Before the Russian revolution, Russia produced the greatest novelists in the world. Before the revolution, Russia passed through an immense period of creativity; it was almost an explosion. Nowhere else, in no other time, were so many great artists born together: Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Turgenev, and many more. What happened to all that creativity after the Russian revolution? Not a single Tolstoy, not a single Dostoevsky, not a single Maxim Gorky has appeared. It is impossible, because the government directs you about what to write, what not to write. The bureaucracy dictates everything. You cannot paint according to your own heart, you cannot sing the song that you want to sing; you have to dance to the tune that the government plays. Naturally, only mediocre people have been happy in Russia. Untalented people will find it very good, but talented people, who are the salt of the earth, will be retarded.
Only one outlet is there, to go into politics, and that too is not easy. Once you are in power it is very difficult for anybody else to replace you. Joseph Stalin remained in power longer than any other person, and he was hated by the people from their very guts, but nobody was able to say anything. He killed more people than Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadirshah; even Adolf Hitler comes second to him. And he killed very methodically. It is estimated that he must have killed several million people at least, with no guilt.
The day he died and Krushchev came into power, Krushchev started saying things against him. Even his dead body was removed from the Kremlin, from the place where it had been ceremoniously placed. It was dragged from the grave in a very insulting way and removed to a faraway place which nobody visits.
Krushchev had always served Stalin as a servant, and when he started saying things against him…. In one of the meetings of communist workers he was talking against Stalin, and a worker shouted from the back row, “Where were you when he was alive? Why didn’t you say these things when he was alive?”
For a moment there was a very uneasy silence. Even Krushchev could not find any words. Then he asked, “Can I ask one thing, sir? Can you stand up, comrade? Who has asked this question?” And Krushchev laughed and he said, “Now you know! That’s my answer!”
Communism is an “ism”; capitalism is not an “ism.” Capitalism is simply a natural phenomenon that has come on its own. There are no capitalist philosophers, there is no capitalist party, there is no capitalist economy which has been enforced on people; it is a growth.
But you seem, to be too attached to the word. Rather than looking at the reality you have become distracted by the word capitalism. It simply means a state of laissez-faire, a state of freedom where one is allowed to be himself. Capitalism is not an “ism” but a natural state of society which is capable of producing capital, which is capable of producing wealth.
Now for sixty years or more communism has existed in Russia. Still, communism existing in Russia has not been able to make it a rich society; it is a poor country. Of course they go on competing as far as war technology is concerned, but the people are poor. America is far richer; in fact, it is the richest society that has ever existed on the earth. Even the poorest man in America is in a far better situation than any Russian, for the simple reason that people are allowed to produce wealth if they choose to. If they choose not to produce wealth, if they want to be painters, poets, they are allowed – that is their freedom, that is their birthright. In communism you don’t have any birthright.