Quotes History AOS2 - vcehistory

Quotes for Area of Study Two
The October Revolution
‘We summon you to a social revolution. We appeal to you not to die for others but to destroy others, to
destroy your enemies on the home front’ – Lenin
"How can you make a revolution without executions?" - An outraged Lenin in October on hearing that
the Soviet had abolished the death penalty.
Rebellions happen; revolutions are made. Pipes
’Behind the October Revolution there are more influential personalities than the thinkers and executors
of Marxism.’’ Lenin
"Where is justice? Where are the results of the blood and lives of the fighters who fell in the revolution?
Where is the new life? Where is the paradise like green-red bird that so temptingly flew over our land
and disappeared ... as if to deceive?" A group of workers from the Putilov factory graphically expressed
their dismay.
"...picking up a feather." Lenin on the October Revolution
“[The October revolution] shook both the foundations of Russia and the complacency of the capitalist
western systems” –Reed “Ten days that shook the world.”
“Russia was in a state of solution. As long ago as 1905 the process begun; the March Revolution had
hastened it… but perpetuated the hollow structure of the old regime. Now, however, the Bolshevik, in one
night, had dissipated it, as one blows away smoke. Old Russia was no more.” John Silas Reed, American
journalist and social activist
“Workers’ and Peasants’ government?’ That is only a pipe dream; nobody, either in Russia or in the
countries of our Allies, will recognize this ‘Government’…” From the Narodoye Slovo, The Populist Social
“Under his [Lenin’s] dominant leadership, the Bolsheviks, because they were clearminded and resolute,
took Russia from the nerveless grasp of Kerensky and his fellows…” The Daily Herald, 23 January 1924
“It would be senseless to wait for the constituent assembly, which will not be with us, because this will
complicate our task.” Lenin’s justification of the October revolutions timing.
“Rarely has less blood been spilled, and rarely has an insurrection succeeded so well.” John Reed, Ten
Days that Shook the World
"In His guidance of the uprising. Lenin's genius as a leader of the masses, a wise and fearless strategist,
who clearly saw what direction the revolution would take, was strikingly revealed."- Ocichkin (Soviet,
from Malone pg 232.
October was a classic coup d’etat, the capture of governmental authority by a small band…with a show
of mass participation, but with hardly any mass involvement.” – Pipes
“The Old regime has left anything in chaos” Alexander Kerensky (Russian revolution primary quotes
sheet-Tom Ryan)
“We summon you to a social revolution. We appeal to you not to die for others but to destroy others, to
destroy your enemies on the home front.” Lenin (Russian revolution primary quotes sheet-Tom Ryan)
No revolution ever waits for formal majority. Lenin
“Rebellions happen, Revolutions are made.” Pipes – Analysing the Russian Revolution 2nd Edition,
Richard Malone
“In times of revolution it is not enough to ascertain the ‘will’ of the majority – no, one must be stronger
at the decisive moment in the decisive place and win.” - Lenin
“By carrying out the October Revolution the working class had hoped to achieve its emancipation. But
the result has been an even greater enslavement of human beings” Kronstadt Soldiers
“History will not forgive us if we do not assume power now” Lenin
“The drumbeat of Bolshevik agitation for ‘All Power to the Soviets’ and ‘Peace! Bread! Land!’ continued
to undermine the beleaguered Provisional Government as 1917 wore on” Martin Malia, The Soviet
Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991
“The Provisional Government has been deposed. Government authority has passed into the hands of the
organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, the Military Revolutionary Committee,
which stands at the head of the Petrograd proletariat and garrison.” Lenin, in reference to the overthrow
of the Provisional Government, as quoted in Perfect, Ryan Sweeney
The Bolsheviks in late 1917 – early 1918
Our grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and fathers all had to clean up the shit and filth of your
grandfathers and fathers. Now you are going to do the same thing for us. Trotsky.
"They [the Bolsheviks] grabbed governmental authority through conspiracy. They were disciplined and
centralized and they served their dictatorial leader Lenin with blind devotion. Thus the Russian 'masses'
were high jacked into acceptance of the coup of October by a tiny intellectual elite of megalomaniacs." Robert Service, 1986
‘For him, true democracy was the rule of the Bolshevik Party, the voice of the Revolutionary masses. This
idea was based on the notion that the workers needed the enlightened leadership of the Bolsheviks to
guide them towards the achievement of their revolutionary potential." – Lynch
“If it were necessary to give the briefest possible definition of imperialism, we should have to say that
imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism.” – Lenin 1917
“Lenin, Totsky and all who follow them are dishonoring the Revolution, and the working-class.” – Maxim
Gorky New Life 1917
“The Bolsheviks did not seize power, they picked it up” Adam Ulam
"For him, true democracy was the rule of the Bolshevik Party, the voice of the Revolutionary masses.
This idea was based on the notion that the workers needed the enlightened leadership of the Bolsheviks
to guide them towards the achievement of their revolutionary potential." Lynch
"They [the Bolsheviks] grabbed governmental authority through conspiracy. They were disciplined and
centralized and they served their dictatorial leader Lenin with blind devotion. Thus the Russian 'masses'
were high jacked into acceptance of the coup of October by a tiny intellectual elite of megalomaniacs."
Robert Service 1986.
“History will not forgive us if we do not assume power”-Lenin
“To stay in power against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of their subjects the Bolsheviks had
to distort that power beyond all recognition.”-Richard Pipes
“Terror may have save communism but it corroded its soul.”-Richard Pipes
“On our side were legality, great ideals and faith in the triumph of democracy on their side were activity,
machine guns and weapons.” A bitter supporter of the assembly
“The machine gun became for them the principle instrument of political persuasion.”
A bitter supporter of the assembly.
"I am an opponent of the Bolsheviks. I consider them enemies of my country. I know that they will bring
the greatest suffering upon the people... But if I were asked whether I regretted the revolution, I would
say no. And whatever my personal fate - if I were asked whether I'd live through the revolution again, I
would say yes." Andrei Shingarev, former KADET minister from his prison diary.
“For the first few months of the new [Bolshevik] régime, in spite of the confusion…when one hundred and
sixty millions of the world’s most oppressed peoples suddenly achieved liberty, both the internal situation
and the combative power of the army actually improved”
John Silas Reed, American journalist and social activist
“Caliphs [rulers] for an hour.” Orlando Figes
“[they will last]… no more than a few days.” A.R Gots, leader of the SRs at the time
“[I]… refused to believe for more than one minute in the strength of the Bolshevik Regime and expected
its early demise.” Vladimir Nabokov
"The demand for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly was a perfectly legitimate part of the
programme of revolutionary Social-Democracy, because in a bourgeois republic the Constituent
Assembly represents the highest form of democracy and because, in setting up a Pre-parliament, the
imperialist republic headed by Kerensky was preparing to rig the elections and violate democracy in a
number of ways"- Lenin, from His April These, from Steve's website.
‘The holding of power by the Bolshevik was a far greater achievement than the taking of it.’ William
Henry Chamberlin, http://www.htav.asn.au/documents/item/1010
“the Bolsheviks went in the direction they had chosen once and for all towards a goal which came
nearer with every new, unsuccessful, experiment of compromise” – Miliukov, as quoted in Analysing the
Russian Revolution
“Lenin and his comrades-in-arms think they can commit any crime, like the massacre in Petrograd, the
storming of Moscow, abolition of freedom of speech, the senseless arrests- all the abominations that
used to be committed by Plehve and Stolypin” Maxim Gorky (Russian revolution primary quotes sheetTom Ryan)
“You are the power -do all you want, take all you want. We shall support you.” Lenin (late November
1917) (Russian revolution primary quotes sheet-Tom Ryan)
"In April 1917...Lenin declared that Russia was one of the freest countries in the world. In truth, under
the Bolshevik regime, Russians were stripped of most the rights they briefly enjoyed in 1917."- Alan
“Bolshevism has found a fertile soil in the base and anarchistic instincts of the people” Prince Lvov
“Only the ‘Bolsheviks’ marched. I despise and hate them more and more. They are truly Russian idiots.”
Maxim Gorky
“The single-party system became for the Bolsheviks an inescapable necessity. Their own survival, no
doubt the survival of the revolution, depended on it.” – Deutscher
“Lenin apparently never asked himself why, before 1921, the Bolsheviks were incapable of giving the
people anything but chaos, civil war, hunger and terror. The fact is, the Bolsheviks had achieved their
goal: the Party had power.” – Volkognov
“[The Bolshevik regime] succeeded by default rather than design.” – Alan Wood
The elections of November 1917
“’Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich — that is the democracy of capitalist
society.’’ Lenin
“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the
oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament.’’ Lenin
Lenin many times declared “the importance of this body to the future of Russia”
“A prime example of the fragility of the Bolsheviks’ hold on power.” - Henry Chamberlin
“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing.
The people who count the votes decide everything.”
Joseph Stalin
“We see in the rivalry of the Constituent Assembly and the Soviets the historical dispute between two
revolutions, the bourgeois revolution and the socialist revolution. The elections to the Constituent
Assembly are an echo of the first Bourgeois revolution in February, but certainly not of the peoples’, the
socialist revolution.” Zinoviev
Only scoundrels and imbeciles can think that the proletariat must win a majority of votes in elections.’
Lenin http://www.htav.asn.au/documents/item/1010 page 122
“We will not exchange our rifles for a ballot” – Lenin
“The politicians of the democratic counter-revolution trembled before the masses.” Victor Serge
“Winning the vote of the workers and soldiers was considered of greater significance than an electoral
majority based on votes from the countryside” Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
The Dismissal of the Constituent Assembly
The Constituent Assembly were “an unnecessary sideshow” – Lenin
"A complete and frank liquidation of the idea of democracy by the idea of dictatorship."
--Lenin on the dismissal of the Constituent Assembly, 1917
"The refusal to come to terms with the socialists and the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly led to
the logical result that revolutionary terror would now be directed not only against traditional enemies,
such as the bourgeoisie or right-wing opponents, but against anyone, be he socialist, worker or peasant,
who opposed Bolshevik rule." Leonard Shapiro, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union
“[The Constituent Assembly is an] expression of the old regime when the authority belonged to the
“On our side were legality, great ideals and faith in the triumph of democracy. On their side,” (the
Bolsheviks), “were activity, machine-guns, weapons.”
Supporter of the Assembly
“The machine-gun became for them the principle instrument for political persuasion.”
Historian Richard Pipes
“Nothing in the world will induce us to surrender the Soviet power. And when the Constituent assembly
revealed its readiness to postpone all painfully urgent problems and tasks that were placed before it by
the soviets, we told the Constituent Assembly that they must not postpone for a single moment… the
Constituent Assembly, which has refused to recognise the power of the people, is dissolved.”
‘[it will appease]…the constitutional illusions [that] are still alive in the masses.” Bukharin
“Lenin, in the government box, demonstrated his contempt for the Assembly by lounging in his chair and
putting on the air of a man who was bored to death.” V. Chernov, leader of the SRs and President of the
Constituent Assembly
‘The interests of this revolution stand higher than the formal rights of the Constituent Assembly.’ –
“Today the Hyenas of the Capital and their hirelings want to seize power from Soviet hands” Pravda
“Bolshevik delegates stomped their feet and whistled loudly as the SRs [Socialist Revolutionaries] and
Mensheviks began to leave” Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
“...not the overthrow of the provisional government... but the construction of something to take its
place” E.H.Carr on Lenin’s true triumph.
“Anything less than a Soviet power would be ‘... a retrograde step and would cause a collapse of the
entire October Workers’ and Peasants’ Revolution’”. Lenin, ‘Draft Decree on the Dissolution of the
Constituent Assembly’, as quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney.
“[The] ‘surprising indifference’ toward the closing of the Constituent Assembly as evident that Russia ‘...
lacked a sense of national cohesion capable of inspiring the population to give up immediate and
personal interests for the sake of the common good’” Richard Pipes, as quoted in Perfect, Ryan,
Bastard! What the hell are you doing? How long are you going to keep degrading the Russian people?
You are deceivers!”
Unknown Petrograd Soldier, The Russian Revolution Primary Source Quotes
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
“Trotsky degraded the conference-table to the level of a tub-thumper’s street corner” Field Marshall
“Two centuries of expansion by the Russian Empire... were lost at the stroke of a pen.” Perfect, Ryan,
Attempted assassination of Lenin
“I do don’t think I succeeded in killing him. If I regret anything, it is only that. He is a traitor to the
revolution.” –Fanya Kaplan in a letter written by her.
“I trust no one, not even myself.”
Joseph Stalin
“The impression one gains . . . is that the Bolsheviks deliberately underplayed the event to convince the
public that, whatever happened to Lenin, they were firmly in control". Richard Pipes
”As it happens, the attempt to kill Lenin has made him much more popular than he was. One hears a
great many people, who are far from having any sympathy with the Bolsheviks, saying that it would be
an absolute disaster if Lenin had succumbed to his wounds, as it was first thought he would. And they
are quite right, for, in the midst of all this chaos and confusion, he is the backbone of the new body
politic, the main support on which everything rests.’’ Leonid Borisovich Krasin, a Tsarist.
"My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own. I will not say from whom I obtained
my revolver. I will give no details. I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the
Revolution. I was exiled to Akatui for participating in an assassination attempt against a Tsarist official in
Kiev. I spent 11 years at hard labor. After the Revolution, I was freed. I favoured the Constituent
Assembly and am still for it "- Fanny Kaplan
- "Platten grabbed Lenin by the head and pushed him down . . . Platten's hand was covered in blood,
having been grazed by a bullet as he was shielding Lenin". – Dimitri Volkogonov
Pavel Malkov - "her remains are to be destroyed so that not a trace remains."
“Is the end near? If it’s near tell me straight so that i don’t leave matters pending” Lenin (Malone)
“The flight of the shepherd could not but deliver a heavy blow to the sheep. After all, the masses,
mobilized by Lenin, bore the whole burden of responsibility for the July Days ... and the real culprit
abandons his army, his comrades and seeks personal safety in flight.” - Pipes
“I have long had the intention of killing Lenin. In my eyes he has betrayed the revolution.” Fanny Kaplan
“The bullet was directed not only against Comrade Lenin but also against the working class as a whole”
Yakov Peters , one of Dzerzhinsky’s deputies
“Without mercy, we will kill our enemies in scores of hundreds. Let them be thousands, let them drown
themselves in their own blood. For the blood of Lenin and Uritsky... let there be floods of the bourgeois
blood- more blood, as much as possible” A party newspaper ‘Krasnaia Gazta’
“Peace! Bread! Land!”
“The question of peace is the burning question, the most pressing question at the present time” –Lenin
“All land shall become the property of the whole people” –Decree on land, November 1917.
‘The drumbeat of Bolshevik agitation for ‘All Power to the Soviets’ and ‘Peace! Bread! Land!’ continued
to undermine the beleaguered Provisional Government as 1917 wore on.’ Martin Malia,
‘Have done with these greetings and resolutions, its time to get down to business.’ - Lenin
‘It is obscene to applaud such rubbish’ – Alexander Bogdanov
“The deepest legacy of the revolution was its failure to eliminate the social inequalities that had brought
it about in the first place.” – Figes
It is the duty of the revolution to put an end to compromise, and to put an end to compromise means
taking the path of socialist revolution. Lenin
“Lenin’s speeches were Thunder-like” Richard Malone - Analysing the Russian Revolution 2nd Edition,
Richard Malone
“All Power to the Soviets!”
“The present soviets do not express the will of the workers and the peasants, new elections by secret
ballot should be held immediately.”- Kronstadt Petition
"We shall now proceed to the construction of the communist order." Lenin
“I believe there are only two kinds of government possible in Russia- a government by the soviets or a
government headed by a Tsar.” Lenin
‘You understand, that it is difficult to give you instructions any more concrete than ‘All Power to the
Soviets!’ this apparently is all that can be said. – Yakov Sverdlov.
“Most historians conclude that Lenin’s call for ‘All power to the Soviets’ was really a call for ‘All power to
the Bolsheviks’” – Analysing the Russian Revolution, Richard Malone
“If we seize power today, we seize it not in opposition to the soviets but on their behalf” Lenin (Russian
revolution primary quotes sheet-Tom Ryan)
“Things are moving by fits and starts towards a point where power will be transferred to the Soviets,
which is what our power called for long ago.”
(Lenin, Collected Works, P. 155-156)
The Civil War
Civil war never has and never can create a government that has the backing of the whole country”Vikzhel The all Russian executive committee of the union of railway workers (1927).
“In a twelve-month, we shall have forgotten that there was ever a struggle for communism”-Zinoviev
the participation of the Allies and the behavior of the White Armies undoubtly gave the Reds additional
support among ordinary people- were they not defending the homeland from acquisitive foreigners?
Peasants did not love the Bolsheviks, but they loved the Whites even less, especially when the latter
were suspected of aiming to restore land to the former owners." --Wolfson on Bolshevik support during
the civil war.
“One cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs” Nikolai Bukharin
“Sweet Father and Mother,
It was already clear to me about a week ago that there was no way out. Without a doubt the country is
heading for a general slaughter, famine, the collapse of the front, where half the soldiers will perish, and
the ruin of the urban population. The cultural inheritance of the nation, its people and civilization, will be
destroyed. Armies of migrants, then small groups, and then maybe no more than individual people, will
roam around the country fighting each other with rifles and then no more than clubs. I will not live to
see it, and, I hope, neither will you.”- Prince Lvov on the eve of his resignation, July 1917
“War is war. Guns are not just for decoration.”
“Every Scoundrel who incites anyone to retreat, to desert or not to fulfil a military order, will be shot.”
Trotsky’s order to the Red Army troops on the southern front, 24 November
“To carry on a revolutionary war, an army is necessary and we do not have one. It is a question of signing
the terms now, or of signing the death sentence of the Soviet Government three weeks later.” Lenin
‘Everything for the front!’ – Trotsky
‘ I shall not fight for any particular form of government. I am fighting only for Russia’. – General Denikin.
As Lenin wrote later, 'From the continuous triumphal march of October, November, December on our
internal front, against our counter-revolution...we had to pass to an encounter with real international
imperialism...an extraordinarily difficult and painful situation.’
“Nothing did more to shape the ruling attitudes of the Bolsheviks than the experience of the Civil
War…The Bolshevism that emerged from the Civil War viewed itself as a crusading brotherhood of
comrades in arms, conquering Russia and the world with a red pencil in one hand and a gun in the
other.” – Figes
‘All foreign debts are cancelled “unconditionally and without exception”’ Lenin (Malone)
“Much was due to the driving initiative , the disciplined order, and the ruthlessness of the Bolsheviks
themselves.” Greenwood (The Modern World, 1973) (Malone)
We were always for revolutionary war. The bayonet is an essential necessity for introducing
communism. Karl Radek
“They came and fought like mad,
They marched on Petrograd…
They cam supplied with tanks,
With dollars, pounds and francs,
They came and thought they’d win,
But got their heads bashed in.”
(A poem written Mayakovsky a Russian poet summarising the foreign threat in the Civil War)
“The meaning of civil war; kill that you may not be killed” – Latsis
“It [the Civil War] was primarily a clash between different versions of revolution” Geoff Swain (British
Historian), as quoted in Malone
“The single-party system became for the Bolsheviks an inescapable necessity. Their own survival, and no
doubt the survival of the revolution, depended on it.”
Deutscher, Malone Page 232
The Red Army
[The officers of the Imperial Army would be] “Squeezed like lemons, then thrown away”-Trotsky
"...the participation of the Allies and the behavior of the White Armies undoubtedly gave the Reds
additional support among ordinary people - were they not defending the homeland from acquisitive
foreigners? Peasants did not love the Bolsheviks, but they loved the Whites even less, especially when
the latter were suspected of aiming to restore land to the former owners." --Wolfson on Bolshevik
support during the civil war.
“The sooner we get rid of them, [the Bourgeoisie], the sooner we will reach socialism.”
“It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army.” Stalin
“It was a formidable force.” Y. Kukushkin: History of the USSR (1981) (soviet historian)
“The situation, catastrophic but 24 hours earlier, had improved by his [Trotsky’s] coming as though by
miracle.” Alexander Barmine
‘…give my whole strength and life itself.’ – Part of the Red Army Pledge
“In the organisation of the Red Army the consistency and firmness of the proletarian leadership in
alliance between the workers and the toiling peasantry against all exploiters were brilliantly realised.” –
“An army cannot be built without repression. The commander will always find it necessary to place the
soldier between the possibility that death lies ahead and the certainty that it lies behind.” Trotsky
(Russian revolution primary quotes sheet-Tom Ryan)
“If we are not ready to shoot a saboteur and a White Guard, what sort of Revolution is that? Nothing but
talk and a bowl of mush.” Lenin
The White Army
Psychologically, the Whites conducted themselves as if nothing had happened, whereas in reality the
whole world around them had collapsed, and in order to vanquish the enemy they themselves had to
undergo, in a certain sense, a rebirth . . . Nothing so harmed the 'White' movement as this very condition
of psychologically staying put in previous circumstances, circumstances which had ceased to exist. . .
Men with this 'old regime' psychology were immersed in the raging sea of revolutionary anarchy, and
psychologically could not find their bearings in it... In the revolutionary storm that struck Russia in 1917,
even out-and-out restorationists had to turn revolutionaries in the psychological sense: because in a
revolution only revolutionaries can find their way. - Peter Struve, 1921
“There was little co-operation of policy or strategy between the White leaders, and this lack of unity was
to prove fatal to the counter-revolutionary cause.”
Greenwood, ‘The Modern World’, 1973
“I can do nothing with my army, I am glad when it carries out my combat orders.” – General Denikin
“The one factor that united the Whites was their hatred of the Bolsheviks” Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
“If I raise the republican flag, I lose half of my volunteers, and if I raise the monarchist flag, I lose the
other half. But we have to save Russia” General Denikin
The Green Army: “[The] peasant insurgents were ‘...far more dangerous than all the Denikins,
Yudeniches and Kolchaks put together.’” Lenin, as quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
Death of the Royal Family
“The execution of the Tsar’s family was needed not only to frighten, horrify and instill a sense of
hopelessness into the enemy, but also to shake up our own ranks, to show that there was no retreating,
that ahead lay either total victory or total doom.” Trotsky, 1935
“The Party did not want to give the Whites any live banner to rally round. They had begun to murder
every Romanov they could find…. The Romanovs died, with their children and their pets, as in gangster
massacres.” Brian Moynahan, The Russian Century, 1994
“He strikes me as a man who would willingly die fighting for Russia provided there was a big enough
audience to see him do it.” - Lockhart, the British Vice-Council 1918.
“If we had had more time for discussion we should probably have made a great many more mistakes.”
“Revolutions are always verbose.” Trotsky
“… A four kind son of a bitch, and the greatest Jew since Jesus.” Captain Jacques Sadoul
“No one ever wore a great destiny with more style.” Victor Serge
“He outshone Lenin through his great oratorical talent, through his organizing ability… as against all this
Lenin possessed only the pre-eminence… of having… been the uncontested head of the tiny Bolshevik
Party…” Victor Serge
“We had much admiration for him, but no real love.” Victor Serge
“The fact was that he had been in the thick of everything, acting with a self confident energy which tried
out directly opposite solutions by turns.” Victor Serge
'Now that the great revolution has come one feels that however intelligent Lenin may be he begins to
fade beside the genius of Trotsky.' M. S. Uritsky (Bolshevik revolutionary leader)
“The Champion with the faked muscles... The grand poseur.” Stalin
“Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's
enemies.” Trotsky
War Communism
“An inevitable and pre-determined policy, an attempt at a socialist system of economics.”-Richard Pipes
“Involved the drastic mobilization of the whole national economy to serve the needs of war.”-Thomson,
Europe since Napoleon
“It meant attacking the interests of the mass of peasants and workers.”-Thomson, Europe since
"Workers of the world unite!" – Karl Marx
Communism is the end of the economy as a separate and privileged field on which everything else
depends while despising and fearing it. It is used to refer to the economic power under Communist
parties that have the dictatorship of the social classes."
–Gilles Dauvé
Communism is not [and never was] a creation of the masses to overthrow the Banking establishment,
but rather a creation of the Banking establishment to overthrow and enslave the people.”-Anthony J.
“Everything for the front!” Common Bolshevik propaganda
“The Russian Communist Party will strive speedily as possible to introduce the most radical measures to
pave the way for the abolition of money.” Lenin
“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.” Lenin
“War Communism was thrust upon us by war and ruin. It was not, nor could it be, a policy that
corresponded to the economic tasks of the proletariat. It was a temporary measure.” Lenin
“A feeling of apprehension and sadness hovers over Moscow. All life seems to have stopped…”
Vecherniaia Zvezda (on industry during the civil war)
“…you must understand, too, the psychological side of these prices. In some people, the create panic, in
others complete prostration, in others again a kind of mystic fatalism.” C.E. Bechhofer
“The cause of the continuous rise in prices is, besides profiteering, the complete and fantastic inability
on the part of the Government to manage its finances.” C.E. Bechhofer
“Everything that did not help or foster the production of bombs was declared to be valueless,
‘bourgeois’, and deserving only of destruction and contempt.” C.E. Bechhofer
" War Communism was not just a response to the Civil war; it was also means of making civil war... the
policies of the war Communism were seen by the Bolsheviks as an instrument of struggle against their
social or "internal" enemies"- Figes from Malone pg 233.
‘We welcome Soviet power, but give us plows, harrows and machines and stop seizing our grain, milk,
eggs, and meat.’ – a Russian peasant (during war communism)
“The requisitions in the villages and the direct application of communist principles in the towns have
hindered the revival and become the main cause of the tremendous economic and political crisis which
descended upon us in the spring of 1921.” – Lenin on war communism
“The peculiarity of war communism consisted in the fact that we really took from the peasants all their
surpluses, and some times even what was not surplus, but part of what was necessary to feed the
peasant... We took it for the most part on credit..."
(Lenin, Collected Works, Vol.27 page 517)
“Long live civil war in the name of bread, for children and old people, for the workers and the Red Army,
in the name of the direct and merciless struggle with counter-revolution” Lenin
“[War Communism] was not merely War Communism, such as is appropriate to a besieged city, but
militant Communism or rather pure Communism, and its failure was self-evident” Bernard Pares
“The land belongs to us but the bread belongs to you; the water belongs to us but the fish belongs to
you; the forests are ours but the timber is yours” a peasant as quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
Kronstadt Uprising
“The Spanish government of the ‘People’s Front’ stifles the socialist revolution and shoots
revolutionists. The Anarchists participate in this government, or, when they are driven out,
continue to support the executioners. And their foreign allies and lawyers occupy themselves
meanwhile with a defense...of the Kronstadt mutiny against the harsh Bolsheviks. What a
travesty!” – Trotsky
“The supposition that soldiers and sailors could venture upon an insurrection under an abstract
political slogan of ‘free soviets’ is absurd in itself.... These people could have been moved to an
insurrection only by profound economic needs and interests. These were the needs and
interests of the fathers and brothers of these sailors and soldiers, that is, of peasants as traders
in food products and raw materials. In other words the mutiny was the expression of the petty
bourgeoisie’s reaction against the difficulties and privations imposed by the proletarian
— Wright, “The Truth About Kronstadt”
“My Communist friends and I finally declared ourselves on the side of the Party. This is why… the country
was absolutely exhausted and production was practically at a stand still; there were no reserves of any
kind, not even reserves of stamina in the hearts of the masses… If the Bolshevik dictatorship fell, it was
only a short step to chaos, and through chaos to a peasant rising, the massacre of the Communists, the
return of the émigrés, and, in the end, through sheer force of events, another dictatorship, this time antiproletarian.”
Victor Serge, ‘Memoirs of a Revolutionary’
“It was the beginning of a ghastly fratricide [brothers killing brothers].” Victor Serge
“Lenin said that ‘Communism is Soviet power and electrification.’ But the people are convinced that the
Bolshevik form of communism is commissarocracy plus firing squads.” Kronstadt soldiers
“It was an attempt to seize power from the Bolsheviks by a motley crowd or alliance of ill-assorted
elements…” Lenin
“Some fools or traitors in Kronstadt talked of a Constituent Assembly, but does any man in his senses
believe for a moment that a constituent assembly at this critical abnormal stage would be anything but a
bear garden?” Lenin
“Kronstadt has been attacked! My heart is numb with despair. Something has died within me.” American
anarchist, Alexander Berkman
“They do not want the White guard and they do not want our power either.” Lenin on the Kronstadters.
“The lightening flash that lit up reality.” – Lenin on the lessons of Kronstadt
“All of Soviet Russia has been turned into an all-Russian penal colony” – Kronstadt sailors
‘The suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion had a shattering effect on the socialists of the world. There
could be no more conclusive proof that the Bolsheviks had turned into tyrants.” – Orlando Figes –
Analysing the Russian Revolution
“The pride and glory of the revolution.....the reddest of the red” Trotsky (Russian revolution primary
quotes sheet-Tom Ryan)
“The critics try to suggest that everything would have ended in general satisfaction if only the revolution
had left the insurgent sailors alone. Unfortunately, the world counter revolution would in no case have
left them alone”
(Trotsky, ‘Hue and cry over Kronstadt’ in New Testament, April 1938)
“Kronstadters were unsatisfactory, undiscipled and unreliable in battle and doing more harm than
good.” Trotsky 1938 - Analysing the Russian Revolution 2nd Edition, Richard Malone
’Only those who surrender unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic.’ Those who
[choose] to ignore this advice [face]... a bleak threat:’... you will be shot like partridges’” Trotsky, as
quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
“Beginning as early as 1918, the fronts began to complain that the new contingents of ‘Kronstadters’
were unsatisfactory, exacting, undisciplined, unreliable in battle, and doing more harm than good…”
Trotsky, Quoted in Malone Page 185
“All of Soviet Russia has been turned into an all-Russian penal colony” – Kronstadt sailors
“The Cheka is not a court.” Felix Dzerzhinsky
“…The bloodthirsty Commissars of the Extraordinary Commission…” The Daily Telegraph, 23 January
“We stand for organised terror.” Felix Dzerzhinsky
“The Cheka and its successors assimilated the practices of the tsarist secret police to such an extent that
as late as the 1980s, the KGB distributed to its staff manuals prepared by the Okhrana nearly a century
earlier.” Richard Pipes (history.studyroom.com)
“The defence of the revolution” Dzerzhinsky (history checkpoints)
“Like the sound of the bolt being shot, the two syllables, Che-ka, would stop any conversation”
“...the Bolshevik leadership had created an extreme situation, and they saw a way out in the
organisation of a powerful punitive institution, capable of terrifying and terrorizing the population”
Russian Historian Alter Litvin, as quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney.
“It was necessary to make the foe feel that there was everywhere about him a seeing eye and a heavy
hand ready to come down on him the moment he undertook anything against the Soviet Government.”
– Dzerhinsky (1917)
Red Terror
“…The Bolshevik tyranny was of a most savage and bloodthirsty character...[they] encouraged
bitterness… against all who did not belong to the proletariat…” Cited in M. Bucklow and G. Russell,
Russia: Why Revolution, p.182
“The Bolsheviks have abolished even the most primitive forms of justice.” B. Lockhart, the British ViceConsul in Moscow
“When there is state there can be no freedom, but when there is freedom there will be no state.” Lenin
“It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.” Lenin
“One man with a gun can control one hundred without one.” Lenin
“…the attribute of popular government in revolution is at one and the same time virtue and terror,
virtue without which terror is fatal, terror without which virtue is impotent. The terror is nothing but
justice, prompt, sever, inflexible…” Lenin
“The only solution I see is to have the threat of red terror spread the fear and let them [the bourgeois]
escape.” Lenin
“...the ‘Red Terror’ was not a reluctant response to the actions of others but a prophylactic measure
designed to nip in the bud any thought of resistance to the dictatorship” Richard Pipes, as quoted in
Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
“The revolution demands of the revolutionary class that it reach its goal by all the means at its disposal:
If necessary by armed uprising, if necessary by terrorism. Terror can be very effective against a
reactionary class that does not want to leave the scene.”
Trotsky. The Russian Revolution Primary Source Quotes
“Terrorism is necessary in the struggle for communism.” Stalin - Analysing the Russian Revolution 2nd
Edition, Richard Malone
[Famine should] “Strike a mortal blow against the enemy.” - Lenin
“Famine would not only destroy faith in the tsar but in God too” - A young Lenin.
"...those who believe that socialism will be built at a time of peace and tranquillity are profoundly
mistaken: it will everywhere be built at a time of disruption, at a time of famine."- Lenin
“The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” Stalin
“…frightful poverty prevails… babies are dying en masse.” J. Sadoul
“Those one sees are weak, fleshless, pitiful creatures.” J. Sadoul
“…poor, pale, thin mothers, sadly bearing in their arms, in a little coffin of silver painted wood, looking
like a cradle, the tiny lifeless body that a small quantity of bread or milk would have kept alive.” J. Sadoul
“… the bread inevitably contained sawdust and other ‘foreign bodies’, calculated to augment the
weight.” Florence Farmborough
“No one can eat more than the body can absorb. Everyone is provided for. And yet there is concealment
everywhere, in the hope of selling… to speculators at fabulous prices.” Bolshevik report, 1919, blaming
the food shortage on hoarding.
“The famine… was appalling. People were eating dead bodies, although the Politburo banned any
mention of cannibalism in the press. On 23 February 1922 the public learned from their newspapers that
a government decree had been issued on the forcible confiscation of all valuables from Russian
churches. It was not stated that this decree had first been personally approved by Lenin.” (Dmitri
“This was the first instance of a peacetime genocide in history. It took the extraordinary form of an
artificial famine deliberately created by the ruling powers. The savage combination of words for the
designation of a crime - an artificial deliberately planned famine - is still incredible to many people
throughout the world, but indicates the uniqueness of the tragedy of 1933, which is unparalleled, for a
time of peace, in the number of victims it claimed.' - Wasyl Hryshko - Survivor The Ukrainian Holocaust,
1933 from http://www.faminegenocide.com/resources/quotes.html
Richard Pipes – “the famine was only used as an excuse for the Bolshevik leadership to go after the
Orthodox Church, which held significant sway over much of the peasant populace”
“In one house beyond the Volga I saw a family waiting for death, and they had not long to wait….The
father whispered a few words, but they could hardly be heard. Once the mother groaned. The boy and
girl made no sound at all. Death stood at the threshold.” – Review of Reviews 1921
“No treasure could buy salt; it has ceased to exist.” Florence Flarmborough
“Down with Lenin and horsemeat! Give us the Tsar and pork!” Graffiti that appeared on the streets of
Petrograd, as quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
“In our village everyone eats human flesh but they hide it. There are several cafeterias in the village- and
all of them sever up young children” A man arrested and bought to trial for eating human flesh, as
quoted in Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
The New Economic Policy
“An unfortunate but necessary step”-Lenin
“We have met a great defeat in our plans and that we are now making a strategic retreat.”-Lenin
“You must first attempt to build small bridges whish shall lead a land of small peasants holdings through
state capitalism to socialism otherwise you will never lead tens of millions of people to communism.”
Lenin in Malone
“The NEP was “nothing short of treason””. Richard Malone
"Only by coming to an agreement with the peasants can we save the socialist revolution".- Lenin
“Please don’t try teaching me what to include and what to leave out of Marxism. Eggs don’t teach their
hens how to lay!” Lenin
“What is needed now is economic breathing space.” Lenin
“Let the peasants have their slice of capitalism.” Lenin
“The New Exploitation of the Proletariat.” Kamenev
“…people were apt to talk about the return of capitalism, which was synonymous with prosperity.”
Victor Serge
“For what did we fight, spill so much blood, agree to so many sacrifices?” civil war veterans, cited in V.
Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary 1901-1941, p. 146
“I doubt very much whether it can be truthfully said that the communists are directing that heap. To tell
the truth, they are not directing, they are being directed.” Lenin
"The NEP was, in space of a few months, already giving marvellous results. From one week to the next,
the famine and the speculation were diminishing perceptibly ...the public were beginning to recover its
breath"- Victor Serge (from Malone pg 188)
“Having defeated the Whites, who were backed by no fewer than eight Western powers, the Bolsheviks
surrendered to the peasantry.” – Figes A People’s Tragedy, about the NEP
“Two steps forward, one step back” Lenin (Russian revolution primary quotes sheet-Tom Ryan)
The new economic policy is only a temporary deviation, a tactical retreat, a clearing of land for a new
and decisive attack of labour against the front of international capitalism.” – Zinoviev
“Yet for all its brutality and hardship, the Russian Revolution created an opportunity for people to make
exciting plans for a new world.” Perfect, Ryan, Sweeney
“The national economy must be put back on its feet at all costs. The first thing to do is to restore,
consolidate, and improve peasant farming.” Lenin
“[He] always insisted that the New Economic Policy introduced in 921 was really the old economic policy
of 1918, but he never attempted to disguise the fact that it was a large-scale retreat, another breathing
space, a Brest-Litovsk on the economic front” Marxist historian Christopher Hill on Lenin and the NEP
“Lenin’s Russia in the years of the NEP still outmatched Nicholas II’s in political unfreedom” Robert
“A lie told often enough becomes truth.”
“Vladimir Lenin created the modern totalitarian state, transforming simpler forms of tyranny into
history's most sophisticated apparatus of rule by terror.” -Michael Johns
“Lenin was a real dictator. They obeyed him not for fear, but with pleasure.”- The Times, 1923.
“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
“It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less
mysterious laws.”- Lenin
“War cannot be abolished unless classes are abolished and Socialism is created.”- Lenin
“He is a traitor to the revolution. I lay the responsibility for the treacherous peace with Germany and the
dismissal of the Constituent Assembly at his feet.” Fanya Kaplan
“Lenin owes his historical prominence not to his statesmanship, which was very inferior, but to his
generalship. He was one of history’s great conquerors.” Richard Pipes
“Lenin employs a clumsy axe where a fine scalpel is called for.” Victor Chernov
“He did not establish a dictatorship to safeguard the revolution; he made a revolution to establish the
dictatorship.” Orlando Figes
"It is surely indisputable that no single leader in the twentieth century exerted as great an influence on
the course of world history as Lenin."- Dmitri Volkogonov
“Lenin bequeathed to his successors a fully functioning police state.”- Martin Amis
“Lenin’s greatest achievement as a revolutionary was to reshape Marxist theory to make it fit Russian
conditions.”- Michael Lynch
“Lenin was an artist who had worked with men, as other artists have worked marble or metals. But men
are harder than stone and less malleable than iron. There is no masterpiece. The artist has failed. The
task was superior to his capabilities.” – Mussolini Mussolini in the Making 1938
“Lenin is not comparable to any revolutionary figure in history. Revolutionaries have had ideals. Lenin
has none. He was a madman, an immolator, wishful of burning, and slaughtering, and sacrificing.” –
Peter Kropotkin Peter Kropotkin: From Prince to Rebel 1990
“To impose such immense sacrifices in the name of so naive and flawed a vision makes Lenin one of the
greatest criminals of the 20th century” Lieven (Malone)
“There was no ‘private Lenin’ behind the public mask. He gave all of himself to politics … Lenin lived for
the revolution.” Figes March 2000 - Analysing the Russian Revolution 2nd Edition, Richard Malone
“Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem.” (Stalin)
“A ruler with a great big club in his hand.” Trotsky describing Stalin
“You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.” Joseph Stalin
“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them
have ideas.”- Stalin
“Well, remember the Tsar? I’m something like a Tsar.” Stalin
“It’s a pity you didn’t become a priest. You’d have done better.” Yekaterina Djugashvilii:
“Stalin is too rude and this defect… becomes intolerable in a secretary General.” Lenin’s Testement
“Comrade Stalin, having become secretary general, has unlimited authority concentrated in his hands,
and I am not sure whether he will always be capable of using that power with sufficient caution.” Lenin’s
“Stalin summoned Radek and said, "I know you spread jokes about me. It's impertinent."
"I am the Great Leader, Teacher, and Friend of the people after all."
"No, I've not told anybody this joke."” Russian Joke
“His articles… are loaded not only with theoretical blunders and naiveties, but also with crude sins
against the Russian language.” Trotsky on Stalin’s (lack of) demagogic skills
“If Stalin were an ambitious man so were all the other contenders for power. If Stalin changed his mind
on key issues of the day, so did the others.” Chris Ward, Stalin’s Russia, 1993
“He’s not an intellectual like the other people you will meet… but he knows what he wants. He’s got
willpower, and he’s going to be top of the pile someday.” John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World,
"...the evil genius of the Russian Revolution who, activated by vindictiveness and lust for power, has
brought the revolution to the edge of the abyss." --Ryutin on Stalin.
“Every crime was possible to Stalin, for there was not one he had not committed. …Let us hope for time
to come to him will fall the glory of being the greatest criminal in history.” – Milovan Djialas
Conversations with Stalin
“Stalin was a true Leninist in that he faithfully followed his patron’s political philosophy and practices.
Every ingredient of what has come to be known as Stalinism save one – murdering fellow Communists –
he had learned from Lenin.” Richard Pipes (history.studyroom.com)
“The prime factors in the question of stability are such members of the C.C. as Stalin and Trotsky. I think
relations between them make up the greater part of the danger of a split.”
(Lenin, Letter to the Congress, 1922)
“This cook can only serve peppery dishes” Lenin
“That wonderful Georgian” Lenin
“He is the new Genghis Khan… He will strangle us… He is going to drown in blood the rising of the
peasants… He will slaughter us all” Bukharin, The Russian Revolution primary source quotes
“The grave-digger of the Revolution” Trotsky, The Russian Revolution primary source quotes
“Our greatest goal was the universal triumph of Communism, and for the sake of that goal, everything
was permissible- to lie, to steal, to destroy hundreds of thousands and even millions of people.”
Stalin, The Russian Revolution Primary Source Quotes
Leonid Krasin to the Central Committee: “the gospel according to Karl Marx is not the be-all and end-all
of wisdom.”