Marx was very clear that socialism requires worker ownership over the means of production via democracy. Workers did not own or control the means of production in the USSR. There was no democracy in the USSR. Therefore, the USSR was not socialist.
It was also definitely not communist either. Communism is classless, stateless, democratic and worker-controlled. The Fujian tulou of China are an example of true communism: True Anarcho-Communism
Economic growth is not fundamentally important. For example, perfect egalitarian societies like many hunter-gatherer clans or the Hakka societies occupying the Fujian Tulou could experience zero economic growth and still be absolutely fine as long as they maintain the same standard of living from year to year.
Economic growth becomes far more important for backward societies that function off of hypocritical elitism, oppression, enforced poverty, and some form of forced labour. These are the qualities of inverse civilization which includes all slave-making civilizations.
Within slave-making societies, the easiest and most convenient position is to be a slave-maker. As long as you force others to work and constantly keep others busy and oppressed, you get to climb to elite ranks, don’t have to do much work yourself and can get away with it because everybody else is so tired and desperate for any crumb you throw at them that they can’t rebel against you.
Inverse civilization is as old as civilization itself. The characteristic traits of inverse civilization are detailed in The Epic of Gilgamesh:
“Gilgamesh, two-thirds god and one-third man, is oppressing his people, who cry out to the gods for help. For the young women of Uruk this oppression takes the form of a droit du seigneur — or “lord’s right” to sleep with brides on their wedding night. For the young men (the tablet is damaged at this point) it is conjectured that Gilgamesh exhausts them through games, tests of strength, or perhaps forced labour on building projects.”
…the myth that the USSR redistributed wealth equally. Some people in the Soviet Union weighed 300 pounds while others died of starvation.
Atheists should work towards destroying this myth because atheists profess to advocate for evidence-based reality. The evidence very clearly shows that Soviet elites were lying about wealth redistribution. It should be obvious that Soviet elites were trying to maintain inequality to maintain oppressive elitism.
Christians should work towards dispelling this myth because it’s used by oppressors to maintain unnecessary poverty. Any discussion of eliminating poverty through measures such as a basic income is immediately met with the response that poverty elimination in the USSR resulted in mass starvation. In reality, mass starvation occurred in the USSR because Soviet elites were ENFORCING poverty and ENFORCING inequality. Christians should oppose any lie that keeps people poor for no reason because Christ would never be okay with such things.
Thus, something that both atheists and Christians can work together towards is helping to dispel any myth that keeps people poor for no reason and that is not in line with hard evidence.