Hello, I consider myself quite left-wing, but one thing disturbs me a lot, coming from Estonia. Specifically...

Hello, I consider myself quite left-wing, but one thing disturbs me a lot, coming from Estonia. Specifically, the fact that as far as I can see in U.S radical-left circles the Soviet Union/Stalin or even the post-Stalin USSR is commended or praised a lot.

This is really disturbing to me as someone who has had a lot of my family deported/killed/sent to prison camps. Or tortured otherwise for accusations of being "traitors of the revolution" whatever.

I do understand that some part of it is just memes and even I can appreciate the well-timed "send him to gulag" meme and so on and so on.

My question for Americans here is how much of it is actual ignorance of how things were under the USSR and how much of it is actual support for what was done to people?

Other urls found in this thread:

ia801204.us.archive.org/16/items/CitiesWithoutCrisis/Cities Without Crisis.pdf

bump since I am stupidt and do not know

It seems like there's a positive feedback loop between those who condemn the USSR those who sing its praises, with one feeding off the other until claims get ridiculous.

Then again, I know a Romanian who still lives in Romania, and he genuinely misses the Ceausescu regime. People are weird.

If your family was sent to the gulag, it's because they deserved it. Corruption loving cunts deserve to die.
Stalin did the right thing in order to achieve a society free of corruption.

hope you're ironic

Why are you surprised that post-Stalin USSR is praised? After the Death of Stalin regime in Soviet Union became much softer (not more brutal)

but still had commodity production and what was effectively tantamount to wage-labour, therefore shit

Okay, this is what I was talking about. People outside the ex-USSR seem to have these misconceptions about how things were under Stalin.

For example my grandfather was a labour union leader who actually got attacked by fascists for being left-wing. However when Soviet Occupation came he was deemed a "threat" due to having been in a position of influence before, was sent to a gulag and then shot when he got pneumonia there.

The vast, vast majority of people persecuted did nothing wrong.

Softer is a relative term, I lived under the USSR in it's late stages (late 70's to 91) and I do not miss it one bit, for example I and my family got constantly harassed by the KGB due to the fact that my family members had resisted being deported to Siberia. Mind you, this was happening even in the 80's.

Because of this I for example wasn't allowed university entrance to where I wanted, got my food coupons taken away, had "random inspections" to our family home by the KGB to search for forbidden literature almost every month and so on and so on.
Although the so-to-say random inspections tapered off quite a bit, I mostly remember them in my childhood.

In addition the Soviet Union was absolutely the most corrupt, nepotist, and throughly nasty society I have ever lived in. This is coming from someone who lived in Ukraine from 1999-2004. It wasn't even that bad then.

For example every single shop-teller put aside/hid deficit goods (for example a good set of cutlery that didn't break after a few weeks, or a plate made of nice ceramic) and either sold it secretly to friends or for higher prices on the black market. If you wanted to go to the doctor you better have had a bottle of alcohol or some money with you if you wanted to get some care.

However good alcohol could only be bought from the "special stores", which were only available to high-ranking Communist party members. Who then raked in profits from selling those for sometimes 10x the price to lower-class people.

People still bought it due to needing it for bribes.

I am sorry if this is a bit long and off-topic I hope you don't mind.

When Gorbachev was in power, a referendum was organized to see how many wanted the Soviet Union to stay and how many wanted it to go. ~78% voted overall for the USSR to stay and not be dissolved for a good reason.
It is the same reason why there's soviet and Yugo nostalgia in Russia and former Yugoslavia, respectively: the former socialist regimes were better than the current bourgeois democracies with capitalist market economies.

One thing to add - my experiences were actually quite gentle or mild compared to what many others I knew experienced. Especially those who had had family members serve in the German army during the war. Their children's lives were made a real hell unless they managed to somehow hide the fact that they had been drafted.

it's a matter of lesser and greater evil tbh

I've heard of that survey, but it applied to the RSFSR only, correct?

Of course I agree with you that what has actually happened in Russia nowdays is the biggest shame, this crony-capitalist/market-fascist state is terrible.

It is a big shame that Russia was not able to handle the transition in a progressive manner, however if one knows Russian history it was unfortunately to be expected.

As for my country - Estonia, things are infinitely better now as for life quality and equality that they ever were during the S.U.

that's why we leftists should advocate for socialism that's even better than the Soviet one

I guess experience depends on in what part of USSR people lived. My parents grew up and worked in Northern Kazakhstan when Breznev was in power, life was very fine for them

no, he is widely reviled as the one who ruined it

Were they Russian?


Russians had it much better in non-RSFSR states. Even in Estonia, my Russian ethnicity friends who had been imported to live in the places of people who were sent to Siberia had a much more care-free life. They also could get access to services/good easier.

For me that is the fundamental hypocrisy of what was the Soviet Union - underneath a veneer of equality and so on there was actually a very clearly defined system of upper and lower classes and blatant chauvinism.

However I do not blame the people of Russian ethnicity themselves, many were my friends and most were good people, just as I'm sure your parents were.

I blame the leadership and overall structure of the USSR which inevitable caused oppressive system.

You might be interested in Bland's book on the late Soviet Union (particularly the Khrushchev era) since you lived through it: revolutionarydemocracy.org/archive/BlandRestoration.pdf

He argues that the USSR had become a capitalist (although a fairly unique type) society by the 60s with other problems including Russian chauvinism. Did the Khrushchev-era reforms make everything Stalin era USSR do right? No, but in comparison, I think they were closer to the right path. And keep in mind, since the USSR suffered through some of the most violent wars of any country in the 20th century and started out very backward don't you think that might've deformed the quest to build a better, more socially progressive society?


This is why we need tankies to die out already and stop glorifying 20th century dictators so we can actually radicalize people instead of having them stay socdem/left liberal because 'communism is bad mkay?'

because all the Soviet republics with separist tendencies held their own offical referndum, in which the overwhelming majority voted in favour of independence.


What needs to be understood is that the socialist world was under constant attack by the capitalist world and its flagship the United States of America. Cuba, Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Chile and various others are good examples of this aside from expansion of NATO on the European continent where the two worlds collided. Same thing with the Russian civil war and the anti-bolshevik rebellions that ensued.

I'm not saying that excuses things that were done by socialists that are considered by many to be negative, but it's much better understood when taking into account the circumstances and situations the socialist countries were in. If you have a country under attack with citizens who don't have adequate class consciousness yet, strengthening the leadership of the socialist government is a viable strategy.

It's easy to say something fails if one actively sabotages it from the outside and the party on the defense takes too many hits and cannot continue. This is why socialism 'fails'.

shit logic, they same could be said of the capitalist world being under attack by the socialist world, which violently imposed its system in much of eastern Europe against the will of the people.

I'm sorry to tell you but whatever special snowflake label you invent for your ideology so you don't get hit with the "what about the USSR question" isn't going to stop anyone from red baiting you. Social democracy is increasingly being considered tantamount to communism these days. And besides anarchisms low appeal outside the youth counter-culture, many of the same allegations made against the communist experiments can equally be made against the anarchist experiments. I suppose they were in power for a much shorter period of time so I guess your not as likely to get hit with the gorrillions propaganda tho.

Still they'll reach as far back as the French Revolution to demonize any successful left-wing revolution if they have to. Let's not forget that anti-communism is perhaps the prime vector for right-wing ideology among the masses, to leave it unchallenged, no matter what kind of leftist you are, just prepares the groundwork for counter-revolutionary agitation.

you do realise many thinkers predicted what would happen to the SU? Capitalism, boom, that's what happened

Maybe among tankies on imageboards, but most American leftists avoid the USSR like the plague

Same, family lived in the GDR which was the nicest place in all the East Block states to be and it still was extremely shitty.

I sincerly believe that anyone justifying the soviet union and its puppets and anyone that wants to recreate them "just better this time" is deluded and harms the socialist cause more than any anarkiddie could ever do.

Tankies and trotskyists must be purged

trots are tankies


some of them are

not really

if you define ML's as tankies, then yeah, they are

People who unironically post that Stalin was a saint and dindu nothing wrong are either trolls or Larpers.

Pay no heed to them.

I find this an interesting thread considering OPs background, unlike the thousand other pro-stalinist or anti-stalinists we are approaching the Real with someone who has experienced the lived experience of the USSR.

Perhaps it's a crude rebellion against the strong McCarthy anti-communist propaganda in the USA by simply going to the complete opposite?

Don't read this book OP, Bland was hardcore Stalinist.

The difference between the Eastern Bloc and the capitalist west was that one faction was defending the status quo and the other claimed to be fighting for a better future. I for one place higher ethical standards on people who claim to be doing the latter


Trots aren't M-L. M-L thought comes directly from Stalin. At least learn about what you're criticizing. This is why I can't take anti-"tankie" posters seriously. 80% of the time they have no clue.

most of it is trolling, but a lot of people are starting to appreciate giving Holla Forums NEETs their first job as rock breakers in new gulags.

There's a special context for support for the USSR and it's supported states in the US. The Black Panthers, by far our best socialist organization since WW2, sent a letter of congratulation to Kim Il-sung. Because our struggles have often been targeted at US geopolitics, we've naturally praised the US's enemies. They often did the same - when the US wouldn't recognize the Miccosukee Tribe, Castro did. They were invited to Cuba and congratulated on their sovereignty, which embarrassed the US and forced them to recognize it. It's very easy to justify support for the USSR, there's plenty of ways to get tidbits of nice things coming out of there and can wash away everything else as propaganda.

"In Russia I felt for the first time like a full human being - No color prejudice like in Mississippi - No color prejudice like in Washington. It was the first time I felt like a human being!”(Paul Robeson)

This is not the case for all leftist discourse in America, though. Most prominent groups now distance themselves as much as possible from any historical socialist project unless it's too obscure to be reviled.

Op, do you have any good sources on life in the USSR? Or any anecdotal stories from your family?


ethics is not morals


100% ignorance. Our education on the USSR was really mixed and weirdly distorted for a lot of reasons growing up post-1991

So you'll get both people that either equate them to Nazi germany or think they were the greatest country in history.

No Western countries education system portrays the USSR or any 20th century socialist project in a good light so I'm not sure how the education system is giving people a positive outlook on the Soviets.

It's exactly that reason some people in the US think it was the best. They grew up hearing nothing but how terrible it was early on in the school system then they realize they have been fed Reagan-era propaganda but immediately jump to the other extreme assuming the USSR was actually the greatest country and did no wrong ever.

stalin apologists are uneducated scum that has been brainwashed by 80 year old propaganda

even if you're a marxist-leninist and for a vanguard party, being a stalin apologist is just ridiculous in this day and age.

I feel like there's an important distinction between people who will defend everything the SU did and people who would like to have an honest discussion about the good/bad things that were done.

Yeah, this is important. We did get fed Reagan era propaganda about Soviets growing up right down to them claiming the US was a bigger part of WW2 than the USSR was. It was really badly damaging to our education and removed nuance from the discussion of our foreign "adversary."


dont get me wrong, stalin did some goods. his industrialization program (that he stole from trotsky) was a good thing for the ussr. also, shit like the holomodor are just propaganda. but defending shit like the purges, lysenkoism etc is just fucking retarded

Uuuh. Okay do you have a humiliation fetish or something? That's the only explanation for you posting this.

I uploaded the wrong picture. It ended up pretty funny in a euphoric way though.


And? Even the anarchist freedom-lovers killed people. Death and corruption is a part of any system of government, or mode of production for that matter. And too many people have painted the USSR as unique in this matter in order to condemn it, or, worse, painted it with the same brush as fascism. Would fascism have been preferable? That's the question people who lived in the USSR should ask themselves, because that's what was marching through Eastern Europe and deep into the USSR under Stalin – and what they would have ended up with should the USSR have fallen. How about after Stalin? Would it have been preferable for Khrushchev to have been Gorbachev and get it all over with when the economy finally started delivering a higher standard of living after decades of war and struggle? No? How about after Khrushchev when every successive leader, especially after Brezhnev, seemed incapable of fixing its mounting problems? Well, you ended up with Gorbachev. And if you were Russian, you got Yeltsin.

The USSR ended not a moment too soon, and it ended relatively bloodlessly. There was no Yugoslavia before Yugoslavia. The Stasi didn't attempt mass incarcerations or even put up a struggle; the wall fell. There was mass poverty, a steep decline in the standard of living, economic crisis, a collapse of infrastructure, social security, and so on; that killed people too. Now most of Eastern Europe is ruled by oligarchs and is still poor – and people are still dying – as it would have been if the USSR ended sooner, only with the added risks of nuclear war, civil war, and deeper poverty. In our timeline these were avoided. How the hell is that not a success in its own right?

Yes, and? How many have been persecuted by the US government, at home and the world over? Tens of millions, easily. Most of them didn't end up in a gulag – they were killed. In war or from its effects, by US-backed regimes, by predator drone, as a result of its manipulation of the global economy – the list is endless. The US incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than any other nation on earth – and uses them for slave labor. Some difference. Communists and anarchists of all kinds have been lynched, executed, and incarcerated throughout US history. If we look to Europe, they fought colonial style foreign interventions for decades and repressed their own people the same as the US – and the USSR – only on a lesser scale.

And pointing to the USSR and saying "I hope it doesn't end up like that" because of what happened to your particular families has the effect of walking right into the arms of neoliberals everywhere because it implies that any attempt of socialism will somehow be a direct repeat of the past. Better make sure socialism is never tried again because people were killed and persecuted and we all know that's unacceptable, right? Get real. Your own governments today are no better. If we want out of this fucking hell of capitalism then we have to accept the risks involved. Your families suffered because an attempt was made to reduce the suffering of people in general. People die either way; hopefully less people will die or be persecuted in a socialist future.

Both sides claimed to be fighting for a better future, dumbass.

That's what everyone should be asking themselves. Unfortunately, the decision is to hard to make for most communists so they just spout some easy Western apologetics and feign neutrality in every attack against the USSR. Though many will openly say the USSR was worse than Nazi Germany or even the US too.

Oh fuck off, remember who cooperated with Hitler and attacked and occupied a host of small countries, giving Hitler the capacity to become as big as he did in the first place?

The Soviets offered to go into a pact with Britain and France before they signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. They offered to send 120 divisions to fight Germany but the English and French drug their feet. So they were left with two options: facing the Germans on their own or signing a pragmatic treaty to allow themselves time to build up their military infrastructure.

The US?

I remember when a coalition of American businessmen conspired to overthrow the American government and set up a fascist state in its place, and then when the US government spent better part of a century overthrowing democratically elected governments on the behalf of those same business interests.

This is so under-discussed by anticommunists it's fucking insane. Stalin quite literally tried to form a new Entente but was turned down because the West was terrified have red troops in Romania and Poland, two fascist-inspired states serving as a check on the spread of Communism.

The English, French and the Poles, despite Stalin repeatedly offering alliances to stop Hitler? For instance, when Hitler demanded the Czech Sudetenland, the Soviet Union offered to defend Czechoslovakia. The French would only consider aiding them with Polish and British support, but Chamberlain pussied out and the Poles refused to move because the proto-fascists in charge their hated the USSR more than Hitler. So Daladier told the Soviet ambassador that: "Not only can we not count on Polish support but we have no faith that Poland will not strike us in the back." and nothing came of the Soviet offer.

I don't even like Stalin, but the pact with Hitler came only when he realized the Western powers were complete pussies who'd do absolutely nothing to defend Europe.

Good 'ol Smedley Butler. The attempted coup was known as The Business Plot.
A great man that most Americans don't even know the name of. That's a tragedy.

This is true, but the misconceptions tend to exaggerate his negative aspects. Tankies semi-ironically praising him is an ignorant reaction to the over-the-top shit said about him in the West.

If you have any sources on this, that would be great. Not that I don't believe you, just that I've never heard that before.

Translation on the phrase in the picture? The picture itself is self explanatory, but I want to know the caption, too.

ia801204.us.archive.org/16/items/CitiesWithoutCrisis/Cities Without Crisis.pdf

But these books say otherwise, who should I believe? honest question

A Low, Dishonest Decade: The Great Powers, Eastern Europe and the Economic Origins of World War II, 1930-1941.

It says "Ivan: It seems Europe has stopped respecting me."

Believe the people who lived it. The ones who profited from the transition will decry communism, and the ones who were left behind in even greater poverty without any of the security they used to enjoy know capitalism's true face.

Thanks, user.

Your kulak family deserved it

Why are Balts so permanently butthurt over the USSR? A bunch of Nazi fucks from what I see on /int/

Nrw research of newly open soviet files have found that Stalin imposed Russian power on the eastern bloc to form a buffer zone, which was very normal at the time as it was the tail end of 19th century imperialism. These files suggest there was never any policy of soviet expansionism outside of encouraging local revolutions, i.e China, Vietnam, Cuba etc.
None of these countries were controlled by the USSR and even had cold relationships at times.

i don't support the USSR, but living standers got better. it was still a dictatorship.
i think very few here actually unironically support USSR. ofc there is a few tankies, and many of them are well read..

and i agree that it is too much worshiping of cults of personality among some leftists

Really fires up those neurons

The USSR was mostly good.

Really sick of how it's become the norm to bash the USSR in leftist circles.

On this topic, it always boggles me that many people in the US(maybe more of the Western world, too) make the jump to assume that in a communist or socialist society, there'd be no motivation for societal or technological progress. As well as the technological achievements the world has made thus far would somehow just disappear. .

Fyi, I'm really sleepy while writing this, but I think I articulated what I was trying to get across.

Don't know if you've read this but Parenti gives a good analysis of the western left's reflexive anti-communism.

It's a response to capitalist propaganda depicting the USSR as basically just as bad as Nazi Germany. Leftists didn't want to be discredited by said propaganda, so they distanced themselves from the USSR. Then somewhere down the line they started to drink the koolaid for real and basically turned into supporters of the status quo whilst awaiting some mythical perfect revolution which could never happen.

Yeah, it's one of those absurd things people always spew when communism is the topic of discussion. Like, how people also think everyone makes the same amount of money no matter what, how no one would be a doctor (despite the fact that Cuba has more doctors than anything else).

The problem here is not communism but russian imperialism

I think a substantial portion of Stalin love in the west is kind of later generations realizing that I guy who has been pretty consistently demonized since before they were born was not all bad. Like, who the allies actually were in WWII is kind of downplayed in western schools - at least it was for me. I knew about the Axis, and as far as allied figureheads I knew about Churchill and FDR. It seems like Russia was downplayed a lot, and of course the US was kind of overemphasized…

They don't tell you how Stalin was a hero even to westerners at one time, or about some of the (then) socially progressive attitudes the USSR tried to uphold. I think Stalin was absolutely terrible, but he was also a great leader at one point and his legacy doesn't quite deserve to be thrown under the bus to the extent the West wants it to be… and at core, even Stalinism still isn't quite as evil as Nazism, but people will occasionally cite the kill count as though Hitler had the same amount of time to kill people or the motivations were exactly the same.

I don't know how the fuck I keep making these weird typos. Maybe dementia.

Well OP, while there are a few USSR apologists on the left on the whole the left is and will probably continue to be critical of it because of the notion that the left needs to move away from totalitarian ideas. That being said, even critics can find some admirable things in the USSR's history, such as its massive growth in living standards and global prowess throughout its existence until the last ~10 years of its history.

So literally nothing changed except it became less brutal. Sounds like an upgrade.