In the midst of his long congress reports, full of methodical passages and catechism-like questions and answers, Stalin could also deploy words with biblical and poetic power. Such as this one from late in 1927, in response to some who felt that the Soviet Union should act meekly to foster a favourable impression among the international ruling class:
What can be said about this reactionary liberal philosophy? The only thing that can be said about it is that its authors would like to see the U.S.S.R. toothless, unarmed, grovelling at the feet of its enemies and surrendering to them. There was a “bleeding” Belgium, pictures of which at one time used to decorate cigarette packets. Why should there not be a “bleeding” U.S.S.R.? Everybody would then sympathise with it and be sorry for it. But no, comrades! We do not agree with this. Rather let all those liberal pacifist philosophers with their “sympathy” for the U.S.S.R. go to the devil. If only we have the sympathy of the vast masses of the working people, the rest will follow. And if it is necessary that somebody should “bleed,” we shall make every effort to ensure that the one to be bloodily battered and “bleeding” shall be some bourgeois country and not the U.S.S.R. (Works, vol. 10, pp. 48-49).