Khruschev’s ‘‘Secret Speech’’

‘‘Khrushchev Lied’’

Madhusudanpal Vedantatirtha

The book, "Khrushchev Lied" written by Grover Furr, its South Asian edition published by Aakar Boosk, 28E Pocket IV, Mayur Vihar, Delhi 110091 (Ph 011 2279 5505); also can be visited @, priced Rs 495.00, pages 432, is a product of years of painstaking research scrutinising available declassified materials in Russian languages in Russian archives with the help of a Russian friend and other primary materials in English in the form of Memoirs of Soviet leaders in various libraries gathering dust across the globe as well as other related materials available on the Internet. About the Russian friend the author writes, "My especial gratitude goes to my wonderful colleague in Moscow, Vladimir L'vovich Bobrov, scholar, researcher, editor and translator, master of both his native Russian and English..." The author even admits that without Bobrov's help this book would not have seen the light of day! Reading the book it is evident that the first hand source-materials in Russian language from the Russian archives were brought to light largely due to the joint efforts of the author together with Bobrov. The book is about Khrushchev's "Secret Speech" in the 20th Congress of the CPSU(B), delivered on 25 February, 1956 and especially contradicting the unfounded allegations against Stalin in the speech.

It must be emphasised at the outset that "USSR" is the abbreviation for "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" that is to say the last letter of the quadruplet, R, signifies 'Republic' not Russia. Again, John Reed’s work, "Ten Days That Shook the World" created a sort of misconception that the November Revolution was complete in 10 days. In fact there was long preparation before  and the Bolsheviks seized the opportunity exactly when it was ripe. Similarly after November (October according to Old Russian Calendar), 1917, the deposed ruling and exploiting class, amidst famine and chaos waged intense civil war which the Bolsheviks thwarted in extensive battles. It is true that the November Revolution in Russia under the leadership of Lenin and the CPSU (B) successfully ended with the Bolsheviks' seizure of political power in 1917. But the USSR was established in 1922. Then the question arises, "What happened in the interim period?" The answer is, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government that had replaced the Tsar, they established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. Then a fierce Civil War broke out between the counter revolutionary "Whites" and the revolutionary "Reds". The "White" counter-revolutionaries possessed enormous economic power in addition to military. An artificial famine condition was created in Russia so that the revolutionaries could be forced to surrender and return state power to the "White" counter-revolutionaries. Lenin imposed in the face of these difficulties a policy of austerity known in the history of Economics as War Communism and thus the Red revolutionaries not only consolidated their rule over Russia proper but also extended their suzerainty over several territories of the former Russian Empire. The Russian Communists at the same time helped local Communists in Trans-Caucasia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, etc. take power through Soviets which acted on behalf of workers and peasants. The communists were successful in forming Trans-Caucasian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian soviet republics and in 1922 all the above mentioned soviet republics were united to form the USSR. This is truly an unprecedented political feat—an international workingmen's State. Immediately after the formation of the USSR, public practice of all religions was banned and all religious temples—Churches and Mosques—were closed and thus the USSR became the world's first declared atheist state. The anthem of the USSR was "the Internationale' since 1922 till 1944. This unique State was the creation of the genius in Lenin. And Stalin preserved it, expanded it, consolidated it and fortified it giving it a colossal shape like no one ever before or after.

But the Global Imperialism of Mono-poly Capital and Reaction was afraid of the existence of an International Workingmen's State, not to say its prosperity. Having been defeated in frontal war, Imperialism had recourse to guile, undercover and subversion from within. Trotsky was no doubt a great organiser of the Red Army and a theoretician. He possessed good qualities of a Communist revolutionary. But he had some defects which Lenin knew and for this reason Trosky could not find a place within the core group known as "troika" which replaced Lenin when the latter fell ill from which he could not recover subsequently. Disgruntled from a sense of injured merit, Trotsky gradually became the fiercest and vilest personal enemy of USSR under Stalin to such a great extent that whatever Stalin under the direction of the Central Committee and Politbureau (CC & PB) would propose and do, Trotsky would oppose such that Trotsky soon became like a gadfly on Stalin's nose which needed a violent shake-off. However, before any precipitate action could be taken, Trotsky left USSR and fell into the trap of Global Imperialism. Who could be a better candidate in the eyes of international counter revolution for acting as their mouthpiece crying foul and pouring venom on Stalin than Trotsky? Out of revenge and envy Trotsky began spreading canard against Stalin which the Imperialist press consumed voraciously and which their propaganda machinery made the best use of to sustain the counter revolutionaries lying prostrate in submission in the USSR for an opportune moment to revolt and uproot the soviet socialist system. And this is what they did after Stalin's death in 26 years between Khrusrchev's secret speech in 1956 and the collapse of USSR in 1992.

Trotsky left many Trotskyites hidden and camouflaged inside crucial organs of the Party and the State. After Lenin's death and after overcoming very serious economic difficulties prevailing in the USSR as well as after getting rid of conspirators within "troika", CC & PB etc against him, Stalin, in consultation with and under the direction of newly constituted CC & PB, was embarking on a new unchartered course of planned development of the economy, the 5-year Plan, the main fulcrum of which was collectivisation of agriculture, a concept never before thought of or executed in the world. It is not very essential to go into the merit or demerit of the programme. But the fact is that there was great dissatisfaction among the farmers over collectivisation. The Trotskyites conspired and added fuel to the fire of farmers' unrest. Meanwhile in 1934 was formed NKVD, the Russian acronym for the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, headed initially by Yagoda (1934-36) and then by Ezov (1936-38). The author of the book under review, Grover Furr, has shown with documentary evidence that Ezov was responsible for arbitrary arrest, torture, forced confessions of guilt from innocent people and shooting them to death—men, women, young and old in the government, Party and collective farms, factories and various construction works. At the same time contacts and machinations with intelligence agencies of Nazi Germany, Japan, Great Britain and USA to subvert the USSR system from within were carried out surreptitiously by the strategically positioned Trotskyite and "White Russian" cliques within the Party and Government for a possible concerted action towards a violent coup de etat. This plot was to decimate honest and loyal communists, workers, peasants, bureaucrats and military personnel thereby weakening the USSR State system internally and at the same time facilitating foreign imperialist aggression to crush USSR from outside. Whereas together with Ezov, Khrushchev seems to have been part of the plot, he in his "Secret Speech" put the entire blame on Lavrentiy Beria who was not in the NKVD at that time. Beria replaced Ezov in 1938. Beria arrested and eliminated the conspirators in the Party and the State thus averting a major catastrophe. Contrary to propaganda in the West, it was in Beria's tenure that the number of cases of arrest, tortures and shootings etc. was much reduced. Moreover in Beria's time due process of Soviet Law was followed, the innocents were spared. All these and more the reader will find in the book.

The World War II, into which Stalin tried his best not to be involved, was at last thrust on the USSR by way of simultaneous attacks on the Eastern front by Japan and on the Western, North Western and South Western frontiers first by smaller powers in league with Hitler's Germany and later by Nazi Germany's own blitzkrieg. On the Eastern front, Japan's intrusion into USSR territories could be checked but a huge force had to be stationed there on constant vigil. In the North Western and South Western frontiers the Nazi forces initially gained victory inflicting on USSR force heavy loss of about 18 to 20 Divisions. Stalin was visibly upset and looked dejected. But he kept cool and soon regained his composure. He did not leave the Military HQ even for a moment consulting with senior Military Commanders, Partisans known as Commissars attached to each level of the Army in the battlefield, with Commanders in charge of production of arms and ammunitions and the constantly changing supply line thereof and finally with the rearguard activists who effectively blocked deserters from battlefields. In fact almost in no time he could master the intricacies of the art and science of War and devised strategies and tactics at each stage and thereby took command of the War on his shoulder himself and thus led the USSR to victory. His military prowess proved invincible such that his Military colleagues in the Command HQ could not but bow before him in awe and worship, badly, some of them became Khrushchev's accomplice later in breaking the USSR system. Yet in their memoirs each of them separately praised Stalin's style of work as a Military Commander. Other Military Leaders who did not fall in line vehemently opposed Khrushchev. Stalin's strategies and tactics in the World War II were strikingly unique and virtually instrumental in not only the Fall of Berlin but also in the victory of the Allied over the Axis Powers. Khrushchev's lies about Stalin-in-war, amply repudiated with actual facts by Russian Military Generals, Field Marshals and Commanders in their respective memoirs are quoted in the book in detail. Grover Furr identified 61 lies in Khurschev's Secret speech. Again, he emphasises that the speech is totally full of lies. The book itself shall remain a wonderful contribution to figure out the filthy Augean Stable in which Stalin was mired and the Herculean task that he performed to cleanse it to prepare the ground for building a truly socialist soviet republic. This reviewer recommends that the book be read as a ready reference.

Vol. 48, No. 39, Apr 3 - 9, 2016