Yevgeny Prigozhin rebelled against Putin in June this year and he died in a plane crash in August. Under normal circumstances, his death wouldn’t have taken two months after his rebellion. Putin’s Russia is not going through normal circumstances, you know.
Putin is a Communist. But his hero is Peter the Great, Russia’s first Emperor. Peter’s statuette adorns Putin’s private spaces. What Peter did to his own son is quite like what Putin did to his closest friend Prigozhin. Peter’s son rebelled against him and then defected and escaped to Vienna. That was in 1716, just to remind you. Peter lured him back to Russia promising security. When the young man reached the ‘security’ promised by his father, he was tortured to death.
Putin had given all assurance to Prigozhin that his rebellion would be forgiven. Call it political strategy or diplomacy or sheer trickery, whatever you like. Karma too, if you prefer.
Putin is the ultimate product of Communism. Dictatorship is the natural outcome when too many people decide to live together as a single community. Vasudaiva Kutumbakam is good in scriptures. All men are equal only in certain philosophical ideologies. Put ten people together as one single community and see what happens in a week’s time. They will raise hell.
Communism is just another dreamy ideal. Like Thomas More’s Utopia where there was no money because the citizens shared everything from meals to whatever was produced. Jesus, who inspired More, was probably the first Communist. He told his followers: “If you have two coats, give one to him who has none. He who has food is to do likewise.” [Luke 3:11]
The early Christians did just that. Read this passage from Acts 4. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had…. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”
That is just what Communism is. A society without class divisions or government. Yeah, no government either. A government is needed only in a society that is not guided by the ideals that Communism upholds. The basic principle of that Communism is: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
You give your best to the society and the society will give its best to you. Simple. Ideal. Paradisical.
It was tried in too many places from the ancient Christian Rome to Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China. And it failed everywhere. Including the Pope’s Rome.
The God That Failed is the title of a book written by six eminent writers, including George Orwell and Stephen Spender, all of whom were Communists once. These great thinkers all gave up Communism eventually upon realising its impracticality.
Who likes to work like a donkey: from each according to his ability? Whose needs are circumscribed by the society: to each according to his need?
George Orwell’s allegorical novel Animal Farm gives us the most vivid picture of what happens in a Communist society. The sincere workers perish like cretins and the cunning creatures rule like Putin. Or like Xi Jinping or Kerala’s Pinarayi. Greed, not need, is what drives humans. Greed for power, for wealth, for delights.
The Communists in Orwell’s Animal Farm end up as greedy, ruthless and selfish capitalists. The difference between Peter the Great and Valdimir Putin is only in children’s textbooks. Adults know how to behave more intelligently than Prigozhin. Communism is good in textbooks only. In actual practice, there is little difference between the left and the right. How different is India’s Right from Russia’s Left?
PS. I would never have written a post like this had it not been for S who wanted me to write on Communism for reasons known only to her. It is just a coincidence that my last post too was in response to a similar request.