A century after the Red October Revolution, I am satisfied with the collapse of the Soviet Union and that its communist government has wound up in the landfill.
But what a surprise it was to witness the decline of the Soviet Union beginning in 1985, and then its implosion on Dec. 31, 1991. Not that Russia is any better off today, because of Vladimir Putin’s suppression of rights to a democratically elected government, freedom of the press, etc.
However, there was nothing grandiose or legitimate about a political system that used murder and torture to maintain itself for nearly 75 years, so let’s look at some of the darkest moments that came out of the Red October Revolution.
It all began Oct. 25, 1917 in the Old Russian calendar, or on Nov. 7, 1917 in the modern calendar. Lenin, Stalin and their Bolshevik allies plunged the country into a civil war that lasted into the early 1920s, causing millions of deaths and untold suffering. I also have no doubt that Lenin ordered the murder of the Romanov family, which took place in Ekaterinburg on July 17, 1918.
Of course, Stalin was far worse than Lenin. Stalin ruled the USSR from 1924 until his death in 1953. During those 29 years, tens of millions of people were imprisoned and/or executed in gulags.
Twenty million people died during the Second World War alone, many of them at the hands of Hitler, of course.
But Stalin also decided the fate of many. For him, they were nothing more than cannon fodder to defeat Hitler and the Nazis.
Following Stalin’s death, the Soviet government continued to maintain its empire in Eastern Europe, trying to legitimize its occupation of those countries under the Warsaw Pact. From 1953, until its demise in 1991, the Soviet government tried to spread communism to other regions of the world, such as Central and South America, Africa, Afghanistan and Asia.
Fortunately, the U.S. and other Western governments intervened and sometimes succeeded in stopping it.
The U.S. intervention in Vietnam was unsuccessful, of course, but President Ronald Reagan certainly helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union with his tough stance and military buildup in the 1980s.
There are some countries – some Stalinist-era, Cold War holdovers – that should give up the fallacy of communism. Now that Fidel Castro is dead, the Cuban government should renounce communism entirely and allow free and democratic elections, a free press, etc.
Kim Jong-un and his North Korean government are the most atrocious in terms of human rights violations and I applaud President Donald Trump for standing up to his threats to use nuclear weapons against other countries.
I don’t want war to breakout with North Korea, especially considering the potential harm to civilian populations on both sides of the Korean Peninsula and in other countries. Nonetheless, it’s time to put an end to the gorilla-like chest pounding and continual threats from Kim. It’s time to put him in his place.
The Red October Revolution showed that communism didn’t work.
It’s time for countries like Cuba and North Korea to abandon it, too.