Soviet Union Quotes

Quotes tagged as "soviet-union" Showing 1-30 of 180
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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“That bowl of soup—it was dearer than freedom, dearer than life itself, past, present, and future.”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

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

Anne Applebaum
“If the Russian people and the Russian elite remembered - viscerally, emotionally remembered - what Stalin did to the Chechens, they could not have invaded Chechnya in the 1990s, not once and not twice. To do so was the moral equivalent of postwar Germany invading western Poland. Very few Russians saw it that way - which is itself evidence of how little they know about their own history.”
Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History

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

Arthur Koestler
“...The arbitrary power of the Government is unlimited, and unexampled in history; freedom of the Press, of opinion and of movement are as thoroughly exterminated as though the proclamation of the Rights of Man had never been.”
Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

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

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

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Over the years I have had much occasion to ponder this word, the intelligentsia. We are all very fond of including ourselves in it—but you see not all of us belong. In the Soviet Union this word has acquired a completely distorted meaning. They began to classify among the intelligentsia all those who don't work (and are afraid to) with their hands. All the Party, government, military, and trade union bureaucrats have been included. All bookkeepers and accountants—the mechanical slaves of Debit. All office employees. And with even greater ease we include here all teachers (even those who are no more than talking textbooks and have neither independent knowledge nor an independent view of education). All physicians, including those capable only of making doodles on the patients' case histories. And without the slightest hesitation all those who are only in the vicinity of editorial offices, publishing houses, cinema studios, and philharmonic orchestras are included here, not even to mention those who actually get published, make films, or pull a fiddle bow.

And yet the truth is that not one of these criteria permits a person to be classified in the intelligentsia. If we do not want to lose this concept, we must not devalue it. The intellectual is not defined by professional pursuit and type of occupation. Nor are good upbringing and good family enough in themselves to produce and intellectual. An intellectual is a person whose interests in and preoccupation with the spiritual side of life are insistent and constant and not forced by external circumstances, even flying in the face of them. An intellectual is a person whose thought is nonimitative.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books III-IV

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

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

Joseph Stalin
“History teaches us that the class or social group which plays the principal role in social production and performs the main functions in production must, in the course of time, inevitably take control of that production.”
Joseph Stalin, Anarchism or Socialism?

Vladimir Nabokov
“With a very few exceptions, all liberal-minded creative forces—poets, novelists, critics, historians, philosophers and so on—had left Lenin’s and Stalin’s Russia. Those who had not were either withering away there or adulterating their gifts by complying with the political demands of the state. What the Tsars had never been able to achieve, namely the complete curbing of minds to the government’s will, was achieved by the Bolsheviks in no time after the main contingent of the intellectuals had escaped abroad or had been destroyed. The lucky group of expatriates could now follow their pursuits with such utter impunity that, in fact, they sometimes asked themselves if the sense of enjoying absolute mental freedom was not due to their working in an absolute void. True, there was among émigrés a sufficient number of good readers to warrant the publication, in Berlin, Paris, and other towns, of Russian books and periodicals on a comparatively large scale; but since none of those writings could circulate within the Soviet Union, the whole thing acquired a certain air of fragile unreality.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Dolores Ibárruri
“The intimate daily contact with harsh reality began to fray the fabric of my religious convictions... I was beginning to learn that our poverty – the lack of the most basic human necessities – was not caused or altered by the will of any deity. The source of our misery was not in heaven but on earth. It arose from institutions established by men which could be altered or destroyed by other men.”
Dolores Ibárruri, They Shall Not Pass: The Autobiography of La Pasionaria

Joseph Stalin
“As you see, the point is not which class today constitutes the majority, or which class is poorer, but which class is gaining strength and which is decaying.”
Joseph Stalin, Anarchism or Socialism?

Joseph Stalin
“The present system is a capitalist system. This means that the world is divided up into two antagonistic camps, the camp of a small handful of capitalists and the camp of the majority - the proletarians. The proletarians work day and night, nevertheless they remain poor. The capitalists do not work, nevertheless they are rich. This takes place not because the proletarians are unintelligent and the capitalists are geniuses, but because the capitalists appropriate the fruit of the labour of the proletarians, because the capitalists exploit the proletarians. Why is the fruit of the labour of the proletarians appropriated by the capitalists and not by the proletarians? Why do the capitalists exploit the proletarians and not vice versa? Because the capitalist system is based on commodity production: here everything assumes the form of a commodity, everywhere the principle of buying and selling prevails. Here you can buy not only articles of consumption, not only food products, but also the labour power of men, their blood and their consciousness. The capitalists know all of this and purchase the labour power of the proletarians, they hire them. This means the capitalists become the owners of the labour power they buy. The proletarians, however, lose their right to the labour power which they have sold. That is to say, what is produced by that labour power no longer belongs to the proletarians, it belongs only to the capitalists and goes into their pockets. The labour power which you have sold may produce in the course of a day, goods to the value of 100 rubles, but that is not your business, those goods do not belong to you, it is the business only of the capitalists, and the goods belong to them - all that you must receive is your daily wage which, perhaps, may be sufficient to satisfy your essential needs if, of course, you live frugally.”
Joseph Stalin, Anarchism or Socialism?

Joseph Stalin
“Socialist society presupposes an adequate development of productive forces and socialist consciousness among men, their socialist enlightenment. At the present time the development of the productive forces is hindered by the existence of capitalist property, but if we bear in mind that this capitalist property will not exist in future society, it is self-evident that the productive forces will increase tenfold. Nor must it be forgotten that in future society the hundreds of thousands of present-day parasites, and also the unemployed, will set to work and augment the ranks of the working people; and this will greatly stimulate the development of the productive forces.”
Joseph Stalin, Anarchism or Socialism?

Mikhail Bulgakov
“The Soviet Union in American accounts tends to be a deprived, and depraved, hell, but there was also much that was sweet, and sheltered, about it, and this book’s portrayal of that country touches the bone for an exile. So does the novel’s evocation of that subtle Soviet sense of living with eyes and ears everywhere; of how sinners find crumbs even at a table set for the new saints of socialism; and of the integrity that survives, miraculously, even in such circumstances. So that the Muscovites mocked in the early part of the book receive, as well, a kind of hidden sympathy. No human being deserves the trauma of a life in a place like the USSR, and that person’s ultimate judgment must take that into account.”
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Joseph Stalin
“But having developed productive forces to a tremendous extent, capitalism has become enmeshed in contradictions which it is unable to solve. By producing larger and larger quantities of commodities, and reducing their prices, capitalism intensifies competition, ruins the mass of small and medium private owners, converts them into proletarians and reduces their purchasing power, with the result that it becomes impossible to dispose of the commodities produced. On the other hand, by expanding production and concentrating millions of workers in huge mills and factories, capitalism lends the process of production a social character and thus undermines its own foundation, inasmuch as the social character of the process of production demands the social ownership of the means of production; yet the means of production remain private capitalist property, which is incompatible with the social character of the process of production. These irreconcilable contradictions between the character of the productive forces and the relations of production make themselves felt in periodical crises of overproduction, when the capitalists, finding no effective demand for their goods owing to the ruin of the mass of the population which they themselves have brought about, are compelled to burn products, destroy manufactured goods, suspend production, and destroy productive forces at a time when millions of people are forced to suffer unemployment and starvation, not because there are not enough goods, but because there is an overproduction of goods.”
Joseph Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism

Vladimir Voinovich
“[Khrushchev] took a trip to America and spent some time in the state of Iowa. He saw how vigorously the maize grows there and decided that the shortcomings of the collective farm system could be counterbalanced if the expanses from Kushka to the tundra were sown with this magical cereal. One word was all it took, and the entire country was planted with maize. It didn’t grow. They divided the party into agricultural and municipal regional committees. It didn’t grow. They transformed the ministries into national economic councils—NECs— and the maize still didn’t grow; it refused. They gave up on the maize and set about introducing a reform of the Russian language that would have meant a hare was called a “her” and instead of “cucumber” people would have written “queucamber.”
Vladimir Voinovich, Monumental Propaganda

Vladimir Voinovich
“Some people in Dolgov, such as Aglaya or even Divanich, couldn’t understand the humane approach taken by the organs. This Shubkin had written an appalling anti-Soviet work and published it in an émigré journal—how could he not be put in jail for that? But there were many things they didn’t understand. For instance, that Shubkin, as we have already noted, was the only one of his kind in the district. If there’d been ten of them, one or two could have been put away. But if you put away the only one, then who would you wage a struggle against?”
Vladimir Voinovich, Monumental Propaganda

William Gibson
“You’re too young to remember it,” Verity's mother said, “but we were expecting nuclear war all the time, really, up into my early thirties. Later, all of that felt unreal. But the feeling that things became basically okay turns out to have actually been what was unreal.”
William Gibson, Agency

Leon Trotsky
“Stalinism in turn is not an abstraction of “dictatorship”, but an immense bureaucratic reaction against the proletarian dictatorship in a backward and isolated country. The October Revolution abolished privileges, waged war against social inequality, replaced the bureaucracy with self-government of the toilers, abolished secret diplomacy, strove to render all social relationship completely transparent. Stalinism reestablished the most offensive forms of privileges, imbued inequality with a provocative character, strangled mass self-activity under police absolutism, transformed administration into a monopoly of the Kremlin oligarchy and regenerated the fetishism of power in forms that absolute monarchy dared not dream of.”
Leon Trotsky, The New Course

Yevgeny Zamyatin
“Why is the dance beautiful? Answer: because it is an unfree movement. Because the deep meaning of the dance is contained in its absolute, ecstatic submission, in the ideal non-freedom. If it is true that our ancestors would abandon themselves in dancing at the most inspired moments of their lives (religious mysteries, military parades), then it means only one thing: the instinct of non-freedom has been characteristic of human nature from ancient times, and we in our life of today, we are only consciously—”
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We

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