The teacher’s candidacy for the Open Lesson dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the formation of the USSR did not cause doubts among the editors. Few people know the Soviet era better than the contemporary of the Soviet Union – the philosopher Alexander Zinoviev!
Reflections of the famous philosopher on the historical role of the Soviet Union
On December 30, 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed. The first state to put the Marxists’ romantic theory of the ideal social order to the test in practice. Even professional researchers who study the USSR often fall for their apologies or denunciations. Despite the hundreds of thousands of books and articles published on both sides of the ocean, it is still too early to speak of an impartial and strictly scientific understanding of the Soviet phenomenon.
The first who tried to understand the Soviet system, relying on scientific methods and putting aside ideological tinsel, was the world famous logician, patriarch of Russian sociology, philosopher and writer Alexander Alexandrovich Zinoviev (1922-2006), whose anniversary the country celebrated in October. The outstanding thinker was the same age as the Soviet Union, he considered himself a product of it, a typical, as he put it, “homo sovieticus”, which did not prevent him from dispassionately dissecting the Soviet system, which, according to his theories, was the practical embodiment of communism. Zinoviev was the first Sovietologist to study the Soviet environment from within. An attempt to look objectively, though not without harshness, the Soviet experiment made him an outcast both in his own country, where he was registered as a dissident and deprived of his citizenship, and in the West, where, after a brief triumph, he was ” recognized” as a Stalinist.
Any move beyond the black and white image of the USSR caused rejection in the bipolar world.
Having already returned to his homeland, at the beginning of the 21st century, Zinoviev wrote: “It’s funny that the very attempts to build a scientific theory of Sovietism, which I made, were assessed in the Soviet years as anti-Soviet and anti-Soviet.” communism, and now they are evaluated as an apology for Sovietism and communism”1.
Who, if not Alexander Alexandrovich, will lead our open lesson dedicated to the centenary of the USSR. We cite his fundamental works “Communism as reality”, “Understanding factor”, a collection of interviews “I dream of a new man”.
The editors place subheadings for convenience.
Alexander Alexandrovich Zinoviev on the cover of one of his sensational books.
Big seen from a distance
I began to call the social system that had been formed in the USSR real communism. For those who considered it incorrect or false communism, I made a reservation: those who do not like this name may be satisfied with the term “Soviet social system” or, in short, “Sovietism.” I considered and still consider Sovietism to be the most complete (one might say classical) embodiment of the communist ideal. And I don’t see in the foreseeable future the possibility that there’s anywhere like that in terms of the level of this kind of social organization. And speaking of the Soviet contribution to the social progress of humanity, I am referring precisely to real Sovietism or communism.
In this sense, our country has become the greatest innovator of human social progress. The Soviet communist experiment has not been surpassed in history in terms of scale, achievement and influence on the course of the social evolution of humanity. And the fact that Soviet communism was crushed does not diminish its historical importance. Also, the further he goes into the past, the more clearly his scales appear and grow.
Yesenin was right: the big is seen from a distance. A dead giant does not become a dwarf, and a dwarf who takes its place does not become a giant.
Sovietism (real communism) arose in our country as a result of the October Revolution of 1917 and ceased to exist as a result of the anti-communist coup, which began in August 1991 and ended in October 1993. He lived for just over seventy years. From a historical point of view, the term is insignificant. He has just entered the stage of maturity and has not yet had time to develop the full potential of the potentialities inherent in him. He was killed at the beginning of the journey, artificially destroyed and did not survive on his own, as claimed by his enemies, destroyers and marauders of his. However, he managed to show his social nature so strongly and vividly that it is unlikely that it will be possible to erase him from the memory of mankind.
The history of humanity is simply unthinkable without him, just as it is unthinkable without the Great French Revolution of the late 18th century, the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, Hitler’s rule in Germany and other significant events of the true story.
V. Govorkov. Poster. 1951
This is not a Marxist project…
Communism is the social organization of the masses of the population, and not just a political regime that can be changed by order of the authorities. It took shape in the Soviet Union not according to a Marxist project or at the behest of Marxist ideologues, but by virtue of the objective laws of organizing large masses of the population into a single social organism. It was the result of the historical creativity of millions of people. The people who built it had no idea about Marxism or knew it very vaguely and interpreted it in their own way.
What happened in practice, only in a way it seems like a Marxist project.
In saying this, I am in no way questioning the role of Marxist ideas in the people’s struggle for real communism. By this I just want to emphasize that real communism is formed and exists according to its own objective laws, which have nothing in common with Marxist ideals and are not subject to the will of individual people.
Having won and established the Soviet Union, communism became a stronghold and stimulus for communist attack on the world at large, one way or another drawing other parts of the planet into its sphere of influence. So, real communism is not just an accumulation of independent communist countries similar to each other, but an individual international phenomenon, the core of which is the Soviet Union.
K. Ivanov, V. Briskin. Poster. 1957
… but embodied the principle of communism
Historically, a communist society was envisioned as a society in which people would be equal in all aspects of their lives. They didn’t even want to think about the fact that this society would give rise to its own forms of social and economic inequality, and on a very large scale. All evil was associated with private property. And since the latter was conceived as subject to destruction, all the ills of people’s lives were supposed to disappear in the most primitive sense, such as the need for food, clothing, housing. The hope was that they would be satisfied, and this was expressed in principle “on demand”.
Abundance is a relative and historically defined concept. And to the extent that it was conceived in past centuries, it has been achieved in Soviet society. There are literally no hungry people here, no beggars or homeless. And in this sense, the principle of communism is realized.
Lenin and Stalin: two streams from the same stream
I distinguish between two streams in the stream of life that swept through the Soviet Union as a result of the revolution, namely, the concrete historical stream and the general sociological stream. In the first of them, people climbed into armored cars, brandished mausers, seized telephone exchanges, put them against the wall, ran with a drawn saber and shouted “Hurray”… It was in full view. In another current at that time, a new child was quietly and imperceptibly maturing – the future communist society. He matured in the most prosaic way: innumerable offices and positions were created, the power apparatus grew and differentiated, throwing its tentacles into all cells of society, ranks were assigned, blessings of life were distributed …
When the avalanche of dramatic history swept into the past and the dust it raised settled, it became clear what the speeches were made for, swords flashed, cries of “hurray” thundered. A new royal society, with its meticulous system of power and control, has already been born and has presented its true figures in the arena of history. So: Lenin and his guards represented the first current of the process, and Stalin and his accomplices, the second. Only the pre-revolutionary period in the history of the party and the period of the physical survival of the country with the baby of the new society in the womb are connected with the name of Lenin. Stalin’s name is associated with the formation of a new society, the transformation of a weak embryo into a mature powerful being.
Powerful, I emphasize, not necessarily good. The crocodile is known to be strong, but there is little sympathy in it, except for the fact that its skin is suitable for women’s bags.
Lenin is the prehistory of real communism. The true history of communism itself begins with Stalin. It is precisely this, and not negative personal qualities, that explains the victory of Stalin and his accomplices over Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bukharin and other charlatans of the Leninist guard. The point here is not the mind of some (Stalin, they say, was much more stupid than Trotsky) and the stupidity of others (Trotsky, they say, was much smarter than Stalin). It is a matter of circumstances. The point is what social forces entered the arena of history and took the lead in millions of cells in the life of a gigantic society.
There is no way back
There are still people in the world who hope that the Soviet Union and other communist countries will return to their pre-communist state. These hopes are in vain. Communism is not a temporary zigzag in history, but an epoch. This is not a political regime that can be thrown out and replaced by another, maintaining the social order of the country. This is the deeper social structure on which everything else is based. You can remove and replace the remainder, but not the remainder base itself. Communism means such a restructuring of the entire organization of life in society that the reverse course of evolution is ruled out in principle.
Here only two paths are possible. The first is the physical defeat of the communist bloc countries. What will grow on its ruins cannot be predicted with complete certainty. Most likely, the same type of communist society, perhaps, with even more cruel regimes. The second path is the struggle for the blessings of civilization on the basis of communism itself. And that requires time and sacrifice. The fate of civilization depends on the ability of people to make sacrifices and invent means of self-defense.
In 1917, a grandiose historical experiment to create a communist society began in Russia, which turned out to be a great success. At the same time, it became more and more evident that the most seductive ideals of the communist project were practically unrealizable, and those that turned out to be feasible gave rise to negative consequences not foreseen in the project. If the Soviet communists sought to rebuild the whole world according to the communist model, after the crushing defeat of Soviet communism, the Western world took the initiative and began to transform the way of life of the peoples and countries of the planet according to its own, Western model. . But he too is subject to the same objective laws of social evolution, no matter how great the degree of projectability and controllability.
The active and powerful creators of modern history, acting in their own interests, stubbornly steer the flow of history into a limited artificial channel, by all means excluding the uncontrolled branches of the mainstream. Thus, they make the historical flow predetermined and therefore no longer dependent on your will.
1. Zinoviev AA “Failed project.” M., 2009. S. 30.