Documents from or about the Soviet Union during Both the
Socialist & State-Capitalist/Social-Imperialist Periods
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was established in Russia, and in most of the oppressed nations that had been ruled by the Tsar, after the victory of the great Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin.
There were tremendous hardships that the people had to overcome in making revolution in Russia, in ending World War I, in fighting the terrible civil war and the invasion of multiple capitalist countries, and the severe famine at that time. It was a forced march for the USSR to recover from this devastation, and to industrialize and build itself up in preparation for a new capitalist assault that they knew would be coming before long.
This new federation of socialist republics called the USSR was soon transformed into a socialist economy and state during the 1920s, under the leadership of Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This greatly facilitated the industrialization of the country even while the capitalist world was in the midst of the Great Depression. But then they had to prepare to face a ferocious new invasion from Nazi Germany, which when it came led to yet more hardship and suffering for the masses. That the Soviet peoples were able to persevere and achieve victory through all these difficulties is one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity in all of recorded history.
However, not so surprisingly under these circumstances of desperate hardship and attack, and given that this was the very first socialist revolution in history, there were also some serious weaknesses in the Soviet Union during the socialist period. Mao later pointed out that after the early years Stalin and the CPSU no longer relied on the masses and mass initiative, or used the mass line method of leadership (“from the masses, to the masses”). (See the collection of Mao’s comments about Stalin listed below.) Instead, Soviet society was ruled by orders from above, even if mostly with good intentions. The Soviet Union was therefore not governed in nearly as democratic a way as it could and should have been. Dissent was often assumed to be entirely hostile to the revolution, when in fact much of it simply reflected an inadequate understanding of what needed to be done, or was even an attempt to improve the new socialist society. And many honest workers and revolutionaries were falsely labelled as enemies or enemy agents, and were then imprisoned or killed. Moreover, even the economic aspects of Soviet socialism had some serious shortcomings because of these political problems.
Nevertheless, the Soviet Union remained a socialist country—though a very imperfect one—as long as Stalin was alive, and overall it played a quite positive role in the world. But unfortunately the top down and paternalistic style of leadership by Stalin and the CPSU did not condition the Soviet masses to more directly run society and to keep an eye on their leaders, and did not prepare them to deal with revisionists like Khrushchev and the new privileged bourgeois stratum that came to power after Stalin’s death. This stratum soon formed itself into a new bourgeois ruling class.
The revisionist (state-capitalist) period in the Soviet Union lasted from the mid-1950s until the final collapse of the USSR in 1991. Many people in reformist and revisionist parties around the world were not able to recognize this fundamental change in the nature of the Soviet Union, and there has been considerable struggle and debate about this. The central ideological struggle here was that between Mao and Chinese revolutionaries (on the one hand), and the Soviet revisionists (on the other hand). But there have also been some other important debates and exposures of Soviet revisionism and social-imperialism since then.
On this page we will try to collect and present many key and hard to find documents which critically discuss the negative aspects of the Soviet Union during the socialist period, as well as evaluations of Stalin and his role. And, in a separate section below, we will try to bring together many important documents criticizing and condemning the USSR during the revisionist and social-imperialist period. Some items have the file extension “.djvu”. These files require the WinDjView program to read them. This reader can be obtained for free at: http://www.windjview.sourceforge.net (Linux users have the capability to read .djvu files integrated into their PDF readers of the major desktops: Okular in KDE, Evince in GNOME.)
If you know of other documents that should be posted here, contact us at: email@example.com
The Revolutionary and Socialist Era of the USSR (1917-c. 1955)
The Russian Revolution and the Lenin Era
- About Lenin:
- Fine Drawings of Lenin, a collection published by the Communist Party of Germany on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lenin (1970). 12 pages (missing two drawings). German: WinDjView format [8,089 KB]
The Soviet Union in the Stalin Era
- General Information:
- [To be added.]
- Stalin’s Writings:
- [Most of Stalin’s individual writings, from his Selected Works, are available in HTML format on the Marxist Internet Archive at: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/index.htm However, we are also posting a few of his writings here on BannedThought.net. —Ed.]
- “Prospects of the Revolution in China”, by J. V. Stalin, writings from 1926-27, (Moscow: FLPH, 1955), 100 pages. PDF format [1,357 KB]
- “Stalin on China: Writings from November 1926 to August 1927”, (Bombay: Feb. 1951), 114 pages. PDF format [3,280 KB]
- “Joseph Stalin: An Interview with the German Author Emil Ludwig”, December 13, 1931, (Moscow: 1932), 22 pages. PDF format [694 KB]
- “Marxism vs. Liberalism”, an interview of Stalin by H.G. Wells, July 23, 1934. (NY: New Century Publishers, Sept. 1945), 28 pages. Searchable PDF format [1,889 KB]
- “Report to the Eighteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B.) on the Work of the Central Committee”, by Josef Stalin, March 10, 1939. (Moscow: FLPH, 1951), 108 pages. PDF format [2,188 KB]
- “Speech at the 19th Party Congress”, by J. V. Stalin, Oct. 14, 1952, (Moscow: FLPH, 1952), 20 pages. PDF format [279 KB]
- The Stalin Question (The Evaluation of Stalin):
- [Book:] “Joseph Stalin: A Short Biography”, by a CPSU committee, (Moscow: FLPH, 1947), 236 pages. PDF format [6,507 KB]
- [Book:] “The Stalin Era”, by Anna Louise Strong, (NY: Mainstream Publishers, 1956), 132 pages. [Better copy!] PDF format [6,433 KB]
- “More on the Historical Experience of the Proletarian Dictatorship”, a summary of a discussion at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China focusing on the question of Stalin, which appeared in Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] on December 29, 1956. Pamphlet format, (London: CPGB, 1957), 32 pages. Searchable PDF Image Format [1,509 KB]
- “On the Question of Stalin”, Comment on the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU (II), (Peking: FLP, 1963), 28 pages. PDF Format [4,481 KB] This pamphlet is also available in a high quality PDF version elsewhere online at: https://archive.org/details/OnTheQuestionOfStalin, and in an HTML versions at: http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/QS63.html and at: https://www.marxists.org/subject/china/documents/polemic/qstalin.htm
- “Mao’s Evaluations of Stalin: A Collection and Summary”, ed. by Scott Harrison, Sept. 6, 2006, about 40 pages. HTML format
- “Jose Maria Sison’s Evaluation of Stalin, the CPSU and the United Front Against Fascism”, by a long-time Maoist observer of the Philippine revolutionary movement, 2014, 19 pages. This is a chapter from a longer polemic against Sison entitled “Jose Maria Sison: From Marxist-Leninist to Revisionist” (81 pages) which is available in full in the Philippines/CPP section of BannedThought.net. This chapter is an attempt to make a Maoist evaluation of the Soviet Union’s top-down forced collectivization campaign, its industrialization in the 1930s using capitalist methods, the grievous legacy of the Great Purges, and how the USSR fought World War II as a defense of Russian national interests. Searchable PDF [1,004 KB]
- Communist Party of the Soviet Union:
- 17th Party Congress (1934):
- “The Revolutionary Crisis is Maturing”, a speech by D. Z. Manuilsky at the Seventeenth Congress of the CPSU on Behalf of the Delegation of the CPSU in the Communist International, (NY: Workers Library Publishers, 1934), 52 pages. Searchable PDF format [3,371 KB]
- Soviet Economy in the Socialist Era:
- [Book:] “Soviet Economic Development Since 1917”, by Maurice Dobb, (1st edition: 1948), 487 pages. PDF Format [Very large file: 47,126 KB]
(Revised & expanded edition: 1966), 522 pages, some underlining (our apologies). Searchable PDF Text Format [Very large file: 67,139 KB] Also available online at: https://archive.org/details/DobbSovEconDev
- Foreign Affairs in the Socialist Era:
- “Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-1947”, by John Quinn of the British Soviet Society, (London: BSS, 1947), 36 pages. Searchable PDF Format [4,133 KB]
- [Book:] “Speeches and Statements Made at the Moscow Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers by V.M. Molotov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR”, March 10—April 24, 1947, (London: “Soviet News”, 1947), 128 pages. Searchable PDF Format [12,635 KB]
- “The Right-Wing Social-Democrats Today”, by O. Kuusinen, (Moscow: FLPH, 1948), 20 pages. Searchable PDF Format [2,172 KB]
- Nationalities in the Socialist Soviet Union:
- “Buryat-Mongolia”, a collection of speeches from representatives of this little known Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, affirming their strong determination to oppose any possible invasion of their region by Japan. (NY: International, 1936), 60 pages. Searchable PDF Format [3,019 KB]
The State-Capitalist/Social-Imperialist Era of the USSR
- The So-called “Communist Party of the Soviet Union” in the State-Capitalist Era:
- “N. S. Khrushchov — Report of the Central Committee to the 20th Congress of the CPSU”, Feb. 14, 1956, (London: Soviet News Booklet #4, Feb. 1956), 100 pages. Searchable PDF Format [4,782 KB]
- Revisionist Political Theory:
- “A State of the Whole People: A Collection of Essays by Soviet Commentators”, Soviet Booklet No. 86, (London: Soviet Booklets, February 1962), 28 pages. Searchable PDF Format [1,618 KB]
- Soviet Economy in the State-Capitalist Era:
- “Lenin on Material Incentive and Enthusiasm of the Masses”, by Mikhail Laptin, attempting to attribute their revisionist, bourgeois economic policies and theory to Lenin, (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency, 1965), 20 pages. Searchable PDF Format [1,233 KB]
- “Soviet Trade and Economic Ties”, by Novosti Press Agency (1982), 28 pages. PDF Format [1,925 KB]
- “On the Tasks of the Party in the Radical Restructuring of Economic Management”, the Report and Concluding Speech by the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev, June 25-26, 1987, (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency, 1987), 76 pages. Searchable PDF Format [1,064 KB]
- “Activating the Human Factor — The Main Source of [Economic] Acceleration”, by Yegor Ligachev, Politburo member and Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency, 1987), 36 pages. Searchable PDF Format [3,458 KB]
- “The Soviet Economy on the Eve of the 21st Century”, by Novosti Press Agency (c. 1988), 44 pages. PDF Format [3,360 KB]
Discussion and Criticism of the Soviet Union in the State-Capitalist and Social-Imperialist Period
- The Great Debate: Between the Communist Party of China (CCP) and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU):
- The Great Debate page in the China section on BannedThought.net — This consists mostly of books, pamphlets and other items published in China during the Mao era.
- The most important documents from the Chinese side (CCP) in this debate, along with a couple of the key documents from the CPSU can also be found on the “From Marx to Mao” website at: http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/Index.html#CPC
- Many of the most important documents from both sides in this debate can be found on the Marxist Internet Archive (MIA) at: http://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sino-soviet-split/index.htm
- A much more complete collection of the documents from both sides has been published in printed form in India: The Documents of the Great Debate, 3 volumes, (Saharanpur [Uttar Pradesh, India]: Antararashtriya Prakashan, 127, New Avas Vikas Colony, Saharanpur - 247 001, India, December 2005), distributed by: Gargi Vikraya Patal, 127, New Avas Vikas Colony, Saharanpur - 247 001, India. U.S. paperback price for the 3 volumes as of 2009: $36.00.
BannedThought.net will attempt to post digital versions of many of the most important of these documents at some point in the future, especially those which are not available anywhere else online.
- Discussions and Criticisms by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA:
- The Red Papers, #7: How Capitalism has been Restored in the Soviet Union and What This Means for the World Struggle, by the Revolutionary Union (predecessor organization to the RCP), Chicago: October 1974.
- Entire document in a single file, 163 pages. [Large PDF file: 29,351 KB]
- Cover and Contents, 3 pages. [PDF: 533 KB]
- Introduction, 2 pages. [PDF: 316 KB]
- I. Some Questions of Theory, 12 pages. [PDF: 2,124 KB]
- II. The Origins of Capitalist Restoration and the Rise of N. S. Khrushchev, 13 pages. [PDF: 2,334 KB]
- III. The Soviet Economy Under Brezhnev and Kosygin: The Full Establishment of Capitalist Relations of Production, 32 pages. [PDF: 5,818 KB]
- IV. Soviet Social-Imperialism Around the World, 21 pages. [PDF: 3,884 KB]
- V. Everyday Life Under Soviet Social-Imperialism, 21 pages. [PDF: 3,707 KB]
- VI. The Soviet People Fight Back, 12 pages. [PDF: 2,259 KB]
- VII. The Cultural Revolution and the Class Struggle Under Socialism, 11 pages. [PDF: 2,069 KB]
- VIII. Conclusion—the Significance of the Emergence of Soviet Social-Imperialism, 6 pages. [PDF: 1,042 KB]
- Appendix 1, 4 pages. [PDF: 881 KB]
- Appendix 2, 1 page. [PDF: 202 KB]
- Appendix 3, 9 pages. [PDF: 1,527 KB]
- Appendix 4, 12 pages. [PDF: 2,234 KB]
- End pages, 3 pages. [PDF: 509 KB]
- [Book:] The Soviet Union: Socialist or Social Imperialist? Essays Toward the Debate on the Nature of Soviet Society, compiled by the Editors of The Communist, theoretical journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1983), 212 pages. Includes:
In PDF photo image format [13.0 MB]
- “The ‘State Capitalist’ and ‘Bureaucratic-Exploitative’ Interpretations of the Soviet Social Formation: A Critique”, by David Laibman, an apologist for the revisionists.
- “Soviet Socialism and Proletarian Internationalism”, by Al Szymanski, another apologist for the revisionists.
- “Soviet Economic Relations with India and Other Third World Countries”, by Santosh K. Mehrotra and Patrick Clawson.
- “The ‘Tarnished Socialism’ Thesis or the Political Economy of Soviet Social-Imperialism”, by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
- [Book:] The Soviet Union: Socialist or Social Imperialist? Part II: The Question Is Joined, Raymond Lotta vs. Albert Szymanski, full text of the New York City Debate, May 1983. (Chicago: RCP Publications, 1983), 90 pages.
- Entire volume in a single large file [PDF: 5,204 KB]
- Front Cover Image [JPG: 81 KB]
- Title Page, Contents, and Preface by C. Clark Kissinger [PDF: 293 KB]
- “The Red Flag Still Flies: Workers’ Power in the USSR”, by Albert Szymanski. [PDF: 1,515 KB]
- “Realities of Social-Imperialism Versus Dogmas of Cynical Realism: The Dynamics of the Soviet Capital Formation”, by Raymond Lotta. [PDF: 1,608 KB]
- Rebuttal, by Albert Szymanski. [PDF: 345 KB]
- Rebuttal, by Raymond Lotta. [PDF: 336 KB]
- Concluding Remarks, by Raymond Lotta. [PDF: 431 KB]
- Concluding Remarks, by Albert Szymanski. [PDF: 296 KB]
- Back Cover Image [JPG: 289 KB]
- “Notes Toward an Analysis of the Soviet Bourgeoisie”, by Lenny Wolff and Aaron Davis, Revolution, #52, Summer 1984, 39 pages. This article is in many ways a continuation of the above books, though it also stands very well on its own. PDF format [368 KB]; MS Word format [200 KB]
- “Against the ‘Lesser Evil’ Thesis: Soviet Preparations for World War 3”, by Mike Ely, Revolution, #52, Summer 1984, 27 pages. [Our apologies for a small amount of underlining in the magazine we scanned.] Searchable PDF format [3,881 KB]
- “Soviet Education: Reading, Writing, and Revisionism”, by Leona Krasny, Revolution, #52, Summer 1984, 22 pages. Searchable PDF format [2,887 KB]
- Discussions and Criticisms of Soviet Revisionism/Social-Imperialism by Others:
- “The Need for Planning: The Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and the Decline of the Soviet Economy”, by Joseph Ball, an article which appeared in Cultural Logic in 2010, 61 pages. Although portions of this paper are somewhat off topic, there are some interesting points to consider here about why Soviet state-capitalism so completely failed from an economic standpoint. PDF Format [704 KB]
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