President of Kalmykia billionaire Kirsan Ilyumzhinov about Communist ideology in Soviet Union for children: Like all of my generation, I went through several stages of ideological indoctrination aided by extensive state censorship. First I was an Oktyabryonok (a pre-pioneer), then I became a pioneer, progressing to the Young Communist League, and finally becoming a member of the Communist Party.
I also served on the pioneer squad council, the Young Communist League Committee, and I was chief of the “Vega” Young Communist League city squad. For many years I lived as though I were drugged; it was only gradually, layer by layer, that I began to peel away at the truth.
I wanted to do something worthy and important for my country. I wanted to feel needed by my homeland. Perhaps this was just a small town boy’s longing to be special, but that is another story.
As the best Komsomol boy I was photographed before the unfolded flag of the “Aurora”. I flew to Moscow and from there took a train to Leningrad. I was very curious. I roamed that historical city taking in the splendor of Russia’s former capital.
The city had been decorated and renovated to commemorate the coming 60th anniversary of the October Revolution. There were crowds of militiamen patrolling Nevsky Prospekt, the Peter and Paul Fortress and St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
They were dressed in military coats; “revolutionary” leatherjackets and some of them even sported wooden Mauser holsters from their belts. There were a lot of sailors whose black coats and caps with red ribbons stood out from the crowd. They reminded me of the theater and, for some reason, made my heart beat faster. I entered Palace Square feeling strange, imagining myself in 1917 Petrograd.
At midnight they fired the cannon at the Peter and Paul Fortress and the sound of the clock-gun was absorbed by the foggy city’s air. I could see the reflection of the weak northern sun on the golden steeple of the Admiralty. And I was overcome by a cold kind of rapture.
That same day I had marveled at the wide steps of a marble staircase in an old palace, with its intricately patterned cast-iron and shining brass banisters. We entered the huge hall and took in the velvet upholstery of the chairs, the amazingly beautiful molded ceilings, the enormous cut-glass chandeliers and the tiled fire-places of a regular palace, And I, a small town boy raised on a dusty street, could see it; I could really see all that. There were lots of boys from various cities and republics in that hall. Like me, they had the honor of being photographed next to the unfolded flag of the “Aurora”, their faces flushed, their eyes shining with excitement and joy. We were hypnotized, really.
Old veteran Bolsheviks and Party officials delivered speeches and handed us badges and presents as memorabilia.
“You are the best of the best! You are our hope! Our support! Our generation has to ensure that the might of our Socialist power remains in good hands, strong and spotless. We must see that the ideals of Lenin – for which millions died for which millions upon millions endured incarceration, torture and execution in tsarist prison – will live forever. We hand you the helm of out country! May you be worthy of our hopes!”
The atmosphere in the hall was becoming heated. The crowd thundered in a standing ovation; we jumped to our feet, and our voices echoed loudly in the old hall as we sang, carried away by a collective gust of passion. It seemed as if we were witnessing, at that very minute, an historical event.
We were creating history. We were invincible. We would wipe out any obstacle standing in the way of the bright future that lay ahead.
And all the doubts that had tormented me before this event, all my painful thoughts, dispersed and disappeared like the fog. In its place came a patriotic enthusiasm and a blind, enraptured belief in the triumph of Lenin’s ideas and in the correctness of the chosen historical way preordained by the Party.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of Kalmykia