Russia, this didn't happen. It still carried on, because right
from the beginning, and in fact that man Leontief whom I spoke of
here, studied the Leningrad universities, and there it went.
And for two years, he was at this ** agency developing these varied
methods for which he later got the Nobel Prize -- all these tables
with which you control the flow of materials and a huge balance
sheet of the economy of a country or the world.
in our country, unfortunately, with the political idea of spreading
communism and a certain world transformation, our economy was right
up to the end, to Gorbachev's day, really a military economy,
where money and effort didn't count, only because of the huge resources
of this country, we could to a certain rate proceed. But that
was one of the reasons that led to the collapse of the Soviet economy.
We still haven't gotten rid of a huge sector of our economy connected
to the military--take our miners and so on. They're not viable
in economic terms any more. They have to go, but for political
and other reasons, it can't happen.
Sometime in the sixties, Aganbegyan or others began to perceive
this thing was not working.
K: Yes. Well certainly you see. And Kosygin understood
it perfectly well, his economic advisors told him all about it,
and he was ready to listen. But, politically, he couldn't
carry through. You see, this man who was advising Brezhnev
on economic matters. And Brezhnev was very entrepreneuring
between the military establishment, with which he was intimately
connected, of course he was in charge of it before he became first
secretary, and the economy at large. The regional interests
could not be devolutional of economic power to the regions, an issue
that is still very hot in our economy.
And it surfaced, those two times at least on your programs .
K: These were not the only times.
Can you think of some other points in the history of the Soviet
development, say from the sixties on, when it could have gone another
way; for example, with Kosygin could there have been a kind of reform?
K: Well, you see, it's very difficult to say. History
has no alternative. You see, it's a one-way road only.
And there are no bifurcations in history. You can imagine
them, but there are critical moments in history when you can turn
right or left. And this has definitely happened; these are
h the various coups and revolutions. But history has a logic
of its own which is I think beyond our control, and even our understanding.
I can describe things as I saw them. As I acted, I acted on
my own behalf. And that's all I can say.
But, as a scientist, this commitment to the truth and living in
a state where only certain portions of the truth were allowed in
K: Well, the truth is, I think that's a very simplified idea
of the public attitude, you see. I don't know how you even
get at these ideas. These things were quite openly discussed,
you see. It was a question, I say, not of delivering and discussing
this thing. You see, I was discussing these issues through
the most open and highly controlled informational channel in the
country--television. There's nothing more open than that,
you see. So what can you say after that, you see. Various
people were distributing manuscripts, and who reads that stuff?
It's only the committee that reads them, but here, everybody was
listening to me. And you cannot get away from this.
And this is history. It's the way things happened. I
remember once I went to see this man after he resigned soon before
his death, this man who was the controller of the Soviet television,
Latvin. I once came to his place, he invited me. He
tragically lost his daughter, and he was in a very difficult position.
I came to see him, and he showed his collection of books.
He had a large, a very good library of his own traditional tone.
Intellectual families in our country. And he showed me a practically
full collection of all--some is that, and all this dissident literature.
And then his library shelf had a certain tripper, and he sort of
tripped some switch, this whole thing turned around, and there at
the back of all this was the best collection of Russian erotica
that I've ever seen. "That," he said, "I hide
away. I don't want my children and grandchildren to see that."
The erotica was hidden--not the dissident literature.