Quotes About Soviet Union

Quotes tagged as "soviet-union" (showing 1-30 of 73)
Elena Gorokhova
“The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they're lying, they know we know they're lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.”
Elena Gorokhova, A Mountain of Crumbs

W.E.B. Du Bois
“My 'morals' were sound, even a bit puritanic, but when a hidebound old deacon inveighed against dancing I rebelled. By the time of graduation I was still a 'believer' in orthodox religion, but had strong questions which were encouraged at Harvard. In Germany I became a freethinker and when I came to teach at an orthodox Methodist Negro school I was soon regarded with suspicion, especially when I refused to lead the students in public prayer. When I became head of a department at Atlanta, the engagement was held up because again I balked at leading in prayer. I refused to teach Sunday school. When Archdeacon Henry Phillips, my last rector, died, I flatly refused again to join any church or sign any church creed. From my 30th year on I have increasingly regarded the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color caste, exploitation of labor and war. I think the greatest gift of the Soviet Union to modern civilization was the dethronement of the clergy and the refusal to let religion be taught in the public schools.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century

Anthony Horowitz
“He was a commander in the Russian army at a time when the Russians were our enemies and still part of the Soviet Union . This wasn't very long ago, Alex.The collapse of communism. It was only in 1989 that the Berlin Wall came down." She stopped. "I suppose none of this means very much to you."

"Well, it wouldn't," Alex said. "I was only two years old.”
Anthony Horowitz, Skeleton Key

George F. Kennan
“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
George F. Kennan

Arthur Koestler
“It was quiet in the cell. Rubashov heard only the creaking of his steps on the tiles. Six and a half steps to the door, whence they must come to fetch him, six and a half steps to the window, behind which night was falling. Soon it would be over. But when he asked himself, For what actually are you dying? he found no answer.

It was a mistake in the system; perhaps it lay in the precept which until now he had held to be uncontestable, in whose name he had sacrificed others and was himself being sacrificed: in the precept, that the end justifies the means. It was this sentence which had killed the great fraternity of the Revolution and made them run amuck. What had he once written in his diary? "We have thrown overboard all conventions, our sole guiding principle is that of consequent logic; we are sailing without ethical ballast.”
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

Will Advise
“Sometimes I drink coffee at 03:57am, only I call it beer, and it's really purple wine, disguised as clear distilled water, taken from my invisible car's radiator. She used to like radiator water too, so this also serves as a self-reminder to never share a glass with someone who has had hepatitis. Glasses are the main source of broken relationships. I mean glass hearts, as they only bend and change their shape under extremely high temperatures, which, unfortunately, are technically impossible to achieve in some places, like Soviet Russia, where nothing ever happens, because it doesn’t really exist anymore.”
Will Advise, Nothing is here...

Christopher Hitchens
“Though he never actually joined it, he was close to some civilian elements of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was the most Communist (and in the rather orthodox sense) of the Palestinian formations. I remember Edward once surprising me by saying, and apropos of nothing: 'Do you know something I have never done in my political career? I have never publicly criticized the Soviet Union. It’s not that I terribly sympathize with them or anything—it's just that the Soviets have never done anything to harm me, or us.' At the time I thought this a rather naïve statement, even perhaps a slightly contemptible one, but by then I had been in parts of the Middle East where it could come as a blessed relief to meet a consecrated Moscow-line atheist-dogmatist, if only for the comparatively rational humanism that he evinced amid so much religious barking and mania. It was only later to occur to me that Edward's pronounced dislike of George Orwell was something to which I ought to have paid more attention.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Call no man lucky until he is dead, but there have been moment of rare satisfaction in the often random and fragmented life of the radical freelance scribbler. I have lived to see Ronald Reagan called “a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda” by his former idolators; to see the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union regarded with fear and suspicion by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (which blacked out an interview with Miloš Forman broadcast live on Moscow TV); to see Mao Zedong relegated like a despot of antiquity. I have also had the extraordinary pleasure of revisiting countries—Greece, Spain, Zimbabwe, and others—that were dictatorships or colonies when first I saw them. Other mini-Reichs have melted like dew, often bringing exiled and imprisoned friends blinking modestly and honorably into the glare. E pur si muove—it still moves, all right.”
Christopher Hitchens, Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports

Christopher Hitchens
“Question: Which Mediterranean government shares all of Ronald Reagan's views on international terrorism, the present danger of Soviet advance, the hypocrisy of the United Nations, the unreliability of Europe, the perfidy of the Third World and the need for nuclear defense policy? Question: Which Mediterranean government is Ronald Reagan trying, with the help of George Shultz and Caspar Weinberger, to replace with a government led by a party which professes socialism and which contains extreme leftists?

If you answered 'the government of Israel' to both of the above, you know more about political and international irony than the President does.”
Christopher Hitchens

Noam Chomsky
“Respectable opinion would never consider an assessment of the Reagan Doctrine or earlier exercises in terms of their actual human costs, and could not comprehend that such an assessment—which would yield a monstrous toll if accurately conducted on a global scale—might perhaps be a proper task in the United States. At the same level of integrity, disciplined Soviet intellectuals are horrified over real or alleged American crimes, but perceive their own only as benevolent intent gone awry, or errors of an earlier day, now overcome; the comparison is inexact and unfair, since Soviet intellectuals can plead fear as an excuse for their services to state violence.”
Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism

“I believe profoundly that in the struggle against Communists and their organizations [...] we cannot and should not resort to the methods and forms employed by the Communists.”
Victor Kravchenko

Gary Shteyngart
“From the moment I bought my ticket, I had a premonition I wasn’t returning to New York anytime soon.

You Know, this happens a lot to Russians. The Soviet Union is gone, and the borders are as free and passable as they’ve ever been. And yet, when a Russian moves between the two universes, this feeling of finality persists, the logical impossibility of a place like Russia existing alongside the civilized world, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, sharing the same atmosphere with, say, Vladivostok. It was like those mathematical concepts I could never understand in high school: if, then. If Russia exists, then the West is a mirage; conversely, if Russia does not exist, then and only then is the West real and tangible. No wonder young people talk about “going beyond the cordon” when they talk of emigrating, as if Russia were ringed by a vast cordon sanitaire. Either you stay in the leper colony or you get out into the wider world and maybe try to spread your disease to others.”
Gary Shteyngart, Absurdistan

Christopher Hitchens
“It is truth, in the old saying, that is 'the daughter of time,' and the lapse of half a century has not left us many of our illusions. Churchill tried and failed to preserve one empire. He failed to preserve his own empire, but succeeded in aggrandizing two much larger ones. He seems to have used crisis after crisis as an excuse to extend his own power. His petulant refusal to relinquish the leadership was the despair of postwar British Conservatives; in my opinion this refusal had to do with his yearning to accomplish something that 'history' had so far denied him—the winning of a democratic election.”
Christopher Hitchens, Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays

“I remember the teacher telling us that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, alongside Russia. “The Soviet Union is the largest and most glorious empire that the world has ever seen,” the teacher
lectured. “We’re all proud comrades. We’re all like brothers. We’re so lucky to be part of the greatest
nation that has ever existed. We love our country and our country loves us like a mother loves her children.”
Carlito Sofer, Nik Krasno

Freda Utley
“I got a servant, a nice clean German girl from the Volga. Her village had been devastated—no other word can convey my meaning—by the liquidation of the Kulaks. In the German Volga Republic the peasants, who had been settled there two hundred years before to set an example to the Russians, had been better farmers and so enjoyed a higher standard of life than most peasants in Russia. Consequently, the greater part of them were classified as Kulaks and liquidated.
***
The girls came to the towns to work as servants, and were highly prized, since they were more competent, cleaner, more honest and self-respecting than the Russian peasants. Curiously, they were the most purely Teutonic Germans I had ever seen, Germans like the pictures in Hans Andersen fairy tales, blue-eyed, with long golden plaits and lovely, fair skins. Being Protestants, and regarding the Russians around them as no better than barbarians, they had intermarried little and retained a racial purity which would no doubt have delighted Hitler.
***
My Hilda seemed a treasure. She could cook, she could read and write, she kept herself and the rooms clean and looked like a pink and flaxen doll. I could treat her as an equal without finding that this led to her stealing my clothes and doing no work.
The servant problem in Moscow for Jane and me lay in our inability to bully and curse and drive, which was the only treatment the Russian servant understood. It was quite natural that this should be so, since Soviet society, like Tsarist society but to a far higher degree, was based on force and cheating.
***
I was amazed at the outspoken way in which Hilda and Sophie (another German girl who worked for Jane) voiced their hatred and contempt of the Soviet Government. Sophie, one of thirteen children of a bedniak (poor peasant) would shake her fist and say:
“Kulaks! The Kulaks are up there in the Kremlin, not in the village.” Since the word “Kulak” originally signified an exploiter and usurer, her meaning was quite plain.”
Freda Utley, Lost Illusion

Jeffrey D. Sachs
“La situación actual se parece un poco al chiste que hacían los trabajadores de la antigua Unión Soviética: «¡Nosotros hacemos como que trabajamos y usted hace como que nos paga!»”
Jeffrey D. Sachs, The End of Poverty

Will Advise
“An imaginary friend once asked me why Americans can't stand Russia. The answer was cold, deadly, silent, and, well expected. It’s because in Soviet Russia nothing happens anymore, because it doesn’t exist anymore. And Americans are all about happenings. If there isn’t one – they don’t go where it isn’t, because there isn’t anything to happen to them there.”
Will Advise, Nothing is here...

Ivan Bunin
“Now there is a modern-day anthropology* for the criminal type: a great number of so-called 'born criminals' have pale faces, large cheekbones, a coarse lower jaw, and deeply shining eyes. How can one not recall this when one thinks of Lenin and thousands like him? How many pale faces, high cheekbones and strikingly asymmetric features mark the soldiers of the Red Army and, generally speaking, also of the common Russian people - how many of them, these savage types, have Mongolian atavism directly in their blood! They are all from Murom, the white-eyed Chud. And it is precisely these individuals, these very Russichi, who gave us so many 'daring pirates', so many vagabonds, escapees, scoundrels and tramps - it is precisely these people whom we have recruited for the glory, pride and hope of the Russian social revolution. So why should we feign surprise at the results?”
Ivan Bunin, Cursed Days: Diary of a Revolution

Orlando Figes
“Political indoctrination was geared towards producing activists. The propaganda image of the ideal child was a precocious political orator mouthing agitprop. Communism could not be taught from books, educational thinkers maintained. It had to be instilled through the whole life of the school, which was in turn to be connected to the broader world of politics through extra-curricular activities, such as celebrating Soviet holidays, joining public marches, reading newspapers and organizing school debates and trials. The idea was to initiate the children into the practices, cults and rituals of the Soviet system so that they would grow up to become loyal and active Communists.”
Orlando Figes, The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia

Freda Utley
“What had been a region of model farming became almost a desert, for more than half the population was exiled or sent to concentration camps. The young people left the villages, the boys to go to the factories if they could get jobs, or to become vagabonds if they couldn’t.
***
An echo of the tragic fate of Russia’s German Protestant population reached the world when the Mennonites flocked to Moscow and sought permission to leave the country. Some of these Germans had tried to obey the government and had formed collective farms, only to have them liquidated as Kulak collectives. Being first-class farmers, they had committed the crime of making even a Kolkhoz productive and prosperous.
Others had quite simply been expropriated from their individual holdings. All were in despair. Few were allowed to leave Russia. They were sent to Siberia to die, or herded into slave labor concentration camps. The crime of being good farmers was unforgivable, and they must suffer for this sin.
***
Cheat or be cheated, bully or be bullied, was the law of life. Only the German minority with their strong religious and moral sense—the individual morality of the Protestant as opposed to the mass subservience demanded by the Greek Orthodox Church and the Soviet Government—retained their culture and even some courage under Stalin’s Terror.”
Freda Utley, Lost Illusion

Freda Utley
“Perhaps the breaking of the human spirit into submissive, thoughtless robots is the most terrible feature of Stalin’s Russia. Humanity is bowed down. Every one cringes before his superiors, and those who abase themselves seek outlets in bullying and terrifying the unfortunates beneath them. Integrity, courage and charity disappear in the stifling atmosphere of cant, falsehood and terror.”
Freda Utley, Lost Illusion

Geoffrey Hosking
“Lenin held that religion was a simply product of social oppression and economic exploitation. 'The social oppression of toiling masses, their apparent complete helplessness before the blind forces of capitalism ... that is the deepest contemporary root of religion'. Theoretically it followed from this that the elimination of social and economic evils should lead to the disappearance of religious belief. In practice, however, the party has never shown any confidence that this would happen: it has not felt able to concede the churches toleration, and let them decline of their own accord. On the contrary, from the beginning it has aimed at the destruction of the churches and the forcible secularization of believers. With the exemption of the years 1941-53, that has remained the case ever since.”
Geoffrey Hosking, The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within

Isaac Babel
“Just forget for a minute that you have spectacles on your nose and autumn in your heart. Stop being tough at your desk and stammering with timidity in the presence of people. Imagine for one second that you raise hell in public and stammer on paper. You’re a tiger, a lion, a cat. You spend a night with a Russian woman and leave her satisfied. You’re twenty five. If rings had been fastened to the earth and sky, you’d have seized them and pulled the sky down to earth”
Isaac Babel

David Remnick
“She gave Stalin the letter and asked him to deliver it; for a moment, at least, one of the great murderers of the twentieth century played mailman for a young girl in love.”
David Remnick

Freda Utley
“Why is it that we who have enjoyed the human free­doms which our forefathers fought so hard to win and to bequeath to us, do not, with the example of Russia before us, realize the horrors of life without freedom? Why is it that we cannot understand that there is no such thing as embracing Communism as an experiment? It is a one-way street, ending in a cul de sac of secret police terror, firing squads for the intellectuals and leaders and concentration camps and slave labor for the masses. There is no turning back; there is no escape.”
Freda Utley

“LENIN = "Revolutionary Social Democracy"
American Socialists = "Democratic Socialism". What is the difference? The USSR held democratic referendums too; all of which increased the power of the central planners and reduced the individual to nothingness.”
A.E. Samaan

Nikita Khrushchev
“You stuck listening devices all over the dacha--even in the bathroom. You spend the people's money to eavesdrop on my farts.”
Nikita Khrushchev

“The fact is that the buildings here were not made to speak to the world as we know it, but to the citizens of the USSR. Visible from afar and unfailingly spectacular, they are effectively monuments, ideological markers endowed with an almost mystical aura by their positioning in space and expressive power. "By its incongruity, by its inhuman stature" writes the philosopher Jacques Derrida, "the monumental dimension serves to emphasize the non-representable nature of the very concept that it evokes." This concept, whether in Grodno, Kiev or Dushanbe, is might. The might of power. A power that would soon become illusory and whose crumbling is indeed manifested by the growing stylistic diversity of this architecture.”
Frédéric Chaubin

Timothy Snyder
“The Soviets, at least some of them, believed in what they were doing. After all, they did it themselves and recorded what they did, in clear language, in official documents, filed in orderly archives. They could associate themselves with their deeds, because true responsibility rested with the communist party. The Nazis used grand phrases of racial superiority, and Himmler spoke of the moral sublimity involved in killing others for the sake of the race. But when the time came, Germans acted without plans and without precision, and with no sense of responsibility. In the Nazi worldview, what happened was simply what happened, the stronger should win; but nothing was certain, and certainly not the relationship between past, present and future. The Soviets believed that History was on their side and acted accordingly. The Nazis were afraid of everything except the disorder they themselves created. The systems and the mentalities were different, profoundly and interestingly so.”
Timothy Snyder, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Victor Sebestyen
“Poppe, once a leading figure at a scientific research institute, found a job as a swimming pool attendant”
Victor Sebestyen, Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire

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