THE SOVIETPOLITBURO: A PANEL OF JUDGES BROOKE ALLEN, ANNA DER MS. PAVELKA ENGLISH 1H B , PERIOD 5 27 MARCH 2012
THIS IS NOT A JOKE. In the words of iconic American Idol judge SimonCowell, “No.” And queue the shattering of hopes and the death ofdreams–because it only takes a powerful man’s single word to denya person; their future; their aspirations; and in the case of SovietRussia, to deny you their life. In political allegory (to Russia afterthe Communist Party coup) Animal Farm, George Orwell mockshuman animal stupidity–exactly what the ideologist Karl Marxhimself did not account for in his plan for a “dictatorship of theproletariat”.
Although Communism is traditionally about the rule of thepeople, the Soviet Union was actually run by a political party calledthe Politburo. Their influence in Soviet society came to representjust how the face of Communism had been altered in a totalitariancountry.
HISTORICAL EVENTS• During the October Revolutions in 1917, the Politburo ran for a period of 2 weeks and was created “to provide political leadership”• The Politburo was re-elected in 1919 by the Central Committee and ran until 1952, when Stalin replaced it with his Presidium• After Stalin’s death when the Politburo was re-established by the Central Committee, it ran more like a General Assembly on individual perspectives rather than political view points• The Soviet-Politburo ended in 1991 following the August Coup
As Marx believed true Communism was “a form ofcomplete socialism in which the mean of production…would beowned by the people…All goods and services would be sharedequally” (Beck et al. 303). In Russia following the BolshevikRevolution in 1917, this was not the case. Meant to be a rule of thepeople by all of the people, Russia soon turned into a dictatorship ofthe few. The Politburo, a single-digit membered group of the moreprominent Soviet leaders that ruled the Communist Party, “beganmaking the day-to-day high-level decisions of government”("Grigori Evseevich Zinoviev” para. 6).
The few–that originally included Vladimir Ilyrich Lenin and alsoJoseph Stalin–became synonymous in their jobs to the controllingmonarchal regime they had once intended to eradicate. In Orwell’sAnimal Farm, the same thing happens to the pigs that take the roleof leadership–Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer. Once the animalstake over the farm, the irony of the situation is clear to see. Whilethe working animals have to slave the same as they did under Mr.Jones and considerably even harder, now, the pigs get the pamperedtreatment of all the milk, all the apples, and all the power–the samematerials the animals once envied of the humans.
The Politburo had become the new nobility of Russia andall in the same manner. This makes, if anything, a complete joke ofthe seventh and the “most important” commandment of Animalism–“All animals are equal” (Orwell 25; ch. 2). They faltered at theunderlying principle of every average teenager’s hopes and dreamsgrowing up in angst, to become nothing like their parents. Theoppressed had become the oppressors.
“Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev and the Politburo…crushed allpolitical disagreement” (Beck et al. 612). In a familiar story, Orwelldescribes the political debates among the animals, “It was always thepigs who put forward the resolutions” and “Snowball and Napoleonwere by far the most active in the debates” (31; ch. 3); showing, thattruly any of the important decisions were the result of only a singleanimal’s opinion. Fact of the matter is that the exact opposite ofwhat Marx intended in his manifesto occurred. In a grueling processof nature, the tables had turned, and too fast for the eye to see.
As the Russian citizens transitioned into a new world, manywere left petrified by the infamous KGB, the group that stood as themain enforcers. Little did they realize the KGB was only the bronzethat masked the brains–the Politburo. Not only were they a group ofpolitical adherers, but also as stated in the magazine Foreign Policy“Vast archival evidence accumulated over the post-communist yearsproves that [they were]…also directly responsible for the executionsof innocent people” (Rodgers para. 8). If Animal Farm had not beenan allegory and if it was not a moral atrocity to rape the connotationof precious farm animals then maybe Orwell might have depictedthe mass amounts of genocide that was actually achieved.
A New York Times article from 1992 announced, “The RussianGovernment today [October 15] for the first time made public secretdocuments revealing that Stalin’s Politburo in March 1940 hadspecifically ordered the execution of more than 20,000 Poles,including nearly 5,000 senior Polish Army officers, whose bodieswere dumped in a mass grave in the forest of Katyn [as reference tothe Katyn Massacre]” (Bohlen para. 1). Most active in savage role-play under Stalin, the Politburo should have been represented by aferocious bear or an extremely pissed off panther…because adonkey or an elephant just would not have been enough.
Failure to act under the Rule of Law, failure to endeavor theideals of Communism, and failure to break the stereotype that hasmolded history’s greatest leaders–that absolute power corruptsabsolutely; Russia under the Politburo makes a true Communistwant to ask themselves, “What the bloody hell was that?” Life undernew rule was not supposed to be oppressive; life under new rule wasnot supposed to be like an American hit TV show where three judgesdecided fate. But then again, the Soviet Union was not supposed tobe something that ended either.
JUST REMEMBER“Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to changethe world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”–Margaret Meade
WORKS CITEDBeck, Roger B., Linda Black, Larry Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, and Dahia Ibo Shabaka. Modern World History:Patterns of Interaction. California ed. Sacramento: McDougal Littell, 2006. Print.Bohlen, Celestine. "Russian Files Show Stalin Ordered Massacre of 20,000 Poles in 1940." New York Times 15 Oct. 1992. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2012."Grigori Evseevich Zinoviev." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998.Gale Student Resources InContext. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Signet Classics, 1996. Print.Rodgers, Walter. "How Russians survived militant atheism to embrace God."Christian Science Monitor 16 June2011. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.
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