Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Vladimir Union, the first leader of the Soviet Union, the world’s first communist state. While Lenin’s successor Joseph Stalin has few modern Western defenders (even as the Russian government has tried to rehabilitate him), Lenin still has many admirers among Western leftists. They tend to ignore the great evil he did or blame it on Stalin.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Most of the cruel oppressive features of Soviet totalitarianism actually began under Lenin. Stalin merely perpetuated them on a larger scale.
Let’s take a little history quiz. Which of the following features of the Soviet state were first introduced under Lenin, and which by Stalin:
1. The Gulag system of slave labor camps
2. The Cheka (secret police agency eventually known as the KGB)
3. Collectivization of agriculture leading to mass famines
4. Mass executions with little or no due process
5. A one-party state, with bans on all opposition parties (including socialist ones)
6. Suppression of freedom of speech and religion
7. Confiscation of private businesses, including even small businesses
8. Invading other nations in order to spread communism there
9. State control of the media for purposes of promoting regime propaganda, and…