Machiavellism in Soviet Thought

  • E. A. Rees


Machiavelli’s ideas cannot be considered in isolation either from other intellectual strands which fed into Bolshevism, or from the circumstances that brought with them modifications in Bolshevik ideology. At the outset, we must stress that the object of this work is not to claim some primacy for Machiavelli in shaping the Bolshevik outlook, above and over Marxism. Instead it is to argue that this was only one of a whole number of influences that shaped Bolshevism. Similar claims might be advanced for social Darwinian and Nietzchean ideas, Russian statist traditions or for the quasi-religious strand in Russian millenarian thought. We shall pursue this enquiry by examining the impact of Jacobin and Blanquist ideas within the Bolshevik tradition, the elitist conception of party and state organization, the Bolsheviks’ conception of ‘absolutism’, the Bolsheviks’ view of morality and the nature of deception in Bolshevik policy and practice. In the second section we shall explore the view of a number of the prominent critics of Bolshevism, and the significance of the equation drawn between Bolshevism and Jesuitism.


Communist Party Class Norm Class Struggle Soviet Regime October Revolution 
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© E. A. Rees 2004

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  • E. A. Rees

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