From Fourth International, Vol.12 No.3, May-June 1951, pp.77-84.
Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The author of the following article is a recent revolutionary emigrant from the Soviet Union. He is twenty-five years old and now lives in Great Britain. He is not a Trotskyist because, as he himself says in a note to us, “being a representative of the youngest generation of the Soviet people” he has not had a chance to learn what Trotskyism “is like in reality.” His point of view is, however, precisely for that very reason of particular interest to readers of our magazine. For in it is embodied the critical thought of those young revolutionists who form part of that whole generation which has grown up under Stalinism, and learned to struggle against it on its home grounds. For obvious reasons the author’s real name cannot be disclosed. – Ed.
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This past year there has been a good deal of frank talk among the ruling circles of the United States on the subject: “What sort of Russia would we like to see in the future?” It is clear that the “future Russia” they have in rnind is not the Stalinist Soviet Union but something new and different. The starting point for the construction of their political concept is the wish-fulfillment idea that the Stalinist USSR will be destroyed through their victory in war and cease to exist.
What is the program of that “future Russia” as made-in-America? Let us summarize here two different points of view recently published. The first is that of Mr. George F. Kennan, former head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff and Counsellor of the US Embassy at Moscow. In his article, America and the Russian Future, which appeared in Foreign Affairs of April 1951, Kennan states the following:
1. In approaching internal questions of a future Russia we should be very careful and elastic. 2. The future Russia should be a liberal-democratic republic. 3. Because the liberal-democratic forces in present Russia are very weak we should help them develop very -slowly and in evolutionary fashion. 4. The liberal-democratic forces in Russia now exist among the peasantry and, therefore, we should support them, granting the restoration of private property on the land. 5. Though industry unfortunately must remain in the hands of the government, we should support the appearance of free private competition in the whole economy. 6. To the non-Russian nationalities of the present USSR should be granted cultural and linguistic autonomy.
The other view is that of Mr. Harold E. Stassen, former governor of Minnesota, an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency, at present president of the University of Pennsylvania and a well-known political tourist. His program was presented in an article entitled The Coming Collapse of Communism in the Ladies’ Home Journal of April 1951, and in several radio broadcasts. He stated:
“For the liberation and upward climb of mankind” we should support the counter-revolution in the USSR. Its program should be: 1. The restoration of private property on the land. 2. Restoration of free religious life. 3. Liberation of all prisoners of Russian concentration camps. 4. Establishment of sovereign national states in the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bielo-Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkestan. 6. We should support the “counter-revolutionary movements” of the emigrants from Eastern Europe.
As can be seen from these summaries, the two points of view on the reconstruction of Russia do not vary greatly: both arise from the same wish-fulfillment basis – the restoration of a private capitalist system in the present USSR. One difference lies in the method of carrying out the program – in a slow, evolutionary fashion as proposed by the not so emotional Mr. Kennan, or in the drastic “counter-revolutionary” fashion proposed by Stassen; the other – over the question of the future of the non-Russian nationalities. The latter difference is, in our conviction, the result of differing sources of information only and plays a secondary role in both programs.
Though expressed by semi-official persons, both programs conform to the actual US government policy. There is a great deal of evidence for that: in the propaganda of the “Voice of America,” in discussions on the appeal “to the Russian people” in Congress, in recent speeches by Dean Acheson and his assistant Jack M. McFall and in the activities of US Army officials among Russian DPs in Western Europe. Moreover, there is no evidence of any different US policy on this question.
What is most important about this American program for a “future Russia” is that its advocates seek to convince the American people that it is a genuinely just and progressive program and that the Russian people desire its realization. To prove this they point to Russian refugees and DPs. Mr. Stassen says frankly: “These escapees ... are the messengers of the coming collapse of Communism.”
Consequently, before considering the possibilities of realizing the American program inside the USSR, let us first consider these “messengers” and “counter-revolutionary movements” (Mr. Stassen certainly called them by their right name). Who are these refugees from the Soviet Union? They are: the officers of the counter-revolutionary armies from the civil war of 1917-1922; state ministers and party leaders of the counter-revolutionary governments of the time of the revolution; former merchants, businessmen, and landlords. Among them are even monarchs and princes, dukes and counts. It is quite natural for them to want to restore all “their” possessions lost thirty years ago as a result of the revolution. But it should not be forgotten that these people, though they are Russians, have never been in the USSR. All these people constitute a very important part of the politically active emigrants from Russia and their appointees, like Mr. Alexander Kerensky, play a not inconsiderable role in shaping up the American program for a “future Russia.” These are the “liberals” Mr. Kennan talks about.
Still another part of the emigration has really come out of the Soviet Union during World War II. The majority of them are children or relatives of the first category of people mentioned above. It is also natural for them to want to restore the possessions of their parents.
Another section of these real emigrants from the USSR are the so-called “kulaks,” the farmers who during the years of the collectivization of agriculture did not want to join the collective farms – the kolkhozes – and therefore were persecuted by the Kremlin. It is twenty years since they lost their land, but they nevertheless wish to see their property restored. All of them collaborated with Hitler’s regime in the occupied territories of the USSR during World War II. When they say they were forced by the Germans to leave the country, that is an obvious falsehood. They escaped the country together with the Germans, because of their fear of punishment at the hands of the Red Army. During the German occupation they worked in the police, the administrative and economic apparatus of the Germans and everybody in the Soviet Union knows that they shot Jews, hung anti-German resistance fighters (even though these partisans very often also were anti-Stalinists, like the members of the Ukrainian People’s Army), made up lists of candidates for deportation to the forced labor camps in Germany. They also constituted the bulk of the so-called “Russian Liberation Army” of General Vlassov.
To be objective, it is necessary to say that most of these people probably became what they are because of Stalinism; that is, Stalinism made counter-revolutionaries of these people by its cruel terrorist methods of collectivization of agriculture. They were persecuted and baited during most of their lives because they were backward in their consciousness and did not want to join the collective farms. In our opinion they were not the real “enemies of the people” because they were mostly poor and backward peasants and not really kulaks or landlords of pre-revolutionary times. But, because of the persecutions, they lost their moral judgment – they wanted revenge and so, during the German occupation, they went to serve the Germans and thus became real enemies of the people.
Then the emigrants from Eastern Europe include many people whose former homelands are now part of the Soviet Union. These are Ukrainians and Byelo-Russians from the Western Ukraine and Western Byelo-Russia, which before the war were occupied by Poland. They are mostly declassed intelligentsia and some Clergy. They also have never lived inside the Soviet Union.
These various groups of emigrants from territories now part of the Soviet Union constitute the absolute majority of the politically active part of the emigration. The creators of the American program for a “future Russia” point to them when they want to prove the justice and correctness of their program.
But there is yet another group that has some influence in shaping the American program. These are the American citizens of Eastern European origin, particularly of Russian and Ukrainian origin. They have some powerful organizations in the United States and, being American citizens, appear very often before public opinion with statements and appeals setting forth “what our government should do” on this or that policy. The recent behavior of these people has become particularly impudent and is comparable to the behavior of the so-called “Volksdeutsche” or “Reichsdeutsche” of Nazi Germany, who also pretended to speak for the people of the countries of their origin. For an example of such activities of these “Reichsamericans,” we quote from an editorial of Americans of Ukrainian origin in their organ The Ukrainian Quarterly, Vol.VII, No.1, Winter 1951.
“Everyone of the Ukrainian people knows that without the destruction (by atomic bombs) of the Ukrainian Donbas and the Kriviy Rog (two industrial centers of the Soviet Ukraine – author) ... there will be no decision. Yet they would be willing to have it so ... That is the general mood in the nations oppressed by the Soviet Union.”
This kind of representation of the “general mood” of the peoples of the Soviet Union evidently influences the Stassens, Kennans and other American policy-makers. It need only be added that while such a “general mood” undoubtedly exists among the exiled politicians, it most probably does not among the Soviet people ...
To get the proper perspective in judging the emigrants and DPs who try to represent the “mood” of the inhabitants of the USSR, it is necessary to recall historical experience. These are the same kind of people as those who escaped the France of the Great Revolution and played a very important role in the organization of military alliances and coalitions in Britain, Austria and Prussia against revolutionary France. They are the same kind of people as those who during the Great American Revolution escaped from Boston to Halifax in Canada, under the British crown, and from there carried on counter-revolutionary propaganda and activity against the revolutionary USA. They are genuine counter-revolutionaries, and they are the kind of people Stassen and Kennan want to support.
But although this counter-revolutionary movement of the emigrants from the USSR is closely united upon the single social-political program of restoring capitalism, they are nevertheless disunited on the question of nationalities. The non-Russian nationalities of the USSR constitute a majority of the population. The same ratio exists in exile too. The emigration from the Soviet Union is consequently divided into two big camps; that of the Great Russians and that of the emigrants of the non-Russian nationalities. Between both camps there goes on a permanent and sharp struggle over the status of nationalities in a “future Russia”; the Great Russians stand for the restoration of the old Russian empire and do not recognize any right of self-determination or of separation from Russia of the non-Russian nationalities. The non-Russian emigrants have the opposite viewpoint – they are uncompromisingly for the division of Russia into independent national states. This is the source of the difference in the program on the question of nationalities between Mr. Kennan and Mr. Stassen.
Mr. Kennan evidently has been informed and influenced by the Great Russians who have convinced him that “the Ukraine economically is as much a part of Russia as Pennsylvania is part of the United States.” He probably knows very little about the economic geography of the Soviet Ukraine and has forgotten that Indonesia was also not long ago a part of the Dutch empire or that the United States at one time was also an economic part of Britain. Mr. Stassen, on the other hand, during his travels in Europe, has most probably been influenced by the so-called Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), an extreme nationalist organization, a sort of carbon copy of Hitler’s “Anti-Comintern.”
However, we would not like to be accused of lack of objectivity in thus characterizing the informers of Messrs. Kennan and Stassen. Some of these people really came from the Soviet Union (although as long as 7 to 10 years ago) and undoubtedly know the truth about the Stalinist empire. When these people talk about concentration camps and prisons, about famine and the exploitation of workers, about the terror of the GPU-MGB and the lack of freedom in that country, all this sounds true. The emigrants speak the truth also when they repeat over and over again that the peoples of the Soviet. Union hate the Stalinist regime, want to overthrow it, and as a result of that hatred there exists in the USSR permanent resistance in all forms to that regime. In all this, they are quite objective.
But when they touch upon the question of program, that is, what the Soviet peoples want in place of Stalinism, then the emigrants begin to speak subjectively: they talk about what they want. In order to be objective one must consequently consider the social origin of those who propose the given program. Any thinking person can understand that neither the White Guardist nor the Vlassov officers, the businessmen, landlords or clergy, nor even the “kulaks” ever constituted a majority of the people in the Soviet Union. Moreover it has to be borne in mind that all these people, even those who lived inside the Soviet Union before World War II, ceased playing an important role in Soviet society at least as far back as the early thirties. During the last 20 years an entirely new generation of people has grown up in the USSR, as Mr. Kennan correctly remarks. It must be added that this new generation which has learned about the pre-revolutionary and Western world only from Stalinist textbooks, is hardly represented in the emigration. But this new generation is not at all pro-Stalinist.
It is also worth noting that when the emigrants begin to talk about resistance movements in the Soviet Union, they are concerned about playing up the value of their own shares in the political stock market. When, for example, Mr. Alexander Kerensky in one of his articles in the Saturday Evening Post says that through “underground channels” his article will be known inside of one week to all the people inside the Soviet Union, that is nothing but a fairy tale.
Numerous other examples of feverish competition among the charlatans of the emigration could be cited. But what is interesting is the fact that they evidently exert influence on American policy with regard to Russia.
Now let us consider the real perspectives and possible results of carrying out such a program. Let us begin with a brief consideration of the program of the underground resistance movement that really exists today in the USSR. There is the so-called Ukrainian People’s Army (UPA). There can be doubt about the strength of that movement, but there is no doubt whatsoever about its actual existence. It is only necessary first of all to note the feverish speculations among the emigrants around this movement. But there are other sources which confirm its existence. The official Soviet press and radio in the course of recent years has mentioned the struggle against “bands in the Carpathians” a number of times. Public trials have been held of members of the UPA in Warsaw and Prague, when UPA members were caught by Stalinist police during reconnaissance raids in Poland and Czechoslovakia.
In trials of Polish socialists and Slovak clergy, there were accusations by the Stalinists, among other things, of connections with the UPA. The constant crossing of couriers of the UPA over the Czech and German frontiers when they arrive from the Ukraine to inform their exiled Ukrainian comrades in Western Germany about the situation behind the Iron Curtain is probably well known to the US military authorities stationed in occupied Germany. In 1947-1948 several units of the UPA crossed the German frontier coming from the Ukraine and were interned on orders from General Clay at the American camp in Deg-gendorf, Bavaria. The military police cross-examined these UPA soldiers. UPA couriers have brought and continue to bring documents on the basis of which we can judge the program of that movement as well as the real “mood” of the people in the USSR. Among these documents are several publications issued by the UFA in the USSR as propaganda material against Stalinism.
These documents reveal that the UFA movement is a Ukrainian nationalist underground organization with a very leftist – one could even say, a revolutionary socialist – program. It stands for a revolution in the USSR “for the destruction of the last class of exploiters – the Stalinist bureaucracy,” as they put it. It is opposed to the lestoration of capitalism. It is for the construction of independent national states of the peoples in the USSR in a “real classless society based on the socialization of the means of production and genuine political democracy.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this movement is the fact that, while it is a nationalist movement, it penetrated the USSR from the outside and adopted its socialist program after it spread into the USSR. The movement originated as a purely nationalist one in the Western Ukraine, which before 1939 was under Polish occupation, and then became part of the Soviet Union. Although this movement came into the USSR from the Western or bourgeois world, it was nevertheless able to fortify its positions in Soviet society and has managed to exist there for several years. Obviously it has found support among the people. Why? The answer is clear: because it has adopted a program which corresponds to the “moods” of the Soviet people. Far be it from us to idealixe this movement, but it is plain that its program is the direct opposite of the programs of Kennan, Stassen and their emigré proteges.
It is worthwhile quoting some programmatic statements of the UFA.
As far back as July 1945 we can read in the UFA underground magazine Propagandist, whose objective is political training for members of the underground, the following:
“We must give the masses a solution of the social and national problem as a whole. It is evident that this solution cannot be a return to the past, because the masses would not follow such a solution. We cannot propagate a Western European system of class society. Such a system is a step backward from the classless society. We cannot tell the workers and the peasants that the capitalists and landlords will come back, because they would never accept such a system. We cannot hold up life among the Western peoples as an example, because that is just where the peasant sees the landlords and the worker the capitalists and unemployment and misery. Our solution cannot be copied after the class societies because that would be unacceptable to our people. At the same time we must throw out all that is rotten in the system of Bolchevism , that is, destroy national oppression and terror. We must go forward, further on the road to a really free, really classless society.”
This was the beginning of the formulation of a program by the UFA. They were not Marxists. They did not approach the situation from the standpoint of any complete doctrine. That is probably their greatest weakness, because a revolutionary party or organization cannot be successful without a scientific doctrine. But in any case, they proceeded in the formulation of their program from the reality of Soviet society, from the real “mood” of the people.
Later in their development, the UFA leaders came to the theoretical negation of the existence of socialism in the USSR. Their young theoretician, O. Hornovy, basing himself on the works of Karl Marx, brilliantly, demolished in the UPA underground publications the Stalinist theory and propaganda of the existence of a socialist society in the Soviet Union. He ridiculed their propaganda about the building of Communism “because socialism does not as yet exist in the USSR.” In Hornovy’s opinion what exists in the USSR is state capitalism.
But there are other direct refutations of the American program for a “future Russia.” In August 1950, one of the nationalist  theoreticians of the UPA, P. Poltava, wrote from the USSR an open letter to the Voice of America criticizing its propaganda. This letter, it is known, was delivered directly by the Ukrainian emigrant M. Lebid to the Undersecretary of State, Mr. E. Barrett. The State Department has not published this unique original document of a listener of American propaganda in the USSR. But it was published by a Ukrainian paper in Munich called Suchasna Ukraina. There we read:
“The Soviet masses hate the Bolshevist system, Bolshevist ‘socialism.’ But that does not mean that the Soviet peoples are longing for capitalism which was destroyed on the territory of the present USSR back in 1917-20. The Soviet people in their absolute majority are clearly against the restoration of capitalism. That is the result of the revolution of 1917-20 ... We, the participants in the liberation struggle in the Ukraine, who are inside the Soviet Union and have connections with the broad Soviet mass, know only too well that the Soviet people have no admiration for capitalism – neither the old European kind nor the contemporary American kind ...”
Innumerable similar quotations can be cited. We repeal, we do not want to idealize the UPA, because it is not a direct representative of the generation that grew up in a society under Stalinism and still has a good many ideological gaps which are not typical of the Soviet people. Nevertheless, what they say furnishes us with solid proof that the “mood” of the Soviet peoples is just the opposite of the American wish-fulfillment program for a “future Russia.”
We are sure that neither Mr. Kerensky, nor Mr. Kennan, nor Mr. Stassen, nor the US State Department can show the world anything as substantial as these publications of a really existing underground movement in the USSR, to prove their point of view. All they can do is point to the emigrants’ political merry-go-round.
The real mood of the people under Stalinism can be summed up as follows:
- The absolute majority of the population of the USSR does not want the restoration of capitalism. It does want the destruction of the totalitarian rule of the Stalinist bureaucracy by means of a new revolution. Its goal is: to establish in the present USSR a real classless society based on the socialised means of production, planned economy, and a real classless democracy in political life. In other words, the very opposite of the American program for a “future Russia.”
- All the nationalities in the present USSR want to destroy all semblance of a Russian empire (of either the Stalin or the Kerensky kind). They want to live their own lives, to develop freely their cultures and civilisations without any protectorate from the “big brothers” – the Russians. This can be achieved only through the national independence of the republics of the USSR. That too, is just the opposite of what is proposed by the American statesmen.
- The absolute majority of the people of the USSR hare not the slightest confidence in the counter-revolutionary movements of the emigrants which are backed by Mr. Stassen, nor in the exiled “liberals” supported by Mr. Kennan, nor in the “foreign legions” of the type of the German Vlassov movement sponsored by General Eisenhower.
- Another general and instructive conclusion: though the peoples of the USSR hate Stalinist tyranny and carry on a permanent struggle against it, that does not at all mean that their “mood” is pro-American. It is rather the opposite, in our opinion.
We have mentioned above the principles of a real and just people’s program of struggle against Stalinism in the USSR. We should now like to explain briefly how and why the people in the USSR came to such principles. For that, it is first necessary to judge the internal social situation in that country objectively. We shall not consider here the question as to how and why the Soviet people in their ideas and in their “moods,” came to oppose the Stalinist regime because, we hope, this question is clear and evident to everybody. We shall rather confine ourselves to a consideration of how and why the Soviet people came to oppose Stalinism from anti-capitalist and anti-restorationist positions.
Thirty-four years have passed since the October Revolution. In the course of that time within the USSR
- the private capitalist system, private property in the means of production, has been totally liquidated;
- all the old capitalist, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes have been totally abolished and extirpated, in the sense that they are excluded from social life and placed outside of society as such;
- the collectivization of agriculture has been completed, private individual utilization of the land has been totally liquidated, in other words, the existence of the petty-bourgeois class of the peasantry has been “liquidated or at least thoroughly undermined;
- at the same time a vast industrialization of the country has been achieved and, consequently, a tremendous increase in the numbers and social weight of the class of industrial workers has taken place;
- the cadres of the old intelligentsia have ceased to exist and their place has been occupied by young people educated in Soviet schools;
- a completely new generation of people – the Soviet youth – has grown up in the country which does not even know anything about the NEP (New Economic Policy – inaugurated in 1921 as a controlled retreat to permit the revival of small scale capitalist enterprise, so proclaimed at the time by Lenin, which lasted to the end of the Twenties – Ed.);
- as a result of the specific propaganda policy and education the social class consciousness of every person under Stalinism has grown to be very sharp.
From these facts it can be seen clearly that society in the Soviet Union is quite different from the rest of the world. Starting out from the existing reality (and not from any yearning for the past) the Soviet individual develops an opposition to Stalinism unique to him. It represents a higher degree of social-historical development. The Soviet individual cannot orient himself toward a restoration of the old social regime because (1) there exists no basis for restoration, since neither private property nor the classes that supported it exist any longer; (2) the Soviet individual knows about the old capitalist social order only from theory and is genuinely convinced that capitalism means permanent crises, unemployment, unconcealed exploitation of labor, constant imperialist wars, etc.; (3) he believes and knows that the capitalist world on the outside wants to restore capitalism in his country.
Not so long ago the Soviet people had a very impressive experience with the Western world. We refer to the German invasion of the USSR. There are now a good many theories and explanations of the German-Soviet war and the behavior of the Soviet people in that war. There are numerous studies of “Hitler’s political mistakes in the East.” We know that the American general staffs arc working on these studies. The German archives are dug up over and over again. But nobody looks at the experience of that war from the point of view of the Soviet people.
What happened in reality? Why was Hitler beaten?
We leave aside consideration of a comparison between (he economic systems of Germany and the USSR, and will confine ourselves to the factor of the psychology of the Soviet masses, the reasons for the psychological “Stalingrad.”
It is absolutely true that at the beginning of the German invasion in 1941 the population of the occupied Soviet areas greeted the advancing German armies as their liberators. It is indisputably true that in 1941 millions of soldiers and officers of the Red Army freely surrendered to the Germans and willingly became prisoners of war. There were two reasons for this: (1) The Soviet people hated Stalinism and did not want to defend the “motherland.” (2) Because they hated Stalinism they did not believe Stalinist propaganda about Fascist Germany. The people believed that the Germans were “Westerners,” Europeans, a civilized and highly cultured nation that was really going to liberate them from Stalin’s yoke.
But what happened later on? The people soon realized that insofar as the Germans were concerned Stalin’s propaganda was right. They experienced what these Western liberators were like. That’s where the psychological “Stalingrad” began: the whole people underwent a great disillusionment. It was this disillusionment that prepared the military Stalingrad.
The logical question now arises: why should the Soviet people once again trust in “Western liberation” – this time by the Americans? Why shouldn’t they believe Stalinist propaganda on this score, when such Stalinist propaganda once was proven right upon their own flesh and blood? Those who are preparing the “liberation” ought to think this over very carefully.
But to return to the past for the moment: what in particular disillusioned the Soviet people in the German “liberators”? The commonly accepted answer is: the German terror and atrocities. But such an answer can be given only by those who are unfamiliar with the real situation in the German-occupied areas of the USSR. The German terror was of course a cause for disillusionment, but not the basic cause. The counter-revolutionary emigrants around Kerensky, Bandera, Boldyrev and the like would like to have it that the reason for the disillusionment was the refusal of the Germans to restore the land to the peasants and to bring to power the emigre liberals. But there is only one real objective answer: the main cause for the disillusionment of the Soviet people in the Germans, and therefore for the psychological and political defeat of the Germans was the attempt of the Germans to restore capitalism.
Here are proofs. In the occupied territories the Germans declared all industry, transport, finances, and the state collective farms (Sovkhoses) their private property. The Kolkhozes (farm cooperatives) remained approximately in the same status as under Stalinism. What did the Soviet people expect of their “liberators”? They thought that industry and the entire economy would be turned over to their ownership, to be the collective property of the people; that production would be under their own control and that the product would be justly distributed among the producers. Instead came the German “Wirtschaftführers” and “Sonderführers,” the Krupps and their slave-drivers.
The most instructive changes took place in agriculture. The emigrants of the type mentioned above claim that the people wanted to divide the Kolkhoz land into small privately owned plots, and that the Germans did not want to carry that out. This is an absolute lie. The former kulak emigrants who were home again demanded the restoration of private property on the land and were granted that demand by the Germans.
It is quite true that in some villages of the Ukraine the Kolkhoz-men burnt down and plundered the Kolkhozes. But these were exceptions rather than the general case. Quite understandably, the Kolkhoz-men hate the Kolkhoz system because, in the present state of affairs, it is a most exploitative system in agriculture. But that does not at all mean that they want to go back to small and technically backward private agricultural enterprises. To the claims of the emigrants that there is a general desire for return to small, privately owned agriculture, by means of which they have impressed the.Americans that there is hope of a restoration of capitalism in the USSR, we would like to counterpose a question: Was there any agricultural overturn in the USSR when the Germans advanced? There was some burning and plundering of Kolkhozes, granted. But was there a spontaneous uprising for the division of the land? Did the Kolkhoz-men divide the land when they burned down the Kolkhozes? Was there something like the rising of the peasantry against the landlords in 1917-19?
The emigrants reply: the Kolkhoz-men did not divide the land because they were afraid that the Red Army would come back. But were not the peasants of 1917-19 afraid when Denikin’s army marched triumphantly against them? They divided the land at that time! They created armed resistance against the White Guardists, didn’t they? Furthermore, weren’t the peasants also afraid of the Red Army when they burned down the Kolkhozes? There is a hitch somewhere in the reasoning of these emigrants that their American sponsors ought to pay attention to.
There was no agrarian revolution – or more correctly, no agrarian counter-revolution, in the USSR when the Germans advanced. The Kolkhoz-men did not want to restore private property on the land. The struggle was going on in the Kolkhozes for the ownership of the product of their labor and not for ownership of the means of production. This struggle continues in the Soviet Kolkhozes even at present. The Germans did not give the product of the Kolkhoz-man’s labor to him, they did not transfer the Kolkhozes to the control of the producers, they did not satisfy the wants and needs of the Kolkhoz-man. That was the cause for the disillusionment.
Now, as to the question whether the Germans divided the land or not. In the regions of Kharkov, Sumy, Poltava, Chernikov and Voroshilovgrad in the Eastern Ukraine the land was divided by the German occupation authorities and private property there was restored. This took place in 1942-43 under pressure of the returning kulaks. When the Germans occupied these territories, the kulaks and their children came back to their villages from various regions of the USSR, particularly from the Donbas coal mining regions, where they worked after they were banished from their villages in the purge of 1929-32. These people immediately began to work with the German administration.
The greatest number of them escaped the country later on, in 1943-44 together with the retreating Germans and are now in the emigration.
The Germans returned to the kulaks “their” land, “their” houses, agricultural buildings, and even mills. In return the kulaks served the Germans. Both were satisfied. The people who inhabited the kulaks’ houses were thrown out in the midst of winter. That is the real story of the division of the land. The very power given to the kulaks was an additional element in causing the defeat of the Germans.
The present situation in Soviet agriculture is even more advanced than it was in those years. Most of the remaining kulaks have fled the country. The number of potential restorationists in the villages has thus become negligible to the vanishing point. Moreover, the present Stalinist reorganization of agriculture, that is, the consolidation of the small Kolkhozes into large agricultural enterprises, and the simultaneous liquidation of the small plots of land that previously remained in the possession of the Kolkhoz-men, the replacement of the small villages by big agro-cities means nothing else but the liquidation once and for all of the roots of any possible restoration of private property in agriculture. The regrets and moans of people like Harry Schwartz or Cyrus Sulzberger of the New York Times on this score are quite understandable, as are the lamentations of their emigre friends. Their hopes of restoration are being blown up with this reform.
Again, let us repeat: We do not justify for one moment the Stalinist terror in executing this reorganization. Nor do we favor this reform insofar as it is not at all carried out in the interest of the Kolkhoz-men. But the very fact of the liquidation of the roots of a possible restoration nevertheless remains a fact. And it does not augur well for the American program of a “future Russia.”
Is there really no way out, then, for these American “friends” of the Russian people? Is the restoration of capitalism in the USSR really impossible? We can reassure them: It is possible, but only against the will of the Soviet people.
It is possible, for instance, to destroy with atomic bombs a good part of Soviet industry, to occupy the country or at least sections of it, with military forces; to put in power puppets from among the emigres for instance; to give them some kind of “Marshall Plan” and the problem would be solved ... That this would entail facing permanent guerilla warfare in the rear of the army of occupation, that hundreds and thousands of soldiers will be killed by the revolting people, that in this “free” Russia there would have to exist a Fascist regime based on tremendous police forces (because only such a regime would be able to maintain order necessary for the restoration of capitalism) – all this is another matter. In any case, such a program of a “future Russia” would be fulfilled ...
The domestic forces that would deliberately support such a program are, however, misjudged by the Americans. Or rather, they are looking for them where they are not to be found. The emigrants and the rest of the demolished ruling classes are really too pitifully weak to be of service to them. But there is a force that could be enlisted to support this American program. This force is in the Stalinist bureaucracy itself.
The Hearst paper, the New York Journal-American, was quite right, as a matter of fact, when it placed its hope in ihe issue of November 28, 1950, on a possible internal struggle between the powerful police (GPU-NKVD-MGB) and the caste of officers in the Soviet army in case of a shakeup of Stalinism. (That paper was considering the eventualities of Stalin’s death.) Both groups, if supported by the USA, can establish a Fascist regime in the country. When it sees the current system about to collapse, the ruling bureaucracy would be quite willing to maintain its social and political privileges in that way. The restoration of private property would as a matter of fact be greeted with great joy by the bureaucracy, provided that this form of private property assures its continued rule. The mind of the Soviet bureaucracy is embodied in such people as the late General Vlassov and Victor Kravchenko. The Americans have really not been very consistent in drawing conclusions from experiences with such people.
We repeat: capitalism can be restored in the Soviet Union, but only against the will of the people, by the use of external force which rests on reactionary remnants of the old classes hostile to the people as well as on the present Stalinist bureaucracy which is no less hostile to the people. In that case, the people will rise up against these restorationists as they did against Adolf Hitler.
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To sum up: the American program for a “future Russia” is the most reactionary and hostile attack against the needs and desires of the exploited and oppressed Soviet peoples. The realization of that program would mean not liberation but a change of oppressors. Which of the two oppressors is worse and which better is not for us to judge. The people will judge for themselves. The worst will be beaten first. That is what happened before, six years ago.
Stalinists commenting on our views will probably cry cut with glee: “He is helping out the American imperialists, showing them their mistakes, directing them to a more correct and more solid road of oppression of the Soviet people. He is recommending to them support of a Fascist regime in order to restore capitalism in the USSR!” We know beforehand what a hue and cry the Stalinists are capable of. But any objective person will understand this article for just what it is. Although we have taken up in detail all the fallacies in the reasoning of Kennan, Stassen and the others, we have not the slightest idea of convincing them. “A hunch-back can be straightened out only in the grave,” says a Russian proverb. That is the way it is with the American imperialists as well.
The aim of this article is not to convince a Kennan or a Stassen, but to indicate to the American workers where they are being led by the Kennans and Stassens. We are not interested in warning the imperialist leaders of the USA about the mistakes they are making – we are anxious to warn the American people that the road of their “program for a future Russia” is the same road along which Hitler led the unfortunate German people.
The Soviet peoples are exploited and oppressed by Stalinism. They are carrying on a struggle against Stalinism. They do need help and support in that struggle. But the capitalist world, capitalist America cannot give them the help and support they need. They know that. The only help which can really and effectively be given the Soviet people can come only from the workers in the Western world, when they abolish with their own forces the whole structure of rotten capitalism in their own countries. The abolition of capitalism in the Western world by the workers and the establishment of workers’ power will immediately deprive Stalinism of all strength and ease the way for the new revolution in the USSR.
1. The primitive, groping political character of this movement is evident from its terminology which makes little distinction between Bolshevism or Communism and Stalinism.
2. There are now developing two wings inside the UPA – one oriented toward Marxism and the other which, while accepting socialism, emphasizes nationalism.
Last updated on: 25 March 2009