Ideologies of Undivided Devotion
From Yuri Slezkine’s magnificent The House of Government’, a Saga of the Russian Revolution, a book centered around the idea that Bolshevism was, at its heart, just another millenarian sect, if a peculiarly malevolent one:
“Of the seventeen prisoners, thirteen, amongst whom were close friends of Radek, had been condemned to death, while he himself and three others had been sentenced only to imprisonment. The judge had read the verdict, and all of us had listened to it standing up..
Radek offered himself—along with Bukharin, among other friends—as a scapegoat, a metaphor of unopposed temptation, the embodiment of forbidden thought. He may not have murdered anybody, or even conspired with any murderers, but in Bolshevism, as in Christianity or any other ideology of undivided devotion, it was the thought that counted. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
His offer was accepted. Radek, an enabler of mass murder, was sentenced to ten years in a Soviet concentration camp, where he was killed. He need not be mourned.