THE ISTITUTES OF MARXIST- LENINIST STUDES
AT THE CC OF THE PLA
Two decades have gone by since the Meeting of 81 communist and workers' parties of the world, which has gone down in history as one of the most important events in the struggle which is being waged between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism. At this Meeting our Party opened fire on the revisionist group of Khrushchev which was ruling in the Soviet Union and struggling in every way to subjugate the entire international communist movement, all the communist and workers' parties of the world, and set them or. its road of betrayal.
Our open and principled attack on Khrushchevite modem revisionism at the Meeting in November 1960 was not a surprise move. On the contrary, it was the logical continuation of the Marxist-Leninist stand which the Party of Labour of Albania had always maintained, was the transition to a new, higher stage of the struggle which our Party had long been waging for the defence and consistent application of Marxism-Leninism.
From the time the Khrushchevites took power to the moment when we came out in open confrontation with them, the relations of the Party of Labour of Albania with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union passed through a complicated process, with zig zags, with periods of exacerbation and periods of temporary normalization. This was the process of each getting to know the other through encounters in the course of the struggle and the continual clash of views. After the Khrushchevite revisionist putschists came to power, our Party, basing itself on the events that were taking place there, on certain stands and actions, which were ill-defined at first, but which, step by step, were becoming more concrete, began to sense the great danger of this clique of renegades, which hid behind a deafening pseudo-Marxist ,demagogy, and to understand that this clique was becoming a great threat both to the cause of the revolution and socialism as a whole, and to our country.
We became more and more aware that the views and stands of Nikita Khrushchev on important questions of the international communist movement and the socialist camp differed from our views and stands. The 20th Congress of the CPSU, in particular, was the event which made us adopt a stand of opposition to Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites. As Marxist-Leninists and in a Marxist-Leninist way, time after time we had pointed out to the Soviet leaders our reservations and objections to their conciliatory stands towards the Yugoslav revisionists, about many aspects of their unprincipled foreign policy, about many of their wrong and completely un-Marxist stands and actions on major international problems, etc. Although they sometimes feigned a retreat, they continued on their course, while we refused to swallow what they served up to us, but on the contrary, defended our views and implemented our internal and external policy.
With the passage of time this brought about that we became better acquainted with each other's positions, and neither side trusted the other. For our part, we continued to preserve our friendship with the Soviet Union, with its peoples, continued to build socialism according to the teachings of Lenin and Stalin, continued as before to defend the great Stalin and his work and to fight unwaveringly against Yugoslav revisionism. Our existing doubts about the Soviet revisionists increased and deepened from day to day, because day by day Khrushchev and company were acting in opposition to Marxism-Leninism.
Khrushchev was aware of our reservations about the 20th Congress, and about the policy which he followed with the Titoites, imperialism, etc., but his tactic was not to hasten to exacerbate the situation with us Albanians. He hoped to profit from the friendship which we displayed for the Soviet Union to take the Albanian fortress from within and to get us into the bag through smiles and threats, through giving us some reduced credits, as well as through pressure and blockades. Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites thought: «We know the Albanians. However stubborn they are, however hot-tempered they are, they have nowhere else to turn to, because we have them pinned up and, if they prove difficult, if they don't obey us, then we will show our teeth, we'll cut them off and boycott them, and overthrow all those who oppose us.»
The Khrushchev group prepared this course of action, promoted and deepened it, thinking that it would achieve its aim «quietly and gently» and «without any fuss». However, the reality was convincing them that this tactic was yielding no fruit, and thus their impatience and arrogance began to emerge. The situation became tense. Then it was «eased» only to grow tense again. We understood where this course would lead Khrushchev and company, therefore we strengthened our vigilance, and while replying to manifestations of their despotism, we tried to prolong the «peace» while safeguarding our principles.
But the moment came when the cup was full to overflowing. The «peace», which had seemed to exist before, could continue no longer. Khrushchev went openly on to the attack to subjugate and force us to follow his utterly opportunist line. Then we told Khrushchev bluntly and loudly «No!», we said «Stop!» to his treacherous activity. This marked the beginning of a long and very difficult struggle in which our Party, to its glory and the glory of the people who gave birth to it and raised it, consistently defended the interests of its socialist Homeland, persistently defended Marxism-Leninism and the genuine international communist movement.
At that time many people did not understand the stand of the Party of Labour of Albania; there were even well-wishers of our Party and country who considered this action hasty, some had not yet completely understood the Khrushchevites' betrayal, some others thought that we broke away from the Soviet Union to link up with China, etc. Today, not only the friends, but also the enemies of socialist Albania have understood the principled character of the uninterrupted struggle which our Party has waged and is waging against opportunists of every hue.
Time has fully confirmed how right the Party of Labour of Albania was to fight the Khrushchevites and refuse to follow their line. To this fight, which demanded and still demands great sacrifices, our small Homeland owes the freedom and independence it prizes so highly and its successful development on the road of socialism. Only thanks to the Marxist-Leninist line of our Party did Albania not become and never will become a protectorate of the Russians or anyone else.
Since 1961 our Party of Labour has not had any link or contact with the Khrushchevites. In the future, too, it will never establish party relations with them, and we do not have and will never have even state relations with the Soviet social imperialists. As up to now, our Party will consistently wage the ideological and political struggle for the exposure of these enemies of Marxism Leninism. We acted in this way both when Khrushchev was in power and when he was brought down and replaced by the Brezhnev clique. Our Party had no illusions, but on the contrary, was quite certain that Brezhnev, Kosygin, Suslov, Mikoyan, etc., who had been Khrushchev's closest collaborators, who had jointly organized and put into practice the revisionist counter-revolution in the Soviet Union, would persist in their former line.
They eliminated Khrushchev with the aim of protecting Khrushchevism from the discredit which the master himself was bringing upon it with his endless buffoonery, eliminated the :~father» with the aim of implementing the complete restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union with greater intensity and effectiveness.
In this direction Brezhnev and company have proved to be «worthy pupils» of their ill-famed teacher. Within the Soviet Union they established and strengthened the dictatorial fascist regime, while they turned the foreign policy of their state into a policy of great-state chauvinism, expansion and hegemonism. Under the leadership of the Brezhnev Khrushchevites, the Soviet Union has been turned into an imperialist world power and, like the United States of America, aims to rule the world. Among the bitter evidence of the utterly reactionary policy of Soviet social-imperialism are the tragic events in Czechoslovakia, the strengthening of the domination of the Kremlin over .the countries of the Warsaw Treaty, the deepening of their all-round dependence on Moscow and the extension of the tentacles of Soviet social-imperialism to Asia, Africa and elsewhere.
The correct assessments and forecasts of our Party about the reactionary internal and foreign policy of Brezhnev have been and are being constantly confirmed. The most recent example is Afghanistan, where the Brezhnev Khrushchevites undertook an open fascist aggression and now are trying to quell the flames of the people's war with fire and steel in order to prolong their social imperialist occupation.
The fact that our small Homeland and people have not suffered the tragic fate of all those who are now languishing under imperialist or social imperialist slavery is the best testimony to the correctness of the consistent, courageous and principled line which our Party of Labour has always followed.
The merit for this correct course belongs to the whole Party and, in particular, to its leadership, the Central Committee, which, imbued with and loyal to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, our guiding theory, has always led the Party and the people correctly. In the great tests which we have had to withstand, the unity of the Party with its leadership and the unity of the people around the Party have been brilliant and have become further tempered. This steel unity gave the Party support and strength in the difficult but glorious struggle against the Khrushchevite revisionists, too. This unity has been and is the foundation of the stability and confidence with which Albania has marched and is marching forward, withstanding the pressure and blackmail, the blandishments and demagogy of enemies of all hues.
As a communist and leader of the Party, I, too, have had to take part actively and make my contribution to all this heroic struggle of our Party. Charged by the Party and its leadership, since the liberation of Albania, and especially during the years 1950-1960, I have headed delegations of the Party and the state many times in official meetings with the Soviet leaders and with the main leaders of other communist and workers' parties. Likewise, many times we have exchanged reciprocal visits, I have taken part in consultations and international meetings of communist parties at which I have expressed and defended the correct line, decisions and instructions of the Party. In all these meetings and visits I have become closely acquainted with glorious, unforgettable leaders, like Stalin, Dimitrov, Gottwald, Bierut, Pieck and others, and likewise, I have had to enter into contact with and know the Khrushchevite traitors, who, through a long and complicated process, gradually usurped power in the Soviet Union and in the former countries of people's democracy respectively.
The relations with them and the stands maintained by our Party during this period have been reflected in the documents of the Party, in my writings which are being published by decision of the Central Committee, as well as in other documents which are found in the Central Archives of the Party. Now I am handing over these notes for publication as my reminiscences and impressions from the many contacts and clashes with the Khrushchevites, which cover the period from 1953, after the death of Stalin, to the end of 1961, when the Khrushchev group broke off diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of Albania. Taken together with other published materials and documents covering that period, these notes, too, I believe, will serve to acquaint the communists and working masses better, both with the counter-revolutionary activity of the Soviet revisionists inside and outside the Soviet Union, and with the always correct and consistent struggle of our Party in defence of Marxism-Leninism, the people and our socialist Homeland.
1. IN-FIGHTING AMONG THE TOP
Stalin dies. Next day the top Soviet leadership divides up the portfolios. Khrushchev climbs the steps to power. Disillusionment from the first meeting with the «new» Soviet leaders in June 1953. Ill-intentioned criticism from Mikoyan and Bulganin. The end of Beria's short-lived reign. The meeting with Khrushchev in June 1954: «You helped in the exposure of Beria.» Khrushchev's «theoretical» lecture on the roles of the first secretary of the party and the prime minister. The revisionist mafia spins its spider's web inside and outside the Soviet Union.
The way in which the death of Stalin was announced and his funeral ceremony was organized created the impression amongst us, the Albanian communists and people, and others like us, that many members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had been awaiting his death impatiently.
One day after Stalin's death on March 6, 1953, the Central Committee of the party, the Council of Ministers and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR were summoned to an urgent joint meeting. On occasions of great losses, such as the death of Stalin, urgent meetings are necessary and indispensable. However, the many important changes which were announced in the press one day later, showed that this urgent meeting had been held for no other reason but... the sharing out of posts! Stalin had only just died, his body had not yet been placed in the hall where the final homage was to be paid, the program for the organization of paying homage and the funeral ceremony was still not worked out, the Soviet communists and the Soviet people were weeping over their great loss, while the top Soviet leadership found the time to share out the portfolios! Malenkov became premier, Beria became first deputy premier and minister of internal affairs, and Bulganin, Kaganovich, Mikoyan, Molotov shared the other posts. Major changes were made in all the top organs in the party and the state within that day. The Presidium and the Bureau of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the party were merged into a single organ, new secretaries of the Central Committee of the party were elected, a number of ministries were amalgamated or united, changes were made in the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, etc.
These actions could not fail to make profound and by no means favourable impressions on us. Disturbing questions arose automatically : how were all these major changes made so suddenly within one day, and not just any ordinary day, but on the first day of mourning?! Logic compels us to believe that everything had been prepared in advance. The lists of these changes had been worked out long before in suspicious secrecy and they were simply waiting for the occasion to proclaim them in order to satisfy this one and that one...
It is never possible to take such extremely important decisions within a few hours, even on a completely normal day.
However, if at the start these were only doubts which shocked and surprised us, later developments, the occurrences and the facts which we were to learn about subsequently, made us even more convinced that hidden hands had prepared the plot long before and waited the opportunity to commence the course of the destruction of the Bolshevik Party and socialism in the Soviet Union. .
The lack of unity in the Presidium of the Central Committee was made quite obvious at Stalin's funeral, too, when there was strife among the members over who would take pride of place and who would speak first. Instead of displaying unity at a time of misfortune before the peoples of the Soviet Union and all the communists of the world, who were deeply shocked and immensely grieved by the sudden death of Stalin, the «comrades» were competing for the limelight. Khrushchev opened the funeral ceremony, and Malenkov, Beria and Molotov spoke before Lenin Mausoleum. The conspirators behaved hypocritically over Stalin's coffin and rushed to get the funeral ceremony over as quickly as possible in order to shut themselves up in the Kremlin again to continue the process of the division and redivision of the posts.
We, and many like us, thought that Molotov, Stalin's closest collaborator, the oldest and the most mature bolshevik, with the greatest experience and best known inside and outside the Soviet Union, would be elected first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. But it did not turn out so. Malenkov was placed at the head, with Beria in second place. Behind them in those days, a little more in the shade, stood a «panther» which was preparing itself to gobble up and liquidate the former two. This was Nikita Khrushchev.
The way in which he rose was truly astonishing and suspect: he was appointed only as chairman of the central commission to organize the funeral ceremony for Stalin, and on March 7, when the division of posts was made public, he had not been appointed to any new post, but had simply been freed from the task of first secretary of the Party Committee of Moscow, since «he was to concentrate on the work in the Central Committee of the party». Only a few days later, on March 14, 1953, Malenkov, «at his own request», was relieved of the post of secretary of the Central Committee of the party(!) and Nikita Khrushchev was listed first in the composition of the new Secretariat elected that same day.
Such actions did not please us at all, although they were not our responsibility. We were disillusioned in our opinions about the stability of the top Soviet leadership, but we explained this with our being totally uninformed about the situation developing in the party and the leadership of the Soviet Union. In the contacts which I had had with Stalin himself, with Malenkov, Molotov, Khrushchev, Beria, Mikoyan, Suslov, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, and other main leaders, I had not seen even the smallest division or discord amongst them.
Stalin had fought consistently for and was one of the decisive factors of the Marxist-Leninist unity of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This unity in the party for which Stalin worked, was not created by means of terror, as Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites claimed later, continuing the slanders of the imperialists and the world capitalist bourgeoisie, who were striving to destroy and overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, but was based on the triumphs of socialism, on the Marxist-Leninist line and ideology of the Bolshevik Party and on the indisputably great personality of Stalin. The trust which all had in Stalin was based on his justice and the ability with which he defended the Soviet Union and Leninism. Stalin waged the class struggle correctly, dealing merciless blows at the enemies of socialism (and he was quite right to do so). The concrete daily struggle of Stalin, the Bolshevik Party and the whole Soviet people proves this squarely, as do the political and ideological writings of Stalin, the documents and decisions of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and also the press and the mass propaganda of those times against the Trotskyites, Bukharinites, Zinovievites, the Tukhachevskies, and all other traitors. This was a stern political and ideological class struggle to defend socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the party and the principles of Marxism-Leninism. For this Stalin has great merits.
Stalin proved himself to be an outstanding Marxist-Leninist with clear principles, with great courage and cool-headedness, and the maturity and foresight of a Marxist revolutionary. If we just reflect on the strength of the external and internal enemies in the Soviet Union, on the manoeuvres and unrestrained propaganda they indulged in, on the fiendish tactics they used, then we can properly appreciate the principles and correct actions of Stalin at the head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. If there were some excesses in the course of this just and titanic struggle, it was not Stalin who committed them, but Khrushchev, Beria and company, who for sinister hidden motives, showed themselves the most zealous for purges at the time when they were not yet so powerful. They acted in this way to gain credit as «ardent defenders» of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as «merciless with the enemies», with the aim of climbing the steps in order to usurp power later. The facts show that when Stalin discovered the hostile activity of a Yagoda or a Yezhov, the revolutionary court condemned them without hesitation. Such elements as Khrushchev, Mikoyan, Beria and their apparatchiki hid the truth from Stalin. In one way or another, they misled and deceived Stalin. He did not trust them, therefore he had told them to their faces, «...when I am gone you will sell the Soviet Union.» Khrushchev himself admitted this. And it turned out just as Stalin foresaw. As long as he was alive, even these enemies talked about unity, but after his death they encouraged the split. This process was being steadily extended.
From the visits which I made from time to time to the Soviet Union after 1953, for consultations over the problems of the political and economic situation, or over some problems of international policy which were raised by the Soviets, who allegedly sought our opinion, too. I saw more and more clearly the sharpening of contradictions among the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
A few months after Stalin's death, in June 1953, I went to Moscow at the head of a party and government delegation to seek an economic and military credit.
It was the time when Malenkov seemed to be the main leader. He was chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union. Although Khrushchev had been listed first among the secretaries of the Central Committee of the party since March 1953, apparently he had not yet seized power completely, had still not prepared the putsch.
We normally made our requests in advance in writing, thus the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the party and government of the Soviet Union had long been aware of them and, indeed as it turned out, they had decided what they would give us and what they would not give us. They received us at the Kremlin. When we entered the room the Soviet leaders stood up and we shook hands with them. We exchanged the normal greetings.
I had met them all in the time of Stalin.
Malenkov looked just the same - a heavy-built man with a pale, hairless face. I had met him years before in Moscow, during meetings I had with Stalin, and he had made a good impression on me. He worshipped Stalin and it seemed to me that Stalin valued him, too. At the 19th Congress Malenkov delivered the report on behalf of the Central Committee of the party. He was one of the relatively new cadres who came into the leadership and who were liquidated later by the disguised revisionist Khrushchev and his associates. But now he was at the head of the table, holding the post of chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Beside him stood Beria, with his eyes glittering behind glasses and his hands never still. After him came Molotov, quiet, good-looking, one of the most serious and most honoured comrades for us, because he was an old bolshevik from the time of Lenin and a close comrade of Stalin's. We still thought of Molotov in this way even after Stalin's death.
Next to Molotov was Mikoyan, his dark face scowling. This merchant was holding one of those thick pencils, half red half blue (something you could see in all the offices of the Soviet Union), and was keeping the «score». Now he had taken even greater authority into his hands. On March 6, the day the posts were shared out, it was decided that the Ministry of Foreign Trade and that of Internal Trade should be combined in one, and the Armenian wheeler-dealer grabbed the portfolio.
Finally there was the bearded Marshal Bulganin, with white hair and pale blue eyes, sitting a little bit bemused at a corner of the table.
«Let us hear what you have to say!» said Malenkov in a very grave tone. This was not at all a comradely beginning. This was to become the custom in talks with the new Soviet leaders, and no doubt this behaviour was supposed to show the pride of the great state. «Well, say what you have to say to us, we shall listen to you and pronounce our final opinion.»
I did not know Russian well, I could not speak it, but I could understand it. The talk was conducted through an interpreter.
I began to speak about the problems that were worrying us, especially about military questions and the problems of the economy. First, I gave an introduction about the internal and external political situation of our country, which was causing us some concern. It was essential to give solid reasons for our needs, to back up our requests in both the economic and military sectors. In connection with the latter, the aid which they provided for our army was always insufficient and minimal, regardless of the fact that in public we always spoke very highly of the value of that small amount of aid which they granted us. Together with the arguments in support of our modest requests, I also portrayed the situation of our country in connection with our Yugoslav, Greek and Italian neighbours. From all around our country the enemies were carrying out intensive hostile work of diversion, espionage and sabotage from the sea, the air and the land. We were having continual clashes with armed bands of enemy agents and needed aid in military materials.
My concern was to make my exposé as concrete and concise as possible. I tried not to go on at too great a length and I had been speaking for no more than twenty minutes, when I heard Beria, with his snake's eyes, say to Malenkov, who was sitting listening to me as expressionless as a mummy
«Can’t we say what we have to say and put an end to this?»
Without changing his expression, without shifting his eyes from me (of course, he had to maintain his authority in front of his deputies!), Malenkov said to Beria:
I was so annoyed I was ready to explode internally, but I preserved my aplomb and, in order to let them understand that I had heard and understood what they said, I cut down my talk and said to Malenkov:
«I have finished.»
«Pravilno!»* *( That's right (Russian in the original).) said Malenkov and gave Mikoyan the floor.
Beria, pleased that I had finished, put his hands in his pockets and tried to work out what impression their replies were making on me. Of course, I was not satisfied with what they had decided to give us in response to the very modest requests we had made. I spoke again and told them that they had made heavy reductions in the things we had asked for. Mikoyan jumped in to «explain» that the Soviet Union itself was poor, that it had gone through the war, that it had to assist other countries, too, etc.
«When we drafted these requests,» I told Mikoyan, «we took account of the reason you have just given, indeed we cut our calculations very fine, and your specialists who work in our country are witnesses to this.»
«Our specialists do not know what possibilities the Soviet Union has. We who have told you our opinions and possibilities know these things, » said Mikoyan.
Molotov was leaning on the table. He said something about Albania's relations with its neighbours, but he never raised his eyes. Malenkov and Beria seemed to be the two «cocks of the walk», while Mikoyan who was cold and bitter, did not say much, but when he did speak, it was only to make some vicious and venomous remark. From the way they spoke, the way they interrupted one another, the arrogant tone in which they gave *,advice», the signs of discord among them were quite clear.
«Since this is what you have decided, there is no reason for me to prolong matters,» I said.
«Pravilno!» repeated Malenkov and asked in a loud voice: «Has anyone anything to add?»
«I have,» said Bulganin at the end of the table.
«You have the floor,» said Malenkov.
Bulganin opened a dossier and, in substance, said
«You, Comrade Enver, have asked for aid for the army. We have agreed to give you as much as we have allocated to you, but I have a number of criticisms. The army ought to be a sound weapon of the dictatorship of the proletariat, its cadres loyal to the party and of proletarian origin, the party must have the army firmly under its leadership...»
Bulganin went on for a very long time with a «moralizing» speech, full of words of «advice». I listened carefully and waited for the criticisms, but they did not come. In the end he said this: «Comrade Enver, we have information that many cadres of your army are the sons of beys and aghas, of dubious origin and activity. We must be certain about those into whose hands these weapons, with which we shall supply you, will be put, therefore we advise you to study this problem deeply and carry out purges...»
This made my blood boil because it was a slanderous accusation and an insult to the cadres of our army. I raised my voice and asked the marshal
«What is the source of this information which you give me with such assurance? Why do you insult our army?»
The atmosphere of the meeting became as cold as ice. They all lifted their heads and looked at me while I waited for Bulganin to reply. He found himself at a tight spot because he had not expected this cutting question, and he looked at Beria.
Beria began to speak, the movements of his hands and eyes revealing his embarrassment and irritation, and said that according to their information, we allegedly had unsuitable and dubious elements, not only in the army, but also in the apparatus of the state and in the economy! He even mentioned a percentage. Bulganin sighed . with relief and looked around, not concealing his satisfaction, but Beria cut short his smile. He openly opposed Bulganin's «advice» about purges and stressed that the «elements with a bad past, but who have since taken the right road, must not be purged but should be pardoned.» The resentment and deep contradictions which existed between these two were displayed quite openly. As it turned out later, the contradictions between Bulganin and Beria were not simply between these two persons, but were the reflection of deep contradictions, quarrels and opposition between the Soviet state security service and the intelligence organs of the Soviet army. But we were to learn these things later. In this concrete case we were dealing with a grave accusation raised against us. We could never accept this accusation, therefore, I stood up and said:
«Those who have given you this information have committed slander, hence they are enemies. There is no truth in what you said. The overwhelming majority of the cadres of our army have been poor peasants, shepherds, workers, artisans and revolutionary intellectuals. In our army there are no sons of beys and aghas. Or if there are perhaps ten or twenty individuals, they have abandoned their class and have shed their own blood, and by this I mean that during the war they not only took up arms against the foreign enemies, but rejected the class from which they emerged, and even their parents and relations, when they opposed the Party and the people. All the cadres of our army have fought in the war, have emerged from the war, and not only do I not accept these accusations but I am telling you that your informers are deceiving you, are concocting slanders. I assure you that the weapons that we have received and will receive from you have been and will be in reliable hands, that the Party of Labour, and no one else, has led and still leads our People's Army. That is all I had to say!» and I sat down.
When I had finished, Malenkov began to speak to close the debate. After stressing that he agreed with what the preceding speakers had said, he issued a load of «advice and instructions» for us, and then dwelt on the debate which we had with Bulganin and Beria about the «enemies» in the ranks of our army.
«As for undertaking purges in the army, I think that the problem should not be presented in this way,» said Malenkov, opposing the «advice» which Bulganin gave me about purges. «People are not born ready-formed, and they make mistakes in life. We must not be afraid to excuse people for their past mistakes. We have people who have fought against us with weapons, but now we are bringing out special laws to pardon them for their past and in this way to give them the possibility to work in the army and even to be in the party. The term 'purge' of the army is not suitable,» repeated Malenkov and closed the discussion.
Utter confusion: one said irresponsibly, «You have enemies» and «carry out purges», the other said. «We are bringing out laws to pardon them for their past»!
However, these were their opinions. We listened to them carefully and openly expressed our opposition to those things over which we disagreed. Finally, I thanked them for receiving me and, in passing, told them that the Central Committee of our Party had decided that I should be relieved of many functions and retain only the main function of General Secretary of the Party. (At that time I was General Secretary, Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. These functions had remained in my hands since the time the country was liberated, when many difficulties caused by external and internal enemies had to be overcome.)
Malenkov found this decision correct and twice repeated his favourite «pravilno». Having nothing more to say, we shook hands and left.
My conclusion from this meeting was unpleasant. I saw that the leadership of the Soviet Union was ill-disposed towards our country. The arrogant way they behaved during the meeting, their refusal to give those few things that we sought, and their slanderous attack on the cadres of our army were not good signs.
From this meeting I observed also that there was no unity in the Presidium of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union : Malenkov and Beria were predominant, Molotov hardly spoke, Mikoyan seemed to be on the outer and spouted venom, while what Bulganin said was bullshit.
It was apparent that the in-fighting had begun among the leaders in the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. However hard they tried to avoid giving the impression outside that the «changing of the guard» was taking place in the Kremlin, they were unable to hide everything. Changes had been and were being made in the party and the government. After he kicked out Malenkov, leaving him only the post of prime minister, Khrushchev made himself first secretary of the Central Committee in September 1953. It is evident that Khrushchev and his group of close cronies hatched up the intrigue in the Presidium carefully, by setting their opponents at loggerheads and eliminating Beria and apparently «taming» the others.
There are many versions about the arrest and execution of Beria. Amongst others it was said that men from the army, headed by General Moskalenko, arrested Beria right in the meeting of the Presidium of the CC of the party. Apparently Khrushchev and his henchmen charged the army with this -special mission», because they did not trust the state security, since Beria had had it in his hands for years on end. The plan had been hatched up in advance: while the meeting of the Presidium of the CC of the party was being held, Moskalenko and his men got into a nearby room unobserved. At the given moment, Malenkov pressed the bell and within a few seconds Moskalenko entered the office where the meeting was being held and approached Beria to arrest him. It was said that Beria reached out to take the satchel he had nearby, but Khrushchev, who was sitting «vigilant» by his side, was «quicker» and seized the satchel first. The «bird» could not fly away, the action was crowned with success! Precisely as in a detective film, but this was no ordinary film: the actors of this one were members of the Presidium of the CC of the CPSU!
This is what, was said, took place and Khrushchev himself admitted it. Later, when a general, who I believe was called Sergatskov, came to Tirana as Soviet military adviser he also told us something about the trial of Beria. He told us that he had been called as a witness to declare in court that Beria had allegedly behaved arrogantly towards him. On this occasion Sergatskov told our comrades in confidence: «Beria defended himself very strongly in the court, accepted none of the accusations and refuted them all.»
In June 1954, a few months after Khrushchev's elevation to the post of first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. together with Comrade Hysni Kapo, we had to go to Moscow where we sought a meeting with the Soviet leaders to talk about the economic problems over the solution of which they were proving uncooperative. Khrushchev received us, together with Malenkov, who was still prime minister, in the presence of Voroshilov, Mikoyan, Suslov and one or two others of lower rank.
I had had occasion to meet Khrushchev once or twice in the Ukraine before the death of Stalin. We had just emerged from the war and at that time it was natural that we had great trust not only in Stalin, the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which was indisputable, but also in all the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. From the first meeting Khrushchev had impressed me as a «good capable fellow, full of vigour and talk» who did not fail to speak well of our war, although it was apparent he knew nothing about it.
He gave me a rather superficial account of the Ukraine, put on a dinner for me, from which I remember a kind of soup which they called «borsch» and a bowl of yoghourt so thick that you could cut it with a knife and I was not sure whether it was yoghourt or cheese; he presented me with an embroidered Ukrainian shirt and begged my pardon because he had to go to Moscow where they had a meeting of the Bureau. This encounter was in Kiev, and all the time he was with me, Khrushchev poured out every kind of praise for Stalin. Of course, seeing only the trips by air back and forth to Moscow of leaders who were so ably guiding this great country which we loved so much and hearing all those fine words they said about Stalin, I was very pleased with them and enthusiastic about the successes they had achieved.
But Khrushchev's unexpected and rapid rise to power did not make a good impression on us. Not because we had anything against him, but because we thought that the role and figure of Khrushchev was not so well-known either in the Soviet Union or in the world, that he could so rapidly take the place of the great Stalin as first secretary of the Central Committee of the party. Khrushchev had never appeared at any of the meetings we had had for years on end with Stalin, although nearly all the top leaders of the party and Soviet state took part in most of those meetings. However, we did not express this and never mentioned our impression about this promotion of Khrushchev so high. We considered this an internal matter of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, thought that they knew what they were doing, and wished with all our heart that things would always go well in the Soviet Union, as in the time of Stalin.
And now the day had come for us to meet Khrushchev face to face in our first official meeting.
I spoke first. I briefly presented the economic, political and organizational situation of the country, the situation in the Party and our people's state power. Knowing from the meeting a year earlier with Malenkov that the new leaders of the Soviet party and state did not like to listen for long, I tried to be as concise as possible in my exposé and put the emphasis mainly on the economic questions about which we had sent a detailed letter to the Soviet leadership two months earlier . I remember that Khrushchev intervened only once
during my speech. I was speaking of the very. fine results which had been achieved in our country in the recent elections of deputies to the People's Assembly and about the powerful party-people-state unity which was manifested during the elections.
«These results should not put you to sleep,» interjected Khrushchev at that moment, drawing
our attention to the very thing which we had not only always been aware of, but which I had stressed in the exposé I had given them, emphasizing particularly the work we did to consolidate unity, to build up the love of the people for the Party and the state, to strengthen vigilance, etc. However, it was his right to give as much advice as he wished and we had no reason to resent this.
Khrushchev spoke immediately after me and right from the start displayed his clownish nature in the treatment of problems:
«We are informed about your situation and problems from the materials we have studied,» he began. «The report which Comrade Enver gave us here made matters clearer to us, and I describe it as a 'joint report', yours and ours.
But, he continued, «I am still a bad Albanian and I am not going to speak now either about the economic problems or about the political ones, which Comrade Enver raised, because, for our part, we have still not exchanged opinions and reached a common view. Therefore, I am going to speak about something else.»
And he began to give us a long talk about the importance of the role of the party.
He spoke in a loud voice with many gestures of his hands and his head, looking in all directions without concentrating on any one point, interrupted his speech here and there to ask questions, and then, often without waiting for the reply, went on with his speech, hopping from branch to branch.
«The party leads, organizes, controls,» he theorized. -It is the initiator and inspirer. But Beria wanted to liquidate the role of the party,» and after a moment of silence he asked me: «Have you received the resolution which announced the sentence we passed on Beria?»
«Yes,» I replied.
He left his discourse about the party and started to speak about the activity of Beria; he accused him of almost every crime and described him as the cause of many evils. These were the first steps towards the attack on Stalin. For the time being, Khrushchev felt that he could not rise against the figure and work of Stalin, therefore, in order to prepare the terrain he started with Beria. At this meeting, moreover, to our astonishment, Khrushchev told us:
«When you were here last year, you assisted in the exposure and unmasking of Beria.»
I stared in amazement, wondering what he was leading up to. Khrushchev's explanation was this
«You remember the debate which you had last year with Bulganin and Beria over the accusation they made against your army. It was Beria who had given us that information, and the strong opposition which you put up in the presence of the comrades of the Presidium, helped us by supplementing the doubts and the facts which we had about the hostile activity of Beria. A few days after your departure for Albania we condemned him.»
However, in that first meeting with us Khrushchev was not concerned simply with Beria. The «Beria» dossier had been closed. Khrushchev had settled accounts with him. Now he had to go further. He dealt at length with the importance and the role of the first secretary or general secretary of the party.
«To me it is of no importance whether he is called 'first' secretary or 'general' secretary,» he said in substance. «What is important is that the most able, qualified person with the greatest authority in the country must be elected to that post. We have our experience,» he continued. «After the death of Stalin we had four secretaries of the Central Committee but we had no one in charge, and thus we had no one to sign the minutes of meetings!»
After going all round the question from the aspect of «principle», Khrushchev did not fail to launch a few gibes which, of course, were aimed against Malenkov, although he mentioned no names.
«Imagine what would occur,» he said in his cunning way, «if the most capable and authoritative comrade were elected chairman of the Council of Ministers. He would have everyone on his back, and thus there would be a danger that the criticism put forward through the party would not be taken into account and hence the party would take second place and be turned into an organ of the Council of Ministers.»
While he was speaking I glanced several times at Malenkov who sat motionless while his whole body seemed to be sagging, his face an ashen hue.
Voroshilov, his face flushed bright red, was watching me, waiting for Khrushchev to finish his «discourse». Then he began. He pointed out to me (as though I did not know) that the post of prime minister was very important, too, for this or that reason, etc.
«I think,» said Voroshilov in an uncertain tone, as though he did not know with whom to side and whom to oppose, «that Comrade Khrushchev did not intend to imply that the Council of Ministers does not have its own special importance. The prime minister, likewise...»
Now Malenkov's face had become deathly pale. While wanting to soften the bad impression which Khrushchev had created, especially about Malenkov, with these words, Voroshilov brought out more clearly the tense situation which existed in the Presidium of the CC of the party. Klim Voroshilov went on with this lecture about the role and importance of the prime minister for several minutes!
Malenkov was the «scapegoat» which they displayed to me to see how I would react. In these two lectures I saw clearly that the split in the Presidium of the CC of the CPSU was grcwing deeper, that Malenkov and his supporters were on the way out. We were to see later where this process would lead.
At this same meeting Khrushchev told us that the other sister parties had been told of the Soviet «experience» of who should be first secretary of the party and who prime minister in the countries of people's democracy.
«We talked over these questions with the Polish comrades before the congress of their party,» Khrushchev told us. «We thrashed matters out thoroughly and thought that Comrade Bierut should remain chairman of the Council of Ministers and Comrade Ochab should be appointed first secretary of the .party...»
Hence, right from the start Khrushchev was for pushing Bierut aside in the leadership of the party (and later for his elimination), since he had insisted that Ochab, «a very good Polish comrade», as he stressed to us, should be elected first secretary. Thus they were giving the green light for all the revisionist elements, who, up till yesterday, mere wriggling and keeping a low profile, awaiting the opportune moments. Now these moments were being created by Khrushchev who, with his actions, stands and «new ideas», was becoming the inspirer and organizer of «changes» and -reorganizations».
However, the congress of the Polish United Workers' Party did not fulfil Khrushchev's desires. Bierut, a resolute Marxist-Leninist comrade, of whom I have very good memories, was elected first secretary of the party, while Cyrankiewicz was elected prime minister.
Khrushchev «reconciled» himself to this decision because there was nothing he could do about it. However, the revisionist mafia, which had begun to stir, was thinking about all the ways and possibilities. It was creating its spider's web. And although Bierut was not removed from the leadership of the party in Warsaw, as Khrushchev wanted and dictated, later he was to be eliminated completely by a sudden «cold» caught in Moscow !
2. KHRUSHCHEV'S STRATEGY AND TACTICS WITHIN THE SOVIET UNION
The roots of the tragedy of the Soviet Union. The stages through which Khrushchev passes towards seizing political and ideological power. The Khrushchevite caste corrodes the sword of the revolution. What lies behind Khrushchev's «collective leadership». Khrushchev and Mikoyan - the head of the counterrevolutionary plot. The breeze of liberalism is blowing in the Soviet Union. Khrushchev and Voroshilov speak openly against Stalin. Khrushchev builds up his own cult. The enemies of the revolution are proclaimed «heroes» and «victims».
One of the main directions of Khrushchev's strategy and tactics was to seize complete political and ideological power within the Soviet Union and to put the Soviet army and the state security organs in his service.
The Khrushchev group would work to achieve this objective step by step. At first, it would not attack Marxism-Leninism, the construction of socialism in the Soviet Union and Stalin frontally. On the contrary, this group would base itself on the successes achieved and, moreover, would exalt them to the maximum, in order to gain credit for itself and create a situation of euphoria, with the aim of destroying the socialist base and superstructure later.
First of all, this renegade group had to get control of the party, in order to eliminate the possible resistance of those cadres who had not lost their revolutionary class vigilance, to neutralize the waverers and win them over by means of persuasion or threats, as well as to promote to the key leading positions bad, anti-Marxist, careerist, opportunist elements of whom, of course, there were some in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the apparatus of the Soviet state.
After the Great Patriotic War some negative phenomena appeared in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The difficult economic situation, the devastation and destruction, the great human losses which occurred in the Soviet Union, required a total mobilization of the cadres and the masses for its consolidation and progress. However, instead of this, a falling-off in the character and morale of many cadres was noticed. On the other hand, through their conceit and boasting about the glory of the battles won, through their decorations and privileges, with their many vices and distorted views, the power-seeking elements were overwhelming the vigilance of the party and causing it to decay from within. A caste was created in the army which extended its despotic and arrogant domination to the party. too, altering its proletarian character. The party should have been the sword of the revolution, but this caste corroded it.
I am of the opinion that even before the war. but especially after the war, signs of a deplorable apathy appeared in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This party had a great reputation. and had achieved colossal successes in the course of its work, but at the same time it had started to lose the revolutionary spirit and was becoming infected by bureaucracy and routine. The Leninist norms, the teachings of Lenin and Stalin had been transformed by the apparatchiki into stale platitudes and hackneyed slogans devoid of operative worth. The Soviet Union was a vast country, the people worked, produced, created. It was said that industry was developing at the necessary rates an d that the socialist agriculture was advancing. But this development was not at the level it should have been.
It was not the «wrong» line of Stalin which held up the progress. On the contrary, this line was correct and Marxist-Leninist, but it was frequently applied badly and even distorted and sabotaged by enemy elements. Stalin's correct line was distorted also by the disguised enemies in the ranks of the party and in the organs of the state, by the opportunists, liberals, Trotskyites and revisionists, as the Khrushchevs, Mikoyans, Suslovs, Kosygins, etc., eventually turned out to be.
Before the death of Stalin, Khrushchev and his close collaborators in the putsch were among the main leaders who acted under cover, who made preparations and awaited the appropriate moment for open action on a broad scale. It is a fact that these traitors were hardened conspirators, with the experience of various Russian counter-revolutionaries, the experience of anarchists, Trotskyites and Bukharinites. They were also acquainted with the experience of the revolution and the Bolshevik Party, although they learned nothing of benefit from the revolution, but learned everything they needed to undermine the revolution and socialism, while escaping the blows of the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. In short, they were counter-revolutionaries and double-dealers. On the one hand, they sang the praises of socialism, the revolution, the Bolshevik Communist Party, Lenin and Stalin, and on the other hand, they prepared the counter-revolution.
Hence, all this accumulated scum carried out sabotage with the subtlest methods, which they disguised by praising Stalin and the socialist regime. These elements disorganized the revolution while organizing the counter-revolution, displayed «severity» against internal enemies in order to spread fear and terror in the party, the state and the people. It was they who created a situation full of euphoria which they reported to Stalin, but in reality they destroyed the base of the party, the base of the state, caused spiritual degeneration and built up the cult of Stalin to the skies in order to overthrow him more easily in the future.
This was a diabolical hostile activity which had a strangle-hold on the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Stalin, who. as the historical facts showed, was surrounded by enemies. Almost none of the members of the Presidium and the Central Committee raised their voices in defence of socialism and Stalin.
If a detailed analysis is made of the politica, ideological and organizational directives of Stalin in the leadership and organization of the party, the war and the work, in general, mistakes of principle will not be found, but if we bear in mind how they were distorted by the enemies and applied in practice, we will see the dangerous consequences of these distortions and it will become obvious why the party began to become bureaucratic, to be immersed in routine work and dangerous formalism which sapped its strength and strangled its revolutionary spirit and enthusiasm. The party became covered by a heavy layer of rust, by political apathy, thinking mistakenly that the head, the leadership, operates and solves everything on its own. From such a concept, the situation was created that in every instance and about everything they would say, «this is the leadership's business», «the Central Committee does not make mistakes», «Stalin has said this, and that's all there is to it», etc. Stalin might not have said many things, but they were covered with his name.
The apparatus and the officials became «omnipotent», «infallible» and operated in bureaucratic ways under the slogans of democratic centralism and bolshevik criticism and self-criticism, which were no longer bolshevik in reality. There is no doubt that in this way the Bolshevik Party lost its former vitality. It lived on with correct slogans, but they were only slogans; it carried out orders, but did not act on its own initiative; with the methods and forms of work which were used in the leadership of the party, the opposite results were achieved.
In such conditions bureaucratic administrative measures began to predominate over revolutionary measures. Vigilance was no longer operative because it was no longer revolutionary, regardless of all the boasting about it. From a vigilance of the party and the masses, it was being turned into a vigilance of bureaucratic apparatus and transformed, in fact, if not completely from the formal viewpoint, into a vigilance of the state security organs and the courts.
It is understandable that in such conditions, non-proletarian, non-working class feelings and views began to take root and to be cultivated in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and in the consciousness of many of the communists. Careerism, servility, charlatanism, unhealthy cronyism, anti-proletarian morality, etc., began to spread. These evils eroded the party from within, smothered the feeling of class struggle and sacrifice and encouraged seeking the «good life», with comforts, with privileges, with personal gains and the least possible work and effort. In this way the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois mentality was created, and this was expressed in such words and thoughts as: «We worked and fought for this socialist state and we triumphed, now let us enjoy the benefits from it», «we cant be touched, the past excuses us for everything.» The greatest danger was that this outlook was becoming established even in the old cadres of the party with a splendid past and proletarian origin, even in the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee, who ought to have set an example of purity to the others. There were many such people in the leadership, in the apparatus, and they made adroit use of the revolutionary words and phrases and the theoretical formulas of Lenin and Stalin, reaped the laurels of the work of others and encouraged the bad example. Thus, a worker aristocracy made up of bureaucratic cadres was being created in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Regrettably, such a process of degeneration developed under the «joyful» and «hopeful» slogans that «everything is going well, normally, within the laws and norms of the party», which in fact were being violated, that «the class struggle is still being waged», that «democratic centralism is safeguarded», «criticism and self-criticism continues as before», that «there is steel unity in the party», «there are no more factional, anti-party elements», «the time of Trotskyite and Bukharinite groups is passed», etc., etc. Generally speaking, even the revolutionary elements considered such a distorted concept of the situation to be a normal reality and, this is the essence of the drama and the fatal mistake, therefore, it was considered that there was nothing to be alarmed about, that the enemies, the thieves, the violators of morality were being condemned by the courts, that the unworthy members were being expelled from the party, and new members admitted to it, as usual, that the plans were being realized although there were some that were not being realized, that people were being criticized, condemned, praised, etc. Hence, according to them, life was proceeding normally, and thus it was reported to Stalin: «Everything is going normally.» We are convinced that if Stalin, as the great revolutionary he was, had known the reality of the situation in the party, he would have struck a crushing blow at this unhealthy spirit and the entire party and the Soviet people would have risen to their feet to support him because, quite correctly, they had great trust in Stalin.
Not only did the apparatuses misinform Stalin, and bureaucratically deform his correct directives, but they had created such a situation among the people and in the party that even when
Stalin went among the masses of the party and the people, to the extent that his age and health permitted, they did not inform him about the shortcomings and mistakes which were occurring, because the apparatus had implanted the opinion amongst the communists and the masses that «we must not worry Stalin».
The great hullabaloo the Khrushchevites made about the so-called cult of Stalin was really only a bluff. It was not Stalin, who was a modest person, who had built up this cult, but all the revisionist scum accumulated at the head of the party and the state which apart from anything else, exploited the great love of the Soviet peoples for Stalin, especially after the victory over fascism. If one reads the speeches of Khrushchev, Mikoyan and all the other members of the Presidium, one will see what unrestrained and hypocritical praises these enemies poured on Stalin as long as he was alive. It is sickening to read these things when you think that behind all this praise they were hiding their hostile work from the communists and the masses who were deceived, thinking that they had to do with leaders loyal to Marxism-Leninism and comrades loyal to Stalin.
Even for some time after Stalin's death, the «new» Soviet leaders, and Khrushchev above all, still did not speak badly about him, indeed they described him as a «great man», a «leader of indisputable authority», etc. Khrushchev had to speak in this way to gain credit inside and outside the Soviet Union, in order to create the idea that he was «loyal» to socialism and the revolution, a «continuer» of the work of Lenin and Stalin.
Khrushchev and Mikoyan were the bitterest enemies of Marxism-Leninism and Stalin. These two headed the plot and the putsch which they had prepared long before, together with antiMarxist, careerist elements of the Central Committee, of the army, and leaders at the base. These putschists did not show their hand immediately after the death of Stalin, but, when it was necessary and to the extent it was necessary, continued to administer the poison along with their praises for Stalin. It is true that Mikoyan, in particular, in the many meetings I have had with him, never boosted Stalin, irrespective of the fact that in speeches and discourses the putschists heaped praises and glory on Stalin on every occasion. They fostered the cult of Stalin in order to isolate him as much as possible from the masses, and, hiding behind this cult, they prepared the catastrophe.
Khrushchev and Mikoyan worked to a plan and after the death of Stalin found an open field for their activity, also because of the fact that Malenkov, Beria, Bulganin and Voroshilov proved to be not only blind, but also ambitious, and each of them struggled for power.
They and others, old revolutionaries and honest communists, had now turned into typical representatives of that bureaucratic routine, of that bureaucratic «legality», which developed, and, when they made a feeble attempt to use this «legality» against the obvious plot of the Khrushchevites, it was already too late.
Khrushchev and Mikoyan, in complete unity, knew how to manoeuvre amongst them and to set one against the other. In a few words, they applied this tactic: split and divide in the Presidium, organize the forces of the putsch outside, continue to speak well about Stalin in order to have the millions strong masses on their side, and thus bring closer the day of the seizure of power, the liquidation of opponents, and of a whole glorious epoch of the construction of socialism, the victory of the Patriotic War, etc. All this feverish activity (and we sensed this) was aimed to create the popularity of Khrushchev inside the Soviet Union and outside it.
Under the umbrella of the victories which the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had scored under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, Khrushchev did his utmost to make the Soviet peoples and the Soviet communists think that nothing had changed, one great leader had died, but a «greater» leader was rising, and what a leader he was! «As principled a Leninist as the former, if not more so, but liberal, popular, smiling, all humour and jokes!»
Meanwhile the revisionist viper, which was becoming active, started to pour out its poison about the figure and work of Stalin. At first this was done without attacking Stalin by name, but attacking him indirectly.
In one of the meetings which I had with Khrushchev, in June 1954, in an allegedly principled and theoretical way he began to expound to me the great importance of «collective leadership», and the great damage which comes about when this leadership is replaced by the cult of one person, and mentioned isolated excerpts from Marx and Lenin, so that I would think that what he was saying had a «Marxist-Leninist basis».
He said nothing against Stalin, but he fired off all his batteries at Beria, accusing him of real and non-existent crimes. The truth is that in this initial stage of Khrushchev's revisionist assault, Beria was the appropriate card to play to advance the secret plans. As I have written above, Beria was presented by Khrushchev as the cause of many evils : he had allegedly underrated the role of the first secretary, damaged the «collective leadership», and wanted to put the party under the control of the state security apparatus. On the pretext of the struggle against the damage caused by Beria, Khrushchev, on the one hand, established himself in the leadership of the party and state and took control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and on the other hand, prepared public opinion for the open attack which he was to undertake later on Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, and on the real work of the Bolshevik Communist Party of Lenin and Stalin.
Many of these surprising actions and changes made an impression on us, but it was too early to be able to grasp the true proportions of the plot which was being carried out. Nevertheless, even at that time we could not fail to notice the contradictory nature of various actions and opinions of this «new leader», who was taking over the reins in the Soviet Union. This same Khrushchev, who was now parading before us as a «disciple of collective leadership», a few days earlier in a meeting which we had with him, when he spoke to us about the role of the first secretary of the party and the prime minister, presented himself as an ardent supporter of the «role of the individual» and the «firm hand».
After Stalin's death, it seemed that an allegedly collective leadership was established by these «adherents to principle». The collective leadership was publicized to show that «Stalin had violated
the principle of collective leadership», that he «had degraded this important norm for Leninist leadership», and that the leadership of the party and the state had been transformed from collective leadership into individual leadership. This was a big lie, publicized by the Khrushchevites to prepare the ground for themselves. If the collective leadership principle had been violated, the blame for this must be laid, not on the correct ideas which Stalin expressed on different problems, but on the hypocritical flattery of those others and on the arbitrary decisions which they themselves took, distorting the line in the various sectors which they led. How could all the activity of these anti-party elements who worked around Stalin be checked upon, when they themselves spread the idea that «Tse-Ka znayet vsyo»*?!*(«The Central Committee knows everything » (Russian in the original).) In this way they wanted to convince the party and the people that «Stalin knows everything that is going on», and «he approves everything». In other words, in the name of Stalin, and by means of their apparatchiki, they suppressed criticism and tried to turn the Bolshevik Party into a lifeless party, into an organization without will and energy, which would vegetate from day to day, approving everything that the bureaucracy decided, concocted and distorted.
In the campaign allegedly for the establishment of the collective leadership Khrushchev was trying to perform a slight-of-hand trick, under cover of a deafening clamour about the struggle against the cult of the individual. There were no more photographs of Khrushchev on the daily press, no more big headlines boosting him, but another stale tactic was used: all the newspapers were filled with his public speeches, his discourses, reports about his meetings with foreign ambassadors, his nightly attendances at diplomatic receptions, his meetings with delegations of communist parties, his meetings with American journalists, businessmen and senators and Western millionaires, who were friends of Khrushchev. The aim of this whole tactic was to make a contrast with Stalin's method of -working behind closed doors, of «his sectarian work», which, according to the Khrushchevites, had allegedly been so harmful to the opening of the Soviet Union to the world.
The purpose of this Khrushchevite propaganda was to show the Soviet people that now they had found the «genuine Leninist leader who knows everything, who settles everything correctly, who has extraordinary vigour, who is giving the proper reply to everyone», whose irresistible activity «is putting everything right in the Soviet Union, cleaning up the crimes of the past, and assuring progress».
I was in Moscow on the occasion of a meeting of the parties of all the socialist countries. I think it was January 1956, when a consultative meeting was held about the problems of economic development of the member countries of Comecon. It was the time when Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites were advancing in their hostile activity. We were together with Khrushchev and Voroshilov in a villa outside Moscow, where all the representatives of the sister parties were to have lunch. The others had not yet arrived. I had never heard the Soviet leaders openly speak ill of Stalin, and I, for my part, continued as before to speak with affection and deep respect for the great Stalin. Apparently these words of mine did not sound sweet in Khrushchev's ears. While waiting for the other comrades to come, Khrushchev and Voroshilov said to me:
«Shall we take some air in the park?»
We went out and strolled around the paths of the park. Khrushchev said to Klim Voroshilov:
«Do tell Enver something about Stalin's mistakes. »
I pricked up my ears, although I had long suspected that they were crooks. And Voroshilov began to tell me that «Stalin made mistakes in the line of the party, he was brutal, and so savage that you could not discuss anything with him.»
Voroshilov went on, «He even allowed crimes to be committed, and he must bear responsibility for this. He made mistakes also in the field of the development of the economy, therefore it is not right to describe him as the 'architect of the construction of socialism'. Stalin did not have correct relations with the other parties...»
Voroshilov went on and on pouring out such things against Stalin. Some I understood and some I didn't, because, as I have written above, I did not understand Russian well, but nevertheless I understood the essence of the conversation and the aim of these two and I was revolted. Khrushchev was walking ahead of us, carrying a stick with which he hit the cabbages that they had planted in the park. (Khrushchev had planted vegetables even in the parks in order to pose as an expert in agriculture.)
As soon as Voroshilov ended his slanderous tale I asked him:
«How is it possible that Stalin could make such mistakes?»
Khrushchev turned to me, his face flushed, and replied,
«It is possible, it is possible Comrade Enver, Stalin did these things.»
«You have seen these things when Stalin was alive. But how is it that you did not help him to avoid these mistakes, which you say he made?» I asked Khrushchev.
«It is natural that you ask this question, Comrade Enver, but you see this kapusta* *( cabbage (Russian in the original).)here? Stalin would have cut off your. head just as easily as the gardener will cut this kapusta,»* *( cabbage (Russian in the original).)and Khrushchev hit the cabbage with his stick.
Everything is clear!» I said to Khrushchev and said no more.
We went inside. The other comrades had arrived. I was seething with anger. That night they were to serve up to us smiles and promises for a «greater» and «more rapid development» of socialism, for «more aid» and for «more extensive» and «all-round collaboration». It was the time when the notorious 20th Congress was being prepared, the time when Khrushchev was advancing more rapidly towards the seizure of power. He was creating the figure of a «popular» moujik leader, who was opening the prisons and concentration camps, who not only did not fear the reactionaries and the condemned enemies in the prisons in the Soviet Union, but by releasing them, wanted to show they had been condemned even when they were «innocent».
Everyone knows what Trotskyites, conspirators and counter-revolutionaries Zinoviev, Kameniev, Rykov, and Pyatakov were, what traitors Tukhachevsky and the other generals, agents of the Intelligence Service or the Germans, were. But to Khrushchev and Mikoyan they were all fine people and a little later, in February 1956, they were to present them as innocent victims of the «Stalinist terror». This was being built up slowly, public opinion was being carefully prepared. The «new» leaders, who were the same as in the past, with the exception of Stalin, were posing as liberals in order to say to the people
-Breathe freely, you are free, you are in genuine democracy because the tyrant and the tyranny have been eliminated. Now everything is proceeding on Lenin's road. Plenty has been created. The markets will be so full that we won't know what to do with all the products.»
Khrushchev, this disgusting, loud-mouthed individual, concealed his wiles and manoeuvres under a torrent of empty words. Nevertheless, in this way, he created a situation favourable to his group. Khrushchev let no day go by without indulging in unrestrained demagogy about the development of agriculture, transferring people and changing methods of work and making himself the only «competent boss» of agriculture, the one who undertook such personal «reforms».
Khrushchev had even «inaugurated» his elevation to the post of the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union with a long report on the problems of agriculture, which he delivered at a plenum of the Central Committee in September 1953. This report, which was described as «very important», contained those Khrushchevite ideas and reforms which, in fact, damaged Soviet agriculture so severely that their catastrophic consequences are being felt to this day. All the boastful clamour about the «virgin lands» was empty advertising. The Soviet Union has bought and is still buying millions of tons of grain from the United States of America.
However, the «collective leadership» and non-publication of Khrushchev's photographs in the newspapers did not last long. The cult of Khrushchev was being built up by the tricksters, the liberals, the careerists, the lick-spittles and the flatterers. The great authority of Stalin, based on his immortal work, was undermined inside and outside the Soviet Union. His place and authority was usurped by that charlatan, clown and blackmailer.
3. NOT MARXIST-LENINISTS BUT HUCKSTERS
Mikoyan, a cosmopolitan huckster and inveterate anti-Albanian. Difficult talks in June 1953 on economic matters - the Soviet leaders are bargaining over aid for Albania. Khrushchev's «advice» one year later: «You doni need heavy industry», «We shall supply you with oil and metals», «Doni worry about bread grain, we'll supply you with all you want.>. Quarrels with Mikoyan. Discontent in Comecon from the revisionist chiefs. Ochab, Dej, Ulbricht. The June 1956 Comecon consultation in Moscow Khrushchev: «. . . we must do what Hitler did.» Talks with Khrushchev again. His «advice»: «Albania should advance with cotton, sheep, fish and citrus fruit.»
We were determined to carry on and develop even further the practice, which was begun at the time when Stalin was alive, of exchanging opinions with and seeking the aid of the Soviet leadership over our economic problems. In the first 8-9 years of the people's power, we had achieved a series of successes in the economic development of the country, we had taken the first steps in the fields of industrialization and the collectivisation of agriculture, had created a certain base in this direction and gained a certain experience, which would serve us to carry our socialist economy steadily ahead. But we had not become conceited over what we had achieved and neither did we conceal the problems, weaknesses and great difficulties which we had. Therefore we felt the need for continual consultation with our friends, and first of all, with the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; likewise we felt the need for some material aid and credits from them. These we never considered as charity and never sought them as such.
However, in this field of our relations and contacts with the post-Stalin Soviet leadership, too, we very soon saw the first signs that things were no longer going as before. There was something wrong, there was no longer that former atmosphere, when we would go to Stalin and open our hearts to him without hesitation and he would listen and speak to us just as frankly from his heart, the heart of an internationalist communist. More and more each day, in his successors, instead of communists, we saw hucksters.
Mikoyan, in particular, was the most negative, the most dubious element and the greatest intriguer among the members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This huckster, who was constantly grinding and clicking his false teeth, was also ruminating on diabolical anti-Marxist, conspiratorial, putschist plans, as was proved later. This individual, with an unpleasant face and a black heart, behaved in a very menacing way, especially towards us Albanians. Our relations with this tight-fisted dealer and money-changer were economic and commercial. Everything in connection with Albania, both in according credits, and in commercial exchanges, this individual looked at simply from the angle of a trader. The friendly, internationalist socialist feelings had been wiped out as far as he was concerned.
To Mikoyan, Albania was a «geographical notion»., a country with a people of no value. I never heard him say one word about our war, our people, or the efforts we made in the struggle with the great difficulties for the revival of the country and our economy ruined by the war. He who had visited nearly every country, never once said that he would like to come to Albania. It seemed that the Soviet leadership based itself on the «great economic experience» of this cosmopolitan huckster, who, as history showed, plotted with Nikita Khrushchev against Stalin, whom they had decided to murder. He admitted this with his own mouth to Mehmet and me in February 1960. After the putsch they linked up with American imperialism, and set about the destruction to its foundations of the great work of Lenin and Stalin, socialism in the Soviet Union. It was Mikoyan who decided what aid the Soviet Union would provide for Albania, as for the other countries.
In relations with us Mikoyan was not only the most miserly but also the most insulting. This anti-Albanian line of his was permanent, even when Stalin was alive. In my memoirs «With Stalin» I have written of an occasion when Stalin, speaking to me about the internationalist aid which the Soviets would give us, smiled and asked me:
«But the Albanians themselves, are they going to work?!»
I immediately sensed why Stalin asked me this. Two or three days earlier we had had a long debate with Mikoyan in connection with our economic situation and the request for aid which our side presented to the Soviet leadership. Mikoyan had said insulting things about our situation and affairs, going so far as to say to us: «You are basing your development on foreign aid alone!»
«No,» I retorted. «It's not so. We are working day and night, we hardly sleep, but these are the conditions and the difficulties we have.» And I went on to speak about the tireless and self-sacrificing work which the workers, the working peasantry, the youth, the women and the whole population, young and old, in Albania were doing.
«But,» said the huckster, making a retreat, «you want to set up industry. Industry is difficult for you and there is nowhere for you to find it, except by seeking it from abroad, from us. Employ the forces in agriculture, improve the life of the countryside, and don't expect to achieve development through industry alone.»
We continued to argue with the Armenian trader for a long time, and as usual, he closed the discussion by saying to us: «Very well, I shall put this before the leadership.» In fact, Stalin approved all our requests, and neither on this nor on any other occasion did he make criticisms of us like those of Mikoyan. However, he had poured out his poison against us to Stalin, too.
With all our economic delegations Mikoyan behaved like the hard-faced trader he was.
«We haven't got it to give you. You are asking for big credits. We cannot help you to build the rice husking factory, cement factory, etc.,» he told us, although our requests for credits had been pared to the bone.
The modesty of our requests and our hesitation in making them were typical of the poor who know what suffering, sweat and toil, are, and showed that we knew the colossal needs of the Soviet Union devastated by the war and its international obligations. As to the majority of the factories and other projects, which they accorded us on credits and which we were building, the way to supplying them had been paved when Stalin was alive. In vain we explained to Mikoyan the deplorable situation of our war devastated country, which did not inherit even the smallest factory from the bourgeoisie, and which had not a tractor to work with, so that it was not fair to treat us on the same footing as East Germany, Czechoslovakia, etc. Once I had a real quarrel with Mikoyan, because he saw fit to scold me over the fact that our cows gave 500 to 600 litres of milk a year.
."Why do you keep them?» he said. «Slaughter them !»
I said angrily:
«Our road will never be to slaughter our animals, but to feed them better and improve their breed. You ought to know that our people are still short of food, let alone the animals.»
«In our country one cow gives...,» he boasted, mentioning so many thousand litres of milk.
«Excuse mew I said, «you are an old cadre of the Soviet state and ought to know: immediately after the October Revolution, say in 1920 or 1924, did your cows give as much milk as they give today?»
«No,» he said. «Things were different then.»
«And this is the case with our country now,»'I said. «We cannot reach your level within 4 or 5 years of liberation. The main thing is that we have set to work and we are eager for development and progress. We lack neither the desire nor the will. But we have to assess matters correctly.»
After the death of Stalin the anti-Albanian nuances in the attitude of the wheeler-dealer minister of the Soviet Union became a permanent line. However, now he was no longer on his own. His pencil, which always tended rather to mark crosses and write «no-s to our modest requests, now found backing and support among the others. I have spoken above about the meeting in June 1953 with Malenkov, Beria, Mikoyan, and others in Moscow. Apart from other things, from the way they behaved towards us and how they handled the economic problems which we raised, I felt that now it was not only the body of the unforgettable Stalin that was missing in the Kremlin, but also his generous humane spirit, his attentive, friendly behaviour and his outstanding Marxist-Leninist thought.
I hadn't spoken for more than a few minutes about the socio-economic situation in Albania, and the unprecedented mobilization of the working masses, the communists and cadres in work, when Malenkov interrupted me:
«Nu, tovarish Enver,»* *( Well, Comrade Enver (Russian in the original).) he said, «you are presenting the situation in Albania to us as good, but the facts are not so. Therefore listen to our observations. »
And they delivered a cart-load of criticism about our situation and work. We do not know from what source they had obtained these «data», but the fact is that things were exaggerated and inflated to an astonishing degree. Two of their
«criticisms», in particular, have stuck in my mind.
The first was about our state apparatus.
«Your apparatus,» the Soviet leadership had allegedly observed, «is so extended and inflated that not even Rockefeller and Morgan would dare to maintain it!»
And immediately after dubbing us Rockefellers and Morgans, in the next criticism they went to the other extreme
«Your peasants are short of food, have no oxen, have no flocks, have not even a chicken (only they know how they had counted the chickens in Albania!), let alone other things of prime necessity.»
Rockefellers on the one hand, and poverty-stricken on the other! How was I to understand this logic?!
But the voice of Mikoyan did not allow me to ponder longer... As the man of figures he was, Mikoyan was speaking with percentages, numbers, comparisons and graphs. And he went on:
«Your economic situation is bad, your agriculture is in a miserable state, you have less live
stock than before the war, you import 20 per cent of your bread grain, the collectivisation is proceeding slowly, the peasantry is not convinced about the collectivisation. You are exploiting the peasants. Financial matters are going badly with you. You do not know how to conduct trade,» the Armenian prattled.
Despite the respect which I had for the Soviet leaders, I could not remain silent.
«We are not feasting and dancing,» I replied. «We are toiling and sweating, but everything can't be put right immediately. You have gone through this phase, too, don’t forget.»
«No,» he said, «we don’t forget, but we ourselves worked.»
«And we, too, are ourselves working,» I continued, «because there are no serfs in our country. We are not begging, but we are asking you for internationalist aid.»
My sharp replies made him soften his tone a little. Nevertheless he continued:
«Your plans are always unfulfilled. Let. us take building. You are doing a colossal amount of building within your country. But these buildings are not being completed, in the first place, because you are short of labour power, and have not created suitable conditions, and second, because you are engaged in building many factories which are not necessary. You are doing all this building without taking account of the real conditions of Albania. You are building a hydro-power station in Mat. We ask you: where are you going to use the electric power? We do not see where you will use it. You have no need for so much electric power.»
His reasoning seemed very astonishing to me, and I objected:
«When it is finished, the hydro-power station on the Mat River will provide about 25,000 kW. Does this seem a large and unnecessary amount to you?! Bear in mind, Comrade Mikoyan, not only that we need electric power just now, but also that the planned development of our economy in the future cannot be guaranteed without taking timely measures to ensure the necessary supply of electric power.»
HYou are not exact in your planning. The hydro-power station is costing you an enormous amount and you won't know what to do with the current,- he persisted. «Likewise you have planned to build unnecessary factories, like those for steel, timber-processing, paper, glass, linseed, bread, etc. Does Albania need all these factories? Why are you building the refinery?* *( This refers to the oil refinery which was going up in Cërrik at that time.) Have you enough oil or will you build this refinery to have it lie idle? Have a good look at these things and remove what is unnecessary. The question of agriculture is very critical, therefore reduce your investments in industry and strengthen agriculture!»
I listened to him saying this and for a moment it seemed to me that I was facing. not a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet ,deputy prime minister, but Kidric, Tito's envoy, who with his associates, seven to eight years earlier, had done everything possible to convince us to abandon industry and not set up any industrial project. «Agriculture, agriculture» insisted the men of Belgrade. «Agriculture, only agriculture,» I was hearing them advise me now, in Moscow in 1953...
This whole meeting, which set out to examine our economic problems, continued in this spirit to the end.
A few days later, we sat down again with Mikoyan and one or two other Soviet officials and again «thrashed out» the economic problems. Seeing the unhelpful predisposition of the friends, we ourselves cancelled many of our requests. We restricted ourselves to the most essential things and, regardless of their «advice», I dug my toes in and managed to secure a small credit for industry, especially for the oil industry and the mines.
I shall never forget the moment when we met Malenkov and Mikoyan for the final talk.
«Acting on your advice,» I said, «I talked things over with my comrades and we decided that the paper mill, as well as the glass, steel and bread factories, from our former requests, should be postponed until the coming five-year plan.»
«Pravilno!» said Malenkov, while Mikoyan hastened to put a cross on the list with his big pencil.
«We'll postpone the building of the hydropower station in Mat until 1957!»
«Pravilno!» repeated Malenkov and Mikoyan quickly crossed that out, too.
«We'll remove the construction of the railway and the bitumen plant...»
And so this meeting came to an end.
Come back again!» they told us when we were leaving. «Consider matters well and write to us!»
We thanked our friends for those things they had given us, and returned to Albania.
Although the least that could be said about our impressions from this trip to the Soviet Union is that they were not good, still we continued to preserve our feelings of friendship with and love for the great land of the Soviets, for the Homeland of Lenin and Stalin. Those things in their actions and gestures which had an unpleasant sound to us we kept strictly to ourselves, discussed them anxiously with one another, but in our hearts we did not want things there to take a wrong direction. We said to one another that the Soviet comrades themselves had great economic difficulties in their own country, the loss of Stalin had undoubtedly confused them a little, it was not so easy for them to take over the work of leadership completely, and we ardently hoped that these would be transient manifestations that would be put right in time.
A few months later, however, we again experienced something unpleasant and not correct on their part.
On December 22, 1953, we sent the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union a long letter in which, after speaking about the measures we had taken for the strengthening of the people's power, our economic development, the improvement of life in the village and the progress of agriculture, we also presented a series of problems for consultation and some modest requests for aid and credits for our coming five-year plan. We had drafted this letter according to their instructions, based on an extensive study we had carried out over several months and our opinion was that its requests were very well founded and accurate.
The Soviet specialists and advisers who had come to our country in the framework of the aid and collaboration between our two countries were of the same opinion.
No more than five to six days after we sent our letter to Moscow, the reply of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union arrived in Tirana. The whole letter consisted of 15 or 20 lines. «You have not presented the situation well», «you have viewed the situation hastily», «you have not gone into things deeply», «you have not taken the necessary measures», «prepare the plan better and write to us again». This was the entire content of those few lines signed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The disdainful and insulting tone of the new Soviet leadership could not fail to hurt us. We could not fail to ask in astonishment: «How can those people' in Moscow know whether we have presented our problems rightly or wrongly, when it is we who live and work in Albania and not they?!»
However, the earlier meetings, especially-with Mikoyan, had already taught us what should be done to make our letter pleasing to the Soviets: we cut out many of the requests we had presented, removed from the draft of the future plat0 some of the things we had envisaged and pr posed, especially in the field of industry, and se a second «edited», or more accurately, mutilated letter. We were not mistaken: they informed us they were awaiting us in Moscow to «consult with and help us».
We held the first meeting with the Soviet' leaders on June 8, 1954. It was precisely that meeting at which Khrushchev did not want to speak, about our economic problems, since he was still «a bad Albanian», as he told us, but gave us a lecture about the role of the first secretary of the party and the prime minister.
Nevertheless, at the end of his lecture, Khrushchev also spoke about economic problems, in general, allegedly in the form of orientation and advice, especially about the line we should follow in our economic policy.
«In the development of your economy,» he said, -you must be careful with your calculations.
Let us take oil, for example: Is it in your interest to invest so much f or oil? ! » he asked.
I understood immediately what he was getting at. Despite the «instructions» that they had given us previously, that we should give up prospecting for and extraction of oil in Albania, in the second letter which we sent them, we persisted in our opinions and asked them to assist us in this sector. Now, since he raised the matter, I took the opportunity to put forward our opinion once again.
«As you know from the letter which we sent you,» I said, «the government and the Central Committee of our Party, faced with a major economic and political problem, came to the conclusion that we must continue the extraction of and prospecting for oil at all costs, although this is a heavy burden and will continue to be a heavy burden on our economy for some time yet, if the flow of oil is not increased. We must continue to prospect for and extract oil,» I continued, «because this is a substance of great strategic and economic importance for our country and our camp. However, the existing wells bored for prospecting and exploitation are utterly inadequate. The output of the existing wells is steadily falling off, and this not only causes considerable deficits in production and burdens our economy, but causes major fluctuations in the balance of our exports.»
«Are you certain that you have oil deposits?» asked Khrushchev.
«Allow me to tell you that the expedition of the geological studies for oil, led by Soviet specialists, which has been working since 1950, is optimistic about the presence of oil in many parts of our country, apart from the existing fields. However, the assessment of new reserves in both the existing fields and the new fields requires investments. We have made large expenditure in this sector, are building the refinery, have the most militant part of the working class there and have trained oil-worker cadres. In all this process,» I continued, «we cannot but honestly acknowledge many shortcomings and weaknesses on our part in the organization of the work. But we are struggling with all our might to eliminate them. However, here we are still in the dark about the reserves of oil. The reserves known up to now are minimal and they could run out within a period of 2 or 3 years if we do not intensify our prospecting.»
«That should not worry you,» interjected Khrushchev, «we have plenty of oil, we will supply you.»
«Yes,» I replied, «during the years 1948-1953 we were compelled to import refined oil and lubricating oils which cost millions of rubles. But you understand that this was and still is a very heavy burden for us and just think what funds will be freed if we find and use the oil which lies underground in our country.
«Apart from these very cogent reasons,» I went on, «there is another major reason for the necessity. of the work with oil: in case of a threat to our country, if it is impossible in practice for our friends to supply us with fuel, we shall find ourselves without a drop of oil, and everything in our country will come to a standstill.
«Bearing in mind all these circumstances,» I said to Khrushchev, «we decided that we must continue the work for the extraction of and prospecting for oil. However, we need your aid for this. On the basis of the data from Soviet and Albanian experts, if we continue to extract oil and carry on our prospecting with the means we have at present, and in those places where we have those small reserves, . we cannot go on for more than two or three years. After this period, we will again be facing very grave difficulties.
«Therefore, on the basis of this situation, we ask the Soviet government to study our request about granting us a credit for the oil sector for the next three years. I would like to add that the machinery we have and will receive will be used by, our own cadres, as well as a very small number of Soviet engineers.»
«Very well, very well,» said Khrushchev «but the thing is that calculations must be made well, in detail and you must see whether it is worthwhile. I know that your oil is not in demand, it contains many impurities, especially bitumen and a high percentage of sulphur, and processing. it makes it even less profitable. Let us give, you an example of what has occurred to us with our oil at Baku. We have invested billions of rubles there. Beria always sought sums for investment for the development of oil in Baku from Joseph Vissarionovich, since Stalin, having worked in Baku in the past, knew that there was oil there. However, from the discoveries we have made today .' other places of our homeland and from the analyses we have made, it turns out that the exploitation of the oil at Baku is not profitable.» ,
After giving me a good lecture with figures about the «profitability» and «non-profitability of the extraction of oil, with the aim that I «should not make mistakes» like Stalin(!), Khrushchev came round to the point:
«Hence we must make our reckoning economic questions very carefully, both in our country and in yours, and if you have profitable sources of oil, fine, we give you credits. However, reckoning things this way, it turns out that it is more profitable for us to supply you from our oil...
«We must have regard for profitability in everything,» continued Khrushchev. «Let us take industry. I am of the same opinion as you that Albania should have its own industry. But what sort of industry? I think that you ought to develop the food industry, such as preserving and processing fish, fruit, vegetable oil, etc. You want to develop heavy industry, too. This should be looked at carefully,» he said and after mentioning that we could set up some engineering plant for repair work and spare parts, he added
«As for the mineral-processing industry, for the production of metals, this is unprofitable for you. We have metals and we can supply you with what you want. If we give you one day's production from our industry, your needs will be fulfilled for the whole year.»
«Likewise in agriculture. In your country,» he continued, «you should plant those crops wich grow best and are more profitable. In this direction, too, we have made mistakes, as in Georgia, for example. We had taken the decision to plant bread grain there, to plant cotton in the Ukraine, etc. But calculations show that in Georgia we should grow citrus fruit, grapes, and other fruit, and should grow grain in the Ukraine. Now we have taken other decisions and have eliminated those crops which don't grow well, both in Georgia and other places. Thus, in Albania, too, those crops which do best and yield the greatest production, such as cotton, citrus fruit, olives, etc., should be developed. In this way Albania will become a beautiful garden and we will fulfil each other's needs.»
«One of the main directions of the development of agriculture in our country,» I said, «is that of increasing bread grain production. Bread has always been and still is a great problem for us: »
«Don’t worry about growing bread grain,» interjected Khrushchev immediately. «We shall supply you with all the wheat you want, because even one day's over fulfilment of the plan in the Soviet Union is sufficient for Albania to live on for three years. We are advancing rapidly in agriculture,» he continued. «Let me read you some of the statistics about the fulfilment of the plan of the spring sowing in our country: the planting has been fulfilled... per cent, ... hectares of land more than last year have been planted, ... million hectares above the plan...,» and he went on to stuff us with figures, which he rattled off, one after the other, to give us the impression that we were dealing not with any sort of leader, but with one that had the situation at his fingertips.
As for his figures, we had no reason to doubt their accuracy, therefore we were pleased and wished the Soviet Union the greatest possible progress. As to the opinions and «directions» which he gave us for the development of our economy, however, we could not agree with Khrushchev at all. I do not want to say that as early as this first official meeting with him, in June 1954, we managed to realize that we were facing the future chief of modern revisionism. No, we were to realize this later, but at this meeting we noticed that his ideas, both about oil and the orientation of industry and agriculture in our country, were not correct, did not respond to the needs of our country, and were not compatible with the basic principles of the construction of socialism in a country or with the teachings and experience of Lenin and Stalin. Therefore, we decided to oppose his ideas and defend our own views.
At this meeting, however, Khrushchev left no room for debate.
«I expressed these opinions so that you will bear them in mind,» he said in conclusion. As to the discussion of the concrete questions you raised here in connection with the development of your economy, for our part, we have appointed a group of comrades headed by Mikoyan. Finally, we shall meet again and make the decision jointly. »
For several days on end we battled with Mikoyan, who now set to work with his pruning shears. In order to reject our requests for the development of industry, which were modest enough, but on which we insisted, he and his comrades, as usual, repeated the same old refrain:
«Why do you need industry?! Don't you see the state of your countryside?»
Naturally we knew the situation in our countryside much better than they, knew the backwardness of our agriculture inherited from the past, and precisely because we knew these things well, we had always devoted special attention to the progress of agriculture and to the raising of the standard of living in the countryside. We had made and were making very big investments for our possibilities in land improvement, irrigation, opening up new land, etc.; we were supplying the peasantry with selected seeds and farming machinery, had set up a number of state farms, had progressed well in the collectivisation, had continually taken measures to facilitate and encourage the increase of agricultural production and the raising of the standard of living in the village, etc. But you can’t achieve everything overnight. Moreover, we were well aware of the Marxist Leninist truth, and we felt it in our daily practice, that agriculture could never advance without the development of industry, without the creation and strengthening of those basic branches which would favour the harmonious development of the whole of our people's economy. Therefore, in these meetings with the Soviet leaders we stuck to our opinions and persisted in our requests.
«Despite all the progress it has made,» we told them among other things, «today our industry produces only a limited range of products and is quite unable to fulfil the needs of the working people. In many cases, too, securing our products depends on the delivery of many goods from abroad, such as fuel, steel, rolled steel, tyres, chemicals, chemical fertilizers, spar e parts, instruments, and many other things.
«Hence, our country is heavily dependent on imports. Our industry still produces very little, and being remote from friendly countries, frequently production is suspended in whole branches of industry because of the lack of some raw material, supplementary material or instrument. Our state has never possessed even the smallest reserve in any kind of material - from bread to pencils. It is necessary for us to import not only the main goods, like grain, fuel, etc., but also every kind of machinery and equipment, instruments, spare parts, textiles, footwear, thread, needles, nails, glass, rope, string, sacks, pencils, paper, razor blades, matches, medicaments, etc.
«Such a grave situation, comrades.» we went on, «does not make us pessimistic, but this is the reality. We have to strive might and main to overcome the difficulties in order to improve the situation. B»t how to achieve this?
«The Central Committee of the Party and our Government think that the existing situation cannot be altered, except by developing industry along with agriculture, the industry which, step by step, will relieve us of that great burden of imports, which we are obliged to cope with at present,» we told them.
In the end Mikoyan and his group gave way.
«All right,» he said, «we shall refer those things on which we have not reached agreement to the leadership and decide on them jointly at the final meeting.»
At the final meeting of this visit, which was held two or three days before we left for Albania, Khrushchev's behaviour was more friendly and more open. After our insistence on those things we were seeking (undoubtedly Mikoyan had informed him of the debates we had had), Khrushchev showed himself «more generous», repeated several times, «We will assist little Albania», and agreed that some of our requests for credits and aid would be fulfilled.
At this meeting he spoke well about our Party, the Central Committee and me, and, as usual, was unsparing in his «boastful promises». We were soon to understand why he acted like that: it was still the beginning of the elevation of him and his group, and for this he needed popularity, good opinion, the idea within the Soviet Union and abroad that we had to do with a jolly good fellow, a warm-hearted, skilful and wise leader, who knows how to put up opposition, but can also back down, who is not tight-fisted, but prudent and a consummate accountant.
Thus, it was the time when Khrushchev was -making investments» in favour of his secret action, and to this end, according to the occasion, he had to appear «generous», «friendly» and «humane». However, behind this fine, «friendly» façade, the guard of the Mikoyans and other functionaries of commerce was extremely active, and both with us and with others, they behaved like real hucksters in the talks over economic problems. They were Khrushchev's men who, with his knowledge and on his instructions, employed all kinds of pressure and trickery during «working meetings» and «the concrete examination of matters» to prune our requests and to «smooth» matters over in such a way that when we finally met Khrushchev, all that remained for him to do was to smile, flatter and propose toasts.
Once we had a bitter wrangle with Mikoyan in connection with granting us a credit for mass consumer goods. There is no need here to dwell on what a grave situation we had during those years for such goods, or on the urgent needs which our country had in this direction. The Soviet leadership was aware of the situation, but, in support of our request for the credit I mentioned, we had written it a letter in which we gave a brief outline of how we fulfilled the needs of the population. However, before beginning the examination of our request, Mikoyan levelled the following charge against us:
«You are using up the credits we have granted you for the development of the economy in other sectors. You buy mass consumer goods with them. »
I replied: «We have had and still have very great needs for consumer goods, but I am not aware of what you charge us with. We have never permitted the credits for the development of industry or agriculture to be used to purchase commodities.»
«Yes, you have!» repeated Mikoyan. «You have used up... million rubles,» and he mentioned a figure which I don't remember precisely, but which amounted to more than ten million.
«I'm hearing this for the first time,» I said, «nevertheless, we shall look into the matter.»
«I shall convince you!» said Mikoyan in a stern and angry tone and ordered one of the nearby functionaries to bring in the documents.
A little later he came in, looking pale, and laid the accounts before Mikoyan.
«There is no violation,» he said. «The Albanian side has bought the goods you mentioned with the credit which our side accorded it precisely for consumer goods.»
Mikoyan, in a tight spot, muttered something between his teeth, and then, in connection with our request for a new credit for the purchase of consumer goods, he replied:
«We can no longer give you such credits, because we make deals over these things : you give us something, we give you something in return.»
«I am sorry that you present the question in this way, when you are well aware that our country is in difficulties and when the Italian, Yugoslav and Greek enemies have us encircled and are plotting against us,» I replied. «What else do you want us to give you? We supply you and the countries of people's democracy with the chrome, oil and copper we extract. Do you expect us to give you the bread from the mouths of our people, who still have insufficient food? I do not consider your reasoning in order,» I told the Armenian, «and I ask you to re-examine the matter.»
They did re-examine it, but they accepted our requests after making big cuts. They gave us some limited credits, but they gave us arrogant criticism wholesale with lashings of «advice».
All these stands, and others like these, in our relations with them, continued up to the time of the Meeting of the 81 parties, which was held in Moscow in November 1960.
During this time we had many bilateral meetings with the Soviet leaders, at which we discussed economic problems with them and sought some aid and credits, and we also had many contacts with them in the meetings, talks and consultations which were organized in the framework of the Council of Mutual Economic Aid.
The way in which these meetings were organized and our friends behaved towards us, towards the problems we raised and the difficulties we had, more and more impelled us to ask ourselves: are we dealing with Marxist-Leninists or hucksters? Ulbricht, Novotny, Ochab, Dej, Kadar, Gomulka, Cyrankiewicz, Zhivkov, and the others, were at one another's throats; each of them complained that he was in dire straits; they all called for «more aid» from their friends, because they had .<pressure from below»; they tried to elbow one another out, presented all kinds of «arguments» and figures; they tried to dodge their obligations and to grab as much as possible at the expense of others. Meanwhile Khrushchev or his envoys would get up, deliver lectures on the «socialist division of labour», support one or the other, according to their own interests in a given situation, and demand «unity» and «understanding» in the -socialist family». And in all this wrangling Albania went almost unmentioned, as if it did not exist for them.
The talks and consultations went on for two, three or four days on end, whole dossiers were filled with speeches, requests, decisions, balances, but socialist Albania was treated with disdain by the others as if we were a nuisance. We were well aware of the situation in our country, were conscious that our economic potential was nowhere near that of the other countries; we knew also that these countries had their own big problems and difficulties, but these should never have served as a reason for them to underrate and ignore us. With great efforts, after many meetings and talks, we managed occasionally to squeeze some aid or credit out of them. We thanked them whole-heartedly for what they gave us, thanked the fraternal peoples, first of all, and for our part, not only did we fully repay the credits on time, but with what we had, we honestly fulfilled every other obligation of ours towards our friends. It was precisely sincerity, the genuine internationalist spirit, that was lacking amongst them. When it came to practical fulfilment of their commitments to provide aid for our country, each of them would make excuses:
«We have shortages and needs ourselves,» said Ulbricht, «we have pressure from Federal Germany, therefore we are unable to help Albania.»
«The counter-revolution caused us damage,» was Kadar's justification. «We cannot fulfil our commitment about aid.»
All of them, one after the other, acted in this way. And in the end the «solution» was found:
«The Council of Mutual Economic Aid recommends to the Albanian comrades that the problems raised by them here should be solved with the Soviet government through bilateral meetings.»
Among many such meetings of the Comecon countries, the one that was held in Moscow in June 1956 has stuck in my mind. Now Khrushchev was going headlong down his road of betrayal, but the others, too, were galloping after him. The 20th Congress of the CPSU, about which I shall speak later, was having its effect. Lack of unity, division and contradictions are the natural outcome and concomitants of revisionism.
This was apparent at this meeting, 3 or 4 months after the 20th Congress.
Ochab, who had become first secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party, got up and declared:
«We have not fulfilled the obligations with which we have been charged for coal and are not going to do so. We cannot fulfil the plan, its targets are set too high and must be reduced. The coal workers live badly, they work to exhaustion.»
As soon as he finished, Gerö, Ulbricht and Dej got up, one after the other, and levelled every kind of charge against the Poles. The atmosphere was very heated.
«If you want coking coal, invest in Poland,» replied Ochab. «We must improve the standard of living. Things have reached such a state that the Polish workers are about to go on strike and abandon the mines...»
«Where should we invest first?!» replied the others. «In the steel plants of the Soviet Union or in your coal mines?!»
«We must examine these things,» said Khrushchev, trying to cool the tempers. «As for the question of workers, if you Poles have insufficient, or those you have walk out, we can bring workers from other countries.»
At this Ochab jumped up.
«It is not fair,» he shouted. «You must help us. We are not going back to Poland without settling this matter. Either reduce the plan or increase the investments...»
«Once taken, the decisions must be carried out,» interposed Dej.
«The decisions are not being carried out,» said Gerö, adding fuel to the flames. «We have several factories in which we have been told to produce arms and special equipment, but no one is buying the products from us.»
«They don't take them from us, either,» said Ochab, jumping up again. «What are we to do with them?!»
«Let us not speak here like factory managers,» said Khrushchev to Ochab. «Things can't be discussed in this way. You must look at the profitability. We, too, have changed direction in many plants. For example,» continued Khrushchev, «we have turned some arms plants into plants producing water pumps. I have some suggestions: about these problems,» continued Khrushchev, and he began to bring out those «gems» which he had on the tip of his tongue:
«In regard to a number of special products of industry,» he said among other things, «we must do as Hitler did. At that time Germany was, alone and he produced all those things. We must; study this experience and we, too, must set up joint enterprises for special products, for example, weapons.»
We could not believe our ears! Could it be, true that the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union wanted to learn from the experience of Hitler and even recommended it to others?! But this is what things were coming to. The others listened and nodded approval.
«You must provide us with designs,» said Ochab.
«You don’t deserve to get them,» shouted Khrushchev angrily, «because the West steals them from you. We gave you the patent of an aircraft and the capitalists stole it from you.»
«That occurred,» admitted Ochab, and pulled in his horns a little.
«We gave you the secret report of the 20th, Congress and you printed it and sold it at 20 zloty a copy. You don’t know how to keep secrets.»
«Right!» whispered Ochab, and drew in his horns even further.
«We have given you another four top secret documents and they have flown from you,» added Bulganin, numbering them off one by one to his face.
«Yes,» said Ochab, and now his voice could hardly be heard. «Someone stole them from us and fled to the West.»
«The situation in Poland is not good,» continued Khrushchev. «You are following an opportunist policy towards the Soviet Union and the countries of people's democracy, let alone within your own country.»
«In the context of collaboration,» interjected Ulbricht, «we must collaborate with all, especially with the social-democrats.»
For a moment Khrushchev was at a loss for words. «Collaboration with all», rehabilitations, a gentle policy towards enemies, were his ideas, the continuation of his opportunist and pacifist policy, the very policy which he was following in the Soviet Union. The others were not lagging behind, indeed, some of them were trying to outstrip him.
«Agreed, collaboration,» shouted Khrushchev, «but not to rise against the Soviet Union and our camp. This is what is happening in Poland.» He turned to Ochab and Cyrankiewicz, who during the whole time had sat smoking French Gauloises, without saying a single word. «You must improve the situation. You must build up the people's trust in you.»
«We have released all the imprisoned socialdemocrats,» said Ochab.
«You should have kept some of them,» said Saburov ironically. «To whom are we going to drink the toast today, to the social-democrats?!»
Khrushchev provided the answer:
«Let us drink to collaboration!»
It was quite obvious that things in the camp were taking the wrong road. The «demons» which Khrushchev released from the bottle were stirring and poking out their tongues even at their liberator. He tried to manoeuvre, to get them on side, to set the others on to one (this time Ochab was in the dock), and then, when he saw that the quarrel was not dying down, he poured out threats and warnings to all. And as the inveterate trickster he was, he knew how to find the best means of pressure. This time he used the weapon of bread. One of the Soviet chinovniki* *( bureaucratic functionaries of Czarist Russia (Russian in the original).) of Comecon reported briefly on the state of agriculture in the camp and sounded the alarm about the deficits in bread grain.
Khrushchev got up at once and exploited the opportunity:
«Bread is a vital problem,» he said in a grave tone, in which both the pressure and the threat were clear. «We have given you what we had to give. Now we have no more to give you. Therefore, think well about bread, there is no other way...»
After continuing for several minutes to wave the whip of bread, suddenly his face brightened and he hopped with great pleasure to his favourite theme - maize! I cannot remember any of the meetings I have had with him, even those purely for political and ideological problems, in which Khrushchev did not eulogize the plant so dear to his heart.
«In recent years,» he said, «we have given importance to maize and have achieved marvellous results. With maize,» he continued, «we solved the problem of meat, milk and butter.»
«Without meat, milk and butter there is no socialism,» put in Mikoyan to sweeten up his «chief».
«No, there is not!» replied Khrushchev and continued, «Every leader must give importance to maize ! Look, I took my native village under my patronage, and allow me to report to you the results.: I found 60 pigs in the first year, increased them to 250 two years ago, and now there are 600 of them.»
And after this «colossal» report, imagine how befitting this was in the mouth of the number one leader of the Soviet Union, he hurled criticism at all of them - Ulbricht, Hegedüs, Cyrankiewicz in turn.
«As to Albania,» he added, «I have nothing to say because I do not know it.»
I seized the opportunity and interjected:
«Come for a visit and get to know it.»
«I can't give you an answer now, we shall meet separately,» he said, and pressed on with his lecture, afraid that the inspiration might escape him.
He spun out the problem at great length, brought up examples, made criticisms, and finally added:
«In regard to Bulgaria and Albania, which are countries with a large peasantry, but especially about Albania, we must think somewhat more deeply and help them.»
As usual, the Council decided that we should solve the problems we raised there with the Soviets. A few days later we met Khrushchev and talked for about an hour.
«First of all,» I said, «we would like you to visit Albania. Your visit will have great importance for enhancing the authority and prestige of our country.»
«I, too, would like to come,» he told me, «but there are certain difficulties. How far is Albania from Moscow?»
He deserved to be told, «Just another twenty minutes beyond Belgrade,» since he had become accustomed to that line long ago, but I bit my tongue. I told him that on a TU-104 the flight from Moscow to Tirana would take about 3 hours, and added:
«Let us establish this line. »
«But the TU-104 has many seats. Would there be enough passengers to fill it?!» he asked me, quick to catch at the «profitability».
«Our comrades and yours are always travelling from Moscow to Tirana and back and there is no reason for the aircraft to travel empty,» I said.
«I would like to come,» he repeated to excuse himself. «Indeed I told Tito that I wanted to visit Albania, but first I must take a holiday.»
«You can have your holiday in our country» I said. «We have very fine beaches, as well as mountains.»
«Oh, if I come I won't be able to rest!» he said to close this question.
There was no reason for me to persist any further.
«As you wish,» I said, and went on into economic matters. I gave him a brief outline of the situation and presented some of the problems, which were causing us most concern.
«The problem is,» said Khrushchev, «that from now on we must think how to find sources of income so that Albania can advance. This is how the friends, also, should look at this problem. The question of Albania has great importance,» he continued, «because by means of your country, we want to attract the attention of Turkey, Greece and Italy, that is, to have them take you as an example. Now this matter must be well thought out and we must find the proper ways. »
He was silent for a moment, apparently in order to find one of these roads, and I thought that he would come up with maize. But I was wrong.
«Do you grow cotton?» he asked me. «What area do you employ for this crop? What yield do you get?»
I replied to his questions.
«That is nothing,» he said to me, and went on: «We think that you should develop the cotton crop, and in such a way that it will become a great asset, because it brings in a handsome income for you and our friends, for the countries of people's democracy which do not have cotton. Hence, you have great possibilities to profit from cotton. This is the first thing,» he said, and raised one finger.
«Secondly,» he continued, «the question of sheep raising is a problem for you,» and he asked me about the number of sheep, the yield of wool, milk, meat, etc. After my replies he continued:
«Sheep must become another great asset for you. You must breed fine-woolled sheep. You have pastures and the sheep can be developed. Therefore you must find the most suitable breed, commence artificial insemination on a broad scale, and increase them.»
After giving us his «second road» of development, Khrushchev began on the «third road» that would lead us to salvation. This had to do with fish.
«Fish,» he said, «is another great asset for you. In the Scandinavian countries, in Norway, for example, they have created such a great wealth with fish, that not only do the people eat plenty of it, but they also export large quantities. They catch fish not only in their territorial waters, but also in the open seas. This is what you must do, too,» instructed Khrushchev, «so that fish becomes a great asset for Albania. You must do these things without fail, and we shall help you, and send you specialists, a fishing fleet, etc.»
Since the first three «roads» were leaving my mind boggling, all curiosity I awaited a «fourth road» and he did not fail to make this clear to me also.
«The question of citrus fruit is important for you,» he said. «They, too, should become a great asset for you, because lemons, grape fruit, oranges, etc., are in great demand.»
These were his instructions for the «construction of socialism» in Albania ! Finally he added
«Thought must be given to other assets, too, for instance, to minerals, but the main ones are those I mentioned.
«We will assist you to develop cotton, fishing, citrus fruit and sheep. Both you and we must study these things,» he concluded, «and we are convinced that in this way Albania will quickly become an example for Greece, Turkey and Italy.»
It was useless to enter into discussion about the «gems» of wisdom he presented to us. I thanked him for his «advice» and we parted.
Now everything was becoming more clear. The Council of Mutual Economic Aid recommends that we solve the economic problems with Khrushchev. Khrushchev recommends that we solve them with cotton, sheep and with... «the miracle of fish».
All these stands and actions, seen in the complexity of political, ideological, military and other problems, were making us more than ever convinced that in our camp, first of all in the Soviet Union, things were on the decline. Other events were to follow and we, living through them intensively, would learn and would prepare ourselves more for the coming battles.
4. THE TOUCH-STONE
Khrushchev has his eyes on Yugoslavia. The first sign of the flirtation: the Soviet letter of June 1954; Khrushchev blames the Information Bureau for the Yugoslav leadership's betrayal. Intense exchange of cordial correspondence between Krushchev and Tito. Khrushchev decides to rehabilitate the renegades. Our clear-cut opposition: the letters of May and June 1955. Talk with Ambassador Levichkin: «How can such decisions be taken so lightly and in a unilateral way?» Insistent invitation to go to the Soviet Union -on holiday»l Meeting with Suslov. Mikoyan telephones at midnight: "Meet Tempo, iron out your disagreements.» The meeting with S. V. Tempo.
All these things which occurred in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin worried our Party and its leadership. Of course, at that period, especially before the 20th Congress, our suspicions were based on isolated facts, which the Soviet leaders covered up with torrents of demagogy. Nevertheless, the stands they maintained in their meetings with us, their actions at home and abroad made us wary. Khrushchev's flirtations with Tito were particularly unpleasant for us. We, for our part, continued to fight Titoite Yugoslav revisionism with the greatest severity and defended the correct Marxist-Leninist stands of Stalin and the Information Bureau towards the Yugoslav revisionist leaders. We did this not only while Stalin was alive, but also in the transitional period that the Soviet Union went through after Stalin's death, when Khrushchev triumphed with his putsch and made the law there, as well as after Khrushchev fell. And this is the stand we shall always maintain towards Yugoslav revisionism, until it is completely destroyed ideologically and politically.
We watched every action of Khrushchev's with great vigilance and attention. On the one hand, we saw that in general nothing was being said against Stalin, that there was talk of the unity of the socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union, that Khrushchev spoke against American imperialism in «strong» terms and made some superficial criticism of Titoism, while on the other hand, he waved the white flag of reconciliation and submission to them. In this situation we followed the course of friendship with the Soviet Union, struggled to safeguard and strengthen this friendship and this was not a tactic, but a matter of principle for us. Nevertheless, we did not allow wrong actions and deviations in line to go uncivilized when they appeared.
For us, the struggle against American imperialism and Yugoslav Titoism was a touch-stone to assess the stands of Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites with the Marxist eye. In fact Khrushchev prattled against capitalism and American imperialism, but we did not like those half dozen daily meetings and priyoms* *( receptions (Russian in the original).) with all kinds of American senators, multi-millionaires and businessmen. Khrushchev became a clown who performed all day and every day, lowering the dignity of the Soviet Union.
«We have our foot on the neck of the foreign enemy, he daren't move, we can turn him to ashes with atomic bombs,» he boasted in discourses from morning till late into the night. His tactic was to create euphoria within the country, to build up the prestige of his clique in the countries of people's democracy, and irrespective of his bombastic words, to imply to the Americans and world reaction : «We are no longer for the world proletarian revolution, want to collaborate closely with you, we need you and you must understand that we are changing colour, and making a major change of direction. We will have difficulties in making this change, therefore, you must help us in one way or another.»
On the Yugoslav question, which was clear to us, and that is why we did not shift from our stand, the Khrushchevites chopped and changed, and ebbed and flowed like the tide. The Khrushchevites sometimes abused and sometimes kissed the Yugoslav leaders. When they were abusing the Titoites, the Soviet revisionists said we were right, when they were kissing them, they tried to make us soften our stand towards the Titoite revisionists.
Khrushchev had his eyes fixed on the leadership of Yugoslavia and wanted at all costs, if not to subjugate it, to line it up on his side. Of course, in Tito he was seeking both an ideological ally and a leader whom he could take under his wings as the «big brother» he was. In other words, Tito was very dear to Khrushchev, because he was the first to attack Stalin and reject Marxism-Leninism. In this direction they were in complete accord, but while the Belgrade chief operated openly, Khrushchev wanted to retain his disguise. In the international arena, Tito had become the «communist» dear to American imperialism and world capitalism, which lavished credits and aid on him, so that he would howl against the Soviet regime and the Soviet state and at the same time sell Yugoslavia to foreign capital.
Khrushchev wanted to manoeuvre Tito in his favour, so that this American agent in Belgrade would lower his tone a bit against the Soviet regime and reduce the great ardour he was showing to undermine the Soviet influence in the countries of people's democracy, to spread the influence of his Khrushchevite revisionist ideas in Yugoslavia and to restrain the Belgrade leadership in its orientation towards the Western way of life and American capital.
Tito, for his part, had long dreamed of shifting the epicentre of the leadership of this alleged communism from Moscow to Belgrade, and that Belgrade should replace Moscow in Eastern and South-eastern Europe. Tito's scheme had made no progress from the time he fell out with Stalin, who detected and sternly attacked the diabolical work of this renegade. Having the assistance of the Americans, Tito brought out this plan again when he saw that Nikita Khrushchev and his group were smashing the work of Lenin and Stalin.
Between these two chiefs of modern revisionism, Khrushchev and Tito, a long and complex confrontation was to develop, sometimes gentle, sometimes harsh, sometimes with attacks and abuse, and sometimes with flattery and smiles. But, regardless of the allegedly Marxist words and slogans, regardless of Khrushchev's vows that he was fighting to restore Tito to the positions of Marxism-Leninism, both when they were quarrelling and when they were embracing, neither side acted on the basis or in the interests of Marxism-Leninism. Anti-communism remained the foundation of their relations; each of these two brothers in revisionism was to do his utmost to subjugate the other in his own interests, from the positions of anti-communism.
Our Party was to follow this process, step by step, with the greatest vigilance. As this process developed, our Party was to become even more convinced of what Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites were, and what they represented in the Soviet Union and in the international communist and workers' movement.
We received the first warning signal that the new Soviet leadership was changing the former course in the direction of Yugoslav revisionism in June 1954.
During the days of our stay in Moscow, the Soviet leadership handed us a long letter, signed by Khrushchev, addressed to the central committees of the sister parties, in which they informed us about the conclusions which the Soviet leadership had reached on the Yugoslav question. Although the letter was dated June 4, and we had been in Moscow for several days, and indeed on June 8 had concluded the official talks with the main Soviet leaders, they had not even mentioned to us the very important problem which they raised in this letter. Apparently, Khrushchev, who was well aware of our resolute and unwavering stand towards the Belgrade traitors, wanted to act cautiously and gradually in regard to us.
Distorting the historical truth, Khrushchev and company had reached the conclusion that Yugoslavia's breaking away from the socialist camp and the «isolation of the Yugoslav working class from the ranks of the international workers' movement» were entirely due to the «breaking off of relations between the CPY and the international communist movement» in 1948. According to them, the stand that was taken in 1948 and 1949 towards the Yugoslav party was wrong, because this stand allegedly «forced the leading circles of Yugoslavia to make approaches to the USA and Britain»(!), to conclude the «military-political agreement with Greece and Turkey» (the Balkan Pact), to make a «series of serious concessions to capitalism», to move «towards the restoration of capitalism», etc. In short, according to Khrushchev, since the Information Bureau took a severe stand towards Yugoslavia, the latter, either from resentment or from desire, went and sold itself to imperialism, like the bride who went to sleep with the miller to spite her mother-in-law.
According to this logic of Khrushchev's, when our Party of Labour came into open confrontation and broke off contact with Khrushchevite revisionism, it would have to sell itself and the country to imperialism, because otherwise it could not exist! And we heard this later from Khrushchev's own mouth when he accused us of selling ourselves «to imperialism for 30 pieces of silver»!
This was nothing but an anti-Marxist, capitalist logic. Our Party opposed Khrushchevite revisionism heroically, just as it had opposed Yugoslav revisionism earlier, and just as it fought resolutely against any other variant of revisionism, but it did not sell out and never will sell out to imperialism or anyone else, because as long as a party considers itself and respects itself as a genuine Marxist-Leninist party, whatever the conditions and situations it is in, it never allows itself to be bought or sold, but resolutely pursues its course, the course of uncompromising struggle against imperialism, revisionism and reaction.
Therefore, even if the Yugoslav leadership had been unjustly condemned in 1949, as Khrushchev was claiming, nothing could permit or justify its falling into the lap of imperialism. On the contrary, the fact that it further strengthened its contacts with imperialism and world reaction, proved very clearly that Stalin, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Information Bureau, our Party and all the other parties, were right when they exposed and condemned it.
But Nikita Khrushchev, consistent in his decision to rehabilitate the Belgrade revisionists, in his letter made the accusation against the Information Bureau, of course without mentioning it by name, that in 1948 and in 1949, «all the possibilities were not exploited to the end. . ., efforts were not made to settle the unsolved problems and disagreements», a thing which, according to him,«would have avoided Yugoslavia's going over to the enemy camp». In the letter which he handed us, Nikita Khrushchev went so far as to say openly that «many of the problems which served to cause differences between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia..., did not constitute serious reasons for dispute and even the misunderstandings that had arisen could have been settled.» Nothing could have pleased Tito and the Yugoslav leadership more! With one stroke of his pencil, Khrushchev cancelled out major problems of principle which had been the basis of the struggle against Yugoslav revisionism, described them as -<not serious reasons» and «misunderstandings», and hence, begged the traitors' pardon because they had allegedly been attacked over trifles!
But who were to blame for these «misunderstandings»? In his letter Khrushchev did not attack the Information Bureau, Stalin, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the other parties which supported the Information Bureau decisions of 1949, by name. Apparently, he considered it still too early to make these attacks. And those who were to blame were found to be Beria among the Soviets, who with his actions had caused «justifiable dissatisfaction among the Yugoslav leadership», and Djilas among the Yugoslavs (who had been condemned by Tito in the meantime), who «openly propagated liquidationist views», was «an active partisan for the orientation of Yugoslavia towards the Western countries», etc. !
Thus, according to Khrushchev, the problem turned out to be very simple. The breach with Yugoslavia was based not on real reasons but on fabricated pretexts, so "we wronged you for nothing and the culprits have been found: Beria on our side, and Djilas on yours. Now we both have condemned these enemies, therefore, all we have to do is to kiss and make up and forget the past.»
How lightly this clown juggled with the issues ! But we, Albanian communists, who had been fighting the Belgrade traitor clique tooth and nail for more than ten years, who had experienced their evil-doings and courageously resisted them, were not and could never be in agreement with this solution of the Yugoslav problem. However, it was still 1954. The open attack on Stalin had not yet been launched. Nothing bad about him had been said openly, Khrushchev was still using a very cunning and skilfully disguised demagogy, and to our eyes the Soviet Union retained the colours of the time of Stalin, though a little faded. What is more, in this letter, which disturbed us profoundly, Khrushchev vowed that everything he did was «in favour of Marxism-Leninism and socialism», that in their new view of the Yugoslav problem, the Soviet leadership and the other sister parties had no aim other than «to ruin the plans of the Anglo-American imperialists and to utilize all the possibilities to strengthen their own influence over the people of Yugoslavia», «to exert a positive influence on the Yugoslav working class», etc. He added, also, that the efforts of the Soviet side and other parties and countries of people's democracy would serve as a new step to test «how ready and determined the Yugoslav leaders are to follow the road of socialism».
All these things made us very wary and cautious in our reply. During those days when we were in Moscow, Comrade Hysni, the other comrades of the delegation and I discussed the problem at length and finally gave the Soviet leadership our reply in writing.
In this reply, without openly opposing Khrushchev, we stressed our permanent stand towards the revisionist leadership in Belgrade, emphasized the importance of the Information Bureau decisions of 1948 and 1949 and did not permit any allusion to the re-examination of the stand adopted previously towards the deviations in line of the Yugoslav leadership.
In our written reply we countered Khrushchev's idea that the «breaking off of relations drove the Yugoslav leaders into the lap of imperiaiism», with the thesis that it was the Yugoslav leaders themselves who betrayed Marxism Leninism and set their people and their homeland on the course of enslavement and under the dictate of Anglo-American imperialists, that it was their anti-Marxist line which was the factor that gravely damaged the vital interests of the peoples of Yugoslavia, that it was they who took Yugoslavia out of the socialist camp, who changed the Yugoslav party into a bourgeois party and isolated it from the world movement of the proletariat.
While clearly pointing out these truths, we went on to stress that we agreed that efforts should be made by the communist parties to help rescue the peoples of Yugoslavia from enslavement and poverty, but we stressed once again that in our opinion the Yugoslav leaders had gone a long way down their anti-Marxist road, the road of submission to American and British imperialists.
With this we told Khrushchev indirectly that we did not agree with the hopes and illusions which he nurtured towards the Yugoslav leaders and especially towards «Comrade Tito», as he began to call him. I expressed these opinions to Khrushchev, also, in the next talk I had with him, on June 23, 1954. However, he pretended not to notice the different stands each of us adopted over the Yugoslav problem. Perhaps he did not want to create conflicts with us in the first official meetings we had with him. Perhaps he underrated us and did not bother his head about our opposition. I remember that he was all euphoria and spoke with the assurance of someone who has everything running smoothly. He had just returned from a lightning visit to Czechoslovakia (he was a master of every kind of visit: lightning, incognito, official, friendly, much publicized, secret, day, night, announced and un announced, short, long, with his suite or quite alone, etc.).
«In Prague,» he told me, «I took up the Yugoslav problem again with representatives of several sister parties who were there. They were all fully in agreement with me and considered the
efforts of our party very important.»
Then looking me right in the eye, he added
«Recently we, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians, Rumanians, and others have taken good steps towards the normalization of relations with Yugoslavia...»
I sensed why he stressed this. He wanted to say to me: «See, we are all agreed, hence you Albanians should join us, too.»
I told him briefly that there is a very long
history of our relations with the Yugoslav party and state, that the Yugoslav leadership itself was to blame for ruining our relations, and that if the Albanian-Yugoslav state relations were at a very low ebb, this was no fault of ours but a consequence of the unceasing anti-Marxist and ant Albanian stands and actions of the leaders in Belgrade.
«Konechno, konechno!»* *( Of course, of course (Russian in the original).) said Khrushchev jumping up and I understood that he did not want me to go any further with the discussion of this problem.
«We have taken all measures,» he said. «Tomorrow our ambassador in Yugoslavia goes to meet Tito in Brioni. We think that there are great possibilities of achieving our objective. If nothing is achieved,» he said in conclusion, «then we still have other methods.»
This is how the romance of the Khrushchev-Tito love affair began. A few days later Khrushchev handed his opinions or «conclusions» about the «new analysis» of the Yugoslav problem in writing to Tito. The latter, of course, was gloating over the fact that things were developing with Khrushchev just as he had envisaged, but, as the sly old fox he was, he did not prove so foolish as to throw himself into Khrushchev's arms. On the contrary, Tito schemed and worked to ensure that Khrushchev, who had been the first to back down, would also be the first to openly beg his pardon in Belgrade. Moreover, Tito was up to his neck in the mire of imperialism, was bound hand and font, therefore if he were to say the odd word about «socialism» and «Marxism» he had to do this only to the extent that he was permitted by his Western overlords, first of all the American imperialists. After leaving Khrushchev on tenterhooks f or some time, in order to play on the strings which were out of tune, Tito finally replied to him by the middle of August 1954, also in writing.
The essence of the letter from the revisionist in Belgrade was more or less this : I am pleased that you, Nikita Sergeyevich, are proving to be a reasonable and broad-minded man, but go a bit further, come out more clearly for the new course of reconciliation and embraces. We Yugoslavs agree that we should be reconciled, Tito told Khrushchev, but as you know, we have taken up with new friends with whom we have strong and deep links, therefore reconciliation with you «must develop in the direction which responds to our policy of international cooperation», that is to say, the Yugoslavs' links with imperialism must not be damaged but must be further strengthened.
Likewise, in dictatorial tones, Tito did not fail to set Khrushchev a series of other conditions for their future relations:
First, Tito demanded that the Soviet side should work harder to eliminate the «negative elements» and remove the obstacles which had exerted an influence on the break in 1948 and, obviously, with this the «master» in Belgrade was openly demanding that the whole correct and principled line followed by the Information Bureau, Stalin and the other communist parties in 1948, should be revised.
Second, the coming reconciliation, dictated Tito, must not imply «complete unanimity in our assessment of and stand towards events», hence, let us be reconciled, but let each of us act on his own account, according to his own ideas.
Third, the road I follow and the road you follow for the construction of «socialism», is a matter for each of us to decide and must not influence the normalization of relations; hence, I shall build «specific socialism» and you must accept this without any quibble.
Fourth, the causes of the conflict, said Tito, are neither Beria nor Djilas. The causes go deeper, therefore you, the Soviets, and the others united with you, must completely abandon the line of the time of Stalin, abandon your former principles, because in this way the true causes of the conflict are automatically overcome.
Finally, Tito rejected- Khrushchev's proposal on a bilateral top-level meeting, making this conditional «on the achievement of preliminary successes in the direction of normalization». The implication was quite plain : if you want to meet me and come to terms with me, you must take further steps on the course on which you have set out, must act more quickly and boldly within the Soviet Union and other countries and parties to spread and extend this «new» course, which had been and was his old course.
And Khrushchev, sometimes apparently resentful and sometimes enthusiastic in his actions, began to submit to and zealously apply Tito's conditions and orders.
Amongst us who followed this process with attention and concern, suspicions increased that these stands were leading the Soviet Union on an anti-Marxist course. Day by day we were becoming more convinced that Khrushchev was covering up a diabolical game with his clowning. We saw that he was lowering the prestige of the Soviet Communist Party and state by bending the knee to Tito. We watched this with regret, but, after all, the improvement of the relations between the Soviets and the Yugoslavs was their internal problem and we had no reason to oppose it. However, we were not and could never be in agreement with his efforts to wipe out the past and to treat
the causes and reasons for the condemnation of the Yugoslav revisionists as something quite different from what they were in fact. Likewise, we could not agree to become Khrushchev's partners in this dubious and dangerous ideological and political gamble. What the Rumanians, the Hungarians and the Bulgarians did was their affair. For our part, we were not going to kiss and make up with the Titoites.
Apart from his own revisionist convictions, Khrushchev was undoubtedly urged by Tito to take this anti-Marxist step. He did not want to bend the knee to Khrushchev, therefore he persisted in his demand that Khrushchev should come and bend the knee to him in Belgrade, should go to make a self-criticism in Canossa (Belgrade). And this is what was done. After a year or so of secret and public contacts through special envoys, after an intense and very intimate exchange of correspondence between «Comrade Khrushchev» and «Comrade Tito», in the end, in April 1955, Tito sent the good news to his new sweetheart that he was ready for the marriage and invited him to hold the «wedding ceremony» either «on a ship on the Danube, or if you agree, in Belgrade. In our opinion,» continued the kralj* *( king.) of Belgrade, «the meeting should be open and made public.» Khrushchev could hardly wait to rush off to Belgrade, where he kissed and embraced Tito, made a self-criticism and «resolutely» wiped off the «accumulations of the past», and opened the «epoch of friendship between the two peoples and the two parties».
Our Party condemned Khrushchev's going to Belgrade and especially his decision to cleanse the unclean sable Tito. Just two or three days before he set out for «Canossa», Khrushchev informed us of the step he was about to take, but we had expected this, because the waters into which Khrushchev had plunged were bound to carry him to that mill. To go or not to go to Belgrade, that was his affair, let him do as he wished. What revolted and profoundly disturbed us was the announcement he made in the same letter that he had decided to annul as unjust the decision of the Information Bureau of November 1949, in connection with the condemnation of the Yugoslav leadership, to communicate this new decision of his to Tito and to publish a communiqué about it in the organ «For Lasting Peace, for People's Democracy!». In this communiqué, Khrushchev said that the communist and workers' parties, that were members of the Information Bureau, had allegedly re-examined the question of the third Resolution of the meeting of the Information Bureau on the Yugoslav problem adopted in November 1949 and had decided that the accusations contained in that resolution against the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party should be considered as without foundation and the resolution of the Information Bureau on the Yugoslav question should be annulled.
We wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on this and protested sternly. Such a decision about an enemy of international communism, that had been condemned jointly by all the parties, could not be taken unilaterally by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union without consulting the other parties, including ours. The other parties submitted to the decision of Khrushchev and the desire of Tito that, after Khrushchev, the leaders of the parties of the socialist camp should go to Belgrade, kiss Tito's hand and beg his forgiveness. Dej and company went there, but we did not. We continued the struggle against the revisionists. It was in vain for Levichkin, the Soviet ambassador in Tirana, to come and try to convince us to withdraw our opposition.
I received Levichkin and once again put forward in principle to him what we had written in the letter to the Soviet leadership.
Amongst other things, I said, «The Communist Party of the Soviet Union has taught us to express our opinion openly and sincerely, as internationalists, on any question which has to do with the line of the party. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has informed us in advance and sought our opinion, too, on all matters which have to do with our common policy in connection with Yugoslavia. We have carefully studied the opinions of the Soviet leadership, have expressed our opinion on these problems and, as you know, we have agreed that we should make efforts to improve relations with Yugoslavia.»
«But in your reply of yesterday you oppose the new step of Comrade Khrushchev,» said Levichkin.
«Yes,» I said, «and we have reasons for this. We think that in connection with the Yugoslav question there are many differences between the content of earlier letters of the Soviet leadership and that of the last letter.»
«To what differences do you refer?» asked Levichkin. -I think the view of our party has not altered.»
«Let us see,» I said, and took the letters of the Soviet leadership. «Here, for example, in the letter of June 4, 1954, your leadership writes: 'Re-examining the materials which have to do with the history of the breaking-off of relations between the Yugoslav Communist Party and the communist and workers' parties, as well as Yugoslavia's subsequent leaving the democratic camp, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union holds that the leading nucleus of the Yugoslav Communist Party has undoubtedly made serious departures from Marxism-Leninism, has slipped into the positions of bourgeois nationalism and launched attacks against the Soviet state. The leaders of the Yugoslav Communist Party also extend their hostile policy, in regard to the Soviet Union, to the countries of people's democracy, towards which, up till before the break of relations, they maintained a boastful and disdainful stand, while seeking for themselves recognition of priorities and special merits which they did not have.',
«That letter also stresses,» I told Levichkin, «that 'the criticism which the communist and workers' parties made of the nationalist deviations and other deviations from Marxism-Leninism of the leaders of the Yugoslav Communist Party was necessary and completely correct. It contributed to tempering the communist and workers' parties from the Marxist aspect, to sharpening the vigilance of communists and to their education in the spirit of proletarian internationalism'.»
«That is true,» murmured Levichkin.
«Even after the initial efforts of the Soviet leadership to improve relations with Yugoslavia,» I continued, the Yugoslav leadership persisted in its former course and stands and, only two or three months ago, in February this year, the Soviet comrades wrote to us that 'the leadership of the Yugoslav party is seriously entangled with the capitalist world in its political and economic relations'.»
«That is true, that is true!» repeated Levichkin in a low voice.
«Then how did the opinion and stand of the Soviet leadership towards these very important problems change so surprisingly and suddenly?!» I asked. «And how can they so readily take a unilateral decision such as that to throw out the 1949 decision of the Information Bureau?!
«Our Political Bureau discussed the problems which are raised in your letter of May 23 with great attention and concern and in our reply we openly and sincerely expressed a series of opinions to Comrade Khrushchev.
«First, we think that the general line, the main content and principle of the November 1949 Resolution of the Meeting of the Information Bureau, is correct and the content of this resolution should not be taken separately from the resolution of July 1948. The daily experience of our Party in our relations with the Yugoslavs, both before the break with them in 1948 and to this very day, confirms this correctness.
«Second, the procedure, which is proposed to follow for the cancellation of the November 1949 Resolution of the Meeting of the Information Bureau, does not seem to us correct. It seems to us that the very short time allowed the communist and workers' parties, members of the Information Bureau, to express their views in connection with the content of your letter is inadequate to decide such an important matter as that which is raised in the letter. In our opinion, such a hasty decision on a matter of major importance of principle, without first making a thorough analysis, together with all the parties interested in this question, and moreover, the publication of this decision in the press and its announcement in the Belgrade talks, would not only be premature, but would cause serious harm in the general orientation in connection with Yugoslavia.
«In regard to our Party of Labour, for seven years it has been fighting to implement its general line in regard to Yugoslavia, which is founded on the resolutions of the Information Bureau and endorsed by the 1st Congress of our Party. We are convinced that the general line of our Party in connection with relations with Yugoslavia is correct, but even if we thought for one moment that there is something to be changed in this line, for this the congress of the Party would have to be called together, or at least a conference of the Party, and the change could be made only after first thoroughly analysing the general line of all the communist and workers' parties in regard to Yugoslavia as well as the decisions and conclusions of the Information Bureau.
«Therefore,» I said to Levichkin in conclusion, «we propose that the matters which are raised in the recent letter of the Soviet leadership should be analysed at a meeting of the parties which participate in the Information Bureau, in which our Party, too, could possibly take part and have its say. Only there can a joint decision on this question be taken.»
Levichkin, who had gone pale as he listened to me, tried to convince me to change my opinion, but when he saw my insistence he retreated:
«I shall report what you have said to me to the leadership of the party.»
«We have written everything I told you in our letter to Comrade Khrushchev,» I concluded, «but I repeated it to you, too, to make clear to you what impelled us to adopt this stand.»
Our opposition was completely correct and within the Marxist-Leninist norms of relations between parties. We were well aware how correct, substantiated and well based were the analyses and decisions of the Information Bureau and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in connection with the Yugoslav problem during the years 1948 and 1949. When the decision was taken to condemn the anti-Marxist activity of the Yugoslav leadership, we were not members of the Information Bureau. However, during that period, Stalin, the CPSU and the other parties that were members of the Information Bureau frequently consulted us and listened carefully to what we had to say in connection with our relations with the Yugoslav leadership. Stalin and his comrades did this, not only because ours were sister parties and, according to the Leninist norms, there should be wide-ranging and exhaustive exchanges of opinions, but also due to the important fact that, because of the special links we had had since the wartime years with the Yugoslav leadership, we had a lot to say about it.
Among the many meetings and consultations on this problem was my incognito meeting with Vyshinsky in Bucharest, at which Dej was also present. There we exchanged opinions about the common stand we should adopt towards the treacherous activity of the Yugoslav leadership. The many incontestable arguments and facts which I brought to that meeting were valued very highly by Vyshinsky and Dej, who described them as a valuable contribution which our Party made to better knowledge of the hostile and anti-Marxist activity of the Belgrade leaders. This is not the place to speak at length about that meeting, from which I have many memories. I mention it only to show with what great care and wisdom Stalin and the Information Bureau acted at that time in the analyses they made and the decisions they took.
Now quite the opposite was occurring with Khrushchev and the other Soviet leaders. Precisely those who were now condemning the Information Bureau and Stalin for allegedly having acted and judged matters in an incorrect way, were trampling with both feet over the most elementary rules of relations between parties, were posing as indisputable masters who did not deign to seek the opinion of others. This could not fail to dismay and worry us.
Levichkin came to see us several other times during those days. Apparently they were urgently demanding from the centre that he convinced us to give up our opinions and reconcile ourselves to Khrushchev's stands. Those were very difficult and grave moments. From what we could see, Khrushchev must have reached agreement in advance with the leaderships of other parties over what he was going to do in Belgrade. Thus our proposal that the Information Bureau should meet to examine the problem in detail, would fall on deaf ears. After we discussed the matter at length in the Political Bureau, we decided that I should summon Levichkin once more to make our stand clear to him. I met him on May 27, one of the days on which Khrushchev was in Belgrade, and the things which I told Levichkin were also written in a second letter to the Soviet leadership. Later, Khrushchev used this letter of ours as an «argument» allegedly to prove that we were wrong in our first letter of May 25, and that two days later we allegedly made a «self-criticism» and «retreated» from our former opinion. But the essence of the truth is not as Khrushchev and company said.
Both in the meeting with Levichkin on May 27, and in the second letter to the Soviet leadership, we explained once again why we were in open opposition to them on this occasion.
In this letter we again stressed to the Soviet leadership that although we had been and were agreed that every effort must be made to solve the disagreements over principles with Yugoslavia in a Marxist-Leninist way, we were still convinced that the Yugoslav leaders would neither recognize their grave mistakes, nor abandon their course.
We have been and continue to be particularly sensitive on the Yugoslav question and especially towards the anti-Marxist activity of the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party, we said in the letter, because this hostile activity against the Soviet Union, the countries of people's democracy and the whole movement of the proletariat has been carried out in a specially ferocious way against our Party and the sovereignty of our Homeland.
Seeing the problem in this way, we continued, when we read that part of your letter which says that eventually it might be communicated to the Yugoslavs that the Resolution of the Information Bureau of November 1949 should be revoked and that a communiqué about this would be published in the organ «For Lasting Peace, for People's Democracy», we were profoundly shocked and said that if this were done it would be a very grave mistake. We considered that this Resolution should not be revoked, because it reflects the logical development of the hostile and anti-Marxist activity of the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party in practice.
This is how we reason: if this Resolution is annulled, all that has been written there is cancelled out, and the trials of Rajk in Hungary and Kostov in Bulgaria, for example, are also annulled. By analogy the trial of the traitor gang headed by Koçi Xoxe and company ought to be annulled, too. The hostile activity of the traitor gang of Koçi Xoxe had its source in and was linked with the anti-Marxist, liquidationist and bourgeois-nationalist work of the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party. The just and principled struggle against this hostile activity was one of the directions of the line of our Party at its 1st Congress. «We will never budge from this correct line,» we stressed in the letter. Hence, we thought that if this Resolution is annulled as wrong, not only will the truth be distorted but a grave situation will be created for our Party, confusion will be created, anti-party and enemy elements will be encouraged to become active against our Party and state, as well as against the Soviet Union. We can never allow such a situation to be created.
We went on to say to the Soviet leadership: «We have been in a grave situation and we regret that, on this point, we cannot be of the same opinion as you.»
That was the essence of the content of our second letter to the Soviet leadership.
If there is any room to use the word «retreat» in regard to this, the only such thing on our part was the non-repetition of the proposal that a meeting of the Information Bureau should be organized first. By this time this proposal would have been valueless, because Khrushchev had made the whole affair a fait accompli and had left for Belgrade. On the other hand, although we expressed our opinion in defence of principles, we could not come out openly against the Soviet leadership and the others at a time when the problem was still developing. However, we made our vigilance even sharper and kept our eyes even wider open. For us, both in the past and even after this, the stand towards the revisionists of Belgrade has been and still is the touch-stone to prove whether a party is following a sound Marxist line or a wrong ant Marxist line. In the future, we were to put Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites to this test.
Not long after this event, in the summer of 1955, 1 received a most pressing invitation to go «for a holiday in the Soviet Union».
In Stalin's time I went there for work and very rarely for a holiday. In Khrushchev's time they began to put such pressure on us to go for holidays that it was difficult to refuse, because the Soviets, for their part, put the matter forward on the political plane. However, I did not like to go because, in fact, I could not rest there and it took a lot of time. To go to Moscow we had to travel eight days by ship from Durrës to Odessa, and the ships(«Kotovsky» and «Chiatura») were not big and rolled heavily. Two more days were needed for the train trip from Odessa to Moscow and one day by aircraft from Moscow to the Caucasus (to go to Kislovodsk, etc.), that is, a trip of eleven days each way, plus several days of meetings, so you can see what sort of holidays they were.
Once in Moscow the meetings with the Soviet leaders would begin, but these meetings were no longer pleasant like those with Stalin. Now they were held sometimes with smothered anger, sometimes with open flare-ups.
This is what occurred on this occasion. As soon as I arrived in Moscow I had two meetings with Suslov.
In his opening words he told me that we would talk about the Yugoslav problem and stressed in a dictatorial tone:
«The leadership of your party must take careful account of this question, it must not look at the Yugoslav problem in a rigid way.»
I did not take my eyes off him as I listened. Sensing my displeasure, he back-pedalled a little:
«Their mistakes remain mistakes,» he said, «but our objective is to become friends and to advance the friendship with Yugoslavia. At its last meeting, «our Central Committee once again analysed our relations with Yugoslavia,» he continued, «and we shall give the report delivered there to you personally, because it is top secret.»
He was silent for a moment, trying to assess what impression his words were making on me, and then went on
ÍThe main problem is that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has examined the Yugoslav question in a realistic light, bearing in mind the traitorous work of Beria, and we made self-criticism about this. Our Central Committee came to the conclusion that the breaking off of relations with Yugoslavia was a mistake, that is, we were hasty.»
«In what way, hasty?!» I said. «At that time, thorough analyses were made, long and thorough discussions were held and the true ideological and political causes of the existing disagreements were uncovered.»
«The main cause for this break,» continued Suslov, «was not the ideological issues, although they were making mistakes, and they have been pointed out openly to the Yugoslavs. The main cause lies in the slanders that were made against the Yugoslav leaders and in our lack of patience. The Yugoslavs' mistakes of principle should have been discussed, backed up by facts, and ironed out. This was not done.
«From all the facts examined,» he continued, «it turns out that there is no basis at all for saying that the Yugoslav comrades have deviated and have sold Yugoslavia, just as it does not turn out that the Yugoslav economy is dependent on foreigners.»
«Pardon me,» I said, « but let us not go back to those things we have analysed and decided in 1948 and 1949. Let us take only your correspondence with the Yugoslav leadership during the last two years. Not only in several of your letters, but the Yugoslavs themselves in their letters, admit that they have created strong links with the West. What are we to think now of your opposite assessment of these matters?»
«A number of mistakes have been made, but they must be examined carefully,» said Suslov, and started to list a series of -arguments» to convince me that the Yugoslav leaders were allegedly not on a wrong road. Naturally he also tried to lay the blame on Beria and Djilas and the efforts of imperialism -to attach Yugoslavia to itself ».
«Molotov, too, has maintained a very sectarian stand on this problem,» continued Suslov. «He personally made mistakes in state relations with Yugoslavia while insisting that it was the Yugoslav comrades that made the mistakes. However, the Central Committee demanded that Molotov proved where the Yugoslavs had been wrong, and we criticized him severely for his stand. Finally he, too, expressed his solidarity with the Central Committee».
I began to speak and gave a detailed presentation of our relations with the Yugoslav leadership, beginning from the years of the National Liberation War. I mentioned their main activities as an anti-Albanian agency, which they had undertaken and were undertaking against us continually, and I concluded by saying:
«It is these and many other facts, one more grave than the other, which convince us that the Yugoslav leadership has not been and is not on the right road. Nevertheless, we have always been and still are in favour of developing state relations with them normally.»
«Agreed, agreed!» said Suslov. «We must act with open hearts. This is in the interest of our camp; we must not allow the imperialists to take Yugoslavia from us.»
At the end of this meeting, as though in passing, he said to me:
«During past years you have condemned many enemies, accused of links with the Yugoslavs. Have a look at their cases and rehabilitate those that ought to be rehabilitated.»
«We have never accused and condemned anyone for nothing,» I said bluntly, and as we parted, he instructed me to be «more broadminded.»
It was clear why they had invited me to come for a holiday. However, the Khrushchevites did not content themselves just with this. They had hatched up diabolical plans to compel our Party, too, to follow their course of conciliation with the revisionists of Belgrade. This time they had put me in a villa outside Moscow, which, as they told me, had been Stalin's villa. It was a simple house, all the main rooms were on the ground floor, including our suite, which was separated from the entrance hall by a glass door. On the right were the dining room, the study, and the sitting or reception room which, I remember, had very little furniture. On the left, through a corridor and a room with sofas around the walls, one entered the cinema room. The garden outside had been neglected, there was very little in the way of flowers and greenery. There were no trees for shade, but they had built a small semi-circular besedka* *( Pavilion (Russian in the original).) with seats, which were also semi-circular, attached to the pillars built around the curve, where the children played. Beside the house there was a small vegetable garden. In this house one night we heard a loud knock at the
glass door which led to our suite. My wife, Nexhmije, got up quickly, thinking that our son was not well, since he had fallen over that day and
had hurt his hand. She went out, immediately returned and said to me:
«It's one of the officers of the guard - Mikoyan wants you on the telephone.»
I was sleepy and asked what time it was.
«Half past twelve,» said Nexhmije.
I put something over my shoulders and went into the study to the telephone. Mikoyan, at the other end of the line, did not beg my pardon for ringing me up after midnight, but said to me:
«Comrade Enver, Comrade Svetozar Vukmanovic-Tempo is here in Moscow and I was with him till now. You know him and it would be good if you were to meet; he is ready to meet you tomorrow.»
For a time I remained silent on the telephone, while Mikoyan, who had no intention of asking, said: «Tomorrow then, you agree,N in a tone as if he were giving an order to the party secretary of an oblast*. *( region (Russian in the original).)
«How could I agree to this, Comrade Mikoyan,» I said. «I talked with Comrade Suslov, and expressed the view of our Party about the position of Yugoslavia and Tito.»
Mikoyan began to deliver a standard monologue about «socialist Yugoslavia», about Tito who was «a fine chap», about Beria's mistakes and the sins they had allegedly committed (the Soviet Union and the Information Bureau), and then he concluded:
«You ought to take this step, Comrade Enver. You know Tempo, talk with him and try to iron out your differences, because this is in your interest and in the interest of the camp. You, too, must help ensure that Yugoslavia does not go over to the imperialist camp... So, you agree, tomorrow.»
«All right, I agree, tomorrow,» I replied, clenching my teeth in rage. I went back to bed but I was so disgusted over these backstage manoeuvres and fiats accomplish which the Khrushchevites were hatching up in the course of their betrayal that I could not sleep. I had met Tempo twice in Albania during the time of the war and both times we had quarrelled, because he was arrogant and a real megalomaniac. He made unfounded accusations against our war and the people who led it, or made absurd proposals about the -Balkan Staff-,
without mentioning how this staff was to function in those conditions, when we could communicate from one zone to the other within the country only with difficulty, let alone mentioning the ulterior motives hidden behind the organization of this
«staff». What was I to say to Tempo now, after all those things which Tito, Rankovic, their en
voys Velimir Stoynic, Nijaz Dizdarevic and their agents Koçi Xoxe and Co., had done to us? Must we swallow this too?! I tossed and turned sleepless all night thinking about what should be done. The time had not come yet to settle accounts with the Khrushchevite revisionists.
The next day we met Tempo. I began to speak about those things that had occurred.
«Let bygones be bygones,» he said and began to speak about the situation in Yugoslavia.
He told me that they had made progress in the sector of industry but were short of raw materials.
«Our agriculture is in a very bad state,» he said, «we are very far behind, therefore, we think we should devote more forces to it. The mistakes we have made in agriculture have left us hard pressed.»
He went on to tell me about the difficulties they had had and said that they had been obliged to accept aid at , heavy interest rates from the Western countries.
«Now the Soviet Union is helping us and our agreement with the Soviets is going well,- he concluded.
I, too, spoke about the progress which our country had made during this time and the difficulties which we had had and still had. I spoke about the commission on the Ohri Lake, in which the discussions were being dragged on by their side, but he told me he knew nothing about it because «these were the plans of the Macedonians.»
«Nevertheless, we must look more carefully at the question of the Shkodra Lake where the benefits will be greater for both sides, especially for your side,» he added.
And that is how the meeting which the Soviets had arranged between Tempo and me, passed. After this meeting, when I met Mikoyan and Suslov, they both said to me:
«You did well to meet Tempo because the ice has been broken.»
According to them, the mountain of ice created between us and the Titoite revisionists could be broken with one chance meeting or contact, but this was not our opinion. There would be no «spring thaw» in the ideological field in our relations with Yugoslavia and we had no intention of plunging into the murky waters of the Khrushchevites and the Titoites.