Personally I am not for any reform in election process in any country, be it US or India, Afghanistan or Ukraine, Belorussia or Democratic Republic of Congo!

Reform gives false hope in the existing system, and the real enemy of the working people gets another mask to hide its true nature. In India we changed from ballot paper to EVM, and now some liberals and nitwits (Social democrats and anti socialist thinkers) are demanding back ballot paper, as if the true solution of the hundreds of millions of suffering people lies in the mode of election!

In fact election to election politics is to befool the people, the exploited and oppressed hard working men and women; give them false hopes of changes from time to time, after certain rituals, after 4 to 5 years of gap!

Capitalism is the real enemy of the working class and the oppressed people (socially, religiously, nationally, etc.) and it will not give way to socialism through elections, even if they are spread over thousands of years, but only through revolution, where the capitalist class and its state is overthrown and superseded by the proletarian state and socialism is build on social ownership of the means of production and subsistence and land!

Workers of the world unite!

Long live revolution!

“Netanyahu is out

A long batting inning is over, and as far as credits are concerned, they are war crimes and corruption for self and for the family, and not for the country or the people.

That sums up the ex-PM Netanyahu’s tenure as PM of Israel. His stature had become too big, compared to the military and economic might of his country, Israel, whose geographical importance is that it is able to keep a vigilance on Arab countries, the reservoir of natural oil and gas, acting as an outpost of US imperialism.

He had become a synonym of “Zionism”, loved by a section of his countrymen. He was part of world leaders, who came up to power due massive retreat or degeneration of the bourgeois “democracy”, and which accelerated after the demise of the USSR and start of neoliberalism. The latter unleashed a number of anti-working-class measures, like ending all the welfare measures in education and health services, transport, old-age homes, subsidies for the farmers on electricity, water, seeds & fertilizers, women’s safety measures, children/orphans’ care facilities.

The laws in all the nations, who embraced neoliberalism ensured the end of labor laws which protected the working class or at least was a hurdle to the employers ‘will to fleece the labor-power, at its will, like ‘hire and fire policy’. Farm Laws as well as Environment Laws were either annihilated or enacted to help the capital (in all its forms) to accrue maximum profit, which was sagging due regular economic crisis, or rather, having become chronic. The economic booms, since the late 20th Century, have been relative, and not in absolute terms, as before. Now the economic booms meant controlled economic dooms. The further accumulation and growth of capital is no more limited to the profit (from the market, despite monopoly pricing) but even through plunder of the working people, public property and the natural resources.

Poroshenko, Trump, Narendra Modi, Bolsonaro, Netanyahu, and many others were not only welcomed in such era to take over the state power as the prime political managers of the capitalist class but even promoted by the latter, through media, social media, huge capital investment, blatant misuse of state power, including judiciary and even military. They created fake childhood stories, matching that of the ‘saints’ or charismatic persons, fake educational qualifications, read statements written by the content writers, read them through teleprompter. Mass mania or mesmerized people, who love spectacles, is created to promote such personality cults to fool the mass.

They were essentially criminals, corrupts, educationally almost zero, in fact ignorant and superstitious. Read these guys’ statements, they are available on thousands of sites, including google, the search engines. But what attracted the bourgeois class to fall for them? Their ability to speechify and carry out drama in public, including ability to cry ‘for’ the people’s miseries, create imaginary enemies and rally the masses against the enemy, rouse religiosity, national chauvinism. Venezuela is an example, where Juan Guaidó was to take over power through military coup, openly being espoused to do so by the US government and its intelligence services, and the Venezuelan bourgeois class, but failed.

Few wickets of the international monopoly capitalists (imperialists) are down, but does that make any difference? New political order is ready to fill the vacancy, if these fascists, dictators become untenable for the masses and the people’s rising resistance and the capitalist class and its think tank decide to change their guards. The liberals, social democrats, centrists, pseudo left wing, etc. will do the needed!

Benjamin Netanyahu is not indispensable, but can be easily replaced, by another such character or a more suitable to the changing scenario, according to the new economic, social, political order. See a report by Aljazeera, “Many Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have dismissed a change in the Israeli government, saying the nationalist leader due to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would likely pursue the same right-wing agenda.”

This is though due their decades old experiences and repression by the Zionist state, but the fear is right. The change of the guard may give some relief to the Palestinians but that will be short lived. And we are also not sure, how long the amalgamated government will continue, which is replacing a 12 years old regime, one of the worst dictatorial states. 4 elections in 2 years in Israel have failed to bring any single party to power with full majority. This shows that there is resistance to Netanyahu’s party and policies, but this negation is not for the peace for the two ‘states’ in Israel but due various other reasons. The Communist Party of Israel is too small and ineffective to intervene in the ongoing politics, though it did carry out processions against the Israeli bombing in Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank.

Naftali Bennet is the new PM of Israel, who is as good or as bad, when talking about the Zionist dream of expansion, similar military as well economic policies. He is a millionaire and boasts of being tech savvy, had held the post of Defense Minister. He is part of one of those top Zionist leaders, who supported annexation of West Bank. He ex-ally of Netanyahu.

He heads a coalition government of the right-wing, centrist and leftist parties, with an Arab representative, with a thin majority (60 against 59). Their common minimum program to oust Benjamin Netanyahu and run the government, too, is weak and fragile. In the meantime, the ex-PM will undergo trial on corruption charges, which so far, as PM, was avoiding.

Ousting of many such leaders in Ukraine, US, Pakistan, etc. is not the end of personality cult, a very strong and potent weapon in the hands of the bourgeois class, but just a shake in the quiet pond. The racism, cult or identity politics, religiosity, national chauvinism will continue, sometimes more and on the other times less, depending on the fall or rise of the people’s resistance against their falling life standard and also on the severity of the crisis in capitalist class. These are mere symptoms of the deep contradictions in the imperialist capitalist world, and unless capitalism, in all its forms, is not superseded by socialism, mankind as well as the environment will continue suffering.

The task of the revolutionaries, world over, is very obvious: unite the working class and the oppressed people in their respective countries, with internationalism as the goal, as socialism can not be in a single country for long. Class unity and struggle is the revolutionary path and no revolution will succeed without it.”

“There is the sheer geo-political opportunism about the Palestine issue.”

“It is a conflict of two peoples who recognize themselves as peoples. But it is also part of a long history of settler colonialism in which “indigenous” populations are displaced. “

Israel state is evicting Palestinians from their land, confiscating their property, degrading them into second class citizens legally, not allowing the Palestinian refugees to return back, settling Jews on occupied land (more than 600,000 so far).

“Reducing Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem is likely to be the next objective. Palestine will once again be the site where the Biden administration’s liberal internationalism will die a quiet death.”

“No amount of military capacity can compensate for the images of lynching, rioting, and provocations that we have seen this week.

“Do not get confused by the RSS/BJP government’s support to the Israel government that the people of India are opposed to the cause pf Palestine! The twitter or any social media support to Israel or Zionism is from the RSS/BJP paid trolls, and nothing to do with the people’s support, 90% out of them have no clue what is Gaza Strip or West Bank, who are Palestinians and who is Netanyahu or what is the nature of the ruling party, Likud!

Incidentally the supporters of Palestine on SM are no more in minority.

Permanent solution to the suffering masses and exploited workers is burial of capitalism, in all forms, including social democracy as well as imperialism!

(See the report on Indian Express, from where the quotes are taken: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/israels-actions-are-destroying-the-moral-legitimacy-of-its-own-claims-7314153/)

Social, political and economic crisis:

The death reported is at least 10 times more than the real due coronavirus pandemic, and so is the actual infected people! It is evident from the number of dead bodies at cemeteries.

The scene is beyond imagination, extremely ghastly and wonder even if an enemy army could have done such devastation that ‘own’ government did to its citizens, in pursuance of profit and serving its capitalist masters. Hitler must be congratulating his counterparts in India, who are achieving what Hitler achieved, but without using gas chambers.

They exported oxygen, essential medicines and vaccinations. The public healthcare system is completely demolished and today oxygen and other medicines are being horded and sold in black, so is with other essential products, where the government itself is part of it, see the monopolistic pricing done by it.

On the other hand, we have election rallies, Kumbh Mela, and most stupid and unscientific statements by the RW leaders and media, which includes hate mongering, jingoism, rhetoric, religiosity, casteism, national chauvinism, ignorance and superstition. The propaganda machinery of the state is at full run to dumb the people’s resistance, no, even ‘make’ them support the fascist regime.

The people’s resistance, on the other hand, does exist on a very large scale, like on farmers’ front), but disunited and on a non-revolutionary path. Even the demand of resignation of the BJP government is not being raised by the opposition.

Where is the bottom line? What is our task? At least, we must not promote class reconciliation, ideologically or in practice! For example ‘election to election’ politics promotes class reconciliation and blunts class struggle. Reason is simple, even in the present pandemic and economic recession, the class enemy is not slowing down its aim of accumulation, which in fact has accelerated, through constitutional means (liquidation of Labor Laws, 3 Farm Bills, Environmental Laws), monopoly pricing, direct plunder, surplusing a large number of workers (throwing them out of active Army of Labors to the Reserve Army of Labors, like in the category of of lumpen proletariat and paupers), that is, they are no longer the part of production and distribution system, run for & by the capitalist class, and its state.

Time is critical for us, the precariat & the proletariat, the workers in the unorganized sector (More than 90% of the total workforce in India), the advanced section of the working class (in organized sectors, which are being privatized at a very fast rate), the intellectuals who are with us and all those who can see their demise due capitalism. While we need to save ourselves from Covid-19, we need to continue our AgitProp, organizational works, education work (of the masses), pamphlets and other organs, promoting united fronts, etc.

It is not time to hide and save ourselves. Working outside today does not mean, either, to invite the deadly virus. Wear mask, maintain safe distance from others, use sanitizers and other cleaning materials, get vaccinated, and other measures to counter this virus.

Onward Comrades!

While reading this book, I did make some notes and critique, and reproducing it. Have a look:

Dmitrii Shepilov was part of CPSU and held many high positions in the party, died in 1995. After his death, his grandson and son-in-law found memoir in Shepilov handwriting and after minor editing, published it.

To start with, the author finds Nikita Khrushchev the top villain (includes Beria, Malenkov), though he has criticized JV Stalin also, especially his acts during his last days.

His examples are many, and seems to be true, as he was part of the inner power circle. He does talk of the infamous speech of Khrushchev in 1956, the 20th Congress, where he starts criticizing Stalin. Here as per Shepilov own admission, he helped prepare the speech!

On page no XXIII in the introduction, the preface says, at his first Central Committee plenum in 1952, Shepilov noticed that Stalin got upset when the “novices” in the hall, those with less experience than Shepilov, gave Stalin a standing ovation: Stalin at once gestured at them in displeasure, muttering something like, “Never do that there”.

(We have many authenticated examples of Stalin being anti-Personality Cult, especially of his own!)

How Stalin was used? P 5, 3rd paragraph, “As it was later revealed, The Ministry of State Security (MGB) cooked up some garish myth about a “plot to assassinate Stalin” and arrested persons who played parts in the planned scenario. Physical and psychological tortures were ready weapon for extracting full “confessions” from those who were detained, and transcripts of the interrogations were sent to Stalin. The brief routine of indictment before a “special council” then followed.”

Here we see the character of Molotov, who was one of the most loyal person to Stalin. While Stalin had in some way or other acted against him, removed him from the power, his wife was arrested (P10). The author talks about Malenkov, another character, in same breath and says, “(he)… devoid of vanity and personal ambition. Mild-mannered and subject to every influence, he had a need to attach himself to some strong personality, and he attached himself to Stalin, Ezhov, Beria and subsequently Khrushchev…”

Contrast between leadership of Stalin and Khrushchev:

In one of the meetings with Stalin, Shepilov compares the two leaders. The occasion was, when Stalin wanted Shepilov to be part of “textbook” on political economy, which was being done by Leontiev.

On page 23, he writes:

“In that respect, the contrast between Stalin and Khrushchev, when the latter came to power, was especially striking. Khrushchev suffered from a pathological case of logorrhea; he did not have the slightest sense of responsibility for his utterances. In a fit of impromptu bravado during a public speech, for instance, he would fling an ultimatum at the Western allies: “If a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic is not signed within the next six months….”…..”!

Such utterances, similar to bourgeois leaders, who are good in delivering speeches to the public and mesmerize them for hours, yet devoid of any real matter, was unimaginable with Stalin.

 Khrushchev vs Stalin

While criticizing Khrushchev for his phrase mongering, unplanned talks, rhetoric, issuing threats to the imperialists, Shepilov praises Stalin unstrained.

“By contrast, Stalin, even one to one, spoke with great restraint, carefully and scrupulously, formulating his thoughts…….” (Page 24)

He further praises Stalin for his deep understanding of Marx, Engels, Lenin; he could bring the needed books and reproduces the needed quotes to support his version.

Rise of uncouth and opportunist leaders at the top position in the party:

Hearing from the mouth of Shepilov on this character of the CPSU is chilling. Post Second WW, there were heroes, leaders whose grooming lacked in ideology as well as ground, as workers, as part of building party, party works, like himself, Ivan Babushkin, Mikhail Kalinin, Lenin, Stalin and others. This led to opportunism and revisionism at the top level of the party, which is one of the reason for the Capitalist Restoration in USSR and a big, though very costly, lesson for the communists.

One example is Ezhov, who murdered many communists during Stalin’s era itself, in name of purging the party from the enemy, but at much later stage Stalin got him removed but the damage (Popularly known as Ezhovshchina) was done.

One special character is repeatedly exposed or described in detail of Khrushchev, which is general to the most of the dictators (even religious or cultural thugs), who are cunning, who have no glorious past of struggle or worthy writings, is to create fake history. “Among these is the question of Khrushchev’s social background. The entry in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia says that Khrushchev “was born into the family of a worker-miner in the village of Kalinova in Kursk province”.” (Page 62).

In next page Shepilov says, “No wonder so many nasty jokes about Khrushchev’s mining circulated about the country. Here is one of them:

Question: Where is the mine where Khrushchev worked?

Answer: “Near an unknown village, at an undefined depth.””

We come to next chapter, headed “Zhdanov Summons Me” on page 75. For any Marxist Leninist, it is chilling. The author blames Stalin for this degeneration, in which anti Marxists Leninists take over the Ideological Organization, who had never worked with the workers, peasants or were never at the front during the war, and horrifying fact that some of them never wrote any articles or ideological posts in the then magazines, books or Party’s organs! Many of them managed, at a hurried pace, the facilities for themselves, like Dachas and regular source of income, when the country was still recouping from the Second WW devastations!

(We know from other sources, that Stalin was aware of this rot in the party, especially in the top leadership and wanted another purge but failed to do so due sudden death or his murder)

An example to see the depth of this rot is on Page 80: “A letter to the CC from an outraged mother prompted an investigation that established that a certain figure in our literary and theatrical circles had turned his luxurious apartment into a glitterati house of prostitution. To provide for his clients, he mustered a bevy of comely movies actress, ballerinas, female college students, and even school girls. Here Aleksandrov, his deputies Aleksandr Egolin and Vladimir Kruzhkov, and certain others were wont to disport themselves. Kruzhkov made use of this fancy den for the additional purpose of buying paintings. The CC, in a confidential circular, characterized all this for what it was, and took some action in regard to the guilty parties. However, they all retained membership in the party and their positions in the Academy of Science.”

(Note says that this incident, sex scandal, which disgraced Aleksandrov took place in 1955).

Same page, in last paragraph: “……The pair did not do their work out of some misguided overzealousness- they knew they were peddling barefaced calumnies. They knew that given Stalin’s pathetical suspiciousness, their denunciations could well cost the innocent scholars their lives. But this was required of them, since it was required for the realization of Beria’s schemes. They were promised appropriate rewards. They were all eager to play their parts.”

(The author has full admiration for Stalin, his intellect, his understanding of Marxism Leninism, his sacrifice for the party and the USSR but he felt that Stalin, in his last days, became very suspicious of plots to counter the hegemony of the working class. Whether Stalin was or not, but as the latest documents reveal that he was definitely planning another purge to free the party from the bureaucracy, opportunism and anti-proletarian culture, that had seeped into the party, but his death did not let his last revolutionary act to be implemented.)

Andrei Zhdanov

The author is full of praises for Andrei Zhdanov, for whom he has devoted full chapter. In one of the talks, Zhdanov tell the author: “Things have not worked out well for us in CC Agitprop. The war ended. We were faced with gigantic economic problems. Comrade Stalin’s plan is not only to restore our socialist industry to the full in the shortest possible time but to raise production by significant level. The same for agriculture. But to attain these goals we must do an enormous amount of ideological work among the masses. Without that we cannot move forward an inch.

 (Page 87)

Finally Zhdanov, on instructions of Politburo, appoints Dmitri Shepilov as DD of CC Bureau of Propaganda and Agitation. The director was Milhal Suslov but same time Shepilov was told that the director has no time to take care of this responsibility, so he will have to do the entire business! (P 88-89). This shows the importance of ideological propaganda in a Socialist society to educate & motivate the workers & other sections of the society and of course the importance of Shepilov!

This was on 18 September, 1947.

Agitprop & its scope!

Agitprop was a huge organization and it was like brain of not only CPSU but even socialist construction in USSR. Have a look, what Shepilov has to say in chapter five, under the heading “Agitprop Under Zhdnav” on page 90:

“IN ITS MISSION, functions, and scale CC Agitprop in those days was a gigantic empire covering every aspect of Soviet intellectual life. From the campaign against illiteracy to the most minute questions of religion, aesthetics, and philosophy, everything fell under its purview: the whole system of public education, from schools and literacy courses to institutes of higher learning; the entire press, from mass circulation factory bulletins to Pravda, Izvestiia, and Publishing House; an enormous network of scientific organizations, from factory laboratories to the USSR Academy of Sciences; physical educations and sports; museum and libraries; literature and writer’s unions; music and composer’s unions; painting, sculpture, and artist’s unions;  the entire field of art, from amateur clubs in factories and kolkhozes to the Bolshoi Theatre, the All Union Folk Dance Ensemble, the Piatnitskii Chorus, and the USSR State Orchestra; a gigantic party education network, from political study groups to the Universities of Marxism-Leninism, the higher party school, and the Central d

Here we find, what the Agitprop thought about Dostoevsky and his works. Let us hear this from Zhdanov himself, while briefing Shepilov:
“As Dostoevsky saw it, there is an element of the satanic and perverse in each of us. If a man is a materialist, if he does not believe in God, if he—oh, horrors!—is a socialist, the satanic element wins out, and he becomes a criminal. What an abject, vile philosophy!”

(Page 92)

To sum up on Dostoevsky and also to understand the line to counter him or like him, let us see what Zhdanov had to confine with Shepilov:-

“Of course, Comrade Stalin says that we’re not about to disown Dostoevsky. We have published him widely and will continue to do so. But our writers and our critics must help our readers, especially the young ones, see Dostoevsky as he is.”

(Page 92)

It will be worthy to see what Shepilov thinks about Zhdanov. This is worth for today’s Marxists Leninists as well:
“Zhdanov was a well-rounded Marxist. As was true of the entire old Bolshevik intelligentsia, his Marxism was not the fruit of cribs and quotations from anthologies. He continually and substantively enriched his thinking with Marxist theory from original sources. In my relationship with him, I often saw that the laws, principles, and conclusions of Marxist Leninist theory were not stored lifeless in his head, to be peddled as citations when needed, like postcards and analysis of Marxist dialectics to explain, dissect, and analyze the most diverse intellectual concepts.”

(Page 94, Bold by me & not in original text)

Criticism of Stalin

Shepilov does not spare even Stalin, when he is convinced and feels so. The readers must not misunderstand him or about Stalin himself, whom he praises so vigorously, about his great democratic style, his love for his party members as well as workers, his understanding of the international situation, Soviet’s internal need for growth and last but most important about his grasp over Marxism Leninism!

While talking about theatres, films, arts, etc, he quotes some about “extremism & unfounded abuse” to some of the prominent cultural figures. Some of them are writer Mikhail Zoshchenko, Anna Akhmatova, film director Sergei Einstein, etc.

What the author has to say about Stalin is here,
“Stalin’s polemical style, which is not artistic but political, was clearly visible in this denigration of our celebrated Soviet cultural figures. When he wanted to level his criticisms against an individual, groups, or social phenomenon, Stalin lashed out mercilessly, engaging in untrammeled hyperbole, Sometimes in the 1920s, in the period of intense struggle against the opposition, Leon Trotsky said of Stalin, “This cook will prepare only spicy dices.” Subsequent events showed his characterization to have been correct”

(Page 96)

Let us see his quote of Zhdanov on this subject, “We must recognize the danger to music posed by this formalistic trend as an attempt to wreck the temple of art that the geniuses of musical culture built.” And as per Shepilov himself, “These statements undoubtedly helped many of our composers guard against an infection of pathological modernism.

(Page 103)

Here Zhdanov, as a representative of CC (Or Stalin, if you wish), helps the composers, writers and others, with the aim of building socialist culture among the working class.

Stalin personally took interest in selection of Prizes for literature. He recommended their names for the prize to the selection committee.

“When Stalin saw real talent in a beginning writer, he took a personal interest. I remembered that when Mikhail Bubennov came out with his novel The White Birch, Stalin enquired about the writer’s career…” (Page 106)

He even asked to take care of his health, when came to know that the author was sick.

Shepilov says, “For all his exacting artistic standards, Stalin sometimes displayed a surprising tolerance, a kind of benevolence, towards certain works and writers….” (Page 107)

With this we come to almost to an end on Zhdanov’s chapter by Shepilov. The importance of this leader is further illustrated by the author here:

“Stalin became very close to Zhdanov, and they spent a lot of time together. Stalin thought highly of Zhdanov and gave him one assignment after another of the most varied kind. This reduced Baria and Malenkov to a state of silent irritation. Their hostility to Zhdanov kept growing. With Zhdanov on the rise, they feared the waning or loss of Stalin’s trust in them.”

(Page 116)

On Beria, what Stalin thought? Was Baria scared of Stalin, some sort of fear was haunting him? Certainly, something was “cooking” and Beria was mortally scared.

“The two most influential members of the Politburo, as well as its most educated Marxists- Molotov and Voznesenskii- held Zhdanov in high esteem.” (Page 116)

The under current, personal agenda and ego, struggle for power was led by Beria, Malenkov and others. Bureaucracy existed, and at very high level, though hidden and therefore more dangerous. It was a class manifestation, as it must have been wide scale, percolating at various levels below. Those heroes and warriors, too, must have desired for recognition and were obstruction in socialist construction and abolition of class, even though not much visible at material level.

There are enough indications now (even in this quoted book) that Stalin was aware of this dangerous bureaucracy and wanted another purge, but his death got better of his “plans”! Before his death, Shepilov sees this in form of Stalin’s suspicions as “pathological suspiciousness”! (Page 117)

“…there was a radical difference between Lenin’s and Stalin’s approaches to supporting and popularizing the work of economists, scientists and innovators. Despite his powerful mind and encyclopedic knowledge, Lenin often emphasized that he was not a “specialist” on this and that question. Depending on the nature of the problem, he forwarded it to the Chairman of the Gosplan, or ……specialist. Moreover, Lenin valued all positive question of his own views on any given subject.”

“And for Stalin, he was patient and cautious before making up his mind, but once he came to his conclusion, it was cast in granite. Of course, those around him ascribed infallibility to his every word, but still, Stalin did not allow for the slightest hint of any criticism of himself.” 

(Page 120, para 4, 5)

The author is harsh here against Stalin. However, it seems he pardons Stalin for such “stubbornness” for his knowledge, his ability to take collective leadership into consideration, before taking any decision, his knowledge on Marxism Leninism and his ability to grasp any situation dialectically.

The author gives an example of a Lysenko, who claimed to be a genetic scientist, geneticist and had risen high in eyes of Stalin, curtsy Khrushchev, Beria and such others, who had “poisoned” Stalin’s mind. In this process, many other established scientists, plant breeders, academicians are sidelined or even removed from the main stream. They were branded as “Morganists”, “Mendelians”, etc.

(Page 121, last para)

What we see here is, as we have read elsewhere also (In this book or even otherwise), that in name of Stalin, a bureaucracy was cropping up and the real communists, scientists, academicians, singers, song composers, ideologues, agitationists, propagandists, workers, etc were made victims by the saboteurs, “bureaucrats”, opportunists, etc and the socialist construction was endangered. It seems Stalin was becoming aware of such sabotage and wanted another purge, to free party from these parasites, careerists but before that he died! We have documents coming out of Ex-USSR and is sufficient to give us insight, as to how “Class” existed (Not in classical sense, which is related to means of production) in USSR due bureaucracy and hierarchy, and many by those who joined party without past struggle or war and rose to top positions in the party, through various means, including Central Committee, grievously harming the cause of the working class and eventually, restoring capitalism in USSR, which finally disintegrated.

On this issue, see the following:

“During the Ezhov terror, Vavilov was arrested and died in prison. A number of other Soviet geneticists also met their demise then. Many were prevented from continuing with their research and university lectures. The more noisily and persistently the campaign against “bourgeois Morganist-Mendelian genetics”, the more Soviet biology fell below world standards, and the greater was the cost to Soviet society.”

(Page 122, 3rd Para)

Before we move forward, like to quote Shepilov again to understand the contradiction that has emerged in CPSU and USSR governance, while Stalin was the leader:

“I have dwelt on this in such detail because Lysenkoism was not the only pathological episode of the time. It was part and parcel of a whole social phenomenon. It demonstrated the incalculable harm that favoritism did in a planned social economy. In a capitalist society ………… In an organized society, on the other hand, favoritism has entirely different consequences. …….. Forty years, an entire branch of science …. Was placed under an embargo, ….” (Page 123, para 3)

As per the author Lysenkoism continued even after Khrushchev’s fall! Excellent but in simple words the author, a Marxist Leninist, great admirer of Stalin, brings these mistakes to us, where the entire party must share it and the future society, on path to construction of socialism must guard against such “bureaucratic” traps, which could lead to capitalist restoration.

Andrei Zhdanov died 31 August, 1948. At CC plenum, Stalin that he was “murdered” by his doctors.

Shepilov, the author, does not agree to this but even accepts that he will not be surprised if he comes to know who was behind this. His final words on Zhdanov:

“I believe that history will give this talented Bolshevik-idealist his rightful due for his contributions to the cause of the great proletarian revolution. But it will not remove from the scales the fact that Zhdanov’s name was linked with a whole series of undemocratic measures and declarations in the field of literature, theater, cinema, music, and other ideological spheres.

Zhdanov did much to bolster both the principles of revolutionary Marxism and Leninist party spirit and populism in various areas of intellectual creativity…….”

(Page 131)

The author comes to 1949 and one must believe him regarding his analysis on national and international situation. What he had observed:

“……….. New popular democratic states were arising on the crest of the mighty anti-fascist, anti-imperialist national-liberation struggle. The capitalist encirclement of the Soviet Union had collapsed. Of the cordon sanitaire around our country, not a trace was left. In the countries of eastern and southwestern Europe a mighty coalition of socialist nations was coming into existence.

(Page 134)

He includes CPC as an achievement and progress of socialist world. He further says, by 1948 USSR had not only rebuilt industrial enterprises, destroyed during the war but had raised gross industrial output 18% above the prewar level.

But as per the author, “This trend, however, did not last long.” And “At this time, Stalin was much a recluse………The entire administration of the great state functioned steadily and smoothly. Behind his back, however, forces seeking to draw closer to the levers of powers and preparing for his hour of death were secretly active……..”.  (Page 135)

The internal treachery, through bureaucracy was active and we know, it succeeded, where Gorbachev treacherously disintegrated USSR, albeit it was no more a Socialist entity.

The Tragic Fate of Nicolai Voznesenskii

This chapter is devoted to the above-named Communist, who met a tragic end as per the author. He was born in 1903, lost his father, when he was 13 and had to drop out of the school for livelihood. In 1917 he organized a communist circle and at 16, he became a member of communist party.

His early education was in Sverdlov Communist University, where he attended lectures by Stalin, Dzerzhinskii, Lunacharski, etc. In 1931 he graduated from Institute of Red Professors. He became chairman of Leningrad Planning Commission in 1935, chairman of Gosplan in 1938, deputy chairman of Council of People’s Commissars in 1939. In Seventeenth Party Congress he was elected in the Soviet Control Commission, in Eighteenth in the CC and in 1947, a full-fledged member of Polit Buro.

Voznesenskii’s book “War Economy of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War”, published in 1947 and was awarded Stalin Prize. He donated 200 thousand rubles, the prize money, for the maintenances of the orphanages. However, the book was withdrawn a year later as it was declared anti-Marxist and “hostile” to the Soviet system.

Much later, Shepilov claims to know that Beria and his collaborators got opportunity against Voznesenskii, through this very book. Further, he says, by now Stalin became very suspicious of others, possibly due Beria, Khrushchev’s and clichés continuous malicious propaganda against the real communists and making him suspicious against his own loyal comrades.

Gosplan (State Planning Committee, commonly known as Gosplan was the agency responsible for central economic planning in the Soviet Union)- “Beria and Kagnovich came up with “evidence” of Voznesenskii’s alleged abuse of power as Chairman of Gosplan. As usual, they found an informer, a false witness. This time the role fell to a Gosplan staffer, Boris Sukharevskii………”. (Page 137)

This man, since he joined the elite organization and even before, was opportunism personified. On his “evidence”, Voznesenskii was removed from his post, Politburo, CC. He wrote to Stalin, tried to talk to him on phone, but was denied the permission.

“All the while, Beria and ….were feverishly at work concocting the components of what later became known as the Leningrad affair. Not even a diseased mind could invent anything more ridiculous or fantastic…..” (Page 138”

These fabrications led to Voznesenskii’s arrest! Beria was able to convince Stalin and others that he was real evil and was plotting against entire Leningrad party organisation, Politburo, CC, and many others. The saboteurs also got Zhdanov in this “plot” to discredit and show themselves the saviors of USSR! This is a window of the whole plot of how these criminal rogues sabotaged USSR, its socialist construction till then and restore capitalism!

In fact Voznesenskii affair seems to have snowballed to a huge size. Many were branded as conspirators and were jailed. Leningrad went under massive purge. The prisoners were treated harshly, including being handcuffed, like even Kuznetsov’s wife, to force them to accept their crimes! Beria, Malenkov and clichés succeeded in their divisive acts, just under the nose of Stalin, and even had his “approval”, which same saboteurs will use to demonize Stalin, after his death or “murder”!

This further led to the expulsion of Dmitrii Shepilov from CC, Politburo and Agitprop, the author of this book on charges, first that he failed to exercise adequate control over the journal Bolshevik, as the head of Bureau of Propaganda and Agitation of CC of the VKP(b), second he committed gross error in recommending the works of N Voznesenskii’s textbooks.

December 21, 1949 was celebrated as big day in Moscow and USSR as Stalin turned 70.

 The author remembers this day. Massive praises from the rest of the world followed. On this occasion, Mao, too, visited Moscow, which was his first visit to USSR, to participate the function.

The function took place in Bolshoi Theatre. Representatives of all the walks of lives, departments, union republics, foreign communist parties, youth organisations were present. Mao got the floor first, where he said, “Comrade Stalin is the teacher and friend of all the peoples of the world, the teacher and friend of the Chinese people.”

Italian leader, Palmiro Togliatti: “We succeeded in becoming a large, popular party thanks to the struggle to overthrow the fascist regime that communists waged with every available means. ……..if we not had you as our genius leader………..!”

(Page 147)

Stalin refused to take the dais or speak, despite huge demand by the audience. He did not even acknowledge the well-wishers and their flowery praises. The function was declared closed. Another example of Stalin negating his own personality cult.

Author, despite all praises of Stalin, is very critical of growing “cultism” and degradation of inner party democracy.  “…We had grown fanatical communists, obsessed and possessed” (Last 2n paragraph at Page 148) and in next para he says, “….The kind of submissiveness that eventually led to the one-man dictatorship of Joseph Stalin and to the monstrous lawlessness of Ezhov, Beria, and their likes…” What we can infer is that the “second level of leadership” was sabotaging the working-class party’s dictatorship and a new bureaucracy was cropping up, during Stalin’s lifetime itself. There are enough evidences now (scope of this article does not permit to elaborate them with examples) to show this and even there are evidences now that Stalin was also aware of this and wanted another purge but his untimely death (or murder?) did not allow this to happen and the state power was grabbed by the saboteurs, namely Khrushchev and clichés.

In the meantime, the author of this book, Dmitrii Shelipov was elected as CC in 1952, in Nineteenth Party Congress. He observes, “…. It is frightening to be in a situation where you work, your freedom, your very life, and the life or death of millions of people, depend on the likes or dislikes of one man.” In continuation of the above paragraph (by me), only 2-3 pages Shepilov told us the conspiracy by Malenkov and others, in the background and we see the absurdity of this allegation.

This conspiracy was deepening, see this “…..the new secretaries of the Leningrad party organization Vasilii Andrianov, Frol Kozlov, Nikolov Ignatov, began to arrest innocent people for having “associated” with Voznesenskii and Kuznetsov. ….”

(Page 153)

In relation to above, it is important to note that after Stalin’s death, when Khrushchev was the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, questions were asked why Frol Kozlov was still Secretary, why he and Andrianov are not asked to answer what they did? (And this was known to Khrushchev, even directly by the author. Khrushchev had announced in Kozlov favor and ensured he continued.). This is by the same author. We find the author, despite praising Stalin for his great Marxist Leninist knowledge, practices, fails to see the sabotage by his colleagues who had penetrated high in the organizations, who were careerists and sabotaged the historical existence of the USSR itself!

“He (Khrushchev) chose some failed and discredited official, appointed him to a high post, rewarded him with high titles…. And made him his most loyal and obedient servant…..”. (Page 154).

Same way, Ivan Servov, responsible for deaths of thousands of people, was made head of organs of state security.

Dmitri Shepilov, in course of his memoires, notes, etc, he devotes a full chapter in name of “A HARD ROAD” and analyzes Stalin’s (and of course CPSU) international policies to counter impending wars after 2nd WW. Here it is interesting to note his comments related to Communist Party of India:

“The party sought to consolidate all the democratic forces of the world to overcome any tendency toward narrow sectarianism. Stalin was in deep conversation with representatives from India, working out new policies and tactics for ending the isolation of the Indian Communist Party and placing it in the vanguard of international struggle for peace, democracy, and socialism……….”.

(Page 158)

While dealing with internal development and crisis of USSR, in ideological as well as organizational matters, the author also gives us examples of USSR foreign policies, which more often includes the fraternal relations with other communist parties, including where they are not in power, the mutual assistance and fraternal guide. Here is one example of French Communist Party: “….Maurice Theorez (Party leader) was copying much of Stalin’s style. Making his own decisions in too arbitrary fashion, rejecting all comradely criticism, and removing some of the oldest and most distinguished party members from top posts…..”.

In the same paragraph the author writes about “great concern and reserve”, which CC plenum thinks about him and his report. (Page 159)

Khrushchev a Trotskyites?

 Khrushchev’s article, named “On the Growth and Well-Being of the Kolkhozes” was published in 1951 in Pravda. Its thrust were old villages and settlements, which Khrushchev assumed to be worthless. While Kolkhozes (a collective farm in the former Soviet Union.) were prosperous and modern. The article proposed that old villages should be razed and new ones built up!

Author is not aware how Stalin reacted but Pravda removed this article next day only, with an apology. Till then the author did not know that Khrushchev was a Trotskyite earlier. Here, I wonder, should we in future societies, when in process of building socialism, allow anti Marxists Leninists to do “self-criticism”, rehabilitate them and worse allow them to occupy top party positions in the party! (Page 165)

Khrushchev and cliches, after usurping power, changed many programs, constructions in industries, like in power sector as well as in agriculture, which turned out to be disastrous. These “forays” and “improvisation” were not the only area where these changes were felt and people had to pay heavy prices but even “…..in regard to the superstructure – everything from government to aesthetics – things were moving in a different direction.” (Page 166) Here author is talking derailment of socialist building.

 Author talks about himself and is important. See this:

“To me…….the majestic ideas that Marx, Engels, and Lenin proclaimed in The Communist Manifesto, The Principles of Communism, and State and Revolution are incarnated in the Soviet system, whose superiority over the capitalist system is incontrovertible. ………….. features, principles, and goals that are intrinsic to the Soviet socialist system, then they are – or must be- the following:

  1.   The struggle for peace on earth
  2. Material abundance for all working people resulting from the expansion of public property
  3. Real power for the people
  4. Broad democratic freedoms for all and all guaranteed protection of the rights, honor, and dignity of the individual
  5. Abundant cultural benefits”

“As the Soviet system progressively strengthens and develops its socialist technological foundation, it must become increasingly democratic; ……..”  (Page 166)

Here however, the author feels the opposite was happening, “… contrast between the rapidly developing economic foundation and the political and legal superstructure grew increasingly….”. For this he blames “….retreat from Leninist norms of party, state, and public life”. He further says “.. undemocratic measures and the institutions whose existence could not simply be denied, they were rationalized by the laws of class struggle (the closer to socialism, the fiercer the class struggle).” (Italicized by me. Page 167).  Is not it a surprise that Maoists blame Stalin (In fact the CPSU leadership) for ignoring class struggle in phase of socialist construction and thus let capitalist restoration take place after his death? The author failed to see class struggle in his lifetime in USSR and he reasserts that class division did not exist there. In fact, he does see the evils, like that of Exhov-Beria and their sabotage against hundreds of thousands innocent people languishing behind the bar, falsely branded as “enemies of the people”.

However, the author finds difference in Lenin and Stalin’s work style, which smacks of “personality cult” rather an analysis of CPSU in earlier days and the present day. The transition, which led to this, the 2nd WW and the sabotage by the Khrushchev, Beria, etc, despite being shown in detail by him, is ignored. See here, “Prior to war, Stalin sometimes followed these behests (Lenin’s democratic way of involving everyone, wherever possible, for taking decision: explanation by me). There were regular plenary sessions of the party CC, where basic economic, theoretical, and international questions were submitted to earnest debate. ….and Stalin listened carefully, clarified various issues, and gave his own well-thought-out and highly useful instructions. ……. After the war, however, Stalin’s contact with party personnel and workers diminished rapidly……”

In these tough and challenging time, there was election for the USSR Supreme Soviet on 12 March, 1950 and Dmitri Shepilov, the author of this book, The Kremlin’s Scholar, was elected one of the 1000 Deputies from Urals.

“So there I was, for the first time in my life a deputy to the Soviet parliament. I was happy and proud……..”.

Here he meets Marshal Zhukov again. He remembers an incident, where Marshal had ordered “The commander of the 173 Arty Unit, Col Glotov is to found and shot”, as he deserted during the heat of in one of the celebrations of the victory over Germany, Marshal was asked, “Is it true that Stalin was very cruel?” Zhukov replied, “It’s true. I myself was very cruel. The situation demanded it.” (Page 174)

While talking of Marshal Zhukov, I am mentioning here the catchphrase that followed him on all fronts: “Where there’s Zhukov, there’s victory”! (Page 175)

USSR Nuclear Program

While participating in the above meeting of Soviet Parliament in 1950, the author meets atomic physicist and the director of “work on the chain reaction” and the missile expert Igor Kurchatov. The director “bound by security regulations and classified materials” that he could hardly talk about his profession.

Only after 1945, when Nagasaki and Hiroshima were nuked, the world woke up to the destruction power of a new weapon, popularly known as “Atom Bomb”. This weapon came into the existence of brilliant works of Albert Einstein, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, Neils Bohr, etc, who had fled from Fascism and were working in US. Incidentally Germany was also engaged in such research work, using its own uranium and heavy water from Norway, which was destroyed by the US AF, by bombing the ship, which it was carrying.

Here it is worth mentioning that Kurchatov, had alerted the USSR to the possible significance of achieving a sustained atomic power, in 1939 itself, in view of Nazi’s frantic attempts to produce atomic bomb. The team of Soviet physicists, chemists, metallurgists, engineers, and workers, headed by Kurchatov and the first Soviet Atomic Reactor fueled by Uranium and graphite was put into operation on 25 December, 1946 and in 1949 carried out Soviet’s first Nuclear Bomb Test, signaling the end of American monopoly on atomic weapons!

“During my eight years as deputy to Supreme Soviet, I did not witness a single instance when a deputy voiced disapproval of a proposal, even as a basis of discussion, or voted against it or abstained. ……” By the author. (Page 179)

If the above taken as true, it was a matter of grave concern and undemocratic, and one must wonder how this situation arrived, or how the meaning or implementation of “Democratic Centralism” changed to “Centralized Democracy”? In one of the sessions, in 1955, when Dmitrii Shepilov was sitting next to Marshal Zhukov, the latter put a question to him, “Listen Dmitrii Trofimovich. You are a theoretician. Please tell me- why do we put on this puppet show every year?” Of course, there was no straight answer, but proves, to some extent what the author says, who in his answer says, “Ask Khrushchev”. Here, we notice, author has failed again and again to distinguish between Stalin and Khrushchev style of working organizationally, as he has taken pains to clarify how Stalin was a well-read and a true Marxist Leninist and understood the building socialism in USSR and praises him even as a military genius.

Before finishing the chapter, “A Hard Road”, I will like to quote the author, “In the tremendous process of socialist development, the intelligentsia have been the driving force in the political, social, cultural, and ideological life of Soviet society.”

A Textbook on Political Economy

“Long before the war (2nd WW), Stalin decided on the need for a good, sound textbook on “Political Economy and entrusted its preparation to a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences, Lev Leont’ev…” (Page 187)

While going through this chapter (the textbook was completed but Stalin was unhappy and asked to redo it, got postponed during the war and the work continued till his death), I will give some examples, how Stalin asked various authors, who had attributed him as the original discoverer of “Laws of Economics” to correct the “mistake”! A man of his caliber, an excellent Marxist Leninist, the world proletarian leader refused to take undue credit and was even against personality cult!

The author’s article was published in Kommunist (Later renamed as Bolshevik) “IV Stalin on the Economic Laws of Socialism”. Stalin called up the author on telephone and said, “Do you have the last issue of Bolshevik before you? …It is good. But there is one mistake. In the second paragraph on page 42, you write that Stalin discovered the objective economic law of the mandatory correlation between labor relations and the nature of the forces of production. That is incorrect. I did not make that discovery. Marx discovered the law of mandatory correlation between the state of labor relations and the nature of the forces of production in his introduction to ‘A Critique of Political Economy’. ………”

Dmitri Shepilov, the author replies, “Yes. I am familiar with Marx’s well-known assertion. But Marx did not formulate this assertion as an economic law. ….Marx was first to propose this but didi not formulate it as a law. In your work, Marx’s assertion was developed further and formulated as an objective economic law of the mandatory correlation between labor relation and the nature of the forces of production.”

Stalin said, “It’s true, of course, that Marx did not formulate this assertion as an economic law. A number of other very important theoretical axioms he discovered were also not defined as laws. But that does not change the substance of the issue. All I did was single out and underscore Marx’s assertion ……I think it would be better if you revised that part of your article. You could say something like this: Stalin clarified the well-known assertion that Marx discovered and put forward. Or perhaps you don’t want to make this assertion. …. Look I am doing this for you, for your reputation. Otherwise, people may think that Shepilov does not know his Marx. Reissue the article with the correction.” (Page 190-191)

We see here Iurii Zhdanov relates a similar incidence. During Politburo meeting in May, 1948, where Shepilov spoke about Voznesenskii, who had expanded upon “The science of war economics that Stalin founded.”. When Stalin herd this, he flatly denied it. (Zhdanov in “Vo mgle protivorechii”)

Stalin summoned the author in May, 1950 and the author writes, “……and my long talk with Stalin about the textbook, ……..- filled me with joy and pride. I went over Stalin’s comments one by one. I meditated on the harsh life of this extraordinary man, placed by destiny at the head of a great country and the world liberation movement.” (Page 189)

Soon followed meeting with the author, Leont’ev, Ostrovitianov, Ludin to give his comments on the book and Malenkov Commission’s draft. Stalin was still unsatisfied and the work continued. A team was formed, all members were freed from other secondary duties and were given one year to complete the textbook. So much importance on this ideological work on political economy!

In the meantime, the author recounts on development of personality cult, surrounding Stalin. “Each contact with Stalin left us in a state of intellectual ferment eager to work………We repeatedly saw how thoroughly versed he was in political economy, philosophy, and history, …………Everything he said to us we took as incontestable truth….”

“Today, fifteen years after Stalin’s death, we are gradually beginning to sort out the past and see not all of Stalin’s theories and assumptions should be taken as irrefutable Marxist truth. Stalin was a highly experienced popularizer of Marxism-Leninism…. An example of this was his work Foundation of Leninism. In half an-hour lecture, Stalin could provide a thorough analysis of world events, the liberation struggle, and the socialist construction of an entire epoch, …..”.

I tend to agree with Shepilov but do we blame this blind support on Stalin? What about his coterie? Now we know, Stalin, too, had become aware of this disturbing fact and was planning another purge but he died (Or murdered with poison?) before executing it.

Back to Textbook. The team assembled in Gorki, planned for one year and started the work meticulously, and approached Stalin, when some disagreement cropped up in the team and a meeting took place with Stalin on 30 May, 1950. Stalin was quick to respond for any meeting and even went through drafts very carefully, edited and improved upon the prepared book.

Stalin changed the title of the book from “Political Economy: A Short Course” to “Political Economy: A Textbook”. Chapter heading “Pre-Capitalist Formation” to Pre-Capitalist Means of Production”. And many more, in addition to advices, methods, languages and standard of authorship. He added many full paragraphs in the introduction as well as in main Textbook also.

However, Stalin had time to edit only the introduction and the first three of the textbook’s forty-two chapters. The whole work was finished within a year and the proofs were submitted to the CC Politburo. (Page 199) In November, 1951 an all-Union discussion on the contents of the political-economy textbook was held. The final discussion a draft was sent to Stalin for improve upon it or approve it. In February, 1952 Stalin responded with a major theoretical treaties, “Comments on Economic Questions Related to the discussions of November 1951”. He announced that “…the great majority at the discussion agreed that the draft could serve for the final version, requiring only a few corrections and additions.” He further added, “As for all remaining question, I have no special comments to offer on “Proposals’ made by Comrades Ostrovitianov, Leont’ev, Shepilov, Gatovsky, and others.” (Page 203)

On 15 February, a final meeting with Stalin and CC Politburo was held, and finally another year was given to the team to complete the textbook. So much for the political-economy and the ideological works, collectively, presided by Stalin. Yes, we know, the book was finally published after Stalin’s death, in 1954.

Under the Sword of Damocles

Riumin, a little known in MGB (KGB), rose to dizzying heights as Beria’s principal and most intimate henchman and helped concoct the most horrible and abhorrent cases, like “attempt on life of Stalin”. When the rift arose between USSR and Yugoslavia, another pet charge was espionage activity on behest of the latter’s intelligence.

He wanted to fix Shepilov as well through Il’ia, in prison on false plot, that he was anti Soviet. The author says, even after Zhdanov’s death, and Voznesenskii destruction, these saboteurs continued their crimes. They did not even spare the school going students, standard IX and above, in hope of catching top leaders (Il’ia’s daughter).

“I have told of the tortures and hardships that the Ezhov-Beria lawlessness inflicted on just one soviet family (mentioned above), but it would take the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of stories of families victimized by this lawlessness to convey the oceanic scope of the resultant human suffering…….” (Page 220), sums up the massive sabotage was going on in to destroy the socialist construction!

The Nineteenth Party Congress

We have similar reminiscent in this chapter as well, atrocities against many innocent people and Stalin’s mistake as far as inter party democracy was concerned as well as his brilliance as a Marxist-Leninist leader, as the head of CPSU to lead the USSR and construction of socialism and leading the world proletariat.

Here our author Dmitrii Shepilov is elected member of the CC of CPSU, which excites him as well as he is filled with pride. He remembers a moment, when the first plenum of the newly elected CC was held in Oct, 1952 in Sverdlov Hall in Kremlin, members of the outgoing Politburo ascended the stage, Stalin at the head, some CC members, novices, rose to their feet and began to applaud. Stalin at once gestured at them in displeasure, muttering something like, “Never do that”.

This, incidentally was also part of Lenin’s legacy, who was fiercely opposed to deification of himself or any other highly leader. (Page 232)

One of the basic tasks of the CC was to form the CC’s executive bodies, the Presidium and the Secretariat, and approve the appointment of the chairman of the Party Control Commission. Here Stalin said, “Why elect me secretary? It’s hard on me- ………..what kind of secretary it is who doesn’t have the strength to delivery a summary report? Here Malenkov got up and tersely said, “I don’t think it is necessary to prove that this is how it must be. There is no other way. Everyone knows it.” And the matter settled. (Page 232)

In his talk, Stalin showed his annoyance over the work of “Propaganda” by the party, as he felt it was insufficient. “Our propaganda is no good- it’s a hodgepodge, not propaganda at all. ………. Our propaganda is especially weak in our newspapers, including Pravda.” He further says, “Pravda is our most important newspaper. ….. Pravda should be the principal base for the work of the Propaganda Department.” (Page 138)

Stalin goes in deep details, like even on pamphlets, “We need popular pamphlets on various subjects. In the old days we had pamphlets such as, ‘Who Lives By What’ and ‘What Every Workers Should Know’.

And the final outcome was Dmitrii Shepilov was made Editor of Pravda, despite his request, as he felt he was too busy with other tasks and will not be able to do justice with the new task. But Stalin prevailed.

We come to an end of this chapter, where the author remembers a call, on 05 March, 1953 when he was sitting in his Pravda office, at 10 PM, supervising the next day issue, “Comrade Shepilov? Suslov speaking. Stalin has just died. We’re all at the ‘nearby dacha’. Come right away.” (Page 243)

In Mortal Combat

We come to this chapter, the crisis laden USSR, after the death of Stalin, when Khrushchev takes over the power. “…the new leadership of the party and the country confronted a mind-boggling sea of international, organizational, economic and ideological problems, which were all the more difficult because for years on end people at the highest level were accustomed to waiting for Stalin’s instructions on everything. . ..” (Page 244)

Nikita Khrushchev spoke about this at meetings of the CC Presidium and SS plenums:

“We relied totally on Stalin. We left everything to Stalin. ……. We had no worries. Now there is no one on whom to depend. … When did we ever read The Journal Kommunist? …. Now we must.” (Ibid)
The author says, “Khrushchev was speaking for himself. He never read anything. Neither books nor journals; he felt no need to read and judged others by himself.” (Ibid) Otherwise, also we know the quality of Khrushchev and the clichés.

And the difference in approaches, all around, is visible, in economic policies, politics, foreign relations, social and cultural agendas, party line. We shall see some of the changes, which were the seeds of the capitalist restoration in USSR, after the death of Stalin and the rise of Khrushchev.

“On April 1, 1953, in what had become a tradition, the nation was rewarded with another reduction in retail prices. Stalin strongly championed the policy of regular reduction in prices. He regularly characterized it as integral to the socialist political economy.” (Page 245)

The reason for this (that of Stalin), as per the author, “Our socialist industry enjoys an absolute monopoly since there is no private manufacturing. The country is shielded from the world market by a monopoly on foreign trade. Given the strict control of prices, there is virtually no domestic competition among our enterprises. There is a short-age of consumer goods. Under these conditions, systematically lowering prices is the most effective means of stimulating higher productivity and better quality. Lowering consumer prices prevents sloth and stagnation and is the best way to raise wages in real terms.” (ibid)

In next paragraph we see the reversal of this policy, “One of the grave economic consequences of the Khrushchevshchina was the abandonment of the policy of the price reductions, and the shift to the policy of overt and covert price increases for consumer goods. This caused serious harm to the entire economic and political situation in the country.”

Further, in next paragraph, the author continues, “The price reduction on 1 April, 1953, included almost all food products, ………….. It was the sixth postwar price reduction. The preceding five price reductions meant the prices were half of what they had been in the fourth quarter of 1947, and the sixth reduction was the biggest, saving people fifty-three billion rubles over the period of a year. It represented a great economic victory, especially when compared to the steady increase in prices in the capitalist world.)

In the meantime, the international situation was changing very fast and mostly becoming hostile to USSR. “By the time of Stalin’s death the international situation had become tense. It was clear that the great powers, once joined by the bond of the anti-Nazi coalition, were going separate ways after the war. “

The author further gives examples of this, “American planes carried out ferocious bombings of Pyongyang and other cities and villages of the DPRK. French imperialists continued to wage a bloody war against the peoples of Indochina., who rose up in a sacred struggle for independence….” (page 247)

Similar was attitude on German’s unification. The US, Great Britain, and France stalled in their negotiations on a democratic successor to the Austrian treaty. The author describes collapse of colonial system in Asia and Africa. The centuries old British dominion in India fell, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (now Myanmar), Indonesia as examples of weakening of the imperialism. In Egypt the nationalist parties asked the British to leave Suez Canal Zone!

After the death of Stalin, the author recollects the foreign policy of the USSR, which won them significant victories in the international sphere. Immediate responsibilities for the conduct of Soviet foreign policy still lay with Molotov. He pursued what had evolved under Stalin.

In short they were; comprehensive evaluation of all the economic, political, class, and other factors responsible for a given feature of international life, application of laws of Marxist dialectics, need to differentiate between interim and constant factors in analyses  of international events, ability to exploit differences between capitalist countries, sensible use of Leninist principles of compromise as a diplomatic technique, patience in determining the foreign policies, etc. (Page 249)

This Soviet foreign and diplomacy led to two wartime triumphs. “First, the Soviet Union split apart the prewar united front of capitalist countries and took its place in the ranks of great anti-Nazi coalition, along with the United States, Britain, France and many other states that acted in concert against the fascist axis. And second, throughout the war against Germany, the Soviet Union neutralized imperial Japan, thus averting the dire peril of a two-front war.” (Page 250)

The author recollects the chain of events, after the events took place in Egypt, where Lt Col Gamal Abdel Nasser took over the power and started radical reforms, in Middle East and Africa national Liberation movements started. This movement spread in Tunisia, Morocco, Madagascar, Ghana, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, and many other countries. The responsibility of formulating the Soviet foreign policy, reporting in Pravda was with Molotov, as before, who continued in old Stalinist fashion.

“Molotov’s habitual circumspection and thoroughness in considering and preparing for any foreign-policy move grew even more pronounced after Stalin’s death. He increasingly consulted with academics and journalists with backgrounds in international affairs. ….” (Page 250)

This shows the quality of Soviet collective leadership, which prevailed even after Stalin’s death, though soon we will learn how Khrushchev destroyed it by his narrow mind and cowardice approach as well as treachery. This fact of collective leadership, the author denies with various instances, where Stalin seems have imposed his own will, overruling others views or by creating an environment, where even the members of CC or Politburo have lacked courage to disagree with Stalin, albeit he has contradicted himself.

Continuing on foreign policy and the leadership quality of Stalin, see this, “…… At other times the CC members submitted their individual comments, and the executive editor was left to work out and publish the final text. Occasionally Stalin wrote the article himself.” (Page 251)

This related to reporting foreign events in Pravda. Who is forcing whom? Where is the erosion of collective leadership? And what could be the reason to do so, if any?

The author is extremely angry and says, “… Later, under Khrushchev’s one-man rule, all these procedural conventions were tossed aside, and the whole storehouse of diplomatic discourse was turned upside down. …….. “. (Page 251). He recollects, painfully, the “collective leadership”, of which he was a part, though on occasions he curses Stalin, when he recollects Lenin, when he was not part of the top collective leadership!

See in his own words, “I remember on one occasion how various Presidium members took opposing positions on a complex diplomatic problem. …. He (Stalin) was evidently weighing the yeas against the nays and had not made up his own mind.” (page 254)

Here it is pertinent to note that the author, as head of the team of the Marxist textbook (mentioned earlier), cribs of the shortage of time to finish it, when it was approaching its conclusion. He fondly recollects, “I spoke earlier about the enormous domestic and international significance that Stalin attaches to the Marxist textbook on political economy.” (Page 252) He­­re, he recollects how Molotov pulled him up for not paying attention on foreign policies, and wanted him to cut his time on the quoted textbook. He said, the Presidium agreed on this proposal.

Political Economy: The readers will be interested to know what happened to the textbook on political economy. “The writing and editing of the textbook really were coming to an end. Like my colleagues, I made one final effort. In 1954, millions of blue-covered volumes with the title Political Economy: A Textbook began cascading through countless distribution channels into the homes of workers, students, teachers, engineers, doctors, artists, soldiers, and propagandists. Later the book was published in hundreds of copies in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Japan, East Germany, Poland, Britain, China, Denmark, France, Norway, and Italy- in short, throughout the world.” (Page 253) And there ended the long run for this book, a valuable book, more needed today than ever.

Molotov in the eyes of Dmitrii Shepilov: “As I mentioned earlier, the consensus within the party and among the people was that Stalin’s only rightful successor was Molotov. But Molotov did not show the slightest inclination to take the helm. With matchless discipline and decorum, he waited for the collective wisdom of the CC Presidium to determine his future role. That made easier for Khrushchev……” (Page 256)

Khrushchev was smart enough to sideline all the CC and Politburo members, who were against him or even talked about Stalin. “.. and he (Khrushchev) devised a new ploy for reducing Malenkov’s standing. Thus, at a CC Plenum on March 14, 1953, Malenkov … was removed from his post of CC secretary.” (Page 257). Soon Khrushchev did away with the tradition that existed since Lenin’s time of having the chairman of the Council of Ministers. He got himself elected as First Secretary of the CC.

These and many more top leaders, who upheld “collective leadership”, supported Khrushchev to “undo” what they thought were done by the towering personality of Stalin against the spirit of collective leadership, but in turn, not only lost their own voices and individualism, but even the socialist forward march, Marxism Leninism, and became silent spectators of the capitalist restoration in USSR.

Khrushchev and Beria, “Like beasts of prey, they eyed each other, sniffed each other, circled each other, ….” (Page 258) to usurp power, while neutralizing others, as they were common enemies and big hurdles in capitalist restoration. The “others”, staunch supporters of Stalin and admirers of his excellent grasp of Marxism Leninism, national as well as international situation, supported these wolves, power hungry beasts in hope to undo Stalin’s “personality cult”, which on occasions they themselves negated. Historical blunder by those leaders, who were part of CPSU, in the highest formation of the party, members of CC of CPSU, failed to catch the snare. Personality cult, which did not exist, yet existed (which is loved by the capitalist leaders, and opposed by the Communists), haunted these leaders, as desired by Khrushchev, Beria and the cliché!!

Beria (His end is nearing, in the struggle of power), in a zeal to show he was a democrat and announced a decree, “On Amnesty” in March, 1953, drawn by him only. With some conditions, barring serious criminals, most of the prisoners were freed overnight, with less than 5 years of sentence, while others’ sentences were halved. Beria also made the top leaders know that he would have to construct a townhouse in Moscow for each member of the Presidium luxurious villa on the Black Sea. What a bourgeois mind!

By the way, it is worth knowing, that the initial public reaction of the Amnesty was positive, but started opposing it, as many of them faced the criminals.  Here it is worthy to note that under Beria and his accomplices the “Doctor’s Plot” was unearthed, where many renowned doctors, including Lidiia Timoshuk, an awardee of the Order of Lenin, was named. They were named to be part of secret service MGB where these doctors prescribed wrongly to ensure death of various leaders and Timoshuk had exposed them, but now she was the culprit and previously nabbed doctors and gang were released. As per the author, Beria was consolidating his power swiftly in such measures, where he ensured his rivals to be behind the bar.

End of Beria: He was eventually arrested and a huge number of tape records of Beria with many top leaders exposed his plot to grab the top position.  His personal documents showed his extreme low-level quality and lack of any good human values, forget about being a communist.  Khrushchev and gang won the battle of power, which had to do nothing with the dictatorship of the proletarian class or socialist construction, which was in progress under CPSU, when Stalin was the leader. Surprise is, these people, rogues, managed to reach the top, and Stalin, though sensed this rot in the party, failed to purge them due his untimely death (or murder) and the good Communists watched this happening, probably they did not want to be part of power struggle or get into “unconstitutional” activities! In fact, Khrushchev took many of the latter leaders, including Molotov and the author of this book in confidence, in his plot to remove Beria from the party.

Beria had MGB in his pocket, or let us say, the state’s one of the most powerful apparatus was not under the control of the CPSU! So how to arrest and isolate him from his created bureaucracy and armed police till he was prosecuted and punished? The Army and the top generals, including Marshal Zhukov was taken into confidence. (Page 265)

The Presidium met In the Kremlin as planned, Malenkov was chairman. A group of Marshals, all armed, were positioned in next room. Malenkov spoke, as the proceedings started, “Before getting down to the agenda, we have a proposal to discuss the issue of Comrade Beria.” (Page 267)

Despite Beria’s shock and objection, he was told that he was trying to make himself dictator, that he placed the state security services over and above the party and the government, and that hatched and implemented his own plans. He was frantic and tried to raise alarm to his own security, but failed as the plot was foolproof. He was told and arrested. He was detained in a special prison of the Moscow military district. The same day, Beria’s closest aides at the Ministry of Internal Affairs were arrested and detained.

The author reflects, “… I mused, it was profoundly regretful that such a degenerate had clambered up to the post of Minister of Internal Affairs and ……But apparently those were the ruthless laws of class struggle. Didn’t Evno Azef, the leader of the military organization of the Socialist Revolutionaries, become an agent provocateur? ……..” (Page 268-269). Here the author and many other “hoped” that they restore and secure Leninist standards of conduct for the party and nation, as Ezhov, Abakumov, Beria, etc. were dumped from the party!

Now Beria’s secret personal safes in the Kremlin were burst open. His surveillance of Presidium members, taps on their phones, future plans to denounce and start criminal cases against any leader were unearthed. The safe included lists of names, addresses, telephone numbers of girls and women who attracted the lascivious glances of this morally depraved executioner. They also found lace handkerchiefs, silk stockings, and trinkets to pay off the partners in the pleasures of his Eros in the ministerial guise. (Page 269)

Some reports on Beria by the author, “…. on leaving the Kremlin after a day’s work, he would often tell his bodyguards to seize and drag into his car a young female pedestrian whose legs attracted his attention. ….. But what favors he showered on his conquests! … Rare wines and delicacies at the bed side!  … And a guaranteed abortion or disposal of the newborn at a state nursery….” (Page 270)

“…. The trial revealed the terrifying and grave crimes that Beria and his cohorts committed- abuse of power, venal action, and the satrap’s total moral decay.”

“….. A sportswoman, movie star, salesgirl, typist, ……- the names of an intimate record of depravity that was secreted in one of his office safes came to almost three hundred. …..” (Page 272)

Beria had created a secret dacha, where not even MGB employees allowed to peep in. The daily ration and other wherewithal used to come. There lived a girl with an infant child and girl’s mother. On second day of Beria’s arrest, it was announced there that the supply will not follow there anymore!!

Plenum found Beria guilty of treacheries and violating the party norms and was unanimously expelled from the party. As per Khrushchev, which he later told, Beria had said, “If someone dared touched me, there would be an immediate uprising among the troops. The entire people will rise up.” (Page 270) However, nothing that sort happened, and as per the author the people rejoiced.

On 23 December, 1953, a special judicial commission of the USSR Supreme Court found Beria guilty of state crimes, along with many of his accomplices, holding various top positions. All were sentenced to death and had their property, awards, and military titles confiscated. The sentences were carried out the same day. (Page 273)

The sentencing of Beria and his accomplices thus laid the foundation for doing away with all forms of arbitrary rule and restoring socialist legality, as the author put in. Yet, we will see, more will follow.

Khrushchev’s ascendency: With Beria’s execution, Khrushchev’s path was cleared of the only rival, who, like him, was struggling to assume dictatorial powers. True, in the official ranking of top leaders, Khrushchev had yet to take first place. And as per the author, things were moving in that direction swiftly.

“At a joint meeting of the CC Plenum, the Council of Ministers, and the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet the day after Stalin’s death, Khrushchev was given fifth place withing the top leadership, behind Malenkov, Beria, Molotov, and Voroshilov. Now, in July, 1953, he appeared to be in third, after Malenkov and Molotov.” (Page 275)

With all his organizational skill, Khrushchev replaced Malenkov as CC Presidium and he himself chaired both the Presidium and Secretariat. And now, he demanded restoration of defunct post of First Secretary and he resumed this post in September 1953! This enabled him to reshuffle top office holders, as per his own choice. And for this the criteria were not people’s ability or loyalty to the party but to himself. His importance was on Army and Security Services.

And in this pursuit, he appointed Ivan Serov in 1954, as Chairman of KGB, who was an utterly amoral and ignorant figure, directly involved in many of the security agency’s past crimes.  Khrushchev himself made Chairman of the Supreme Military Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union.

Here after, Khrushchev started controlling principal levers of party and state and began “REFORM” plans he regarded as necessary and expedient.

Khrushchev at the Helm

The author ponders, why after Stalin, Marxism and historical materialism would fail to give a national figure to lead the country? “Exercising his one-man rule, Khrushchev launched a “reform program” that had extremely grave consequences for ………”. (Page 277) Sadly, Shepilov, the author, like most of the other top leaders, failed to see the “Class Struggle” within the party, where the capitalist roaders/apologists had usurped the power. Removal of Beria was not negation of these criminals and revisionists but was their internal fight for the power, who had creeped into the CPSU and the Soviet Government quietly, over decades, had damaged the party and the cause of the working class of the USSR immensely, even physically, even during Stalin’s era, and many times in name of Stalin.

“By 1953, when Khrushchev stepped into the main political arena, the Soviet Union had become a mighty industrial and agricultural power. The country’s remarkable development provided incontrovertible proof of the superiority of socialism over capitalism. ………. (data of 1930-40 and 1947-57 to compare socialist “growth rate” vs the rest) …. before Khrushchev’s reforms broke up the entire managerial system ……” (Page 278)

“In an unprecedent short span, the USSR moved from fifth place in the world as an industrial power in 1913, to second place, and from fourth place in Europe to first place. The advantage of the Soviet system provided a scientific basis for the communist party’s confidence……” (ibid)

Further from the same page, “…… Gross agricultural output soared. Village life went fundamental changes, becoming more comfortable and civilized. The party led the nation through a radical cultural revolution. All of the country’s nationalities and ethnic groups increasingly shared in the growing richness of intellectual life.”

The author, still, not satisfied with the Soviet growth in industry as well as in agriculture, talks about further “stimulus” to increase the labor productivity. As examples, he talks about economic incentives, inadequate use of tools, etc. Yet, he says, “Despite these deficiencies, however, a mighty countrywide socialist economy based on public ownership of the means of production was built in three decades. Unlike capitalism, with its unpredictable nature, the Soviet economy was governed by the laws of planned proportional development and expanded socialist production and growth.”

Khrushchev was not a small player, neither a political naïve, despite ignorant in Marxism Leninism and had not learnt about socialist construction when he was working in CPSU at the CC and Politburo, under the leadership of Stalin. He was crook and wanted to restore capitalism, a hidden enemy of the proletarian class. The author failed to see this, despite knew about him more than anyone else, and see his writing, “In fact, for quite a while Khrushchev did not try to change anything that Stalin arranged in sectors of the economy, government, any party other than agriculture…… When someone eager to curry his favor with the new pretender to the throne flattered him, contrasting his “kindheartedness” with Stalin’s “cruelty”, Khrushchev exclaimed with characteristics flamboyance, “Come on! Stalin- Khrushchev? Why, Khrushchev isn’t worth Stalin’s shit!” (Page 280)

The revisionist was consolidating his authority and power in CPSU! Politburo members, collectively, were asked to shift Lenin Hills, in a well-planned posh palace with all the available modern facilities, an open “bribe” by Khrushchev and gang, which was accepted by all, as part of “Collectivism”, with no individual moral question!

Soon, after consolidation, Khrushchev and his cliques started the “changes” needed for restoration of capitalism, which the author thinks is due lack of Marxism Leninism and lack of vision about socialist construction, which as per him was progressing brilliantly under the leadership of JV Stalin, despite all his shortcomings (as per the author only, where he gets tired about Stalin’s brilliant and exceptional knowledge about almost everything, as a great Marxist Leninist). The revisionists started their treachery in agriculture first.

Talking about Khrushchev, the author always gives him full mark about his oratory skill, in fact the former had that only, “Khrushchev loved to speak and seized on every occasion to do so. Towards the end of his political career, his passion for speechifying became a pathological verbosity……Had Khrushchev received a real education, had he acquired a modicum of culture and at least an elementary knowledge of Marxism, he would have been a superb orator….” (Page 283)

(Generally observing, we infer the dictators, the fascists, the revisionists are good orators, love talking immensely, are able to control the minds of the crowd and succeed in becoming crowd’s leaders; take examples of Hitler to the present world leaders, like Donald Trump. The Communists must learn to give speech, in addition to learning Marxism Leninism, philosophy, political economy and proletarian politics, as part of an organizational skill.)

See one of the reports by the author, “QUESTION ON ARMENIAN RADIO: Can an elephant be wrapped in a newspaper?

ANSWER: Yes, if the newspaper contains one of Khrushchev’s speeches.”

He gives an example, “It was partially in this fashion that Khrushchev’s above-mentioned report at the September 1953 CC plenum was prepared. It took almost a whole day to read. The text took up five and half pages of Pravda….” (Page 286) Author says, Khrushchev spoke everything he knew about agriculture, everything his assistants and statisticians told him. Yet, he failed to present fundamental analysis, real state of USSR agriculture, issue of grain, nor could define the basic issues. Such was the big mouth “genius” or a “Marxist Leninist”! However, once he realized what he missed in his lecture, he called special CC plenum and put stress on increase in grain production, but not on intensification of the existing agricultural lands, as was in practice, but on the development of virgin and fallow lands. This led to syphoning of wherewithal from elsewhere, including trained manpower, valiant and self-sacrificing Soviet people, especially the youths, machineries, etc. This led to devastation of USSR agriculture and it became grain importing nation from exporting one. (Page 289)

Shortly before his death, Stalin declared at a meeting of the Politburo, “This is the last time I sign for an annual plan for enlarging the area of cultivated land. We must go for the way of intensification of agriculture. From smaller acreages we must get bigger yields.” (Page 291)

And see Khrushchev’s malicious, wicked brain. After several months of Stalin’s death, he talked on USSR agriculture, in line with Malenkov report at the Nineteenth Party Congress, gave optimistic picture on supply and demand in grains, but later, once his power was consolidated he used “Stalin ruined the villages”, “under Stalin the country was out of grain”, we were dying of hunger but selling grain abroad”, etc. more than often. (Page 287)

Once again, the author only sees lack of knowledge in Khrushchev and lust for the power, but not a capitalist sympathizer in him, who was trying to restore capitalism in USSR, with his cliques! Once again let us compare Stalin’s way of working with that of Khrushchev. “During Stalin’s thirty-year reign, supervisors at all level became accustomed to accepting the leader’s every world as law. ….. Khrushchev’s pronouncements on sheep breeding were passed down from above, becoming more inflexible (“for the sake of clarity”) the lower down they went. When they reached the village, ……, the sheep hoof infection began to seem more threatening than leprosy, and sheep breeding in Russia began to look almost like a crime. (Page 293)

Khrushchev not only proved to be anti-Marxist Leninist, but one of the most ignorant and yet arrogant leaders, and trying to be in shoes of Stalin, did harm USSR (even if he did not want to restore capitalism) more than what an enemy could have done and laid the foundation of capitalist restoration. “But the country saw not two or three but ten years go by; by 1963 the tragic consequences of Khrushchev’s idiotic improvisation and economic recklessness in the villages were fully felt. The yield per hectare in grains fell from the 1940 level of 860 kilograms to 830 kilograms and kept tumbling almost to the level of 820 kilograms. The 1963 grain harvest proved to be the smallest in the years of the “great decade”. Khrushchev blamed everything either on Stalin on the Ministry of Agriculture, ……… The huge army of party, local government, and the agricultural workers, worn out of endless re-organizations, despaired about the state of Soviet agriculture. (Page 295)

This led to famine like situation, despite importing huge amount of grains from US, Canada, Australia, etc. Churchill had said, “It takes a lot of talent to leave Russia without grain.” The choice was either immediate dismissal of Khrushchev and all his virgin-land, corn, and pea improvisation and the return of scientific methods of agriculture (Stalin’s era?) or face national economic catastrophe. Similar situation was spreading in USSR, be it in industries or in the party itself, well poised for capitalism to re-grow in the first country of the proletarian class, after the success of 1917 revolution, defeating the fascists and constructing socialism in one country and later in many countries! Yet, the top leaders of the CPSU did not wake up or did not muster to stop the reactionary march of the USSR!

See this, “The Khrushchevshchina was responsible for enormous production delays that cost billions of rubles. It complicated and slowed the entire development of the country. Yet it did not paralyze the people’s vital energies, nor undermine the invincible might of the socialist system…… The land of the Soviets moved confidently forward.” (Page 296)

This is a superb example of the author’s (and probable many more other leaders) analysis of the concrete existing situation but same time utter failure to see the rot developing in the entire system. Something was dying, something was growing. Here, socialist construction was dying, capitalist restoration was growing! (From the author’s comments, it seems Molotov, and probably was the only one, who opposed many of the Khrushchev’s reactionary programs, but mild and did not get many supports.)

The author still blames Stalin for concentrating the power in CC and in himself, as General Secretary of the Central Committee, which he recalls on many occasions, that Lenin was different, and was “democratic”. “The government, in most cases, was left with the sole function of processing the CC’s decisions.” (Page 298) Is it wrong? What is the meaning of Proletarian Dictatorship? What is a government or state in this set up, while socialism is being built up? It is not similar to the bourgeois democracy, where many party system (albeit, all representing the same capitalist class, with superficial differences.) exists and the government is different than the party, though we know the difference is overtly, which gets exposed during crisis, visible in most of the countries today. Here the liberal side of our Marxist Leninist Dmitrii Shepilov is exposed again. Democratic Centralism is one of the most important kernels of any Communist Party, though will have different characteristics in different political and economic situations, time, place but cannot be dumped in name of abstract “democracy”.

The author says, “Stalin realized shortly before his death, either by instinct or by intellect, all the flaws and dangers that were inherent in the system of one-man rule.” (Page 299) This is corroborated by many other literatures and contemporary writings and seems Stalin wanted another purge, but death got better of him. But Stalin was not for individual leadership (he had resigned from the top party post four times, but was forced to continue by the party), but for collective leadership, and his realizations were for the penetration of anti or non-Marxists Leninists at the top leadership in the party, which was to harm the USSR in the future.

While comparing the one-man rule, the author says Khrushchev ‘stepped into Stalin’s well-worn shoes and plodded ahead’. But he further says, “But the change in name was of enormous significance. Stalin was a thoroughly proficient Marxist. He had gone through the lengthy school of hard knocks and revolutionary struggle. He had vast experience in party and government affairs. He was wise and patient in resolving problems. A rash or precipitate decision on his part was almost unheard of him. Khrushchev was an utter ignoramus. ….” (Page 299-300) How can one blame Stalin of one-man rule and of being a dictator?

The chapter, “Khrushchev at the helm” is basically devoted to his coming to power, usurping all the powers in his own hand by replacing the well-known leaders, Marxists-Leninists and “Stalinists”  in Party, KGB, Army with his own henchmen, even though they were inefficient and were known to be anti-party activists in the past, but loyal to him; his extreme ignorance and yet arrogance, his love to talk incessantly, his excuse for his failures was always Stalin; and of course comparison between Khrushchev and Stalin, where the author praises Stalin for his Marxist Leninist understanding and approach, correct decisions after deliberating over the problems and solutions thoroughly after consulting the needed ‘authorities’, party leaders, experts, yet he blames him for his ‘one-man’ rule and his stubbornness over the implementation of the decisions taken by the party, and for being in most of the party activities and meetings (not leaving to others judgment)!!

Khrushchev’s love for Ukraine is worth noting. He wanted to gift them, bring them in party top leadership, where ever he finds opportunity, and even handed over Crimea to Ukraine from RSFSR! In his proposal in Presidium, he announced this and in logic he says, “Russia is far from Crimea. Ukraine is closer.” He further adds, “The Ukrainians, of course, would give their eyeteeth to have it; they will be in seventh heaven if we give them Crimea.” (Page 310) How about the people of Crimea?

The reason for love for Crimea is Khrushchev’s past, where he had worked and had many loyal leaders towards him. And for this he is ready to raise “national feelings” for his own future. Worthy to note here is everyone in Presidium praised Khrushchev on his proposal but Molotov opposed it, “The proposal, of course, is all wrong. But apparently we’ll have to approve it.” (Page 311) And thus, on 19 Feb, 1954, Crimean oblast was transferred from Russia to Ukraine, giving wrong, hollow, anti-Marxist Leninist reasons, “a shared economy, contiguous territory, economic and cultural ties”. Also see the author’s remark here, “For Khrushchev, this episode and several others like it served as trial runs.” (Page 312) Russia and Crimea had 300 years of cooperation and was broken to satisfy Khrushchev’s idiosyncrasy!

“When people close to the top looked past pressures of daily life long enough to realize that it was time to wake up and take immediate counter measures, it was too late. The old command system was working at full throttle, and the man at the controls, Nikita Khrushchev, had a satisfied smirk on his face.” (ibid) The author is unable to see the changes in the superstructure, in form of dictatorship of the proletarian class, which used the state power to pursue its own goal, was now in the hands of the hidden enemy class, and the “old” superstructure, now in hands of the enemy class, was trying to change the base, the production relation, and was not merely Khrushchev’s effort to consolidate his power and idiotic whims and fancies.

With Khrushchev in China & To South China and Back

On September, 1954, on the occasion of fifth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a USSR governmental delegation left for Beijing. The delegation included Khrushchev, Bulganin, Shepilov, and many other top leaders of the USSR. The delegation received a formal welcome at the airport as expected, by a befitting team, which included Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Guo Moruo (The widow of Sun Yat-sen), Song Qingling (the Dalai and the Panchen Lama) and many others.

The author is full of praises for the Chinese “hugeness”, like its size of territory, population, mountain ranges, the rivers, and “Equally large are the revolutionary changes brought about by the new China in the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres……”. (Page 318)

The author notices and writes about the rickshaws and pedicabs being plentiful in streets of Beijing and overflowing all over. When he asked about this, Zhou Enlai explained, “This is one of the legacies of the past. But we are in no hurry to get rid of them. …. With the development of large-scale industry and construction, rikshaws will gradually disappear as a form of transport. Our socialist industry will absorb the rickshaw drivers and turn them into modern workers.” (Page321-322)

The author has remarked, “The Chinese leadership current policy in regard to trade and industry is one of peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.”

In this chapter, we see author’s appreciation for the Chinese growth in industries, USSR’s help in building up many of them, nationalization of many of the existing private industries, enrollment of millions of artisans in these industries. “Beijing is experiencing a construction boom- of housing, modern schools, hospitals, educational institutions, theaters, hotels, vacation centers, and movies theaters. …” (Page 322)

Interesting, “There is a campaign underway everywhere against the “four evils”- flies, mosquitoes, and mice which carries disease, and sparrows, which ravage rice and other grains. It is done in typically Chinese fashion: all people, children and adults, take part. …” (ibid)

The author is forced to compare the style of the two leaderships, USSR and PRC. “The hall we met was simple and modest. A large table. Chairs with wicker arms. On the walls, portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. No display of luxury and pomp, even though we were in the former Imperial Palace. ….. We soon learned how simple, strict, and modest were the Chinese leaders’ style of work and daily life. Their pay, living quarters, and family wealth, differed little from those of the average Chinese intellectual of qualified worker. In those days, the nominal- never mind the real one- pay of our own top leaders was no less than eight or ten times the pay of a qualified worker or intellectual. Luxurious apartments, suburban and seaside town houses, and access to free products and cultural services of every kind put the top Soviet leadership in a very privileged position. Leninist standard and strictness towards oneself in these matters had long been discarded. The applicable principles that Lenin laid down in State and Revolution had long been consigned to oblivion.” (Page 325-326)

While in China, the author remembers Mao explaining Chinese culture, which they inherited and being implemented, for which he thanks the USSR for the help rendered. They are, first, “Pecking duck”, which is symbolic for food and necessities of life, second, “Mahjong”, a game of chance, employing ivory tiles, symbol for free time and entertainment, and the third, “Tibetan folk medicine”, symbol for health and well-being. (Page 326-327)

Later, the author reflects on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, “Everything that doesn’t reflect Mao Zedong’s idea must be destroyed. With that war cry, the Red Guards are rampaging in the interior, wrecking party committees, and beating party workers. They pulled down the a monument of Pushkin in Shanghai. … they force women to cut off their braids and passerby to discard shoes made in Hong Kong.” (Page 338)

He further says, “The doctrine of great-khan chauvinism is strongly embedded in today’s China. China is allegedly the oldest, the greatest, the mightiest, and, yes, the most cultured country in the world. To the nation’s youth falls the great historic mission of transforming not only China but the whole world on the basis of Mao Zedong’s idea. … (Page 338-339)

The author remembers the incidence which occurred after almost 5-7 years after his visit to China. “.. a puzzling, contradictory, and absolutely fantastic rumors began to filter out of China and spread around the world. Mao stopped publishing his writings. Mao was never or almost never seen…. What was going in China?” (Page 328-329) Further, “It was during this time that a struggle between two fundamental factions in the ranks of Chinese Communist Party and the government came to a head… Certain forces in the government bureaucracy and the army that were led by Zhou Enlai and military leader Lin Biao opposed forces led by Lieu Shaoqi.” (ibid)

And here, Mao comes out “of the mysterious twilight” in the open.  Author quotes one explanation, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this were a subtle political move, Chinese style. In recent years Mao’s policies have suffered one reverse after another. The theory and practices of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ in industry has collapsed. The premature commune movement in villages proved impractical. The policy of fanning international tension and triggering the ‘world revolution’ in country after country has left China completely isolated. All this gave rise to convert opposition to Mao’s leadership”. (ibid)

Further, “Mao decided to let all the opposition groups rise to the surface and reveal themselves in full…… he stepped out of oblivion, and launched the so-called Cultural Revolution” (ibid)

While the thought that Mao let the opposition groups unite and come into open may be part of a conspiratorial theory, and also the so called triggering the world revolution, and that too, without the knowledge of Dmitrii Shepilov, one of the top most member of CPSU, and close to the GS, Khrushchev, sounds illogical, but the Cultural Revolution was the product of inner fight on CPC for power has reasons to believe from different sources, which will not be discussed here. I will, however, like to quote: The “Great Cultural Proletarian Revolution” was neither a revolution, nor great, not cultural, and in particular, not the least proletarian.” Enver Hoxha

To close the issue of GCPR, see what the author has to say, “As the revolution spread, I often thought back to my trip to China and my impressions here, and ruefully sked myself, “How could those subtle, sensible, wise, and seemingly infallible Chinese leaders fall prey to such fanatical cruelty?”

Back to the USSR delegates in China, they are witnessing a military parade and a mass worker rally in Tiananmen Square. The witnessing crowd was massive but the author noticed “hardly any signs of police”! When on dais, he shared his impression with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other leaders. Mao said, “Of course, we do have some police. But there isn’t much need for them. People are relaxing. They’re happy. There is no cause for disturbance, so there aren’t any. People see it to themselves that public order is maintained. The morality of the masses is the strongest foundation for law and order.” (Page 335)

The author gives some insight behind Mao Zedong Thought. He gives Chinese rural inhabitants data, which compose 86% of the total population. In Guomindang China, 75% of all the cultivated land belonged to landlords and kulaks. Among those working the land, 70% were farmhands and poor peasants and 20% were middle peasants. He recounts their backward mode backward mode of agriculture and production and their poor living conditions.

To South China and Back

While still in China, the author and the team visited South China and have penned down his impressions on socialist construction in China and also shares his own reflections on various issues. Let us start with a paragraph about Mao Zedong;

­­­“Apparently, in the face of these facts, Mao Zedong decided to revise the fundamentals of the Marxist-Leninist theory of socialist revolution. The cornerstone of this theory is the doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the preconditions for the victory of the socialist revolution and the construction of the socialist society. Of all the classes of the bourgeois society, only the working class is consistent and unswervingly revolutionary in nature. It is free of the fetters of private property. The peasantry, for its part, is the natural and the steadfast ally of the working class, under whose leadership it can make a successful revolution.

Mao Zedong rejected these fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism. He outlined partially and in popular form his new premises in a well-known interview with French writer Andre’ Malraux, in Beijing on July 3, 1965.” (Page 347-348)

The summary of Mao’s interview is given by the author, “Stalin did not understand anything about peasantry. It is quite possible for peasants to seize power.” When asked by Malraux when he came to this conclusion, Mao replied, “I did not come to this conclusion. It was always there.”

Author says; Mao went on to explain why he had always regarded the Chinese peasantry as more revolutionary in spirit than the working class: “I once survived a long famine in Changsha …… Within a three-kilometer radius of my village, every tree had been stripped of its bark to a height of four meters; the starving population ate the bark. People who were forced to eat tree bark were better fighters for us than the taxi drivers and coolies of Shanghai.

It is ridiculous to compare your kulaks with the poor in the undeveloped countries. There is no such thing as abstract Marxism, which is applicable in China to concrete reality- to trees that stand like naked people because people stripped off their bark and ate it.” (Page 348)

In same breadth, “By the time of our visit to China, the agrarian reform movement had essentially run its course. These reforms dismantled the feudal and semi-feudal forms of land ownership …… Private ownership of land was retained….”

“… the agrarian reeducation program was enacted with the active participation of the peasant masses and served as a form of revolutionary schooling…”

In this process, if a landlord was found to be criminal, through local peasants’ meeting, discussion, and after hearing the landlords’ story fully, the peasants themselves decided the fate of the criminal landlords. And if not proved, and the landlords wanted to work themselves, land and farming equipment were apportioned to them, like any other farmers, rehabilitated! (Page 349)

The agrarian reform approximately 300 million farm laborers, small tenant farmers, landless peasants, and those with tiny plots of land received enough land and equipment for viable agricultural production. The working peasants received credits, grain, and other forms of assistance from the state. State farms and cooperatives were set up in the villages. This the life style of the peasants improved remarkably.

Here, however, the author observes, “Mao’s subsequent proclamation of the “three red banners” and his decision to create artificially unviable communes in the villages threw everything into a shamble and caused China’s agriculture to suffer a major setback.” (Page 349)

While in Beijing, the author reflects on the lifestyle of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev, and even that of Mao, compares them, and that also shows these leaders interests in their own personal comfort level, though this does not necessarily indicate their ideological outlooks, especially when all are Marxists.

(Everyone knows how sparing and frugal Lenin and his family were in matters of food. His apartment in Kremlin reflects this side of life. ….. even after the New Economic Policy (NEP) put an end to hunger in the country, lunch for Lenin and his family normally consisted of soup and a light entrée, and supper, of a sandwich and tea with jam.  His guests, both Soviet and foreign, had to content themselves with this meager fare. …..”) (Page 357-358)

“At Stalin’s “nearby dacha”, the formal dinners that were frequently given for communist leaders, industrial designers………were more generous than that (Lenin). But on the whole, the servings were modest and plain. …” (Page 358)

“For Khrushchev, food was an extremely important part of life. With his ascension to power, a large army of special servitors was mobilized to satisfy his appetite not only at his Moscow home and dacha but wherever he happened to be. Khrushchev loved rich and fatty food- …. generous hot meal and a wide selection of drinks.

In Beijing, the Khrushchev cult of gastronomy remained in force.” (Page 358)

“Seeing these scenes and hearing his yelping (on shortcomings of desired food items, on his subordinates) I couldn’t help but think: What a humiliating, serflike role for this man who is a member of the CC, the minister of the state security, and an Army General.  …” (ibid)

The Soviet team visited various cities and ports, and the author is very optimistic of Socialist construction in China. After Shanghai visit, “… we were more convinced than ever that the PRC was well on the way to socialist industrialization. The city’s foreign industrial enterprises had been nationalized, although a few of them, like those belonging to the British, were left to their owners in order to “retain economic ties” with the countries in question.  …” (Page 360)

He has, however, the following observation, “We were fascinated by what we heard about Chinese experience in “peaceful transformation of capitalist to socialist industry.” Enterprises owned by loyal bourgeoisie were developing along the state capitalist lines.” (ibid)

Rong Yiren, a loyal bourgeoisie is cited as an example, whose part of enterprises were taken over by the state, after the revolution, but he was left in charges of many managerial, organizational, and manufacturing functions. In compensation, he was given almost 25% of the profit. He was also elected as Deputy to the National People’s Congress, where he often spoke critically of those entrepreneurs who violated the principles of state capitalism. (ibid)

Shepilov also observed the difficulties the PRC had to face in industrial development due untrained workers and engineers. However, later due “first five-year plan for China’s economic development (1953-57)” pointed in the right direction, and expanding heavy industry, transport, agriculture, etc. These efforts had full support of USSR.

However, he is critical of Mao’s invention of “Great Leap Forward” and the “people’s communes” which, as per him, violates Marxist principle that workers and collectives benefit from the results of their work, and the frenzied outrages that were sanctioned throughout the country under the banner of the Cultural Revolution, threw everything into confusion. China’s economy was shaken to its foundations and hurled into the past. (Page 361)

While still dealing with his Chinese trip, he remarks, “…. I often recollected the statues of these villains and the rituals that sprang up among the people. Prior to Khrushchev’s fall, his name became hateful among all strata of the population, people of all the ages and walks of life. Old and young referred to him solely as Nikita, Khrushchev, Kukuruznik, and Grisha Rasputin. ……. If Khrushchev had walked the streets without bodyguards after his ouster, perhaps the people’s wrath would have overflowed, and every passerby would have spit in the face of…. “(Page 354-65)

(The author refers to the grave of eminent eleventh-century military leader Yue Fei, who led a heroic struggle against nomadic invaders, but was martyred due treason of a certain couple, whose statue is also erected there, and every visiting Chinese spits and pelts at it.)

Can you compare this hated Khrushchev and Stalin, on whose death, millions flocked to visit his graveyard and pay their last homage?

While summing up the official visit to China, we see the appreciation of the author regarding the land reforms in China (Democratic Revolution!). He says, “By the time of our arrival, the land reform program min Guandong had been completed. Land belonging to the landlords and the top civil and military bureaucrats had been given to the peasants, who banded together in cooperatives. The best of the landlords’ holdings were made into state farms.” (Page 370-71, Italics is by me)

Further, “We all have high hopes for the future of socialist China. This feeling is indestructible. It will last forever.” (Page 372)

“Soon it will be India’s turn and then Indonesia’s turn to rouse themselves. Surely something will be coming from the French working class.  … And Italy? And seething Africa? …. the worldwide victory of socialism is inevitable.” (ibid)

And the dismay and shock, “Who would have thought that fourteen or fifteen years would go by and the Soviet Army in all its might would descent on socialist Czechoslovakia one night and occupy all its cities and regions, and that Czechoslovakian party leaders, including first secretary Alexander Dubcek, would be hauled off to Moscow in handcuffs? Who would have thought that somewhere on the unknown and uninhibited Damanskii Island, Soviet and Chinese troops, on order from their governments, would shoot at each other with automatic rifles, machine guns, and cannons, and that those who distinguished themselves in this fratricide would be decorated with heroes’ stars? One could not have imagined such an absurdity even in a feverish delirium.” (ibid)

Mao and the Atomic Bomb

This is part of the high-level USSR team to China, the author continues on various subjects, still prefers to give a special headline for this issue.

Khrushchev was very magnanimous towards China and the CPC. He opened up all the helps possible towards building up socialism in China, be it in industries or in any other field. In fact, the generosity turned into “gifts” became little embarrassing for the CPC, as that was hurting their patriotism and self-respect, equality and fraternity. Nonetheless, this generosity came to an end and turned even into the level of enmity, which we will see.

The visit was grand success, as far as they agreed on all the issues, be it their mutual relation, international issues, withdrawal of all the Soviet troops from the joint Naval base in Port Arthur by May 1955, and other issues in comradely fashion (Like Rail link from Xining to Ulaanbaatar to Soviet territory), which was expected. See pages from 377-378.

Here, the author puts his remarks, “As a result of this economic cooperation, the socialist industrialization of China was placed on a firm footing and promised great benefits to both sides. Then Mao Zedong proclaimed his famous Great Leap Forward, and China’s economy went into tail spin. (Page 379)

Again, the author remarks, “…each of his (Khrushchev) trips became ever more pompous. His retinue of followers grew larger and larger, with relatives, correspondence, cameramen, and servants of all kinds. He became more and more zealous for bidding for maximum publicity in the press, for news photographs, newsreels, television reports, and flattering biographies. …… All these arrangements created a vast circle of careerists, toadies, …” (Page 380)

(Just to show again, how the dictators, with limited knowledge, are fond of lavish life and propaganda for self, visible today at enlarged scale due uses of internet, social media, photo shopping, controlled media, etc.!)

While we are coming to an end of this chapter, here is the summary by the author on the Chinese visit, “Everything seemed to be going brilliantly. …. The outlook for the future could not have been clearer; …”

“…., however, the mysterious historical forces that underline events were already fashioning a Pandora box, from which the snakes of misfortune would later emerge to poison relations between the two governments, and dangerously threaten mankind with more bloody internecine wars.” (page 381)

An informal meeting took place at that time between Khrushchev and Mao Zedong. “The latter made two requests of the Soviet government and Nikita Khrushchev: first, that we gave China secret of atomic bomb and help the PRC set up the production of atomic weapons; second, that we build China a submarine fleet that was capable of protecting the interests of the PRC from American imperialism.” (ibid)

Khrushchev rejected both the requests, despite Mao’s insistence. The author says about Khrushchev that “he often displayed the customs and manners of a crude Russian merchant.” In course of negotiations with the foreign leaders, whom he did not like, he quickly became a tough nut, while he had been cursing Stalin (After his death) on being tough, “Stalin ruined everything”.  Here Khrushchev faulted in his dealings with Mao, a reserved leader of a great nation, with his own plans and problems. “When Mao Zedong put forward proposals, however, which from the Chinese point of view were also designed to benefit Soviet-Chinese relations and the entire socialist community, …” (Page 383)

And in discussion, Khrushchev while rejecting the proposals or requests was neither polite, nor diplomatic. This was not a desired relation between the two socialist countries, based on equality, mutual trusts. “Mao evidently sensed an element of distrust and disparagement toward himself and China in the tone of Khrushchev’s replies…. What the Chinese discerned as the seeds of condescension in those days of October 1954 later sprouted into Khrushchev’s arrogance and rudeness…” (Page 383-84)

In fact, Khrushchev was destroying the relations with the socialist countries, while improving with the others. See, Khrushchev’s rapid evolution from the self-flagellation that was typical of a muzhik (“Khrushchev is not worth Stalin’s shit”) to tsarist pretentiousness took place before our eyes.  He criticized the Romanian leader Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. He scolded the Albanian Leaders Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu. He adopted a didactic tone towards the highly intelligent and educated Palmiro Togliatti. But most of all, he began in time to irritate Mao Zedong.” (Page 384)

Mao, by now, had amassed reputation of an outstanding leader and military commander. He had authored many books, which were published even in Moscow and elsewhere. And almost in similar ration Khrushchev developed hatred towards Mao and the Chinese people. His remark was heard world over, “They don’t have pants to put on, yet they go around shouting their heads off about communism.” (ibid)

Later we learn, there was an effort by many top leaders of the USSR to remove Khrushchev but failed. The author was also part of that failed effort, but nowhere he feels that Khrushchev and cliques were trying to restore capitalism by destroying socialist construction by the CPSU in USSR, under the leadership of JV Stalin. This effort was not merely in USSR but the world over, in the fraternal socialist countries as well as the ongoing movements, ideologically and by other means. It was treason towards the proletarian class and sabotage.

Khrushchev made a long-awaited visit to the USA in 1959, for which he had made many unceremonious attempts, saying openly in press conferences, “I would, of course, be glad to visit America, but I have not been invited. When he was finally invited, his remarks, after his return was, “settled everything with America” and “I said to Eisenhower, ‘Let’s throw our differences to the devil. Let’s turn a new page.” (ibid)

Here, the author remarks, “… in this mood that Khrushchev went to China for the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the PRC, after returning from the United States.” But his ‘triumphal tone and enthusiasm about his American visit met with an icy response from Mao. Khrushchev lost his cool and “blasted and lectured” the Chinese on various issues on foreign policies. “Restrained, polite but decisive in their replies they rebuffed Khrushchev. (Page 385) Khrushchev, “Lenin of today” (By his sycophants) was offended.

This course of distrust and divergence between the CPC and CPSU came to an ugly explosion when the former approached the latter with a ‘routine business question’ about payment for the Soviet experts, working in PRC, in various industries, projects, in thousands. Instead of replying, Khrushchev burst, “We are doing everything for them, and now they ask about some kind of payment!” (Page 385)

Khrushchev ordered the immediate recall of all experts and advisers from China, in 1960. The CC Presidium endorsed him!! All works came to an immediate and, all the Soviet workers returned home. No amount of reasoning or persuasion from the Chinese had any effect. The damage to the Chinese economy was enormous. “This was one of the subjective reasons for the fateful future conflict between the two countries.” (Page 386) And not the starting point for capitalist restoration in USSR and its disintegration, and derailment of socialism globally. However, the author thinks, “Of all the ills, that Khrushchev visited on the country during his “great decade” of his rule, the breech with China was perhaps the worst.” Only some evils that Khrushchev did and the breech! Shepilov, though thrown out of the party by Khrushchev later, he was part and parcel of his ideological degeneration and practices, that included Draft Of 20 Congress!

Epilogue

The Antiparty Group That Never Was

The book by the author ends here. The epilogue is attached in the last, which was an interview with him in Jul/Aug, 1991, and he lived till Aug, 1995, much later than when USSR disintegrated in Dec, 1991. The interview could not be published then, and now it is attached here in abridged form.

Question by the interviewer (Shepilov grandson, Dmitrii Kosyrev): the June, 1957 plenum that cut short your political career. Was there an antiparty group?

(The note in the books clarifies, “Epithet for Molotov, Malenkov, and Kagnovich, the most prominent participants in the unsuccessful attempt to remove Khrushchev from the post of first secretary in June 1957.”)

In his reply, Shepilov narrates one incidence, few months before the plenum, which shows how the some of the top leaders of the CPSU are agitated against Khrushchev leadership and his way of working. “…. We want to teach Khrushchev a lesson.…. we will ruin everything (if Khrushchev continues). (Page 387-88) Shepilov narrates another story, when Voroshilov visited him.

Question: You are describing … what was in the air those days. But today the events of 1957 are presented as a well-organized conspiracy of old men who wanted to see a complete return to Stalinism?

Shepilov replies that he was not aware of any ‘Antiparty’ group, but everyone started saying that this cannot continue anymore. “The country, the party, trade, the economy- everything was breaking down, everything was going to the dogs. Khrushchev quarreled with everyone, with China as well…” And, for a return to Stalinism…Well, let’s not forget the Twentieth Congress.” (Page 389)

On this Kosyrev asks him about a rumor which says that Khrushchev’s speech at Congress as well as in the public was authored by Shepilov. To this Shepilov replied, there were many who helped prepare the Twentieth Congress, he himself was included. He and Leont’ev were main writers on foreign policy. So, this was part of ‘collective’ writing by all those who united against Stalin, and ‘felt’ everything was correct after Beria and cliques were purged or liquidated.

Here Shepilov shares a memory, when Voznesenskii wrote to Stalin, “You know I’m not guilty of anything, so why am I in prison?” Stalin asked Khrushchev, Bulganin, and Malenkov to visit Voznesenskii and talk to him. Khrushchev was very much anti him, as Stalin had thought very high of him. Voznesenskii jumped on his feet on their arrival and exclaimed, Comrades, you have come… Bulganin approached him, “We are no Comrades of yours!” He hit him so hard on the ear that he fell on the ground. (Page 390)

So, finally who prepared the infamous speech? Shepilov says, when Khrushchev started reading the speech, he could make out many phrases, subsections were written by him. Even Pospelov, a ‘fan’ of Stalin was a suspect writer, but seems was mix of many writers, including dictation by Khrushchev.

On foreign policy, where Molotov was replaced with Shepilov later, as per Khrushchev’s choice, Shepilov praises Khrushchev’s foreign policy, where both of them had visited Yugoslavia, where Stalin had ‘erred’ but Khrushchev wanted to make peace!! Tito was dictating terms for new USSR-Yugoslavia relation, where Shepilov and Kardelji, the ideologue and leader of Eurocommunism. Khrushchev confided to Shepilov, “He (Tito) simply not accept our guidance, our leading role in the Communist world.” (Page 392)

We know, even Mao had role, initially, in re-establishing Tito and thus one of the measures in destroying Socialism itself, by capitalist restoration ideologically as well as in practice. Enver Hoxha held Marxism Leninism and socialist construction in USSR, under the leadership of CPSU and Stalin till his last breadth.

Khrushchev invited Tito to Moscow and in consultation with Shepilov removed Molotov as minister of foreign affairs, and made Shepilov the minister, to please Tito, as Molotov was taken as staunch Stalinist, and Tito wanted end of all which resembled Stalin’s era. (Page 393)

Back to the so-called Antiparty group, a meeting of the Presidium was called. Shepilov says he was not aware of the venue and time of the meeting before hand, not even who invited and what was the subject of the meeting. When everyone was in place, Khrushchev wanted to say something but Malenkov interrupted, “… Comrades, I propose that before we begin with these issues, we discuss Comrade Khrushchev’s violations of the principles of collective leadership. We simply cannot go on like this. In this view, I suggest that it would be inappropriate for Khrushchev to chair this meeting, nor should I act as chairman in this place.” It seemed Khrushchev knew everything. Serov kept him informed.

Bulganin chaired the meeting, started it with, “Comrades, what is there to say? You know all the facts. It is intolerable. We are heading for disaster. Everything is being decided by one man. We’ve returned to the past.”

Shepilov was very blunt. Besides everything what he had to say, he also said, “Khrushchev has stepped into Stalin’s bast shoes and is plodding along, ……  And he does so ignorantly and wrongly, to boot.” Counter allegations were also made by Khrushchev.  Serov played the major role in diffusing the matter and let Khrushchev continue. “He was a despicable odious type, formerly one of Beria’s deputies. Yet he became KGP head and Khrushchev’s favorite.” (Pge 394-95)

It is also clear from this interview that Khrushchev and cliques knew everything in advance and had managed to control the anger of the “Antiparty” faction. That was the end of Antiparty resistance.

Workers of the world unite:When I say or give slogan or a war cry “Workers of the World Unite, (you have nothing to lose but your chains)”, what do I mean? This slogan must have been repeated, written, in all the languages, world over Zillions of times, echoing what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels said in Communist Manifesto. 

Originally in German: Proletarier aller Länder vereinigt Euch!, literally “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”, and later in English as quoted above. “Workers of all the land unite” or “workers and the oppressed people of the world unite” are variations of the same slogan, but leading to same meaning and same call for the unity and struggle. 

I understand, firstly, that our enemy is a class (not an individual or a group), today, capitalist class, whose sole aim is to seek surplus value ruthlessly, increase the relative surplus value even at the cost of my life (absolute surplus value is constant for a given time and in a given society). My brother or sister working for another capitalist, after selling his or her labor power, faces the similar exploitation and repression, if resists, and the state power comes to help the capitalist and not him or her. The capitalist class is common enemy of the working class, irrespective of which country he or she is from. It also makes no difference if the religion, caste, color, creed, gender are different. 

Second, my emancipation from the capitalist class (not only the present master, be capitalist, financier, or state where I am working) is possible only if we, as a class, unite and struggle for a common aim, following a well planned programs, overthrow the capitalist class and its state, establish our own state (a temporary measure) and control all the production and circulation! 

And, finally, even during the interim period, till revolution has not succeeded and socialist society is not formed, we the workers must remain united, as that would make our struggle streamlined and our lives, as well, be free of our internal fight, on behest of the enemy class!

Farmers of UP are welcome into the fold of the Farmers Agitation, spreading all over India! These farmers have shaken Sangh and its overt, covert outfits, including BJP government and its departments.

The alliance of the working class and the peasants (poor, marginalized, small, middle farmers) and other oppressed people will shake the very foundation of capitalism itself.

Secularism, democratic rights, equality (legal, social, in getting opportunity, etc.) in any form of capitalism, including Social Democracy, is dependent on the “need” of the capitalist class. Whenever it has crisis, the crisis of low/no/negative profit rate and that of arising out of working class resistance, it uses religion, caste, color, nationalism to disintegrate the proletarian class unity and blunt its revolutionary fire and onward march.

Now opportunity is arising to smash fascism, stop plunder of the farmers, workers!

(An article about the farmers of UP trying to come to Delhi: https://www.ndtv.com/noida-news/farmers-sit-in-at-noida-delhi-border-key-route-to-delhi-closed-for-vehicles-2332981)

103 YEARS OF GREAT OCTOBER AND ITS VALUE
O. Statsky

Today, 103 years after the accomplishment of this world-historic event, we turn back and ask where is our state of workers and peasants, where is the dictatorship of the proletariat, where did it go, where are the socialist gains of October ?

These are all very painful questions that hurt to the very heart, but our task, as Marxists, is to avoid naked emotions, blind moralism (behind which lies often lie), we need to rely on facts, on reality itself, to study the subject not in its form, but according to its content. This is how you can correctly, scientifically, give answers to these pressing questions.

Nevertheless, let us again ask ourselves the question, what was the October Revolution, whose brainchild?

October, first of all, is the great creativity of the masses, the creativity of the proletariat and its ally, the working peasantry, in transforming the world. There is no need to perceive the history of mankind as the history of heroes, there is no need to deliberately exalt, elevate any person to the demiurge of history, for it is created, first of all, by the masses, classes. Now in the labor movement there is a very widespread tendency towards Socialist-Revolutionaryism, towards populism in terms of understanding the attitude of the individual to history. For the layman, history is created not by classes, huge masses and their creativity, but by concrete people, we will not be afraid even of this word – “Atlanteans” who, in their own subjective imagination, decide the fate of people. But this is a fundamentally wrong approach, fundamentally wrong! An example of the fallacy of this approach, the Socialist-Revolutionary and populist approach, the consequence of which is individual terror, there is the murder of the Tsar of the Russian Empire Alexander II, after whose death, according to the populists, something should have improved in the state. But nothing of the kind happened, the next Tsar Alexander III came, after whose arrival the situation did not change, everything in general remained the same, and in some moments – even worse, namely the tsarist regime became even more ferocious, even more oppressive. There is only one conclusion – the destruction of idealistic views on the world, the need for a correct, Marxist understanding of the role of the individual in history! and in some moments even worse, namely the tsarist regime became even more ferocious, even more oppressive. There is only one conclusion here – the destruction of idealistic views of the world, the need for a correct, Marxist understanding of the role of the individual in history! and in some moments it was even worse, namely, the tsarist regime became even more ferocious, even more oppressive. There is only one conclusion here – the destruction of idealistic views on the world, the need for a correct, Marxist understanding of the role of the individual in history!

But what is the specificity of the October proletarian revolution, how does it differ from bourgeois revolutions?

The main difference between the socialist revolution and the bourgeois one is that the exploiting formations, for example, capitalism from feudalism, arose in the depths of the old system, they left it directly, transformed the economic basis, and only then did the superstructure change, i.e. the victory of the bourgeois revolution. In a socialist revolution, the specificity is different, socialism does not grow itself out of the old society, here a completely different process takes place, namely, first the proletariat takes power, and only then begins to build socialism. The only thing that drives the socialist revolution on the basis is an increase in the quantitative increase in productive forces, an increase in the class of wage workers – the proletariat. Those. during the transition period to socialism, the superstructure, in the form of proletarian power, becomes dominant over the basis, directly dependent on the will of the proletarian vanguard – the party. And only with the building of socialism – the basis again becomes a decisive force, in which the transition period from capitalism to communism begins. It is the lack of understanding of this point that prompts many aesthetic “Marxists” to delve into and look for the reasons for the collapse of the USSR in the economic basis, shouting all sorts of fables – “marketability in the economy leads to capitalism, it became the cause of the degeneration of the party nomenklatura!” Of course, it cannot be denied that the basis even during the transitional period to socialism has a tremendous influence on public consciousness, but after all, abolishing the proletarian gains and stopping the process of building socialism, turning to the return of capitalism is possible only through counter-revolution, i.e. replacing the superstructure (political power) from the dictatorship of the proletariat to the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, but, of course, we cannot deny that counter-revolution comes from the base, but takes place in the superstructure and only then destroys the socialist gains in the base. And this counter-revolution in the superstructure took place in March 1953, it overthrew the dictatorship of the proletariat, established the dictatorship of the new bourgeoisie in the country, namely the dictatorship of the oligarchy of the Central Committee of the CPSU, as one of the forms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, vulgarly covered with a red flag. After that, a period of destruction of the gains of building socialism began, the systematic destruction of the Soviet Union. And this counter-revolution in the superstructure took place in March 1953, it overthrew the dictatorship of the proletariat, established the dictatorship of the new bourgeoisie in the country, namely the dictatorship of the oligarchy of the Central Committee of the CPSU, as one of the forms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, vulgarly covered with a red flag. After that, a period of destruction of the gains of building socialism began, the systematic destruction of the Soviet Union. And this counter-revolution in the superstructure took place in March 1953, it overthrew the dictatorship of the proletariat, established the dictatorship of the new bourgeoisie in the country, namely the dictatorship of the oligarchy of the Central Committee of the CPSU, as one of the forms of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, vulgarly covered with a red flag. After that, a period of destruction of the gains of building socialism began, the systematic destruction of the Soviet Union.

Yet, looking at the past and the future, what is the significance of October and its conquests for us now?

First of all, this is a rich practical experience of building socialism, this is a warning to the next generations of the social revolution against making mistakes that the Bolsheviks made, this is a vast subject for research that has yet to be studied in a truly scientific way.

October was, is and will be for us, Marxists, a great ideological inspirer, looking at which we are proud of our great ancestors, for our once mighty working class, for the Bolshevik Party, which was able to create a state of workers and peasants for the first time in the world.

Long live the Great October Socialist Revolution!
Long live its great leader – the Bolshevik Party!
Happy holiday, comrades!

“British Union of Fascists” aim is “Restoring Faith in Fascism”!

Chilling or not, but a reality, the world proletarian class is facing, with different intensity! Remember, the rise of Fascist Party of Italy and its later versions are from the womb of capitalism!

Head of the NBU, Raikes: “there are more extreme policies which the NBU advocates; a removal of all “politically correct” police chiefs, reinstatement of the death penalty and the deportation of all illegal immigrants.”

“Raikes continued: “Democracy has failed. It’s a sham. We would hold a referendum every five years to ask the people if they wanted the fascist government to continue or not.””…running of the NHS will be handed over to the people working in the NHS,..” Different word for privatisation!

“…Schools are no longer about teaching and informing, they are all about de-programming and re-programming.”

Undoubtedly yes, the first thing the right wing parties or fascists, when come to power, they try to change historical facts and education system!

The author conclude, “…is Fascism about to make a comeback in the UK? Judging by the prevailing climate and social attitudes, it’s unlikely we’ll see the NBU’s flag flying brazenly across the nation.”

Very childish conclusion! So was that of the Liberals, Progressive forces and even some socialists of Germany! The world is in turmoil due deeper capitalist contradictions, coronavirus pandemic, unprecedented economic crisis, the gigantic miseries of the working class and the oppressed people. From this crossroad, only two roads bifurcate; the successful proletarian revolution or fascism, with whatever form!

Wake up, politically educate yourself, unite and resist!


( Full article on RT: https://www.rt.com/uk/499685-uk-new-fascist-party/)

“In the last three decades, a recession has come and gone somewhere in the world every couple of years, according to the IMF. “[Recessions] are always looming,” …. Countries like the UK, US, France and Germany have had two or three each since the start of the 1990s. But other advanced economies like Italy, Japan, Portugal and Greece have reached half a dozen “recession episodes” in the same time. Globally, economies are in recession 10-12% of the time. Economic booms are also equally frequent.”
The last line seems to be incorrect data. Dialectical law does not imply that “unity of opposite” is always in reversal of process, like ping pong or table tennis game or like waves between two opposing magnetic poles.
“But not all recessions are the same. …..” A bogus half truth! Recessions are regular, occurs at irregular intervals (earlier at more regular intervals), with different intensities, nowadays more frequent, taking shape of chronicity, inevitable as they germinate in the womb of capitalism.
Which section or more aptly, which class is more hit? Naturally, the working class and the oppressed people are the worst hit, as the capitalist class offloads its burden on them. The petty bourgeois class is also hit, many of them are swallowed by the big capitalists in intensified cut-throat competition, leading to changes in laws of merger, labor laws favouring the proletarian class, underhand deals, unconstitutional acts, state (including judiciary, media, police, insurance companies, banks, etc) favouring them, sabotage, shifting of finance capital where profit is higher. End result is more concentration of wealth in hands of few, rise of inequality and mass ignorance, pauperisation of the people.
On unemployment: More or less unemployment is meaningless, even if we assume the data collected and provided is right. Workers are employed back after the intensity of recession becomes low or dies down, or even if boom follows forgets conveniently the period the workers remain unemployed, their families suffer immensely, the children face malnutrition, leading to permanent scar on their physical and mental development. The workers, in the meantime, work on less than minimum wages to survive or even perish! This devastation is already taking place and will not be lessened, whether recovery is so called V-Shaped or in other shape!
What we need to remember, capitalism is the most inefficient system to look after the people in crisis (in fact in normal days as well), manmade or natural. It can’t avert or reduce the crisis, in fact it increases the crisis, like imposing terrorism, war on the people to divert the main issues, increase profit rate and loot, maintain its hegemony, control world market in its own interest.
“Lower inflation is usually a good thing for people who hold onto their jobs in a recession. It increases their purchasing power. Inflation is currently 0.65% in the US and 0.8% in the UK,..” India has different story, whether it is above 6%, curtsy monopoly pricing, even by the government, like on petroleum products, GST reaching above 18%, and aided by it.
Look at the stupidity, “Hardened by the effects of the last recession, central banks around the world have committed to stimulus plans worth a total of $4tn (£3.07tn) in the form of injections of liquidity and “quantitative easing”, as well as lowering interest rates….”! Why did they were not hardened by the earlier recessions and acted in last recession!!!
And look at this, “Bentham, a heterodox economist who considers herself someone who questions the mainstream …. says that now is the time to fix parts of the economy we don’t like as part of the recovery. “As a woman, things like childcare, caring for sick relatives and lack of funding for social services is a massive drag on the productivity of women. ….”” The capitalist class needs such apologists to support them, numb the analysts, revolutionary forces.

In next recession, we will have many such more humanists, economists, preachers to look after the suffering masses as mothers, guardians, semi gods; but in final analysis are bourgeois agents!
We, the world proletarian class do not need to be looked after, we are not demanding employment and health services but fighting to take over our fate in our own hands, the state and the means of production, so that we all can produce in scientific manner unitedly and distribute them among ourselves.
Capitalism must be buried to save, liberate the proletarian class as well as the Earth, with its full ability to sustain life!

(The quotes are from this article: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200810-is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-good-or-bad-recession)