Commie Land

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Countries, sometimes fictitious, ruled by communist regimes. As a rule of thumb, these tend to be what happens to Ruritania when People's Republic of Tyranny is installed there.

These places are often pretty depressing, dominated by dilapidated concrete architecture, people wearing drab Commie clothing and probably even the weather cold and rainy (unless it's some place like Cuba, when this trope meets Banana Republic). Basic utilities are substandard, there are shortages of almost everything (but the news service is all too happy to inform that a local foundry has just cast its 500,000th ton of raw steel) and what little consumer goods are produced are absolute rubbish, especially the cars. However, a foreigner will be glad to find out his spare change is quite a sum in local currency. Locals, besides the clothing, tend to be The Eeyore or Apathetic Citizens, with possibly the only exception being Gallows Humour (often of Russian Reversal variety). Which means it's no wonder they tend to be very keen on alcohol. Talking Is a Free Action doesn't apply (in the literal sense) here. On the up side, there's always someone caring for you, and frequent public festivities. You can as well expect secret weapons facilities (especially in the biological field of WMD).

After The Great Politics Mess-Up, Commieland usually returns to its Ruritanian heritage, essentially mixing the worst aspects of the old and the new and becoming a place of rampant crime and predatory capitalism (see The New Russia).

Compare and contrast Eagleland, Ruritania and Banana Republic.


Examples:

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     Comic  

     Film  

  • Bulgaria as depicted in Bruce Campbell's Man With the Screaming Brain.
  • Many James Bond films, usually as Russia, but sometimes another country like East Germany, Czechoslovakia or China.
  • The Terminal has Viktor Navorski and his former homeland Krakhozia.
  • When the crew of Euro Trip gets to Bratislava, the way the city's shown seems to invoke this trope. That said, even in-story it isn't (it's post-Commieland at closest, guessing by the hotels and nightlife).
  • Costa-Gavras's film The Confession depicts 1950s Czechoslovakia this way. Its protagonist (Yves Montand) is a government official who is arrested for and falsely convicted of espionage and treason. Inspired by the 1952 Slánský trial; Montand's character is based on Artur London.
  • Played to the hilt in Ida, a 2014 film from Poland set in the Poland of 1961. The weather is rainy and dreary. People seem mostly depressed. The buildings are crumbling, with paint peeling everywhere. Communist propaganda plays on the radio. The film was shot in black and white, which adds to the downer mood.

     Literature  

  • Two of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's (who used to live in the Soviet work camps himself) books, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, which is a historical fiction based on experience in the camps, and The Gulag Archipelago, which is a non-fiction history of the Soviet work camps.
  • Just about every Ayn Rand book features some manner of socialist dystopia, which is probably due to her being from an actual Commieland (Russia) and having had the misfortune of being wealthy when the revolution came.
  • Terry Goodkind's Faith of the Fallen, being inspired by Rand's work, involves the protagonist being forced to live in a collectivist dystopian city of The Empire.
  • Malcolm Bradbury's Rates of Exchange is a comic account of a professor's lecture tour in "Slaka". Among other things, the government is undergoing an internal shakeup which the professor never learns much about. All the signs in the local language are changed to a new spelling system (and then, a week later, changed back), certain people are suddenly promoted as heroes, and then a week later never mentioned again. Bradbury also wrote the country's tourist promotion brochure, Why Come to Slaka?

     Live Action TV  

  • The Klingons on the original Star Trek were supposed to be like this, but that didn't exactly pan out. The Romulans were later developed in TNG as being similar to commie land.
  • A frequent setting in Mission: Impossible.
  • JAG: Harm goes twice to China and twice to Cuba on the show.

     Multiple Media  

     Tabletop Games  

  • Genius: The Transgression: Tsoska is quite literally made of this trope.
  • Played very much for laughs in Paranoia's The People's Glorious Revolutionary Adventure. Normally, the players lived in the Computer-controlled Alpha Complex as (semi-)loyal Troubleshooters; in TPGRA, they lived in the Communist-controlled Alpha State as (semi-)loyal Smershoviks. Everything was, of course, RED clearance (though some things were more RED than others), and everyone had big bushy beards and were to be speakink in thick Russian accent. Depression is being mandatory! Tovarich Computer is your Tovarich!
    • Ironically, while Friend Computer is characterised by a violent paranoid hatred of all things Communist (at least, according to its rather warped understanding of communism), the society of Alpha Complex is itself heavily organised around ideals and structures very similar to those of Communism.

     Video games  

  • Cold War centers around an American trapped in one of these.
  • The Malden islands and the Republic of Nogova in Operation Flashpoint are former Commie Lands, which managed to split from the USSR in the 70s and 80s.
  • The Democratic Republic of Sahrani in ARMA : Armed Assault. Chernarus in ARMA II is a former Commieland, with one of the factions in the game wanting to restore the past regime.
  • Novistrana from Republic: The Revolution is a post-Soviet state currently ruled by a "democratically elected" President for Life, with all due consequences for its social order.
  • Arstotzka of Papers, Please, and possibly some of its neighbors.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation