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Monday, November 05, 2018, 20:40 (GMT+7)
The irrefutable value of the Russian October Revolution

Historical analyses are required to respect the truth and live up to ethical and cultural yardsticks. Constructive criticism always serves the purpose of development. Meanwhile, distortions and refutations of the Russian October Revolution, which are out of tune with conventional wisdom, infuriate millions of hearts and minds of those with conscience and dignity.

1. The Russian October Revolution traces its history back to 1917. Among revolutions, it was irrefutably of the greatest historical significance to and carries the most far-reaching implications for mankind in the 20th century.

However, reactionary forces have stopped at nothing to distort and diminish the Russian October Revolution’s stature and tarnish socialism. They have repeatedly rehashed false claims that the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe signified the contemporary irrelevance of Marxism – Leninism and the death of socialism, and that capitalism is civilized and sustainable. They falsely claim that the Russian October Revolution was just a coup, that communists led by V. I. Lenin were just rebels, and that the Russian October Revolution was an abortive one. They attribute the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to the Russian October Revolution. This deliberate distortion is to be exposed and severely criticized.

History suggests that the victory of the Russian October Revolution opened up a new era – the era of transition from capitalism to socialism on a global scale. This victory marked the birth of realistic socialism characterized by a socialist regime ruled by the Communist Party. Pre-revolutionary Russia under tsarist rule had been regarded as the largest prison for all oriental peoples. The Russian October Revolution put an end to tsarist rule, freed workers and peasants from the fetters and yoke of slavery, and brought them rights to freedom, democracy and mastery, as evidenced by the Soviet Government’s Decree on Peace and Decree on Land.

For the first time in history, a new-style state came into being, in which the people seized all the powers and decided their own destiny. Alongside the new-style state, socialist democracy was built and exercised. Those salient features of the socialist regime were the complete opposite of those of the capitalist regime which had been refuted by the Russian October Revolution – “ten days that shook the world” as stated by American journalist John Reed.

The Russian October Revolution, on which outstanding leadership from V. I. Lenin and the Russian Bolshevik Party left an indelible imprint, was not purely Russian but truly universal and epoch-making, ushering in a new era of modern world history. This event led the entire world to be awakened and world history to start a new chapter with the masses playing a decisive role in making history. The Russian October Revolution provided tremendous momentum for generations of revolutionaries and peoples aspiring to freedom, justice and equality worldwide to build a new society in place of the old one in the interests of national independence, democracy, social progress and socialism. The values, ideals and objectives arising from the Russian October Revolution have and will be promoted by revolutionary movements for good. Those serve as unlimited “beacons of light” for all the peoples across the globe on their revolutionary paths. It goes without saying that the values, vitality and significance of the Russian October Revolution are historically irrefutable. It has been engraved on mankind’s minds and continues to act as a lodestar for the contemporary world on the journey to independence, freedom and socialism. The Russian October Revolution’s great achievements have turned into cultural values in the spiritual life of mankind.

The historical development is not a straight line but a zigzag with ups and downs. It should be noted that reviewing the Paris Commune and class struggles in France (1848-1850), Karl Marx predicted that revolutions might fail but would never be ended. He fervently believed and hoped that socialist elements would continue to develop within contemporary capitalism. The vitality and values of contemporary socialism would revive in the tumultuous 21st century. Moreover, reforms in today’s socialist states, including Vietnam, are certain to make progress towards the birth of “new realistic socialism”.

Socialism, which the Russian October Revolution gave birth to, did break up the monopoly position occupied by capitalism. The Russian October Revolution suggested that there were other paths to development than capitalism, including the transitional path to socialism with capitalism being skipped. This was evidenced by the epitome of twentieth-century revolutions, namely the August Revolution of 1945 in Vietnam, the Chinese Revolution of 1949 and the Cuban Revolution of 1959, all of which had been inspired by the Russian October Revolution. This is a fact that cannot be denied and distorted by any reactionary forces.

The 101-year-old history of the Russian October Revolution has affirmed that although socialism is taking shape and capitalism is adapting itself, the former is the inevitable. The outlook for history lies in socialism rather than capitalism. During its 600-year-old history, capitalism has witnessed the accumulation of socialist elements within itself with the latter refuting the former. Realistic socialism characterized by the Soviet model has been left behind by reality; new realistic socialism taking shape by means of reforms is a choice for the future.  V. I. Lenin predicted that sooner  or later all the nations would choose socialism as their inevitable path to development and that  they would incorporate their own traditions and culture into the building of socialism, thus diversifying socialist models of development.

2. The values of the Russian October Revolution remind us to single-mindedly pursue its ideals and objectives. For the past 101 years, mankind has witnessed scores of events with both successes and failures. In spite of those, the values of the Russian October Revolution are certain to last for good. Lessons drawn from the one-century-old building of realistic socialism always retain their significance and topicality, which is conducive to posterity’s full awareness of the values of the Russian October Revolution, as well as revolutionary and scientific truths. Those values remind generations to devote themselves single-mindedly to revolutions and to promote their sense of responsibility for building and developing a better society for which the Revolution paved the way.

Reforms are the inevitable. On being put in place, reforms encounter countless obstacles, particularly inertia as a hard habit to break. According to V. I. Lenin, habit is the most dangerous thing of all. Given the 101-year-old history of the Russian October Revolution, the premature end of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which had yet to take root on Soviet soil (after V. I. Lenin’s death in 1924), was tantamount to the removal of blood from the body. This reminds us to never replace objective laws with subjective voluntarism.

The collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe at the end of the 20th century as an unspeakable tragedy has borne out what V. I. Lenin warned: As for a ruling party (the Soviet Communist Party), a loss of political orientations at the crossroads is tantamount to suicide. Nowadays, as socialism is implementing reforms to overcome difficulties and challenges, it is urgent that revolutionaries be fully aware of the lessons of the past – “the lessons extracted from bitter pills of history”- in order not to repeat the past mistakes.

The Vietnamese revolution, President Ho Chi Minh’s great and lasting legacies as well as lessons drawn from the over-30-year Doi Moi bear testimony to our unwavering loyalty towards and faith in the Russian October Revolution and Marxism – Leninism, thus enabling the country to firmly advance on the path to national independence associated with socialism chosen by Uncle Ho, the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people.  

Prof Hoang Chi Bao, Ph.D.

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