The Soviet Union is usually used as the prime example of a failed Communist system. Instead of implementing the ideals of a Marxist philosophy, Joseph Stalin used military power to control the working citizenry, keeping wealth and luxuries for himself and his favored ruling class. It is often pointed out that the U.S.S.R. did not adhere to real Communist policies, instead dividing the people into classes and using force to prevent sedition and opposing viewpoints. However, others claim that this degradation is inevitable, since people will always want: more power, more money, more privilege; with a system where the working are supported equally with the non-working, some will always try to take advantage of the system.
Cuba is often hailed as a success of Communist ideals; the reality is that Cuba continues to thrive because of military suppression and foreign investment. The very lucrative tourist trade also supports the regime; those who have escaped Cuba, or observed it from an objective viewpoint, comment that the people living there have no ambition or drive, and that underground capitalist systems supplement the government ration. However, in a broad sense, most citizens in Cuba are treated equally to each other, but this means that no one rises above the average, no one succeeds where others fail, and without electoral fairness, no one challenges the ruling power.
As of today, there is no example of a Communist society that adheres strictly to its ideals while preventing abuses of the system by those with power. It remains to be seen if Communism or related Marxist ideologies can create a Utopian system, but most evidence shows that Marxist ideologies have fail when and in the forms they have been tried.