IGaGGGGGGGGG4G#HHTable of Contents
Revelations from the Russian Archives2
Part A: Internal Workings of the Soviet System3
Repression and Terror4
Stalin in Control4
Attacks on Intelligentsia15
Attacks on Intelligentsia17
Attacks on Intelligentsia18
Jewish Antifascist Committee28
Part B: The Soviet Union and the United States34
American Famine Relief35
Soviet and American Communist Parties37
World War II40
American POWs and MIAs41
Cuban Missile Crisis47
This online brochure represents 25 documents from the Revelations from the Russian Archives exhibit at the Library of Congress, June 17-July 16, 1992. It consists of two parts, Part A: Internal Workings of the Soviet System, and Part B: The Soviet Union and the United States. Each part begins with a short introduction, followed by the translated documents (shown in shaded boxes with a double black line indicating the beginning and the end of the translation) and accompanying background information.
The Soviet archive documents are for the personal use of students, scholars, and the public. Any commercial publication of them is prohibited.
aving come to power in October 1917 by means of a coup dtat, Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks spent the next few years struggling to maintain their rule against widespread popular opposition. They had overthrown the provisional democratic government and were inherently hostile to any form of popular participation in politics. In the name of the revolutionary cause, they employed ruthless methods to suppress real or perceived political enemies. The small, elite group of Bolshevik revolutionaries which formed the core of the newly established Communist Party dictatorship ruled by decree, enforced with terror.
This tradition of tight centralization, with decisionmaking concentrated at the highest party levels, reached new dimensions under Joseph Stalin. As many of these archival documents show, there was little input from below. The party elite determined the goals of the state and the means of achieving them in almost complete isolation from the people. They believed that the interests of the individual were to be sacrificed to those of the state, which was advancing a sacred social task. Stalins revolution from above sought to build socialism by means of forced collectivization and industrialization, programs that entailed tremendous human suffering and loss of life.
Although this tragic episode in Soviet history at least had some economic purpose, the police terror inflicted upon the party and the population in the 1930s, in which millions of innocent people perished, had no rationale beyond assuring Stalins absolute dominance. By the time the Great Terror ended, Stalin had subjected all aspects of Soviet society to strict partystate control, not tolerating even the slightest expression of local initiative, let alone political unorthodoxy. The Stalinist leadership felt especially threatened by the intelligentsia, whose creative efforts were thwarted through the strictest censorship; by religious groups, who were persecuted and driven underground; and by nonRussian nationalities, many of whom were deported en masse to Siberia during World War II because Stalin questioned their loyalty.
Although Stalins successors also persecuted writers and dissidents, they used police terror more sparingly to coerce the population, and they sought to gain some popular support by relaxing political controls and introducing economic incentives. Nonetheless, strict centralization continued and eventually led to the economic decline, inefficiency, and apathy that characterized the 1970s and 1980s, and contributed to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Mikhail Gorbachevs program of perestroika was a reaction to this situation, but its success was limited by his reluctance to abolish the bastions of Soviet powerthe party, the police, and the centralized economic systemuntil he was forced to do so after the attempted coup in August 1991. By that time, however, it was too late to hold either the Communist leadership or the Soviet Union together. After seventyfour years of existence, the Soviet system crumbled.
To the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
On March 13 [of this year] the Military Tribunal of the Supreme Court condemned me to death by shooting. I ask for clemency.
My guilt before the party and the country is great, but I have a passionate desire and, I think, enough strength to expiate it.
I ask you to believe that I am not a completely corrupt person. In my life there were many years of noble, honest work for the revolution. I can still prove that even after having committed so many crimes, it is possible to become an honest person and to die with honor.
I ask that you spare my life.
March 13, 1938
[signed] A.I. Rykov
[stamp] True copy
Repression and Terror:
Stalin in Control
During the second half of the 1920s, Joseph Stalin set the stage for gaining absolute power by employing police repression against opposition elements within the Communist Party. The machinery of coercion had previously been used only against opponents of Bolshevism, not against party members themselves. The first victims were Politburo members Leon Trotskii, Grigorii Zinovev, and Lev Kamenev, who were defeated and expelled from the party in late 1927. Stalin then turned against Nikolai Bukharin, who was denounced as a right opposition, for opposing his policy of forced collectivization and rapid industrialization at the expense of the peasantry.
Stalin had eliminated all likely potential opposition to his leadership by late 1934 and was the unchallenged leader of both party and state. Nevertheless, he proceeded to purge the party rank and file and to terrorize the entire country with widespread arrests and executions. During the ensuing Great Terror, which included the notorious show trials of Stalins former Bolshevik opponents in 19361938 and reached its peak in 1937 and 1938, millions of innocent Soviet citizens were sent off to labor camps or killed in prison.
By the time the terror subsided in 1939, Stalin had managed to bring both the party and the public to a state of complete submission to his rule. Soviet society was so atomized and the people so fearful of reprisals that mass arrests were no longer necessary. Stalin ruled as absolute dictator of the Soviet Union throughout World War II and until his death in March 1953.
GRIGOREVA-KHATUNTSEV, Nikitina [stenographer]
BUKHARIN. Let me relate to you how I explained this matter. Comrade Mikoian says the following: On the most basic question, he, Bukharin, has differences of opinion with the party: In essence, he stuck to his old positions. This is untrue. In no way have I stuck to my previous positionsnot on industrialization, not on collectivization, [and] not on village restructuring in general. But with regards to stimuli in agriculture, this question was not clear to me until the matter came round to the legislation on Soviet trade. I consider the entire problem, as a whole, was resolved after the introduction of laws on Soviet trade. Prior to this, this problem, very important but not all-embracing, was not clear to me. When this matter became pertinent to product turnover in [illegible] and Soviet_.
[intervening pages of transcript missing]
I would like to make one more remark. Apparently Mikoian has said: How, then, are you not responsible, as you say, for [illegible] this whole school sits? I do bear responsibility for this. But the question involves the degree of responsibility; it is a matter of the quality of this responsibility. During the process of confrontation [and cross-examination], I told Kaganovich that I am responsible for the death of Tomskii because, in 1928-29, had I not headed up groups of rightists, it is possible that Tomskiis fate might also have been different. I bear responsibility for this fact. However, it is necessary to establish the degree and nature of this responsibility. Responsibility for what transpired with these youth over an indefinite number of years qualitatively and quantitatively differs from, lets say, the responsibility of a person who orders another person to do something and that person carries out the order. I am not shifting responsibility from myself; more than anyone else, I accept the gravity of this responsibility. However, I would like to say that the measure of responsibility, the characterization of this responsibility, is absolutely specific in nature, and it should be expressed as I have expressed it here.
[intervening pages of transcript missing]
[_] two people? This is an obvious lie. How could Kulikov offer two versions in answer to this absolutely and exceptionally terrible question? How could Sokolnikov advance two ideas at the same time?
Repression and Terror:
Kirov Murder and Purges
The murder of Sergei Kirov on December 1, 1934, set off a chain of events that culminated in the Great Terror of the 1930s. Kirov was a full member of the ruling Politburo, leader of the Leningrad party apparatus, and an influential member of the ruling elite. His concern for the welfare of the workers in Leningrad and his skill as an orator had earned him considerable popularity. Some party members had even approached him secretly with the proposal that he take over as general secretary.
It is doubtful that Kirov represented an immediate threat to Stalins predominance, but he did disagree with some of Stalins policies, and Stalin had begun to doubt the loyalty of members of the Leningrad apparatus. In need of a pretext for launching a broad purge, Stalin evidently decided that murdering Kirov would be expedient. The murder was carried out by a young assassin named Leonid Nikolaev. Recent evidence has indicated that Stalin and the NKVD planned the crime.
Stalin then used the murder as an excuse for introducing draconian laws against political crime and for conducting a witchhunt for alleged conspirators against Kirov. Over the next fourandahalf years, millions of innocent party members and others were arrested many of them for complicity in the vast plot that supposedly lay behind the killing of Kirov. From the Soviet point of view, his murder was probably the crime of the century because it paved the way for the Great Terror. Stalin never visited Leningrad again and directed one of his most vicious postWar purges against the city Russias historic window to the West.
[intervening pages of transcript missing]
STALIN: You should not and do not have the right to slander yourself. This is a most criminal thing.
MOLOTOV: That which you have stated concerning the famine is simply an anti-Soviet thing.
VOICES FROM THE ROOM: A counterrevolutionary thing!
STALIN: You must come around to our position. Trotskii with his disciples, Zinovev and Kamenev, at one time worked with Lenin, and now these people have negotiated an agreement with Hitler. After this, can we label such things as shocking? Absolutely not. After everything that has happened to these gentlemen, former comrades, who have negotiated an agreement with Hitler, a sellout of the USSR, there is nothing surprising in human affairs. Everything has to be proven and not [just] replied to using exclamation points and question marks.
MOLOTOV: And anti-Soviet matters should not be engaged in.
MOLOTOV: Let us call a recess, comrades.
Transport Department of the Central
Committee of the All-Union Communist
Party (of Bolsheviks) to Comrade Evgenev
On the Analytical Study of the Confidential
Letter of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist
Party (of Bolsheviks) about Lessons Learned from the Events
Surrounding the Heinous Murder of Comrade Kirov1
Study of the letter of the Central Committee began with an instructional conference with the chiefs of political sections supervising workers in the administration of the Political Section for Land Transport and the party organizers of the Moscow [transportation] hub. The conference was held January 20 by the supervisor of the Political Section for Land Transport.
On January 22 study of the letter began at hub conferences of party organizers and the active party membership of branch political sections; these meetings were held by the chief of the Political Section for Land Transport and the deputy and members of the Party Collegium for Land Transport.
On January 25 study of the letter began in party committees with active party members and subsequently at closed party meetings.
For study of the letter at the closed party meetings, the Political Section for Land Transport appointed party workers as leaders in 46 party organizations.
The party organizations for transport received a great deal of help from territorial party organizations, especially in Moscow and in Tula and Gorkii as well; those organizations helped in the guidance of workers in the political sections and sent their workers to meetings of railway party organizations for study of the Central Committee letter.
In a vast majority of the party transport organizations, study of the Central Committee letter proceeded at the highest ideological-political level, showing the political strength and uncompromising nature of party organizations in the struggle for the overall party line, as well as their solidarity around the Stalin Central Committee and the party leader, Comrade Stalin. The letter was heard with particular attention and exceptional interest at all the meetings.
The reading of the letter was accompanied by commentary and an emphasis on its exceptional clarity, precision and Stalinist style.
In the majority of organizations, the closed meetings were well prepared and distinguished by very large attendance and exceptional political activity.
At the Voitovich Plant, for example, of 280 persons who could have attended 272 were present and 93 spoke. At the Krasnyi Put Plant, 60 of 73 persons attended and 18 spoke. In the 22nd Railway Region (Ranenburg), 19 of 24 communists attended and 11 spoke. In the First Section, 98 to 100 percent took part in the party meetings.
Among communists who were not present at the closed party meetings because of illness or assignment, supplementary meetings were held to study the letter.
Party organizers visited intermediate outposts for study of the letter with individual communists.
Individual party organizations conducted poor preparations and therefore study of the letter proceeded at a low political level. For example, at Steam Engine Station Moskva-1, study of the Central Committee letter at a meeting of the party committee and active membership missed the principal political meaning of the letter and debate was limited to minor faults in composition. The same thing occurred at the party meeting of the 18th Railway Region. At the Kashir Repair Shop, the double-dealing of former Trotskyites was not exposed to its full depth. Therefore, a second study of the letter was conducted in these organizations.
At this meeting it was also indicated that the work being conducted was only the beginning of accomplishing the basic tasks stemming from the Central Committee letter.
This especially concerns party organizations and individual communists at small field stations where study of the Central Committee letter was less vigorous, where existing scandals have still [not] been exposed and where revolutionary vigilance, preparedness for struggle and the ideological political work of communists is not yet at the necessary level.
The meeting discussed in particular detail and provided concrete instruction on the question of improving propaganda work.
At present, study of the Central Committee letter has begun in komsomol2 organizations, in relation to which the political section discloses certain facts concerning party organizers not providing required leadership for this study and sometimes not even attending komsomol meetings for study of the letter. The political sections of [labor] branches and party organizers were notified of the impermissability of such happenings, and a proposal was made to the political section chiefs that they personally accompany the active members of komsomol organizations in study of the Central Committee letter and single out proven communists and responsible workers for study of the letter in all komsomol organizations to ensure an ideologically high political level for komsomol meetings in the study of the Central Committee letter.
Chief of the Political Section for
1Kirov, a prominent party leader, was murdered December 1, 1934; this event marked the beginning of the Great Terror.
2komsomol [kommunisticheskii soiuz molodezhi] is the acronym for the Communist Youth League.
TO THE POLITBURO
1. To Comrade Stalin.
2. Copies to all members of the Politburo.
For some time now, particularly during the period of the Genoa Conference, the Moscow representative of the American Telegraph Agency United Press citizen Gullinger has started sending abroad telegrams tendentiously reflecting events in Russia. This has been particularly so in his telegrams on the removal of church properties and in telegrams that have anticipated the united front of Germany and Russia at the Genoa Conference. We have repeatedly brought to his attention the distortion of the facts permitted by him in his telegrams; we have not let pass several of his telegrams, while in others we have expunged the particularly tendentious passages that might serve as the basis for propagating false rumors about Russia abroad. In response to this, citizen Gullinger has begun to slip into his telegrams phrases about the tightening of censorship in Moscow. On April 26, he brought for transmission a telegram, a copy of which is enclosed with this letter. This telegram was not let through; nevertheless, Gullinger sent it, apparently through some mission, as we learned from the response he received to his suggestion.
I feel that it is intolerable to permit such crooks to live in Moscow and to continue to do such dirty tricks. I suggest that he be deported immediately.
Since it is necessary to deport him immediately, I would request that the question be resolved by Thursday by an arrangement over the telephone. (A copy of this letter has been circulated to all members of the Politburo).
With Communist Greetings
Stamp (bottom right): Secret Archive of the Central Committee
of the All-Union Communist Party
Inventory No 290; Convocation; F-GR;
From the beginning of their regime, the Bolsheviks relied on a strong secret, or political, police to buttress their rule. The first secret police, called the Cheka, was established in December 1917 as a temporary institution to be abolished once Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks had consolidated their power. The original Cheka, headed by Feliks Dzerzhinskii, was empowered only to investigate counterrevolutionary crimes. But it soon acquired powers of summary justice and began a campaign of terror against the propertied classes and enemies of Bolshevism. Although many Bolsheviks viewed the Cheka with repugnance and spoke out against its excesses, its continued existence was seen as crucial to the survival of the new regime.
Once the Civil War (191821) ended and the threat of domestic and foreign opposition had receded, the Cheka was disbanded. Its functions were transferred in 1922 to the State Political Directorate, or GPU, which was initially less powerful than its predecessor. Repression against the population lessened. But under party leader Joseph Stalin, the secret police again acquired vast punitive powers and in 1934 was renamed the Peoples Comissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD. No longer subject to party control or restricted by law, the NKVD became a direct instrument of Stalin for use against the party and the country during the Great Terror of the 1930s.
The secret police remained the most powerful and feared Soviet institution throughout the Stalinist period. Although the postStalin secret police, the KGB, no longer inflicted such largescale purges, terror, and forced depopulation on the peoples of the Soviet Union, it continued to be used by the Kremlin leadership to suppress political and religious dissent. The head of the KGB was a key figure in resisting the democratization of the late 1980s and in organizing the attempted putsch of August 1991.
To the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the
All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)
We appeal to you, asking you to pay a minimum of attention to our request.
We are prisoners who are returning from the Solovetsky concentration camp because of our poor health. We went there full of energy and good health, and now we are returning as invalids, broken and crippled emotionally and physically. We are asking you to draw your attention to the arbitrary use of power and the violence that reign at the Solovetsky concentration camp in Kemi and in all sections of the concentration camp. It is difficult for a human being even to imagine such terror, tyranny, violence, and lawlessness. When we went there, we could not conceive of such a horror, and now we, crippled ourselves, together with several thousands who are still there, appeal to the ruling center of the Soviet state to curb the terror that reigns there. As though it werent enough that the Unified State Political Directorate [OGPU] without oversight and due process sends workers and peasants there who are by and large innocent (we are not talking about criminals who deserve to be punished), the former tsarist penal servitude system in comparison to Solovky had 99% more humanity, fairness, and legality. [_]
People die like flies, i.e., they die a slow and painful death; we repeat that all this torment and suffering is placed only on the shoulders of the proletariat without money, i.e., on workers who, we repeat, were unfortunate to find themselves in the period of hunger and destruction accompanying the events of the October Revolution, and who committed crimes only to save themselves and their families from death by starvation; they have already borne the punishment for these crimes, and the vast majority of them subsequently chose the path of honest labor. Now because of their past, for whose crime they have already paid, they are fired from their jobs. Yet, the main thing is that the entire weight of this scandalous abuse of power, brute violence, and lawlessness that reign at Solovky and other sections of the OGPU concentration camp is placed on the shoulders of workers and peasants; others, such as counterrevolutionaries, profiteers and so on, have full wallets and have set themselves up and live in clover in the Soviet State, while next to them, in the literal meaning of the word, the penniless proletariat dies from hunger, cold, and back-breaking 14-16 hour days under the tyranny and lawlessness of inmates who are the agents and collaborators of the State Political Directorate [GPU].
The Soviet system of forced labor camps was first established in 1919 under the Cheka, but it was not until the early 1930s that the camp population reached significant numbers. By 1934 the GULAG, or Main Directorate for Corrective Labor Camps, then under the Chekas successor organization the NKVD, had several million inmates. Prisoners included murderers, thieves, and other common criminalsalong with political and religious dissenters. The GULAG, whose camps were located mainly in remote regions of Siberia and the Far North, made significant contributions to the Soviet economy in the period of Joseph Stalin. GULAG prisoners constructed the White SeaBaltic Canal, the MoscowVolga Canal, the BaikalAmur main railroad line, numerous hydroelectric stations, and strategic roads and industrial enterprises in remote regions. GULAG manpower was also used for much of the countrys lumbering and for the mining of coal, copper, and gold.
Stalin constantly increased the number of projects assigned to the NKVD, which led to an increasing reliance on its labor. The GULAG also served as a source of workers for economic projects independent of the NKVD, which contracted its prisoners out to various economic enterprises.
Conditions in the camps were extremely harsh. Prisoners received inadequate food rations and insufficient clothing, which made it difficult to endure the severe weather and the long working hours; sometimes the inmates were physically abused by camp guards. As a result, the death rate from exhaustion and disease in the camps was high. After Stalin died in 1953, the GULAG population was reduced significantly, and conditions for inmates somewhat improved. Forced labor camps continued to exist, although on a small scale, into the Gorbachev period, and the government even opened some camps to scrutiny by journalists and human rights activists. With the advance of democratization, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience all but disappeared from the camps.
Addendum to point 20, Politburo minutes no. 94
of April 20, 1931
ON FORCED COLLECTIVIZATION OF LIVESTOCK
[Handwritten line:] Resolution of the Central Committee [TsK] of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) [VKP(b)], Mar 26, 1932
In many regions of our country we can observe the collectivization of cattle and smaller livestock by forcible means. This practice is a flagrant violation of repeatedly issued directives by the partys TsK, as well as of the provisions contained in the statute of the agricultural artel.
The TsK VKP(b) stresses that only enemies of the kolkhozes would permit forced collectivization of livestock from individual kolkhozniks. The TsK emphasizes that forced requisition of kolkhozniks cattle and smaller livestock is contrary to the partys political program. The goal of the party is that every member of the kolkhoz have a cow, some smaller livestock and poultry. [_]
The TsK of the VKP(b) proposes to all party, Soviet and kolkhoz organizations:
1.Cease all attempts of forced collectivization of cattle and small livestock belonging to the kolkhozniks and expel from the party those guilty of violating TsK directives;
2.Organize aid for the members of the kolkhozes who have no cattle nor small livestock to purchase and raise young animals for their own personal needs.
Signed: TsK VKP(b)
In November 1927, Joseph Stalin launched his revolution from above by setting two extraordinary goals for Soviet domestic policy: rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture. His aims were to erase all traces of the capitalism that had entered under the New Economic Policy and to transform the Soviet Union as quickly as possible, without regard to cost, into an industrialized and completely socialist state.
Stalins First FiveYear Plan, adopted by the party in 1928, called for rapid industrialization of the economy, with an emphasis on heavy industry. It set goals that were unrealistica 250 percent increase in overall industrial development and a 330 percent expansion in heavy industry alone. All industry and services were nationalized, managers were given predetermined output quotas by central planners, and trade unions were converted into mechanisms for increasing worker productivity. Many new industrial centers were developed, particularly in the Ural Mountains, and thousands of new plants were built throughout the country. But because Stalin insisted on unrealistic production targets, serious problems soon arose. With the greatest share of investment put into heavy industry, widespread shortages of consumer goods occurred.
The First FiveYear Plan also called for transforming Soviet agriculture from predominantly individual farms into a system of large state collective farms. The Communist regime believed that collectivization would improve agricultural productivity and would produce grain reserves sufficiently large to feed the growing urban labor force. The anticipated surplus was to pay for industrialization. Collectivization was further expected to free many peasants for industrial work in the cities and to enable the party to extend its political dominance over the remaining peasantry.
Stalin focused particular hostility on the wealthier peasants, or kulaks. About one million kulak households (some five million people) were deported and never heard from again. Forced collectivization of the remaining peasants, which was often fiercely resisted, resulted in a disastrous disruption of agricultural productivity and a catastrophic famine in 193233. Although the First FiveYear Plan called for the collectivization of only twenty percent of peasant households, by 1940 approximately ninetyseven percent of all peasant households had been collectivized and private ownership of property almost entirely eliminated. Forced collectivization helped achieve Stalins goal of rapid industrialization, but the human costs were incalculable.
Letter from Gorky to Stalin
Dear Iosif Vissarionovich:
The emigre and bourgeois press bases its perception of Soviet reality almost entirely on the negative information which is published by our own press for self-criticism with the aim of education and agitation. The products of these individual journalists of the bourgeois press are not as numerous and harmful as they are made out to be, in contrast to our own release of self-revealing facts and conclusions.
By strongly emphasizing facts of a negative nature, we open ourselves up to our enemies, providing them an enormous amount of material, which they in turn very aptly use against us, compromising our party and our leadership in the eyes of Europes proletariat, compromising the very principle of the dictatorship of the working class, because the proletariat of Europe and America feeds on the bourgeois newspapers for the most partand for this reason it cannot grasp our countrys cultural-revolutionary progress, our successes and achievements in industrialization, the enthusiasm of our working masses, and of their influence on the impoverished peasantry.
It stands to reason, I do not think we can positively influence the attitude which the bourgeoisie has already formed towards the Union of Soviets, and I do know that European conditions are zealously raising the revolutionary consciousness of the European proletariat.
I also know that the one-sidedness of our treatment of realitycreated by usexerts an extremely unhealthy influence on our young people.
In their letters, and in their conversations with me, it seems that todays youth displays an extremely pessimistic mood. This mood is very natural. Direct knowledge of reality of our youth from the central areas, especially our provinces is limited, insignificant. To acquaint themselves with what is going on they turn to the newspapers.
It is furthermore imperative to put the propaganda of atheism on solid ground. You wont achieve much with the weapons of Marx and materialism, as we have seen. Materialism and religion are two different planes and they dont coincide. If a fool speaks from the heavens and the sage from a factorythey wont understand one another. The sage needs to hit the fool with his stick, with his weapon.
For this reason, there should be courses set up at the Communist Academy which would not only treat the history of religion, and mainly the history of the Christian church, i.e., the study of church history as politics.
The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in the schools. Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed.
The main target of the antireligious campaign in the 1920s and 1930s was the Russian Orthodox Church, which had the largest number of faithful. Nearly all of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited. By 1939 only about 500 of over 50,000 churches remained open.
After Nazi Germanys attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, Joseph Stalin revived the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify patriotic support for the war effort. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. But in 1959 Nikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12,000 churches. By 1985 fewer than 7,000 churches remained active. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB.
We need to know the fathers of the church, the apologists of Christianity, especially indispensable to the study of the history of Catholicism, the most powerful and intellectual church organization whose political significance is quite clear. We need to know the history of church schisms, heresies, the Inquisition, the religious wars, etc. Every quotation by a believer is easily countered with dozens of theological quotations which contradict it.
We cannot do without an edition of the Bible with critical commentaries from the Tubingen school and books on criticism of biblical texts, which could bring a very useful confusion into the minds of believers.
There is a fine role to be played here by a popular book on the Taborites and the Husite movements. It would be useful
to introduce here The history of the peasant wars in Germany, the old book by Zimmerman. Carefully edited, it would be very useful for the minds.
It is necessary to produce a book on the churchs struggle against science.
Our youth is very poorly informed on questions of this nature. The tendency toward a religious disposition is very noticeablea natural result of developing individualism. At this time, as always, the young are in a hurry to find the definitive answer.
Campaigns against other religions were closely associated with particular nationalities, especially if they recognized a foreign religious authority such as the Pope. By 1926, the Roman Catholic Church had no bishops left in the Soviet Union, and by 1941 only two of the almost 1,200 churches that had existed in 1917, mostly in Lithuania, were still active. The Ukrainian Catholic Church (Uniate), linked with Ukrainian nationalism, was forcibly subordinated in 1946 to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches of Belorussia and Ukraine were suppressed twice, in the late 1920s and again in 1944.
Attacks on Judaism were endemic throughout the Soviet period, and the organized practice of Judaism became almost impossible. Protestant denominations and other sects were also persecuted. The AllUnion Council of Evangelical Christian Baptists, established by the government in 1944, typically was forced to confine its activities to the narrow act of worship and denied most opportunities for religious teaching and publication. Fearful of a panIslamic movement, the Soviet regime systematically suppressed Islam by force, until 1941. The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that year led the government to adopt a policy of official toleration of Islam while actively encouraging atheism among Muslims.
Sept. 15, 1919
Dear Aleksei Maksimovich [Gorky]!
I saw Tankov, and even before his visit and your letter, we had decided in the Central Committee [TSeka] to appoint Kamenev and Bukharin to review and confirm the arrests of the bourgeois intellectuals of the quasi-Constitutional Democrat [Kadet] stripe and to free everyone possible. For it is clear to us that here indeed mistakes were made.
It is also clear that, in general, the arrest of the Kadets and quasi-Kadets was the necessary and correct measure to take.
When I read your frank opinion on this subject, I recall a phrase you used during our conversations in London, Capri, and elsewhere that made a deep impression on me:
We artists are irresponsible people.
Just so! What gives you cause to say these improbably angry words? This cause, that dozens or even hundreds of these Kadet and quasi-Kadet little gentlemen will spend several days in prison in order to prevent conspiracies similar to the surrendering of the Krasnaia Gorka Fort, conspiracies that threaten the lives of thousands of workers and peasants!
What a tragedy, youre thinking! What an injustice! Intellectuals in prison for several days or even weeks just to prevent the massacre of tens of thousands of workers and peasants!
Artists are irresponsible people.
Recently I read [Korolenkos] War, Motherland, and Mankind, a pamphlet written in August 1917. Korolenko, you know, is the best of the quasi-Kadets, almost a Menshevik. But what a vile, despicable, rotten defense of the imperialist war, dressed up with sugar-coated phrases! A pitiful petty bourgeois captivated by bourgeois prejudices! For such gentlemen, 10,000,000 men killed during an imperialist war is a matter deserving support (by deeds, while mouthing sugar-coated phrases against the war), but the death of hundreds of thousands in a just civil war against landlords and capitalists evokes only aahs, oohs, sighs, and hysteria.
Attacks on Intelligentsia:
In the years immediately following their accession to power in 1917, the Bolsheviks took measures to prevent challenges to their new regime, beginning with eliminating political opposition. When the freelyelected constituent Assembly did not acknowledge the primacy of the Bolshevik government, Vladimir Lenin dissolved it in January 1918. The Left Socialist Revolutionary Party, which protested the action, withdrew from the Bolshevik coalition in March, and its members were automatically branded enemies of the people. Numerous opposition groups posed military threats from various parts of the country, placing the survival of the revolution in jeopardy. Between 1918 and 1921, a state of civil war existed.
Bolshevik policy toward its detractors, and particularly toward articulate, intellectual criticism, hardened considerably. Suppression of newspapers, initially described as a temporary measure, became a permanent policy. Lenin considered the Constitutional Democrats (Kadets) the center of a conspiracy against Bolshevik rule. In 1919, he began mass arrests of professors and scientists who had been Kadets, and deported Kadets, Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, and Nationalists. The Bolshevik leadership sought rapidly to purge Russia of past leaders in order to build the future on a clean slate.
No. It isnt a sin to jail such men of talent for short periods if thats what it takes to prevent plots (such as the one at Krasnaia Gorka) and the deaths of tens of thousands. We uncovered the conspiracies of the Kadets and quasi-Kadets. And we know that quasi-Kadet professors are giving assistance heart and soul to the conspirators. That is a fact.
The intellectual forces of the workers and peasants are growing and getting stronger in their fight to overthrow the bourgeoisie and their accomplices, the educated classes, the lackeys of capital, who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit.
We pay above-average salaries to those intellectual forces who want to bring learning to the people (rather than toadying to capital). That is a fact. We cherish them. That is a fact. Tens of thousands of officers are serving in the Red Army and are winning in spite of hundreds of traitors. That is a fact.
Regarding your frame of mind, I know how to understand it (once you asked whether I would understand you). Several times, on Capri and elsewhere, I told you, You let yourself be surrounded by the worst elements of the bourgeois intelligentsia, and you give in to their whining. You hear and listen to the wail of hundreds of intellectuals about their terrible incarceration lasting several weeks, but you do not hear or listen to the voices of the masses, of millionsworkers and peasantswho are threatened by Denikin, Kolchak, Lianozov, Rodzianko, the Krasnaia Gorka (and other Kadet) conspirators. I quite, quite understand that this is how you can end your letter with the statement that these Reds are just as much enemies of the people as the Whites (fighters for the overthrow of capitalists and landlords are just as much enemies of the people as are the capitalists and the landlords), or even end up believing in a tin divinity or in our father the tsar. I quite understand.
Really and truly you will die* if you dont break away from this situation with the bourgeois intelligentsia. With all my heart I wish that you would break away as soon as possible.
*But youre not writing! To waste yourself on the whining of decaying intellectuals and not to writeis that not death for an artist, is that not a shame?
These harsh measures alienated a large number of the intellectuals who had supported the overthrow of the tsarist order. The suppression of democratic institutions evoked strong protests from academics and artists, who felt betrayed in their idealistic belief that revolution would bring a free society. Writers who had emigrated shortly after the revolution published stinging attacks on the new government from abroad. As a result, further exit permits for artists were generally denied.
The disenchantment of the majority of intellectuals did not surprise Lenin, who saw the old Russian intelligentsia as a kind of rival to his party of a new type, which alone could bring revolutionary consciousness to the working class. In his view, artists generally served bourgeois interests, a notion that fueled the persecution of intellectuals throughout the Soviet period.
Regarding Marietta Shaginians novel, Ticket to history, part one, the Ulianov family
[_] the Central Committee has determined that as a biographical-documentary novel about the life of the Ulianov family, and also about the childhood and youth of Lenin, it appears to be a politically harmful, ideologically hostile work. One should consider it a gross political error on the part of the books editor, Comrade Ermilov, and those in charge who permitted Shaginians novel to be printed.
One condemns the behavior of Comrade Krupskaia, who having received a draft copy of Shaginians novel not only did not prevent the novels publication, but instead, encouraged Shaginian in every way possible, reviewed the draft positively and advised Shaginian on the facts of the Ulianov familys life. One should also consider Comrade Krupskaia completely responsible for this book.
One should consider the behavior of Comrade Krupskaia all the more intolerable and tactless, since Comrade Krupskaia was in charge of Shaginians task of writing a novel about Lenin without the knowledge and approval of the Central Committee, behind the back of the Central Committee, turning the very same all-party matter of composing a literary work about Lenin into a private and family affair, appearing in the role of sole exploiter of the circumstances of the social and personal life and works of Lenin and his family, for which the Central Committee never granted anyone exclusive rights.
The Central Committee resolves
1)to remove Comrade Ermilov from the position of editor of Krasnaia Nov
2)to announce the reprimand of the director of GIKhL [State Publishing House of Belle Lettres] Comrade_
3)to apprise Krupskaia of her error
4)to prohibit anyone from submitting a literary work about Lenin without the knowledge and permission of the Central Committee
5)to question Shaginians party membership in the KPK (Control Commission of the Communist Party).
Attacks on Intelligentsia:
The pattern of suppressing intellectual activity, with intermittent periods of relaxation, helped the party leadership reinforce its authority. After 1923, when threats to the revolutions survival had disappeared, intellectuals enjoyed relative creative freedom while the regime concentrated on improving the countrys economic plight by allowing limited free enterprise under the Lenins New Economic Policy.
But in 1928, the Central Committee established the right of the party to exercise guidance over literature; and in 1932 literary and artistic organizations were restructured to promote a specified style called socialist realism. Works that did not contribute to the building of socialism were banned. Lenin had seen the need for increasing revolutionary consciousness in workers. Stalin now asserted that art should not merely serve society, but do so in a way determined by the party and its megalomaniacal plans for transforming society. As a result, artists and intellectuals as well as political figures became victims of the Great Terror of the 1930s.
During the war against Nazi Germany, artists were permitted to infuse their works with patriotism and to direct them against the enemy. The victory in 1945, however, brought a return to repression against deviation from party policy. Andrei Zhdanov, who had been Stalins spokesman on cultural affairs since 1934, led the attack. He viciously denounced such writers as Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, and Mikhail Zoshchenko, who were labeled antiSoviet, underminers of socialist realism, and unduly pessimistic. Individuals were expelled from the Union of Writers, and offending periodicals were either abolished or brought under direct party control.
Zhdanov died in 1948, but the cultural purge known as the Zhdanovshchina continued for several more years. The noted filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and great composers such as Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitrii Shostakovich were denounced for neglect of ideology and subservience to Western influence. The attacks extended to scientists and philosophers and continued until after Stalins death in 1953.
of persons, all of whose works are designated for removal by the orders of the Plenipotentiary Council of Peoples Commissars of the USSR and the Plenipotentiary Council of Ministers of the USSR for preservation of military and state secrets in the press for the period 1938-1948.
ABRAMOV, Arkadii Mikhailovich681 (party subjects)
AVERBAKH, Leopold Leonidovich266 (literary criticism)
AVILOV, Nikolai Pavlovich (Glebov-Avilov, N.) (trade union movement)
AVINOVITSKII, Iakov Lazarevich266 (military-chemical)
AGIENKO, Aleksandr Fedorovich683 (anti-religious)
AZARKH, Raisa Moiseevna73 (fiction)
AITAKOV, Nadyrbai957 (party subjects)
AIKHENVALD, Aleksandr Iulevich241 (economics)
ALAZAN, Vagram Martynovich266 (artistic subjects)
ALEKSANDROVICH, Andrei Ivanovich372 (poetry)
ALKSNIS, Iakov Ivanovich (Alksnis-Astrov)171 (military)
. . .
TRANSLATORS COMMENTS: The list contains more than 1,000 names. The numbers following the names bear no obvious correlation to the writers specialization.
Attacks on Intelligentsia:
Creative writers enjoyed great prestige in both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union because of literatures unique role as a sounding board for deeper political and social issues. Vladimir Lenin believed that literature and art could be exploited for ideological and political as well as educational purposes. As a result, the party rapidly established control over print and electronic media, book publishing and distribution, bookstores and libraries, and it created or abolished newspapers and periodicals at will.
Communist Party ideology influenced the creative process from the moment of artistic inspiration. The party, in effect, served as the artists Muse. In 1932 the party established socialist realism as the only acceptable aesthetic measuring merit by the degree to which a work contributed to building socialism among the masses. The Union of Writers was created the same year to harness writers to the MarxistLeninist cause. Goskomizdat (State Committee for Publishing Houses, Printing Plants, and the Book Trade), in conjunction with the Unions secretariat, made all publishing decisions; the very allocation of paper became a hidden censorship mechanism. Glavlit (Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs), created in 1922, was responsible for censorship, which came later in the creative process. The partys guidance had already affected the process long before the manuscript reached the censors pen. The Soviet censorship system was thus more pervasive than that of the tsars or of most other recent dictatorships.
Mikhail Gorbachev needed to enlist the support of writers and journalists to promote his reforms. He did so by launching his policy of glasnost in 1986, challenging the foundations of censorship by undermining the authority of the Union of Writers to determine which works were appropriate for publication. Officials from the Union were required to place works directly in the open market and to allow these works to be judged according to reader preferences, thereby removing the barrier between writer and reader and marking the beginning of the end of Communist party censorship.
To be returned to the
General Dept., CC CPSU
Not for publication
B. Pasternak turned to me for advice on what he should do in connection with the proposal of the Norwegian publishers to receive money for the book Docto`1 Zhivago.
_ Pasternak would like to receive this money, a portion of which he intends to give to the Literary Fund for the needs of elderly writers.
I think that Pasternak should refuse receipt of money from the Norwegian bank.
I am asking for permission to express this point of view.
April 16 1959
Boris Pasternak refused to receive the money from the Norwegian publishers. See the copy of his letter to the Copyright Directorate (attached).
August 17, 1959
Attacks on Intelligentsia:
The Communist regime considered dissent in the Soviet Union a repudiation of the proletarian struggle and a violation of MarxismLeninism, and thus a threat to its authority. The proletariat was seen as selflessly striving for progress in the building of socialism, whereas the bourgeoisie was seen as selfishly fighting to maintain the status quo. According to Marxist ideology, class struggle was the engine of change in all social development. Vladimir Lenins ideological contribution was to make the party itself the exclusive vanguard of the proletariat and thus the final arbiter of what was proletarian or bourgeois. The secret police was enlisted to enforce the partys ideology and to suppress dissent.
Because the partys legitimacy rested on the basic correctness of its ideology, failures in practical policy were never attributed to ideology itself. To maintain the partys ideological authority, religion had to be condemned outright, and history periodically revised to match the current party line. Books and magazines viewed as no longer politically correct were removed from libraries. Scientists, artists, poets, and others, including many who did not think of themselves as dissidents but whose work appeared critical of Soviet life, were systematically persecuted and even prosecuted.
poor peasants; they ran a small peasant farm and didnt even have their own horse. For this reason, my father occasionally sought work as a carpenter (Baku, Arkhangelsk). Soon after the October Revolution, my father quit farm work in the village completely, but my mother, with my help, continued to farm for a time. Subsequently, my father worked as a laborer (store-room keeper in a butter factory in the city of Volsk), as well as a leader in soviet work. While a member of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks), he died in 1930. My father had been expelled from the party because of his drinking. My mother died in 1920.
In my immediate family, I have a brother, Paul, not a party member, who works as a bookkeeper in the Kuibyshev oblast (I dont know exactly where since I havent corresponded with him since 1929 or 1930). None of my relatives (in my immediate family) was in the White Army, was deprived of the right to vote, or went abroad.
Until 1920 I lived in the village of Shakhovskoe and helped my mother on the farm, and sometimes in winter I worked in the village soviet and on the Committee of Poor Peasants as the assistant secretary (my father was the chairman of the committee).
In 1919 I began in earnest to be interested in Bolshevist political pamphlets and politics. At the beginning of 1920, I organized a Komsomol branch in my village and was its secretary. I served the party at this time chiefly as a collector in the surplus-appropriation system and as an organizer of aid to poor peasants at the expense of rich peasants [kulaks].
[ _ ]
In the fall of 1931, by decision of the organizational bureau of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) [TsK VKP(b)], I was sent to work at the USSR Peoples Commissariat of Workers and Peasants Inspection [NKRKI SSSR] of the Central Control Commission [TsKK] of the VKP(b), where I worked as a senior inspector until the beginning of 1934. After the TsKK was abolished, I worked as a controller of the Commission of Soviet Control until August 1936. I took an active role in party work also in this period: in the culture and propaganda section of the party committee, the party organization, propagandist, for a large part of 1933 and 1934 I worked with the Urals party members, and after that in the Chernigov oblast commission to purge the party, where I was the
Often they were declared either enemies of the state and imprisoned, or insane and committed to punitive mental hospitals.
To speak for human rights or to support freedom of expression was to question the very basis of MarxismLeninism and the legitimacy of the partys rule. Among those harassed and persecuted were worldrenowned artists and scientists, including Nobel Prize winners Boris Pasternak, who was forced to refuse his prize; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who was forcibly removed from the USSR; and Andrei Sakharov, who was expelled from the Academy of Sciences and internally exiled to a closed city.
A prime mover of change was Mikhail Gorbachev, whose policy of glasnost allowed freedom of expression and resulted in the abandonment of MarxistLeninist ideology and a loss of legitimacy for the party.
leader of the inspection unit.
In the fall of 1936, I was detailed by the TsK VKP(b) to the Economics Institute of the Red Professorate (for the 2nd year course). I studied here for one year, after which I was sent by the TsK VKP(b) to Rostov as the head the Section for Leaders of Political Bodies [ORPO] of the Oblast Committee [Obkom] of the VKP(b).
For the entire period of my stay in the party, I have not been disciplined by the party in any way; I have never had any doubts about the general party line [_]
Last name Suslov First name Mikhail Patronymic Andreevich
1. Gender male
2. Year/month of birth January 1902
3. Place of birth (use existing administrative divisions) Kuibyshev oblast, Pavlovskii raion, village of Shakhovskoe 4. Nationality Russian
5. Social background: a) former social position (title) of parents poor peasants b) primary occupation of parents prior to October Revolution agriculture ; after October Revolution fatherin soviet industrial and party work, died in 1930; motherhomemaker, died in 1920
6. Primary occupation up to entering party agriculture from youth
7. Social position office worker
8. Party affiliation member VKP(b)
9. Which organization accepted you into membership in the VKP(b) City regional committee of Moscow
10. Party member since March 1921 Party membership card no. 1219627
11. Member of Komsomol from February 1920 to
12. Other party memberships (which, where, how long) no other memberships
13. Were you formerly a member of the VKP(b) no
14. Did you participate in opposition activities (which groups, when) Did not
15. Trade union membership, from what year Workers in Government Agencies, from September 1920
16. Education higher
General and special education: Prechistenskii Workers Faculty, Moscow, Feb. 1921-July 1924, Graduated; Plekhanov Institute of National Economy, Moscow, 1924-1928, Graduated, specialty of economist Party and political education: Institute of Economics, Russian Association of Scientific Research Institutes of Social Sciences [RANION], Moscow, Fall 1929-Mar. 1931, did not graduate, completed 2nd year; Economics Institute of the Red Professorate, Moscow, Fall 1936-Oct. 1937, did not graduate, completed 3rd year.
17. Educational degree (title) do not have
18. Scholarly publications and inventions none
19. Have you traveled abroad no .
Addendum to the minutes of Politburo [meeting] No. 93.
RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF PEOPLES COMMISSARS OF THE UKRAINIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC AND OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY (BOLSHEVIK) OF UKRAINE ON BLACKLISTING VILLAGES THAT MALICIOUSLY SABOTAGE THE COLLECTION OF GRAIN.
In view of the shameful collapse of grain collection in the more remote regions of Ukraine, the Council of Peoples Commissars and the Central Committee call upon the oblast executive committees and the oblast [party] committees as well as the raion executive committees and the raion [party] committees: to break up the sabotage of grain collection, which has been organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements; to liquidate the resistance of some of the rural communists, who in fact have become the leaders of the sabotage; to eliminate the passivity and complacency toward the saboteurs, incompatible with being a party member; and to ensure, with maximum speed, full and absolute compliance with the plan for grain collection.
The Council of Peoples Commissars and the Central Committee resolve:
To place the following villages on the black list for overt disruption of the grain collection plan and for malicious sabotage, organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements:
1. village of Verbka in Pavlograd raion, Dnepropetrovsk oblast.
5. village of Sviatotroitskoe in Troitsk raion, Odessa oblast.
6. village of Peski in Bashtan raion, Odessa oblast.
The following measures should be undertaken with respect to these villages :
1. Immediate cessation of delivery of goods, complete suspension of cooperative and state trade in the villages, and removal of all available goods from cooperative and state stores.
2. Full prohibition of collective farm trade for both collective farms and collective farmers, and for private farmers.
3. Cessation of any sort of credit and demand for early repayment of credit and other financial obligations.
The dreadful famine that engulfed Ukraine, the northern Caucasus, and the lower Volga River area in 19321933 was the result of Joseph Stalins policy of forced collectivization. The heaviest losses occurred in Ukraine, which had been the most productive agricultural area of the Soviet Union. Stalin was determined to crush all vestiges of Ukrainian nationalism. Thus, the famine was accompanied by a devastating purge of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and the Ukrainian Communist party itself. The famine broke the peasants will to resist collectivization and left Ukraine politically, socially, and psychologically traumatized.
The policy of allout collectivization instituted by Stalin in 1929 to finance industrialization had a disastrous effect on agricultural productivity. Nevertheless, in 1932 Stalin raised Ukraines grain procurement quotas by fortyfour percent. This meant that there would not be enough grain to feed the peasants, since Soviet law required that no grain from a collective farm could be given to the members of the farm until the governments quota was met. Stalins decision and the methods used to implement it condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation. Party officials, with the aid of regular troops and secret police units, waged a merciless war of attrition against peasants who refused to give up their grain. Even indispensible seed grain was forcibly confiscated from peasant households. Any man, woman, or child caught taking even a handful of grain from a collective farm could be, and often was, executed or deported. Those who did not appear to be starving were often suspected of hoarding grain. Peasants were prevented from leaving their villages by the NKVD and a system of internal passports.
4. Investigation and purge of all sorts of foreign and hostile elements from cooperative and state institutions, to be carried out by organs of the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate.
5. Investigation and purge of collective farms in these villages, with removal of counterrevolutionary elements and organizers of grain collection disruption.
The Council of Peoples Commissars and the Central Committee call upon all collective and private farmers who are honest and dedicated to Soviet rule to organize all their efforts for a merciless struggle against kulaks and their accomplices in order to: defeat in their villages the kulak sabotage of grain collection; fulfill honestly and conscientiously their grain collection obligations to the Soviet authorities; and strengthen collective farms.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF PEOPLES COMMISSARS OF THE UKRAINIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICV. CHUBAR.
SECRETARY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY (BOLSHEVIK) OF UKRAINE -S.KOSIOR.
6 December 1932.
The death toll from the 193233 famine in Ukraine has been estimated between six million and seven million. According to a Soviet author, Before they died, people often lost their senses and ceased to be human beings. Yet one of Stalins lieutenants in Ukraine stated in 1933 that the famine was a great success. It showed the peasants who is the master here. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.
STATE DEFENSE COMMITTEE
State Defense Committee Decree No. 5859ss
May 11, 1944Moscow, the Kremlin
On the Crimean Tatars
During the Patriotic War [World War II], many Crimean Tatars betrayed the Motherland, deserting Red Army units that defended the Crimea and siding with the enemy, joining volunteer army units formed by the Germans to fight against the Red Army; as members of German punitive detachments, during the occupation of the Crimea by German fascist troops, the Crimean Tatars particularly were noted for their savage reprisals against Soviet partisans, and also helped the German invaders to organize the violent roundup of Soviet citizens for German enslavement and the mass extermination of the Soviet people.
The Crimean Tatars actively collaborated with the German occupation authorities, participating in the socalled Tatar national committees, organized by the German intelligence organs, and were often used by the Germans to infiltrate the rear of the Red Army with spies and saboteurs. With the support of the Crimean Tatars, the Tatar national committees, in which the leading role was played by White GuardTatar emigrants, directed their activity at the persecution and oppression of the nonTatar population of the Crimea and were engaged in preparatory efforts to separate the Crimea from the Soviet Union by force, with the help of the German armed forces.
Taking into account the facts cited above, the State Defense Committee decrees that:
1. All Tatars are to be banished from the territory of the Crimea and resettled permanently as special settlers in the regions of the Uzbek SSR. The resettlement will be assigned to the Soviet NKVD. The Soviet NKVD (comrade Beria) is to complete the resettlement by 1 June 1944.
2. The following procedure and conditions of resettlement are
to be established:
a) The special settlers will be allowed to take with them personal items, clothing, household objects, dishes and utensils, and up to 500 kilograms of food per family.
Joseph Stalins forcible resettlement of over 1.5 million people, mostly Muslims, during and after World War II is now viewed by many human rights experts in Russia as one of his most drastic genocidal acts. Volga Germans and seven nationalities of Crimea and the northern Caucasus were deported: the Crimean Tatars, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Karachai, and Meskhetians. Other minorities evicted from the Black Sea coastal region included Bulgarians, Greeks, and Armenians.
Resistance to Soviet rule, separatism, and widespread collaboration with the German occupation forces were among the official reasons for the deportation of these nonRussian peoples. The possibility of a German attack was used to justify the resettlement of the ethnically mixed population of Mtskheta, in southwestern Georgia. The Balkars were punished for allegedly having sent a white horse as a gift to Adolf Hitler.
The deportees were rounded up and transported, usually in railroad cattle cars, to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, and Siberia areas called human dumping grounds by historian Robert Conquest. Most estimates indicate that close to twofifths of the affected populations perished. The plight of the Crimean Tatars was exceptionally harsh; nearly half died of hunger in the first eighteen months after being banished from their homeland.
Property, buildings, outbuildings, furniture, and farmstead lands left behind will be taken over by the local authorities; all beef and dairy cattle, as well as poultry, will be taken over by the Peoples Commissariat of the Meat and Dairy Industries, all agricultural production by the USSR Peoples Commissariat of Procurement, horses and other draft animals by the USSR Peoples Commissariat of Agriculture, and breeding cattle by the USSR Peoples Commissariat of State Grain and Animal Husbandry Farms.
Exchange receipts will be issued in every populated place and every farm for the receipt of livestock, grain, vegetables, and for other types of agricultural production.
By 1 July this year, the USSR NKVD, Peoples Commissariat of Agriculture, Peoples Commissariat of the Meat and Dairy Industries, Peoples Commissariat of State Grain and Animal Husbandry Farms, and Peoples Commissariat of Procurement are to submit to the USSR Council of Peoples Commissars a proposal on the procedure for repaying the special settlers, on the basis of exchange receipts, for livestock, poultry, and agricultural production received from them.
b) [_] To facilitate the receipt of livestock, grain, and agricultural production from the special settlers, the USSR Peoples Commissariat of Agriculture (comrade Benediktov), USSR Peoples Commissariat of Procurement (comrade Subbotin), USSR Peoples Commissariat of the Meat and Dairy Industries (comrade Smirnov), and USSR Peoples Commissariat of State Grain and Animal Husbandry Farms (comrade Lobanov) are to dispatch the required number of workers to the Crimea, in coordination with comrade Gritsenko.
c) The Peoples Commissariat of Railroads (comrade Kaganovich) is to organize the transport of the special settlers from Crimea to the Uzbek SSR, using specially formed trains, according to a schedule devised jointly with the USSR NKVD. The number of trains, loading stations, and destination points are to be determined by the USSR NKVD.
Payment for the transport will be based on the rate at which the prisoners are transported;
In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles. In his secret speech to the Twentieth Party Congress, he stated that the Ukrainians avoided such a fate only because there were too many of them and there was no place to which to deport them. That year, the Soviet government issued decrees on the restoration of the ChechenIngush Autonomous Republic and the KabardinoBalkar Autonomous Republic, the formation of the Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast, and the reorganization of the Cherkess Autonomous Oblast into the KarachaiCherkess Autonomous Oblast. The Crimean Tatars, Meskhetians, and Volga Germans, however, were only partially rehabilitated and were not, for the most part, permitted to return to their homelands until after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
d) To each train of special settlers, the USSR Peoples Commissariat of Public Health (comrade Miterev) is to assign, within a time frame to be coordinated with the USSR NKVD, one physician and two nurses, as well as an appropriate supply of medicines, and to provide medical and firstaid care to special settlers in transit;
e) The USSR Peoples Commissariat of Trade (comrade Liubimov) will provide all trains carrying special settlers with hot food and boiling water on a daily basis.
To provide food for the special settlers in transit, the Peoples Commissariat of Trade is to allocate the quantity of food supplies indicated in Appendix No. 1.
3. By 1 June of this year, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Uzbekistan, comrade Iusupov, the Chairman of the Uzbek SSR Council of Peoples Commissars, comrade Abdurakhmanov, and the Uzbek SSR Peoples Commissar of Internal Affairs, comrade Kobulov, are to carry out the following steps in regard to the acceptance and settlement of the special settlers:
a) To accept and settle within the Uzbek SSR 140 to 160 thousand special settlers - Tatars, sent by the USSR NKVD from the Crimean ASSR.
The settlement of the special settlers will occur in state farm communities, existing collective farms, farms affiliated with enterprises, and in factory communities, for employment in agriculture and industry;
b) To establish commissions in oblasts where the special settlers are resettled, consisting of the chairman of the oblast executive committee, secretary of the oblast committee, and chief of the NKVD administration, charging them with the implementation of all measures in connection with the acceptance and distribution of the newly arrived special settlers;
c) To organize raion troikas, consisting of the chairman of the raion executive committee, secretary of the raion committee, and chief of the raion branch of the NKVD, charging them with preparation for the distribution and organization of the acceptance of the newly arrived special settlers;
d) To arrange the automotive transport of the special settlers, mobilizing the vehicles of any enterprises or institutions for this purpose;
e) To grant plots of farm land to the newly arrived special settlers and to help them build homes by providing construction materials;
f) To organize special NKVD commandants headquarters, to be maintained by the USSR NKVD, in the raions of settlement;
g) By 20 May of this year, the Uzbek SSR Central Committee and Council of Peoples Commissars are to submit to the USSR NKVD (comrade Beria) a plan for the settlement of the special settlers in the oblasts and raions, indicating the destination points of the trains.
4. Sevenyear loans of up to 5,000 rubles per family, for the construction and setting up of homes, are to be extended by the Agricultural Bank (comrade Kravtsov) to special settlers sent to the Uzbek SSR, in their places of settlement.
5. Every month during the JuneAugust 1944 period, equal quantities of flour, groats, and vegetables will be allocated by the USSR Peoples Commissariat of Procurement (comrade Subbotin) to the Uzbek SSR Council of Peoples Commissars for distribution to the special settlers, in accordance with Appendix No. 2.
Flour, groats, and vegetables are to be distributed free of charge to the special settlers during the JuneAugust period, as repayment for the agricultural production and livestock received from them in the areas from which they were evicted.
6. To augment the automotive transport capacity of the NKVD troops, garrisoned in the raions of settlement in the Uzbek, Kazakh, and Kirgiz SSRs, the Peoples Commissariat of Defense (comrade Khrulev) is to provide 100 recently repaired Willys3 motor vehicles and 250 trucks during the MayJune 1944 period.
7. By 20 May 1944, the Main Administration for the Transport and Supply of Petroleum and Petroleum Products (comrade Shirokov) is to allocate and supply 400 tons of gasoline to locations specified by the USSR NKVD, and 200 tons of gasoline are to be placed at the disposal of the Uzbek SSR Council of Peoples Commissars.
The supply of gasoline [for this purpose] is to be carried out in conjunction with a corresponding reduction of supplies to all other consumers.
8. By 15 May of this year, the Main Supply Administration of the USSR Ministry of Forestry, USSR Council of Peoples Commissars (comrade Lopukhov), is to deliver 75,000 2.75meter railroad car boards to the Peoples Commissariat of Railroads, using any means at its disposal.
9. In May of this year, the Peoples Commissariat of Finance (comrade Zverev) is to transfer 30 million rubles from the reserve fund of the USSR Council of Peoples Commissars to the USSR NKVD, for the implementation of special measures.
Chairman, State Defense
cc:Comrades Molotov, Beria, Malenkov, Mikoian, Voznesenskii,Andreev, Kosygin, Gritsenko, Iusupov, Abdurakhmanov, Kobulov (Uzbek SSR NKVD), Chadaev entire document; Shatalin, Gorkin, [illegible] Smirnov, Subbotin, Benediktov, Lobanov, Zverev,Kaganovich, Miterev, Liubimov, Kravtsov, Khrulev, Zhukov, Shirokov, Lopukhov appropriate sections.
JEWISH ANTIFASCIST COMMITTEE IN THE USSR
Moscow, ulitsa Kropotkina, 10,
Telephone: G-6-71-00, G-6-47-07
[letterhead also in Russian and Yiddish]
21 June 1946
TO COMRADE M. A. SUSLOV, DIRECTOR OF THE SECTION FOR FOREIGN POLICY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
Pursuant to the inquiry of Comrade Shumeiko, we are providing some information about the Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR and its activity.
The Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR was formed soon after the first antifascist radio broadcast political rally of representatives of the Jewish people, which was held in Moscow in August 1941.
The Committee consists of 70 members (a list of Committee members is attached), and its executive committee has 19 members (a list of executive committee members is attached).
The working staff of the Committee consists of:
1) Secretary of the Committee, whose duties (following the death of Comrade Shakhno Epshtein) are carried out by the writer I. Fefer, member of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) [VKP(b)] since 1919.
2) Deputy Secretary of the Committee, Comrade S.M. Shpigelglias, VKP(b) member since 1919 and formerly a party worker.
3) Senior editors: N. IA. Levin, VKP(b) member since 1944 and veteran of World War II; L. A. Goldberg, not a party member, former director of the publishing house Der Emes; editor S.O. Berman, VKP(b) member since 1940, veteran of World War II; and three translators and several technical workers.
In the course of the last two years, representatives of a series of foreign Jewish antifascist organizations have visited the Committee: Deputy Chairman of the Jewish Antifascist Committee of Bulgaria, Mr. Zhak Vradzhali; one of the leaders of the Union of Jews of Czechoslovakia, Mr. Rozenberg; representatives of Jewish organizations of France, Poland, et al.
Recently Mr. Ben Zion Goldberg (Waife), the son-in-law of Sholem Aleichem, visited the Soviet Union. He is a prominent public figure in the United States, a member of the executive committee of the Soviet-American Friendship Society (headed by Lamont), chairman of the Committee of Jewish Scientists, Writers, and Artists of the United States (Albert Einstein is president of the Committee), vice-president of Ambidjan, the All-American Society for Aid to Birobidzhan (president of Ambidzhan-Steffenson).
Jewish Antifascist Committee
The Jewish Antifascist Committee (JAC) was formed in Kuibyshev in April 1942. Two Polish Jewish socialists, Henryk Erlich and Viktor Alter (both of whom were later secretly executed), may have proposed the idea to Lavrenti Beria, the head of the NKVD. The organization was meant to serve the interests of Soviet foreign policy and the Soviet military through media propaganda as well as through personal contacts with Jews abroad, especially in Britain and the United States, designed to influence public opinion and enlist foreign support for the Soviet war effort.
The chairman of the JAC was Solomon Mikhoels, a famous actor and director of the Moscow Yiddish State Theater. Shakne Epshtein, a Yiddish journalist, was the secretary and editor of the JACs newspaper, Einikait (Unity). Other prominent JAC members were the poet Itsik Feffer, a former member of the Bund (a Jewish socialist movement that existed from 1897 to 1921 and supported the Mensheviks), the writer Ilia Ehrenburg, General Aaron Katz of the Stalin Military Academy, and Boris Shimelovich, the chief surgeon of the Red Army, as well as some nonJews from the arts, sciences, and the military.
Mr. Goldberg is also a major American journalist, a contributor to the newspapers Toronto Star, Saint Louis Dispatch, New York Post, and Today, and to the magazine New Republic. Mr. Goldberg stayed in the Soviet Union from January 11 to June 8, excluding one month when he traveled to Finland, Sweden, and Denmark.
During his stay in the Soviet Union, Mr. Goldberg was received in Moscow by M. I. Kalinin and S. A. Lozovskii; he attended all meetings of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union; and he had a series of meetings with Soviet writers (including a banquet at the Union of Writers), with representatives of the Soviet Jewish community (at the Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR headquarters), with leaders of the State Jewish Theater, with the chief rabbi of the Moscow Jewish congregation, Shliffer, and with leaders of the Red Cross, among others.
Mr. Goldberg visited Riga, Tallin, Leningrad, Minsk, Vilnius, Kaunas, Kiev, Odessa, Lvov, Uzhgorod, Mukachevo, Brody, and Stalingrad. He was received by the leading workers and writers in the capitals of the union republics.
During his stay in the Soviet Union, Mr. Goldberg dispatched via the Soviet Information Bureau 33 articles to the American, Canadian, English, Palestinian, Polish, and Yiddish press. The articles were extremely friendly toward the Soviet Union.
Before his departure, Mr. Goldberg began to write a book in English entitled England, the Opponent of Peace, and a book in Yiddish entitled Jewish Culture in the Soviet Union.
Recently the Committee has received a series of requests from prominent Jewish public figures from several countries seeking assistance in visiting the Soviet Union. Such requests were received from: N. Goldman, the chairman of the executive committee of the World Jewish Congress; Dr. Stephen Wise, chairman of the American Jewish Congress; Louis Levine, chairman of the Jewish Union for Soviet Aid under Russian War Relief; Mr. Raiskii, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Presse Nouvelle in Paris; et al.
The Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR has sent during its entire existence one delegation, composed of Comrades Mikhoels and Fefer, to the United States, England, Canada, and Mexico. This delegationss trip report has been published in the book The Jewish People against Fascism (attached; see pp. 91-129).
Chairman of the Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR: S. Mikhoels
Member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Antifascist Committee in the USSR: I. Fefer
A year after its establishment, the JAC was moved to Moscow and became one of the most important centers of Jewish culture and Yiddish literature until the German invasion. The JAC broadcast proSoviet propaganda to foreign audiences several times a week, telling them of the absence of antiSemitism and of the great antiNazi efforts being made by the Soviet military.
In 1948, Mikhoels was assassinated by secret agents of Stalin, and, as part of a newly launched official antiSemitic campaign, the JAC was disbanded in November and most of its members arrested.
Not for publicationSecret
21 Feb. 79 05363
Return to the General
Section of the Central
Committee of the CPSU
Central Committee of the CPSU
USSR COMMITTEE OF STATE SECURITY [KGB]
February 21, 1979 No. 346-A
Construction Flaws at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant [AES]
According to data in the possession of the KGB of the USSR, design deviations and violations of construction and assembly technology are occurring at various places in the construction of the second generating unit of the Chernobyl AES, and these could lead to mishaps and accidents.
The structural pillars of the generator room were erected with a deviation of up to 100 mm from the reference axes, and horizontal connections between the pillars are absent in places. Wall panels have been installed with a deviation of up to 150 mm from the axes. The placement of roof plates does not conform to the designers specifications. Crane tracks and stopways have vertical drops of up to 100 mm and in places a slope of up to 8_.
Deputy head of the Construction Directorate, Comrade V. T. Gora, gave instructions for backfilling the foundation in many places where vertical waterproofing was damaged. Similar violations were permitted in other sections with the knowledge of Comrade V. T. Gora and the head of the construction group, Comrade IU. L. Matveev. Damage to the waterproofing can lead to ground water seepage into the station and radioactive contamination of the environment.
The leadership of the Directorate is not devoting proper attention to the foundation, on which the quality of the construction largely depends. The cement plant operates erratically, and its output is of poor quality. Interruptions were permitted during the pouring of especially heavy concrete causing gaps and layering in the foundation. Access roads to the Chernobyl AES are in urgent need of repair.
Construction of the third high-voltage transmission line is behind schedule, which could limit the capacity utilization of the second unit.
As a result of inadequate monitoring of the condition of safety equipment, in the first three quarters of 1978, 170 individuals suffered work-related injuries, with the loss of work time totalling 3,366 worker-days.
The KGB of Ukraine has informed the CPSU Central Committee of these violations. This is for your information.
In April 1986, Chernobyl (Chornobyl in Ukrainian) was an obscure city on the Pripiat River in northcentral Ukraine. Almost incidentally, its name was attached to the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant located about twentyfive kilometers upstream.
On April 26, the citys anonymity vanished forever when, during a test at 1:21 A.M., the No. 4 reactor exploded and released thirty to forty times the radioactivity of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The world first learned of historys worst nuclear accident from Sweden, where abnormal radiation levels were registered at one of its nuclear facilities.
Ranking as one of the greatest industrial accidents of all time, the Chernobyl disaster and its impact on the course of Soviet events can scarcely be exaggerated. No one can predict what will finally be the exact number of human victims. Thirty one lives were lost immediately. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Russians, and Belorussians had to abandon entire cities and settlements within the thirtykilometer zone of extreme contamination. Estimates vary, but it is likely that some 3 million people, more than 2 million in Belarus alone, are still living in contaminated areas. The city of Chernobyl is still inhabited by almost 10,000 people. Billions of rubles have been spent, and billions more will be needed to relocate communities and decontaminate the rich farmland.
Chairman of the Committee [KGB] [signed] IU. Andropov _____________________
Copy no. 1
USSR MINISTRY OF
POWER AND ELECTRIFICATION
(MINENERGO USSR)Central Committee CPSU
Kitaiskii pr. 7
Moscow, K-74 103074
Minenergo USSRCentral Committee of the CPSU
Moscow K-11 A.T. 112604MAR. 16, 79 07738
3-16-79 No. 1381-2cReturn to General
No. ____ from ______Section of the Central Committee
Checking the structural condition of the first unit of the Chernobyl AES.
At the instruction of the USSR Minister of Power and Electrification, a commission under the chairmanship of Deputy Minister Comrade F. V. Sapozhnikov was formed to check the quality of construction and assembly work on the first unit of the Chernobyl AES.
The commission visited the site on March 5-6, 1979, and examined the state of the buildings and structures of the first unit of the Chernobyl AES and the notes on the quality of construction and assembly work.
The Commission found that violations of construction technology and design deviations have been documented.
In each specific instance, engineering solutions were adopted (in the construction, the operation, or by the designers) to eliminate deviations and make the structures conform to the specifications of the original design and normative documents.
Some of the measures have been realized; the rest of the work is being completed according to a rigid timetable set by the commission.
At the present time the power station is operating successfully, and there are no hindrances to its further operation.
Taking into account the specifics of nuclear power stations, and attaching primary significance to the reliability and safety of their operations, the USSR Ministry of Power and Electrification has issued an order to enhance monitoring of technical standards observance and the quality of construction and assembly work at all AESs under construction.
A letter of similar content was sent to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine.
Deputy Minister [signed] P. P. Falaleev
Chernobyl has become a metaphor not only for the horror of uncontrolled nuclear power but also for the collapsing Soviet system and its reflexive secrecy and deception, disregard for the safety and welfare of workers and their families, and inability to deliver basic services such as health care and transportation, especially in crisis situations. The Chernobyl catastrophe derailed what had been an ambitious nuclear power program and formed a fledgling environmental movement into a potent political force in Russia as well as a rallying point for achieving Ukrainian and Belorussian independence in 1991. Although still in operation, the Chernobyl plant is scheduled for total shutdown in 1993.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE CPSU
Defects in the Construction of the Chernobyl AES
Chairman of the KGB of the USSR, Comrade IU. V. Andropov, reports about the low quality of construction work on various sections of the second unit of the Chernobyl AES of the USSR Ministry of Power and Electrification.
As instructed, Comrade Minister P. S. Neporozhnii has formed a special commission under the leadership of Deputy Minister Comrade Sapozhnikov to examine and carefully analyze the facts cited. The commission visited the site to conduct a thorough investigation of design deviations and to inspect the system of monitoring the quality of construction and assembly work.
It was found that in erecting individual pillars, wall panels, and crane track stopways, there indeed were instances of deviation from the reference axes and substandard construction practices. Most of these deviations were exposed by the design inspectorate of the Gidroproekt Institute and a technical site inspection, and they were documented.
The Chernobyl AES construction directorate along with the design organization and client have adopted coordinated engineering solutions ensuring design reliability and construction quality. Some of the deviations have been eliminated, and the rest of the measures are being carried out. A timetable under the control of the Ministry leadership has been established to eliminate the noted deficiencies.
The specialists conclude that at present there are no obstacles to the subsequent operation of the Chernobyl AES, and the electric power station is operating reliably.
To raise the quality of construction and assembly work and strengthen control over fire and radiation safety, the Ministry has published instructions stipulating strict verification of the quality of work at AES construction sites by Ministry commissions, enhancing quality inspection laws, training engineers and technicians, strengthening fire-fighting procedures, and monitoring observation of safety regulations.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine has been informed of the measures taken by the ministry.
Head of the Section of Machine Building of the
Central Committee of the CPSU. [SIGNATURE] (V. Frolov)
March 23, 1979
Communist Party of the Soviet Union. CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Not for publicationTOP SECRET
MINUTES Of Meeting No. 2
of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU
September 20, 1990
Chairman: Comrade M.S. Gorbachev
I. On the state of the nation and the problems facing the CPSU in connection with the conversion to a market economy.
(Comrades Gorbachev, Burokiavichius, Gurenko, Dzasokhov, Ivashko, Karimov, Luchinskii, Masaliev, Makhkamov, Nazarbaev, Prokofev, Rubiks, Semenova, Sillari, Sokolov, Stroev, Shenin, Baklanov, Gidaspov, Kuptsov, Manaenkov, Falin, Ryzhkov, Aganbegian, Shatalin, Abalkin, Masliukov, Sitarian, Pavlov, Beliakov)
We adopt the position that was elaborated during the discussions of the Politburo of the Central Committee on the further activity to be taken by party organizations in connection with the conversion to a market economy, with the proviso that this matter is to be reviewed at the next Plenum of the Central Committee.
[ _ ]
SECRETARY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
[signed] M. GORBACHEV
From modest beginnings at the TwentySeventh Party Congress in 1986, perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachevs program of economic, political, and social restructuring, became the unintended catalyst for dismantling what had taken nearly threequarters of a century to erect: the MarxistLeninistStalinist totalitarian state.
The world watched in disbelief but with growing admiration as Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan, democratic governments overturned Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, Germany was reunited, the Warsaw Pact withered away, and the Cold War came to an abrupt end.
In the Soviet Union itself, however, reactions to the new policies were mixed. Reform policies rocked the foundation of entrenched traditional power bases in the party, economy, and society but did not replace them entirely. Newfound freedoms of assembly, speech, and religion, the right to strike, and multicandidate elections undermined not only the Soviet Unions authoritarian structures, but also the familiar sense of order and predictability. Longsuppressed, bitter interethnic, economic, and social grievances led to clashes, strikes, and growing crime rates.
Gorbachev introduced policies designed to begin establishing a market economy by encouraging limited private ownership and profitability in Soviet industry and agriculture. But the Communist control system and overcentralization of power and privilege were maintained and new policies produced no economic miracles. Instead, lines got longer for scarce goods in the stores, civic unrest mounted, and bloody crackdowns claimed lives, particularly in the restive nationalist populations of the outlying Caucasus and Baltic states.
On August 19, 1991, conservative elements in Gorbachevs own administration launched an abortive coup dtat to prevent the signing of a new union treaty the following day and to restore the partys power and authority. Boris Yeltsin, who had become Russias first popularly elected president in June 1991, made the seat of government of his Russian republic, known as the White House, the rallying point for resistance to the organizers of the coup. Under his leadership, Russia embarked on even more far reaching reforms as the Soviet Union broke up into its constituent republics and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States.
elations between the Soviet Union and the United States were driven by a complex interplay of ideological, political, and economic factors, which led to shifts between cautious cooperation and often bitter superpower rivalry over the years. The distinct differences in the political systems of the two countries often prevented them from reaching a mutual understanding on key policy issues and even, as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis, brought them to the brink of war.
The United States government was initially hostile to the Soviet leaders for taking Russia out of World War I and was opposed to a state ideologically based on communism. Although the United States embarked on a famine relief program in the Soviet Union in the early 1920s and American businessmen established commercial ties there during the period of the New Economic Policy (192129), the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1933. By that time, the totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalins regime presented an insurmountable obstacle to friendly relations with the West. Although World War II brought the two countries into alliance, based on the common aim of defeating Nazi Germany, the Soviet Unions aggressive, antidemocratic policy toward Eastern Europe had created tensions even before the war ended.
The Soviet Union and the United States stayed far apart during the next three decades of superpower conflict and the nuclear and missile arms race. Beginning in the early 1970s, the Soviet regime proclaimed a policy of dtente and sought increased economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations with the West. However, the Soviet stance on human rights and its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created new tensions between the two countries. These tensions continued to exist until the dramatic democratic changes of 198991 led to the collapse during this past year of the Communist system and opened the way for an unprecedented new friendship between the United States and Russia, as well as the other new nations of the former Soviet Union.
To all members of the Politburo.
I am enclosing the text of the Agreement with Ara [American Relief Administration] on organizing food shipments to Russia. Eiduk and I are completely in favor of signing the agreement. They are bringing in an additional quantity of food. We have the right to hold up (without appeal) any delivery if it exceeds 50 dollars for a private individual or 500 [dollars] for an organization (hospital, municipality). We are providing them FREE TRANSPORTATION FROM THE BORDER TO THE FOOD WAREHOUSES.
Litvinov opposes the last [point], considering it a privilege. His objection is not serious.
I request you take a vote and provide an answer by 2 PM Wednesday.
[Handwritten comments on the bottom of the document]
(If indeed the goal is trade, then we should do this [illegible] for they are giving us pure profit for the hungry and monitoring rights; and the right of refusal for three months. Therefore we ought not take payment for shipment to the warehouses.) [_]
Agreed. October 19. Lenin.
[Handwritten comments, left margin]
The issue is obviously trade and not charity. I propose:
1) Exempt the incoming food from customs and taxes, charge for transportation on a universal basis;
2) Provide warehouse facilities for a charge.
Agreed. October 19. J. Stalin
Agreed. October 19. [illegible]
TRANSLATORS COMMENTS: A. V. Eiduk (1886-1938) was a Party member from 1903 and held numerous important government positions. He died in prison.
American Famine Relief
After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the ensuing Civil War produced acute food shortages in southwestern Russia. Wartime devastation was compounded by two successive seasons of drought, and by 1920 it was clear that a fullscale famine was under way in the Volga River Valley, Crimea, Ukraine, and Armenia. Conditions were so desperate that in early 1920 the Soviet government sent out a worldwide appeal for food aid to avert the starvation of millions of people.
Several volunteer groups in the United States and Europe had by then organized relief programs, but it became clear that help was needed on a larger scale because an estimated 10 to 20 million lives were at stake. Although it had not officially recognized the Soviet regime, the United States government was pressed from many sides to intervene, and in August 1920 an informal agreement was negotiated to begin a famine relief program. In 1921 President Warren Harding appointed Herbert Hoover, then secretary of commerce, to organize the relief effort.
Congress authorized $20 million, and Hoover proceeded to organize the American Relief Administration (ARA) to do the job. Under Hoovers terms, the ARA was to be a completely Americanrun relief program for the transport, storage, and delivery of relief supplies (mainly food and seed grain) to those in the famine region. After Soviet officials agreed, hundreds of American volunteers were dispatched to oversee the program. The ARA gradually earned the trust of the local Communist authorities and was given a virtually free hand to distribute thousands of tons of grain, as well as clothing and medical supplies. This remarkable humanitarian effort was credited with saving many millions of lives.
ARA aid continued into 1923, by which time local farms were again producing and the famines grip was broken. Hoover and his ARA were later honored by the Soviet government for the care and generosity that the United States had shown in this desperate crisis.
7. In compliance with paragraph 6 of this resolution, direct the Peoples Commissariat on Finances of the USSR to provide the Moscow Chemical Trust [Moskhimtrest] with an accounting of receipts due to the government from A.IU. Hammers pencil concession based on expenditures and excess profits, with the payments to be prorated on the basis of the annual balance sheets of the enterprise on October 1, 1929, 1930 and 1931.
CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF PEOPLES
COMMISSARS OF THE USSR
During the 1920s and early 1930s, tensions between the Soviet Union and the West eased somewhat, particularly in the area of economic cooperation. Following their consolidation of political power, the Bolsheviks faced the same economic challenge as had the government ministers of the tsarist regime: how to efficiently organize the vast natural and human resources of the Soviet Union. The economic situation was made even more difficult by the immense social and economic dislocation caused by World War I, the revolutions of 1917, and the Civil War of 191821.
As factories stood idle and famine raged in the countryside, Vladimir Lenin instituted the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921 to infuse energy and direction into the fledgling Communist controlled economy. NEP retreated from Communist orthodoxy and opened up the Soviet monolith economically.
For a variety of reasons compassion for the sufferings of the Soviet peoples, sympathy for the great socialist experiment, but primarily for the pursuit of profit Western businessmen and diplomats began opening contacts with the Soviet Union. Among these persons were Averell Harriman, Armand Hammer, and Henry Ford, who sold tractors to the Soviet Union. Such endeavors facilitated commercial ties between the Soviet Union and the United States, establishing the basis for further cooperation, dialogue, and diplomatic relations between the two countries. This era of cooperation was never solidly established, however, and it diminished as Joseph Stalin attempted to eradicate vestiges of capitalism and to make the Soviet Union economically selfsufficient.
TESTIMONY OF COMRADE GITLOW
TO THE PLENUM OF THE
ALL-UNION COMMUNIST PARTY (Bolshevik)
(April 22, 1929)
Comrades! Inasmuch as a resolution of the VI Congress of our American Communist Party concerning Comrade Bukharins situation has become the subject of debate at this session of the plenum of the Central Committee of our fraternal party of the Soviet Union; and inasmuch as Comrade [Philip] Dengel has issued a statement on that subject which needs further elucidation, I consider it necessary to give the following information about the facts in this matter.
1) The Central Committee of our party has more than once made clear and, in precise language, formulated into resolutions the fact that our Central Committee unreservedly follows the line of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) [VKP(b)]. [_]
2) Despite these repeated unanimous declarations by the Central Committee, the opposition in our party has mounted a campaign throughout the whole partya campaign led by the chief All-American Bureau of the League of Trade Union Propagandawhereby they accused our Central Committee of supporting Comrade Bukharin in his fight against the policies of the Central Committee of the VKP(b). Our opposition asserted itself as the only true supporters of Stalin in America.
3) At our congress, Comrade [Earl] Browder, speaking for the opposition, brought forward that same accusation and announced that they (the opposition) will not let this congress off with just a declaration on this political question, but will force it to submit to an open vote the question of Comrade Bukharins condemnation, naming him by name. We could not fail to understand the meaning of this announcement, for we knew that representatives of the ECCI [Executive Committee of the Communist International] served in fact as an integral part of the opposition faction, controlling its strategy at the congress.
4) The same day that Comrade Browder made his disclosure, leaders of the Central Committee held an all-night meeting with representatives of the ECCI. At that meeting, Comrade Dengel told us openly that that the ECCI considered
Soviet and American Communist Parties
The Soviet Communist party evolved from the Russian Social Democratic Labor Partys Bolshevik wing formed by Vladimir Lenin in 1903. Lenin believed that a welldisciplined, hierarchically organized party was necessary to lead the working class in overthrowing capitalism in Russia and the world. In November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd) and shortly thereafter began using the term Communist to describe themselves. In March 1918, the Bolsheviks named their party the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik). The next year, they created the Communist International (Comintern) to control the Communist movement throughout the world. After the Cominterns dissolution in 1943, the Soviet partys Central Committee continued to use Communist parties from other nations as instruments of Soviet foreign policy. Each national party was required to adhere to the Leninist principle of subordinating members and organizations unconditionally to the decisions of higher authorities.
us adherents of Bukharin and that that fact influenced the ECCI in its assessment of the American question. We were informed that our repeated political declarations refuting that persuasion were insufficient to absolve us from this suspicion. We were told that our statements should be much more concrete, and that specific names should not be included.
5) At the same time, the opposition at our Congress prepared a statement, publication of which was later demanded by the ECCI representatives. In that statement, for the first time in our party, the names of Stalin and Bukharin were specifically mentioned in a document concerning disputes in the VKP(b). The relevant passage said:
Loyalty with regard to the Comintern demands at the present time rejection of the openly opportunistic viewpoint of right-wing elements in the German CP and in the VKP(b) represented by [Otto] Brandler, Frumkin, etc., and also the most energetic struggle against the pacifist viewpoint (Ewert, Ember-Dro, etc.) which are based on the interpretation given by Bukharin to the decisions of the VI Congress and on his article Notes of an Economist and on his speech at the Moscow conference dedicated to Lenins memory, also titled Lenins political testament. Loyalty with regard to the Comintern demands unconditional support of the line of the ruling party of the Comintern, the VKP(b) and of its Central Committee, led by Comrade Stalin.
6) Comrade [William W.] Weinstone, who worked under the direct supervision of Comrade Dengel and has never taken a single step without Dengels approval, presented the statement, which further said:
The Congress supports the Central Committee of the VKP(b), under the leadership of Comrade Stalin. Further, inasmuch as Comrade Bukharin has been estranged for the last few months from the Comintern leadership, in view of his position, in view of his vacillating stance in the struggle with right wing and pacifist groups in the Comintern; insomuch as Comrade Bukharins position hinders the development of the ruthless struggle against right wing and pacifist groups, we therefore propose that the Comintern make a final decision on Comrade Bukharins leadership of the Comintern.
7) Given this situation, leaders of the Central Committee finally recommended that the Presidium of the Congress present the Congress with a resolution on the question of Comrade Bukharins future work in the Comintern. Comrades Dengel and [Harry] Pollitt were both present at that session of the Presidium
Strongly influenced by the success of the Bolshevik Revolution, American socialists and radicals met in Chicago in 1919 to organize an American Communist party. But the Americans were so divided they created two parties instead. One group consisted primarily of relatively recent Russian and East European immigrants, who emphasized adherence to Marxist orthodoxy and proletarian revolution. The other group, dominated by nativeborn, somewhat more pragmatic American radicals, sought mass influence. Such conflicting goals combined with the discrepancy between Communist doctrine and American reality, kept the Communist movement in the United States a small sectarian movement.
In 1922 the Comintern forced the two American parties, which consisted of about 12,000 members, to amalgamate and to follow the party line established in Moscow. Although membership in the American party rose to about 75,000 by 1938, following the Great Depression, many members left the party after the signing of the NaziSoviet Nonaggression Pact of 1939. Others left in 1956 after Nikita Khrushchev exposed some of Stalins crimes and Soviet forces invaded Hungary. Only the hardcore members remained after such reversals of Soviet policy. The American party, a significant although never major political force in the United States, became further demoralized when Boris Yeltsin outlawed the Communist party in Russia in August 1991 and opened up the archives, revealing the continued financial as well as ideological dependency of the American Communists on the Soviet party up until its dissolution.
and at that session of the Congress at which the resolution was unanimously adopted; they absolutely did not protest it nor raise any question in conjunction with that resolution. Likewise neither of the two Comintern representatives made any remarks or posed any questions when the statements of Comrade Weinstone and the Opposition were presented to the Congress.
I offer these facts for the information of your Plenum.
With communist greetings,
[?] Reinshten and
TRANSLATORS COMMENTS: This document was translated into Russian from English. It was supposed to prove to the Plenum that the famous resolution against Bukharin adopted by the American CP was, despite his protests to the contrary, a direct result of pressure on the part of Philip Dengel. (I Confess, by B. Gitlow, p. 546.)
[Overwritten, top of document:]
The information is fairly good (a rarity for the Peoples Commissariat of Foreign Affairs!)
Must distribute to those to whom we send cipherings.
V. Molotov 23 Sept.SECRET
item no. 2
TO CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE COMMITTEE OF DEFENSE
Comrade J. V. Stalin
TO PEOPLES COMMISSAR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Comrade V. M. Molotov
I am sending you a detailed testimonial of Wendell Wilkie. I direct your attention to the demagogic announcement by Wilkie on 23 August, reported by the newspapers before his U.S. departure. Wilkie deliberately demonstrates his anti-fascism because of his German background and fears that he will be accused of insufficient American patriotism. All of his pro-Soviet declarations carry a clear campaign message, since he hopes to ride a wave of sympathy towards the Soviet Union to the presidential elections in 1944.
World War II:
Despite deepseated mistrust and hostility between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, Nazi Germanys invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 created an instant alliance between the Soviets and the two greatest powers in what the Soviet leaders had long called the imperialist camp: Britain and the United States. Three months after the invasion, the United States extended assistance to the Soviet Union through its LendLease Act of March 1941. Before September 1941, trade between the United States and the Soviet Union had been conducted primarily through the Soviet Buying Commission in the United States.
LendLease was the most visible sign of wartime cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union. About $11 billion in war matriel was sent to the Soviet Union under that program. Additional assistance came from U.S. Russian War Relief (a private, nonprofit organization) and the Red Cross. About seventy percent of the aid reached the Soviet Union via the Persian Gulf through Iran; the remainder went across the Pacific to Vladivostok and across the North Atlantic to Murmansk. Lend Lease to the Soviet Union officially ended in September 1945. Joseph Stalin never revealed to his own people the full contributions of LendLease to their countrys survival, but he referred to the program at the 1945 Yalta Conference saying, LendLease is one of Franklin Roosevelts most remarkable and vital achievements in the formation of the antiHitler alliance.
LendLease matriel was welcomed by the Soviet Union, and President Roosevelt attached the highest priority to using it to keep the Soviet Union in the war against Germany. Nevertheless, the program did not prevent friction from developing between the Soviet Union and the other members of the antiHitler alliance. The Soviet Union was annoyed at what seemed to it to be a long delay by the allies in opening a second front of the Allied offensive against Germany. As the war in the east turned in favor of the Soviet Union, and despite the successful Allied landings in Normandy in 1944, the earlier friction intensified over irreconcilable differences about postwar aims within the antiAxis coalition. LendLease helped the Soviet Union push the Germans out of its territory and Eastern Europe, thus accelerating the end of the war. With Stalins takeover of Eastern Europe, the wartime alliance ended, and the Cold War began.
OFFICE OF THE REPRESENTATIVE
OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE SOVIET UNION FOR REPATRIATION
Department of Repatriation of Foreign Citizens
Allied POWs of AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP dispatched from
Odessa Transit Camp No. 138
_ May 1945
Sergeant Clifton Mains detachment
Dole, Wilfrid 1919
Dussey, Albert 1922
COMMANDANT of Transit Camp no. 138
Colonel of the Guard [signed] Stoev
Head of the Directorate of Border Security [UPO]
Captain [a/c] [signed] Veipan
World War II:
American POWs and MIAs
The guns of distant battles fell silent long ago, but unanswered questions concerning United States servicemen missing in action and unrepatriated prisoners of war continue to concern the nation. Recently, the missing and prisoners of war from the Vietnam War have been the focus of attention.
But Soviet archival documentsfrom an earlier era after World War IIreveal that Americans were detained, and even perished, in the vast Soviet GULAG. To find out additional information about Americans liberated from German prison camps by the Red Army and then interned in Soviet camps, the U.S./Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs was formed early in 1992. Library of Congress officials, among others, have been authorized to research Russian archival materials on the subject in Moscow.
Through such efforts and additional cooperation, the fate of those missing in the Cold War may become known as well. Russian news reports tell of a United States B29 aircraft shot down by Soviet interceptors over the Baltic Sea in April 1950. One of the Soviet pilots who downed the B29 reported that the aircraft was recovered from the sea, but the fate of the crew is unknown.
The history of warfare cruelly suggests that some questions concerning the missing in action and prisoners of war will never be answered. Nevertheless, candor, goodwill, and a spirit of cooperation on all sides can minimize such questions. The opening of archives is a step forward in getting at the truth which can clear up the confusion and suspicion created in the past.
Peoples CommissariatRef. No. 9299TOP SECRET
for Foreign AffairsRecd 2:00 Jun 16 1945Copying
Department 10Sent 4:30 Jun 16 1945Prohibited
Spec. No. 1729
Destination: Washington To whom: Soviet Ambassador Copy 1
In the message of June 15 to Comrade Stalin, Truman reported the June 15 departure of Sun-Tzi Ven from the USA for Moscow via Chungking. Truman also reported that Hurly, the American ambassador to Chungking, was instructed to support Soviet proposals in this connection.
Give Truman the following messsage from Comrade Stalin:
PERSONAL AND TOP SECRET FROM PREMIER J. V. STALIN TO MR. PRESIDENT H. TRUMAN
Received your message concerning preparation of a Soviet-Chinese Accord and your instructions to Mr. Hurly. Thank you for the measures you have taken.
June 15, 1945.
Confirm execution by telegraph.
M O L O T O V
1. Comrade STALIN
2. Comrade MOLOTOV
3. DEPARTMENT 10For information to comrades: Vyshinski
True copy: [illegible initials]
TRANSLATORS COMMENTS: The original handwritten text of the telegram to Truman is presented on leaf B-12-17-b.
The Western democracies and the Soviet Union discussed the progress of World War II and the nature of the postwar settlement at conferences in Tehran (1943), Yalta (February 1945), and Potsdam (JulyAugust 1945). After the war, disputes between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, particularly over the Soviet takeover of East European states, led Winston Churchill to warn in 1946 that an iron curtain was descending through the middle of Europe. For his part, Joseph Stalin deepened the estrangement between the United States and the Soviet Union when he asserted in 1946 that World War II was an unavoidable and inevitable consequence of capitalist imperialism and implied that such a war might reoccur.
The Cold War was a period of EastWest competition, tension, and conflict short of fullscale war, characterized by mutual perceptions of hostile intention between militarypolitical alliances or blocs. There were real wars, sometimes called proxy wars because they were fought by Soviet allies rather than the USSR itself along with competition for influence in the Third World, and a major superpower arms race.
After Stalins death, EastWest relations went through phases of alternating relaxation and confrontation, including a cooperative phase during the 1960s and another, termed dtente, during the 1970s. A final phase during the late 1980s and early 1990s was hailed by President Mikhail Gorbachev, and especially by the president of the new postCommunist Russian republic, Boris Yeltsin, as well as by President George Bush, as beginning a partnership between the two states that could address many global problems.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE. COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION [TsK KPSS]
Additional Measures To Expose Imperialist Policies
We intend to make use of concrete facts to expose capitalist reality, political and ideological diversions of imperialism, the totalitarian character of a bourgeois state, and the strengthening of reactionary thought in the bourgeois apparatus and in capitalistic society as a whole.
The realization of such measures will permit us to coordinate the Soviet press, radio and television in such a way that the publics attention will be directed to the concrete manifestations of the anti-popular nature of imperialism.
Such propaganda campaigns will help the press agency Novosti, and politically oriented radio programs transmitted abroad to force our idealogical enemy onto disadvantageous paths in the ideological struggle.
A calendar of this type of events, mainly pertaining to the USA is attached. Similar plans pertaining to other imperialistic states could be developed in the course of work.
We request your review.
Assistant Chief of the Propaganda(A. Iakovlev)
Department, TsK KPSS
January 21, 1971
TRANSLATORS COMMENTS: In the upper left corner are the words Without right of publication. In the upper right corner is the stamp of the TsK KPSS. The hand-written note could not be deciphered. The second page of the document is blank except for the handwritten notes: Comrade Ponomarev is absent. Comrades Smirnov and Parinov have been informed. January 29, 1971.
After World War II, Joseph Stalin saw the world as divided into two camps: imperialist and capitalist regimes on the one hand, and the Communist and progressive world on the other. In 1947, President Harry Truman also spoke of two diametrically opposed systems: one free, and the other bent on subjugating other nations.
After Stalins death, Nikita Khrushchev stated in 1956 that imperialism and capitalism could coexist without war because the Communist system had become stronger. The Geneva Summit of 1955 among Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and the Camp David Summit of 1959 between Eisenhower and Khrushchev raised hopes of a more cooperative spirit between East and West. In 1963 the United States and the Soviet Union signed some confidencebuilding agreements, and in 1967 President Lyndon Johnson met with Soviet Prime Minister Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey. Interspersed with such moves toward cooperation, however, were hostile acts that threatened broader conflict, such as the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 and the Sovietled invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968.
Calendar of Certain Events
January 1, 1863In the USA the Act to free black slaves went into effect. Provides a rationale to point out the severity of the ethnic problem in the United States of America.
January 5, 1957President Eisenhower in a message to Congress set forth an expansionist U.S. policy for the Near East and Middle East that became known as the Eisenhower-Dulles Doctrine.
January 5, 1970In the USA progressive trade union activist Yablonsky was killed.
January 17, 1966In Spain, in the Palomares region, an American bomber plane with 4 nuclear bombs on board crashed.
140 years ago in the USA, the so-called Lynch law went into effect.
February 2, 1848End of the Mexican-American war, which resulted in the USA seizing from Mexico Texas, New Mexico, and upper California and part of Arizona
February, 1951In the USA seven falsely accused blacks executed
February 7, 1965Beginning of systematic bombing of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam by the USA
February 9, 1950Beginning of the McCarthy Era
March 1, 1961Decade of the Peace Corps USA, an organization engaging in subversive activity in Africa and Asia
March 5, 1946Churchills speech at Fultonthe beginning of the cold war against socialist countries
March 12, 1947Acceptance in the USA of Trumans aggressive foreign policy doctrine
March 16, 1965Bloody reprisals against participants in the black freedom march in Selma
March 23, 1947Trumans order to verify the loyalty of all government employees
April 1914Shooting of participants in Colorado strike
April 4, 1969The leader of the movement for the civil rights of American Negroes, Martin Luther King, is assassinated in the USA.
April 15-19 1961Decade of attempted armed invasion of Cuba by the USA
April 1861Beginning of the Civil War in the USA
April 25, 1898Beginning of the Spanish-American War. The first war of imperialism for the redivision of the world, resulting in USA seizure of the Phillipines, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
April 27, 1965USA intervention in the Dominican Republic
April 30, 1970Invasion of American forces into Cambodia
May 4, 1970Anniversary of the shooting deaths of students at Kent State University in the USA
May 11, 1894Beginning of the Pullman strike
May 24, 1918Beginning of USA intervention in the Soviet North
May 26, 1938Creation in the USA of the Anti-American Activity Committee
June 5, 1947USA adopts expansionist Marshall Plan
June 5, 1968Robert Kennedy assassinated
June 23, 1947USA adopts anti-labor Taft-Hartley law
June, 1950Beginning of USA intervention in Korea
June 25, 1968Destruction of the American poor peoples Resurrection City in Washington
June 28, 1932Bloody Thursdayshooting of war veterans -participants in a march on Washington
June, 1963Murder of Medgar Evers, famous black activist in USA
April 14, 1865President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.The long rule of Leonid Brezhnev (19641982) is now referred to in Russia as the period of stagnation. But the Soviet stance toward the United States became less overtly hostile in the early 1970s. Negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union resulted in summit meetings and the signing of strategic arms limitation agreements. Brezhnev proclaimed in 1973 that peaceful coexistence was the normal, permanent, and irreversible state of relations between imperialist and Communist countries, although he warned that conflict might continue in the Third World. In the late 1970s, growing internal repression and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to a renewal of Cold War hostility.
Soviet views of the United States changed once again after Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in early 1985. Arms control negotiations were renewed, and President Reagan undertook a new series of summit meetings with Gorbachev that led to arms reductions and facilitated a growing sympathy even among Communist leaders for more cooperation and the rejection of a classbased, conflictoriented view of the world.
With President Yeltsins recognition of independence for the other republics of the former USSR and his launching of a fullscale economic reform program designed to create a market economy, Russia was pledged at last to overcoming both the imperial and the ideological legacies of the Soviet Union.
July 16, 1877Beginning of a railroad strikethe first national strike in the USA to spread to all main railroads in the country
July 20, 1948Trial of 11 USA Communist Party leaders begins
August 4, 1964Provocations by USA armed forces against Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin
August 4, 1953USA intervention in Guatemala
August 6, 1945Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
August 1918USA intervention in the Soviet Far East
August 23, 1927Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti
August 24, 1954USA adopts law to monitor communist activity
August 27, 1968Political reprisals against participants in mass antiwar demonstration in Chicago
September 23, 1950USA adopts the McCarran-Wood law on internal security
September-October 1919National strike in the USA in which 2 million people take part
October 31, 1956Triple aggression of England, France and Israel against Egypt
November 19, 1915Poet Joe Hill shot in the USA
November 22, 1963Assassination of John Kennedy
November 22, 1970Portuguese colonizers commit act of armed aggression against the Republic of Guinea
December, 1931Two hunger marches on Washington by USA poor
Dear Mr. President,
Imagine, Mr. President, what if we were to present to you such an ultimatum as you have presented to us by your actions. How would you react to it? I think you would be outraged at such a move on our part. And this we would understand.
Having presented these conditions to us, Mr. President, you have thrown down the gauntlet. Who asked you to do this? By what right have you done this? Our ties with the Republic of Cuba, as well as our relations with other nations, regardless of their political system, concern only the two countries between which these relations exist. And, if it were a matter of quarantine as mentioned in your letter, then, as is customary in international practice, it can be established only by states agreeing between themselves, and not by some third party. Quarantines exist, for example, on agricultural goods and products. However, in this case we are not talking about quarantines, but rather about much more serious matters, and you yourself understand this.
Mr. John F. Kennedy
President of the United States of America
You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather issuing an ultimatum, and you are threatening that if we do not obey your orders, you will then use force. Think about what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What does it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean for us to conduct our relations with other countries not by reason, but by yielding to tyranny. You are not appealing to reason; you want to intimidate us.
No, Mr. President, I cannot agree to this, and I think that deep inside, you will admit that I am right. I am convinced that if you were in my place you would do the same.
[_] This Organization [of American States] has no authority or grounds whatsoever to pass resolutions like those of which you speak in your letter. Therefore, we do not accept these resolutions. International law exists, generally accepted standards of conduct exist. We firmly adhere to the principles of international law and strictly observe the standards regulating navigation on the open sea, in international waters. We observe these standards and enjoy the rights recognized by all nations.
Cuban Missile Crisis
According to Nikita Khrushchevs memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediaterange nuclear missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying strategic missiles. He also presented the scheme as a means of protecting Cuba from another United Statessponsored invasion, such as the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.
After obtaining Fidel Castros approval, the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build missile installations in Cuba. On October 16, President John Kennedy was shown reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile installations under construction in Cuba. After seven days of guarded and intense debate in the United States administration, during which Soviet diplomats denied that installations for offensive missiles were being built in Cuba, President Kennedy, in a televised address on October 22, announced the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly. He also imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of offensive military weapons from arriving there.
You want to force us to renounce the rights enjoyed by every sovereign state; you are attempting to legislate questions of international law; you are violating the generally accepted standards of this law. All this is due not only to hatred for the Cuban people and their government, but also for reasons having to do with the election campaign in the USA. What morals, what laws can justify such an approach by the American government to international affairs? Such morals and laws are not to be found, because the actions of the USA in relation to Cuba are outright piracy. This, if you will, is the madness of a degenerating imperialism. Unfortunately, people of all nations, and not least the American people themselves, could suffer heavily from madness such as this, since with the appearance of modern types of weapons, the USA has completely lost its former inaccessibility.
Therefore, Mr. President, if you weigh the present situation with a cool head without giving way to passion, you will understand that the Soviet Union cannot afford not to decline the despotic demands of the USA. When you lay conditions such as these before us, try to put yourself in our situation and consider how the USA would react to such conditions. I have no doubt that if anyone attempted to dictate similar conditions to you the USA, you would reject such an attempt. And we likewise say no.
The Soviet government considers the violation of the freedom of navigation in international waters and air space to constitute an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war. Therefore, the Soviet government cannot instruct captains of Soviet ships bound for Cuba to observe orders of American naval forces blockading this island. Our instructions to Soviet sailors are to observe strictly the generally accepted standards of navigation in international waters and not retreat one step from them. And, if the American side violates these rights, it must be aware of the responsibility it will bear for this act. To be sure, we will not remain mere observers of pirate actions by American ships in the open sea. We will then be forced on our part to take those measures we deem necessary and sufficient to defend our rights. To this end we have all that is necessary.
Respectfully,/s/ N. Khrushchev
24 October 1962
During the crisis, the two sides exchanged many letters and other communications, both formal and back channel. Khrushchev sent letters to Kennedy on October 23 and 24 indicating the deterrent nature of the missiles in Cuba and the peaceful intentions of the Soviet Union. On October 26, Khrushchev sent Kennedy a long rambling letter seemingly proposing that the missile installations would be dismantled and personnel removed in exchange for United States assurances that it or its proxies would not invade Cuba. On October 27, another letter to Kennedy arrived from Khrushchev, suggesting that missile installations in Cuba would be dismantled if the United States dismantled its missile installations in Turkey. The American administration decided to ignore this second letter and to accept the offer outlined in the letter of October 26. Khrushchev then announced on October 28 that he would dismantle the installations and return them to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Further negotiations were held to implement the October 28 agreement, including a United States demand that Soviet light bombers also be removed from Cuba, and to specify the exact form and conditions of United States assurances not to invade Cuba.
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