Will the Real Vladimir Please Stand Up?

Return of the repressed. London, May Day 2017.

In a long overdue meeting, Vladimir Putin sets off from his office to confront the ghosts of Russian history. First on the list is none other than Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader behind the October Revolution. Few meetings have been put off longer by the Oligarch-in-Chief. But, as a one-time communist, Putin remains haunted by Marx’s axiom that the past weighs lies like a nightmare upon the present.

Putin: We will not allow the past to drag us down and stop us from moving ahead. We understand where we should move.

Lenin: History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks confronting the proletariat of any country.

Putin: Those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain.

Lenin: Russia achieved Marxism – the only correct revolutionary theory – through the agony she experienced in the course of half a century of unparalleled torment and sacrifice.

Putin: There was a period in my life when I was interested in Marxism-Leninism. As I grew older the truth became more and more apparent… that all of it was nothing but a beautiful, yet pernicious fairy tale.

Lenin: We must display determination, endurance, firmness and unanimity. We must stop at nothing.

Putin: The efforts to achieve it in our country caused enormous harm.

Lenin: Everything and everything must be used to save the rule of workers and peasants, to save communism.

Putin: Those involved in the October Revolution planted the bomb under the building. That building being the once unified state called Russia. You split our homeland into territories. You bestowed governments on these territories, and now here we are.

Lenin: Capital is an international force. To vanquish it, an international workers’ alliance, an international workers’ brotherhood, is needed. We are opposed to national enmity and discord, to national exclusiveness. We are internationalists.

Putin: The only thing you did to keep Russia together within common borders was use barbed wire.

Lenin: We, the Council of People’s Commissars, recognised at once, unconditionally and without reservations everything that pertains to the Ukrainian people’s national rights and national independence.

Putin: Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? A part of its territory is Eastern Europe, but the greater part is a gift from us.

Lenin: Socialists cannot achieve their great aim without fighting against all oppression of nations.

Inevitably, the conversation turned towards the subject of the Soviet collapse.

Putin: The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest disaster of the last century.

Lenin: The aim of socialism is not only to abolish the present division of mankind into small states and all national isolation; not only to bring the nations closer to each other but also to merge them.

Putin: Tens of millions of our co-citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration infected Russia itself.

Lenin: The passing of state power from one class to another is the first, the principal, the basic sign of a revolution, both in the strictly scientific and in the practical political meaning of that term. To this extent, the bourgeois, or the bourgeois-democratic, revolution in Russia is completed.

Putin: It’s similar to another attitude when people wish that their own country be defeated in the hardest terms.

Lenin: The war of 1914 was imperialist on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies and spheres of influence of finance capital. 

Putin: We lost the war to defeated Germany, in fact, we capitulated. That’s the result of high treason committed by the country’s leaders.

Lenin: A revolutionary class cannot but wish for the defeat of its government in a reactionary war.

Putin: Enemies are right in front of you, you are at war with them, then you make an armistice with them, and all is clear. A traitor must be destroyed, crushed.

Lenin: If you want to help the ‘masses’ and win the sympathy and support of the ‘masses’, you should not fear difficulties or pinpricks, chicanery, insults and persecution from the ‘leaders’, but must absolutely work wherever the masses are to be found.

Putin: If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional. We have very good specialists. I can recommend one for the operation. He’ll make sure nothing grows back.

Lenin: War cannot be abolished unless classes are abolished.

Putin: Russia doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. It destroys them.

Photograph courtesy of Sam Rodgers. Published under a Creative Commons license.

Adapted from the Marxist Internet Archive.