My grandmother’s Russian Mennonite family members and their colony fled just before the horrors of the bolshevik revolution in Russia. What an incredible decision that turned out to be! The civil war that ensued killed 10 million people and 56 million more were slaughtered once they assumed power. We have family diaries, letters, and writings that give us a window into the agonizing decision to leave behind their land, prosperity, and wealth in Russia. We are at a time in America that resembles the early stages of the bolshevik revolution and thought I would share a piece of history that Americans can learn from.
At one time Russia was referred to as Holy Russia because of how many churches it had and mennonites enjoyed prosperity there. While that colony escaped the danger before it was too late many did not. The mennonites who stayed behind suffered a terrible fate and most were murdered or starved. Clergy were executed, families/children were killed, women raped, and mennonite men were used as human shields in armed conflict by the marxist revolutionaries. Survivors were desperate to escape Russia. One group of 217 mennonites made a daring escape into China across a frozen river in the freezing cold. The rural mennonite towns/communities were raided, looted, and destroyed. Thousands fled or attempted to flee Russia. There is an interesting side note about a brief moment of abandoning pacifism and a mennonite militia of 3,000 formed to defend their people during the worst of the violence. It lasted a year before they were over run.
Some similarities from 2020 America to this time in Russia. You might be surprised to know that Antifa, BLM marxist leaders, and socialist presidential campaigns have openly quoted and idolized the Bolshevik revolution and their brutal methods of overthrow. Cancel culture of “denunciation” is a marxist strategy that killed millions of Russian citizens. America’s cancel culture is now rampant as we have cancelled anything not loyal enough. Riots. Looting. Setting fires. Encouraging Violent Protests. Tearing down statues and monuments. Removal of any Christian influence on education. Attacks on churches and religious freedom. Socialist ideas gain popularity. Government intrusion into everyday life. Restriction on basic rights. Hatred of conservative Christian values, capitalism, and democracy. Forcible seizure of property. Created their own alternative Bolshevik police called the Cheka that carried out violence and brutality. Now we have a movement of defunding the police with the same goal in mind. They used perceived or real social injustices as reasons for their violence. Their leaders were known criminals.
We are at the stage where revolutionary ideas are becoming violent revolutionary actions. This promise of a utopian society resulted in 66 million dead in Russia. I hope and pray American’s don’t suffer this fate. This is a look at what led to the agonizing decision to leave their successful communities and homes in Russia.
The Mennonite colony became alarmed at government intrusion around 1870 and sent a delegation of 12 men to the US in 1874 to scout out the possibility of immigration options. They made many contingency plans in case things in Russia worsened. The reports of the United States were favorable. However, the US was across an ocean and the prospects of leaving their successful communities was not appealing. The colony stayed intact for a while longer in Russia. By 1881 the Russian government took action as they began regulating and intruding in Mennonite schools. Russification efforts then liken to today’s indoctrination efforts at our educational institutions proved to be a huge turning point. These were some of the other concerns that led to them fleeing in time.
The colony decided to leave Russia. Incredibly, we have a daily diary of this 5 year brutal trek out of Russia that eventually landed in the United States where they once again found freedom. The Mennonites didn’t do everything right but many of them did recognize the danger and threats to their communities and planned accordingly. They did not
Already we are seeing American’s fleeing states with harsh lockdown orders, restrictions on religious freedom, restrictions on civil liberties, etc. Colorado is seeing an exodus due to the threat of legislative forced vaccines which would violate many religious convictions. There are those who resist on safety grounds but in case you don’t know why people resist vaccines on religious grounds this is why. Many vaccines development including the all the current potential Covid 19 vaccines being developed use human aborted fetal cells. If vaccines could be developed ethically (which they can-they just choose not to) and without aborted fetal tissue (and without a scary microchip) we could see less resistance to them. It comes back to this incompatible view on when life begins.
NY, California, and Michigan are already seeing exits as well. Nationwide people are starting to flee public education either fearing indoctrination or an education system so altered by the pandemic they choose something else. Colleges are expecting declining enrollment. The environment in America is becoming ominously similar to that of Russia prior to the Bolshevik revolution. We live in such a time of prosperity it’s hard to take any threats or dangers seriously much like the Mennonites who enjoyed prosperity in Russia.
The fundamental principle of the American experiment in rights given to citizens that include altering or abolishing government or laws that are not aligned with those constitutional rights. Those who wish to exercise their rights are now being persecuted, arrested, restricted, and suppressed. That is tyranny and this is an attempted constitutional overthrow that has potential to descend into more violence and a civil war like Russia. Moderate democrats and social justice groups should recognize the forces that are hijacking their movements.
Maybe we can avoid a similar fate with strong constitutional civil activism or peaceful alternatives like ideological succession and returning sovereignty to the states where people can migrate to a government that fits them. Otherwise the ideological divide is already too great and it’s hard to see optimism in the American future.