At what point did the theoretical ideals of Marxism get corrupted in the Soviet Union?

Nov 2016
44
Australia
Did the Bolsheviks set out to develop a beautiful kibbutz-like communist utopia... or did they know from the outset they were going to have to murder a few million people who disagreed with them?.. and that they'd have to form a giant police state to keep the whole thing from falling apart. Were they naive or 'evil'?
 
Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
Well they believed ( falsely ) that central planned economy will cause a big economic boom like with the optimization of investment. And they were looking at it in a way that people who are against it should be killed or repressed in political struggle like
for the greater goal. Some kind of consequentialism in extreme. This is the line of Hegel, Engels and Marx which were thinking like this: Terror in French revolution was good because the result of it was modern republic. Yet for Marx not really everything was determined by economy, but most of things were. There was some room for other factors too.

Old communists really believed that communism would be attractive for majority of people and it will soon become obvious how humane it really is and how economicaly successful. But later these communists were killed too in purges. The central commitie became just a group as assassins, using the terror as the main tool for leading the society and economy. They believed just in power of guns and force. Compared to them even a mad dog was a moderate.
 
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Jun 2017
2,974
Connecticut
Did the Bolsheviks set out to develop a beautiful kibbutz-like communist utopia... or did they know from the outset they were going to have to murder a few million people who disagreed with them?.. and that they'd have to form a giant police state to keep the whole thing from falling apart. Were they naive or 'evil'?
When Lenin died. My take on Lenin is it's impossible to fairly praise or attack him for what he did or didn't do because he never got a chance to run a peacetime country that wasn't facing war on several fronts. It isn't fair to lump him in with Stalin for the people who died during his reign because any ideology would have seen those deaths as a consequence of the situation the Soviets were in. Stalin caused his deaths during peacetime as a direct product of policy. Important difference.

Every other location suggests that communism is impossible (and it's never been tried don't know why people treat those statements as mutually exclusive when they align), Communist revolutions only happen in agrarian places that are by definition not Communist as industrial capitalist economies are required. Still Lenin was far more of an ideologue than just about any other Marxist to take power(Mao was too but Mao didn't have free reign to do what he wanted because of the Soviets and a Chinese communist party that never truly let one man acquire the power Stalin did) and it's an interesting hypothethical.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,807
Lenin looked at the fall of the 1871 Paris Commune, and concluded that there needed to be central political direction form The Party to forge a winning formula. That was in itself a major departure from the rather theoretical writings of Marx.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
The Bolsheviks probably knew right from the start there would be some people, like the aristocrats, who would never adapt to Communism. I'd be surprised if they thought they would have to kill millions.
 
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Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
Communist coup in Russia in 1917 was made in collaboration between Bolsheviks and imeprial Germany. Germany supported them because they will bring Russia out of western alliance. After the coup Bolsheviks lost elections in constituent assembly but made another coup and disbanded the assembly. Such actions provoked opposition of course. And communist party established political police Cheka at the end of 1917 for the repression against so called counter revolution. In summer 1918 concentration camps were established. People were sent to concentration camps without any trial. Lenin personaly ordered executions of hostages. For example in August 1918 he ordered that in Nizhny Novgorod all former officers should be killed, hundreds of prostitutes which were going with the army should be killed or deported. For Penza he ordered at the same time that 100 richer farmers must be hanged. Etc. Leader of Cheka at that time was Felix Dzherzhinsky. He established a special newspaper to promote red terror. In autumn 1918 for example Cheka from Ural reported in the newspaper that they killed 23 former policemen, 154 counter-revolutionaries, 8 monarhists, 28 members of constitutional democratic party, 186 officers and 10 socialists. In the last half of 1918 around 15.000 people were killed by red terror. Othervise first bigger action of Cheka was in April 1918 when they arrested 250 anarhists and immediately shot 25 of them. In spring 1918 Cheka disbanded with brutal force many worker strikes.

Black book of communism, Paris 1997, written by group of authors, pages 87-95.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,172
Sydney
Marx wrote very little about how to organize production ,
his ideas are centered on surplus production and surplus value ,
in 1919 Russia there was no surplus , just "deficit" a word which became part of the common language for 70 years

the Bolsheviks created a war economy based on the Imperial Germany rationing system ,
political commissars were giving production orders which couldn't be followed and were usually incompetent
agriculture was in complete disarray the Bolsheviks to feed the northern cities had recourse to widespread confiscation
with the result of mass starvation in the countryside and the cities
Lenin had to force the NEP to sort out the mess while they created some bureaucracy to provide some template from scratch
 
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Nov 2016
44
Australia
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I guess when the Bolshevik party loses the election by 7 million votes... you need to use a little force!
Did they think they were going to win the election? I imagine they did, or why hold a vote?
Were they surprised/ dismayed by the results?