After 50 years of Communism, what is life really like in the USSR? To bring our readers the truth about life under Communism, we begin with this issue, a series of spectacular eyewitness reports on the Soviet Union.
I HAVE JUST returned to Moscow from Soviet Central Asia. What is occurring here would shock West Europeans and Americans — if they knew! But the West is asleep — lulled by a prosperity unknown to the vast majority of Soviet citizens.
Fifty Bleak Years
This year — 1967 — the USSR has thrown open its doors to tourism. It wants the West to see the accomplishments of 50 years of Communism. We have traveled over 8,500 miles in the USSR. We have visited with collective farmers and medical doctors, and been invited into private homes on the most unexpected occasions. We photographed freely — well, almost, that is! Missing are the store windows rich in consumer goods, the well-dressed businessmen, the freeways crowded with workers' cars so familiar to western eyes. Life here is termed drab by most American visitors. But one thing is being overlooked! It is more important than all the consumer goods, and fine homes, the night life and pleasures of the West. That something is a national sense of purpose — a mission in life — a goal. That goal is the completion of the world revolution begun November 7, 1917.
The Importance of a Goal
The first law of success is the possession of a goal. Today, Britons have lost their national sense of purpose. And the goal of most Americans is the enjoyment of the pleasures money can buy. There is no real mission in life. Whatever national sense of purpose there may be left is being eroded away by selfishness. But here in the USSR there is a national sense of purpose — a goal — a mission in life. It is a frightening goal. It calls for the continued building of Communism within the Soviet Union, and the spread of atheistic Communism by world revolution abroad. Millions of Soviet citizens — educated to believe in Communism — are willing to sacrifice for this goal, to go without that the industrial and military might of the USSR can be increased. This sense of purpose has been a primary cause in catapulting the USSR in 50 short years to the rank of number two nation in the world. Everywhere we have traveled in the Soviet Union — whether in Central Asia, the Caucasus or European Russia — red banners proclaim the importance of the big Soviet goal — world revolution. To achieve it, every collective farm, every state farm has its own local goal assigned. Every factory has its quota. Every citizen his or her duty. Slogans proclaiming the fiftieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution and the goal of world Communism are splashed in every city and village. On hydroelectric power stations and factories, on bridges and at airports. On public buildings and apartment dwellings and in the schools. They fill the airwaves and cover book counters. Only the elderly — especially in the Ukraine — seem openly bored.
USSR Builds for a Purpose
It is commonly reported today in Western magazines that Soviet youth is uninterested in building Communism. That they "couldn't care less" about the revolution. Western styles in music, in art and dress are interpreted as telltale signs. Don't you believe it! Whatever the Soviet citizen is permitted since the death of Stalin and ouster of Khrushchev is the result of decisions from above. It is all in accordance with the overall plan of the Communist Party. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the unfinished 1917 revolution. This year — 1967 — is the logical year for Soviet citizens to enjoy some of the approved fruits of their long, arduous labors. What is overlooked is the fact that three generations of Soviet citizens have been educated under Communism. They are indoctrinated with the idea that the Communist Party has their welfare always in mind, that it is always right. Individuals may err, but not the Party. If the Party chooses to allow limited Western styles in art, music, dress and literature, this does not mean the Party has suddenly abandoned its goals. Or that Soviet youth has shelved its revolutionary zeal. Rather, the Soviet system, in permitting these new ideas, is furthering its goals. Soviet leaders, after the death of Stalin, realized that the Communist goal of world revolution could be achieved more readily by granting limited freedom for individual expression within the collective Soviet framework. A member of the Communist Party personally told me, as we sat together in a restaurant in Erivan, capital of the Armenia SSR: "Stalin did many terrible things." But this young man is still a dedicated communist. He is quite willing to accept Western ideas so long as they conform with Party doctrine. But he remains a revolutionary. He accepts only those cultural ideas from the West that enable him to serve his Party better. I have every reason to believe he is sincere — yet sincerely wrong. But he knows no other way. He has been educated to believe in atheistic Communism. Communism is for him a faith. Western writers are too often unaware that Communism appeals to faith, faith in the power of MAN to change this world! What does the United States send the world to counter this revolutionary faith? Not a more powerful or righteous faith, but guns and money! The Soviet Union knows that the U.S. cannot supply the world's desperate millions with enough food. She knows that the United States is UNWILLING to send enough military equipment to the Far East to win in Vietnam. But the only power that the United States could provide the world to defeat Communism — the strength of a more powerful FAITH than Communism — that faith America does NOT have! U.S. political leaders do not understand the power of faith in world affairs. Faith in an idea, the Communistic idea of the NEW MAN, is slowly winning against the bullets and feeble leadership of the West. The USSR is not primarily waging a war of bullets, but a war of IDEAS. Though Communism is thriving on human faith and human works, it nevertheless lives. It lives, as cancer cells live and spread. Under the lead of the USSR, all Asia and Africa are becoming alive, even as a cancerous growth in the world system. Their peoples have found an active faith in the doctrines of Communism. Amid their poverty, they have something to live for. They are out to change their environment by human sweat and toil apart from God.
Tried, and Found Wanting
For two centuries the Western World dominated the Orient and Africa. But the West failed to deliver the colonial peoples from squalor and misery. The West failed to give them the right kind of education — failed to show them the purpose of life — failed to give them a real goal or a right knowledge of God. Why? Because the West does not itself know the purpose of life — or why man was put on earth! Hence, the deception of Communism looks alluring to ignorant and even educated minds who have no knowledge of the plan and purpose God is working out here below. The dead faith of missionaries from America and England has not dented Oriental thought. But the active belief of Communists is moving millions. Belief in Communism means FAITH IN MAN. It transcends national borders. It knows no national boundaries. All the military expenditures in the world cannot cope with Communism's influence on the mind. The United States might as well face the facts. THERE IS NO HUMAN WAY FOR THE WESTERN WORLD TO RESCUE ASIA FROM THE CLUTCHES OF COMMUNISM, unless the nation can somehow acquire a more powerful faith. But national leaders have turned their backs on the good news of the Kingdom of God. They have cast the Bible aside. Is it any wonder that Soviet leaders believe they are nearer than ever before to ultimate victory over a decadent, crime-ridden West? It is time we opened our eyes to the real cause of Western weakness. The next installments will reveal, in detail, the story of day-to-day life under Communist Party rule.