Thursday, January 18, 2018

Vladimir Putin, Communism and Christianity

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people". - Karl Marx. [1]

By Nikos Mottas*.

A few days ago, during an interview for the documentary Valaam an excerpt of which was broadcast on Russia 1 TV channel, Russian President Vladimir Putin likened communism to christianity and Vladimir I. Lenin's mausoleum to the veneration of the relics of saints.

More specifically, Putin said: “First of all, faith has always accompanied us, becoming stronger every time our country, our people, have been through hard times. There were those years of militant atheism when priests were eradicated, churches destroyed, but at the same time a new religion was being created. Communist ideology is very similar to Christianity, in fact: freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice – everything is laid out in the Holy Scripture, it’s all there. And the code of the builder of communism? This is sublimation, it’s just such a primitive excerpt from the Bible, nothing new was invented.”

As for V.I.Lenin, he pointed out: Look, Lenin was put in a mausoleum. How is this different from the relics of saints for Orthodox Christians and just for Christians? When they say that there’s no such tradition in Christianity, well, how come, go to Athos and take a look, there are relics of the saints there, and we have holy relics here”.

The above statements of President Putin come just three months before the elections of March 18th. Being an intelligent bourgeois politician, Putin will make any communicative effort to flatter the ears of large parts of the voters, including of course communists and people of left ideology. However, no communist in Russia, or anywhere else, must fall victim of Putin's communicative propaganda.

Despite the seemingly flattering words (“freedom”, “equality”, “justice” etc), President Putin's effort to present communism as similar with christianity actually downgrades the marxist-leninist worldview. Contrary to Putin's arguments, socialism-communism has nothing to do with religion. While communism consists a scientifically documented worldview, christianity – like all religions- is based on metaphysics.

In response to Mr.Putin's statements, we remind the simple truth: The christian faith, like every religious belief (despite their varieties and differences), teaches the restoration of justice in “another life”. The christian doctrines of “turning the other cheak” and “posthumous reward” consists one of the best justification of the exploitation of man by man: Why should the victims of exploitation react, as long as- according to christianity- they will take their “revenge” on heaven?

Vladimir Lenin- whose legacy still makes Putin, the Russian bourgeoisie and the deeply reactionary Russian Orthodox Church trembling- was writing: “...those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven.”[2]

Contrary to religions, the communist ideology does not exploit people's metaphysical concerns and fears and does not offer posthumous “rewards”. Marxism-Leninism refers to the- one and only- earthly life, which interprets and addresses through the prism of dialectical materialism, promoting the class struggle for the ultimate abolition of exploitation of man by man. This is our answer to Mr. Putin.

A century after the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution and almost 27 years since the prevalence of counterrevolution in the Soviet Union, the spectre of socialism-communism continues to haunt the bourgeoisie in Russia and the world. That is why they make every effort to vilify communism, by distorting the truth. However, no matter how much anti-communist poison they pour, history will move forward.

[1] K.Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, 1844.
[2] V.I.Lenin, Socialism and Religion, 1905: From Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 83-87

Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of 'In Defense of Communism'.