Monday, August 23, 2010

HG Wells on Russia

Russia in the Shadows:
And this spectacle of misery and ebbing energy is, you will say, the result of Bolshevist rule! I do not believe it is. I will deal with the Bolshevist Government when I have painted the general scenery of our problem. But let me say here that this desolate Russia is not a system that has been attacked and destroyed by something vigorous and malignant. It is an unsound system that has worked itself out and fallen down. It was not communism which built up these great, impossible cities, but capitalism. It was not communism that plunged this huge, creaking, bankrupt empire into six years of exhausting war. It was European imperialism. Nor is it communism that has pestered this suffering and perhaps dying Russia with a series of subsidised raids, invasions, and insurrections, and inflicted upon it an atrocious blockade. The vindictive French creditor, the journalistic British oaf, are far more responsible for these deathbed miseries than any communist...

(via Brad DeLong)

1 comment:

  1. To say nothing of the fact that home-grown monarchical stupidity drained most of the populace of Russia dry long before the French and English stuff Wells talks about. People these days sometimes talk about Russian Communism as though it sprang up out of a thriving capitalist democracy and somehow subjugated massive resistance, when in fact Russia was ruled by a long string of incompetent, corrupt, and/or arrogant hereditary monarchs who managed to screw things up so seriously that the majority of the populace was happy to overthrow them. And if Lenin had been a little more careful and had had the foresight to get rid of Stalin and his circle, communist rule might have managed to maintain enough popular support to keep going until today. (Another thing people forget is that Lenin was a popular hero before he was a ruler; the people didn't have to forced to like him, and Stalin was accepted as his successor because he seemed to be similar to Lenin. Lenin made some heartless, scary decisions judged from our comfortable position of hindsight, it's true, but so does every effective leader, no matter how sainted later generations may consider them -- witness the unnecessary bombing of Dresden in WWII, etc. etc. etc..)


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