I had never heard about this story before, but a clever and competent reader shared it on our Facebook page, and I thought some of y’all might enjoy it too.
Back in 1989, card-carrying Communist and Politburo member in the Soviet Union Boris Yeltsin visited Johnson Space Center, and then took a tour of a grocery store in Clear Lake, Texas. According to a Houston Chronicle reporter, Yelstin was far more affected by the grocery store visit than he was the space center.
He apparently was stunned by the aisles and aisles of supermarket products, and told the other Russians in his entourage that if Russians saw what American grocery stores looked like, when in their homeland they had to wait in line for most everything, “there would be a revolution.”
Yeltsin chit-chatted with customers about what their groceries cost, what they were buying, and was in absolute amazement at the whole experience, saying, “Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev.”
He was dazzled by the fact that grocery stores were everywhere, and that they even offered free samples. A year or so later, a biographer wrote that on the plane ride from Texas to Florida, Yelstin couldn’t get the vision of the endless food supply out of his mind, and lamented how different things were for his own countrymen. According to wikipedia, Leon Aron, quoting a Yeltsin associate, wrote in his biography, “Yeltsin, A Revolutionary Life” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000): “For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he sat motionless, his head in his hands. ‘What have they done to our poor people?’ he said after a long silence.” He added, “On his return to Moscow, Yeltsin would confess the pain he had felt after the Houston excursion: the ‘pain for all of us, for our country so rich, so talented and so exhausted by incessant experiments.’”
He wrote that Mr. Yeltsin added, “I think we have committed a crime against our people by making their standard of living so incomparably lower than that of the Americans.”
And then, in his own autobiography, Yeltsin wrote about the experience at the grocery store himself, which reshaped his entire view on communism, ultimately leading to his leaving the Communist party.
“When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people,” Yeltsin wrote. “That such a potentially super-rich country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it.”
Amazing, isn’t it?
It reminds me of the movie Moscow On The Hudson – one of my faves, and this scene in particular:
And there are still idiots in our own country who are happily, proudly, unabashedly card-carrying members of the Communist Party of the USA. Because that exists. Because we’re surrounded by morons. And whenever one of those annoying progressive lunatics tries to tell you that Bernie Sanders wants a different kind of socialism, or that socialism and communism are completely different, just point them to the CPUSA’s own description:
A better and peaceful world is possible — a world where people and nature come before profits. That’s socialism. That’s our vision. We are the Communist Party USA.
If you read their website action items, you’ll notice it all mirrors the Democrat platform quite well. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t so freaking scary.