On Pleasure


While exiled in Siberia in 1915, the Bolsheviks  — including Stalin, Spanderian, and Kamenev — enjoyed a fairly blissful summer reunion. At a boozy supper, Kamenev asked everyone to

“declare their greatest pleasure in life. Some cited women, others earnestly replied that it was the progress of dialectical materialism toward the workers’ paradise. Then Stalin answered: ‘My greatest pleasure is to choose one’s victim, prepare one’s plans minutely, slake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed. There’s nothing sweeter in the world.”

S.S.Montefiore, Young Stalin

Filed under:

On Pleasure

  1. Actually, Stalin’s comment is entirely consistent with the class warfare that is part and parcel of dialectical marxism and its latter-day spin-offs.

  2. I think you mean dialectical materialism.

  3. Oops, thank you.

  4. Andrew Is it a good book? Wells has got me started on Soviet obsession at the moment with his recommendation of Lenin’s Tomb. I have only read a couple of R. Conquest books but am looking to expand.

    At least Stalin was consistent. There was an anecdote in Remnick’s book from a guy who had access to Stalin archives and he said that one day in ’38 Stalin signed the death sentences for 5,000 people in one afternoon and than went to watch a couple of movies, including Happy Guys, in his private theatre.

  5. I loved the book, finished it over the weekend. It doesn’t have quite the same force as Court of the Red Tsar, but if you are looking for a book that offers some neat perspective on what’s going on in the Caucasus right now, by all means pick it up.

  6. Thanks Andrew. Am going to go look for them on the weekend.

  7. “exile in Siberia”,”fairly blissful”…..
    and if the quote is accurate,well,I’d rather be sentenced to reading Ayn Rand.
    I think I’ll wait for the Hunter Thompson version.

Sign in to comment.