Wondering what was going on behind the high walls of the Kremlin?
In the "old" days, before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the
collapse of communist regimes around the world, there were scholars called
"Kremlinologists" whose avowed task was to study the documents, audio and video materials, pronouncements, statements, and
imagery of communist leadership to discover what was REALLY going on in those communist countries. These
Kremlinologists produced an enormous amount of material in which
they tried to explain past communist actions and also to predict future
policies and endeavors. Note that there were Kremlinologists in
both the private (university) and government (defense or CIA) sectors,
and in both cases their work could be made public or kept private (secret).
In this instance, as an example of
what Kremlinologists did, I have gathered some materials relevant to
the Moscow Conference of Leaders of the 81 Communist Parties, which, of
course, took place in Moscow, basically in November 1960 (a previous
such conference had been held in 1957).
Statement of the Moscow Conference of Representatives of Communist and Workers Parties, published 6 December 1960 (large *.pdf file). (See the original in Russian.)
- A Report by Khrushchev on the Moscow Conference, formally titled, "For New Victories of
the World Communist Movement," which Khrushchev read at a meeting of
communist party personnel at the Higher Party School, the Academy of
Sciences and the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Moscow on 6 January
1961. The text of this report was then published in Kommunist, January 1961. (large *.pdf file)
Analysis of the Statement by the Central Research Department, Radio Liberty, Munich
Another analysis of the statement of the conference by the Soviet
Affairs Analysis Service, a product of the Institute for
the Study of the USSR, Munich
These documents were all part of files kept by Professor Thomas T.
Hammond, one of my advisors at the University of Virginia. This
is exactly the kind of material that a Kremlinologist would work
with. Here are some comments on my part:
can see the extensive notations on the two long, programmatic documents
by Hammond. A Kremlinologist, as skilled as he was, would have
been very familiar with the particulars of language used in the
document, and he would be looking for changes in wording or phrases
from previous documents.
- Note also the length of these documents. Can you
imagine sitting there and listening to Khrushchev read 45 pages of text
in January 1961? But this was a standard practice that communist leaders were
very good at subjecting their audiences to. I may be completely
wrong on this, but I think that one of Brezhnev's addresses at a party
congress lasted something like seven hours. Plus, you didn't dare
two analyses were done by organizations deeply involved
in the study of the communist world in the 1950s-1980s. Radio
Liberty, along with Radio Free Europe, were US government-sponsored
organizations designed to counter communism by broadcasting news to
countries behind the Iron Curtain ( Voices of Hope: The Story of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty). There were numerous organizations producing such analyses of the communist world.
Now, looking at these documents, you might not know it on first glance,
but they were important indicators of policy disagreements that were
taking place in the communist world at that time between Russia and China;
disagreements that would lead, in time, to the so-called Sino-Soviet
split. A historical note: The Russians and Chinese have not really
gotten along very well for about two centuries now.