ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: A New Phase.

Editorial from Volume XI, No 23, June 8, 1957.

It has been a brief interlude. Immediately after Hungary, Russia’s world prestige was at its lowest ebb. Even the French Communi s t s , who a lone we r e oppos ed to de - Stalinisation, were split on the Hungarian issue. With the exception of Red China, the Soviet Union found that all her friends both within and outside the “iron curtain”, had deserted her. It was only natural that the Western Powers would exploit Russia’s predicament. Prompt compliance by Britain and France with the United Nations’ directive to withdraw troops from Egypt helped the Western Powers to wrest the moral and political initiative from the Soviet Union. Russia had not only suffered a major moral and diplomatic defeat. Moscow’s folly encouraged America to start an aggressive foreign policy. The Eisenhower Doctrine was enunciated. America informed Baghdad Pact members that she was willing to join the military committee of the Pact, if invited to do so. There was jubilation among the Western Powers that one fatal blunder by the Soviet Union had provided them the opportunity to regain influence in Asia, lost to the Soviet Union since the Geneva Summit Conference.

Not only within, but outside the Soviet Union, M Khruschev and his de-Stalinisation policy was suspect. Outside the Soviet Union, Communist Russia’s gradual disintegration was confidently predicted. Washington was over-optimistic that Hungary would be the beginning of the end not only of the Soviet Union, but also of the “satellite” regions. In Hungary, the situation remains difficult. But, in no other Eastern European Communist country, is there any serious trouble or disaffection. Gomulka is still in power in Poland. Moscow’s relations with Belgrade, disrupted as a sequel to Hungary, are again smooth. It is a tribute to Mr Khruschev’s hold on his party and the people as well as to his tenacity of purpose that, despite alarming odds, political and economic de-Stalinisation has continued. Though an inevitable corollary, decentralisation of the over-centralised Soviet economy, announced by M Khruschev recently, is a far more significant development than the policy enuncipated before the Congress.

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