The true face of Communism became clearer probably in the end of the 20th century, after the USSR fell apart. But 25 years later it is still subtle, and sometimes obscure. People in the former (or current) communist countries ignore their past and the West is not as adamant about it, as it was about Nazism and Hitler.
Soviet Union was a major winning party in the WWII, and if you ask any Russian even today, thanks to intensive post war propaganda, USSR was a sole winner in this war, thus neglecting the contribution of the allies.
Communism unlike Nazism lasted for a very long time – more than 70 years. There were generations who were born, lived and died during Communism. Not knowing better, it was accepted as it was – terrifying, unfair and absurd, but if you learned how to live around those, you could pretend that you had an ordinary life, and even be proud of yourself managing to stay out pf trouble.
And than endless propaganda. It numbs one’s brains. People in the Soviet Union were always told they were the happiest people in the world, lucky to be spared of the degrading evil of capitalism.
Communists were also very skilled in concealing the truth. What the West saw was great athletes, great ballet, great actors and musicians and scientists. The West also knew about dissidents, political prisoners and ridiculously out of proportion armament – thus the Cold War. What they did not see (or acknowledge in any meaningful way) was plain terror in the beginning and then this terror made subtle but more dangerous – numbing people’s minds, training them to lead still life without any choices, without any opportunities to achieve something in your life, to become somebody. Just small parts in a gigantic machine. At that time the West was busy protecting itself from the Communism.
People in the USSR were told that medical services and education were free for its citizens. Only after the crush of the
system people learned that that kind of medical services and education was free in the West too, and people there had a choice of the better ones.
This is not a competition between Nazism and Communism. I am not comparing these two either. But there are two things that bother me: Communism victims need a closure too, just like Nazi victims did during the Nuremberg process. And the second-by ignoring communism crimes we allow it to continue it’s existence in modern states as well. In almost all post Communist Block countries the leaders of new, more “democratic” governments were former Communists. Imagine former Nazis coming to power again.
The term Communism probably can be argued. The Wikipedia says – “In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis – common, universal) is a social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production, absence of social classes, money, and the state.” As a kid I was taught that Communism is where people work as much as they can and get as much as they need.
But the origins of communism stem in Ancient Greece. Plato described a city where there is no poverty, no corruption and no government. Thomas Moore in 15th century described a mystical land called Utopia, where everybody was happy. So Carl Marx did not invent it. In my personal opinion he was big looser who lived and died in poverty and for this he blamed everybody around him who had money. He was a typical victim with convincing writing skills. His “Capital” is an ode to all losers.
Communism is Utopia, it is not happening. Not in this life anyway. But that’s not the point. The point is that the Bolsheviks took it and turned it into a terror instrument. So whatever is a true meaning behind this word, to me it is an instrument of terror.
Even today it is not possible to count the victims of all communist regimes, former ones are not willing to disclose the whole information, because people who have hands in the blood of the victims are still around. Current communist countries still
deny their crimes. But here are some facts:
The victims of Nazi repressions mounted up to 20 million people.
The victims of Communist terror in all communist countries equals to 100 millions.
Nazis created concentration camps based on Russian model! I have been to one of those in Prague. It left unforgettable impression on me, I was 8 then, and did not know that children of my age die at all. And there were these photos of little Jewish kids who were sent to gas chambers. This trip shattered my view of the universe, showed me that the world was not just my mom and dad and it was not always fair. It also taught me to respect victims of a violence, any violence.
There are no museums of such places anywhere in Russia, and this means total denial of the past to me. Denial of past mistakes that went unpunished inevitably leads to their repetition.
Hitler’s reason behind of his terror was completely ridiculous, fight for a better, “cleaner” race. Communists reason sounds somehow not so racist, the obvious madness does not jump into your face. Right after Revolution of 1917 Bolsheviks started their was against certain classes, and against the enemies of the revolution. The problem is that the term “Enemy of the Revolution” covers everyone in this wide world. The definition of antagonist classes was changing thorough out the history of communism. First it was the Royal family, aristocracy and land owners, and then it were peasants who probably worked harder than their neighbors and thus had more income. They were exterminated like cockroaches (Lenin’s term, not mine) and their property was “nationalized”. They were called Kulaks. Then it was “Inteligencia” – simply educated people who actually were really dangerous to the regime, because they could think. Most valuable of them were sent to “closed cities” (another term of a large prison) to work for the good of happy builders of communism, others, not so valuable, ended their lives in Russian concentration camps. Thousands of them of them were simply sentenced to death and their families were doomed to live in shame and poverty. . Just for having a bit more talent and education than your regular Joe.
The Soviet terror started right after the Revolution, and never ended until Stalin’s death – it lasted for 40 years! Here by terror I mean physical extermination of people. After Stalin’s death terror took on a new meaning. Lenin massacred thousands of people but of course Stalin diligently outdid him so much that no one remembers Lenin anymore. More than that – they still (21st century!!!) keep his mummified corpse in Moscow. What is wrong with the nation which keeps a dead body of a bloody terrorist, who massacred their ancestors for his own political agenda on a display under a glass?
I met a very young German girl few years ago. We were talking about German economy and the quality of their products. German quality really means a lot. She said that they really had to try very hard to be good at something because the nation feels responsible for Nazism and for the damages it caused to the world. She was 25 at that time, she did not even know anyone alive who went through the Nazi period, and she felt responsible for it. And Russian keep Lenin on a display. Sick.
The former communist countries on the contrary to Germans are in complete denial, as if nothing happened, or at least this generation has nothing to do with it. Past is past so lets put it behind us a go on with the life. I think this is happening because Communists got away with it, unlike Nazis.
Innocent until proven guilty.