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Fourth International, October 1944


The Editors

The Month in Review


From Fourth International, vol.5 No.10, October 1944, pp.291-293.
Transcribed, marked up & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


The Kremlin’s Counter-Revolutionary Role In Eastern Europe

THE MILITARY POWER OF THE SOVIET UNION The Soviet Union has emerged as a first class military power as a result of its sensational military victories over the armies of Nazi Germany. Despite all the crimes and blunders of the Kremlin bureaucracy, the economy nationalized by the October revolution, proved its superiority in action. The Soviet masses rallied to the defense of the remaining conquests of the revolution and performed miracles in beating back the German imperialist assault. Today the Soviet Union is the dominant power of Eastern Europe, towering over all the neighboring states.

The states of Eastern Europe are rotten ripe for the socialist overturn. They are burdened with a double exploitation: the exploitation of modern capitalism grafted on to the exploitation imposed by the parasitic semi-feudalist land-owning class. And agriculture still remains the backbone of the economy of Eastern Europe.

All the evidence, in addition, points to the fact, that the masses in Eastern Europe, as in Western Europe, are in a furiously revolutionary mood; they ardently desire to throw off the yoke of the capitalist and landlord exploiters, to take over the factories and the land, just as did the workers and peasants of Russia in 1917. The victories of the Red Army have inspired these masses with hope that with the entrance of the Red Army they too would be able to put through their revolution and set up the Soviet power.

Is there any question that if today the Soviet leadership remained true to the principles of the founders; is there any question if Lenin and Trotsky were leading the Soviet Union, that the revolutionary impulsion supplied by the Soviet victories and the Red Army occupations would result in the firm consolidation of Soviet power throughout Eastern Europe? Is there any question that the revolutionary flames would spread like a prairie fire right into the heart of Europe-Germany – and that Hitler and his gang of criminal cut throats would be quickly consigned to the garbage can of history? Is there any question that the establishment of Soviet states throughout Europe would assure peace to the Soviet Union, establish the fraternal relations of the European peoples and guarantee the socialist future of the Soviet Union?

STALIN UPHOLDS THE STATUS QUO But the Kremlin gang, nationalistic and reactionary through and through, is pursuing the exact opposite policy. The Bolshevik peace terms under Lenin and Trotsky explicitly declared: No annexations and no indemnities! Stalin’s policy is one of forceful annexations and the imposition of war reparations. Under Lenin and Trotsky, the Red Army helped the proletariat settle accounts with the hated capitalists and landlords and encouraged them to carry through their socialist revolutions. Stalin employs the Red Army to uphold the capitalist status quo, to bolster reactionary dictatorial regimes, to crush all attempts of the masses to take their fate into their own hands, to oppose every effort towards Sovietization. As the Red Army began moving into the Balkans, Stalin again reassured the world capitalists: on September 20 the CBS picked up a broadcast from Moscow which declared:

“The Soviet Union will not introduce Its order into other states and it does not change the existing order in them. All the acts of foreign policy pursued by the USSR have completely exposed the fascist slander of the Bolshevist bogey ...”

Last April, when the Red Army first entered Rumanian territory, Molotov issued a statement assuring the capitalists that “the existing social structure of Rumania” would not be altered. Stalin has faithfully kept his promise. The Red Army military authorities are preserving the totalitarian filth of Rumania and propping up on their bayonets a Badoglio-like regime. Headed by a reactionary army general, Constantin Lonatescu, the new Rumanian government, typical of the shadow coalition governments being set up and propped up by foreign bayonets throughout Europe, today includes representatives of the Peasant Party, the liberals, the Social Democrats and the Stalinists. The new government assumed power after a military coup d’état engineered by a small clique of officers and politicians.

THE EVENTS IN BULGARIA In Bulgaria, the entrance of the Red Army troops was the signal for a mass uprising. We read in the dispatches of the Red Flag waving over the government buildings as well as over thousands of homes. We read of the immediate arrests of the fascists by the armed people and the holding of huge mass demonstrations in the cities; of a railway strike that paralyzed the government; of the military authorities losing effective control. Civil war had obviously started; the Bulgarian masses were preparing for the new Red dawn. All the revolutionary hopes aroused in the masses were immediately dashed to the ground. The Kremlin bureaucracy employed their local Stalinist leaders as well as the Red Army as a counter-revolutionary force to stamp out the fires of the civil war. The New York Times correspondent, Joseph M. Levy, telephoning from Sofia on September 21, reported that “In a few of the provinces ... pillaging and even killing of the suspected Fascists occurred, but these acts were soon stopped by the militia, composed of strictly disciplined young men and women.” We are further informed that “Communist (read Stalinist) leaders are doing everything they can to prevent extremists in the party from agitating for Sovietization of the country.” As for the Red Army we are told that:

“On several occasions when local Communists in the provinces tried to displace city officials and take matters into their own hands they were ordered by the Russian military authorities to return the jobs to the old officials until orders were received from the Fatherland Front government in Sofia.”

A shadow coalition government, similar to the one in Rumania, is being propped up, headed by a Bulgarian Badoglio The backbone of the new Bulgarian government is the Sveno group, which is made up of the Officers’ League. This military clique engineered a coup d’état in 1934, suspended the constitution, abolished all political parties and established a military dictatorship. The present so-called Fatherland Front government is headed by Premier Kimon Georgieff and War Minister Damian Veicheff, both members of the Zveno group and includes, of course, representatives of the Agrarian party, the liberals, the Social Democrats and the Stalinists.

COUNTER-REVOLUTION AT WORK IN BULGARIA The new government immediately undertook to “pacify” the situation and re-establish “order.” John Chamley, special correspondent of the London News Chronicle, reported that the government printed an appeal ordering soldiers to return to their barracks. They announced that part of the militia would be absorbed into the regular army while all armed civilians were ordered to report to designated places and surrender their arms. Thus the new government, propped up by the bayonets of the Red Army, began its work in the classic manner of all counterrevolutions – the campaign to disarm the insurgent masses and to restore capitalist “law and order.”

The role of the local Stalinist leaders is exclusively reactionary. As everywhere, they form the very spearhead of reaction inside the labor movement, the prime internal disrupters of labor insurgency. Their role is particularly sinister and pernicious because they clothe themselves with the authority of the October Revolution and make use of their prestige among the masses to sow illusions, head off the struggle and thus attempt to destroy the forces of the awakening revolution.

Anton Yugoff, Bulgarian Stalinist Minister of Interior, in charge of the internal police(!), made clear to the capitalists that they had nothing to fear; their Stalinist watchdogs were on the job. He said:

“This government of which I am a member and on whose behalf I speak, categorically denies that it has any intention of establishing a Communist regime In Bulgaria. There is no truth in rumors that the government intends to nationalize any private enterprise in the country.”

HAND-PICKED GOVERNMENTS These Kremlin-backed governments have the following features in common – hey are hand-picked governments which are propped up by the bayonets of the Red Army, they are subservient to the Red Army occupation authorities and supposedly “friendly” to the Soviet Union, they are coalition regimes, with Stalinist and Social Democratic representatives participating, they are outspokenly dedicated to upholding and rehabilitating capitalist rule.

The Stalinists and to a lesser degree, the Social Democrats, undoubtedly exert tremendous influence over the masses at this stage. The presence of these misleaders in the government, however, does not testify to the “democratic” or “popular” character of these handpicked cabinets, but solely to the degeneration and foul treachery of these working-class misleaders. The fact that the Kremlin bureaucracy, just as the imperialists in the West, is forced at this early stage, to utilize the Stalinist and Social Democratic agents in the coalition cabinets set up in the countries under military occupation, is only proof of the terrible decay and shakiness of the capitalist structure and of the revolutionary temper of the masses. This brazen collaboration of the Stalinist and Social Democratic agents with monarchist and fascist generals, their joint labors to uphold tottering capitalism will help immeasurably to expose their true role to the masses who are now in revolutionary ferment and will facilitate the task of the revolutionary vanguard.

MAINSPRING OF STALIN’S POLICY The Kremlin bureaucracy understands that the Anglo-American imperialists cannot tolerate or reconcile themselves to the spread of Sovietization in Europe, as that would represent the beginning of the end to their own system. Furthermore, so far removed today is the Kremlin bureaucracy from the Soviet masses and their true needs and aspirations, that it, just as the imperialists, fears mass uprisings and socialist revolutions anywhere in Europe. The Stalinist gang understands that such revolutionary upheavals would strike a responsive chord in the Soviet masses, who would then move to lift off their shoulders the murderous Kremlin bureaucracy. Hence, Stalin’s alliance with the Anglo-American imperialists in a conspiracy to strangle the European revolution. Hence, the joint conspiracy to dismember the continent and prop up on their bayonets regimes dedicated to the preservation of capitalism. The Stalinist bureaucracy has so completely degenerated, it is in such a conflict with the system of Soviet economy and its needs, it is in such a blind alley, that its continued existence demands the destruction of the European revolution. The Kremlin bureaucracy is today the gendarme of the capitalist property in Eastern Europe.

Stalin understands full well, however, that once the Axis powers are defeated, his ability to maneuver between the rival imperialist camps will be sharply limited. The Soviet Union will then be face to face with the vast military colossus of American imperialism in alliance with its British junior partner. That is why Stalin seeks to secure the defense of the USSR and reinforce its military power by his policy of ringing the Soviet Union with “friendly” states, whose governments are subservient to the Kremlin authority.

IT IS A MORTAL DANGER TO USSR This program is not only thoroughly reactionary but bankrupt as well. It represents a mortal danger both for the European revolution and for the Soviet Union.

The capitalist classes of Eastern Europe have always been in the forefront of anti-Soviet intrigues and have on more than one occasion provided the jumping off places for military intervention against the USSR. Their hatred for the Soviet Union derives, not from this or that anti-Soviet cabinet or government; it flows from the property relations inside the Soviet Union. Their proximity to the Soviet Union only increased their fear of Sovietization in their own territories. These basic class contradictions are far more important in determining relations between the Soviet Union and its neigh. boring states than the propping up of a dozen jerry-built capitalist puppet regimes. Deep-going, fundamental class considerations will always impel the capitalist rulers of Rumania, Bulgaria, Poland, etc., to ally themselves with the imperialists against the Soviet Union. And so long as the nationalized property relations remain in the Soviet Union, these fundamental class considerations will retain their compelling strength.

The Stalinist bureaucracy, for the sake of acquiring second-rate military advantages and for the sake of preserving its alliance with the Anglo-American bandits, is strengthening and upholding the hands of the Balkan, Polish, Czecho-Slovak capitalist and landlords, who in the event of future conflict, will forget overnight their platonic “friendship” for the Soviet Union and ally themselves, as dictated by their class interests, with the imperialist forces. The Kremlin bureaucracy seeks to shackle, demoralize, terrorize and atomize and turn over to their traditional class oppressors, the masses – he only real defenders and only true friends of the Soviet Union.

WHAT WILL DECIDE THE FATE OF USSR his policy is bankrupt. It will not avail the Kremlin bureaucracy. Outside of the alliance with the insurgent masses of Europe, there is no salvation for the Soviet Union. Either the triumphing European revolution will raise again the Soviet masses to their feet and in joint struggle, settle accounts not only with the imperialists, but also with the murderous Stalinist bureaucracy. Or the European continent, as the vassal of Anglo-American imperialism, will plunge into the abyss, with the Soviet Union conquered by capitalism either by internal counter-revolution or external military intervention or by a combination of both.

Ten years ago, Trotsky declared that:

“The extremely difficult conditions under which the Russian Bolshevik-Leninists work exclude them from the possibility of playing the leading role on the international scale. More than this, the Left Opposition group In the USSR can develop into a new party only as a result of the successful formation and growth or the new International. The revolutionary center of gravity has shifted definitely to the West where the immediate possibilities of building parties are immeasurably greater ... The light will come not from the East but from the West.”

The light is today coming from the West, from the insurgent masses of Europe. Europe is in a revolutionary situation. The development, the crystallization, the organization and consolidation of the forces of the European revolution, in all countries, represents the most important, the most immediate, the most unpostponable task of all revolutionary fighters. The triumph of the European revolution is the only salvation for the peoples of Europe and the only safeguard for the preservation and revival of the Soviet Union.

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Last updated on 1.9.2008