Resurrecting Nazis

Putin and Trump

Sankar Ray

The 64-year-Old Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's proximity to the new US President Donald John Trump is worrisome, to say the least. His gesture reminds people of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin's expressed anger towards the USA, Great Britain and France for being in the way of friendship with Nazi Germany of the erstwhile Soviet Union in his inaugural speech at the Eighteenth Congress of the All Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks-VKP(b), (10-21 March, 1939). VKP(b) was rechristened as the CP of Soviet Union (KPSS) in 1952 at the 19th Congress where the report of the central committee was placed by the general secretary Georgy Malenkov. Victor Serge exposed this abominable romance of Stalin well before death of Stalin in his, Memoires d'un révolutionnaire, 1901-1941, published in 1949, two years after his death. He wrote, "Towards the middle of March, the Nazis entered Prague. It was during that same month of March that I read the Pravda report of Stalin's speech to the Eighteenth Party Congress. The Leader accused Britain and France of trying to "sow discord between the Soviet Union and Germany". (The English translation, Memoirs of A Revolutionary, by Peter Sedgwick, was published in 1963). Stupefying would this revelation be to hundreds of those who axiomatically adore Stalin as an uncompromising anti-Fascist. The Bolshevik government under Stalin's dictatorship was clandestinely working against the policy of formation of popular fronts, adopted at the Seventh and last Congress of the Communist International in 1935. Drafted by secretary general of Commintern, Georgy Dimitrov and known as Dimitrov Thesis, the popular front went beyond the concept of a "united front" of Communists and Socialists and was comprised of not only leftists but also liberals, moderates, and even conservatives too on one condition opposition to Fascism, Nazism. Communist parties in Europe went into action by forming popular fronts in Europe, outside Germany and Italy. The CP of France (PCF) had taken a major role in forming Front Polulaire in 1934. Broad-based popular front governments were in France and Spain.

At the 18th Congress, Stalin's unflinching sycophant, Kliment Efromovich Voroshilov, out-Stalined his master Stalin in wooing the Nazis. According to Serge, Voroshilov, "confirmed the authenticity of the details of Soviet military power that had been published in a Nazi military review. Kremlin kept itself in constant touch with the Nazi hukmat through its agents Reiss and Krivitsky".

Interestingly, Nikita Sergeivich Khruschev in his 20,000-plus word secret speech as the first secretary of CPSU on the penultimate day of its 20th Congress of CPSU (1956) too noted albeit sympathetically how spineless and servile Voroshilov was. "One of the oldest members of our party, Kliment Efremovich Voroshilov found himself in an almost impossible situation. For several years he was actually deprived of the fight of participation in political bureau sessions. Stalin forbade him to attend the political bureau sessions and to receive documents".

The submissive stance of Stalin was manifest in the sudden exit of People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs and Soviet representative at the League of Nations Maxim Maximovich Litvinov in 1939. He was a firm advocate of 'collective security' in sync with the CPSU potilburo's 'peace policy', Serge recalled, resigned abruptly. These clues, among others, were a clear indication that Soviet policy would soon switch to collaboration with the Third Reich. Litvinov, whose real name was Meyer Wallach is regarded by many scholars of international affairs as the most successful diplomat in Soviet history. In the early years of Stalin era he was the first Soviet leader to have sensed the significance of Adolf Hitler's accession to power in Germany in 1933. He was the architect of reorientation of Soviet foreign policy to take on the Nazi threat. Also, Litvinov took the initiative in establishing diplomatic relationship with the USA in 1933. The USSR joined the League of Nations where he enunciated the policy of "collective security" that heightened the international prestige of Soviet Union. In continuation of this, Russian government had struck a mutual defense pact with France in 1935, followed by a similar deal with Czechoslovakia.

Litvinov's sudden resignation stunned the global diplomatic community. Anyway, Stalin developed—albeit artificially expressed doubts about "collective security" but there was no diplomatic rationale, He did it to send a feeler to Hitler by replacing Litvinov with Vyacheslav Molotov who inked the authentification of the Russo-American camaraderie or Stalin's misadventure—the infamous Molotov-Rihbentrop non-aggression pact of 23 August 1939. Litvinov suffered into semidisgrace and was made a non-functioning member of the party's central committee. The message to the Third Reich was clear too as he was a Jew.

Coming back to Putin who is for restoration of Stalin as a hero on a stronger basis, one looks forward to how he weaves his unabashed fellow traveller-like pose towards Trump or what is loosely formulated as Trumpism with his brand of Stalinism. What role Russia is going to play at the Ninth summit of the BR1CS association comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, scheduled to be held in China's Xiamen in September 2017 is to be seen as the US President-elect Trump and his counterpart in China Xi Jinping are almost at loggerheads. Will he copy Stalin through a diplomatic aloofness, weakening BRICS?

The Russian President is not interested in whether 'Trump is deeply corrupt. This is a man who seeks to enrich himself- he's thought about himself, and only himself, for his entire life—that may only be a slight exaggeration', an accusation by Evan McMullin who ran for the presidential election as an independent candidate. But his gestures make Karl Marx more prophetic. Remember the opening words of the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852) : "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak,twice. He forgot to add : the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce". To divert a little, Marx quite often claimed that he was the disciple of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the difference between the 'master' ( from Marx's words) and the disciple notwithstanding. Marx inverted Hegel's dialectic onto a materialist basis and transformed the closed dialectic of Hegel into a radically open dialectic. But that is a different topic, outside the purview of this discourse.

Vol. 49, No.31, Feb 5 - 11, 2017