Fra The Elbonian
“I have recently been reading the Mitrokhin Archive by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. It is an analysis of the Papers that Vasili Mitrokhin, a KGB Archivist smuggled out of Russia and sheds light on many KGB operations over a number of years.In a passage describing the history of the KGB, I encountered this little gem. It seems that some things never change, sigh…
In the mid 1930s, many westerners felt compelled to visit the USSR to observe at first-hand the wonders of Socialism, where the myth-image of the world’s first peasant-worker state was so powerful that, for true believers, it even survived the contrary evidence of their own eyes.
Malcolm Muggeridge a British journalist in Moscow, later wrote of the British pilgrims he encountered.
“Their delight in all they saw and were told, and the expression they gave to that delight, constitute unquestionably one of the wonders of our age. There were earnest advocates of the humane killing of cattle who looked up at the massive headquarters of the OGPU [later the KGB] with tears of gratitude in their eyes, earnest advocates of proportional representation who eagerly assented when the necessity for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat was explained to them, earnest clergymen who reverently turned the pages of atheistic literature, earnest pacifists who watched delightedly as tanks rattle across red square and bombers darkened the sky, earnest town-planning specialists who stood outside ramshackle tenements and muttered;
“If only we had something like this in England!”
The almost unbelievable credulity of these mostly university educated tourists astounded even Soviet officials used to handling foreign visitors…”.”