“It started as a social revolution, a means for the lower classes to exact their own bloody revenge on their former masters and class enemies.”

“The Bolsheviks were forced to turn increasingly to terror to silence their political critics and subjugate a society they could not control by other means….urge to control and centralise.”

“The one-party, the system of terror and the cult of personality were all in place by 1924.”


“Nothing seemed to have changed for the better.”


“Communists of the 1920s were afraid of class enemies, intolerant of cultural pluralism and uneasy about the lack of unity in the party leadership and the loss of a sense of direction and purpose.”

The Kronstadt Rebellion was a “symbolic parting of ways between the working class and the Bolshevik Party. The Revolutionaries had turned on their own people.”


“The belief that the end justified the means served them well, blinding them to the way in which means corrupts ends.”

“The Bolsheviks were fundamentally driven by outrage against the exploitation at the heart of capitalism and the aggressive nationalism that had led Europe into the carnage of the First World War… millions welcomed the revolution as the harbinger of social justice and freedom.”


“Centralism, hierarchy and discipline were aims, but they were aims underpinned by an irresistible commitment to action, action, action.”

“Central power was being asserted in an authoritarian fashion. Ideological intolerance was being asserted and organised dissent repressed.”

“There had been created a centralized, one-ideology dictatorship of a single party which permitted no challenge to its monopoly of power.”

“They felt that the ruthless measures were being applied in the service of a supreme good.”

“Despite all the problems, the soviet regime retained a vision of political, economic and cultural betterment… (People) gave a welcome to the Bolshevik party’s projects for literacy, numeracy, cultural awareness and administrative facility.”


“The fact that the Bolsheviks took charge of a disintegrating society…must be born in mind in analysing their subsequent actions.”

“There was a good deal of anarchy, of sheer elemental chaos, in the situations of Russia in those years… Therefore much that happened was not due to central orders at all, and many of these orders were due to desperate efforts to cope with confusion and anarchy.”

“We must never for a moment forget that Lenin and his followers, and his opponent too, were operating in an abnormal and desperate situation. Who knows what reforms, policies, remedies, they might have proposed in less troubled times?”