THE ISTITUTES OF MARXIST- LENINIST STUDES
AT THE CC OF THE PLA
5. THE «MOTHER PARTY» WANTS TO BE THE CONDUCTOR
Khrushchev seeks hegemony in the world communist movement. His attack on the Comintern and the Information Bureau. The Khrushchevites extend their tentacles to other parties. The sudden deaths of Gottwald and Bierut. Unforgettable memories from the meeting with Dimitrov and Kolarov. Correct but formal relations with Rumania. The opportunist zig-zags of the Rumanian leadership. Pleasant impressions from Czechoslovakia; wandering at will and visits to historical sites. Suffocating atmosphere everywhere in the Soviet Union. The chinovniki surround us everywhere. Our relations with the East Germans.
I spoke earlier about the «lecture» which Khrushchev gave me on the role of the first secretary of the party and the «opinion» which he had expressed to the Polish comrades about the replacement of Bierut by Ochab in this post. This fact not only astounded me but seemed to me completely unacceptable, as a tactless undertaking (to put it mildly) towards a sister party.
Further developments were to make clear to us and convince us that such «undertakings» were Khrushchev's normal forms of «work» to put the international communist movement under his personal domination.
This activity did not lack its demagogic cloak. The essence of this demagogy was: -Stalin kept the communist and workers' parties in his grip through force, through terror, and dictated actions to them in the interests of the Soviet Union and to the detriment of the world revolution». Khrushchev was for struggle against the Comintern, except, allegedly, for the period when Lenin was alive. For Khrushchev and the other modern revisionists, the Comintern operated simply as a «Soviet agency in the capitalist countries». Their opinion, which was not expressed openly, but was implied, was in complete accord with the monstrous accusations of capitalism and the reactionary bourgeoisie throughout the world, that fought the proletariat and the new communist parties formed after the betrayal by social-democracy and the Second International.
By means of the Comintern, Lenin, and later Stalin, consolidated the communist and workers' parties and strengthened the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and the rising fascist dictatorship. The activity of the Comintern was positive and revolutionary. The possibility that some mistakes may have been made is not ruled out, but it is necessary to bear in mind the difficult circumstances of illegality in which the parties and the leadership of the Comintern itself were obliged to work, as well as the fierce struggle waged against the communist parties by imperialism, the bourgeoisie and reaction. The true revolutionaries never forget that it was the Comintern which assisted to set up and strengthen the communist parties after the betrayal by the Second International, just as they never forget that the
Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin was the country in which hundreds of revolutionaries found refuge to escape the reprisals of the bourgeoisie and fascism and carry on their activity.
In his assessment of the work of the Comintern and Stalin, Khrushchev also had the support of the Chinese, who continue to make criticisms,
although not publicly, in this direction. When we have had the opportunity, we have expressed our opinion about these incorrect assessments of the overall work of the Comintern and Stalin to the Chinese leaders. When I had the opportunity to talk with Mao Zedong, during my only visit to
China, in 1956, or in the meetings with Zhou Enlai and others in Tirana, I have expressed the well known viewpoint of our Party about the figure of Stalin and the Comintern. I do not want to extend on these matters because I have written about them at length in my political diary and elsewhere.
The decisions of the Comintern and Dimitrov's direction-giving speech in July 1935 have gone down in the history of the international communist movement as major documents which mobilized the peoples, and first of all the communists, to create the anti-fascist front and to organize themselves for armed struggle against Italian fascism, German nazism and Japanese militarism. In this struggle, the communists and their parties were in the forefront everywhere.
Therefore, it is a crime to attack the great work of the Comintern and the Marxist-Leninist authority of Stalin, which played a major role in the creation and the organizational, political and ideological consolidation of the communist and workers' parties of the world. For its part, the Bolshevik Party was a powerful aid for those parties, and the Soviet Union, with Stalin at the head, was a great potential in support of the revolution in the international arena.
Imperialism, the capitalist bourgeoisie and its fascist dictatorship fought the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik Party and Stalin, with all their might, waged a stern struggle against the Comintern and the communist and workers' parties of every country and ruled the working class with terror, bloodshed and demagogy.
When nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, the communist and workers' parties of various countries took up arms, united with the other patriots and democrats in their own countries and fought the fascist invaders. Because of this natural struggle, the enemies of communism said : «The communist and workers' parties have put themselves in the service of Moscow.» This
was a slander. The communist and workers' parties fought for the liberation of their own peoples,
f ought for the working class and people to take power. In the great alliance of the anti-fascist war, the sympathies of these parties were with the Soviet Union, because it was the most reliable guarantee for the victory.
It was Stalin himself, who, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, announced the decision for the disbanding of the Comintern and the reason given was that no further need was felt for its existence. This stand was completely correct, because by that time, the communist and workers' parties had become mature and militant, had been tempered in class battles and in the great war against fascism and had gained colossal experience. Now, each party could march on its own feet and had Marxism-Leninism as its unerring guide.
After the Second World War the Information Bureau of communist and workers' parties was formed. It was necessary to create this, because the parties of socialist countries and those of capitalist countries, especially of Europe, needed to exchange their very valuable experience. The exchange of experience between our parties was especially necessary in the unsettled period immediately after the war, when American and British imperialism wanted to interfere by any means in the internal affairs of the countries which had won their freedom.
Reaction, and Tito and the Titoites, later, wanted and fought to place the countries of Eastern Europe in a dilemma; with the assistance of the British, they tried to bring reaction to power in Czechoslovakia and to bring about the same thing in Albania, Rumania, Poland and elsewhere.
The »Marxist« Tito made a major issue of the Venezia Giulia province, claiming th-at the Soviet Union was not assisting him to take this province, which he described as entirely Yugoslav, while this same «Marxist» not only did not raise the issue of Kosova, which was truly Albanian, in order to give it to Albania to which it belonged, but did his utmost to prevent any talk about it. The Belgrade clique massacred people from Kosova, alleging that they were Ballists, and later also attempted to gobble up the whole of Albania and turn it into the seventh republic of Yugoslavia.
The Information Bureau uncovered the treachery of the Yugoslav revisionists and this was one of its historic deeds and a tribute to the revolutionary vigilance of Stalin. Tito was exposed and condemned with ample, incontestable facts and subsequent events completely confirmed his betrayal. In this just action, which came after a patient stand, first with comradely explanation, then with rebuke and finally, with condemnation, all the communist and workers' parties took part, not because they «submitted to the arbitrary decision of Stalin», as has been slanderously alleged, but because they were convinced by the true facts which were brought out about the betrayal of the Yugoslav chiefs. Later, all these parties, apart from the Party of Labour of Albania, ate the very words which they themselves had said and endorsed against Tito and Titoism. One after another, the chiefs of these parties made self-criticism, went on pilgrimages to him, kissed his hand, begged his forgiveness and declared that he was a «genuine Marxist-Leninist», while according to them, Stalin was «an anti-Leninist, a criminal, an ignoramus and a dictator».
Khrushchev's plan, as all his work and his successive actions showed, was to rehabilitate Tito by going to Belgrade and denouncing Stalin for the «crime» and the «mistake» which he had allegedly committed in this direction. In order to carry this problem through to the end, Khrushchev took his unilateral decision and liquidated the Information Bureau, without asking anyone about it. He dropped this on us as a fait accompli* *( French in the original.) at one of the meetings which was organized in the Kremlin over a problem which had nothing at all to do with the Information Bureau.
Khrushchev announced the decision, and while administering the last rites to the Information Bureau said: «When I informed Nehru of this, he was pleased and told me that it was a wise decision which everybody would approve.» The big Indian reactionary heard the news of the break-up of the Information Bureau before our communist parties (!). This fact, too, apart from others, showed what this renegade, this revisionist-Trotskyite, who had come to the head of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was.
With cunning Trotskyite forms and methods, such as flattery, blackmail, criticisms and threats, Khrushchev aimed to get control of the whole world communist movement, to have all the other parties, under his «conductor's baton», and they, without his telling them openly, were to proclaim the Communist Party of the Soviet Union the «mother party», and moreover to think, as Liri Belishova, a secret agent of the Soviet revisionists whom we exposed later, put it, that »Khrushchev is our father»(!). This is the direction in which Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites worked.
Of course, the Khrushchevites had begun this work when Stalin was still alive, behind his back. We base this conviction on the experience of our relations with the Soviet leaders, the arrogant, huckster's stand of Mikoyan and some others.
After Stalin's death, their attack to destroy socialism in the other countries mounted continuously. Both in the Soviet Union and in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, and Hungary, as well as in Albania, Khrushchev began to incite the disguised and undisguised anti-Marxist elements. Wherever these elements were in the leadership, Khrushchev and company struggled to get these elements under their control, and where they were not in the leadership, to put them there by eliminating the sound leaders through intrigues, putsches or even assassinations, as they wanted to do with Stalin (and it is very likely they did this).
Immediately after the death of Stalin, Gottwald died. This was a sudden, surprising death! It had never crossed the minds of those who knew Gottwald that this strong, agile, healthy man would die... of a flu or a chill allegedly caught on the day of Stalin's funeral ceremony.
I knew Gottwald. When I went to Czechoslovakia and met him in Prague, we talked at length about our problems. He was a modest, sincere comrade, not a man of many words. I felt I could talk to him freely; he listened to me attentively, puffing away at his pipe and spoke with much sympathy about our people and our fight, and promised me that they would help us in the building of industry. He promised me neither mountains nor miracles, but a very modest credit which Czechoslovakia accorded us.
«This is all we can do,» he said. «Later, when we have our economy going, we shall re-examine matters with you.»
Gottwald, an old friend and comrade of Stalin and Dimitrov, died suddenly. This grieved us, but also surprised us.
Later came the equally unexpected death of Comrade Bierut, not to mention the earlier death of the great George Dimitrov. Dimitrov, Gottwald and Bierut, all died in Moscow. What a coincidence! The three of them were comrades of the great Stalin!
Edward Ochab replaced Bierut in the post of first secretary of the party. Thus Khrushchev's old desire was realized. Later, however, Khrushchev «fell out» with Ochab, apparently because he did not fulfil Khrushchev's demands and orders as he should have done. That is why Khrushchev later launched attacks on Ochab at those meetings at which we, too, were present. I met Ochab several times, in Moscow, Warsaw and Beijing, and I think that he was a person who not only could not be compared with Bierut as a man, but also lacked the necessary capacity to lead the party and the country. Ochab came and went like a shadow, without being a year in that position.
Below I shall speak about how events developed in Poland later. It is clear that with the death of Bierut the road to the throne of Poland was opened to the reactionary Gomulka. This «communist», brought out of prison, after a number of ups and downs and writings of a heterogeneous leadership, in which agents of Zionism and the capitalist powers were not lacking, was to be brought into the leadership by his friend Nikita Khrushchev.
Poland was the «big sister» of the Khrushchevite Soviet Union. Then came Bulgaria, with which the Khrushchevites played and are still playing their game shamelessly, to the point that they have turned it into their «obedient daughter».
The Bulgarians were linked closely with Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union(B) led by him, quite differently from the Czechs, the Poles and the Rumanians, let alone the Germans. Moreover, the Bulgarian people had been traditionally linked with Russia in the past. Precisely because of these links, Czar Boris had not dared to involve Bulgaria officially in the war against the Soviet Union and the Soviet armies entered Bulgaria without firing a shot.
Khrushchev wanted to consolidate this influence for his own chauvinist interests and the extension and consolidation of his revisionist views. Therefore he exploited this situation, the trust of the Bulgarian Communist Party in Stalin, the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (B), and placed at the head of the Bulgarian Communist Party a worthless person, a third-rate cadre, but one ready to do whatever Khrushchev, his ambassador, or the KGB would say. This person was Todor Zhivkov, who was publicized and inflated until he became first secretary of the CC of the Bulgarian CP.
My opinion is that, after Dimitrov, the Bulgarian party and state did not have any leader equal to Dimitrov, or even to come anywhere near him, from the point of view of his adherence to principle, bread th of ideological and political understanding and capacity as a leader. Here, of course, I do not include Kolarov, who died very soon after Dimitrov, only a few months later, who was an old revolutionary and the second personality after Dimitrov, with whom he had worked together in the Comintern.
I met Kolarov when I went on an official visit to Bulgaria in December 1947. He was about the same age and size as Dimitrov, liked to converse and all the time we stayed with him, talked to us about the missions to Mongolia. Gennany and elsewhere the Comintern had charged him with. It seemed that the party had placed lsolarov in charge of relations with foreign countries. because he spoke to us several times about the relations of Bulgaria. especially with its neighbours: Yugoslavia and Greece, which were also our neighbours. He also explained the general international situation to us. This assisted us greatly.
Like the unforgettable George Dimitrov, Kolarov was a modest man. Although we were young, there was not the slightest sign of haughtiness to be seen in him during the talk. He honoured us and respected our opinions and. although we were meeting for the first time, as long as we stayed there, we felt ourselves as members of one family, in an intimate group, in which affection and unity and efforts for a single aim, the construction of socialism, predominated.
I met Dimitrov and Kolarov, these outstanding Bulgarian communists only once in my life, but they left an indelible impression on my memory. After Dimitrov, Kolarov became prime minister and was one of the initiators of the condemnation of the Titoite agent, Kostov. But only a few months later Kolarov died. His death, too, grieved me greatly.
After the deaths of Dimitrov and Kolarov, people without authority or personality began to come to the head of the Bulgarian Communist party and state.
I have gone to Bulgaria several times on business, as well as on holidays with my wife and children. To tell the truth, I felt a special satisfaction in Bulgaria, probably because, although our two peoples are of quite different origin, during the centuries they had coexisted,
had languished under and fought against the same occupying power, the Ottomans, and are alike in many directions, especially in their modesty, hospitality, stability of character, the preservation of good traditions, folklore, etc.
Up to the time when Stalin died there was not the slightest shadow over our relations with the Bulgarians. We both loved the Soviet Union with a pure and sincere love.
I have talked with the Bulgarian leaders many times, have eaten and drunk with them, and have made trips all over Bulgaria. Even later, until we broke with Khrushchev, we had no ideological and political contradictions and they welcomed me warmly. Many of them, like Velko Chervenkov, Ganev, Tsola Dragocheva, Anton Yugov, etc., were not young. They were people of the older generation, who had worked abroad in exile with Dimitrov, or at home in illegality, and later had been in the prisons of Czar Boris. In the end, Todor Zhivkov emerged above them, a man who is the prototype of political mediocrity.
After the death of George Dimitrov, Velko Chervenkov became general secretary of the party. He was a big man, with greying hair and bags under the eyes. Whenever I met him in Bulgaria or in Moscow, he gave me the impression of a good fellow who walked with his arms flopping aimlessly, as if to say: «What am I doing at this fair? I am serving no purpose here.»
He must have been a just man, but lacking in will. At least this was my impression. He was extremely sparing in words. In official talks he said so little that, if you didn't know him, you would form the impression he was haughty. But he wasn't in the least haughty. He was a simple man. In non-official talks, when we ate together, and met with other Bulgarian comrades to exchange opinions, Velko sat in stony silence, with his mouth closed, as if he were not there at all. The others talked and laughed, but not he.
Chervenkov was Dimitrov's brother-in-law. He had married the sister of the great leader of Bulgaria. It is possible that a little of Dimitrov's glory and authority had descended on Velko Chervenkov, but Velko was quite incapable of becoming Dimitrov. Thus, just as he came to the head of the leadership of the Bulgarian Communist Party in silence, so he went without any fuss when he was thrown out. His ouster did not become any sort of issue, he was removed without any commotion leaving place of leadership in the party to Todor Zhivkov.
Thus, for Nikita, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Bulgaria had been settled. Rumania, too, where the party had some inglorious episodes in its history, was not to be left out of his aims and efforts, either.
We did not have any contacts with the Rumanians during the war, which is different from what occurred with the Yugoslavs, or with the Bulgarians, who once sent to our country Belgaranov, who informed us of the work in Macedonia, sought our help in organizing the struggle of the Albanians living in «Macedonian» territory occupied by the nazi-fascists. After the war, from the Soviets we had heard very good things about the Rumanian party and about Dej, as an old revolutionary, who had suffered greatly in the prisons of the Doftana. But to tell the truth, I was somewhat disappointed when I met him for the first time, in the meeting about the problem of the Yugoslav revisionists, which I mentioned above.
This is not the place to speak about my recollections of that meeting, but I want to stress that, from what I saw and heard in Rumania and from the conversations I had with Dej, the impression I formed about the Rumanian party and about Dej personally was not good.
Regardless of what the Rumanian leaders claimed, the dictatorship of the proletariat was not operating in Rumania and the Rumanian Workers' Party was not in a strong position. They declared that they were in power, but it was very evident that, in fact, the bourgeoisie was in power. It had industry, agriculture and trade in its hands and continued to fleece the Rumanian people and to live in luxurious villas and palaces. Dej personally travelled in a bullet-proof car with an armed escort, which showed how «secure- their positions were. Reaction was strong in Rumania and, had it not been for the Red Army, who knows how things would have gone in that country.
During our talks in those few days which I stayed in Bucharest, Dej bombarded us with his boasting about the «valour» they had displayed in forcing the abdication of the corrupt King Michael, whom they had not condemned for his crimes against the people, but had allowed to leave Rumania for the West, together with his wealth and his mistresses.
Dej's self-glorification was astonishing, especially when he told me how he «challenged» the reactionaries by going into their cafés with a pistol in his belt.
Thus, from this first meeting I formed a poor impression, not only of Dej, but also of the Rumanian party and its line, which was an opportunist line, and the things which occurred later with Dej and his party did not surprise me. The revisionist chiefs of that party were the most conceited you could imagine. They «blew their own trumpets». loudly about the fight which they had not fought.
When we began the struggle with the renegade Tito group, Dej became an «ardent fighter» against this group. In the historic meetings of the Information Bureau he was charged with delivering the main report against the Tito-Rankovic group.
As long as Stalin was alive and the Resolution of the Information Bureau remained in force, Dej performed like a rabid anti-Titoite. When the revisionist traitors, headed by Khrushchev, usurped power in their countries and did all those treacherous things we know about, and amongst others, proclaimed Tito clean and prettied him up, Dej was among the first to turn over the page and change his colour like a chameleon. He recanted all the things he had said, made a public self-criticism, and finally went to Brioni, where he publicly begged Tito's pardon. Thus Dej came out in his true colours as an opportunist of many flags.
After Liberation, we, of course, established friendly relations with Rumania, as with all the other countries of people's democracy. For our part, we greatly desired to develop our relations to the maximum with that country, especially with the Rumanian people, not only because we were two socialist countries, but also because we retained a special feeling of friendship and sympathy, formed because of the aid which had been given the Albanian patriots residing in Rumania during the period of our Renaissance. However, our efforts in this direction did not yield the results we desired because of the indifference of the Rumanian leadership. This had its own reasons which did not depend on our stands and desires.
Nevertheless, the relations between our two countries developed in a correct, although entirely formal manner. There was not the slightest warmth and special friendship for a small socialist country like ours, which had fought and sacrificed so much in the war against the fascist invaders, to be seen among the Rumanian leaders. Rumania was the socialist country which proved to be more indifferent than all the others in regard to the development of Albania and the activation of relations between our parties and states.
Later, when I went to Rumania with a delegation, during the visits we made there I saw many interesting things; they showed me many aspects of the progress they had made in the economy. I visited Ploesti, which, in comparison with our Kuçova, was a colossal centre of the oil industry. The oil there was subjected to a modern refining process and I remember that in the final meeting he had with me, Dej boasted that they had bought a very large and modern oil refinery from the Americans. (He told me that they had bought it for cash with dollars, but as it turned out later, it had been bought on credit. As early as that time, «socialist» Rumania was engaged in deals with American imperialism.) They showed me a metallurgical centre where many kinds of steel were produced, as well as a series of other factories of every kind, model agricultural farms, a big clothing combine, etc.
They showed me «the Rumanian Village», a big outdoor museum complex, which was an ensemble of rural buildings with the furnishings and clothing used in the Rumanian countryside, which was very beautiful and original.
We liked everything we saw and visited. They had many new buildings, but they had also inherited a very great deal from the past. True, the Rumanians had created agricultural cooperatives, but the work was not going well there; there was a lack of leadership, organization and political work. Nevertheless, on the whole, progress had been made in the country and it was obvious, as they told us themselves, that the Soviet aid was very great and in every direction, even including the construction of the big palace, where, at the time of our visit, «Scînteia» was published and various cultural activities were carried out.
In regard to aid for Albania, I must say that up till the time when our relations with the Yugoslavs were broken off, none of the countries of people's democracy assisted Albania with some small credit. Later, these countries, to a greater or lesser extent, did give us a certain amount of aid. Some did so quite correctly, at first, some with trickery and wiles, and others just to keep in line and to display their «socialist solidarity», or to show the Soviet Union, from which they received large amounts of credits and aid: «See, we too are giving socialist Albania something. When we have more we will give more.»
Several times we sought credits from the Rumanians, but they either refused us or gave us some ludicrously small sum. In regard to experience on oil, in industry and in agriculture, for example, they made us promises, gave us their word, but never gave us anything of any substance. As to experience of party work and the state structure, we neither asked for nor received anything from them.
Why was this more pronounced with the Rumanians, although even with the others we had great difficulties in securing their aid?
In the other parties, at first, there was a more or less tangible spirit of unity and mutual internationalist aid, and this was reflected towards us in practice. Whereas in the Rumanian party, this spirit of unity and aid was very weak.
In general the Rumanian leaders were prominent both for their megalomania towards «lesser mortals» and for their servility towards «the mighty». They cut their conversations with us very short, if they did not content themselves with a mere nod of recognition or a handshake. In meetings and congresses they were so «preoccupied» that it seemed as if they were carrying the entire weight upon their shoulders. On these occasions they were always to be seen together with the main leaders of the Soviet Union. Undoubtedly, they were their servile opportunist lackeys and this became quite obvious when it was necessary to fight in defence of principles.
In my opinion, the Czechoslovaks were different from the others. They were more serious than all of them. I have spoken about Gottwald, but it must be said that we Albanians also got along well with those who came after him. We were sincere with them, as with all the others, but the Czech leadership behaved well towards us, too. They had respect for our people and our Party. They were not very lively, but I can say they were restrained, correct and kindly.
Novotny and Shiroky, Dolansky and Kopecky, whom I have met and talked . with many times, when I went to their country on business or for holidays with the family, behaved openly and in a modest way with me and all our comrades. That conceit and arrogance, which was apparent in the others, was not to be seen in them.
After the Soviets, it was the Czechs who assisted us most from the economic angle, too. Naturally, when it was a question of granting credits, they were cool-headed and cautious, people who reckoned things carefully. In what they gave us, there was no obvious underestimation, or sense of their economic superiority. Amongst the countries of people's democracy, Czechoslovakia was the most industrially advanced; its people were industrious, skilful, systematic, orderly in work and life. Wherever you went in Czechoslovakia, it was obvious that it was a developed country, with a cultured people who preserved the traditions of their ancient culture. The Soviets used the country as a health resort, and abused it to the extent that they brought it to its present sate. The leaders of other countries of people's democracy were envious of the Czech leadership, and made vain gibes about it, but the Czechs displayed much more dignity than all the others. In the meetings of the socialist camp also, what the Czech leaders said carried weight. As far as I could see and judge, within the country, too, they enjoyed respect and sympathy.
When I went to Czechoslovakia I did not feel that heavy sense of isolation which was created in Moscow after Khrushchev took over the reins. As soon as we arrived in Moscow, they allocated us a dacha* *( country villa (Russian in the original).) on the outskirts of the city, where we remained isolated for whole days. Officials such 'as Lesakov, Moshatov, Petrov and some other minor functionary of the apparatus of the Central Committee of the party would be there or would come and go, usually to accompany us, but also to eat and drink. They were all people of the security service, dressed as functionaries of the Central Committee, i.e., people of the apparatus. Of these, Lesakov was my inseparable companion and billiards partner. He liked me and I liked him because, although he was not outstandingly intelligent, he was a good, sincere person. Moshatov came more rarely, appeared to be more important, prepared the journeys or fulfilled any request we might have to buy something, because you could find nothing easily in the market (you had to order everything in advance, because they brought the things ordered from some mysterious source to a special room in the «GUM» store, which had a special ,entrance for the Central Committee). Petrov was an apparatus man who had long been engaged with the Greeks and our company interested him for this reason. He was a serious comrade and liked us. He had come to Albania several times, especially when we were supporting the Greek Democratic Army in its just war. As if all these were not sufficient, later, other «escorts» were added, such as a certain
Laptiev, a young fellow who knew Albanian and who was swell-headed about the «position» they had given him, and another who dealt with Yugoslav affairs and whose name I don't remember, but whom I recall as more intelligent than all the others.
I was never free, I always had an escort. They were all Khrushchev's men, informers for the Central Committee and the Soviet security service, without taking account here of the official guards and the bugging devices with which they filled the various villas in which we stayed.
But that is another story. Let us pass over the devices and concentrate on the people.
These Soviet employees tried to find out our nastroyenie* *( mood (Russian in the original).) in order to learn what we were seeking, what we would raise, with whom we would raise it, what the situation was in our country, what we thought about the Yugoslavs, about the leaders of the Greek Communist Party, or any other matter. They knew why they came and we knew who sent them and why they were sent, therefore both sides were friendly, we talked about what interested us and waited for news to come from the Central Committee about when we were to meet. The chinovniki did not talk about politics, no doubt because they had orders about this, but even of they had wanted to open some conversation they did not dare, because they knew that every word would be recorded. We talked especially against the Titoite revisionists. You could not visit any collective farm or state farm, or make contact with the comrades or the people, without giving two or three days notice. And if you did go on a visit, they would sit you down at a table laden with drinks and fruit and you would see nothing, no cattle stall or collective farmer's house.
It is fair to say that it was different in Bulgaria. Wherever you went, the atmosphere was more comradely, with less formality and fewer guards.
In Czechoslovakia the difference was even greater. Whether in Prague, Bratislava, Karlovy Vary, Brno and many other places to which I have travelled, either officially or privately, I have been free to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, with one obvious guard and everywhere I have been welcomed in a very cordial and friendly way. In the course of a trip, they themselves spontaneously took me to strategic places. Wherever I have gone in Czechoslovakia, either in official talks or in free conversations with the families of Novotny and Shiroky in Prague and Karlovy Vary, or with Bacilek in Slovakia and with a number of party secretaries in various towns and factories, the conversations have been sincere, joyous, happy and not formal. There was not that heavy atmosphere which I felt in the Soviet Union, despite the great love we had for that country and that people.
After the break in relations with Tito, we travelled to the Soviet Union by sea, because the Yugoslavs did not permit us to fly over their territory. Thus, we have had to stay many times in Odessa where we met the famous Yepishev, the first secretary of Odessa and later, political director of the Soviet army. We saw none of the places of interest there. We did not see the famous catacombs of Odessa because they did not take us to visit them, nor even the historic Potemkin steps, because we would have had to walk down them. We saw these famous steps, which began from the statue of Richelieu, governor of the city at the start of the 19th century, only from the car.
«How is it possible,» I asked Yepishev, «that you keep this aristocratic French adventurer here, precisely at the head of the historic steps?!»
«Oh, he's just been left there,» replied the secretary of the Odessa party Committee.
But what did we do in Odessa? We were bored, smoked cigarettes, went to the park of the «Kirov» villa, went to a room with an old billiard-table. We did not go to visit any museum or school, the only place he took us was to a vineyard, and there only so that he could taste and drink some of the bottles of selected wines which they kept in the nearby cellars.
This was what usually happened in the Soviet Union. Only at priyoms would you shake hands with some personality. When you went to a factory or a house of culture in Leningrad, Kiev or elsewhere, everything was organized: the workers were lined up waiting, a speech of introduction was made by a certain Kozlov, who, puffed up like a turkeycock, spoke with his voice made artificially deep in order to show himself omnipotent, and then people appointed in advance and told what they were to say, made speeches of welcome.
It was quite the opposite in Czechoslovakia, where the people, the leaders, and the factory workers would speak freely, ask questions and reply to everything you asked. There you could travel freely whenever you liked, by car or on foot.
I have always taken an interest in the history of nations and peoples. There are many historic places in Czechoslovakia. I visited the place where the Taborite uprising took place and saw those characteristic villages through which Zizka had passed and in which he fought. I visited Austerlitz and from the museum hill I looked over the battlefield and imagined Bonaparte's historic manoeuvre and the sudden appearance of his troops on the Austrian flanks, precisely at the time the sun was rising over Austerlitz. I remembered the battles of Wallenstein and Schiller's famous trilogy. I asked the Czech comrades:
«Is there any museum about this historic personality?
«Of course,» they said, and took me immediately to a palace, which was the Wallenstein Museum.
I went hunting deer many times. They had a special ceremony which was performed over the dead deer. To honour the body of the deer, you would break off a pine twig, dip it in the animal's blood and then stick the twig like a feather in your hat-band.
One day when I was out hunting I found myself in front of a big château.* *( French in the original.
) I asked:
«What is that building?»
«It is one of Metternich's residences,» they told me, «now it is a museum.»
«Can we visit it?» I asked the comrades accompanying me.
«Of course,» they replied.
We went in and looked at everything. The competent guide gave us full explanations. I recall that I went into Metternich's library, full of beautifully bound books. When we came out of the library, we passed a closed door and the guide told us
«In here there is a mummy which was sent as a gift from Egypt to the Chancellor of Austria, the assassin of Napoleon's exiled son, the King of Rome.»
«Open it up,» I said, «let us see this mummy, because I am very interested in Egyptology and have read many books about it, especially about the findings of the scientist Carter, Carnarvon's associate, who discovered the undamaged tomb of Tutankhamen.»
«No,» said the guide, «I won't open that door.»
«Why?» I asked surprised.
«Because some misfortune might befall me, I might die.»
The Czech comrades laughed at him and said:
«What are you telling us, come on, open it up!»
The guide stuck to his guns and finally said:
«Here, take the key, open the door yourselves and have a look. I am not going inside and I won't take any responsibility.»
The Czech comrade escorting me opened the door, we turned on the lights and saw the mummy, completely black in a wooden sarcophagus. We closed the door, gave the key back to the guide, shook hands with him, thanked him, and left.
On our way out, the Czech comrade said to me:
«There are still superstitious people who believe in magic like that guide we saw.»
«No,» I said, «the guide is a man of learning, and not superstitious. The books on Egyptology say that nearly all the scientists who have discovered the mummies of Pharaohs have died in some mysterious way. There are many theories which say that the ancient Egyptian priests who lived about three thousand years before our era, were great scientists and to protect the mummies from robbers lined the walls with rock that contained uranium. It is said that in the sarcophagus chamber they burned plants which released powerful poisons. It has been proved that the structure of the pyramids is a rare miracle from the geometrical aspect in which sometimes the apex of the pyramid, like that of Cheops, coincides with a given star, or as occurs in the Valley of the Kings, in stated years, at a given hour of the day the rays of the sun entered into the depths of the corridor and lit up the forehead of the statue of the Pharaoh.»
My Czech escort, Pavel he was called, who was a good, kindly, modest chap, changed his opinion about the guide, and was interested to know more.
The Czechs themselves took me to Slovakia to show me the figure of our National Hero, Skanderbeg, amongst other outstanding historical figures in an old mural on the portico of a monastery. I went to a small spa, at one time called Marienbad, in Sudetenland, to visit the historic house where Goethe lived. Here, in his old age, Goethe fell in love with a very young «Gretchen» and wrote his famous «Elegy of Marienbad».
I mention all these things to show the reality in Czechoslovakia and the good disposition of the Czechs towards us. However, they behaved in the same way with everybody. Even the Soviets felt themselves different people when they went to Czechoslovakia.
In Czechoslovakia I talked in a park for several hours with Rokossovsky and Konev, who, in the Kremlin would merely shake hands. I had to go hunting in Czechoslovakia to meet the president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukraine and for Nina Khrushcheva to invite Nexhmije and me to tea. I had to go
to Czechoslovakia to talk to General Antonov and others.
But as I said above, after the death of Gottwald, the Khrushchevites were getting their grip on Czechoslovakia. It seemed that Novotny, as the first secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, adhered to correct positions, but time showed that he was a wavering opportunist element, and thus, in one way or another, he did the work for Khrushchev and Co. He played a major role in carrying through the plans which made Czechoslovakia a dominion occupied by Russian tanks.
Thus, the revisionist spider-web was being spun in the countries of people's democracy. The old leaders like Dimitrov, Gottwald and later, Bierut and others, were replaced with younger ones, who seemed suitable to the Soviet leaders, at least at that stage.
With the German Democratic Republic they considered the problem solved, because East Germany was heavily occupied by Soviet troops. We considered this necessary because no peace treaty had been signed, and as well as this, the Soviet army in Germany served to defend not only this socialist country, but also the socialist camp.
With the East Germans we had good relations as long as Pieck was alive. He was an old revolutionary and comrade of Stalin, for whom I had great respect. I met Pieck in 1959 when.
I was heading a delegation to the GDR. By that time Pieck was old and sick. He gave me a kindly welcome, and listened to me cheerfully when I spoke about our friendship and told him of Albania's progress (he could hardly speak because of his paralysis).
In his last years Pieck apparently did not effectively lead the country and the party. He had been given the honorary position of President of the Republic and Ulbricht and Grottewohl and Co. ran things.
Ulbricht had not shown any sign of open h hostility to our Party until we fell out with the Soviets and with him. He was a haughty, stiff-necked German, hot only with small parties like ours, but also with the others. He had this opinion about relations with the Soviets: «You have occupied us, you have stripped us of industry, but now you must supply us with big credits and food, so that Democratic Germany will build up and reach the level of the German Federal Republic.» He demanded such credits arrogantly and he got them. He forced Khrushchev to say in a joint meeting: «We must assist Germany so that it becomes .our show-case to the West.» And Ulbricht did not hesitate to tell the Soviets in our presence: «You must speed up your aid because there is bureaucracy.»
«Where is the bureaucracy,» asked Mikoyan «in your country?»
«No, not at all in our country but in yours,» replied Ulbricht.
However, while he received great aid for himself, he was never ready to help the others, and gave us a ludicrous credit. When we attacked the Khrushchevites in Moscow, both in the meeting and after it, he proved to be one of our most ferocious opponents and was the first to attack our Party publicly after the Moscow Meeting.
The Khrushchevites wanted to have not only the countries of people's democracy, but also the whole international communist movement, under their direction.
I shall speak elsewhere about the revisionist and opportunist views and stands of such leaders as Togliatti, Thorez, etc., but I want to stress here that, after the death of Stalin, both Togliatti and the others began to express their revisionist views more openly, because they sensed that Khrushchev and his circle were their ideological and political allies, because they saw Khrushchev's opportunist line towards the Titoites, the social-democrats, the bourgeoisie, etc. This line which Khrushchev was building up suited Togliatti and Co., who, to one degree or another, had long been following the line of collaboration with the bourgeois parties and the bourgeois governments of their own countries, and fighting and dreaming that they would become the sponsors of marriages of convenience and take seats in those governments. These tendencies were latent at first, were displayed hesitantly, but after the 20th Congress they bloomed into «theories», like Togliatti's famous «polycentrism,» or his «Italian road to socialism.»
Of course, within the world communist movement, the Khrushchevites did not come out with a completely open revisionist platform right from the start. Just as within the Soviet Union, they tried to adopt a flexible line, in order to avoid arousing an immediate reaction in either their own party or the others. The «Leninism» of which they spoke, the odd good word dropped here or there about Stalin, their noisy advertisement of «Leninist principles in the relations among the socialist countries», served to disguise the plots they were hatching up, and to gradually prepare the ground for their subsequent frontal attack. This they launched at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There they laid their cards on the table, because Khrushchev and Co. had worked for a long time to paralyze any possible reaction inside or outside the country.
6. THE OFFICIAL PROCLAMATION OF REVISIONISM
The 20th Congress of the CPSU. Khrushvhev's theses - the charter of modem revisionism. The -secret» report against Stalin. Togliatti demands recognition of his «merits». Tito in the Soviet Union. Molotov is dismissed from the task of foreign minister. Abortive attempt of the «anti-party group». The end of the career of Marshal Zhukov. Another victim of the Khrushchevites' backstage manoeuvres: Kirichenko. May 1956: Suslov demands that we rehabilitate Koçi Xoxe and company. Dune 1956: . Tito and Khrushchev are displeased with us. July 1957: Khrushchev arranges a dinner in Moscow so that we meet Rankovic and Kardelj.
The betrayal at the top of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union .and of the country where the October Socialist Revolution was carried out, was an all-round attack on the name and great teachings of Lenin, and especially on the name and work of Stalin.
In the framework of its post-Second World War strategy, imperialism, headed by American imperialism, when it saw the first vacillations and retreats of the new Soviet leadership, further intensified its all-round attacks and pressure to force Khrushchev and company to go further and further down the road of capitulation and betrayal. The «striving» and big expenditure of imperialism in this counter-revolutionary direction were not in vain. Having set out on their course of concessions and betrayal, Khrushchev and his henchmen were continually justifying the long-standing efforts and the old desires of imperialism.
When they thought that they had strengthened their positions, had control of the army through the marshals, had turned the security force to their course, had won over the majority of the Central Committee, Khrushchev, Mikoyan and the other Khrushchevites prepared the notorious 20th Congaess held in February 1956, at which they delivered the «secret» report against Stalin.
This congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has gone down in history as the congress which officially legalized the thoroughly anti-Marxist, anti-socialist theses of Nikita Khrushchev and his collaborators, as the congress which flung the doors open to the penetration of alien, bourgeois-revisionist ideology in a series of communist and workers' parties of the former socialist countries and the capitalist countries. All the distortions of the major issues of principle, such as those about the character of our epoch, the roads of transition to socialism, peaceful coexistence, war and peace, the stand towards modern revisionism and towards imperialism, etc., etc., which later became the basis of the great, open polemic with modern revisionism, have their official beginning in Khrushchev's report to the 20th Congress.
From the time Stalin died to the 20th Congress, the Khrushchevite conspirators manoeuvred cunningly with «bureaucratic legality», «the rules of the party», -collective leadership» and -democratic centralism», shed crocodile tears over the loss of Stalin, thus step by step preparing to torpedo the work of Stalin, his personality and Marxism-Leninism. This is a period full of lessons for the Marxist-Leninists, because it brings out the bankruptcy of «bureaucratic legality», which represents a great danger to a Marxist-Leninist party, brings out the methods which the revisionists used to profit from this «bureaucratic legality», brings out how leaders, who are honest and experienced but who have lost the revolutionary class spirit, fall into the traps of intriguers and give way, retreat before the blackmail and demagogy of revisionist traitors disguised with revolutionary phraseology. In this transition period we saw how the Khrushchevites, in order to consolidate their power, operated allegedly with «a great party spirit», «free from the fear of Stalin», with «truly democratic and Leninist forms», about which they set up a great clamour, while they worked actively to organize the filthiest slanders which only the bourgeoisie has been able to concoct against the Soviet Union, Stalin and the entire socialist order. All these monstrous calumnies of the Khrushchevite revisionists, all their destructive activity, were intended to «prove», allegedly with legal documents, with «arguments» and «analyses in the new spirit», the slanders which the reactionary bourgeoisie had been spreading for many years against Marxism-Leninism, the revolution and socialism.
Every good thing of the past was distorted, allegedly in the light of the -new situations», «new developments», «new roads and possibilities», in order to go ahead.
Many were misled by this demagogy of traitors. However, the Party of Labour of Albania was not misled. It has made a detailed principled analysis of this question and has had its say in defence of the Marxist-Leninist truth long ago.
Together with Comrades Mehmet Shehu and Gogo Nushi, I was appointed by our Party to take part in the proceedings of the 20th Congress. The opportunist «new spirit», which Khrushchev was arousing and activating, was apparent in the way in which the proceedings of this congress were organized and conducted. This liberal spirit pervaded the whole atmosphere, the Soviet press and propaganda of those days like an ominous cloud; it prevailed in the corridors and the congress halls, it was apparent in people's faces, gestures and words.
The former seriousness, characteristic of such extremely important events in the life of a party and a country, was missing. Even non-party people spoke during the proceedings of the congress. In the breaks between sessions, Khrushchev and company strolled through the halls and corridors, laughing and competing with one another as to who could tell the most anecdotes, make the most wisecracks and show himself the most popular, who could drink the most toasts at the heavily laden tables which were placed everywhere.
With all this, Khrushchev wanted to reinforce the idea that the «grave period», the «dictatorship» and «gloomy analysis» of things were over once and for all and the «new period» of «democracy», «freedom», the «creative examination» of events and phenomena, whether inside or outside the Soviet Union, was officially beginning.
In fact, the first report delivered by Khrushchev at the congress, which was trumpeted loudly as a «colossal contribution» to the fund of Marxism-Leninism and a «creative development» of our science, constitutes the official charter of modern revisionism. From those days on, the bourgeoisie and reaction gave exceptional publicity to Khrushchev's -new developments», spoke openly about the radical changes which were occurring in the Soviet Union and in the political and ideological line of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
While they gleefully welcomed Khrushchev's great and radical about-turn, reaction and the bourgeoisie, at the same time, did not fail to describe this turn on some occasions as «more dangerous» to their interests than the line of the time of Stalin. Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites
used these +criticisms» by the bourgeoisie as arguments to convince the others that the «new line» was «correct- and « Marxist», but in fact, the fear of the international bourgeoisie had another source: in Khrushchev and his «new policy» it saw not only a new ally, but also a new and dangerous rival for spheres of influence, plunder, wars and invasions.
On the last day, the congress proceeded behind closed doors, because the elections were to be held, and we were not present at the sessions. In fact that day, besides the elections, a second report by Khrushchev was read to the delegates. It was the notorious, so-called secret report against Stalin, but which had been sent in advance to the Yugoslav leaders, and a few days later it fell into the hands of the bourgeoisie and reaction as a new «gift» from Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites.
After it was discussed by the delegates to the congress, this report was given to us and all the other foreign delegations to read.
Only the first secretaries of sister parties taking part in the congress read it. I spent all night reading it, and extremely shocked, gave it to Mehmet and Gogo to read. We had known in advance that Khrushchev and company had cancelled out the glorious work and figure of Stalin and we saw this during the proceedings of the congress in which his name was never mentioned in favourable terms. But we could never have imagined that all those monstrous accusations and calumnies against the great and unforgettable Stalin could have been put on paper by the Soviet leaders. Nevertheless, there it was in black and white. It had been read to the Soviet communists, who were delegates to the congress, and had been given to the representatives of other parties taking part in the congress to read. Our hearts and minds were deeply and gravely shocked. Amongst ourselves we said that this was a villany which had gone beyond all bounds, with catastrophic consequences for the Soviet Union and the movement, and that in those tragic circumstances, the duty of our Party was to stand firm on its own Marxist-Leninist positions.
After we had read it we immediately returned the terrible report to its owners. We had no need for that package of filthy accusations which Khrushchev had concocted. It was other «communists» who took it away to give to reaction and to sell by the ton in their book-stalls as a profitable business.
We returned to Albania heart-broken over what we had seen and heard in the homeland of Lenin and Stalin, but at the same time we returned with a great lesson that we must be more vigilant and more alert towards the activities and stands of Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites.
Only a few days later the black smoke of the ideas of the 20th Congress began to spread everywhere.
Palmiro Togliatti, our near neighbour, who had shown himself to be the most remote and unapproachable towards us, was among the first to come out in his party beating his breast. Not only did he praise to the skies the new «prospects» which the congress of the Soviet revisionists opened, but he demanded that his merits should be recognized as the precursor of Khrushchev in regard to many of the new theses and as «an old fighter» for those ideas. «In regard to our party,» declared Togliatti in March 1956, «it seems to me that we have acted courageously. We have always been interested in finding our own way, the Italian way, of development towards socialism.»
The revisionists of Belgrade rejoiced and aroused themselves as never before, while the other parties of the countries of people's democracy began, not only to envisage the future, but also to re-examine the past, in the spirit of Khrushchev's theses. Revisionist elements, who up till yesterday had kept under cover while they poured out their poison, now came out openly to settle accounts with their opponents; the wave of rehabilitations of condemned traitors and enemies erupted, the doors of prisons were opened and many of those who had been condemned were placed directly in the leadership of the parties.
The Khrushchev clique was the first to set the example. At the 20th Congress, Khrushchev boasted that more than 7,000 persons condemned in the time of Stalin had been liberated from the prisons of the Soviet Union and rehabilitated. This process was to continue and be deepened.
Khrushchev and Mikoyan began to liquidate, one by one, and finally all together, those members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the party whom they were to describe as an «anti-party group». After they brought down Malenkov, replacing him temporarily with Bulganin; Molotov's turn came. This took place on June 2, 1956. That day the newspaper «Pravda» carried a huge photograph of Tito on the front page and the dobro pozhalovat!* *( welcome (Russian in the original).) to the head of the Belgrade clique arriving in Moscow, and page four ended a report of daily events with the «news» about the removal of Molotov from the post of foreign minister of the Soviet Union. The report said that Molotov had been released from this position «at his own request», but in fact he was released because this was a condition laid down by Tito for his coming to the Soviet Union for the first time since the breaking off of relations in 1948-1949. And Khrushchev and company immediately fulfilled the condition set by Belgrade for Tito's satisfaction, since Molotov, together with Stalin, had signed the letters which the Soviet leadership had sent the Yugoslav leadership in 1948.
The positions of the revisionist reactionaries were becoming stronger and their opponents in the Presidium, Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov and others, now began to see more clearly the revisionist intrigue and the diabolical plans which Khrushchev hatched up against the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat. At a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the party in the Kremlin, in the swnmer of 1957, after many criticisms, Khrushchev was left in the minority, and, as Polyansky told us from his own mouth, Khrushchev was dismissed from the task of the first secretary and was appointed minister of agriculture, since he was an «expert on kukuruza»*. *(maize (Russian in the original) However, this situation did not last more than a few hours. Khrushchev and his supporters secretly gave the alarm, the marshals surrounded the Kremlin with tanks and soldiers and gave orders that not even a fly was to leave the Kremlin. On the other hand, aircraft were sent to the four corners of the Soviet Union to gather up the members of the Plenum of the CC of the CPSU. «Then,» said Polyansky, this product of Khrushchev, «we entered the Kremlin and demanded admission to the meeting. Voroshilov came out and asked what we wanted. When we told him that we wanted to enter the meeting, he cut us short. When we threatened to use force he said: 'What does all this mean?' But we warned him: 'Mind your words, otherwise we shall arrest you.' We entered the meeting and changed the situation.» Khrushchev was restored to power.
Thus, after this forlorn attempt, these former co-fighters of Stalin's, who had associated themselves with the slanders made against his glorious work, were described as an «anti-party group» and received the final blow from the Khrushchevites. No one wept over them, no one pitied them. They had lost the revolutionary spirit, were no longer Marxist-Leninists, but corpses of Bolshevism. They had united with Khrushchev and allowed mud to be thrown at Stalin and his work; they tried to do something, but not on the party road, because for them, too, the party did not exist.
All those who opposed Khrushchev, in one way or another, or were no longer necessary to him, were to suffer the same fate. For years on end the «great merits» of Zhukov were publicized, his activity during the Great Patriotic War was used to throw mud at Stalin, and as minister of defence his hand was used for the triumph of Khrushchev's putsch. But later, we suddenly learned that he had been discharged from the functions he held. During those days Zhukov was on a visit to our country. We welcomed him warmly as an old cadre and hero of the Stalinist Red Army, talked about problems of the defence of our country and the socialist camp, and did not notice anything disturbing in his opinions. On the contrary, since he had come from Yugoslavia, where he had been on a visit, he told us: «With what I saw in Yugoslavia, I don't understand what sort of socialist country it is!» From this we sensed that he was not of one mind with Khrushchev. On the very day that he left, we learned that he had been removed from the post of minister of defence of the USSR for «mistakes» and «grave faults» in his application of the «line of the party», for violations of the «law in the army», etc., etc. I cannot say whether or not Zhukov was guilty of mistakes and faults in these directions, but it is possible that the reasons went deeper.
In one meeting at Khrushchev's, their attitude towards Zhukov had made an impression on me. I can't remember what year it was, but it was summer and I was on holiday in the south of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev had asked me to lunch. The local people there were Mikoyan, Kirichenko, Nina Petrovna (Khrushchev's wife), and some others. Apart from me, Ulbricht and Grotewohl were there as foreign guests. We were sitting outside, eating and drinking on the verandah. When Zhukov came, Khrushchev invited him to sit down. Zhukov seemed out of sorts. Mikoyan got up and said to him:
«I am the tamada*, *( master of ceremonies (Russian in the original).) fill your glass!
«I cani drink,» said Zhukov, «I am not well.»
«Fill it, I say,» insisted Mikoyan in an authoritarian tone, «I give the orders here, not you.»
Nina Khrushcheva intervened:
«Doni force him when it harms him, Anastasiy Ivanovich,» she said to Mikoyan:
Zhukov said nothing and did not fill his glass. Khrushchev changed the subject by cracking jokes with Mikoyan.
Can it be that the contradictions with Zhukov had begun to a .rise as early as that, and they had begun to insult him and to show him that others were giving the orders and not he? Perhaps Khrushchev and company had begun to fear the power which they themselves had given Zhukov in order to seize state power, and that is why they accused him of «Bonapartism» later. Could it possibly be that information about Zhukov's views on Yugoslavia reached Khrushchev before Zhukov returned to the Soviet Union? In any case, Zhukov was eliminated from the political scene despite his four «Hero of the Soviet Union» stars, a series of orders of Lenin, and countless other decorations.
After the 20th Congress, Khrushchev elevated Kirichenko to the top and made him one of the main figures of the leadership. I had met him in Kiev many years before, when he was first secretary of the Ukraine. This big florid-faced man who did not make a bad impression on me, did not welcome me haughtily or as a mere formality. Kirichenko accompanied me to many placa which I saw for the first time, showed me the main street of Kiev, which had been built entirely new, took me to the place called Babi Yar, notorious as the site of the massacre of Jews by the nazis. We also went together to the Opera, where we saw a performance about Bogdan Khmelnitsky, whom, I remember, he compared with our Skanderbeg. I was pleased about this, although I was sure that Kirichenko had remembered only the nanne of Skanderbeg from all that the chinovniki had told him about the history of Albania. He did not fail to respond to my love for Stalin with the same terms and expressions of admiration and loyalty. However, since he was from the Ukraine, Kirichenko did not fail to speak about Khrushchev, too, about his «wisdom, ability, energy», etc. I did not see anything wrong with these expressions which seemed natural to me at that time.
In the Kremlin I frequently had occasion to sit at the table beside Kirichenko and talk to him. After Stalin's death, many banquets were organized, because, at that period it was usually only at banquets that one met the leaders of the Soviet Union. The tables were set day and night, laden with food and drink to the point of revulsion. When I saw the Soviet comrades eating and drinking, I was reminded of Gargantua of Rabelais. These things occurred after the death of Stalin, when Soviet diplomacy was carried out through priyoms, and Khrushchevite «communism» was illustrated, apart from other things, with banquets, with caviar, and the wines of the Crimea.
At one of these priyoms, when I was sitting near Kirichenko, I said to Khrushchev in a loud voice
«You must come to visit Albania some time, because you have gone everywhere else.»
«I shall come,» replied Khrushchev.
Kirichenko jumped in at once and said to Khrushchev:
«Albania is far away, so don't promise when you will go and how many days you will stay.»
Of course, I did not like this intervention of his and asked:
«Why are you ill-disposed towards our country?»
He feigned regret over the incident, and to explain his gesture, said to me:
«Nikita Khrushchev is not well at present. We must look after him.»
This was just a tale. Khrushchev was as healthy as a pig, and ate and drank enough for four.
Another time (at a reception, of course, as usual), I happened to be seated near Kirichenko again. Nexhmije was with me, too. It was July 1957, the time when Khrushchev had fixed things up with the Titoites and was flattering them, as well as exerting pressure on them. The Titoites seemed to like the flattery, while as to the pressure and the stabs in the back, they gave as good as they got. Khrushchev had informed me the night before, «in order to get my permission», that he was going to ask me to this dinner at which Zhivkov and his wife, as well as Rankovic and Kardelj, with their wives, would be present. As was his custom, Khrushchev cracked jokes with Mikoyan. This is the way they combined their roles, with Khrushchev accompanying his arrows, trickery, wiles, lies, and threats with jibes at «Anastasiy» who played the «king's jester».
When he finished his introduction with jokes with the «king's jester», Khrushchev, in proposing a toast, started to give us a lecture about the three-sided friendship that ought to exist between Albania. Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and the four-sided friendship, between the Soviet Union, Albania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
«The relations of the Soviet Union with Yugoslavia have not proceeded in a straight 1ine.he said. «At first they were good. then they were cool, then they were broken off. and later, following our visit to Belgrade it seemed they were put right. Then the rocket went up (he was referring to events of October-November 1956 in Hungary), and they were ruined again, but now the objective and subjective conditions have been created for them to improve. Meanwhile the relations of Yugoslavia with Albania and Bulgaria have not yet been improved, and as I told Rankovic and Kardelj earlier, the Yugoslavs must stop their undercover activity against those countries.»
«It is the Albanians who do not leave us in peace,» interjected Rankovic.
Then I intervened and listed for Rankov ic the anti-P lbanian actions, sabotage. subversion. and the plots which they organized against us. That night we had Khrushchev «on our side». but he soft-pedalled his criticisms of the Yugoslavs.
«I don’t understand this name of your party. the 'League of Communists of Yugoslavia'.» said Khrushchev, waving his glass. «What is this word 'League'? Besides, you Yugoslavs don't like the term 'socialist camp'. But tell us. what should we call it, the 'neutral camp', the 'camp of neutral countries'? We are all socialist countries, or are you not a socialist country?»
«We are, of course, we are!» said Kardelj.
«Then come and join us, we are the majority,» replied Khrushchev.
Khrushchev was on his feet throughout all this discourse, interspersed with shouts and gestures, and full of «criticisrns» of the Yugoslavs, which he delivered in the context of his efforts to stand over Tito, who never agreed to consider Khrushchev as the «head» of the council.
Kirichenko, who was beside me, listened in silence. Later he asked me in a low voice:
«Who is this woman beside me?»
«My wife, Nexhmije,» I replied.
«Couldn't you have told me earlier? I have been keeping my mouth shut, thinking that she is the wife of one of them,» he told me, indicating the Yugoslavs. He exchanged greetings with Nexhmije and then began to abuse the Yugoslavs.
Meanwhile Khrushchev continued his «criticisms» of the Yugoslavs and tried to convince them that it was he (of course, under the name of the Soviet Union and the Soviet communist party), and no one else who ought to be at the «head». He was getting at Tito, who, for his part, tried to place himself and the Yugoslav party above everyone.
«It would be ridiculous,» he told them, «for us to be at the head of the camp if the other parties did not think us worthy, just as it would be ridiculous for any other party to consider itself at the head when the others do not consider it so.»
Kardelj and Rankovic replied coolly, making great efforts to appear calm, but it was very easy to understand that internally they were boiling. Tito had instructed them to defend his positions well and they wanted to do their master's bidding.
The dialogue between them was dragging on, frequently interrupted by the shouts of Khrushchev, but I was no longer listening. Apart from the reply I gave Rankovic, when he made the accusation that we had interfered in their affairs, I exchanged not one word with them. I talked the whole time with Kirichenko, who left nothing unsaid against the Yugoslavs and described the whole stand of our Party towards the revisionist leadership of Yugoslavia as very correct.
But. this Kirichenko. also. was slapped down by Khrushchev later. Although foreign observers for a time, considered him to rank second after Khrushchev, he was sent to a small remote town of Russia, without doubt, virtually in exile. One of our military students told us when he returned to Albania:
«I was travelling on a train and a Soviet passenger came and sat down beside me, pulled out the paper and began to read. After a while he laid down the paper and, as is customary, asked me: 'Where are you going?' I told him. Noticing the accent with which I spoke Russian, he asked me: 'What is your nationality?' 'I am an Albanian,' I said. The traveller was surprised, but pleased, looked at the door of the carriage, turned to me, and shook my hand warmly, saying: 'I admire the Albanians'. I was surprised by his stand,» said our officer, «because at this time the fight with the Khrushchevites had begun». It was the period after the Meeting of 81 parties. «'Who are you?' I asked,» related the officer. «'I am Kirichenko,' he told me. When he told me his name, I realized who he was,» our officer told us, «and I prepared myself to talk to him, but he straight away said: 'Shall we play dominoes?' 'All right,' I replied, and he pulled the box of dominoes out of his pocket and we began the game. I quickly understood why he wanted to play dominoes. He wanted to tell me something and to cover his voice with the rattle of the dominoes on the table. And he began: 'Good for your Party, which exposed Khrushchev. Long live Enver Hoxha ! Long live socialist Albania !' And in this way we continued a very friendly talk, covered by the rattle of the dominoes. While we were talking, other people entered the compartment. He placed the last domino saying: 'Doni yield, give Enver my best wishes!' and took the newspaper and started to read it as if we had never met,» said our officer in conclusion.
Khrushchev and company did everything possible to spread and cultivate their openly revisionist line and their anti-Marxist, putschist actions and methods in all the other communist and workers' parties. We saw how Khrushchevism
began to flourish very quickly in Bulgaria and Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Rumania and Czechoslovakia. The process of large-scale rehabilitations, disguised as the «correction of mistakes made in the paste, was transformed into an unprecedented campaign in all the former countries of people's democracy. The doors of the prisons were opened everywhere, the chiefs of other parties were competing with each other as to who would be quickest to release the most condemned enemies from the prisons, and who would give them the most positions right up to the head of the party and the state. Every day the newspapers and magazines of these parties published communiqués and reports about this spring of the revisionist mafia; the pages of the press were filled with the speeches of Tito, Ulbricht, and other revisionist chiefs, while «Pravda» and TASS hastened to report these events and to spread them as «advanced examples».
We saw what was occurring and felt the pressure mounting against us from all sides, but we did not waver a fraction from our course and our line.
This could not fail to anger Tito and company, first of all, because, exalted by the decisions of the 20th Congress and what was occurring in other countries, they expected a cataclysm in Albania, too. The activity of the Titoites who worked in the Yugoslav Embassy in Tirana, against our Party and country, was stepped up.
Taking advantage of our correct behaviour and the facilities we had provided for them to carry out their task, the Yugoslav diplomats in Tirana, on orders and instructions from Belgrade, started to arouse and reactivate their old agents in our country, instructed them and gave them the signal to attack. The attempt to attack the leadership of our Party at the Tirana Conference in April 1956, an attempt which failed, was the work of the Belgrade revisionists but, at the same time, it was also the work of Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites. With their revisionist theses and ideas, the latter were the inspirers of the plot, while the Titoites and their secret agents were the organizers.
When they saw that this plot had failed, the Soviet leaders, who posed as our friends to the death and men of principle, did not fail to make demands and exert pressure on us openly.
On the eve of the 3rd Congress of our Party, which was held at the end of May and the beginning of June 1956, Suslov quite openly demanded that our leadership should «re-examine» and «correct» its line in the past.
«There is nothing for our Party to re-examine in its line,» we told him bluntly. «We have never permitted serious mistakes of principle in our line.
«You should re-examine the case of Koçi Xoxe and his comrades, whom you condemned earlier,» Suslov told us.
«They were and still are traitors and enemies of our Party and people, enemies of the Soviet Union and socialism,» we replied bluntly. «If their trials were reviewed a hundred times, they would be described only as enemies a hundred times. Such was the nature of their activity.»
Then Suslov began to speak about the things that were occurring in the other parties and the Soviet party in regard to looking at this problem with a «more generous», -more humane» eye.
«This has made a great impression on and has been welcomed by the peoples,» he said. «This is what should occur with you too.»
«If we were to rehabilitate the enemies and traitors, those who wanted to place the country in the chains of a new slavery, our people would stone us,» we told Khrushchev's ideologist.
When he saw that he was getting nowhere with this, Suslov changed his tack.
«All right,» he said, «since you are convinced they are enemies, that is what they must be. But there is one thing you should do: you should refrain from speaking of their links with the Yugoslavs and should no longer describe them as agents of Belgrade.»
«Here we are speaking of the truth,» we said. «And the truth is that Koçi Xoxe and his collaborators in the plot were downright agents of the Yugoslav revisionists. We have made known world-wide the links of Kogi Xoxe with the Yugoslavs for hostile activities against our Party and country and the great mass of facts which prove this. The Soviet leadership knows them very well. Perhaps you have not had the chance to acquaint yourself with the facts and, since you persist in your opinion, let us present some of them to you.»
Suslov could hardly contain his temper. We calmly listed some of the main facts and finally stressed
«This is the truth about the links of Koçi Xoxe with the Yugoslav revisionists.»
«Da, da,»* *( Yes, yes (russian in the original).) he repeated impatiently.
«And how can we distort this truth?!» we asked him. «Is it permissible for a party to conceal or distort what has been proved with countless facts, to please this or that person?»
Suslov snorted, «But there is no other way you can repair your relations with Yugoslavia.»
Everything had become more than clear to us. Behind the «fraternal» intervention of Suslov lurked the Khrushchev-Tito deals. The Tito group, which had now gained ground, was certainly demanding as much as possible space, along with economic, military and political advantages. Tito had insisted with Khrushchev that the Titoite traitors such as Koçi Xoxe, Rajk, Kostov, etc., be rehabilitated. While Tito achieved this aim in Hungary, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia, he was quite unable to do so in our country. In those countries the traitors were rehabilitated and the Marxist-Leninist party leaderships were undermined. This was the joint work of Khrushchev and Tito. With our resolute and unwavering stand towards him, we were a thorn in Tito's flesh. And if the enemies dared to undertake actions against us, we would counteract. Tito had long known this, and Khrushchev knew it and was becoming convinced of it, too. He, of course, was inclined to restrict Tito's roads and not allow him to graze in the «pastures» which Khrushchev considered his own.
About 15 to 20 days after the 3rd Congress of our Party, in June 1956, I was in Moscow for a consultation, about which I spoke above, in which the leaders of the parties of all the socialist countries took part. Although the purpose of the consultation was to discuss economic problems, Khrushchev, as was his custom, took the opportunity to raise all the other problems.
There, in the presence of all the representatives of the other parties, he admitted with his own mouth the pressure which Tito had exerted on him for the rehabilitation of Koçi Xoxe and other enemies condemned in Albania.
«With Tito,» said Khrushchev among other things, «we talked about the relations of Yugoslavia with the other states. Tito was pleased with the Poles, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Bulgarians and the others, but he spoke very angrily about Albania, thumping his fist and stamping his feet. 'The Albanians are not in order, they are not on the right road,' Tito told me, 'they do not recognize the mistakes they have made and have understood nothing from all these things that are taking place'.»
In fact, by repeating Tito's words and accusations Khrushchev found the opportunity to pour out all the spite and ire he felt against us, because at the congress we did not rehabilitate Koçi Xoxe, «whom Tito described as a great patriot,» stressed Khrushchev.
«When Tito spoke about the Albanian comrades he was trembling with rage, but I opposed him and said to him, 'These are the internal affairs of the Albanian comrades, and they will know how to solve them,'» said Khrushchev, continuing his «report», trying to convince us that he had had a great «quarrel» with Tito. However, we were now well aware of the meaning of the never ending kisses and quarrels between these two heralds of modern revisionism.
Up to his neck in treachery, Tito hatched up numerous plots against the socialist countries. However, when Khrushchev betrayed, he strutted like a «peacock» and posed as Khrushchev's «teacher». Tito was quite right to demand a great deal from him, and did not hang back in this direction. He aimed to make Khrushchev obey him and act according to his orders. Tito had the backing of American imperialism and world reaction, therefore Khrushchev, for his part, followed the tactic of making approaches to Tito, in order to flatter him and win him over, to embrace him and eventually strangle him. However, he was dealing with Tito, who had his own tactic of making approaches to Khrushchev in order to impose himself on him and not to submit to him, to dictate to him and not to take orders from him, to get the maximum possible unconditional aid and to compel Khrushchev to subjugate all Belgrade's opponents, first of all, the Party of Labour of Albania.
It is precisely for these reasons that we see many zig zags in Khrushchev's line towards Tito - sometimes they got on well, sometimes their relations were embittered, sometimes he attacked and cursed him and at other times he retracted only to criticize him again. This was the result of lack of principle in his political stand. Tito and Khrushchev were two revisionists, two agents of capitalism, who had things in common, but also contradictions, which were expressed in the zig zags and erratic behaviour of that time, which continue to this day, between Tito and Khrushchev's heirs.
There was nothing Marxist-Leninist in their actions and stands. They were guided by counter-revolutionary aims and had assumed the leadership of revisionism, which is capitalism in a new form, the enemy of the unity of peoples, the inciter of reactionary nationalism, of the drive towards and establishment of the most ferocious fascist dictatorship which does not permit even the slightest sign of formal bourgeois democracy. Revisionism is the idea and action which leads the turning of a country from socialism back to capitalism, the turning of a communist party into a fascist party, it is the inspirer of ideological chaos, confusion, corruption, repression, arbitrarily, instability and putting the homeland up for auction. This tragedy occurred in the Soviet Union and the other revisionist countries. Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites, incited and assisted by American imperialism and world capitalism, created this situation.
7. DESIGNING THE EMPIRE
Towards turning the socialist countries into Russian dominions. Changes in the Bulgarian leadership dictated by Moscow. Zhivkov's «clock» is wound up in Moscow. The Danubian complex and the Rumanians' "fall-out» with the Soviets. The official elimination of the Information Bureau. The reformist illusions of the Italian and French parties - Togliatti, the father of «polycentrism». Unforgettable meeting with two beloved French comrades, Marcel Cachin and Gaston Monmousseau. The vacillations of Maurice Thorez. Destruction of the unity of the communist movement, a colossal service for world imperialism.
The theses of the 20th Congress and especially the attack made on Stalin in Khrushchev's «secret- report enthused the revisionist elements, both in the parties of the socialist countries and in the other parties. Following the example of the rehabilitation of the enemies of socialism in the Soviet Union. the «cases» of Rajk, Kostov, Gomulka. Slansky and other enemies, condemned by the dictatorship of the proletariat, were brought up again.
All the counter-revolutionary subversion which the Khrushchevite clique carried out within the Soviet Union also served its aims in foreign policy. At first, its main aims in this direction were: to strengthen its domination in the parties and former countries of people's democracy, which it thought were under its control, and to clamp down on those parties and countries which still had not submitted to it; to place the communist and workers' parties of the capitalist countries completely in its service; to win the trust of American and world imperialism by attacking socialism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, while propagating «creative Marxism» through a series of opportunist theses.
Khrushchev thought that by slandering Stalin he would make the Soviet Union and especially himself «acceptable» to everybody. He calculated that in this way world reaction would be satisfied, all the other parties would gather round him, Tito's heart would be softened and they would be reconciled, and, together, like a reunited family, they would reach accord and join hands with imperialism and world capitalism on their course. Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites would say to them: «We are no longer those communists with knives between their teeth, as in the days of Lenin and Stalin. We are no longer for world revolution, but for collaboration, peaceful coexistence and the parliamentary road. We opened up the concentration camps set up by Stalin and rehabilitated the Tukhachevskies and Zinovievs, and we may even go so far as to rehabilitate Trotsky.
W e freed the Solzhenitsyns and allowed them to print their anti-Soviet books. We flung Stalin out
of the Mausoleum and burned his corpse. To those who called this action of ours against Stalin a crime, we said: 'Do you want this dead horse?
Then take it!'»
As I pointed out above, Khrushchev had to get rid of his opponents, not only in the Soviet Union but also in the countries of people's democracy. Those who believed in the Marxist-Leninist line of Stalin had to be culled from the party leaderships. Likewise, those who were against Tito, with whom Khrushchev had come to agreement, had to be purged; while those who had condemned Tito's agents in their own countries had to rehabilitate these traitors and themselves be removed from the leadership. Khrushchev used all methods: Gottwald died, Bierut died, Gomulka and Kadar were returned to power, Dej turned his coat, Rakosi and Chervenkov were liquidated. We were the only ones whom Khrushchev was unable to liquidate.
Of course, in seeking rapprochement with American imperialism, Khrushchevite revisionism intended to come out on the arena as its powerful partner, a country with developed industry and agriculture, able to compete with those of the United States of America (as was loudly proclaimed), and with its own colonial empire, part of which would be the countries of the socialist camp.
Khrushchev and company had begun their work for the making of this «empire» and now they continued it further. In some places this work went smoothly, in others there was friction, while in Albania these ambitions were never realized.
Bulgaria, for example, never caused the Soviet revisionists any trouble. After the deaths of Dimitrov and Stalin, apparently the «authority»: of Velko Chervenkov could no longer be imposed on the Bulgarian Communist Party. He had become an obstacle in Khrushchev's way and, without doubt, the Soviet intrigues, the intrigues of Khrushchev, who seized power and did what he did, must have played a part in his liquidation.
Immediately after the 20th Congress, Chervenkov, who was prime minister at that time, was attacked over the «cult of the individual», the «mistakes» he had committed, etc. However, Velko did not seem to have been one of those who created a cult around themselves. He was used more as a «scapegoat» in order to justify the «corrections» which were made with the rehabilitation of Kostov and company. Chervenkov made way without any fuss and left his post as prime minister in favour of Anton Yugov, who did not keep this position for long, either.
In Dimitrov's time, Anton Yugov was minister of internal affairs, while with the advent of Chervenkov, he became deputy prime minister and later, prime minister. During the war, Yugov fought in the underground movement and fought well. He was one of the main and most dynamic leaders, especially in the uprising which led to September 9, 1944, the day of the liberation of Bulgaria. When I went to Bulgaria for the first time I noticed that Dimitrov showed special respect for Yugov, kept him close and, it seemed, had great faith in him. Irrespective of certain shortcomings in Yugov, to the extent that I knew him, my opinion is that after the death of Dimitrov he was the clearest ideologically and politically amongst the Bulgarian leaders, a man determined in his opinions, courageous and a good organizer. I have had contacts with him many times in Bulgaria, in Moscow, and also in Albania, when he visited our country, and he always showed himself frank, friendly and ready to talk with me.
Yugov knew the political, economic and organizational situation in Bulgaria well and, from my impression, he knew this not only from reports, but more from his contacts. He went all over the country and was a man of the masses. Not only did he know how to organize, but he was a man who took decisions and knew how to defend them. In other words, Yugov was not a leader who could be made to conform quickly or a «yes-man».
In the organization of the Bulgarian Communist Party under the leadership of Dimitrov, Yugov had his own role. The same thing must be said, also, in regard to the restoration of industry and the organization of agricultural cooperatives, which were built following the example and course of the Soviet collective farms.
When Chervenkov was removed from the post of general secretary of the party, he was replaced by Zhivko,* *( Ironical diminutive for Zhivkov.) while Yugov remained where he was, as deputy prime minister. As the cunning devil he was, Khrushchev preferred Todor, who would do the work for him better. Khrushchev could not manoeuvre with Yugov as he wanted. Did Yugov like this Khrushchevite solution? Certainly not and he expressed it. Whenever we were together, it was quite clear that Yugov had utter disregard for Zhivkov.
One fine morning Yugov, too, was liquidated quietly like Chervenkov. We never heard the reasons for this liquidation, but we can guess them. He must have been in opposition to Zhivkov, i.e., to Khrushchev. In a word, he must have been against the colonization of Bulgaria by the Khrushchevite Soviet Union, against the loss of the independence and sovereignty of Bulgaria. Yugov must have refused to become a marionette in the hands of the Khrushchevites, as Zhivkov did.
Together with Yugov's good qualities as a leader, in my opinion he also had some personal shortcomings. His main shortcoming was his conceit, which took concrete form in his boasting and the expressions which he used to boost himself and his work. I travelled through Bulgaria with him, he accompanied me to see cities, plains, agricultural cooperatives, historical sites, factories, artistic performances, etc. I enjoyed the beauties of the country and felt the affection of the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian communists for our people and Party. Yugov's company was always pleasant and very instructive.
However, wherever he went he seemed to want to show off. We travelled by car, passed through many villages and Yugov never failed to tell me, not only the name of each cooperative, but also how many hectares of land, how many cows, how many horses, and even how many goats, let alone the hectares of vineyards, the type of grape and the number of fruit trees it had. Everything with statistics! Well, I thought, but even statisticians can be wrong! But no, Yugov, the «man with the ready answer», wanted to impress me that he «had everything at his fingertips».
When they put on a folklore performance for us, he would jump up and join in dancing and singing. He was a bon vivant* *( jolly fellow (French in the original).).
Despite these things, Yugov was a good man and I retain pleasant memories of him. I believe he has not degenerated politically and ideologically.
With his elimination, Khrushchev named Todor Zhivkov as the leader of Bulgaria or, more precisely, the «steward of the Soviets in Bulgaria. Dimitrov raised the prestige of the Bulgarian Communist Party and of Bulgaria very high, but Todor Zhivkov completely reversed this process. This element without personality came to the top
with the .aid of Khrushchev, and became his docile lackey. At the time I met Dimitrov I never heard of Zhivkov. Later, in the time of Chervenkov, I saw him once or twice. Once he gave me an alleged talk about Bulgarian agriculture and another time he accompanied me somewhere outside Sofia to a field of strawberries.
When he talked to me about agriculture it seemed that it was not Zhivkov's mind talking but his notebook. He was Yugov's opposite. In a small notebook marked A-Z, he had noted down figures about everything - from the population of the country to the number of strings of tobacco. In other words, he bored me with figures, without any conclusion, for a whole hour. Another comrade who was with him spoke much better about the Bulgarian economy, in general, and about industry, in particular. I completely forgot Zhivkov. Later, however, when Chervenkov was removed, he emerged as first secretary(!). We were astonished, but we had no reason to be surprised. I met him in this function, too! He was just what he had been. There was only one change: in order to distinguish himself from the past, he had assumed some new poses; he no longer brought up his notebook, smiled frequently, sat with his cap on and used more «popular expressions».
Even after this I never had a serious conversation with him. Many times we dined together with the comrades of the Bulgarian leadership; Zhivkov took us from one of Czar Boris' palaces to the other, from the palace of Sofia to that of Eksinograd in Varna, but he never said anything of consequence, merely indulging in idle conversation to pass the time.
The metamorphosis of Zhivkov came about gradually through the education which Khrushchev gave him. Zhivkov's watchword became «With the Soviet Union for ever!» His subjugation to Khrushchev was complete. It was Zhivkov who «created» and launched the idea, «Let us synchronize our watches with that of Khrushchev». Khrushchev's tactics towards the communist and workers' parties became those of Zhivkov; today he would speak against Tito, tomorrow pro Tito, today he would open the borders for fairs with Yugoslav participation, tomorrow he would close them, today he would claim Macedonia and tomorrow say nothing about it. By following the road and «advice» of Khrushchev, Zhivkov became a «personality» and, simultaneously with the build-up of his «personality» the Khrushchevite revisionists got everything in Bulgaria under their control. Every corner and sector of Bulgaria is run by the men of the Soviets. Nominally, the Bulgarian government, party and administration exist, but, in fact, everything is run -by the Soviets. The Khrushchevites have turned Bulgaria into a dangerous arsenal. Bulgaria has become a bridge-head of the Russian social-imperialists against our country and the other Balkan countries. This is the work of Zhivkov and his team, who eat the bread of Bulgaria and serve Soviet social-imperialism.
As the facts of history show, Dej and his associates also were and still are satellites of Khrushchev. They swung whichever way the wind blew. In the close friendship between Tito and Khrushchev there were also quarrels which were caused by the Hungarian, Polish and other events, hence there were tiffs and periods of sulking, then the friends would kiss and make up. Without the slightest political scruple, Dej threw himself completely into the whirlpool of Khrushchev's treacherous anti-Marxist activity in which he was caught up and tossed to and fro at will.
I shall speak later about what occurred in 1960 in Bucharest and Moscow, but here I want to point out only that in these events Dej once again displayed his unchanging essence as a person who could raise and lower any flag without the slightest qualm. There are certain key points and moments in the life and activity of the man which, taken together, provide the portrait of him. This is Dej: in 1948 and 1949 a resolute and zealous anti-revisionist and anti-Titoite; after 1954 an enthusiastic and zealous pro-revisionist
and pro-Titoite; in 1960 a pro-Khrushchevite of the first order, although later, it seemed, he was waving this flag in order to manoeuvre with two or three flags simultaneously. In short, a politi
cian who turned with the political breeze, who followed the line of «with this side and with that side», with Tito, with Khrushchev, and with Mao Zedong, indeed even with his successors and with American imperialism. He and his successors could be and were with anyone, but they were
not and could not be with consistent Marxism Leninism.
We saw both the period of the flowering of the Dej-Khrushchev friendship and the period of rifts in this friendship.
Khrushchev thought that he had Dej in his waistcoat pocket like the small ivory knife which he would bring out and toy with in meetings. He thought he would use Dej just like this knife. Judging that the situation was ripe, after 1960 Khrushchev brought up the annexationist plan under which the Rumanian territory from the province of Bucharest up to the border with the Soviet Union, would be united economically with the Soviet Ukraine in an «industrial agricultural complex». This was a very clumsy idea. Dej had swallowed many other things, but this time he kicked out.
Only when Khrushchev trod on Rumania's corns, did Dej silence the attacks on us, but even after this Dej never had sufficient civil decency, let alone the Marxist-Leninist courage, to make the slightest self-criticism over all the things he had said and done in regard to our Party. This revisionist, who kissed Tito's hand, never sought forgiveness from our Party.
It was said that Dej died of cancer. We sent a delegation to his funeral as a mark of friendship with the Rumanian people. There, Ceausescu, who had replaced Dej, hardly shook hands with our delegation. We repaid this new revisionist, who from the time he came to power took as his permanent motto the policy of agreement with all the revisionist and imperialist chiefs - with Brezhnev, Tito, Mao, Nixon and the whole of world reaction, in the same coin.
On assuming power, this person, who was one of the lesser minions of Dej, made a complete exposure of him and by strengthening his positions, he is struggling to become «a world figureN like Tito, to take his place, thanks to a certain hypothetical resistance to the insidious pressure of the Soviets.
Even after the contradictions which the Rumanians had with the Soviets, their state relations with us remained just the same - cold, stale, tasteless and unpleasant. We do not have party relations with the Rumanian party and we will not have them, so long as that party does not publicly acknowledge the mistakes it has made in regard to our Party.
Of course, we greatly regret that Rumania has been turned into a capitalist country like Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and others and is socialist only in name.
All these Dejs, Zhivkovs, Ceausescus, etc., are the offspring of revisionism, whom Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites have used and are still using for their own purposes.
The Soviet Khrushchevites replaced Marxist Leninist trust and friendship with the domination of the great «socialist» state, in order to create the «socialist family», the «socialist community», in which Brezhnev and the Soviet marshals rule today with the iron fist by threatening any «wayward son» of the family with the bludgeon of the Warsaw Treaty.
Khrushchev and Co. were intolerant of any kind of criticism or complaint from the others, opposed to any kind of discipline and mutual control, however formal. For them the joint meetings, statements and decisions were formal and null and void if they hindered them in their plans.
Why did the Khrushchevites eliminate and, moreover, blacken the Information Bureau? They did this because the Information Bureau had condemned Tito, because they considered it the offspring of Stalin, which had earned a -bad reputation» in the eyes of the imperialists. It is clear that here they were not concerned with the organizational forms, because, after all, what difference would there be, in form,between the Information Bureau and the «bureau of contacts-, which Khrushchev proposed (and which was never created)? The aim was to rehabilitate Tito and please imperialism.
Later, however, at a consultation of the parties of the socialist camp, the proposal for this «bureau- was rejected, partly because the Khrushchevites had changed their minds about it and partly because it was opposed, especially by the Poles. They (Ochab and Cyrankiewicz) were very actively opposed to this idea. Indeed, even when it was decided to publish a joint organ, they said:
«Well, then, let us have it eventually, because it seems we have to have it.»
From this fruitless meeting, I remember the enthusiasm with which Togliatti embraced Khrushchev's idea and there and then advanced if further, by insisting on the creation of two «bureaus of contacts» - one for the parties of the socialist countries and one for the parties of the capitalist countries! The future father of «polycentrism» took matters even further and proposed that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union should not take part in the latter, «although,» added Togliatti, trying to sweeten the pill, «it will be our leadership.»
The Italian revisionist party was in the forefront of the hostile work against international communism, against the communist and workers' parties and the countries of the socialist camp.
The Italian and French «communists» had great illusions about bourgeois democracy and the parliamentary road. In the period immediately after the Second World War, both these parties took part in the first bourgeois governments. And this was a tactic of the bourgeoisie to avoid strikes and chaos, in order to re-establish the economy and especially to strengthen not only its economic positions but also its military and police positions.
This participation of communists in the bourgeois governments was a flash in the pan. The bourgeoisie threw the communists out of office, disarmed them, pushed them into opposition and promulgated such electoral laws that, despite the great number of votes the communists had received, the number of their deputies in parliament was reduced to the minimum.
As became clear later, even at that time, Tito and Togliatti ate from the one trough, and that is why the Italian party came to the aid of Tito's party, although not openly at first. Togliatti, who was a disguised inveterate revisionist, and all the leadership of the Italian Communist Party, which participated in the Information Bureau, were sorry that Tito was condemned. They voted for this condemnation along with the others, because they did not have the courage to come out openly against it, but time showed that the Italian revisionists were among the most ardent in their desire to kiss Tito.
Khrushchev's visit to Belgrade and his reconciliation with Tito opened the way for Togliatti and Co., not only to go to Belgrade to meet the Titoites and make peace with them, but also to develop their disruptive revisionist views openly against Stalin and the Soviet Union, not only as a state but also as a system. Togliatti and his followers openly took the side of Tito and did not follow Khrushchev's zigzag tactics. On his part, Khrushchev manoeuvred with Togliatti, too; he praised him and gently reproved him, in order to keep him in check.
The leaders of the Italian party, such as Togliatti, Longo and company proved especially susceptible to the revisionist theses of the 20th Congress and, in particular, to Khrushchev's slanders against Stalin. Shortly after this congress, in an interview given to the magazine «Nuovi Argomenti», Togliatti launched his attacks on the socialist system, the dictatorship of the proletariat and Stalin. Here he also launched his idea of «polycentrism», which was the idea of the fragmentation and splitting of the international communist movement.
As to the leaders of the French Communist Party, such as Thorez, Duclos and others, however, it is a fact that at first they were dismayed at Khrushchev's «secret» report against Stalin and did not accept it. After this report was published in the Western press, the Political Bureau of the French Communist Party made a statement in which it condemned this report and expressed its reservations about the attacks on Stalin. Thorez personally, told me in regard to this problem: «We sought explanations from the Soviet comrades, they gave them to us, but we are not convinced.» I pointed out to Thorez, «You are not convinced, while we do not agree in the least.» Thus Thorez and the French Communist Party had long been aware of our opinion of the 20th Congress and of the Khrushchevites' slanders against Stalin.
The French and the Italians were like cat and mouse. I had talked with Thorez and Duclos about the stands of the leaders of the Italian Communist Party against the Marxist-Leninist line, in defence of the Titoite revisionists and against our Party. At first, they and the French as a whole seemed to behave well towards us. We stuck to our views and they to theirs. We continued our ceaseless attacks against the Titoites and they seemed to have no trust in Tito. We were on the same course in our stand towards the Italian leaders, too.
Prior to the events which brought the split, Comrades Marcel Cachin and Gaston Monmousseau, two glorious veterans of communism, came to our country. Our whole Party and people welcomed them with joy and affection. I had very open and cordial talks with them. They visited our country, spoke to me about it with great sympathy, and wrote in glowing terms about our Party and people in «L'Humanité». Monmousseau also published a very pleasant book about our country. Sitting with me in front of the fire, he told me about the visit he made to Korça and his participation with the cooperativists of Korça in the grape harvest. In the course of our talk, I asked the author of «Jean Bécot», who is from Champagne, the place of famous wines:
«Comrade Monmousseau, what do you think of our wine?»
He replied pince-sans-rire*: *( dryly (French in the original).)
I laughed heartily and said:
«You are right, but tell me, what should we do about it?»
Monmousseau went on to speak for a whole hour about wine and this helped me greatly. I listened with admiration to the old man whose cheeks were glowing and eyes sparkling with enthusiasm, who had the colour of the wine of his birthplace, Champagne.
Before we went to the 81 parties' Meeting in Moscow, Maurice Thorez asked to come to our country for a holiday. We welcomed him with great pleasure. We thought (and we were not wrong) that he was sent by the Soviets to «soften us up».
When he was on holiday in Durrës, I told Thorez about all the vile things the Soviets had done to us.
Maurice listened attentively. He was astounded because he did not know these things. They had hidden everything from him. I spoke about the Bucharest Meeting and our stand at that meeting. He said that they had been informed about the stand of the Party of Labour of Albania at the Bucharest Meeting by the delegation from their party, and since this stand had impressed them, he had set out for Albania with the intention of talking about this question with us. Thorez said that the Bucharest Meeting was useful and did not pronounce himself at all on whether or not it was in order. He did not criticize our stand in Bucharest and when he had heard me out, all he said was:
«Comrade Enver, you must clear up these things they have done to you with the Soviet leadership.»
As to the struggle against Titoism, Maurïce Thorez approved everything. We saw him off by ship for Odessa.
In Moscow, before I spoke at the 81 parties' Meeting, Maurice Thorez invited us to dinner. This time it was obvious that he had come from Khrushchev to persuade us not to speak against the revisionist betrayal at the meeting, but he failed in his mission. We did not accept the mistaken «advice>» he gave us.
Maurice Thorez criticized us in the meeting, but in moderate terms. However, after I had spoken, Jeannette Vermeersch, Thorez's wife, met me and said:
«Comrade Enver, where are you heading on this course you have begun? We do not understand you.»
«You do not understand us today, but perhaps you will understand us tomorrow,» I replied.
Everyone knows how things turned out for the French Communist Party. It, too, set out with determination on the revisionist road. It betrayed Marxism-Leninism and, with some nuances, followed the line of Khrushchev and Brezhnev.
Meanwhile Togliatti had no such zig zags as the French, and came out openly, like Tito, with his revisionist views, which he left as his behest to Longo and Berlinguer in his «Testament». He is the father of «polycentrism» in the international communist movement. Of course -polycentrism» was not to the benefit of Khrushchev who aimed to wield the «conductor's baton», just as it is not to the benefit of the Khrushchevites who are ruling in the Soviet Union today. The followers of Togliatti countered, and still counter, the meetings of Khrushchev and Brezhnev with the «meetings» of communist parties of the capitalist countries of Europe, Latin America, etc. The French, who leaned towards Khrushchev, did not approve Togliatti's proposals and fought them. I shall say no more in this direction because I have written elsewhere about this theory and the anti-Marxist actions of these revisionists.
The Italian revisionists have never looked on socialist Albania or the Party of Labour of Albania with a kindly eye. In the first years following Liberation, we had a perfunctory visit from the elderly Terracini who came to Albania together with a young woman artist. He stayed one or two days and left as silently as he came. Later, Pajetta came. He stayed two days, decorated Mehmet and me with the «Garibaldi» Order of the Spanish War and the Resistance, and he too, departed just as silently, The Italian revisionists wrote almost nothing about socialist Albania in their organ «Unità». Perhaps they did not want to upset the Italian neo-fascists who were in power, whose armies we had smashed in the war, or perhaps it was because we exposed their comrade, Tito !
The Italian Communist Party, with a longstanding opportunist line, was openly a front to catch votes. There were continual squabbles in the leadership over positions, salaries, nomination of deputies and senators. One leader of that party, who was removed from his position by Togliatti, met us and complained to us, but immediately after this, as soon as they threw him a bone and made him a senator, he became as quiet as a lamb.
I remember a meeting I had in Karlovy Vary with one of them, a member of the leadership of Togliatti's Italian Communist Party.
«I am against Togliatti and his views,» he told me.
«But why?» I asked.
He listed one or two -arguments», but in the end the true reason emerged:
«Togliatti does not allow publication of the speeches I make in parliament. Both Togliatti and Pajetta not only do not publish them in Italy, but also intervene with the Soviets to ensure that they are not published in Moscow, either. Please, Comrade Enver, intervene with Khrushchev about this.»
Of course, I was astonished and told him there and then
«How can I intervene? I could have an influence whether or not they are published in Albania, let us say, but in the Soviet Union? You must address yourself to the Soviet comrades. They are the hosts there and decide this.»
After the break with the Khrushchevites he, too, had «contradictions» with the Italian revisionist leadership. But these were not on a principled basis, they were nothing but squabbles over positions and money. As soon as he was made a senator he, too, quietened down and never raised his voice. This is what the Italian revisionists were and still are - collaborators with both the Italian and the international bourgeoisie.
All this revisionist activity ruined, destroyed the Marxist-Leninist cooperation and harmony which existed in the international communist movement. Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites rendered world imperialism an incalculable service and placed themselves directly in its service. Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites of every hue, wherever they were, consummated that work of sabotage which imperialism and its lackeys had been unable to achieve in whole decades. By slandering Stalin, the Soviet Union, socialism and communism, they lined themselves up with the capitalist slanderers and weakened the Soviet Union, and this was the dream and the aim of the capitalists. They disrupted that monolithic unity which the capitalists fought, raised doubts about the revolution and sabotaged it, a thing which the capitalists had always tried to do. They carried the quarrel and split into the ranks of various communist and workers' parties, bringing down or elevating to their leaderships cliques which would better serve the hegemonic interests shaken by the great earthquake. These enemies have attacked Marxism-Leninism in every direction and in every manifestation and replaced it with the social democratic reformist ideology, thus opening the way to liberalism, bureaucracy, technocracy, decadent intellectualism and capitalist espionage in the party, in other words, to degeneration. What world capitalism had been quite unable to do, the Khrushchevite clique did for it.
However, neither American imperialism nor world capitalism considered this colossal aid, this great sabotage which Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites carried out against Marxism-Leninism and socialism, sufficient. Therefore, the attack of the bourgeoisie and reaction began on the revisionist parties, in order to deepen the crisis to the maximum, not only to discredit Marxism-Leninism and the revolution, not only to deepen the split amongst the communist and workers' parties and to advance their rebellion against Moscow, but also, through all these activities, to weaken, to subjugate and enslave the Soviet Union, as a great political, economic and ideological power regardless o£ the fact that the Khrushchevite ideology was not Marxism, but anti-Marxism. World capitalism, headed by American imperialism, had to fight to prevent Khrushchevite hegemonism from remaining alive and consolidating itself on the ruins which it caused.
Therefore, American and world imperialism intensified the work of sabotage in the countries of the socialist camp in order to undermine the colonial empire which Khrushchev was designing. In the suitable climate which the Khrushchevites' slogans created, not only obedient pro-Khrushchev chiefs like Zhivkov, but also the agents of the Americans, the British, the French, the West Germans, and Tito, became more active. From the very nature of revisionism itself, as well as from the pressure and work of agents of imperialism, in many parties individuals who were dissatisfied with the way things were going to wards «democratisation» and liberalization, began to raise their heads. In Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Rumania, the enemies of socialism wanted to go at a gallop on the road of the restoration of capitalism, flinging aside the tattered demagogic disguise which the group of Soviet leaders wanted to preserve. The traditional links of the bourgeoisie of these countries with the West and the desire to escape as quickly as possible from the fear of the dictatorship of the proletariat (although the Khrushchevites had destroyed it), orientated these enemies towards Washington, Bonn, London and Paris.
Khrushchev hoped to get the demons back into the bottle from which he had released them. But once released, they wanted to browse at their pleasure in the pastures which the Khrushchevites considered their own and were obedient no longer to Khrushchev's -magic flute». Then he had to contain them by means of tanks.
8. MY FIRST AND LAST VISIT TO CHINA
Our relations with the CPC and the PRC up till 1956. Invitations from China, Korea and Mongolia. An astounding event in Korea: two members of the Political Bureau flee to. . . China! Ponomaryov defends the fugitives. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuzi «tune up» Kim Il Sung. The meeting with Mao Zedong: *Neither the Yugoslavs nor you were wrong», «Stalin made mistakes», «It is necessary to make mistakes». Li Lisan at the 8th Congress of the CPC: *I ask you to help me, because I may make mistakes again.» Disappointment and concern over the 8th Congress of the CPC. Meetings in Beijing with Dej, Yugov, Zhou Enlai and others. Bodnaras as intermediary to reconcile us with Tito.
In regard to the relations between our Party and the Communist Party of China, from 1949 to 1956, and indeed for several years later, the term «normal», more or less in the sense that it is used in diplomatic language, would be quite appropriate. For our part, however, from the years of the National Liberation War, and especially after the liberation of our Homeland, we had followed with sympathy the just war of the fraternal Chinese people against the Japanese fascists and aggressors, Chiang Kai-shek reaction and the American interference, and we had backed up and supported this struggle with all our strength. Moreover, we rejoiced at the fact that, at the head of this struggle there was said to be a communist party recognized by the Comintern, which enjoyed the support of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, led by Stalin.
We knew also that at the head of the Communist Party of China was Mao Zedong, about whom personally, as well as about the party which he led, we had no information other than what we heard from the Soviet comrades. Both during this period and after 1949 we had not had the opportunity to read any of the works or writings of Mao Zedong, who was said to be a philosopher and to have written a whole series of works. We welcomed the victory of October 1, 1949 with heartfelt joy and we were among the first countries to recognize the new Chinese state and establish fraternal relations with it. Although greater possibilities and ways were now opened for more frequent and closer contacts and links between our two countries, these links remained at the level of friendly, cultural and commercial relations, the sending of some second-rank delegation, mutual support, according to the occasion, through public speeches and statements, the exchange of telegrams on the occasion of celebrations and anniversaries, and almost nothing more.
We continued to support the efforts of the Chinese people and the Chinese leadership for the socialist construction of the country with all our might, but we knew nothing concrete about how and to what extent this great process was being carried out in China. It was said that Mao was following an «interesting» line for the construction of socialism in China, collaborating with the local bourgeoisie and other parties, which they described as «democratic», «of the industrialists», etc., that joint private-state enterprises were permitted and stimulated by the communist party there, that elements of the wealthy classes were encouraged and rewarded, and even placed in the leadership of enterprises and provinces, etc., etc. All these things were quite incomprehensible to us and however much you racked your brains, you could not find any argument to describe them as in conformity with Marxism-Leninism. Nevertheless, we thought, China was a very big country, with a population of hundreds of millions, it had just emerged from the dark, feudal-bourgeois past, had many problems and difficulties, and in time it would correct those things which were not in order, on the right road of Marxism-Leninism.
This is more or less what we knew about the Communist Party of China and the Chinese state up till 1956, when the Central Committee of our Party received Mao Zedong's invitation to send a party delegation to take part in the proceedings of the 8th Congress of the CP of China. We welcomed the invitation with pleasure and satisfaction, because we would be given the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of and direct acquaintance with this sister party and fraternal socialist country. At this lame period we had also received invitations from the People's Republic of Mongolia and the People's Democratic Republic of Korea to send top-level government and party delegations to those countries for friendly visits.
We discussed the invitations from our friends in the Political Bureau and decided that, using the occasion of the trip to China for the 8th Congress of the CP of China, on the way to China, our top-level delegation should also go to Mongolia and Korea.
The Political Bureau appointed me, Comrades Mehmet Shehu and Ramiz Alia, and our then Foreign Minister, Behar Shtylla, as the delegation. Comrade Mehmet would lead the delegation in Mongolia and Korea, since it would be a government delegation, while I would lead the party delegation in China.
We made the necessary preparations and set out at the end of August 1956.
It was the time when modern revisionism, advanced by the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, had not only spread in the Soviet Union and the other countries of people's democracy, but was bringing out all its inherent filth, the split, the quarrels, the plots, and the counter-revolution. In Poland the cauldron, which had been simmering for a long time, was bringing out the notorious Gomulka as the finished product, in Hungary black reaction had broken out as never before and was feverishly preparing the counter-revolution. During those days Tito had been invited to the Crimea «on holiday» and together with Khrushchev, Rankovic and others, was putting the nails in Gerö's coffin. It seemed as if the revisionists of various countries were engaged in a villainous contest to see who could outdo the other in the practical application of Khrushchevism. In Europe the revisionist earthquake was rocking the foundations of everything, with the exception of our Party and country.
Those 3 or 4 days of our visit to Mongolia passed almost unnoticed. We travelled for hours on end to reach some inhabitated centre and everywhere the landscape was the same: vast, bare, monotonous, boring. Tsedenbal, who bounced around us as mobile as a rubber ball, harped on the sole theme - livestock farming. So many million sheep, so many mares, so many horses, so many camels, this was the only wealth, the only branch on which this socialist country supported itself. We drank mare's milk, wished one another sucsess and parted.
On September 7 we arrived in Pyongyang. They put on a splendid welcome, with people, with gongs, with flowers, and with portraits of Kim Il Sung everywhere. You had to look hard to find some portrait of Lenin, tucked away in some obscure corner.
We visited Pyongyang and a series of cities and villages of Korea, where both the people and the party and state leaders welcomed us warmly. During the days we stayed there, Kim Il Sung was kind and intimate with us. The Korean people had just emerged from the bloody war with the American aggressors and now had thrown themselves into the offensive for the recontruction and development of the country. They were an industrious, clean and talented people, eager for further development and progress, and we whole-heartedly wished them continued successes on the road to socialism.
However, the revisionist wasp had begun to implant its poisonous sting there, too.
In the joint talks we held, Kim Il Sung told us about an event which had occurred in the plenum of the Central Committee of the party held after the 20th Congress.
«After the report which I delivered,» Kim told us, «two members of the Political Bureau and several other members of the Central Committee got up and raised the question that the lessons of the 20th Congress and the question of the cult of the individual had not been properly appreciated amongst us, here in Korea, that a consistent struggle against the cult of the individual had not been waged, and so on. They said to the plenum: 'We are not getting economic and political results according to the platform of the 20th Congress, and incompetent people have been gathered around the Central Committee.'
«In other words, they attacked the line and unity of the leadership,» continued Kim Il Sung. «The whole Central Committee rose against them,» he said in conclusion.
«What stand was taken towards them?» I asked.
«The plenum criticized them and that was all,» replied Kim Il Sung, adding: «Immediately after this the two fled to China.»
«To China?! What did they do there?»
«Our Central Committee described them as anti-party elements and we wrote to the Chinese leadership to send them back to us without fail. Apart from other mistakes, they also committed the grave act of fleeing. The Chinese comrades did not send them back. They have them there to this day.»
We said openly to Kim Il Sung: «Although we have no detailed knowledge of the matters which these two members of the Political Bureau raised, and it is not up to us to pass judgement on ycur business, since you have told us about this problem, we think that this is a serious event.»
«In our country, too,» we told him, «after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, there was an attempt by anti-party elements to organize a plot against our Party and our Central Committee. The plot was a deed organized by the revisionists of Belgrade, and as soon as we became aware of it, we crushed it immediately.»
We went on to speak about the Party Conference of Tirana in April 1956 about the pressure which was exerted on us, and the unwavering, resolute stand of our Party towards external and internal enemies.
«You are right, you are right!» said Kim Il Sung, while I was speaking.
From the way he spoke and reacted I sensed a certain hesitation and uncertainty that were overwhelming him.
I was not mistaken in my doubts. A few days later in China, during a meeting I had with Ponomaryov, a member of the Soviet delegation to the 8th Congress of the CP of China, I opened up the problem of the Korean fugitives.
«We know about this,» he replied, «and have given Kim Il Sung our advice.»
«You have advised him? Why?» I asked.
«Comrade Enver,» he said, «things are not going well with the Koreans. They have become very stuck up and ought to be brought down a peg or two.»
«I am not talking about their affairs in general, because I know nothing about them,» I told Ponomaryov, «but about a concrete problem. Two members of the Political Bureau rise against the Central Committee of their own party and then flee to another socialist country. Where is Kim Il Sung at fault in this?!»
«The Korean comrades have made mistakes,» insisted Ponomaryov. «They have not taken measures in line with the decisions of the 20th Congress, and that is why two members of the Political Bureau rose against this. The Chinese comrades have been revolted by this situation, too, and have told Kim Il Sung that if measures are not taken, they are not going to hand over the two comrades taking refuge in China.»
«Astonishing!» I said.
«You have no reason to be astonished,» he said. «Kim Il Sung himself is retreating. A plenum of the Central Committee of the Korean party has been held these days and the Koreans have agreed to correct the mistakes.»
And this turned out to be true. The two fugitives returned to Korea and the places they had had in the Political Bureau. Under pressure, Kim Il Sung bowed his head and gave way. This was a joint act of the Soviets and the Chinese, in which a special «merit» belonged to Mikoyan. He had been sent to China at the head of the Soviet delegation to the 8th Congress of the CPC, and without waiting for the Chinese congress to finish, the man of the Khrushchevite mafia together with Peng Dehuzi, whom Mao Zedong gave him as the representative of China, hastened to Korea to tune up the wavering Kim Il Sung to bring him into harmony with the Khrushchevites. Later, other «tuning up» trips would be made to Korea by the Soviets, the Chinese, and others, but we were to see these in the future. Let us return to September 1956.
In Beijing, which we reached on September 13, they welcomed us with crowds of people, music and flowers, not forgetting the horde of portraits of Mao Zedong. Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and others whose names I can't remember, had come out to the airport.
We exchanged greetings with them, wished them success in the congress, which was to begin two days later, and could hardly cope with their stereotyped expressions : «great honour», «great assistance», «brothers from the distant front of Europe», «please, offer us your criticism», etc., etc., expressions with which, in a few years' time, we would be full up to our necks. (However, in those days these expressions, which were served up ready-made everywhere, did not make any bad impression on us - we considered them expressions of the Chinese simplicity and modesty.)
Mao Zedong received us during an interval between sessions of the congress in one of the adjoining rooms. This was the first time that we met him. When we entered the reception room, he stood up, bowed a little, held out his hand, and thus, without shifting from the spot, waited to give his hand and a smile to each of us in turn. We sat down.
Mao began to speak. After saying that they were very happy to have friends from distant Albania, he said a few words about our people, describing them as a valiant and heroic people.
«We have great admiration for your people,» he said among other things, «because you have been liberated much longer than we.»
Immediately after this he asked me:
«How are things between you and Yugoslavia?»
«Cold,» I replied, and immediately noticed that he expressed open surprise. «Apparently he is not well acquainted with our situation with the Yugoslavs,» I thought, therefore I decided to explain something from the long history of the relations of our Party and country with the Yugoslav party and state. I gave him a brief outline, dwelling on some of the key moments of the anti-Albanian and anti-Marxist activity of the Yugoslav leadership, expecting some reaction from him. But I noticed that Mao only expressed surprise and from time to time looked at the other Chinese comrades.
«On this question,» said Mao, «you Albanians have not made mistakes towards the Yugoslavs, and neither have the Yugoslav comrades made mistakes towards you. The Information Bureau has made great mistakes here.»
«Although we did not take part in the Information Bureau,» I replied, «we have supported its well-known analyses and stands towards the activity of the Yugoslav leadership and have always considered them to be correct. Our longstanding relations with the Yugoslav leadership have convinced us that the line and stands of the Yugoslavs have not been and are not Marxist Leninist. Tito is an incorrigible renegade.»
Without waiting to hear the end of the translation of what I said, Mao asked me:
«What is your opinion of Stalin?»
I said that our Party had always considered Stalin a leader of very great, all-round merits, a loyal disciple of Lenin and continuer of his work, a . . .
He interrupted me: «Have you published the report which Comrade Khrushchev delivered in the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union?»
«No,» I replied. «We have not done and never will do such a thing.»
«You Albanian comrades have acted very correctly and the line of your Party is right,» he said. -We, too, have acted as you have done. As long as the Soviet leadership does not publish this report officially, there is no reason for us to act as some have done.»
After a pause, he continued:
«Stalin made mistakes. He made mistakes towards us, for example, in 1927. He made mistakes towards the Yugoslav comrades, too.»
Then he continued calmly in a low voice:
«One cannot advance without mistakes.» And he asked me: «Has your Party made mistakes?»
«We cannot say that there have been no mistakes,» I told him, «but the main thing is that we struggle to make as few mistakes as possible or none at all, and, when mistakes are discovered, we struggle to eliminate them immediately.»
I was too «hasty». The great philosopher was getting at something else:
«It is necessary to make mistakes,» he said. -The party cannot be educated without learning from mistakes. This has great significance.»
We encountered this method of «education» of Mao Zedong's materialized everywhere. During the days we were at the congress, a Chinese comrade told us:
«A terrible fear has existed amongst us. People tried to avoid making mistakes, because they were afraid of being expelled from the party. However, with the correct policy of Chairman Mao, that fear has now disappeared, and initiative and drive in creative work has increased among the party people.
«You see that comrade who is speaking?» he said. «He is Li Lisan, one of the founders of our Communist Party. During his life he has made grave mistakes, not just once, but three times on end. There were comrades who wanted to expel this old man from the party, but on the insistence of Chairman Mao, he remains a member of the Central Committee of the .party, and now he works ïn the Central Committee apparatus.»
Meanwhile Li Lisan was making a new «self-criticism» before the 8th Congress.
«I have made mistakes,» he said, «but the party has helped me. Comrades,» he continued, -I ask you to help me still because I might make mistakes again. . .»
But let us return to the meeting with Mao Zedong. After he philosophised about the «great significance of making mistakes», I seized the opportunity to add to what I had previously said about the Yugoslavs and spoke about the work of the Belgrade revisionists through their agents to organize the plot in the Party Conference of Tirana of April 1956.
«In our opinion,» I said, «they are incorrigible.»
Mao's reply, in the Chinese style, was a phrase out of context:
«You have a correct Marxist-Leninist line.»
The time had come for us to leave. We thanked him for the invitation, for receiving us and for the aid given us by the People's Republic of China.
«There is no need to thank us,». interrupted Mao, «first, because the aid we have given you is very little,» and he closed one finger. «Second,» he continued, closing the other finger, «we are members of the great family of the socialist camp, which has the Soviet Union at the head, and it is just the same as passing something from one hand to the other, parts of the same body.»
We thanked him once again and stood up. We had several photographs taken together, shook hands again and departed.
To tell the truth, our impressions from this meeting were not what we had expected, and when we came out, I talked over with Mehmet and Ramiz what we had heard. From the talk with Mao we did not learn anything constructive, which would be of value to us, and the meeting seemed to us mostly a gesture of courtesy. We were especially disappointed over the things we heard from the mouth of Mao about the Information Bureau, Stalin and the Yugoslav question.
However, we were even more ,surprised and worried by the proceedings of the 8th Congress. The whole platform of this Congress was based on the theses of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, indeed, in certain directions, the theses of Khrushchev had been carried further forward by Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and other top Chinese leaders.
We felt that the epidemic of modern revisionism had infected China, too. To what proportions the disease had been spread we could not judge at that time, but the things which had occurred and were occurring in China, showed that at that time the Chinese leaders were hurrying to avoid lagging behind, and indeed, to grab the motley flag of the Khrushchevites with their own hands.
Apart from other things, in the reports which Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai delivered one after the other at the 8th Congress they defended and further deepened the permanent line of the Communist Party of China for extensive collaboration with the bourgeoisie and the kulaks, -argued» in support of the great blessings which would come to -socialism» from treating capitalists, merchants, and bourgeois intellectuals well and placing them in high leading positions, vigorously propagated the necessity of collaboration between the working class and the national bourgeoisie, and between the communist party and the other democratic nationalist parties, in the conditions of socialism, etc., etc. In fact, the «hundred flowers» and the «hundred schools» of Mao Zedong, which blossomed and contended in the sessions of the congress, blossomed and contended throughout the whole Chinese party and state. This Mao Zedong's theory of a hundred flags, widely proclaimed in May 1956 by the alternate member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the CP of China, Lu Dingyi, constituted the Chinese variant of the bourgeois-revisionist theory and practice about the "free circulation of ideas and people», about the coexistence of a hotch-potch of ideologies, trends, schools and coteries within socialism*. *( It turned out later that Mao Zedong's utterly revisionist Decalogue «On the Ten Major Relationships» belongs precisely to this period of the «spring» of modern revisionism. (Author's note).)
Many a time later I have turned back to this period of the history of the Communist Party of China, trying to figure out how and why the profoundly revisionist line of 1956 subsequently seemed to change direction, and for a time, became «pure», «anti-revisionist» and «Marxist-Leninist». It is a fact, for example, that in 1960 the Communist Party of China seemed to be strongly opposing the revisionist theses of Nikita Khrushchev and confirmed that «it was defending Marxism-Leninism- from the distortions which were being made to it, etc. It was precisely because China came out against modem revisionism in 1960 and seemed to be adhering to Marxist-Leninist positions that brought about that our Party stood shoulder to shoulder with it in the struggle which we had begun against the Khrushchevites.
However, time confirmed, and this is reflected extensively in the documents of our Party, that in no instance, either in 1956 or in the 60's did the Communist Party of China proceed or act from the positions of Marxism-Leninism.
In 1956 it rushed to take up the banner of revisionism, in order to elbow Khrushchev out and gain the role of the leader in the communist and workers' movement for itself. But when Mao Zedong and his associates saw that they would not easily emerge triumphant over the patriarch of modem revisionism, Khrushchev, through the revisionist contest, they changed their tactic, pretended to reject their former flag, presented themselves as «pure Marxist-Leninists», striving in this way, to win those positions which they had been unable to win with their former tactic. When this second tactic turned out no good, either, they -discarded» their second, allegedly Marxist Leninist, flag and came out in the arena as they had always been, opportunists, loyal champions of a line of conciliation and capitulation towards capital and reaction. We were to see all these things confirmed in practice, through a long, difficult and glorious struggle which our Party waged in defence of Marxism-Leninism.
After the proceedings of the congress were over, they took us on visits to a number of cities and people's communes, such as to Beijing, Shanghai, Tientsin, Nanking, Port-Arthur, etc., where we saw the life and the work of the great Chinese people at first hand. They were simple and industrious people with few pretensions, humble and attentive to their guests. From what the Chinese leaders and those who accompanied us told us, and from what we were able to see for ourselves, it seemed that they had achieved a series of positive changes and developments. However, these were not of that level they were claimed to be, the more so if account is taken of the exceptional human potential of the Chinese continent, and the desire and readiness of the Chinese people to work.
In China they had managed to eliminate the mass starvation, which had always plagued that country, had built plants and factories and were organizing the people's communes, but it was obvious that the standard of living was still low, far from the level, not just of the developed socialist countries, but even of our country. From the visits we made throughout this vast country, from the contacts we had with the masses, we were impressed that their behaviour really was good, correct, but we observed a certain hesitation, both towards us and towards those who accompanied us. It was obvious from their words and their attitude towards the cadres that something from the past was still retained. It was clear that the many centuries of the past, the absolute power of the Chinese emperors, feudal lords and capitalists, of Japanese, American, British and other foreign exploiters, Buddhism, and all the other reactionary philosophies, from the most ancient to the most -modern», had not only left this people in terrible economic backwardness, but had cultivated the slave mentality of submission, of blind belief, and unquestioning obedience to authorities of every rank, in their world outlook. Of course, these things cannot be wiped out all at once, and we considered them as forms of atavism, which would be eliminated from the consciousness of this people, who with their positive qualities and with sound leadership, would be capable of achieving miracles.
Apart from meetings with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders, during the days of our stay in China, we also had occasion to meet a number of delegations of communist and workers' parties which had attended the 8th Congress of the CP of China.
All of them enthusiastically hailed the «new line» of the period after the 20th Congress.
The Bulgarians called it «the April line», since they had organized a plenum of their Central Committee in April, at which they had cancelled out the stands of Blagoyev and Dimitrov, and had embraced the Khrushchevite line.
«We rehabilitated Traycho Kostov, because we could not find any proof of his guilt,» Anton Yugov told us.
He spoke as though with some trepidation. Apparently, he sensed that sooner or later they would bring him down, in order to enjoy the whole of the revisionist line which had been prepared in Bulgaria according to Khrushchev's orders. Dej, the man of the Information Bureau,» who a few years earlier had delivered the report of the Information Bureau on the condemnation of the activity of the revisionists of Belgrade, had now made peace with Tito in Bucharest and was preparing to trite his kisses in Belgrade.
«I am going to Belgrade to meet Tito,» he told us, as soon as we met in Beijing, where he, too, had gone invited to the congress. Tito is a good positive comrade, not like Kardelj and Popovic,» he continued. (Three months before we had heard this in Russian, and now we had to hear it in Rumanian, too!) «When Tito was to go to Moscow in June,» continued Dej, «we invited him to stay in Bucharest, too, and hold talks with us, but he did not accept. Then what did we do? We gathered up all the leadership of the party and state and went to meet him at the railway station. What -could Tito do, he was cornered! And we obliged him to stay not just 45 minutes to rest, as he had planned, but two full hours! (A fine «obligation» you have imposed on Tito, I said to myself.) When Comrade Tito was about to return from the Soviet Union,» said Dej, «he informed us that he wanted to stay for talks in Bucharest. We welcomed this request, met him and talked with him...» and Dej went on to give us all the details about how they had smoothed things over with Tito.
«Now that I am going to Belgrade myself, would you like me to speak on your behalf?» he asked me.
«If you wish to speak on our behalf,» I told Gheorghiu Dej, «teli him to give up his secret activity and plots against the People's Republic of Albania and the Party of Labour of Albania. Tell him that before and after the Tirana Conference the Yugoslav diplomats were involved in vicious activity...- and I told him briefly what had occurred in our country after the 20th Congress.
«Is that so?» he said and I saw that he was put out. He was not pleased that I exposed Tito. Dej displayed the same sentiments later, too, when I met him after he had made his long-desired visit of reconciliation to Belgrade and had put himself on Tito's side. Some months after that visit I passed through Bucharest where, I met and talked with Dej and Bodnaras.
In the course of the talks Bodnaras (Emil, the elder) began to tell me that they had been to Tito, and in talks with him the conversation had come around to Albania. «Tito spoke well and with sympathy of your country, of your heroic people,» said Bodnaras, «and expressed his wish for good relations with you», etc. In other words, this Titoite -spokesman» was making himself an intermediary for conciliation with Tito, trying to achieve what Khrushchev had failed to do.
I put Bodnaras in his place, telling him that we would be in struggle to the end against Tito and Titoism, because he was a renegade from Marxism-Leninism.
«For our part there will be no conciliation with Tito,» I told Bodnaras bluntly.
During the time that I was sounding off about Tito to Bodnaras, I observed that Dej was scribbling with a pencil on a piece of white paper, without doubt from irritation, but he did not speak at all - my words had a bitter taste for him.
But let us return to China, to the meetings which we had those days with other comrades of the sister parties.
It was interesting: everyone we met was talking about rehabilitations and Tito. Even Zhou Enlai said to us in a meeting we had with him:
«Tito has invited me to go on a visit to Yugoslavia and I have accepted the invitation. If you agree, I can come to Albania too, on this occasion.»
«We agree whole-heartedly that you should come to Albania,» we told him and thanked him for making the proposal, although it did not sound at all pleasant to us that the premier of China linked his coming to Albania «with the occasion» of his visit to Yugoslavia.
However, as I wrote above, it was the time when the fever of revisionism had infected everyone and they were all trying to go to Belgrade as quickly as possible to receive the blessing and «the experience» of the veteran of modern revisionism. One day Scoccimarro came up to me and complained that Togliatti had gone to Belgrade but had not got on well with Tito.
«What do you mean?» I asked, not without irony. «Did they quarrel?»
«No,» he replied, «but they did not agree about everything. Nevertheless,» he continued, «for our part we are going to send a delegation to Belgrade to gain experience.»
«In what direction?» I asked.
«The Yugoslav comrades have fought bureaucracy effectively and now there is no bureaucracy in Yugoslavia,» he replied.
«How do you know that there is no bureaucracy there?» I asked.
«Because there the workers, too, get profits,» was his reply. I told him about the stand of our Party on this problem, but the Italian could think of nothing but Tito. Mehmet intervened and asked him
«Why do you want to send people 'to get experience' only to Yugoslavia? Why haven't you sent such delegations to the countries of people's democracy, too, such as Albania, for example?!»
The Italian comrade was confused for a moment and then he found the solution:
«We shall send them,» he said. «For example, the experience of China in regard to the collaboration of the working class with the bourgeoisie and of the communist party with the other democratic parties is very valuable to us. We shall study it...»
He had hit the nail on the head. And from now on, the Italian revisionists could go not only to Yugoslavia and China, but everywhere, to give and take experience of the betrayal of the cause of the proletariat, the revolution and socialism. Only to our country they did not come and they had no reason to come, because only Marxism Leninism is implemented in our country. But this experience was of no use to them.
On October 3, 1956, we set out on our return journey. This whole trip made us even more convinced about the great and dangerous proportions which Khrushchevite modern revisionism had assumed.
In Budapest we were to see one of the monstrous consequences of the Khrushchevite-Titoite «new line»: the counter-revolution. It had been simmering for a long time, now it was about to burst out.
9. THE «DEMONS» ESCAPE FROM CONTROL
The counter-revolution in action in Hungary and Poland. Matyas Rakosi. Who cooked up the «broth» in Budapest? Talk with Hungarian leaders. Debate with Suslov in Moscow. Imre Nagy's «self-criticism». Rakosi falls. Reaction surges ahead. Khrushchev, Tito and Gerö in the Crimea. Andropov: «We cannot call the insurgents counter-revolutionaries.» The Soviet leadership is hesitant. The Hungarian Workers' Party is liquidated. Nagy announces Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Treaty. Part of the back-stage manoeuvres: the Tito-Khrushchev letters. Poland 1956 - Gomulka on the throne. In retrospect: Bierut. Gomulka's counter-revolutionary program. What we learn from the events of 1956. Talks in Moscow, December 1956.
The infection of the 20th Congress encouraged all the counter-revolutionary elements in the socialist countries and the communist and workers' parties, emboldened all those who had disguised themselves and were awaiting the moment to overthrow socialism wherever it had triumphed.
The counter-revolutionaries in Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria. Czechoslovakia and elsewhere, the betrayers of Marxism-Leninism in the parties of Italy and France and the Yugoslav Titoites gleefully welcomed Khrushchev's ill-famed theses about «democratisation», the «cult of Stalin», the rehabilitation of condemned enemies, «peaceful coexistence», «peaceful transition» from capitalism to socialism, etc. These theses and slogans were embraced with enthusiasm and hope by the revisionists, in or out of power, by social-democracy, by the reactionary bourgeois intellectuals.
The events in Hungary and Poland were the visible prologue of the counter-revolution which was to be carried out more extensively and thoroughly, not only there, but also in Bulgaria, in East Germany, in Czechoslovakia, in China, and especially in the Soviet Union.
After securing its positions to some extent in Bulgaria, Rumania, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere, the Khrushchevite clique attacked Hungary, the leadership of which was not proving so obedient to the Soviet course. However, Tito, together with the Americans, had his eyes on Hungary.
As was becoming apparent, Hungary had many weak points. There the party had been created, headed by Rakosi, around whom there were a number of veteran communists like Gerö and Münnich, but also young ones who had just come to the fore, who found the table laid for them by the Red Army anni Stalin. The «construction of socialism- in Hungary began, but the reforms were not radical. The proletariat was favoured, but without seriously annoying the petty bourgeoisie. The Hungarian party was allegedly a combination of the illegal communist party (Hungarian prisoners of war captured in the Soviet Union), old communists of Bela Kun and the social-democratic party. Hence, this combination was a sickly graft, which never really established itself, until the counter-revolution and Kadar, together with Khrushchev and Mikoyan, issued the decree for the total liquidation of the Hungarian Workers' Party.
I have been closely acquainted with Rakosi and I liked him. I have often talked with him, because I have visited him several times both on business and as a family, with Nexhmije. Rakosi was an honest man, an old communist and a leader in the Comintern. His aims were good, but his work was sabotaged from within and from without. As long as Stalin was alive everything seemed to be going well, but after his death the weaknesses in Hungary began to show up.
Once, in a talk with Rakosi, he spoke about the Hungarian army and asked about ours.
«Our army is weak, we have no cadres. The officers are the old ones from the Horthy army, therefore we are taking ordinary workers from the factories of Csepel and putting them in officer's uniforms,» he told me.
«Without a strong army socialism cannot be defended,» I told Rakosi. «You should get rid of the Horthy men. You did very well to take workers but you must give importance to educating them properly.»
While we were talking in Rakosi's villa, Kadar arrived. He had just returned from Moscow where he had gone for treatment of an eye complaint. Rakosi introduced me, asked him how his health was now, and gave him leave to go home. When we were alone Rakosi said:
«Kadar is a young cadre and we have made him minister of internal affairs.»
To tell the truth, he didn't seem to me to be of the right stuff to be minister of internal affairs.
Another time we talked about the economy. He spoke to me about the economy of Hungary, especially about agriculture, that was going so well that the people could eat their fill and they did not know what to do with all their pork, sausage, beer and wines! I opened my eyes in surprise, because I knew that not only in our country, but in all the socialist countries, including Hungary, the situation was not like that. Rakosi had one shortcoming, he was sanguine, exaggerated the results of the work. But despite this weakness, in my opinion, Matyas had a good communist heart and did not have an incorrect view of the line of the development of socialism. It must be recognized, in my opinion, that international reaction, supported by the clergy, the powerful kulak stratum and the disguised Horthyite fascists, set about undermining Hungary and Rakosi's leadership, acting together with Yugoslav Titoism and its agency, headed by Rajk, Kadar (disguised) and others, and finally also by Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites, who not only disliked Rakosi and those who supported him, but even hated him, because he was loyal to Stalin and MarxismLeninism, and when need be, opposed them with authority in the joint meetings. Rakosi was one of the old guard of the Comintern and to the modem revisionists the Comintern was the -«ête noire».
Thus Hungary became the field for intrigues and combinations between Khrushchev, Tito and counter-revolutionaries (behind whom stood American imperialism), who eroded the Hungarian party and the positions of Rakosi and sound elements in the leadership of the party from within. Rakosi was an obstacle both for Khrushchev, who wanted to put Hungary under his control, and for Tito, who wanted to destroy the socialist camp and had a double hatred for Rakosi as one of the «Stalinists» w ho exposed him in 1948.
In April 1957, when the «anti-party group» of Malenkov, Molotov, etc., had still not been liquidated, I was in Moscow with a delegation of our Party and Government. After a non-official dinner in the Kremlin, in Yekaterinsky Zal, we sat down in a corner to take coffee with Khrushchev, Molotov, Mikoyan, Bulganin, etc. In the course of the conversation Molotov turned to me and, as if joking, said:
«Tomorrow Mikoyan is going to Vienna, to try to cook up the ,same broth as he did in Budapest.»
To keep the conversation going I asked him:
«Did Mikoyan prepare that broth?»
«Who else?» said Molotov.
«Then Mikoyan can't go back to Budapest again,» I said.
«If Mikoyan goes there again, they will hang him,» Molotov continued.
Khrushchev had dropped his eyes and was stirring his coffee. Mikoyan frowned, ground his teeth and then said with a cynical smile
«Why should I not go to Budapest? If they hang me, they will hang Kadar, too, because we prepared that broth together.»
The role of the Khrushchevites in the Hungarian tragedy was clear to me.
The efforts of Khrushchev and Tito to liquidate everything healthy in Hungary united them, therefore they co-ordinated their activities. With Khrushchev's visit to Belgrade they aimed their attacks to rehabilitate the Titoite conspirators, Koçi Xoxe, Rajk, Kostov, etc. While our Party did not budge a fraction from its correct principled positions, the Hungarian party gave way and Tito and Khrushchev triumphed. With Rajk, the betrayal was rehabilitated. Rakosi's positions were greatly weakened.
Possibly the leadership of the Hungarian party, under Rakosi and Gerö, made economic mistakes, too, but these were not what caused the counter-revolution. The main mistake of Rakosi and his comrades was that they did not stand firm, but wavered under the pressure of external and internal enemies. They did not mobilize the party and the people, the working class, to nip the attempts of the reaction in the bud, made concessions to it, rehabilitated enemies like Rajk, etc., and weakened the situation to the point that the counter-revolution broke out.
In June 1956, on my way to Moscow for a meeting of Comecon, I had a talk with the comrades of the Political Bureau of the Hungarian Workers' Party in Budapest. I did not find Rakosi, Hegedüs, who was prime minister, or Gerö there because they had left for Moscow by train. (In fact, in Moscow I did not meet or see Rakosi in any consultation or anywhere else. No doubt he was «resting» in some «clinic» where the Soviets «convinced him to hand in his resignation». Only two or three weeks later he was discharged from the duties he held.) The Hungarian comrades told me that they had some difficulties in their party and their Central Committee.
«A situation against Rakosi has been created in the Central Comumittee,» they told me. «Farkas, who was a member of the Political Bureau, has taken up the banner of opposition to him.»
«The time has come for Farkas to be expelled not only from the Central Committee, but also from the party,» said Bata, the minister of defence. «His stand is anti-party and hostile,» he continued. «His thesis is: 'I have made mistakes, Beria is a traitor. But who ordered me to make those mistakes? Rakosi.»
«This question has also been raised by Revay, who proposed that 'we should set up a commission to study the faults of this one and that one, the mistakes of Rakosi, etc.,» the Hungarian comrades told me.
Here I interrupted and asked
«Then the Central Committee has no confidence in the Political Bureau?»
«So it turns out,» they said. «We were obliged to accept the commission but we decided that its report would go to the Political Bureau first.»
«What is this commission?» I asked. «The Political Bureau must be charged by the Central Committee with such matters and the report should be discussed in the Central Committee. If it is considered necessary, the Central Committee removes the Political Bureau.»
Amongst other things the Hungarian comrades told me that Imre Nagy, who had been expelled from the party as a counter-revolutionary, had put on a big dinner on the occasion of his birthday to which he had invited a hundred and fifty people, including members of the Central Committee and the government. Many of them had accepted the traitor's invitation and had gone to the dinner. When one member of the Central Committee had asked the comrades of the leadership whether he should go or not they had replied: «This is up to you to decide.» Of course, such a reply was astonishing to me and I asked the Hungarian comrades:
«But why did you not tell him flatly that he should not go because Imre Nagy is an enemy?»
«We left him to judge and decide for himself with his own conscience,» was the reply.
During this conversation the Hungarian leaders admitted that they had a difficult situation in the party. The 20th Congress had added to these troubles.
«There are groups in the party, writers, etc.,» they told me, «who are not on the rails, who want to avail themselves of the 20th Congress. These elements tell us, 'The 20th Congress confirms our theses that there are mistakes in the leadership. Therefore we are right.'»
«Togliatti's interview has caused us many problems,» said one of those present. «There are members of the Central Committee who have said to me: 'What are we doing? It would be better to act, to have a different, independent policy in Hungary, too, as in Yugoslavia.'»
In fact, things there had gone from bad to worse. Another member of the Central Committee had said to them angrily: «Are you of the Political Bureau still hiding from us issues like those of the 20th Congress? Why aren’t you publishing Togliatti's interview?»
«And we published it, because the party had to be informed!. . .» the comrades of the Political Bureau told me.
I told the Hungarian comrades that the situation with us was good and explained how we acted at the Tirana Conference.
«There is proper democracy in the Party,» I stressed, «democracy which must strengthen the situation and unity and not destroy them. Therefore we came down hard on those who sought to exploit the democracy to the detriment of the Party. We have not permitted such things to occur among us.»
Speaking about Togliatti's interview they asked my opinion of it
«With what he has said, Togliatti is not in order,» I replied. «Of course, we have not raised our objections to him publicly, but we have called in the first secretaries of the party district committees and have explained the question to them so that they will be vigilant and ready at any moment.»
Szallay, a member of the Political Bureau, rose and said:
« Ihave read Togliatti's interview and it is not all that bad. The beginning is good and it is only the final part which spoils it.»
«We did not publish it and were surprised that Radio Prague broadcast it,» I told them.
From this conversation I formed the conviction that their line was wobbly. Apart from this, it seemed that the sounder elements in the Political Bureau were under pressure from counterrevolutionary elements, and therefore they themselves had vacillated. The Political Bureau seemed to be solid, but was completely isolated.
In the evening they put on a dinner for us in the Parliament Building, in a room where a big portrait of Attila hanging on the wall struck the eye. We talked again about the grave situation that was simmering in Hungary. But it seemed that they had lost their sense of direction. I said to them
«Why are you acting like this? How can you sit idle in the face of this counter-revolution which is rising, why are you simply looking on and not taking measures?
«What measures could we take?» one of them asked.
«You should close the 'Petöfi' Club immediately, arrest the main trouble-makers, bring the armed working class out in the boulevards and encircle the Esztergom. If you can't jail Mindszenty, what about Imre Nagy, can't you arrest him? Have some of the leaders of these counterrevolutionaries shot to teach them what the dictatorship of the proletariat is.»
The Hungarian comrades opened their eyes wide with surprise as if they wanted to say to me: «Have you gone mad?» One of them told me:
«We cannot act as you suggest, Comrade Enver, because we do not consider the situation so alarming. We have the situation in hand. What they are shouting about at the 'Petöfi' Club is childish foolishness and if some members of the Central Committee went to congratulate Imre Nagy, they did this because they had long been comrades of his and not because they disagree with the Central Committee which expelled Imre from its ranks.»
«It seems to me you are taking the matter lightly,» I said. «You don’t appreciate the great danger hanging over you. Believe us, we know the Titoites well and know what they are after as the anti-communists and agents of imperialism they are.»
Mine was a voice in the wilderness. We ate that ill-omened dinner and during the conversation which lasted for several hours, the Hungarian comrades continued to pour into my ears that «they had the situation in hand» and other tales.
In the morning I boarded the aircraft and went to Moscow. I met Suslov in his office in the Kremlin. As usual, he welcomed me with those mannerisms of his, prancing like the ballerinas of the Bolshoi, and when we sat he asked me about Albania. After we exchanged opinions about our problems, I raised the question of Hungary. I told him my impressions and my opinions frankly, just as I had expressed them to the Hungarian comrades. Suslov watched me with those penetrating eyes through his horn-rimmed spectacles, and as I spoke I noticed signs of discontent, boredom and anger in his eyes. These feelings and this disapproval were accompanied by doodling with a pencil on a sheet of paper he had on the table. I carried on speaking and concluded by saying that I was astonished at the passivity and «lack of concern» of the Hungarian comrades.
Suslov began to speak in that reedy voice of his and in essence said:
«We cannot agree with your judgements over the Hungarian question. You are unnecessarily alarmed. The situation is not as you think. Per haps you have insufficient information,» and Suslov talked on and on, trying to «calm» me and convince me that there was nothing alarming in the situation in Hungary. I was not in the least convinced by his «arguments», and the events which occurred in the subsequent days confirmed that our observations and opinions about the grave situation in Hungary were completely correct. About two months later, at the end of August 1956, I had another bitter argument with Suslov about the Hungarian question. In passing through Budapest when we were going to the congress of the Chinese party, from a talk which we had at the airport with the Hungarian leaders of that time, we became even more convinced that the situation in Hungary was becoming disastrous, that reaction was moving, while with its actions the Hungarian leadership was favouring the counter-revolution. During the stop-over we made in Moscow, Mehmet, Ramiz and I met Suslov and told him of our apprehensions so that he would transmit them to the Soviet leadership. Suslov maintained the same stand as in the meeting I had with him in June.
«In regard to what you say, that the counterrevolution is on the boil,» said Suslov, «we have no facts, either from intelligence or other sources. The enemies are making a fuss about Hungary, but the situation is being normalized there. It is true that there are some student movements, but they are harmless and under control. The Yugoslavs are not operating there, as you say. You should know that not only Rakosi but also Gerö have made mistakes. . .»
«Yes, it is true that they have made mistakes, because they rehabilitated the Hungarian Titoite traitors who had plotted to blow up socialism,» I interjected. Suslov pursed his thin lips and then he went on:
«As for Comrade Imre Nagy, we cannot agree with you, Comrade Enver.»
«It greatly astonishes me,» I said, «that you refer to him as 'Comrade' Imre Nagy when the Hungarian Workers' Party has thrown him out.»
«Maybe they have done so,» said Suslov, «but he has repented and has made a self-criticism.»
«Words go with the wind,» I objected, «don’t believe words. . .»
«No,» said Suslov, his face flushing. «We have his self-criticism in writing,» and he opened a drawer and pulled out a note signed by Imre Nagy, addressed to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in which he said that he had been wrong «in his opinions and actions» and 'sought the support of the Soviets.
«Do you believe this?» I asked Suslov.
«Why shouldn't we believe it!» he replied, and went on, «Comrades can make mistakes, but when they acknowledge their errors we must hold out our hand to them.»
«He is a traitor,» I told Suslov, «and we think that you are making a great mistake when you hold out your hand to a traitor.»
This brought the conversation with Suslov to an end and we left disagreeing with him. From this meeting we formed the impression that, after having definitely condemned Rakosi, the Soviets were fearful and alarmed about the situation in Hungary; that they did not know what to do and were seeking a solution before the storm broke. Without doubt they were talking with Tito about a joint solution. They were preparing Imre Nagy, thinking they would master the situation in Hungary through him. And so it turned out.
The circle around Rakosi was very weak. Neither the Central Committee nor the Political Bureau were up to the mark. People like Hegedüs, Kadar, old men like Münnich and a few young fellows without any experience of the party and struggle, weakened the running of affairs more and more each day and fell into the TitoiteKhrushchevite spider's web.
This whole adventure was being feverishly prepared. Reaction was aroused, surged up, spoke and acted openly. The pseudo-communist, kulak and traitor, Imre Nagy, with the mask of communism, became the standard-bearer of Titoism and the struggle against Rakosi. The latter had seen the danger Which was threatening the party and the country and had taken measures against Imre Nagy, by expelling him from the party at the end of 1955. But it was too late. Hungary had been caught up in the spider's web of the counterrevolution and was lost. Rakosi was attacked by Khrushchev, by Tito, by the centre of Esztergom as well as by foreign reaction. Anna Ketli, Mindszenty, the counts and barons in the service of world reaction, who had been assembled within Hungary, as well as outside, in Austria and elsewhere, organized the counter-revolution and sent in weapons for the bloodbath which they were preparing.
The «Petöfi» Club became the centre of reaction. Allegedly it was a cultural club of the Youth Union, but in fact it operated, under the nose of the Hungarian party, as a centre where the reactionary intellectuals not only spoke against socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, but also prepared and organized themselves until they reached the point of arrogantly presenting their demands to the party and the government in the form of an ultimatum. Initially, as long as Rakosi was still at the head of affairs, attempts were made to take some measures: the «Petöfi» Club was attacked in a resolution of the Central Committee, one or two writers were expelled from the party, but these were mere pin-pricks, and not at all radical measures. The nest of the counterrevolution continued to exist and only a little later, almost all those who had been attacked were rehabilitated.
The demoted Imre Nagy continued to sit like a pasha in his home, which he had made a haunt for his partisans. Among these partisans he had people in the Central Committee of the Hungarian Workers' Party. The Hungarian leaders went back and forth to Moscow in a daze, while instead of taking measures against the reactionary element which was building up, their alleged comrades of the Central Committee went to pay visits to Imre Nagy in his home to congratulate him on his birthday. The courtiers of Rakosi became the courtiers of Nagy and paved the way for him to seize power.
The decision to remove Rakosi was taken in Moscow and Belgrade. He gave way and did not resist the pressure of the Khrushchevites and the Titoites, and the intrigues of their agents in the Hungarian leadership. They forced Rakosi to resign, allegedly for «health reasons» (because he suffered from hypertension!), while admitting «his mistakes in violation of the law». At first there was talk about the merits of «Comrade Matyas Rakosi» (thus they «buried» him with honours), then there was talk about his mistakes, until the point was reached of talking about the «criminal Rakosi gang». In the preparation of the backstage manoeuvres which preceded the removal of Rakosi, a major role was played by Suslov, who, precisely at this time, went to Hungary on holiday(!).
Apparently Rakosi was the last obstacle that hindered the revisionist waggon from going full speed ahead. It is true that Gerö was elected first secretary, and not Kadar, as the Soviets and the Yugoslavs wanted, but his days were numbered. Kadar, who had been in prison and rehabilitated a little earlier, was elected to the Political Bureau at first and, as the man of Khrushchev and Tito, in fact he played «first fiddle» there.
After the plenum of July 1956, (at which Gerö replaced Rakosi, and Kadar joined the Bureau) reaction surged ahead, and the authority of the party and the government virtually did not exist. The counter-revolutionary elements insistently demanded the rehabilitation of Nagy and the removal of those few sound elements left in the leadership. Gerö, Hegedüs and others went from city to city and from factory to factory trying to cool tempers, promising «democracy», «the rule of socialist law» and increased pay. Obviously, all these things were dune not in the correct Marxist Leninist way, but submitting to the pressure of the powerful upsurge of the petty-bourgeoisie and reaction.
We considered the removal of Rakosi from the leadership of the Hungarian party a mistake which did great damage to and seriously weakened the situation in Hungary, and we ex pressed this opinion to the Soviet leaders when we went to Moscow in December. The events themselves showed how right we were.
The «happy» period of liberalization began, the period of dragging from the prison and the grave those whom the dictatorship of the proletariat had justly condemned. The traitor Rajk and his associates were reinterred after a pompous ceremony in which thousands of people, headed by the Hungarian leadership, took part and which ended with the «International». Thus, the traitor Rajk became «Comrade Rajk», and a national hero of Hungary, almost the same as Kossuth.
After a formal letter to the Central Committee, Nagy was readmitted to the party and confidently awaited the. development of events which would bring him to power. They were not long delayed.
After Rajk, many others previously condemned came on the scene - officers and priests, people sentenced for political crimes and thieves, to whom moral satisfaction as well as material satisfaction was given. Rajk's widow received 200,000 forints as a reward for her husband's treachery, and the Budapest newspapers published reports about the generosity of «Madame Rajk» who donated this sum to the people's colleges. Those condemned by the courts were proclaimed the victims of Rakosi, Gabor Peter, and Mihaly Farkas, who was arrested at this time. The top officials begged the pardon of reaction for their «crimes». «But what could we do,» said the minister of justice, «when Comrade Rajk, himself, admitted his guilt!»
Hegedüs, while still prime minister, declared under the pressure of Khrushchev, «We greatly regret that our party and government slandered the Yugoslavs», while Gerö, in his first speech after he had been elected to the head of the party said, «Our party still has to pay its debts to the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and the leaders of Yugoslavia and to deny the slanders we have spread to the detriment of the Yugoslav Federal Republic.»
In all that was taking place, Gerö, who was one of the oldest leaders of the party, proved to be an opportunist and a coward who swung from side to side and moved like a puppet manipulated by the real actors behind the scenes in the Hungarian tragedy. When Tito was on «holiday» in the Crimea, Gerö went to talk with him in Khrushchev's villa and the three of them, together with their suites, «took walks along the seashore, talked and had photographs taken». If the history of intrigues and diabolical manoeuvres to the detriment of the peoples is ever written, these will be «historic photographs». Here, in Khrushchev's villa at Yalta, the first steps to conciliation were taken and, a few days later, Gerö with Hegedüs and Kadar, went to Belgrade, where they talked with Rankovic. Not much later, when the disturbances began, they threw Gerb into the rubbish bin and Kadar, with the blessing of Khrushchev and the manoeuvres of Mikoyan and the revisionist ideologist Suslov, was elevated to first secretary.
Meanwhile Imre Nagy emerged from his hole, took power, shouted in triumph, proclaimed «democracy», and Tito was at the culmination of his victory. Reaction came to power, gangsters swarmed in from abroad, and the fascist Horthyite and clerical parties of the bourgeoisie were reformed. Imperialism filled the country with spies and was pouring in arms wholesale from Austria. Radio «Free Europe» urged on the counter-revolution day and night and called for the overthrow and total liquidation of the socialist order. Even earlier Hungary had opened its doors to spies disguised as tourists.
When we passed through Budapest in October 1956, on the return journey from China, the members of the Bureau of the Hungarian Workers' Party themselves told us that «20,000 tourists have visited Hungary recently». When I pointed out that this was dangerous, they replied: -But we get hard currency from them.» After the removal of Rakosi, especially in those ill-famed October days, the doors were opened to the Horthyites, the barons and counts, the former masters and oppressors of Hungary. Esterhazy established himself in the middle of Budapest and telephoned embassies, announcing that he intended to place himself at the head of the government. Mindszenty, released from prison, returned to his palace escorted by the «national guard» and blessed the people. The old parties, owners' parties, peasants' parties, social-democratic parties, catholic parties, revived like maggots in a festering wound, re-established themselves in their former premises, brought out newspapers and Nagy and Kadar were placed in the government. The counter-revolution swept the entire capital and was spreading to other parts of Hungary.
As Bato Karafili, our ambassador in Budapest, told us later, the frenzied crowds of counterrevolutionaries first rushed upon a bronze monument of Stalin, which had still been left standing in a square of Budapest. Just as Hitler's assault squads in the past were let loose on everything progressive, the Horthyites and other riffraff of Hungary hurled themselves in fury on the monument of Stalin, trying to uproot it. Since they failed to achieve this even with steel ropes attached to a heavy tractor, the bandits did their work with the aid of cutting torches. Their first act was symbolic: by knocking down the monument of Stalin they wanted to say that they were going to destroy everything that still remained in Hungary from socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat and Marxism-Leninism.
Destruction, killings and rioting swept t'he whole city.
The scabby bird - Imre Nagy, had flown from the hands of Khrushchev and Suslov. This traitor, in whom Moscow had placed its hopes, like a drowning man clutching at his own hair to save himself from death, showed what he was, and in the upsurge of the counter-revolutionary fury, announced his reactionary policy and made public declarations about Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Treaty. The Soviet ambassador in Hungary was a certain Andropov, a KGB man, who was elevated to power later and played a dirty role against us. This agent, with the label of ambassador, found himself surrounded by the counter-revolution which broke out. Even when the counter-revolutionary events were taking place openly, when Nagy came to the head of the government, the Soviets still continued to support him, apparently hoping that they could keep him under control. During those days, after the first half-hearted intervention of the Soviet army, Andropov told our ambassador in Budapest:
«We cannot call the insurgents counter-revolutionaries because there are honest people among them. The new government is good and it is necessary to support it in order to stabilize the situation.»
«What do you think of Nagy's speeches?» our ambassador asked him.
«They are not bad,» replied Andropov, and when our comrade pointed out that what was being said about the Soviet Union did not seem to be correct, he replied:
«There is anti-Sovietism, but Nagy's recent speech was not bad, it was not anti-Soviet. He wants to maintain links with the masses. The Political Bureau is good and has credit.
The counter-revolutionaries acted with such arrogance that they forced Andropov, together with all his staff, out into the street and left them there for hours on end. We instructed our ambassador in Budapest to take measures for the defence of the embassy and its staff, and to place a machine-gun at the top of the stairs. If the counterrevolutionaries dared to attack the embassy he was to open fire without hesitation. But when our ambassador asked Andropov for weapons to ensure the defence of our embassy, he refused:
«We have diplomatic immunity, therefore no one will touch you.»
«What diplomatic immunity?!» said our ambassador. «They threw you out into the street.»
«No, no,» said Andropov, «if we give you arms, some incident might be created.
«Very well,» said our representative. «I am making you an official request on behalf of the Albanian government.»
«I shall ask Moscow,» said Andropov, and when the request was refused our ambassador declared:
«All right, only I am letting you know that we shall defend ourselves with the pistol and shotguns we have. »
The Soviet ambassador had shut himself up in the embassy and did not dare to stick his head out. A responsible functionary of the Foreign Ministry of Hungary, who was being chased by the bandits, sought refuge in our embassy and we admitted him. He told our comrades that he had gone to the Soviet embassy but they had turned him away.
The Soviet troops stationed in Hungary intervened at first, but were then withdrawn under the pressure of Nagy and Kadar and the Soviet government declared that it was ready to begin talks about their withdrawal from Hungary. While the counter-revolutionaries were wreaking havoc, Moscow trembled. Khrushchev was afraid, hesitating to intervene. Tito was king of the situation and the supporter of Imre Nagy, indeed, he had assembled his army and was ready to intervene. Then Moscow sent the appropriate person to Budapest, the huckster Mikoyan, along with the cocky Suslov.
Here in Tirana we did not fail to speak up. I called the Soviet ambassador and told him angrily
«We are completely uninformed about what is going on in a number of socialist countries. Tito and corn. pany have a finger in the organization of the counter-revolution in Hungary. You are abandoning Hungary to imperialism and Tito. You must intervene with arms and far piazza pulita* *( make a clean sweep (Italian in the original).) before it's too late.»
I mentioned Tito's aims and condemned the trust Khrushchev had in him, as well as Suslov's trust in Imre Nagy's «self-criticism».
«You see what Imre Nagy is,» I said. -Now blood is being shed in Hungary and the culprits
must be found.»
«The situation is grave but we shall not allow the enemy to seize Hungary. I shall transmit the opinions you expressed to me to Moscow.»
Every one knows what happened in Hungary and Budapest. Thousands of people were killed. Reaction, armed from abroad, slaughtered communists and democrats, women and children in the streets, burned houses, offices and everything they could lay hands on. The gangsterism prevailed for days on end. Only the security detachments of Budapest put up some slight resistance, while
the Hungarian army and the Hungarian Workers' Party were neutralized and liquidated. Kadar published the decree on the liquidation of the Hungarian Workers' Party, an act which showed who he was, and proclaimed the formation of the new party - the Socialist Workers' Party, which Kadar, Nagy and others were to build.
The Soviet embassy was surrounded with tanks and Mikoyan, Suslov, Andropov and who knows who else, continued to intrigue inside.
Reaction, headed by Kadar and Imre Nagy, shut up in the parliament building, where they indulged in idle talk, sent out continuous appeals to the Western capitalist states to intervene with arms against the Soviets. In the end, the frightened Nikita Khrushchev was obliged to give the order. The Soviet armoured forces marched on Budapest and fighting began in the streets. The intriguer Mikoyan put Andropov in a tank and sent him to parliament to bring back Kadar, in order to manipulate matters through him. And this is what occurred. Kadar again changed his patron, again changed his coat, returned to the bosom of the Soviets and, protected by their tanks, called on the people to cease the disturbances and appealed to the counter-revolutionaries to hand in their arms and surrender.
That was the end of the Nagy government. The counter-revolution was put down, and Imre Nagy took refuge in Tito's embassy. It was clear that he was an agent of Tito and world reaction. He had Khrushchev's support, too, but he slipped from his grasp, because he wanted to go further, and did so. Khrushchev quarrelled with Tito for months about handing over Nagy. Tito refused until they reached a compromise that Nagy should be handed over to the Rumanians. At the time when negotiations over this problem were going on with Tito, Krylov, the Soviet ambassador in Tirana, sought our opinion whether or not we agreed that Nagy should go to Rumania.
«As we have declared previously,» I replied to Krylov, «Imre Nagy is a traitor who opened the doors to fascism in Hungary. Now it is proposed that this traitor, who has killed communists and progressives, who has killed Soviet soldiers and called on the imperialists to intervene, should go to a friendly country. This is a big concession and we do not agree with it.»
After tempers cooled and the victims of the Hungarian counter-revolution, a deed of Tito in particular, as well as Khrushchev, were buried, Nagy was executed. The way this was done was not right, either. Not that Nagy did not deserve to be executed, but not secretly, without trial and without public exposure, as was done. He ought to have been publicly tried and punished on the basis of the laws of the country of which he was a citizen. But of course, neither Khrushchev, Kadar, nor Tito wanted him brought to trial, because Nagy could have brought to light the dirty linen of those who pulled the strings in the counter-revolutionary plot.
Later, when the counter-revolution in Hungary had been suppressed, many facts came to light which proved the complicity of the Soviet leaders in the Hungarian events. We, of course, suspected what role the Soviets played, especially in regard to the removal of Rakosi, the support for Nagy, etc. However, at that time we did not know precisely how the Khrushchev-Tito collaboration had developed and neither did we know about the secret meetings of Khrushchev and Malenkov with Tito in Brioni. These things were revealed later and we adhered to our stand of opposition to these actions of the Soviets.
Some days after order was restored in Hungary, the Soviet leadership informed us of the correspondence which it had exchanged with the Yugoslav leadership over the Hungarian question. The facts which were revealed in those letters disturbed us profoundly, because the problems were serious and critical. At that time, the interests of socialism and the communist movement required that the Soviet Union should be defended from the attacks of imperialism and reaction and our unity preserved. On the other hand, our Party had to have its say about these anti-Marxist actions of the Soviet leadership. Therefore, everything had to be carefully considered and weighed up, bearing in mind the interests of the Party, our country, the revolution and socialism. That is how we judged these problems, we expressed our opinions to the Soviet leaders in a comradely tone, so that everything would be corrected and kept between ourselves.
During those days, after we received the letters, I summoned Krylov:
«I have called you here,» I said, «to clear up some matters which arise from these letters. First, I want to tell you that the allusions which Tito made to 'certain evil men', clearly implying the leadership of our Party, seem to us unacceptable. Such a thing, on his part, does not surprise us because we are accustomed to Tito's attacks. However, we are extremely surprised about the fact that in the reply of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union there is no clear-cut stand to be seen in connection with these insinuations of Tito's. Have you anything to say about this question?»
«I have nothing to say about this,» replied Krylov, faithful to his manner of playing dumb.
Then I continued
«Tito should have been told bluntly that we are not evil men and enemies of socialism, as he says. We are Marxist-Leninists, resolute people, who will fight to the end for the cause of socialism. Tito, on the contrary, is an enemy of the revolution and socialism. There are many facts to prove this.
Kryiov was silent, and continuing the talk, I dwelt in particular on another problem which had attracted our attention in these letters. Khrushchev wrote to Tito: «In connection with the removal of Rakosi, you were completely satisfied that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union tried, as early as the summer of this year, to ensure that Kadar would become first secretary.»
Besides this, the letter clearly indicated their collaboration, not only before the events of October, but also during them, a collaboration which was concretised in the plan hatched up during secret talks in Brioni. These actions of the Soviet leadership were unacceptable to us. In our opinion, the Titoites continued their disruptive secret activity, and this was clearly apparent in Hungary in particular. We had informed the leadership of the Soviet Union of this opinion.
I questioned Krylov about this matter:
«We are not clear about where the Central Committee of the Hungarian Workers' Party was formed, in Budapest or in the Crimea».
Of course Krylov did not like this question and, biting his words, said
«This is how matters must stand : the Hungarian comrades have gone to the Crimea and talked with our comrades. There the question has been raised of who should be placed in the leadership. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has said t'hat 'it would be good if Kadar were elected.'»
«Does it mean that the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was not for Gerö but for Kadar?» I continued.
«That is what emerges from the letter,» replied Krylov.
«Apart from that,» I said, «the Kadar government has been formed in close collaboration between your leadership and Tito. Is that not so?»
«Yes, it seems to be so,» Krylov was obliged to admit.
Continuing the talk, after informing him of the concern which the events in Hungary aroused in our Party, I pointed out to the Soviet ambassador:
«The unanimous opinion of our Political Bureau is that these actions of the comrades of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, who talk with Tito about the composition of the leadership of the Hungarian party and government, are not correct. The Soviet leadership is well aware of our views on all these matters, because we have expressed them to it. 1s that not so?»
«Yes, it is so,» said Krylov.
«Have you transmitted all our views to Moscow?»
«Yes,» he replied, «I have transmitted them.»
At the end of this talk, as though by chance, the Soviet ambassador asked me:
«Will Dali Ndreu be put on trial?»
Of course this question was not accidental.
Apparently, the trial and exposure of the agents of the Yugoslav revisionists, Liri Gega and Dali Ndreu, was not pleasing to the Soviets.
«The trial has been prepared and will be held,» I told Krylov, «because they are traitors and agents. When their attempts to carry out the plot against our Party and state failed, Dali Ndreu and Liri Gega, sensing that they would have to render account for their activity as agents, attempted to flee the country, and were captured near our state border. Their hostile activity has now been completely proved and they themselves have admitted it. And if Tito continues his hostile activity, we shall publish the truth about these agents, with facts and tape-recordings. We think that we can no longer tolerate the Titoites, who want to stab us in the back and to make accusations against us.»
«I understand your situation,» murmured Krylov and went away with his tail between his legs.
The same phenomena as in Hungary developed in Poland, too, almost at the same time, although there the events did not assume those proportions and that dramatic character they did in Hungary. In Poland, too, the dictatorship of the proletariat had been established under the leadership of the United Workers' Party, but, despite the aid which the Soviet Union provided, socialism did not develop there at the necessary rates. As long as Bierut was at the, head and the Polish party was in correct positions, successes were achieved in the socialist development of the country. However, the initial reforms and measures which were taken there, were not carried through to the end and the class struggle was not waged at the proper level. The proletariat increased, industry was developed, efforts were made to disseminate Marxist ideas among the masses, but, de facto, the elements of the bourgeoisie retained many of their dominant positions. The land reform was not carried out in the countryside, and the collectivisation went only half-way, until Gomulka declared the cooperatives and state farms unprofitable, and favoured the growth of the kulak strata in the Polish countryside.
As in Hungary, East Germany, Rumania and elsewhere, the Polish party was formed through a mechanical merger of the existing party with the bourgeois parties, so-called workers' parties. Perhaps such a thing was necessary in order to unite the proletariat under the leadership of a single party, but this union should have been brought about through a great deal of ideological, political and organizational work, to ensure that the former members of other parties were not only assimilated, but what is more important, were thoroughly educated with the Marxist-Leninist ideological and organizational norms. But this was not done either in Poland, Hungary, or elsewhere and all that happened in fact was that the members of the :bourgeois parties changed their names, became «communists», while retaining their old views, their old outlook. Thus, the parties of the proletariat were not strengthened, but on the contrary, were weakened, because social-democrats and opportunists like Cyrankiewicz, Marosan, Grotewohl, etc., established themselves and their views in them.
Apart from this, there was another factor in Poland which had an influence in the counterrevolutionary manifestations: the old hatred of the Polish people for Czarist Russia. Through the work which reaction did inside and outside the party, the old hatred, which was completely justified in the past, was now turned against the Soviet Union, against the Soviet people, who, in fact, had shed their blood for the liberation of Poland. The Polish bourgeoisie, which had not been hit as hard as it should have been, did everything in its power to incite the nationalist and chauvinist sentiments against the Soviet Union.
After the death of Bierut, these were expressed more openly, and the weaknesses of the party and the dictatorship of the proletariat in Poland also emerged more openly. Thus, partly from the weaknesses in the work, partly from the efforts of reaction, the church, Gomulka and Cyrankiewicz, and partly from the interference of the Khrushchevites, the disturbances of June 1956 and the events which followed them, came about. Of course, the death of Bierut created suitable conditions for the plans of the counter-revolution. I had met Bierut long before, when I went to Warsaw. He was a mature, experienced comrade, quiet and kindly. Although I was younger than he, he behaved in such a good comradely manner with me that I can never forget him. When I met him at meetings in ,Moscow, too, it was a special satisfaction to talk with him. He listened to me attentively when I spoke about our people and their situation. He was sincere, just and principled. I remember when we talked in Warsaw he mentioned a discussion he had had with Comrade Mehmet.
«Your comrade spoke to me frankly when he criticized the stand of our prime minister. I like comrades who speak frankly,» said Bierut.
I met him for the last time in Moscow when the 20th Congress of the CPSU was held.
Shortly before his death, Bierut and his wife, as well as Nexhmije and I were in a box together in the «Maly Teatr» to see a play about the revolutionary navy of Leningrad.
In the interval we had a cordial conversation in the small room behind the stage. Amongst other things, we spoke about the Comintern, because at that time the Bulgarian Ganev joined us and he and Bierut reminisced about when they had met in Sophia, when Bierut had been sent there illegally on a task.
Only a little while after this meeting, we heard the bad news: Bierut had died, like Gottwald,... Hof a cold». Great grief and astonishment!
We went to his funeral in Warsaw; it was the beginning of March 1956. Many speeches were delivered by Khrushchev, Cyrankiewicz, Ochab, Zhu De, etc., over Bierut's coffin. Vukmanovic-Tempo, who had comme to take part in the funeral as the envoy of Belgrade, also spoke. Even here, the Titoite representative took the opportunity to launch revisionist slogans and to express his satisfaction over the new «possibilities and perspectives» which had just been opened by the 20th Congress.
«Bierut has been taken from us at a moment when possibilities and prospects have been opened for collaboration and friendship between all socialist movements, in order to realize the ideas of October in various ways,» said Tempo, and called for advance on the road opened «through continuous actions». While the speeches were going on, not far from me, I saw Nikita Khrushchev leaning against a tree, exchanging words with Wanda Wassilewska. Without doubt, he was striking deals over the body of Bierut, whom they were putting in the grave.
A few months after these bitter events at the start of 1956, Poland was engulfed in confusion and chaos which smelled of counter-revolution.
The events which occurred in Poland were almost identical with those in Hungary. The revolts of the Poznan workers began before the outbreak of the Hungarian counter-revolution, but in fact, these two counter-revolutionary movements matured at the same time, in the same situation and with the same inspiration. I am not going to go into a detailed description of them because they are known, but it is interesting to point out the analogy of facts in these countries, the astonishing parallels between the development of the counter-revolution in Poland and that in Hungary.
Both in Poland and in Hungary the leaders were changed : in the ore country Bierut died (in Moscow), in the other Rakosi was removed (the work of Moscow); in Hungary, Rajk, Nagy, Kadar were rehabilitated, in Poland, Gomulka, Spychalski, Morawski, Loga-Sowinski and a whole series of other traitors; there Mindszenty came on the scene, here Wyszynski.
Even more significant is the ideological and spiritual identity of these events. Both in Poland and in Hungary, the events took place under the aegis of the 20th Congress, with the slogans of «democratisation», liberalization and rehabilitation. The Khrushchevites played an active role, a base counter-revolutionary role, in the development of events in both these countries. The Titoites also had their influence in Poland, although not so directly as in Hungary, but the ideas of self administration, «the national roads to socialism», and the «workers' councils», which were taken up in Poland, were certainly inspired by the Yugoslav «specific socialism».
The June events at Poznan were counterrevolutionary movements which reaction inspired, exploiting the economic difficulties and the mistakes which had been made by the Polish party in the development of the economy. These revolts were suppressed and did not assume the same proportions as in Hungary, but they had major consequences in the further development of events. In Poland reaction found its own Nagy; this was Wladyslaw Gomulka, an enemy brought out of prison, who immediately became first secretary of the party. Gomulka, who had been general secretary of the Workers' Party of Poland for a time, had been condemned for his right opportunist and nationalist views, which were very similar to the line followed by the Tito group, exposed at that time by the Information Bureau. When the congress for the uniting of the Workers' Party and the Socialist Party was held in 1948, Bierut and the other leaders and delegates exposed and attacked the views of Gomulka. Our Party had sent its representative to this congress and when he returned to Albania he told us about the arrogant, stubborn stand of Gomulka in the congress. Gomulka was exposed, but nevertheless, as they said, «he was given a helping hand once again» and was elected to the Central Committee. A Pole who accompanied our comrade, told him that during those days, Gomulka had had a long tête-à-tête* *( French in the original) talk with Ponomarenko, a secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who attended the congress and, it seems, Ponomarenko had persuaded Gomulka to make self-criticism. However, time showed clearly that he had not relinquished his views and later he was sentenced for anti-state activity, too.
When the rehabilitation campaign began, the partisans of Gomulka exerted pressure on the leadership of the party to proclaim Gomulka innocent. But he was too politically and ideologically discredited, and therefore, there were obstacles to this. Some months before Gomulka was restored to the head of the Polish party, Ochab declared «solemnly» that although Wladyslaw Gomulka had been released from prison, «this in no way alters the correct essence of the political and ideological struggle which the party has waged against the views of Gomulka.»
After he liquidated Bierut, Khrushchev assisted Ochab, Zawadski, Zambrowski and other elements such as Cyrankiewicz, but the seed of discord and disruption had been deeply implanted and was germinating. Gomulka and his supporters acted and managed to come to power. The Khrushchevites were worried: they had to have Poland firmly under control manu militari, and their policy and ideology were adapted to this imperative need. Khrushchev abandoned his old friends and turned to Gomulka who did not appear to be so obedient to Khrushchev's dictate.
The advent of Gomulka to power convinced us that events in Poland were not developing in favour of socialism. We not only knew Gomulka's sinister past, but we were able to judge him also from the slogans he launched and the speeches he made. He came to power with definite slogans for «the true independence of Poland» and «the further democratization of the country». In the speech he delivered before he was elected first secretary, he did not fail to threaten the Soviets saying, «we shall defend ourselves,» and, as far as we know, there were even clashes between the Soviet and Polish detachments in Poland. In general the events in Poland, as in Hungary, developed under anti-Soviet slogans. Gomulka, too, was anti-Soviet. Of course, he was against the Soviet Union of the time of Stalin, but at the same time he wanted to be free from the yoke which the Khrushchevites were preparing for the countries of the socialist camp. Nevertheless, he did not fail to speak formally in favour of friendship with the Soviet Union and to «condemn» the anti-Soviet slogans. At the same time, he spoke positively about the stationing of the Soviet army in Poland, and this he did for immediate national interests, because he was afraid of some attack from West Germany, which never accepted the Oder-Neisse border.
The revisionist Gomulka made his moves with such unprecedented arrogance that I pointed out some of his actions to Khrushchev when I met him in Yalta. We were sitting in a pavilion with a stone floor at the edge of the sea, and when he had heard me out, Khrushchev admitted I was right and said to me textually: «Gomulka is a real fascist.» But the two counter-revolutionaries later came to agreement and had only honeyed words for each other. Their contradictions and differences were softened.
The speech which Gomulka delivered at the plenum of the Central Committee which elected him first secretary was a «programmatic» speech of a revisionist. He criticized the line followed up to that time in industry and agriculture, painted a black picture of the situation and proclaimed the cooperatives system in the countryside and the state farms unprofitable. We considered these views anti-Marxist-Leninist. Mistakes may have been made in the direction of collectivisation and the development of agricultural cooperatives in Poland, but the cooperatives system was not to blame for this. It had proved its vitality as the only road for the construction of socialism in the countryside in the Soviet Union, in the other socialist countries and in our country. Gomulka struck out with his sword, right and left, against «violations of the law», against the «ocult of the individual», against Stalin, against Bierut (although he did not mention him by name) and against the leaders of socialist countries whom he called satellites of Stalin. Gomulka defended the counter-revolutionary actions in Poznan. «The workers of Poznan,» declared Gomulka at the 8th Plenum, in October 1956, «were not protesting against socialism, but against evils which had spread in our social system. The attempt to present the painful tragedy of Poznan as the work of imperialist agents and provocateurs was politically very naive. The causes must be sought in the leadership of the party and the government.»
The Soviets were worried and frightened about the events in Poland, because they saw that the «new course», which they themselves proclaimed, was taking the Polish leaders further than they desired and that Poland was in danger of escaping from their influence. During the days in which the plenum, that was to restore Gomulka to power, was held, Khrushchev, Molotov, Kaganovich and Mikoyan went urgently to Poland. At the airport Khrushchev shouted angrily at the Polish leaders: «We have shed our blood to liberate this country, while you want to give it to the Americans.» The concern of the Russians was increased, because the Soviet Marshal Rokossowsky, who was of Polish origin, and other members of the Political Bureau who were considered pro-Soviet, like Minc, etc., were being squeezed out and in fact they were expelled from the Political Bureau. However, the Poles did not submit either to the pressure of the Soviet leaders or to the movement of Russian tanks; they did not even invite them to the plenum. Talks were held, at which Gomulka was present, but nevertheless for the time being Khrushchev and company were left biting their fingers. Pressure was exerted, an article was published in «Pravda» to which the Poles gave an arrogant reply, but, in the end, Khrushchev gave Gomulka his blessing and, after he made a «pilgrimage» to Moscow, Gomulka received credits and spoke about the Soviet-Polish «Leninist friendship».
Gomulka implemented his «program», set up his «workers' councils», «self-administrative cooperatives», and «rehabilitation committees», stimulated private trade, introduced religion in the schools and the army and opened the doors to foreign propaganda; he, too, spoke about the -«national road» to socialism.
Gomulka's views and actions were so extremely open and undisguised that many did not accept them, or could not accept them openly.
Even Khrushchev was obliged from time to time to throw some small stone at Gomulka's garden. The Czechs, the French, the Bulgarians, and the East-Germans, who kept one eye and ear on Moscow, likewise adopted stands of reserve or opposition. Obviously we were opposed to Gomulka and his actions and this we had made known to the Soviet leaders with whom we had talked. The Poles did not like this attitude and their press complained openly that the other parties did not understand the changes that were occurring in Poland. An article published in those days mentioned our press and that of some other countries as examples of this «misunderstanding», in contrast to the Italian, Chinese, Yugoslav and other parties which had «properly understood the profoundly socialist character of the changes in Poland».
The Yugoslavs welcomed these «socialist» changes with enthusiasm and shouted that «those forces which fought for political democratisation, economic decentralization and the system of self administration had triumphed» in Poland.
The Soviets did not give us any information about the events in Poland, either, but only sent us a letter in which they told us that the situation was very grave and informed us that a Soviet delegation was to go there. Apart from this nothing more, no news, no information. In the Soviet press we found an occasional article which attacked the events in Poland, but we also found articles which supported them. As I have said, from the talks with Krylov, the Soviet ambassador in Tirana, we had nothing definite. In one meeting which I had with him I spoke about the question of Poland and our concern about what was occurring there.
«How is it possible,» I asked him, «that we are not kept informed? How is it possible that we are left in the dark about these matters, which concern all of us? This is not right.»
«That is a fair request,» Krylov replied.
«Transmit our view to your Central Committee,» I concluded.
In the context of the events which were taking place, the differences of opinion between us and the Soviets were becoming ever clearer. In connection with this, the stand of our Party was: we must not make these difference's public, because this would harm the Soviet Union and the socialist camp, but on the other hand, we must make no concessions of principle; must adhere to our stands and express our views openly to the Soviet leaders.
When I was in Moscow in December of that year, among other things, I talked with the Soviet leaders about the question of Poland. I shall deal separately with the talks of December 1956; but here I want to mention the support which Khrushchev and company gave Gomulka to consolidate himself in power. When we put forward our views and doubts about Gomulka to Khrushchev and Suslov, they tried to convince us that he was a good man and should be supported, while we were convinced that the disturbances which had occurred in Poland and which were very like the Hungarian counter-revolution, were the work of Gomulka and .served to bring this fascist to power, where he remained until he was purged by the Khrushchevites and Gierek. The latter is a ferocious enemy of the Party of Labour of Albania. In Poland all of them fell one after the other. Cyrankiewicz, this old agent of the bourgeoisie, lasted longest and pulled the strings with the Soviet army which had occupied Poland.
The events in Hungary and Poland quite rightly worried our Party and its leadership because they damaged the cause of the revolution and weakened the positions of socialism in Europe and the world.
After these events ended, or more precisely, lost their open and acute form, because now they were carried on in secrecy, the moment came to make the necessary analyses and draw the proper conclusions. Both Khrushchev and Tito made analyses according to their own interests and reckonings and the anti-Marxist views which they held. In essence; the Titoites and the Khrushchevites were united in their «analysis», laying the blame on the mistakes of the leadership of the Hungarian party and Rakosi, in particular. Kadar, too, as the servant of two masters, sang in harmony with them, declaring that «the revolt of the masses was justified because of the mistakes of the criminal clique of Rakosi and Gerö.»
To the extent it was acquainted with the development of events and based on the facts which had emerged from the darkness which shrouded the plot, our Party had analysed these events and had drawn its own conclusions. In our opinion, the counter-revolution was provoked and organized by world capitalism and its Titoite agency at the weakest link in the socialist camp, at the moments when the Khrushchev clique had still not consolidated its positions. The Hungarian Workers' Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat in Hungary melted away like snow in the rain at its first stern confrontation with reaction. From all that had occurred, certain facts drew our attention:
In the first place, the events revealed the weak and superficial work of the Hungarian party for the education and leadership of the working class. Despite its revolutionary traditions, the working class of Hungary did not know how to defend its power during the counter-revolution. On the contrary, a part of it became a reserve of reaction. The party itself did not react as a conscious organized vanguard of the class. It was liquidated within a few days, and this gave the counter-revolutionary Kadar the possibility to bury it once and for all.
The events of October and November 1956 underlined once again the vacillating character of the Hungarian intellectuals and student youth. They became the cat's paw of reaction, and the assault squad of the bourgeoisie. An especially base role in this was played by the counter-revolutionary writers headed by the reactionary and anti-communist Lukacs, who also became a member of the Nagy government.
The case of Hungary proved that the bourgeoisie had not lost its hopes of restoration but, on the contrary, had prepared itself in illegality, even preserving its old organizational forms, which was shown by the immediate formation of clerical and fascist bourgeois parties.
What occurred in Hungary further convinced our Party of the correctness of the stand we had maintained towards the Yugoslav revisionists. The Titoites were the inspirers and main supporters of the Hungarian counter-revolution. Official personalities and the press of Yugoslavia welcomed these events with enthusiasm. The inflammatory speeches delivered in the «Petöfi» Club were published in Belgrade and the «theories» of Tito and Kardelj, together with the theses of the 20th Congress, were the banner of these speeches.
To us these things were neither new nor unexpected. What worried us most was the role which the Soviet leadership played in these events, its co-ordination of plans with Tito, its backstage deals hatched up to the detriment of the Hungarian people, which had profound and bitter repercussions for them.
The counter-revolution in Hungary was put down by the Soviet tanks because Khrushchev could not fail to intervene (that would have exposed him once and for all), and here the imperialists and Tito did not make their calculations well. However, experience showed that this counterrevolution was suppressed by counter-revolutionaries who restored capitalism, but in a more camouflaged way, retaining their colour and disguise, as the Soviet Khrushchevites did in their own country.
The facts in Hungary increased our doubts about the leadership of the CPSU and worried and saddened us. We had always had great faith in the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin and we had expressed this faith together with our sincere love for it and the land of the Soviets.
With this feeling of doubt and worry I went to Moscow in December 1956, together with Hysni, who supported and assisted me in the difficult talks and discussions with the Khrushchevites, in which the poison was mixed with hypocrisy.
As we had decided earlier in the Political Bureau, we went to the Soviet Union to discuss with the Soviet leaders the acute problems of the situation, the events in Hungary and Poland, as well as relations with Yugoslavia.
It must be said that at that period Khrushchev and company were not getting along so well with Tito. Their friendship seemed to have cooled off somewhat. Meanwhile, Tito had delivered his notorious speech at Pula, which had aroused a great deal of opposition in many parties of the socialist camp. In this speech, the Belgrade chieftain attacked the Soviet system, attacked socialism, attacked the parties which did not follow the «original Marxist-Leninist» course of Tito and also condemned the Soviet intervention in Hungary. These theses were not to the advantage of Khrushchev and company, or were too open, and they were obliged to take a stand for appearances' sake.
Thus the Khrushchevites had made one or two attacks in the newspapers, although not very strong ones (in order to avoid making Comrade Tito too angry!) and indeed even with some praise, and, as was their custom, they had begun to exert economic pressure on Yugoslavia, a thing which Khrushchev admitted to me in the talks. At that time «Pravda» had also published an article of mine in which Yugoslav «specific socialism» and its spokesmen were attacked in harsh terms.
I am relating all this to explain why the welcome for us at that time was more «cordial» and why our views, especially with regard to the Yugoslavs, were not opposed, and indeed, even seemed to be approved by the Soviet leaders.
From the moment we left the ship in Odessa we noticed this atmosphere- in the conversation we had with those who came to welcome us and the talks we held with the leaders of the organs of the party and the state in the Ukraine.
We travelled from Odessa to Moscow by train. We still had not recovered properly from the journey, when we were informed that the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had put on a dinner in honour of our delegation. As I have said elsewhere, the Soviet leaders were unrivalled for lunches and dinners that went on for hours on end. We were still tired from the trip, but, of course, we went to this «dinner», which began at about four o'clock in the afternoon. As far as I recall, all the members of the Presidium, apart from Brezhnev, Furtseva and one other, were there. The dinner continued for several hours and Khrushchev and the others strove to create an atmosphere which would seem as friendly as possible. Nearly all who were present proposed toasts (Khrushchev alone proposed five or six) and in the course of the toasts* *( English in the original.) fine words were said about our Party and Albania and I was praised especially. Especially zealous in these praises was Pospyelov who had been at the 3rd Congress of our Party in May.
The toasts proposed were frequently political speeches, especially those proposed by Khrushchev, for whom it was nothing to speak for half an hour in proposing a toast. In any case, from these speeches we got a preliminary signal about the stand they would take in the talks.
That evening Khrushchev did not spare his attacks against the Yugoslav leaders.
«Their positions are anti-Leninist and opportunist,» said Khrushchev among other things. «Their policy is a mishmash. We shall make no concessions to them. They suffer from megalomania,» he continued. «When Tito was in Moscow, he thought that with the majestic welcome put on for him, the people were saying he was right, and that they condemned our policy. In fact we need only have whispered one word to the people and they would have torn Tito and company to pieces.»
Speaking about our attitude to the Titoites, he said, «The Albanian comrades are right but they must keep cool and maintain their selfcontrol.
«Your hair is going gray, but we are bald,» said Khrushchev, concluding his toast.
While the feast continued, «the bald head» told us that Albania was a small country, but had an important strategic position. «If we build a submarine and missile base there, we can control the whole Mediterranean.» Khrushchev and Malinovsky repeated this same idea when they came to visit our country in 1959. It was the idea which was concretised in the Vlora base, which the Khrushchevites used to put pressure on us, later.
As I said, Khrushchev and the other Soviet leaders showed themselves very «cordial», there was no lack of flattery, and all this was done to soften the just revolt of our Party over their wrong stands. I remember that during the evening we had some discussion about Khrushchev's coming to our country, because although he had left hardly any country unvisited, he had not come to us, either openly or secretly. However, that evening there was a predisposition to reply positively to our request. Not only Khrushchev, but many other members of the Presidium expressed their desire to come to Albania and someone, I don't remember who, jokingly proposed they should hold a meeting of the Presidium or even of their Central Committee in Albania! There was talk there, also, about the love» which Khrushchev allegedly had for our country (which he displayed later!) and they nicknamed Khrushchev «Albanyets»*. *( The Albanian (Russian in the original).)
Among many others I remember that Molotov, too, proposed a toast:
HI belong to that category of people who have not given much importance to Albania and have not become acquainted with it,» he said. «Now our people are proud that they have such a loyal, resolute and militant friend. The Soviet Union has many friends, but they are not all the lame. Albania is our best friend. Let us drink this toast wishing that the Soviet Union will have friends as loyal as Albania !»
In general our correct line was praised and the Yugoslav revisionists were condemned by all the Soviet leaders that evening. Indeed Marshal Zhukov told us that they had proofs that the leaders in Belgrade had supported the counter-revolution in Hungary not only ideologically, but also organizationally, and that the Yugoslavs were operating as an agency of American imperialism.
In brief, the dinner continued and ended in this spirit. Two or three days later we had a preliminary meeting with Suslov, secretary of the Central Committee, who was considered a specialist in ideological matters and, if I am not mistaken, was also charged with international relations.
Suslov was one of the greatest demagogues of the Soviet leadership. Clever and cunning, he knew how to wriggle out of difficult situations and perhaps that is why he was one of the few who had escaped the purges carried out time after time in the Soviet revisionist leadership. Several times I have talked with Suslov and I always had a feeling of unease and annoyance from the meetings with him. I had even less desire to talk with Suslov now, following the Hungarian events, after that debate which I had had with him earlier about Nagy, the situation in Hungary, etc., and knowing his role in those events, especially in the decision for the removal of Rakosi. However, the work required this and I met Suslov.
Brezhnev took part in this meeting, too, but in fact, he was merely present, because only Suslov spoke during the whole talk. From time to time Leonid moved his thick eyebrows, but sat so immobile that it was difficult to gather what he was thinking about what was being said. I had met him for the first time at the 20th Congress in intervals between sessions (and then later, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution in November 1957), and from the time of that brief, chance meeting he had impressed me as a conceited, self-satisfied man. As soon as he was introduced to us he immediately brought the conversation around to himself and told us «in confidence» that he was engaged with «special weapons». From the tone in which he spoke and the expression of his face, he implied to us that he was the man in the Central Committee dealing with the problems of atomic weapons.
The 20th Congress elected Brezhnev an alternate member of the Presidium of the Central Committee, and about a year later, the Plenum of June 1957 of the Central Committee of the CPSU, which condemned and purged «the anti-party Molotov-Malenkov group», promoted Brezhnev from alternate to full membership of the Presidium. Apparently he was rewarded for the «merits» which he must have displayed in the elimination of Molotov, Malenkov and others from the leadership of the party.
After these events, up till 1960 I had to go many other times to Moscow, where I met the main leaders of the Soviet party but, just as before the 20th Congress, I never saw Brezhnev or heard him speak anywhere. He always remained or was kept in the background, «in reserve», you might say. After the inglorious end of Khrushchev, precisely this ponderous, stern-faced person was brought out of the shade in place of the renegade, in order to carry on the filthy work of the Khrushchevite mafia, but now without Khrushchev.
It seems that Brezhnev was brought to the head of the party and the Soviet social-imperialist state, not so much on account of his abilities, but as a modus vivendi, to balance and even up the opposing groups which were feuding and squabbling in the top Soviet leadership. But let i us give him hic due: he is a comedian only in hic eyebrows, while his work is tragic from start to finish. Ever since this Khrushchevite took power our Party has continually had its say about him and his aggressive, hostile, anti-Marxist work. But this is not the place to dwell at length on Brezhnev. Let us return to the meeting of December 1956.
At the start Suslov suggested that we should speak briefly about the problems we were going to discuss, especially about the historical aspect, while he gave us an exposition about the events in Hungary. He criticized Rakosi and Gerö, who, with their mistakes, had «caused great discontent among the people», while they left Nagy outside their control.
«Nagy and the Yugoslavs,» he continued, -have fought against socialism.»
«But why did they re-admit Nagy to the party?» I asked.
«He had been unjustly expelled, because hic faults did not deserve such a punishment. Now, however, Kadar is following a correct course. In your press there have been some notes critical of Kadar, but it must be borne in mind that he should be supported because the Yugoslavs are fighting him.»
«We are not well acquainted with Kadar. We know that he was in prison and was with Imre Nagy.»
Replying to our complaint that we had not been informed about the development of events in Hungary, Suslov said that the events took place without warning and there was no time for consultations.
«No consultations were held with the other parties, either. Only when we intervened for the second time we consulted the Chinese, while Khrushchev, Malenkov and Molotov went to Rumania and Czechoslovakia,» he said.
«How was time found to consult Tito over the appointment of Kadar, while we were not informed about anything?» I asked.
«We did not consult Tito about Kadar,» he said. HWe simply told him that there was no longer any place for Nagy's government.»
«These are issues of principle,» I stressed. «It is essential to hold consultations, but they are not being held. The Consultative Political Council of the Warsaw Treaty, for example, has not met for a year.»
«A meeting had been set for January, while in those days, every day's delay would cause great bloodshed,» he replied.
Amongst other things I told him that the term, which was now being used, the «criminal Rakosi-. Gerö gang», seemed astonishing to us and we thought this did not help in uniting all the Hungarian communists.
«The mistakes of Rakosi created a grave situation and discontent among the people and the communists,» said Suslov.
We asked him to tell us concretely about the mistakes of Rakosi and Gerö, and Suslov listed a number of general things, by means of which he tried to lay the blame on them for all that had occurred. We demanded a concrete example, and he told us:
HFor example, the question of Rajk, who was described as a spy without any documentary proof.»
«Were these things discussed with Rakosi? Was he given any advice?» I asked.
«Rakosi did not accept advice,» was the reply.
Likewise, we had opinions quite opposite to Suslov about the attitude towards Gomulka and his views.
HGomulka removed the communists, the old loyal leaders and officers, and replaced them with others, who had been condemned by the dictatorship of the proletariat,» I told Suslov.
«He relies on the men whom he knows,» said Suslov. «Gomulka must be given time and then we can judge him.»
«But his views and activities can be judged very well already,» I objected. «How can you explain the anti-Soviet slogans he used when he came to power?!»
Suslov scowled and said quickly:
«It was not Gomulka who did these things and now he is stopping them.»
«But what about his stands and statements about the church, for example?»
Suslov went into a long rigmarole, «arguing» that these were «pre-election tactics», that Gomulka was «taking correct stands» towards the Soviet Union, the socialist camp, etc., etc. We parted still disagreeing with each other.
That same day we held the official talks with Khrushchev, Suslov and Ponomaryov. I opened the discussion by presenting the views of our Party in connection with the events in Hungary and Poland, as well as in connection with relations with Yugoslavia. Right at the start I said:
«Our delegation will express the views of the Central Committee of our Party on these matters frankly, even although on a number of issues we have differences with the Soviet leadership. These opinions, whether pleasant or otherwise,» I continued, «we shall state openly, as Marxist-Leninists, and discuss in a comradely way whether or not we are right, and if we are not right, we must be convinced why.»
In connection with Hungary, once again I stressed the lack of information and consultations over this painful problem of the socialist camp.
«We believe the Consultative Political Council of the Warsaw Treaty should have been called together in that situation,» I said. «At such moments, consultations are essential to co-ordinate our actions and stands. This would demonstrate our strength and unity.»
I continued on the Hungarian problem and conveyed to them our impressions about the Hungarian party, Rakosi and Gerö. Here I stressed in particular, that the assessment which Kadar was making of them, calling them «a criminal gang» seemed to us astonishing. In our opinion the mistakes of Rakosi and Gerö were not of that magnitude to warrant such a description. In regard to the mistakes in the economic development of Hungary, we were not aware that Hungary was in such a serious situation as to justify the «revolt of the masses». Here the Soviets agreed with our opinion and admitted that the economic situation was not grave.
I went on to speak about the stand towards Nagy, Kadar, etc. In regard to Kadar, I expressed the distrust of our Party in him and added that, nevertheless, our stand towards him had been very prudent.
In regard to the events in Hungary, I underlined the role of the Yugoslav revisionists and expressed the disapproval of the Party of Labour of Albania that Tito had been placed in the role of arbiter in connection with those events.
In regard to relations with Yugoslavia, after outlining the history of the problem, as was decided in the Political Bureau, I declared in essence:
«The Yugoslavs have carried out hostile activity against our Party and country for a long time and they are continuing to do so now. We believe that the Yugoslav leaders are anti-Marxists, and together with the agencies of American imperialism, are among the main inspirers of the events in Hungary. Our relations with Yugoslavia should be normalized only on a Marxist-Leninist road, without making any concessions such as have been made. The Party of Labour of Albania thinks that the Soviet Union should not fulfil the request for weapons, which Yugoslavia has made through Gosniak. We, for our part, will maintain only state and commercial relations, but will not in any way maintain party relations with the Yugoslavs.
In particular, in the name of the Central Committee of our Party, I once again expressed our opinion that Khrushchev's visit to Belgrade in 1955 should not have been made without consuling the sister parties and without calling together the Information Bureau, which had condemned Tito as an anti-Marxist.
After I spoke, Nikita Khrushchev took the floor, and began by telling us how he had criticized the Yugoslav leaders over their stand towards our Party and country. Khrushchev posed as though he approved and supported our views and stands, but still did not fail to make criticism and give us «advice». Thus, speaking about my article published in «Pravda», he said:
«Tito was furious about that article. In the Presidium we thought about removing certain parts of it but you had said that no alterations should be made to it, and we published it as it was. However, the article could have been done in a different forma
In regard to events in Hungary and Poland, Khrushchev continued to harp on his old tune, and apart from other things, «instructed» us that Kadar and Gomulka must be supported. In regard to the latter he said:
«Gomulka is in a difficult situation, because reaction is mobilizing itself. The things which are written in the press are not the views of the Central Committee, but the views of some who have risen against Gomulka. The situation there is gradually being stabilized. Now the elections which will be held in Poland are important. That is why we have to support Gomulka. To this end, Zhou Enlai is to go there and this will greatly assist to strengthen Gomulka's positions. We thought it would be better for the Chinese to speak and not us, because reaction is mobilized against us.»
And Zhou Enlai went to Poland in agreement with Khrushchev and to his aid.
Then Khrushchev «advised» us to keep our tempers with the Yugoslavs, and posing as a «great politician», told us of the difference amongst the Yugoslav leaders.
At the end of his speech Khrushchev tried to «sweeten» the atmosphere by promising that they would study our economic demands and would help us.
So ended these talks in which we told them of our opinions and the Soviet leaders tried to avoid any responsibility for what had occurred. So ended the discussion of this tragic page in the history of the Hungarian and Polish peoples. The counter-revolution was suppressed, here with Soviet tanks, there with Polish tanks, but it was suppressed by the enemies of the revolution. However, the evil and the tragedy did not come to an end, Only the curtain came down, while behind the scenes Kadar, Gomulka and Khrushchev continued their crimes until they completely consummated their betrayal by restoring capitalism.