In 1917, Russia was at war with Germany and the Austrian-Hungarian empire. Things weren’t going too well for the Russians, and in the end the people rebelled and demanded a cease-fire and peace negotiation. This led to the revolutions of 1917; the February revolution which happened in March, and the October revolution which happened in November. The latter brought about the “communist” regime which would plague Russia, and eventually the USSR and all of Eastern Europe, for the next 70 years.
In the West, the left wing was in ecstasy. Communism, they said, had finally triumphed, a new era was at hand! Things might be bad in Russia, but just wait and see – with Comrade Lenin in charge, things were about to change and soon Russia would have the world’s finest schools, universities, factories, hospitals … you name it!
(The right wing would also be in ecstasy, for different reasons; for the next 70 years they would have a scary picture and scapegoat with which to prove that their particular brand of collectivism was better than the left’s! But I digress…)
Lenin started by abolishing all property rights. Nobody could own anything, and everything belonged to the big happy family. This didn’t work out too well, and people were starving. Lenin concluded that people should be allowed to own a little, like a small piece of land, and some of what they produced.
Communists in the West were happy to hear this. “Comrade Lenin” may have gotten off to a bad start but had quickly corrected his error, and it would only be a matter of a few years before Russia would have the best and finest schools, universities, … etc.
Nothing good lasts forever, and in 1924 Lenin passed away. By this time Russia had changed its name to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or “Soviet Union”. Western left-wingers were sad to see that the Soviets Union still didn’t have the world’s best factories, hospitals, schools, etc. but were still biding their time. After all, the Tzar had left a terrible mess and it would take a few more years before… etc.
(“Soviet” is Russian for “Council”, since the new-born workers’ and peasants’ paradise needed to be ruled by a set of councils who knew better than the people what was best for the people. This often turned out to be what was best for the council members…)
It took some years of internal bickering, and I’m sorry to say that a lot of people died. But in 1928 a new leader finally emerged from the fray to seize control of the free and happy people of the USSR. His name was Josef Stalin, and left-wingers of the West bid him welcome. Lenin had been a rather weak leader, they would tell you, but Stalin was just the man needed to whip things (and people) into shape.
Stalin got off well with the first five-year plan to double the industrial output of the Soviet Union! (“See?” asked Communists in the West. “Only a few years now…”) Unfortunately, the next five-year plan didn’t go too well, and it was found that this was caused by sabotage by Stalin’s political rivals in the party. This was quickly proven, because the guilty reactionaries readily confessed their crimes after only a bit of pressure (OK, torture) by Stalin’s secret police.
Western Left-wingers regretted that such hard-handed methods were necessary but these reactionaries *did* sabotage the great Soviet Union and delayed the day when the USSR would have the world’s finest… etc. Fortunately, without the saboteurs in their midst, it was a matter of years, if not months, before… etc. In the meantime at least comrades in all countries could agree to denounce the National Socialists in Germany.
At least until news of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty emerged in August of 1939. Then it became clear that the National Socialists were ALSO comrades! Soon they became comrades-in-arms with the invasion of Poland but this was only necessary to bring about the happy day when the Soviets would have… etc.
Sadly, the war delayed the happy day. Not least after the new German friends double-crossed Stalin and Molotov by invading the workers’ paradise in June of 1941. The subsequent four years of warfare cost 28 million Soviet citizens their lives – even more than Stalin had managed to
kill purge! Western left-wingers mourned the loss of life and property which would delay the day when the USSR would finally overtake the evil West and have the world’s finest hospitals, banks, schools, factories, … etc.
In fact the happy day didn’t arrive until 1953 when Stalin finally died and was succeeded as
dictator General Secretary by Nikita Khrushchev. The Western left were happy to see the end of Stalin, who clearly hadn’t been the right man after all, since the USSR, contrary to expectations, still didn’t have the world’s finest… etc. But NOW, with Khrushchev, it would be a matter of a few years. Of course some doubters were beginning to emerge but they were easily denounced as “not true socialists” or “class traitors”. Worse, dissenters were emerging in the new happy Communist states of Eastern Europe, and in 1956 it proved necessary to invade Hungary and suppress the reactionary forces there (this would repeat itself in Czechoslovakia in 1968). But such use of force was necessary if the socialist states should ever overtake the evil capitalists and achieve the goal of having the finest factories, hospitals, …etc.
Unfortunately, Khrushchev proved a bit too aggressive for the job, especially when speaking to the United Nations…
In 1964 it proved necessary to replace him with Leonid Brezhnev, a pragmatic “Apparatchik” who would rule the Soviet Union until his death in 1982. Western left-wingers bid him welcome – it was by now clear that Khrushchev was not the man who could ensure … etc. but with Brezhnev in charge, this would be a matter of a few years.
Sadly, the world’s best factories, schools, hospitals, etc. didn’t materialize before Brezhnev’s death, nor during the interregnum of his short-lived successors Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Andrei Gromyko. Sad that they were so short-lived, as all had been predicted to realize the day when the Soviet Union would have the world’s finest … you should know the drill by now. Gromyko was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev who would surely have made the dream come true, except the Soviet Union collapsed during his reign.
Which is sad because left-wingers will still assure you that it collapsed under the pressure of relentless Western propaganda, NOT because it was a hopeless mess such as liberalists, conservatives, capitalists, capitalist lackeys, and other reactionaries claim!
Bring back the Soviet Union, and in a few years it will prove itself by having the world’s finest schools, universities, factories, hospitals, etc. etc. etc.!