Lenin's Regime, One of the Most Murderous and Repressive in the World
By Steffen Kudella
Albanian Daily News
Published January 23, 2017

93 years ago, on the 21st January 1924, Vladimir
Ilyich Lenin followed so many of his victims and died. The regime he ushered in
with the Bolshevik revolution, of which this year is the centenary, was among
the most murderous and repressive the world has ever seen. Sponsoring useful
idiots, fellow travellers and terrorists the Soviet Union spread its poisonous
ideology around the world, inspiring all too many to follow its lead; North
Korea and Cuba are still suffering for it. That it has not threatened the world
for 26 years has allowed some to forget its horrors, visiting tragedy on
countries like Venezuela; that is why it's as important as ever.

Shortages of basic goods were and are common in
Communist societies. Those old enough to remember tell tales of rushing to the
stores on hearing they finally had toilet paper, to stock up while it was
there. As people could not buy and sell goods and services at market rates,
price signals did not exist, so quotas were created on information from
ambitious bureaucrats prone to exaggerating their own achievements. The lack of
price signals ensured an inefficient distribution of goods with central
planners setting quotas of goods based on plans bound to be inaccurate, as
despite their pretences none among them were omniscient. Moreover, even as they
responded to one shortage, others would emerge as supply and demand changed
unnoticed. Walking through shops in liberalised post-communist nations, it is
striking that where people once lined up for bread, the free market sees bread
lined up for them.

Communism was toxic to civil society; in a system
where political power, influence and rent-seeking were the only routes to a
better life conspiracy, intrigue and backstabbing were rife. Added to this was
the enormity of the lies employed in Communist agitprop, which shattered
people's belief in their ruler and their media. With the Burkean little
platoons that otherwise tied people together destroyed as threats to the
authority of the Party, these factors destroyed the bonds of trust that hold
functioning societies together. In despondent acceptance of corruption, anaemic
social trust, low birth rates and the weak or non-existent institutions, this
legacy continues to haunt many post-communist nations.

Communist regimes also have a record of brutally
repressing minorities. From the Soviets shooting Orthodox priests to Enver
Hoxha burning down ancient mosques and churches, executing clerics, abolishing
religious freedom and prohibiting religious practices for 33 years and Mao recreating
China's anti-Catholic pogroms, the religious always suffered. Ethnic minorities
were brutalised, ranging from the oppression of black Cubans under Castro to
outright ethnic cleansing by the Soviet and Yugoslav Communists. The religious
and ethnic minorities were persecuted in part because faith and ethnic loyalty
provided an alternative centre of power to the Communists, and no totalitarian
regime can tolerate that long. Such things were not required for minorities to
be persecuted, however: homosexuality was described as a 'capitalist disease'
by Mao; homosexuals were rounded up, imprisoned and murdered by Castro, Stalin
and others.

Even nowadays in Southeast Europe where we have new
democracies, the Leninist mentality and its practices pump up time after time,
and individual freedom, voting rights and property rights are violated.

In these realities, in the works of innumerable
courageous historians from Richard Conquest to Richard Pipes, and in the
continued suffering of Cubans, North Koreans and Venezuelans, the truth of
Communism is evident. Those claiming it as a serious option for the future are
at best ignorant, at worst liars. Anyone who holds any regard for humanity in
their heart should hope it never rises again.

This year, the centenary of the Bolshevik
revolution, the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe will be
holding their premier Liberty Summit from the 7th to 9th of April in Tirana,
Albania. It will focus on the dark legacy of the communist system, and the
divergent developments of post-communist states, with high-profile speakers
from across the western and ex-communist world in attendance.

* Steffen Kudella, Pressesprecher, Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe, Belgien

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