February 1976, No.3

     Andrei Dmitrivich Sakharov was born in Moscow in 1921, the son of a professor of physics at the Lenin Pedagogical Institute, Dmitri Sakarov. He graduated in physics at the University of Moscow in 1942 and for the rest of the war worked as an engineer in a war factory.

    In 1947, at the age of 26, he received the degree of Candidate of Doctor of Science for work on cosmic rays at the Lebedev Institute of Physics under Igor Tamm.

    In the spring of 1948 he commenced work, together with Tamm, under conditions of strict secrecy in Turkmenia on the production of a thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb, which was accomplished in advance of the United States. During this period he was in receipt of a very high salary (21000 roubles a month), a chauffeur-driven car, a personal bodyguard, special housing and other privileges. He also received a Stalin Prize and three Orders of Socialist Labour. In 1953 he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

    In 1958 he organised his first campaign against the policies of the goverment, to the effect that students of physics and mathematics should be exempted from the provisions requiring students to work for a period on the land or in a factory.

    In the same year he initiated the first of a series of campaigns against the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons by the Soviet government.

    There followed, in 1962, a campaign against the biological theories of Lysenko, and in 1966 a campaign in opposition to the official softening of propaganda against Stalin.

    In June 1968 he published his first manifesto, entitled "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", which was widely circulated in samizdat (underground duplicated publications).

    In August.1968 he was dismissed from his nuclear weapons post, and in the following year went to work at the Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences.

    In the-autumn of 1970 he formed the "'Human Rights Committee".

    Sakharov is, of course no Marxist-Leninist. In 1968, however, he described 'his views as "profoundly socialist":

    But by 1973 he had become "sceptical" about socialism, doubtful whether it was "a good form of society", and described himself as a "liberal":     He believes firmly, however, that capitalist society is capable of indefinite progressive development and is not inferior to socialist society: "There are no grounds for asserting as is often done in the dogmatic vein, that the capitalist mode of production leads the economy into a blind alley or that it is obviously inferior to the socialist mode in labour productivity. . .
The continuing economic progress being achieved under capitalism should be a fact of great theoretical significance for any non-dogmatic Marxist. . .
There is real economic progress in the United States and other capitalist countries…. there has been real improvement in the position of the-working people".
(A .D. Sakharov: "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", 1968 in: ibid.; p. 86).
    The fact that there are millionaires in the United States does not, he says naively, mean that there is significant exploitation of the workers, for there is only a "small number" of millionaires: "The presence of millionaires in the United States is not a serious economic burden in view of their small number".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 87)
    There is, he admits, ‘oppression of the black people ' in the United States but this is the fault of "white racist workers" and the ruling group of the country is "doing its best" to eliminate it: "I have no intention of minimising the tragic aspects of the poverty, lack of rights and humiliation of the twenty-two million American Negroes. But we must clearly understand that this problem is not primarily a class problem, but a racial problem, involving the racism and egotism of the white workers, and that the ruling group in the United States is interested in solving this problem".
(A.D. Sakharov. ibid.; p. 87).
    By adopting measures of "state planning" the ruling groups in the capitalist countries have eliminated economic crises he says:     Naturally, therefore, Sakharov holds that socialist revolution in capitalist countries is not merely unnecessary but would be "economically disruptive":     Sakharov is vaguely aware that contemporary Soviet society is one of state capitalism (although he confuses this with "socialism"): "Actually, what hits you in the eye is the state's extreme concentration, -- economic, political and ideological -- that is, its extreme monopolisation of these fields. One may say … that it is simple state capitalism, that the state has simply assumed a monopoly role over all the economy. But in that case socialism contains nothing new" .
(A. D. Sakharov; Interview with Olle Stenholm, 1973, in: ibid.; p. 136-7).
    He sees contemporary Soviet society, in other words, as a form of capitalism (a form which Marxist-Leninists call "state monopoly capitalism") fundamentally similar to the state monopoly capitalism which exists in the older capitalist countries, but with a greater degree of state monopoly: "The development of modern society in both the Soviet Union and the United States is now following the same course of increasing complexity of structure and of industrial management, giving rise in both countries to managerial groups that are similar in social character.
    We must therefore acknowledge that there is no qualitative difference in the structure of society of the two countries in terms of distribution of consumption. . . The managerial group in the Soviet Union (and, to a lesser extent, in the United States) is rewarded in the sphere of consumption by concealed privileges".
(A.D. Sakharov: "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom"' 1968, in: ibid,; p. 88-89).

"Socialism (i.e.:, the pseudo-socialism which exists in the Soviet Union --Ed.) is only an extreme form of that capitalist path of development found in the United States and other Western countries, but in an extremely monopolised form".
(A. D. Sakharov: Interview with Olle Stenholm, 1973, in: ibid.; p. 137).

    He draws the correct conclusion that it is for this reason that Soviet society is confronted with the same social _problems that are to be found in the older capitalist world: "Thus, we should not be surprised that we have the same kinds of problems -- that is, crime and personal alienation -- that are to be found in the (older -- Ed.) capitalist world".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 137).
    But, in contrast to the "economic progress" he professes to see in the older capitalist countries, the picture he draws of the contemporary Soviet Union is one of almost unremitting economic and social stagnation and degeneration: "As far as our country is concerned, . . there is still great inequality in property between the city and the countryside, especially in rural areas that lack a transport outlet to the private market or do not produce any goods in demand in private trade. There are great differences between cities with some of the new, privileged industries and those with older, antiquated industries.. As a result, 40% of the Soviet population is in difficult economic circumstances. In the United States about 25%o of the population is on the verge of poverty".
(A.D. Sakharov: "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", 1968, in:'ibid.; p. 88).

"In the course of the past decade, threatening signs of breakdown and stagnation have been observed in the national economy of our country. .. . The growth rate of the national income is steadily dropping. …. Necessary reserves for the development of production are not available or are not utilised, and technical progress is sharply impeded.
    The natural wealth of the country is frequently destroyed without control and with impunity; forests are cut down; water reservoirs are polluted; valuable agricultural lands are despoiled; soil is eroded and rendered unfit for cultivation; and so forth. It is common knowledge that there is a chronically grave situation in agriculture, especially in livestock. Real income of the population in recent years has hardly risen; nourishment, medical services, and everyday services improve very slowly and unequally between regions. The items of goods in short supply grow. There, are obvious signs of inflation. Especially alarming for the future of our country is a slowdown in the development of education. Factually, our general expenditures on education of all types are less than in the United States and are growing more slowly. There is a tragic growth of alcoholism and narcotics addiction is beginning to make itself felt. In many regions of the country crime is rising systematically, including crime among teenagers and youth. . . .
    Productivity of labour as before remains many times lower than the (older -- Ed.) developed capitalist countries, and its growth is slowing down. This situation is particularly grave if you compare it with the situation in leading (older -- Ed) capitalist countries in particular the United States".
(A.D. Sakharov: Manifesto 11, 1970, in: ibid,; p. 99-.101).

"Our, society is, infected by apathy, hypocrisy, petit bourgeois egoism and hidden cruelty. Drunkenness has assumed the dimension of a national calamity. It is one of the symptoms of the moral degradation of a society that is sinking ever deeper into a state of chronic alcoholic poisoning".
(A. D. Sakharov: Postscript to Meiziorandum, 1972, in: ibid.; p. .128).

    Sakharov expresses particular concern that the development of Soviet computer technology (which he describes as "the second industrial revolution") is lagging far behind that in the United States: "We are immeasurably behind in computer technology. This phenomenon is justly called the second industrial revolution. Yet the capacity of our computers is hundreds of times less than that of the United States".
(A. D. Sakharov: Manifesto II, 1970, in: ibid.; p. 101).

The "Cause" of Soviet Degeneration

    Sakharov presents as the cause of the social and economic degeneration in the Soviet Union not, of course, the triumph of revisionism in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the restoration of an essentially capitalist social system.     Sakharov's "solution" to the economic and social problems of the Soviet Union follows from his "analysis": THE STATE SHOULD WIN THE WHOLEHEARTED COOPERATION OF THE INTELLIGENTSIA BY PERMITTING IT COMPLETE INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM AND BY RAISING ITS STANDARD OF LIVING AND SOCIAL STATUS. "Democratisation with full information and competition must return to our ideological life (social science, art, propaganda) its essential dynamism and creative character. . .
    A policy of democratisation would remove the gap between the Party-state apparatus and the intelligentsia. Mutual lack of understanding would be replaced by close cooperation. A policy of democratisation would stimulate enthusiasm comparable to that of the 1920s. The best intellectual forces of the country would be mobilised for the solution of economic and social problems".
(A. D. Sakharov: Manifesto II, 1970, in: ibid.; p. 106).
    Sakharov appears to see the working class as playing no significant role in resolving these economic and social problems, for nowhere in the English edition of his published writings (selected with the author's approval) does he call for "intellectual freedom" or improved material conditions for the working class. On the contrary, he expresses the typical snobbery of the bourgeois intellectual for the working class when he says: "The position of the intelligentsia in society renders senseless any loud demands that the intelligentsia subordinate its strivings to the will and interests of the working class".
(A. D. Sakharov: "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", 1968; in: ibid.; p. 55).

"Socialist Convergence"

    From the fact that the social system in the, pseudo-socialist world and in the older capitalist world have in recent years become more alike, Sakharov draws the conclusion that world society and particularly the societies of the Soviet Union and the United States are undergoing a: "now inevitable process of rapprochement of the two systems."
(A.D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 90),
    which he calls: "socialist convergence".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 94).
    He sees this "socialist convergence" as leading to a utopian state of affairs in which the Soviet Union and the United States disarm and collaborate to help the poorer nations of the world under eventually, a world government: "The Soviet Union and the United States, having overcome their alienation solve the problem of saving the poorer half of the world. …… At the same time disarmament will proceed………… In the fourth Stage, the Socialist Convergence will lead to the creation of a world government".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 94).
    Sakharov appears to be quite ignorant of the fact of imperialist war, of the fact that states with essentially the same social system of monopoly capitalism or imperialism are driven inevitably by economic causes inherent in that system into war with one another, for he professes to believe that this "Convergence" is inevitable simply because if it did not occur mankind would be destroyed by war: "The division of mankind threatens it with destruction. Civilisation is threatened by a universal thermonuclear war. …. Only universal cooperation . . will preserve civilisation".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 53-54).

"I consider that it will be possible to overcome the tragic conflicts and dangers of our time only through the convergence of (the older -- Ed.) capitalism and the (pseudo- Ed.) socialist regime".
(A.D. Sakharov: Postscript to Memorandum, 1972: in: ibid.; p. 127).

"I have written about elimination of the mortal danger of thermonuclear war as the main problem facing mankind. . . . . I have believed and believe now that the only real way to solve world problems is the movement of each side towards the other, the convergence of the (older - Ed.) capitalist and (pseudo - Ed.) socialist systems".
(A. D. Sakharov: "A Clarification"; 1973, in: ibid.; p. 168;)

    The "convergence" for which Sakharov calls is not, however, mere détente - but detente desirably accompanied by changes in the social system of the older capitalist countries and necessarily accompanied by changes in the social system of the pseudo-socialist countries.

    While detente without changes in the social system of the older capitalist countries would be acceptable to Sakharov, detente without changes in the social system of the Soviet Union would, in his view, be "dangerous":

"With the passage of years it became more and more apparent to him (i.e., Sakharov - Ed.) that genuine detente could not be achieved when one partner was, in essence only half free". (H. E. Salisbury: Foreword to: ibid.; p. 27).

"The world faces two alternatives -- either gradual convergence with democratisation within the Soviet Union, or increasing confrontation with a growing danger of thermonuclear war. . . Rapprochement without democratisation, rapprochement in which the West in effect accepts the Soviet Union rule's of the game.. . . . would be dangerous in the sense that it would not really solve any of the world’s problems. . . . . If rapprochement were to proceed totally without qualifications, on Soviet terms, it would pose a threat to the world as a whole.

Question: In what way?
It would mean cultivation and encouragement of a closed country".
(A. D. Sakharov: Interview with Foreign Correspondents; 1973; In: ibid.; p. 165).
  The Desirable Changes in the Older Capitalist World
The changes which Sakharov considers desirable in the older capitalist world are far from revolutionary; they are:     These social changes will be brought about as a result of the coming to power of a "left wing" of monopoly capital as a result of pressure from:     He names as a "typical representative" of this left-wing of monopoly capital "especially" US President John Kennedy, remembered for his role in the Cuba crisis of 1962: "Typical representatives of the reformist bourgeoisie are Cyrus Eaton, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and, especially, President John F. Kennedy".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 91)
  The "Essential" Changes in the Pseudo-Socialist Countries
    The changes which Sakharov regards as "essential" in the Soviet Union and the other pseudo-socialist countries included as has been said, the granting of "intellectual freedom" to the Soviet intelligentsia: "It is urgently necessary to carry out a series of measures directed towards the further democratisation of public life in the country. . . . . Freedom of information and creativity 'are essential for the intelligentsia. . . . . .
    Democratisation with full information and competition must return to our ideological life ……..its essential dynamism and creative character ……..
    An end to jamming foreign broadcasts. Free sale of foreign books and periodicals. Gradual over three or four years) expansion and easing of international tourism on both sides. Freer international correspondence and other measures for the expansion of international contacts. ………
    Establishment of an institute, for the study of public opinion. Amnesty for political prisoners.
(A. D. Sakharov: Manifesto II, 1970; in. ibid.; p. 98, 105, 106, l08).

"It is essential to work out a clear-cut and consistent programme of further democratisation and liberalisation. . . .
The jamming of foreign radio broadcasts should be stopped, most foreign literature brought in from abroad and foreign travel facilitated".
(A.D. Sakharov: Memorandum, 1971, in: ibid.; p.118; 123).

"I consider the democratisation of society, the development of openness in public affairs, the rule of law, and the safeguarding of basic human rights to be of decisive importance. . . Full intellectual freedom must be assured and all forms of persecution for beliefs must cease. . . ..     The most essential condition for the cure of our society is the abandonment of political persecution, in its judicial and psychiatric forms or in any other form of which out bureaucratic and bigoted system, with its totalitarian interference by the state in the lives of the citizens, is capable".
(A. D. Sakharov: Postscript to Memorandum, 1972 in: ibid.; p. 128, 129).

"In these interviews I also emphasised the importance of mutual trust, which requires extensive public disclosure and an open society, democratisation, free dissemination of information, the exchange of ideas, and respect for, all the fundamental rights of the individual -- in particular respect for everyone's right to choose the country in which he wishes to live".
(A. D. Sakharov: '"A Clarification"; 1973; in: ibid.; p. 169).

    He sees as one of the first results of this democratisation legal freedom for opposition parties to exist and to contest elections: "In the Soviet Union and other (pseudo- Ed,) socialist countries, this process will lead first to a multiparty system (here and there)".
(A.D. Sakharov: "Progressl Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", 1968; in: ibid.; p.93).

"Quite possibly the single-party system is excessively and unnecessarily rigid. We need elections to state organs with a certain number of candidates".
(A. D. Sakharov: Interview with Ollo Stenholm; 1973, in: ibid.; p. 145).

A Programme Directed towards the Intelligentsia and Petty Bourgeois     Clearly, Sakharov's political programme is directed not towards the working class, but primarily towards the intelligentsia.

    It is directed not only towards the scientific (in the narrow sense of the term) intelligentsia to which Sakharov himself belongs, but also towards the educational and medical intelligentsia which he describes as:

"two of the most numerous and socially significant groups of the intelligentsia"
(A. D, Sakharov, Postscript to Memorandumi 1972, in: ibid; p. 129).
    He calls for: "Improvement in the material situation of teachers, giving them greater independence and the right to experiment".
(A.D. Sakharov: Manifesto II 1970, in: ibid.; p. 109).

"Increased salaries and-independence for school-teachers and college lecturers".
(A. D. Sakharov: Memorandum, 1971, in: ibid.; p. 124).

    In fact, Sakharov directs his appeal particularly to those intellectuals in the educational and medical fields whose petty bourgeois outlook makes them wish to change their social status to that of the self-employed petty bourgeoisie. He calls for: "increased opportunity for and profitability of private initiative in the health service, education, etc."
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 123).
    Sakharov’s political programme is directed also towards the artistic intelligentsia: "A review should be carried out of those aspects of the inter-relations between the Party-state apparatus and art, literature, organs of education, etc., that are harmful to the development of culture in our country, reduce the boldness and versatility of the creative endenvour, and lead to conventionality, greyness and ritual repetition".
(A.D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 123).

"The right of an author to write and publish that which is dictated by his conscience and duty as an artist is one of the most basic in civilised society. This right cannot be limited by national boundaries…………
    We are convinced there are no legal grounds for prosecuting Solzhenitsyn for his having published his now book 'The Gulag Archipelago" - abroad, just as there are no grounds for prosecuting anyone for similar acts".
(A. D. Sakharov: Declaration on Solzhenitsyn; 1974, in: ibid.; p. 181-2).

    Sakharov's political programme is also directed towards the peasantry, here also encouraging the petty bourgeois outlook which turns their attention to the development of their private plots rather than to the development of the collective or state farms. He demands: "Measures to promote the expansion agricultural prosperity on private plots belonging to collective farmers, workers on state farms, and individual peasants".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 122).
    It also encourages the outright bourgeois outlook, which makes collective farmers wish to become kulaks, i.e., rural capitalists. He demands that collective farms should have: "permission to hire and pay labourers in accordance with the requirements of the job".
    As Lenin often pointed out, in a developed capitalist society, such as the contemporary Soviet Union, a political programme must objectively serve the interests of one or other of the two basis classes in society: it must either serve the interests of the capitalist class (or a section of it) Or it must serve the interests of the working class.

    A political programme which actually serves the interests of the petty bourgeoisie must be one which serves the interests of the working class one which strives to build unity between at least the poorer strata of the petty bourgeoisie and the working class, one which leads towards a socialist revolution.

    Sakharov's political programme certainly does not serve the interests of the Soviet working class; it certainly, does not seek to mobilise them for a socialist revolution.


Change from Outside

    How does Sakharov envisage the changes in Soviet monopoly-capitalism which he advocates being brought about? He sees, these changes as being brought about gradually: "Democratisation must be gradual in order to avoid possible complications and disruptions". (A. D. Sakharov: Manifesto II, 1970, in: ibid.; p. 99).     Secondly, he sees them as , being brought about constitutionally: "The plan we propose shows, in our view that it is quite possible to outline a programme of democratisation that is acceptable to the Party and the state and satisfies, as a first approximation to the urgent demands of the nation's development".
(A.D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 110).

"The Committee (for Human Rights - Ed) …… is, of course, a totally loyal association. ……… I like to believe that the character of my activities will ultimately be understood. Question: Loyal to what?
Answer: Loyal in the literal meaning of the word, namely lawful".
(A. D. Sakharov: Interview with Foreign Correspondents, 1973, in: ibid.; p. 159, 160).

    Thirdly he sees them as being brought about within the false facade of "socialism" which is maintained within the Soviet Union: "Democratisation must facilitate the maintenance and, strengthening of the Soviet socialist system . .. of the socialist economic structure, of Socialist ideology".
(A.D. Sakharov: Manifesto II, 1970, in: ibid.; p. 99).
    Fourthly: he sees them as being brought about on the initiative of the revisionist Communist Party of the Soviet Union,-- as a result of changes in the leadership and policy of that party and in such a way that even within a multi-party systems the "leading role" of that party in society is maintained: "Democratisation carried out under the direction of the CPSU in cooperation with all levels of society should preserve and strengthen the leading role of the Party in the economic, political and cultural life of society".
(A. D. Sakharov: ibid.; p. 99).
    Fifthly, although he directs his political programme primarily towards the view intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie, he does not believe that the changes he advocates (including the changes in the leadership and policy of the CPSU required to initiate the programme) can be brought about from within Soviet society: "Question: What can be done to correct all this?
Answer: It seems to me that almost nothing can be done.
Question; Why not?
Answer: Because the system has a very strong internal stability. Within the Soviet Union certainly some kind of process is going on, but so far it is so imperceptible and hidden that it's not possible to forecast anything positive, any general change; and as for positive things .... well, it's almost impossible".
    Indeed, in expressing his support for the Jackson-Vanik Amendment (an amendment to the US Trade Bill under which most-favoured-nation treatment would be withheld from the Soviet union unless the government of that country agreed to permit unrestricted emigration of its citizens) Sakharov goes so far as to speak of "SOME SORT OF CONTROL" from abroad: "Adoption of the Jackson Amendment strikes me as a minimal step that would be significant not only by itself, but also as a symbolic expression of the view that rapprochement must involve some sort of control to ensure that this country will not become a threat to its neighbours".
(A. D. Sakharov; Interview with Foreign Correspondents, 1973, in: ibid.; p. 166).
    Sakharov's letter to the United States of September 1974 is, in fact, a direct appeal to the US imperialists to exert external pressure upon the Soviet leadership in the direction of bringing about such changes: "For decades the Soviet Union has been developing under conditions of intolerable isolations bringing with it the ugliest consequences. Even a partial preservation of those conditions would be highly perilous for all mankind, for international confidence and detente..
In view of the foregoing, I am appealing to the Congress of the United States to give its support to the Jackson Amendment, which represents - in my view and in the view of its sponsors, an attempt to protect the right of emigration of citizens in countries that are entering into now and friendlier relations with the United States".
(A. D. Sakharov: A Letter to the Congress of the United States, 1973, in: ibid; p. 172).
    In line with his call for the application of external pressure upon the Soviet leadership by the United States imperialists, and his expressed belief that there must be a "socialist convergence" between the USA and the USSR, the foreign policy he advocates for a "reformed" Soviet government is (or was so at the time he put it forward) completely in line with that of US imperialism.

    In the case of the national-liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people against US imperialism, and in the case of the anti-imperialist struggle of the Arab peoples against the US dependency of Israel, he demanded an end to Soviet support - direct or indirect, for these struggles in order that a "peaceful settlement" might be brought about "on the basis of a compromise":

"We should alter our political position in the Middle East and in Vietnam and actively seek, through the United States and diplomatic channels, a peaceful settlement in the shortest possible time, on the basis of a compromise, with the renunciation by . . the USSR of any intervention, military or political, direct or indirect".
(A.D. Sakharov: Memorandum, 1973, in: ibid.; p. 117).
    During the Arab-Israeli war of October 1973 he expressed support for Israel and called for "retaliatory action" by the United States imperialists against the Soviet Union unless Soviet support for the Arab peoples was repudiated: "For Israel in this war, just as in the wars of 1949, 1956 and 1967, what is at stake is the very existence of the state, the right to life …….
Question: What steps can the United States and Western nations take to terminate the war?
Answer: Call upon the USSR and (pseudo - Ed,) socialist countries to abandon the policy of one-sided interference in the Arab-Israel conflicts and take retaliatory measures if this policy of interference continued. . .. .
Question: At the present time do you intend to criticise the policy of Israel's leaders?
Answer: No. That country, which is the realisation of the Jewish people's right to a state, is today fighting for its existence surrounded by enemies who exceed it in population and material resources many times over".
(A. D. Sakharov: Interview with Foreign Correspondents 1973, in: ibid.; p.177, 178).
    The foreign policy which Sakharov proposed should be followed by a Soviet government was that of supporting the military occupation of Indo-China and the Western Mediterranean area by imperialist troops operating under the flag of the United Nations, as in Korea: "We should . . actively seek . . the promotion of . . the proposal that UN troops be widely used to safeguard political and military stability in these areas".
(A. D. Sakharov: Memorandum 1971, in: ibid.; p. ll7-18).
    The manner in which Sakharovtr, outlook on the world situation is conditioned by the foreign policy of the United States imperialists is strikingly illustrated in his attitude towards China:
        In 1968 Sakharov was writing:     But by 1973, following the rapprochement of United States imperialism with China as a result of the victory of the counter-revolutionary "cultural revolution" carried out by the pro-US landlord and comprador capitalist forces, China, had suddenly become, to Sakharov "non-aggressive" and directed more towards revolutionary self-assertion" than territorial expansion: "I wrote then (i.e. in 1971 - Ed.) about the Chinese problem in a tone I would not use today, because at that time I simply did not understand our relations with China. For example I would not now blame China for aggression. . . .
    China itself is directed more towards revolutionary self-assertion both internally and in the outer world than, for example, with expanding her territory".
(A. D. Sakharov: Interview with Olle Stenholm, 1973, in; ibid; p. 143).
    Sakharov's public appeal to the United-States imperialists has been criticised by his fellow reformer "Roy Medvevdev in a statement of November 7th., 1973. Medvedevs’ strategy is a little different from that of Sakharov.

    He believes that:

    and admits that: "…the intellectuals …… are too weak to bring it (i.e. democratisation – Ed) about."
(R. Medvedev: ibid p. 26403).
    He agrees with Sakharov that: "… pressure from abroad can produce, an effect, as was shown by the abandonment of the education tax on emigrants and the ending of the recent campaign against Dr. Sakharhov". (R. Medvedev: ibid.; p, 26403).     Nevertheless, Medvedev disagrees with Sakharov's tactics of publicly appealing to the United States imperialists. He insists that the public political line of the Soviet Reformers must be to state that: "…..democratisation must come from Soviet society itself, including its present and future leaders".
(R..Medvedev: ibid; p. 26403).
    In his "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom" of 1968, Sakharov pays tribute to Medvedev's catalogue of Stalin’s "crimes" (Published in Britain in 1972 under the title "Let History Judge") and remarks: "The present author, is not likely to receive such a compliment from Comrade Medvedev, who finds elements of ‘Westernism’ in his views".
(A. D. Sakharov: "Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom", 1968; Ibid.; p. 71-72).


    In important respects the political programme put forward by Sakharov resembles that put forward by Nikita Khrushchov during the period when the latter held the positions of First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1953-56) and Prime Minister (1955-64).

    Khrushchov also directed his political programme to the intelligentsia (e.g., liberialisation of the state) and to the petty bourgeoisie (e.g., the handing over of the agricultural machinery of the State Machine and Tractor Stations to the collective farms).

    And Khrushchov also sought "collaboration" with United States imperialism and presented a utopian picture of a "partnership" between the USA and USSR which would save the world from war.
    As the Report of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain on "Centrist" Revisionism (March 1970) expressed it:

"The Soviet government headed by N. S. Khrushchov pursued a foreign policy the cardinal point of which was collaboration with United States imperialism. The international situation as a whole depends to a large extent on the relations between the United States of America and the Soviet Union".
(N. S. Khrushchov: Speech at the Soviet Indian Friendship Rally, September 8th., 1961).

'History has imposed on our two peoples a great responsibility for the destiny of the world'. (N. S. Khrushchov & L. I. Brezhnev: New Year Greetings to President Kennedy; December 30th., 1961).

"Our interests do not clash directly anywhere, either territorially or economically'.
(N. S. Khrushchov: Interview with Gardner Cowles, April 20th., 1962)

‘Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchov acts like an American politician'
(US Under-Secretary of State Harriman, in television interview, August 18th4, 1963).
(CC, MLOB: Report on "Centrist" Revisionism. in RED FRONT, March 1970; p. 14).

    But by the early 1960s the harmful effects of the Khrushchovite foreign policy on the world position of the Soviet neo-capitalist class were obvious: "Six months after Khrushchov had declared -- that Soviet and US interests 'do not clash anywhere' came the Caribbean crisis in which the Soviet revisionists were compelled to withdraw their missile bases from Cuba and to submit to the ignominy of suffering their ships to be examined on the high seas by US warships. By this time, too, it had become clear that the Khrushchovite policy had caused great loss of Soviet influence in many colonial-type countries".
(CC, MLOB: Report on "Centrist" Revisionism, in: RED FRONT, March 1970; in Red front; March, 1970; p.14).
    As a result, a different section of the Soviet neo-capitalist class to that whose political interests were represented by Khrushchov were able: ". . though not without continuing opposition, to jettison the 1968 Khrushchovite policy of making collaboration with US imperialism thecornerstone of foreign policy -- together with, in October 1964, its principal architect, Khrushchov – and gradually to reorientate this foreign policy into one the cardinal point of which was collaboration with all capitalist classes and strata in the world which are in contradiction with US imperialism".
(CC, MLOB: ibid.; p. 23)
    Thus, in important respects the political programme now being put forward by Sakharov resembles that formerly put forward by Nikita Khrushchov and be described as "neo-Khrushchovism"     As has been said, the political programme put forward by Sakharov objectively serves the interests of the Soviet neo-capitalist class (or a. section of it).

    But the revisionist leadership of the CPSU and the Soviet state apparatus certainly serves the interests of the Soviet neo-capitalist class (or a section of it).

    The section of the Soviet neo-capitalist class whose interests are represented by the revisionist leadership of the CPSU and of the Soviet state is in fact, that section involved in heavy industry, including armaments, and in particular that of the Russian Republic.

    The section of the Soviet neo-capitalist class whose interests are represented by Sakharov and the group associated with him is that section involved in the 'consumer goods industries, and in particular that of the non-Russian Republics.

    Thus, although Sakharov's political activity is mainly concerned with the demand for "intellectual freedom", he regards the economic, points of his programme as "more important":

    The contradiction between the section of the state capitalist class which Sakharov objectively represents and the dominating element in the leadership of the CPSU and the Soviet-state is illustrated by his references to the latter as "the military-industrial complex" which, he implies ‘has no "sense of responsibility to humanity":     It is because Sakharov's programme objectively serves the interests of the state capitalists involved in the consumer goods industries that he calls for:     and for a reduction in military expenditure in the Soviet Union, since this would enable resources to be diverted from heavy industry to the consumer goods industries:     It is also the reason for the contradiction between the demands he makes for the older capitalist countries and those he makes for the pseudo-socialist countries, including the Soviet Union.

    In the case of the older capitalist-countries he declares that State "control of the economy is highly desirable, and calls for its extension:

    But in the case of the Soviet Union he demands an extension of the 1965 "economic reforms" so as to bring about a further reduction in state control of the economy. His call for "proper" allocation of investment funds and material resources, taken in conjunction with his demand for demilitarisation of the economy, is clearly designed to secure the diversion of such funds and resources from heavy industry, to the consumer goods industries. He demands further that these factors, together with prices should be based ---as are now the production plans of individual enterprises -- on the market:     He calls for:     and for:     He declares;     While admitting that state control might be "sensible' in the fields of transport and large-scale industry, he deplores the closing down of "private  initiative" (i.e., private enterprise) in areas "in which it would be most effective", areas which he names specifically as the consumer goods industries, education and medicine.     The interests of the state capitalists involved in the consumer goods industries of the non-Russian Republics of the Soviet Union are in particular contradiction with those represented by the leadership of the CPSU and of the Soviet state. It is because Sakharov's programme objectively serves the interests of these that he supports the "bourgeois nationalism" fostered by these state capitalists and demands that "freedom of secession" for these Republics should be applied in practice:     The conflict between the (then embryonic) state capitalists involved in heavy industry and those involved in the consumer goods industries came into the open within a few months of Stalin’s death. On August 8th., 1953 the now Prime Minister Georgi Malenkov told the Supreme Soviet:     It took the state capitalists involved in heavy industry eighteen months to secure the official reversal of this policy and the removal of its leading proponent, Malonkov. In his letter of resignation of February 8th., 1955 Malenkov humbly recanted:     Malenkov's successor as Prime Minister was Marshal Nikolai Bulganin, who, as a representative of the armed forces, might be expected to give full support to the principle of priority for heavy industry in the name of "defense". In his first speech as Prime Minister, in fact Bulganin emphasised:     In May 1957 First Secretary Nikita Khrushchov presented to the Supreme Soviet his scheme to "decentralise" the state's control of the economy. 25 industrial Ministries were to be abolished and replaced by 92 Regional Economic Councils.

    In June 1957 the representatives of Russian heavy industry on the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU allied themselves with the surviving Marxist-Leninists, headed by Vyacheslay Molotov, to reject the scheme. Khrushchov appealed to the Central Committee itself, and succeeded in winning a majority of this body to condemn his opponents as "an anti-Party group" and to secure their removal.

    In March 1958 Bulganin was removed as Prime Minister, and in November denounced as having been a member of the "anti-Party group". His successor was Nikita Khrushchov himself, who retained the post of First Secretary of the Party.

    In November 1957 Khrushchov felt his position strong enough to be able to say that industrial development had:

    At the May 1958 meeting of the Central-Committees Khrushchov put forward the view that the "decisive" branch of "heavy industry", was the chemical industry and proposed that the expansion of the chemical industry, with "aid" from the older capitalist countries, should be a prime element in the Seven Year Plan -- painting n glowing picture of the consumer goods applications of this expansion.

    At the 21st, Congress of the CPSU in January/February 1959 Khrushchov's basic theme was that the Soviet Union was now in process of passing from "socialism" to "communism", a process which would be complete when:

    And he elaborated further the doctrine put forward at the 20th. Congress --- that war was "no longer inevitable" and that the danger of war was "receding". His report thus laid a theoretical basis for, according greater scope to the development of the consumer goods industries.

    On January 17th. 1961 Khrushchov declared:

    and deplored the fact that     At the 22nd Congress of the CPSU in October 1961 Khrushchev referred to the Seven Year Plan target of 66-91 million tons of steel a year, to say:     And in his report to the congress on the following day on the new Party Programme, Khrushchov said:     As a result of this lead, the congress adopted a resolution which said:     On September 9th, 1962 "Pravda" the organ of the CC, of the CPSU(B) published an article by the Kharkov economist, Professor Yevsey Liberman, advocating a discussion on the question of reorientating the Soviet economy on the basis of the profit motive.

    On Khrushchov's initiative, a Plenum of the Central Committee on November 19th-23rd., 1962 took an important step to weaken the party's control over the economy. The party organs up to, but not including, the level of Republic Central Committees were divided into two separate branches: one concerned with industry, the other with agriculture.

    At a press conference in October 1963 (reported in 'Pravda’ on October 27th), Khrushchov declared that the time was now ripe for diverting immense funds from heavy industry to chemicals, agriculture and the consumer goods industries.

    At the end of February 1964 "Pravda" published an article by A..Arzumanyan Director of the Institute of World Economics and International-Relations, attacking the "dogmatists" who defended priority for heavy industry and recommending equal growth rates for heavy and consumer goods industries, with future priority to the latter.

    In July 1964 an official press campaign began to popularise 'Liberman’s theories. The Bulletin of the Soviet Embassy in London summarised this up as follows:

    The base of support which Khrushchov had built up among the intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie enabled him to survive against growing opposition for more than ten years.

    But on October 15th., 1964 Khrushchov was forced to resign both as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and as Prime Minister. One of the charges leveled against him later was that of:

    Khrushchov was succeeded as First Secretary by Leonid Brezhnev, and as Prime Minister by Aleksei Kosygin.

    The new leadership of the party and state went some way to placating the demands of the state capitalists involved in the consumer goods industries (e.g., by the adoption of Liberman's theories, providing for increased in dependence of enterprises and the gearing of production to the market through the profit motive), but demonstrated their basic interest in serving the state capitalists involved in heavy industry by greatly strengthening party and state control of the allocation of material resources, investment funds etc.

    The new line was summarised by General-Socretary Leonid Brezhnev in his report to the 23rd. Congress of the CPSU in March/April 1966:

    On November, 16th, 1964 the Central Committee of the CPSU abolished the division of the party introduced in 1962, with the aim of strengthening the party's control over the economy.

    On the other hand, on January 13th., 1965 it was announced that 400 consumer goods factories would go over to the system of production based on market demand.

    On April lst., 1965 textile, leather and some other factories were transferred to the now system under which they would gear their production to orders submitted by garment and footwear manufacturers. On July lst, the latter, in turn, geared their production to the basis of orders from retailers. These factories were permitted to retain a considerably larger amount .of their gross profit than previously, this to be used partly for self-investment and partly for remuneration of management and workers over and above basic salaries and wages.

    In August/September 1965 the new leadership began punitive action against intellectuals representing objectively the interests of the state capitalists involved in the consumer goods industries. In these months 30 Ukrainian intellectuals were arrested on charges of "anti-Soviet nationalist activity" and 15 were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

    In September 1965 the first punitive action was taken against prominent Russian intellectuals with the secret arrests of writers Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel (who had smuggled out of the Soviet Union manuscripts of books critical of the Soviet regime for publication abroad. On December 5th. students demonstrated in Moscow, demanding that the arrested writers be tried publicly; police broke up the demonstration and arrested its leaders, writers Aleksandr Yossenin-Volpin and Vladimir Bukovsky (the latter being confined in a mental hospital). In February 1966 Sinyavsky and Daniel were sentenced to and 5 years respectively in a labour camp.

    Meanwhile, on September 28th 1965, the Central Committee of the CPSU resolved to abolish the Regional Economic Councils established under Khrushchov in May 1957 and to re-establish the industrial Ministries which had been abolished. The same resolution resolved to extend the "economic reform" introduced experimentally earlier in the year to the economy as a whole.

    The Supreme Soviet gave legislative effect to this resolution on October lst.-2nd; 1965. On December 10th. 1968, Nikolai Baibakov (Chairman of the State Planning Committee) told the Supreme Soviet that enterprises working under the new "profit motive" system now produced 75% of total industrial production and 80 % of profit.

    At the 23rd Congress of the CPSU (March 26th. to April 8th. 1966), Ivan Kazanots (Minister of the Iron and Steel Industry) complained that the Khrushchov regime had lowered the planned rate of increase in iron and steel output as a result of "the wrong and subjectivist counterposing of the chemical industry against the iron and steel industry."

    However, the main reports presented at the congress revealed that the state capitalists involved in the consumer goods industries had fought successfully for an increased allocation of material resources, investment funds, etc. to their field.

    In his report on the now Five Year Plan for 1966-70, Prime Minister Aleksoi Kosygin said:

    Backed by continuing propaganda from the dissident intellectuals the political representatives of the state capitalists, involved in the consumer goods industries continued to press their case.

    In the economic plan for 1968 it was still maintained in words that:

    but in this year the planned growth in the output of consumer goods for the first time exceeded (at 8.6%) that of the planned growth of the output of heavy industry (at 7.9%).

    This picture was repeated in the economic plan for 1969, which provided for a planned growth rate of consumer goods of 7.5% against 7.2% for heavy industry, and in the economic plan for 1969 where the figures were 6.8% and 6.10% respectively.

    At the 24th Congress of the CPSU (March 30th. to April 9th. 1971) General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev said

    And the Five Year Plan for 1971-75 adopted by the congress provided for the first time in any Five-Year Plan for a higher growth of the output of the consumer goods industries (at 44-48%) than that of heavy industry (at 41-45%).

    Meanwhile the campaign of intellectuals, for a "free society" -- that is, for a society based upon free private enterprise -- continued and developed. From April 1968 "A Chronicle of Current Events" was widely circulated every two months as a clandestine opposition journal. At the same time the campaigns of intellectuals of the non-Russian Republics for "national freedom" has continued and developed. In this connection mention must be made of the large-scale demonstrations in the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in the summer of 1972, and the arrests of prominent intellectuals in the Ukraine in 1973..- The latter had its sequel in the removal from the Political Bureau of the CPSU in April 1973 of the Ukrainian Pyotr Shelost, accused of "encouraging nationalist illusions" in his home Republic.

    The authorities replied to these manifestations by greatly increased repression, and succeeded in October 1972 in suppressing "A Chronicle of Current Events".

    As a result of this repression, the leadership of the party and state - the political representatives of the state capitalists involved in heavy industry – had by 1975 reversed the priority accorded to the consumer goods industries at the 24th.,Congross in 1971. On December 2nd., 1975 Nikolai Baibakov reported to the Supreme Soviet that it was planned to increase the output of heavy industry in 1976 by 4.9% (against 8.35% achieved in 1975) and that of the consumer goods industries by 2.7% (against 7.2% achieved in 1975).

    The struggle continues.

    In the interests of facilitating the preparation of a socialist revolution, Marxist-Leninists would support the formation in the Soviet Union of a broad movement for the restoration and extension of democratic rights.

    The "Human Rights Committee" headed by Andrei Sakharov is not such a body. It is a reactionary organisation serving the interests of a auction of Soviet state capitalists.



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