From the perspective of the individual

From the perspective of the individual, it could be said that the single greatest difference between Russia and the West, both under Tsarism and Communism, was that in Western Europe citizens were generally free to do as they pleased so long as their activities had not been specifically prohibited by the state, while the people of Russia were not free to do anything unless the state had given them specific permission to do it. No subject of the Tsar, regardless of his rank or class, could sleep securely in his bed in the knowledge that his house would not be subject to a search, or he himself to arrest.

Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891 – 1924

2 thoughts on “From the perspective of the individual”

  1. I emigrated from Russia in 1992, already a grown up woman with children. The quote above sounds so true to me, it is scary. And to think he wrote it 100 years ago. Nothing changed in Russia in the past 100 years, except for computers and cell phones. The ruthless, aggressive mentality of the rulers and the fear of the citizens to do or say anything unapproved remained the same.

  2. I also leaved for 25 years under communistic regime.As my family was totally anticommunist we’re under constant fear of midnight knocking on the door, most of the time no materials were found. to implicate my family of wrongdoing, but the fear , was enough to fallow us day and night
    I bless the day and moment when my foot was out a prison without walls!
    I really hope I don’t have to go to the same state of life again!
    God bless America,

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