The BackShop Journal

A Web Magazine of Arts, Culture and Orthodox Christian Spirituality

A Short Rumination on a Significant Event that Took Place 100 Years Ago

Exactly 100 years ago, Lenin, Trotsky, and their Bolshevik wing of the Social Democratic Labour Party were preparing for the final strike, the October coup that brought suffering and death to millions of people in Russia and the Soviet Union. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was supported by the German Keiser and his government, and most likely financed by the richest European bankers. Even at the time, Russian intelligence knew about their plans, but the Russian Provisional Government, with freemason Alexander Kerensky at its head, refused to act. According to most reliable sources, the Germans paid Lenin more than 9 tons of gold for the purpose of carrying out a revolution against their wartime enemy. With all that money in their hands, the Bolsheviks were able organise a large-scale propaganda machinery, workers' strikes and anti-war unrest that finally brought the shaky government and the Russian giant to its knees.

The story of the fall of the last Russian czar is tragic. It is still more tragic that almost all of Russian intelligentsia supported it. Even the military heads of the Russian White movements were anti-royalists; they started the devastating Civil War not because they supported the Emperor, but because they immediately perceived the diabolic nature of the new government. Most philosophers, historians, poets and politicians soon regretted their rebellious ideas and cries for a change, but it was too late. Russia had fallen into godlessness, terror and devastation for the next 75 years. The founding of the Soviet Union came down in history as the greatest failed experiment of the 20th century.

The new political and ideological creation buried not only its citizens, but an entire admirable culture on a historic rise. The Bolsheviks wanted to erase all of history, except the traces of the struggles against the czar and the bourgeoisie, and to start everything anew. They tried to obliterate everything related to the Byzantine origins of the Russian culture, especially the Church, and launched the praise of the new man who belongs to the class-conscious international proletariat and not to a nation or a common historical and social tradition.

Karl Marx, concerned solely about who possesses the means of production, did not address arts and culture in his treatises, and the Bolshevik ideologues were confused at first what to do with the existing body of literature and philosophy. They did kill a lot of intellectuals who were openly against the regime, but they still allowed some forms of expression until Socialist Realism was proclaimed to be the only acceptable genre in 1929. Banishment of Mikhail Bulgakov and Boris Pasternak and the appearance of novels like "Cement" and "How the Steal was Tempered" followed. Dostoyevsky, with his philosophy of freedom that leads to sin that leads to Christian repentance lost his deserved place in school readings, and Leo Tolstoy, anathematised by the Russian Orthodox Church, albeit a religious count, became the celebrated critic of serfdom, the old regime and the official church. For generations to come, the only criterion in interpreting a work of art was the social consciousness of the author and the political/historical context in which it was created. As pure materialists, communists had no place in their utopia not only for religion, but for genuine art as well.

Surprisingly, after the fall of the Berlin wall and the discovery of the GULAG, Marxism has not lost its appeal in the West, especially in academic circles. True, it has undergone some modifications, but it remains as the most powerful, sometimes even sole means for fighting the dominant liberal capitalism. Both ideologies, however, have their origins in a purely materialistic worldview. Champions of capitalism favour open competition for resources and money, and those of communism look for individual privileges under the guise of collectivism. They both deny inherent human urges for spiritual life and true beauty as obsolete and absurd.

In the political spectrum, the far right and the far left always merge. In his thirst for power and sacrilegious annihilation, Lenin would have probably supported modern liberal capitalism just as vehemently and ruthlessly. He would have changed his guise a hundred times only if it satisfied his urge for supremacy and his appetite for destruction.

Svetozar Postic

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