The euphoria of the USSR

In the fashionable cynicism of post-USSR times, it is difficult to recapture the sheer euphoria at the achievement of the USSR itself. In 1922, after long and difficult negotiations, the excitement could hardly be contained. Here is Stalin in December of that year when the new agreement was announced.

here, in the world of Soviets, where the regime is based not on capital but on labour, where the regime is based not on private property, but on collective property, where the regime is based not on the exploitation of man by man, but on the struggle against such exploitation, here, on the contrary, the very nature of the regime fosters among the labouring masses a natural striving towards union in a single socialist family (Works, vol. 5, p. 153).

But, comrades, today is not only a day for summing up, it is at the same time the day of triumph of the new Russia over the old Russia, the Russia that was the gendarme of Europe, the Russia that was the hangman of Asia. Today is the day of triumph of the new Russia, which has smashed the chains of national oppression, organised victory over capital, created the dictatorship of the proletariat, awakened the peoples of the East, inspires the workers of the West, transformed the Red Flag from a Party banner into a State banner, and rallied around that banner the peoples of the Soviet republics in order to unite them into a single state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the prototype of the future World Soviet Socialist Republic.

We Communists are often abused and accused of being unable to build. Let the history of the Soviet power during these five years of its existence serve as proof that Communists are also able to build. Let today’s Congress of Soviets, whose function it is to ratify the Declaration and Treaty of Union of the Republics that were adopted at the Conference of Plenipotentiary Delegations yesterday, let this Union Congress demonstrate to all who have not yet lost the ability to understand, that Communists are as well able to build the new as they are to destroy the old (p. 161).

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2 thoughts on “The euphoria of the USSR

  1. One of the (extremely heretical) ideas I have about the USSR is that in the long-term it may be seen as analogous to ancient Athens. This too was always viewed with extreme cynicism in the discourse of the ruling classes in the ancient world itself and later on as well. Collective ownership of the means of production may be the modern equivalent to ancient democracy, at least in terms of its vilification.

    To be sure democratic Athens was a pretty violent place as well, and it did persecute its ‘dissidents’ harshly.

    I guess one should not carry such analogies too far, certainly it’s not a systematic theory, but I’m sure it would be good fun to get a rise out of some liberal by comparing Stalin to Pericles.

    1. Stalin analogous to Pericles! Brilliant. I will use that with due acknowledgement. Let’s hope it doesn’t take 2,000 years for the USSR to become the example for states around the globe to follow. Or, as Stalin suggests, the World Soviet Socialist Republic. One possibility is the Union of Soviet States of America – USSA. Or indeed the European Soviet Union – ESU.

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