MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT SOCIALISM

Based on publication Socialism: Reality Instead of Myths

This Myths vs Facts database indicates, and the publication Socialism: Reality instead Myths discusses in detail, the failure and negative consequences of the social experiment carried out in Czechoslovakia that implemented the institutional features of socialism during the years 1948 through 1989. 

MYTH


Socialism is a good idea that was implemented incorrectly

MYTH


Socialism was an economically successful system able to compete with the West 

59%

respondents agreed that

“Socialism was an economically viable system and was doing well economically”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

62%

respondents agreed that

 “All citizens benefited from state-owned enterprises that were able to meet people´s demand efficiently”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


The socialist economy in Czechoslovakia was developed, met real needs of people, and functioned more efficiently than the “chaotic” market system

MYTH


Socialist Czechoslovakia successfully exported its products worldwide and there was a great demand for them abroad

66%

respondents agreed that

“Until 1989, Czechoslovak products had excellent reputation abroad and were exported worldwide” 

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

During the more than forty years of their rule, communists kept on repeating that the economic “cooperation” among socialist countries is more efficient and more successful than the capitalist international trade and is more beneficial for their citizens.

MYTH


We benefited significantly from the cooperation with “brother” socialist countries. Czechoslovakia and other socialist countries were economically self-sufficient

MYTH


Socialism guaranteed jobs for everyone. Everyone enjoyed security as to employment, there was no unemployment

77%

respondents agreed that

“Thanks to the planned economy, there were sufficient useful work opportunities for everyone and therefore there was no unemployment”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

55%

respondents agreed that

“For a majority of citizens, the standard of living during socialism was higher than today, people could afford more from their incomes” 

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


Socialism guaranteed for both working people and pensioners a high standard of living that was higher than the current one

MYTH


Socialism was more socially just because there were no big differences in incomes and property and no poor people

69%

respondents agreed that

“Socialism was more socially just because everyone was remunerated according to the results of their work and there were no big differences in incomes”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

63%

respondents agreed that

“The healthcare system during the socialist era was better, people lived longer, and less people died early due to diseases”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


The socialist healthcare system was better and people lived longer than today

MYTH


Economically successful socialist Czechoslovakia featured a developed transport and technical infrastructure

We are still burdened with the heritage of socialism – slow and indebted railways, almost no motorways, no corridors, no subway in Bratislava, old-fashioned airports, and dependence on Russian natural gas and oil. 

54%

respondents agreed that

“The socialist regime took better care of the environment, factories released less pollutants, air and water were clearer”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


The socialist regime protected the environment better, air and water were cleaner

MYTH


During the socialist era, consumers could choose from an assortment of food that was of higher quality and healthier than today and Czechoslovakia was self-sufficient as concerned food production

71%

respondents agreed that

“Food was safer and of higher quality during the socialist era than today” 

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

45%

respondents agreed that

 “Socialism in Czechoslovakia was not a totalitarian regime and human rights were observed” 

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


The socialist regime in Czechoslovakia was not totalitarian

MYTH


Socialist Czechoslovakia was a legally consistent state that guaranteed justice for people

45%

respondents agreed that

“Everyone who worked dutifully and complied with laws could freely express their opinions without being persecuted in any manner whatsoever” 

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

79%

respondents agreed that

“The life during the socialist era was safer and violent crime rates were lower”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


The life was safer during the socialist era and crime rates and theft rates were lower

MYTH


Socialism guaranteed equality

The myth about equality during the socialist era was based on an incorrect starting point saying that it was guaranteed by the leading role of the communist party, which is excluded by definition

71%

respondents agreed that

“Socialism directed people to more moral behaviour”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


Socialism directed people to more moral behaviour

MYTH


People used to help each other more, they felt more solidarity among themselves and were closer to each other

81%

respondents agreed that

“People used to help each other more, they felt more solidarity among themselves and were closer to each other”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

The socialist regime existed also thanks to long-term, systematic, and thorough propaganda that no one could escape

MYTH


During the socialist era, media were free and presented the world as it was

MYTH


The socialist regime in Czechoslovakia guaranteed the religious freedom

Church orders and schools were closed, religious education was restricted, the freedom of religious media was suppressed

36%

respondents agreed that

“Socialist democracy existed and elections were free and democratic before the year 1989”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

MYTH


We had democracy and free elections also during the rule of the communist party before 1989

MYTH


National committees of the socialist era functioned as bodies of the current self-governments of villages, towns, and regions

69%

respondents agreed that

“People’s committees of the socialist era functioned as self-government bodies in villages, towns, and regions”

according to the April 2018 poll carried out by the FOCUS agency

Illustration photos from TASR and Juraj Bartoš archives