Soviet Union

federal socialist state in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia (1922–1991)

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR and SU or shortened to the Soviet Union, was a Marxist–Leninist state on the Eurasian continent that existed between 1922 and 1991. It was governed as a single-party state by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital. A union of multiple subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. It collapsed after nationalist and economic pressure under Mikhail Gorbachev and was dissolved in 1991, being succeeded by the Russian Federation.

An unbreakable union of free republics, Great Russia has welded forever to stand! ~ National Anthem of the Soviet Union
The consolidation of State capitalism in Russia itself was the determining basis for the character of the Communist Party. Whilst in its foreign propaganda it continued to speak of communism and world revolution, decried capitalism, called upon the workers to join in the fight for freedom, the workers in Russia were a subjected and exploited class, living mostly in miserable working conditions, under a strong and oppressive dictatorial rule, without freedom of speech, of press, of association, more strongly enslaved than their brethren under Western capitalism. ... The Communist Party did not intend to make the workers independent fighters capable by their force of insight themselves to build their new world, but to make them obedient followers ready to put the party into power. ~ Antonie Pannekoek
"Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited. ~ Raya Dunayevskaya
The Soviet Union failed; socialism doesn't work. ~ Rand Paul
Fifteen years ago, there was this country called the Soviet Union... They're not there anymore. That's a good thing. ~ Tom Clancy
The demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe... ~ Vladimir Putin
Any kind of civil rights movement in the Soviet Union would have been ruthlessly smashed. Obviously. There would have been nothing left of it in no time at all. Most people would never even hear about it. ~ Michael J. Totten
The Evil Empire is no more. ~ Ann Coulter
In Russia, all you have to do to get a house is to be born in the Soviet Union. You are entitled to housing. ~ Nikita Khrushchev





  • You know, I never planned to leave. I was not extremely patriotic about Mother Russia. You know, I played their game, pretending, of course. You have to deal with, you know, party people, KGB... Horrifying.
  • The rush of events in the Soviet Union, Germany, eastern Europe and China in the late 1980s and the very early 1990s had no parallel in modern history. During the last thousand years no other formidable empire in a time of comparative peace had been dissolved so quickly, so unexpectedly, as the Soviet Union.
  • A persuasive way of understanding the collapse of Communism in Europe and the Soviet Union is to think of nineteenth- or twentieth-century slum clearance. For in many respects the Soviet Empire was a slum of continental proportions. Beyond the grotesque architectural assertions of an alien ideology, public housing – almost all housing – consisted of anomic and primitive concrete barracks where the smells of cabbage, damp and low-grade tobacco combined. Rivers and lakes were polluted by chemicals, with the Pleisse river in East Germany alternately turning first red then yellow.
    • Michael Burleigh Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, From the Great War to the War on Terror, New York: NY, HarperCollins Publishers (2007) p. 415
  • Some people in the West now express anxiety over the fact that the Soviet Union has still further outstripped the United States of America in the “space race.” Some people say that the United States is two years behind, others mention five years. Of course, it is pleasure for us that our country is ahead in the exploration of outer space. But we Soviet people do not regard our space research as an end in itself, as some kind of “race.” In the great and serious cause of the exploration and development of outer space, the spirit of frantic gamblers is alien to us. We see in this cause part and parcel of the tremendous constructive work the Soviet people are doing in conformity with the general line of our party in all spheres of the economy, science and culture, in the name of man, for the sake of man.
  • The general line of our party worked out by its 20th, 21st and 22d congresses is a Leninist line. It was, is and will be the only immutable line in the entire domestic and foreign policy of the Communist party and the Soviet state. The party sees its supreme duty in serving the people, in strengthening the might of our Socialist country, adding to its glory and prestige, consistently and unswervingly implementing the great ideas of Marxism-Leninism.
  • Comrades, our country is a vast Communist construction project. The scope of our work is great. But the tasks facing us in all spheres of life are even more majestic. The development of our economy, science and culture, the strengthening of the defenses of our Socialist power, serves the cause of peace and security of all peoples. Our successes make all mankind confident that the forces of peace and reason are gaining in strength, that the Soviet people are blazing the true way to the triumph of universal peace and progress.
  • We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.
    • Leonid Brezhnev, reported in IE IU Kastelli, V karǐni zdiǐsnenoǐ mriǐ (1979) p. 54
  • Soviet people are better off materially and richer spiritually.
    • Leonid Brezhnev, as quoted in Our Friends Speak: Greetings to the 25th CPSU Congress (1976), p. 268
  • The rout of fascism, in which the Soviet Union played the decisive role, generated a mighty tide of socio-political changes which swept across the globe.
    • Leonid Brezhnev, as quoted in Selected Speeches and Writings (1980) edited by Mikhail Andreevich Suslov.
  • Like so many empires before it, the Soviet Union eventually imploded and fragmented, falling victim not so much to a direct military defeat as to disintegration accelerated by economic and social strains.


  • The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War, also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninists, communists, and leave the dark ages behind.
  • As a great socialist power the Soviet Union is fully aware of its responsibility to the peoples for preserving and strengthening peace. We are open to peaceful, mutually beneficial cooperation with states on all continents. We are for the peaceful settlement of all disputable international problems through serious, equal, and constructive talks.
  • Across the world academics still clung to the words and ideas of Marx and Engels and even Lenin. Fools. There were even those who said that Communism had been tried in the wrong country; that Russia had been too far backward to make those wonderful ideas work.
  • The Soviet Union is dead and gone and replaced by the Russian Federation, which is a country we can be friends with now, thank God — and we want the Russians to prosper, and should help the Russians prosper in every way we can within reason... Fifteen years ago, there was this country called the Soviet Union that had over 10,000 nuclear warheads pointed at us... they're not there anymore. That's a good thing.
  • In the Soviet Union it was illegal to take a photograph of a train station. Look what happened to them. They tried to classify everything. The more information available to the average person, the greater the synergy that develops from it.
    • Tom Clancy, as quoted in Vonnegut and Clancy on Technology, by David H. Freedman and Sarah Schafer.
  • Many whose allegiance went to the Soviet Union may well be seen as traitors to their countries, and to the democratic culture. But their profounder fault was more basic still. Seeing themselves as independent brains, making their choices as thinking beings, they ignored their own criteria. They did not examine the multifarious evidence, already available in the 1930s, on the realities of the Communist regimes. That is to say, they were traitors to the human mind, to thought itself.
    • Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000), W.W. Norton & Company, p. 118
  • It was this idea (Be nice!) that fueled liberals' rage at Reagan when he vanquished the Soviet Union with his macho "cowboy diplomacy" that was going to get us all blown up. As the Times editorial page hysterically described Reagan's first year in office: "Mr. Reagan looked at the world through gun sights." Yes, he did! And now the Evil Empire is no more.


  • Few [Western] historians seem to regard Soviet Russia's reconquest of Ukraine or the Caucasus as anything other than an internal 'Russian' event. It is still more unfortunate that the creation of the Soviet Union, which began in December 1922, is often thought to have involved a mere change of name. In this way the lengthy process of decomposition of the [Russian] Empire, and the five-year labours of the Bolsheviks to replace it, can be passed over in silence.
  • Nothing better illustrated the realities of the Soviet collapse than the fate of Sergei Krikalyev, a Soviet cosmonaut who was fired into space in May 1991. He was still circling the earth at the end of the year for want of a decision to bring him back. He had left a Soviet Union that was still a superpower; he would return to a world from which the Soviet Union had disappeared. His controllers at the Baikonur Space Centre found themselves in the independent republic of Kazakhstan.
  • The most obvious fact of the Soviet collapse is that it happened through natural causes. The Soviet Union was not, like ancient Rome, invaded by barbarians or, like the Polish Commonwealth, partitioned by rapacious neighbours, or, like the Habsburg Empire, overwhelmed by the strains of a great war. It was not, like the Nazi Reich, defeated in a fight to the death. It died because it had to, because the grotesque organs of its internal structure were incapable of providing the essentials of life. In a nuclear age, it could not, like its tsarist predecessor, solve its internal problems by expansion. Nor could it suck more benefit from the nations whom it had captured. It could not tolerate the partnership with China which once promised a global future for communism; it could not stand the oxygen of reform; so it imploded. It was struck down by the political equivalent of a coronary, more massive than anything that history affords.
  • Let me examine the alleged "distinction from capitalism" characteristic of the Soviet Union and see whether it isn't a distinction from a certain stage of capitalism rather than from capitalism as a whole. The determining factor in analyzing the class nature of a society is not whether the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class or are state-owned, but whether the means of production ... are monopolized and alienated from the direct producers. The Soviet Government occupies in relation to the whole economic system the position which a capitalist occupies in relation to a single enterprise. ... "Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited.
    • Raya Dunayevskaya, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a Capitalist Society" (1941), in Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution, p. 210


  • Without Russia [Soviet Union], the German bloodhounds would have already achieved their goal, or would achive it very soon... We and our children owe a great debt of gratitude to the Russian people for having experienced such immense losses and suffering. [Soviet Union's] conduct of the war has made obvious her great achievement in all industrial and technical fields... and in the limitless sacrifice and exemplary self-denial of every single individual, I see proof of a strong and universal will to defend what they have won... finally, a fact of particular importance to us Jews. In Russia the equality of all national and cultural groups is not merely nominal but is actually practiced.


  • I could have gone on flying through space forever.
  • If the Russian word "perestroika" has easily entered the international lexicon, this is due to more than just interest in what is going on in the Soviet Union. Now the whole world needs restructuring, i.e. progressive development, a fundamental change.
  • Destiny so ruled that when I found myself at the helm of this state it already was clear that something was wrong in this country. We had a lot of everything - land, oil and gas, other natural resources - and there was intellect and talent in abundance. However, we were living much worse than people in the industrialized countries were living and we were increasingly lagging behind them. The reason was obvious even then. This country was suffocating in the shackles of the bureaucratic command system. Doomed to cater to ideology, and suffer and carry the onerous burden of the arms race, it found itself at the breaking point.
  • All the half-hearted reforms - and there have been a lot of them - fell through, one after another. This country was going nowhere and we couldn't possibly live the way we did. We had to change everything radically. It is for this reason that I have never had any regrets that I did not use the capacity of General Secretary just to reign in this country for several years. I would have considered it an irresponsible and immoral decision.
  • The reform of our enormous state indeed demanded decentralization and redistribution of powers between the centre and the regions. But the local elites tried to paint this need in the exaggerated colours of 'national survival'. It worked!
  • The Baltic republics, because of their history and other characteristics, could enjoy special status in the Union. However, the 'sovereignization' of Russia scuttled the search for a new formula for relations with the Baltic republics in a reformed Union. It caused a chain reaction, during which analogous enactments were passed by all of the Union republics and later autonomous republics. A 'parade of sovereignties' had begun. The only means of preventing the collapse of the Union was the preparation without delay of a new Union Treaty.
  • The Supreme Soviets of the Republics rejected the Treaty on the Union of Sovereign States, drafted by the USSR State Council under the guidance of the country's President, and swallowed the poisoned fruit of the Belovezh scheme instead. The intelligentsia remained silent. The media were thrown into disarray. My appeals to the deputies of the Supreme Soviet and to the people, my warning that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was fraught with dire consequences, went unheeded - society was bewildered and unable to appraise the crisis. Destructive forces in the country exploited the confusion, usurping the people's right to decide their own future. It was what I had feared most of all.
  • As I look back to the events of December 1991, each time I come to the conclusion that I had no right to act differently. To act counter to the decisions made by eleven republics, whose Supreme Soviets approved the Minsk agreement, would have meant to unleash a bloody slaughter, which might have developed into a global catastrophe.
  • The dissolution of the Union radically changed the situation in Europe and the world, disrupted the geopolitical balance, and undermined the possibility of carrying further many positive processes that were under way in world politics by the end of 1991. I am convinced that the world today would be living more peacefully if the Soviet Union - of course in a renewed and reformed version - had continued to exist.
  • Preservation, renewal, and reform of the Union was my main political and, if you will, moral task in my position as president of the USSR. I consider it my greatest sorrow and misfortune that I did not succeed in preserving the country as a single whole. All my efforts were focused on trying to preserve that unity. Incidentally, more and more statements are heard today, including some by participants in the Belovezh accord, that the "soft form of Union Gorbachev proposed" might have protected our nations and nationalities from painful experiences. But, as the saying goes, the train has already left the station.
  • In the end, the “model” that came into existence in the USSR was not socialist but totalitarian. This is a serious matter to be reflected on by all who seriously aspire to progress for the benefit of the human race.
  • To demonize all Soviet "leaders" at all levels, to portray them as unqualified villains and evildoers, unprincipled self-seeking scoundrels who were indifferent to the interests and needs of the people — that is a shallow and frivolous approach. Of course there were villains, quite a few of them. But most of those who came to power had the intention of serving the "toiling masses" from which they themselves had come. That the system rendered their aspirations useless, reduced their efforts to nothing, and ultimately snuffed out their finer impulses — that is a separate question.
  • The aims and ideals of the Soviet revolution inspired the patriotic enthusiasm of millions of people in the 1930s, during World War II, and in the postwar reconstruction period. This explains the Soviet Union's great leap forward, the achievement of a high level of industrial capacity in a very short time, the transformation of the Soviet Union into a major power in terms of science and culture. The historic victory in the Great Patriotic War against Nazism, which was a surprise not only for Hitler but also for the Western democracies is also explained by what we have said above. All this is true. But the historical truth is also that the regime and the system abused the faith of the people in these high ideals, turning them to its own advantage. Rule by the people, equality, justice, and the promise of a happy future — all these ideas were utilized for the sake of maintaining and strengthening totalitarianism.
  • The Soviet Union could have been preserved and should have been preserved. ... I wanted to decentralize the Soviet Union and give the maximum amount of rights to the republics as guaranteed under the constitution, while preserving in the center the most important functions such as defense, diplomacy, coordination.
  • If I had to choose between life in the Soviet Union and life in the USA, I would certainly choose the Soviet Union.
    • Attributed to Graham Greene, Parade magazine (October 29, 1967), p. 2. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).


  • The Soviet Union is gone, and history has moved on. But the Stalin-apologist dynamic endures as the heritage of a post-Communist Left, which remains wedded to fantasies of an impossibly beautiful future that collides with the flawed American present.
  • The Albanian people will throw themselves in to the flames for their true friends, and the Soviet Union is such a friend of the Albanian people. And these are not empty words. I am expressing here the sentiments of our people and of our Party, and let no one ever think that we love the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for the sake of some one's beautiful eyes or to please some individual, but because without the Soviet Union there would be no free life in the world today, fascism and capitalist terror would reign supreme. This is why we love and will always be loyal to the Soviet Union and to the Party of the great Lenin.


  • My arms are up to my elbows in blood. That is the most terrible thing that lies in my soul.
    • Nikita Khrushchev, reported in Melvyn P. Leffler (2007). For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. Macmillan, p. 496. ISBN 0809097176.
  • My letter to Castro concluded an episode of world history in which, bringing the world to the brink of atomic war, we won a Socialist Cuba. It's very consoling for me personally to know that our side acted correctly and that we did a great revolutionary deed by not letting American imperialism intimidate us. The Caribbean crisis was a triumph of Soviet foreign policy and a personal triumph in my own career as a statesman and as a member of the collective leadership. We achieved, I would say, a spectacular success without having to fire a single shot!


  • One should not forget that back in the late 1930s, when more than 1 million political prisoners were held in Stalin's concentration camps, progressive Western intellectuals denied that such institutions could possibly exist under the benign rule of the Communist Party. In the late 1950s, when the number of political prisoners dropped 1,000 times, not a figure of speech, that is the number, over, the repressive nature of the Soviet Union suddenly became a common sense fact.
  • Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national program that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
    • Vladimir Lenin, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination", reported in Vladimir Lenin; Doug Lorimer (2002). Marxism & Nationalism. Resistance Books, p. 125. ISBN 1876646136.
  • ... we must maintain and strengthen the union of socialist republics. Of this there can be no doubt. This measure is necessary for us and it is necessary for the world communist proletariat in its struggle against the world bourgeoisie and its defence against bourgeois intrigues.
    • Vladimir Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition, 1966, Vol. 36, pp. 605-11.
  • For everybody other than the fellow travellers who simply lied about it, the obvious truth about the Soviet Union was, and is, that its system was, and is, incapable of feeding its people, housing its people, healing its people, transporting its people (except, alas, to prisons and concentration camps), keeping its people informed, teaching its people, even entertaining its people, and above all incapable of trusting its people. It could not, and today still cannot, keep its people clothed, warm, clean, hopeful, industrious, healthy, comfortable, honest or sober. Moreover, the system of lying as a way of life meant that however merciless the rulers, the massive pillars of the system were hollow, and thus could not stand for ever.
    • Bernard Levin, "From Spark to Furnace", The Times, December 26, 1989.


  • Today in the Soviet Union there is no real legal basis for opposition: opposition (or "revisionism") is disloyalty; political and cultural activities are embraced by he establishment of the Communist Party, which is nationalistic, official and- on due occasion - coercive.
  • The collapse of the Soviet Union represents more than a geopolitical watershed; as time passes, historians will increasingly see it as the end of an intellectual era as well. Leninism is in worldwide retreat, with few serious defenders. But for most of this unhappy century a disappointingly large number of Western intellectuals viewed the Soviet system as a plausible alternative to the Western model. To be sure, few supported the vast crimes of Stalin, but many made careful, casuistic distinctions between his evil misrule and the alleged humanism of Lenin's original Bolshevism.



  • In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.


  • The system of production developed in Russia is State socialism. It is organized production, with the State as universal employer, master of the entire production apparatus. The workers are master of the means of production no more than under Western capitalism. They receive their wages and are exploited by the State as the only mammoth capitalist. So the name State capitalism can be applied with precisely the same meaning. The entirety of the ruling and leading bureaucracy of officials is the actual owner of the factories, the possessing class.
  • The consolidation of State capitalism in Russia itself was the determining basis for the character of the Communist Party. Whilst in its foreign propaganda it continued to speak of communism and world revolution, decried capitalism, called upon the workers to join in the fight for freedom, the workers in Russia were a subjected and exploited class, living mostly in miserable working conditions, under a strong and oppressive dictatorial rule, without freedom of speech, of press, of association, more strongly enslaved than their brethren under Western capitalism. Thus an inherent falsehood must pervade politics and teachings of that party. ... The doctrine it taught under the name of Marxism was not the theory of the overthrow of highly developed capitalism by a highly developed working class, but its caricature. ... The Communist Party did not intend to make the workers independent fighters capable by their force of insight themselves to build their new world, but to make them obedient followers ready to put the party into power.
  • The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed; socialism doesn't work.
    • Rand Paul, as quoted in Kentucky Tonight (16 June 1998), KET.
  • In my view, the composer, just as the poet, the sculptor or the painter, is in duty bound to serve Man, the people. He must beautify human life and defend it. He must be a citizen first and foremost, so that his art might consciously extol human life and lead man to a radiant future. Such is the immutable code of art as I see it.
    • Sergei Prokofiev, reported in S. Shlifstein; Rose Prokofieva (2000). Sergei Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, Reminiscences. The Minerva Group, Inc., p. 136. ISBN 0898751497.
  • Russia has made its choice in favor of democracy. Fourteen years ago, independently, without any pressure from outside, it made that decision in the interests of itself and interests of its people -- of its citizens. This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before. And the guarantee for this is the choice of the Russian people, themselves. No, guarantees from outside cannot be provided. This is impossible. It would be impossible for Russia today. Any kind of turn towards totalitarianism for Russia would be impossible, due to the condition of the Russian society.
  • First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.


  • Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie.
    • Ayn Rand, as quoted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966).
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolizes an epochal change in the way people live. More important, it liberates the way people think. We see with new clarity that centralized government bureaucracies created in this century are not the wave of the future. Never again will people trust planners and paper shufflers more than they trust themselves. We all watched as the statue of Soviet hangman Feliks Dzherzhinsky was toppled in front of Moscow's KGB headquarters by the very people his evil empire sought to enslave. Its sightless eyes symbolized the moral blindness of totalitarians around the world. They could never see the indomitable spirit of people determined to be free from government control—free to build a better future with their own heads, hands, and hearts.
  • Moscow has changed. I was here in 1982, during the Brezhnev twilight, and things are better now. For instance, they've got litter. In 1982 there was nothing to litter with.


  • It is easy now, gazing over the smoldering ruins of the Soviet empire, to enumerate the fatal illusions of the Marxist system. Yet the irresistible utopian dream fired generations of reformers, revolutionaries and radicals here and abroad, helping spread Soviet influence to the far corners of the globe.
  • Measured against its own ambitions, the U.S.S.R. died a monumental failure. It had promised no less than the creation of a "Soviet new man," imbued with selfless devotion to the common good, and it ended up all but crushing the initiative and spirit of the people, making many devoted only to vodka. It had proclaimed a new humanitarian ideology, and in its name butchered 10 million of its own. It envisioned a planned economy in which nothing was left to chance, and it created an elephantine bureaucracy that finally smothered the economy. Promising peace and freedom, it created the world's most militarized and ruthless police state.
  • I live in the USSR, work actively and count naturally on the worker and peasant spectator. If I am not comprehensible to them I should be deported.
  • In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.
    • Yakov Smirnoff, reported in Bob Fenster (2005). Laugh Off: The Comedy Showdown Between Real Life And The Pros. Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 101. ISBN 0740754688.
  • What the immigrant cannot help noticing is that America is a country where the poor live comparatively well. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s, when CBS television broadcast an anti-Reagan documentary, "People Like Us", which was intended to show the miseries of the poor during an American recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, with a view to embarrassing the Reagan administration. But by the testimony of former Soviet leaders, it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans have television sets and microwave ovens and cars. They arrived at the same perception of America that I witnessed in a friend of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States for nearly a decade. Finally I asked him, "Why are you so eager to come to America"? He replied, "Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."
    • Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 3: Becoming American.
  • We do not want a single foot of foreign territory; but we will not surrender a single inch of our territory to anyone.
    • Joseph Stalin, reported in Alex Forbath (ed) (1938). Europe Into the Abyss: Behind the Scenes of Secret Politics. Pallas Publishing Co., Ltd., p. 462.


  • I knew that many things were wrong... I witnessed a great many injustices... But it was my revolutionary duty at the time not to criticize and not to help alien propaganda against [the Soviet Union], for at that time it was the only country where a revolution had been carried out and where Socialism had been built. I considered that propaganda should not be made against that country; that my duty was to make propaganda in my own country for Socialism.
    • Tito, as quoted in Jasper Ridley's Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 142.
  • Some years ago I read about a man who fled to the United States from the Soviet Union. Even after he was free in America he stayed up all night every night. He couldn’t sleep until he saw the sun rise. It was the only way he could be sure they would not come to get him that night.
  • The Islamic State is a blood-soaked totalitarian prison. But so was the Soviet Union, and it, too, inspired huge numbers of people all over the world to take up arms and violently create knock-offs, from Cuba and Vietnam to South Yemen and even Somalia and Ethiopia. We should never underestimate the appeal of a utopian fantasy in the human psyche even if it is drenched in blood. Some people who find these utopias stirring deny that they’re drenched in blood. Others make excuses. 'You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs'. Still others are attracted to these ideas and places because they’re drenched in blood. Jihadi John, the Kuwait-British man who beheaded a string of jumpsuit-clad journalists and aid workers on camera, is clearly some kind of psychopath. So are the ISIS fighters who serially rape their captured “war brides.” So is Lisa Borch, the 15-year old Danish girl who fell in love with an Islamist extremist and stabbed her mother to death with a kitchen knife. There’s an upside to the exodus, I suppose. Britain and the United States are better off without these people. If they didn’t run off to Syria, they’d be living down the street. We’d have fewer Jihadi Johns and more Lisa Borchs. Syria sure as hell isn’t better off with these people as “immigrants,” but they’ll eventually die there when the Islamic State, like every other monstrous utopian entity, either destroys itself from within or is destroyed from without by fed-up outsiders. When it finally happens, whether it’s next year or two decades from now, the British and American Muslim communities will be, on average, a little more politically moderate and sane than they are now.
  • Any kind of civil rights movement in the Soviet Union would have been ruthlessly smashed. Obviously. There would have been nothing left of it in no time at all. Most people would never even hear about it.
  • Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
    • Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution (1930). See edition: Leon Trotsky; Max Eastman (1957). The History of the Russian Revolution. University of Michigan Press, p. 213.
  • I got very well acquainted with Joe Stalin, and I like old Joe! He is a decent fellow. But Joe is a prisoner of the Politburo.
    • Harry S. Truman, informal remarks, Eugene, Oregon (June 11, 1948); Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1948, p. 329. Truman refers to his meeting with Stalin at the Potsdam conference in July 1945.


  • Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. Moreover, the workers and intelligentsia in a country like England cannot understand that the USSR of today is altogether different from what it was in 1917. It is partly that they do not want to understand (i.e. they want to believe that, somewhere, a really Socialist country does actually exist), and partly that, being accustomed to comparative freedom and moderation in public life, totalitarianism is completely incomprehensible to them.
    • George Orwell, in the original preface to Animal Farm; as published in George Orwell : Some Materials for a Bibliography (1953) by Ian R. Willison


  • We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. Freedom is like that. It's like air. When you have it, you don't notice it.


  • Generalissimo Stalin directed every move … made every decision … He is the greatest and wisest military genius who ever lived...

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