About Stalin and Khrushchev

Interview with Ivan Aleksandrovich Benediktov, who for two decades (from 1938 to 1958 a year) held key posts in managing the country's agriculture, familiar with the methods and style of work of I.V. Stalin, N.S. Khrushchev, other prominent political and economic figures, based on several conversations with him held in 1980 and 1981. when I was working as a correspondent for the USSR State Radio and Television. Ivan Aleksandrovich was retired at that time, but was actively engaged in social work, in particular, through the Soviet-Indian Friendship Society - at the end of his career, Benediktov had a chance to work, first by the Soviet ambassador to India (1959-1967), and then Yugoslavia (1967-1970).

Preparing a program on Soviet-Indian cooperation on the instructions of the editorial board, I could not resist and began to ask Ivan Alexandrovich questions on another topic that was more disturbing to me. Benediktov, with the inherent restraint of the hardware worker, answered at first dryly and in a monosyllabic way, clearly making it clear that he did not intend to waste time on idle talk. However, apparently feeling the sincerity of my desire to understand what had happened, I began to speak relaxedly, willingly and frankly, even agreeing specifically to talk on pressing topics over a cup of tea in my spacious, “Commissariat” apartment on Gorky Street.


Ivan Alexandrovich did not object to the publication of his statements, although he strongly doubted the possibility of this. Here he was completely right - all my attempts to “attach” the interview, even in the most truncated form, to literary and artistic publications ended in failure. But, having lost real hope, I did not leave them - I wanted to prove the former commissar of his pessimistic assessments and, perhaps, lay the foundation for the subsequent literary processing of his memoirs. A few months after the receipt of the next refusal from the editorial office of the famous journal Ivan Alexandrovich did not ... The grounds for continuing the struggle fell away by themselves, and I provided the manuscript of "gnawing criticism of mice."

Now, when it came into fashion to publish previously forbidden, which went against the official settings of the work, I think it makes sense to return to it again. Of course, far from all Benedictine statements can be agreed: some of them and now, as in those years, seem to me wrong. And he, I think, now would answer some questions differently. But I left everything as it is, everything as he said at the time when I had to meet him.


V.Litov, a member of the Union of Journalists of the USSR, Ph.D.


- Since the end of 70's. in the development of our economy there has been an obvious decline. In official documents, it is explained both by objective difficulties and by subjective errors. The majority of scientists and specialists see the root of evil in the absence of a genuinely economic mechanism for the development and management of the national economy and especially the introduction of scientific and technical achievements ... I would like to know the opinion on this issue of a person who held an important post in our economy during the period when it was developing perhaps not the fastest pace in the world ...
- I am afraid to disappoint you with my "conservatism" and "dogmatism." I thought and still believe that the economic system that operated in our country until the middle of the 60s could now provide high and stable growth rates, a stable orientation towards efficiency and quality and, as a natural consequence, a constant increase in the well-being of broad strata of workers. Of course, life is life, something had to be changed and renewed. But this concerns only minor units and parts, on the whole, the Stalinist system, cursed by many economists, as you rightly noted, has proven high efficiency and viability. Thanks to her by the end of 50's. The Soviet Union was the most dynamic country in the world economically and socially. A country that was confidently reducing its seemingly insurmountable lag from the leading capitalist powers, and in some key areas of scientific and technological progress and taking the lead. It is enough to recall our achievements in space, the peaceful development of nuclear energy, the success of the basic sciences.

Those who think that we have achieved all this at the expense of extensive, quantitative factors are mistaken. In 30, 40, and 50, The emphasis in both industry and agriculture was not on quantity, but on quality; the key, decisive indicators were the increase in labor productivity due to the introduction of new technology and the reduction of production costs. These two factors were the basis for economic growth, it was precisely this that evaluated and promoted economic leaders, this was considered to be the main one, which directly follows from the foundations of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. Of course, from the standpoint of today, such “rigidity” and straightness looks a bit naive, and even then it brought certain “minuses”. But on the whole, the direction was chosen quite correctly, which is proved by the experience of modern American, West German and Japanese firms, which are already quite widely planning both the growth of labor productivity and the reduction of production costs for many years to come ...

The same can be said about the social sphere, the ideological and political climate in society. For the most part, the Soviet people were satisfied with life and were optimistic about the future, believed their leaders. When Khrushchev put forward the task of achieving the highest labor productivity in the world and reaching the most advanced frontier of scientific and technological progress in the world, few people doubted the ultimate success - so great was the confidence in their abilities, the ability to overtake and overtake America.

But Khrushchev is not Stalin. A bad captain is able to stranded the nicest ship. This is what happened. Our captains at first lost their course, having lost a given pace, then began to dash from one extreme to another, and then they let go of the steering wheel altogether, leading the economy to a dead end. And, not wanting to openly admit their helplessness, the apparent discrepancy to high posts, they began to blame everything on the “ship”, on the “system”, putting production of endless decisions and resolutions on its “development” and “improvement” on the conveyor flow. And the “theorists” and scientists began to justify this paper merry-go-round with highly intelligent arguments about a certain “optimal economic model” which, by itself, would automatically provide a solution to all our problems. The management, they say, will just have to sit at the console of this “model”, from time to time pressing this or that button. Ridiculous, purely cabinet, professorial illusion!

- But after all, Lenin also called for experimenting, searching for optimal options ...

- Out of place. You refer to Ilyich here, out of place. The desire for reorganization and reform, the constant restructuring itch, Lenin considered as the most unmistakable sign of bureaucracy, no matter what “Marxist” clothes he wore. Recall the prophetic Leninist words that the system is a system, and there is also a cultural level, a level of “skill” of work both “above” and “below”, which you cannot subordinate to the system. Do not rush to the people with a "breaking the system" and reorganizations, Vladimir Ilyich warned at the beginning of the 20s, select people and check the actual execution of the case, and the people will appreciate it. This most important, perhaps the most important Leninist covenant of government, a covenant that literally permeates all the recent works, notes and documents of Ilyich, in fact - in words, of course, all for! - now forgotten. What is surprising that things are contrary to the avalanche of "urgent" resolutions and reorganizations are getting worse and worse ...

Under Stalin, Lenin’s slogan “Personnel and control decide everything” was consistently and firmly put into practice. Despite the obvious mistakes and omissions (who do not have them?), All the major historical tasks facing the country, be it the creation of the economic foundations of socialism, the defeat of fascism or the restoration of the national economy, were resolved. And tell me at least one economic or social problem that was not even solved, but Khrushchev and his successors managed to get off the ground! Everywhere there are tons of words and grams of deeds, but real progress is not visible. Quite the contrary, we surrender already won positions ...

Do not misunderstand me. I am not against reforms and reorganizations per se. I am opposed to transferring the main emphasis to them, expecting miraculous results from the next decree. Ten times the number of such resolutions and reorganizations should be reduced, and all forces should be thrown into hard, rough, everyday work to implement few, but clear and concrete solutions. Then there will be miraculous results, the people's confidence in the party will strengthen, which, alas, is now shaken every year. However, here I am not opening America. It was in this spirit that the party-state apparatus worked in the so-called "personality cult" years. I think it is not in vain that they are looking at the experience of those years - and with considerable success! - The leaders of the largest Western monopolistic corporations.

- Sorry for being frank, Ivan Alexandrovich, but your reasoning seems too simplistic to me. It turns out that ultimately everything depends on who will lead the country ... Is there some kind of demonic power attached to the personality factor, which undoubtedly goes against the corner points of Marxism-Leninism ...


- Lenin, judging by your logic, "went against it," when, after the end of the civil war, he declared that for victory, socialism in Russia needed only the "culture" of the communists. In other words, the ability to govern a country in relation to which they were a “drop in the people's sea”. This was said in conditions of terrible devastation, famine, medieval backwardness of the village, and of the city, in a situation where the country, speaking the same Leninist words, reminded me of a “deadly beaten man”!

The overwhelming majority of scientists and specialists both in Russia and abroad, hypnotized by the so-called "objective factors", openly called the Leninist plan for building socialism "a sick illusion," betting on the "demonic forces of the Bolshevik party." Demons are demons, and we built socialism in the shortest possible time, in spite of all the "wise minnows" with advanced degrees and titles!

However, historical analogies convince few people. I will go better today. Even with the current economic system, we have dozens of enterprises in both industry and agriculture, not inferior to the world level, and in some ways even surpassing it. Take, for example, the machine-tool association in Ivanovo, which is headed by Kabaidze, or the well-known kolkhoz of chairman Beduli.

The main, decisive condition for the success achieved by the flagships of our economy is the level of leadership and professional competence of the director or chairman. Kabaidze or Bedul will not prepare worthy successors for himself - everything will again go downhill, will slide to our prevailing level of mediocrity and dullness, the level of unprofessional handicraft. It turns out that the root of evil is not in the existing economic system - under its conditions talented people are capable of doing wonders! - but in what is commonly called the "subjective-personal factor." U carried a lot of talk about the increasing role of this factor under socialism. Well, the situation is correct, only the role of this factor cannot be understood unambiguously, in a pink light. An intelligent, competent leader dramatically accelerates the advancement of an enterprise, industry, country, the weak and mediocre also dramatically slows down, slows it down. Hence, strict requirements for leading cadres, constant and comprehensive control over their professional, ideological, moral, and political growth. Without this, socialism not only fails to realize, but, on the contrary, will lose its historical advantages.

If we talk about the creation of a "new system", then it should be a large-scale, widely-branched, deeply thought-out system for identifying, promoting and stimulating the growth of talented people in all levels of government, both state and party. We will be able to prepare and “charge” the highest interests of several tens of thousands of Kabaidze and Bedul — the country will make a sharp leap forward. No - we will tread on the spot under the fanfare of the next rulings and reorganizations. The main task of the party and, in many respects, the state apparatus should be the finding and promotion of talented people. And we are now thinking about this almost to the last, devoting almost all the time to preparing new decisions and resolutions and organizing propaganda hype around them. Moreover, they try to push talented, bright people away, giving preference to obedient, gray, or even stupid people who have broken through even to ministerial posts. And when “above” everything is turned upside down, and “below” things will not work. And I am not surprised at all at the increased spontaneity of economic and social processes in society, the decline of discipline, the consciousness and responsibility of ordinary workers, the growth of what is now fashionable to call "anti-socialist phenomena." I repeat, the main source of our misfortunes is a sharp decline in the level of party-state leadership, oblivion of Lenin’s brilliant testaments about recruitment and performance verification as the main, decisive tool of party influence ...

- As far as I know from the official documents and statements of prominent historians, it was Stalin who began to get rid of talented people in the highest echelon, whose personnel policy you consider exemplary ...

- If you want to get to the point, work more with your own head. From the moment Khrushchev came to power, so many falsehoods and opportunists got into these documents, which sometimes wonders how such a thing could have appeared in our party and communist publications! “Prominent” scientists, experts who write today, tomorrow another, and the day after the third, is also not a very reliable source.

Now essentially. Under Stalin, advancement to the highest echelons of control was carried out only on political and business qualities - exceptions, of course, were, but rather rare, confirming the general rule. The main criterion was the ability of a person to actually change the situation for the better and as soon as possible. No considerations of personal loyalty and closeness to the “leader”, the so-called “cronyism”, not to mention family-family ties, were not taken into account. Moreover, from people to whom Stalin especially sympathized, more precisely, set an example to others, the demand was both tougher and stricter. I mean vm Molotov, G.K. Zhukova, N.A. Voznesensky, aircraft designer A.N. Yakovlev and some others ...

The truly Bolshevik system of staff selection and placement that existed in those years led to the fact that the most talented and professionally prepared people who had done impossible things by today's standards, literally wonders, turned out to be at key posts in the party, state, and army. ON. Voznesensky, A.N. Kosygin, D.F. Ustinov, V.A. Malyshev, I.F. Tevosyan, B.L. Vannikov, A.I. Shakhurin, N.S. Patolichev - I list only a few, they all possessed outstanding abilities and talents and, not least, occupied the highest positions in the prime of their powers. Under Stalin, the Soviet government by age was almost the youngest in the world. For example, I was appointed People's Commissar of Agriculture of the USSR in 35 years, and this was not the exception, but rather the rule. Most of the people's commissars were about that age, even younger, and even to many secretaries of the regional committees of the party at that period hardly passed the 30 years. The slogan "Young people have a road everywhere" in the 30 and 40 years consistently, with iron perseverance and hardness, life was conducted. Having started my work in an agricultural institution as a young man, I was firmly convinced that all success in the service depended solely on my personal merits and efforts, and not on the current situation or intercession of influential relatives. Like many of my peers, I knew that if I manifested myself properly in practice, I would not be allowed to stay in one place, they would not be allowed to “serve” one rank after another for many years, wasting energy and the pressure of youth on shifting stationery. they will give the road, “move” through several steps “up”, to where they act and decide.

I can say with good reason that the policy of nominating young people was a conscious, comprehensively thought out and measured line of both Stalin himself and the other members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of our party. And this line has fully justified itself, I am convinced that if we entered the war with sixty-year old commissars and army commanders, its results could have been different ... At least because to solve tasks of unprecedented complexity and withstand the monstrous tension of the war years, and then the recovery period would be only creative, unconventionally minded and acting young people.

In this connection, I remember Dmitry Fedorovich Ustinov, the People's Commissar of Arms during the war. Just a young man who, naturally, didn’t have much life and engineering experience, he boldly, at his own peril and risk, took several hours making decisions related to the construction and equipping of military factories, which usually require many months of work of entire teams and design institutes and as many months of coordination with various authorities ... And, as experts recognized, I was not mistaken in the calculations ...

Or Avraamy Pavlovich Zavenyagin, who did a lot for defense, science and technology. “This is impossible, unthinkable, contrary to world experience,” our highly intelligent scientific “stars” and specialists were outraged about the timeframe for the projects that he put forward. But Zavenyagin sought his own and accomplished this "impossible" and "unthinkable."

Or take the top command of the Red Army. Of course, the repression of 1937-1938. weakened it, made it possible for some marshals and generals of the old leaven to strengthen their positions. But in parallel with this was the process of selection and growth of talented people who know how to fight in a modern way. On the whole, on the eve of the war, in their overwhelming majority, leadership positions both in the army and in the General Staff were occupied by worthy people, capable military leaders, the correctness of whose nomination was confirmed by the cruel experience of the battles themselves. G.K. Zhukov, A.M. Vasilevsky, K.K. Rokossovsky, I.S. Konev, K.T. Meretskov, our other illustrious military leaders were able to surpass the best generals of Hitler's Germany on the battlefields, possessing, undoubtedly, the most powerful army in the capitalist world.

And it’s not just the age-old talent, patriotism and revolutionary enthusiasm of our people. All these remarkable qualities, as the experience of recent decades has shown, are almost completely lost when there is no order and proper organization of the business, when there is no truly Bolshevik system of identifying, promoting and stimulating talented people.

I can not agree with the statements of other "experts" stories that young and capable people were brought into the state and party apparatus to fill the "vacuum" formed as a result of the repressions of the 30's. First, along with the youth, the old, experienced personnel worked side by side, providing a fairly effective combination of youth with experience. Secondly, and this is the main thing, even after the repressions of 1937, competitors, including experienced distinguished figures, were quite enough for key positions. I say this with good reason, because I remember well the then situation in the agricultural commissariats. And in others, the picture was about the same. I also remember the discontent of veterans with the pre-revolutionary party experience in appointing young commissars. Everything was ... But the Central Committee firmly defended its line, without making any discounts on former merits and heroic deeds.

Whatever may be said about Stalin, there were incomparably more talented, talented people in leadership positions under him than under Khrushchev, not to mention his successors. By the way, the demand for omissions was concrete, individual, and not blurry-collegial, as now, when billions disappear, entire regions are neglected, and you will not find those responsible in the daytime with fire! In our time, the situation of this kind was simply unthinkable. The People's Commissar, who allowed an overrun of two to three thousand rubles, risked not even his post, his life! Perhaps, to some, this will seem cruel, but from the point of view of state and national interests, this approach, in my opinion, is fully justified.

It is good, of course, that in recent years the attacks on Stalin by the philistine-minded or victims of repression have almost ceased, and his state and military activities have become more objectively shown. But, alas, the methods and style of leadership do not revive or simply cannot ...

- One gets the impression that you fundamentally reject the 1965 reform and see salvation in the Stalinist slogan "Cadres decide everything." But after all, this reform was by no means a desk invention of the bureaucrats who decided to take revenge on Stalin by all means. I had more than once occasion to meet with the leaders of advanced enterprises and collective farms who complained about the imperfection of the 30 and 40 years. economic system, especially its estimated indicators. In addition, the "obsession" on the personnel factor is apparently connected with the historical specifics of our country and now it is hardly justified, especially since it contradicts world experience ...

- People always strive for the best, and leaders, even the most advanced, to relieve their difficult, often ungrateful fate. Humanly they can be understood: leveling, incompetence of the “top” most of all beaten by advanced teams, but it is necessary to approach the solution of state issues from the state rather than personal or departmental bell tower, to which, unfortunately, very decent and my dear people.

Yes, I am a supporter of the current, but by no means an overhaul of our economic system, the enormous potentialities of which, I repeat, are proved by the experience of the 30's, 40's and 50's.

I assess Kosygin reforms ambiguously. Aleksey Nikolayevich, whom I deeply and sincerely respect, was undoubtedly the most competent, skillful and knowledgeable economic manager for the post-war years, which, by the way, caused Khrushchev to be openly hostile to him, organically unable to bear more capable people than he. There are valuable and useful elements in the Kosygin proposals that can and should be incorporated into the economic mechanism. But only as elements strictly subordinate to the planned start. In general, a focus on profits, the intensification of commodity-money relations, the revival of market factors as the governing principles of economic development in our conditions is extremely harmful and dangerous. Such a change in economic strategy inevitably leads and has already led to the impairment of the planned nature of the economy, a decline in state discipline at all levels, an increase in the uncontrollability of economic and social processes, an increase in prices, inflation and other negative phenomena. Of course, there are certain "pluses". But against the background of the huge "minuses" that I have listed, they are insignificant.

- In your initial positions, Ivan Aleksandrovich, there is, in my opinion, an obvious contradiction. You argue that the departure from the Stalinist economic system has turned into enormous "minuses". But after all, there was actually no departure: the reforms of the 60s. failed to realize, they stalled in the very first steps. In fact, the last decades we have maintained the same system that has developed in the 30-s and 40-s. In this regard, it is much more logical to assume that our troubles stem from the very essence of the system, and not as a result of its changes ...

- I have already told you about bad captains who can stranded the most modern ship ... Yes, Kosygin reforms stalled, here you are right. But something was nevertheless introduced, loosening the planned beginning and state discipline. Ask any plant manager what he needs in the first place to fulfill the plan and produce quality products? He will surely answer - normal material and technical support, fulfillment by suppliers of all their obligations. And it is precisely this that has faded into the background now, giving way to cost indicators and the pursuit of profit.

I fully admit that if the Kosygin reforms could have been implemented to the end, and not half-cowardly, as they are used to doing now in any matter, a number of economic indicators would have improved significantly. But this would be achieved to an unacceptably high and, most importantly, unreasonable social price from the point of view of state interests. In this case, the medicine proposed by supporters of cardinal reforms will inevitably be worse than the disease: a lung disease with the help of such “medicines” can develop into a cancerous tumor ...

Fortunately, for now the minuses of the market model appear, so to speak, in a reduced-frozen version. But in Yugoslavia, where they acted more decisively and consistently, and where the path we are just becoming, has already largely gone, these "cons" have manifested themselves in all their glory. The element of market factors has led to sharp disproportions between various sectors of the economic complex, entire regions of the country, the country's scientific and technical base is hopelessly outdated, and “group” selfishness is literally rampant in the economy. Although the Yugoslavs were able to significantly raise the living standards of the population in the post-war years, to achieve obvious success in the production of certain goods, a number of service industries and services, this rise took place on an unhealthy basis and due to factors that inevitably lead to the creation of an explosive atmosphere, to a national crisis, about than, however, the country's leading economists quite frankly say.

“Market Socialism” led to unbridled inflation, sharp social differentiation and polarization of the population, in which Yugoslavia has already surpassed some capitalist countries, in massive unemployment and, as a natural consequence, in the growing discontent of broad sections of workers, especially the strikes of which have long been have become commonplace. I have no doubt that if you open all the floodgates of the market element, the same is exactly the same, and maybe even worse, the prospect is waiting for us ... And it is naive hope that this element can be kept within the socialist framework, under planned control. In Yugoslavia, where quite a few sensible economists, thinking leaders, have tried more than once - nothing happened. There are already objective factors. Subjective intentions, let the most good ones, they can not be canceled ...

Now about the "world experience". The trend here is not in favor of market factors, rather the opposite. Strengthening the planning began, the emphasis on the future is now observed in the activities of all the largest American, Japanese, West German corporations that make the weather in a capitalist economy. Managers of prosperous companies, especially Japanese, are increasingly thinking about tomorrow and even the day after tomorrow, taking steps that run counter to the mechanical alignment of the market situation. I’m not even talking about the growth of the state sector of the economy in almost all capitalist countries, the adoption and successful implementation of long-term economic and scientific-technical programs - here the capitalists have bypassed something in something. And your "innovators" economists present an equalization of commodity-money landmarks almost as a panacea for all ills!

If we really want to draw useful things from abroad, and not just talk about it from the high stands, we must begin with the creation of a truly scientific and modern system of training, growth and promotion of personnel. Here the West has left us far behind. After all, it is a fact that even with approximately equal technical equipment of production due to the so-called organizational factors, primarily determined by the competence of leading personnel, capitalist firms achieve productivity 2-3 times higher than ours. Western businessmen pay far more attention and time to training personnel than to reorganizations and restructuring. This is not to mention the fact that with our shy away from one extreme to another, with such reorganizations, any, even the most prosperous, capitalist firm would go bankrupt in two weeks ...

“But in Western firms there is a much more thoughtful organizational structure of management than we do ... Why not borrow this experience!”

- Need to borrow wisely, not mechanically. We must always go our own way and take only what meets the characteristics of the national economy, organically fits into it. How to do it, for example, the Japanese.

My good friend, who returned from a business trip to Japan, said that he saw only one slogan “Cadres decide everything!” At enterprises of large corporations where there is practically no visual agitation, and the Japanese know well who owns this slogan ... in accordance with its national specifics, literally at all parts of the production process, the owners of corporations have achieved remarkable success, having managed to bypass even their American competitors in a number of important areas. In the so-called "quality circles," which allowed Japanese firms to completely get rid of marriage, they used the experience of our Stakhanov movement, the experience of organizing socialist competition, and in particular, the Saratov system of defect-free delivery of products, which Japan does not hide ... the sun regularly draws up plans for workers to introduce rationalization proposals, advanced workers in every possible way advertise and glorify, as in our 30 and 40 years. I was told that the greatest interest c to the pavilion "Socialist Competition" at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements, it is the Japanese experts who carefully study all the valuables that appear in this area, and one more interesting fact. It turns out that rationalization workers and advanced workers in Japan receive an almost symbolic reward - there It is not without reason that ideological and moral factors - corporate collectivism, mutual assistance, solidarity - are much stronger than material incentives! But we discovered it back in the 30-s.! Opened and ... forgot, carried away by purely material incentives, pushing aside the others, no less, and, perhaps, even more effective!

And this is how it turns out: capitalists are actively using our experience and our achievements, but we are actually giving up our enormous objective advantages by penitently kneeling before the notorious “market model”, focusing not even on yesterday's - the day before yesterday - capitalist economy! If this is “innovation” and “progress”, then what is considered “conservatism” and “retrograde”?

I recall in this regard, such an episode. At the end of 30, when I was People's Commissar of Agriculture of the USSR, I simultaneously served as chairman of the Main Exhibition Committee of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, then located on the territory of the current VDNKh. Stalin and other members of the Politburo paid great attention to the work of the exhibition, considering it as the main center of propagation of the Stakhanov movement in the field of agriculture. Once during the inspection of the exhibits, Stalin drew attention to the fact that some vegetables, fruits, and also greens brought to the exhibition from the advanced farms of the south had, to put it mildly, not quite a presentation.

- What is the matter, Comrade Benedict? - he asked. - This is an exhibition of advanced achievements or stale goods?

“The products come to the exhibition by rail, which naturally takes several days. The state control objects to the delivery of its aircraft, citing not unjustified expenses.

- The state control looks at the matter with its departmental bell tower. And you should approach the issue from the state's positions and not destroy the necessary matter with formalism. To do this, you are Commissar and Chairman of the exhibition in order to protect these positions and fight against such formalism. People should see with their own eyes what kind of vegetables and fruits can be grown. It is necessary to arouse in them the desire and craving for advanced experience, for its dissemination. And your dry products to this does not have. Save thousands and lose millions.

Soon after, they began to deliver products to the exhibition by aircraft. Stalin turned out to be right: more than once I witnessed how the delegations of collective farms and state farms visiting the exhibition literally caught on the idea of ​​“growing the same beets and cabbage”.

By the way, the Stakhanov movement made it possible to raise labor productivity in the country at least one and a half times, at the same time raising the consciousness and labor culture of ordinary workers and collective farmers. And all this in the shortest possible time and without any major costs.

“Still, it’s hard to believe that the personnel policy under Stalin was at a height unattainable for our time.” Now, at least, there are no mass repressions, no wild outrage and lawlessness, mowing the best people, the intellectual color of the nation ... Or do you think that 1937 strengthened the ranks of leading cadres?

- I think when you get acquainted not with the part, but with all the facts and documents relating to the topic of repression, analyze and think them over in the context of the complicated, tense and contradictory situation of that time, you will be ashamed of the fake phrases heard from the embittered, bewildered, who have lost the ability to reason sensibly people. Could our country so quickly and confidently get rid of the Middle Ages, go ahead, it would not be able to become, despite all the trials of modern and great power, and the Soviet culture to reach the top of its heyday, if the "color of the nation", as you say, systematically mowed "villain" Stalin and his entourage. Therefore, they went forward, and therefore they overcame the trials that no country in the world could stand, that they were able to liberate, to highlight everything talented, courageous, creative and honest in our people. But when the personnel policy changed, when the policy of pursuing and harassing talented people began to be pursued on a nationwide scale, when adaptationism and careerism came into vogue, the creative forces of the people really began to dwindle and we sunk to the shame of regular purchases of grain and other foodstuffs abroad the shortage of essential goods, the antediluvian state of the service sector, the progressive lagging behind the West in the scientific and technical sphere. I am convinced that the bloodless losses in the economy, politics, and ideologies that we have suffered and are suffering in recent decades, many times exceed the damage that was caused by repression and lawlessness of 30 and 40. In fact, the creative potential of several generations of the most talented and most healthy people in their moral base has been squandered, corroded by philistine ideology and psychology! It will have to, and you have to pay the most expensive price.

Yes, in 30. injured thousands of innocent people. Of course, a person who has unlawfully shot a father or mother, little is comforted by the fact that for each innocent victim many were fairly convicted. Here we must step over our pain, stop looking at history, the world through the prism of personal anger. At least for the sake of elementary objectivity - I don’t talk about the party-class approach - for many of your “intellects” it is like a red rag for a bull ... Whatever may be said about that time, its atmosphere, its mood was determined not by fear, repression and terror and a powerful wave of revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses, for the first time in many centuries, felt like masters of life, sincerely proud of their country, their party, deeply believing their leaders.

In addition, it is necessary to objectively, strictly documented, comprehensively and, most importantly, from our class positions to understand what happened, to establish the total number of both deservedly and innocently affected people, to determine the personal guilt of Stalin, his entourage, and those serving in front of the authorities flexors on the ground, which even then was a lot. And after that we expose, throw thunder and lightning ... But everything is just the opposite: first we will shout, we will muddy ourselves, and then we start to think: have we done it correctly, we haven’t piled up artificial problems for ourselves ? I am sure: it is time to think about the need to recreate the true picture of what happened, but for now our opponents earn themselves solid points for our silence.

Long, long ago, it is time to do this, especially since there is no end to work here. A lot of things were presented at the request of Khrushchev, who hated Stalin and transferred self-serving interests and personal anger to big-time politics. Competent people told me that Khrushchev had instructed to destroy a number of important documents relating to the repression of the 30 and 40-s. First of all, he, of course, sought to hide his involvement in lawlessness in Moscow and in Ukraine, where, currying favor with the Center, he killed many innocent people. At the same time, documents of another kind were destroyed, documents that irrefutably proved the validity of the repressive actions taken at the end of the 30s. against some prominent party and military leaders. The tactics are clear: to fence themselves, put all the blame for lawlessness on Stalin and the "Stalinists", from whom Khrushchev saw the main threat to his power.

However, I got carried away, fell into assumptions, began to talk about what I do not know for sure. Here we need documents and indisputable facts, but I do not have them. So I ask you not to touch this topic any more: to speak, without having documentary evidence, I was not used to ...

- I have even less chances to get these documentary evidence, the archives are completely closed ... There is no explanatory research on this issue, the party ideologists consider this topic closed, and here you, an active participant in those events, refuse to tell anything .. But I want to know the truth - what should I do! Address the very writers and "intellectuals" who, judging by your statements, cast a shadow on the fence! Or to the western Kremlin scientists, who, as you correctly noted, are very cleverly earning points!

- Well, well, I will tell you the true episode from my life, which happened, if my memory serves me, in 1937. Draw your own conclusions ...

At that time I held a leading position in the People's Commissariat of State Farms of the RSFSR. Having entered the office one morning, I found an agenda on the table - an urgent call to the NKVD. This did not cause much surprise and concern: the staff of the Commissariat quite often had to testify in the case of the sabotage groups disclosed in our institution.

An intelligent, rather handsome-looking investigator, politely saying hello, suggested that I sit down.

- What can you say about the employees of the People's Commissariat Petrov and Grigoriev (I change the names for reasons of ethics - IB)?

“Excellent specialists and honest, devoted communists to the cause of the party, to Comrade Stalin,” I replied without thinking. After all, it was about my two closest friends, with whom, as they say, not one pound of salt was eaten ...

- Are you sure about this? - asked the investigator, and in his voice, it seemed to me, sounded a clear disappointment.

- Absolutely, I vouch for them as well as for myself.

“Then read this document,” and I had several pieces of paper in my hands.

After reading them, I went cold. This was a statement about "sabotage activities in the People's Commissariat Benediktov IA," which he carried out for several years "on the instructions of German intelligence." Everything, absolutely all the facts listed in the document really took place: both purchases in Germany of agricultural machinery unsuitable for our conditions, and erroneous orders and directives, and ignoring fair complaints from the field, and even some statements that I made a joke in the narrow circle, trying to hit friends with my wit ... Of course, everything came from my ignorance, inability, lack of experience - of course, there was no malicious intent, and could not be. All these facts, however, were grouped and interpreted with such devilish art and irrefutable logic that I, mentally putting myself in the shoes of the investigator, immediately and unconditionally believed in the “pest intentions of Benediktov IA”.

But the worst blow was waiting for me ahead: shocked by the monstrous force of lies, I did not immediately notice the signatures of those who had drafted a document. The first name was not surprising - this villain, who later received a prison sentence for slander, wrote denunciations of many in the People's Commissariat, so no one took his writings seriously. When I saw the names on the second and third place, I literally became numb: they were the signatures of Petrov and Grigoriev - people whom I considered the most close friends, whom I trusted completely and completely!

- What can you say about this statement? - asked the investigator when he noticed that I was more or less recovered.

- All the facts stated here have taken place, you can even not check them. But I made these mistakes through ignorance, lack of experience. He risked the interests of the cause, took responsibility where others preferred to sit back. The allegations of deliberate sabotage, of connections with German intelligence are wild lies.

- Do you still consider Petrov and Grigoriev to be honest communists?

- Yes, I think and I can not understand what forced them to sign this fake ...

I began to understand, scrolling in the memory of individual, immediately understandable notes of alienation, coldness and tension that appeared to my friends immediately after I received an appointment to a key post in the People's Commissariat ... And Petrov and Grigoriev, perhaps They were stronger specialists than me, but they professed the philosophy of the “wise minnows”, sometimes making fun of my initiative and thirst for quick changes.

“It’s good that you don’t drown your friends,” said the investigator after some deliberation. - So, alas, not all are doing. Of course, I made some inquiries about you - they are not bad, you are a partial person, quite capable. But about your friends - "honest communists", respond poorly. But understand us, Ivan Alexandrovich: the facts have taken place, the honesty of those who accuse you of sabotage, is not questioned by you. Agree: we, security officers, are simply obliged to react to all this. Think again if you honestly told us everything. I understand that it’s difficult for you now, but you don’t need to despair - we haven’t arrived at a definite conclusion, the investigator said at parting, shaking my hand.

I don't remember how I got home what I said to my wife. Only as we frantically telephoned our friends and as a wife, tightly compressed lips, so as not to burst into tears, wrote postcards and letters to relatives and friends - ties with the family of "enemies of the people" could hurt them all and we just had to do relevant warnings.

In the second half of the day, when I, overcoming gloomy thoughts and forebodings, tried at my work, in my office, to grasp the meaning of the papers received, a phone call rang out - I was invited to the Central Committee of the Party the next morning. "Everything is clear," I thought, killed, "they will expel from the party, and then the court."

Wife still fell, cried all night. And the next morning I collected a small bundle of things, with which I headed for the Central Committee building on Old Square. I remember the puzzled look with which an elderly woman sitting at the registration room outside the conference room looked at me. “You can leave it here,” she said, pointing to the table next to the door. The meeting discussed issues related to the development of agriculture. I almost did not understand the meaning of the speeches, waited, and when they call my name, they will begin to be stigmatized. Surname finally called ... Stalin.

... Red tape in the Commissariat does not decrease, ... he said slowly and forcefully. ... We all respect the People's Commissar ... an old Bolshevik, a veteran, but he cannot cope with red tape, and he is not the same age. We consulted here and decided to strengthen the leadership of the industry. I propose to appoint a young specialist Comrade Benediktov to the post of People's Commissar. Any objections? Not? We will consider the issue resolved.

A few minutes later, when everyone began to disperse, Voroshilov approached me: "Ivan Aleksandrovich, Comrade Stalin asks you to come to him."

In the spacious room I noticed the faces of the members of the Politburo of Molotov, Kaganovich, Andreev, who were well known from the portraits.

“And here is our new people's commissar,” Stalin said when I approached him. - Well, how, agree with the decision or have objections?

- There are, Comrade Stalin, and three.

- Come on!

- Firstly, I am too young, and secondly, I work very little in a new position - experience, knowledge is not enough.

- Youth is a flaw that passes. It is a pity that quickly. We would have this disadvantage, but more, but, Molotov? - He somehow vaguely grunted, flashing glasses pince-nez. “Experience and knowledge is a new thing,” continued Stalin, “there would be a desire to learn, and you, as I was told, are completely enough.” However, do not arrogant - we will fill you with many cones. Tune in to the fact that it will be difficult, running the Commissariat. And thirdly?

Then I told Stalin about the call to the NKVD. He frowned, paused, and then, looking intently at me, said:

- Answer honestly, as a communist: is there any reason for all these accusations?

- No, except for my inexperience and inability.

- Well, go, work. And we will deal with this matter.

Only on the second day after this conversation, when one of the secretaries of the Central Committee called me on the phone, I realized that the storm had passed by. By the way, the bundle was sent from the Central Committee to the People's Commissariat on the same day - I was so stunned that I completely forgot about it ...

- Apparently, it was just inconvenient for Stalin to cancel the decision already made, and this saved you ...

- I do not think. For many years of work, I have repeatedly convinced that formal considerations or personal ambitions meant little to him. Stalin usually proceeded from the interests of the case and, if required, did not hesitate to change the decisions already taken, not caring at all about what they thought or said. I was just very lucky that the case of my alleged "sabotage" came under his personal control. In matters relating to the fate of people accused of sabotage, Stalin had a reputation as a liberal in the then Politburo. As a rule, he took the side of the accused and sought to justify them, although, of course, there were exceptions. The former first secretary of the Stalingrad regional party committee, Chuyanov, wrote about all of this very well in his memoirs. Yes, and I myself several times witnessed the clashes of Stalin with Kaganovich and Andreev, who were considered “hawks” in this matter. The meaning of the Stalinist replicas was that even with the enemies of the people it was necessary to fight on the basis of legality, without leaving it. Take care of my business someone else in the Politburo, the libel envious and scoundrels could be given a turn ...

- It turns out that repressions and arbitrariness were going on behind Stalin’s back, without his knowledge? But after all, at the XX Congress, irrefutable evidence was cited that it was Stalin who initiated the repressions, outlined the main victims ...

- I have considerable doubts about the irrefutable. Everything was done then hastily, with the obvious goal of defaming Stalin and, most importantly, his supporters. Having broken their resistance, Khrushchev and his inner circle hoped to achieve a monopoly position in the party and the state. And when there is a struggle for power, they put forward all sorts of arguments, sometimes dubious ones. Sounded, for example, in the famous report of Khrushchev, more than a transparent hint at the participation of Stalin in the murder of Kirov could not be confirmed by real evidence. Khrushchev’s words that Stalin allegedly “led military operations around the globe” turned out to be a ridiculous slander, as practically all the marshals and generals who worked with him during the war years confirmed. In general, the Khrushchev report at the XX Congress, along with many obvious facts, is unclear, contradictory, simply incomprehensible, especially where it concerns participation in the repressions of the then members of the Politburo, among whom, as we know, Khrushchev himself included ... I repeat: it requires painstaking study of archival documents and materials, in-depth analysis and reflection from our party, class positions, taking into account all factors and circumstances, and not just those that fit into a given theoretical "scheme".

And instead of such an analysis and reflection, we begin to settle scores with our political opponents under the guise of, of course, “restoring historical justice”, gaining seductive ideological capital of “innovators” and fighters with the next “ism”, which, of course, should be written as ” major creative input. " Khrushchev, too, was the victim of such a dubious approach, to put it mildly. They cursed them with the last words, then completely deleted them from all historical documents, as if there was no such figure in our history. We still have a little political culture, a lot of low-profile opportunist, chasing short-term results, which ultimately beats long-term, strategic interests ...

- So, we must wait for the analysis and study of archives. But, apparently, it will take a long time to wait ... And what to do now, when the opponents of socialism deliver sensitive blows to our ideology, undermine people's confidence in the party, blacken the path taken by the people! I, as a propagandist, a lecturer of the society "Knowledge", often have to speak to the youth audience. There are a lot of questions on the topic of cult and repression. What to answer, how to fill a vacuum, if even from published memoirs, when they are, of course, published, everything is sharp, relating to this topic, is ruthlessly wipe out! Why you, the active participant and the witness of those events, cannot express your opinion, your version, hypothesis, in the end! After all, absolutely incompetent, embittered people are speaking on this topic, presenting their opinion as the ultimate truth and convincing some of them ... Or do you, the Stalinist commissar, the communist, finally have nothing to say and we should be ashamed of their history?

- Your persistence convinces. Shy of our history really should not be - with all its dramatic pages this is a heroic story, the story of a great people. I will say nothing can be done, a personal point of view, not confirmed, I repeat, with the necessary documents and facts.

Yes, I am an active participant in the events of those years, met many times with Stalin, knew well the prominent party and economic leaders of 30 and 40, and many times attended meetings of the Politburo. But still, most of the time I was engaged in agricultural issues, I understand the other, of course, much weaker. Better, of course, the current screamers, but still not professional enough. So please consider this.

Repression 30-x and partly 40-x. caused mainly by objective factors. First of all, of course, by the furious resistance of overt and especially hidden enemies of Soviet power. The first was significantly less than the second, and that was the whole difficulty.

Far from everyone who, as a result of the October Revolution, lost wealth, privileges, the ability to live at the expense of the labor of others, fled abroad. Many of these people, taking advantage of the turmoil and confusion of the first post-revolutionary years, managed to get into the state, party apparatus, even in the NKVD. Moreover, educated people, qualified specialists were not enough everywhere. The potential "fifth column" was a significant part of the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia, which had lost a number of privileges and privileges, especially of a material nature, and transferred to work in the Soviet apparatus, as they say, "reluctantly" without having another alternative ... To this "fifth column" The former Nepmen, or the kulaks who hated Soviet power, a part of the middle peasantry and some workers who suffered as a result of the excesses and rampant elements, which inevitably accompany any revolution and major social transformations, also belonged. The activities of the bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, and even monarchist-minded political groups and groups that had gone underground, had a lesser but quite tangible danger, some of which maintained regular links with the emigrant circles. All this was not an invention of Stalin or the NKVD, but the prosaic reality itself.

Suffice it to say that in the course of the investigation of the case of the so-called Industrial Party, which pursued clearly anti-Soviet goals, about two thousand people were identified who consciously and purposefully engaged in sabotage. In the middle of 30's. I personally witnessed cases of deliberate sabotage in the chemical and leather industry. Yes, and in the People's Commissariat of State Farms of the RSFSR, the People's Commissariat of Agriculture of the USSR, where I had the opportunity to work, some specialists from among the pre-revolutionary intellectuals did not miss the chance to give us a step.

The activity of the Trotsky-Zinoviev and then Bukharin opposition was merged with these subversive actions. Their leaders, however, still in the late 20's. forced to step into the background, to make penitential speeches. However, many supporters of Trotsky and Bukharin remained in the party and state apparatus, in the army, the state security organs, where they continued to harm the Soviet government for "ideological" reasons, hypocritically referring to the ideals of October. By the way, among the commanders of the Red Army there were quite a few former Tsarist officers. Many of them, including Tukhachevsky, Yakir, Uborevich and others, went over to the Bolsheviks as a result of the great organizational and propaganda work done by Trotsky, whose contribution to strengthening the defenses of the revolution, as you know, was highly appreciated by Lenin. Of course, the majority of these people, while retaining certain prejudices and prejudices of their social stratum, were loyal to Soviet power. But there were also those who kept the bosom behind their bosoms, which was also a source of certain danger, because Trotsky, with his outstanding organizational abilities and talent of the conspirator, managed to maintain regular contacts with the discontented inside the country while in emigration. About direct agents of capitalist intelligence services, which in the Union in the 30-ies. sent a lot, I do not say.

Of course, the opponents of the Soviet government, and their total, apparently, several million, were a clear minority among the people. However, given the importance of the posts they occupied, a higher level of intelligence, education, knowledge, to dismiss them as a potential threat to socialism would be criminal, completely unacceptable for a serious political leader levity. Under the conditions of the capitalist environment, which did not hide its hostility, was approaching a deadly fight against fascism, the country's top leadership simply had to take decisive large-scale measures to protect it from possible backstrokes, neutralize the potential "fifth column", and ensure maximum unity in the leading echelons of the party , state, army.

- You touched the enemies of the Soviet government and the ideological opponents of Stalin. But among the repressed there were many who were willing to give his life for him ...

- Right. But this once again proves that they were repressed not for the lack of personal loyalty to Stalin, as some would like to present, but for other, more serious reasons. How? Well, at least take an objectively mature process of healing and rejuvenating the leadership.

Among the old party guards, who managed to “ignite” and raise the masses for the October Revolution, it turned out to be quite a lot, in Lenin's words, “saints” and “bezrukonkyh” “doodles” who knew how to “value and chat” but did not know how to work in a new way, taking into account the challenges facing the country. My Commissariat, for example, was headed by an old Bolshevik, a man who was undoubtedly honored and honest (therefore, I do not name him), but completely incapable of organizing a business. Countless persuasions and meetings, meetings with "bright" slogans, constant toasts in honor of the revolution, Lenin, to the place and out of place - that was his style, and he was simply not able to remake himself. The high level of education, culture, high moral qualities did not help either - business properties are no substitute.

In his recent works, Lenin more than once stressed that the majority (up to 9 / 10) in the party are people who cannot act in a new way, calling for them to be released from responsible posts, regardless of any merit, to “clean out” them. All this, alas, was true. Naturally, the massive promotion to senior positions of younger, able, able to work in a modern way could not take place painlessly, caused discontent, resentment and accusations from veterans, whose resistance also had to be broken.

But most of all people, of course, did not suffer for it.

Remember the words of Lenin that a Russian is a bad worker compared to a worker in Western countries? What a sin to conceal: laxity, irresponsibility, oblomovism are in everyone’s blood - from worker to minister, many have a low, if not primitive, work culture. And in order to eradicate all these "birthmarks of the past", a lot of time and effort will be required.

I am convinced that in 30, when the issue of life and death of the Soviet state was resolved, it was necessary to use the whole arsenal of struggle with our age-old Russian "sores", applying administrative measures and even punitive-repressive measures along with material and moral incentives. Yes, yes, that same whip, without which it is sometimes simply impossible to knock out a part of our people (and not so small) elementary barbarism, savagery and lack of culture.

Look through the latest volumes of the Collected Works of V.I. Lenin, where his official letters, telegrams, notes are collected. Any business, he did not get tired of repeating, "loosened up, with our damned Oblomian morals in two weeks, if not customized, not checked, not beat in three whips" 1. "For Christ's sake, you put someone in jail. She-shes, without that, not a damn thing would be" 2. Almost through every line appeals to "whip", to arrest and repression, up to the highest measure, for armlessness, negligence, oblomovism, bribes and attempts to "hush up" ugly things ... And towards whom are these appeals? To senior officials, including top managers, to the Bolsheviks, to past prisoners, penal servitude, links! Yes, Lenin respected people, valued their business qualities. But when this was required by the situation, he showed the most severe demands, did not stop at the application of the most severe and steep, if you will, “punitive” measures. Stalin inherited such a style, but it was impossible at that time.

In the specific setting of the 30's and 40's. To equate carelessness, irresponsibility and carelessness to political crimes was simply necessary. And people, in their overwhelming majority aware of this, supported such measures. From a practical point of view, it doesn’t matter anyway why the plant built at the expense of extreme effort does not produce products that are so necessary for everyone - because of the sabotage of enemy agents or the elementary blasphemy of those who are not able to start production and think more about personal interests than about the public ... And I am not touched in the least by the pity of the story about the mother of two children, who received several years in prison because of the theft of two wheat ears. Of course, in relation to her personally the sentence was, of course, cruel. But he had long discouraged hundreds, thousands of others, to stretch out his hand for state good, to profit at the expense of others ... Does the state-of-the-art brazen nasuns and schemers of all sorts do not deprive the state of billions, and perhaps tens of billions of rubles, which For example, it would be possible to use for social benefits not one, not two, but millions of mothers?

However, I was distracted. Summarize what has been said. Repression 30-x. were basically inevitable. I think, if Lenin had lived for 15 years, he would have followed the same path. It is not by chance that the most consistent critics of Stalin and the so-called "Stalinism" sooner or later begin to criticize Lenin too. The logic of these people, at least, can not be denied ...

But, of course, the costs and excesses under Lenin would be much less.

- What exactly, in your opinion, were these costs and where is the line separating the objective factors from the subjective errors and omissions?

- I have already said that in the party apparatus, the NKVD bodies there were both hidden enemies of the Soviet government, and all sorts of careerists, ambitious people and rogues. Proceeding from self-serving personal interests, they credited honest and talented people to the category of "enemies of the people", fabricated relevant "affairs", attracting all kinds of scoundrels, like my former friends Petrov and Grigoriev, as "witnesses." Low political, general cultural level contributed to overlaps and excesses, especially on the ground - and there simply could not be any other! - local leadership. Especially since propaganda in this sense worked “shock-wise”, some kind of psychosis of detecting “sabotage” arose among the broad masses of the population, under which indiscriminately failed everyone, even random errors, lack of proper experience with honest people. Of course, ideally, every case of a breakdown and stopping of production, the release of defective products, etc. it was necessary to analyze objectively and individually, carefully figuring out where the lack of experience was, where criminal negligence, and where conscious sabotage. But this was not always the case - it was much easier and easier to throw everything on the "enemies of the people", especially since the memory of these enemies who mocked ordinary people in Tsarist times was still fresh ...

The situation of the first years of the revolution and the civil war, in a modified version, repeated, however, when the elements of the centuries-old hatred of the exploited towards the exploiters led to the death of tens of thousands of innocent people from the “upper” and “middle” class. Do we have the right to blame for these excesses, these cruelties of Lenin, Dzerzhinsky, their comrades? In the abstract, yes - they overlooked it, they missed it, they failed to understand it, and so on. However, in practice, it was impossible to stop the raging passions, to stop the cruel slaughter and bloodshed at once, in one fell swoop. The Bolsheviks did everything for this, risked their lives, but it was not always possible to curb the elements. Approximately the same thing happened in the 30-ies, under Stalin.

Yes, the fact that thousands of honest, innocent people suffered during the repression speaks of the great harm that has been inflicted on our society. But on the whole, a large-scale, decisive cleansing of the party-state apparatus, the army strengthened the country and played a positive role. Without the costs, sometimes very painful and large, in history there has not been, and there will never be truly revolutionary changes.

- You are talking about the "national element." But after all, the repressions were organized by the party apparatus and the NKVD organs, which Stalin firmly held in his hands ...

- Where did the people come to the party apparatus and the state security organs? Of course, from the people, mainly from the workers and peasants. They could not feel the influence of their moods, judgments and psychology. And then the workers and peasants, too, were not entirely and then were advanced ...

The tragedy of the situation was that it was necessary to cleanse and strengthen the country with the help of a clogged apparatus, both the party and the NKVD, there was simply no other. Therefore, one wave of cleansing was followed by another — already against those who committed lawlessness and abuse of office. By the way, in percentage terms, the state security organs probably suffered the most. They were “cleaned” regularly and radically - without any condescension to past merits and a revolutionary biography.

Stalin undoubtedly knew about the arbitrariness and the iniquities admitted during the repressions, experienced this and took concrete measures to correct the excesses, the release of honest people from prison. By the way, with slanderers and scammers in that period did not really stand on ceremony. Many of them after the exposure landed in those same camps, where they sent their victims. The paradox is that some of them, released during the Khrushchev's “thaw” at will, began to trumpet the loudest of the Stalinist iniquities and even managed to publish memories of it!

- Excuse me, but your words about Stalin’s non-involvement in the massacre of honest people are not convincing. Even if this is allowed, then in this case he was simply obliged, firstly, to honestly and openly confess to all the people in the admitted lawlessness, secondly, to rehabilitate the unjustly injured and, thirdly, to take measures to prevent such lawlessness in the future. Nothing has been done since ...

- You, apparently, just not in the know. As for the first and second, the January plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) 1938 openly recognized the lawlessness committed in relation to honest communists and non-partisan, adopting a special resolution on this subject, published, by the way, in all central newspapers. It was also openly said to the whole country about the harm caused by unreasonable repression at the XVIII Congress of the CPSU (B), which was held in 1939.

Immediately after the January Plenum of the Central Committee of 1938, thousands of illegally repressed people, including prominent military leaders, began to return from prison. All of them were officially rehabilitated, and Stalin personally apologized to some people.

Well, about third, I have already said that the NKVD apparatus was almost the most affected by the repressions, and a significant part was held accountable precisely for abuse of official position, for reprisals against honest people ... The greatest responsibility, as you It is probably known that Yagoda and Yezhov, former NKVD Commissars, are responsible for such reprisals. Together with his henchmen, they were sentenced to capital punishment and executed precisely because they killed the best people, experienced party cadres. Beria who came to replace him was known as a “liberal” and at first really sharply narrowed the scope of repressions. However, unable to stand the test of power, also began to allow abuse, completely decomposed in the moral and domestic plan. A year before Stalin’s death, he was removed from his post as Commissar of State, the closest Beria associates were arrested and were under investigation. The ring around Beria inexorably squeezed, no wonder he showed feverish activity in the last months of Stalin's life, and immediately after his death, he first launched a campaign to discredit him.

Now about measures to prevent repression. They were adopted by the XVIII Congress of the CPSU (b) in 1939. The Congress abolished the previously practiced before the regular mass cleansing of the party. Personally, I think it was a wrong decision. Concerned about the damage caused to the party by mass repressions, Stalin went to the other extreme and was clearly in a hurry. Lenin was much closer to the truth when he stressed that the ruling party must constantly cleanse itself of the "self-seekers" and "those who cling." Oblivion of this covenant cost and costs us terribly expensive. True, it became apparent only now - then I did not doubt the correctness of the decision.

In connection with the question you asked, I recall such an episode. When at the end of 1938, illegally convicted people began returning from prison to agricultural commissariats, I expressed satisfaction in the presence of Stalin. The reaction, however, was unexpected.

“Where did you look before?” Stalin said angrily. “They surely knew these people, understood what situation they were in. Why didn’t they stand up for them, don’t come to me in the end? Are you afraid of troubles? So if you have a quiet life you are looking for, you have to leave Narkomovsky fasting. Here wise minnows can do a lot of damage. "

Stalin was not quite right here - I could, I did, and go all-in, as other commissars did, really seeking to save honest people, in my case there was no need. Fortunately, Stalin rarely fell sometimes into an inexplicable irritation, sometimes even bitterness, although usually he controlled himself very well and skillfully controlled emotions. But I brought this case in order to show what the actual mood of his thoughts was during that period.

- Still, it is difficult to believe that Stalin did not know and did not know what was happening in the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs ...

- Under Stalin, the commissars were given a sufficiently large freedom of hands. This was considered the most important prerequisite for initiative and independent work. The control, rather rigid and constant, concerned the development of promising, “strategic” directions for the development of the industry, as well as the practical effectiveness of the course conducted. They did not interfere in the operational, daily work of the People's Commissariat, as now, when the minister literally every small step, not to mention major decisions, coordinates and reconciles with the relevant units of the Central Committee and other governing bodies. However, the branch departments of the Central Committee, with the exception of the agrarian, then did not exist. Of course, I consulted with the staff of the Central Committee and other institutions, but I always took decisions on my own, sometimes even contrary to their opinion.

From the bitter experience of others and in part, he knew well that the demand for results would be personal — no "advisers" and "accomplices" up to secretaries of the Central Committee and even Politburo members would help. Stalin quickly and for a long time disaccustomed to hide behind the backs of others, to shift the responsibility, as he sometimes expressed with irritation, to the "collective farm of irresponsible persons." I think a similar principle acted in relation to other commissariats, including the NKVD.

In general, such an approach increased the efficiency of leading cadres, made it possible to clearly see who is who in fact, which is now difficult to determine - too many insurance and reinsurance signatures and approvals. But there was, unfortunately, the reverse side. I mean the "closeness" of the Commissariat of external influences and the possibility of abuse. Apparently, these circumstances also made themselves felt, when at the head of the NKVD were placed quite professionally prepared, but not sufficiently stable politically and morally, people. The control eventually worked - they were removed from their posts and got what they deserved. But innocent people suffered, and Stalin bears a certain amount of responsibility for this.

Now, however, after 40 years, it is easy to shout about the mistakes of the past, where it is more difficult to objectively understand and understand why they happened. However, the language is always easier to work than the head. Here I understand your brother a journalist and a writer ...

- Allow another tricky question. You said that Stalin even encouraged the people's commissars to defend the illegally repressed people. Interestingly, would you have saved your post, stepping in, say, for Tukhachevsky, Voznesensky or Blucher? It is widely believed that the repression against them was due to the fact that Stalin saw them as competitors in the struggle for power ...

- For the people listed by you, I would not stand up for the simple reason that I was then completely sure of their guilt, as, incidentally, the overwhelming majority of Soviet people. As for the “struggle for power”, the elimination of “competitors”, this is, excuse me, idle fancies.

Simplified estimates are always more attractive. Belinsky said very well about this: "The more one-sided opinion, the more accessible it is for the majority, who likes good things to be always good, but bad to be bad, and who don’t want to hear the same thing contain good things and bad. " Well, if in fact, I repeat once again, and this time without any reservations about my incompetence; despotism and lust for power did not have any relation to repression, at least on the part of Stalin - a special conversation about his environment ...

I have met and talked with Stalin dozens of times, saw how he resolves issues, how he treats people, how he thinks, hesitates, and looks for ways out of difficult situations. I can say quite definitely: he, who lived by the highest interests of the party and the country, could not consciously harm them, eliminating talented people as potential competitors. People, with a learned view of experts, who utter such nonsense, simply do not know the true situation, how things were done in the leadership of the country.

Contrary to popular belief, all questions in those years, including those related to the displacement of prominent party, state and military leaders, were decided in the Politburo collectively. At the Politburo meetings themselves, disputes and discussions often flared up, different, often opposing opinions were expressed within, naturally, the cornerstones of party attitudes. There was no tacit and uncomplaining unanimity - Stalin and his associates hated it. I say this with good reason, because I attended the Politburo meetings many times.

Yes, Stalin's point of view, as a rule, prevailed. But this happened because he objectively, comprehensively thought through the problems, saw further and deeper than others. People are people - they gradually got used to it and, following the line of least resistance, ceased to defend their opinion to the end. Stalin was aware of the danger that arose here, he was angry, he set the example of N.A. Voznesensky, who was firm and consistent in defending his views, however, could not change the situation - having crossed the 70-year boundary, he began to noticeably pass, apparently, his age and the enormous stress of public affairs affected. At the end of the 30s, collegiality in the work of the Politburo was manifested quite clearly: there were cases, however, quite rare, when Stalin was in the minority when voting. This was especially true of repression, where Stalin, as I said, was more "soft" position than a number of other members of the Politburo.

I am convinced that Tukhachevsky, Yakir, Blucher and other major figures were repressed for political reasons and on the basis of collegial decisions of the Politburo. Personal moments, if there were, played a subordinate role. It’s another matter how well these considerations are. Errors, of course, were possible. But to understand them, to find out the true picture of what happened, you need to look at the matter politically, from the point of view of state interests, to conduct a comprehensive and in-depth analysis ...

- And yet Tukhachevsky ...

- They made a mistake: Tukhachevsky, Tukhachevsky ... All around you can only hear: Stalin killed the most talented Soviet commander. How many times did you have to talk about 30's, and the same question everywhere ... I couldn’t stand it anyway, I asked my old friend about it, by the way, an ardent critic of Stalin, who had a direct bearing on the work of the commission that rehabilitated Tukhachevsky .

- The man was not an easy one, - he answers. - The party leadership over the army did not really recognize, there was also enough self-confidence and aristocratic arrogance. But such commanders rarely appear - they are ahead of time for decades, a huge talent, the Germans were afraid most of all for nothing. They cooked up a fake, and the NKVD fabricated a case. From a legal point of view, the charges are completely untenable. Rehabilitated correctly, do not hesitate.

- Wait, really only smoke and there was not the slightest spark? After all, the accusatory document was signed by Blucher and Alksnis. They, on pain of death, wouldn’t blame honest people, you know ...

- Yes, there was something. It is established that Tukhachevsky held a secret meeting at which Voroshilov’s plans for dismissing were discussed (the then People's Commissar of Defense - VL). But legally, not a single charge has been confirmed.

- Here are the ones on! Yes, in any country for this, not only they are removed from their posts, they are immediately handed over to court! Everywhere, the Secretary of Defense dismisses and appoints senior management. Or do you think that Tukhachevsky was hoping to convince Stalin and other members of the Politburo by his eloquence? Why then secrecy? Why, this is actually a conspiracy, treason ...

- Do not get excited, Ivan! You always had a bad understanding of jurisprudence. We needed evidence, accurate facts, irrefutable evidence, in a word, all the attributes of legality, but they were simply concocted! Yes, and Tukhachevsky was not a traitor - here it was rather a question of intrigue, of a struggle between talent and lack of talent ...

I don’t know how legally, but from the point of view of protecting the interests of the country Tukhachevsky and his group, if, of course, the intention to remove the people's defense commissar took place, it was necessary to remove them from key posts! War was advancing, in essence, the fate of socialism and the people was put at stake, and it would be a crime to have people among the top commanders capable of violating elementary discipline, military duty. One can imagine how events would turn out if at the most critical moments of the war instead of a single general who changed his homeland — Vlasov — there would be several dozen of them, and even in far more influential posts! And it makes little difference if even they hit the "Stalinist regime" from behind for "ideological reasons." The result would be the same. In a few weeks, the fascists defeated the French army to no small degree because there was no unity in the country's military-political circles, the generals quarreled with politicians, succumbed to defeatist sentiments ...

You see, it was worth digging a little deeper, aside from the traditional anti-cult ideas, and the "despot Stalin destroyed talented people" scheme starts to burst at the seams ... I think a lot in the repressions of 30 and 40. will go beyond the framework of this scheme, if the matter is dealt with objectively and seriously.

- Your opinion is consonant with the position of a prominent figure in the Bolshevik Party, V.I. Lenin Elena Dmitrievny Stasova. For all her antipathy towards Stalin, she believed that he should not be directly responsible for unjustified repression and the destruction of honest people. Elena Dmitrievna was indignant at the actions of Khrushchev, called him "an irresponsible adventurer", "XM" plotter. Your assessments are also close to the judgments of the prominent German writer L. Feuchtwanger, who visited the Soviet Union in 3 and published a book about it. Feuchtwanger wanted to personally determine whether Stalin really, in order to strengthen the regime of his despotism, destroys talented people. The writer, who stipulates his fundamental disagreement with the "Bolshevik" methods of leadership, especially "in the field of art", attended the process of Pyatakov and Radek, personally talked with many defendants and came to the firm conclusion that the processes were fully justified and the actions of Stalin and his associates were in the best interests of the Soviet people and the state. Feuchtwanger described the behavior of many Western intellectuals who raised the hype about "Stalin's atrocities", "myopic", "unworthy" and "dishonest". And nevertheless, this, just like your judgments, is not convincing: too many obvious facts that go against them are contrary to ...

- Well, I expressed my personal point of view and warned you that I did not have the necessary archival documents and materials. But I advise you to be more careful about the “evidence”. We condemned voluntarism, but there is still no voluntaristic presentation of history, although in this direction some tentative steps have been made in recent years ...

Think about this. In the "despotic" 30-ies. Transcripts of political processes were published openly and were accessible to virtually everyone, although there were opinions that were contrary to official opinions and versions. Under Khrushchev, an advocate of "openness" and "publicity," all this was transferred to official and secret funds. Is it because they contradicted the "evidence" of officially presented and interpreted "facts"?

As for Feuchtwanger, he was far from alone. R. Rolland, A. Barbusse, M.A. Nexo, other progressive writers, scholars, artists spoke in support of the course of Stalia and his associates. Einstein refused to sign an appeal condemning repression even if he didn’t really favor "power methods" in politics ... After all, it’s a fact that the best part of the Western intelligentsia, which proved loyalty to progressive and humanistic ideals, disassociated itself from the noisy campaign of exposing "Stalin's villains." Conversely, the hypocrites and screamers who had changed these ideals, who had reached the point of cooperation with fascism and reaction, were tearing their throats about the "Stalinist terror" most of all. Also a good reason to think ...

- You became the People's Commissar of Agriculture of the USSR just at the time when the conflict between supporters of the traditional, Michurinist direction and geneticists, Lysenko and Vavilov, grew in Soviet biological science. As you know, Stalin and your Commissariat supported Lysenko, the Soviet school of genetics was subjected to a real defeat, many of its followers, including Vavilov, were repressed. Domestic biological science, which held leading positions in those years, began to seriously lag behind the world level. Agree, after all this, it is hard to believe that the Stalinist leadership of science was competent. I no longer touch the unacceptable methods of dealing with dissidents. For all his flaws, Khrushchev was a scientist, at least in a civilized way ...

- Khrushchev is far more responsible for the lag of genetics than Stalin. In 30-s. it was incomparably more difficult to foresee its perspectivity than in 50. Nikita Sergeyevich was literally fascinated by the brilliant promises and promises of Lysenko, whom he, unlike Stalin, believed unconditionally, and as a result, genetics did not receive the necessary support just at the time when they began to notice tangible successes. I have no doubt that if Stalin, who had an uncommon sense of the practical value of new directions, would have extended 5-6 for years, the genetics would get everything they needed, and even beyond that. So what, but he was able to concentrate forces and means on the crucial areas, to find and promote talented organizing scientists like no one else. After all, it is a fact that it was Stalin who was one of the first political leaders of the world who realized the enormous practical significance of nuclear research and space exploration. Yes, and firm support for them little-known at that time I.V. Kurchatova and S.P. The queen, whom the academic elite did not really recognize, speaks volumes. Breaking the inertia and routineism of the then scientific "luminaries", the Central Committee of the party, under the leadership of Stalin, attached to works on these, seeming to many, even in the scientific world semi-fantastic areas, national importance. As a result, economically lagging behind the West for decades, our country managed to occupy leading positions in key areas of scientific and technological progress, summed up the necessary material foundation for the status of a great power.

- You already talked about this at the beginning of our conversation, referring to the economy ...

- Well, I repeat once again, you have to be patient, once you undertook to listen to me to the end.

Most of the original schools that advanced Soviet science to the forefront in the world have developed and gained strength in the Stalinist period cursed by other journalists and writers. They flourished at the end of 50-x - the beginning of 60-x., After which everything gradually went downhill. Famous local schools began to swell, group interests and the monopoly of famous clans prevailed in science, scientists, especially of the humanities, began to shrink right before our eyes.

You probably find in the newspapers numerous examples of how powerful scientific clans deal with talented "aliens." You can say anything, but I am absolutely convinced that at the beginning of 80's. The efficiency of our science has become much lower than forty years ago, and any crap that interferes with its normal development is incomparably greater. However, cleaning processes slowed down everywhere ...

- And yet I would like to know more about genetics ...

- Well, back to her. At the end of 30's and in the first post-war years, when the country experienced an acute shortage of forces and means for survival in the struggle with fascism, and then recovery from the ruins, we simply could not have the luxury of keeping the life of science divorced from the burning demands. Everything, literally everything in those years, was rigidly subordinated to the interests of strengthening the economic and defense potential; any question was approached primarily from that angle.

Scientific research conducted by Lysenko and his supporters, were clearly aimed at a real return and in some cases have already brought tangible practical effect. I mean both increasing yields and introducing new, more promising crops. The works of Vavilov and his followers did not promise any practical results even in the foreseeable future, not to mention the then present.

By the way, among geneticists, bourgeois scholars pre-revolutionary ferments with elite, sometimes clearly anti-people manners prevailed, advertise their "apoliticality" and devotion to "pure science", which, they say, is not up to "grounded" practical needs. Some of them almost openly identified with the misanthropic racial "theories" of fascism and even worked on their confirmation. One of these academic snobs, the biologist Timofeev-Resovsky, even went to a direct betrayal of the Motherland, voluntarily remaining in Nazi Germany, where he had worked the whole war in a research institute in Berlin, closely connected with the secret services of the Hitler Reich.

Sympathy such people, of course, did not cause. But the main thing, I repeat, is that the then genetics failed to prove the importance and prospects of their direction.

Of course, from today's point of view, it is obvious that the excessive “practicality” manifested here slowed down the development of “big science”. But those who were directly responsible for academic science, and to a certain extent I, as the Minister of Agriculture of the Union, are guilty of this miscalculation. Stalin, who was quite far from this problem, constantly, by the way, urged us, ministerial leaders, to follow promising research directions, recent achievements and technical innovations, to protect talented scientists from attacks and intrigues of mediocrity and envious.

But the admitted miscalculation did not matter. And now, from the height of the past decades, I still believe that the course pursued by the Party to bring agricultural science closer to life, to its needs and requirements was basically the right one. Yes, and Vavilov himself, then head of the Institute of Plant Industry, actually recognized it, gave repeated promises to overcome the overly narrow specialization of his research, to reorient the activities of the institute towards agricultural practice. But, unfortunately, he did not keep his promises.

- And yet you will not deny that in the dispute Lysenko-Vavilov victory remained on the side of ignorance and dishonesty, intolerance to a different point of view and that Stalin’s sympathy for Lysenko contributed to the assertion in biology of the very monopoly of one group of people who have now become perhaps the most important brake on the development of science ...

- Why will not I deny? I will deny, and deny decisively. But first let me, old man, grumble a little. The bias and one-sidedness of questions about Stalin and Vavilov do you no honor. It seems that you have already taken certain positions, repeating stupid inventions that they like to exaggerate in the so-called “intellectual circles”. Why then do you need my judgment? A journalist should be more objective and impartial if he sincerely seeks to understand something, and not to "brand" the misunderstood with fashionable phrases. In this connection, I would like to quote the wonderful words of V.I. Lenin: "... It is necessary to consider not individual facts, but the totality of the facts relating to the question under consideration, without a single exception, for otherwise suspicion will inevitably arise that instead of an objective connection and interdependence of historical phenomena in their whole is presented" subjective "cooking for excuses, maybe dirty business. This happens ... more often than it seems. "4.

Looks like you and fell for such a "subjective concoction." It was only in the question of Stalin that unscrupulous politicians used it to justify their unsightly deeds, and in the history of Vavilov they were equally unscrupulous scientists.

“Well, I accept the criticism, I will try to be more objective, although, as you understand, it’s not so easy to give up what I took for granted ... And yet, as you assess the widespread allegations of Lysenko’s fraud and the martyrdom of Vavilov?

- As a typical example of grouping. In the interests of asserting their monopoly, certain people - and the last 20 years, as you know, genetics have kept key areas in biology - spread deliberately false information defaming "competitors".

I knew Trofim Denisovich Lysenko well, his strengths and weaknesses. I can firmly say: it was a large, talented scientist who did a lot for the development of Soviet biology, which Vavilov himself did not doubt, who, by the way, moved him into big science, highly appreciating the first steps of the young agronomist. After all, it is a fact that, on the basis of Lysenko's works, such varieties of agricultural crops as spring wheat "Lyutenses-1173", "Odessa-13", barley "Odessa-14", cotton "Odessa-1" were created, a number of agrotechnical methods were developed, including vernalization, chasing cotton. Pavel Panteleimonovich Lukyanenko, perhaps our most talented and prolific breeder, whose assets include 15 zoned winter wheat varieties, including the world-famous “Bezostyya-1”, “Aurora”, was a devoted student of Lysenko, who highly honored him to the end of his days. "," Caucasus ". No matter what the "critics" of Lysenko say, in the grain wedge of the country and to this day crops dominated by his supporters and students. More to us such "charlatans"! For a long time, they would probably solve the problem of increasing yields, remove the provision of grain from the agenda. The success of geneticists is far more modest - and is it because of this weakness of positions, low practical returns, and the blatant accusations of their rivals? Although, of course, I don’t deny this success, I’m just convinced that the established monopoly of one scientific school does a lot of harm ...

Yes, a number of Lysenko provisions did not find experimental confirmation, and some of them simply turned out to be erroneous. But call me at least one scientist who would not be mistaken, did not put forward false hypotheses? Well, is it a “charlatan” to announce it for it?

Now about the struggle of the Vavilov and Lysenkov directions. There are many speculations here that distort the true picture of what was happening. Firstly, this struggle went on with varying success: there were, and more than once, moments when Lysenko was in the minority. In the decisions, for example, of the February plenum of the Central Committee 1947, it was said that some of its activities were erroneous. I remember well the sharp criticism of Lysenko by the head of the Department of Science of the Central Committee of the Party, Yuri Zhdanov, who, it is true, later changed his point of view in the course of the heated discussion.

Further. No matter how dramatized the persecution of geneticists, the fact remains that many scientists in this field, sharply criticized at the well-known session of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1948, where Lysenko’s supporters gained the upper hand, continued their work, albeit in worse conditions. Nemchinov, Dubinin, Rappoport, Zhebrak, I call only those whom I remember - they all remained in science, despite the rather harsh condemnation of Lysenko and his supporters, and, quite characteristicly, refused to "repentance". As for repressions, they were not used for any particular views, but for concrete sabotage actions, although here, apparently, there were cases of arbitrariness and lawlessness, by the way, in relation to scientists who were from geneticists on the other side of scientific barricades. One such trial, if my memory serves me, was held shortly before the war.

And one more thing I want to draw your attention. After debunking Lysenko and his supporters, all the key areas in biological science, taking advantage of the favorable moment, were taken by his scientific opponents. This alone suggests that the "total extermination of geneticists" is an evil fiction, taken up unfortunately by unknowing journalists and writers.

“Still, Stalin, apparently, favored Lysenko and disliked Vavilov ...”

- Here with you, perhaps, we can agree. With only one reservation: Stalin was usually not guided by personal likes and dislikes, but proceeded from the interests of the matter. I think that was the case.

I don’t remember exactly, it seems, in 1940, two biologists, Lyubishchev and Efroimson, wrote a letter to the Central Committee of the party. In rather harsh tones, they accused Lysenko of juggling with facts, ignorance, intrigue and other deadly sins. The letter contained a call for severe organizational conclusions in relation to the "charlatan", which is causing enormous harm to biological science.

I happened to take part in checking the letter. Lysenko, of course, justified himself, gave different arguments, when convincing, when not, but he did not demand any "counter sanctions" towards the offenders. It was his style - not to turn science into a competitive struggle with the mandatory elimination of losers. He passionately, fanatically believed in his innocence, sometimes feeling naive hopes that, because of the irrefutable facts, the adversaries would sooner or later reach the same conclusions and "lay down weapon“themselves, without organizational conclusions from the leading instances.” You see, ”said Stalin, who was organically unable to endure the petty squabbles and squabbles characteristic of the scientific and creative environment. - They want to put him in jail almost to jail, and he thinks first of all about the case and doesn’t go over individuals. Good, valuable to the scientist property. "

And the second, very typical fact for Lysenko. When Vavilov was arrested, his closest supporters and "friends", blocking themselves, one after another began to confirm the "sabotage" version of the investigator. Lysenko, who by that time had diverged from Vavilov in scientific positions, flatly refused to do so and confirmed his refusal in writing. But for complicity with the "enemies of the people" at that time people could suffer to a much higher position than Lysenko, which he, of course, knew very well ...

I do not want to say that Trofim Denisovich has always been like that. Sometimes, stubbornness, prejudice, and a tendency to crackle political phrases took the upper hand. But people without flaws, alas, does not happen. It is important that the advantages outweigh.

However, I judge from the "universal" moral positions. Stalin, I am sure, approached this, as well as other issues, politically. What I mean?

To overcome the backwardness, to reach the front lines of technical progress, the country needed scientists of a new, socialist type, free from the shortcomings of the Russian bourgeois intelligentsia with its laxity, laziness, "armlessness", lordly-dismissive attitude to the common people. In modern terms, in the 30-ies. a mass social order was formed for a scientist with an active life position, closely associated with the working people, their revolutionary struggle to create a new society, people irreconcilable to the academic routine and dogma, "resting on its laurels", people aimed at solving urgent practical problems.

In the beautiful film "The Deputy of the Baltic", the hero of which was "made" with the great Russian scientist and biologist Timiryazev, the whole drama of the opposition of such a scientist to the "philistine philistinism" that prevailed in the science at that time, was thoroughly saturated with bourgeois habits and prejudices. Alas, most of the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia took philistine positions, the Timiryazev were a single phenomenon. But their baton was taken into their own hands by the scientists of the new, socialist world, who came out of the very depths of the people, like Lysenko. Vavilov did not manage to get rid of the shortcomings of the pre-revolutionary academic elite ...

In the scientific controversy that broke out between them in the 30-ies, Lysenko and his supporters demonstrated much more fighting qualities, firmness, perseverance, principles. Vavilov, as even his like-minded people recognized, maneuvered, gave up one position after another, tried to maintain good relations with “yours and ours”, which I, for example, always caused irritation and mistrust - means, not sure of my position, afraid of responsibility. I think that the people who directly supervised science at that time had the same feelings, although, of course, it’s not emotions that should decide in such cases.

Vavilov also showed some weakness and weakness when he was under investigation when, unable to withstand the psychological pressure of the investigators, he slandered not only himself but others, recognizing the presence of a sabotage group at the Institute of Plant Industry, which naturally turned into torments and sufferings of completely innocent people. But this, however, I learned much later. In the same period, neither I, as the People's Commissar of Agriculture, much less Stalin, did not enter into all the vicissitudes of the struggle between Lysenko and Vavilov, in the circumstances of his arrest ...

Lysenko, even under the threat of quartering, would not slander himself, much less others. He had an iron will and strong moral principles, to knock off this person seemed simply impossible. Another thing is that sometimes he fell into inexplicable stubbornness and irritation, began to sum up a "theoretical" basis for his emotions.

I believe that it was not by chance that the scientific youth, who sometimes lacked experience, but who are very sensitive to the true and false, were so attracted to Trofim Denisovich. I have often visited Lysenko’s meetings with students, graduate students, young scientists and I can say quite definitely: he could “ignite” the audience, lead her, inspire young people with a passionate desire for creative search, to achieve extraordinary results. But the scientists of the old, pre-revolutionary sourdough, and I remember it well by studying at the Agricultural Academy in 20-s, did not cause sympathy in us, working youth, eager to master a big science. Many of them accepted the revolution with a great delay, and, as they say, "holding a stone in the bosom", showed an open dislike for the "cook children" who dared to begin the advancement to the scientific Olympus. For people from the workers 'and peasants' environment, Lysenko was his own, to the core of the bones, devoted to the ideals of the revolution, a vivid example of how much an ordinary person can achieve, obsessed with a thirst for truth, a passionate desire to turn science into a powerful lever for improving people's lives. All this, of course, had an effect on the attitude of Stalin, who was striving more actively to involve the workers and peasants in science, towards Lysenko.

“But you said that Stalin was more critical of Lysenko’s activities than Khrushchev ...”

- Yes, he saw the defects of the scientist quite clearly. In my presence, Stalin, truthfully in a tactful form, had repeatedly reprimanded Trofim Denisovich for his desire to put the "Marxist basis under the jacket", that is, to extend the Marxist ideology and terminology to areas that did not have a direct relationship to them. In the same vein, Stalin made critical notes on the report approved by him as a whole, which Lysenko spoke at the well-known session of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1948.

Interestingly, Stalin’s attitude to unfulfilled Lysenko’s promises to increase wheat yields 4-5 times. “Comrade Lysenko apparently set an unrealistic task,” he once said. “But even if you manage to increase the yield by a half to two times, it will be a great success. And you shouldn’t beat scientists away from setting unrealistic ones, from the point of view of practitioners, tasks. What seems unreal today may become an obvious fact tomorrow. Besides, there are many scientists in our science of “minnows” who prefer a quiet life without unrealistic tasks. We will punish Lysenko - there will be even more such minnows ” .

By the way, not in connection with Lysenko. Stalin repeatedly supported "non-group" scientists, single inventors who, in the opinion of generally recognized specialists and state institutions, set "unrealistic" tasks, insisting on providing them with the necessary support, allocation of funds, and so on. Like other commissars, I, too, often got "nuts" for refusing to support one or another eccentric with the next project of the perpetual motion machine. In most cases, of course, the "perpetual motion" did not start, as was reported to Stalin, although there were exceptions. Numerous failures of "lone handicraftsmen", however, did not discourage him, and he again and again asked the people's commissars to carefully deal with the next "innovative" project. Then the Stalinist actions seemed to me wrong, distracting from more important matters, destroying a lot of time and nerves. Now I look at the question differently.

Stalin taught us, economic managers, to treat the projects and proposals of "outsiders" with utmost attention, to encourage the technical creativity of the masses in every possible way and to achieve something. Of course, inventors and rationalizers, especially those who went against the official line, were in the 30 and 40 years. not very easy - lovers of "quiet life" and then missed at all levels. But, at least, departmental and scientific institutions fought effectively and efficiently in those years with conservatism, inertia, “group egoism”, incomparably less of this abomination. The situation when many of the most important and valuable discoveries and inventions have been on the shelf for decades, and their authors have been subjected to sophisticated harassment and humiliation from departments and scientific institutions pursuing the self-interested interests, in those years I imagine unthinkable. Even in the early stages, volunteers would be exposed to “sabotage” - and, in fact, it is such - with all the unpleasant consequences for them. Honestly, when you read today's newspapers describing the ordeals of the modern Kulibins and the Polzunovs, you inevitably think that the old method is ultimately more useful and "more humane" for the country than endless exhortations and appeals to the "party conscience" from the highest tribunes ...

- However, in relation to genetics, Stalin did allow outright arbitrariness, and cybernetics was announced ...

- Zaladili: genetics and cybernetics, cybernetics and genetics. Everywhere you hear it. To believe other writers and journalists, since in the Stalin period there was no science, there was only persecution of it and sheer mistakes ...

Yes, mistakes were made, miscalculations were made, in any case you can not do without them. But the truth is that in the 30-s. such errors were made incomparably less than today, and the climate in science itself was more healthy, creative and, if you like, moral. At least, then the weather was done by true scientists, today by mediocrity and mediocrity, which created an environment in which true scientists simply suffocate. Judging, of course, in agricultural science, but the situation is about the same everywhere.

Tens, hundreds of useless institutions, "self-employed" institutions, millions of idlers, whole days of beatings, monopoly clans of "celebrities" who divided science into spheres of influence and unite efforts only to get rid of talented "outsiders" - that’s to you is a real, not a tinsel, picture of today's science, which, of course, is “free” from Stalin’s “violence and diktat”! And try an honest person to bring here at least some order, clean up the scientific sphere from the parasitic elements, every trash — immediately screams to the whole world: guard, return to 1937, vicious and condemned methods of “cult”!

Instead of struggling with the abominations of today, which have long surpassed both in scale and in pernicious effects, everything that happened in the past, is full of real and imaginary mistakes of 40 years ago, talk about genetics and cybernetics, cybernetics and genetics ... However, it is clear : once again kick the dead leaders is worth nothing, but try some of the current director of the institute or even just the head of the department ...

“We're looking for roots,” a familiar writer once explained to me. Most likely, my brothers, just make a noise, because of the inability and unwillingness to work as they should, they struck at so close to the heart of the enlightened tradesman savoring the "sharp" and "piquant". If they were looking, they would raise the question in a completely different way: why what was a single phenomenon, an exception, under Stalin became the rule now, turned into a comprehensive system, without destroying which, the exit of Soviet science to the world's most advanced frontiers is impossible?

You say it happened because the most talented and honest were repressed. But with the same success you can blame for today's troubles on Peter the Great or Ivan the Terrible.

Forty years have passed since the repressions, more than one generation of party leaders dissociated themselves from the “perverse methods” of the personality cult, but our writers are all in one tune: Stalin, Stalin, Stalin ... Yes, over these decades, with our system, with our talented people cleaner "Japanese" or "West German" miracles could be done! And we are not so much on the progress, on the regress it went ...

- Allow me now, Ivan Alexandrovich, to move into a somewhat different sphere. You were Commissar and Minister of Agriculture under Stalin and Khrushchev. Is it possible to compare their approach to the most important sector of the economy?

- Khrushchev was known as a specialist in agriculture in the Politburo. And this is largely true. Nikita Sergeevich quite well versed in matters of agriculture, especially agriculture, approaching the stock of knowledge and competence to the level of a good agronomist. Here Stalin was clearly inferior to him, which, however, he did not hide, asking for advice in cases where the problems of the industry were discussed.

However, paradoxically, having led the country, Khrushchev made incomparably more mistakes and miscalculations in the field of agriculture. Being carried away by some kind of idea, which is usually basically sound, Nikita Sergeevich literally fired up with a desire to bring it to life as quickly as possible, hurried, went ahead, losing any idea of ​​reality. As a result, some of his actions had disastrous, disastrous consequences, which Stalin would never have allowed ...

I think the root of everything is in relation to specialists: scientists, agronomists, people competent in the field of agriculture.

Stalin, who put his interests in the first place, made decisions, as a rule, after hearing the opinions of the most authoritative specialists, including those that contradicted the point of view towards which he himself was inclined. If the "dissidents" argued and convincingly, Stalin usually either changed his position or made significant adjustments to it, although, it is true, there were cases when his side showed unjustified obstinacy. Khrushchev, whose actions over time were increasingly determined by personal ambitions, was attributed to specialists, especially "dissenters," otherwise. In fashion began to include those who knew how to dutifully assent, in time to predict and "scientifically substantiate" the already established opinion of the First, which he did not change even in spite of the obvious facts. Thanks to Nikita Sergeevich in agriculture, and other industries, with unprecedented speed, leading and scientific cadres of the “what if you please” type began to multiply, overwriting those who used to think with their own head and defend their point of view to the end.

- Your assessment contradicts the widespread notion that, for all his extravagance, Khrushchev was more democratic, more humane and more tolerant of other people's opinions than Stalin ...

- Deeply mistaken view. Visibility is often taken as an entity - this is the whole hitch. In the case of Khrushchev, this is all the more difficult because with him over the years in office number XXUMX striking metamorphoses have occurred.

I knew Nikita Sergeyevich well both in the pre-war and in the first post-war years. He was a strong, dynamic and extremely efficient leader. A large natural mind with peasant sly and wit, initiative, resourcefulness, innate democracy and simplicity, the ability to endear most diverse people - all these qualities deservedly allowed Khrushchev to take high positions in the party, enter the Politburo. In those years, he really was a democrat, considered the opinions of others, treated people with genuine respect. However, such was the general attitude, determined by Stalin and his entourage, and Nikita Sergeevich, as an intelligent man, tried to "keep up".

Having become the First and having strengthened his power by the removal of the "anti-party" group, Khrushchev literally began to change before our eyes. Natural democracy began to give way to authoritarian ways, respect for the opinions of others — persecution of dissidents, who immediately didn’t express their enthusiasm. about the "innovative" ideas "outstanding Marxist-Leninist."

To tell the truth, I didn’t immediately catch these changes and continued on the Politburo, at responsible meetings the habit inherited from Stalin's times to say what you think and think is right, pleasant or unpleasant, this “leader”. Khrushchev reacted calmly at first. Gradually, however, in his attitude towards me some kind of alienation, and then open hostility, began to be felt. I felt it most perceptibly when I spoke out against Nikita Sergeevich’s unwise, to put it mildly, proposal to transfer the Agricultural Academy from Moscow to the countryside. The "closer to production" campaign, unwinding at that time, led to absurdities that disrupted the normal management of many sectors of the national economy.

“Listen, Ivan, do not bother with you,” a close friend of mine who worked in Khrushchev’s office told me. “He’s not such a democrat as it seems at first glance. You cannot convince anyway, but you’ll lose your portfolio.” I did not heed this advice, and soon I really broke up with leading posts in the national economy, was appointed ambassador to India ...

However, in a diplomatic position, I did not change my habit of “crawling on the rampage”, in other words, to take steps that seemed necessary to me, which, however, could cause discontent among management. So, acting at my own peril and risk, I probably organized, for the first time in our Soviet history, the purchase of a large plot of land abroad, in Delhi, under the territory of the USSR Embassy. Today, the value of land in the Indian capital has increased tenfold, and we are saving through this large foreign currency. But at that time, such operations were viewed obliquely, under an ideological aim — the acquisition of landed property, they say, a “method alien to socialism” and more befits a “bourgeois rentier” than a communist. With great difficulty, using his long-standing connections in the State Planning Committee and the Ministry of Finance, he managed to achieve the allocation of the necessary funds. It was then that, on my own example, I felt the bureaucracy that had increased on the higher floors and the mechanical alignment on the First, the desire to escape from personal responsibility, to insure with the maximum number of signatures and visas. The "new" management style made itself felt - the bad spreads much faster than the good, and the tendency towards reinsurance and shifting responsibility onto other shoulders has always been in the apparatus.

Returning to your question, I want to repeat once again: it was Khrushchev who began to get rid of people who were able to firmly and completely defend their views. Many Stalinist commissars, accustomed to speaking the most bitter truth in their faces, gradually left their posts. And those who remained turned, with rare exceptions, into smart courtiers, who were well aware of the perniciousness of the Khrushchev “undertakings”, but were considered with the established alignment of forces and those who ultimately determined it ... Khrushchev was right when in October 1964, after listening to the reproaches of "adventurism" and "proekterstvo", accused his associates that they contributed to all this with their compromise and silence. True, he forgot that he himself encouraged a similar style of behavior, which gradually became predominant. After all, it was Nikita Sergeevich who forever removed from the "big politics" figures of the so-called "anti-party group" headed by Molotov, who dared to express their own opinion about the activities of the First Secretary of the Central Committee, who sharply criticized his shortcomings and omissions.

- I admit that Khrushchev was more authoritarian than it is customary to believe, but it’s difficult to believe that Stalin largely reckoned with the opinions of others, the independence of people ...

- And yet it is. Read the memoirs of competent people - those who knew Stalin closely, worked with him, as they say, side by side. G.K. Zhukov, A.M. Vasilevsky, K.K. Rokossovsky, N.G. Kuznetsov, I.S. Isakov, S.M. Shtemenko, our other military leaders — they all unanimously admit that Stalin valued self-thinking people who were able to defend their opinions. G.K. Zhukov, who knew Stalin better than anyone, writes bluntly that it was possible to argue with him and that the reverse statement was simply wrong. Or look through the excellent, the best, in my opinion, book about our time by the aircraft designer A. Yakovlev "The Purpose of Life", where he gives an assessment of the style and methods of Stalin’s work, his human qualities from the standpoint of an honest Russian intellectual who is not inclined to this or that ideological camp .

This is how the world works: they usually single out and draw close to themselves people who are related in spirit, in relation to work and life. A man of deep analytical mind, decisive, strong-willed and purposeful, Stalin encouraged the same qualities from his subordinates, having obvious sympathy for people of firm and independent judgments, able to defend their point of view before anyone, and, on the contrary, did not like faint-hearted, obsequious, aspiring “adapt” to the leader’s predetermined opinion. And if in relation to young, novice workers, a certain condescension was allowed, a kind of “discount” on initial timidity and lack of experience, such “human weaknesses” never experienced good-bye and even very honored leaders. “An intelligent specialist,” Stalin once said about one of them. “But you cannot be put on leadership. Too appealing. Such out of love for the authorities does more harm than the most fierce enemy. And you will not ask for this - the opinion is agreed with leadership. "

It was necessary, however, quite rarely, to object to Stalin and me. To argue with him was not easy, and not only because of the pressure of enormous prestige. Stalin usually thought out the question deeply and comprehensively and, on the other hand, had a fine instinct for weak points in the position of his opponent. We, the economic leaders, knew firmly: for refusing to "myself," there will be no punishment, except for his petty discontent, quickly forgotten, and if you are right, your authority will be higher in his eyes. But if you don’t tell the truth, you’ll say nothing for the sake of personal peace of mind, and then it will all turn out, then you’ll certainly lose Stalin’s confidence, and irrevocably. That's why they learned to tell the truth, regardless of their faces, without sparing their overbearing pride.

Unfortunately, the necessary rigor and consistency did not always appear. In some cases, Stalin, perhaps because of an acute shortage of people, perhaps for some personal reasons, allowed appointments, and to high posts, people inclined to obsequiousness, able to cleverly get attached to the current situation. So it was, in my opinion, with the nomination of A.Ya. Vyshinsky, who for some time even held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a man of rare oratorical gift, brilliant education and deep knowledge, but an opportunist in essence. Usually, I repeat, preference was given to principled, independent-minded people. And it was not by chance that during the years of the Great Patriotic War, Stalin openly called GK his successor. Zhukov, and in the early postwar years - Ch.A. Voznesensky - people of iron will, with a firm and direct character, more often than others who objected to him when discussing military and government issues.

Or take Stalin’s speech at the last Plenum of the Central Committee of the Party in his life, where, referring to his age and health, he officially asked for release from at least some of the highest posts. At the same time, Stalin sharply criticized his two closest associates — V.M. Molotov and A.I. Mikoyan, whom many predicted in his successors, precisely because they did not seem to possess sufficient firmness and independence. This reproach, especially in relation to V.M. Molotov, and now it seems to me unfair. But the Stalinist approach is very indicative. And here by no means was there a “hidden game”, “Byzantine cunning”, which Western “Kremlinologists” and “Sovietologists” so fond of so much about. I got to know their works quite well while being abroad. The fact is that Stalin was soon a decent, from his point of view, successor, at least in one of the top positions, picked up. I mean Panteleimon Kondratievich Ponomarenko, the former first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belarus, who during the war headed the headquarters of the partisan movement at the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command. Possessing a strong and independent character, Panteleimon Kondratievich was simultaneously a collectivist and a democrat to the core, he was able to attract and organize the friendly work of a wide circle of people. Stalin, apparently, took into account the fact that Ponomarenko did not belong to his closest circle, he had his own position and never tried to shift the responsibility onto others' shoulders.

The document on the appointment of PK Ponomarenko was already endorsed by several members of the Politburo by the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, and only Stalin’s death prevented him from fulfilling his will. Becoming the First Secretary of the Central Committee, Khrushchev, who naturally was aware of everything, took the necessary steps to push Ponomarenko away - first to Kazakhstan, then, in 1955, for diplomatic work, as ambassador to Poland, and then to the Netherlands . However, even here he did not work for long - the dangerous "competitor" was quickly transferred to retirement, a very modest one and without benefits due to him for public service. The man is simple, modest and unassuming in his personal life, burdened with worries about his relatives and friends, he literally dragged out a half-flat existence when, after Khrushchev’s resignation, his friends, turning to the Central Committee, achieved a decent security for his old age.

I specifically focused on this story in order to anticipate your possible questions about the "humanity" and "philanthropy" of Khrushchev against the background of the "cruel" and "despotic" Stalin. Yes, Stalin was cool, sometimes unjustifiably, sometimes cruel. But with him, people who had made certain miscalculations and were demoted for this in the position could go up again, as happened with GK. Zhukov, S.K. Timoshenko, L.3. Mehlis, some commissars. Yes, and I was temporarily demoted, made deputy, then again appointed People's Commissar. Under Khrushchev, those who had come out of the trust of the First went only down and never rose again. With his successors, too ... Why? Yes, because Stalin did not want to break people, gave them a chance to correct mistakes, realizing that it was not so easy to find skilled leaders. Khrushchev, on the other hand, was only thinking about strengthening his power, he was afraid that the people who were offended, once again at high posts, might present this power with a potential threat ...

- But what about the exposure of the personality cult? Many believe that, by doing this, Khrushchev showed both political courage and humanity, at least in relation to innocent people affected.

“I don’t see any special, especially political courage to fight the dead, make them a scapegoat for past mistakes and, of course, the shortcomings of the present. Usually such “courage” is sparkled by those who, with the “live bosses”, ate with his eyes, behaved, as they say, quieter than water, below the grass. Later, when it becomes safe, they compensate for their cowardice and cowardice with “bold” curses to the “tyrant” and “despot”.

Among senior management, Khrushchev, perhaps, was most fawning upon Stalin, whose fear took Nikita Sergeyevich painful, sometimes anecdotal forms, which, naturally, did not help to increase his authority in the eyes of the First, who dislike him, in irritation, " Nikita. " Khrushchev, I think, understood this: but could not do anything with himself — there are things that are beyond our control. At meetings of the Politburo, responsible meetings where I had the opportunity to attend, Nikita Sergeevich, unlike, for example, Molotov or Zhdanov, who objected, sometimes quite sharply, to Stalin, did not dare say anything against it, did not dare.

As for “humanity,” it has no relation to the true reasons for exposing the cult of personality, although, of course, after drinking and sympathizing with it, Khrushchev could have sent a sincere tear about the heartbreaking story of suffering in the Stalinist camps - for all his callousness towards people he was an emotional person, and in some ways sentimental. In fact, the version of the “humanity” of his intentions was in the hands of Nikita Sergeyevich, and he did everything so that this hook could be picked up by as many credulous people as possible, the benefit of swallowing him, or rather, pretending that they believed, and in our country, and abroad they are more than enough.

Maybe you don’t know, but I haven’t forgotten that in the 30 and 40. Khrushchev led a strong friendship with L.M. Kaganovich, the "Iron Commissar", who occupied the most tough and uncompromising stances towards the "enemies of the people" in the Politburo. In close contact with Kaganovich Khrushchev, first in Moscow in the pre-war years, and then in Ukraine in the post-war years, very, perhaps, even too determinedly cleared the party organizations from "reborn" and "wrecking elements." During the purges, quite a few honest people suffered, which caused Stalin’s discontent and was one of the reasons for his loss of confidence in Kaganovich. Khrushchev managed to rehabilitate himself with the indisputable success of restoring agriculture and industry destroyed by the war in Ukraine.

I remember how at that time I called Nikita Sergeyevich, then the first secretary of the Communist Party of the republic, to Kiev, asked me more thoroughly to deal with a group of responsible agricultural workers who were expelled from the party, I was convinced that it was groundless - I knew some of them very well . Khrushchev, having listened to me attentively, promised to talk with Kaganovich, who was sent by the Politburo to Ukraine, to help him organize the business. Nikita Sergeevich made it clear that the issue would apparently be resolved positively, and asked me "not to make noise in the Center, which can only complicate the situation." I don’t know if he spoke with Kaganovich or not, but that didn’t help people.

In general, I noticed a very strange thing. When they talk about Stalin, all his actions are usually attributed to the struggle for power, when it comes to Khrushchev, his actions are attributed solely to noble motives - “humanity”, “democratization”, “compassion” and the like. I do not know what is more: naivety or conscious self-deception. Khrushchev, like Stalin, was a politician. And his actions were determined by quite prosaic, political interests, very far from high moral categories ...

- I would like to specifically know what you mean. And along the way, what explains the indisputable fact that the exposure of the personality cult, the mass repressions of the 30's and 40's. caused such a wide positive resonance?

- The main spring of Khrushchev's actions was the struggle for power, for the monopoly position in the party and state apparatus, which he finally achieved by combining two top positions - First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers.

But at the beginning the position of Nikita Sergeevich was difficult. Although he was the first on the party line, the majority in the Politburo were not his supporters, but rather the opposite. Molotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, and other prominent party and state leaders from the former Stalinist entourage did not at all think highly of Khrushchev, regarded him as a compromise figure, a caliph for an hour, which of course he understood well. In the state and party apparatus on the ground there also remained a lot of people who had passed through Stalin’s school, who were very skeptical about Khrushchev’s “innovation”. It was necessary to weaken and break this "opposition", to present our political opponents in a bad light, to carry out a massive processing of public consciousness in the anti-Stalinist spirit. I am referring to the preparation of the necessary ground for a petty-bourgeois, adventurous projecting project, which went against the strict, scientific realism of the Marxist-Leninist approach. The campaign to debunk Stalin and rehabilitate the victims of his “repressions” was ideally suited for these purposes, especially since some of the rehabilitated received posts in the party and state apparatus, becoming, naturally, Khrushchev's support.

As for the “broad public resonance,” it is also explained by the quite prosaic interests of certain social strata and groups. Noisy applause from abroad is clear: the campaign to discredit Stalin, which in the West skillfully translated into a campaign to discredit Soviet power, weakened and split the international communist and labor movement, strengthened revisionist and opportunistic tendencies, sowed confusion in the minds and feelings of progressively minded people, in short, she played into the hands of political opponents of socialism, who mainly applauded this campaign.

And in our country, anti-cult accusations were greeted by those who did not like honest work, iron discipline and order, all sorts of idlers, dodgers, fraudsters parasitizing at the expense of others - try to touch them, and the cry of "despotism" will immediately begin, "suppression of freedom", "relapses of Stalin's repression"! Criticism of Stalin impressed a certain, especially prone to bureaucratic and separation from the masses of the part of the workers of the party-state apparatus, who, tired of the intense rhythm and strict labor discipline, associated with the "new style" of Khrushchev hopes for a quiet, facilitated life. And, of course, Khrushchev's “thaw” appealed to wide circles of the creative intelligentsia, which, because of its social specifics, is experiencing individualism, anarchic licentiousness, and the leading role of the party, disguising its true position as “progressive” phraseology about “freedom”, humanism and democracy.

Many intellectuals cannot forgive socialism that under capitalism they would manage to get comfortable. They do not seem to notice that the economically and culturally backward country, to which the tests, unprecedented in history, had fallen, simply could not set up modern service and life for a short time, had to give primary attention to the basic needs of the people. They do not believe in the greatness and scale of our tasks, the dacha and the car for these people are much more important than the lofty ideals of socialism that have suffered more than one generation of fighters for people's happiness. Not knowing how to work, rolling up their sleeves, fighting for their ideas, they get lost and give up before any manifestation of injustice and ugliness, they begin to praise the "absolute", extra-class freedom, to prove the need for a more "humane" and "democratic" system, for which the contours are easily guessed. liberalized "capitalism. They do not care what such capitalism will turn for ordinary people, the majority of working people, they are willing to accept the spiritual oppression of the money bag - just to pay more. Such people most willingly intimidate themselves and others with the horrors of the so-called "Stalinism", by which, naturally, we understand the cornerstones of the socialist system and, above all, the leading role of the Communist Party ...

Enlightened philistinism has always been the backbone of unprincipled politicians. And in the past, and in the present, and in the West, and, sadly, in a socialist society.

- Frankly speaking, your "layout" seems to me to be too sketchy, although not without a certain sequence and logic. I have met more than once, and in different layers of the population, quite a few honest, devoted to socialism people who nevertheless consider Stalin a criminal ... And then, if I understood you correctly, Khrushchev was supported by the part of the party-state apparatus that is most prone to bureaucracy. But did not Stalin put the apparatus over the masses, gave the bureaucrats unprecedented power?

- Any attempt to explain the underlying causes inevitably sinned with schematism, mine, of course, is no exception. But I, at least, try to explain, and not escape from such an explanation, hiding behind Khrushchev's sentimental-philistine delights about the "courage" and "nobility".

Yes, quite a few honest and thinking people have already been misled, confused by tendentiously selected and sometimes falsified materials. Moreover, we have not accepted to argue with the official version, and the ability to think and debate is at a very low level. But this is a temporary phenomenon. The true truth of history will sooner or later come to light anyway, no matter how unclean politicians and Vasissualia Lokhankin from intellectual circles drown it for self-serving purposes.

It is much easier to mislead a professor, a writer, than a simple worker, who assesses politics according to the most correct criterion - what it gives to the everyday, practical life of an ordinary person. Despite the official condemnations and exposures of Stalin, there are still quite a few supporters in various circles, and especially among ordinary workers, collective farmers, military personnel — older people who knew the situation of that time by example and not from newspaper editorials. Neither Khrushchev, nor the current leaders will have such a deep and grateful memory among the people, nor can they remain, even though they have advertised their "narodnost" with might and main.

As for bureaucrats, the unprecedented privileges that Stalin gave, here you are completely wrong. Stalin, in fact, did not know anything except work, and worked with full dedication, without making the slightest indulgence and indulgence for himself, according to 14, 15, 16 hours a day. Subjecting to the rhythm set by him, the members of the Politburo, the People's Commissars, the responsible officials of the central and local bodies worked in the same tension.

14-16-hour day was for us not the exception, but rather the rule. They went on vacation once in 5-6 years, and even then by no means all. Weekends almost did not happen.

Iron discipline, constant control, work with maximum exertion of forces and, most importantly, the demand for concrete results, real improvement in affairs, the absence of which was equivalent to dismissal from the post, despite any achievements in the past - all this led to such productivity and efficiency of managerial work , which in our day could only dream of. I do not remember, for example, a single resolution or decision of the Central Committee, the Politburo or the Council of Ministers, which would have remained unfulfilled. Now, they say, on the contrary, among their growing avalanche, it is impossible to find one that would be fulfilled at least by half ... By the way, references to difficulties and “objective circumstances” were not taken seriously in our time. "You are in order to be put in a leading position in order to overcome them," Stalin usually said in such cases.

I found and re-read the book by Lion Feuchtwanger about a visit to 1937 in the Soviet Union you were talking about. He writes, in particular, that persons in any responsible position “take almost no time for food, they hardly sleep and see nothing special in calling a person by telephone from the theater, during the performance, only for to ask him some urgent question, or to call him at three or four o'clock in the morning by phone. I have never met so many tirelessly working people like in Moscow ... If I didn’t find American people in New York or Chicago pace of work, then I discovered them in Moscow "5. True observation, so it was!

By the way, we, the people's commissars, did not even think about special rations, cottages, buffets and similar privileges. It wasn’t before. Moreover, the slightest abuse in this regard was punished mercilessly - the State Control and Party organizers of the Central Committee worked efficiently, and even with criticism from below, from the working people were considered much more than in today's time.

The people knew well that privileges were given to managers for extending the working day even at 8 hours a day, therefore they did not condemn and were not indignant, as now, when many privileges were really granted to the minister, and the results of his leadership over the years have not been seen for decades. If we bear in mind, of course, positive results ...

In other words, Stalin, whose way of life and lifestyle was distinguished by Bolshevik asceticism and puritanism, kept the apparatus in tight rein, believing, and as time has shown, not without reason that the numerous temptations of life can reduce the productivity of managers, undermine their credibility, which means and to the party of ordinary people, on which a lot depends in our country. Although, on the other hand, Stalin sometimes turned a blind eye to the petty personal weaknesses of the people's commissars, especially the young ones, if, of course, they did not affect the work ...

Of course, such an over-exploitation, the draconian regime was not to our liking for us - people are people, we wanted to relax, spend even a little time on family, personal interests, and some people could taste the benefits of honor, privileges, high status ...

- You want to say that Khrushchev played on this?

- Yes, this “human” factor in many ways expanded and strengthened Khrushchev’s support by the leaders in the center and especially in the field - Nikita Sergeevich advocated a more “soft” discipline and work regime, he was known as a person capable of “understanding” and “entering the position”, although overall was quite demanding. It is not by chance that one of the first “swallows” of the new style was Khrushchev’s ban to remain at work after hours at 8. Under Stalin, many people's commissariats also worked at night, which, of course, exhausted people.

On the other hand, Molotov and Malenkov were considered ardent supporters of the "hard", Stalinist style, strongly condemned even the slightest deviations from the party demands as "rebirth" and "decomposition of the moral character" of a communist ... that, of course, did not add to their popularity in the apparatus ...

I will not hide, I was by no means a “Stalinist”, I was more impressed by Khrushchev. In addition, I thought that with him I would get more freedom of hands, I would be able to quickly implement the program I had planned. These expectations, however, did not materialize. Freedom of action of ministers under Khrushchev narrowed considerably, and at all levels, demands and responsibility decreased, Work began to be thought less, and there were more things about life's blessings. I think it was then that a crack was formed, which later, under Khrushchev's successors, led to the separation of the apparatus from the masses and, as a backlash, to the emergence of hostility to the apparatus in broad sections of the population, working people, which in 30, 40 and 50 th years did not have.

But the main thing is not even that. I thought a lot about why Khrushchev’s “big leap” to communism failed in the early 50s, why we are treading water from the middle of 70's — there’s a lot of time and opportunity at the embassy’s work and pension — and that's what Conclusion came. From the middle of the 50s, when the demands on personnel began to decline, life, on the contrary, set the task to increase these demands, otherwise it would be impossible to solve new, more complex and large-scale tasks. Khrushchev, who had gone through Stalin’s school and had not forgotten some of her lessons, somehow tried to stop this process. His successors, alas, succumbed to the flow, recurrence, in Lenin's words, "the forces and traditions of the old society." In many party and state posts, there were incompetent, unworthy of their high posts, people who were unable to provide proper guidance of affairs. Yes, and promotion to the corporate ladder has become divorced from real merit. Ministers, secretaries of the Central Committee and even members of the Politburo are not the ones who managed, for example, to solve the food problem in their field or to bring their enterprises to the world level, but the one who was lucky because of lucky circumstances.

Naturally, not being able to really work, all these people are addicted to papers and reorganizations, stamp one guiding ruling after another, make countless speeches calling for "working in a new way."

- Let's go back to more specific things. Could you tell us more about the differences in the approach of Stalin and Khrushchev to the problems of agriculture?

“These distinctions were clearly manifested after Stalin’s death, when Nikita Sergeevich decided to stun the world with the“ innovation ”of his approach. Of course, even before 1953, Khrushchev had his favorite ideas, his own projects for solving various problems. However, unlike other members of the Politburo, he didn’t know how, and didn’t want to defend his views, especially since the shy attempts made by him somehow in this regard were subjected to the most severe criticism from Stalin, who could not stand organically, as he irritably responded, "Manilov prozekterstva". Apparently, the hypertrophied fear of Stalin, which earned Nikita Sergeyevich a reputation as an uncompromising, obedient and not far-away performer, completely deprived of political ambition, striving to play the first role, had an effect ... for many.

But back to the differences. First of all, they dealt with the private, farm households of collective farmers and workers of state farms, as well as handicraft and cooperative activities. Even after the completion of the collectivization of the village, the individual sector played a large role. In the pre-war years from 60 to 90, the percentages of vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, and other types of agricultural products, except, of course, grain and industrial crops, were provided by personal subsidiary farms. They produced most of the fruits and berries. By the way, the majority of the incomes, both in the prewar and in the first postwar years, were received by the collective farmers not from the public, but from their own personal economy. Stalin considered this situation to be objectively inevitable for a long period and mercilessly suppressed all attempts to force further "collectivization" and socialization, as I have repeatedly witnessed.

Khrushchev, on the contrary, regarded the private farm as well as the activities of all kinds of cooperatives in the countryside as “remnants of the past and obsolete” that allegedly “distracted” the peasants from collective work and hindered the identification of the enormous potential “advantages of socialism” in the countryside.

Substantial point of difference was the issue of wages. Under Stalin, it was quite actively used as a means of encouraging highly productive and skilled labor, as an important lever for accelerating scientific and technological progress. In agriculture, for example, the salaries of agronomists, machine operators, chauffeurs, MTS workers, people of other professions who determined the rate of transfer of the industry to modern rails, were significantly, and sometimes several times higher than those of ordinary collective farmers and state farm workers. The incentives for high-productivity work were also fairly well-adjusted — the foremost workers earned much more than the “average” workers, and for some categories of Stakhanovists the wage ceiling was generally filmed.

A similar picture was observed in industry, where engineers and especially designers of new technology received much more than workers, as well as employees of non-manufacturing industries. At the beginning of 50, I remember, a university professor received up to 1000 rubles, while a cleaner - 30 (at the current exchange rate of the ruble), and all this was considered in the order of things.

Material benefits in combination with ideological and spiritual stimulation contributed to the fact that the most capable and gifted people joined the ranks of agronomists, machine operators, engineers, designers and other professions who play a key role in scientific and technical progress. desire to acquire knowledge, mastering modern technology.

To Khrushchev, who had always gone over the top in terms of populist sentiment, such an approach seemed “socially unfair” and “non-socialist”. Under his pressure began the revision of tariff rates in the direction of eliminating "unjustified differences" in wages. This process, unfortunately, continued even after 1964. The results of the voluntarily violation of the most important objective laws of socialism are well known: leveling prevails now in almost all industries and agriculture, the outflow of capable people from industries that determine the pace of scientific and technological progress began - there is no other word - it turned out to be the engineering and design building, which is now almost inferior in terms of pay for cleaners. And when material stimulation is turned on its head, then in the economy, naturally, all sorts of absurdities will begin, which by no means contribute to its normal growth.

However, I judge from the standpoint of today. Then, in the middle of 50's, everything seemed different, and, frankly speaking, I was even impressed by Khrushchev's aspiration to eliminate pay inequities in various categories of workers.

In general, Nikita Sergeevich was an unsurpassed master of short-term effect, bright flashes, which, we must pay tribute to him, blinded for a while not only his like-minded people, but even his opponents. True, this effect was achieved by diminishing long-term, strategic interests, which ultimately turned into colossal losses. But people live for today, and Nikita Sergeevich exploited this weakness very skillfully ...

- In the memoir literature, there was mention of disagreements between Stalin and Khrushchev over his absurd project of agro-cities ...

- I would not call this project absurd. It was based on a generally rational idea about the integration of agricultural and industrial production, leveling the differences between town and country in the level of social, everyday and cultural spheres. I must say that when Khrushchev came up with these ideas, I liked them. However, then, under the influence of very serious and well-reasoned criticism from major specialists and agricultural scientists, I began to relate to the theory of "agro-towns" more restrained. I was shown, and quite convincingly, that the achieved level of development of the village would not allow even for a long time to raise the question of the direct integration of agricultural and industrial production, at least on a national scale, as Khrushchev suggested. An obvious rush ahead, ignoring the objective specificity of the village was the thesis about the need to concentrate and concentrate the agricultural population, the elimination of "unpromising" villages. Subsequently, attempts to artificially speed up the process of industrialization of the village, as is known, caused great damage to agriculture.

In the meantime, Khrushchev made an article in Pravda, in which he set out, and I must say, quite well, the concept of "agro-cities." Stalin, who usually encouraged party leaders to do theoretical research and pose problematic issues, was extremely negative about the article, I would even say hostile. Soon an article appeared in Pravda, where the theory of "agro-cities" was subjected to scathing criticism. In a narrow circle, Stalin spoke about Khrushchev's research even more sharply, calling them "pure water projecting," "left-handed running ahead," "petty-bourgeois fever." I remember these words well, since Stalin repeated them with me repeatedly, apparently fearing that I might fall under the influence of the Khrushchev "theory."

Generally, while appreciating Khrushchev’s organizational qualities, considering him a brilliant performer, Stalin had a very low opinion of his political, ideological and theoretical abilities. Moreover, in the attitude of Stalin to Khrushchev, even deliberate neglect slipped, which he never allowed himself to ever deal with party and state leaders, with the possible exception of Beria. Personally, I got the impression that, distinguishing this “deuce” from his entourage, Stalin seemed to dissociate himself from her “non-Bolshevism”, as if he apologized that in state affairs one had to resort to the services of people capable, but questionable by his ideological leaven, a kind "political fellow travelers".

Khrushchev outwardly rather calmly and evenly treated Stalinist bogus. However, this calm, of course, was deceptive - Nikita Sergeevich was a man of extremely selfish and ambitious, although for some time he knew how to hide it.

I remember that after one of the meetings where Stalin, not being embarrassed in expressions, sharply chastised Khrushchev for some kind of mistake, we both went down to the cars that were waiting below.

“He knows a lot,” suddenly said Khrushchev, sharply and angrily. - To manage in general is easy, and you try specifically ...

- Who is he? - I asked purely mechanically, busy with my own thoughts - I, too, got into the meeting hard, and I began to think about how best to implement the Stalinist remarks.

- Yes, it is me, about myself, - said Nikita Sergeevich. - It is great that they soaped our necks, we need to draw conclusions. - He already possessed himself and tried to smile friendly.

Only in the car I realized that the Khrushchev words related to Stalin. As they say, in still waters ...

But I digress from the essence of our question. The history of agrocities once again underlines the difference in the approaches of Stalin and Khrushchev to the problems of agriculture.

Stalin, a realist to the marrow of the bones, was much more concerned with his specifics, acted thoughtfully, thoroughly, slowly, taking into account the long-term consequences of certain actions. Khrushchev, on the contrary, strove for quick and spectacular results, hurried, hurried, losing the real idea of ​​the level of development achieved, falling into a completely unforgivable, criminal utopianism.

- From your words it seems that the main responsibility for the current, very deplorable state of agriculture is borne by Khrushchev and those who have moved away from the Stalinist line. But was the line itself flawless? Didn’t there be excesses and excesses of collectivization, the terrible famine of 1933, the transfer of funds from village to city, and finally the semi-feudal enslavement of collective farmers who did not even have passports! And we have not overcome the lag behind the West in the field of agriculture for the Stalin period. In official documents, the writings of prominent historians, responsibility for this lies largely on Stalin and his entourage. Or do you disagree with that?

- Judging by the question, you did not manage to properly understand the ratio of objective and subjective factors, you piled everything in a heap. I will try, as far as I can, to clarify the true picture.

To lay all the blame for the backlog of agriculture on Khrushchev or Stalin is fundamentally wrong. The main thing, after all, is here the objective factors, the specificity of the historical development of the country. What to talk about: at the beginning of 20's In our village, the fishing ground and the arches dominated, while the United States, the United Kingdom, and other European states almost completely completed the electrification of agriculture. From this backward, medieval village, one had to draw strength and means for the industrialization of the country, the formation of a modern army, the restoration of a war-torn economy - there was simply no other way. This ocean of backward private households had to be transferred to the rails of socialist collectivization with all its inevitable costs and "minuses." And all this under the pressure of a hostile capitalist environment, at an accelerated pace, in the shortest period of time - the others did not exist. I am convinced that if we tightened with collectivization or industrialization for five or six years, the economy would not have been able to provide everything necessary to defeat fascism, and the village could feed the army and the population, not to mention the emergence in the rear of the fifth column of those who hated the Soviet government. fist-owners. The fact of the matter is that the story did not give us a “normal” opportunity, we had to act with “abnormal”, that is, forced, rates.

Of course, the party, the government, Stalin personally did a lot to boost agriculture, improve the lives of the peasantry - I confirm this as a man who led the industry for almost two decades. And the village has made a powerful leap forward, to the modern organization of production and labor, civilized culture and life. But to expect miraculous results, the elimination of the backlog from the West in these shortest time is simply unrealistic. Only at the beginning of 50's. for the first time the state had the opportunity to direct large forces and means to the development of agriculture. Prior to this, the city largely lived at the expense of the village, and there was no other way out, except in the cabinet illusions of "prominent historians."

I do not argue, the life of the peasant at that time was not sweet - hard work, high taxes, "hard" attachment to the place of residence. As, however, in the city. Do not forget that in terms of the standard of living of the population, tsarist Russia lagged behind the advanced capitalist countries by a hundred years, and maybe even more.

But the paint should not be exaggerated. Compared with the pre-October period, the production, cultural and living conditions of the overwhelming majority of the rural population have changed dramatically for the better. In their bulk, both the collective farmers and the workers of the state farms were satisfied with life and looked at the future much more optimistically than they are now, in the conditions of the material prosperity unthinkable for that time. I say this because more than once I have heard the lamentations about the plight of the village in the 30 and 40. To listen to a different writer, since the party’s policy at that time was almost a complete terror, repression and violence against the peasantry. Nonsense! On the bare violence - and the villagers in the 30-ies. constituted the majority of the population - not a single political system would have lasted long! And there would have been no defeat of the most powerful fascist military machine in the world, mass heroism at the front and in the rear, and finally, our country's emergence as one of the two superpowers, if everything kept, as some people seriously try to assure, on fear of the NKVD!

- You touched the objective factors, without saying a word about the subjective ...

- Well, turn to them. You, of course, expect me to make a comparative assessment of the actions of Stalin and Khrushchev, more precisely, the mistakes they made, which slowed down the development of agriculture.

Yes, miscalculations, inevitable, however, in any new business, and Stalin and Khrushchev made a lot. But mistakes are different. Stalin allowed miscalculations in minor, minor matters, without making them major, strategic. Khrushchev, on the contrary, had a better understanding of the details and particulars; large-scale, nation-wide decisions were thought out poorly, hastily, which had in some cases simply catastrophic results. You referred to 1933 famine. It was caused primarily by a terrible drought, the consequences of which aggravated the costs and complications of the collectivization of the village that had ended by that time, which are inevitable in any major social transformations. Both of these factors were objective, and it was impossible to bring them to naught, even with the super-strong will of the leader. Stalin's mistake was, if, of course, it had taken place, that he had too much confidence in the then People's Commissar of Agriculture, Yakovlev (Epstein), who did not take the necessary measures to deal with the natural disaster and actually covered the wrecking actions of the Trotskyists and other "leftists" who had dug in central and local government. Working at that time in the Moscow Trust of vegetable-growing state farms, I received, from the center, to say the least, strange orders, the fulfillment of which could lead to the disruption of production. Yakovlev, by the way, was shot for his criminal sabotage together with his accomplices. But in any case, the actions of his group were not decisive, although they exacerbated the situation, which, I repeat, was mainly caused by objective factors.

But Khrushchev, having become at the helm of the state, made already strategic miscalculations in nature and consequences. In the middle of the 50s, when we, for the first time, actually had the opportunity to send large-scale resources to agriculture, he relied on the massive development of virgin lands, which, of course, gave an obvious and quick effect, but in the long run turned out to be a clearly erroneous decision. And the point is not only that the development of virgin lands was at the expense of the regions, which, on the contrary, had to be given increased attention - Ukraine and the Non-Black-Earth Zone of Russia. The “strategic turn” of agriculture turned out to be more pernicious in the direction of extensive growth factors, while the transition to the intensification of agriculture was on the agenda. By the way, in all countries such a transition was accompanied by a reduction in acreage. In other words, it was necessary to go "in depth", and we, chasing short-term successes, went "wide", on a deliberately false path, losing, without exaggeration, a few agricultural five-year plans.

The frontal attack of Khrushchev on personal household farms, and especially the reduction of livestock that were in the personal property of collective farmers and state farm workers, also had extremely negative consequences. But the flexible combination of the personal with the public in the Stalin period allowed us to solve many problems. Talk to older people, and they will tell you that in terms of diversity and assortment of food products, our stores are at the beginning of 50's. were two orders of magnitude higher than now, at the start of the 80's. And of course, the widespread distribution of leveling, megalomania, which resulted in the elimination of "unpromising" villages, inflicted additional, very sensitive blows to agriculture.

The leaders who succeeded Khrushchev not only did not correct his mistakes, but, on the contrary, aggravated them. If Nikita Sergeevich, being a strong organizer, energetic and enterprising person, somehow “shook up” and set up leading cadres in a businesslike manner, his successors preferred endless exhortations. All this ultimately led to the fact that, despite the enormous costs, agriculture has come to the present, as you rightly noted, "a very pitiable state."

- Did you, Ivan Aleksandrovich, go into contradiction? You argued that Stalin was well-versed in people, knew them the true price ... How nice, if you made a mistake in Khrushchev, Beria, Vyshinsky, in other people who were in his circle?

“I don’t think it was a mistake.” Stalin, like Lenin, knew how to use people whose political face he considered dubious, non-Bolshevik. Not only 100-percent Marxist-Leninists have a monopoly on the ability to work, high business qualities ... Both Vyshinsky, and Mehlis, and Beria had a Menshevik past, "dark spots" in their biography. But their professional "pluses" clearly outweighed them, especially since they were not allowed to formulate a political strategy. Lenin also allowed Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin to take high positions, whom he did not consider to be real Bolsheviks and genuinely Marxist theorists.

We always have extremes. If we praise, to the skies, if we scold, we must erase it into powder ... Either the devil or angel, and what is in the middle, then this does not seem to happen, although in life, on the contrary, it happens very often.

Take, for example, Beria. He is presented as a gathering of all conceivable and inconceivable vices. Yes, he had flaws, the man was dishonest, unscrupulous - like other commissars, I had to suffer a lot from him. But with all his undeniable flaws, Beria had a strong will, qualities as an organizer, an ability to quickly grasp the essence of the issue and quickly navigate in a complex situation, defining its main and secondary moments.

After all, it is a fact that under the leadership of Beria, the creation of atomic weapons was carried out as soon as possible, and during the war years, defense facilities were built with record speed.

But Beria knew how to make a small mistake to give the appearance of conscious intent, even “political” intentions. I think that Beria, like Mehlis, was used by Stalin as a kind of “club of fear”, with whose help leaders of all ranks beat out slobbery, rotozeystvo, carelessness and our other sores, which Lenin quite accurately christened “Russian Oblomovism”. And, I must say, a similar, not very attractive method worked effectively.

Of course, there were cases when Beria's baton fell on the heads of honest people.

Whatever it was, Beria, removed by Stalin from the post of Minister of State Security in 1952, sharply went up again after his death: he became the first deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers and headed the Ministry of Internal Security, which included the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In other words, he achieved such a power that he did not even dare to dream of under Stalin. As for Khrushchev, then Stalin, undoubtedly, saw his “non-minority”, limited mental and cultural outlook, careerist ambitions better than others. But, considering it a wonderful performer, he preferred to use them in high party posts. And he did the right thing: working under strict leadership, Khrushchev brought considerable benefits. It’s another thing that he didn’t pull into any decisive position in our country, although he really wanted to be the First. This is the whole tragedy ...

- We can agree that Khrushchev was inferior to Stalin in many ways. But he did not imprison honest people in prisons, did not shed their blood. People will never forgive ...

- Are you sure that you soundly made yourself a herald of the people? Our people are different. For the professor and writer, Stalin, of course, the “despot” and “dictator”, for the advanced workers, many ordinary people who lived at that time, is a great and wise man who cared for the welfare of the people and forced them to do the same “superiors” now "stuck", bureaucratic and detached from the masses. Naive? Maybe ... But when I compare these polar assessments, I remember the deep words of Karl Marx that an intellectual should learn much more from a worker than a worker from an intellectual ...

“Excuse me, but what does this have to do with the question I asked?”

- The most direct. Talk to simple, honest hard workers from the people, and they will tell you: "It is time to restore order, toughen the disciplined party and state discipline to the limit, without stopping before the toughest measures." The voice of the people, as they say, the voice of God. From my own experience, I can firmly say: without constant cleansing of the party, state apparatus from all the unworthy, clinging, without decisive suppression in the very germ of anti-socialist tendencies and manifestations in the higher echelons, a fast and confident advance of the country is impossible. If only because such “sewage disposal work” heals the situation in the country, provides an influx into the party, the management of honest, thinking, talented youth, reveals the enormous democratic potential of the people. Yes, exactly like this: it will be revealed only in the conditions of iron discipline and order, decisive suppression of all anti-socialist phenomena, otherwise all activity will go to the disastrous course of talkative demagogy, anarchist licentiousness, self-seeking struggle for group and personal interests. Working in Yugoslavia, I have seen enough of that, the other and the third ... And this iron discipline and the highest demands on everything, big and small, must begin with top managers, otherwise socialism is expected to have extremely dangerous consequences ...

Stalin, as I said, quickly and deeper than others saw the petty-bourgeois essence of Khrushchev's slogans and programs. However, due to the measures that would have secured the country, world socialism from the coming to power of "non-Bolshevik" leaders like Khrushchev and others like him, they failed to take ... As a result, they had to pay the heaviest price for their leftist, petty-bourgeois display.

Or take another example - I mean George Konstantinovich Zhukov, the most talented commander, undoubtedly, the best commander of the second world war. For all his outstanding personal qualities, he also had obvious shortcomings, which K. Rokossovsky frankly and truthfully wrote in his “Soldier's Duty”.

If Zhukov’s arrogance, rudeness, arrogance, and similar martialian manners could somehow be tolerated, then undue self-conceit and ambitious, “Napoleonic” ambitions were also a political danger. When Stalin, who favored Zhukov, understood this, he immediately took the necessary measures. A special "officer court of honor" of the famous marshals and admirals subjected Zhukov's behavior to sharp criticism, Georgy Konstantinovich was told in the face a lot of harsh but fair words. Considering, however, the great personal merits and the subjective honesty of Zhukov, the court at the same time opposed the adoption of harsh measures, which Malenkov, Beria and Stalin had clearly hoped for. In the end, Stalin not only gave way to the opinion of the military, limiting himself to the demotion of Zhukov in his post, but shortly before his death, he again promoted him to decisive posts. It was a clear mistake. Subsequently, Zhukov confirmed the validity of Stalin's fears, having shown completely unacceptable even for such a large commander interference in party and political affairs. As is known, in June 1957, he almost openly threatened the so-called "anti-party group", that is, the majority of Politburo members, by the use of military force. With the support of Khrushchev, whom Zhukov subsequently intended to easily take over, the marshal clearly hoped to strengthen his position, and, as often happens, he fell into a hole dug for others — Khrushchev was much less onerous with potentially dangerous competitors than Malenkov or Molotov.

The results of the monopoly domination of Khrushchev, who, through his short-sightedness and exorbitant ambitious ambitions, helped Zhukov, are obvious. The country left the Leninist development rails, lost momentum, suffered the interests of dozens, and maybe, if we take the international aspects, hundreds of millions of people ...

But all of this could have been avoided if Stalin had shown his inherent firmness and consistency in suppressing phenomena potentially dangerous for socialism. In other words, deprived both Khrushchev and Zhukov of the opportunity to take the first roles. Of course, I do not mean the court and imprisonment - not those times. It was enough to send these, undoubtedly, outstanding people to retire ... You say, unfair, cruel and repressive. Maybe, if you look at the matter from their “personal belltower,” from the standpoint of friends, relatives and, of course, some of our “highly moral” writers. But to protect the interests of tens of millions, the overwhelming majority of Soviet people, these “repressions” would be necessary and fair. This, Leninist policy, by the way, begins with the protection of such interests, with the ability to set the general and the whole above the private and group.

Remember the story of the “working opposition” in 1921? In its ranks there were many honest and loyal ideals of the revolution of people who, however, took potentially dangerous positions for socialism. IN AND. Lenin strongly insisted on their exclusion from the party. And when this failed - only a few votes were missing - he achieved the removal of opposition members from decision-making positions, sending them to the provinces or to diplomatic work, like Alexandra Kollontai Mikhailovna ...

Perhaps the main miscalculation of Stalin was that he could not, and perhaps did not manage to prepare for himself a worthy shift. I didn’t have time because I took the measures defined in this regard: at the XIX Party Congress the Presidium of the Central Committee was greatly expanded, and PK Pokolev was nominated for the Pre-Ministerial post. Ponomarenko, a kind of "experiment" was conducted with the "young doublers" of ministers ... But, alas, in the end, everything went differently.

- And in conclusion, what would you like to wish for young people entering the life?

- It seems that Tolstoy said wonderful words: "The right way is this: learn what others have done to you, and move on." My generation learned the lessons of Leninism and managed to solve all the problems before it: to build socialism, to defend it from fascist aggression, to turn the country into a modern and great power. The current generation will also cope with its most difficult tasks if it takes all that is valuable from past experience, if it masters the time-tested Bolshevik methods of governing the country and goes further - to the world's highest productivity and labor efficiency, to the most intelligent and humane organization on our planet , life.

Patriotism, love for the motherland is not only psychological, but also a powerful economic force. In the USA, Japan, these feelings are cultivated from a young age, instilling in young people the pride in their country, their people, and their culture. And we have such pride in other writers and newspaper and literary publications, sometimes baptizing with chauvinism.

We, the pioneers of socialism, internationalists by conviction, have much more reason to be proud of our country, the heroic traditions of the people. In the end, socialism, with all its problems and difficulties, belongs to the future, while capitalism, with all its bright successes and achievements, will inevitably come down from the historical scene.

Let our youth not be lost in the face of many difficulties, not amenable to cheap skeptics, little believers and whiners, but, rolling up their sleeves, fighting for the ideals of socialism with the same energy, passion and dedication that were characteristic of the 30 generation, s!
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