Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

Why was socialism/communism
in the Soviet Union so feudalistic?

The answer to the title question is quite simple. Socialism in the Soviet Union was by-and-large the creation of Joseph Stalin (Dzughashvili). Joseph Dzughashvili was a clever person with good organizational abilities but he was not a deep thinker. He was one of the great monsters of human history. His cleverness makes plausible the rumor that he was the natural son of the Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky.

In any case, Joseph Dzughashvili was given the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and turned it into a power base that led to the control of the Soviet Union. Once Dzughashvili had control he had to create a program that would lead to socialism in the Soviet Union. No one had a blue print for socialism. Karl Marx surely had no such blue print. Marx wrote mainly about capitalism, a term he coined. With no guide other than that socialism would not be like capitalism Dzughashvili simply created an economic system that corresponded to his background from a backward, authoritarian society. Lenin had already created the political structure for Soviet society that corresponded to the autocratic system of Czarism with all power in the center.

It is little wonder that the Stalin model of Soviet industry was basically the same as what a local industrialist in Georgia would have used to run a business empire. The production quotas were something that someone without a knowledge of business accounting would have thought reasonable as a way to control a small enterprise. The system of course did not make sense on a national scale but it did seem that it would to someone ignorant of management systems. The Stalin model for industrial enterprises involved a set of 32 success indicators. Enterprises were to be evaluated on the basis of performance as measured by production indexes and resource use. A real enterprise and a real industry is very complex so the Stalin model called for them to compress the performance data into the 32 figures. But the particular indexes were not well chosen. The enterprises had to compute figures based upon, among other things, the weight of their output, a numerical count and a total value of its output. The figures were tabulated at the factory so even flawed output enter into the computation of fulfillment of the quotas. The simple modification that output was not really output until it was sold and/or utilized never was made. As a result flawed production accumulated in warehouses unsold and unsalable.

So Soviet socialism was a feudal system because it was created by a person with a feudal background and a feudalistic mentality, Joseph Dzughashvili.

In 1996 Alexander Yakovlev who had been the leading advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev in his attempts at reform was asked if he felt the events of the Yeltsin era might lead eventually to fascism in Russia. His reply was

When people say that what's happening in Russia may lead to fascism, my response is "What do you mean lead to fascism? We've already had fascism. All we can argue about is whether our fascism started in 1917 or 1929."

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