To say that we recognize only a straight road, would be a mistake.Vladimir Lenin [i]
Even many of the well-meaning, intelligent, and leading citizens of open countries where debate is unhindered, and opinions may be expressed freely have lacked the perspicacity to see through the finely woven veil of the Soviet spider.Natalie Grant [ii]
Last February 15 Havana’s communist government thanked the Russian government for donating 25,000 tons of wheat to Cuba. Foreign Trade Minister Ana Teresita Gonzalez spoke of “the many actions of this type” carried out by Moscow.[iii] For example, in April 2022, the Russian government donated nearly 20,000 tons of wheat to communist Cuba.[iv] Meanwhile, communist North Korea has been hiding its ammunition shipments to Russia, in support of Putin’s war in Ukraine.[v] Even more curious, Russia is aligned with communist Vietnam,[vi] has sent troops to Venezuela in support of communist dictator Nicolás Maduro,[vii] has been invited by another communist dictator, Daniel Ortega, to send troops to Nicaragua,[viii] and has conducted joint military exercises with South Africa (where the ruling ANC has long been a front for the Communist Party of South Africa).[ix] Even more significant, however, is the emerging alliance between Russia and communist China. Shortly before Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine, communist China made a joint declaration with Russia about a “new era” under a new global order. In effect, the world’s most populous communist country has aligned itself with the Russian Federation, a country that supposedly laid aside its communist system in December 1991 in favor of market reforms and democracy. Yet in the end, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China, both say that the friendship between their two countries “has no limits.”[x]
How are we to understand Russia’s pro-communist foreign policy? Why does Moscow act, in foreign affairs, as if the Soviet Union were still in place? Some will say that Russia’s communist alignment and invasion of Ukraine is an appropriate response to NATO expansion. But if Russia really was a free-market democracy and not a crypto communist state, then why are its European neighbors so afraid of being invaded that all of them have joined or want to join NATO? Is it because the “evil empire” never really disappeared? Under communism, Moscow’s troops invaded, in living memory, every single European country adjoining her borders. And Moscow trampled down the peoples of Eastern Europe. This is why a traditionally neutral country, like Sweden, wants to join NATO. Furthermore, if the danger was coming from so-called American imperialism, wouldn’t all these countries be lining up to join Russia instead of NATO? To see the situation clearly, you have to ask and correctly answer such questions.
Russian shills, broadcasting anti-Ukrainian slogans (e.g., that Ukraine is “the most corrupt country in the world,” etc.), insist that NATO is conspiring to destroy Russia. But ask yourself. Could all these little countries – Sweden, Finland, the Baltic States – be conspiring, at the behest of “American imperialism,” to encircle and destroy the world’s leading nuclear power? The world’s largest country? Or are these small countries acting to protect themselves, out of fear? The Kremlin publicly complains that America is “encircling Russia”; but Moscow has been supporting communist regimes in Latin America (e.g., like Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela) in an encirclement effort against the United States. Here we find a cynical double standard at play, characteristic of Lenin and his followers. Russia has eleven time zones and now invades a twelfth. To enlarge this comedy further, Russian officials have hinted about taking Alaska “back.” After all, Alaska was originally Russian territory. Maybe it will be Russian again. For the only “encirclement” of Russia visible on a map is off the coast of Siberia, in the state of Alaska, which has belonged to the United States since it was purchased from the Tsar in 1867. A few years ago, the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, alluded to Alaska as follows: “When they [U.S. lawmakers] attempt to appropriate our assets abroad, they should be aware that we also have something to claim back.” A deputy speaker in the Duma proposed holding a referendum among Alaskans on joining Russia. “We don’t interfere in their domestic affairs,” he added, trying not to laugh as he was applauded by Russian legislators.[xi]
And now, with Russian troops furiously assaulting Ukraine’s defenses, Russia makes veiled threats against the West. Apparently, the Ukrainian Soviet republic must be returned to the motherland. In fact, Moscow talks as if Ukrainian sovereignty has always been a fiction (invented says Putin, by Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin). This raises further questions. If Ukraine has always been part of Russia, then why did Russia pretend to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty in 1991 and in 1994 with the Budapest Memorandum? What was the purpose of this deceptive Russian pretense? And if Ukrainian independence was a sham, was the collapse of the Soviet Union also a sham? The fact is, Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity led to genuine independence for Ukraine in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Crimea and invading Donbas and then, in 2022, invading the whole of Ukraine. Before the Revolution of Dignity, Moscow was ruling Ukraine through the corrupt Party of Regions and (you may have guessed) the Communist Party. Before 2014, Ukrainian independence was a deception. It was a fiction that the West stupidly believed. Genuine freedom for Ukraine was never Moscow’s plan. Only fake independence for Ukraine was envisioned. The same was true for Georgia, and the Baltic States, and Poland, etc. While we believed the Soviet Union had been rolled back, Moscow was holding onto its empire through clandestine communist structures in business, politics, and the media. The fact that some of these countries have won genuine independence is a problem for Moscow.
It was KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn who warned the West, in 1984, that a “controlled liberalization” was coming to Eastern Europe. Golitsyn wrote, “Western acceptance of the new ‘liberalization’ as genuine would create favorable conditions for the fulfillment of communist strategy for the United States, Western Europe, and even, perhaps, Japan.”[xii] Golitsyn explained that the Sino-Soviet split was part of this deception strategy – conceived to trick the West into building up communist China. “After successful use of the scissors strategy [i.e., the false Sino-Soviet split] … a Sino-Soviet reconciliation could be expected,” Golitsyn predicted. “It is contemplated and implied by the long-range policy and by strategic disinformation on the split.”[xiii]
Golitsyn predicted that, owing to the success of these and other deception operations, the communist bloc would acquire new countries in the Third World “at an accelerating pace.” And this is exactly what has happened in Latin America and Africa. “Before long,” noted Golitsyn, “the communist strategists might be persuaded that the balance had swung irresistibly in their favor. In that event they might well decide on a Sino-Soviet ‘reconciliation.’ The scissors strategy would give way to the strategy of ‘one clenched fist.’ At that point the shift in the political and military balance would be plain for all to see.”[xiv]
The truth is in front of us. The Cold War never ended. And now we stand, with compromised leaders, with a failed counterintelligence system, with our universities under Marxist control, and nearly everyone – right and left – embracing self-neutralizing narratives that are leading the United States to its doom. As long as our leaders remain clueless about communism we will continue to lose ground to the communists. As long as our people cling to pro-Russian narratives, or our businessmen insist on partnering with China, we will lose. We will keep on losing until enough people wake up. And right now, we are far from waking up.
Lenin Was the Man
In 1976 Eduard Shevardnadze, destined to be the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union under Gorbachev, made a speech in which he praised Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev by calling him, “The most eminent politician of the modern world, by whose example we must educate ourselves to work in a Leninist way, to think in a Leninist way, and to live in a Leninist way.”[xv] And what is the Leninist way? According to Robert Bathurst, Lenin was obsessed with violence. “More often than not,” wrote Bathurst, “[Lenin’s] solution to obstacles in the path of realizing his schemes was to shoot the offender or to liquidate the opposition. Probably quite unnecessarily, he advised Stalin to have a telephone operator shot who had given him a bad connection – a solution he also advised for prostitutes who distracted soldiers at the front.”[xvi]
Lenin’s means of governing was, in fact, terroristic – by way of purges, summary trials, firing squads, and hangings. Lenin favored criminals who would employ violence without hesitation, using aliases even as they relished grand larceny. “Since these powerful men … lived a kind of masquerade,” wrote Bathurst, “it is not surprising that they saw traitors and saboteurs behind many honest faces.” It was a case of psychological projection. They were all criminals; therefore, everyone else must harbor criminal propensities as well. Given their paranoia, their hateful behavior, their butchery of millions of people, how did they avoid punishment? Lenin provided a very simple answer when he wrote: “People for the most part … don’t know how to think, they only learn words by heart.”[xvii] In other words, people cannot figure out what has happened to them, who to blame, or what to do about it. But Lenin knew what to do. He would befuddle nearly everyone with misdirection, obfuscating lies, and false narratives. As the leader of the first socialist empire he would confuse everyone by adopting capitalism. Having approved the murder of the Tsar, he would form a monarchist movement of his own. He would make people believe that Russia was socialist in name only. Since people “don’t know how to think,” they would not know how to interpret what was happening in Russia.
Of course, Lenin’s enemies were not the only people who, “for the most part … don’t know how to think.” According to Bathurst, Lenin’s followers also lacked the wherewithal to have thoughts of their own, keeping Lenin’s corpse on display in a mausoleum on Red Square, while standing on top of that Mausoleum, quoting Lenin’s words, following Lenin’s program because they could not think for themselves. And even now, these degenerate epigones are still following Lenin. To explain this, however, is not easy because Lenin was not a straightforward politician. He did not follow a “straight road.”
One of the leading experts on Lenin’s duplicity was Natalie Grant Wraga, who wrote under the name Natalie Grant. She was born on 24 February 1901 in Tallin Estonia, in the Russian Empire, as Natalie Konstantinova Mark. After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution she escaped Lenin’s Russia to marry an American, to work for the U.S. State Department, and to become one of America’s leading authorities on “the Soviet style of strategic deception.”[xviii] She once told John Berlau of Insight Magazine, “Propaganda is obvious to anybody with any brains, but disinformation is not. Sometimes more than 90 percent of the content of disinformation is true. The thing that is important is … the part that is false.”[xix] According to Grant, the characteristic deceptiveness of the Kremlin after 1917 can be traced directly to Lenin. “Lenin’s duplicity was phenomenal,” wrote Grant. “The evidence often cited is a booklet he wrote in 1920 titled ‘Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder.’ Just as revealing are his notes and comments to colleagues.”[xx] Because Lenin left a paper trail, and his deceptiveness is suggestive of current Kremlin policy, Vladimir Putin has had to publicly distance himself from Lenin. At the same time, however, Putin has not betrayed his faith. Lenin remains above ground, in Moscow, on display in his mausoleum.[xxi]
In plain language: Putin’s duplicity comes directly out of Lenin’s duplicity. This is because Putin has no ideas of his own. The falseness of his Christian Orthodox faith, and the falseness of his Russian nationalism, can only have one inspiration. Lenin. In terms of Putin’s war preparations, he clearly mimics Stalin – complaining of encirclement by the “imperialist powers,” obsessed with evil “fascist” plots even as he secretly makes use of fascists as allies. In this matter, defector Simona Pipko once told me that, “Putin consciously imitates Stalin.” Yet, even as Stalin was compelled to follow Lenin’s great script, Putin is similarly obligated; for this was the mission handed to Putin by those Lev Timofeyev has called “Russia’s Secret Rulers.”[xxii] Putin, therefore, has two aspects: first, he aspires to the long-lived success of Stalin; second, he follows (as Stalin also followed) the thinking of Lenin. Lacking the paranoid perceptivity of Stalin, and the thinking ability of Lenin, Putin’s regime also lacks Stalin’s sanguinary discipline and Lenin’s characteristic fluidity. Consequently, Putin cannot deviate from a long-range policy set down under Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Andropov. Insofar as he lacks the ability to carry out Stalin-style purges, or show trials, Putin nonetheless gropes his way toward victory through a more muted terrorism – by way of assassinations and poisonings. Putin’s one advantage is that the long-range policy of his predecessors has largely succeeded in neutering the West intellectually. Consequently, even as he mobilizes for war, America is not rebuilding its nuclear forces, hardening its power grid, or opposing communist subversion at home.
Putin and his associates are wracking their brains to solve the Ukraine problem. They undoubtedly see their own situation as similar to Lenin’s; for Lenin fought a civil war within Russia, and Putin is also fighting a civil war within the “former” Soviet Union (which he is trying to reassemble). This is why Moscow demands that the war in Ukraine be treated like a domestic Soviet or Russian matter. In effect, Putin portrays himself as putting down an insurrection – an attack on Russia, coming from the West. The agency of the Ukrainian people, and their desire for freedom, is entirely denied. Putin therefore says he is fighting “Nazis,” that he is stamping out fascist rebels who are attempting to break off a chunk of Russia. Putin is therefore applying Leninist terror by using maximum force – bombing civilians and civilian infrastructure – to force the Ukrainian people into submission. The use of terror to force people to submit was Lenin’s main contribution to Moscow’s victory in the Russian Civil War of 1917-1923.
During the Russian Civil War, for example, Lenin was “enthusiastic” about something he referred to as “a beautiful plan.” The idea was for communist troops to cross into Latvia and Estonia (then independent countries), for the purpose of hanging priests and wealthy farmers with the idea of pinning it on anti-communist guerilla units operating in Russia. Here we see a mirror image of the Donbas War, where Russian troops committed atrocities on the local population and blamed those atrocities on “Ukrainian Nazis.” A case was even brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning Russia’s false atrocity claims. The case was Ukraine vs. the Russian Federation, in which no evidence was found against Ukraine. However, thirty legal scholars warned that Russian accusations of Ukrainian atrocities in Donbas were part of an “accusation in a mirror” technique. Instead of Ukraine being guilty, it was the Russians who were committing atrocities and inciting genocide against the Ukrainians.[xxiii]
Lenin was eager to commit atrocities. He was also eager to blame those atrocities on his enemies. Putin is the same. His forces attack civilians and blame the resulting deaths on his enemies. This has been the script in the Donbas War since 2014. It is now playing out in Ukraine as a whole. A few days ago, for example, with regard to the massacring of more than a thousand civilians, Russian Ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin, said, “Bucha has been staged and there is no doubt about that. Staged by Ukrainian special forces. In Mariupol, you probably are [referring to] bombing the theatre…. But victims have not been discovered.” Kelin insisted that Bucha “was fake.” He said Russia “does not … target civilian infrastructure.” He said the Western countries are responsible for destroying Ukraine.[xxiv]
What kind of regime does Ambassador Kelin represent? Clearly, Kelin’s lies are Leninist in character; for Lenin was the original model of this particular kind of deceit.
For the sake of the communist faithful in Russia, who still control the army and secret police, Lenin continues to be important. Natalie Grant coined a term for Lenin’s cancerous influence. She likened it to a disease she called Leninoma, “the cancerous disease that leads a human being to commit a crime and place the blame elsewhere.” She added that, “Just as cancer grows and eventually envelops a body, so has Leninoma spread throughout Marxism-Leninism and its precepts.” Leninoma is present in all the communist crimes committed around the world today, in Africa and Latin America, in China and North Korea. It is also the essence of communist disinformation, deception, and the outrageous hoaxes that have been practiced on us all.[xxv]
According to Grant, Moscow’s disinformation schemes are “shrouded in secrecy.” In fact, “A labyrinth of deceit obstructs research. And the deeper one probes, the more complex the picture becomes.” All sources inside the former Soviet Union are suspect. We can only be sure of one thing; that is, the deception machinery of Lenin’s regime is still operating in Russia. And that means the heart of the communist regime was never cut out. The pattern of Russian lying is still Leninist in form and content, as described by Grant:
In the 1920s Soviet disinformation succeeded in disarming the anti-Communist forces in Europe. In the 1930s Soviet disinformation succeeded in creating ill will among the non-Communist countries. During World War II Soviet disinformation succeeded in appeasing the concern in the West regarding Communist aims for control of large segments of Europe. In the 1950s Soviet disinformation succeeded in convincing Western powers that the Communist nations were much more powerful than was actually the case. In the 1960s Soviet disinformation was successful in dulling Western awareness of the Communist danger by stressing polycentrism and exaggerating scission in Communist ranks.
And then came Kissinger’s opening to China, and détente, and Gorbachev’s perestroika, and the “collapse of the Soviet Union,” which has – in practical terms – resulted in the partial disarmament and weakening of the West while Russia and China continued to build up their strategic nuclear forces – all the while advancing in Africa and Latin America. Russia and China now enjoy a strategic nuclear advantage over the United States. Quite obviously, this advantage was not gained by accident. It is the product of a successful Leninist strategy, patiently carried out over decades. Because of this successful strategy, the world is on the brink of an unprecedented catastrophe. And along the way, for the sake of masking his methodology, Vladimir Putin denounces Lenin – whose crooked road he has been following for many years.
The West must never see that Moscow is still using Lenin’s playbook. Russia’s economic reforms of the late 1980s and beyond were modeled on Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP). Russia’s deceptive nationalist program since 1991 was modeled on Lenin’s Operation Trust of the 1920s (which will be explained below). Gorbachev’s perestroika, and Yeltsin’s Russia, could be described as NEP 2.0 and Operation Trust 2.0, which Putin continued. One may ask why Moscow has done all this. What do they hope to gain?
Communism’s stated objectives are a mix of the grandiose, evil, and insane. To state these objectives without using Marxist jargon must sound ridiculous. To state these objectives using Marxist jargon bores rather than alarms. In its boring aspect, it is about liberating mankind. But what could this mean? Cutting through the jargon to the practical bits, it is actually about destroying civilization and killing God. Then it is about becoming God. In essence, it is a quest for unlimited power. Whatever Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping say about making a better world, we only have to look at the bombardment of Ukraine to realize what this better world amounts to.
In his book, The Triumph of Provocation, Josef Mackiewicz explained, “Lenin personally suffered from a phobia: He hated God.” In a letter to Gorky, Lenin called God “a putrescent corpse, the stench of whose putrefaction has poisoned the atmosphere of the globe.” [p. 123] So let us ask the question again. What do the leaders in Moscow and Beijing hope to gain? The GRU defector, Col. Stanislav Lunev, liked to say that Russia’s rulers were very simple. They want to defeat the West. This has been the Kremlin’s mantra for more than 100 years. In word and deed, most human beings repeat themselves. They say the same things, over and over, and do the same things, over and over. To restate Lenin’s insight once more: “People for the most part … don’t know how to think, they only learn words by heart.”[xxvi] By repeating certain words, man tries to remake the world. You might ask why these particular words – Lenin’s words – are still so important. The bosses in the Kremlin must follow something. And as everyone can see, they are by no means Christian gentlemen. They are not libertarians. They are not democrats. They are not going to give Russia back to the Tsar. No. They have no choice but Lenin, because Lenin was a genius and they are mediocrities. Lenin knew how to think while they can only memorize someone else’s words. And given who they are, and where they came from, only Lenin’s words make sense to them. These words represent the only successful formula that worked for them in the past. It is the formula that was left to them by Lenin and Stalin and Khrushchev, et. al.
To state the thesis briefly: Because everything follows from Lenin, they cannot afford the West to see Lenin’s importance. In that event, the West would take corrective measures. In that event, all the puzzle pieces of the last thirty years would fall into place. The scales would fall from the West’s eyes. And that would not be good for Russia’s secret rulers. At all costs, the Kremlin must hide their debt to Lenin. Therefore, Vladimir Putin has gone out of his way, in public appearances, to criticize Lenin.
Here is an example: From The Guardian (UK), “Vladimir Putin accuses Lenin of placing a ‘time bomb’ under Russia,” where Putin says, “Lenin stood for the state. The Soviet Union was established on the basis of … full equality with the right to secede [from] the Soviet Union. It was [a] time bomb under our state.”[xxvii] This is blatant nonsense because, as Robert Bathurst noted,
When the Bolsheviks set up their state, they made many guarantees of freedom of the press, secrecy of the ballot, freedom of religion, the right of assembly, elections, and all the norms of advanced societies. These declarations, seldom observed, were repeatedly embodied in constitutions of the RSFSR in 1920, again in the constitution of the USSR in 1923, the Stalin constitution of 1936, and the Brezhnev constitution of 1977. [xxviii]
The right of secession of Soviet republics was always meaningless. It was an empty promise, devised by Lenin, to neuter those communists who wanted the republics to remain independent states. It was Lenin’s trick to subdue Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. The Union Treaty and the Soviet constitutions were meaningless documents. For Putin to say that Lenin “planted a bomb” under the Soviet state by falsely promising real autonomy for the republics is like saying Lenin’s promises of free speech and democracy were a bomb planted beneath the state. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic of Lenin, which became the Soviet Union in 1923, was built on false promises. Without those false promises, nothing would have been built at all. This was Lenin’s “art of the possible.”
In that same forum where Lenin was denounced as “planting a bomb” under the Soviet state, Putin was careful to explain, “I used to like and still like the communist ideas, the socialist ideas. If we look at the ‘Code of the Builder of Communism’ that had a wide circulation in the Soviet Union, it resembles the Bible quite a lot. And that is not a joke.” (At this point, a female participant on the panel suppressed a giggle). Putin continued, “It’s sort of an extract from the Bible. But the ideas are very good, equality, fraternity, happiness….”[xxix]
Putin’s criticism of Lenin is deceptive; for Putin is complimenting Lenin, saying that Lenin was too nice. After all, Lenin gave the Soviet republics too much freedom. Natalie Grant offered the following warning about people who depict Lenn as benevolent: “The presentation of a concocted image of Lenin [or communism] … usually betrays the hand of the disinformer, because facts do not show Lenin to have been humane, understanding, and moderate in his views.” In fact, Lenin did not plant “a bomb” under the Soviet State by being too nice. Grant noted, “Lenin’s writings and actions provide evidence conflicting with this luminous image. Shoot without hesitation anyone hiding a gun, commands Lenin. ‘[It is] imperative … to carry out merciless mass terror against kulaks, priests, and white guards; doubtful cases should be locked in concentration camp outside the city….’”[xxx]
Is this the voice of a man concerned about an outlying republic’s right to secede?
Here is another example: From The New Yorker, “Putin Disses Lenin,” by Masha Lipman. Here we read how Vladimir Putin visited the Seliger National Youth Forum in the summer of 2014 and spoke disparagingly about the Bolsheviks and Lenin. By making such statements, Putin reassures Russians that they are not living under communist rule. Putin has had to do this to maintain control; for many Russians, having lived under communism, despise communism. Therefore, they must be placated with the idea that communism is not coming back – that Putin will not bring it back. Putin, therefore, pretends to be his own opposition; that is, he pretends to be a man opposed to the policies he himself is following (i.e., by supporting communist regimes around the world).
According to Natalie Grant, to alleviate the threat of a renewed uprising of Russia’s anti-Bolshevik elements, Lenin created his own monarchist movement, which has come to be known as the Trust. It was a monarchist movement under communist control (in the same sense that President Putin is a “nationalist” adhering to a communist foreign policy). Months before the Trust was started, Lenin opened the Soviet economy, permitting capitalism to exist in the Soviet Union. He also reorganized the secret police, transforming the Cheka into the GPU. Messengers were sent to Europe, and to leading monarchist émigrés in the West, saying that the Bolshevik regime had inwardly crumbled. Grant wrote,
Several émigré leaders accepted the Trust and its emissaries from Soviet Russia as legitimate members of an anti-communist opposition movement. Collaboration was established between the Trust in Moscow and the so-called Kutepov organization, a secret group of ardently patriotic emigres with General Aleksandr Kutepov at their head.
Several foreign intelligence services which, for obvious reasons, were extremely interested in the Trust as an entity that could provide information on Soviet Russia, also accepted the Trust and its agents as bona fide. Through these services, the Soviets were able to hoodwink the governments of four countries: Britain, Estonia, Finland, and Poland. The number of countries which were victimized indirectly was immeasurably greater. These latter countries were fed Soviet disinformation largely through intermediaries. Among these countries was the United States.[xxxi]
As anyone with eyes can see, a return to Lenin’s NEP strategy began under Gorbachev in the 1980s. Operation Trust was repeated in the 1990s. Putin took over the Gorbachev-Yeltsin New Economic Policy (NEP), and he became the main emissary of an updated version of Operation Trust. Rather than persuading the West with a host of minor figures (i.e., dispatched agents) it was found to be more effective if the President of Russia performed the gag himself. Putin therefore has pretended to be a traditionalist, a nationalist, an Orthodox believer, etc. But then, with an equivocal wink to the apparatchiks, he tells his listeners that Leninism is straight out of the Bible. Putin is suggesting that Lenin, the man who called God a stinking corpse, was running a kind of Sunday School. “It is not a joke,” Putin said. So, if you get the joke, keep quiet and don’t laugh.
Here’s another item, tailored for American conservatives: CNS News, “Putin: Woke Culture in U.S. is Just Like Bolsheviks, ‘Dogmatism Bordering on Absurdity,” by Michael W. Chapman. Putin is perfectly aware of the fact that Lenin’s Bolsheviks were not “woke,” and that Lenin preached against dogmatism. It was a clever stroke, therefore, for Putin to denounce wokism as Bolshevik when he said,
We look in amazement at the processes underway in the countries which have been traditionally looked at as the standard-bearers of progress. Some people in the West believe that an aggressive elimination of entire pages from their own history, ‘reverse discrimination’ against the majority in the interests of a minority, and the demand to give up the traditional notions of mother, father, family and even gender … are the mileposts on the path towards social renewal.
Here Putin is criticizing Western leftists just as Lenin criticized them in 1920, in his booklet, Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder. One might say that Putin is addressing two audiences at once. He is addressing the communists in Russia, who detest Western leftists; and he is addressing Western conservatives, who also detest Western leftists. Following Lenin’s road, which is not a “straight road,” Putin said, “Anyone who dares to mention that men and women actually exist, which is a biological fact, risks being ostracized [in the West].”[xxxii]
Many conservatives will stand up and cheer these statements. What they do not realize is that Lenin and Stalin curtailed early Bolshevik experiments in free love and the destruction of the family for practical, revolutionary reasons. This is all part of Soviet history. Stalin understood that the family was needed, after all. And since Lenin and Marx both said there was no Marxist dogma, the Soviet Union took a more pragmatic course by instituting the “Soviet family,” which copied some of its features from the Orthodox Christian family – except God was replaced by the Communist Party.
Lenin was a practical revolutionary. He declared himself against “left doctrinairism within the working-class movement.” The primary thing, Lenin explained, was to “search after forms of the transition or the approach to the proletarian revolution.”[xxxiii] In the midst of a civil war, having won his revolution in Russia, Lenin groped his way forward. Lenin wrote,
The immediate objective of the class-conscious vanguard … is to be able to lead the broad masses (who are still, for the most part, apathetic, inert, dormant and convention-ridden) to their new position, or, rather, to be able to lead, not only their own party but also these masses in their advance and transition to the new position.[xxxiv]
Lenin was opposed to “opportunism and social chauvinism” on the left. If he linked arms with a capitalist, it was only to cut the capitalist’s throat. This was not the case, however, with most leftists, who either refused to link arms with capitalists or would refuse to cut their throats when the time came. Most leftists, for Lenin, were not real revolutionaries. They were weaklings. According to Lenin, “the victory of the vanguard in the revolution, cannot be reached without the liquidation of left doctrinairism, and without a full elimination of its errors.”[xxxv]
Lenin underscored the fact that pro-communist propaganda is entirely insufficient. He wrote, “the mere repetition of the truths of ‘pure’ communism, are of no avail.” It becomes necessary, Lenin explained, to “entangle” all the “class forces hostile to us.” They must be, he said, “at loggerheads with each other, [having] sufficiently weakened themselves in a struggle which is beyond their strength.” Furthermore, “all the vacillating and unstable, intermediate elements” in a country’s politics can be counted on to politically disgrace themselves because their goals and methods are impractical. Only a dedicated and well-organized revolutionary vanguard can then take charge of events. Here Lenin envisioned exploiting political differences within the Western countries. He wrote of taking “due account of these differences, and to determine the moment when the inevitable conflicts between these ‘friends,’ which weaken and enfeeble all the ‘friends’ taken together, will have come to a head….” That, said Lenin, is the task “of a Communist who wants to be, not merely a class-conscious convinced propagandist of ideas, but a practical leader of the masses in the revolution.” To this end Lenin wrote of communism’s ability to “effect all the necessary compromises, tacks, conciliatory maneuvers, zigzags, retreats and so on, in order to speed up the achievement and then loss of political power by the [doctrinaire leftists].”[xxxvi]
Like Lenin, Putin is criticizing the “doctrinaire leftists” of the West for being “impractical” and absurdly “dogmatic.” Contrary to the West’s mistaken notions, Lenin was no dogmatist; and neither is Putin – whose Leninism is so advanced that he offended dogmatic Marxists by likening communist principles to Biblical principles. Those who have read Lenin will understand what Putin was playing at while making such comments. But conservatives in the West, who never bothered to read Lenin, will misunderstand everything. They will think Putin is praising Christianity. By talking deceptively Putin is using Lenin tactics, employing Leninist psychological weapons. As Lenin explained,
One will readily agree that any army which does not train to use all the weapons, all the means and methods of warfare that the enemy possesses, or may possess, is behaving in an unwise or even criminal manner. This applies to politics even more than it does to the art of war. In politics it is even harder to know in advance which methods of struggle will be applicable and to our advantage in certain future conditions. Unless we learn to apply all the methods of struggle, we may suffer grave and sometimes even decisive defeat….[xxxvii]
Lies and self-misrepresentation are a primary means of struggle, according to Lenin. In her book on Soviet political warfare, Natalie Grant paraphrased analyst Suzanne Labin’s dictum that “communism moves ahead by confusing the thinking of its enemies.” Thus, disinformation and misrepresenting oneself “is possibly the most precious tool in the Communist’s plans to conquer the world. The disinformer promotes chaos in the mind of the Communist’s target and atrophies defensive reaction against Communist attack.” [xxxviii]
This is exactly what Putin and his predecessors have been doing since 1991. Even as the Ukraine War moves into its second year, the Kremlin’s deceptions continue to play out. American conservatives, thoroughly confused by Putin’s way of talking, have come to believe that their main enemy is located in Washington, D.C. Consequently, Putin is “the enemy of my enemy” and qualifies, however tenuously, as a friend. Being disoriented as to the enemy’s center of gravity, American conservatives cannot form accurate political judgments, and cannot find their way strategically. Grant warns us,
The lie leaves a sediment of doubt in moderately credulous audiences even when exposed. As for the gullible man on the street, at first he merely repeats and cites opinions and stories fed to him, often without his knowledge, by the disinformer. Then, gradually, the distorted picture which is presented to him soaks into his mind. He begins to lose confidence in the non-Communist world and soon becomes an obedient, though unwitting, puppet in Communist hands.[xxxix]
Grant’s work on Soviet political warfare warns against two errors which Moscow’s disinformation encourages: (1) Communist countries need not be feared because “they will either disintegrate before long or evolve into democratic entities”; (2) that communism is so powerful that “opposition is futile.”[xl] According to Grant, both these notions – which contradict each other – are false. She wrote, “They serve Moscow because acceptance of the former thesis leads the Western citizen to let down his guard, to scorn established evidence of Communist subversion and brutality, and to offer no resistance to Leninist brainwashing.” On the other side of the ledger, the notion of communist invincibility “breeds exaggerated caution and excessive fear of Moscow and paralyzes the will to resist.” This is exactly what we see today, and this strategy owes everything to Lenin.
Today we hear the foolish suggestion that America must end the war in Ukraine to align with Russia against China. We must, in effect, surrender Ukraine to Putin. Explaining her theme in depth, Grant wrote, “In order to convince their audience that Communism need not be feared because it will collapse of itself, the disinformer proclaims that Communist unity is being destroyed by internal strife.” Grant then admitted, “Conflicts undoubtedly exist in a closed totalitarian society such as the Communist. But at the risk of indulging in a seeming paralogism, we must admit that a conflict in the Communist ranks often profits the Communist movement.”[xli]
Conservative politicians and pundits have described communism as an economic system that failed to provide a decent standard of living. This system is described by conservatives as oppressive, outdated, and too ridiculous to take seriously. Communism, therefore, is not a threat. But, as the famous Russian dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky said, during an interview, “Western conservatives never understood communism.” The teachings of Lenin are complex, full of contradictions, and by no means straightforward. In his essay, “Certain Features of the Historical Development of Marxism,” Lenin paraphrased Engels when he wrote, “Our doctrine … is not a dogma, but a guide to action. This classical statement stresses with remarkable force and expressiveness that aspect of Marxism which is very often lost sight of. And by losing sight of it, we turn Marxism into something one-sided, distorted, and lifeless….”[xlii]
Since Western conservatives have not seen how multifaceted and flexible Marxism is, they have been consistently incapable of adjusting their own tactics to counter the communist movement. No matter how many times the Marxists fail, no matter how many times they are compelled to retreat into pretense, into “capitalism,” or “democracy,” their grandiose dream remains. Lenin said that when Marxism is regarded as a dogma “we deprive it of its life blood….” More than that, he said that by dogmatizing “we undermine its connection with the definite practical tasks of the epoch, which may change with every new turn of history.” [xliii] [Italics added]
In the West, we have sown the wind by imagining that Marxism is a fixed dogma. By treating Marxism as a dogma the conservatives have disarmed themselves. And very soon they will reap the whirlwind. Lenin said that communist revolutionaries must “grasp that which is nationally specific and nationally distinctive…” Even as they are not nationalists, they are mentally equipped to use nationalism and to manipulate nationalists – in Russia and America. Communists are not without insight, and they are not without strategy. If only we could say the same thing about our conservatives.
Links and Notes
[i] V.I. Lenin, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder, (Resistance Marxist Library), https://socialist-alliance.org/sites/default/files/left-wing_communism.pdf
[ii] Natalie Grant, Disinformation: Soviet Political Warfare 1917-1992 (Washington: Leopolis Press, 2020), p. 373.
[ix] Nelson Mandela can be seen raising his fist in solidarity with Joe Slovo in a photograph in this article retelling the history of the CPSA and ANC alliance, https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/mandela-and-south-african-communist-party — Joint exercises between Russia and South Africa announced, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOrjjo3DPbE.
[xii] Anatoliy Golitsyn, New Lies for Old (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1984), p. 340.
[xiii] Ibid, p. 345.
[xiv] Ibid, pp. 345-346.
[xv] E.A. Shevardnadze, Record of the 25th CPSU Congress, 1976.
[xvi] Robert Bathurst, “On Soviet Linguistics,” Soviet Strategic Deception, Brian D. Dailey and Patrick J. Parker (Lexington: Hoover Institution Press, 1987), p. 99.
[xvii] V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35 (Moscow: Progress Publishers), p. 131.
[xviii] The phrase is borrowed from Jack Dziak’s introduction to Grant’s book.
[xx] Grant, p. 382.
[xxi] https://theculturetrip.com/europe/russia/articles/the-upkeep-on-vladimir-lenins-corpse/ : “Lenin’s body is kept in a pristine state … under precise temperature and lighting conditions. Scientists say it is possible to continue preserving his body for centuries to come if the right environment is maintained.” The cost of preserving him is around $210,000 a year. Lenin is maintained by a team of scientists who freshly embalm him every month. Approximately 2.5 million people visit Lenin’s corpse annually.
[xxii] Lev Timofeyev, Russia’s Secret Rulers: “In an important, often shocking expose, a journalist dissident who was jailed by the Gorbachev regime argues that little has changed in the former Soviet Union The KGB is strong as ever, maintains Timofeyev, in opinion buttressed by his interview with ex-KGB general Oleg Kalugin. Moreover, he reports, former Communist Party apparatchiks hoard billions of rubles, grab private property and create ‘underground’ political structures that enable them to retain much of their power and privilege.” https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780394586397
[xxv] Grant, p. 382.
[xxvi] V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35 (Moscow: Progress Publishers), p. 131.
[xxvii] The Guardian, 25 January 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/25/vladmir-putin-accuses-lenin-of-placing-a-time-bomb-under-russia
[xxviii] Bathurst, p. 105.
[xxix] Ibid, see the video attached to the article.
[xxx] Natalie Grant, Disinformation: Soviet Political Warfare 1917-1992 (Washington: Leopolis Press, 2020), p. 381. (
[xxxi] Ibid, pp. 268-269.
[xxxiii] Lenin, p. 88.
[xxxv] Ibid, pp. 88-89.
[xxxvi] Ibid, pp. 89-90.
[xxxvii] Ibid, p. 90.
[xxxviii] Grant, p. 365.
[xli] Ibid, 366.
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