George Orwell is a mid-20th century English writer. However, I am sure that in the open spaces of the former Soviet Union, few have heard this name. And if it was mentioned somewhere, then with indispensable comments of a very definite nature: anti-communist, libel, etc.
In fact, in his political views, Orwell was firmly in the position of democratic socialism. Therefore, he was an “uncomfortable interlocutor” not only for the Soviet government, but also for his own.
He did not suit conservatives by the fact that he still firmly believed in the socialist idea, connecting with it the possibility of a humane future, when dictatorships and colonial oppression and social injustice would disappear.
For liberals, he was a pesky critic and a clear stranger, because he could not stand their magnanimous idle talk.
The key point in his life and views was the Spanish War. It was in Spain that Orwell first became convinced that a completely different socialism was possible – according to the Stalinist model. So he writes about it: “This ugly socialism, executing a revolution in the name of the dictatorship of the leaders and the bureaucracy subordinate to them, has become for me the main enemy. “I will be able to distinguish his appearance unmistakably, not paying attention to slogans and banners.”
Such an “insight” Orwell was the impetus for the tireless struggle against totalitarianism. Part of it was embodied in the fairy tale “Animal Farm” (“Farmyard”, “Cattle Farm”).
Of course, for those who are not familiar with the history of the first half of Art. this work may seem like a harmless fairy tale about animals. And anyone who has ever heard anything about those terrible times will immediately realize that this is a sharp satire on the realities of the “Soviet experiment.” Orwell describes the violent unanimity that has become a symbol of the Stalin era, the atmosphere of fear that accompanies it; opportunism and unscrupulousness, which forced black to declare what was considered white yesterday; lawlessness, general suspicion, magnificent parade, which hid unforgivable economic and political miscalculations.
But the writer does this not with the aim of gloating over events in a foreign country, but with the aim of shedding light on Soviet events so that a similar perspective does not reach all of humanity.
J. Orwell embodied his ideas in a fairy tale as the most simple and accessible form for understanding.
And so the action of this work takes place on the Lord’s Courtyard (Manor Farm), which is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Animals here, as in any fairy tale, are endowed with human qualities.
The whole beginning begins with the fact that the old Glavar (Mayer) tells the rest of the animals his dream, in which a person disappeared from the earth and the animals rule the world, there is no oppression and everyone is equal.
He reflects on what is the cause of all the troubles and ultimately concludes that the person is guilty of everything: “A person is who our true enemy is. If we remove a person, we will end hunger and overwork forever, for a person is their cause. ” He supported all these arguments with the old song “Creatures of England” (“Animals of England”), which later became the anthem of the struggle of animals against humanity. Already from the contents of the first chapter it becomes clear that the Lord’s Court and its master, Mr. Jones, are Tsarist Russia led by Nicholas II.
To better understand the features of this period, you need to make a short digression into history. After the First World War, the country’s economic and political situation became extremely difficult. The crisis of the tsarist autocracy continued to worsen. All this dramatically affected the living standards of the population, which naturally wanted to transform, namely the overthrow of the existing system. Therefore, it is not surprising that during this period the communist ideas of K. Marx and his follower V.I. Lenin became very popular.
Only one thing remains unclear: who is really hiding behind the image of the old Leader – Karl Marx or Vladimir Ilyich Lenin? Personally, I am inclined to think that it is still Marx. Firstly, it was he (together with Engels) who created the theory of scientific communism, while Lenin only added to it (in some ways even distorted it). Yes, and for Orwell, Marx was more famous and closer, as it seems to me. And Lenin, apparently, he considered only a practitioner.
In his writings, K. Marx wrote: “our goal … the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, the domination of the proletariat, the destruction of the old … bourgeois society, where there is exploitation and where there is an irreconcilable struggle between classes, and the creation of a new society without private property, without exploitation …”. [TO. Marx and F. Engels, Works, vol. 4, Appendices, p. 544]. How, after all, is the speech of the Leader similar to these words.
But back to the content. Some time after his triumphal performance, the old boar died. The whole task of the leaders in preparation for the revolution was assigned to pigs, among which two young boars became the leaders – Collapse (Snowball) and Napoleon. This is the whole essence of the satire of the work. Indeed, in life these pigs were the Communist Party of the Bolsheviks, which became at the helm of the country after the October Revolution.
In Napoleon, “a large, fierce-looking Berkshire boar,” it’s not at all difficult to recognize JV Stalin, and in his comrade-in-arms Obval, “speechless and resourceful,” Leo Trotsky.
But I will not seek out in every character a parody of a specific historical personality, since the bulk of the characters are a conditional generalization. The name of the third leader, the Snitch (Squiller), speaks for itself. As he was Napoleon’s right hand, so in the USSR, the media were one of the instruments for asserting sole power and establishing a personality cult. They were strictly controlled by ideological services. And in them only the information necessary for the party elite could appear. The informer “there was nothing worth giving out black for white.” Similarly, in the media at that time they could make an enemy of the people out of no innocent person, and from the most sworn criminal – a national hero.
So, these three leaders are developing the teachings of the old Leader, calling him “scotism” (“animalism”). In our world, it is, of course, communism. Animals (like the Soviet people) did not understand its essence in many ways, but they nevertheless made a revolution, since they believed that it would not be any worse. Jones, with his employees and his wife, were easily expelled from the farm. Another character expelled from the farm was the hand-held raven Moses, who told stories about the edges where milk rivers flow with jelly banks. There is no doubt that this is the clergy and the church. Even his name confirms this. But one cannot say for sure that the party could not agree with the church. There was also the fact that the church was becoming one of the instruments of power. After all, it was not in vain that Moses, who had returned to the Animal Farm, fed the leadership with beer.
Everything that reminded of the previous owners was immediately destroyed: the people’s house was turned into a museum, and the Lord’s court was renamed the “Farmyard”. Seven commandments were established, according to which all animals were to live. At their core, they were correct, they assumed humane and honest relations in the new society. Another thing is that in them radical one-sidedness and conservation was observed, which did not allow any deviations from the norm. That is, why should two legs be bad, just because they are not four? But these rules apply only to “mere mortals.” The leadership, both fabulous and the real country, shamelessly violated, and later distorted, the existing laws in their favor.
The flag of the newly-minted country was also created by pigs: a green canvas depicting horns and hooves. Smiling involuntarily, when you remember the red flag with a sickle and a hammer.
After the joyful shock from the victory came down, the question immediately arose in animals: what next? To which “smart and well-read” pigs answered: to work and work again! In fact, none of them had a clear development plan for the country. They also did not have it in the Soviet Union.
Animals began to work “tirelessly, to a sweat.” The most ardent workers on the farm were horses – Fighter (Boxer) and Kashka (Clover). It was in the image of draft horses that Orwell portrayed the working class, on whose shoulders lay all the hardships of building a new country. The boxer was ready to work despite neither fatigue, nor a broken hoof, hunger and cold. “I will work even more!” he said at every achievement. In the Soviet Union, they were called Stakhanovtsy, the only thing that prevented them from breaking down neither in strength nor in spirit was a belief in the nobleness and correctness of their actions, in a bright future that would be built by their hands. But what is the price for such devotion? Not a calm and well-fed old age, as we would like, but a massacre – a miserable and shameful death.
How many people worked on collective farms, state farms, not even for a piece of bread, but for a tick in a list — a workday. But everyone believed that they live in a free country, where there is no oppression and slavery. Yes, there was a country of its own, but who ruled in it? Not at all a simple working people, as was supposed. The head of everything and everyone was the party elite. Of course, there was no question of any physical work on the part of the pigs. After all, they are “mental workers … and they do everything for the benefit of the people, even eat and rest … After all, otherwise Jones will return here.” It was such intimidation (although over time it acquired more cruel features) and was the glue that held the integrity of the country. But even among the leadership, not everything was agreed and amicably.
From the first days of the existence of the Animal Farm, sharp contradictions arose between its rulers. Their reason was the struggle for a dominant position in the leadership. Napoleon and the Collapse, Stalin and Trotsky – these were the closest comrades-in-arms and sworn enemies.
The collapse is the plan for the construction of the mill, which will bring “tremendous labor savings.” This mill is a symbol of industrialization, during the course of which huge not only material, but also human resources were expended.
But Napoleon was categorically against her. He was neither an orator, nor even just a quick-witted, resourceful character. Therefore, he did not invent special plans for the development of the country in order to surpass the opponent’s plan, but applied the low and vile method – expulsion by force.
Dogs “trained” by Napoleon are nothing more than the NKVD bodies represented by Yagoda, Yezhov, Beria, who for a long time kept the country in “hedgehogs”.
The shameful and illegal expulsion of the collapse from the country, and from the party in particular, is only the first manifestation of the true face of the leader of all peoples. With the development of events, he will more than once show his “pig” origin.
Napoleon achieved the goal – power was entirely in his hands, but he nevertheless continues the work begun by the Collapse. He brazenly appropriates all the work and achievements of an ally. Moreover, accelerating the construction of the project begins, by any means. In the years 1931-32 Stalin proposed 41% of the increase in production, i.e. significantly higher than Trotsky had proposed at the time. But it was he who was accused of adherence to “super-industrialization.”
The unprecedented creation of the cult of personality of Napoleon begins. He became the father and leader of the nations. He was raised to the level of the Divine. Such poets as the Last One appeared, “by order” glorifying the personality of the great leader. But all this was done by force. All those who were not pleased were subjected to cruel repression – the Great Terror. Not guilty people at gunpoint were forced to slander themselves. How many bright minds of Russia perished because of one person? How much grief and pain did he cause only to set himself up on the podium of a deity?
Deadly famine reigned in the country, the causes of which were not so much in crop failure as in collectivization and a robber policy of pumping food out of the village.
But officially everything was just fine. Five-year plans are being implemented ahead of schedule, everyone is full and satisfied. Naturally, all statistics was falsified. Stalin himself became the chief statistician, I correct the present results at my discretion. Very often one could hear that all the achievements were obtained thanks to the dedicated work of the Soviet people (not without the wise policies of the leaders). But their true price was not called. And in order to present these achievements in the best possible way, they also made a falsified excursion in pre-revolutionary times.
In general, Stalinism and coverage of the past is a rather painful issue. After all, Stalinism as a bureaucratic system did not need social sciences. Therefore, gradually they were deprived of their research, analytical and prognostic functions and turned into a miserable servant of ideology and politics. This was especially reflected in history. She was interested in Stalin from a purely utilitarian point of view: raising his personality to a worthy, in his opinion, pedestal. Therefore, already starting in 1923, he, completely misinterpreting the events of the past, attributed to himself the merit he lacked in the October Revolution. The dictator reached blasphemy rare in world history: having slandered and destroyed his political opponents, the party’s prominent figures in the October Revolution, he appropriated their total merits.
This is exactly what we observe in the Farmyard: Napoleon announced that he played a decisive role in the Battle under the barn and under the windmill (although this was much later), the collapse caused only harm, since he was a foreign spy. And it was he who destroyed the mill. Napoleon sentenced him to death, and instituted a reward for his capture.
To elevate his person, he even awarded himself with medals: “Animal – Hero” – I degree and “Animal – Hero” II – degrees.
Other farms also did not have a unified view of what was happening at the Farmyard. There were a variety of gossip, often implausible. This was explained by the fact that the neighbors fiercely hated the regime established at the Farmyard, which could interest their animals with their ideas.
Napoleon at this time takes a decisive step. Contrary to laws, he begins diplomatic relations with Mr. Snot from Willingdon, supposedly a neutral side. Apparently, this is the United States with Roosevelt. The leadership in front of him is trying to show that there are no problems in the country, and that food is in abundance.
Pigs in every possible way try to curry favor with the Snot. They begin to imitate his way of life: they rise to their hind legs, go to live in Jones’s house, eat at the table, sleep in beds. This was contrary to existing laws, but now they have been vilely corrected and paraphrased. Yes, and there was no one to object. Indeed, “Comrade Napoleon is always right.” Much that animals were raised with hard work, Snot was sold.
Napoleon decides to enter into diplomatic relations with his neighbors – Mr. Calington of Plutney (Cherchel and England), and Mr. Peter of Sklok (Hitler and Germany). He wants to sell firewood to one of the farms, but cannot determine which one. He takes turns slandering these farms, claiming that the latter are in collusion with the collapse. Finally, Napoleon, considering that he makes a wise and far-sighted decision, chooses Mr. Peter as an ally. He easily walks around his finger and attacks the farmyard, destroying the coveted mill.
About the same thing happens in the Soviet Union in 1939. Stalin rushes between the Anglo-French association and Nazi Germany and, as you know, chooses Germany by signing a non-aggression and friendship agreement for a period of 10 years.
But the “great leader” did not see Hitler’s absurd plans and intentions, for which the country paid with the lives of millions of people. If he had nevertheless entered into the Anglo-Franco-Soviet negotiations, then the Second World War might not have happened.
“Having conquered their own land”, the animals continued to live the same life: never eat up, sleep on straw, go to a watering place to a pond, work in the field, suffer from cold in winter, and fly in summer.
Only now pigs became more and more similar to people who were once sworn enemies.
Napoleon is now an absolute dictator with unlimited power. This he affirmed in one commandment: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Orwell ends his work ambiguously. Some might think that the story ended with a complete reconciliation between pigs and human beings. But this is not so. A friendly feast is a Tehran conference after which everyone thought that relations between the USSR and the West had improved. But as history shows, it was the other way around – the Cold War began.
In his tale, Orwell was able to note and successfully emphasize all the most important features and realities of totalitarianism, to show the patterns of degeneration of utopian communist theory, the cruelty, inhumanity and absurdity of the “communist paradise.”
This work seeks to open the eyes of the world community, to warn the world against terrible danger, turning it into a brutal socialist barracks in which pig people will rule.