Defending The Soviet Union

The collapse of actually existing socialism in Soviet Russia in 1991 was an epoch-making event as the establishment of the first Working Class State in 1917 was. Anti-communists throughout the world celebrated it as an ‘end of history’. The hard reality is that people across the world continue to defend the old Soviet Union much to the dissatisfaction of promoters of market economy. The Soviet Union went out of existence 30 years ago. True, some progressives on the left argue that given the fact nearly three decades have passed, the issue of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is now an irrelevancy. And for the ideologues championing the great reset of the global order a la World Economic Forum the fall of Soviet Russia means socialism and communism are impossible that they might have nice dreams at one time, particularly immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution, but the critics say, ‘socialism turned out to be nightmare when it actually came into existence’. They hope to delay revolutionary upsurge by way of eliminating human labour component as much as possible through the introduction of robots and Artificial Intelligence or what they call fourth industrial revolution. Despite the continuous projection of negative image of the world’s first workers’ state, the very idea of Soviet Union motivated hundreds of thousands of people in the third world and advanced industrialised countries as well to reiterate their faith in socialism.

Tragically enough, a significant part of the ‘socialist left’, bought into the anti-communist stereotypes and pressures. But to this day public opinion polls show majorities of the toiling masses in the former Soviet Union, East Germany, Romania and other east European countries are longing for the system they have lost. The triumph of the Russian Revolution a century ago literally shook the world, threatening the capitalist order.

It was the first time in history that the working class was able to seize power and to reorganise the economy and society on a socialist basis. It proved that the oppressed and downtrodden, with their own leadership, their own party, could create a new reality completely different from the existing exploitative social order. Contrary to the Western presentation of a failed economic system, the first time in history there ever was a planned economy-—showed the remarkable potential of socialism. From being the least developed of the big European countries at the time of November Revolution, 40 years later the Soviet Union was the second largest economy, trailing only the US. All this despite the fact that the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the Nazi war machine and destroyed it at a cost of 27 million killed.

Every person was guaranteed the right to a job, housing, health care and education, and also right to vacations, pensions and culture. Scores of languages that were not previously written were alphabetised. In the wake of the destruction of second World War, vast industrial, infrastructure and housing projects were undertaken. The absence of capitalist competition between enterprises enabled very rapid scientific and engineering progress.

In addition to its unprecedented social and industrial development, Soviet moral and material support to national liberation movements was vital. In truth the victories of the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other revolutions would have been much delayed or prevented without the Soviet Union. Without Soviet presence Cuba would have undoubtedly been invaded by the US. The positive role of Soviet Union cannot be erased from the pages of history despite restoration of capitalism in a peaceful way.

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Union was cutting back or eliminating support for national liberation movements and allied socialist states. ‘It represented the biggest setback in the history of the working class’. That was how Fidel Castro described the situation after the sad demise of Soviet Union in 1991. A long-term de-politicisation of much of the workers and alienation of the Soviet Party from masses, in reality, led to the sharpening of internal contradictions in the Communist Party which in turn paved the way for the dismantling of mighty Soviet Union.

Restoration of capitalism in China is yet another set-back in the history of revolutions but people talk more about Soviet Russia, not China. The Chinese Communist Party once invented the term ‘social imperialism’ to theorise politically degeneration of the former Soviet Union but the Chinese Communists themselves now foot the bill of ‘social imperialism’. As yet another anniversary of November Revolution is approaching people continue to defend the old Soviet Union.


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Vol. 54, No. 14-17, Oct 3 - 30, 2021