The next time someone asks rhetorically, “How could things possibly get worse?” consider the unfortunate history of the Russians after their revolution, as recounted by a knowledgable commenter over at Takimag:
First, we should consider the possibility that responsibility for the crimes of Communism can be traced to a Russian penchant for oppression. However, the tsarist regime of terror against which the Bolsheviks fought pales in comparison with the horrors committed by the Bolsheviks when they took power. The tsar allowed political prisoners to face a meaningful justice system. The counsel for the defendant could represent his client up to the time of indictment and even beyond, and he could also appeal to national and international public opinion, an option unavailable under Communist regimes. Prisoners and convicts benefited from a set of rules governing the prisons, and the system of imprisonment and deportation was relatively lenient. Those who were deported could take their families, read and write as they pleased, go hunting and fishing, and talk about their “misfortune” with their companions. Lenin and Stalin had firsthand experience of this. Even the events described by Fyodor Dostoevsky in Memoirs from the House of the Dead, which had a great impact when it was published, seem tame by comparison with the horrors of Communism. True, riots and insurrections were brutally crushed by the ancien regime. However, from 1825 to 1917 the total number of people sentenced to death in Russia for their political beliefs or activities was 6,360, of whom only 3,932 were executed. This number can be subdivided chronologically into 191 for the years 1825-1905 and 3,741 for 1906-1910. These figures were surpassed by the Bolsheviks in March 1918 after they had been in power for only four months. It follows that tsarist repression was not in the same league as Communist dictatorship.
We should always ask how broadly does a regime define its enemies. If it is specific plotters and agitators, then the class of people treated badly (and treated so badly as to constitute injustice) is modest. Most people have neither the time nor the courage to resist the established powers. If the enemy is Kulaks, property owners, capitalists, and “enemies of the people,” then millions are in the crosshairs of power, as we witnessed under the Bolsheviks.