How Did Stalin Become a Communist?
Stalin was brought up to be a priest, but
at a young age was drawn into atheism by some books he read, the
most influential of which was Darwin's Origin of Species.
Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born in 1879, in a poor family
in Gori, a small town near Tbilisi in Georgia. He began to use the name
of Stalin, which means "man of steel" in Russian, after 1913.
His mother was a religious woman. She she used all her strength to rear
her son to be a priest, so she enrolled him in a church school in Gori.
He graduated after five years there, and entered the seminary in Tblisi
to begin his studies to become a priest of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
During this period, however, Stalin read a few books that changed his
world view. Up to then, he had been the devout son of a religious mother,
but he lost his faith in God and religion and became an atheist after
reading Darwin's The Origin of Species.
In his book, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union,
the Oxford University historian Alex de Jonge shows Darwin's vital role
in shaping Stalin's youthful outlook. According to Jonge, he
was "a theological student who had lost his faith; Stalin would always
maintain that it was Darwin who was responsible for that loss."28
Stalin's adoption of Marxism happened not long afterward. Jonge states
that Stalin often emphasized this point in his private conversations.
In his book Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, the
English historian Alan Bullock compares these two men, saying that, in
his youth, Stalin was very influenced by the works of Karl Marx and Auguste
Comte, which he read in Russian translations.29
After Stalin had joined the ranks of the Communists,
he was arrested several times under the Tsar's regime. At left,
a series of photographs of one of those arrests.
Actually, this deception happened not only to Stalin,
but to the majority of a generation of Russian students and other young
people. The myths in scientific garb proposed by Darwin, Huxley, and Lamarck
led many young Russians to become atheists. In A People's Tragedy, A history
of the Russian Revolution, historian Orlando Figes says, "The
scientific materialism of Darwin and Huxley . . . had the status of a
religion among the Russian intelligentsia during Lenin's youth."30
Figes relates how Semen Kanatchikov, a young worker who later joined the
Bolsheviks, abandoned his religion as the result of evolutionist propaganda:
One young worker "proved" to him that God had not created
man by showing that, if one filled a box with earth and kept it warm,
worms and insects would eventually appear in it. This sort of vulgarized
pre-Darwinian science, which was widely found in the left-wing pamphlets
of that time, had a tremendous impact on young workers like Kanatchikov…
"Now my emancipation from my old prejudices moved forward at an accelerated
tempo," later he wrote. "I stopped going to the priest for confession,
no longer attended church, and began to eat 'forbidden' food."31
Stalin became close to Lenin in his latter
days and tried to advance within the party. Upon Lenin's death,
Stalin overcame his rivals and became the Soviet Union's sole ruler.
Such examples as the one quoted above, used to support the claim that
God did not create life and that everything came to be by chance, were
sheer bogus. Worms and insects did not arise by happenstance-out of nothing,
as the medieval belief in spontaneous generation had it-but from eggs
laid in the ground. But because the scientific world was not yet aware
that living creatures could never be generated from lifeless matter, such
myths as these arose like a flood, drowning the half-ignorant Russian
youth in atheism.
Members of the atheist generation that grew up in Russia in the 19th
century, emerged in the 20th century as passionate Communists. One of
them was Stalin. In 1898 he joined a secret Communist organization and
began to write for a Communist magazine, Brdzola (The Struggle),
in 1901. By 1917, he was an active militant of the Communist movement
led by Lenin. After the October Revolution of 1917, he became one of the
five members of the Politburo, the highest degree of membership in the
Communist Party. While Lenin lay ill in 1923, Stalin's power continued
in the party to grow and upon Lenin's death, he became the supreme authority.
In the five years between 1924 and 1929, he cleared the party of all his
opponents by assassination, execution, or exile. Even Trotsky, one of
the architects of the October Revolution, became the object of his rage
and was driven out of the Soviet Union.
After consolidating his power, Stalin turned his iron fist on society.
Lenin had tried to nationalize all the agricultural land in Russia, but
the devastation caused by the great famine of 1920-1921 forced him to
postpone this undertaking. Stalin, determined to put his plan into effect,
began to apply a policy called "collectivization." Its aim was to nationalize
all of the villagers' property, seize and export their crops, and use
the revenue to bolster Soviet industry and strengthen the military.
Stalin carried out his collectivization policy by torture, murder and
starvation. Six million people died of famine, while he exported hundreds
of thousands of tons of grain. Once again, Stalin documented the savagery
of Materialist-Darwinist ideas, which regarded humanity as an animal species
that had to be trained by inflicting pain as corrective punishment.
The Savagery of Collectivization
Peasants in Ukraine in 1929 listening to collectivization
propaganda. Collectivization was presented as a way to increase
agricultural yield, but its implementation caused a terrible famine.
This policy of Stalin's began in 1929. According to his plan, all private
property was to be abolished. Every villager would have to give to the
state a certain quota of his production and was prohibited from selling
his own produce. The villagers' quotas were very high and to meet it,
most had to surrender everything they had. The tyranny Lenin had begun
in the 1920's resumed once more.
To implement collectivization, Stalin employed the cruelest methods.
Those who resisted were killed, exiled to Siberia (essentially, murder
over the long term) or left to starve (slow murder). Throughout the whole
country, kulaks (rich landowners) who resisted collectivization-and, therefore,
Communism in general-were hunted down. The Black Book of Communism describes
The kulaks who resisted collectivization
were shot, and the others were deported with their wives, children and
elderly family members. Although not all kulaks were exterminated
directly, sentences of forced labor in wilderness areas of Siberia or
the far north left them with scant chance of survival. Several tens of
thousands perished there; the exact number of victims remains unknown.
As for the great famine in Ukraine in 1932-33, which resulted from the
rural population's resistance to forced collectivization, 6 million died
in a period of several months.32
The savagery inflicted on the kulaks included the most
horrendous tortures. In a letter to Stalin in April 1933, the writer Mikhail
In the Napolovski kolkhoz [a collective farm in the Soviet Union] a certain
Plotkin, plenipotentiary for the district committee, forced the collective
workers to stretch out on stoves heated till they were white hot; then
he cooled them off by leaving them naked in a hangar. 33
Stalin's regime, like Lenin's before it, created imaginary enemies they
called "kulaks." They targeted anyone they wanted to eliminate by stamping
them with this name. It was easy for the Communists to categorize those
they didn't like as "kulaks" and to send orders to every city, commanding
that a certain number of these "kulaks" be rounded and executed. This
is described in The Black Book of Communism:
In such conditions, it is not surprising that in certain
districts between 80 and 90 percent of those victimized by the dekulakization
process were serednyaki, or middle-income
peasants. The brigades had to meet the required quotas and, if possible,
surpass them. Peasants were arrested and deported for having sold
grain on the market or for having had an employee to help with the harvest
back in 1925 or 1926, for possessing two samovars, for having killed a
pig in September 1929 "with the intention of consuming it themselves and
thus keeping it from socialist appropriation." Peasants were arrested
on the pretext that they had "taken part in commerce," when all they had
done was sell something of their own making. One peasant was deported
on the pretext that his uncle had been a tsarist officer; another was
labeled a kulak on account of his "excessive visits to the church." But
most often, people were classed as kulaks simply on the grounds that they
had resisted collectivization. At times confusion reigned in the dekulakization
brigades to an almost comic extreme: in one city in Ukraine, for example,
a serednyak who was a member of a dekulakization brigade was himself arrested
by a member of another brigade that was operating on the other side of
the town. 34
At the top of the list of those branded as kulaks were
the clergy. In 1930, more than 13,000 priests were "dekulakized." In
many villages and towns, collectivization began symbolically with
the closing of the church and the the removal of local religious leaders.35
Collectivization had two major results: famine and exile.
Famine Brought About by Stalin
This Russian child has lost the use of his
legs as a result of hunger caused by Stalin's policy of deliberate
Like Lenin before him, Stalin intended to wield collectivization as a
weapon against society. By collecting as much grain as he wanted from
any section of the country, he subjected any people in those areas to
starvation. Because Ukraine resisted Communism, it became the target of
collectivization. This region suffered the greatest man-made famine in
history, with a total of four million dying of starvation.
How this occurred is significant. First, according to the state's general
collectivization policy in 1931, a total of 7.7 million tons of grain
was demanded from a Ukrainian harvest which collectivisation had brought
down to 18 million tons. This brought the already overburdened villagers
almost to the point of starvation and the villagers of Ukraine began to
resist Stalin's troops-which made Stalin even more pitiless. In July of
1932, he issued a virtual death order against the whole of the Ukraine
by increasing the previous quota demanding another 7.7 million tons of
grain to be delivered to the State. Millions of people were condemned
to die of starvation. This policy is described in Brian Moynahan's book,
The Russian Century: A History of the Last Hundred Years:
While Russians were dying of hunger, the Communist
Party's barns were crammed full. At left, a church used as a storehouse
for grain during the implementation of collectivization in the 1930s.
Requisitioning gangs of Communist activists, armed with steel rods up
to ten feet long, swarmed over the Ukraine. 'They searched in the house,
in the attic, shed and cellar,' a victim recalled. 'Then they went outside
and searched in the barn, pig pen, granary, and straw pile...' Crude watchtowers
were put up in the fields, posts with a hut of wood and straw atop them.
Here guards armed with shotguns would look out for snippers; those who
were driven by hunger to cut off ears of corn with scissors. Those who
were caught got a minimum of ten years under the Law of Seven-eighths;
some were shot. One Kharkov court issued fifteen hundred death sentences
in a month; a woman was given a ten-year sentence
for cutting 100 ears of corn from her own plot, two weeks after her husband
had died of starvation. The remaining chickens and pigs were eaten
in the early winter of 1932. Then the dogs and cats went. 'It was hard
to catch them,' wrote Vasily Grossman. 'The animals had become afraid
of people and their eyes were wild. People boiled them...' … Only 4.7
million tons of grain had been delivered by the end of 1932. A new levy
was announced. ...Meteorologists were arrested for issuing false weather
forecasts to damage the harvest. Veterinarians were shot for sabotaging
livestock. Agronomists were accused of being kulaks and deported to Siberia...
Mass starvation started when the snow melted in March 1933. People ate
rats, ants, and earthworms. They made soup with dandelions and nettles.
The New York Evening Journal correspondent visited a village twenty miles
from Kiev. 'In one hut they were cooking a mess that defied analysis,'
he wrote. 'There were bones, pigweed, skin, and what looked like a boot
top in the pot.'...
Above, a mother and child starving to death.
Below, small children who died from the famine. As a result of Stalin's
deliberate famine, four million Ukrainians died.
People abandoned their villages. They squatted along rail tracks begging
for crusts to be thrown from carriage windows, and inundated railroad
stations. They followed troops on maneuvers. They crawled about on all
fours in towns. Carts went through the streets of Kiev each morning collecting
the corpses of those who had died in the night. The children had thin,
elongated faces like dead birds...
Still the activists searched for grain; shot mothers
who they found digging up potatoes; beat those who were not swollen
up in the tell-tale sign of starvation to make them reveal their source
of food. 'We were realising Historical Necessity,' wrote the activist
Lev Kopolev. 'We were performing our revolutionary duty. We were obtaining
grain for the socialist fatherland... I saw women and children with distended
bellies, turning blue, with vacant, lifeless eyes. And corpses-corpses
in ragged sheepskin coats and cheap felt boots; corpses in peasant huts,
in the melting snow of old Vologda, under the bridges of Kharkov...'
...Word of the famine reached the West… An international
relief committee was set up under the archbishop of Vienna. It could do
nothing, however, for the Soviet government denied that any famine was
These savage scenes affected the Russian author Michail Sholokhov, who
wrote a letter to Stalin demanding an end to this cruelty. But Stalin
had done all these things deliberately, of course:
In April 1933 the writer Mikhail Sholokhov, who was passing through the
city of Kuban, wrote two letters to Stalin detailing the manner in which
the local authorities had tortured all the workers
on the collective farm to force them to hand over all their remaining
supplies. He demanded that the first secretary send some sort of
... AND STALIN'S TRUTH
One characteristic of Communism is its reliance on officially produced
and disseminated lies. As a result of the famine Stalin fabricated
in the Soviet Union, six million died of hunger, and tens of thousands
of children were targets of this disaster. This photograph documents
the "standard of living" deemed acceptable for Russian children
in Stalin's era. But propaganda posters depicted Stalin as a kind,
concerned leader receiving gifts of flowers from happy children.
In his reply on 6 May, Stalin made no attempt to feign
compassion...In 1933, while these millions were dying of hunger, the Soviet
government continued to export grain, shipping 18 million hundredweight
of grain abroad "in the interests of industrialization."37
Famine caused the death of six million-men, women, children, old people
and infants-not because Soviet farms produced insufficient grain, but
because the Communist party wanted this man-made famine to happen. In
other words, it was mass murder. Stalin didn't want Western countries
to learn of the famine because he feared that any aid campaign would only
weaken the punishment he had determined for Ukraine. In the periodical
magazine Soviet Studies, historian Dana Dalrymple comments:
The Soviet Union, in fact, has never officially admitted
that the famine existed. American and English studies on the USSR occasionally
mention a famine in Ukraine but generally provide few or no details. Yet,
previous famines in the USSR have been acknowledged by the government
and have been well recorded elsewhere. Why the difference? The answer
seems to be that the famine of 1932-34, unlike its predecessors was a
As a result of collectivization, peasants of Ukraine
suffered the greatest losses, with at least four million people dead.
In Kazakhstan, one million starved as a result of collectivization. In
Northern Caucasus and the Black Earth region, there were a million deaths.
With one single order, Stalin had sent six million people to their deaths.39
Exiles and Work Camps
Stalin murdered millions of others who resisted Communism by sending
them into "exile." The Soviet Union singled out many minorities, including
Crimean Turks, forcing them from their homes at night and sending them
to their deaths, thousands of kilometers away. Those who died on the way
numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Below left a gulag prison in the Magadan region
of Siberia. Here, millions lived and died under appalling conditions.
STALIN'S DEATH CAMPS
These photos show some scenes of Stalin's death camps. Those who
showed the least resistance to Communist Party policy were sent
to labor camps called gulags, where prisoners were worked to death.
In the notes below, written by an instructor of the Party committee in
Narym in western Siberia, we see that exile in Russia meant "mass murder":
On 29 and 30 April 1933 two convoys of "outdated elements"
were sent to us by train from Moscow and Leningrad. On their arrival in
Tomsk they were transferred to barges and unloaded, on 18 May and 26 May,
onto the island of Nazino, which is situated at the juncture of the Ob
and Nazina rivers. The first convoy contained 5,070 people, and the second
1,044: 6,114 in all. The transport conditions were
appalling: the little food that was available was inedible, and the deportees
were cramped into nearly airtight spaces… The result was a daily mortality
rate of 35-40 people. These living conditions however, proved to
be luxurious in comparison to what awaited the deportees on the island
of Nazino (from which they were supposed to be sent on in groups to their
final destination, the new sectors that are being colonized farther up
the Nazina River). The island of Nazino is a totally uninhabited place,
devoid of any settlements… There were no tools, no grain, and no food.
That is how their new life began. The day after the arrival of the first
convoy, on 19 May, snow began to fall again, and the wind picked up. Starving,
emaciated from months of insufficient food, without shelter, and without
tools, … they were trapped. They weren't even able to light fires
to ward off the cold. More and more of them began
to die…On the first day, 295 people were buried. It was only on
the fourth or fifth day after the convoy's arrival on the island that
the authorities sent a bit of flour by boat, really no more than a few
pounds per person. Once they had received their meager ration, people
ran to the edge of the water and tried to mix some of the flour with water
in their hats, their trousers, or their jackets Most
of them just tried to eat it straight off, and some of them even choked
to death.These tiny amounts of flour were the only food that the
deportees received during the entire period of their stay on the island.
The more resourceful among them tried to make some rudimentary sort of
pancakes, but they had nothing to mix or cook them in… It was not long
before the first cases of cannibalism occurred.40
(Left) In the Stalinist era, millions of Russian
citizens were loaded into trains and taken away.
(Right) Industrial projects in the Soviet Union were carried out
by the forced labor of prisoners. This photograph shows Uzbek children
among those working under terrible conditions on the construction
of the Fergana tunnel.
Stanford researcher Robert Conquest's book, The Harvest of Sorrow, has
this to say about the exiles of Stalin's time:
What made Stalin become so merciless was the
materialist philosophy he believed in. An unsmiling portrait of Marx
hung in the office where he signed millions of death warrants.
Up to 15 and even 20%, especially young children,
are reported dying in transit, as was to be the case again in the
1940s, with the mass deportations of minority nationalities. Of course,
the deportees were in every sort of physical condition, some of the women
pregnant. A Cossack mother gave birth on a deportation train. The baby,
as was usual, died. Two soldiers threw the body out while the train was
on the move. Sometimes the deportees were taken more or less directly
to their final destination. Sometimes, they remained in local towns…
In Archangel all the churches were closed and used
as transit prisons, in which many-tiered sleeping platforms were put up.
The peasants could not wash, and were covered with sores. They roamed
the town begging for help, but there were strict
orders to locals not to help them. Even the dead could not be picked
up. The residents, of course, dreaded arrest themselves. In Vologda city
too, forty-seven churches were taken over and filled with deportees.41
Another method of mass murder used against exiles were the labor
camps. Between the years 1928 and 1953 (when Stalin died), an estimated
more than 30 million individuals whose ideas differed from those of the
Soviet administration were arrested and sent to gulags, generally established
in regions like Siberia where conditions were unlivable. More than two
thirds of these-that is, at least 20 million-died
in these camps. Inmates living on the edge of starvation were worked
between 14 and 16 hours a day, and were executed by camp guards on the
least excuse. Some inmates were deliberately starved to death; others
died, their physical health broken from lack of nourishment and terrible
living conditions. Many others were made to work in light and shredded
clothing, froze to death in the Siberian cold. First a prisoner's fingers
and toes would freeze and fall off, then his ear or nose would "break
off." Hundreds of thousands are known to have suffered and died in this
way. In The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956, the famous Russian
author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn gives further examples of this horror.
Red Terror in the Eastern Block
A MESSAGE OF FEAR TO SOCIETY: MASS EXECUTIONS
In Stalin's era, prisoners were sometimes executed in public to
send a message of fear to the people. This picture shows opponents
of the regime, hanged by the secret police in a public square in
Stalin died in 1953. The terror begun by Lenin, which he had continued
and extended, left tens of millions dead and subjected dozens of different
ethnic groups to torture and anguish. The Black
Book of Communism gives a broad outline of Communist savagery in
the Leninist-Stalinist era:
The execution of tens of thousands of hostages and
prisoners without trial, and the murder of hundreds of thousands or rebellious
workers and peasants from 1918 and 1922
The famine of 1922, which caused the deaths of 5 million people
The extermination and deportation of the Don Cossacks in 1920
The murder of tens of thousands in concentration camps from 1918 to 1930
The liquidation of almost 690,000 people in the Great Purge of 1937-38
The deportation of 2 million kulaks (and so-called kulaks) in 1930-1932
The destruction of 4 million Ukrainians and 2 million others by means
of an artificial and systematically perpetuated famine in 1932-33
The deportation of hundreds of thousands of Poles, Ukrainians, Balts,
Moldovans, and Bessarabians from 1939 to 1941, and again in 1944-45
The deportation of the Volga Germans in 1941
SKULLS WITH BULLET HOLES
Stalin's secret police carried out most executions secretly. These
skulls, taken from a mass grave in Chelyabinsk, belong to people
killed by a bullet in the head by Stalin's secret service (NKVD)
You can see the bullet hole in the skull on the right.
The wholesale deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1943
The wholesale deportation of the Chechens in 1944
The wholesale deportation of the Ingush in 1944 42
After Stalin's death, the Soviet regime entered a softer period, limited
though it was. But his "reign of fear" continued to govern a society founded
on fear. In a later section, we'll examine more closely the fear that
held sway in the Soviet Union and all other Communist societies, and how
it was organized.
The Soviets did not limit terror to their own people. The outbreak of
World War II let the Soviet Union spread throughout Eastern Europe. When
the war ended, a number of countries had fallen under Soviet influence.
Within a few years, by means of various political plots and maneuvers,
Moscow took them all under its hegemony. Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and East Germany fell into the clutches of
Stalin's bloody legacy.
The red savagery inflicted a hellish life on these countries. Those opposed
to the regime were arrested one by one and subjected to torture and execution.
In a short time, fear and horror pervaded the whole of society. Long after
in the early 1990's, after the fall of Bulgaria's Communist regime, a
woman filmed in a Bulgarian documentary describes what happened to her
in the autumn of 1944:
The day after my father was first arrested, another
policeman arrived around midday and instructed my mother to go to Police
Station No. 10 at five o'clock that afternoon. My mother, a beautiful
and kind woman, got dressed and left. We, her three children, all waited
for her at home. She came back at half past one in the morning, white
as a sheet, with her clothes tattered and torn. As soon as she came in,
she went to the stove, opened the door, took off all her clothes, and
burned them. Then she took a bath, and only then took us in her arms.
We went to bed. The next day she made her first suicide attempt, and there
were three more after that, and she tried to poison herself twice. She's
still alive, I look after her, but she's quite severely mentally ill.
I have never found out what they actually did to her. 43
Prisoners suffered terribly. The Black Book of Communism
describes the torture inflicted by Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in Romania:
Romania was probably the first country in Europe to introduce the
methods of brainwashing used by the Communists in Asia. Indeed,
these tactics may well have been perfected there before they were used
on a massive scale in Asia. The evil goal of the enterprise was to
induce prisoners to torture one another. The idea was conceived
in the prison in Piteþti. The experiment began in early December 1949
and lasted approximately three years… The goal of the organization was
the reeducation of political prisoners, combining
study of the texts of Communist dogma with mental and physical torture.44
The Soviet Union brought Communism and brutality
to occupied countries of the Eastern Bloc. Every movement against
Moscow was repressed with bloody reprisals. After an independence
movement sprang up in Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1968, the
Red Army occupied the country. (Above) Soviet tanks in Prague during
the occupation in August 1968.
The purpose of this was to destroy the prisoners' religious faith; at
the end of it they were expected to deny the existence of God:
The Securitate, the Romanian secret police, used all the classic methods
of torture during their interrogations: beatings, blows to the soles of
the feet, hanging people upside down, and so forth. But in the prison
built in the 1930's in Piteþti, about 110 kilometers from Bucharest, the
cruelty far surpassed those usual methods: The philosopher Virgil Ierunca
recalls: "The most vile tortures imaginable were practiced in Piteþti.
Prisoners' whole bodies were burned with cigarettes: their
buttocks would begin to rot, and their skin fell off, as though they suffered
from leprosy. Others were forced to swallow spoonfuls of excrement,
and when they threw it back up, they were forced to eat their own vomit.
...According to Virgil Ierunca, reeducation occurred in four phases.
The first phase was known as "exterior unmasking." The prisoner had to
prove his loyalty by admitting what he had hidden when the case had been
brought against him and, in particular, admit his links with his friends
on the outside. The second phase was "interior unmasking," when he was
forced to denounce the people who had helped him inside the prison. The
third phase was "public moral unmasking," when the
accused was ordered to curse all the things that he held sacred,
including his friends and family, his wife or girlfriend, and his God
if he was a believer. In the fourth phase, candidates for joining the
OPCB [Organization of Prisoners with Communist Beliefs] had
to "reeducate" their own best friend, torturing him with their own hands
and thus becoming executioners themselves.
...Eugen Turcanu [head of the OPCB, the purpose of
which was the reeducation of political prisoners, combining study of the
texts of Communist dogma with mental and physical
torture] devised especially diabolical measures to force seminarians to
renounce their faith. Some had their heads repeatedly plunged into
a bucket of urine and fecal matter, while the guards intoned a parody
of the baptismal rite.45
People in every country of the Eastern Bloc were subjected to Communism's
crazed murderous impulse and passionate hatred of religion. The Darwinist-Materialist
philosophy that regards human beings as animals and maintains that constant
violence, torture, and fear are needed to subdue these so-called "animals,"
brought about a terrible regime of torture in Communist prisons.
This is why those who regard Darwinism as no danger, or think its theories
are harmless, must read this book carefully. The Darwinist-Communist ideology's
final aim is to turn people against one another, to alienate them from
every moral and spiritual value, thereby bestializing human society into
a "herd" that can easily be domesticated and governed. No matter with
what ideology they disguise themselves, their aim is all the same, as
history has witnessed.
Darkness in Cuba
Cuba's Communist revolution, brought about
by the combined efforts of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, is usually
presented as a romantic episode in a heroic legend. But Communism
brought only misery and torture to Cuba.
During the Cold War period, the Soviet Union supported the dictatorship
of Fidel Castro's Cuba, another Communist regime. The guerilla movement
led by Castro and supported by the Argentine guerilla leader Ernesto "Che"
Guevara seized power in 1959. Castro protected his regime with political
and military support from the Soviet Union, and even when the USSR collapsed,
Castro was able to survive.
The Communist movement in Cuba, and in Latin America in general, had
an aspect of romanticism. Che Guevara's guerilla movement in particular
was portrayed as the "story of a hero." Many young people mounted posters
of Che struggling for Communism and sang Latin American Communist songs.
Apparently the Cuban revolution was a "freedom struggle" to save people
from cruelty and torture under the Cuban dictator Batista.
That was hardly the truth, however. If we look behind the romantic legends
of Che and Fidel, we see the dark face of Cuban dictatorship. The Black
Book of Communism describes Communist Cuba's labor camps and
Working conditions were extremely harsh, and prisoners worked almost
naked, wearing little more than undergarments. As
a punishment, "troublemakers" were forced to cut grass with their teeth
or to sit in latrine trenches for hours at a time.
In 1979, the Red Army occupied Afghanistan,
putting into effect a brutal policy of genocide that took no account
of women and children. Above, a so-called victory march by the Red
Army in Moscow in 1984.
The violence of the prison regime affected both political prisoners and
common criminals. Violence began with the interrogations conducted by
the Departamento Técnico de Investigaciones (DTI). The
DTI used solitary confinement and played on the phobias of the detainees:
one woman who was afraid of insects was locked in a cell infested with
cockroaches. The DTI also used physical violence. Prisoners were
forced to climb a staircase wearing shoes filled with lead and were then
thrown back down the stairs. Psychological torture was also used, often
observed by a medical team. The guards used sodium pentathol and other
drugs to keep prisoners awake. In the Mazzora hospital, electric shock
treatment was routinely used as a punishment without any form of medical
observation. The guards also used attack dogs and mock executions; disciplinary
cells had neither water nor electricity; and some
detainees were kept in total isolation…
...Visits by relatives provide another opportunity to humiliate prisoners.
In La Cabaña prisoners were made to appear naked before their family,
and imprisoned husbands were forced to watch intimate body searches carried
out on their wives.
Female inmates in Cuban prisons
are especially vulnerable to acts of sadism by guards. More than
1,100 women have been sentenced as political prisoners since 1959. In
1963 they were housed in the Guanajay prison. Numerous eyewitness statements
attest to beatings and other humiliations. For instance, before showering,
detainees were forced to undress in full view of the guards, who then
After the 1959 revolution, about ten thousand were executed. More than
30 thousand were imprisoned under the conditions described above. And,
just as wherever else a Communist regime was established, it brought pain,
torture and fear. Meanwhile, the Cuban people gradually grew impoverished,
despite the massive aid from the Soviets.
Soviet Massacres in Afghanistan
To fully examine Marxist-Leninist Bolshevik ideology and its record of
savagery, we must also look at the countries invaded by the Soviet Union.
Afghanistan was one of those subjected to the greatest cruelty.
In 1978, Communist army generals and some Communist civilians organized
a coup in Afghanistan, announced that henceforth, the country would be
run by a Communist regime. They also initiated a ruthless war against
religion. The Black Book of Communism describes this policy as
Shortly afterward, the government
began an antireligious crusade. The Koran was burned in public, and imams
and other religious leaders were arrested and killed. On the night
of 6 January 1979 all 130 men in the Mojaddedi clan, a leading Shiite
group, were massacred. All religious practices were banned...47
Afghanistan Communists were paid by the Soviet Union, inflicting mass
murder on their own people according to directives sent by "advisors"
from Moscow. After a short time in power, they inflicted great terror.
Afghanistan scholar Michael Barry describes one such incident:
In March 1979 …1,700 adults and
children, the entire male population of the village [of Kerala], were
all assembled in the town square and machine-gunned at point-blank range.
The dead and dying were thrown into three mass graves and buried with
a bulldozer. For a while afterward, the women could still see the earth
move slightly as the wounded struggled to escape, but soon all movement
stopped. All the women fled to Pakistan.48
At the same time, terror reigned in Kabul. On the eastern outskirts of
the city, the Pol-e-Charki prison became a concentration camp. In The
Black Book of Communism, the situation in the prison is described in this
As Sayyed Abdullah, the director of the prison, explained
to the prisoners: "You're here to be turned into a heap of rubbish." Torture
was common; the worst form entailed live burial of prisoners in the latrines.
Hundreds of prisoners were killed every night, and the dead and dying
were buried by bulldozers. Stalin's method of punishing entire ethnic
groups for the actions of some of its members adopted, leading to the
arrest on 15 August 1979 of 300 people from the Hazaras ethnic group who
were suspected of supporting the resistance. "One hundred fifty of them
were buried alive by the bulldozers, and the rest
were doused with gasoline and burned alive." In September 1979
the prison authorities admitted that 12,000 prisoners had been eliminated.
The director of Pol-e-Charki told anyone who would listen: "We'll
leave only 1 million Afghans alive-that's all we need to build socialism."49
All these efforts were directed from Moscow. Indeed, all Afghanistan's
inner turmoil was first planned by the Soviets. They had incited the Afghani
Communists to make the coup, which they then used as an excuse to invade
the country in order to support the so-called "democratic" regime. Most
political historians accept that the motive behind Moscow's plan was regarding
Islam as a source of danger to the Communists.
On December 27, 1979, the Red Army invaded Afghanistan,
with the excuse of supporting the Afghani Communist regime against its
Muslim "opponents." With this, the savagery inflicted on the Afghani people
grew. The Red Army remained as an occupying force in Afghanistan for ten
years, during which time it used cruel and pitiless methods in its attempt
to destroy opposing groups that rightfully resisted it. One Afghani opponent
describes these methods:
The Soviets attacked every single house, looting
and raping the women. The barbarism was worse than instinctive,
and appeared to have been planned. They knew that in carrying out such
acts they were destroying the very foundation of our society.50
Against the Afghani Muslims, the Red Army used the basest methods: They
made mines look like toys in order to get Afghani children to play with
them, subjected captive opponents to terrible tortures, and bombed civilians
without hesitation. The end of their ten-year occupation left tens of
thousands of maimed and dead. This is why many Afghani young people are
without arms or legs, and why today, Afghanistan is the country that manufactures
the most prosthetic limbs. But the Soviets' withdrawal left a power vacuum,
and a bloody civil war ensued. In short, the savagery begun in the 1970's
at Soviet instigation brought Afghanistan a half century of cruelty and
As mentioned earlier, Communist Russia saw the gradual spread of Islam
as a danger and inflicted cruelty to prevent this spread. It forbad Afghanis
to worship, burned Qur'ans and murdered those who practiced their Islamic
faith. But the invaders did not take into account one important point:
Those with no faith at all cannot conceive of a believer's intimate relationship
with God. They assume that by destroying holy books, they can make faith
disappear too. But faith lies in the heart. Those who truly believe know
that all the adversities they suffer are tests from God; therefore, they
bear them patiently.
In the Qur'an (2: 155-157), God says to those who believe:
We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of
wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast: Those
who, when disaster strikes them, say, "We belong to God and to Him we
will return." Those are the people who will have blessings and mercy from
their Lord; they are the ones who are guided.
As this verse states, the faithful are tested in many ways in this world,
but in every difficulty they turn to God and ask His help. For this reason,
no Muslim worries or feels hopeless in the face of the difficulties he
encounters. On the contrary, he takes pleasure in the knowledge that God
has revealed His promise in the Qur'an and that, in the hereafter, his
joy will be overflowing.
The Philosophy behind Communist Savagery: The Bestialization of Human
COMMUNISM'S GOAL: TO BESTIALIZE HUMAN BEINGS
Communists regard human beings as animals that must be controlled
and believe that torture, starvation and intimidation are necessary
to control the herd. This cruel ideology, an implementation of Darwinism,
brought poor workers and peasants only more pain and cruelty than
they had known under the Tsars.
The 20th-century Communist lie, proposed by materialist philosophers
like Marx and Engels, has been a death machine with an insatiable thirst
for blood. Communism has committed terrible crimes, submitting human beings
to social pressures, fear, exile, torture, labor camps, famine, and slaughter.
But in order not to experience this same savagery again in the future,
we must consider its true cause. Is it merely a question of the cruelty
and personal ambition of dictators like Lenin and Stalin? Or of the implementation
of a Darwinist-based Communist ideology?
As you'll see, the second alternative is the correct one. Savagery is
the evident, natural result of the Communist idea
that a human being is just another "species." As Marx never tired
of pointing out, Communism is based on Darwin's theory of evolution, which
describes human beings as advanced animals and which suggests that conflict
and struggle among peoples, oppression, cruelty, use of force are natural
and legitimate. If someone who accepts this philosophy has enough power
and resources, he will find it easy to commit all kinds of cruelty. About
this idea, The Black Book of Communism has this to say:
Putting people to death required a certain amount
of study. Relatively few people actively desire the death of their
fellow human beings, so a method of facilitating this had to be found.
The most effective means was the denial of the victim's
humanity through a process of dehumanization. As Alain Brossat
notes: "The barbarian ritual of the purge, and the idea of the extermination
machine in top gear are closely linked in the discourse and practice of
persecution to the animalization of the Other, to the reduction of real
or imaginary enemies to a zoological state."
Alain Brossat [French philosopher, author] recalls
that European shivarees and carnivals had begun a
long tradition of the animalization of the other, which resurfaced
in the political caricatures of the eighteenth century. This metamorphic
rite allowed all sorts of hidden crises and latent conflicts to be expressed.
In Moscow in the 1930s, there were no metaphors at all. The animalized
adversary really was treated like a prey to be hunted, before being shot
in the head. Stalin systemized these methods and was the first to use
them on a large scale, and they were adopted by his heirs in Cambodia,
China and elsewhere. But Stalin himself did not invent these methods.
The blame should probably rest on Lenin's shoulders. After
he took power, he often described his enemies as "harmful insects," "lice,"
"scorpions," and "bloodsuckers."51
As Marx, Engels and Lenin emphasized many times, Communist savagery is
nothing more than the implementation of Darwinism's view that humans are
Red Army prisoners being treated like caged
According to Stéphane Courtois, research director of
The National Scientific Research Center (Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique-CNRS) in France and an expert in the history of Communism:
In Communism there exists a sociopolitical eugenics,
a form of social Darwinism. In the words of Dominic Colas,
"As master of the knowledge of the evolution of social species, Lenin
decided who should disappear by virtue of having been condemned to the
dustbin of history." From the moment that a decision had been made
on a "scientific" basis (that is, based in political and historical ideology,
as well as in Marxism-Leninism) that the bourgeoisie represented a stage
of humanity that had been surpassed, its liquidation as a class and the
liquidation of the individuals who actually or supposedly belonged to
it could be justified.52
At the end of his comments, Courtois points out,
The roots of Marxist-Leninism are perhaps not to
be found in Marx at all, but in a deviant version of Darwinism, applied
to social questions with the same catastrophic results that occur when
such ideas are applied to racial issues.53
Certainly it can be related: Communism is definitely rooted in Darwinism-not
a "deviant version of Darwinism," but authentic Darwinism. The source
of the ideas that humans beings are a species of animal, that history
progresses through a natural and inevitable conflict, that no one is responsible
for his actions is Charles Darwin. Darwin simply proposed the theory;
the Communists implemented it. The bloody account of 20th-century
Communism, which presents all the nonsense of dialectical materialism
in the guise of "science," is in reality applied Darwinism.