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Russia Guide > Communism facts

Communism facts

While we all know that Russia was a member state of the communist former Soviet Union, what else have we learned about this particular area of politics? How did it originate and why was it so widely embraced in the 20th century? If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about communism then please read on.

The true ideal

How do you encapsulate the theory of Communism in a few words? It is almost impossible when you consider how the system was managed in the Soviet Union but the basic principle suggests that all people are equal and are working for the good of society as a whole and that all property is held in common instead of being owned by individuals or corporations.

When we think of Communism we are aware of the quote ‘all property is theft’ and that pertains to the notion that all property is held by society as a whole.

Early practise

While the term ‘Communism’ wasn’t coined for many centuries, some of its essential elements have been practised throughout human history, including in the middle ages with the use of communal fields in mediaeval times.

In fact, some theorists claim that Communism has its roots in Ancient Greece and the Golden Age which held a concept of bliss and harmony for its entire population.

Marx and Engels

It’s a generally held belief that Karl Marx was the father of modern Communism and together with Friedrich Engels, he developed his theory which became known as Marxism.

Marx was a German, born in 1818 and he met his fellow philosopher Engels in 1844. Both shared a common hatred towards capitalist society and together they began working on a common manifesto.

Roots in Belgium

Belgium is an unlikely setting for Communist roots but both Marx and Engels moved there because the country allowed greater freedom of expression. In fact, Marx had been deported from France over his views.

While in Belgium, the two men began to collaborate and in 1848, the Communist Manifesto was born.

The movement takes shape

Many left wing movements began to adopt the Marxist ideals towards the end of the 19th century and the Communist political system began to take shape.

Its early pockets of support were across Europe and in some unlikely areas such as France and Germany. It wasn’t until the Russian revolution however, that the political movement gained a foothold in government.


At the start of the 20th century, Russia was an autocracy run by the Tsar who presided over a country with widespread poverty and oppression. This was a perfect breeding ground for Communism and so it proved. In 1917, the people finally rose up against the Royal Family and a communist government was installed that lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s.

Communism Today

While Communists governments have fallen across Eastern Europe, the party still has support in Russia although its vote count is some way behind the existing government. While it’s not impossible for Communism to return in Russia, it seems unlikely. There are also communist parties active in many other countries, including some where they either are the government, or form part of a coalition government. Countries with communist governments today include China, North Korea and (in the only democratically elected communist government) Moldova.

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