Simon Sebag Montefiore · 848 pages
Rating: (6K votes)
“Perhaps 20 million had been killed; 28 million deported, of whom 18 million had slaved in the Gulags. Yet, after so much slaughter, they were still believers.”
“Old Molotov was asked if he dreamed about Stalin: “Not often but sometimes. The circumstances are very unusual. I’m in some sort of destroyed city and I can’t find a way out. Afterwards, I meet HIM...”1”
“That doesn’t matter. Gorky’s a vain man. We must bind him with cables to the Party,” replied Stalin.3 It worked: during the kulak liquidation, Gorky unleashed his hatred of the backward peasants in Pravda: “If the enemy does not surrender, he must be exterminated.” He toured concentration camps and admired their re-educational value. He supported slave labour projects such as the Belomor Canal which he visited with Yagoda, whom he congratulated: “You rough fellows do not realize what great work you’re doing!”4 Yagoda,”
“twenties, served as his judge in 1937 and even denounced a”
“Beneath the eerie calm of these unfathomable waters were deadly whirlpools of ambition, anger and unhappiness.”
“Perhaps 20 million had been killed; 28 million deported, of whom 18 million had slaved in the Gulags. Yet, after so much slaughter, they were still believers. At”
“The Bolsheviks were atheists but they were hardly secular politicians in the conventional sense: they stooped to kill from the smugness of the highest moral eminence. Bolshevism may not have been a religion, but it was close enough. Stalin told Beria the Bolsheviks were “a sort of military-religious order.” When Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka, died, Stalin called him “a devout knight of the proletariat.” Stalin’s “order of sword-bearers” resembled the Knights Templars, or even the theocracy of the Iranian Ayatollahs, more than any traditional secular movement. They would die and kill for their faith in the inevitable progress towards human betterment, making sacrifices of their own families, with a fervour seen only in the religious slaughters and martyrdoms of the Middle Ages—and the Middle East. They”
“The Party justified its “dictatorship” through purity of faith. Their Scriptures were the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, regarded as a “scientific” truth. Since ideology was so important, every leader had to be—or seem to be—an expert on Marxism-Leninism, so that these ruffians spent their weary nights studying, to improve their esoteric credentials, dreary articles on dialectical materialism. It was so important that Molotov and Polina even discussed Marxism in their love letters: “Polichka my darling . . . reading Marxist classics is very necessary . . . You must read some more of Lenin’s works coming out soon and then a number of Stalin’s . . . I so want to see you.”
“Party-mindedness” was “an almost mystical concept,” explained Kopelev. “The indispensable prerequisites were iron discipline and faithful observance of all the rituals of Party life.” As one veteran Communist put it, a Bolshevik was not someone who believed merely in Marxism but “someone who had absolute faith in the Party no matter what . . . A person with the ability to adapt his morality and conscience in such a way that he can unreservedly accept the dogma that the Party is never wrong—even though it’s wrong all the time.” Stalin did not exaggerate when he boasted: “We Bolsheviks are people of a special cut.”2 Nadya”
“Of course, my nightmares were just the tip of the iceberg in the madness that had overtaken my life. When I was awake, I had much bigger problems to deal with than monsters attacking me. Real problems. Ones I couldn’t blink away.”
“Why can't you just get married in Las Vegas like normal Americans?”
“Taryn, are you even listening to me?
“I pretended to, so let that be enough”
“I’ve heard 14 year old meth addicted thai prostitutes say more prescient things than the woman that was supposedly a “professor”
“Vegas tends to affect me that way, some combination of tension and dread to which my body responds with all the symptoms of incipient flu.”
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