was proposed by Lenin, the New Economic Policy. It's exactly
what happened right now. It means give the freedom to small
entrepreneurs, to the peasants, to small economy, with the control
of the state how to go, but give them the freedom to develop.
And this freedom was done from '20, I would say from '22, it existed
through '25, '26. And at that time it was amazing how fast
the country developed and how the money, which costed nothing, by
the end of '27 the ruble became very strong. But if that would
develop in this way, then the system of very strong control, of
the product control, had to change. It was impossible to continue.
There was another possibility which was proposed by Trotsky.
And Trotsky proposed in favor of the working class. And, as
the most progressive class among the classes, to exploit the whole
society. Wanted to create the working armies that they would
work for, and that would generate money to build the heavy industry.
In eliminating Trotsky--eliminating NEP, the New Economic Policy,
eliminating Bucharin, and Kamenyev, and Zinovyev, and all that group--Stalin
put into life Trotsky's program--nothing else. It was
a slave work. People worked for nothing and created value
and created industry. That's it. You had one way or
the other. One way was a long way. The other way was
much faster, but it would bring a lot of losses, in human lives
and in morale still true. That's what happened. So Stalin
was the real Trotskyist. He did--he practically did--what
Trotsky said. And the whole revolution--exactly what Napoleon
did. And the whole revolutionary guard, all the leaders, were
executed, like in France.
by that time, they said, "It's in the name of Communism, it's
the Communist Party who was doing it," but it had nothing to
do with the Communists. It was a very strict authoritarian
regime with the label "Communist." It was not Communism.
It had nothing to do with Communist ideology, with the words of
the scientists--what they said about nothing. But everybody
said Communist. And even at that time, for the majority of
the population--for the majority--the level of life became better
than it was before the revolution, even with that.
I am absolutely sure that this--you know the slave work--the slave
work is a work that could be used after a certain moment--because
it has not much result. It could be done for all the buildings,
for all the--but if you want to go for more sophisticated, a slave
would never do it, because he has no initiative; he doesn't want
to work for you. And I'm sure that this period of development
of the country would be over much sooner, if not the war, because
of the war, at least 50 percent of the country was destroyed.
And here came back the necessity of this cheap, slavery work.
And that's why it was a new wave of purges in '48, '49. We
needed slave manpower. That's what happened.
by Stalin's death, say, in '53, then also we can say that Stalin,
say by the end of his life, he had a paranoia of being--that somebody
wants to kill him, and people used that, and the purges were much
important. That's the consequence or the main reason why it
happened. It's not--the reason is not that he was paranoid,
and then the purges came, the purges came, the purges came.
No, it's vice-versa. That's how I understand it.
Because of this second wave of slavery?
And finally, I am sure that by '53, '54, the economic development
was so important that even Stalin would make the changes, if he
wouldn't be dead in March '53. And then very fast came the
change by Khrushchev, very fast. In '56, the XX-th congress,
and the first spring, and how--and look how was the enthusiasm in
the country. It was really, what they say, the nationalized
deal in there, for two reasons. First, people still believed
in the Communist ideals. They really had that very deep in
their heart. They were very proud of their country, who won
in this terrible war against Fascism. So they loved their
country, they were proud about their country, then the first Sputnik
came out and the first cosmonaut went up--all that. And there
was like that a freedom which was given to them in '56. And
look what kind of a flourishment of culture came out, from '56 through
say '64, '67. All the literature which was out at that time, Akhmatova
and the others.
Of course the ballet and the youth...
Ballet always existed. Yeah, I say what just came out where
people can see new--new things. And that happened at that
time. But the development had to go further. The Old
Guard didn't want to lull it, and here was the overthrow.
Of course Khrushchev was a guy like that in blood in Stalin's time.
But he understood that he had to change; as his hatred against Stalin,
he did all that stuff against Stalin, but also because the economy
pushed him to do it, and the society pushed him to do it.
The Old Guard didn't want it, and more than that, they didn't want
to have an individual, a personality at the head, because that's
always dangerous. You cannot say what he will do the next
day. That's why Khrushchev with all the mistakes he did, because
he did a lot of mistakes. You know, people say that, you're
a general, you do that, you do that, you do that. He really
believed it very difficult to be in that position and finally believe
that you are the only person. Very difficult.