Naum Korzhavin's interview

You see, while serving time in jail I had a real faith in communism – in the true meaning of the sense of the word - that was until Stalin violated it, such as it was.

And then we went through a ‘friendship and humanity’ period, which for me, lasted until 1958.

I have now finished my memoirs entitled: ‘Temptations of a Bloody Era’, and it is now 58 years since I renounced communism. And when that bloody era and its temptations came to an end, I would always say: ‘Previously I had always thought about communism, but in principle, I had lived for and was thinking about the people’.

However, I still did not believe in God, and after 1958, with my total rejection of communism, I realised that the idea of building the Kingdom of God on earth was in itself a flaw. That the concept in itself allows evil. How on earth is that then? If, right now, the dawning of supreme happiness were to emerge, then it would be possible to contribute this or that to mankind and then one would have the beginning of paradise.

However, that’s another story and quite a serious thing, because no one has the right to sacrifice another person. There are serious things, let us assume, like war, and the officer, who sends forward a soldier and in so doing is, perhaps, sacrificing that person’s life - that is war – that is the aegis of life, it is not done with the aim that everything will be paid off after 500 years. Rather it is for the happiness of all, and it is necessary. Therefore, an army is essential. However, not for the building of world harmony. 

Hypocrisy and contradictions

“The hypocrisy started right away. But I was very irritated by this plaited line. It wasn’t just the fact that it was untrue, because I couldn’t understand that anyway, being so young at the time. It was the self flattering rhetoric and the hypocrisy that it seeped in to people.”

(from Naum Korzhavin's interview)

The Communist Party (CPSU) was the sole legal political organization of the Soviet Union, its chiefs were in charge of the government, occupying all the strategic positions. Every individual had to be supervised by the Party and no appointment could be made without previous approval of the Central Committee. The Party constantly monitored the life of everybody since school-time. Every input coming from outside this control system, penetrating the consciousness of individuals, was regarded as dangerous, suspicious, criminal.

The human thirst of spirit found an artificial satisfaction in the propaganda: Soviet films in the Thirties tell of a wonderful fairy tale, having nothing to do with the real world. Songs, poems, slogans and quotations taken from the party leader’s statements aimed at insistently inculcating in citizens’ minds the official ideology: “the Soviet nation is the most developed”, “if you are not with us you are against us”, “we are surrounded by enemies”; “Stalin is our Lenin” and so on. The compulsory reading of “A brief CPSU history” is a good example of brain washing.

Everybody knew that the socialist society took roots in the Soviet Union, that the way towards socialism would lead to an hard class fight, that U.S.S.R. was the symbol of a progressive ideology in the entire world: people lived in a valley of false beliefs, but trusting them was very tempting, since it was easier and it preserved people from punishment. Any little dissent was cruelly punished: violent death without trial, purges, exclusion from the party, deportation and exile. All these means aimed to preserve the ideological purity of citizens’ mind. This totalitarian regime was based on a massive ideology system, on unavailability of true information as well as on the “terror” system.

People had to and wanted to believe that life would have become “better and simpler”, that they were giving a contribution to build a bright future for the future generations. This is the reason why they took part enthusiastically in this action with pride and faith. At the same time terror dominated society: people felt to be useless and suffered for their vulnerability. Terror could break friendship and family ties; fear and relations killed the feeling of trust among individuals and encouraged coward actions. Terror developed a feeling of promptness to blindly execute any given order.