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Ho Chi Minh’s vision on Soviet Russia’s values

(LLCT) - The great Russian October Revolution miraculously attracted Ho Chi Minh because “no one can practically help us escape the colonialism that the countries ‘spreading civilization’ are imprisoning us...Many people realize our inferiority but no one except the revolutionists of the Russian October Revolution will show us the way to independence”. The way Ho Chi Minh found the light of this Revolution is similar to “the way a person dying of thirst has found something to drink, or a person dying of hunger has found something to eat”. 

Soviet Red Army raised flag over the Reichstag, May 2, 1945 _ Photo: TL

1. The miraculous attraction of the Russian October Revolution

For his patriotism, his love for the people and his desire for an independent country and free people, Ho Chi Minh set off to seek way to save his country. With the traditional national cultural values and his talent, Ho Chi Minh has acquired the world’s cultural quintessence and joined into the proletariats and peoples of different countries in their struggle, and he realized that the Russian October Revolution was the “magic sword” to help the weak colonized countries to liberate themselves. Thus, he decided to lead Vietnam to follow the way of this Revolution. 

The great Russian October Revolution miraculously attracted Ho Chi Minh because “no one can practically help us escape the colonialism that the countries ‘spreading civilization’ are imprisoning us...Many people realize our inferiority but no one except the revolutionists of the Russian October Revolution will show us the way to independence”(1). The way Ho Chi Minh found the light of this Revolution is similar to “the way a person dying of thirst has found something to drink, or a person dying of hunger has found something to eat”(2).

From many sources, Ho Chi Minh knew about a country which overthrew exploiters and managed its own destiny without depending on any other peoples. That great event happened in the Russia and its leader was Lenin, who not only liberated his country but also desired to liberate other countries and peoples including the yellow, the black and the white, the goals of which were stated in his creed. Ho Chi Minh also knew about the Third Communist International which struggled for benefits of all the exploited people and its leader was Lenin.

Ho Chi Minh was thus charged with the great desire to fight for real freedom of his country and other colonized nations. That’s why when the Third Communist International committee of the French Social Party was founded to persuade the Party to join the Third Communist International and protect the revolution in the Soviet Russia which was being attacked by bourgeois governments (including French Clémanceau), Ho Chi Minh took part in many activities to support the Revolution such as raising funds in Paris to help the Soviet Russia overcome starvation, distributing propaganda documents of the French Social Party to call upon French workers to condemn the French government’s armed intervention into the Soviet Russia, and making speeches welcoming the Russian October Revolution, etc.

Later when mapping out the revolutionary road for the Vietnamese youth after summarizing the knowledge he had got from the Russian October Revolution, Ho Chi Minh said that, although there were many doctrines, only Leninism was the most genuine, reliable and revolutionary: “In the world, only the Russian October Revolution has been truly successed, which means that the people there can enjoy the real freedom and equality, not the fake freedom and equality that French colonists boast in Vietnam. The Russian October Revolution has overthrown kings, capitalists, and land owners and then will help the peoples in colonized countries overthrow imperialists and capitalists all over the world”(3).    

After World War I, Ho Chi Minh did not fully understand the significance and historical importance of the Russian October Revolution. He “knew little about the political issues, nothing about the party, the trade union or the differences between socialism and communism”(4), but he had the will and strong desire “for his country to be liberated and for all the colonized countries to be liberated”. He supported the Russian October Revolution naturally and came to it with his patriotism and desire to liberate Vietnam.  

2. Ho Chi Minh and the Soviet Russia’s values

Ho Chi Minh viewed the Soviet Russia’s values from the causes for the revolution. Firstly, the October Revolution happened due to the ripe conflicts between the oppressors and the oppressed within Russian society, between tsar and working classes when Russia was compared to “a prison of ethnicities”. The cruel oppression of the landowners and capitalists led the country to a disaster and drove over 100 million proletariats, half-proletariats and farmers into a corner without any other choice but revolution. A tyrannical Russia had to be replaced by a democratic and revolutionary one, which brought about freedom and self-determination to all the peoples, land to tillers and administration to workers. Secondly, by the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, capitalism reached its peak, transformed into imperialism, and international conflicts appeared. The Russian October Revolution broke out partly because of the development laws of society and directly because of the ripe revolutionary situation. Therefore, the revolution was inevitable. After the revolution, the government of the capitalists and landowners was overthrown and a new opposite political system was born and the process of solving the conflicts between the two systems led the world’s history forward.    

According to Ho Chi Minh, the Soviet Russia State ensured real democracy for the people so it had strong vitality. The October Revolution was the victory of revolutionary violence brought about by working people and proved their strength.  

Ho Chi Minh confirmed that oppressed countries became masters of their own fates, and of society so they stood the chance to harmoniously develop both physical and mental health. This was the greatest and most genuine humane values of the October Revolution. With this Revolution, for the first time in history, the right of national self-determination was implemented. The October Revolution brought back factories to workers, land to tillers and created a free, happy and prosperous country for the working people. This was a great example for the working class all over the world in general and the working class in the Oriental nations in particular.  

The October Revolution opened an era of new foreign policies - peaceful and friendly relationships between countries. The peace decree(5) formed the fundamental grounds for the Soviet Russia’s foreign policies. Since then, the Soviet Russia always aimed at peaceful relationships between countries, regardless of their political and social systems. The resolute peace policy of the Soviet Russia was the support for all the other nations to fight against warlike forces. The Soviet Russia did not only declare the peace policy but really acted to support other countries to fight for their independence, oppose the enslavement and invasion of imperialism.   

Ho Chi Minh pointed out that the October Revolution deeply educated people in the Soviet Russia about heroism, sacrifice, bravery, strong will, patriotism and loyalty. The revolutionists of the October Revolution were steeled and provided with the Soviet Russia’s values to become leaders in the great patriotic war, ensuring the people’s victory and helping peoples all over the world clearly realize their values and ability. With its extraordinary strength, the Soviet Russia completely defeated the anti-revolutionists in the country and crushed the armed intervention of 14 imperialist countries. Nearly 30 years later, it defeated fascism, protected the Soviet Russia and contributed to liberating other countries and the whole mankind from the disaster of fascism. The Russian October Revolution paved the way for another great event in the 20th century, the collapse of imperialism’s colonial system when a series of oppressed nations succeeded in liberating themselves.

The values of the Russian October Revolution were highlighted by the great dignity of its leader. Mentioning Lenin, President Ho Chi Minh stated: “It is not because of his (Lenin’s) talent but his disrespect for luxury, his love of work, pure private life and simple lifestyle, in other words, his great dignity, which immensely influences Asian nations and attracts them to Him”. 

The significance of the revolution was spread all over the world thanks to the role of the international revolution organization - the Third Communist International. In the special historical situation after the October Revolution, there wouldn’t have been a pool of revolutionists all over the world to liberate different nations if it hadn’t been for the Third Communist International.

The Soviet Russia’s values were mentioned by Ho Chi Minh in his legacy as the best regime that no other social systems had offered before. The Soviet government ensured the people a prosperous life, good education and healthcare system, enough accommodation and work. Summarizing the Soviet Russia’s values, he wrote “Like the sun, the Russian October Revolution shines all the continents, and has woken up millions of oppressed people on earth. There has never been a revolution with such great and deep significance”(6). He emphasized, “Socialism used to be a beautiful dream of mankind. After the great October Revolution, it became a reality. Therefore the revolution has great attraction and persuade millions of people into action to struggle for peace, national independence and social democracy and progress”(7). In the reality of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh pointed out that although French colonists were trying to conceal the fact about the Soviet Russia and rummage some fake information about it, Vietnamese revolutionists were persistent in looking for the truth and then found it. Gradually, they realized the significance of the October Revolution. For the people in general and for the revolutionists in particular, the great October Revolution was the headlight lighting the struggle for freedom and happiness. It can be said that without the great October Revolution, the Vietnamese people couldn’t have been successful in their August Revolution(8). This proved the great vision of Ho Chi Minh of the effects of the Soviet Russia’s values, through the October Revolution, on the Vietnamese revolution.


l Endnotes:

(1) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, Vol.1, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.466.

(2), (8) Ho Chi Minh: op.cit., Vol.11, pp.173, 12.

(3) Ho Chi Minh: op.cit., Vol.2, p.304.

(4), (6), (7) Ho Chi Minh: op.cit., Vol.15, pp.583, 387, 390.

(5) On October 26th, 1917 of the Russian calendar, that is November 8th, 1917, one day after the founding of the peasants-workers’ government, the second Soviet Congress ratified the Peace Decree.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Bui Dinh Phong

Institute of Ho Chi Minh and other Party Leaders,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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