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PELICAN BOOKS

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN


Milovan Djilas was born in 191 r in Montenegro, whiclll1e
descries i llis autoiography, Land witlzout Justice. 'vas
already know for his poetry and llis revolutionary vie,vs at
Belgrade University and joined the illegal Communist Party
in 1932. Although arrested, tortured, d imprisoned for
three years, joined the party's Central Cornmittee in 1938
and became member of its Politburo in 1940. "\Vhen Germay occupied Yugoslavia in 1941 he joied the Partisans
and in 1944 headed military mission to Mosco,v, 'vllicll
visited again the next year. In 1947 lle helped to estalisll
the Cominform in Be\grade d in 1948 headed llis last
mission to Mosco,v, fe,v months before the break between
Tito and Stali.
As result of growing disagreernets, account of critical
articles >vritte Dji\as, he 'vas expelled from tl1e Central
Committee in 1954 d tl1ereupo 'vrote Tlze New Class, llis
famous exposure of bureaucracy and the Cornmunist oligarchy. His !ife 'vas no'v procession of trials. Sentenced to
suspended sentence of three years for interview he gave
to the New York Times, he 'vas later tried for criticizing the
Yugoslavian inaction against Russian brutality in Hungary
and imprisoned for three years. For New Class further
seven years 'vas added at third trial, but lle was codition
ally re\eased i 1961. In prison Djilas ld been 'vriting
consistently, maily about Montenegro, and Conversations
witlz Staz 'vas 'vritte after his release. ! April 1962 he
was re-arrested for pulishing this book, but lle is no'v at
liberty. His latest 'vork to appear in England is The Unperfect Society (1970).

MILOVAN D JILAS

CONVERSATIONS
WITH STALIN
Translated from the Serbo-Croat
Michael . Petrovich

PENGUIN BOOKS

Penguin Books Ltd, Hannondsworth, Middlesex, England


Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia

First pulished in the U.S.A. 1962


Published in Great Britain Rupert Hart-Davis 1962
Puiished in Penguin Books 1963
Reissued in Pelican Books 1969

tlze memory of

ANEURIN BEVAN
Copyright

Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1962

Made and printed in Great Britain


Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd
Aylesbury and Slough
~ in Monotype Imprint

~.[~'\

his book is sold subject to the condition


that it shall not, way of trade or otherwise,
lent, re-sold, hired out, or othern-ise circulated
without the pulisher's prior consent in any form of
inding or cover other than that in which it is
published and without similar condition
including this condition being imposed
on the subsequent purchaser

Contents
FORE\VORD
I

Raptures
Doubts
Disappointments
Conclusion
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
INDEX

9
II

70
99
145
149
165

Foreword
Note the Spelling and Pronunciation of
Serbo-Croat Words and Names

s=
s=
=
=

s as in sink
sh as in shift
ts as in ats
ch as in charge
= siilar to, but lighter than, - as in arcl1

z = as in Frencl1jour
z = z as in zodiac
= as in yell
nj = n as in eutral
g=gasingo
dj = g as in George
lj = li as in illion

I is in the nature of the huan r to rid itself of the


superfluous, to retain l \vhat has proved to ost i
portant in the light of later events. et that is also its weak side.
Being iased it cannot help adjusting past reality t.o fit present.
needs and future hopes.
A;vare of this, I have edeavoured to present the facts as
exactly as possile. If this book is still not free fro views
of today, this should attriuted eiter to alice nor to the
ias of one w took part in those evets, but rater to t
nature of r itself and to effort to elucidate past encounters d events in the ligt of \vhat I kr;v now.
r is not ucl1 i this book that the well-versed reader
will t already know fro pulisl1ed eoirs and other
literature. Howeve, since an event s r copre
hesile and tangile if explained in greater detail and fro
several vatage points, it useful if I, too, v say.
I hold tat huas and hu relatioships are r i
portant tha dry facts, d so I v paid greater attetion to
the. And if the book contains ayting tat ight called
literary, this too should ascried less to style of expressio tan to desire to k t subject as interesting, clear,
and true as I can.
I I955 or 1956, wen I \Vas working on autoiography,
t idea occurred to to set apart rny rneetings \vitll Stalin
in separate book which could pulished first. However, I
laded in jail, and while I was irnprisoed I could t very
well write book of this kid, even thoug it \Vould deal \vith
the past, for it could t but touc current political relations.
l upon release frorn priso, in January of Igi, did
I return to old idea. sure, tis tirne, in vie\V of
canged conditios d the evolution of own views, I had
to r tis subject rater differently. For one tblng, I
now devoted greater attentio to t psycological, the hn

IO

FOREWORD

aspects of these historical events. :oreover, accounts of Stalin


are still so contradictory, and is image is still so vivid, that I
have also felt it necessary to present at tl1e end, on t.he basis of
personal kno\vledge and experience, O\VIl conclusions about
this truly enigmatic personality.
Above all else, I am drive an inner compulsio to leave
othing unsaid that might of significance to those \vho \Vrite
history, d especially to those \vho strive f freer human
existence. In any case, both the reader and I should satisfied
if the truth is left unscathed, even if it is enveloped in own
emotions and judgements. For \ve must realize that the truth,
ho\vever coplete, about people and human relations can
never anything but. the truth about particular persos,
persons in given tirne.

Belgrade
November I96I

Raptures
I

first foreign military mission to corne to t Supree


Command of the Arrny of People's Lieration and Partisan
Units of Yugoslavia was the British. It parachuted in during
: I943 The Soviet :ission arrived nie months later- i
February 1944.
Soon after t aival of t Soviet :ission tl1e question
arose of seding Yugoslav rnilitary mission to :oscow,
especially sice mission of this kind had already been assigned
to the corresponding Britisl1 Cornmad. In the Supreme
Command, that is, amog the members of the Central Cornmittee of tl1e Cornmunist Party of Yugoslavia who \vere working at headquarters at the time, there developed fervent desire
to send mission to :oscow. I believe that ito spoke about
it to the Chief of the Soviet :ission, General Komeyev;
ho\vever, it is quite certain that t matter was settled
telegram from the Soviet Governent. Tl1e sendig of is
sio to Moscow \Vas of anifold significace to the Yugoslavs,
and the missio itself \Vas of differet character and had
quite differet purpose fro the one assigned to t.he British
md.

As is \vell kown, it \Vas t Couist Party of Yugoslavia


that organized tl1e Partisa and insurget oveent against
t Geran and Italia forces of occupation in Yugoslavia and
their domestic collaborators. While solving its national problerns through t ost ruthless kind of warfare, it contiued
to regard itself as meber of the \vorld Cornunist movemet,
as something insepara!e fro the Soviet Union- 't hoe
land of socialism'. Throughout the entire war ilie innermost
agency of the Party, t Political Bureau, more popularly
know t abbreviated n Politburo, managed to keep

12

CONVERSATIONS

\VIH

STALIN

connexion \Vitl1Mosco\v radio. Strictly speaking this connexion \Vas \Vith tl1e Communist International - the Comintern - but at the sarne time it meant connexion with the
Soviet Government as \vell.
The special conditions brought on \Var and the revolutionary movemet's struggle for svival had already, on
several occasions, led to rnisunderstadings \Vith Moscow.
Among the most significat I would mentio the follo\ving.
Moscov.' could never quite understand the realities of the
revolution in YugoslaYia, that is, the fact that in Yugoslavia
sirnultaneously \Vith the resistance to the forces of occupation
dornestic reYolution \vas also going on. The basis for this
rniscoception \Vas the Soviet GoYernrnent's fear that the
W estern Allies, primarily Great Britain, might resent its taking
adYantage of the misfortunes of v.r in the occupied countries
to spread revolution and its Cornunist influence. Like many
other ne\V phenornena, the struggle of the Yugoslay Cornmunists was not in line \\'ith the settled Yiews and indisputale
interests of the Soviet Governent and state.
Nor did Moscow uderstand the peculiarities of warfare in
Yugoslavia. No matter ho;v rnuch the struggle of the Yugoslavs encouraged not only the rnilitary - ;vho ;vere fighting to
preserve the Russian ation fro the Nazi German invasionbut official SoYiet circles as \Vell, the latter nevertheless underrated it, if only because they copared it \Vith their O\Vn
Partisans d their o\vn methods of \Varfare. The Partisas in
the SoYiet Unio \Vere an auxiliary, quite incidental force of
the Red Army, d they ever gre\v into regular army.
Because of their own experience, t Soviet leaders could not
realize tat the YugoslaY Partisans were ! of turning
into an arrny and governent, d that in time they \vould
deye!op an identity and interests ;vhich differed fro tl1e
Soyiet - in short, their own pattern of life.
In this i one incident stands out as extremely
sigificant to , perhaps v decisive. In the course of the
so-called Fourth Offesive, in March 1943, parley between
the Supreme Command and the German commands took place.

RAPTURES
13
The occasion for t parley was an excange of prisoners, but
its essence ! i gettig t Germans t9:recqgnize t rights
of the Partisans as combatats so tat the killing of each oter's
;vounded and prisoners might halted. Tis at tie
when the Supree Comrnand, the bulk of t revolutionary
r, and thousands of our wounded foud themse!yes in
mortal danger, and \Ve needed all the help that we could get.
Mosco\v d to informed about all tbls, but we kne\v full
well- Tito because he kne\v Mosco\v, and RankoYic more
instict - that it \Vas better not to tell Mosco\v everything.
Moscow was sirnply infored that we were egotiating \vith
the Gerans for t exchange of the wounded. Ho\veyer, in
Mosco\v they did not eYen try to put themse!Yes ito our
position, but distrusted us - despite t rivers of lood \Ve had
already sed- and replied very sharply. I rernember- it \Vas
in rnill tl1e R River the of our breakthrough
across the Neretva i February 1943 - ho\v Tito reacted to all
this: 'Our first duty is to look after our \V r and our O\VIl
people.'
This was tl1e first time tat anyone on t Central Co
ittee openly stated that our interests migt different fro
Moscow's. It \Vas also tlle first time that I \vas consciously
aware, independently of Tito's ;vords but not unrelatedly,
tat this difference \Vas essential if \Ve \Vanted to survive in
this life-and-deat struggle bet\veen opposing \Vorlds.
Still another exarnple occurred on 29 November 1943, i
, at t Second Session of t Anti-Fascist Council,
were resolutions \Vere passed tat in fact amounted to the
legalization of w social and political order in Yugoslavia.
At t same time there was fored National Comittee to
act as t proYisional government of Yugoslavia. During t
preparatio for these resolutios i eetings of the Central
Coittee of the Comunist Party, \Ve were deterined that
Mosco\v sluld not informed until after it \Vas all over. \Ve
knew from previous experience of Moscow and fro its line
of propaganda tat it \Vould not ! of understanding.
And ideed, Moscow's reactions to these resolutions were so

CONVERSAIONS WIH

egative

STALIN

that some parts were t even broadcast the radio


station Free Yugoslavia, \vhich was located in the Soviet Union
to serve the eeds of the resistace movement i Yugoslavia.
Thus tl1e Soviet Governmet failed to understand the most
important act of the Yugoslav revolutio- the one that transformed this revolution into w order d brought it on to
the international scene. Only \vhe it became obvious that the
West ld understood the resolutions at did Moscow alter
its stad and accept the realities.
Yet tl1e Yugoslav Comunists, despite all their itterness
over experiences \vhose significance they could comprehend
only after the break with Moscow in 1948, and despite their
differing \vays of life, considered themselves to ideologically
bound to Mosco\v and regarded themselves as Mosco\v's ost
consistent follO\vers. Though vital revolutionary and other
realities \Vere separating the Yugoslav Commuists ever more
thoroughly and irreconcilaly from Moscow, they regarded
these very realities, especially their O\Vn successes in the revolution, as proofs of their ties with MoscO\v and \Vith the ideological programme that it prescried. For the Yugoslavs,
Mosco\v was not l political and spiritual centre but. the
realization of an abstract ideal- the 'classless society' - soe
thing that not only made their sacrifice and suffering easy and
sweet, but that justified tl1eir very existence in their own
eyes.
The Yugoslav Communist Party \vas not only as ideologically
uified as the Soviet, but faithfulness to Soviet leadership was
one of the essential eleents of its developent and its activity.
Stalin was not only the undisputed leader of genius, he was
the incarnation of the very idea d dream of the ne\v society.
This idolatry of Stali's personality, as well as of r or less
everything i the Soviet Uion, acquired irrational forms and
proportios. Every actio of the Soviet Goverent - for
example, the attack Finlad - and every upleasat feature
in the Soviet Union- for example, the trials and the purgeswas defended andjustified. What appears even stranger, Co
munists succeeded in convincig themselves that sucll actio

RAPTURES

15

\Vere right and proper and in banishing the unpleasant facts


from their minds.
Among us Communists there were men \Vith developed
aesthetic sense and considerale acquaintance \vith literature
and philosophy, and yet ,,,. \Vaxed enthusiastic not only over
Stalin's vie\vs but also over the 'perfection' of the \\' he
formulated them. I myself referred many times in discussions
to the crystal clarity of his style, the penetration of his logic,
and the aptness of is commentaries, as though they \vere
expressions of the most exalted \visdom. But it \Vould not have
difficult for me, v the, to detect that tl1e style of any
other author \vho \Vrote in tl1e same \vay \Vas drab, meagre, and
an unleded jumle of vulgar journalism d the Bile.
Sometimes tl1e idolatry acquired ridiculous proportios: we
seriously believed that the \Var \Vould end in 1942, because
Stali said so, d \'ihen this failed to happen, the prophecy
was forgotten - and t prophet lost n of his superlma
power. In actual fact, \Vhat happened to the Yugoslav Communists is \vhat has happened to everyone i the long history
of man \v has ever subordinated his idividual fate and the
fate of mankind exclusively to one idea: uconsciously they
descried t Soviet U nio and Stalin in terms required
their O\VIl struggle d its justification.
The Yugoslav Military Mission \vent to Mosco\v, accordigly, \vith idealized images of the Soviet Governmet and the
Soviet U nion the had d \vith their O\\'Il practical
eeds on t other. Superficially it resemled the mission that
had been set to t British, but in compositio and conception
it in fact marked an iforl d \Vith political leadership
of identical vie,vs and aims. More simply: the Missio had to
have both military d Party character.
2

Thus it was no accidet that, in company wit General Velimir


Tersic, Tito assigned me to the l\llission in my role as igh
Party functionary. (I ld then been member of the

16

CONVERSATIONS \VITH STALIN

innermost Party leadership for several years.) The otller members of tlle l\tlission \vere sirnilarly selected as Party or rnilitary
functionaries, and arnong thern \Vas one finacial expert. Tl1e
Missio also included tlle atornic physicist Pavle Savic, \Vith
the object of ea!ing hirn to pursue his scientific \Vork in
Mosco\V. We also llad \Vith us Antu Augusticic, sculptor,
who was give respite frorn the rigours of the \\'ar so that l1e
rnight pursue his art. All of us, to sure, \Vere i uiforrn.
I llad the rank of general. I believe that I \vas selected partly
because I ke\v Russia well - I had learned it in prison during
the years before the war - and partly because I had never been
to tlle Soviet Union before and so could not suspected of
any factional or deviatioist past. Neither had the other rnernbers of the Mission ever been to the Soviet Union, but n
of thern had good cornrnand of Russian.
It \vas the beginning of March 1944
Several days were spent in assern!ing the rnernbers of the
Missio d their gear. Our uniforrns \Vere old d motley,
d sice cloth \\'as lacking, ne\v ones had to made from
the uniforrns of captured Italia officers. W also llad to have
passports i order to cross British d Arnerican territories,
and so they >vere hastily printed. Tl1ese were the first passports
of the ne\v Yugoslav state and r Tito's persoal signature.
The proposal arose alrnost spontaneously that gifts sent
to Stali. But \vhat kind and frorn where? The Supreme
Comrnand \vas situated at the tirne i Drvar, in Bosnia. The
imrnediate surroundings consisted alrnost entirely of gutted
villages, and pillaged desolate little to\vns. Nevertlleless
solution was found: to take Stalin one of the rifles manufactured in tl1e Partisan factory in Uzice in 1941. It was quite
to fid one. Then gifts began to corne in frorn the villages pouches, to'lvels, peasant clothing, and foohvear. We selected
the best of these - sorne sandals of untanned leather and other
things that were just as poor and prirnitive. Precisely because
they were ofthis character, we concluded that \ve ought to take
tllern as tokens of popular goodwill.
One of the objects of the Missio \Vas to arrange for Soviet

17
l for the People's Lieration Arrny of Yugoslavia. At the
sarne tirne Tito had asked us to try to get U N R RA aid for the
lierated areas ofYugoslavia either through the Soviet Governrnent or other channels. 'vVe \vere to ask t Soviet Governrnent
for loan of hvo hundred thousand dollars to cover the
expenses of our rnissios in the 'N est. Tito ernphasized tlt
\Ve should rnake it clear that we would repay the surn as well
as the aid in arms and rnedicine \vhen the country \vas liberated. Tl1e Mission d to take >vith it the archives of tl1e
Suprerne Cornrnand and of the Central Cornrnittee of the
Cornrnunist Party.
Most irnportant of all, it had to fid out wllether the Soviet
Governrnent \vould recognize the National Cornrnittee as the
provisionallegal government, and would influece t Western
Allies to do so too. The Mission was to maintai cornrnunicatios \vith the Suprerne Cornrnand through the Soviet Missio,
and it could also rnake use of the old channel of the Cornintern.
Besides these tasks of the Mission, ito asked rne at our
leave-taking to find out frorn Dimitrov, or fm Stalin if I
could reach hirn, \Vether there \\'as any dissatisfaction with
t work of our Party. This order of Tito's was purely foral
- to call attetion to our disciplied relations with Moscowfor \Vas utterly convinced that the Cornrnuist Party of
Yugoslavia had brilliantly passed the test, d uniquely so.
There \Vas also sorne discussion about the Yugoslav Party
ernigres (Cornuists \Vho d gone to Russia before tlle \Var).
Tito's attitude \Vas tat \Ve \vere not to becorne involved in
rnutual recrirninations \Vit these ernigres, especially if they
d anytlling to do wit Soviet agencies and officials. At t
sarne tirne Tito ernpasized that I ought to beware of secretaries, for there \vere all kinds, wi I understood to rnean
tat \Ve \vere not l to guard an already traditional Party
rnorality, but that \Ve \Vere to avoid anything tat rnight
endanger t reputation d distinction of the Yugoslav Party
and of Yugoslav Corrunists.
I was trern!ing \vith exciternet at the thougt that I \vas
about to see the Soviet Union, the land that \Vas the first in
RAPTURES

18

CONVERSAIONS

WITH STALIN

history - I believed, \Vith belief r adaant than stone to give eaning to the drea of visionaries, the resolve of
warriors, d the sufferig of artyrs, for l too had laguished
and suffered torture i prisos, I too had hated, I too had shed
huan lood, not sparing even that of w brothers.
But there >vas also sorrow - at leaving corades in the
idst of the battle d country i death struggle, one
vast battlefield and souldering ruin.
parting \Vith the Soviet Mission was r cordial tha
ecounters \Vith it usually were. I ernbraced corades,
who \Vere as rnoved as I was, and set out for the iprovised
airfield near Bosanski Petrovac. W spent the whole day there
ispectig the airfield and conversing \vith its staff, \vhich
already behaved as if they \Vere runnig regular d established service, d \vith the peasants, who had already gro\Vll
accustoed to the \v regime and to the inevitaility of its
victory.
Recently British planes had been landing here regularly at
ight, but not. i great urnbers - at rnost, two or three in the
course of single night. They transported the wounded and
occasioal travellers and brought supplies, chiefly edical.
One plane had even brought not long before - gift
fro the British nd to ito. It was at this s airfield,
onth earlier, at high n, that tl1e Soviet Military Mission
had landed in l on skis. ln vie\V of the terrain and other
circustances, this \Vas real feat. It \Vas also quite an uusual
parade, i view of the considerale escort of British fighter
planes.
I regarded the descent and subsequent take-off of rny plane
t.oo as quite feat: the l had to fly low over jagged rocks
i order to in for landing on the narrow and uneve
ice and then t.ake off again.
country seeed sad and dark as I looked down on it.
The outains were pale witl1 SIIO\V and gashed with lack
crevices, while the valleys were engulfed the gloo, t
glimmer of ligt rigt across to the very sea. Below tere was
war, r terrile tha any before, and on soil that was used

RAPTURES

19

to the tread and breath of \Var and rebellion. people was at


grips with the invader, \vhile brothers slaughtered one another
i eY~n r itter warfare. When would the laps light up
the vlllages and to\vns of land again ? W ould it find and
tranquillity after all this hatred and death?
Our first stop \Vas Bari, in Italy, \vhere there was considera!e base of Yugoslav Partisans- hospitals and storeouses, food and equipent. Fro there we fle\v toward Tunis.
W had to travel roundabout route because of the Geran
bases on Crete and in Greece. \Ve stopped in Malta on t \vay,
as guests of the British Coander, and arrived in Tobruk
for the ight just in tirne to see the wole sky licked
nrky fire wblch rose fro t ruddy rocky desert below.
The t day \Ve arrived in Cairo. The British lodged us
discreetly in ltel and placed car at our disposal. The
shopkeepers and the staff took us for Russias because of the
five-pointed stars our caps, but it was pleasant to learn, as
soon as \Ve casually etioned tl1at \ve \Vere Yugoslay or spoke
Tito's n, that they kew of our struggle. I one s the
salesgirl greeted us s\vearing at us i our own tongue, which
she had innocently learned fro eigre officers. group of
these s officers, carried a\vay Iongig to fight and
hoesickness for teir suffering land, declared thernselves
for Tito.
When l learnt that the cblef of U N R RA, Lh, \Vas in
Cairo, I asked tlle Soviet Minister to take to so that
I ight present l1i \vith our requests. The America received
\vithout delay, but coldly, declaring that our requests
would take ito consideration at the followig eeting of
UNRRA and tat UNRRA dealt l wit legal govements as rnatter of priciple.
priitive article of faith that Western capitalis \Vas
the irrecocila!e n of all progress and of the sall d
oppressed foud justification even in first encounter wit
its representatives: I noted that Mr Lehan received us lyig
do\vn, for had bls leg i plaster and was obviously trou!ed
this and the heat, whic I mistook for annoyance at our

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

RAPTURES

visit, while llis Russian interpreter - hairy giat of n


with crude features - \vas for the very iage of badan
in W ester. et. I had no reaso to dissatisfied \Yith this
visit to the oliging Lehan; our request \Vas subit.ted and
we \Vere proised that it would cosidered.
W took advantage of our three-day sojourn in Cairo to see
the historic sights, and because the first chief of the British
Missio in Yugoslavia, Major Deakin, \Vas stayig i Cairo,
\Ve \Vere also his guests at intiate dier.
Fro Cairo \Ve \Vent to the British base at Habbaniya, near
Baghdad. The British d refused to drive us to Baghdad on the grounds that it was not quite safe. W thought that
this was an excuse and that they \Yere concealing colonial
terroris no less drastic than the Geran occupatio of our
country. Istead of this, the British invited us to sports evet
put on their soldiers. \Ve wet, d had seats t to the
dr. \Ve looked funny v to ourselves, let l the
polite d easygoig Eglish, trussed as we were i belts d
buttoned up to the Ada's apple.
We \Yere accopanied r, erry and goodhearted
old fellow \vho kept apologizig for his poor ko\Yledge of
Russian - he had learned it at the time the British itervened
at Archangel during the Russian Revolution. \vas ethusi
astic about the Russians (their delegations too had stopped at
Habbaniya), not about tlleir social system but about their
siplicity and, above all, their ability to do\vn huge glasses of
vodka or \Vhisky at one gulp 'for Stalin, for Churchill!'
The r spoke cally, but not \Vithout pride, of battles
with natives incited German agents, and indeed, the hangars were riddled \Vith bullets. In our doctrinaire \ \ could
not understand ho\V it was possi!e, uch less ratioal, to
sacrifice oneself 'for imperialis' - for so \Ve regarded the
\Vest's struggle- but to ourselves \Ve marvelled at the herois
and boldness of the British, \vho had vetured fortl1 and
triuphed in distant and torrid Asian deserts, so fe\v in
nubers and without hope of assistance. Though I \vas not
at the time of drawing broad conclusions fro this, it

certainly helped to realize that on our globe there was not


single ideal only, but countless parallel human systes.
W were suspicious of the Britisl1 and held ourselves aloof
fro the. Our fears \Vere d especially great because of
our naive notions about their espionage - the Intelligence
Service. Our attitudes \Vere copounded of doctrinaire cliches,
the influence of sensational literature, and the uneasiess of
ne\vcorners in the great wide \Vorld.
Certainly tllese fears would not have been so great had it
not been for tllose sacks filled witll tlle arcllives of the Supreme
nd, for they also contained telegras between ourselves and the Cominter. W found it suspicious too that the
British military authorities everywhere had show no r
interest in these sacks than if they had contained shoes or s.
sure, I kept the at side throughout the trip, and
to avoid being l at night, Marko slept with . \vas
pre-wai" Counist fro Montenegro, siple but. all the
r brave and loyal for that.
It happened ir1 Habbaniya one nigllt that sorneone siler1tly
opened the door of rny r. I \vas aroused even though the
door did not creak. I spied the for of native i the light of
the rnoon, and, getting eneshed in the osquito net, I let out
shout and grabbed the revolver under pillo\v. Marko
sprang up (he slept fully clothed), but the stranger vanished.
Most probaly the ative had lost llis \vay or intended to steal
sorneting. But his rnere appearance \Vas eough to k us
see the Iong r of the British. espionage in this, and we
increased our already strict vigilance. We were very glad \vhen,
the next day, the British put ! for Teheran at our disposal.
The Teheran through wllich we \vandered, frorn the Soviet
nd to the Soviet Ernbassy, was already piece of the
Soviet Unio. Soviet officers t us with an easy cordiality i
which traditional Russia hospitality was mixed in equal
easure \Vith the solidarity of fighters for the sarne ideal in
t\vo different parts of the world. In the Soviet Embassy \\'
were shown the round tale at \vblch the Teheran Conference
had been seated, and also the upstairs r in which Roose-

20

2!

22

CONVERSATIONS

WIH

STALIN

velt had stayed. Tl1ere \Vas nobody there no\v and all was as
he had left it.
Finally Soviet l took us to the Soviet Ui- the
realizatio of our dreams and our hopes. The deeper \Ve penetrated into its grey-gree expanse, the r I \vas gripped
w, hitherto hardly suspected ti. It \vas as though I
\Vas returing to prieval hoeland, unko\vn but i.
I had ever had any Pan-Slavic feelings, nor did I look upon
Mosco\v's Pan-Slavic ideas at that tie as aything but
anoeuvre for oilizig conservative forces against the Geran invasion. But this eotion of ine \Vas soething quite
different and deeper, going v d the liits of
adherence to Coiilffiunis. I recalled dily ho\v for three
centuries Yugoslav visioaries and fighters, statese and
sovereigns- especially the ufortunate prince-ishops of suffering Motenegro - d pilgriages to Russia d there
sought uderstading and salvatio. Was I t travelling
their path? d \vas this not the hoeland of our ancestors,
who s unkno\vn avalanche had deposited i the \VindS\vept Balkans? Russia had ever understood the South Slavs
and their aspirations; I \\S convinced that this \Vas because
Russia had been tsarist and feudal. But far r fial \Vas
my faith that, at last, all the social d other reasons for disagreeents bet\veen Moscow and other peoples had been
reoved. At that tie I looked upon this as the realization of
universal brotherhood, but it \Vas also personal link with
the essence of the prieval Slavic counity. This \vas the
hoeland not only of forebears but also of soldiers who
were dying for the final brotherhood of n and an's final
mastery of material things.
I lost myself in the surge of the Volga and liitless grey
steppes and found my prieval self, filled \Vith hitherto unkno\vn eotions. I \\'anted to kiss the Russian soil, the Soviet
soil which I \vas treading, and I \vould have done so had it not
seemed religious and theatrical thing to do.
In Baku we \Vere t coanding general, taciturn
giant of n made coarse garrison life, war, and the ser-

RAPTURES

23

vice - the icarnation of great \var and great land opposing


ravaging invasion. In his rough cordiality he \Vas nonplussed
our alost shy reserve: 'What kind of people are these?
They don't drink, they don't eat! We Russians eat well, drink
even better, and fight best of all!'
Mosco\v \Vas glooy and sobre and surprisingly full of
mean buildings. But this did not atter beside our receptio
\Vith lnours according to rank d bledliness which \Vas
delierately uostentatious because of t Conist character of our struggle. Nothing could cornpare \vith the grandeur
of the war that \Ve believed would ankind's last trial d
that \Vas our very life and our destiy. All was pale and ea
ingless beside the reality that was present on this very spot, i
tl1e Soviet land, land that \Vas also ours and rnakind's
\vhich had corne forth fro nightare into tranquil d
joyous reality.
3

They illeted us in the Red Army Centre, the Ts D , kid


of ltel for Soviet officers. food d all other aenities
were very good. They gave us car wit chauffeur, Panov,
n \vell in years, simple, d soewhat bowed but of
independent vie\YS. There \Yas also liaison officer, Captain
Kozovsky, young and very handsoe lad \vho was proud of
llis Cossack origi, all the r so since the Cossacks had
'washed away' their counter-revolutionary past i the present
\Var. Thanks to hi we \Vere always sure, at any tie, of
obtaining tickets for the theatre, the cinea, or aything else.
But we \vere not l to k any serious contact \Vith the
leadig Soviet figures, though I requested to received
V. . Molotov, then Cornissar for Foreig Affairs, and, if
possile, , V. Stali, the Prirne Minister and Cornander
in-Cllief of tlle ared forces. All rny circuitous atternpts to
present our requests and needs \Yere in vain.
I all this no help \Vas to ld frorn the Yugoslav Ebassy,
whicl1 was still royalist, thougl1 Arnbassador Sirnic and llis

24

CONVERSAIONS WIH

STALIN

small staff had declared themselves for :arshal Tito. Although


officially recognized, tlley \vere in fact more insignificant and
accordingly more po\verless than \Ve.
Nor could \ve accomplish anything through the Yugoslav
Party emigres. They \vere few in number - decimated
purges. The most distinguished figure aong them \Vas Veljko
Vlahovic. We \vere t same age, both revolutionaries out of
the revolutionary student moveent of Belgade University
against the dictatorsip of King Alexander. \Vas veteran
of t Spanish Civil War, \vile I was coing fro v
more terrile \Var. \vas n of great persoal integrity,
highly educated d wise, though excessively disciplined and
not indepedent in his vie\vs. gd t radio station
Free Yugoslavia, and his cooperation \Vas valuale, but is
conexios did not go d Georgi Dimitrov, \vho, since
tlle Cointern had been dissolved, shared \Vith D. Z. :anuilsky
the direction of the section of the Soviet Central Coittee
for foreign Comunist parties. vVe \vere \Vell fed and graciously received, but as far as the prolems we had to preset
and to solve were cocerned, \Ve could make no ead\vay \vhatsoever. I must admit and ideed ephasize tat, except for
tis, we were received \Vith extraordiary geniality and consideration. But it was rt until th after our arrival, \Vhe
Stali d :olotov received General Terzic and and this
\Vas pulished i the press, that all t doors of the ponderous
Soviet adinistration and of the rarefied heights of Soviet
society were agically thro\vn .
The Pan-Slavic Comittee, wich had been created in the
course of t war, was the first to arrange banquets d receptions for us. But did not have to Comunist to
see that tllis institution \Vas not only artificial but also quite
hopeless. lts activity was cetred on pulic relations and propagada, and even in this it \Vas obviously liited. Besides, its
aims were t very clear. Tl1e Comittee \Vas composed alost. entirely of Cornrnunists from the Slavic countries - t
ernigres i :oscow w were in fact averse to the idea of
closer Pan-Slavic relatios. AII of tem tacitly understood tat

RAPTURES
25
it was atter of resurrecting soetlling long since outrtded,
transitional forrn eant to rally support around Couist
Russia, or at least to paralyse anti-Soviet Pan-Slavic currents.
very leadersip of t Coittee \Vas insignificant.
Its President, General Gundorov, preaturely grown
old i every respect and of limited vie\vs, \vas not n
could talk to effectively even on t simplest questions of ho\v
Slavic solidarity could acieved. Coittee's Secretary, Mochalov, \vas rater more autoritative simply because
\vas closer to the Soviet security agencies - something tat
concealed rater badly behind his extravagat nr.
Both Gundorov and :ochalov were Red Army officers, but
\vere aong tose \vho d proved to unfit for the front.
One could detect in the the suppressed dejection of n
demoted to jobs tat they did t consider their line. Only
teir secretary, Nazarova, gap-toothed and excessively ingratiating \\', d anything resemling love for the suffering Slavs, tlugh her activities too, as \vas later learned in
Yugoslavia, \Vere subordinated to Soviet security agecies.
In the Pan-Slavic Comittee headquarters ate \vell,
drank even more, d ostly just talked. Long and t
toasts \Vere raised, not uch differet fro one anoter, d
certainly not as beautiful as those of tsarist times. Their PanSlavic ideas struck as completely out of date. So, too, \Vas
the Comittee building- iitation baroque or soething of
tlle sort i the idst of dr city.
The Committee \Vas the result of extepore shallow
and not copletely altruistic policy. Ho\vever, t re~der mus;
understad that though all tis was quite clear to v at
that tie, I was far fro viewig it \vith horror or aazement.
The fact that t Pa-Slavic Comittee \vas naked instruent of the Soviet Governmet for ifluecig back\vard
strata aong the Slavs outside the Soviet Uion d that its
officials were depedent and td \Vith both the secret
and pulic agecies of the goveret- all this did t troule
one it. I was only disturbed its impotence d superficiality, d above all the fact that it could t open the
c.s.- 2

26

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

way for me to the Soviet Government and to solution of


Yugoslav pro!ems. For I too, Iike every other Communist,
had it inculcated in me and I was convinced that tere could
exist no opposition benveen the Soviet Union and anotller
people, especially revolutioary and Marxist party: as the
Yugoslav Party indeed -..vas. And though the Pan-Slav1c Committee seemed too atiquated to , and accordingly an unsuitale istruent for Comunist d, yet I considered it
acceptale, especially as the Soviet leadership insisted it.
As far as its officials' connexions -..vith security agencies -..vere
concerned, I had a!so leared to look upon these as almost.
divine guardias of the revolution and of socialis - ' sword
in the hands of the Party'.
The character of insistence that I reach the surnmits of
the Soviet Governent sluld also explained. Though I
urged, I was neither importuate nor resentful of the Soviet
Governet, for I -..vas trained to see i it soething v
greater than the leadership of -..v Party and revolution the leading power of Cornmunism as whole. I had already
gathered from Tito and others that long -..vaits - t.o sure,
foreign Cornmunists - \vere rather the style in :oscow. What
trouled and d me ipatient -..vas the urgency of the
needs of revolution, o-..vn Yugoslav revolution.
Though nobody, not even the Yugoslav Communists, spoke
of revolution, it -..vas long since obvious that it -..vas going on.
In the W est they -..vere already writig great deal about it.
In Mosco-..v, ho-..vever, they obstinately refused to recogize it
- even tlse -..vho had, so to speak, every reason to do so.
Everyoe stubbornly talked only about the struggle against
the Gerrnan invaders and even more stubborly stressed
nothing but the patriotic character of that struggle, all the
-..vhile conspicuously ephasizing the decisive role of the Soviet
Uion in t!le -..vhole atter. Of course, othing could have been
further fro my ind tha the thought of denying the decisive
role of the Soviet Party in \Vorld Cornmuis, or of the Red
Army i the -..var agaist Hitler. But on the soil of land, and
under conditions oftheir own, t Yugoslav Comrnunists were

RAPTURES

27

obviously waging war idependent of the momentary successes and defeats of the Red r, war, moreover, that was
at the s tie convertig the political d social stucture
of the coutry. Both externally and internally the Yugoslav
revolution had transceded the eeds and accornmodations of
Soviet foreig policy, and tl1is is ho-..v I explained the obstacles
and lack of understanding \vhich I \Vas eeting.
Stragest of all was the fact that those \vho sluld have
understood this best of all subissively kept still d pretended
t to uderstand. I had yet to learn that in :oscow the
discussio and especially the deterrnination of political positios
had to wait until Stalin, or at least :olotov, had spoke. This
applied even to such distinguished persons as the forrner
secretaries of the Cominter, :anuilsky and Dimitrov.
Tito and Kardelj, as -..vell as other Yugoslav Comunists
\Vho had to :osco\v, d reported that Manuilsky -..vas
particularly well disposed to\vard t Yugoslavs. This may
have been held against hi during the purges of 1936-7, in
which alost the entire group of Yugoslav Comunists had
perished in tlle Party purge, but \V, after the Yugoslav
uprising agaist the Nazis, this could take for farsigted
ness. In any case, he injected into is enthusiasm for the
Yugoslavs' stuggle certai dose of persoal pride, tlugh he
kne\v n of t ne-..v Yugoslav leaders except, perhaps, Tito,
and him only very slightly. Our eeting -..vit him took place
in t evening. Also present -..vas G. F. Alexandrov, t noted
Soviet philosopher and, much more iportant, chief of the
section for agitation and propaganda of t Central Coittee.
Alexandrov left no definite impress on . Indefiniteness,
or, rater, colour!essness, -..vas is basic characteristic. was
sort, pudgy, bald man \vhose pallor and corpulence proclaied that he never set foot outside his office. Except for
fe\v coventional observations and benig siles, he spoke
not -..vord about the character and scope of the Yugoslav
Comuist uprising, though in coversations, supposedly
without desig, I touched on tese very points. Obviously the
Cetral Comittee d t yet deterined its stand; thus,

CONVERSATIONS \VITH STALIN

RAPTURES

as far as Soviet propaganda \vas concerned, it reained siply


struggle against invaders \Vithout any real repercussions for
the internal Yugoslav state or for international relations.
Nor did Manuilsky take any definite stand. Yet he exhiited lively, eotional interest. I had already heard of his
oratorical gift. One could detect this gift even in his articles,
and he fairly scintillated through the polish and vividness of
his expression. \Vas sligl1t and already hunched veteran,
dark-haired, with clipped oustache. spoke with lisp,
alost gently and - \Yhat astonished at the tie - \Vithout
uch energy. \Vas also this \vay in other things- considerate, affale to the point of joviality, and obviously cultured n of tl1e \Vorld.
In descriing the developent of the uprising in Yugoslavia, I pointed out that there \Yas being fored in new
\vay governent \Vhich \Vas in essence identical \Vith the
Soviet. I d special point of stressing the w revolutionary role of the peasantry; I practically reduced the uprising in Yugoslavia to uion bet\veen peasant rebellion
and the Counist avmzt-garde. Yet thougl1 neither he nor
Alexandrov opposed what I \Vas saying, they did not sho\v in
any \vay that they approved of vie\vs. Even if I regarded
it natural that Stalin's role \vas decisive in everytlling, still l
expected fro l\Iauilsky greater idd and initiative
in \Yord and deed. I \Vet \ fro rneeting \\'ith hi
ipressed the vitality of his personality and d his
enthusiasrn for the struggle i Yugoslavia, but also convinced
that Manuilsky played no real role in the deterination of
Mosco\v's policies, not even concerning Yugoslavia.
When speaking of Stalin l1e attepted to carnouflage extrerne flattery in 'scientific' d 'Marxist' forulas. This way
of speaking about Stalin \\'ent sornethig like this: 'You kno\Y,
it is siply icoprehesi!e that single person could haye
played such decisiye role in crucial rnornent of the \\ar.
d that so rnany talents should cornbined i personstatesan, thiker, and soldier.'
suspicions about Manuilsky's insignificance \Vere later

cruelly confirrned. \vas d Foreign Minister of the


Ukraine (he \v-as Ukraiia Je\v irth), \vhich rneat his
final isolation frorn all iportant political activity. True, as
Secretary of the Cointer he was Stalin's obedient tool,
especially as his past had not copletely Bolshevik; he
had belonged to group of so-called mezhraiontsy, led
Trotsky, \vhich had joined the Bolsheviks l on the eve of
the 1917 Revolution. I sa\V hi in 1949 at the United Nations.
There he out in tlle n of tlle Ukraine against the
'irnperialists' and 'Tito's fascist clique'. Tl1ere \\S nothig
left of his oratory but bobast, d othing of his peetrating
thought but phrase-rnakig. \vas already lost, senile, little
old rnan \vho was rapidly disappearig as he slid do\vn the
steep ladder of the Soviet hierarchy.
This \vas t the case \Vith Dirnitrov. l met him three
ties during rny stay - t\\ice in the hospital of the Soviet
Goverent, and the third tie in his villa near Mosco\v.
Each time he struck as being sick m. His breathig
\\'as asthatic, the colour of his skin was either unhealthily
red or pale, and spots around his ears \Yere dried up as if from
eczema. His hair \vas so sparse that it left exposed his withered
yello\v scalp. But his thoughts \Vere quick and fresh, quite i
contrast to his slo\v d tired ovemets. This prernaturely
old, alrnost crushed still radiated po,verful conscious
eergy and vigour. His features sho\ved this too, especially the
strained look of his bulgig luish eyes and the convulsiYe \vay
his nose and jaw stuck out. Though he did not voice his every
thought, his conversation \vas frank and firm. It could not
said that he did not understand the situation i Yugoslavia,
thougl1 he, too, thought it too soon - in vie\V of relations
bet\veen the U S S R and the \Vest- to announce that our
moYement \\S entirely Comunist in character. Of course, I
too felt that our primary propaganda effort should stress the
struggle against the invader, and accordingly tllis meant not
accentuating the Communist character of that struggle. But it
\vas of the utmost irnportace to that the Soviet leaders,
and Dirnitrov too, should realize that- in YugoslaYia at least-

28

30

CONVERSAIONS \VIH STALIN

it was senseless to insist coalition bet\veen tlle Comuist


d bourgeois parties, for the \Var and the civil \var had already
sho\vn that the Counist Party \Vas the only real political
force. This vie\v of mie t that the Yugoslav Royal
Goverment-in-exile, and indeed tlle rh itself, could
no loger recognized.
During our first eeting I descried to Dimitrov the developents and the situation in Yugoslavia. geerously aditted that he had not expected that the Yugoslav Party
\vould prove to the st ilitat and ost resourceful; he
had placed greater lpes i the French Party. recalled how
Tito, leaving Moscow at the end of 1939, swore that the
Yugoslav Party \vould \Vash a\vay the stai with whicl1 various
factionalists had besirched it and that it \vould prove itself
worthy of the \vhich it bore, \vhereupon Dimitrov
advised him not to s\vear, but to act \visely and resolutely.
recounted further: 'You know, \vhe the questio arose of
appointing Secretary of the Yugoslav Party, there \Vas some
wavering, but I \Vas for Walter [tllis \vas Josip Broz's Party
pseudonym at the time; later he adopted the n Tito].
\vas worker, d he seemed solid and serious to me. I arn
glad that I \vas t istaken.'
Dimitrov rearked, alost apologetically, that the Soviet
Goverent had t been in positio to help tlle Yugoslav
Partisans in their greatest hour of d. himself had personally interested Stalin i this. That \vas true: as early as
1941-2 Soviet pilots had tried to get through to Yugoslav
Partisan bases, and s home\Vard-bound Yugoslav emigres
who had flo\V with them had been froze.
Diitrov also entioned our negotiatios with the Germans over tl1e exchange of prisoers: 'W were afraid for you,
but luckily everything tured out well.'
I did not react to tllis, nor \vould I have said any more than
he had confired, even if he had insisted on the details. But
there was no danger that he would say or ask soething he
shouldn't; in politics all that ends well is soon forgotten.
As matter of fact, Dimitrov did not insist on aything;

RAPTURES

31

the Cointern had really dissolved, and his l nO\V


\vas to gather iformatio about Couist parties and to
give advice to the Soviet Goverent d Party.
told how the idea of dissolvig the itr first
arose. It \Vas at the tie when the Baltic states were anexed
the Soviet Uion. It \Vas apparet v then that the i
po\\er i the spread of Commuism \Vas the Soviet Uion,
d that therefore all forces had to gather directly around it.
The dissolutio itself had been postpoed because of the interatioal situatio, to avoid giving the impression that it \Vas
beig done uder pressure fro the Germans, \Yith \vho
relations \Vere not bad at tlle tie.
Dimitrov was person \Vho enjoyed Stalin's rare regard,
and, what was perhaps less iportat, \vas the udisputed
leader of t Bulgarian Commuist nt. \ later
eetings with Dimitrov confirmed this. At the first I descried coditios i Yugoslavia to the members of the Bulgaria Central Comittee, d at the second there \Vas talk of
evetual Bulgarian-Yugoslav cooperation and of tl1e struggle
in Bulgaria.
Besides Diitrov, the meeting with the Bulgarian Central
Committee \vas attended Kolarov, Chervenkov, d others.
Cervekov d greeted the occasion of first visit,
tough he did not remain, and I took him to Dimitrov's
private secretary. kept in the background at tllis second
meeting as well - silent d uobtrusive, tough I \Vas later
to gain different ipression of im. I had already learned
from Vlahovic and others that Chervekov \Vas arried to
Diitrov's sister, that he \Vas to have arrested at the
tie of the purges - the 'expose' of the political school \Vhere
he \Vas an istructor had already been pulished - but took
refuge with Dimitrov. Diitrov intervened \Vith the N V D
and made everythig in order.
The purges were especially hard on the Comuist emigres, those members of illegal parties who d no one to turn
to except tlle Soviet. Bulgarian emigres \Vere lucky tat
Dimitrov was Secretary of the Comintern d person with

CONVERSATIONS \VIH STALIN


32
such authority. saved many of thern. There \vas no.one to
stand behind the Yugoslavs; on the contrary, they dug graves
for one another in their race for po\ver in the Party and in their
zeal to prove their devotion to Stalin and to Leninism.
Kolarov's old age \Vas already apparent; he \Vas past seventy
and, moreover, had been politically inactive for many years.
\vas kind of relic of the violet begiigs of the Bulgaria
Party. beloged to the 'tesni' (literally, 'arrow'), the left
\Ving of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, out of \vhich later
developed the Commuist Party. ln 1923 the Bulgarian
Commuists had given arrned opposition to the militay clique
of Geeral Tsakov \vhich had just previously carried out
coup and killed the peasat leader Alexander Starnbuliski.
Kolarov had massive head, more Turkish tha Slavic, with
chiselled features, strong nose, sensuous lips, but his thoughts
\Vere of times gone and, 1 say it \vithout racour, of incosequential matters. description to Kolarov of the
struggle in Yugoslavia could t mere analysis, it \Vas
also horrile picture of ruis and massacres. Of some ten
thousand pre-\\r Party members, hardly t\YO thousand \vere
still alive, \Vhile I estimated our current losses of troops and
population at around one millio two hundred thousand. et
after this recital of mine all Kolarov could think of to say \Vas
to ask me single questio: 'ln your opiion, is tl1e laguage
spoke i Macedoia closer to Bulgarian or to Serbian ?'
The Yugoslav Commuist leadership had already had serious altercations \Vith the Central Committee i Bulgaria,
which held that it should allowed to run the Yugoslav
Cornrnunist Party in Yugoslav Macedonia because it happened
to occupied Bulgaria. The dispute was finally broken
off the Cominter, \vhich approved the Yugoslav vie\v, but.
olv after Gerrnany's attack the U S S R. Nevertheless,
fric'tion over Macedonia, as \vell as over questions about
Partisa uprising against the Bulgarian occupiers, continued
and got \Vorse as the inevitale hour of the defeat of Gerrnany,
and with it of Bulgaria, approached. Vlahovic, too, had s
the pretensions of the Bulgarian Comrnunists in lVIoscow to

RAPTURES

33
Yugoslav lVIacedonia. Dimitrov, I must admit, took rather
differet lie: for him the important rnatter \vas BulgarianYugoslav rapprochement. But 1 do t believe tat even he
maitaied that t lVIacedoians V\'ere separate natioality,
despite the fact that his mother was lVIacedonia d tat
is attitude to\vard the lVIacedonians was distictly sentirnental.
Peraps I was too itter \vhen I replied to Kolarov, 'I do
t ko\v wl1ethe the lVIacedonian laguage is closer to
Bulgaria or Seria, but the lVIacedonians are t Bulgars,
nor is Macedoia Bulgarian.' Dimitrov found this ernbarra~
ing. reddened and \Vaved his had: 'lt is of no importance!' And he passed on to another question.
memory of w attended the third meeting with
Dimitrov is gone with t wid, but certaily Chervekov
could t lve been absent. The meeting took place on the
eve of rny return to Yugoslavia, at the beginig of u 194+
It was to devoted to cooperation bet\vee the Yugoslav
and Bulgarian Cornmunists. But it \Vas hardly \Vorth \vhile
discussing tl1e matter, for the Bulgars in fact had no Partisa
uits at the time.
I insisted that military operations should begin in Bulgaria
and that Partisan units should formed there. I said it \vas
folly to expect any sort of revolt in the Bulgarian Royal Army,
for nothig of this kid had appened i Yugoslavia: from
the old Yugoslav Army the Partisans got only individual
officers, \vhile t Communist Party had to create an army of
small units in the course of very stubborn struggle. It was
evident that Dimitrov, too, slred these illusions, though he
did agree that Partisan units should formed at once.
It was obvious that kne\v sornethig I did not know.
When I stressed that even in Yugoslavia, in \vhich the occupation had destroyed the old state apparatus, rather long
time \Yas needed to come to terms \Vith its remnants, he interjected, 'In three or four months there \Yill revolution i
Bulgaria anY'vay; the Red Army will s its borders!'
Though Bulgaria was not at war with the Soviet U nion, it
was clear to me that Dimitrov tlugt that the Red Arrny

34
CONVERSAIONS WITH STALIN
\Yould the decisive factor. sure, he did not categorically declare that the Red Army would enter Bulgaria, but it
\\'as" obYious that he knew even then that this would happen,
and \Yas giving me hint. Given Dimitrov's view and
expectation, my insistence on Partisan operations d uits
lost any importance and ig. The coversation ?ecame
merely an exchange of opiios and brotherly greetgs to
Tito d the Yugoslav fighters.
It is \YOrth recording Dirnitrov's attitude toward Stalin.
, too, spoke of l1im \Yit admiration and respect, but \Yit
out any noticeale flattery or reverence. His relationship to
Stalin was clearly that of revolutionary who gave disciplined
submission to the leader, but revolutionary who did his
own thinking. particularly stressed Stalin's role in t
\Var.
said: 'vVen the Gerans were outside Moscow,
geeral uncertainty and cofusion ensued. Soviet Government d \Yithdra\vn to Kuibishev. But Stalin remained i
Moscow. I \Vas with him at tlle tirne, i tlle Kremlin.
\Yere taking out archives frorn the Kreli. I suggested to
Stalin that tlle Comintern sllould issue proclamatio to the
German soldiers. agreed, though he felt no good would
come of it. Soon aftevards, I too had to leave Moscow. Stalin
did not leave; he \Vas determied to defend it. And at that
most dramatic momet he held parade in Red Square tlle
aniversary of the October Revolution. The divisions before
him were leaving for the frot. It is impossi!e to say w
great was the effect on morale wlle people learned that Stalin
was sittig in Moscow and \vhen they heard llis \Vords. It
restored their faith d raised their confidece, and it was
worth r tllan good-sized army.'
On that occasion I became acquainted with Diitrov's \vife.
She \vas Sudete Germa, but this was kept quiet because
of the general hatred of the Germans \vhicll carne naturally
to tl1e ordiary Russians d which they understood more
easily than anti-fascist propaganda.
Dimitrov's villa was tastefully luxurious. It had everything

RAPTURES

35

- except . Dimitrov's l son was dead; portrait of the


pale youg man hung in the fat.her's study. The soldier \vho
could once endure defeats and take pleasure in victories \Vas
rw an old m already at the end of his powers. Dimitrov
could no longer l or extricate himself fro the silent
ecircling pity that met him at every step.

4
Several months before our arrival Moscow had announced
tlt Yugoslav Brigade had been fored i the Soviet Union.
Some time before this, Polish and t.he Czech units had been
formed. We in Yugoslavia could not imagine how such great
number of Yugoslavs came t.o in the Soviet Union when
even tlse few political emigres who foud themselves there
had largely vanished in the purges.
Now, in Moscow, everything became clear to . bulk
of the wr in the Yugoslav Brigade was made up of
the personnel of regimet that the Croatian quisling Pavelic
had sent to the Germans at the Soviet front as token of
solidarity. But Pavelic's n l1ad no luck tl1ere; the regiment
was shattered, taken prisoer at Stalingrad, and, after t
usual purification, transformed, witll Comander Mesic at
its head, into the Yugoslav Anti-Fascist Brigade. few Yugoslav political emigres were collected fro here and there and
give political posts i the Brigade, while Soviet officers - both
military specialists and those from Security - took over the
outfitting and checking of the n.
In the begining the Soviet represetatives insisted tat. the
Brigade's insigia idetical with those of t.he Yugoslav
Royal Army, but w Vlahovic objected, t agreed to
introduce t.he insigia of the People's Lieration r. It
was ard to agree tl1ese insignia way of dispatches, but
Vlahovic nevertheless did wlt could, d the resultig
insignia were sometig of compromise. On our insistence
this matter too was finally settled.
There were no other essential prolems concerning t.he

CONVERSATIONS

\VIH

STALIN

Brigade except our dissatisfaction that tl1e same commander


had been kept. But the Russians defended his position
sayig that he had recated d that he had ifluece over
his m. impressio \\S that Mesic \Vas deeply demoraIized d that, Iike m, he had simply tured his coat to
save himself from prisoer-of-\var camp. \vas himself
dissatisfied, f it \vas quite clear that he had fuctio i
the unit \vhatever- his command \vas pure formality.
The Brigade was stationed in \Vood near the to\vn of
Kolomna. They lived in turf houses and drilled \vithout
regard to the cruel Russia \vinter. At first I \vas astonished
at the harsh discipline tlt prevailed in t unit. There \vas
certain discrepancy, contradiction between the aims tat
the uit \vas supposed to serve and t manner in which its
men \vere supposed to imbued \Vith these aims. In our
Partisan units there \\'as comradeship and solidarity, and
punishmet \vas strict only for looting and disobedience. Here
everything \Vas based on lind submission \Yhich the Prussians of Frederick I might \vell v evied. Ho\'/ever, \Ve
\Yere not successful in changig tis either, give the unyielding, harsh Soviet instructors the one hand and men \vho
had only yesterday fought on the side of the Germans on the
other. We carried out an ispection, delivered s, discussed prolems superficially, and left everything as it \vas,
eding, to sure, \vith the inevita!e feast \Vith the officers,
\Vllo got drunk to man toasting Tito and Stali d embracig
aother in the of Slavic broterhood.
of our icidetal duties \vas to arrage for the first
medals of the \v Yugoslavia to made. I this we met
complete uderstandig, d if the medals - especially tl1e
1941 commemorative medal- tured out badly, it \vas less
the fault of the Soviet factory tha of our modesty and the
poor quality of the desigs \V~ d brought from Yugoslavia.
Supervisio of the foreig units \vas carried out N V D
Geeral Zhukov. , thi, fair-haired, still youg, d very
resourceful, Zhukov \Vas t \Vithout huour d refined
cynicis - not rare qualities for the embers of secret

RAPTURES
37
service. Concerning tl1e Yugoslav Brigade, he told , 'It's
not bad, considering the aterial we had to \\ork \vith.' And
tat was true. If, later in Yugoslavia, it hardly distiguished
itself in engageents with the Germans, this \Vas not so muc
due to t fighting qualities of the as because its orgaiza
tion and experience \Vere not suitale for an army different
fro the Soviet and under conditions of warfare differet fro
those on the Eastern Front.
General Zhukov eld receptio in our honour. The
ilitary attache of Mexico, in coversatio \Vith , offered
aid, but ufortuately \ could not tllink of way of gettig
it to our troops in Yugoslavia.
Just before departure fro Moscow, I \Vas guest at
diner at General Zhukov's. d his \vife lived in sall
nvo-roo apartment. Everything was cornfortale, but rnodest,
though alrnost luxurious for Moscow, especially in tirne of
\var. Zhukov \Vas excellet civil servant and experience had
persuaded hirn that force \vas more effective than ideology
as the means of realizing Communism. The relatioship bet\\een us becarne fairly intirnate, yet at the s tirne reserved,
for nothing could alter the differeces in our haits and vie\vs.
Political friendships are good l \vhen each remais \vhat he
is. Before I left his apartet, Zhukov presented rne \Vith an
officer's automatic gu - odest gift, but suitae in tie
of \\.
On the other hand, I had quite different rneeting with the
representatives of the Soviet Secret Service. Through Captain
Kozovsky I \vas visited in the TsDKA odestly dressed
little man who did not hide the fact tlt he was fro the State
Security. We arranged for rneetig on tl1e followig day, in
r so cospiratorial that, just because I had been an
illegal \Vorker for so many years, I felt it was all needlessly
cornplicated, indeed cliche. car a\vaited rne in near-by
street, d, after involved ride, \ve transferred into another,
only to deposited in some street of t huge city frorn which
we then walked to t.hird street, where sorneone from the
\vindow of an enormous apartment building threw down

38

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

little key which enaled us finally to enter spacious and


luxurious apartment the tllird floor.
The o\ver of the apartment - if she was tlle ower - was
one of tlse clear-eyed norther londes whose buxomness
hs tlleir beauty and stregth. Her radiat beauty played
no role, at least i this istace, and it tured out that slle was
more important than tl1e m wl brought me. She did tlle
questioig, d he recorded the aswers. They \Vere more
iterested i the men who \Vere i the coucils of the Communist Party tha in men of other parties. It felt ucomfortaly
like police iterrogation, d yet I kne\v that it was my duty
as Communist to give them the information they \Vated.
Had some member of the Central Committee of the Soviet
Party called me, I \Vould t have hesitated. But what did
these people wat with data about the Communist Party and
leadig Communists \vhe their \Vas to \vage struggle
agaist the enemies of the Soviet U nion d possile provocateurs withi tlle Communist parties? Nevertheless I ans\vered
their questios, takig care to say otlling precise or negative,
r to give hint of iner frictio. I did this as much from
moral repugance at saying tlligs about my comrades \vhicll
they would t know as from an ir passioate aversion to
those who I felt ld right to itrude into my intimate world
my vie\vs, d my Party. ernbarrassment doubt corn~
municated itself to rny hosts, for the busiess part of the
meeting lasted hardly an hour d llalf; thereupon it turned
into less forced cornradely conversation over coffee and
cakes.
contacts witll the Soviet pulic were rnore frequent and
direct, for at that tirne the pulic's contact with foreigners
frorn Allied countries was not severely restricted in the Soviet
Union.
Because there was war and we were the represetatives of
the only Party and people \vho had raised revolt against
Hitler, we excited every kind of curiosity. Writers carne to us
~or ne': inspiratio, filrn producers for iteresting stories,
JOUalists for articles and inforrnation, and young men and

RAPTURES

39

girls who \Vanted our l1elp i getting thern flown to Yugoslavia


as volunteers.
Pravda, their rnost autlloritative daily, asked me for an
article on the struggle in Yugoslavia, and Novoye Vremya one
about Tito. In both cases I encoutered difficulties over the
editing of these articles. Pravda tle\V out alrnost everythig
that dealt with t character and political cosequences of the
stggle. The alteration of articles to fit the Party lie \Vas
part of our Party procedure. But it was done only \vhe gross
deviation or particularly delicate questions were involved.
Pravda, ho\vever, thre\\' out everything that had to do \vith
the very essence of our struggle - the new regime d the
social changes. It went v so far as to retouch my style,
cutting out every figure of speech that \Vas the least it unusual,
shortening setences, and striking out turns of phrase. The
article became grey and uinspired. After strugglig \Yith one
of their editors, I gave i to this mutilation; it ,,as seseless
to create antagoism over sornething like that, and it was
better to pulish it as it was tln not at all.
The affair \Vith Novoye Vremya led to v more serious
t.roule. Their castration of rny style and rny ideas \Vas sornewhat less drastic, but they watered do\vn or thre\v out almost
everything that referred to the originality d extraordinary
significance of Tit.o's personality. In rny first conference \vith
of the editors of Novoye Vremya, I agreed to sorne irnrnaterial chages. It \Vas only at the second conferece- \\'hen
it becarne clear to tllat i the U S S R one magnified except Stali d when the editor l adrnitted this in
these words: 'It is awkward because of Cornrade Stalin; that's
the way it is here' - that I agreed to the other cllanges; all
tlle rnore so since the article had preserved its essence and
colour.
For rne d for other Yugoslav Cornrnunists Stalin's leadership was indisputale. Yet I \vas still puzzled \vlly other
Cornrnuist leaders - Tito, for instace - could not praised
if they deserved it, frorn the Cornrnuist point of view.
It is \vorth noting tllat Tito hirnself was very flattered

40

CONVERSATIONS

WIH

STALIN

the article and that, to the best of my knowledge, the Soviet


press had never pulished sucl1 high praise of any other
living person.
Tis is to explained the fact that Soviet pulic
opinion- that is, the opinion of the Party, since no other
kind exists- \Vas ethusiastic about the Yugoslav struggle.
But also because in the course of the \Var the atmospllere of
Soviet society had changed.
As 1 look back, I can say that the conviction spread spo
taneously in U S S R tat w, after \Var that had demonstrated the devotion of the Soviet people to their lmelad
and to the basic achievements of the revolution, there would
further reason for the political restrictions d for t
ideological moopolies held little groups of leaders, and
especially sigle leader. The \Vorld \Vas changing before
the very eyes of the Soviet people. lt \\'as obvious that the
U S S R \vould not the ! socialist country d tat w
revolutionary leaders and triues were making teir appearance.
Such atmosphere and suc opinios did not hider the
Soviet leaders at the time; the cotrary, these opinios
cotriuted to the \Var effort. There \Vas reaso for tl1e
leaders theselves not to ecourage such illusions. After all,
Tito, or, rather, the struggle of the Yugoslavs, was bringing
about changes in the Balkans and in Central Europe that did
not \Veaken the position of the Soviet U nio but actually
strengthened it. Tus there was no reason rt to popularize
and to l the Yugoslavs.
But there \vas an v more sigificat factor i this.
Though allied \vith the Western democracies, the Soviet Unio,
or, rathe, the Soviet Communists, felt l in the struggle.
They \\'ere fighting for their o\vn survival and for tlleir \vay of
life. And in vie\v of the absence of second front, that is, major
battles in the vVest at time that \Vas decisive for t fate of t
Russian people, even the ordinary man and commo soldier
felt l. The Yugoslav uprising helped dispel that loneliess
on the part of the leaders and t people.

RAPTURES

41

Both as Communist and as Yugoslav I \\'as moved


the love and regard that l encoutered everywhere, especially
in t Red r. vVith clear conscience I inscried in the
guest book of an exhibition of captured Germa \Veapos:
'I proud tlt there are no weapons r fro Yugoslavia!'
- for there were \veapons there fro all over Europe.
It \Vas proposed that we visit the South-\vestern Front- the
Second Ukrainia Front - \vhich \vas under the nd of
:arshal I. S. Koniev. \Ve \\'ent plane to U, little
to\v in the Ukraine - and ito seared \Vastelad \vhich t
\Var and measureless huan hatred had left in teir \\k.
The !! Soviet arranged supper and eeting \vitl1 the
pulic figes of the t\\. The supper, \Vmch was held in
eglected, decrepit building, \Vas hardly gay affair.
Bishop of Uan and tl1e Party Secretary \Vere una!e to
conceal tlleir utual intolerace even though they were in the
presece of foreigers, and though each in his O\vn \vay was
figting against t Gerrnas.
I had previously leared from Soviet officials that as soon
as the war broke out, the Russian Patriarch began, witout
asking t Governet, to distriute mieographed ecyclicals
against the Geran ivaders, d that they enjoyed response
which \vent far beyond his subordinate clergy. These appeals
\\'ere also attractive in for: against the onotony of Soviet
propaganda t shone out wit the freshness of teir ancient
and religious patriotisrn. The Soviet Government quickly
adapted itself and began to look to the Clrch, too, for support, despite the fact tat t continued to regard it as
remnant of the old order. In t rnisfortunes of war, religion
was revived and rnade eadway, and the chief of the Soviet
:issio in Yugoslavia, General Koreyev, said tat many
people - and very responsile people at that - considered turning to Ortodoxy, in mornent of mortal danger frorn the
Germans, as more perrnanent ideological motive force. '\Ve
would have saved Russia even through Orthodoxy if that \Vere
unavoida!e!' he explained.
Today this sounds incredile. But only to those who do not

CONVERSAIONS

WITH STALIN

realize the weight of the lo\vs that the Russian people suffered, to those who do not understand that every hurnan
society inevitaly adopts and develops those ideas that are, at.
given rnornent, best suited to rnaintaining and expanding the
conditions of its existence. Though drukard, General Korneyev was not stupid, d he \Vas deeply devoted to the Soviet
systern and to Cornrnunisrn. like rnyself, w d
grown up \Vith the revolutioary rnovernent d \vho d to
fight for survival isistig ideological purity, Korneyev's
hypotheses seerned absurd. et I \vas t at all arnazed - so
\videspread ld Russian patriotisrn, not to say nationalisrn,
becorne- \vhen the Bishop of Urnan raised toast to Stalin as
the 'unifier of the Russia lands'. Stalin uderstood intuitively
that his governrnent and his social systern could nqt \vithstand
the lo\vs of the Gerrnan Arrny unless they leat for support
the older aspiratios d beliefs of the Russia people.
The Secretary of the Urnan Soviet srnouldered with itter
ess at the Bishop's skilful d discreet ernphasis the role
of the Church, and v rnore at the passive attitude of the
populatio. The Partisa uit \Vhich he cornrnaded \vas so
weak in nurnbers that he was lrdly l to deal \Vitli the proGerrna Ukraiian gedarrnerie.

Indeed, it was t possile to conceal the passive attitude


of the Ukraiians to\vard the \var and to\vard Soviet victories.
The people seerned to sornbre and reserved, and they paid
no attention to us. Although the officer with \'.-horn \ve \Vere
i cotact concealed the Ukrainians' behaviour, or pretended
it \Vas better than it \vas, our Russian chauffeur cursed the
Ukrainians' rnothers because their sons had not fought better,
so that nO\V tl1e Russians had to lierate thern.
The next day \Ve set out through the Ukrainian spring
ud- in the tracks of the victorious Red r. The destroyed,
twisted Gerrnan equipent \vhich \Ve encountered so frequently added to the picture of the skill and po\ver of tl1e Red
r, but \ve arvelled ost of all at the toughness and selfdenial of the Russian soldier, \vho was l of enduring
days, weeks, buried in ud up to the waist, \vithout bread or

RAPTURES

43

sleep, under huicane of fire d steel brought the


desperate onslaughts of the Gerans.
Even today, \vitlut any iased, dogatic, or roantic
enthusiasrn, I still rate the qualities of the Red r, and
particularly its Russian core, very highly. It is true that t.he
Soviet cornanding cadres, to say nothing of the soldiers and
NCOs, receive one-sided education in politics, but in
every other respect they are encouraged to sho\v initiative and
broaden their kno\vledge. The disciplie is severe and unquestioning, but not unreasonale, cosidering the principal
ais and tasks of the r. The Soviet officers are not only
technically very proficient, but they are also the rnost talented
and boldest section of the Soviet intelligentsia. Though relatively \Yell paid, they do not constitute caste in theselves,
and though not too uch Marxist doctrie is required of
the, they are expected to extreely brave and not to fall
back in battle - for l, the comand cetre of the corps
cornmander at Ia~i \Yas tree kiloetres fro the Gerrnan
lines. Stalin had carried out sweeping purges, especially in the
higher comrnandig echelons, but these d had less effect
than is sometimes believed, for he did not hesitate at the sarne
tie to elevate younger and talented n; every officer who
\vas faitblul to hi and to his airns kne\v that his aitions
\vould rneet \vith encourageent. The speed and deterina
tion \Vith \Yhich he carried out the transformation of the top
comand in the idst of the \Yar confirrned his adaptaility
and \villingness to open careers to rnen of talent. acted in
two directions sirnultaneously: he introduced in the arrny
absolute obedience to the Governrnent and to the Party and
to hirn personally, and he spared nothing to achieve rnilitary
preparedness, higl1er stadard of living for the arrny, and
quick prootion for the best n.
It was in the Red Arrny, fro an anny cornrnander, that I
first heard thought that \Yas strange to then, but bold.
had to the conclusion that when Cornmunisrn
triurnphed in the \vhole world wars would then take on final
itterness. According to Marxist theories, which t Soviet

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN


44
commanders kne-..v as -..vell as I, -..vars are purely the product of
class struggle, and because Communism would abolish classes
the necessity for men to \vage -..var would also vanish. But this
general, and many other Russian soldiers, came to realize
some further truths in the horrors of war - just as I \vas later
to do in the worst battle in -..vl1ich I ever took part: that human
struggles would take on their final itterness only when all
men came to subject to the same social system, for the
systern -..vould not stand itself and various sects -..vould
undertake the reckless destruction of the human race for the
sake of its greater 'happiness'. Among these Soviet officers,
trained i Marxism, this idea -..vas not explicit or tl1e surface.
But. I did not forget it, nor did I regard it as being insignificant
then. Even if they did not consciously kno-..v that not even the
society which they were defending -..vas free from profound
and antagonistic differences, still they vaguely discerned that
though man t live outside ordered society d without ordered ideas, his life is also subject to other compellig
forces.
W became iured to all sorts of thigs i the Soviet U i.
Nevertheless, as cl1ildre of the Party d the Revolutio -..vho
acquired faith i themselves and the faith of the people through
ascetic purity, -..ve could t help beig shocked at t drikig
party that -..vas eld for us the eve of our departure from t
frot in Marshal Koiev's eadquarters, i village i Bessaraia.

Girls -..v were too pretty d too extravagantly d up


to -..vaitresses brought in vast quantities of the choicest victuals - caviare, smoked salmon and trout, fresh cucumbers and
pickled aubergines, boiled hams, cold roast pigs, hot rneat pies
and piquat ceeses, borshch, sizzling steaks, d finally cakes
foot thick and platters of tropical fruit uder -..vhicl1 the ta!es
g to sag.
Even earlier one could see tat the Soviet officers -..vere
secretly looking fonvard to t feast. Thus they all came ready
to gorge and to guzzle. But t Yugoslavs -..vent as if to great
trial: t d to drink, despite the fact tat this did not agree

RAPTURES
-..vit teir

45

'Communist morality', that is, -..vith the haits prevailing i their army d Party. But they belved splendidly,
especially as t -..vere not used to alcohol. Only tremendous exertio of -..vill po-..ver and sese of duty did they
-..vithstad so m 'ottoms-up' toasts, d remain their
feet at the d.
I al-..vays drak little and cautiously, excusing myself on
accout of my headaches, from -..vllic I really suffered at the
time. Our General Terzic looked tragic. had to drik even
if he did not feel like it, for he did not kno-..v ho-..v to refuse
Russian colleague -..v -..vould call for toast to Stalin just
secod after t aving spared himself for ito.
Our escort seemed v more tragic to . -..vas colonel
from t Soviet General Staff, and because l1e -..vas 'from the
rear', the Marsal d his geerals picked im, takig full
advantage of teir igher rank. Marshal Koiev paid no attention to the fact that this colonel \\S fairly -..veak; had
brought back to -..vork t Geeral Staff after having been
-..vounded at the frot. simply commaded the colonel:
'Colonel, drink up hundred grammes of vodka to the success
of the Secod Ukraiia Front!' silence ensued. All turned
to t coloel. I -..vated to intercede for him. But got up,
stood at attention, and drank. Soon beads of s-..veat broke out
on his pale high forehead.
But t everyone drank: those -..vho -..vere duty d in
contact ,,ith the frot did t. Nor did the staff drik at the
front, except -..vhen there -..vas definitely lull. They said that
durig the Finnish campaign Zhdanov asked Stali to authorize an issue of one udred grammes of vodka day per
soldier. From that time on, t custom remaied in t Red
Army, except tat the issue -..vas dou!ed before attacks: 'The
soldiers feel more relaxed!' it -..vas explaied to us.
1\or did Marshal Koiev drik. l1ad superior to
order im to do so; besides, d liver trou!e, and so is
doctors forbade him to. -..vas !d, tall man of fifty, -..vith
very eergetic face. Though he abetted gluttony, for
he held to t official 'philosophy' tat 'the men v to have

CONVERSAIONS WIH

STALIN

good tie now and then', he hiself was above that sort of
thig, beig sure of hiself and of his troops at the front.
The author Boris Polevoi id us to the front as
correspondet for Pravda. Though he all too easily
ethusiastic over the herois and virtues of his country, l1e
told us aecdote about Koiev's superhua cooless and
courage. Finding hiself at look-out post uder fire fro
Gr ortars, Koniev pretended to lookig through his
binoculars, but was actually watchig out of the corer of his
to see how his officers were taking it. Every of the
knew that he would deoted the spot if he showed any
vacillation, d dared point out to hi the dager to
his own life. And this wet . fell dead and were
wounded, but he left the post l after the inspectio was
over. On another occasio shrapel struck hi i the leg. They
took off his boot d bandaged the leg, but he reaied at
tl1e post.
Koiev was of Stali's w wartie cornaders. His
prootio had less rapid tha Rokossovsky's, whose
career was uch r sudden d story. joined the Red
r just after the revolution as young worker, and gradually rose through the ranks d through the arrny schools.
But he, too, rnade his career i battle, which was typical of the
Red Arrny uder Stalin's leadership in the Secod World
\Var.
Tacitur as usual, Koiev explaied to i few words
the course ofthe ig at Korsun-Shevchekovsky, which
had just been copleted d which was copared i the
Soviet Uion \Vith the one at Staligrad. descried, soe
\vhat gleefully, Gerrnay's latest catastrophe: s eighty, or
v hudred, thousad Gerrnans had refused to surreder
d d forced ito arro\v space, the taks sased
teir heavy equipet d acl1ie-gu posts wl1ile the
Cossack cavalry fially fiished t off. 'We let t Cossacks
cut the up for as log as t wished. They v hacked off
the ands of those who raised thern to surreder !' the Marshal
said with sile.

RAPTURES

47

I ust adit that at that nt I also rejoiced over t


fate that d befallen the Gerans. In country too N azis
had, i the n of 'rnaster race', waged war without any
of the hu cosideratios that had previously been shown.
d yet I had another feeling at t t.ie - horror that it
should so, tat it could not otherwise.
As I sat the right of this rearkale figure, I was eager
to clear up certain questions that particularly interested .
First of all: Why had Voroshilov, Budyony, d others \v
ld l1eld high ds \vhe the Soviet Uion etered the
war been removed frorn their posts?
Koiev replied: 'Voroshilov is of inexaustiie courage. But - v:as i! of uderstanding modern warfare.
His erits are eorous, but - the battle has to won.
During t Civil War, in which Vorosbllov to the fore,
the Red r had practically no plaes or taks agaist it,
wile in this war it is precisely tese achines that are playing
the vital role. ud never knew u, and he ever
studied aything. slwed hirnself to cornpletely incopetent and permitted a\vful istakes to d. Shaposhnikov was and reains technical staff officer.'
'd Stalin ?' I asked.
Taking care not. to show surprise at the question, Koniev
replied, after Iittle thought: 'Stalin is uiversally gifted.
is brilliantly ! to see tlle war as wlle, and this akes it
possile for hi to direct it so successfully.'
said othig r, nothing that ight soud like the
stock glorificatio of Stalin. passed over in silece the
purely ilitary side of Stali's directio. Koiev was old
Counist, firrnly devoted to the Governet and to the
Party, but, I would say, with his w firrn views ilitary
questions.
Koiev also presented us witl1 gifts: for Tito, his personal
inoculars, d for us, pistols. I kept ine until the Yugoslav
authorities confiscated it at the tirne of arrest in 1956.
The front abounded in examples of the personal erois
and unyieldig tenacity d initiative of ilie common soldiers.

48

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

Russia was all last-ditch resistance, sacrifice, and deterina


tion to win in the end. In those days Moscow abandoned itself
childishly- and so did we - to 'salutes': fireworks that greeted
victories behind which looed fire and death, and also itter
ness. For this \Vas too for Yugoslav fighters sufferig the
isfortue of their \V coutry. It was as though otllig else
existed i tlle Soviet U i except this gigatic, copellig
effort of Yast lad d populatio of illios. I, too,
sa\v othig else, d in ias idetified the patriotis of
the Russian people \Vith the Soviet syste, which \vas the
object of dreas d struggle.

5
It ust have about five o'clock i the afternoon, just as
I had copleted lecture at the Pa-Slavic Coittee d
had begu to ans\ver questions, \vhe soeone \Vhispered to
to finish iediately because of an iportat d pressing
atter. Not only \Ve Yugoslavs but also the Soviet officials had
treated this lecture as rnore tha usually important. Molotov's
assistat, . Lozovsky, had introduced to select audiece.
Obviously tl1e Yugoslav r! \vas becoing rnore and
r acute aong the Allies.
I excused yself, or they d excuses for , d
\vas \vhisked out into the street i the iddle of the eeting.
There they rd and General Terzic into strage
and t very imposing car. Only after the car had driven off
did unkno\V!l colonel fro tl1e State Security infor us
that we were to received Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin.
that tie our Military Mission had oved to villa
in Serebrenny Bor, Moscow suburb. I remebered the
gifts for Stalin, but feared that we \vould late if we \vent
so far out of our \vay to get the. But the ifalli!e State
Security ld taken care of that too; the gifts ! t to the
Colonel in the car. Everything then was in order, v our
uifors; for s ten days or so we had wearing new
ones d in Soviet factory. There was nothing to do but

RAPTURES

and

liste

to the Colonel,

ask

hi

49
as little as

possile.

I \vas already accustoed to asking questions. But I


could not suppress exciteent. It sprang fro the very
depths of being. I \Vas a\vare of own pallor and of
joyful, and at tlle s tie alost panic-stricken, agitation.
What could r exciting for Comnist, one who
was coing fro war and revolution, than to received
Stalin ? This \vas the greatest possiie recognition of the
herois and suffering of our Partisan figl1ters and our people.
I dungeons and in the holocaust of war, and i the less
violent spiritual crises and clashes \Vith the internal and external foes of Counis, Stalin was soething r tha
Ieader i battle. \vas the incarnatio of an idea, t.ras
figured in Couist inds into pure idea, and thereby ito
soetlling infalli!e and siless. Stalin was the victorious
battle of today d the brotherhood of n of toorro\v. I
realized that it was h that I personally \Vas the first
Yugoslav Couist to received hirn. Still, I felt
proud that I \vould ! to tell corades about this
encouter and say soething about it to the Yugoslav fighting
as \Vell.
Suddenly everything that had seeed unpleasant about the
U S S R disappeared, and all disagreeets betwee ourselves
d the Soviet leaders uiportant d trifling, as if
they had never happened. Everythig disagreeaie vanished
before t ovig grandeur and beauty of what was happening
to . \V fate \Vas of noaccount copared to the struggle
being 'vaged, and our disagreeents \Vere of importance
beside the obvious inevitaility of tl1e realization of our idea.
The reader should kno\v that at that time I believed that
Trotskyites, Bukharinites, and otller oppositionists in t
Party were indeed spies and wreckers, and tat therefore the
drastic easures taken against the as well as all other socalled class eneies were justified. If I ld observed that
those who had been in the U S S R in the period of the purge
in the mid thirties tended to leave certain thigs unsaid, I
c.s.-

so

CONVERSATIONS

WIH

STALIN

believed the things in question were not essentia! or had been


exaggerated: it was cutting into good f!esh in order to get
rid of the bad, as Dimitrov once put it in conversation wit
Tito. Therefore I .regarded al! the cruelties that Stalin committed exactly as his propaganda had portrayed them - as
inescapa!e revolutionary measures that only added to his
stature and his l1istoric role. I cannot rightly tel! even today
what I would have done had I known the truth about tl1e
trials and the purges. I can say with certainty tat my conscience would have undergone serious crisis, but I might
well have continued to Communist - with faith in
Communism that was ideal than the one that existed.
For with Communism as an idea the essetial thing is not
what is beig d but why. Besides it was the most rational
d most itoxicating, al!-embracing ideology for rne and for
those in rny divided d desperate land who so desired to leap
over centuries of slavery d backwardess and to by-pass
reality itself.
I had no tirne to compose myself, for the car soon arrived
at the gates of the Kremli. Anotl1er officer took clrge of us
at this poit, d the car proceeded through cold and clean
courtyards in which there was nothig alive except slender
budless saplings. Tl1e officer cal!ed our attention to the Tsar
Cannon and Tsar Bel! - those absurd syrnbols of Russia that
were never fired or rung. the left \Vas the monurnental bel!
tower of I van the Great, then ro\v of ancient cannon and
we soon found ourselves in front of the entrance to r~ther
low long buildig such as those built for offices and hospitals
in the rniddle of the ineteenth century. Here again we were
met an officer, who conducted us inside. At the bottom of
the stairs we took off our overcoats, combed ourselves in front
of mirror, and were then led into lift which discharged us
at the second f!oor into rather long red-carpeted corridor.
At every turn an officer saluted us with loud click of the
hee!s. They were all young, handsome, and stiff, in the lue
caps of the State Security. On this visit and on each of
Iater s, I was astonished at the clean!iness, so perfect that

RAPTURES

SI

it seemed impossi!e that men >vorked and lived here. Not


speck on the carpets or spot on the burnished door-knobs.
Final!y they led us into somewhat srnal! office in >vhich
General Zhukov was aleady waiting. smal!, fat, and pockmarked old official invited us to sit down while he himself
slowly rose frorn behind t! and went ito the neighbouring room.
Everything occurred \Vith surprising speed. The official
soon returned and informed us that we could go in. I thought
that I >vould pass through two or three offices before reaching
Stalin, but as soon as I opened the door and stepped across
the threshold, I saw him coming out of small adjoining room
through whose open doors an enormous globe was visi!e.
Molotov was also there. Stocky and and in perfect dark
lue European suit, he stood behind long conference
tale.

Stalin met us in the middle of the room. I was the first to


approach hirn and introduce myself. Then Terzic did the
same, reciting his >vhole title in rnilitary tone and clicking
his heels, to >vhich our host replied - it was alrnost comical saying: 'Stalin.'
vVe also shook hands with Molotov and sat down at the
tale so that Molotov was to the right of Stali, who was at
the head of the t!, ;vhile Terzic, General Zhukov, and I
were to the left.
The roorn ;vas not large, rather log, d devoid of any
opulence of decor. Above t too large desk in t corner
hung photograph of Lein, d on the wall over the co
ference taie, in identical carved wooden frames, were portraits of Suvorov and Kutuzov, looking very rnuch like the
chrorno-lithographs one sees in the provinces.
But the host was the plainest of all. Stalin >vas i rnarshal's
uniforrn and soft boots, without any edals except golden
star- the Order of Hero of the Soviet Union, the left side
of his beast. In his stance there was nothing artificial or
posturig. This was not that rnajestic Stalin of the photographs or the newsreels - with the stiff, delierate gait and

52

CONVERSATIONS

\VIH

STALIN

posture. \Vas not quiet for moment. toyed with his


pipe, 'Nhich bore the \vhite dot of the Englisl1 firm Dunhill,
or dre\v circles \Vith lue pencil around words indicating the
main subjects for discussion, \Vhich he then crossed out \Vith
slanting lines as each part of the discussion was nearing an
d, and he kept turning his head this \vay and that \vhile he
fidgeted in his seat.
I \vas also surprised at something else: \\'aS of very small
stature and ungaily build. His torso \vas short and arro\v,
\vhile his legs and arms \Vere too long. His left arm and soul~
der seemed rater stiff. d quite large paunch, and his
hair \Vas sparse, tough his scalp was not completely bald.
His face \vas \Yllite, \vit ruddy ceeks. Later I learned tat
this coloratio, so caracteristic of tose w sit long in
offices, \Vas kno\vn as t 'Kremlin complexio' in high Soviet
circles. His teeth \Vere lack and irregular, turned inward.
Not even his moustache \Vas thick or firm. Still t d was
not bad one; it d something of t commo people, t
peasats, t fater of great family about it- \Vith tose
yello\v eyes and mixture of sterness d mischief.
I \Yas also surprised at his t. One could tell that \Vas
not Russian. But his Russian vocabulary was ric, d his
manner of expression very vivid and flexile, and full of
Russian proverbs and sayigs. As I realized later, Stalin \Vas
\vell acquainted \Vit Russian literature - thoug only Russian
- but t l real kowledge he d outside Russian limits
\vas is kno\vledge of political history.
One thig did not surprise me: Stalin d sese of
humour- rough umour, self-assured, but not etirely
without subtlety and depth. His reactions \Vere quick and
acute - d coclusive, \vhich did not mean tat he did t
hear the speaker out, but it \\'as evident that \Vas friend
of long explanations. Also remarkale \Vas his relation to
Molotov. obviously regarded him as very close associate,
as I later confirmed. Molotov was the only member of the
Politburo \vhom Stalin addressed \Vith the farniliar pronou
ty, \vhich is in itself significant when remembers that

RAPTURES

53

Russias normally use the polite form vy even among very


close friends.
The conversatio began Stalin askig us about our impressions of t Soviet U nion. I replied: 'W are enthusiastic,'
- to whic he rejoined: 'And \Ve are not entusiastic, thoug
we are doing all \Ve can to make things better in Russia.' It is
engraved in my memory tat Stalin used tl1e term Russia, d
not Soviet Uion, ;vhich meant tat he was not l inspiring
Russian natioalism but was imself inspired it and
idetified himself \Vith it.
But I ld no time to think about suc things then, for
Stalin passed on to relatios wit t Yugoslav Governet
in-exile, turing to Molotov: 'Could't we someow trick the
English into recognizing Tito, wl l is fighting t
Germans?'
Molotov smiled - wit smile in whic tere was irony and
self-satisfactio: 'No, tat is impossile; t are perfectly
a\vare of developments in Yugoslavia.'
I was deligted tis direct, straigtforward maner,
wich I d not till then encountered in Soviet official circles,
let l i Soviet propaganda. I felt that I was i t right
place, and moreove \Yit man who treated realities in
familiar open way. It is ardly necessary to explain tat Stalin
\Yas like tis only arnog his own men, that is, aong Comuists of is lie w were devoted to him.
Though Stali did not proise to recognize t National
Committee as provisional Yugoslav goverent, it was
evidet that was interested i confirig it. The discussion
and the line he took \Yere sucl1 that I did not even bring up the
question directly; tat is, it was obvious tat t Soviet
Governent would do this iediately if it cosidered the
coditions ripe d if developents did t take different
turn - through temporary comproise between Britain and
the U S S R, and in turn bet\veen t National Comittee d
the Yugoslav Royal Governent.
Thus tis question remained unsettled. solution had to
wait and worked out. However, Stalin made up for this

54

CONVERSATIONS

\VIH

STALIN

beig uch r positive the questio of icreasig aid to


the Yugoslav forces.
Whe I metioned loan of two hudred thousad dollars,
he called this trifle, sayig that we could t do much with
this amout, but that the sum >vould allocated to us immediately. At my remark that >ve \vould repay this as well as all
shipents of arms and other equipmet after the lieratio,
he became geuiely agry: 'You isult me. You are sheddig
your lood, d you expect me to charge you for the \Veapos!
I am t merchat, \Ve are t merchats. ou are fightig
for the same cause as we are. W are duty boud to share with
you whatever we have.'
But ho\v \vould the aid ?
lt \Vas decided to ask the Wester Allies to estalish Soviet
air base in Italy \vhich \vould l1elp the Yugoslav Partisans.
'Let us try,' said Stalin. 'We slll see >vhat attitude the West
takes d ho\v far they are prepared to go to help ito.'
I should note that such base - cosistig of t trasport
plaes, if I reember right - was s estalished.
'But we canot help you much >vith planes,' Stalin explaied
further. 'An army cannot supplied plane, and you are
already an army. Ships are eeded for this. And we have no
ships. Our Black Sea fleet is destroyed.'
Geeral Zhukov interveed: 'We have ships in the Far East.
W could transfer them to our Black Sea harbour and load
them witll arms and whatever else is needed.'
Stalin interrupted him rudely and categorically. had
been restrained d alost impish; now aother Stali suddenly rnade his r. 'What i the world are you
thikig about? Are you i your right rnind ? There is war
goig i tl1e Far East. Sornebody is certaily t goig to
rniss the opportunity of sinking those ships. The ships have
to bought. But frorn whorn ? There is shortage of ships
just w. Turkey? The Turks do't have many ships, d
they vn 't sell any to us anyway. Egypt ? es, we could buy
s frorn Egypt. Egypt \Vill sell - Egypt would sell anytllig,
so they'll certainly sell us ships.'

RAPTURES

55

es, that was the real Stalin, who did t xnince words. But
I \Vas used to this in own Party, and I myself partial to this
maner \vhen the time to reach final decision.
General Zhukov swiftly and silently rnade note of Stalin's
decisions. But the sllips were never bought and the Yugoslavs
were ever supplied Soviet ships. chief reaso for tis
was, doubt, the progress of operations on t Eastern
Front- the Red Arrny soon reached tlle Yugoslav border and
was tllus ! to assist Yugoslavia land. I maintain that at
tlle tie Stalin d rnade up his mind about helping us.
Tis was tlle gist of the conversation.
In passing, Stalin expressed interest in rny opinion of individual Yugoslav politicians. asked me what I tought of
Milan Gavrilovic, tl1e leader of t Serian Agrarian Party d
tlle fust Yugoslav Ambassador to Moscow. l told im: '
srewd rnan.'
Stalin commented, as toug to imself: ' es, tere are
politicians who think sre>vdness is the rnain thing in politics
- but Gavrilovic irnpressed rne as stupid man.'
I added, ' is not politician of broad horizons, toug
I do not think it can said that is stupid.'
Stalin inquired where Yugoslav ing Peter had found
wife. When I told hi that he had taken Greek princess, he
shot back ischievously, 'w >vould it , Vyacheslav Miklilovich, if you or I rnarried some foreign princess?
s good could come of it.'
Molotov lauged, but in restrained manner and noiselessly.
At the end I presented Stalin \vith our gifts. looked
particularly prirnitive and wretched now. But he did not disparage the in t least. When saw the peasant sandals, he
exclairned: 'Lapti!'- the Russia \Vord for tern. As for the
rifle, he d and shut it, efted it, d rernarked:
'Ours is ligter.'
The rneeting d lasted about hour.
It was already dusk as we were leavig the remlin. The
officer who accoropanied us obviously caught our enthusiasro.

56

CONVERSATIONS

WIH

STALIN

Iooked at us happily and tried to ingratiate hiself \Vith


every little 'Yord. The northern lights can seen at Mosco\v
at tlt tie of year, and everything \Vas violet-hued and
shiering- \Vorld of unreality r beautiful than the one
in vhich \Ve had been liYing.
Soehow that is ho\v it felt in soul.

6
But I vas to haYe still another, eYen r significant and
interesting, encounter vitll Stalin. I rr exactly vhen
it occurred: on the eve of the Allied landing in Norandy.
This tie too no one told anything in adYance. They
siply infored that I \Vas to go to t Krelin, and
around nine in the eYening they put i car and droYe
tere. Not even anyone in the Mission knew \vhere I was
going.
They took to tl1e building in \Vich Stalin had receiYed
us, but to other roos. There l\!IolotoY \vas preparing to
leaYe. vVhile he put on his overcoat and hat, told tat
we were havig supper at Stalin's.
MolotoY is not Yery talkatiYe . Wen he was \Vith
Stalin, i good rnood, d '"ith those \vho thought as he did,
contact \Vas easy d direct. Othevise MolotoY reained
irnpassiYe, eYen in priYate conYersation. All the s, he
asked rne in the car what laguages I spoke besides Russian.
I told hi tat I spoke Frech. h \Ve talked about tlle
strength and organization of the Cornrnunist Party of YugoslaYia. I emphasized that at the begiing of the \Yar the
YugoslaY Party was illegal d relatiYely few i numberss t thousad mebers, but excellently organized.
I added, 'Like the BolsheYik Party in the First \Vorld
War.'
'You are wrong,' MolotoY retorted. 'The First World \Var
found our t in very \Veak state, its organization not co
nected but scattered, and \Yith srnall rnebership. I rernernber,' he contiued, w at the beginig of the war I

RAPTURES

57

illegally frorn Petrograd to Moscow on Party business. I had


nowhere t.o sped the night but had to risk staying with Lenin's
sister.' MolotoY also rnentioned t.he name of that sister, and,
if I rernember correctly, she was called Marya llyinichna.
The car sped alog at fairly good speed - about sixty
iles an hour, d t vith no traffic obstacles. Apparently
the traffic police recognized the car in sorne \vay and gave it
clear t. Once out of Moscow, we struck out asphalt
road whic I later learned was called the GoYernrnet Highway because l Governrnent cars were perrnitted on it for
long tirne after the war. Is tbls still true today? Soon \Ve
carne to barrier. The officer in the seat next to the chauffeur
flashed little badge throug the vindscreen and t guard
let us through without any forrnalities. The right window \Vas
down. Molotov noticed that I was sufferig fro the draught
and began to raise the \Vindo\v. Only then did I notice that the
glass was very thick and it occurred to that \Ve were riding
in an aroured car. I tblnk it was Packard, for ito got the
s kind in 1945 fro the Soviet Goverent.
S t days before that supper the Gerrnans had carried
out surprise attack on the Supreme Staff of the YugoslaY
r of National Lieration in Drvar. Tito and the ilitary
issions had to flee into the hills. The Yugoslav leaders were
forced to udertake long strenuous marches in which valuale
tie for ilitary and political activities was lost. The r!
of food also acute. The SoYiet Military Mission d
been inforrig Moscow in detail about all this, while our
Mission in Mosco\v was in constant contact with responsile
Soviet officers, adYising the how to get aid to the Yugoslav
forces and the Supree Staff. Soviet planes fle\v v at night
and dropped aunition and food supplies, though actually
without uch success, since the packages were scattered over
\vide forest area \vhich had to quickly evacuated.
On the way Molotov wished to know what I thought about
this situation. His interest was intense, but quite irnpersonal
- as if he were concerned only to obtain true picture.
W drove about twenty rniles, turned left on to side road

S8
CONVERSAIONS \VIH STALIN
and soon came to clup of young fir trees. Again there was
barrier, then short ride, and the gate. We found ourselves
before not very large villa which was also in thick clup
of firs.
We no sooner went through the door into sall all tan
Stalin appeared - tllls tie in sles d dressed in his plain
tunic, buttoned up to is chin, and known so well fro is
pre-war pictures. Like tis he seeed v saller, but also
sipler and copletely at h. led us into sall d
surprisingly t study - no books, no pictures, just bare
\Voode walls. W seated ourselves around sall writing tale,
and he irnediately began to ask questios about \vhat had
d to the Yugoslav Supreme Staff.
The very nr of is inquiry showed sharp contrast
between Stalin d Molotov. With Molotov it was ipossile
to tell \vhat he was thinkig or how ld arrived at his
thoughts. His ind reained sealed and iscrutale. Stalin,
however, was of lively, almost restless teperaent.
always questioed- iself and others; and he argued- wit
hiself and others. I will not say tat Molotov did not easily
get excited, or that Stalin did not know w to restrain hiself
and to dissiulate; later I was to see both i these roles. But
Molotov was alost always t s, wit hardly shade of
variety, regardless of what or w was uder consideration,
whereas Stalin was copletely different i his own, Co
unist, ilieu. Churchill has descried Molotov as coplete
odern robot. That is correct. But tat is on one, external side
of i. Stalin was less cold calculator than he. But
precisely because his was r passionate and any-sided
nature- though all sides were equally strong and so convincing that it seemed never disseled but V.'as al\vays truly
experiencing each of his roles - he was more penetrale and
offered greater possiilities. l'olotov seeed to look upon
everytl1ing- even upon Counis and its fial ais - as
relative, as somethig to wich he had to, rather t ought
to, subordiate his own fate. It was as though for there
\Vas rthig peranent, as though there was only transitory

RAPTURES

59

reality \vich presented itself differetly' each day and to \Vich


d to offer iself d is \vole Iife. For Stalin, too,
everyting was transitory. But that was his pilosophical vie\v.
Beind that ipermanence and witlli it, certain great d
final ideas ! idden - is ideals, which could approach
ouldig or twisting the reality and tl1e livig \v
coprised it.
In retrospect it sees to tl1at these two, Molotov, with
his relativis, wit his gift for detailed daily routine, and
Stalin, with his fanatical dogmatis and, at the s tie,
broader orizons, his driving quest for further, future possibilities, these t\vo ideally copleented one another. Molotov,
tough ipotet witout Stali's leadersip, was idispensale
to Stalin in ways. Thoug both were unscrupulous in
teir ethods, it sees to that Stalin selected tese rriethods
carefully d fitted the to the circustances, while Molotov
regarded them in advance as being incidental and uimportant.
I aintai that he not only incited Stali into doing n
tlllngs, but that he also sustained i and dispelled his doubts.
And tough, in view of is greater versatility d penetration,
Stalin clais the principal role i trasforing back\vard
Russia into odern industrial iperial po\ver, it would
\Vrong to underestiate Molotov's role, especially as the
practical executive.
Molotov even seeed physically suited to such role:
thoroug, deliberate, composed, and tenacious. drank
r tan Stalin, but his toasts were shorte d calculated
to produce particular political effect. His personal life was
also urearkale, and whe, year later, I t is \vife,
odest and gracious w, I had the ipression tat any
oter migt v served is regular, necessary functios.
The conversation with Stali began with his excited questions about wat would h to the Yugoslav Supreme
Staff and t units aroud it. 'They will starve to death!' he
exclaimed.
I tried to show hi that this could rt happen.
'And \v t ?' went on. 'How n times have soldiers

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

starved to death! Hunger is the

terrile n

of every

r.'

I explained to hi, 'It is coutry i which one al\vays


find soethig to eat. W have been i uch worse situations
without starvig to death.' I succeeded in caling and assuring hi.
then turned to the questio of sending aid. The Soviet
frot \Vas still too distat for fighter planes to ! to escort
transports. At point Stalin flared up, upbraiding the
pilots: 'They are cowards - afraid to fly during daytie 1
Cowards, God, co\vards!'
Molotov, \vho was infored on the \Vhole r!, defeded
the pilots: 'No, they are not co\vards. Far fro it. It is just
that fighter planes have too short range and the transports
\Vould slt do\vn before they ever reached their target.
Besides, their payload is insignificat. They have to carry tlleir
\V fuel to get back. That is the only reason why they have to
fly at night d carry sall load.'
I supported Molotov, for I kne\v that Soviet pilots d
voluteered to fly in daytie, \Vithout the protection of fighter
planes, i order to help tl1eir fellow-soldiers i Yugoslavia.
At the s tie I copletely agreed with Stali in isist
ig tllat, i vie\v of the serious and coplicated circustaces
d tasks to done, Tito ust fid hiself r peraent
headquarters where he could free fro daily isecurity.
There is no doubt that Stalin also transitted this view to tlle
Soviet Mission, for it \Vas just at that tie, on their insistence
tllat Tito agreed to evacuate to Italy, and fro there to th;
island of Vis, \vhere reained until the Red r got to
Yugoslavia. Of course Stalin said nothig about tis evacuation, but the idea was taking s in his ind.
The Allies had already agreed to estaiish Soviet air base
in Italy for aid to the Yugoslav soldiers, d Stalin stressed
the urgency of sending transport planes tllere and getting t
base itself going.
Apparently ecouraged optimis about the final
outcome of the current German offensive against Tito, he tllen

RAPTURES
61
took up our relations with the Allies, priarily with Great
Britai, \vhich \Vas, as I realized even the, the principal
reason for the eeting \Yith .
The substace of his suggestios \Vas, firstly, that we ought
t to 'fl"ighten' the Eglish, \Yhich he t that \Ve ought
to avoid anythig that ight alar the ito thiking that
reYolutio \Yas goig in Yugoslavia or an attept at Co
uist cotrol. 'vVhat do you \Vant \Vith red stars your
caps? The for is t iportat but \vhat is gained, and you red stars! God, there's d for stars!' Stalin exclaied
angrily.
But did not hide the fact that his ager was not very
great. It \vas reproach, and I explained to hi: 'It is impossiie to abolish the red stars because they have already
tradition and have to n soethig to our
fighters.'
stuck to his opinion, but without great insistence, and
then tured to aother aspect of relatios with the W ester
Allies, and continued, 'Perhaps you think tlt just because
,,. are the allies of the English \Ve v forgotten v they
are d \Vho Churcill is. Tere's nothig t like better
tan to trick teir allies. During tl1e First World \Var they
constantly tricked the Russians and tlle Frenc. And Churchill? Churchill is the kid of \vho will pick your pocket
of kopeck if you don't watch hi. Yes, pick your pocket of
kopeck! God, pick your pocket of kopeck! d Roosevelt? Roosevelt is rt Iike tat. dips in his had ! for
igger coins. But Churchill? Churchill - will do it for
kopeck.'
kept stressig that we ought to be\Yare of t Itelligence
Service d of Eglis duplicity, especially \Vith regard to
Tito's life. 'They \Yere the ones \Vho killed General Sikorski
in plane d ten neatly shot down the plane - no proof,
\Vitnesses.'
I the course of the eetig Stalin kept repeatig these
warnigs, \vhich I passed to Tito upon return d which
probaly ifluenced is decision to k his conspiratorial

62

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

RAPTURES

night flight from Vis to Soviet-occupied territory in Rumania


on 21 September 1944
Stalin then moved on to relations with the Yugoslav Royal
Government. The new royal representative was Dr Ivan
Subasic, who had promised to arrange relations with Tito
and to recognize the National Lieration n as the chief
force in tlle struggle against the forces of occupation. Stalin
urged. 'Do not refuse to llold conversations with Subasic - or1
no accout must you do this. Do not attack him immediately.
Let us see what he wats. Talk to him. ou canot recognized rigllt away. You must find half-way position. You
ought t.o talk -..vit Subasic and see if you can't reach comprornise somehow.'
His urging was t categorical, though it was deterined. I
passed all tis on to ito and to the mebers of the Central
Comrnittee, d it probaly helped to bring about the wellkow Tito-Subasic Agreeent.
Stalin then invited us to supper, but in t hallway we
stopped before of the world on which the Soviet Union
was coloured in red, -..vhich d it cospicuous d igger
than it would otherwise seem. Stalin waved his hand over the
Soviet Union and, referring to what he had just saying
agaist the British and the Americas, he exclaimed, 'They
>vill never accept tlle idea tat so great space should red,
never, ever!'
I noticed that on the the area around Stalingrad was
ecircled fro the west lue pencil ark. Apparetly
Stalin had dor1e this in the course of the Battle of Stalingrad.
detected glance, and I had the ipression that it
pleased him, tough lle did t betray his feeligs in any
way.
I do t rr t reaso, but I happened to reark,
'Without industrialization the Soviet Union could not have
preserved itself and waged sucl1 war.'
Stali added, 'It was precisely over this that we quarrelled
with Trotsky and BuJarin.'
And this was all - here in front of t - that I ever

heard frorn hi about those opponents of his: they had


quarrelled!
In the dining r two or three people fro t Soviet high
comrnand -..vere already -..vaiting, standing, though there -..vas
no one fro the Politburo except Molotov. I have forgotten
them. Anyway they were silent and withdrawn the whole
evening.
In his rnemoirs Churchill vividly descries an iprovised
dinner with Stalin at. the Krernlin. But that is the way Stalin's
dinners were in general.
In spacious and unadorned, though tasteful, dining roorn,
tlle front half of long tale was covered with all kinds of
foods on warrned heavy silver platters as well as beverages and
plates d other utensils. Everyone served hirnself and sat
where he wished around the free half of the tale. Stali never
sat at. the head, but he always sat in the s cllair - the first.
to the left of the head of the tale.
The variety of food and drink was enorous - with eats
and hard Iiquor predominating. But everything else -..vas sirnple
and unostetatious. None of the servats appeared except
when Stalin rag, and the only occasion for this was when I
asked for beer. Everyoe ate what he pleased and as uch as
l1e wanted; only there was rather too rnuch urging d daring
us to drik and there -..vere too rnany toasts.
Such dinner usually lasted six or r hours - from ten
at night till four or five in the rnorning. One ate and drank
slowly, during rarnling conversation which raged from
stories and anecdotes to the most serious political and even
philosophical subjects. Unofficially and i actual fact significat part of Soviet policy was shaped at these dinners. Besides
tlley -..vere the most frequet and rnost convenient entertainment and only luxury in Stalin's otherwise mootoous d
sornbre life.
Apparetly Stali's co-workers were used to this manner
of workig d living - d spet their nights dining with
Stali or with one of their w urnber. They did not arrive
in teir offices before n, and usually stayed in tern till

64
CONVERSAIONS WIH STALIN
late evening. This made the work of the higher adinistratio
difficult and complicated, but it adapted itself, even the diplomatic corps when they had contacts with members of the
Politburo.
There \Vas no estalished order in \Vhich members of the
Politburo or other high officials attended these diners. Usually they were tlse who d some connexion with t business
of the guest or \Vith current issues. But apparently t circle
was narro\V, and it \Vas an especial honour to invited to sucl1
diner. Molotov \vas the only person \vho was al\vays preset,
d I tik this \vas not only because he was Comissar, that
is, Minister for Foreign Affairs, but also because he was i
fact Stalin's deputy.
At these dinners the Soviet leaders were at their closest,
most intiate with one anoter. Everyone would tell the news
from is departmets, \Vho he had met that day, d wat
plas he was making. The sumptuous tale and considerale,
though t imoderate, quantities of alcoll eliveed spirits
and increased the atmosphere of cordiality and infonality.
An uninstructed visitor might hardly have detected any difference between Stalin and the rest. et it existed. His opiion
was carefully noted. No one opposed him very hard. It all
rather resemled patriarchal family with crotchety head
whose foiles always made his kisfolk somewhat apprehensive.
Stali ate food in quantities that would have enorus
even for much larger n. usually chose meat, which
was sign of his moutain origins. also liked all kinds of
!! specialities in which this land of various clies and
civilizations abounded, but I did not notice that one dish
was his particular favourite. drank oderately, usually
ixing red wine d vodka in little glasses. I never noticed
signs of drukeness in him, whereas I could not say the
same for Molotov, let alone for Beria, w was practically
drukard. As all to over-ate at these dinners, the Soviet
leaders ate very little d irregularly during the day, and n
of the dieted on fruit d juices one day in each week, for the
sake of razgruzhenie (unloading).

RAPTURES

65

It was at these diners that the destiny of the vast Russian


land, of the newly acquired territories, and, to considera!e
degree, of the um race was decided. d v if the diners failed to inspire those spiritual creators - the 'engineers
of the human spirit' - to geat deeds, many such deeds were
probaly buried there for ever.
Still I never heard any talk of inner-Party opposition or
how to deal with it. Apparently this largely under the
jurisdiction of Stali and the Secret Police, and since tl1e
Soviet leaders were also human, they gladly forgot about conscience, especially as any appeal to conscience would
dangerous to their own fate.
I shall mention only what seemed significant to me in the
casual conversatio that ramled iperceptily fro subject
to subject at that session.
Calling to mind earlier ties betwee the South Slavs d
Russia, I said, 'But the Russian tsars did not uderstand the
aspirations of t South Slavs - they were interested in imperialistic expansion, and we are concered wit lieration.'
Stalin agreed, but in different way: 'es, the Russia
tsars lacked orizons.'
Stalin's interest in Yugoslavia was different from that of
t other Soviet leaders. was not concered with the
sacrifices d the destruction, but \Vith what kid of internal
relations had been created and what the actual power of the
rebel moveent was. did rt gather even this information
through questioning, but in t course of the conversation
itself.
At one point expressed interest in A!ania. 'What is
really going on over there? What kind of people are t ?'
I explained: 'In !i pretty uch the same thig is
happeig as in Yugoslavia. The Alanias are the most
anciet Balka people - older tha the Slavs, and v the
ancient Greeks.'
'But how did their settlements get Slavic ames ?' Stalin
asked. 'Haven't t some in with the Slavs ?'
I explained tis too. 'The Slavs inaited t valleys in

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN


66
earlier ties - hence the Slavic place naes - and then in
Turkish times the Aanians pushed them out.'
Stalin >v-inked ischievously. 'l ld hoped that the Alba
ians were at least little Slavic.'
In telling him about the methods of warfare in Yugoslavia
and its ferocity, I entioned that we did not take German
prisoners because they killed all our prisoners.
Stalin interrupted laughing: 'One of our n was leadig
large group of Germa prisoners, and on the way he killed
all but one. They asked him, wen arrived at his destination: "Aild were are all the others ?" "I was just carrying
out the orders of the Comander--Cief," he said, "to kill
every one to the last man- and here is the last ."'
In the course of the conversation, remarked about the
Germans, ' are queer people, like sheep. I rr
fro rny cildood: werever the r went, all the rest
followed. I remember also wen I was Germany before the
Revolution: group of Geran Social Deocrats late
to the Congress because they ld to wait to have their tickets
confirmed, somethg of the sort. Wen would Russians
ever do that? Someone has said >vell: "In Germay you cannot have revolution because you would have to step on the
lawns.'''
asked to tell irn what the Serian words were for
certain things. Of course the great similarity benveen Russia
and Serian was apparent. ' God,' Stalin exclaimed, 'there's
no doubt about it: we're the s people.'
There were also anecdotes. Stal liked particular
which I told. ' Turk and Montenegrin were talking during
rare mornent of truce. The Turk wondered why t Montenegrins constantly waged war. "For plunder,'' the Montenegrin replied. "W are poor d hope to get s booty.
Aild what are you figting for ?" "For honour and glory,''
replied the Turk. wich the Montenegri rejoed, "Everyone fights for what he hasn't got.''' Stalin comented roaring
with laughter: ' God, that's deep: everyone fights for wat
he has't got.'

RAPTURES
67
Molotov laughed too, but again sparely d soudlessly.
Humour was something which he was quite unae to give
or take.
Stal asked which leaders I had met in Moscow, and when
I mentioned Dimitrov and Manuilsky, he rearked, 'Dimitrov
is cleverer man than Manuilsky, uch cleverer.'
At this he rearked on the dissolution of the Cointern,
'They, the Westerners, are so sly that they mentioned nothing
about it to us. Aild we are so stubborn that had they entioned
it, we would not have dissolved it at all! The situation \Yith the
Cotern was becoing r and r abnormal. Here
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich and I \Yere racking our brains, while
the Comintern was pulling in its own direction - and the
discord grew worse. It is easy to work >Yith Diitrov, but witl1
the others it was lrder. Most important of all, there was
soething abnonnal, soething unnatural about the very
existence of general Comunist foru at time when the
Comunist parties should v been searching for national
language and fightg under the conditions prevailiilg their
\v countries.'
In the course of the evenig two dispatches arrived: Stalin
anded both to read.
reported what Suba8ic d said to t United States
State Departent. SubasiC's line was tis: We Yugoslavs ca
not against the Soviet Unio nor can \ pursue an ati
Russia policy, for Slavic and pro-Russian traditions are very
strong aong us.
Stalin remarked, 'Tis is Suba8ic scarig the Aericans.
But w is scarig them? Yes, scarg the! But w,
'.Yhy ?'
Aild then added, probaly noticg t astonisll!Ilent on
face, ' steal our dispatches, we steal theirs.'
The second dispatch was fro Churchill. anounced
that t landg France would g on the next day.
Stalin began to k fun of the dispatch. 'Yes, there'll
landing, if tere is no fog. Until no>v tere was always
soeting that put it off. I suspect toorrow it will s-

68
thig

CONVERSAIONS WITH STALIN

else. they'll meet "l>.~th some Germas! What if


they meet with some Germans! there won't
lading t, but just promises as usual.'
Hemmig d hawig i his usual way, Molotov g to
explai: 'No, this time it will really so.'
impressio \vas that Stalin did t seriously doubt that
there would Allied landig, but his aim was to ridicule
it, especially tlle reasons for its previous postpoemets.
.
As I sum up tlt evening today, it seems to me that Stali
was delierately frighteing the Yugoslav leaders in order to
weake their ties with the W est, and at the same time he tried
to subordiate their policy to his iterests d to his relations
witll the W ester states, especially Great Britai.
As result of his ideology d methods, his persoal experiece d historical heritage, he trusted othig but wh~t
he lleld in his fist, d everyoe d the control of his
police was potetial m. Because of t conditios of
war, the Yugoslav revolution had been wrested from his co
trol, d the force that was generating behind it was becomig
too conscious of its power for him to ! simply to give it
orders. was conscious of all this, d so he was simply
doig what he could- exploitig the ati-capitalist prejudices
of the Yugoslav leaders agaist the Western states. tried to
id those leaders to himself d to subordiate their policy
to his ..
The world i which the Soviet leaders lived - d tllat was
my world too - seemed to to slowly takig new
aspect: lrrile uceasig struggle on all. sides .. Everythig
\Vas beig stripped bare d reduced to strife whrch chaged
l i form d i \Vhich l the stroge .~ the more
curig could survive. I had full of admrrat for the
Soviet leaders log before this, now I became intoxicated \vith
ethusias for the immeasurale \Vill-power d vigilace
which were ever relaxed for mt.
It was world in which there was choice but victory or
death.
That was Stalin - tlle builder of w social syste.

RAPTURES
takig leave, I again asked Stali if had aythig
to say about the \\'ork of the Yugoslav Party. replied, 'No,
I have t. ou yourselves kow best \vhat is to d.'
arriving at Vis, I reported this to ito d to the other
members of the Cetral Comittee. d I summed up
Mosco\v trip: the itr factually no loger existed, and
\Ve Yugoslav Comunists had to shift for ourselves. We had
to deped priarily on our O\Vn foces.
As I was leaving after that diner, Stalin presented with
sword for Tito- the gift of the Supree Soviet. go wit
this agnificent d exalted gift I added \v odest ?,
\vay back via Cairo: ivory chess set. I do t thk
tere was sybolis tere. But it does seem to tat
v the there was suppressed iside me world different
fro Stali's.

From the clup of firs around Stalin's villa tere rose the
rnist d the da\v. Stali d Molotov, tired after another
sleepless ight, shook hads \vitll me at the tr. The
car bore away ito the rnorig d to not yet a\vakened
Moscow, bathed i the lue haze of u d the de\v. There
came back to me the feelig I had ld \v I set foot
Russia soil: the \Yorld is t so ig after all \vhe vie\ved
from this lad. And perhaps not unconquerale- with Stalin,
\vith the ideas that were supposed finally to have revealed to
m the trut about society and about himself.
It \Vas beautiful dream- in the reality of war. It never
even occurred to to decide \Vi of tese \vas the more
real, just as I \vould not l today to dec~de \vhic.h, the
drea or the realitv failed r to live up to Its promrses.
live i drea~s and in realities.

Doubts
I

second trip to Moscow, and thus second meeting with


Stalin, \Vould r! never have taken place had I not been
victim of own frankness.
Following the penetratio of the Red n into Yugoslavia
and the lieration of Belgrade in the autumn of 1944, men d
parties of m i the Red Army committed so many serious
assaults citizens and members of the Yugoslav Army
that political problem arose for the w regime and for the
Communist Party.
The Yugoslav Communists idealized the Red Army. Yet
they temselves dealt unmercifully \Vit even the most petty
looting d crime in their w ranks. \Vere more dumbfounded tln were the ordinary people, who through ineri
ted experience expected looting and crime from every army.
The problem was real one. Worse still, the foes of Communism were exploiting tese incidents Red Army soldiers
in their fight against the rt yet fully established regime, and
against Communism in general. The entire problem \vas complicated because tl1e Red Army commands \Vere deaf to
complaints, and so gave the impression that they themselves
condoned the attacks and the attackers.
As soon as Tito retured to Belgrade from Rumania - at
which time he also visited Moscow and met Stalin for the
first time - this question had to taken up.
At meeting held at Tito's, which I attended with Kardelj
and Rankovic - the four of us were the best-kr\vn leaders of
the Yugoslav Party - it was decided to discuss this with the
chief of the Soviet Missio, General Korneyev. In order to
make Korneyev understad just ho\v serious the whole matter
was, we decided that not only Tito should talk to him, but

DOUBTS
71
that all three of us should attend the meeting alog \vith two
of the most distinguised Yugoslav commanders- Generals
Peko Dapcevic and Popovic.
Tito put t pro!em to Korneyev in an extremely mild and
polite for, which only made Korneyev's crude and offended
rejection all the more astonishing. We had ivited Koreyev as
comrade d Communist, d here he shouted, 'In t
name of the Soviet Government I protest against suc i
sinuatios agaist t Red Army, wi s .. .'
All efforts to covince him were i vai. r suddenly
loomed within llim t picture of himself as the representative
of great po\ver and of 'lierating' army.
It \vas then that I said, ' prolem lies in the fact, too,
that our enemies are using this against us and are comparing
the attacks the Red Army soldiers \vith the behaviour of
the Eglis officers, who do not indulge in such excesses.'
Koreyev reacted to this \Vith gross lack of understanding.
'I protest most sarply against the insult to the Red Army in
comparig it\with t armies of capitalist countries.'
! later did t Yugoslav autorities gather statistics on
the lawless acts of the Red Army soldiers. According to complaints filed citizens, tere were 121 cases of rape, of which
I 1 I involved rape with murder, and 1,204 cases of lootig with
assault- figures that are ardly isignificant if it is borne imind
that the Red Army crossed only the north-eastern cor'er of
Yugoslavia. These figures show why the Yugoslav leaders had to
consider these icidets as political pro!em, all t more
serious because it had become an issue i the domestic struggle.
The Commuists also regarded this pro!em as moral .
Could this the ideal d long-awaited Red Army?
The meeting >vith Korneyev eded without results, tough
we did otice later that the Soviet commads treated their
soldiers' misdemeanours r strictly. As s as Korneyev
left, some of tlle comrades reproached me, some mildly and
others more sharply, for \vhat I had said. It truly never
crossed my mind to compare the Soviet Army \Vith the British
- Britain had only mission in Belgrade- but I was stating

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

DOUBTS

obvious facts and presenting my reaction to political problem, and I had been provoked too the lack of understanding
and intransigence of General Koreyev. It was certainly far
fro my mind to insult the Red Army, which was at the time
ho less dear to than to Geeral Korneyev. ln view of the
position I held, I could t keep silent \Vhen wome were being
violated - crirne I have al\vays regarded as beig among the
most einous - and when our soldiers were being abused d
our property pillaged.
These words of mine, and few ot.her matters, were the
cause of t first friction bet\\'een t Yugoslav aad Soviet
leaders. Though actually rnore serious causes t tese were
to arise, it was tl1ese very \Vords that were to most frequetly cited as t reason for the indigation of the Soviet
leaders and their representatives. I may mention incidentally
that this was certaily the reason why the Soviet Goverrnent.
did t preset me with the Order of Suvorov whe it distriuted them to some other leadig members of the Yugoslav
Central Comrnittee. For similar reasons it also passed over
General Peko Dapcevic. This caused Rankovic and me to
suggest to ito that he decorate Dapcevic \vitll the Order of
Yugoslav Natioal Hero, to couter tis snub. s words
of mine were also one of the reasos w Soviet agents i
Yugoslavia began, early in 1945, to spread rumours about my
'Trotskyism'. They thernselves \Vere forced to abandon this
measure, t just because of the senselessess of such carges,
but because our relations improved.
Nevertheless, because of rny declaratio, I soon foud myself almost isolated, t particularly because my closest frieds
condemed me - though there \Vere ideed some severe reproaches - or because the Soviet leaders d exaggerated and
lo\vn up the entire incidet, but perhaps more profoudly
because of w iner experiences. That is to say, I found
myself even then in t dilemma in which every Commuist
w had adopted the Communist idea \vith good will and
altruism fids himself. Sooer or later he rnust confront the
icogruity between that teory and the practice of the Party

leaders. I tis case, however, it was t because of the discrepacy betwee an ideal depiction of tl1e Red Army and the
actual deeds of its ernbers; I too was aware that, tlugh it
\Vas t arrny of 'classless' society, the Red r could 'not
yet' all that it should , d tat it still had to contain
'rernnants of the old'. dilemrna was created the indifferet, not to say benign, attitude of t Soviet leaders and
Soviet cornaads toward crime, revealed their refusal to
recognize it and their protests \vhenever it was brought to
their attention. Our owa intentioas were good: to preserve the
reputation of tl1e Red Army and of the Soviet Union, \vhich
t propaganda of the Comunist Party of Yugoslavia had
been building up for years. And \vhat did tese good intentions
of ours encounter? Arrogance and rebuff typical of ig state
towards small one, of the strong to\vard the weak.
Tis dilemma was made muc rnore acute because of the
efforts of Soviet representatives to use rny basically \vellitentioned words to support their arrogaat and critical attitude to the Yugoslav leadership.
vVat \Vas it tllat prevented the Soviet representatives from
understanding us? For \vhat reason were my words exaggerated and twisted? Why \Vere t Soviet representatives exploiting them ia this perverted form for their political ends to portray tl1e Yugoslav leaders as ungiateful to Red Army
whicl1 at certain mornet \vas supposed to lve played the
principal role in lieratig tl1e capital city of Yugoslavia and
istalling the Yugoslav leaders there?
But tl1ere was no answer to these questions, nor could there
at that time.
Like rnany others, I too \Vas perturbed oter acts of the
Soviet representatives. For example, the Soviet Cornand
announced that it \Vas presenting as aid to Belgrade gift of
large quantity of wheat, but it turned out that this \vas in fact
wheat that t Gerrnans had collected from Yugoslav peasats
and had stored on Yugoslav territory. The Soviet Command
Iooked upon that wheat, and much else besides, sirnply as
teir spoils of war. Moreover, Soviet itelligence agents were

73

CONVERSAIONS \VIH

74

STALIN

recruiting, en masse, emigre white Russians, and even Yugoslavs; some of these people were in the very machinery of the
Central Committee. Against whom and why were these people
employed? Also, in the field of agitation and propaganda,
which I directed, friction with Soviet representatives was
acutely felt. The Soviet press systematically distorted and
belittled the struggle of the Yugoslav Communists, \\'hile
Soviet representatives sought, at first cautiously and then more
and more openly, to subordinate Yugoslav propaganda to
Soviet needs and Soviet patterns.
And tl1e drinking parties of the Soviet representatives,
which \vere becoming more and more like real bacchanalia
and to which they \vere trying to entice the Yugoslav leaders,
could only cofirm in my eyes and in the eyes of m others
the incongruity bet\vee Soviet ideals and actios, their profession of ethics in \vords and their amorality in deeds.
The first contact betwee tl1e t\vo revolutions and the t\vo
governments, though they \vere founded similar social d
ideological bases, could not but lead to frictio. d sice it
occurred within an exclusive d closed ideology, the frictio
was bound to expressed at first as rl dilemma and
feeling the part of the Yugoslavs of sorrow d regret that
the centre of orthodoxy did not understand the good intentions
of small Party d poor land.
Since men do not necessarily react consciously, I suddenly
'discovered' man's indissolu!e bond \Vith nature- I reverted
to the hunting trips of my early youth and suddenly noticed
that there \Vas beauty outside t Party d the revolution.
But the itterness was just beginning.
2

\vinter of 1944-5 large Government delegatio


to MoscO\v; it included Andrija Hebrang, member
of the Central Committee and Minister of Industry, Arso
Jovanovic, Chief of the Supreme Staff, and Mitra Mitrovic,
my wife at tl1e time. Apart from the political reactions, she
During

joureyed

DOUBTS

75
was also l to tell me tlle huma reactions of tlle Soviet
leaders, to which I was particularly sensitive.
The delegation, both individually and as whole, suffered
costant recriminations about the general situatio in Yugoslavia and certain of the Yugoslav Ieaders. The Soviet officials
usually g \Vith the correct facts, d then exaggerated
them and made generalizations. make matters worse, the
cl1ief of the delegation, Hebrang, stuck closely to tl1e Soviet
representatives, submitting written reports to them and shifting Soviet displeasure on to other members of the delegation.
Hebrag's motive for tllis behaviour seemed to , as far as I
could make out, his grudge because he had been rernoved from
t position of Secretary of the Commuist Party in Croatia,
and even more because of his craven behaviour while in prison.
This did t become kown until later, and he was bellaving
Iike this i order to conceal his cowardice.
give informatio to the Soviet Party was at that time
not in itself cosidered deadly sin, for no Yugoslav Communist set his own Central Comittee against tl1e Soviet.
Moreover, iforation the situation in the Yugoslav Party
\Vas availale and accessiie to the Soviet Central Comittee.
But Hebrag's object was to underine tlle Yugoslav Central
Committee. It \vas never discovered \vhat he was reportig.
But from tl1e time he took d fro \vlt individual rs
of the delegatio related, it was possiie to conclude without
any doubt that. even at this time Hebrag was giving ifora
tion to tl1e Soviet Cetral Comittee witll the i of getting
its support d inciting it against the Yugoslav Cetral Co
mittee in order to brig about cllanges within it that would
suit blm. sure, all of tllis was done in the n of
principle d justified tlle r or less obvious lapses d
faults of the Yugoslavs. The real reason, tllougll, lay in this:
Hebrag believed tllat Yugoslavia should not costruct its
economy and econoic plans independently of ilie U S S R,
while the Central Comrnittee supported close cooperation
with the U S S R but not to the detrient of our own independence.

76

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

The oral coup de grace to that delegation was dealt, of


course, Stalin. asseled the entire delegation in t
Krelin and treated it to tlle usual feast as \Vell as to scene
such as ight found only in Shakespeare's plays.
criticized the Yugoslav r and the way it was adin
istered. But I \Vas the only one he attacked personally. And in
-..vhat -..vay! spoke eotionally about the sufferings of the
Red r and about the horrors that it -..vas forced to udergo
fightig for thousads of kiloetres through devastated cou
try. -..vept, crying out: 'And sucl1 an r -..vas insulted
no one else but Djilas! Djilas, of who I could least have
expected such thing, n -..vho I received so well! And
an r \vllich did not spare its lood for you! Does Djilas,
who is hiself -..vriter, not kno\V -..vhat hn sffering and
the huan heart are? Can't he uderstand it if soldier who
has crossed thosands of kiloetres throgh lood and fire
and deatl1 s fun -..vith woan or takes some trifle ?'
proposed freqent toasts, flattered person, joked
with aother, teased third, kissed my wife s she was
Serb, and agai shed tears over the hardships of the Red
r and goslav igratitude.
Stali and Molotov alost theatrically divided the roles
between the according to tl1eir inclinatio: Molotov coldly
spurred on the issue d aggravated feelings, -..vhile Stalin fell
into d of tragical pathos. The cliax of his rnood certaily came when Stalin exclaimed, kissig my wife, that he
made is loving gesture at. the risk of beig charged with rape.
spoke very little or rt at all about Parties, Cornrnn
isrn, Marxism, but very uch about the Slavs, t the ties
bet-..veen the Russians and the South Slavs, and - again - about
the heroic sacrifices and suffering of tl1e Red Arrny.
Hearing t this, I was truly shaken and dazed. Today,
it seerns to that Stali d rne the scapegoat not so u
for rny 'outburst', t because he itended to wi rne over in
sorne way. Only rny sincere ethusiasm for the Soviet Union
and for hirnself as person could have prornpted hi to do this.
Immediately upon my return to Yugoslavia I had written an

DOUBTS
77
article about 'Meeting with Stalin' whic pleased hirn
greatly. Soviet representative had called rny attention to the
fact tlt in subsequet editios I ought to cut out the observation that Stalin's feet were too ig and tlt l should stress
r t intimacy betwee Stalin and Molotov. At the s
time Stalin, who sized up people quickly and wl was always
particularly skilful in exploitig people's weaknesses, rnust
have know that he could not win over through political
amitions, for l had none, nor on an ideological basis, for I
did not love the Soviet Party rnore than the Yugoslav.
could only influence through rny eotions - throgh
sincerity d rny enthusias - and so he took tlt course.
But though sensitivity and sincerity were strong
points, they easily turned into sornetlling quite opposite when
I encountered insicerity and injustice. For this reason Stali
did not dare recruit rne openly. I became all the more adaant
and deterined as experiece showed the Soviet's unjust
imperialistic aitions, that is, as I freed myself of rny
setirnentality.

Today it is truly difficult to decide how uch of Stalin's


-..vas play-acting d ho-..v uch was real rancour. I
personally believe that -..vith Stalin it is ipossi!e to separate
the fro the other. Witl1 llirn, pretence was so spontaeous
that it seemed he hiself becarne covinced of the truth and
sincerity of what he was saying. very easily adapted hiself
to every turn in the discussio of any new topic, and even to
every new personality.
At any rate, the delegation returned quite bewildered and
depressed.
Meanwhile, isolation deepened, now also because of
Stalin's tears over 'ingratitude' towards the Red Army.
Though r and r isolated, I did t give in to lethargy.
I tured increasingly to pen and to books, fiding \vithin
yself an escape fro the difficulties and misuderstandig
that beset .
actio

CONVERSAIONS WIH

STALIN

Time took its toll. Relations betwee Yugoslavia and the


Soviet U i could t remai where they had been fixed
military missios d armies. Ties multiplied d relations
proliferated, becoming more and more clearly interational
in form.
In April state delegation \vas t.o leave to sign treaty of
mutual assistace \vith the Soviet U nion. The delegation was
led ito, and he \vas accopanied the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Dr Subasic. In the delegation there were also
t\vo i inisters- . Andrejev and N. Petrovic. That
I part of this delegation certainly ascried to
the desire to resolve the dispute over the 'insult' to the Red
r direct contact. Tito siply icluded me in the delegatio, d because there were objections fro the Soviet
side, I boarded the Soviet l \Vith the rest.
It \Vas the begiig of April, d because of the inclement
\veather the plane bouced tlle whole time. Tito and most of
his suite became ill. v t.he pilots suffered. I too felt sick but i different way.
I felt ueasy - from the momet that I first leamed of my
trip up to my ecouter \Vith Stali - as though I were
peitent of some sort. Yet I v.as t peitent, r did I have
real reaso for being so. Aroud me i Belgrade there had
created icreasigly electric atmosphere, as though
I was someoe who had sunk low- 'd mess of it' and
so there was othing left for me but to redeem myself in some
way, to throw myself etirely Stali's geerosity.
The l eared Moscow, and the already familiar feelig
of isolatio \velled up inside me. For the first time I felt my
corades, brothers i arrns, lightly dig me because
any cotact \vith might endager their positio i the
Party d make it appear as though they, too, had 'deviated'.
v i the l itself I was t free of this. The relatioship
betwee yself d Adrejev, made itimate war d
suffering i prison - for these reveal an's character and

DOUBTS

79

huma

relations better tha anythig else - was alv.ays marked


good-natured jokig d frakess. But v.? seeed
to pity me, powerless to help me, wile I did t dare approach
him - for fear of lmiliating myself, but v more for fear of
forcig him ito iconveiet d u\vated fraterizatio
\vith me. So too \Vit Petrovic, \Vhom I ke\v \vell durig my
oerous life d work in the udergroud; our friedsip \vas
predomiatly itellectual, but v. I would t v dared
start of our itermia!e discussios of Serbia political
history. As for Tito, kept quiet about the \ihole affair, as
tlugh otllig had happeed, d revealed defiite feelig
or view about me. Nevertheless, I suspected that, i his \V
way- for political reasos - he v,as side, d tat tis
\vas \vl1y he \Vas brigig me alog d \v was t takig
stad.

I was experiencing first coflict between my simple


that is, the huma propesity for
the good d the true, d the virt i \vhich I lived
d to which my daily activity boud , amely, vt
circumscried its w abstract aims d fettered its
actual possiilities. This coflict did t at tllis time, however,
take tat shape i cosciousess; rather, it appeared as
clash benvee my good itetios to better the 'vorld and the
moYemet to \vhich I beloged d the lack of uderstandig
the part of those who d the decisios.
axiety grew with every t, every yard closer to
Moscow.
Beeath sped land whose lackess was just emergig
fro the eltig sow, lad riven torrets d, i n
places, bombs- desolate and uinhaited. The sky, too,
was cloudy d sobre, ipeetrale. There \Vas eiter sky
r earth for as I passed through ureal, perhaps dream,
world which I felt at the s tie to r real than
in which I had llitherto lived. I flew wavering betwee sky
and earth, between conscience and experience, benvee desire
d possiility. I r there has remaied only tat
ureal d painful wavering - wit not trace of those initial
huma si,

CONVERSAIONS

WITH STALIN

Slavic feeligs or even hardly any of those revolutioary


raptures that arked first encounter \Vith the Russia, t
Soviet land, and its leader.
And besides all this there was Tito's air-sickess. Exhausted,
gree, he exerted the last ounce of \Vill-po\ver to recite is
s of greetig d to go through the cereoies. Molotov,
wl headed t receptio cornittee, shook hands \vith
coldly, witlut siling or showig any sign of recognitio.
It was also unpleasant to have the take Tito to special villa
wile putting the rest of us up i t Metropole Hotel.
The trials d tribulatios got worse. They became r
Iike ig.
The t day, or the day after that, the telephoe in
apartent rang. seduct.ive feale voice sounded. 'This is
Katya.'
'Katya who ?' I asked.
'It's , Katya. Do't you rr? I have to see you.
I siply ust see you.'
strig of Katyas passed quickly through head - but I
did not know of the - and teir heels suspicion.
The Soviet Itelligence Service kew that i the Counist
Party of Yugoslavia views persoal orality were strict and
they \Vere setting trap to lackmail later. I foud it
either strage nor new that 'socialist' Moscow, Iike every
etropolis, teeed \Vith uregistered prostitutes. I kew even
better, ho\vever, that they could not k contact with highranking foreigners, who were tended d watcl1ed here better
tha wr earth, uless the Itelligece Service wanted
it. Apart fro these thoughts, I did what I would have d
anyway; 1 said cally and curtly, 'Let alone!'- and I put
down the receiver.
I suspected that I was the only target i this transparent
and dirty bit of business. Nevertheless, i view of igh
rank in the Party, 1 felt 1 had to find out whetller the s
thig had happeed to Petrovic d Andrejev, and, besides,
I wanted to coplain to the to n. es, their telephones had rung too, but istead of Katya, it was Natasha

DOUBTS

81

d Vova! I explaied own experience, d practically


ordered the t to k any cotact.
I had rnixed feelings - relief that I \Vas t the only target,
but also deepeig doubts. What did it all n? lt ever
occurred to to iquire of Dr Subasic whether siilar
attept had directed at hi. \Vas t Couist,
and it \Vould a\vk\vard for to show up the Soviet Unio
and its ethods in bad light before hi, especially as they
\vere aied against Counists. I \vas quite certain, though,
that no Katya had approached Subasic.
I \Vas not yet ! to dra\v the conclusion - that the Co
unists \Vere r tools \vhich Soviet hegeony \Vas to
estalish itself in tl1e countries of Eastern Europe. et 1 suspected as much. I \vas hoified such ethods and resented
having clracter subjected to such underhand treatet.
At that tie I \vas still l of believing that 1 could
Counist and ri free n.

4
Nothig significar1t occurred over the treaty of alliance benveen Yugoslavia and the U S S R. The treaty was the usual
thig, and \Vas siply to check the traslatio. .
The sigig took place in the Krelin the eveng of
I I April, i very sall official circle. No rs of tlle
pulic - if such an expessio used i that environent - except Soviet camerame >vere present.
The sole striking episode occurred when Stalin, holdig
glass of champagne, turned to waiter d invited him to
clik glasses. The >vaiter emba~rass~d, but w?
Stalin uttered the words: 'What, you \V t drk to SovietYugoslav friendship ?' he obediently took the glass and drank
it bottoms up. There was soethig demagogic, even gr~
tesque, about the entire s, but everyone looked upon It
\Vith beatific smiles, as expressio of Stalin's regard for the
mn people and his closeness to tl1e.
.
.
.
This was my first opportunity to meet Stalm g. H1s

82
CONVERSAIONS WITH STALIN
attitude was ungracious, though it did not have Molotov's
frigid stiffess and artificial arniabllity. Stalin did not address
single '\Vord to rne personally. The dispute over the behaviour
of t Red Arrny soldiers \Vas obviously neither forgotten nor
forgiven. I \vas left to go on turning over the fires of purgatory.
Nor did he say aything at the dinner for the inner circle,
in the Krernlin. Mter diner we saw sorne filrns. Because of
Stalin's remark tlt he \vas tired of gunfire, t put. on, not
war filrn, but shallo\V, happy, collective-far rnovie.
Throughout the perforrnance Stalin rnade cornrnents - reactions to what was goig on, in the rnanner of uneducated rnen
who istake reality for actuality. The second filrn was pre\var one \Var therne: 'If War Cornes Tornorrow' ('Esli
zavtra voina .. .'). The \Var in that filrn was waged \Vith t
help of poison gas, while at the rear of the invaders - t
Gerrnans - rebellious elernents of the proletariat were breaking
out. At the end of the filrn Stalin calrnly rernarked, 'Not rnuch
different frorn what actually appened, l there was
poiso gas and the Gerrna proletariat did not rebel.'
Everyone \Vas tired of toasts, of food, of filrns. Again without \vord, Stalin shook hands \vith too, but now I
\Vas more onchalant and calm, though I could not say \vhy.
Perhaps because of the easier atosphere. Or \vas it rny O\vn
ir deterinatio d resolutio? r! both. In any
event- life is possi!e without Stalin's love.
day or t\vo later there \vas foml diner in Catherine
Hall. Accordig to Soviet protocol at tl1e tie, ito \Vas
seated to t left of Stalin and to t right of Kalinin, then
President of the Suprerne Soviet. I \Vas seated at Kaliin's
left. Molotov and Subasic sat opposite Stalin and Tito, \vhile
the other Yugoslav and Soviet officers sat around i circle.
The stiff atosphere seeed all the rnore unatural because
all present, except Dr Subasic, were Counists, yet they
addressed one aother as 'Mister' in their toasts d adhered
strictly to interational protocol, as though this \Vas eeting
of the representatives of differig systes and ideologies.
Apart frorn the toasts and tlle protocol, we acted like

DOUBTS

corades

toward one another, that is, like rne who \vere


close to one another, who \Vere in the s rnovernet,
\Vith the sarne ais. This cotrast bet\vee formality d
reality was all the r arked because relations bet\vee the
Soviet d Yugoslav Cornuists \vere still cordial, unrnarred
Soviet irnperialisrn d cornpetitio for prestige i the
Cornunist \Vorld. However, life is respecter of desires or
desigs, but irnposes patterns which no is ! of
foreseeing.
Relatios betwee the Soviet Ui d the Western Allies
were still in their wartirne m, d the Soviet Gover
rnet wished, observig tis forrnality, to avoid cornplaits
that they \Vere not treating Yugoslavia as idepedet
ation just because it \Vas Cornrnuist. Later, after it had
etreched in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Goverrnet
\Vas to isist droppig protocol d other forrnalities as
ourgeois' d 'atioalist' prejudices.
Stali broke the ice. Only he could do it, for only \Vas
not exposed to the dager of beig criticized for faux pas.
sirnply stood, lifted his glass, d addressed Tito as
'Cornrade', addig tat would t call hi 'Mister'. This
restored real arnity d liveed up the atospere. Dr Subasic,
too, smiled happily, though it \Vas difficult to believe tat he
\vas doig so sicerely; pretece ;vas t lackig i this
politicia, who \Vas without ideas d without sta!e
foudatios \Vhatever.
Stali g to rnake jokes, to direct sallies d thrusts
across the tale, d to grurnle cheerfully. revived, the
atosphere did t ftag.
Old Ucle Kalii, who could barely see, had difficulty
fidig his glass, plate, bread, d I kept helpig hirn solicitously the whole time. Tito had paid hirn protocol visit just
lur or two before d had told that the old rna was
t etirely seile. But frorn \vhat Tito had reported, d from
tl1e remarks Kalii made at tl1e baquet, one could only
conclude the opposite.
Stalin certainly knew of Kalinin's decrepitude, for he made

84
CONVERSAIONS WITH STALIN
heavy-footed fun of him \vhen the old man asked Tito for
Yugoslav cigarette. 'Don't take any- those are capitalist cigarettes,' said Stalin, and Kalinin confusedly dropped the cigarette from his trembling fingers, \vhereupon Stalin laughed
and t expression on is face was like satyr's. little later
Stalin himself proposed toast in onour of 'our President',
Kalinin, but this was polite prase obviously picked for
someone who for long d been noting more tan mere
figurehead.
Here, in ratl1er broader and more official circle, the
deification of Stali was more palpale and obvious. Today
I have come to t opinion that t deification of Stalin, or
the 'cult of the personality', as it is no\v called, was at least
as much the work of Stalin's circle and t bureaucracy, who
required such leader, as it was is own doing. Of course, the
relationship changed. Turned ito deity, Stalin became so
po\verful that in time ceased to attentio to the clnging
needs and desires of those w exalted him.
ungainly dwarf of man passed through gilded d
marled imperialllls, and path d before him; radiant,
admiring glances followed hi, while the ears of courtiers
strained to catch his every word. And he, sure of iself and
his works, obviously paid attention to all tis. His coutry
was in ruins, hungry, exhausted. But his aries and marshals,
v \Vit fat and edals and druk \Vith vodka and victory,
had already trapled half of Europe under foot, and he \Vas
coviced tlley would traple over the otller llalf in the t
round. knew that he \Vas one of t cruellest, ost despotic
figures in ln history. But this did not worry hi it, for
he was convinced tat lle \Vas carrying out the will of history.
His conscience was trouled othing, despite the millions
who had been destroyed in his and llis order, despite
the thousands of his closest collaborators who he had ur
dered as traitors because they doubted that he was leading the
country and people into happiness, equality, and lierty. The
struggle ld been dagerous, log, and all the r underanded because the opponents were few in ur d \veak.

DOUBTS

Bs

But he succeeded, and success is the only criterio of truth!


For \vhat is conscience? Does it even exist? It had no place in
his philosophy, uch less in his actions. After all, man is tlle
product of productive forces.
Poets were ispired him, orchestras lared cantatas in
his honour, philosophers in institutes \Vrote toes about his
sayings, and artyrs died on scaffolds crying out his n.
No\v he was the victor in the greatest \Var of his nation and in
istory. His power, absolute over sixth of the globe, \vas
spreading farther and farther. This convinced him that his
society contained no contradictions and that it \Vas superior
to every other society in every way.
joked, too, with l1is courtiers- 'corades'. But he did
not do tllis purely out of ruler's generosity. Royal geerosity
\vas visile only i the anner in which he did this: his jokes
were never at his o\vn expense. No, he joked because he liked
to descend fro his Olypian heights; after all, he lived
aong men and had to show fro tie to tie tat the
individual was nothing \Vithout the collective.
I, too, \Vas S\vept up Stalin and his witticiss. But in
one little corner of mind and of moral being I was
awake and trouled: l oticed the ta\vdriness, too, and could
not accept ivardly Stalin's manner of joking- nor his delier
ate avoidace of sayig single huan, coradely \Vord to .

5
Still I \\'as pleasantly surprised when I, too, \Vas taken to
intiate dinner in Stalin's villa. Dr Subasic naturally knew
absolutely othing about it. l \Ve Yugoslav Communist
inisters \Vere there, and, on the Soviet side, Stalin's closest
associates: Malenkov, Bulganin, General Antonov, Beria, and,
of course, Molotov.
As usual, at about t o'clock at night we found ourselves
around Stalin's tale. I d arrived in the car with Tito. At
the head of the tale sat. Beria, to his right Malenkov, then I
and Molotov, then Andrejev and Petrovic, while to the left sat

86

87

CONVERSATIONS \VITH STALIN

DOUBTS

Stalin, Tito, Bulganin, and General Antonov, Assistant Chief


of the General Staff.
Beria was also rather short man - in Stalin's Politburo
there was hardly anyone taller than himself. , too, \Vas
some\vhat plump, greenish, and , and \Vith soft damp
hands. With his square-cut mout.h and bulging eyes behind
his pince-nez, he suddenly reminded of Vujkovic, one of
the chiefs of the Belgrade Royal Police who specialized in
torturing Communists. It took an effort to dispel the unpleasant comparison, whic was all the harder to forget because the similarity extended v to his expression - Cyrtain
self-satisfaction and iroy mingled with clerk's obsequiousness and solicitude. Beria was Georgian, like Stalin, but one
could not tell this at all from t looks of him. Georgians are
generally bony and dark. Even in this respect he \Vas nondescript. could have passed nre easily for Slav or Lett,
but mostly for mixture of some sort.
Malenkov was even smaller and pluper, but typical
Russian with Mongol adixture - dark, \Vitll prominent
cheekboes, d sligtly pock-marked. gave one t impression of beig witdra\\'Il, cautious, d t very persona!e man. It seemed as though under t layers and rolls
of fat there moved about still another man, lively and adept,
with intelligent and alert lack eyes. had been kno\vn for
some tie as Stalin's unofficial stand-i in Party matters.
Practically all atters pertaining to Party organization and the
promotion and demotio of officials were i is hands.
was t one w ld invented 'cadre lists' - detailed io
graphies and autoblographies of all members and candidates
of Party of many millions - wich \Vere guarded and syste
atically maintaied i Mosco\v. I took advantage of
eeting \Vith him to ask for StaE's work t Opposition
( oppozitsii), \vhich had been \vithdra\vn from pulic circulation because of the uerous citatios from Trotsky,
Bukarin, and others it contained. The next day I received
used of the \Vork, and it is now in my lirary.
Bulgani was in geeral's uniform. was rather stout,

handsome, and unistakaly Russian, \Vith an old-fasbloned


goatee, and extremely reserved in his expression. General
Antonov \Vas still young, very lndsome, dark, and lithe. ,
too, did not join in t conversation unless it. concerned him.
Seated across fro Stalin, face to face, I suddenly gained
confidence, tlugh he did not turn to me for long time. Not
until tl1e atmosphere had been wared liquor, toasts, and
jesting did Stalin find t.he time ripe to resolve the dispute with
me. did it in half-joking maner. filled for me little
glass of vodka and bade me drink to the Red Army. Not uder
standing his intention iediately, I 'vished to drink to his
health. 'No, no,' he insisted, srniling and regarding me searchingly, 'just for the Red Army! What, you \Von't drink to the
Red Army?'
I drank, of course, thoug even \vith Stalin I avoided drinking anything but beer, first, because alcohol did not agree with
, and, second, because drunkenness did not agree with
vie\vs, thoug I was never teetotaller.
Thereupon Stalin asked me about the affair of the Red
r. I explained to him that it had not been my intention
to insult the Red Army, but I had \Vished to call attention to
irregularities of certain of its members and to the political
difficulties they were creating for us.
Stalin interrupted: 'Yes, you have, I know, read Dostoevsky? Do you see what complicated thing is rnan's soul,
is psyche? W ell then, imagine man \vho has fought from
Stalingrad to Belgrade - over thousands of kilornetres of his
own devastated land, across the dead bodies of his comrades
and dearest ones! Ho'v suc man react normally? And
\Vhat is so a\>'ful in his amusig himself \Vith woman, after
such horrors? ou have imagined the Red Army to ideal.
And it is not ideal, nor can it , v if it did not contain
cetain percentage of crimials - \Ve opened up our prisons and
stuck everybody into t army. There was an interesting case.
Air Force rnajor wanted to have \VOma, and chivalrous
engineer appeared to protect her. The rnajor drew gun:
'Ekh, you mole frorn the rear!'- and he killed the chivalrous

88
CONVERSAIONS WITH STALIN
engineer. They sentenced the r to death. But 'soehow
the atter >vas brought before , and l d inquiries - I
have the right as coander-in-chief in tie of war- and I
released t r and sent hi to tlle frot. No>v l1e is of
our heroes. ls to understad the soldier. The Red r
is not ideal. The iportant thing is tat it figllts Germas and it is figllting tlle \Vell; the rest does't atter.'
S afterwards whe I returned fro Moscow I heard to
llorror, of far r significant l' of Stalin's
'uderstanding' attitude toward the sins of Red Army persorel. While crossing East Prussia, Soviet soldiers, especially
the tak units, had regularly selled and killed all tl1e German
civilia refugees - w and childre. Stali >vas informed
of this and asked \vllat sllould d. replied: 'We lecture
our soldiers too ucll; let the have s initiative!'
That nigl1t at llis villa, he then asked: 'And what about
General Koreyev, the chief of our Missio, what kind of
is l1e ?'
I avoided saying anythig bad about and about bls
Mission, tllough all sorts of things could have been brought
up, but Stalin hiself concluded: 'Tl1e poor n is not stupid,
but he is drunkard, an icurale drukard!'
After tllat Stalin even joked \Vith , on seeing that I was
drinkig beer. As atter of fact, I don't v like beer.
Stalin td: 'Djilas here drinks beer like Geran,
like Geran - he is Geran, God, German.'
I did not find tllis joke at all to liking; at that time
hatred for the Gerans, even for those few Counist
eigres, was at its height i Moscow, but I took it without
ager or inner resentent.
With this, it appeared, the dispute over tlle behaviour of
the Red r \vas resolved. Stalin's relations with becarne
as cordial as they had been before.
And so it >vent , until the rift benveen tlle Yugoslav and
Soviet Central Coittees, in 1948, >vhen Molotov d Stalin
dredged up i their letters that s dispute over the Red
r and the way I had 'isulted' it.

DOUBTS

89

Stalin teased Tito \vith obvious delierateness - in an


ner that had in it as uch alice as jest. did it speaking
u~avouraly of the Yugoslav r >vhile ftatterig the Bulgarran r~. That previous >vinter Yugoslav uits icludig
~ recrts who were engaged for the first tie in very
serus frontal attacks had suffered defeats, and Stalin, who
was apparently >vell informed, took the opportunity to point
out, 'The Bulgaria r is better than the Yugoslav. The
Bulgars had tlleir >veaknesses and is in tl1eir ranks. But
they executed few score - and now everything is i order.
The Bulgarian r is very good - drilled and disciplined.
And yours, the Yugoslav- they are still Partisas unfit for
serious front-line fighting. Last winter one Gera~ regient
broke up whole division of yours. regient beat division!'
it .later Stalin proposed toast to the Yugoslav Army,
but dtd not_ forget to add to it, 'But \Vhich will yet fight well
level ground!'
Tito had refrained fro reacting to Stalin's cornents.
~henever Stalin rnade s \vitty reark at our expense,
Ttto looked at silently >vith restrained sile, and I returned s look with understanding and syrnpatlly. But \vhen
Stalin said that the Bulgarian r was better t the Yugoslav, Tito could not stand it, and shouted that the Yugoslav
Army \vould quickly rid itself of its weaknesses.
One could detect in the relation benveen Stalin and Tito
so~etig special, tacit - as though these two d grudge
agast tr, but each >vas llding back for his w
reasons. Stali took care not to offend Tito personally i any
way, but at the sarne time he kept aking uderand digs
about tl1e situation in Yugoslavia. the otl1er hand, Tito
treated Stalin >vith respect, as would one's senior, but
resentrnet could also detected, especially at Stali's rearks
about Yugoslavia.
At point Tito revealed tat there were w hn
in socialis d that socialis \Vas no>v being achieved in
ways differet fro tllose of t past, wllich gave Stalin an
C,S,-

CONVERSATIONS \VITH STALIN

opportunity to say, 'Today socialisrn is possile even under


t.he English rnonarchy. Revolution is no longer necessary
ever)'"\vhere. Just recently delegation of the British Labour
Party was here, and \Ve talked about this in particular. Yes,
there is rnuch that is new. Yes; socialisrn is possile even under
an Englis king.'
As is well kno\vn, Stalin never upheld such vie\v pulicly.
British Labour Party soon gained rnajority at the elections and nationalized over t\venty per cent of the industrial
production. Nevertheless, Stalin never recognized these rneasures as beig socialistic nor the Labour Party as being socialists.
I rnaitain tat he did not do so prirnarily because of differences
and clases \vith the Labour Governrnent in foreign policy.
In the course of the conversation about this, I interjected
that. in Yugoslavia the governrnent \vas essentially of t
Soviet type; the Cornrnunist Party held all t key positions
and there \vas r serious opposition party. But Stalin did not
agree with this. 'No, your governrnent is not Soviet- you
have sorneting in bet\veen De Gaulle's France and the Soviet
Union.'
Tito rernarked tlt in Yugoslavia sornething ne\v was taking
slpe. But tis discussion rernained unfinised. Within yself
I could rt agree with Stalin's vie\v; neiter did I think that
I differed \Vith Tito.
Stalin presented bls views on t distinctive ature of the
war that \Vas beig waged: 'Tis war is not as in t.he past;
whoever occupies territory also iposes on it his O\Vn social
syste. Everyone iposes his O\vn system as far as his n
has po\ver to do so. It cannot oter>vise.'
also pointed out, \vitlut going into long explaations,
the eaning of is Pan-Slavic policy. 'If t Slavs keep united
and aitain solidarity, no one i the future will l to
move finger. Not even figer!' repeated, ephasizing
his thought cleavig the air \vith his forefinger.
Soeone expressed doubt tat the Gerans would !
to recuperate \Vithin fifty years. But Stalin was of different
opinion. 'No, they will recover, and very quickly. It is blghly

DOUBTS

developed industrial country \vith an extremely skilled and


numerous \Vorking class and technical itelligentsia. Give them
t\velve to fiftee years and they'll on their feet again. And
this is why the unity of the Slavs is important. But even apart
frorn tllis, if the unity of the Slavs exists, no one \Vill dare
move finger.'
At one point got up, itched up his trousers as though
he \vas about to wrestle or to , and cried out emotionally,
'The \var will soon over. We shall recover i fifteen or
t\venty years, d then \ve'll have another go at it.'
There \Vas soething terri!e in his words: orrile war
was still going on. Yet there was sometlling impressive, too,
about his realization of the paths he had to take, the inevitability that faced the world i wblch he lived and the movement
tlt he headed.
Tl1e rest of what was said that eveing was hardly worth
remembering. There was much eatig, v more drinking,
d coutless sese]ess toasts were drunk.
Molotov recounted l\v Stalin stung Churchill. 'Stalin proposed toast to secret agents d to the Secret Service, thus
alludig to Churchill's failures at Gallipoli i the First World
\Var, which occurred because the British lacked sufficiet
information.' Molotov also cited, not witout glee, Churcill's
izarre sense of hurnour. 'Churchill declared i Moscow, i
his cups, tat he deserved the highest order and citatio of
the Red r because he had taught it to fight so \vell, thanks
to the intervention at Archangel.' One could see that in general
Churchill had left deep impression on the Soviet leaders as
far-sigl1ted and dangerous ourgeois statesman' - though
they did not like him.
During the drive back to his villa, Tito, who also could not
stand large quantities of liquor, remarked in the car: 'I don't
know \vhat the devil is \vrog \Vith these Russias that they
drik so much- seer decadence!' I, of course, agreed with
him and tried i vai, after w krws how n attempts,
to find explaation of \V Soviet hig society drank so
desperately and detemlinedly.

92

CONVERSATIONS

WIH

STALIN

On returning to town from tl1e villa in which ito \vas


housed, I collected my impressions of that ight in which
actually nothing significant had happened: there >vere no
points of disagreement, and yet we seemed farter apart t.han
ever we had been. Every dispute had been resolved for political
reasons, as something hardly to avoided in relations bet>veen
independent states.
At the end of our visit (following the dinner with Stalin),
we spet an evenig at Dimitrov's. occupy the time, he
invited two or three Soviet actors, \vho gave short performances.
Of course there \vas talk of fute union between Bulgaria
d Yugoslavia, but it \Vas very general and brief. ito d
Dimitrov exchaged Comintern reminiscences. All in all, it
was more friedly gatherig than political meetig.
Dimitrov was alone at the time because all the Bulgarian
emigres had long since gone to Bulgaria - in the footsteps of
the Red Army. One could tell that Dimitrov \Vas tired and
Iistless, and we kne'v at least part of the reason, though
nothing \vas said about it. Although Bulgaria d been lier
ated, Stalin would not permit Dimitrov's retur, with the
excuse that it was not yet the right time, for the W estern
states would take his return as an sig of the estalish
met of Commuism in Bulgaria - as tlugh such sign \vas
not evident enough without t.his. There d been talk of this,
too, at Stali's diner. Wiking amiguously, Stalin d said,
'It is not yet time for Dimitrov to go to Bulgaria: he's well
off were is!
Thoug there was notg to prove it, still it was suspected
even then tat Stalin \Vas preveting Dimitrov's return until
he himself settled affairs in Bulgaria. These suspicios of ours
did not yet imply Soviet hegemony, thoug tl1ere were premonitions of ts too, but we sa\v t rnatter as necessary
result of Stali's alleged fears tlt Dirnitrov might push
matters towards the left too s in Bulgaria.
But v this \Vas significat and sufficient - for beginig. It evoked wole series of questions. Stalin was
genius, but Diitrov \Vas hardly nobody. what token

DOUBTS
93
did Stalin know better tha Dimitrov what ought to done
in Bulgaria? Did not holding Dirnitrov in Mosco\V agaist his
will uderrnine bls reputation g Bulgaria Cornrnunists
and the Bulgaria people? And, i general, \vhy tllis intricate
game over s retur, in \vblch t Russians were not accounta!e to anyone, t even to Dimitrov?
In politics, more tan i aything else, the beginning of
everyting lies in moral indignation d in doubt of the good
itentions of oters.

W retured via Kiev, and at our \Vish d that of the Soviet


Government \Ve rernained t\VO or three days to visit t.he
Ukrainia Government.
The Secretary of the Ukraiian Party d Premier of t
Governmet \Vas N. S. Khrushchev, d his Comissar for
Foreign Affairs was Manuilsky. It \vas they who met us and
it \vas with them that \Ve spent the etire three days.
At the time, i 1945, t \Var was still on and one was permitted to express modest wishes. Khruschev and Manuilsky
expressed - that the Ukraine might estalis diploatic
relatios with the 'people's democracies'.
However, nothing of it. Stali soon enough encountered resistance even in the 'people's democracies', so that it
hardly would occur to to encourage tig like Ukrainian independence. As for t eloquent and lively old veteran
Mauilsky - minister without rninistry - he later made
speeches in the United Nations for two or three years, only to
disappear one day and to sink into t anonymous mass of
victims of Stali's or someoe else's displeasure.
Kl1rushchev's destiny >vas quite differet. But at that moment no one could have surmised it. v the he >vas in the
top political leadership - d d been since 1939- though it
was considered that he was not as close to Stali as Molotov
and Malenkov were, or even Kaganovich. In the upper Soviet
blerarchy he was held to very clever politicia with

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN


94
great capacity in economic and organizational matters, thougl1
not as >vriter or speaker. came to leadership in the
Ukraine after the purges of the mid tlurties, but I am not
acquainted >vith- nor was I then interested in- his part~in
them. But it is >vell known lw one rose in Stalin's Russia:
certainly dint of determination and dexterity during the
loody 'anti-kulak' and 'anti-Party' campaigns. Tllis \Vould
have had to especially true for the Ukraine, where in
addition to the aforementioned 'deadly sins' there was 'nationalism' as well.
Though he had achieved success ;vhile still relatively young,
there ;vas nothing surprisig about Khrushchev's career in
the light of Soviet conditions: he made his ;vay through
schools, political and ordinary, as worker, d climbed the
Party ladder means of his devotion, alertness, and intelligence. Like most of the leaders, he belonged to the new postrevolutionary Stalinist generation of Party and Soviet officials.
The war found him i the higl1est position in the Ukraine.
Because the Red Army had to withdra\v from the Ukraine
before the Gerans, he was given high political post in it,
but not the highest - he was still in the uniform of lieutenant
general. returned as cllief of the Party and the Government
in Kiev after the expulsio of the Germas.
W had heard somewhere that he was not Ukrainian
birth, but Russian. Though nothing ;vas said about this, he
hiself avoided mentioig it, for it ;vould have been embarrassig if not even the Premier of the Ukrainian Governent was Ukrainian! It was indeed unusual even for us
Commuists, who \vere l to justify and explain away everything that might cast shadow over our ideal picture of ourselves, that among the Ukrainians, nation as numerous as
the French d in some ;vays r cultured than the Russians,
there ;vas not sigle person l of being premier of tl1e
Government.
Nor could it concealed from us that tl1e Ukrainians d
deserted en masse from the Red r as the Gerans advanced into their regions. Mter tl1e expulsion of the Germans,

DOUBTS
95
some two and half million Ukrainians were drafted into the
Red Army. Although mior operations \Vere still beig carried
out against Ukrainian ationalists (one of their victis was the
gifted Soviet General Vatutin), we still could rt quite accept
the explanatio tlt this state of affairs in the Ukraine \Vas
caused entirely stubborn Ukrainian bourgeois ationalis.
questio reained to answered: Were did tis natioal
is frorn if_ the peoples of the U S S R were really
equal?
W were bewildered and astonished at the marked Russification of pulic life. Russian was spoken in t theatre, d
there ;vere even daily newspapers in Russian.
However, it was far from our intention to l our solicitous host, N. S. Khrushcev, for this or anything else, for, as
good Cornunist, he could do noting else but carry out
the orders of his Party, his Leniist Cetral Committee, and
his leader and teacher, . V. Stalin. All Soviet leaders have
distinguished theselves their practicality and their
directness, at least i Cornunist circles. N. S. Khrushchev
stood out from the rest in t respects.
Neither the nor IlO\V- after carefully reading his speeches
at congresses - did I have the impression that is knowledge
wet beyond the liits of classical Russian literature and
Russia history, while his grasp of theory ;vas the level of
an itermediate Party sclol. Beside this external kno;vledge
gathered from courses, much more important is the kowledge
that gained as self-taught man, constantly improving
imself, and, even more, the experience he gained fro his
lively d may-sided activities. It is ipossile to deterrnine
the quantity and quality of that knowledge, for equally
astoishing is his ko;vledge of some rare fact and is igrrace
of some eleentary truths. His rneory is excellet and he
expresses himself vividly d graphically.
Unlike other Soviet leaders, was urestrained and very
talkative, although Iike them he was fond of using folk proverbs
and sayings. This ;vas kind of fasion at t time d proof
of one's ties wit the people. With hirn, ho;vever, there was

96
CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN
less artificiality about this because of his naturally simple d
unaffected behaviour and maner of speaking. also had
sense of humour. Unlike Stalin's humour, which \Vas predominantly intellectual d, as such, cynical, Khrushchev's
humour \vas typically folksy and thus often almost crude, but
it >vas lively and inexhaustiie. No\v that he has attaied the
most exalted heights of power and is in the gaze of the whole
world, one can tell that he is careful of bls pose and manner of
expression, but he has remained basically unchanged. Beneatl1
the present SoYiet chief of state and Party it is not difficult to
discern man of the popular masses. et I should add that he
suffers less than any self-taught Commuist or half-educated
scholar from feeling of inferiority, that is, he feels need
to hide his persoal ignorace and \Veaknesses behind an
external brilliace d \vide geeralizatios. The comrnonplaces \Yith \Yhicl1 his coversation abounds are the expi"essio
of both real ignorance d Marxist maxims Iearned rote,
but even tl1ese he presents \Vith conviction and frankness. The
Ianguage d manner \Vith which he expresses himself encompass \vider circle tha the one to \Vhich Stalin spoke,
though he, too, addresses himself to the same Party pu!ic.
ln his not very ne\v, unpressed general's uniform, he \'l'as
the only amog the Soviet Ieaders who delved ito details,
ito the daily Iife of the Comunist rak and file and the
ordinary people. Let it understood: he did not do this \Vith
the aim of changing the system, but of strengtheing and
improving things uder the existing system. did look into
atters and remedy them, \vhile others issued orders from
offices and received reports.
None of the Soviet leaders \Vent to collective farms, except
occasionally to attend some feast or parade. Khrusl1chev accompanied us to collective farm and, \Vithout harbouring in
any Iittle corer of his mind tlle slightest doubt of the justice
of the system itself, he not only clinked huge glasses of vodka
\Vith the collective farmers, but he also inspected tl1e garden
hotbeds, peeped into the pigsty, and began discussing practical pro!ems. Durig the ride back to iev he kept coming

DOUBTS

97

back to the question of the collective farms and openly talked


about their shortcomings.
W could see bls extraordiarily practical sense grand
scale at meetig of the ecoomic sections of the Ukrainia
Goverment. Unlike Yugoslav ministers, his commissars were
excellently acquainted with matters and, what was more important, they assessed possiilities realistically.
Rather short and stocky, but brisk and agile, he was strongly
hew and of one piece. more or less bolted down impressive quantities of food - as though wishing to spare his
artificial steel \v. While Stalin d his entourage seemed
to gourmads, I felt that it was all the sarne to Khrushchev
what he ate and that the irnportant thig was to fill up, as it is
to hard worker, if, of course, has the eans. His board
was also opulent- stately but impersonal. rushchev is not
gourmand, tlugl1 he eats no less than Stalin did and drinks
even more.
possesses an extrernely powerful vitality d, like all
practical men, great aility to adapt. I do not tblnk would
trouie himself uch oYer the choice of methods as long as
they brought him practical results. But Iike all popular demagogues who often themselves believe what they say, he would
find it easy to abandon impractical methods and readily justify
the change appeals to oral reasos and the blghest ideals.
Iikes to quote the proverb 'In fight don't. stop to pick
cudgels.' It serves llim well to justify the cudgel even \'l'hen
there is no fight. Everytblng I have said here is not at all what
one would say about Khrushchev today. Still I have given
impressios from aother time, and also, along the way, rny
incidental reflectios of today.
At that time I could not detect in hrushchev disapproval of Stali or Molotov. Whenever there was talk of
Stalin, he spoke of blrn with respect d stressed their closeess. told how, on the eve of the German attack, Stalin
had phoned hi from Moscow warning him to the alert,
for he had iformation that t Germas might begin operatios the next day- 22 June. I offer this as fact, and not in

g8

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

order to refute Khrushchev's carges against Stalin concerning


t unexpectedness of the German attack. That unexpectedness was theconsequence ofStalin's error in politicaljudgemet.
Nevertheless, in Kiev one felt certain freshess- thaks
to Khrushchev's limitless vigour and practicality, to Mauil
sky's enthusiasm, to the beauty of the city itself, \Vllich, with
its uobstructed horizons and with its hills overlookig vas~
muddy river, \Vas reminiscent of Belgrade. Though Khrushchev left the ipressio of stregth, self-confidece, d
realism, d Kiev one of conscious and cultivated beauty, the
Ukraie has remaied associated i my memory with loss of
personality, with weariess and hopelessess.
The more I delved ito the Soviet reality, the more
doubts multiplied. The reconciliatio of that reality d my
human coscience was becoing more and more hopeless.

3
Disappoitn1ets
I

tird ecounter with Stalin came early in 1948. This was


the most sigificat ecouter, for it took place the eve of
the rift bet\veen the Soviet and the Yugoslav leaders. It \\S
preceded significant events and chages i Yugoslav-Soviet
relations.
Relatios between the Soviet U ion d tl1e W est had
already begu to take the shape of the Cold vVar bet\vee nvo
locs. The key evets leading to tl1is, i opiion, were the
Soviet rejectio of the Marshall Plan, the civil \var i Greece,
and the creation some Comunist parties of an Iformation
Bureau, the Cominfor. Yugoslavia and the Soviet U nion
were the only two East European countries that were decisively
against tl1e Marshall Plan - the forrner largely out of revolutionary dogmatism, and the latter for fear that American
economic aid might shake up the empire it had so recently
acquired ilitarily.
As Yugoslav delegate to the Cogress of the Comuist
Party of Frace in Strasbourg, I found myself in Paris just at
the time Molotov was having coversations \Vith the represetatives of the Western states about the Marshall l.
Molotov received me i tlle Soviet Embassy, and \Ve agreed
to boycott the Marshall Plan, d also in our criticism of the
Frech Party, \vith its so-called 'ational lie'. Molotov \vas
especially interested i my impressios of the Cogress, and
he remarked about the periodical La Nouvelle Dbnocratie, of
\vhich Duclos was the editor and wl1ich purported to express
the united view of the Comunist parties: 'Tlt is't what is
needed d what ought to d.'
About the Marshall Plan, Molotov wodered whether
conference should t called in which the Eastern coutries

IOI

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

DISAPPOINTMENTS

would also participate, but l for propaganda reasos, with


the aim of exploitig the pulicity d the walkig out of the
fr at vit momet. I was t ethusiastic
about this variatio either, though I would t have opposed
it had the Russias isisted; such was the lie take my
coutry's Govermet. However, Molotov received message
from the Politburo i Moscow that he should t agree even
to this.
Immediately upon my retur to Belgrade I leared that
coference of East European countries was to held in
Moscow to discuss the Marshall l. I was desigated to
represet Yugoslavia. The real aim of the coference was to
brig collective pressure to bear Czechoslovakia, whose
Government was t against participatig i the Marshall
l. The Soviet l was already waitig at the Belgrade
airfield, but I did t fly the next day, for telegram arrived
from Moscow stating that there ;vas no need for the cofer
ence - the Czechoslovak Governmet had abadoned its orig-

I conexion ;vith this, I might mentio as curiosity that


it "as Stalin \vl thougl1t up the of the Coiform's
organ, For Lastiug - For People's Democrat:y, with
t idea that the W estern press ;vould v to repeat the slogan
each time it quoted somethig from it. But Stalin's expectation
\vas t fulfilled: because of the legth and trasparent propaganda of its , t ewspaper \Vas - as though for spite rnost frequently referred to sirnply as 'the organ of the Coin
form'. Stalin also decided i t end were the seat of the
Comifor ;vas to . delegates had agreed Prgue.
Czech represetative, Slansky, urried to Prague car
that evenig to cosult Gott;vald about this. But that igt
Zhdanov d Malenkov talked with Stalin (for not v in that
reote pmsion i distant city did t fail to have direct
tl in wit Mosco;v), d tough Gottwald was
reluctat to agree, Stali ordaied that the seat should in
Belgrade.
This doule-dealig was also going on i the heart of
Yugoslav-Soviet relatios: on the surface there ;vas coplete
political and, especially, ideological agreeet, but really our
practice and judgement "'ere quite different.
vVhen rather coprehensive delegatio of the top Yugoslav leaders- ito, Rakovic, Kidric, Neskovic- stayed i
Moscow i the sprig of 1946, relatios between the two
leadig groups appeared to more than cordial. Stalin ernbraced Tito, referred to his role as of Europea iportance
and flagrantly belittled the Bulgars d Diitrov. But soon
after>vards there came the tension d discord over joint-stock

ialline.

That same coformity with the Soviet Ui, tlugh for


other tha the Soviet Union's, showed itself also i
the creation of the Cominfm. The idea that it was ecessary
to create some g that could facilitate the coordinatio
and exchange of views amog the Communist parties had
been discussed as early as I 946; Stalin, ito, and Diitrov
d talked about it in the sprig of the sarne year. However,
its realization had been postponed for m reasons, mostly,
to sure, because everythig depended on t Soviet leaders'
judgemet of wen the time was ripe. I t ripened in t autum
of 1947, most probaly in connexion with the Soviet rejection
of t Marshall Plan and the estalislunet of Soviet domination over Easter Europe.
At the inaugural rneeting - i western Poland, that is, on
former Gerrna territory - the only two delegations tat were
decidedly for the Coiform were the Yugoslav and the Soviet.
Gomulka was opposed, cautiously but unequivocally holdig
out for the 'Polish path to socialism'.
reasos

cornpaes.

The friction went on underground all the time. Ivisile


to the on-Communist ;vorld, it broke out in closed Party
councils, over recruiting for the Soviet Intelligece Service;
;vhicl1 was particularly inconsiderate of the state and Party
machines. It broke out also in the sphere of ideology chiefly
because the Soviets disparagcd thc Yugoslav revolutio. When
the Yugoslavs raked Tito t to Stalin, the Soviet represetatives swallowed it with obvious distaste, and they were

102

DISAPPOINTMENTS

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

particularly sesitive about Yugoslavia's idepedet associatio with the other East Europea coutries d the growth
of her prestige amog them.
The frictio s carried over ito ecoomic relatios
especially whe it became obvious to the Yugoslavs that:
apart from their ordiary comrnercial ties, they could t
cou~t Soviet ai~ i carryig out tl1eir five-year l. Whe
s:al detected. reststace he stressed tlt it was t good for
fr1e~Iy d ~ coutries to use joit-stock cornpaies, and
promtsed to fursh all possile aid, but at the sarne tirne his
traders exploited the ecoomic advantage they gained as
result of exacerbated Yugoslav-Western relatios d from the
Yugoslav illusio that the U S S R \Vas unselfish state with
no territorial amitios.
Except for A!ania, Yugoslavia had the only East
European country to free itself frorn the Nazi invasion and
at the same time carry out dornestic revolutio without the
decisive l1elp of the Red Arrny. It had gone the farthest i
effectig social transforrnatio, and yet it was also situated
in ':hat \Vas i days to corne the most exposed salient i the
Sov~et l. In Greece civil war was beig fought. Yugoslav had been accused in the Uited Nations of giving it
rnaterial aid d ispiring it; wl1ile Yugoslav relatios \Vith
the \Vest, and especially with the United States were straied
to breaking poit.
'
When I thik back, it seems to me that the Soviet Governrnent t only looked with satisfactio at this worsenig of
Yugoslav-Western relatios but v incited it, taking care,
?f course, not to go d the Iirnits of its w practical
tere~ts. Molotov almost ernbraced Kardelj i Paris after two
Amer1ca planes ?ad shot dow i Yugoslavia, though
he also \Varned h1rn t to shoot dow third. The Soviet
Gove.rrnent to?k direct. action over the uprisig i Greece,
practically leavg Yugoslavia to face the rnusic l i the
Uited Natio~s,.or did it udertake aythig decisive to brig
about armistice t util Stali foud it to his interest.
So, too, the decisio that Belgrade should the seat of

the Comiforrn \Vas, the surface, form of recogitio of


tl1e Yugoslav revolution. Behid it ! the secret Soviet. iten
tio to lull the Yugoslav leaders ito stat.e of self-satisfactio
at. their w revolutio d to subordinate Yugoslavia to sorne
supposed interatioal Cornrnunist solidarity- i fact, t.o the
hegernony of the Soviet state, or, rather, to the isatia!e
dernads of the Soviet political bureaucracy.
It is time something was said about Stalin's attitude to
revolutios, d thus to the Yugoslav revolutio. Because
Moscow had always refraied at the crucial moment from
supporting the Chiese, Spanish, and in many ways even the
Yugoslav revolutions, the view prevailed, t without reason,
that Stalin \vas generally against revolutions. This is, however,
not entirely correct. His opposition was l coditional, and
arose only whe the revolution went beyond the interests of
tl1e Soviet state. felt instinctively that the creation of
revolutionary cetres outside Moscow could endager its
supremacy in world Comrnuism, and of course that is what
actually happened. That is why he helped revolutions only up
to certain point - as long as could control them - but
was always ready to leave tern in the lurch wenever they
slipped out of l1is grasp. I maintain that not even today is there
any essential chage in t.his respect in the policy of t Soviet
Goverment.

In his own country Stalin had subjected all activities to his


views and to l1is personality, so he could not behave differetly
outside. Having identified domestic progress and freedom
\Vith the interests and privileges of political party, he could
not act i foreig affairs other than as dictator. d like
everyone else he must judged his actual deeds.
becarne hirnself the slave of the despotism, the bureaucracy,
the narrowness, and the servility that he imposed on is
country.
It is ideed true that no one can destroy another's freedom
without losing his own.

CONVERSATIONS

WIH

STALIN

The occasion for departure to Moscow was the divergence


between the policy of Yugoslavia and that of the USSR over
A!ania. In late Deceber 1947 dispatch fro Moscow
in which Stali deanded that someone of tl1e Yugoslav
Central Cornittee - he spoke of only n - sluld
in order to bring the two Goverents' Albanian policy
into lie.
This divergence in policy appeared in various ways, ost
noticealy after the suicide of Naku Spiru, meber of the
Albanian Central Coittee.
Yugoslavia and Albania had gradually drawig together in all fields. Yugoslavia was sending experts of all kinds
to Alania, d i ever increasing numbers. Food was shipped
to Albania, though Yugoslavia itself was sufferig shortage.
Tl1e creation of joint-stock is had begun. Both Governets agreed in principle that Albania ought to unite with
Yugoslavia, >vhicll would have solved the question of the
Albanian irrity in Yugoslavia.
The coditions that the Yugoslav Government preseted
to the Albanian >vere far more favourale and just to the
Albanians than those, coparison, that the Soviet Governent had offered to the Yugoslavs. Apparently, lwever, the
prolem ! not in the degree of justice but in the very nature
of these relations. part of the Albania leadership was
intimately and secretly against the Yugoslav approach.
Naku Spiru- slight, frail, very sensitive, with fine itellect
- directed the econoic affairs of the Albanian Governent
at the tie and was the first to rebel against Yugoslavia,
deadig that i develop idependently. His stand
provoked sharp reaction t l in Yugoslavia but in tl1e
Albaian Central Collittee as well. was especially opposed Koci , Albania Minister of the Interior, who
was later shot t charge that. he was pro-Yugoslav.
worker from souther Albania d veteran revolutionary,
enjoyed the reputation of beig the most stale Party

BISAF'POINTMENTS

105

despite the fact that Enver Hoxha - an 1doubtedly


better-educated and far more agile personality - was Secretary-General of the Party and Prernier of the Government.
Hoxha, too, joined in the criticism against Spiru, even though
his actual position remained unclear. Poor Spiru, fiding himself isolated and charged with chauvinisrn and probaly on
the brink of being expelled fro the Party, killed hirnself.
With his death he started sornethig l1e never could have
iagined- the worsening of Yugoslav-A!anian relations.
sure, the affair was hushed up fro the pulic. Later,
after the open break with Yugoslavia in 1948, Enver Hoxha
put Spiru on pedestal as national hero. But in the sumits
of both countries the affair left bad i~pression which could
not dispelled assertions concering Spiru's co>vardice,
petty bourgeois spirit, and the like, which always abound in
the Counist arsenal of cliches.
The Soviet Goverent was excellently infored both
about the real causes of Spiru's death and about all Yugoslavia's activities in A!ania. Her Mission in Tirana grew rnore
and rnore numerous. Besides, relations bet>veen the three
Governents- the Soviet, A!anian, and Yugoslav- were
such that the last two did not particularly conceal tl1eir relations fro the first, thougl1 it should also said that the
Yugoslav Governent did not consult the Soviet about the
details of its policy.
Soviet representatives d more and r frequent co
plaits about certain Yugoslav rneasures i Albania, while the
group around Hoxha and the Soviet Mission were observed
to drawing ever closer together. Every once in while
complaint this or that Soviet representative came to the
surface: why were the Yugoslavs forming joint-stock cornpanies with the A!anians when they refused to forrn the
s in their own country with the U S S R? Why were they
sending their instructors to the Alania r when they had
Soviet instructors in their own? How could Yugoslavs provide
experts for the developent of Albania when they theselves
>vere seeking experts fro abroad? How was it that all of

IOO

CONVERSAIONS

WITH STALIN

sudden Yugoslavia, itself poor and underdeveloped, intended


t.o develop A!ania?
Along with these differences between the Soviet and the
Yugoslav Governments, :oscow's tendency to replace Yugoslavia's position in Albania became all the more evident,
which seemed extremely unjust to tlle Yugoslavs since it \Vas
not the U S S R that proposed to unite with Albania, nor \Vas
the U S S R even bordering neighbour of Alania. It became clearer and clearer that the A!anian leaders \Vere turning
to the Soviet Union and this was expressed more and more
forcily in their propaganda.
Soviet Governent's invitation to remove disagreeent over Alania was accepted with both ands in Belgrade,
though it has remained unclear to this day \vhy Stalin
emphasized tat I was t person he wated to come to
MoscO\v.
It seems to that he had t\vo reasons. I probaly had
given him the irnpression of being forthright and candid
man. I expect tat was the opiion of aong the Yugoslav
Comunists too. So I \Vas the right man for straigtfovard
discussion about complicated d very delicate question.
However, I also believe that he intended to \Vin over in
order to split d so weaken the Yugoslav Central Comittee.
already had Hebrang and Zujovic on ltis side. But Hebrang
had been throw out of the Central Cornmittee d put uder
secret investigation because of his unexplained behaviour while
in prison durig the war. Zujovic \Vas prominent figure, but
even as mernber of the Central Committee he did not belog
to the inner circle tat had formed around Tito in the course
of the struggle for t unity of the Party d during the
revolution itself.
In 1946, when staying in Moscow, ito had told Stalin that
I suffered from eadaches, and Stali had invited me to visit
him in the Crimea for rest cure. But I did not go, largely
because Stali's ivitation had not been d agai through
the Embassy, and so I took it to polite gesture, made
siply because t conversation d turned to me.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

107

Thus I set out for :oscow- on 8 January, if I remember


correctl~, and certainly not far from that date - with amigu
ous feelgs: I was flattered that Stalin had invited me specifically, but I also had vague, unspoken suspicions that this was
not chance and that Stalin's intentiorts toward ito and the
Yugoslav Central Committee were not entirely honourale.
I receiv:d no s~ecial orders or instructions in Belgrade, nor
\vere any structns necessary, for I was member of the
inne: circle of leaders and au courant with A!anian-Yugoslav
relatns. \Ve had already decided to insist that Soviet representatives should not hinder the already announced policy of
Yugoslav-A!anian unification their tactless actions or
taking different line.
Representatives of the Yugoslav Army took this excellent
opportunity to send with me their own delegation, which was
to present requests for munitions and for help in developing
our armaments industry. This delegation included tlle then
Chief of the General Staff, Popovic, and tlte head of the
Yugoslav armaments industry, :ijalko Todorovic. Svetozar
Vukmanovic-Tempo, then director of political administration
in the army, also travelled with us, in order to acquaint himself
with the experience of tl1e Red Army in that area.
\Ve set out train for Mosco\v, in good spirits and in even
better faith- and also with the set view that Yugoslavia should
solve its prolems in its own way and largely through its own
resources.

3
This view \Vas aired v before it should v been, at
dier in t Yugoslav Ernbassy in Bucharest which was
attended Ana Pauker, the Ruaian Foreign :inister,
d several Rumaia officials.
All the Yugoslavs, except Ambassador Golubovic, who later
emigrated as adherent of :osco\v, said more or less openly
that the Soviet U nio could not an absolute model in 'the
buildig of socialism', for the situation had chaged and

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

DISAPPOINTMENTS

coditions and circumstances differed in the individual countries of Eastern Europe. I noticed tlt Ana Pauker was
carefully silent, or else agreed with sometblng reluctantly, and
tried to avoid talking about such delicate questions. One of
the Rumanians - I believe it \Vas Bodara$ - opposed our
views, and another - his n I have ufortunately forgotte
- cordially agreed with us. I regarded conversation of tbls
sort as awkward, for I was convinced that every word \vould
reach the ears of the Russians and they would ul to
understand thern as being anything but 'anti-Soviet' - synoym for all the evils of tbls earth. At the same time however,
I could not retract the opinions I had expressed, so I tried
to t down views, stressing the merits of the U S S R
and the theoretical importance of Soviet experience. But all
this was of hardly any use, for I myself had stressed that
everyone ougt to laze his own path according to bls own
actual circumstances. Nor could the awkwardness dispelled.
I d premonition; I knew that the Soviet leaders had
liking for subtleties and compromises, least of all within teir
own Communist ranks.
Though \Ve \Vere only passing through Rumania, we found
reason for our criticism everywl1ere. First, as to the relations
between the Soviet Union and the other East European countries: these countries were still being held under actual occupation, and their wealth was being extracted in various ways,
most frequently througl1 joint-stock companies in whic t
Russias barely invested aything except German capital,
which they had simply declared prize of war. Trade with
tese countries was t conducted as elsewere in the world,
but on the basis of special arragemets according to which the
Soviet Governmet bougt at lov;er and sold at higher than
\Vorld prices. Only Yugoslavia was exceptio. We kew all
that. d the spectacle of misery as well as our awareness of
irnpotence d subservience g the Rumaian authorities
could l heighten our indigation.
W were rnost taken aback the arrogat attitude of t
Soviet represetatives. I remember how horrified we were at

the words of the Soviet Comrnader i Ia$i: ', this dirty


Rurnania Ia$i! And these Rurnania maize-eaters (mamalizhniki)!' also repeated Ehrenburg's and Vishinsky's bon
mot, which was aimed at the corruption and stealing i Rurnania: ' are not nation, but profession!'
Especially in tat ild winter, Ia$i was truly sprawling
back\vater of Balkan town whose beauties - its hills, gardens,
and terraces - could detected only the experienced .
Yet we kne\v that Soviet to\vs looked hardly better, if not
indeed worse. It was this attitude of 'superior race' d the
conceit of great power that angered us the rnost. The oliging
d deeply respectful Russian attitude to us t only accenuated t abasernet of the Rurnaias all the rnore but it
inflated our pride in our own independence d i our itellec
tual freedorn.
W had already accepted it as fact of life that the Russian
treatrnent of the Rurnanians was 'possile even in socialism'
because 'Russians are like that' - backward, long isolated
frorn t.he rest of the world, and dead to their revolutionary

108

I()(j

traditios.

W were bored after few hours in Ia$i until the Soviet


train with the Soviet Governrnent's carriage arrived for us,
accornpanied, to sure, t inevitale Captain Kozovsky
of the Soviet State Security w cotinued to specialize in
the Yugoslavs. This time he \Vas less unreserved and sunny
than before, probaly only because he was w faced
ministers and geerals. An intangi!e, udefi.nale, coldly
official attitude intruded itself i tl1e relations betwee ourselves and our Soviet 'cornrades'.
Our sarcastic corrnents did t spare even t railway
carriage in which we travelled, and which deserved better
despite its comfortale accorrnodatio, t excellent food,
and the good service. W thought it comical with its huge
brass andles, old-fashioed fussy decor, and toilet so lofty
that. 's legs dagled i rnid air. Was all this necessary?
Does great state and sovereign power have to sho\v off?
And what was rnost grotesque of all in that car, with its pomp
c.s.-

IIO

CONVERSATIONS

\VIH

STALIN

of tsarist days, was the fact that the attendant kept, in


in his cornpartment, chicken \vhich laid eggs. was poorly
paid and miseraly clothed, and he said apologetically: 'What
am I to do, Comrades? \Vorking-rnan must make out as best
he can. I have big family - and life is hard.'
Though the Yugoslav railway systern could hardly boast
of punctuality either, here no one seemed to \Vorry when
train was several hours late. 'vVe'll get there,' one of the
conductors \Vould simply reply. Russia seemed to confirm the
unclngeaility of its hurnan and national soul; all its essential
qualities seemed to working against rapid industrialization
and an omnipotent management.
The Ukraine and Russia, buried in sno\v up to the eaves,
still bore the marks of the devastation and horrors of \Var burned-down stations, barracks, and the sigl1t of \VOmen
\Vrapped in shawls and living on hot \Vater (kipyatok) and
piece of rye bread, who were busy clearing the tracks.
This time, too, only Kiev left an impression of discreet
beauty and cleanliness, culture and feeling for style and
taste, despite its poverty and isolation. Because it \Vas night,
there was no view of the Dnieper and the plains merging \vith
the sky. Still it all reminded one of Belgrade- the future
Belgrade, \Vith million people and so \vell planned and built.
We stopped in Kiev only briefly, to s\vitched to the train
for Mosco\v. Not one Ukrainian official met us. Soon \Ve \Vere
on our \vay into night \\'hite \vith sno\V and dark \vith sorrow.
Only our car sparkled with the brilliance of comfort and
abundance in this limitless desolation and poverty.
4

Just few hours after our arrival in Mosco\v we \vere deep


in cordial conversation \Vith the Yugoslav Ambassador,
Vladimir Popovic, \vhen the telephone on his desk rang. The
Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs \vas asking if I \vas tired,
for Stalin wished to see me immediately, that same evening.
Such haste is unusual in Mosco\v, \vhere foreign Communists

DISAPPOINTMENTS

III

have always waited long, so that there was saying tat went
round among them: It is easy to get to Mosco\v but hard to
get out again. sure, even if I had been tired, I would
have accepted Stalin's invitation most willingly. Everyone in
the delegation regarded with enthusiasm, though also not
without envy, and Popovic and Todorovic kept reminding not to forget why they, too, had along, even
though I had taken advantage of our travelling togetl1er to
acquaint myself in detail \vit tl1eir requests.
over t ipending meeting wit Stalin \Vas sober
and not unixed, if only because of t haste wit wblc it
d come. Tis misgiving never left me t \vole nigt that
I spent with im and other Soviet leaders.
As usual, at about nine o'clock in the evening, they took
to the Kremlin, to Stalin's office. Gathered there \\'ere Stalin,
Molotov, and Zhdanov. The last, as I knew, was in the
Politburo and responsile for rnaintaining relations with foreign parties.
After the customary greetings, Stalin immediately got down
to business: 'So, members of the Central Committee in Aania
are killing thernselves over you! Tbls is very inconvenient,
very inconvenient.'
I began to explain: Naku Spiru \Vas against linking Aania
wit Yugoslavia; he isolated himself in his own Central Committee. I ld not even finished whe, to rny surprise, Stalin
said: 'We have no special interest in Alania. We agree to
Yugoslavia swallowing A!ania! .. .' At this he gatered together t fingers of his right and and, bringing them to bls
mouth, he made as if to swallo\v thern.
I was astonished, alst struck dumb Stalin's maner
of expressing hirnself and the gesture of S\vallo\ving, but
I do not know whether this was visi!e on face, for I tried
to make joke of it and to regard this as Stalin's customary
forcile d picturesque manner of expression. Again I explained: 'It is not matter of S\vallowing, but unification !'
At tis Molotov interjected: 'But that is swallowing!'
d Stalin added, agai wit tat gesture of his: 'es, yes.

II2

CONVERSAIONS

WITH STALIN

Swallowing! But we agree with you: you ougbt to swallow


A!ania- the sooner the better.'
Despite this anner of expression, the whole atosphere
was cordial and r than friendly. Even Molotov said llis
piece about swallowing with an alost huorous aiaility
\vhich was hardly usual with hi.
otives for rapprochement and unification with A!ania
\vere those of sincere revolutionary. I considered, as did
others, that unification - with the truly volutary agreeent of the Albania leaders - would t. only of direct
value to both Yugoslavia and Albania, but would also finally
put an end to the traditional intolerance and conflict betwee
Serbs and AIanians. Its particular iportance, in opinion,
lay in the fact tlt it would k possile the aalgaation of
our considerale and t Albanian inority with Albaia
as separate repulic i the Yugoslav-Albanian Federation.
Any other solution to the rl of the Albanian national
inority seeed ipracticale to , sice the siple transfer
of Yugoslav territories inhaited A!anians would arouse
violent opposition in the Yugoslav Counist Party itself.
I had for A!ania and the Aanians special predilection
\vhich could only strengthen the idealis of otives: tlle
A!anias, especially the northern ones, are in their entality
and way of life akin to tlle Moteegrins fro wl I spring,
and tlleir vitality and deterinatio to iti their independence is uequalled i huan history.
Tllough it did not even occur to to differ with the vie\v
of coutry's leaders and to agree witll Stalin, still Stali's
iterjections for the first tie confroted \Vith two thougllts.
The first was the suspicion that soethig was t. right about
Yugoslavia's policy to\vard !i, and tl1e other \Vas that tl1e
Soviet Union had united \Vith tlle Baltic coutries, S\Vallowing the. It \Vas Molotov's reark that put tllis tllought i
ind.

Botll tlughts erged into sigle uncornfortale feeling


tllat sornethig was wrong.
thought that there ight sornetllig obscure and

DISAPPOINTMENTS

incosistent about Yugoslav policy


ho\vever, k adit that tllis

toward Albania did not,


policy was one of 'swallo\ving'. Yet it did strike that this policy did not correspond
\vith tlle \vill and tlle desires of the A!anian Cornuists,
which, for , as Cornunist, \vere identical \Vith the
aspirations of tlle A!anian people. Why did Spiru killllimself?
was not 'petty bourgeois' d 'urdened natioalis';
on the cotrary he was Communist and Marxist. And \Vhat
if tlle A!anians wanted their stat.e to separate from us, just
as we \Vated ours to separate from the Soviet Union? If
tl1e unification were carried out despite in \visl1es d
takig advantage of their isolation and misery, \Vould this
not lead to irreconcilale conflicts and difficulties? Ethnically
peculiar and \Vith an acient identity, the A!anias as nation
were young and hence filled with an irrepressile and still
unfulfilled national consciousness. Would they not consider
unification as the loss of their independence, as rejection of
their individuality?
As for the other thought - that tlle U S S R had S\vallowed
the Baltic states - I linked it "'itll the first, repeating as if to
convince myself: \Ve Yugoslavs do not \visll, do not dare, to
take that road to uification with A!ania, nor is there any
immediate danger that some imperialistic power, such as
Germany, might brig pressure on A!ania and use it as
base against Yugoslavia.
But Stalin brought back to reality. 'And \vhat about
Hoxha, \Vhat is he like in your opinion ?'
I avoided direct d clear ans\ver, but Stali expressed
just the same opinion of Hoxha that the Yugoslav leaders had
t.o hold. ' is petty bourgeois, inclined to\vard nationalism? es, we think so too. Does it s that the strongest
rnan there is ?'
I confired his leading questions.
Stalin ended the conversation about i, whic lasted
barely ten rninutes: 'There are no differences benveen us.
ou personally \Vrite Tito dispatch about this in the n
of the Soviet Governrnent and submit it to tomorro,v.'

114

CONVERSAIONS \VIH

STALIN

I "'as afraid that I could t have uderstood, so I souded


him out, d he repeated that I was to writ.e the .dis~atch to
the Yugoslav Governmet i the of the Sov1et Gover
met.

At that mt
i d as the

I took this to sig of special cofidece


highest expressio of agreeet with the
Yugoslav policy toward !i. Ho\vever, while \Vritig th.e
dispatch the t day, the thought occurred to me that It
might some day used agaist my coutry's Govermet,
d so I formulated it carefully d very briefly, somethig
like this: Djilas arrived i Moscow yesterday d, at eetig
held \vith him the same day, there \Vas expressed complete
agreemet bet\vee the Soviet Govermet d Yugoslavia
rig the questio of !i. That dispatch \vas ever
set to the Yugoslav Governmet, r \Vas it ever used agaist
it i later clashes betwee Moscow d Belgrade.
The rest of the coversatio did rt last log either d
revolved idly aroud such uevetful questios as the locatio
of the Coiform i Belgrade d its ewspaper, Tito's health,
d the like.
However, I seized opportue mt d raised the
questio of supplies for the Yugoslav Army d our \Var i
dustry. I stressed that we frequetly ecoutered difficulties
\Vith Soviet represetatives because they refused to give us
this or that, usig 'military secrets' as excuse. Stali rose
shoutig, '\Ve have military secrets frorn you. You are
friedly socialist coutry - we have ilitary secrets fro
you.'
the wet to his desk, called Bulgai the phone,
d gave short order: 'The Yugoslavs are l1ere, the Yugoslav
delegatio - they should heard immediately .'
The \vhole coversatio i the Kremli lasted about half
hour, d the we set out for Stalin's villa for dier.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

II5

5
\Ve seated ourselves i Stali's car, \vhic seemed to to
the same as t i which I rode with Molotov i I945
Zdaov sat i the back to right, \vhile Stalin d Molotov
sat i frot of us the foldig seats. Durig t trip Stali
tured little light the l i frot of him under
\vhich hug pocket watch- it \Vas almost t o'clock- d
1 observed directly i frot of his already huched back
d t grey of his k with its wrinkled ski
above t stiff marshal's collar. I reflected: is of the
most powerful m of today, d r are his associates; what
sesational catastrope it would if w exploded
i our idst d lew us all to pieces! But this thougt \vas
l fleetig d ugly d so uexpected even to myself that
it horrified me. With sad affectio, I saw i Stali little
old gradfater who, all his life, d still w, looked after
the success d happiess of the whole Commuist race.
While waitig for the others to gather together, Stali,
Zhdaov, d I foud ourselves i t tr hall of the
villa, the map of the world. I agai glaced at the lue
pecil ark that ecircled Staligrad - d agai Stali o
ticed it; 1 could t fail to observe tat my scrutiy pleased
im. Zhdaov also oticed this exchage of glances, joied us,
d rearked, 'The begiig of the Battle of Staligrad.'
But Stalin said othig to that.
If 1 remember \vell, Stali g to look for Kigsberg,
for it \Vas to reamed Kaliigrad - d i so doig we
came across places aroud Leigrad that still bore German
ames from the time of Catherine. This caught Stali's
d he turned to Zhdaov, sayig curtly: 'Change these
ames - it is absurd tat these places should still bear Gr
ames!' At tbls Zhdaov pulled out small otebook d
recorded Stali's order with little pecil.
After this Molotov d I wet to t lavatory, which was
i the basemet of the villa. It cotaied several cuicles d
urials. Molotov g to ubutto his trousers v as we

CONVERSAIONS

WITH STALIN

walked, rearking: 'Yve call this unloading before loading!'


,,hereupon I, \vho had liv-ed for long tie in prisons, where
n is forced to forget his modesty, felt ashaed in the
presence of MolotoY, an older n, so I entered cuicle and
shut the door.
After this both of us proceeded to the dining r, \Vhere
Stalin, MalekoY, Beria, ZhdanoY, and Voznesensky \vere
already gathered. The last two are ne\v characters in these
01rs.

ZhdanoY, too,

\Vas

rather short, \Vith

bro,vnish clipped

oustache, high forehead, pointed nose, d sickly red


face. \\S \vell educated and \vas regarded in the Polituro

as great itellectual. Despite his \Vell-kno\vn narro,vness


and dogatism, I "ould say that his kno\\ledge \\'US not inconsidera!e. Althoug l1e had s kno\vledge of eyeryting,
eYen usic, I \vould not say that tl1ere \vas single field tat
he kne\v tlroug!y - typical intellectual "l acquainted "ith and picked up kno\\ledge of other fields trough
Marxist literature. \vas also cynic, in an intellectual \vay,
but all t uglier for this because id the itellectualism
one unrnistakaly sensed t potentate \vho \Vas 'magnanimous'
to\\rd men of tl1e spirit and the pen. Tl1is \Vas the period of
the 'Decrees'- decisions the SoYiet Cetral Committee
concerning literature and oter branches of the arts \Vhich
amounted to Yiolent att.ack against eYen those minimal
freedoms in the choice of subject and for that had surYiYed
(or else d been snatched from) bureaucratic Party control
during the \\'ar. I remember ho\v that eYening Zdanov told
as if it "ere t latest joke ho\v his criticism of the satirist
Zoshchenko had been taken in Leningrad: tl1ey simply confiscated Zoschenko's ration coupons and did not give the
back to im until after Mosco,v's magnanious interYention.
Voznesensky, the Cairan of the Planning Cornmission
of t U S S R, was barely past forty - typical Russian, lond
and \vith proinent cheekbones, ratl1er high foreead, d
curly hair. gaye the impression of being an orderly, cultured, and all withdrawn n, who said little and always

DISAPPOINTMENTS

II7

had happy inward sile. I haYe preYiously read his book on


the Soviet n during the war, d it gaye the
irnpression that the author \\S conscientious and thoughtful
n. Later that book was criticized in the U S S R, and
Voznesensky \vas liquidated for reasons that haYe reained
undisclosed to tis day.
I \Vas \\ell acquainted with Voznesensky's elder brother,
uniYersity professor "'ho had just been named Minister of
Education in the Russian Federation. I had had s very
interesting discussios \vith the elder Voznesensky at the tie
of the Pan-SlaYic Congress in Belgrade, in the \Vinter of 1946.
We had agreed not only about the narro\vness and bias of the
prevailing theories of 'socialist realism', but also about the
r of ne\v phenomena in socialis (that is, co
unism) with the creation of the ne\v socialist countries and
with changes in capitalis \Vich had not yet been discussed
theoretically. It is probale that his handsorne conteplative
head also fell in the senseless purges.
The dinner began \vith someone - I tl1ik tlt it was Stalin
hirnself - proposing that eYeryone guess ho\v n degrees
belo\v zero it was, and that r punished being
d to drink as many glasses of vodka as the nuber of
degrees he guessed wrog. Luckily, while still at the hotel, I
had looked at the theroeter, and I added to the nuber to
allow for the teperature drop during the night, so that I
issed only one degree. I remeber that Beria issed
three and rearked tlt he had done so on purpose so tat he
ight drik r glasses of vodka.
Such beginning to diner forced upon heretical
thought: these slt up in their narro\v circle ight \vell
go on inYeting eyen more senseless reasons for drinking
vodka - the length of t diig r in feet or of the tale
in iches. And who knows, perhaps that's \vhat they do! At
any rate, this allocatio of glasses of vodka according to the
teperature reading suddenly d clearly aware of the
confineent, the ianity and senselessness of the life these
Soviet leaders were livig gathered about their superanuated

CONVERSAIONS WIH STALIN

DISAP.POINTMENTS

chief even as they played role that was decisive for the human
race. I recalled that the Russian tsar, Peter the Great, like\v"ise
held such suppers with llis assistats at \vhich they gorged and
drank themselves into stupor \vhile ordainig the fate of
Russia and the Russian people.
This impression of the vacuity of such life did not recede
but kept recurring during the course of the diner despite my
attempts to suppress it. It \vas especially strengthened
Stalin's age, conspicuous signs of his seility. No amount
of respect and love for his person, \Vhich I stubborly nurtured inside myself, was able to erase that realization from my
mind.
There \Vas somethig both tragic and ugly in his senility.
The tragic was ivisile - but I \vas aware of it in mind
as I reflected that v so great figure must inevitably fall
into decline. The ugly kept cropping up all the time. Though
he had always enjoyed eating well, Stalin was now quite
gluttonous, as though he feared that there would not
enough of the food he \vanted left for him. the other hand,
he drank less and more cautiously, as though measurig every
drop - to avoid any ill affects.
His intellect \vas in even more apparent decline. liked
to recall incidents from his youth - his exile in Sieria, l1is
childhood in the Caucasus; and he \vould compare everything
recet \Vith somethig that ld happeed long ago: 'Yes, I
remember, the sarne thing ... .'
I could hardly believe how much he had changed in two or
three years. When I had last seen him, in 1945, he \Vas still
lively, quick-\;itted, and had pointed sense of humour. But
that \Vas during the \Var d it d , it would seem, Stalin's
last effort and had taken him to is limit. Now he laughed at
inanities and sallow jokes. occasio he not ! failed
to get t political point of an anecdote I told im about how
he had got the better of Churcill and Roosevelt, but he even
seemed to offeded, as old m sometimes are. I perceived
an ernbarrassed astonishment on the faces of the rest of the
party.

In one thing, though, he was still the Stali of old: stubborn,


sharp, suspicious wheever anyone disagreed \vith him.
even cut Molotov, and could feel the tensio between
them. Everyoe paid court to him, avoiding any expression of
opiion before he expressed is, and then hastening to agree
with it.
As usual, they hopped fom subject to subject- and I shall
proceed Iikewise in my account.
Stalin spoke up about the atom bomb: 'That. is po\verful
tig, pow-er-ful !' His expression was full of admiration, so
that one was given to uderstand that he would not rest until
he too had the 'powerful thing'. But he did not mention that
he had it already or that the U S S R \Vas working it.
On the other hand, \vhen Kardelj and I rnet with Dimitrov
in Mosco\v motl1 later, Dimitrov told us as if i confidence
that the Russias already had the atom bomb, and an even
better one than the Americans', that is, the exploded over
Hiroshima. I maintain that this was not true, but that the
Russians \\ere just on the \vay to making an atom bomb. But
tis is what I \Vas told, d so I set it do\vn here.
Both that ight and again soon after, i meeting with the
Bulgarian and Yugoslay delegatios, Stalin stressed that Germany \vould remain divided: 'The vVest will make Western
Germay their own, and we shall turn Eastern Germay into
our \V state.'
This thought of his was new, but understanda!e; it proceeded from the \vhole trend of Soviet policy i Easter
Europe and to\vard the W est. I could never understad the
statements Stali d the Soviet leaders, made before the
Bulgars and the Yugoslavs in the spring of 1946, that all of
Germany must ours, that is, Soviet, Communist. I asked
one of those present how the Russias meat to brig this
about. replied, 'I don't kno\v myself!' I suspect that not
even those who made the statements actually kew lw, but
were caught up tlle flus of military victories and their
hopes for the economic and political dissolution of Western
Europe.

II8

II9

120

CONVERSATIONS

\VIH

DISAPPOINTMENTS

STALIN

Toward the end of the dinner Stalin unexpectedly asked me


why there were not many Jews in the Yugoslav Party and why
these fe,v played no important role in it. 1 tried to explain to
hi that there were not n Je\vs in Yugoslavia to begin \vith,
and most belonged to the iddle class. I added, 'The only
prominent Counist Je\v is Pijade, d he regards himself
as being rnore of Serb than Je,v.'
Stalin egan to recall: 'Pijade, short, with glasses? es, I
reember, he visited . d \vhat is his position ?'
' is r of the Central Committee, veteran
Comunist, the traslator of Das Kapital,' 1 explained.
'ln our Cental Cornittee there are e\vs!' he broke in,
and began to laugh tautigly. 'You are an ati-Semite, you
too Djilas, you too are an anti-Seite !'
I took his \Vords and laughter to m the opposite, as I
should have - as the expression of l1is \V anti-Seitism
and as provocation to get rne to declare my opiion of the
Jews, particularly Je\vs in the Counist ovement. I laughed
softly and kept quiet, \Vhicll was t difficult for for 1 had
ever an anti-Seite and I divided Comunists solely
into the good d the bad. Stali hiself quickly abandoned
this slippery subject, being contet with his cynical provocation.
At left sat the taciturn Molotov, and at right the
loquacious Zhdanov, who t.old of his contacts \vith the Finns
d adiringly ephasized their punctuality i delivering
reparations: 'Everything on time, expertly packed, and of
excellent quality.'
concluded, 'We made istake in not occupying Finland. Everything \Vould have been fine if \Ve had.'
Molotov: 'Ach, Finland - that is peanut.'
At that very time Zhdaov \vas holding eetings \Vith
composers and preparing 'decree' on usic. Iiked operas
d asked in passing, 'Do you have opera in Yugoslavia?'
Surprised at his question, I replied, 'In Yugoslavia operas
are being presented in i teatres!' At the sarne tie I
thought: How little they kno\v about Yugoslavia! Indeed, they
are hardly even interested in it, except as place the .

121

Zhdanov was the only one who was drinking orangeade.


explained to that he did this because of is bad heart.
1 asked him, 'Ho\v serious is your illness ?'
\Vith restrained sile he replied with his custoary
ockery, 'I ight die at t, and I migt live very
long tirne.' certainly seeed very sesitive on the subject,
d l1e reacted quickly and too easily.
ne\V five-year plan had just been prornulgated. \Vithout
turning to anyone in particular Stalin announced that the
teachers' salaries ought to increased. And then to me:
'Our teachers are very good, but their salaries are low- \Ve
ust do soething.'
r uttered fe\v \vords of agreement while I recalled,
not ,,ithout bitterness, the low salaries and \Vretched conditions
of Yugoslav cultural \vorkers and it to help
them.
oznesensky kept silent t whole time; behaving like
junior among seiors. Stalin addressed him directly l with
one questio: 'Could \Ve find the meas, outside the l, to
build the volga-Do Canal? very important ! \Ve must
fid the means! terrily importat from t ilitary
poit of vie,, as \Vell: in case of' \var they might drive us out
of the Black Sea - our fieet is \Veak and ,,ill go on being \Veak
for long tie. \Vhat \vould \ve do \vith our ships i tat case?
Irnagine l\v valuale the lack Sea Fleet \vould have been
during tl1e Battle of Stalingrad if \Ve had had it on the Yolga!
Tl1at canal is of first-class, first-class importance.'
Yoznesensky agreed that the rneans could found, took
out little notebook and rnade note of it.
I had long been more or less privately iterested in t\vo
questions, and I \vished to ask Stalin for his opinion. \\S
matter of theory: neiter in Marxist literature nor any\vhere
else could I ever find explaation of the difference bet\veen
'people' and 'nation'. Since Stalin had log reputed
amog Comrnunists t.o an expert the nationalities question, I sought his ii, poitig out that he d t treated
this in is book t atioalities question, wich had been

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

DISAPPOINTMENTS

even before the First World War and sice then was
considered the authoritative Bolshevik view.
At question Molotov first joined i: "'People" and
"nation" are both the s thing.'
But Stalin did rt agree. 'No, nonsense! They are different !'
And he g to explain siply: ' "N ation" ? ou already
know what it is: the product of capitalis with certain characteristics. And "people" - these are the workers of give
natio, that is, workers of the s language, culture, custos.'
And cocering his book Marxism and the National and
Colonial Question, he observed: 'That was Ilyich's- Lein's
view. Ilyich also edited the book.'
The second questio involved Dostoevsky. Since early
youth I had considered Dostoevsky i n ways the greatest
writer of the odern age, and I could never quite accept the
Marxist attacks hi.
St~in also answered tllis siply: ' great writer and great
reactnary. We are not pulishing lli because is bad
influece on youth. But, great writer!'
We turned to Gorky. I pointed out that I regarded as his
greatest work - both in ethod and in tlle profundity of its
picture of the Russian Revolutio - Tl!e Life Klim Samgin.
But Stalin disagreed, avoiding the subject of ethod. 'No, his
b~st th~ngs are those he wrote earlier: The Town Okurov,
h1s stoes, and Foma Gordeyev. And as far as the picture of the
~ussian Rev?lution in Klim Samgin is conceed, there is very
l1ttle revolutn there and ! single Bolshevik - wlt \Vas
his n: Lyutikov, Lyutov?'
I corrected hi: 'Kutuzov- Lyutov is an entirely different
caracter .'
Stalin cocluded: 'Yes, Kutuzov! The revolution is port:ayed fro one side, and iadequately at that; and fro the
llterary point of view, too, his earlier works are better.'
It was clear to tat Stalin and I did not understad one
another and that we could not agree, though I had had an
o~portuity t? hear the opinios of iportant critics who, like
lliself, condered tese particular works of Gorky his best.

Speaking of conteporary Soviet literature, I, as r or


less all foreigners do, referred to Sllokhov's strength. Stalin
observed: 'N O\V there are better ones!' - and cited two naes,
one of the woan's. Both were unknow to rne.
I avoided discussion of Fadeyev's YoU?zg Guard, \vhich
even then was under attack because its heroes were not
'Party' enough, and Alexandrov's History Pbllosophy,
wllich was criticized on quite opposite grouds - for its doga
tis, shallowness, and banality.
It. was Zhdanov who repeated Stalin's reark about .
Sirnoov's book of love s: 'They should have pulished
only two copies- one for her, and one for hi!' At \\'hich
Stalin siled dernurely while the others roared.
The evening could not go \Vithout vulgarity- fro Beria,
of course. Tl1ey forced to drink sall glass of peretsovka strong vodka \Vith pepper (in Russian, perets eans pepper,
hence the for this drink). Siggering, Beria explained,
in very coarse language, tat this liquor d bad effect on t
sex glands. Stalin gazed intently at rne as Beria spoke, ready to
burst into laugter, but reained serious wen he sa\v w
sour I \Vas.
Besides all this I could not forget the extraordinary siilar
ity between Beria and t Belgrade Royal Police official
Vujkovic; it even gre\v to suc proportions tat I felt. as
toug I was actually in the flesy and d clutces of
Vujkovic-Beria.
But what was most irnportant to rne \Vas t atrnosphere
tat I felt so strongly behind t 1words spoken during t
course of that six-hour diner. Behind wat was said, s~
ting rnore iportant \vas noticeale- sornethig that ought
to v been spoken, but tat no could or dared bring up.
The forced conversation and the i of topics rnade it seern
quite real, alrnost perceptile to t seses. I was even inwardly
sure of its content: it was criticis of Tito and of the Yugoslav
Central Cornrnittee. I that situation I would v regarded
such criticisrn as tantarnount to an attept the Soviet
Goverrnent to win over to tern. Zhdanov was particularly

122

pulished

123

CONVERSATIONS

124

\VIH

oral dilea.of choosig bet\vee the d si

- or, rather, bet\veen their Party d i, between Yugoslavia d the U S S R. I order to prepare the groud, I referred to Tito d to Cetral Coittee several ties i
passig, ut i way that \vould t lead iterlocutors to
speak out as they iteded.
Stali attepted to k the coversatio persoal and
itiate, but \vithout success. reided of his i
vitatio, d through Tito i 194.6, d, he asked me: 'd
\vhy did you t to the Criea? Why did you refuse
ivitatio

DISAPPOINTMENTS

STALIN

energetic, t in cocrete, tagile \\-, but ifusig


certai cordiality, v itiacy ito his conversatio \Vith
. Beria fixed \Vith his clouded gree, starig eyes while
selfcoscious sarcas alost dripped fro his square flabby
outh. Over the all stood Stalin - attetive, exceptioally
oderate, d cold.
The silet gaps bet\vee topics loger d loger,
d the tesio gre\V, both i d aroud . I quickly
\vorked out strategy of resistace. I thik it had already
half cosciously in the akig iside v earlier. I
\vould siply poit out that I sa\v differeces betwee the
Yugoslav d Soviet leaders, that their ais \Vere the s
d so . dub obstiacy \velled iside , d though I
had ever before felt ir vacillatio, still I kew,
ko\vig yself, that defesive positio ight easily tur
ito offesive if St.ali and the rest forced ito the

?'

I expected that questio, and yet I \\S rather upleasatly


surprised that Stali had t forgotte about it. I explaied:
'I \vaited for ivitatio through the Soviet Ebassy. I
felt awk>vard about forcig yself you d trouling you.'
'Nosese, troule at all. Youjust did't \Vish to !'
Stali tested .
But I dre\V back ito yself- ito chill reserve and silece.
d so rtlling happeed. Stalin d his group of cold,
calculatig cospirators - for I felt the to so - certainly
noticed resistace. This is just what I \Vanted. I had eluded

125

the, and they did not dare provoke that resistance.


probaly thought they had avoided preature d terefoe
false, erroeous step, but I aware of their uderad
g d felt iside yself an iner, itheto uko\vn,
strength \vhich was l of rejecting v that \vich I

lived.
Stali eded the dinne raisig toast to Lei's
r: 'Let us drik to t emory of Yladiir Ilyic, our

leader, our teacher- our all!'


\V'e all stood d drak in ute soleity, \Vhic i our
drukeess \\' soon forgot, but Stali cotiued to bear
earest, grave, and v sobre expressio.
\V'e left the tale, but before \Ve g to disperse, Stali
tured on huge autoatic record player. v tried to
d, in the style of is hoelad. could see that he had
s sese of ryth, But s stopped, witll the resiged
explaatio, 'Age has crept on d I already old
!'

But his associates- or, rater, courtiers- g to reassure


i, 'No, , ss. You look fie. You're bearig up
woderfully. Yes, ideed, for your age .. .'
h Stali tured record on \\ich the coloratura
\\r!ing of siger \vas id the yo\vlig d
barking of dogs. laughed \vitll exaggerated, imoderate
irth, but \Vhe he sa\\' ho\v puzzled d uhappy I looked,
he explaied, alost as though to excuse iself, '\Vell, still
it's clever, devilishly clever.'
All the oters reaied id, but \Vere already preparig
to leave. There \Vas truly othig r to say after such log
sessio, at \Vhic everythig had discussed except tl1e
reaso \vhy the diner had held.

We waited rnore tha day or two before they ivited us


to the General Staff to present our requests. Earlier, while
yet board the trai, I entioned to Popovic and

CONVERSATIONS \VIH STALIN

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Mijalko Todorovic that tlleir requests seeed excessive d


to . The thig I could t begi to uderstad
\Vas \vhy the Russias should agree to build up the Yugoslav
uitios idustry \vhe they did t vish to give us
real help i developig our civilia idustry, d it seemed
v Iess likely to that they \vould give us \Var f!eet \vhe
they lacked tlleselves. The arguet that it \\S all the
s \vhether Yugoslavia or the USSR had fleet the
Adriatic, sice both \Vere parts of uited Couist \Vorld,
seeed especially ucovicig to because of the cracks
that \vere appearig i that very uity, t to speak of Soviet
distrust of everythig d their grasp d their ucon
cealed priary cocern for the iterests of their w state.
Ho\vever, sice all these requests had \Vorked out and
approved i Belgrade, there was nothing left for but to
go through \vith them.
The Geeral Staff was housed in shoddy and pretentious
building \Vhich they had tried to improve iside sother
ing it i gilt d garish hangigs. The eetig was presided
over Bulgain, surrounded the highest ilitary experts,
g \vhom was also the Chief of the Geeral Staff, Marshal
Vasilyevsky.
First I presented our needs geerally, leavig the detailed
presetation to Todorovic and Popovic. The Soviet officials
did t comit themselves but they carefully wet into our
proles and took notes on everything. We left satisfied,
conviced that things \Vere ovig at last and that the real
cocrete \Vork \vould soon begin.
It ideed looked like it. Todorovic d . Popovic were
s ivited to further eetigs. But everythig to
abrupt halt, and Soviet officials hited that 'coplicatios'
had set i and that \Ve would have to wait.
It was clear to us that soething \Vas goig on betwee
Moscow d Belgrade, thougl1 we did not kow exactly \vhat,
r I say that we \Vere surprised. In any case, the fact
that we were critical of the Soviet reality and of Mosco\v's
attitude to Belgrade could only k the postpoeent of

our talks all the r ubearale, especially since \Ve foud


ourselves without aythig to do, forced to kill tie in co
versation and attedig Moscow's theatres, which though
old-fashioed \vere usurpassed of their kid.
N of the ordiary Soviet people dared to visit us, for although we \\ere fro Couist country, \Ve still fell ito
the category of foreigers, \vith who citizes of the U S S R
could not associate accordig to the let.ter of the law. All our
contacts had to through official chanels in the Miistry of
Foreig Affairs d i the Central Comittee. That d
and offeded us, especially as there were such liitations
in Yugoslavia, least of all for the represetatives d citizens
of the U S S R. All this prompted us to dra\v critical coclusions.
Our criticis had t yet been properly forulated, but it
\vas constatly fed exaples taken from our actual experience. Vukaovic- had discovered faults i tlle r
buildigs which he did t conceal. In order to Iessen our
boredo, Popovic d I gave up our separate apartets i the Moskva Hotel, ut we did not get apartet
togett1er util 'electrician' had put it in order, \vhicl1 \\'
took to that listenig devices had been istalled. Although
the Moskva \vas w hotel d the largest i Moscow,
othig i it \\orked as it should - it >vas cold, the taps Ieaked,
d the baths, brought fro Easter Gr, could t
used because the floor flooded as s as you pulled out the
plug. The bathroo had key, and Popovic caustically rearked that the architect ke\v that the key \Vould l get
Iost so he put the lavatory r the door where could keep
the door closed \Vith one's foot.
I kept reeberig \vith nostalgia stay in the Metropole
Hotel i 1944- Everything was old there, but it \Vorked, and
the superannuated staff spoke Eglish and French and served
wit.h grace and precision. But in the Moskva Hotel .
day I heard groaig in the bathroo. I upon two
\vorken there. of the was repairig s fixtures on
the ceiling, and the ot.her was holding hi up on his shoulders.
'For heaven's sake, Corades,' said I, 'why don't you get

126

urealistic

127

!28

CONVERSAIONS WIH

DISAPPOINTMENTS

STALIN

ladder ?' They replied, grurnlig, 'We've asked the g


t for tie d again, but it's use- \Ve al\vays have
hard tie Iike this.'
vValkig about we vie,ved eautiful Moscow', ost of
\Vhich \vas ig village, eglected d udeveloped. The
chauffeur Panov, to who 1 had sent \Vatch as gift fro
Yugoslavia and \Vith \Vho I had estalished cordial relationship, found it irnpossile to believe tl1at there \Vere r
cars i N e\v ork d Paris, although he did t hide his
dissatisfactio \\'ith the quality of the \V Soviet cars.
I t Krernlin, w \Ve visited t irnperial tornbs, the
girl \v so\ved us round spoke of 'our tsars' \Vitll sentirnetal
national pride. superiority of t Russias \Vas vauted
everpvl1ere and assurned grotesque forrns.
d so do\vn t line ... At every step \Ve discovered
hitherto unnot.iced aspects of tl1e Soviet reality: it \vas back\\ard, prirnitive, chauvinistic, and suffered frorn ig-po\ver
cornplex, although it had rnade eroic and superhurnan efforts
to outgro\v the past and to overtake the natural course of events.
Kr\\'ing that in the thick skulls of tl1e Soviet leaders and
political officials t srnallest criticis \Vas taken as evidence
of an anti-Soviet attitude, \Ve stuck together in our O\vn circle
\vhe i the presence of Russias. Since \\ \vere also
political rnissio, we began to call !1 other's attetion to anythig 'a\vk\\ard' that \Ve rnight do or say. Our defesive
positio conscious d delierate. vVe kne\v that liste
ig devices \vere being used, and I rr ho\v \Ve began
to watch \vhat we \Vere saying i the hotel and in offices, d
to turn on the radios during coversatios.
The Soviet representatives ust have noticed this. The
tension d suspicion gre\V .
that tirne Lenin's sarcophagus, \vhich had been evacuated fro Mosco\v and hidde sorne\vhee in the iterior
during tl1e \Var, ld been brought back to Red Square.
rnorning we \Vent to visit it. The visit itself \vould not v
been iportant d it not also d us feel ne\v sense of
resistance that we had not felt before. As we descended slo\vly

129

into the rnausoleurn, 1 sa\v how siple \Vornen in sha\vls \vere


crossing ternselves as tough approaching the reliquary of
saint. I, too, was overcorne feelig of ysticis, sornethig forgotten frorn distant youth. Moreover, everything
was so arranged as to evoke just such feeling i n - the
granite locks, the stiff guards, t ivisile source of light
over Lenin, and even his body, dried d \Vhite as chalk, \Vith
little sparse airs, as tlugh sornebody had planted tl1e.
Despite respect for Lenin's genius, it seerned uratural to
, and above all anti-aterialist and anti-Leninist, this
rnystical gathering around Lenin's ortal reains.
Even if we d not been idle we still \Vould have \vished to
see Leningrad, the city of t Revolutio d the city of
beauties. 1 approached Zhdaov about this, and he graciously
agreed. But 1 also noticed certain reserve. The eeting
lasted barely ten rninutes. But he did not fail to ask what
1 tought of Dirnitrov's stateent in Pravda, on the occasion
of his visit to Bucarest, in \vhich he urged the coordination
of econornic plans and t creation of custorns union bet\veen
Bulgaria and Rurnania. I replied that I did not like the stateent, for it treated Bulgarian-Ruanian reiatios in isolation
and was preature. Neither was Zl1danov satisfied \Vith the
stateent, though he did not bring out is reasons; iliey carne
out soon afterwards and will presented later at greater length.
Soewhere around that tie Boddan Crnobrnja arrived in
Moscow as representative of Yugoslavia's foreign trade, and
when he found he could not overcoe sorne basic obstacles
with the Soviet agencies, l1e begged to corne with him
visit to Mikoyan, the Minister of Foreign Trade.
Mikoyan received us coldly, and betrayed his ipatience.
Arnong our requests was one that the Soviets deliver to us
the rail\vay wagos fro their zones of occupation which they
had already prornised us - for rnay of these cars had been
taken out of Yugoslavia, and the Russians could not use the
because teir track gauge was broader t.han ours.
'And how do you rnean that we give the to you- under
what conditios, at what price ?' Mikoya asked coldly.
c.s. -7

CONVERSAIONS WIH

STALIN

I replied, 'That you give tllern to us as gifts!'


replied curtly, ' business is not giving gifts, but trade.'
In vain, too, were t efforts Crnobrnjaand I adeto change
the agreernent on the sale of Soviet fils, which ;vas unfair
and darnaging to Yugoslavia. Excusing hiself on the grounds
that the other East European countries rnight consider it

precedent, Mikoyan refused even to take up tl1e question.


was quite different, however, when the subject turned to Yugoslav copper. offered to in any currency or in kind, in
advance, and in any arnounts.
Thus we got. nowhere witl1 him except to prolong sterile
and endless negotiations. It was obvious that the \vheels of
the Soviet maclllne had ground to halt as far as Yugoslavia
\Vas concerned.
The trip to Leningrad, however, refreshed us, and brought
us some relief.
Until I visited Leningrad I could not have believed that
anyone could v shown rnore heroism and sacrifice than the
Partisas in Yugoslavia and the people who lived in teir
~errito~. But. Leningrad surpassed the Yugoslav revolution,
1f t her01sm tllen certainly in collective sacrifice. In that
city of rnillios, cut off from the rear, without fuel or food,
under the constant pounding of heavy artillery d bornbs,
abo~t three ~undred tousand people died of hunger and cold
durg the wter of 1941-2. Men were reduced to cannialism,
but tere was no tougt of surrender. Yet tllat is only the
general picture. Not until we came into contact with tl1e
realities - with particular cases of sacrifice and heroism and
wit the living men who had been involved or had witnessed
tern - did we feel tl1e grandeur of the epic of Leningrad and
tlle strength that urnan beings - t Russian people - are
?l of wen ~ foundations of their spiritual and political
eXIstence and the1r way of life are threatened.
Our encounter \\.jth Lenigrad's officials added hurnan
warrnt to our adrniration. were all, to rnan, simple,
educated, hard-workig people who had taken on teir shoulders and still bore in teir hearts the tragic greatness of the

DISAPPOINTMENTS

131

city, but they lived lonely lives and were glad to rneet rnen
frorn another clirne and culture. W got along wit thern
easily and quickly- as rnen who had survived sirnilar fate.
Though it never occurred to us to complain about the Soviet
leaders, still we observed that these men approached the life
of their city and citizens - that rnost cultured and ost industrialized centre in the vast Russian land - in sipler and
r hurnan way than the officials in Moscow.
It seeed to tlt I could very quickly arrive at common politicallanguage with these people sirnply employing
the language of hurnanity. Indeed, I was not surprised to r
t\vo years later tat tese people, too, had failed to escape
the mills of totalitarianism just because t dared also to
men.
Tis bright, yet sad, Leningrad interlude of ours was marred one unpleasant lot- our escort, Lesakov. Even at
that time one migt meet officials in the Soviet Unio who
had emerged from the lower strata of t working rnasses.
seerned to an illiterate country burnpkin, and one could
see tlt he had been an ordinary worker until recently. These
deficiencies would not have been vices had he not tried to
conceal thern and made conspicuous display of pretentions
beyond his capacities. In actual fact, he had not rnade his way
up his own strength of caracter and aility, but he had
been dragged to t top and planted in the Central Cornmittee
rnachine, in which he was responsile for Yugoslav affairs.
was cross between an intelligence agent and Party
official. behaved in toroughly 'Party' rnanner, acted the
part of Party man, and rnade clumsy of collecting
information about the Yugoslav Party and its leaders.
Slight as was, wit creased face and short yellow teeth,
tie tl1at was always askew and shirt that kept spilling out
of is trousers, always afraid rnigl1t look 'uncultured',
Lesakov would have been pleasant as an ordinary workingrnan d he not been given such an iportant to do and so
kept provoking us - and usually rne - into unpleasant discussions. boasted of lw 'Cornrade Zhdanov purged all the

132

CONVERSA IONS WITH STALIN

fro
s tie

the Central Committee machinel'- and yet at t


he sung the praises of t Hungarian Politburo,
1vhich then consisted alost entirely of e"is eigres, 1vich
d think that, despite its covert anti-Seitis, the
Soviet Governent found it convenient to have e1vs at the
top in Hungary because tl1ey were rootless and thus all the
r dependent upon its 1vill.
I ld already heard and observed that 1ven they wanted to
get rid of soeone i the Soviet U nio but lacked convincing
reasons to do so, they usually spread s infamy about him
trough agents of the Secret Police. So it 1vas that Lesakov
told me 'in confidence' that Marshal Zhukov had been sacked
for looting je1vellery in Berlin - ' ou kno1v, Comrade Stali
cannot stand irnmorality!'- and about the Assistat Chief of
the General Staff, General Antoov: 'Iagine, he was exposed
as being of e1vish origin !'
It was obvious, too, that Lesakov was, despite tl1e liita
tions of his intelligence, 1vell inforrned about affairs in the
Yugoslav Central Committee and the ethods of it.s vrk.
'In Party in Eastern Europe,' said he, 'is tere such
closely watcl1ed foursoe as yours.'
did not ention the ames of that foursome, but I knew
without asking that that he 1vas referring to Tito, Kardelj,
Rankovic, and yself. But after little thought I carne to the
coclusion tat, like Molotov's Finns, we were 'peanuts' in
the eyes of the Soviet leadership.
Je1vs

7
After days of idleness, Popovic decided to return to our
country, leaving Todorovic in Mosco1v to attend the outcome,
that is, to 1vait for the Soviet leadership to take pity and to
resume talks. I would have gone off with Popovic had not
message arrived frorn Belgrade aouncing t arrival of
Kardelj and Bakaric, and thus I had to join them i conversations wit the Soviet Governent concerning 't coplica
tions that d set in'.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

133

Kardelj d Bakaric arrived on Sunday, 8 February 1948.


The Soviet Goverent had in fact ivited Tito, but in
Belgrade they d the excuse that ito was not feeling 1vell even from tis, one could see the mutual distrust - so Kardelj
in is stead. Invited siultaneously \Vas delegation
from t Bulgarian Governet, that is, t Central Committee, about 1vhicl1 the uiquitous Lesakov iformed us,
delierately stressing tat the 'top brass' had arrived from
Bulgaria.
Before that, on 29 January, Pravda had disavowed Dimitrov
d dissociated itself fro llis 'prolematic and fantastic federations and confederations' d customs unions. This 1vas
an admonition and foretaste of the tangile easures and
stiffer course that the Soviet Government would undertake.
Kardelj d Bakaric were lodged i villa near Moscow,
and so I moved i with them. That sarne ight, while Kardelj's
wife was sleepig, and Kardelj was lyig next to her, I sat
down the bed beside im d, as softly as I could, told him
ipressions of stay in Moscow and of my contacts 1vith
the Soviet leaders. coclusio 1vas that \Ve could not count
any serious help but had to rely on our resources, for t
Soviet Government was carrying on its own policy of dorniatio, trying to force Yugoslavia down to t level of the
occupied East European countries.
Kardelj told me, then or just after is arrival, that the direct
cause of the dispute 1vith Mosco\v was t agreement between
t.he Yugoslav d Aanian Goverents allowing two Yugoslav divisions to enter Alania. The divisions were already
beig fored, 1vhile regirnent of the Yugoslav figter Air
Force 1vas already in Albania when Moscow vigorously protested, refusing to accept as reason that the Yugoslav divisions
1vere eeded to defend Albaia fro possile attack the
Greek 'monarcho-fascists'. In his dispatch to Belgrade, Molotov
threatened an open breach.
The day after Kadelj's arrival, while walking i the park
where we were watched Soviet agents on wose faces 1ve
read fury at our havig conference that they could not over-

CONVERSAIONS

DISAPPOINTMENTS

WITH STALIN

hear, Kardelj and I contired our conversation, in BakariC's


presence. It covered rnore ground and was rnore thorough in
its analyses, and, despite insignificant differences in our conclusios, we were cornpletely unaimous. As usual, I was r
severe and downright than the others.
No inforrned us of aything d there was not sign
from t Soviet side until the next eveing, ro February, when
they picked us up in car at nine o'clock and drove us to the
Kremlin, to Stali's office. There we waited fifteen minutes or
so for the Bulgars- Dimitrov, Kolarov, and Kostov- and as
soon as they arrived, we were all immediately taken in to Stalin.
W were seated so that to the right of Stalin, who was at tl1e
head, sat the Soviet representatives- Molotov, Zhdanov, Malenkov, Suslov, Zori; to the left were the Bulgars- Kolarov,
Dirnitrov, Kostov; then the Yugoslav representatives- Kardelj,
rnyself, Bakaric.
At the time, I submitted written report of that meeting
to the Yugoslav Central Committee, but as I cannot get at it
today, I shall rely on rny mernory and on what has already been
pulished about the rneeting.
The first to called upon to speak \Vas Molotov, who, wit
customary terseness, annouced that serious differences had
arise between the Soviet Governrnent the one l1and and
the Yugoslav d Bulgarian Governments the other, which
\Vas 'imperrnissile fro both the Party and the political poit
of view'.
As exaples of these differeces he cited the fact that Yugosl~via d Bulgaria had siged treaty of alliance t only
\VIthout the kno\vledge of, but contrary to, the views of t
Soviet Governrnent, \Vhich held that Bulgaria should not sig
any political treaties before signig treaty.
Molotov wised to d\vell rather longer on Dirnitrov's staternent in Bucharest about t creation of an East European
Federatio, in which Greece was included, and custos
union and coordination of econoic plans between Rumania
and Bulgaria. But Stalin cut hi short. 'Corade Dirnitrov
gets too carried away at press conferences- does't watch

135

what he's saying. And everything he says, that Tito says, is


assurned people abroad to said with our kno\vledge. For
exarnple, the Poles have visiting here. I asked thern:
What do you thik of Dirnitrov's staternet? They said:
good thig. d I tell thern that it is't good thig. h
they reply tlt they, too, thik it is't good thig- if that is
the ii of the Soviet Goverrnent. For they thought that
Dirnitrov had issued that staternent with the kno\vledge and
concurrence of the Soviet Goverrnent, and so they approved
of it. Dirnitrov later tried to arnend that staternent through the
Bulgaria telegraph g, but he didn't. help rnatters at all.
Moreover, he rnentioed that Austria-Hungary had in its day
obstructed custorns union between Bulgaria d Seria,
which naturally prornpts the conclusion: the Gerrnans \Vere
in the way earlier, w it is the Russians. There, that's what
is goig on !'
Molotov continued tl1at the Bulgarian Governrnent was
goig ahead and estalishing federation with Ruaia without even consulting the Soviet Governrnent about this.
Diitrov tried to sooth things over, ernphasizing that he
had spoken of federation only in general terrns.
But Stalin interrupted hirn: 'No, you agreed on custorns
union, on the coordination of econornic plans.'
Molotov followed up Stalin: '. . . and what is custorns
union and econornic coordination but the creation of state ?'
At that rnornent the point of the meeting suddenly became
clear, though no one expessed it, narnely that. no relations
between the 'people's democracies' were perrnissile that were
not in the interests and had not the appval of the Soviet
Governrnent. It became evident that to the Soviet leaders,
with their great-po\ver mentality (which was expressed in the
concept of the Soviet Unio as 'the leading force of socialism'),
and especially as they ;,vere always conscious that the Red
Arrny had lierated Rurnania and Bulgaria, Dirnitrov's staternents d Yugoslavia's obstiacy and lack of discipline were
not l eresy but denial of the Soviet Union's 'sacred'
rigts.

136
CONVERSAIONS WIH STALIN
Dimitrov tried to explain, to justify l1imself, but Stali kept
interrupting \vithout letting him finish. Here, at last, \vas the
real Stali. His \Vit \V turned into crude malice and his
aloofness into itolerance. Still, he kept restraining himself and
succeeded i keepig his tempe. vVithout losing v for
moment his sense of the actual state of affairs, he upbraided
the Bulgars and itterly reproached them, for he kne\v they
would submit to him, but in fact he had his sights fixed on the
Yugoslavs- as in tl1e peasant proverb, 'She scolds her daughter in order to reproach her daughter-i-law.'
Supported Kardelj, Dimitrov pointed out that Yugoslavia and Bulgaria had not announced signed treaty at
Bled but only statement that agreeet had been reached
leading to treaty.
'Yes, but you didn't cosult \vith us,' Stalin shouted. 'vVe
learn about your doigs i the ne\vspapers. ou chatter like
woen from the housetops whatever occurs to you, and then
the ne\\'Spaperme get lld of it.'
Dimitrov continued, oliquely justifyig his position on
the customs ui \vith Rumaia, 'Bulgaria is in such econornic difficulties that \Vithout cooperation '''ith other cou
tries it canot develop. As far as staternet at the press
conferece is concerned, it is true that I was carried a\vay.'
Stali interrupted irn, 'You \Vanted to shie, to original.
It \vas copletely \\'rog, for such federation is incoceivale.
What historic ties are there betwee Bulgaria d Rurnania?
N. And we d not speak of Bulgaria and, let us say,
Hungary or Polad.'
Dirnitrov rernostrated, 'r are essetially differences
bet\vee the foreig policies of Bulgaria d the Soviet
Uion.'

Stalin, decidedly d firrnly: 'There are serious differeces.


Why hide it? It \Vas Lenin's practice al\vays to recognize errors
and to reove thern as quickly as possile.'
Dirnitrov, placatingly, alrnost subrnissively: 'True, \Ve erred.
But through errors we are learning our \vay in foreign politics.'
Stalin, harshly d tauntigly: 'Learig! You v been

DISAPPOINTMENTS

1 37

in potics fifty years - d now you are correcting errors.


Your troule is rt errors, but that you are taking lie
different fro ours.'
I glaced at Diitrov out of the corers of eyes. His
ears \\'ere red, and ig red lotches had appeared his face
coverig his spots of eczerna. His sparse hair straggled d
lng in lifeless strads over his \Vrikled neck. I felt sorry for
him. The lion of t Leipzig Trials, who had defied Gorig
and fascisrn frorn tl1e dock at the tirne of their greatest po\\er,
no;v looked dejected and dispirited.
Stalin ;vent on: ' customs uion, federatio between
Rumania and Bulgaria - this is nonsense. federation bet;veen
Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, d A!ania is aother matter. There
tere are historic and other ties. This is the federatio tat
should created, and the sooner the better. es, the sooner
the better - right away, if possile, tornorro;v! es, tornorro;v,
if possile! Agree on it irnrnediately.'
Soeone, I think it \Vas Kardelj, observed that YugoslavA!anian federation ;vas already in the aking.
But Stalin ;vas firm, 'No, first federation bet;veen Bulgaria
d Yugoslavia, and tl1en both ;vith i.'
And the he added, 'vVe think that federation ought to
forrned bet\veen Ruania d Hungary, and also Poland and
Czechoslovakia.'
The discussion calmed down for \vhile.
Stalin did not develop this question of federatio furter.
did repeat later, in the forrn of directive, that federation
bet\veen Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania should irnmediately forrned. But frorn his stated position and from vague
allusions Soviet diplornats at the time, it seerned that the
Soviet leaders \vere also toying wit the thought of reorganizing the Soviet Union joining to it the 'people's dernocracies'
- the Ukraine with Hungary and Rurnania, and Byelorussia
\Vith Poland and Czechoslovakia, while the Balkan st.ates were
to joined with Russia. However vague d hypothetical all
these plans may v been, one tblng is certain: Stalin sought
an arrangernent of the East Europea countries that would

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN


strengten and secure Moscow's domination and egemony
for long time to come.
Just as it seemed that the question of customs union, tat
is, the Bulgarian-Rumanian agreement, had been settled, old
Kolarov, as though recalling soething iportant, began to
argue. 'I cannot see where Corade Dimitrov erred, for \Ve
previously sent draft of the treaty with Ruania to the
Soviet Governet and the Soviet Governent d no
nt about the custos unio except as regards the
definition of the aggressor.'
Stali turned to Molotov: 'd t sent us draft of the
treaty ?'
Molotov, '.V-ithout getting confused, but soewhat itterly:
'Well, yes.'
Stali, \Vith angry resignatio: 'We, too, it stupidities.'
Diitrov latched on to this new fact. 'This was precisely
tlle reason for stateent. The draft ld been sent to
Mosco\V. I did not suppose that you could have anything
against it.'
But Stalin reaied uyielding. 'Nosense. You rushed
headlong like sl youth. You \vanted to astound the
world, as tlugh you were still Secretary of the Coitern.
You and the Yugoslavs do not let n know what you are
doing, but we have to find out everything on the street. You
face us "'ith fait accompli!'
Kostov, who \vas in charge of Bulgaria's econoic affairs
at the tie, wished to say something too. 'It is lrd to
sall and underdeveloped country.... I would like to raise
s econoic questions.'
But Stalin cut hi short, telling to go to tl1e relevant
inistries and pointing out that this was eeting to discuss
the differences in the foreign policy of tllree governments and
parties.
Finally Kardelj was called u to speak. was red and,
as usually did when he was excited, he hunched his d
down between his shoulders and made pauses in his sentences
where they did not belong. pointed out that the treaty

DISAPPOINTMENTS
1 39
between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, siged at Bled had been
previously submitted to the Soviet Government but that. the
Soviet Government had d no coment ;ther than to
suggest that its duration should 'twenty years' instead of
'for all time'.
Stalin kept glancig. silently and not witout reproach at
Molotov, who hung h1s head and with clenched Iips tacitly
confired what Kardelj had said.
'E:ccept ~or that suggestio, which we adopted,' Kardelj
contued, there were no differences .... '
. Stalin interrupted hi, no less agrily though Iess offensively tha he had interrupted Dimitrov. 'Nonsense! There
are differences, and grave ones. What do you say about
Aania? ou did not consult us at all about the etry of
your r into Aania.'
Kardelj replied that we had had the consent of t Albanian
Government.
Stalin shouted, 'Tis could lead to serious internatioal
co~p;icatio?s. ~i is ~1 i~dep~ndent state. What do you
thk. Justlficatn or no JUStificatn, the fact reains that
you did not consult us about sendig two divisios into
Albaia.'

Kardelj explained tat of this was yet final d added


that l1e did not remember single foreig prolem about
which the Yugoslav Governent had not consulted the Soviet.
'It's not so,' Stalin cried. 'You don't consult at all. That is
t your ~istake, but your policy- yes, your policy !'
KardelJ, cut short, fell silet and did not press his view.
Molotov took up piece of paper and read passage fro
the Yu?oslav-:-Bulgaria_n. treaty: that Bulgaria d Yugoslavia
would_ wor~ t spt of the United Nations and support
all actn d1rected at the preservation of and against all
hotbeds of aggression'.
'What is the eaning of this ?' Molotov asked.
.Dimitrov ~xplaine~ tlla~ these words signified solidarity
With th_e Uted NatJ.ons the struggle against hotbeds of
aggreSSlOD,

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Stalin broke in: 'No, this is preventive war- the commonest Komsomol stunt; tawdry phrase which only brings grist
to the enemy ill.'
Molotov retured to the Bulgarian-Rumanian customs
unio, emphasizing that this was the begirig of merger
bet\vee the two states.
Stali broke in \vith the observation that customs uions
are generally unrealistic. Since the discussion had agai subsided soe\\hat, Kardelj remarked that some customs unios
had sho\V thernselves t to so bad in practice.
'For l ?' Stali asked.
'Well, for l, Beelux,' Kardelj said cautiously, 'where
Belgiu, Hollad, d Luxebourg joined together.'
Stalin: 'No, Holland didn't. Only Belgiu and Luxebourg. That's nothig, insignificant.'
Kardelj: 'No, Holland is included too.'
Stali stubborly: 'No, Hollad is rt.'
Stali looked at Molotov, at Zorin, at the rest. I wanted to
tell hi tat t syllale 11 in Beelux from t Netherlands, the Dutcl1 name for Hollad, but since v else
\Vas silet, I held my tongue and Holland remained outside
Benelux.
Stalin returned to the coordiation of economic plas
bet\veen Ruania and Bulgaria. 't is senseless, for instead
of cooperation tere \vould soon quarrel. The unification
of Bulgaria and Yugoslavia is aother rnatter- they have
things in , anciet aspirations.'
Kardelj pointed out that at led it d also decided to
work gradually to\vard federation bet\veen Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, but Stalin iterrupted i rnore precise ters: 'No, but
irnediately- tomorro\v! First Bulgaria and Yugoslavia ought
t.o unite, and then let A!ania join them later.'
Stali then turned to the uprising in Greece: ' uprising
in Greece \Vill have to fold up.' ( used for this the \Vord
svenzut, \Vhic eans literally to roll up.) 'Do you believe'he tured to Kardelj - 'in the success of the uprising in
Greece?'

Kardelj replied, 'If foreign intervention does not gro\v, and


if serious political and ilitary errors are not made.'
Stalin \\'Cnt on, \Vithout paying attention to Kardelj's opi
ion: 'If, if! No, t have no prospect of success at all. \Vhat,
do you think that Great Britain and the United States- the
Uited States, the ost po\\erful state in the world- \Vill
perit you to break their line of communication in the Mediterranean r Nonsense. And we have no navy. The uprising
is Greece ust stopped, and as quickly as possile.'
Someone entioned the recet successes of the Cblese
Cornunists. But Stalin reained adamant: 'Yes, the Chinese
corades have succeeded, but in Greece there is an entirely
different situation. The United States is directly egaged
there- t strongest state in the world. China is differet
case, relations in t Far East are different. True, \VC, too, can
k mistake. Here, \vhen the \Var with Japan ended, \VC
invit.ed the Chinese corades to agree rneans of reachig
modus vive11di \Vith Chiang Kai-shek. agreed with us
in word, but in deed they did it their own \vay \Vhen they got
h: they ustered their forces and struck. I t has been
sho\vn that they \Vere right, and \VC \Vere not. But Greece is
different case - we sould not hesitate, but let us put end
to the Greek uprising.'
Not even today I clear on Stalin's otives in coden
ing the uprising in Greece. Perhaps he thought that to create
still anoter Comunist state- Greece - in the Balkans, \vllen
not even the others were reliale and subservient, could hardly
have been in his interest, to say nothing of possile internatioal
coplications, \Vhich \VCre becoing r and rnore threate
ing and even if they did not drag hirn ito war, they might
edager positions he had already \VO!l.
Stalin's motive for trying to pacify the Chinese revolution
\Vas undoubtedly opportunism in llis foreign policy. may
well also have anticipated future danger to his own work and
to his own epire frorn the new Comunist great po\ver,
especially sice there were no prospects of subordinating it
internally. At any rate, he knew that every revolutio, just

I4I

142

CONVERSAIONS WIH

STALIN

because it is new, becomes new epicetre of revolution d


shapes its own govermet and state, and this was what he
feared i China, especially as it was pheornenon as portentous as the October Revolutio.
The discussio began to flag, and Dirnitrov rnentioned the
developrnent of further econoic relations with the U S S R,
but Stalin cut llim short again: 'W shall talk about tllis with
the joint Bulgarian-Yugoslav Governrnent.'
vVhen Kostov cornplained about the injustice of an agreement technical aid, Stali told him to submit note 'zapisochka'- to Molotov.
Kardelj asked what lie we should take about the Italian
Government's deand that Sornalia placed under its
trusteeship. Yugoslavia was t iclined to support that
deand, but Stalin took the opposite view d he asked
Molotov if reply had been rnade to tllat effect. explaied
his position thus: 'I tlle old days kigs who could not agree
over the booty, used to give disputed t.erritories to their weakest. vassal so they could snatch t from hirn later at some
opportune rnoent.'
Stali did not forget, sornewhere before tlle close of t
meeting, to cloak tlle reality - his deands and orders - with
Lein and Leninis. declared, 'We too, Lein's disciples,
ofte had differences with Lenin hirnself, d v quarrelled
over sorne tmngs, but later we would talk it all out, estalish
our positios and - we would go forward.'

The eeting had lasted about two llours.


This tie Stalin did not invite us to dinner in ms home.
I rnust cofess tlt I felt sadness and an ernptiness because
of this, so great was own huan, setirnental fondness
for hi still.
I felt cold void and itterness. In the car I tried to tell
Kardelj ho\v indignant I was at the eeting, but felt
crushed and rnotioned rne to quiet.
This does not rnean tllat we did not agree, but we reacted
in different ways.
The depth of KardeU's distress was ost evident t next

DISAPPOINTMENTS

143

day, when they took hi to the Krernli t.o sign- without


explaatio or cerernony - with Molotov treaty on consultation bet\veen t U S S R and Yugoslavia, d he put his
signature in the wrong place, so that . he had to sign over again.
The sarne day, accordig to agreeet d in Stalin's
ante-roorn, we went to Dimitrov's for lunch - to agree on
federation. W did it rnechanically - in the last throes of
discipline and the authority of the Soviet Governent. The
conversation over this was short and listless on both sides;
we agreed that we \Vould get in touch agai as soon as all had
arrived in Sofia and Belgrade.
Nothing, of course, carne of all this, for rnonth lat~r
Molotov and Stalin began to attack tlle Yugoslav leadersh1p
in their letters, and were supported the Bulgaria Central
Comittee. The federation with Bulgaria turned out to
snare- it \Vould crack the unity of tl1e Yugoslav Comunists
- snare into which no idealist would now put his neck.
Although the surface everything was kept quiet, and it
appeared that \Ve \Vere united, the protagonists were already
adopting extreme positions. Tms was the prelude to \vhat \vas
to come later, the divisio between the Soviet Union d
Yugoslavia, wllich occurred i June 1948.
One of the things I rr fro that meetig wit the
Bulgarian delegation is Kostov's helpfulness, almost tenderess toward us. This was all the more unexpected for i high
Yugoslav Communist circles he was considered opponent
of Yugoslavia, and the s token Soviet man. Yet he
\vas also for Bulgarian independence, and therefore disliked
the Yugoslavs because he thought that they were the Soviets'
chief henchmen and were even tryig to dominate Bulgaria
and its Comunist Party. Kostov was later shot the false
charge tat he was i the service of Yugoslavia, while the
Yugoslav press kept attacking him, almost to his last daysucl1 was the dist.rust d isunderstading that grew in
Stalin's slladow.
It was on that occasion that Dimitrov said wlt he did
about tlle atom bomb, and then, as though in passing, while

If4

CONVERSAIONS WITH STALIN

accompanying us out of his villa, 'The object of all tis has


not been to criticize my statement, it's really about sornething
quite different.'
Dimitrov certainly knew as much as \Ve did. But he did not
have the forces, d perhaps he himself lacked the strength
of the Yugoslav leaders.
1 did t fear that anytlling could happen to us in Mosco\v;
after all, \ >Yere the represetatives of foreign indepedent
state. And yet I kept callig to mind t Bosnian forests, in
whose depths > llid safely during the most violent German
offensives and at whose clear cold sprigs >ve al\vays found
rest d comfort. I even said, I think to Kardelj, in maner
that he might >vell have found exaggerated, 'If only >ve can
get back t.o our hills and forests as s as possi!e!'
We left three or four days later. They drove us to t airport at V nukovo at dawn and put us on t l 'ithout any
onours. As >ve fle>v, I felt more and more like happy cblld,
but 1 also felt serious, stern , and I gradually forgot about
Stalin 's story of General Sikorski's fate.
It was hard to believe that I \vas the same person who four
years earlier d eagerly travelled to t Soviet Union with
an open heart and disciple's devotion.
Once again dream had been snuffed out under the weigt
of reality.
Could this m that new dream migt grow?

Coclusion
people, anng them Trotsky, of course, have stressed
Stalin's criminal, loodthirsty passions. I can neither confirm
nor deny them, since the facts are not that >vell know to me.
Recently it >vas made pulic in Mosco>v that had probaly
killed the Leningrad Secretary, Kirov, to give himself pretext for settling accounts >vitl1 the oppositio wit.hi the Party.
probaly had hand in Gorky's death, for it >vas depicted
too prominently i his propaganda as t >vork of the opposition. Trotsky v suspects tat he killed Lenin 'ith the
excuse that he was shortenig his misery. It is claimed tlt he
killed his own wife, or at all events, was so cruel to her tlt
she killed herself. The romantic legend spread Stalin's
agents, d \vhich I, too, had heard, is really too !v - that
she \Vas poisoned \vhile tasting food before r good husbad
ate it.
Every crime was possile for Stalin, d there >Yas not one
he ld not committed. Whatever standards >ve use to take his
measure, he has the glory of being the greatest crimial in
history- and, let us hope, for all time to come. For in him was
joined the crimial senselessess of Caligula \vith the refie
met of Borgia and the brutality of Tsar Iva the Terri!e.
I was more interested, d am still more iterested, in how
such dark, cunnig, d cruel man could ever haYe led one
of the greatest and most po>verful states, not just for day
or year, but for thirty years. This is >vhat Stalin's present
critics - I m his successors - must explai; d until they
do so they will only confirm that in the mai they are contiuing his \vork and tat they are made up of the same
elernets and are governed the same ideas, patters, d
methods as he was. For it is t merely true that Stalin took
advantage of the desperate exhaustio of Russian post-revolutioary society in order to gain his own eds, but. it is also
MANY

!46

CONVERSAIONS \VIH STALIN

true that certain strata of that society, that is to say, the ruling
political bureaucracy of the Party, needed just such man :...
one \vho was reckless in his determination and extremely
practical in his fanaticism. The ruling Party followed im
doggedly and obediently- and he led it from victory to victory,
until, carried a\vay po\ver, he began to sin against it as \Vell.
Today this is all it reproaches him for, passing in silece over
his m greater d certaily no less brutal crimes agaist
the 'class enemy' - the peasatry and the intelligetsia, and
also the left and right wings within the Party and outside it.
And as long as that Party fails to shake off in its theory d
especially in its practice, everything that comprised the very
originality and essence of Stalin and of Stalinism, that is to
say the strict ideological conformity and so-called monolithic
structure of the Party, it will bad but certai sig that it
has not emerged from uder Stalin's shado\v. Thus the present
over the liquidation of Molotov and the so-called antiParty group, despite the odiousness of his personality and the
depravity of his vie\vs, seems to to shallo\v and premature. For the essence of the pro!em is not \Vhether one group
is better than another, but \vhether either should exist. at alland whether, at least as begining, the ideological and
political monopoly of single group in the U S S R shall
ended. Stalin's dark presence continues to hover over the
Soviet Union and, provided there is not \Var, I fear that it
\Vill go hovering for long time. Despite the curses against
his n, Stalin still lives in the social and spiritual foundations of Soviet society.
The speeches and solemn declarations, \Vith their references
to Lenin, cannot change the substance. It is much easier to
expose some crime of Stalin's than to conceal the fact that it
\Vas this man \Vho 'uilt socialism', \vho gave rise to the
foundations of present Soviet society and of the Soviet empire.
All this sho\vs that Soviet society, despite its gigantic technical
achievements, and perhaps largely because of them, has barely
begun to change, tlt it is still imprisoned in its O\vn, Stalinist,
dogmatic framework.

147
Despite this criticisrn, there does seem to some hope
tlt in the foreseeale future new ideas and phenomena may
appear \vhich, though they may ~ot shake K~r~schev's 'mon~
lithisrn', will at least sllo\v up 1ts contrad1ctns and what 1t
really is. At the moment more drastic changes are impossile.
Those \vho govern are still thernselves too poor to find dogmatism and monopoly of rule unnecessary or hindrance, while
the Soviet econorny can still exist enclosed in its o\vn empire
and can absorb the losses caused its separation from the
\Vorld market.
Of course, the value of much that is human depends on the
point of vie\v from \vhich it is seen.
So it is \Vith Stalin.
If \Ve take the point of view of huanity and freedom,
history does not kno\V despot as brutal and as cynical as
Stalin was. was methodical, all-embracing, and total as
criminal. \Vas one of tose rare and terrile dogmatists
l of destroying nie-tents of the uman race to 'k
happy' the rernaining tenth.
.
.
Ho\\'ever, if \Ve \Vish to determe \vhat Stal really rneat
in t l1istory of Comnnism, then he must for the pres~nt
regarded as far the most import~nt figure ...after Le:n.
did not substantially develop t 1deas of Comusm,
but he championed them and brought tem to realization in
society and state. did not costruct ideal soci~ty
this is impossi!e in the very nature of m and uman soc1ety,
but l1e transformed backward Russia into an industrial po\ver
d an empire tat is more and rnore resolutely and iplacaly
aspiring to world mastery.
..
Fro t point of view of success and pol1~1ca~ acumen,
Stalin is l1ardly surpassed any statesman of h1s :1me. . .
I of course, far from thinking that success pol1t1cal
struggl~s is the only criterion. Even less do 1 \vis~ to identify
politics \Vith amorality, though 1 do no.t deny that~ JUSt because
politics involve struggle for the surv1val of part1~ular human
communities, they are apt to marked d1sregard for
normal morality. For great politicians and great statesmen
CONCLUSION

CONVERSATIONS WITH STALIN

are those >vho join ideas d realities, those who go


fovard steadfastly toward their aims while at the same time
adhering to the basic moral values.
All i all, Stalin >vas monster who, while adhering to
abstract, absolute, and fudamentally utopian ideas, in practice had no criterion but success - and this meant violence,
and physical and spiritual extermiatio.
Ho>vever, let us not ujust to Stalin. What he wished
to accomplish, and even that >vhich he did accomplish, could
t accomplished in any other >vay. The forces that swept
him forward d that l1e led, with their absolute ideals, could
have other kind of leader but him, given the relations
benvee Russia .and the rest of the world, r could they
have been served differet methods. The creator of
closed social system, he >vas at the same tirne its istrumet
and, i chaged circumstances and all too late, he became
its victim. Although unsurpassed in violence and crime, Stali
was still the leader d organizer of certain social system.
Today he rates very lo>v, pilloried for his 'errors', tl1rough
>vhich the leaders of that same system ited to redeem both
the system d themselves.
And yet, despite the fact tlt it "\Vas carried out in cheap
theatrical style, Stali's dethronement proves that the truth
will out even if l after those "\Vho fought for it have perished.
The human conscience is implacale and indestructile.
Unfortunately, even no,v, after the so-called de-Stalinizatio, the same conclusion can reached as before: those
who "\Vish to live and to survive in "\Vorld differet from the
one Stalin created and which still exists and is still as strong
as ever must fight for their lives.

Biograpical

and

Notes

Oter

t Autlr

Cllief Caracters

\Vas free parole for fifteen months followhis imprisonment for more than four years on charges of
'slandering' d \vritig opiions 'hostile to the people and the
state of Yugoslavia'. was, up to the time of his expulsion
from the Communist Central Comrnittee in January of 1954,
one of the four chiefs of the Yugoslav Governme!lt, at times
Miister, head of the Parliament, and Vice-President.
Djilas was born i 1911 i lVlontenegro, the fateful lad he
descries poetically in the autoiography of his youth, Land
Witlut Justice. At the age of eighteen he went to Belgrade to
the Uiversity d \VOH early recognitio for his poetry a!ld
short stories - d notoriety as revolutionary. joined the
illegal Comnnist Party in 1932 and \vas subsequently arrested
the Royal governmet, tortured, and imprisoned for three
years. the time he was rnenty-seve he \Vas member of the
Central Comrnittee of the Party, and i 1940 ember of its
Politburo.
Following the Germa occupatio of Yugoslavia in 1941,
Djilas became Partisan leader. In 1944, as Partisan Geeral
he headed military mission to Moscow; the following year,
as Minister in the post-\var Tito government, he went again
to Mosco\v to hold talks "\vith Stalin, Molotov, and other Russian leaders. I 1 947 he took part i the foration of the
Cominform, which had its headquarters, at Stali's insistence,
i Belgrade. I 1948 he once again headed Yugoslav delegatio to 1\1oscow in futile attempt to stave off the break
between the two Communist states that occurred later in the
same year.
Ideological disagreements between the Party leaders.ip and
Milovan Djilas arose in Yugoslavia begiing in 1953. wrote
articles critical of the bureaucracy he was later to call 'the new
class', and i January of 1954 he was expelled from the Cetral
Committee. During tbls period he devoted hirnself to tlle writig

MILOVAN DJILAS
ig

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

of The New Class, which was to become known the world over
for its analysis of Communist oligarchy, and Land Without
Justice. The year following his break ;vith the Party, 1955, fo1d
Djilas being tried and sentenced ( sentence of three years ;vas
passed but suspended) for 'hostile propaganda' arising from an
intervie;v he gave to the New York Times. After the uprising in
Hungary, Djilas criticized the Yugoslav Govemment's position
to;vard tl1e brutal Soviet action and was, as result, sentenced
to three years in prison. The manuscripts of his two books ;vere,
shortly before he was arrested, sent out of Yugoslavia, and the
publication of New Class caused him to brought from
prison and, following third trial, given further sentence of
seven years.
Djilas ;vas conditionally released from Sremska Mitrovicathe very same prison where he had, ironically, suffered as
Comnist rebel at the hands of the pre-;var Royal govemment
- in January of 1961. While in confinement he ;vrote steadily and
he has since completed three books: massive d scholarly
iography of the great Montenegrin prince-poet-priest Njegos;
historical d fictional account of Montenegro during the
First World War; and sixteen short stories (or tales). The
present work, Conversations ztitlz Stalin (in Serian Susreti sa
Staljinom), was ;vritten during the short period he ;vas free.
On 7 April 1962, Milovan Djilas ;vas rearrested the Yugoslav authorities, presumaly in corexion ;vith the then forthcorning publication of Conversations wit Stalin.

*
). Leading
Soviet pbllosopher and Comunist Party member since 1928.
worked in the Agitation and Propaganda Section (Agitprop)
of the Central Comittee from 1934 and was its head from
1939 to 1947. His book History Western European Pbllo.sophy
in tlze Nineteentlz Century, pulished in 1944, was officially
attacked Zhdanov for presenting Marxism as part of the
Westem pbllosopblcal tradition. In 1950 he was official commentator on the pbllosophical implications of Stalin's articles
on linguistics. served as Minister of Culture in 1954-5, after
which he joined tl1e Institute of Philosophy of the Byelorussian
Academy of Sciences in isk.

GEORGI FYODOROVICH ALEXANDROV (1908-

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
VLADIMIR BAKARIC (1912-

).

Croatian who joined the

Comunist underground in 1933 as student and. ;;as sen-

tenced in 1934 to three years in priso. I 1941 he JOmed the


Partisas. After the war he became Premier of Croatia. In 1946
he was member of the Yugoslav delegation to the
Conference in Paris. is ilie chief Comunist leader in
Croatia.
LAVRENTY VLOVICH BERIA (1899-1953).

Georgian Communist who made career in the Soviet Becret Police - the
Cheka G U, and N V D. Comrnissar for Internal Affairs
from ;938 to 1948 and Deputy Prime Minister in c~ar~e of
security from 1941 to 1953, he ended the Great Purge ldat
ing bls predecessor, N. I. Yezlv, and many otl1e~ officia.ls: he !~
directed the reign of terror, not only in the SoVlet Uruon but
ilie satellite states, that marked Stalin's last years. was
purged in ilie struggle for power following Stalin's deaili.
SEMYON MIKHAILOVICH BUDYONNY(1883). MarshaJof
the Soviet Union, from 1935. was active in the Revolution
of 1917. From 1939 he has member of the Central C~m
rnittee of the Comunist Party, and in 1940 was first V!ce-

Comrnissar of Defence.
Leading Bolshevik theorist and member of ilie Politburo from 1918 to 1929
who supported Stalin against Trotsh.-y but.;vas himsel~ ~tripped
of power Stalin as leader of the Rig~t .Oppos1tn and
executed during ilie Great Purge. Many of h1s 1deas have found
expression in post-Stalin revisionism, especially in Poland,
Hungary, and East Germany.

NIKOLAI IVANOVICH BUKHARIN (1888-1938).

NIKOLAI ALEXANDROVICH BULGANIN (1895). Soviet


politician. joined the Comunist Party ir1 1917, and was
ember of the Supreme Soviet fro 1937 to 1958. From 1941
to 1944 he was memer of the Military Coun~il, and the

following year served on the State Defence Com1ttee. Other


posts he has held lve been: Deputy People's Commissar of
Defence (1944-7), Minister of Defence (1947-9 and 1953-5),
Chairman of ilie Council of Ministers (1955-8), ember of the

152

153

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Politburo (1948-52), member of the Presidium (1952-8), and


Prime Minister (1955-8).

the Djilas affair; it was his actress wife, Milena Vrajak, whom
Djilas defe11ded against t 'New Class'.

VULKO CHERVENKOV (190-). BuJgarian CommunistJeader


who joined the Party in 1919. >vas forced to flee from
Bulgaria to the U S S R in 1925 with his >vife, Dimitrov's sister,

GEORGI DIMITROV (r88z-1949). Bulgarian Communist leader


who was one of the organizers of the Bulgarian Communist
Party i 1909. After career as underground activist and union
organizer in Bulgaria, he was released from prison through
Russian interventio!l in 1921 and for the t two decades
served in t Comitern. was General Secretary of the
Communist International in Mosco;v for ine years, and was
t author of t Popular Front policy of the thirties. gai11ed
\Vorld-;vide prornience as result of his trial, and acquittal, in
Berlin in 1933 for complicity in t Reichstag fire. After the
Secod World War he gave up his Soviet citizenship and returned to Bulgaria to assume leadership of the Communists
tllere and to carry out the cornmurlization of that country.
became prernier in 1946.

for his complicity in the Sofia Cathedral bomb outrage.


completed his studies at the Lenin Party School in the U S S R
and joined tlle Agitation and Propaganda Section of the Communist International. In 1937, during the Great Purge, he ;vas
made director of the Lenin School, which post he held until the
school was closed in 1941. During the Second World War he
managed the Soviet radio station Khristo Botev, >vhich broadcast to Bulgaria. On 9 September 1944, he retumed to Bulgaria
to take over the Secretariat of the Communist Party. In January
1950 he succeeded Kolarov as Prernier. In Novernber of the
same he became Secretary-General of the Party but gave
up the post after Stalin's death. served as Minister of Culture
and was eventually teinstated in the Politburo.
.
BOGDAN CRNOBRNJA (1916). Yugoslav teacher who
joined the Partisans during the Second World War. After the
lieration, he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and
of Foreign Affairs. Since 1955 he s been Yugoslav Ambassador
to India.
DAPCEVIC (1913 joined the Party i 1933

). Comrnunist Yugoslav general.


as student at the University of
Belgrade. His first military experience came i 1936 as company
commander in the Internatioal Brigade during the Spanish
Civil War. With the invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, he led the
Partisan uprisig in his native l\1otenegro d tereafter rose
rapidly to t Supreme Headquarters of t Army of People's
Lieration. I 1954 he was a;varded the medal of People's Hero.
follo>vig year he commanded the Yugoslav Fourt Army
in the Yugoslav zone of Venezia-Giulia, the hinterland of Trieste,
and was the assigned to direct the guerrilla actio in N ortern
Greece. Frorn 1953 he served as Chief of t Yugoslav General
Staff, but was demoted because he ;vas indirectly implicated in

MAXIM GORKY (1868-1936). Russia's leading revolutioary


ovelist. His works - notaly Motlzer, Tlze Artamorv Business,
and Klim Samgin- >vere condemnation of capitalist society.
Though he gave considera!e financial support to the Bolsheviks,
he opposed their seizure of po;ver and lived in exile from 1921
to 1928. U his return, he headed the Writers' Unio11 and ;vas
declared founder of the scool of Socialist Realism. close
friend of Stalin's, he became leading apologist for t Soviet
regime. died in allegedly mysterious circumstaces in 1936.
Official lame for his death was placed the 'Anti-Soviet l
of Rightists' and the Trotskyites durig t Bukharin sho\v trial
of I938. Sice the, Stalin himself s accused of com-

plicity in his death.


ANDRIJA HEBRANG (1899-1948). Yugoslav Commuist leader
from Croatia. spent t\velve years in prison before the Secod

World War for his activities in the trade-uion movee!lt.


Upon his release he became Secretary of the Croatian Comunist Party. was leader of the Natioal Lieration Movement fro the start i11 1941, and held high offices after t war,
among the Minister of Industry, ember of the Presidium of
both the Yugoslav and Croatian Constitue!lt Assernblies, and
c.s ..

155

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Chairman of the Federal Planning Commission. In 1946 the


Party's Central Conunittee investigated his past and found him
guilty of cowardice during the war and of collaboration with the
Croatian Fascist Ustasi. was also declared 'fractionalist'
and relieved of his posts. In 1948 he was arrested, allegedly while
trying to escape to Rumania. committed suicide while awaiting trial. Some sources claim he was murdered in jail.

From 1934 to 1937 he studied i the Comintern's Lein School


i Mosco;v d served as professor there. collaborated ;vith
Tito i the reorganization of the Yugos]av Commuist Party
before the war, d r of its Politburo i 1940.
During the ;var he served i the Partisan Supree Cnmad
d Vice-Preier of the Provisional Government founded in 1943. retained this post when the Government ;vas
costitutionally esta!ished i 1945 Since 1951 he has also
served as Foreig Minister and as presidet of the comission
in charge of the reorganization of the Government. is regarded as top ideologist in the Yugoslav Communist Party.

154

ENVER

(1908). Leading Albania Comm1ist


leader. was educated in France and Belgium and taught
French in Albaian schools. was founder of the Albanian
Communist Party in 1941 and of the Albanian Natioal Liera
tion Movement in 1942. I 1943 he became Secretary-General
of the Albanian Communist Party, which post he held until
1954, when it was abolished. has since served as First
Secretary of the Party's Central Committee. In 1946 he was
Premier, Foreig Minister, Defence inister, and Cornmanderin-Chief of Albania's armed forces.
ARSO JOVANOVIC (d. 1948). Professional pre-war Yugoslav
army officer from Montenegro. joined the Partisans d
organized the Peop]e's Lieratio Arrny, of ;vhich he was Chief
of the General Staff util the end of 1946, when he was replaced
Popovic. was openly on the side of the Soviet Union
in the Tito-Cominform break in 1948. was shot border
guards >vhile trying to escape to Rumania.

(1893). Communist
of hum!e ewish origin who was Party organization man.
rose to power as one of Stalin's chief henchmen. During t
Secod World War he was meber of the State Defence
Committee and subsequently eld high posts in the Caucasus
and the ~kraie. His ifluece declined in Stalin's Jast years,
per~aps part because of the anti-Seitic campaign. A.fter
Stal's deatJ; he becarne prominent once again, but was divested
of all power 1957 as member of the 'ar1ti-Party group'.

(1894). Chairman
of the Soviet Council of Ministers and First Secretary of the
Cetral Coittee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Jocksmith trade, he rose through the ranks of the Co
munist Party chiefly through his activities in the Ukraine.
Follo;vig the Civil War, in which he served as political
comissar of Partisan detachment, he was sent to the Workers'
School at Kharkov University. Thereafter he ascended the
ladder of Party posts up to the Politburo (candidate member i
1935) and Central Comittee. In 1938 he ;vas put in charge of
carrying out purge in the Ukraine, and during the Second
World vVar he served there in various army posts. After the war
he ;vas transferred from the Ukraine to Mosco;v, where he
full meber of the Party's Central Committee and
Presidium in 1952. After Stalin's death, in 1953, he was elected
First Secretary and eventually replaced Malenkov.

NIKITA SERGEYEVICH KHRUSHCHEV

LAZAR MOISEYEVICH KAGANOVICH

(1907). Yugos!av Cornmunist ]eader


geerally regarded as second to Tito. Slovenian schoolteacher
he joined the Party in 1928. was jailed for two years in 1931:

EDV ARD KARDELJ

BORIS IDRIC

(r9I9-53). Yugoslav Communist leader of Slovorigin. joined the Party in 1928 and lived the life of
constantly hunted uderground revolutionary. joined the
Partisans in 1941, and became political commissar for Slovenia.
In 1945 he was made Preier of Slovenia and continued har-sh
programme of esta!ishing Communist hegemony there. I 1946
;vas set to Moscow to study the Soviet economy. From his
return, in the auturnn of the same year, to his death, he was
virtual director of the entire Yugoslav economy. His administration is associated with the ruthless collectivization of agriculture,
abandoned after his death, and vigorous drives for higher production in idustry. was member of the Politburo.
enia

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

157

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

SERGEI MIRONOVICH KIROV (1886-1934). Leading


revolutionary and Politburo member in 1930. at

BoJshevik
first supported Stalin in his rise to power but opposed his personal rule
after the Seventeenth Party Congress in 1934 His assassination
in December 1934, probaly at Stalin's behest, set off the Great
Purge.

War. After the war he served as Secretary of the Central Committee and Deputy Prime Miister. succeeded Stali as
Prime Minister in the era of 'collective leadership' but was
forced to step dow after pulic admission of failure in .1955
In 1957, as member of the 'ati-Party group', he was stpped
of power.

Bulgarian Communist who


succeeded Dimitrov as Premier in 1949. Like Dimitrov, he \vas
vetera of the Communist Intemational and was its General
Secretary in 1922. Following the Second World War, he left the
U S S R to return to Bulgaria, where he held the posts of Provisional President of the Bulgaria Repulic (1946), VicePresident of the Council of Ministers, and Foreign Minister

DMITRI

VASSIL KOLAROV (1877-1950).

(1949).
IVAN STEPANOVICH KONIEV (1897). Marshal of the
Soviet Union. distinguished hirnself during the Second
World War, especially in the lieration of harkov (1943) and
irovograd (1944). After the war he was Soviet representative
on the Allied Control Commission in Vienna. From 1946 to
1955 he \vas Commander-in-Chief Land Forces, d from 1955
First Deputy Minister of Defence d Commader-i-Chief of
the Wsaw Pact forces. resiged from this post in 1960 on
grouds of ill ealth. \vas chaim1an of the special court that
sentenced Beria in 1953.
TRAICHO KOSTOV (1897-1949). Bulgarian Commurlist leader.
was mernber of the Politburo and Deputy Prime Minister
who, thougl1 an anti-Titoist, was associated with 'ulgaria
first' outlook. Stripped of po\ver i March 1949 d indicted
in December of that year, he created sensation repudiating
bls cofession at the trial. \vas executed.
GEORGI MAXIMILIANOVICH MALENKOV (1902). Soviet
Commuist Party leader who worked his \vay through the Party
machie to becorne member of the Cetral Committee in 1939,
where he was placed in charge of the admiistratio of cadres. In
1941 he became cadidate member of the Politburo d served

on the State Defence Cornrllittee throughout the Second World

ZAKHAROVICH MANUILSKY (1883). Soviet


Communist Party official d diplornat. joined the Party in
1903. As an underground revolutionary, he ~uffered arres~ an.d
exile. After the Revolution of 1917 most of bls posts \vere his
ative Ukraine. However, he \vas even more active in the Communist Iternatioal serving as Secretary of the Presidiurn from
1928 to 1943. Duri~ the \Var he served as political officer. i
t Red Amly. \vas also Foreign Minister for the Ukrae
from 1945 to 1952, and head of the Ukrainian delegation to the
United Nations in 1952.
ANASTAS IVANOVICH MIKOYAN (1895). Arrnenia Communist w s especially promiet as director of Soviet
foreign tr-ade and food industries. candidate member of the
Politburo in 1926, he became full member in 1935. has also
been Deputy ime l\'liister sice 1937. After Stalin's death he
consistetly supported hrushchev d s become one of t~e
most influential !eaders of tlle Soviet Cornrnuist Party. rs
generally regarded as 'reasonale' Communist and achieved
some popularity in the West, especially as result of bls American visit in 1958.
). Yugoslav Communist Party
prominerit in the Partisa raks
during the Second World War. After 1945 slle served for several
years as Minister of Educatio.for Serbia. 1\!Iore r~cetly she. s
risen to posts of federal rank both the Executrve Counc!l of
the Governmet d the Central Committee of the Party.

MITRA MITROVIC (1912member sice 1933. S was

VYACHESLAV

MIKHAILOVICH

MOLOTOV

(189-

).

Bolsllevik since 1906 and specialist in Party organization.


asceded the ladder, largely as Stalin's lieuteat, until was
secod in power only to Stalin. From 1926 he was rnember of

BIOGRAPH ICAL NOTES

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

the Politburo and of the Presidium of the Executive Committee


of the Comitem. was Chairman of the Council of People's
Commissars - that is, Prime Minister- throughout the thirties,
and Deputy Chairman until 1957. was best kr,vn to the
\Vorld as Soviet Commissar (from 1946, Minister) for Foreign
Affairs. In 1957 he \vas stripped of po\ver as meber of the
'anti-Party group' in association \Vith Malenkov, Kaganovich,
and others, and s since held relatively minor posts abroad.

Assemly. In 1954, as result of the Dji!as affair, he became


President of t Assem!y. member of the Yugoslav Com-

BLAGOJE NEsovrc (1907). Serblan Communist w


fought in t Spanish Civil War and joined Tito's Partisans in
1941. In 1945 he was Premier of Seria. member of tl1e
Central Committee of the Yugoslav Commuist Party, he was
accused of deviation in 1952 and stripped of his posts.
ANA PAUKER (1893). Ruanian Je\v ( Roblnsohn)
who \Vas founder of the Rumanian Communist Party in 1921,
and married the chairma, Marcel Pauker. In 1924 they both
left Rumania for lVIoscow to work in Comintern headquarters.
In 1936 she retumed to Rumania, where she \vas arrested; r
husband, in Moscow, fell in tlle Great Purge. Retured to MosCO\V in an exchange of prisoners, slle became member of the
Executive Committee of the Cointer. Dur-ing tlle Second
World War she directed tlle Soviet radio station for broadcasts
to Rumania and helped organize the Tudor Vladiirescu Division of Ruanian prisoners of \var in the U S S R. S retured
to Rumania \Vith the Red Army, and on 7 November 1947
became Foreig lVIinister and, soon after, Vice-Premier as well.
In 1952 she fell from po,ver, as 'deviationist'.
s PIJ ADE (1889-195 ?). Theoretician of the Yugoslav Communist Party. \Vas t oldest ember i t Party \Vhen it
was organized in 1920. Sentenced to hventy years in prison for
spreading Comunis in trades unions, he translated Marx's
Das Kapital \Vhile serving his term in Sremska Mitrovica Penitentiary, t same jail to which Djilas \Vas later sentenced under
the Tito regime. During the Second World \Var he and Djilas
Jed the uprising in Montenegro, whic started ruthless civil
war in tat province. After the \Var served as Vice-President
of the Constituent Assem!y and, later, of the Federal People's

IS9

munist Central Committee and Politburo, he \vas, until his


death, in the inner circle around Tito.
POPovrc (1908). Scion of prominent Belgrade
family, Paris-trained lawyer, and poet. joined the Yugoslav
Communist Party in 1933 and fought in tl1e Spanish Civil War.
Upon his return he \vas arrested, but continued his underground
activities after being released. In 1941 ejoined t Partisans and
rose to the highest ranks in tl1e army and Government
served as Chief of the General Staff' fro 1945 to 1953 Since
1946 he has held the post of Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia.

ALEXANDAR-MARKO RANKOVIC (1909- ). Yugoslav Communist Party Jeader, \vho joined tl1e Serblan Youth Section of
the Party i 1927. spent five years in various prisons, \vhere
he got to krw Tito d Pijade. In 1937, whe Tito reorganized
the Party, he \Vas in the Politburo and has remained a.top Communist ever since. After t Jieration struggle, of wh1ch he \Vas
leading orgaizer, he became best kno\vn as lVIinister of the
Interior d Director of the Military and Secret Police. d
Kardelj are generally regarded as being next to Tito in power.
KONSTANTIN KONSTANINOVICH ROKOSSOVSKY (1896- ).
native w joined the Red Army in 1919 and made
brilliant military career in the Soviet Union. \Vas of the
USSR's most outstanding generals during the Second World
War. For his part in the defence of Moscow, Stalingrad, a~d
Kursk he \vas nvice a\varded the title of Hero of the Sov1et
Union', d became Marshal in 1944. In 1949 he \vas officia_Ily
transferred to the Polish Army d held t posts of Po~1sh
Minister of Defence, Commander-i-Chief, Depu~ P~1me
Miister and rnember of the Politburo of the Polrsh Communist Party. In November 1956 the Gomulka regi~e had him
transferred back to the Soviet Unio, \vhere he has smce served
as Deputy Minister of Defence.
PAVLE svrc (1909). Paris-trained Yug?slav nuclear
physicist and ember of the Communist Party smce 1939

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

fought in the lieration struggle and was attacl1ed to Supreme


Headquarters. In 1949 he received an award for his \Vork on
lo\v temperatures.

fought in the Partisan ranks during the Second World War.


After the liberation he served in the Ministry of Defence, as
Director of the Extraordinary Administration of Supply, lVIinister of Agriculture, and Chief of the Council for Agriculture
and Forestry.

RUDOLF SLANSKY (1901-52). Czech Communist leader.


became director of the Communist daily Rude Prdvo in 1926. In
1928 he was elected to the Central Committee of the Party.
\Vas member of the Czechoslovak delegation to the last congress of the Cointern, in 1935. After Czechoslovakia's partition Hitler, Slansky fled to the USSR, \vhere he worked
until 1944 in the Comintern. returned to Czechoslovakia
with the Red r and became Secretary-General of the reconstituted Czechoslovak Comunist Party. attended the
Cominform meetings of 1947, 1948, and 1949. In September
1951 he \Vas demoted frorn his leadership and, three months
later, \vas arrested for 'criminal activities'. In 1952 he \vas
hanged.

IV AN us I 6 (1892-1955). Croatian politician. was Governor () of Croatia from August 1939, and went into exile
during the war. On 1 June 1944 he \Vas appointed Premier of the
Yugoslav Royal Government-in-exile at the insistence of the
Allies. rnerged his cablnet \vith Tito's after the Tito-Subasic
Agreernent concluded on the island of Vis. In the Provisional
Government, he served as Foreign lVIinister, until the coalition
broke down.
MIKHAIL ANDREYEV1CH SUSLOV (1902). Communist
Party leader in the U S S R. joined the Party in 1921, entered
the Central Cornmittee in 1941, and \Vas higl1-ranking political
officer during the war. In 1946 he became head of the Agitation
and Propaganda Section of the Central Cornrnittee, and in 1947
Secretary. In 1949-50 he served as editor-in-chief of Pravda. His
chief posts since then have been chairman of the Foreign Affairs
Cornrnittee of the Soviet Union (1954) and rnember of the
Central Cornrnittee's Presidium (1955). Generally regarded as
doctrinaire, he has nevertheless supported hrusl1chev in defeating the 'anti-Party group'.
MIJALKO TODOROVIC (1913). Yugoslav Cornrnunist
leader. began his Party career in the youth rnovement.

rr

ALEXANDR MIKHAILOVICH VASILYEVSKY (1895- ). Leading Soviet general and Chief of the Soviet General Staff at the
tirne of the Battle of Stalingrad. was rnade Marshal in 1943,
and was cornmander of the Byelorussian Front in 1945. Since
then he has served as Minister of War.
NIKOLAI F. VATUTIN (1901-44). Soviet general. With Koniev
and Malinovsky, he distinguished himself in the lieration of
the Ukraine from the German Army.
VELJKO VLAHOVIC (1914). Montenegrin member of the
Yugoslav Comrnunist Party since 1935. fought in the Spanish
Civil War and \vas especially active i organizing the Cornmunist Youth League of Yugoslavia. Durig the Secod World War
he directed the F Yugoslavia radio statio. returned to
Yugoslavia at the end of 1944 to serve as editor of the Cornmunist daily, Borba, and as Deputy Foreign Minister. has
gained cosidera!e reputation as theoretician, especially since
Djilas's fall.
NIKOLAI ALEXEYEVICH VOZNESENSKY (1903-50). Leading
Soviet economist. During the Great Purge, he rose rapidly to the
post of Chairman of the State Planing Cornrnission (Gosplan),
\vhich plans d coordinates the \vhole Soviet economy. \Vas
also Deputy Pime Miister in 1939 and member of the State
Defence Committee during the \var. Candidate rnember of the
Politburo in 1941 and full mernber in 1948, he \Vas stripped of all
his posts in 1949 during lVIalenkov's campaign against Zhdanov's
followers, and \vas arrested and shot on Stalin's orders.
SVETOZAR VUKMANOVIC-TEMPO (1912). l\.1ontenegrin
who joined Yugoslav Comrnunist Youth i 1933 and became
Party member in 1935. His speciality in undergroud \vork \vas
organizing cladestine presses. During the Second vVorld War

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

he served in Partisan Supreme Headquarters and -..vas Tito's


personal representative in Macedonia. In 1943 he was Chief
Political Commissar in the People's Lieration Army. After the
war he \Vas active in the Federal Assemly and Central Planning
d Central Economic Cornmissions. is one of the closest
collaborators of Tito.

MIKHAIL MIKHAILOVICH ZOSHCHENKO (r895-1958). Soviet


autlr best known for his satirical works and his treatrnent of
the bewildered 'Iittle man' in Soviet society. In I946 Zhdanov
made him prirne target in the Party campaign to impose its
cotrol over cultural life. \Vas expelled from the Writers'
Urlion d lived in obscurity until bls death.

162

r (d~ 1948). ni Communist leader who, thanks


to Yugoslav backing, became the most po,verful man in the
Aanian Communist Party just after the Second World War,
as lVlinister of the Interior and head of the Secret Police. At the
time of the Tito-Cominform break, he was executed on charges
of Trotskyite and Titoist activities.

Secretary
of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee from I935
\Vas candidate member of the Politburo in 1934 and full
member in 1939. In charge of ideological affairs, he made
Socialist Realism in tlle arts oligatory and directed the postwar campaign against Western cultural ifluences. During the
Second World War was leader in the defence of Leningrad.
was promient in the foUilding of the Comiilform. Died r 948.
ANDREI ALEXANDROVICH ZHDANOV (1896-1948).

GEORGI KONSTANTINOVICH ZHUKOV (1894). Marshal


of the Soviet Union. served in the Bolshevik forces in 1917.
In 1941 he \vas Chief of Staff of the Red Army and conducted
the defence of Mosco\v against the Germans. was First ViceCommissar of Defence in 1942, and the following year \Vas
promoted to Marshal. Forced to resign Defence Ministry in
1957

ALEXANDROVICH ZORIN (1902). Soviet


diplomat. Among the posts has held have been: Assistant
General Secretary of the National Commissariat of Foreign
Affairs (I94I), Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1945-8), Deputy
Minister of Foreign Affairs (1948), and Ambassador to the
German Federal Repulic (1956-8). Since 1960 he has been
Permanent Soviet Representative to the United Nations.

VALERIAN

Inclex

Index
Albania, 6s-6, ro2, 104-6, ro7,
111-14, 133, 137, 139, 140
AIanian r, 105
Albanian
Comunist
Party
Central Coittee, 104, r II
Alexander I, 24
Alexandrov, G. F., 27-8, 123
Andrejev, ., 78, 8, 85
Anti-Fascist Council, 13
Antonov, General, 86, 87, 132
Archangel, 20, 91
Army of People's Lieration
and Partisan Units, 11-13,
16-17, 35, 57, 59, 62, 70, 76,
89, 1
AugustinCic, Antun, 16
Austria-Hungary, 135
Bagdad,

20
Bakaric, Vladimir, 133-4
Baku, 22
Balkans, 22, 40, 137, 141,
Baltic states, 31, II2-I3
Bari, 19
Belgiu,

Belgrade, 70, 71, 73, 78, 87, 98,


100, 101, 102, 110, 114, 132,
133, 143
Benelux,
Beria, Lavrenty Pavlovic, 64,
85, 86, 116, 117, 123
Bessaraia,

44

Bishop of Uan, 41, 42


\k Sea Fleet, 54, 121
Bled, 136, 139, 140
Bodnaras (Ruanian official),
108
Bolseviks, 29, 56
Bosanski Petrovac, 18
Britisl1 Comands and Missions,
, 18, 19, 20, 71

British Intelligence Service, 21,


61, 91
British Labou Government, 90
Bucarest, I 07, 129, 134
Budyonny, Semyon Mikailovich, 47
Bukarin, Nikolai Ivanovich, 62,
86
Bulganin, Nikolai Alexandrovich,
86, 114, 126
Bulgaia, 31-, 92-, 101, 129,
134-40, 2, 143
Bulgaria
Comunist
Party,
31-3, 143
Bulgaria
Comuist
Party,
Central Committee, 31, 32,
133. 143
Bulgaria
Communist Party
emigres, 31, 92
Bulgarian Royal Army, 33, 89
Bulgaria Socialist Party, 31-2
Byelorussia, 137
Cairo, 19-20, 69
Caucasus, II8
Chervenkov, Vulko, r, 33
Chiang Kai-shek, 141
Chinese Communists, r
Chinese revolution, 103, 141-2
Churchill, Sir Winston, 58, r,
, 67, 91, 8
Cninform, 99. 10Q-IOI, 103,
II4
Comintem, 12, I7, 2!, 31, 32, 34.
67, <), 92
Comrnunist Parties. See Bulgarian Comunist Party; French
Comunist
Party; Soviet
Communist Party; Yugoslavian Comunist Party
Crete, 19

INDEX

INDEX

Crimea, r, 124
Cmobrnja, Bogdan, 129
Czeclslovakia, 100, 137
Dapcevic, Peko, 71, 72
Deakin, Major, 19
Dimitrov, Georgi, 17, 24, 27,
29-35, 50, 67, 92-3, !, 101,
129, 133. 134-7. 138-9, 142-3
Dimitrov, Mrs Georgi, 34
Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 87, 122
Duclos, Jacques, 99
East Prussia, 88
Eastern Europe, 81, 83, roo-102,
108, II9, r, 132, 133, 134,
137
Eastem Front, 37, 55
Egypt, 54
Ehrenburg, Ilya, 109
Fadeev, Alexandr Alexandrovich,
123
Far East, 54, I4I
Finland, 14, 120
Foma Gordeyev (Gorky), 122
For Lasting - For
People's Democracy, 10I
France, 90
Free Yugoslavia (radio station),
14, 24
French Communist Party, , 99
Gallipoli, 91
Gavrilovic, Milan, 55
German Army, , I2-I, 20,
22, 26, 30, 32, 34, 41, 42, 43,
46-7,57, , 89,94,97-8; 102,
144

German Social Democrats, 66


Germans, Germany, 19, 20, r,
32, 66, 73, 82, 88, 9Q-9I, 94,
, 119, 127, 135
Goering, Hermann, 137
Golubovic, Ambassador, 107
Gomulka, Wladyslaw, roo

Gorky, Maxim, 122, 145


Gott\>ald, Klement, 10I
Great Britain, 12, 53, r, 62, 68;
91, 141. See also British Commands and Missions; British
Labour Govemment
Greece, Greeks, 19, s, 99, 102,
133, 134, 140-41
Gundorov, General, 25
Habbaniya, 20, 21
Hebrang, Andrija, 74-5, 106
Hiroshima, 119
History Western Pbllosophy
(Aiexandrov), 123
itler, Adolf, 26, 8
Hoxha, Enver, 105, II
Hungary, 132, 136, 137
Iasi, 43, 109
Italian Government, 142
, I-I4

Japan, 141
Jovanovic, Arso, 7+
Kaganovich, Lazar Moiseyevich,
93
Kalinin, Mikhail Ivanovich, 82,
83-4
Kapital, Das (Marx), 120
Kardelj, Edvard, 27, 70, 102,
II9, 132-4, 136, 137, 138-43,
144

Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich,


93-8, 147
Kidric, Boris, 101
iev, 93, 94, 96, 98,
Kirov, Sergei Mironovich, 145
Kolarov, Vassil, 31, 32, 33. I+
138
Kolomna,
Koniev, Ivan Stepanovich, 41, 44,
45. 46-'7

Konigsberg (Kaliningrad), 115


Korneyev, General, II, 14, 42,
70-71, 72, 88
Korsun-Shevcl1enkovsky, 46
Kostov, Traicho, 134, 138, 142
143
Kozovsky, Captain, 23, 37, 109
Kremlin, 34, so, 55-6, 63, 76,
8r-2; 1II, 114, 128, 143
Kuiishev, 34
Kutuzov, ikhail Ilarionovich,
34
Lehman, Herbert ., 19-20
Lenin, Vladirnir Ilyic, 51, 122,
125, 128-9, 142, 145, 146, 147
Leningrad, II5, II6, 129, I3G-3I
Life K1im Samgin, The
(Gorky), 122
Lozovsky, ., 48
Luxembourg, 140
Macedonia, 32-3
Malenkov, Georgi Maximilianovich, 8s-6, 93, 101, II6, 134
Malta, 20
Manuilsky, Dmitri Zakharovich,
24, 27, 28-9, 67, 93, 98
Marshall Plan, 99, 100
Marxism and the National and
Colonial Question (Stali), 122
Mesic Commander, 35-6
Metropole Hotel, 8, 127
Mikoyan, Anastas Ivanovich,
129-30
Mitrovic, Mitra, 74-5, 76
Mocllov, Secretary of Pan-Slav
Committee, 25
Molotov, Vyacheslav Mikhailovich, 23, 24, 27, 51, 52-69, 76,
77, 8, 82, 8s, 88, 91, 93, 97,
99-100, 102, 111-22, 133-43,
146
Montenegro, 22, 69

MosCO\V, 2, 27, +. 37. 48, ;6,


57, 70, 78-8, 88, 101, 103,
106-7, I 1Q-I 1, 127-8, 129,
131, 133, 144
Moskva Hotel, 127
National Comrnittee of Yugoslavia, 13, 17, 53
Nazarova, 25
Neretva, 13
Neskovic, lagoje, roi
Netherlands, 140
New York, 128
NKVD, 31
Normandy, Allied Janding in,
s, 68
Nouvelle Democratie, La, 99
Novoye Vremya, 39

Opposition (Stalin), 86

Pan-Slavic Committee, 24-6, 48


Pan-Slavic Congress, II7
Paris, 99, 102, 128
Partisans: Soviet, 12, 42; Yugoslavian, 11-13, 19, 30, 32, 36,
49, 54, 89, 130
Pauker, Ana, 107-8
Pavelic, Ante, 35
Peter II, 55
Petrovic, N., 78, 79, 8, 85
Pijade, Mosa, 120
Poland, Poles, 100, 135. 136-']
Polevoy, Boris, 46
Politburo, r r-12, 52, 63-4, 86,
100, 111, II6
Popovic, , 71, ro7, r,
125-7, 132
Popovic, Vladimir, rxo
Prague, 101
Pravda, 39, 46, 129, 133
Rankovic, Alexandar-Marko, 13,
70, 72, 101, 132

INDEX

Red Army, 12, 27, -4, 41-7,


55, 6, 75-103, 107, 135
Red Army Centre (TsD ),
23, 37
Red Square, 34, 128
Rokossovsky, Konstantin Konstantinovich, 46
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 21-2, 61,
II8
Rumania, 62, 70, 108-9, 129,
134-40
Russian Revolution, 20, 29, 34,
47, 122, 129, 142
Savic, Pavle, 16
Second Ukranian Front, 41
Seria, 135
Serian Agrarian Party, 55
Serebrennyi Bor, 48
Shaposhnikov, Boris Mikhai!ovich, 47
Sholokhov, Mikhai! Alexandrovich, 123
Siberia, II8
Sikorski, Wladysla\v, 61, 144
Simic, Ambassador, 23-4
Simonov, Konstantin Mikhailovich, 123
S!ansky, Rudolf, 101
Slavs, 22, 65-6, 76, 90
Sofia, 143
Somalia, 142
Soviet Commands, 21, 71, 73
Soviet Communist Party, 14, 26,
31, 75, 8, 86, 146
Soviet Communist Party Central Cornmittee, 24, 27, 75, 88,
II6, 127, 131-2
Soviet General Staff, 126
Soviet Intelligence Service, 8,
101
Soviet Military Mission to Yugoslavia, II, 17-18, 57, 6, 88.
See also Korneyev, General

Soviet Ministry of Foreign


Affairs, 110, 127
Soviet Mission in Albania, 107
Soviet Secret Police, 65, 132
Soviet Secret Service, 37
Soviet State Security and security agencies, 25, 26, 37, 48, 50,
109. See also NKVD
Spiru, Naku, 104-5, II 1, II3
Stalin, Joseph Vissarionovich, 9,
14-15, 16, 17, 23, 27, 28-9,
3--32, 34, 39, 43, 45, 46, 47;
first visit, 48-69, 70, 76-7, 78;
second visit, 81-93; compared
with hrushchev, 96-8, 99,
100-102, 103; third visit,
104-25, 132, 134-43, 144;
conclusion, 145-8
Stalingrad, 35, 46, 62, 87, II5,
121
Stambuliski, Alexander, 32
Strasbourg. 99
tiubasic, Dr Ivan, 62, 67, 78, 8r,
82-4, 8 5
Supreme Soviet, 69, 82
Suslov, Mikhail Andreyevich,
134
Suvorov, Count Alexandr Vasilievich, 51
Tel1eran, 21
Terzic, Velimir, 15, 24, 45, 48, 51
Tirana, 105
Tito (Josip Broz), II' 13, 17-18,
19-21, , 34, 39-40, 47. 53
56, 57. 6-62, 69, 70, 72; visits
1\IIosco\v, 78-92, 1, 101,
106-7, II3, II4, 123-4, 132,
133, 135
Tito-tiubasic Agreement, 62
Tobruk, 19
Todorovic, Mijalko, 107, 1 ,
126, 132
Town Okuov, Tlze (Gorky),
122

I7I

INDEX

Trotsky, Leon, 29, 62, 86, 145


Tsankov, Alexandr, 32
Tunis, 19
Turkey, 54
Ukraine, 29, 41-3, 93-8, rro, 137
Uman, 41
United Nations, 29, 93, 102, 139
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation
Administration
(UNRRA), 17, 19
United States, 62, 67, 99, 102,
II9, 141
Uzice, 17
Vasilyevsky, Alexandr Mikhailovich, 126
Vatutin, Nikolai F., 95
Vis, 6, 62, 69
Vishinsky, Andrei ., 109
Vlahovic, Veljko, 24, 31, 32, 35
Vnukovo, 144
Volga-Don !, 121
Voroshilov, liment Efremovich, 47
Vozesesky, Nikolai Alexeyevich, II6-17, 121
Vujkovic, Chief of Belgrade
Royal Police, 86, 123
Vukmaovic- Tempo, Svetozar,
107, 127
West, Western Allies, 12, 14, 17,
20, z6, ,4,48, 54,61-2,67,
68, 8, 92, 99, 102, 119
World War, First, 56, 61, 91

Koci, 104, II3

Young Guad (Fadeyev), 123


Yugoslav Air Force, 133
Yugoslav Anti-Fascist Brigade,
35-7
Yugoslav Army. See Army of
People's Lieratio and Partisa Units
Yugoslavian Communist Party,
II, 14, 17, 26-7, 29-30, 32-3,
38, s6, 69, 7-71, 73, 74, 77,
8, 83, 90, 120, 131, 143
Yugoslavian Communist Party
Cetral Committee, 11, 13, 17,
32, 6z, 69, 72, 74, 75, 88, 104,
107, 120, 123-4, 131, 134
Yugoslavian Commuist Party
emigres, 17, 24-5. 27, -2,
35
Yugoslav Military Mission to
theBritish, II, 15,17
Yugoslav Military Mission to
the USSR, , 15-56, 57
Yugoslav Royal Army, 33, 35
Yugoslav Royal Government, ,
s, 62

Zhdanov, Andrei Alexandrovicl~ 45, 101, 111, 115-16,


12-21, 123-4, 129, 131, 134
Zhukov, Georgi Kostantino
vich, 6, 37. 51, 54-5. 132
Zori, Valerian Alexandrovich,
134, 140
Zoshchenko, Mikhail Mikhailovich, II6
Zujovic, ., 106

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CASE OF COMRADE TULA YEV


VICTOR SERGE

Russia, 1939: the revolutionary fervour of 1917 has given way to


the bureaucratic counter-revolution. Defeat in Spain is certain, the
Second World War imminent. And Comrade Tulayev, key party
man, has been impulsively shot dead an unimportant clerk.
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Victor Serge's classic novel of Stalin's Russia is an appallingly
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ONE DA IN LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH


ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN

h masterpiece on life in Stalinist labour camp which shook


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TWENTY LETTERS

FRIEND

SVETLANA ALLILUYEVA

Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Stalin, was at the centre of some


of the most violent upheavals of the twentieth century.
Her account of the period - time \Vhen most records were
falsified or destroyed - is simple, true, and unique.
Twe:nty Letters to Frie:nd is more than vivid footnote to
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' unique masterpiece .. all past histories of Russia will have
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EVGENIA S. GINZBURG

One of the countless victims of Stalin's purges, Evgenia S. Ginzburg


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Into t Wirlwind passes on Mrs Ginzburg's shock and sense of
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