Fatherland War of 1941-45, Khrushchev was with the army in the field, but he simultaneously completed his work at all other fronts-social, economic and political. He conducted work of great magnitude in the organization of all-peoples partisan movement in the Ukraine, against the German Fascist invaders. As political head of the Ukraine, as member of the Soviet Politbureau and as one of the leaders of the local military council, Khrushchev was directly involved in all political, economic and military operations. He was in charge of economic mobilization, of plans for evacuation of industries and of population. He had to see to it that all the importrnt industrial equipment should be quickly dismantled and evacuated to the East. He had to give general orders for destroying equipment left behind. And the quick evacuation of hundreds of factories, of equipment, supplies, livestock, was one of the sensations of this period of the great war. It was praised by Soviet and Western observers alike and even German commentators expressed a grudging admiration. Thus Khrushchev's administrative and organizational talents were fully vindicated.
After the war the political situation in Soviet Union became very much complicated as Stalin became more and more capricious, irritable and brutal. His persecution mania reached unbelievable dimensions. He separated himself from the collective life. He chose to decide everything by himself without any consideration for anyone or anything. The purge-cyclones were raging over all parts of the Soviet Union and the satellite empire. Many were expelled from the Party. After that they were arrested and executed. But Khrushchev came out of the dangers unharmed. Rather his position became stronger.
From December 1949, until Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev worked in daily contact with Stalin. On the latter's 70th birthday, Khrushchev Wrote a pamphlet praising Stalin's genius. It was published in Moscow in Russian and in many foreign languages. The title of the English version is : "Stalin-Friendship Among the Peoples Makes Our Motherland Invincible." Although Stalin was very suspicious and capricious, Khrushchev's rivals and enemies had not been able to manoeuvre Stalin into liquidating him. In fact, Stalin thought Khrushchev useful in providing a counter-weight against other very ambitious people in his entourage. Suspicious as Stalin was, he felt that Khrushchev constituted no danger to his rule. And this fact raised Khrushchev's position, and he gradually strengthened his hold on the Party during the regime of Stalin.
The day Stalin died Khrushchev was a member of the Presidium and one of the secretaries of the Central Committee. He was ranked as Number Five in the leadership. He became the actual head of the apparatus on March 14, when Malenkov had to relinquish his first secretaryship. This was the outcome of the struggle for
power between all the leaders, Khrushchev himself had comparatively little to do with it. He was rightly placed. He had a very long past in the apparatus. He had been continuously a member of the Central Committee for the past nineteen years and of the Politbureau or Presidium for the past fourteen. The fact that he had the Party apparatus in his hand made it possible for him to exploit the further intrigues between the rivals for succession, and to use the enormous power of the apparatus in order to achieve his official accession to the first secretaryship. This rank was as yet not spelled with capital letters. It was his own doing however that he soon became the First Secretary and the Dictator of the Soviet Union. With the apparatus in his hands this was to be expected.
Khrushchev became Prime Minister of the Soviet Union in 1958 after ousting Malenkov and Bulganin and defeating all his opponents. He tactfully dealt with the situation and foiled the attempts of Malenkov and Mikoyan group and of the Molotov-Kaganovitch faction to demote him entirely in the Spring of 1957. When the campaign for a summit meeting was on, Khrushchev had to convince the Central Committee that the real head of the Soviet Union must be the Premier, since otherwise the figurehead, Bulganin, would have to negotiate with President Eisenhower and the other Western leaders. A few days before the end of the March session of the Supreme Soviet Mikoyan told Western reporters at an Embassy reception in Moscow that they should not expect any 'Government changes' at this session. But at the March 27 Session Voroshilov, as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Presidium, proposed that 'dearNikita Khrushchev' should be elected Prime Minister in succession to Bulganin. Voroshilov spoke at length about Khrushchev's 'outstanding personality', 'creative endeavour', 'inexhaustible energy', and 'untiring labour'. Supreme Soviet voted him into Premiership. Upon that Khrushchev expressed his sentiments : "By your decision, you have just expressed great confidence in me and have done me a great honour. I shall do everything to justify your confidence and shall not spare health, strength or life to serve you."
His Hatred for Stalin
Khrushchev, like many others, had a deep-rooted hatred for Stalin and for those who had an unshakable faith in Stalin's policies, although he (Khrushchev) worked with Stalin and praised him during the latter's regime. Perhaps, it was for tactical purposes. But after the death of Stalin anti-Stalin feelings grew steadily in force and scope in Russia. Even Stalin's heirs did not want to defend and preserve the Stalin myth in its entirety. The die-hard Stalinists, led by Molotov, Kaganovich and Voroshilov, were prepared to make some concessions as long as Stalinist dictatorship (minus the bloody purges) was preserved intact. The middle-road apparatchik faction
GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS
led by Khrushchev, was all along against too far-reaching anti-Stalinization. They feared that party dictatorship would suffer. During the three years of the post-Stalin era, Khrushchev himself alternated between linking his name to the Stalin myth and distancing himself from it.
But on the 25th February 1956, Khrushchev delivered a long speech making an all-round exposure of Stalin's mass-murders. He said :
"Stalin originated the concept, 'enemy of the people'. This term automatically rendered it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven : this term made possible the usage of the most cruel repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent, against those who had had reputations. This concept, 'enemy of the people', actually eliminated the possibility of any kind of ideological fight or the making of one's views known on this or that issue, even those of a practical character... .
"This led to glaring violations of revolutionary legality, and to the fact that many entirely innocent persons, who in the past had defended the Party line, became victims. We must assert that in regard to those persons who in their time had opposed the party line, there were often no sufficiently serious reasons for their physical annihilation. The formula 'enemy of the people' was specifically introduced for the purpose of physically annihilating such individuals."
Although this speech was delivered by Khrushchev, he was not very happy with the contents of the speech. In fact, he was forced by Mikoyan, Malenkov and their associates to present it. They thought that by this act Khrushchev would make it impossible for himself ever to aspire again to one-man dictatorship. But Khrushchev did everything with his insertions to show that he had nothing to do with the murder cases and that Stalin was exclusively responsible for them.
Also, in making the official exposure of Stalin, Khrushchev had a chance to blacken his enemies as Stalinist and award the halo of anti-Sta'inism to his adherents and to those of his rivals whom it was expedient at the moment to placate. Consequently, he took great pains in his last minute insertions to show, to prove, to announce that Malenkov was the evil spirit and alter-ego of Stalin during the war, in fabricating the Leningrad affair and in other matters. He showed that Kaganovich tried to defend Stalin because he was Stalin's accomplice. Molotov, Mikoyan and Voroshilov were accorded mixed treatment. Thus Khrushchev, in exposing the sins of Stalin, also had an opportunity to blacken the faces of his opponents, and to win the faith of the Communist Party in his own leadership.
N. S. KHRUSHCHEV
The themes of his speech were :
Marxist-Leninist refutations of ideological pretexts for tme-man dictatorship, for terror and mass repression. Hence the thesis was refuted that "as we march forward towards socialism, class-war must allegedly sharpen." The 'enemy of the people' concept was sharply denounced.
That according to Marxist theory and Lenin's practice ultimate power rests in the Party Congress and the Central Committee plenum. "There was no matter so important that Lenin himself decided it without asking for advice and approval of the majority of the Central Committee members or of the members of the Politbureau." 3. That without democratic majority rule in the Central Com-
mittee and the Presidium, and without Socialist legality, there could
be no defence against "the wilfulness of individuals abusing their
Revision of Marxist Leninist Thesis
It is quite evident from the above theses that Khrushchev was quite against the concept of one-man dictatorship. Also, he believed that majority principle to decide policies in the party meeting should be adopted. Further, he insisted that war was not inevitable to defeat capitalism. He, in his television interview to the Columbia Broadcasting System on June 2, 1957, stated : "With regard to the ideology of capitalist and socialist countries, we have never concealed that there will be a struggle in this field, an ideological struggle... .Some people reproach me for allegedly changing my point of view, since I once said that if an atomic war came about it would be capitalism that would perish in that war. This I repeat today. But we think that capitalism should be destroyed not by means of war. . . .but through an ideological and economic struggle...." Thus Khrushchev appeared as a revisionist of the old Marxist-Leninist theses.
Keeping in view his policy of peace, he placed a programme of seven-year plan before the Twenty-first Party Congress at the end of January 1959, for the building of communism, which was finally approved by the Congress. His theses and report on the seven-year plan described its main task as follows:
The creation of the material and technical basis of communism ;
The full satisfaction of the material and cultural needs of the Soviet people;
The consolidation of the economic and defence power of the USSR;
Ensuring the victory of the USSR in the peaceful economic competition with the capitalist countries of the West
GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS
The seven-year plan was the most important campaign in the Kremlin struggle for world supremacy, but through peaceful competition. Khrushchev claimed that United States economic power would be equalled by the USSR in 1970, five years after the end of the seven-year plan :
"If we calculate per head of the population, another nve years will probably be needed after the fulfilment of the seven-year plan to catch up and outstrip the United States industrial output. Thus by that time, or perhaps even sooner, the Soviet Union will advance to the first place in the world both in the absolute volume of production and in production per head of the population. This will be a historical world victory for Socialism in peaceful competition with capitalism in the inter national area."120
Khrushchev pointed out that in this peaceful competition with the United States, they were to rely on political as well as economic factors. Among these Khrushchev attributed a great deal of importance to the 'scientific laws' about the 'inevitable crisis' and inherent contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist system. These 'laws', promulgated by Marx and Engels and base-i on mid-nineteenth century experience, and those derived by Lenin from the world situation in the first two decades of the twentieth century are, according to Khrushchev, still valid in the second part cf the twentieth century. "Capitalism," he emphasized, "is incapable of freeing itself from the death grip of its own contradictions."
Two other important political factors, according to Khrushchev, were :
The plan "will arouse to an unparalleled degree the force of attraction of communist ideas," especially in the less developed countries of the world.
The economic progress of the entire Socialist camp, including China, would lead to the consolidation of its strength and unity under Soviet leadership.
The Congress heard also something of the difficulties in the way towards victory. Aristov, one of the most powerful leaders under Khrushchev, referred to the heavy demands that were to be made on the Soviet engineering industry during the next seven years. He said that some engineering works were already overloaded and still had to deal with aid commitments to China, India and other countries. It should be noted in this context, that the planning expert, Saburov, confessed that the antiparty group had opposed the policy of giving too much aid to underdeveloped countries.
Khrushchev spoke about ideological dangers :
"Some workers underestimate the harm of bourgeois influences upon Soviet youth, thinking that the bourgeois is far from us, and that our youth is beyond its reach. But this is an error. We cannot ignore the possibility of bourgeois influence and are obliged to wage a struggle against the penetration of alien views and morals among Soviet people and particularly among the young."
Speaking about the transition to communism ('to each according to his needs'), Khrushchev emphasized that this could be attained only when there was 'an abundance of goods'. But the satisfaction of the material and cultural needs of the people does not mean the satisfaction of 'whims' or 'luxuries' as in the capitalist countries.
His Theses on the Transition to Communism
His theses on the transition to communism contained his very severe attack on Mao and the Chinses leadership. He did not name them, but Mao is unmistakably one of the 'comrades' whom he accused of inflicting damage on the building of communism and of having distorted and compromised the communist cause.
Khrushchev was a man of atomic age, and he was quite aware of the consequences of the thermonuclear war. That is why he tried to base his theory, policy and action on the real situation of the present world and not on dogmatic generalizations based on the situation in the last century. He fully realised that nuclear warfare by its very nature would prove exceedingly dangerous, particularly for dictatorships. If A- or H-bombs were dropped on the principal cities of the Soviet and satellite empire, thereby cutting off or annihilating central direction of the organs of repression, MVD, KGB, police etc., popular revolts could break out everywhere. All his experience since Stalin's death had shown to Khrushchev and the apparatus that populations, armies, students, workers, even communists "are not to be trusted". Wherever the system of oppression appeared to be weakened, small and large scale revolts followed. The general disorder and disorganization following a nuclear attack would not turn the British or American population against their regimes. "Nuclear war would entail for the free world many dangers, but not the danger of revolts against the British or American 'systems'. In Soviet Russia the regime itself would be in the greatest of dangers." A regime, which in the last analysis depends on the party apparatus (less than half a per cent of the population) and its secret police, cannot risk breaks in the 'monolithic unity' and strength of the entire machinery of oppression.
Further, he knew that his country had not yet got over the aftereffects of the Stalin era and of the World War II. A third war could dangerously reduce the proportion of Russians within the USSR to that of the non-Russian majority of the inhabitants. And a third atomic war could annihilate the total population of the USSR. Rebut-
GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS
ting the view that the events in the Caribbean were a victory for the United States, Mr. Khrushchev said on the 7th November, 1962,* after a sombre passage wherein he told his listeners how close the world had been to a thermonuclear war, that there was only one victor—reason. What is needed, according to him, in regulation of international disputes is flexibility.
Thus Khrushchev's regime stood for many bloodless successes in the international arena through a policy of compromise and mutual concessions and many achievements on the home front by permitting a far higher living standard and a far easier and safer political climate for the average citizen.
As a Pragmatist in Marxism-Leninism
Khrushchev was a pragmatist in Marxism-Leninism. Marxist 'theses', and the dogmatic approach were used by him only on occasions when it suited his aims. In foreign affairs his approach was often non-ideological and peaceful. He felt that today there were mighty social and political forces possessing formidable means "to prevent the imperialists from unleashing war and, if they actually try to start it, to give a crushing rebuff to the aggressors and frustrate their adventurist plans."8 To be able to do this, all anti-war forces must be vigilant and prepared, must act as a united front and never relax their efforts in the battle for peace.
In fact, Khrushchev wanted to defeat capitalism, not by fighting a devastating war, but by attracting the peoples of the world towards the values of socialism, which, according to him, are : free, democratic and open society ; tolerance and individualism ; belief in the basic human rights ; belief in absolute moral principles ; the right to strike ; the right to disagree ; the non-acceptance of an exclusive political dogma ; and a non-militarized society. And his socialism comprises, not only the Marxian values like economic equality, democratic and free society and dignity of human labour, but it also maintains the democratic values such as the freedom of expression, the rigbt to differ and faith in basic human rights and absolute moral principles. He firmly asserted that there was no harm if Russia accepted certain democratic principles and fitted them in her own life, as many of her socialist values had already been adopted by the Western Democracies.
In Favour of a 'Peaceful Ideological War'
Khrushchev's Speech at Kremlin in regard to Cuban crisis on the 7th Nov. 1962.
George Paloczi-Horvath, Khrushchev (Seeker ft Warburg, London, I960), P. 288.
Thus he dismissed completely the idea for waging a physical war against the capitalist countries. But the war of men's minds remains.
N. S. KHRUSHCHEV
And this 'peaceful, ideological war', according to Khrushchev, must be waged on both sides.
Nikita Sergeyrvich Khrushchev happened to be at the cross-roads. Emerging from the blood-red chaos of the Russian revolution, surviving the nightmare decades of the Stalin era, intriguing, manoeuvring, fighting his way to the top, he bad to struggle with tremendous problems during his regime. Dogma-bound, he was emotionally guided by the petrifaction of Marx's genuine anger at the social conditions of the last century. These emotions, kept alive by a sort of collective self-hypnosis of communist leaders, seek to justify tyranny and hatred of freedom and individualism by peopling ihe free world with the ghosts of bygone ages. But his peasant's common sense and pragmatism led him to accept a realistic approach to political problems of the day, while the occupational disease of dictators has the opposite tendency. He is now no more, it is, however, hoped that his great dreams, in spite of the fact that they appear quite fantastic to dogmabound communists, will pave the way for the survival of humanity at least for a few decades more.
SAINT AUGUSTINE (354-430 A.D.)
St. Augustine was one of the greatest church fathers. He greatly influenced subsequent thought. He was the son of a pagan father and Christian mother. He was educated at Madaura and Carthage. He was converted to Christianity by St. Ambrose of Milan. He was the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. He was the most important figure in the history of the Christian Church after St. Paul. He lived in the early part of the 5th century. It is often called the formative period of Christian thought. It was a period of transition from the ancient to the medieval age. The medievalism began with St. Augustine. Europe had gained religious unity after the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The Church and the state were not hostile to each other. This period was critical for Christianity. The barbarian attacks brought ruin for the empire of Rome. It had been the most stabilising factor for about eight centuries for the civilised world. The fate of civilisation and Catholicism alike hung in the balance. Finally Rome was sacked and plundered by King Alaric and the Goths in 410 A.D.