Tsarist Russia and Soviet Russia: Problems Solved, or Worsened?

In October of 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky in Russia. Led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, and supported by the army and navy, they took control of the government and established the Soviet Union.

The question is, which government was worse: that of the tsars, or that of the Bolsheviks?

Well, to start, one has to examine the history of tsarist Russia. And it’s not a pretty thing to talk about. To put it simply, the tsarist regime was rather tyrannical. One thinks here of tsars like Nicholas I and Alexander III who clamped down on dissent and employed secret police, (the Third Section under Nicholas and the Okhrana under Alexander,) to stamp out dissent. They were also very anti-Semitic. In fact, some of the worst anti-Semitism in Russian history occurred, sadly, under the last two tsars. Take into account, if you will, the May Laws of 1882, (laws which further restricted the already restricted Jews living in Poland,) the pogroms of 1905, (which are illustrated in Joseph Stein’s Fiddler on the Roof,) and the Beilis Affair of 1911-1913, in which the Jew Mendel Beilis was falsely accused of murder in a horrendous turn of affairs known as the Blood Libel, a horrific legend that Jews ritually murdered children in order to use their blood to make Passover matzah. Without question, the tsarist regime was quite tyrannical.

However, one has to consider this: did the Bolsheviks solve those problems? Socialist sympathizers will undoubtedly and enthusiastically answer: Yes! But in truth the answer is no! Undeniably and irrefutably, NO!

See, everything, EVERYTHING, the tsarist regime was guilty of was worsened by the Bolsheviks: the bureaucracy, the secret police, the censorship, the anti-Semitism, everything.

“Oh,” one might say, “but they dissolved the Okhrana!” Yes! And replaced it with the Cheka, and later the KGB! “Oh, but they can’t have been anti-Semitic!” Oh, but they were! Think of this angry quote from Leon Trotsky when someone, oh the horror, called him a Jew:

“I am not a Jew, but an internationalist.” (A Concise History of the Russian Revolution by Richard Pipes, p. 261)

Then there’s the prison camps. The tsars ran an extensive system of prison camps that, in the words of Mendel Beilis, were called “Katorga.” There was also exile in Siberia. The great Russian author Dostoevsky spent four years in a Siberian prison camp, and wrote about such things in works like House of the Dead.

Did this injustice stop with the Bolshevik takeover? By no means! The 20th century Russian author and Soviet dissident Alexandre Solzhenitsyn can attest to this, as many of his most beloved books, (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, the Gulag Archipelago, etc.) were based around the theme of the Gulag, or Soviet prison camps.

I think I’ve said enough to show that, in reality, at best the Bolshevik system of government was no better than the tsarist regime, and at worst, it was worse than the tsarist regime. Therefore, be warned: socialism fixes nothing. It only makes things worse.

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