The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, abbreviated to USSR and SU or shortened to the Soviet Union, was a Marxist–Leninist state on the Eurasian continent that existed between 1922 and 1991. It was governed as a single-party state by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital. A union of multiple subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. It collapsed after nationalist and economic pressure under Mikhail Gorbachev and was dissolved in 1991, being succeeded by the Russian Federation.
- Russian Communism is the illegitimate child of Karl Marx and Catherine the Great.
- Clement Attlee, as quoted in The Observer (1956).
- You know, I never planned to leave. I was not extremely patriotic about Mother Russia. You know, I played their game, pretending, of course. You have to deal with, you know, party people, KGB... Horrifying.
- In 1990 I went to a Cato Institute conference in what was then still the Soviet Union. We were told to bring our own toilet paper, which was in fact useful advice.
- David Boaz, "Venezuela Reaches the Final Stage of Socialism: No Toilet Paper" (5 April 2015), The Cato Institute
- A persuasive way of understanding the collapse of Communism in Europe and the Soviet Union is to think of nineteenth- or twentieth-century slum clearance. For in many respects the Soviet Empire was a slum of continental proportions. Beyond the grotesque architectural assertions of an alien ideology, public housing – almost all housing – consisted of anomic and primitive concrete barracks where the smells of cabbage, damp and low-grade tobacco combined. Rivers and lakes were polluted by chemicals, with the Pleisse river in East Germany alternately turning first red then yellow.
- Michael Burleigh Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, From the Great War to the War on Terror, New York: NY, HarperCollins Publishers (2007) p. 415
- We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.
- Leonid Brezhnev, reported in IE IU Kastelli, V karǐni zdiǐsnenoǐ mriǐ (1979) p. 54
- The 27 million Soviets who died in the Great Patriotic War, also did so for humanity and the right to think and be socialists, to be Marxist-Leninists, communists, and leave the dark ages behind.
- Across the world academics still clung to the words and ideas of Marx and Engels and even Lenin. Fools. There were even those who said that Communism had been tried in the wrong country; that Russia had been too far backward to make those wonderful ideas work.
- The Soviet Union is dead and gone and replaced by the Russian Federation, which is a country we can be friends with now, thank God — and we want the Russians to prosper, and should help the Russians prosper in every way we can within reason... Fifteen years ago, there was this country called the Soviet Union that had over 10,000 nuclear warheads pointed at us... they're not there anymore. That's a good thing.
- In the Soviet Union it was illegal to take a photograph of a train station. Look what happened to them. They tried to classify everything. The more information available to the average person, the greater the synergy that develops from it.
- Tom Clancy, as quoted in Vonnegut and Clancy on Technology, by David H. Freedman and Sarah Schafer.
- Many whose allegiance went to the Soviet Union may well be seen as traitors to their countries, and to the democratic culture. But their profounder fault was more basic still. Seeing themselves as independent brains, making their choices as thinking beings, they ignored their own criteria. They did not examine the multifarious evidence, already available in the 1930s, on the realities of the Communist regimes. That is to say, they were traitors to the human mind, to thought itself.
- Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000), W.W. Norton & Company, p. 118
- It was this idea (Be nice!) that fueled liberals' rage at Reagan when he vanquished the Soviet Union with his macho "cowboy diplomacy" that was going to get us all blown up. As the Times editorial page hysterically described Reagan's first year in office: "Mr. Reagan looked at the world through gun sights." Yes, he did! And now the Evil Empire is no more.
- Let me examine the alleged "distinction from capitalism" characteristic of the Soviet Union and see whether it isn't a distinction from a certain stage of capitalism rather than from capitalism as a whole. The determining factor in analyzing the class nature of a society is not whether the means of production are the private property of the capitalist class or are state-owned, but whether the means of production ... are monopolized and alienated from the direct producers. The Soviet Government occupies in relation to the whole economic system the position which a capitalist occupies in relation to a single enterprise. ... "Bureaucratic state socialism" is an irrational expression behind which there exists the real economic relation of state-capitalist-exploiter to the propertyless exploited.
- Raya Dunayevskaya, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a Capitalist Society" (1941), in Russia: From Proletarian Revolution to State-Capitalist Counter-Revolution, p. 210
- I could have gone on flying through space forever.
- Those who operated within the Soviet sphere were the most malevolent in their practices.
- Reuel Gerecht, "A Rogue Intelligence State? Why Europe and America Cannot Ignore Russia" (6 April 2007), AEI.
- If the Russian word "perestroika" has easily entered the international lexicon, this is due to more than just interest in what is going on in the Soviet Union. Now the whole world needs restructuring, i.e. progressive development, a fundamental change.
- If I had to choose between life in the Soviet Union and life in the USA, I would certainly choose the Soviet Union.
- Attributed to Graham Greene, Parade magazine (October 29, 1967), p. 2. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
- The Soviet Union is gone, and history has moved on. But the Stalin-apologist dynamic endures as the heritage of a post-Communist Left, which remains wedded to fantasies of an impossibly beautiful future that collides with the flawed American present.
- David Horowitz, "Is the Left Even on America’s Side Anymore?" (8 January 2014), National Review.
- The Albanian people will throw themselves in to the flames for their true friends, and the Soviet Union is such a friend of the Albanian people. And these are not empty words. I am expressing here the sentiments of our people and of our Party, and let no one ever think that we love the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union for the sake of some one's beautiful eyes or to please some individual, but because without the Soviet Union there would be no free life in the world today, fascism and capitalist terror would reign supreme. This is why we love and will always be loyal to the Soviet Union and to the Party of the great Lenin.
- Enver Hoxha, Reject the Revisionist Theses of the XX Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Anti-Marxist Stand of Krushchev's Group! Uphold Marxism-Leninism!, Speech Delivered by Enver Hoxha as Head of the Delegation of the Party of Labor of Albania Before the Meeting of 81 Communist and Workers Parties, Moscow, 16 November, 1960
- I would have preferred to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work - for example, a lawn-mower.
- Mikhail Kalashnikov, statement made in 2002, reported in Keeble McFarlane (February 4, 2006). "It seems we'll never beat swords into ploughshares", The Jamaica Observer.
- In Russia, all you have to do to get a house is to be born in the Soviet Union. You are entitled to housing. In America, if you don't have a dollar you have a right to choose between sleeping in a house or on the pavement. Yet you say we are the slave to communism.
- My arms are up to my elbows in blood. That is the most terrible thing that lies in my soul.
- My letter to Castro concluded an episode of world history in which, bringing the world to the brink of atomic war, we won a Socialist Cuba. It's very consoling for me personally to know that our side acted correctly and that we did a great revolutionary deed by not letting American imperialism intimidate us. The Caribbean crisis was a triumph of Soviet foreign policy and a personal triumph in my own career as a statesman and as a member of the collective leadership. We achieved, I would say, a spectacular success without having to fire a single shot!
- Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers, trans. Strobe Talbott (1971), p. 504.
- One should not forget that back in the late 1930s, when more than 1 million political prisoners were held in Stalin's concentration camps, progressive Western intellectuals denied that such institutions could possibly exist under the benign rule of the Communist Party. In the late 1950s, when the number of political prisoners dropped 1,000 times, not a figure of speech, that is the number, over, the repressive nature of the Soviet Union suddenly became a common sense fact.
- Andrei N. Lankov, "The Folly of an Inter-Korean Confederation" (October 2015), NK News.
- Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national program that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.
- For everybody other than the fellow travellers who simply lied about it, the obvious truth about the Soviet Union was, and is, that its system was, and is, incapable of feeding its people, housing its people, healing its people, transporting its people (except, alas, to prisons and concentration camps), keeping its people informed, teaching its people, even entertaining its people, and above all incapable of trusting its people. It could not, and today still cannot, keep its people clothed, warm, clean, hopeful, industrious, healthy, comfortable, honest or sober. Moreover, the system of lying as a way of life meant that however merciless the rulers, the massive pillars of the system were hollow, and thus could not stand for ever.
- Bernard Levin, "From Spark to Furnace", The Times, December 26, 1989
- An unbreakable union of free republics, Great Russia has welded forever to stand!
- National Anthem of the Soviet Union (1 September 1977)
- In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.
- The system of production developed in Russia is State socialism. It is organized production, with the State as universal employer, master of the entire production apparatus. The workers are master of the means of production no more than under Western capitalism. They receive their wages and are exploited by the State as the only mammoth capitalist. So the name State capitalism can be applied with precisely the same meaning. The entirety of the ruling and leading bureaucracy of officials is the actual owner of the factories, the possessing class.
- Antonie Pannekoek, Workers Councils (1947), Section 2.5
- The consolidation of State capitalism in Russia itself was the determining basis for the character of the Communist Party. Whilst in its foreign propaganda it continued to speak of communism and world revolution, decried capitalism, called upon the workers to join in the fight for freedom, the workers in Russia were a subjected and exploited class, living mostly in miserable working conditions, under a strong and oppressive dictatorial rule, without freedom of speech, of press, of association, more strongly enslaved than their brethren under Western capitalism. Thus an inherent falsehood must pervade politics and teachings of that party. ... The doctrine it taught under the name of Marxism was not the theory of the overthrow of highly developed capitalism by a highly developed working class, but its caricature. ... The Communist Party did not intend to make the workers independent fighters capable by their force of insight themselves to build their new world, but to make them obedient followers ready to put the party into power.
- Antonie Pannekoek, Workers Councils (1947), Section 2.5
- The fundamental reason why Medicare is failing is why the Soviet Union failed; socialism doesn't work.
- Rand Paul, as quoted in Kentucky Tonight (16 June 1998), KET.
- We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it's total servility to Putin. Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial - whatever our special services, Putin's guard dogs, see fit.
- Anna Politkovskaya, (September 9, 2004). "Poisoned by Putin: The horror of Beslan was made still worse by the intimidation of Russia's servile media", The Guardian, Guardian News and Media Limited.
- In my view, the composer, just as the poet, the sculptor or the painter, is in duty bound to serve Man, the people. He must beautify human life and defend it. He must be a citizen first and foremost, so that his art might consciously extol human life and lead man to a radiant future. Such is the immutable code of art as I see it.
- Russia has made its choice in favor of democracy. Fourteen years ago, independently, without any pressure from outside, it made that decision in the interests of itself and interests of its people -- of its citizens. This is our final choice, and we have no way back. There can be no return to what we used to have before. And the guarantee for this is the choice of the Russian people, themselves. No, guarantees from outside cannot be provided. This is impossible. It would be impossible for Russia today. Any kind of turn towards totalitarianism for Russia would be impossible, due to the condition of the Russian society.
- Vladimir Putin, statement in press release, Office of the White House Press Secretary, United States (February 24, 2005). "President and President Putin Discuss Strong U.S.-Russian Partnership"
- First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
- Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie.
- Ayn Rand, as quoted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966).
- The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolizes an epochal change in the way people live. More important, it liberates the way people think. We see with new clarity that centralized government bureaucracies created in this century are not the wave of the future. Never again will people trust planners and paper shufflers more than they trust themselves. We all watched as the statue of Soviet hangman Feliks Dzherzhinsky was toppled in front of Moscow's KGB headquarters by the very people his evil empire sought to enslave. Its sightless eyes symbolized the moral blindness of totalitarians around the world. They could never see the indomitable spirit of people determined to be free from government control—free to build a better future with their own heads, hands, and hearts.
- Republican Party Platform of 1992 (17 August 1992), Republican National Convention.
- Moscow has changed. I was here in 1982, during the Brezhnev twilight, and things are better now. For instance, they've got litter. In 1982 there was nothing to litter with.
- P. J. O'Rourke, Holidays in Hell (1989).
- I live in the USSR, work actively and count naturally on the worker and peasant spectator. If I am not comprehensible to them I should be deported.
- In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One.
- What the immigrant cannot help noticing is that America is a country where the poor live comparatively well. This fact was dramatized in the 1980s, when CBS television broadcast an anti-Reagan documentary, "People Like Us", which was intended to show the miseries of the poor during an American recession. The Soviet Union also broadcast the documentary, with a view to embarrassing the Reagan administration. But by the testimony of former Soviet leaders, it had the opposite effect. Ordinary people across the Soviet Union saw that the poorest Americans have television sets and microwave ovens and cars. They arrived at the same perception of America that I witnessed in a friend of mine from Bombay who has been unsuccessfully trying to move to the United States for nearly a decade. Finally I asked him, "Why are you so eager to come to America"? He replied, "Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat."
- Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America (2003), Ch. 3: Becoming American.
- We do not want a single foot of foreign territory; but of our territory we shall not surrender a single inch to anyone.
- Joseph Stalin, reported in Sándor Forbát ; Alex Forbath (1938). Europe Into the Abyss: Behind the Scenes of Secret Politics. Pallas Publishing Co., Ltd., p. 462.
- I knew that many things were wrong... I witnessed a great many injustices... But it was my revolutionary duty at the time not to criticize and not to help alien propaganda against [the Soviet Union], for at that time it was the only country where a revolution had been carried out and where Socialism had been built. I considered that propaganda should not be made against that country; that my duty was to make propaganda in my own country for Socialism.
- Tito, as quoted in Jasper Ridley's Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994), p. 142.
- Some years ago I read about a man who fled to the United States from the Soviet Union. Even after he was free in America he stayed up all night every night. He couldn’t sleep until he saw the sun rise. It was the only way he could be sure they would not come to get him that night.
- The Islamic State is a blood-soaked totalitarian prison. But so was the Soviet Union, and it, too, inspired huge numbers of people all over the world to take up arms and violently create knock-offs, from Cuba and Vietnam to South Yemen and even Somalia and Ethiopia. We should never underestimate the appeal of a utopian fantasy in the human psyche even if it is drenched in blood. Some people who find these utopias stirring deny that they’re drenched in blood. Others make excuses. 'You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs'. Still others are attracted to these ideas and places because they’re drenched in blood. Jihadi John, the Kuwait-British man who beheaded a string of jumpsuit-clad journalists and aid workers on camera, is clearly some kind of psychopath. So are the ISIS fighters who serially rape their captured “war brides.” So is Lisa Borch, the 15-year old Danish girl who fell in love with an Islamist extremist and stabbed her mother to death with a kitchen knife. There’s an upside to the exodus, I suppose. Britain and the United States are better off without these people. If they didn’t run off to Syria, they’d be living down the street. We’d have fewer Jihadi Johns and more Lisa Borchs. Syria sure as hell isn’t better off with these people as “immigrants,” but they’ll eventually die there when the Islamic State, like every other monstrous utopian entity, either destroys itself from within or is destroyed from without by fed-up outsiders. When it finally happens, whether it’s next year or two decades from now, the British and American Muslim communities will be, on average, a little more politically moderate and sane than they are now.
- Any kind of civil rights movement in the Soviet Union would have been ruthlessly smashed. Obviously. There would have been nothing left of it in no time at all. Most people would never even hear about it.
- Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
- Leon Trotsky, The History of the Russian Revolution (1930). See edition: Leon Trotsky; Max Eastman (1957). The History of the Russian Revolution. University of Michigan Press, p. 213.
- I got very well acquainted with Joe Stalin, and I like old Joe! He is a decent fellow. But Joe is a prisoner of the Politburo.
- Harry S. Truman, informal remarks, Eugene, Oregon (June 11, 1948); Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Harry S. Truman, 1948, p. 329. Truman refers to his meeting with Stalin at the Potsdam conference in July 1945.
- Since 1930 I had seen little evidence that the USSR was progressing towards anything that one could truly call Socialism. On the contrary, I was struck by clear signs of its transformation into a hierarchical society, in which the rulers have no more reason to give up their power than any other ruling class. Moreover, the workers and intelligentsia in a country like England cannot understand that the USSR of today is altogether different from what it was in 1917. It is partly that they do not want to understand (i.e. they want to believe that, somewhere, a really Socialist country does actually exist), and partly that, being accustomed to comparative freedom and moderation in public life, totalitarianism is completely incomprehensible to them.
- We don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. Freedom is like that. It's like air. When you have it, you don't notice it.
- Generalissimo Stalin directed every move … made every decision … He is the greatest and wisest military genius who ever lived...
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