© 2014 Jimmy Jewett. All rights reserved.

Communist Contradicton?


moral codeThe Moral Code of the Builder of Communism was crafted as a guide for fully implementing communism in the Soviet Union. Approved by the 22nd Communist Party Congress in 1961, the Code was meant to help transition from the Thaw of the 1950s into a new communist era in the 1960s. However, many elements of the Code either contradicted reality and rather than exist as a guide, the code became another powerful agent of the state used to mold individuals into Soviet citizens who were perfect communists. For instance, the second rule of the code states that those who do not work, do not eat. This makes sense, however it ignores the fact that 100% labor participation is impossible even though it is a state requirement. This statement in of itself could allow citizens to turn on those who are unable to work, starving them out of society while creating social unrest. The most hypocritical aspect of the Code is this: Intolerance towards injustices, parasitism, dishonesty, careerism and money-grubbing. While the Thaw was an attempted move to step back from the actions of Stalinism, the Khrushchev years were by no means innocent from these specific morals written in the Code.

The Code is most important in gauging how Party leaders viewed the Soviet Union during the 1960s. In an article from Pravda written on November 1st, 1961 the editorial claims the Party Program now has been victorious with the installation of Communism in the country. Like most times in Soviet history, this piece of propaganda jumps the gun on this statement. If the Moral Code is representative of what a communist society looks like, the Soviet Union, based on a mixture of internal and external conditions, fails to be close to taking the steps necessary to be a fully communist state. The shortage economy, caused by socialism, would not provide adequate housing and jobs, making it difficult for the family and social aspects of the code to be carried out universally.

I find it hard to believe Soviet society would be able to conform to the Moral Code. After such a dramatic period like the Thaw, the Code seems to be restricting and demanding of citizens, rather than a document meant to free them from the pains of a capitalist society. The failure of the document would become evident, as people began to defend practices condemned by the state. Wives used it to gain power over their husbands, and others used it to form organizations the Soviet Union in fact did not like. The Moral Code of the Builders of Communism reads like a perfect utopian document, but the reality was that it contradicted long existing practices of the Soviet Union and restricted the freedoms some had started to take advantage of after the death of Stalin.









  1. This post takes on such an intriguing and important topic. As you rightly point out, the “Moral Code…” offers more in the way of aspiration than actuality, but is nonetheless significant as a bell weather of how Soviet society wanted to see itself. Check the citations to the Current Digest — I’m not sure they link to specific articles.

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