. 37.)
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How did one go about joining the CPSU?
We know Stalin committed his fair share of errors, what do you think was his worst error?
>How did one go about joining the CPSU?
It's been a while since I read the specifics (and each communist party in the world has its own ways of going about it), but basically you started off as a candidate member. During this period you were tested to see how much you knew about Marxism-Leninism and were also watched by CPSU members at your workplace to see how hardworking you are, how often you attend party lectures, how much you're involved in setting a good example, stuff like that.
Once a certain amount of time passed, CPSU members who know you would vouch for you, and you would be made a member.
>what do you think was his worst error?
There was one the CPSU frequently pointed out (to quote from the official History of the CPSU, 1960, p. 513):
>in 1937, when Socialism was already victorious in the U.S.S.R., Stalin advanced the erroneous thesis that the class struggle in the country would intensify as the Soviet State grew stronger. The class struggle in the Soviet country was at its sharpest stage in the period when the question "Who will beat whom?" was being decided, when the foundations of Socialism were being laid. But after Socialism had won, after the exploiting classes had been eliminated and moral and political unity had been established in Soviet society, the thesis of the inevitable sharpening of the class struggle was an erroneous one. In practice it served as a justification for mass repressions against the Party's ideological enemies who had already been routed politically. Many honest Communists and non-Party people, not guilty of any offence, also became victims of these repressions.
This theory ended up being "developed" by Mao into the thesis that a "new bourgeoisie" inevitably arises within the party, which must be fought. From this arose the justification for the Cultural Revolution.
what do people mean when they talk about corruption during the Brezhnev era?
They refer to how Brezhnev was more likely than his predecessors to turn a blind eye to corruption, or only give minor punishments, while at the same time corrupt practices among CPSU and state officials were increasing.
To quote from one book (Irwin Silber, Socialism: What Went Wrong? 1994, p. 155):
>One 1969 case, reported in a glasnost-era Izvestia article, tells of the wedding banquet given for her son by Uzbekistan leader Yadgar Sadykovna Nasriddinova at her own luxurious dacha outside Taskent. According to the account:
>>The nearly 800 guests included [Sharaf] Rashidov, the Republic party leader, the members of the Bureau of the Republic Party Central Committee, high-ranking party and state officials, and Ministers and economic executives. The wedding was catered by a staff of 150, while 200 chauffeurs shuttled guests between the dacha and their hotels. Entertainment was provided by the Republic's most famous singers, dancers, and musicians. Characteristically, Nasriddinova, who was also a member of the CPSU Central Committee and a Vice-Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, contrived to pay for the wedding with state funds .... When news of the extravaganza reached Brezhnev, his response was simply, 'You were stupid to hold a wedding like that.'
>Years later, after Nasriddinova had become chair of the USSR's Council of Nationalities, a long-stalled trial resulted in the conviction of 315 people closely associated with her on charges of bribe-taking and embezzling socialist property valued at more than 10 million rubles. Thirty-one of these were high-ranking government and judicial officials. Nevertheless, when the Party Control Commission recommended expelling Nasriddinova in 1976, pressure to rescind the resolution was exerted by both Brezhnev and Nikolai Podgorny, then chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet. The recommendation was dropped and an official reprimand closed out the case. Twelve years later, Izvestia noted: 'Nasriddinova lives comfortably in a spacious Moscow apartment, has a state-owned dacha and automobile at her disposal and draws a large all-Union personal pension. Her Party reprimand was long ago expunged from her record.'
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What's the nature of the casualties of the 1932-1933 famine, AKA the "Holodomor"? It's said that about two million died, but isn't that a bit much to kill a couple unruly kulaks? On the other hand, it's unbelievable that it was done to quell nationalism because the way nationalism was dealt with was forced relocation, as was done to Greeks, Tatars, and Armenians, and anyways most Ukrainians were on board with Soviet policies.
Partly it was kulak resistance, partly it was ordinary peasants (obviously not all of them) resisting collectivization by killing their own livestock or refusing to collect harvests, and partly it was the Soviet government continuing to export grain from the Ukrainian countryside at normal levels because it wasn't immediately apparent a famine was taking place (local officials were saying that all such talk was a lie or exaggerated.)
The "Ukrainian genocide" narrative is indeed silly and is not generally accepted by Soviet historians, not even ardent anti-communists like Robert Conquest and Orlando Figes. The book I always recommend on the famine is "The Years of Hunger" by Davies and Wheatcroft: http://b-ok.cc/book/1173369/1dd4cf
Is it true weather played a part as well? Is it true that the famine extended across many parts of the Soviet breadbasket, all the way to to the Kazhak SSRs and so on?
I've heard of a referendum in the early 90s about the dissolution of the USSR, what can you tell me about it? Is it true the results where overwhelmingly in favor of retaining the Union and the socialist system? Was it a fair and free election, or was it tampered with?
Speaking of referendums and elections, what kind of political elections were there in the USSR in general? And were they generally free and democratic, or did the state have a hand in them?
>Is it true weather played a part as well?
It is possible.
>Is it true that the famine extended across many parts of the Soviet breadbasket, all the way to to the Kazhak SSRs and so on?
From what I recall reading, there were food shortages in other parts of the USSR, but only in the Ukraine did it assume the dimensions of a famine.
Yes, there was a March 1991 referendum: http://i.imgur.com/xXS4jN0.jpg
It wasn't a question of retaining the socialist system, just the Soviet Union under a "renewed federation" (in other words, Gorbachev's proposal for a Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics.) I haven't heard of the vote being tampered with.
>what kind of political elections were there in the USSR in general? And were they generally free and democratic, or did the state have a hand in them?
As I recently wrote on another thread,
>To quote one bourgeois analyst, "The LaFollette Progressives could not have desired an electoral law which on paper provides for a more direct expression of the wishes of the electorate with the most modern safeguards for preventing a perversion of the national will than that presently in operation in the USSR."
>Of course, it's the "on paper" part that's ultimately important. In practice the CPSU stage-managed the process. There was some liveliness and meaningful participation on the local level (towns, villages), but on the national level the ordinary Soviet citizen simply voted because he or she was expected to do so. Apathy was widespread.
As for how they worked, very briefly, there would be nomination meetings held in public places (factories, libraries, universities, etc.) wherein people suggested who should be their deputy to whichever organ of power is up for election (from the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on down.) Soviet election laws provided for stuff like run-off elections, but in practice these meetings would inevitably agree to present a single candidate during election time, and that candidate would win his or her election.
There's a good account of how elections worked in the USSR here: https://archive.org/details/WorkingVersusTalkingDemocracy (the author wrote after 1991 that his portrayal of Soviet citizens playing an active role in the process was more ideal than reality, but still stood by the text overall)
>From a Spart pamphlet (obviously inclined to bash the Soviets, but still), "Why the U.S.S.R. is Not Capitalist," 1977, pp. 41-42:
If a Spart pamphlet is actually the only source for this claim you're aware of, I'd say that makes it pretty dubious, no?
>If a Spart pamphlet is actually the only source for this claim you're aware of
I didn't claim it was. In the very next reply I made, I cited a bourgeois academic discussing it: >>10955
And again, Soviet sources themselves speak of the law.
Did Soviets had any non-left wing and right wing allies?
Did Soviets support any non socialist liberation and anti-colonial movements? (If there were any non socialist anti-imperialists anyway)
I've read a bit about the "Neo-Communist Party of the SU" which was apparently a collection of Trot and Anarchists Uni students basically whose most notable actions was blowing up a train in Leningrad and Moscow at some point
But I've wondered if any clandestine Maoite groups ever formed in the USSR either inside or outside academia?
>Did Soviets had any non-left wing and right wing allies?
I can't recall any actual allies, although in the 1920s relations were quite close with Atatürk and Amanullah Khan, and the Soviets praised Abd el-Krim's revolt against Spanish colonial rule (which should also answer your question "Did Soviets support any non socialist liberation and anti-colonial movements?")
The USSR had important trade ties with Argentina under the military junta and with Morocco and Kuwait. The Soviets also tried to improve relations with the Shah in the 70s.
If I recall right, North Yemen's military was trained in large part by the Soviets during the 1970s-80s.
A lot of military officers in Somalia during the 1960s and Afghanistan in the 1960s-70s were trained in the USSR (and, not coincidentally, these officers developed left-wing ideas and ended up overthrowing their governments.)
>But I've wondered if any clandestine Maoite groups ever formed in the USSR either inside or outside academia?
Only thing I can think of is this: https://afoniya.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/towards-the-history-of-maoist-dissidence-in-the-soviet-union-an-article-by-alexei-volynets-part-1/
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what did Soviet citizens think about Gorbachev and his reforms as they were happening?
>A lot of military officers in Somalia during the 1960s
>these officers developed left-wing ideas and ended up overthrowing their governments.)
yeah but didnt Said Barre out himself as a pretty huge opportunist by Attacking Marxist Ethiopia and abandoning all reference to Marxism?
Yes, as I wrote here: >>10995
In Gorby's first years he had widespread support because he did unconventional things like appear on the streets answering questions from citizens and spoke frankly on the country facing major domestic problems which had accumulated over the decades.
By 1991 this had dramatically changed. His reforms had wrecked the economy, socialism was clearly in retreat worldwide, and the USSR's prestige was at an all time low as Gorby was trying to convince the West to give the Soviet treasury billions of dollars and proclaimed the USSR's "neutrality" in the Gulf War as a way of getting such money (which, of course, never came.)
Gorby is generally regarded as a fool at best and a traitor at worst by Russians today.
Why did Gorby ask for money ? I remember reading that Soviets had one of largest gold reserves in the world, not to mention a lot of natural resources,strong industry and a lot of allies.
To quote from a January 1991 NYT article:
>At Mr. Yeltsin's urging, the Russian Parliament voted last month to reduce by 90 percent its payments to the Soviet central government, threatening the government with bankruptcy.
>"The entire distribution system has broken down," said Charles Hugel, a former chairman of Asea Brown Boveri Inc.
>In most cities, consumer goods are nonexistent and, despite a record harvest, food is scarce. The United States has extended $1 billion worth of credits to help the Soviet Union buy American grain, but many analysts predict even this will not be enough to stave off starvation.
Having "one of the largest gold reserves in the world" doesn't matter if your economy is doing so badly that your only alternative is to sell off the reserves until there's nothing left, which is what many Soviet economists feared would happen.
Which was in disarray due to Perestroika
>and a lot of allies.
Its European allies were all gone in 1990-91. Its third world allies were largely either in civil wars or moving away from socialist rhetoric, and all of them faced economic problems of their own. Even Syria, Moscow's traditional ally in the Middle East, joined the US-led Gulf War.
As a well-read, what would you do if you were in place of gorby?
Also, how exactly did it reach that awful state?
I don't think I could seriously answer that question, but at the very least I wouldn't have allowed Glasnost to get out of control. It started as a policy of promoting openness in the media about problems affecting Soviet society, and also a means to obtain a more objective assessment of Soviet society, but it soon became a weapon which anti-communists used to slander the history of the USSR and CPSU and incite nationalism.
Basically, planning and the market were clashing with each other, and the former was undergoing drastic changes that reduced its ability to coherently oversee the economy. Managers were suddenly saddled with tasks they didn't really have to worry about before.
Keeran and Kenny's "Socialism Betrayed" goes into far more detail than I ever could: http://b-ok.cc/book/3601200/472092
Also "Revolution from Above" by Kotz and Weir: http://b-ok.cc/book/942717/efc03c
Reading about Ben Bella and Algeria during cold war it seems that Algeria was major anti imperialist nation in the area. Was Soviet Union supporter of Algeria? How close were the relationships?
>Was Soviet Union supporter of Algeria? How close were the relationships?
The USSR was on generally good terms with Algeria, if I recall right a large amount of the Algerian military used Soviet weaponry. The USSR also considered it an example of a socialist-oriented state.
On the other hand, to quote one author (Donald F. Busky, Communism in History and Theory: Asia, Africa, and the Americas, pp. 99-100):
>The new Algerian government under Ahmed ben Bella told then Secretary General of the PCA Larbi Bouhali on November 7, 1962, that the party must cease all its activities. The party was not formally banned, but it did fall apart under repression. Its press was seized, its meetings were outlawed, and its leaders were kicked out of the General Union of Algerian Workers. However, the communists were not arrested, and they would spend several years campaigning to have their party restored. Ben Bella was in favor of socialism and a one-party state. The communists agreed to recognize the FLN as the sole legal party in Algeria in December 1963. The PCA press was merged with the FLN's, while the communists worked to win the leadership of the FLN. The June 19, 1965, coup that toppled ben Bella and put Colonel Houari Boumedienne in power as President also put an end to the communists trying to take over the FLN by infiltration, in what has been called “the Cuban method.” The communists were expelled from the FLN. . .
Do you know anything about people with disabilities in Soviet Union? How much truth is in some of uglier comments here?
There's an account on mental health facilities in the USSR by a CPUSA journalist who lived in the country during the 1960s-70s: https://archive.org/details/CitiesWithoutCrisis/page/n39
Obviously Davidow's experiences were exceptional, and I have heard that the way the disabled were treated was often quite bad. Alcoholics were often similarly subject to bad living conditions.
what were the Soviets opinion on Deng Xiaoping and SWCC? did they view China as going down a path of revisionism?
I actually don't know. The general consensus was that Deng was moving away from the ultra-leftism of Mao's domestic policies, and in the mid-80s that it was moving away from the overt anti-Sovietism of Mao's foreign policies as well, but as far as the Soviet view of Deng's economic reforms went, I haven't found anything in English besides talk that the Chinese leaders were trying to overcome the Maoist legacy.
Is it true that in the process of destroying the CMEA Gorbachev made it mandatory to use US dollars in trade between constituent states thus forcing them to take out huge western loans?
I haven't heard about that. By the time Gorby entered office the Comecon's European members (except the USSR and, I think, Czechoslovakia) all had large, mounting debts to Western banks. Already in 1980-81 the Polish government had to negotiate with said banks during the political and economic crisis the country was facing. Romana joined the IMF in 1972, Hungary in 1982, and Poland in 1986.
From what I've read, serious efforts to reform Comecon only began in 1990, at which point it was obviously too late to salvage it.
How big were the debts?
I read that many of ex Yugoslav countries have far larger debts than Yugoslavia did, yet on paper they are doing well.
>How big were the debts?
Foreign debt by 1989 was about $10 billion in Bulgaria, $7 billion in Czechoslovakia, $33 billion in the GDR, $20 billion in Hungary, $18 billion in Yugoslavia, $40 billion in Poland, and $58 billion in the USSR (Romania had largely paid off its debt due to Ceaușescu's notorious austerity measures enacted during the decade.)
>I read that many of ex Yugoslav countries have far larger debts than Yugoslavia did, yet on paper they are doing well.
Yes, but in Yugoslavia during the 80s the debt was a huge deal. The government implemented austerity measures (obviously not nearly as severe as Romania's) to deal with it, and when that wasn't working the republics feuded over how to best to pay back the debt.
Whether a large debt is no big deal or a huge issue depends on a number of factors. One is if a country can even afford to meet its minimum requirements (like servicing interest payments), which Yugoslavia for instance was having a lot of trouble doing.
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Don't know if this was asked before but what about the debt/loans the Russian Empire had, how did the USSR pay them off and did they? Should they have?
I might be wrong about this but AFAIK all state debts normally disappear after a revolution, because the state that amassed those debts has de facto ceased to exist.
This was actually one of the major stumbling blocks when it came to the Soviets trying to establish diplomatic relations with the imperialist countries during the 1920s. The latter demanded that the Soviets pay back debt owed by the Russian Empire.
The Soviets expressed willingness to pay back some or all of the debts in exchange for a loan to cover the costs of damages inflicted by the imperialist intervention during the Civil War and the granting of diplomatic recognition to the land of soviets. The imperialists refused.
The Bolsheviks justified their reluctance to repay based (among other things) on the Tsar having secured loans for imperialist purposes (ergo the new anti-imperialist government could hardly be held responsible) and in part on historical precedence, e.g. "Revolutionary France not only tore up the political treaties of the former régime with foreign countries, but also repudiated her national debt. She consented to pay only one-third of that debt, and that from motives of political expediency." (Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution Vol. III, p. 377.)
As far as I know the debts weren't repaid.
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thank you for the quick reply and detailed answers.
What was Soviet Union's relationships with India over the years like?
Did Soviet Union support India's struggle for independence?
Was it Soviet Union and it's support for India inspired India to have mixed economy with five year plans and proclaim itself to be socialist in it's constitution?
I read that Stalin disliked Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas Gandhi, yet Nehru was saddened when Stalin had passed, why?
When Stalin was alive, relations were strained since Soviet academics were obliged to portray Nehru as a collaborator with imperialism (there was a similarly negative assessment of Nkrumah.)
This changed after 1955, relations steadily grew as the Soviets argued that India, while not quite qualified for the designation of "socialist-oriented" (unlike Ba'athist Syria, Guinea, etc.), was nonetheless under a progressive government.
>Did Soviet Union support India's struggle for independence?
Yes, if I recall right it also opposed the partitioning of British India into India and Pakistan.
>yet Nehru was saddened when Stalin had passed, why?
You can read Nehru's own tribute to him: https://www.marxists.org/subject/stalinism/1953/stalin.htm
Nehru visited the USSR in the late 20s and wrote a sympathetic account of his experiences: https://archive.org/details/in.gov.ignca.742/page/n5
>Was it Soviet Union and it's support for India inspired India to have mixed economy with five year plans and proclaim itself to be socialist in it's constitution?
There were admirers of Soviet socialism in the Indian National Congress, but Nehru's own politics were also influenced by the Fabians and other petty-bourgeois conceptions of socialism found in Britain.
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Is there any truth to the meme of people being forced to clap after Stalin gave a speech?
I doubt there was any formal requirement, just "this is Stalin, clap when appropriate."
I'm sure if you never clapped for Stalin or any other Soviet official you'd eventually get strange looks and queries, but it isn't like "this man forgot to clap, whereupon he was immediately taken out of the building and shot."
Can you go into detail about Soviet democracy? I understand it existed in various forms, but that it was lacking. In which ways did it exist, how was it lacking, and how did it get better? Reading tips?
What can you tell me about the clapping bell thing? Was it true the NKVD watched you and arrested you if you stopped clapping?
Was the terror (not the great purge) largely necessary?
I replied to a similar question here: >>11284
I don't know of any "clapping bell" or NKVD watching over people during Stalin's speeches. It doesn't sound impossible, but I just never came across it in anything reputable.
On Soviet democracy, see: >>11028
In terms of "how did it get better," the system didn't change much during the 1930s-80s till Gorby came to power, and his "reforms" gradually showed themselves to be in the direction of bourgeois democracy rather than strengthening proletarian democracy.
Yes. Soviet Russia was under an economic blockade by the imperialist powers who also sent troops to invade the country; famine threatened the cities; terrorist groups were being organized; Lenin and other Bolsheviks were the targets of assassination attempts; there were outright uprisings against soviet power; there were the White armies which tried to carry out counter-revolution.
The Red Terror arose in response to the White Terror, which was more violent and which targeted larger segments of the population.
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What would've happened if the Eastern bloc states basically told the western banks "nah, we're not going to pay back the debt"?
They'd find themselves unable to buy consumer goods, food, or anything else they would have hitherto been importing from Western Europe or North America.
This means living standards would have abruptly declined, which would have led to unrest. I'm sure Western banks cutting off credit to Eastern countries would have hurt the ability of said countries to export raw materials to Western Europe as well, which would have meant further economic woes.
Couldn’t the eastern bloc have achieved self-suffiency in food stuffs and raw materials though? I get lacking consumer goods would’ve been awful, but at least it wouldn’t be on the level of hunger or starvation.
I don't think any of the European socialist countries were so dependent on Western markets for food that their withdrawal would lead to starvation, it'd just mean having to implement rationing to a greater or lesser extent.
Also in the case of Poland, which was particularly vulnerable on the subject of food supplies (due to its uniquely inept agricultural policies), Gierek had pretty much promised the Polish people that if they stuck with the PUWP it would steadily raise their living standards and introduce better-quality consumer goods.
When it became apparent that financial problems would soon interfere, and food prices were raised, Solidarity appeared and that was the beginning of the end of socialism in Poland.
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As I understand, people would clap for too long, much to Stalin's annoyance, and a bell was installed to instruct people to stop. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YsL4HXZN9E Bell starts at 0:45.
However I've also heard that people were deathly afraid of being the first to stop clapping, and that if you did, you'd get shot in the street or taken to a gulag (verbatim quote). To me, that sounds like Red Scare-esque communist boogieman propaganda.
Were the purges entirely unnecessary, or were there any actually guilty people among the victims?
How do you explain the mass starvation that happened under the Soviet Union after Lenin came into power? I heard that it became so bad that people started becoming cannibals just to be able to feed themselves.
Well, as I said, I haven't heard anything about it.
They were entirely unnecessary. The NKVD was already doing its job in earlier years. There's no evidence that the Great Purges actually improved the defense capacity of the USSR.
Yes, that was famine particularly in the Volga region, caused by disruption of agriculture due to World War I and the Civil War as well as a severe drought. The Bolsheviks openly acknowledged this and asked for help from abroad, both from the bourgeois American Relief Administration and from the Workers International Relief. On the former see >>10047 and >>10051
Is it correct to call the USSR a "federation"? If so, how to reconcile this with the fact that Lenin and Stalin both wrote polemics against federalism and argued that democratic centralism was generally a superior form of organisation?
Can you recommend me a soviet (or any leftist) book on zionism and anti-zionism?
The Soviets themselves referred to the USSR as a federation, and likewise the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was (as its name implies) regarded as a federation as well.
Lenin's view changed as time went on.
As Lenin noted in 1915, "Marx considered the separation of an oppressed nation to be a step towards federation, and consequently, not towards a split, but towards concentration, both political and economic, but concentration on the basis of democracy. . . this demand alone presented a consistently revolutionary programme; it alone was in accord with internationalism; it alone advocated concentration along non-imperialist lines."
As Molotov recalled many decades later:
>[Chuev:] Stalin proposed that all republics become part of the RSFSR on the basis of autonomy, which Lenin opposed. But then Stalin admitted his mistake and agreed to Lenin's proposal to form the USSR with all Soviet republics having equality.
>[Molotov:] The point is that Stalin in this instance continued Lenin's line. But Lenin had moved beyond the solution he had advocated earlier and which Stalin knew well. Lenin then moved the question to a higher plane.
>Lenin had opposed the federal principle, federalism, because he favored centralism. All the reins, everything must be held in the hands of the working class so as to strengthen the state. Just read his articles on the national question. Autonomy within a unitary state, yes.
>But Lenin suddenly dropped this unitary principle for a federal solution: 'Let us create the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics!'
>But Stalin did not know this at the outset.
I scanned this a while back: https://archive.org/details/ZionismItsRoleInWorldPolitics
It was written by a leading figure of the CPUSA with assistance from the Central Committee of the CPSU.
And for a Soviet academic work: https://archive.org/details/ZionismPastPresent
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Thanks Ismail. Do you mean Lenin changed his view out of pragmatism, in the sense that he thought federalism would be necessary temporarily because it suited the former Russian Empire best? (This is what I'd imagine based on the sections in Chapter 4 of "State and Revolution" where he states federalism is needed in some cases, e.g. he says the introduction of federalism would be "an improvement" for the UK.) Or did he really reject centralism in favor of federalism to some degree?
The quote you gave is from 1915 and in S&R (which is from 1917) he's clearly not supportive of federalism, so this is why I'm a bit confused about the way Lenin's view changed?
nvm about my above questions, Stalin's 1924 postcript to Against Federalism provided all answers needed.
How did Soviet Union supported India's struggle for independence (other than opposing the partitioning of British India into India and Pakistan)
What was Soviet Union's policy towards India until 1955?
Do you know how much overall aid Soviet Union give to India trough the cold war?
Why did Soviets side with India in it's struggle against west backed Pakistan? Did Soviets help India liberate Goa and Bangladesh?
>How did Soviet Union supported India's struggle for independence (other than opposing the partitioning of British India into India and Pakistan)
Besides helping establish the Communist Party of India, I'm not aware of any direct aid.
>What was Soviet Union's policy towards India until 1955?
That I don't know. Diplomatic relations rapidly improved after 1955, but before then Soviet publications apparently attacked Nehru as pro-West.
>Do you know how much overall aid Soviet Union give to India trough the cold war?
No, although obviously it was considerable.
>Why did Soviets side with India in it's struggle against west backed Pakistan?
No doubt geopolitical considerations played a role (the US and China supporting Pakistan), as well as the socialist pretenses of the INC compared to the open anti-socialism of most Pakistani leaders.
>Did Soviets help India liberate Goa and Bangladesh?
The USSR diplomatically backed India in liberating Goa. As for Bangladesh, by that point the USSR was sending arms to India, so yes.
Did Soviet Union support the independence of People's Republic of Bangladesh?
What was Soviet's relationships with Bangladesh like?
Did Soviet Union provide any aid and advisers to Bangladesh?
Try keeping your questions in one thread. I partly answered this here: >>11452
I think the USSR provided material aid to newly-independent Bangladesh in the form of doctors and such. I know it provided indirect material aid by providing arms to India which assisted the independence forces.
Do you know any sources on Soviet support to Bangladesh?
No, it's just stuff I recall reading over the years in random newspapers and such.
>Try keeping your questions in one thread.
The reason why I ask question in multiple threads, because I ask question from different point of views. Namely, in this thread from Soviet point of view, in the other thread about Bangladesh and it's point of view and policy.
Did Soviet Union support the independence o f Sri Lanka?
Did Soviet Union provide any aid and advisers to Sri Lanka? Did Sri Lanka view Soviet Union as an ally?
Yes. If the question is "did the USSR support the independence of [insert country from an imperialist country]," the answer is almost invariably yes.
The only times it didn't was when it felt independence movements were acting in the service of imperialism, hence it opposed the secession of Biafra from Nigeria, the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia under the Derg, etc.
The USSR didn't view Sri Lanka as an ally, but did consider it non-aligned and, if I recall right saw Sirimavo Bandaranaike as a progressive leader.
I dunno if the Soviets provided much in the way of aid. From my understanding the country to this day gets a lot of its military security from India.
Why did Soviet Union invite Iraq to COMECON?
Iraq first applied for observer status in 1972. To quote the main work on Soviet-Iraqi relations, "between 1972 and 1975 the USSR and Iraq entered into numerous other economic, financial, and technical agreements. Cutting across the whole spectrum of economic activity, these agreements provided for Soviet assistance in developing Iraq's industry, agriculture (including irrigation projects), transportation, energy, fishing, manpower training, long-term planning, and last but not least, 'use of nuclear energy in industry, medicine, science and agriculture.' . . . As a result of the growing cooperation, the trade between the two countries expanded dramatically, rising from 49.4 million rubles in 1968 to 332.1 million rubles in 1973, 453.1 million rubles in 1974, and 596.2 million rubles in 1975." (Smolansky, The USSR and Iraq, 1991, p. 22.)
This is why Iraq's request for observer status in Comecon was approved in 1975.
Why didnt Soviet Union invite Syria to COMECON?
That I don't know.
Before I ask few questions here are some achievements of Soviet Union.
In 1990, the Soviet Union had a Human Development Index of 0.920, placing it in the "high" category of human development. It was the third-highest in the Eastern Bloc, behind Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and the 25th in the world of 130 countries.By the early 1970s, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest industrial capacity, and produced more steel, oil, pig-iron, cement and tractors than any other country. Before 1973, the Soviet economy was expanding at a faster rate than that of the American economy (albeit by a very small margin). The USSR also kept a steady pace with the economies of Western Europe.Before its disintegration, the Soviet Union produced 2.1-2.3 million units per year of all types, and was the sixth (previously fifth) largest automotive producer, ranking ninth place in cars, third in trucks, and first in buses. Soviet industry exported 300,000-400,000 cars annually, mainly to Soviet Union satellite countries, but also to Northern America, Central and Western Europe, and Latin America.
Soviet Union had 100% literacy rate and high life expectancy. It also had caloric intake on par with the US.
During stagnation period,Soviet Union supported anti colonial revolutions in Vietnam,Laos,Cambodia,Angola,Mozambique,Guinea-Bissau,Nicaragua and more. Soviet Union supported Cuba which engaged in world wide literacy campaigns and medical internationalism. Provided education to 400000 Africans, and thousands of Latin Americans and Asians. Responsible for some of the greatest scientific achievements in history.
Why was GDP per capita of Warsaw pact countries growing so slowly and overall was so low?
I forgot to add the most important thing. Socialist countries had strong population growth, strongest growth in Eastern Europe's history and had young educated population. Today capitalist Europe is rapidly ageing, and even in US millennial's can't afford kids. And according to us government it's going to cause economic problems. Socialist on the other hand helps women to have good sex,
FYI they used a different system of national accounting so those GDP numbers are being guesstimated by some other means than would be by national accounting in the West
Probably had something to do with childcare being provided and such
Speaking of demographics.
East Bloc countries were mostly protected from materialist capitals ills. As a result most Warsaw alliance countries had low drug usage, low crime and murder rate. USSR had lover prison population that USA. Even in the 90's when all was over USSR had less rape,less murder and smaller prisoner population that US, according to UN report from 1991. Although according to it USSR had 100 million people in poverty + 100 million in other Warsaw alliance countries.
What I find interesting is that despite all propaganda USSR was less polluting than West Germany. I have heard propaganda than East Germany was far more polluted than West, but West Germany was one of most polluting countries in the world.
>There was significant progress made in the economy in countries such as the Soviet Union. In 1980, the Soviet Union took first place in Europe and second worldwide in terms of industrial and agricultural production, respectively. In 1960, the USSR's industrial output was only 55% that of America, but this increased to 80% in 1980
Despite constant growth why were there shortages and long waiting queue for consumer goods and things like cars, refrigerators?
In the first place, growth refers to the overall economy. Not necessarily consumer goods.
As far as waiting queues for cars go, to quote one author (Margrit Pittman, Encounters in Democracy: A U.S. Journalist's View of the GDR, 1981):
>Cars need gasoline, require maintenance and repairs, and are a hazard to the environment. Gasoline has to be imported, and that portion of it that does not come from the Soviet Union, must be paid for in scarce Western currency. Repair and maintenance can be organized but when there is a labor shortage, again, there is the matter of priorities.
>Maintenance, service and repair problems had become such a problem that a 1978 plenum of the Central Committee of the SED had directed that more facilities would have to set up.
>Expansion of the automobile market, despite great popular pressure, is braked by two important considerations. The environmentalists oppose it because of pollution and congestion. An even larger section of the population argues that it is better to invest in improving public transportation. The fact is that public transportation in the GDR is much better and cheaper than in the U.S. or, for that matter, in the FRG. City transport is cheap—a ride on any Berlin bus, streetcar or subway costs one fifth of a ride in New York. In addition, some large plants maintain special transport facilities for their workers and these frequently include stops at child-care facilities that belong to the plant.
>The fact is that the car is the most expensive surface transportation and some people in the GDR say they would give up their cars if public transportation to recreation areas were improved. It is not clear just what they mean by this, short of house-to-house hourly service to their summer cottages, but it is quite clear that it will take years to resolve this conflict.
How do waiting ques and production of consumer goods like refrigerators and TV's compare to US?
Also could you please comment on the slow and small GDP per capita growth in more in depth?
As of 1965 the GDR actually had more television sets per thousand inhabitants than Japan, France or Italy, but lagged behind the US and UK. (Jean Edward Smith, Germany Beyond the Wall, 1969, p. 28.)
The main reasons were related to low labor productivity and the usual problems with Soviet-style planned economies that I've mentioned before.
Could you please share any more quotes you know about quality and quantity of consumer goods in Warsaw pact countries. Additionally, do you know about quantity and quality of Warsaw pact computers and other electronics?
>The main reasons were related to low labor productivity and the usual problems with Soviet-style planned economies that I've mentioned before.
Could you write something that could help me debunk these annoying images in future debates? I see this popped up every time as proof that Socialism doesn't work.
What caused Brezhnevite stagnation?
Specifically why did economy slowly but still grow, as well as over production and construction, and population grow by 30 million, but life expectancy and overall quality of life fell, as well as many societal problems like alcoholism, suicide, crime rate and other problems rose?
>Could you please share any more quotes you know about quality and quantity of consumer goods in Warsaw pact countries.
It's mostly just on the level of a Westerner visiting a socialist country and pointing out the quality of consumer goods sucks.
>Could you write something that could help me debunk these annoying images in future debates?
Simple: I point to the successes the socialist countries did have, note that yes their particular implementations of socialism were flawed, and note that even in places like Romania there can be found plenty of nostalgia for the socialist era.
To quote an old post of mine, Paul Cockshott was once asked what factors contributed to economic problems in the USSR. He gave some examples:
>1. The exhaustion of oil and mineral reserves West of Urals forcing the development of energy and mineral reserves in Siberia which were much more costly in terms of labour than the old sources in Europe and the Caspian basin.
>2. The extreme demographic transition of the socialist countries associated with the high level of female education and participation in the workforce. This meant that from the 1970s on the available labour supply became very tight and many industries were up to 10% of workers short on key shifts.
>3, High levels of armaments expenditure in the final stages of the cold war diverted scientific and engineering talent out of the improvement of civilian industry.
>4. An unwillingness to close down existing first generation industrial plant an replace it with new greenfield sites since this would have involved dismissing workers from the old sites, redeploying workers from the old plants to the new sites when a basic feature of the workers state was that workers were protected against being fired.
>5. Failure to properly apply labour value costing which meant that labour saving techniques and fuel saving techniques would not appear to individual plants to be economically rational. Heavily subsidised domestic heating also encouraged a more profligate use of fuel.
Why did Soviet Union wen't from grain exporter to grain importer? Why was food growth such a problem? Why import so much from US rather than other Warsaw allies with warm climate like Romania and Bulgaria?
As far as Romania goes, Ceaușescu spent the 80s exporting food to the West to pay back Romania's debt.
Bulgaria did export food to the USSR and GDR.
Problems with Soviet agriculture stemmed from poor investment decisions by the government plus the nature of Soviet geography. For the latter see pages 129-132 of the following book: https://archive.org/details/HumanRightsInTheSovietUnion/page/n71
>Problems with Soviet agriculture stemmed from poor investment decisions by the government plus the nature of Soviet geography.
I read the paragraph, but I am still confused. How it is possible to export so much, but then import so much more? Do you know what mistakes were made by the government?
>Do you know what mistakes were made by the government?
I recall reading about them, and talking to a Russian guy about them, but I've largely forgotten. Basically a combination of bad investment decisions (as I said) when it came to what specific sort of stuff to grow/raise, and poor transport.
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What do the USSR/Russia want? what are the objectives of Russia and why? i don't understand Russians or what motivates them at all?
Russia is so close to Europe i think its crucial we understand eachother both ways.
The USSR is different from the Russian Federation
Russia is mainly concerned with its own security. The expansion of NATO, the building of US military bases around its territory, and recent shenanigans involving abandoning long-standing arms control measures are major fears.
Where can I find a copy of the long-term plan enacted in the late 90s/early 2000s?
Can you be more specific?
Golitsyn leaked the previous one in the early '60s and said it would last around 40 years. The current one is very effective against the west, for the results, see Tucker
So yeah if anyone has it I'd like to take a look.
Anatoly Golitsyn? The guy who claimed the dissolution of the USSR was actually a trick to fool the West?
I wouldn't consider any such "plan" as legitimate, nor am I aware of where one would find such a "plan."
What L.Brezhnev should have done to avoid stagnation?
Why did the Soviet Union fail?
I'm not an economist and I doubt I know enough to definitively say what should have been done. I can't even really say "do what China was doing" since, while the USSR could have done with some market reforms, it's a very different country from China and at the time of Brezhnev's death Deng was only just getting started on his reforms. There was no plausible way Brezhnev would have adopted any significant reforms.
As of 1985, the USSR was facing economic problems, but neither the economy nor the political system was in a crisis. Gorbachev's policies of Glasnost and Perestroika were terrible ways of reforming the system, which together with his weakening of the CPSU and adopting the "Sinatra Doctrine" toward Eastern Europe caused the USSR's demise.
Why did Socialist countries took loans from western banks?Especially why did Soviet Union, second largest economy with large amount of natural resources, and pal's like India allow it's socialist friends to take loans, rather than give loans to it's friends?
Because Western countries had consumer goods and other exports that the Eastern European countries couldn't obtain from the USSR.
Why didn't Soviet government invest more int consumer good industry? To protect allies from debts, and for prestige.
There were two reasons.
1. Traditionally, Soviet economics was focused on heavy industry. When Malenkov wanted to shift the economy toward consumer goods, Khrushchev indirectly denounced him as a Bukharinite.
2. The arms race.
>When Malenkov wanted to shift the economy toward consumer goods, Khrushchev indirectly denounced him as a Bukharinite.
Wow what a fucking idiot. Is this the old Hoxhaist Ismail making a comeback?
Ismail, I've seen that you scanned a bunch of books on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the pre-WWII crisis. Which one of these you would recommend the most?
No. The whole point is that Malenkov was moving away from the Stalin-era emphasis on heavy industry, whereas Khrushchev and his successors largely continued it.
Consumer goods production did increase under Khrushchev, just not to the extent Malenkov would have wanted.
Is there a good single volume book on the history of the USSR? I'm looking for an even-handed, level-headed book. Not a book with a pro-USSR slant, but not an anti-USSR book either. Something without either left or right propaganda. (Or is such a thing possible? Do I need to read various accounts, note their biases, and try to formulate my own ideas?)
I'd be particularly interested in the Cold War as how it looked from the USSR side.
I scanned an English-language history of the USSR published in Moscow in 1982 a while back: https://archive.org/details/HistoryUSSREraSocialism
Obviously it has "a pro-USSR slant," but it's adapted from a textbook used in Soviet schools, so you should find it of some interest.
I'm not aware of any "neutral" history of the USSR. Probably the closest one out there is by bourgeois historian Peter Kenez: http://b-ok.cc/book/539826/a55a9d
>I'd be particularly interested in the Cold War as how it looked from the USSR side.
There's a two-volume history of Soviet foreign policy published in Moscow back in 1981:
* https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1ZP6ZurgOg-dm5Wbkp3SjFvbG8/view (Vol I)
* https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1ZP6ZurgOg-dDhzQll5SkdCNmM/view (Vol II)
The following work does a good job presenting the Soviet argument that the US was responsible for the Cold War: https://archive.org/details/WeCanBeFriends
As for Soviet works specifically, see:
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What were relationships between Soviet Union and Mexico, Haiti,Dominican republic,Jamaica and Bahamas?
Why did Soviet Union invite Mexico to comecon as an observer?
Apparently relations with Jamaica reached their height under the Manley government in the 70s, but I don't know much more than that. I don't think the USSR had much of any relations with Haiti or the Dominican Republic given that basically all their governments adopted a foreign and domestic policy of hating communism. No idea about the Bahamas.
The USSR generally got along well with Mexico, as far as I know. Relations were particularly good under Cárdenas in the 1930s, who was the most left-wing Mexican leader. Mexico requested to join Comecon as an observer as a way of distancing Mexican foreign from the US, the same reason Mexico refused to sever relations with Cuba after Castro came to power despite the US successfully convincing every other Latin American country to do so.
What were relationships between Soviet Union and 'Leninist' Taiwan and Singapore, as well as South Korea and Japan?
Officially, the USSR had no relations with Taiwan or South Korea. Diplomatic relations weren't established with the latter country until 1990.
I don't know what Soviet-Singapore relations were like (presumably not very good), but in regard to Japan the USSR had problems improving relations due to the Sakhalin dispute. At the same time, no serious friction occurred between the two states, as far as I know.
Did Soviet Union had any achievements and success in renewable energy?
Most information I wound are in this article
>For example, in the 1930s, USSR was the first nation in the world to construct utility-scale wind turbines. In the 1960s, the Soviet Union opened a tidal electric plant and took the global lead in building geothermal power plants, even before Iceland became the leader today with 93% of its nation energy generated from geothermal and hydroelectric power sources. There are currently around 100 MW of geothermal power plants operating in Russia, and about 55 MW of planned additional capacity
Yet I can't find any other information on Soviet wind turbines.
I also found some information that first solar cell based on the outer photoelectric effect was invented by Russian scientist Aleksandr Stoletov and that Hippolyte Romanov created on of first green electrical vehicles in the world, but other than that can't fin much information.
I don't know enough to answer.
How large was pollution in USSR and Eastern bloc? Critics often point out that USSR was one of most polluted countries in the word and that East Germany was more polluted than west, but according to UN report 1991 USSR was the fourth most polluting country in the world behind US,Germany and Canada. I am wondering where's the truth here.
In the previous thread you talked a bit about Mengistu and the Derg, can you give some sources you used for this? Or sources in general about socialist Ethiopia that don't paint a purely negative propagandistic image of it?
Pollution was indeed a major issue, in fact during the 80s dissident groups in Eastern Europe were often based around environmental concerns.
There are more or less objective works like Edmond J. Keller's "Revolutionary Ethiopia: From Empire to People's Republic" and Fred Halliday's "The Ethiopian Revolution" (the latter is online here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5eiAnD_DQKRM0Jra2NNQ2xRN2c)
I also recently obtained two books on the 1980s famines that I intend to scan, as well as a 1981 Soviet work.
Is there anything in particular you want to know?
Remind m,e what were the relationship between Burma and USSR? Did USSR consider Burma socialist? Were they friends? Was Ne Win socialist, Marxist or weirdo?
The USSR considered Burma an example of a socialist-oriented country, i.e. it wasn't yet socialist, but it was laying the foundations for socialism.
The Communist Party of Burma was pro-Chinese and thus at odds with the Soviets, who wrote: "The party leadership, ignoring the progressive nature of the socioeconomic reforms carried out in Burma, adopted a new program in 1964 aimed at overthrowing the revolutionary-democratic government by force."
The USSR and Burma weren't "friends," but as far as I know their relationship was cordial. Ne Win wasn't a Marxist, but did consider himself a socialist.
I checked other threads and here >>11071
you mentioned that Ne Win didn't oppose US aggression against Vietnam because he wanted a US presence in the region as a counterweight to China?
Additionally do you know anything about Burma's contact with USSR. Did they trade? Did they had any cultural exchanges? Did Soviets send any advisers or foreign aid? Did Soviet Union invite any foreign students fro Burma?
>you mentioned that Ne Win didn't oppose US aggression against Vietnam because he wanted a US presence in the region as a counterweight to China?
I don't know the extent of Burmese-USSR relations except they weren't especially close.
>Burma was pro China, but still liked to see American presence in the area as counter to China?
No, China opposed Burma during the 60s and early 70s. As I said, the Communist Party of Burma was backed by China and tried to overthrow the government.
>Why did Ne Win pretended to be socialist anyway if he neither allied with Soviets nor resisted imperialism or did anything left wing at all?
"Socialism" (variously defined) was a fairly popular aspiration in Burmese society, and also the government could justify nationalizing things if it called itself socialist.
Perhaps the biggest problem of Soviet Union was weak leadership. Why didn't Soviet Union invite more advisers from better of socialist states like Czechoslovakia, maybe China. Why not make Fidel Castro head of state?
>Why didn't Soviet Union invite more advisers from better of socialist states like Czechoslovakia, maybe China.
In the first place, what made Czechoslovakia "better" at socialism than the USSR? Not that Czechoslovakia sucked or anything, but it basically adopted the Soviet model, and I don't think Novotný or Husák come across as substantially better leaders than Khrushchev or Brezhnev.
Second, in Soviet eyes China had nothing to teach the USSR, and after the Sino-Soviet Split Soviet philosophers, economists, historians, etc. portrayed Maoism as un-Marxist and Mao's policies as disastrous.
>Why not make Fidel Castro head of state?
Outside of the differences in views between Soviet leaders and Castro, the vast majority of Soviet citizens and officials would view the idea of replacing Soviet leaders with a Cuban leader as incomprehensible.
>In 1990, the Soviet Union had a Human Development Index of 0.920, placing it in the "high" category of human development. It was the third-highest in the Eastern Bloc, behind Czechoslovakia and East Germany
>behind Czechoslovakia and East Germany
>behind East Germany
What in the actual fuck am I reading? Clearly some bullshit, but...damn. At least they could admit USSR was a dysfunctional shithole.
All you USSR newfags probably don't even know the full story of town "Orbita" with the highest pipe in Europe.
Well according to UN Czechoslovakia had higher standards of living, and from what I read, they never had any shortages. I don't think that Czechoslovakian highest of leader were better, but I imagine their bureaucrats were very good.
As far as I know soviets liberated Manchuria,gave arms to help defend against Japanese empire, exported to China machinery worth of billions,helped to create nuclear weapons and helped to kick-start space program. How else did Soviets helped out China?
There are articles online that claim that Mao wanted to romanize Chinese language, but Stalin talked Mao out of full-scale romanisation, saying that a proud China needed a truly national system. The regime instead simplified many Chinese characters, supposedly making them easier to learn'. How close were relationships between Stalin and Mao? Were they friends?
>How else did Soviets helped out China?
As you noted, it gave all sorts of aid to the Chinese, and also had Chinese students study in the USSR.
>How close were relationships between Stalin and Mao?
Not good. Mao himself said in 1956:
>It is the opinion of the Central Committee that Stalin's mistakes amounted to only 30 per cent of the whole and his achievements to 70 per cent, and that all things considered Stalin was nonetheless a great Marxist. . . Stalin did a number of wrong things in connection with China. The "Left" adventurism pursued by Wang Ming in the latter part of the Second Revolutionary Civil War period and his Right opportunism in the early days of the War of Resistance Against Japan can both be traced to Stalin. At the time of the War of Liberation, Stalin first enjoined us not to press on with the revolution, maintaining that if civil war flared up, the Chinese nation would run the risk of destroying itself. Then when fighting did erupt, he took us half seriously, half sceptically. When we won the war, Stalin suspected that ours was a victory of the Tito type, and in 1949 and 1950 the pressure on us was very strong indeed. Even so, we maintain the estimate of 30 per cent for his mistakes and 70 per cent for his achievements. This is only fair.
To quote from Martin McCauley's "The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union," p. 269:
>After Mao had proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic, on 1 October 1949, he waited impatiently for an invitation from Stalin to visit Moscow. None came. Zhou Enlai was dispatched to tell the Russian ambassador that Mao would like to visit Moscow to pay his regards to the master on the latter’s seventieth birthday, on 21 December 1949. Stalin, who had been stringing Mao along for two years, grudgingly said yes. However it would not be a state visit. Mao would be visiting the Soviet Union as merely one of a gaggle of communist leaders. . .
>Mao was put in Stalin’s bugged number two dacha, about 30 km outside Moscow. . . He was also kept away from foreign leaders. The only one he saw was the Hungarian boss. He was keen to meet Palmiro Togliatti, the Italian communist chief. Stalin made sure he did not. Mao was seated on Stalin’s right at the grand birthday festivities in the Bolshoi Theatre. The audience chanted: ‘Stalin, Mao Zedong’. Mao responded: ‘Long live Stalin! Glory to Stalin!’ Afterwards he was packed off to his dacha. He became so frustrated that he shouted at Stalin’s intermediary that he had come to do business, not to ‘eat, shit and sleep’.
>Stalin saw Mao on 24 December but would not discuss his pet project: an arms industry. Mao’s birthday, on 26 December, went unnoticed. Mao then showed Stalin he could play him at his own game. In his dacha, he proclaimed loudly, to ensure that it was picked up, that he was ready to do business with America, Japan and Britain. Diplomatic relations were established with Britain on 6 January 1950. The British press then reported that Stalin was holding Mao under house arrest in Moscow. It worked. Stalin immediately began negotiating seriously. Zhou Enlai and other ministers were summoned from Beijing to work out the details.
Why did Stalin threat Mao so poorly?
Despite the not that good relationships, why did Stalin aid Chinese so much, that he de-facto gave China nukes?
How big of a reason for Sino-Soviet split was Destabilization?
Could Stalin have prevented the split?
Do you know any good examples of Stalin-Mao (personal) relationships or more positive Mao quotes on Stalin?
As Mao said, "Stalin suspected that ours was a victory of the Tito type." In other words, he thought Mao was a nationalist.
Molotov recalled decades later in retirement (as noted in "Molotov Remembers') the same December 1949 visit of Mao to the USSR described by McCauley,
>Stalin hadn’t received him for some days after he arrived. Stalin told me, “Go and see what sort of fellow he is.” . . . He was a clever man, a peasant leader, a kind of Chinese Pugachev. He was far from a Marxist, of course—he confessed to me that he had never read Marx’s Das Kapital.
The USSR still gave China plenty of aid because of the country's importance and also because China pretty much served as a stand-in for the Soviets during the Korean War.
Mao's own attitude toward de-Stalinization was mixed at first. In the aforementioned 1956 speech I cited, Mao was complaining that the Soviets were going too far in their criticism of Stalin, but at the same time the 8th National Congress of the CPC held that year was fairly moderate in its political and economic program.
Also, concerning the November 1957 Moscow Conference:
>Another aspect of Mao’s speech that drew immediate attention was his discussion of the internal struggle in the CPSU. When talking about unity, Mao inserted the following comment about the ouster of Molotov:
>"I endorsed the CPSU Central Committee’s solution on the Molotov question. That was a struggle of opposites. The facts prove that unity could not be achieved and that the two sides were mutually exclusive. The Molotov clique took the opportunity to attack at a time when Comrade Khrushchev was abroad and unprepared. However, even though they waged a surprise attack, our Comrade Khrushchev is no fool. He is a smart person who immediately mobilized his troops and waged a victorious counterattack. That struggle was one between two lines: one erroneous and one relatively correct. In the four or five years since Stalin’s death the situation has improved considerably in the Soviet Union in the sphere of both domestic policy and foreign policy. This indicates that the line represented by Comrade Khrushchev is correct and that opposition to his line is incorrect."
(Source: Zhihua Shen & Yafeng Xia. "Hidden Currents during the Honeymoon: Mao, Khrushchev, and the 1957 Moscow Conference," in Journal of Cold War Studies, Volume 11, Number 4, Fall 2009, pp. 108-109.)
After Stalin's death the Chinese also welcomed some steps to put Sino-Soviet economic relations on a more equitable footing.
By 1960 things had changed. Khrushchev was less willing to give Mao aid nor share nuclear technology. Mao was also afraid that Khrushchev was trying to come to a deal with the US over Asia to the detriment of China.
>Do you know any good examples of Stalin-Mao (personal) relationships or more positive Mao quotes on Stalin?
In regard to Mao quotes on Stalin, there's a whole bunch here, both praise and criticism: http://www.massline.org/SingleSpark/Stalin/StalinMaoEval.htm
Do you know anything about Soviet technological exchanges with India? I found some sources that India used Soviet Baikonur Cosmodrome and Russia stills helps out India with space program, and according to one sources Soviets helped India with developing nuclear weapons, but I am wondering if you know any sources on Soviet help for India's space and nuclear programs as well as perhaps you know any lesser known Soviet aid to India.
>Do you know anything about Soviet technological exchanges with India?
There is a book on the subject, but I haven't read it: https://b-ok.cc/book/1057728/528c9c
Why was Chernenko even promoted to general secretary when his absolutely horrid health and lifestyle (And also apparent corruption) was basically an open secret in the party when talking behind his back?
Also what were Chernenkos "views" was he in the same stripe as Andropov or Gorbachev etc?
From what I remember Chernenko was already angling to succeed Brezhnev, but Andropov came out on top. At the same time, Andropov was obliged to make Chernenko second-in-command. Thus when Andropov died, Chernenko came to power.
Apparently even after 1991 no one could really explain why Chernenko was chosen.
No, he pretty much stalled any talk of reforming the economy. One of the few things he accomplished was to readmit Molotov back into the CPSU after he had been expelled in 1957 for belonging to the "Anti-Party Group."
There's was an amusing Politburo discussion concerning this, where Chernenko and other "old-timers" criticize Khrushchev for his treatment of Stalin: https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111231
At the same time, Chernenko had to make Gorbachev his second-in-command. As a result, when he died, Gorby easily took over.
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Would it be safe to say that one of reasons why numerous states became friends with Soviet Union, was because of Soviet anti-imperialism and socialist foreign aid?
What were Soviet relationships like with
Algeria,Libyia,Egypt,Syria,Iraq,India,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka?
If it would come to WW3, would any of those states support Soviet Union?
I'm pretty sure I've answered some of these recently.
Algeria was more or less pro-Soviet throughout the 1960s-80s, although the ruling FLN persecuted the Algerian Communists. Egypt was likewise pro-Soviet until 1972 when Sadat expelled Soviet personnel.
Libya was pro-West under the monarchy and pro-Soviet under Gaddafi, who like the FLN and Nasser persecuted Libyan communists but made use of the USSR as a source of arms.
Syria was the main pro-Soviet state in the Middle East, and today remains Russia's main ally in the region.
Iraq was pro-Soviet in the 1970s, balanced between the US and USSR during the 80s, and during 1990 tried to convince Gorbachev to stand up to the elder Bush and oppose the Gulf War (instead Gorby proclaimed the USSR's "neutrality," allowing the US to do as it wished.)
India's relations with the USSR steadily improved after 1955, and it seems safe to say under Indira Gandhi it was pro-Soviet. Likewise relations with Bangladesh were good under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, but after his assassination relations with subsequent governments declined (Bangladesh instead built up ties with China.)
As for Sri Lanka, I know the USSR considered Sirimavo Bandaranaike a progressive leader and relations improved under her, but in general Sri Lanka was never pro-Soviet. It emphasized having a "non-aligned" foreign policy and besides Bandaranaike I recall reading most other Sri Lankan leaders tilted to the West.
>If it would come to WW3, would any of those states support Soviet Union?
Depends on the year, but if done circa 1975 then Iraq, Syria and Libya would side with the USSR mainly due to the possibility of defeating Israel (and, in Gaddafi's case, defeating Egypt if Sadat refuses to help fight Israel.)
India would only get involved if Pakistan did.
Algeria would probably stay out, and Sri Lanka is... Sri Lanka and wouldn't want to get involved either.
Politics can be tough. Who were the most friendly soviet Allies ready to fight WW3 together(other than Warsaw pact)?
Years ago I read that the early USSR tried to replace religion with some "human-centered" and "reason-centered" cult with an artsy/philosophical notion but I forgot how it was called...
>Who were the most friendly soviet Allies ready to fight WW3 together(other than Warsaw pact)?
Presumably Cuba and the DPRK.
You're thinking of "God-Building" whose main proponent was Lunacharsky. Lenin always opposed it and didn't allow him to go through with it.
So China at one time was Soviet greatest ally and Soviets messed it up, uh?
During the cold war which nations had the most hostility with the Soviets and were against USSR the most?
More or less, although Mao shares blame for the Sino-Soviet split as well. After Khrushchev was removed, Brezhnev offered to normalize relations and instead the Chinese attacked the USSR as "state-capitalist," "imperialist," "social-fascist," etc.
I don't know how that could be gauged. Obviously the US was hostile to the USSR, and there were governments that the USSR refused to establish diplomatic relations with on principle, like Spain under Franco and Chile under Pinochet.
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What were some other countries Soviets had friendly relationships with?
Depends how you define "friendly relations."
Something like Soviet relationships with India.
Trade, cultural and technological exchanges and diplomatic cooperation.
It depends on the decade, like as of 1975 the USSR had Syria, Algeria, Somalia, Libya, South Yemen, Guyana, Peru (till Velasco's overthrow later that year) and Guinea as countries which, like India, could be considered moderately pro-Soviet.
What are some bad ass moments in Soviet history?
Plenty of heroic feats during the Great Patriotic War, e.g. Stalingrad and Leningrad. I'm sure you can search online for examples.
Do you know any *more* examples of early Soviet internationalism and anti-imperialism, including during Stalin's era? Basically could you name few more examples of soviet internationalist and anti imperialism between 1920 to 1950?
When it comes to Stalin (i.e. 1928-1953), there was aid to the Spanish Republic, aid to China in the late 30s against Japan, the Soviet offer to aid Czechoslovakia against Nazi aggression, aid to the CPC via the Soviet Army presence in Manchuria after WWII, aid to the DPRK during the Korean War, and of course aid to the People's Democracies in general.
The Comintern via International Red Aid and other entities also continued to help publicize and contribute funds for worthy causes, and of course both the USSR and Comintern assisted communist parties throughout the world.
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I read that Che Guevara and Fidel Castro criticized Soviet Union for low support for third world struggles.
1)What exactly was their criticism? Why they found Soviet help lacking?
Other than weapon aid/sales, diplomatic support, sending advisers, and some times even direct military aid, and of course giving education, how else did Soviets help anti-colonial struggles?
3)All in all, were their criticism valid?
Have you read Lewin's Russian Peasants and Soviet Power and Bettelheim's Class Struggle in the USSR? Looking for some reading on the industrialization debates of the 20s and Soviet policy towards the peasants.
The USSR had, since the 1930s, consistently promoted an electoral road to socialism in Latin America and much of the rest of the world. At the same time, however, a bunch of the "official" pro-Soviet parties were seen as having succumbed to reformism and were also tainted by WWII-era collaboration with figures like Somoza.
Castro and Che argued in the 60s that guerrilla struggle was pretty much the only way to achieve socialism in Latin America, hence the numerous guerrilla movements that arose influenced by Che's foco theory.
I think that while "official" parties could veer to the right at times, Cuban-style guerrilla warfare as a basically universal solution was wrong. It seemed viable in a few countries, like Nicaragua (hence the FSLN's victory there), but more often than not it failed since conditions weren't appropriate.
>All in all, were their criticism valid?
As you note, the USSR gave plenty of aid to national liberation movements. On the other hand, there were cases where the Soviets didn't want to move out of concern that relations with the US would suffer. The prime example is Angola in 1975, where Cuba sent troops to save the MPLA from overthrow by South African and Zairian forces. Castro didn't consult the Soviets beforehand, since he knew Brezhnev would be reluctant due to attempts to promote détente with the US.
But once Cuban troops in Angola became a fait accompli, the Soviets quickly rushed to support them, and did so for the duration of the Cuban presence in that country.
I have read Lewin's book. It is of some value. I read a lot from Bettelheim's work many years ago, but his central arguments seemed unsound and he was critiqued pretty thoroughly (see for instance page 81 onwards of this: https://archive.org/details/TheMythOfCapitalismReborn)
You should check out "The Soviet Industrialization Debate" by Alexander Erlich, it's the standard work (even to this day) on the debates in the 1920s over how to industrialize the country. There's also Maurice Dobb's "Soviet Economic Development since 1917": https://archive.org/details/DobbSovEconDev
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>The prime example is Angola in 1975, where Cuba sent troops to save the MPLA from overthrow by South African and Zairian forces. Castro didn't consult the Soviets beforehand, since he knew Brezhnev would be reluctant due to attempts to promote détente with the US.
All in all, who had more allies and friends. USSR or USA?
It should be fairly obvious that even at the height of the USSR's geopolitical influence in the 1960s-70s, most countries were "pro-West" in some way, from anti-communist military regimes in Latin America and Asia to NATO members in Europe.
How many American allies were friends and how many vassals like Zaire, Apartheid,Suharto's Indonesia and Pinochet's Chile?
The distinction between "friends" and "vassals" isn't entirely clear. Even Britain had to take a large loan from the US after WWII, and countries like Italy and France sought the Marshall Plan to rebuild their economies.