Boris Lvin (bbb) wrote,
Boris Lvin
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Статья Фербенкса о Берии

NATIONAL CADRES AS A FORCE IN THE SOVIET SYSTEM: THE EVIDENCE OF BERIA'S CAREER, 1949-53

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr.

This study investigates the political relations between dominant and subordinate nationalities as they were determined by the Stalin regime and as they changed with Joseph Stalin's death. As a key to the role of non-Russian nationalities, I will follow Lavrenti P. Beria's conduct on nationality issues from 1949 to June 1953. In all of Soviet history, Beria was the politician for whom the nationalities issue was most important. Since he was the only man who tried to use this policy issue as his principal weapon in an attempt to become ruler of the USSR, the career of Beria is a kind of test of the maximum weight the national minorities can assume.

NATIONALITY POLICY AT THE NINETEENTH PARTY CONGRESS AND BERIA'S DISSENT

Beria most fully elaborated his position on nationality policy in a speech to the Nineteenth Party Congress (October 5-14, 1952), so it is with this speech that we will begin our analysis. But in order to appreciate the divergence of his speech from the attitudes of the times, we must first consider the other speakers' views on nationalities policy. Stalin did not deliver the authoritative Central Committee report, nor did he discuss nationalities policy in the very short speech he did make. But we can gain a sense of the tone of the congress by noting the patterns of usage of various orthodox slogans referring to the national deviations, the status of various ethnic groups, and the rights of the union republics. At least 23 speakers condemn bourgeois nationalism, the national deviation of the non-Russians; but not one refers to the analogous deviation of the Russians, Great Russian chauvinism. *

* [Eighty-six speeches were delivered at the congress, of which the 29 given by representatives of the union republics and of the autonomous republics of the RSFSR, as well as those of important figures in the central leadership, have been examined for the present study.]

Beria alone uses the somewhat weaker terms "national oppression" and "great power chauvinism." All but four of the speakers choose invariably to refer to the Soviet ethnic groups as "peoples" rather than "nations," although almost all of these groups met the conditions of Stalin's own definition of a nation. [1] In accord with the tendency of the congress speakers to pass over the nominal rights of the union republics, they are called "independent" only once, by Beria, [2] although the Party Program would seem to imply their right to this designation. [3] The "sovereignty" attributed to the republics by the Stalin constitution (Article 15) is omitted entirely. Finally, it goes almost without saying that only the Russian people is entitled to the epithet "great," and only the Russian culture is called "advanced." It is not said of the Russian culture, as it is of the others, that it ought to be "Socialist in content, national in form" - a phrase which seems to restrict the individuality of the national cultures to relatively unimportant externals.

This brief survey reveals a large area of agreement on terms acknowledging Russian predominance and restricting even the outward symbols of minority autonomy. What is the reason for this general agreement? The congress proceedings as a whole give one an impression that the general nationalities line derives from Stalin himself to a greater extent than do other policy lines. It is very unusual for local Party officials to say that their specific actions follow the directives of Stalin himself, but they do say this about nationalities policy. Some speeches even assert that, in some cases, Stalin, who by 1952 presented himself to the public in godlike isolation from the specifics of administration, personally intervened to establish correct nationalities policy. In Georgia the resolutions condemning officials excessively lenient toward "hostile nationalist elements in our republic" were "based … on Comrade Stalin's personal instructions." [5]

The evidence suggests that the nationalities issue may have been unusually important for Stalin at this point, although he does not discuss it in public. More recent evidence strengthens this impression. Khrushchev recalls that it was before the Nineteenth Congress that Stalin first circulated the accusations against the Jewish doctors who later were accused of poisoning Soviet leaders in a Zionist plot. [6] This makes it appear likely that Stalin had already planned the later campaign against the Jews and against bourgeois nationalism to culminate in the Doctors' Plot and a blood purge along the lines of those of the 1930s. It establishes that he was, behind the scenes, taking the same direction in nationalities policy as that attributed to him at the congress.

Seen against the background of a consistent congress line on nationalities policy apparently emanating from Stalin, Beria's speech is truly remarkable. Five-sixths of this speech deals with the nationalities question, which Beria discusses in language entirely different from that of the other speakers. To begin with, Beria refers most often to the minority nationalities as "nations" (11 times). Only three other speakers refer to nations at all, and each of them a single time. Beria goes even further. He says that "in the conditions of the Soviet system, all the peoples of our country found and developed their own statehood (gosudarstvennost'); they have become "genuinely independent (samostoyatel'nie) states." [7] Unless I am mistaken, Beria is the only speaker who calls the nations of the USSR independent; and he is the only one who calls them states.

Beria mentions bourgeois nationalism, the bugbear of the congress, only once: "In the struggle against the enemies of Leninism the Party defended the Leninist-Stalinist national policy and ensured the complete and final overthrow of great-power chauvinism, bourgeois nationalism, and bourgeois cosmopolitanism." [8]

This passage is quite remarkable. The three national deviations are given equal billing, something unique in the congress proceedings. And if the "final overthrow" of bourgeois nationalism and bourgeois cosmopolitanism (Jewish particularism) has been achieved, there is no need for the vigorous attack on these deviations waged since the end of the war. In fact, the harm done by bourgeois nationalism is described nowhere else in the speech, while a whole paragraph is devoted to the evils Great Russian chauvinism wrought under the tsars: "Tsarism was the oppressor and executioner of peoples in Russia. The numerous non-Russian nations were denied all rights… the work in all institutions was conducted in Russian, which was not understood by the local nationalities." [9] Whatever may be the balance, between the evils of Russian and of local nationalism in Beria's. speech, the fact that Beria is the only speaker to mention "great-power chauvinism" and "national oppression" shows how directly he was clashing with current norms.

The treatment of the Russian people in Beria's speech needs deeper consideration. Beria does not use the standard phrase "Great Russian people." In the same way he denies to the Russian people and to its culture the epithet "advanced" (peredovoi); instead, he insists that all the nations of the USSR are now "advanced socialist nations."

Beria does devote four paragraphs [11] to praising the "Russian nation ... the most outstanding of all the nations comprising the Soviet Union." But on closer examination his praise of Russia, in any case less florid than that of most other speakers, proves to be somewhat complicated. Unlike most writers on the nationalities in this period, Beria does not allude to the "progressive significance" of the outlying minorities' annexation to Russia. [12] Neither does he discuss the importance of the Russian language as a means of communication among the peoples of the USSR, [13] the advanced character of Russian culture, or its specific connection with Communism. A short quotation will illustrate how Beria treats Russian culture and the allegedly distinctive characteristics of the Russian people:

As a result of consistent application in life of the Lenin-Stalin national policy in our country, the real inequality, inherited from Tsarism, in social and cultural development between the peoples of central Russia, who had moved forward, and the peoples of the outlying regions, who had lagged behind them in the past, was eliminated. [14]


Here Beria substitutes for the constantly recurring phrase "Great Russian people" the strange locution "peoples of central Russia." The effect is to suggest that the former superiority of the Russian people in economic and cultural development was not due to the distinctive characteristics of the Russian people as such, to Russian culture, but to advantageous geographical position, a position shared by other, smaller "peoples of central Russia."

Let us consider the content of the cultures of the non-Russian minorities', which was being furiously debated during this period. Numerous works in the non-Russian literatures, ranging from contemporary novels to national epics, had been either suppressed or expurgated immediately before the congress because of "idealization of the past," "bourgeois nationalism," "pan-Islamism," and so forth. [15] But Beria does not discuss how the cultures of the various nations of the USSR must conform to a socialist standard valid for the whole union. He gives a list of the five features characteristic of "advanced socialist nations" such as the nations of the USSR have now become. [16] None of the five items in the list refers to characteristics that the culture of a nation must have for it to be an "advanced socialist nation." Perhaps this implicitly departs from the formula devised by Stalin to describe the character that the cultures of the peoples of the USSR must have: "socialist in content, national in form." In fact, Beria never cites this formula.

Beria's specific policy proposals also indicate how he wished to portray himself to the minority cadres as their friend. He emphasizes the need for teaching and using the native languages. [17] Even more prominent is his concern for the creation and advancement of cadres of the local nationalities: the third characteristic of an "advanced socialist nation" is a "highly developed system of higher education to ensure the training of national cadres of specialists for all spheres of the economy and culture." [18]

Beria's presentation of a correct nationalities policy openly contradicts some of the other speakers at the congress, and the situation actually in existence at the time. He criticizes the oppressive nationalities policy of tsarism, under which "the work in all institutions was conducted in Russian." [19] But after the death of Stalin it was revealed that the teaching in the universities of the Western Ukraine was in Russian at this very time. [20] One of the most striking contradictions between speakers at the congress is that between Beria and A.N.Poskrebyshev, the long-time head of Stalin's personal secretariat, on the legislative powers of the union republics. Poskrebyshev, who was given exceptional prominence at the congress, * ridicules in his speech [21] the fact that the criminal codes of the union republics differ in such matters as the number of years' imprisonment by which accepting bribes is punished; he demands that the codes be made absolutely uniform. There are other unspecified "branches of legislation [which] have not been properly coordinated." The measure suggested by Poskrebyshev seems to contravene the 1936 Constitution, which reserves to the state all authority of the union republics except the "determination of fundamental principles" in the sphere of legislation. Beria, on the other hand, states that "under Soviet rule, the outlying national regions of Tsarist Russia have been transformed into… Soviet republics with their 22 own legislation." [22] Such obvious public disagreement appeared only rarely under the Stalin regime.

* [This can be seen from the fact that the editors of Pravda awarded to Poskrebyshev more applause ("Stormy applause, all rise") than was given to anyone except Stalin, Molotov, Malenkov, Khrushchev, Beria, Voroshilov, Mikoyan, Kaganovich, and Bulganin; that is, Poskrebyshev received more applause than two members and one candidate member of the outgoing Politburo (Andreyev, Kosygin, Shvernik) and more than most of the members of the new Presidium, including two of the members of its Bureau (Pervukhin and Saburov)]

It comes as a great surprise that Beria takes the side of the minority nationalities against the other congress speakers. The difficulty is particularly great because his speech seems to run counter not only to the specific policies that were in force at the time but also to the tradition of nationalities policy associated with Stalin. We can say that the core of the new policy adopted at the urgibg of Stalin during the 1930s is a change in the relative weight of the two ideological distortions: that the bourgeois-nationalist distortion is much more dangerous than Great Russian chauvinism. [23] By the omission of the expressions that celebrate this Stalinist doctrine, Beria casts doubt on his fidelity to it. The marked divergence between his speech - which seems to be the "nationalities speech" of the congress - and the authoritative Central Committee report must surely have confused the signals to lower-level officials regarding nationalities policy.

The real problem can be posed most sharply in the following way: if we adopt the assumption initially most plausible, we would consider that the congress speeches' very strict attitude toward bourgeois nationalism had been approved by Stalin. It seems reasonable to assume that he would not allow a policy position to be wrongly attributed to him - as the attack on bourgeois nationalism was - on such an authoritative occasion as his last Party Congress, held to lay down his heritage. If these assumptions are correct, a difficulty appears that is important for our understanding of Soviet politics. It is entirely contrary to our preconceptions of the Stalinist system that any leadership figure at a Party Congress could take an opposing position on a policy question that had been decided by Stalin. Such disagreement would appear to the outsider as opposition to Stalin himself. This seems to be one thing the Stalin regime did not allow. Nor would it have been prudent from Beria's point of view.

All of these considerations make it hard to explain why Beria took his unusual stand on nationalities policy at the Nineteenth Congress. To understand his action better, we need to determine the precise circumstances conditioning it and to establish whether his views were chosen for the particular occasion or whether they represented a prior orientation.

BERIA'S POLITICAL SITUATION

Beria's political power probably was greatest during World War II and in the period following the death of Zhdanov in June 1948, when Stalin allowed Malenkov and Beria to destroy Zhdanov's organization (in the "Leningrad case" and other purges), and thereby to increase their own power. But at the end of 1951 Stalin seems to have undertaken a three-pronged attack on the sources of Beria's power. First he lessened Beria's control over the police by replacing his close associate Abakumov with S.D.Ignatov as minister of state security. In addition, several security officials from the Ukraine who had been very closely connected with Khrushchev (I.A.Serov, A.A.Yepishev, N.Mironov) were given directing positions in the organs of state security in 1951 [24] These appointments suggest an attempt to weaken Beria's control over the organs of state security by establishing within them a competing network of officials responsive to the will of a rival politician, Khrushchev. Moreover, it is clear from Khrushchev's secret speech of 1956 that some of the new subordinate officials in the Ministry of State Security took their orders directly from Stalin, and not from the minister. [25]

At the same time several hundred of Beria's supporters in Georgia were purged "upon comrade Stalin's personal instructions." [26] The effect of this purge was to destroy Beria's ability to dictate policy directly to the leadership of the Georgian Party. Among the formal charges made against the men purged in Georgia was their participation in the now-decried system of shefstvo, domination of territorial units by one patron who decided all local appointments. This could very easily have served as the prelude to bringing the same charge against Beria, whose special relationship with the Transcaucasus was the foremost example of a semi-feudal territorial lordship existing at that time. The secret charges identifying Beria's followers as members of a treasonous "Mingrelian nationalist organization" were even more threatening. Khrushchev went on to say in his secret speech that "resolutions by the Central Committee… concerning this case… were made without prior discussion with the Political Bureau. Stalin had personally dictated them." [27] Khrushchev does not mention that there seem to have been no plenary sessions of the CC at these times, so that Stalin himself was responsible at every stage for the concoction of the conspiracy charges threatening Beria. In this case, then, we find the attack on bourgeois nationalism used as the principal means of getting at Beria's close associates (and thus at his power), and that Beria knew this when he spoke at the Nineteenth Congress.

In Azerbaidzhan, M.D.Bagirov, the first secretary and perhaps Beria's most important political follower, was in extremely serious trouble at the time of the Nineteenth Party Congress. This is shown by the fact that at the meeting of the Baku party aktiv held to discuss the results of the congress, Bagirov did not give the report, as the republic secretary would, but merely "spoke at the meeting." [28] (The only other first secretary who did not deliver the report at his aktiv meeting was, unless I am mistaken, Kalnberzins (Latvian SSR), who had admitted serious deficiencies in the work of the Latvian CC in his congress speech.)

The third prong of Stalin's attack on Beria perhaps appeared in the still-murky Czech purges of 1951-52, which decimated the local cadres that had worked with Beria and laid the foundation for criminal charges against him. In November 1951, Stalin suddenly resolved the long Politburo debate over the fate of Slansky and Geminder with a decision to bring criminal charges against them. [29] These men had been associated with Beria and may have acted on his instructions in Eastern Europe. [30] It will suffice to mention this part of the political campaign here, since its meaning will be analyzed in greater detail when the period of the Slansky trial in November 1952 is discussed. Finally, the charges against the Jewish doctors, not yet made public, constituted a fourth danger to Beria.

What we have established has increased the problem of explaining Beria's speech. Beria must have taken his position on nationalities policy at the Nineteenth Party Congress in full knowledge that Stalin was bent on limiting his power in a drastic and hitherto unprecedented way. And he must have known that the campaign against him was being carried out in the name of the correction of bourgeois-nationalist distortions. In this situation it took the utmost daring to express the view of nationalities policy that he did.

BERIA'S EARLIER NATIONALITIES POLICY

Our next task is to see whether Beria's position on nationalities policy at the Nineteenth Congress was developed for this occasion or was a long-standing orientation. It is not possible here to give as precise an answer for the earlier period as we can, on the basis of a careful analysis of all the relevant texts, for the period September 1952 - July 1953. But we can get a general notion of Beria's orientation in the period after the death of Zhdanov in 1948 from three public speeches and from what happened in his transcaucasian fiefdom. The most visible event in nationalities policy in the year after Zhdanov's death was the anti-Semitic campaign. While a great deal has been written about this, no one seems to have addressed the question of its relation to factional politics, which is all-important for understanding the role of the nationalities issue in the Stalin regime. There clearly was some relation between anti-Semitism and factional politics. Khrushchev makes these remarks about the period when Lazar Kaganovich, the ally of Zhdanov, was sent to the Ukraine in 1947: "… my own relations with Kaganovich went from bad to worse. He developed his intensive activities in two directions: against so-called Ukrainian nationalists and against the Jews… His anti-Semitism was directed mainly against the Jews who happened to be on friendly terms with me. " [31]

The campaign against rootless cosmopolitanism - that is, against the Jews - was begun by Zhdanov, in the context of the struggle of his faction against that of Malenkov and Beria. The inference that nationalities policy was an issue between the two sides is confirmed by Khrushchev's recollections of the "Leningrad case," in which Zhdanov's followers were purged by Beria and Malenkov: "I never saw the indictments in the Leningrad case, but I assume - also on the basis of conversations I overheard between Malenkov and Beria - that the charges against Kuznetsov's group [the Zhdanovites] were Russian nationalism and opposition to the Central Committee." [32] If this report is correct, Beria and Malenkov returned to power in 1948-49 under the banner of resistance to Great Russian chauvinism. Before this, Zhdanov's campaign against the Jews had certainly been the most overt manifestation of his Russian nationalist orientation. But the anti-Semitic campaign continued during and after the "Leningrad case"; indeed, it grew more intense, reaching its highest pitch in February and March 1949. This is the second great mystery of postwar nationalities politics.

We cannot solve this mystery here, but we can get an indication of Beria's attitude toward the anti-Semitic campaign by comparing its salience in the Moscow press and in Zaria vostoka, * the newspaper of Beria's Georgian fiefdom, during February and March 1949. Attacks on Jewish cosmopolitans appear in Pravda almost every day; but in the issues of Zaria vostoka available in the West, more feeble attacks on cosmopolitanism appear on only seven occasions, and never as front-page editorials. [33] A quick glance at the Azerbaidzhan newspaper Bakinskii rabochii shows the same lack of interest in the anti-cosmopolitan campaign. In the resolution on Bagirov's CC report of the Seventeenth Congress of the Azerbaidzhan CP, the passage dealing with the actualization of the Zhdanov cultural decrees is notably vague and chilly. [34]

* [The accuracy of this comparison was limited by the incompleteness of the Library of Congress file of Zaria vostoka read for this study and by the newspaper's illegibility, but the general result is quite clear.]

This evidence suggests that Beria was not responsible for the intensification of the anti-Semitic campaign in 1949. Furthermore, Ilya Ehrenburg's memoirs depict Beria's client, V.G.Grigoryan, as enthusiastically facilitating the publication of an article that signaled a relaxation in the anti-Semitic campaign in the spring of 1949; [35] it is not unlikely that this reflects Beria's wish to end the campaign. He may have had personal as well as policy reasons for opposing the anti-cosmopolitan campaign. Several bits of information indicate that Beria may have been specifically associated with the Jews and may have defended their welfare. The dismissals after his fall showed that Jews had not been purged from high positions in the police, as they were from other Soviet organizations in the late 1940s. Earlier, Beria had played a dominant role in the organization and sponsorship of the wartime Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and also, through Slansky and Geminder, in aiding in the creation of the state of Israel. [36] When he was in Georgia, he protected the Georgian Jews and established a museum of international Jewish culture that was still open in 1952. There were even persistent rumors that Beria was a Jew. [37] His connection with the Jews was so widely acknowledged in Moscow that Harrison Salisbury speaks of his "known partiality and friendliness to Jews." [38]

Since Beria's connection with the Jews was certainly being exploited against him in 1952-53, it is by no means impossible that this was one of the purposes of the anti-cosmopolitanism campaign, or at least that he worked against the campaign because he feared its implications for his own fate. Only further research could establish whether this is so. In any case, it is quite clear that during the height of the anti-cosmopolitan campaign in 1949, Beria already diverged from the main trend of national policy on the minorities.

This becomes clearer when we analyze the speeches given by Beria, Malenkov, Molotov, and Khrushchev to celebrate Stalin's birthday on December 21, 1949, and two later speeches by Beria. All the birthday speeches take a gentler attitude toward bourgeois nationalism than predominated at the Nineteenth Congress three years later. Beria's speech is demonstrably more favorable to the minority nationalities than are those of Malenkov and Molotov, but less favorable than Khrushchev's. [39] Five paragraphs are devoted to praise of the Russian people in the language of Stalin's 1945 victory toast, but the achievements named belong to the Revolution or the period following it. The "Great Russian people" are not mentioned, and Beria speaks of "equal peoples" and often of "nations." The most interesting passage is the following:

Established by Stalin... on the basis of economic, political, and military mutual aid within the framework of a single allied state, the fraternal cooperation basically altered the peoples [emphasis added].


Here and in general Beria very strongly emphasizes the federal character of the USSR. And he never stresses, as Molotov, for example, does, that "all the peoples of the U.S.S.R., with all the differences in their historical past… are moving along one general Socialist path of development." [40]

In his electoral speech at Tbilisi, Beria concentrates on purely Georgian problems. [41] He conspicuously fails to discuss the leading role of the Russian people, which he never calls "great." He speaks of "friendship sealed with the blood of the four fraternal peoples [Russians, Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaidzhanis]," while Mikoyan in his election speech speaks of "[the fraternal peoples of the Transcaucasus] headed by the first among equals, the Russian people." [42] A particularly interesting feature of Beria's speech is a quotation from Sun Yat-sen: "You [the Executive Committee of the USSR] head a union of free republics." The effect of this is to emphasize Soviet federalism abnormally, since the word "free" is applied in Soviet rhetoric of this period only to independent states, never to the "nations" of the USSR. (Thus, a typical title of a newspaper editorial on relations with the East European countries would be "Friendship of Free Peoples," while an article on internal nationalities policy might be titled "Indestructible Union of Fraternal Peoples.")

Beria's speech on the anniversary of the Revolution in 1951, which is devoted almost entirely to the economy and to foreign policy, touches on nationalities policy only in two brief passages. [43] While his failure to emphasize the nationalities issue is surprising, the content of his speech is not. According to Beria, "Every day… produces strong new manifestations of patriotism, of the moral and political unity of the Soviet community and of the friendship of nations of the U.S.S.R." [emphasis added]. In other words, there is no nationalities problem, and relations between the nationalities are as they should be. There are no criticisms of bourgeois nationalism or cosmopolitanism anywhere in Beria's speech. In the section on art and literature, where one might expect some criticism along the lines of the Zhdanov decrees, we hear only of a "flowering" of culture that is "educating the masses in the spirit of Soviet patriotism and internationalism" [emphasis added].

There are other indications that Beria's position on the nationalities question was expressed not only in policy statements but also in practice. In the Georgian purges of 1951-52, his appointees were charged with lenience toward Georgian nationalism, and such charges usually are expanded from some real fact. In the organs of state security, where Beria had overseen the appointment of personnel for many years, non-Russians (particularly Transcaucasians and Jews) were represented to a degree unmatched in the other branches of the state and Party. [44]

The evidence we have been considering contains several ambiguities, but it is possible to draw two conclusions with some assurance. First, on repeated occasions Beria either had acted as a spokesman for the leadership in nationalities matters or he had independently chosen to emphasize this above other policy issues. Second, the nationalities policy alternative Beria represented at the Nineteenth Party Congress was not an isolated stand, but a continuation of a long-held position.

This finding is one of the greatest importance for our inquiry. It is not only Beria's speech at the Nineteenth Congress, but also this continuity of policy, that needs to be understood. Beria apparently maintained the same basic orientation toward the nationalities issue under completely different conditions: the personal dictatorship of Stalin, and the oligarchy that followed his death; when he prospered politically (as in 1949-50) and when he faced imminent ruin (1952-53); when the general nationalities policy was relatively close to his own and when it was violently opposed. Beria's political career thus contradicts our expectation that Soviet leaders at the Politburo level will shift freely among opposed policy positions as political expediency dictates. The case that comes most immediately to mind is Khrushchev's reversal on the issue of Stalin at the time of the Twentieth Congress (1956). Khrushchev's own positions on nationalities policy were very flexible. He went from a strongly prominority position in December 1949 to cooperation with Stalin's campaign against bourgeois nationalism and the Jews in the fall of 1952; in 1953 he apparently joined Beria's action for minority rights at the beginning of June, attacked Beria in the name of Russian primacy in July, and then himself sponsored a campaign for recognition of Ukrainian national sentiments in 1954-55.

It is not difficult to think of reasons why Beria would be more likely than most of his fellow Politburo members to consistently favor the minorities. We cannot say anything about the role that personal conviction may have played in his nationalities policy, but we can guess how he would have appeared to participants in Soviet politics. Beria, very much a Georgian in comparison with Stalin, was the least russified of the non-Russian members of the Politburo; Khrushchev, for example, remembers him as the only member of Stalin's inner circle who ate native rather than Russian food. [45] Beria was also much more provincial in his political background than any other member of the Politburo; he did not move from the Caucasus to Moscow until he was 39.

A concrete reason for Beria's favoring the non-Russian nationalities more than other leaders did is his territorial fiefdom in the Transcaucasus. By 1952, at least, there was no other Soviet leader in Moscow who had a provincial political base that was remotely comparable. It is possible that the status of the Transcaucasus as a "fiefdom" under his control led Beria to support the rights of the union republics. As the patron of the Transcaucasus, he was able to arrange some things differently than they were in other union republics. But Beria's freedom to use his power as he wished in the Transcaucasus may still have depended somewhat on the general autonomy granted to the union republics. The autonomy he could obtain for Transcaucasia, or that he at least fought for, may have affected his support from local officials.

It is more obvious that the chances of Beria's promoting the officials of his fiefdom and his non-Russian followers in the organs of state security to positions elsewhere would vary inversely with the intensity of discrimination against non-Russians. Thus his hold on the Transcaucasus would impel him to seek changes in nationalities policy favoring the minorities in general. Whatever the reasons, a general process was at work: it was probably Khrushchev's desire to retain his partial fiefdom in the Ukraine that led him to take a pro-minority position in his own speech for Stalin's seventieth birthday in 1949.

Beria's Transcaucasian bastion also provided him with a good opportunity to appeal for the support of the other national minorities. His control over the Transcaucasian republics apparently enabled them to escape the degree of Russian supervision (such as Russian second secretaries) that was normal in the other union republics and procured for Georgia, at least, special consideration in the allotment of scarce goods. What had been achieved in the Transcaucasus in the realm of nationalities policy, under the supervision of Beria, probably was an attractive example for members of the national cadres elsewhere. His powerful non-Russian clients must have been envied by other minority officials chafing under Russian tutelage. In the case of M.D.Bagirov, perhaps the most important Muslim politician of the Soviet period, there is actual evidence of the drawing power of Beria's followers. In his speech at the Nineteenth Party Congress, [46] B.G.Gafurov, the Tadzhik first secretary, praises Bagirov by name for his assertion that the union republics' errors in evaluating the progressive significance of annexation to Russia were not their own fault, but that of the Union of Soviet Writers. Such praise of one union republic leader by another is unique in the congress proceedings. Shayakhmetov, the Kazakh secretary, praises the same position without mentioning Bagirov. It is possible that Beria was able to appeal to Communists of the Muslim nationalities through Bagirov.

These considerations help in understanding why we might expect Beria, in ordinary circumstances, to be generally more favorable to the non-Russian nationalities than most of his fellow Politburo members were. But our investigation of his political situation limits what we can explain in this way. The kinds of political advantages conceived to flow from Beria's nationalities policy in ordinary circumstances would weigh very little in the desperate situation into which he was moving in September 1952. To explain the consistency of Beria's position on nationalities policy even in the circumstances that made it most dangerous requires examining a more complicated series of hypotheses. Since these hypotheses deal more with the structure of the Stalin regime than with the nationalities question, I have made them the subject of another study. All the conceivable hypotheses can be grouped under two main headings: those resting on the supposition that Stalin was participating normally in the Soviet government and had chosen a specific course in nationalities policy, as we had supposed earlier, and those assuming that Stalin had not effectively decided. We will turn first to the latter group of hypotheses.

If Stalin had not taken an effective position, it would sweep away many of our difficulties. Beria's speech would no longer have the character of dissent, but would continue to be most easily interpreted as a way of maintaining or gaining the support of his non-Russian clients or of other national cadres. In support of this alternative one could note that not all of Stalin's postwar signals on nationalities policy unambiguously resembled the line of the Nineteenth Congress. His treatise Marxism and the Problems of Linguistics, published in 1950, after the extirpation of the Russian nationalist Zhdanovites, implies that the peoples of the USSR will not merge prior to the victory of socialism on a world scale. It is thus entirely possible that Beria's earlier speeches on nationalities policy were made in an atmosphere of enigmatic reticence or even approval from Stalin. If future research shows this to be true, one would obviously have to interpret the history of nationalities policy in postwar Russia quite differently than has usually been done. But as we approach the Nineteenth Congress, it becomes much more difficult to reconcile Stalin's neutrality and the many references to his personal participation in nationalities policy making. It is barely conceivable that other elite members were unaware of a decision by Stalin on nationalities policy, but Beria himself was in the best position to know that the three-pronged attack on him was carefully orchestrated by Stalin himself and that he was being sentenced precisely on the grounds of bourgeois nationalism. This type of explanation thus appears highly unlikely.

The other category of explanations - those assuming that Stalin had actively embraced a nationalities policy opposed to Beria's - would imply that Beria took a great risk in making his speech. The only reasonable aim of such a gamble would be to win the support of national cadresTparticularly those that did not already favor him. The rewards would have to be enormous to make such a risk worthwhile: that is, the help Beria expected from the nationalities would have to be enormous. If any hypotheses of this type are correct, we would have to revise our estimates of the effects of the national cadres' intervention in Soviet politics far upward. We cannot resolve this question here; for our purposes it is sufficient to note that every plausible explanation of Beria's speech at the Nineteenth Congress implies that the nationalities had great political power either at that moment or in the situation expected to arise immediately after Stalin's death.

AFTER THE NINETEENTH PARTY CONGRESS

In the period between the Nineteenth Congress and his death, Stalin was preparing a purge of his lieutenants and a mass terror on the scale of the 1930s. As part of this political project, intense campaigns were launched under the slogan of "vigilance" (bditel'nost) against two closely related national deviations: "bourgeois nationalism" and "Zionism." Among Stalin's lieutenants it was Beria who was most clearly marked for destruction. But, unless Khrushchev is distorting his recollections in his own interest, Beria continued, until Stalin's death, to be a member of the "inner circle of five" (Stalin, Malenkov, Beria, Khrushchev, Bulganin) who met nearly every night, until the day before Stalin's death, to conduct the day-to-day administration of the USSR. [47] It is characteristic of the strangeness of the Stalin regime that a man marked for death (as Beria was after January 13, at the latest) could sit every night with his executioner, calmly discussing winter wheat or canal building. Beria's continued membership in the inner administrative group shows that Stalin did not intend his fall because of dissatisfaction with him as an administrator, nor because of purely personal dislike, but for grander political reasons.

Whatever Beria intended at the Nineteenth Congress, he did not change central nationalities policy in the direction he favored. Press attacks on bourgeois nationalism increased in number and intensity, turning by mid-November into a distinct campaign against violations of correct nationalities policy. Such a campaign must have been decided upon at the highest level, in all probability by Stalin himself. With the new campaign went a distinctive usage of formulas. For example, between the Nineteenth Party Congress and the death of Stalin, Great Russian chauvinism is not mentioned once in the press materials I have read. Similarly, the union republics seem never to be called "independent" by the central press during this period. The campaign against bourgeois nationalism continued, with generally increasing intensity, until Stalin's death. The effect of the vigilance campaign against bourgeois nationalism on the careers of non-Russian officials is known from a later Presidium resolution criticizing Stalin's nationalities policy in Latvia: "Many Party, Soviet and economic leaders, using the pretext of a sham vigilance, expressed a groundless distrust towards local cadres and promoted to directing work mainly non-Latvians" [emphasis added]. As a result, less than half of the raikom and gorkom secretaries were Latvians, and there remained not a single Latvian among the department heads of the Riga gorkom. [49]

The only thematic statement on nationalities policy delivered in this period by a member of the central leadership was made by A.N.Poskrebyshev, whose speech at the Nineteenth Party Congress had been so menacing to the autonomy of the union republics. He was selected to write the article commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the creation of the USSR. [50] He was, before his dismissal in early 1953, perhaps personally closer to Stalin than any other Soviet politician of the time. [51] If the correct nationalities policy for this anniversary had to be expressed by Stalin's personal agent, it seems likely that Stalin regarded nationalities policy as crucially important and was intervening in it behind the scenes.

Poskrebyshev's article holds to the triumphant and optimistic tone considered appropriate for anniversaries, but it presents the same fierce insistence on Russian dominance that the other central press materials of this time do. The reader can see this easily by comparing Poskrebyshev's article with Beria's speech at the Nineteenth Party Congress. It is sufficient here to note a few points of contrast. Poskrebyshev never mentions "great power chauvinism" or the "independence" of the union republics, as Beria does. He emphasizes that the Russian people is the "first among the equal Soviet peoples"; unlike Beria, he always calls it the "great Russian people." The special position of the Russian people is especially evident in the extended praise Poskrebyshev gives to the Russian language. Here he and Beria are in complete opposition. Beria speaks of the need for work to be done in the native languages of the minorities, and says nothing about the Russian language. [52] Poskrebyshev virtually ignores the other languages, and speaks of Russian in the following terms:

An immense role is played by the rich and mighty Russian language in maintaining and developing constant communication among the numerous nations and peoples who inhabit the Soviet Union… The great Russian language, by providing means of communication for all the peoples of the U.S.S.R., has enriched the national culture of the peoples and their national languages. [53]


The strongest and politically most significant feature of the campaign against bourgeois nationalism was the attack on "Zionism" - that is, on the Jews - beginning at the end of October. The new anti-Semitic campaign, unlike that of Zhdanov at one point, is linked with the campaign against bourgeois nationalism in general. Many articles on nationalities policy include attacks on both Zionism and the bourgeois nationalism of another people, pointing out that these deviations are basically the same. [54]

The most massive evidence of the anti-Semitic campaign is the glut of articles in the press describing the activities of corrupt officials, confidence men, speculators, parasites, and other scoundrels, all with Jewish names. * In many cases a Jewish name is added in parentheses after an adopted Russian name, as in Zhdanov's time, so that the reader will not miss the point of the article. By the middle of November hardly a day passes without a feuilleton or court report of this type. These articles about Jewish criminals and the Russians who are tricked by them belong to the general campaign for vigilance that had already been called for at the Nineteenth Party Congress. The typical plot of these anti-Semitic articles is the story of a Jewish criminal who can continue his anti-state activities due to the lack of vigilance and the gullibility (rotoveystvo) of some Russian; these key words are repeated again and again. This conveys the message that Russians should be suspicious of Jews. The articles must have evoked strong memories of the purge of 1937-38, in which "vigilance" was also the dominant slogan.

* [In a number of articles of this type the criminals are members of the Muslim nationalities of the USSR (see Izvestiia, November 25, 1952, p. 4; Pravda, December 10, 1952, p. 2). It is quite possible that Muslims were a subsidiary target in this campaign. Since, however, there was always a small fraction of these articles involving Russians only, it would take a detailed count to determine whether the role of Muslims was indeed disproportionate.]

These articles form the first stage of the anti-Semitic campaign. The second phase was initiated by two nearly simultaneous events in Czechoslovakia and in the Ukraine. In Czechoslovakia, Slansky, Geminder, and others arrested earlier were brought to public trial. [55] They were charged with collaborating with Tito and with attempting to use the security agencies to seize power. As noted earlier, Slansky and Geminder may have been personally associated with Beria. It is also known that during the period of Slansky's "crimes," the security police of the satellite countries were directly controlled by the organs of state security of the USSR. [56] The charges against Slansky, Geminder, Svab, and their accomplices for criminal use of the security agencies thus cut very close to Beria himself; he was responsible for the supervision of the Czech security agencies and thus could have been criminally implicated.

The most striking feature of the trial was its "openly anti-Semitic character." [57] Both Slansky and Geminder were called Zionists and accused of plotting with other Zionists against Czechoslovakia. The Communist movement has always been opposed to Zionism, but this is the first occurrence of the word "Zionism" that I have seen in reading the Soviet press since September 1952. [58] While the proceedings of the Nineteenth Congress mention "homeless cosmopolitanism" a few times, they do not mention Zionism even once. Zionism becomes the word that characterizes the anti-Semitic campaign from this point on; by the beginning of 1953 it appears in every issue of the press. This seems to show that the Slansky trial is linked with the subsequent development of the anti-Semitic campaign in the USSR.

At almost the same time a parallel event took place in Kiev. On November 29, 1952, Pravda Ukraini announced the sentencing of several Jews to death for "counterrevolutionary wrecking in the provinces of trade and goods turnover," thus equating larceny with treason. This link had earlier been recalled by Poskrebyshev in his speech at the Nineteenth Party Congress. The Kiev trial was, in this period, the first time that Jews were publicly sentenced to death, and the first case brought before a military tribunal.

On January 13, 1953, the pattern of the blood purge moved to Moscow with the anti-Semitic accusations known as the Doctors' Plot. While the charges against the doctors apparently were concocted before the Nineteenth Congress, it has been shown by Robert Conquest that the beginning of November is the likeliest date for their arrest. [59] The arrest of the doctors thus coincided with the beginning of the press campaign against bourgeois nationalists and Jews, indicating again how closely the political events of this period fit together - the result of careful management by Stalin. It is generally acknowledged that the Doctors' Plot not only heralded a mass terror not unlike that of 1937-39, but also threatened Beria personally. In fact, Beria could actually have been brought to trial on charges already hinted at in the accusation against the doctors. [60]

The Doctors' Plot was aimed directly against Beria, and it had a violently anti-Semitic tone; the Slansky trial resembled it in both respects. Why are these features linked? In answering this question we will be able to discern Stalin's reasons for designing his final terror as he did. Because of Beria's close association with the Jews and the wide diffusion of anti-Semitic attitudes in the USSR, an anti-Semitic campaign offered a good public justification for the removal of Beria and his followers. On the other hand, the widespread fear and hatred felt for Beria and his police subordinates would give the anti-Semitic campaign still greater legitimacy.

More generally, Stalin clearly chose the opposition between Russian nationalist feelings and the minorities, especially the Jews, as the issue through which he would arrange his succession, thereby showing very clearly the intensity and transforming potential of Russian nationalist feelings. In a way the nationalities issue was perfect for arranging succession. It could create the upheaval that would renew the ruling elite, but for an essentially conservative aim, the maintenance of Russian dominance. Thus the process of terror, with all of its accompanying dynamism, ideological purity, and "leftism," would not interfere with its goal - the retention, unchanged, of a political order established by Stalin. The planned slaughter of many of Stalin's older lieutenants likewise served this goal, since figures with long-established authority in the country would be more likely to innovate than those who were largely unknown. The post-Khrushchev leadership perhaps resembles what Stalin wished to create: its relative immobility both in policy and in personnel is a powerful argument for the intelligence of Stalin's succession plan. *

* [Since Stalin's plan to execute many of his old companions in arms was perfectly sensible politically, there is no need to attribute it to paranoia. The test of paranoia ought to be not whether a person says unreasonably suspicious things, but whether he does unreasonably suspicious things. By this test Stalin was not suspicious enough - perhaps not suspicious enough of Hitler in 1941, certainly not suspicious enough of Malenkov and Khrushchev in 1952-53. The bizarre accusations that Stalin did make should perhaps be attributed to his sense of humor or, to put it differently, to his desire to feel his own power by asserting what is preposterous but cannot be contradicted by anyone. Of course, it should always be remembered that a man in Stalin's position has more cause than the average bourgeois to be suspicious of those around him.]

AFTER THE DEATH OF STALIN: BERIA'S POLITICAL POSITION

Stalin's death in March 1953 prevented him from implementing his plans. Beria was saved politically and personally, .and he moved to retain.those strongholds he had lost. Working in temporary alliance with Malenkov, Beria restored his authority over .the police and reversed the purge of his followers in the Transcaucasus. Khrushchev tells us that he had concluded before the official meeting of the leaders that "Malenkov had already talked things over with Beria and everything had been decided for some time." [61]

Before we can consider Beria's policy response to the situation created by the death of Stalin, we must understand what his political needs and resources were. On the basis of his subsequent actions, we may legitimately assume that he aimed at becoming dictator, if only because his police power was so dangerous to the other leaders that he had to increase it or be destroyed. How could Beria hope to achieve this aim? To begin with, he now had formal authority over the whole police apparatus, in addition to the strong patron-client relationships he evidently retained there.

The strength of Beria's patron-client connections is shown by the ease with which he recovered control of the police from those formally in charge of it at the time of Stalin's death. His control of the police ministry gave him considerable influence over politics at the union republic and local levels, since it was the ordinary practice for the police minister of a union republic to sit on the Bureau of the local Party Committee. The police ministry was in charge of important bodies of troops, including the border guards and the Moscow garrisons. [62] In addition, Beria apparently supervised important sectors of the economy, including those dependent on forced labor. [63] Much of the Soviet nuclear program remained within the province of the MVD. Finally, the organs of state security and Beria's own clients had long participated in the agencies carrying out foreign policy.

In one area, the Transcaucasus, Beria possessed a far broader political base. Even after Stalin's purge, many of his followers must have remained at lower levels there. At any rate, in April 1953, Beria carried out a counterpurge in Georgia which ousted nearly all of Stalin's appointees and restored people dependent upon Beria. Only one of the twelve members and candidate members of the Bureau of the Georgian Central Committee, as reconstructed by Beria in April 1953, survived his fall. * This suggests strongly that Party and government appointments in the Transcaucasus were now simply made by Beria and approved as a matter of course by the bodies nominally responsible. A similar situation existed in the other Transcaucasian republics. In essence, from April 1953 until late in June, the Transcaucasus formed a "fiefdom" controlled entirely by Beria, throwing whatever weight it had in all-union affairs on his side. One can see how much political importance Beria attributed to his fiefdom by the role he chose for one of his most eminent followers, Dekanozov, the former ambassador to Germany: rooting out anti-Beria elements in Georgia as local MVD minister.

* [This was Dzhavakhishvili, a holdover from the Bureau created by Stalin during the purges of 1951-52.]

Thus Beria could count on a regional political machine and, what is more important, on the support of a complex of agencies of state power centered in the organs of state security. This complex wielded enormous coercive power. But the organs of state security have always lacked legitimate authority in comparison with most other Soviet political structures, and above all in comparison with the Party organizations. Consequently we can describe Beria as politically weak in spite of his control of the police. One index of this is the political allegiance of Central Committee members, which can be established by studying career patterns. Of the 120 members and 103 candidates active in mid-March 1953, only five members and seven candidates can be clearly identified as followers of Beria. In comparison, a minimum of 24 full members and 14 candidates were visible adherents of Malenkov. [64]

Within the Party - traditionally the institution with the greatest authority - the provincial Party secretaries hold key positions. But a look at incomplete data on the members of the 1952 Central Committee does not show any regional Party secretaries outside the Transcaucasian republics whose career patterns link them with Beria. * Nor did Beria have any identifiable adherents in the Moscow apparatus of the Central Committee. The tentative conclusion is that in March 1953, Beria was completely isolated from the Party sources of power, except in the Transcaucasus. This was very different from the situation of his chief rivals, Malenkov and Khrushchev. Of the 38 Party first secretaries of the Russian provinces (krai and oblasti) of the RSFSR in the Central Committee, ten were closely associated with Malenkov. As for the state apparatus, Beria may have supervised much of the work of the economic ministries, but none of their CC members were later dismissed as his clients. Subsequent dismissals showed that Malenkov, on the other hand, was the patron of at least a dozen CC members from the government side. The end of Stalin's control over appointments did not solve Beria's problem of lack of a clientele in the Party organizations outside Transcaucasia. He was not in a good position to develop new patron-client ties, since Malenkov controlled (after March 14, through his client Shatalin) the vital Party Organs Department of the Central Committee, which had the greatest authority in filling the several thousand positions in the Central Committee nomenklatura (appointments list). [65] Beria was indeed.politically weak; he needed to take a policy initiative to overcome this problem.

* [Among Party secretaries on the Central Committee with unexplained demotions after 1952, only the following show any possible links with Beria. P.F.Cheplakov, first secretary in the Sakhalin oblast, was demoted to candidate member in 1956; he had served as second secretary in Azerbaidzhan under Bagirov from 1938. See Deputati verkhovnogo soveta (Moscow, 1959), p. 432. Another official with a police background from the Beria period was V.I.Nedosekin, first secretary in the Tula oblast, dismissed in November 1953. In neither of these cases is a current (1952-53) personal relationship with Beria certain. A case has been made that V.M.Andrianov, first secretary of the Leningrad oblast Party organization, was "a Beria man" (Nicolaevsky, Power and the Soviet Elite, p. 258). This is argued on the basis of Andrianov's installation during the "Leningrad case" and his dismissal in October (?) 1953. But Andrianov's earlier career in Malenkovite strongholds and his excellent standing at the time of the Nineteenth Congress (he was a member of the Presidium of the congress and of Stalin's large Presidium of the Central Committee) make it more likely that he was a follower of Malenkov. Andrianov was charged in 1954 with having failed to implement the decisions of the July (1953) Plenum of the CC (Conquest, Power and Policy, p. 233), which might suggest that he had switched his allegiance from Malenkov to Beria during the spring of 1953. For Andrianov's career, see Boris Meissner, "Umschau: Innenpolitische Entwickling," Osteuropa 4 (1954): 45-46.]

THE FUNERAL SPEECHES:
DEFINING NATIONALITIES POLICY FOR THE POST-STALIN ERA

Now that we have a rough understanding of Beria's political situation, we can examine how he responded to it in terms of policy. Fortunately, at Stalin's funeral the members of the new triumvirate - Malenkov, Beria, and Molotov - gave speeches sketching the policies they favored and assessing the dead leader. Stalin had won acknowledgment as one of the giants of history and as a second founder of the Soviet regime, but the funeral speeches are relatively restrained in their praise of him. Stalin's son complained at the time that his father had not been respectfully interred. [66] All the funeral speeches share a comparatively damp assessment of Stalin's greatness. Beria, however, is truly disrespectful, as the openings of the three speeches show (emphasis added):

Malenkov

[we] have suffered a most grievous, irreparable loss… Our leader and teacher, the greatest genius of mankind, Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, has come to the end of his glorious life-path… Boundless are the grandeur and significance of comrade Stalin's activities... Stalin's cause will live forever.


Molotov

…we are living through a heavy sorrow - the demise of Iosif Vissartonovich Stalin, the loss of a great leader and at the same time a close, beloved, infinitely dear person. And we, his old and close friends... say goodbye today to comrade Stalin… who will always live in our hearts…


Beria

It is hard to express in words [our]… great grief… Stalin, the great comrade-in-arms and inspired continuer of Lenin's work, is no more.

We have lost a man who is the nearest and dearest to all Soviet people…

The whole life and work of the great Stalin are an inspired example of loyalty to Leninism


Beria's omission of Stalin's Christian name and patronymic, which are honorific signs in Soviet rhetoric, is clearly disrespectful. The same message is conveyed when he, and he alone, never calls Stalin "comrade." What is most obvious, however, is that Beria diminishes Stalin by presenting him simply as a continuer of the great work of Lenin, and not as a great man in his own right. While there are no significant differences in the number of times the different speakers refer to Stalin himself (Malenkov, 28 times; Molotov, 21; Beria, 22), the case is very different with Lenin. Malenkov and Molotov mention him nine and seven times, respectively; but Beria refers to Lenin no fewer than 19 times.

By his treatment of the greatest symbol of Stalinism - Stalin himself - Beria gives the impression that he wants to demolish important parts of the Stalinist political tradition and that he favors in some way a return to Lenin. Such a revival of a past way, whether symbolic or real, is at home in the Soviet regime, which is characterized by a stronger sense of history than are many Western constitutional regimes. Beria hints in his speech at startling policy departures from Stalinism that do not figure in the other speeches. He mentions, for the first time in years, the rights guaranteed by the Soviet Constitution, and praises the conduct of the CC and government "in the fire of the Civil War and intervention, during the difficult years of struggle against devastation and famine" - that is, the years of the New Economic Policy ended by Stalin.

Malenkov and Molotov give particular emphasis to Stalin's greatness as a theoretician of the nationalities question. Malenkov asserts that "with the name of comrade Stalin is connected the solution of one of the most complex questions in the history of society - the national question… comrade Stalin, the great theoretician of the national question, saw to elimination of the age-old national strife." Molotov is even stronger:

… above all in the matter of developing new, friendly relations among the peoples of our country, comrade Stalin played a special and exceptionally lofty role. In this, Stalin… illuminated theoretically the most important contemporary problems of the national and colonial question, promoting there also the development of the scientific foundations of Marxism-Leninism.


On the other hand, it is perhaps the most striking feature of Beria's speech that he does not say that Stalin had achieved anything in the field of nationalities policy. Since Stalin had always been famous as a specialist on the nationalities question, Beria's silence about this is quite meaningful. It implies disapproval of the distinctive Stalin nationalities policy as a whole, and not merely of the way that policy was being implemented in the last months of Stalin's life.

From the beginning of his speech it is noticeable that Beria defines his audience in a way different from the other two speakers. Malenkov consistently uses the phrase "Soviet people," while Beria prefers to speak of the Soviet peoples, in the plural; he begins the speech by speaking of the grief of "our party and the peoples of our country." Beria evidently wishes to emphasize that the country he speaks to is not a monolithic national state but a federation of peoples. In accord with this intention, Beria uses the formula "multinational state" three times as often as either of his rivals, and he is the only leader to speak of the "Soviet national republics." He considers the friendship of peoples and the "firm union of all the Soviet national republics" to be so important that he ranks them second only to the alliance between the working class and the peasantry among the foundations of "our internal policy." This emphasis on Soviet federalism is without parallel in the other funeral speeches. Molotov, for instance, talks about the "brotherly cooperation and unification [ob'edinenie] of big and small peoples [which is] growing before our eyes" and, in the thematic section on the nationalities, about the "advance in the culture [singular] of the peoples" (emphasis added).

We can now summarize what we have learned from the funeral speeches. None of the speakers attacks bourgeois nationalism or Zionism. This signals the precipitate abandonment of Stalin's nationalities campaign. The decision was not a gradual one, upon analysis, but one taken in the most authoritative possible way and at the earliest possible moment. It is clear that the new triumvirate perceived relations between the
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