Tag Archives: Films

Soviet Film: Three Songs of Lenin (1934)

This 1934 film, directed by Dziga Vertov, is structured around three Russian folk songs and skilfully used archive and original footage to celebrate the revolutionary life and legacy of Lenin. H G Wells described this film as “one of the greatest and most beautiful films I have ever seen”. The first song, ‘My face was in a dark prison’, concerns the life of a young Muslim woman. ‘We loved him’ deals with Lenin’s life and death. The third song ‘In a big city of stone’, shows the accomplishments of socialism. Using the previously unpublished verses by W H Auden, the film becomes an even more eloquent tribute to Lenin. This film was made ten years after Lenin’s death, when the CPSU(B) under the leadership of Stalin was carrying forward the line of Lenin in building socialism in the USSR. (description from the Stalin Society – UK)

Post-Soviet Russia: Death of a Nation

The following documentary film (in six parts) explores the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union for the Russian people. Whatever problems existed for Socialism in the Soviet Union, even during the period of revisionist leadership from 1956 to 1991, people were clearly better off. As Keeran and Kenny put it in their book Socialism Betrayed:

A brief review of the Soviet Union’s accomplishments underscores what was lost. The Soviet Union not only eliminated the exploiting classes of the old order, but ended inflation, unemployment, racial and national discrimination, grinding poverty, and glaring inequalities of wealth, income, education, and opportunity. In fifty years, the country went from an industral production that was only 12 percent of that in the United States to industrial production that was 80 percent and an agricultural output 85 percent of the U.S. Though Soviet per capita consumption remained lower than in the U.S., no society had ever increased living standards and consumption so rapidly in such a short period of time for all its people. Employment was guaranteed. Free education was available for all, from kindergarten through secondary schools (general, technical and vocational), universities, and after-work schools. Besides free tuition, post-secondary students recieved living stipends. Free health care existed for all, with about twice as many doctors per person as in the United States. Workers who were injured or ill had job guarantees and sick pay. In the mid-1970s, workers averaged 21.2 working days of vacation (a month’s vaction), and sanitariums, resorts, and childrens camps were either free or subsidized. Trade unions had the power to veto firings and recall managers. The state regulated all prices and subsidized the cost of basic food and housing. Rents constituted only 2-3 percent of the family budget; water and utilities only 4-5 percent… State subsidies kept the price of books, periodicals and cultural events at a minimum.

To look more closely at the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union see Ludo Martens’ article, “Balance of the Collapse of the Soviet Union: On the Causes of a Betrayal and the Tasks Ahead for Communists“. This documentary clearly demonstrates what the complete restoration of capitalism has meant in a very concrete and material way.