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the General Staff Marshal Vasilii Sokolovskii said that:

Sokolovskii: Zhukov insisted [in 1955-57) on granting “open skies” for Americans to fly over our territory, over our country, i.e. to create a situation that would give Americans certain superiority in intelligence. I must say that the Americans do not know our coordinates (of our military objects). Maps do not reflect the truth (ne skhodiatsia). They cannot bomb our cities with precision. This is absolutely definitive and absolutely clear. The General Staff opposed (Zhukov's proposal), insisting that this should not be done. Nevertheless, Zhukov confused (Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei] Gromyko and together with Gromyko sent to the CC proposals so that Americans could fly over our territory and make aerial reconnaissance." Khrushchev: I should correct. Gromyko did not sign (this proposal). Zhukov signed it alone. Gromyko opposed it. Sokolovskii: I know very well that, at the suggestion of Nikita Sergeevich, the Presidium rejected [zabrakoval] this proposal of com. Zhukov.":20

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praise Stalin in the presence of Zhou Enlai, during a visit of the Chinese delegation to Moscow in January 1957, but “after Zhou Enlai left, we stopped (praising Stalin). Finally, Molotov could not contain his disdain for Khrushchev's homespun style of diplomacy, particularly his use of inappropriate words and what he called lack of "dignified behavior” in meeting foreigners. As an example, Molotov mentioned that Khrushchev spent a whole night with Finnish President Urkho Kekkonen in a Finnish sauna, naturally without a jacket and a tie!17

Anastas Mikoian gave the most consistent rebuff to the opposition. He recalled the recent series of crises in Poland, Hungary and Egypt and concluded that both the unity of the Soviet leadership and Khrushchev's bold initiatives contributed to their successful resolutions. In a most revealing insight into a little known dimension of Soviet Cold War policies, Mikoian gave a detailed account of the discussions in the Presidium about trade and economic relations with East bloc countries as well as with neutral Austria and Finland. He blamed Molotov, Malenkov, and Kaganovich for a narrow, purely budgetary, approach to the issue of foreign policy. Khrushchev, on the contrary, regarded foreign trade and subsidies to these countries as a vital necessity, dictated by Soviet security interests. "We believe we must create an economic base for our influence on Austria, to strengthen its neutral status, so that West Germany would not have a seconomic and trade) monopoly in Austria.” And as to the Soviet bloc, "if we leave East Germany and Czechoslovakia without (purchase orders, then the entire socialist camp will begin to collapse. "18

Yet support of the majority of the plenum for Khrushchev was not dependent on considerations of “high policy" and the strategies of the Cold War. Rather most of delegates wanted to get rid of the oligarchs and the sense of fear, stress and subservience that had been prevalent for so many years. Career considerations mattered as well: members of the CC, particularly the Secretaries were not much younger than the oligarchs and had waited too long to switch from the junior league to the top league. One of them complained that Molotov "still considers us as wearing short pants.

19 These complaints, repeated, among many, by CC Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, reflected the drive that in 1964 propelled the younger group of Stalin's appointees to power.

The 28-29 October 1957 plenum that discussed the “Zhukov affair” crowned Khrushchev's ascent to power. The plenum transcripts do not shed much light on the murky details of this affair, but indicate that there were enough “grave” (at least in the immediate post-Stalinist atmosphere pregnant with power struggle) reasons for Khrushchev to suspect that the minister of defense Georgii Zhukov together with the head of the GRU Shtemenko were plotting against him. Of greater relevance for Cold War historians, the plenum gives some valuable insights into the thinking and discussions at the highest level of the Soviet political-military leadership. For instance, head of

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The importance of the plenum discussions for Cold War studies should not be underestimated. Not only do they recreate almost in flesh and blood the atmosphere inside the Soviet ruling elite, but they demonstrate the impact of power struggle on Soviet Cold War behavior. The outcome of this struggle defined the boundaries for decision-making and debates. Once denounced at a plenum, any initiative, be it the one of Beria and Malenkov on “construction of socialism" in East Germany, or Zhukov's on “open skies” became a taboo, at least for a considerable period of time. The very notion of state interests” changed as did the names of the Kremlin powerholders. A speech by Andrei Gromyko in July 1955 illustrates this point.21 The influence of plenums as an important tool in power struggles also led to the reinforcement of the ideological underpinnings of Soviet foreign policy after Stalin's death. While rejecting the dogmatism of Molotov and denouncing his and Stalin's foreign policy errors, plenums, in general, helped to preserve the “ideologized" climate in debating international affairs and military security. Through plenums, as well as through the permanent party apparat permeating all state structures, ideology survived—not as a set of guidelines for action, but as a normative set of assumptions that weighed on the minds of Soviet statesmen during the Cold War. For historians, particularly for those with “realist” perspectives, plenums present a problem that is difficult to ignore-how to factor the “politics" of the Kremlin, together with the relationships inside the communist camp, most crucially the Sino-Soviet and Soviet-Yugoslav relationship, into the explanatory schemes of the Cold War.

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Vladislav Zubok is a senior fellow at the National Security
Archive, a non-governmental research institute based at the
George Washington University in Washington, DC. He is the co-
author of Inside the Kremlin's Cold War (Harvard University
Press, 1995) and a frequent contributor to the Cold War
International History Project Bulletin. The author thanks
Professor Chen Jian for his comments on a draft of this paper.

1

Materialy fevral’sko-martovskogo plenuma TsK VKP(b) 1937 g. [Materials of the February-March CC VKP(b) Plenum of 1937), Voprosy istorii, Moscow, 1995, no. 2-8, 10-12. 2 See the plenum files in TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, dd. 21-22; for substantive recollections on Stalin's speech there (not in the records of the plenum) see Konstantin Simonov, “Glazami cheloveka moego pokoleniia. Razmishleniia o I.V. Staline" [Through the eyes of a man of my generation. Reflections on I.V. Stalin), Znamia, 1988, no. 4, pp. 96-99; Aleksandr Shepilov in Neizvestnaia Rossiia: XX vek (Unknown Russia; the twentieth century) (Moscow: Istoricheskoe nasledie, 1992), vol. 1, p. 275. 3

Sergei Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev: krizisy i raketi (Moscow, Novosti, 1994), p. 320. 4

D.M. Sickle, The Beria Affair. The Secret Transcripts of the Meetings Signalling the End of Stalinism, translated from Russian by Jean Farrow (New York, Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 1992). A researcher Svetlana Savranskaya cross-checked the original transcripts and the published text at the request of the Cold War International History Project and found no major cuts and changes. 5

See the speech of A. Mikoian on 11 July 1955, TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 174, 1. 99. 6

His speech on 12 July 1955, TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 176, 11. 141-142.

7

Khrushchev's speech at the CC CPSU Plenum, 9 July 1955, TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 172, 1. 87. 8 TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 172, 11. 88, 100-101. 9

Molotov's speech at the CC CPSU Plenum, 9 July 1955, TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 173, 1. 3. 10

TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 173, 1. 40. 11

TsKhSD, fond 2, op. 1, d. 173, 1. 4. 12 “Posledniaia ‘antipartiinaia gruppa. Stenograficheskii otchet iiunskogo (1957) plenuma TsK KPSS” [The last “antiparty" group. Stenographic report of the June 1957 Plenum of CC CPSU), Istoricheskii arkhiv, no. 3, 4, 5, 6 (1993) and 1, 2 (1994). This huge document still fails to attract serious attention from historians and Soviet studies experts, although it has already been published in Chinese in full. 13

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 3 (1993), pp. 74-75. 14

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 4 (1993), p. 4. 15

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 4 (1993), p. 6. 16

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 4 (1993), p. 12. 17.

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 4 (1993), p. 7. 18

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 4 (1993), p. 27, 29.
19

Istoricheskii arkhiv, 3 (1993), p. 79.
20 TsKHSD, f. 4, op. 1, d. 271, 1. 33.
21

"I must declare with all the determination of which I am capable that the position of Molotov in this question (on Yugoslavia) is erroneous, profoundly mistaken and does not correspond to the interests of our state...Comrades, in conclusion I must declare with all determination that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs only then will become a communist (partiiniim] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when it follows the line of the Central Commitee of our party.” Gromyko's speech at the July 1955 Plenum, TsKhSD, f. 2, op. 1, d. 176, 1. 202.

New Sources and Evidence on Destalinization and the 20th Party Congress

By V. P. Naumov

[Ed. Note: Although the Cold War International History Project specializes in the publication of newly-declassified documents, a prerequisite to this activity is knowledge regarding which key materials are likely to emerge from the vault in the near future. Among the best predictors (though far from guaranteed) are citations in the published work of Russian scholars with privileged access. In this respect, as well as for its innate historical value, the appearance of V. P. Naumov’s article “Towards a history of N.S. Khrushchev's Secret Report (on 25 February 1956] to the 20th Congress of the CPSU” in Novaia i noveishaia istoriia 4 (1996) and its subsequent reprint in German was of exceptional importance.

Although Naumov made use of many new sources, three stand out both for their significance in the context of his article, but also for their potential as resources for scholars working on many aspects of Cold War history. The first is the dictated memoirs of longtime Politburo/Presidium member A. I. Mikoian covering his activities from the 1920s until the ouster of Khrushchev in October 1964. 1 Prior to its transfer to the archives, this folder had been read by only four men : Iu. V. Andropov, M. A. Suslov, K. U. Chemenko and V. A. Pribytkov (Chernenko's top assistant). As featured in CWIHP Bulletin 8-9's treatment of the 1956 crisis, with translation and introduction by Mark Kramer, the “Malin notes” offer remarkable "fly-on-the-wall" vision of Presidium decision-making. V. N. Malin, the head of the CC CPSU General Department under Khrushchev, kept notes on the discussions at which he was present, often with verbatim excerpts.2 Finally, the original draft of N. S. Khrushchev's secret speech to the 20th Party Congress is a marvelous supplement to the second secret speech” (See below in this Bulletin section) presented by Khrushchev in Poland a month later.3

Below are a few excerpts from Naumov's article.)

Concluding the [1 February 1956 Presidium) discussion, Khrushchev said, we must decide this in the interests of the party. “Stalin," he stressed, “[was) devoted to socialism, but he did everything by barbaric means. He destroyed the party. He was not a

Marxist. (Ed. Note: Khrushchev changed his mind on this 180 degrees as can be seen in the “second secret speech,” excerpted below in this Bulletin.] He wiped out all that is sacred in man. He subordinated everything to his own caprices.”

“At the Congress, (we) should not speak of the terror,” Khrushchev continued. “It is necessary to clarify the (party) line of giving St his own place (otvesti Stalin svoe mesto).” He called for “strengthening the attack on the personality cult."

»4 On 9 Febuary 1956 the CC Presidium heard the report of the Pospelov Commission (on Stalin's crimes). Mikoian remem

Continued on page 41

Plenum Transcripts, 1955-1957

[Ed. Note: Thanks to Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie, Leo Gluchowski and Vladislav Zubok for expert translation from

Russian. Khrushchev's impromptu remarks are always a special challenge.)

Central Committee Plenum of the CPSC

Ninth Session

Morning, 31 January 1955

it?5

Khrushchev: ... Comrades, now the issue of Germany of which we spoke (in July 1953). We then calculated, comrade Malenkov, we debated about Beriia and Germany, but, I should say here bluntly, if it comes down to this, that comrade Malenkov had been entirely together with Beriia on this issue. Voroshilov was not (a supporter of Beriia on the German issue), because this issue was discussed not at the CC Presidium, but at the Presidium of the Council of Ministers.2 All the members of the CC Presidium, who were members of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, were against the proposal to abrogate “the construction of socialism in the GDR"], except for Beriia and Malenkov. And all argued, comrades. It was a big fight [bol'shaia draka). But what was actually Malenkov's stand? Sometimes a person can get things wrong, can let himself slip in a big issue and this should not always be held against him. But what did Malenkov do when he saw that everyone was against [Beriia's proposal] and not only that they voted against it, but argued against it? He continued to fight for this proposal, along with Beriia.

Bulganin later calls me, I do not remember, it was a day or two afterwards, and asks: So, have they called you?3 I respond: No, they have not. And they have already called me, he says. First the one, then the other called and warned: if you behave like this and if you read Molotov's lips—since it was about Molotov's proposal [that Beriia and Malenkov opposed), well, you would not remain the minister (of Defense) for long. That was the gist (of that conversation). This is a fact, although I do not know who of the two of them called first. He (Bulganin) asks me—have they called you? I said: they will not call me. Indeed, they did not call. They believed I would come over to their side.

After the session (of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers) there was a talk that if Molotov speaks this way [i.e. stubbornly fights against Beriia's proposal on the GDR-trans.), then he should be relegated to be minister of culture. I then said: comrade Malenkov, if there were a proposal to remove Molotov, I would consider this as an attempt [to overthrow the collective) leadership and to smash the leadership of the Presidium.

This is the fact how far (the power struggle) reached. It was no good at all. (Kuda zhe eto goditsia?)

Now, comrades, I will speak on [Malenkov's] speech (on 8 August 1953).4 We all read it, and I read it, too. It is cheap stuff (deshovka). Malenkov told us later: you read it [before he presented it—trans.). Yes, we read it. I read it, too. Am I responsible for this speech? Yes, I am, but the author should be a bit more responsible. It is one thing, when you read the speech and it sounds to you sort of fine and even attractive. But the author, who composes it—he is more responsible, since he thinks it (and its implications through. So, when we later looked at it again and read it, it became clear to us what that speech was driving at. It was designed to buy personal popularity. It was not a leader's speech. It was a truly opportunistic speech. Perhaps comrade (I.F.) Tevosian remembers, when the commission (probably of the Presidium of Council of Ministers or the CC Presidium—trans.) discussed (the production of] “shirpotreb” (consumer goods of great demand—trans.), Malenkov then said: I will not let anybody disrupt this decision. Then I said in passing: Of course, "shirpotreb" is necessary, but we must develop metal and coal industries. Did I say

Tevosian: That is correct.
Khrushchev: That's how it was...

Now, about the speech [i.e.) with regard to the destruction of civilization (on 12 March 1954). He [Malenkov) says again, why, you looked at it [in advance.] He managed to confuse several comrades, because his speech was quoted abroad and our comrades considered it was the line of the Central Committee to a certain extent since Malenkov spoke this way. And we must protect our authority, which is a great authority for brotherly communist parties. That assumption was theoretically incorrect and it did not work to the benefit of our party.

Com. (Semen D.) Ignat'ev is present here. In another two weeks or so, Beriia would have probably locked him up, because everything was ready by the moment he was removed.? [Nevertheless) I believe that he [Ignat'ev] was

7 correctly removed from the post of Minister of State Security. He is anybody but the minister of State Security. Do not take offense at me, com. Ignat’ev. You should not have accepted the ministerial post; you are not qualified for it.

Kaganovich: He did not want to accept it.

Khrushchev: He did not want it, but he was offered the post. 8

I'll speak directly—I do not doubt the integrity of com. Malenkov, but I doubt very much his abilities in

pursuing the (policy) line: he lacks character and backbone (pletesh), even now you prevaricate [krutish). [kharaktera i khrebt ne khvataet).

Malenkov: Where exactly? I used to say to other comrades, in particular to

Molotov: You did not make the distinction between comrade Molotov: now [in April-May 1953] Churchill is communism and capitalism. so terribly eager to have a (summit) meeting and I, by

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Malenkov: Had we dug deeper, then this question golly, am afraid that if he comes [to Moscow) to speak would have been discussed in this way. face to face with Malenkov, then Malenkov would get

Khrushchev: That was how the question was disfrightened and surrender. I do not ask comrade Malenkov cussed: so what, we had spilt our blood and now we to prove the opposite, since this cannot be confirmed or should retreat to the (Polish] borders. If we withdraw proved like a mathematical formula. However, I see that if behind the Polish borders, then the enemy would say: If a person gets confused, if he tries to ingratiate himself, [it they are leaving, then one must chase them to the devil (k means) he lacks character.

chortovoi materi). You took the position of This is a serious matter, and I look at it in a straight- capitulationism, and now you are afraid to admit it... forward way. The leadership of such a great party, of such Pervukhin: [to Malenkov) You have explained a great country, growth and further development (of nothing about why it happened this way on the German everything) that has been accumulated by our party, all this question. will depend, comrades, again on who will stand at the head Malenkov: I misunderstood this question from a of the leadership

tactical viewpoint. ... You can see for yourselves what is the situation

Bulganin: Fuzzy... The discussion was about liquidattoday, how skillfully the Americans stewed the porridge ing the GDR and turning it over to Western Germany. [zavarili kashu] in Taiwan, 10 how they sent (publisher Malenkov: We spoke then about conducting a Randolph) Hearst and (other) messengers (to Moscow). political campaign on the question of German reunification What for? To deafen us, to test if we have guts, if we are and I believed that one should not have set the task of the nervous or not. This is being done to test us.

development of socialism in the Democratic Germany.

[blocks in formation]

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I viewed this question at that time from a tactical side. I fully understand that defending this view essentially is politically harmful, politically dangerous, incorrect. And I did not adopt such a position. The decision that was passed at that time at the suggestion of comrade Molotov I consider to be the correct one.

Bulganin: At that time you thought it was incorrect.

Malenkov: In the course of discussion I considered it to be incorrect.

Bulganin: You then said: For how long will we feed ourselves with the cud from Molotov's mouth, why do you read Molotov's lips.

Malenkov: You must have confused my words with Beriia's.

Khrushchev: You simply lack courage even now to admit it, and Bulganin told me about (your words] exactly at that time.

Malenkov: Today I admit that I essentially took a wrong position on the German question.

Khrushchev: At that time you and Beriia believed you could get away with anything.

Molotov: You should summon your courage and speak more frankly Even now you beat around the bush

Molotov: Comrades, we have heard the draft resolution proposed by the Central Committee's Presidium for approval of the Plenum and we have heard two speeches of comrade Malenkov on this issue. I think that there is a very big difference between them, and to put it simply, both the first and the second speeches of comrade Malenkov are fraudulent. Fakes!

Both the first and the second speeches are not truthful, not quite honest. This is a shortcoming to which I would like to draw your attention. But we must look at this issue fundamentally. Comrades, we are discussing, in essence, a political issue. We should draw lessons from it, to learn certain things for the future.

What is the main fault of comrade Malenkov? It seems (and it is written in the decision of the Presidium of the Central Committee that is proposed for your consideration and approval) that the main errors of comrade Malenkov are the following. First: absence of principles in policy-making. Second, carelessness in the realm of theory. This is not simply a mistake, comrades, not simply a drawback: a communist cannot be unprincipled, a leading figure cannot be careless on the questions of theory. It will not do, comrades. I can admit everything: blindness, blindness. But no, it is not blindness, it is the lack of principles. No, it was not blindness, when comrade Malenkov was in cahoots, was inseparable for a decade with that scoundrel Beriia. It was not blindness, comrades, but the absence of political principles, and for that he received the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers [from Beriia-trans.). He did not stay in cahoots (with Beriia for free; it was not all that simple an enterprise: Lavrentii and Georgii. Lavrentii and Georgii drank

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together, drove in a car together, traveled from dacha to dacha, etc. No, comrades, we should admit that we are dealing with a very profound phenomenon that exists not only inside the CC, but exists even lower: in regional committees, in district committees, but here it took a very dangerous turn, comrades. The absence of principles in party life, particularly for the leader of the whole party, the whole state—this is a dangerous affair. And that comrade Malenkov overlooked criminal tendencies in Beriia's activities—this was not a coincidence, not merely blindness. Regarding this blindness we all share the blame, here are all the members of the Presidium-we all were a little bit blind, even too much, since we took Berija until Stalin's death (I am speaking for myself) for an honest communist, even though a careerist, even though a crook, who would frame you up behind your back (okhulki na ruku ne dast). As a careerist, he would not stop at any machinations, but on the surface, he seemed an honest person. I must say that on the day of Berica's arrest, when we sat at the Presidium, and Beriia sat in the CC Presidium, here in the Kremlin, I gave a speech: here is a turn-coat (pererozhdenets), but comrade Khrushchev turned out to be more correct and said that Beriia was not a turn-coat, but he was not a communist and had never been, which is more correct.

(Voice from the audience: That is right).

I was convinced myself. This is a more correct, sensible, truthful assessment. He was not a communist, he was a scoundrel, rogue to the core, who insinuated his way into our party, a smart fellow, a good organizer, but he made it to the top, ingratiated himself with comrade Stalin so that his role was very dangerous, not to mention that it was mean and depraved. Yet I must say that I did not take part in the talks between Malenkov and Beriia, and they were in communication every day, between them two, and they must have spoken about certain subjects which would make comrade Malenkov blush, but we do not ask him to speak about them.

What happened, comrades? Comrade Stalin's death. We stand at the bed of the sick, dying man. An exchange of opinions would be appropriate, but nobody talks to us. Here are the two (who talk to each other—trans.] Malenkov and Beriia. We sit on the second floor: me, Khrushchev, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, and these two are up there. They bring down the prepared, wellformulated proposals, an announcement of the CC, draft decisions of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the composition of the government, the head of the government, of the Ministry (of Security), such and such ministeries should be merged, etc. All that was presented to us by Berica and Malenkov. And they were not people of some special tone. We do not need a special tone, but we need the truth, principles, integrity in policy.

So this shortcoming has reached so far that he [Malenkov] did not stand out. He worked as a CC secretary for decades and happened to become Chairman of the Council of Ministries, and we should admit now,

before all the people—we made a mistake, we are removing [him) from the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers. This is what lack of principles can lead to, but it will not make a home for itself in our party. The party will sort it out and will take measures.

The second shortcoming of comrade Malenkov is carelessness on issues of theory. Comrades, for the leading cadres of the party this is inadmissible. One can not simply say about Marxism—this is wrong, let's turn it upside down; or this is Leninism and this is not; this does not fit; communism or capitalism-let me try communism. What kind of a party leader are you if you do not know on the elementary level which way you are going—towards communism or capitalism—and have to choose. What kind of party secretary are you then? Can such a man be a secretary of a (low-level party) cell? I believe not. In the regional committee, in the district committee there is no place for such a man, not to mention the Central Committee...

Another issue is about the destruction of civilization. This (was) a very dangerous theoretical error. Comrade Malenkov remarked: “I overlooked it.” We also fear responsibility for what he said in the speech. But what is this actually about? That allegedly if there were a third world war, atomic war, the conclusion is only one—the death of civilization, the death of mankind. [The French physicist), Joliot Curie, wrote some goddamn gibberish: “the destruction of humankind.” When we looked (at his pronouncement_trans.) we did not even know if we should publish it or not. Joliot Curie said, they published it there (abroad). We reflected on it and finally published it with all that gibberish, because we did not want to put Joliot Curie in an uncomfortable situation. But not only Joliot Curie commits such errors. Read the newspaper "For stable peace, for people's democracy." Comrade Mitin, a CC editor is present here. In the issue dated 21 January of this year the newspaper “For stable peace, for people's democracy” published a speech of comrade [Palmiro] Togliatti (leader of the Italian communist party-trans.) and again [he repeats) the same gibberish, that the war would be the end of civilization. We confused even such outstanding leaders of communism as Togliatti. We have no better than him. This speech (of Malenkov] was politically incorrect, and even today it plays a demoralizing role, although almost a year has passed. We took measures to correct (Malenkov's statement, but nevertheless] comrade Togliatti got himself confused.

That this statement) is theoretically illiterate is apparent-communists simply should not exist in this world for any other reason than overthrowing capitalism. We have the Communist Manifesto that Marx had written more than 100 years ago. He wrote that the crash of capitalism was nearing and that communism would triumph. And if we, with the countries of people's democracy and with such a powerful mechanism as the Soviet Union and the Communist Party, if we talk our

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