Staunton, April 11 – Many people to this day do not understand that the Soviet system had nothing to do with the building of communism but rather was based on the total control of all information, historian Igor Chubais says. Indeed, in the USSR, that was “the most important component of communist ideology.”
“Communism” is a social system in which there was no exploitation of anyone by anyone else, “but in the USSR, the party and soviet apparatus, the nomenklatura, from the very start redistributed national income exclusively in its favor and exploitation occurred to an extent unseen in the West” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=607340D1897C3).
To conceal what was really occurring, the communist leaders imposed universal censorship so that no one could know the truth. “No text could be published in a newspaper, no letter from abroad could reach its addressee, no song could be performed on the radio without the preliminary but secret certificate of permission.”
Thus, the historian continues, “total control over all information circulating in society was the most important component part of communist ideology.” It thus worked to “create a second and false picture of reality, one at odds with the genuine one” and presented the USSR “as a paradise when in fact it was for many a hell.”
“The next and most important question is this: why did anyone need such an arrangement?” Did it really matter whether one called the goal of the system communism or not? But it mattered profoundly because it was “the Bolshevik means of legitimation of an illegal nomenklatura system of power.”
This ideology “converted the myth about communism into a sacred postulate in which one had to believe, which must not be discussed or disputed.” In that it was different from religion that was openly based on faith. Communist ideology was based “on a conscious lie presented as a genuine and scientifically shown truth.”
Its imposition “excluded free discussion, political pluralism and multi-party arrangements. Elections to organs of power took on a special meaning. They did not define which political alternative and program was better but demonstrated the unanimous support of ‘the only true doctrine.’”
Not everyone accepted this doctrine, and then the Soviet powers that be “shifted from control over texts to control over the individual who disagreed. They destroyed the resistant, send them to the GULAG, to jails, to psychiatric prisons and so on,” Chubais continues. That resistance is why communism cost so many their lives.
In all this, the historian observers, “the chief issue, the chief point and goal of all Soviet quasi-statehood like the entire totalitarian-authoritarian system was the question about the retention and ‘non-loss’ of power.” And because this was so, “the Soviet regime declared the most dangerous crime crimes against ‘the new system,’ against communist ideology.”
Chubais’ article, one of a series he is doing on the difference between what many believe was true of this or that period in Russian history and what in fact was the case, is important not only for an adequate appreciation of the Soviet period. It provides a matrix for measuring all systems, including more recent Russian ones that seek to maintain unquestioned control.
After all, as Lithuanian leader
Vytautas Landesbergis observed some years ago, “communism can be called by many
names; it can even be called ‘the new world order.’” Increasingly, using Chubais' definition, it could be applied to Putinism.