Sunday, September 6, 2009

Banal Soviet Bureaucrats Mask Terror Of Soviet Communism

The Yale University Press has been publishing a series of books on Soviet Communist rule in Russia utilizing primary documents from archives that have come available since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

They have started to put some of their recent works actual documents on the internet. One of them is files from the KGB on Andrei Sakharov. This noted Soviet atomic scientist became a leading dissident in the late Sixties and Seventies causing no end of problems for the Brezhnev regime.

Many of the source documents are reports on Sakharov's activities sent under Yuri Andropov's signature to the Central Committee. Andropov was the head of the KGB and ended up being the last leader of Soviet Russia before Gorbachov.

Some of the highlights include reports like this: "Sakharov continues to produce and disseminate slanderous letters concerning Soviet reality. In conversations with his confederates, Sakharov assesses policies of the Party and government from a negative standpoint, and he also associates himself with demagogic assertions of nationalistically inclined individuals about the situation of Jews in the USSR."

Another work is about Stalin's persecution of the COMINTERN and the elimination of foriegn Communists. One particularly interesting document is a statement of Irena Kun the sister of Hungarian Communist Bela Kun. Bela Kun was able to establish a Communist regime in Hungary for a few years after World War I. In the Thirties many of the leaders fled to the Soviet Union and were eventually punished by Stalin. Irena Kun is trying to protect herself by claiming that Georg Benedek another Hungarian in Moscow made up stories about her being a Trotskyist and traitor.

Kun blames a bad recommendation from her brother for his denouncing her. "I have known Benedek for 3 years, we live in the same building. He studied at the VKU where I was working. I always knew that he was mentally unsound. But I would never have suspected him of being so mean until, according to his own words, c. Bela Kun refused to give him a recommendation to the KUNMZ graduate school in June-August 1935. After that, he started telling me and c. E. Nagy[iv] things that aroused my suspicions that Benedek was either crazy or an agent provocateur."

The documents illustrate the paranoia among the intellectuals of a movement where they spent decades eating each other and protecting themselves. They could trust no one or anyone. They also showed the dutiful bureaucrats of the KGB and Party routinely reporting on each other to higher ups explaining faults and problems by blaming poor commitment to the Soviet cause or foreign provocateurs.

In all it shows that large numbers of people spent all their time running around reporting on each other in lengthy memorandum. Certainly these people contributed little of meaning to society or the economy. It might explain all the problems the Soviet economy might have had.

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