Learning from the Soviet Collapse
Lessons from Chinese Communist Party documentaries on the fall of the Soviet Union
The following is a guest essay. Jonathon P Sine (@JonathonPSine) is a writer and researcher in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS, a former research intern for Rhodium Group’s China practice, and currently serves on staff at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and, unless cited, do not represent the views of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
The following piece is particularly resonant following this past month’s protests when questions of state stability have of late come to the fore.
After securing adoption of his new historical resolution at the Chinese Communist Party’s Sixth Plenum in 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s 20th Party Congress work report further demonstrated that history is a topic very much on his and his Party’s agenda.Xi’s 20th Party Congress work report, as with his 19th Party Congress work report, referenced history (历史) precisely 47 times, nearly twice as many times as the reports delivered by his predecessors (16th, 17th, and 18th). In fact, it might be fair to say that Xi fosters something of an obsession with history.
And there is one historical subject that preoccupies him more than most: the rise and fall of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
Consider the now ubiquitous phrase “great changes unseen in a century” (百年未有之大的变局). Xi first used the phrase in late 2017. The timing was likely not coincidental. Precisely a century earlier a global change of great significance occurred, at least from the perspective of a communist party: the 1917 October Revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power and established the Soviet Union.
The phrase is routinely used in conjunction with assessments of the changing global distribution of international power, making it a direct allusion to the global rise in power and prominence of a communist nation.But, while Xi and the Party appear to draw on the rise of the Soviet Union for aspirational narrative fodder, it is the fall of the CPSU that most commands their attention.
In early 2022 audiences across China were treated to an intentionally unnerving film experience. For 94 minutes, with an opening set to dramatic music and chaotic stock footage, the story of the collapse of the CPSU flickered across projector screens.The audiences in attendance for these screenings were not members of the general public, but rather rank and file cadres of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC).
While the ostensible occasion meriting this screening was the 30th anniversary of the CPSU’s fall, the title of the documentary, “Historical Nihilism and the Disintegration of the Soviet Union,” offers a hint at a more contemporaneous reason. Xi Jinping is in the midst of steeling his communist cadres for a systemic competition against hostile foreign forces.
Xi and the Party believe, in particular, that these foreign forces are bent on weaponizing ideas and historical narratives to undermine the Party’s justifications not only to exert global influence, but to rule over China itself.
Ambition and fear thus dually animate Xi’s historical obsession with the CPSU. On the one hand, an aspirational belief holds that the tide of history is surging the CPC and its Leninist system toward the world’s center stage—just as the historical tides of 1917 did for the Bolsheviks. Meanwhile, an existential fear grips Xi that cadres and leaders alike fundamentally lack faith in the Party, its mission, and its ideology, which, at a moment’s notice could enable the collapse of the CPC’s entire edifice, just as happened with the Soviet Union 30 years ago.
What is Historical Nihilism?
A succinct, if cynical, definition of historical nihilism is any interpretation of history aversive to current Party leadership. As Simon Leys once explained, following along with the correct interpretation of history “can be quite bewildering for the lower cadres, whose instructions do not always keep up with the latest shakeup of the ruling clique. As one hapless guide put it to a foreign visitor who was pressing him with tricky questions: "Excuse me, sir, but at this stage it is difficult to answer; the leadership has not yet had the time to decide what history was.”
Xi Jinping places great importance on molding the ideals and beliefs of his fellow Party members. Xi elucidates that a proper worldview and constellation of thoughts is the basis upon which a willingness to struggle and make great sacrifices for the Party—the epitome of a good cadre—rests.
In a 2018 speech to Central Committee members and leading cadres at provincial and ministerial levels, Xi explains why he places so much emphasis on what people think and believe:
“Marxist political parties are not political parties formed around interests, but political parties organized via common ideals and beliefs. To build a strong Marxist ruling party, we must first start with ideals and beliefs. The belief in Marxism, socialism and communism is the political soul of Communists and the spiritual pillar through which Communists withstand any test. We often say that if the foundation is not strong, the earth and the mountains will shake. And if faith is not strong, the earth and the mountains will shake. Isn't that the logic behind the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party and the upheaval in Eastern Europe? The Soviet Communist Party seized power when it had 200,000 party members, defeated Hitler when it had 2 million Party members, and lost power when it had nearly 20 million Party members. As I said, in that turmoil, no one was man enough to come out and fight. What is the reason? It is that ideals and faith had disappeared.”[emphasis added]
At the core of Xi and the Party’s ambitions to mold collective belief is the issue of historical memory. Memories condition beliefs and ideals, thus making control over collective historical interpretation and memory fundamental, in Xi’s eyes, to the survival of the CPC’s Leninist political system. Xi himself explains:
“The reason why I emphasize this problem [of historical interpretation] is because it is a major political issue. If it is not handled well, it will have serious political consequences. As one ancient said: “To destroy a people, you must first destroy their history.” Hostile forces at home and abroad often write essays on the history of the Chinese revolution or of New China, doing all in their power to smear and vilify that era. Their fundamental purpose is to confuse the hearts of the people. They aim to incite them into overthrowing both the Communist Party of China’s leadership and the socialist system of our country.”
Xi goes on in a separate speech to make the consequences even more clear: “history and reality show that a nation that has abandoned or betrayed its own history and culture not only makes development impossible, but also makes it likely for historical tragedies to unfurl.”
To maintain China’s system of governance, Xi believes cadres must share a set of ideals, beliefs, and ideological faith. In order to protect this shared set of beliefs, though, historical memory must be controlled. For Xi, memory is existential, and amnesia can be enforced by fiat. Historical events, if they are to be remembered at all, should affirm the Party’s role in saving China and ultimately allowing it to develop a novel Chinese system of governance that “offers humanity a new choice.”In the third volume of Governance of China, Xi explains that a “well-founded system is the biggest strength a country has, and competition in terms of systems is the most essential rivalry between countries.”
Historical nihilism is thus a label for the inconvenient facts and historical narratives that could undermine cadres zealous faith in the Party, and thus the Party-state’s resilience during the vital period of “great changes unseen in a century” that will be characterized by a “competition in terms of systems” with the United States and the West.
As the Maoist chengyu declares: “make the past serve the present” (古为今用). (The full text of the documentaries cited below can be viewed here.)
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The 2022 Documentary
Like many Leninist leaders before him, Xi Jinping postures as something of a philosopher king.Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era is, literally, omnipresent. Xi has Thought on so many things it would be impossible to list them: from green technology, to ecology, to farming the list is long and varies from broad to arcane. Xi’s thoughts and worldview are widely published, disseminated, and (mandatorily) studied by cadres.
In an introduction to the documentary “Historical Nihilism and the Disintegration of the Soviet Union” the Kunlun Policy Research Institute, a Chinese think tank, situates the documentary with reference to Xi Jinping Thought,in particular a poignant quote Xi made behind closed doors in January 2013:
“Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Communist Party of the Soviet Union fall to pieces? An important reason is that in the ideological domain, competition is fierce! To completely repudiate the historical experience of the Soviet Union, to repudiate the history of the CPSU, to repudiate Lenin, to repudiate Stalin was to wreck chaos in Soviet ideology and engage in historical nihilism. It caused Party organizations at all levels to have barely any function whatsoever. It robbed the Party of its leadership of the military. In the end the CPSU—as great a Party as it was—scattered like a flock of frightened beasts! The Soviet Union—as great a country as it was—shattered into a dozen pieces. This is a lesson from the past!"[emphasis added]
The documentary subsequently fleshes out and substantiates key elements of Xi’s Thought as it has been put into practice.On first watch, the most glaring aspect of the 2022 documentary is the amount of time the film devotes to white-washing Stalin. Viewers are informed that accounts of deaths under his reign are greatly exaggerated and, in reference to the Great Terror of 1937-38, that while there were regrettable errors, for the most part he did what he had to do. The film lionizes his ability to prepare the Soviets to defeat Hitler’s war machine. Of course, one will not find any mention of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the years of surreptitious trade Stalin orchestrated with Hitler that enabled the development of the latter’s war machine, or the role of America’s lend-lease and other industrial contributions that enabled the Soviets to continue fighting in the first place.
What one will find in ample quantity, and what constitutes the primary thrust of the documentary, are diatribes against Khrushchev and Gorbachev. Khrushchev is lambasted for denigrating Stalin in his 1956 secret speech on the dangers of the cult of personality, and for creating a cultural moment wherein impressionable youth lost faith in the CPSU.
Gorbachev, who we learn was a product of this rotten Khruschevian cultural period, fields the greatest blame. In no uncertain terms, the documentary declares that Gorbachev abandoned, betrayed, and stuck a knife into communism, Marxism-Leninism, and the Soviet Union. Where Stalin finds redemption, Khrushchev and Gorbachev find condemnation.
The audience is told of several specific ways in which historical nihilism allegedly brought down the Soviet Union. Highlighted for blame are:
· “all kinds of out-of-control media and numerous seminars and reports;”
· “falsification of history textbooks;”
· “the ‘uncovering’ of the so-called "historical archives;”
· and “the field of literature and art.”
The film then informs us that, in conjunction with these domestic issues, largely attributable to Gorbachev’s political reforms, “The Western camp” pursued the strategy of “peaceful evolution,” launching round after round of offensives in the ideological field. This provided a powerful external impetus for the growth, spread and proliferation of historical nihilism in the Soviet Union.” The documentary contends that these Western “peaceful evolution” strategies to induce “historical nihilism” included:
· “the United States having invested huge sums of money to establish news media specifically for socialist countries;”
· “Western countries use of personnel exchanges, cultural exchanges and other means to cultivate and support pro-Western "political intellectual elites" in the Soviet Union;”
· “full use of novels, films, plays and other literary works to promote the spread of historical nihilism in the Soviet Union;”
· “Nobel Prizes [as] important tools for the West to promote Western values and smear the history of the CPSU;”
· “various foundations which become a powerful channel for the West to promote historical nihilism in the Soviet Union;”
· “the U.S. embassy in the Soviet Union playing the role of a front-line command in terms of ideological infiltration and disrupting the political situation in the Soviet Union;”
· and “the use of archives or the so-called declassification of archives to promote the proliferation of historical nihilism.”
The documentary approvingly cites a Russian scholar, saying “the most powerful weapons the West has, aside from nuclear weapons, are all the methods of ideological struggle, such as radio, television, and cultural exchange. These negatively affected people to a considerable extent, and even formed a fifth column within the Soviet Union to support the United States and the entire West.”
Ultimately, the documentary makes clear, the demise of the CPSU resides in the linking up of internal elements who “betrayed communism” and “abandoned the party” and Western hostile foreign forces who strategically deployed “historical nihilism” in pursuit of “peaceful evolution.”
Obviously embedded within this analysis is a determination that an open and independent civil society is a threat vector for a Leninist regime. This should not be surprising. Many of the analytic points simply reinforce the aggressive crackdown the CPC, operating under Xi Jinping, has already undertaken on civil society. Such measures include banning foreign books in Chinese primary schools, incorporating more ideologically rigid lessons into history and other textbooks, banning foreign NGOs, shuttering independent media and think tanks, and strictly limiting many scholars’ ability to collaborate outside the country.
What may be more surprising (to some at least) is the degree of continuity the 2022 documentary strikes with the two previous documentaries produced by the CPC and, ultimately, the degree of continuity between Xi Jinping and his predecessors.
Thinking of Danger in Times of Peace
Indeed, the emphasis here, and in media and scholarship more generally, should not obscure the continuity in the CPC’s approach to history and engagement with the West. Deng Xiaoping exclaimed as early as November 1989 that the Western world would stop at nothing to overthrow the CPC: “The Western countries are staging a third world war without gunsmoke. By that I mean they want to bring about the peaceful evolution of socialist countries towards capitalism.”It is altogether fitting, then, that Party’s first major documentary on the fall of the CPSU (published in 2006) should be titled “thinking of danger in times of peace” (居安思危).
In contrast to the 2022 documentary, the 2006 documentary offers a broader analysis that comes across as more exploratory and marginally less proscriptive (it is also about twice as long). “Thinking of danger in times of peace” is broken into eight parts, and the title section names are quite interesting:
The Historic Path of the Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Basic Theories and Guiding Principles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Ideological Work of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Working Style of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Privileged Classes of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Organizational Course of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Leadership Group of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Response to the Western World’s Strategy of Westernization and Dissolution
Aside from the greater depth and breadth, perhaps the biggest difference between the two documentaries is the weight the 2006 documentary gives to structural, and thus not solely ideological, reasons for the fall of the CPSU. For example, one finds extensive discussion of corruption and the formation of a “privileged class,” with the documentary explaining that:
“The formation and development of the CPSU’S privileged class went through a long historic process. During this period of time, these visible and invisible hands greedily snatched the national wealth that belonged to the people, while the CPSU seldom restrained the privileged class, or stopped their corruption. It even sheltered them or was complicit in their behavior. It eventually resulted in cancer that grew and spread rapidly in its own body. When the CPSU’s own cancer caused its decay and degeneration, the people had already abandoned it.”
In the 2022 documentary, one will find no mention of corruption or privileged classes. Yet, of course, the danger of corruption was not a point lost on Xi Jinping, who swooped into power with a major and well-publicized anti-corruption campaign.
What the differential focus of the 2006 and 2022 documentary may reveal, then, is not necessarily a change in views inside Party leadership on what caused the fall of the CPSU, but a change in what the Party deems important to emphasize to its cadres lower down the ranks.
Thus where corruption issues were top of mind during the more freewheeling Hu-Wen era, ideological concerns have come to the fore following a decade of Xi’s anticorruption campaign and aggressive steps to gird the Party-state for systemic competition in the era of “great changes unseen in a century.”
Despite the differential emphases of the two documentaries, though, the fundamental similarities are overwhelming. Making appearances in the 2006 documentary are a defense of Stalin (using similar rhetoric to the 2022 documentary) and denunciations of various things including NGOs, books like “The Gulag Archipelago,” human rights diplomacy, and the newly liberalized media environment.
Both documentaries fundamentally blame Western ideological infiltration and subversion of history as the primary causes of the fall of the CPSU, aided and abetted by those in the Party, such as Gorbachev, who betrayed Marxism-Leninism. The 2006 documentary opens by citing Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao on this very issue:
“In December 1991, Comrade Jiang Zemin pointed out that the transformation of the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries is not due to the failure of Scientific Socialism but to the abandonment of the Socialist path. In December 2000, Comrade Hu Jintao also pointed out that there are multiple factors contributing to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, a very important one being Khrushchev’s throwing away Stalin’s knife and Gorbachev’s open betrayal of Marxism-Leninism.”
And, even more consonant with the 2022 documentary, the 2006 documentary concludes:
“The focus of the Western ideological infiltration is to deny the CPSU’s revolutionary history, exaggerate the social problems in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries, stir up dissatisfaction among the people, and direct that dissatisfaction toward the communist party and socialism… Facing this propaganda campaign, Gorbachev not only lost his vigilance by providing no patriotic education to the Russian people, but he encouraged people to accept Western ideas instead.”
Clearly the fundamental conclusions of both the 2006 and 2022 documentaries are simpatico. The 2022 documentary, in juxtaposition to 2006, appears merely as an evolution towards precise conclusions and more directly proscriptive implications, while doing away with the complicating structural analysis.
Li Shenming (李慎明)
An analysis of the similarities and differences between the two films would not be complete without meeting the lead author of both films, a loyal apparatchik by the name of Li Shenming (李慎明).
From an early career as secretary to Wang Zhen, one of the elders most decisively in favor of perpetrating the Tiananmen massacre, Li has made a name for himself whitewashing Party history, promoting aspects of Marxist and Maoist ideology, and firmly opposing liberalism. After climbing ranks, Li eventually settled into a prestigious perch as Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Deputy Secretary of CASS's Party Leadership Group, and Director of CASS's World Socialism Research Centre. He is now an honorary dean at Zhengzhou University, serving as the founding director of the school's Contemporary Capitalism Research Center, wherein Li describes his own work as a process of "knowing oneself and the enemy" ( 知己知彼) so as to "better uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics." It was at Zhengzhou, while working in conjunction with his old friends at CASS, that he led development of the 2022 documentary, while the 2013 and 2006 documentaries were produced solely under the auspices of CASS.
Li’s vision of the struggle between China and the U.S.-led Western world and the so-called "enemy" of capitalism, while long apparent in his work, appears to have only come into sharper relief for him over the years.
Li, in a retrospective introduction to 居安思危 written as part of a book in 2013,hints at the less prescriptive nature of the 2006 film in a rhetorical statement: “What is the actual effect of the film? At first, we were not completely sure.” Later in the introduction to the book, Li informs us of the initial showing of the documentary to relatively senior cadres in Shenzhen, stating that:
“Everyone unanimously reflected that, after watching the film, there were two major gains in understanding: First, after the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, our party did not repudiate Mao Zedong. If we lose this glorious banner, we will inevitably follow in the footsteps of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Second, Deng Xiaoping is right: if something goes wrong, it comes from within the Communist Party. The film analyzes the historical lessons of the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from eight aspects. They all focus on the core issue of the Communist Party and fully achieve the expected results.”
Li goes on to explain what he views as the key takeaway:
“'The disintegration of the Soviet Union,' that is, the 'peaceful evolution' of the Soviet Union by the western world, is only the external cause of the tragedy of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, while the gradual and final complete deterioration of the Soviet Communist Party is the internal cause of the tragedy. This internal cause played a decisive role in the final formation of the tragedy of the disintegration of the Soviet Union.”
Finally, Li finishes his introduction by explaining his views on the extent of “win-win” cooperation with the West:
“China is big, and its GDP has now become the second in the world. Whether you engage in socialism or capitalism, the United States will feel that China is a threat to it and will contain China's further development. In terms of specific economic and trade projects, we can win-win with the West; However, in terms of fundamental strategic objectives, it is absolutely impossible to win-win.”
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It may be tempting to compartmentalize the output of Li Shenming. How representative can one man be, after all? Compartmentalization would be easier if Li’s perspective were not so well aligned with that of Party leaders, and as set forth in the introduction of this piece, Xi Jinping’s in particular.
Furthermore, that all three of Li’s documentaries on the fall of the CPSU have been funded and produced under the auspices of CASS, and widely used as intra-Party education videos, indicates these are broadly and officially sanctioned. Thus, it should be fair to say the content of these documentaries offers insights into the minds of Party leadership and its ideologues. Most importantly, perhaps, these documentaries help us understand what CPC leadership want lower-ranked cadres to think. So, what do the documentaries tell us?
1. For the CPC, the Cold War never ended. The Party has long viewed, and continues to view, itself in a “silent contest” (to steal the title of a separate documentary) with the West.
2. The CPC views this contest as fundamentally one between “systems” of governance. In this systems competition, the Party views the West’s alleged “peaceful evolution” strategy as one of—if not the—most dangerous external element. “Peaceful evolution” is directly implicated across the documentaries as a driving force of the fall of the CPSU.
3. According to the CPC’s analysis, the “peaceful evolution” strategy and the malign attack on history that culminates in “historical nihilism” only succeeded because elements within the CPSU colluded with or capitulated to hostile foreign forces, most poignantly Gorbachev, who engaged in a so-called betrayal of Marxism, the people, and his Party. In Xi Jinping’s words: a real man failed to stand up.
There is no—perhaps can be no—singular answer to why the Soviet Union and its Communist Party fell. Historians across the world continue the debate. Was the collapse primarily due to interest groups stymying reform, a fundamentally broken political economic system, national independence movements, ideological malcontent among Party and populace, liberalizing too quickly, excessive defense spending, Western intrigue, commodity price collapses, some combination of these, or something else? As in so many complex domains, analytic assessments may reveal more about the analyst than the subject in question.
The Party’s conclusions about the fall of the CPSU may thus best be thought of as projections that tell us more about the past and present CPC than about the CPSU. These documentaries shed light on some of the motivations underlying Xi’s ongoing drive to rewrite history, reeducate Party cadres, and revivify the Party as a Leninist organization.
Comparisons are routinely made between Xi and his predecessors. In vogue now is the comparison between him and Mao. But rather than guess who he aims to emulate, it remains more reliable to keep firmly in mind who he does not want to be.
As Li Shenming noted, "There is one central issue … Did the Soviet Union collapse because of historic systemic problems—problems with the Stalinist model—or because of Gorbachev's mistakes?” He concludes firmly: “Our view is the latter. It is consistent with the leadership's.”
In Xi’s view, where Gorbachev laid down, he is standing up.
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Xi’s historical resolution (历史决议) is only the third in the Party’s history, with Mao in 1945 and Deng in 1980 spearheading the prior two. Historical resolution’s are functional documents designed to assert a top-down historical narrative that not only creates a normative framework and enforces unity among Party members but also forges collective expectations for the future. For a good analysis of the intentionally dialectical nature of Xi’s resolution see Massimo Introgivne, The Resolution on CCP History, Bitter Winter, March 15, 2022, https://bitterwinter.org/the-resolution-on-ccp-history/.
The 2021 resolution itself can be viewed here: 中共中央关于党的百年奋斗重大成就和历史经验的决议（全文).
Jiang delivered the 16th Party Congress report, while Hu delivered the 17th and 18 reports (although Hu led preparations of the 16th, and Xi led preparations for the 18th). Word counts based author’s calculations:
China Heritage, “We Need to Talk About Totalitarianism, Again,” https://chinaheritage.net/journal/we-need-to-talk-about-totalitarianism-again/; Jeremy Goldkorn, “ ‘Ugh, here we are’ — Q&A with Geremie Barmé,” The China Project, April 8, 2022, https://thechinaproject.com/2022/04/08/ugh-here-we-are-qa-with-geremie-barme/.
For more analysis on the Party’s usage of 百年未有之大的变局 see the Strategic Translation Center’s overview of the term: https://www.strategictranslation.org/glossary#great-changes-unseen-in-a-century
Simon Leys, “Human Rights in China,” 1978 http://www.morningsun.org/stages/leys_humanrights.html
马克思主义政党不是因利益而结成的政党，而是以共同理想信念而组织起来的政党。建设坚强的马克思主义执政党，首先要从理想信念做起。对马克思主义的信仰，对社会主义和共产主义的信念，是共产党人的政治灵魂，是共产党人经受任何考验的精神支柱。我们常说，基础不牢，地动山摇。信念不牢也是要地动山摇的。苏联解体、苏共垮台、东欧剧变不就是这个逻辑吗？苏共拥有20万党员时夺取了政权，拥有200万党员时打败了希特勒，而拥有近2000万党员时却失去了政权。我说过，在那场动荡中，竟无一人是男儿，没什么人出来抗争。什么原因？就是理想信念已经荡然无存了。习近平，“推进党的建设新的伟大工程要一以贯之，” 求是 http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.qstheory.cn/dukan/qs/2019-10/02/c_1125068596.htm
From a 2013 speech Xi gave to the then newly elected central committee, only published in full by Qiushi in 2019. Translated by Tanner Greer, Xi Jinping in Translation: China’s Guiding Ideology, May 31, 2019, https://www.palladiummag.com/2019/05/31/xi-jinping-in-translation-chinas-guiding-ideology/
Transcript: President Xi Jinping's report to China's 2022 party congress https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/China-s-party-congress/Transcript-President-Xi-Jinping-s-report-to-China-s-2022-party-congress
Xi Jinping, “Uphold and Improve the Chinese Socialist System and Modernize State Governance,” The Governance of China, October 31, 2019, 144.
On the importance of “the word” and intellectualism in Leninism, see Neil Harding, “Leninism,” Duke University Press, 1996, https://www.dukeupress.edu/leninism.
总撰稿人 李慎明：历史虚无主义与苏联解体, March, 6, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20220323043355/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kunlunce.com%2Fllyj%2Ffl11111111111%2F2022-03-06%2F159383.html
“苏联为什么解体？苏共为什么垮台？一个重要原因就是意识形态领域的斗争十分激烈，全面否定苏联历史、苏共历史，否定列宁，否定斯大林，搞历史虚无主义，思想搞乱了，各级党组织几乎没任何作用了，军队都不在党的领导之下了。最后，苏联共产党偌大一个党就作鸟兽散了，苏联偌大一个社会主义国家就分崩离析了。这是前车之鉴啊！” Using the translation from Tanner Greer at https://palladiummag.com/2019/05/31/xi-jinping-in-translation-chinas-guiding-ideology/.
The full text of the 2022, as well as the 2013 and 2006 documentaries, can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pSUmActUfqB7kmR8G2clBQyEi4OjmTRA/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=108197674576868842597&rtpof=true&sd=true
昆仑策网, “总撰稿人 李慎明：历史虚无主义与苏联解体,” March 2022 https://web.archive.org/web/20220323043355/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kunlunce.com%2Fllyj%2Ffl11111111111%2F2022-03-06%2F159383.html
昆仑策网, “总撰稿人 李慎明：历史虚无主义与苏联解体,” March 2022 https://web.archive.org/web/20220323043355/https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kunlunce.com%2Fllyj%2Ffl11111111111%2F2022-03-06%2F159383.html
Deng Xiaoping, “We Must Adhere To Socialism and Prevent Peaceful Evolution Towards Capitalism,” 1989 https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/deng-xiaoping/1989/173.htm
The 2006 documentary can be viewed here:【纪录片】居安思危：苏共亡党的历史教训 https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1Uf4y1D721/
The full text of the 2006, as well as the 2013 and 2022 documentaries, can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pSUmActUfqB7kmR8G2clBQyEi4OjmTRA/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=108197674576868842597&rtpof=true&sd=true
The same year he also produced another documentary on the fall of the CPSU, titled 苏联亡党亡国20年祭, which can be viewed here: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV12J41117yr/
Original: “大家一致反映，看完该片在认识上有两大收获:“一是 党的十一届三中全会以后，我们党没有否定毛泽东，如果丢掉这面光 辉旗帜，就必然会步苏共后尘。二是还是邓小平说得对:要出问题， 还是出在共产党内部。该片从八个方面剖析了苏共亡党的历史教训， 都是围绕共产党这一核心问题展开的，也完全达到了预期的效果.” Source: 李慎明, “居安思危:苏共亡党的历史教训(八集党内教育参考片解说词,” June 28, 2013, 9.
“苏联被解体”即西方 世界对苏联的“和平演变”仅仅是苏联解体这一悲剧产生的外因，而苏联 共产党的逐步直至最终的彻底变质，则是酿成这一悲剧的内因。这一内 因，对苏联解体这一悲剧的最终形成起着决定性的作用.” Source: 李慎明, “居安思危:苏共亡党的历史教训(八集党内教育参考片解说词,” June 28, 2013, 10.
中国块头大，现在的国内生产总值成了世界上的第二位，无论你 搞社会主义还是搞资本主义，美国都会觉得中国对他是个威胁，都会遏 制中国的进一步发展。在具体的经贸项目等方面，我们完全可以与西 方共赢;但在根本的战略目标上，绝对不可能共赢。Source: 李慎明, “居安思危:苏共亡党的历史教训(八集党内教育参考片解说词,” June 28, 2013, 12.
Jeremy Page, “China Spins New Lessons From Soviet Union’s Fall,” Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2013, https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-spins-new-lesson-from-soviet-union8217s-fall-1386732800?tesla=y