Tuesday, December 9, 2014


By Dr Emery Barcs 1957-7-5

THE LATEST purge in the Kremlin probably means the end of four years of "team-dictatorship" in Russia, and the emergence of Nikita Krushchev as the new, all-powerful master of the Soviet Union.

With a single stroke Krushchev and his associates have eliminated from the Soviet Communist Party hierarchy:

Vyachislav Molotov, 67, former Soviet Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and a top man in the Communist Party since the 1917 revolution. Between 1917 and Stalin's death in 1953 Molotov was one of the closest collaborators of the late dictator.

Lazar Kaganovich, 64, a Communist since the age of 20, a fighting leader of the Petrograd  Soviet in 1917, reorganiser of Russia's communication system and heavy industry, Stalin's brother-in-law and intimate friend, a member of the highest party organs for 40 years.

Georgi Malenkov, 54, Stalin's former secretary and heir-apparent until his first demotion from Russia's leadership in February, 1955.

The 133-member Central Executive of the Communist Party has unanimously dismissed these three men for "anti-party activities."

At the same session the Central Committee also dismissed a lesser light, former Pravda editor and Foreign Minister Dimitri Shepilov, as a secretary of the Communist Party.  His crime was that he sided with the three big-shots in the faction fight for power which the Krushchev-Bulganin duo has won, and the Molotov-Kaganovich-Malenkov triumvirate has lost.

THIS struggle for power has gone on incessantly within the walls of the Kremlin since Lenin's death in January, 1924.

Stalin himself set the pattern of such fights.  Stalin's method was to team up with a couple of second-raters in the Bolshevik hierarchy to eliminate the strongest contestant for the dictator's mantle -- Trotsky.

When Trotsky was out Stalin schemed Trotsky's two former allies, Zinoviev and Kamenev, out of power. The progress went on until Stalin remained sole ruler, with a team of cowed yes-men around himself.

After Stalin's death the process was repeated among the heirs of the "great dictator." First, a group teamed up against Lavrenti Beria, boss of the Secret Police, and the most likely person to attempt to grab absolute power with the aid of his 1,000,000-strong political police force. He was shot in December, 1953.

The second victim of the process of elimination was Stalin's ex-secretary, Malenkov, who became too popular for his advocacy of less guns and more butter for the Soviet peoples. He had to relinquish his Premiership in February, 1955, under pressure from  the clique in the top hierarchy led by Krushchev and Bulganin.

But Krushchev and Bulganin were not yet strong enough to order the same fate for Malenkov as for Beria.

In 1955 Malenkov still had the backing of the three Old Bolshevik members of the Communist Party Presidium who had survived Stalin's' purges of the 1930s -- Molotov, Kaganovich, and Voroshilov.

Gradually, however, the Krushchev Bulganin alliance has whittled away the influence of the Old Bolshevik team by replacing lesser Stalinists in the Presidium of the Communist Party with their own followers.

There can he no doubt that the Communist Party has been the whole life of the four fallen men. Kaganovich and Molotov were in the thick of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Both Malenkov and Shepilov have been Communists from earliest childhood.

Politicians also fall in the democracies. But they are not accused of vile crimes when their ideas no longer tally with those of the majority and they temporarily or finally retire from the political arena.

One would have thought that at least Molotov and Kaganovich, who have done an enormous amount of work for the Communists, would be allowed to retire as honored elder statesmen. But under the Communist dictatorship no such quiet retirement seems to be possible.  One is either an exalted hero or a despised criminal.

The Central Committee's communique announcing the dismissal of the four men accuses them of "anti-party activities." A charge which needs no comment...

Naturally, there has always been some sort of ideological or political background to the struggle for power in the Kremlin.

Stalin never said he was afraid of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, or Tukachevsky. He justified his bloody purges with the argument that these (and millions of others) had to be eliminated because they betrayed Communism by opposing the only true Communist policy

Krushchev and Co are using the same argument. And those who tune in next Tuesday night to television station Channel 9, TCN, for the American interview with Krushchev will see how persuasive Kruschev can be.

For the televised interview by two American Journalists is a masterpiece of superbly delivered Communist double-talk. He never retreats from the hackneyed, orthodox, anti-Western line. Yet he sounds as if the West has only to ask for brotherly love and the Russians would pull down the Iron Curtain which (as Kruschev puts it) the West has built against the Soviet Union and its allies.

The Central Committee's communique which "explains" the dismissal of the four leaders is a similar cynical double-talk. The three former Presidium-members are now accused of such crimes as opposing peaceful co-existence, de-Stalinisation, the super-experiment of using virgin lands for increasing food production and of an "overbearing attitude" (whatever that means).

I shed no tears over the fall of the anti-Krushchev trio. Like Krushchev, Bulganin, Mikoyan, and all the present purgers. they have helped to make the world an unsafe place.

But wasn't it Malenkov, only a week after Stalin's death who first talked about "peaceful co-existence" and the need to give the Russians more consumer goods?

Wasn't it Kaganovich who, about the same time, talked about the need of "pushing, our frontiers past and present limits, right into the wastelands to produce more food and to discover. the hidden treasures of the subsoil"?

On the other hand, wasn't it the Krushchev-Bulganin clique which suppressed the Hungarian revolution and put into power the Kadar puppet regime (which, in his TV interview, Krushchev has the effrontery to call "a regime of the Hungarian people").

And wasn't it Marshal Zhukov --now full member of the Presidium -- who fought tooth and nail against Malenkov's plan to scale down Russia's heavy industry, including the most prosperous of all Soviet industries, the manufacturing of armaments?

IN reorganising the Communist Party Presidium the winning side has raised membership from 11 to 15 and for the first time it includes a representative of the Red armed forces -- Marshal Zhukov

At the moment unity seems complete in the Kremlin hierarchy. But in due course the fight for power will flare up again, until one man is strong enough to eliminate all the contenders for the dictator's mantle, and wrap this most coveted piece of clothing around his own body. Nikita Krushchev seems the most likely man to do the trick.

One can hardly expect any spectacular change in Soviet policy towards the West.  Since February, 1953, Krushchev and Bulganin have designed and carried out this policy, which basically aims at reaching a sort of armistice between the Free World and the Communist orbit.

The Communist world -- from Czechoslovakia to Manchuria-- is in the throes of serious economic troubles and political uncertainties. Communist leaders now probably want peace -- for the time being. Marxist theory almost compels them to conclude such temporary peace. which alone may guarantee their survival.

Besides, Krushchev and Co represent that second generation of the Bolshevik elite which now has a vested interest in the Soviet State.

Its wellbeing and prosperity depends on the successful completion of the grandiose schemes which the leaders have put forward. For failure of these schemes may mean the beginning of their own end.

The Krushchev-set is now firmly in the saddle. It has all the opportunity it wants to solve the greatest problem of the communist world-- the rising demand of the masses for a better life.

No comments:

Post a Comment