Corruption is an issue and dilemma for every country in the world. No state is immune. No culture has developed a vaccine. Despite this, the issue of corruption and systemic criminality is arguably more important in regions of the world currently undergoing in one form or another democratic transition and entrance into the global market economy.
Their successful consolidation and emergence signals opportunity and prosperity not just for the titular nations in question but for the global community as a whole: the world is indeed a truly interdependent economic amalgamation. As such success or failure does not just elevate or degrade one particular region but carries with it cascade effects that can potentially impact the lives of countless hundreds of millions of people the world over. By utilizing statistical rankings and indexes covering no less than ten categories, a fairly stark picture emerges for the Caspian littoral nations. What it shows is a region clearly struggling to make progress in fundamental aspects of structural freedom and guarantees, which signal a lack of real opportunity for popular prosperity and stability. Worse, when these general rankings are conceptualized within a single graphic at the end of the article, and compared against a modern consolidated democracy fully integrated into the global economy (Germany), the journey still left for the Caspian Five is seen as both long and rocky. This does not mean it cannot be traversed or the Caspian is doomed to eternal political and economic doldrums. But it does arguably mean the road taken so far is likely not the best path to the greatest future.
Below are the rankings provided from numerous quantitative studies collected and freely published by Transparency International. I have compiled the ones most significant for the purposes of ascertaining corruption and structural criminality for the Caspian Five in specific. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks 175 countries around the world, giving a very sharp and important estimation of how people within the examined countries themselves consider their own problems and challenges. The average Caspian score is a dismal 138 out of 175. Put another way, the Caspian Five score a ‘25’ on a 100-point scale in terms of a general societal corruption perception. The region averages only 13% in terms of controlling corruption governmentally, with Turkmenistan standing out in particular by scoring an absolutely abysmal 2% overall.
The average Rule of Law percentile score for the Caspian region is a low 25%, with Turkmenistan again somewhat wrecking the curve by scoring only 4%. The very interesting Voice and Accountability percentile rank puts the region as a whole at only 13%. While it is true Turkmenistan continues its tradition of bringing up the rear for Caspian countries, scoring a quite laughable 1% overall, Iran also scored in the single digits, achieving only 7% as a score. Ironically, it was Russia that scored the highest in this category, though it was still a relatively poor 21%. Press freedom is a particularly egregious subject matter for the Caspian littoral states: out of 179 evaluated countries around the world, the region averages only 162nd place. Again, Iran and Turkmenistan are the worst offenders, scoring an amazing 175th and 177th respectively out of 179 countries. But again, with the average score of 162, this means every single country surrounding the Caspian has quite a long way to go before it can consider its access to information and freedom of expression to be even slightly adequate. Finally, the undervalued but crucially important survey of judicial independence gives the Caspian region a less-than-stellar 95th out of 142 ranked countries. This score, however, comes with a mitigating caveat as Turkmenistan simply was not able to be included in the evaluation for lack of verifiable data. This of course allows one to conclude that if Turkmenistan had been able to produce a score it would have inevitably only made the regional index worse.
|Corruption Perceptions Index||126 out of 175||136 out of 175||136 out of 175||126 out of 175||169 out of 175||12 out of 175|
|Control of Corruption||9%||13%||20%||15%||2%||93%|
|GDP||51.77 Billion USD||1.48 Trillion USD||331 Billion USD||149 Billion USD||20 Billion USD||3.28 Trillion USD|
|Open Budget Index Score||43||60||N/A||38||N/A||68|
|Judicial Independence||83 out of 142||123 out of 142||66 out of 142||111 out of 142||N/A||7 out of 142|
|Rule of Law Percentile Rank||22%||26%||20%||32%||4%||92%|
|Voice and Accountability Percentile Rank||12%||21%||7%||14%||1%||93%|
|Press Freedom Index||162 out of 179||142 out of 179||175 out of 179||154 out of 179||177 out of 179||16 out of 179|
In vivid contrast to the statistics above, an exemplar country study is provided below in Germany. Each of the ten categories used to evaluate the Caspian littoral states were similarly used on Germany. While it is arguably unfair to compare the Caspian Five with an advanced and stable Western European country, it is nonetheless important to provide a counter-balance case study to show how it is possible to score at the other end of the spectrum with these indexes. Some of the comparative contrast between the two sides is quite dramatic: Germany has a CPI of 12, with corruption control, voice and accountability, and rule of law percentiles all above 90%. Accordingly, both press freedom and judicial independence rankings are extremely high in Germany. In my opinion this is not explained as a testimony to a longer period of time under democratized rule and free-market capitalism in Germany: after all, it was only the middle of the 20th century when that country was under the thumb of extreme fascism. Rather, it indicates that when a country transparently and systematically commits to holistic structural transformation, then dramatic improvement can occur and concretize. In that way the case study can be an inspiration for the Caspian region, if also a rather demanding and uncompromising one.
Finally, for the sake of clarity and graphical review for the readers, all six countries are presented together across six of the most important structural indexes. When done in this way a decidedly negative tendency can be seen within the comparison: when a high positive ranking is desired, Germany stands alone; when a high negative ranking is possible, the Caspian states all seem to score in lock-step with each other, whereas Germany is far off the mark. Most fascinating of all is to see how regional ‘brotherhood’ really does occur, regardless of culture, religion, ethnicity, or history: across the board all five littoral states score remarkably similarly in the six documented categories. This seems to demand that future analysis and research needs to be done on just how pervasive and pernicious corruption tends to be and that solutions and strategies to combat it really cannot rely on traditional sociological or cultural traits and traditions.
A Portrait of Anti-Progress? The Caspian Corruption Table
ConCorr% : Control of Corruption Percentage (out of 100%)
Judicial: Assessment of an Independent Judiciary (sample size: 142 nations)
CPI: Corruption Perception Index (sample size: 175 nations)
Rule of Law: Percentile of Structural Commitment to the Rule of Law (out of 100%)
V and A%: Voice and Accountability Percentile (out of 100%)
Free Press: Overall Ranking Estimating Freedom of the Press vs. Government Control (sample size: 179 nations)
This investigation was not conducted to spite or humiliate the Caspian littoral states. Rather it sought to shine an insightful light into the immensity of the problem of corruption across the region, within every state. Ways to fix this issue are likely not forthcoming anytime soon. But that may also be partly explained by an individualistic approach that has prevented the Caspian Five from realizing they are much more likely to be effective by creating strategies that bridge across the region. Just as negative trends tend to breed more negative, so can positive success become a catalyst for future successes across new areas. One can hope this will be the case for the Caspian. Otherwise, the region will remain best designated on corruption maps with the warning Hic Dracones: Here be dragons.
Ukraine war-induced crisis affecting women and girls disproportionately
A new UN report reveals how the Ukraine war and its global impacts on food, energy, and finance are affecting women and girls disproportionately, both inside the country and around the world.
The policy paper developed by gender agency UN Women and the Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group, describes how the war has widened gender gaps in hunger, education and poverty, and has also increased gender-based violence.
For example, school-aged girls are now at a higher risk of being forced out of school and into marriage, as a way for desperate families simply to make ends meet.
Women have also reduced their own food intake, so that other family members can have more, amid food price hikes and shortages.
Meanwhile, energy prices have left families with no choice but to continue using low-tech fossil fuels, exposing women and girls to household air pollution, which kills 3.2 million people each year.
UN Women also estimates that around 265,000 Ukrainian women were pregnant when the war broke out and have had to endure physical and health challenges in the past months.
Rural food insecurity
The document notes that women-headed households in Ukraine were already more food insecure before the war, with 37.5 per cent of them experiencing moderate or severe levels of food insecurity, compared to 20.5 per cent of male-headed households.
Currently, rural women in Russian occupied territories are not able to do agricultural work due to high insecurity and lack of resources. However, they are having to accommodate internally displaced people, multiplying their unpaid care and domestic work responsibilities.
Sexual violence on the rise
The report warns of an “alarming” increase in gender-based violence, transactional sex for food and survival, sexual exploitation, and trafficking, not only in Ukraine but worldwide, amid worsening living conditions.
“Systemic, gendered crises require systemic, gendered solutions. That means ensuring that women and girls, including from marginalized groups, are part of all the decision-making processes.
“That is simply the only way to be certain that their rights and needs are fully taken into account as we respond to the clear facts before us”, said Sima Bahous, UN Women Executive Director.
The analysis highlights that as women continue to bear different and additional burdens of war, they must be represented in all decision-making platforms on de-escalation, conflict prevention, mitigation and other processes in pursuit of peace and security for the people of Ukraine and beyond.
The report calls on the international community to promote the right to food by targeting the specific nutrition needs of women and girls and accelerating the transformation towards more equitable gender-responsive and sustainable food systems.
UN Women and the UN’s Global Crisis Response Group also recommend world leaders to ensure equal access to affordable and sustainable energy, as well as boost reporting on gender statistics and sex-disaggregated data.
Untying the Ukrainian Knot: The Continental Union Project
As the fighting in Ukraine rages on, people continue to die, and infrastructure is being destroyed. This means that the time has come to untie the “Ukrainian knot” as quickly as possible. Theoretically, there are two ways to do so: with the use of force, and without. In the first option, the use of force, the special military operation would intensify until victory is finally achieved. However, one must first consider the following.
Following the methodology of Anthony Sutton, an American researcher who suggested the existence of secret mechanisms of world power, I propose that the initiator and “motor” of events in Ukraine is not the headed by the entire United States as a country, but rather by a shadow structure that Sutton labeled as the “Order” (of course, he did not mean the Masons). The algorithm used by the “Order” is to create an international conflict, secretly provide aid to all its participants, thereby ensuring the victory of the “player” who did not take a visible part in the conflict. Though the “Order” is located in the United States, it only uses this country only as a tool to enact its plans.
Going back, if we were to consider the use of force to untangle the crisis in Ukrainian, three points must be considered. First off, the armed forces of Ukraine have no intention to surrender. Secondly, the decision taken in April at Ramstein-1 regarding the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, the approval in the United States of the Lend-Lease Law for Ukraine (which will come into force on October 1), as well as the current activity on these decisions show that an anti-Russian coalition of leading countries with a combined military and economic potential has formed . Thirdly, considering the extreme dependence of Russia’s military-industrial complex on imports, the absence of access to foreign technologies, and also the loss of Russian armed forces in personnel, weapons and equipment will make it incredibly difficult for Russia to win by using force, for the price for victory would be to immense for the Russian population. Additionally, the continuation of hostilities could lead to direct clashes with the United States.
Therefore, I will only discuss the path without the use of force. Essentially, Russia needs to be urgently “pulled” away from the logic that is imposed on it in Ukraine (just as Stalin once “pulled” our country out of the deadly scenario invented by the “Order”—the “preparation of the world revolution”).
Russia must propose a new agenda: a project to establish a union of states stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. To paraphrase Karl Haushofer, I called it the “Continental Union” project. This way, the people living there, still belonging to their own (different) ethnic groups, will at the same time share a common supra-ethnic identity. This will be one of the main factors in the gradual end to all conflicts.
What is the essence of the project, then?
First of all, in order to form a common supra-ethnic identity we need not only a union of states, with, for example, uniform customs tariffs. A “humanitarian dimension” is also required. But if we were to look at the experience of the USSR, territorial communities created by people only have a humanitarian component if a certain common meaning is accepted by the majority of the population. Is it realistic to find a single meaning in our case; after all, the territory of the future “Union” is a field of tense interaction between post-Christian Western Europe, Russia (which has been living in a “value vacuum” for over 30 years) and the Islamic World?
To put it blunty, yes, it is possible. People do have a common need: to halt moral degradation, hatred and malice; combat social injustice; challenge situations where one’s “personal interest” is put “at the forefront” of others; remove situations when those with money overpower the conscientious and honest. But how can these common needs be turned into a practicable unifying factor?
Here, a radically new approach is needed based on the entire store of knowledge that humanity has at its disposal today. This approach is a view of history as a process of morality elevation in society. Do we know what the mechanism of this process may be? The esoteric sections of Orthodoxy (the Hesychasm of St. Radonezhsky) and Islam (Sufism), as well as Buddhism and Hinduism would yes, it is.
It is true that a person is a “bearer of morality” with certain energy centers (or chakras). There are seven main centers which differ in their frequency parameters. The levels of a person’s moral growth relates to the successive activation of his or her energy center. There are three levels to this process: the vast majority of people, so to speak, fall into.
The first level is where only the two lower chakras are activated. A human being is still an animal in many ways. Here, the psychological orientation “service to self” steps in. Their behavior is motivated almost exclusively by innate instincts; a person is focused only their OWN interests and seeks more forceful solutions to their problems.
On the second level, where the third chakra is additionally activated, the this “self-serving” tendency begins to blur with something else. Here, a person is “given” personal interests, first of all, prioritizing his or her family, household, or small business. There is also a feeling of patriotism, but only conditionally, “to the birch at the gate of my house,” while love extends only to the mindset that “my ethnic group is the best.” Generally, this is the foundation of the so-called “traditional values“.
Lastly, the third level to the process is achieved by activating the fourth chakra. The satisfaction of innate instincts is no longer a dominant feeling. Rather, the notion of “serving others” is formed: the person tries, first of all, to do what serves the interests of the general public. A position arises: “my country”, which, however, is accompanied by respect for other ethnicities as well (this differs from the second level). A person with such an attitude cannot be bought off.
Allow me to emphasize, that it is possible to put an end to hatred, social injustice, etc. in a country only if the majority of its population acquires a shared psychological tendency to “serve others.” In other words, simply having “traditional values” is enough here.
The problem is, however, that ordinary people (who always makeup much of the population) may only reach the second level of morality on their own. That’s why throughout history, there have been moments in which humanity has been guided to do so. For example, Christianity swept through Europe 2000 years ago, creating the conditions for the formation of the third level of morality for the general public!
But that soon opened up other problems.
The third level of morality (i.e., the notion of “serving others”) is formed only among devout believers, which means an ordinary person would not able to achieve the required level of faith. In other words, a person (to remain in the “corridor of the dogma”) had to make excessive efforts compared to what was normally required in his or her daily life. Thus, an ordinary person, or ” the man in the street”, had to devote all his strength and energy to a daily struggle with himself, with his usual way of life! But can he do so, and would he be willing to? A solution to that question was found through the regular participation of church services. This was usually done through coercion (or even violence). Thus, a a totalitarian social structure was formed in European countries.
Yes, indeed, the Christian doctrine made it possible to form a “serving others” moral attitude in a significant number of people (of course, via regular participation in church rituals). This readied individuals to consider the interests of not only his relatives, but also of anyone around him. However, the “anyone” most often meant co-religionists. Gradually, humankind divided into parts that were often at odds with each other; between supporters of Christianity and everyone else.
Eventually Europeans became captive to a constrictive way of thought, believing that only God has true value and that a person depends solely on Him in everything, making a person’s earthly life nothing more than a preparation to the Supreme Court. In other words, man is a servant of God. As a result, a new type of personality was formed, a personality that denied to take full responsibility for their actions.
A value complex then appeared—the “culture of the Enlightenment“. This gave an alternative basic meaning to life: everyone decides for him or herself whether to believe in God, since a person is free to choose their actions. So, what became of the moral-psychological “atmosphere”?
It changed radically. People lost their hard external moral drive (in particular, the fear of “hellish torment” after death). People gained freedom of choice. In their eyes, a state’s power lost its sacredness: now, its representatives are salaried managers, paid from taxes by the population.
But then a purely practical question arose: how could people now be managed?
Approximately in the 16th century, the answer came; European states began to form systems of “checks and balances”, in accordance with whose ideal model includes:
- independent legislative, executive and judicial branches;
- the “free play of political forces” including financial industrial groups, as well as political parties
- the exercised right to control power at all levels by civil society with a special role for an integral system of non-state (i.e., independent of the government) media;
- a foundation, based on the recognition of “the sacredness and inalienability of the natural rights of the individual” (the right to life, liberty, security, property, inviolability and dignity) and their unconditional priority over the interests of the state.
- the “invisible hand of the market” which (ideally) regulates production effectively on the basis of fair competition of equal producers.
In other words, the main idea behind the “culture of the Enlightenment” was not to forbid, but rather “push together” the activity of free equal subjects, without initially giving anyone any advantages. This (ideally) should have ensured the general safe functioning of social systems at all levels.
Let’s appreciate the scale of changes that the Enlightenment complex has brought to the Western countries. Below are two examples from history of when Christianity acted as the state ideology:
- n 1215, a special ecclesiastical court of the Catholic Church, the “Inquisition” was established; heretics were investigated by episcopal courts; secular authorities were required to carry out the death sentences they pass. In doing so, “heretics” are essentially dissenters—those, for example, who recognize the Bible as sacred scripture, but who do not recognize the Vatican authorities’ interpretation of it.
- In 1559, the “Index of Forbidden Books” was established to censor the publications of the entire Western Christian world.
Now let us take a look at what is going on today:
Since 1967, the US has had the Freedom of Information Act. According to this law, any citizen of the United States of America can request any documents from any government agency in the country, except for those included in the list of exceptions (national defense, law enforcement, financial and personal documents – all in all9 items), and the government agency is obliged to satisfy this request. If the institution does not provide the requested information (but it is known to have it), the court has the right to forcibly extract this information and transfer it to the citizen.
From the early 1950s to the late 1960s USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) carried out a top-secret project known as MKUltra Its goal was to find ways to control (including remotely) the minds and behavior of people using psychotropic substances and other means. The “test subjects” (over 5,000 people) did not know about the experiments; most often they were prisoners, psychiatric patients, or people from the lower strata of the population. Some of these people sustained serious mental disorders, many died. The testimonies of the former “test subjects” formed the basis of a scandalous publication in the New York Times (1974). Shortly after its appearance, the US Congress created a special commission to investigate the activities of the CIA during the years of the program. Its chairman, Senator F. Church, openly accused the CIA of conducting illegal research that led to numerous deaths. After that, hundreds of victims sued the US government for damages and received significant monetary compensation.
Also, the market forced people (generally speaking, on pain of death) to work very efficiently and on this basis once allowed to receive an abundance of high-quality goods and services.
With time, type of “personality of the Enlightenment” emerged in Europe. This is a person who has received a versatile education, who has a developed self-esteem, prioritizes freedom of choice, is psychologically ready to make decisions and be responsible for them, and knows that everyone’s personality is valuable. Additionally, mechanisms of effective control over the elected authorities by civil society were formed. Nowhere else on Earth was there anything that could be called the Age of Enlightenment. That’s why results achieved within the framework of the “culture of Enlightenment” complex are the patrimony of all humankind. All must be done to ensure that the moral-psychological type of “man of the Enlightenment” will not be lost. Today, however, the “Enlightenment Project” has exhausted its creative potential. Below are just a few examples:
The most important principle of Enlightenment was that the source of power in a country comes from its people. This means that, for example, only the candidate for whose program the majority voted for can become the legitimate, president of the country. A candidate’s program raises strategic issues of the country’s development. However, the majority of voters in any country are not political scientists, economists or historians! They cannot deeply analyze complex socio-political processes and make a choice on this basis. Knowing this, candidates often use effective technologies to covertly manipulate the minds of voters. This requires large financial resources from candidates, which are usually sponsored by certain financial and industrial (and often semi-criminal) groups. The winning candidate can “pay back” their doners, only by lobbying the economic or political interests of these groups in one way or another. As a result, one of the main motives of the victor’s activities is often not the interests of the country.
The next value is individual freedom. This means, for example, that everyone is guaranteed access to sources of information; any restrictions are considered a violation of this fundamental right. Therefore, the basis of modern Western culture is not that of prohibitions, but, on the contrary, the “open functioning” of the entire “information range”, “from entertainment, erotica, horror films and crime chronicles” to “philosophical fiction”: let everyone choose according to their own taste.
On the one hand, there is a rational basis for this. After all, bans (censorship) often end in violence in various forms. But how many people today are ready to choose “philosophical fiction” over “entertainment, erotica, horror and crime movies”? And how can one raise children in these conditions if for example, any “help given to them to make choices” is inevitably viewed as “external pressure”?
Additionally, today’s “sign of the times” is the growth of same-sex marriages in the West. This is one of the many new expressions of the individual freedom principle- how wonderful! But if this expression continues at the same pace as it is now, then I argue that the white race will disappear. After all, the birth rate among its representatives (already extremely low) will be reduced to almost zero, and, most importantly, in the “Enlightenment paradigm” cannot solve this problem.
The market itself also poses a problem. As you may know, the goal of any market entity is to make a profit. the more goods sold, the greater the profit will be. Hence, there is a willingness to create needs in people, even artificial ones. The market inevitably gave rise to property stratification: first between citizens within individual countries, later—through the division of countries into predominantly “rich” and predominantly “poor”. Today, the presence of relatively poor countries in the world (and the overwhelming majority of humanity lives in them) has become the main prerequisite for both the material abundance of the leading countries and all the undoubted achievements of their social sphere. This, of course, gives rise to an escalation of the conflict of interest. In the conditions of market relations, people often act as commodities.
So what is the result? A rapid boom in consumerism and various manifestations of immorality in Western society indicates that the third level of morality has ceased to form among masses of the Western population. Everything today is mostly decided at the second (and even at the first) levels.
Why? Having gradually become “post-Christian”, Western society has left the “corridor” of Christian values, that (with all its reservations) formed the third level of morality in people.
This situation can radically change only through “value synthesis”, about which the outstanding Russian thinker Vladimir Solovyov wrote back in the late 19th century. In essence, he claimed that “people of the Age of Enlightenment” must again acquire the Higher Guidance.
The mechanism for creating a “Synthesis Society” was once proposed, and Russia once took on the burden of this creation (which later turned out to be almost unbearable) following the October Revolution of 1917.
My opponents, of course, are already ready to label me as contradictory. Indeed, on the one hand, the author writes: the essence of Synthesis is that Supreme Guidance is regained by “Enlightened people” In other words, “Synthesis Society” should have been built in Europe and/or the USA, which by the end of the 19th century, undoubtedly went “through the paradigm of the Enlightenment.”
On the other hand, the author places special emphasis on the fact that Russia had to take on the burden of building a “Synthesis Society”. Yet, Russia is the least likely country to have received the “experience of Enlightenment” by the beginning of the 20th century.
However, fact is, there is no contradiction here. Just once again, we have become witnesses of a historical choice between the necessary (from the logical point of view of the historical process)—and the possible (in those specific conditions).
Yes, of course, the creation of a “Synthesis Society”, by definition, should have happened in one of the European countries or in the USA. However, the preconditions for this were not met in Europe, while in the Russia at the beginning of the 20th century they arose.
What are these prerequisites?
Let’s first take a look at the mechanisms that aid the formation of a “Synthesis Society”, particularly the third level of morality (or the notion of “serving others”). The concept of “serving others” automatically forms among the population of a certain country, if the strategic goals set by its political leadership coincide with the world’s strategic human development goal. This goal in its most general form is as follows: to provide the necessary conditions for the endless reproduction of all of humanity. Hence the system-forming parameter of the “synthesis paradigm” is that the country’s economy functions not for the sake of making a profit, but rather for the sake of creating conditions for the physical, intellectual, spiritual and moral development of each person.
As you can see, this is one of the basic components of the communist ideal.
Now back to the question of objective preconditions.
At the end of the 19th century, no matter how strange it may seem, Europe, the birthplace of Marxism, society did not meet the preconditions required to support communist ideology (i.e., the Marxist concept). Thus, the revolutionary dominance in the European labor movement began to fade. In fact, the First International standing on Marxist positions ceased to exist 8 years after its creation. The Second International, which emerged in 1889 (just one generation later) quickly showed itself as a reformist one.
So, what happened?
The answer to this question was given in the works of Eduard Bernstein, Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky, Karl Kautsky and some others. I will use their reasoning in my explanation.
Mainly from a proletariat’s point of view, only classical Marxism quite adequately, describes “wild” capitalism—a society with extremely pronounced and extremely aggravated (“black and white”) class contradictions. This forms a clear class-based psychology i among the workers. Only in this case can they be convinced of the historical inevitability of the collapse of capitalist relations and the triumph of the communist ideal in the future.
In this regard, Tugan-Baranovsky emphasized that Marx’s political experience was formed “in the era of the 40s—a period of lower wages, chronic unemployment and a huge increase in poverty and misery. Expressing my [Tugan-Baranovsky’s] conviction that a substantial and lasting improvement in the condition of the working class is impossible within the limits of the capitalist economy, Marx stood on the basis of contemporary historical facts and expressed a view common to all serious economists of that time. Ricardo and Malthus viewed the position and future of the working classes no less gloomily”. Tugan-Baranovsky went on to emphasize that “the conditions, as they began to take shape in Western European countires already from the second half of the last (19th—Yu.K.) century led to the fact that even the most ardent supporters of Marxism had to … refuse him…”.
Additionally, as Bernstein wrote in 1901, the dynamics of income in the Western European countries no longer led to the centralization of capital in the hands of a “bunch of the rich” (which would correspond to Marxist concepts). “The form of a joint-stock company,” wrote Bernstein, “significantly counteracts the tendency to centralize capital by centralizing production. It permits a wide division of already concentrated capital and renders redundant the appropriation of capital by individual big capitalists”. In other words, concludes Bernstein, “it is completely wrong to think that modern development indicates a relative or even absolute decrease in the number of owners. The number of owners is growing … absolutely and relatively.” This, in turn, leads to the fact that “the division of society into groups, in comparison with the past, is far from being simplified; rather, it became much more complicated and differentiated, both in terms of the height of income, as well as in professional activities”. Another trend that refutes the forecast about the impoverishment of the bulk of the population in the capitalist countries is that “large-scale production does not constantly absorb small and medium production; rather, large-scale production itself flourishes along with them”. If, concludes Bernstein, “the death of modern society depends on the disappearance of the middle members between the top and the base of the social pyramid, if it is due to the absorption of these middle members by the extreme upper and lower ones, then this death is currently in England, Germany and France no closer to its realization than in any of the earlier epochs of the nineteenth century”.
By the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century, cardinally different conditions formed in Russia. There were two main factors at work here. Firstly, Russia belonged to the “second tier” of countries—i.e. to those countries that embarked on the path of capitalist development much later than the leading Western countries. Secondly, the peculiarity of the Russian national tradition played a role, specifically in that human life poorly valued; that is why noticeable upswings in the development of the country’s economy were often achieved not by improving machines and mechanisms, but by intensifying worker labor.
This gave Russian capitalism an extremely contradictory look. On the one hand, the abolition of serfdom (1861) was the first and most important step towards creating conditions for the development of the Russian economy. This was followed by several important reforms carried out by Minister of Finance Sergei Witte. In 1893 an unprecedented industrial boom began in Russia with heavy industry (grew 2 times) and light industry (grew 1.6 times) developing rapidly. The greatest growth was in the mining and metallurgical industries as well as machine building; oil and coal production increased more than 2.5 times. In terms of iron smelting, Russia ranked third in the world (after the USA and Germany), and in oil production it came out on top. It was then that the complex of heavy industry in the south of Russia finally took shape; new machine-building plants were built in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Moscow region. From 1897 to1916 the country’s population increased from 125.6 million to 165.7 million people (excluding Poland and Finland), or by 32%. The urban population increased from 16.8 million to 26.5 million people, or by 70%, and its share grew from 13.5 % to 18%. The number of workers in large capitalist enterprises during the last third of the XIX century increased three times and by 1900 amounting to nearly 3 million people.
On the other hand, however, Russian capitalism (as well early European capitalism) took a very “wild” form. Below are just a few examples.
The wages of workers in Russia were 2 times lower than in England, and 4 times lower than in the USA. Also, workers did not receive this payment in full. Workers were fined not only for absenteeism, but also for singing (peasant women could not give up the village habit of singing while working), for smoking while working, and so on. In most factories, wages were issued irregularly or at long intervals including during Christmas, Easter, the Intercession of the Theotokos. Until the next payday, the worker was forced to take food on credit from the factory shop which usually was of low quality and expensive. There was no insurance against sickness and accidents, and there were no pensions either.
In 1914 account, according to well-known Russian budget researcher Georgi Naumov, noted that the families of even the wages of the most prosperous workers of Kiev in 1912–1913 were insufficient to meet their needs. The working population as a whole was in a state of chronic deficit. A tiny part of the budget was given to higher needs. As for having children, a significant part of the workers were generally deprived of the opportunity to start a family, having no means to support it.
Let’s take a look at the working conditions of Russian workers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is known that before the adoption of the “restrictive law” in 1887, an adult working day was 13 to 14 hours. Evidence shows that when planning the length of a working day, or when alternating day and night shifts, a worker’s age was not taken into account. Such was the case for a Ivan Yanzhul, a Moscow district factory inspector who looked over juvenile workers at 174 factories in Moscow and the province. According to his report, this poor treatment was the case almost everywhere in Moscow. At half of the factories inspected, working conditions turned out to be unsatisfactory: either there was “crowding in the arrangement of machines”, or dangerous places and mechanisms were poorly fenced, or the air temperature in the working rooms was too high in the absence of ventilation, or dust was poorly removed from the shops. Only 36 out of 174 factories had medical posts, and only “one ignorant and rude paramedic” worked in them. Yanzhul also reported that at least 75% of young children under the age of 15 were working in factories and do not have an education, only 38 of the factories inspected had relatively good living conditions.
An illustration of this last remark of the factory inspector can be found in a fragment of a letter to the Bolshevik newspaper “Iskra” from workers in one of the factories in the Moscow province (1901), which showed the living conditions in the so-called “barracks” (workers’ hostels): “The accommodation of workers is so cramped that such tightness cannot be found even in soldiers’ barracks… The bed is two arshins wide (1.4 meters—Yu.K.) and the middle is divided by a high board which serves as a border for everyone. Onn it are two mattresses or sacks stuffed with straw; more than 100 people are accommodated in each department. Distance between beds—is one arshin; near the bed there is a small table with two drawers where the owners put tea and sugar. You can only sit on beds. Barracks for families consist of small rooms in which 4–5 families are placed.
Also, a short note on the rights of workers given to them during the period in question. During this time, plants and factories had “Internal Rules” with, in particular, a “Record of Penalities”. According to the above-mentioned factory inspection, from 1909 to1913. fines of one size or another were levied on 85% of all the workers. At the same time, the arbitrariness of the plant owners was not very limited. Article 100 of the “Statute of Industry”, noted that fines should not exceed 1/3 of the worker’s earnings; Article113 emphasized that the worker has no right to complain about fine amounts and the procedure for imposing it.
The situation outlined above is not atypical and does not convey all the problems regarding the living conditions of the Russian proletariat and the population of Russia as a whole. In fact, from 1900 to1903 an economic crisis broke out in the country, which, of course, was accompanied by an increase in unemployment, an increase in prices for goods and food, allowing even greater arbitrariness of enterprise owners in relation to their workers. Then the war with Japan began, which longated the depression following the crisis (1903–1908). After a short economic upturn, which, as experts note, led rather to an increase in the profits of entrepreneurs than to a noticeable increase in wages (because the intensity of labor in industry increased sharply), the First World War began, which brought people great difficulties and hardships. Suffice to say, that the Russia’s industrial output (in comparison with 1913, the last pre-war year) decreased by almost 35% during the war, almost 2 times less grain was collected, and the budget deficit increased from 0 to 22 billion rubles.
In other words, the Russian reality of the late nineteenth to—early twentieth century, could be quite convincingly described from a “class approach” point of view. Here is how it looked like in practice; below is a fragment of a leaflet from the St. Petersburg Committee of the Bolshevik Party:
Comrades! All people in the world live for happiness. But is everyone equally happy and satisfied? Comrades! Unfortunately, no. In our world there are rich, there are also poor: some live in complete contentment and idleness, others live in filth, cold and hunger. Why is our life so miserable? So joyless? Comrades, all this is because we are powerless and without rights, because we are in slavery to our masters, because in the modern system of society we are nothing but working cattle!
And such a position was met with a response! Here is a fragment of a letter to “Iskra” from a worker from St. Petersburg:
I showed Iskra to many comrades, and the whole number is worn out, but it is expensive… This is about our cause, about the whole Russian cause, which cannot be evaluated by kopecks and cannot be determined by hours. Of course, I am a simple worker and not at all that developed—but I feel where the truth is, I know what the workers need!
All what has just been said shows: the objective prerequisites for the beginning of the construction of the “Society of Synthesis” (= socialist and communist society) in Russia at the beginning of XX century—were available. All what has just been said shows that the objective preconditons for the formation of a “Synthesis Society” (a socialist and communist society) in Russia by the beginning of the 20th century re were present. That is precisely why Russia had to take on the entire burden of its creation.
Officially, the start of the creation of a ” Synthesis Society” was in October 1917. However, in practice, it really started with the publication of Stalin’s article “The Year of the Great Turning Point” in the Pravda newspaper on the the 12th Anniversary of October. There, it was announced that Russia would transition towards the construction of socialism and communism. Then, tremendous work ensued, and soon Soviet society, developed conditions that contribute to the large-scale formation of a third level of morality among people.
But first, I’d like to point out the general mood before the start of massive changes. The mood is accurately depicted in Ilya Ehrenburg’s novel. “The Grabber”, written in 1925. The hero of the novel, a young man, arrives in Moscow in 1921. He experiences “growing up in the artillery-rations atmosphere of war-time communism”, devoted in every possible way to its unambiguous skills, he (the hero of the novel—Y.K.) could not decipher the confusing image of Moscow, which was then experiencing the first year of the New Economic Policy. Our hero looked around in confusion somewhere on Petrovka and it seemed to him that he was “bypassed from the rear by an insidious enemy”. Furthermore, he wrote that “Like vernissages, citizens gathered to examine the showcases of gastronomic shops. It is difficult to describe the touching expressions of all these newfound friends: suckling pigs, whitefish, salmon. Money has ceased to be an abstract name. The hero of the novel sees around him restaurants where women in luxurious outfits and men in tailcoats are having fun—“Tailcoats…Have you ever wondered, dear readers, who would devote much time to reflecting on the world revolution, on the coming proletarian culture over the fate of these masquerade chains…? They disappeared in the seventeenth year. Four years have passed – what a year reader! There was Chicherin’s unforgettable radio broadcasts, and the battles for Perekop, and hundreds of thousands of children’s coffins. There was faith, torment, death! Who remembered then about tailcoats? It seemed that everything had been blown up to the very navel of the earth: everything had been plowed over, not a trace of the old was left. Four years have passed. And in one… weekday, these living dead people immediately jumped out of the ground”.
Soon the hero of the novel got the opportunity to get a feel of the country’s new atmosphere, so to speak, from within—he was invited to a restaurant for a “business lunch”: “Then it was one thing, but now it’s completely different!”—his interlocutor says to the hero of the novel, “am I against the revolution? It’s our breadwinner! Earlier here (in the restaurant—Yu.K.), all sorts of excellencies used to polish their arses. And now the excellencies in Constantinople are waxing boots… You don’t understand where the pulse is! Just yesterday, we resold Texil’s calico to the Electric Cooperative and all its accounts to the city trade in Baku. Four hundred “lemons” per signature, plus dinner at a restaurant… And if you get involved, we’ll turn the whole world upside down! We desperately need a party member (the hero of the novel joined the party at the front—Yu.K.). I’m not a pushover, you know. You won’t miss the benefit either! Plus, a membership card! Yes, we will buy the entire Recefeser! Chic will go—champagne in the morning instead of tea!” And when our hero decided with the help of his fists to explain that “that’s not why I shed blood in the civil war” the waiter severely appeased him with the words: “If you please, citizen, don’t make a fuss. This is not seventeenth!”
In what direction has everything changed?
I will, yet again, turn to Ilya Ehrenburg’s texts: he, then a correspondent for the “Izvestia” newspaper, described the atmosphere of 1932 as follows: “The time was extraordinary; a second flurry shook our country; but if the first—during the years of the civil war—seemed spontaneous, then … the beginning of the construction of heavy industry, which stirred up the lives of tens of millions, was determined by an exact plan, inseparable from columns of figures, subject not to explosions of passions, but to the iron laws of necessity. Again, I saw junctions filled with people and their belongings; there was a great migration taking place. The Komsomol members, enraptured with excitement, went to Magnitka or Kuznetsky; they believed that once the giant factories had been built, there would be a paradise on earth. Throughout the January frosts, iron burned their hands. It seemed that people were frozen to the core… The word “enthusiasm“, like many others, has been devalued by inflation; and you can’t pick up another word for the years of the first five-year plan, it was enthusiasm that inspired young people to daily and not very noticeable feats”.
Soon people appeared, many people who began to “feel life” in the same way as Ehrenburg’s digger from the Moscow-Donbass highway: “Yes, we are a hundred times happier than the damned capitalists! They eat, eat and die—they don’t know what they live for! Such a loser, you look—and hanged himself on a hook! And we know what we live for: we are building communism. The whole world is watching us!” Or like a girl from a small village near Tomsk: “It’s very difficult to understand everything, but I’m learning. I am going to the city. Now if you want to study—everything is open to you. I’m so happy, what else can you say!
In 1940, the “March of Enthusiasts” sounded for the first time in the Soviet film “The Shining Path”. In his words, it was as if the citizens of the USSR were offered the “quintessence” of the new system of meanings:
On working days of the great construction sites,
In cheerful rumble, in fires and ringing,
Prosper, country of heroes,
Country of dreamers, country of scientists!
There are no obstacles for us, neither on sea nor on dry land,
Neither ice nor clouds scare us.
>The flame of our soul, the banner of our country,
We will carry through worlds and ages.
Or shall we stay in place?
We are always correct in our ambitions.
Our labour is a matter of honour,
A matter of valiance and a feat of glory.
Whether you bend down at a machine,
Whether you cut into a rock
The wonderful dream, not yet clear,
>Already calls you forward.
I will add to this the conclusion drawn by Lyon Feuchtwanger based on his ten-week stay in Moscow (1937):
“In the love of the Soviet people for their Motherland, although this love is expressed… sometimes in rather naive forms, I cannot find anything reprehensible… The young people, at the cost of unheard of sacrifices, created something very great, and now they stand in front of their creation, not yet fully believing in it themselves, rejoicing at what they have achieved and wait for all others to confirm how beautiful and grandiose this achievement is“.
Finally left is Sergei Chernyakhovsky’s (a modern Russian publicist) assessment of Russia in the 1930s According to Chernyakhovsky people were required to be constantly ready for a feat, that is, to commit acts that serve something more than just their own biological existence. It was a world where a person, with each new victory over circumstances, rises to a new level of their tribal existence. A society where knowledge is more important than consumption.
Thus, the USSR managed, firstly, to test in practice a new (non-religious) mechanism of formatting a large-scale “serve others” mentality throughout its people. Secondly, large scale formations of a new person identity (the Soviet person) became possible because society was reformed with the creation of communism.
Hence, the experience of the “Red Project” can be proposed today when creating the “Continental Union”. Is this conclusion correct? No, of course! After all, the “Red Project” ended in failure!
Here, I must make a semantic pause for a comment of fundamental importance. The fact is that we really do not have the moral right to offer today when creating the “Continental Union” the experience of implementing the “Red Project” in the USSR. After all, the work, in fact, on the project ended in failure, and the country that carried it out ceased to exist. This, among other things, means that the previously-mentioned “Order” has won. After all, it managed to solve the task it set out for itself—to discredit before the world community the idea of a non-religious mechanism to format the third level of morality among people in the course of building a socialist and communist society.
How exactly was this discredit?
The “Order” decided to use the fact that it was planned to begin socialist construction in Russia, one of the most backward European countries. This unobjectionable fact, however, was introduced by the “Order” into an extremely peculiar “context”. The following then logic arose for the practice of political struggle:
- Russia, a country of peripheral capitalism, is a mix of extreme contradictions;
- The Bolsheviks, therefore, can seize power relatively easily, but they can keep it ONLY with the immediate state support of the proletariat of at least a few leading European countries, whose parties will come to power;
- If support does not follow, the coup in Russia is doomed, because the small Russian proletariat and its party will find themselves face to face with the hostile peasant masses and in a hostile capitalist encirclement.
- This means that the revolution in Russia is nothing more than a signal for the beginning of the period of socialist revolutions in the developed capitalist countries.
In layman’s terms for Russian workers: “Russia is just brushwood in the fire of the world revolution!”
This conclusion was supposed to lead Russia to a national catastrophe. Why?
Simply put, the “Order” was aware of the fact that there is no immediate revolutionary situation in the West and therefore, the “fire of the world revolution” will not flare up! Thus, the resources Russia aimed at “inciting” it, will be wasted, and the country itself will, at best, be bled dry and become a raw material appendage of several world powers, and at worst, it will cease to exist, disintegrating into pieces-protectorates of neighboring countries.
And most importantly: the world community will never again accept the idea of a non-religious mechanism of large-scale formation of the third level of morality among people by building a socialist and communist society.
This plan could be thwarted in only one way. Power in the country shortly after the October coup should be “intercepted” by a person who would be able to “shut down” the perception of “Russia being brushwood!” There was such a man: Stalin, who outplayed the “Order”, with his personal cost of this victory being known only to him.
As a result, the world community, firstly, witnessed the practical “launch” of the mechanism of large-scale formation of people’s attitude to “serve others”; and secondly, the world community got the opportunity to see the first fruits of this mechanism. But then one day, Stalin was gone and soon the “Order” went on the offensive, and won.
However, the Order has not yet realized that this is but a victory in battle. Not in war.
I will demonstrate how October 1917 became the trigger of a “Logical Chain of Consequences”, which first made socialism in the USSR the “barracks”, and then led to collapse. However, I do not at all claim that this collapse was predetermined. Afterall, if a person of Stalin’s scale were again at the head of the country once again. But history does not have a subjunctive mood. So, let’s see how it all happened in reality.
“Logical Chain of Consequences” #1
For the purpose of this article, the main difference between classical Marxism and the “Marxism of the Red Project” lies in the solution of the question of the proletariat’s seizure of power in Russia. As is known, classical Marxism considers the seizure of power by the workers’ party and the beginning of socialist transformations as the outcome of a very long capitalist development. On the contrary, the “Red Project” proceeded from the fact that such a seizure (I emphasize any near-term aggravation of the situation in Russia) is the STARTING POINT of such transformations. The “victorious proletariat” will first systematically begin those social transformations that capitalism contributed to on a spontaneous basis (and therefore at enormous cost), and then move on to the construction of socialism. This is still a theory.
In fact, October 1917 “threw” Russia into the system of new ideas and proposed models of behavior and actions for the new regime that broke the centries-old structure of the country and were far from obvious to the majority of people.
But, as Simon Frank wrote, the “old world” persisted. So what did the Bolsheviks do? Did they have a choice? The only question was to either stay in power in order to destroy the “internal class enemy”, or lose everything! In September 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a resolution on the “Red Terror”.
The explanations given by the chairman of the All-Ukrainian Emergency Commission Martin Latsis are well-known: “In the struggle that is waged not for life, but for death, there can be no half measures … The sword of revolution falls heavily and crushingly … For us there are no and cannot be old foundations morality and “humanity” invented by the bourgeoisie to oppress and exploit the “lower classes”. Our morality is new, our humanity is absolute… Everything is allowed for us, because we were the first in the world to raise the sword not in the name of enslavement and oppression of anyone, and in the name of emancipation from oppression and slavery of all.“
Now, I will quote a very harsh fragment from the work “Red Terror in the Years of the Civil War” (ed. Yuri G. Felshtinsky and Georgy I. Chernyavsky). I suggest that you, friends, develop your own attitude to what it says;
“The Bolsheviks began a violent course against almost the entire peasantry, relying on rural outcasts—drunkards, lazybones, rogues, who were adorned with the regalia of the “rural proletariat”. The entire bourgeoisie, including the “bourgeois intelligentsia”, that is, almost the entire stratum of educated, economically active people who bore the burden of the country’s economic progress and were the bearers of its culture, was declared a mortal enemy.
The “sub-voices” of the former exploiters included the “working aristocracy”, that is, qualified cadres of industrial workers, whose layer in pre-revolutionary Russia was steadily expanding, as well as “exploitative servants”—hired workers in the trade network, public catering, domestic servants, etc. The most unsettled, unskilled and prone to base feelings part of the industrial and construction workers, as well as laborers, that is, the same marginalized, but living in cities and workers’ settlements—it was in this layer that the Bolsheviks actually saw the embodiment of the “proletariat”, when they moved from naked abstractions to the actual implementation of their policies.“
Of course, even in the midst of the Red Terror, not everyone could be a “performer”. However, the leadership of the country then (and in subsequent years) very often needed those who could. Therefore, as Evgenia Albats writes, the “Red Terror” launched the mechanism of “negative selection” of future leaders of different levels. Additionally, according to Maksim Gorky, the population of Russia was gradually accustomed “to the calm extermination of their neighbor.” 
“Logical chain of consequences” #2
Simultaneously, the authorities implemented the most important program positions. Here is a fragment from the 2nd Program of the Russian Communist Party (1919): “The October Revolution … has realized the dictatorship of the proletariat, which began … to build the foundations of a communist society.” Also, “the current task of the Soviet government is to steadily continue to replace trade … with the DISTRIBUTION of products organized on a national scale.”
1920 was the year of the struggle for “direct product exchange” and the expansion of various types of free consumption. As a result, almost all monetary transactions within the state economy were either canceled or lost any market meaning. By the end of 1920, the real monthly average wage in the country was almost 93%, and cash payments for housing, all utilities, public transport, medicine, and consumer goods were completely abolished.
In order to force the peasants to follow the new rules, that is, to “hand over” (and not sell) grain, potatoes, meat and other products, a “prodrazverstka” (i.e. forced withdrawal of grain and other products from peasants at the established product rate and state prices) was introduced.
In the spring of 1918 “The People’s Commissariat for Food” received the right to use armed force to seize grain and set about organizing a paramilitary “Food Requisition Army”. In June, the first food detachments appeared, of which food battalions and food regiments were formed (by the autumn of 1920, there were more than 77 thousand fighters in the Food Army).
In fact, as Vladimir Beshanov notes, the authorities simply declared enemies of everyone who had surplus grain, who did not take it to wholesale points, but wanted to sell it without fail. That is, all the peasants, except the poorest, who had nothing to “hide”. These lumpen were enlisted as allies of the proletariat, organized according to the decree of June 11, 1918, into “committees of the poor“, gave them power and allowed, in fact, to rob everyone else. Committees of the poor were “strongholds, organs of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the countryside.” The main enemies, of course, were declared those who had something to take away—the “glutted” kulaks—”the most brutal, the rudest, the wildest exploiters.”
Food detachments moved into the village, but under the protection of German, Hungarian, Austrian and Chinese “internationalists”. That’s when uprisings exploded for the first time.
In the summer of 1920, the infamous Tambov (“Antonov”) uprising began; in January 1921, a large uprising of peasants unfolded in the Tyumen province, quickly spreading to the grain regions of Western Siberia (an armed group of rebels of over 40 thousand people captured eight cities and several railway stations). Smaller uprisings numbered in the hundreds: in Ukraine and Belarus, in the North Caucasus and the Volga region, in the Urals and Altai, in Central Russia and in the North. The main slogans of the rebels were: “Do not fulfill the surplus”, “Do not give away bread”. At the end of February 1921, the situation became even more serious: the soldier uprising of the Kronstadt garrison began, supported by the crews of part of the Baltic Fleet. Some of the main slogans of the rebels included: “Soviets without communists”, “Down with the requisitioning”, and “Freedom of trade”. The 30 thousand strong army of the rebels captured the main base of the Baltic Fleet, 2 battleships, many other ships and 140 coastal defense guns. Such actions are known to have been brutally suppressed by army units that used military poison gases and hostage-taking.
In the spring of 1921, at the 10th Party Congress, a cardinal decision was made on the transition to a “new economic policy”. However, in from 1917 to 1921, people’s attitude towards power could not help but develop largely based on violence, provoking backlash.
“Logical Chain of consequences” #3
Not long after October 1917, a significant part of the funds from the Russian budget began to be allocated to the direct support of the European Communist Parties, “the subjective factor of the world revolution” (in particular, through the Comintern, which was created in 1919).
According to Alexander Eliseev, “the Bolsheviks set as their goal the creation of a “terrestrial republic of Soviets”, and the true center of Bolshevik power was located precisely in the structures of the Comintern. For a world republic, a world revolution was necessary. For the world revolution it was necessary to establish Bolshevism in Europe. In the 1920’s, Russia lived for world revolution… The money taken from the church went to help foreign Communist parties. – A vivid example is in March 1922, when the budget of the Comintern was 2.5 million rubles in gold. By April 1922, this amount increased to 3.15 million gold rubles (the Soviet gold ruble, in terms of its gold content, corresponded to 1/10 of the tsarist ten-ruble gold coin and was equal, in gold parity, to 0.5 US dollars).
The Comintern also had its own branch of intelligence, called the Department of International Communications (OMS). At the disposal of the OMS was a powerful agent network. The intelligence of the GPU and the Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff were instructed to assist the agents of the OMS in everything. Additionally, the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Trade and the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs were “harnessed” to the chariot of the Comintern.
In 1923, perhaps the last large-scale attempt was made to kindle the “fire of the world revolution” in Germany. According to the words of Alexander Kolpakidi and Elena Prudnikova, by 1923, the German economy entered a severe crisis; factories closed, the number of unemployed grew to 5 million, inflation reached incredible proportions, and food riots broke out. The influence of the communists grew sharply. That’s when Soviet Russia, or rather the Comintern, came into action.
Just who wasn’t in the building of the Soviet embassy from August to September 1923A group of emissaries of the Central Committee (Pyatakov, Rudzutak, Radek, Krestinsky) and the military went to Germany, including famous “red generals” such as Yakir and Uborevich; also a group of specialists in covert operations were sent there. Soviet instructors were located openly, without any conspiracy, in the building of the Soviet representative office in Berlin. The premises of the Soviet embassy most of all resembled Smolny in the October-revolution days.
Russia was also under preparation. Trotsky canceled demobilization in the Red Army, and the transfer of cavalry to the Polish border began. Dry cargo ships were pulled into the Petrograd port, loading them with food for the German comrades, and trains were being prepared. The country was mobilized those who were fluent in German. On October 4, 1923, the Politburo approved the date for the start of the armed uprising: the German revolution was to start on November 9. However, when checking the readiness, it turned out that the Entente countries somehow turned out to be aware of the secret plans of the Bolsheviks. Additionally, it turned out that in Germany they acquired much less weapons than they spent money; their “12 divisions ready for action”, as it turned out, existed only on the paper.
Thus, the “world revolution” did not take place. By 1925, an industrial boom began in the West, which caused a rapid increase in the population’s standard of living, thus a revolutionary situation could no longer be expected in the near future.
So, Russia was in a TRAP.
As Carl Kautsky wrote back in 1918, “the Bolshevik revolution was based on the premise that it would become the starting point of the general European revolution… The European revolution, having carried out and strengthened socialism in itself, will become a tool for removing all the obstacles that, thanks to the economic backwardness of Russia, stand in the way of carrying out socialist production in it. All this was logical and sufficiently substantiated, as soon as the premise was accepted that the Russian revolution would inevitably cause the European one. But what happens when the last one doesn’t come?
Stalin’s circle managed to escape entrapment by deploying the strategy of “building socialism in a country with a backward economy” The whole life of the country from that moment on went into the only possible mobilization scenario with this option.
What is it like to live in a country following a mobilization scenario?
Olga Greig wrote that Stalin did not spare either himself or the many millions of Soviet people, dooming them to lack of rights, leaving them to forced, slave labor in camps, on collective farms and in gigantic industries; everything to create a super-powerful economic and military base for the last, decisive battle.
“Logical Chain of Consequences” #4
Up until Stalin’s circle of power took charge, the task of the day for the leadership of the USSR and Comintern was to ignite world revolution, headed by Trotsky and his associates. Now Stalin’s group was to take the lead.
Stalin’s circle, among other things, had to urgently (and radically) change the nature of the relationship of the CPSU, particularly with the Comintern itself; after all, it was created solely for the direct preparation of the “world revolution”.
In 1925 Stalin proposed fundamentally new and important power logic, during the Plenum of the Central Committee:
- The USSR radically reduces the funds and resources directed, strictly, to help the communist parties of Europe;
- Only a new war (European or world) will exacerbate everyday economic problems in neighboring countries so much that a “revolutionary situation” is guaranteed to arise in them;
- The USSR will render direct military assistance to the proletarian parties of these countries in the matter of seizing power;
- All funds that will be found must be directed to the creation of heavy industry and an army equipped with the latest science and technology 
Logically, Trotsky and his associates actively opposed these ideas n Here is an excerpt from Trotsky’s letter “To the Soviet Workers” (April 251940, 4 months before his death):
The old Bolshevik Party and the Third International have decayed and rotted. Honest advanced revolutionaries organized the Fourth International abroad. Its goal is to spread the October Revolution throughout the world and at the same time revive the USSR by purging it of parasitic bureaucracy. This can only be achieved through an uprising of workers, peasants, Red Army and Red Navy men against the new caste of oppressors and parasites… will lead the whole world to new revolutionary explosions. The world revolution will again awaken the courage and firmness of the working masses of the USSR and undermine the bureaucratic strongholds of the Stalinist caste. We must prepare for this moment through persistent, systematic revolutionary work. It is about the fate of the country, the future of the people, our children and grandchildren. DOWN WITH CAIN STALIN AND HIS CAMARILLA!
Generally, the following scheme of views of the opposition of the late 1930s emerged:
Without a world revolution, the USSR, even as a territorial integrity, will inevitably perish.
Before it’s too late, everything needs to start from the beginning.
The first step involves “clearing the field” and a coup d’état “against the background” of the artificially caused defeat of the USSR in the war against fascism, for which it would be easy to blame Stalin personally.
To ensure support from Germany (without this it would be naive to count on success), serious territorial concessions will be needed.
The struggle of the opposition (in particular, the military opposition) against Stalin’s circle reached its climax literally on the eve of the Great Patriotic War and in its first days, when, according to a number of domestic experts, an attempt was made to take a STATE COUP.
English military historian and theorist Basil H. Liddell Hart cites the following statement of the German Field Marshal von Kleist: “Hopes for victory were mainly based on the opinion that the invasion would cause a political upheaval in Russia … Very high hopes were placed on the fact that Stalin would be overthrown by his own people if he suffered a heavy defeat at the front. This belief was nurtured by the Fuhrer’s political advisers”.
I think that the very specific nature of these expectations to a certain extent testifies to the existence of ties and even to the coordination of efforts between representatives of the highest echelons of power in Germany—and those who were preparing a coup in the USSR.
I should note that the hopes I mentioned to von Kleist did not prove unfounded; on June 22, 1941, the front was opened in front of the Wehrmacht units—in Brest and Kaunas. Essentially, this meant that the coup has begun.
This is a big topic that is actively explored by Russian authors today. I’m here only to say the following.
In Brest, long before the summer of 1941, the 6th and 42nd Rifle Divisions of the 4th Army of the Western Front were almost in full force (and locked in a mousetrap) in the perimeter of the fortress. The 22nd Panzer Division was located 3 kilometers from the state border, almost at the range of the queue of a German heavy machine gun.
At 4 o’clock in the morning on June 22, soldiers and officers of these two rifle divisions, as General Leonid Sandalov (then Chief of Staff of the 4th Army) emphasizes in his memoirs, turned into “heroic defenders of the Brest Fortress” simply because they COULD NOT get out of it and start operating in their defense line in accordance with the combat schedule. Not all the tankers of the 22nd division even managed to run to their cars.
As a result: there was a “hole” of at least 40 kilometers—and the 2nd Panzer Group of Colonel General H. Guderian rushed into it.
The Kaunas direction (which was in the most vulnerable place, at the junction of the North-Western and Western fronts) for some reason was covered by the 29th Lithuanian (i.e. National) rifle territorial corps. In two of his divisions, nearly in the evening of June 22nd mass desertion of Lithuanian soldiers to the side of the enemy began. The next goes without saying: Russian commanders and political instructors were murdered, military equipment was disabled, and Russian soldiers were being shot “in the back” by other units of the Red Army.
Here, too, there was a huge hole in the defense. The 3rd Tank Group of Colonel-General G. Goth moved towards Vilnius.
On June 28, the tanks of Guderian and Goth met east of Minsk (a week later). The main forces of the Western Front, which occupied the defense in the main direction (to Moscow), practically ceased to exist, having lost more than 400 thousand people out of 672,000. On July 16, German troops reached Smolensk.
It is clear that the appearance of socialism in the USSR could not but take shape as a consequence (direct or indirect) of the economic, demographic, social and political losses suffered by the Soviet Union during the War. Also, loss moral paid its toll: they say that the best die before anyone else in a war. I will clarify: those who have reached the third level of morality die before anyone else in a war. The total price of our victory was decisively determined precisely by the catastrophe of June 22, 1941.
“Logical Chain of Consequences” #5
Due to unavoidable factors, after October 1917 Russia gradually formed a very specific structure of power.
The main point is this; even before October 1917, Lenin believed that one of the most important conditions for the success of a future revolution in Russia was the formation of the so-called “subjective factor”, or the “ideological education of the proletarian masses” of the country.
But here, according to Lenin, there is a subtlety; “class, political consciousness can be brought to the worker only from outside… the economic struggle.”
This means that the formation of a “CLASS position” among worker does not happen “automatically”, just in the course of their daily struggle for their economic rights.
In the course of such a struggle, only the so-called “trade-unionist consciousness” arises—a very limited consciousness of people entering into a “purchase and sale” relationship (with the owner, for example, of a factory). Here, it comes only about more favorable conditions for the sale of their labor force, and nothing more! Questions pertaining to political regime change does not even arise, for this topic is beyond the scope of the entire Trade-unionist consciousness.
As for the formation of a conscious class and worker political position, one needs, an external force, a certain subject of ideological education. According to Lenin, the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (Bolsheviks) should have become such a subject.
I ask you to pay special attention to this: according to Lenin, the educator of the working class in Russia should be the Bolshevik Party who acts as the vanguard of this class. It had to be that way.
Now to examine everyday Russian practice.
The party, wrote Lenin, “should consist mainly of people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activities; in an autocratic country, the more we narrow down the membership of such an organization to the participation of only members who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activities and have received professional training in the art of fighting the political police, the more difficult it will be to “catch” such an organization, and maximum secrecy is necessary for such an organization.”
Thus, everyday Russian practice has made radical adjustments: the educator of the Russian working class is no longer the entire party but rather its leading core.
Later on, the political system that developed in the USSR remained “twisted” around party secretaries and the highest echelons of the party apparatus; only these people have true information about the state of affairs in the country and in the world, are engaged in strategic planning, control party money and press, and decide staffing issues. It, of course, predetermined the nature of the “political atmosphere” in the country as a whole.
Another factor had also “worked”, a factor which Yuri Mukhin wrote about. On the eve of October 1917, the Bolshevik Party had about 350 thousand members; this is a lot. But such a number, nevertheless, was not enough to staff the administrative apparatus of a huge country (even if for a second we assume that all these 350 thousand had the necessary education and experience for such work). Not surprisingly, the Bolsheviks “inherited” the bulk of the administrative staff from the Russian Empire. As a result, it turned out that the government (the Council of People’s Commissars) issues decrees on the “building of socialism”, and thousands of officials who should have implemented these decrees, for various reasons, sabotage them. Thus arose a vital need to control the state apparatus of Russia. But technically, how can one control it? At first, they tried to do so with the help of “commissars”, i.e. people whom the government trusted. But there were few of them, moreover, they often did not have support in those structures that they were supposed to control. In addition, the commissars themselves needed help. So another solution found: to create party committees in all the “managed structures” WHICH, IN TURN, WOULD BE MANAGED FROM THE CENTER. Thus, the entire country soon came under the strict control of party organizations at various levels.
Is it good or bad for the country?
During the period of “mobilization” (in the pre-war years, during the Great Patriotic War, several years after the Victory), this situation made it possible to achieve an extreme concentration of forces and resources, which was vital. However, later, in the “quieter” years in the USSR, a phenomenon called the “power of the partapparat” or “nomenklatura power” developed. The highest party apparatchiks (who have considerable privileges and benefits) were vested with supervisory powers, but in reality they were not really responsible for anything. So, the rhetorical question is what type of people in such conditions began to make a party career? The consequences of this (another one) is “negative selection” and are we not reaping them to this day?
To add on, there is one more factor that played a fatal role in the fate of the Red Project.
After October 1917, there was a literal, straightforward interpretation of one of the main (I’m sure, not entirely correct) provisions of the Marxist theory that the “engine” and guarantor of revolutionary changes in society is the working class.
This practice led to terrible results. After all, the overwhelming majority of representatives of the working class in Russia on the eve of October possessed only the second level of morality, the “core” of which, let me remind you, is to satisfy the interests of only their families and their closest relatives. Could selflessness arise on such a basis, readiness to sacrifice for the sake of the country, for the sake of ideals?
Additionally, the education of the majority of the representatives of the working class, to put it mildly, was not enough.
According to Vladimir Beshanov, even at the beginning of 1941, out of the 579.581 people on the payroll of the command and command staff of the army and navy: 7.1% had a higher military education; 55.9%; had a secondary military education; 24.6% had an accelerated military education, and 12.4% (71.868 people) had no military education at all.
Yes, the Soviet government found itself compelled to widely involve the best representatives of the tsarist intelligentsia (scientists, production managers, military specialists, etc.) to cooperate with. Yet they remained as an” alien class”, not worthy of full trust! The proletarian (or the poor peasant), although he reads in syllables, is “close to the class”! How many dramatic (and tragic) situations arose in this connection both in the first years of Soviet power and decades later?
To summarize what has been said, in the words of the famous Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas: In bourgeois revolutions, he emphasizes, the social forces that were to form a new society already existed BEFORE the revolution broke out. The revolution in Russia was the first in history that HAD TO CREATE a new society and new social forces. Therefore, in the West, bourgeois revolutions, after all the “deviations” and “retreats”, inevitably led to democracy, while in Russia they inevitably led to despotism.
In other words, neither the collapse of the Red Project nor the collapse of the USSR, as I tried to show, do not refute the fact that there is an extra-religious mechanism for the formation of the third level of morality in people based on the attitude to “serve others”. Moreover, the vision of the latest Russian history proposed in these notes just makes it possible to use both positive and negative aspects of the experience of the Soviet Union to implement the “Continental Union” project.
In this case, it is up to Russia to start the project. However, we must avoid “stepping on the same rake”. Thus, the full realization of the communist ideal, as is known, is impossible without the abolition of private ownership of the means of production. However, the degree of maturity of objective conditions and readiness of mass consciousness must be taken into account. That is why the “social market economy” model worked out in Western Europe should become the beginning.
Yet, in order to keep the process of forming of the third level of morality going, we need to work, with the strategic goal of realizing the communist ideal in mind. Otherwise, there is a risk of remaining in the format of “consumer socialism” forever.
1. Though there are contradictions between certain members of the anti-Russia coalition, they do not affect the strategic decisions made by the “Order”. These decisions include forcing Russia to start hostilities, promote Russia to continue them, and delay the operation as much as possible by shipping military supplies to Ukraine (to have Russia bleed out).
2. Listed as a foreign agent in Russia.
3. Gradually after the end of the “Red Terror” in the USSR, a system of political censorship was established. This continued, however, by other methods – an earlier started business. Some of its tasks included preliminary and subsequent control over all types of printed and broadcasting works; control over the import of foreign literature into the USSR and the export of Soviet literature from the USSR abroad; control over the information of foreign correspondents from the USSR abroad; permitting and prohibiting the publication of books and magazines in the USSR; publication of lists of politically harmful literature subject to seizure.
4. A new large-scale war, indeed, “was on the agenda” for the Versailles world order, which had fixed results of the First World War in the treaties and agreements of 1919-1920, was already failing. This was due to the fact that the entire burden of the post-war reorganization by the victorious countries was shifted to the defeated countries. As V. Beshanov notes, the Treaty of Versailles was not an act of establishing peace better than the pre-war one, but a tool for punishing the losers, primarily Germany. This treaty programmed all the crises and conflicts of the next twenty years. It is no coincidence that lust for “revenge” grew stronger in the defeated countries. In Germany, these sentiments enabled Hitler to rally the entire country around him.
From our partner RIAC
China’s Proxy War in Ukraine
During the Cold War, The Soviet Union and the United States clashed in numerous wars for global supremacy through proxies around the world -Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Angola being most notable. Today, Russia has been relegated to the junior proxy position with China now taking the lead for the East to dethrone the US as the reigning force in the West. Russia’s invasion into Ukraine is now America’s and China’s proxy war.
The war in Ukraine is a small nick on the sidebar chart in China’s 100-year plan to become the world’s ruling superpower. While the Russian invasion into Ukraine was never part of the design, China pivoted and capitalized on a gold-plated cloak and dagger snare to further expedite America’s military and economic decline and its ability to exert its power in the latter part of China’s blueprint.
In the three weeks leading up to Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering his forces into Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted Putin at the Beijing Winter Olympics in a meeting that concluded with a 5,000-word joint statement declaring a “no limits” partnership between the two nations.
Yang Jiechi, foreign affairs chief of the Communist Party declared, “The Chinese side is willing to work with the Russian side to continuously implement high-level strategic cooperation between the two countries, safeguard common interests and promote the development of the international order in a more just and reasonable direction. The relationship between the two countries has always been on the right track, and both sides firmly support each other on issues relating to their core interests.”
Ahead of the two leaders meeting again during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan from September 15 to 16, Li Zhanshu, the CCP’s No. 3 official met with Putin in Vladivostok on September 9. Li was quoted as saying, “We see that the United States and its NATO allies are expanding their presence near the Russian borders, seriously threatening national security and the lives of Russian citizens. We fully understand the necessity of all the measures taken by Russia aimed at protecting its key interests, we are providing our assistance.”
The assistance is most evident in China disregarding Western sanctions and bankrolling the Russian economy to continue the war with the purchasing of discounted oil and gas. China’s crude oil imports from Russia has sored 55% from a year earlier, while liquified natural gas imports are up 22% for the year. These actions presented an opportune moment for China to indirectly attack the United States by further bleeding out the US treasury and depleting weaponry required to fight another war while creating a boon for Chinese refineries expanding their margins on heavily discounted oil.
Russia has now taken back the top ranking of suppliers to the world’s oil importers, indicating that Moscow is able to find buyers for its oil despite Western sanctions. It should be noted that India, who purchases most of its military arms from Russia, has stepped in to fill the gap of Russian oil cut off to Europe with the greatest growth of oil imports increasing from less than a million tonnes in the first quarter of the year to nearly 8.5 million tonnes of oil in the second quarter. While India’s actions may be out economic expediency, one must question where their allegiance lies whereas the axis line of support running from China, Iran, and North Korea is not in question.
While Xi may respect the legitimacy of Russia’s actions to protect their national interests and security in the face of external forces, he has a greater interest in having a bird’s eye view of China’s two greatest threats inflicting considerable costs on the war -human life, their economies, and perhaps most importantly the psychological exhaustion of the people’s will to fight once China decides to uphold their territorial claims to Taiwan and elsewhere. Xi’s indirect approach against the US through its Russian proxy became a necessary evil to see his two main rivals dislocate each other.
The 100-year marathon requires a strategy to find the means to subdue the enemy through a patient maze of distractions and tactics that will eventually overwhelm America’s will to resist with the smallest amount of economic and human loss to itself. In the art of war, Sun Tzu’s principle to avoid large losses was clear: The perfection of strategy would be, therefore, to produce a decision without any serious fighting.
Moving directly against the US in a war is unpredictable and would cause considerable domestic and internal strife, and therefore a flexible plan was devised like that of sprawling branches bearing fruit in numerous directions. The goal is to create conditions where the US is forced to conclude defeat is inevitable before shots are fired.
Rather than facing raw power, China cajoled America to align their economies following President Nixon’s seismic 1972 visit known as “the week that changed the world” and largely altered the balance of power between the US, China, and the Soviet Union.
While Nixon, a shrewd strategist, sought to leverage the Chinese as a powerful new ally in its efforts to thwart the Soviets, the CCP had their own reasons to open relations with America. China was worried that the heavily militarized Soviet neighbor was planning to expand their territory across Asia.
Nixon’s intentions to pit China against the Soviet Union in creating the third corner in the triangle of power essentially became the accelerant that ignited China’s silk road to Superpower status. The first order of business would be a supporting role to neutralize the Superpower on its northern border while patiently understanding their American partner’s weak points.
The US became smug in its reigning position by believing China required a special trading nation status with minimal import duties in their naïve notion to democratize a country stuck in the economic backwoods. Fast forward in the 100-year plan and China has nearly caught up to the American economy following the 2008 Financial Crisis, the compounding debt ceiling collapses, and overextending themselves in multiple theatres of war throughout the Middle East and Asia.
China’s next indirect tactical move was to purchase large amounts of American debt where they could now peg the yuan to the American dollar; and subsequently reap the benefits with global markets willing to trade in a stable Chinese currency. China’s purchase of American treasuries further inflated the dollar and in return provided American corporations and consumers more buying power to purchase massive amounts of cheap Chinese goods to supercharge their economy. The West became reliant on China’s huge and inexpensive labor market to supply the world with virtually all their demands in finished products, medicines, technology, and raw materials for production.
The windfall provided the CCP with the capability to all but buy out the world’s poorest country’s natural resources, build out trading routes, condense their mass population into manufacturing hubs, facilitate the currency markets, and hold multi-national corporations and countries hostage to one’s future prosperity by setting the rules of engagement under the domineering rule of the regime.
China now has more purchasing power than the United States, and by 2030 they are expected to surpass the US and become the dominate economic superpower. The hammer came down hard following the unleashing of the coronavirus across the planet; where the US wildly printing money for the American Rescue Plan and for the war in Ukraine causing a merciless spike in the CPI inflation rate that will choke America’s ability to service the incredible debt load. One can add the self-inflicted wounds and distractions of the acutely divided political discourse throughout the country, crime and drug issues, and an increasingly inferior education system failing to produce the skills required in the future.
On military readiness, China is well on their way to compete with the US. Their build-out of naval bases, advanced technology, and training exercises has increased their capability where it is now likely too late for America to declare war. On the other side, the US military budget is failing to support necessary growth and maintenance. The missions abroad; whether the failed withdraw from Afghanistan leaving a vacuum for China to fill or the billions of dollars being sunk into Ukraine, are dragging on American resolve. The US naval warships now number only 296 with 39 scheduled for decommissioning whereas China has increased their fleet to 355 ships and expanding to 420. China’s capability is now far reaching with technology to attack America’s electrical grid or satellites providing eyes in the sky, and missile advancements to take out American carriers.
Is America’s fate as a declining Superpower no different than the historical cycle of Superpower predecessors that eventually overextend and collapse under their own weight as it was with the Soviet Union or the British Empire? Is China’s 100-year plan to subdue the enemy succeeding while Russia and the US deplete themselves in Ukraine? Will America rally itself to find a way back or is it too late?
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