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


Forum Staff
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I would add that violent revolutions usually tend not to get the planned goals ... we could make a comparison with the French Revolution: great ideals, great hopes ... and at the end there was the Terror Period ... when a faction uses the force to get the power, it doesn't mind if supported or not by the large majority of the population, it will happen that within that faction [or from external environments] someone else will think to use the force as well. Once you use it you legitimate it as a mean to change the institutional system. Non violent revolutions are possible, but sure in contexts well different from the Russian one.

So, even before of thinking to the nature of Bolshevism, we need to remind that a revolution like that one had substantially no possibility not to generate an other Terror Period, this time longer and more bloody.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
the numbers are irrelevant , we are talking revolution

5% of the population drive what is happening
men , young and angry , add some firepower and whatever the little lady down the road think is just a low mumble


Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
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'?
They may or may not have been driven by an ideal, but they were murderous thugs from the outset.
Nov 2016
Seems like they had the majority support in cities and from the army, but very little support in agricultural areas...
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Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
Interesting thread thanks Plant.

One question I would have is deep down inside did Lenin and Stalin and for that matter Trotsky all view themselves sincerely as being communists? As for Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky, did these men look up to Marx and Engels or was that just a show, maybe these 3 had their own ideas for a successful Communist state?


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Lenin and Stalin saw themselves as Marxist committed to violent revolution
Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks much later and was often seen as a bit of a shooting star
of the three , Stalin was the only one who had some experience of business
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Nov 2015
View attachment 23903

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?
The Bolsheviks received the majority of votes in the territory of "primordial Russia" (Kaluga, Kostroma, Vladimir, etc.) - that is, on the lands of the former early Moscow tzardom, as well as in Moscow and Petrograd (Petersburg). It was central Russia, the original Russian lands with the dominant Russian population, that became the stronghold of Bolshevism. And this was indicated by Stalin a little bit later - in Autumn 1918.

The Bolsheviks also relied on this primordial Russia in their further expansion. And it was its population, according to Stalin, that continuously replenished the ranks of the Red Army.

On the other hand, Siberia, Ukraine and a number of other peripheral lands of the former Russian Empire gave a minimum vote for the Bolsheviks. And Stalin called them "counter-revolutionary outskirts." The "counter-revolutionaries" the Bolsheviks called everyone who opposed them

In an article К военному положению на Юге (Of the military situation in the South) Stalin wrote in September 1918:

... The marginal position of the counter-revolution.

As early as the beginning of the October Revolution, there was a certain geographical demarcation between revolution and counter-revolution. In the course of the further development of the civil war the areas of revolution and counter-revolution were finally determined. Inner Russia, with its industrial, cultural and political centers - Moscow and Petrograd - with a nationally homogeneous population, predominantly Russian - has become the basis of the revolution

The outskirts of Russia, mainly the southern and eastern outskirts ... with a population highly nationally diverse, consisting of privileged colonial Cossacks, on the one hand, and incomplete Tatars, Bashkirs, Kyrgyz (in the east), Ukrainians, Chechens, Ingush and other Muslim peoples, on the other hand, have become the base of counter-revolution.

... In contrast to the outskirts, inner Russia opens up a completely different picture. ... nationally it is united and soldered for nine tenths of its population consists of the Great Russians.

... it is enough for the Soviet government to cry out a for help to the front so that Russia instantly puts out a whole round raw of new regiments.

In the same it is necessary to look for the source of that amazing strength and unparalleled resilience that Soviet Russia usually manifests at critical moments.
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Sep 2019
Another aspect how pragmatic and cynical Soviet communists were from the very beginning. Communists did not just come to power in Russia with support from imperial Germany in 1917 but this collaboration continued. Germany helped to build Soviet war industry and the other way around.

Since the late nineteenth century, Germany, which has few natural resources, had relied heavily upon Russian imports of raw materials. Before World War I, Germany imported 1.5 billion German Reichmarks of raw materials and other goods per year from Russia.This fell after World War I, but after trade agreements signed between the two countries in the mid-1920s, trade had increased to 433 million Reichsmarks per year by 1927. In the late 1920s, Germany helped Soviet industry begin to modernize, and to assist in the establishment of tank production facilities at the Leningrad Bolshevik Factory and the Kharkov Locomotive Factory.

Germany's fear of the international isolation due to a possible Soviet rapprochement with France, the main German adversary, was a key factor in the acceleration of economic negotiations. On October 12, 1925, a commercial agreement between the two nations was concluded.

General Kurt von Schleicher played and important role in this collaboration. Later he was for a short time even chancelor in 1932 just before Hitler. He tried to established a governament which would increase Soviet German cooperation but on the other hand made western influence in Germany smaller. He also believed that improving Berlin-Paris relations would lead the French to abrogate the Franco-Polish alliance of 1921, which would allow Germany to partition Poland with the Soviet Union without having to go to war with France. The problem was that in this time Stalin was thinking that because of economic crisis of capitalism the communist revolution will soon happen in Germany anyway and was not so much interested. He ordered that communists in Germany must not vote together with social democrats. The conflict between the Communist Party of Germany and the Social democratic party of Germany fundamentally contributed to the demise of the Weimar Republic. Communist propaganda was very inflamatory just before the burning of the Reichstag by a bid demented Dutch communist van der Lubbe. Calling publicly for actions to disarm SA and SS. Just before Reichstag fire communist newspaper Red sailor was calling: Workers to the baricades! Forward to victory! Fresh bullets in your guns! Draw the pins of the hand granades! We know that the strategy of Stalin failed in this part and Hitler came to full power.

In the early 1920s Schleicher emerged as a leading protégé of General Hans von Seeckt, who often gave Schleicher sensitive assignments. In the spring of 1921 Seeckt created a secret group within the Reichswehr known as Sondergruppe R, whose task was to work with the Red army in their common struggle against the international system established by the Treaty of Versailles. Schleicher worked out the arrangements with Leonid Krasin for German aid to the Soviet arms industry. German financial and technological aid for building the Soviet arms industry were exchanged for Soviet support in helping Germany circumvent the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. Schleicher created several dummy corporations, most notably the GEFU (Gesellschaft zur Förderung gewerblicher Unternehmungen-Company for the Promotion of Industrial Enterprise) that funnelled 75 million Reichmarks into the Soviet arms industry by the end of 1923.

Plans to divide Poland again as old Russia and Prussia did. At this Soviet union was even more aggressive.

Alongside the Soviet Union's military and economic assistance, there was also political backing for Germany's aspirations. On July 19, 1920, Victor Kopp ( Soviet diplomat ) told the German Foreign Office that Soviet Russia wanted "a common frontier with Germany, south of Lithuania, approximately on a line with Białystok". In other words, Poland was to be partitioned once again. These promptings were repeated over the years, with the Soviets always anxious to stress that ideological differences between the two governments were of no account; all that mattered was that the two countries were pursuing the same foreign policy objectives.

On December 4, 1924, Victor Kopp, worried that the expected admission of Germany to the League of Nations (Germany was finally admitted to the League in 1926) was an anti-Soviet move, offered German Ambassador Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau to cooperate against the Second Polish Republic, and secret negotiations were sanctioned. However, the Weimar republic rejected any venture into war.

So from all of this we can see that collaboration between Stalin and Hitler in 1939-41 has a long roots.

Hitler beyond Evil and Tyranny, page 282
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Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
You could have mentioned the treaty of Rapallo of 1922
it wasn't a secret
"to co-operate in a spirit of mutual goodwill in meeting the economic needs of both countries"

Germany and the USSR were international pariahs , their economies were a natural fit
the secret military cooperation was extensive on all weapon systems ( bar the Navy )

both side had the same opinion on Poland stubborn haughtiness and the same solution
the timing and motive was the only question left in suspend