The humiliating failure of Communism in its first major attempt at national control had to be reevaluated and a new plan of action devised. A revised policy was needed and adopted by the Communists to keep from being dethroned. Lenin brought back payment of wages to workers, which immediately generated the circulation of money in place of the old barter system. In place of the government trading centers, he allowed private concerns to begin buying and selling so that in less than a year three-fourths of all retail distribution was back in private hands. Note that this decision was made by one person and not the people. He violated Marx’s memory by encouraging peasants to lease additional land and hire other peasants to work for them. He also tried to encourage private initiative by promising the peasants they could sell most of their grain on the open market instead of having it seized by agents of the government as in the past. Under these conditions it did not take long for relative prosperity to return while the pauperism and starvation of the old Communist economy began to disappear. Lenin called this the “New Economic Program”…afterwards referred to as the NEP.
Lenin barely lived long enough to see the NEP go into effect. He had his first stroke in 1922, and died January 20, 1924. As he saw the end drawing near, he became alarmed over the possibility of Joseph Stalin becoming his successor. For many years Lenin had been using Stalin to perform tasks requiring the most ruthless methods, but he now fears that Stalin might use these same methods to take over the Communist Party. On December 25, 1923, Lenin wrote a dramatic appeal to the members of the Politburo (the supreme governing council of the Communist Party, and hence, all of Russia). His appeal was not at all favorable for Stalin as he did not believe Stalin would be able to hold the Party together. Time proved Lenin to be correct. This Stalin attitude may be caught in a statement which he later made as he was rising to power: “To choose one’s victim, to prepare one’s plans minutely, to stake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed…there is nothing sweeter in the world.”
By 1927 Stalin had achieved precisely what Lenin feared he might…the outright control of the Russian Empire. He had not only unseated Trotsky, but had driven from the arena every formidable source of opposition. He had attained such a complete victory in the battle for the control of World Communism that he now felt strong enough to try and satisfy one of his greatest ambitions. He was determined to make a second attempt to communize Russia.
The first Five-Year Plan began in 1928. It was aimed at wiping out the prosperous independence of businessmen and the peasant farmers who had been thriving during the New Economic Program. Once again there was wide spread confiscation of property and the secret police began once again to arrest and execute masses of Russians who resisted. Within weeks, the Five-Year-Plan had wiped out the warm glow of prosperity and comparative abundance which Russia had known under the NEP. Stalin knew he would get resistance from the prosperous peasants (called Kulaks) and he therefore ordered a complete genocidal liquidation of the Kulaks as a class. In one area of the Don region, 50,000 men, women, and children were destroyed, while the 2,000 remaining vestige of people in the area were shipped off to central Asia. In the meanwhile the land which they had cultivated for generations was taken over for collective farming.
Stalin also included in the Five-Year-Plan an acceleration of the Communist fight against religion. By 1930 the Union of Militant Atheists had an active membership of two-and-one-half million. Churches and cathedrals were turned into secular buildings. The Christmas festival was prohibited and the buying and selling of Christmas trees was a criminal offense. Sunday was eliminated as a day of worship, and workers were required to rotate their days off so that industry would continue day and night, seven days a week. Stalin also attempted to follow Engel’s suggestion to break up the family. In future writing I will show how this is also a plan in CRT and BLM.
In 1930Stalin was beginning to realize that he may have pressed the long-suffering endurance of the people too far. He came forth with an expression of deep anguish for the suffering masses. He then blamed all the troubles on the government officials who in their zeal were overshooting the mark and imposing unreasonable demands. (Sound familiar!?) He wrote as though he had just heard of the terrible misery which had overtaken the people. Hiving cleared himself for the record, Stalin then went firmly ahead with terror tactics which made conditions more frightful than ever.
By 1932 the situation had reached a crisis. The Russian people had suffered starvation, mass executions, ruthless liquidation of the Kulak class, suppression of all private enterprise, deportation to Siberia and long sentences to forced labor camps. These crimes against humanity were on a scale comparable to the Nazi atrocities subsequently committed at Dachau, Buchenwald, and Belsen. It got to the point during 1932 that leaders of the Communist Party knew they would have to dethrone Stalin or face revolution. (We see similar situations nowadays!) Even the army was about to revolt. In December of 1932 the Politburo held a secret meeting where Stalin made a number of proposals to further suppress the people. This time Stalin was voted down, to his amazement. Stalin was almost ready to step down when a supporter, Molotov, encouraged him to hold on a little longer. Situations did come about to Stalin’s advantage. In 1933 another tyrant came to power, a tyrant with strong anti-Communist policies. This tyrant…Hitler. Stalin now started to look as a hero to the Russian people as the only world leader who could defend Russian from a Nazi onslaught. The Russian resentment of Stalin began to fade. Another factor to Stalin’s benefit was the recognition of his Communist regime by the great world leader of capitalism…the United States. Within ten months, officials of the US knew they had been defrauded. US recognition had served its purpose and the promises of the USSR were now scraps of paper. With the opening of the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International plans were openly advocated for the violent overthrow of the US government. Soviet intelligence officers were busy in Washington setting up elaborate spy rings in various agencies of the government.
When Stalin saw the outward signs of public resentment in Russia disappearing, (remember that I said Communists are persistent) he felt he could once more assume a bolder front. However, he realized that he must first surround himself with comrades he could trust…if that’s possible in the Communist world. He still had enemies in the Party. The first Party attempt was to eliminate those around Stalin involved Sergei Kirov, a favorite of Stalin had been officially designated by the Politburo as Stalin’s successor. On December 1, 1934, Kirov was shot and killed gangster style. This deeply affected Stalin. It was perfectly clear to him as to what his enemies were up to and he therefore decided to strike back with a viciously effective blow. Lists were published of more than one thousand persons from every district in Russia and all these were summarily shot. He then went after the Party leaders who were involved in the murder of Kirov. To save their own skins members within the Party quickly identified whom the conspirators were. Stalin ordered the arrest of every suspect together with their families, associates, friends, and even their correspondents. Tens of thousands went down before firing squads while the more prominent officials were exhibited before the world at Stalin’s famous purge trials. Even begging for mercy for their families after confessing in the most self-degrading language carried no weight. All were shot. The range of those condemned included government, police, and military officials. The Great Purge was in the most literal sense a massacre… This massacre, probably the greatest in history was deliberately planned and executed… Those killed have been estimated from several hundred thousand to several million men and women. The process took about three years, 1035-1938. Do not be fooled into thinking the paradise offered by the liberal/progressive/Communist plan comes without serious obligation. In the end of the process came the execution of the executioners to cover up the original crime.
In prior time Stalin had only recognized two classes…the workers and the peasants. He now decided to give recognition to a new class…the Communist bureaucracy or official class. This class received special favors…dwellings, luxuries, special holidays, and special educational opportunities for their children. The official class could not be deprived of wages, articles of consumption, houses nor savings. This class could now accumulate large estates that could be passed along to selected beneficiaries. He also adopted a series of reforms which were purely ‘capitalistic’ in nature by Stalin’s viewpoint. These included payment of interest on savings, the issuing of bonds to which premiums were attached, and the legalizing of a wider disparity in wages. A laborer, for example, might receive only one hundred rubles a month while a member of the official class could now get as high as six thousand rubles per month. The “have nots” of the past had taken possession of the realm. Their policy was simple: to stay in power permanently and enjoy the spoils of their conquest. (Do we see something similar in the US nowadays?)
By 1938 Stalin was confident of his position. He announced that there were no longer any enemies inside Russia. There was no longer a need for terrorism or suppression. He announced, however, that there must be undeviating prosecution of the Communist program abroad and that the acts of terrorism against the outer world of capitalism should be accepted as necessary and unavoidable. One of his targets would be the Church.
Next week we will take a look at Communism’s march into the free world. It would temporarily avoid the term Communism and use terms that sound much more friendly to a populous and much less threatening. Unfortunately the outcome is the same. I write this so that the reader can compare the past with the future and see how Satan is working his evil to destroy our freedoms. If we stay unaware and do nothing one day we could wake up and wonder what happened. By then it may be too late.
“Many are saying it is difficult to maintain faith in the God of love, power, and justice. To them it seems preferable to compromise with the world rather than challenge it. Compromise has become the spirit of the age…No matter how bad things become, Christians are expected to be different!” Hope in a Chaotic World, Ray Stedman
PS I just received this information. The radical left is waging an all-out assault on religious liberty, targeting churches to harass, discriminate against, and even shut down. Members of a church in Virginia are being banned from gathering on the church’s own property for worship and other ministry. Why? Because the church won’t get a liquor license. The church doesn’t even use wine in communion. It is simply a political play to block the church from worshipping. It is completely un-Constitutional…but then some politicians today do not care about the Constitution. A lawsuit has been filed in federal court to defend the church’s rights but a powerful county politict is trying to get the case thrown out rather than try to defend its egregious violation of religious liberty. The church is ready to take a stand on its right to worship without some ridiculous liquor license. How many churches are ready to take a similar stand? While there are those who believe politics does not belong in the church (that’s why I started writing “Politics and the Church”), there are some in politics who think differently. The church must be ready to fight any Satan-driven attempt to close the doors. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20