Archive for April 17, 2009

Logical Fallacies and Lies in the former Soviet Union

Communism in the former Soviet Union was based on many logical fallacies and outright, boldfaced lies. No wonder the U.S.S.R. toppled over, under its own weight of deception.  The following quotes are from my Kazakh students who gave examples of what logical fallacies existed during the Soviet Union, from what their parents had told them life was like under communism.  However, some of my MBA students are old enough to remember from their own grade school days.

O.Z. Appeal to tradition:  “In Soviet Union all people must do what the Kommunist party said because the Party was always right.

Appeal to the popular (bandwagon) In the Soviet Union everyone dreamed about “Lada” car.  It was a very popular model, indeed we didn’t have a choice.”

Guilt by Association:  In the 1930s-1950s people were named as “Enemy of the Nation” and were sent to jail.  Their wives, husbands and children were also named “Enemy of the Nation.”


M.K. Strawman Argument – In Soviet Union it showed that crime level was low, but the real statistics were high.”

Poisoning the well – If you enter into the communist party and be a member of it, you will be a successful and strong person.  However, if you will not be a communist, you will be a loser.


Y.S. Appeal to the Popular – “Everyone was buying the same products, we were wearing the same clothes.  So all school girls looked like each other. And we did not have products from abroad.

Poisoning the Well – We were to believe our leaders and like what they were saying.  People trusted and believed each other and everyone was sure that in the Soviet Union “everything is perfect.”  We were equal, no poor and no rich persons.


S.A. Appeal to Popular – “Everyone else is Komsomlec, Why shouldn’t you?”

A lot of people buy the same furniture, clothes and other things made in Soviet Union.  Therefore, what was made in USSR is the best quality.


M.A. Guilt by Association – Your father is an enemy, therefore I will not speak with you.

Appeal to Popular – Communists believed that Soviet living standards were the best, therefore it IS the best.


A.B. Appeal to popular “The majority of people wore the same clothes, therefore there was more social equality.”

Appeal to tradition: “In Soviet Union there were traditions like children would work at the same job as their fathers and mothers did.”


D.S. “If you don’t study well, you will be a yard caretaker [or grave digger.]”

“If you think in a different way, you are a social enemy.”


A.B. “We should make a testing on Semipalatinsk field, because the money we get from it is important to develop the country.”


D.S. In the Soviet Union it was a shame for young men not to do military service…”You can’t be a good citizen if you can’t protect your Homeland.”

In the Soviet Union people were scared and afraid to say something against the Government, “Even walls have ears.”

During the Cold War period, it wasn’t right to listen to Western music because sometimes people would lose their workplaces.



A.T. “Communism comes and all will be free. Religion is opium for the people.  Nothing is personal, everything is common.”


N.L. “The S.U. government translates on TV that it’s always good news about policy.  Also in library, people didn’t have a chance to read different literature, or other foreign authors, books, magazines, journal articles.”


M.B. “Capitalistic countries are bad because the capitalists exploit labour of other people.  The best is communism, socialist becomes communist.”


A.T. During the Soviet Union, leaders of the communist party stated that capitalism was the wrong way of development.  Therefore, communism is good.  Khrushev made corn popular but it doesn’t mean he liked eating it.[it was meant as fodder for the livestock]


S.B. During that time, people believed in everything even if there wasn’t a logical consequence or it might not be the truth.  For example, someone who liked to travel abroad, then he was supposed to be “Enemy of the People.”  Another example is that people used to think that Jewish people are dangerous and they should not communicate with them.  I think there is also no logical evidence.


M.K. If you were not “oktebryonok” (from first to fifth year classes) or “Pioneer” (from fifth to tenth classes) and after school “Kommutist” it was a shame, you were an outsider.”


Y.S. “During the Soviet time the much preferred work was to be a farmer or miner rather than being an engineer, economist or lawyer.”


A.S. In S.U. everybody wore the same things, ate the same things, there wasn’t a big choice.  So, if one thing was popular, everybody wanted it, even it if was not a good thing.


A.K. “We all know that in the Soviet Union time all people should be equal.  Nobody should exceed more or better.  Everybody made expected action, for example, everybody should go to school, after study in university, finally work in one place (where they have to go, it was already decided by government).  The salary was average.  About language, everybody should know Russian even though you are Kazakh nationality.”

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