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TRAC
Interview Transcript

Paul Pozner     (cont)

So, the central committee just fired him--it was not Stalin's time.  At that time, you couldn't be fired; at that time, you would be all fired in the camps.  But that was exactly what Khrushchev did.  And he paid for what he did.  And here came Brezhnev, but Brezhnev was not a personality.  It was a group who decided, and not Brezhnev.  And he just, if you want, was the guy who said what the group decided, but it was a group deciding.  And the developments started to block--block, and block, and block.  But already the move was there and the development was there, and here, inside of the society, the changes came in, slowly.  But people didn't want to--they wanted to know what the work was.  And here happened, to my mind, the worst thing, even maybe worse than Stalin's purges, because if Stalin's purges killed physically people they killed physically--there were a lot of people killed.  But the morale was very high.  At Brezhnev's time, they continued to use the Stalin rhetoric--okay, a little bit changed, but still--but the morality was down because the economy was different already.  So, he was saying one thing, but his family traveling abroad, bought different stuff which didn't exist.  Bringing in and selling that stuff on the ground.  And the people knew that.  And more people traveled more than happy to make money.

So the morality went down and remained only the slogans, but what was in behind disappeared completely.  That was the problem of the Brezhnev time.  If in the Stalin's time say there were 10 million people, or some people say today, 20 million people, killed from '25 through '53 in camps, I don't believe it.  I say that 10 million is enough, quite a bit.  Because of Brezhnev's time, and what happened in Brezhnev's time, the morality was prostituted, in the whole society, in 200 million people.  So, there were no more insights--they were no more--people didn't believe any more in anything.  Communist, come on.  What do they mean Communist?  Communism is all the process of the Soviet system, plus all the process of the Western system.  That is Communism.

What we have, that is great, that is good.  But if we have it, the Western societies for sure have it.  Plus they have videos, cars, and villas and all that stuff.  That's good.  And at that time, the Soviet propaganda was horrible, because nobody stood.  People stopped to believe it, because they had more information from the West.  And the Soviet propaganda lied about what happened in the country.  They still continued to say how good it was, but people saw it.  So when they say about negative things in the West, and the Soviet says it's the truth, people didn't believe them, because they lied about the internal problem and we believed that they lie on the other hand.  And the country started to be more and more open, so they got their information, but when people go abroad, they got normally the best information.  They are received well, they are treated well, they live well.  They don't go to Harlem I don't know, somewhere else, not that part of Harlem but to the parts, or the Bronx--they don't go there, as you understand.

So, that changed to finally started all the emigration--Jewish emigration-- because, at that time, because in Stalin's time, they would never buy grain, even if people starved to death.  Then the situation changed, so we needed to buy grain, to import some grain.  And here was the big moral trade which happened.  One part was selling, the other part buying.  Not very moral from the both sides.  You know the big trade?  Jews against grain.  That's just a trade, just business--political business, economic business--no morality at all.  But still it opened more and more borders, and people got more and more information, and they wanted to have all that foreign stuff.  That's what happened.  That's how it went up and like when Khrushchev was pushed by the economy developing, and the society developing, to change the Stalin system, as well the system by the end of Brezhnev, couldn't tolerate any more the system of total lies, in economics and in social life.

So, when Brezhnev died and everybody up to now are sorry that Andropov is not coming any more, because of all negative stuff that he had, he was a guy who had to have information because of his job.  And he would a little bit clean all this corrupted part of the nomenclature.  He would do it, and he started to do it.  I think myself sincerely I consider that, if Andropov would be the power not one and a half years because of his self, but five years, then a Gorbachev would be much more useful, because it would be--he would clean all that stuff before.  He died very fast because of his kidneys as we know.  He almost couldn't work.  He really wasn't in a position to take all decisions--not more than six or eight months; it was not enough.

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RAO > Catalgoues > Transcripts > TRAC > Paul Pozner p.7

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