House without a Roof: Russia after Forty-Three Years of Revolution

House without a Roof: Russia after Forty-Three Years of Revolution

House without a Roof: Russia after Forty-Three Years of Revolution

House without a Roof: Russia after Forty-Three Years of Revolution

Excerpt

Since the death of Stalin I have made two visits to the Soviet Union, one in the summer of 1958, the other two years later. As I traveled about the country observing the progress and achievement, especially in industry, I began to feel that I was moving from room to room through a spacious house with no roof over it. Though the foundation was solidly constructed, walls were being torn down, rebuilt, or newly put up. Without permanent support no roof could be raised.

State ownership of the means of production, which is the foundation of Soviet society, has remained unshaken, But--the machine tractor stations which dominated the collective farms and which to Stalin were "fortresses of socialism" have vanished. The State Security Police has been stripped of its instruments of terror, but there is no assurance that these will remain in disuse. Management of industry and agriculture and the state apparatus have been largely decentralized, but the persistence of bureaucracy and parasitism make further reconstruction inevitable.

Stalin's policies of Russification, which had strengthened the nationalism of the minorities have been softened, but the nationalist problem still awaits an equitable solution. "Socialist legality," the ideological term for the rule of law, has been reaffirmed and redefined but has not prevented party secretaries from violating the legal code. The Soviet village is in process of reconstruction, but Khrushchev's once abandoned project, now revived though not enjoined, of transforming the village into a rural town of multistoried houses is encountering stiff resistance and there is no reason to believe that it will ever be carried out on a nation-wide scale. Even the radically reconstructed school system must be regarded as still in an experimental stage, so educators told me.

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