Having attained power in late 1917 on a raft of promises — land to Russia’s peasants, bread to Russia’s starving cities and peace to Russia’s World War I-weary soldiers — V.I. Lenin was able to dispense with every one of them by advancing civil war from 1918 to 1921 to justify his acts by crisis.
In place of promises of liberty and rights, Lenin gave Russians propaganda, empowering the Bolsheviks to govern through knoutish messages, if not the barrel of the gun. In so doing, he sought to undermine Russia’s weak democracy and to transform society fundamentally.
“The Russian Revolution was permeated with propaganda of a forceful and brutal kind,” wrote historian Dmitri Volkogonov in his 1995 “Lenin: Life and Legacy,” based on materials briefly available from the Soviet archives.
The propaganda was used not so much to win people over with ideas but by bludgeoning them with coercion, repression and making examples.
Read more by MONICA SHOWALTER at Investor’s Business Daily