While working on another project, I came across a couple of statements that embody one of the core principles of socialism with national characteristics:
Hence, in order not to err in policy, in order not to find itself in the position of idle dreamers, the party of the proletariat must not base its activities on abstract “principles of human reason,” but on the concrete conditions of the material life of society, as the determining force of social development; not on the good wishes of “great men,” but on the real needs of development of the material life of society.
Hence Socialism is converted from a dream of a better future for humanity into a science.
As Losurdo often puts it: the move from utopia to science is the move from populism to socialism.
Footnote: the quotations come from none other than an interesting and under-studied work called History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks): Short Course.