“We will destroy each and every enemy, even if he was an old Bolshevik; we will destroy all his kin, his family. We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts!—threatens the unity of the socialist state. To the complete destruction of all enemies, themselves and their kin!” Even when the tsars imprisoned or executed revolutionaries, they never thought of arresting their spouses, children, grandparents, and cousins as well. And note Stalin’s insistence that not just wrong actions but improper thoughts merit “destruction.” Georgy Arbatov, adviser to five general secretaries of the Soviet Communist Party, observed that “the main code of behavior” was “to be afraid of your own thoughts.”
It's a good article. It's a terrifying article of what communism has done, and just what the left is prepared to ignore or defend in the name of 'nudging' us in the 'right' direction.
I first grasped what Stalinist life was like during a course I took with Wolfgang Leonhard, the child of German communists who was brought up in the ussr, defected to Yugoslavia, and wound up teaching Russian history at Yale. His autobiography, Child of the Revolution, tells a story, set during the Great Purges, about some families in a communal apartment who are awakened at 4 a.m. (the usual time for arrests) by a peremptory banging at the door. Finally one old man, with less life left to lose, answers, disappears into the corridor, and at last returns. “Comrades, relax!” he explains. “The house is on fire!”
Can you imagine living in that kind of fear, every day and night?
Apologists also suggest that there really were a lot of enemies of socialism. But people were arrested not just for conspiring against (or thinking negatively about) the regime. Quotas were issued for each region—Baberowski concludes that more than a million people were killed by quota—and local officials often filled them either arbitrarily or with the homeless, the blind, and amputees. In March 1938 the nkvd (the secret police) executed 1,160 people in Moscow with physical disabilities. Kliment Voroshilov, who occupied many top positions, argued for arresting abandoned children. “Why don’t we have these rascals shot?” he asked. “Should we wait for them to become grown-up criminals?” What’s more, two dozen whole ethnic groups were forcibly deported to Central Asia. After Stalin ordered the arrest of all Poles, the Polish section of the Comintern and the Polish Communist party had to be disbanded since they had no members.
Death was not the worst of it.
Insty once said something like 'People who make excuses for communism are just as disgusting as people who make excuses for the nazis, and should be treated as such'. Sounds about right.