Marx and Soviet Reality. Daniel Norman (1955)
It could be argued that Marx and Engels held their highly critical opinion of Russian expansionist policy at a moment when their ‘Russophobia was at its height’. True, they changed their opinion on Russian affairs on many points but never in this.
Towards the end of his life Engels again took up the whole matter. In his Foreign Policy of Russian Tsardom, which he took the trouble to publish simultaneously in four languages (German, Russian, French and English) he clearly states at the beginning that ‘it was Marx’s contribution... to have emphasised that... Western European Socialist parties must necessarily wage a war of life and death against Russian Tsardom’ and that to the extent to which he, Engels, argues in the same vein, he is ‘merely continuing the work’ of his dead friend, ‘finishing what he could no longer do himself’.
On the matter with which we are concerned here, this is what Engels had to say:
At the death of Catherine, Russia already possessed more than the wildest national chauvinism could have asked for... to any other nation this would have sufficed. For Russian diplomacy – the nation was not consulted – this was only the stepping-stone to other conquests...
And further on:
It is true that whoever reads Russian newspapers might suppose that all Russia enthusiastically applauds the Tsar’s policy of conquest... but first, everyone knows in what chains the Russian press lies bound...
Naturally, this was not the opinion of Stalin, and he saw to it that this essay did not come into the hands of many inside the frontiers of the territory subjected to his rule. And, as he was to prove later in deeds, he refused to take ‘guidance’ from, or even consider it ‘profoundly instructive’. He understood perfectly that it was a merciless indictment of his policy.