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mardi, 28 mars 2017

"Nous", le roman qui a inspiré Huxley, Orwell et Terry Gilliam

Jewgenij Samjatin.jpg

"Nous", le roman qui a inspiré Huxley, Orwell et Terry Gilliam

 
Par 
Ex: http://www.lepoint.fr 
 
Son nom ne vous dit sans doute rien, mais Evgueni Zamiatine a écrit en 1920 un ouvrage d'anticipation (réédité aujourd'hui) sidérant d'acuité

Tout le monde (ou presque) a oublié son nom. L'écrivain russe Evgueni Ivanovitch Zamiatine est pourtant un auteur majeur. Né le 1er février 1884 à Lebedian, une petite ville à 300 kilomètres au sud de Moscou, d'un père pope orthodoxe et d'une mère musicienne, cet architecte naval n'a que peu publié. Son œuvre compte moins d'une vingtaine de romans, recueils de nouvelles et pièces de théâtre. Si le nom de Zamiatine est passé à la postérité, c'est comme scénariste de Jean Renoir. Il a, de fait, signé l'adaptation des Bas-Fonds de Maxime Gorki, un an avant de mourir à Paris, à l'âge de 53 ans, le 10 mars 1937.

Son roman le plus remarquable, écrit en 1920, est aujourd'hui republié aux éditions Actes Sud dans une nouvelle traduction d'Hélène Henry. Et il faut absolument le lire ! Son titre, « Nous » (« Мы » en russe), résume son propos. Il consiste à décrire froidement le monde dans lequel « nous » nous apprêtons à vivre. Un univers futuriste, à l'époque où Zamiatine écrit son roman, mais qui ressemble aujourd'hui à une allégorie de notre époque.

Qu'on en juge… Nous sommes au XXVIe siècle et la Terre sort de deux cents ans de guerre où se sont affrontés deux mondes : celui de la campagne et celui de la ville. Le héros, D-503 (les hommes ont perdu depuis longtemps leur identité au profit d'un matricule), est ingénieur. Il travaille sur le chantier de construction d'un vaisseau spatial surnommé l'Intégral. Cet engin est destiné à entrer en contact avec des civilisations extraterrestres dans le but de coloniser leurs planètes et de les convertir au « bonheur » terrestre. Mais il fait aussi figure de bateau de sauvetage pour l'humanité tant notre monde ressemble à un enfer.

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Journal intime

Régie par un « État unitaire » despotique qui ne tolère chez ses sujets aucun secret, la plus grande partie du globe est recouverte par une immense cité, composée de grandes tours de verre transparent où tout un chacun vit au vu et au su de tout le monde. (Snowden, es-tu là ?). Les seuls moments d'intimité tolérés consistent en ces brefs instants où les habitants ont pour mission de procréer afin d'assurer la perpétuation de l'espèce humaine. Et encore… pour être autorisé à tirer le rideau, encore faut-il avoir obtenu un sésame : en l'espèce un ticket rose, parcimonieusement distribué aux sujets les plus obéissants. La rencontre de D-503 avec une jolie femme, I-330, va bouleverser son existence en lui faisant découvrir qu'une autre vie est possible où il est loisible d'avoir des secrets. Et, encore mieux, de jouir de liberté, même si cela rime avec imprévisibilité et précarité.

I-330, « résistante » au système (elle boit, fume et fait l'amour à qui lui plaît), parviendra-t-elle à le faire s'évader de cet État totalitaire pour rejoindre la dernière parcelle de nature qui se dissimule derrière un grand mur vert ? Les deux amoureux échapperont-ils à la sinistre police du « Bienfaiteur », comme s'est autoproclamé le tyran qui règne sur l'État ? Composé comme un journal intime, découpé en quarante chapitres, où D-503 expose tour à tour son quotidien, ses fantasmes et ses états d'âme, Nous gardera jusqu'au bout les réponses à ces questions.

Algorithmes

On l'aura compris : ce roman est une dystopie, comme on nomme les contre-utopies cauchemardesques en science-fiction. On ne s'étonnera pas qu'Aldous Huxley ait puisé dans l'univers dysfonctionnel de Zamiatine l'inspiration du Meilleur des mondes, tout comme George Orwell celle de 1984. Ce roman a également beaucoup influencé Kurt Vonnegut pour son Pianiste déchaîné et Terry Gilliam : plusieurs scènes de Brazil semblent tout droit tirées de ce livre. Interdit de publication par Moscou qui y voyait, à juste titre, une dénonciation du régime bolchevique, Nous, paru initialement en 1924 en Grande-Bretagne où Zamiatine avait vécu quelques mois sur le chantier de construction de navires-brise-glace (dont l'Intégral semble la transposition SF), avait été traduit en français en 1929 sous le titre de Nous autres (Gallimard). Il n'est sorti en URSS qu'en 1988.

Critique acerbe de la société pré-stalinienne, cet ouvrage ne saurait cependant être réduit à son anticommunisme, car, même s'il était un adversaire de Trotski, Zamiatine n'en avait pas moins été un compagnon de route des révolutionnaires léninistes. S'il résonne encore aujourd'hui, c'est surtout parce que ce roman singulier décrit une modernité broyant les individus sous le poids de la technologie et de la science. À commencer par ces algorithmes prédictifs, censés apporter le bonheur aux hommes en gommant toutes les aspérités que nous appelons le hasard. Cela ne vous rappelle rien ?

Nous , d'Evgueni Zamiatine, traduction d'Hélène Henry, éditions Actes Sud, 240 pages, 21 €

Extrait :
 
« Je ne fais ici que recopier – mot pour mot – ce que publie aujourd'hui le Journal officiel : Dans cent vingt jours, la construction de l'Intégrale sera achevée. Proche est l'heure historique où la première Intégrale s'élèvera dans l'espace universel. Il y a mille ans, vos héroïques ancêtres ont soumis le monde entier au pouvoir de l'État Unitaire. Vous avez devant vous un exploit encore plus glorieux : la résolution de l'équation infinie de l'Univers grâce à l'Intégrale, cette machine électrique de verre qui souffle le feu. Vous êtes destinés à soumettre au joug bienfaisant de la raison des êtres inconnus qui habitent d'autres planètes et sont peut-être encore en état de liberté primitive. S'ils refusent de comprendre que nous leur apportons un bonheur mathématiquement exact, notre devoir sera de les obliger à être heureux. Mais avant de recourir aux armes, nous essayons la parole. »

dimanche, 18 septembre 2016

Finnlands »Sonderkrieg« im Weltkrieg

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Finnlands »Sonderkrieg« im Weltkrieg

Vor 75 Jahren versuchten die Skandinavier, im Schatten der Deutschen die Ergebnisse des Winterkrieges zu revidieren

Wolf Oschlies
Ex: http://www.preussische-allgemeine.de
 

Drei Tage, nachdem der deutsche Angriff auf die Sowjetunion begonnen hatte, erklärte Finnland der UdSSR den Krieg. Das Ziel war die Rückgewinnung der im Winterkrieg von 1939/40 verlorenen Gebiete. Obwohl Finnland mit Deutschland ein gemeinsamer Feind verband, verzichtete es auf ein offizielles Bündnis mit dem  Reich und versuchte vielmehr, einen „Sonderkrieg“ zu führen mit der Hoffnung auf einen „Sonderfrieden“.

Gemäß dem deutsch-sowjetischen Nichtangriffsabkommen vom 23. August 1939 gehörte Finnland zur sowjetischen Interessensphäre. Drei Monate später überfiel Josef Stalin mit 800000 Soldaten Finnland ohne formelle Kriegserklärung und unter Bruch des Nichtangriffspakts von 1932, weswegen die Sowjetunion Ende 1939 als „Aggressor“ vom Völkerbund geächtet wurde. Ihre Rote Armee war an Soldaten dreifach, an Waffen zehnfach überlegen, erlitt aber enorme Verluste: 150000 Gefallene und 325000 Verwundete gegenüber 21000 beziehungsweise 44000 bei Finnland. Nur 30 Panzer besaßen die Finnen, vernichteten aber knapp 2000 sowjetische, vorwiegend mit 550000 todbringenden Brandflaschen, die sie in boshafter Anspielung auf Stalins Regierungschef und Außenminister „Molotovin cocktail“ nannten: Molotowcocktail.

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Vor allem dieser „Cocktail“ befähigte die Finnen zu 105 Tagen heroischem Widerstand, wogegen die Sowjets am 12. März 1940 nur einen glanzlosen „Frieden“ erreichten. Finnland büßte zwölf Prozent seines Territoriums ein.


Die Möglichkeit, die Ergebnisse des sowjetischen Überfalls zu revidieren, schien der deutsche Angriff auf die Sowjetunion zu bieten. Diesem Versuch einer militärischen Grenzrevision gaben die Finnen die Bezeichnung „Fortsetzungskrieg“.


Trotz des gemeinsamen Kriegsgegners versuchte Finnland, in den Augen der Westalliierten, auf Distanz zu Deutschland zu bleiben. Das Land schloss kein offizielles Bündnis mit dem Deutschen Reich. Auch behandelte es seine rund 2000 Juden, Nachfahren sogenannter Kantonisten, russischer Soldaten, die sich nach Dienstende in Finnland niedergelassen hatten, beispielhaft. Im Sommer 1942 war SS-Führer Heinrich Himmler in Finnland, um die Auslieferung von Juden zu fordern. Diese Forderung wies Finnlands Ministerpräsident Jukka Rangell zurück: „Finnlands Juden sind Staatsbürger wie alle anderen. In Finnland gibt es keine Judenfrage.“ Das bestätigte Leutnant Max Jakobson, nach dem Krieg Vizeaußenminister und UN-Vertreter Finnlands: „In der jüdischen Gemeinde Finnlands wurde kein offizieller Beschluss zur Kriegsbeteiligung gefasst. Die Juden reagierten auf die Ereignisse exakt so wie die Finnen.“ Alle seien Patrioten gewesen, schrieb der Historiker Seppo Hentilä: „Vielleicht dachten die Sowjets, die Finnen würden sie mit Blumen begrüßen. Der gemeinsame Hass schweißte die Finnen zusammen.“ Deren Erfahrungen mit Sowjets hätten sie, so Juho Paasikivi, 1940/41 Finnlands Botschafter in Moskau und ab 1946 dessen Staatspräsident, gelehrt, dass das Sowjetsystem „tausend Mal schlimmer“ als Adolf Hitlers Regime gewesen sei.


Bis Ende September hatten die Finnen fast alle 1940 verlorenen Gebiete zurückerobert, wozu der US-Außenminister Cordell Hull Finnland augenblicklich gratulierte. Hingegen argwöhnte England hier eine Tarnung deutscher Angriffspläne auf nordrussische Häfen und Verkehrslinien und erklärte Finnland am 5. Dezember den Krieg. Kurz darauf riet Premier Winston Churchill vertraulich dem finnischen Oberbefehlshaber Gustaf Mannerheim, aus dem Krieg mit den Deutschen auszuscheren. Das hätte Finnland gern getan, aber nicht unter Preisgabe rückeroberter Gebiete, was man noch im Sommer 1943 als „politischen Selbstmord“ ansah. Die Deutschen behielten, ungeachtet herber Rückschläge in der „Schlacht um Moskau“, die Initiative an der Ostfront. Wozu sie fähig waren, sah man am benachbarten Norwegen, das seit April 1940 deutsches Besatzungsgebiet war. Finnland nahm an der Blockade Leningrads teil. Sich selber sah man gut gerüstet, hatte Ende Sommer 1941 etwa 650000 Soldaten aufgestellt, knapp 18 Prozent der 3,7 Millionen Einwohner, ein Rekord in der internationalen Kriegsgeschichte. Darunter litten allerdings Wirtschaft und Beschäftigung, sodass bereits ab Herbst 1941 Soldaten demobilisiert wurden. 1943 hatte Finnland nur noch 320000.

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Das Land glaubte sich, so Ende 1941 sein Militärattaché in Wa­shington, mit seinem „Sonderkrieg“ auf gutem Wege zu einem „Sonderfrieden“. Mannerheim hatte Hitler die Niederlage prophezeit, als dieser im Juni 1942 zu seinem 75. Geburtstag angereist war. Ein offizielles deutsches Bündnisabkommen wurde zu­rück­gewiesen, worauf Deutschland seine Hilfslieferungen stoppte. Ein US-Angebot, bei der Kriegsbeendigung zu helfen, wurde allerdings ebenso am 20. März 1943 als „verfrüht“ abgelehnt. Man glaubte, warten zu können. Die Lage an der Front hatte sich stabilisiert, 1942/43 gab es kaum Kampfhandlungen. Erst im Sommer 1944 griff die Rote Armee in Karelien wieder an, im August übergab der zum Staatspräsident gewählte Mannerheim über die Sowjetbotschaft in Stockholm ein Friedensangebot ab. Schäbiger Bittsteller war man nicht, hatte vielmehr der Roten Armee in der Schlacht von Tali-Ihantala (25. Juni bis 9. Juli 1944) die schwerste Niederlage des Fortsetzungskriegs zugefügt, rund 18000 Rotarmisten waren gefallen, 300 Panzer und 280 Flugzeuge abgeschossen.


Die sowjetischen Bedingungen für die Feuereinstellung waren mit dem Vereinigten Königreich und den Vereinigten Staaten abgestimmt: sofortiger Bruch mit Deutschland, Rückzug der deutschen Truppen bis zum 15. September. Am 4. September stellten die Finnen die Kampfhandlungen ein, die Sowjets erst am Tag danach wegen „bürokratischer Hemmnisse“. Am 19. September signierten in Moskau Finnland, die Sowjetunion und Großbritannien ein Waffenstillstandsabkommen, das für Sowjet-Usancen relativ milde ausfiel: Rückgabe der im Fortsetzungskrieg zurückgewonnenen Ge­biete, Abtretung weiterer Gebiete, ungehinderter Transit der Roten Armee durch Finnland, 300 Millionen US-Dollar Reparationen. Schwierigkeiten ergaben sich beim Rückzug der 200000 Deutschen, wofür die vorgesehene Zeit nicht ausreichte. Um den Sowjets keinen Vorwand zu liefern, den Waffenstillstand nicht einzuhalten, starteten die Finnen ihren „Lapplandkrieg“ gegen Deutsche, der sich dann noch bis Ende April 1945 hinzog.


Der endgültige Friedensvertrag Finnlands mit den „Alliierten und Assoziierten Mächten“ wurde am 10. Februar 1947 in Paris unterzeichnet. Offenkundig waren die Sowjets unzufrieden, nutzten den 1948 geschlossenen Vertrag über Freundschaft, Zusammenarbeit und gegenseitigen Beistand zu einer Knebelung des Landes, für die 1966 der Politologe Richard Löwenthal den Begriff „Finnlandisierung“ prägte.

Wolf Oschlies

dimanche, 29 mai 2016

La tyrannie mondialiste et le totalitarisme démocratique

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La tyrannie mondialiste et le totalitarisme démocratique

Conversation avec Alexandre Zinoviev philosophe, logicien,
sociologue,
et écrivain dissident soviétique.

Entretien réalisé par Victor Loupan à Munich, en juin 1999,
quelques jours avant le retour définitif d’Alexandre Zinoviev en Russie ; extrait de « La grande rupture », aux éditions l’Âge d’Homme.

Ex: http://www.actionroyaliste.fr

Victor Loupan : Avec quels sentiments rentrez-vous après un exil aussi long ?

Alexandre Zinoviev : Avec celui d’avoir quitté une puissance respectée, forte, crainte même, et de retrouver un pays vaincu, en ruines. Contrairement à d’autres, je n’aurais jamais quitté l’URSS, si on m’avait laissé le choix. L’émigration a été une vraie punition pour moi.

V. L. : On vous a pourtant reçu à bras ouverts !

A. Z. : C’est vrai. Mais malgré l’accueil triomphal et le succès mondial de mes livres, je me suis toujours senti étranger ici.

zinoli2221069363.JPGV. L. : Depuis la chute du communisme, c’est le système occidental qui est devenu votre principal objet d’étude et de critique. Pourquoi ?

A. Z. : Parce que ce que j’avais dit est arrivé : la chute du communisme s’est transformée en chute de la Russie. La Russie et le communisme étaient devenus une seule et même chose.

V. L. : La lutte contre le communisme aurait donc masqué une volonté d’élimination de la Russie ?

A. Z. : Absolument. La catastrophe russe a été voulue et programmée ici, en Occident. Je le dis, car j’ai été, à une certaine époque, un initié. J’ai lu des documents, participé à des études qui, sous prétexte de combattre une idéologie, préparaient la mort de la Russie. Et cela m’est devenu insupportable au point où je ne peux plus vivre dans le camp de ceux qui détruisent mon pays et mon peuple. L’Occident n’est pas une chose étrangère pour moi, mais c’est une puissance ennemie.

V. L. : Seriez-vous devenu un patriote ?

A. Z. : Le patriotisme, ce n’est pas mon problème. J’ai reçu une éducation internationaliste et je lui reste fidèle. Je ne peux d’ailleurs pas dire si j’aime ou non la Russie et les Russes. Mais j’appartiens à ce peuple et à ce pays. J’en fais partie. Les malheurs actuels de mon peuple sont tels, que je ne peux continuer à les contempler de loin. La brutalité de la mondialisation met en évidence des choses inacceptables.

V. L. : Les dissidents soviétiques parlaient pourtant comme si leur patrie était la démocratie et leur peuple les droits de l’homme. Maintenant que cette manière de voir est dominante en Occident, vous semblez la combattre. N’est-ce pas contradictoire ?

A. Z. : Pendant la guerre froide, la démocratie était une arme dirigée contre le totalitarisme communiste, mais elle avait l’avantage d’exister. On voit d’ailleurs aujourd’hui que l’époque de la guerre froide a été un point culminant de l’histoire de l’Occident. Un bien être sans pareil, de vraies libertés, un extraordinaire progrès social, d’énormes découvertes scientifiques et techniques, tout y était ! Mais, l’Occident se modifiait aussi presqu’imperceptiblement. L’intégration timide des pays développés, commencée alors, constituait en fait les prémices de la mondialisation de l’économie et de la globalisation du pouvoir auxquels nous assistons aujourd’hui. Une intégration peut être généreuse et positive si elle répond, par exemple, au désir légitime des nations-soeurs de s’unir. Mais celle-ci a, dès le départ, été pensée en termes de structures verticales, dominées par un pouvoir supranational. Sans le succès de la contre-révolution russe, il n’aurait pu se lancer dans la mondialisation.

V. L. : Le rôle de Gorbatchev n’a donc pas été positif ?

A. Z. : Je ne pense pas en ces termes-là. Contrairement à l’idée communément admise, le communisme soviétique ne s’est pas effondré pour des raisons internes. Sa chute est la plus grande victoire de l’histoire de l’Occident ! Victoire colossale qui, je le répète, permet l’instauration d’un pouvoir planétaire. Mais la fin du communisme a aussi marqué la fin de la démocratie. Notre époque n’est pas que post-communiste, elle est aussi post-démocratique. Nous assistons aujourd’hui à l’instauration du totalitarisme démocratique ou, si vous préférez, de la démocratie totalitaire.

zinolié.jpgV. L. : N’est-ce pas un peu absurde ?

A. Z. : Pas du tout. La démocratie sous-entend le pluralisme. Et le pluralisme suppose l’opposition d’au moins deux forces plus ou moins égale ; forces qui se combattent et s’influencent en même temps. Il y avait, à l’époque de la guerre froide, une démocratie mondiale, un pluralisme global au sein duquel coexistaient le système capitaliste, le système communiste et même une structure plus vague mais néanmoins vivante, les non-alignés. Le totalitarisme soviétique était sensible aux critiques venant de l’Occident. L’Occident subissait lui aussi l’influence de l’URSS, par l’intermédiaire notamment de ses propres partis communistes. Aujourd’hui, nous vivons dans un monde dominé par une force unique, par une idéologie unique, par un parti unique mondialiste. La constitution de ce dernier a débuté, elle aussi, à l’époque de la guerre froide, quand des superstructures transnationales ont progressivement commencé à se constituer sous les formes les plus diverses : sociétés commerciales, bancaires, politiques, médiatiques. Malgré leurs différents secteurs d’activités, ces forces étaient unies par leur nature supranationale. Avec la chute du communisme, elles se sont retrouvées aux commandes du monde. Les pays occidentaux sont donc dominateurs, mais aussi dominés, puisqu’ils perdent progressivement leur souveraineté au profit de ce que j’appelle la « suprasociété ». Suprasociété planétaire, constituée d’entreprises commerciales et d’organismes non-commerciaux, dont les zones d’influence dépassent les nations. Les pays occidentaux sont soumis, comme les autres, au contrôle de ces structures supranationales. Or, la souveraineté des nations était, elle aussi, une partie constituante du pluralisme et donc de la démocratie, à l’échelle de la planète. Le pouvoir dominant actuel écrase les états souverains. L’intégration de l’Europe qui se déroule sous nos yeux, provoque elle aussi la disparition du pluralisme au sein de ce nouveau conglomérat, au profit d’un pouvoir supranational.

V. L. : Mais ne pensez-vous pas que la France ou l’Allemagne continuent à être des pays démocratiques ?

A. Z. : Les pays occidentaux ont connu une vraie démocratie à l’époque de la guerre froide. Les partis politiques avaient de vraies divergences idéologiques et des programmes politiques différents. Les organes de presse avaient des différences marquées, eux aussi. Tout cela influençait la vie des gens, contribuait à leur bien-être. C’est bien fini. Parce que le capitalisme démocratique et prospère, celui des lois sociales et des garanties d’emploi devait beaucoup à l’épouvantail communiste. L’attaque massive contre les droits sociaux à l’Ouest a commencé avec la chute du communisme à l’Est. Aujourd’hui, les socialistes au pouvoir dans la plupart des pays d’Europe, mènent une politique de démantèlement social qui détruit tout ce qu’il y avait de socialiste justement dans les pays capitalistes. Il n’existe plus, en Occident, de force politique capable de défendre les humbles. L’existence des partis politiques est purement formelle. Leurs différences s’estompent chaque jour davantage. La guerre des Balkans était tout sauf démocratique. Elle a pourtant été menée par des socialistes, historiquement opposés à ce genre d’aventures. Les écologistes, eux aussi au pouvoir dans plusieurs pays, ont applaudi au désastre écologique provoqué par les bombardements de l’OTAN. Ils ont même osé affirmer que les bombes à uranium appauvri n’étaient pas dangereuses alors que les soldats qui les chargent portent des combinaisons spéciales. La démocratie tend donc aussi à disparaître de l’organisation sociale occidentale. Le totalitarisme financier a soumis les pouvoirs politiques. Le totalitarisme financier est froid. Il ne connaît ni la pitié ni les sentiments. Les dictatures politiques sont pitoyables en comparaison avec la dictature financière. Une certaine résistance était possible au sein des dictatures les plus dures. Aucune révolte n’est possible contre la banque.

V. L. : Et la révolution ?

A. Z. : Le totalitarisme démocratique et la dictature financière excluent la révolution sociale.

V. L. : Pourquoi ?

A. Z. : Parce qu’ils combinent la brutalité militaire toute puissante et l’étranglement financier planétaire. Toutes les révolutions ont bénéficié de soutien venu de l’étranger. C’est désormais impossible, par absence de pays souverains. De plus, la classe ouvrière a été remplacée au bas de l’échelle sociale, par la classe des chômeurs. Or que veulent les chômeurs ? Un emploi. Ils sont donc, contrairement à la classe ouvrière du passé, dans une situation de faiblesse.

V. L. : Les systèmes totalitaires avaient tous une idéologie. Quelle est celle de cette nouvelle société que vous appelez post-démocratique ?

A. Z. : Les théoriciens et les politiciens occidentaux les plus influents considèrent que nous sommes entrés dans une époque post-idéologique. Parce qu’ils sous-entendent par « idéologie » le communisme, le fascisme, le nazisme, etc. En réalité, l’idéologie, la supraidéologie du monde occidental, développée au cours des cinquante dernières années, est bien plus forte que le communisme ou le national-socialisme. Le citoyen occidental en est bien plus abruti que ne l’était le soviétique moyen par la propagande communiste. Dans le domaine idéologique, l’idée importe moins que les mécanismes de sa diffusion. Or la puissance des médias occidentaux est, par exemple, incomparablement plus grande que celle, énorme pourtant, du Vatican au sommet de son pouvoir. Et ce n’est pas tout : le cinéma, la littérature, la philosophie, tous les moyens d’influence et de diffusion de la culture au sens large vont dans le même sens. A la moindre impulsion, ceux qui travaillent dans ces domaines réagissent avec un unanimisme qui laisse penser à des ordres venant d’une source de pouvoir unique. Il suffit que la décision de stigmatiser un Karadzic, un Milosevic ou un autre soit prise pour qu’une machine de propagande planétaire se mette en branle contre ces gens, sans grande importance. Et alors qu’il faudrait juger les politiciens et les généraux de l’OTAN parce qu’ils ont enfreint toutes les lois existantes, l’écrasante majorité des citoyens occidentaux est persuadée que la guerre contre la Serbie était juste et bonne. L’idéologie occidentale combine et fait converger les idées en fonction des besoins. L’une d’entre elles est que les valeurs et le mode de vie occidentaux sont supérieurs à d’autres. Alors que pour la plupart des peuples de la planète ces valeurs sont mortelles. Essayez donc de convaincre les Américains que la Russie en meurt. Vous n’y arriverez jamais. Ils continueront à affirmer que les valeurs occidentales sont universelles, appliquant ainsi l’un des principes fondamentaux du dogmatisme idéologique. Les théoriciens, les médias et les politiciens occidentaux sont absolument persuadés de la supériorité de leur système. C’est cela qui leur permet de l’imposer au monde avec bonne conscience. L’homme occidental, porteur de ces valeurs supérieures est donc un nouveau surhomme. Le terme est tabou, mais cela revient au même. Tout cela mériterait d’être étudié scientifiquement. Mais la recherche scientifique dans certains domaines sociologiques et historiques est devenue difficile. Un scientifique qui voudrait se pencher sur les mécanismes du totalitarisme démocratique aurait à faire face aux plus grandes difficultés. On en ferait d’ailleurs un paria. Par contre, ceux dont le travail sert l’idéologie dominante, croulent sous les dotations et les éditeurs comme les médias se les disputent. Je l’ai observé en tant que chercheur et professeur des universités.

V. L. : Mais cette « supraidéologie » ne propage-t-elle pas aussi la tolérance et le respect ?

A. Z. : Quand vous écoutez les élites occidentales, tout est pur, généreux, respectueux de la personne humaine. Ce faisant, elles appliquent une règle classique de la propagande : masquer la réalité par le discours. Car il suffit d’allumer la télévision, d’aller au cinéma, d’ouvrir les livres à succès, d’écouter la musique la plus diffusée, pour se rendre compte que ce qui est propagé en réalité c’est le culte du sexe, de la violence et de l’argent. Le discours noble et généreux est donc destiné à masquer ces trois piliers – il y en a d’autres – de la démocratie totalitaire.

V. L. : Mais que faites-vous des droits de l’homme ? Ne sont-ils pas respectés en Occident bien plus qu’ailleurs ?

A. Z. : L’idée des droits de l’homme est désormais soumise elle aussi à une pression croissante. L’idée, purement idéologique, selon laquelle ils seraient innés et inaltérables ne résisterait même pas à un début d’examen rigoureux. Je suis prêt à soumettre l’idéologie occidentale à l’analyse scientifique, exactement comme je l’ai fait pour le communisme. Ce sera peut-être un peu long pour un entretien.

zinoli3.jpgV. L. : N’a-t-elle pas une idée maîtresse ?

A. Z. : C’est le mondialisme, la globalisation. Autrement dit : la domination mondiale. Et comme cette idée est assez antipathique, on la masque sous le discours plus vague et généreux d’unification planétaire, de transformation du monde en un tout intégré. C’est le vieux masque idéologique soviétique ; celui de l’amitié entre les peuples, « amitié » destinée à couvrir l’expansionnisme. En réalité, l’Occident procède actuellement à un changement de structure à l’échelle planétaire. D’un côté, la société occidentale domine le monde de la tête et des épaules et de l’autre, elle s’organise elle-même verticalement, avec le pouvoir supranational au sommet de la pyramide.

V. L. : Un gouvernement mondial ?

A. Z. : Si vous voulez.

V. L. : Croire cela n’est-ce-pas être un peu victime du fantasme du complot ?

A. Z. : Quel complot ? Il n’y a aucun complot. Le gouvernement mondial est dirigé par les gouverneurs des structures supranationales commerciales, financières et politiques connues de tous. Selon mes calculs, une cinquantaine de millions de personnes fait déjà partie de cette suprasociété qui dirige le monde. Les États-Unis en sont la métropole. Les pays d’Europe occidentale et certains anciens « dragons » asiatiques, la base. Les autres sont dominés suivant une dure gradation économico-financière. Ça, c’est la réalité. La propagande, elle, prétend qu’un gouvernement mondial contrôlé par un parlement mondial serait souhaitable, car le monde est une vaste fraternité. Ce ne sont là que des balivernes destinées aux populations.

V. L. : Le Parlement européen aussi ?

A. Z. : Non, car le Parlement européen existe. Mais il serait naïf de croire que l’union de l’Europe s’est faite parce que les gouvernements des pays concernés l’ont décidé gentiment. L’Union européenne est un instrument de destruction des souverainetés nationales. Elle fait partie des projets élaborés par les organismes supranationaux.

V. L. : La Communauté européenne a changé de nom après la destruction de l’Union soviétique. Elle s’est appelée Union européenne, comme pour la remplacer. Après tout, il y avait d’autres noms possibles. Aussi, ses dirigeants s’appellent-ils « commissaires », comme les Bolcheviks. Ils sont à la tête d’une « Commission », comme les Bolcheviks. Le dernier président a été « élu » tout en étant candidat unique.

A. Z. : Il ne faut pas oublier que des lois régissent l’organisation sociale. Organiser un million d’hommes c’est une chose, dix millions c’en est une autre, cent millions, c’est bien plus compliqué encore. Organiser cinq cent millions est une tâche immense. Il faut créer de nouveaux organismes de direction, former des gens qui vont les administrer, les faire fonctionner. C’est indispensable. Or l’Union soviétique est, en effet, un exemple classique de conglomérat multinational coiffé d’une structure dirigeante supranationale. L’Union européenne veut faire mieux que l’Union soviétique ! C’est légitime. J’ai déjà été frappé, il y a vingt ans, de voir à quel point les soi-disant tares du système soviétique étaient amplifiées en Occident.

V. L. : Par exemple ?

A. Z. : La planification ! L’économie occidentale est infiniment plus planifiée que ne l’a jamais été l’économie soviétique. La bureaucratie ! En Union Soviétique 10 % à 12 % de la population active travaillaient dans la direction et l’administration du pays. Aux États Unis, ils sont entre 16 % et 20 %. C’est pourtant l’URSS qui était critiquée pour son économie planifiée et la lourdeur de son appareil bureaucratique ! Le Comité central du PCUS employait deux mille personnes. L’ensemble de l’appareil du Parti communiste soviétique était constitué de 150000 salariés. Vous trouverez aujourd’hui même, en Occident, des dizaines voire des centaines d’entreprises bancaires et industrielles qui emploient un nombre bien plus élevé de gens. L’appareil bureaucratique du Parti communiste soviétique était pitoyable en comparaison avec ceux des grandes multinationales. L’URSS était en réalité un pays sous-administré. Les fonctionnaires de l’administration auraient dû être deux à trois fois plus nombreux. L’Union européenne le sait, et en tient compte. L’intégration est impossible sans la création d’un très important appareil administratif.

V. L. : Ce que vous dites est contraire aux idées libérales, affichées par les dirigeants européens. Pensez-vous que leur libéralisme est de façade ?

A. Z. : L’administration a tendance à croître énormément. Cette croissance est dangereuse, pour elle-même. Elle le sait. Comme tout organisme, elle trouve ses propres antidotes pour continuer à prospérer. L’initiative privée en est un. La morale publique et privée, un autre. Ce faisant, le pouvoir lutte en quelque sorte contre ses tendances à l’auto-déstabilisation. Il a donc inventé le libéralisme pour contrebalancer ses propres lourdeurs. Et le libéralisme a joué, en effet, un rôle historique considérable. Mais il serait absurde d’être libéral aujourd’hui. La société libérale n’existe plus. Sa doctrine est totalement dépassée à une époque de concentrations capitalistiques sans pareil dans l’histoire. Les mouvements d’énormes masses financières ne tiennent compte ni des intérêts des États ni de ceux des peuples, peuples composés d’individus. Le libéralisme sous-entend l’initiative personnelle et le risque financier personnel. Or, rien ne se fait aujourd’hui sans l’argent des banques. Ces banques, de moins en moins nombreuses d’ailleurs, mènent une politique dictatoriale, dirigiste par nature. Les propriétaires sont à leur merci, puisque tout est soumis au crédit et donc au contrôle des puissances financières. L’importance des individus, fondement du libéralisme, se réduit de jour en jour. Peu importe aujourd’hui qui dirige telle ou telle entreprise ; ou tel ou tel pays d’ailleurs. Bush ou Clinton, Kohl ou Schröder, Chirac ou Jospin, quelle importance ? Ils mènent et mèneront la même politique.

V. L. : Les totalitarismes du XXe siècle ont été extrêmement violents. On ne peut dire la même chose de la démocratie occidentale.

A. Z. : Ce ne sont pas les méthodes, ce sont les résultats qui importent. Un exemple ? L’URSS a perdu vingt million d’hommes et subi des destructions considérables, en combattant l’Allemagne nazie. Pendant la guerre froide, guerre sans bombes ni canons pourtant, ses pertes, sur tous les plans, ont été bien plus considérables ! La durée de vie des Russes a chuté de dix ans dans les dix dernières années. La mortalité dépasse la natalité de manière catastrophique. Deux millions d’enfants ne dorment pas à la maison. Cinq millions d’enfants en âge d’étudier ne vont pas à l’école. Il y a douze millions de drogués recensés. L’alcoolisme s’est généralisé. 70 % des jeunes ne sont pas aptes au service militaire à cause de leur état physique. Ce sont là des conséquences directes de la défaite dans la guerre froide, défaite suivie par l’occidentalisation. Si cela continue, la population du pays descendra rapidement de cent-cinquante à cent, puis à cinquante millions d’habitants. Le totalitarisme démocratique surpassera tous ceux qui l’ont précédé.

V. L. : En violence ?

A. Z. : La drogue, la malnutrition, le sida sont plus efficaces que la violence guerrière. Quoique, après la guerre froide dont la force de destruction a été colossale, l’Occident vient d’inventer la « guerre pacifique ». L’Irak et la Yougoslavie sont deux exemples de réponse disproportionnée et de punition collective, que l’appareil de propagande se charge d’habiller en « juste cause » ou en « guerre humanitaire ». L’exercice de la violence par les victimes contre elles-mêmes est une autre technique prisée. La contre-révolution russe de 1985 en est un exemple. Mais en faisant la guerre à la Yougoslavie, les pays d’Europe occidentale l’ont faite aussi à eux-mêmes.

V. L. : Selon vous, la guerre contre la Serbie était aussi une guerre contre l’Europe ?

A. Z. : Absolument. Il existe, au sein de l’Europe, des forces capables de lui imposer d’agir contre elle-même. La Serbie a été choisie, parce qu’elle résistait au rouleau compresseur mondialiste. La Russie pourrait être la prochaine sur la liste. Avant la Chine.

zinoli4.jpgV. L. : Malgré son arsenal nucléaire ?

A. Z. : L’arsenal nucléaire russe est énorme mais dépassé. De plus, les Russes sont moralement prêts à être conquis. A l’instar de leurs aïeux qui se rendaient par millions dans l’espoir de vivre mieux sous Hitler que sous Staline, ils souhaitent même cette conquête, dans le même espoir fou de vivre mieux. C’est une victoire idéologique de l’Occident. Seul un lavage de cerveau peut obliger quelqu’un à voir comme positive la violence faite à soi-même. Le développement des mass-media permet des manipulations auxquelles ni Hitler ni Staline ne pouvaient rêver. Si demain, pour des raisons « X », le pouvoir supranational décidait que, tout compte fait, les Albanais posent plus de problèmes que les Serbes, la machine de propagande changerait immédiatement de direction, avec la même bonne conscience. Et les populations suivraient, car elles sont désormais habituées à suivre. Je le répète : on peut tout justifier idéologiquement. L’idéologie des droits de l’homme ne fait pas exception. Partant de là, je pense que le XXIe siècle dépassera en horreur tout ce que l’humanité a connu jusqu’ici. Songez seulement au futur combat contre le communisme chinois. Pour vaincre un pays aussi peuplé, ce n’est ni dix ni vingt mais peut-être cinq cent millions d’individus qu’il faudra éliminer. Avec le développement que connaît actuellement la machine de propagande ce chiffre est tout à fait atteignable. Au nom de la liberté et des droits de l’homme, évidemment. A moins qu’une nouvelle cause, non moins noble, sorte de quelque institution spécialisée en relations publiques.

V. L. : Ne pensez-vous pas que les hommes et les femmes peuvent avoir des opinions, voter, sanctionner par le vote ?

A. Z. : D’abord les gens votent déjà peu et voteront de moins en moins. Quant à l’opinion publique occidentale, elle est désormais conditionnée par les médias. Il n’y a qu’à voir le oui massif à la guerre du Kosovo. Songez donc à la guerre d’Espagne ! Les volontaires arrivaient du monde entier pour combattre dans un camp comme dans l’autre. Souvenez-vous de la guerre du Vietnam. Les gens sont désormais si conditionnés qu’ils ne réagissent plus que dans le sens voulu par l’appareil de propagande.

V. L. : L’URSS et la Yougoslavie étaient les pays les plus multiethniques du monde et pourtant ils ont été détruits. Voyez-vous un lien entre la destruction des pays multiethniques d’un côté et la propagande de la multiethnicité de l’autre ?

A. Z. : Le totalitarisme soviétique avait créé une vraie société multinationale et multiethnique. Ce sont les démocraties occidentales qui ont fait des efforts de propagande surhumains, à l’époque de la guerre froide, pour réveiller les nationalismes. Parce qu’elles voyaient dans l’éclatement de l’URSS le meilleur moyen de la détruire. Le même mécanisme a fonctionné en Yougoslavie. L’Allemagne a toujours voulu la mort de la Yougoslavie. Unie, elle aurait été plus difficile à vaincre. Le système occidental consiste à diviser pour mieux imposer sa loi à toutes les parties à la fois, et s’ériger en juge suprême. Il n’y a pas de raison pour qu’il ne soit pas appliqué à la Chine. Elle pourrait être divisée, en dizaines d’États.

V. L. : La Chine et l’Inde ont protesté de concert contre les bombardements de la Yougoslavie. Pourraient-elles éventuellement constituer un pôle de résistance ? Deux milliards d’individus, ce n’est pas rien !

A. Z. : La puissance militaire et les capacités techniques de l’Occident sont sans commune mesure avec les moyens de ces deux pays.

V. L. : Parce que les performances du matériel de guerre américain en Yougoslavie vous ont impressionné ?

A. Z. : Ce n’est pas le problème. Si la décision avait été prise, la Serbie aurait cessé d’exister en quelques heures. Les dirigeants du Nouvel ordre mondial ont apparemment choisi la stratégie de la violence permanente. Les conflits locaux vont se succéder pour être arrêtés par la machine de « guerre pacifique » que nous venons de voir à l’oeuvre. Cela peut, en effet, être une technique de management planétaire. L’Occident contrôle la majeure partie des ressources naturelles mondiales. Ses ressources intellectuelles sont des millions de fois supérieures à celles du reste de la planète. C’est cette écrasante supériorité qui détermine sa domination technique, artistique, médiatique, informatique, scientifique dont découlent toutes les autres formes de domination. Tout serait simple s’il suffisait de conquérir le monde. Mais il faut encore le diriger. C’est cette question fondamentale que les Américains essaient maintenant de résoudre. C’est cela qui rend « incompréhensibles » certaines actions de la « communauté internationale ». Pourquoi Saddam est-il toujours là ? Pourquoi Karadzic n’est-il toujours pas arrêté ? Voyez-vous, à l’époque du Christ, nous étions peut-être cent millions sur l’ensemble du globe. Aujourd’hui, le Nigeria compte presqu’autant d’habitants ! Le milliard d’Occidentaux et assimilés va diriger le reste du monde. Mais ce milliard devra être dirigé à son tour. Il faudra probablement deux cent millions de personnes pour diriger le monde occidental. Il faut les sélectionner, les former. Voilà pourquoi la Chine est condamnée à l’échec dans sa lutte contre l’hégémonie occidentale. Ce pays sous-administré n’a ni les capacités économiques ni les ressources intellectuelles pour mettre en place un appareil de direction efficace, composé de quelque trois cent millions d’individus. Seul l’Occident est capable de résoudre les problèmes de management à l’échelle de la planète. Cela se met déjà en place. Les centaines de milliers d’Occidentaux se trouvant dans les anciens pays communistes, en Russie par exemple, occupent dans leur écrasante majorité des postes de direction. La démocratie totalitaire sera aussi une démocratie coloniale.

V. L. : Pour Marx, la colonisation était civilisatrice. Pourquoi ne le serait-elle pas à nouveau ?

A. Z. : Pourquoi pas, en effet ? Mais pas pour tout le monde. Quel est l’apport des Indiens d’Amérique à la civilisation ? Il est presque nul, car ils ont été exterminés, écrasés. Voyez maintenant l’apport des Russes ! L’Occident se méfiait d’ailleurs moins de la puissance militaire soviétique que de son potentiel intellectuel, artistique, sportif. Parce qu’il dénotait une extraordinaire vitalité. Or c’est la première chose à détruire chez un ennemi. Et c’est ce qui a été fait. La science russe dépend aujourd’hui des financements américains. Et elle est dans un état pitoyable, car ces derniers n’ont aucun intérêt à financer des concurrents. Ils préfèrent faire travailler les savants russes aux USA. Le cinéma soviétique a été lui aussi détruit et remplacé par le cinéma américain. En littérature, c’est la même chose. La domination mondiale s’exprime, avant tout, par le diktat intellectuel ou culturel si vous préférez. Voilà pourquoi les Américains s’acharnent, depuis des décennies, à baisser le niveau culturel et intellectuel du monde : ils veulent le ramener au leur pour pouvoir exercer ce diktat.

zinovievxxx.jpgV. L. : Mais cette domination, ne serait-elle pas, après tout, un bien pour l’humanité ?

A. Z. : Ceux qui vivront dans dix générations pourront effectivement dire que les choses se sont faites pour le bien de l’humanité, autrement dit pour leur bien à eux. Mais qu’en est-il du Russe ou du Français qui vit aujourd’hui ? Peut-il se réjouir s’il sait que l’avenir de son peuple pourrait être celui des Indiens d’Amérique ? Le terme d’Humanité est une abstraction. Dans la vie réelle il y a des Russes, des Français, des Serbes, etc. Or si les choses continuent comme elles sont parties, les peuples qui ont fait notre civilisation, je pense avant tout aux peuples latins, vont progressivement disparaître. L’Europe occidentale est submergée par une marée d’étrangers. Nous n’en avons pas encore parlé, mais ce n’est ni le fruit du hasard, ni celui de mouvements prétendument incontrôlables. Le but est de créer en Europe une situation semblable à celle des États-Unis. Savoir que l’humanité va être heureuse, mais sans Français, ne devrait pas tellement réjouir les Français actuels. Après tout, laisser sur terre un nombre limité de gens qui vivraient comme au Paradis, pourrait être un projet rationnel. Ceux-là penseraient d’ailleurs sûrement que leur bonheur est l’aboutissement de la marche de l’histoire. Non, il n’est de vie que celle que nous et les nôtres vivons aujourd’hui.

V. L. : Le système soviétique était inefficace. Les sociétés totalitaires sont-elles toutes condamnées à l’inefficacité ?

A. Z. : Qu’est-ce que l’efficacité ? Aux États-Unis, les sommes dépensées pour maigrir dépassent le budget de la Russie. Et pourtant le nombre des gros augmente. Il y a des dizaines d’exemples de cet ordre.

V. L. : Peut-on dire que l’Occident vit actuellement une radicalisation qui porte les germes de sa propre destruction ?

A. Z. : Le nazisme a été détruit dans une guerre totale. Le système soviétique était jeune et vigoureux. Il aurait continué à vivre s’il n’avait pas été combattu de l’extérieur. Les systèmes sociaux ne s’autodétruisent pas. Seule une force extérieure peut anéantir un système social. Comme seul un obstacle peut empêcher une boule de rouler. Je pourrais le démontrer comme on démontre un théorème. Actuellement, nous sommes dominés par un pays disposant d’une supériorité économique et militaire écrasante. Le Nouvel ordre mondial se veut unipolaire. Si le gouvernement supranational y parvenait, n’ayant aucun ennemi extérieur, ce système social unique pourrait exister jusqu’à la fin des temps. Un homme seul peut être détruit par ses propres maladies. Mais un groupe, même restreint, aura déjà tendance à se survivre par la reproduction. Imaginez un système social composé de milliards d’individus ! Ses possibilités de repérer et d’arrêter les phénomènes autodestructeurs seront infinies. Le processus d’uniformisation du monde ne peut être arrêté dans l’avenir prévisible. Car le totalitarisme démocratique est la dernière phase de l’évolution de la société occidentale, évolution commencée à la Renaissance.

vendredi, 20 novembre 2015

Antifascistas en el Gulag

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Antifascistas en el Gulag

por Joaquín Albaicín

Ex: http://culturatransversal.wordpress.com

¿Qué hacía Rafael Pelayo de Hungría, comunista español y partisano soviético en las estepas, fugándose de la Unión Soviética con un sargento de la División Azul, camuflados ambos entre los contingentes de ex combatientes alemanes repatriados tras lago cautiverio en Rusia? Pues… ¿qué iba a hacer? Sencillamente, poner pies en polvorosa como fuera tras arrojar a la letrina el lastre que siempre supone eso de tener una ideología.

Y es que uno de los muchos saldos en números rojos dejados en 1939 por la derrota de la República fue el de los exiliados, y no sólo porque el papel moneda emitido por Madrid hubiera perdido todo valor. Para los fugitivos, claro, no era lo mismo haber logrado hallar acomodo –por precario que fuera- en México o París que en la URSS. Persuadidos por sus líderes de que el paraíso de los obreros era su lugar en la vida, muchos comunistas ibéricos recalaron allí, donde desde hacía tiempo les esperaban, aparte de unos tres mil “niños de la guerra”, bastantes pilotos en su día desplazados hasta tan remotos parajes para recibir cursos de vuelo, así como marinos a cuyos barcos sorprendió el final de la contienda atracados en puertos rusos.

Lógicamente, en cuanto se coscaron del cenizo que recubría toda la pesadilla leninista y constataron que allí se vivía en la miseria y a golpe de látigo, tanto los comunistas como quienes no lo eran iniciaron denodados trámites –supuestamente existentes- para ser autorizados a abandonar el país y trasladarse bien a España, bien a otras naciones donde podrían reunirse con sus familiares. La dirección del PC español fue el mayor obstáculo con que se toparon. En primer lugar, que los antifascistas huyeran de las condiciones de vida vigentes en la URSS no constituía una propaganda deseable. En segundo, era de temer que contaran cómo de verdad transcurrían allí las cosas. Finalmente, aquello constituiría un imperdonable desaire a Dolores Ibárruri, en torno a la cual los dirigentes comunistas españoles estaban edificando un culto a la personalidad calcado del promovido por el PCUS en torno a Stalin: si éste era el severo Padrecito de Todos los Soviéticos, ella –La Pasionaria– era la amantísima Madre de Todos los Obreros Españoles.

La política adoptada por el PCE de la época se centró, pues, en la ejecución de purgas internas paralelas a las regularmente aplicadas en sus filas por el PCUS, así que la Madrecita puso enseguida manos a la obra a un equipo de leales con la misión de investigar y denunciar ante las autoridades soviéticas las conspiraciones fascistas en que andaban envueltos todos aquellos traidores que abominaban de la sopa de remolacha soviética.

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La primera medida fue suave: invitar, a todos los aspirantes a marcharse, a firmar un documento declarando lo felices que vivían en la URSS y solicitando que Moscú no prestara oídos a futuras peticiones que, para sacarlos de allí, pudieran formular sus familias o cualquier organización o gobierno. Como sólo lo rubricaron dos, los republicanos españoles empezaron muy pronto a conocer el Gulag, donde –bromas del Destino- coincidirían con los cautivos de la División Azul. Son los líos en que se mete la gente, o en los que la vida enreda a los habitantes del Valle de Lágrimas. Quién iba a decir a un buen señor nacido en un pueblo de Toledo y anarquista, comunista, socialista o, simplemente, republicano de toda la vida, que iba un buen día a verse cargando vagonetas de pedruscos en un campo de concentración del Círculo Polar Ártico, rezando codo con codo con un falangista por que Dios diese salud y larga vida a Franco, porque él era su única esperanza de salir algún día del agujero.

Irónicamente, así ocurrió. Fue el Estado franquista quien, tras varios años y muchas negociaciones, y previo indulto de aquellos que tuvieran en España causas pendientes o condenas firmes por su actuación durante la guerra civil, sacó del infierno a los supervivientes de aquel dislate (con el consiguiente y, no en vano, merecido provecho político ante la comunidad internacional). La historia de esos esfuerzos y de los –casi baldíos- del fantasmal Gobierno de la República en el Exilio, la cuenta con todos los detalles la profesora rumana Luiza Iordache, Doctora en Ciencias Políticas y docente en la UAB, en su voluminoso y amenísimo estudio En el Gulag. Españoles republicanos en los campos de concentración de Stalin (RBA).

Aparte de tratarse de una investigación muy rigurosa, valdría la pena leerlo aunque sólo fuera por conocer la historia del “niño de la guerra” Pedro Cepeda y el curtido aviador comunista José Antonio Tuñón, que –con la ayuda de diplomáticos argentinos, en cuya embajada moscovita trabajaban como intérpretes- trataron de huir de la URSS ocultos en dos baúles. O la de su cómplice Julián Fuster, verdadero personaje de novela: cirujano en el Ejército Rojo, siete años en el Gulag a las espaldas y médico también tras su liberación en la Cuba revolucionaria, de donde hubo de marcharse por advertir de que se caminaba hacia el modelo soviético, fue uno de los tripulantes del último avión de la OMS que abandonó el Congo al estallar la guerra de Katanga antes de recalar, esta vez definitivamente, en España.

Agitada fue también la de Francisco Ramos, seis meses torturado en la Lubyanka, con quien Solzhenytsin coincidió en los campos y que, irónicamente, como los demás antifascistas españoles “residentes” en el Edén socialista, sólo podía hacer llegar noticias suyas a sus familiares a través de los soldados nazis puestos en libertad y reenviados a Alemania. Retornado a España en 1957, Ramos fue elegido como diputado del PSC-PSOE por Barcelona en 1977 y 1982. No sé qué sentiría al ver sentados con él en el hemiciclo a, por lo menos, dos o tres de las personas responsables en su momento de su envío, por “fascista”, a un campo de concentración de los Urales. Regresó dos veces a la URSS acompañando en viajes oficiales a Felipe González. “Me alegré de ser tratado como una persona en el país donde, cuando me refugié en él, fui tratado como un perro”, escribió.

En fin, que basta con echar de cuando en cuando un somero vistazo a un libro de historia para constatar que, de lo que cuente cualquier político de cualquier lugar o época, lo más juicioso es no creer de la misa ni la media. Y es que la realidad suele, sí, superar a la ficción, pero, por desgracia… casi siempre por abajo.

Foto: José Luis Chaín

vendredi, 30 octobre 2015

Diplomaţia lui Stalin

Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin.jpg

Diplomaţia lui Stalin

Istoria secolului nostru este învăţată din punctul de vedere american. La fel este şi în cazul celui de-al doilea Război Mondial, al Războiului Rece şi al Războiului din Golf. În optica americană, secolul XXI este “secolul american”, în care trebuie să se instaleze şi să se menţină o ordine mondială conform cu interesele americane, secol care este simultan “sfârşitul istoriei”, sfârşitul aventurii umane, sinteza definitivă a dialecticii istoriei. Francis Fukuyama, chiar înainte de războiul din Golf, afirma că odată cu căderea Cortinei de Fier şi sfârşitul “hegelianismului de stânga” pe care îl reprezenta URSS-ul, un singur model, cel al liberalismului american, va subzista secole de-a rândul. Cu condiţia ca niciun competitor să nu se zărească la orizont. De unde misiunea americană era aceea de a reacţiona rapid, mobilizând maximum de mijloace, contra oricărei veleităţi de a construi o ordine politică alternativă.

Cu câţiva ani înainte de Fukuyama, un autor germano-american, Theodore H. von Laue, pretindea că singura revoluţie veritabilă în lume şi în istorie era aceea a occidentalizării şi că toate revoluţiile politice non-occidentaliste, toate regimurile bazate pe alte principii decât cele în vogă în America, erau relicve ale trecutului, pe care numai nişte reacţionari perverşi le puteau adula, reacţionari pe care puterea americană, economică şi militară, urma să le măture rapid pentru a face loc unui hiper-liberalism de factură anglo-saxonă, debarasat de orice concurenţă.

Dacă hitlerismul este în mod general considerat ca o forţă reacţionară perversă faţă de care America a contribuit la eliminarea din Europa, se ştiu mai puţin motivele care l-au împins pe Truman şi pe protagoniştii atlantişti ai Războiului Rece să lupte contra stalinismului şi să facă din el un căpcăun ideologic, considerat explicit de către von Laue drept „reacţionar” în ciuda etichetei sale proprii de „progresist”. Această ambiguitate faţă de Stalin se explică prin alianţa americano-sovietică în timpul celui de-al Doilea Război mondial, când Stalin era supranumit în mod prietenos “Uncle Joe”. Cu toate acestea, de câţiva ani, numeroşi istorici revăd în mod inteligent poncifele pe care patruzeci şi cinci de ani de atlantism furibund le-au vehiculat în mass-media şi în cărţile noastre de istorie. Germanul Dirk Bavendamm a demonstrat în două lucrări meticuloase şi precise care au fost responsabilităţile lui Roosevelt în declanşarea conflictelor americano-japonez şi americano-german şi de asemenea care era duplicitatea preşedintelui american faţă de aliaţii săi ruşi. Valentin Falin, fostul ambasador al URSS-ului la Bonn, a publicat în Germania o lucrare de amintiri istorice şi de reflecţii istoriografice, în care acest briliant diplomat rus afirmă că Războiul Rece a început imediat după debarcarea anglo-americană din iunie 1944 pe plajele din Normandia: desfăşurându-şi armada lor navală şi aeriană, puterile occidentale duceau deja un război mai ales contra Uniunii Sovietice şi nu contra Germaniei muribunde.

O lectură atentă a mai multor lucrări recente consacrate multiplelor aspecte ale rezistenţei germane contra regimului hitlerist ne obligă să renunţăm definitiv la interpretarea istoriei celui de-al Doilea Război mondial şi a alianţei anglo-americano-sovietice după modelul convenţional. Ostilitatea faţă de Stalin după 1945 provine mai ales din faptul că Stalin înţelegea să practice o diplomaţie generală bazată pe relaţiile bilaterale între naţiuni, fără ca acestea să fie supervizate de o instanţă universală cum ar fi ONU. Apoi, după ce şi-a dat seama că cele două puteri anglo-saxone deciseseră singure la Casablanca să facă războiul excesiv cu Reich-ul, să declanşeze războiul total şi să ceară capitularea fără condiţii a Germaniei naţional-socialiste, Stalin s-a simţit exclus de aliaţii săi. Furios, el şi-a concentrat mânia în această frază bine ticluită, în aparenţă anodină, dar foarte semnificativă: „Hitlerii vin şi se duc, poporul şi statul german rămân”. Stalin nu considera naţional-socialismul hitlerist ca pe răul absolut sau chiar ca pe o esenţă netrecătoare, ci ca pe un accident al istoriei, o vicisitudine potrivnică Rusiei eterne, pe care armatele sovietice urmau pur şi simplu să caute s-o elimine. Dar, în logica diplomatică tradiţională, care îi aparţinea lui Stalin, în ciuda ideologiei mesianice marxiste, naţiunile nu pier: nu trebuie prin urmare să ceri o capitulare necondiţionată şi trebuie mereu să laşi poarta deschisă unor negocieri. În plin război, alianţele se pot schimba cu totul, aşa cum o arată clar istoria europeană. Stalin se mulţumeşte să ceară deschiderea unui al doilea front pentru a uşura misiunea armatelor sovietice şi a diminua pierderile de vieţi omeneşti în rândul ruşilor, dar acest front nu vine decât foarte târziu, ceea ce-i permite lui Valentin Falin să explice această întârziere ca pe primul act al Războiului Rece între puterile maritime anglo-saxone şi puterea continentală sovietică.

Această reticenţă a lui Stalin se explică şi prin contextul care a precedat imediat epilogul lungii bătălii de la Stalingrad şi debarcarea anglo-saxonă în Normandia. Când armatele lui Hitler şi ale aliaţilor săi slovaci, finlandezi, români şi unguri au intrat în URSS în 22 iunie 1941, sovieticii, oficial, au estimat că clauzele Pactului Molotov/Ribbentrop au fost trădate şi, în toamna lui 1942, după gigantica ofensivă victorioasă a armatelor germane în direcţia Caucazului, Moscova a fost constrânsă să sondeze adversarul său în vederea unei eventuale păci separate: Stalin dorea să se revină la termenii Pactului şi conta pe ajutorul japonezilor pentru a reconstitui, în masa continentală eurasiatică, acel „car cu patru cai” pe care i-l propusese Ribbentrop în septembrie 1940 (sau „Pactul Cvadripartit” între Reich, Italia, URSS şi Japonia). Stalin dorea o pace nulă: Wehrmacht-ul să se retragă dincolo de frontiera fixată de comun acord în 1939 şi URSS-ul să-şi panseze rănile. Mai mulţi agenţi au participat la aceste negocieri, ce au rămas în general secrete. Printre ei, Peter Kleist, ataşat în acelaşi timp de Cabinetul lui Ribbentrop şi de „Biroul Rosenberg”. Kleist, naţionalist german de tradiţie rusofilă în amintirea prieteniei dintre Prusia şi Ţari, va negocia la Stockholm, unde jocul diplomatic va fi strâns şi complex. În capitala suedeză, ruşii sunt deschişi la toate sugestiile; printre ei, ambasadoarea Kollontaï şi diplomatul Semionov. Kleist acţionează în numele Cabinetului Ribbentrop şi al Abwehr-ului lui Canaris (şi nu al „Biroului Rosenberg” care avea în vedere o balcanizare a URSS-ului şi crearea unui puternic stat ucrainean pentru a contrabalansa „Moscovia”). Al doilea protagonist al părţii germane a fost Edgar Klaus, un evreu din Riga care făcea legătura între sovietici şi Abwehr (el nu avea relaţii directe cu instanţele propriu-zis naţional socialiste).

În acest joc mai mult sau mai puţin triangular, sovieticii doreau revenirea la status-quo-ul de dinainte de 1939. Hitler a refuzat toate sugestiile lui Kleist şi a crezut că poate câştiga definitiv bătălia prin cucerirea Stalingradului, cheie a fluviului Volga, a Caucazului şi a Caspicii. Kleist, care ştia că o încetare a ostilităţilor cu Rusia ar fi permis Germaniei să rămână dominantă în Europa şi să-şi îndrepte toate forţele contra britanicilor şi americanilor, trece atunci de partea elementelor active ale rezistenţei anti-hitleriene, chiar dacă este personal dator instanţelor naţional-socialiste! Kleist îi contactează deci pe Adam von Trott zu Solz şi pe fostul ambasador al Reich-ului la Moscova, von der Schulenburg. El nu se adresează comuniştilor şi estimează, fără îndoială odată cu Canaris, că negocierile cu Stalin vor permite realizarea Europei lui Coudenhove-Kalergi (fără Anglia şi fără Rusia), pe care o visau de asemenea şi catolicii. Dar sovieticii nu se adresează nici ei aliaţilor lor teoretici şi privilegiaţi, comuniştii germani: ei pariază pe vechea gardă aristocratică, unde exista încă amintirea alianţei prusacilor şi ruşilor contra lui Napoleon, ca şi cea a neutralităţii tacite a germanilor în timpul Războiului Crimeii. Cum Hitler refuză orice negociere, Stalin, rezistenţa aristocratică, Abwehr-ul şi chiar o parte a gărzii sale pretoriene, SS-ul, decid că el trebuie să dispară. Aici trebuie văzută originea complotului care va duce la atentatul din 20 iulie 1944.

Dar după iarna lui 42-43, sovieticii au revenit la Stalingrad şi au distrus vârful de lance al Wehrmacht-ului, armata a şasea, care încercuia metropola de pe Volga. Partida germană a sovieticilor va fi atunci constituită de „Comitetul Germania Liberă”, cu mareşalul von Paulus şi cu ofiţeri ca von Seydlitz-Kurzbach, toţi prizonieri de război. Stalin nu avea în continuare încredere în comuniştii germani, din rândul cărora a eliminat ideologii nerealişti şi revoluţionarii maximalişti troţkişti, care au ignorat mereu deliberat, din orbire ideologică, noţiunea de „patrie” şi continuităţile istorice multiseculare; finalmente, dictatorul georgian nu l-a păstrat în rezervă, ca bun la toate, decât pe Pieck, un militant care nu şi-a pus niciodată prea multe întrebări. Pieck va face carieră în viitoarea RDG. Stalin nu visa nici un regim comunist pentru Germania post-hitleriană: el dorea o „ordine democratică forte”, cu o putere executivă mai marcată decât sub Republica de la Weimar. Această dorinţă politică a lui Stalin corespunde perfect alegerii sale iniţiale: pariul pe elitele militare, diplomatice şi politice conservatoare, provenind în majoritate din aristocraţie şi din Obrigkeitsstaat-ul[1] prusac. Democraţia germană, care trebuia să vină după Hitler, în opinia lui Stalin, urma să fie de ideologie conservatoare, cu o fluiditate democratică controlată, canalizată şi încadrată de un sistem de educaţie politică strictă.

Britanicii şi americanii au fost surprinşi: ei crezuseră că „Unchiul Joe” va înghiţi fără probleme politica lor maximalistă, ruptă total de uzanţele democratice în vigoare în Europa. Dar Stalin, ca şi Papa şi Bell, episcopul de Chichester, se opuneau principiului revoluţionar al predării necondiţionate pe care Churchill şi Roosevelt au vrut s-o impună Reich-ului (care va rămâne, cum gândea Stalin, în calitate de principiu politic în ciuda prezenţei efemere a unui Hitler). Dacă Roosevelt, făcând apel la dictatura mediatică pe care o controla bine în Statele Unite, a reuşit să-şi reducă adversarii la tăcere, indiferent de ideologie, Churchill a avut mai mari dificultăţi în Anglia. Principalul său adversar era acest Bell, episcop de Chichester. Pentru acesta din urmă, nu se punea problema de a reduce Germania la neant, căci Germania era patria lui Luther şi a protestantismului. Filosofiei predării necondiţionate a lui Churchill, Bell îi opunea noţiunea unei solidarităţi protestante şi-i punea în gardă pe omologii săi olandezi, danezi, norvegieni şi suedezi, ca şi pe interlocutorii săi din rezistenţa germană (Bonhoeffer, Schönfeld, von Moltke), pentru a face faţă belicismului exagerat al lui Churchill, care se exprima prin bombardarea masivă a obiectivelor civile, chiar şi în oraşe mici fără infrastructură industrială importantă. Pentru Bell, viitorul Germaniei nu era nici nazismul nici comunismul, ci o „ordine liberală şi democratică”. Această soluţie, preconizată de episcopul de Chichester, nu era evident acceptabilă de către naţionalismul german tradiţional: ea constituia o întoarcere subtilă la Kleinstaaterei, la mozaicul de state, principate şi ducate, pe care viziunile lui List, Wagner etc. şi pumnul lui Bismarck le şterseseră din centrul continentului nostru. „Ordinea democratică forte” sugerată de Stalin era mai acceptabilă pentru naţionaliştii germani, al căror obiectiv a fost mereu crearea unor instituţii şi a unei paidei puternice pentru a proteja poporul german, substanţa etnică germană, de propriile sale slăbiciuni politice, de lipsa simţului său de decizie, de particularismul său atavic şi de durerile sale morale incapacitante. Astăzi, evident, mulţi observatori naţionalişti constată că federalismul constituţiei din 1949 se înscrie poate destul de bine în tradiţia juridică constituţională germană, dar forma pe care a luat-o, în cursul istoriei RFG-ului, îi relevă natura sa de „concesie”. O concesie a puterilor anglo-saxone…

 

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În faţa adversarilor capitulării necondiţionate din sânul coaliţiei antihitleriste, rezistenţa germană a rămas în ambiguitate: Beck şi von Hassel sunt pro-occidentali şi vor să urmeze cruciada anti-bolşevică, dar într-un sens creştin; Goerdeler şi von der Schulenburg sunt în favoarea unei păci separate cu Stalin. Claus von Stauffenberg, autorul atentatului din 20 iulie 1944 contra lui Hitler, provenea din cercurile poetico-ezoterice din München, unde poetul Stefan George juca un rol preponderent. Stauffenberg este un idealist, un „cavaler al Germaniei secrete”: el refuză să dialogheze cu „Comitetul Germania Liberă” al lui von Paulus şi von Seydlitz-Kurzbach: „nu putem avea încredere în proclamaţiile făcute din spatele sârmei ghimpate”.

Adepţii unei păci separate cu Stalin, adversari ai deschiderii unui front spre Est, au fost imediat atenţi la propunerile de pace sovietice emise de agenţii la post în Stockholm. Partizanii unei „partide nule” la Est sunt ideologic „anti-occidentali”, aparţinând cercurilor conservatoare rusofile (cum ar fi Juni-Klub sau acei Jungkonservativen din siajul lui Moeller van den Bruck), ligilor naţional-revoluţionare derivate din Wandervogel sau „naţionalismului soldăţesc”. Speranţa lor era de a vedea Wehrmacht-ul retrăgându-se în ordine din teritoriile cucerite în URSS şi de a se replia dincolo de linia de demarcaţie din octombrie 1939 în Polonia. În acest sens interpretează exegeţii contemporani ai operei lui Ernst Jünger faimosul său text de război intitulat „Note caucaziene”. Ernst Jünger percepe aici dificultăţile de a stabiliza un front în imensele stepe de dincolo de Don, unde gigantismul teritoriului interzice o reţea militară ermetică ca într-un peisaj central-european sau de tip picard-champenoise, muncit şi răsmuncit de generaţii şi generaţii de mici ţărani încăpăţânaţi care au ţesut teritoriul cu îngrădituri, proprietăţi, garduri şi construcţii de o rară densitate, permiţând armatelor să se prindă de teren, să se disimuleze sau să întindă ambuscade. Este foarte probabil ca Jünger să fi pledat pentru retragerea  Wehrmacht-ului, sperând, în logica naţional-revoluţionară, care îi era proprie în anii 20 sau 30, şi unde rusofilia politico-diplomatică era foarte prezentă, ca forţele ruseşti şi germane, reconciliate, să interzică pentru totdeauna accesul în „Fortăreaţa Europa”, chiar în „Fortăreaţa Eurasia” puterilor talasocratice, care practică sistematic ceea ce Haushofer numea „politica anacondei”, pentru a sufoca orice veleitate de independenţă pe marginile litorale ale „Marelui Continent” (Europa, India, ţările arabe etc.).

Ernst Jünger redactează notele sale caucaziene în momentul în care Stalingradul cade şi armata a şasea este înecată în sânge, oroare şi zăpadă. Dar în ciuda victoriei de la Stalingrad, care le permite sovieticilor să bareze calea spre Caucaz şi Marea Caspică germanilor şi să impiedice orice manevră în amontele fluviului, Stalin urmează mai departe negocierile sale sperând în continuare să joace o „partidă nulă”. Sovieticii nu pun un termen demersurilor lor decât după întrevederile de la Teheran (28 noimebrie – 1 decembrie 1943). În acel moment, Jünger pare a se fi retras din rezistenţă. În celebrul său interviu din Spiegel din 1982, imediat după ce primise premiul Goethe la Frankfurt, el declara: „Atentatele întăresc regimurile pe care vor să le dărâme, mai ales dacă sunt ratate”. Jünger, fără îndoială ca şi Rommel, refuza logica atentatului. Ceea ce nu a fost cazul cu Claus von Stauffenberg. Deciziile luate de către aliaţii occidentali şi de către sovietici la Teheran au făcut imposibilă revenirea la punctul de pornire, adică la linia de demarcaţie din octombrie 1939 în Polonia. Sovieticii şi anglo-saxonii s-au pus de acord să „transporte dulapul polonez” spre Vest prin cedarea unei zone de ocupaţie permanentă în Silezia şi în Pomerania. În atari condiţii, naţionaliştii germani nu mai puteau negocia iar Stalin era din oficiu prins în logica maximalistă a lui Roosevelt, în vreme ce la început o refuzase. Poporul rus urma să plătească foarte scump această schimbare de politică, favorabilă americanilor.

După 1945, constatând că logica Războiului Rece vizează încercuirea şi izolarea Uniunii Sovietice pentru a o împiedica să ajungă la mările calde, Stalin a reiterat oferta sa Germaniei epuizate şi divizate: unificarea şi neutralitatea, adică libertatea de a-şi alege regimul politic după placul său, mai ales o „ordine democratică forte”. Acesta va fi obiectul „notelor lui Stalin” din 1952. Decesul prematur al Vojd-ului sovietic în 1953 nu a mai permis URSS-ului să continue să joace această carte germană. Hruşciov a denunţat stalinismul, a apăsat pe logica blocurilor pe care Stalin o refuzase şi nu a revenit la antiamericanism decât în momentul afacerii Berlinului (1961) şi a crizei din Cuba (1962). Nu se va mai vorbi despre „notele lui Stalin” decât înainte de perestroika, în timpul manifestaţiilor pacifiste din 1980-1983, când mai multe voci germane au reclamat afirmarea unei neutralităţi în afara oricărei logici de tip bloc. Unii emisari ai lui Gorbaciov vor mai vorbi despre acele note şi după 1985, mai ales germanistul Viatcheslav Dachitchev, care a luat cuvântul peste tot în Germania, chiar şi în câteva cercuri ultra-naţionaliste.

În lumina acestei noi istorii a rezistenţei germane şi a belicismului american, putem să înţelegem într-un mod diferit stalinismul şi anti-stalinismul. Acesta din urmă, de exemplu, serveşte la răspândirea unei mitologii politice false şi artificiale, al cărei obiectiv ultim este să respingă orice formă de concert internaţional bazat pe relaţiile bilaterale, să impună o logică a blocurilor sau o logică mondialistă prin intermediul acestui instrument rooseveltian care este ONU (Coreea, Congo, Irak: mereu fără Rusia!), să stigmatizeze din start orice raport bilateral între o putere medie europeană şi Rusia sovietică (Germania în 1952 şi Franţa lui De Gaulle după evenimentele din Algeria). Antistalinismul este o variantă a discursului mondialist. Diplomaţia stalinistă era, în felul ei şi într-un context foarte particular, păstrătoare a tradiţiilor diplomatice europene.

Bibliografie:

– Dirk BAVENDAMM, Roosevelts Weg zum Krieg. Amerikanische Politik 1914-1939, Herbig, München, 1983.

– Dirk BAVENDAMM, Roosevelts Krieg 1937-45 und das Rätsel von Pearl Harbour, Herbig, München, 1993.

– Valentin FALIN, Zweite Front. Die Interessenkonflikte in der Anti-Hitler-Koalition, Droemer-Knaur, München, 1995.

– Francis FUKUYAMA, La fin de l’histoire et le dernier homme, Flammarion, 1992.

– Klemens von KLEMPERER, German Resistance Against Hitler. The Search for Allies Abroad. 1938-1945,  Oxford University Press/Clarendon Press, 1992-94.

– Theodore H. von LAUE, The World Revolution of Westernization. The Twentieth Century in Global Perspective,  Oxford University Press, 1987.

– Jürgen SCHMÄDEKE/Peter STEINBACH (Hrsg.), Der Widerstand gegen den National-Sozialismus. Die deutsche Gesellschaft und der Widerstand gegen Hitler,  Piper (SP n°1923), München, 1994.

Traducere: Vladimir Muscalu

Sursa: http://robertsteuckers.blogspot.ro/2011/12/normal-0-21-false-false-false_29.html

[1] Statul autoritar (n. tr.)

dimanche, 14 juin 2015

American Capital's Love Affair with Soviet Communism

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Our Kind of Enemy

 

American Capital's Love Affair with Soviet Communism

Ex: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com

Soviet Communism has not been fashionable in elite media and academic circles since 1992. Stalinists are now more often depicted as “conservatives” than leftists, and Communism is seen as a symptom of “nationalism.” A BBC documentary on North Korea declared that country to be a “fascist dictatorship,” on the “right of the political spectrum.” Apparently, if we are to condemn something in the modern world, it must be right-wing.

From a historical perspective, Communism was never really viewed as the enemy by American policymakers. Nationalism was. It has been difficult to discern this, since the true nature and motivations of U.S. policy-making have been shrouded by the myth of the Cold War—the notion that the U.S. and Soviet Union were engaged in an all-or-nothing battle between Freedom and Socialism, with the soul of the world hanging in the balance. In reality, the U.S. and Western Europe invested billions of dollars in the Soviet economy. And at critical times, the USSR was bailed out by cheap grain sales from Archer-Daniels-Midland and other conglomerates.

There was a Cold War of sorts, but it had little to do with “fear of Communism,” which policymakers did not fear nor properly understand. The real antagonism arose when the East sought to create a large, powerful trading bloc outside Western control. Then—and only then—would chatter about “tyranny” and the “Red Menace” be heard. Even in those exceptional times, corporate America continued to invest in “building socialism.”

So it is not entirely surprising to read that President Ford refused to meet with Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, so as not to “prejudice” Brezhnev at a summit held later. Reagan did the same, only meeting with liberal dissidents like Andrei Sakharov. Both Presidents, ostensible “anti-Communists,” were willing to work with Soviets and liberals—but never Russian nationalists.

Sanctions have been put on Putin's Russia that would never have been advocated at the height of the GULAG system. Indeed, the President of Russia has been the target of what scholar Stephen Cohen calls “ongoing, extraordinary, irrational, and nonfactual demonization” from the West. No Soviet dictator was treated so harshly. While Washington was never close to an armed conflict with the Soviet Union, today, a shooting war with Russia is a very real possibility.

The West is deeply indebted, bereft of leadership, and slowly falling into poverty. Yet Washington’s main foreign-policy objectives are to overthrow pro-Russian governments in Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. At a low point in American legitimacy, Washington is willing to risk a nuclear war.

In such a context, antiwar protests have been conspicuously absent, mainly because the corporate behemoths that financed them during the Cold War are no longer engaged. There is no peace movement calling for negotiation with Russia, just like there is no peace movement protesting the absurd Afghan war. The U.S. engages in provocative war games in Ukraine and Bulgaria with little domestic protest. This would have been unimaginable during the Cold War. The “no nukes” groups no longer exist, precisely at the time where nuclear war is actually possible.

The U.S. defends the “integrity” of Ukraine today, but demanded her independence during the Soviet era. The U.S. sends agents into Ukraine to overthrow the government, but refused to countenance the idea in 1956 or 1968. The U.S. military is lauded, by Left and Right alike, as heroic, superhuman, and morally spotless. Yet soldiers coming home from Vietnam were attacked physically by protesters at the behest of major media. Apparently, for the official Left, we can peacefully coexist with the USSR; however, nationalist (and non-Communist) Russia is a threat to us all.

To understand this mentality, one must turn to the untold story of the Cold War.

The Greatest Open Secret

On December 17, 2014, the Obama administration rescinded the “trade embargo” on Cuba. Many jumped to the conclusion that Cuba was the last front of Washington’s battle against socialism and Marxism. Nothing can be further from the truth. The West built socialism, not only in the early stages but throughout the Soviet period. (Cuba was exceptional, owing mostly to its geography.)

Bolshevik and early Soviet leaders were open about their desire to bring Russia up to speed with the industrialized West and their willingness to collaborate with European and American firms. In turn, Western capitalists envisioned the Revolution and development of Socialism as an opportunity for Russia to enter the global market. Jacob Schiff—of Kuhn Loeb and Company and the founder of the American Jewish Committee—is probably the most notorious Western capitalist who financed Socialism. According to his grandson, Schiff donated some $20 million to Trotsky to finance world revolution, which would amount to a quarter of a billion in today’s dollars.[1] While Schiff was eager to overthrow regimes (such as Tsarist Russia) that he viewed as threats to the Jewish people worldwide, other American capitalist saw Bolshevik Russia as an investment opportunity.

A key to understanding this relationship between Big Business and Communism is the Congressional Overmann Commission of 1919, a document that is universally ignored by standard texts on the Cold War. The Overmann Commission was called, in large part, to gauge the opinions of American capitalists regarding the USSR. The consensus was that it was quite positive.

One who testified was Roger Simmons, from Hagarstown, Maryland, who was in a Commerce Department Mission in the USSR as Trade Commissioner with the Red State. He was there for 11 months in the transitional period. His entire purpose was to help build the Soviet Union through grants and raw materials from the U.S. He attended a huge business consortium taking place in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where about 800 businessmen were deciding how best to begin investing in the USSR. He spoke of their “misinformed” admiration for the Soviet Union and the potential for profit there. [2]

George A. Simons, the head of the Methodist Mission to Petrograd, noted, “I have a firm conviction that this thing is Yiddish, and one of its bases is in Brooklyn, NY” [3]. (It’s worth noting that Simons said this even though he publicly disavowed anti-Semitism.)

Raymond Robbins, who was part of the Red Cross in Petrograd and elsewhere from 1917-1918, described the work of William Thompson, a wealthy banker negotiating loans for the Soviet government, who used the Petrograd branch of the National City Bank to funnel about 12,000,000 rubles to the revolutionaries (not merely the Bolsheviks), which was, in 1918, about $1 million. Moreover, he was speaking to the Red Cross about coordinating an infrastructure for an entire set of new newspapers supporting the revolutionaries.

What becomes clear in the testimony is that even the most motivated Americans had no idea who was who. There was a sense that there were leftist “revolutionaries,” and that's where the bulk of foreign money went. The Red Cross was granted about $3 million monthly, from both private and state sources in America, to “interpret the revolutionary groups to the army and to peasant villages of how absolutely indispensable to save the revolution to keep the front and defeat the German militarist autocracy.”[4]

This dirty secret of western economics is rarely mentioned, let alone analyzed, by major historians. One of the few is TW Luke writes, who studied Soviet technology.

The Bolsheviks stressed to Soviet workers, managers, and intellectuals the centrality of industry over agriculture in the NEP of 1921. Trotsky notes, 'We [the Soviet Union] are in a process of becoming a part, a very particular part, but nonetheless an integral part of the world market . . . Foreign capital must be mobilized for those sectors of [Soviet] industry that are most backward.' . . . These technological imports were to be limited because the Bolsheviks recognized the dangers of dependencies on the core, especially technological dependence. For example, resolutions of the 14th Party Congress in 1925 stressed the 'whole series of new dangers' in Western trade and advocated domestic technical development to prevent the USSR from becoming, in Parrot's words, 'an appendage of the capitalist world-economy'. Still, as Sutton notes 'the penetration of early Soviet industry was remarkable, Western technical directions, consulting engineers and independent entrepreneurs were common in the Soviet Union.' Even so, throughout the 1920s the Soviet state tightly regulated foreign access to suit its technological needs.[5]

Not only did the U.S. and Western Europe build the USSR, but did so as their own populations were struggling. The West was so involved in the development of the USSR that the 14th Party Congress, mentioned above, was concerned about the loss of Soviet independence.

Luke continues,

The impact of imported technologies differed from industry to industry and from region to region. In the oil industry, for example, they were vital. Petroleum exports in 1926-1927 doubled 1913 exports. Alone, they provided 20 percent of Soviet foreign exchange earnings: 'the importation of foreign oil-field technology and administration, either directly or by concession, was the single factor of consequence in this development (Sutton, 1968:43). While the overall imports of expertise and technology dropped in value from the 1893-1913 levels, the Bolsheviks' bureaucratically planned economy stressed the need for post-1918 imports to be directed toward cost-efficient and economically necessary production to fit the planned industrial program of the regime. [6]

In no other war (“cold” or otherwise) did combatants feverishly invest in building up their opponent.

Had the West not subsidized the USSR, Communism would likely not have survived. Stalin himself admitted that two-thirds of early Soviet industrial products and development were of American origin.[7] Trade and aid to the USSR were constant and often included the most advanced technology available. There were no meaningful sanctions on the USSR throughout most of its history. Hence, the Cuban embargo or the Vietnam War had little to do with Marxism or the USSR. The fact is that the infrastructure of Castro and Ho Chi Minh was largely produced in the US.

The propulsion systems for much of the Soviet Navy and, significantly, at Haiphong Harbor were from American firms. Nixon and Johnson actively went out of their way to stop any move to stifle trade with the USSR, even in the midst of the Vietnam War. The Gorki Truck plant was shipping hundreds of vehicles a month to North Vietnam, with the full blessing of the State Department. It was, of course, a Ford Motors plant, and it was largely staffed by Americans. Henry Ford created the Soviet automotive industry, especially in the development of trucks. His Gorki plant was also making rockets and other military equipment for the USSR, without comment from Washington. Soviet rockets were fired on Ford GAZ-69 chassis.[8]

In 1968, Fiat motors created the world's largest automotive plant in the world at Volgograd. ZIL was created by New Britain Machine Company. In 1972, Nixon personally approved the Kama truck plant deal, the creation of an automotive and trucking plant manufacturing 100,000 vehicles per year, which at the time was more than all U.S. automakers combined. The plant itself came to occupy 36 square miles, every inch created by the U.S.[9]

In Korea, the North Korean Army and China were using trucks made by Ford and tractors by Caterpillar. Soviet fighters were equipped with Rolls Royce engines sent to Stalin by the British automaker. As Anthony Sutton explains, it was the elite, including Maurice Stans, Peter G. Peterson, Peter Flanigan, Averell Harriman, and Robert McNamara, that created the infrastructure for constant and lucrative trade with the “enemy.”[10] The Ural Steel complex that served as the heart of Soviet industrialization was “100% American.” The McKee Corporation built the world's largest steel and iron plant in the world in the USSR:

Organization methods and most of the machinery are either German or American. The steel mill “Morning” near Moscow, is said to be one of the most modern establishments of its kind in the world. Constructed, organized and started by highly paid American specialists, it employs 17,000 workers and produces steel used by motor plants, naval shipyards and arms factories. [11]

The 1932 KHEMZ plant in eastern Ukraine was created by GE, and was 250 percent larger than anything GE had in the U.S.

Anthony Sutton writes:

Major new units built from 1936 to 1940 were again planned and constructed by Western companies. Petroleum-cracking, particularly for aviation gasoline, as well as all the refineries in the Second Baku and elsewhere were built by Universal Oil Products, Badger Corporation, Lummus Company, Petroleum Engineering Corporation, Alco Products, McKee Corporation, and Kellogg Company.[12]

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York sent $1 billion in aid to Trotsky and the Red Army.[13] The First Five year plan had all of its military equipment built by American firms. Sergei Nemetz of Stone and Webber, along with Zara Witkin, supervised most of the military construction for the first two Five-Year Plans, using American capital desperately needed at home. Carp Exports, based in New York City, supplied the Soviet Union with all its high-tech military parts. Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut built the Soviet submarine fleet with express permission of the State Department in 1939. Skoda Armaments of Czechoslovakia was a subsidiary of the Simmons Machine Tool Corporation of Albany, New York. Ball bearings were built in the USSR by Bryant Chucking Grinder Company of Springfield, Vermont.

All told, 90 percent of all Soviet industry was created in the U.S. or Western Europe.

What such a history reveals is that capital does not require markets in order to be profitable. The Western financial elite saw the Soviet system as a perfected version of itself: a totally centralized economy run by experts from one source. Capital looked upon Gosplan—the USSR’s central planning committee—with envy; and it was so similar in its powers to the small group of financial conglomerates that governs the U.S. economy in 2015. The Gosplan board approved investments, set targets, measured economic growth, dictated the amount of money in circulation, manipulated statistics—down to the last detail. This system is little different, institutionally or ideologically, from the American financial elite and the Federal Reserve Board, which organizing the American economy, with remarkable freedom from markets and the influence of politicians.

Once one rejects the formulaic division of the world into “Soviet” and “American” camps, all of 20th-century history appears differently.

One of the most telling quotations is from a Russian-language work, The Political History of the Russian Emigration, written by SA Alexander:

Despite the growing popularity of the right wing in the émigré environment, it is only the leftists that found a response in Western governments. Most significantly, the leftists in exile were feted by the financial and industrial sector interested in trade with the Soviet Union. The “All Emigre Russian Unity” conference was called at the behest of American capital, and the Soviet financial elite were invited. Conferences subsequent to this were called by capital in Cannes, Genoa, The Hague and Lausanne.[14]

Apparently, U.S. capitalists rarely feared Soviet advances.

As an ally of the victorious capitalist core powers, the USSR gained many unexpected technological windfalls in the aftermath of World War II. New technical inputs in weaponry, electronics, nuclear power, aircraft, and chemicals were expropriated from Germany and other Axis powers from 1945 to 1950. Allied Lend-Lease equipment, especially heavy bombers and airplane engines, was also 'reverse engineered' from 1942 to 1953. The USSR dismantled and shipped home 25 percent of the industrial plants in the Western zones of Germany, along with additional industrial equipment constituting 65 percent of all motor vehicle production, 75 percent of all rubber tire capacity, and 40 percent of all paper and cardboard-producing capacity in eastern Germany.[15]

This is extremely significant in that these patents were at least in part financed by American firms. They represent decades of research and millions of dollars in grants. Yet, Stalin brought them home without a peep from the West.

vietnamese-labour-party1.jpg

The Vietnam Era

Between 1965 and 1985, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam and the rest of the Soviet Bloc was given tremendous boosts by American firms. Alcoa built Soviet aluminum. American Chain and Cable created the machine-tool industry. Ingersoll Rand built much of the heavy-duty transport infrastructure (under Automatic Production Systems, a shell company). Betchell created the construction industry. Boeing was heavily invested in Soviet aviation, while, at the same time, building the bulk of the American Air Force. Dow Chemicals, DuPont, and Dresser industries were competing to see who would build the more advanced Soviet chemical plants. IBM helped create the modern computer industry, while Gulf General Atomic was helping put nuclear missiles together for the USSR.

Much of this was made easier in the 1980s by the U.S.-USSR Trade and Economic Council, a pet project of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige. Just a partial list of members include Abbott Laboratories, Allen Bradley Gleason Corporation, Allied Analytical Systems, Ingersoll Rand, International Harvester, Kodak, American Express, Archer Daniels Midland, Armco Steel, Monsanto, Cargill, Occidental Petroleum, Caterpillar, Chase Manhattan, Pepsi Co., Chemical Bank, Phibro-Salomon, Coca Cola, Ralston, Continental Grain Seagram, Dow Chemical, and Union Carbide. All members of this Council had substantial investments in the “Soviet enemy” and, through their philanthropic organizations, created the “peace movement.”[16]

In 1985, the San Jose Mercury News reported confirmation from State and Commerce Departments that “[t]he most sensitive, state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing equipment went to the Soviet Union after first being shipped to Switzerland.

Creed [spokesman for Commerce] said the material shipped to Cuba, and additional equipment the Cubans were unable to obtain, would have given them the capability to produce semiconductors and integrated circuits. The report stated that such trade was “illegal.”[17]

The State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR sealed a huge deal with Data Control in 1973. While openly denying it in public, Norris and the Department of Commerce squashed all inquiries into the investment and aid project. The Soviets stated that Data Control will “[b]uild a plant for manufacturing mass storage devices based on removable magnetic disk packs with up to 100 million byte capacity per each pack.”

The brunt of the Soviet computer industry was created by American firms. In 1959, the Model-802 system was sold to the USSR from Elliot Automation ltd., an English firm. This was part of General Electric, one of the major offenders in this category. European branches of US firms were selling advanced computer equipment to the USSR at roughly $40 million per year.

During the Vietnam War, giants such as Union Carbide, General Electric, Armco Steel, Bryant Chucking Grinder, and Control Data were just the wealthiest of American capitalists with regular deals in building Soviet industry. This was in 1973, and every bit of it was approved by Johnson and Nixon during the war.

Conclusion

By the 1950s, the Soviets had educated enough of their own in Western methods of production such that they achieved a great deal of independence in most every sector of the economy. Regardless, the USSR was fed on a constant stream of food from American capitalists; American universities praised the USSR as a matter of course (or some form of socialism); and all major capitalists enterprises were invested in the USSR and satellite states. Both before and after Stalin's Great Purges, the U.S. was contributing massively to the Soviet industrialization drive and the creation of its “experimental” economy. When the Cold War got hot, such as during the Vietnam conflict, Washington was never motivated by “anti-Communism” but the fear in the breasts of American business that if China and Russia were to combine forces, the U.S. might become superfluous.


  1. New York Journal—American, February 3, 1949.
  2. Overmann, Congressional Record, 294, 304; all pages come from the Report itself.
  3. Ibid., p. 112.
  4. Ibid., 777.
  5. Luke, TW (1983), “The Proletarian Ethic and Soviet Industrialization,” American Political Science Review 77 (3): 588-601, drawing from Antony Sutton, The Best Enemy Money Can Buy (Montana: Liberty House Press, 1986, Dauphin Publications, 1991),

    http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/best_enemy/index.html.

  6. Ibid., 339-340, also drawing on Sutton.
  7. Chase-Dunn, C, “Socialist States in the Capitalist World Economy,” Social Problems 27(5), 1980: 505-525.
  8. See Sutton, The Best Enemy Money Can Buy.
  9. See Berliner, The Innovation Decision in Soviet Industry (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1976).
  10. All evidence from the State or Commerce Departments has not been declassified. Only through insistent demands have these documents been granted to the public. It is highly likely that the unclassified papers from 70 years ago are largely detailed agreements between American capital and the Soviet Union.
  11. U.S. State Dept. Decimal File, 861.5017, Living Conditions/456, Report No. 665, Helsingfors, April 2, 1932
  12. Sutton, Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1945–1965, Chapter 4 (Stanford, CA: The Hoover Institution, 1973).
  13. Washington Post, Feb. 2, 1918.
  14. S. A. Aleksandrov, Politicheskaia istoriia zarubezhnoi Rossii, http://www.rovs.atropos.spb.ru/index.php?view=publication&mode=text&id=17, translation by the author.
  15. Luke, “The Proletarian Ethic and Soviet Industrialization,” American Political Science Review 77 (3), 1983: 588-601.
  16. Erikson, 1991.
  17. There is no evidence that any law against such a practice existed. Even if it did, it would have made little difference, since the technology would have already been transferred.

mercredi, 12 novembre 2014

The Fall of the Wall Almost Started WWIII

By

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

Twenty-five years ago this week,  the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe was collapsing. The Berlin Wall had been breached. The Communist East German government was literally swept away by the storm tide of history.

It was also the most dangerous moment the world had faced since the 1963 Cuban missile crisis. What would the Soviet leadership do?   Just graciously give way or use its huge Red Army and KGB to crush the uprisings?

Interestingly,  in a raw exposure of shameful historical enmity, Britain’s prime minister Margaret Thatcher and France’s president Francois Mitterand both called Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to urge him not to allow German reunification. 

The Soviet Union’s reformist leader could have stopped the uprisings in East Germany, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. The mighty Group of Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG) based in East Germany had 338,000 crack troops in 24 divisions, with 4,200 tanks, 8,000 armored vehicles, 3,800 guns and rocket launchers and 690 combat aircraft.

NATO planners had long believed that GFSG could punch through western defenses on the North German plain and storm Antwerp and Rotterdam by D+8.  Other Soviet corps in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary would strike west.  Switzerland’s defense planners foresaw a massive Soviet thrust through their nation and into the Rhone Valley, outflanking NATO defenses to the north.

General Secretary Gorbachev could have quickly used the iron fist. But true to his humanistic philosophy and his innate decency, the Soviet leader ordered the GFSG to stand down, pack up, and return to the Soviet Union even though there were no barracks or apartments for the returning Soviet legions.

The opening of the East German wall and subsequent fall of its Communist government mixed Karl Marx with Groucho and Harpo Marx. In a comedy of errors, the bumbling East German government became paralyzed as mobs tried to storm the wall and get to West Germany. No high official wanted to give the order to shoot. The gates of the wall were opened by mistake.

In the USSR, resistance among hardline Communists, the military brass and the KGB was intense. Gorbachev would have been unable to sound the retreat without the support of Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

He was a remarkable man: the tough former KGB boss of Georgia and Communist Party chief,  Shevardnadze seemed an improbable reformer. But he co-authored the liberating policy of glasnost and perestroika and forced its adoption by the unwilling Soviet hierarchy.

I twice interviewed Shevardnadze in Moscow: he was determined to sweep away the communist system and end the Cold War. We used to call him “Chevvy Eddy.” His quick wit and sardonic humor made him very likeable. I asked him if he might consider becoming president of an independent Georgia – which he later did until overthrown by the US-backed 2003 “rose revolution.”

Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I walked through the just abandoned GFSG headquarters in Wünsdorf, near Berlin. It was a scene of utter desolation: broken windows, phones and plumbing ripped out of the walls, secret files blowing in the wind. The mighty Red Army had gone. As a veteran cold war warrior, I found it incredible that an empire could disappear so quickly. Just a few regiment of Soviet soldiers and tanks, I mused, could have stopped the East German uprising.

 

Murberlin.jpg

 

In secret, Gorbachev and Shevardnadze agreed to a deal with US President George H.W. Bush and his senior strategy officials:  the Soviet Union would pull out of Eastern Europe and the Baltic. In exchange, the US vowed not to advance NATO into Eastern Europe or anywhere near Russia’s borders.

Equally important, Gorbachev refused to use force to keep the USSR together.

The Soviet leaders believed they had an ironclad deal. They did not.

The next three US administrations – Clinton, Bush II, and Obama – violated the original sphere of influence accord and began advancing US power east towards Russia’s borders. The most recent NATO foray was the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government, a ham-handed act that nearly sparked World War III.

For imperial-minded Washington, the temptation to kick Russia while it was down and gobble up its former dominion was irresistible.   Gorbachev was mocked in western power circles – and by many angry Russians – as a foolish idealist: “the Soviet Jimmy Carter.”

Today, 25 years after the fall of the Soviet imperium, US promises have been revoked.  Washington appears determined to undermine the Russian Federation and further dismantle it. Washington sees Russia as a has-been, a minor power unworthy of respect or amity.

The Russians have actually be told to stop complaining because the Gorbachev-Bush deal was not put in writing, only oral. A naïve oversight by the Russians?

From retirement, Gorbachev bitterly watches all he strove for turn to ashes as his countrymen blame him for destroying the Soviet Union. Shevardnadze died in Georgia last July. The Cold Ware is back, to the joy of the triumphant Republicans in Washington.

Soon after the wall fell, I recall writing that unless the western allies and the Soviets came to a firm agreement of spheres of influence and a neutral zone in Middle Europe and the Baltic

that a dangerous series of clashes was inevitable. We are now there.

 

jeudi, 28 août 2014

Estados Unidos encubrió la masacre de Katyn

 

katyn-photo-2.jpg

Estados Unidos encubrió la masacre de Katyn

 

por Carlos de Lorenzo Ramos

Ex: http://culturatransversal.wordpress.com

katyn1.jpgEn la primavera de 1940 la URSS líquidó a 22.000 oficiales polacos. EE.UU conocía estos hechos y los ocultó. Estados Unidos desclasificó el 17 de septiembre unos documentos que corroboran algo ya intuido por los historiadores: El gobierno de Franklin D. Roosevelt sabía que la URSS ejecutó a 22.000 oficiales polacos en Katyn, en la primavera de 1940, y lo ocultó deliberadamente. Estados Unidos tapó el hecho para no incomodar a Stalin, su aliado durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial; y una vez en la Guerra Fría, para no dar explicaciones acerca de su silencio “necesario”. Katyn se convirtió durante décadas en sinónimo de Secreto de Estado. La Casa Blanca solo confirmó la autoría soviética con la asunción de Gorbachov, el dirigente de la URSS, de los hechos, en 1988.

Los documentos se componen de 1.000 páginas, y los expertos destacan su importancia. La evidencia más significativa del conocimiento de la matanza por la administración Roosevelt son los informes de dos prisioneros norteamericanos a los que los nazis trasladaron a la escena del crimen: el capitán Donald B. Stewart y el teniente coronel John H. Van Vliet.

MATANZA DE KATYN CAP STEWART Y TTE COR VAN VLIET

El capitán Donald B. Stewart y el teniente coronel John H. Van Vliet.

Esto ocurrió en mayo de 1943, con el objetivo alemán de usar los testimonios de los prisioneros como propaganda, y crear una cuña entre los rusos y sus aliados occidentales. Lo que vieron los estadounidenses en ese bosque de pinos les dejó sin aliento: encontraron fosas comunes entreabiertas en las que se apretaban miles de cuerpos momificados vestidos con uniformes polacos de buena hechura.

Ni el capitán Stewart ni Van Vliet creyeron a los nazis, a los que odiaban, pues habían experimentado en sus carnes toda la crueldad de ese régimen fanático, y además los soviéticos eran sus aliados. A Stalin todavía se le conocía como el Uncle Joe, el Tío Joe.

Regresaron al campo de internamiento y tras meditar lo que habían visto, se convencieron de las pruebas demoledoras de la autoría soviética: los cuerpos se hallaban en avanzado estado de descomposición y era un área controlada por ellos antes de la invasión alemana de 1941. También tuvieron acceso a cartas y diarios polacos que exhumaron de las tumbas. Ninguna contenía una fecha superior a la primavera de 1940. Además la ropa estaba en considerable buen estado, lo que indicaba que esos hombres no vivieron mucho después de ser apresados.

En realidad, el órgano estalinista responsable de la masacre fue la NKVD, la policía secreta soviética, que liquidó a 22.000 oficiales polacos de disparos a bocajarro en la nuca. El objetivo era borrar de un plumazo a la élite intelectual del país, personas que en su vida civil eran médicos, maestros o abogados. Los rusos veían en ellos a posibles opositores a la ocupación de Polonia Oriental.

Stewart testificó ante el Congreso en 1951, y de Van Vliet se sabe que escribió informes en 1945 (misteriosamente desaparecido) y en 1950. Ambos enviaron mensajes cifrados durante su cautiverio e informaron a la inteligencia militar de la culpabilidad de los comunistas.

En su comparecencia ante la Comisión Maden en 1951, Stewart testificó que “las reivindicaciones alemanas concernientes a Katyn son sustancialmente correctas en la opinión de Van Vliet y en la mía”. A Stewart se le ordenó que nunca más hablara de lo que vio en Katyn.

MATANZA DE KATYN COMISION MADEN

El capitán Donald B. Stewart señala a la Comisión Maden el lugar de las fosas comunes de Katyn.

Es a raíz de la detonación de la bomba atómica por parte de Rusia en 1949 cuando en Estados Unidos suena algo el nombre de Katyn, a pesar de que en Europa ya había caído el Telón de Acero. Es más; Winston Churchill ya había informado a Roosevelt en un detallado informe de las dudas que tenía acerca de “las excusas soviéticas acerca de su responsabilidad en la masacre”. La URSS intentó achacar la matanza de Katyn a los nazis durante los juicios de Nuremberg, pero ante la falta de pruebas la acusación no prosperó.

La valoración que en 1952 efectuó la Comisión Maden, declaró que no cabía duda alguna de la autoría bolchevique y la tildó de “uno de los crímenes internacionales más bárbaros en la historia del mundo”. Recomendó a su vez que el gobierno levantara cargos contra la URSS ante un tribunal internacional. La Casa Blanca mantuvo silencio, y no fue hasta los últimos días de la hegemonía soviética (1988) cuando Gorvachev admitió públicamente la masacre de Katyn, como un paso fundamental a normalizar las relaciones ruso-polacas.

Fuente: Historia Vera

Extraído de: El Espía Digital

vendredi, 18 juillet 2014

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF CHINESE RUSSIAN RELATIONS

China-Leader-Xi-Jinping-Russia-Visit.jpg

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF CHINESE RUSSIAN RELATIONS

The response of much western commentary to the Russia China agreements has been scepticism that they can ever burgeon into an outright partnership because of the supposedly long history of mutual suspicion and hostility between the two countries. The Economist for example refers to the two countries as “frenemies”. To see whether these claims are actually justified I thought it might be useful to give a short if rather summary account of the history of the relationship between the two countries.

Official contacts between China and Russia began with border clashes in the 1680s which however were settled in 1689 by the Treaty of Nerchinsk, which delineated what was then the common border. At this time Beijing had no political or diplomatic links with any other European state save the Vatican, which was informally represented in Beijing by the Jesuit mission.

The Treaty of Nerchinsk was the first formal treaty between China and any European power. The Treaty of Nerchinsk was basically a pragmatic border arrangement. It was eventually succeeded by the Treaty of Kyakhta of 1727, negotiated on the initiative of the Kangxi Emperor and of Peter the Great, who launched the expedition that negotiated it shortly before before his death.

The Treaty of Kyakhta provided for a further delineation of the common border. It also authorised a small but thriving border trade. Most importantly, it also allowed for the establishment of what was in effect a Russian diplomatic presence in Beijing in the form of an ecclesiastical settlement there. Russia thereby became only the second European state after the Vatican to achieve a presence in Beijing. It did so moreover more than a century before any of the other European powers. Russia was of course the only European power at this time to share a common border with China (a situation to which it has now reverted since the return to China of Hong Kong). It is also notable that the Treaty of Kyakhta happened on the initiative of Peter the Great. Peter the Great’s decision to launch the expedition that ultimately led to the Treaty of Kyakhta shows that even this supposedly most “westernising” of tsars had to take into account Russia’s reality as a Eurasian state.

For the rest of the Eighteenth Century and the first half of the Nineteenth Century relations between the Russian and Chinese courts remained friendly though hardly close. St. Petersburg was the only European capital during this period to host occasional visits by the Chinese Emperor’s representatives. During the British Macartney mission to Beijing of 1793 the senior Manchu official tasked with negotiating with Macartney had obtained his diplomatic experience in St. Petersburg. As a result of these contacts at the time of the Anglo French expedition to Beijing in 1860 Ignatiev, the Russian diplomat who acted as mediator between the Anglo French expedition and the Chinese court, could call on the services of skilled professional interpreters and was in possession of accurate maps of Beijing whilst the British and the French had access to neither. Russian diplomatic contacts with the court in Beijing during this period do not seem to have been afflicted with the protocol difficulties that so complicated China’s relations with the other European powers and which contributed to the failure of the Macartney mission. This serves as an indicator of the pragmatism with which these contacts were conducted.

This period of distant but generally friendly relations ended with the crisis of 1857 to 1860 when Russia used the Chinese court’s preoccupation with the Taiping rebellion and China’s difficult relations with the western Europeans culminating in the Anglo French expedition of 1860 to secure the annexation of the Amur region. The Chinese continue to see the third Convention of Beijing of 1860 which secured the Amur territory for Russia as an “unequal treaty”. They have however accepted its consequences and formally recognised the border (which was properly speaking part of Manchu rather than Chinese territory). At the time it must have been resented. However it is probably fair to say that Russia would have been seen in China as a marginally less dangerous aggressor during this period than the western powers Britain and France (especially Britain) if only because China’s relations with these two countries were much more important.

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As the Nineteenth Century wore on relations between Russia and China seem to have improved with Russia, undoubtedly for self-interested reasons, playing an important role in the Three Power Intervention that forced Japan to moderate its demands on China following China’s defeat in the Sino Japanese war of 1895. Russian policy of supporting China and the authority of the Chinese court against the Japanese however fell by the wayside when Russia forced the Chinese court in 1897 to grant Russia a lease of the Chinese naval base of Port Arthur. This was much resented in China and damaged Russia’s image there. Russia also became drawn into the suppression of the anti-foreign 1900 Boxer Rising, an event which destabilised the Manchu dynasty and which led to a short lived Russian occupation of Manchuria to suppress the Boxers there. This is not the place to discuss the diplomacy or the reasons for the conflict which followed which is known as the Russo Japanese war of 1904 to 1905. Suffice to say that the ground war was fought entirely on Chinese territory and ended in stalemate (though with the balance starting to shift in favour of the Russians), that I know of no good English account of the war or of the events that preceded it, that the war was precipitated entirely by a straightforward act of Japanese aggression and that the popular view that the war was preceded and/or provoked by Russian economic and political penetration of Korea or plans to annex Manchuria are now known to have no basis in fact.

A radical improvement in Russian Chinese relations took place following the October 1917 revolution caused by the decision of the new Bolshevik government to renounce the extra territorial privileges Russia had obtained in China as a result of the unequal treaties. The USSR became the strongest supporter during this period of Sun Ya-tsen’s Chinese nationalist republican movement and of the Guomindang government in Nanjing that Sun Ya-tsen eventually set up. Sun Ya-tsen for his part was a staunch friend and supporter of the USSR. Though many are aware of the very close relationship between the USSR and China in the 1950s few in my experience know of the equally strong and arguably more genuine friendship between their two governments in the 1920s.

In the two decades that followed the USSR became China’s strongest international supporter in its war against Japanese aggression, a war which has defined modern China and of which the outside world knows lamentably little. During this period the USSR had to balance its support for China’s official Guomindang led government that was supposedly leading the struggle against the Japanese with its support for the Chinese Communist Party (originally the leftwing of the Guomindang movement) with which the Guomindang was often in armed conflict. The USSR also had to balance its support for China with its need to avoid a war in the east with Japan at a time when it was being threatened in the west by Nazi Germany and its allies. The skill with which the government of the USSR performed this difficult feat has gone almost wholly unrecognised.

Following the defeat of Japan in 1945 the USSR’s military support was (as is now known) crucial though obviously not decisive to the Chinese Communist Party’s victory in the civil war against the Guomindang, which led to the establishment in 1949 of the People’s Republic. A decade of extremely close political, military and economic relations followed during which the two countries were formally allies. As is now known this relationship in reality was always strained and eventually broke down in part because of mutual personal antagonism between the countries’ two leaders, Khrushchev and Mao Zedong, but mainly because of Chinese anger at the USSR’s failure to support a war to recover Taiwan and above all because of China’s refusal as the world’s most populous country and oldest civilisation to accept a subordinate position to the USSR in the international Communist movement. The rupture was made formal by Khrushchev’s decision in 1960 to withdraw from China the Soviet advisers and economic assistance that had been sent there. Supporters of sanctions may care to note that on the two occasions Russia has used sanctions (against Yugoslavia in 1948 and against China in 1960) they backfired spectacularly on Russia resulting in consequences for Russia that were entirely bad.

The Sino Soviet rupture of 1960 resulted in a decade and a half of very strained relations. An attempt to restore relations to normal following Khrushchev’s fall in 1964 was wrecked, possibly intentionally, by the Soviet defence minister Marshal Malinovsky who encouraged members of the Chinese leadership to overthrow Mao Zedong through a coup similar to the one that had overthrown Khrushchev. Relations with the USSR during this period also increasingly became hostage to Chinese internal politics with Mao and his supporters during the period of political terror known as the Cultural Revolution routinely accusing their opponents of being Soviet agents. This period of difficult relations eventually culminated in serious border clashes in 1969, an event that panicked the leadership of both countries and which led each of them to explore alignments against each other with the Americans.

This period of very tense relations basically ended in 1976 with the death of Mao Zedong who shortly before his death is supposed to have issued an injunction to the Chinese Communist party instructing it to restore relations with the USSR. Once the post Mao succession disputes were resolved with the victory of Deng Xiaoping a process of outright rapprochement began the start of which was formally signalled in the USSR by Leonid Brezhnev in a speech in Tashkent in 1982 which he made shortly before his death. By 1989 the process of rapprochement was complete allowing Gorbachev to visit Beijing in the spring of that year when however his visit was overshadowed by the Tiananmen disturbances.

Since then there has been a steady strengthening of relations. Gorbachev refused to involve the USSR in the sanctions the western powers imposed on China following the Tiananmen disturbances. Yeltsin, despite the strong pro-western orientation of his government, remained a firm advocate of good relations with China and worked to build on the breakthrough achieved in the 1980s. In 1997 in a speech in Hong Kong Jiang Zemin already spoke of Russia as China’s key strategic ally. In 1998 the two countries acted for the first time openly in concert on the Security Council to oppose the US bombing of Iraq (“Operation Desert Fox”). Subsequently both countries strongly opposed the US led attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999 and on Iraq in 2003.  Since then their cooperation in political, economic and security matters has intensified. Whilst their relations have had their moments of difficulty (eg. over Russian complaints of illicit Chinese copying of weapon systems) and the development of their economic relations has lagged well behind that of their political relations (inevitable given the disastrous state of the Russian economy in the 1990s) it is difficult to see on what basis they can be considered “frenemies”.

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The reality is that Russia and China have for obvious reasons of history, culture and above all geography faced through most of their history in different directions: China towards Asia (where it is the supreme east Asian civilisation) and Russia towards Europe. That should not however disguise the fact that their interaction has been very prolonged (since the 1680s), – longer in fact than that of China with any of the major western powers – and generally peaceful and mostly friendly. Periods of outright hostility have been short lived and rare. Despite sharing the world’s longest border all-out war between the two countries has never happened. On the two occasions (in the 1680s and 1960s) when it briefly appeared that it might, both drew back and eventually sought and achieved a compromise. For China Russia’s presence on its northern border has in fact been an unqualified benefit, stabilising and securing the border from which the greatest threats to China’s independence and security have traditionally come.

Western perceptions of the China Russia relationship are in my opinion far too heavily influenced by the very brief period of the Sino Soviet conflict of the 1960s and 1970s. Across the 300 or so years of the history of their mutual interaction the 15 or so years of this conflict represent very much the anomaly not the rule. Given this conflict’s idiosyncratic origins in ideological and status issues that are (to put it mildly) extremely unlikely to recur again, to treat this conflict as representing the norm in China’s and Russia’s relations with each other seems to me frankly farfetched. The past is never a safe guide to the future. However on the basis of the actual history of their relations, to argue that China’s and Russia’s strategic partnership is bound to fail because of their supposed long history of suspicion and conflict towards each other is to argue from prejudice rather than fact.

vendredi, 21 février 2014

Soviet-Afghan War Lesson

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Soviet-Afghan War Lesson: Political Problems Never Settled by Force

By Sergey Duz
The Voice of Russia

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

25 years ago, the almost 10-year long deployment of the limited contingent of Soviet forces in Afghanistan drew to a close. Experts have since been at variance about the assessment of the Afghan campaign, but they invariably agree that it was the biggest-scale (and actually quite ambiguous, obviously for that reason) foreign policy action throughout the post-war history of the Soviet Union.

The last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan on February 15th 1989 as part of the Soviet 40th Army, which was the backbone of the limited contingent. The Soviet troops withdrew under the command of the 40th Army legendary commander, Lieutenant-General Boris Gromov. He managed to brilliantly carry out the withdrawal, with the US now trying to use his experience to more or less decently pull out of Afghanistan following the more than 20 years of actually useless occupation of that country. This is what an expert with the Centre for Modern Afghan Studies, Nikita Mendkovich, says about it in a comment.

“The Americans will have to rely heavily on intercontinental delivery means, because the troops are being evacuated to another region, to another continent. Back in 1989, it was largely a ground-force operation. The Soviet troops pulled out by land via Central Asia. The basic problem of any operation of this kind is security. Huge masses of troops and a great number of military vehicles are moving along the roads, so they should be guaranteed against likely attacks. To attain the objective, one can either reinforce local garrisons that will remain deployed in Afghanistan after the pull-out of the bulk of the troops and will cover the withdrawal, or reach agreement with the enemy not to attack the leaving troops, because this is not in the enemy’s interests”.

There are both similarities and numerous differences between the Soviet and American campaigns in Afghanistan. The main difference is that the Soviet Union did manage to achieve its goal, whereas with the United States it is no go. The Soviet troops were to render assistance to the Afghan government in settling the home policy situation. Secondly, the Soviet troops were to prevent external aggression. Both objectives were fully attained.

The Soviet political leadership felt that the revolution of April 1978 had no right to lose. Ideological reasoning was reinforced by geopolitical considerations. This predetermined Moscow’s decision to send troops, says editor-in-chief of the National Defence magazine, Igor Korotchenko, and elaborates.

“The Afghan campaign was inevitable if seen from the perspective of defending the Soviet Union’s national interests. It may seem odd, but Afghans are still nostalgic about the times when Soviet troops were deployed in their country. Even former field commanders can’t help but show some sort of liking for the Soviet Union, for the Soviet Army. We were no invaders; we helped build a new Afghanistan. The Soviet troops built tunnels, ensured the operation of water-supply systems, planted trees, built schools and hospitals, and also production facilities. The Soviet troops were indeed performing their international duty, they accomplished quite a feat. When the Soviet troops pulled out, Najibullah had a strong Afghan Army under his command. He remained in control of the situation in Afghanistan for 12 or 18 months. His regime fell when the Soviet Union cut short its material supply for Kabul. The current Afghan regime of Karzai will certainly prove short-lived; it’s no more than a phantom. The US troops will hardly pull out with their heads held high, the way the Soviet soldiers did”.

But then, some people disagree that all Afghans were happy about the Soviet military presence. The Soviet Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin pointed out the danger of the Soviet troops getting drawn into guerrilla warfare. He said in late 1979 that the invasion of Afghanistan “would trigger drastically negative many-sided consequences”. “This would essentially become a conflict not only with imperialist countries, but a conflict with the proper Afghan people. Now, people never forgive things like that”, Kosygin warned, and proved correct. This is what the chairman of the Common Afghan Centre in St. Petersburg, Naim Gol Mohammed, says about it in a comment.

“The people of Afghanistan have their own traditions, mentality and culture. The belligerent Pashtun tribes have never taken orders from anyone. These tribes never take to foreign troops. The locals revolted against the Soviet troops. The Soviet troop withdrawal in 1989 was followed by a period of anarchy. Government agencies were non-operational. The Soviet Union supplied Afghanistan with whatever was required quite well. But once the Soviet troops were out, the supplies were brought to a halt. That was bad. But the Soviet Union made the right decision, for it is impossible to defeat Afghans on their own soil”.

Quite a few experts insist that however tragic or pointless the Soviet military campaign in Afghanistan may seem, it had largely influenced the shaping of the new Russia’s optimal foreign policy. Moscow is perfectly aware today that no use of force can help resolve political problems, that these can only have a negotiated settlement. Moscow is trying to put the idea across to the main geopolitical players today. This is the most important lesson that should be learned from what experience the Soviet Union gained in Afghanistan.

Reprinted from The voice of Russia.

samedi, 23 novembre 2013

Occult Roots of the Russian Revolution

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Occult Roots of the Russian Revolution

Ex: http://www.gnostics.com

Dearest friend, do you not see
All that we perceive –
Only reflects and shadows forth
What our eyes cannot see.
Dearest friend, do you not hear
In the clamour of everyday life –
Only the unstrung echoing fall of
Jubilant harmonies.
– Vladimir Soloviev, 1892

The Great Russian Revolution of 1917, launched by Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevic party, profoundly influenced the history of the twentieth century. The fall of the Russian Empire and its replacement by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ushered in а new аgе in world politics. More than this, the Russian Revolution was the triumph of а dynamic revolutionary ideology that directly challenged Western capitalism. But what of the hidden origins of this Revolution? Did secret influences contribute to the victory of Lenin and the Bolshevics?

Innumerable books, not to forget massive scholarly studies, are devoted to examining the Russian Revolution and the rise of Soviet Communism. All this impressive research is almost exclusively devoted to the obvious political, economic and social dimensions, i.e. the surface manifestations of history. However, within or behind this mundane history lies another reality that is more interesting and more important than the everyday analysis offered by mainstream historians and writers.

Establishment historians pay little attention to the remarkable impact occult and Gnostic ideas had on the rise of Bolshevism and the victory of the Russian Revolution.

A number of social and political movements, including Marxism and Lenin’s Bolshevism, have been linked to Gnosticism, which flourished in the early centuries of the Christian era. The political scientists A. Besancon and L. Pellicani argue the intellectual roots of Russian Bolshevism are a structural repetition of the ancient Gnostic paradigm. A distinguishing feature of Gnosticism is an illusive, symbolic interpretation of reality, including history.

For the early Christian Gnostics the Absolute – termed the ‘Unknown Father’– has nothing in common with the wrathful ‘God’ worshipped by theist religion. In fact, for these Gnostics, the ‘God’ of the Old Testament is the adversary of their ‘Unknown Father’, the true God. Our world, including all human institutions, is not the work of the true God, but of a false creator, the Demiurge, who keeps us captive in the world, away from the divine light and truth.

Therefore, in Gnosticism, the world is merely a sort of illusion, a set of allegorical symbols, a reverse image of the real essence of history. Man, who is asleep to his inner potential, must awake and become an active partner of the ‘Unknown Father’ in the transformation of all life. Otherwise he remains a prisoner in what the eminent Russian Gnostic philosopher Vladimir Solviev (1853-1900) aptly described as “a kind of nightmare of sleeping humanity.” A number of Gnostic communities – like nineteenth century communists – held contempt for material goods and lived communally, teaching “the world and its laws, religious, moral and social, are of little relevance to the plan of salvation.”1

Gnostics, Mystic Sects & Radicals

Russian mystical sects played an extremely important part in the Bolshevik revolution, on the side of the Bolsheviks. In spite of their rejection of the state and the church, these sects were deeply nationalistic, since their members were hostile to foreign innovations. They hated the West.
— Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

Throughout nineteenth century Europe we find numerous connections between Gnostics, mystics, occultists and radical socialists. They constituted what the historian James Webb calls “a progressive underground” united by a common opposition to the established order of their day. Constantly, Webb writes, “we find socialists and occultists running in harness.”2 Sundry spiritual communities emerged across the United States, with clear Gnostic and occult doctrines, which attempted to follow a pure communistic life style. Victoria Woodhull, the president of the American Association of Spiritualists during the 1870s, was a radical socialist. Woodhull believed that Spiritualism signified not only religious enlightenment, but also a cultural, political and social revolution. She published the first English translation of the Communist Manifesto and tried in vain to persuade Karl Marx that the goals of Spiritualism and Communism were the same.

Dissident Christian mystics, spiritualists, occultists and radical socialists often found themselves together at the forefront of political movements for social justice, worker’s rights, free love and the emancipation of women. Nineteenth century occultists and socialists even used the same language in calling for a new age of universal brotherhood, justice and peace. They all shared a charismatic vision of what the future could be – a radical alternative to the oppressive old political, social, economic and religious power structures. And more often than not they found themselves facing the same common enemy in the unholy alliance of State and Church.

The birth of radical socialist ideas in Russia cannot be easily separated from the spiritual communism practiced by diverse Russian sects. For centuries folk myths nourished a widespread belief in the possibility of an earthly communist paradise united by fraternal love, where justice, truth and equality prevailed. One prominent Russian legend told of the lost land of Belovode (the Kingdom of the White Waters), said to be “across the water” and inhabited by Russian Old Believer mystics. In Belovode, spiritual life reigned supreme, and all went barefoot sharing the fruits of the land and their labour. There were no oppressive rules, crime, and war. Another Russian legend concerned Kitezh, the radiant city beneath the lake. Kitezh will only rise from the waters and appear again when Russia returns to the true Christ and is once more worthy to see it and its priceless treasures. Early in the twentieth century such myths captured the popular imagination and were associated with the hopes of revolution.

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, a schism occurred within the Russian Orthodox Church of a new religious movement called the Old Believers. The result was that many Russian spiritual dissidents took courage from the split to found their own communities, giving vent to Gnostic ideas that had long been simmering underground. The Old Believers, in the face of severe repression, clung tenaciously to their ancient mystic tradition and expressed their separation from the official world of Imperial Orthodox Russia in collective migration to the fringes of the state, mass suicide by fire, rebellion, and a monastic communism.

Gnostic communities, with their communalism and disdain for private property, proliferated throughout Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Known by a variety of names such as Common Hope, United Brotherhood, Love of Brotherhood, Righthanded Brotherhood, White Doves, Believers in Christ, Friends of God, Wanderers, their followers reportedly numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Ruthlessly persecuted by the authorities, they made up a spiritual underground, often hiding themselves from inquisitive eyes. A countrywide revolutionary sectarianism that rejected the state, the church, society, law, and even religious commandments, which they declared were abolished when the Holy Spirit descended to humanity.

The origin of Gnostic ideas in Russia is difficult to trace, but they appear to be an outgrowth of two powerful spiritual impulses in Russian religious history. The first is the Christian esoteric tradition preserved within the monastic communities of the Russian Orthodox Church. A mystical tradition going back by way of Greek Neoplatonism, Origin and Clement of Alexandria to St. John the “beloved disciple”. “Russian Orthodox mystical theology has bent more than a little in the direction of the Gnostic heresy,” notes the historian Maria Carlson.3 The second impulse originated with Essene and Manichean missionaries who reached Russia in the early centuries of the Christian era. An impulse later given new vitality by the Bogomils whose Gnostic teachings had gained a foothold in Russia by the thirteenth century.

By the end of the nineteenth century occult and Gnostic ideas enjoyed wide circulation among all segments of the Russian population. At one point the Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948) welcomed the Gnostics, urging “Gnosticism should be revived and should enter into our life for all time.”4 After the 1917 Revolution, Gnosticism, observed the Russian scholar Mikhail Agursky, “contributed considerably to Soviet culture and even influenced Soviet political life. Its foundations were laid before the revolution…[by] several gnostic trends in nineteenth century Russian culture.”

While Russian Gnostics rejected the world order and strove to live by the apostolic precept to hold “all things in common,”5 they were also profoundly aware of the approaching end of the age. “Russian popular Gnosticism had a very pronounced apocalyptic character,” says Mikhail Agursky. “Russian mystical sectarians lived in anticipation of a catastrophe. The degradation of human life demanded purifying fire from heaven, which would devour the new Sodom and Gomorrah and replace them with the Kingdom of God. Any revolution could easily be identified by such sectarians as this fire, regardless of its external form.”6

Russian Socialism

Bolshevik collectivism had roots in long-standing Russian values of individual self-sacrifice. The suffering, martyrdom, humility, and sacrifice of Christ was deeply embedded in the texture of Russian religious thought and practice, and the lives of Russian saints were a litany of suffering. The Old Believers, heretics in the eyes of the official church for their adherence to their own version of the truth, suffered persecution for centuries at the hands of the government and sought escape in mass immolation, colonization, and, finally, economic mutual aid.
— Robert C. Williams, The Other Bolsheviks

Alexander_Herzen_7.jpgAlexander Herzen (1812-1870), seen by many as the father of Russian socialism, was a friend and admirer of the French revolutionary Proudhon, who viewed himself as a Christian socialist. Proudhon worked intermittently all his adult life on a never completed study of the original teachings of Jesus Christ. Herzen also paid special attention to Russia’s persecuted religious sectarians. He printed a special supplement for the Old Believers, the mystic Christian traditionalists who had been driven out of the Russian Orthodox Church. Nicholas Chernyshevsky, another Russian socialist thinker of the nineteenth century, wrote an article in praise of the “fools for Christ’s sake” and defended members of the spiritual underground.

The Russian radicals of the 1800s, in the words of James H. Billington, looked upon “socialism as an outgrowth of suppressed traditions within heretical Christianity.”7 They saw the genesis of Russian socialism in the spiritual underground of the Gnostics and religious sectarians. One influential network of Russian socialists openly claimed to be rediscovering “the teaching of Christ in its original purity,” which “had as its basic doctrine charity and its aim the realisation of freedom and the destruction of private property.”8

ho.jpgNicholas Chernyshevsky (1828-1889), who spent much of his life in penal servitude, penned the utopian novel What Is To Be Done? as a vision of the future new society and a guidebook for the revolutionaries who would build it. Chernyshevsky wrote:

Then say to all: this is what will come to pass in the future, a radiant and beautiful future. Have love for it, strive toward it, work on behalf of it, bring it ever nearer, bear what you can from it into your present life. The more you can carry from that future into your present life, the more your life will be radiant and good, the richer it will be in happiness and pleasure.

Chernyshevsky’s novel inspired two generations of idealistic young radicals. Among them was Alexandre Ulianov, the beloved elder brother of V.I. Lenin. He was executed in 1887 for his part in the attempted assassination of Tsar Alexander III. Vladimir Lenin told how Chernyshevsky’s What Is To Be Done? “captivated my brother, and captivated me… It transformed me completely.” What impressed the future leader of the Russian Revolution was how Chernyshevsky:

not only demonstrated the necessity for every correctly thinking and really honest man to become a revolutionary, but also showed – even more importantly – what a revolutionary should be like, what his principles should be, how he must achieve his goals, what methods and means he should employ to realise them.9

Nicholas Berdyaev observed that the “Russian revolutionaries who were to be inspired by the ideas of Chernyshevsky present an interesting psychological problem. The best of Russian revolutionaries acquiesced during this earthly life in persecution, want, imprisonment, exile, penal servitude, execution, and they had no hope whatever of another life beyond this. The comparison with Christians of that time is almost disadvantageous to the latter; they highly cherished the blessings of this earthly life and counted upon the blessings of heavenly life.”10

Chernyshevsky, like those who followed him, was passionately committed to the power of reason. His philosophy firmly grounded in the materialist outlook and a sober utilitarianism. But in his life Chernyshevsky was the embodiment of self-abnegation, single-mindedness and asceticism. Like a true saint he asked nothing for himself, but wanted everything for the people as a whole. When the police officers took him into exile in Siberia they said, “Our orders were to bring a criminal and we are bringing a saint. “These two elements, the religious and the secular, the ascetic and the calculating,” writes historian Geoffrey Hosking, “remained in unresolved tension in his personality, but on the level of theory he sought a resolution in the idea of a social revolution to be promoted by the best people on the basis of personal example.”11

Inspired by Chernyshevsky, groups of young radicals emerged committed to the reconstruction of Russia as a federation of village communes and communally run factories. The reading list of one such revolutionary cell is revealing because it included the New Testament and histories of Russian Gnostic communities. The leader of the main radical circle in the Russian capital St. Petersburg spoke of founding “a religion of humanity.” He called his circle “an Order of Knights” and included in its ranks members of a Gnostic “God-manhood sect” which taught that each individual is potentially destined to become a god. It was not uncommon for the revolutionary call “liberty, equality, and fraternity” to be written on crosses, or for Russian revolutionaries to declare their belief in “Christ, St. Paul, and Chernyshevsky.”

The Russian socialists frequently visited religious sectarians and sought their support because of their history of alienation from the tsarist regime. Emil Dillon, an English journalist who had personal contact with several persecuted religious communities, reminds us:

Among the various revolutionary agencies which were at work… the most unpretending, indirect, and effective were certain religious sectarians…. Coercion in religious matters did more to spread political disaffection than the most enterprising revolutionary propagandists. It turned the best spirits of the nation against the tripartite system of God, Tsar, and fatherland, and convinced even average people not only that there was no lifegiving principle in the State, but that no faculty of the individual or the nation had room left for unimpeded growth.12

 V.I. Lenin & The Spiritual Underground

Men who are participating in a great social movement always picture their coming action as a battle in which their cause is certain to triumph. These constructions… I propose to call myths; the syndicalist “general strike” and Marx’s catastrophic revolution are such myths.
— Georges Sorel, 1906

Religious sectarians played a significant part in the formation of Bolshevism, V.I. Lenin’s unique brand of revolutionary Marxism. Indeed, Marxism with its aggressive commitment to atheism and scientific materialism, scorned all religion as “the opium of the people.” Yet this did not prevent some Bolshevic leaders from utilising concepts taken directly from occultism and radical Gnosticism. Nor did the obvious materialist outlook of Communism, as Bolshevism became known, stop Russia’s spiritual underground from giving valuable patronage to Lenin’s revolutionary cause.

One of Vladimir Lenin’s early supporters was the radical Russian journalist V. A. Posse, who edited a Marxist journal Zhizn’ (Life) from Geneva. Zhizn’ aimed to enlist the support of Russia’s burgeoning dissident religious communities in the fight to overthrow the tsarist autocracy. Posse’s publishing enterprise received the backing of V.D. Bonch-Bruevich, a Marxist revolutionary and importantly a specialist on Russian Gnostic sects. Through Bonch-Bruevich’s connections to the spiritual underground of Old Believers and Gnostics, Posse secured important financial help for Zhizn’.

The goal of Zhizn’ was to reach a broad peasant and proletarian audience of readers that would some day constitute a popular front against the hated Russian government. Lenin soon began contributing articles to Zhizn’. To Posse, Lenin appeared like some kind of mystic sectarian, a Gnostic radical, whose asceticism was exceeded only by his self-confidence. Both Bonch-Bruevich and Posse were impressed by Lenin’s zeal to build an effective revolutionary party. Lenin disdained religion and showed little interest in the ‘religious’ orientation of Zhizn’. The Russian Marxist thinker Plekhanov, one of Lenin’s early mentors, openly expressed his hostility to the journal’s ‘religious’ bent. He wrote to Lenin complaining that Zhizn’, “on almost every page talks about Christ and religion. In public I shall call it an organ of Christian socialism.”

The Zhizn’ publishing enterprise came to an end in 1902 and its operations were effectively transferred into Lenin’s hands. This led to the organisation in 1903-1904 of the very first Bolshevic publishing house by Bonch-Bruevich and Lenin. Both men viewed the Russian sectarians as valuable revolutionary allies. As one scholar notes, “Russian religious dissent appealed to Bolshevism even before that movement had acquired a name.”13

5325987-a-stamp-printed-in-the-ussr-show-mikhail-bonch-bruevich-soviet-radio-engineerings-the-founder-of-the.jpgV.D. Bonch-Bruevich (1873-1955) came to revolutionary Marxism under the influence of the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy’s social teachings. Like Lenin’s wife Krupskaya, he started his revolutionary career distributing Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is within You, a work infused with neo-Gnostic themes. In 1899 Bonch-Bruevich left Russia for Canada to live among the Doukhobors, Russian Gnostic communists whose refusal to pay taxes and serve in the army drove them into exile. Bonch-Bruevich reported on the secret doctrines of the Doukhobors and put in writing their fundamental oral teachings known as the ‘Living Book’. On his return to Europe in 1901 Bonch-Bruevich introduced Lenin to the chief tenets of these Gnostic communists. The Doukhobors, with their radical rejection of the Church and State, with their denial of the uniqueness of the historical Christ, and their neglect of the Bible in favour of their own secret tradition, were of some interest to the founder of Bolshevism.

In 1904 Bonch-Bruevich, with Lenin’s support, began publishing Rassvet (Dawn) in an effort to spread revolutionary Marxism among the religious dissidents. His first editorial attacked all the Russian tsars for their persecution of the Old Believers and sectarians, and stated that the journal’s goal was to report events occurring world wide, “in various corners of our vast motherland, and among the ranks of Sectarians and Schismatics.” Rassvet combined Communist and apocalyptic themes that were both compelling and comprehensible to Russia’s spiritual underground.

By the early years of the twentieth century Russia was in a revolutionary mood. Bonch-Bruevich wrote that this would soon produce a “street battle of the awakened people.” He urged his fellow Communist revolutionaries to use the language of the spiritual underground in persuading the masses that the government was “Satan” and that “all men are brothers” in the eyes of God. He wrote:

If the proletariat-sectarian in his speech requires the word ‘devil’, then identify this old concept of an evil principle with capitalism, and identify the word ‘Christ’, as a concept of eternal good, happiness, and freedom, with socialism.

 Communist God-Builders  & The Occult

If a newcomer to the vast quantity of occult literature begins browsing at random, puzzlement and impatience will soon be his lot; for he will find jumbled together the droppings of all cultures, and occasional fragments of philosophy perhaps profound but almost certainly subversive to right living in the society in which he finds himself. The occult is rejected knowledge: that is, an Underground whose basic unity is that of Opposition to an establishment of Powers That Are.
— James Webb, Occult Underground

A Marxist pamphlet written before 1917 and later reissued by the Soviet government bluntly declared that man is destined to “take possession of the universe and extend his species into distant cosmic regions, taking over the whole solar system. Human beings will be immortal.” Anatoly Lunacharsky, the first Commissar of Enlightenment in the new Soviet state, believed that as religious conviction had been a great force of change in history, Marxists should conceive the struggle to transform nature through labor as their form of devotion, and the spirit of collective humanity as their god.

lunacharski_.jpgA.V. Lunacharsky (1875-1933) and the Russian writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), close friends of Vladimir Lenin, were acquainted with a broad spectrum of occult thought, including Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophy. Both these prominent Bolshevic revolutionaries shared a life-long interest in ancient mystery cults, religious sectarianism, parapsychology and Gnosticism. Maria Carlson maintains that Gorky’s “vision of a New Nature and a New World, subsequently assimilated to its socialist expression as the Radiant Future, is fundamentally Theosophic.”14 Gorky valued the writings of the occultists Emanuel Swedenborg and Paracelsus, as well as those of Fabre d’Olivet and Eduard Schure.

Drawing on the imagery of the ancient solar mysteries, Gorky declared in Children of the Sun, “we people are the children of the sun, the bright source of life; we are born of the sun and will vanquish the murky fear of death.” In his Confession, the “people” have become God, creators of miracles, possessors of true religious consciousness, and immortal. Gorky envisioned a beautiful future of work for the love of work and of man as “master of all things.” Revealing his familiarity with parapsychology and faith healing, Gorky tells how an assembled crowd uses its collective energy to heal a paralysed girl. He was deeply impressed by research into thought transference, often writing of the “miraculous power of thought”, while expressing the hope that one day reason and science would end fear.

The ideas advanced by Lunacharsky and Gorky became known as God building, described by one researcher as a “movement of secular rejuvenation with mystery cult aspects.”15 God building implied that a human collective, through the concentration of released human energy, can perform the same miracles that were assigned to supra-natural beings. God builders regarded early Christianity as an authentic example of collective God building, Christ being nothing other than the focus of collective human energy. “The time will come,” said Gorky, “when all popular will shall once again amalgamate in one point. Then an invincible and miraculous power will emerge, and God will be resurrected.”16 Years before, Fyodor Dostoyevsky had written in The Possessed, “God is the synthetic personality of the whole people.” According to Mikhail Agursky:

For Gorky, God-building was first of all a theurgical action, the creation of the new Nature and the annihilation of the old, and therefore it coincided fully with the Kingdom of the Spirit. He considered God to be a theurgical outcome of a collective work, the outcome of human unity and of the negation of the human ego.17

Before the Russian Revolution, Lunacharsky’s political propaganda relied heavily on words and images ultimately derived from Russian Gnostics and religious sectarians. In one pamphlet he urged readers to refuse to pay taxes or serve in the army, to form local revolutionary committees, to demand ownership of their land, overthrow the autocracy and replace it with a “brotherly society” of socialism. Indeed, there was as much attention given to Christ as to Marx in Lunacharsky’s writings. “Christianity, in all its forms, even the purest and most progressive,” he wrote, “is the ideology of the downtrodden classes, the hopelessly immobile, those who cannot believe in their own powers; Christianity is also a weapon of exploitation.” But Lunacharsky realised there is also an underground spiritual tradition, the arcane language and symbols of which might be used to mobilise the people to carry out the revolution.

Occult elements are obvious in Lunacharsky’s early plays and poems, including a reference to the “astral spirit”, and a familiarity with white magic and demonology. He discussed Gnosticism, the Logos, Pythagoras, and solar cults in his two volume work Religion and Socialism. After the Bolshevic Revolution, Lunacharsky wrote an occult play called Vasilisa the Wise. This was to be followed by a never published “dramatic poem” entitled Mitra the Saviour, a clear reference to the pre-Christian occult deity. Significantly, it is Lunacharsky, along with the scholar of Russian Gnostic sects V.D. Bonch-Bruevich, who is credited with developing the so-called “cult of Lenin” which dominated Soviet life following the Bolshevic leaders’ death in 1924.

 Soviet Power & Spiritual Revolution

A Weltanschauung has conquered a state, and emanating from this state it will slowly shatter the entire world and bring about its collapse. Bolshevism, if unchecked, will change the world as completely as Christianity did. Three hundred years from now it will no longer be said that it is merely a question of organising production in a different way… If this movement continues to develop, Lenin, three hundred years from now, will be regarded not only as one of the revolutionaries of 1917, but as the founder of a new world doctrine, and he will be worshipped as much perhaps as Buddha.
— Adolf Hitler, 193218

In the wake of the total collapse of Imperial Russia and the devastation caused by the First World War, Lenin and the Bolshevics seized power in October 1917. A revolution that would not have been possible without the active support and participation of the Russian spiritual underground. The Bolshevics, in the opinion of one Russian scholar:

most probably would not have been able to take power or to consolidate it if the multimillion masses of Russian sectarians had not taken part in the total destruction brought about by the revolution, which acquired a mystical character for them. To them the state and the church were receptacles of all kinds of evil, and their destruction and debasement were regarded as a mystic duty, exactly as it was with the [medieval Gnostic sects of] Anabaptists, Bogomils, Cathars, and Taborites.19

Ground down by centuries of autocratic tsarist rule as well as the Orthodox Church, its mere appendage, the Russian people came to accept the Communism of Lenin. “Bolshevism is a Russian word,” wrote an anti-Communist Russian in 1919. “But not only a word. Because in that guise, in that form and in those manifestations which have crystallized in Russia… Bolshevism is a uniquely Russian phenomenon, with deep ties to the Russian soul.”20 Even the Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Goebbels, who built his political career fighting Communism, confessed that no tsar had ever understood the Russian people as deeply as Lenin, who gave them what they wanted most – land and freedom.

Lenin wedded the dialectical materialism of Marx to the deep-rooted tradition of Russian socialism permeated as it was by Gnostic, apocalyptic, and messianic elements. In the same manner he reconciled the Marxist commitment to science, atheism and technological progress with the Russian ideas of justice, truth and self-sacrifice for the collective. Similarly the leader of Bolshevism merged the Marxist call for proletarian internationalism and world revolution with the centuries old notion of Russia’s great mission as the harbinger of universal brotherhood. Violently opposed to all religion, atheistic Bolshevism drew much from the spiritual underground, becoming in the words of one of Lenin’s comrades, “the most religious of all religions.”

“Nonetheless we have studied Marxism a bit,” wrote Lenin, “we have studied how and when opposites can and must be combined. The main thing is: in our revolution… we have in practice repeatedly combined opposites.” Several centuries earlier the Muslim Gnostic teacher Jalalladin Rumi pointed out, “It is necessary to note that opposite things work together even though nominally opposed.”

After the 1917 Bolshevic Revolution:

occultism was part of a cluster of ideas that inspired a mystical revolutionism based on the belief that great earthly events such as revolution reflect a realignment of cosmic forces. Revolution, then, had eschatological significance. Its result would be a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ peopled by a new kind of human being and characterized by a new kind of society cemented by love, common ideals, and sacrifice.

The Bolshevic Revolution did not quash interest in the occult. Some pre-revolutionary occult ideas and symbols were transformed along more ‘scientific’ lines. Mingled with compatible concepts, they permeated early Soviet art, literature, thought, and science. Soviet political activists who did not believe in the occult used symbols, themes, and techniques drawn from it for agitation and propaganda. Further transformed, some of them were incorporated in the official culture of Stalin’s time.21

Apocalyptic and mess-ianic themes, popularised for centuries by the Russian spiritual underground, were played out in the Bolshevic Revolution and fueled the drive to build a classless, communist society. The dream of a communist paradise on earth created by human hands, a new world adorned by technological perfection, social justice and brotherhood, was found both in Marx and in the Russian spiritual underground.

Lenin promulgated a law exempting religious sectarians from military service. Writers and poets, drawing inspiration from the Russian religious underground, hailed the Revolution as a messianic, world mystery. One writer compared the Bolshevic Revolution with the origin of Christianity. “Christ was followed,” he exclaimed, “not by professors, nor by virtuous philosophers, nor by shopkeepers. Christ was followed by rascals. And the revolution will also be followed by rascals, apart from those who launched it. And one must not be afraid of this.”

alexander_blok.jpgAlexander Blok (1880-1921) was the most important Russian poet to recognise the Bolshevics. A student of Gnosticism, Blok discerned the inner meaning of the tumultuous political and social events. There was a hidden spiritual content at the core of the external upheavals of the Revolution and the bloody Civil War that followed. Blok clearly expressed this in his famous poem The Twelve, where the invisible Christ leads the revolutionary march.

Another Russian poet and occultist, Andrei Bely, a disciple of Steiner’s Anthroposophical movement, hailed the Revolution as the first stage of a far greater cultural and spiritual revolution to come. For Bely, as for his contemporary Blok, the Bolshevic Revolution was above all a powerful theurgical instrument. Andrei Bely (1880-1934) saw theurgy as a means to change the world actively in collaboration with God. In spite of the turmoil and bloodshed, for these Russian occultists the revolution served as an instrument of the new creation. Bely celebrated the 1917 Revolution in a poem, Christ is Resurrected, in which the Bolshevic take over is compared with the mystery of Crucifixion and Resurrection. Rudolf Steiner understood why the Russians welcomed the October Revolution, but criticised Bolshevism as a dangerous mix of Western abstract thinking and Eastern mysticism.

The Russian spiritual underground spawned several important writers and poets who welcomed the Bolshevic Revolution. Two of the most outstanding were Nikolai Kliuev (1887-1937) and Sergei Esenin (1895-1925). Occult images and Russian messianic themes abound in their poems. Kliuev saw Lenin as the popular leader and embodiment of the Old Belief. In typically Gnostic fashion Esenin disdained the old God of the Church and proclaimed a “new Nazareth”. The young Esenin gave support to the Bolshevic Red Army and even tried to join the Bolshevic party. Tragically, Kliuev felt betrayed by the Revolution, was arrested and died on the way to a labor camp in 1937. Esenin took his own life in 1925 believing dark forces had usurped the Russian Revolution.

By the early 1920s the Bolshevics had consolidated their hold over much of the former Russian Empire. The Communist Party emerged as the monolithic embodiment of the popular will. All occult societies, including the Theosophists and Anthroposophists, were disbanded. Freemasonry was virulently condemned and its lodges closed. In the drive to modernise Russia and build a technologically advanced Soviet Union, occult notions were publicly classed as superstition and openly ridiculed. The new Soviet State, with its Marxist-Leninist ideology, became the sole arbitrator of all thought. Leading occult teachers were forced into exile. Yet many of those associated with the spiritual underground joined the Communist Party and found employment in various Soviet organisations.

The sway of the spiritual underground did not disappear. Arcane truths and primordial urges took on new forms in keeping with the new reality. Esoteric ideas were clothed in the language of a new epoch. One writer explains:

In Stalin’s time, occult themes and techniques detached from their doctrinal base became part of the official culture…. The occult themes of Soviet literature of the 1920s were transformed into the magical or fantastic elements that observers have noted in Socialist Realism. Stalin himself was invested with occult powers.22

The Russian thinker, Isai Lezhnev (1891-1955), insisted on the profoundly religious character of Communism, which was “equal to atheism only in a narrow theological sense.” Emotionally, psychologically, Bolshevism was extremely religious, seeing itself as the only custodian of absolute truth. Lezhnev correctly discerned in Bolshevism the rise of a “new religion” which brought with it a new culture and political order. He embraced Marxism-Leninism and welcomed Stalin as a manifestation of the “popular spirit”.

The Russian Revolution, which gave rise to the super power known as the Soviet Union, cast a gigantic shadow over the twentieth century. Bolshevism, the materialistic worldview developed by Vladimir Lenin, left its mark on all aspects of modern thought. And the roots of Lenin’s Communism and the Soviet Union go deep into the ancient secret tradition of humanity.

Was atheistic Bolshevism, for all its worship of science and materialism, the expression of something supra-natural? Many in the spiritual underground passionately believed so. The Gnostic poet Valery Briusov (1873-1924), who joined the Bolshevic party in 1920, had been involved in magick, occultism and spiritualism prior to the revolution. Briusov stressed that Russia’s destiny was being worked out, not on earth, but by mystic forces for which the 1917 Revolution was part of the occult plot.

Another prominent Russian occultist, the acclaimed artist Nicholas Roerich, acknowledged Lenin and Communism as cosmic phenomenon. In 1926 he wrote:

He [Lenin] incorporated and circumspectly fitted every material into the world order. This opened up for him the path into all parts of the world. And people have formed a legend not only as a record of his deeds but also as a mark of his aspirations…. We have seen for ourselves how the nations have understood the magnetic power of communism. Friends, the worst counsellor is negativity. Behind every negation ignorance is concealed.

The philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev, a former Marxist who came to embrace Christian mysticism, was exiled from the Soviet Union in the 1920s. He had studied occultism and was acquainted with many Russian Gnostic sects. His 1909 book The Philosophy of Freedom is full of Gnostic themes. And like the Gnostics, Berdyaev opposed the institution of the family as yoking men and women to “necessity” and the endless chain of birth and death. Writing from exile, more than twenty-five years after the Revolution, Berdyaev observed:

Russian communism is a distortion of the Russian messianic idea; it proclaims light from the East which is destined to enlighten the bourgeois darkness of the West. There is in communism its own truth and its own falsehood. Its truth is a social truth, a revelation of the possibility of the brotherhood of man and of peoples, the suppression of classes, whereas its falsehood lies in its spiritual foundations which result in a process of dehumanisation, in the denial of the worth of the individual man, in the narrowing of human thought…. Communism is a Russian phenomenon in spite of its Marxist ideology. Communism is the Russian destiny, it is a moment in the inner destiny of the Russian people and it must be lived through by the inward strength of the Russian people. Communism must be surmounted but not destroyed, and into the highest stage which will come after communism there must enter the truth of communism also but freed from its element of falsehood. The Russian Revolution awakened and unfettered the enormous powers of the Russian people. In this lies its principle meaning.23

 

The Hammer and Sickle: Occult Symbols?

Throughout the twentieth century the hammer and sickle were universally recognised as symbols of communism and the Soviet Union. For millions of people the hammer and sickle symbolised a new political and economic order offering progress, justice and liberty. While countless others looked on the same hammer and sickle as ominous emblems of oppression, hatred and tyranny.

Occultists and students of ancient wisdom saw something more. Behind the outward appearance of these communist emblems, which officially represented the emancipation of labor, there was an element unknown to the masses.

Russian occultists saw the Bolshevics as unconsciously working for the cosmic mission of Russia and interpreted the Soviet hammer and sickle as hidden symbols of the blacksmith’s art, hinting at future transmutation and transformation. Both metallurgy and alchemy (regarded as an occult science) sort to destroy impure elements with fire and thereby release a refined product, whether forged metal (the smith) or spiritual gold (the alchemist). Fire is associated with transfiguration, regeneration, and purification, while iron is associated with Mars (the god of war) and the astral world.

To the occultist, the communist hammer and sickle symbolised conflict and transmutation. The forging – in the fires of struggle – of base elements into a purer, higher form. The atheistic Bolshevic, like the occultist, proclaimed that ordinary man must be transformed into new man, free of the bonds of selfish desires and of the oppressive past, in order to freely build the new civilisation of the future.


Footnotes:

1. Benjamin Walker, Gnosticism Its History & Influence

2. James Webb, Occult Underground

3. Maria Carlson, No Religion Higher Than Truth

4. As quoted in Maria Carlson, No Religion Higher Than Truth

5. Acts 2:44-47

6. Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

7. James H. Billington, The Icon and the Axe

8. As quoted in James H. Billington, The Icon and the Axe

9. As quoted in Nina Tumarkin, Lenin Lives: The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia

10. Nicholas Berdyaev, The Russian Idea

11. Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire

12. As quoted in Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

13. Robert C. Williams, The Other Bolsheviks

14. Maria Carlson, No Religion Higher Than Truth

15. Richard Noll, The Jung Cult

16. Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

17. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal

18. As quoted in Hitler’s Words, edited by Gordon Prange

19. Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

20. As quoted in Richard Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime 1919-1924

21. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal

22. Ibid

23. Nicholas Berdyaev, The Russian Idea

samedi, 09 novembre 2013

Wall Street & the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution

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Wall Street & the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution

By Kerry Bolton 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

My last article [2] documented the funding of the March 1917 Revolution in Russia.[1] The primary financier of the Russian revolutionary movement 1905–1917 was Jacob Schiff, of Kuhn Loeb and Co., New York. In particular Schiff had provided the money for the distribution of revolutionary propaganda among Russians prisoners-of-war in Japan in 1905 by the American journalist George Kennan who, more than any other individual, was responsible for turning American public and official opinion against Czarist Russia. Kennan subsequently related that it was thanks to Schiff that 50,000 Russian soldiers were revolutionized and formed the cadres that laid the basis for the March 1917 Revolution and, we might add–either directly or indirectly–the consequent Bolshevik coup of November. The reaction of bankers from Wall Street and The City towards the overthrow of the Czar was enthusiastic.

This article deals with the funding of the subsequent Bolshevik coup eight months later which, as paradoxical as it might seem to those who know nothing of history other than the orthodox version, was also greeted cordially by banking circles in Wall Street and elsewhere.

Apologists for the bankers and other highly-placed individuals who supported the Bolsheviks from the earliest stages of the communist takeover, either diplomatically or financially, justify the support for this mass application of psychopathology as being motivated by patriotic sentiment, in trying to thwart German influence over the Bolsheviks and to keep Russia in the war against Germany. Because Lenin and his entourage had been able to enter Russia courtesy of the German High Command on the basis that a Bolshevik regime would withdraw Russia from the war, Wall Street capitalists explained that their patronage of the Bolsheviks was motivated by the highest ideals of pro-Allied sentiment. Hence, William Boyce Thompson in particular stated that by funding Bolshevik propaganda for distribution in Germany and Austria this would undermine the war effort of those countries, while his assistance to the Bolsheviks in Russia was designed to swing them in favor of the Allies.

These protestations of patriotic motivations ring hollow. International banking is precisely what it is called–international, or globalist as such forms of capitalism are now called. Not only have these banking forms and other forms of big business had overlapping directorships and investments for generations, but they are often related through intermarriage. While Max Warburg of the Warburg banking house in Germany advised the Kaiser and while the German Government arranged for funding and safe passage of Lenin and his entourage from Switzerland across Germany to Russia;[2] his brother Paul,[3] a partner of Jacob Schiff’s at Wall Street, looked after the family interests in New York. The primary factor that was behind the bankers’ support for the Bolsheviks whether from London,[4] New York, Stockholm,[5] or Berlin, was to open up the underdeveloped resources of Russia to the world market, just as in our own day George Soros, the money speculator, funds the so-called “color revolutions” to bring about “regime change” that facilitates the opening up of resources to global exploitation. Hence there can no longer be any doubt that international capital a plays a major role in fomenting revolutions, because Soros plays the well-known modern-day equivalent of Jacob Schiff.

Recognition of Bolsheviks Pushed by Bankers

This aim of international finance, whether centered in Germany, England or the USA, to open up Russia to capitalist exploitation by supporting the Bolsheviks, was widely commented on at the time by a diversity of well-informed sources, including Allied intelligence agencies, and of particular interest by two very different individuals, Henry Wickham Steed, editor of The London Times, and Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor.

On May 1, 1922 The New York Times reported that Gompers, reacting to negotiations at the international economic conference at Genoa, declared that a group of “predatory international financiers” were working for the recognition of the Bolshevik regime for the opening up of resources for exploitation. Despite the rhetoric by New York and London bankers during the war that a Russian revolution would serve the Allied cause, Gompers opined that this was an “Anglo-American-German banking group,” and that they were “international bankers” who did not adhere to any national allegiance. He also noted that prominent Americans who had a history of anti-labor attitudes were advocating recognition of the Bolshevik regime.[6]

What Gompers claimed, was similarly expressed by Henry Wickham Steed of The London Times, based on his observations. In a first-hand account of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Steed stated that proceedings were interrupted by the return from Moscow of William C. Bullitt and Lincoln Steffens, “who had been sent to Russia towards the middle of February by Colonel House and Mr. Lansing, for the purpose of studying conditions, political and economic, therein for the benefit of the American Commissioners plenipotentiary to negotiate peace.”[7] Steed also refers to British Prime Minister Lloyd George as being likely to have known of the Mission and its purpose. Steed stated that international finance was behind the move for recognition of the Bolshevik regime and other moves in favor of the Bolsheviks, and specifically identified Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., New York, as one of the principal bankers “eager to secure recognition”:

Potent international financial interests were at work in favor of the immediate recognition of the Bolshevists. Those influences had been largely responsible for the Anglo-American proposal in January to call Bolshevist representatives to Paris at the beginning of the Peace Conference—a proposal which had failed after having been transformed into a suggestion for a Conference with the Bolshevists at Prinkipo. . . . The well-known American Jewish banker, Mr. Jacob Schiff, was known to be anxious to secure recognition for the Bolshevists . . .[8]

In return for diplomatic recognition, Tchitcherin, the Bolshevist Commissary for Foreign Affairs, was offering “extensive commercial and economic concessions.”

Wickham Steed with the support of The Times’ proprietor, Lord Northcliffe, exposed the machinations of international finance to obtain the recognition of the Bolshevik regime, which still had a very uncertain future.

Steed related that he was called upon by US President Wilson’s primary adviser, Edward Mandel House, who was concerned at Steed’s exposé of the relationship between Bolshevists and international financers:

That day Colonel House asked me to call upon him. I found him worried both by my criticism of any recognition of the Bolshevists and by the certainty, which he had not previously realized, that if the President were to recognize the Bolshevists in return for commercial concessions his whole “idealism” would be hopelessly compromised as commercialism in disguise. I pointed out to him that not only would Wilson be utterly discredited but that the League of Nations would go by the board, because all the small peoples and many of the big peoples of Europe would be unable to resist the Bolshevism which Wilson would have accredited.[9]

Steed stated to House that it was Jacob Schiff, Warburg and other bankers who were behind the diplomatic moves in favor of the Bolsheviks:

I insisted that, unknown to him, the prime movers were Jacob Schiff, Warburg, and other international financiers, who wished above all to bolster up the Jewish Bolshevists in order to secure a field for German and Jewish exploitation of Russia.[10]

Steed here indicates an uncharacteristic naïveté in thinking that House would not have known of the plans of Schiff, Warburg, et al. House was throughout his career close to these bankers and was involved with them in setting up a war-time think tank called The Inquiry, and following the war the creation of the Council on Foreign Relations, in order to shape an internationalist post-war foreign policy. It was Schiff and Paul Warburg and other Wall Street bankers who called on House in 1913 to get House’s support for the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank.[11]

House in Machiavellian manner asked Steed to compromise; to support humanitarian aid supposedly for the benefit of all Russians. Steed agreed to consider this, but soon after talking with House found out that British Prime Minister Lloyd George and Wilson were to proceed with recognition the following day. Steed therefore wrote the leading article for the Paris Daily Mail of March 28th, exposing the maneuvers and asking how a pro-Bolshevik attitude was consistent with Pres. Wilson’s declared moral principles for the post-war world?

. . . Who are the tempters that would dare whisper into the ears of the Allied and Associated Governments? They are not far removed from the men who preached peace with profitable dishonour to the British people in July, 1914. They are akin to, if not identical with, the men who sent Trotsky and some scores of associate desperadoes to ruin the Russian Revolution as a democratic, anti-German force in the spring of 1917.[12]

Here Steed does not seem to have been aware that some of the same bankers who were supporting the Bolsheviks had also supported the March Revolution.

Charles Crane,[13] who had recently talked with President Wilson, told Steed that Wilson was about to recognize the Bolsheviks, which would result in a negative public opinion in the USA and destroy Wilson’s post-War internationalist aims. Significantly Crane also identified the pro-Bolshevik faction as being that of Big Business, stating to Steed: “Our people at home will certainly not stand for the recognition of the Bolshevists at the bidding of Wall Street.” Steed was again seen by House, who stated that Steed’s article in the Paris Daily Mail, “had got under the President’s hide.” House asked that Steed postpone further exposés in the press, and again raised the prospect of recognition based on humanitarian aid. Lloyd George was also greatly perturbed by Steed’s articles in the Daily Mail and complained that he could not undertake a “sensible” policy towards the Bolsheviks while the press had an anti-Bolshevik attitude.[14]

Thompson and the American Red Cross Mission

As mentioned, House attempted to persuade Steed on the idea of relations with Bolshevik Russia ostensibly for the purpose of humanitarian aid for the Russian people. This had already been undertaken just after the Bolshevik Revolution, when the regime was far from certain, under the guise of the American Red Cross Mission. Col. William Boyce Thompson, a director of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, organized and largely funded the Mission, with other funding coming from International Harvester, which gave $200,000. The so-called Red Cross Mission was largely comprised of business personnel, and was according to Thompson’s assistant, Cornelius Kelleher, “nothing but a mask” for business interests.[15] Of the 24 members, five were doctors and two were medical researchers. The rest were lawyers and businessmen associated with Wall Street. Dr. Billings nominally headed the Mission.[16] Prof. Antony Sutton of the Hoover Institute stated that the Mission provided assistance for revolutionaries:

We know from the files of the U.S. embassy in Petrograd that the U.S. Red Cross gave 4,000 rubles to Prince Lvoff, president of the Council of Ministers, for “relief of revolutionists” and 10,000 rubles in two payments to Kerensky for “relief of political refugees.”[17]

The original intention of the Mission, hastily organized by Thompson in light of revolutionary events, was ‘”nothing less than to shore up the Provisional regime,” according to the historian William Harlane Hale, formerly of the United States Foreign Service.[18] The support for the social revolutionaries indicates that the same bankers who backed the Kerensky regime and the March Revolution also supported the Bolsheviks, and it seems reasonable to opine that these financiers considered Kerensky a mere prelude for the Bolshevik coup, as the following indicates.

Thompson set himself up in royal manner in Petrograd reporting directly to Pres. Wilson and bypassing US Ambassador Francis. Thompson provided funds from his own money, first to the Social Revolutionaries, to whom he gave one million rubles,[19] and shortly after $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviks to spread their propaganda to Germany and Austria.[20] Thompson met Thomas Lamont of J. P. Morgan Co. in London to persuade the British War Cabinet to drop its anti-Bolshevik policy. On his return to the USA Thompson undertook a tour advocating US recognition of the Bolsheviks.[21] Thompson’s deputy Raymond Robbins had been pressing for recognition of the Bolsheviks, and Thompson agreed that the Kerensky regime was doomed and consequently “sped to Washington to try and swing the Administration onto a new policy track,” meeting resistance from Wilson, who was being pressure by Ambassador Francis.[22]

The “Bolshevik of Wall Street”

Such was Thompson’s enthusiasm for Bolshevism that he was nicknamed “the Bolshevik of Wall Street” by his fellow plutocrats. Thompson gave a lengthy interview with The New York Times just after his four month tour with the American Red Cross Mission, lauding the Bolsheviks and assuring the American public that the Bolsheviks were not about to make a separate peace with Germany.[23] The article is an interesting indication of how Wall Street viewed their supposedly “deadly enemies,” the Bolsheviks, at a time when their position was very precarious. Thompson stated that while the “reactionaries,” if they assumed power, might seek peace with Germany, the Bolsheviki would not. “His opinion is that Russia needs America, that America must stand by Russia,” stated the Times. Thompson is quoted: “The Bolsheviki peace aims are the same as those of the Untied States.” Thompson alluded to Wilson’s speech to the United States Congress on Russia as “a wonderful meeting of the situation,” but that the American public “know very little about the Bolsheviki.” The Times stated:

Colonel Thompson is a banker and a capitalist, and he has large manufacturing interests. He is not a sentimentalist nor a “radical.” But he has come back from his official visit to Russia in absolute sympathy with the Russian democracy as represented by the Bolsheviki at present.

Hence at this time Thompson was trying to sell the Bolsheviks as “democrats,” implying that they were part of the same movement as the Kerensky regime that they had overthrown. While Thompson did not consider Bolshevism the final form of government, he did see it as the most promising step towards a “representative government” and that it was the “duty” of the USA to “sympathize” with and “aid” Russia “through her days of crisis.” He stated that in reply to surprise at his pro-Bolshevik sentiments he did not mind being called “red” if that meant sympathy for 170,000,000 people “struggling for liberty and fair living.” Thompson also saw that while the Bolsheviki had entered a “truce” with Germany, they were also spreading Bolshevik doctrines among the German people, which Thompson called “their ideals of freedom” and their “propaganda of democracy.” Thompson lauded the Bolshevik Government as being the equivalent to America’s democracy, stating:

The present government in Russia is a government of workingmen. It is a Government by the majority, and, because our Government is a government of the majority, I don’t see how it can fail to support the Government of Russia.

Thompson saw the prospects of the Bolshevik Government being transformed as it incorporated a more Centrist position and included employers. If Bolshevism did not proceed thus, then “God help the world,” warned Thompson. Given that this was a time when Lenin and Trotsky held sway over the regime, subsequently to become the most enthusiastic advocates of opening Russia up to foreign capital (New Economic Policy) prospects seemed good for a joint Capitalist-Bolshevik venture with no indication that an upstart named Stalin would throw a spanner in the works.

The Times article ends: “At home in New York, the Colonel has received the good-natured title of ‘the Bolshevik of Wall Street.’”[24] It was against this background that it can now be understood why labor leader Samuel Gompers denounced Bolshevism as a tool of “predatory international finance,” while arch-capitalist Thompson lauded it as “a government of working men.”

The Council on Foreign Relations Report

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) had been established in 1921 by President Wilson’s chief adviser Edward Mandel House out of a previous think tank called The Inquiry, formed in 1917–1918 to advise President Wilson on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. It was this conference about which Steed had detailed his observations when he stated that there were financial interests trying to secure the recognition of the Bolsheviks.[25]

Peter Grose in his semi-official history of the CFR writes of it as a think tank combining academe and big business that had emerged from The Inquiry group.[26] Therefore the CFR report on Soviet Russia at this early period is instructive as to the relationship that influential sections of the US Establishment wished to pursue in regard to the Bolshevik regime. Grosse writes of this period:

Awkward in the records of The Inquiry had been the absence of a single study or background paper on the subject of Bolshevism. Perhaps this was simply beyond the academic imagination of the times. Not until early 1923 could the Council summon the expertise to mobilize a systematic examination of the Bolshevik regime, finally entrenched after civil war in Russia. The impetus for this first study was Lenin’s New Economic Policy, which appeared to open the struggling Bolshevik economy to foreign investment. Half the Council’s study group were members drawn from firms that had done business in pre-revolutionary Russia, and the discussions about the Soviet future were intense. The concluding report dismissed “hysterical” fears that the revolution would spill outside Russia’s borders into central Europe or, worse, that the heady new revolutionaries would ally with nationalistic Muslims in the Middle East to evict European imperialism. The Bolsheviks were on their way to “sanity and sound business practices,” the Council study group concluded, but the welcome to foreign concessionaires would likely be short-lived. Thus, the Council experts recommended in March 1923 that American businessmen get into Russia while Lenin’s invitation held good, make money on their investments, and then get out as quickly as possible. A few heeded the advice; not for seven decades would a similar opportunity arise.[27]

However, financial interests had already moved into Soviet Russia from the beginning of the Bolshevik regime.

The Vanderlip Concession

H. G. Wells, historian, novelist, and Fabian-socialist, observed first-hand the relationship between Communism and big business when he had visited Bolshevik Russia. Travelling to Russia in 1920 where he interviewed Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders, Wells hoped that the Western Powers and in particular the USA would come to the Soviets’ aid. Wells also met there “Mr. Vanderlip” who was negotiating business contracts with the Soviets. Wells commented of the situation he would like to see developing, and as a self-described “collectivist” made a telling observation on the relationship between Communism and “Big Business”:

The only Power capable of playing this role of eleventh-hour helper to Russia single-handed is the United States of America. That is why I find the adventure of the enterprising and imaginative Mr. Vanderlip very significant. I doubt the conclusiveness of his negotiations; they are probably only the opening phase of a discussion of the Russian problem upon a new basis that may lead it at last to a comprehensive world treatment of this situation. Other Powers than the United States will, in the present phase of world-exhaustion, need to combine before they can be of any effective use to Russia. Big business is by no means antipathetic to Communism. The larger big business grows the more it approximates to Collectivism. It is the upper road of the few instead of the lower road of the masses to Collectivism.[28]

In addressing concerns that were being expressed among Bolshevik Party “activists” at a meeting of the Moscow Organization of the party, Lenin sought to reassure them that the Government was not selling out to foreign capitalism, but that, in view of what Lenin believed to be an inevitable war between the USA and Japan, a US interest in Kamchatka would be favorable to Soviet Russia as a defensive position against Japan. Such strategic considerations on the part of the US, it might be added, were also more relevant to US and other forms of so-called “intervention” during the Russian Civil War between the Red and the White Armies, than any desire to help the Whites overturn the Bolsheviks, let alone restore Czarism. Lenin said of Vanderlip to the Bolshevik cadres:

We must take advantage of the situation that has arisen. That is the whole purpose of the Kamchatka concessions. We have had a visit from Vanderlip, a distant relative of the well-known multimillionaire, if he is to he believed; but since our intelligence service, although splendidly organized, unfortunately does not yet extend to the United States of America, we have not yet established the exact kinship of these Vanderlips. Some even say there is no kinship at all. I do not presume to judge: my knowledge is confined to having read a book by Vanderlip, not the one that was in our country and is said to be such a very important person that he has been received with all the honors by kings and ministers—from which one must infer that his pocket is very well lined indeed. He spoke to them in the way people discuss matters at meetings such as ours, for instance, and told then in the calmest tones how Europe should be restored. If ministers spoke to him with so much respect, it must mean that Vanderlip is in touch with the multimillionaires.[29]

Of the meeting with Vanderlip, Lenin indicated that it was based on a secret diplomacy that was being denied by the US Administration, while Vandrelip returned to the USA, like other capitalists such as Thompson, praising the Bolsheviks. Lenin continued:

. . . I expressed the hope that friendly relations between the two states would be a basis not only for the granting of a concession, but also for the normal development of reciprocal economic assistance. It all went off in that kind of vein. Then telegrams came telling what Vanderlip had said on arriving home from abroad. Vanderlip had compared Lenin with Washington and Lincoln. Vanderlip had asked for my autographed portrait. I had declined, because when you present a portrait you write, “To Comrade So-and-so,” and I could not write, “To Comrade Vanderlip.” Neither was it possible to write: “To the Vanderlip we are signing a concession with” because that concession agreement would be concluded by the Administration when it took office. I did not know what to write. It would have been illogical to give my photograph to an out-and-out imperialist. Yet these were the kind of telegrams that arrived; this affair has clearly played a certain part in imperialist politics. When the news of the Vanderlip concessions came out, Harding—the man who has been elected President, but who will take office only next March—issued an official denial, declaring that he knew nothing about it, had no dealings with the Bolsheviks, and had heard nothing about any concessions. That was during the elections, and, for all we know, to confess, during elections, that you have dealings with the Bolsheviks may cost you votes. That was why he issued an official denial. He had this report sent to all the newspapers that are hostile to the Bolsheviks and are on the pay roll of the imperialist parties . . .[30]

This mysterious Vanderlip was in fact Washington Vanderlip who had, according to Armand Hammer, come to Russia in 1919, although even Hammer does not seem to have known much of the matter.[31] Lenin’s rationalizations in trying to justify concessions to foreign capitalists to the “Moscow activists” in 1920 seem disingenuous and less than forthcoming. Washington Vanderlip was an engineer whose negotiations with Russia drew considerable attention in the USA. The New York Times wrote that Vanderlip, speaking from Russia, denied reports of Lenin’s speech to “Moscow activists” that the concessions would serve Bolshevik geopolitical interests, with Vanderlip declaring that he had established a common frontier between the USA and Russia and that trade relations must be immediately restored.[32] The New York Times reporting in 1922: “The exploration of Kamchatka for oil as soon as trade relations between this country and Russia are established was assured today when the Standard Oil Company of California purchased one-quarter of the stock in the Vanderlip syndicate.” This gave Standard Oil exclusive leases on any syndicate lands on which oil was found. The Vanderlip syndicate comprised sixty-four units. The Standard Oil Company has just purchased sixteen units. However, the Vanderlip concessions could not come into effect until Soviet Russia was recognized by the USA.[33]

The Vanderlip syndicate holds concessions for the exploitation of coal, oil, and timber lands, fisheries, etc., east of the 160th parallel in Kamchatka. The Russian Government granted the syndicate alternate sections of land there and will draw royalties amounting to approximately 5 percent on all products developed and marketed by the syndicate.[34]

It is little wonder then that US capitalists were eager to see the recognition of the Soviet regime.

Bolshevik Bankers

In 1922 Soviet Russia’s first international bank was created, Ruskombank, headed by Olof Aschberg of the Nye Banken, Stockholm, Sweden. The predominant capital represented in the bank was British. The foreign director of Ruskombank was Max May, vice president of the Guaranty Trust Company.[35] Similarly to “the Bolshevik of Wall Street,” William Boyce Thompson, Aschberg was known as the “Bolshevik banker” for his close involvement with banking interests that had channeled funds to the Bolsheviks.

Guaranty Trust Company became intimately involved with Soviet economic transactions. A Scotland Yard Intelligence Report stated as early as 1919 the connection between Guaranty Trust and Ludwig C. A. K. Martens, head of the Soviet Bureau in New York when the bureau was established that year.[36] When representatives of the Lusk Committee investigating Bolshevik activities in the USA raided the Soviet Bureau offices on May 7, 1919, files of communications with almost a thousand firms were found. Basil H. Thompson of Scotland Yard in a special report stated that despite denials, there was evidence in the seized files that the Soviet Bureau was being funded by Guaranty Trust Company.[37] The significance of the Guaranty Trust Company was that it was part of the J. P. Morgan economic empire, which Dr. Sutton shows in his study to have been a major player in economic relations with Soviet Russia from its early days. It was also J. P. Morgan interests that predominated in the formation of a consortium, the American International Corporation (AIC), which was another source eager to secure the recognition of the still embryonic Soviet state. Interests represented in the directorship of the American International Corporation (AIC) included: National City Bank; General Electric; Du Pont; Kuhn, Loeb and Co.; Rockefeller; Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Ingersoll-Rand; Hanover National Bank, etc.[38]

The AIC’s representative in Russia at the time of the revolutionary tumult was its executive secretary William Franklin Sands, who was asked by US Secretary of State Robert Lansing for a report on the situation and what the US response should be. Sands’ attitude toward the Bolsheviks was, like that of Thompson, enthusiastic. Sands wrote a memorandum to Lansing in January 1918, at a time when the Bolshevik hold was still far from sure, that there had already been too much of a delay by the USA in recognizing the Bolshevik regime such as it existed. The USA had to make up for “lost time,” and like Thompson, Sands considered the Bolshevik Revolution to be analogous to the American Revolution.[39] In July 1918 Sands wrote to US Treasury Secretary McAdoo that a commission should be established by private interests with government backing, to provide “economic assistance to Russia.”[40]

Armand Hammer

One of those closely associated with Ludwig Martens and the Soviet Bureau was Dr. Julius Hammer, an emigrant from Russia who was a founder of the Communist Party USA. There is evidence that Julius Hammer was the host to Leon Trotsky when the latter with his family arrived in New York in 1917, and that it was Dr. Hammer’s chauffeured car that provided transport to Natalia and the Trotsky children. The Trotskys were met on disembarkation at the New York dock by Arthur Concors, a director of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, whose advisory board included Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Co.[41] Dr. Hammer was the “primary owner of Allied Drug and Chemical Co.,” and “one of those not so rare creatures, a radical Marxist turned wealthy entrepreneur,” who lived an opulent lifestyle, according to Professor Spence.[42] Another financier linked to Trotsky was his own uncle, banker Abram Zhivotovskii, who was associated with numerous financial interests including those of Olof Aschberg.[43]

The intimate association of the Hammer family with Soviet Russia was to be maintained from start to finish, with an interlude of withdrawal during the Stalinist period. Julius’ son Armand, chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, was the first foreigner to obtain commercial concessions from the Soviet Government. Armand was in Russia in 1921 to arrange for the reintroduction of capitalism according to the new economic course set by Lenin, the New Economic Policy. Lenin stated to Hammer that the economies of Russia and the USA were complementary, and in exchange for the exploitation of Russia’s raw materials he hoped for America’s technology.[44] This was precisely the attitude of significant business interests in the West. Lenin stated to Hammer that it was hoped the New Economic Policy would accelerate the economic process “by a system of industrial and commercial concessions to foreigners. It will give great opportunities to the United States.”[45]

Hammer met Trotsky, who asked him whether “financial circles” in the USA regard Russia as a desirable field of investment? Trotsky continued:

Inasmuch as Russia had its Revolution, capital was really safer there than anywhere else because, “whatever should happen abroad, the Soviet would adhere to any agreements it might make. Suppose one of your Americans invest money in Russia. When the Revolution comes to America, his property will of course be nationalized, but his agreement with us will hold good and he will thus be in a much more favorable position than the rest of his fellow capitalists.[46]

The manner by which Russia fundamentally changed direction, resulting eventually in the Cold War when Stalin refused to continue the wartime alliance for the purposes of establishing a World State via the United Nations Organization, traces its origins back to the divergence of opinion, among many other issues, between Trotsky and Stalin in regard to the role of foreign investment in the Soviet Union.[47] The CFR report had been prescient in warning big business to get into Russia immediately lest the situation changed radically.

Regimented Labor

But for the moment, with Trotsky entrenched as the warlord of Bolshevism, and Lenin favorable towards international capital investment, events in Russia seemed to be promising. A further major factor in the enthusiasm certain capitalist interests had for the Bolsheviks was the regimentation of labor under the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat.” The workers’ state provided foreign capitalists with a controlled workforce. Trotsky had stated:

The militarization of labor is the indispensable basic method for the organization of our labor forces. . . . Is it true that compulsory labor is always unproductive? . . . This is the most wretched and miserable liberal prejudice: chattel slavery too was productive. . . . Compulsory slave labor was in its time a progressive phenomenon. Labor obligatory for the whole country, compulsory for every worker, is the basis of socialism. . . . Wages must not be viewed from the angle of securing the personal existence of the individual worker [but should] measure the conscientiousness, and efficiency of the work of every laborer.[48]

Hammer related of his experiences in the young Soviet state that although lengthy negotiations had to be undertaken with each of the trades unions involved in an enterprise, “the great power and influence of the trade unions was not without its advantages to the employer of labor in Russia. Once the employer had signed a collective agreement with the union branch there was little risk of strikes or similar trouble.”

Breaches of the codes as negotiated could result in dismissal, with recourse by the sacked worker to a labor court which, in Hammer’s experience, did not generally find in the worker’s favor, which would mean that there would be little chance of the sacked worker getting another job.[49]

However, Trotsky’s insane run in the Soviet Union was short-lived. As for Hammer, despite his greatly expanding and diverse businesses in the Soviet Union, after Stalin assumed power Hammer packed up and left, not returning until Stalin’s demise. Hammer opined decades later:

I never met Stalin—I never had any desire to do so—and I never had any dealings with him. However it was perfectly clear to me in 1930 that Stalin was not a man with whom you could do business. Stalin believed that the state was capable of running everything without the support of foreign concessionaires and private enterprise. That is the main reason I left Moscow. I could see that I would soon be unable to do business there and, since business was my sole reason to be there, my time was up.[50]

Foreign capital did nonetheless continue to do business with the USSR[51] as best as it was able, but the promising start that capitalists saw in the March and November revolutions for a new Russia that would replace the antiquated Czarist system with a modern economy from which they could reap the rewards was, as the 1923 CFR report warned, short-lived. Gorbachev and Yeltsin provided a brief interregnum of hope for foreign capital, to be disappointed again with the rise of Putin and a revival of nationalism and opposition to the oligarchs. The policy of continuing economic relations with the USSR even during the era of the Cold War was promoted as a strategy in the immediate aftermath of World War II when a CFR report by George S Franklin recommended attempting to work with the USSR as much as possible, “unless and until it becomes entirely evident that the U.S.S.R. is not interested in achieving cooperation . . .”

The United States must be powerful not only politically and economically, but also militarily. We cannot afford to dissipate our military strength unless Russia is willing concurrently to decrease hers. On this we lay great emphasis.

We must take every opportunity to work with the Soviets now, when their power is still far inferior to ours, and hope that we can establish our cooperation on a firmer basis for the not so distant future when they will have completed their reconstruction and greatly increased their strength. . . . The policy we advocate is one of firmness coupled with moderation and patience.[52]

Since Putin, the CFR again sees Russia as having taken a “wrong direction.” The current recommendation is for “selective cooperation” rather than “partnership, which is not now feasible.”[53]

The Revolutionary Nature of Capital

Should the fact that international capital viewed the March and even the November Revolutions with optimism be seen as an anomaly of history? Oswald Spengler was one of the first historians to expose the connections between capital and revolution. In The Decline of the West he called socialism “capitalistic” because it does not aim to replace money-based values, “but to possess them.” H. G. Wells, it will be recalled, said something similar. Spengler stated of socialism that it is “nothing but a trusty henchman of Big Capital, which knows perfectly well how to make use of it.” He elaborated in a footnote, seeing the connections going back to antiquity:

Herein lies the secret of why all radical (i.e. poor) parties necessarily become the tools of the money-powers, the Equites, the Bourse. Theoretically their enemy is capital, but practically they attack, not the Bourse, but Tradition on behalf of the Bourse. This is as true today as it was for the Gracchuan age, and in all countries . . .[54]

It was the Equites, the big-money party, which made Tiberius Gracchu’s popular movement possible at all; and as soon as that part of the reforms that was advantageous to themselves had been successfully legalized, they withdrew and the movement collapsed.[55]

From the Gracchuan Age to the Cromwellian and the French Revolutions, to Soros’ “color revolutions” of today, the Russian Revolutions were neither the first nor the last of political upheavals to serve the interests of Money Power in the name of “the people.”

 Notes

[1] K. R. Bolton, “March 1917: Wall Street & the March 1917 Russian Revolution,” Ab Aeterno, No. 2 (March 2010).

[2] Michael Pearson, The Sealed Train: Journey to Revolution: Lenin–1917 (London: Macmillan, 1975).

[3] Paul Warburg, prior to immigrating to the USA, had been decorated by the Kaiser in 1912.

[4] Col. William Wiseman, head of the British Secret Service, was the British equivalent to America’s key presidential adviser, Edward House, with whom he was in constant communication. Wiseman became a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. From London on May 1, 1918 Wiseman cabled House that the Allies should intervene at the invitation of the Bolsheviks and help organize the Bolshevik army then fighting the White Armies in a bloody Civil War at a time when the Bolshevik hold on Russia was doubtful (Edward M. House, ed. Charles Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Col. House [New York: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1926], Vol. III, p. 421).

[5] Olof Aschberg of the Nye Banken, Stockholm, the so-called “Bolshevik banker” who became head of the first Soviet international bank, Ruskombank, channeled funds to the Bolsheviks. On September 6, 1948 The London Evening Star commented on Aschberg’s visit to Swiss bankers that he had “advanced large sums to Lenin and Trotsky in 1917. At the time of the revolution Mr. Aschberg gave Trotsky money to form and equip the first unit of the Red Army.”

[6] Samuel Gompers, “Soviet Bribe fund Here Says Gompers, Has Proof That Offers Have Been Made, He Declares, Opposing Recognition. Propaganda Drive. Charges Strong Group of Bankers With Readiness to Accept Lenin’s Betrayal of Russia,” The New York Times, May 1, 1922. Online at Times’ archives: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E00E3D81739EF3ABC4953DFB3668389639EDE [3]

[7] Henry Wickham Steed, “Through Thirty Years 1892–1922 A personal narrative,” The Peace Conference, The Bullitt Mission, Vol. II.  (New York: Doubleday Page and Co., 1924), p. 301.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Charles Seymour, 165–66. House was assigned by Wilson to draw up the constitution for the League of Nations, and in 1918 formed a think tank at Wilson’s request, called The Inquiry, to advise on post-war policy, which became the Council on Foreign Relations. House was the US chief negotiator at the Peace Conference in Paris, 1919–1920.

[12] Henry Wickham Steed, “Peace with Honor,” Paris Daily Mail, 28 March 1922; quoted in Steed (1924).

[13] Crane was a member of a 1917 Special Diplomatic Mission to Russia, and a member of the American Section of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

[14] H. W. Steed, 1924, op. cit.

[15] Antony Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p. 71.

[16] Ibid., p. 75.

[17] Ibid., p. 73.

[18] William Harlan Hale, “When the Red Storm Broke,” America and Russia: A Century and a Half of Dramatic Encounters, ed. Oliver Jensen (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), p. 150.

[19] Ibid., p.151.

[20] “Gives Bolsheviki a Million,” Washington Post, 2 February 1918, cited by Sutton, ibid., pp. 82–83.

[21] A. Sutton, op.cit., p. 8.

[22] W. Harlan Hale, op.cit., p. 151.

[23] Trotsky while still in the USA had made similar claims. “People War Weary. But Leo Trotsky Says They Do Not Want Separate Peace,” New York Times, March 16, 1917. This was why he became the focus of British intelligence efforts via R. H. Bruce Lockhart, special agent to the British War Cabinet in Russia.

[24] “Bolsheviki Will Not Make Separate Peace: Only Those Who Made Up Privileged Classes Under Czar Would Do So, Says Col. W. B. Thompson, Just Back From Red Cross Mission,” New York Times, January 27, 1918.

[25] Robert S. Rifkind, ‘”The Wasted Mission,” America and Russia, op. cit., p. 180.

[26] Peter Grose, Continuing The Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996 (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006). The entire book can be read online at: Council on Foreign Relations: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html [4] (Accessed on February 27, 2010).

[27] Ibid. Chapter: “Basic Assumptions.”

[28] H. G. Wells, Russia in the Shadows, Chapter VII, “The Envoy.” Wells went to Russia in September 1920 at the invitation of Kamenev, of the Russian Trade Delegation in London, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik regime. Russia in the Shadows appeared as a series of articles in The Sunday Express. The whole book can be read online at: gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602371h.html [5]

[29] V. I. Lenin, December 6, 1920, Collected Works, 4th English Edition (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1965), Volume 31, 438–59 http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/06.htm [6] (Accessed on August 4, 2010).

[30] Ibid.

[31] A. Hammer, Witness to History (Reading, England: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988), pp.151-152.

[32] “Vanderlip’s Empire,” The New York Times, December 1, 1920, 14.

[33] “Standard Oil Joins Vanderlip Project,” The New York Times, January 11, 1922, p. 1.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Antony Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974), pp. 62–63.

[36] “Scotland Yard Intelligence Report,” London 1919, US State Dept. Decimal File, 316-22-656, cited by A. Sutton, ibid., p. 113.

[37] Basil H. Thompson, British Home Office Directorate of Intelligence, “Special Report No. 5 (Secret),” Scotland Yard, London, July 14, 1919; cited by Sutton, ibid., p. 115.

[38] A Sutton, op.cit., pp. 130–31.

[39] Sands’ memorandum to Lansing, p. 9; cited by Sutton, ibid., pp. 132, 134.

[40] A. Sutton, ibid., p. 135.

[41] Richard B Spence, “Hidden Agendas: Spies, Lies and Intrigue Surrounding Trotsky’s American Visit, January-April 1917,” Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 21, #1 (2008).

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44]  A. Hammer, Witness to History, op. cit., p. 143.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid., p. 160.

[47] K. R. Bolton, “Origins of the Cold War: How Stalin Foiled a New World Order,” Foreign Policy Journal, May 31, 2010, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/31/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/all/1 [7]

[48] Leon Trotsky, Third All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions, April 6th, 1920. http://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/05.htm [8] (Accessed on August 4, 2010).

[49] A. Hammer, op. cit., p. 217.

[50] Ibid., p. 221.

[51] Charles Levinson, Vodka-Cola (West Sussex: Biblias, 1980). Antony Sutton, National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union (New York: Arlington House, 1973).

[52] Peter Grose, op. it., “The First Transformation,” http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/first_transformation.html [9]

[53] Jack Kemp, et al., Russia’s Wrong Direction: What the United States Can and Should do, Independent Task Force Report, no. 57 (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006) xi. The entire publication can be downloaded at: http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/ [10]

[54] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1971), Vol. 2,  p. 464.

[55] Ibid., p. 402.

Source: Ab Aeterno, no. 5, Fall 2010

 


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[6] http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/06.htm: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/06.htm

[7] http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/31/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/all/1: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/31/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/all/1

[8] http://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/05.htm: http://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/05.htm

[9] http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/first_transformation.html: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/first_transformation.html

[10] http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/: http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/

jeudi, 29 août 2013

GERMANIA E RUSSIA NELLA GUERRA FREDDA

ostpol2.jpg

GERMANIA E RUSSIA NELLA GUERRA FREDDA

Marco ZENONI

Ex: http://www.eurasia-rivista.org

L’anteguerra

A riavvicinare Germania e Unione Sovietica, dopo l’allontanamento successivo all’ingresso della Germania nella Società delle Nazioni (SdN), fu soprattutto la questione polacca. Polonia e Germania, quest’ultima mai accontentatasi del riposizionamento geografico voluto a Versailles e – in particolare – della creazione ex tunc della città libera di Danzica, firmarono un patto di non aggressione nel 1934, garantendosi la reciproca neutralità nei 10 anni a venire. La Polonia, naturalmente, era conscia delle mire del terzo Reich e per questo tentò sempre l’avvicinamento a Francia e Inghilterra, in cerca di una strozzatura geopolitica nei confronti dei tedeschi. Peraltro, l’ostilità dei polacchi nei confronti del vicino sovietico, fece sì che nessun accordo militare venisse stretto con i sovietici e che, anzi, la Polonia si allontanasse allo stesso modo sia dal vicino orientale che da quello occidentale, rifiutando una modifica allo status quo e dunque ponendo le basi per l’imminente guerra, che poi diverrà mondiale. Tale posizione, dovuta sì ad alcune particolarità storiche e culturali ma, soprattutto, dall’influenza degli alleati anglosassoni e, in particolare, quella statunitense. Le potenze talassocratiche, infatti, non avevano che da trarre vantaggio da un’eventuale guerra che, chiaramente, non fosse mondiale nelle intenzioni iniziali, ma spingesse le frizioni fino ad uno scontro tra Germania e Unione Sovietica. L’intento primario era infatti quello di spingere le due potenze continentali ad affrontarsi. Per Stalin, tuttavia, questa rimaneva un’ipotesi da scacciare, o quanto meno ritardare il più possibile[1]. Furono queste le condizioni geopolitiche che portarono al patto Molotov-Ribbentrop. Una mutua assicurazione dunque, utile a Stalin per prendere tempo e alla Germania per assicurarsi da eventuali colpi di mano. Tale patto, seppur evidentemente siglato solo in funzione tattica, mise in allarme l’Inghilterra, la quale intervenne, interferendo in entrambi i trattati (polacco-tedesco e tedesco-sovietico), attraverso l’Accordo di reciproco aiuto, siglato con la Polonia – in palese infrazione di quello siglato fra Polonia e Germania, ma anche del Patto Molotov-Ribbentrop. L’intento dell’Inghilterra era quella di costruire una frattura geografica fra le due potenze eurasiatiche, in modo da impedirne l’avvicinamento e in particolar modo di impedire eventuali intese fra i polacchi e il terzo reich. Lo stesso Stalin, difatti, almeno inizialmente, attribuì le colpe della guerra completamente ad Inghilterra e Francia, e non alla Germania[2].


Oltre al noto patto, tuttavia, Germania e Unione Sovietica si legarono anche dal punto di vista commerciale, attraverso un accordo firmato l’11 febbraio 1940. Si arrivò tuttavia alla guerra, una guerra fratricida sulle terre eurasiatiche, che contrappose frontalmente le due potenze continentali. A seguito della guerra, che costò ai sovietici oltre 22 milioni di morti, la frattura fra i due paesi pareva insanabile. L’Armata Rossa marciò fino a Berlino, con spirito vendicativo. I tedeschi venivano visti come un invasore, da schiacciare senza pietà.

Il Dopoguerra

 

ostpolitik.jpgGli animi si placarono,  lasciando spazio al pragmatismo e al calcolo geopolitico. Nel 1945, a Jalta, avvenne la definitiva spartizione della Germania, contrapponendo di fatto da una parte gli alleati (Stati Uniti, Francia e Inghilterra) e dall’altra i sovietici. Il 1948 fu l’anno del piano Marshall, un piano economico presentato come l’inevitabile aiuto dall’oltreoceano per il risanamento delle economie europee, in realtà un mezzo economico indispensabile per il rafforzamento dell’economia statunitense ma, soprattutto, un importante collante per la formazione dell’alleanza occidentale, legata prima economicamente e poi militarmente (e politicamente) attraverso la struttura della NATO.


La divisione della Germania fu ultimata nel 1952, quando la frontiera fu definitivamente chiusa. Da quel momento l’avvicinamento della Germania dell’Ovest al sistema d’alleanze occidentale proseguì spedita. Eppure dei tentativi in funzione di una Germania unita furono mossi. Nel 1952 fu infatti Stalin stesso a proporre l’idea di una Germania unificata, a prezzo però di una sovranità limitata in politica estera: una neutralità imposta e irreversibile. Nei piani di Stalin questo avrebbe permesso la formazione di un cuscino neutrale nel cuore dell’Europa, il che avrebbe per altro sottratto la Germania dalle maglie dell’alleanza atlantica, che ne avrebbe fatto un bastione antisovietico nel cuore dell’Europa, a ridosso dell’oriente, cosa che infatti puntualmente si verificò. Il piano di Stalin fu rigettato, gli alleati occidentali dimostrarono ben presto di avere scarso interesse per una Germania unificata, non al prezzo di una neutralità che avrebbe sottratto un’importante pedina, difensiva, ma all’occorrenza anche offensiva, direttamente puntata ad Oriente, e situata nel cuore dell’Europa continentale. Per la Germania, vittima della frattura insanabile fra Est e Ovest, non poté che profilarsi la sola soluzione della divisione politica e geografica. Due Stati, dunque, per un’unica nazione. Nel 1961 tale divisione fu rimarcata attraverso la costruzione del muro, simbolo della contrapposizione frontale fra i due schieramenti.


Il primo cancelliere della Repubblica Federale Tedesca fu Konrad Adenauer, un fervente anticomunista, che tuttavia fu invitato già nel 1955 a Mosca, a seguito degli accordi di Parigi, che riconoscevano la sovranità della RFT e ufficializzavano il riconoscimento da parte Sovietica della Repubblica Federale. Adenauer fu un grande sostenitore dell’alleanza atlantica e tra gli animatori più vivaci (assieme all’omologo italiano, Alcide de Gasperi) della costituzione della Comunità Europea, tale di nome, ma meramente occidentale di fatto. Nel 1950 era infatti già stata pronunciata la cosiddetta “dichiarazione Schuman”, che prese nome dall’allora ministro degli esteri francese, Robert Schuman, e che proponeva di mettere da parte l’astio che correva fra i due vicini, ponendo le basi per una collaborazione che fosse prima economica, tramite la comune gestione delle risorse del carbone e dell’acciaio, e successivamente anche politica. Furono questi i primi passi che condussero la Germania nell’alleanza occidentale, senza alcun tipo di ripensamenti. Allo stesso Adenauer risale oltretutto la teoria dell’ “Alleinvertretungsanspruch” ovvero al diritto esclusivo della Repubblica Federale Tedesca di parlare a nome dei tedeschi. Per il cancelliere, infatti, la Germania Est altro non era che una zona d’occupazione sovietica e, in quanto tale, non meritava né il riconoscimento, né tanto meno di parlare a nome dei tedeschi. A tale posizione si aggiunse per altro la “dottrina Hallstein”, fatta propria dal cancelliere, la quale prevedeva che ogni apertura di paesi terzi alla Repubblica Democratica Tedesca, il che ne implicava il riconoscimento, era un torto alla Repubblica Federale e come tale non sarebbe stato tollerato. La parola fu mantenuta, tanto che ben presto furono tagliati i rapporti con la Jugoslavia e con Cuba.


L’aggressività occidentale, che non portò alcun risultato né al fine di attenuare gli animi, né a quello dell’unificazione tedesca, maturò in Willy Brandt, il lungimirante cancelliere che succedette ad Adenauer, la convinzione che il muro (metaforico, ma anche fisico) opposto dall’oriente fosse una reazione all’eccessiva aggressività occidentale. Con l’ascesa al cancellierato di Brandt i rapporti tra la Germania Federale e l’Unione Sovietica presero finalmente un’altra piega, giungendo ad una distensione che (escludendo naturalmente la DDR), non si aveva dall’anteguerra. “Il nostro interesse nazionale non ci consente di stare in mezzo fra est e ovest. Il nostro paese ha bisogno della collaborazione con l’occidente e dell’intesa con l’oriente”[3], da queste poche parole, pronunciate da Brandt stesso, si deducono quelli che poi furono i punti cardine dell’Ostpolitik. Non una vera e propria apertura verso l’oriente, ma una distensione, un’intesa al fine di raggiungere, per tappe, alcuni obbiettivi programmatici. Una politica sovranista che potrebbe in qualche modo essere paragonata (e forse ne fu influenzata) a quella gollista. La politica di apertura verso l’oriente, tuttavia, procedette solo dopo aver ribadito il pieno inserimento della repubblica federale all’interno del sistema occidentale, della NATO e della piena amicizia e intesa con la Francia, già consolidata da anni dalla struttura della CECA e, dopo gli accordi di Roma del ’57, dalla Comunità Economica Europea. Per quanto riguarda l’oriente, di fatto, quella che si avanzava era una proposta di dialogo: si chiese all’Unione Sovietica di rinunciare al diritto dell’intervento, in precedenza ribadito dai sovietici, e in cambio si riconosceva lo status quo venutosi a formare dopo la guerra oltre il muro. In particolare il riferimento era alla Polonia, con cui in quegli anni, sempre in linea con la ostpolitik, fu concordato un trattato bilaterale che assicurò l’accettazione da parte tedesca dei confini occidentali della Polonia. Vi fu inoltre, per la prima volta, il riconoscimento dell’esistenza di due Germanie. Il tutto venne siglato con l’accordo germano-sovietico del 1970, firmato a Mosca da Brandt e Kossyghin, indispettendo inevitabilmente gli Stati Uniti, nonostante le rassicurazioni più volte ribadite e dimostrate. Con l’intento della distensione, al fine di costituire un ordine pacifico europeo, si arrivò dunque al congresso di Helsinki (1973-75), un processo diplomatico multilaterale, che portò ad un notevole avvicinamento, al prezzo di alcune pragmatiche rinunce da una parte e dall’altra. Priorità dell’Unione Sovietica era il riconoscimento delle frontiere post-1945, intento degli alleati occidentali era invece indebolire il patto di Varsavia attraverso lo strumento della causa dei “diritti umani”, un punto che la coalizione sovietica aveva sino ad allora visto come un’intollerabile ingerenza[4]. E’ attraverso Mosca (1970) ed Helsinki (1975) che, infine, la repubblica federale tedesca riconobbe la frontiera dell’Oder-Neisse. La RFT per altro rinunciò alla “Alleinvertretung” e, di conseguenza, all’intento politico dell’unione tedesca. Pur rinunciando, almeno nel breve termine, alla riunificazione dello Stato tedesco, Brandt non volle rinunciare all’unificazione della nazione. Per far ciò necessitava del consenso e della collaborazione della repubblica democratica e, dunque, dell’Unione Sovietica. Per questo motivo si potrebbe dire che la ostpolitik fu de facto ed inevitabilmente una “Russlandpolitik”[5]. Condizione posta dall’Unione Sovietica per la collaborazione, e la distensione, fu l’adesione della Germania al trattato di non proliferazione nucleare. Successivamente, la dirigenza sovietica dichiarò, tramite Leonid Brezhnev, la propria approvazione per la nuova politica estera condotta dalla RFT, questo nonostante effettivamente la DDR non venisse riconosciuta (nel 1970 erano 26 gli Stati che la riconoscevano), il che provocò qualche malumore a Berlino Est.


Fino a quel momento la dirigenza sovietica aveva preferito l’immobilismo nei confronti della Germania dell’Ovest, questo permetteva di tenere la Repubblica Federale Tedesca in uno stato di soggezione e d’inferiorità, attraverso una propaganda costante oltrecortina[6], distogliendo anche le attenzioni dai problemi e dalle contraddizioni interne. Tuttavia, alla Ostpolitik tedesca i sovietici fecero allora corrispondere una “Westpolitik”. Il cambiamento di rotta fu spinto dalla necessità che i paesi occidentali riconoscessero lo Status Quo ad oriente, in particolare il riconoscimento della nuova Polonia uscita dalla seconda guerra mondiale e modificata nei suoi confini occidentali. Essendo questi gli anni in cui la Cina andava rompendo con l’URSS, dopo aver elaborato la strumentale categoria di “socialimperialismo”, per avvicinarsi agli Stati Uniti, il riconoscimento delle frontiere occidentali era una pedina fondamentale per placare gli animi su tale fronte, potendosi concentrare con maggior equilibrio nelle questioni orientali. Moralmente inoltre il riconoscimento poteva essere sventolato come una vittoria, essendo state così imposte le conseguenze della guerra allo Stato che si era frontalmente contrapposto a quello sovietico.


Pur essendo il fine dell’Ostpolitik, da parte dei tedesco-occidentali, quello di distendere i due fronti, in modo da riequilibrare anche la situazione tedesca, e quello dei sovietici di indebolire geopoliticamente l’asse antisovietico, consci del peso politico ed economico della Germania (che nel frattempo andava crescendo in maniera sorprendente), Brandt mostrò un certo senso strategico nel suo riavvicinamento all’Unione Sovietica, come dimostrò parlando alla Radio, a Mosca, il 12 agosto del 1970: “La Russia è indissolubilmente legata alla storia europea, non solo come avversario o come pericolo, ma anche come partner, storicamente, politicamente, culturalmente ed economicamente”[7]. Si può dunque dire che dopo la dottrina Adenauer-Hallstein, venne a prevalere la “dottrina Brandt”: promuovere il cambiamento attraverso l’avvicinamento[8]. Bisogna tuttavia aggiungere che nella sua politica fu probabilmente anche condizionato da Günter Guillaume, quello che in breve divenne uno dei suoi uomini più fedeli, secondo alcuni il “braccio destro” , ma che presto si rivelò una spia della Stasi, inviato con non ben precisati compiti da Markus Johannes Wolf , il quale, tuttavia, dichiarò in un’intervista successiva che l’intento non era quello di gettare in disgrazia il cancelliere[9] (quest’ultimo dovette infatti dare le dimissioni, in seguito all’”affare Guillaume”. Una vicenda tutt’oggi poco chiara e su cui poca luce è stata fatta.

Conclusioni

L’ostpolitik fu una politica realista, fu un calcolo pragmatico che prese le mosse dall’accettazione dello status quo, condizione preliminare, conditio sine qua non per distendere i rapporti con l’Est. Questa politica guardava ai vertici, alle dirigenze, indipendentemente dalle possibilità sovversive di determinati movimenti filoccidentali. A testimoniarlo vi è il rifiuto della Repubblica Federale di aderire alle sanzioni mosse dagli Stati Uniti contro la Polonia, per la repressione dei movimenti “rivoluzionari”, i quali godevano in gran parte della simpatia e delle potenze occidentali. Tale fase politica inoltre, come ampiamente previsto dai suoi promotori, permise alla Germania di ritagliarsi un proprio spazio politico, restituendole il peso geopolitico ed economico adeguato, per la preoccupazione e il sospetto degli alleati occidentali.


A conti fatti, pur non ottenendo grandi cambiamenti in ambito geopolitico, l’ostpolitik fu il momento di massima distensione tra la Germania e l’Unione Sovietica, sin dalla rottura in seguito all’Operazione Barbarossa. Un avvicinamento che, seppur apparentemente sotto controllo, mise in allarme alcuni settori, in particolare delle due potenze talassocratiche. D’altronde queste interferirono nei rapporti tedesco-sovietici anche nel primo dopoguerra e nel 1939. A dimostrazione che un’alleanza fra le due potenze continentali, l’unione fra due forze economiche e politiche, non fu e tutt’ora non è ben vista dalle potenze egemoni.

Marco Zenoni è laureando in Relazioni Internazionali all’Università di Perugia


[1] http://www.eurasia-rivista.org/dietro-le-quinte-della-guerra-tra-la-germania-e-la-polonia/1015/ [1]
[2] http://www.eurasia-rivista.org/il-patto-di-non-aggressione-tedesco-sovietico/1645/ [2]
[3] cfr. “Affari esteri”, n. 5 – 1970. P. 130
[4] Cfr. Eurasia, n.2 – 2011
[5] Ibidem
[6] Ibidem.
[7] Cfr. “Affari esteri”, n.8 – 1970. P. 11
[8] Cfr. “Affari Esteri”, n.8 – 1970.
[9] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1533707/Markus-Wolf.html [3]

samedi, 30 mars 2013

Stalin’s Fight Against International Communism

Stalin’s Fight Against International Communism

By Kerry Bolton stalin-the-enduring-legacy

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Editor’s Note:

This is the first chapter of Kerry Bolton’s new book Stalin: The Enduring Legacy [2] (London: Black House Publishing, 2012). The chapter is being reprinted as formatted in the book. Counter-Currents will also run a review of the book, which I highly recommend. 

The notion that Stalin ‘fought communism’ at a glance seems bizarre. However, the contention is neither unique nor new. Early last century the seminal German conservative philosopher-historian Oswald Spengler stated that Communism in Russia would metamorphose into something distinctly Russian which would be quite different from the alien Marxist dogma that had been imposed upon it from outside. Spengler saw Russia as both a danger to Western Civilisation as the leader of a ‘coloured world-revolution’, and conversely as a potential ally of a revived Germany against the plutocracies. Spengler stated of Russia’s potential rejection of Marxism as an alien imposition from the decaying West that,

Race, language, popular customs, religion, in their present form… all or any of them can and will be fundamentally transformed. What we see today then is simply the new kind of life which a vast land has conceived and will presently bring forth. It is not definable in words, nor is its bearer aware of it. Those who attempt to define, establish, lay down a program, are confusing life with a phrase, as does the ruling Bolshevism, which is not sufficiently conscious of its own West-European, Rationalistic and cosmopolitan origin.[1]

Even as he wrote, Bolshevism in the USSR was being fundamentally transformed in the ways Spengler foresaw. The ‘rationalistic’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ origins of Bolshevism were soon being openly repudiated, and a new course was defined by Zhdanov and other Soviet eminences.

Contemporary with Spengler in Weimer Germany, there arose among the ‘Right’ the ‘National Bolshevik’ faction one of whose primary demands was that Germany align with the Soviet Union against the Western plutocracies. From the Soviet side, possibilities of an alliance with the ‘Right’ were far from discounted and high level Soviet sources cultivated contacts with the pro-Russian factions of the German Right including the National Bolsheviks.[2]

German-Soviet friendship societies included many conservatives. In Arbeitsgemeinschaft zum Studium der Sowjetrussichen Planwirtschaft (Arplan)[3] Conservative-Revolutionaries and National Bolsheviks comprised a third of the membership. Bund Geistige Berufe (BGB)[4] was founded in 1931 and was of particular interest to Soviet Russia, according to Soviet documents, which aimed ‘to attract into the orbit of our influence a range of highly placed intellectuals of rightist orientation’.[5]

The profound changes caused Konstantin Rodzaevsky, leader of the Russian Fascist Union among the White Russian émigrés at Harbin, to soberly reassess the USSR and in 1945 he wrote to Stalin:

Not all at once, but step by step we came to this conclusion. We decided that: Stalinism is exactly what we mistakenly called ‘Russian Fascism’. It is our Russian Fascism cleansed of extremes, illusions, and errors.[6]

In the aftermath of World War II many German war veterans, despite the devastating conflagration between Germany and the USSR, and the rampage of the Red Army across Germany with Allied contrivance, were vociferous opponents of any German alliance with the USA against the USSR. Major General Otto E Remer and the Socialist Reich Party were in the forefront of advocating a ‘neutralist’ line for Germany during the ‘Cold War’, while one of their political advisers, the American Spenglerian philosopher Francis Parker Yockey, saw Russian occupation as less culturally debilitating than the ‘spiritual syphilis’ of Hollywood and New York, and recommended the collaboration of European rightists and neo-Fascists with the USSR against the USA.[7] Others of the American Right, such as the Yockeyan and Spenglerian influenced newspaper Common Sense, saw the USSR from the time of Stalin as the primary power in confronting Marxism, and they regarded New York as the real ‘capitol’ of Marxism.[8]

What might be regarded by many as an ‘eccentric’ element from the Right were not alone in seeing that the USSR had undergone a revolutionary transformation. Many of the Left regarded Stalin’s Russia as a travesty of Marxism. The most well-known and vehement was of course Leon Trotsky who condemned Stalin for having ‘betrayed the revolution’ and for reversing doctrinaire Marxism. On the other hand, the USA for decades supported Marxists, and especially Trotskyites, in trying to subvert the USSR during the Cold War. The USA, as the columnists at Common Sense continually insisted, was promoting Marxism, while Stalin was fighting it. This dichotomy between Russian National Bolshevism and US sponsored international Marxism was to having lasting consequences for the post-war world up to the present.

Stalin Purges Marxism

The Moscow Trials purging Trotskyites and other veteran Bolsheviks were merely the most obvious manifestations of Stalin’s struggle against alien Marxism. While much has been written condemning the trials as a modern day version of the Salem witch trials, and while the Soviet methods were often less than judicious the basic allegations against the Trotskyites et al were justified. The trials moreover, were open to the public, including western press, diplomats and jurists. There can be no serious doubt that Trotskyites in alliance with other old Bolsheviks such as Zinoviev and Kameneff were complicit in attempting to overthrow the Soviet state under Stalin. That was after all, the raison d’etre of Trotsky et al, and Trotsky’s hubris could not conceal his aims.[9]

The purging of these anti-Stalinist co-conspirators was only a part of the Stalinist fight against the Old Bolsheviks. Stalin’s relations with Lenin had not been cordial, Lenin accusing him of acting like a ‘Great Russian chauvinist’.[10] Indeed, the ‘Great Russians’ were heralded as the well-spring of Stalin’s Russia, and were elevated to master-race like status during and after the ‘Great Patriotic War’ against Germany. Lenin, near death, regarded Stalin’s demeanour as ‘offensive’, and as not showing automatic obedience. Lenin wished for Stalin to be removed as Bolshevik Party General Secretary.[11]

Dissolving the Comintern

The most symbolic acts of Stalin against International Communism were the elimination of the Association of Old Bolsheviks, and the destruction of the Communist International (Comintern). The Comintern, or Third International, was to be the basis of the world revolution, having been founded in 1919 in Moscow with 52 delegates from 25 countries.[12] Zinoviev headed the Comintern’s Executive Committee.[13] He was replaced by Bukharin in 1926.[14] Both Zinonviev and Bukharin were among the many ‘Old Bolsheviks’ eliminated by Stalin.

Stalin regarded the Comintern with animosity. It seemed to function more as an enemy agency than as a tool of Stalin, or at least that is how Stalin perceived the organisation. Robert Service states that Dimitrov, the head of the Comintern at the time of its dissolution, was accustomed to Stalin’s accusations against it. In 1937 Stalin had barked at him that ‘all of you in Comintern are hand in glove with the enemy’.[15] Dimitrov must have wondered how long he had to live.[16]

Instead of the Communist parties serving as agents of the world revolution, in typically Marxist manner, and the purpose for founding the Comintern, the Communist parties outside Russia were expected to be nationally oriented. In 1941 Stalin stated of this:

The International was created in Marx’s time in the expectation of an approaching international revolution. Comintern was created in Lenin’s time at an analogous moment. Today, national tasks emerge for each country as a supreme priority. Do not hold on tight to what was yesterday.[17]

This was a flagrant repudiation of Marxist orthodoxy, and places Stalinism within the context of National Bolshevism.

The German offensive postponed Stalin’s plans for the elimination of the Comintern, and those operatives who had survived the ‘Great Purge’ were ordered to Ufa, South of the Urals. Dimitrov was sent to Kuibyshev on the Volga. After the Battle of Stalingrad, Stalin returned to the issue of the Comintern, and told Dimitrov on 8 May 1943 to wind up the organisation. Dimitrov was transferred to the International Department of the Bolshevik Party Central Committee.[18] Robert Service suggests that this could have allayed fears among the Allies that Stalin would pursue world revolution in the post-war world. However, Stalin’s suspicion of the Comintern and the liquidation of many of its important operatives indicate fundamental belligerence between the two. In place of proletarian international solidarity, Stalin established an All-Slavic Committee[19] to promote Slavic folkish solidarity, although the inclusion of the Magyars[20] was problematic.

Stalin throughout his reign undertook a vigorous elimination of World Communist leaders. Stalin decimated communist refugees from fascism living in the USSR. While only 5 members of the Politburo of the German Communist Party had been killed under Hitler, in the USSR 7 were liquidated, and 41 out of 68 party leaders. The entire Central Committee of the Polish Communist Party in exile were liquidated, and an estimated 5000 party members were killed. The Polish Communist Party was formally dissolved in 1938. 700 Comintern headquarters staff were purged.[21]

Among the foreign Communist luminaries who were liquidated was Bela Kun, whose psychotic Communist regime in Hungary in 1919 lasted 133 days. Kun fled to the Soviet Union where he oversaw the killing of 50,000 soldiers and civilians attached to the White Army under Wrangle, who had surrendered after being promised amnesty. Kun was a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. A favourite of Lenin’s, this bloody lunatic served as a Comintern agent in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia during the 1920s. In 1938 he was brought before a tribunal and after a brief trial was executed the same day.[22]

Another action of great symbolism was Stalin’s moves against the ‘Old Bolsheviks’, the veterans of the 1917 Revolution. Leon Sedov, Leon Trotsky’s son, in his pamphlet on the Great Purge of the late 1930s, waxed indignant that Stalin ‘coldly orders the shooting of Bolsheviks, former leaders of the Party and the Comintern, and heroes of the Civil War’.[23] ‘The Association of Old Bolsheviks and that of the former political prisoners has been dissolved. They were too strong a reminder of the “cursed” revolutionary past’.[24]

In place of the Comintern the Cominform was established in 1947, for the purpose of instructing Communist parties to campaign against the Marshall Aid programme that was designed to bring war-ravished Europe under US hegemony. ‘European communism was to be redirected’ towards maintaining the gains of the Red Army during World War II. ‘Communist parties in Western Europe could stir up trouble’, against the USA. The Cominform was far removed from being a resurrection of the old Comintern. As to who was invited to the inaugural meeting held at a secluded village in Poland, ‘Stalin… refused a request from Mao Zedong, who obviously thought that the plan was to re-establish the Communist International’. The Spanish and Portuguese parties were not invited, nor were the British, or the Greek Communist Party, which was fighting a civil war against the royalists.[25]

The extent of the ‘fraternity’ between the USSR and the foreign Communists can be gauged from the delegates having not been given prior knowledge of the agenda, and being ‘treated like detainees on arrival’. While Soviet delegates Malenkov and Zhdanov kept in regular communication with Stalin, none of the other delegates were permitted communication with the outside world.[26]

Repudiation of Marxist Doctrine

The implementation of Marxism as a policy upon which to construct a State was of course worthless, and Stalin reversed the doctrinaire Marxism that he had inherited from the Lenin regime. Leon Sedov indignantly stated of this:

In the most diverse areas, the heritage of the October revolution is being liquidated. Revolutionary internationalism gives way to the cult of the fatherland in the strictest sense. And the fatherland means, above all, the authorities. Ranks, decorations and titles have been reintroduced. The officer caste headed by the marshals has been reestablished. The old communist workers are pushed into the background; the working class is divided into different layers; the bureaucracy bases itself on the ‘non-party Bolshevik’, the Stakhanovist, that is, the workers’ aristocracy, on the foreman and, above all, on the specialist and the administrator. The old petit-bourgeois family is being reestablished and idealized in the most middle-class way; despite the general protestations, abortions are prohibited, which, given the difficult material conditions and the primitive state of culture and hygiene, means the enslavement of women, that is, the return to pre-October times. The decree of the October revolution concerning new schools has been annulled. School has been reformed on the model of tsarist Russia: uniforms have been reintroduced for the students, not only to shackle their independence, but also to facilitate their surveillance outside of school. Students are evaluated according to their marks for behaviour, and these favour the docile, servile student, not the lively and independent schoolboy. The fundamental virtue of youth today is the ‘respect for one’s elders’, along with the ‘respect for the uniform’. A whole institute of inspectors has been created to look after the behaviour and morality of the youth.[27]

This is what Leon Sedov, and his father, Leon Trotsky, called the ‘Bonapartist character of Stalinism’.[28] And that is precisely what Stalin represents in history: the Napoleon of the Bolshevik Revolution who reversed the Marxian doctrinal excrescences in a manner analogous to that of Napoleon’s reversal of Jacobin fanaticism after the 1789 French Revolution. Underneath the hypocritical moral outrage about Stalinist ‘repression’, etc.,[29] a number of salient factors emerge regarding Stalin’s repudiation of Marxist-Leninist dogma:

  • The ‘fatherland’ or what was called again especially during World War II, ‘Holy Mother Russia’, replaced international class war and world revolution.
  • Hierarchy in the military and elsewhere was re-established openly rather than under a hypocritical façade of soviet democracy and equality.
  • A new technocratic elite was established, analogous to the principles of German ‘National Bolshevism’.
  • The traditional family, the destruction of which is one of the primary aims of Marxism generally[30] and Trotskyism specifically,[31] was re-established.
  • Abortion, the liberalisation of which was heralded as a great achievement in woman’s emancipation in the early days of Bolshevik Russia, was reversed.
  • A Czarist type discipline was reintroduced to the schools; Leon Sedov condemned this as shackling the free spirit of youth, as if there were any such freedom under the Leninist regime.
  • ‘Respect for elders’ was re-established, again anathema to the Marxists who seek the destruction of family life through the alienation of children from parents.[32]

What the Trotskyites and other Marxists object to was Stalin’s establishment the USSR as a powerful ‘nation-state’, and later as an imperial power, rather than as a citadel for world revolution. However, the Trotskyites, more than any other Marxist faction, allied themselves to American imperialism in their hatred of Stalinist Russia, and served as the most enthusiastic partisans of the Cold War.[33] Sedov continued:

Stalin not only bloodily breaks with Bolshevism, with all its traditions and its past, he is also trying to drag Bolshevism and the October revolution through the mud. And he is doing it in the interests of world and domestic reaction. The corpses of Zinoviev and Kamenev must show to the world bourgeoisie that Stalin has broken with the revolution, and must testify to his loyalty and ability to lead a nation-state. The corpses of the old Bolsheviks must prove to the world bourgeoisie that Stalin has in reality radically changed his politics, that the men who entered history as the leaders of revolutionary Bolshevism, the enemies of the bourgeoisie, – are his enemies also. Trotsky, whose name is inseparably linked with that of Lenin as the leader of the October revolution, Trotsky, the founder and leader of the Red Army; Zinoviev and Kamenev, the closest disciples of Lenin, one, president of the Comintern, the other, Lenin’s deputy and member of the Politburo; Smirnov, one of the oldest Bolsheviks, conqueror of Kolchak—today they are being shot and the bourgeoisie of the world must see in this the symbol of a new period. This is the end of the revolution, says Stalin. The world bourgeoisie can and must reckon with Stalin as a serious ally, as the head of a nation-state…. Stalin has abandoned long ago the course toward world revolution.[34]

As history shows, it was not Stalin to whom the ‘world bourgeoisie’ or more aptly, the world plutocracy, looked on as an ally, but leading Trotskyites whose hatred of Stalin and the USSR made them vociferous advocates of American foreign policy.

Family Life Restored

Leon Trotsky is particularly interesting in regard to what he saw as the ‘revolution betrayed’ in his condemnation of Stalinist policies on ‘youth, family, and culture’. Using the term ‘Thermidor’, taken from the French revolutionary era, in his description of Stalinism vis-à-vis the Bolshevik revolution, Trotsky began his critique on family, generational and gender relations. Chapter 7 of The Revolution Betrayed is worth reading in its entirety as an over-view of how Stalin reversed Marxism-Leninism. Whether that is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is, of course, left to the subjectivity of the reader.[35]

The primary raison d’etre of Marxism for Trotsky personally seems to have been the destruction of religion and of family (as it was for Marx).[36] Hence, the amount of attention Trotsky gives to lamenting the return to traditional family relations under Stalin:

The revolution made a heroic effort to destroy the so-called ‘family hearth’ – that archaic, stuffy and stagnant institution in which the woman of the toiling classes performs galley labor from childhood to death. The place of the family as a shut-in petty enterprise was to be occupied, according to the plans, by a finished system of social care and accommodation: maternity houses, creches, kindergartens, schools, social dining rooms, social laundries, first-aid stations, hospitals, sanatoria, athletic organizations, moving-picture theaters, etc. The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid, was to bring to woman, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fetters. Up to now this problem of problems has not been solved. The forty million Soviet families remain in their overwhelming majority nests of medievalism, female slavery and hysteria, daily humiliation of children, feminine and childish superstition. We must permit ourselves no illusions on this account. For that very reason, the consecutive changes in the approach to the problem of the family in the Soviet Union best of all characterize the actual nature of Soviet society and the evolution of its ruling stratum.[37]

Marxism, behind the façade of women’s emancipation, ridicules the traditional female role in the family as ‘galley labour’, but does so for the purpose of delivering women to the ‘galley labour’ of the Marxist state. The Marxist solution is to take the child from the parents and substitute parental authority for the State via childcare. As is apparent today, the Marxist ideal regarding the family and children is the same as that of big capitalism. It is typical of the manner by which Marxism, including Communism, converges with plutocracy, as Spengler pointed out soon after the 1917 Revolution in Russia.[38]

Trotsky states, ‘you cannot “abolish” the family; you have to replace it’. The aim was to replace the family with the state apparatus: ‘During the lean years, the workers wherever possible, and in part their families, ate in the factory and other social dining rooms, and this fact was officially regarded as a transition to a socialist form of life’. Trotsky decries the reversal by Stalin of this subversion of the family hearth: ‘The fact is that from the moment of the abolition of the food-card system in 1935, all the better placed workers began to return to the home dining table’. Women as mothers and wives were retuning to the home rather than being dragooned into factories, Trotsky getting increasingly vehement at these reversals of Marxism:

Back to the family hearth! But home cooking and the home washtub, which are now half shamefacedly celebrated by orators and journalists, mean the return of the workers’ wives to their pots and pans that is, to the old slavery.[39]

The original Bolshevik plan was for a new slavery where all would be bound to the factory floor regardless of gender, a now familiar aim of global capitalism, behind the façade of ‘equality’.  Trotsky lamented that the rural family was even stronger: ‘The rural family, bound up not only with home industry but with agriculture, is infinitely more stable and conservative than that of the town’. There had been major reversals in the collectivisation of the peasant families: they were again obtaining most of their food from private lots rather than collectivised farms, and ‘there can no longer be any talk of social dining rooms’. ‘Thus the midget farms, [were] creating a new basis for the domestic hearthstone…’[40]

The pioneering of abortion rights by the Leninist regime was celebrated as a great achievement of Bolshevism, which was, however, reversed by Stalin with the celebration instead of motherhood. In terms that are today conventional throughout the Western world, Trotsky stated that due to the economic burden of children upon women,

…It is just for this reason that the revolutionary power gave women the right to abortion, which in conditions of want and family distress, whatever may be said upon this subject by the eunuchs and old maids of both sexes, is one of her most important civil, political and cultural rights. However, this right of women too, gloomy enough in itself, is under the existing social inequality being converted into a privilege.[41]

The Old Bolsheviks demanded abortion as a means of ‘emancipating women’ from children and family. One can hardly account for the Bolshevik attitude by an appeal to anyone’s ‘rights’ (sic). The answer to the economic hardship of childbearing was surely to eliminate the causes of the hardship. In fact, this was the aim of the Stalinists, Trotsky citing this in condemnation:

One of the members of the highest Soviet court, Soltz, a specialist on matrimonial questions, bases the forthcoming prohibition of abortion on the fact that in a socialist society where there are no unemployed, etc., etc., a woman has no right to decline ‘the joys of motherhood’.[42]

On June 27 1936 a law was passed prohibiting abortion, which Trotsky called the natural and logical fruit of a ‘Thermidorian reaction’.[43] The redemption of the family and motherhood was damned perhaps more vehemently by Trotsky than any other aspect of Stalinism as a repudiation of the ‘ABCs of Communism’, which he stated includes ‘getting women out of the clutches of the family’.

Everybody and everything is dragged into the new course: lawgiver and litterateur, court and militia, newspaper and schoolroom. When a naive and honest communist youth makes bold to write in his paper: ‘You would do better to occupy yourself with solving the problem how woman can get out of the clutches of the family’, he receives in answer a couple of good smacks and – is silent. The ABCs of Communism are declared a ‘leftist excess’. The stupid and stale prejudices of uncultured philistines are resurrected in the name of a new morale. And what is happening in daily life in all the nooks and corners of this measureless country? The press reflects only in a faint degree the depth of the Thermidorian reaction in the sphere of the family.[44]

A ‘new’ or what we might better call traditional ‘morale’ had returned. Marriage and family were being revived in contrast to the laws of early Bolshevik rule:

The lyric, academical and other ‘friends of the Soviet Union’ have eyes in order to see nothing. The marriage and family laws established by the October revolution, once the object of its legitimate pride, are being made over and mutilated by vast borrowings from the law treasuries of the bourgeois countries. And as though on purpose to stamp treachery with ridicule, the same arguments which were earlier advanced in favor of unconditional freedom of divorce and abortion – ‘the liberation of women’, ‘defense of the rights of personality’, ‘protection of motherhood’ – are repeated now in favor of their limitation and complete prohibition.[45]

Trotsky proudly stated that the Bolsheviks had sought to alienate children from their parents, but under Stalin parents resumed their responsibilities as the guardians of their children’s welfare, rather than the role being allotted to factory crèches. It seems, that in this respect at least, Stalinist Russia was less a Marxian-Bolshevik state than the present day capitalist states which insist that mothers should leave their children to the upbringing of crèches while they are forced to work; and ironically those most vocal in demanding such polices are often regarded as ‘right-wing’.

Trotsky lauded the policy of the early Bolshevik state, to the point where the state withdrew support from parents

While the hope still lived of concentrating the education of the new generations in the hands of the state, the government was not only unconcerned about supporting the authority of the ‘elders’, and, in particular of the mother and father, but on the contrary tried its best to separate the children from the family, in order thus to protect them from the traditions of a stagnant mode of life.[46]

Trotsky portrayed the early Bolshevik experiments as the saving of children from ‘drunken fathers or religious mothers’; ‘a shaking of parental authority to its very foundations’.[47]

Stalinist Russia also reversed the original Bolshevik education policy that had been based on ‘progressive’ American concepts and returned authority to the schools. In speaking of the campaign against decadence in music,[48] Andrei Zhdanov, Stalin’s cultural adviser, recalled the original Bolshevik education policy, and disparaged it as ‘very leftish’:

At one time, you remember, elementary and secondary schools went in for the ‘laboratory brigade’ method and the ‘Dalton plan’,[49] which reduced the role of the teacher in the schools to a minimum and gave each pupil the right to set the theme of classwork at the beginning of each lesson. On arriving in the classroom, the teacher would ask the pupils ‘What shall we study today?’ The pupils would reply: ‘Tell us about the Arctic’, ‘Tell us about the Antarctic’, ‘Tell us about Chapayev’, ‘Tell us about Dneprostroi’. The teacher had to follow the lead of these demands. This was called the ‘laboratory brigade method’, but actually it amounted to turning the organisation of schooling completely topsy-turvy. The pupils became the directing force, and the teacher followed their lead. Once we had ‘loose-leaf textbooks’, and the five point system of marks was abandoned. All these things were novelties, but I ask you, did these novelties stand for progress?

The Party cancelled all these ‘novelties’, as you know. Why? Because these ‘novelties’, in form very ‘leftish’, were in actual fact extremely reactionary and made for the nullification of the school.[50]

One observer visiting the USSR explained:

Theories of education were numerous. Every kind of educational system and experiment was tried—the Dalton Plan, the Project Method, the Brigade Laboratory and the like. Examinations were abolished and then reinstated; though with a vital difference. Examinations in the Soviet Union serve as a test for scholarship, not as a door to educational privilege.[51]

In particular the amorality inherent in Marxism was reversed under Stalinism. Richard Overy sates of this process:

Changing attitudes to behaviour and social environment under Stalin went hand-in-hand with a changing attitude towards the family… Unlike family policy in the 1920s, which assumed the gradual breakdown of the conventional family unit as the state supplied education and social support of the young, and men and women sought more collective modes of daily life, social policy under Stalin reinstated the family as the central social unit, and proper parental care as the model environment for the new Soviet generation. Family policy was driven by two primary motives: to expand the birth rate and to provide a more stable social context in a period of rapid social change. Mothers were respected as heroic socialist models in their own right and motherhood was defined as a socialist duty. In 1944 medals were introduced for women who had answered the call: Motherhood medal, Second Class for five children, First Class for six; medals of Motherhood Glory in three classes for seven, eight or nine offspring, for ten or more, mothers were justly nominated Heroine Mother of the Soviet Union, and an average of 5,000 a year won this highest accolade, and a diploma from the Soviet President himself.[52]

No longer were husband and wife disparaged as the ‘drunken father’ and the ‘religious mother’, from whom the child must be ‘emancipated’ and placed under state jurisdiction, as Trotsky and the other Old Bolshevik reprobates attempted. Professor Overy states, rather, that ‘the ideal family was defined in socialist-realist terms as large, harmonious and hardworking’. ‘Free love and sexual licence’, the moral nihilism encouraged by Bolshevism during its early phase, was being described in Pravda in 1936 as ‘altogether bourgeois’.[53]

In 1934 traditional marriage was reintroduced, and wedding rings, banned since the 1920s, were again produced. The austere and depressing atmosphere of the old Bolshevik marriage ceremony was replaced with more festive and prolonged celebration. Divorce, which the Bolsheviks had made easy, causing thousands of men to leave their families, was discouraged by raising fees. Absentee fathers were obliged to pay half their earnings for the upkeep of their families. Homosexuality, decriminalised in 1922, was recriminalised in 1934. Abortion, legalised in 1920, was outlawed in 1936, with abortionists liable to imprisonment from one to three years, while women seeking termination could be fined up to 300 roubles.[54] The exception was that those with hereditary illnesses could apply for abortion.[55]

Kulturkampf

The antithesis between Marxist orthodoxy and Stalinism is nowhere better seen than in the attitudes towards the family, as related above, and culture.

Andrei Zhdanov, the primary theoretician on culture in Stalinist Russia, was an inveterate opponent of ‘formalism’ and modernism in the arts. ‘Socialist-realism’, as Soviet culture was termed from 1932,[56] was formulated that year by Maxim Gorky, head of the Union of Soviet Writers.[57] It was heroic, folkish and organic. The individual artist was the conveyor of the folk-soul, in contrast to the art of Western decline, dismissively described in the USSR as ‘bourgeoisie formalism’.[58]

The original Bolshevik vision of a mass democratic art, organised as ‘Proletkult’, which recruited thousands of workers to be trained as artists and writers, as one would train workers to operate a factory conveyor built, was replaced by the genius of the individual expressing the soul of the people. While in The West the extreme Left and its wealthy patrons championed various forms of modernism,[59] in the USSR they were marginalized at best, resulting in the suicide for example of the Russian ‘Constructivist’ Mayakovsky. The revitalisation of Russian-Soviet art received its primary impetus in 1946 with the launching of Zhdanovschina.[60]

The classical composers from the Czarist era, such as Tchaikovsky, Glinka sand Borodin, were revived, after being sidelined in the early years of Bolshevism in favour of modernism, as were great non-Russian composers such as Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert.[61] Maxim Gorky continued to be celebrated as ‘the founder of Soviet literature and he continued to visit the USSR, despite his having moved to Fascist Italy. He returned to Russia in 1933.[62] Modernists who had been fêted in the early days of Bolshevism, such as the playwright, Nikolai Erdman, were relegated to irrelevance by the 1930s.[63]

Jazz and the associated types of dancing were condemned as bourgeoisie degeneracy.[64]

Zhdanov’s speech to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) intended primarily to lay the foundations of Soviet music, represents one of the most cogent recent attempts to define culture. Other than some sparse references to Marx, Lenin and internationalism, the Zhdanov speech should rank alongside T S Eliot’s Notes Towards A Definition of Culture[65] as a seminal conservative statement on culture. The Zhandov speech also helped set the foundation for the campaign against ‘rootless cosmopolitanism’ that was launched several years later. Zhdandov’s premises for a Soviet music were based on the classical and the organic connexion with the folk, striving for excellence, and expressing lofty values, rejecting modernism as detached from folk and tradition.

And, indeed, we are faced with a very acute, although outwardly concealed struggle between two trends in Soviet music. One trend represents the healthy, progressive principle in Soviet music, based upon recognition of the tremendous role of the classical heritage, and, in particular, the traditions of the Russian musical school, on the combination of lofty idea content in music, its truthfulness and realism, with profound, organic ties with the people and their music and songs – all this combined with a high degree of professional mastery. The other trend is that of formalism, which is alien to Soviet art, and is marked by rejection of the classical heritage under the guise of seeming novelty, by rejection of popular music, by rejection of service to the people in preference for catering to the highly individualistic emotions of a small group of select aesthetes.[66]

While some in the Proletkult, founded in 1917 were of Futurist orientation, declaring like the poet Vladimir Kirillov, for example, that ‘In the name of our tomorrow, we will burn Raphael, we will destroy museums, we will trample the flowers of art’, the Proletkult organisation was abolished in 1932,[67] and Soviet culture was re-established on classical foundations. Khdanov was to stress the classical heritage combined with the Russian folk traditions, as the basis for Soviet culture in his address:

Let us examine the question of attitude towards the classical heritage, for instance. Swear as the above-mentioned composers may that they stand with both feet on the soil of the classical heritage, there is nothing to prove that the adherents of the formalistic school are perpetuating and developing the traditions of classical music. Any listener will tell you that the work of the Soviet composers of the formalistic trend is totally unlike classical music. Classical music is characterised by its truthfulness and realism, by the ability to attain to unity of brilliant artistic form with profound content, to combine great mastery with simplicity and comprehensibility. Classical music in general, and Russian classical music in particular, are strangers to formalism and crude naturalism. They are marked by lofty idea content, based upon recognition of the musical art of the peoples as the wellspring of classical music, by profound respect and love for the people, their music and songs.[68]

Zhdanov’s analysis of modernism in music and his definition of classic culture is eminently relevant for the present state of Western cultural degeneracy:

What a step back from the highroad of musical development our formalists make when, undermining the bulwarks of real music, they compose false and ugly music, permeated with idealistic emotions, alien to the wide masses of people, and catering not to the millions of Soviet people, but to the few, to a score or more of chosen ones, to the ‘elite’! How this differs from Glinka, Chaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Dargomyjsky and Mussorgsky, who regarded the ability to express the spirit and character of the people in their works as the foundation of their artistic growth. Neglect of the demands of the people, their spirit and art means that the formalistic trend in music is definitely anti-popular in character.[69]

Zhdanov addressed a tendency in Russia that has thrived in The West: that of the ever new and the ‘theoretical’ that is supposedly so profound as to be beyond the understanding of all but depraved, pretentious or commodity-driven artistic coteries in claiming that only future generations will widely understand these artistic vanguards. However, Stalinist Russia repudiated the nonsense; and exposed the emperor as having no clothes:

It is simply a terrible thing if the ‘theory’ that ‘we will be understood fifty or a hundred years hence’, that ‘our contemporaries may not understand us, but posterity will’ is current among a certain section of Soviet composers. If this altitude has become habitual, it is a very dangerous habit.[70]

For Zhdanov, and consequently for the USSR, the classics were a folkish manifestation arising from the soul of the Russian people, rather than being dismissed in Marxian manner as merely products of bourgeoisie culture. In fact, as indicated previously, it was modernism that was regarded as a manifestation of ‘bourgeois decadence’. Zhandov castigated the modernists as elitist, aloof, or better said, alienated from the folk. On the other hand the great Russian classicists, despite their class origins, were upheld as paragons of the Russian folk culture:

Remember how the classics felt about the needs of the people. We have begun to forget in what striking language the composers of the Big Five,[71] and the great music critic Stasov, who was affiliated with them, spoke of the popular element in music. We have begun to forget Glinka’s wonderful words about the ties between the people and artists: “Music is created by the people and we artists only arrange it.” We are forgetting that the great master did not stand aloof from any genres if these genres helped to bring music closer to the wide masses of people. You, on the other hand, hold aloof even from such a genre as the opera; you regard the opera as secondary, opposing it to instrumental symphony music, to say nothing of the fact that you look down on song, choral and concert music, considering it a disgrace to stoop to it and satisfy the demands of the people. Yet Mussorgsky adapted the music of the Hopak, while Glinka used the Komarinsky for one of his finest compositions. Evidently, we shall have to admit that the landlord Glinka, the official Serov and the aristocrat Stasov were more democratic than you. This is paradoxical, but it is a fact. Solemn vows that you are all for popular music are not enough. If you are, why do you make so little use of folk melodies in your musical works? Why are the defects, which were criticised long ago by Serov, when he said that ‘learned’, that is, professional, music was developing parallel with and independently of folk music, repeating themselves? Can we really say that our instrumental symphony music is developing in close interaction with folk music – be it song, concert or choral music? No, we cannot say that. On the contrary, a gulf has unquestionably arisen here as the result of the underestimation of folk music by our symphony composers. Let me remind you of how Serov defined his attitude to folk music. I am referring to his article The Music of South Russian Songs in which he said: ‘Folk songs, as musical organisms, are by no means the work of individual musical talents, but the productions of a whole nation; their entire structure distinguishes them from the artificial music written in conscious imitation of previous examples, written as the products of definite schools, science, routine and reflexes. They are flowers that grow naturally in a given locale, that have appeared in the world of themselves and sprung to full beauty without the least thought of authorship or composition, and consequently, with little resemblance to the hothouse products of learned compositional activity’. That is why the naivete of creation, and that (as Gogol aptly expressed it in Dead Souls) lofty wisdom of simplicity which is the main charm and main secret of every artistic work are most strikingly manifest in them.[72]

It is notable that Zhdanov emphasised the basis of culture as an organic flowering from the nation. Of painting Zhandov again attacked the psychotic ‘leftist’ influences:

Or take this example. An Academy of Fine Arts was organised not so long ago. Painting is your sister, one of the muses. At one time, as you know, bourgeois influences were very strong in painting. They cropped up time and again under the most ‘leftist’ flags, giving themselves such tags as futurism, cubism, modernism; ‘stagnant academism’ was ‘overthrown’, and novelty proclaimed. This novelty expressed itself in insane carryings on, as for instance, when a girl was depicted with one head on forty legs, with one eye turned towards us, and the other towards Arzamas. How did all this end? In the complete crash of the ‘new trend’. The Party fully restored the significance of the classical heritage of Repin, Briullov, Vereshchagin, Vasnetsov and Surikov. Did we do right in reinstating the treasures of classical painting, and routing the liquidators of painting?[73]

The extended discussion here on Russian culture under Stalin is due to the importance that the culture-war between the USSR and the USA took, having repercussions that were not only world-wide but lasting.

Notes

[1] Oswald Spengler, The Hour of Decision (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1963), 61.

[2] K R Bolton, ‘Jünger and National-Bolshevism’ in Jünger: Thoughts & Perspectives Vol. XI (London: Black Front Press, 2012).

[3] Association for the Study of the Planned Economy of Soviet Russia.

[4] League of Professional Intellectuals.

[5] K R Bolton, ‘Jünger and National-Bolshevism’, op. cit.

[6] Cited by John J Stephan, The Russian Fascists (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978), 338.

[7] K R Bolton, ‘Francis Parker Yockey: Stalin’s Fascist Advocate’, International Journal of Russian Studies, Issue No. 6, 2010, http://www.radtr.net/dergi/sayi6/bolton6.htm [3]

[8] K R Bolton, ‘Cold War Axis: Soviet Anti-Zionism and the American Right’’ see Appendix II below.

[9] See Chapter III: ‘The Moscow Trials in Historical Context’.

[10] R Service, Comrades: Communism: A World History (London: Pan MacMillan, 2008), 97.

[11] Ibid., 98.

[12] Ibid., 107.

[13] Ibid., 109.

[14] Ibid., 116.

[15] G Dimitrov, Dimitrov and Stalin 1934-1943: Letters from the Soviet Archives, 32, cited by R Service, ibid., 220.

[16] R Service, ibid., 220.

[17] G Dimitrov, op. cit., cited by Service, ibid., 221.

[18] R Service, ibid., 222.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Hungarians.

[21] Richard Overy, The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia (London: Allen Lane, 2004), 201.

[22] L I Shvetsova, et al. (eds.), Rasstrel’nye spiski: Moskva, 1937-1941: … Kniga pamiati zhertv politicheskii repressii. (‘The Execution List: Moscow, 1937-1941: … Book of Remembrances of the victims of Political Repression’), (Moscow: Memorial Society, Zven’ia Publishing House, 2000), 229.

[23] L Sedov, ‘Why did Stalin Need this Trial?’, The Red Book on the Moscow Trials, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/sedov/works/red/ch01.htm [4]

[24] . Ibid., ‘Domestic Political Reasons’.

[25] R Service, op. cit., 240-241.

[26] Ibid., 242.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Given that when Trotsky was empowered under Lenin he established or condoned the methods of jurisprudence, concentration camps, forced labour, and the ‘Red Terror’, that were later to be placed entirely at the feet of Stalin.

[30] Karl Marx, ‘Proletarians and Communists’, The Communist Manifesto, (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), 68.

[31] K R Bolton, ‘The State versus Parental Authority’, Journal of Social, Political & Economic Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2, Summer 2011, 197-217.

[32] K Marx, Communist Manifesto, op. cit.

[33] See Chapter V.

[34] L Sedov, op. cit., ‘Reasons of Foreign Policy’.

[35] L Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, Chapter 7, ‘Family, Youth and Culture’, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/revbet/ch07.htm

[36] K R Bolton, ‘The Psychopathology of the Left’, Ab Aeterno, No. 10, Jan,-March 2012, Academy of Social and Political Research (Athens), Paraparaumu, New Zealand. The discussion on Marx and on Trotsky show their pathological hatred of family.

[37] L Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, op. cit., ‘The Thermidor in the Family’.

[38] ‘There is no proletarian, not even a communist, movement that has not operated in the interests of money, in the directions indicated by money, and for the time permitted by money — and that without the idealist amongst its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact’. Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1971),Vol. II, 402.

[39] L Trotsky, op.cit.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] See below.

[49] A laudatory article on the ‘Dalton Plan’ states that the Dalton School was founded in New York in 1919 and was one of the most important progressive schools of the time, the Dalton Plan being adopted across the world, including in the USSR. It is described as ‘often chaotic and disorganized, but also intimate, caring, nurturing, and familial’. Interestingly it is described as a synthesis of the theories of John Dewey and Carleton Washburne. ‘Dalton School’, http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1902/Dalton-School.html [5]

Dewey along with the Trotsky apologist Sidney Hook (later avid Cold Warrior and winner of the American Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan) organised the campaign to defend Trotsky at the time of the Moscow Purges of the late 1930s. See Chapter II below.

[50] A Zhandov, Speech at the discussion on music to the Central Committee of the Communist Party SU (Bolshevik), February 1948.

[51] Hewlett Johnson, The Socialist Sixth of the World (London: Victor Gollanncz, 1939), Book IV, ‘New Horizons’, http://www.marxists.org/archive/johnson-hewlett/socialistsixth/ch04.htm [6]

[52] R Overy, op. cit., 255-256.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid., 257.

[55] Ibid., p. 258.

[56] Ibid., 352.

[57] Ibid., 353.

[58] Ibid.

[59] K R Bolton, Revolution from Above, op. cit., 134-143.

[60] Overy, op.cit., 361.

[61] Ibid., 366-367.

[62] Ibid., 366.

[63] Ibid., 371.

[64] Ibid., 376.

[65] T S Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (London: Faber and Faber, 1967).

[66] Zhdanov, op. cit., 6.

[67] Encyclopaedia of Soviet Writers, http://www.sovlit.net/bios/proletkult.html [7]

[68] Zhdanov, op. cit., 6-7.

[69] Ibid., 7

[70] Ibid.

[71] The Big Five – a group of Russian composers during the 1860’s: Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui.

[72] Zhdanov, op. cit., 7-8.

[73] Ibid., 12.

 


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[2] Stalin: The Enduring Legacy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1908476443/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1908476443&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[3] http://www.radtr.net/dergi/sayi6/bolton6.htm: http://www.radtr.net/dergi/sayi6/bolton6.htm

[4] http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/sedov/works/red/ch01.htm: http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/sedov/works/red/ch01.htm

[5] http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1902/Dalton-School.html: http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1902/Dalton-School.html

[6] http://www.marxists.org/archive/johnson-hewlett/socialistsixth/ch04.htm: http://www.marxists.org/archive/johnson-hewlett/socialistsixth/ch04.htm

[7] http://www.sovlit.net/bios/proletkult.html: http://www.sovlit.net/bios/proletkult.html

lundi, 25 février 2013

The Historic Implications and Continuing Ramifications of the Trotsky-Stalin Conflict

Trotski.jpg

Trotsky, Stalin, & the Cold War:
The Historic Implications & Continuing Ramifications of the Trotsky-Stalin Conflict

By Kerry Bolton

Ex; http://www.counter-currents.com/  

Editor’s Note:

This is the second of two chapters on the Moscow Trials that we are reprinting from Kerry Bolton’s new book Stalin: The Enduring Legacy [2] (London: Black House Publishing, 2012). The chapters are reprinted as formatted in the book. Counter-Currents will also run a review of the book, which I highly recommend. 

The Moscow Trials were symptomatic of a great divide that had occurred in Bolshevism. The alliance with Stalin during World War II had formed an assumption among US internationalists that after the Axis defeat a ‘new world order’ would emerge via the United Nations Organisation. This assumption was ill-founded, and the result was the Cold War. Trotskyists emerged as avid Cold Warriors dialectically concluding that the USSR represented the primary obstacle to world socialism. This essay examines the dialectical process by which major factions of Trotskyism became, in Stalinist parlance, a ‘tool of foreign powers and of world capitalism.’

One of the major accusations against Trotsky and alleged Trotskyists during the Moscow Trials of 1936-1938 was that they were agents of foreign capital and foreign powers, including intelligence agencies, and were engaged in sabotage against the Soviet State. In particular, with the advent of Nazi Germany in 1933, Stalin sought to show that in the event of war, which he regarded as inevitable, the Trotskyist network in the USSR would serve as a fifth column for Germany.

The background of these trials has been examined in Chapter III.

Stalin Correct in Fundamental Accusations Against Trotskyites

Staline_et_Trotsky.jpgWhat is significant is that Khrushchev did concede that Stalin was correct in his fundamental allegation that the Trotskyists, Bukharinites et al represented a faction that sought the ‘restoration of capitalism and capitulation to the world bourgeoisie’. However Khrushchev and even Stalin could not go far enough in their denunciation of Trotskyists et al as seeking to ‘restore capitalism’ and as being agents of foreign powers. To expose the full facts in regard to such accusations would also mean to expose some unpalatable, hidden factors of the Bolshevik Revolution itself, and of Lenin; which would undermine the whole edifice upon which Soviet authority rested – the October 1917 Revolution. Lenin, and Trotsky in particular, had intricate associations with many un-proletarian individuals and interests.

The fact of behind the scenes machinations between the Bolsheviks and international finance was commented upon publicly by two very well-positioned but quite different sources: Henry Wickham Steed, conservative editor of The London Times, and Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labour.

In a first-hand account of the Peace Conference of 1919 Wickham Steed stated that proceedings were interrupted by the return from Moscow of William C Bullitt and Lincoln Steffens, ‘who had been sent to Russia towards the middle of February by Colonel House[1] and Mr. Lansing, for the purpose of studying conditions, political and economic, therein for the benefit of the American Commissioners plenipotentiary to negotiate peace.’[2] Steed stated specifically and at some length that international finance was behind the move for recognition of the Bolshevik regime and other moves in favour of the Bolsheviks, stating that: ‘Potent international financial interests were at work in favour of the immediate recognition of the Bolshevists.’[3] In return for diplomatic recognition Tchitcherin, the Bolshevist Commissary for Foreign Affairs, was offering ‘extensive commercial and economic concessions.’[4]

For his part, Samuel Gompers, the American labour leader, was vehemently opposed to the Bolsheviks and any recognition or commercial transactions, stating to the press in regard to negotiations at the international economic conference at Genoa, that a group of ‘predatory international financiers’ were working for the recognition of the Bolshevik regime for the opening up of resources for exploitation. Gompers described this as an ‘Anglo-American-German banking group’. He also commented that prominent Americans who had a history of anti-labour attitudes were advocating recognition of the Bolshevik regime.[5]

Trotsky’s Banking Connections

What is of significance here however is that Trotsky in particular was the focus of attention by many individuals acting on behalf not only of foreign powers but of international financial institutions. Hence while Stalin and even Khrushchev could aver to the association of Trotsky with foreign powers and even – albeit vaguely – with seeking the ‘restoration of capitalism and capitulation to the world bourgeoisie’, to trace the links more specifically to international finance would inevitably lead to the association also of the Bolshevik regime per se to those same sources, thus undermining the founding myth of the USSR as being the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’.

These associations between Trotsky and international finance, as well as foreign intelligence services, have been meticulously documented by Dr Richard Spence.[6] Spence states that ‘Trotsky was the recipient of mysterious financial assistance and was a person of keen interest to German, Russian and British agents’. Such contentions are very similar to the charges against Trotsky et al at the Moscow Trials, and there are details and personalities involved, said to have been extracted under torture and threats, that are in fact confirmed by Spence, who traces Trotsky’s patronage as far back as 1916 when he was an exile from Czarist Russia and was being expelled from a succession of countries in Europe before finding his way to the USA, prior to his return to Russia in 1917 to play his part in the Revolution. Expelled from France to Spain, Trotsky was locked up as a ‘terrorist agitator’ for three and a half days in comfortable conditions.[7] Ernst Bark, perhaps with the use of German funds, arranged Trotsky’s release and his transfer to Cadiz to await passage with his family to New York and paid for first class passage on the SS Montserrat. Bark was cousin of the Czar’s minister of finance Petr Bark who, despite his service to the Czar, had the pro-German, pro-Bolshevik banker Olof Aschberg, of the Nya Banken, Sweden, as his financial agent for his New York dealings. A report reaching US Military Intelligence in 1918 stated that Trotsky had been ‘bought by the Germans’, and that he was organising the Bolshevik[8] movement with Parvus.

From being penniless in Spain to his arrival in New York, Trotsky had arrived with $500 which Spence states is today’s equivalent to about $10,000, although Trotsky liked to depict himself as continuing in proletarian poverty. Immigration authorities also noted that his place of residence would be the less than proletarian Hotel Astor in Times Square.

In New York the Trotskys lived in a Bronx apartment with all the mod-coms of the day. Employed by Novyi Mir, and was hosted by Dr Julius Hammer, a Bolshevik who combined revolution with an opulent lifestyle. Hammer was probably the mysterious ‘Dr M’ referred to by Trotsky in his memoirs, who provided the Trotskys with sightseeing jaunts in his chauffeured car.[9]

One of the main contacts for Trotsky was a maternal uncle, banker and businessman Abram Zhivotovskii. In 1915 Zhivotovskii was jailed in Russia for trading with Germany. The US State Department described Zhivotovskii as outwardly ‘very anti-Bolshevik’, but who had laundered money to the Bolsheviks and other socialist organizations.[10] He seems to have played a double role in moneymaking, working as a financial agent for both Germans and Allies. During the war he maintained an office in Japan under the management of a nephew Iosif Zhivotovskii, who had served as secretary to Sidney Reilly, the so-called ‘British Ace of Spies’ who nonetheless also seems to have been a duplicitous character in dealing with Germany. Spence mentions that Reilly, who had a business in the USA, had gone to Japan when Trotsky was in Spain, and arrived back in the USA around the time of Trotsky’s arrival, the possibility being that Reilly had acquired funds from Trotsky’s uncle to give to his nephew in New York. Another Reilly association with Zhivotovskii was via Alexander Weinstein, who had been Zhivotovskii’s agent in London, and had joined Reilly in 1916. He was supposedly a loyal Czarist but was identified by American Military Intelligence as a Bolshevik.[11] Of further interest is that Alexander’s brother Gregory was business manager of Novyi Mir, the newspaper that employed Trotsky while he was in New York. Reilly and Weinstein were also associated with Benny Sverdlov, a Russian arms broker who was the brother of Yakov Sverdlov, the future Soviet commissar.

These multiple connections between Trotsky and Reilly’s associates are significant here in that one of the accusations raised during the Moscow Trials was that the Trotskyists had had dealings with ‘British spy’ Sidney Reilly.

The dealings of Sir William Wiseman, British Military Intelligence chief in the USA, and his deputy Norman Thwaites, with Reilly and associates were concealed even from other British agencies.[12] Wiseman had kept Trotsky under surveillance in New York. Trotsky secured a visa from the British consulate to proceed to Russia via Nova Scotia and Scandinavia. The Passport Control Section of the British Consulate was under the direction of Thwaites. Trotsky was to remark on his arrival in Russia about the helpful attitude of consular officials, despite his detention as a possible German agent by Canadian authorities at Nova Scotia. Trotsky had been able to pay for tickets aboard the Kristianiafiord for himself and his family, and also for a small entourage. What is additionally interesting about Wiseman is that he was closely associated with banking interests, and around 1921 joined Kuhn, Loeb and Co.[13] In 1955 Wiseman launched his own international bank with investments from Kuhn, Loeb & Co.; Rothschild; Rockefeller; Warburg firms, et al[14]. He was thus very close to the international banking dynasties throughout much of his life.

To return to the Kristianiafiord however, on board with Trotsky and his entourage, first class, were Robert Jivotovsky (Zhivotovskii), likely to have been another Trotsky cousin; Israel Fundaminsky, whom Trotsky regarded as a British agent, and Andrei Kalpaschnikoff, who acted as translator when Trotsky was being questioned by British authorities at Nova Scotia. Kalpaschnikoff was closely associated with Vladimir Rogovine, who worked for Weinstein and Reilly. Kalpaschnikoff was also associated with John MacGregor Grant, a friend and business partner of both Reilly and Olof Aschberg. We can therefore see an intricate connection between British super-spy Reilly, and bankers such as Aschberg, who served as a conduit of funds to the Bolsheviks, and Zhivotovskii via Alexander Weinstein.

When Trotsky and several of his entourage were arrested on 29 March at Nova Scotia and questioned by authorities regarding associations with Germany this could well have been an act to dispel any suspicions that Trotsky might be serving British interests. The British had the option of returning him to New York but allowed him to proceed to Russia.[15]

The attitude of Wiseman towards the Bolsheviks once they had achieved nominal power was one of urging recognition, Wiseman cabling President Wilson’s principal adviser Col. Edward House on 1 May 1918 that the allies should intervene at the invitation of the Bolsheviks and help organise the Bolshevik army then fighting the White Armies during the Civil War.[16] This would accord with the aim of certain international bankers to secure recognition of the Bolshevik regime, as noted by both Gompers and Steed.

The financial interests in the USA that formed around the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), founded by presidential adviser Col. Edward M House as a foreign policy think tank of businessmen, politicans and intellectuals, were clamouring for recognition of the Soviets. The CFR issued a report on Bolshevik Russia in 1923, prompted by Lenin’s ‘New Economic Policy’. The report repudiated anti-Bolshevik attitudes and fears that Bolshevism would be spread to other countries (although it had already had a brief but bloody reign in Hungary and revolts in German). CFR historian Peter Grosse writes that the report stated that,

the Bolsheviks were on their way to ‘sanity and sound business practices,’ the Council study group concluded, but the welcome to foreign concessionaires would likely be short-lived…. Thus, the Council experts recommended in March 1923 that American businessmen get into Russia while Lenin’s invitation held good…[17]

Armand Hammer, head of Occidental Petroleum, son of the aforementioned Dr Julius Hammer who had been the Trotsky family’s host in New York, was a globetrotting plutocrat who mixed with the political and business elites of the world for decades. Hammer was in intimate contact with every Soviet leader from Lenin to Gorbachev — except for Stalin.[18] This omission is indicative of the rift that had occurred between the USSR and Western financial and industrial interests with the assumption of Stalin and the defeat of Trotsky.

The CFR report on the USSR that advised American business to get in quick before the situation changed, was prescient. In 1921 Hammer was in the USSR sewing up business deals. Hammer met Trotsky, who asked him whether ‘financial circles in the USA regard Russia as a desirable field of investment?’ Trotsky continued:

Inasmuch as Russia had its Revolution, capital was really safer there than anywhere else because, ‘whatever should happen abroad, the Soviet would adhere to any agreements it might make. Suppose one of your Americans invests money in Russia. When the Revolution comes to America, his property will of course be nationalised, but his agreement with us will hold good and he will thus be in a much more favourable position than the rest of his fellow capitalists.’[19] In contrast to the obliging Trotsky who was willing to guarantee the wealth and investments of Big Business, Hammer said of Stalin:

I never met Stalin and I never had any dealing with him. However it was perfectly clear to me in 1930 that Stalin was not a man with whom you could do business. Stalin believed that the state was capable of running everything, without the support of foreign concessionaires and private enterprise. That was the main reason why I left Moscow: I could see that I would soon be unable to do business there…[20]

As for Trotsky’s attitude toward capitalist investment, were the charges brought against Trotsky et al during the Moscow Trials wholly cynical efforts to disparage and eliminate the perceived opposition to Stalin’s authority, or was there at least some factual basis to the charge that the Trotskyist-Left and Bukharin-Right blocs sought to ‘restore capitalism’ to the USSR? It is of interest in this respect to note that even according to one of Trotsky’s present-day exponents, David North, Trotsky ‘placed greater emphasis than any other Soviet leader of his time on the overriding importance of close economic links between the USSR and the world capitalist market’. North speaking to an Australian Trotskyist conference went on to state of Trotsky’s attitude:

Soviet economic development, he insisted, required both access to the resources of the world market and the intelligent utilisation of the international division of labour. The development of economic planning required at minimum a knowledge of competitive advantage and efficiencies at the international level. It served no rational economic purpose for the USSR to make a virtue of frittering away its own limited resources in a vain effort to duplicate on Soviet soil what it could obtain at far less cost on the world capitalist market…. It is helpful to keep in mind that Trotsky belonged to a generation of Russian Marxists who had utilised the opportunity provided by revolutionary exile to carefully observe and study the workings of the capitalist system in the advanced countries. They were familiar not only with the oft-described ‘horrors’ of capitalism, but also with its positive achievements. … Trotsky argued that a vital precondition for the development of the Soviet economy along socialist lines was its assimilation of the basic techniques of capitalist management, organisation, accounting and production.[21]

It was against this background that during the latter half of the 1930s Stalin acted against the Trotsky and Bukharin blocs as agents of world capitalism and foreign powers. The most cogent defence of the Moscow Trials, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia,[22] was written by two American journalists, Albert E Kahn and Michael Sayers, and carried an endorsement by former US ambassador to the USSR, Joseph Davis, who had witnessed the trials.

Among the charges against Trotsky was that he was in contact with British Intelligence operatives, and was conspiring against Lenin. This is not altogether implausible. Lenin and the Bolshevik faction were in favour of a separate peace between Russia and Germany. Lenin and his entourage had been provided with funds and transport by the German General Staff to travel back to Russia,[23] while Trotsky’s return from New York to Russia had been facilitated by British and American Intelligence interests. Kahn and Sayers commented that ‘for fourteen years, Trotsky had fiercely opposed the Bolsheviks; then in August 1917, a few months before the Bolshevik Revolution he had joined Lenin’s party and risen to power with it. Within the Bolshevik Party, Trotsky was organizing a Left Opposition to Lenin.’[24]

Trotsky was not well disposed to negotiate peace with German imperialists, and it was a major point of debate among the Allies whether certain socialist revolutionaries could be won over to the Allied cause. Trotsky himself had stated in the offices of Novy Mir just before his departure from New York to Russia that although revolutionists would soon overthrow the Kerensky regime they ‘would not make a separate peace with Germany’.[25] From this perspective it would have made sense for William Wiseman to have intervened and for the British authorities to have let Trotsky proceed after having detained him at Nova Scotia.

American mining magnate and banker Colonel William Boyce Thompson, head of the American Red Cross Mission in Russia,[26] was eager to recruit the Bolsheviks for the Allied cause. He stated his intention of providing $1,000,000 of his own money to assist with Bolshevik propaganda directed at Germany and Austria. [27] Thompson’s insistence that if the Allies recognised the Bolsheviks they would not make a separate peace with Germany,[28] accorded with Trotsky’s own attitude insofar as he also wished to see the war end not with a separate peace but with revolutions that would bring down Germany and Austria. His agenda therefore seems to have been quite distinct from that of Lenin’s, and might point to separate sources of funds that were provided to them.

Trotsky’s actions when the Bolsheviks assumed power were consistent with his declarations, and went against Lenin’s policy of ending the war with Germany. As Foreign Commissar Trotsky had been sent to Brest-Litovsk ‘with categorical instructions from Lenin to sign peace.’[29] Instead he called for a Communist uprising in Germany, and stated that although the Russian army could no longer continue in the war and would demobilise, the Soviets would not sign a peace agreement. After Trotsky’s rhetoric at Brest-Litovsk the Germans launched another assault on the Eastern Front, and the new Red Army found itself still fighting the Germans.

It was at this point that R H Bruce Lockhart, special agent of the British War Cabinet, sought out Trotsky, on the instructions from British Prime Minister Lloyd George.

Lockhart, generally considered the typical anti-Bolshevik Establishment figure, was actually well disposed towards the Bolsheviks and like Colonel Thompson, hoped to win them over to the Allies. At one point his wife warned that his colleagues in Britain thought be might be going ‘Red’. Lockhart wrote of the situation:

Russia was out of the war. Bolshevism would last – certainly as long as the war lasted. I deprecated as sheer folly our militarist propaganda, because it took no account of the war-weariness which had raised the Bolsheviks to the supreme power. In my opinion, we had to take the Bolshevik peace proposals seriously. Our policy should now aim at achieving an anti-German peace in Russia’.[30]

Coincidentally, ‘an anti-German peace in Russia’ seems to precisely describe the aim of Trotsky.

Trotsky intended that the World War would be transformed into a revolutionary war, with the starting point being revolutions in Germany and Austria. This would certainly accord with Colonel Thompson’s intentions to fund Bolshevist propaganda in Germany and Austria with $1,000,000. Thompson was in communication with Trotsky via Raymond Robins, his deputy with the Red Cross Mission, and like him an enthusiast for the Bolshevik regime.[31] Lloyd George had met Thompson and had been won over to the aim of contacting Lenin and Trotsky. Lockhart was instructed to return to Russia to establish ‘unofficial contact with the Bolsheviks’.[32] Lockhart relates that he met Trotsky for two hours at the latter’s office at Smolny. While Lockhart was highly impressed with Trotsky he did not regard the Foreign Commissar as able to weld sufficient influence to replace Lenin. Trotsky’s parting words to Lockhart at this first meeting were: ‘Now is the big opportunity for the Allied Governments’. Thereafter Lockhart saw Trotsky on a daily basis. [33] Lockhart stated that Trotsky was willing to bring Soviet Russia over to Britain:

He considered that war was inevitable. If the Allies would send a promise of support, he informed me that he would sway the decision of the Government in favour of war. I sent several telegrams to London requesting an official message that would enable me to strengthen Trotsky’s hands. No message was sent.[34]

Stalineooooo.jpgGiven Trotsky’s position in regard to Germany, and the statements of Lockhart in his memoirs, the Stalinist accusation is entirely plausible that Trotsky was the focus of Allied support, and would explain why the British expedited Trotsky’s return to Russia. Indeed, Lockhart was to remark that the British view was that they might be able to make use of the dissensions between Trotsky and Lenin, and believed that the Allies could reach an accord with Soviet Russia because of the extravagant peace demands of the Germans.[35] However from what Lockhart sates, it seems that the Allied procrastination in regard to recondition of the Bolsheviks was the uncertainty that they constituted a stable and lasting Government, and that they were suspicious of the Bolshevik intentions towards Germany, with Lenin and Trotsky still widely regarded as German agents. [36]

The period preceding World War II, particularly the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan, served as a catalyst for Stalin’s offensive against Trotskyists and other suspect elements. Trotsky had since his exile been promoted in the West as the great leader of the Bolshevik Revolution[37], while his own background had been one of opportunism, for the most part as an anti-Leninist Menshevik. [38] It was only in August 1917, seeing the situation in Russia, that Trotsky applied for membership of the Bolshevik Party.[39] Trotsky had joined the Bolshevik Party with his entire faction, a faction that remained intact within the Soviet apparatus, and was ready to be activated after Stalin’s election as General Secretary in 1922. Trotsky admits to a revolutionary network from 1923 when he wrote in his 1938 eulogy to his son Leon Sedov: ‘Leon threw himself headlong into the work of the Opposition…Thus, at seventeen, he began the life of a fully conscious revolutionist, quickly grasped the art of conspiratorial work, illegal meetings, and the secret issuing and distribution of Opposition documents. The Komsomol (Communist Youth organization) rapidly developed its own cadres of Opposition leaders.’[40] Hence Trotsky had freely admitted to the fundamental charges of the Stalinist regime: the existence of a widespread Trotskyist ‘conspiracy’. Indeed, as far back as 1921, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party had already passes a resolution banning all ‘factions’ in the Party, specifically warning Trotsky against ‘factional activities’, and condemning the factionalist activities of what the resolution called ‘Trotskyites’. [41]

In 1924 Trotsky met with Boris Savinkov, a Socialist Revolutionary, who had served as head of the terrorist wing, the so-called ‘Fighting Organization’, of the Party, and who had been Deputy Minister of War in the Kerensky Government. After the triumph of the Bolsheviks Savinkov, leaving Russia in 1920, became associated with French and Polish authorities, and with British agents Lockhart[42] and Sidney Reilly. [43] Savinkov was involved in counter-revolutionary activities, in trying to form an army to overthrow the Bolsheviks. Winston Churchill confirms Savinkov’s meeting with Trotsky in 1924, Churchill himself being involved in the anti-Soviet machinations, writing in his Great Contemporaries: ‘In June 1924, Kamenev and Trotsky definitely invited him (Savinkov) to return’.[44]

In 1924 a leading Trotskyite, Christian Rakovsky, arrived in Britain as Soviet Ambassador. According to the testimony at the Moscow Trial during March 1938 Rakovsky admitted to meeting two British agents, Lockhart and Captain Armstrong. Rakovsky is said to have confessed at this trial that Lockhart and Armstrong had told him that he had been permitted entry into Britain because of his association with Trotsky, as they wanted to cultivated relations with the latter. When Rakovsky reported back to Trotsky several months later, Trotsky was alleged to have been interested. In 1926 Rakovsky was transferred to France prior to which he was alleged to have been instructed by Trotsky to seek out contacts with ‘conservatives circles’ who might support an uprising, as Trotsky considered the situation in Russia to be right for a coup. Rakovsky, as instructed, met several French industrialists, including the grain merchant Louis Dreyfus, and the flax merchant Nicole, both Deputies of the French Parliament.[45] Rakovsky in his testimony during the 1936 trial of Bukharin, et al, Rakovsky being one of the defendants, relates the manner by which he was approached by various intelligence agencies, including those of Japan when in 1934 Rakovsky was head of a Soviet Red Cross Delegation.[46] Rakovsky spoke of the difficulty the Trotskyites had in maintaining relations with both British and Japanese intelligence agencies, since the two states were becoming antagonistic over problems in China.[47] Rakovsky explained that: ‘We Trotskyites have to play three cards at the present moment: the German, Japanese and British…’[48] At that time the Trotskyites – or at least Rakovsky – regarded the likelihood of a Japanese attack on the USSR as more likely than a German attack. Rakovsky even then alluded to his belief that an accord between Hitler and Stalin was possible. It seems plausible enough that Trotskyites were indeed looking toward an invasion of the USSR as the means of destabilising the regime during which Trotskyist cells could launch their counter-revolution. Certainly we know from the account of Churchill that Trotsky met the ultra-terrorist Socialist Revolutionary Savinkov, who was himself involved with British Intelligence via Reilly and Lockhart. Rakovsky stated of a possible Hitler-Stalin Pact:

Personally I thought that the possibility was not excluded that Hitler would seek a rapprochement with the government of the USSR. I cited the policy of Richelieu: in his own country he exterminated the Protestants, while in his foreign policy he concluded alliances with the Protestant German princes. The relations between Germany and Poland were still in the stage of their inception at the time. Japan, on the other hand, was a potent aggressor against the USSR. For us Trotskyites the Japanese card was extremely important, but, on the other hand, we should not overrate the importance of Japan as our ally against the Soviet government.[49]

As far as the Stalinist allegations go in regard to the Trotskyists aligning with foreign powers and viewing an invasion of the USSR as a catalyst for revolution, other ultra-Marxists had taken paths far more unlikely. As mentioned Savinkov, who had been one of the most violent of the Socialist Revolutionaries in Czarist Russia, had sought out British assistance in forming a counter-revolutionary army. Savinkov had fled to Poland in 1919 where he tried to organize ‘the evacuation committee’ within the Polish armies then attacking Russia.[50] Savinkov’s colleagues in Poland, Merezhkovsky, and his wife Zinaida Hippius, who had been ardent Socialist Revolutionary propagandists, later became supporters of Mussolini and then of Hitler, in the hope of overthrowing Stalin[51]. Therefore the Stalinist allegation of Trotskyite collusion even with Fascist powers is plausible.

It is the same road that resulted in the alliance of many Trotskyists, Mensheviks and other Leftists with the CIA, and their metamorphoses into ardent Cold Warriors. It is the same road that brought leading American Trotsky apologist Professor Sidney Hook, ‘a lifelong Menshevik’, to the leadership of a major CIA front, the previously considered Congress for Cultural Freedom.

Max Shachtman

Max Shachtman, one of Trotsky’s leading representatives in the USA[52], is pivotal when considering why Trotskyites became ardent Cold Warriors, CIA front men, apologists for US foreign policy, and continue to champion the USA as the only ‘truly revolutionary’ state.

Expelled from the Communist Party USA in 1928 Shachtman co-founded the Communist League and the Socialist Workers Party. He then split to form the Workers Party of the United States in 1940, which became the Independent Socialist League and merged with the Socialist Party in 1958. [53] The Socialist Party factionalised into the Democratic Socialists and the Social Democrats.

Shachtman was of course scathing of the Moscow Trials. His critique is standard, and will not be of concern here. [54] What is of interest is Shachtman’s surpassing of Trotsky himself in his opposition to the USSR, his faction (the so-called ‘Third Camp’) being what he considered as a purified, genuine Trotskyism, which eventuated into apologists for US foreign policy.

The Shachtmanist critique of the USSR was that it had at an early stage been transformed from ‘government ‘bureaucratism to ‘party bureaucratism’.[55] ‘Soviet bureaucratism became party bureaucratism. In increasing number the government official was the party official.’[56] ‘We do not have a workers’ state but a workers’ state with bureaucratic deformations’, Shachtman stated in quoting Trotsky as far back as 1922. And again from Trotsky: ‘We have a bureaucracy not only in the Soviet institutions, but in the institutions of the party’… Shachtman continues: ‘A month later, in a veiled public attack upon Stalin as head of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection, he repeated his view that the state machine was still “a survival to a large extent of the former bureaucracy … with only a superficial new coat of paint.”’[57]

While in 1937 Shachtman declared that the USSR should nonetheless be defended against aggression from, for example, Nazi Germany and that it was a Stalinist slur to think that Trotsky would be an enemy of the USSR in such circumstances[58], by 1940 Shachtman was at loggerheads with Trotsky himself and the ‘Cannon’[59] group in the Workers Party.

The Trotskyites were agreed that Stalinist Russia had become a ‘degenerated’ workers’ state,’ however the Cannon-Trotsky line and the position of the Fourth International was that should the USSR be attacked by capitalist or fascist powers, because it still had a so-called ‘progressive’ economy based on the nationalisation of property, the USSR must be defended on that basis alone. The Shachtman line, on the other hand, argued from what they considered to be a dialectical position:

Just as it was once necessary, in connection with the trade union problem, to speak concretely of what kind of workers’ state exists in the Soviet Union, so it is necessary to establish, in connection with the present war, the degree of the degeneration of the Soviet state. The dialectical method of treating such questions makes this mandatory upon us. And the degree of the degeneration of the regime cannot be established by abstract reference to the existence of nationalized property, but only by observing the realities of living events.

The Fourth International established, years ago, the fact that the Stalinist regime (even though based upon nationalized property) had degenerated to the point where it was not only capable of conducting reactionary wars against the proletariat and its revolutionary vanguard, and even against colonial peoples, but did in fact conduct such wars. Now, in our opinion, on the basis of the actual course of Stalinist policy (again, even though based upon nationalized property), the Fourth International must establish the fact that the Soviet Union (i.e., the ruling bureaucracy and the armed forces serving it) has degenerated to the point where it is capable of conducting reactionary wars even against capitalist states (Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, now Finland, and tomorrow Rumania and elsewhere). This is the point which forms the nub of our difference with you and with the Cannon faction.[60]

Shachtman now expressed his approach unequivocally:

War is a continuation of politics, and if Stalinist policy, even in the occupied territory where property has been statified, preserves completely its reactionary character, then the war it is conducting is reactionary. In that case, the revolutionary proletariat must refuse to give the Kremlin and its army material and military aid. It must concentrate all efforts on overturning the Stalinist regime. That is not our war! Our war is against the counterrevolutionary bureaucracy at the present time!

In other words, I propose, in the present war, a policy of revolutionary defeatism in the Soviet Union, as explained in the statement of the Minority on the Russian question – and in making this proposal I do not feel myself one whit less a revolutionary class patriot than I have always been.[61]

That was the Shachtmanite line during World War II: that it was better that Nazi Germany defeated Stalin than that the ‘degenerated workers’ state’ should continue to exist. The same thinking emerged during the Cold War, shortly after World War II, when Shachtman began to speak about the threat of Stalinist parties throughout the world as agencies for Soviet policy, a theme that would become a basis of US attitudes towards the USSR:

The Stalinist parties are indeed agents of the Kremlin oligarchy, no matter what country they function in. The interests and the fate of these Stalinist parties are inseparably intertwined with the interests and fate of the Russian bureaucracy. The Stalinist parties are everywhere based upon the power of the Russian bureaucracy, they serve this power, they are dependent upon it, and they cannot live without it.[62]

By 1948 Shachtmanism as a Cold Warrior apologia for American foreign policy was taking shape. In seeing positive signs in the Titoist Yugoslavia break with the USSR, Shachtman wrote:

In the first place, the division in the capitalist camp is, to all practical intents, at an end. In any case, there is nothing like the division that existed from 1939 onward and which gave Stalinist Russia such tremendous room for maneuvering. In spite of all the differences that still exist among them, the capitalist world under American imperialist leadership and drive is developing an increasingly solid front against Russian imperialism.[63]

In other words, Shachtman saw unity among the capitalist states against Stalinist Russia as a positive sign. The overthrow of Stalinism became the first priority of Shachtmanite Trotskyism in the Cold War era, as it had during World War II.

In 1948 Shachtman scathingly attacked the position of the Fourth International in having continued to defend the USSR as a ‘degenerated workers’ state’, and of its mistaken belief that the Stalinist ‘bureaucratic dictatorship’ world fall apart during World War II. He pointed out that Stalinist imperialism had emerged from the war victorious.[64]

From here it was but a short way for the Shachtmanites to embrace the Cold War opposition to the USSR, and for the heirs of this to continue as enthusiasts for US foreign policy to the present-day.

By 1950 Stalinism had become the major problem for world socialism, Shachtman now writing as head of the Independent Socialist League:

The principal new problem faced by Marxian theory, and therewith Marxian practice, is the problem of Stalinism. What once appeared to many to be either an academic or ‘foreign’ problem is now, it should at last be obvious, a decisive problem for all classes in all countries. If it is understood as a purely Russian phenomenon or as a problem ‘in itself,’ it is of course not understood at all.[65]

Natalia Sedova Trotsky

Natalia Sedova, Trotsky’s widow, endorsed the Shachtmanite line, declaring that the American-led alliance against the USSR would have been approved by her late husband. Her letter of resignation to the Fourth International and to the Socialist Workers Party (USA) is worth reproducing in its entirety:

You know quite well that I have not been in political agreement with you for the past five or six years, since the end of the [Second World] war and even earlier. The position you have taken on the important events of recent times shows me that, instead of correcting your earlier errors, you are persisting in them and deepening them. On the road you have taken, you have reached a point where it is no longer possible for me to remain silent or to confine myself to private protests. I must now express my opinions publicly.

The step which I feel obliged to take has been a grave and difficult one for me, and I can only regret it sincerely. But there is no other way. After a great deal of reflections and hesitations over a problem which pained me deeply, I find that I must tell you that I see no other way than to say openly that our disagreements make it impossible for me to remain any longer in your ranks.

The reasons for this final action on my part are known to most of you. I repeat them here briefly only for those to whom they are not familiar, touching only on our fundamentally important differences and not on the differences over matters of daily policy which are related to them or which follow from them.

Obsessed by old and outlived formulas, you continue to regard the Stalinist state as a workers’ state. I cannot and will not follow you in this.

Virtually every year after the beginning of the fight against the usurping Stalinist bureaucracy, L D Trotsky repeated that the regime was moving to the right, under conditions of a lagging world revolution and the seizure of all political positions in Russia by the bureaucracy. Time and again, he pointed out how the consolidation of Stalinism in Russia led to the worsening of the economic, political and social positions of the working class, and the triumph of a tyrannical and privileged aristocracy. If this trend continues, he said, the revolution will be at an end and the restoration of capitalism will be achieved.

That, unfortunately, is what has happened even if in new and unexpected forms. There is hardly a country in the world where the authentic ideas and bearers of socialism are so barbarously hounded. It should be clear to everyone that the revolution has been completely destroyed by Stalinism. Yet you continue to say that under this unspeakable regime, Russia is still a workers’ state. I consider this a blow at socialism. Stalinism and the Stalinist state have nothing whatever in common with a workers’ state or with socialism. They are the worst and the most dangerous enemies of socialism and the working class.

You now hold that the states of Eastern Europe over which Stalinism established its domination during and after the war, are likewise workers’ states. This is equivalent to saying that Stalinism has carried out a revolutionary socialist role. I cannot and will not follow you in this.

After the war and even before it ended, there was a rising revolutionary movement of the masses in these Eastern countries. But it was not these masses that won power and it was not a workers’ state that was established by their struggle. It was the Stalinist counterrevolution that won power, reducing these lands to vassals of the Kremlin by strangling the working masses, their revolutionary struggles and their revolutionary aspirations.

By considering that the Stalinist bureaucracy established workers’ states in these countries, you assign to it a progressive and even revolutionary role. By propagating this monstrous falsehood to the workers’ vanguard, you deny to the Fourth International all the basic reasons for existence as the world party of the socialist revolution. In the past, we always considered Stalinism to be a counterrevolutionary force in every sense of the term. You no longer do so. But I continue to do so.

In 1932 and 1933, the Stalinists, in order to justify their shameless capitulation to Hitlerism, declared that it would matter little if the Fascists came to power because socialism would come after and through the rule of Fascism. Only dehumanized brutes without a shred of socialist thought or spirit could have argued this way. Now, notwithstanding the revolutionary aims which animate you, you maintain that the despotic Stalinist reaction which has triumphed in Europe is one of the roads through which socialism will eventually come. This view marks an irredeemable break with the profoundest convictions always held by our movement and which I continue to share.

I find it impossible to follow you in the question of the Tito regime in Yugoslavia. All the sympathy and support of revolutionists and even of all democrats, should go to the Yugoslav people in their determined resistance to the efforts of Moscow to reduce them and their country to vassalage. Every advantage should be taken of the concessions which the Yugoslav regime now finds itself obliged to make to the people. But your entire press is now devoted to an inexcusable idealization of the Titoist bureaucracy for which no ground exists in the traditions and principles of our movement.

This bureaucracy is only a replica, in a new form, of the old Stalinist bureaucracy. It was trained in the ideas, the politics and morals of the GPU. Its regime differs from Stalin’s in no fundamental regard. It is absurd to believe or to teach that the revolutionary leadership of the Yugoslav people will develop out of this bureaucracy or in any way other than in the course of struggle against it.

Most insupportable of all is the position on the war to which you have committed yourselves. The third world war which threatens humanity confronts the revolutionary movement with the most difficult problems, the most complex situations, the gravest decisions. Our position can be taken only after the most earnest and freest discussions. But in the face of all the events of recent years, you continue to advocate, and to pledge the entire movement to, the defense of the Stalinist state. You are even now supporting the armies of Stalinism in the war which is being endured by the anguished Korean people. I cannot and will not follow you in this.

As far back as 1927, Trotsky, in reply to a disloyal question put to him in the Political Bureau [of the Soviet Communist Party] by Stalin, stated his views as follows: For the socialist fatherland, yes! For the Stalinist regime, no! That was in 1927! Now, twenty-three years later Stalin has left nothing of the socialist fatherland. It has been replaced by the enslavement and degradation of the people by the Stalinist autocracy. This is the state you propose to defend in the war, which you are already defending in Korea.

I know very well how often you repeat that you are criticizing Stalinism and fighting it. But the fact is that your criticism and your fight lose their value and can yield no results because they are determined by and subordinated to your position of defense of the Stalinist state. Whoever defends this regime of barbarous oppression, regardless of the motives, abandons the principles of socialism and internationalism.

In the message sent me from the recent convention of the SWP you write that Trotsky’s ideas continue to be your guide. I must tell you that I read these words with great bitterness. As you observe from what I have written above, I do not see his ideas in your politics. I have confidence in these ideas. I remain convinced that the only way out of the present situation is the social revolution, the self-emancipation of the proletariat of the world.[66]

Natalia Trotsky, like the Shachtmanites, regarded the USSR as having irredeemably destroyed Marxism, and that the only option left was to destroy the USSR, which meant aligning with the USA in the Cold War.

It was this bellicose anti-Stalinism that brought the Shachtmanites into the US foreign policy establishment during the Cold War, and beyond, to the present-day. Haberkern, an admirer of Shachtman’s early commitment to Trotskyism and opposition to Stalinism, lamented:

There is, unfortunately, a sad footnote to Shachtman’s career. Beginning in the 50s he began to move to the right in response to the discouraging climate of the Cold War. He ended up a Cold Warrior and apologist for the Meany wing of the AFL-CIO.[67] But that should not diminish the value of his earlier contributions.[68]

Cold War and Beyond

Professor Hook and Max Shachtman veered increasingly towards a pro-US position to the point that Hook, while maintaining his commitment to Social-Democracy, voted for Richard Nixon and publicly defended President Ronald Reagan’s policies.

During the 1960s, Hook critiqued the New Left and became an outspoken supporter of the Vietnam War. In 1984 he was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities to give the annual Jefferson Lecture, ‘the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities’. [69] On May 23 1985 Hook was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan. Edward S Shapiro writing in the American ‘conservative’ journal First Principles, summarised Hook’s position:

One of America’s leading anticommunist intellectuals,[70] Hook supported American entry into the Korean War, the isolation of Red China, the efforts of the United States government to maintain a qualitative edge in nuclear weapons, the Johnson administration’s attempt to preserve a pro-western regime in South Vietnam, and the campaign of the Reagan administration to overthrow the communist regime in Nicaragua.

Those both within and outside of conservative circles viewed Hook as one of the gurus of the neoconservative revival during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1985, President Reagan presented Hook with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being one of the first ‘to warn the intellectual world of its moral obligations and personal stake in the struggle between freedom and totalitarianism’.[71]

In the 1960s Shachtmanism aligned with the Democratic Party and was also involved with the New Left. By the mid 1960s such was the Shachtmanite opposition to the USSR that they had arrived on issues of American foreign policy that were the same as Hook’s, including supporting the American presence in Vietnam. In 1972 the Shachtmanists endorsed Leftist Senator Henry Jackson for the Democratic presidential nomination against Leftist George McGovern whom they regarded as an appeaser toward the USSR. Jackson was both pro-war and vehemently anti-Soviet, advocating a ‘hawkish’ position on foreign policy towards the USSR. Like Hook, Jackson was also awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Reagan in 1984.

At this time Tom Kahn, a prominent Shachtmanite and an organizer of the AFL-CIO, who will be considered below, was Senator Jackson’s chief speechwriter.[72] Many of Jackson’s aides were to become prominent in the oddly ‘neo-conservative’ movement, including veteran Trotskyites Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith, all of whom became prominent in the Administration of President George H W Bush, all of whom helped to instigate the present war against Islam, which they began to call ‘Islamofascism’, as a new means of extending American world supremacy.

Tom Kahn, who remained an avid follower of Shachtman, explained his mentor’s position on the USA in Vietnam in this way, while insisting that Shachtman never compromised his Socialist ideals:

His views on Vietnam were, and are, unpopular on the Left. He had no allusions about the South Vietnamese government, but neither was he confused about the totalitarian nature of the North Vietnamese regime. In the South there were manifest possibilities for a democratic development… He knew that those democratic possibilities would be crushed if Hanoi’s military takeover of the South succeeded. He considered the frustration of the attempt to be a worthy objective of American policy…[73]

This position in it own right can be readily justified by dialectics, as the basis for the support of Trotskyist factions, including those of both Hook and Shachtman during the Cold War, and the present legacy of the so-called ‘neo-cons’ in backing American foreign policy as the manifestation of a ‘global democratic revolution’, as a development of Trotsky’s ‘world proletarian revolution.’ 

National Endowment for Democracy

It was from this milieu that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was formed, which took up form the CIA’s Congress for Cultural Freedom.

President George W Bush embraced the world revolutionary mission of the USA, stating in 2003 to NED that the war in Iraq was the latest front in the ‘global democratic revolution’ led by the United States. ‘The revolution under former president Ronald Reagan freed the people of Soviet-dominated Europe, he declared, and is destined now to liberate the Middle East as well’. [74]

NED was established in 1983 at the prompting of Shachtmanist veteran Tom Kahn, and endorsed by an Act of US Congress introduced by Congressman George Agree. Carl Gershman, [75] a Shachtmanite, was appointed president of NED in 1984, and remains so. Gershman had been a founder and Executive Director (1974-1980) of Social Democrats USA (SD-USA).[76] Among the founding directors of NED was Albert Glotzer, a national committee member of the SD-USA, who had served as Trotsky’s bodyguard and secretary in Turkey in 1931,[77] who had assisted Shachtman with founding the Workers Party of the United States.

Congressman Agree and Tom Kahn believed that the USA needed a means, apart from the CIA, of supporting subversive movements against the USSR. Kahn, who became International Affairs Director of the AFL-CIO, was particularly spurred by the need to support the Solidarity movement in Poland, and had been involved with AFL-CIO meetings with Leftists from Latin America and South Africa. [78]

Kahn had joined the Young Socialist League, the youth wing of Shachtman’s Independent Socialist League, [79] and the Young People’s Socialist League, which he continued to support until his death in 1992. Kahn was impressed by the Shachtman opposition to the USSR as the primary obstacle to world socialism. [80] He built up an anti-Soviet network throughout the world in ‘opposition to the accommodationist policies of détente’.[81] There was a particular focus on assisting Solidarity in Poland from 1980.[82] Racehlle Horowitz’s eulogy to Kahn ends with her confidence that had he been alive, he would have been a vigorous supporter of the war in Iraq. [83]

NED is funded by US Congress and supports ‘activists and scholars’ with 1000 grants in over 90 countries.[84]  NED describes its program thus:

From time to time Congress has provided special appropriations to the Endowment to carry out specific democratic initiatives in countries of special interest, including Poland (through the trade union Solidarity), Chile, Nicaragua, Eastern Europe (to aid in the democratic transition following the demise of the Soviet bloc), South Africa, Burma, China, Tibet, North Korea and the Balkans. With the latter, NED supported a number of civic groups, including those that played a key role in Serbia’s electoral breakthrough in the fall of 2000. More recently, following 9/11 and the NED Board’s adoption of its third strategic document, special funding has been provided for countries with substantial Muslim populations in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.[85]

NED therefore serves as a kind of ‘Comintern’ of the so-called ‘American democratic revolution’ throughout the world. The subversion by the USA, culturally, politically, and economically, with its front-groups, spies, fellow-travellers, activists, and outright revolutionaries, is more far-reaching than the USSR’s allegedly ‘communist’ subversion ever was.

The accusation by the Stalinists at the Moscow Trials of the 1930s was that the Trotskyists were agents of foreign powers and would reintroduce capitalism. The crisis in Marxism caused by the Stalinist regime – the so-called ‘betrayal of the revolution’ as Trotsky himself termed it – resulted in such outrage among the Trotskyites that they were willing to whore themselves and undertake anything to bring down the Soviet edifice.

Notes

[1] American President Woodrow Wilson’s principal adviser and confidante.

[2] Henry Wickham Steed, Through Thirty Years 1892-1922 A personal narrative, ‘The Peace Conference, The Bullitt Mission’, Vol. II.  (New York: Doubleday Page and Co., 1924), 301.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Samuel Gompers, ‘Soviet Bribe Fund Here Says Gompers, Has Proof That Offers Have Been Made, He Declares, Opposing Recognition. Propaganda Drive. Charges Strong Group of Bankers With Readiness to Accept Lenin’s Betrayal of Russia’, The New York Times, 1 May 1922.

[6] Richard B Spence, ‘Hidden Agendas: Spies, Lies and Intrigue Surrounding Trotsky’s American Visit, January-April 1917’, Revolutionary Russia, Volume 21, Issue 1 June 2008, 33 – 55.

[7] Ibid.

[8] It is more accurate to state that Trotsky managed to straddle both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks until the impending success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Military Intelligence Division, 9140-6073, Memorandum # 2, 23 August 1918, 2. Cited by Spence, op.cit.

[12] Spence, ibid.

[13] Wiseman became a partner in 1929.

[14] ‘Sir William’s New Bank’, Time, October 17 1955.

[15] The foregoing on Trotsky’s associations from Spain to New York and his transit back to Russia are indebted to Spence, op.cit.

[16] Edward M. House, ed. Charles Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Col. House (New York: Houghton, Mifflin Co.), Vol. III, 421.

[17] Peter Grosse, Continuing The Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996, (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006), ‘Basic Assumptions’. The entire book can be read online at: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html [3]

[18] Armand Hammer, Witness to History (London: Coronet Books, 1988), 221.

[19] Ibid., 160.

[20] Ibid., 221.

[21] David North, ‘Leon Trotsky and the Fate of Socialism in the 20th Century’, opening lecture to the International Summer School on ‘Marxism and the Fundamental Problems of the 20th Century’, organised by the International Committee of the Fourth International and the Socialist Equality Party of Australia, Sydney, Australia, January 3 1998. David North is the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in the USA, and has lectured extensively in Europe, Asia, the US and Russia on Marxism and the program of the Fourth International. http://www.wsws.org/exhibits/trotsky/trlect.htm [4] (accessed 12 March 2010).

[22] Albert E Kahn and Michael Sayers, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia, (London: Collet’s Holdings Ltd., 1946).

[23] Antony Sutton, op.cit., 39-42.

[24] Kahn and Sayers, op.cit. p. 29.

[25] ‘Calls People War Weary, But Leo Trotsky Says They Do Tot Want Separate Peace’, The New York Times, 16 March 1917.

[26] The real purpose of the American Red Cross Mission in Russia was to examine how commercial relations could be established with the fledgling Bolshevik regime, as indicated by the fact that there were more business representatives in the Mission than there were medical personnel. See: Dr Anton Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974), 71-88. K R Bolton, Revolution from Above (London: Arktos Media Ltd., 2011) 63-64.

[27] ‘Gives Bolsheviki a Million’, Washington Post, 2 February 1918, cited by Sutton, op.cit., ., pp. 82-83.

[28] The New York Times, 27 January 1918, op.cit.

[29] Kahn and Sayers, op.cit., p. 29.

[30] R H Bruce Lockhart, British Agent (London: G P Putnam’s Sons, 1933), Book Four, ‘History From the Inside’, Chapter I.

[31] Antony Sutton, op.cit., 84, 86.

[32] R H Bruce Lockhart, op.cit.

[33] Ibid., Chapter III.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid. Lockhart observed that while the German peace terms received 112 votes from the Central Executive Committee of the Bolshevik Party, there had been 86 against, and 25 abstentions, among the latter of whom was Trotsky.

[36] Ibid., Chapter IV.

[37] That at least was the perception of Stalinists of Trotsky’s depiction by the West, as portrayed by Kahn and Sayers, op.cit., 194.

[38] Kahn and Sayers cite a number of Lenin’s statements regarding Trotsky, dating from 1911, when Lenin stated that Trotsky slides from one faction to another and back again, but ultimately ‘I must declare that Trotsky represents his own faction only…’ Ibid., 195.

[39] Ibid., 199.

[40] Leon Trotsky, Leon Sedov: Son-Friend-Fighter, 1938, cited by Kahn and Sayers, 205.

[41] Ibid., 204.

[42] R H Bruce Lockhart, op.cit., Book Three: War & Peace, Chapter IX. Lockhart described Savinkov as a professional ‘schemer’, who ‘had mingled so much with spies and agents-provocateurs that, like the hero in his own novel, he hardly knew whether he was deceiving himself or those whom he meant to deceive’. Lockhart commented that Savinkov had ‘entirely captivated Mr Churchill, who saw in him a Russian Bonaparte’.

[43] Reilly, the British ‘super agent’ although widely known for his anti-Bolshevik views, prior to his becoming a ‘super spy’ and possibly working for the intelligence agencies of four states, by his own account had been arrested in 1892 in Russia by the Czarist secret police as a messenger for the revolutionary Friends of Enlightenment.

[44] Kahn and Sayers, op.cit., 208.

[45] Commissariat of Justice, Report of the Case of the Anti-Soviet ‘Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites’, Heard Before The Military Collegium of the Court of the USSR, Moscow, March 24 1938, 307.

[46] Ibid., 288.

[47]  Ibid. 293.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, ‘Eschatology and the Appeal of Revolution’, California Slavic Studies, Volume. II, University of California Press, California, 1930, 116.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Shachtman was one of the two most prominent Trotskyites in the USA according to Trotskyist historian Ernest Haberkern, Introduction to Max Shachtman, http://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/intro.htm [5]

[53] ‘British Trotskyism in 1931’, Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism Online: Revolutionary History, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol1/no1/glotzer.html [6]

[54] Max Shachtman, Behind the Moscow Trial (New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1936).

[55] Max Shachtman, ‘Trotsky Begins the Fight’, The Struggle for the New Course (New York: New International Publishing Co., 1943).

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Leon Trotsky, In Defence of the Soviet Union, Max Shachtman, ‘Introduction.’ (New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1937).

[59] James P Cannon, a veteran Trotskyist and former colleague of Shachtman’s.

[60] Max Shachtman, ‘The Crisis in the American Party: An Open Letter in Reply to Comrade Leon Trotsky’, New International, Vol.6 No.2, March 1940), 43-51.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Max Shachtman, ‘The Nature of the Stalinist Parties: Their Class Roots, Political Role and Basic Aim’, The New International: A Monthly Organ of Revolutionary Marxism, Vol.13 No.3, March 1947, 69-74.

[63]Max Shachtman, ‘Stalinism on the Decline: Tito versus Stalin The Beginning of the End of the Russian Empire’, New International, Vol. XIV No.6, August 1948, 172-178.

[64] Max Shachtman, ‘The Congress of the Fourth International: An Analysis of the Bankruptcy of “Orthodox Trotskyism”’, New International, Vol.XIV, No.8, October 1948, pp.236-245.

[65] Max Shachtman, ‘Reflections on a Decade Past: On the Tenth Anniversary of Our Movement’, The New International: A Monthly Organ of Revolutionary Marxism, Vol.16 No.3, May-June 1950, pp.131-144.

[66] Natalia Sedova Trotsky, May 9, 1951, Labor Action, June 17, 1951, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/natalia38.html [7]

[67] American Federation of Labor-Central Industrial Organization.

[68] Haberkern, op.cit.

[69] Sidney Hook, ‘Education in Defense of a Free Society’, 1984, Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, National Endowment for Humanities, http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/jefflect.html [8]

[70] Again, there is obfuscation with the use of the term ‘anti-Communist’. What is meant in such cases is not opposition to Communism, but opposition to Stalinism, and the course the USSR had set upon after the elimination of the Trotskyites, et al. Many of these so-called ‘anti-Communists’ in opposing the USSR considered themselves loyal to the legacy of Trotsky.

[71] Edward S Shapiro, ‘Hook, Sidney’, First Principles: The Home of American Intellectual Conservatism, July 3,  2009, http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=699&loc=r [9]

[72] Tom Kahn, ‘Max Shachtman: His Ideas and His Movement’, Editor’s Note on Kahn, Dissent Magazine, 252 http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d11Khan.pdf [10]

[73] Tom Kahn, Democratiya 11, 2007, reprinted in Dissent Magazine, ibid., 258.

[74] Fred Barbash, ‘Bush: Iraq Part of ‘Global Democratic Revolution’: Liberation of Middle East Portrayed as Continuation of Reagan’s Policies’, Washington Post, 6 November 6, 2003.

[75] Gershman served as Senior Counsellor to the United States Representative to the United Nations beginning in 1981. As it happens, the Representative he was advising was fellow Social Democrats comrade, Jeane Kirkpatrick, who had begun her political career in the (Trotskyist) Young People’s Socialist League, a branch of the Shachtmanist-orientated Socialist Party, as had many other ‘neo-cons.’

[76] The Social Democrats USA had originated in 1972 after a split with the Trotskyist-orientated Socialist Party. The honorary chairman of the Social Democrats USA until his death in 1984 was Prof. Sidney Hook.

[77] Glotzer was a leading Trotskyist. Expelled from the Communist Party USA in 1928 along with Max Shachtman, they founded the Communist League and the subsequent factions. When the Socialist Party factionalised in 1972 Glotzer joined the Social Democrats – USA faction, which remained closest to Shachtmanism, and which supported US foreign policy. Even in 1981 Glotzer was still involved with luminaries of the Socialist Workers Party. “British Trotskyism in 1931”, Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism Online: Revolutionary History, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol1/no1/glotzer.html (Accessed 7 March 2010).

[78] Rachelle Horowitz, “Tom Kahn and the Fight for Democracy: A Political Portrait and Personal Recollection”, Dissent Magazine, pp. 238-239. http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d11Horowitz.pdf (Accessed 8 March 2010).

[79] Ibid., p. 209.

[80] Ibid. p 211.

[81] Ibid., p. 234.

[82] Ibid., p. 235.

[83] Ibid., p. 246.

[84] ‘About NED’, National Endowment for Democracy, http://www.ned.org/about (accessed 7 March 2010).

[85] David Lowe, ‘Idea to Reality: NED at 25: Reauthorization’, NED, http://www.ned.org/about/history (accessed 7 March 2010).

 


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URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/02/trotsky-stalin-and-the-cold-war/

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[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/trotsky2.jpg

[2] Stalin: The Enduring Legacy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1908476443/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1908476443&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[3] http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html

[4] http://www.wsws.org/exhibits/trotsky/trlect.htm: http://www.wsws.org/exhibits/trotsky/trlect.htm

[5] http://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/intro.htm: http://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/intro.htm

[6] http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol1/no1/glotzer.html: http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol1/no1/glotzer.html

[7] http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/natalia38.html: http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/socialistvoice/natalia38.html

[8] http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/jefflect.html: http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/jefflect.html

[9] http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=699&loc=r: http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=699&loc=r

[10] http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d11Khan.pdf: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/democratiya/article_pdfs/d11Khan.pdf

dimanche, 16 septembre 2012

Léon Trotski et le cinéma comme moyen de conditionnement de masse

leon-trotsky_1171376728_thumbnail.jpg

Nicolas BONNAL:

Léon Trotski et le cinéma comme moyen de conditionnement de masse (et de remplacement du christianisme)

 
 
En 1923, Trotski est encore au pouvoir en URSS. Il rédige un ensemble de textes sur la question du mode de vie : un de ces textes concernant l’utilisation du cinéma comme moyen de propagande et d’élimination de toute vie religieuse et chrétienne. Comme le cinéma a essentiellement servi à cette fonction au XXe siècle, avant que la télévision ne le remplace (la gluante demi-heure du Seigneur n’aura rien changé, sinon accéléré le processus), je préfère citer ce texte qui montre qu’un programme global de déchristianisation a été mis en oeuvre aussi bien dans le monde communiste que dans celui dit libre du libéralisme et de la démocratie. Cela ne fait que conformer les analyses de Kojève sur la Fin de l’Histoire et la création du petit dernier homme nietzschéen par-delà les frontières politico-stratégiques.
Trotski cherche donc à divertir et éduquer les masses. Il remarque l’intrusion du cinéma dans la vie quotidienne et son inutilisation par les Bolcheviks - on est avant le cuirassé Potemkine ! :
« Le désir de se distraire, de se divertir, de s’amuser et de rire est un désir légitime de la nature humaine... Actuellement, dans ce domaine, le cinématographe représente un instrument qui surpasse de loin tous les autres. Cette étonnante invention a pénétré la vie de l’humanité avec une rapidité encore jamais vue dans le passé. »
 
Le cinéma s’impose vite à ses yeux comme un moyen de dressage des masses - pardon, d’éducation ! Même le dessin animé a une fonction de dressage de l’enfance, comme le montre le monde de Walt Disney ou celui de Tex Avery aux USA. On peut aussi penser à Charlot ou au cinéma de Frank Capra, caricaturaux dans leurs ambitions éducatives et mimétiques.
 
« C’est un instrument qui s’offre à nous, le meilleur instrument de propagande, quelle qu’elle soit - technique, culturelle, antialcoolique, sanitaire, politique ; il permet une propagande accessible à tous, attirante, une propagande qui frappe l’imagination ; et de plus, c’est une source possible de revenus. »
La source possible de revenus a été bien exploitée du côté de Hollywood en tout cas, avec les plus grosses fortunes de l’époque ! Comme on sait, il règne une entente cordiale à l’époque entre l’URSS et l’Amérique de Roosevelt. Le cinéaste communiste et stalinien Eisenstein y sera reçu comme un roi quelques années plus tard. Je cite Eisenstein intentionnellement car il mêle subtilement dans son oeuvre le religieux (orthodoxe) et le cinématographe. Il le fait dans son chef d’oeuvre Alexandre Nevski et surtout dans Ivan le terrible. Ce n’est pas un hasard puisque l’un doit détrôner l’autre, après l’avoir vampirisé. Voici comment Trotski présente son affaire :
« Le cinématographe rivalise avec le bistrot, mais aussi avec l’Eglise. Et cette concurrence peut devenir fatale à l’Eglise si nous complétons la séparation de l’Eglise et de l’Etat socialiste par une union de l’Etat socialiste avec le cinématographe. »
 
Trotski a une vision politique et cynique de la religion, comme Hitler ou Napoléon, et sans doute bien d’autres politiciens : pour lui elle est un spectacle que l’on pourrait remplacer.
« On ne va pas du tout à l’église par esprit religieux, mais parce qu’il y fait clair, que c’est beau, qu’il y a du monde, qu’on y chante bien ; l’Eglise attire par toute une série d’appâts socio-esthétiques que n’offrent ni l’usine, ni la famille, ni la rue. La foi n’existe pas ou presque pas. En tout cas, il n’existe aucun respect de la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, aucune confiance dans la force magique du rite. On n’a pas non plus la volonté de briser avec tout cela. »
 
436px-leon_trotsky.jpgIl perçoit dans l’Eglise un ensemble de rites et de techniques dont on ferait bien de s’inspirer. C’est ce que font les gens du showbiz comme Coppola (les Baptêmes), les grandes messes ou bien sûr Madonna. Comme le rappelle Whoopi Goldberg dans Sister Act, les gens préfèrent aller à Las Vegas et payer que se rendre à la messe pour écouter gratis du chant sacré. The show is better ! Se voulant réaliste, Trotski ajoute :
« Le divertissement, la distraction jouent un énorme rôle dans les rites de l’Eglise. L’Eglise agit par des procédés théâtraux sur la vue, sur l’ouïe et sur l’odorat (l’encens !), et à travers eux - elle agit sur l’imagination. Chez l’homme, le besoin de spectacle, voir et entendre quelque chose d’inhabituel, de coloré, quelque chose qui sorte de la grisaille quotidienne -, est très grand, il est indéracinable, il le poursuit de l’enfance à la vieillesse. »
 
Optimiste pour l’avenir, Trotski estime que le cinéma remplacera l’Eglise et le reste parce qu’il offre un show plus riche et plus varié.
« Le cinématographe n’a pas besoin d’une hiérarchie diversifiée, ni de brocart, etc. ; il lui suffit d’un drap blanc pour faire naître une théâtralité beaucoup plus prenante que celle de l’église. A l’église on ne montre qu’un "acte", toujours le même d’ailleurs, tandis que le cinématographe montrera que dans le voisinage ou de l’autre côté de la rue, le même jour et à la même heure, se déroulent à la fois la Pâque païenne, juive et chrétienne. »
 
On comprend dès lors l’importance politique, psychologique, culturelle du cinéma comme moyen de dressage de masses et même des élites, puisqu’on a fait des westerns et des films de propagande des chefs d’oeuvre du genre humain et que l’on a créé le syndrome du film-culte souvent de genre satanique ou contrôle mental. Je pense aussi aux films catastrophes, éducateurs de masses en temps de crise (c’est-à-dire tout le temps) et aux films conspiratifs comme ceux de Tony Scott, qui vient de mourir d’une curieuse mort. Le réalisateur d’Ennemi d’Etat a tristement fini comme Daniel Gravotte, alias Sean Connery, jeté d’un pont dans l’Homme qui voulut être roi, mort éminemment pontife et symbolique. J’en profite pour rappeler la mort bizarre d’un certain nombre de cinéastes spécialistes du genre : Stanley Kubrick, Alan J.Pakula, Peter George (scénariste de Dr Folamour), les passionnants documentalistes Aaron Russo et Alan Francovitch. Le lecteur pourra se faire une idée en se penchent sur leur cas. Mais gare à la conspiration !
 
Je laisse encore une fois la parole à Trotski, ce grand homme et visionnaire inspirateur, si honteusement traité par le méchant Staline ! Pour beaucoup de gens à Hollywood ce fut d’ailleurs sa seule victime !
« Le cinématographe divertit, éduque, frappe l’imagination par l’image, et ôte l’envie d’entrer à l’église. Le cinématographe est un rival dangereux non seulement du bistrot, mais aussi de l’Eglise. Tel est l’instrument que nous devons maîtriser coûte que coûte!"
 

mardi, 10 janvier 2012

The Moscow Trials in Historical Context

The Moscow Trials in Historical Context

Kerry Bolton

Ex: http://www.wermodandwermod.com/

Abstract

There is a subject that generally seems to be “no go” among academe: a critical attitude towards Trotsky and a less than slanderous attitude towards his nemesis, Stalin. Submission of papers on the subject is more likely to elicit responses of the type one would expect from outraged Trotskyite diehards than those of a scholarly critique. However, the battle between Trotsky and Stalin is not just one of theoretical interest, as it laid the foundations for outlooks on Russia and strategies in regard to the Cold War. The legacy continues to shape the present era, even after the implosion of the USSR. The following paper is intended to consider the Stalinist allegations against Trotsky et al in the context of history, and how that history continues to unfold.

Introduction

Trotsky had received comparatively good press in the West, especially since World War II, when the wartime alliance with Stalin turned sour. Trotsky has been published by major corporations,[1] and is generally considered the grandfatherly figure of Bolshevism.[2] “Uncle Joe,” on the other hand, was quickly demonized as a tyrant, and the “gallant Soviet Army” that stopped the Germans at Stalingrad was turned into a threat to world freedom, when in the aftermath of World War II the USSR did not prove compliant in regard to US plans for a post-war world order.[3] However, even before the rift, basically from the beginning of the Moscow Trials, Western academics such as Professor John Dewey condemned the proceedings as a brutal travesty. The Moscow Trials are here reconsidered within the context of the historical circumstances and of the judicial system that Trotsky and other defendants had themselves played prominent roles in establishing.

A reconsideration of the Moscow Trials of the defendants Trotsky et al is important for more reasons than the purely academic. Since the scuttling of the USSR and of the Warsaw Pact by a combination of internal betrayal and of subversion undertaken by a myriad of US-based “civil societies” and NGOs backed by the likes of the George Soros network, Freedom House, National Endowment for Democracy, and dozens of other such entities,[4] Russia – after the Yeltsin interregnum of subservience to globalisation –has sought to recreate herself as a power that offers a multipolar rather than a unipolar world. A reborn Russia and the reshaping of a new geopolitical bloc which responds to Russian leadership, is therefore of importance to all those throughout the world who are cynical about the prospect of a “new world order” dominated by “American ideals.” US foreign policy analysts, “statesmen” (sic), opinion moulders, and lobbyists still have nightmares about Stalin and the possibility of a Stalin-type figure arising who will re-establish Russia’s position in the world. For example, Putin, a “strongman” type in Western-liberal eyes at least, has been ambivalent about the role of Stalin in history, such ambivalence, rather than unequivocal rejection, being sufficient to make oligarchs in the USA and Russia herself, nervous. Hence, The Sunday Times, commenting on the Putin phenomena being dangerously reminiscent of Stalinism, stated recently:

Joseph Stalin sent millions to their deaths during his reign of terror, and his name was taboo for decades, but the dictator is a step closer to rehabilitation after Vladimir Putin openly praised his achievements.

The Prime Minister and former KGB agent used an appearance on national television to give credit to Stalin for making the Soviet Union an industrial superpower, and for defeating Hitler in the Second World War.

In a verdict that will be obediently absorbed by a state bureaucracy long used to taking its cue from above, Mr Putin declared that it was “impossible to make a judgment in general” about the man who presided over the Gulag slave camps. His view contrasted sharply with that of President Medvedev, Russia’s nominal leader, who has said that there is no excuse for the terror unleashed by Stalin.

Mr Putin said that he had deliberately included the issue of Stalin’s legacy in a marathon annual question-and-answer programme on live television, because it was being “actively discussed” by Russians.[5]

While The Times’ Halpin commented that Putin nonetheless gave the obligatory comments about the brutality of Stalin’s regime, following a forceful condemnation of Stalin by Medvedev on October 9, 2009, it is worrying nonetheless that Putin could state that positive aspects “undoubtedly existed.” Such comments are the same as if a leading German political figure had stated that some positive aspects of Hitler “undoubtedly existed.” The guilt complex of Stalinist tyranny, having its origins in Trotskyite Stalinophobia, which has been carried over into the present “Cold War II” era of a bastardous mixture of “neo-cons” (i.e., post-Trotskyites) and Soros type globalists, often working in tandem despite their supposed differences,[6] is supposed to keep Russian down in perpetuity. Should Russia rise again, however, the spectre of Stalin is there to frighten the world into adherence to US policy in the same way that the “war on terrorism” is designed to dragoon the world behind the USA. Just as importantly, The Times article commented on Putin’s opposition to the Russian oligarchy, which has been presented by the Western news media as a “human rights issue”:

During the television programme, Mr Putin demonstrated his populist instincts by lashing out at Russia’s billionaire class for their vulgar displays of wealth. His comments came after a scandal in Geneva, when an elderly man was critically injured in an accident after an alleged road race involving the children of wealthy Russians in a Lamborghini and three other sports cars. “The nouveaux riches all of a sudden got rich very quickly, but they cannot manage their wealth without showing it off all the time. Yes, this is our problem,” Mr Putin said.[7]

This all seems lamentably (for the plutocrats) like a replay of what happened after the Bolshevik Revolution when Stalin kicked out Trotsky et al. Under Trotsky, the Bolshevik regime would have eagerly sought foreign capital.[8] It is after all why plutocrats would have had such an interest in ensuring Trotsky’s safe passage back to Russia in time for the Bolshevik coup, after having had a pleasant stay with his family in the USA as a guest of Julius Hammer, and having been comfortably ensconced in an upmarket flat, with a chauffeur at the family’s disposal.[9] In 1923 the omnipresent globalist think tank the Council on Foreign Relations, was warning investors to hurry up and get into Soviet Russia before something went wrong,[10] which it did a few years later. Under Stalin, even Western technicians were not trusted.[11]

Of particular note, however, is that well-placed Russian politicians and academics are still very aware of the globalist apparatus that is working for what is frequently identified in Russia as a “new world order,” and the responsibility Russia has in reasserting herself to lead in reshaping a “multipolar” world contra American hegemony. This influences Russia’s foreign policy, perhaps the most significant manifestation being the BRIC alliance,[12] despite what this writer regards as the very dangerous liaison with China.[13]

What is dismissed as “fringe conspiracy theory” by the superficial and generally “kept” Western news media and academia, is reported and discussed, among the highest echelons of Russian media, politics, military, and intelligentsia, with an analytical methodology that is all but gone from Western journalism and research. For example the Russian geopolitical theorist Alexander Dugin is a well-respected academic who lectures at Moscow State University under the auspices of the Center for Conservative Studies, which is part of the Department of Sociology (International Relations)[14] The subjects discussed by Professor Dugin and his colleagues and students feature the menace of world government and the challenges of globalism to Russian statehood. The movement he inspired, Eurasianism, has many prominent people in Russia and elsewhere.[15]

Perhaps the best indication of Russia’s persistence in remaining resistant to globalist and hegemonic schemes for world re-organization is the information that is published by the Ministry of International Affairs. Despite the disclaimer, the articles and analyses are a far cry from the shallowness of the mainstream news media of the Western world. Articles posted by the Ministry as this paper is written include a cynical consideration of the North African revolutions and the role of “social media;”[16] and an article pointing to the immense socio-economic benefits wrought by the Qaddafi regime, which is now being targeted by revolts “backed by Western intelligence services.”[17] Political analyst Sergei Shashkov theorizes that:

Recent events perfectly fit into the US-invented concept of “manageable chaos” (also known as “controlled instability” theory). Among its authors are: Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish American political scientist, Gene Sharp, who wrote From Dictatorship to Democracy, and Steven Mann, whose Chaos Theory and Strategic Thought was published in Washington in 1992, and who was involved in plotting “color revolutions” in some former Soviet republics.[18]

The only place one is going to get that type of analyses in the West is in alternative media sources such as The Foreign Policy Journal or Global Research. What Western government Ministry would have the independence of mind to circulate analyses of this type? Russians have the opportunity to be the most well-informed people in the world in matters that are of real importance. Westerners, on the other hand, do have that essential freedom – to watch US sitcoms and keep abreast of the tittle-tattle of movie stars and pop singers. Clearly, Russia is not readily succumbing to the type of post-Cold War world as envisaged by plutocrats and US hegemonists, expressed by George H W Bush in his hopes for a “new world order” after the demise of the Soviet bloc.[19] Beginning with Putin, Russia has refused to co-operate in the establishment of the “new world order” just as Stalin did not go along with similar schemes intended for the post-World War II era.

The purging of the USSR of Trotskyites and others by Stalin constituted the first significant move against plutocratic aspirations for Russia. The subsequent Russophobia that continues among American foreign policy and other influential circles has an ideological and historical framework arising to a significant extent therefore. The Moscow Trials, and the reaction symbolized by the Dewey Commission, gave primary impetus to a movement that was to metamorphose from Trotskyism to post-Trotskyism and ultimately to the oddly named “neo- conservatism,” and to leading NGOs such as the National Endowment for Democracy. The foundation for the present historical phenomena in regard to Russia was being embryonically shaped even within the Dewey Commission, certain of whose members ended up becoming Cold Warriors.

In the spirit of this legacy, the oligarchs, who were to be unleashed on Russia after the destruction of the USSR, are being upheld by their champions in the West as victims of neo-Stalinism, and their trials are being compared to those of Stalin’s “Moscow Show Trials.” Hence, American Professor Paul Gregory, a Fellow of the Hoover Institution, co-editor of the “Yale-Hoover Series on Stalin, Stalinism, and Cold War,” etc., writes of the trial of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky:

When the history of Russian justice is written fifty years from now, two landmark court cases will stand out: The death sentence of Nikolai Bukharin in his Moscow show trial of March 1938 and the second prison sentence of Mikhail Khodorkovsky expected December 27, 2010. Both processes teach the same object lesson: anyone who crosses the Kremlin will be punished without mercy. There will be no protection in the courts for the innocent, and the guilty verdict and sentence will be already predetermined behind the Kremlin walls. It also does not matter how preposterous or ludicrous the charges. Vladimir Putin was born in 1952, only one year before Stalin’s death. But Stalin’s system of justice was institutionalized and survived Stalin and the collapse of the Soviet Union, for use by apt pupils such as Putin . . . [20]

If Russia continues to take a “wrong turn” (sic) as it is termed by the US foreign policy Establishment,[21] then we can expect the regime to be increasingly demonized by being compared to that of Stalin, just as other regimes ripe for “change,” (such as Milosovic’s Serbia, Saddam’s Iraq and Qaddafi’s Libya) according to the agenda of the globalists, are demonized. John McCain, stated on the Floor of the Senate, speaking of the “New START Treaty” with Russia, that the Khodorkovsky trial indicated that flawed nature of Russia, although McCain admitted that he was “under no illusions” that some of the gains of the oligarch might have been “ill-gotten.”[22] However, to those who do not like the prospect of a renewal of Russia influence, Khodorkovsky is a symbol of the type of Russia they hoped would emerge after the demise of the USSR, and the oligarchs are portrayed as victims of Stalin-like injustice. Old Trot Carl Gershman, the founding president of the Congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy, used the Khodorkovsky sentencing as the primary point of condemnation of Russia in his summing up of the world situation frordemocracy in 2010, when stating that:

As 2010 drew to a close, the backsliding accelerated with a flurry of new setbacks—notably the rigged re-sentencing of dissident entrepreneur Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Russia, the brutal repression of the political opposition in Belarus following the December 19 presidential election, and the passage of a spate of repressive new laws in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez assumed decree powers.[23]

One can expect “velvet revolutions” to break out in Belarus and Venezuela at any time now, although Russia will obviously take longer to deal with. Hence the vitriol will take on increasingly Cold War proportions, with the accusation of a Stalinist revival being used as prime propaganda material. It is against this background that the legacy of Stalin, including the Moscow Trials for which he is particularly condemned, should be examined.

Background of the Trials

The Moscow Trials comprised three events: The first trial, held in August 1936, involved 16 members of the “Trotskyite-Kamenevite-Zinovievite-Leftist-Counter-Revolutionary Bloc.” The two main defendants were Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. The primary accusations against the defendants were that they had, in alliance with Trotsky, been involved in the assassination of Sergey Kirov in 1934, and of plotting to kill Stalin.[24] After confessing to the charges, all were sentenced to death and executed.

The second trial in January 1937 of the “anti-Soviet Trotskyite-Centre” comprised 17 defendants, including Karl Radek, Yuri Piatakov and Grigory Sokolnikov, who were accused of plotting with Trotsky, who was said to be in league with Nazi Germany. Thirteen of the defendants were executed, and the remainder died in labor camps.

The third trial was held in 1938 against the “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyists,” with Bukharin as the chief defendant. They were accused of having planned to assassinate Lenin and Stalin in 1918, and of having plotted to dismember the USSR for the benefit of foreign powers.

These trials have been condemned as “show trials” yet the very openness to foreign journalists and diplomats, as distinct from secret tribunals, is surely an approach that is to be commended rather than condemned. It also indicates the confidence the Soviet authorities had in their charges against the accused, allowing the processes to be subjected to foreign scrutiny and comment.

The world generally has come to know the Moscow Trials as a collective travesty based on torture, threats to families and forced confessions, with the defendants in confused states, declaring their confessions of guilt by rote, as if hypnotised. The trials are considered in every sense modern-day “witch trials.” For example, Prof. Sidney Hook, co-founder of the “Dewey Commission,” cogently expressed the widely held view of the trials many years later that, “The confessions, exacted by threats and torture, physical and psychological, whose precise nature has never been disclosed, consisted largely of alleged ‘conversations about conversations.’”[25] However the opinions of first-hand observers are not unanimous in condemning the methodology of the trials. The US Ambassador to the USSR, himself a lawyer, Joseph E Davies, was to write of the trials in his memoirs published in 1945 (that is, about seven years after the Dewey Commission had supposedly proven the trials to have been a travesty):

At 12 o’clock noon accompanied by Counselor Henderson I went to this trial. Special arrangements were made for tickets for the Diplomatic Corps to have seats. . . . [26] . . . On both sides of the central aisle were rows of seats occupied entirely by different groups of “workers” at each session, with the exception of a few rows in the centre of the hall reserved for correspondents, local and foreign, and for the Diplomatic Corps. The different groups of “workers,” I am advised, were charged with the duty of taking back reports of the trials to their various organizations.[27]

Davies stated that among the foreign press corps were the following representatives: Walter Duranty and Harold Denny from The New York Times, Joe Barnew and Joe Phillips from The New York Herald Tribune, Charlie Nutter or Nick Massock from Associated Press, Norman Deuel and Henry Schapiro from United Press, Jim Brown from International News, and Spencer Williams from The Manchester Guardian. The London Observer, hardly pro-Soviet, opined that: “It is futile to think the trial was staged and the charges trumped up. The Government’s case against the defendants is genuine.”[28] Duranty from The New York Times stated of the 1936 trial of Kamenev, Zinoviev, et al that:

. . . The writer knows beyond doubt that the assassin [of Kirov] was used as an instrument for the needs of political terrorism… No one acquainted with present European politics can fail to realize that, whereas the Soviet government is doing it utmost to maintain peace, there are certain so-called Trotskyist organizations that are trying to cause trouble…[29]

Of Soviet prosecutor Andrei Vyshinsky, Davies opined that: “the prosecutor … conducted the case calmly and generally with admirable moderation.” Especially notable, given the subsequent claims that were made about the allegedly confused, brainwashed appearance and tone of the defendants, Davies observed: “There was nothing unusual in the appearance of the accused. They all appeared well nourished and normal physically.”[30] A delegation of the International Association of Lawyers stated:

We consider the claim that the proceedings were summary and unlawful to be totally unfounded. The accused were given the opportunity of taking counsels.... We hereby categorically declare that the accused were sentenced quite lawfully.[31]

In 1936 the British Labour Member of Parliament, D N Pritt KC, wrote extensively of his observations on the first Moscow Trial. In the lengthy article published in Russia Today, Pritt, after alluding to the apparently good condition of the defendants who, in accord with the observations of Davies, did not appear to have suffered under Soviet detention, wrote:

The first thing that struck me, as an English lawyer, was the almost free-and-easy demeanour of the prisoners. They all looked well; they all got up and spoke, even at length, whenever they wanted to do so (for the matter of that, they strolled out, with a guard, when they wanted to).

The one or two witnesses who were called by the prosecution were cross-examined by the prisoners who were affected by their evidence, with the same freedom as would have been the case in England.

The prisoners voluntarily renounced counsel; they could have had counsel without fee had they wished, but they preferred to dispense with them. And having regard to their pleas of guilty and to their own ability to speak, amounting in most cases to real eloquence, they probably did not suffer by their decision, able as some of my Moscow colleagues are.[32]

Pritt was struck by the informality of the proceedings, and commented on how the defendants could interrupt at will, in what seems to have been a freewheeling debate:

The most striking novelty, perhaps, to an English lawyer, was the easy way in which first one and then another prisoner would intervene in the course of the examination of one of their co-defendants, without any objection from the Court or from the prosecutor, so that one got the impression of a quick and vivid debate between four people, the prosecutor and three prisoners, all talking together, if not actually at the same moment—a method which, whilst impossible with a jury, is certainly conducive to clearing up disputes of fact with some rapidity. [33]

Pritt’s view of Vyshinsky is in accord with that of Davies, stating of the prosecutor: “He spoke with vigour and clarity. He seldom raised his voice. He never ranted, or shouted, or thumped the table. He rarely looked at the public or played for effect.”[34] Pritt stated that the fifteen defendants[35] “spoke without any embarrassment or hindrance.” Such was Pritt’s view of the proceedings that his concluding remark states: “But it is equally clear that the judicature and the prosecuting attorney of USSR have taken at least as great a step towards establishing their reputation among the legal systems of the modern world.”[36]

Although Pritt was a Labour Member of Parliament, and was not a communist party member, he was pro-Soviet. Was he, then, capable of forming an objective, professional opinion? Anecdotal evidence suggests he was. Jeremy Murray-Brown, biographer of the Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta, writing to the editor of Commentary in connection with the Moscow Trials, relates that he had had discussions with Pritt in 1970, in the course of which he asked Pritt about the trials:

His reply astonished me. “I thought they were all guilty,” he said, referring to Bukharin and his co-defendants. It was as simple as that; Pritt made no attempt at political justification, but reaffirmed what was for him a matter of clear professional judgment. …In terms of the Soviet Union’s own judicial system, Pritt said, he firmly believed the defendants in the Moscow trials were guilty as charged. It was an argument which came oddly from the man who defended Kenyatta.[37]

Kenyatta, whom Pritt went to Kenya to defend before a British colonial court, had been “evasive” under cross-examination, Pritt stated.[38] Pritt, despite his support for Kenyatta was able to judge the veracity of proceedings regardless of political bias, and had maintained his view of the Moscow trials even in 1970, when it would have been opportune, even among Soviet sympathizers, to conform to the accepted view, including the declarations of Khrushchev. Indeed, Sidney Hook, long since having become a Cold Warrior in the service of the USA, retorted:

In reply to Jeremy Murray-Brown: the significance of D N Pritt’s infamous defense of the infamous Moscow frame-up trials must be appraised in the light of Khrushchev’s revelations of Stalin’s crimes available to the public (outside the Soviet Union) long before Pritt’s avowals to Mr Murray-Brown. Pritt cannot have been unaware of them.[39]

Of course Pritt was not unaware of Khrushchev’s so-called “revelations.” Unlike many former admirers of Stalin, he was simply not impressed by their veracity, and it must be assumed that his scepticism was based on both his eminent judicial experience and his first-hand observations. Certainly, Sidney Hook’s leading role in the formation of the “Dewey Commission” for the exoneration of Trotsky on the pretext of “impartial” hearings, was itself a cynical travesty, as will be considered in this paper.

If there was a general consensus that the proceedings were legitimate, and a quite sceptical attitude towards the findings of the Dewey Commission, despite the eminence of its front man, Prof. John Dewey, what changed to result in such a dramatic and almost universal reversal of opinion? It was a change of perception in regard to Stalin in the aftermath of World War II, and not due to any sudden revelations about the Moscow Trials or about Stalin’s tyranny. The wartime alliance, which, it was assumed, would endure during the post-war era, instead gave way to the Cold War.[40] Such was the hatred of the Trotskyites for the USSR that they were willing to enlist in the ranks of the anti-Soviet crusade even to the extent of working for the CIA[41], and supporting the US in Korea and Vietnam to counter Soviet influence.[42] Their services, as experienced anti-Soviet propagandists, were eagerly sought. Hence the findings of the Dewey Commission, largely ignored in their own time, are now heralded as definitive. The nature of this “Dewey Commission” will now be considered.

“Preliminary Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made Against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials”

The so-called Dewey Commission, the full title of which was the “Preliminary Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made Against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials,” having a legalistic and even official sound to it, was convened in March 1937 on the initiative of the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky as a supposedly “impartial body.”[43] The purpose was said to be, “to ascertain all the available facts about the Moscow Trial proceedings in which Trotsky and his son, Leon Sedov, were the principal accused and to render a judgment based upon those facts.”[44] However, the composition of the Commission indicates that it was set up as a counter-show trial with the preconceived intention of exonerating Trotsky, and was created at the instigation of Trotsky himself.

The stage was set with the founding of the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky by Prof. Sidney Hook, who persuaded his mentor, Prof. John Dewey, to front for it. Just how “impartial” the Dewey Commission was might be deduced not only from its having been initiated by those sympathetic towards Trotsky, but also by a comment in a Time report at the occasion of Trotsky’s deportation from Norway en route to Mexico: “The American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky spat accusations at the Norwegian Government last week for its ‘indecent and filthy’ behavior in placing the Great Exile & Mme Trotsky on the Norwegian tanker Ruth…”[45]

The mock “trial” organised by the Dewey Commission was prompted by a “demand” from Trotsky from his new abode in Mexico, who “publicly demanded the formation of an international commission of inquiry, since he had been deprived of any opportunity to reply to the accusations before a legally constituted court.”[46] A sub-commission was formed to travel to Mexico and to allow Trotsky to give testimony in his defense under what was supposed to include “cross-examination.” The sub-commission comprised:

  • John Dewey as chairman, described by Novack as America’s foremost liberal and philosopher;
  • Otto Ruehle, a German Marxist and former Reichstag Deputy;
  • Alfred Rosmer, former member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (1920-21);
  • Wendelin Thomas, leader of the sailor’s revolt in Germany in 1918 and a former Communist Deputy in the Reichstag; and
  • Carlo Tresca, Italian-American anarchist.[47]

Other members, whose political orientations are not mentioned by Novack, were:

  • ·        Benjamin Stolberg, American journalist;
  • ·        Suzanne La Follette, American journalist;
  • ·         Carleton Beals, authority on Latin-American affairs;
  • ·        Edward A Ross, Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin;
  • ·         John Chamberlain, former literary critic of the New York Times; and
  • ·         Francisco Zamora, Mexican journalist.

Of these, Stolberg was a supporter of the Socialist Party, described by fellow commissioner Carleton Beals as being, along with other commissioners, thoroughly under Trotsky’s spell.[48] Suzanne La Follette was described by Beals as having a “worshipful” attitude towards Trotsky.[49] Edward A Ross, who had gone to Soviet Russia in 1917 had come back with a pro-Bolshevik sentiment, writing The Russian Bolshevik Revolution (1921) and The Russian Soviet Republic (1923). John Chamberlain, a Left-leaning liberal by his own description[50], was among those who became so obsessively anti-Soviet that they ended up as avid Cold Warriors in the US camp.[51] In 1946 Chamberlain and Suzanne La Follette, along with free market guru Henry Hazlitt, founded the libertarian journal The Freeman.[52] Both can therefore be regarded as among the many Trotsky-sympathizers who became apologists for American foreign policy,[53] and laid the foundation for the so-called “neo-conservative” movement. Chamberlain and La Follette continued to pursue a vigorous anti-Soviet line at the earliest stages of the Cold War.[54]

Trotsky’s lawyer for the Mexico hearings was Albert Goldman, who had joined the Communist Party of America on its founding in 1920. He was expelled from the party in 1933 for Trotskyism. Goldman was another Trotskyite who became a pro-US Cold Warrior.[55] The Dewey Commission’s “court reporter” (sic) was Albert M Glotzer, who had been expelled from the Communist Party USA in 1928 and with prominent American Trotskyite Max Shachtman, had founded the Communist League and subsequent factions, including the Social Democrats USA,[56] whose executive Secretary had been Carl Gershman, founding president of the National Endowment for Democracy. Glotzer had also served as Trotsky’s secretary in Turkey in 1931, and had met him on other occasions.[57] The Social Democrats USA provided particular support for the Cold War hawk, Sen. Henry Jackson, and has produced other foreign policy hawks such as Elliott Abrams.

Under the façade of an “impartial enquiry” and with a convoluted title that suggests a bona fide judicial basis, the Dewey Commission proceeded to Mexico to “interrogate” (sic) Trotsky on the pretence of objectivity;[58] an image that was to be quickly exposed by the resignation of one of the Commissioners, Carleton Beals.

"Trotsky's Pink Tea Party": The Beals Resignation

Although one would hardly suspect it now, at the time the Dewey Commission was perceived by many as lacking credibility. Time reported that when Dewey returned from Mexico the “kindly, grizzled professor” told a crowd of 3,500 in Manhattan that the preliminary results of the sub-commission justified the continuation of the Commission’s enquiries in the USA and elsewhere. Time offered the view that, “by last week the committee had proved nothing at all,” despite Dewey’s positive spin.[59] Time in referring to the resignation of Carleton Beals cited him as stating that the hearings had been “unduly influenced in Trotsky’s favor,” Beals having “resigned in disgust.”[60] The Dewey report appended a statement attempting to deal with Beals.[61] In a reply to Dewey, Beals wrote in The Saturday Evening Post that despite the publicly stated intention of the enquiry to determine the innocence or guilt of Trotsky the attitudes of the sub-commission members towards Trotsky were those of reverence:

“I want to weep,” remarks one commissioner as we pass out into the frowzy street, “to think of him being here.” All, including Doctor Dewey, chairman of the investigatory commission, join in the chorus of sorrow over Trotsky’s fallen star - except one commissioner, who sees the pathos of human change in less personal terms.[62]

Beals observing Trotsky in action considered that,

above all, his mental faculties are blurred by a consuming lust of hate for Stalin, a furious uncontrollable venom which has its counterpart in something bordering on a persecution complex - all who disagree with him are bunched in the simple formula of GPU agents, people “corrupted by the gold of Stalin.”[63]

It is evident from Beals’ comments - and Beals had no particular axe to grind - that the persona of Trotsky was far from the rational demeanour of a wronged victim. From Beals’ comments Trotsky seems to have presented himself in a manner that is suggestive of the descriptions often levelled against the Stalinist judiciary, making wild accusations about the supposed Stalinist affiliations of any detractors. Beals questioned Trotsky concerning his archives, since Trotsky was making numerous references to them to prove his innocence, but Trotsky “hems and haws.” While Trotsky denied that his archives had been purged of anything incriminating, important documents had been taken out. A primary insistence of Trotsky’s defense was his denial of having any communication with the accused after 1929. However Dr J Arch Getty comments:

Yet it is now clear that in 1932 he sent secret personal letters to former leading oppositionists Karl Radek, G. Sokol’nikov, E. Preobrazhensky, and others. While the contents of these letters are unknown, it seems reasonable to believe that they involved an attempt to persuade the addressees to return to opposition.[64]

Unlike virtually all Trotsky’s other letters (including even the most sensitive) no copies of these remain in the Trotsky Papers. It seems likely that they have been removed from the Papers at some time. Only the certified mail receipts remain. At his 1937 trial, Karl Radek testified that he had received a letter from Trotsky containing “terrorist instructions,” but we do not know whether this was the letter in question.[65]

It can be noted here that, as will be related below, Russian scholar Prof. Rogovin, in seeking to show that the Opposition bloc maintained an effective resistance to Stalin, also stated that a “united anti-Stalin bloc” did form in 1932, despite Trotsky’s claim at the Dewey hearings that there had been no significant contact with any of the Moscow defendants since 1929. Beals found it difficult to believe Trotsky’s insistence that his contacts inside the USSR had since 1930 consisted of no more than a half dozen letters to individuals. If it was the case that Trotsky no longer had a network within the USSR then he and the Fourth International, and Trotskyism generally, must have been nothing other than bluster.[66]

Beals’ less than deferential line of questioning created antagonism with the rest of the Commission. They began to change the rules of questioning without consulting him. Beals concluded by stating that either Finerty, whom he regarded as acting like Trotsky’s lawyer instead of that of the commission’s counsel, resign, or he would. Suzanne LaFollette “burst into tears” and implored Beals to apologise to Finerty, otherwise the “great historical occasion” would be “marred.” Beals left the room of the Mexican villa with the Commissioners chasing after him. Dewey was left to try and rationalize the situation with the press, while Beals countered that “the commission’s investigations were a fraud.”[67] In the concluding remarks of his article, with the subheading “The Trial that Proved Nothing,” Beals stated that:

  • There had been no adequate cross-examination.
  • The Trotsky archives had not been examined.
  • The cross-examination was a “scant day and a half,” mostly taken up with questions about the Russian Revolution, relations with Lenin, and questions about dialectical theory.
  • Most of the evidence submitted was in the form of Trotsky’s articles and books, which could have been consulted at a library.

The commission then resumed in New York, about which Beals predicted, “no amount of fumbling over documents in New York can correct the omissions and errors of its Mexican expedition,” adding:

From the press I learned that seven other commissions were at work in Europe, and that these would send representatives to form part of the larger commission. I was unable to find out how these European commissions had been created, who were members of them. I suspected them of being small cliques of Trotsky’s own followers. I was unable to put my seal of approval on the work of our commission in Mexico. I did not wish my name used merely as a sounding board for the doctrines of Trotsky and his followers. Nor did I care to participate in the work of the larger organization, whose methods were not revealed to me, the personnel of which was still a mystery to me.

Doubtless, considerable information will be scraped together. But if the commission in Mexico is an example, the selection of the facts will be biased, and their interpretation will mean nothing if trusted to a purely pro-Trotsky clique. As for me, a sadder and wiser man, I say, a plague on both their houses.[68]

As can be seen from the last sentence of the above, Beals was not aligned to either Trotsky or Stalin. He had accepted a position with the Dewey Commission in the belief that it sought to get to the matter of the accusations against the Moscow defendants, and specifically Trotsky, in a professional manner. What Beals found was a set-up that was predetermined to exonerate Trotsky and give the “Old Man” a podium upon which to vent his spleen against his nemesis, Stalin. It is also apparent that Trotsky attempted to detract accusations by alleging that anyone who doubted his word was in the pay of Stalin. Yet today the consensus among scholars is that Stalin contrived false allegations about Trotsky et al, and any suggestion to the contrary is met with vehemence rather than with scholarly rebuttal.[69]

The third session of the Mexico hearings largely proceeded on the question of the relations between Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev, and the formation of the Stalin-Kamenev-Zinoviev troika that ran the Soviet state when Lenin became incapacitated. The primary point was that Kamenev and Zinoviev were historically rivals of Trotsky and allies of Stalin in the jockeying for leadership. However, the Moscow testimony also deals with the split of the troika, when alliances changed and Zinoviev and Kamenev became allied with Trotsky. Trotsky in reply to a question from Goldman as to the time of the split, replied: “It was during the preparation, the secret preparation of the split. It was in the second half of 1925. It appeared openly at the Fourteenth Congress of the Party. That was the beginning of 1926.”

Trotsky was asked to explain the origins of the Zinoviev split with Stalin and the duration of the alliance with Trotsky. This, it should be noted, was at the time of an all-out offensive against Stalin, during which, Trotsky explains in his memoirs, “In the Autumn the Opposition even made an open sortie at the meeting of Party locals.”[70] At the time the “New Opposition” group led by Zinoviev and Kamenev aligned with Trotsky to form the “United Opposition.” Trotsky also stated in his memoirs that Zinoviev and Kamenev, despite being ideologically at odds with Stalin, tried to retain their influence within the party, Trotsky having been outvoted by the Bolshevik Party membership which had in a general referendum voted 740,000 to 4,000 to repudiate him:

Zinoviev and Kamenev soon found themselves in hostile opposition to Stalin; when they tried to transfer the dispute from the trio to the Central Committee, they discovered that Stalin had a solid majority there. They accepted the basic principles of our platform. In such circumstances, it was impossible not to form a bloc with them, especially since thousands of revolutionary Leningrad workers were behind them.[71]

It seems disingenuous that Trotsky could subsequently claim that there could not have been a further alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev, given that alliances were constantly changing, and that these old Bolshevik idealists seem to have been thoroughgoing careerists and opportunists willing to embrace any alliance that would further their positions. Trotsky cited the report of the party Central Committee of the July 1926 meeting at which Zinoviev confessed his “two most important mistakes;” that of having opposed the October 1917 Revolution, and that of aligning with Stalin in forming the “bureaucratic-apparatus of oppression.” Zinoviev added that Trotsky had “warned with justice of the dangers of the deviation from the proletarian line and of the menacing growth of the apparatus regime. Yes, in the question of the bureaucratic-apparatus oppression, Trotsky was right against us.”[72]

During 1927 the alliance between Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev had fallen apart as Zinoviev and Kamenev again sought to flow with the tide. The break with Trotsky came just a few weeks before Trotsky’s expulsion from the Party, as the “Zinoviev group” wanted to avoid expulsion. However all the oppositionists were expelled from the party at the next Congress. Six months after their expulsion and exile to Siberia, Kamenev and Zinoviev reversed their position again, and they were readmitted to the party.

During 1927 Trotsky states that many young revolutionaries came to him eager to oppose Stalin for his having betrayed the Chinese Communists by insisting they subordinate themselves to Chiang Kai-shek. Trotsky claimed: “Hundreds and thousands of revolutionaries of the new generation were grouped about us… at present there are thousands of such young revolutionaries who are augmenting their political experience by studying theory in the prisons and the exile of the Stalin regime.”[73] With this backing the opposition launched its offensive against the Party:

The leading group of the opposition faced this finale with its eyes wide open. We realized only too clearly that we could make our ideas the common property of the new generation not by diplomacy and evasions but only by an open struggle which shirked none of the practical consequences. We went to meet the inevitable debacle, confident, however, that we were paving the way for the triumph of our ideas in a more distant future.[74]

Trotsky then referred to “illegal means” as the only method by which to force the opposition onto the Party at the Fifteenth Congress at the end of 1927. From Trotsky’s description of the tumultuous events during 1927 it seems clear that this was a revolutionary situation that the opposition was trying to create that would overthrow the regime just as the October 1917 coup had overthrown Kerensky:

Secret meetings were held in various parts of Moscow and Leningrad, attended by workers and students of both sexes…. In all, about 20,000 people attended such meetings in Moscow and Leningrad. The number was growing. The opposition cleverly prepared a huge meeting in the hall of the High Technical School, which had been occupied from within. The hall was crammed with two thousand people, while a huge crowd remained outside in the street. The attempts of the administration to stop the meeting proved ineffectual. Kamenev and I spoke for about two hours. Finally the Central Committee issued an appeal to the workers to break up the meetings of the opposition by force. This appeal was merely a screen for carefully prepared attacks on the opposition by military units under the guidance of the GPU. Stalin wanted a bloody settlement of the conflict. We gave the signal for a temporary discontinuance of the large meetings. But this was not until after the demonstration of November 7.[75]

In October 1927, the Central Executive Committee held its session in Leningrad, and a mass official demonstration was staged in honour of the event. Trotsky recorded that the demonstration was taken over by Zinoviev and himself and their followers by the thousands, with support from sections of the military and police. This was shortly followed by a similar event in Moscow commemorating the October 1917 Revolution, during which the opposition infiltrated the parades. A similar attempt at a parade in Leningrad resulted in the detention of Zinoviev and Radek, but Zinoviev wrote optimistically to Trotsky that this would play into their hands. However, at the last moment, the Zinoviev group backed down in order to try and avoid expulsion from the party at the Fifteenth Congress.[76] However Trotsky admitted to having conversations with Zinoviev and Kamenev at a joint meeting at the end of 1927. Trotsky then stated that he had a final communication from Zinoviev on November 7 1927 in which Zinoviev closes: “I admit entirely that Stalin will tomorrow circulate the most venomous “versions.” We are taking steps to inform the public. Do the same. Warm greetings, Yours, G. ZINOVIEV.”[77]

As stated by Goldman, Trotsky’s counsel at Mexico, the letter was addressed to Kamenev, Trotsky, and Y P Smilga. Trotsky explained that, “Smilga is an old member of the Party, a member of the Central Committee of the Party and a member of the Opposition, of the center of the Opposition at that time.” The following questioning then took place:

Stolberg: What do you mean by the center of the Opposition? The executive committee?

Trotsky: It was an executive committee, yes, the same as a central committee.

Goldman: Of the leading comrades of the Left Opposition?

Trotsky: Yes.’[78]

Trotsky stated that thereafter he had “absolute hostility and total contempt” for those who “capitulated,” and that he wrote many articles denouncing Zinoviev and Kamenev. Goldman read from a statement by prosecutor Vyshinsky at the January 28 session of the 1937 Moscow trial:

The Trotskyites went underground, they donned the mask of repentance and pretended that they had disarmed. Obeying the instruction of Trotsky. Pyatakov and the other leaders of this gang of criminals, pursuing a policy of duplicity, camouflaging themselves, they again penetrated into the Party, again penetrated into Soviet offices, here and there they even managed to creep into responsible positions of the state, concealing for a time, as has now been established beyond a shadow of doubt, their old Trotskyite, anti-Soviet wares in their secret apartments, together with arms, codes, passwords, connections and cadres.[79]

Trotsky in reply to a question from Goldman denied any further connection with Kamenev, Zinoviev or any of the other defendants at Moscow. However, as will be considered below, Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev had formed an “anti-Stalinist bloc in June 1932,”[80] a matter only discovered after the investigations in 1935 and 1936 into the Kirov murder.

One of the features of both the first Moscow Trial of 1936 and the Dewey Commission was the allegation that defendant Holtzman, when an official for the Soviet Commissariat for Foreign Trade, had met Trotsky and his son Leon Sedov, at the Hotel Britsol in Copenhagen in 1932. It is a matter that remains the focus of critique and ridicule of the Moscow Trials. For example one Trotskyite article triumphantly declares: “Unbeknown to the prosecutors, the Hotel Bristol had been demolished in 1917! The Stalinist investigators had not done their homework.”[81] Prominent historians continue to cite the supposed non-existence of the Hotel Bristol when Trotsky and his son were supposed to be conspiring with Holtzman, as a primary example of the crass nature of the Stalinist allegations. While Trotsky confirmed that he was in Copenhagen at the time of the alleged meeting, the Dewey Commission accepted statements that the Hotel Bristol had burned down in 1917 and had never reopened. The claim had first been made by the Danish newspaper Social-Demokraten shortly after the death sentences of the 1936 trial had been carried out.[82] In response Arbejderbladet, the organ of the Danish Communist Party, pointed out that in 1932 the Grand Hotel was connected by an interior doorway to the café Konditori Bristol. Moreover both the hotel and the café were owned by a husband and wife team. Arbejderbladet editor Martin Nielsen contended that a foreigner not familiar with the area would assume that he was at the Hotel Bristol.

However these factors were ignored by the Dewey Commission, and still are ingored. Instead the Commission accepted a falsely sworn affidavit by Esther and B J Field, Trotskyites, who claimed that the Bistol café was two doors away from the Grand Hotel and that there was a clear distinction between the two enterprises. Goldman, Trotsky’s lawyer, had stated at the fifth session of the hearings in Mexico that despite the statements that Holtzman was forced to make at the 1936 Moscow trial that he had met Trotsky at the Hotel Bristol, and was “put up” there, “…immediately after the trial and during the trial, when the statement, which the Commissioners can check up on, was made by him, a report came from the Social-Democratic press in Denmark that there was no such hotel as the Hotel Bristol in Copenhagen; that there was at one time a hotel by the name of Hotel Bristol, but that was burned down in 1917…”

Goldman sought to repudiate a claim by the publication Soviet Russia Today that stated that the Bristol café is not next to the Grand Hotel, and used the Field affidavit for the purpose, and that there was no entrance connecting the two, the Fields stating,

As a matter of fact, we bought some candy once at the Konditori Bristol, and we can state definitely that it had no vestibule, lobby, or lounge in common with the Grand Hotel or any hotel, and it could not have been mistaken for a hotel in any way, and entrance to the hotel could not be obtained through it.[83]

The question of the Bristol Hotel was again raised the following day, at the 6th session of the Dewey hearings. Such was – and is – the importance attached to this in repudiating the Stalinist allegations as clumsy. In 2008 Sven-Eric Holström undertook some rudimentary enquiries into the matter. Consulting the 1933 street and telephone directories for Copenhagen he found that – the Field’s affidavit notwithstanding - the Grand Hotel and the Bristol café were located at the same address.[84] Furthermore, photographs of the period show that the street entrance to the hotel and the café were the same and the only signage from the outside states “Bristol.”[85] Again, contrary to the Field affidavit, diagrams of the building show that there was a lobby and internal entrance connecting the hotel and the café. Anyone walking off the street into the hotel would assume, on the basis of the signage and the common entrance that he had walked into a hotel called “Hotel Bristol.” Getty states that Trotsky’s papers archived at Harvard show that Holtzman, a “former” Trotskyite, had met Sedov in Berlin in 1932 “and gave him a proposal from veteran Trotskyist Ivan Smirnov and other left oppositionists in the USSR for the formation of a united opposition bloc,”[86] although Trotsky stated at the Dewey hearings on questioning by Goldman that he had never had any “direct or indirect communication” with Holtzman.

If the statements of Trotsky at to the Dewey Commission and his statements in My Life are considered in the context of the allegations presented by Vyshinsky at Moscow, a number of conclusions might be suggested:

    1. From 1925 there was a Trotsky-Zinoviev-Kamenev bloc, or an “Opposition center,” which Trotsky states had an “executive committee; which functioned as an alternative party ‘central committee.’”
    2. Although Zinoviev and Kamenev were aligned for a time with Stalin in a troika, they repudiated this in favour of a counter-revolutionary alliance with Trotsky, and spoke at mass demonstrations, along with others such as Radek.
    3. Trotsky subsequently condemned Kamenev, Zinoviev et al as “contemptible” for “capitulating,” but Zinoviev, on Trotsky’s own account, was writing to him in November 1928 and warning of what he expected to be Stalin’s attacks.
    4. Was the vehemence with which Trotsky attacked Kamenev, Zinoviev and other Moscow defendants a mere ruse to throw off suspicion in regard to a united Opposition bloc, which, according to Rogovin,[87] had been formalized as an “anti-Stalinist bloc” in 1932?
    5. On Trotsky’s own account he and Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, et al had been at the forefront of a vast counter-revolutionary organization that was of sufficient strength to organize mass disruptions of official events in Moscow and Leningrad, which also had support among military and police personnel.

From his exile in Siberia in 1928, Trotsky on his own account, despite the ever-watchful eye of the GPU, made his home the center of opposition activities.[88] Trotsky had been treated leniently in Siberian exile, and was asked to refrain from opposition activities, but responded with a defiant letter to the All-Union Communist Party and to the Executive Committee of the Communist International, in which he referred to Stalin’s “narrow faction.” He refused to renounce what he called, “the struggle for the interests of the international proletariat...” In the letter to the Politburo dated 15 March 1933, Trotsky warned in grandiose manner:

I consider it my duty to make one more attempt to appeal to the sense of responsibility of those who presently lead the Soviet state. You know conditions better than I. If the internal development proceeds further on its present course, catastrophe is inevitable.[89]

As a means of saving the Soviet Union from self-destruction Trotsky advocated that the Left Opposition be accepted back into the Bolshevik party as an independent political tendency that would co-exist with all other factions, while not repudiating its own programme:[90]

Only from open and honest cooperation between the historically produced fractions, fully transforming them into tendencies in the party and eventually dissolving into it, can concrete conditions restore confidence in the leadership and resurrect the party.[91]

With the failure of the Politburo to reply to Trotsky’s ultimatum, he published both the letter and a statement entitled “An Explanation.”[92] Trotsky then cited his “declaration” in reply to the “ultimatum” he had received to forego oppositionist activities, to the Sixth Party Congress from his remote exile in Alma Ata. In this “declaration” he stated what could also be interpreted as revolutionary opposition to the regime, insofar as he considered that the USSR under Stalin had become a bureaucratic state composed of a “depraved officialdom” that was working for “class interests hostile to the proletariat”:

To demand from a revolutionary such a renunciation (of political activity, i.e., in the service of the party and the international revolution) would be possible only for a completely depraved officialdom. Only contemptible renegades would be capable of giving such a promise. I cannot alter anything in these words ... To everyone, his due. You wish to continue carrying out policies inspired by class forces hostile to the proletariat. We know our duty and we will do it to the end.[93]

The lack of reply from the Politburo in regard to Trotsky’s ultimatum to accept him back into the Government resulted in Trotsky’s final break with the Third International and the creation of the Fourth International in rivalry with the Stalinist parties throughout the world. Trotsky declared that the Bolshevik party and those parties following the Stalinist line, as well as the Comintern now only served an “uncontrolled bureaucracy.”[94] That his aims were something other than mass education and the acceptance of a “tendency” within the Bolshevik party became clearer in 1933 when he wrote that, “No normal ‘constitutional’ ways remain to remove the ruling clique. The bureaucracy can be compelled to yield power into the hands of the proletariat only by force.”[95] What he was advocating was a palace coup that would remove Stalin with minimal disruption. This meant not “an armed insurrection against the dictatorship of the proletariat but the removal of a malignant growth upon it…” These would not be “measures of a civil war but rather the measures of a police character.”[96] The intent was unequivocal, and it appears disingenuous for Trotsky and his apologists to the present day to insist that nothing was meant other than for Trotskyism to be accepted as a “tendency” within the Bolshevik party that could debate the issues in parliamentary fashion.

If Trotsky was less than honest with the fawning Dewey Commission, the farcical “cross examination” by the Commission’s counsel was not going to expose it. Heaven forbid that Trotsky could lie to serve his own cause, and that he could be anything but a saintly figure. Certainly a less than deferential attitude toward Trotsky by Beals was sufficient to set the one objective commissioner at loggerhead with the others. Of the lie as a political weapon, Trotsky was explicit. Trotsky had written in 1938, the very year of the third Moscow Trial, an article chastising a grouplet of German Marxists for adhering to “bourgeoisie” notions of morality such as truthfulness. He stated, “that morality is a product of social development; that there is nothing invariable about it; that it serves social interests; that these interests are contradictory; that morality more than any other form of ideology has a class character.”[97]

Norms “obligatory upon all” become the less forceful the sharper the character assumed by the class struggle. The highest pitch of the class struggle is civil war which explodes into mid-air all moral ties between the hostile classes. … This vacuity in the norms obligatory upon all arises from the fact that in all decisive questions people feel their class membership considerably more profoundly and more directly than their membership in “society”. The norms of “obligatory” morality are in reality charged with class, that is, antagonistic content. … Nevertheless, lying and violence “in themselves” warrant condemnation? Of course, even as does the class society which generates them. A society without social contradictions will naturally be a society without lies and violence. However there is no way of building a bridge to that society save by revolutionary, that is, violent means. The revolution itself is a product of class society and of necessity bears its traits. From the point of view of “eternal truths’ revolution is of course “anti-moral.” … It remains to be added that the very conception of truth and lie was born of social contradictions.[98]

Given the lengthy ideological discourse on the value of the lie and the relativity of morality, it is absurd to rely on any statement Trotsky and his followers make about anything. He lied and obfuscated to the Dewey Commission in the knowledge that he was among friends.

Kirov's Murder

The year after Trotsky’s ultimatum to the Politburo (1934) the popular functionary Kirov was murdered. Trotsky’s view of Kirov was not sympathetic, calling him a “rude satrap [whose killing] does not call forth any sympathy.”[99] The consensus now seems to be that Stalin arranged for the murder of Kirov to blame the opposition as justification for launching a murderous purge against his rivals. For example Robert Conquest states that Kirov was a moderate and a popular rival to Stalin, whose murder was both a means of eliminating a rival and of launching a purge.[100] Not only Trotskyites and eminent historians such as Conquest share this view, but also it was implied by Khrushchev during his 1956 “secret address” to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party.[101] After Stalin’s death several Soviet administrations undertook investigations to try and uncover definitive evidence against him.

The original source for the accusations against Stalin regarding Kirov seems to have been an anonymous “Letter of an Old Bolshevik” published in 1937.[102] It transpired that the “Old Bolshevik” was a Menshevik, Boris Nicolaevsky, who claimed that his information came from Bukharin when the latter was in Paris in 1936. In 1988 Bukharin’s widow published a book on her late husband in which she denied that any such discussions had taken place between Bukharin and Nicolaevsky, and considered the “Letter” to be a “spurious document.”[103]

In 1955 the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party commissioned P N Pospelov, the Secretary of the Central Committee, to investigate Stalinist repression. It had been the opinion of the party by this time that Stalin had been behind the murder of Kirov. Another commission of enquiry was undertaken in 1956. Neither found evidence that Stalin had a hand in the Kirov killing but the findings were not released by Khrushchev, former foreign minister Molotov remarking of the 1956 enquiry: “The commission concluded that Stalin was not implicated in Kirov’s assassination. Khrushchev refused to have the findings published since they didn’t serve his purpose.”[104] As recently as 1989 the USSR was still making efforts to implicate Stalin, and a Politburo Commission headed by A  Yakovlev was set up. The two year enquiry concluded that: “In this affair no materials objectively support Stalin’s participation or NKVD participation in the organisation and carrying out of Kirov’s murder.”[105] The findings of this enquiry were not released either.

J Arch Getty writes of the circumstances of the Kirov murder that the OGPU and the NKVD had infiltrated opposition groups and there had been sufficient evidence obtained to consider that the so-called Zinovievites were engaged in dangerous underground activity. Stalin consequently regarded this group as being behind the assassin, Nikolayev. Although their former followers were being rounded up, Pravda announced on December 23, 1934 that there was “insufficient evidence to try Zinoviev and Kamenev for the crime.”[106] When the trial against this bloc did occur two years later it was after many interrogations, and was therefore no hasty process. From the interrogations relative to the Kirov assassination Stalin found out about the continued existence of the Opposition bloc that focused partly around Zinoviev. Vadim Rogovin, a Professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote that Kamenev and Zinoviev had rejoined Trotsky and formed “the anti-Stalinist bloc in June 1932,” although Trotsky had maintained to the Dewey Commission and subsequently, that no such alliance existed and that he had nothing but contempt for Zinoviev and Kamenev. Rogovin, a Trotskyite academic having researched the Russian archives, stated:

Only after a new wave of arrests following Kirov’s assassination, after interrogations and reinterrogations of dozens of Oppositionists, did Stalin receive information about the 1932 bloc, which served as one of the main reasons for organizing the Great Purge.[107]

In 1934 Yakov Agranov, temporary head of the NKVD in Leningrad, had found connections between the assassin Nikolayev and leaders of the Leningrad Komsomol at the time of Zinoviev’s authority over the city. The most prominent was I I Kotolynov, whom Robert Conquest states “had, in fact, been a real oppositionist.”[108] Kotolynov, a “Zinovievite,” was among those of the so-called “Leningrad terrorist center” found guilty in 1934 of the death of Kirov. The investigation had been of long duration and the influence of Zinoviev’s followers had been established. However, there was considered to be insufficient evidence to charge Zinoviev and Kamenev.[109]

In 1935 other evidence came to light showing that Zinoviev and Kamenev were aware of the “terrorist sentiments” in Leningrad, which they had “inflamed.”[110] While several trials associated with the Kirov killing took place in 1935, in 1936 sufficient evidence had accrued to begin the first of the so-called “Moscow Trials,” of the “Trotsky -Zinoviev Terrorist Center,” including Trotsky and his son Sedov, who were tried in absentia. The defendant Sergei Mrachovsky testified that at the end of 1932 that a terrorist bloc was formed between the Trotskyites and the Zinovievites, stating:

That in the second half of 1932 the question was raised of the necessity of uniting the Trotskyite terrorist group with the Zinovievites. The question of this unification was raised by I N Smirnov… In the autumn of 1932 a letter was received from Trotsky in which he approved the decision to unite with the Zinovievites… Union must take place on the basis of terrorism, and Trotsky once again emphasised the necessity of killing Stalin, Voroshiloy and Kirov... The terrorist bloc of the Trotskyites and the Zinovievites was formed at the end of 1932.[111]

Despite the condemnation that such testimony has received from academia and media, this at least precisely accords with the relatively recent findings of the Trotskyite academic Prof. Rogovin, and the letter from Trotsky sent to Radek et al, in 1932, referred to by J Arch Getty. The Kirov investigations, which were a prelude to the Moscow Trials, were carefully undertaken. When there was still insufficient evidence against Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev et al, this was conceded by the party press. When testimony was obtained implicating the leaders of an opposition bloc, this testimony has transpired to have conformed to what has come to light quite recently in both the Kremlin archives and the Trotsky papers at Harvard.

Rogovin’s Findings

The reality of the Opposition bloc in relation to the Moscow Trials was the theme of a lecture by Prof. Rogovin at Melbourne University in 1996. The motive of Rogovin was to present Trotskyism as having been an effective opposition within Stalinist Russia, and therefore he departs from the usual Trotskyite attitude of denial, stating:

. . . This myth says that virtually the entire population of the Soviet Union was reduced to a stunned silence by the terror, and either said nothing about the repression, or blindly believed in and supported the terror. This myth also claims that the victims of the repression were completely innocent of any crimes, including opposition to Stalin. They were, instead, victims of Stalin’s excessive paranoia. Since there was no serious opposition to the regime of Stalin, according to this myth, the victims were not guilty of such opposition.[112]

Rogovin alludes to anti-Stalinist leaflets that were being widely distributed in the USSR as late as 1938, calling for a “struggle against Stalin and his clique.” Rogovin also however states that there was much more to the opposition than isolated incidents of leaflet distribution:

Of course these are isolated incidents, but prior to the unleashing of the Great Terror there was a much more widespread, more serious, and well-organised opposition to Stalinism as a regime which had veered ever more widely away from the ideals of socialism.

This battle against Stalin began back in 1923 with the formation of the Left Opposition. The inner party struggle unfolded in ever sharper form throughout the 20s.

Thousands and thousands of communists took part in this opposition, openly in the early days and then, after opposition groups were banned, in illegal underground forms against the abolition of party democracy by the Stalinist party clique.

In 1932 the Opposition coalesced, “the old opposition groups” became more active, and “were joined by layers of newly-formed opposition groups.” Many representatives of the opposition groups that year began to discuss ways of uniting into an “anti-Stalinist bloc.” Rogovin states that the year previously Ivan Smirnov, one of the former leaders of the Left Opposition who had capitulated then returned to the opposition, went on an official trip to Berlin where he established contact with Trotsky’s son, Leon Sedov and discussed the need to “coordinate efforts between Trotsky and his son . . . .” What Rogovin states is in agreement with the supposedly forced confessions of the defendants at the Moscow Trials. J Arch Getty had also found similar material in the Trotsky Papers at Harvard, as previously referred to.

Rogovin states that it was only in 1935 and 1936, having assessed the information garnered from the Kirov investigation in 1934, that the secret police were able to find conclusive evidence on the existence of an anti-Stalinist bloc since 1932. “This was one of the main factors which drove Stalin to unleash the Great Terror,” states Rogovin, who also affirms the basis of the Stalinist accusations that “they did try to establish contact among themselves and fight for the overthrow of Stalin’s clique.”

Rogovin’s statements cannot be lightly dismissed. He was speaking as a sympathiser of Trotskyism, who had access to the Soviet archives in the writing of a six volume series on the political conflicts within the Communist Party SU and the Communist International between 1922 and 1940, of which Stalin’s Great Terror is volume four. On his sixtieth birthday in 1997, Rogovin received tribute from Trotskyite luminaries from Germany, Britain and the USA.[113]

Moscow Trials and the Comintern Pact

These events occurred at a time when the USSR was being encircled by hostile powers. War seemed inevitable, and the opposition bloc was of a type that any state in times of conflict could not afford to tolerate. The Anti-Comintern Pact was signed in 1936 between imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, forming an alliance of aggressive intent specifically aimed at the Soviet Union. While German expansion was ideologically based on annexing Russian territories,[114] the Moscow Trials and accusations against the Opposition bloc of complicity with foreign powers were taking place at a time when there was a likelihood of Japan also directing her expansion towards the USSR. The Japanese attacked the USSR in July 1938 and were halted at the Battle of Lake Khasan,[115] and although defeated, then moved in May 1939 into Mongolia up to the Khalkin Gol River.[116] The decisive victory of Russia here was enough to persuade the Japanese only then to re-direct their expansion into China and the Pacific.

From 1936, with the possibility of a two front war from expansionist powers which had joined in an overtly aggressive alliance, a more tolerant attitude by the Soviet regime against those who were advocating defeatism and discord, albeit couched in dialectical semantics about “defence of the degenerated workers’ state,” seems unrealistic, and was not even expected from the Western democracies in wartime, which went as far as classifying segments of their own populations as “enemy aliens” and interning them.[117]

Trotsky hoped that war would undermine the Stalinist regime and lead to a coup, just as World War I had produced a revolutionary situation. It is therefore disingenuous for Trotsky to insist that he was leading a “loyal opposition” that would defend a “degenerated workers’ state.” Trotsky had adopted a similar position in regard to World War I, contrary to the line insisted upon by Lenin,[118] in stating that he would support Russia’s continuation of the war against Germany, which made him the focus of British efforts via R H Bruce Lockhart, special agent to the British War Cabinet, to secure his support.[119] As Trotsky’s duplicity during World War I, and his close association with British Intelligence via R H Bruce Lockhart shows, Stalinist accusations of Trotskyite association with “foreign powers” was at least based on hard experience. Trotsky had shown himself willing to work with British intelligence during World War I in order to secure his own position to the point of defying Lenin.

Another important Moscow defendant, Karl Radek, had previously been an avid promoter of dialogue with the German extreme Right. Given that he was the living stereotype of an anti-Semitic caricature of what a “Jewish Bolshevik” was portrayed as being, there is nothing outlandish about the Stalinist allegation of oppositionists seeking alliances with Japan and Germany. Trotsky had been openly stating that a fascist war against the USSR would provide the revolutionary situation that would enable a coup against the Stalinist regime. Radek had eulogised before the Executive Committee of the Comintern in 1923, the “German Fascist” Schlageter, who had been executed by the French because of his resistance to the Ruhr occupation. Radek’s Bolshevik pitch was for an alliance with German “Fascism”: “We shall do all in our power to make men like Schlageter, who are prepared to go to their deaths for a common cause, not wanderers into the void, but wanderers into a better future for the whole of mankind…”[120] Given the situation confronting the Soviet Russia, form Japan and Germany, Stalin could not be complacent given the past actions of Radek, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and the intrigues of Smirnov and Holtzman et al.

While Trotsky claimed that in the event of war he was advocating the “defence of the degenerated workers’ state” on account of its nationalized economy, from the viewpoint of the Soviet regime, the Soviet Union could ill afford dissent and anti-state propaganda in the midst of war. Trotsky, despite his outrage at the allegation that he could play any part in assisting fascist or capitalist powers to invade the Soviet Union, nonetheless advocated a strategy that was to take advantage of the war to propagandise and subvert the Soviet Union to foment a revolutionary situation even among the armed forces, as the Bolsheviks had done during World War I:

We do not change our orientation. But suppose that Hitler turns his weapons to the East and invades the territories occupied by the Red Army ...? The Bolshevik-Leninists will combat Hitler, weapons in hand, but at the same time they will undertake a revolutionary propaganda against Stalin in order to prepare his overthrow at the next stage...[121]

With an attitude of the character openly stated by Trotsky, how tolerant was Stalin expected to be, in the face of extreme provocation at the time of immense internal and external problems? As will be shown below, when Trotsky was in authority, he did not possess any degree of toleration towards rivals and threats, both real and imagined, and did not flinch from having someone killed if it served his own agenda. Trotsky continued to call for a “revolutionary uprising” that implies something more than ‘educating the masses,” using class struggle phraseology to identify Stalin’s bureaucracy as a “class enemy”:

The Fourth International long ago recognized the necessity of overthrowing the bureaucracy by means of a revolutionary uprising of the toilers. Nothing else is proposed or can be proposed by those who proclaim the bureaucracy to be an exploiting “class.” The goal to be attained by the overthrow of the bureaucracy is the reestablishment of the rule of the Soviets, expelling from them the present bureaucracy . . . [122]

This was the nature of Trotsky’s continual call for the overthrow of the Soviet state as it was then constituted. Trotsky explained his position unequivocally in stating what he meant by ‘defending the Soviet state”:

This kind of “defense of the USSR” will naturally differ, as heaven does from earth, from the official defense which is now being conducted under the slogan: “For the Fatherland! For Stalin!” Our defense of the USSR is carried on under the slogan: “For Socialism! For the world revolution! Against Stalin!”[123]

How far could it be expected that Stalin should tolerate subversion and calls for the overthrow of his regime in the event of war with Japan and/or Germany? It is not a matter that was extended even to pacifists by the Western democracies during World War II, even in countries such as New Zealand who were relatively far form the war theatres. Additionally, the Western democracies did not even grant those confined for their pacifism the benefit of any legal proceedings; in contrast to the Moscow defendants, who were given full and public legal procedures according to the system of justice they had helped to create.

Moscow Trials in Accord with Soviet System

If the Trotskyites and their liberal and social democratic allies, as well as historians generally, regard the Moscow Trials as a modern-day “witch hunt,” it was one that proceeded in accordance with the system that Trotsky and the other defendants had fought to implement. The real source of the outrage comes from Stalin having outmanoeuvred his rivals, many such as Zinoviev and Kamenev having been opportunists who became the victims of their own system. Trotsky when in authority was as vehement about the need to eliminate saboteurs, plotters and conspirators as Stalin. Trotsky had stated in 1918: “By suppressing the Constituent Assembly the Soviets first and foremost broke politically the backbone of the intelligentsia’s sabotage. . . .We have broken the old sabotage and cleared out most of the old officials . . . .[124]

At this early period of the Bolshevik regime Trotsky was already alluding to “counter-revolutionary” plots within his own Red Army, yet when the same situation was suggested twenty years later in regard to Trotsky et al at the Moscow Trials, Trotsky fumed that any such suggestion was a lie. When Trotsky had the power he spoke and acted in ways that he and others – including mainstream historians – would describe as “Stalinism.” Trotsky wrote of these “plots”:

Running on ahead somewhat, I must mention that certain of our own Party comrades are afraid that the Army may become an instrument or a focus for counter-revolutionary plots. This danger, in so far as there is some justification for it, must compel us as a whole to direct our attention to the lower levels, to the rank-and-file soldiers of the Red Army. Here we can and must create a foundation such that any attempt to transform the Red Army into an instrument of counter-revolution will prove fruitless . . . . [125]

Yet it was precisely a strategy of Trotsky to try and form cadres within the Red Army, in particular during the course of war with Germany, which would enable him to reassume authority through a “police action” or coup that would replace the Stalinist apparatus.

Trotsky when in a position of authority was full of dark forebodings about sabotage and counter-revolution. One of the more shameful episodes was Trotsky’s falsifying evidence and fabricating charges against the commander of the Baltic Fleet, Aleksei Shchatsny. With impending capture of Helsingfors by German and Finnish White forces, and the order from the Commissariat of Naval Affairs under Trotsky to comply with the terms of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, Shchatsny managed to get the Fleet to Kronstadt, a colossal achievement celebrated as the “Ice March of the Baltic Fleet.” Rabinowitch remarks of this: “Following this feat … He was now a popular hero, revered by the rank-and-file sailors as much as by his officers.”[126] However, the German threat to Kronstadt, Petrograd and the Baltic Fleet remained.[127] As German forces approached, there was a widespread belief that the Soviet authorities were complying with German demands and that Petrograd would be occupied. For the Soviet authorities in Moscow under Lenin and Trotsky the defence of Petrograd and of the Baltic Fleet were of secondary concern. [128]

Trotsky and Shchatsny were in conflict over Trotsky’s orders to scuttle the Baltic Fleet and demolish Fort Ino, “should the situation appear hopeless.” Shchatsny circulated Trotsky’s secret orders regarding the scuttling of the Fleet,[129] which put Trotsky in a poor light publicly. Trotsky protested indignantly at Shchatny’s trial, which he had instigated as a show trial against the acclaimed hero:

When, soon afterward, I received from Shchastny, who was at Kronstadt, a report that Fort Ino was, allegedly, threatened by a suddenly approaching German fleet, I replied, in conformity with my general directive, that, if the situation thus created became hopeless, the fort must be blown up. What did Shchastny do? He passed on this conditional directive in the form of a direct order from me for blowing up the fort, although there was no need for this to be done.[130]

Rabinowitch writes:

Information in Cheka and Naval archives indicates that Shchatsny was largely or wholly blameless in these matters, most importantly that he himself had prepared the fleet for demolition in the event of necessity and that his dissemination of Trotsky’s orders was less an effort to undermine Trotsky than a reflection of his close collaboration with the Baltic Fleet officer and sailor committees.[131]

Shchatsny submitted his resignation, but Trotsky refused it, ordered him to Moscow and,

set him up for arrest, and single-handedly organized an investigation, sham trial and death sentence on the spurious charge of attempting to overthrow the Petrograd Commune with the longer-term goal of overthrowing the Soviet republic.[132]

Trotsky condemned Shchatsny with allegations of “sowing panic,” “conspiracy,” having a “saviour” complex, and seeking power for himself:

Shchastny persistently and steadily deepened the gulf between the fleet and the Soviet power. Sowing panic, he steadily promoted his candidature for the role of savior. The vanguard of the conspiracy – the officers of the destroyer division – openly raised the slogan of a “dictatorship of the Baltic fleet.”

This was a definite political game – a great game, the goal of which was the seizure of power. When Messrs. Admirals and Generals start, during a revolution, to play their own personal political game, they must always be prepared to take responsibility for this game, if it should miscarry. Admiral Shchastny’s game has miscarried.[133]

Given the nature of Trotsky’s own agitation against the Stalinist regime, which includes a time when aggressive anti-Soviet powers were on the rise, a less deferential Dewey Commission might have asked of Trotsky, should he not “take responsibility for this game, if it should miscarry?” Trotsky in his own words had stated that his aim was the “seizure of power” through a palace coup, by infiltrating the police and armed forces. He had devoted years to agitating for the overthrow of the Soviet regime and creating a revolutionary organization for that purpose. Yet when faced with charges of the type that he had once trumped up against Shchastny in order to save have own position, Trotsky feigned great moral outage on the world stage, an outrage which extended beyond his own life and has had a permanent influence on the way much of the world perceives Russia, not only after the death of Stalin, but even after the demise of the USSR. Additionally, it appears that Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Bukharin, and the others had a fairer and more judicial hearing than that received by Shchastny; or the many summarily executed during the years when Trotsky had authority in the Soviet state.

What can also be said about the Moscow Trials was that the confessions of the defendants, which are generally criticized and ridiculed as being delivered by rote as if the product of intense brainwashing and even torture, were also completely in accord with Bolshevik methodology. The character of these confessions was not unique to the Stalinist regime, and was an innate part of the Bolshevik mentality. To admit guilt even in the most abject manner not only before the tribunal of the Soviets but before what many of the defendants regarded as the tribunal of history did not require torture or brainwashing. Of these abject confessions for example, during the 1936 trial Kamenev, stated:

For ten years, if not more, I waged a struggle against the Party, against the government of the land of Soviets, and against Stalin personally. In this struggle, it seems to me, I utilized every weapon in the political arsenal known to me - open political discussion, attempts to penetrate into factories and works, illegal leaflets, secret printing presses, deception of the Party, the organization of street demonstrations, conspiracy and, finally, terrorism.[134]

Zinoviev stated:

We entered into an alliance with Trotsky. We filled the place of the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and white guards who could not come out openly in our country. We took the place of the terrorism of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. Not the pre-revolutionary terrorism which was directed against the autocracy, but the Right Socialist Revolutionaries’ terrorism of the period of the Civil War, when the S-R’s shot at Lenin. My defective Bolshevism became transformed into anti-Bolshevism, and through Trotskyism I arrived at fascism. Trotskyism is a variety of fascism, and Zinovievism is a variety of Trotskyism.[135]

If these confessions are looked at on their own merits, there is nothing outlandish about them. Rogovin has shown that there was such an Opposition bloc, that there were illegal printing presses operative; and Trotsky himself records the extent of the opposition, in alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev, to the extent that they were able to mobilize thousands to disrupt the official October parades. While the Bolsheviks, whether Leninists or Stalinists or Trotskyites were, and are, rather loose with the smear-word “fascism” that is levelled at their opponents, “through Trotskyism” many did arrive at what was called in the USSR “fascism,” or more accurately avid support for US foreign policy during and after the Cold War, to the present time; to the point of Trotsky’s widow, Natalya Sedova, supporting the USA in Korea; and the entire Shachtmanite movement metamorphosing into anti-Sovietism and eventually the “neo-con” movement. The Stalinist analysis was in principle correct and prescient. History shows that the Stalinists saw in Trotskyism a movement that would end up being aligned with the most anti-Soviet elements, and there is nothing bizarre about the suspicion that Trotskyites and other oppositionists would seek alliance with actual “fascist” powers at a time when those powers were looking at for lebensraum. In the historical circumstances it would have been foolish for Stalin to ignore these trends, and to given them a tolerance that was not even accorded to “Christian pacifists” during World War II by the Western democracies, including those that were not in danger of invasion.

The abject natures of the defendants’ final pleas before the Court are comprehensible if we examine the Bolshevik method of self-criticism. They are prompted by an intense sense of self-guilt or shame regarding recognition of their own invidiousness when confronted with facts. Such abjectivity is not unheard of by murderers and others in the West in the present day. This could be called “The Judas Syndrome,” in regard to the legend of Judas having hanged himself in remorse for his betrayal of Christ.[136] Since 1929 the Soviet Union had embarked on a method known as Sama Kritica (“self-criticism”), which has its equivalent in the West known by such terms as “group therapy,” “sensitivity training” or “group encounters,” that became popular since the 1960s among corporations and government departments, in the USA especially, and has been promoted as therapeutic by “humanistic psychology.”[137] In the USSR in 1929 the slogan first appeared: “through Bolshevist self-criticism we will enforce the dictatorship of the proletariat.”[138] The population was divided into “collectives” of ten to twenty, who held meetings set in a circle where participants face one another, and each would undertake self-criticism and the confession of faults. However ‘self-criticism” was part of the Soviet system which was endorsed by Trotsky himself when he was in a position of authority, when he stated: “Without any doubt we are passing through a period of internal confusion, of great difficulty, and, what is most important, of self-criticism, which, let us hope, will lead to an inner cleansing and a new upsurge of the revolutionary movement.”[139] The abject nature of the confessions and final pleas of the Moscow defendants is hence not reliant on alleged threats, promises, torture or brainwashing. Trotsky was an advocate of “Marxist self-criticism” as early as 1904, at a time when he was closer to the Mensheviks. Robert Services comments on this: “outraging many Mensheviks he called for ‘Marxist self-criticism’ instead of ‘orthodox self-satisfaction.’”[140]

Stalin addressed the matter of “self-criticism” as a key Bolshevik mechanism eight years before the Moscow Trials. Writing in Pravda Stalin stated: “…As to self-criticism in our Party, its beginnings date back to the first appearance of Bolshevism in our country, to its very inception as a specific revolutionary trend in the working-class movement.”[141] Stalin also alluded to self-criticism appearing as a mechanism in 1904 in the Social Democratic party, quoting Lenin as stating, “self-criticism and ruthless exposure of its own shortcomings”[142] was a party method.

Indeed, as previously cited herein, Zinoviev had before the party Central Committee in July 1926, indulged in self-criticism, when he confessed that he had been wrong to have opposed Lenin and the Bolshevik coup in 1917 and to have opposed Trotsky, whose critique of the regime was correct. Hence, there was nothing new about the character of Zinoviev’s abjectivity at the Moscow Trial. He was a Judas who had been publicly exposed, like other defendants. Khrushchev’s “secret speech” to the Congress of the Communist Party in 1956, was a large-ranging example of “self-criticism.”[143]

Conclusion

The Moscow “Show Trials” operated within a system that had been created by those who became its victims. Within context they were therefore perfectly legitimate. The trials were undertaken during a time when aggressive powers had formed an alliance specifically aimed at the Soviet Union, against a background of intrigue long in the making by the defendants; in particular Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev.

While it is disingenuous for Trotsky and his sympathisers to have the Moscow Trials viewed according to Western legal principles when they did not themselves subscribe to those principles, just as inadequate are the Western historians and writers who neglect to consider the historical background against which they were taking place.

There was indeed an Opposition bloc that was working to overthrow Stalin, and given the times and circumstances Stalin could ill afford to adopt a more “liberal” attitude when even the Western democracies later interned their dissidents during World War II as potential “fifth columnists,” including conscientious objectors, on the scantiest evidence at best.

With the prospect of a revived Russian super-power the spectre of Stalin is again being evoked by Western news media, politicians and academics, as are comparisons between the Moscow Trials and the present Russian trials of “dissident” oligarchs who are heralded in the West as the heirs to the like of Bukharin and as victims of a renascent Stalinism.

Notes:

[1] One of Trotsky’s publishers was Secker & Warburg, London, which published the Dewey Commission’s report, The Case of Leon Trotsky, in 1937. The proprietor, Fredric Warburg, was to become head of the British section of the CIA-sponsored, Cold War-era Congress for Cultural Freedom. (Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War : The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters (New York: The New Press, 2000), p. 111.

Trotsky’s Where is Britain going? was published in 1926 by George Allen & Unwin. His autobiography, My Life, was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1930. Stalin: an appraisal of the man and his influence, was published posthumously in 1946 by Harpers.

[2] The most salient example being the hagiographies by Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed (1954), and The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky 1921-1929 (1959), and The Prophet Outcast (Oxford University Press, 1963).

[3] K R Bolton, “Origins of the Cold War: How Stalin Foiled a New World Order,” Foreign Policy Journal, March 31, 2010,www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/

Russian translation: “Origins of the Cold War,” Red Star, Russian Ministry of Defense, http://www.redstar.ru/2010/09/01_09/6_01.html

[4] K R Bolton, “Mikhail Gorbachev: Globalist Super-Star,” Foreign Policy Journal, April 3, 2011, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/04/03/
mikhail-gorbachev-globalist-super-star/

Russian translation: “Mikhail Gorbachev: Globalist Super-Star,” Perevodika, http://perevodika.ru/articles/18345.html

[5] Tony Halpin, “Vladimir Putin Praises Stalin for Creating a Super Power and Winning the War,” The Sunday Times, London, December 4, 2009, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6943477.ece

[6] K R Bolton, “The Globalist Web of Subversion,” The Foreign Policy Journal, February 7, 2011, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/02/07/the-globalist-web-of-subversion/all/1

[7] Tony Halpin, op. cit.

[8] Armand Hammer, Witness to History (Kent: Coronet Books, 1987), p. 160. Here Hammer relates his discussion with Trotsky and how the Commissar wished to attract foreign capital. Hammer later laments that this all turned sour under Stalin.

[9] Richard B Spence, “Interrupted Journey: British intelligence and the arrest of Leon Trotsky, April 1917,” Revolutionary Russia, 13 (1), 2000, pp. 1-28.

Spence, “Hidden Agendas: Spies, Lies and Intrigue Surrounding Trotsky’s American Visit January-April 1917,” Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 21, No. 1., 2008.

 

[10] Peter Grosse, “Basic Assumptions,” Continuing The Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996, (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006). The entire book can be read online at: Council on Foreign Relations: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html

[11] The 1933 charges against employees of Metropolitan-Vickers, including six British engineers, accused of sabotage and espionage. M Sayers and A E Kahn, The Great Conspiracy Against Russia (London: Collett’s holdings, 1946), pp. 181-186.

[12] Brazil, Russia, India, China.

[13] K R Bolton, “Russia & China: An Approaching Conflict?,” The Journal of Social, Political & Economic Studies, Washington,  Vol. 34, No. 2, Summer 2009.

[14] Center for Conservative Studies, Moscow State University, http://konservatizm.org/

[15] KR Bolton, “An ANZAC-Indo-Russian Alliance? Geopolitical Alternatives for New Zealand and Australia: Dugin’s ‘Eurasian’ Geopolitical Paradigm,” pp. 188-190, India Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2, 2010.

[16] Yuri Gavrilechk, “Days of anger: new era of revolutions,” International Affairs, April 1, 2011; http://en.interaffairs.ru/read.php?item=200

[17]Elena Ponomareva, “A strategy aimed at ruining Libya, International Affairs, March 21, 2011, http://en.interaffairs.ru/read.php?item=196

[18] Sergei Shashkov, “The theory of ‘manageable chaos’ put into practice,” International Affairs, March 1, 2011, http://en.interaffairs.ru/read.php?item=189

[19] George H W Bush, speech before US Congress, March 6, 1991.

[20] P Gregory, “ What Paul Gregory is writing about,” December 18, 2010, http://whatpaulgregoryisthinkingabout.blogspot.com/2010/12/stalin-putin-justice-bukharin.html

[21] Jack Kemp, et al, Russia’s Wrong Direction: What the United States Can and Should do, Independent Task Force Report no. 57(New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006) xi. The entire publication can be downloaded at: < http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/>

[22] “Senator McCain on Khodorkovsky and US-Russia relations,” Free Media Online, December 18, 2010, http://www.govoritamerika.us/rus/?p=17995

[23] C Gershman, “The Fourth Wave: Where the Middle East revolts fit in the history of democratization—and how we can support them,” The New Republic, March 14, 2011. NED, http://www.ned.org/about/board/meet-our-president/archived-presentations-and-articles/the-fourth-wave

[24] “The Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre,” Heard Before the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R., Report of Court Proceedings, “Indictment,” Moscow, August 19-24, 1936.

[25] Sidney Hook, “Reader Letters: The Moscow Trials,” Commentary Magazine, New York, August 1984, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-moscow-trials/

[26] Joseph E. Davies, Mission to Moscow (London: Gollancz, 1942), p. 26.

[27]. Ibid., p. 34.

[28] London Observer, August 23, 1936.

[29] Walter Duranty, “Proof of a Plot Expected,” New York Times, August 17, 1936, p. 2.

[30] Davies, op. cit., p. 35.

[31] Cited by A Vaksberg, Stalin’s Prosecutor: The Life of Andrei Vyshinsky (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), p. 123.

[32] D N Pritt, “The Moscow Trial was Fair,” Russia Today, 1936-1937. Sloanhttp://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/
sections/britain/pamphlets/1936/moscow-trial-fair.htm

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Tomsky had committed suicide.

[36] Pritt, op. cit.

[37] Jeremy Murray-Brown, “The Moscow Trials,” Commentary, August 1984, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-moscow-trials/

[38] Ibid.

[39] Sidney Hook, Commentary, ibid.

[40] K R Bolton, “Origins of the Cold War,” op. cit.

[41] Central Intelligence Agency, “Cultural Cold War: Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-50,” https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/docs/v38i5a10p.htm#rft1

[42] For example, a position supported by leading US Trotskyite Max Shachtman, Shachtmanism metamorphosing into a virulent anti-Sovietism, and providing the impetus for the formation of the National Endowment for Democracy. Trotsky’s widow Natalya as early into the Cold War as 1951 wrote a letter to the Executive Committee of the Fourth International and to the US Socialist Workers Party (May 9) stating that her late husband would not have supported North Korea against the USA, and that it was Stalin who was the major obstacle to world socialism. “Out of the Shadows,” Time, June 18, 1951. “Natalya Trotsky breaks with the Fourth International,” http://www.marxists.de/trotism/sedova/english.htm

Given the many Trotskyites and Trotsky sympathizers such as Sidney Hook, who became apologists for US foreign policy against the USSR, it might be asked whether Stalin’s contention that Trotskyites would act as agents of foreign powers was prescient?

[43] George Novack, “‘Introduction,’ The Case of Leon Trotsky,” International Socialist Review, Vol. 29, No.4, July-August 1968, pp.21-26.

[44] Ibid.

[45] “Russia: Trotsky and Woe,” Time, January 11, 1937. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,757254,00.html

[46] Novack, op. cit.

[47] Descriptions by Novack.

See also: John Dewey, Jo Ann Boydston, John J McDermot, John Dewey: The Later Works, (Southern Illinois University, 2008) p. 640.

[48] Carleton Beals, “The Fewer Outsiders the Better: The Master Comes to Judgement,” Saturday Evening Post, 12 June 1937. http://www.revleft.com/vb/fewer-outsiders-better-t124508/index.html?s=37316b1a8beb93cba88ad37731a4779c&amp.

[49] Ibid.

[50] John Chamberlain, A Life with the Printed Word, (Chicago: Regnery, 1982), p. 65.

[51] Veteran British Trotskyite Tony Cliff laments of this phenomena: “The list of former Trotskyists who in their Stalinophobia turned into hard-line Cold War liberals is much longer.” Tony Cliff, “The Darker the Night the Brighter the Star, 1927-1940,” http://www.marxists.org/archive/cliff/works/1993/trotsky4/15-ww2.html

[52] The Freeman, August 13, 1951, http://mises.org/journals/oldfreeman/Freeman51-8.pdf

La Follette served as “managing editor,” (p. 2).

[53] K R Bolton, “America’s ‘World Revolution’: Neo-Trotskyist Foundations of U.S. Foreign Policy,” Foreign Policy Journal, May 3, 2010,
http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/
2010/05/03/americas-world-revolution-neo-trotskyist-foundations-of-u-s-foreign-policy/

[54] Ibid.

[55] In 1950 Goldman declared himself to be a “right-wing socialist.” In 1952 he admitted collaborating with the FBI, and stated, “if I were younger I would gladly offer my services in Korea, or especially in Europe where I could do some good fighting the Communists.” A M Wald, The New York Intellectuals, (New York 1987), p. 287.

[56] “British Trotskyism in 1931,” Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism Online: Revolutionary History, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol1/no1/glotzer.html Glotzer was another of the Trotskyite veterans who became an ardent defender of the USA as the bulwark against Stalinism. He was prominent in the Social Democrats USA, whose honorary president was Sidney Hook.

[57] Gershman gave an eulogy at the “Albert Glotzer Memorial Service” in 1999. http://www.ned.org/about/board/meet-our-president/archived-presentations-and-articles/albert-glotzer-memorial-service

[58] John Dewey, Jo Ann Boydston, John J McDermot, op. cit., p. 641. Dewey is also shown here to have been in communication with American Trotskyite luminary Max Eastman.

[59] “Trotsky’s Trial,” Time, International Section, May 17, 1937.

[60] It would be a mistake nonetheless to see Time as an amiable pro-Soviet mouthpiece. Several months previously a lengthy Time article was scathing in its condemnation of the 1937 Moscow Trial and the confessions. “Old and New Bolsheviks,” Foreign News Section, Time, February 1, 1937. See also: “Russia: Lined With Despair,” Time, March 14, 1938.

[61] J Dewey, et al., The Case of Leon Trotsky:  Report of Hearings on the Charges Made Against Him in the Moscow Trials by the Preliminary Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made Against Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, “Point 6: The Resignation of Carleton Beals,” 1937. http://www.marxists.org/archive/
trotsky/1937/dewey/report.htm

[62] Carleton Beals, op. cit.

[63] Ibid.

[64] J Arch Getty, “Trotsky in Exile: The Founding of the Fourth International,” Soviet Studies, Vol.38, No. 1, January 1986, pp. 24-35.

[65] Getty, ibid., Footnote 18, Trotsky Papers, 15821.

[66] As will be shown below, Prof. Rogovin, a Trotskyite who has studied the Soviet archives, quite recently sought to show that the Trotskyites were the focus of an important Opposition bloc since 1932.

[67] Beals, op. cit.

[68] Ibid.

[69] K R Bolton, personal observations and experiences with academics.

[70] Leon Trotsky, My Life (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930), Chapter 42, “The Last Period of Struggle within the Party,” http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/ch42.htm

[71] Ibid.

[72] Verbatim Report of Central Committee, IV, p.33, cited by Trotsky at the “third session” of the Dewey Commission hearings. Trotsky alludes to this, writing: “Zinoviev and Kamenev openly avowed that the ‘Trotskyists’ had been right in the struggle against them ever since 1923.” Trotsky, ibid.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Ibid.

[77] The Case of Leon Trotsky, “Third Session,” April 12, 1937. http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/dewey/session03.htm

[78] Ibid.

[79] Vyshinsky, “Verbatim Report,” p. 464, quoted by Goldman, The Case of Leon Trotsky, op. cit.

[80] Vadim Rogovin, 1937: Stalin's Year of Terror ( Mehring Books, 1998), p. 63. Note: Mehring Books is a Trotskyite publishing house.

[81] R Sewell, “The Moscow Trials” (Part I), Socialist Appeal, March 2000, http://www.trotsky.net/trotsky_year/moscow_trials.html

[82] Social-Demokraten, September 1, 1936, p. 1.

[83] The Case of Leon Trotsky, “Fifth Session, April 13, 1937, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1937/dewey/session05.htm

[84] Sven-Eric Holström, “New Evidence Concerning the ‘Hotel Bristol Question in the Fist Moscow Trial of 1936,” Cultural Logic, 2008, 6.2, “The Copenhagen Street Directory and Telephone Directory.”

[85] Ibid., 6.3, “Photographic evidence,” Figure 7.

[86] Getty, 1986, op. cit., p. 28.

[87] See: “Kirov Assassination” below.

[88] Trotsky, My Life, op. cit., Chapter 43.

[89] Trotsky, “A Letter to the Politburo,” March 15, 1933, Writings of Leon Trotsky (1932-33) (New York: Pathfinder Press) pp. 141-2.

[90] Ibid. “Renunciation of this programme is of course out of the question.”

[91] Ibid.

[92] “An Explanation,” May 13, 1933, Writings of Leon Trotsky (1932-33), ibid., p. 235.

[93] Trotsky, “Declaration to the Sixth Party Congress,” December 16, 1926, cited in Trotsky, My Life, op. cit., Chapter 44.

[94] Trotsky, “Nuzhno stroit' zanovo kommunistcheskie partii i International,” Bulletin of the Opposition, No. 36-37, p. 21, July 15, 1933.

[95] Trotsky, ‘Klassovaya priroda sovetskogo gosudarstava’, Bulletin of the Opposition, No. 36-37, October 1, 1933, pp. 1-12. At Moscow Vyshinsky cited this article as evidence that Trotsky advocated the violent overthrow of the Soviet state. The emphasis of the word “force” is Trotsky’s.

[96] Ibid.

[97] Trotsky, “Their Morals and Ours: In Memory of Leon Sedov,” The New International, Vol. IV, no. 6, June 1938, pp. 163-173, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/
1938/morals/morals.htm

The New International was edited by Max Shachtman, whose post-Trotskyite line laid a basis for the “neo-con” movement and support of US foreign policy during the Cold War. It was a Shachtmanite, Tom Kahn, who established the National Endowment for Democracy, which proceeds with a US version of the “world revolution.” Another New International editor was James Burnham, who became a proto-“neo-con” luminary during the Cold War. Professor Sidney Hook, one of the instigators of the Dewey Commission, and a CIA operative who was instrumental in forming the Congress for Cultural Freedom, for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom from President Reagan, was a contributor to The New International. (December 1934, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/
hook/1934/12/hess-marx.htm
; April 1936, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/hook/
1936/04/feuerbach.htm
).

Albert Goldman, Trotsky’s lawyer at the Mexico Dewey hearings, was also a contributor.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Trotsky, “Their Morals and Ours,” op. cit.

[100] R Conquest, Stalin and the Kirov Murder (London; 1989).

[101] N S Khrushchev, “Secret Address at the Twentieth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” February 1956; Henry M Christman (ed.) Communism in Action: a documentary history (New York: Bantam Books, 1969), pp. 176-177.

[102] “Letter of an Old Bolshevik: The Key to the Moscow Trials,” New York, 1937.

[103] Anna Larina Bukharina, Nezabyvaemoe (Moscow, 1989); This I Cannot Forget (London, 1993), p. 276.

[104] A. Resis (ed.) Molotov Remembers (Chicago: Ivan R Dee, 1993), p. 353.

[105] A. Yakovlev, ‘O dekabr'skoi tragedii 1934’, Pravda, 28th January, 1991, p. 3, “The Politics of Repression Revisited,” in J. Arch Getty and Roberta T. Manning (editors), Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives (New York, 1993), p. 46.

[106] J Arch Getty, Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered: 1933-1938 (Cambridge; 1985), p. 48.

[107] Vadim Rogovin, 1937: Stalin's Year of Terror ( Mehring Books, 1988), p. 64.

[108] R Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties (London, 1973), p. 86.

[109] J Arch Getty, op. cit., p. 209.

[110] The Crime of the Zinoviev Opposition (Moscow, 1935), pp. 33-41.

[111] Report of Court Proceedings: The Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre (Moscow, 1936), pp. 41-42.

[112] Vadim Rogovin, “Stalin’s Great Terror: Origins and Consequences,” lecture, University of Melbourne, May 28, 1996. World Socialist Website: http://www.wsws.org/exhibits/1937/lecture1.htm

[113] http://www.wsws.org/exhibits/1937/title.htm

[114] A Hitler, Mein Kampf (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1939), Ch. 9, “Germany’s Policy in Eastern Europe,” pp. 533-541.

[115] Alvin D Coox, Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939 ( Stanford University Press, 1990), p.189.

[116] Amnon Sella, “Khalkhin-Gol: The Forgotten War,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 18, no.4, October 1983, pp. 651–87.

[117] For example, those of Italian and German descent, including even German-Jewish refugees fleeing Germany, were interned on Soames Island, in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand, as potential “enemy aliens.” Conscientious Objectors, none of whom were “fascists,” but mostly Christian pacifists, were harshly treated and interned in New Zealand, in “military defaulters’ camps.” See: W J Foote, Bread and Water: the escape and ordeal of two New Zealand World War II conscientious objectors (Wellington: Philip Garside Publishing, 2000). In Britain under Regulation 18B around 800 suspected potential “fifth columnists” and pacifists were interned without charge or trial, including many ex-servicemen, some on active duty, including some prominent figures such as Admiral Sir Barry Domvile, and Capt. A H M Ramsay, Member of Parliament, for having opposed war with Germany or for campaigning for a negotiated peace. See: Barry Domville, From Admiral to Cabin Boy (London: Boswell Publishing, 1947). The USA had its own “show trial” in 1944 called the “Sedition Trial” which took over seven months and ended in a mistrial of a disparate collection of individuals who had in some manner opposed US entry into the war. See: Lawrence Dennis and Maxmillian St George, A Trial on Trial (Washington: National Civil Rights Committee, 1945).

[118] “Calls people war weary. But Leo Trotsky says they do not want separate peace,” New York Times, March 16, 1917.

[119] Lockhart said of Trotsky, whom he was seeing on a daily basis that, “He considered that war was inevitable. If the Allies would send a promise of support, he informed me that he would sway the decision of the Government in favour of war. I sent several telegrams to London requesting an official message that would enable me to strengthen Trotsky’s hands. No message was sent.” R H Bruce Lockhart, British Agent (London: G P Putnam’s Sons, 1933), Book Four, “History From the Inside,” Chapter 3. http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/BritAgent/BA04a.htm .

[120] K Radek, “Leo Schlageter: The Wanderer into the Void,” Speech at a plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, June 1923.

 

[121] Trotsky, “The USSR in the War” (September 1939), The New International, New York, November 1939, Vol. 5, No. 11, pp. 325-332.

[122] Trotsky, “The USSR in the War: Are the Differences Political or Terminological?,” ibid.

[123] Trotsky, “The USSR in the War: We Do Not Change Our Course!”, ibid.

[124] Trotsky, The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky, “How the Revolution Armed,” Volume 1, 1918, “The Internal and External Situation of the Soviet Power in the Spring of 1918, Work, Discipline, Order;” Report to Moscow City Conference of the Russian Communist Party, March 28, 1918. http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1918/military/ch05.htm 

[125] Ibid.

[126] Alexander Rabinowitch, The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd (Indiana University Press, 2007), p. 238.

[127] Ibid., p. 238.

[128] Ibid., p. 242.

[129] Ibid., p. 243.

[130] Trotsky, The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 1, “The First Betrayal,” http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1918/military/ch16.htm

[131] Rabinowitch, op. cit., p. 243.

[132] Ibid., p. 243.

[133] Trotsky, The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol. 1, “The First Betrayal,” op. cit.

[134] The Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre, Heard Before the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R., “Last Pleas of Kamenev, Zinoviev, Smirnov, Olberg, Berman-Yurin, Holtzman, N. Lurye and M. Lurye,” August 23, 1936, (morning session). http://www.marxistsfr.org/history/ussr/government/law/1936/moscow-trials/index.htm

[135] Ibid.

[136] Matthew 27: 5.

[137] This “group therapy” and “sensitivity training” in the West has been described as an “institutional procedure of both coercive and informal persuasion.” Irving R Weschler and Edgar H Schein (ed.) Issues in Training, National Training Laboratories, National Education Association, Washington DC, 1962, Series 5, p. 47. The National Training Institute provided “sensitivity classes” for hundreds of State Department employees, including ambassadors, during the 1960s.

[138] William Fairburn, Russia – The Utopia in Chains, (New York: Nation Press Printing, 1931), p. 257.

[139] Trotsky, The Military Writings of Leon Trotsky, “How the Revolution Armed, op. cit.

[140] Robert Service, Trotsky: A Biography (London: Macmillan, 2009), p. 79.

[141] J V Stalin, “Against Vulgarising the Slogan of Self-Criticism,” Pravda, No. 146, June, 1928; J V Stalin Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954), Vol. 11, p. 133.

[142] Ibid.

[143] N S Khrushchev, op. cit.

Source: Foreign Policy Journal

lundi, 28 novembre 2011

Koltchack le héros blanc de Sibérie

Koltchack le héros blanc de Sibérie

par Jean Bourdier

Ex: http://anti-mythes.blogspot.com

 

kolchak.jpgCertaines familles semblent vouées dès l'abord - on pourrait presque dire « abonnées » - à des destins exceptionnels. Tel fut le cas de la famille Koltchak.

Les ancêtres de l'amiral Alexandre Vassilievitch Koltchak, commandant en chef des Armées blanches de Sibérie durant la guerre civile qui suivit la révolution rouge de 1917, étaient, en fait, bosniaques. L'un d'eux, pacha de l'Empire turc, fut fait prisonnier par les Russes en 1739, alors qu'il combattait en Moldavie, et décida de devenir Cosaque et de se fixer en Russie. Toute une lignée de militaires valeureux était ainsi inaugurée.

C'est au cours de la guerre de Crimée que Vassili Koltchak, père de l'amiral et lui-même brillant officier du génie, connut une aventure hors du commun. Comme, après la prise du fort de Malakoff, des soldats français s'employaient à dégager un monceau de cadavres russes, ils s'aperçurent que l'un des « morts » respirait encore.

Vassili Koltchak se rétablit et termina sa carrière comme général, après avoir écrit un livre à succès « en captivité », sur son expérience de prisonnier de guerre.

Son fils Alexandre, né en 1872, a choisi, quant à lui, la marine et, d'emblée, sa carrière s'annonce fort brillante à plus d'un égard. Il s'est spécialisé dans les rercherches hydrographiques et océanographiques, sujets sur lesquels il publia des articles qui commencent à faire autorité.

En 1899, à l'âge de vingt-sept ans, il accompagne dans l'Arctique un célèbre explorateur polaire, le baron Toll. Il revient au bout de deux ans, Mais, en 1903, repart à la recherche du baron dont on est sans nouvelles.

Un mariage mouvementé

Cette fois, deux événements vont marquer son retour, en 1904 : le déclenchement de la guerre russo-japonaise et un mariage qui va se dérouler dans d'assez étranges conditions. S'étant rendu compte qu'il n'aurait pas le temps matériel de se rendre à Saint-Pétersbourg, où habite sa fiancée, avant de rejoindre son poste à Port-Arthur, le lieutenant de vaisseau Koltchak télégraphie à son père de lui amener la jeune fille à Irkoutsk, en Sibérie orientale. Là, la cérémonie a lieu, et, le jour même, les jeunes époux regagnent l'un Saint-Pétersbourg et l'autre Port-Arthur.

Après une congestion pulmonaire qui l'immobilise quelque temps, Koltchak prend le commandement d'un mouilleur de mines et se distingue rapidement par sa compétence et sa bravoure. Blessé, il est fait prisonnier et détenu au Japon, avant de pouvoir regagner la Russie par le Canada.
En 1906, à trente-quatre ans, il se voit confier la responsabilité de l'organisation tactique au sein de la nouvelle Amirauté impériale. En 1910, il prendra le commandement du « Vladivostok », un brise-glace dont il a lui-même imposé la construction.

Le sabre à la mer

En 1911, il revient à l'état-major comme responsable du secteur-clé de la Baltique, poste où le trouvera la Première Guerre mondiale.

Il se distingue - en particulier par son utilisation des mines, - au point qu'il sera nommé contre-amiral dès 1915, à l'âge de quarante-trois ans, vice-amiral et commandant en chef de la flotte de la mer Noire en 1916.


Il occupe encore ce poste lorsque éclatent les troubles de 1917. Les marins mutinés envahissent la passerelle du navire amiral, cernent Koltchak et le somment de rendre le sabre d'honneur gagné durant la guerre russo-japonaise, qu'il porte à la ceinture. Calme, méprisant, le regard lointain, l'amiral détache le sabre de son ceinturon et le jette par-dessus bord.

- Ce qui est venu de la mer retourne à la mer, dit-il seulement.

Les mutins reculent, impressionnés. Néanmoins, l'amiral doit se mettre à la disposition du gouvernement provisoire de Kerenski, qui, se méfiant de cet officier par trop intransigeant, le charge, pour l'éloigner, d'une mission technique auprès du Secrétariat à la Marine des Etats-Unis.

Il reste plusieurs mois aux Etats-Unis, puis, au mois de novembre, le gouvernement Kerenski étant tombé, il décide de regagner la Russie en passant par le Japon. A Tokyo, il apprend l'ouverture par les Bolcheviks des pourparlers de Brest-Litovsk en fin d'un armistice avec les Allemands. Il n'est pas question pour lui de servir un gouvernement qui déserte ses alliés en pleine guerre.

Il va donc trouver l'ambassadeur de Grande-Bretagne à Tokyo, sir Conyngham Greene, et lui propose, conformément à son devoir d'officier russe, d'aller combattre « si possible sur le front occidental, dans les troupes terrestres et, si nécessaire, comme simple soldat. »

De Kharbine à Orusk

L'ambassadeur britannique considère, à juste titre, que l'emploi d'un personnage de cette qualité à un rang obscur serait un incroyable gaspillage. Il télégraphie en ce sens à Londres, et, en janvier 1918, Koltchak est invité à rejoindre en Mésopotamie la mission militaire spéciale commandée par l'étonnant général Dunsterville - celui-là même qui servit de modèle à Kipling dans « Stalky and Co ».

Mais, faisant escale à Singapour, l'amiral y reçoit un message des Britanniques lui demandant de se mettre en rapport de toute urgence avec le prince Koudatchev, ambassadeur de Russie à Pékin, afin de se joindre aux dirigeants du Chemin de Fer de l'Est chinois, en Mandchourie. Il accepte avec beaucoup de réticence, pensant qu'on veut le mettre ainsi sur la touche en tant que combattant, mais se rend à Pékin pour être finalement expédié à Kharbine, au mois de mai, avec mission de réorganiser les troupes russes quelque 3.000 hommes - du Chemin de Fer.

Le climat d'intrigue, de chaos et de corruption qu'il trouve à Kharbine ne fait rien pour dissiper la méfiance initiale de l'amiral. Les Japonais, dirigés par le général Nakajima, le chef de leur mission militaire, contrôlent le territoire et tirent les ficelles. Koltchak ne l'admet pas, pas plus qu'il n'admet les prétentions du chef cosaque Semenov à se tailler un royaume personnel en Mandchourie.

Finalement, au mois de juillet, l'amiral se rend personnellement à Tokyo pour tirer la situation au clair avec le haut commandement japonais. Il n'obtient que des réponses dilatoires qui achèvent de l'exaspérer. Ce seront les Britanniques, une fois de plus, qui feront appel à lui. Afin qu'il se rende en Sibérie, où s'est installé un directoire politique pour le moins mélangé, et où une remise en ordre serait, de toute évidence, nécessaire. C'est le 13 octobre que l'amiral arrive par le Transsibérien à Omsk, où siège le gouvernement provisoire en question. On le nomme aussitôt ministre de la Guerre et de la Marine, mais il ne tarde pas à se rendre compte qu'un gigantesque coup de balai est nécessaire dans cet endroit où règnent en maîtres le marché noir et la gabegie, et où les troupes, mal encadrées et encore plus mal commandées, ont tendance à plier devant les offensives des Rouges.

Le dit coup de balai aura lieu dans la nuit du 17 au 18 novembre 1918.
En cette nuit, un détachement militaire, comprenant notamment de jeunes officiers, vient arrêter trois membres socialistes du directoire, dont le président Avksentiev, pour les conduire à la frontière. Le reste du directoire se réunit à l'aube et prononce sa propre dissolution, en demandant à Koltchak d'assumer le pouvoir suprême.

L'amiral met plusieurs heures à se laisser convaincre, mais accepte finalement en protestant de son absence totale d'esprit partisan dans le domaine politique.

« Je me fixe comme objectifs essentiels, proclame-t-il, la création d'une armée efficace, la victoire sur le bolchevisme et le rétablissement de l'ordre et de la légalité afin que le peuple puisse choisir librement et sans aucune entrave la forme de gouvernement répondant à ses vœux. »

Par moins 45 degrés

Le coup d'Etat est, dans l'ensemble, fort bien accueilli par la population, lasse de la corruption et de l'incapacité du défunt directoire. Il est également vu d'un œil très favorable par les Britanniques de la mission militaire du général Knox. Mais, du coup, il se heurte immédiatement à la méfiance et à l'hostilité du calamiteux général Janin, chef de la mission militaire française. Atteint du délire de la conspiration, cet officier général, dont la seule blessure de guerre répertoriée est une luxation de l'épaule gauche sur un quai de gare, veut à toutes forces voir « la main de la perfide Albion » derrière l'intervention de Koltchak, qu'il prend aussitôt en grippe. Il ne veut pas en démordre et son obstination maladive aboutira à livrer la Sibérie aux Rouges.

En revanche, l'accession au pouvoir de l'amiral rallie tous les suffrages du général Dénikine et de l'Armée blanche du sud de la Russie.

Dès le mois de décembre 1918, Koltchak fait reprendre l'offensive contre les Bolcheviques, avec d'appréciables succès. La jeune armée sibérienne, malgré les carences de son équipement, se bat avec brio, réussissant sur certains points du front de huit cents kilomètres sur lequel elle est engagée, à avancer de trente-cinq kilomètres par jour, par un froid de -45°. Des chefs militaires de haute valeur s'y révèlent, comme le jeune colonel Kappel, bientôt nommé général.

Mais l'amiral doit faire face à bien des problèmes. Le premier est celui de sa santé ; atteint d'une affection pulmonaire presque chronique, il est miné par la fièvre, sans, pour autant, ralentir son activité. De plus, à Omak, le désordre et le marché noir ont recommencé à sévir. Le 21 décembre, une tentative de soulèvement socialiste a été aisément jugulée par l'armée, mais les intrigues se poursuivent.

Le plus inquiétant de tout est l'attitude de la Légion tchèque, qui avait assuré, au début, une partie de l'effort militaire contre les Rouges. Cette légion avait toute une histoire. Elle avait été constituée à l'origine par Kerensky avec des Tchèques ayant servi, contraints et forcés, dans l'armée austro-hongroise et, faits prisonniers par les Russes, ayant accepté de reprendre les armes dans l'autre camp.

En mars 1918, les Bolcheviques avaient signé un accord les remettant à la disposition des Alliés. Ils devaient être acheminés avec leurs armes vers Vladivostok pour y être embarqués à destination du front occidental. Mais, en mai, alors que les trains les transportant se dirigeaient vers l'Oural, les Rouges avaient tenté de les désarmer, et de violents incidents avaient éclaté dans plusieurs gares, et notamment dans celle de Tcheliabinsk. Sur quoi, ayant mis les gardes rouges en déroute, les Tchèques avaient rejoint les forces antibolcheviques de Sibérie.

Mais ces soldats tchèques sont - à de remarquables exceptions près, comme le capitaine Rudolf Gaïda, devenu général russe à moins de trente ans - des « corps étrangers » dans les armées blanches. Beaucoup se réclament du gouvernement en exil social-démocrate fondé sous la protection des Alliés par Masaryk, qui considère Koltchak et les siens comme « réactionnaires ». Et, surtout, ils sont placés sous le commandement théorique du général Janin.

Lénine découragé

Dès le mois de décembre, ils doivent être relevés sur le front occidental et sont affectés à la garde du chemin de fer transsibérien entre Tcheliabinsk et le lac Baïkal.


Pourtant, au mois de mars 1919, l'offensive de l'armée sibérienne se poursuit avec un plein succès. Elle menace Kazan, et son objectif principal est bel et bien devenu Moscou. En avril, les troupes de Koltchak, qui progressent sur un front de trois cents kilomètres, sont à moins de six cents kilomètres de la capitale.

Le 14 mai, les Alliés adressent à l'amiral un télégramme où ils se déclarent prêts, contre certaines garanties politiques, à tenir le gouvernement d'Omsk comme représentant l'ensemble de la Russie, une assemblée constituante devant être convoquée« dès l'arrivée à Moscou ».

Koltchak répond favorablement, en faisant tenir un double de sa correspondance à Dénikine, qui, le 30 mai, dans un ordre du jour daté d'Eksterinoder, reconnaît spontanément l'autorité de l'amiral « comme le chef suprême du gouvernement russe et le commandant en chef de toutes les armées russes ».

Malgré les tergiversations des Alliés - et, en particulier, il faut bien le dire, des Français la partie semble presque gagnée pour les Blancs. D'autant qu'au Sud, les troupes de Dénikine ; passées, le 2 mars, à une offensive ayant connu, deux mois durant, un sort incertain, ont fini par s'imposer - à quarante-cinq mille contre cent cinquante mille Rouges - et avancent de telle manière qu'une jonction avec Koltchak est envisagée.

C'est au point qu'à Moscou, Lénine se laisse aller à une déclaration pieusement tue, maintenant, par les historiographes marxistes :
« C'est entendu, nous avons raté notre coup. Mais notre grande réussite peut se résumer par une comparaison capitale : à Paris, la Commune avait tenu quelques jours. En Russie, elle aura tenu quelques mois... »

Il est vrai qu'à la différence de son compère Trotski, toujours tenace, combatif et courageux, Lénine était facilement lâche devant l'événement comme il le montra aussi bien à Pétrograd en 1917 que lors de l'offensive du général Ioudénitch, commandant l'Armée blanche du nord-ouest, en octobre 1919. Mais sa réaction n'en demeure pas moins significative.

Malheureusement, la situation ne tarde pas à se dégrader sur le front tenu par les troupes sibériennes. A la fin du mois de mai 1919, alors que la victoire semblait en vue, la progression est stoppée. Puis on commence à reculer devant des forces bolcheviques considérablement renforcées et, surtout, mieux équipées et mieux ravitaillées.

L'Armée blanche de Sibérie a, en effet, des lignes de communication dangereusement étirées. Et si, depuis quelque temps, des navires alliés ont commencé à débarquer du matériel à Vladivostok, son acheminement jusqu'à la zone du front est extrêmement difficile, long et hasardeux.

En juin, l'armée sibérienne du centre doit se replier, et l'armée du nord, commandée par Gaïda, est contrainte de suivre le mouvement pour n'être pas prise à revers sur son flanc gauche. Durant tout l'été, la retraite se poursuit.

Face aux intrigues

A Omsk aussi, le temps se gâte. Les revers militaires n'ont fait qu'attiser les intrigues diverses, menées aussi bien par les politiciens locaux que par certains représentants des Alliés. Koltchak, de plus en plus miné par la maladie, continue néanmoins à se battre sur tous les fronts.

La corruption qui continue à régner parmi les fonctionnaires et même certains officiers indigne l'amiral.

Il mène une existence austère, sort peu, ne reçoit pas, n'assiste qu'aux dîners officiels et ne participe en rien à cette « dolce vita » fin de siècle qui fait tant de ravages parmi les cadres anciens et nouveaux du Gouvernement local.

Certes, il a une maîtresse, mais, bien qu'étant de notoriété publique, cette liaison unique, visiblement fondée sur des sentiments profonds, décourage les amateurs de scandales.

De plus, Anna Timireva, femme séparée d'un amiral, ancien subordonné de Koltchak, n'est pas de celles qui suscitent l'esclandre.

Le dernier convoi

Au mois d'octobre, l'offensive rouge est devenue carrément impossible à enrayer. Du côté sibérien, on ne compte plus guère que sur l'hiver pour ralentir la progression des Bolcheviques, mais l'hiver, précisément, tarde à venir cette année-là.

Le 10 novembre, les avantgardes rouges ne se trouvent plus qu'à une soixantaine de kilomètres d'Omsk, déjà abandonnée par les missions militaires alliées. Et le 14, la 27e Division rouge s'emparera de la capitale après quelques brèves escarmouches.

Le Gouvernement s'est embarqué quatre jours plus tôt en direction d'Irkoutsk. Koltchak, lui, attend le dernier moment et ne part que quelques heures avant l'entrée des troupes rouges dans les faubourgs d'Omsk.

Il a pris place avec Anna Timireva, son état-major, sa garde personnelle et quelques civils, à bord d'un extraordinaire convoi de sept trains, dont l'un, comportant, vingt-neuf fourgons clos, transporte la réserve d'or du Gouvernement russe, stockée en Sibérie. Il sera rejoint le 7 décembre, à la gare de Taïga, par le président du conseil, Victor Pepelaïev.

Ce dernier voyage de l'amiral va prendre rapidement les allures d'un véritable chemin de croix. Autour de lui, tout s'effrite et tout s'effondre. Les Tchèques, soutenus par l'éternel général Janin, sont passés de la neutralité hargneuse à un véritable sabotage.

Et, le 13 décembre, à la gare de Marinsk, ils n'hésitent pas à faire passer le convoi de Koltchak sur la voie annexe - où l'on n'avance qu'à vitesse réduite en raison de l'encombrement. Toutes les protestations envoyées par l'amiral, tant au général Janin qu'au général Syrovy, commandant les troupes tchèques, restent vaines. La trahison est en train de se consommer.

La situation est telle que, le 16 décembre, le jeune général Kappel, devenu commandant en chef des troupes sibériennes, envoie à Syrovy un télégramme furibond où il exige du général tchèque réparation immédiate. C'est en vain.

Cependant, à Irkoutsk, une organisation regroupant les socialistes révolutionnaires et les mencheviks tente un putsch. Bientôt, la ville se trouve partagée entre elle et les troupes fidèles à Koltchak...

L'amiral trahi

Le 5 janvier 1920, Janin fait transmettre à l'amiral, toujours bloqué par les Tchèques, la proposition suivante : il sera escorté jusqu'à Irkoutsk par les Alliés, mais à la condition qu'il abandonne son convoi et voyage dans un seul wagon. Après quelques hésitations, Koltchak accepte, et, le 8 janvier au soir, l'unique wagon, accroché à une locomotive, s'ébranle, avec, à son bord, l'amiral, Anna Timireva et Victor Pepelaïev. des sentinelles tchèques armées stationnent dans les couloirs. Et lorsque, le 15, le train arrive à lrkoutsk, ce sont des miliciens socialistes à brassards rouges qui occupent les quais de la gare : l'amiral Koltchak vient d'être livré à ses ennemis...

D'ailleurs, deux officiers tchèques montent à bord du train et précisent : sur ordre du général Janin, l'amiral et ses compagnons vont être remis aux « autorités politiques locales ».

Koltchak conserve son calme glacial.

- Ainsi, c'est vrai, dit-il simplement, les Alliés m'ont trahi...

Le 20 janvier, les dirigeants socialistes cèdent officiellement la place à un « Comité révolutionnaire » bolchevique, et le lendemain, 21, Koltchak est appelé à comparaître devant une « Commission d'enquête extraordinaire » de cinq membres, présidée par les commissaires politiques rouges Tchoudnovsky et Popov. Coïncidence : l'aimable général Janin est parti pour un long et mystérieux voyage...

Une double exêcution

Mais un homme n'abandonne pas la partie : Kappel.

Avec son adjoint Voitzek-Hovsky et les maigres troupes qui lui restent, il est décidé à sauver l'amiral à tout prix. Il fonce vers Irkoutsk, et, le 20 janvier, s'empare de Nijneoudinsk. Mais le jeune général a les deux jambes gelées et les poumons atteints. Il refuse de se faire évacuer et continue sa route sur un simple traîneau, sur la neige. Le 27 janvier, il expire, en passant son commandement à Voitzekhovsky.

Celui-ci est son digne successeur. Enlevant à un train d'enfer ses troupes, pourtant épuisées, il arrive le 5 février aux portes d'Irkoutsk en ayant tout balayé sur son passage.

Le jour même, la « Commission d'enquête extraordinaire », muée en tribunal avec l'approbation du soviet de Tomsk, a décidé de faire fusiller Koltchak et Victor Pepelaïev. Les deux condamnés sont amenés au bord de la rivière Outchakovka, entièrement gelée. On a creusé un trou dans la glace. Ayant récité leurs prières, les deux hommes viennent se mettre devant, le dos à la rivière. Koltchak a refusé qu'on lui bande les yeux.

Une salve, puis une seconde.

Frappés à mort, les deux corps ont basculé dans l'eau immobile. Au-dessus d'eux, la glace commence à se reformer.


Jean Bourdier, National Hebdo février 1988.
_________________

lundi, 29 août 2011

Août 1941: violation de la neutralité iranienne

ChevroletIndiaPatternAC.jpg

Anton SCHMITT:

Août 1941: violation de la neutralité iranienne

 

Tous ceux qui réfléchissent aujourd’hui aux positions politiques que prend l’Iran et s’en étonnent, devraient étudier l’histoire récente de ce grand pays du Moyen Orient qui, depuis près de deux siècles, n’a jamais cessé d’être le jouet de ses voisins et des grandes puissances mondiales. La haute considération dont bénéficie l’Allemagne en Iran —en dépit de la politique désastreuse actuellement suivie par la Chancelière Merkel— ne dérive pas d’un “antisémitisme foncier” que les médiats attribuent plutôt à tort à la population iranienne mais provient surtout du fait que l’Allemagne n’a jamais tenté de se soumettre l’Iran.

 

Les puissances qui se sont attaquées à la souveraineté iranienne sont la Grande-Bretagne, la Russie et les Etats-Unis, qui, tous, ont été des adversaires de l’Allemagne au cours des deux guerres mondiales.

 

Le 25 août 1941, à 4 h 30 du matin, les Soviétiques et les Britanniques amorcent les hostilités avec l’Iran. Quelques minutes auparavant, les ambassadeurs Simonov et Bullard avaient transmis une note qui annonçait la décision de  leurs gouvernements respectifs. Cette note évoquait l’amitié que Soviétiques et Britanniques éprouvaient à l’endroit du peuple iranien, qu’ils entendaient désormais libérer de l’influence des “agents allemands”.

 

Quelques jours auparavant, le gouvernement iranien, qui percevait la menace, avait, dans son désarroi, demandé l’aide des Etats-Unis. Franklin Delano Roosevelt répond à l’appel des Iraniens le 22 août 1941 en adoptant un ton incroyablement cynique: il prétend que les bruits circulant à propos d’une invasion de l’Iran, qui aurait été dûment planifiée par les Soviétiques et les Britanniques, sont dépouvus de véracité et qu’il n’a rien appris de semblables projets. En fait, Roosevelt s’exprimait exactement de la même manière que Walter Ulbricht, lorsqu’on lui posait des questions sur l’imminence de la construction du Mur de Berlin en 1961.

 

Comme Churchill avait contribué à décimer l’armée de terre britannique au cours des campagnes menées dans le Nord de la France, en Grèce et en Libye, les Britanniques ne pouvaient plus aligner que des troupes coloniales de seconde voire de tierce catégorie, recrutées surtout en Inde. Les Soviétiques n’éprouvaient pas les mêmes difficultés. La manière dont l’attaque contre l’Iran fut perpétrée démontre que les agresseurs ne faisaient pas grand cas du droit de la guerre. Tandis que la Wehrmacht allemande avait demandé, avant d’entamer les hostilités, aux Danois et aux Norvégiens de capituler, les Britanniques, eux, n’ont pas accordé la moindre chance aux Iraniens à Khorramshar; ils ont ouvert le feu sans faire le détail, détruisant les casernes où les soldats du Shah dormaient encore.

 

Suite à l’invasion, l’Iran fut partagé en plusieurs “zones”. Les Américains, accourus à l’aide, ont remplacé les Anglais et fourni, pour leur zone, des troupes d’occupation. Les Américains se sont mis aussitôt à construire des routes et des voies de chemin de fer. C’est ainsi que s’est constitué toute une logisitique permettant de fournir matériels et approvisionnements américains aux Soviétiques. Au cours des années 1942/1943, 23% des aides américaines à l’URSS de Staline passaient par l’Iran. L’issue de la bataille de Stalingrad en a indubitablement dépendu. Après la guerre, les occupants ont lourdement facturé à l’Iran la construction de ces infrastructures, qu’ils avaient entreprise pour le bénéfice de leur propre guerre.

 

Le Shah, père du dernier Empereur Pahlevi, avait été jugé trop récalcitrant: les occupants ont dès lors exigé son abdication, peu de temps après l’invasion. Son fils monte sur le trône. Les “agents allemands”, qui avaient servi de prétexte à l’agression, existaient réellement. Quelques rares représentants de la fameuse Division “Brandenburg” ont bien tenté d’organiser la résistance iranienne, mais leurs actions n’eurent guère d’effets sur le plan militaire. En 1944, le père du dernier Shah meurt dans son exil sud-africain. Après la fin des hostilités, les occupants ne s’empressent pas de partir. Les Soviétiques tentent, avec l’appui d’un parti communiste rigoureusement bien organisé, de prendre le pouvoir réel en Iran, selon le même scénario mis au point en Tchécoslovaquie et appliqué avec le succès que l’on sait dans ce pays d’Europe centrale. Les Britanniques, eux, se contentaient, d’exploiter les puits de pétrole iraniens.

 

Dans le passé, bon nombre de grandes puissances, lorsque surgissaient des conflits, n’éprouvèrent que peu de respect pour la souveraineté des Etats neutres. Lors de la première guerre mondiale, les grandes puissances n’ont pas hésité à bafouer les droits des puissances de moindre envergure. Cela ne concerne pas seulement la Belgique et le Luxembourg, dont la neutralité fut violée par l’Allemagne en 1914, mais aussi la Grèce que la France et la Grande-Bretagne contraignirent à accepter leurs conditions en 1916.

 

Anton SCHMITT.

(article publié dans “zur Zeit”, Vienne, n°34/2011; http://www.zurzeit.at/ ).

dimanche, 14 août 2011

Zinoviev's Homo Sovieticus: Communism as Social Entropy

Zinoviev’s “Homo Sovieticus”: Communism as Social Entropy

Tomislav Sunic

Ex: http://freespeechproject.com/

 

Alexandre_Zinoviev_2002.jpgStudents and observers of communism consistently encounter the same paradox: On the one hand they attempt to predict the future of communism, yet on the other they must regularly face up to a system that appears unusually static. At Academic gatherings and seminars, and in scholarly treatises, one often hears and reads that communist systems are marred by economic troubles, power sclerosis, ethnic upheavals, and that it is only a matter of time before communism disintegrates. Numerous authors and observers assert that communist systems are maintained in power by the highly secretive nomenklatura, which consists of party potentates who are intensely disliked by the entire civil society. In addition, a growing number of authors argue that with the so-called economic linkages to Western economies, communist systems will eventually sway into the orbit of liberal democracies, or change their legal structure to the point where ideological differences between liberalism and communism will become almost negligible.

The foregoing analyses and predictions about communism are flatly refuted by Alexander Zinoviev, a Russian sociologist, logician, and satirist, whose analyses of communist systems have gained remarkable popularity among European conservatives in the last several years.

According to Zinoviev, it is impossible to study communist systems without rigorous employment of appropriate methodology, training in logic, and a construction of an entirely new conceptual approach. Zinoviev contends that Western observers of communism are seriously mistaken in using social analyses and a conceptual framework appropriate for studying social phenomena in the West, but inappropriate for the analysis of communist systems. He writes:

A camel cannot exist if one places upon it the criteria of a hippopotamus. The opinion of those in the West who consider the Soviet society unstable, and who hope for its soon disintegration from within (aside that they take their desires for realities), is in part due to the fact that they place upon the phenomenon of Soviet society criteria of Western societies, which are alien to the Soviet society.

Zinoviev’s main thesis is that an average citizen living in a communist system -- whom he labels homo sovieticus -- behaves and responds to social stimuli in a similar manner to the way his Western counterpart responds to stimuli of his own social landscape. In practice this means that in communist systems the immense majority of citizens behave, live, and act in accordance with the logic of social entropy laid out by the dominating Marxist ideology. Contrary to widespread liberal beliefs, social entropy in communism is by no means a sign of the system’s terminal illness; in fact it is a positive sign that the system has developed to a social level that permits its citizenry to better cope with the elementary threats, such as wars, economic chaos, famines, or large-scale cataclysms. In short, communism is a system whose social devolution has enabled the masses of communist citizens to develop defensive mechanisms of political self-protection and indefinite biological survival. Using an example that recalls Charles Darwin and Konrad Lorenz, Zinoviev notes that less-developed species often adapt to their habitat better than species with more intricate biological and behavioral capacities. On the evolutionary tree, writes Zinoviev, rats and bugs appear more fragile than, for example, monkeys or dinosaurs, yet in terms of biological survivability, bugs and rats have demonstrated and astounding degree of adaptability to an endlessly changing and threatening environment. The fundamental mistake of liberal observers of communism is to equate political efficiency with political stability. There are political stability. There are political systems that are efficient, but are at the same time politically unstable; and conversely, there are systems which resilient to external threats. To illustrate the stability of communist systems, Zinoviev writes:

A social system whose organization is dominated by entropic principles possesses a high level od stability. Communist society is indeed such a type of association of millions of people in a common whole in which more secure survival, for a more comfortable course of life, and for a favorable position of success.

Zinoviev notes that to “believe in communism” by no means implies only the adherence to the ruling communist elite of the unquestionable acceptance of the communist credo. The belief in communism presupposes first and foremost a peculiar mental attitude whose historical realization has been made possible as a result of primordial egalitarian impulses congenial to all human beings. Throughout man’s biocultural evolution, egalitarian impulses have been held in check by cultural endeavors and civilizational constraints, yet with the advent of mass democracies, resistance to these impulses has become much more difficult. Here is how Zinoviev sees communism:

Civilization is effort; communality is taking the line if least resistance. Communism is the unruly conduct of nature’s elemental forces; civilization sets them rational bounds.

It is for this reason that it is the greatest mistake to think that communism deceives the masses or uses force on them. As the flower and crowning glory of communality, communism represents a type of society which is nearest and dearest to the masses no matter how dreadful the potential consequences for them might be.

zinoviev1978.jpgZinoviev refutes the widespread belief that communist power is vested only among party officials, or the so-called nomenklatura. As dismal as the reality of communism is, the system must be understood as a way of life shared by millions of government official, workers, and countless ordinary people scattered in their basic working units, whose chief function is to operate as protective pillars of the society. Crucial to the stability of the communist system is the blending of the party and the people into one whole, and as Zinoviev observes, “the Soviet saying the party and the people are one and the same, is not just a propagandistic password.” The Communist Party is only the repository of an ideology whose purpose is not only to further the objectives of the party members, but primarily to serve as the operating philosophical principle governing social conduct. Zinoviev remarks that Catholicism in the earlier centuries not only served the Pope and clergy; it also provided a pattern of social behavior countless individuals irrespective of their personal feelings toward Christian dogma. Contrary to the assumption of liberal theorists, in communist societies the cleavage between the people and the party is almost nonexistent since rank-and-file party members are recruited from all walks of life and not just from one specific social stratum. To speculate therefore about a hypothetical line that divides the rulers from the ruled, writes Zinoviev in his usual paradoxical tone, is like comparing how “a disemboweled and carved out animal, destined for gastronomic purposes, differs from its original biological whole.”

Admittedly, continues Zinoviev, per capita income is three to four times lower than in capitalist democracies, and as the daily drudgery and bleakness of communist life indicates, life under communism falls well short of the promised paradise. Yet, does this necessarily indicate that the overall quality in a communist society is inferior to that in Western countries? If one considers that an average worker in a communist system puts in three to four hours to his work (for which he usually never gets reprimanded, let alone fears losing his job), then his earnings make the equivalent of the earnings of a worker in a capitalist democracy. Stated in Marxist terminology, a worker in a communist system is not economically exploited but instead “takes the liberty” of allocating to himself the full surplus value of his labor which the state is unable to allocate to him. Hence this popular joke, so firmly entrenched in communist countries, which vividly explains the longevity of the communist way of life: “Nobody can pay me less than as little as I can work.”

Zinoviev dismisses the liberal reductionist perception of economics, which is based on the premise that the validity or efficiency of a country is best revieled by it high economic output or workers’ standard of living. In describing the economics of the Soviet Union, he observes that “the economy in the Soviet Union continues to thrive, regardless of the smart analyses and prognoses of the Western experts, and is in fact in the process of becoming stronger.” The endless liberal speculations about the future of communism, as well as the frequent evaluations about whether capitalist y resulted in patent failures. The more communism changes the more in fact it remains the same. Yet, despite its visible shortcomings, the communist ideal will likely continue to flourish precisely because it successfully projects the popular demand for security and predictability. By contrast, the fundamental weakness of liberal systems is that they have introduced the principles of security and predictability only theoretically and legally, but for reasons of economic efficiency, have so far been unable to put them into practice. For Claude Polin, a French author whose analyses of communist totalitarianism closely parallel Zinoviev’s views, the very economic inefficiency of communism paradoxically, “provides much more chances to [sic] success for a much larger number of individuals than a system founded on competition and reward of talents.” Communism, in short, liberates each individual from all social effort and responsibility, and its internal stasis only reinforces its awesome political stability.

TERROR AS THE METAPHOR
For Zinoviev, communist terror essentially operates according to the laws of dispersed communalism; that is, though the decentralization of power into the myriad of workers’ collectives. As the fundamental linchpins of communism, these collectives carry out not only coercive but also remunerative measures on behalf of and against their members. Upon joining a collective, each person becomes a transparent being who is closely scrutinized by his coworkers, yet at the same time enjoys absolute protection in cases of professional mistakes, absenteeism, shoddy work, and so forth. In such a system it is not only impossible but also counterproductive to contemplate a coup or a riot because the power of collectives is so pervasive that any attempted dissent is likely to hurt the dissenter more than his collective. Seen on the systemic level, Communist terror, therefore, does not emanate from one central source, but from a multitude of centers from the bottom to the top of society, whose foundations, in additions to myriad of collectives, are made up of “basic units,” brigades, or pioneer organizations. If perchance an individual or a group of people succeeds in destroying one center of power, new centers of power will automatically emerge. In this sense, the notion of “democratic centralism,” derided by many liberal observers as just another verbal gimmick of the communist meta-language, signifies a genuine example of egalitarian democracy -- a democracy in which power derives not from the party but from the people. Zinoviev notes:

Even if you wipe out half the population, the first thing that will be restored in the remaining half will be the system of power and administration. There, power is not organized to serve the population: the population is organized as a material required for the functioning of power.

Consequently, it does not appear likely that communism can ever be “improved,” at least not as Westerners understand improvement, because moral, political, and economic corruption of communism is literally spread throughout all pores of the society, and is in fact encouraged by the party elite on a day-to-day basis. The corruption among workers that takes the form of absenteeism, moonlighting, and low output goes hand in hand with corruption and licentiousness of party elite, so that the corruption of the one justifies and legitimatizes the corruption of the others. That communism is a system of collective irresponsibility is indeed not just an empty saying.

IN THE LAND OF THE “WOODEN LANGUAGE”
The corruption of language in communist societies is a phenomenon that until recently has not been sufficiently explored. According to an elaborate communist meta-language that Marxist dialecticians have skillfully developed over the last hundred years, dissidents and political opponents do not fall into the category of “martyrs,” or “freedom fighters” -- terms usually applied to them by Western well-wishers, yet terms are meaningless in the communist vernacular. Not only for the party elite, but for the overwhelming majority of people, dissidents are primarily traitors of democracy, occasionally branded as “fascist agents” or proverbial “CIA spies.” In any case, as Zinoviev indicates, the number of dissidents is constantly dwindling, while the number of their detractors is growing to astounding proportions. Moreover, the process of expatriation of dissidents is basically just one additional effort to dispose of undesirable elements, and thereby secure a total social consensus.

for the masses of citizens, long accustomed to a system circumventing al political “taboo themes,” the very utterance of the word dissident creates the feeling of insecurity and unpredictability. Consequently, before dissidents turn into targets of official ostracism and legal prosecution, most people, including their family members, will often go to great lengths to disavow them. Moreover, given the omnipotent and transparent character of collectives and distorted semantics, potential dissidents cannot have a lasting impact of society. After all, who wants to be associated with somebody who in the popular jargon is a nuisance to social peace and who threatens the already precarious socioeconomic situation of a system that has only recently emerged from the long darkness of terror? Of course, in order to appear democratic the communist media will often encourage spurious criticism of the domestic bureaucracy, economic shortages, or rampant mismanagement, but any serious attempt to question the tenets of economic determinism and the Marxist vulgate will quickly be met with repression. In a society premised on social and psychological transparency, only when things get out of hand, that is, when collectives are no longer capable of bringing a dissident to “his senses,” -- which at any rate is nowadays a relatively rare occurrence -- the police step in. Hence, the phenomenon of citizens’ self-surveillance, so typical of all communist societies, largely explains the stability of the system.

In conclusion, the complexity of the communist enigma remains awesome, despite some valid insights by sovietologists and other related scholars. In fact, one reason why the study of communist society is still embryonic may be ascribed to the constant proliferation of sovietologists, experts, and observers, who seldom shared a unanimous view of the communist phenomenon. Their true expertise, it appears, is not the analysis of the Soviet Union, but rather how to refute each other’s expertise on the Soviet Union. The merit of Zinoviev’s implacable logic is that the abundance of false diagnoses and prognoses of communism results in part from liberal’s own unwillingness to combat social entropy and egalitarian obsession on their own soil and within their own ranks. If liberal systems are truly interested in containing communism, they must first reexamine their own egalitarian premises and protocommunist appetites.

What causes communism? Why does communism still appear so attractive (albeit in constantly new derivatives) despite its obvious empirical bankruptcy? Why cannot purportedly democratic liberalism come to terms with its ideological opponents despite visible economic advantages? Probably on should first examine the dynamics of all egalitarian and economic beliefs and doctrines, including those of liberalism, before one starts criticizing the gulags and psychiatric hospitals.

Zinoviev rejects the notion that the Soviet of total political consolidation that can now freely permit all kinds of liberal experiments. After all, what threatens communism?

Regardless of what the future holds for communist societies, one must agree with Zinoviev that the much-vaunted affluence of the West is not necessarily a sign of Western stability. The constant reference to affluence as the sole criterion for judging political systems does not often seem persuasive. The received wisdom among (American) conservatives is that the United States must outgun or out spend the Soviet Union to convince the Soviets that capitalism is a superior system. Conservatives and others believe that with this show of affluence, Soviet leaders will gradually come to the conclusion that their systems is obsolete. Yet in the process of competition, liberal democracies may ignore other problems. If one settles for the platitude that the Soviet society is economically bankrupt, then one must also acknowledge that the United States is the world’s largest debtor and that another crash on Wall Street may well lead to the further appeal of various socialistic and pseudosocialist beliefs. Liberal society, despite its material advantages, constantly depends on its “self-evident” economic miracles. Such a society, particularly when it seeks peace at any price, may some day realize that there is also an impossibly high price to pay in order to preserve it.

[The World and I   (Washington Times Co.), June, 1989]

Mr. Sunic, a former US professor and a former Croat diplomat, holds a Ph.D. in political science. He is the author of several books. He currently resides in Europe.

http://doctorsunic.netfirms.com

vendredi, 20 mai 2011

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Question

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Question

 

by John Laughland

 

http://www.lewrockwell.com/

62.jpgThe death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn produced predictable reactions from Western commentators. Yes, they said, he was a moral giant for so bravely exposing the evils of the Soviet penitential system in The Gulag Archipelago; but he later compromised his moral stature by failing to like the West and by becoming a Russian nationalist.

A perfect example of this reasoning was Anne Applebaum’s piece in The Guardian. Herself the author of a history of the Gulag, she wrote,

In later years, Solzhenitsyn lost some of his stature …thanks to his failure to embrace liberal democracy. He never really liked the west, never really took to free markets or pop culture.

Such comments reveal more about their author than about their subject. We are dealing here with something I propose to call geo-ideology: the alas now widespread prejudice that “West” and “democracy” are identical concepts. In the minds of such commentators, moreover, the “West” is also identical with “free markets” and “pop culture.” The “West,” apparently no longer means “the Christian religion” or even that body of inheritance from the magnificent treasure-house of the cultures of Athens and Rome. Instead it means MTV, coke and Coke.

At every level these assumptions are false. Let us start with “free markets,” the endlessly repeated shibboleth of the globalisers. By what possible criterion can
Russia be said to have a less free market than the United States of America, or than the majority of European Union member state? One of the key measure of the freedom of a market is the amount of private income consumed by the state. The income tax rate in Russia is fixed at a flat rate of 13% – a fraction of the 25% or so paid in the US, 33% of so paid in the United Kingdom and the 40% or more paid in continental Europe. As for pop culture, Russia unfortunately has plenty of it. Her youth are just as imbued with it, unfortunately, as the youth of Europe and America.

The comments also fail to present the reader with any serious analysis of Solzhenitsyn’s political position. The author makes vague and disparaging references to the unsuitability of Solzhenitsyn’s “vision of a more spiritual society” and to his “crusty and old fashioned nationalism” – judgements which appear to owe much to the Soviet propaganda she says she rejects. But she fails to allow the reader to know just what she means. Surely, on the occasion of a man’s death, it might be opportune to tell people about what he thought.

Anyone who reads Solzhenitsyn’s astonishing essay from 1995, The Russian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century, will see that this caricature is nonsense. There is nothing irrational or mystical about Solzhenitsyn’s political positions at all – and he makes only the most glancing of references to the religion which, we all know, he does indeed hold dear. No, what emerges from this essay is an extremely simple and powerful political position which is easily translated into contemporary American English as “paleo-conservatism.”

Solzhenitsyn makes a withering attack on three hundred years of Russian history. Almost no Russian leader emerges without censure (he likes only the Empress Elizabeth [1741–1762] and Tsar Alexander III [1881–1894]); most of them are roundly condemned. One might contest the ferocity of Solzhenitsyn’s attacks but the ideological coherence of them is very clear: he is opposed to leaders who pursue foreign adventures, including empire-building, at the expense of the Russian population itself. This, he says, is what unites nearly all the Tsars since Peter the Great with the Bolshevik leaders.

Again and again, in a variety of historical contexts, Solzhenitsyn says that
Russia should not have gone to the aid of this or that foreign cause, but should instead have concentrated on promoting stability and prosperity at home.

While we always sought to help the Bulgarians, the Serbs, the Montenegrins, we would have done better to think first of the Belorussians and Ukrainians: with the weighty hand of Empire we deprived them of cultural and spiritual development in their own traditions… the endless wars for Balkan Christians were a crime against the Russian people… The attempt to greater-Russify all of Russia proved damaging not only to the living national traits of all the other ethnicities in the Empire but was foremost detrimental to the greater-Russian nationality itself … The aims of a great Empire and the moral health of the people are incompatible … Holding on to a great Empire means to contribute to the extinction of our own people.

There is literally nothing to separate this view from the anti-interventionist anti-war positions of Pat Buchanan (author of A Republic not an Empire) or Ron Paul.

After dealing with both the horrors of Communism, Solzhenitsyn of course turns his attention to the terrible chaos of the post-Communist period. Here again, his concern for the Russian people themselves remains consistent. He writes,

The trouble is not that the USSR broke up – that was inevitable. The real trouble, and a tangle for a long time to come, is that the breakup occurred along false Leninist borders, usurping from us entire Russian provinces. In several days, we lost 25 million ethnic Russians – 18 percent of our entire nation – and the government could not scrape up the courage even to take note of this dreadful event, a colossal historic defeat for Russia, and to declare its political disagreement with it.

Solzhenitsyn is right. One of the most lasting legacies of Leninism, which remains after everything else has been swept away or collapsed, was the decision to create bogus federal entities on the territory of what had been the unitary Russian state. These entities, called Soviet republics, contributed only to the creation of bogus nationalisms and of course to the dilution of Russian nationhood. They were bogus because the republics in question did not, in fact, correspond to ethnic reality: Kazakhs, for instance, are and remain a numerical minority in Kazakhstan, while “Ukraine” is in fact a collection of ancient Russian provinces (especially Kiev) and some Ukrainian ones. This bogus nationalism allowed the Soviet Union to present itself as an international federation of peoples, rather like the European Union today, but it was exploited by Russia’s enemies when the time came to destroy the geopolitical existence of the historic Russian state. This happened when the USSR was unilaterally dissolved by three Republic leaders in December 1991.

And this is the key to the West’s hostility to Solzhenitsyn. The man the West exploited to destroy Communism refused to bend the knee to the West’s continuing attempts (largely successful) to destroy
Russia herself. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Anne Applebaum, an American citizen, is the wife of the Foreign Minister of Russia’s oldest historical enemy, Poland.

This article originally appeared in The Brussels Journal.

August 12, 2008

John Laughland's [send him mail] latest book is A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein.

Copyright © 2008 John Laughland

mercredi, 11 mai 2011

Le plan de Staline pour conquérir l'Europe

Le plan de Staline pour conquérir l’Europe:
Comment l’Union Soviétique «perdit» la 2ème Guerre Mondiale

Daniel W. Michaels

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Viktor Suvorov (Vladimir Rezun)
Poslednyaya Respublika («La dernière république»)
Moscou : TKO ACT, 1996.

English original here [2]

142009.jpgIl y a maintenant plusieurs années de cela, un ancien officier du renseignement militaire soviétique nommé Vladimir Rezun provoqua de vives discussions en Russie à cause de son affirmation sensationnelle, selon laquelle Hitler a attaqué la Russie soviétique en juin 1941, au moment exact où Staline se préparait à submerger l’Allemagne et l’Europe de l’Ouest, en prélude à une opération bien préparée, visant à «libérer» toute l’Europe en la mettant sous domination communiste.

Ecrivant sous le nom de plume de Viktor Suvorov, Rezun a développé cette thèse dans trois livres. Le Brise-glace (qui a été traduit en anglais et en français [1989] ) et Dni M («M-Day») ont été présentés dans le Journal of Historical Review, nov-déc. 1997. Le troisième livre, présenté ici, est un ouvrage de 470 pages, «La dernière république : pourquoi l’Union Soviétique perdit la Seconde Guerre Mondiale», publié à Moscou en 1996.

Suvorov présente une abondance de preuves, montrant que quand Hitler déclencha son «Opération Barbarossa» contre la Russie Soviétique le 22 juin 1941, les forces allemandes purent infliger d’énormes pertes aux Soviétiques précisément parce que les troupes russes étaient très bien préparées pour la guerre — mais pour une guerre d’agression qui fut programmée pour le début de juillet — et pas pour la guerre défensive qui leur fut imposée par l’attaque préventive de Hitler.

Dans le Brise-glace, Suvorov détaille le déploiement des forces soviétiques en juin 1941, décrivant exactement de quelle manière Staline amassa de vastes quantités de troupes et de stocks d’armements le long de la frontière européenne, pas pour défendre la patrie soviétique, mais en préparation d’une attaque vers l’ouest et de batailles décisives en territoire ennemi.

Ainsi, quand les forces allemandes frappèrent, le gros des forces russes, terrestres et aériennes, étaient concentrées le long des frontières ouest de l’URSS, en face des pays européens contigus, particulièrement le Reich allemand et la Roumanie, prêtes pour l’assaut final contre l’Europe.

Dans son second livre sur les origines de la guerre, M-Day («Jour de mobilisation»), Suvorov décrit comment, entre la fin de 1939 et l’été de 1941, Staline construisit méthodiquement et systématiquement la force militaire la mieux armée, la plus puissante dans le monde — véritablement la première superpuissance du monde — pour sa future conquête de l’Europe. Suvorov explique comment la conversion drastique de l’économie du pays pour la guerre, voulue par Staline, rendait la guerre réellement inévitable.

Une Union Soviétique Mondiale

Dans La dernière république, Suvorov ajoute d’autres preuves à celles présentées dans ses deux livres précédents, pour appuyer son affirmation selon laquelle Staline se préparait à une guerre d’agression, en soulignant les motivations idéologiques des actions du dirigeant soviétique. Le titre fait allusion au malheureux pays qui devait être incorporé en tant que «République finale» dans «l’Union des Républiques Socialistes Soviétiques» mondiale, complétant ainsi le révolution prolétarienne mondiale.

Comme l’explique Suvorov, ce plan était entièrement en accord avec la doctrine marxiste-léniniste, ainsi qu’avec la politique de Lénine dans les premières années du régime soviétique. L’historien russe argue de manière convaincante que ce ne fut pas Léon Trotsky (Bronstein), mais plutôt Staline, son moins flamboyant rival, qui fut réellement le fidèle disciple de Lénine pour la poursuite de la Révolution Communiste Mondiale. Trotsky insistait sur la doctrine de la «révolution permanente», par laquelle le jeune Etat soviétique aiderait à fomenter des soulèvements et des révolutions ouvrières à l’intérieur des pays capitalistes.

A la place de cela, Staline voulait que le régime soviétique tire avantage «d’armistices» occasionnels dans la lutte mondiale pour consolider la force militaire soviétique, afin qu’au bon moment des forces soviétiques plus importantes et mieux armées puissent frapper en Europe du Centre et de l’Ouest, ajoutant de nouvelles républiques soviétiques quand cette force écrasante se mettrait en marche à travers le continent. Après la consolidation réussie et la soviétisation de toute l’Europe, l’URSS renforcée serait prête à imposer le pouvoir soviétique à tout le globe.

Comme le montre Suvorov, Staline comprit très bien que s’ils avaient le choix, les peuples des pays avancés de l’Occident ne choisiraient jamais volontairement le communisme. Il serait donc nécessaire de l’imposer par la force. Staline décida alors que son plan audacieux ne pouvait être réalisé que par une guerre mondiale.

Une preuve d’importance décisive à cet égard est le discours de Staline du 19 août 1939, récemment retrouvé dans les archives soviétiques (cité en partie dans Journal of Historical Review de nov-déc. 1997, p. 32-33). Dans ce discours, l’héritier de Lénine déclare:

L’expérience des vingt dernières années a montré qu’en temps de paix le mouvement communiste n’est jamais suffisamment fort pour prendre le pouvoir. La dictature d’un tel parti deviendra possible seulement en résultat d’une guerre majeure

Plus tard, tous les pays qui avaient accepté la protection de l’Allemagne renaissante deviendront aussi nos alliés. Nous aurons un large champ d’action pour développer la révolution mondiale.

De plus, et comme les théoriciens soviétiques l’ont toujours affirmé, le communisme ne pourrait jamais coexister pacifiquement sur le long terme avec d’autres systèmes socio-politiques. En conséquence, la domination communiste devrait inévitablement être imposée au monde. Ce but de «révolution mondiale» était tellement consubstantiel à la nature et au développement du «premier Etat des travailleurs» qu’il fut un trait cardinal du programme soviétique, même avant que Hitler et son mouvement national-socialiste arrive au pouvoir en Allemagne en 1933.

Staline voulait frapper au moment et à l’endroit de son choix. A cette fin, le développement soviétique des systèmes d’armes offensives les plus avancées, principalement les blindés, les avions, et les forces aéroportées, avait déjà commencé au début des années 30. Pour assurer le succès de son audacieuse entreprise, Staline ordonna à la fin de 1939 de construire une puissante machine de guerre qui serait supérieure en quantité et en qualité à toutes les forces d’opposition possibles. Son premier ordre secret pour la mobilisation militaro-industrielle totale du pays fut émis en août 1939. Un second ordre de mobilisation totale, cette fois-ci pour la mobilisation militaire, devait être émis le jour où la guerre commencerait.

Déception

L’attaque allemande «Barbarossa» anéantit le plan bien établi de Staline pour «libérer» toute l’Europe. Dans ce sens, affirme Suvorov, Staline «perdit» la 2ème Guerre Mondiale. Le dirigeant soviétique ne pouvait considérer que comme une déception d’avoir «seulement» vaincu l’Allemagne et conquis l’Europe de l’Est et du Centre.

14 jours qui sauvèrent l’Occident

«Nombre d’indices tendent à prouver que la date fixée par Staline pour l’opération «Orage» était le 6 juillet 1941.» (Viktor Suvorov, Le Brise-glace)

«Le commandement fasciste allemand réussit, deux semaines avant la guerre, à devancer nos troupes.» (Général S.P. Ivanov)

«Hitler ne savait pas tout, mais il en savait assez: s’il n’attaquait pas, l’autre attaquerait. (…) Hitler reniflait ce danger. (…) C’était une question de vie ou de mort.» (Léon Degrelle, Persiste et signe)

«Ma conviction profonde est que si le Führer ne nous avait pas donné l’ordre d’attaquer à ce moment-là, les Etats européens et la plupart des sociétés humaines seraient à présent bolchevisés.» (Otto Skorzeny, La guerre inconnue)

«… la puissance russe menaçante, ayant ses têtes de pont préparées sur la Baltique et sur la mer Noire, n’attendait qu’une occasion, c’est-à-dire le moment où l’armée allemande serait suffisament occupée par les puissances occidentales, pour que le front oriental soit ouvert à une attaque massive à laquelle l’Allemagne ne serait pas en mesure de résister.» (Sven Hedin, L’Amérique dans la lutte des continents)

«Staline préparait la guerre dans tous les domaines, en partant de délais qu’il avait fixé lui-même. Hitler déjoua ses calculs.» (Amiral N. G. Kouznetsov)

Selon Suvorov, Staline trahit sa déception de plusieurs manières après la fin de la guerre. D’abord, il laissa le maréchal Joukov conduire le défilé de la victoire en 1945, au lieu de le faire lui-même — lui, le Commandant suprême. Deuxièmement, aucun défilé officiel de la victoire du 9 mai ne fut même autorisé jusqu’à la mort de Staline en 1953. Troisièmement, Staline ne porta jamais aucune des médailles qu’il avait obtenues après la fin de la 2ème Guerre Mondiale. Quatrièmement, un jour, dans un moment de dépression, il exprima aux membres de son entourage proche son désir de se retirer [du pouvoir] maintenant que la guerre était finie. Cinquièmement, et c’est peut-être le plus révélateur, Staline abandonna le projet, prévu de longue date, du Palais des Soviets.

Un monument inachevé

L’énorme Palais des Soviets, approuvé par le gouvernement soviétique au début des années 30, devait faire 418 mètres de haut, surmonté par une statue de Lénine de 100 mètres de hauteur — plus haut que l’Empire State Building de New York. Il devait être construit sur le site de l’ancienne Cathédrale du Christ Sauveur. Sur l’ordre de Staline, ce magnifique symbole de la vieille Russie fut rasé en 1931 — un acte par lequel les dirigeants communistes voulaient effacer symboliquement l’âme de la vieille Russie pour faire place au monument central de l’URSS mondiale.

Toutes les «républiques socialistes» du monde, y compris la «dernière république», devaient être représentées dans le Palais. Le hall principal de ce sanctuaire séculier devait être décoré avec le texte du serment que Staline avait fait en termes quasi-religieux lors des funérailles de Lénine. Il comportait ces paroles : «Lorsqu’il nous quitta, le Camarade Lénine nous légua la responsabilité de renforcer et de développer l’Union des Républiques Socialistes. Nous te jurons, Camarade Lénine, que nous nous acquitterons honorablement de tes commandements sacrés.»

Cependant, seules les premières fondations de ce grandiose monument furent achevées, et pendant les années 90, après l’effondrement de l’URSS, la Cathédrale du Christ Sauveur fut soigneusement reconstruite sur le site.

La version officielle

Pendant des décennies, la version officielle du conflit germano-soviétique de 1941-45, soutenue par les historiens de l’establishment, à la fois en Russie et en Occident, fut à peu près cela:

Hitler déclencha une attaque «éclair» par surprise contre l’Union Soviétique tristement mal-préparée, ridiculisant son chef, le naïf et confiant Staline. Le Führer allemand fut conduit vers l’Orient primitif par la convoitise pour «l’espace vital» et les ressources naturelles, et par sa détermination longuement remâchée de détruire le «communisme juif» une fois pour toutes. Dans son attaque traîtresse, qui était une étape importante de la folle campagne de Hitler pour la «conquête du monde», les agresseurs «nazis» ou «fascistes» submergèrent d’abord toute résistance grâce à leur prépondérance en chars et en avions modernes.

Cette vison des choses, qui fut affirmée par les juges Alliés au Tribunal de Nuremberg après la guerre, est encore largement acceptée, à la fois en Russie et aux Etats-Unis. En Russie aujourd’hui, la plus grande partie du public (et pas seulement ceux qui sont nostalgiques de l’ancien régime soviétique) accepte cette version «politiquement correcte». En effet, elle «explique» les énormes pertes de l’Union Soviétique en hommes et en matériel pendant la 2ème Guerre Mondiale.

Condamné depuis le début

Contrairement à la version officielle selon laquelle l’Union Soviétique n’était pas préparée pour la guerre en juin 1941, en réalité, souligne Suvorov, c’était les Allemands qui n’étaient pas vraiment préparés. Le plan allemand «Barbarossa», hâtivement mis au point, qui visait à une victoire éclair en cinq ou six mois avec des forces numériquement inférieures, avançant en trois larges poussées, était condamné depuis le début.

De plus, note Suvorov, l’Allemagne manquait des matières premières (incluant le pétrole) essentielles pour soutenir une guerre prolongée d’une telle dimension.

Une autre raison du manque de préparation de l’Allemagne, affirme Suvorov, était que ses chefs militaires avaient sérieusement sous-estimé la performance des forces soviétiques pendant la «Guerre d’Hiver» contre la Finlande en 1939-40. Elles combattirent, il faut le souligner, dans des conditions extrêmement sévères d’hiver — températures de -40 et des épaisseurs de neige de plus d’un mètre — contre les fortifications et les installations enterrées, bien conçues et renforcées de la «Ligne Mannerheim» de la Finlande. En dépit de cela, on l’oublie souvent, l’Armée Rouge contraignit finalement les Finlandais à un humiliant armistice.

C’est toujours une erreur, souligne Suvorov, de sous-estimer son ennemi. Mais Hitler fit cette faute de calcul décisive. En 1943, après que le cours de la guerre ait tourné contre l’Allemagne, il reconnut son jugement erroné des forces soviétiques, deux années plus tôt.

Disparité des chars

Pour prouver que c’était Staline, et pas Hitler, qui était réellement préparé pour la guerre, Suvorov compare l’armement allemand et soviétique au milieu de 1941, avec une attention particulière pour les systèmes d’armes offensifs, d’importance décisive: les chars et les forces aéroportées. C’est un axiome généralement accepté en science militaire, que les forces attaquantes doivent avoir une supériorité numérique de trois contre un. Cependant, comme l’explique Suvorov, quand les Allemands frappèrent au matin du 22 juin 1941, ils attaquèrent avec un total de 3 350 chars, alors que les défenseurs soviétiques avaient un total de 24 000 chars — ce qui veut dire que Staline avait sept fois plus de chars que Hitler, ou vingt et une fois plus de chars que ce qui aurait été considéré comme suffisant pour une défense adéquate. De plus, souligne Suvorov, les chars soviétiques étaient supérieurs dans tous les aspects techniques, incluant la puissance de feu, l’autonomie et le blindage.

Tel qu’il était, le développement soviétique de la production de chars lourds avait déjà commencé au début des années 30. Par exemple, dès 1933 les Soviétiques étaient déjà passés à la production en série, et livraient à leurs forces le modèle T-35, un char lourd de 45 tonnes avec 3 canons, 6 mitrailleuses, et 30mm de blindage. Par contre, les Allemands commencèrent le développement et la production d’un char de 45 tonnes comparable [ce furent le «Tiger» et le «Panther», NDT] seulement après que la guerre ait commencé à la mi-1941.

En 1939 les Soviétiques avaient déjà ajouté trois modèles de chars lourds à leur arsenal. De plus, les Soviétiques concevaient leurs chars avec de plus larges chenilles, et les équipaient avec des moteurs Diesel (qui étaient moins inflammables que ceux utilisant des carburateurs conventionnels). En outre, les chars soviétiques étaient construits avec le moteur et la direction à l’arrière, améliorant ainsi l’efficacité générale et la vision de l’équipage. Les chars allemands avaient une conception moins efficace, avec le moteur à l’arrière et la direction dans la partie avant.

Quand le conflit commença en juin 1941, montre Suvorov, l’Allemagne n’avait pas du tout de chars lourds, seulement 309 chars moyens, et juste 2 668 chars légers, inférieurs. Pour leur part, les Soviétiques au début de la guerre avaient à leur disposition des chars qui n’étaient pas seulement plus lourds mais de meilleure qualité.

A ce sujet, Suvorov cite les souvenirs du général allemand des blindés Heinz Guderian, qui écrivit dans ses mémoires Chef de Panzers (1952/1996, p. 143) :

Au printemps de 1941, Hitler avait spécialement ordonné qu’une commission militaire russe puisse visiter nos usines et nos écoles de blindés; dans cet ordre il avait insisté pour que rien ne leur soit caché. Les officiers russes en question refusèrent toujours de croire que le Panzer IV était en fait notre char le plus lourd. Ils dirent toujours que nous devions leur cacher nos nouveaux modèles, et se plaignirent en disant que nous n’appliquions pas l’ordre d’Hitler de tout leur montrer. La commission militaire insista tellement sur ce point que finalement nos responsables des services concernés conclurent: «Il semble que les Russes possèdent déjà des chars meilleurs et plus lourds que les nôtres». Ce fut à la fin de juillet 1941 que le T-34 apparut sur le front et l’énigme du nouveau modèle de char russe fut résolue.

Suvorov cite un autre fait révélateur extrait de l’Almanach de la 2ème Guerre Mondiale de Robert Goralski (1982, p. 164). Le 24 juin 1941, juste deux jours après le début de la guerre germano-soviétique:

Les Russes mirent en action leurs chars géants Klim Vorochilov près de Raseiniai [Lithanie]. Des modèles pesant 43 et 52 tonnes surprirent les Allemands, qui trouvèrent les KV presque inarrêtables. L’un de ces chars russes reçut 70 coups directs, mais aucun ne perça son blindage.

Bref, l’Allemagne attaqua le colosse soviétique avec des chars qui étaient trop légers, trop peu nombreux, et inférieurs en performances et en puissance de feu. Et cette disparité perdura pendant toute la guerre. Pendant le seule année 1942, les usines soviétiques produisirent 2 553 chars lourds, pendant que les Allemands en produisaient juste 89. Même à la fin de la guerre, le meilleur char au combat était le modèle soviétique IS («Iosif Staline»).

Suvorov encourage sarcastiquement les historiens militaires de l’establishment à étudier un livre sur les chars soviétiques, par Igor P. Schmelev, publié en 1993 par la «Hobby Book Publishing Company» à Moscou. Le travail d’un honnête analyste militaire amateur tel que Schmelev, qui est sincèrement intéressé et qui aime son travail et la vérité, dit Suvorov, est souvent supérieur à celui d’un employé payé par le gouvernement.

Disparité des Forces Aériennes

La supériorité soviétique en forces aéroportées était encore plus disproportionnée. Avant la guerre, les bombardiers soviétiques DB-3f et SB ainsi que les TB-1 et TB-3 (dont Staline possédait environ un millier) avaient été modifiés pour transporter aussi bien des parachutistes que des bombes. Vers la mi-1941, les Soviétiques avaient entraîné des centaines de milliers de parachutistes (Suvorov dit presque un million) en vue de l’attaque planifiée contre l’Allemagne et l’Occident. Ces troupes aéroportées devaient être déployées et lâchées derrière les lignes ennemies en plusieurs vagues, chaque vague étant formée de cinq corps d’armée aéroportés (VDKs), chaque corps comptant 10 419 hommes incluant un état-major et des services, une division d’artillerie, et un bataillon de chars autonome (50 chars). Suvorov donne la liste des commandants et des bases des deux premières vagues, ou dix corps. Les secondes et troisièmes vagues comportaient des troupes parlant français et espagnol.

Comme l’attaque allemande empêcha ces troupes hautement entraînées d’être utilisées comme prévu, Staline les convertit en «Divisions de la Garde», qu’il utilisa comme des réserves et des «pompiers» pour les situations d’urgence, tout comme Hitler utilisa souvent les unités de Waffen SS.

Cartes et manuels

Pour appuyer sa thèse principale, Suvorov cite des données supplémentaires qui n’étaient pas mentionnées dans ses deux premiers ouvrages sur ce sujet. Premièrement, à la veille du début de la guerre de 1941, les forces soviétiques avaient reçu des cartes topographiques seulement pour les zones de la frontière et pour l’Europe; elles ne reçurent pas de cartes du territoire ou des villes soviétiques, parce que la guerre ne devait pas être menée sur le territoire national. Le Chef du Service Topographique militaire de l’époque, et donc responsable de la distribution des cartes militaires, le major-général Kudryatsev, ne fut pas sanctionné ni même limogé pour avoir manqué à fournir des cartes du territoire national, mais continua à mener une longue et brillante carrière militaire. De même, le Chef d’Etat-major, le général Joukov, ne fut jamais tenu pour responsable de la débâcle des premiers mois de la g