G. M. Malenkov
Source: “Pravda Articles”, On the Occasion of the 70th Birthday of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, December 21, 1949
Publisher: Soviet News, London, 1950
Transcription/HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
A QUARTER of a century ago Comrade Stalin gave an oath on behalf of the Party to fulfil with credit the behests of Lenin. Comrade Stalin’s oath resounded as a fighting call to the Party, to the working class, to the Soviet people, and was a lode-star in the historic struggle to refashion social life, the struggle for the construction of Socialist society.
Comrade Stalin led our Party and the Soviet people along Lenin’s road. He upheld and developed Lenin’s theory on the possibility of the victory of Socialism in one country. Putting Lenin’s behests into practice, our Party under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, secured the Socialist industrialisation of the country and the collectivisation of agriculture, converting the Soviet Union into a great industrial and collective farm Socialist Power.
Comrade Stalin, as nobody else, profoundly understood Lenin’s inspired ideas on the Marxist Party of a new type, upheld the purity of the Marx-Engels-Lenin teaching, developed the Marxist-Leninist theory, steeled the Party in the struggle against numerous enemies, and forged and trains cadres capable of furthering the cause of our Party.
The whole world saw Stalin’s greatness at the sharp turning-points of history: in October, 1917, during the Civil War, in the years of the intervention, when together with Lenin, he led the Socialist Revolution and the struggle to defeat the enemies of the Soviet Power, and in the Great Patriotic War, when Comrade Stalin led the routing of the strongest enemies of our Motherland.
Together with the great Lenin, Comrade Stalin created the first Socialist State in the world. Under the banner of Lenin, under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, our mighty Motherland, the country of friendship among the Soviet peoples, lives, grows and becomes stronger.
During the Second World War, when the dark forces of Fascism hovered over the world and threatened to obliterate human culture, Comrade Stalin, at the head of the Soviet Union, directly led the defeat of the Hitlerite hordes, secured the victory of the peace-loving peoples, and was the recognised leader in the hard struggle to liberate mankind from the yoke of Fascism.
After the end of the Second World War, when new claimants to world domination appeared on the political horizon, Comrade Stalin called upon the peoples for resolute struggle against the instigators of a new world war, and united the peace supporters into a mighty force. Consistently and mercilessly exposing the instigators of a new war, Comrade Stalin became the head of the great movement for peace.
Comrade Stalin is rightly regarded as the great and loyal friend of the peace-loving peoples of the countries of people’s democracy, liberated from the yoke of Fascism, of the peoples of China and North Korea, who have for ever thrown off the yoke of the imperialists.
That is why the peoples of the Soviet Union and all progressive mankind see in the person of Comrade Stalin their recognised leader and teacher. That is why today they express with particular warmth their affection and devotion to Comrade Stalin, and put on record his great services in the struggle for a happy life for the people, for peace among the nations.
The name of Comrade Stalin has long become the banner of peace in the mind of the peoples of all countries. All who want to struggle against the instigators of a new war know and are convinced that they will do the right thing by rallying around Comrade Stalin, the great defender of peace. Mankind, having lived through the horrors of the last world war, craves for peace and is resolutely opposed to a new slaughter. Precisely for this reason all nations greet with gratitude the resolute, unequivocal policy of peace which Comrade Stalin pursues and upholds.
However the warmongers may try to slander our Socialist country, they will not succeed in eradicating from the minds of the common people the conviction that the Soviet Union is the true champion of peace, consistently defending peace all over the world, that our country, as Comrade Stalin says, is able to conduct and is, in fact, conducting a policy of peace, is conducting it not pharisaically, but honestly and openly, resolutely and consistently.
Exposed in their adventurist plans, the warmongers want to deceive the common people by the false assertion that the Communists allegedly consider peaceful co-existence between countries of Socialism and capitalist countries to be impossible. They want to cover up their criminal actions in preparation for a new war by slander of the honest policy of peace conducted by the Communists. Actually Comrade Stalin has repeatedly and categorically declared that the Soviet Union proceeds from the fact of the inevitable co-existence for a prolonged period of two systems, Socialism and capitalism, and firmly adheres to the course of loyal, peace-loving relations with all those States which display a desire for friendly co-operation, on condition of observance of the principle of reciprocity and fulfilment of obligations assumed.
The Soviet Union’s foreign policy, conducted under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, is aimed at securing stable peace among the peoples and the utmost strengthening of friendly co-operation among the peace-loving nations. Since the Second World War Comrade Stalin has already frequently given a precise answer on the absolute possibility of peaceful and prolonged co-operation between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist countries. It would suffice to recall at least the following direct and clear statements made by Comrade Stalin:
In September, 1946, the Moscow correspondent of the Sunday Times, Mr. Alexander Werth, asked Comrade Stalin: “Do you believe that with the further progress of the Soviet Union towards Communism the possibilities of peaceful co-operation with the outside world will not decrease as far as the Soviet Union is concerned? Is ‘Communism in one country’ possible?”
Comrade Stalin replied: “I do not doubt that the possibilities of peaceful co-operation, far from decreasing, may even grow. ‘Communism in one country’ is perfectly possible, especially in a country like the Soviet Union.”
In December, 1946, Mr. Elliott Roosevelt asked Comrade Stalin: “Do you believe it is possible for a democracy such as the United States to live peaceably side by side in this world with a Communistic form of government like the Soviet Union’s and with no attempt on the part of either to interfere with the internal political affairs of the other?”
Comrade Stalin replied: “Yes, of course. This is not only possible. It is wise and entirely within the bounds of realisation. In the most strenuous times during the war the differences in government did not prevent our two nations from joining together and vanquishing our foes. Even more so is it possible to continue this relationship in time of peace.”
In April, 1947, Comrade Stalin in a talk with Mr. Stassen said, “. . . that one should not be carried away by criticising each other’s systems. Each people upheld the system it wanted and was able to uphold it. As to which system was better—history would show. One should respect the systems chosen and approved by the people. Whether the system in the U.S.A. was good or not—that was the American people’s concern. Collaboration did not require that people should have one and the same system. One should respect the systems approved of by the people. Only on this condition was collaboration possible.”
In May, 1948, Comrade Stalin, replying to an Open Letter by Mr. Wallace, wrote: “. . . the Government of the U.S.S.R. believes that despite the differences in economic systems and ideologies the co-existence of these systems and the peaceful settlement of differences between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. are not only possible, but absolutely necessary, in the interests of universal peace.”
In January, 1949, the European General Manager of the International News Service of America, Mr. Kingsbury Smith, asked Comrade Stalin: “Would the Government of the U.S.S.R. be prepared to consider the issuance of a joint declaration with the Government of the United States of America asserting that the respective Governments have no intention of resorting to war against one another?”—and “Would the Government of the U.S.S.R. be prepared to join with the Government of the United States of America in measures designed to implement this pact of peace, such as gradual disarmament?”
Comrade Stalin replied that “the Soviet Government would be prepared to consider the issuance of such a declaration,” and further that, “naturally, the Government of the U.S.S.R. could co-operate with the Government of the United States of America in taking measures designed to implement this pact of peace and leading to gradual disarmament.”
These were the words uttered by Comrade Stalin, expressing the aspirations of the Soviet people towards peaceful creative work, towards the establishment of friendly relations among the peoples of all countries.
The Soviet Union considers the road of peaceful competition with capitalism as quite acceptable. Through the words of Comrade Stalin the entire Soviet people declare unreservedly that the U.S.S.R. is against military adventures and is for firm and lasting peace all over the world, although the Soviet people are absolutely convinced of their invincible strength.
Throughout the entire history of the existence of the Soviet Union it has been proved on many occasions that the word of our great leader has never departed from deeds. The dirty and mercenary hack-writers may yell whatever they like about the “aggressive” policy of the Soviet Union. Our leader and teacher, Comrade Stalin, has issued his great call for peace among the peoples. That call is penetrating deeper and deeper into the hearts of the peoples.
No bandits of the pen from the warmongers’ camp will succeed in slandering Stalin’s policy of friendship among the peoples. They will not succeed in blotting out the sacred word “Peace” inscribed on the banners of the peace-loving peoples. The mighty movement for peace against the instigators of a new war is developing wider and wider and continues to strengthen. The peoples of all countries see in Comrade Stalin the great defender of peace.
THE FRIENDSHIP among peoples which has been firmly established in our country is a great achievement of the Bolshevik Party. The Bolshevik Party alone was able to forge the indestructible fraternity of peoples, the Party which is the consistent standard-bearer of the ideas of internationalism and international solidarity.
The Patriotic War of 1941-1945 was the gravest test of all the forces of the Soviet Union. It also constituted the gravest test for the Bolshevik Party. The Party emerged from that test with a great victory. Boundlessly loyal to the cause of Communism and following the wise instructions of Comrade Stalin, our Party constantly inspired the people, mobilised its forces for the struggle against the enemies.
The organisational work of the Party united the efforts of all Soviet people, of all mass organisations of Soviet society, and directed them towards the common purpose. All forces and means of the country were subordinated to the task of routing the enemy. The unsurpassed ability of the Bolshevik Party to mobilise the masses under the most complicated conditions was demonstrated once again. At all difficult stages of the struggle for the freedom and happiness of the peoples, for the independence and flourishing of our Motherland, for the construction of Communist society in our country, the Bolshevik Party achieved success because it gained the confidence of the millions of Soviet people, constantly consolidated the links with the masses, and heeded the voice of the masses.
Comrade Stalin teaches that the Bolshevik Party is strong because, leading the movement, it constantly preserves and multiplies the links with the broad masses of the working people.
“The strength of the Bolsheviks, the strength of the Communists,” Comrade Stalin says, “lies in the fact that they are able to rally millions of active non-party people around our Party. We Bolsheviks would never have achieved the successes we have now achieved had we not been able to win for the Party the confidence of millions of non-party workers and peasants. And what is needed for this? What is needed is for the members of the Party not to isolate themselves from the non-party people; for the Party members not to withdraw into their Party shell, not to get puffed up about belonging to the Party, but to heed the voice of the non-party people; not only to teach the non-party people but also to learn from them.”
At all stages of the struggle and the great creative work in building Socialist society, Comrade Stalin has constantly warned our Party, and first and foremost the cadres of leaders, that they should not become self-satisfied or cease to notice shortcomings in the work. Leaders who fail to notice shortcomings or reconcile themselves to shortcomings are not able to advance the cause and are acting not to the benefit of the State, but to its detriment.
The successful fulfilment of the tasks facing the Party is indissolubly linked with the unfolding of Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism, which constitute the basic conditions for the development of our Party. Comrade Stalin teaches that without self-criticism we cannot advance, that we need selfcriticism as we need air and water, that the strength of Bolshevism consists precisely in the fact that it is not afraid of criticism and that from criticism of its own shortcomings it draws the energy for further advance. The slogan of self-criticism, Comrade Stalin says, “lies at the very foundation of the Bolshevik Party. It lies at the foundation of the system of the dictatorship of the proletariat. If our country is the country of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship is led by one party, the Communist Party, which does not and cannot share power with other parties, is it not obvious that we ourselves must reveal and correct our mistakes, if we want to advance? . . .”
Comrade Stalin teaches that self-criticism is a special method, the Bolshevik method, of educating cadres. “. . . As a result of self-criticism,” Comrade Stalin says “our economic cadres begin to pull themselves together, become more vigilant, begin to approach more seriously the problems of administering the economy, while our Party, Soviet and trade union and other cadres become more responsive and sympathetic to the demands of the masses.” Comrade Stalin teaches that self-criticism pursues the aim of revealing and liquidating our mistakes, our weaknesses. “Let the Party, the Bolsheviks, all honest workers and toiling elements of our country,” Comrade Stalin says, “reveal shortcomings in our work, shortcomings of our construction, let them outline the ways to liquidate our shortcomings so that there is no stagnation, bogging down and delay in our work and construction, in order daily to improve our entire work and construction and move from success to success.”
Comrade Stalin teaches that self-criticism is one of the important means for developing the habit of administration in the working people. “What is needed for giving full scope to the forces and abilities of the working class and of the working people generally, and for giving them the opportunity of acquiring the habit of administering the country?” Comrade Stalin says that “What is required for this purpose is first and foremost an honest and Bolshevik implementation of the slogan of self-criticism, an honest and Bolshevik implementation of the slogan of criticism from below of shortcomings and mistakes in our work.”
An unsatisfactory state of affairs with regard to self-criticism inevitably engenders among some workers a bureaucratic attitude towards business, conceit, haughtiness and boastfulness. An atmosphere of success is particularly favourable for the creation of a mood of complacency and an uncritical attitude towards one’s own shortcomings. That is why, under the conditions of successful development of Socialist construction, many Party, Soviet, economic and trade union leaders become excessively self-confident, boastful, neglectful in their attitude towards the voice of criticism by rank-and-file Communists.
Such diseases are above all cured by the fact that the Party masses test their leaders. Comrade Stalin teaches that one must combine checking from above with checking from below. “Certain comrades think,” said Comrade Stalin, “that one can check up on people only from above, when the leaders check up on those they lead by the results of their work. That is not correct. Of course, it is necessary to check from above, as one of the effective means of checking up on people and the fulfilment of tasks; but checking from above by no means exhausts the whole matter of checking. There is another kind of check as well: the check from below, when those led check up on their leaders, note their mistakes and point the way to their correction.
“This kind of check is one of the most effective means of checking up on people. The Party masses check up on their leaders at Party meetings, conferences and congresses, by means of listening to their reports, by means of criticism of defects, finally by means of electing or not electing to leading organs one or another leading comrade.
“The accurate conduct of democratic centralism in the Party as demanded by the Constitution of our Party, the unconditional elective nature of the Party organs, the right to nominate and recall candidates, secret voting, freedom of criticism and self-criticism, all these and similar measures it is necessary to carry into practice so as, among other things, to facilitate checking and control of Party leaders by the mass of Party members.
“The non-party masses check up on their economic, trade union and other leaders at delegate meetings, at mass meetings of all kinds, where they listen to the reports of their leaders, criticise their defects and note the ways of correcting them. Finally, the people check up on the leaders of the country during the elections to the organs of power of the Soviet Union by means of universal, equal, direct and secret voting. The task is to combine the check-up from above with the check-up from below.”
The consistent application of the slogan of self-criticism demands a resolute struggle against all those who put a brake on or place obstacles in the way of its unfolding, demands defence against the persecution of all those who come out actively with healthy criticism in order that those who criticise justly should feel behind them the organised force of the collective. The desire to fight against defects can grow stronger in the masses only when they are confident that indication of defects and their exposure will be effective in practice.
Comrade Stalin teaches that one must wage a merciless struggle against cases of pressure and persecution of self-criticism. To persecute self-criticism, Comrade Stalin says, means to kill every initiative of the Party organisation, undermine the prestige of the leadership among the Party masses, disintegrate the Party and confirm the anti-Party morals of bureaucrats, the sworn enemies of the party, in the life of the Party organisation.
Comrade Stalin educates the cadres of our Party in an intolerant attitude to boastfulness and complacency. He points out that a Party leader does not dare to embellish reality, to hide from the Party the actual state of affairs. If a Bolshevik is firmly convinced that he is right he must, without fawning on anyone’s opinion, act as his understanding and conscience dictate to him. If the Bolshevik is right, if his statements and actions correspond to the ideas, calls and instructions of the Party, no one and nothing can push him from the right path.
Comrade Stalin constantly warns us that not conceit but modesty distinguishes the Bolshevik, that any leader, in whatever post he may be, is the servant of the people. A tradition of Bolshevik leadership is the constant link of the leaders with the masses, the readiness to learn from the masses, to correct those defects which the working peoples point out to them.
Comrade Stalin teaches that, while engaging in everyday work, one must not stay in one place, not live only by old formulas, but study everyday experience and boldly correct mistakes in order to guide the building of the new life in a creative manner. Creative leadership means that, following Marxist-Leninist teachings, we must study the present-day experience of construction and struggle, draw the scientific conclusion from that experience and reflect it in the practice of everyday leadership.
“To sit at the steering wheel,” Comrade Stalin says, “and to gaze without seeing anything until circumstances land us into some accident, does not mean to lead. Bolshevism does not understand leadership like that; to lead one must look ahead.”
THE SOVIET people have boundless confidence in our Party, love the Party of Lenin and Stalin, deem it close and dear to them. Comrade Stalin values the confidence of the people highly and teaches the Party to prize this confidence. All Soviet people remember the moving words of our great leader which he spoke on May 24, 1945, at the Kremlin reception to the High Command of the Red Army when he gave a toast to the health of our Soviet people and expressed his warm thanks to the Russian people for their confidence in the Soviet Government in the hard days of the Great Patriotic War.
Under the leadership of Comrade Stalin, our people marches confidently on the road to Communism. With a feeling of great gratitude, turning their eyes to Comrade Stalin, the peoples of the Soviet Union, hundreds of millions of people of all countries of the world, progressive mankind see in Comrade Stalin their beloved leader and teacher, believe and know that the cause of Lenin and Stalin is invincible.