It is interesting that despite the huge variety of books, research projects, and monographs on socialism—political, economic, sociological, and so on—no one has thought to write on “the soul of man under socialism.” And yet, without such a guide to the labyrinths of the Soviet soul, all the other studies are absolutely useless or, worse, actually obscure the issue. My God, how difficult it must be to understand this confounded Russia from outside! Such an enigmatic country, and the enigmatic Russian soul!
Judging by their newspapers, books, and films—and by what else is one to judge Soviet life?—the people are satisfied. True, they don’t have political freedoms or a variety of parties but they like it that way—the people and the party are as one! Then they have elections that are not elections—God only knows what they are: only one candidate and there’s nobody else to choose from—yet 99.9 per cent of the population take part and 99.899 per cent vote in favor. Then again they have a low standard of living and there are food shortages—but no strikes! It is said that people are being hounded and starved in jails and camps there, although they have done nothing wrong, and are prevented from going abroad. But look at their factory and village meetings, the Soviet people unanimously endorse the policies of the party and the government. They will repay the party’s concern for them with a new rise in productivity! The vote is overwhelming, all hands go up—what the hell’s going on? Foreign correspondents attend the meetings and see for themselves: it’s absolutely true, everybody supports the party’s policies, there aren’t even any abstentions. It is said that the country is economically backward, with much of the work still hand labor and so on, yet they launched Sputnik, put the first man into space, overtook the United States. More than that, they have a massive arms industry, powerful enough to keep the whole world trembling in fear. How is that? They have great scientific discoveries to their credit. And the Bolshoi theater, and the ballet! Do you mean to say that all this is done by slaves, people who are unfree?