How One Communist Leader’s Stop at an American Grocery Store Changed History
The communist ideology is making a strong comeback in America’s youth. Don’t be fooled into thinking it can’t happen here. Millennials are the largest voting bloc right now and they are eating up the utopian fantasy at an alarming pace.One in two of them say they would rather live in a socialist or communist system country than a capitalist democracy according to a survey by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Of course, 71% of millennials can’t even identify the proper definition of communism (YouGov Survey).
Here is something they NEED to see. While the story of Boris Yeltsin’s trip to America might be known to an older generation, I am quite sure a very small number of millennials know this story, and it is absolutely one worth hearing.
Very few people know this, but one of the most famous Soviet officials in Russian history originally learned of the many advantages of capitalism at a regular ol’ Randalls grocery store nearly three decades ago.
In 1989, then-Communist Party of the Soviet Union member Boris Yeltsin traveled to the United States to visit the Johnson Space Center in Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle.
While in Houston for the visit, he also stopped by a Randalls grocery store, where he “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” according to an account of the visit written by then-Chronicle reporter Stefanie Asin.
He further told his fellow comrades who followed him to America for the visit that if the lines of starving men, women and children in Russia were to see the conditions of America’s supermarkets, “there would be a revolution.”
In photos of the visit reportedly taken by the Chronicle, Yeltsin could be seen “marveling at the produce section, the fresh fish market, and the checkout counter. He looked especially excited about frozen pudding pops.”
“Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev,” he himself reportedly said, referring to the then-president of the Soviet Union.
Even after Yeltsin left Houston, he still remained transfixed by the luxuries we as Americans have always considered normal.“For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he sat motionless, his head in his hands,” wrote biography Leon Aron in his 2000 book, “Yeltsin, A Revolutionary Life,” basing his account on quotes from Yeltsin’s associates, according to The New York Times.
“‘What have they done to our poor people?’ he said after a long silence. 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.’”
Experiments in communism, to be precise.
Yeltsin reportedly admitted to these thoughts in his own autobiography, writing, “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.”
“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.”
Two years later, he reportedly left the Communist Party and “began making reforms to turn the economic tide in Russia,” according to the Chronicle.
That’s putting it lightly.
Here’s how the Times describes Yeltsin’s accomplishments: “He broke up the Soviet Union. He laid the Communist Party low, removing the bottom brick from the one-party Soviet system. He upended the centralized Soviet economy that had impoverished his country, and he crushed the putsch that threatened to return the country to the old system.”He paved the way for Russia to become a capitalist/democratic society devoid of the food shortages and scarcity of the past.
And all this because of a typical, everyday American grocery store. Go figure!
I had no idea this had ever happened and I feel like it is an urgent message that needs to be sent out to millennials! Communism destroys countries, we know that. But young minds are being filled with liberal garbage at colleges and universities and they certainly aren’t going to be told the truth there.
It’s “in” right now for millennials to glorify communist figures who have murdered millions and destroyed nations, but convincing them of that with history lessons probably will never get the point across. The reaction of Yeltsin to a simple trip to the grocery store conveys more about the pitfalls of communism than any textbook ever could.