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Lenin and Me

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was one of the most ruthless dictators in modern history.

Lenin was actually a code name that he used in the days of his early revolutionary activities, which he kept.

But regardless of the name he used, Lenin engaged in treachery, extortion, blackmail and murder as his weapons to control the Russian government and the country’s population.

Picture from https://www.history.com/topics/russia/vladimir-lenin

He doesn’t measure up to Genghis Khan or Stalin or Mao, but Lenin was responsible for killing about 10 million people – a grizzly legacy of death and destruction, much of it carried out by the Checka, the secret police organization he created. 

An assassination attempt on Lenin’s life in 1922 spurned the Checka into the “Red Terror”, a massive political witch hunt that took the lives of about 100,000 “suspects”.

To give you a further sense of how he thought, here are a few quotes from Lenin himself.

Those who are opposed to armed uprising … must be ruthlessly kicked out as enemies, traitors and cowards.

Atheism is the natural and inseparable part of Communism.

“We can’t expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot.” 

So, you can image what went through my mind when, in Moscow in 1992, invited to make a presentation to senior members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (the Russian Federal Police – like the FBI), I entered an historic conference room and saw a large picture of Lenin high on the wall above where I would be speaking.

(I have told this story before, but not all of it.)

The Vice Minister extended his right arm, inviting me to the front of the room – a room that was full of uniformed Russian Federal Police brass, many of whom had been communists up until a few months earlier; indeed, many probably still were. 

I went to the front of the room and stood before this audience of senior level Russian Federal police (the emotional tone level of which was unexpressed resentment), turned to my translator to ensure he was ready, and commenced my talk on the value of surveys of Russian citizens for the MIA (Ministry of Internal Affairs). I wish I’d had a couple of Rodney Dangerfield jokes but I’m not sure even that would have cracked the ice.

My wife caught the moment with her camera.

But I was completely blown out when I finished (and answered a series of questions about the subject of communication) that the tone level of the room had come up to mild interest.

That, and the invitation by the Vice Minister to share a little tea and brandy with him, made my day.

Introducing this survey technology to the Ministry was further acknowledged when the Lt. Colonel who had facilitated my talk was driving me back to my hotel.

“The Director of Personnel has invited you to become a member of the Hunt Club,” he said.

“Thanks so much,” I said, being polite but not terribly interested. “What exactly is the Hunt Club?” 

There’s a lodge in the forest outside of Moscow. Members can hunt fox, deer and bear,” he said.

Personally, I’m not much of a hunter. I acknowledged and, told him to thank the Director. But he had stated this with a certain amount of reverence and then said, “Only senior members of the KGB and Ministry of Internal Affairs are members of the Hunt Club.”

The prestige of the invitation struck me. If there was a “Deep State” in Russia at the time, these would have been the guys. I told him how honored I was.

Not long after that I was presented with my membership document.

The pictures of which are below.

And look whose visage is in the upper left-hand corner, above my picture.

I made several trips back to Russia in subsequent years and would always show my hunt club membership to immigration – kind of covertly, in an effort to speed up my passage through that plodding labyrinth.

In some cases, I would get raised eyebrows; in others, a smile. As you can see, I still have it to this day.

And as I have told the story before, On Target Research did conduct surveys for the Ministry. In so doing helped solidify the relationship between the newly opened Hubbard College of Administration in Moscow and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Established in Los Angeles 30 years ago, On Target Research has now become a global brand. We have conducted surveys in Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and, of course, Russia. But the vast majority of our work is right here in the U.S. where our clients are local single-owner operations to more regional and national firms.

Lenin may not have approved, but then the Soviet Union collapsed and Communism an economic disaster.

Here’s a testimonial from a client in Australia.

“Working with Bruce was like working with the Roger Federer of Surveys.  The questions evoked exactly what our public was thinking.  Now with the button and positioning in place our promotions are like an arrow going through tissue paper rather than a fist into a brick wall.  Our copy and imagery say exactly what the clientele is thinking and therefor procures more leads.

You served up an ace Bruce. Thank you.”

And one from the US.

We would like to highly recommend Bruce Wiseman and his company, On Target Research. My wife and I (retained) Bruce four months ago with the purpose of bolstering our sales and our business in general in our Real Estate brokerage. We began to notice indications of positive change after about two months. Since that time the results continue to expand like throwing a pebble into the middle of a pond. The ripples just go out further and further. We have never had so many unsolicited reaches into our business… 

Thanks to Bruce’s good work we not only have an increase in current business but it is also quite apparent that it will only continue to get bigger and better. 

Thank you Bruce. You are a Star!

So if you want to increase your leads, your sales or your income, give us a call.

We love helping businesses boom.

Bruce Wiseman

President & CEO

On Target Research