From Lenin, this movement empowered Joseph Stalin, Mao Zhedong, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, and countless other dictators across the globe to order their henchmen—or they personally—to carry out policies on torture, starvation, collectivization, confiscation of private property, and outlawing religion.
Since 1917, over 100 million have died at the hands of socialism in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. The late historian RJ Rummel estimated a high of 148 million murdered as a result of the tyrannical regimes Bolshevik Revolution spawned. But that doesn’t bother most academics, media elites, and historians. To them, Soviet communism is misinterpreted or was, gasp, poorly executed! Look at “Red Century” columns published at the New York Times over the last year. Many of the articles, which were absolutely ridiculous in nature, affirmed the spirit of Walter Duranty (their famed propagandist and Stalin apologist) lives on.
We hear these people clamor and say, “Well if we had another chance to retry it, it won’t turn out like this!” Oh really? Bless their hearts.
This centennial perhaps is personal for me because my family, especially my grandparents, suffered at the hands of Stalinist policies born out of this bloody movement.
It was Stalin’s gulag system that broke my grandpa’s spirit when he was imprisoned at the Belomor Canal on the Finnish-Russian border for eighteen months. By some act of God, really, he survived. Surviving this barren tundra, built on the bones of prisoners, was virtually impossible. Due to my grandpa being able-bodied from farm work all his life, he miraculously survived. Many of his fellow prisoners weren’t so lucky—ultimately succumbing to the deadly effects of life in a gulag.
My parents grew up in post-Stalinist Soviet-occupied Lithuania, but similarly encountered limited opportunities due to this movement deep-rooted infection in their homeland. While the death camps slowly disappeared, many oppressive policies were still in tact after Stalin died. Racism was rampant, opportunities were limited, kids snitched on their parents, and food was heavily rationed, for example. This was the reality of life in the Soviet Union—not some rosy fairy tale we hear from many on the Left.
These horror stories aren’t isolated to countries previously (and illegally) occupied by the former Soviet Union. Look at the blood that was shed in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. So many families were wrecked by this movement and not a peep or sympathy from scholars, academics, celebrities, and supposed reporters.
Today, the National Day for the Victims of Communism, marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution took place in Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution gave rise to the Soviet Union and its dark decades of oppressive communism, a political philosophy incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and the dignity of human life.
Over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people and subjected countless more to exploitation, violence, and untold devastation. These movements, under the false pretense of liberation, systematically robbed innocent people of their God-given rights of free worship, freedom of association, and countless other rights we hold sacrosanct. Citizens yearning for freedom were subjugated by the state through the use of coercion, violence, and fear.
Today, we remember those who have died and all who continue to suffer under communism. In their memory and in honor of the indomitable spirit of those who have fought courageously to spread freedom and opportunity around the world, our Nation reaffirms its steadfast resolve to shine the light of liberty for all who yearn for a brighter, freer future.
Bolshevism in 1917 gave rise to global communism. It’s time this horrible movement in history be rejected and its effects be condemned like its ugly cousin, National Socialism. Please take this week to honor the victims of communism and honor their memories.
*Updated article to include White House declaration honoring victims of communism.