I’ve been doing a bit of reading on the Cold War and Russian History in particular. I find Russian History to be quite fascinating, really. In what follows are some notes that I’ve taken from Russian History and so also the history of Communism.
So … lets begin with Vladimir Lenin …
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924):
Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik party, which would later on be renamed, the Communist Party. He helped stage the October Revolution (really a coup d’etat), where the Czar was deposed and a new provisional government was set in place. Then in order to secure his power and consolidate his authority, he began what is now known as the Red Terror. During the Red Terror, Lenin’s secret police organization, the Cheka, would search out all those who Lenin regarded as his enemies and they would be executed.
But that was not all. Quite often, at Lenin’s behest, Checka agents deliberately shot innocent people who they knew to be innocent. Why? Let Lenin himself explain why:
“What is better – to put in prison a few dozen or a few hundred inciters, guilty or not, conscious or not, or to lose thousands of Red Army soldiers and workers? The former is better.”
Leon Trotsky (1879-1940):
Trotsky was the leader of the Menshevik Party. He would work with Lenin to overthrow the Czar and help Lenin come to power. After Lenin died, a power struggle ensued in which a number of people tried to succeed him. Trotsky was one such person who tried but did not succeed. Joseph Stalin would instead be Lenin’s successor. Stalin however was very insecure about his power and would tolerate no rivals. He began what are known ominously as the Purges, in which all rivals were executed.
One particular rival whom Stalin would purge was Trotsky. Stalin feared him more than anyone else and had had him exiled from the country. However that was not enough. Stalin had had assassins hunt him down to kill him. The assassins found him in Mexico City.
~ On August 21, 1940, Jaime Ramon Mercader del Rio Hernandez killed him with a piolet. A piolet is a mountaineer’s ice axe.
Hernandez said of this incident, “I took the piolet out of my raincoat, took it in my fist, and, closing my eyes, I gave [Trotsky] a tremendous blow on the head. . . . The man screamed in such a way that I will never forget. . . .”
Trotsky died the next day.
Joseph Stalin (1878-1953):
There is also an interesting story with regards to Stalin’s death. According to a story relayed by Stalin’s daughter Svetlana, when Stalin was just about to die, He – “He suddenly sat up, groaned, shook his fist at the ceiling as if he could see beyond it, then fell back and died.”
Stalin was shaking his fist at God. He had a history with God. Prior to his military and political career, Stalin was a seminary student who had lost faith at seminary and had been kicked out.
BTW, it is estimated that Stalin is responsible for the deaths of over 80 million people.
Yuri Andropov (1914-1984):
In November 1982, Leonid Brezhnev, the first secretary of the USSR died of a heart attack. To the surprise of many people, Yuri Andropov, the former KGB head was selected to succeed Brezhnev. Andropov was quite confident that the people would follow him. Of this, he expressed his confidence to a foreign journalist by plainly saying,
“And those who don’t follow me will follow Brezhnev.”
Mao Zedong (1893-1976):
Of all that has been mentioned thus far, if anyone takes the cake, its Mao Zedong! Chairman Mao certainly takes the cake!
~ In 1964, China joined the US, UK, the late USSR, and France as members of the nuclear weapons “club.”
Not too long after in 1967, China successfully tested its first H-bomb. While many leaders in the world were gravely concerned about this development and the possibility of living in the shadow of a nuclear war, Mao Zedong was not too bothered.
Of this issue, Chairman Mao said,
“We may lose more than 300 million people. So what? War is war. The years will pass and we’ll get to work producing more babies than before.”
War is war.
. . .
Another nice guy?
A few last thoughts:
1. Now as for all those folks (e.g. the New Atheists) who say that religion is responsible for all the violence in the world. Well how can we say that in light of the above? All of the above are atheists and the list is not exhaustive. I have not even gotten to Pol Pot and the Killing Fields. Then there is the late Kim Jong Il, not to mention his father also, both of whom committed horrific atrocities (e.g. starving their own people, brutally persecuting Christians, etc.) and got away with it. Should I go so far as to say that Atheism is responsible for all the violence in human history? Would that be fair?
2. Moreover, something else to consider: If God does not exist, then justice is a myth.
All the folks listed up above basically got what they wanted in life – with the exception of Trotsky. Lenin got what he wanted. Mao lived life as he wanted to live it. Stalin had it good. These folks not only got everything they wanted – power, armies, money, empire, mansions, sex, caviar, veneration, etc., but so also a 1,000 eyes for an eye and a 1,000 teeth for a single tooth. This is the triumph of injustice. They won!
3. All that said, I cannot help but ask “Could it be as Christianity says… there is something wrong with human nature?” What sits at the base of our being is a disposition to worship the self and a throwing off of the yoke of God.
Martin Luther described humanity’s sinful nature well. He described sin as incurvatus se, that is “[being] curved in upon oneself.” So the more you worship yourself, the more curved in on yourself you become. You become so spiritually hunched that all you can see is yourself. Could it be that this is the case for all of us and that this is the reason why we have the Stalins, the Pol Pots, the Maos and of course, YOU and ME?